Motoko Rich
For Motoko Rich's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Cars and homes destroyed by a Russian missile that fell between a residential building and a public preschool in Kyiv on Dec. 13, 2023. In January, the White House said it had evidence that North Korea had provided ballistic missiles used by Russia.
WORLD / Politics
Feb 6, 2024
A Russian bank account may offer clues to North Korean arms deal
Russia has allowed the release of $9 million in frozen North Korean assets from a Russian financial institution, according to intelligence officials.
Alpha Tauri's Yuki Tsunoda is the first Japanese driver in Formula One since 2014.
MORE SPORTS / Auto Racing
Sep 30, 2023
Foul-mouthed Yuki Tsunoda becoming cult star in Formula One
Tsunoda's foul mouth and devil-may-care attitude have inspired a cult following and an international appeal.
Japan Times
May 22, 2023
As Rahm Emanuel pushes Japan on gay rights, conservatives bristle
The U.S. ambassador has enthusiastically embraced his host country. But critics say he has overstepped diplomatic bounds with his advocacy on equality.
Japan Times
May 18, 2023
The religious right’s hidden sway as Japan trails allies on gay rights
As a G7 summit nears in Hiroshima, Japan is under pressure to show greater support for equality. A national Shinto group has spread a more hostile message.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle
Apr 22, 2023
A Japanese island where the wild things are
From badgering nuisances to downright evil forces, yōkai fill some of the most colorful corners of Japanese folklore. These artists are dreaming up even more.
Japan Times
Jan 8, 2023
As Asian societies age, ‘retirement’ just means more work
Across East Asia, populations are graying faster than anywhere else in the world, and while younger generations shrink, older workers are often toiling well into their 70s and beyond.
Japan Times
Nov 28, 2022
Beauty over brains: Japan’s skin-deep university pageants
The contests perpetuate a culture that often places women in rigid gender roles, and have seen some contestants face abuse and harassment from organizers.
Japan Times
Jul 3, 2022
Japan’s secret to taming the coronavirus: peer pressure
The country has never mandated masks or vaccinations, but itu2019s evaded the worst of COVID-19, thanks to a fear of public shaming and the u201cself restraint police.u201d
Japan Times
Jun 26, 2022
Filmmaker Chie Hayakawa imagines a Japan where the elderly volunteer to die
The premise for Chie Hayakawau2019s film, u201cPlan 75,u201d is shocking: a government push to euthanize the elderly. In a rapidly aging society, some also wonder: Is the movie prescient?
Japan Times
May 19, 2022
Katsumoto Saotome, who preserved memories of Tokyo firebombing, dies at 90
He compiled six books of survivorsu2019 recollections of the 1945 attack. He also founded u2014 without government support u2014 a memorial museum.
Japan Times
May 5, 2022
Japan says it needs nuclear power. Can host towns ever trust it again?
The decision to restart plants is fraught with emotions, not to mention the gargantuan technical task of fortifying the stations against future disasters in an earthquake-prone nation.
Japan Times
Nov 22, 2021
A new source of fuel in an aging Japan: adult incontinence
Waste from adult diapers is growing by tens of thousands of tons a year in Japan. One town may have a solution: recycle it into fuel pellets.
Japan Times
Sep 30, 2021
Japan faces big problems. Its next leader offers few bold solutions.
The countryu2019s governing party, with a stranglehold on power, bucked the wishes of the public to select a moderate mainstay.
Japan Times
PARALYMPICS / Summer Paralympics
Sep 6, 2021
Taekwondo's Paralympic debut showed the sport's democratizing effect
The sport does not require expensive equipment or large training facilities, and even saw the participation of one of Afghanistan's two Paralympians.
Japan Times
PARALYMPICS / Summer Paralympics
Sep 4, 2021
Disabled Japanese are often invisible. Will Paralympics bring lasting light?
Tokyo improved its infrastructure before the Games, but activists wonder how long the focus will continue in a country with a long history of excluding people with disabilities.
Japan Times
PARALYMPICS / Summer Paralympics
Aug 31, 2021
How two Afghan Paralympians defied the odds to get from Kabul to Tokyo
Their evacuation and eventual arrival in Japan involved multiple stops and many helping hands.
Japan Times
PARALYMPICS / Summer Paralympics
Aug 26, 2021
Freedom to swim: Afghan refugee competes in Tokyo Paralympics
Eight years after Abbas Karimi escaped Afghanistan, he led the parade of nations into the stadium at the Paralympicsu2019 opening ceremony on Tuesday night.
Japan Times
Aug 6, 2021
Second best in the world at the Tokyo Games, but still saying sorry
Many Japanese athletes who fell short of gold have wept through interviews and apologized profusely u2014 sometimes, even after winning silver.
Japan Times
Jul 29, 2021
At some Olympic competitions, the rarest of sightings: spectators
While fans have been barred from the majority of venues to contain COVID-19 infections, three host prefectures are still allowing a limited number of spectators at Olympic venues.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Society
Jun 6, 2021
Olympics gave hope to Japan’s LGBTQ activists. But old prejudices die hard.
Even a modest goal of labeling discrimination "unacceptableu201d has proved too much for conservative lawmakers, who have blocked consideration of a bill by the Diet.


Hideo Shimoju points to a possible site that his fellow neighbors may relocate to. Such relocations have happened before, but not preemptively.
In disaster-prone Japan, some communities consider major moves