Mercury still threat, Abe assurances or not

| Oct 21, 2013

Mercury still threat, Abe assurances or not

by Eric Johnston

Earlier this month, delegates from over 130 nations gathered in Kumamoto to launch the Minamata Convention on Mercury. The U.N.-brokered treaty aims to limit mercury use and emissions. It comes at a time when the U.N. Environmental Program warns half of all global anthropogenic ...

Tax-free account seeks to spur investment

| Oct 15, 2013

Tax-free account seeks to spur investment

by Tomoko Otake

Starting in January, individuals who invest in stocks and investment trusts in a Nippon Individual Savings Account will be eligible for tax exemptions of up to five years on their financial gains. The new instrument is aimed at getting people used to accumulating financial ...

Deliveries boost convenience stores' cachet

| Oct 7, 2013

Deliveries boost convenience stores' cachet

by Mami Maruko

The nation’s convenience stores have been in a constant state of evolution, starting by offering small snacks and drinks and basic daily goods like newspapers, magazines and toiletries. Today, customers at the “conbini,” as convenience stores are called in Japan, can pay various household ...

TEAP stresses pragmatic approach

| Sep 16, 2013

TEAP stresses pragmatic approach

by Tomohiro Osaki

As Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party forges ahead with its strategy of nurturing “internationally minded” talent to aid economic growth, the prospect that students’ scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) will be used as criteria for entering ...

Reactor makers look abroad as home market fizzles

| Sep 9, 2013

Reactor makers look abroad as home market fizzles

by Kazuaki Nagata

The Fukushima meltdowns and the continuing radiation crisis may have turned the public off of atomic energy at home, but it’s full steam ahead for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Japan’s heavy industries when it comes to exporting that technology to power-hungry economies abroad. ...

Clearing way for wider military role

| Aug 19, 2013

Clearing way for wider military role

by Mizuho Aoki

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is poised to achieve his long-held goal of reinterpreting Article 9 of the Constitution to allow Japan to exercise its right to engage in collective self-defense under the U.N. Charter. In February, Abe reconvened an advisory panel of security experts ...

Defense firms pushing to boost role

| Aug 12, 2013

Defense firms pushing to boost role

by Eric Johnston

With pressure mounting from U.S. defense officials and the powerful Keidanren business group on the government to relax arms export restrictions, the military-industrial lobbies in Washington and Tokyo hope the future bilateral security relationship will incorporate their interests more robustly. At the same time, ...

| Aug 5, 2013

U.S.-style class action? Unlikely for Tepco suits

by Tomohiro Osaki

About 1,700 people from various prefectures filed four separate lawsuits against Tokyo Electric Power Co. and the government last March 11, exactly two years after the start of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. The crisis, which is a long way from ending, has devastated local ...