Japan

  • Japan is keeping one eye on China as it maintains ties with the US.

    Japan Balances Ties with China and the US

    There is no doubt that China is building up its military capabilities. Nor that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe played up the threat of China, which spends three times as much as Japan does on its national defence, as a justification for new security legislation in Japan. However, deeper scrutiny of this issue requires a broader perspective on China’s strategic intentions.

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  • Some of Abe's arrows missed, but this year is another opportunity.

    The Jury is Still Out on Abe's Successes

    Last year could be remembered as a glorious year for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.  As Abe ended 2014 with a surprise visit to Yasukuni Shrine, provoking harsh criticism from close neighbours, many anticipated that the most daunting task for Abe in 2015 would be to manage issues regarding the war history.

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  • The TPP impact required new spending in Japan's agricultural sector.

    Japan's Abe Comes to the Aid of the Agricultural Sector

    On 18 December 2015, the Abe administration announced details of the much-anticipated agriculture, forestry and fisheries-related supplementary budget. It contains a list of expenditure items designed to assist the agricultural sector to respond to the impact of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement upon implementation.

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  • Abe did not distance himself from the Kona Statement.

    Japan's Abe Affirms 'Comfort Women' Measures with South Korea

    On 28 December, the foreign ministers of Japan and South Korea announced that the issue of comfort woman was ‘resolved finally and irreversibly’. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed anew ‘his most sincere apologies and remorse to all the women who underwent immeasurable and painful experiences’.

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  • Japan's Abe may be the most powerful PM in decades.

    Despite Setbacks, Japan's Abe Perseveres

    This year has been a year of resilience for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Consider what he has faced: a contentious debate over national security reforms, widespread opposition to nuclear reactor restarts, a pension record hack that played on public privacy fears, and an economy struggling to gain momentum. Despite these challenges, Abe was reelected in September to a second term as president of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), and thus able to continue his prime ministership, without facing a single challenger.

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  • There have been a few bumps in the road for Japan's Abenomics.

    Managing Abenomics' Expectations

    There is still optimism that the Japanese economy will prevail. Projections are that the economy is rebounding and Japan will achieve reasonably good growth for the next several years. Some progress has been achieved in the three years of Abenomics, but it has been a bumpy path.

    The most immediate goal (the first arrow) of Abenomics has been to end the small but persistent deflation that arose some 15 years ago, and to achieve an annual 2 percent increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

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  • Marriage in Japan is no longer the universal norm.

    Socioeconomic Barriers are Redefining Marriage in Japan

    Discussions of sex in Japan typically spotlight the extremes of the social landscape: from the hypersexualised (2D girlfriends, hug cafes, erotic manga) to the sexless. Gender is skimmed with reference to ‘herbivore men’ and ‘parasite singles’. However, beyond the salacious and the superficial, sex and gender are topics that demand careful consideration from Japanese policymakers as well as scholars.

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  • Japan's optimal energy mix will evolve over time.

    Japan Searches for the Optimal Energy Mix

    Energy is probably Japan’s greatest vulnerability, both in environmental terms and in assured sources of supply. Japan’s long-run energy policy is simple — obtain stable supplies at low cost — but implementation is complex in what is a global, dynamic, rapidly changing set of related industries.

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  • Japan holds the regional economic growth key.

    Japan Holds the Key to Regional Peace and Economic Cooperation

    International scrutiny of Japan’s foreign policy direction and defence policy posture has been particularly intense in recent months. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s 14 August statement on the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, and security legislation passed on 19 September have brought renewed attention to the topic.

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  • Japan's Abe apologized, but his government's commitment seems shaky.

    Keeping the Commitment after the Apology

    On 14 August, the day before the 70th anniversary of the end of the Pacific War, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe issued a long-awaited statement on Japanese memory of the war and his vision for the future. In it, he emphasised that the apologies given by previous Japanese cabinets ‘will remain unshakable into the future’. Abe’s statement received mixed responses from around the world.

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