On November 20, 2019, Tokyo police arrested a drug suspect. This time it was a 32-year-old Norwegian university student named Ingrid Martinussen, who is autistic. This case is a crystal clear example of Japan’s irrational approach to its war on drugs and of a legal system which has spun out of control.
A new art movement in Tokyo seeks to help Japanese young people find their individuality.
“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 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.
In a case of marked progress for Japan’s LGBT community, Ibaraki has become the first prefectural government to recognize same-sex couples through its issuance of “partnership declaration certificates.”
Yumi Ishikawa, an actress and model, launched #KuToo about sexist workplace rules in Japan requiring women to wear high heels. A campaign collected over 23,000 signatures against the women’s high heel dress code.
Given that Japan is likely to host more foreign residents and tourists in the future, it is necessary for such residents and visitors to the country to remain respectful and mindful of the fact that they are not under the jurisdiction of their home country’s more familiar legal system.