Collaborating Authors

Unearthing the story of an uncle's prewar past in Hiroshima

The Japan Times

I was surprised to find out that the remnants of the transportation unit to which my uncle was assigned when the atomic bombing occurred still existed on such a scale,

DP head Okada facing internal pressure to step down

The Japan Times

Ahead of an election for the leadership of the main opposition Democratic Party in September, DP President Katsuya Okada is facing pressure from conservative party members to step down. In his online newsletter on Wednesday, former State Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Teruhiko Mashiko urged Okada to resign as party head "as soon as possible" while expressing his readiness to field a different candidate if Okada seeks re-election. "I do want lawmakers holding prime responsibility for the collapse (in 2012) of the Democratic Party of Japan-led administration to step aside," Mashiko said. "I want the party to be led by a young and fresh person." The DPJ, which was renamed the DP after merging with a smaller party in March, ousted the Liberal Democratic Party from power in the 2009 House of Representatives election.

Gift-giving etiquette in Japan is driving some recipients crazy

The Japan Times

According to the survey, close to 70 percent of 1,000 respondents believe that traditional and seasonal gift-giving has become redundant. Summer gifts (ōchūgen) are regarded as most unnecessary, according to a related survey on online website, Some sites that provide advice on manners and etiquette suggest writing letters in advance to people who might send a seasonal gift that they should not bother. The letter should state politely but firmly that the recipient should refrain from sending a gift. In the world of business, however, old habits are hard to break, and companies have been sending gifts to clients each summer and winter for as long as one can remember.

In fresh shot at elderly, Aso asks: 'How much longer do you intend to keep living?'

The Japan Times

SAPPORO – Gaffe-prone Finance Minister Taro Aso was again caught taking a swipe at the elderly, saying last week that he wondered how much longer a 90-year-old person intends to live. The outspoken Aso, who also serves as deputy prime minister, made the comment at a Liberal Democratic Party rally in Otaru, Hokkaido, on Friday, where he said: "I recently saw someone as old as 90 on television, saying how the person was worried about the future. I wondered'How much longer do you intend to keep living?' " His comments, part of a speech urging wealthy elderly citizens to spend more to spur the economy, drew immediate fire from Democratic Party President Katsuya Okada. "This is an insult to the nation's elderly," Okada told reporters in Yufu, Oita Prefecture, on Saturday. "It's extremely disheartening that someone who cannot understand the public's concerns about nursing care is serving as finance minister."

Japan's Universal Accuses Founder Okada of Improper Loan

U.S. News

Okada, who founded the predecessor of Universal in 1969 and ranks among Japan's wealthiest people, has focused much of his time recently on a $2.4 billion casino resort that opened earlier this year in the Philippines. Okada has billed the ambitious project as a way to tap into the growth of Asian gaming and to diversify Universal's revenues beyond its mainstay business of selling machines for pachinko, a mix of slot and pinball that is the dominant form of gambling in Japan.