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Reuters blog archive

from Photographers' Blog:

The samurai and survivors of Fukushima

Fukushima, Japan

By Damir Sagolj

Shortly after the mandatory evacuation was announced on television, Fumio Okubo put on his best clothes and his daughter-in-law served up his favorite dinner. By morning, the 102-year-old was dead. He had hanged himself before dawn.

GALLERY: BROKEN LIVES OF FUKUSHIMA

A rope knitted from plastic bags is certainly not a tanto knife. Nor was his death a dramatic one, with the public in attendance and blood all around but what an old farmer did that morning recalls the act of a samurai in ancient times - to die with honor. Okubo, who was born and lived his entire life between Iitate's rice fields and cedar trees, wanted to die in his beautiful village, here and nowhere else.

For most people on Japan’s eastern coast - at least for those survivors who lost nobody and nothing - the true horror of the powerful earthquake and tsunami it triggered was over quickly. But for many unfortunate souls in otherwise prosperous Fukushima prefecture, March 11, 2011 was just the start of what for me is one of the most heart-rending stories I have ever covered outside the misery of the developing world.

The unimaginable happened. A nuclear power plant, the pride of Fukushima, was overwhelmed by the monster wave, setting off a series of disasters that never stopped. The result is equally disastrous: two and a half years later, Fukushima looks worse than ever. Once the government realized the initial scale of destruction and the threat of radiation, over 300,000 people were evacuated. Towns and villages were abandoned and lives broken. People were in shock. Only a few, Fumio Okubo among them, knew this was not something that would be over in a week or so.

from Full Focus:

Broken lives of Fukushima

Damir Sagolj, who covered the impact of the 2011 Sendai tsunami and the following Fukushima disaster returned to the region to document the lives of people who were impacted by the tragedy. Read Damir's personal account of what he witnessed inside the evacuation zone here.

from Breakingviews:

Tokyo Electron takeover is no template for Japan

By Una Galani
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.

Foreign acquirers have long-struggled to make headway in Japan. That makes Applied Material’s recent takeover of Tokyo Electron an interesting case study. The U.S. tech firm wooed its smaller rival with an all-stock merger and the promise of shared governance. However, the model may not work so easily elsewhere.

from Breakingviews:

An Abenomics lesson on politics for Uncle Sam

By Rob Cox
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Two years ago, there was no gloomier place than Japan. The country was recovering from the horrific devastation of the Fukushima earthquake and tsunami. Fearful of radiation poisoning, Tokyoites were purchasing Geiger counters and eschewing vegetables. The government was a thicket of finger-pointing, evasion and paralysis.

from Breakingviews:

Bond-buying helps Japan’s banks more than economy

By Andy Mukherjee

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

The Bank of Japan’s bond-buying is proving to be more of a blessing for the country’s lenders than for the deflation-stricken economy. The central bank’s spending spree has allowed lenders to offload 12 percent of their holdings of government debt this year.

from Breakingviews:

M&A diplomacy features in $29 bln tech deal

By Robert Cyran
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Applied Materials and Tokyo Electron have showcased M&A diplomacy in their $29 billion deal. The U.S.-based producer of semiconductor-making equipment heeded local sensitivities and ceded governance duties in the proposed acquisition of its Japanese rival. At the same time, most of the financial benefits will accrue to its own shareholders. The merger is a delicate inauguration of Abenomics-style corporate reform.

from Breakingviews:

Japan’s bond market calm hides fiscal disquiet

By Andy Mukherjee

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

The calm in the Japanese government bond market is hiding growing fiscal disquiet. After briefly shooting up to 1 percent in May, yields on 10-year JGBs are back down to 0.74 percent, even as inflation expectations have firmed up. This Zen-like state of affairs is all the more striking considering that interest rates are increasing across the Western world as investors anticipate an end to the cheap money of the post-financial crisis era.

from Breakingviews:

Suntory pays up to quench thirst for Japan escape

By Una Galani

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.

Suntory is paying up to quench its thirst for overseas growth. The newly-listed Japanese firm wants to double its sales by 2020, partly through foreign acquisitions. To help achieve that goal, it’s paying GlaxoSmithKline 1.4 billion pounds ($2.1 billion) in cash for British brands Lucozade and Ribena. That’s a big premium to reduce its exposure to a tough domestic market.

from Breakingviews:

Japan index: Wages and consumption stymie recovery

By Andy Mukherjee

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Firmer prices, stronger bank lending and higher manufacturing output helped the Breakingviews Abenomics Index reverse half the previous month’s decline in July. But unless wages and spending rise, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will struggle to win his war against deflation.

from Breakingviews:

Japan’s Olympic boost will be mostly psychological

By Peter Thal Larsen

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Japan’s Olympic boost will be mostly psychological rather than financial. Tokyo’s victory in the race to host the 2020 summer Games will help Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s efforts to rebuild the country’s confidence. But expectations that an Olympian investment spree will lift Japan out of deflation are as misplaced as fears that it will trigger a debt crisis.

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