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  • 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
  • Author: Volker Perthes
  • Publication Date: 02-1998
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: In the early months of 1998, the outlook for relations between Iraq and the West looked distinctly bleak. The crisis over UN inspections of Iraq's potential to create weapons of mass destruction began in November 1997 with the Iraqi government's attempt to control the make-up of the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) inspection teams on the grounds that the Anglo-American components of them were, in effect, spies came to a head in February 1998 when the United States and Britain insisted on full, unrestricted compliance with all UN sanctions under the threat of military action. Even though Iraq reluctantly acquiesced in Western demands, little thought appeared to be given in American and British planning to what the consequence of such action would be on Iraqis themselves and on Iraqi public opinion.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Law, United Nations
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Keun-Wook Paik, Jae-Yong Choi
  • Publication Date: 01-1998
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The lack of indigenous oil and gas resources in Northeast Asia is a real obstacle to the region's economic development, and the region has paid the price. The importance of the introduction of pipeline gas into Northeast Asia lies not only in diversifying supply sources but also in providing price leverage for the region's consumers. Despite many implementation problems, the Sino-Russian agreement on East Siberian gas and pipeline development laid a firm basis for the introduction of pipeline gas into the region, and this could fundamentally affect the region's energy supply balance in the coming decades. The introduction of pipeline gas will open a new era of multilateral cooperation in the region. It is now no longer a matter of whether but when and how this gas will be introduced. Northeast Asia — comprising China, Russian Asia (Siberia and the Far East), Korea and Japan — forms the world's biggest market for liquefied natural gas (LNG). Out of world trade totalling just over 100 bcm in 1996, 63.8 bcm was imported by Japan and 13 bcm by Korea, together representing 75% of the world total. Given that China is set to import both LNG and pipeline gas in the next decade, there will be further rapid growth in the region's demand for gas. Many questions about the scale of expansion, the introduction of pipeline gas as a part of the expansion, the role of natural gas in power generation, and the establishment of multilateral cooperation for the pipeline development remain unresolved. Nevertheless, recent announcements by CNPC (China National Petroleum Corporation) of two contracts signed with the Kazakstan government for the development of oilfields for transport via pipeline to western China are a strong signal that the Northeast Asian region is set to witness the introduction of long-distance pipeline oil. In the longer term, these developments may be eclipsed by the development of pipeline gas. This paper briefly reviews the potential gas and oil supply sources to the Northeast Asian region and recent developments, together with the problems that need to be tackled for early implementation of pipeline gas. After presenting the results of a unique survey on the views of both Japanese and Korean companies on the Northeast Asian natural gas market and the development of long-distance pipelines, the paper discusses the implications of such developments.
  • Topic: Development, Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, East Asia, Northeast Asia
  • Publication Date: 12-1998
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Conference Board
  • Abstract: The leading index increased 0.3 percent, the coincident index increased 0.3 percent, and the lagging index decreased 0.2 percent in December. Taken together, the three composite indexes and their components show a healthy economy: The leading indicators point to a continuation of the expansion, which has become the second longest on record. The coincident indicators show aggregate activity rising at a more moderate pace than GDP's rise of 5.6 percent (annualized) in the 4th quarter of 1998. There is no evidence of cyclical imbalances that would jeopardize the economy's stability.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Publication Date: 11-1998
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Conference Board
  • Abstract: The leading index increased 0.6 percent, the coincident index increased 0.2 percent, and the lagging index decreased 0.1 percent in November. Taken together, the three composite indexes and their components show a healthy economy with bright prospects in 1999. The coincident indicators point to GDP rising between 2.5 and 3 percent (annualized) in the 4th quarter of 1998. The leading indicators point to a continuation of the expansion through at least early 1999. The economy shows no evidence of cyclical imbalance.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Publication Date: 10-1998
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Conference Board
  • Abstract: The leading index increased 0.1 percent, the coincident index increased 0.1 percent, and the lagging index decreased 0.1 percent in October. Taken together, the three composite indexes and their components show a healthy economy. The coincident indicators show the 4th quarter of 1998 starting with a relatively slow pace of growth (compared to the coincident index's rise of rise 3.0 percent and GDP's rise of 3.7 percent, annualized, during the first 3 quarters of 1998. The leading indicators show no serious impediments to moderate, or even strong, economic growth in 1999. There is almost no evidence of cyclical imbalances that would jeopardize the economy's stability.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Publication Date: 09-1998
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Conference Board
  • Abstract: Both the leading and coincident indexes held steady, while the lagging index fell 0.1 percent in September. Taken together, the three composite indexes and their components show a slowing, but still healthy economy. The coincident indicators suggest the expansion advanced in the 2 to 2.5 percent range in the 3rd quarter of 1998, compared with constant- dollar GDP showing a 3.3 percent increase (annualized). It is premature to predict a recession based on the leading indicators. The lagging indicators have moderated, giving less reason to worry that cyclical imbalances will soon jeopardize the economy's stability.lances could jeopardize the economy's stability.
  • Topic: Economics, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Publication Date: 08-1998
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Conference Board
  • Abstract: The leading index held steady, the coincident index increased 0.6 percent, and the lagging index increased 0.4 percent in August. Taken together, the three composite indexes and their components show a healthy economy. The coincident indicators point to GDP rising at a 2.5 to 3.0 percent pace (annualized) in the 3rd quarter of 1998. The leading indicators point to a continuation of the expansion through at least early 1999. The lagging indicators suggest a need to be concerned that cyclical imbalances could jeopardize the economy's stability in 1999.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Publication Date: 08-1998
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Conference Board
  • Abstract: The leading index decreased 0.2 percent, the coincident index increased 0.1 percent, and the lagging index increased 0.6 percent in June. Taken together, the three composite indexes and their components show a moderating economy: The coincident indicators point to economic activity rising at faster pace than the latest GDP figures, but slower than the 4th quarter of 1997 and the 1st quarter of 1998. (The coincident index rose 3.1 percent while GDP rose 1.4 percent, annualized, in the 2nd quarter of 1998). A two-month decline in the leading indicators signals slower growth ahead and only a slight risk of a contraction. The lagging indicators show slight evidence of cyclical imbalances that could jeopardize the economyÕs stability.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Tom Barry, Martha Honey, Christian Weller
  • Publication Date: 05-1998
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: International banking activities frequently result in financial instability and serious economic downturns as financial markets become more open and deregulated. Competition from multinational banks has reduced the availability of credit to small- and medium-sized enterprises, to low- and middle-income consumers, and to farmers. While economies experience financial instabilities and declining credit, governments are losing the means to protect their domestic markets.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Organization, International Trade and Finance