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June 29, 2002

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Beef about McDonald's in Japan
McDonald's Japan has the giant's share of the market in the country, churning out more than a billion hamburgers a year. But in the wake of the "mad cow" disease scare and accusations of indirectly supporting forest degradation in Australia and child labor in China, the company has to rethink its strategy, writes Takahashi Nobuyuki. (Jun 28)
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Sport is all about losing, too

Ho hum, not everyone is enamored with soccer in general and the World Cup in particular, notably the denizens of North America. David Simmons, who happens to hail from that particular geographical region, grapples with the issue of the sport's otherwise global popularity, and reminds that for every winner in the game, there is a loser, too. (Jun 28)
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World Cup Diary
KT to carry on with popular IT tours after Cup; Koizumi gives Schroeder a lift to final; Hand-wringing over July 1 holiday; Seoul bourses to close Monday ... (Jun 28)
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How to fix Japan's English language deficit
The famous inability of Japanese to speak English well - they rank worst in Asia except for North Koreans - serves as comedic relief on television in Japan. But in a globalized economy dominated by information technology, ineptitude in English is no laughing matter. The root of the problem is in the poor quality of language instruction. (Jun 26)
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Why Japan doesn't fear 'made in China' label
Some believe that China will soon surpass Japan as the "factory of the world", but in fact many Chinese products contain a lot of components made elsewhere - including Japan. China's competitiveness continues to depend not on high-tech innovation but on low-tech products made by cheap, abundant labor. (Jun 24)
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Japan's elderly refuse to fade away
With the numbers of elderly people rapidly climbing in Japan, the country faces an entirely different future. But these elderly simply will not lie down, and might just help to keep the country running. (Jun 21)
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Japan's entrepreneurs face rough road
Japan's sagging start-up rate for new businesses has been blamed on the national culture, but a study of the country's economic history through the past century does not bear this out. A Japanese researcher argues that it is an aging workforce and a seniority-based labor system that inhibit entrepreneurship. (Jun 20)
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Globalized soccer gives diversity the boot
Once upon a time, different nations embraced very different styles in playing the game of soccer. But as current World Cup matches in South Korean and Japan show, diversity and even national identity are little in evidence in today's world-class soccer - with the possible exception of hairstyle preferences. Laments one Brazilian commentator, "They're all the same." (Jun 20)
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Suzuki arrest offers welcome sideshow
Tough-talking Japanese politician Muneo Suzuki lost his parliamentary protection on Wednesday and will face criminal charges over alleged bribery. The timing of the arrest of the former stalwart of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi is not coincidental, writes Richard Hanson, as attention is being shifted from the main business that the premier has in parliament. (Jun 19)
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Koizumi will ignore defense scandal at his peril
Whether acting with excessive zeal, as they claim, or downright illegally, officials of Japan's Defense Agency have created a rumpus by compiling lists of citizens seeking information from them. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has tried to brush the affair aside - which could cost him dearly in his broader plans to expand the country's national emergency laws, writes Axel Berkofsky. (Jun 19)
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