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The Washington Post: Japan’s population shrank by its largest amount on record in 2014. Roughly 1.001 million people were born and 1.269 million people died last year, leaving the country with 268,000 fewer people overall.
Washington Times: “A Japanese man who had been kidnapped by family members and subjected to violent attempts to renounce his religion has won a court ruling against his captors, an outcome religious freedom advocates applaud while saying more needs to done to stop religious oppression in Japan.”
The Guardian: What happens to a country when its young people stop having sex? Japan is finding out… Abigail Haworth investigates.
AP: A Japanese court on Monday ordered a group of anti-Korean activists to pay a Korean school in Kyoto 12 million yen ($120,000) in compensation for disturbing classes and scaring children by holding “hate speech” rallies outside the school.
Wall Street Journal (Japan): The bottom line: Although there’s little overt discrimination — legislated or popular — against “sexual minorities,” as Japanese officialdom terms them, there’s also little support for recognizing or legalizing unions between same-sex couples.
CNSNews: Taro Aso, Japan’s 72-year-old finance minister, says he’s worried about the financial burden that end-of-life care is placing on his country.
Telegraph: Researchers from Kyoto University successfully turned stem cells into eggs in mice, which went on to give birth to healthy and fertile offspring. The technique can either be used with stem cells taken from embryos, or ones created artificially from other adult cells such as skin, according to their study published in the Science journal.
AP: A car carrying the U.S. ambassador to China was mildly damaged after becoming the target of boisterous anti-Japan demonstrators who were expressing outrage over a territorial dispute and marking the 81st anniversary of Japan’s invasion of China.
The Telegraph: A senior advisor to the Chinese government has called for an attack on the Japanese bond market to precipitate a funding crisis and bring the country to its knees, unless Tokyo reverses its decision to nationalise the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu islands in the East China Sea.
Free Beacon: China’s most powerful military leader, in an unusual public statement, last week ordered military forces to prepare for combat, as Chinese warships deployed to waters near disputed islands and anti-Japan protests throughout the country turned violent.
Washington Times: The yuan and the yen — the currencies of Asia’s two biggest economies — started direct trading Friday in Tokyo and Shanghai. …
Pat Buchanan at Townhall: The gravest problem facing the Land of the Rising Sun is that it is dying. The sun that set on the Japanese Empire in 1945 has begun to set on the Japanese nation. A week before the anniversary of 3/11, buried in a story about Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s effort to rally support for a doubling of the 5 percent consumption tax, to preserve Japan’s social security system, was this startling statement: “We’re faced with an aging society and a declining birth rate unprecedented in the history of mankind.”
Susan Yoshihara at Human Events: A new government report from Tokyo says the country will lose a million people a year for the next several decades — plummeting from 127 million to 86 million — witnessing a 30 percent collapse in population by 2060.
KITV Honolulu: When CNN met Frances Herbert and Takako Ueda this summer, they were newlyweds – legally married in Vermont – but worried that Ueda would be required to return to her native Japan.
Investors.com: Leaked cables show Japan nixed a presidential apology to Hiroshima and Nagasaki for using nukes to end the overseas contingency operation known as World War II.
Times Of India: The European Union, Japan and the United States are already providing $30 billion a year to help poorer nations combat global warming and this Green Climate Fund will be channeling $100 billion a year by 2020.
The Hill: Vice President Biden will tout the debt ceiling deal during a trip to China and Japan, two holders of huge amounts of U.S. debt.
ENInews¦ Featured Articles: In the wake of the destruction and surrender of the Japanese empire in August 1945, a “spiritual vacuum” emerged that the country’s de-facto ruler, General Douglas MacArthur, sought to fill with religious and quasi-religious beliefs still new to Japan, from Christianity to Freemasonry. That is the focus of a recently published study of the Occupation years of 1945 to 1952 by Japanese investigative journalist Eiichiro Tokumoto. In “1945 Under the Shadow of the Occupation: The Ashlar and The Cross,”
Japan Times: penly gay candidate Taiga Ishikawa won a seat in the Toshima Ward Assembly in Tokyo in Sunday’s election, marking a historic first.
LifeSiteNews: “With Japan’s well-below-replacement-level birth rate, and an ever-increasing number of deaths, the country’s population figures showed a decline of 123,000 in 2010, the fourth consecutive year of demographic collapse.”
Kotaku: “The birthrate in Japan is declining, leaving a big question mark on the country’s future. This didn’t begin when young males started reading comics or playing video games, but with the breakdown of the traditional family structure in the years after World War II, which meant that grandparents not longer lived with their children, putting an increasing burden on new mothers.”
Breitbart: “One-third of Japanese men aged 16 to 19 were uninterested in or even averse to sex as of last year, doubling from 2008, a government survey showed Wednesday.”
Christian Science Monitor: “‘Shanghai-China’ outperformed all other global participants in an average of the three areas of evaluation (math, science, and reading). South Korea (2), Hong Kong-China (4), Singapore (5), and Japan (8) also placed in the the top 10. Non-Asian countries in the top 10 were Finland (3), Canada (6), New Zealand (7), Australia (9), and The Netherlands (10). The US was no. 17.”
Karen Sloan writes at the National Law Journal: “Other countries face much larger problems when it comes to regulating the number of law students and quality of legal education. Legal educators from India, China, Japan and France spoke at Harvard Law School Friday during a panel discussion about the challenges they face in producing an appropriate number of good lawyers.”
Associated Press: “A security expert and China hawk, Japan’s new foreign minister has already taken a tough stance toward Beijing amid escalating diplomatic tension over a territorial dispute between the two Asian giants.”
Associated Press: “The figures underscore China’s emergence as an economic power that is changing everything from the global balance of military and financial power to how cars are designed. It is already the biggest exporter, auto buyer and steel producer, and its global influence is expanding.”
Yukari Semba, Kaori Muto, Hyunsoo Hong, Chiungfang Chang, Ayako Kamisoto, and Minori Kokado, Surrogacy: Donor Conception Regulation in Japan. Bioethics, Vol. 24, Issue 7, pp. 348-357, September 2010. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1654083 or doi:10.1111/j.1467-8519.2009.01780.x
As of 2008, surrogacy is legal and openly practised in various places; Japan, however, has no regulations or laws regarding surrogacy. This paper reports the situation of surrogacy in Japan and in five other regions (the USA, the UK, Taiwan, Korea and France) to clarify the pros and cons of prohibiting surrogacy, along with the problems and issues relating to surrogacy compensation.”
Telegraph: “[The divorce ceremony] – a bizarre, but increasingly popular ritual among Japanese couples, who choose to end their marriages with the same pomp and ceremony with which they began them. … Yet with divorce still something of a taboo in Japanese society, the ceremonies have caught on as a way to publicly formalise the separation in a way that is socially acceptable to friends and family.”
AP: “A Japanese scientist who created the equivalent of embryonic stem cells from ordinary skin cells has won one of this year’s Kyoto Prizes and will receive a $550,000 prize.”
CNN: “Both the upper and lower houses of Japan’s parliament elected Finance Minister Naoto Kan to be the nation’s new prime minister Friday, following the resignation of Yukio Hatoyama from the post earlier this week.”
AP: “Some Japanese women who in their childhood were victims of pornography have written about their fears and anguish in being betrayed by adults they had trusted, and in imagining that lewd images of themselves as young children could be still circulating around the world on the Internet . . . ”
Breitbart (AP): “A Japanese government working group released a plan Thursday to have Internet service providers block access to child pornography sites as soon as they are found, without waiting for the operators of such sites to comply with requests to delete them.”
Chiesso.Espressonline.it: “One suicide every 15 minutes, in the most efficient country in the world. An exclusive survey analyzes the reasons. The bishop and the nuncio: there is an absence of faith in a personal God, in a people that honors eight million gods.”
Religion Clause Blog: “Japan’s Supreme Court yesterday ruled that the city of Sunagawa violated the Japanese Constitution when it allowed city-owned land to be used without charge as a site for a Shinto shrine.”
AP: “A study group of government officials and scholars is preparing a report that calls for establishing a legal provision to restrict parental rights as a way to curb child abuses, sources familiar about an outline of the report said Wednesday.”
Japan Times: “There were about 256,000 abortions in 2007, or 9.3 per 1,000 women aged 15 to 49, the lowest figure so far, according to the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry. The number had been decreasing steadily since the 1950s, when there were between 40 and 50 abortions per 1,000 women of child-bearing age.”
CNBC: “The US is too dependent on Japan and China buying up the country’s debt and could face severe economic problems if that stops, Tiger Management founder and chairman Julian Robertson told CNBC.”
Global Post: “In the country with the lowest birth rate in the world, the newly empowered Democratic Party of Japan has proposed a solution: pay to procreate. As part of the manifesto that helped the DPJ rout the long-ruling Liberal Democratic Party in last month’s election, families will receive 26,000 yen (about $280) per month for each child through junior high school.”
LifeNews: “The Japanese people made Sunday’s national elections a history one by making it so the ruling Liberal Democratic Party lost power for only the second time in the post-World War II era. A demographer says he thinks he knows the reason why: the nation’s underpopulation crisis.”
The Japan Times: “The nation’s gay and lesbian community, which has long been calling for an antidiscrimination law to protect their rights, has seen similar bills proposed and scrapped in the Diet for nearly a decade. The likelihood that the Democratic Party of Japan, the last party to submit such a bill, will dominate the powerful House of Representatives in an alliance with the Social Democratic Party, which speaks out for homosexual rights, has raised hopes that the inertia may at last be overcome.”
Christian Science Monitor:
In form, all modern East and Southeast Asian governments are secular in the first sense of the term defined by Taylor. They are based on constitutions that do not ground the state’s legitimacy on beliefs in realities that transcend this world and do not privilege any particular kind of religious belief. They relegate religious belief to the private sphere. Even the constitution of the People’s Republic of China guarantees freedom of religious belief as long as it is kept private—so private that it is not expressed in any venue that is not approved and regulated by the state. East and Southeast Asian governments arrived at their present-day secular constitutions through various, often tortuous, paths throughout the course of the 20th century, but, in formal terms at least, they conform to North Atlantic models of state neutrality with respect to religion. This is an example the sociologist John Meyer and his collaborators would call global “institutional isomorphism,” a tendency of political, economic, and cultural institutions around the world to assume a uniform style of formal organization (based on Western templates).
Erin Irving writes at EdNews: Much is expected of Japanese students, but still, apparently the idea of expecting children to sit all day with only five-minute breaks in between classes is archaic and ridiculous. Japanese schools have learned that children …
The Washington Post reports: “I have never met a Japanese man who did not want me to be his mommy.” . . . “I want a mature, equal-partner kind of marriage,” she said. “Anyway, there are complete lives without a …
LifeNews.com reports: “There was a time in Japan that major corporations and small businesses could get away with hiring part-time or temporary employees. But with a worker shortage prompted by decades of legalized abortions, Japanese companies are now forced to …
“A major Japanese Buddhist temple withdrew Friday from a plan to host the Beijing Olympics torch relay, citing safety concerns and sympathy among its monks and worshippers for Tibetan protesters facing a Chinese crackdown.”