Patagonia Provisions for Food Security

Patagonia Japan, a branch of the US manufacturer of outdoor clothing and goods, will launch a new food business. Concerned about the connection between climate change and food manufacturing, the new line will source organic and sustainably grown or harvested ingredients. They hope to offer products specifically helpful to environmental issues in Japan in the near future.

Fukushima’s New Energy Society

Joan Bailey from Fukushima Prefecture in the Exclusion Zone

Joan Bailey from Fukushima Prefecture in the Exclusion Zone

A collaborative effort by Toshiba, Tohoku Electric Power and Iwatani Corporation, with support from the Japanese government, aims to develop a showcase of renewable energy and hydrogen-based items in Fukushima Prefecture. The group hopes to expand the introduction of renewable energy, create a model of a hydrogen-based society and establish a “smart” community. The plan is to develop a new control system to coordinate multiple systems related to hydrogen energy, its control and production for use within and outside of the Tohoku region. 

Japanese Classes at International Associations Start in April

Keep in mind that each of the international associations in Tokyo and Yokohama offer Japanese classes that are either free or quite reasonably priced. Times and locations vary, so please check each association’s schedule. Classes will begin in early April, so start the registration process now!

Tax Time Information

The deadline for filing taxes in Japan is March 15th. Wondering what to file, where to file it, and how to even begin? Taxes are paid on income, consumption, and property at the national, prefectural, and local level. Any income earned while living in Japan, regardless of visa type, is taxable. Most employers withhold taxes for their employees; however, self-employed people must pay taxes themselves at their local tax office. 

Hometown Tax Program

The Furusato Nozei Program or Hometown Tax Payment Program was established in 2008 by the Japanese government as a way for people to pay taxes where they live or in their hometowns. Designed as a means to help support rural areas, the program also has been a boon to disaster-hit areas such in Fukushima and Kumamoto. Kumamoto received $13.33 million yen in 2016 in support of its recovery efforts. The government made it possible for companies to also participate in the program in the 2016 fiscal year. Firms can receive up to a 60 percent reduction in taxes for donating to programs the government deems helpful to local revitalization efforts.

Grief and Loss Program for Adults at TELL

Starting March 3, TELL will offer an eight to ten week grief and loss support group for adults who have experienced the death of a loved one. The aim of the group is to help members receive and give the support necessary as they experience the effects of grief. The group will be led by TELL psychotherapist Yoon Ki Chai (MA, MFT) who worked at the California Pacific Medical Center in San Franciso. The first session will be on Friday, March 3 from 7pm–8:30pm at Wesley Center.
Please contact Yoon Ki Chia at for more information.

Japanese Speech Contest

Join the Suginami Association for Cultural Exchange on Saturday, March 4 for a Japanese Speech Contest. Ten foreign contestants will present a five-minute talk in Japanese about their experiences in Japan and the differences between Japan and their home countries. Come listen, learn, and make some new friends in the neighborhood!
Za-Koenji 2. Saturday, March 4 1:30pm–5pm.

Translation Services Offered by Tokyo Transportation Services

Foreign travelers at select Toei Subway stations and Nippori-Toneri Liner stations will find a new translation service available in Chinese, English, Korean, Portuguese, and Spanish. When station staff receive requests in a foreign language, they will contact a call center and speak to an operator. The operator will translate the visitor’s question and the staff response on the spot.