Steven Erlanger
For Steven Erlanger's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
French President Emmanuel Macron greets Germany Chancellor Olaf Scholz at the Elysee Palace in Paris on Feb. 26.
WORLD / Politics
Mar 9, 2024
Macron and Scholz, never close, spar over policy toward Ukraine and Russia
A fraught relationship has recently turned bitter, with insults and barbs threatening European unity at a critical moment.
Sweden's Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson receives information that Hungary's parliament has voted yes to ratify Sweden's NATO accession, at the government headquarters in Stockholm on Monday.
WORLD / Politics
Feb 27, 2024
The NATO welcoming Sweden is larger and more determined
The alliance's expansion was a consequence from the invasion of Ukraine that Russian President Vladimir Putin may not have calculated.
Supporters of the Houthi movement hold a rally to denounce air strikes launched by the U.S. and the U.K. on Houthi targets, in Sanaa, Yemen, on Friday.
Jan 13, 2024
The regional war no one wanted is here. How wide will it get?
Following the U.S.-led strikes on nearly 30 sites in Yemen on Thursday, there is no longer a question of whether there will be a regional conflict. It has already begun.
Protesters rally to denounce the Israeli government's judicial overhaul in Jerusalem on March 27. The Jan. 1 decision by the Israeli Supreme Court to reject legislative control over the judiciary displayed anew the cultural war at the heart of Israeli politics.
WORLD / Politics
Jan 3, 2024
The twin fronts in the battle over Israel’s identity
Protests over the efforts to diminish the courts deeply divided Israel, but the subsequent war united it.
Palestinian youth near a car that was burned after it had been seized in Israeli territory and brought back to Jabalia, one of the northernmost settlements in the Gaza Strip, on Saturday.
Oct 8, 2023
An attack from Gaza and an Israeli declaration of war. Now what?
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is being pressured to launch a full-scale invasion that Israeli leaders have been scrupulously avoiding since 2005.
Finnish Army conscripts with the 2nd Military Police Company during a training exercise in a suburb of Helsinki on Sept. 6. After decades of going it alone in security issues, Finns are finding that life in a large alliance is complex, expensive and deeply political.
WORLD / Politics
Sep 26, 2023
Finland raced to join NATO. What happens next is complicated.
The country must integrate itself into the alliance and its requirement of collective defense — with all of its financial, legal and strategic hurdles.
Ukrainian soldiers with the 110th Separate Mechanized Brigade after firing a DANA, a wheeled 152 mm self-propelled artillery gun, at a Russian target in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, on Aug. 26.
WORLD / Politics
Sep 2, 2023
As Ukraine fight grinds on, talk of negotiations becomes taboo
Discussion of a Plan B, should Ukraine fail to win a total victory, has become more fraught than ever, say those who have tried.
A ship passes through the Bosporus Straits near Istanbul.
Aug 9, 2023
Turbulent waters: How the Black Sea became a hot spot in the war
For centuries, the Black Sea has been at the center of Russia’s efforts to extend its geopolitical and economic influence.
Japan Times
WORLD / Politics
May 10, 2023
China woos European leaders on trip overshadowed by Kremlin ties
As the European Union considers sanctions aimed at companies that supply Russia through third countries, China's top envoy warned against imposing sanctions on Chinese firms.
Japan Times
Apr 7, 2023
NATO countries are divided over giving Ukraine membership, officials say
The United States, Germany and France are resisting pressure from central and Eastern European allies to provide any detailed 'road map” toward membership.
Japan Times
Apr 5, 2023
Finland joins NATO in a power shift and rebuke to Putin
Finland’s national flag was raised at NATO headquarters, a deeply symbolic moment and a stark display of the shifting global dynamics.
Japan Times
Feb 25, 2023
Russia, Ukraine and the West vow to fight on, in a war with no end in sight
Declaring the resolve to fight on, however, is much easier than mustering the resources and support to do so.
Japan Times
Nov 27, 2022
U.S. and NATO scramble to arm Ukraine and refill their own arsenals
The West thought an artillery and tank war in Europe would never happen again and shrunk weapons stockpiles. It was wrong.
Japan Times
Nov 17, 2022
Fatal blast in Poland shows heightened risk of escalation
One concern is that a long, bitter war with forces battling on the ground, and missiles and shells flying through the air, will create accidents and incidents that lead to something bigger.
Japan Times
Oct 12, 2022
Pressure grows on the West to speed air defense systems to Ukraine
On Tuesday, leaders of the Group of Seven industrialized nations pledged 'undeterred and steadfast” financial and military support for Ukraine.
Japan Times
WORLD / Politics
Sep 16, 2022
Rise of far-right party in Sweden was both expected and shocking
The Sweden Democrats, with roots in neo-Nazism, came in second in national elections and will have a powerful influence on a new center-right government.
Japan Times
Sep 9, 2022
A global outpouring of grief mixes with criticism of the monarchy
Many of the official reactions of leaders read as prepackaged sentiment. But some seemed genuine, as if a profoundly important constant in life had suddenly vanished.
Japan Times
Sep 7, 2022
How will Ukraine rebuild (and who should pay)?
A report to Western donors before a major reconstruction conference next month urges quick decisions, phased investment and strict foreign oversight of any aid.
Japan Times
WORLD / Crime & Legal
Aug 13, 2022
After years in hiding in London, Salman Rushdie lived freely in New York
After going into hiding during the 1990s, Salman Rushdie had been living freely in New York in recent years, appearing in public without evident security.
Japan Times
Jul 17, 2022
Moscow signals a shift to a more aggressive phase of Ukraine war
There were signs of new ground fighting in the hotly contested Donbas region, where Russian forces have taken one of its provinces, Luhansk.


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