Sep 29, 2010

Japan vs. China: What makes societies succeed?

A namesake — a U.S. economics professor also called Gregory Clark — has caused waves with a theory that says the 18th century U.K. Industrial Revolution was due to heredity creating superior genes. In those days, he says, disease and poverty kept lower-class families ...

Aug 17, 2010

Saving Japan's universities

The consensus says Japanese university students are lazy and apathetic. Unfavorable comparisons are made with Chinese studying here. Yet those same students at their annual autumn festivals can show an enthusiasm, professionalism and attention to detail superior to anything at a Western university, or ...

Jul 6, 2010

'A tall poppy is cut down'; Gillard could bloom awhile

Strange things happen to Australian prime ministers. One (Harold Holt, 1966-67) disappeared while swimming near a Melbourne beach; speculation says he may have been eaten by a shark. Another (John Gorton, 1968-71) willingly voted himself out of office when some colleagues turned against him. ...

Jun 25, 2010

Western media play along in the disinformation game

Are they being manipulated by governments? Or, are they just plain lazy, happy to go along with what everyone else is saying and what readers want to believe without wanting to look too closely into relevant background? I refer to the way the Western ...

Apr 29, 2010

Media vultures circle P.M.

In Brazil they tell the story of the small-town TV crime reporter who gained fame and scoops by arranging crimes himself. He could then rush out and interview the victims well before rivals. But eventually his scoops caught up with him and he ended ...

Apr 5, 2010

No fast-track education in Japan

It’s back to school in Japan, and back to the perennial questions: • How to find enough teachers able properly to handle English-language classes in primary schools? (Answer: nearly impossible.) • How to improve foreign-language education generally? (Cut back on high school teaching and ...

Mar 11, 2010

U.S. base problem drags on

The loud dispute over the future of the U.S. Marine Air Station at Futenma, Okinawa, is puzzling. Even U.S. officialdom agrees that this base causes enormous inconvenience to the residents of Ginowan city who are forced to live alongside. Plans to have it moved ...

Jan 26, 2010

Fault lines in the Sino-Indian frontier dispute

“Quand la chine s’reveillera, le monde tremblera” (When China wakes, the world will tremble), Napoleon said while in exile at St. Helena. Much of the trembling we see today in the West is exaggerated concern over the mere fact that China exists and is ...

Dec 28, 2009

Economy chasing its tail

The Japanese have a saying — “sandome no shoujiki.” Roughly translated it means that “after getting it wrong twice you finally get it right the third time.” Two previous Japanese administrations — Hashimoto (1996-98) and Koizumi (2001-06) — set out to revive the economy ...

Dec 3, 2009

Time to get tough on China

It’s time to start getting tough on Beijing. No, this is not a rant about China’s alleged lack of human rights. When China has something as evil as Abu Ghraib and Bagram we might have a right to complain. Nor am I complaining about ...