Politics | Discuss Japan-Japan Foreign Policy Forum - Part 2

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No.28 ,Politics  Sep 10, 2015

“Security” or “Constitution” – Don’t Fall Between Two Stools

YOSHIZAKI Tatsuhiko, Economist

The former ambassador for Thailand, Okazaki Hisahiko , who passed away last fall, always used to give his “Assessment of the Current International Affairs” at a forum held by the Okazaki Institute every spring. In spring 2013, after the start of the second Abe administration, he said something like this. “Conservatives in Japan have two causes. One is to amend the historical perception of the Japanese. The other is to establish a better security policy. They cannot do both at the same time. If we had to choose between them, security policy must surely be given greater priority at the moment.” In other words, if we focus on the problem of historical perceptions, such as the issue of Prime Minister’s official visits to Yasukuni Shrine, ... [Read more]

No.28 ,Politics  Jul 20, 2015

Paper Commemorating Receipt of the 30th Seiron Prize
Comfort Women in the Battle over History

The battle over history started by South Korea and China continues to get worse. Is there any prospect of Japan mounting a counterattack?

Modern Historian Hata Ikuhiko

The “Narrow Road to the Interior” in Japan-South Korea relations seems, all of a sudden, to have turned into a frozen road. Some have apparently observed that the two countries have entered an ice age. At any rate, given that the South Korean President has gone so far as to publicly declare that “The dynamic of (Japan) being the aggressor and (Korea) being the victim will never change, even after the passage of a thousand years,” it stands to reason that there is also no prospect of the ice melting, right? ... [Read more]

No.25 ,Politics  May 27, 2015

Dull Bull/ Philosopher Prime Minster and Intellectuals Looking at the Prime Minster Ohira Policy Research Council

UNO Shigeki, Professor, Institute of Social Science, the University of Tokyo

The first Ohira Masayoshi Cabinet was established in December 1978. At the beginning of his policy address to the Diet on 25 January 25 1979, Prime Minister Ohira made the following statement:
In the more than 30 years that have passed since the end of World War II, Japan has focused single-mindedly on achieving economic affluence, and as a nation we have produced remarkable results. This represents the positive outcome of efforts that have continued for the 100 years since the Meiji period to modernize and model our country after Western nations. (Snip) However, we cannot really say that we have given our full attention to the harmony between man and nature, the balance between freedom and responsibility, and the purpose of life deeply rooted in our spirit. Today,... [Read more]

No.24 ,Politics  May 07, 2015

A Diet Dissolution Solely for Survival Is the Root of All Evil for Japanese Politics
Refrain from arrogance, Mr. Abe

Prime Minister Abe Shinzo held a press conference on the evening of November 18 (2014) and postponed a hike in the consumption tax to 10% by a year and a half, along with asking for a decision by the people and calling for a dissolution of the lower house of parliament. I was frankly disappointed when I watched this press conference live on television. Although rumors of a dissolution had been circulating since around the end of October, I thought, “there is no way.” I was disappointed because Abe decided to choose a course that I had thought “should in no way happen.” I had various views about the Abe administration’s individual policies, but also had great expectations for them. This was because his administration had created a precedent and made it customary to steer policies that looked five and ten years beyond, enabling politics and citizens to share a long-term time line.... [Read more]

No.24 ,Politics  May 07, 2015

Political Scientist Sasaki Takeshi’s Analytical Paper Entitled “Refrain from Arrogance, Mr. Abe: A “Clinical Diagnosis” of the Abenomics Diet Dissolution

Unexpectedly, there have been fewer commentaries on the results of the 47th House of Representatives Election held on 14 December 2014 than on the size of the impact of the Diet dissolution. The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) won 291 seats, including additional endorsements, resulting in losing four seats compared to before the official election announcement. However, Komeito won 35 seats with 4 more seats compared to before the official election announcement. These results show that the ruling coalition government has maintained its seats. The number goes far beyond the absolute stable majority (266 seats) in the House of Representatives and makes up more than two-thirds of all seats. The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) gained 73 seats and increased its seats from the last drubbing in 2012 (57 seats), but gave the impression that the party was far from being able to come back to power. These election results indicate a strange situation in which the ruling party is enjoying a victory despite the loss of seats and the opposition party is discussing its organizational reconstruction in spite of an increase in seats. The election is, therefore, curious enough to attract comments.... [Read more]

No.24 ,Politics  Jan 14, 2015

A former admiral who struggled in logistics support in the Afghan Wars speaks out. Right of Collective Self-defense — Politicians don’t understand the real war.

Attacks on U.S. ships, missiles launched by North Korea… In real wars, what happens all the time is the unexpected. Can we be bound by an armchair theory?
The issue of the right of collective self-defense is complex, however, and the media coverage of the matter is often unrealistic due to an overemphasis on its legal aspects. I assume that this makes it difficult for the general public to understand the pros and cons of exercising this right.The Cabinet of the Japanese government is expected to resolve changes to the nation’s constitutional interpretation in order to permit the exercise of the right of collective self-defense. Until I retired from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) in 2008 as a commander of a Self-Defense Force fleet, I spent many years carrying ... [Read more]

No.24 ,Politics  Jan 13, 2015

The Expansionism of China and Russia: The Second Coming of Imperialism?
The Legitimacy of an International Order is Put to the Test
Illusion of imperialism: Some countries chase it, while others fear it

NAKANISHI Hiroshi, Professor, Graduate School of Law, Kyoto University

From the Age of Negotiations to the Age of Power Politics
President Vladimir Putin of Russia visited Shanghai on May 20 and 21, 2014. During his visit, Putin had a summit meeting with President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China. The news media distributed photographs of the two leaders firmly shaking hands all around the world. At the summit, the two heads of state declared a full-scale partnership and new-level strategic cooperative ties between Russia and China. After their talk, Putin and Xi issued a joint statement covering points such as their united opposition to attempts to falsify history and disturb the postwar world order, and the Russo-Chinese co-sponsorship of an event in 2015 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the victory over German... [Read more]

No.24 ,Politics  Jan 08, 2015

Electorate Plumps for “Curry Rice”

KAMIYA Matake, Professor, National Defense Academy of Japan

The House of Representatives Elections (General Elections) held on December 14 resulted in a landslide victory for the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) led by Prime Minister Abe Shinzo. Since 1996, the House of Representatives in Japan has comprised the combined total of members elected by proportional representation and single member constituencies. In the latest election, the LDP won in 223 of 295 small electoral districts, while obtaining 68 of the 180 seats in proportional representation, which divides the nation into eleven blocks. The LDP acquired 61.26% of all seats, its second highest figure in all seventeen elections held in the past fifty years. Komeito, the LDP’s coalition partner in the Abe Administration, won 35 seats — four more than its pre-election figure of 31. The opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) won 73 seats, which is more than... [Read more]

No.24 ,Politics  Jan 06, 2015

Between Tokyo’s 2020 Olympics and 1964 Olympics: Moving Beyond Countercyclical Measures to Create a Sustainable Model

Kojima Akira, Member, Board of Trustees, and Adjunct Professor, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS); Trustee, Chairman of the World Trade Center Tokyo

In Japan’s 2014 snap election, seen as a vote of confidence in Abenomics and the Abe Shinzo Administration, the LDP scored a landslide victory, singlehandedly winning a comfortable majority. There are, however, three causes for concern. The first is that Abenomics, said to be “the only way” to fix the economy, and the economic policy debate surrounding it has, somewhere along the line, turned into a “countercyclical policy” debate, and the viewpoint of raising the trend growth rate and potential growth rate and establishing a sustainable model for the new-born Japan has weakened. The second cause for concern is that, while the pessimism of the first term has definitely weakened and optimism about the future is also growing, the viewpoint tends to be too short, going as far as the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. The third worry is that, while the governance problems... [Read more]

No.23 ,Politics  Dec 18, 2014

The Choice of Collective Self-Defense—Getting Out of the Galapagos Security Perspective
Winning a Mandate in the House of Representatives Election — We Will Continue to Consult with New Komeito

The biggest reason is that the security situation surrounding the post-Cold War Asia-Pacific region is very unstable. The balance of power between the United States and the former Soviet Union was stable during the Cold War. In that situation, the seeds of conflict, such as religion, race, territory and political structure, did not surface. However, the end of the Cold War led to the establishment of a unipolar power structure formed by the United States, which caused the collapse of the regional balance of power. This culminated in conflicts emerging over religion, ethnicity, territory and political structures all around the world. The power of the United States, which intervened in those disputes, is in relative decline now.... [Read more]

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