Shinzo Abe Gets Fresh Wind in his Sails

Shinzo Abe Gets Fresh Wind in his SailsThis has been a tough summer for Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. His public approval polling numbers took a dive as tens of thousands besieged parliament to protest passage of a pair of security bills allowing Japan to cooperate more fully with allies. His pet project, bringing the Olympics to Tokyo in 2020, took a…

Will the Waters of the East China Sea Start to Boil?

Will the Waters of the East China Sea Start to Boil?As the world’s attention has been focused on China’s provocative land reclamation projects in the South China Sea and their implications for potential conflict, the situation in the East China Sea has been relatively quiet so far this year, which may be a comfortable delusion. The last major provocation was in November, 2013, when China…

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…
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