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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.
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.
Japan Times
JAPAN
Sep 8, 2022
Japan's shortened COVID isolation policy comes into effect
While many experts agreed on the new seven-day quarantine period for symptomatic patients, some raised concerns that the move might end up playing down risks.
Japan Times
JAPAN
Sep 2, 2022
Japan drafts plan to punish hospitals and people for skirting pandemic rules
The government is planning to revise a related law to mandate that people suspected of having COVID-19 isolate at home.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Science & Health
Aug 30, 2022
Japan OKs third Pfizer shot for children and AstraZeneca COVID treatment
Children between the ages of 5 and 11 will be able to get the booster shot five months or more after they received their second dose.
Japan Times
JAPAN
Aug 29, 2022
Mapping Ukraine’s war damage, one image at a time
University of Tokyo professor Hidenori Watanave has used satellite images and crowdsourced photos to track the damage caused by Russia's invasion.
Japan Times
JAPAN
Aug 24, 2022
Japan to drop pre-arrival testing for vaccinated travelers next month
To ease the burden on medical institutions, paperwork will also be simplified for doctors in areas with large COVID-19 numbers.
Japan Times
JAPAN / FOCUS
Aug 22, 2022
With COVID-19 cases still high, Japan debates how best to monitor them
The present system is being reviewed by health authorities, as it places an enormous administrative burden on medical institutions.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Science & Health
Aug 21, 2022
Japan looks to sewage to gain new insight into state of pandemic
Following the example of other countries, Japan is carrying out pilot projects that monitor wastewater for levels of COVID-19.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Explainer
Aug 5, 2022
How to self-test for COVID in Japan, and which antigen kits to use
Two kinds of antigen test kits are available, but most municipalities only accept those identified as being for medical use. Here's a guide on where and how to get them.
Japan Times
JAPAN / FOCUS
Aug 3, 2022
Japan's biggest COVID wave yet pushes medical system near to its limit
Despite data suggesting that many patients now only develop mild symptoms, the nation's health care system is strained more than ever before.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Science & Health
Aug 2, 2022
Japan study shows protein in blood post-infection may predict COVID severity
Patients with particularly elevated levels of MYL9 are at greater risk of severe illness, Chiba University Hospital researchers have found.
Japan Times
JAPAN
Jul 29, 2022
Japan to let prefectures declare new anti-COVID measures but won't curb social activities
Governors will now be able to declare that their prefectures are in need of measures to counter the BA.5 subvariant when their health care systems are severely strained.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Science & Health / EXPLAINER
Jul 28, 2022
Everything you need to know about BA.5, the dominant strain spreading across Japan
Amid a seventh wave of infections, daily case numbers have been reaching unprecedented highs, with the nation logging 969,000 cases over the seven-day span to Sunday.
Japan Times
JAPAN
Jul 26, 2022
Japan moves to prevent spread of monkeypox after confirming first case
Health minister Shigeyuki Goto has said that the ministry will continue to search for more information about the first patient, including the route of transmission.

Longform

The Japanese government updated its English education guidelines in 2017 to emphasize communication over grammar and memorization. Public school teachers are incredibly busy, however, which means schools haven’t been able to implement changes uniformly. Private and alternative schools are attempting to remedy this.
The language of opportunity: Bilingual education is on the rise in Japan