It's that time of the year again. "It is a matter of individual freedom as to how one offers condolences to those who died at war," wrote Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi in an e-mail to his supporters last week, thus fueling speculation he may be preparing for yet another of his controversial visits to the Yasukuni Shrine--the Tokyo war memorial that honors the souls of a century's worth of Japanese war dead.
Talk about open secrets. For weeks now, North Korean technicians have been preparing a site for the launch of a ballistic missile. In Washington, national-security adviser Stephen Hadley warned Pyongyang that launching a missile would expose North Korea to the unspecified wrath of the United States; in Tokyo, a senior Japanese politician echoed the vague threat.And what about South Korea?
For the past 13 years, Scotsman Mark Devlin has been building up a miniature publishing empire targeting English-speaking foreigners in Tokyo. His flagship has been Metropolis, an 80-page glossy magazine that delivers its menu of program listings, stories about life in the city and ads to some 67,000 readers each week.
For most of the past century or so, Japan has enjoyed remarkable popularity within the Muslim world. In stark contrast to European countries or the United States, Japan has no burdensome history of colonial-style intervention in the region's affairs (with the possible exception of Tokyo's brief wartime occupations of Malaysia and Indonesia).
Traditional Japanese inns, or ryokan, are small, family-owned specialists in old-fashioned comfort and cuisine. And that's the problem. Today, Japanese consumers do not necessarily want to navigate complex ryokan pricing (which ranges from $50 to $1,000 per head) to lounge around in a yukata , the cotton kimono that is standard ryokan attire, or soak in a communal bath.
Swiss businessman and Asian-art collector Jakob Steiger never figured in headlines before last month. But his low profile ended with a bang when the U.S. Treasury announced that it was imposing sanctions against his firm, Kohas AG, for acting as a "technology broker" for the North Korean military.
Headlines from the consumer Electronics Show in Vegas screamed: gloves off in digital war. Electronics makers choose sides in battle. The contest is over the $15 billion DVD industry, with the winner to set the standard for the next generation of high-definition discs and, some say, rule the video world.
These days no product embodies the ruthless, near-frictionless manufacturing machine of global capitalism more perfectly than the flat-panel TV. Sales are skyrocketing, dominated by consumer-electronics giants--Sharp, Samsung, Panasonic--that are busily plowing billions of dollars into R&D, new factories and marketing.
For 2006, the Tokyo stock exchange has decided to supplement its computer systems with an exotic new backup technology: people. In December an employee at the Japanese investment firm Mizuho entered a mistaken sell order into the TSE's computerized trading system, which didn't allow the trade to be canceled once the mistake was noticed.
You get the feeling that Nobuo Matsuki never expected to find himself in the sock business. He started his career as a corporate planner at Toyota, went on to get an American business-school degree, then found himself, in the 1980s, a member of that rare breed known as the Japanese venture capitalist.
Haruhiko Okamoto is visibly enjoying his visit to the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Beaming, he lifts his 7-year-old daughter Yuriko off the ground. The little girl, clad in a blue and white school uniform, swings a hammer against an old steel bell--and rings in the first day of trading in the shares of her father's company. "I think I'm a lucky man," says Okamoto, declaring that his flourishing Create Restaurants chain has chosen just the right moment to go public. "After the long stagnation, I think...
At first, Koichi Kato was elated. Exit polls on the afternoon of Sept. 11 showed a decisive lead for his Liberal Democratic Party--and vindication for LDP leader Junichiro Koizumi, who had called Japan's snap general election a little less than a month earlier in an audacious gamble to silence opponents within his own party.
With the latest round of talks on the North Korean nuclear issue ready to resume on Sept. 13, California Congressman Tom Lantos--the ranking Democrat on the House International Relations Committee--recently made a four-day trip to Kim Jong Il's increasingly isolated nation.