It's come to this. Japan's exasperation with a long and largely unbroken string of hapless prime ministers has reached new levels. The current seatholder, Yasuo Fukuda, now has an approval rating of 21 percent, which is lower than that of his widely disparaged predecessor, Shinzo Abe, when he resigned.
To understand Ichiro Ozawa—whose Democratic Party of Japan thumped Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Liberal Democratic Party in upper-house elections last week—it helps to consider where he kicked off his campaign: in Shinjoson, a small farming community of just over 1,100 nestled away in mountainous western Japan.
"Are 'vulture' funds simply looters? Or can they be saviors?" an anchorwoman asks herself, having reported on successful corporate buyouts. This isn't a script from the evening news, but a scene from a new hit Japanese TV show called "Vultures," or "Hagetaka," which chronicles the wheelings and dealings of a Western buyout fund in Tokyo.Private equity is top of mind these days, and not just on the small screen.
Visitors to Roppongi, Tokyo's posh entertainment district, come for a taste of the latest trends in fashion, food and fun. But increasingly, the tree-lined neighborhood is offering up opportunities for more-highbrow culture: last month the dazzling new National Art Center, Tokyo--called the Big Wave--became the latest museum to open.
You might think that comic books wouldn't go over well on mobile phones, but Japanese apparently don't mind following dialogue balloons on tiny screens. Consumer demand for manga (the Japanese word for print comics) has surged in recent months, thanks to high-speed 3G phones, the proliferation of fixed-rate plans, and high-quality LCD displays.The growth in manga shows how hard is it to predict what effect new technologies will have on old markets.