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She Broke Japan’s Silence on Rape

As the United States reckons with an outpouring of sexual misconduct cases that have shaken Capitol Hill, Hollywood, Silicon Valley and the news media, Ms. Ito’s story is a stark example of how sexual assault remains a subject to be avoided in Japan, where few women report rape to the police and when they do, their complaints rarely result in arrests or prosecution.On paper, Japan boasts relatively low rates of sexual assault. In a survey conducted by the Cabinet Office of the central government in 2014, one in 15 women reported experiencing rape at some time in their lives, compared with one in five women who report having been raped in the United States.But scholars say Japanese women are far less likely to describe nonconsensual sex as rape than women in the West. Japan’s rape laws make no mention of consent, date rape is essentially a foreign concept and education about sexual violence is minimal.Instead, rape is often depicted in manga comics and pornography as an extension of sexual gratification, in a culture in which such material is often an important channel of sex education.The police and courts tend to define rape narrowly, generally pursuing cases only when there are signs of both physical force and self-defense and discouraging complaints when either the assailant or victim has been drinking.Last month, prosecutors in Yokohama dropped a case against six university students accused of sexually assaulting another student after forcing her to drink alcohol.Continue reading the main storyAnd even when rapists are prosecuted and convicted in Japan, they sometimes serve no prison time; about one in 10 receive only suspended sentences, according to Justice Ministry statistics.This year, for example, two students at Chiba University near Tokyo convicted in the gang rape of an intoxicated woman were released with suspended sentences, though other defendants were sentenced to prison. Last fall, a Tokyo University student convicted in another group sexual assault was also given a suspended sentence.“It’s quite recent that activists started to raise the ‘No Means No’ campaign,” said Mari Miura, a professor of political science at Sophia University in Tokyo. […]

Years of Attack Leave Obamacare a More Government-Focused Health Law

In days, the Trump administration is expected to carry out an executive order with proposed rules that would allow people to buy less expensive — and less comprehensive — coverage, through either business and professional associations or short-term private policies.The Affordable Care Act’s success in reducing the number of uninsured owes more to Medicaid than to private health insurance. About 75 million people are now enrolled in Medicaid, a number that has increased by about one-third since the adoption of the Affordable Care Act. A smaller number, about 10 million, buy coverage from private insurers through the health law’s marketplace.Among people ages 18 to 64, the proportion with private health insurance coverage is about the same today as in 2005, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. But the proportion with public insurance coverage has increased to more than 19 percent, from 11.5 percent in 2005, and the share of people in that age range who are uninsured has fallen to 12.5 percent, from about 19 percent.In total, more than one-third of the population is covered with federal assistance, through Medicare, Medicaid, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the military and Affordable Care Act subsidies. (And that does not include the larger group of people who benefit from tax subsidies for health insurance provided by employers.)Mr. Trump and Republicans in Congress failed this year in their efforts to cut Medicaid and could try again in 2018. Speaker Paul D. Ryan said this month that Republicans would try next year to slow the growth of federal health spending because “it’s the health care entitlements that are the big drivers of our debt.”But Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, has been leery of another run at health care in an election year, and it is possible that Medicaid could, in the near future, actually grow further under the Affordable Care Act. Maine voters approved a referendum last month to expand Medicaid in that state, though Maine’s Republican governor, Paul R […]

VIDEO FEATURE: What Happens When You Report Sexual Harassment?

What Happens When You Report Sexual Harassment? – The New York Times SectionsSEARCHSkip to contentSkip to site indexSubscribeLog In SubscribeLog InAdvertisementU.S.What Happens When You Report Sexual Harassment?For many women, it’s a complicated maze that can cost them their careers and leave them with long-term emotional scars. […]

News Analysis: It Started as a Tax Cut. Now It Could Change American Life.

All of this is taking shape at such extraordinary velocity, absent the usual analyses and hearings, that even the most savvy Washington lobbyist cannot be fully certain of the implications.Mr. Trump and the Republican leadership in Congress — stymied in their efforts to repeal Obamacare, and short of legislative achievements — have signaled absolute resolve to get a tax bill passed by the end of the year. As the sense has taken hold that Washington is now a trading floor where any deal is worth entertaining so long as it brings votes, interest groups have fixed on the tax bill as a unique opportunity to further their agendas.“There’s a Christmas-tree aspect to the bill,” said C. Eugene Steuerle, a Treasury official during the Reagan administration and now a senior fellow at the Urban Institute […]

Senators Scramble to Advance Tax Bill That Increasingly Rewards Wealthy

At the heart of the debate is whether to more favorably treat small businesses and other so-called pass-through entities — businesses whose profits are distributed to their owners and taxed at rates for individuals. Seventy percent of pass-through income flows to the top 1 percent of American earners, according to research by Owen Zidar, an economist at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.GraphicWhich Republican Senators Might Oppose the Tax Bill, and WhySenate leaders would need to win over several Republican senators to pass a tax overhaul.OPEN GraphicTwo Republican senators, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Steve Daines of Montana, have said that they will vote against the plan if it does not do more to help the owners of those businesses, possibly by increasing the individual income tax deduction for such owners from the 17.4 percent rate currently in the Senate bill.Republicans, who control the Senate 52 to 48, can afford to lose only two of their members if they hope to pass the bill on party lines in the upper chamber.Mr. Johnson could stall the bill by himself on Tuesday, when it is scheduled for a vote in the Senate Budget Committee. Mr. Johnson sits on that committee, where Republicans have a single-vote majority. On Monday, he said he would vote “no” unless his concerns were addressed.“I need a fix beforehand,” Mr. Johnson said.Earlier in the day, Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas and the majority whip, said, “There’s no deal, but there’s been some discussions on how to address Senator Johnson and Senator Daines’s concerns.” He continued, “We’re trying to be responsive.”Adding to the uncertainty, Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee also said on Monday that he could be a “no” vote in the Budget Committee if his concerns about the bill’s effect on the deficit were not adequately addressed.Orrin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah, who leads the Senate Finance Committee, said that there was a strong desire to get a bill passed by Friday and that additional changes would most likely be made on the Senate floor. Despite speculation that the House will face pressure to quickly vote upon whatever passes in the Senate, Senator Rob Portman, Republican of Ohio, said he “fully expects” that there would be a conference to bridge differences between the House and Senate plans.Republican Tax Plan: How to Make Sense of the Push in CongressIt’s virtually impossible to fully understand, let alone keep up with, the flood of proposals, amendments and analyses that continue to pour out. Here are some of the big-picture ideas to keep in mind as this political sausage is being made.The pass-through fight is the first skirmish in what lawmakers and lobbyists expect will be a frenzied week, which Republican leaders hope will produce the first major legislative victory of the Trump-era for their party.Continue reading the main storyThe week is expected to be punctuated by behind-the-scenes arm twisting and deal making as party leaders work to allay senators’ worries without exceeding their self-imposed $1.5 trillion budget for tax cuts […]

Who Are Sufi Muslims and Why Do Some Extremists Hate Them?

“It is nothing more than the spiritual dimension” of Islam, the cleric, who goes by Imam Feisal, said in a phone interview. “It is Islam, but we focus on meditation, on chanting sessions, which enable the Muslim to have his or her heart open. The myths people have about Sufis are analogous to the myths people have about Muslims.”For a time, beginning in the 12th century, Sufism was a mainstay of the social order for Islamic civilization, and since that time it has spread throughout the Muslim world, and to China, West Africa and the United States. As Sufism spread, it adapted elements of local culture and belief, making it a popular practice.Alexander D. Knysh, a professor of Islamic studies at the University of Michigan and expert in modern Sufism, describes it as a “very wide, amorphous movement” practiced within both the Sunni and Shiite traditions.Sufism has shaped literature and art for centuries, and is associated with many of the most resonant pieces of Islam’s “golden age,” lasting from roughly the eighth through 13th centuries, including the poetry of Rumi.In modern times, the predominant view of Sufi Islam is one of “love, peace, tolerance,” Mr. […]

The Paradise Papers: After a Tax Crackdown, Apple Found a New Shelter for Its Profits

Seeking ‘the Holy Grail’Since the mid-1990s, multinationals based in the United States have increasingly shifted profits into offshore tax havens. Indeed, a tiny handful of jurisdictions — mostly Bermuda, Ireland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands — now account for 63 percent of all profits that American multinational companies claim to earn overseas, according to an analysis by Gabriel Zucman, an assistant professor of economics at the University of California, Berkeley. Those destinations hold far less than 1 percent of the world’s population.Continue reading the main storyCriticism of such profit shifting was largely ignored until government finances around the globe came under pressure in the years following the 2008 financial crisis, when the practice led to government inquiries, tax inspector raids, media scrutiny and promises of reform.In May 2013, the Senate’s investigative subcommittee released a 142-page report on Apple’s tax avoidance, finding that the company was attributing billions of dollars in profits each year to three Irish subsidiaries that declared “tax residency” nowhere in the world.Under Irish law, if a company can convince Irish tax authorities that it is “managed and controlled” abroad, it can largely escape Irish income tax. By seeming to run its Irish subsidiaries from its world headquarters in California, Apple ensured that Irish tax residency was avoided.At the same time, American law dictated that the subsidiaries were only tax residents in the United States if incorporated there. The federal government permits taxes on any income generated by foreign units to be deferred indefinitely, as long as the company says those profits stay offshore.U.S. Profits Made in Offshore Tax Havens IncreaseThe share of U.S. companies’ foreign profits attributed to a handful of tax havens has more than doubled in past 20 years.%604020063%2000200520102015“Apple has sought the holy grail of tax avoidance: offshore corporations that it argues are not, for tax purposes, resident anywhere in any nation,” then-Senator Carl Levin, Democrat of Michigan, who was the subcommittee chairman, said at the 2013 hearing.Ireland’s finance minister at the time, Michael Noonan, at first defended his country’s policies: “I do not want to be the whipping boy for some misunderstanding in a hearing in the U.S. Congress.” Ireland had long pursued business-friendly tax policies, which helped lure jobs to the country, primarily for technology and pharmaceutical companies. Apple now has about 6,000 employees in Ireland, including customer service and administrative jobs.But by October 2013, in response to growing international pressure, Mr […]