Over the weekend, Japan's mainstream media reported on several big stories from overseas. Russian President Vladimir Putin reciprocated his American counterpart's decision to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. U.S. President Donald Trump hinted that he would declare a state of emergency in his State of the Union address to build his border wall. Trump reportedly suggested Danang, Vietnam, as a venue to hold the second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. In the meantime, reports from Singapore predicted that Chinese President Xi Jinping was considering a meeting with Trump "on Feb. 27 and 28 to resolve the trade dispute" between China and the United States.

These stories are not unimportant. They seem to me, however, to be either so predictable or essentially transitional that I have no appetite to write about them this week. What attracts me the most now is the deteriorating political turmoil in Venezuela — a situation to which many people here may not have paid full attention.

One exception was NHK's news team. Its members closely followed the situation in Caracas and allocated significant amount of airtime to report about Venezuela. They even interviewed me for more than 30 minutes and broadcast some portions of the taped interview on their 7 p.m. news.