May 5, 2014

Virus spells trouble for pig farmers

Porcine epidemic diarrhea — a virulent disease that infects piglets — is rapidly spreading in Japan and could bankrupt some farmers already hit hard by the sudden rise in feed prices.

May 5, 2014

Improving the lay judge system

As Japan's lay judge system turns 5 years old, the Justice Ministry's Legislative Council is considering excluding citizens from the duty of serving as lay judges when trials are expected to last more than a year.

May 4, 2014

The U.S. balancing act in Asia

U.S. President Barack Obama sailed rough waters during his recent trip through four Asian countries, trying to reaffirm Washington's security commitments in the region without antagonizing Beijing.

May 3, 2014

Nightclub beats rap on dancing

In a prod toward a modern legal view of sexual morals, an Osaka nightclub owner beats a charge, based on a 1948 law, of allowing patrons in his club to dance without a special permit for dancing.

May 3, 2014

Test problems here and abroad

Recent news that two of the most popular English-language proficiency tests in Japan, TOEIC and TOEFL, can no longer be accepted for obtaining visas to Britain may have come as a shock to students, parents and test administrators.

May 2, 2014

Protecting the peace Constitution

As a majority of polled Japanese oppose Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's efforts to overturn the government's traditional interpretation of a constitutional principle that has enabled Japan to enjoy nearly 70 years of peace and prosperity, he should focus on improving ties with Japan's closest ...

May 1, 2014

Beyond the OECD challenge

As Japan celebrates 50 years of membership in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which has seen Japan rise to one of the world's largest economies, the nation needs to respond to some tough challenges of its own.

May 1, 2014

Wild animal population control

Deer and wild boar are having such a serious impact on Japan's agriculture and ecosystems that the government is proposing to control their rapidly expanding populations by hunting and other means.

Apr 30, 2014

Risky medical deregulation

The government should give up its attempt to introduce mixed medical treatment and instead speed up the process for approving coverage and use of new drugs and medical technologies under the public health insurance system.

Apr 29, 2014

Building hope in Afghanistan

More than 55 percent of an estimated 12 million eligible Afghan voters turned out for the presidential election earlier this month, braving Taliban attacks against polling stations. That's up from the 30 to 35 percent turnout in 2009.

Apr 29, 2014

Deregulating the telecom industry

An expert panel of the communications ministry is reviewing anti-monopoly protections against the NTT group and is expected to recommend this fall whether regulations on the telecom giant should be eased.

Apr 28, 2014

Stressing over test scores

The education ministry's new policy of letting municipal boards of education release the results of nationwide achievement tests for individual public schools risks distorting the approach to education in Japan.