It is hard to be the ultimate, the ne-plus-ultra, the one who sets the standards by which all others shall be measured.
But someone has to do it.
Since I have met the gentleman in question (I have his card) I might as well be the one to utter the unutterable:
David Pilling of the Financial Times has written what must be the worst essay on Japan published in a major newspaper in the last 20 years.
He does not even get the arithmetic right. The last time anyone looked, 125 million divided by 10,000 is 12,500--not 1,250.
Sigh. Sigh again.
When one makes a mistake like that in the first paragraph, the outlook for the rest of the ride is, well, uncertain...especially after starting off with the ao versus midori canard and its obliviousness to the reality that a number of languages have a single word for the green-to-blue part of the spectrum...and how one can point to the analogous "orange" problem in English--where the language did not have a word for "orange" until les mangeurs de rosbifs manhandled the Spanish word naranja sufficiently that "a naranja" became "an orange"--giving a color that had always existed a name and identity.
Read the essay. See if you come away with the same question as I did:
"How could the Financial Times, or any newspaper, publish an essay by one of its correspondents upon the theme is 'I do not understand the subject I am paid to write about every day. Calloo callay, I chortle!'--and not understand that it would undermine every single sentence that correspondent has ever written?"
The publication of this essay represents either editorial malfeasance or actual malice aforethought toward the author.