The Liberal Democrat Party* won big in the July elections in Japan, giving the coalition of parties led by the LDP a two-thirds majority in both the Upper and Lower Houses of the Japanese government, which could allow the party to ram through amendments to the constitution. While Article 9, the antiwar amendment, has long been targeted, it's starting to look much, much worse. [more inside]
With a vague promise to support more women in the workplace as one of the key points of pushing an economic recovery, the reality is much more bleak for working women in Japan. Yesterday, while delivering a speech on the importance of supporting working mothers, Ayaka Shiomura, a member of the Tokyo government assembly was heckled, with jeers from other lawmakers demanding to know why she hadn't gotten married, and demanding to know if she was able to bear children. The Liberal Democratic Party has so far refused to reprimand the members responsible, and while members of Shiomura's party point out that Tokyo Governor Yoichi Masuzoe (with his own history of outright sexism) was evidently laughing as Shiomura at first laughed in disbelief, then was quickly reduced to tears (Japanese link, no English subtitles).
Tomohiro Anraki might be the next big Japanese pitcher, if he manages to survive high school baseball in Japan. [more inside]
A couple days ago, Minami Minegishi, a 20 year-old member of the wholesome, innocent idol group AKB48 posted a video of herself, head shaved, tearfully begging not to be fired from the group. What horrible crime did she commit? What awful, unpardonable sin caused her demotion and public humilation? Dating. [more inside]
In March of 2009, the Japan Sumo Association won a lawsuit against Kodansha, a large Japanese publishing house. Kodansha had alleged that match fixing was rampant in Sumo, even at the highest levels. However, in the last week, police have discovered text messages between wrestlers showing proof of fixing, including negotiation over compensation. [more inside]
“Living until 150 years old is impossible in the natural world,” said Akira Nemoto, director of the elderly services section of the Adachi ward office. “But it is not impossible in the world of Japanese public administration.” Up until the end of July, no one knew how many people over the age of 100 were missing in Japan. Now, officials are scrambling to check on the elderly. [more inside]
Yukio Hatoyama, Prime Minister of Japan, will resign. Also stepping down is Ichiro Ozawa. After a series of misscues, calls for Hatoyama's resignation started popping up. Among the issues dogging Hatoyama were questions about a sizeable amount of money he received from his mother (possibly disguised as campaign contributions to keep him from looking like a weak candidate who couldn't raise funds), reneging on a promise to move the US Marine bases out of Okinawa, and this shirt. [more inside]