This week in Japan
Sunday, July 7, 2019
Latest news stories for the week of July 1, 2019
Top news stories for the week of July 1, 2019
- Renowned Scholar Chizuko Ueno says Japan's gender issues are a "human disaster"
- Japan faces many difficulties in reducing plastic waste
- Over 1 million residents in Kyushu evacuated due to heavy rain
- For the first time Japan grants refugee status to an individual fleeing persecution for sexual orientation
Renowned Scholar Chizuko Ueno says Japan's gender issues are a "human disaster"
Chizuko Ueno, a sociologist and one of Japan’s prominent feminists and chief director of the Women's Action Network non-profit, became one of 16 people worldwide to receive the international recognition from Finland with the Han Honor. Han is a pronoun in Finnish that represents equal opportunity. Ueno was recognized for her consistent and unwavering mission of working towards better gender equality in Japan. In the speech she gave at the Tokyo University matriculation ceremony in April this year, she spoke openly about gender discrepancies in Japan. She reminded students of how women in Japan are forced to conform because of cultural and political standards, how most women go to 2 year junior colleges while men got to universities, and how 5 Tokyo University students sexually abused a female student from another university and during the court hearing one of them openly stated that he looked down on women because they are "stupid." Ueno described the remanence of behaviours from the past and political mistakes as a "human disaster."
Japan faces many difficulties in reducing plastic waste
One of the key topics discussed at the G20 was the reduction of plastic waste. Japan has articulated that it hopes to make significant changes to their plastic usage but it will be a challenge. Currently the amount of micro plastics in the seas around Japan are 27 times higher than the world average. And since China is no longer accepting Japan’s plastic waste for recycling, Japan has to deal with its incredible addition to plastic. Even the Japan’s recycling efforts are not as they seem. They boast that 84 percent of single use plastic is recycled but they also include burning the trash for energy — which amounts to 57 percent of their “recycling efforts.” The media has started to do its part to raise awareness, but the path ahead is still long and difficult.
To read more about Japan's plastic problem, here are some useful links:
Over 1 million residents in Kyushu evacuated due to heavy rain
An estimated 1.09 million residents in two prefectures in Kyushu were ordered to evacuate due to risks of flooding and landslides on Wednesday July 3. By Friday, Ebino city in Miyazaki Prefecture had 1,010.5 millimeters of rain and Satsumasendai in Kagoshima got 755.5 millimeters of rain.
To learn about how to be prepared for heavy rain and flooding in Japan please read: In case of floods, tips for foreigners in Japan
For the first time Japan grants refugee status to an individual fleeing persecution for sexual orientation
In 2018, Japan, for the first time, granted refugee status to an individual who was fleeing persecution in their home country for their sexual orientation. The age, gender, and nationality of the individual was not disclosed to protect the individual's privacy. The individual was released on bail in their home country after serving a two-year sentence for homosexuality when the fled to Japan. Japan is notorious for granting a nominal number of refugee applications every year, but this is the first time an individual has been granted refugee status for sexual orientation. This comes as the support for LGBTQ rights are becoming more widespread in Japan.
To read more here are some useful links:
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