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  • Author: Matt Preston
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: The Korean Peninsula has dominated the news out of Asia as of late. From assassinations reminiscent of James Bond villains and ballistic missiles aimed at U.S. bases in Japan, to Chinese anger over advanced missile defence systems, and harsher than ever sanctions by China on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRIK), there is no shortage of headlines. But below the radar, some more important events have been taking place across the Tsushima Strait. On March 4, Japan’s Liberal Democrat Party approved a rule change that would allow the party’s president to continue for a third term. This means that should the LDP win another election, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe could serve until 2021, making him the longest-serving Japanese prime minister in the postwar era.1 Upon the rule’s approval, Abe announced: “It’s the historic mission of the LDP, which has held up the backbone of Japan throughout the postwar period, to lead a specific debate toward a proposal to amend the constitution.” To Abe and the conservative faction he heads within the LDP, that largely means repealing Article 9 — the ‘no war’ clause. Simultaneously, controversy has arisen over a potential conflict of interest story regarding the sale of land far below market value to a nationalistic primary school that originally named Abe’s wife, Akie, as honourary principal.2
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: Japan
  • Author: Celine Pajon
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: In recent years, Japan's security contribution in Africa rose with the unprecedented participation of the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) in an international counter-piracy operation in the Gulf of Aden, the subsequent build-up of its first overseas military base in Djibouti, and the SDF's longest participation in United Nations Peace-Keeping Operations (UNPKO), in South Sudan (2012-May 2017). This increased security contribution has been driven by a need to react to various events, such as the rising Chinese presence in Africa and the increase in terrorist attacks and piracy. It is also a means of reassuring a risk-averse business sector and encouraging it to step up its investment in Africa. Finally, it is about demonstrating Japan's identity as a "proactive contributor to peace", and responsible shareholder in international security. While media attention is drawn to the Japanese SDF presence on the ground and at sea, the bulk of Japan's security contribution to Africa remains low-key, mostly in the form of financial contributions and capacity-building assistance, and is very often channeled through or in partnership with multilateral institutions or a third country, such as France. This said, Africa is now being associated more tightly with Japan's strategic core interests. Terrorist attacks on the continent are posing a direct risk to Japanese nationals. Threats to the security of vital maritime shipping routes transiting from the Middle East to the Indian Ocean are also directly undermining Tokyo's interests. The inclusion of Africa in the "Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy" demonstrates Japan's willingness to adopt a more strategic approach to Africa.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Africa, Japan
  • Author: Jane Nakano
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: The United States, Japan, and the European Union—the three key consumers of Chinese rare earth materials—formally complained to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in March about Chinese restrictions on its rare earth exports. Several weeks later, China announced the establishment of a 150-plus member association with the official aim of promoting sustainable development within this sector. Some analysts wonder if this is part of a Chinese plan to circumvent international complaints by instituting an oligopolistic arrangement to control its rare earth exports. Others ask if this could be another step in an escalating dispute with China over the global supply of rare earth materials.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Europe
  • Author: Bonnie Glaser, Chietigj Bajpaee
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: To better understand perspectives in the United States and China on internal developments in North Korea, the U.S. Institute of Peace and the Center for Strategic and International Studies, in partnership with the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, convened a daylong conference on December 5, 2006. The conference took place on the eve of the resumption of the Six-Party Talks in Beijing, which subsequently ended without tangible progress. The participants discussed North Korea's economy, the role of external actors on North Korea's decision-making, and Chinese and U.S. visions for the future of the Korean Peninsula. The seminar also included a simulation based on a scenario of an explosion at Yongbyon that creates a radioactive plume that moves across the Sea of Japan.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Asia, North Korea
  • Author: Dan Blumenthal, Gary J. Schmitt
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The recent election of Shinzo Abe to the premiership of Japan has raised a host of issues about the direction in which Japan is headed. Conventional wisdom holds that Abe will lead the country in an increasingly nationalistic course, but Abe's nationalism is democratic, and one that should be welcomed by the United States.
  • Topic: International Relations, Nationalism, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, Israel
  • Author: Kazuo Ogoura
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: MIT Center for International Studies
  • Abstract: To gain insight into the future of the Sino-Japanese relationship, we need to clear up the misconceptions, misunderstandings, and errors that beset the two countries' relations and take an intellectual scalpel to their source. Some of the errors are related to the way people think about or perceive themselves, while others stem from the thinking or attitudes of the other party; still others are linked to the history of Japan-China relations. Here, in four questions and answers, are errors currently regarded as virtually self-evident truths.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Japan, China
  • Author: Michael Swaine, Minxin Pei
  • Publication Date: 11-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The rapid deterioration in Sino-Japanese relations in recent years has raised geopolitical tensions in East Asia and could embroil China and Japan in a dangerous strategic conflict that could be threatening to U.S. interests. China's rise, Japan's growing assertiveness in foreign policy, and new security threats and uncertainties in Asia are driving the two countries increasingly further apart. Political pandering to nationalist sentiments in each country has also contributed to the mismanagement of bilateral ties. But Japan and China are not destined to repeat the past. Their leaders must ease the tensions, restore stability, and pursue a new agenda of cooperation as equals. For its part, the United States must play a more positive and active role.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Israel, East Asia, Asia
  • Author: Michael Fullilove
  • Publication Date: 07-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: The relationship between the UN and Asia can seem unfamiliar and distant. Most of New York's energy is consumed by the Middle East and Africa rather than Northeast, South and Southeast Asia; the international organisation can seem Atlanticist in orientation. On the other side of the Pacific Ocean the strict view of state sovereignty adopted by many Asian capitals leads them to keep the UN at arm's length. As always, however, the story is more complex: we need to differentiate between the UN's work in Asia on the one hand, and Asian behaviour at the UN on the other. Since 1945, the UN has contributed to the Asian security order but only at the margins, its security role circumscribed by power politics and Asian approaches to security. By contrast, Asian states have always been keen to exercise their prerogatives in New York, viewing their UN activities as a marker of sovereignty and a source of prestige. The Brief reviews this history and sets out the current stances of the three major regional powers — China, India, and Japan — towards the UN.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Organization, United Nations
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, India, Asia
  • Author: John H. Makin
  • Publication Date: 10-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Japan's stock market, one of the world's strongest this year, is up about 20 percent since spring. It is doing remarkably well for a country whose nominal GDP is still below its 1997 level. By contrast, the U.S. stock market has been drifting lower all year. The S 500 Index is down about 4 percent in the last five months, even more when the highflying energy sector is excluded. This is the case despite U.S. nominal GDP having grown by a cumulative 46 percent since 1997. Clearly, stock markets are looking ahead and seeing a brighter future for Japan than for the United States.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, Israel, East Asia
  • Author: James R. Lilley
  • Publication Date: 04-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Nationalistic competition between Japan and China could undermine progress on economic and security concerns in east Asia. U.S. diplomacy has an important role in preventing that.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Democratization, Economics
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Asia
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 07-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Beginning on July 6, British prime minister Tony Blair will host the G8 summit in Gleneagles, a hotel and golf course in Scotland. Africa and climate change are the two main topics on the agenda, but counterterrorism, proliferation, and political reform in the Middle East are scheduled to be discussed as well. The annual G8 summit has become the sole forum in which the leaders of the seven top industrialized countries (Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States) and Russia meet to discuss and decide on courses of action. Diplomatic grandstanding and expected antiglobalization demonstrations aside, the summit is an opportunity to set the international political and bureaucratic agenda for months ahead.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Oil, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Britain, Africa, Russia, United States, Japan, United Kingdom, Middle East, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Scotland
  • Author: John Gershman
  • Publication Date: 11-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: President Bush is in Asia this week for a series of meetings, including bilateral meetings in Japan, South Korea, China, and Mongolia and attending the economic leaders meeting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum. This trip comes on the heels of a disastrous trip by President Bush to Latin America, but there is little sign this trip will do much to rescue the President's sinking foreign policy reputation.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Asia, South Korea
  • Author: Ian Williams
  • Publication Date: 08-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: Within a day of arriving at the United Nations John Bolton, the former lobbyist for Taiwan and advocate for one permanent seat on the Security Council, the United States, had cut a deal with the Chinese representative. China wants to stop an additional permanent Security Council seat for Japan. The United States had promised Japan its support in return for its loyalty over Iraq, but hated Germany more than it loves Japan. So the two agreed to thwart the attempt by the G-4 (Brazil, Germany, India, and Japan), to secure permanent seats during the current reform proposals.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, United Nations
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, India, Taiwan, Asia, Brazil, Germany
  • Author: Anthony DiFilippo
  • Publication Date: 06-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: Deterring attack is usually cited as the main motivation for states to keep or acquire nuclear weapons. Yet today's NPT stalemate involves both security and economic concerns. Nuclear and nonnuclear weapons states alike have associated nuclear-energy-generating capabilities with economic growth. By far the biggest problem that the NPT faces today is that nations have come to see and use it as a self-serving accord.
  • Topic: International Relations, Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: Japan, Israel
  • Author: Conn Hallinan
  • Publication Date: 05-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: At first glance, the growing tension between China and Japan seems almost inexplicable. Massive anti-Japanese demonstrations in China over events that took place more than half a century ago? A heated exchange filled with mutual threats over an offshore petroleum field that western oil companies think is not worth exploiting? Has a Shinto shrine and slanted textbooks really driven the two great Asian powers to the edge of a Cold War or worse?
  • Topic: International Relations, War
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Israel, Asia
  • Author: Willy Lam, Lionel Martin, John Tkacik, Toby Lincoln
  • Publication Date: 10-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Beijing is flashing the North Korean (DPRK) card at a time when the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leadership feels increasingly threatened by an anti-China “containment policy” that Washington is supposedly spearheading with the help of Japan, Taiwan and other Asian countries and regions.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Washington, Israel, Taiwan, Beijing, Asia, North Korea
  • Author: Wenran Jiang, Willy Lam, Dennis J. Blasko, Eric Teo
  • Publication Date: 10-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: The year is 2008. The setting is the vast West Pacific region. To break the US-Japan- Taiwan military containment of China, the combined air, navy and armed forces of the Chinese Liberation Army (PLA), equipped with newly established carrier battle groups, have destroyed all U.S. military bases in the region, taken control of all strategic sea routes from the Strait of Malacca to the Persian Gulf, and imposed an oil embargo to choke the U.S., Japan, Taiwan and their allies.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Israel, Taiwan
  • Author: Christine Loh, Eugene Kogan, Willy Lam, Drew Thompson, Zhu Feng
  • Publication Date: 09-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: The soon-to-be-announced appointment of former Vice-Foreign Minister Wang Yi as Chinese Ambassador to Japan is emblematic of efforts by the Hu Jintao-Wen Jiabao leadership to improve Sino-Japanese relationship. In the past year, bilateral ties have deteriorated due to a host of issues ranging from “the question of history” – and compensation for World War II-related damages – to altercations over rights to oil and gas under the East China Sea. Protests by nationalistic Chinese groupings outside the Japanese Embassy in Beijing, banned until about two years ago, have become almost routine. Ugly scenes at a recent soccer match between the two national teams in the Chinese capital demonstrated the hostility with which many Chinese regard their nextdoor neighbor. And in Japan, the “China threat” theory is fast gaining ground owing to the perception that an economically and militarily strong China is throwing its weight around and threatening Japanese interests everywhere.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Israel
  • Author: Michael Swaine, Minxin Pei
  • Publication Date: 02-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: President George W. Bush's visit to China, Japan, and South Korea in February 2002 highlights the vital importance of the Asia-Pacific region to the United States. His stop in China will be especially significant. He will arrive in Beijing on precisely the 30th anniversary of Richard Nixon's historic journey to China, and at a time of notable—if limited—improvement in relations between China and the United States after one of periodic harsh rhetoric and tense confrontation.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Asia
  • Author: Christopher P. Hood
  • Publication Date: 11-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Ishihara Shintaro, known for his strong views particularly on Japan's relationship with the United States, became Governor of Tokyo on 11 April 1999. This paper considers the significance of his election, and whether it symbolizes a rise in nationalism in Japan.
  • Topic: International Relations, Nationalism, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, Israel, Tokyo
  • Author: Haruko Satoh
  • Publication Date: 05-1998
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Among the now G–8 countries, perhaps the most stable political relationship in the past decade or so has been between Britain and Japan. While the two countries do not necessarily rank high in each other's foreign policy priorities, their leaders have always made sure publicly to endorse the growing ties in strong and positive language. Prime Minister Tony Blair used the occasion of his official visit to Tokyo this January to echo Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto's own positive views of the relationship, expressed to Blair at the G–8 summit in Denver. To Hashimoto's 'Britain is a special partner to Japan', Blair confirmed that UK–Japan relations were 'as strong as ever', in line with the remarks of his predecessors, which had ranged from a 'dynamic, plain-speaking partnership', 'strategic partnership' in the post-Cold War era, to 'natural partnership'. Furthermore, compared with Japan's relations with other major European states, specifically France and Germany, the contours of UK–Japan relations seem to stand out more. There is a strong economic relationship between the two. The UK–Japan Action Agenda of September 1996 was the first of its kind to be agreed between Japan and a European state, reflecting Britain's resolve to be the 'outward looking' member in the EU, and to keep ahead in the primarily economic competition for Japanese interest in Europe. Cooperation between the two countries has been credited as the key to success in some post-Cold War multilateral agreements, such as the UN arms register or the recent Kyoto conference on global warming, here reflecting the scope of official cooperation between the two governments. This track record supports the leaders' claims that Britain and Japan are special partners. Nevertheless, there is a sense that the relationship is still bound in the realm of political rhetoric. Neither the positive language nor the track record of achievements can dispel the perception that Europe—Japan relations are the weakest in the trilateral world of Europe, Japan and the United States. The Hague Declaration of 1991 — a document outlining further commitment to cooperation between Japan and the EU — the UK–Japan Action agenda, and the subsequent similar documents between Japan and France or Germany, have only received cursory attention. 2 While UK–Japan relations may be the key to genuinely strengthening Europe—Japan ties, there are issues that need to be addressed to promote further progress.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Japan, United Kingdom, Malaysia, Netherlands