Kathleen Benoza
For Kathleen Benoza's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Customers look at products on display outside a drug store in Tokyo on Friday. As part of a trial, 145 stores nationwide will be allowed to sell morning-after pills until the end of March.
JAPAN / Science & Health
Nov 27, 2023
Japan to start trial of over-the-counter sales of morning-after pills
The health ministry will allow 145 stores nationwide to sell morning-after pills until the end of March.
Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker Masahiko Shibayama discusses a bill during a Lower House Judicial Affairs Committee session in Tokyo on Friday.
JAPAN / Politics
Nov 24, 2023
Japan's parliament debates relief for Unification Church victims
The two separate bills being discussed are in part aimed at safeguarding and preventing the transfer of the church’s assets.
The health ministry's drug enforcement officials investigate a retailer in the city of Osaka on Friday.
JAPAN / Crime & Legal
Nov 21, 2023
Japan to ban marijuana-derived substance found in gummy candies
An expert panel at the health ministry decided to officially add the HHCH synthetic compound to a drug list, with the ban taking effect from Dec. 2.
A selection of injector pens for the Wegovy weight loss drug.
JAPAN / Science & Health
Nov 21, 2023
New treatment for obesity to be covered by Japan's public insurance
The expansion of health care options comes amid concerns about the potential misuse of such drugs by healthy individuals for weight loss.
Members of the ruling parties announce a proposal on Unification Church asset protection in Tokyo on Tuesday.
JAPAN / Politics
Nov 15, 2023
Lawmakers submit proposal to revise law on Unification Church assets
A group of lawmakers has submitted proposals to amend existing laws governing religious organizations, aiming to prevent the outflow of church funds.
Japan’s policy came under scrutiny during the COVID-19 pandemic, when vaccines approved overseas needed additional testing prior to their approval in Japan.
JAPAN / Science & Health
Nov 14, 2023
Japan set to scrap rule requiring testing of new drugs on Japanese
To sell a drug in Japan, pharmaceutical firms are required to conduct additional trials specifically targeting Japanese participants.
The shortage of a class of diabetes drugs known as GLP-1 receptor agonists is being driven in part by healthy people looking to use them for dieting purposes.
JAPAN / Science & Health / FOCUS
Nov 14, 2023
Japan tackles surge in off-label diabetes drug use for weight loss
Officials are aiming to ensure that the medications are prescribed for people with diabetes, and not for those seeking weight loss.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Science & Health
Nov 9, 2023
Drug shortages create challenge for Japan as influenza cases rise
Amid an earlier-than-usual start of the flu season, a type of flu medicine for children is experiencing a supply shortage as cases rise.
Tomihiro Tanaka, president of the Japan branch of the Unification Church also known as the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, bows his head in apology during a news conference on Tuesday in Tokyo.
JAPAN / Crime & Legal
Nov 7, 2023
Unification Church ready to set aside ¥10 billion fund for victims
The announcement was made as lawmakers contemplate measures to secure the church’s assets if the court decides to strip the group of its special status.
The Hong Kong skyline. The city's sedition law — one of the legacies of British rule — had remained dormant for over half a century but saw a resurgence in use following the 2019 protests and subsequent unrest.
ASIA PACIFIC / Crime & Legal
Nov 3, 2023
H.K. student gets two-month sentence for 'seditious' posts from Japan
The court said she had violated a colonial-era sedition law by expressing support for Hong Kong independence in posts mostly made while studying in Japan.
Treated water diluted with seawater flows to a downstream water tank at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant during a second release in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture.
JAPAN / Society
Nov 2, 2023
Japan begins third release of treated Fukushima wastewater
The amount of water to be released in the latest round will be similar to the first and second, in which 7,810 tons of water was discharged.
A crowded crossing near Shibuya Station in Tokyo on Tuesday
JAPAN / Society
Nov 1, 2023
Shibuya Halloween passes without fuss following ‘don’t come’ message
Shibuya's mayor has expressed satisfaction with the reduction in crowds and public drinking this year.
Tsuneo Suzuki (center), the suspect arrested after a police raid of a post office in Warabi, Saitama Prefecture, on Tuesday, is taken to a police station in the prefecture.
JAPAN / Crime & Legal
Oct 31, 2023
Shooting suspect arrested after police raid Saitama post office
Two men were injured in the shooting at a hospital, while two female staff members of the post office were said to be unharmed.
People visit Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward on Saturday, including a handful of costumed revelers gathering in the trendy area to celebrate the weekend before Halloween.
JAPAN / Society
Oct 29, 2023
Security tight for Halloween in Shibuya as costumed crowds fail to show
Measures to deter costumed revelers from gathering in the trendy area — including a ban on street drinking — appeared to be relatively effective.
Shibuya Mayor Ken Hasebe speaks during an interview at his office on Oct. 19.
JAPAN / Society
Oct 26, 2023
Can Shibuya's mayor turn his ward into a global icon?
For Mayor Ken Hasebe, reining in Halloween revelers is just one step on the way to transforming Shibuya.
Nobuo Okamura (right), an executive handling legal affairs for the Unification Church, speaks during a news conference on Monday at the organization's headquarters in Tokyo, as the church's lawyer Nobuya Fukumoto looks on.
JAPAN / Society
Oct 16, 2023
Unification Church calls government move a violation of rights
A news conference offered a glimpse of how the church will defend itself against a request to revoke its religious corporation status.
The Japan headquarters of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, known as the Unification Church, in Tokyo on Friday
JAPAN / Explainer
Oct 13, 2023
What’s next in the Unification Church saga?
The government sought a court order on Friday to strip the Unification Church of its religious corporation status. The process is just beginning.
The government will ask the Tokyo District Court to revoke the religious corporation status of the Unification Church.
JAPAN / Society
Oct 12, 2023
Government seeks court order revoking Unification Church’s status
If the request is approved, the group would forfeit its religious corporation status along with the associated tax benefits.
Iranian rights activist Narges Mohammadi at the Defenders of Human Rights Center in Tehran in 2007. Mohammadi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday.
Oct 6, 2023
Jailed Iranian activist Narges Mohammadi wins Nobel Peace Prize
The Norwegian Nobel Committee cited her “fight against the oppression of women in Iran and her fight to promote human rights and freedom for all.”
Writer Jon Fosse poses in Oslo in 2015. Since his debut novel was published in 1983, Fosse has written poems, essays, children’s books, plays and novels.
Oct 5, 2023
Norwegian playwright and author Jon Fosse wins literature Nobel
The Swedish Academy cited Fosse's “innovative plays and prose which give voice to the unsayable.”


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