Apr 21, 2017

Teaching to the test not the right path

In his opinion piece on the disappointing Eiken test results, Walt Gardner offers up dubious advice (“Modify instruction to improve English skills” in the April 11 edition.)He urges English teachers in Japan to teach to the test. That is, he proposes that English be ...

Apr 21, 2017

Who are the real Okinawa traitors?

The other day, in Naha’s Omoromachi district, I encountered a right-winger loudspeaker truck blaring out an anti-China message with the Rising Sun and Stars and Stripes hoisted on both sides of the vehicle. The flags clearly show that Japan’s right-wingers identify themselves with the ...

Apr 14, 2017

Where are the protests to the march to war?

If you’ve picked up the paper this week, you might have come to the disturbing conclusion that the U.S. is marching ever closer to the brink of a devastating war with North Korea. It’s a conflict that would be sure to hit Japan hard, ...

Apr 14, 2017

Making a case against ban on public smoking

So, the World Health Organization “tells Japan to ban public smoking” (April 9). Is this the same WHO that repressed a 1998 study by the International Agency for Research on Cancer on environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) which found “weak evidence of a dose-response relationship ...

Apr 14, 2017

Another bad idea for English education

The capital’s proposal to improve high school English (“Tokyo to build English-language immersion facility for kids” in the March 24 edition) sounds like it has sunk to a watery grave even before it could be floated. The idea that a facility alone will somehow ...

Apr 7, 2017

Best wishes for The Japan Times

by

Congratulations on your 120th anniversary! It was in 1963 that I began to subscribe to your esteemed newspaper, the same year I entered college. So I have been a regular reader for 54 years!I sometimes tried to read it in high school. It was ...

Apr 7, 2017

Cherry blossom 'index tree' at Yasukuni Shrine

The Meteorological Agency’s responsibilities include forecasting and tracking typhoons, earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, snowstorms, volcanic eruptions and … cherry blossoms. To help the agency track the “blossom front” as it crosses the country, each prefecture has a designated “index tree” to report kaika (first blossoms) ...

Apr 7, 2017

Don't put Tohoku on back burner

The aftermath of a natural disaster is never dealt with easily, especially when it comes to developing emergency housing for the surviving victims. Japan is no different, but it does have its own unique issues — namely, a nuclear meltdown and a disproportionately elderly ...

Apr 7, 2017

Change to JR Pass wrongheaded

To promote tourism and assist local business and the overall economy of Japan, the Japan Railway group offers overseas short-term visitors the use of an economical Japan Rail Pass. In more recent years this facility was extended under strict conditions to Japanese nationals living ...

Mar 16, 2017

A look ahead at Japan under oppressive rule

Reading about America’s dystopian future (“A wry squint into the future of the U.S.” by George Will, in the March 12 edition) makes you wonder how oppressive Japan’s LDP will become by 2030.After all, the LDP has never pretended to care much for democratic ...

Mar 16, 2017

Abe is not a nationalist or a revisionist

In William Pesek’s March 8 commentary piece, “Abe’s nationalism hurts Japan” and Jeff Kingston’s March 12 column, “Abe’s revisionism nets own goals at home and away” the authors argue that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s “nationalism” or “revisionism” damages Japan.Abe’s so-called nationalism is an unsubstantiated ...

Mar 16, 2017

Like a bad TV show that always returns

Regarding “Moritomo overstated costs to ministry” in the March 8 edition: The story so far — here’s what we missed. …Akie Abe did a bad thing, but can’t understand why everyone’s worried, and has a lovely smile — well she thinks so. Shinzo Abe ...