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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
Jun 24, 2014
Harassment rife in local assemblies
The sexist taunting of a female politician during a session of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly is part of a long-running problem and victims often suffer in silence, some assembly members say.
Japan Times
JAPAN
Apr 17, 2013
Film sheds light on plight of left-behind parents
Images of left-behind parents, holding up photos of their children, flash across the screen. In the United States, Canada, Europe and even Japan, these parents are waiting to reunite with offspring taken away by their estranged Japanese spouses.
JAPAN / Crime & Legal
Apr 13, 2013
Final Somali pirate slapped with 11-year term
The Tokyo District Court on Friday convicted a Somali national and sentenced him to 11 years imprisonment for attempting to hijack a Japan-operated oil tanker off the coast of Oman in March 2011.
Japan Times
JAPAN / EXPLAINER
Apr 9, 2013
Japan's foreign trainee system said still plagued by rights abuses
Last month, a Chinese trainee went on a stabbing rampage at a Hiroshima Prefecture seafood company where he worked, killing the president and an employee and wounding six others.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Science & Health
Mar 28, 2013
New prenatal test in high demand but limited to risk cases
Testing will begin in Japan on a new, noninvasive prenatal test to check for chromosomal abnormalities, but it will be limited to pregnant women deemed at risk of having babies with Down syndrome or other disorders.
JAPAN / Science & Health
Mar 28, 2013
Citing side effects, group criticizes Diet OK for HPV vaccine for girls
A bill to approve vaccines to help prevent cervical cancer in girls is expected to clear the Diet this week but reports of serious side effects have prompted mothers to form a nationwide victims' support group.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Science & Health
Mar 28, 2013
No regrets for mothers of children with Down syndrome
On a chilly afternoon in early spring, Mayumi Mitogawa, 52, and her 14-year-old son, Yutaka, sat together on a bench, getting ready to have their picture taken. He jokingly made a face and tried to push her out of the way, showing a hint of the shyness common to teens about being seen with their mom.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Science & Health
Mar 28, 2013
New noninvasive test gives clue but not full diagnosis
Although media reports emphasize the accuracy of a new noninvasive prenatal screening test, raising expectations among expectant mothers, it does not definitively diagnose three types of chromosomal abnormalities, including Down syndrome, warned Haruhiko Sago, head of the Center for Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal Medicine at the National Center for Child Health and Development.
JAPAN / Crime & Legal
Mar 22, 2013
Trial translation faults irk lay judges
The conviction in Tokyo of a U.S. minor for the slaying of an Irish woman once again highlights Japan's lack of a national accreditation system for court interpreters, after the lay judges complained about misinterpretations.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Crime & Legal
Mar 21, 2013
Somali pirates' trials highlight role of interpreters
In the quiet courtroom, the Somali defendant sat unhandcuffed and with an earphone in place, flanked by guards.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Crime & Legal
Mar 20, 2013
U.S. minor gets five to 10 years for strangling Furlong
An American minor is handed an indefinite prison term of between five and 10 years for killing an Irish exchange student last May.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Crime & Legal
Mar 14, 2013
Term of up to 10 years urged for minor in Furlong killing
Prosecutors demand five to 10 years imprisonment for an American on trial for allegedly killing an Irish exchange student in Tokyo last May.
JAPAN / Science & Health
Mar 10, 2013
Rules pave way for new prenatal blood test
Guidelines are released for clinical studies on a new prenatal blood test that makes it easier to detect chromosomal abnormalities in fetuses but could fuel abortions.
JAPAN / Crime & Legal
Mar 6, 2013
Somali not pirate, just needed help: lawyers
A Somali man accused of attempting to hijack a Bahamian-registered oil tanker off Oman in March 2011 — the final of the four men brought to Japan to be tried under the 2009 antipiracy law — pleaded not guilty Tuesday before the Tokyo District Court.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Crime & Legal
Mar 5, 2013
Minor denies slaying woman after Tokyo concert
A U.S. minor pleads not guilty to charges of murdering an Irish exchange student in a Tokyo hotel last May as his Tokyo District Court trial starts.
Japan Times
JAPAN / EXPLAINER
Mar 5, 2013
Down syndrome blood test draws interest and ire
Last summer, news that Japan was getting ready to introduce a new type of prenatal examination that requires only a simple blood test to detect whether a fetus has Down syndrome made headlines. News reports suggested hospitals were ready to start using the test in September.
JAPAN
Feb 28, 2013
Assemblyman's rebuke of moms seeking day care draws outrage
Mothers should remember that the responsibility of raising children lies first with each household before making "shameless" demands for more nursery schools, a Suginami Ward Assembly member wrote Feb. 21 in his blog, drawing hundreds of angry comments.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Crime & Legal
Feb 28, 2013
The long arm of the antipiracy law
Captured half a world away, off the coast of Oman in the Indian Ocean, four Somalis are sent to Tokyo to stand trial for piracy after a failed attempt to hijack an oil tanker. Three have already been convicted by the Tokyo District Court.
JAPAN
Feb 26, 2013
Somali teenager gets five to nine for piracy
An 18-year-old Somali is sentenced to five to nine years by the Tokyo District Court for boarding and attempting to hijack a Bahama-registered oil tanker off Africa in March 2011.
JAPAN
Feb 23, 2013
Metro government's Senkaku donations gathering dust
The ¥1.48 billion that the Tokyo Metropolitan Government collected in donations to buy and maintain the Senkakus is just lying idle, waiting to be used, after the central government nipped in to snag the disputed islets in September.

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