Nuclear fears reawaken mass anger

| Oct 12, 2011

Nuclear fears reawaken mass anger

by Alex Martin

Compared with the West, and recently the Middle East, which has been swept by civil uprisings, Japan is not commonly known for having large-scale demonstrations or violent antigovernment protests. But since March 11, when the Great East Japan Earthquake devastated the Tohoku region and ...

Welfare rise: sign of economic, aging times

| Jul 5, 2011

Welfare rise: sign of economic, aging times

by Setsuko Kamiya

The Constitution guarantees all citizens the right to maintain the minimum standard of wholesome and cultured living. Thus to help those struggling to make ends meet, the government provides financial aid according to poverty level while encouraging them to get back on their feet. ...

Kindergartens, day care centers may merge

| Nov 17, 2010

Kindergartens, day care centers may merge

by Kanako Takahara

When it comes to finding a place to park the kiddies for the day, working parents generally have two options: kindergartens and day care facilities. Kindergartens take in children from age 3 and are open for about four hours. Day care centers provide up ...

Taxation about striking the right balance

| Oct 26, 2010

Taxation about striking the right balance

by Hiroko Nakata

With the country mired in fiscal debt, the government is depending more than ever on finding stable sources of tax revenue. Following are some basic questions and answers on the Japanese tax system: How much tax do the Japanese pay? Overall tax income for ...

Expat clubs boast bygone cachet

| Jul 20, 2010

Expat clubs boast bygone cachet

by Eric Johnston

OSAKA — In the years following the Meiji Restoration of 1868, when Japan ended nearly 2 1/2 centuries of isolation, Tokyo, Yokohama and Kobe in particular saw a large influx of Western men in uniform, merchants, teachers and clerics. One of the first things ...

Elementary schools to get English

| Jun 29, 2010

Elementary schools to get English

by Takahiro Fukada

Starting next fiscal year, all elementary schools will be required to introduce compulsory English lessons for fifth- and sixth-graders. The scores of Japanese who take the Test of English as a Foreign Language are among the lowest in Asia, and thus their proficiency levels ...

| Oct 20, 2009

Abortion still key birth control

by Mariko Kato

People may be surprised to know abortion has been legal in Japan since 1949, more than a decade earlier than in other industrialized countries. In subsequent years, abortion became socially accepted to the point that Japan drew international criticism for attracting foreigners seeking to ...

Japan's funerals deep-rooted mix of ritual, form

| Jul 28, 2009

Japan's funerals deep-rooted mix of ritual, form

by Hiroko Nakata

Funerals in Japan incorporate a unique mixture of religion, tradition, culture, ritual and geography that to the outsider may appear perplexing. Following are questions and answers about funerals in Japan and related activities: Do funerals generally have a religious context? With regard to rituals, ...

The past, present and future of fortunetelling

| Apr 21, 2009

The past, present and future of fortunetelling

by Alex Martin

From the traditional “omikuji” — sacred lots — people draw at shrines and temples to learn their New Year’s fortunes, to the horoscopes displayed on commuter train video screens to distract strap-hangers, Japanese society is immersed in fortunetelling. Famously accepting of different religions simultaneously ...

Christianity's long history in the margins

| Feb 24, 2009

Christianity's long history in the margins

by Mariko Kato

Prime Minister Taro Aso may be a proclaimed Christian, but as far as the spread of the faith among the populace, it finds only a marginal presence. Certain trappings of Christianity, however, have manifested themselves in modern Japan, particularly in terms of Christian-style weddings ...