May 13, 2011

Sumo climbing back

The match-fixing scandal that came to light this year has cost the Japan Sumo Association a lot in several ways. Seven wrestlers in the makuuchi division and 10 in the juryo division have been driven out of the sumo world. The JSA was forced ...

Apr 6, 2011

Fukushima disaster holds lessons for future

WASHINGTON (Kyodo) The Japanese people have demonstrated an extraordinary capacity to respond to both natural and human-made disasters with remarkable resilience. Our sympathies and thoughts are with them as they face the aftermath of this disaster. It is far too early to know the ...

Jan 16, 2011

Reshuffle under opposition pressure

The lineup of Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s new Cabinet, which emerged Friday after a minor reshuffle, underscores his hope for a smooth start to the Diet’s ordinary session later this month and for progress in bringing about Japan’s financial reconstruction and its participation in ...

Jan 12, 2011

Take a new tack on Iran

WASHINGTON — Throughout 2010, the pattern for negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program held to form. With just about every diplomatic effort failing to yield results, international efforts had increasingly given way to discussions about sanctions — and what mix of them would be needed ...

Nov 4, 2010

Why can't Japan be more like South Korea?

Countless commentators both here in Japan and abroad have deplored the insularity of Japanese society. They lament the paucity of Japanese venturing abroad to study, teach or work. Japan’s multinational corporations are regularly criticized for failing to internationalize their corporate management. The implicit tone ...

Jul 22, 2010

Ditching a political vision

The Democratic Party of Japan’s manifesto for the 2009 Lower House election envisaged establishing a National Strategy Bureau directly under the prime minister. The bureau would gather talented people from both the private and public sectors to work out a national vision and decide ...

Jun 19, 2010

U.S. and India must move beyond symbolism

LONDON — The United States held its first ever strategic dialogue with India early June. It covered a whole gamut of issues including high technology trade, science and technology cooperation, civil nuclear cooperation, human resource development and security issues. U.S. President Barack Obama attended ...

May 20, 2010

Immigrants can buoy Japan

It is not possible to spend more than a few minutes with a Japanese diplomat or scholar without hearing the “C,” namely China. Most of them are convinced that the People’s Republic is expanding its global influence while Japan’s is shrinking. The entire world, ...

Apr 14, 2010

For Japan to thrive, the wall must come down

More than 20 years have passed since the Berlin Wall fell, yet Japan remains shut out from the rest of humanity by its own wall. Though it is a shapeless partition that we cannot touch, it nevertheless cuts off the country from the world ...

Oct 27, 2009

Tokyo needs to get over the G8

The financial meltdown of 2008 has accelerated the decay of the Group of Eight. One of the ideas circulating is to discontinue the group and replace it with the G20. Within the G20, there would be a G4 made up of the biggest players ...