May 21, 2014

Spare Japan a Vietnam spectacle

Most of us are against Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s plan for collective self-defense. If Japan had legalized this in 1965, thousands of Japanese soldiers might have been sent to fight in the jungles of South Vietnam with the United States. What a meaningless loss ...

May 21, 2014

Vulnerability of nuclear power

On April 11, NHK broadcast a debate program concerning the right to collective self-defense. In the middle of it, all six participants and two moderators were frozen by a question from a scholar: “Each and every government official insists that the international environment surrounding ...

May 21, 2014

Clear view of immigration bias

It was good to read about Hidenori Sakanaka, former director of the Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau, essentially admitting that, despite its international treaty obligations, Japan is a determinedly anti-immigration country with a racial prejudice (“Population fixes have anti-foreign bias, official says,” May 17). Foreigners ...

May 21, 2014

Uncertainties of social welfare

The May 9 editorial “Social welfare is not for profit” expresses concern that publicly subsidized operators of social welfare services are accumulating large amounts of internal reserves. Although maximization of public benefits is an essential part of such businesses, much deeper analysis of why ...

May 17, 2014

Remarks smack of church-bashing

Regarding Hugh Cortazzi’s May 14 article, “Human rights and religion“: It’s pretty obvious that, with regard to Roman Catholicism’s all-male clergy, Cortazzi has not bothered to at least give a fair hearing to the church’s side of the issue. If he had bothered, he ...

May 14, 2014

Imagination as a force for peace

We should welcome the hibakusha mind, as proposed by Peruvian diplomat Enrique Roman-Morey in the May 11 Kyodo article “Citizens need hibakusha ‘minds.’ ” As an exercise in diplomacy, it beats tweeting about dolphin kills. (In January, U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy tweeted: ...

May 14, 2014

Where the war buck stopped

With regard to Timothy Bedwell’s letter, “Denier won’t let war wounds heal,” I’d like to add my two pence worth. Bedwell is quite right to mention, sarcastically, that “everything Japan has ever done in its history was really just about it trying to be ...

May 14, 2014

The overall desire to conform

Regarding Getironic’s May 11 letter, “Ego therapy, collectivism or something else”: It’s equally as tempting to psychoanalyze the desire to conform, wear polo shirts and listen to Kenny G [as it is to psychoanalyze the desire for a tattoo]. The conformity of the mainstream ...

May 14, 2014

Effects of bullying as bad as ever

Regarding the May 9 article “LGBT bullying rife in schools“: Bullying is something that many people who are reading this can relate to. It’s not limited only to children in schools, because it can easily transition into the workplace. Simply because we don’t hear ...

May 14, 2014

Sex slave's story from Indonesia

In his May 8 letter “Fictions aimed at milking Japan,” Koichi Katsuta claims that comfort women were “just prostitutes who earned a lot of money.” Perhaps there were some in this category, but can he claim they all were? Perhaps he should read the ...

May 14, 2014

Give English market incentives

Regarding the May 4 editorial “Test problems here and abroad“: Despite frequent criticism of the TOEIC and TOEFL, their results usually give a fairly good idea of examinees’ English skills. Those exams at least provide a motive to study. English education in Japan leaves ...

May 14, 2014

Ministry's self-contained box

Regarding the May 11 editorial “Good example of English use“: For the Japanese education ministry to promote such a limited and belated use of English — as, say, hiring an English speaker to help with meetings — may fall hopelessly short of the “good ...