Jan 4, 2014

Not all kids can fete the new year

The extreme poor in Japan make up a larger percentage of the poor than in all except five other OECD nations. The children of this group do not have the basics for learning.

Jan 3, 2014

Dubious cure for doctor shortage

The education ministry's recent decision to approve creation of a new medical school at an existing university in Tohoku marks a new development in the government's oscillating policy on the education of doctors.

Jan 2, 2014

Gusty head winds in 2014

2014 promises to be a year of gusty head winds for world leaders. In Japan, the pre-eminent question is whether Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will continue to rein in his most conservative instincts and focus on economic issues.

Dec 31, 2013

A year to become politically active

In 2014 the Japanese people risk having their rights to freedoms of the press, thought expression curtailed as a result of the state secrets protection bill that the Abe administration rushed through the Diet in December.

Dec 30, 2013

Too young for motherhood

Motherhood in childhood has become a huge global problem. Every year in developing countries, 7.3 million girls — or 20,000 per day — below the age of 18 give birth in developing countries. Two million of these mothers are below the age of 15.

Dec 29, 2013

Gridlock at Isahaya Bay

The government had better take the initiative to break the legal gridlock over the Isahaya Bay dike in Nagasaki Prefecture. Fishermen seek to open the floodgates while farmers try to keep the floodgates closed. Courts have handed down conflicting rulings.

Dec 29, 2013

Drones getting closer to home

Japanese should not assume that remotely controlled unmanned aerial vehicles for military purposes, otherwise known as drones, are being used only in remote parts of the world.

Dec 28, 2013

Year of ups and downs for Japan

Japan in 2013 was besieged by problems in politics, business and society even while several key events helped to rekindle a sense of confidence in Japan.

Dec 27, 2013

Another backward step by Abe

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit Thursday to Yasukuni Shrine, Japan’s war shrine, is a thoughtless act that could lead Japan into isolation in the international community. It also revealed his shallow understanding of the immense destruction that Japan’s wars in the 1930s and 1940s ...

Dec 27, 2013

Progress on Futenma relocation

The Okinawa governor's go-ahead for the start of landfill work in building an alternative U.S. military facility in the northern part of the island may mark a political breakthrough for Tokyo in its security alliance with Washington, but it hardly closes the divide with ...

Dec 26, 2013

All eyes on the new NHK chief

The governing board of NHK has appointed a supporter of the new state secrets protection law as the next president of Japan's public broadcaster. Katsuto Momii's three-year term starts Jan. 25.

Dec 26, 2013

Proceed with caution on TPP talks

The adjournment this month of minister-level talks in Singapore on the Trans-Pacific Partnership means that the talks will not conclude by the yearend deadline set by leaders of the 12 participating countries at their October meeting in Bali. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, for one, ...