World's cities not as livable

A new report from the Economist Intelligence Unit reveals that many cities have become less livable since the worldwide economic downturn in 2009. Yet, the higher-ranking cities tended to stay ...

Is it twilight for cram schools?

Does the announcement by Japan's third-largest cram school that it'll close 20 of its 27 facilities by March 2015 signal the twilight era for the entrance-exam industry?

Ready or not for disaster

The landslides this month that devoured houses in the hilly outskirts of the city of Hiroshima, killing at least 72 people, illustrate the risk of assuming that disaster-prepared measures introduced ...


Libya disintegrates

Little noticed by a world transfixed by the advance of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the surreptitious Russian ...

Aug 26, 2014

Military courts unconstitutional

The recent Cabinet decision to let Japan take part in "collective self-defense" raises the question of whether a courts-martial system, and what would likely be a more severe standard for punishing violators of Self-Defense Forces law, should be introduced.

Aug 26, 2014

Opposition strength through unity

The current Japanese political landscape shows the Liberal Democratic Party-New Komeito alliance dwarfing all opposition forces in both chambers of the Diet. Could the merger of two opposition parties now in negotiations make a difference?

Aug 25, 2014

Difficult time for pensioners

Pensioners' lives are likely to become even more severe in fiscal 2015 as scheduled increases in pension payments track lower than the rise in general prices.

Aug 25, 2014

The municipal survival cluster

Japanese ministries are floating the idea of creating regional clusters of financially strapped municipalities to support each other so that they can keep delivering a full range of services to residents and businesses.

Aug 24, 2014

Don't bank on nuclear restarts

Power companies are moving again to raise their electricity rates to get out of dire financial straits caused by the increased cost of importing fuel to run more thermal power plants while their nuclear power reactors remain idled.

Aug 23, 2014

Homeless risk attack in Tokyo

A new survey by a nonprofit organization finds that about 40 percent of homeless people in Tokyo have had the experience of being attacked or threatened on the street.

Aug 22, 2014

Improving disaster preparedness

Japan's municipal authorities must examine why their collective past experience with torrential rains failed to prevent the deaths of dozens of people in mudslides that engulfed hilly residential areas of Hiroshima early Wednesday.

Aug 21, 2014

Seabed drilling off Henoko

The Abe administration's approval of the start of seabed drilling off Henoko, Okinawa, shows that it is not much concerned with winning the support of Okinawans as it pushes for construction of a new facility to replace U.S. Marine Air Station Futenma.

Aug 21, 2014

The fair cost of recycling

Japan's environment ministry is reviewing whether appliance recycling fees — set by manufacturers and paid by consumers since 2001 — are too high.

Aug 20, 2014

Watch out for fraudsters

The police, local government officials and community volunteers should strive to educate the elderly members of their community about the danger of fraud.