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Tom Plate

Tom Plate, a veteran American columnist and career journalist, is the Distinguished Scholar of Asian and Pacific Affairs at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. His many books include the “Giants of Asia” series, of which book four, “Conversations with Ban Ki-Moon: The View from the Top,” is the latest.

For Tom Plate's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Sep 10, 2009

Words of wisdom from Hatoyama

It was just this side of comical. The leader of the new ruling party of Japan barely finishes acknowledging his Democratic Party of Japan's landslide win and a public relations disaster strikes. The result: an ignominious international climb-down. What happened was not an ideal opening ...

Aug 23, 2009

Scrutinizing the Chinese threat to Taiwan

LOS ANGELES — In the United States we refer to it as the Powell Doctrine. And it helps unravel a bit of mystery about what China is up to these days. Remember Colin Powell? Before Barack Obama rode into the U.S. scene on his ...

Aug 9, 2009

North Korea's way of trying to break the ice

LOS ANGELES — You will never get anything of significance done with North Korea unless you go right to the top. The essence of its political culture is a feral fusion of Asian family values ("father knows best") with rigid communist hierarchy. At international conferences, ...

Jul 30, 2009

Japan reaches a crossroad

With all eyes on a rising India, an awakened China and a roiling Islam, we tend to take good old solid Japan (still the world's second-largest economy, please don't forget) as a given. But that is a mistake: These are the times that try ...

Jul 19, 2009

Like it or not, China is not about to go away

KUALA LUMPUR — There was never the slightest doubt in the mind of a single reputable expert anywhere in the world that China was a caldron of ethnic unrest ready to boil over. Nor was there the slightest possibility that the masters of the ...

Jul 5, 2009

Old killer press still admired if not emulated

SINGAPORE — Everyone knows the American news media is proud as papa of its reputation as the storied giant-killer of politicians and as the watchdog of government. Aggressive journalism decades ago by The Washington Post and other major media institutions actually dethroned an elected ...

Jun 16, 2009

Jailing U.S. journalists could prove costly

LOS ANGELES — Call me a dupe of the commies if that makes you happy — I really don't care at this point. Maybe all these years I have been wrong to argue that we can negotiate with North Korea; maybe my critics are ...

May 31, 2009

Why isolate a global pariah even further?

LOS ANGELES — On the question of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, better known as (a) North Korea, (b) notorious charter member of former U.S. President George W. Bush's "axis of evil" and (c) pain-in-the-neck threat to world peace and stability, here are ...

May 17, 2009

California dream-makers in the driver's seat

LOS ANGELES — Sometimes it's not that easy living in Los Angeles. Despite splendid weather, sprawling beaches and gorgeous mountain ranges — not to mention the well-tanned Hollywood stars — you face the unrelenting, withering scorn of smug colleagues long established in New York ...

May 6, 2009

China and Taiwan try a practical approach

LOS ANGELES — On the surface of things, it might not seem like such a big deal. Taiwan is to get recognition as an observer at an important world health meeting in Geneva to be held later this month. But in the context of ...