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Timely essays by specialists, scholars, and journalists interpreting the latest developments in Japan and around the world.

Learning from the Experience of Mixed-Race JapaneseShimoji Lawrence Yoshitaka

Sociology researcher Shimoji Lawrence Yoshitaka looks at how mixed-race citizens are treated differently in Japanese society, presenting some of the stories of the people he has interviewed.

What’s in a Name? Mixed Race and Identity in JapanShimoji Lawrence Yoshitaka

The number of Japanese citizens with mixed roots is rising. This article focuses on the wide variety of names for people in this group and the social background surrounding them since World War II.

A Turning Point for Japan-Iran Relations

Japan’s relations with Iran have reached a turning point. As Japan and the United States discuss American sanctions against Iran, Japan’s petroleum wholesalers have decided to curtail imports of Iranian oil. Middle East expert and former diplomat Tanaka Kōichirō reviews the history of Japan-Iran relations from the first oil shock and the Islamic Revolution to the Iran-Iraq War, the Gulf War, and circumstances today.

Japan Explores the Potential for Air MobilityTakahashi Shintarō

Drone technology is opening the way to automated air transport of passengers and cargo. Excitement is growing in Japan as a new “traffic revolution” in urban air mobility unfolds. A government-led council including representatives of the private sector was set up in August to draft a 2018 roadmap for developing the technology and the regulations that will be required.

Fair Play in Short Supply: Japan’s Amateur Sports Scandals Highlight Need for Better GovernanceTakamine Osamu

Japan has seen a spate of sports scandals recently, such as misappropriation of funds by the president of the Japan Amateur Boxing Federation, power harassment by a coach of the national women’s wrestling team, and indecent behavior by national basketball team players. The author analyzes the cause of these incidents and suggests approaches for improving governance in amateur sports.

Japan’s Inbound Tourism Boom and the Diversity DividendWarren A. Stanislaus

Inbound tourism to Japan has more than tripled in recent years, and the country is looking to grow these numbers still more to enhance its economy and its global cultural presence. In doing so, it should look for ways to market itself to—and work with—black and other minority market segments to achieve truly diverse growth in the sector.

Okinawa Election Sends Message of DefianceFukumoto Daisuke

On September 30, Tamaki Denny won the Okinawa gubernatorial election on a pledge to block US military construction at Henoko, defeating a candidate heavily backed by Japan’s political establishment. Journalist Fukumoto Daisuke, who has covered US base issues for years, comments on the election’s significance.

Japan’s New “Kitchen”: Famed Tsukiji Market Relocates to ToyosuKawamoto Daigo

Trading has finally begun at the new Toyosu wholesale market, whose opening was delayed for two years following revelations of contaminated soil and groundwater. Workers appear surprisingly upbeat and intent on building a brand image rivaling that of the celebrated Tsukiji market.

American Bases and the Generation Gap in OkinawaNakamura Kiyoshi

For many young people in Okinawa today, the US bases are no longer the most important issue. Increasingly, they care more about issues like poverty and inequality that affect them directly. The victory of Tamaki Denny in the recent gubernatorial election offers new hope for intergenerational understanding in an Okinawa where public opinion is changing fast.

Cloudy Skies Ahead for Abe ShinzōFujino Kiyomitsu

Following his September victory in the LDP presidential election, Abe Shinzō entered his final three-year term as party head. Can he avoid becoming a lame duck in his last years as prime minister? And what will the post-Abe landscape look like? A longtime political journalist takes a look.

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