An Osprey military transport aircraft (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
EDITORIAL: Clearer explanation needed for growing defense budgets
The Defense Ministry announced on Aug. 31 that it will request a record 5.091 trillion yen ($42 billion) for overall defense spending in fiscal 2016, which starts in April next year. The figure represents the fourth consecutive year-on-year increase in the ministry’s budget requests.
Chinese female troops practice marching ahead of a Sept. 3 military parade at a camp in Beijing on Aug. 22. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
EDITORIAL: China must also learn from history as it prepares to mark end of World War II
In Japan, Aug. 15 is remembered as the day when the Asia-Pacific war came to an end. Every year, the nation looks back on its wartime past as that day draws near, but this collective retrospection suddenly ceases when the anniversary day passes.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, right, speaks at an Aug. 28 meeting of Cabinet ministers where a plan for the new National Stadium was approved. (Shinichi Iizuka)
EDITORIAL: Key for new National Stadium plan is to win public trust
The government announced an outline of a blueprint for the new National Stadium on Aug. 28, six weeks after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe decided to “take the current plan back to the drawing board and re-examine (the project) from scratch.”
A Chinese supervisor at convenience store chain Lawson Inc. gives advice to a Japanese employee. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
EDITORIAL: National debate needed on whether to open door to immigrants
Japan Business Federation (Keidanren), the nation’s most powerful business lobby, has decided to soon start considering a Japanese-style system to accept immigrants.
A 13-year-old boy was hit by a train and died in an apparent suicide in Numata, Gunma Prefecture, on Aug. 25, the same day his junior high school returned after the summer recess. (The Asahi Shimbun)
EDITORIAL: With end of summer break in sight, watch for signs of troubled children
People need to be aware that children around them might be feeling gloomy at the prospect of soon having to return to school after the end of the summer vacation. Some may actually be feeling so depressed that they wish they could just disappear.
In this photo provided by the South Korean Unification Ministry, South Korean presidential security adviser Kim Kwan-jin, right, shakes hands with Hwang Pyong So, left, North Korea's top political officer for the Korean People's Army after their meeting at the border village of Panmunjom in Paju, South Korea, on Aug. 25. (The South Korean Unification Ministry via AP)
EDITORIAL: Sustained dialogue crucial to both Park, Kim
High-level talks between South Korea and North Korea, held amid tensions raised by a mutual arms buildup, finally concluded in the wee hours of Aug. 25.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet in Milan in October 2014. (Provided by Cabinet Public Relations Office)
EDITORIAL: Russia gains nothing from hard-line stance on disputed islands
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev visited Etorofu, an island in the disputed Northern Territories off Hokkaido, on Aug. 22.
The Yokohama municipal board of education meets to decide on the selection of history and civics textbooks for junior high schools on Aug. 5. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
EDITORIAL: LDP should not meddle in school textbook selection process
The process is under way for local governments to select textbooks that will be used in junior high schools from next spring.
Toichiro Mizushima, left, president of the Japan Pension Service, responds to a question at a Lower House committee session on Aug. 21, while welfare minister Yasuhisa Shiozaki looks on. (Shinichi Iizuka)
EDITORIAL: Pension data leak points to deeply flawed security culture
Two reports have been released about the leak of personal data concerning 1.25 million or so people from the Japan Pension Service’s computer system due to a security breach caused by e-mails containing computer viruses.
Iwate Governor Takuya Tasso, center, celebrates his re-election by default for a third term on Aug. 20 in Morioka, Iwate Prefecture. (The Asahi Shimbun)
EDITORIAL: LDP shirked responsibility by failing to field candidate for Iwate poll
Iwate Governor Takuya Tasso was re-elected by default for a third term on Aug. 20. He won the race unopposed after a prospective challenger withdrew.
Defense Minister Gen Nakatani sheds light on an internal document drafted by the Self-Defense Forces during the Upper House special committee for security legislation on Aug. 19. (Shinichi Iizuka)
EDITORIAL: Once again, Abe's disdain for the Diet and the public is evident
The Upper House special committee to deliberate new national security legislation resumed its work on Aug. 19.
South Korean President Park Geun-hye (Pool) and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
EDITORIAL: Japan, South Korea must grasp this landmark year to improve relations
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's statement for the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II left something to be desired. For one, Abe made no mention of his own perception of history.
Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda speaks at a news conference in Tokyo on Aug. 7. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
EDITORIAL: Dismal GDP data highlights need to review policy targets
Japan’s economy shrank during the three months from April through June, its first decline in three quarters. The nation’s real gross domestic product--the value of total economic output adjusted for price changes--fell 0.4 percent during the quarter from the previous three months, according to preliminary data released Aug. 17 by the Cabinet Office. At this rate, the size of economic contraction will reach 1.6 percent on an annualized basis.
Protesters against the security bills rally in front of the Diet building in Tokyo on Aug. 14. (The Asahi Shimbun)
EDITORIAL: Japan must remain a nation that places the rights of people above all
In the autumn of the year when World War II ended, the General Headquarters (GHQ), or the headquarters for the postwar Allied occupation of Japan, scrapped the strict controls on free speech the Japanese government had imposed.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announces his statement marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II during a news conference at his official residence in Tokyo on Aug. 14. (Shinichi Iizuka)
EDITORIAL: Abe’s war anniversary statement falls way short of the mark
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s statement to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II has left us wondering for what purpose and for whom it was written.
Japan’s first biosafety level 4 facility at the National Institute of Infectious Diseases’ Murayama Branch Laboratories in Musashi-Murayama, western Tokyo (Provided by the National Institute of Infectious Diseases)
EDITORIAL: Japan’s first BSL-4 lab can serve as international base to fight infectious diseases
A multitude of infectious diseases, such as the Ebola virus disease in West Africa, are posing a serious threat to worldwide public health.
An African man who has applied for refugee status in Japan rests at a park in Tokyo in July. (The Asahi Shimbun)
EDITORIAL: Japan should open doors wider to welcome refugees
One big humanitarian issue facing Japan is how it should deal with people who cannot remain in their own countries because of fears of possible persecution for race, religion or political opinions.
A display in the central control room of the Sendai nuclear power plant in Kagoshima Prefecture indicates the status of the control rods that are being pulled out to reactivate the No. 1 reactor on Aug. 11. (Pool)
EDITORIAL: Sendai No. 1 reactor must not become a model case for future restarts
The No. 1 reactor at the Sendai nuclear power plant in Kagoshima Prefecture, operated by Kyushu Electric Power Co., was brought back online Aug. 11. It is the first facility to be reactivated in Japan after nearly two years of suspended operation of all reactors.
Police officers demonstrate self-defense techniques in Nagoya on Aug. 5. The event was held to show people how to protect themselves against unwanted sexual advances. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
EDITORIAL: Penalties for sex crimes out of step with the times
An advisory council of experts tasked by the Justice Ministry to review criminal law provisions for sex crimes has released a report on the discussions.
Maritime Self-Defense Force replenishment vessel Oumi refuels a Pakistan Navy destroyer in the Indian Ocean in February 2008. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
EDITORIAL: ‘Unconstitutional’ security bills set no limit on military logistical support
Discussions on the content of military logistics (or “rear-echelon support” in the parlance of current politics) to be provided overseas by Japan’s Self-Defense Forces have emerged as a focus of attention during deliberations in the Upper House over a controversial package of new security-related bills.

More AJW