| Mar 14, 2015

Indonesian preview for pending Abe statement?

Next month Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will attend the 60th commemoration of the 1955 Bandung Conference of Asian and African leaders in Jakarta. His main reason for doing so is to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping and hopefully snag a better photo opportunity ...

| Mar 7, 2015

Centennial lessons for Abe from the '21 Demands'

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and fellow revisionists prefer to think that Japan’s 20th century imperialist aggression has been misunderstood. But on this score they are isolated not only from the international community, but also within Japan. In January and February, Emperor Akihito and Prince ...

| Feb 28, 2015

China inadvertently promotes Islamic extremism

March 1, 2014, was China’s 9/11. That was the day Islamic Uighur terrorists slashed their way into the collective consciousness of the country’s ethnic Han majority. That fateful day, a group of eight militants launched an attack at the main railway station in Kunming, ...

| Feb 21, 2015

Militant monks rabble-rousing in Myanmar

With the people of Myanmar heading to the polls later this year, there are troubling signs that some extremists are intent on stirring up trouble. Last month, one such extremist held a rally in Yangon. Ashin Wirathu gave a vitriolic speech that attacked U.N. ...

| Feb 14, 2015

Japan's public diplomacy is expensive and errant

Global understanding does not come cheaply. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government has budgeted ¥70 billion — yes, that’s more than $500 million — to help get the word out about Japan and ensure that China and South Korea aren’t the only ones controlling the ...

| Feb 7, 2015

Abe acts quickly to exploit Japan's 'nightmare'

On adjacent televisions at my gym, I watched breaking news on the beheading of journalist Kenji Goto by the Islamic State group next to a “One Piece” anime segment in which fresh-faced youth defended their boat from marauding pirates. The kids routed them in ...

Diplomatic blundering on hostages and history

| Jan 31, 2015

Diplomatic blundering on hostages and history

Japan’s latest hostage crisis has exposed shortcomings in Japan’s public diplomacy and raises questions about the advice Prime Minister Shinzo Abe received in publicly announcing $200 million in humanitarian aid to help those displaced by conflict with the Islamic State group. Understandably, the prime ...

| Jan 24, 2015

Can the DPJ reinvigorate Japanese democracy?

Columbia University’s Gerald Curtis recently wrote, “It is a sad commentary on Japan’s politics that after nearly 70 years of democracy a competitive party system has all but disintegrated.” The Democratic Party of Japan is a culprit in this disintegration and slim hopes for ...

| Jan 17, 2015

Sri Lanka votes against fear and kleptocracy

The stunning ouster of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Jan. 8 was good news for that island nation of 20 million, and further evidence of a universal yearning for good governance. After a decade in power, Sri Lankans chose to hold Rajapaksa accountable ...

| Jan 10, 2015

The people's Emperor speaks truth to power

Emperor Akihito began the new year with a statement that pointedly referred to two major controversies: war memory and nuclear energy. His thoughts on these demonstrate why he is so admired by the public and underscore the crucial role the 81-year-old monarch plays in ...