COVER

ASIA

Japan's Holy Wildcard

After last month's general elections, the religious party New Komeito has become a potent political force

Teflon Government

A spate of scandals shows that corruption is an inescapable fact of life in the nation—and little has been done to clean the country up

Predatory Transients

Poor police work, mass migration to cities and a collapse of social cohesion are fueling a frightening rise in serial killings

GLOBAL ADVISER

Youth Centers (TIME Global Adviser | Time Traveler)

Where does one find those Yohji trainers? At any of Asia's new malls

A Steamy Romance (TIME Global Adviser | Day-Tripper)

Let the train take the strain out of getting into the Christmas spirit

All the President's Beds (TIME Global Adviser | Cost-Of-Living-It-Up Index)

What it costs to book presidential suites at some of the world's best hotels

"Your mouth lights up" (TIME Global Adviser | Next Time You're In... Baghdad)

Escape chaos and carnage in one of Baghdad's unexpectedly good pizza restaurants

Cruising for a Lawsuit? (TIME Global Adviser | Question Time)

What can the average passenger do when a tour goes awry? Not much

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

True Grit

Satoshi Kon's groundbreaking realism takes animé to a new level

Making a Big Move (Sports)

Retired sumo superstar Akebono is back in the arena—as a boxer

BRIEFING

Sewing Discord (Notebook | Diplomacy)

Will the U.S.-China trade skirmish explode into all-out war?

Unhappy Hunting (Notebook | Hong Kong)

How hard could it be to trap a 1.2-meter crocodile?

Not So Fast (Notebook | Malaysia)

Malaysia's new Prime Minister plays rough with his old boss' favorites

Baby Godzilla Goes West (Notebook)

Japan prepares to lose another baseball superstar as shortstop Kazuo Matsui takes a shot at the majors

Verbatim (Notebook)

Quotes of the week

Letters (Notebook)

The Secrets of Eating Smarter