The Small Print
Faces & Places
The Goods
Tech Know
Cars & Bikes
Arts & Entertainment
Japan Beat
The Agenda
Dining Out
Table Talk
Local Flavors
International Dining
Restaurant Review
Bar Review
The Last Word
Photo of the Week
About Us
Distribution Points

775: The M-List
774: Compatriotic Spirit
773: The Naked Truth
770-71: It Ainít Easy Being Green
769: íTwas the Night Before Christmas in Japan
768: Japanese Lessons
766: Bad Credit
765: Chew on this
764: Red faced
763: Down and Out in Tokyo
761: Kicking the bucket
760: Thumbing It
759: Fixing the System
757: Smoke rings
756: Stalking the Predators
755: Banding Together
753: No Competition
752: Sex and This City
751: Letís Shogi
750: The Yasukuni Follies
748: Loud and Clear
747: Iíll be back
746: Raiders of the lost SMAP
744: Magical Mystery Tour
743: Murder in Lotus Land
742: Stereotypes íRí Us
740: The Mother of all Mothers
739: Crimes of Fashion
738: The Hafu Dad Brigade
737: The Green Team
736: Fight Club
735: The Paper Chase
734: The Wind-Up Writer Chronicle
733: Food For Thought?
732: Home and Away
731: The 2008 Nazi Olympics
730: The Two-Wheel Revolution
729: Gimme a Break
728: Power Play
727: Dying for a doctor
726: Footloose Revisited
725: Little Fish, Bigger Pond
724: Japanís Peace Monster
723: Language Abuse
722: Scumbusters ďRĒ Us
721: First Action Hiro
720: The Return of Asashoryu
718-719: A Time to Give
717: My Homelessness Dilemma
716: The 30 Percent Solution
715: Past Imperfect
714: Killing the Kimono
713: The trouble with Tibbets
712: Surfing the Shinto-net
711: Falling Stars
710: Macho Man
709: Bad Impressions
708: Bloodsport
707: Our Last Word
706: Anonymocracy
705: The Air Up There
704: Read the Signs
703: The sky should not be the limit
702: My Year Zero Proposal
701: The Joys of Freeganism
700: Prada for the People
699: The Parasite Country
698: Washed up in Tokyo
697: Birthingís Not for Babies
696: On the Handlebars of a Dilemma
695: My So-Called Poverty
694: Get Out the Vote
693: The Ishihara Mystery
691: Let it Flow
690: Cafť Culture
689: Oyaji Fashionistas
688: The Democracy of the Dysfunctional
687: Polite Disregard
686: Venting on Climate Change
685: Silent No Longer
684: To protect and serve?
683: Save the Sanshin building!
682: In the Realm of the Pond God
681: The Open Society and Its Enemies
680: Five-Ring Circus
679: Topic of Cancer
678: Pet Peeves
677: Why I am Banned in Japan
676: A long way to the top
675: Euro-vision
674: Childís play
673: Why I did it
672: I Love Japan
671: Running Crazy
670: Planet Apology
669: A peek behind the curtain
668: Opening Up
666: Pitching a fit
665: All wrapped up
664: Yule Rules
663: Field of Dreams
662: Save Lives, not Face
661: Why Do I Buy a Ticket?
660: Dying for a Nap
659: We, the jury
658: Grain of truth
657: Remembering The Maverick
656: A Rose by any Other Name
655: Heir today, gone tomorrow
654: Manhandled on the Metro
653: The bodyguards of the road
652: Separate but equal
651: Going for the gold
650: Being Audrey Hepburn
649: Not Sitting Pretty
648: Get Smart
647: Through foreign eyes
646: A failing grade in cute
644: Club Lands
643: Sayonara, Hide
642: The JET SET
641: What, me worry?
640: The Da Vinci Load
639: Making Waves
638: Final Cut
637: Resave the whales
636: Soccer Silliness
635: I, Smoker
634: The Ultimate Loss
633: Shoot the Messengers
632: The second sex
631: A Maverick Moves On
630: The curse of Baron Mitsui
629: Waiting for Heidi
628: Memoirs of a fake celebrant
627: Take it Outside
626: Wa? What wa?
625: A well-drawn life
624: St. Patrick the abducted
623: Bend over
622: The (Un)Late show
621: Oil spill
620: Ice Follies
619: Pride Goeth
618: Lost roles
617: Saying it with Cookies
616: Wrestling with foreigners
614-615: Blank Pages
613: Fretting Over Freeters
612: Farewell, Sensei
611: Sympathy for the wild ones
610: Back in Black
609: Out of many, one
608: Youth culture
607: The Russians are coming!
606: Meddle Detector
605: Tokyo, Mon amour
604: The Wailing Wall
603: Getting Abreast of Cancer
602: Willing Ally
601: New war,same story
600: The Big Chill
599: The Gray Zone
598: Jail break
597: Extremely Lost in Translation
596: Wounded Despot
595: History Lessons
594: Valhalla of the Imperial Army
592: Culture crash
591: Complaints Department
590: What lies beneath
589: Strange Games
588: Junk Science
587: The day the invaders came
586: The Test that Drove Me Crazy
585: Smile and say “lesbian”
584: Keep Article 9
583: The Great Divide
582: An ad for all seasons
581: Killing the Golden Goose
580: The other half
579: Give me back my bye-bye
578: Araki in Focus
577: Head out on the Highway
576: The hate that won't go away
575: Here's the beef
574: Yukking it up
573: Squatter’s rights and wrongs
572: The Trouble with Yokoso
571: Fire from the sky
570: Invasion of the gairaigo
569: Good company
568: Find Out What it Means To Me
567: Field of schemes
566: In the Name of Justice
565: Winner or Loser?
564: Staying Foreign
563: The Scare after Tomorrow
561-562: The Spirit of Things
560: War for remembrance
559: Storm damage
558: The Meaning of Godzilla
557: Who’s left to listen?
556: Paying respects
555: Gender Trouble
554: Coming clean at last
553: Go our own way
552: Hits of yesteryear
551: Heir apparel
550: Personal Reflections
549: Nuclear Reactions
548: Article of faith
547: Martyrs for the firm
546: A different anniversary
545: We, the jury
544: Wrongs & rights
543: Moore or less
542: Fair games
541: Developmentally challenged

By Shizue Takahashi

A different anniversary

The widow of a Tokyo sarin attack victim visits Ground Zero-and finds a strong culture of support

This July, ten years after the sarin gas attacks in Tokyo and three years after the terrorist attacks of September 11, I traveled to New York City. I had always wanted to see a Broadway musical, so the trip allowed me to fulfill that dream. When I informed a friend who lives in the city about my visit, he arranged a meeting between me-the kin of a sarin gas attack victim-and relatives of 9/11 victims and their supporters.

Shizue Takahashi is the representative for the Subway Sarin Incident Victims Association

In 2000, I had been to several US cities to receive training in victim support, and I spoke to the family members of those affected by crime. What dawned on me then was that Japan needed the same institutionalized support for crime victims from an early stage. So during my most recent trip, I really wanted to find out what kind of support the victims of 9/11 were receiving.

I visited Ground Zero for the first time. Around the huge hole surrounded by a wire fence, many people had come to see with their own eyes the effects of the tragedy. I met one man who had lost his son, a firefighter. He led me to a room in a nearby building, provided by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, from where Ground Zero could be viewed in its entirety. On the door was a sign that read "Family Room"; inside, it was filled with photographs of victims and other memorabilia. Bereaved families can visit whenever they like, and especially for those who were unable to retrieve the bodies of their fallen relatives, it's a precious place where they can feel close to their loved ones.

I also found that church-financed organizations are heavily involved in victim support. They provide information, counsel the victims and their loved ones, collect contributions, and otherwise play active roles helping families of victims recover. St. Paul's Chapel, located on the west side of Ground Zero, sells videos, photographs and other products related to the attacks. The proceeds go to victims and to the Children's Benefit Fund.

One month after 9/11, New York City's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene started the WTC Health Registry, which will examine all health issues affecting victims every two years for the next two decades. An official told me that the first batch of data is due to be released this year, and can be viewed on the agency's website.

Based on what I saw in New York, I feel that victims are receiving substantial support. But Japan still has much to learn.

We victims of the sarin attacks are firmly convinced that if the Japanese government, and especially the police force, had earlier investigated Aum Shinrikyo-an organization with a criminal history-the attacks could have been prevented. Responsibility, therefore, lies not only with Aum, but with the federal and city governments. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government is responsible for officially recognizing the group as a religious organization in 1989, even though Aum had already committed murder. The government is also accountable for failing to provide any assistance whatsoever to the victims, even though the target of the attack was Kasumigaseki, located in the heart of their city.

Twelve people were killed in the sarin attacks, and two others sustained injuries so serious that they'll need nursing care for the rest of their lives. Even today, it's believed that 20 percent of the 5,500 other victims suffer from serious post-traumatic syndrome. I say "believed" because no organization exists to monitor the damage done to the victims of the attacks.

As we've done each year on the anniversary of the tragedy, this March we asked Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara to provide compensation to the victims; to track all victims and their health conditions; to conduct regular medical checkups on the wounded and their families; and to organize effective medical treatment for all sarin patients. Sadly, to this day, neither the national government nor the Tokyo Metropolitan Government has taken any of these steps to aid the sarin attack victims.

"Unbelievable!" said supporters I met in New York, who were moved by the fact that the Subway Sarin Incident Victims Association, of which I am the representative, does not receive any financial support from the government, or that the victims themselves do not receive compensation.

Is it right to say, "You were unlucky," and to close the door on innocent people who happened to be caught in a disaster while going about their daily lives? We don't think so, and we'll continue to lobby the Japanese government and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government to compensate the victims of the sarin attacks.