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  • Author: Michael J. Green
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The U.S. decision to rescind the designation of North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism tested the bilateral relationship this quarter as the Bush administration was perceived in Japan as having softened its commitment to the abductee issue in favor of a breakthrough on denuclearization in the Six-Party Talks, which ultimately proved elusive. The Aso government managed to extend the Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) refueling mission in the Indian Ocean for one year, though bilateral discussions on defense issues continued to center on whether Japan could move beyond a symbolic commitment to coalition operations in Afghanistan. Japanese domestic politics remained tumultuous as the opposition led by the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) thwarted the Aso legislative agenda to increase pressure for a snap election. Prime Minister Aso's approval rating plummeted over the course of the quarter due mostly to frustration with the response to the financial crisis, prompting him to postpone the widely anticipated Lower House election in an attempt to shore up support for the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). Public opinion polls revealed increased interest in offering the DPJ a chance at the helm with most observers predicting an election sometime next spring. Other polls at the end of the quarter showed the Japanese public less sanguine about the U.S.-Japan alliance, a sobering development as President-elect Obama prepared to take office.
  • Topic: Development, Terrorism, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, North Korea
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Oct. 1, 2008: Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) becomes the world's largest bilateral development agency. Oct. 3, 2008: The Bank of Japan injects 800 billion yen ($7.6 billion) into the international financial system to prevent a global credit crunch from increasing interest rates. Oct. 3, 2008: Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Christopher Hill meets Saiki Akitaka, director general for Asian and Oceanian Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in Seoul to discuss Hill's visit to Pyongyang for discussions concerning a verification protocol for North Korean denuclearization under the Six-Party Talks.
  • Topic: Development, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan
  • Author: Michael J. Green, Nicholas Szechenyi
  • Publication Date: 10-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: Development
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, North Korea
  • Author: Robert Sutter, Chin-Hao Huang
  • Publication Date: 10-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Chinese relations with Southeast Asia were overshadowed for most of the quarter by Chinese leadership preoccupations with the 2008 Olympic Games and various crises involving toxic Chinese milk supplies, turmoil in U.S. and international financial markets, leadership uncertainty in North Korea, and the Russia-Georgia war. Although official Chinese media highlighted President Hu Jintao's meetings with Southeast Asian and other world leaders at the Beijing Olympics, he and other top leaders did not travel to Southeast Asia except for the foreign minister's attendance at the ASEAN meetings in Singapore in July. New troubles emerged with Vietnam, notably over oil exploration in the South China Sea. The recent pattern of Chinese, Japanese, and South Korean leaders meeting independent of ASEAN, despite their continued avowals of ASEAN's “leadership” in East Asian regional matters, paused when Japanese officials announced the postponement of a planned summit among the three northeast Asian powers in September on account of the resignation of Japan's prime minister.
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Japan, China, Beijing, North Korea, Southeast Asia
  • Author: James J. Przystup
  • Publication Date: 10-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The issue of contaminated frozen gyoza moved to the bilateral front burner during the quarter. In his meeting with President Hu Jintao on the sidelines of the G8 summit at Lake Toya, Hokkaido and again during the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics, Prime Minster Fukuda Yasuo emphasized the importance of making progress on the six-month old case. Hu promised to accelerate efforts to identify the source of the problem and in mid-September, Japanese media reported that Chinese authorities had detained nine suspects at the Tianyang factory. The commemoration of the end of World War II on Aug. 15 passed quietly with only three Cabinet ministers visiting the Yasukuni Shrine. Meanwhile, joint Japanese and Chinese public opinion polling data revealed markedly different perceptions on the state and future course of the bilateral relationship. In early September, Japan's Ministry of Defense released its Defense White Paper 2008, which again expressed concerns about China's military modernization and its lack of transparency. Later in the month, the Maritime Self-Defense Force sighted what was believed to be an unidentified submarine in Japanese territorial waters. Reacting to Japanese media speculation, China's Foreign Ministry denied that the submarine belonged to China's Navy.
  • Topic: Development, War
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Beijing
  • Publication Date: 10-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: July 4, 2008: Japanese Supreme Court upholds lower court decision dismissing claims for compensation raised by wartime Chinese forced laborers in port of Niigata. The court, while acknowledging abuse occurred, cited expiration of statute of limitation. July 4, 2008: Taiwan National University Maritime Research ship intrudes into Japanese territorial waters in the vicinity of the Senkaku Islands.
  • Topic: Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Island