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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.
Japan Times
LIFE / REFUGEES AND JAPAN
Jul 8, 2007
Sit-ins win new home, in Canada!
All Kurdish asylum-seeker Erdal Dogan wanted was a peaceful home for himself and his family.
Japan Times
JAPAN / PARTY LINE
Jul 7, 2007
Tanaka won't disband party, despite defections
New Party Nippon leader and ex-Nagano Gov. Yasuo Tanaka announced Friday his party would carry on even though its only two lawmakers said they are going to leave and become independents.
Japan Times
JAPAN
Jul 6, 2007
Voter litmus test last thing Abe needs now
Scandals, from corruption to suicide, have been the hallmarks of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's first ordinary Diet session, which ended Thursday with support for his Cabinet at its lowest ebb.
Japan Times
JAPAN / PARTY LINE
Jul 6, 2007
Ozawa vows to exit if opposition camp fails to win majority
Democratic Party of Japan President Ichiro Ozawa declared Thursday that he would resign if the opposition camp fails to win a majority in the Upper House election July 29.
JAPAN
Jun 30, 2007
Ruling bloc poised to steamroller pension bills
The opposition parties made one final attempt Friday to stop the ruling bloc from ramming pension system-related bills through the Diet with motions to censure Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and health minister Hakuo Yanagisawa.
JAPAN
Jun 30, 2007
Expense-reporting bill passed, slammed
The Diet on Friday enacted a revision to the Political Funds Control Law aimed at keeping better tabs on how lawmakers use their funds, though critics charge the legislation is riddled with loopholes and will not result in increased transparency.
JAPAN
Jun 29, 2007
Pension bills rammed past panel
The ruling bloc forced three controversial bills through a House of Councilors panel Thursday night in a hasty attempt to put a lid on the nation's pension data woes.
JAPAN
Jun 21, 2007
Crime victim bill enacted; critics fear trials turning into outlets for revenge
hits (you), (you) hit back," Morosawa said, reckoning such acts of revenge were permitted until "the enactment of modern law, when the government took away the right to retribution — or rather, the government was to carry out (retribution) on behalf" of the victims. People in Japan victimized by...
JAPAN
Jun 19, 2007
Spurned by Japan, Kurds find refuge in Canada
A Kurdish man and his family who staged a sit-in in front of United Nations University in 2004 while they were seeking refugee status announced Monday they have been accepted in Canada.
Japan Times
JAPAN / EXPLAINER
Jun 19, 2007
Crime victims get their day, say in court
The Diet is expected to pass a controversial bill this week to revise the Criminal Procedure Law to enable people victimized by crime to participate in trial proceedings.
JAPAN
Jun 16, 2007
Komeito lawmaker scoffs at snub
said (New Komeito is) totalitarian just because he did not get his way," Kitagawa told reporters later Friday. Fukumoto said he handed in his letter of resignation from the party Monday, but Kitagawa said it has not been accepted and the party is considering reprimanding him.
JAPAN
Jun 15, 2007
Fund bill rife with loopholes advances
The House of Representatives passed a bill Thursday criticized as "full of holes" that obliges politicians' fund-management bodies to report expenditures over 50,000 yen, as the ruling coalition scrambled to mitigate the fallout from the May suicide of farm minister Toshikatsu Matsuoka.
Japan Times
JAPAN
Jun 14, 2007
Ruling bloc gets office expense bill past panel
Amid strong protests, the ruling coalition rammed through a House of Representatives panel Wednesday a bill requiring that lawmakers' fund management bodies report all office expenses exceeding 50,000 yen, hoping to quell the furor over last month's suicide of corruption scandal-tainted farm minister...
JAPAN
Jun 12, 2007
Victim-criminal dialogue can be cathartic
, founder of the U.S.-based group Murder Victims' Families for Human Rights, looks on. PHOTO COURTESY OF AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL JAPAN
JAPAN
Jun 8, 2007
Blame game on pensions begins
The ruling coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito attempted Thursday to shift blame for the pension data fiasco onto former opposition leader Naoto Kan, who was health minister at the time the government decided to computerize the records.
JAPAN
Jun 2, 2007
Victims' trial-role bill clears Lower House
The House of Representatives passed a controversial bill Friday to allow crime victims to directly question defendants in court, prompting legal experts to express deep concern that the measure could undermine the criminal justice system and foster feelings of revenge.
JAPAN
Jun 1, 2007
Parties duel in Diet over pension bills
found it extremely important to regain public trust in the administration of the pension system." A bill submitted Tuesday to the Diet stipulates that the five-year limit, which prevents people from receiving pension money that was due more than five years ago, is abolished. According to Yanagisawa,...
Japan Times
JAPAN
May 31, 2007
Ruling bloc steamrolls pension bill
The ruling bloc rammed a hastily compiled bill through the Lower House welfare committee on Wednesday, steamrolling testy opposition lawmakers as it raced to put a lid on the explosive pension data fiasco.
JAPAN
May 30, 2007
Ruling bloc shelves pension reform vote
of support for (elderly members of the public) and should no longer be the object of a political dispute," Nakagawa said in referring to the no-confidence motion threat. According to Nakagawa, the relief bill focuses on one point — removing the five-year statute of limitations on pension payments...
JAPAN
May 29, 2007
No-confidence motion targets health chief for pension fiasco
Opposition parties said Monday they will jointly submit a no-confidence motion against health minister Hakuo Yanagisawa over the fiasco in which the Social Insurance Agency scrambled huge amounts of pension premium payment data.

Longform

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