Raw Japan

Slices of Japanese business, politics and life

from Photographers' Blog:

Dark side of Japan’s pet boom

Approximately one and a half million unwanted dogs have been put to death in public animal management centers across Japan in the last ten years.

It was a very surprising figure for me as I had only been covering Japan’s colorful and luxurious pet boom, so I decided to shed some light on the dark side of the industry.

(View the full text story here)

After more than a year of seeking permission, I was finally given the go-ahead to shoot an animal management center in Tokushima and I went on a 745 mile (1,200 km) long journey from Tokyo with my DSRL camera for shooting still and video.

After 8 hours of traveling by car and train, I arrived at the town where I would have two opportunities to witness the euthanasia treatment for unwanted dogs. It became one of the saddest assignments of my life.

from Global News Journal:

Japan’s “political deflation”


"Political deflation" - that's how one quipster described the woes besetting Japan's political sphere as support for both the new ruling party and its main conservative rival slips on concerns that neither side is capable of steering an economy plagued by falling prices, decades of lacklustre growth and a fast-ageing, shrinking population.

Six months after the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) swept to power  for the first time in a landslide election win that ended more than 50 years of almost unbroken rule by the conservative Liberal Democrats, support for Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama's government is only about half the exuberant 70 percent level enjoyed when he took office.

from Left field:

Former Estonian bouncer adds Baltic spice to sumo

Baruto throws his weight around

Baruto throws his weight around

After the nightclub fracas that toppled a Mongolian grand champion from grace who would have thought it would take a former bouncer from Estonia to help clean up the mess in the troubled world of sumo?

The soft-spoken giant Baruto gave the ancient Japanese sport a shot in the arm after sealing his promotion to the sport's second highest rank of "ozeki" with a 14-1 showing at the spring grand sumo tournament less than two months after "yokozuna" Asashoryu quit in disgrace amid a "booze rage" probe.

from Changing China:

Changing China and Raw Japan join Global News Forum

We're merging our Changing China and Raw Japan pages into Global News Journal, our main forum for analysis and discussion on international news. You'll find entries on China here and Japan here. Please join us in our new home.

Small is beautiful


It’s been over two weeks since the final puck was walloped and the last skin-tight lycra suit was hung up at the Vancouver Olympics. 

And while Japan’s poor performance still rankles, the passage of time has given me the chance to find some bright spots in the country’s measly haul of three silver and two bronze medals.

Orix takes aquarium plunge


What do blubbery elephant seals, frail old folk and tranquil Japanese inns have in common?

They’re all things that one Japanese real estate developer has become familiar with as it tries to expand its business from more traditional areas.

Give me my allowance back!


Kids these days can’t get a break. They cop flak from the older generation for their manners, the way they dress, and having it too easy compared with in the good old days.

And now their pocket money has taken a hit.


High school students in Japan saw their allowances fall 11 percent last year to an average 6,045 yen ($68) a month — the lowest since 1990 — according to a recent survey by the Central Council for Financial Services Information.

You’re late, minister!


Forget about funding scandals, budget debate or rifts over foreign policy: the big to-do in Japan’s parliament this morning was over three tardy cabinet ministers.


The upper house budget committee meeting had been scheduled to begin at 8:50 a.m. but had to be delayed until the three showed up, leading to an uproar from the opposition and a short recess.

Go, Johnny, go


Moviegoers in Japan can’t get enough of Johnny Depp: The swashbuckling “Pirates of the Caribbean” star has been named favourite actor for a record seventh straight year in a survey by film magazine Screen.


That topped the previous record of six consecutive years for actress Audrey Hepburn in the early 1960s in Screen’s annual readers poll, which the magazine has been conducting since 1952.

“Sorry” excuse for tsunami


Japanese weather forecasters might have been expected to be cheery after a tsunami that hit the country’s coast on Sunday proved smaller than feared.

Instead, the agency apologised for “crying wolf” when it urged some 1.5 million people to evacuate ahead of a possible major tsunami.