Construction of an interim storage facility for radioactive soil and other debris starts in Futaba, Fukushima Prefecture, in February. The Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant is seen in the background. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
COMMENTARY: Fukushima laments fading memories of nuclear disaster
FUTABA, Fukushima Prefecture--A daily calendar pad on a living room wall in a private home in this northeastern community still showed the fateful date: “March 11, 2011.”
Genichiro Takahashi (Photo by Motooki Hayasaka)
POINT OF VIEW/ Genichiro Takahashi: Prayer for tolerance--the monster is in our midst
The recent hostage crisis in Syria got me thinking about a number of things. For one, only a few people talked about Haruna Yukawa, one of the two hostages presumably slain by Islamic State militants. Granted, many of his actions were hard to comprehend. Does that mean he was an anomaly and unlike any of us?
Side roads leading to high-radiation areas are barricaded along National Route No. 6 in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, on Sept. 15, when a 14-kilometer section was opened to regular traffic for the first time since the Fukushima nuclear accident. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
COMMENTARY: ‘Wishful thinking’ of nuclear insiders must not be allowed to be reborn
FUKUSHIMA--Four years have passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami triggered a triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in March 2011.
Worshippers pray in Jakarta's largest mosque on a recent Friday. (Naoji Shibata)
COMMENTARY: Indonesian society increasingly Islamized, despite diversity
Tokyo Camii, Japan’s largest mosque, located in the capital’s Yoyogi-Uehara district, has been seeing an incessant flow of visitors of late.
President Xi Jinping unveils a sculpture to mark China's first National Memorial Day in Nanjing, China, on the 77th anniversary of the Nanking Massacre on Dec. 13. (AP Photo)
COMMENTARY: Rare military parade to mark China’s victory over Japan--why now?
BEIJING--The National Day celebrations held on Oct. 1, 1984, to mark the 35th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China are remembered by the public in this nation for being particularly unforgettable.
The Tagokura dam stands in the upper reaches of the Tadamigawa river in Tadami, Fukushima Prefecture. The Tagokura community, located over the 145-meter-high concrete dam wall, was submerged. (Toshihide Ueda)
COMMENTARY: Depopulated areas in Fukushima learned bitter lessons from dams
FUKUSHIMA--I recently saw “DamNation,” a documentary film that portrays advocates of dam removal who have turned that goal into a reality in the United States.
Worshippers chant a Buddhist sutra, led by a monk invited from Thailand, at Wat Paknam Japan in Narita, Chiba Prefecture, on Feb. 8. (Ryosuke Ono)
COMMENTARY: Thai expats pray for peace as junta leader visits Japan
NARITA, Chiba Prefecture--A temple built in the Theravada Buddhism style and painted in lively colors emerges on the far side of vegetable fields and a grove of leafless trees. Cold winter winds howl in this city, commonly known as the site of an air gateway to Tokyo.
Foreign trainees call on the government to not use the Technical Intern Training Program to secure construction workers at a meeting in Tokyo in June. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
POINT OF VIEW/ Eiji Oguma: Enduring abuse works against developing human rights awareness
Those who are insensitive to their own human rights are insensitive to the human rights of others as well, to say nothing of the human rights of foreigners.
In “The Founding Ceremony of China” painted by Dong Xiwen in 1952, six vice chairpersons stand in the front row behind Chairman Mao Tse-tung. Liu Shaoqi is second from left, while Gao Gang is at the far right. (Photo by Koichi Furuya)
COMMENTARY: Historical painting testament to political whims of China's leaders
BEIJING--At a recent exhibition to mark the centennial of the birth of painter Dong Xiwen (1914-1973), the first thing that caught my eye was his work “The Founding Ceremony of China” (Kaiguo Dadian), which is painted in lively colors.
Genichiro Takahashi (Photo by Motooki Hayasaka)
POINT OF VIEW/ Genichiro Takahashi: Daring to be all alone rather than join a hysterical call for ‘freedom of expression’
Two Japanese were taken hostage by the extremist Islamic State group. The situation remained uncertain when I was writing this column late on Tuesday (Jan. 27).
Subramanian, left, with daughter Subbulakshmi and son Vetriselvan, in Nagapattinam, India, in December (Ryosuke Ono)
COMMENTARY: 10 years after Indian Ocean tsunami, memories of lost kin remain as dear as ever
NAGAPATTINAM, India--I see a plume of smoke rising toward the sky from a beach that is shimmering under the scorching rays of the sun. Coming closer, I recognize the boy looking at a bonfire. He said he is burning his dead mother's sari.
The Oma nuclear power plant, foreground, under construction in Oma, Aomori Prefecture, in May. Hakodate, in Hokkaido, is seen in the background over the Tsugaru Strait. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
COMMENTARY: Utilities running a shell game in relying on nuclear power over renewable energy
When regional utilities calculated how much electricity generated with renewable energy sources they can purchase from businesses and individuals, they resorted to gimmicks to continue to place an unrealistic reliance on nuclear power.
Diana Sierra, third from left, and Heather Swell, center, with other fellows at Halcyon House in Washington, D.C. (Provided by Halcyon Incubator)
Halcyon Incubator offers opportunity to innovators with a vision
When you think of venture firms in America, Silicon Valley is likely to come to mind, but there are also a growing number of firms in Washington, D.C. Some even call Washington, D.C., “the Silicon Valley of the east.”
Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko acknowledge well-wishers from the Imperial Palace veranda on Jan. 2. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
COMMENTARY: Poems by empress show how she takes world’s problems for her own
A senior colleague of mine from the days when I was writing for the Shukan Asahi weekly magazine recently sent me a book, which shows a cherry tree covered in blossoms that are almost falling off the cover.
From left, "Champ," Chaturon Chaisang and Pavin Chachavalpongpun (All photos by Naoji Shibata)
COMMENTARY: Thailand is touchstone for Abe’s ‘universal values’
BANGKOK--A Thai graduate student in his early 30s, who goes by the nickname Champ, remains defiant against the military government, which detained him twice after the coup last year.
Ko Wen-je, a doctor who ran as an independent in the Taipei mayoral poll with support from the opposition Democratic Progressive Party, is surrounded by supporters in Taipei on Nov. 27. Ko won the election two days later. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
COMMENTARY: Taiwan poll points to fledgling democracy, triggers Chinese 'charm offensive'
Taiwan’s unified local elections in November ended in a crushing defeat for the ruling Kuomintang (Nationalist Party), giving the opposition Democratic Progressive Party a chance to regain power when the next presidential election is held in early 2016.
Tokai Mayor Tatsuya Murakami speaks at an inaugural news conference of a council of anti-nuclear local government leaders in 2012. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
POINT OF VIEW/ Eiji Oguma: Planned protective measures show real cost of nuclear power
The industry ministry is discussing a new protective measure for nuclear power plants: the contract for difference (CfD) system.
Ken Takakura in 2011 (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
COMMENTARY: Late actor Ken Takakura helped bridge China, Japan
BEIJING--It was the winter of 1978, and an auditorium in a small town in China's Sichuan province was teeming with excitement. More than 1,000 spectators had come to see a Japanese film featuring Ken Takakura (1931-2014).
Thomas Piketty in Paris (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
COMMENTARY: In China, 'rock star' economist addresses 'democracy in the economy'
BEIJING--Last autumn, a French economist arrived in Shanghai to a "rock star" reception.
Genichiro Takahashi (Photo by Motooki Hayasaka)
POINT OF VIEW/ Genichiro Takahashi: Democracy, the ultimate ‘candidate’ to vote for
A few days before the Dec. 14 Lower House election, I was wrapping up my lecture at the university where I teach, when a student from a different class walked in and asked for some time to make an appeal to my students.

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