Eric Johnston


Eric Johnston
For Eric Johnston's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Former Industry Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura speaks to reporters in Tokyo on Wednesday.
JAPAN / Politics
Feb 21, 2024
Senior LDP members likely to appear before ethics committee next week
While the opposition said the willingness of additional LDP figures to answer questions was an improvement, they called for more to step up.
Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan lawmaker Kazunori Yamanoi shows a Liberal Democratic Party survey about a slush funds scandal to reporters in Tokyo on Thursday.
JAPAN / Politics
Feb 16, 2024
LDP survey doesn't quell demand from opposition for ethics hearing
The scandal, and the demand to convene a meeting of the ethics committee, have Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in a political bind.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida replies to a question from CDP lawmaker Kazunori Yamanoi at a Lower House budget committee session in Tokyo on Wednesday.
JAPAN / Politics
Feb 14, 2024
Kishida calls ethics committee hearing 'a matter for parliament to decide'
The prime minister declined to voice support for a political ethics committee investigation into LDP members caught up in a slush-fund scandal.
A Lower House budget session discusses the political fund scandal in Tokyo on Tuesday.
JAPAN / Politics
Feb 13, 2024
LDP survey shows 85 members failed to report political funds
The survey’s results are unlikely to bring an end to the scandal, with its methods criticized by opposition parties as inadequate and lacking objectivity.
A statue of Myaku-Myaku, the official mascot of the 2025 Expo, in Osaka. Organizers expect the six-month expo to draw some 28 million people, including 3.5 million from abroad.
Feb 8, 2024
Osaka Expo budget expected to rise again by ¥200 million
The latest request would raise the total amount of money directly spent by the national government on all expo-related activities to ¥164.9 billion.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida attends a Lower House budget committee session in Tokyo on Tuesday.
JAPAN / Politics
Feb 6, 2024
Kishida insists corporate donations have no effect on LDP policy
The responses came during Lower House budget committee questions from Akira Nagatsuma, policy chief of the opposition Constitutional Democratic Party.
Newly elected Kyoto Mayor Koji Matsui receives a sea bream as a congratulatory gift in Kyoto on Sunday.
JAPAN / Politics
Feb 5, 2024
New Kyoto mayor aims to tackle over-tourism with higher fares
Koji Matsui faces many hurdles, and he takes over at a time when the demerits of over-tourism have become a particular topic of concern for residents.
Akira Ogawa (center) celebrates her win in the Maebashi mayoral election in Gunma Prefecture on Sunday.
JAPAN / Politics
Feb 5, 2024
Opposition-backed candidate wins in Maebashi mayoral election
Akira Ogawa will become the first female mayor in Maebashi after defeating incumbent Ryu Yamamoto.
Ryu Shionoya, who headed the faction’s leadership committee but was never formally appointed chairman after former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was assassinated in July 2022, announced that the faction was done on Thursday.
JAPAN / Politics
Feb 1, 2024
Curtain falls on Abe faction's 45-year history but scrutiny to continue
Unanswered questions over members' involvement in the LDP's political funds scandal mean the dissolution may not be the end of the story.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaks at a Lower House plenary session in Tokyo on Wednesday.
JAPAN / Politics
Jan 31, 2024
Kishida faces heat from all sides over political funds scandal
The prime minister finds himself in hot water not only with the main opposition party, but also with his own ruling party.
In the 2022 fiscal year, which ended in March 2023, Hokkaido's Niseko resort area saw a cumulative total of more than 1.4 million visitors, including day-trippers and those who spent at least one night.
JAPAN / Society / Regional Voices: Hokkaido
Jan 29, 2024
Ski season surge tests limits of Niseko’s infrastructure
The return of tourists to the Hokkaido resort area is putting pressure on food retailers and transportation.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Liberal Democratic Party Vice President Taro Aso and LDP Secretary-General Toshimitsu Motegi attend a party meeting in Tokyo on Friday.
JAPAN / Politics
Jan 26, 2024
LDP faction shake-up damages prospects of Kishida rivals
Numerous LDP lawmakers have announced they will leave their factions, weakening faction leaders who had been seen as possible Kishida successors.
Many buildings in the city of Suzu, Ishikawa Prefecture, collapsed as a result of the earthquake on Jan. 1.
Jan 25, 2024
Kishida's new aid package aims to help recovery of quake-hit areas
It will offer subsidies to small and medium-sized firms in Ishikawa Prefecture, as well as those in neighboring Niigata, Toyama, and Fukui prefectures.
As the political upheaval continues, the administration of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is readying itself for the release of a party political reform panel’s report on the slush funds scandal and its recommendations for ensuring it doesn’t happen again.
JAPAN / Politics
Jan 22, 2024
Kishida's LDP factions gamble fails to improve his popularity
A Yomiuri Shimbun poll conducted over the weekend found the Kishida Cabinet’s approval rating was 24%, the lowest since the LDP returned to power in 2012.
An offshore wind turbine off the coast of Naraha, Fukushima Prefecture, in 2013. Japan aims to increase its offshore wind power capacity to 10 GW by 2030.
Jan 21, 2024
As Japan makes major investments in wind power, some residents are pushing back
In a sense, the city of Ishikari represents the idealized, natural version of Hokkaido for many Japanese. Some residents say massive wind turbines will destroy that image.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s sudden announcement on Thursday regarding the dissolution of his Liberal Democratic Party faction came after the group became caught up in a slush funds scandal that continues to shake his administration and the party.
JAPAN / Politics
Jan 19, 2024
LDP turmoil continues as three major factions announce dissolution
Lawmakers from the 98-member political faction that was previously led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made the decision during a meeting Friday night.
Keidanren Chair Masakazu Tokura (center) visits the 2025 Osaka-Kansai Expo site on Thursday.
JAPAN / Society
Jan 19, 2024
Debate grows over whether expo funding should go to Ishikawa recovery
It has been suggested it would be better to postpone, or even cancel, the troubled 2025 Osaka-Kansai Expo.
The Japanese Communist Party named Tomoko Tamura as its chair at the party's congress in Atami, Shizuoka Prefecture. She takes over from predecessor Kazuo Shii (left) who had held the post since 2000.
JAPAN / Politics
Jan 18, 2024
Japanese Communist Party picks first-ever female leader
Upper House member Tomoka Tamura takes over the chair of the 102-year-old political party — Japan’s oldest — from Kazuo Shii, who held the post since 2000.
Prosecutors raid the office of the Liberal Democratic Party's Abe faction in Tokyo on Dec. 19. The decision to not indict the faction leaders comes after all underwent voluntary questioning by the special investigation department of the Tokyo prosecutor’s office.
JAPAN / Politics
Jan 16, 2024
Abe faction's seven senior members won't be prosecuted, reports say
Proving a criminal conspiracy between them and the group's treasurer to not report excess income from fundraising parties has been deemed too difficult by investigators.
The Shika nuclear power in Ishikawa Prefecture
Jan 2, 2024
Japan's nuclear power plants largely undamaged following quake
While the plants escaped serious damage, the tremor could once again spark public concern about the safety of nuclear energy.


At the Akan International Crane Center, just north of the city of Kushiro proper, visitors can see the majestic red-crowned crane — a symbol of Hokkaido.
Faces of the north: A Hokkaido town grapples with depopulation