Eric Johnston


Eric Johnston
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida listens to voters in the city of Kumamoto in April. Liberal Democratic Party politicians are afraid that Kishida's unpopularity could seal their own fates when they stand for local elections.
JAPAN / Politics
Jun 13, 2024
Calls for Kishida to step down growing among local LDP chapters
They blame their party’s unpopularity on him over the way he handled the kickbacks scandal and the political funds bill aimed at toughening up rules in its wake.
Liberal Democratic Party Vice President Taro Aso (left), Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (center) and LDP Secretary-General Toshimitsu Motegi sing the LDP song at the party's annual convention in Tokyo on March 17.
Jun 8, 2024
Kishida could break with Motegi and Aso over fund regulation
To secure backing for the bill, Kishida chose to concede to external parties rather than side with his right-hand men in the LDP.
A Liberal Democratic Party fundraising event in Tokyo in 2023
JAPAN / Politics / FOCUS
May 31, 2024
Why Japanese politics can't quit fundraising parties
To succeed in Japanese politics, it’s long been said that a politician must have, among other things, a fat purse.
The entrance to Maruyama Park, one of Sapporo's most popular parks for summer recreation. The Maruyama Park area is part of a designated region where Sapporo plans tougher bear countermeasures, including the possible use of bear traps.
JAPAN / Society / Regional Voices: Hokkaido
May 27, 2024
From coexistence to separation: Sapporo's battle with bears
An increasing number of bears in Hokkaido is forcing the prefectural capital to change its strategy for dealing with the animals.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida attends a gathering of a Liberal Democratic Party faction led by LDP Secretary-General Toshimitsu Motegi (left) in Tokyo in 2022.
JAPAN / Politics
May 23, 2024
LDP loss in Shizuoka election could increase pressure for snap poll
Shizuoka's gubernatorial election is a close race between candidates backed by the ruling party and the main opposition.
Toshihiro Nikai, former secretary-general of the Liberal Democratic Party, announced in March that he would not run in the next Lower House election to take responsibility for the political funds scandal that rocked his party and his own faction.
JAPAN / Politics
May 17, 2024
Son of LDP heavyweight Toshihiro Nikai to run in Lower House election
Nobuyasu Nikai's decision to throw his hat into the ring also has larger implications for the Liberal Democratic Party.
Nippon Ishin no Kai Secretary-General Fumitake Fujita (right) speaks beside Yui Kanazawa, the party's candidate in the Tokyo 15th district by-election on April 28. Nippon Ishin lost in this by-election as well as another in Nagasaki held on the same day.
JAPAN / Politics / FOCUS
May 14, 2024
Ishin struggles to set itself apart from other parties
The Osaka-based party is weighed down by its Kansai focus as well as its closeness to the LDP, which makes it hard for it to criticize the ruling party.
Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan President Kenta Izumi has vowed to resign if his party fails to win at least 150 seats in the next general election.
JAPAN / Politics
May 8, 2024
Pact with JCP a double-edged sword for the CDP
While some of its members wish to further the cooperation, others might prefer to work with opposition parties considered more moderate or right wing.
A traditional Ainu preserved food called <i>satchep</i> (dried fish) being made at the government-run National Ainu Museum and Park, nicknamed Upopoy, in the town of Shiraoi, Hokkaido, on Dec. 25. The Sapporo District Court ruled last month that the Raporo Ainu Nation's rights as an Indigenous people did not extend to having an inherent right to fish for commercial reasons.
JAPAN / Society
May 3, 2024
Sapporo court ruling on Ainu fishing rights presents tough questions
A Sapporo court ruled last month that an Ainu group only has the right to engage in salmon fishing for cultural — but not commercial — reasons.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaks to reporters in Tokyo on Tuesday.
JAPAN / Politics
Apr 30, 2024
What's next for Kishida after LDP's by-election loss?
Speculation has been rife over how he may decide to take responsibility, from dissolving parliament to making senior party leadership changes.
The Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan's Natsumi Sakai (center) celebrates with other CDP officials and supporters on Sunday in Tokyo's Koto Ward after being announced as the winner of the Tokyo No. 15 district by-election.
Apr 29, 2024
Election trouncing a blow to Kishida, but snap election unlikely
The PM might order a Cabinet reshuffle and make leadership changes within the LDP to boost his popularity ahead of the party's presidential election.
LDP Secretary-General Toshimitsu Motegi (center) speaks to reporters as election strategy committee chair Yuko Obuchi (left) and Deputy Secretary-General Hiroshi Kajiyama look on at party's headquarters in Tokyo on Sunday night.
JAPAN / Politics
Apr 28, 2024
Main opposition CDP sweeps three Lower House by-elections in blow to LDP
The results were seen as a setback for Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and could accelerate talks within the LDP about his political future.
Toshihiro Nikai, former secretary-general of the Liberal Democratic Party, announced in March that he would not run in the next Lower House election to take responsibility for the political funds scandal that rocked his party and his own faction.
JAPAN / Politics
Apr 24, 2024
LDP veteran Nikai's youngest son expected to succeed him in Wakayama
Nobuyasu Nikai, who serves as secretary to his 85-year-old father, has been asked to stand for election by local leaders in the prefecture.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has repeatedly expressed his commitment to bring about a revision of the Political Funds Control Act during the current session of parliament, which is slated to end on June 23.
JAPAN / Politics
Apr 23, 2024
LDP pledges tougher action on errant lawmakers in reform blueprint
The ruling party will seek to review legislation on the handling of political funds in the wake of a slush funds scandal involving its members.
CDP head Kenta Izumi speaks to reporters in Tokyo on April 13.
JAPAN / Politics
Apr 19, 2024
Kishida and Izumi to campaign in must-win Shimane as by-election looms
For Kishida and the LDP, the Shimane race is a must-win contest, while the opposition is looking to gain ground in a ruling party stronghold.
LDP Secretary-General Toshimitsu Motegi and election strategy committee chair Yuko Obuchi speak to reporters in Tokyo on April 2.
JAPAN / Politics
Apr 15, 2024
By-elections to determine Kishida’s fate within LDP
Losing in the Shimane No. 1 district, long an LDP stronghold, would mark a major blow to the prime minister.
Sapporo had hoped the Winter Olympics, which the city had hosted in 1972, would return in 2030, but it was not meant to be.
JAPAN / Society / Regional Voices: Hokkaido
Apr 15, 2024
Why Sapporo’s bid for the 2030 Winter Olympics and Paralympics failed
Part of the city's downfall in trying to secure the Games was, ironically, snow.
Dolls of Myaku-Myaku, the 2025 Expo's official mascot, at an official store for the event in Osaka on April 2
JAPAN / Society
Apr 12, 2024
Transport becomes most pressing issue one year out from Osaka Expo
As organizers look ahead to recruiting volunteers and planning events for the six-month expo, another concern has emerged: transportation logistics.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is interviewed Tokyo on April 5. Kishida left for the U.S. on Monday amid record low poll numbers due to his handling of the political funds scandal that has rocked the LDP.
JAPAN / Politics / FOCUS
Apr 10, 2024
Will Kishida dissolve parliament in June?
Speculation has been fueled by comments from Kishida’s fellow Liberal Democratic Party members and the prime minister himself.
LDP Upper House lawmaker Hiroshige Seko announces his exit from the party in Tokyo on Thursday.
Apr 5, 2024
Kishida sought scapegoats and allies with LDP reprimands, experts say
Despite Kishida’s hopes, however, the results are unlikely to raise his support rate or strengthen his position within the party.


Father's Day is said to have come to Japan around 1950, shortly after the establishment of Mother's Day.
The evolving nature of fatherhood in Japan