HatoyamaYukio Hatoyama took office on September 16 as Japan's new prime minister, following an August 30 electoral victory in which he led the Democrat Party of Japan to victory over the Liberal Democratic Party, which had governed Japan for more than 50 years. The change of government may bring with it a reassessment of Japan's support for the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan as well as other changes in the Asian nation's relations with the United States.

KarzaiAfghanistan's Independent Election Commission released figures on September 16 showing President Hamid Karzai with 54.6 percent of the vote in the first complete results reported since the country's August 20 presidential election. However, the results will not be certified until the UN-backed Electoral Complaints Commission finishes examining thousands of potentially fraudulent ballots.

tiresChina's Ministry of Commerce on September 14 called for the World Trade Organization to help settle a tariff dispute with the United States over Chinese-made tires. The Chinese are objecting to the imposition of a 35 percent U.S. tariff on tires imported from China, an Obama administration response to a United Steelworkers union complaint that its members have lost 5,000 of their jobs since 2004 because of the amount of cheap Chinese imports flooding the U.S. market.

Japan“Imagine a team of doctors who think more poison is the solution to poisoning.” That’s the attention-getting opening sentence leading off an invitation to attend a conference exploring the disaster known as the Obama administration. Good analogy! The team of experts currently running this nation has been administering its own type of poison to combat our nation’s economic downturn. Predictably, the recession isn’t ending. Instead, the nation wallows in a self-imposed and deepening quagmire.

AfghanistanWeeks after Iraq's August 20 presidential election, with disputed returns giving incumbent President Hamid Karzai more than 50 percent of the vote — enough to avoid a runoff against challenger Abdullah Abdullah — charges of vote fraud are still being investigated by the UN-backed Electoral Complaints Commission. As the process of determining Afghanistan's new government goes on, officials from the United States and the United Kingdom, who together form the bulk of the NATO forces that helped provide enough security to hold the election, have taken a strong interest in what comes next.