Hisao Seto, right, the lawyer for the plaintiff, responds to reporters' questions after the Supreme Court ruling denying foreigners the right to receive public assistance July 18. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
EDITORIAL: How to treat nation's foreign residents a burning issue
When foreign residents who are in Japan legally fall into financial hardships, what sort of safety net should be there to ensure that their basic needs are met?
World Trade Organization Director-General Roberto Azevedo with Indonesian trade minister Gita Wirjawan, who served as chairman of the WTO ministerial meeting held in Bali last December (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
EDITORIAL: WTO should be more flexible to establish new global trade rules
With cross-border interactions in the modern world of globalization increasing at a dizzying pace, international efforts to develop rules governing such activity often fail to keep up with reality.
Farmers plant rice in Kiyama, Saga Prefecture. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
EDITORIAL: Food security policy should be more diversified
Japan’s food self-sufficiency rate for fiscal 2013 stood at 39 percent on a calorie basis, remaining unchanged for the fourth consecutive year. There is no prospect for the rate to rise to 50 percent, a key goal set by the government for its food security policy.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Park Geun-hye during the ASEAN summit in Brunei last October (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
EDITORIAL: Wise decisions needed from Abe and Park to ensure good ties
On Aug. 15, the anniversary of the end of World War II, prayers were said across Japan for the repose of the souls of the war dead.
Visitors pray at Chidorigafuchi National Cemetery in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward on Aug. 15. (The Asahi Shimbun)
EDITORIAL: Japan needs meaningful language, not demagogic words, to discuss Aug. 15
On the first Saturday of August, a demonstration was staged in Shibuya, one of Tokyo’s most vibrant shopping areas, where demonstrators repeatedly shouted, “Senso hantai” (No war), under a blazing sun.
Most high school students and half of junior high school students in Japan own cellphones or smartphones, according to a government statistics. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
EDITORIAL: Online relationships a very one-sided thing
There must be many parents in Japan who lament the time their children spend on smartphones while they could be doing other things during the summer break.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe walks to the podium on Aug. 15, 2013, at Nippon Budokan in Tokyo to deliver his speech while Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko look on. He made no mention of the wartime damage inflicted by Japan on Asian nations. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
EDITORIAL: Japan has duty to keep alive lessons of wartime abuse
This year marks the 120th anniversary of the outbreak of the First Sino-Japanese War. When peace was shattered in East Asia, the Tokyo Asahi Shimbun, the predecessor of The Asahi Shimbun, welcomed it in its July 29, 1894, editorial.
From left: Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and his South Korean and Chinese counterparts, Yun Byung-se and Wang Yi, during the foreign ministerial meeting of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Japan, South Korea and China in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, on Aug. 9. (AP Photo)
EDITORIAL: Japan, China and South Korea must not let war anniversaries break diplomatic momentum
The recent meetings between the Japanese foreign minister and his Chinese and South Korean counterparts highlighted afresh the surprising and disturbing fact that the top diplomats had failed to hold talks for so long.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe gives a speech in a ceremony held in the Peace Park in Nagasaki on Aug. 9 to pray for peace. (Haruki Morishita)
EDITORIAL: Japan must pursue a path to a nuclear-free world
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Hiroshima and Nagasaki this month, both of which marked the 69th anniversaries of the atomic bombings. In the ceremonies in both cities, he emphasized determination to realize a world without nuclear weapons.
Pattaramon Chanbua, 21, talks on a mobile phone while holding her son Gammy at a hospital in Chonburi province, southeastern Thailand on Aug. 3. (AP Photo)
EDITORIAL: Down syndrome surrogacy case a cautionary tale for Japan
In a shocking act of trampling on human rights and degrading the dignity of life, an Australian couple has abandoned a child born with Down syndrome to a Thai surrogate they hired. The boy is one of twins carried by the Thai woman, and the couple has returned home from Thailand with the other infant, a healthy girl.
Zensho Holdings Co. President Kentaro Ogawa talks in a news conference in Tokyo on July 31 about a third-party panel’s reports on the dire working conditions of the company’s employees. (Reina Kitamura)
EDITORIAL: Companies eventually pay the price for bad treatment of workers
It was not uncommon for employees at the Sukiya restaurant chain to put in more than 100 hours of overtime each month, which is generally regarded as the threshold for “karoshi,” or death from overwork.
The Osaka prefectural police headquarters in Osaka’s Chuo Ward (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
EDITORIAL: Deep-rooted structural problems behind Osaka crime data scandal
Police in Osaka Prefecture are reeling from a scandal of unprecedented scale after it emerged they failed to report tens of thousands of offenses to improve the prefecture's crime rate figures.
Setsuko Thurlow, a survivor of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Canadian resident, calls for the abolition of nuclear weapons at the International Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons in Nayarit, Mexico, in February. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
EDITORIAL: Ban nuclear weapons on humanitarian grounds
“Remember Hiroshima, Nagasaki,” goes the refrain in “Remember,” a number released last year by singer Shinobu Sato (lyrics by Rei Nakanishi, music by Kisaburo Suzuki). Since then, Sato has been singing this song at concerts all over Japan.
Staff members of a child consultation center rehearse an on-the-spot investigation into a suspected child abuse case in which they rescue a mother and child from abuse by the child’s father in June in Kasugai, Aichi Prefecture. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
EDITORIAL: Multilayered approach needed to prevent child abuse
Child consultation centers across Japan recognized and confirmed a record 73,765 cases of child abuse in fiscal 2013, according to data released recently by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare. The number has broken records for 23 straight years since fiscal 1990, when the ministry started compiling the statistics.
Chinese police officers watch Muslim citizens who gathered at the first service held on May 2 after a deadly blast at the Urumqi South Railway Station in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
EDITORIAL: China's racial policy fuels cycle of violence in Xinjiang region
The Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region is an inland region in far western China that has a large population of Uighur Muslims.
A house in danger of collapsing is torn down in Tokyo’s Ota Ward in May. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
EDITORIAL: Making good use of millions of vacant houses
As many as 8.2 million houses in Japan are unoccupied, accounting for 13.5 percent of all existing houses in this nation. The number has increased by 630,000 from five years ago and is the highest on record, according to latest government data.
Hiroyuki Kawai, a lawyer representing citizens seeking criminal responsibility for the Fukushima nuclear disaster, meets reporters in Tokyo on July 31. (The Asahi Shimbun)
EDITORIAL: Public demands the truth about Fukushima accident
What is the whole truth about the nuclear disaster that hit this nation three years ago? We have yet to hear a satisfactory answer to this question.
Visitors gaze at former Chinese senior official Zhou Yongkang’s parents’ home in Wuxi in Jiangsu province in China in March. (Kentaro Koyama)
EDITORIAL: Xi’s anti-corruption campaign still leaves rule of law by the wayside
Members of the Politburo Standing Committee of the Chinese Communist Party collectively rule a nation of 1.3 billion people, making them China's most powerful group of political leaders.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attends the first meeting of the Council for Combating Childhood Poverty held at the prime minister’s office on April 4. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
EDITORIAL: Labor reforms for single mothers needed to alleviate child poverty
The government needs to first tackle the here-and-now problems of poverty if any improvements are to be made in the situation.
A photo released by the Korean Central News Agency on June 30 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Un watching an earlier test launch of a tactical rocket. (Korea News Service)
EDITORIAL: Japan must tell North Korea that its provocations are pointless
North Korea has kept up a series of provocative missile launches this year. In its latest test, apparently a political gesture, North Korea fired a short-range ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan off its eastern coast on July 26.

More AJW