For Philip Brasor's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
May 2, 2020
Apr 25, 2020
In Japan, the main obstacle to achieving the kind of widespread self-isolation necessary for limiting the spread of the coronavirus is thought to be the country's work culture. The government, which has always favored policies that benefit the private sector, is averse to countermeasures that would place a burden on business activities, and so mostly counts on employers to self-police their own activities.
Apr 18, 2020
Apr 11, 2020
During her March 25 news conference, which was held to address a sudden increase in COVID-19 cases in the capital, Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike used visual aids and a script filled with foreign loanwords to convince residents that they should stay at home so as to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Koike’s use of English words such as “lockdown” was completely in character. A former TV newsreader fluent in English, the governor often uses so-called loanwords in public.
Mar 28, 2020
On March 12, the Sankei Shimbun ran an editorial urging the media to refrain from criticizing the government for its handling of the coronavirus emergency. The Sankei Shimbun was elaborating on a complaint made by former TV announcer Yoshiko Sakurai that the press was not properly instilling in the public a sense of solidarity in overcoming the crisis. Finding fault with authorities is "acceptable" when things are normal, said the newspaper, but during an emergency focusing on "Prime Minister (Shinzo) Abe's political beliefs and trivializ(ing) his response to the national crisis" is not.
Mar 21, 2020
As with many feature films based on real-life incidents, "Fukushima 50," which opened nationwide March 6 and depicts the actions of the men who struggled to contain the disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant following the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 2011, is a blend of factual exposition and dramatic enhancement. Stories require conflict to keep them interesting, usually with a hero fighting an adversary. In "Fukushima 50," the hero is plant manager Masao Yoshida (Ken Watanabe), who makes life-and-death decisions in resistance against higher-ups rendered as incompetents.
Mar 14, 2020
Last year, the government enacted legislation to compensate families of former Hansen's disease patients for the suffering they endured as relatives of a group that was the target of discrimination in the 20th century. Former patients themselves were compensated by the government in 2001 and, later, 541 relatives sued the government, for recognition of their own hardship, in Kumamoto District Court, which found in their favor in June last year. The government decided not to appeal, thus paving the way for the legislation. Anyone acknowledged by the government as being a parent, child, spouse, sibling or, in some cases, in-law of a Hansen's disease patient qualifies for compensation, even if they did not participate in the lawsuit.
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