New ID system for keeping tax tabs, finding cheats

| Jun 11, 2013

New ID system for keeping tax tabs, finding cheats

by Mizuho Aoki

The Diet passed the “common number” bill May 24, paving the way for every resident, including foreigners, to be assigned a personal identification number. Holders of the “my number” IDs will be notified around fall 2015 and they will take effect starting in January ...

A term for Abe's ilk? Well, nonliberal

| Jun 4, 2013

A term for Abe's ilk? Well, nonliberal

by Eric Johnston

Foreign media and overseas Japan experts largely use 19th- and 20th-century labels to describe Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and current Japanese politics led by his Liberal Democratic Party — “right-wing,” “hawkish,” “conservative” and “nationalist.” Japanese and the Japanese media either use and agree with, ...

New thugs on block sidestep the usual suspects

| May 14, 2013

New thugs on block sidestep the usual suspects

by Tomohiro Osaki

Japan’s underworld, namely the “boryokudan” (gangster organizations) better known as yakuza, have been targeted with crackdowns in recent years focused on cutting their funding and expanding their criminal liability. But a new type of thug appears to be acting with impunity by operating in ...

Curse or cash cow: Japan ready for casinos?

| Mar 26, 2013

Curse or cash cow: Japan ready for casinos?

by Eric Johnston

Lawmakers are seriously considering legalizing casinos so Japanese can roll the dice without having to travel to gambling houses in the United States, East and Southeast Asia. Backed by the Liberal Democratic Party-New Komeito ruling bloc and smaller forces, including Nippon Ishin no Kai ...

Down syndrome blood test draws interest and ire

| Mar 5, 2013

Down syndrome blood test draws interest and ire

by Masami Ito

Last summer, news that Japan was getting ready to introduce a new type of prenatal examination that requires only a simple blood test to detect whether a fetus has Down syndrome made headlines. News reports suggested hospitals were ready to start using the test ...

The blunt, blue-blooded Aso is back

| Jan 22, 2013

The blunt, blue-blooded Aso is back

by Jun Hongo

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe may be the face of the new government led by Liberal Democratic Party, but Finance Minister Taro Aso is also a force in the LDP to be reckoned with. In fact, only a few politicians today can claim to have ...