A roundup of the most significant news stories from Japan reported in the second half of July 2019.
“Japan was postmodern before postmodernism was cool” wrote Douglas McGray in Foreign Policy magazine. While that may be true, Japan has lost control of its own major cultural exports.
The World Health Organization estimates that there will be a shortage of 18 million healthcare workers by 2030. This equates to a 20% gap in the global capacity to provide healthcare services. Japan, which is already grappling with an aging society and its attendant problems, is at the forefront of this crisis.
While Japan and South Korea are locked in an escalating and rather senseless set of retaliatory actions against one another, the rest of the world simply sits on the sidelines, afraid to either take a side or even mediate between the two nations.
The planned construction of the Aegis Ashore missile defense system in Akita has once again suffered a blow as independent, opposition-supported candidate Shizuka Terata won in the House of Councillors election. Terata’s victory owes to the efforts of many in the region who are strongly opposed to the deployment of the facility so close to the city center.
The tragedy at Kyoto-based studio Kyoto Animation, known to its fans as KyoAni, in which arson claimed the lives of 34 workers and injured 35 others, is compounded by the fact that the studio had a reputation for providing excellent working conditions, a living wage, and permanent staffing in an industry known for relying on exploitive contract-based work.
The #MeToo movement has reached Japan and highlighted the unsavory reality of the female harassment which exists in abundance.
In the 1980s, Brazilians of Japanese heritage immigrated to the country as an initial attempt to meet Japan’s demographic challenge, but the policy resulted in only a mixed success, creating an ethnic community that still struggles to be a full part of Japanese society.
Despite Japan’s generous allowance for childcare leave, many parents are pressured and even punished by their employers for taking advantage of it. Glen Wood, a single father and victim of paternity harassment, has taken his case to court in an attempt to regain his job and bring awareness to the issue of harassment in the workplace.
If progressives truly believe in our values of freedom of expression, equal opportunity, and security, we must stand in solidarity with the Okinawan people.