The Greening of Japanese Politics?/When Greens Japan emerged as a national political organization in July 2012, the timing for success seemed perfect. What happened? Nippon.com, June 2016. (Also in Japanese)
Telling the Story of Fukushima/Five years after the triple meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, the disaster is no longer just a current event — it is also part of Japan’s history. But how should that history be told? Government and civil society groups have different answers, and they are starting to emerge in a battle of museums. Nippon.com, March 2016. (Also in Japanese)
Living in Limbo/Five years after the meltdown in Fukushima, the Japanese government’s efforts to reboot its nuclear energy program is still being met with resistance. Stories from the ground for Earth Island Journal, Spring 2016.
The Beauty of Use/A profile of Czech stove-maker Jirka Wein and his wife, Etsuko Seki, a weaver of goat-hair rugs. Alpine Modern, Spring 2016 (alpinemodern_quarterly_06_thebeautyofuse.pdf).
In Japan, a David vs Goliath Battle to Preserve Bluefin Tuna/Family fishermen fight to stop overfishing at spawning grounds. Yale Environment 360, January 2016.
Trick or Treat? Questioning Consumption with Yoko Inoue/A profile in Kyoto Journal #84, December 2015.
Poster woman for the war against the U.S.-led TPP/A profile of multimedia and performance artist Yoko Inoue. Japan Times, September 2015.
Pondering the right to return…and the right not to: Fukushima evacuees in limbo/With Jane Singer. In Global Implications of Development, Disasters and Climate Change. Routledge, August 2015.
We All Have Our Own Truths/An interview with Gwendolyn Hoeffel, a Catholic nun who spent over 50 years in Japan serving poor and immigrant communities. Kyoto Journal, December 2014.
Shrinking Well: Is Depopulation affecting Japan’s energy and climate goals?/In this joint project for the Japan Times and Climate Confidential, I take a look at the complicated relationship between declining population, energy use, and carbon-dioxide emissions. November 2014.
Safety Clearance of Sendai Nuclear Power Plant Doesn’t Reassure Residents/Starting this fall, nuclear power could once again be part of Japan’s long-term energy mix. Earth Island Journal, July 2014.
All Change – For a Transition Town Near You/A look at Japan’s rapidly growing grassroots movement to transition away from a fossil fuel-based economy. Japan Times, March 2014.
Visit Japan’s Ancient Past in Urban Kyushu/Exploring the sites of Japan’s first rice paddies. Japan Times, March 2014.
Culture and Nature Vie Over Ancient Hinoki/A proposed conservation area seeks to protect the last substantial temperate coniferous forest in Japan, but shrines and temples still want to use its large old trees. Japan Times, February 2014.
Kamikazes live on at the Chiran base/A trip to the Chrian Peace Museum, where visitors reflect on the lives of Japan’s suicide bombers. Japan Times, February 2014.
The Counselor/An interview with Buddhist priest Ittetsu Nemoto, who has made suicide prevention his life’s work.Tricycle, Spring 2014.
Will Japan Prepared Mean Nature Ruined?/A look at how Japan’s new “National Resilience” law could impact the environment. Japan Times, January 2014.
Tsunami debris scuppers expert ecology opinion/Ecologist John Chapman calls the aftermath of 3/11 “the biggest experiment in invasion ecology ever done.” What’s so special about a floating dock covered in barnacles? Japan Times, December 2013.
Writer-farmer seeks hope in country life’s future/Souichi Yamashita talks about farm policy, his long life in northern Kyushu, and the clash between a growth-based economy and sustainable farms. Japan Times, November 2013.
Countryside campaigner for us all/A visit with writer and farmer Yutaka Une, who’s working to get more recognition for biodiversity conservation into Japan’s agricultural policy and practices. Japan Times, October 2013.
In Japan, Captive Breeding May Help Save the Wild Eel/As eel populations plummet worldwide, Japanese scientists are racing to solve a major challenge for aquaculture – how to replicate the live cycle of eels in captivity and commercially produce a fish that is a prized delicacy on Asian dinner tables. Yale Environment 360, October 2013.
Seed bank sprouts support a-plenty/The Japan Times, September 2013.
How green is Tohoku’s ‘Green Connections’ project?/The Japan Times, August 2013.
Fuji meet wrestles with issues common to commons worldwide/The Japan Times, July 2013.
A radio story for The Japanofiles Podcast, July 29, 2013
Contaminated Forests: Management After Chernobyl and Fukushima/Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, August 2013.
Insecticides Pit Trees Against Bees/Overhead spraying of neonicotinoids is intended to save pine forests, but how will pollinators be affected? Japan Times, June 2013.
We’re All in This Together/Communities with strong ethics of the commons most resilient to disasters. Earth Island Journal, June 2013.
Engineering the Japanese Islands/A conversation with environmental historian Brett Walker. Kyoto Journal #77, May 2013.
In Post-Tsunami Japan, A Push to Rebuild Coast in Concrete/In the wake of the 2011 tsunami, the Japanese government is forgoing and opportunity to sustainably protect its coastline and is instead building towering concrete seawalls and defenses that environmentalists say will inflict serious damage on coastal ecosystems. Yale Environment 360, May 2013. An expanded version of the article was published by The Asia Pacific Journal: Japan Focus.
New moves to save Japan’s sacred trees from a fiery end/Japan Times, April 2013.
Tohoku coast faces man-made perils in wake of tsunami/Japan Times, March 2013.
Two years after Japan’s nuclear meltdown, what happened to Fukushima orphans?/In some cases, the government is providing special care. But in others, orphans are falling through the cracks. Christian Science Monitor, March 2013.
After Fukushima: Japan’s new model for farms/Japan’s government hopes to promote farm-size expansion and corporate farm ownership in wake of tsunami’s destruction. Christian Science Monitor, March 2013.
Two years after tsunami, Japan’s small business owners stuck in limbo/Problems with government assistance and lagging reconstruction work are holding back recovery for many local businesses and accelerating the drift towards “big box” shopping. Christian Science Monitor, March 2013.
Japan’s Reconstruction Two Years On: Plain Old Disaster Capitalism?/In Miyagi Prefecture, rebuilding efforts give corporations the upper hand. Earth Island Journal, March 2013.
Two Years On, Evacuees Seek Justice and a Normal Life/Conversations with Fukushima evacuees. With this side box about parents and caretakers limiting outside play time for kids. Japan Times, March 2013.
A Tale of Two Forests (with Jane Braxton Little)/Addressing postnuclear radiation at Chernobyl and Fukushima. Environmental Health Perspectives, March 2013. (Travel for this story was paid for by a grant from the Fund for Environmental Journalism.)
Radiant Wildlands (with Jane Braxton Little)/The forests near Fukushima and Chernobyl likely have been changed forever. Earth Island Journal, Spring 2013. (Travel for this story was paid for by a grant from the Fund for Environmental Journalism.)
Fukushima radiation threatens to wreak woodland havoc/A mushroom farmer, his forests, and the cascading effects radioactive fallout is having on ecosystems and the economy. Japan Times, February 2013. (Travel for this story was paid for by a grant from the Fund for Environmental Journalism.)
Japan Renewable Energy 2012: Cutting Edge Solar, Yes, But Something’s Missing/In December 2012, on the eve of an election that would return the aggressively pro-nuclear/anti-renewable energy Liberal Democratic Party to power, firms and government bodies involved in renewable energy held their annual trade fair in Tokyo. It was the first major gathering of Japan’s renewable energy corporate and government players since the introduction of the Feed-In Tariff in July. Fresh Currents, January 2013.
Japan’s nuclear dilemma: What to do with all that nuclear waste? /Japanese citizens are balking at the lack of information and supervision of waste stored in public places, such as playgrounds. Christian Science Monitor Weekly, November 2012.
Grow Your Own Energy/Like the globalized industrial food system, Japan’s energy system is unsustainable, risky, and controlled by huge corporations. Why not unplug from that quagmire and create something smaller and better one community at a time? Fresh Currents, July 2012. 日本語版：Grow Your Own Energy Japanese Version.doc (downloadable Word document / translation by Naomi Kanaya)
Energy Efficiency/Cutting energy demand eight percent across the board in Japan would eliminate the need for about 13 nuclear reactors. Doing the same with renewable energy would take thirty times the number of photovoltaic panels the country has installed to date, or nearly three-fourths of its untapped geothermal resources. Fresh Currents, July 2012.
Will Fish-Loving Japan Embrace Sustainable Seafood? Yale Environment 360, July 2012.
Matsumoto in May Means Crafts/Japan Times, April 2012.
Yokohama Anti-Nuke Meet Draws Thousands of Activists, Experts/Earth Island Journal, Jan. 2012.
Anti-nuclear movement growing in Asia/Christian Science Monitor, Jan. 2012.
As Fukushima Cleanup Begins, Long-term Impacts are Weighed/The Japanese government is launching a large-scale cleanup of the fields, forests, and villages contaminated by the Fukushima nuclear disaster. But some experts caution that an overly aggressive remediation program could create a host of other environmental problems. Yale Environment 360, January 2012.
Can big business save Japan’s fishing industry? Christian Science Monitor, November 2011
Post-tsunami “eco” vision for Japan’s restart.Christian Science Monitor, October 2011.
What Japan is doing to fight older generation’s post-tsunami isolation. Christian Science Monitor, October 2011.
Innovative boat could buoy Japan’s small fishermen.Christian Science Monitor, October 2011.
Farmers look for hope six months after Japan’s tsunami. Christian Science Monitor, September 2011.
Fukushima Health Study Launched/Radiation health experts worldwide weigh in on Fukushima Prefecture’s ambitious project to track the health of those exposed to radioactive fallout from the meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant. Environmental Health Perspectives, October 2011.
Three Mile Island’s Lessons for Japan/How will Japan’s weak recording and freedom-of-information laws impact our understanding of the Fukushima disaster? Thoughts from former NRC commissioner Peter Bradford. Japan Times, August 2011.
Powering Japan’s Future/An eight-part package for the Japan Times exploring the pros and cons of Japan’s renewable electricity options. The link above is for the overview article; side boxes, not available online, on electricity from Wind, Sunlight, Biomass, Geothermal, Freshwater, the Ocean. Related article on Distribution Gridlock Restricts Renewables. July 2011.
Chemical Aftermath (with Elizabeth Grossman)/Contamination and cleanup following the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. Environmental Health Perspectives cover story, July 2011.
Art with Alpine Views/Touring the art scene in Azumino, Nagano. Japan Times, June 2011.
Made in Japan/Five companies producing some darn good cheese in Nagano, Japan. Culture, Summer 2011.
New test for teachers as Japan’s schools move to reopen. Christian Science Monitor, April 2011.
After earthquake, Japan asks how a nation can prepare for the unimaginable/Christian Science Monitor March, 2011.
As Japan nuclear crisis unfolds, a small town questions government assurances/Christian Science Monitor, March 2011.
Isles of Imperial Exile Where Nature is King/The Oki Islands present an unsolved botanical riddle. Japan Times, April 2011.
Lost Causes Get New Hope/Saving the Oki salamander. Science, March 2011
Has rice farming passed its expiry date in Japan?/I visited three very different rice farms in the Nagano area for this story, which focusses on the potential impacts of a proposed free trade deal. With two side boxes: Japan as a rice culture? Not so quick, says anthropologist, and Traditional rice paddies are great ecosystems. Japan Times, March 2011.
Warm Words with the Ainu.pdf/I visit Japan’s northernmost main island of Hokkaido to meet with some of the last remaining speakers of the indigenous Ainu language. Japan Journal, October 2010.
Nagoya Biodiversity Conference/Sunday special for the Japan Times (8 articles in the package, including this list of key facts and figures and a light take on conference life), this article in the Christian Science Monitor, a series of six blogs for the Earth Island Journal, and an extended magazine piece for the Japan Journal (COP 10 Japan Journal.pdf). October 2010.
Kyoto Journal Special Section: The Worlds of Satoyama/Nature Inhabited, essay on fireflies, Satoumi: Wise Use of Coastal Zones (interview with writer Jack Greer), Paddy Ecosystems (interview with biologist Shori Yamamoto), Aflame and Alive: Managed Grasslands in Japan (interview with farmer Mitsuo Ueki), and conclusion (with Jane Singer). October 2010.
Saving the Sarufutsu.pdf/In Sarufutsu, Hokkaido, conservationists and corporate executives have come together to protect one of Japan’s most important wild salmon habitats. Japan Journal, August 2010.
Way Up North/By the time you get to Sarufutsu in Hokkaido, there’s not really much farther left to go in Japan. Japan Times, August 2010.
Asahiyama’s Natural Touch/Far from the dreary days of cramped cages, Hokkaido’s Asahiyama Zoo tries to offer a place where animals can be themselves. With related articles on the zoo’s conservation project in Borneo and how the zoo deals with the predator-prey relationships of captive animals. Japan Times Sunday feature, June 2010.
Pearl Farmers Look to Satoumi to Save Their Way of Life/Overproduction, pollution, and wetland reclamation destroyed the picturesque birthplace of the cultured pearl industry. Now farmers and local governments are trying to reverse the damage. Japan Times, May 30 2010.
How Can It Get Too Late to Learn?/Diplomas yield little reward for the few older people who go to university in Japan. A Sunday special, with side boxes on what it’s like to attend cram school at age 28, how older students are joining in Japan’s grad school boom, and just how “adult learners” are defined. Japan Times, May 2010.
Charcoal and Butterflies.pdf/Japan’s traditional managed woodlands are a biologically rich illustration of how sustained human involvement can foster biodiversity. Japan Journal, April 2010.
The Rice Field is a Stage.pdf /A visit to a rice-farming idyll in Beppu, Oita Prefecture. Japan Journal, March 2010.
Life in the Grasslands.pdf/The fate of Japan’s biodiversity-rich semi-natural grasslands is inextricably linked with the fate of its farmers. Japan Journal, February 2010.
Learning old ways to build for today/A lab in Kyoto is at the apex of efforts to update traditional Japanese timber construction methods to meet exacting modern standards. Japan Times, January 2010.
Wood for the Trees /Hayami Ringyo is one of only a handful of forests in Japan that have successfully integrated wilderness into the timber plantation. A profile and interview with Tohru Hayami for the Japan Journal, November 2009.
In Japan’s Managed Landscape, a Struggle to Save the Bears/Although it is a heavily urbanized nation, fully two-thirds of Japan remains forested. Yet many of the forests are timber plantations inhospitable to wildlife, especially black bears, which are struggling to survive in one of the most densely populated countries on Earth. Yale Environment 360, October 2009. An updated and expanded version can be found online at The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus, published February 14 2010.
Power for all the people/Yasuyuki Fujimura is inventing refrigerators, vacuum cleaners, and other appliances that don’t require electricity to run. The Japan Times, October 2009.
Japan’s creeping natural disaster/Age-old farming methods helped to create and support this country’s wealth of plant and animal species. But now, as rural areas empty of people, that rich biodiversity is put at risk. Cover story for the Time Out section of the Japan Times, August 2009.
Japan embraces the big cheese/As the dairy product’s popularity rises, local farmers try their hand at artisanal varieties. Withrecommendations from a Japanese cheese expert. The Japan Times, May 2009.
Hydrogen in every home/How the Japanese are trying to slash energy use and CO2 emissions – by installing fuel cells in people’s backyards. With video online. Ode magazine, April 2009.
Oceans awash in toxic seas of plastic/Go down to the beach today and you`ll find plenty of garbage among the sand – but that`s nothing compared with the continent-sized whirlpools of lethal waste out there beyond the horizon. Cover story for the Time Out section of the Japan Times, March 2009.
Fun with the gods/Discovering the latest development in kagura theatre. Kansai Time Out, November 2008.
Nara’s cute, destructive deer/Though sacred to some, have the ancient capital’s photogenic herds outgrown their habitat? The Japan Times, October 2008.
Natural by design/Biomimicry creates sustainable technology from the fruits of evolution. Cover story for the Time Out section of the Japan Times, August 2008
Luminescent shrooms cast light on Japan’s forest crisis/The Japan Times, June 2008.
History under the waves/Underwater archaeologists explore Japan’s tragic “Titanic of Turkey.” The Japan Times, April 2008.
Hiking the Ancient Road of Kumano/Leave behind the bustle of Kyoto and Tokyo. Transitions Abroad, Jan/Feb 2008.
Not-so-welcoming shores/Fewer and fewer loggerhead turtles are reaching their sole spawning ground in the North Pacific. Avenues, Autumn 2007.