Ideas: Teaching Japan to Say No

In a provocative new book, maverick legislator Shintaro Ishihara tells his countrymen to be more assertive

He is the kind of man many Japanese admire -- handsome and well tailored, an avid yachtsman and tennis player, successful politician and novelist. But what makes Shintaro Ishihara, 57, one of the most popular figures in Japan these days is his unapologetic view of the country's pre-eminence on the world stage. As a corollary, he warns the U.S. that its days as a leading economic and industrial power are numbered and that it ignores Japanese interests and sensibilities at its peril.

Ishihara, an outspoken intellectual, first rose to national prominence in 1955, when he published a popular anti-Establishment novel, Season...

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