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Matt Spetalnick
Japan Times
WORLD / Politics
Dec 17, 2020
Biden likely to keep using sanctions weapon but with sharper aim
Biden is expected to make clear that sanctions will remain a central instrument of U.S. power — although it will no longer be deployed with the 'America First” bravado.
Japan Times
ASIA PACIFIC / ANALYSIS
Mar 1, 2019
As Trump returns empty-handed from summit with Kim, some in Washington breathe sigh of relief
Among some U.S. officials, congressional aides, analysts and others who track North Korea, there was a sigh of relief Thursday as President Donald Trump headed home from Vietnam empty-handed from his talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Japan Times
ASIA PACIFIC / ANALYSIS
May 26, 2018
U.S. 'maximum pressure' on North Korea faces test with summit in limbo
U.S. efforts to sustain and possibly intensify its "maximum pressure" campaign on North Korea are entering a perilous phase as a potential breakdown in diplomacy with Pyongyang raises fears that China may loosen its enforcement of international sanctions.
Japan Times
ASIA PACIFIC / ANALYSIS
May 25, 2018
Canceled Trump-Kim summit could return U.S., North Korea to crisis mode
President Donald Trump's cancellation of a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un risks a return to crisis mode between Washington and Pyongyang, but both sides may be wary of letting the situation escalate into fears of war, as it did last year.
Japan Times
ASIA PACIFIC
Jul 22, 2017
U.S. presses Myanmar to cease military ties with North Korea
Myanmar's military has maintained ties with North Korea, even though the civilian-led government denies any cooperation, and the Trump administration is pressing for a complete break-off of remaining links, current and former U.S. officials said.
Japan Times
ASIA PACIFIC
Jul 14, 2017
New U.S. sanctions eyed on Chinese firms with North Korea ties: officials
Frustrated that China has not done more to rein in North Korea, the Trump administration could impose new sanctions on small Chinese banks and other firms doing business with Pyongyang within weeks, two senior U.S. officials said.
Japan Times
ASIA PACIFIC / ANALYSIS
Apr 4, 2017
When Trump and Xi meet, will it mean conciliation or collision?
When U.S. President Donald Trump meets Chinese President Xi Jinping this week, their summit will be marked not only by deep policy divisions but a clash of personalities between America's brash "tweeter-in-chief" and Beijing's cautious, calculating leader.
Japan Times
ASIA PACIFIC / Politics
Mar 21, 2017
Trump administration weighing broad sanctions on North Korea, top U.S. official says
The Trump administration is considering sweeping sanctions aimed at cutting North Korea off from the global financial system as part of a broad review of measures to counter Pyongyang's nuclear and missile threat, a senior U.S. official said Monday.
Japan Times
ASIA PACIFIC / Politics
Mar 19, 2017
Trump administration crafting big new arms sales to Taiwan, sources say
The Trump administration is crafting a big new arms package for Taiwan that could include advanced rocket systems and anti-ship missiles to defend against China, U.S. officials said, a deal sure to anger Beijing.
Japan Times
ASIA PACIFIC / Politics
Jan 24, 2017
Trump White House warns Beijing over 'takeover' of South China Sea
The new U.S. administration of President Donald Trump vowed Monday that the United States would prevent China from taking over territory in international waters in the South China Sea, something Chinese state media has warned would require Washington to "wage war."
Japan Times
ASIA PACIFIC / Politics / ANALYSIS
Jan 14, 2017
Trump team sends out contradictory signals as it seeks to craft tougher China policy
The incoming U.S. administration's tough talk against China has set the stage for showdowns on everything from security to trade and cyberspace, but contradictory signals are sowing uncertainty over how far President-elect Donald Trump is prepared to go in confronting Beijing.
ASIA PACIFIC / ANALYSIS
Jul 28, 2016
U.S. diplomatic strategy on South China Sea appears to founder
In the lead-up to an international court ruling on China's claims in the South China Sea this month, American officials talked about rallying a coalition to impose "terrible" costs to Beijing's reputation if it flouted the court's decision.
Japan Times
ASIA PACIFIC
Jun 21, 2016
U.S. Navy chief hopes carriers deter East Asia destabilization
The U.S. Navy chief said on Monday he hoped the deployment of two aircraft carriers on a training mission in East Asia would deter any attempts to destabilize the region, where military tensions have risen amid China's growing assertiveness.
Japan Times
WORLD / Politics
Jun 16, 2016
Trump adds new twist to immigration proposals, but legal doubts persist
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's proposal for suspending immigration from parts of the world with a history of terrorism could have a legal basis, but his assertion that it be part of a broader ban on Muslim immigrants makes it constitutionally untenable, legal scholars say.
Japan Times
ASIA PACIFIC
Jun 8, 2016
North Korea restarts plutonium production for nuclear bombs: U.S. official
North Korea has restarted production of plutonium fuel, a senior U.S. State Department official said Tuesday, showing that it plans to pursue its nuclear weapons program in defiance of international sanctions.
WORLD / Politics / ANALYSIS
Jan 11, 2016
As foreign crises pile up, experts think Obama will take few risks during final year in office
As Barack Obama prepares to deliver his final State of the Union address Tuesday night, the U.S. president and his aides have insisted he will not be content simply to run out the clock on foreign policy and is acting decisively to tackle crises piling up around the globe.
Japan Times
WORLD
Aug 4, 2015
State Department is accused of watering down human trafficking report
In the weeks leading up to a critical annual U.S. report on human trafficking that publicly shames the world's worst offenders, human rights experts at the State Department concluded that trafficking conditions had not improved in Malaysia and Cuba. And in China, they found, things had gotten worse.
WORLD / Politics
Nov 6, 2014
Despite election defeat, foreign policy is not 'game over' for Obama
From marauding jihadists in Iraq to pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine and beheadings of Americans in Syria, a world in crisis has fanned perceptions of an overwhelmed U.S. president and contributed to a Republican sweep of U.S. midterm elections.
Japan Times
ASIA PACIFIC / Politics
Nov 5, 2014
Washington takes hands-off stance on future of Myanmar's Suu Kyi
Despite hailing Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi as "an icon of democracy," U.S. President Barack Obama is quietly acquiescing to the government's decision to bar her from running for the presidency in next year's election, U.S. officials say.
Japan Times
WORLD / Politics
Feb 21, 2014
Obama's 'red line' on Ukraine draws derision
President Barack Obama's stern warning to Ukrainian officials Wednesday was the closest thing to a "red line" moment he has had since his threat in 2012 to act against the Syrian government if it deployed chemical weapons.

Longform

The Japanese government updated its English education guidelines in 2017 to emphasize communication over grammar and memorization. Public school teachers are incredibly busy, however, which means schools haven’t been able to implement changes uniformly. Private and alternative schools are attempting to remedy this.
The language of opportunity: Bilingual education is on the rise in Japan