Mariko Kato

For Mariko Kato's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Government day care falling short

May 8, 2009

Government day care falling short

The line of children waiting to get into government-subsidized day care is swelling for the first time in five years, a sign of these recessionary times, some observers say. But for others it is merely the latest blow in a long-term problem, especially for ...

| May 2, 2009

Tips to prepare for influenza outbreak

Concern about the new flu, called a type H1N1, is spreading in Japan as global alert levels have been raised regarding a possible pandemic. Although no cases of infection has been confirmed in Japan, foreign residents in particular may be keen to know where to ...

Yokohama opens anniversary expo for preview

Apr 24, 2009

Yokohama opens anniversary expo for preview

YOKOHAMA — Under the theme "Set Sail!" an exposition commemorating the 150th anniversary of the opening of Yokohama port kicks off Tuesday. Organizers say the event combines mechanical and technological spectacles with environmentally friendly messages. "In the past we held events to celebrate the 50th ...

Apr 16, 2009

JTA still upbeat about reaching 2020 target

Despite the strong yen, the government remains optimistic about achieving its target of attracting 20 million annual foreign visitors by 2020, the head of the Japan Tourism Agency said Wednesday. Japan attracted 8.4 million tourists from overseas last year, according to the Japan National Tourism ...

Aiiku Hospital, too, feeling pinch

Apr 9, 2009

Aiiku Hospital, too, feeling pinch

Aiiku Hospital, a perinatal care center in Tokyo for high-risk pregnancies widely considered one of the best for expectant mothers, recently applied to the metropolitan government to end its emergency 24-hour status, underlining the serious shortage of doctors to treat pregnant women. Aiiku is so ...

Apr 7, 2009

Tokyo's mood mixed over rocket launch

There was a mixture of anger and surprise on the streets of Tokyo on Monday over North Korea's rocket launch. "North Korea is acting like a scoundrel, threatening an unarmed man with a gun," a 74-year-old retired man near JR Yurakucho Station in Chiyoda Ward ...

Kenyan Embassy puts positive spin on charity cause

| Apr 7, 2009

Kenyan Embassy puts positive spin on charity cause

Impoverished children, war-torn homes, towns ravaged by epidemics, land devastated by floods and droughts — these are some of the most powerful images of Africa, and also the most commonly used to encourage charity donations. But, organizers of a fundraising event for Kenyan children ...

Tohoku on alert for North Korean rocket debris

Mar 28, 2009

Tohoku on alert for North Korean rocket debris

Akita Prefecture resident Ritsuko Sasaki is resigned to the possibility that a part of the rocket North Korea is expected to launch early next month could come crashing down in her area. "It's like a natural disaster. What can I do to avoid it?" the ...

Mar 27, 2009

172 teachers lose suit over 'Kimigayo'

The Tokyo District Court rejected a damages suit Thursday filed by 172 teachers who were punished for refusing to sing the "Kimigayo" national anthem at school events. The suit, filed against the Tokyo Metropolitan Government in February 2007, had demanded ¥550,000 in damages for each ...