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 ...

Nov 12, 2009

APEC remains toothless

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) grouping will hold its annual summit meeting in Singapore this weekend, with the leaders of its 21 member-nations expected to attend. But do we really need yet another high-level global talk-fest? In July we had the Group of Eight ...

Oct 20, 2009

Western media stoking conflict

A little more than a year ago, Russia and Georgia were at war over Georgia’s small autonomous republic of South Ossetia. We now have two authoritative reports — one from late 2008 by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE ) and ...

Aug 26, 2009

First ban the hawks, then the bomb

This year’s Hiroshima atomic bombing anniversary saw more demands for the abolition of nuclear weapons. It is a worthy goal. But does it make sense? People genuinely keen to rid the world of nuclear weapons need first do something about the hawks and hardliners ...

Jul 16, 2009

Reflecting on the lessons of Robert McNamara's war

The death of former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara at age 93 has reopened the debate on his role, first as architect for the Vietnam War, and then later in apologizing for it with his 1995 book “In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons ...

Jun 11, 2009

Sri Lanka and Tiananmen: Time to accept the truth

It used to be said the first casualty of war is the truth. But today we do not even need wars to see truth destroyed. Even domestic conflicts in distant countries can do the job, with a flood of black information and news distortions ...