Japan’s Security Pact: Long Hot Summer

Japan’s Security Pact: Long Hot SummerDuring his spring visit to the United States, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stood in the well of the House of Representatives and promised: “I will pass national security legislation by the end of summer.” He was referring to a new law and amendments to nearly a dozen other laws relating to the deployment of…

Tokyo Dips Toe in Dangerous Waters

Tokyo Dips Toe in Dangerous WatersIn late March, Indonesia’s new president, Joko Widodo, paid a state visit to Japan, his first journey outside of Asean, since taking office the previous October. Only a few years ago, such a trip would have been dominated by trade, trade, trade. Those elements were present in Widodo’s trip to be sure, but the biggest…

US-Japan Alliance Revitalized

US-Japan Alliance RevitalizedThe new Guidelines for the US-Japan Defense Cooperation represent the most sweeping changes in the US-Japan alliance in the 55 years since the mutual security treaty was signed in 1960. Indeed, it is possible now to write about the alliance without putting the word in quotation marks. The new guidelines, the first revision since 1997,…

The Pains and Gains of a Strong Japan

The Pains and Gains of a Strong JapanSept 2, 2015 will mark 70 years since V-J Day (Victory over Japan Day) and, in effect, the end of the Second World War.  In 1960, the United States and Japanese governments would sign a security treaty building upon previous arrangements permitting the stationing of American troops on Japanese soil and the restriction of Japanese…

Japan’s Disguised Aircraft Carriers

Japan’s Disguised Aircraft CarriersJapan commissioned the 24,000-ton Izumo last month. the largest warship to join the navy since the end of World War II. To hear Beijing, it was the second coming of the Imperial Navy and ipso facto evidence that the country, under its conservative premier Shinzo Abe, is hell-bent on “remilitarization” By coincidence the commissioning came…

Koreans Seek to Slam Door on Abe’s US Speech

Koreans Seek to Slam Door on Abe’s US SpeechKorean-Americans are mobilizing to scuttle Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s proposed address to a joint session of Congress during his visit to the United States later this spring. The address would be a signal honor for the leader of one of America’s strongest allies if it comes off. Abe would be the first Japanese leader to…

Japan-Korea Spat Complicates US Task in Asia

Japan-Korea Spat Complicates US Task in AsiaTensions between Japan and Korea have been incrementally building, reaching their height over the past couple years under the watch of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Korean President Park Geun-hye. Tokyo and Seoul’s deep-rooted historical problems have thus far prevented any chance a comprehensive bilateral partnership between Washington’s two key allies in East Asia.…

Arms Race Coming in Asia?

Arms Race Coming in Asia?The East and South China Seas face the possibility of a growing arms race between Japan, China and other countries, according to a new policy research paper released by the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore. The paper, A Tale of Two Conflicts, written by Ian Forsyth, an analyst at the US Pacific…

Sino-Japan Ties Improving?

Sino-Japan Ties Improving?The recently-concluded APEC Summit in Beijing was a forum for many memorable images, most notably the uncomfortable handshake between China’s President Xi Jinping and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Opinion on the significance of the communiqué and the subsequent handshake is divided between optimists and pessimists. Pessimists assert that these are little more than symbolic,…

Japan’s Election Without a Cause

Japan’s Election Without a CauseThe Japanese economy has slipped into recession, so Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has dissolved parliament and called for a snap general election scheduled for Dec. 14. Say what? It is unusual to say the least for a government to voluntarily call for a general election in the wake of bad economic news. The premier said…
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