Apr 9, 2009

Australia and Afghanistan

So Australia’s Labor Party prime minister, the Chinese-speaking Kevin Rudd, has promised Australia will stay the course with the United States in Afghanistan right to the very end. That’s interesting. Canberra once also promised the U.S. it would stay in the Vietnam war till ...

Mar 24, 2009

Barring the people needed

The Calderon affair — the expulsion of a Filipino couple who entered Japan illegally but whose Japanese-fluent daughter was born and raised in Japan — is seen as an indictment of Japan’s confused immigration policies. And rightly. On the one hand, Japan says that ...

Feb 27, 2009

Econ lessons from Japan

Searching the reasons for Japan’s “lost decade” — the deflation and stunted growth said to have plagued Japan ever since the collapse of the “bubble economy” in the early 1990s — has long been popular among U.S. and British commentators seeking an answer to ...

Feb 15, 2009

Immorality of bushfires

Australia will recover from its recent bushfire tragedy damage. But can it recover from the shock of discovering how much of the damage was due to arson? Japan could provide some answers, though not all optimistic. Societies have several ways to hold themselves together ...

Feb 5, 2009

What's wrong with the way English is taught in Japan

The good news is that Japan’s education bureaucrats realize that despite six years of middle and high school study many Japanese are still unable to speak English well. The bad news is that the bureaucrats plan to solve this problem by giving us more ...

Jan 25, 2009

Larrikin notions of civilization

TRAVELS IN ATOMIC SUNSHINE: Australia and the Occupation of Japan, by Robin Gerster. Scribe Publications, 2008, 336 pp., $49.95 (cloth) Robin Gerster is a respected university- based researcher into recent Australian history. This, his latest book, is a very well-written and very detailed account ...

Jan 25, 2009

Larrikin notions of civilization

Robin Gerster is a respected university- based researcher into recent Australian history. This, his latest book, is a very well-written and very detailed account of Australia’s brief attempt (1946-1952) to occupy and “civilize” its large northern neighbor, Japan. The result, needless to say, was ...

Jan 15, 2009

Antiforeigner discrimination is a right for Japanese people

“Japan girai” — dislike of Japan — is an allergy that seems to afflict many Westerners here. If someone handing out Japanese-language flyers assumes they cannot read Japanese and ignores them, they cry racial discrimination. If they are left sitting alone in a train, ...

Jan 8, 2009

Outlook is mixed for 2009

Looking at 2009, the good news is that the global economy is likely to recover much faster than predicted. The bad news is that global politics are likely to deteriorate much more rapidly than most expected. From the beginning it was fairly clear that ...