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For 's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

'Design Project for the Tokyo 1964 Olympic Games'

Feb 21, 2013

'Design Project for the Tokyo 1964 Olympic Games'

The 1964 Summer Olympics will forever be remembered as one of the most important events in Japan’s postwar history. To Japan, hosting the Olympics was the nation’s opportunity to prove to the world that it had strength and power to recover and progress from ...

'Kobayashi Naojiro Exhibition'

Feb 21, 2013

'Kobayashi Naojiro Exhibition'

When Naojiro Kobayashi outlived a diagnosis that a lung disease he was suffering from would kill him by the age of 25, his favorite phrase became: “I’m so embarrassed I have lived this long.” But he continued to defy the disease, finally living to ...

| Feb 6, 2013

Harden the loser in trade from OKC

The Houston Rockets are going to make the playoffs, and without trading for James Harden there basically was no chance they would. The Oklahoma City Thunder still are among the top five contenders for the NBA championship, but not likely as strong a contender ...

Feb 4, 2013

'Abenomics' missing the mark

The economic policies enunciated by the Abe government may have some beneficial effects, but seem inadequate in themselves to revive the Japanese economy in the long run.

Feb 4, 2013

Suicide rate in decline

The annual number of suicides in Japan has fallen below the 30,000 level for the first time in 15 years, but suicide-prevention measures should not be slackened.

Feb 3, 2013

Entrance exam change needed

Japan's entrance exam ritual, which is once again upon us, needs substantial changes before other parts of the education system can be reformed.

Feb 3, 2013

Japan's competitiveness

Japan's world ranking in "economic competitiveness" is slipping. The nation came in 10th in 2012, continuing its slide from the sixth spot in 2010.

Feb 1, 2013

End the abuse of athletes

Fifteen of Japan's top female judo athletes, including Olympic contenders, should be praised for standing up against coaching violence and harassment.

Feb 1, 2013

Not the way to reform education

As for "resuscitating" education, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe appears more interested in nurturing children who will help Japan achieve its national goals.

Jan 25, 2013

Address shows Obama is playing make-believe

There was a make-believe quality to U.S. President Barack Obama’s second inaugural address, as if all that’s required to solve serious problems are the intelligence to produce proper policies and the political grit to get them approved. Perish the thought that there are deep ...

Jan 25, 2013

A defiant North Korea

If North Korea goes ahead with a threatened nuclear test in reaction to a U.N. Security Council scolding, it will the first under new leader Kim Jong Un.

Jan 25, 2013

The unloved dollar standard

The role of the U.S. dollar as international anchor is faltering as emerging markets grow increasingly frustrated by the Fed’s near-zero interest-rate policy.

Jan 25, 2013

Targeting the use of mercury

More than 140 countries in Geneva agree on a treaty that marks the first step in global efforts to prevent health-environmental damage from mercury.

Jan 24, 2013

Stay on the nonnuclear path

It would be unrealistic for the Abe administration to return to the energy polices that prevailed before the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster of 3/11.

Jan 24, 2013

Obama's quest for greatness

Barack Obama's quest to achieve presidential "greatness" will probably be denied because none of America's problems rises to the level of mortal peril.

Jan 24, 2013

Discovered while still alive

Natsuko Kuroda, 75, the oldest person yet to win the literary Akutagawa Prize, expressed appreciation that jurors discovered her "while I am alive."

Jan 24, 2013

Taiwan boat carrying activists sails for Senkakus

A leisure fishing boat carrying Taiwanese activists, and escorted by four Taiwan Coast Guard vessels, was sailing to a cluster of Japanese-administered islands claimed by Taiwan and China on Thursday morning amid heightened tension in the region. Taiwan’s Coast Guard Administration said the fishing ...

Jan 23, 2013

Manipulation of a key index

Even during Japan's bubble economy of the late '80s, average annual inflation was 0.7 percentage point shy of the just-adopted 2 percent target.

Jan 23, 2013

The American comeback kid

One of the more startling forecasts is that China will become the largest economy by 2016 and that the U.S. will become an energy exporter by 2020.

Jan 23, 2013

Washington's tangled foreign policy problems

The desert sands of Mali and Algeria provide an unlikely arena for an existential challenge to the global alliance system the United States has managed since World War II. But the hesitant and timid U.S. and European Union responses to the crisis in northwestern ...

Jan 23, 2013

Kim's second test is Xi's first

North Korea’s new supreme leader Kim Jong Un conducted two missile tests last year. The first, in April, failed. The second, in December, was by all accounts a huge success. But it was not just a test of North Korea’s ability to put an ...

Jan 23, 2013

Woman's tragedy speaks to Indian aspirations

It’s common these days for people to compare India with China and conclude that maybe democracy isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. In India, they note, power shortages force factories to rely on generators, and investors may spend years trying to gain title ...

Jan 23, 2013

How the Vietnam war will shape Obama's second term

The men who fought in Vietnam, a war that symbolizes America’s overreach and failures abroad, haven’t ascended to the presidency in the way that the World War II generation did. But now, under President Barack Obama, Vietnam veterans Chuck Hagel and John Kerry could ...

Ban talks about Japan in the world in exclusive interview

Jan 23, 2013

Ban talks about Japan in the world in exclusive interview

In a series of seven two-hour sessions that included informal get-togethers with his wife Soon Taek, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, the well-regarded former South Korean foreign minister, shares his insights exclusively with American journalist Tom Plate. The following excerpts from Plate’s ...

Jan 23, 2013

The mess in Mali

French President Francois Hollande has sent French forces to stop an Islamic insurgency from taking over the West African nation of Mali. It is a bold step for Mr. Hollande, who faces rising discontent at home as well as fear that the intervention could ...

Jan 22, 2013

The problem of power harassment

One in four workers in Japan experienced power harassment over the past three years, according to a recent survey by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry. The poll of 4,580 companies with 30 or more employees, conducted between July and September of 2012, also ...

Jan 18, 2013

Most 787 jets grounded worldwide

Aviation regulators on Thursday grounded most of the world’s 787 Dreamliner fleet until a fire risk linked to the plane’s batteries can be fixed, deepening a crisis for its U.S. manufacturer, Boeing Co. Regulators in Japan, India and Chile followed the lead of the ...

Jan 17, 2013

Moscow's not-so-friendly environmental quirks

Moscow, they say, “wasn’t built at one go” — in contrast to St. Petersburg, which emerged laid out, as if by magic, in strict conformity to Peter the Great’s plan — and it has been growing chaotically for more than 800 years on seven ...

When the connections are as crucial as the art

Jan 17, 2013

When the connections are as crucial as the art

Amid the hurry of daily life it is easy to forget what lies below our feet. To most of us, it may appear to be just cement or dirt, but to artist Kenji Yamada there are profound mysteries contained on the ground, in things ...

Jan 17, 2013

China sets sights on an 'outer space trump card'

When China destroyed one of its own satellites in space six years ago, it alarmed many other Asia-Pacific countries that have invested heavily in orbiting satellites for telecommunications, Earth observation and scientific research. China’s action caused particular concern in the United States, Japan, Australia, ...

Jan 17, 2013

Building a better U.S. drone policy

An unmanned U.S. aerial vehicle — or drone — reportedly killed eight people in rural Pakistan last week, bringing the estimated death toll from drone strikes in Pakistan this year to 35. As the frequency of drone strikes spikes again, there are some questions: ...

Jan 16, 2013

Rewriting history is unwise

Prime Minister Abe Shinzo has appointed a Cabinet that, according to press reports, contains a number of ministers who want to rewrite the history of the 20th century. They, including the new minister of education, are reported as demanding the rescinding of the statement ...

Tepco's power bidding plan raises warming concerns

Jan 14, 2013

Tepco's power bidding plan raises warming concerns

Tokyo Electric Power Co. plans to start a bidding process next month to secure long-term electricity supplies from thermal power sources. The plan is generating concern in some quarters about the effect on greenhouse gas emissions because the system implies the sole use of ...

U.S. sizzled in record heat of '12

Jan 10, 2013

U.S. sizzled in record heat of '12

Last year marked the warmest year on record for the United States and was also the second most extreme ever, the U.S. government agency charged with monitoring weather events said Tuesday. A brutal combination of a widespread drought and a mostly absent winter pushed ...

Apr 19, 2014

Ricciardo sets tone during practice run

Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo set the fastest time on a slippery track in the final practice session at the Chinese Grand Prix on Saturday as the other top drivers limited their running due to the wet weather. Ricciardo completed his lap around the ...

Good health keys Pena's torrid start

| Apr 19, 2014

Good health keys Pena's torrid start

After hitting his ninth home run of the year a few hours earlier, Wily Mo Pena insisted there was nothing special behind his hot start to the year. He didn’t discover any new techniques, have any game-changing epiphanies or anything of the sort. No, ...

Apr 19, 2014

Grizzlies' backup guard suspended

Nick Calathes, a Greek rookie backup guard for the Memphis Grizzlies, was suspended 20 games without pay Friday by the NBA for a doping violation, the league announced. Only minutes before the opening day of the playoffs, the NBA revealed that Calathes would be ...

Giants land Cuban slugger Cepeda

Apr 19, 2014

Giants land Cuban slugger Cepeda

The Yomiuri Giants have come to terms on a one-year contract in the acquisition of Cuban World Baseball Classic outfielder Frederich Cepeda, the Central League club announced on Saturday. The Giants reached an agreement with the Cuban Baseball Federation to sign Cepeda. The 34-year-old ...

Apr 19, 2014

Kawasaki headed back to minors

The Toronto Blue Jays said Friday that they will send down Munenori Kawasaki with the activation of shortstop Jose Reyes from the disabled list. Kawasaki hit a game-tying single in the seventh inning of Toronto’s 3-2 win against the Cleveland Indians on Friday. The ...

Nakama set to retire

Apr 19, 2014

Nakama set to retire

Never a superstar, but always a hard-working, team-first player, shooting guard Jumpei Nakama has enjoyed popularity and the respect of his peers since the bj-league’s inception in 2005. He’s been a fan favorite throughout the country as the league has grown nonstop for nearly ...

Vissel edge Antlers

Apr 19, 2014

Vissel edge Antlers

Vissel Kobe went top of the J. League for at least 24 hours after an incident-packed 3-2 win over Kashima Antlers on Saturday. Both sides went into the game at Kashima Stadium knowing that a win would be enough to claim first place with ...

Stanton crushes walk-off grand slam against M's

Apr 19, 2014

Stanton crushes walk-off grand slam against M's

A replay reversal loaded the bases with nobody out and the score tied in the ninth inning, which meant the Seattle Mariners had to pitch to Giancarlo Stanton for a change. He made them pay. Stanton hit a grand slam to redeem himself for ...

LeBron preps mind, body for playoffs

Apr 19, 2014

LeBron preps mind, body for playoffs

LeBron James was walking down the hallway that the Miami Heat call “Championship Alley” a few minutes after last season’s NBA Finals, when he decided the time was right to send a message. It wasn’t for his fans. It was for his detractors. “Keep ...

Ferrer pulls off upset of Nadal

Apr 19, 2014

Ferrer pulls off upset of Nadal

Rafael Nadal’s mastery of the Monte Carlo clay courts seems to be over. The top-ranked Spaniard hopes his confidence isn’t gone, too. Nadal lost to fellow Spaniard David Ferrer 7-6 (7-1), 6-4 in the quarterfinals of the Monte Carlo Masters on Friday, his earliest ...