For Philip Brasor's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Dec 12, 2020
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.
Nov 28, 2020
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.
Nov 21, 2020
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.
Oct 3, 2020
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.
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