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Tag Archives: Walter Hamilton
Japan’s Shinzo Abe, US President Donald Trump and Russia’s Vladimir Putin have a great deal in common, particularly their aversion to being exposed to a free press.
Donald J. Trump likes to sound off about ‘bad hombres’ sneaking into the United States to spread terror and crime. Bad hombres come in many shapes and disguises, not only as bad people but also bad ideas.
When Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe earlier this month stood alongside Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull near The Gap––once Sydney’s favourite suicide spot––they presented themselves as brothers-in-arms for multilateral free trade. How quickly things can change.
Friend or foe, ally or rival, it no longer seems to matter: hey, world, make way for the guy who pushes in at the checkout, double parks at the school gate, dumps his garbage in the park, talks through the … Continue reading
President-elect Donald Trump’s Cabinet picks are being cross-examined in public for the first time. Here begins the real business of assessing how a Trump administration might behave––in more than 140 characters. The indications so far suggest the need for an … Continue reading
In August 2016, Japan’s Emperor Akihito took the highly unusual step of asking publically to be relieved of his duties – to be able to abdicate. The government is still mulling over its response many months later. The article below … Continue reading
‘Taking sides’ is a schoolyard conception of how a nation’s strategic interest is to be calculated and diplomacy shaped. Standing on the sidelines of a fight, pointing an accusing finger at other barracking spectators and crying ‘you’re taking sides’ is … Continue reading
The Australian servicemen who left behind mixed-race children during the postwar Occupation of Japan set in motion changes that are chipping away at a nation’s stubborn myth of racial homogeneity.
Australians, Americans and Japanese have been ‘fighting monsters’––the monsters of war remembrance––since 1945. A high-profile visit to Pearl Harbor during the week seemed to suggest another monster was being laid to rest. But while that piece of theatre left much … Continue reading
The OECD-endorsed rankings of educational proficiency recently released give the lie to those in Australia who attribute outcomes solely to levels of spending. Throwing more money at the Education Establishment will not automatically produce smarter students.
Prime Minister Abe of Japan is running out of tricks, but there is no viable alternative.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is pursuing a ‘fresh approach’ with Russia’s Vladimir Putin for resolving the territorial dispute that has prevented the two countries signing a peace treaty since World War Two. It is easy to see what … Continue reading
This year is the sixtieth anniversary of the methyl mercury poisoning in Japan that caused ‘Minamata Disease’. Shocking images of victims captured by the American photographer W. Eugene Smith (his Tomoko Uemura in Her Bath perhaps the best known) … Continue reading
About eighteen months ago, while talking with a policy analyst at Japan’s Defense Ministry in Tokyo, I asked how the confrontation with China over the disputed Senkaku (or Daioyu) Islands in the East China Sea was affecting morale in … Continue reading
Japan, in my nearly forty years of observing and reporting on that country, has never been so delicately and dangerously poised. Australians, who have long relied on it as an economic powerhouse and ‘common interest’ partner, need to be … Continue reading
It is a modern-day impatience: we want to eat dessert first. In election campaigns, therefore, we seek to ‘taste’ the result through opinion polls, vox pops, electoral maps (with winners already allocated), predictive analogies or psephological cephalopods. So it … Continue reading
The victory of 64-year-old Yuriko Koike in last weekend’s Tokyo gubernatorial election tells us a lot about the disturbing state of Japanese politics. Hailing from the right wing of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party, Koike holds views on constitutional … Continue reading
On July 13, just three days after Japan’s ruling coalition secured a critical two-thirds majority in parliament, a news report emerged that the country’s long-serving Emperor wishes to abdicate ‘within the next few years’. (According to some news media, the … Continue reading
Last weekend’s Upper House election result has armed the ruling Liberal Democratic Party with the parliamentary numbers needed to bring about controversial changes to the Japanese constitution. It does not mean the dropping of the constitution’s war-renouncing Article 9 … Continue reading
Defying public protests and opinion polls that show most Japanese oppose the move, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party and Shin-Komeito ruling coalition are pressing ahead with legislation to nullify the nation’s constitutional ban on overseas military action. The … Continue reading
We must not let our children, grandchildren, and even further generations to come, who have nothing to do with that war, be predestined to apologize. This comes from the statement issued during the week by Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, … Continue reading
Current Affairs. Amid all the howling about terror, treason and the ABC, Australians seemingly have lost the ability to stop, listen and think. Everyone is in such a hurry to outdo the next person in vilifying and repudiating the ‘other’, … Continue reading
Current Affairs. Eight hundred years ago, this month, King John reluctantly signed Magna Carta, a form of peace treaty forced on him by rebellious barons. It is considered to have marked the beginning of the end of the age of … Continue reading
Last Sunday was Constitution Day in Japan. The national holiday memorializes the historic fact that, in 1947, for the first time Japanese embraced the principle that sovereignty resides with the people––not an emperor or a shogun, but the people. This … Continue reading
Emperor Hirohito never made it to Okinawa. He passed away before he could fulfill that stated desire. (He was scheduled to go in 1987, until illness intervened.) Okinawa was the scene of some of the most savage fighting of the … Continue reading
Lee Kuan Yew ran the island-state of Singapore, someone said, with a mixture of charisma and fear. Having worked there as a correspondent for the ABC in the mid-1980s, the remark seems apposite to me. Lee’s brilliance as a politician … Continue reading
Virulent, fanatical nationalism is not the answer. It’s not the answer in Russia, where an opponent of Putin’s war on Ukraine was murdered on the streets of Moscow in broad daylight. It’s not the answer in China where the ruling … Continue reading
If the main aim of building ships in Australia for the Royal Australian Navy were to keep locals in work, then the South Australian-based Australian Submarine Corporation (ASC) would be a pretty good model. It spent around $400 million on … Continue reading
Is it time to declare Abenomics, the recession-busting strategy of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a failure? If so, was the recent Japanese election purely an exercise for Shinzo Abe to protect himself and the ruling coalition from a half-awake … Continue reading