Kuchikomi

Staying at home during pandemic: Damned if you do, damned if you don’t

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“Stay home,” is the expert and official advice to a population struggling with a “third wave” of coronavirus infection. But staying home too much isn’t healthy, says Shukan Shincho (Jan 14). It weakens you physically, enervates you mentally, isolates you socially. Seniors are especially at risk, the magazine warns. Beyond… Read

Kuchikomi

Tokyo area theme parks remodel themselves while waiting out pandemic

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Since last year, several of the major amusement and theme parks in the greater Tokyo area have successively been undergoing major renovations. J-Cast News (Jan 11) considers the factors affecting leisure business. The preponderant motivation has been the aging and weathering of the facilities. But their corporate management has also… Read

Kuchikomi

Predictions for 2021: Crime, Olympics and data theft in magazine's spotlight

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In its second issue of the new year, Asahi Geino (Jan. 14) served up a list of "extreme predictions" for 2021.  Concerning crime, for example, the magazine warned of the likelihood of various scams connected with the eventual rollout of COVID vaccine. Turf wars are expected to break out between… Read

Kuchikomi

Japan's middle class slowly sinking into poverty

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An astonishing fact: 92 percent of Japanese consider themselves middle-class, according to a labor ministry report published in 2019. That seems to clash with another fact: that nearly 40 percent of Japan’s work force is employed on a part-time or temporary basis, earning less and more vulnerable to layoffs than… Read

Kuchikomi

Police still hoping killer's DNA will break 20-year-old Setagaya multiple murder case

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Tokyoites who arose on the morning of Jan 1, 2001 with hopeful expectations for the new year and new millennium were greeted instead with shocking news headlines: "Police suspect burglary after family found slain at home." In police parlance, the official name is "Kamisoshigaya 3-chome family of four murder case." The murders of four family members Mikio… Read

Kuchikomi

Will a pastoral town in Nagano be the model for a 'super smart city' of the future?

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Just before 3 p.m. on a certain day in November, a compact drone came softly buzzing over the public meeting hall, located in Hase-Nakao district of Ina City, Nagano Prefecture. It landed precisely at a predetermined spot, and a volunteer removed a pink-colored package. After receiving a battery replacement, the… Read

Kuchikomi

Elderly seeking marriage partners as corona intensifies sadness and insecurity of being alone

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A chill, rainy, late October evening – would anyone show up? “What if I’m the only one there?” fretted a man in his 60s as  he made his way to the venue. He needn’t have worried. As he settled in, making one of six men and six women, his mood brightened.… Read

Kuchikomi

Spanish flu pandemic 100 years ago helped wipe one Japanese village off the map

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It may seem surprising, but for centuries Japan was one of the world's largest producers of copper. Its largest and best known mine was the notorious Ashio copper mine in Tochigi Prefecture. Operated by the Furukawa consortium, the pollutants from its smelter in the late 19th century caused untold suffering… Read

Kuchikomi

Coronavirus forcing more and more women into poverty

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Early this year “Mikako Masuda” (a pseudonym, like all the names in this story) quit a low-paying job and went back to school. She was 31 and tired, after eight years of irregular, precarious and meaningless employment, of going nowhere in life. Her heart was set on change. She would… Read

Kuchikomi

'Corona glossary' offers advice for safeguarding seniors this winter

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With COVID-19 cases now on the upsurge in Japan, how does one assess one's risk of contracting the disease? Shukan Bunshun (Dec 17) compiled these tips, in an article titled "A Corona Glossary for People from Age 60 Onwards."  The point Bunshun hopes to make is by no means academic.… Read

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