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Archives : Nos.13-15

Special Extensive Edition (March-April 2013)

No.15
Nos.13-15 ,Politics ,KUDO_Yasushi  Aug 29, 2013

(JAPAN POLITICS CHANGED?) Abe Administration: Aiming for a Strong Economic Revival and Realistic Foreign Policy

Photo:SHIOZAKI_FUKUSHIMA

With an emphasis on measures to spur economic growth, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration is pressing forward to put the Japanese economy back on its feet. Amid concerns raised by overseas media and others about the nation’s “tilt to the right,” how does Japan intend to play its role in Asia based on the prime minister’s pet theory of giving priority to the Japan-U.S. relationship? Glen S. Fukushima, who now works as a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C. after a long and outstanding career in Japan, and Abe’s close aide Yasuhisa Shiozaki, acting chairman of the Liberal Democratic... [Read more]

Nos.13-15 ,Politics
Mar 06, 2013

(JAPAN POLITICS CHANGED?) LDP’s Change to Spur Change of Politics in Japan

Photo : Ishiba Shigeru

EDITOR’S SUMMARY: The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) returned to power after three years and three months in opposition. Through its experience of being in opposition, the party keenly realized the need to become a party for the people and a policy-focused group actively engaged in dialogue with citizens, who embody the sovereignty of the nation. Mr. Shigeru Ishiba, who helped secure the LDP’s return to power as its secretary general, affirms that the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is one that can revive Japan by working out solutions to the country’s long-sidestepped issues, and argues that the changes the party is embracing will initiate true changes in Japanese politics.... [Read more]

(JAPAN POLITICS CHANGED?) Abe Administration: Aiming for a Strong Economic Revival and Realistic Foreign Policy

Photo:SHIOZAKI_FUKUSHIMA

With an emphasis on measures to spur economic growth, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration is pressing forward to put the Japanese economy back on its feet. Amid concerns raised by overseas media and others about the nation’s “tilt to the right,” how does Japan intend to play its role in Asia based on the prime minister’s pet theory of giving priority to the Japan-U.S. relationship? Glen S. Fukushima, who now works as a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C. after a long and outstanding career in Japan, and Abe’s close aide Yasuhisa Shiozaki, acting chairman of the Liberal Democratic... [Read more]

Nos.13-15 ,Politics
Mar 06, 2013

(JAPAN POLITICS CHANGED?) Overly Pessimistic View Unnecessary for Japan’s Future

Japan’s Diminishing Presence As a Japanese and someone interested in international relations, I am disappointed at the current stagnation in Japanese politics. These short-lived governments come and go, failing to show any vision of the role Japan should play in the international community. In addition, the Japanese economy is not performing well. The negative influence caused by the frequent changes in political leadership has been pointed out by foreign countries as well. Japan used to hear the fad term “Japan Bashing” as a criticism of it when it had influence on the world stage. There were... [Read more]

Nos.13-15 ,Economy
Mar 06, 2013

(JAPAN POLITICS CHANGED?) Economic Growth and Fiscal Reform Certainly Compatible

What Is “Abenomics”? The top policy priority for the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is to revitalize the Japanese economy by bailing the nation out of its prolonged deflation at an early stage and stemming the yen’s excessive appreciation. The Abe Cabinet formulated the “Urgent Economic Countermeasures for the Revival of the Japanese Economy” on Jan. 11 and decided on a supplementary budget to finance the package on Jan. 15. On Jan. 22, the government and the Bank of Japan (BOJ) issued a joint statement announcing they will deepen cooperation to overcome deflation at an early date and achieve sustainable growth.... [Read more]

(JAPAN POLITICS CHANGED?) Change in Civil Society and Change in Politics

Since the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11, 2011, many people in Japan have given donations and taken part in volunteer activities in the disaster-hit areas, and protests calling for an end to nuclear power are being held outside the prime minister’s office every week. Japanese politics found itself back in the hands of a Liberal Democratic Party administration, but was this change of government driven by changes among citizens and voters? World Vision Japan national director Nobuhiko Katayama, who is well-versed in NPO and NGO activities in Japan and overseas, Tamotsu Sugenami of the Takagi Fund for Citizen Science, a grassroots fund that supports citizen movements opposing nuclear power, and Japan NPO Center adviser Yoshinori Yamaoka, who helps support Japan’s NPO sector, discussed the... [Read more]

Nos.13-15 ,Society
Mar 06, 2013

(JAPAN POLITICS CHANGED?) At Crossroads: Japan’s Civil Society and Politics — Has Japanese Society Changed since Great East Japan Earthquake?

1. Introduction Has civil society in Japan been transformed following the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11, 2011? And has there been any kind of change in the relationship between the people and national politics? Behind such questions lies this hypothesis: “Having experienced such a catastrophe that affected the whole country, Japanese society must have developed greater fortitude and become stronger. Moreover, in response to this, certainly political thinking too has undergone changes.” Underlying such an optimistic hypothesis are recollections of the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake of 1995. In that disaster, Japan itself was... [Read more]

Nos.13-15 ,Politics
Mar 06, 2013

(JAPAN POLITICS CHANGED?) New Administration Should Make Use of 2/3 Majorityin Lower House

Key points: –LDP’s landslide election victory mainly ascribable to mixed electoral system –Unstable decision-making process is a political problem for Japan –New government should set policy priorities and utilize advisory panels The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and the New Komeito party jointly won more than 320 seats in the latest election for the House of Representatives, achieving a change of power after three years and four months of government by the Democratic Party of... [Read more]

Nos.13-15 ,Economy
Mar 06, 2013

(JAPAN POLITICS CHANGED?) Japan to End Deflation through Creation of Growth

Japan, reeling from years of sluggish growth and deflation, can learn from its experience in the 1930s, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso said in an interview. The aggressive monetary easing policy adopted by then Finance Minister Korekiyo Takahashi (1854-1936) boosted demand, making Japan the first country among “Western” nations to emerge from the Great Depression. He said the key to success is simultaneous implementation of three policy steps – massive monetary stimulus by the Bank of Japan (BOJ), fiscal stimulus and measures to push the private sector toward capital investment. (The interview was conducted by FACTA monthly magazine on Dec. 20, 2012, prior to his appointment as financial chief in Prime... [Read more]

Nos.13-15 ,Economy
Mar 06, 2013

(JAPAN POLITICS CHANGED?) 2% Inflation Target Is Correct Choice to Seek Economic Growth Led by Domestic Demand

The 2 percent inflation target set by the government and the Bank of Japan (BOJ) is an appropriate level. The BOJ’s major shift in its monetary policy is a great step toward overcoming deflation. The new government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has asked the BOJ to adopt an inflation target of 2 percent and the bank has accepted it, underscoring a significant change in its policy as it had previously held to a goal of “1 percent for the time being.” I have estimated that the most appropriate level of inflation is 1 percent to 2 percent, based on the following grounds.... [Read more]

Nos.13-15 ,Diplomacy
Mar 06, 2013

(JAPAN POLITICS CHANGED?) Will Japan Heed the Doctors’ Warning?

The book Megachange: The World in 2050 by journalists of The Economist magazine in Britain offers a pessimistic forecast for Japan in the middle of the current century. Professor Matake Kamiya examines the book’s prescriptions. The world’s most aged society will emerge in Japan in 2050, when the median age will climb to 52.3 years and the number of dependents will be neck and neck with the working age population. The annual GDP growth rate during the period between 2011 and 2050 will average 3.7 percent worldwide, 5.2 percent in developing countries in Asia, and among developed countries, 2.3 percent... [Read more]

Nos.13-15 ,Politics
Mar 05, 2013

(RIGHT TILT?) Is “Japan Moves to Right” True? Second Abe Administration Faces Test of Realism

Major Western media, such as The Washington Post and Time magazine in the United States, and Focus magazine in Germany, carried stories on “Japan’s shift to the right” following the Asahi Shimbun newspaper’s report in July 2012 on the Japanese government’s “nationalization” of the Senkuku Islands, and especially after the Liberal Democratic Party’s (LDP) landslide victory in the election for the House of Representatives on Dec. 16. Not only China and South Korea but many other countries around the world began to say, “Japan is moving to the right.” One factor behind such overseas media reports on “Japan’s shift to the right” is Japan’s insufficient explanatory capacity... [Read more]

Nos.13-15 ,Politics
Mar 05, 2013

(RIGHT TILT?) Does Shinzo Abe’s Election Really Herald a More Militarist Japan?

Is Japan drifting to the right? The ongoing dispute between China and Japan over the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea (known in China as the Diaoyu Islands) has triggered a debate about the trajectory of Japanese politics, and the return to power of the old guard Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has further enlivened it. Moreover, as LDP’s comeback kid, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is such a self-assertive figure that the argument has become inflamed. The Japanese and international media have already concluded the matter, coalescing around the idea that Japan is presently undergoing a shift to the right. But the truth is not so simple, and this consensus conclusion is neither accurate nor useful.... [Read more]

Nos.13-15 ,Politics
Mar 05, 2013

(RIGHT TILT?) The Twisted Truth About Tokyo

Interest overseas in Japan’s foreign policy – once a dormant topic – has gained steam over the past year as Tokyo sparred with old rivals over its territory and history. Add to that the return of the conservative Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the international media is rife with “analysis” speculating that pacifist Japan wants to rewrite wartime history, change its Self-Defense Forces into a trigger-happy fighting machine and turn East Asia into a powder keg–all under the scary regime of Shinzo Abe. The Korea Times ran a panicky editorial just prior to last year’s election that Abe’s return to the Prime Minister’s Office... [Read more]

(ASIA PIVOT) New U.S. and Chinese Administrations, Japan’s Diplomatic Vector

New administrations were established in the United States, China and other parts of the world in 2012. Three experts who have been closely involved in Japan-U.S. and Japan-China relations discussed the diplomatic roles Japan should play amid the rise of China and the shift in U.S. policy focus toward the Asia-Pacific region. Coordinator: Yasushi Kudo, representative of The Genron NPO (editor-in-chief, chairman of the editorial board of Discuss Japan-Japan Foreign Policy Forum). Panelists: Yuji Miyamoto, representative of the Miyamoto Institute of Asian Research and former ambassador of Japan to China.... [Read more]

Nos.13-15 ,Diplomacy
Mar 04, 2013

(ASIA PIVOT) Early Establishment of U.S.-Style NSC

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe led the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) to a landslide victory in the House of Representatives election on Dec. 16 under the slogan “Restore strength to Japan.” He was interviewed on Jan. 24, 2013 about his foreign policy, plan to revive the Japanese economy through so-called “Abenomics” and other policy matters.... [Read more]

Nos.13-15 ,Diplomacy
Mar 04, 2013

FOR REFERENCE: Prime Minister Abe’s policy speeches, press remarks

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s latest policy speeches Press Conference on TPP (Read…) Policy Speech by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to the 183rd Session of the Diet (Feb. 28, 2013)(read…) “Japan is Back” Policy Speech at CSIS (read…) Press Conference during visit to the United States (read…) Policy Speech to the 183rd Session of the Diet (Jan. 28, 2013) (read…) The Bounty of the Open Seas: Five New Principles for Japanese Diplomacy (read…)... [Read more]

Nos.13-15 ,Diplomacy
Mar 03, 2013

(ASIA PIVOT) International Order in the “Pacific Century”

“Atlantic Century” to “Pacific Century” The world order is undergoing a massive, earth-shaking transformation: the center of global politics is shifting from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. With a new international environment in the making, we must significantly adjust the paradigm of how we view the world. Otherwise, we will run the danger of misreading future developments in international politics. Until the “Age of Exploration” began, the Mediterranean Sea used to be the center of world politics. Upon the discovery of the... [Read more]

Nos.13-15 ,Diplomacy
Mar 03, 2013

(ASIA PIVOT) Dynamics of Power Shift from U.S. to China–Asia-Pacific Security and Japan’s Foreign Policy

The security situation in the Asia-Pacific region is changing dramatically. If a power transition stemming from the rise of emerging countries led by China proves inevitable, the international situation surrounding Japan will become unprecedentedly tough. Accordingly, the security strategy and foreign policy of Japan in an “era of transition” are coming under the spotlight. “20-Year Crisis” and Asia-Pacific Region A key point in devising a mid-term and long-term foreign policy for Japan will be an awareness and ability to envision the... [Read more]

Nos.13-15 ,Diplomacy
Mar 03, 2013

(ASIA PIVOT) Geostrategic Market Bursting the China Bubble

For quite a number of years, it seemed as if China could do no wrong. While America was deploying treasure and blood in wars in the Middle East, China was on a global charm offensive, using its huge built up investment capital to seduce nations around the world to understand that China meant more to their future than other nations or multilateral organizations. I once asked the head of policy planning in China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs what China’s grand strategy was and was told, “China’s grand strategy is to keep America distracted by small Middle Eastern conflicts.” While this was meant as a joke, there was a serious nugget of truth in what he said. While America had become King of the Hill after the Cold War, America was busily... [Read more]

Nos.13-15 ,Diplomacy
Mar 03, 2013

(ASIA PIVOT) Roles of East Asia and Japan in 2032 — U.S. Supremacy to Remain Unshaken

I am wondering how the international order will change 20 years from now. Will China as an emerging power become a hegemonic nation? Where will Japan stand in international society? In this essay, I will consider the outlook for power politics in East Asia and ways toward Japan’s rehabilitation as a global actor. History is my specialty. Historians analyze past events but do not make future projections. Nevertheless, historians know one thing about the future, namely that no one knows about the future. In 1945 when Japan lost the last war, was there anyone who could predict the nation’s rapid economic growth that began a... [Read more]

Nos.13-15 ,Diplomacy
Mar 03, 2013

(ASIA PIVOT) Japan Should Build Comprehensive East Asia Strategy

Main points: — Rebuild U.S.-Japan relations on the basis of the changes in its surrounding environment — Establish a trilateral framework between Japan, the United States and China to enhance military confidence-building — Participate in the making of economic rules under the Trans-Pacific Partnership Over the past 10 years, the U.S.-Japan relationship has changed significantly. As in “Operation Tomodachi” carried out by the... [Read more]

Nos.13-15 ,Diplomacy
Mar 03, 2013

(ASIA PIVOT) Our Pacific Predicament

Excerpts from the Original Essay: In addition to China’s rise, the decline of Japan has caused the balance of power between Japan and China to shift markedly over recent decades. Some analysts find it distracting to describe Japan’s situation as “decline.” As a leading expert, Gerald L. Curtis of Columbia University, correctly pointed out on a Council on Foreign Relations blog last year, “if you think about living standards and the quality of the air you breathe, the water you drink and the food you eat, the health care and other social services you receive, and the number of years you can expect to live, the answer is obvious: better to live in ‘declining’ Japan... [Read more]

(NO CONFLICTS DESIRED) Japan and China Can Ill Afford to Be at Loggerheads

As China is gradually recovering its confidence as a major power, Japan has come to feel threatened by it both economically and militarily. While this is taking place in the context of China’s rapid economic growth, one wonders if the general assessment of the Chinese economy is an overestimation? In a recent discussion, Mr. Toshiya Tsugami and Mr. Tomoo Marukawa, both experts on the Chinese economy, were divided over the economy’s potential for growth. Meanwhile, they shared the view that both Japan and China are faced with various inherent problems in their respective economies and that they cannot afford to be wasting time in being at odds with each other over the issue of the Senkaku Islands.... [Read more]

Nos.13-15 ,Diplomacy
Mar 03, 2013

(NO CONFLICTS DESIRED) Toward Peace, Security, and Prosperity in East Asia

1. Introduction The security situation in East Asia is becoming unstable. The People’s Republic of China (PRC), with its continuing military build-up, has increased its maritime presence and heightened tensions with neighboring countries in the East China Sea and the South China Sea. In particular, since the Japanese government nationalized the Senkaku Islands (called Diaoyu Islands in the PRC) in the East China Sea in September 2012, the PRC has frequently sent government ships to waters near the islands. In January 2013, a PRC navy warship directed fire-control radar at a Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer in these waters, causing... [Read more]

Nos.13-15 ,Diplomacy
Mar 03, 2013

(NO CONFLICTS DESIRED) Historical and Legal Foundation of Japan’s Sovereignty Over Senkaku Islands

Chairman Hiromasa Yonekura of Keidanren (the Japan Business Federation) said in September 2012 that the government should admit the existence of a “territorial dispute” over the Senkaku Islands. In a policy agreement between the Japan Restoration Party and the Sunrise Party for the latest general election, furthermore, they said they would prompt China to take the question of the Senkaku Islands to the International Court of Justice (ICJ). However, it should be noted that the ICJ is an international tribunal tasked with settling “legal disputes” – but not “political disputes” – between nations. If Japan refers the Senkaku problem to the ICJ, it will mean Japan’s admission of the... [Read more]

Nos.13-15 ,Diplomacy
Mar 03, 2013

(NO CONFLICTS DESIRED) Creation of Ties that Dare to Touch Each Other’s “Raw Nerves” – Based on New Japan-China Civilian Joint Declaration

Joint Declaration of Citizens from Japan and China Today – Sept. 29, 2012 – is the 40th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between Japan and the People’s Republic of China. In the past 40 years, Japan and China have cooperated with each other to achieve remarkable economic growth and development. When we look back at this outcome, we’d like to express our appreciation to the people whose efforts achieved this normalization of diplomatic relations. Japan and China which are only separated by a narrow stretch of water share a long history of interaction and amity. It has been a significant achievement for both... [Read more]

Nos.13-15 ,Diplomacy
Mar 03, 2013

(NO CONFLICTS DESIRED) Don’t Disrupt Exchanges Now–Japan, China Must Aim to Be “Great Countries of Peace” in East Asia

Sharing Vision of Peace, Civilization, Friendship With the objective of promoting development and friendship between Japan and China, “The New Japan-China Friendship Committee for the 21st Century” was formed in 2003 as a private advisory panel to both governments. The foundation of the council was agreed on at a Japan-China summit held in May the same year. For five years up to 2008, I was involved as the chairman of the Japanese side. Although I had relations with China on a business basis, I myself was not an expert on China. But I undertook the duty partly... [Read more]

Nos.13-15 ,Others
Mar 01, 2013

Opinion Poll: Is Japan Tilting to Right?

Intellectuals Concerned About “Tilt to the Right” The survey, to which 282 people including intellectuals and experts responded, asked people in Japan for their opinions on whether Japan is “tilting to the right” as some foreign media have suggested. The ratio of respondents who “feel Japan is ’tilting to the right”‘ as foreign media claim was 23.4%. However, when combining an answer that they do not think so as of now but it is possible later, which was given by 13.1%, nearly 40% of the respondents are concerned about Japan’s drift to the right. Also, 28.4% said Japan is “not tilting to the right but reactions of overseas media over Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s comments and actions are understandable,” suggesting that they think it is inevitable that foreign media look the current situation like... [Read more]

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