Commentary / Japan Apr 18, 2014

SDF should utilize Shimoji airport

A political professor assserts that Japan's air power would have a better chance of survival against possible Chinese salvos of ballistic and cruise missiles if Shimoji airport in Okinawa Prefecture were transformed into a military or dual-use facility.

Commentary / World Mar 8, 2012

Revenge of the Japanese mandarins

Ever since the huge earthquake that hit Japan's Tohoku-Pacific coast on March 11, 2011, the country's mass media have obsessively focused on the magnitude of the physical damage and the loss of life. Repeated broadcasts of traumatic video images of the great tsunami and ...

Commentary / World Sep 22, 2010

Dim outlook for Japan's muddled leadership

OSAKA — Having seen a new prime minister every year for five consecutive years, Japan has just narrowly avoided having its third in 2010. Prime Minister Naoto Kan has been elected president of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), surviving a challenge from ...

Commentary / World Jul 27, 2010

Sumos and the yakuza

OSAKA — Perhaps no other sport is pursued as religiously as sumo wrestling. Before a match, referees — who double as Shinto priests — purify the seaweed, salt and sake. Wrestlers wash their faces, mouths and armpits before entering the dohyo (ring), on whose ...

Commentary / World Feb 4, 2010

Ozawa: Japan's secret shogun

OSAKA — With the post-general election honeymoon over, the Japanese public has become increasingly aware that Ichiro Ozawa, secretary general of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), is the puppet-master behind Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama's Cabinet. Although he distances himself from formal policymaking ...

Commentary / World Dec 16, 2009

What does Japan want from Washington?

OSAKA — Three months after the Democratic Party of Japan's landslide general election victory, the new administration's foreign and security policy appears to be increasingly at odds with that of the United States. Indeed, there is growing concern on both sides of the Pacific ...

Commentary / World Sep 2, 2009

Japanese metamorphosis

OSAKA — Sunday's landslide general-election victory by the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) terminated the one-party- dominated system that the catch-all Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has controlled almost without interruption since 1955. For most of the last decade, the DPJ was not seen as a ...