Takuya Asakura
Jun 6, 2001
Japan, officially, still vague on Bush's missile defense plan
Reported critical remarks by Foreign Minister Makiko Tanaka on a proposed U.S. missile defense system may be problematic as they apparently contravene Japan's noncommittal position on the issue. Although Japan has engaged in joint technical research with the United States on the Theater Missile Defense...
May 29, 2001
Schools pushed to observe flag, anthem in apparent about face
When the Hinomaru and "Kimigayo" were recognized in law in 1999, the government assured the people that they would not be forced to observe them, apparently in light of the long-standing controversy over the symbols.
May 26, 2001
New panel proposal is criticized as soft on violations by state
Concern over freedom of the press has been the media's main focus in covering a government panel's proposal to launch an independent human rights watchdog, while other key aspects have been largely ignored.
May 23, 2001
Loan firms linked to rise in personal bankruptcies
With colorful billboards at train stations, TV commercials showing Brazilian soccer legend Zico or a carefree, successful young woman, major consumer loan firms seem to have shed the shady images that previously haunted them.
May 16, 2001
Tokyo eatery an Ainu specialty
A restaurant in Tokyo has been sending out a simple but poignant message for more than seven years: It's not bad to be Ainu.
Apr 29, 2001
Hunger-striking Kurd granted permission to remain in Japan
The Justice Ministry has granted special residential permission to a Kurdish asylum-seeker who had been waging a weeklong hunger strike with four fellow Kurds from Turkey at an immigration center in Ibaraki Prefecture, it was leaned Saturday.
Apr 7, 2001
Spring is couple's harbinger of sorrow
Yukitomo and Mitsuko Hiraga do not anticipate the onset of spring with the same relish as most others. Each April, as cherry trees in full bloom welcome freshmen to colleges, the couple are reminded of their son who died soon after taking the first step toward his dream.
Japan Times
Mar 23, 2001
How diplomats express Japan
An Australian diplomat found modern Japanese weddings exciting and representing of the adaptability of the nation's culture, while a British participant described how much he loves "onsen" hot springs. And both did so in smooth Japanese.
Mar 21, 2001
U.S. warships not welcome in Hokkaido
While U.S. Ambassador Thomas Foley was receiving an award Jan. 9 aboard the USS Blue Ridge for his contribution to increased visits by U.S. naval vessels to Japanese ports, the mayor of Tomakomai, Hokkaido, was expressing opposition to a planned February visit to his town by the flagship.
Mar 17, 2001
Confession made under duress: woman
Mar 10, 2001
SOFA changes mulled to calm Okinawa
Despite persistent demands from Okinawa Prefecture for sweeping revisions to the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement, the central government is hoping the most recent surge in anti-American sentiment can be appeased by improvements in the implementation of the pact.
Feb 21, 2001
Otaru racism controversy lingers on
OTARU, Hokkaido -- The controversy over some "onsen" (hot spring) bathhouses banning foreigners from their facilities in this northern port town, which is frequented by Russian ships, lingers on more than a year after the issue was first raised.
Jan 30, 2001
Ishihara keeps Yokota return hopes alive
Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara, recently heard boasting of having personal connections to the newly empowered Republicans in Washington, appears energized toward achieving his campaign pledge of getting Yokota Air Base back from U.S. control.
Jan 14, 2001
Artist lauds Ueno's unchanging view
Eisaku Miyajima, 68, has watched the town of Ueno every day for more than 30 years from a small folding chair on the concrete stairway leading to the stone statue of Saigo Takamori in Ueno Koen park.
Jan 3, 2001
Five-year, muscle-pumping defense plan passed easily
The Cabinet approval last month of the 25-trillion yen medium-term defense buildup program came without heated debate among lawmakers or the public, to the apparent surprise of some Defense Agency officials.
Dec 17, 2000
Municipalities search for new money wells
The failure of a Tokyo ward to introduce a new tax plan appears to indicate that recent moves by municipalities to seek their own sources of revenue with unique tax measures are not without obstacles.
Dec 13, 2000
Victims know true justice will elude
Although the Women's International War Crimes Tribunal on Japan's Military Sexual Slavery that ended Tuesday has no legal power, it provided victims of sexual violence by Japanese soldiers a forum where they could experience a sense of justice.
Dec 9, 2000
Nonbinding tribunal can only sentence the nation to shame
Since three Korean women came out in 1991 and demanded government compensation for being forced to serve as sex slaves for Japanese soldiers, many former "comfort women" have died in despair, receiving no compensation, never seeing their rapists brought to justice and having suffered the further humiliation...
Dec 7, 2000
U.S. ties, midterm plan top new defense chief's priority list
Newly appointed Defense Agency director general Toshitsugu Saito said Wednesday that he hopes to visit the United States at the earliest opportunity to hold talks with his counterpart after the January launch of the new U.S. administration.
Nov 29, 2000
Media considering best way to handle public's loss of faith
An amendment in June to Japan's 54-year-old Canon of Journalism apparently reflects the sense of crisis within the nation's news organizations over the apparent growing public dissatisfaction with the industry.


Traditional folk rituals like Mizudome-no-mai (dance to stop the rain) provide a sense of agency to a population that feels largely powerless in the face of the climate crisis.
As climate extremes intensify, Japan embraces ancient weather rituals