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Japan Politics

On Japan and China: Taking a Stand, Not Taking Sides

Gareth Evans | Posted 08.14.2014 | World
Gareth Evans

We have not yet seen any renewed attempt to re-establish the "Quadrilateral Security Dialogue," comprising Japan, Australia, the U.S., and India, which conducted joint military exercises in 2007 and was seen by China as a hostile containment enterprise. But it is not hard to imagine that this is still very much on Abe's wish list. The dangers should not be exaggerated. But, with strategic competition between the U.S. and China as delicately poised as it is, and with the economic interests of Australia, Japan, and many others in the region bound up just as intensely with China as their security interests are with the U.S., rocking the boat carries serious risks.

Japan Poised For Major Security Shift

AP | By MARI YAMAGUCHI | Posted 08.27.2014 | World

TOKYO (AP) — Japan's ruling party and its coalition partner are near agreement on a major shift in the country's restrictive defensive policy that w...

Why Asia Should Say No to Mr. Abe's Vision of International Law for Asia

Allen K. Yu | Posted 08.24.2014 | World
Allen K. Yu

A few weeks ago at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, Shinzo Abe made a bold pitch to Asia to buy in on a new type of Japanese leadership. According to Mr. Abe, the peace that is at the foundation of the Asia Pacific's unprecedented growth can no longer be guaranteed. Without naming China by name, Mr. Abe warns of a new danger that looms on the horizon. The Asia Pacific needs Japanese leadership and a new affirmation of "international law."

Transparency Will Mean Security in Asia

Shinzō Abe | Posted 08.24.2014 | World
Shinzō Abe

If Asia is to build trust and avoid a regional arms race, a framework under which the region's governments publicly disclose their military budgets needs to be established. More broadly, keeping military expansion in check and improving mutual understanding among national defense authorities are the paramount issues now facing Asia.

Why Changing Japan's Pacifist Constitution Will Promote Peace in Asia

Yuriko Koike | Posted 07.27.2014 | World
Yuriko Koike

In the past week, Abe created for himself considerably more political space to act as a strategic partner, not only to India, but also to Japan's other allies, particularly the United States. Quietly, a panel appointed by Abe's government last week offered a reinterpretation of a key element of Article 9 of Japan's constitution. For the first time since the Pacific War's end in 1945, Japan's Self-Defense Forces would be able to participate in "collective self-defense" -- meaning that Japan could come to the aid of its allies should they come under attack. Of course, China and others in Asia have tried to muddy this change with the alarmist charge of a return to Japanese militarism. But the new interpretation of Article 9 augurs just the opposite: it embeds Japan's military within an alliance system that has been, and will remain, the backbone of Asia's prevailing structure of peace. If properly understood by China, this can foster a greater strategic equilibrium in the region. It is now possible for Asia's greatest powers -- China, India, Japan, and the U.S. -- to form something akin to the concert system that gave Europe a century of almost complete peace in the 19th century.

A Zen Response To The Japan-China Island Dispute

Nathan Gardels | Posted 06.17.2014 | World
Nathan Gardels

Though mired in a thoroughly modern nation-state dispute with very real military consequences, both China and Japan also proudly draw their identities from continuous cultures that are not only thousands of years old, but also grounded in common civilizational roots. Perhaps if they peered far enough back to those common roots, they would not be so bent out of shape over who owns a few rocks in the ocean. Looked at differently, the islands very much resemble a dry zen garden where a series of mindfully positioned rocks rest harmoniously amid a meticulously raked gravel sea of nothingness. It is here that one contemplates peace.

Powerful Japanese Lawmaker Forms Rival Political Party

AP | MARI YAMAGUCHI | Posted 07.11.2012 | World

TOKYO -- A powerful lawmaker who broke away from Japan's ruling party launched a new political group on Wednesday in a challenge to Prime Minister Yos...

Japan's Party Upheaval and Massive Public Dissent

Karel van Wolferen | Posted 09.04.2012 | World
Karel van Wolferen

An interesting new question asked by Japanese journalists who contact me these days is how large a visible public protest will be necessary to tip a political balance in other countries.

Mass Resignations Deal Harsh Blow To Japan's PM

AP | MARI YAMAGUCHI | Posted 09.01.2012 | World

TOKYO — A powerful politician and dozens of his followers quit Japan's ruling party on Monday and are likely to form their own rival bloc, deali...

Japan's New Prime Minister Faces Unique Challenges

AP | Posted 10.29.2011 | World

TOKYO — Japan's prime minister and his Cabinet resigned en masse on Tuesday ahead of a vote in parliament to install former Finance Minister Yos...

Japan Foreign Minister Quits Amid Scandal

Posted 05.25.2011 | World

By Linda Sieg and Yoko Kubota TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara resigned on Sunday to take responsibility for accepting...

Japan: Opposition Promises To Stand Up To America

AP | JAY ALABASTER | Posted 05.25.2011 | World

TOKYO — Japan's main opposition party said Monday that if it comes to power in this month's elections it will confront the United States on key ...