Mar 7, 2015

Communication ban shortsighted

Regarding the editorial “Teachers, pupils“: Without a doubt, there are sexual predators teaching children in Japan. But to ban essential communication between honest educators and their charges because of the dishonest ones is shortsighted. Those proven to have used their power of position for ...

Mar 7, 2015

New aid charter upholds policy

The Feb. 20 editorial “Aid that could foment conflict” misrepresents Japan’s new Development Cooperation Charter and does not accurately reflect the position of the government of Japan. The new charter upholds Japan’s policy of contributing to global peace and prosperity through nonmilitary cooperation — ...

Feb 28, 2015

Trying to stop the repetition of stupidities

Bloomberg writer Noah Smith, in his Feb. 24 op-ed article titled “Will Japan become Asia’s next autocracy?,” warns of the danger in Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s attempt to amend the Constitution with the Liberal Democratic Party’s illiberal draft proposals, yet thinks it sensible to ...

Feb 28, 2015

Right-wingers toe the U.S. line

The other day, while driving in Naha, I encountered a sound truck operated by ultra-nationalists. It was blaring out Imperial Japanese Army tunes with two national flags hoisted on top: One was the Rising Sun and the other was the Stars and Stripes. Clearly ...

Feb 28, 2015

Too tired to care who is standing

Having returned to Japan nearly five years ago — after living in the United States for 15 years — I was wondering why the Japanese generally lacked courtesy on the train when it came to yielding their seats to elders, pregnant women or people ...

Feb 21, 2015

Remember why you came here

Regarding the Feb. 12 article by Eric Johnston and Tomohiro Osaki titled “Author Sono calls for racial segregation“: Ruthless Japan-bashing has become a style statement for many foreigners. The recent furor in criticizing the country shows some foreigners to forget that, outside the peaceful ...

Feb 21, 2015

Being bilingual not always so cool

I’m considered bilingual. I lived in Canada until the age of 6. Many times people have told me it’s cool to be bilingual, but it’s not that simple. In Canada, I was too small to know there are different languages. I never distinguished Japanese ...

Feb 14, 2015

Need to challenge established truths

Regarding Michael Hoffman’s Jan. 25 article, “Amid French crisis, Japan frets over virgins”: Hoffman seems to make the usual post-modern mistake of turning an idea into an identity. Religion is not a race, nor is it inherent in anyone’s DNA. It’s an idea just ...

Feb 7, 2015

Japan has enough to do in East Asia

I am merely adding my voice to those abundantly heard elsewhere, but I feel that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe should not get involved with the Islamic State group at all. Let those people sort out their own destiny. Extremism and terrorism are not spontaneous; ...

Feb 7, 2015

Abe's wrong to dis need for modesty

Regarding Mizuho Aoki’s Jan. 29 article, “Abe pledges to ‘correct’ the record on wartime sex slaves“: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is making a grave error when he says “being modest does not receive recognition in the international community.” How very wrong he is. It ...

Jan 24, 2015

Ties with West to be renewed

Regarding Harsh V. Pant’s Jan. 19 article, “Even with a change of regime in Colombo, China’s sway will continue to grow in Sri Lanka“: Pant is vaguely accurate in most of his analysis of Sri Lanka’s recent history, but his description of former President ...

Jan 14, 2015

Politics and women overseas

The Dec. 14 national election was personally significant for me because, for the first time in my life, I voted. A bittersweet experience it was. I happened to be on a short-term sabbatical in Japan when Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called for the snap ...