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James Pomfret
For James Pomfret's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Taiwan president Tsai Ing-wen visits army bases ahead of the Lunar New Year in Hsinchu, Taiwan, on Feb. 6. Over 400 stories portraying Taiwan's military exercises as rehearsals for its leadership to desert in the event of war have been uncovered by an NGO based on the island.
ASIA PACIFIC / Politics
Apr 1, 2024
Chinese state media stoked allegation Taiwan's president would flee war
They are among the many unsupported tales that have been fed into the island by Chinese state media outlets, according to an analysis by Taiwan-based NGO.
The Hong Kong flag and surveillance cameras outside the Central Government Offices in Hong Kong
ASIA PACIFIC / Politics
Mar 8, 2024
Hong Kong government issues draft of new national security law
It includes sentences of up to life imprisonment for treason, 20 years for espionage and 10 years for state secrets offenses.
Chinese leader Xi Jinping attends the opening session of the National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Tuesday.
BUSINESS / Economy / ANALYSIS
Mar 6, 2024
As Xi summons 'new productive forces,' old questions linger for economy
By focusing on the prospect for future growth, the slogan shifts the focus from China's present economic difficulties.
The new national security law will target crimes including treason, theft of state secrets, espionage, sabotage, sedition and "external interference" including from foreign governments. The Hong Kong legislature, which is dominated by pro-Beijing lawmakers, is expected to approve it.
ASIA PACIFIC / Politics
Feb 28, 2024
Hong Kong moves toward enacting tougher security law amid concerns about freedoms
Lawyers and activists say the law criminalizes basic human rights such as freedom of expression, but Hong Kong authorities say the new law is necessary.
China has cast Taiwan's Jan. 13 presidential and parliamentary elections as a choice between war and peace, warning that an attempt to push for the island's formal independence means conflict.
ASIA PACIFIC / Politics
Jan 3, 2024
'Hawkish' China likely to squeeze Taiwan militarily after poll
With both the DPP and KMT pledging to bolster the island's defenses, Beijing is expected to continue its saber-rattling regardless who emerges victorious in the polls.
Worshipers pray to the sea goddess Mazu at the Dajia Jenn Lann Temple in Taichung, Taiwan, on Nov. 9.
ASIA PACIFIC / Politics
Dec 21, 2023
China finds sudden faith in 'peace goddess' ahead of Taiwan vote
China sees faith in a sea goddess with origins in Fujian province as the "axis" of its influence operations, according to an intelligence analysis.
A security personnel stops a supporter during the national security trial of media mogul Jimmy Lai in Hong Kong on Monday.
ASIA PACIFIC / Politics
Dec 18, 2023
Security tight ahead of landmark Hong Kong trial for Jimmy Lai
Now jailed for over 1000 days, one of Hong Kong's biggest critics of China has faced Beijing's wrath since the pro-democracy protests in 2019.
A rocket launched from the Gaza Strip strikes an area near Sderot, southern Israel, on Monday.
ASIA PACIFIC / Politics / ANALYSIS
Oct 10, 2023
Middle East crisis exposes limits of China's diplomatic ambitions
After the killings of more than 900 Israelis in coordinated assaults by the Islamic group Hamas, China's response was muted.
Gigi Chao, vice chair of Cheuk Nang Holdings, in Hong Kong on July 19
BUSINESS / Companies
Aug 31, 2023
More LGBTQ rights could help Asian financial hubs draw global talent
In Japan, the only Group of Seven nation without legal protection for same-sex unions, corporations are seen as a key driver for change.
Japan Times
ASIA PACIFIC / FOCUS
Jul 22, 2023
Inspired by Ukraine war, Taiwan launches drone blitz to counter China
Taipei's aim, according to a government planning document, is to build more than 3,200 military drones by mid-2024.
Japan Times
ASIA PACIFIC / ANALYSIS
May 9, 2023
China's return to global stage checked by national security focus
Beijing's emphasis on security threatens to turn its re-engagement with the world after years of COVID curbs into a new era of isolation from the West, analysts say.
Japan Times
ASIA PACIFIC
May 2, 2023
China's exit bans multiply as political control tightens under Xi
Scores of Chinese and foreign nationals have been ensnared by exit bans, according to a new report by the rights group Safeguard Defenders
Japan Times
ASIA PACIFIC
Feb 6, 2023
Landmark Hong Kong national security trial starts two years after arrests
The defendants were charged with conspiracy to commit subversion for participating in an unofficial primary election in 2020.
Japan Times
ASIA PACIFIC
Dec 31, 2022
Lawyers exit Hong Kong as they face campaign of intimidation
Since a national security law was imposed in June 2020, Hong Kong lawyers have endured severe harassment, pushing many to leave the city.
Japan Times
ASIA PACIFIC / Politics
Apr 4, 2022
Hong Kong leadership contender emerges amid uncertain future
Former police officer John Lee, has signaled his intention to contest an election for the city's top job.
Japan Times
ASIA PACIFIC
Feb 25, 2022
China steps in to steer Hong Kong's COVID-19 crisis as risks loom
Hong Kong has stepped up anti-coronavirus measures, including plans for mass testing buttressed by equipment, testing vehicles and personnel from the mainland.
Japan Times
ASIA PACIFIC / FOCUS
Jan 11, 2022
'Colonial wine from new, authoritarian bottles': Hong Kong retools sedition law
The Hong Kong government is expanding its use of a long-dormant sedition law in what some lawyers and democracy advocates say is intensifying a squeeze on press freedom.
Japan Times
ASIA PACIFIC / Politics
Dec 20, 2021
Pro-Beijing candidates sweep 'patriots'-only Hong Kong vote amid low turnout
The turnout of 30.2%, was almost half that of the previous legislative poll in 2016, with the latest results showing almost all of the seats being taken by pro-Beijing candidates.
Japan Times
ASIA PACIFIC / FOCUS
Dec 16, 2021
Hong Kong's jailed and exiled democrats lament Sunday election
While there is little that can be done now, the jailed democrats have called on the people of Hong Kong to avoid letting the 'external environment corrode you.'
Japan Times
ASIA PACIFIC
Nov 11, 2021
Hong Kong opens new modern art museum under national security cloud
The imposition of a sweeping national security law by China last year on its once freest city is casting a pall over the opening of Hong Kong's M+ contemporary art museum.

Longform

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?