Obama’s Mission Impossible: Japan and the TPP

Obama’s Mission Impossible: Japan and the TPPThe success of President Obama’s swing through Japan on his Asia trip, he is supposed to have told Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in The Hague recently, would be measured by whether it delivered a satisfactory conclusion to the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations between Washington and Tokyo. If so, the trip was an abject failure.…

Obama Visit to Japan a Test for US

Obama Visit to Japan a Test for USTokyo will welcome US President Barack Obama this week at a key moment in US-Japan relations. The challenging nature of the current security situation in East Asia underscores the importance of maintaining and strengthening US-Japan alliance cooperation. The risk of North Korean military provocation remains ever-present, and China is becoming increasingly assertive in its maritime…

Japan Has a Friend in Tehran

Japan Has a Friend in TehranThe nationalist Japanese novelist Naoki Hayakuta may be controversial in his own country, but he is a hero in Iran. During a nine-day visit in February, he was treated like a VIP everywhere he went. The trip included a meeting with officials close to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. “Japan-Iran relations have always been friendly –…

Abenomics’ Losers: Conveyor Belt Sushi

Abenomics’ Losers: Conveyor Belt SushiPrime Minister Shinzo Abe’s new economic policy, dubbed “Abenomics,” has been generally considered a success in the first year in which it was implemented. But, as in other endeavors, there are winners and losers. The winners so far are Japan’s big exporters, which have benefitted hugely from the weakening yen, having lost about 20 percent…

Is Abenomics Flagging?

Is Abenomics Flagging?Analysts have praised Japan’s third-quarter annualized domestic product growth at 1.9 percent, slightly ahead of expectations of 1.7 percent, with the consensus commending the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s decisive moves to reflate his long-stalled economy. But in fact it appears that most of the new third-quarter growth came from increased public expenditure instead of…

Banking Crises and Japanization

Banking Crises and JapanizationRecent research has found that economic recoveries from banking crises tend to be weaker and more prolonged than those from traditional types of deep recessions. Japan’s “two lost decades” perhaps represent an extreme example of this, and the experience has now passed into the lexicon as “Japanese-style stagnation” or “Japanization” for short. The question is…

Will Abe’s fiscal consolidation work?

Will Abe’s fiscal consolidation work?When Shinzo Abe was first elected to be prime minister of Japan, he promised to end deflation and kick-start growth. His methods, in the short-term, involved fiscal and monetary stimulus. Now a daunting demand management challenge of sustaining good growth and achieving fiscal consolidation confronts the Japanese government. Abe has already made a major decision:…
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