Etienne Balmer
For Etienne Balmer's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Cars ready to be loaded onto a ship for export at the port in Yantai, in China's eastern Shandong province, on Jan. 2
BUSINESS / Economy
Jan 31, 2024
China seized Japan's crown for vehicle exports in 2023, data shows
The Chinese auto sector has boomed in recent years largely because of massive investments in electric cars, while Japanese firms have been more cautious.
Customers browse through items sold as part of the Uniqlo Pre-owned Clothes Project at the brand's Harajuku store in Tokyo in October.
BUSINESS / Companies
Dec 19, 2023
Japan revisits used garments as inflation adds to fashion appeal
Awareness of the sector's huge environmental impact has yet to spark much interest in secondhand options in the world third-biggest clothes market.
The front entrance gate leading to the former Ashigakubo Elementary School in Yokose, Saitama Prefecture. The school, which was more than a century old, was forced to close in 2009.
JAPAN / Society
Nov 5, 2023
School's out forever in aging Japan
As the number of children in Japan decreases, public money has been made available to help municipalities repurpose old schools.
Japan Times
May 19, 2023
Takeshi Kitano returns to Cannes with an 'indifferent' outlook
The director's first feature-length film in six years will premiere at the festival, but Kitano says he does things his own way, regardless of success.
Japan Times
Apr 6, 2023
As China, Europe and the U.S. power ahead with EVs, Japan clings to hybrids
Last year, 59,000 new EVs were sold in Japan — a record and a threefold annual increase, but still less than 2% of sales of all cars in the country in 2022.
Japan Times
Mar 21, 2023
Hot springs block Japan's geothermal potential
Geothermal is a renewable resource that harnesses heat from deep below the Earth's crust — a seemingly attractive option for energy resource-poor Japan.
Japan Times
BUSINESS / Economy
Jan 23, 2023
Sakhalin reliance leaves Japan out of step with G7 despite holding presidency
Sakhalin-1 and Sakhalin-2 in Russia's Far East are an anomaly in Tokyo's otherwise lockstep efforts with allies to reduce dependency on Moscow's hydrocarbons.
Japan Times
Jan 3, 2023
Reviving Japan's nuclear power industry will not be easy
All the country's reactors were shut down for safety checks after the Fukushima meltdown, and there are currently 33 considered operable. By mid-December, nine were generating electricity.
Japan Times
Jan 3, 2023
'Big challenges': Choosing a nuclear career in Japan
In the decade after the Fukushima disaster, the number of atomic science students in Japan fell by more than a quarter, according to the education ministry.
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink
Oct 30, 2022
The rural temple where winemaking equals worship
Yamanashi Prefecture's Daizenji Temple is dedicated to the premodern monk who is said to have introduce the joy of wine to Japan.
Japan Times
Jul 15, 2022
'True balance': Japan's quiet telework revolution
COVID-19 has upended office routines worldwide, but in Japan, some say the shake-up was sorely needed.


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