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November 30, 2000

From Our Correspondent: Hirohito and the War
A conversation with biographer Herbert Bix

From Our Correspondent: A Rough Road Ahead
Bad news for the Philippines - and some others

From Our Correspondent: Making Enemies
Indonesia needs friends. So why is it picking fights?

Asiaweek Time Asia Now Asiaweek story

Week of July 28, 1995


Japan's latest literary sensation isn't some sex potboiler. Japan's Shortest Letters to Mother, a compilation of winning letters of no more than 35 characters, sold 750,000 copies last year and the recently released sequel is also selling briskly. The contest, inspired by a famous missive from the 15th century, originated in the northern town of Maruoka-cho.

Week of July 21, 1995


Neighbors said that people used to enter the home of Eto Sachiko in the city of Sukagawa in northern Japan in groups of sixes. Some of them didn't come out. Police reportedly found six bodies, some of them badly decomposed, wrapped in a bedroll in one of the rooms. The self-styled exorcist has no apparent connections with the Aum Shinrikyo cult blamed in nerve gas attacks in Tokyo. She and three followers are charged simply with abusing fellow members of their own sect, at least for now.


Japan's economy has gone into a stall, according to the latest report by the Economic Planning Agency. It was the first time that Tokyo's forecasters admitted that the economy had stopped growing even modestly since it began to pull out of the post-bubble recession. In last month's report, the agency had projected at least a moderate recovery. But July's report said that the economy was suffering from the strong yen and the recent economic slowdown in the U.S., both of which have cut into exports.

Other news from Japan this week

Week of July 14, 1995


A pro wrestler, a soccer coach, an Olympic speed skater and a host of television personalities are running for Japan's House of Councillors in the national election July 23. What have they got to say about the issues? Not much. "A taranto (talent) is worth a hundred policies," claims one party leader candidly. Celebrities have always figured prominently in upper house polls, since members are selected partly from a national list. But this year's election drew a record number after two former television personalities bowled over official candidates to become the governors of Tokyo and Osaka.


First cars, now film. With the deal in automobile parts still fresh, Washington is targeting allegedly unfair trade practices in photographic supplies. Eastman Kodak charges in a 250-page document that Fuji film has excluded Kodak from Japan by using its local distribution clout to limit sales, while building up huge profits to finance exports to the U.S.

Other news from Japan this week

Week of July 07, 1995


The second-largest brewers in Japan and the U.S. have joined forces. Asahi Breweries and Miller Brewing Co. have reached a general agreement to form a partnership that will provide mutual assistance for the brands to crack each other's markets. The two companies plan to tackle some new markets together. In line with the pact, Asahi will end its partnership with Coors.

Other news from Japan this week

Week of June 30, 1995


Considering Japan is an island perpetually concerned about its lack of natural resources, the country's latest targeted export market seems improbable: oil. No, Japan hasn't found it sits atop a black-gold mine. It expects to become a major exporter of refined petroleum to a thirsty Asia. With domestic demand flat, Japan has excess capacity to slake Asia's increasing oil thirst.

Other news from Japan this week

Week of June 23, 1995


Japanese Prime Minister Murayama Tomiichi, who was believed weakened on the eve of a Group of Seven summit in Canada, showed strength in easily fending off a noconfidence vote. Had the PM lost the vote on support for his cabinet, he would have been forced to resign or call snap elections. Already, elections for Japan's upper house are expected in late July.

Other news from Japan this week

  • Japan: The Diet passes up a chance to lay some World War II ghosts to rest
  • Cover: A cultural war is being fought over sexual openness throughout Asia
  • Numbers: Sex surveys from around the region
  • Women: In Japan, they're letting their hair down

Week of June 16, 1995


More babies were born in Japan last year than in 1993; it was the first year-on-year increase in 21 years. In all, mothers had about 1.2 million babies. Last year, for the first time in 10 years, the average number of babies born to a Japanese woman increased -- to 1.5 from the all-time low of 1.46 in 1993. Births were offset by 876,000 deaths in 1994.

Other news from Japan this week

The Nations


Week of June 9, 1995


Word from Japan thatcompanies celebrated their first profitable quarter in five years brought a collective "so what" from bond traders, who promptly drove up bond prices on the growing belief that Japan's wobbly recovery is set to collapse. Manufacturers reported sharply higher profits -- up 22% -- in the first quarter, but specific sectors within manufacturing didn't do so well. Steel makers reported a better first quarter than they've seen recently, though still a loser. Nissan and Mazda reported bigger losses; Subaru's parent reversed five years of losses. Suppliers to larger manufacturers had an especially bad quarter.


World War II may claim a Japanese victim 50 years after it concluded. Prime Minister Murayama Tomiichi has spent much of the last two months denying that he will resign soon. But he may finally be done in by the fight over whether Japan should apologize to Asian neighbors for World War II aggression. Murayama says yes; opponents in the LDP say no.

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This edition's table of contents | Asiaweek home



U.S. secretary of state says China should be 'tolerant'

Philippine government denies Estrada's claim to presidency

Faith, madness, magic mix at sacred Hindu festival

Land mine explosion kills 11 Sri Lankan soldiers

Japan claims StarLink found in U.S. corn sample

Thai party announces first coalition partner


COVER: President Joseph Estrada gives in to the chanting crowds on the streets of Manila and agrees to make room for his Vice President

THAILAND: Twin teenage warriors turn themselves in to Bangkok officials

CHINA: Despite official vilification, hip Chinese dig Lamaist culture

PHOTO ESSAY: Estrada Calls Snap Election

WEB-ONLY INTERVIEW: Jimmy Lai on feeling lucky -- and why he's committed to the island state


COVER: The DoCoMo generation - Japan's leading mobile phone company goes global

Bandwidth Boom: Racing to wire - how underseas cable systems may yet fall short

TAIWAN: Party intrigues add to Chen Shui-bian's woes

JAPAN: Japan's ruling party crushes a rebel at a cost

SINGAPORE: Singaporeans need to have more babies. But success breeds selfishness

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