Nov 28, 2012

Japan's university education crisis

Education minister Makiko Tanaka has apologized for trying to cancel approvals given by her ministry bureaucrats for three institutions seeking to operate as fully fledged four-year universities providing undergraduate degrees. But should she have apologized? There is a crisis in Japanese tertiary education. Student ...

Aug 22, 2012

Remembering Japan's 'deserters'

The Obon festival celebrated on Aug. 15 in many parts of Japan marks the alleged release of ghosts from past mythical sufferings. The Aug. 15 anniversary of Japan’s 1945 defeat also gives Japan’s dwindling band of progressive TV program producers freedom to confront the ...

Aug 15, 2012

Economics of austerity don't add up

Do Europe’s budget-cutting austerity-minded planners understand simple math? They say they have to embrace austerity policies to reduce excessive national debt. But those policies inevitably cut tax revenues more than they cut spending. National debt increases rather than decreases. Worse, recovery from the economic ...

Jul 4, 2012

Reforming Japan's universities

Media reports say Japan’s education bureaucrats are considering allowing students with “stellar” academic records to graduate from high school before they turn 18. In other words, the required three-year stint at high school might be cut to two. In most countries, allowing university entry ...

Apr 30, 2012

Fact-checking Japan's critics

The better U.S. media now use fact-checkers and truth meters to debunk outrageous claims by politicians. Maybe Japan should do the same toward its critics. High on the truth-meter treatment list would be the never-ending claims that Japan is a racist society. One of ...

Mar 1, 2012

Labor showdown in Canberra

It was a battle of the opposites. On one side we had ex-Australian prime minister, Kevin Rudd, 54, a former diplomat with baby-face looks, devoted wife and family, carefully cultivated religious persona and impeccable CV. Opposed was current Prime Minister Julia Gillard, 51, ex-lawyer, ...

Feb 9, 2012

Dubious reasons to attack Iran

It is hard not to be impressed by the one-dimensional reasons the United States gives for its various animosities. U.S. antagonism to Tehran began in 1979 when some revolution-minded Iranian students stormed the U.S. Embassy there and held 55 staff members as hostages for ...