Stories written by Suvendrini Kakuchi
Suvendrini Kakuchi is a Sri Lankan journalist based in Japan and covering Japan-Asia relations for more than two decades. Her focus is building understanding and respect between diverse populations in Asia based on equality and collaboration.

Opposition to U.S. Bases Reaches Turning Point

Okinawa, the largest of a group of 60 sub-tropical islands forming Japan’s southernmost prefecture, has an equable climate and preferential treatment for United States servicemen under the Mutual Cooperation Security Treaty between the U.S. and Japan.

Asia: Saving Grace of Global Economy?

Developing countries – ­relegated to the sidelines of the West-led postwar expansion – have emerged as the saving grace of the global economy against a backdrop of calls for a new economic model that can ease the ravages of globalisation and address the lack of confidence in market-based systems.

Sendai Shares Big Lessons from the Great Quake

The debris of the devastated Arahama elementary school yielded two enduring lessons for its principal, Takao Kawamura, in the months after the massive 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan’s north-east coastland on Mar. 11, 2011.


‘Elderly Can be Contributors, Not a Burden’

According to popular belief, the world’s rapidly ageing societies face the risk of poverty, dementia and loneliness. But not necessarily so, says a United Nations publication unveiled in Japan Monday. Better management by governments can support a better life for the elderly, and lead them to becoming important contributors to society, it says.


People Speak Up Over Disputed Islands

While the 40th anniversary of the normalisation of Japan-China relations passed under a dark shadow of rising tensions and bitter territorial disputes in East Asia, a strand of citizen-based diplomacy at the grassroots level is emerging in Japan as a path towards regional reconciliation.

Women Redefine Japan’s Work Culture

Unhappy with her employer of five years, Chikako Harada, 34, quit three months ago and has just started on a new job with a large Internet sales company. 

Women Take up Care of Tohoku Elders

Yumiko Yonekura, who survived last year’s massive earthquake and tsunami that devastated Tohoku in northeast Japan, has just launched ‘Hot Care Kesenuma’, a welfare company that provides special care for feeble elders in the affected region.

Shifting to Renewables in Japan – An Uphill Task

Renewable energy is emerging as the “clinch deal” in Japan`s painful power crisis that pits the government and business against public demand for zero nuclear power. But experts say the going is easier said than done.

Families of ‘Little Boy’ and ‘Fat Man’ Victims Still Struggling

Sachiko Masumura (79) was standing just two kilometres away from the hypocentre of Little Boy, the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan over six and a half decades ago.

Activists Score in Fight Against Nuclear Power

A new wave of anti-nuclear protests in Japan this summer, sparked by the disastrous meltdown at a power plant last year, suggests that civil society is no longer willing to allow the government to take the lead in deciding the nation’s energy policy.

Renaissance Rice Rises From the Debris

This April, a small rice paddy field in Minami Sanriku, destroyed by the massive earthquake and tsunami last year in Japan, provided one of its most fertile yields yet - bringing hope and joy to the devastated local community.

Efforts to Build Caregiving Industry ‘Inadequate’

To meet the demands of a rapidly ageing population, Japan has loosened its notoriously strict immigration and nursing regulations to accept foreign caregivers. But new evidence indicates deep cracks in those piecemeal gestures.

Activists Brace for Long War Against Nuclear Power

For the past two decades Masao Ishiji (59), has been fighting tooth and nail to ban the operation of four nuclear reactors that dot the western coastline of Oi in the Fukui prefecture facing the Japan Sea.

Radioactive Mushrooms Cloud Compensation Plans

The discovery of radioactive contamination in ‘shiitake’ mushrooms grown in Manazuru town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 300 km away from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, has raised public clamour for compensation.

Despite Tsunami, Japan Resumes Aid to Myanmar

Japan’s plan to resume official development assistance (ODA) to Myanmar, announced this week, is problematic for a country faced with a dauntingly large disaster recovery budget for areas hit by the earthquake and tsunami last year.

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