Christian Caryl

Nuclear Relations: Loveboat Diplomacy

Few things have been as dependable as animosity between the United States and North Korea—until now. This month, U.S. sailors helped a North Korean ship repel a pirate attack near Somalia, winning a courteous public "thank you" from Pyongyang.

'The Gap Society'

Japan still prizes social harmony, but with a hint of nostalgia now that inequality is political issue No. 1.

The D Word Is Back

They call it the "D Word." For more than a decade--ever since the bubble burst in the early 1990s, sending prices for basic goods and services plummeting--Japanese prime ministers have been dreaming of a day when they could announce the end of deflation, a rare and crippling syndrome in which falling prices sap a nation's buying energy and investing confidence.

Interview: It's A Source Of Stress

Since her husband became prime minister last September, Akie Abe--who at 44 is Japan's youngest First Lady ever--has quietly revolutionized her unofficial office with her charm, fashion flair, frankness and steady advocacy of several causes.

The First Lady Steps Out

The White House has boasted its share of charismatic First Ladies; think Eleanor Roosevelt or Jackie Kennedy. But Japan has never seen the like--at least before last September, when Shinzo Abe became prime minister and unleashed his charming spouse on the nation.

World News Still Creeps into Burma

The Burmese junta has been able to squelch much of the news and images flowing out of the country, but activists say news from the outside world is still getting in.

Cool, Clear Water

The forgotten virtues of Chinese foot pumps, buried aqueducts and other ancient water-supply technologies

The Politics of Asia's Big Deals

When the United States and South Korea announced their new free-trade agreement last month (details of which were released last week), the news was mainly economic.

Onscene: The Strange, Weird World of North Korea

I've visited a lot of places around the world, but none quite as strange as North Korea. I realized that just a few hours after our arrival in the capital city of Pyongyang, as I looked down from my box seat in the stadium where they hold the Arirang Games, a multimedia spectacle staged over several weeks every year to showcase the virtues of the North Korean system.

The Road of No Return

President Roh Moo Hyun seems hapless. But he's helped kill South Korea's imperial presidency, once and for all.

How to Brand a Country

Japan may be an export powerhouse, but it has a serious problem when it comes to importing tourists. Most travelers in the world, it seems, would rather go somewhere else.

Japan: The Balancing Act of Shinzo Abe

It's been a rocky six months for Shinzo Abe. Ever since he became Japan's prime minister in September, he's struggled to buoy his plummeting popularity amid mishaps and scandals.

Japan's Abe Is in a Free Fall

Shinzo Abe, Japan's nationalist prime minister, defied expectations with a strong start abroad. But now he's run into trouble at home, as his poll numbers plummet and his government slips out of control.

America's Unsinkable Fleet

For an out-of-the-way spit of land in the West Pacific, Guam has been getting a lot of interesting visitors recently. First came a steady stream of Pentagon bureaucrats and senior U.S. military officers.

Iraq's Young Blood

Ammar will tell you he's proud to be carrying a gun. His father was a brigadier in Saddam Hussein's Army, a man who saw combat in his country's several wars, and from an early age Ammar had accompanied him to the shooting range. "I got used to the sound of guns then," Ammar says.

A Centurion's E-mails

Robert Secher had a passion for history. Until his death in Iraq on Oct. 8, the 33-year-old Marine could recount all the major battles of the Civil War. He studied the Holocaust, in which members of his father's family lost their lives.

On Duty at the Alamo

Officially its name is for-ward Operating Base Hope, but the 25 Americans who are stationed there call it something else: "the Alamo." Just south of their fortress is Sadr City, the immense Baghdad slum controlled by Moqtada al-Sadr and his private Mahdi Army.

Fed Up With Kim?

Nobody likes dealing with Kim Jong Il anymore, including those countries closestto Pyongyang. South Korea, which has for years tried to placate the North, nowadays casts a more jaundiced eye on its communist brother.