| Jan 10, 2015

The people's Emperor speaks truth to power


Emperor Akihito began the new year with a statement that pointedly referred to two major controversies: war memory and nuclear energy. His thoughts on these demonstrate why he is so admired by the public and underscore the crucial role the 81-year-old monarch plays in ...

| Dec 13, 2014

Abe's secrets law undermines Japan's democracy


On Dec. 10, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s new special secrets law took effect despite overwhelming public opposition. The new law gives bureaucrats enormous powers to withhold information produced in the course of their public duties that they deem a secret — entirely at their ...

| Nov 15, 2014

Japan's 21st-century tsunami stones


A familiar sight along Tohoku’s Sanriku coastline are the tsunami stones erected by past generations that alert residents to the high-water mark of previous tsunami and the perils of building any closer to the sea. Over time these warnings were ignored, and those who ...

| Nov 8, 2014

Right-wing witch hunt signals dark days in Japan


Many Japanese and long-time Japan observers have expressed dismay about the recrudescence of self-righteous nationalism under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has emboldened right-wing extremists now threatening democratic institutions and civil liberties. “The revisionist right in Japan with the active encouragement, if not involvement, ...