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 ...

Apr 3, 2006

Challenges, opportunities for the Japan-U.S. alliance

HONOLULU — As its 55th birthday approaches, the Japan-U.S. alliance faces new challenges and new opportunities. Ironically, new security threats — and new demands for cooperation — provide the best opportunities to revitalize the alliance. The bilateral security relationship is in better shape than ...

Mar 30, 2006

Reshaping U.S.-ROK alliance

HONOLULU — The U.S.-South Korea alliance is at a turning point. South Korea has become a modern, vibrant democracy and a dynamic economy with global reach. Despite the nuclear crisis with North Korea, inter-Korean reconciliation has taken root and South Korea feels confident enough ...

Jan 26, 2006

America missing out in Asia

HONOLULU — The structure of global power is shifting, and Asia is finally emerging as one of the pillars of the international system. We have heard this talk before — over a decade ago the “Asian century” was the story line — but it ...

Dec 31, 2005

Testing times for Japan, China

HONOLULU — Taro Aso’s recent comment in plain words about the “threat” posed by China’s military modernization effort is as remarkable as the supposed threat itself. The readiness of a Japanese Cabinet official, and a foreign minister no less, to publicly acknowledge and criticize ...

Nov 17, 2005

Seoul aims for leading role

PUSAN, South Korea — South Korea, long considered “a shrimp among whales” in Northeast Asia, senses opportunity. Diplomatic developments in the region hold out hope of a transformation of relations among states, and South Korean strategists see their nation as uniquely positioned to lead ...

Oct 26, 2005

A Koizumi promise not worth keeping

HONOLULU — Last week, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi made his fifth visit to Yasukuni Shrine. There was the predictable response from other Asian nations, but it is clear that those protests fall on deaf ears. If the prime minister’s determination is plain, so too ...