People opposing the planned restart of Takahama nuclear power plant demonstrate on Dec. 17 in front of the building that houses the Nuclear Regulation Authority office in Tokyo's Minato Ward. (The Asahi Shimbun)
EDITORIAL: Risks posed by nuclear reactor clusters left unaddressed
Simultaneous accidents at multiple nuclear reactors could jeopardize the survival of the nation.
Malala Yousafzai makes a speech on Dec. 10 at a party in Oslo to celebrate her winning of the Nobel Peace Prize. (Shiho Watanabe)
EDITORIAL: International support crucial for the fight against terrorism
Regardless of the country in which they live, all children must be protected at any time. It is the responsibility of adults to protect them. Shockingly, however, children were the targets of a horrifying massacre in Pakistan this week.
Voters cast their ballots for the Lower House election in Saga on Dec. 14. (The Asahi Shimbun)
EDITORIAL: Dismal voter turnout endangers representative democracy
“Cool and detached” seemed to summarize the general attitude of voters throughout the Dec. 14 Lower House election campaign.
Surging prices of imported materials adversely affect small and medium-sized manufacturers, such as this maker of molds for automotive parts in Hiroshima. (The Asahi Shimbun)
EDITORIAL: BOJ survey underlines need to rethink economic policy
The government expected the economy to start picking up again after a temporary slide caused by a rise in the consumption tax in April, which led consumer spending to tumble following a spike before the tax hike.
A veteran lathe worker at a factory in Tokyo’s Ota Ward is one of a large number of people across the nation who says Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s economic policies have yet to benefit a small business like his. (Noriyuki Shigemasa)
EDITORIAL: With win, Abe's 'only way' should now turn to repairing divided, disillusioned society
For Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the victory must have arrived just as he expected, nay more than he anticipated.
New Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga speaks at his inaugural news conference in Naha on Dec. 10. (Koichi Ueda)
EDITORIAL: Futenma issue should figure in voters' minds when going to the polls
Takeshi Onaga, who won a landslide victory in last month’s Okinawa gubernatorial election, took office on Dec. 10. Onaga campaigned on a platform that opposed the central government’s plan to relocate the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma from the densely populated city of Ginowan to the less-crowded Henoko district in the city of Nago.
A director of Kyoto Chosen Gakuen welcomes the Supreme Court's decision on Zaitokukai's racist rallies as a "landmark step" at a news conference in Kyoto on Dec. 10. (The Asahi Shimbun)
EDITORIAL: Japanese society needs serious self-reflection over ‘hate speech’
The Supreme Court has upheld a lower court ruling that a right-wing group that repeatedly blared discriminatory “hate speech” to harass a school for ethnic Koreans in Kyoto was guilty of “racial discrimination.”
Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Sendai nuclear power plant in Satsumasendai, Kagoshima Prefecture, is likely to be the first to go back online in the nation after the new safety regulations were set following the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
EDITORIAL: How come Fukushima disaster is not an issue in this election?
Campaigning for the Dec. 14 Lower House election is now entering the home stretch, but we don’t hear much heated debate on the issue of nuclear power generation.
Demonstrators protest the state secrets protection law near the prime minister's office in Tokyo's Nagatacho district on Dec. 9. (The Asahi Shimbun)
EDITORIAL: With no guarantee against abuse, state secrets protection law takes effect
The state secrets protection law takes effect on Dec. 10.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, left, and South Korean President Park Geun-hye (Asahi Shimbun file photos)
EDITORIAL: Time to end the cycle of mutual distrust in East Asia
Next year will mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II and also the 50th anniversary of Japan’s diplomatic relations with South Korea.
A woman shops at a supermarket in Tokyo’s Koto Ward on Nov. 6. The government is considering the introduction of reduced tax rates for food and other daily essentials to ease the tax burden on low-income consumers. (Keiichi Kitagawa)
EDITORIAL: Reduced tax rates for essentials not a good idea at this time
After Prime Minister Shinzo Abe postponed the planned second stage of the consumption tax hike from October next year to April 2017, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its junior coalition partner, Komeito, said they will seek to introduce reduced tax rates for daily essentials. The main opposition Democratic Party of Japan is not opposed to the idea.
Teaching materials for ethics prepared by the education ministry (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
EDITORIAL: Clear vision for nation’s future is key to education reform
Over the past two years, the Abe administration has made “regeneration of education” one of its top policy priorities, along with economic revitalization.
Members of a senior high school students’ group calling for lowering the voting age to 18 demonstrate in Yokohama in July 2013. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
EDITORIAL: Lowering voting age crucial for future of Japan’s democracy
Japan will likely lower the voting age for the first time in 70 years by enfranchising people 18 and 19 years old.
A Japanese tanker sails through the Strait of Hormuz. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
EDITORIAL: Wartime minesweeping in Middle East still unacceptable
We wonder if the Cabinet decision in July to allow Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense has opened the door to the Self-Defense Forces conducting minesweeping operations in the Strait of Hormuz before a cease-fire is reached in the region.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe explains the Cabinet's decision to allow Japan to exercise its right to collective self-defense during a news conference on July 1. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
EDITORIAL: Questioning Abe's changes to national security policy
Since assuming office two years ago, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been pushing a drastic change of course for Japan that practically uproots the nation’s post-World War II national security policy.
Voters listen to a candidate for the Lower House election in Tokyo's Shinjuku district as the election campaign period started on Dec. 2. (Jun Ueda)
EDITORIAL: To change politics, votes more powerful than cynicism
The 12-day official campaign period for the Dec. 14 Lower House election starts on Dec. 2.
The Liberal Democratic Party’s draft of proposed amendments to the Constitution (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
EDITORIAL: Election win does not give Abe the right to freely tamper with Constitution
The Dec. 14 Lower House election, whose official campaign period starts on Dec. 2, has a special importance that sets it apart from past polls.
Hiroshi Shimizu, Takata Corp. senior vice president, speaks at a U.S. Congressional hearing in Washington on Nov. 20. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
EDITORIAL: Takata, carmakers must first complete air bag recalls
If a device that is supposed to protect the lives of people inside automobiles in case of accidents can actually take their lives, we have to change our basic assumptions concerning the safety of cars.
Police officers remove tents that pro-democracy demonstrators set up on a road in the Mong Kok district of Hong Kong on Nov. 26. (Mitsusada Enyo)
EDITORIAL: Hong Kong protesters have made history, but it’s time to move on
More than 50 days have passed since the “umbrella revolution” began in central parts of Hong Kong.
Policy chief Tomomi Inada announces the campaign platform for the ruling Liberal Democratic Party on Nov. 25. (Nobuhiro Shirai)
EDITORIAL: LDP should present road map for policy agenda
In its campaign platform for the Dec. 14 Lower House election, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party pledges to realize both economic regeneration and fiscal rehabilitation. The party’s campaign slogan is, “Economic recovery, this is the only way.”

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