A monument bearing lines from Kenji Miyazawa's poem "Ame ni mo Makezu" (Unbeaten by rain) stands damaged at Okawa Elementary School in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, on March 29, 2011, two weeks after the Great East Japan Earthquake. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
POINT OF VIEW/ Jun'ichi Isomae: Time to form solidarity to link memories of disasters
The 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, which triggered the Fukushima nuclear disaster, was immediately followed by a legion of photo books, collections of testimonies, journalistic reports and books addressing the nuclear power issue.
Mayor Yuko Endo listens to proposals for post-quake reconstruction from elementary school pupils in Kawauchi, Fukushima Prefecture, in November. (Susumu Okamoto)
POINT OF VIEW/ Yuko Endo: 4 years from nuclear disaster, Fukushima needs to reverse depopulation
The village of Kawauchi, where I serve as mayor, is located 20 to 30 kilometers southwest of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
Takeshi Shimamura (Provided by Nomura Research Institute)
POINT OF VIEW/ Takeshi Shimamura: U.S. tax rules, funding costs could curb global M&A uptrend
Driven by large deals, global transaction volume of mergers and acquisitions in 2014 grew to a post-2007 high in terms of value.
Park Yu-ha during an interview in Tokyo (Eiji Hori)
INTERVIEW/ Park Yu-ha: Untangling the emotional friction over 'comfort women'
“Teikoku no Ianfu” (Comfort women of the empire) is an ambitious piece of work that has received praise by some but also been so reviled by others that the author faces legal action in South Korea.
Skyscrapers rise over slums along the railway tracks in Jakarta. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
POINT OF VIEW/ Shotaro Kumagai: Asian economies benefit from falling crude oil prices
The sudden drop in crude oil prices from early autumn 2014 has had a beneficial effect overall on Asian economies, particularly those that depend heavily on crude oil imports, such as Thailand, Singapore and South Korea.
Toshikuni Doi (Photo by Emiko Inagaki)
POINT OF VIEW/ Toshikuni Doi: Media focus on Japanese hostages hides real story in conflict zones
I have been covering the Palestine-Israel conflict in the Middle East for nearly 30 years.
Muneo Kanno in Iitate, Fukushima Prefecture (Photo by Yukiko Seino)
POINT OF VIEW/ Muneo Kanno: Farmers, volunteers unite to bring Fukushima's fertile land back to life
IITATE, Fukushima Prefecture--I helped organize the Fukushima Saisei no Kai (Resurrection of Fukushima) nonprofit organization three months after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami and have been engaged independently in radioactive cleanup work and radiation level measurements.
Yuichiro Miura during an interview in Tokyo (Photo by Makoto Kaku)
POINT OF VIEW/ Yuichiro Miura: Father who at 99 skied down Mont Blanc glacier remains role model
Yuichiro Miura, a professional skier and mountaineer, became the oldest person to reach the summit of Mount Everest at age 80 in 2013.
Peter Maurer during a recent visit to Hiroshima (Yoshihisa Aoyama)
ICRC president seeks elimination of nuclear weapons from a humanitarian standpoint
Peter Maurer, International Committee of the Red Cross president, believes it is important to focus on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons and "the necessity to move forward on nuclear disarmament."
Goro Miyazaki (Photo by Wataru Sekita)
INTERVIEW/ Goro Miyazaki: Anime director pursues something his ‘genius’ father doesn’t have
Goro Miyazaki, who became a director of animated films after working as a landscape architect, admits he will probably never be able to overtake his father, a world-renowned film director.
Amid heavy smog, large-scale construction work is under way in central Beijing. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
POINT OF VIEW/ Junya Sano: China accepts growth deceleration to a certain degree
The Central Economic Work Conference, convened annually by the State Council (Chinese central government) and the Communist Party to determine the economic management policies and growth targets for the next year, was held in Beijing for three days from Dec. 9.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, center, speaks at an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting outside Beijing in November. (Pool)
POINT OF VIEW/ Junya Sano: Asia’s economies to continue gentle recovery in 2015
Asia’s economies are expected to continue to recover through 2015. But growth rates overall will likely match or be only slightly higher than those in 2014 because external demand will lack driving strength, and there is little prospect that growth will be bolstered by fiscal or monetary policy.
Hideki Shirakawa oversees children during a lab class at the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in Tokyo. (Eiji Hori)
INTERVIEW/ Hideki Shirakawa: Scientists need freedom of basic research, not just pursuit of efficiency
The number of Nobel Prize winners from Japan topped 20 on Dec. 10, with this year’s physics prize awarded to a trio of Japan-born scientists for their studies on blue light-emitting diodes.
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai from Pakistan holds up her medal during the award ceremony in Oslo on Dec. 10. (AP Photo)
POINT OF VIEW/ Akira Iriye: Japan needs to contribute to 'peace for all time'
The entire world was recently reminded of the preciousness of peace when Malala Yousafzai was named co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Yukihiko Kayama (Photo by Yosuke Fukudome)
INTERVIEW/ Yukihiko Kayama: Experts should help Fukushima mothers speak up about radiation fears
FUKUSHIMA--Psychiatrist Yukihiko Kayama said it is becoming more embarrassing, with the passage of time since the Fukushima nuclear disaster of 2011, for mothers in Fukushima Prefecture to casually discuss their fears of radiation.
Yumeno Nito (Photo by Hiroki Nishida)
INTERVIEW/ Yumeno Nito: Havens needed for schoolgirls in sleazy 'JK' business
Adults need to get more involved to prevent vulnerable teenage girls from falling prey to the evils of the thriving “JK” industry, said a social activist with a troubled past.
Arata Hirakawa checks repairs to historical documents at Tohoku University in Sendai. (Satoshi Kimura)
POINT OF VIEW/ Arata Hirakawa: Saving historical documents helps communities get over 3/11 disaster
SENDAI--The tsunami generated by the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011, swept away manuscripts and paintings that served as testaments to the histories of regional communities.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe heads to a meeting of executives of his Liberal Democratic Party on Dec. 15, one day after the LDP scored a decisive victory in the Lower House election. (Shinichi Iizuka)
POINT OF VIEW/ Satoshi Kamata: Abe reveals true intentions after voting ends
A disturbingly low 52.66 percent of eligible voters turned out in the Dec. 14 Lower House election, the worst figure in the postwar period. It means that only about one in two eligible voters bothered to cast a ballot.
William C. Potter (Photo by Masato Tainaka)
INTERVIEW/ William C. Potter: By joining Vienna, U.S. splits nuclear powers on humanitarian impact on nuclear weapons
The third international conference on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons will be held in Vienna, starting Dec. 8. The U.S. decision to attend is seen as vital to promoting nuclear disarmament.
Workers assemble vehicles at Daihatsu Motor Co.'s plant in Karawang, Indonesia, in 2013. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
POINT OF VIEW/ Yuta Tsukada: Auto industry leads Japanese investment in Indonesia
The Japanese transportation equipment industry’s direct investment in Indonesia rose rapidly in 2011 and has since remained at high levels.

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