Apr 22, 2012

Keep the wrecking ball at bay

I like Tokyo Tower. I will get used to the Tokyo Sky Tree (public opening due May 22), but for now I feel more for the familiar graceful lines and the more humane proportions of the older tower. It is an architectural icon, and ...

Feb 16, 2012

Consider the defense alternative

Regarding the Feb. 10 Kyodo article "Iwakuni housing land sale in doubt": Does the Japanese government have no honor? Is its word no good? First we had the interminable squabbles over moving the bulk of the 3rd Marine Division from Okinawa to Guam, and ...

Oct 30, 2011

Sleepless in Tokyo

If you ever wonder why Tokyoites are always sleeping on the train, a report at the 6th World Congress of the World Sleep Federation explains why: They're not sleeping enough at home. Tokyo workers average 36 minutes less sleep every night than New Yorkers and ...

Sep 28, 2011

Europe must break a vicious cycle


"We are back in a danger zone," says a top economist at the International Monetary Fund. Though an understatement, it captures the central paradox of this year's annual meeting of the International monetary Fund and World Bank. Everyone is alarmed at the swift deterioration of ...

/ Sep 5, 2011

Japan in a European club?

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Hitherto unknown and self-styled "loach" Yoshihiko Noda must learn to swim in an ocean of problems as Japan's new prime minister of the year. He has more than a plateful of domestic issues, but he should also realize, as his predecessors forgot, that Japan ...

/ Aug 10, 2011

Hosni Mubarak's last laugh?


August 3, 2011, will be remembered as a historic day in Egypt. Former President Hosni Mubarak was put on public trial, together with his two sons and his ex-interior minister, General Habib el-Adly. The repercussions for Egypt, indeed for the entire Arab world, will ...

/ Jul 25, 2011

Toadies to the debt-to-GDP ratio


Economists like to talk about thresholds that, if crossed, spell trouble. Usually there is an element of truth in what they say, but the public often overreacts to such talk. Consider, for example, the debt-to-GDP ratio, much in the news nowadays in Europe and the ...