Deaths from Overwork Plague Japan

Deaths from Overwork Plague JapanIn the spring of 2015 Matsuri Takahashi, 24, joined the Dentsu advertising agency, one of the Japan’s most prestigious but demanding corporations, as a young recruit. Within a few months she was complaining to friends how exhausted she was.  “I want to die” she confided in a social media message to friends. And on Christmas…

Asia: Japan in 2016

Asia: Japan in 2016A series of earthquakes struck Kumamoto in Japan’s southwest in April, triggering fears of a repeat of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster in 2011. Kumamoto city is located 115 kilometres (72 miles) from the Sendai nuclear power station, the only nuclear plant in operation at the time of the earthquake. The most recent…

The Aging Dilemma for Asian Populations

The Aging Dilemma for Asian PopulationsJapan, the first country into extensive experience with an aging population as fertility rates decline and life expectancy increases, is far ahead of other Asian countries including Singapore, Thailand, China, India and Taiwan in taking care of its elderly. Over the past several decades, most Asian countries have undergone astonishing shrinkage of total fertility rates,…

The consequences of Japan’s shrinking

The consequences of Japan’s shrinkingThe population of Japan peaked in 2008 at 128 million. With the fertility rate – births per woman – falling below 1.5 at the beginning of the 1990s and falling as low as 1.29 in 2004, the population is shrinking rapidly. Already Japan has one million people fewer than in 2008. The government aims to keep…

Why are Japanese Baseball Pitchers Breaking Down?

Why are Japanese Baseball Pitchers Breaking Down?Fans of the Texas Rangers, the Texas-based baseball team, were downcast after learning that their ace Japanese pitcher, Yu Darvish, will remain on the disabled list and not play a game during the entire 2015 season because an elbow injury required surgery. As baseball writers on both sides of the Pacific were struggling to absorb…

Tokyo Districts Give Boost to Same-Sex Marriage

Tokyo Districts Give Boost to Same-Sex MarriageTwo Tokyo wards are considering a plan to issue same-sex “partnership certificates,” putting the spotlight on the status of same-sex marriage in Japan. Trendy Shibuya Ward got the ball rolling in early February by announcing that it would declare same-sex unions to be the “equivalent of marriage.” Setagaya, Tokyo’s most populous ward [borough] quickly followed…

In Japan, a Year for Poignant Memories

In Japan, a Year for Poignant MemoriesOne Monday morning in 1995, Kazumashita Takahashi , an assistant station master on the Chiyodu Subway line in central Tokyo, was on duty when the 8:10 train pulled in. Many of the passengers were civil servants, whose offices were in the nearby Kasumigaseki government district next to the Imperial palace. Before the doors slammed shut…

Aging Japan May Not be a Crisis

Aging Japan May Not be a CrisisJapan’s aging, shrinking population will cause serious problems for the country throughout the 21st century. Although the fertility rate has recovered to 1.39, this is still very low by international standards.  Current official projections estimate that Japan’s present population of 120 million will decline to 40 million by 2110. And the proportion of elderly, 65 years…

Japan Launches New Space Probe

Japan Launches New Space ProbeFollowing the epic voyage of the first Hayabusa space probe to the asteroid Itokawa (named after Japan’s first Nobel Laureate in science) – and back, Japan last week launched a new and improved version. Its mission? Nothing less than seeking to uncover the mystery of life. The space probe Hayabusa-2 set off Dec. 3 from…

Godzilla’s New Stomping Ground

Godzilla’s New Stomping GroundLooking hardly a day over 60 million years old, Godzilla turned 60 this year, brought back to life as Hollywood resuscitated the slumbering giant monster and turned what had been and is a Japanese icon into an American smash hit of global proportions. The new Godzilla franchise reboot set a record, earning $196 million in…
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