Japan in Focus is a weekly podcast by ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). Each episode is about 15 minutes and includes usually two or three topics about Japan. The host summarizes the topics and then conducts a brief interview with an expert on that topic. The interviews are sometimes live, and sometimes via phone or Skype. The people she interviews are from various countries and speak with various accents, and the host herself has an Australian accent, so the podcast is a good place to learn about current events and also get used to listening to people’s opinions in a variety of Englishes.
Some of the recent topics:
- “John Kerry’s historic visit to Hiroshima” (4/18)
- “Government policies on leprosy sufferers” (4/18)
- “The rise of Japanese Peruvians in public life” (4/18)
- “Calls for more security at nuclear plants” (4/11)
- “A leading businesswoman’s views on female empowerment” (4/4)
- “The emergence of post-Fukushima protest music” (3/21)
- “The life of a manga artist outside of Japan” (3/21)
- “Photographing the Yakuza” (9/28) — an episode from last September that had a really interesting topic
The website only appears to have the latest episode on their page, but you can find many past episodes if you have the title or a keyword you’re looking for.
If you have an iPhone, I recommend the Overcast app for subscribing to and listening to podcasts.
You can also listen to podcasts from the Overcast website (just use the search box) and it has the same functions as the app.
The Apple podcast app (the purple one that comes with the phone) is fine, too. I hear that Podcast Addict and Pocket Cast are good choices for Androids, but I haven’t tried either. Here’s one list of “The best podcast apps”: