No.20 - Discuss Japan

Archives : No.20

Mar 2014

Diplomacy, No.20  Apr. 12, 2014

“More Proactive Contribution to Peace” Changes Japan’s Diplomacy Abe Administration’s Policy Toward Asia and the United States

YACHI Shotaro, National Security Advisor to the Cabinet (Secretary General of National Security Secretariat)

The Japan-U.S. Security Consultative Committee (also known as the “two-plus-two”) meeting was held in Tokyo in October 2013 where the two countries signed an agreement to implement another update to the Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation by the end of 2014. This agreement was concluded with the aim of strengthening the bilateral defense cooperation, probably in view of China’s increasing maritime assertiveness, although China was not named specifically in the agreement. It also coincides with the Obama administration’s “rebalancing” toward Asia. While the strained diplomatic relationships with China and Republic of Korea (ROK) do not seem to be getting any better at the moment, the Abe administration has embarked on a multilateral strategic diplomacy centered on the Japan-U.S. alliance which is expected to serve as a strategic move for the administration’s foreign policy. Abe Administration’s Agenda The Abe Administration was inaugurated in December 2012, ... ... [Read more]

Discussions, Culture, No.20
Apr. 11, 2014

The First Three-Way Conversation Coinciding with the Thirtieth Anniversary of Studio Ghibli Miya-san, why don’t you make another movie?

Miyazaki Hayao (left), Suzuki Toshio (center) and Takahata Isao Photo by Nicolas Guérin

The release of The Wind Rises, The Tale of Princess Kaguya, and then, Miyazaki Hayao’s announcement of his retirement: 2013 was truly the year of Ghibli. Read about their works and this country in an in-depth conversation that lasted for three hours by two master directors and a famous producer.   Suzuki: This is the first three-way conversation consisting of these members. And this might be the last. [Laughter] The year 2014 marks the thirtieth anniversary of the founding of Ghibli. Last year was a busy one, with the releases of The Wind Rises by Director Miyazaki Hayao, The Tale of The Princess Kaguya by Director Takahata Isao, and in addition, Miya-san [Editor’s note: Miyazaki] announced his retirement. So the aim was to have the three people get together and talk.  [Facing toward the direction of the editing team] Do you have anything you ... ... [Read more]

Economy, No.20
Mar. 27, 2014

Japan Center for Economic Research – Medium-Term Economic Forecast A 19% Consumption Tax Will Turn the Primary Balance Positive— Japan Will Fail on the Price Stability Target. — Improve the export environment through the TPP.

< Key Points > * It is appropriate to raise the consumption tax rate in annual increments of 1% until fiscal 2025. * An increase in wages will trigger a positive economic cycle, leading to higher growth. * With the consumption tax hike, a current account deficit will be avoidable, due to low growth in imports. The economic outlook has been improving, but that does not mean that longstanding problems have been addressed. Challenges of fiscal consolidation and the ending of the deflationary economy remain incomplete. This report will examine what kind of scenarios Japan can design to achieve steady economic growth while focusing on achieving a steady fiscal situation on a priority basis, what issues need to be dealt with to achieve those scenarios, and the outlook of the Japanese economy to fiscal 2025. (Refer to the table.) *** *** *** *** *** ... ... [Read more]

Economy, No.20
Mar. 27, 2014

Japan Will Find Its Way for Economic Resurgence through Abenolympics — With an economic impact that will reach seven times larger than the existing forecast, the Japanese economy will continue to grow until 2020.

Government must resolve to make the most of the Tokyo Olympics  Tokyo will host the 2020 Summer Olympics and Paralympics. Since Tokyo was selected as the host city I have been using the term “Abenolympics.” This implies that Abenomics, the economic policy advocated by the Abe administration, is now bolstered by a tailwind, the Olympics. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG) estimates that the production-inducing effects of the Olympics will be 3 trillion yen over the next seven years. However, the actual effects are expected to be much larger than that. The Olympics are expected to bring about three economic effects: (1) the effect on construction and building work and other ordinary activities, (2) attraction power, and (3) saving face. A preliminary calculation (by the Institute for Urban Strategies, the Mori Memorial Foundation) shows that as long as appropriate policies are adopted, economic effects from ... ... [Read more]

Politics, No.20
Mar. 26, 2014

Diplomacy toward China and Republic of Korea, the Defense Secrecy Law, TPP, Consumption Tax Measures This is how the Abe Administration will change Japan in 2014 — Resolute about realizing measures to tackle deflation and fiscal reform and will not be a case of “he who runs for two hares catches nothing”

A year has passed since the second Abe administration was formed. My genuine feeling is: “A whole year has already gone by.” Looking back, the Liberal Democratic Party returned to power in the general election held on December 16 in the year before last and the Cabinet was formed as the year-end loomed on December 26. Since then, I have been continuously moving forward without a single day’s break for one year.    The character wa was selected as the kanji of the year in 2013, and when I was asked about my kanji of the year at a press conference, my response was soku (at once). It was because the year was marked by sokudan sokketsu (make a snap decision) and soku jikkou (take immediate action). The first Abe administration, unfortunately, was forced to dissolve in one year, but the second administration, having completed ... ... [Read more]

Diplomacy, No.20
Mar. 26, 2014

China’s Official Views Adrift

One of the topics at a meeting of Sinologists held towards the end of 2013, at what could be called a year-end party, was the recent strangeness of the People’s Daily. The People’s Daily is normally a very straitlaced newspaper that publishes the Chinese Communist Party’s official views. Sinologists in Japan and overseas read it, take notes, and try to analyze changes in Chinese politics based on changes in expressions and in tone. How has the People’s Daily been odd? It has published views that obviously contradict each other. Editorials have been inconsistent with other articles. Views that cannot be considered official have been published. Some Sinologists have analyzed the factors behind this. Some say that the People’s Daily’s governance has weakened. Others say that the oddness simply reflects a diversification in government. Chinese politics has definitely changed significantly. Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao ... ... [Read more]

Diplomacy, No.20
Mar. 26, 2014

Challenges to the New ASEAN-Japan Partnership in the Changing Regional Circumstances

In 2013, the administration of Abe Shinzo tried to make an impression with its pro-ASEAN policies. During the course of last year, Abe visited all ten ASEAN countries while Kishida Fumio, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, and other senior government officials also made frequent visits to the countries in Southeast Asia. Also, in December 2013, the ASEAN-Japan Commemorative Summit Meeting was held to commemorate the 40th anniversary of ASEAN-Japan. In addition to the joint ASEAN-Japan statement entitled “Hand in hand, facing regional and global challenges,” the summit meeting adopted various documents including the Vision Statement on ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation, and the Implementation Plan for the Vision Statement to emphasize the importance of relations between Japan and ASEAN. Some would say that the pro-ASEAN policies of the Abe administration have been positioned as the centerpiece of Japanese foreign policy toward Asia due to the ... ... [Read more]