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Archives : No.27

May-Jun 2015

No.27
No.27 ,Diplomacy  Jun 29, 2015

Debates on National Security Should Rule Out One-nation Pacifism

Nishihara Masashi, President, Research Institute for Peace and Security (RIPS)

The government of Abe Shinzo decided to revise the Japan-U.S. Guidelines on April 27, and approved the bills for “improving the security-related laws” (a bill for the collective revision of ten laws) and “supporting international peace” (a new law) in a cabinet meeting held on May 14. These were submitted to the Diet the following day, May 15. They are expected to significantly change Japan’s defense posture as well as the role of the Japan-U.S. alliance.... [Read more]

No.27 ,Diplomacy
Jun 25, 2015

Sound Argument: New Japan-U.S. Guidelines Strengthened the Bonds of the Alliance

SAKAMOTO Kazuya, Professor, Graduate School of Law and Politics, Osaka University

U.S. President Barack Obama described the essence of the Japan-U.S. alliance this way in Japanese at a joint press conference held after his summit conference with Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo. I believe this single phrase symbolizes the evolution of Japan-U.S. security cooperation based on the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty in collaboration with reciprocity suitable for an alliance and cooperation between sovereign nations through the new Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation.... [Read more]

No.27 ,Diplomacy
Jun 24, 2015

Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s Address at a Joint Meeting of the U.S. Congress Revived the Initiative in Public Diplomacy

KANEKO Masafumi, Senior Research Fellow, PHP Institute, Inc.

Prime Minister Abe Shinzo delivered an address from the stage at a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress on April 29, 2015 as the Prime Minister of Japan, the first such address in 54 years. He was the fourth Prime Minister to deliver such an address following Prime Minister Ikeda Hayato 54 years ago, Prime Minister Kishi Nobusuke, the grandfather of Prime Minister Abe, 58 years ago and other predecessors on this occasion. It was, in fact, the first time for a Japanese Prime Minister to deliver an address in front of all the members of the Senate and the House of Representatives at a joint meeting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. Partly due to the fact that this year is the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, before Prime Minister Abe’s address, most attention was only focused... [Read more]

No.27 ,Diplomacy
Jun 23, 2015

Abe’s Speech Spotlights an “Alliance of Hope” to Uphold the U.S.-led International Order

Prime Minister Abe Shinzo delivered an address from the stage at a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress on April 29, 2015 as the Prime Minister of Japan, the first such address in 54 years. He was the fourth Prime Minister to deliver such an address following Prime Minister Ikeda Hayato 54 years ago, Prime Minister Kishi Nobusuke, the grandfather of Prime Minister Abe, 58 years ago and other predecessors on this occasion. It was, in fact, the first time for a Japanese Prime Minister to deliver an address in front of all the members of the Senate and the House of Representatives at a joint meeting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. Partly due to the fact that this year is the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, before Prime Minister Abe’s address, most attention was only focused... [Read more]

No.27 ,Economy
Jun 19, 2015

Reversing the Disappearance of the Regions – Learning from Success Stories Local (L) Prescriptions Differ from Global (G) Ones
The Key to Revival is to Create Clusters of Corporations and Towns

As the premise for understanding my unique prescription for what should be done to revive the regions, I would like to point out that the Japanese economy is divided into a global (G) sphere and a local (L) sphere. The players in the global economic sphere are the big corporations centered on the manufacturing industry and the IT industry. They compete with the rest of the world; to use a sporting metaphor, they compete at the Olympic level. On the other hand, the actors in the local economic sphere are community-based small and medium-sized companies in retail and wholesale, transportation, distribution, social welfare, day care, nursing and medical care. The focus is on customer-facing services, but since the locality imposes limitations on location, the sporting metaphor would be a prefectural tournament. ... [Read more]

No.27 ,Economy
Jun 13, 2015

The Piketty Phenomenon and Reality in Japan: Distributive Politics – Overemphasis and the Lack of Growth Policies

Dubbed a “rock star” economist as he emerged from France, Paris School of Economics Professor Thomas Piketty has also caused a major sensation in Japan. The Japanese translation of his stand-out publication, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, sold more than 100,000 copies within the first few weeks of its release. In the publishing industry, which is suffering from a structural publishing slump, publishers of the Japanese editions of foreign books have become an object of envy. The theme of the book is inequality, and in Japan, where widening inequality has long been a source of lively debate, “inequality” has become a point of contention which has even found its way into economic policy debates in the National Diet.... [Read more]

No.27 ,Diplomacy
Jun 12, 2015

Japan-U.S. Defense Guidelines Revised

What exactly is “new” about the recently revised Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation? National Defense Academy Professor Kamiya Matake comments.
On April 27, Japan and the United States revised the Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation for the first time in eighteen years. The guidelines represent the basic framework and direction of defense cooperation between Japan and the United States as allies based on the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, and serve as a document setting forth the division of roles between the Self-Defense Forces and U.S. forces. The guidelines were first created in 1978 and underwent a revision in 1997 after the end of the Cold War. The latest changes are the second revision to the guidelines. ... [Read more]

No.27 ,Diplomacy
Jun 12, 2015

Synergy effects of a stronger Japan-U.S. alliance

Even before the ink dried on the announcement of the Japan-U.S. agreement to revise the bilateral Defense Cooperation Guidelines on April 27 – the day before the summit meeting between President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Abe Shinzo at the White House – certain Japanese and foreign critics had begun to clamor that Japan has deviated from upholding the pacifist constitution and limiting its defense capability to the minimum required and that it is heading in the dangerous direction of enacting bills to go to war. Such criticism could not be more wrong. The same criticism was voiced when the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty was signed in 1960. Yet the treaty has made Japan’s security possible, rather than endangered Japan, in the past 55 years.... [Read more]

No.27 ,Economy
Jun 06, 2015

The Future of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank: Concerns for Transparency and Governance

At the time of the IMF and World Bank Spring meeting in Washington in April, there was much media attention over the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) proposed by China. Both the IMF and the World Bank have publicly welcomed the AIIB as a sign of increase in funding for infrastructure needs in Asia, but hope that the AIIB will cooperate well with these existing international institutions. Thus far, there is no apparent opposition to the AIIB, which is in stark contrast with 18 years ago, when Japan’s proposal for an “Asia Monetary Fund” at the IMF and World Bank Fall meeting fell through due to criticism from both the United States and China.... [Read more]

No.27 ,Diplomacy
Jun 04, 2015

Japan’s participation in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)
— A Proposal by the Economists for Peace and Security (EPS)

We, the Economists for Peace and Security (EPS)[2], value the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) spearheaded by China as an initiative in which developing nations take on a central role in developing their own infrastructure; one with potential that international society should welcome. This is because it would be favorable for China to utilize its growing economic and financial power within a multinational framework to establish the international public good of Asia’s infrastructure. On the other hand, there are concerns that China may try to exploit the AIIB as a foreign policy tool to expand its economic and political influence in Asia, or that it may try to challenge the order of existing international financial institutions such as the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).... [Read more]

No.27 ,Culture ,Discussions
Jun 03, 2015

Toward the Modernity: Images of Self & Other in East Asian Art Competitions at the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum

The Fukuoka Asian Art Museum opened in the Hakata area of Fukuoka City, Fukuoka Prefecture, in 1999. In contrast to museums in Tokyo and Japan’s western urban areas near Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe, which feature works of Western and Japanese art, this art museum in Fukuoka was founded as the first museum dedicated to modern and contemporary Asian art. It is worth noting that since it opened, the museum has held Fukuoka Asian Art Triennale that focus on contemporary Asian art in addition to activities through permanent and special exhibitions and various art exchange programs. In 2014, the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum held an interesting exhibition titled “Toward the Modernity: Images of Self & Other in East Asian Art Competitions.” The art works exhibited were also shown at the Fuchu Art Museum in Tokyo and the ... [Read more]

No.27 ,Culture
May 28, 2015

The region is a stage. Yosakoi Soran Festival (Sapporo, Hokkaido)
Pageant of Lights and Sound
— Witness the power of group dancing, and the moment when human bodies shine.

Famous Event in Sapporo
The final stage in Odori Koen Park played host to twelve teams that had won a series of tournaments. Each team gave a riveting and spectacular dancing performance when they took the stage, which transformed into a powerful pageantry of people, sound, and lights that echoed across the sky. It didn’t take long for the spectators to become increasingly drawn in by the performances, just like when people watch an exciting game. They roared in delight upon seeing the performers quickly change their original costumes in unison. They were not merely watching dancing performances. All of them had been unconsciously brought together and made to take part in a contest that would determine this year’s winner. ... [Read more]

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