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No.28
Politics, No.28  Sept. 10, 2015

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

YOSHIZAKI Tatsuhiko, Chief Economist, Sojitz Research Institute, Ltd.

The former ambassador for Thailand, Okazaki Hisahiko[1], 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, we will alienate public opinion in the United States. And if that happens, we will no longer be able to ... ... [Read more]

No.28
Politics, No.28  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”[1] 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? Although the matter should have been left as it was since there are no vital interests at stake, the Abe Administration has invited President Park Geun-hye to an unconditional summit, but she refuses to budge. As recently as the second half of 2014, Tokyo Governor Masuzoe Yoichi, former Prime Minister Mori Yoshiro and ... ... [Read more]

No.25
Politics, No.25  May. 27, 2015

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

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, No.24  May. 7, 2015

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

Steer policies by looking ten years ahead: I cannot help but regret that such opportune timing was abandoned.   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 ... ... [Read more]

No.24
Politics, No.24  May. 7, 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 ... ... [Read more]

No.24
Politics, No.24  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.

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, No.24  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

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, No.24  Jan. 8, 2015

Electorate Plumps for “Curry Rice”

Professor Kamiya Matake analyzes the results of December’s General Election.   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 ... ... [Read more]

No.24
Politics, No.24  Jan. 6, 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 of ... ... [Read more]

No.23
Politics, No.23  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

Ishiba Shigeru, Liberal Democratic Party Secretary-General (currently, Minister in charge of Overcoming Population Decline and Vitalizing Local Economy in Japan, Minister of State for the National Strategic Special Zones) Japan Cannot Operate Only with a Right to Individual Self-Defense The use of the right to collective self-defense has long been discussed in the context of Japan’s national security. Why do you think Japan should shift its defense policy and decide to endorse the use of the right to collective self-defense now? Ishiba Shigeru: 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. We see China rising and increasing its ... ... [Read more]