Chinese President Xi Jinping, center, speaks at an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting outside Beijing in November. (Pool)
POINT OF VIEW/ Junya Sano: Asia’s economies to continue gentle recovery in 2015
Asia’s economies are expected to continue to recover through 2015. But growth rates overall will likely match or be only slightly higher than those in 2014 because external demand will lack driving strength, and there is little prospect that growth will be bolstered by fiscal or monetary policy.
Hideki Shirakawa oversees children during a lab class at the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in Tokyo. (Eiji Hori)
INTERVIEW/ Hideki Shirakawa: Scientists need freedom of basic research, not just pursuit of efficiency
The number of Nobel Prize winners from Japan topped 20 on Dec. 10, with this year’s physics prize awarded to a trio of Japan-born scientists for their studies on blue light-emitting diodes.
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai from Pakistan holds up her medal during the award ceremony in Oslo on Dec. 10. (AP Photo)
POINT OF VIEW/ Akira Iriye: Japan needs to contribute to 'peace for all time'
The entire world was recently reminded of the preciousness of peace when Malala Yousafzai was named co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Yukihiko Kayama (Photo by Yosuke Fukudome)
INTERVIEW/ Yukihiko Kayama: Experts should help Fukushima mothers speak up about radiation fears
FUKUSHIMA--Psychiatrist Yukihiko Kayama said it is becoming more embarrassing, with the passage of time since the Fukushima nuclear disaster of 2011, for mothers in Fukushima Prefecture to casually discuss their fears of radiation.
Yumeno Nito (Photo by Hiroki Nishida)
INTERVIEW/ Yumeno Nito: Havens needed for schoolgirls in sleazy 'JK' business
Adults need to get more involved to prevent vulnerable teenage girls from falling prey to the evils of the thriving “JK” industry, said a social activist with a troubled past.
Arata Hirakawa checks repairs to historical documents at Tohoku University in Sendai. (Satoshi Kimura)
POINT OF VIEW/ Arata Hirakawa: Saving historical documents helps communities get over 3/11 disaster
SENDAI--The tsunami generated by the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011, swept away manuscripts and paintings that served as testaments to the histories of regional communities.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe heads to a meeting of executives of his Liberal Democratic Party on Dec. 15, one day after the LDP scored a decisive victory in the Lower House election. (Shinichi Iizuka)
POINT OF VIEW/ Satoshi Kamata: Abe reveals true intentions after voting ends
A disturbingly low 52.66 percent of eligible voters turned out in the Dec. 14 Lower House election, the worst figure in the postwar period. It means that only about one in two eligible voters bothered to cast a ballot.
William C. Potter (Photo by Masato Tainaka)
INTERVIEW/ William C. Potter: By joining Vienna, U.S. splits nuclear powers on humanitarian impact on nuclear weapons
The third international conference on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons will be held in Vienna, starting Dec. 8. The U.S. decision to attend is seen as vital to promoting nuclear disarmament.
Workers assemble vehicles at Daihatsu Motor Co.'s plant in Karawang, Indonesia, in 2013. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
POINT OF VIEW/ Yuta Tsukada: Auto industry leads Japanese investment in Indonesia
The Japanese transportation equipment industry’s direct investment in Indonesia rose rapidly in 2011 and has since remained at high levels.
Francis Fukuyama (Photo by Yuko Lanham)
INTERVIEW/ Francis Fukuyama: Political polarization stymies U.S. reforms, threatens its leadership
Noted U.S. political scientist Francis Fukuyama said he does not expect to see meaningful reforms in the United States in the next six years due to political polarization despite any Republican Party gains in midterm elections.
Even in Beijing, some new condominium prices have dropped by as much as 10 percent. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
POINT OF VIEW/ Shinichi Seki: China’s real estate market facing protracted adjustment
A protracted adjustment is expected in China’s real estate market as authorities continue price control policies to correct real estate bubble in major cities and review capital allocation.
Anti-Korean demonstrators march through Tokyo's Shin-Okubo district in February. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
POINT OF VIEW/ Naoto Higuchi: Japanese conservatives should break with the far right
The media often portray participants in discriminatory “hate speech” demonstrations as socially maladapted people seeking to vent their pent-up sentiments.
Onagawa town assembly member Mikiko Abe stands against the backdrop of Tohoku Electric Power Co.'s Onagawa nuclear power plant. (Yosuke Fukudome)
POINT OF VIEW/ Mikiko Abe: With nuclear plant idled, townsfolk in better position to chart future course
ONAGAWA, Miyagi Prefecture--As an opponent of atomic energy, I have watched this town for more than four decades--from before Tohoku Electric Power Co. began constructing the Onagawa nuclear power plant here.
Akira Kugiko holds up a photograph of Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture, devastated by the March 2011 tsunami. (Kazumasa Sugimura)
POINT OF VIEW/ Akira Kugiko: Public indifference to disaster preparedness worsened 2011 tsunami toll
RIKUZENTAKATA, Iwate Prefecture--I began relating accounts of the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami one year after the disaster, and I started my own storytelling business in spring last year under the name “Kugiko-ya.”
A new condominium complex in Guangzhou, Guangdong province. Housing prices have been falling in China.
POINT OF VIEW/ Yuji Miura: How will China deal with falling housing prices?
China’s housing prices continue to plummet. To what extent can the reforms presented at the Third Plenum be realized without causing the economy to stall? The economic policies of the latter half of the year will surely test the mettle of the Xi Jinping-Li Keqiang administration.
David A. Welch (Provided by David A. Welch)
POINT OF VIEW/ David A. Welch: The dangerous false fear of Japanese militarism
Japan’s neighbors reacted surprisingly hysterically to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s recent move to loosen restrictions on the Self-Defense Forces so that they could engage in collective self-defense.
Akiko Iwasaki, owner of the Horaikan inn in Kamaishi (Masataka Yamaura)
POINT OF VIEW/ Akiko Iwasaki: Tsunami-ravaged Sanriku ready for ambitious pilot programs
KAMAISHI, Iwate Prefecture--I don’t think rebuilding from the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami of 2011 can be easily accomplished in a decade.
Amy Searight (Photo by Yuko Lanham)
INTERVIEW/ Amy Searight: U.S. carries ‘no uncertainty’ about response to rise of China
The increasing rotational presence of the U.S. forces in Southeast Asia and Australia is not a substitute for a permanent presence but a critical building block of the U.S. rebalance to Asia, said a senior U.S. Defense Department official.
Murong Xuecun in Hong Kong (Photo by Gen Pau)
INTERVIEW/ Murong Xuecun: Internet main battlefield over free speech in China
HONG KONG--Beijing is intensifying efforts to regain its “turf” on the Internet, the main battlefield over free speech between authorities and citizens in China, according to a popular writer and influential blogger.
Takeshi Jingu (Provided by Nomura Research Institute)
POINT OF VIEW/ Takeshi Jingu: Risks, opportunities in China’s growing P2P lending market
In China, online peer-to-peer (P2P) lending has been growing rapidly since around 2010. If the country’s P2P lending industry can successfully control risk while capitalizing on innovation, it should help alleviate chronic funding difficulties of small and midsize enterprises.

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