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China Executes Japanese Senior Citizen

Today, Chinese authorities executed a Japanese man for drug smuggling. This marks the first execution of a Japanese national in China since the two countries normalized relations in 1972. Officials in Beijing also made Japanese politicians aware that they are scheduling three more executions of Japanese prisoners this week.

New Chinese Ambassador to Tokyo Will Improve Relations

Cheng Yonghua kicked-off a new diplomatic mission to Tokyo this morning. The new Ambassador arrived on Sunday and will be busy from the beginning. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao is planning on making an official state visit to Japan in the spring. The announcement of Cheng as Beijing's representative to Japan is expected, in some ways to bridge the divide between the two major economies of Asia.

Japanese Police Getting Slightly More Proactive

Police in Japan are remarkably reactive and don't spend much time or energy working on crime prevention. Besides stopping the occasional cyclist and verifying ownership of said bicycle, offering directions or taking a spin on their scooters, they remain very low-key, but they are a constant presence. The officers are largely relegated to their small community police boxes that are centrally located close to train stations all over the country. The policing approach has been one that is based on police officers maintaining a visible presence.

Tweet Tweet; Hatoyama Gone Digital

In a bid to capture the attention of a cell phone obsessed nation and in order to appeal to younger voters, Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has stolen from the political play book of successful American politicians including Barak Obama. Hatoyama's office recently launched his blog and a Twitter account to connect the Prime Minister with the public.

Yokozuna Asashoryu- Undisputed Champion

The most talked about, despised and loved Sumo Wrestler of our era has opted for retirement. The Mongolian Powerhouse that has dominated Japan's National Sport since being promoted to the rank of Yokozuna in 2003 has given in to pressure to bow out of the sport as his latest controversy surfaces.

Foreigners Shouldn't vote in Japan.

The debate about opening the polls to long time residents of Japan, who are not citizens has been raging in Japan for months now. The current discussion is focused on whether Japan should adopt legislation to extend voting rights to Permanent Residents, who are not Japanese Citizens.

Unpaid Overtime is Killing MacDonald's Managers

Japan is notorious for the long hours of work that companies expect from their employees. This service overtime is unpaid overtime that a company expects and often demands from employees. Periodically this culture of unpaid overtime ends up killing otherwise healthy employees who cannot physically handle the stress and the hours involved. The Japanese have a word (karoshi) which translates to roughly “death from overwork.” The latest death by overwork scandal is levied against McDonald's and is winding its way through courts here in Japan.

Financial Irregularities threaten Hatoyama and Ozawa

Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), Secretary General Ichiro Ozawa are under constant criticism by the Japanese media, regarding some allegedly sketchy financial deals and some questionable election funding. The continued probes are limiting the ability of the Democrats to govern effectively. As of Monday the DPJ will be beginning their first ordinary Diet session and will be under increased attack from the Liberal Democrats regarding the financial affairs of the both Hatoyama and Ozawa.

International Parents on Edge in Japan

A Tennessee man was arrested in Fukouka a few months ago for trying to “kidnap” his children. The arrest lead to international media attention. Christopher Savoie, was jailed for attempting to “snatch back his children from his estranged wife,” in September of 2009. (1) The case has put a human face on the problem of foreign nationals losing their rights to interact with their children after their estranged spouses return to Japan without the consent of the other parent.

Liberal Democrats forced to adapt

The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) of Japan is an institution. The party had controlled the government of Japan for fifty years, relatively uninterrupted. However, with a bitter defeat in last year's election by the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), the once long serving party is in transition. The Liberal Democrats will not be returning to power, unless they restructure internally and provide some direction for the country.

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