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  • Author: Nicholas Szechenyi, Michael J. Green
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Hatoyama Yukio led the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) to a landslide victory in the Aug. 30 Lower House election and was elected prime minister after a spirited campaign for change both in the form and substance of policymaking. Exit polls showed that the public had grown weary of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) but had not necessarily embraced the agenda of the coalition government Hatoyama would subsequently form with an eye toward consolidating power in an Upper House election next summer. Though the election centered primarily on domestic policy, Hatoyama began his tenure by outlining foreign policy priorities during visits to the UN in New York and the G20 summit in Pittsburgh less than a week after he took office.
  • Topic: Security, United Nations
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, New York
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan
  • Author: Nicholas Szechenyi, Michael J. Green
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Prime Minister Fukuda Yasuo outlined his foreign policy agenda in an address to the Diet, highlighting – as did his predecessors Abe Shinzo and Koizumi Junichiro – the U.S.-Japan alliance and international cooperation as the foundations of Japanese diplomacy. But legislation authorizing Japan's naval refueling mission in the Indian Ocean became a political football in a divided legislature and expired on Nov. 1, forcing Fukuda to draft a new bill and extend the Diet session twice in an attempt to continue Japan's support for the war on terror. Fukuda noted the importance of the bill during a November summit with President Bush in Washington that also covered other issues including the Six-Party Talks and concerns in Japan about a perceived shift in the U.S. position on Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea. Other developments such as a new agreement on host nation support for U.S. forces in Japan and a successful sea-based missile defense test demonstrated forward trajectory for alliance cooperation. Yet the quarter ended with other issues unresolved, namely Japan's suspension of Indian Ocean refueling operations and Pyongyang's failure to come clean on its nuclear programs.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, Washington, India, North Korea, Pyongyang
  • Author: Robert Sutter, Chin-Hao Huang
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The highlight of this quarter was Prime Minister Wen Jiabao's active agenda in regional summits coinciding with the ASEAN Plus China, ASEAN Plus Three (with Japan and South Korea) and East Asia Summit meetings in Singapore in November. Chinese officials adhered to the line of the 17th Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Congress emphasizing harmonious relations with Southeast Asian and other countries, but ran across some difficulties involving Myanmar, Vietnam, and climate change.
  • Political Geography: Japan, East Asia, South Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, Southeast Asia, Myanmar
  • Author: James J. Przystup
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Beijing welcomed the new Fukuda government and Japan's new prime minister made clear his commitment to improving Japan's relations with its Asian neighbors and building the strategic relationship with China. However, the new government in Tokyo soon became preoccupied with the passage of a new antiterrorism special measures law to reauthorize Japan's refueling operations in support of UN operations in Afghanistan, Defense Ministry scandals, and the continuing pension fund imbroglio.
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Japan, Beijing, Asia, Tokyo
  • Author: Ji-Young Lee, David C. Kang
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The final quarter of 2007 was eventful and left observers in both Japan and South Korea cautiously optimistic about bilateral relations. Both Japan and South Korea chose new chief executives this fall, and both of them promised to search for more collaboration and to begin repairing relations between the two countries. Halting progress on North Korean denuclearization through the Six-Party Talks led to hope that momentum could be sustained, although Japan for the time being has chosen to be supportive but skeptical of North Korea's promise to denuclearize, and continued its sanctions against the DPRK. Indeed, North Korea's missed deadline for declaring its nuclear programs was a reminder that progress in relations with North Korea is never straightforward or easy. Although no country has decided to forego the process, it is unclear how relations between North Korea and other states in the region will evolve in 2008.
  • Topic: International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Japan, South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: Nicholas Szechenyi, Michael J. Green
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Japanese domestic politics was in turmoil this quarter due to a divided legislature and the opposition's efforts to block several key pieces of legislation in an attempt to force Prime Minister Fukuda Yasuo out of office. The deadlock centered almost exclusively on economic issues, much to the dismay of U.S. investors who have increasingly begun to question the ability of the political leadership in Japan to manage the economy. The Fukuda administration signaled Japan's sustained commitment to the U.S.-Japan alliance and a leadership role in international security by passing a bill re-authorizing Maritime Self Defense Force (MSDF) refueling operations in the Indian Ocean. But a collision between an MSDF Aegis-equipped destroyer and a fishing boat near Tokyo in February, coupled with continued fallout from a bribery scandal last fall, forced the government to focus more on structural reform at the Defense Ministry at the expense of new policy initiatives. Rape allegations against a U.S. soldier stationed in Okinawa and the detainment of another as a murder suspect sparked demonstrations against the U.S. military presence in Japan, though the two governments worked closely to prevent a crisis. Bilateral coordination on the Six-Party Talks continued and there were hints of renewed interest in a trilateral consultation framework with South Korea. Several events in Washington were dedicated to the U.S.-Japan alliance and brought public attention to pressing issues and ideas that might inform a bilateral agenda going forward.
  • Topic: International Security, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, Washington, India, South Korea, Tokyo
  • Author: James J. Przystup
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: While Japanese and Chinese political leaders and diplomats worked to build the mutually beneficial strategic relationship and to advance the spring visit of China's President Hu Jintao, both sides found it hard going. The safety of imported Chinese gyoza (dumplings) became a major issue as reports of food poisoning of Japanese became front-page news in early February. Responsibility for the poisoning, whether the result of the manufacturing process in China or deliberate action by individuals after the gyoza left the factory, became the center of contention. Health Ministry and pubic safety officials in both countries pledged cooperation in resolving the issue but failed to identify the cause, while retreating to positions that attributed responsibility to the other side.
  • Political Geography: Japan, China
  • Author: Ji-Young Lee, David C. Kang
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Despite the change in Japanese leadership from hard-liner Abe Shintaro to the more dialogue-oriented Fukuda Yasuo, this quarter's Japan-North Korea relations were largely uneventful and produced little progress. Tokyo criticized Pyongyang for missing the year-end deadline for declaring all its nuclear programs and facilities, urging North Korea to make a “political decision” to fulfill its commitment under the Six-Party Talks agreement. Pyongyang reiterated that Japan should be excluded from the talks, and blamed Japan for the U.S. failure to remove Pyongyang from its list of state sponsors of terror. North Korea asserted that there would be no improvement in their bilateral relations as long as Japan continues to press resolution of the abduction issue on Pyongyang. By mid-March, Tokyo had decided to extend economic sanctions against Pyongyang for another six months after they expire April 13, if the current situation continues with no breakthroughs. Meanwhile, with the change in South Korean leadership from a liberal-minded Roh Moo-hyun to the more conservative Lee Myung-bak, Tokyo exerted diplomatic efforts to bring South Korea closer to Japan by trying to form a united front between Japan, South Korea, and the U.S. against North Korea.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, South Korea, North Korea, Tokyo, Pyongyang
  • Author: Nicholas Szechenyi, Michael J. Green
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The debate in the Japanese Diet remained contentious this quarter as opposition parties challenged the Fukuda government on several legislative issues including the gasoline tax, a new health insurance program for the elderly, and host nation support for U.S. forces. Fukuda's approval rating fell suddenly due to public dissatisfaction with his domestic policy agenda but later rebounded enough to quell rumors of a Cabinet reshuffle prior to the Hokkaido G8 Summit in July. The arrest in early April of a U.S. serviceman charged with murdering a taxi driver in Yokosuka brought negative publicity for U.S. forces.
  • Topic: Elections
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan