Mar 19, 2007

Abe should be looking forward, not back

HONOLULU — What was he thinking? That is the question most Japan-watchers grappled with following Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s fumbled questions about the imperial Japanese government’s role in recruiting “comfort women” during World War II. His responses came close to undoing the progress ...

Jan 25, 2007

Abe's aggressive agenda

HONOLULU — There is no mistaking Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s determination to transform Japan’s foreign and security policies, and reassert itself in the world. Yet while he must seize opportunities as he forges this new role, he must also reassure doubters both at home ...

Jan 14, 2007

Asia's shift in global importance

Chasing the Sun: Rethinking East Asian Policy, by Morton Abramowitz and Stephen Bosworth. New York: A Century Foundation Book, 2006, 165 pp., $15.95 (paper). Slowly but surely, the United States is waking up to the profound changes afoot in the structure of global power. ...

Dec 17, 2006

Economic power struggles in Asia

JAPAN IN A DYNAMIC ASIA: Coping With the New Security Challenges, edited by Yoichiro Sato and Satu Limaye. Lexington Books, 2006, 271 pp., 2006 (paper). Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said he will pursue a more assertive foreign policy. That won’t be easy, report ...

Nov 12, 2006

Sticking to the invective is less effective

NUCLEAR SHOWDOWN: North Korea Takes on the World, by Gordon C. Chang. Random House, 2006, 327 pp., $25.95 (cloth). Gordon Chang really can pick ‘em. In 2001, as the world awakened to China’s incandescent rise, he made a stir with “The Coming Collapse of ...

Oct 16, 2006

Forget about Japan racing to go nuclear

HONOLULU — Take a deep breath and repeat: “Japan is not going to develop nuclear weapons.” Feel better? Yes, North Korea’s nuclear test is a blow to the regional security order. It is a bitter defeat for diplomacy. And yes, Japanese (and Chinese and ...

Sep 30, 2006

Shinzo Abe's twin challenges

HONOLULU — Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said he wants to make Japan “a country that is trusted and loved” by the entire world. On the face of it, this should not be that difficult a task. After all, in the past 60 years, ...

Jul 9, 2006

'Sayonara Summit' saw the best of ties

HONOLULU — The “Sayonara Summit” went well — as expected. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s last visit to the United States as prime minister — a “summit-cum-road trip,” with a 19-gun salute and visit to Graceland — set a new standard for intimacy on the ...

Jul 8, 2006

A Germany not ashamed to wave the flag

BERLIN — It was clear from the taxi ride into town from Hamburg airport that something was different: Most buildings had a German flag hanging from a balcony. More remarkable still were the cars with small German flags protruding from windows. By the time ...

May 26, 2006

Whither the six-party talks?

HONOLULU — It has been nine months since the fourth round of six-party talks to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula concluded with a joint statement of principles. That statement now appears to be the high-water mark of the process rather than a baseline for future ...