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 Masami Ito

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Masami Ito
Masami is a staff writer for the Life and Culture Division at The Japan Times. She is in charge of the weekly Sunday Timeout, covering various issues related to Japan, from alcohol/drug addiction and juvenile crime to female sushi chefs and kendama. Over her 15-year career, she has written extensively on Japanese politics, foreign policy and social issues.
For Masami Ito's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Japan Times
JAPAN / ANALYSIS
Apr 27, 2012
Political showdown, and possibly poll, loom
Now that Ichiro Ozawa has been acquitted of funding irregularity charges, experts said one thing is certain at this stage: he will try to regain power within his Democratic Party of Japan and send Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda packing.
Japan Times
JAPAN
Apr 22, 2012
Mekong states get ¥600 billion in ODA
Japan will provide ¥600 billion in official development assistance within three years to the Mekong region countries of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam to bolster their development, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda declared Saturday.
JAPAN
Apr 22, 2012
Japan to cancel 60% of Myanmar's debt
Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda announced Saturday that Japan will resume yen loans to Myanmar and cancel about 60 percent of the debt and overdue charges it is owed to assist the country's recent moves toward democracy.
Japan Times
JAPAN
Apr 19, 2012
Noda leaps in with hint of buying Senkakus
The central government will consider buying the disputed Senkaku Islands, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said Wednesday, adding fuel to a fire already lit by Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara.
Japan Times
JAPAN / ANALYSIS
Apr 18, 2012
Governor seen as goading administration into action
Though quick to get a reaction from experts and lawmakers Tuesday, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government's intention to purchase the Senkaku Islands will likely have little impact on the territorial dispute between Japan, China and Taiwan.
Japan Times
JAPAN
Apr 18, 2012
LDP readies two censure motions
It looks like Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and his ruling Democratic Party of Japan are in for a rough ride in the current Diet session. The Liberal Democratic Party said Tuesday it is ready to submit censure motions against two Cabinet ministers.
JAPAN
Apr 17, 2012
Fujimura attempts to allay reactor restart fears
A day after trade minister Yukio Edano said the nation would experience a "momentary" suspension of nuclear power, Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura on Monday sought to allay concern the government was rushing to reactivate reactors at the Oi power plant in Fukui Prefecture.
Japan Times
JAPAN
Apr 14, 2012
Rocket failure an embarrassment for North
North Korea on Friday defied warnings from the international community and launched a rocket — which then exploded about a minute after takeoff — scattering debris over the Yellow Sea off South Korea.
JAPAN
Apr 13, 2012
Fate of child abductions bill in Diet uncertain
The government finally submitted legislation to the Diet last month for joining the Hague Convention on international child abductions but its passage appears far from certain.
JAPAN
Apr 13, 2012
SDF, leaders on 24-hour alert for North's rocket launch
Japan and its missile defense system remained on high alert Thursday as the first day of North Korea's launch window for what is believed to be a long-range ballistic missile test passed without incident.
Japan Times
JAPAN
Apr 11, 2012
Japan, U.K. agree on arms development
Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and British leader David Cameron agreed Tuesday in Tokyo to strengthen bilateral defense cooperation, including joint weapons development, in what will be the first such case since Japan eased its de facto ban on arms exports.
JAPAN
Apr 11, 2012
Conservative experts slam female Imperial branches
Female Imperial family members should not be allowed to retain their royal status upon marriage, conservative experts told a government panel Tuesday, saying such a system could eventually break the centuries-long paternal lineage of Imperial blood.
Japan Times
JAPAN
Apr 7, 2012
Kokumin Shinto, DPJ try to muddle through as coalition takes new form
The alliance between the Democratic Party of Japan and the reshaped Kokumin Shinto (People's New Party) got off to a shaky start Friday as both parties tried to move on after dealing with internal conflict created by the consumption tax bill.
Japan Times
JAPAN
Apr 6, 2012
Webb hopes for progress on Futenma
U.S. Sen. Jim Webb expressed hope in Tokyo Thursday that the contentious relocation of the Futenma air base will move forward now that Japan and the United States have agreed to delink the issue from the transfer of thousands of marines to Guam.
Japan Times
JAPAN
Apr 3, 2012
DPJ lawmaker's resignation reveals divisions
Divisions within the ruling Democratic Party of Japan deepened Monday as a lawmaker resigned in a show of defiance against Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's key bill to double the consumption tax to 10 percent.
Japan Times
JAPAN
Mar 31, 2012
3/11 cast a spotlight on the importance of international cooperation: Sadako Ogata
The March 2011 disasters have increased Japanese awareness of international cooperation, says Sadako Ogata, and the departing president of the Japan International Cooperation Agency hopes this will lead the government to play a larger role in assisting developing nations.
Japan Times
JAPAN
Mar 31, 2012
Cabinet OKs bill to double sales tax by '15
Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and his ruling Democratic Party of Japan-led government managed to submit the contentious bill to the Diet on Friday to double the consumption tax to 10 percent by 2015, while junior coalition partner Kokumin Shinto (People's New Party) was on the verge of collapsing over internal conflict on the legislation.
Japan Times
JAPAN
Mar 29, 2012
DPJ leaders end acrimonious talks on tax hike, will move bill forward
The Democratic Party of Japan endorsed a bill Wednesday to double the consumption tax to 10 percent by October 2015 after forcibly ending discussions dominated by party members critical of the DPJ leadership.
JAPAN
Mar 28, 2012
Cabinet firm: Friday OK for tax hike bill
The Cabinet will stick to its plan and approve a bill Friday to double the consumption tax to 10 percent despite fierce opposition from within the Democratic Party of Japan, Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said Tuesday.
JAPAN
Mar 20, 2012
Fujimura rules out grand coalition notion
Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura flatly denied Monday that the ruling Democratic Party of Japan would consider forming a grand coalition with the Liberal Democratic Party to pass the contentious bill for doubling the consumption tax to 10 percent by 2015.

Longform

Historically, kabuki was considered the entertainment of the merchant and peasant classes, a far cry from how it is regarded today.
For Japan's oldest kabuki theater, the show must go on