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Masako Tsubuku
Japan Times
JAPAN / YEN FOR LIVING
Jun 7, 2019
Japan facing increased pressure to hike minimum wage, but business leaders give mixed response
Last month, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy recommended that the government draw up detailed measures to bring the nationwide average minimum wage up to ¥1,000 per hour as soon as possible.
Japan Times
JAPAN / YEN FOR LIVING
May 9, 2019
Cracks forming in Japan's premium-based universal health care system
One of the issues U.S. voters say they care the most about right now is health care. America is almost alone in the developed world in not providing its citizens with universal medical care.
Japan Times
JAPAN / YEN FOR LIVING
Apr 12, 2019
Is a lack of money behind Japan's drought of local political candidates?
In an Asahi Shimbun editorial published March 30, a week before nationwide elections were held for prefectural and municipal assemblies on April 7, the newspaper fretted about the state of local politics.
Japan Times
JAPAN / YEN FOR LIVING
Mar 5, 2019
Japan's tax laws get in way of more women working full time
One of the key elements of the Abe administration's efforts to stimulate the economy is getting more women into the workforce. As it stands, Japan has one of the highest rates of working women in the developed world, so the problem is not so much jobs but rather the quality of the jobs women get and...
Japan Times
BUSINESS / YEN FOR LIVING
Feb 8, 2019
Examining the high price of Japan's water systems
When we were negotiating for the purchase of a piece of land, the realtor told us that the lot we were interested in had no access to public waterworks, which meant we would have to dig a well. At first, this aspect seemed like a demerit, since hiring a company to dig the well would cost more than ¥400,000...
Japan Times
BUSINESS / YEN FOR LIVING
Jan 11, 2019
In 2019, how hungry is Japan for whale meat?
Japan is currently the object of criticism for its decision to leave the International Whaling Commission, and resume commercial whaling in territorial waters and its own exclusive economic zone. People who support the move cite either cultural reasons — Japan traditionally, they assert, is a whale-eating...
Japan Times
BUSINESS / YEN FOR LIVING
Dec 7, 2018
Abuse is the norm for Japan's hometown tax donation system
On Sept. 11, then-Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Seiko Noda gave a news conference at which she stated the government's intention to revise laws for local taxes.
Japan Times
JAPAN / YEN FOR LIVING
Nov 9, 2018
Effort to nudge Japan to go cashless with offsets to sales tax hike faces many hurdles
On Oct. 15, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe confirmed during an extraordinary Cabinet meeting that the government would raise the consumption tax from 8 to 10 percent next Oct. 1. The tax hike has already been postponed twice owing to jitters over how it might affect consumption. The last consumption tax increase,...
Japan Times
BUSINESS / YEN FOR LIVING
Oct 12, 2018
Rethinking the notion that hot weather means increased consumption in wake of Japan's scorching summer
Japan seems to suffer more than its fair share of natural disasters, and this past summer was especially bad. In addition to two earthquakes that resulted in considerable damage, there were strong storms that killed dozens and forced thousands to flee their homes.
Japan Times
BUSINESS / YEN FOR LIVING
Sep 7, 2018
Bad news around mutual funds does little to boost Japanese people's appetite for investment
On July 27, the Asahi Shimbun reported that the Bank of Japan had overestimated the value of mutual funds being held by individuals by about 30 percent. Every three months the BOJ publishes statistics called shikin junkan tōkei that cover the financial assets of households and businesses, and as of...
Japan Times
JAPAN / YEN FOR LIVING
Aug 10, 2018
Pricey family graves a fading tradition in aging Japan
Last month, a man was arrested by the Tokyo Metropolitan Police for leaving human remains at a garbage collection station near his residence in Adachi Ward. The remains had been cremated and were mixed in with shards of funerary urns, and according to a report on NHK News, the man admitted to dumping...
Japan Times
JAPAN / History / Defining the Heisei Era
Jul 28, 2018
Defining the Heisei Era: Japan embraces insularity
The third installment of a monthly 12-part series that looks back at the leading issues of the past three decades.
Japan Times
BUSINESS / YEN FOR LIVING
Jul 13, 2018
Poverty in Japan: Underclass struggles to achieve upward mobility
Last month, Liberal Democratic Party Secretary-General Toshihiro Nikai said during an LDP gathering in Tokyo that people who opt not to have children are "selfish" given the country's demographic crisis.
Japan Times
BUSINESS / YEN FOR LIVING
Jun 8, 2018
Days are numbered for ATMs in Japan's banking system
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Japan Times
BUSINESS / YEN FOR LIVING
May 11, 2018
Secondhand retail redefined in Japan as online flea markets rise in value
In June, the popular online flea market, Mercari Inc., is expected to be listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange's Mothers section, which is reserved for high-growth startup companies. According to an article in the April 18 Asahi Shimbun the value of the company's stock at the time of the listing could exceed...
Japan Times
JAPAN / YEN FOR LIVING
Apr 13, 2018
Tepco's compensation for 3/11 victims has made matters worse for many
As of the end of March, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. had paid more than ¥8 trillion in compensation (baishōkin) related to the Fukushima No. 1 reactor meltdowns of March 2011. About half of this money has gone to people living near the crippled reactors for "mental anguish" and the other...
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / How-tos / HOME TRUTHS
Apr 1, 2018
New minpaku law will alter Japan's rental and hospitality landscape
A new law will go into effect in June to regulate minpaku, private residences rented out by their owners as short-term lodgings. To most, the new law will address changes that have occurred in recent years due to the rise of Airbnb, the worldwide online service that allows travelers to book rooms in...
Japan Times
JAPAN / YEN FOR LIVING
Mar 7, 2018
Shrine murder highlights huge amount of cash — most of it off-book — raked in by Japan's religious sites
In December, the former gūji (head priest) of Tokyo's famous Tomioka Hachimangu Shrine allegedly murdered his sister before committing suicide. Later, it was reported by various media that the suspect, Shigenaga Tomioka, had taken over the position from his father in 1995, but apparently the father...
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / How-tos / HOME TRUTHS
Mar 4, 2018
Doling out some truths about Japan's 'share houses'
Many Japanese people are wary of investment as a means of growing their savings. There are a variety of reasons for this caution, so most keep their money in a bank, gaining almost no interest in the process, in the hope that they won't lose any in the long run. However, some salaried workers who understand...
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / How-tos / HOME TRUTHS
Feb 11, 2018
Condo management is in need of repairs
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Longform

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