| Jan 28, 2013

Who'll govern the governor?

A high-ranking bureaucrat of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government had this to say about new Tokyo Gov. Naoki Inose: “Although he served as vice governor, it is not known whether he has the necessary political finesse. I wonder if he is capable of moving metropolitan ...

| Jan 14, 2013

Our menacing infrastructure

“Expressway tunnels as well as other infrastructure throughout Japan are nearing the crisis stage,” warns a university professor who is a member of an advisory body for the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. Among the repercussions of the Dec. 2 ceiling collapse ...

| Dec 24, 2012

Power industry outlasts DPJ

Nobody was more pleased than the electric power industry when Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda made the surprise announcement Nov. 14 that he would dissolve the Lower House and call a general election. The industry hoped that this would clear the way for terminating the ...

| 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), ...