John Irish
For John Irish's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg speaks during a news conference at NATO Headquarters in Brussels on Thursday.
WORLD / Politics
Apr 5, 2024
NATO allies aim to send more air defense aid to Ukraine but make no concrete pledges
The alliance's 75th anniversary has been overshadowed by the war on its borders.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg presents the alliance's annual report at NATO headquarters in Brussels on March 14.
WORLD / Politics
Apr 3, 2024
NATO ministers mull €100 billion military fund for Ukraine
The plans will be discussed during a two-day meeting in Brussels.
A screen at the headquarters of the Central Election Commission in Moscow shows the preliminary results of Russia's presidential election on Monday.
WORLD / Politics
Mar 19, 2024
West decries Putin's reelection while China and India vow closer ties
The contrasting reactions underscore the geopolitical fault lines that have gaped wider since Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine two years ago.
French President Emmanuel Macron's comments fitted with his reputation as a diplomatic disruptor who likes to break taboos and challenge conventional thinking.
Feb 28, 2024
Macron's Ukraine troop talk shakes up NATO allies
The French president's idea of possibly sending troops to Ukraine was so ambiguous that he sparked confusion and irritation among some allies.
French President Emmanuel Macron  invited his European counterparts to the Elysee palace for a hastily arranged meeting to discuss how to ramp up ammunition supplies to Ukraine.
WORLD / Politics
Feb 27, 2024
France's Macron doesn't rule out Europeans sending troops to Ukraine
The French President also cautioned that there was no consensus at this stage as allies agreed to ramp up efforts to deliver more munitions to Kyiv.
Iranian ballistic missiles in Tehran. Iran's hard-line clerical rulers have steadily sought to deepen ties with Russia and China, betting that would help Tehran to resist U.S. sanctions and to end its political isolation.
WORLD / Politics
Feb 22, 2024
Iran sends Russia hundreds of ballistic missiles, sources say
An Iranian military official said there had been at least four shipments of missiles and that there would be more in the coming weeks.
An Israeli soldier stands by as a mobile artillery unit fires, near the Israel-Lebanon border on Jan. 15.
WORLD / Politics
Feb 13, 2024
France poses Hezbollah withdrawal for Israel-Lebanon truce
The plan aims to end fighting between the Iran-backed Hezbollah and Israel at the border.
French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace in Paris on June 12. Macron said on Sunday that France would withdraw its ambassador from Niger, followed by the French military contingent in the coming months.
WORLD / Politics
Sep 26, 2023
West losing sight of Sahel after France announces exit from Niger
France's decision to exit from Niger leaves a large hole in efforts to counter Islamist insurgents and could bolster Russian influence across West Africa.
Japan Times
Jul 11, 2023
NATO head eyes 'strong message' on Ukraine's membership bid at summit
Divisions among the Western military alliance's 31 members on allowing Ukraine in mean there will not be a straightforward invitation for Kyiv to join.
Japan Times
WORLD / Politics
Jun 29, 2023
EU intends to maintain missile sanctions on Iran beyond expiry of 2015 pact
Current measures that limit Tehran's nuclear program in return for relief from economic controls are set to expire on Oct. 18 under a U.N. resolution that enshrined the earlier deal.
Japan Times
WORLD / Politics
May 31, 2023
European leaders head to Moldova for symbolic summit on Ukraine's doorstep
The gathering of the EU's 27 member states and 20 other European countries will touch on a range of strategic issues.
Japan Times
May 21, 2023
Jeddah, sleep and a French plane: How Zelenskyy reached Japan's G7
According to French officials, the idea of bringing the Ukrainian leader to the G7 had been in the works for several weeks.
Japan Times
May 8, 2023
Smoldering Iran nuclear crisis risks catching fire
A renewed crisis over Iran would come at a bad time for the U.S., which is focused on maintaining allies' support for the war in Ukraine and on rallying countries to push back on China.
Japan Times
Oct 19, 2022
Putin is safe in power for now, but risks lie ahead, current and former officials say
Russian leader's grip on power remains firm despite military setbacks in Ukraine, a botched mobilization and political infighting, eight well-informed sources say.
Japan Times
Jun 13, 2022
What next? Ukraine's allies divided over Russia endgame.
Three months into the war, cracks are emerging in the international alliance that swiftly rallied around Kyiv after Moscow's invasion.
Japan Times
Apr 13, 2022
Eyeing win, inflation debate gives Marine Le Pen chance to lay Russia ghosts to rest
In a rural town south of Paris, far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen delivered a simple message to local farmers: Russia's war in Ukraine means the price of feed, fertilizer and staple goods will keep rising unless the French government acts.
Japan Times
Nov 19, 2021
Unspoken U.S. aim at Iran nuclear talks may be winning Chinese and Russian support
One way to pressure Iran to rejoin the original pact or accept another arrangement would be to persuade Beijing and Moscow that Tehran, not Washington, is the obstacle, diplomats said.
Japan Times
WORLD / Politics
Nov 12, 2021
Wielding fresh leverage, Iran to play hardball at nuclear talks
The stakes are high, since failure to revive the 2015 nuclear deal would carry the risk of a fresh regional war.
Japan Times
Sep 30, 2021
In post-Merkel EU, Macron can't exert leadership without allies
Macron's abrasive style and willingness to go it alone indicate he'll struggle to fill Merkel's EU shoes, say senior diplomats.
Japan Times
Jun 22, 2021
Iran vote points to hard-line goal of long-term power
Recent election results effectively bring all arms of the state under the control of hardliners suspicious of the West, analysts and officials say.


Historically, kabuki was considered the entertainment of the merchant and peasant classes, a far cry from how it is regarded today.
For Japan's oldest kabuki theater, the show must go on