Feb 17, 2011

What became of the Meiji spirit?

LONDON — The number of Japanese studying at top universities abroad has been declining while the number of outstanding Chinese students has been increasing. Numbers are not everything, but it is disturbing to see reports that Japanese students are less willing than Chinese to ...

Jan 28, 2011

China, charmer and bully

LONDON — Hu Jintao, given a head-of-state welcome in Washington, tried to show a friendly face toward America. He brought gifts in the form of contracts to buy American products, although most of these contracts had been closed earlier and some at least involve ...

Dec 6, 2010

Frankly, says the diplomat

LONDON — There is not much in the latest batch of Wikileaks that should come as a surprise to most well-informed people. It is surely common knowledge that the present Russian government has close connections with Mafia-style criminals. No one could have been surprised ...

Nov 24, 2010

Japan's declining prestige

LONDON — Japan’s prestige abroad has continued to decline despite the change from the clapped out Liberal Democratic Party with its series of old hack prime ministers to a government led by the Democratic Party of Japan. Foreign observers thought that surely a DPJ ...

Nov 21, 2010

To fold on rights is not an option

LONDON — In his recently published self-justifying and self-congratulatory memoir “Decision Points,” former U.S. president George W. Bush declared that the waterboarding of al-Qaida suspects, which he had authorized, was justified because the information obtained from the suspects had been instrumental in preventing attacks ...

Oct 30, 2010

A diet for Britain's defense

One of the first acts of the British coalition government was the establishment of a National Security Council. Its primary task was to prepare a new strategic defense and security review. This was published on the day before the government announced its austerity program. ...

Oct 27, 2010

A British lesson for Japan?

The program of cuts to be made in the British budget over the years to the next election due in 2015 was outlined by Finance Minister George Osborne to Parliament on Oct. 20. The program envisages the elimination of the structural deficit by 2015 ...

Sep 24, 2010

Pope in a secularized state

LONDON — On Sept. 19, Pope Benedict XVI completed a four-day state visit to Britain. This was the first state visit by a pope to a country that had abjured allegiance to the papacy nearly 500 years ago and had played an important role ...

Sep 15, 2010

Corruption is not very sporting

Top players in world sports earn salaries that are staggeringly large. But, if various allegations that have recently been published are true, the earnings of top sportsmen, combined in many cases with huge payments from companies using the stars’ images to advertise their products, ...

Sep 4, 2010

Coalition on the right track

The British coalition government, formed after the last election between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats, has not only survived its first quarter in power but has launched some significant reforms that could change the way Britain is governed. One immediate and welcome change ...