Julian Ryall

Julian Ryall

Julian Ryall never expected to still be in Japan 24 years after he first arrived, but he quickly realised its advantages over his native London. He lives in Yokohama with his wife and children and wri

tes for publications around the world.

Japanese firms say no to leaving China despite Tokyo’s subsidies
The Japanese government is handing out subsidies to companies willing to move their supply chains away from China, but analysts say it will unlikely result in any large-scale exodus. As part of a record stimulus package unveiled amid the coronavirus pandemic and designed to keep the national economy afloat, the Japanese government has earmarked 220 billion yen ($2 billion) for companies that want to move production back to Japan. The diversification program also provides a further 23.5 billion yen ($219.5 million) for firms that want to shift manufacturing to Southeast Asia. But all five Japanese companies contacted by the South China Morning Post said they intended to continue to manufactur
‘This is 2020’: Japan lampooned for filing Covid-19 cases by fax
Japan’s stubborn reliance on the fax machine has been hit by a storm of ridicule after a frustrated doctor went on a Twitter tirade about the legal requirement that hospitals complete paperwork on coronavirus cases by hand then fax it to public health centers so they can compile statistics. The doctor, apparently a specialist in respiratory medicine at a public hospital, wrote: “Come on, let’s stop this.” “Reporting cases in handwriting? Even with the coronavirus, we are writing by hand and faxing.” He added that the practice was “Showa period stuff,” referring to the imperial era that ran from 1926 until the death of Emperor Hirohito in 1989. Yet fax still reigns supreme in Japan, with a re
Forget coronavirus babies. Japan may see a ‘corona divorce’ spike
The term “corona divorce” is trending on Japanese social media as couples forced to stay home because of the global Covid-19 pandemic air their grievances about the state of their marriages. Twitter, in particular, is serving as a forum for frustrated wives to vent about inconsiderate or demanding husbands. Many messages include hints – veiled or otherwise – that they are at the end of their rope. Reports suggest couples who are being forced together in other parts of the world are facing similar relationship challenges, but the term “corona divorce” resonates particularly in Japan.  In the 1980s, the term “Narita divorce” took hold to describe newlywed couples returning to Tokyo’s Narita A
Japan may be sleepwalking into a coronavirus crisis
Japan’s top government spokesman on Monday moved to dispel growing talk of a lockdown in the capital Tokyo, amid concerns that restrictions on movement would wreak damage on an economy already walloped by the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. “It’s not true that the government is planning on declaring a state of emergency from April 1,” said Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga.  He added that an expected phone call between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the head of the World Health Organization, had nothing to do with that topic. But a top Japanese doctor called on Abe to issue an emergency decree to fight the outbreak. “If we wait until an explosiv
Tokyo Olympics mean a lot more to Japan than a sporting spectacle
Japan has far more at stake than its athletes picking up medals in the upcoming Tokyo Olympic Games and Paralympics, which explains the government’s single-minded commitment to going ahead with the event in the face of the threat posed by the novel coronavirus. The Japanese government on Wednesday reiterated that the Games would go ahead in July as scheduled, with chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga declaring that preparations were continuing despite the spread of the virus worldwide. The previous day, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) threw its weight behind Tokyo’s position. “We are preparing for a successful Olympic Games, Tokyo 2020,” said IOC head Thomas Bach. “I would like t