As a Mensan who has an interest in everything numerical, Michael Hassett enjoys examining how numbers are produced and interpreted to indicate societal norms and influence public perception. He arrived in Japan in 1990 and has been an occasional contributor to The Japan Times since 2007.
For Michael Hassett's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Dec 5, 2018
Jul 27, 2016
Feb 4, 2013
Not too long ago, I heard from a foreign resident of Tokyo looking for a high school for her daughter, a 14-year-old who will begin her final year of junior high in April. Both parent and child were extremely excited about recently discovering a nearby public school featuring a cosmopolitan atmosphere and encouraging the development of well-balanced students with international perspectives.
Jul 31, 2012
Jul 10, 2012
As in many surveys, numbers and percentages are abundant. But for me, it was that little 3.4 at the bottom of page 21 that stood out more than any other: 3.4 percent of married men in Japan say that their spouses have forced them to engage in sexual relations against their will. And that is down from 4.3 percent reported three years ago. Improvement is apparently being made: Married men in Japan are essentially being raped less by their wives.
Dec 23, 2008
Another holiday season is upon us. There is a nip in the air, lights of all colors twinkle throughout neighborhoods and cityscapes across the country, and holiday cheer radiates throughout our schools, workplaces and communities. During this festive time, friends and families often come together in true fellowship over good food and drink, and companionship leisurely forged through years of interaction.
Nov 25, 2008
On the long, unwinding railroad, on the sixth day — the day that, according to Christian texts, God created Man — a great dissatisfaction seeped into me as I continued to bask in the pride of seeing the majority of my fellow Americans transcend race in the selection of the next president of the United States.
Aug 26, 2008
"We judge that it will be best for the child that the (parent) pray from the shadows for his healthy upbringing. If worried about the child, ask about him through others, secretly watch him from behind a wall, and be satisfied with what is heard about the way he is growing up. Acting in accordance with emotion, even if based on love, will cause the child misfortune. Suppressing emotions for the sake of one's child — that is the true love of a (parent) toward a child.'
Aug 12, 2008
"Sport at its best obliterates divisions between peoples, such as ostentatious flag-waving and exaggerated national sentiment." New York Times senior writer Howard W. French — who has covered China for the past five years, was Tokyo bureau chief from 1999 to 2003, and has lived overseas for all but 3 1/2 years since 1979 — made this astute observation last month after staying up most of the night in Shanghai to watch the remarkable five-set Wimbledon final between Spain's Rafael Nadal and Switzerland's Roger Federer.
Jun 10, 2008
Last Wednesday, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare announced that Japan's total fertility rate (TFR) — the average number of babies born to women during their reproductive years — rose slightly to 1.34 for 2007, even though about 3,000 fewer children were born last year than in 2006. Two years ago the TFR was at 1.26, a postwar low, and last year this country experienced a natural population decline for the first time since 1899, when data-gathering in this area began. If fertility remains constant at these levels — and projections for the next 50 years have it doing just that — the population of each successive generation will fall at a rate of approximately 40 percent.
Jan 22, 2008
Online letters of protest were filled out. A group of nearly 70 civic organizations from around the world delivered a formal letter of disapproval to Justice Minister Kunio Hatoyama. Protesters gathered outside the Justice Ministry and thrust an inflated 3-meter-high yellow hand with an extended forefinger toward the building. Hands were clenched in fists of rage.
Jan 1, 2008
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