• Hitora Tadashi 
  • By this author: 13 Latest posted: 2014.08.25
Editorial board member of the Mainichi Shimbun. Born in Sapporo, Hokkaidō. Joined the staff of the Mainichi Shimbun in 1985. Began reporting on politics in 1989. Held various positions at the newspaper, including lead reporter at the Kantei (the prime minister's office) and political editor, prior to assuming his current post.
Slowing the Population Drain From Japan’s Regions2014.08.25

Japan’s national government is finally starting to pay serious attention to the issue of regional depopulation. People continue to migrate from around the country to the three major metropolises, Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya, where around half of the nation’s population is now concentrated. How major regional cities can act to counter this trend will have a great bearing on the shape of Japan’s future…

Lawmakers Raise a Cup to Local Sake2014.03.04

A legislation movement encouraging the use of local sake and other drinks for toasts at official functions is gaining traction in municipalities throughout Japan. Most of these kanpai ordinances, named after the Japanese equivalent of “cheers,” have been passed following proposals from members of local assemblies, helped along by competition among local governments to establish a “brand” for thems…

Behind Moves to Revise Article 962013.07.11

The movement to amend Article 96 of Japan’s Constitution, Prime Minister Abe Shinzō’s first priority in a grand scheme of constitutional revision, is attracting more attention as the House of Councillors election scheduled for July 21 approaches. The prospect of amending this article, which sets forth procedures for revising the Constitution itself, is drawing support from some opposition partie…

The Changing Face of Decentralization Moves2013.01.23

With the Liberal Democratic Party’s emphatic victory in the December 2012 lower house election, it looks as though there will be substantial changes to the way that administrative reform to decentralize power in Japan is implemented from here on out. There is a good chance that the discussion will pivot away from talk of expanding the powers of the current prefectures and municipalities, turnin…

Ishihara Shintarō’s New Party and the “Third Force” in Japanese Politics2012.11.16

Eighty-year-old Ishihara Shintarō has put the cat among the pigeons again, announcing that he will resign from his position as governor of Tokyo in order to form a new political party and stand as a candidate in the next elections for the House of Representatives. Ishihara caused an international furor earlier this year with his plans for the metropolitan government to purchase the disputed Senkak…

“Osaka Metropolis” Plan Faces Many Hurdles2012.10.16

During the ordinary session of the Diet, new legislation was passed on August 29 that enables the creation of an “Osaka Metropolis,” as advocated by Osaka Mayor Hashimoto Tōru. The surging popularity of Hashimoto has propelled an extraordinarily rapid realignment of the ruling and opposition parties. Still, despite the passage of aforementioned legislation, some party officials foresee diffic…

The New Parties’ Political Impact2012.07.30

Chances for Coalition and Cooperation

In the second half of 2012, with an eye on the potential political landscape following a general election, Japan’s ruling and opposition parties will escalate their leadership struggles in preparation for a possible early dissolution of the Diet. The ruling Democratic Party of Japan and the opposition Liberal Democratic Party are both s…

Should the Public Elect the Prime Minister?2012.06.25

The current Constitution of Japan was drawn up shortly after World War II. Over the years there has been much discussion of proposed amendments, though none have been adopted. One issue that is currently the object of increasing attention in this connection is the idea of electing the prime minister by popular vote. Until recently politicians have generally been cooler to this idea than the gene…

Discretionary Local Taxes Gain Traction2012.05.28

Taxes independently imposed by local governments are in the news. The spark that ignited the interest is a toll scheme introduced by the city of Izumisano for the access bridge to Kansai International Airport, which is located on an artificial island in Osaka Bay. Kawabata Tatsuo, minister of internal affairs and communications, has now given the green light to this scheme. Hashimoto Tōru, Osaka’…

Japan’s Stagnating Attempts at Regional Government Reform2012.05.15

After starting in a flurry of ambitious activity, Prime Minister Noda Yoshihiko’s attempts to shake up the regional branches of central government have stalled. Branch offices (desaki kikan in Japanese) are the huge subsidiary arms of central government ministries that exist in all of Japan’s regions. Trimming these behemoths down and making them more efficient by transferring their functions t…

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