Japan

  • Are sleeping Japanese students waking up to politics?

    Japanese Politics Hear from Students

    Recent student protests in Japan against the Liberal Democratic Party’s (LDP) proposed changes to constitutional reinterpretation have Japan watchers asking ‘is the sleepy Japanese student waking up?’ However, what if they were never asleep or they were just waiting for the alarm clock to go off?

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  • Abe keeps fueling the tension between Japan and China.

    Japan's Abe Not Helping His Country's Efforts with China

    For a long time, historical and territorial disputes plagued relations between Japan and China. So far, the frictions show no sign of abating. Instead, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has taken a nationalistic approach towards China. China has reportedly regularly intruded into Japanese territorial waters near the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu islands and repeatedly demanded Japan to apologise for its wartime atrocities. These events have heightened tensions between the two countries.

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  • Osaka's Mayor abruptly quit over an arguably minor disagreement.

    Did Japan's Opposition Party Fall into Disarray Over Something Trivial?

    On 27 August, Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto abruptly announced his resignation from the Japan Innovation Party (JIP). Hashimoto, who founded the party, has arguably been the single most important driving force behind the JIP’s electoral success and its emergence as the second-largest opposition party after the centre-left Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ). His resignation not only throws the party into disarray, but it could also usher in a wave of political realignment as Japan’s opposition parties respond.

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  • Japan PM Abe's 'womenomics' is two years old and making progress.

    Challenges Remain for Women in Japan's Workforce

    In September 2013, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged to create a society in which ‘all women can shine’. Abe acknowledged that women had long been an underutilised resource in the Japanese economy. He promised to boost female labour participation rates, increase the presence of women in corporate boardrooms and improve gender equality. Two years on, is ‘womenomics’ working in Japan?

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  • Abe's heartfelt war apology should resonate with future generations.

    Abe Sets a Tone for Future Generations with War Apology

    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s much-anticipated statement to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the Pacific War provoked relief, surprise and some ambiguity for the future. It was a relief because there had been some reports that Abe would go through with a cabinet decision to pull away from the position of the 1995 Murayama Statement, which was a clear apology to victims of Japan’s wartime aggression. That did not happen.

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  • Nuclear reactors coming online will likely help Japan's current account.

    Japan's Trade Balance Deteriorates on Energy Import Reliance

    Japan reported a smaller than expected June current account surplus.  Seasonally, June tends experience deterioration from May.  In fact, only twice in the past ten years has the current account improved in June over May. 

    On the other hand, investors can look forward to improvement in July.  Since 2003 without fail, Japan's current account position improved in July over June.

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  • Not everyone believes Japan's CSD legislation is the right direction.

    The Ramifications of Japan's Collective Self-Defense Leglisation

    Japan is at a momentous turning point. On 16 July 2015, the government of Shinzo Abe used its big majority in the House of Representatives to override objections from opposition parties and pass legislation permitting collective self-defence (CSD). However, this is one of several misdirected solutions following years of conservative revisionism.

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  • Japanese banks have little to say about economic partnership agreements.

    Economic Partnership Agreements and Japanese Banks Warrant Further Study

    When viewed through the lens of trade deals negotiated with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Australia, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Japan has shown recent willingness to engage in global free trade. However, is there any indication that these deals are striking a chord where it matters most, with Japan’s services sector, which comprises 70% of its economic activity?

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  • Abenomics really needs to be tried before it can work.

    Does Abenomics Still Motivate Shinzo Abe?

    Around the world, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is perhaps most famous for his ‘Abenomics’ program to revive Japan’s economy. So far, it has not worked — mainly because it has not really been tried. Only the first of the famous ‘three arrows’ — monetary stimulus — has been fired. The indispensable third arrow, structural reform, remains lots of nice-sounding targets but little strategy to achieve them.

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