| Nov 26, 2012

Municipal nuclear addiction

Municipalities hosting nuclear power plants throughout Japan have received large amounts of central government subsidies, donations from utilities and lucrative business contracts. Now, 1½ years after the Fukushima nuclear disasters, those municipalities realize how much their finances depend on the nuclear power-induced money. “They’re ...

| Sep 11, 2012

Troubled waters, bad bridge

A South Korean journalist in Seoul warns that Japan should not make light of the recent series of tough actions taken by Seoul against Tokyo because they represent the beginning of a sharp turn in South Korea’s policy toward Japan. President Lee Myung Bak ...

| Aug 27, 2012

Noda's hapless diplomacy

Strange though it may seem, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, who heads the ruling Democratic Party of Japan, is seeking support and advice from former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori of the No. 1 opposition Liberal Democratic Party in his bid to restructure Japanese diplomacy in ...

| Aug 13, 2012

The power reform charade

On July 13, “Basic Policies for Reforming the Electric Power System” was released by a panel of experts organized by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI). It was subtitled “Aiming for an Power System Open to All Citizens.” The two main policy ...

| Jul 23, 2012

Bloom is off decentralization

A number of local political parties have cropped up of late clamoring for further “decentralization,” which would shift much administrative and budgetary authority from the central government to local governments. The most vocal among these new groups is Osaka Ishin-no Kai (Osaka Restoration Association), ...

| Jun 25, 2012

Liberating Japan's resources

Japan has long been characterized as a nation with virtually no natural resources like oil, natural gas, coal, iron and copper. More than 125 million people live on land area ranking only 61st in the world in terms of size. But it has been ...

| May 14, 2012

Nuclear watchdog autonomy

As the ruling Democratic Party of Japan under Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda pushed to make the yet-to-be-established Nuclear Regulatory Agency subordinate to the Environment Ministry, the opposition Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito favored granting it greater authority. It was reported Friday that the two ...

| Apr 23, 2012

Land grabs raise security issues

A foreign-capital property buying spree that has extended to areas in and around facilities of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces and the American armed forces could pose a threat to Japan’s security. In the town of Kutchan, southwestern Hokkaido, it has been confirmed that foreign ...