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DISPATCHES

 

A regular up-date featuring articles written for publications

all over the world by FCCJ Correspondents

Despite Controversy, Hollywood is Mad About Manga

Gavin Blair writes in the Hollywood Reporter that Tinseltown is finally catching on to the potential of Japanese comics

The "whitewashing" furor over the casting of Scarlett Johansson as Kusanagi in the upcoming DreamWorks/Paramount version of the cult manga "Ghost in the Shell" may not be the last. There are a handful of other manga adaptations in various stages of development, and offers are landing on the desks of Tokyo publishing houses for many more Read the article

How Can Japan Settle the Issue of Fukushima Daiichi Tritium?

In Forbes, John Boyd offers his sollution for the operator of the crippled nuclear power plant

Here's the problem in a nutshell--or rather a thimbleful--facing the Japanese government and Tokyo Electric Power Company, the operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. There are over 1,100 large steel tanks brimming with filtered water--except for a low contaminant called tritium--clogging both the plant and an expanding area outside the site.  Read the article

Curse of the Salaryman

Leo Lewis reports in the Financial Times that "as Shinzo Abe seeks reform, Japan's once-heroic symbol of dynamism is proving to be a roadblock"

The May editions of Salaryman and Enterprising Japan are cutting-edge commuter fodder: profiles of star CEO's jostle with critiques of low interest rates, lampoons of office life and a guide to business buzzwords. Adverts peddle craft beers, high-tech watches and electric massage machines to Japan's stressed but rendy white-collar drones. The magazines, though, are from 1936, when moustaches were virtually required work attire and staplers were marketed as the killer business gadget. Read the article

Meet Woman Who Makes Fake Fingers for Reformed Gangsters

The Guardian's Justin McCurry says that Yukako Fukushima crafts lifelike pinkies to help criminals with severed fingers begin a new life

When Yukako Fukushima holds the finger to the light, there is a brief moment when it is indistinguishable from her own, real, digits. Nothing about it screams fake. To the untrained eye, it is flawless. Soon it will be ready for collection by its new owner, one of hundreds of gangsters who have sliced off their pinkies in a ritual show of contrition, and who owe their exit from the underworld and return to mainstream society to Fukushima's prosthetics. Read the article

Survivors Brace for Another Night of Aftershocks

David McNeill reports for the Irish Times on the thousands spending the night huddling in schools, community halls and cars in Kumamoto

On the floor of Kumamoto city hall, the old and young lie side by side on makeshift beds, praying for a few hours of unbroken sleep. "I thought the earthquake would bring the roof crashing down," says Yoko Yano, who fled her home. "I can't go back there." She shares a small corner of the crowded floor with Reiko Miyamura, her elderly friend. Read the article

Japan's Leprosy Sufferers Reflect on Decades of Pain

In the Guardian, Justin McCurry reports on a class action that has lifted the lid on years of mistreatment which saw victims rounded up and condemned to a life of isolation and neglect

Three years after the end of the second world war, Shinji Nakao stepped off a boat on to Nagashima island, convinced that his life was about to take a turn for the better. The 14-year-old had been diagnosed with leprosy, then a widely misunderstood disease that struck fear into its victims and condemned them to decades of appalling treatment at the hands of the Japanese state. Read the article

Encouraging People to Stay in Toyama

In Forbes, John Boyd reports that Toyama is going "back to the future" to become an eco- and techno-friendly city

Faced with a steadily shrinking population a decade ago, Toyama dusted off and spruced up some old technologies like streetcars, waterwheels and hot water, and is using them in clever ways to encourage people to stay. The strategy is working. Whereas Japan's 126-million population decreased by 0.21 percent in 2014, and the population in Toyama Prefecture fell by 0.56 percent, "We have been able to bring people back to the city to offset the decreasing birth-todeath ratio, and this has lowered the population decrease in the city to 0.16 percent," says Toyama City Mayor Masashi Mori. Read the article

Japan and China: Film Friends Forever?

In the Hollywood Reporter, Gavin Blair reports on a possible new era of collaboration in the film sector

Relations between China and Japan, Asia's two biggest economies and entertainment markets, have fluctuated in the decades since they signed a formal Treaty of Peace and Friendship in 1978. Tensions have risen and fallen over historical issues and territorial diputes. Yet for most of that period, business ties contnued to grow. Read the article

Delayed Reconstruction of Their Hearts

In the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Sonja Blaschke writes about how parents whose children died in the tsunami five years ago deal with their grief

Toshiro Sato geht in die Hocke, senkt den Kopf und faltet die Hände zum Gebet. Nach einem kurzen Moment richtet sich der sportlich wirkende 52-Jährige auf und geht schnellen Schrittes voran. Der eisige Wind wirbelt Schneeflocken um das zerstörte Gebäude der Okawa-Grundschule. Im früheren Schulhof öffnen Sato und Hideaki Tadano ihre mitgebrachten Mappen; grossformatige Fotos zeigen einen modernen Bau in Backsteinoptik. «So sah die Schule vorher aus», erklärt Sato. Read the article

Five Years after 3/11

In the Guardian, Justin McCurry writes about the orphans lamenting their parents lost in the 3/11 tsunami

Early next month Takashi Tssuchiya will put on his best suit, take a deep breath and embark on what promises to be a successful academic career. But his parents won't be there to see their son start his engineering degree at one of northeast Japan's best universities. Read the article

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