Genichiro Takahashi (Photo by Makoto Kaku)
POINT OF VIEW/ Genichiro Takahashi: Actor Sugawara’s intelligence embraces healthy ‘ignorance’
In my second year in high school, a friend and I hitchhiked from Kobe to Hiroshima during the summer holidays. Our plan was to be in Hiroshima on Aug. 6. We arrived there late at night on Aug. 5.
Anupong Tangwongsakul shows off his Honda CR-V displaying the Japanese letters “Hashire Melos” on the rear window in Chiang Mai, Thailand. (Naoji Shibata)
INSIGHT: Weak yen under Abenomics hurts expat pensioners' lives in Southeast Asia
CHIANG MAI, Thailand--A phrase in Japanese is painted in large letters across the front and rear windows of a Honda four-wheel drive vehicle that Anupong Tangwongsakul steers through the scorching heat of this northern Thai city.
China's Statue of Liberty, much smaller than the one in New York, stands in Huanghuagang Park in Guangzhou. (Takio Murakami)
INSIGHT: China's Statue of Liberty may have deep roots in society
GUANGZHOU, China--Readers may be surprised to learn there is a Statue of Liberty in China.
Japanese "meijin" Yuta Iyama, left, loses to China's Chen Yaoye in the finals of a three-nation go championship with South Korea, held in the Chinese city of Xian in January. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
INSIGHT: Japan, China, S. Korea can learn wisdom from game of go
BEIJING--There is finally momentum toward improving Japan-China relations.
A student weeps at a memorial ceremony in Lahore, Pakistan, on Dec. 17, a day after Islamic extremists killed about 150 people, mostly children, in an attack on a school in Peshawar. (AP Photo)
INSIGHT: In Pakistan, the threat of terrorism is part and parcel of daily life
ISLAMABAD--Mushtaq, a 40-year-old restaurant owner, lives in daily fear for himself and his family: Terrorism is a deadly neighbor.
Xi Jinping
INSIGHT: Japan needs to talk now that Xi has strengthened control over government
I traveled to Beijing for the first time in two years to cover the National People's Congress. On the night of March 15, when the session closed, I attended a function with colleagues when someone who checked a news site on their mobile phone said, "Xu Caihou died."
Satoshi Shima, center, visits an exhibition on renewable energy in Tokyo in July with former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, left. (Naohito Maeda)
INSIGHT: Why not talk more about a nuclear-free future for Japan?
While German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is moving to pull the plug on nuclear power in her nation, was visiting Japan on March 9, I met with a former Lower House member.
A coastal levee, 7.2 meters high and 23.2 meters wide, is under construction in Watari, Miyagi Prefecture, to replace an embankment destroyed by the March 2011 tsunami. The government is spending 1 trillion yen to build coastal levees totaling 400 kilometers, mainly in Miyagi and Iwate prefectures. (Yosuke Fukudome)
POINT OF VIEW/ Eiji Oguma: Post-disaster reconstruction is about reviving will to live
Communities along the Sanriku coast of the Tohoku region, devastated by the tsunami following the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011, reportedly remain in plight as they face a mountain of problems: people are leaving their communities, industrial infrastructure is weakening and the population is rapidly aging.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, center, shows the way to the guests who attended the signing ceremony of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing in October 2014. (AP Photo)
INSIGHT: Japan should reconsider wisdom of opting out of China-led bank
Less than a week after German Chancellor Angela Merkel ended her first visit to Japan in seven years, she was flanked by two Chinese heavyweights named Ma on March 15 during an opening ceremony for a trade fair in Hanover, Germany.
Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, offers flowers at the memorial cenotaph in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in 2008. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Wreaths for reconciliation—Hopes of a veteran journalist
I recently sent for a book from Japan that a friend recommended, titled "The Day President Obama Lays a Wreath at Hiroshima." It was written six years ago by Fumio Matsuo, a former Washington bureau chief of Kyodo News.
Construction of an interim storage facility for radioactive soil and other debris starts in Futaba, Fukushima Prefecture, in February. The Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant is seen in the background. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
COMMENTARY: Fukushima laments fading memories of nuclear disaster
FUTABA, Fukushima Prefecture--A daily calendar pad on a living room wall in a private home in this northeastern community still showed the fateful date: “March 11, 2011.”
Genichiro Takahashi (Photo by Motooki Hayasaka)
POINT OF VIEW/ Genichiro Takahashi: Prayer for tolerance--the monster is in our midst
The recent hostage crisis in Syria got me thinking about a number of things. For one, only a few people talked about Haruna Yukawa, one of the two hostages presumably slain by Islamic State militants. Granted, many of his actions were hard to comprehend. Does that mean he was an anomaly and unlike any of us?
Side roads leading to high-radiation areas are barricaded along National Route No. 6 in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, on Sept. 15, when a 14-kilometer section was opened to regular traffic for the first time since the Fukushima nuclear accident. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
COMMENTARY: ‘Wishful thinking’ of nuclear insiders must not be allowed to be reborn
FUKUSHIMA--Four years have passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami triggered a triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in March 2011.
Worshippers pray in Jakarta's largest mosque on a recent Friday. (Naoji Shibata)
COMMENTARY: Indonesian society increasingly Islamized, despite diversity
Tokyo Camii, Japan’s largest mosque, located in the capital’s Yoyogi-Uehara district, has been seeing an incessant flow of visitors of late.
President Xi Jinping unveils a sculpture to mark China's first National Memorial Day in Nanjing, China, on the 77th anniversary of the Nanking Massacre on Dec. 13. (AP Photo)
COMMENTARY: Rare military parade to mark China’s victory over Japan--why now?
BEIJING--The National Day celebrations held on Oct. 1, 1984, to mark the 35th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China are remembered by the public in this nation for being particularly unforgettable.
The Tagokura dam stands in the upper reaches of the Tadamigawa river in Tadami, Fukushima Prefecture. The Tagokura community, located over the 145-meter-high concrete dam wall, was submerged. (Toshihide Ueda)
COMMENTARY: Depopulated areas in Fukushima learned bitter lessons from dams
FUKUSHIMA--I recently saw “DamNation,” a documentary film that portrays advocates of dam removal who have turned that goal into a reality in the United States.
Worshippers chant a Buddhist sutra, led by a monk invited from Thailand, at Wat Paknam Japan in Narita, Chiba Prefecture, on Feb. 8. (Ryosuke Ono)
COMMENTARY: Thai expats pray for peace as junta leader visits Japan
NARITA, Chiba Prefecture--A temple built in the Theravada Buddhism style and painted in lively colors emerges on the far side of vegetable fields and a grove of leafless trees. Cold winter winds howl in this city, commonly known as the site of an air gateway to Tokyo.
Foreign trainees call on the government to not use the Technical Intern Training Program to secure construction workers at a meeting in Tokyo in June. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
POINT OF VIEW/ Eiji Oguma: Enduring abuse works against developing human rights awareness
Those who are insensitive to their own human rights are insensitive to the human rights of others as well, to say nothing of the human rights of foreigners.
In “The Founding Ceremony of China” painted by Dong Xiwen in 1952, six vice chairpersons stand in the front row behind Chairman Mao Tse-tung. Liu Shaoqi is second from left, while Gao Gang is at the far right. (Photo by Koichi Furuya)
COMMENTARY: Historical painting testament to political whims of China's leaders
BEIJING--At a recent exhibition to mark the centennial of the birth of painter Dong Xiwen (1914-1973), the first thing that caught my eye was his work “The Founding Ceremony of China” (Kaiguo Dadian), which is painted in lively colors.
Genichiro Takahashi (Photo by Motooki Hayasaka)
POINT OF VIEW/ Genichiro Takahashi: Daring to be all alone rather than join a hysterical call for ‘freedom of expression’
Two Japanese were taken hostage by the extremist Islamic State group. The situation remained uncertain when I was writing this column late on Tuesday (Jan. 27).

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