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“Word of the Year” Contest Tracks Popular History of JapanRichard Medhurst

For three decades now, an annual ritual has seen the year’s most popular Japanese buzzwords compiled into a list by the publisher Jiyū Kokumin Sha. The long list for 2014 was announced last week. Looking back over the complete 30-year history reveals the preoccupations of the period, offering a scenic route through the changing zeitgeist for newcomers to Japan and nostalgia to anyone with long-ter…
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Nuclear Power and the Emptiness of Political PromisesHayakawa Masaya

At a New Year’s meeting of her supporters on January 13, Shiga Prefecture’s governor Kada Yukiko revealed the series of events that led to the formation of the Nippon Mirai no Tō, or the “Tomorrow Party of Japan.” Apparently she took the decision to form the party after being persuaded by Ozawa Ichirō in the lead-up to the December’s lower house elections that “if you run, we should get 100 cand…
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Matsui and Ichirō: Tracking the Orbits of Two SuperstarsNinomiya Seijun

Last December was a turning point in the major-league careers of Japanese sports icons Matsui Hideki and Suzuki Ichirō―for Ichirō, a new beginning with the New York Yankees; for Matsui, the end of the road. Ninomiya Seijun reviews the achievements of these two remarkable and very different athletes.
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The DPJ Should Deal Firmly with the Rebels in Its RanksShiraishi Takashi

On June 26 the government’s bill to hike the consumption tax was passed by the House of Representatives, along with seven pieces of related legislation. Even though the Democratic Party of Japan and its partners in the ruling coalition enjoyed a comfortable majority (292 out of 479) in the lower house, it took months to secure passage of this measure, raising the present rate of 5% to 8% in Apri…
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Leading the World in Humanoid Robotics

Robot technology in Japan is among the most advanced in the world. In particular, Japan is the global leader in the development of humanoid robotics. Waseda University Professor Takanishi Atsuo tells us about the progress being made in this field and the possibilities for the future.
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