Feb 16, 2015

Minsk II: a pause, not peace

The second Minsk accord in six months, which was 16 hours in the making, may freeze the conflict in eastern Ukraine between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russia rebels, but it appears to lock in Russia's ability to meddle in Ukrainian affairs.

Feb 15, 2015

Questions of self-defense

A legislative package of bills on security — prepared by the ruling coalition with the aim of implementing the Abe Cabinet's decision last July to enable Japan to engage in collective self-defense — will no doubt be the main focus of the current Diet ...

Feb 14, 2015

Deprived lives of child brides

The U.N. Population Fund estimates that 14.2 million girls under 18 are married every year, some as young as 8. Ending child marriage is one ways women around the world will achieve greater equality.

Feb 14, 2015

Miserly use of vacation days

Japan may be the most miserly country in the world when it comes to getting workers to feel free to use their legally entitled number of paid holidays each year.

Feb 13, 2015

Negative savings rates loom

The first-ever annual drop in Japan's household savings rate into negative territory might have been the result of people's rush to buy goods before the consumption tax hike last April. Yet, the long-term downtrend in the savings rate is forecast to continue.

Feb 12, 2015

Putting reporters on a leash

In an unprecedented move, the Foreign Ministry last week ordered a freelance photographer who planned to go to Syria to return his passport for his own good.

Feb 12, 2015

When push comes to shove

The forcefulness with which the Abe administration is pushing ahead with work on a replacement facility for a U.S. Marine Corps air station in Okinawa could harden the attitude of Okinawans long-opposed to its construction.

Feb 10, 2015

Wrong way to import workers

If Japan needs foreign workers to fill its manpower needs, the government should consider a new system of accepting such labor on a longer-term basis rather than under the guise of an technical internship program.

Feb 10, 2015

Moral education raises risks

It would be unfortunate if the moral education that the government plans to introduce in grades 1-9 is aimed at instilling in children a blind love of their nation.

Feb 9, 2015

The Saudi-U.S. partnership

Despite its longevity and convergence of mutual interests, there are tensions in the Saudi-U.S. relationship that have grown in recent years and will only get larger. Business as usual cannot continue.

Feb 7, 2015

20 million tourists no pipe dream

The goal of attracting 20 million foreign visitors to Japan annually by the time Tokyo hosts the 2020 Summer Olympic Games is no longer considered the stuff of dreams if the tourism industry doesn't forget the basics.