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Colin P.A. Jones
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / LAW OF THE LAND
Oct 15, 2014
Is it time to bid bye-bye to 'haro'?
When was the last time someone Japanese used your presence as an excuse to say 'haro' whilst furtively glancing sideways at their companions to confirm they just made the funniest joke ever?
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / LAW OF THE LAND
Sep 10, 2014
Five reasons why agricultural reform will be a tough slog
Today's column, in list form, tackles a subject that defies a more conventional presentation: Japanese agricultural regulation.
LIFE / Language / BILINGUAL
Aug 25, 2014
Arming yourself with the legal system's greatest weapon
For American lawyers accustomed to struggling with massive walls of law books and expensive database services, one of the great things about Japanese law is that it is so compact and accessible.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / LAW OF THE LAND
Aug 6, 2014
Think you've got rights as a foreigner in Japan? Well, it's complicated
If you imagine paying taxes in Japan entitles you to welfare, you may want to take a seat.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / LAW OF THE LAND
Jul 9, 2014
Under Abe, Japan reconnects with the world of harm
It would be tragic if the process Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has set in motion destroys one of the truly great things about Japan: the fact that so little of its economy and society is devoted to harming other people.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / LAW OF THE LAND
Jun 18, 2014
Still dreaming of a Japan with juries — and without U.S. bases
At 84, Chihiro Isa hopes to see two things in his lifetime: the jury system reinstated in Japan and U.S. forces gone from Okinawa.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / LAW OF THE LAND
May 14, 2014
From NHK, an offer you can't refuse
The state broadcaster's approach to separating the Japanese public from its money is legally and ethically troublesome, writes Colin P.A. Jones.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / LAW OF THE LAND
Apr 16, 2014
Hague jars with Japan's family law, a zero-sum game with only one outcome
A Japanese lawyer told me: 'To Westerners, marriage means 1+1=2. But in Japan it equals 1.' This made perfect sense to me, but perhaps I should explain.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / LAW OF THE LAND
Mar 26, 2014
Japan's Constitution: never amended but all too often undermined
If Japan's unwritten constitution is already so flexible, why are Abe and his party so bent on amending the written one?
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / LAW OF THE LAND
Feb 19, 2014
Nasty, brutish and short?: The brief life and times of 'Happy Bob'
March 1984: Ronald Reagan was U.S. president, Yasuhiro Nakasone Japan's prime minister. Afghan rebels were struggling to rid their country of foreign invaders (deja vu!). Break-dancing was a global craze. Tokyo Disneyland was so new it hadn't even been visited by Michael Jackson yet. Pay telephones were...
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues
Jan 15, 2014
Three cases, three paths to legitimacy for Supreme Court
When I began studying Japanese, one of my goals was to be able to read the Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Japan's version of The Wall Street Journal. Achieving that goal, however, meant realizing that it is possibly The Most Boring Newspaper on Earth.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues
Dec 18, 2013
A secrets law for whom? Look who gets a free pass
Ancient Confucian scholars regarded law as a necessary evil, something used on lower orders of people who lacked the moral refinement to act righteously without prompting. Yet this just states a basic truth about law: It is something we do to other people. You and I know how to act properly, right? It's...
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / LAW OF THE LAND
Nov 20, 2013
For 'no war' Article 9, any reinterpretation will do
Since the conclusion of the Article 9 debate — that it permits Japan to participate in collective security efforts — is already known, all that is really called for is some kind of excuse that the public can give the nod to before returning to their smartphones.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues
Oct 16, 2013
The wonderful world of Japanese law: Yōkoso to endless discovery
Having kindly published my intermittent ramblings on Japanese law and the occasional other subject over the years, The Japan Times has seen fit to give me a monthly column.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / THE FOREIGN ELEMENT
Sep 16, 2013
Fukushima and the right to responsible government
A responsibility-shirking government is ultimately the people's problem — and responsibility — just as much as the nuclear disaster and all the nation's other problems are, argues Colin P.A. Jones.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / THE FOREIGN ELEMENT
Aug 5, 2013
SOFA: an unequal treaty that trumps the Constitution?
The prime minister's dogged focus on amending the American-tainted Constitution might reflect an uncomfortable unspoken truth — that it may be easier to change the Constitution than revise another document of potentially greater importance: the Status of Forces Agreement between Japan and the United States, which governs the legal status of the U.S. military presence in Japan.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / THE FOREIGN ELEMENT
Jul 2, 2013
The LDP constitution, article by article: a preview of things to come?
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is pushing for constitutional change. Yet he is playing the political huckster by proposing to first only fiddle with the amendment procedure in Article 96, lowering the threshold for the process to move forward from the approval of two-thirds of both houses of the Diet, as...
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / THE FOREIGN ELEMENT
Jun 25, 2013
Tweak the Constitution now, think later?
Whether it happens or not depends heavily on the results of the upcoming House of Councilors elections, but Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has clearly announced his intention to make amending the Constitution a campaign issue.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / THE FOREIGN ELEMENT
Jun 11, 2013
Hague Convention on child abduction may shape Japan's family law — or vice versa
Giant Hello Kitty-emblazoned kudos to Japan for finally signing the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction. Now comes the hard part: actually making it work.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / THE FOREIGN ELEMENT
Apr 16, 2013
Mad court rush could brake or bless Abe's vision
As Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Cabinet rush to diminish the Bank of Japan's bothersome independence, join the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations (sort of . . .), start pouring lovely, popular concrete before the summer House of Councilors elections and (sotto voce) maybe even amend the Constitution,...

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Tokashiki Beach acts as a sanctuary for sea turtles and offers ideal snorkeling waters. It was also the site of the U.S. Army’s preliminary invasion that led to the 1945 Battle of Okinawa, which resulted in the deaths of nearly 150,000 people.
On Okinawa's Tokashiki Island, life's a beach — one of the best in the world