Japan

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Mr. Obama’s Asian Vacation

US President Barack Obama ended his four-nation tour of Asia last week, insisting, yet again, that the US is not out to confront China. “Our goal is not to contain China,” he said at a press conference in Manil...
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Could a Bird Avert a China-Japan War?

Short of buying a 15-megaton thermal nuclear bomb from Russia and blowing up the Senkaku/Daioyu islands (making sure that nothing remains above the water line at low tide), is there any other way to defuse this...

Japan’s Troubling Denial of Comfort Women

For the past year, Northeast Asia has been in the grip of a worsening spiral of tensions provoked by territorial disputes and nationalist statements by political leaders. Careful diplomacy to defuse the dee...
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Japan’s Abe Isn’t Placating the Right

When people ask why Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe decided to worship at Yasukuni Shrine against the advice of most of his advisers, one of the most common answers is that he is placating his right-wing sup...
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Japan and Taiwan are ‘Stingy’ Balancers

There has been much commentary recently about the hikes in Japan’s defense budget. The rises, along with other measures and rhetorical stances taken by the Abe administration, are meant to show Japan’s resolve ...
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The Real Shinzo Abe Stands Up

Last year in June Prime Minister Shinzo Abe gave an important speech at Guildhall in the heart of London’s financial district during which he bragged several times about the “political capital” he had accrued t...
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Abe’s Yasukuni Visit Escalates Asian Tensions

Visits by Japanese prime ministers to the Yasukuni Shrine, which honours Japan’s war dead (including convicted Class-A war criminals), have repeatedly caused tensions in Asia over the years. Yasuhiro Nakasone c...
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The Heat Rises in Japan

China’s recent declaration creating an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) over a large portion of the East China Sea, including the disputed Senkaku/Daioyu islands, has been a feast day in Japan for arm-cha...
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The Threat of War in the Northern Pacific

The present strategic situation in East Asia, and concerns over its potential trajectory, has been linked to the geopolitical dispositions and sentiments in Europe as that continent stumbled into war in August ...
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Japan’s Persistent Pacifism

As the generation that experienced the Second World War is replaced by a new cohort that is psychologically detached from the horrors of the war, the number of devotees to fervent pacifism has been shrinking as...