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Philip Brasor
For Philip Brasor's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Japan Times
JAPAN / Media / MEDIA MIX
Dec 12, 2020
How hostile design keeps Japan's homeless at arm's length
In the early morning hours of Nov. 16, a 46-year-old man allegedly struck a 64-year-old woman sitting in a Tokyo bus shelter in the head with a bag of rocks, killing her. On Nov. 21, the man, accompanied by his mother, turned himself in to the police, who charged him with inflicting a fatal injury. The man said his intent was not to kill the woman, but rather to cause pain so that she would leave the bus shelter, where she often spent the night. The woman, identified as Misako Obayashi, was apparently homeless. The suspect also said that the day before the attack he offered her money to go away. When she refused the offer he said he became angry.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Media / MEDIA MIX
Dec 5, 2020
Japan's celebrities juggle private lives with public expectation
A U.S. survey has found 69% of Japanese respondents believe extramarital affairs are unforgivable.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Media / MEDIA MIX
Nov 28, 2020
News outlets clash over tone of COVID-19 coverage
The government's COVID-19 subcommittee held a news conference on Nov. 9 to discuss nationwide increases in infections this winter. The government itself seems hesitant to call this sudden spike the "third wave," a term that has become normalized in the media, but the subcommittee definitely sees it as ominous. Some people on Twitter took exception to a point the panel made about foreign residents being a possible cause of the increase due to differences in "language and culture." However, other Twitter pundits noted that, in fact, the subcommittee was not blaming foreign residents at all — rather, the media's amplification of the discussion made it seem as if the panel was.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Media / MEDIA MIX
Nov 21, 2020
A frank conversation is needed on euthanasia
In October, New Zealand voters approved a referendum proposal to legalize medically assisted suicide, thus joining a small group of countries and territories that allow euthanasia under specific circumstances. The proposal sprang from a lawsuit brought by a lawyer dying from a brain tumor, and while she herself was not seeking to end her life prematurely, she felt frustrated that the option did not exist. In court, she argued that euthanasia was not suicide, which is a crime, because the person in question was going to die anyway of the affliction that made their life difficult. She lost the case and died in 2015, but her husband continued to work on the issue, and, as a result, the topic received attention from the media, which discussed the ramifications, including what kind of safeguards were needed to prevent patients from simply ending their lives due to advanced age or disability.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Media / MEDIA MIX
Nov 14, 2020
Subsidizing fertility treatment leaves Japanese gynecologists in a bind
Fertility treatments are not covered by national health insurance because, in most cases, infertility is not defined as an ailment.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Media / MEDIA MIX
Nov 7, 2020
Does protecting food products protect Japan’s farmers?
The government wants to revise a law to protect new plant varieties, but domestic farmers could be prohibited from making their own seeds from registered crops.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Media / MEDIA MIX
Oct 31, 2020
The background behind Suga’s rejection of top science panel nominees
Council members fail to oppose prime minister's move collectively, casting doubt on how they view their role
Japan Times
JAPAN / Media / MEDIA MIX
Oct 24, 2020
Hokkaido municipalities gamble on a nuclear future, but at what cost?
Nuclear waste site survey applications reflect muddled official policy about what to do with the country's spent nuclear fuel
Japan Times
JAPAN / Media / MEDIA MIX
Oct 17, 2020
Media join the debate over the economics of a universal basic income
Could the introduction of such a welfare model lead to economic inequality?
Japan Times
JAPAN / Media / MEDIA MIX
Oct 10, 2020
Courts struggling to define what constitutes defamation in social media
Journalist Shiori Ito files rare libel lawsuit over use of the "like" button on Twitter.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Media / MEDIA MIX
Oct 3, 2020
The media’s role in helping Suga become Japan’s prime minister
A funny thing happened between the day Shinzo Abe said he was stepping down as Japan's prime minister and the day Yoshihide Suga was elected the new president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and Abe's presumptive successor. Prior to Abe's Aug. 28 announcement, his Cabinet's support rate was the lowest it had been since July 2017. Afterward, however, it skyrocketed.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Media / MEDIA MIX
Sep 26, 2020
The changing social narrative on Japan's entrenched gender roles
Little can be done as long as a country's cultural norms are built into a social structure that delineates gender roles.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Media / MEDIA MIX
Sep 19, 2020
Japan is forced to look abroad in the hunt for a COVID-19 vaccine. But at what cost?
Japan has a history of vaccines and related medical treatments that have proven to be problematic u2014 take the prescription drug Tamiflu, for example.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Media / MEDIA MIX
Sep 12, 2020
Separating environmental issues from business matters in Japan
News outlets are refraining from addressing the climate and coronavirus crises simultaneously.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Media / MEDIA MIX
Sep 5, 2020
Competing interests of labor unions laid bare at TV Asahi
When a company's workforce contains both journalists and news program workers, conflict can arise.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Media / MEDIA MIX
Aug 29, 2020
Exporting Japanese culture abroad in the guise of a TV drama
"Hanzawa Naoki 2" borrows from traditional kabuki stagecraft to heighten the show's dramatic effect.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Media / MEDIA MIX
Aug 22, 2020
Political documentaries in Japan struggle to inspire
Japanese documentaries analyze entrenched political power with largely unsurprising results.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Media / MEDIA MIX
Aug 15, 2020
Waking up to child abuse by caregivers
Children who are sexually abused may not understand what is happening to them or are cowed into silence by their abusers.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Media / MEDIA MIX
Aug 8, 2020
News outlets grapple with the complexities of suicide coverage
Haruma Miura's death in July has sparked debate about the contrasting ways media organizations in Japan report on suicide.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Media / MEDIA MIX
Aug 1, 2020
COVID-19 is forcing clothing retailers to reassess their physical presence
Without workplaces or recreational spots to go to, consumers have little reason to buy new outfits.

Longform

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