Nov 19, 2014

Teach more about the Ainu

Why hasn’t LDP Hokkaido prefectural assembly group member Masaru Onodera been asked to resign? The Ainu are among the most indigenous of people to ever dwell in the archipelago now called Japan since the Jomon era. It’s believed by many cultural anthropologists that the ...

Nov 12, 2014

Minister's idea of free expression

With regard to Tomohiro Osaki’s Nov. 6 article titled “New justice minister against outlawing hate speech,” I’d like to add my two-pence worth. First, I wonder what Justice Minister Yoko Kamikawa means by “freedom of expression.” It seems that many politicians in Japan believe ...

Nov 12, 2014

No complaints from the natives

Regarding professor Jiro Yamaguchi’s Oct. 20 article, “Perilous spirit of the times“: I entirely agree with his observation that “It is pathetic that we have to quote the foreign media to criticize what’s going on in this country.” It’s also rather pathetic that expatriate ...

Nov 8, 2014

Transparency trumps DIY rules

In his Oct. 25 article, “Western media distorts Japan,” Gregory Clark tries to justify the reprehensible behavior of certain executives of Olympus. Doubtless Olympus is a first-rate Japanese company in terms of the products it offers, but to suggest that the news reporting on ...

Nov 8, 2014

Japanese are big gamblers already

The Oct. 30 editorial “Take a balanced look at casinos” conflates two issues: introducing Western-style casinos and addressing the negative aspects of gambling. Casino legislation has little to do with expanding the domestic gambling market in this country. Gambling is already a gigantic industry ...

Nov 5, 2014

Japan's own form of terrorism

Regarding the Oct. 31 Kyodo article “University may cave into sex slave threats“: One reads with incredulity the reports that the president of Hokusei Gakuen University in Hokkaido is considering not renewing a contract by a professor who wrote articles concerning forced prostitution in ...

Oct 29, 2014

Keep out the military jargon

The Oct. 11 article by William Pfaff, “The war against Islamic State,” contains a reference to “asymmetric wars.” Can Pfaff please tell us what this means? I am sure I am not the only one who is baffled by this arcane term, which was ...

Oct 29, 2014

Turnoff for foreign academics

Regarding Takamitsu Sawa’s Oct. 22 article, “The battle to boost universities“: Japan might be fighting a losing battle in its efforts to attract highly qualified foreign academics to teach and do research here, as one of the first major obstacles would be the language ...

Oct 29, 2014

The Swiss-Japanese friendship

Magdi Laoun’s Oct. 23 letter, “Pleasant surprise in the big city,” made me happy that the Laoun family enjoyed Tokyo during their vacation. I have visited Switzerland twice with my family, and the breathtaking scenery has never disappeared from our memories. Not only big ...

Oct 22, 2014

Lawbreakers from the get-go

Regarding Daniel Krieger’s Oct. 10 feature article,”Making noise about keeping the decibels down“: The Japan Election Law prohibits door-to-door solicitation/campaigning, which is a tremendously good thing. But this explains why candidates have to resort to patrolling the streets shouting their names to gain recognition. ...

Oct 22, 2014

Foreigners still getting welfare

Recent articles about foreign residents’ claim to welfare benefits have misrepresented the Japanese Supreme Court ruling. It did not say that foreigners are “ineligible” or “can’t claim” welfare benefits. It said they don’t have the “right.” This is exactly as it has been for ...

Oct 22, 2014

Pleasant surprise in the big city

Recently I spent 10 days of vacation in Tokyo with my family. Before going, I was a little afraid. I come from a little city in Switzerland, and Tokyo, by contrast, is known to be a huge crowded town. But when I arrived, I ...