Topics

Campaigns under way but outcome no surprise

| Dec 1, 2014

Campaigns under way but outcome no surprise

by Mizuho Aoki

Two weeks after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s decision to dissolve the Lower House and call a snap election, campaigning has officially kicked off with more than 1,000 candidates vying for the 475 seats in the Diet’s lower chamber. The Dec. 14 general election will ...

Face masks

| Nov 21, 2014

Face masks

by Alice Gordenker

Dear Alice, What the heck is the deal with people in Japan wearing surgical masks? Where I come from (Canada), only doctors, dentists and other health professionals wear masks, and only on the job. You never see anyone out in public wearing a face ...

'Comfort women' issue refuses to go away

| Oct 27, 2014

'Comfort women' issue refuses to go away

by Reiji Yoshida

“Comfort women,” as Japan refers to the females who were forced into sexual servitude for the nation’s wartime forces, have been a constant source of controversy since the early 1990s, when the media started to take a serious look at their ordeal. These women ...

Mount Fuji finds mixed success with tolls

| Sep 29, 2014

Mount Fuji finds mixed success with tolls

by Masaaki Kameda

As the Mount Fuji climbing season drew to a close earlier this month, authorities were assessing the success of a new ¥1,000 voluntary climbing fee, which almost half of hikers skipped paying. It was introduced this year following a trial in 2013. Formally called ...

Fukushima cleanup going painfully slow

| Sep 22, 2014

Fukushima cleanup going painfully slow

by Mizuho Aoki

Three and a half years after Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power station spewed massive amounts of radioactive materials into the air and water, decontamination work in Fukushima Prefecture has yet to draw to an end. The government initially hoped ...

Blood types

| Sep 19, 2014

Blood types

by Alice Gordenker

Dear Alice, Can you please explain why the heck Japanese are so interested in my blood type? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a normal social situation and someone asks if I’m type O or whatever. I don’t mind so ...

How vulnerable is Japan to severe weather?

| Sep 8, 2014

How vulnerable is Japan to severe weather?

by Eric Johnston

The deadly mudslides in Hiroshima and other parts of western Japan last month caused by torrential rains have raised concerns about how vulnerable Japan is to such natural disasters, especially given severe weather events due to climate change. While a combination of factors were ...