| Mar 1, 2009

What 'prohibition' has wrought

NEW YORK — When I read the news that the Latin American Commission on Drugs and Democracy “blasted the U.S.-led drug war as a failure that is pushing Latin American societies to the breaking point” (Wall Street Journal, Feb. 12), I thought: Someone is ...

| Jan 25, 2009

Repercussions of war gone bad

NEW YORK — A young friend of mine, Rie Nakano, who did some archival research for a university professor, has given me a small batch of documents prepared by the Special Higher Police, known by the Japanese acronym Tokko. (I had told Rie that ...

| Dec 29, 2008

Suppressing more than free speech

I recently read a book that, a decade ago, created a controversy in Japan about homosexuality. In it the prize-winning writer Jiro Fukushima described his sexual relationship with Yukio Mishima dating from 1951. Because of the book, Mishima’s surviving family sued the publisher and ...

| Nov 24, 2008

Burst of U.S. bubble arouses old specters

So the Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman has spoken: The “usual tools of economic policy — above all, the Federal Reserve’s ability to pump up the economy by cutting interest rates — have lost all traction” (“Depression Economics Return,” Nov. 14, The New York ...

| Sep 29, 2008

'Good old days' dispensed with body counts

NEW YORK — Driving back from Sunset Beach, North Carolina, where we spend two weeks every summer, we hugged the coastline. After crossing the 40-kilometer Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, we stopped for the first time at the Visitors Center for the Eastern Shore of Virginia ...

| Aug 25, 2008

The longest day ever for Japan

I recently stumbled upon a YouTube recording — actually, two — of the Showa Emperor telling his subjects over the radio that Japan was accepting defeat. The first one I heard was what appeared to be a cleaned-up version; the second was the one ...

| Jun 30, 2008

Justices made right call on habeas corpus

Among the commentaries I’ve read about a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, the one from George F. Will (The Japan Times, June 24) surprised me. The conservative columnist for The Washington Post upbraided Sen. John McCain for condemning Boumediene v. Bush — which upheld ...

| May 28, 2008

Behind the failure of the Japanese economy

Takafusa Shioya has sent me his book published last year, “Keizai Saisei no Joken” (Conditions for Economic Recovery). Nearly three decades ago, during a period of a few years when Jimmy Carter’s presidency morphed into Ronald Reagan’s, he was stationed in the New York ...