July 23, 2017

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Political Stories

  • Nagata-cho and Kasumigaseki

    It is common for English-language news reports to use a country's capital to refer to the government of that country. For example, "Washington" refers to the government of the United States, and "Beijing" refers to…

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  • Hibakusha

    Hibakusha (被爆者) is a Japanese word used to refer to people whose health was damaged by the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. According to the Ministry of Health and Labor, the total number of hibakusha in…

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  • Prime Minister “Ayb”

    I have met a couple of Americans who refer to Japanese Prime Minister Abe as “ayb” instead of “ah-beh.” After I tell them the proper pronunciation of his name, they do not mispronounce it anymore.…

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  • Constitution and Martial Arts

    One day, when I met a foreigner in Tokyo, I asked him what had brought him to Japan. His reply was, "Kenpo." In Japanese, "kenpo" is the word for "Constitution." So I asked him, "You…

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  • Sunagawa Case

    In 1955, the US government decided to enlarge several existing bases in Japan, including the Tachikawa base in Sunagawa. However, local residents were strongly opposed to the enlargement of this base, and this led to…

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  • Conscription

    Under the Constitution of the Empire of Japan, conscription was mandatory for Japanese citizens. However, under the new Constitution which was established after the end of WWII, conscription is forbidden. Although the Constitution does not…

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  • Kaketsuke Keigo

    Kaketsuke Keigo ( 駆けつけ警護) is a commonly used phrase that indicates that if the SDF is engaged in PKO activities and foreign military officials or civilians (like NGO workers) are endangered, then the SDF will “kaketsuke” (run fast)…

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