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  • Author: Nicholas Szechenyi, Michael J. Green
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Prime Minister Abe focused intently on economic policy and led his Liberal Democratic Party to a resounding victory in the July Upper House election, securing full control of the Diet and a period of political stability that bodes well for his policy agenda. Multilateral gatherings in Asia yielded several opportunities for bilateral and trilateral consultations on security issues, and the economic pillar of the alliance also took shape with Japan's entry into the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations and discussions on energy cooperation. Comments on sensitive history issues sparked controversy but did not derail bilateral diplomacy. The nomination of Caroline Kennedy as US ambassador to Japan marks a new chapter in the relationship.
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Japan
  • Author: James J. Przystup
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Repeated efforts by the Abe government to engage China in high-level dialogue failed to produce a summit meeting. While Tokyo remained firm in its position on the Senkakus, namely that there is no territorial issue that needs to be resolved, Beijing remained equally firm in its position that Japan acknowledge the existence of a dispute as a precondition for talks. In the meantime, Chinese and Japanese patrol ships were in almost daily contact in the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands region, while issues related to history, Japan's evolving security policy, Okinawa, and the East China Sea continued to roil the relationship. By mid-summer over 90 percent of Japanese and Chinese respondents to a joint public opinion poll held negative views of each other.
  • Political Geography: Russia, Japan, China
  • Author: Jiun Bang, David C. Kang
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: South Korea-Japan relations have been frozen for some time and despite the summer heat, no thaw appears likely anytime soon. Although economic interactions continue to deepen between the two countries, and although there is a clear desire – and even a need – to coordinate policies toward North Korea and China, the two countries appear more focused on other issues as their main foreign policy priorities in the short-term. The two recently elected leaders have yet to meet for a summit, a sign that even a symbolic attempt to repair relations is proving difficult. Japanese Prime Minister Abe has grown stronger with a rousing Liberal Democratic Party victory in Upper House elections, yet a number of rhetorical controversies kept attention focused on Abe's foreign policy, particularly toward Korea and China. To date not much has changed and there is little evidence that either Seoul or Tokyo desires improved relations.
  • Topic: Human Rights, War
  • Political Geography: Japan, America, South Korea
  • Author: Ralph A. Cossa, Brad Glosserman
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: There was a brief period during the past four months –16 days to be precise – when it looked like a breakthrough was possible in the longstanding nuclear stalemate with North Korea; then Pyongyang reverted to form. Shortly after pledging to freeze all nuclear and missile tests, Pyongyang announced a satellite launch, pulling the rug out from under Washington (and itself) and business as usual (or unusual) returned to the Peninsula. The announcement also cast a shadow over the second Nuclear Security Summit hosted by Seoul while providing additional rationale for Washington's “pivot” toward Asia.
  • Political Geography: Russia, Japan, China, Washington, Taiwan, Beijing, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, Korea, Pyongyang
  • Author: Michael J. Green, Nicholas Szechenyi
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: There is an old Japanese saying that no one should be prepared “to wait even three years sitting on the rock” (“ishi no ue ni mo sannen”). After three tumultuous and frustrating years as the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) tried to find its sea legs, Prime Minister Noda Yoshihiko finally made the first official visit to Washington of a Japanese prime minister since the spring 2009. Noda had his hands full this quarter: pursuing an increase in the consumption tax, trying to convince a wary public to support some continuation of nuclear power, cobbling together domestic support to move ahead with Japanese participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, and facing the perennial struggle to make progress on relocating Marine Corps Air Station Futenma on Okinawa. By the time of his Washington visit, Noda had started to line up support for the consumption tax backed off temporarily on TPP, and waited on restarting nuclear plants. However, he did manage to complete an agreement to move ahead with de-linking the move of about 9,000 US Marines to Guam and other locations in the Pacific and setting aside (but not give up on) the Futenma Relocation Facility (FRF). That announcement was a rare victory and set a positive tone for the summit and the joint statement Noda and President Obama made pledging to revitalize the US-Japan alliance. The prime minister returned home on May 1 facing the same stack of difficult domestic political challenges, but with an important if limited accomplishment in foreign policy.
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, Washington
  • Author: Bonnie Glaser, Brittany Billingsley
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: China's next leader, Xi Jinping, traveled to the US for a visit that went smoothly and laid a foundation for a strong bilateral relationship after the 18th Party Congress this fall. Senior US and Chinese officials delivered speeches to mark the 40th anniversary of Nixon's 1972 visit to China, highlighting the progress made and the importance of the bilateral relationship while recognizing the deep mutual strategic mistrust. The third Asia-Pacific Consultation was held to manage suspicious and enhancement cooperation. President Obama met Hu Jintao on the sidelines of the Seoul Nuclear Security Summit and coordinated planned responses to North Korea's satellite launch. Friction increased with the filing of a complaint with the WTO that charged China with manipulating prices of rare earth elements. Beijing angered the Obama administration at the UN Security Council by vetoing a resolution that called for Syria's president to step down. But as the violence worsened, the Council passed a resolution that authorized observers to monitor the ceasefire. China rebuffed US entreaties to reduce tis oil imports from Iran and the US imposed sanctions on a Chinese company for selling refined oil to Iran. A Chinese dissident sought assistance by entering the US Embassy, creating potential new challenges for the relationship.
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Asia, North Korea
  • Author: Scott Snyder, See-Won Byun
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: China and South Korea have designated 2012 as a year of friendship to mark 20 years of diplomatic relations. The anniversary may provide a pretext for more active diplomacy to meet a growing list of potential disputes in the relationship, including China's handling of North Korean refugees, illegal fishing in Korean territorial waters, territorial claims, and mutual suspicions regarding approaches toward North Korea. All of this is occurring in a period of political transition in both countries, as South Korea prepares for December elections while China works out a complex leadership transition later this year. Presidents Hu Jintao and Lee Myung-bak have held two summits this year, in Beijing in January and in Seoul on March 26 on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit. On his state visit to China from Jan. 9-11, Lee also met Premier Wen Jiabao and top legislator Wu Bangguo. Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi met President Lee and ROK counterpart Kim Sung-hwan on March 2 during his visit to Seoul for annual inter¬ministerial consultations. The two foreign ministers also met in Ningbo, China, on April 8 for the sixth China-ROK-Japan Foreign Ministers Meeting. Sino-South Korean diplomatic exchanges have sharpened attention on the prospects for the bilateral partnership in the aftermath of Kim Jong Il's death
  • Political Geography: Japan, South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: Michael J. Green, Nicholas Szechenyi
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Prime Minister Noda advanced a legislative package on tax and social security reform but faced stiff political headwinds in the form of a frustrated public and a jaded opposition steeling for an election. Japanese concerns over the safety of the MV-22 Osprey aircraft scheduled for deployment in Okinawa dominated the bilateral agenda – at least in the media – and tested the mettle of Japan's widely-respected new defense minister. The two governments agreed to continue consultations on Japan's interest in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) but political paralysis in Japan and presidential politics in the United States could complicate efforts to make progress in the near term. Two reports issued over the summer addressing US force posture strategy in the Asia-Pacific and the agenda for US-Japan alliance, respectively, focused on the future trajectory for the bilateral relationship.
  • Topic: Security, Bilateral Relations, Reform
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan
  • Author: Victor D. Cha, Ellen Kim
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: In May, US-Korea relations were marked by nervousness about a potential crisis with North Korea as telltale signs of activity at Punggye suggested preparations for a third nuclear test. Though a test did not occur, no one is confident that a crisis has been averted. In US-South Korea relations, differences over imports of Iran oil and US beef calmed down without causing a major hiccup. Meanwhile, a number of difficult bilateral negotiations remain unresolved. While there are signs of progress on the New Missile Guidelines (NMG), the civil nuclear talks remain deadlocked. Territorial and historical disputes between Japan and Korea have complicated and frustrated US desires to strengthen trilateral cooperation with South Korea and Japan.
  • Political Geography: Japan, South Korea
  • Author: James J. Przystup
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The summer was not all about the Senkakus, but the islands did dominate developments in the relationship. The Ishihara Senkaku purchase plan went full speed ahead. Meanwhile, Hong Kong activists landed on the islands, sparking diplomatic protests from Tokyo; Japanese activists followed with their own landing on the islands, sparking diplomatic protests from Beijing and anti-Japanese riots across China. Relations suffered further as Tokyo hosted the convention of the World Uighur Congress and President Hu Jintao found a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Noda inconvenient. Japan's 2012 defense white paper reiterated, longstanding, but growing concerns with China's lack of transparency and the increasing activities of its navy in waters off Japan. Meanwhile public opinion on mutual perceptions continued a downward trend in both countries.
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Tokyo
  • Author: David C. Kang, Jiun Bang
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Diplomatic disputes between Korea and Japan over historical issues and territory flared yet again this summer, being by far the most serious row since the mid - 2000s. With both sides focused far more on proving the others' misdeeds than on finding some stable equilibrium, the disputes threatened to spill over and affect economic relations as well as distract leaders from focusing on a number of pressing domestic and foreign issues. We try to avoid overreactions in this forum, hence the title. Korea - Japan relations are nowhere near falling off a cliff, but without stabilizing relations, there are potential deleterious bilateral and regional effects that could result from the current disputes. There were three underlying themes that characterized and reinforced the general lack of rapport: first, the reverberations from these bilateral disputes onto third parties (US, China, and North Korea); second, the domestic sources of foreign policy (known as the “ second - image ” in international relations theory); and third , deliberate moves toward negative issue - linkage in stymieing diplomatic relations in the region.
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, North Korea, Korea
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Regional Overview:………………………………………………………………………………1 More of the Same, Times Three by Ralph A. Cossa and Brad Glosserman, Pacific Forum CSIS Last quarter we noted that the US profile in Asia rising and China‟s image was falling, while questioning if North Korea was changing. This quarter has been marked by more of the same. President Obama made a high-profile trip to Asia, visiting India, Korea, Japan, and Indonesia. Meanwhile, Secretary of State Clinton give a major address in Honolulu (co-hosted by the Pacific Forum CSIS) on US Asia policy, before her sixth trip to Asia, making seven stops before ending up in Australia, where she linked up with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates for a 2+2 meeting with their Aussie counterparts. Gates also visited Hanoi in early October and stopped by Malaysia on his way home from Australia, while the USS George Washington paid a return visit to the Yellow Sea before participating in a joint US-Japan military exercise near Okinawa. Beijing appeared to back off its aggressive stance in the East China Sea and South China Sea and uttered hardly a peep in response to the US aircraft carrier operations off Korea‟s west coast. It did, however, continue to protect and essentially enable Pyongyang‟s bad behavior. Pyongyang once again offered an “unconditional” return to the Six-Party Talks while reinforcing the preconditions that stand in the way of actual denuclearization. 2010 proved to be a generally good year, economically, as most economies bounced back. It was not that good a year politically for Obama, although he did succeed in pressing the Senate in a lame duck session to vote on the New START Treaty with the Russians, which was ratified at quarter‟s end. US-Japan Relations:…..………………………………………………………………………..17
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, India, Asia, North Korea, Korea
  • Author: Michael J. Green, Nicholas Szechenyi
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Prime Minister Kan Naoto opened the quarter with a speech promising a government that would deliver on domestic and foreign policy, but public opinion polls indicated he was failing on both fronts, damaging his own approval rating and that of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ). The US and Japanese governments continued a pattern of coordination at senior levels and North Korea‟s bombardment of Yeonpyeong Island on Nov. 23 furthered trilateral diplomacy with South Korea and exchanges among the three militaries. President Obama met with Kan on the margins of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leader‟s Meeting in Yokohama to take stock of the relationship, though a once-anticipated joint declaration on the alliance did not materialize and the optics of the meeting appeared designed to lower expectations as the Futenma relocation issue remained unresolved. A bilateral public opinion survey on US-Japan relations released at the end of the quarter captured the current dynamic accurately with Futenma contributing to less sanguine views but convergence in threat perception and an appreciation for the role of the alliance in maintaining regional security as encouraging signs for the future.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, North Korea, Asia-Pacific
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Oct. 1, 2010: In an address to the Diet, Prime Minister Kan Naoto calls for an “active foreign policy” including participation in free trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and vows to lead a “true- to - its -word Cabinet.” Oct. 1, 2010: The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum‟s Women‟s Entrepreneurship Summit is held in Gifu, Japan. Oct. 4, 2010: A citizens‟ panel orders indictment of Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) lawmaker Ozawa Ichiro in connection with a funding scandal. Oct. 4, 2010: Mainichi Shimbun poll indicates a 49 percent approval rating for the Kan Cabinet.
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: James J. Przystup
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Reactions to the Sept. 7 Senkaku fishing boat incident continued to buffet the relationship. Both the East China Sea and the Senkaku Islands remain flashpoints in both countries. Anti-Japanese protests spread through China in mid-October and were followed by smaller-scale anti-Chinese protests in Japan. Efforts by diplomats to restart the mutually beneficial strategic relationship ran into strong political headwinds, which hit gale force with the public uploading of the Japan Coast Guard"s video of the September collisions on YouTube. Prime Minister Kan did meet China"s political leadership, but the Kan-Wen and the Kan-Hu meetings were hotel lobby or corridor meet-and-greets, with the Chinese taking care to emphasize their informal nature. In Japan, public opinion on relations with China went from bad in October to worse in December.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: Japan, China
  • Author: Brad Glosserman, Carl Baker
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Sept. 30, 2010: Prime Minister Kan Naoto apologies for the poor handling of the Senkaku incident and reaffirms Japanese sovereignty over the islands. Oct. 1, 2010: Foreign Minister Maehara Sieji calls for dialogue with China in order to avoid future incidents similar to the one in the Senkakus.
  • Topic: National Security
  • Political Geography: Japan, China
  • Author: Ji-Young Lee, David C. Kang
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The year ended with heightened tensions resulting from Pyongyang"s shelling of South Korea"s Yeonpyeong Island on Nov, 23 and the subsequent show of force by South Korea, the US, and Japan. Yet, despite dueling artillery barrages and the sinking of a warship, pledges of “enormous retaliation,” in-your-face joint military exercises and urgent calls for talks, the risk of all-out war on the Korean Peninsula is less than it has been at any time in the past four decades. North Korea didn"t blink because it had no intention of actually starting a major war. Rather than signifying a new round of escalating tension between North and South Korea, the events of the past year point to something else – a potential new cold war. The most notable response to the attack on Yeonpyeong was that a Seoul-Washington-Tokyo coalition came to the fore, standing united to condemn North Korea”s military provocations, while Beijing called for restraint and shrugged away calls to put pressure on North Korea. Within this loose but clear division, Japan-North Korea relations moved backward with Prime Minister Kan Naoto blaming the North for an “impermissible, atrocious act.” On the other hand, Japan-South Korea relations have grown closer through security cooperation in their reaction to North Korea. Tokyo"s new defense strategy places a great emphasis on defense cooperation and perhaps even a military alliance with South Korea and Australia in addition to the US to deal with China"s rising military power and the threat from Pyongyang.
  • Topic: Cold War
  • Political Geography: Japan, Washington, Asia, Tokyo, Korea
  • Author: Brad Glosserman
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Oct. 4, 2010: Japanese Prime Minister Kan Naoto and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak meet on the sidelines of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEAM) and discuss bilateral relations. Oct. 22, 2010: A group of Japanese and South Korean scholars release a study commissioned by the two governments in which they conclude that Japan"s annexation of Korea was coerced in the face of opposition from Koreans. Oct. 29, 2010: Prime Minister Kan, President Lee, and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao meet on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Vietnam. Nov. 11-12, 2010: South Korea hosts G20 Summit. Nov. 13-14, 2010: Japan hosts APEC Leaders Meeting.
  • Topic: Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Japan, South Korea, North Korea, Vietnam
  • Author: Ralph A. Cossa, Brad Glosserman
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The biggest headlines during the first four months of 2011 were generated by the triple tragedy in Japan, which left Tokyo (and much of the rest of the world) shaking, especially over nuclear safety. On the Korean Peninsula, Chinese concerns about the ROK/US “enough is enough” (over?)reaction to North Korean aggressiveness resulted in Beijing's acknowledgment that the road to a solution must run through Seoul, providing a new foundation for a resumption of Six-Party Talks. Meanwhile, elections among the Tibetan diaspora began a long-anticipated political transition, shaking Chinese policy toward the province. More fighting between Thailand and Cambodia over disputed borders has rattled ASEAN as it challenges the most important of its guiding principles – the peaceful resolution of disputes. Economic developments all highlighted growing doubts about the global economic order and the US leadership role. It's easy to predict the biggest headline of the next four month period: "Bin Laden is Dead!" Implications for Asia will be examined in the next issue; initial reactions were predictable.
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Asia, North Korea, Cambodia, Tokyo, Thailand
  • Author: Nicholas Szechenyi, Michael J. Green
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster that struck Japan March 11 tested the leadership credentials of the Kan government and the alliance coordination during simultaneous crises. With the exception of disconnects in assessing the nature of the nuclear emergency at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, the March 11 tragedy revealed the strength of the alliance as the Obama administration demonstrated US solidarity with Japan by announcing a partnership for reconstruction to support Japan's recovery. Prime Minister Kan reshuffled his Cabinet for the second time and unveiled a policy agenda aimed at “the opening of Japan” but faced scrutiny for failing to usher budget-related legislation through a divided Diet. Bilateral diplomacy proceeded apace and was aimed at advancing economic and security cooperation, though a controversy over alleged remarks about Okinawa by a senior US diplomat had the potential to cause another crisis in the alliance.
  • Topic: Disaster Relief
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan