| Mar 15, 2014

The Fukushima tragedy justifies nuclear skepticism

The findings of a Kyodo survey conducted in February this year reveal a stunning level of reluctance to restart Japan’s nuclear reactors in the host cities, towns and prefectures that stand to gain from revving them back up. The nation’s 48 viable reactors are ...

| Mar 1, 2014

Japan's reactionaries waging culture war

The contemporary culture wars that have erupted over Japanese identity and history are undermining the country’s national interests and damaging its reputation. However, as rightwing extremists again try to mount a takeover by seeking to rehabilitate Japan’s history of aggression and colonial rule in ...

| Feb 22, 2014

Abe's culture wars boomerang against Japan

Japan’s culture wars are heating up to the detriment of the nation. The Financial Times is right to warn that the jingoism of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and attempts to stifle public debate, are grave threats to Japan’s open society. Most Japanese don’t want ...

| Feb 15, 2014

Tokyo firebombing and unfinished U.S. business

Last week in this column, I suggested that Caroline Kennedy, the American ambassador to Japan, would be well advised to get the ball rolling on U.S. apologies for past misdeeds. The anniversary of the Tokyo firebombing provides an opportunity to do so. On the ...

| Feb 8, 2014

Blast from the past: Lucky Dragon 60 years on

Sixty years ago, on March 1, 1954, a Japanese fishing boat named Lucky Dragon No. 5 was doused by radioactive fallout from a U.S. hydrogen-bomb test, codenamed Castle Bravo, on Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands. Although the bomb was over 1,000 times more ...

Bending Adversity: Japan and the Art of Survival

Feb 1, 2014

Bending Adversity: Japan and the Art of Survival

The title of “Bending Adversity: Japan and the Art of Survival” refers to an old Japanese proverb about making the best of a bad situation or transforming crisis into opportunity. Japan is no stranger to crisis, or to monumental “bending,” but will the Great ...

| Feb 1, 2014

Can local voices derail the Super Shinzo Express?

Voters in Nago, northern Okinawa Island, threw down the gauntlet on Jan. 19 when they reelected as mayor the incumbent, Susumu Inamine, a staunch opponent of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s plan to relocate the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma from the congested city ...

'Abe-genda': nuclear export superpower

Jan 25, 2014

'Abe-genda': nuclear export superpower

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is now in New Delhi to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the founding of the Indian Republic. His presence speaks volumes about closer diplomatic, security and economic ties and, at least from Tokyo’s perspective, a common agenda on responding to ...