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Colin P.A. Jones
For Colin P.A. Jones's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / LAW OF THE LAND
Feb 7, 2016
What's in a surname? A court divorced from reality
Here at Law of the Land, I try to share "the Japanese law experience" with general readers. Today's experience is called "The Frustration of Reading Supreme Court Decisions" and takes as examples two of the most significant decisions of 2015: one on a law requiring spouses to have the same surname, the...
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / LAW OF THE LAND
Jan 10, 2016
A year in the life of Japan's Supreme Court
Grand rulings hogged the headlines in 2015 while the Petty Benches sweated the small stuff and big issues were kicked down the line.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / LAW OF THE LAND
Dec 6, 2015
Beware Japan's old problems posing in new packaging
When government announcements describe 'new' problems and propose solutions, they should be taken with a side-order of salt.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / LAW OF THE LAND
Nov 16, 2015
And now for something completely unconstitutional
When did the Abe-verse become an alternate reality where past violations of the nation's basic law can, with a straight face, be used to justify further violations of the same type?
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / LAW OF THE LAND
Oct 11, 2015
Japan’s Constitution won’t protect revolting foreigners
It's worth bearing in mind that the most prominent case concerning the constitutional rights of foreigners involved an American who got kicked out of the country for participating in antiwar protests.
Japan Times
LIFE / Language / BILINGUAL
Sep 28, 2015
Where's the justice? In Japan's legal terminology, it's almost nowhere to be seen
'Where's the justice?!" That's the common refrain of people who lose in court. In Japan, the answer may be "nowhere," at least as far as terminology goes.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / LAW OF THE LAND
Sep 16, 2015
Arresting possibilities: a primer on who can lock you up in Japan
Do you lie awake at night wondering 'Who can arrest me, and why?' The answer is: anyone.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / LAW OF THE LAND
Aug 9, 2015
Is Japan equipped to handle historic decisions that cost lives, limbs and loved ones?
Perhaps calendars should indicate not just holidays, but the dates on which important people in our collective pasts made decisions that caused tremendous harm.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / LAW OF THE LAND
Jul 15, 2015
The LDP's comic appeal for constitutional change falls flat
I hadn't planned on reading the Liberal Democratic Party's propaganda comic on constitutional change for the same reason I don't watch NHK, listen to AKB48 or use my underpants as an ashtray. Yet, as a piece of Japanese legal cultural history, perhaps it merits comment.
Japan Times
LIFE / Language / BILINGUAL
Jun 8, 2015
Too much 'ganbaru' could push anyone over the edge
For those trying their hardest or already at the end of their rope, 'ganbaru' can seem like a slap in the face rather than a gesture of encouragement.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / LAW OF THE LAND
Jun 7, 2015
Hey bureaucrats, leave those kids — and teachers — alone
To look at Japan's educational policy in action, you can't help but wonder if insularity and mediocrity might actually be the goal.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / LAW OF THE LAND
May 10, 2015
Perfect storm of factors conspires to empty Japan
While 'empty-house syndrome' may seem like a problem mostly afflicting rural Japan, it is already an issue in metropolises such as Tokyo and Osaka, and will become more so in the years to come.
LIFE / Language
Apr 20, 2015
'Vague' Japanese language can be maddeningly specific
For a supposedly vague language, Japanese can be incredibly specific when it comes to personal pronouns, the law and the family, for example.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / LAW OF THE LAND
Apr 12, 2015
Bridging corruption and legitimacy: amakudari
Amakudari reaches into almost every aspect of civil and economic life, quietly taking its cut in the form of higher prices, obscure but lucrative monopolies and seemingly bizarre regulations.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / LAW OF THE LAND
Mar 11, 2015
Why robots will be granted a license to kill, in Japan and everywhere else
As long as we feel the need to occasionally harm our fellow human beings, most of us will happily let other people — or things — do the dirty work.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues
Feb 23, 2015
Badges of honor: What Japan's legal lapel pins really mean
I finally have a lapel badge. After almost two decades of working in Japan-related law jobs, this is a big deal.
LIFE / Language / BILINGUAL
Feb 23, 2015
Any attempt to scale Japan's mountain of rules is doomed
In England of the distant past, the word "doom" was a legal term, referring to a judgment imposing a punishment. Some etymological sources suggest it has common roots with the Sanskrit "dharma," a deeply complex word that can refer to customary social duties or divine law, depending upon the religious...
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / LAW OF THE LAND
Jan 7, 2015
Never mind the facts — logic alone demolishes 'comfort women' deniers' case
Never mind all the living and documentary proof — the idea that 'comfort women' were somehow exempt from wartime coercion and organization is absurd.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / LAW OF THE LAND
Dec 10, 2014
Electoral dysfunction leaves Japan's voters feeling impotent
This Sunday's poll could well prove a high-water mark of pointlessness even for Japan: an election campaign waged against the unelected.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues
Nov 12, 2014
Mayor blazes trail with radical child-friendly vision for local government
Every time I try to read or write about local government in Japan I get so easily distra— say, is that paint drying over there? You see the problem?!

Longform

Things may look perfect to the outside world, but today's mom is fine with some imperfection at home.
How 'Reiwa moms' are reshaping motherhood in Japan