Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivers a commencement speech at the graduation ceremony of the National Defense Academy in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, on March 22. (Nobuhiro Shirai)
EDITORIAL: Atmosphere of society lets Abe honk his adventurism horn
The essential features of an automobile are to run, to turn and to stop. A balance between the three factors is just as essential in politics.
A voter casts a ballot in the Lower House election on Dec. 14, 2014, in Osaka's Miyakojima Ward. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
EDITORIAL: Diet's failure to fix vote-value disparity shows contempt for democracy
The Diet’s legitimacy to change Japan’s postwar pacifist principles or to initiate debate on constitutional amendments has been called into question by its failure to solve the serious problem of vote-value disparity.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe answers a question in an Upper House Budget Committee meeting on March 20. (Shinichi Iizuka)
EDITORIAL: Abe making light of the Constitution by calling SDF ‘our military’
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe caused a stir March 20 when he referred to the Self-Defense Forces as “our military” during an Upper House Budget Committee session.
Voters listen to a campaign speech in Sapporo on March 26. (The Asahi Shimbun)
EDITORIAL: Local elections a chance to address pressing issues for 'disappearing' communities
Official campaigning kick off March 26 for gubernatorial elections in 10 prefectures, part of the unified local elections held every four years.
Toyo Tire & Rubber Co.’s faulty seismic isolation rubber system is installed at the main hall of the prefectural government building in Kochi Prefecture. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
EDITORIAL: Toyo Tire & Rubber's appalling disregard for safety
In this earthquake-prone country, an act that betrays the public trust has occurred.
A seabed drilling survey is under way on March 12 in waters off the coast of the Henoko district of Nago, Okinawa Prefecture. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
EDITORIAL: High time for government to answer Okinawa’s questions
How long will the central government continue to blatantly and completely ignore Okinawa Prefecture’s requests and questions concerning the plan to relocate a key U.S. air base?
Rakugo master Katsura Beicho in 1975 (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
EDITORIAL: A big 'okini' (thank you) to Kansai rakugo master Katsura Beicho
“Rakugo” storyteller Katsura Beicho, who was seen as a living symbol of Kamigata (Kansai region) culture, has set forth on the journey to the world beyond. He died of pneumonia on March 19.
Masahiko Komura, right, vice president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, and Kazuo Kitagawa, his counterpart in junior coalition partner Komeito, led discussions on new national security legislation. (The Asahi Shimbun)
EDITORIAL: Global deployment vision for SDF mars Japan's hard-won pacifist reputation
The ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its junior coalition partner Komeito formally worded the basic principles of new national security legislation that would fundamentally change this country's stance on the issue.
Passengers are carried out of Tsukiji Station in Tokyo’s Chuo Ward on March 20, 1995, soon after the capital’s subway system was attacked by Aum Shinrikyo followers using sarin nerve gas. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
EDITORIAL: 20 years after sarin attack, questions remain about cult, victims
Can we say that the gruesome incident that shocked the nation exactly 20 years ago will never happen again in our society?
A labor union official writes in salary figures decided on by management on March 18 in Tokyo's Chuo Ward. (Sayaka Yamaguchi)
EDITORIAL: Wage hikes essential for stronger economy
This year’s “shunto” spring wage offensive reached its peak on March 18 as major companies presented their pay proposals to labor unions.
The No. 1 and No. 2 reactors of the Mihama nuclear power plant, left, and the No. 1 reactor of the Tsuruga nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture will be decommissioned. (Asahi Shimbun file photos)
EDITORIAL: Decommissioning reactors should be step toward ending reliance on nuclear power
Kansai Electric Power Co. and Japan Atomic Power Co. on March 17 decided to decommission three nuclear reactors that have been in operation for more than 40 years. And on March 18, two more nuclear reactors, operated by Chugoku Electric Power Co. and Kyushu Electric Power Co., joined the “to be decommissioned” list.
A jacket is placed on a tailor’s dummy bought by a Kanagawa prefectural assembly member with political activity funds. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
EDITORIAL: 'Political activity funds' system needs overhaul, oversight
The findings of an Asahi Shimbun survey about prefectural assembly members’ use of “political activity funds” may have people wondering about the actual purpose of the money.
A large sign at JR Kanazawa Station in the capital of Ishikawa Prefecture on March 14 reads, “The Shinkansen line arrives here with spring.” The Kanazawa city government is pinning its hopes on the inauguration of the bullet train service between the city and Tokyo to buoy the local tourist industry. (Hideki Ito)
EDITORIAL: Shinkansen lines no panacea for struggling local economies
The Nagano-Kanazawa section of the Hokuriku Shinkansen Line started services on March 14.
Protesters rally in front of Camp Schwab in Nago, Okinawa Prefecture, on March 12 as a geological study resumed in waters off the coast of the Henoko district of Nago. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
EDITORIAL: Paying no heed to Okinawa an issue that concerns us all
The central government's decision to restart geological surveys in preparation for moving a U.S. military airbase to Nago, Okinawa Prefecture, prompted a concerned citizen to liken the drilling on the seafloor to “sticking a knife into Okinawa’s heart.”
Behind the reproduced “miracle pine tree,” large conveyor-belt facilities are used in public works to elevate low-lying land in Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
EDITORIAL: Tsunami-hit areas need business ideas more than aid
Nobuaki Sasaki is looking for companies that can provide business-based support to help rebuild his disaster-hit hometown, Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture.
A plaintiff, part of a group of children born to Japanese and Filipinos in the Philippines, weeps in frustration at a news conference on March 23, 2012, after the Tokyo District Court ruled in favor of the current law on Japanese nationality. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
EDITORIAL: Diet should rethink outdated nationality rule
No special procedures are required for children born to Japanese parents in Japan to retain their Japanese nationality.
The Namie town government in Fukushima Prefecture in January started to deliver free tablet computers to its former residents across the nation. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
EDITORIAL: Successful Fukushima reconstruction must reflect needs of survivors
Four years have passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami struck on March 11, 2011, leading to the meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel are welcomed by honor guards at the prime minister's office in Tokyo on March 9. (The Asahi Shimbun)
EDITORIAL: Japan, Germany share responsibility to protect international order
Many Japanese have friendly feelings for Germany. Japan has strong bonds with Germany in a broad range of areas, including history, arts and culture.
Premier Li Keqiang, foreground, reports on the government’s activities at the National People’s Congress. At right in the background is President Xi Jinping. (Satoru Sekiguchi)
EDITORIAL: China’s reform efforts should be aimed at benefiting the people
In the world of politics, it is sometimes said that reform is more difficult than revolution.
The separation of power generation and transmission is the centerpiece of a bill to reform the electric power industry. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
EDITORIAL: Power market reform must not be watered down
The government has submitted a bill to the Diet to overhaul the nation’s electricity and gas markets.

More AJW