War criminals don't deserve praise

Reports that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed sympathy for Japan's World War II war criminals during a memorial service for them in April will only deepen the perception that Abe ...

Put fiscal health ahead of politics

Ballooning budget requests by ministries for fiscal 2015 total more than ¥100 trillion for the first time, raising serious doubts about the Abe administration's commitment to fiscal discipline.


A cease-fire in the Gaza Strip

Israel and Hamas have agreed to an indefinite cease-fire after 50 bloody days of fighting in the Gaza Strip. It is estimated that 10,000 buildings were destroyed by the Israeli ...

Child poverty in Japan

The government's first-ever policy outline to address the growing problem of child poverty in Japan lacks specific targets or financial ...

Aug 30, 2014

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?

Aug 29, 2014

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 under central government policy are in place when it may take years for local ...

Aug 28, 2014

Libya disintegrates

Little noticed by a world transfixed by the advance of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the surreptitious Russian invasion of Ukraine, and China's assertive behavior in the East and South China Seas has been the disintegration of Libya.

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.