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For 's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

'Design Project for the Tokyo 1964 Olympic Games'

Feb 21, 2013

'Design Project for the Tokyo 1964 Olympic Games'

The 1964 Summer Olympics will forever be remembered as one of the most important events in Japan’s postwar history. To Japan, hosting the Olympics was the nation’s opportunity to prove to the world that it had strength and power to recover and progress from ...

'Kobayashi Naojiro Exhibition'

Feb 21, 2013

'Kobayashi Naojiro Exhibition'

When Naojiro Kobayashi outlived a diagnosis that a lung disease he was suffering from would kill him by the age of 25, his favorite phrase became: “I’m so embarrassed I have lived this long.” But he continued to defy the disease, finally living to ...

| Feb 6, 2013

Harden the loser in trade from OKC

The Houston Rockets are going to make the playoffs, and without trading for James Harden there basically was no chance they would. The Oklahoma City Thunder still are among the top five contenders for the NBA championship, but not likely as strong a contender ...

Feb 4, 2013

'Abenomics' missing the mark

The economic policies enunciated by the Abe government may have some beneficial effects, but seem inadequate in themselves to revive the Japanese economy in the long run.

Feb 4, 2013

Suicide rate in decline

The annual number of suicides in Japan has fallen below the 30,000 level for the first time in 15 years, but suicide-prevention measures should not be slackened.

Feb 3, 2013

Entrance exam change needed

Japan's entrance exam ritual, which is once again upon us, needs substantial changes before other parts of the education system can be reformed.

Feb 3, 2013

Japan's competitiveness

Japan's world ranking in "economic competitiveness" is slipping. The nation came in 10th in 2012, continuing its slide from the sixth spot in 2010.

Feb 1, 2013

End the abuse of athletes

Fifteen of Japan's top female judo athletes, including Olympic contenders, should be praised for standing up against coaching violence and harassment.

Feb 1, 2013

Not the way to reform education

As for "resuscitating" education, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe appears more interested in nurturing children who will help Japan achieve its national goals.

Jan 25, 2013

Address shows Obama is playing make-believe

There was a make-believe quality to U.S. President Barack Obama’s second inaugural address, as if all that’s required to solve serious problems are the intelligence to produce proper policies and the political grit to get them approved. Perish the thought that there are deep ...

Jan 25, 2013

A defiant North Korea

If North Korea goes ahead with a threatened nuclear test in reaction to a U.N. Security Council scolding, it will the first under new leader Kim Jong Un.

Jan 25, 2013

The unloved dollar standard

The role of the U.S. dollar as international anchor is faltering as emerging markets grow increasingly frustrated by the Fed’s near-zero interest-rate policy.

Jan 25, 2013

Targeting the use of mercury

More than 140 countries in Geneva agree on a treaty that marks the first step in global efforts to prevent health-environmental damage from mercury.

Jan 24, 2013

Stay on the nonnuclear path

It would be unrealistic for the Abe administration to return to the energy polices that prevailed before the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster of 3/11.

Jan 24, 2013

Obama's quest for greatness

Barack Obama's quest to achieve presidential "greatness" will probably be denied because none of America's problems rises to the level of mortal peril.

Jan 24, 2013

Discovered while still alive

Natsuko Kuroda, 75, the oldest person yet to win the literary Akutagawa Prize, expressed appreciation that jurors discovered her "while I am alive."

Jan 24, 2013

Taiwan boat carrying activists sails for Senkakus

A leisure fishing boat carrying Taiwanese activists, and escorted by four Taiwan Coast Guard vessels, was sailing to a cluster of Japanese-administered islands claimed by Taiwan and China on Thursday morning amid heightened tension in the region. Taiwan’s Coast Guard Administration said the fishing ...

Jan 23, 2013

Manipulation of a key index

Even during Japan's bubble economy of the late '80s, average annual inflation was 0.7 percentage point shy of the just-adopted 2 percent target.

Jan 23, 2013

The American comeback kid

One of the more startling forecasts is that China will become the largest economy by 2016 and that the U.S. will become an energy exporter by 2020.

Jan 23, 2013

Washington's tangled foreign policy problems

The desert sands of Mali and Algeria provide an unlikely arena for an existential challenge to the global alliance system the United States has managed since World War II. But the hesitant and timid U.S. and European Union responses to the crisis in northwestern ...

Jan 23, 2013

Kim's second test is Xi's first

North Korea’s new supreme leader Kim Jong Un conducted two missile tests last year. The first, in April, failed. The second, in December, was by all accounts a huge success. But it was not just a test of North Korea’s ability to put an ...

Jan 23, 2013

Woman's tragedy speaks to Indian aspirations

It’s common these days for people to compare India with China and conclude that maybe democracy isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. In India, they note, power shortages force factories to rely on generators, and investors may spend years trying to gain title ...

Jan 23, 2013

How the Vietnam war will shape Obama's second term

The men who fought in Vietnam, a war that symbolizes America’s overreach and failures abroad, haven’t ascended to the presidency in the way that the World War II generation did. But now, under President Barack Obama, Vietnam veterans Chuck Hagel and John Kerry could ...

Ban talks about Japan in the world in exclusive interview

Jan 23, 2013

Ban talks about Japan in the world in exclusive interview

In a series of seven two-hour sessions that included informal get-togethers with his wife Soon Taek, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, the well-regarded former South Korean foreign minister, shares his insights exclusively with American journalist Tom Plate. The following excerpts from Plate’s ...

Jan 23, 2013

The mess in Mali

French President Francois Hollande has sent French forces to stop an Islamic insurgency from taking over the West African nation of Mali. It is a bold step for Mr. Hollande, who faces rising discontent at home as well as fear that the intervention could ...

Jan 22, 2013

The problem of power harassment

One in four workers in Japan experienced power harassment over the past three years, according to a recent survey by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry. The poll of 4,580 companies with 30 or more employees, conducted between July and September of 2012, also ...

Jan 18, 2013

Most 787 jets grounded worldwide

Aviation regulators on Thursday grounded most of the world’s 787 Dreamliner fleet until a fire risk linked to the plane’s batteries can be fixed, deepening a crisis for its U.S. manufacturer, Boeing Co. Regulators in Japan, India and Chile followed the lead of the ...

Jan 17, 2013

Moscow's not-so-friendly environmental quirks

Moscow, they say, “wasn’t built at one go” — in contrast to St. Petersburg, which emerged laid out, as if by magic, in strict conformity to Peter the Great’s plan — and it has been growing chaotically for more than 800 years on seven ...

When the connections are as crucial as the art

Jan 17, 2013

When the connections are as crucial as the art

Amid the hurry of daily life it is easy to forget what lies below our feet. To most of us, it may appear to be just cement or dirt, but to artist Kenji Yamada there are profound mysteries contained on the ground, in things ...

Jan 17, 2013

China sets sights on an 'outer space trump card'

When China destroyed one of its own satellites in space six years ago, it alarmed many other Asia-Pacific countries that have invested heavily in orbiting satellites for telecommunications, Earth observation and scientific research. China’s action caused particular concern in the United States, Japan, Australia, ...

Jan 17, 2013

Building a better U.S. drone policy

An unmanned U.S. aerial vehicle — or drone — reportedly killed eight people in rural Pakistan last week, bringing the estimated death toll from drone strikes in Pakistan this year to 35. As the frequency of drone strikes spikes again, there are some questions: ...

Jan 16, 2013

Rewriting history is unwise

Prime Minister Abe Shinzo has appointed a Cabinet that, according to press reports, contains a number of ministers who want to rewrite the history of the 20th century. They, including the new minister of education, are reported as demanding the rescinding of the statement ...

Tepco's power bidding plan raises warming concerns

Jan 14, 2013

Tepco's power bidding plan raises warming concerns

Tokyo Electric Power Co. plans to start a bidding process next month to secure long-term electricity supplies from thermal power sources. The plan is generating concern in some quarters about the effect on greenhouse gas emissions because the system implies the sole use of ...

U.S. sizzled in record heat of '12

Jan 10, 2013

U.S. sizzled in record heat of '12

Last year marked the warmest year on record for the United States and was also the second most extreme ever, the U.S. government agency charged with monitoring weather events said Tuesday. A brutal combination of a widespread drought and a mostly absent winter pushed ...

Diet ranks vow to defy ICJ ruling

Apr 19, 2014

Diet ranks vow to defy ICJ ruling

National Lawmakers on Wednesday demanded the government redesign its “research” whaling program to circumvent an international court ruling that described the program as a commercial hunt dressed up as science. The 40-strong fisheries committee, made up of a cross-section of members of the lower ...

Apr 19, 2014

MH370 sub hunt may end this week

A robotic minisub is expected to finish searching a narrowed-down area of the Indian Ocean seabed for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane this week, after completing six missions and coming up empty, the search coordination center said Saturday. As the hunt for Flight MH370 ...

Ambivalence lingers in hometown

Apr 19, 2014

Ambivalence lingers in hometown

Gabriel Garcia Marquez and his homeland had a relationship as conflicted as any in the Nobel laureate’s twisting and impassioned novels. Colombia inspired and dismayed Garcia Marquez in equal measure, and the feeling was often mutual. Nowhere is that ambiguity more evident than in ...

Apr 19, 2014

Plane spotted in Iran is registered to Utah bank

An airplane that mysteriously ended up in Iran is registered to a Utah bank under an arrangement for aviation ownership that has prompted two warnings from a government watchdog in the past year. The Bombardier CL-600 became the subject of international intrigue after the ...

Apr 19, 2014

NASA probe slams into moon surface

NASA’s robotic moon explorer, LADEE, is no more. Flight controllers confirmed that the orbiting spacecraft crashed into the back side of the moon Friday as planned, avoiding precious historic artifacts left behind by moonwalkers. LADEE’s annihilation occurred just three days after it survived a ...

| Apr 19, 2014

America: the superpower ally that's far, far away

Japan is, at heart, politically as well as geographically, a country of small towns. One of these is home to the Japanese-American political relationship. Populated by distinguished elders and ambitious young courtiers from government and academia on both sides of the Pacific, this village ...

Apr 19, 2014

Turkey eyes burning pistachio nut shells to heat new eco-city

Turkey may have found a new way to exploit pistachios, the nuts that are a key ingredient in Turkish baklava — by using their shells to heat a new eco-city. Officials are examining plans to build the country’s first ecological city with buildings both ...

Garcia Marquez hailed as giant

Apr 19, 2014

Garcia Marquez hailed as giant

FOCUS His death mourned around the globe, Gabriel Garcia Marquez is being hailed as a giant of modern literature, a writer of intoxicating novels and short stories that illuminated Latin America’s passions, superstition, violence and social inequality. Widely considered the most popular Spanish-language writer ...

South Korean captain held over sinking

Apr 19, 2014

South Korean captain held over sinking

The captain of the ferry that sank off South Korea on Wednesday, leaving more than 300 dead or missing, was arrested Saturday on suspicion of negligence and abandoning people in need. Two crew members also were taken into custody, including a mate who a ...