Eric Johnston


Eric Johnston
For Eric Johnston's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Construction is underway at the venue for the 2025 Osaka Expo on Yumeshima, a man-made island, in the city of Osaka on Monday.
JAPAN / Society
Nov 29, 2023
Russia becomes latest country to pull out of Osaka Expo
The announcement is more bad news for the troubled event, which already faces pavilion construction delays, skyrocketing costs and little public support.
With COP28 taking place during a year set to be the hottest on record, the need for more progress has never been greater.
JAPAN / Society
Nov 29, 2023
Japan's relationship with coal likely to be in focus at COP28
With the climate talks taking place during a year set to be the hottest on record, the need for more progress has never been greater.
Newly elected Yawata Mayor Shoko Kawata (right) receives flowers at city hall on Thursday.
JAPAN / Politics
Nov 22, 2023
LDP and CDP join forces against Nippon Ishin in local elections
While such coordination isn't uncommon, in the past it has generally been aimed at beating candidates from the Japanese Communist Party.
Tunnel construction for the Hokkaido Shinkansen has proved slow in some areas due to geological reasons and the difficulty of blasting through the earth.
JAPAN / Society / Regional Voices: Hokkaido
Nov 20, 2023
Tight labor market puts Hokkaido Shinkansen 2030 goal in doubt
The 212-kilometer route now under construction will link cities between Hakodate, at the southern tip of the prefecture, and Sapporo.
Ichiro Ozawa (third from right) with other members of parliament at a ceremony to launch a new party in Tokyo in July 2012.
JAPAN / Politics
Nov 15, 2023
Ichiro Ozawa is once again looking for a way to defeat the LDP
The octogenarian political veteran is looking to cap his long career with another successful drive to defeat the ruling LDP at the polls.
State Minister of Finance Kenji Kanda (left) and Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki attend an Upper House session in Tokyo on Thursday.
JAPAN / Politics
Nov 13, 2023
State minister of finance resigns in further blow to Kishida
Kenji Kanda submitted his resignation after admitting that his firm had failed to pay fixed asset taxes.
Hiroyuki Hosoda is elected as Lower House Speaker in November 2021.
JAPAN / Politics
Nov 10, 2023
Former Lower House speaker and LDP heavyweight Hiroyuki Hosoda dies
The seasoned lawmaker served in key posts in the government and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, including as chief Cabinet secretary.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishda speaks to reporters in Tokyo on Thursday.
JAPAN / Politics
Nov 9, 2023
Kishida rules out snap election amid record low popularity
The prime minister has once again ruled out a snap election as he faces record low popularity ratings and growing criticism from within his own party.
Land Minister Tetsuo Saito (center right) visits Yumeshima, the venue for the 2025 Osaka-Kansai Japan Expo, on Nov. 3.
JAPAN / Politics
Nov 9, 2023
Troubled 2025 Osaka Expo could see further cost increases
Amid numerous challenges, Osaka officials hope no further discussions on increasing the budget of the troubled event will be needed.
Former Prime Minister Naoto Kan celebrates on Oct. 23, 2017, after prevailing in a close race in a single-seat constituency in Tokyo in a general election the previous day, winning on the ticket of the then-newly created Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan.
JAPAN / Politics
Nov 3, 2023
With Naoto Kan's exit from the CDP, some see a generational shift
The exit of the former prime minister, a high-profile figure and political veteran from the CDP’s liberal wing, comes at a time of change for the party.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida replies to questions at Friday's budget committee session at the Diet in Tokyo.
JAPAN / Politics
Oct 27, 2023
Amid scrutiny, Kishida emphasizes tax cuts to pull out from deflation
The Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan has heavily criticized the government for its belated response to rising inflation.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida listens as Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan chief Kenta Izumi speaks in parliament in Tokyo on Tuesday.
JAPAN / Politics
Oct 24, 2023
Tough questions for Kishida in parliament over spending plans
Japan’s main opposition party began its scrutiny of Kishida's economic stimulus package as the country struggles with inflation and stagnant wages.
Hajime Hirota is lifted up after winning the Upper House seat in the Kochi-Tokushima district by election Sunday in the city of Kochi.
Oct 23, 2023
In blow to Kishida, LDP loses one of two seats in by-elections
An independent candidate backed by the opposition won in the Tokushima-Kochi Lower House race, while the LDP pick won in the Nagasaki Upper House poll.
Newly elected Lower House Speaker Fukushiro Nukaga
JAPAN / Politics
Oct 20, 2023
Former finance minister elected as Lower House speaker
The 79-year-old Fukushiro Nukaga, a 13-term Diet member and former finance minister, was chosen, replacing Hiroyuki Hosoda.
Voters listen to a speech by a candidate in the Tokushima-Kochi Upper House district in the city of Kochi on Saturday.
JAPAN / Politics
Oct 18, 2023
Upcoming by-elections first test of Kishida’s new Cabinet
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida faces his first electoral test after making Cabinet and Liberal Democratic Party leadership changes last month.
An official speaks during a government-sponsored tour of the 2025 Osaka Expo site on Yumeshima island, Osaka, on Sept. 14.
JAPAN / Society
Oct 12, 2023
As 2025 Osaka Expo nears, foreign pavilion woes continue to mount
Over 50 countries had been expected to design and build their own pavilions. So far, only two have been greenlighted by Osaka city to begin construction.
Sapporo previously hosted the Winter Olympics in 1972.
Oct 11, 2023
Sapporo officially drops bid for 2030 Winter Olympics
The city's major, however, made it clear that the Hokkaido capital is still hoping to host a future Winter Olympics, perhaps as soon as 2034.
Upper House lawmaker Muneo Suzuki speaks to reporters in Tokyo on Thursday.
JAPAN / Politics
Oct 10, 2023
Hokkaido lawmaker leaves Nippon Ishin over visit to Russia
Calls from within the party to punish Suzuki had been growing, especially after he told Russian media he was sure Moscow would win its war with Ukraine.
Sapporo Mayor Katsuhiro Akimoto speaks to reporters in Sapporo on Friday.
JAPAN / Society
Oct 6, 2023
Sapporo to push back Winter Olympics bid to 2034 or later
Sapporo mayor Katsuhiro Akimoto will meet with the Japanese Olympic Committee next week to request the change.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida attends a news conference after his Cabinet reshuffle in Tokyo on Sept. 13.
JAPAN / Politics
Oct 2, 2023
Late fall emerges as possible timing for snap election in Japan
A decision on a snap poll could be determined by debate over an economic stimulus package and a supplementary budget bill to pay for it.


Yoshiko Koide sits in a classroom at Nagoya College where she teaches a Japanese-language observation seminar.
How a dictionary came to spark outrage among the web’s otaku