| Nov 1, 2014

Commemorating wartime Soviet spy Sorge

Seventy years ago on Nov. 7, the Japanese authorities executed Richard Sorge, a Soviet spy who became a member of the Nazi Party and was operating as a journalist in wartime Tokyo. He was a raffish, womanizing, hard-drinking party animal who produced intelligence coups ...

| Oct 25, 2014

Abe downsized, comfort women reprised

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe now understands why political gurus say that a week is a short time in politics. Last week, I speculated about why Abe remains popular despite promoting policies that most people oppose. But even before two of his Cabinet ministers submitted ...

| Oct 18, 2014

The Abe conundrum and the pitfalls ahead

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is a polarizing figure, lauded as the resolute leader Japan needs to revive its flagging fortunes and slammed for mishandling history issues in ways that undermine national interests. The Abe conundrum is how he manages to retain a high degree ...

| Oct 11, 2014

China's new strongman Xi has a dream

President Xi Jinping is China’s most authoritarian leader since Deng Xiaoping, a strongman who has moved aggressively to assert and consolidate power while promoting a cult of personality. Rivals have been dispatched, he has rooted out those in the ruling oligarchy that were planted ...

| Oct 4, 2014

Manga, the Rising Sun and Abe's history problem

During his recent visit to the United Nations, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reasserted his eagerness to improve relations with Japan’s East Asian neighbors, but the reaction from Beijing and Seoul was tepid. That’s because in both China and South Korea, Abe is reviled for ...

| Sep 27, 2014

Hyperbole over Asahi affair tarnishes brand Japan

The Asahi Shimbun has been apologetic of late after it confessed to journalistic wrongdoing in several articles. The newspaper has admitted an interview with the president of Nintendo was fabricated and that a story in May on the Fukushima accident erred in asserting that ...

| Sep 20, 2014

Jokowi's victory brings high hopes and challenges

In July, Joko Widodo, universally known as Jokowi, won a decisive victory in Indonesia’s presidential elections. Even before assuming office in October, he faces extravagant expectations in a nation that has endured mercurial (Sukarno), repressive (Suharto) and feckless (B.J. Habibie, Abdurrahman Wahid, Megawati Sukarnoputri ...

| Sep 13, 2014

Empowering Asian women through education

Asia University for Women, launched in 2008, is an audacious project in Chittagong, Bangladesh, that is aiming to develop the region’s future leaders. It has graduated two classes and, despite teething problems, looks to have a bright future in a country best known for ...

| Aug 30, 2014

Richard Katz on the failures of 'Voodoo Abenomics'

Richard Katz, editor-in-chief at The Oriental Economist, is the author of “Voodoo Abenomics: Japan’s Failed Comeback Plan,” an article published in the July/August issue of Foreign Affairs magazine. Katz went into more detail about Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s “Abenomics” policy in a recent email ...