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Robyn Lim

For Robyn Lim's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Commentary Nov 23, 2007

Australia facing tough nuclear issues

Australia's election Saturday will be fought mostly over domestic issues, especially interest rates. While Labor is well ahead in the polls, its victory is not assured. But whoever becomes prime minister after the election will face some contentious decisions on nuclear issues. And it's ...

Commentary Sep 20, 2007

Defense debate bordering on bizarre

The trigger for Shinzo Abe's resignation was the refusal by opposition leader Ichiro Ozawa to agree to further deployments of Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force to the Indian Ocean after authorizing legislation runs out on Nov. 1. When the shouting is over, it's likely that the ...

Commentary Aug 16, 2006

Japan far too vulnerable to Pyongyang's missiles

After North Korea's July 5 missile tests, Japan, for the first time since 1945, is asking America to beef up its military presence in Japan. Why? Because Japan's hedging and tardiness in relation to missile defense has left its cities more vulnerable than they ...

Commentary Jul 23, 2006

Downhill path from fear to proliferation

Why have some of Japan's leaders been talking about the need to acquire the ability to attack North Korean missiles on the launchpads? It's because they know that the United States, despite its overwhelming air and maritime power, cannot credibly threaten North Korea. That ...

Commentary May 17, 2006

Taro Aso has a history problem with Australia

When Foreign Minister Taro Aso visited Australia recently, did he know that the father of the Australian foreign minister, Alexander Downer, had been a Japanese prisoner of war in the notorious Changi jail in Singapore? And if Alexander Downer Sr. had been sent to ...

Commentary Jan 29, 2006

Cheap ride on U.S. security

As a "rising" China presses on its maritime frontiers in the East and South China Seas, tensions with Japan are increasing rapidly because of the maritime basis of Japanese security. Yet Japan thinks it can reduce defense spending, continue to rely on the United ...

Commentary Jan 6, 2006

China eschews Soviet redux

China's rapid-force modernization is driving strategic events in East Asia. But China is no longer communist; nor does it represent the same kind of threat posed by the USSR when it possessed huge military power and stretched across Eurasia, threatening U.S. allies at both ...

Commentary Dec 14, 2005

Countdown to Taiwan's co-optation

The resounding defeat of Taiwan's ruling party in recent local elections means that China may soon be able to take Taiwan by a combination of enticement and threat. That could occur after Taiwan's March 2008 presidential elections, in the leadup to the Beijing Olympics. The ...

Commentary Nov 24, 2005

Time for U.S. to leave Korea

When U.S. President George W. Bush was in Pusan last weekend for the APEC summit, he and South Korean President Roh Moo Hyun agreed upon a "strategic dialogue" at ministerial level on security issues. That barely papered over the cracks. Roh, by announcing a ...

Commentary Oct 14, 2005

Missile defense will define Japan-U.S. security alliance

The impasse about the relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps air station at Futenma in Okinawa caused U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to cancel his forthcoming visit to Japan. So Rumsfeld, fed up with Japanese foot-dragging for more than a decade, will be going ...