Kevin Rafferty
For Kevin Rafferty's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Mar 4, 2013
Exiting a wounded church
Roman Catholics pray that the Holy Spirit will cut through all the politicking by cardinals and light upon a pope who can rescue a wounded church.
Feb 27, 2013
The G-20 is not up to the job
If the recent circus performance of G-20 finance ministers and central bank governors is a preview, their September summit threatens to be a waste.
Feb 15, 2013
Rampant airport insecurity
Under the U.S. notion of airport security, authorities would do better dressing passengers in hospital gowns and putting them to sleep for the flight.
Feb 4, 2013
Cameron lost in channel fog
In his speech demanding a new deal for Britain in the EU, British Prime Minister David Cameron sought a popular political fix to quiet his rightwing rebels.
Jan 30, 2013
Rhetoric won't solve problems
For Asia, it is potentially bad news that the U.S. president seems to have little room for seriously considering the delicate balances between nations.
Jan 22, 2013
'Abenomics' out of the gate
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe would do well to consult professor Noriko Hama of Doshisha University. Asked by The Japan Times what the country needs, she replied in feisty fashion: "The three things Japan should do in 2013 are raise wages, raise interest rates — and cut the crap."
Jan 14, 2013
Sign of the Financial Times: Will it sell independence?
Too many years ago, this young reporter was about to move from one of Britain's biggest newspaper groups to a paper with a daily sale of fewer than 200,000 copies. A hard-bitten veteran, who had spent years reporting for the Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph pleaded with me over farewell drinks not to go to the Financial Times.
Jan 9, 2013
Globalization and its enemies
A new year needs a new word that reflects the special trends and tendencies, the hopes and dreams and challenges ahead. Sadly, a strong candidate for the word of the New Year 2013 has to be "omnishambles," meaning a mess everywhere. Wherever you look, economies are under unprecedented pressure, governments are suffering from budget deficits, unemployment rates are high and hurting millions of families, world trade is slumping and the very systems that underpinned recent rapid global growth seem to be breaking down.
Jan 7, 2013
Christianity vs. secularism
Pope Benedict XVI had a busy holiday season, as you might expect, since it is a sacred time for Catholics and other Christians. He set himself the difficult-to- impossible task of trying to put Christ back into Christmas.
Dec 26, 2012
A time to reflect on pressing economic challenges
Sir John Templeton was a legend in his own lifetime who made billions of dollars from the sensible and wise way he invested money. In these difficult times it is apposite to quote Rule No. 12 of Templeton's legendary golden rules for investment success: "Begin with a prayer," he advised.
Dec 22, 2012
'Abenomics' — a dangerous policy of print and spend
The "landslide" victory of Shinzo Abe and the Liberal Democratic Party was much less than it seemed. The party won only 43 percent of the popular vote in the constituencies and a mere 28 percent in the proportional representational seats.
Dec 18, 2012
IMF economists see perils in China's investment binge
China's investment binge has been the envy of many other countries, not least India where inadequate roads mean that 40 percent of crops are spoiled on the way to market, and Japan, where 30-year-old tunnels are passing their sell-by dates and maintenance is not keeping up with demand.
Dec 4, 2012
Sacred India's Chinese flavor
More than a billion small lamps lit the evening sky and hand-held sparkler fireworks added to the dancing light, while firecrackers boomed almost as if a war was going on. In hundreds of millions of homes, people chanted the sacred mantras and called upon the gods to help good defeat evil, and light overcome darkness.
Nov 30, 2012
Expertise on climate is a terrible thing to waste
Doha, the capital of the oil state of Qatar, might be regarded as the most appropriate host for the climate change talks that have started, given that it is a living, breathing testament to the oil and gas-guzzling modern economy.
Nov 29, 2012
Obama's dream hits reality
It was vintage Barack Obama revived as the newly re-elected U.S. president made a teary-eyed victory speech to his supporters and promised that the best was yet to come and he would fight for all Americans to create the land of their dreams and of the American Dream.
Feb 22, 2012
A 'stewpid' time to raise VAT
The International Monetary Fund has joined Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and leading politicians and bureaucrats in laying down a remorseless softening up barrage of facts, figures, argument and just plain determination that the country's consumption tax should rise as quickly as possible.
Dec 27, 2011
Grubs wreck India's dreams
My old friend Manmohan Singh has just suffered a devastating and very public defeat. Is it time for him to step down as India's prime minister and take a well-earned retirement after more than 40 years of top-level public service?
Dec 17, 2011
Merkozy's euro suicide pact
British Euro-skeptics and many Conservatives were triumphant that Prime Minister David Cameron cast his veto in defense of the City of London at the European summit recently; to British liberals, it was a night of shame that the United Kingdom was so easily isolated; to Europe generally it was a chance to move on.
Dec 7, 2011
Political earthquake in Osaka
Toru Hashimoto's huge victory in the Osaka mayoral election was undoubtedly a political earthquake. The question now is how sweeping and powerful will be the tsunami that follows. My worry is that Tokyo, and particularly the political and bureaucratic establishment, does not comprehend the tectonic forces working underground.
COMMENTARY / World / 50 years of ASEAN
Dec 5, 2011
China: soft or crash landing?
Economists who believe that China can come to the rescue of an increasingly troubled global economy are now in a decided minority, with questions increasingly being asked whether China can save itself: Will China's economy achieve a soft landing, a hard landing or even suffer a crash landing?


Yayoi Kusama’s “Pumpkin,” once the victim of high waves that dragged it into the sea, sits at the end of a pier on the south side of Naoshima.
Why is the most exciting art in Japan so hard to get to?