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Jesse Johnson
For Jesse Johnson's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal is flanked by security personnel as he arrives at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan for a news conference in Tokyo on Tuesday.
JAPAN / Politics
Feb 20, 2024
Ukrainian PM cautions of war’s spillover as he looks to tamp down fatigue fears
Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal warned in Tokyo that a Russian victory would prompt more conflicts across the globe.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has in recent months repeatedly touted his openness to “unconditional” talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, calling for “a bold step to change the status quo.”
JAPAN / Politics / ANALYSIS
Feb 19, 2024
North Korea eyes well-worn playbook with Japan summit hints
Pyongyang's offer of repairing ties with Japan may be concealing what may be a more likely motivation — to drive a wedge between Tokyo and its partners.
Kim Yo Jong, the powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, said on Thursday that a visit by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to Pyongyang could materialize, but only if Tokyo met several caveats.
JAPAN / Politics
Feb 16, 2024
North Korea-Japan summit push gains steam after remarks by Kim’s sister
A visit by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to Pyongyang could materialize, but only if Tokyo met several caveats, Kim Yo Jong said.
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington on Tuesday.
WORLD / Politics
Feb 14, 2024
Biden blasts Trump over NATO remarks, in bid to reassure U.S. allies
Biden’s retort appears to be part of an attempt to reassure not only Kyiv but other allies — including top U.S. partners Japan and South Korea.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un delivers a speech at the Defense Ministry in Pyongyang on Feb. 8, the 76th founding anniversary of the Korean People's Army.
ASIA PACIFIC / Politics
Feb 14, 2024
North Korea fires several cruise missiles in fifth barrage of 2024
The South Korean military said that an undetermined number of cruise missiles had been spotted over waters off the North's northeastern coast around 9 a.m.
The Galaxy Leader cargo ship is escorted by Houthi boats in the Red Sea in this photo released Nov. 20.
ASIA PACIFIC / Politics
Jan 28, 2024
U.S.-China talks fall short in nudging Beijing toward Red Sea breakthrough
Top officials wrapped up two days of meetings on managing the rivals' relationship, but saw little progress on addressing the crisis in the waterway.
A news broadcast shows a North Korean missile test at the main railway station in Seoul on Wednesday.
ASIA PACIFIC / Politics
Jan 28, 2024
North Korea fires multiple cruise missiles toward Sea of Japan
The latest launches come days after Pyongyang test-fired a new type of cruise missile and amid fears that leader Kim Jong Un could be girding for war.
A man watches a news broadcast showing a fighter jet during joint military operations near Taiwan by the Chinese People's Liberation Army, at a shopping center in Beijing in August 2022.
ASIA PACIFIC
Jan 27, 2024
Taiwan detects most Chinese military aircraft around island since election
China sent 33 military aircraft around Taiwan over a 24-hour period, Taipei said, the most since its Jan. 13 presidential poll.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits a munitions factory at an undisclosed location in this picture released on Jan. 10.
ASIA PACIFIC / Politics / ANALYSIS
Jan 26, 2024
Is North Korea's Kim preparing for an actual war?
Some believe he may be disillusioned with diplomacy and is girding for conflict; others think the provocations are timed to coincide with U.S. and South Korean elections.
People watch a news broadcast with file footage of a North Korean missile test, at the main railway station in Seoul on Wednesday.
ASIA PACIFIC / Politics
Jan 24, 2024
North Korea fires multiple cruise missiles off western coast
Leader Kim Jong Un has signaled that his regime no longer recognizes the two Koreas de facto maritime border, staging days of artillery drills in the area earlier this month.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un shake hands during their meeting at the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia's Amur region on Sept. 13.
ASIA PACIFIC / Politics
Jan 21, 2024
In signal of closer ties, Putin to visit North Korea at 'early date'
A visit by Putin would be his first since he traveled to Pyongyang nearly 23 years ago for talks with current North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s father, Kim Jong Il.
A person walks amid the snowy wreckage of collapsed homes and power lines in earthquake-hit Wajima, Ishikawa Prefecture, on Tuesday.
JAPAN / Politics
Jan 16, 2024
U.S. military to join relief effort in earthquake-hit Noto area
U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel said that the U.S. military and the SDF would be working “side by side” in the operations.
An intermediate-range ballistic missile, said to be solid-fueled, is launched during a test at an unspecified location in North Korea in this picture released Monday.
ASIA PACIFIC / Politics / ANALYSIS
Jan 15, 2024
Test of latest North Korean weapon adds to threat facing Japan
Pyongyang said the missile was “loaded with a hypersonic maneuverable controlled warhead" that experts say is capable of evading defenses.
Keiji Furuya (left), head of a Japanese group of lawmakers promoting Japan-Taiwan relations, meets with Taiwanese President-elect Lai Ching-te of the Democratic Progressive Party in Taipei on Sunday.
JAPAN / Politics / FOCUS
Jan 15, 2024
Japan finds ally in new Taiwan president-elect amid fears of war
Lai Ching-te signaled he will deepen cooperation with Japan by meeting with Tokyo’s de facto ambassador and a Japanese lawmaker just a day after the election.
People watch a television screen showing  file footage of a North Korean missile test, at the main railway station in Seoul on Sunday.
ASIA PACIFIC / Politics
Jan 14, 2024
In first launch of 2024, North Korea tests intermediate-range missile
The South Korean military said the launch was of an IRBM-class weapon, which is believed to have a range of up to 5,000 kilometers.
Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken during talks in Washington on Friday
JAPAN / Politics
Jan 13, 2024
China and Taiwan focus of top U.S. and Japanese diplomats' talks
Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken “stressed the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait."
U.S. President Joe Biden gives a thumbs-up as he walks with Chinese leader Xi Jinping at Filoli estate on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, in Woodside, California, on Nov. 15. Their meeting attempted to calm the waters and tried to convey a sense that the U.S. and China could effectively manage their differences.
ASIA PACIFIC / Politics / ANALYSIS
Jan 11, 2024
In 2024, U.S.-China ties likely to get worse before they get better
The trajectory of Washington and Beijing's relationship this year will have profound effects on Japan's own policies going forward.
Police gather for a large-scale search at the Wajima Morning Market, which was destroyed by fire following the New Year's Day earthquake, in Wajima, Ishikawa Prefecture, on Wednesday.
JAPAN
Jan 10, 2024
Plummeting temperatures plague Ishikawa quake relief effort
The death toll in the prefecture has risen to 206, nine days after a massive temblor rocked the Noto Peninsula area.
In Washington on Monday and Tuesday, Pentagon and Chinese military officials held their first in-person defense policy talks since the COVID-19 pandemic erupted.
ASIA PACIFIC / Politics
Jan 10, 2024
China's military vows no compromise on Taiwan after rare talks with U.S.
The meeting came as China warned Tokyo over remarks by former Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso that Japan would join the fight in a war over the democratic island.
Police conduct a large-scale search at the Wajima Morning Market, which was destroyed by fire following the New Year's Day earthquake, in Wajima, Ishikawa Prefecture, on Tuesday.
JAPAN
Jan 9, 2024
Japan quake death toll tops 200 as police comb burned-down market
Police searched a market devastated by fire in Ishikawa Prefecture following the massive Jan. 1 earthquake, as the number of missing fell from 323 to 102.

Longform

At the Akan International Crane Center, just north of the city of Kushiro proper, visitors can see the majestic red-crowned crane — a symbol of Hokkaido.
Faces of the north: A Hokkaido town grapples with depopulation