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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
Nov 15, 2022
Recent flu outbreaks in Japan raise alarm over possible 'twindemic'
Though still small in scale, flu outbreaks have started hitting elementary and junior high schools.
Japan Times
JAPAN
Nov 11, 2022
Japan to allow prefectures to declare medical state of emergency if COVID cases hit records
The government announced it will let prefectures enact stronger measures if infections soar above the level of the last wave and their health care system is threatened.
Japan Times
JAPAN
Nov 10, 2022
Japan's eighth COVID wave expected to be biggest since pandemic began
Unlike during past surges of the virus, infections this time around are being driven by areas that didn't experience a huge spike during the seventh wave.
Japan Times
JAPAN
Nov 9, 2022
Japan has no plans to impose restrictions as COVID-19 cases rise
After a lull in infections, numbers have rebounded again, with the nationwide daily tally reaching 87,410 on Wednesday.
Japan Times
JAPAN
Nov 8, 2022
Japan government to discuss bill outlawing 'socially unacceptable' donations
The new law would ban religious groups from soliciting donations in a “socially unacceptable and malicious” manner, as well as allow people to cancel donations.
Japan Times
JAPAN
Nov 8, 2022
Expert panel approves criteria for probe into religious groups
The conditions put forward by the panel will also serve as a basis for future cases where similar instances of wrongdoing are suspected by religious groups.
Japan Times
JAPAN
Oct 31, 2022
Japan has learned from its own deadly crowd crushes, but risks remain
Authorities significantly stepped up crowd control measures in the wake of a deadly pedestrian crush in Akashi, Hyogo Prefecture, in 2001.
Japan Times
JAPAN
Oct 28, 2022
XBB variant, spreading fast in Singapore, detected in Tokyo
The coronavirus subvariant features several mutations in its spike protein, giving it an exceptional ability to evade immunity. But its severity is not yet known.
Japan Times
JAPAN / FOCUS
Oct 27, 2022
Faith or manipulation? Debate grows over regulating Unification Church tactics
Some argue that followers were manipulated into giving donations, while others say that questioning their 'faith' could lead to restrictions on freedom of religion.
Japan Times
JAPAN
Oct 21, 2022
Kei Komuro, husband of former Princess Mako, passes New York bar exam
The result, which came at the third attempt, will likely bring relief to a couple dogged by intense criticism and scrutiny from the Japanese public.
Japan Times
BUSINESS
Oct 20, 2022
With period shorts and fertility trackers, 'femtech' firms tackle neglected health needs
The buzz surrounding Femtech Fes! 2022 in Tokyo reflects the scale of interest and expectations for the budding industry, the value of which is only expected to grow.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Politics
Oct 17, 2022
Project aims to help mothers run in Japan's local elections next year
The project — called “Kosodate Senkyo Hack!” — aims to give a greater voice in local politics to the dwindling ranks of families with small children.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Science & Health / EXPLAINER
Oct 14, 2022
Think you've got COVID? You might have fall allergies instead
Unlike allergies from cedar and cypress pollen, which hit in the spring, fall allergies — caused by several grasses and weeds — are less recognized in Japan.
Japan Times
JAPAN / FOCUS
Oct 7, 2022
What did Japan learn from its largest and deadliest COVID wave?
While the surge of infections — fueled by the BA.5 subvariant of the omicron variant — has subsided, some important questions remain unanswered.
Japan Times
JAPAN
Oct 7, 2022
Former Unification Church member recounts fear and hardship as daughter of devout followers
The former member said that as a child she was forced to attend the church's worship services and read its doctrine, and was banned from having romantic relationships.
Japan Times
JAPAN
Oct 4, 2022
Japan residents wake up to rare J-Alert missile warning
Under the J-system, developed in 2007, messages are sent in times of national emergencies such as earthquakes, terrorist attacks and certain missile launches.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Science & Health
Oct 2, 2022
Kowa says ivermectin not effective in treating COVID-19
The Nagoya-based company announced the results of its clinical trial, indicating it would no longer seek the drug's approval for COVID-19 treatment.
Japan Times
JAPAN
Sep 30, 2022
Japan publishes guidelines on ‘confidential births’ amid growing attention
The guidelines were compiled after Jikei Hospital in Kumamoto started accepting women who wish to give birth anonymously.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Science & Health
Sep 14, 2022
Japan study shows how to put a crying baby to bed
According to a new study, there may be a science-based technique to prevent the never-ending sleep routine: walking.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Explainer
Sep 9, 2022
What you need to know as Japan prepares to roll out new COVID vaccines
The drive featuring shots that target the omicron subvariant will start later this month and go into full swing in October and November.

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