Browse By

All posts by Michael Penn

A Conservative Victory in Ginowan

In the closely watched mayoral election in Ginowan city, which hosts the controversial US Marines Futenma Air Base, conservative incumbent Atsushi Sakima won reelection to a second term. Mayor Sakima faced a stiff challenge from Keiichiro Shimura, who had the backing of Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga and the “All Okinawa” forces opposing construction of the US Marines airbase at Henoko beach.

A Reality Check on Islam in Japan

The US debate about Muslims and terrorism has become so extreme that it seems almost any claim, no matter how farfetched and at variance with the facts, can gain wide traction so long as it corresponds with popular prejudices. One recurring meme that illustrates this tendency is the notion that terrorism does not exist in Japan, and the reason is that the Japanese have adopted strict measures to keep Muslims out of the country. These notions promoted mainly by US conservatives are simply wrong on so many levels that it almost seems pointless to address such ignorant and lazy-minded arguments.

Timeline of Hashimoto Parties in National Politics

Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto was still near the peak of his popularity when he announced in September 2012 that he would be moving into national politics. Simply by putting out the call, enough lawmakers gathered to his banner to establish a new political party meant to represent the Osaka Restoration Association’s interests at the national level. Today, in an echo from three years ago, Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto is once again signalling his intention to launch a new political party meant to represent the Osaka Restoration Association’s interests at the national level.

Trump, Cruz, and Shinzo Abe’s Constitutionalism

Leading Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has been making waves with radical policy notions from the day he announced his run for his party’s nomination. He took this to a whole new level on August 16 when he released a five-page report entitled, “Immigration Reform That Will Make America Great Again.” Briefly noted within a subsection called—ironically enough—“Defend The Laws And Constitution Of The United States,” Trump called for “ending birthright citizenship.”

Under Surveillance in Tokyo

The first sign that something was amiss occurred at Tokyo Disneyland. Hassan was at a ride with his three young boys when he noticed a man who seemed out of place. The man was a tall, clean-cut Japanese man, perhaps in his mid-30s, who was all alone at a location where everyone else had children. Why was an adult man hanging out at a children’s ride? Hassan thought it was strange, but he says that it was from that day forward that his life took a change for worse.

Japan’s Anti-Nuclear Movement at High Tide

On the day before the planned restart of the Sendai Nuclear Power Plant in Kagoshima Prefecture, the Shingetsu News Agency is re-releasing the 22-minute documentary it made during the summer of 2012. Looking back from today’s perspective, we can now perceive that the anti-nuclear movement was at its high tide at that period.