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 Tomoko Otake

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Tomoko Otake
Tomoko Otake is a senior writer with a strong interest in health, medical and social issues. A native of Nara Prefecture, she obtained an M.A. in journalism from The University of Montana.
For Tomoko Otake's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Japan Times
JAPAN
Mar 31, 2023
COVID measures will be up to Japan's businesses after downgrade
Requests for customers to sanitize their hands or have their temperatures taken are largely based on guidelines created by industries and will likely be less common after May 8.
Japan Times
JAPAN
Mar 30, 2023
Japan’s COVID vaccine orders lacked solid estimate of demand, watchdog says
The health ministry failed to show enough grounds for its decision to procure a total of 882 million vaccine doses for the government-funded vaccination drive, the Board of Audit said.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Science & Health
Mar 29, 2023
Mpox cases slowly creeping up in Japan even as spread slows abroad
As of Tuesday, Japan had reported 80 cases of mpox, formerly known as monkeypox, with the country seeing a gradual increase in new cases this year.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Explainer
Mar 19, 2023
Japan on high alert as avian flu rages across the country and heads north
Amid egg shortages and soaring prices, how worried should people be about the potential impacts of bird flu on human health?
Japan Times
JAPAN
Mar 17, 2023
Kishida aims for half of new fathers to take child care leave in 2025
The prime minister also said he will aim to raise the rate to 85% by fiscal 2030, adding that the bold goals are necessary to reverse the declining birthrate.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Science & Health
Mar 14, 2023
Low alcohol tolerance increases chance of hard-to-cure stomach cancer in East Asians
A Japanese study has found that certain genomic abnormalities specifically related to alcohol consumption are linked to the onset of “diffuse-type” stomach cancer.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Explainer
Mar 13, 2023
Japan’s mask rules end — with some caveats
The government started leaving the decision on masking largely up to individuals Monday. But that doesn’t mean that everyone can throw out their face coverings in all situations.
Japan Times
JAPAN
Mar 10, 2023
Twelve years after 3/11, dispute grows over Fukushima’s radioactive soil
The central government has pledged to — and is legally obliged to — move all of the soil out of Fukushima Prefecture by 2045.
Japan Times
JAPAN
Mar 10, 2023
Government to scale back COVID support with disease downgrade on May 8
The move means much of the state subsidies for screening and treatments will be scaled back and free COVID testing and outpatient care will end.
Japan Times
JAPAN
Mar 10, 2023
Japan reports first death directly linked to COVID-19 vaccine
The woman received a Pfizer shot targeting the omicron variant on Nov. 5 at a mass vaccination center.
Japan Times
JAPAN
Mar 8, 2023
Health ministry panel proposes five basic habits for preventing COVID
The new approach comes as the government prepares to shift toward a post-pandemic normal through measures such as removing unified mask guidance.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Society
Mar 8, 2023
Would gender quotas for lawmakers work in Japan?
Experts both at home and abroad say quotas are the fastest way to achieve gender equality in politics, but there are many factors at play, both legally and culturally.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Science & Health
Mar 1, 2023
Early detection of postpartum depression? Japanese researchers may have found a way.
Currently, there are no available tests that aid with the prediction of postpartum depression.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Science & Health
Feb 28, 2023
Japan health ministry panel endorses nasal flu vaccine for children
Based on the results of a clinical trial involving children in Japan, the panel agreed that FluMist Quadrivalent is safe and effective in preventing the flu.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Science & Health
Feb 22, 2023
Shionogi says its drug Xocova may reduce risks of long COVID symptoms
For 14 major symptoms of COVID-19, 14.5% of those given Xocova reported at least one of the symptoms six months after the start of treatment, compared with 26.3% who were given a placebo.
Japan Times
JAPAN
Feb 21, 2023
Anti-harassment website set up to help women running for office in Japan
A group of volunteers has created the website to offer free consultations on how to deal with harassment for female candidates in April’s local elections.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Science & Health
Feb 19, 2023
Amid renewed interest in nuclear fusion, Japan’s research reaches critical stage
The nation is helping to pave the way for a cutting-edge project in France, but international cooperation is moving toward competition.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Science & Health
Feb 9, 2023
Panel says Japan's schools can choose mask rules for graduations
The experts still urged school officials to set specific rules beforehand, especially regarding social distancing, venue ventilation and not attending when feeling sick.
Japan Times
PODCAST / deep dive
Feb 8, 2023
I can't believe it's not meat! Is lab-grown beef on Japanese menus?
This week, Oscar Boyd gives us a review of his cultured chicken meal and runs down the environmental implications of such an endeavor, while Tomoko Otake gets us caught up on where Japan stands in the great race to replicate beef.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Science & Health
Feb 2, 2023
Japanese researcher pushes the boundaries of lab-grown 'real' meat
Numerous hurdles will need to be overcome before such meat is commercially available, including technological, social and legal barriers.

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