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Editor's blog  Dec. 16, 2013

Farewell to Mega-pessimism

KOJIMA Akira, Member, Board of Trustees, and Adjunct Professor, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS); Trustee, Japan Center for Economic Research (JCER)

After a long period of extreme pessimism, Japan is changing, and this change is attracting overseas attention. As suggested by past buzzwords “Japan passing” and “Japan nothing,” this Far East country has tended to be disregarded, almost neglected, but today global interest in Japan has revived. Japan is also favorably regarded by Asian countries, with the exception of neighboring China and the Koreas. Let me refer to the findings of a recent survey conducted in March–April 2013 by the Pew Research Center based in Washington, D.C. According to the survey, 33% of Japanese citizens surveyed are satisfied with the country’s economy and other general conditions and 40% expect that they will become even better in the next twelve months. Certainly these positive responses represented fewer than half the respondents, but the responses to the same questions posed by the survey in 2002 were just ... ... [Read more]

Editor's blog  Dec. 16, 2013

The Bo Trial and Political Conflict in Chinese Society

TAKAHARA Akio, D.Phil. Professor, University of Tokyo Graduate Schools for Law and Politics, University of Tokyo

Six months have passed since the Xi Jinping regime swung into action in China in the spring of 2013. The biggest challenge for the regime during its first six months was to strengthen its power base. Considering the developments up to this point, it could be said that the Xi regime regarded the following as ways to reinforce its power base: (1) strengthening its centripetal force through stricter discipline inside the Communist Party of China (CPC) and cracking down on corruption; (2) stabilizing the economy through sound economic management and the presentation of reform plans; and (3) developing diplomatic ties with Sino-U.S. relations as the centerpiece. The trial of Bo Xilai, a former member of China’s Politburo who lost his position in the spring of 2012, symbolized the tightening of political control. Bribe-taking, embezzlement, and the abuse of power were the crimes Bo was ... ... [Read more]

Editor's blog  Dec. 16, 2013

Third Time’s a Charm: The Japan Boom

HAMANO Yasuki, Ph.D.

Paris is in the midst of a Japan boom … So why is the Japanese Embassy, etc. unable to be more proactive in adding to this phenomenon?”  This quote came from the start of an article written fifty years ago. Writer Tamura Taijiro was in Paris at the time and he wrote about the Japan boom in Paris to lament the Japanese Embassy’s doing nothing to take advantage of it.  “The Japanese Embassy remains nonchalant. They do not seem to have any plan to boost the Japan boom. They are doing nothing. Like a third party they are just standing by and watching this golden opportunity to advertise their country.” (Chuokoron, July 1957)  The phrase “Japan boom” commonly appeared in magazines in the latter half of the 1950s. The trend began around 1954 in the United States and then about a year later in ... ... [Read more]

No.Editor's blog
Editor's blog, KUDO_Yasushi  Mar. 4, 2013

INTRODUCTION: Special Extensive Edition–New Abe Administration and 4 Key Themes

KUDO Yasushi

Japan’s Foreign Policy Amid Global Political, Economic Changes In 2012, new administrations were established in the United States, China and other parts of the world. Also in Japan, the Liberal Democratic Party overwhelmingly won the House of Representatives election in December and regained power from the Democratic Party of Japan, elevating Shinzo Abe to the post of prime minister again. Amid the United States’ focus shift to the Asia Pacific region and the rise of China, the eyes of the world are on Japan’s role on the international stage, especially how the new Abe administration will steer Japan’s foreign policy. We, the Editorial Board, have decided to merge the 13th to 15th issues to run a special extensive edition this time for our interactive Web magazine, “Discuss Japan – Japan Foreign Policy Forum,” promoting discussions under the following four themes:... [Read more]

No.Editor's blog
No.12, Editor's blog, KUDO_Yasushi  Nov. 8, 2012

FROM THE EDITOR: Discussions Begin, Aiming To Disseminate Japan’s Arguments, Viewpoints Worldwide.

Photo : Kudo Yasush

Discussions through “Discuss Japan–Japan Foreign Policy Forum” began in November 2012, aiming to disseminate Japan’s arguments and viewpoints worldwide. Amid the advance of globalization, Japan is facing various issues which need to be resolved, namely changes in the global landscape centering on the rise of China and other emerging countries, as well as the economic crisis in the European Union. Furthermore, Japan itself has started to deal with challenges toward the future. What kind of role should Japan play against the backdrop of such transitions both worldwide and in Japan itself? And how are the... [Read more]