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Diplomacy, No.27  Jun. 23, 2015

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

KOTANI Tetsuo, senior fellow, the japan institute of international affairs (JIIA)

Experts’ Views on Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s Address 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 ... ... [Read more]

Diplomacy, No.27  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]

Diplomacy, No.27  Jun. 12, 2015

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

Dr. James E. Auer, Professor Emeritus, Vanderbilt University, Director, James E. Auer U.S.-Japan Center

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. Basis for increasingly important alliance The times have changed since 1960. North Korea is now ruled by an unpredictable dictatorial ... ... [Read more]

Diplomacy, No.27  Jun. 4, 2015

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

“Japan will, in collaboration with the ADB, provide Asia with innovative infrastructure financing at a scale of 110 billion dollars—13 trillion yen equivalent—in total over five years.” Prime Minister Abe Shinzo said at the Banquet of the 21st International Conference on the Future of Asia, May 21, 2015. PHOTO from the website of the Prime Minister of Japan and his Cabinet

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). In regards to Japan’s participation in the AIIB, we propose that discussions and decisions should be made ... ... [Read more]

Diplomacy, No.26  May. 30, 2015

Japan, the United States, and China in the Twenty-First Century: A Historian’s Perspective

Dr. Iriye Akira, Professor Emeritus, Harvard University

I was born in Tokyo in 1934, eighty years ago, and lived in Japan for nineteen years, until 1953. Since 1953, I have spent almost sixty-one years in the United States. That is why what I know about Japan is probably quite different from what Japan really is today. My knowledge about Japan is mostly based on my memory before 1953. I have spent the last sixty-one years, from 1953 to 2014, in the United States, primarily in the teaching profession. I have met a great variety of people since entering university. I have paid occasional visits to China over that period of time. However, the time I have spent in Japan and China is not as long as the years I have spent in the United States. Therefore, I am not sure how much I can discuss the grand theme of China, Japan, ... ... [Read more]

Discussions, Diplomacy, No.24  Mar. 16, 2015

Predictions for 2015 Can the Nation (N) Fill the Gap between Global (G) and Local (L)?

Yoshizaki: It is my impression that 2014 was a dull year without any kind of theme. Even though it was an Olympic year and a World Cup year, there were no cool buzzwords. Compared to 2013 when we had a lot of snappy phrases like “je-je-je” (an expression of excitement) or “baigaeshi” (double revenge), 2014 was a lean year when it seemed that the only words on everyone’s lips were “Dame yo, dame dame” (No, you mustn’t, no, no). I wonder what 2015 will be like. Sakura: My impressions are similar. It was a year when the future seemed uncertain. So far, we have more or less had some idea of what will happen next, ]]> ... [Read more]

Diplomacy, No.24  Jan. 6, 2015

Abe No Historical Revisionist

Just as I was about to start writing this article, Prime Minister Abe Shinzo dissolved the House of Representatives. The Japanese diet is a bicameral legislature comprising the House of Representatives (Lower House) and House of Councilors (Upper House). While in principal both houses have equal power, greater actual political power rests with the Lower House. This is because the Lower House is granted an advantage over the Upper House in several ways. While the Constitution of Japan (enacted 1947) prescribes that “the prime minister shall be designated from among the members of the diet by a resolution of the diet,” all prime ministers under the Constitution have been chosen from among members of the Lower House. It is also accepted practice for most cabinet members to be appointed from among members of the Lower House. Therefore, an election of the members of the ... ... [Read more]

Diplomacy, No.23  Sept. 25, 2014

Abe’s Diplomacy Is Bearing Fruit

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

Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s high powered visits to forty-seven countries  Prime Minister Abe Shinzo is reported to have visited forty-seven countries as leader of the government over nineteen months. These were multifaceted, strategically important visits. Abe explained Japan’s expanding role in security and promoted Japan’s leading sales products such as nuclear power, high speed trains, and Japanese cuisine. He carried out diplomacy with a global perspective. The world’s way of looking at Japan is now changing.  Two months after the prime minister set out with his present cabinet he started with a visit to Washington. He made a strong presentation of Japan announcing that “Japan Is Back” (the title of his Washington speech). Following this he attended and made speeches at the Davos World Economic Forum, the NATO North Atlantic Council, and the Shangri-La Conference in Singapore. He also attended the opening of the ... ... [Read more]

Diplomacy, No.23  Sept. 25, 2014

A Non-Polarizing World – Continuous Battle with Dialogue and Deterrence

Funabashi Yoichi, journalist, President of the Rebuilt Japan Initiative Foundation

Putin’s Darkest Impulses A “counterattack of geopolitics” is taking place due to Russia’s invasion of Crimea. In November 2013, Viktor Yanukovych, then president of Ukraine, postponed accession to the European Union. Pro-EU citizens who rebelled against the decision rose up and staged armed demonstrations. Unable to control the uprisings, Yanukovych, whose Kiev palace had been occupied by pro-EU demonstrators, fled the capital of Ukraine across the border. The insurgence by pro-EU citizens succeeded, and Yanukovych was immediately dismissed as president.  On March 1, 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an invasion of the Crimean Peninsula in Southern Ukraine in the name of protecting citizens of Russian descent there. Then on March 18, he declared the annexation of Crimea into Russia. U.S. President Barack Obama lashed out at this, saying, “man’s darkest impulses” had not vanished in Europe (speech on March 26).  As long as ... ... [Read more]

Diplomacy, No.22  Jul. 3, 2014

Promoting Japan-U.S. Cooperation by Making a Proactive Contribution to Peace — Japan’s Foreign and Security Policy after the Japan-U.S. Summit Meeting —

The most important outcome of U.S. President Barack Obama’s recent Asia tour is that the United States and Japan overcame the strains which had been noticeable between them recently, and reaffirmed that they would strengthen their alliance. Not only that, they openly endorsed this through various concrete measures and commitments. While it is true that the president showed some consideration, not wanting to damage relations with China, the United States made clear its intention to keep China’s excessive self-assertion in check, alongside Japan and other countries in the region. It represents a highly significant development. Obama declared that the Senkaku Islands are subject to Article 5 of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, and it is enormously significant that a U.S. president made a statement like this for the first time while China is repeatedly engaging in acts of provocation near the islands. Prime Minister Abe ... ... [Read more]