Kyoko Shimodoi
Japan Times
Mar 28, 2016
'Womenomics' has to wait in line as tenure obstructs Abe's goal
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has sought to have women hold 30 percent of supervisory positions in all fields by the time Tokyo hosts the Olympics in 2020. But as of now, his own government is at least 15 years behind schedule.
Japan Times
BUSINESS / Economy
Feb 29, 2016
Fashion maven asked to tell women about national debt
As the editor of a string of successful fashion titles, Hiromi Sogo has spent three decades telling Japanese women what to wear. Her new task is to try to interest them in a drier topic: fiscal policy.
Japan Times
Feb 12, 2016
Amid turmoil, housing market may get boost from refinancing rush
The Bank of Japan's adoption of negative interest rates two weeks ago hasn't provided a lasting boost to stock investors or weakened the currency, but it has spurred some optimism for the housing market.
Japan Times
Jan 19, 2016
El Nino is snow joke for Japan's ski resorts, hit also by declining interest in the sport
The nation's ski industry, hurt by demographics that have aged out many from the sport, this winter has additionally suffered — until this week — balmy, winter weather, courtesy of El Nino.
BUSINESS / Economy
Dec 15, 2015
Abe's deflation fight has automated foes on nearly every Tokyo street corner
They stand resolutely on street corners around Japan, proclaiming that deflation has not been vanquished, much as the Abe administration and the central bank have tried.
Japan Times
BUSINESS / Companies
Dec 14, 2015
Online broker chases Japan's day traders to close gap with peers
Monex Group Inc. is seeking more business from Japan's growing ranks of day traders in a bid to catch up with other online brokerages.
JAPAN / Politics
Dec 2, 2015
Islamic State could attack Japan's infrastructure, public safety minister says
Japan is at risk of cyberattacks on its essential infrastructure by the Islamic State group, the minister in charge of public safety said in an interview two weeks after a series of deadly terrorist attacks in Paris.
Japan Times
BUSINESS / Markets
Oct 14, 2015
Japan Post IPO 'fully subscribed' after two days
The government received orders for all the shares it is offering in Japan Post Holdings Co. and its banking and insurance units after the first two days of book-building, people with knowledge of the matter said.
Sep 10, 2015
What Japan's next stimulus may look like as Abe runs on fumes
The anemic economy is prompting calls for another fiscal boost. If history and the government's strained finances are any guide, a package is likely to redirect cash already on the books.
Japan Times
Jun 29, 2015
Japan weighs 'almost suicidal' pension squeeze for growing band of seniors
Sipping beer and listening to a guitarist at an event for retirees in western Tokyo, Sadao Sekine said he backs government plans to cut the nation's ballooning debt — as long as he can keep his benefits.
Jun 16, 2015
Kuroda yen u-turn message was aimed at TPP renegades in Washington
When Bank of Japan Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda said in Tokyo last week the yen has weakened enough, his key audience was 11,000 km away in Washington.
BUSINESS / Markets
Jun 9, 2015
Kuroda's former ally Ito sees little downside now for yen
It's hard to imagine the yen declining much further from its current lows, said a former deputy to Bank of Japan Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda when he was in charge of the nation's currency policy.
BUSINESS / Economy
Apr 15, 2015
From immigration to zoning, reforms need central guidance to succeed: adviser
The central government must exert control over the regions to push through regulatory reforms needed for economic revival, said the head of a council on special economic zones.
Japan Times
Mar 24, 2015
Cabinet OKs tax breaks for firms to move headquarters from Tokyo
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Cabinet approved plans to give tax breaks to companies that move their headquarters out of Tokyo as Japan seeks to revitalize regional economies.
Japan Times
BUSINESS / Economy
Mar 5, 2015
LDP lawmaker calls for yen to strengthen to 100
The yen is too weak and is squeezing many companies with higher import costs, according to Taro Kono, a lawmaker in Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Liberal Democratic Party.
Japan Times
BUSINESS / Markets
Mar 2, 2015
Kuroda approaching limit on JGB buying, says ex-BOJ official
Speeding up the Bank of Japan's purchases of Japanese government bonds would risk further distorting the world's second-biggest sovereign debt market, said Yuri Okina, vice chairman at Japan Research Institute.
Japan Times
Feb 10, 2015
Ishiba tells rural communities to compete or lose funding
The Abe administration's czar for regional regeneration believes it is a case of sink or swim: Enterprising communities will maintain their grip on state funding and flourish, and stragglers will be cut loose.
Japan Times
Sep 12, 2014
Women's work culture under fire
One morning in February, the government personnel department began an experiment in a nondescript building in a Tokyo residential area that could end up rewriting the rules of the nation's powerful bureaucracy.
Japan Times
May 20, 2014
Foreign domestics seen as aiding working mothers
Noriko Hitotsumatsu, a bilingual research pharmacologist with a master's from Cambridge University, considers herself lucky to have a part-time job in a Tokyo pharmacy after shelving her career to raise two daughters in one of the world's most work-oriented countries.
Japan Times
BUSINESS / Economy
Apr 4, 2014
Abe may reduce tax benefits for women
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's reflation campaign last year helped draw the most women to work since 1991. He now plans to add a stick to that carrot, scaling back tax benefits for spouses with limited earnings.


The Japanese government updated its English education guidelines in 2017 to emphasize communication over grammar and memorization. Public school teachers are incredibly busy, however, which means schools haven’t been able to implement changes uniformly. Private and alternative schools are attempting to remedy this.
The language of opportunity: Bilingual education is on the rise in Japan