Oct 20, 2014

Oil-price dip is no panacea

Falling oil prices — to below $80 a barrel a few weeks ago — indicate that concern over faltering demand because of weakness in the global economy trumps the usual market reponse to turmoil in the Middle East.

Oct 19, 2014

Secrets for the making

The government has adopted guidelines for implementing the state secrets law on Dec. 10, but the lack of an effective mechanism to prevent the arbitrary designation of information as a state secret threatens the very foundation of Japan's democracy.

Oct 18, 2014

Knowing your nearest volcano

There seems to be a deep-seated reluctance on the part of Japan's tourism industry to highlight the dangers of volcanic eruptions, out of concern that such information could be bad for business. Japanese authorities could learn a thing or two from other countries about ...

Oct 17, 2014

Promoting women at work

Draft legislation prepared by the Abe administration would require large companies as well as the national and local governments to set targets for promoting women in their organizations, beginning in fiscal 2016.

Oct 16, 2014

A step backward in Indonesia

The old guard in Indonesia may have lost the fight for the presidency in July, but in the late night hours of the last legislative session, they consolidated their control over local and provincial elections by changing the voting procedures.

Oct 14, 2014

A shift in defense posture

A Japan-U.S. interim report proposes that geographical restrictions on the activities of the Self-Defense Forces in support of U.S. military operations be removed as part of a tremendous shift in Japan's defense posture.

Oct 12, 2014

Freedom of the press in South Korea

Criminal action taken by Seoul prosecutors against a Japanese journalist for questioning the whereabouts of President Park Geun-hye on the day in August when a South Korean passenger ferry sank raises serious questions about South Korea's commitment to freedom of the press.

Oct 12, 2014

Accounting for political allowance

The hysterical, weeping visage on YouTube of a Hyogo prefectural assemblyman whose hand was caught in the cookie jar in July continues to focus public attention on how local legislators should use a monthly allowance dispensed for the purpose of helping them "deepen their ...

Oct 11, 2014

Wildlife totals heading down

Global warming, invasive species, pollution and new diseases — all human-generated problems — have contributed to an average 52 percent decline in the populations of more than 3,000 species of wildlife in 40 years.

Oct 11, 2014

Who's benefited over 200 years?

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development reports how the world's population is better off than it was 200 years ago but adds that human progress is still undermined by disparities.