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Showing posts for "Guest Blogger for Sheila A. Smith"

Sean Connell: Lessons from KORUS for Japan and TPP

by Guest Blogger for Sheila A. Smith
U.S. president Barack Obama and South Korean president Lee Myung-bak tour the General Motors Orion assembly plant in Detroit, Michigan—which produces the Sonic sub-compact car, a joint venture with GM Korea—following congressional approval of the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement U.S. president Barack Obama and South Korean president Lee Myung-bak tour the General Motors Orion assembly plant in Detroit, Michigan—which produces the Sonic sub-compact car, a joint venture with GM Korea—following congressional approval of the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement October 14, 2011 (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters).

The agreement by the eleven Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) member nations on April 22 to include Japan in their ongoing negotiations was a significant breakthrough, both for advancing the high-standard “21st century” regional trade agreement envisioned in TPP and for Japan’s quest to revitalize its economy. With Japan now formally participating in the negotiating rounds, TPP covers 40 percent of global GDP, increasing its potential to shape the Asia-Pacific regional economic environment and global trade rules. Read more »

Charles T. McClean: Getting Out the Youth Vote in Japan

by Guest Blogger for Sheila A. Smith
Interns of the non-profit organization Dot JP celebrate the end of their two-month internships in the offices of Japanese politicians from the Kansai region September 22, 2012 (Courtesy of Dot JP's Facebook page). Students from the Kansai region celebrate the end of their two-month internships in the offices of Japanese politicians, which were arranged by the non-profit organization Dot JP September 22, 2012 (Courtesy of Dot JP).

Charles T. McClean is a Research Associate for Japan Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Japan’s future is the subject of headlines these days, and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s victory in the latest election has focused attention on his policy agenda. Yet much remains uncertain about what this summer’s election means for Japan’s future. The decade-long experiment in political reform in Japan seems to have come to an end, and many read the return to power of the Liberal Democratic Party as a mandate for stability and a return to the political practices of the past. Read more »

Aldrich, Platte, and Sklarew: What’s Ahead for Abe’s Energy Agenda?

by Guest Blogger for Sheila A. Smith
Workers check solar panels at a solar power field in Kawasaki, near Tokyo July 6, 2011. Workers check solar panels at a solar power field in Kawasaki, near Tokyo July 6, 2011 (Toru Hanai/Courtesy Reuters).

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) won a major victory in the Upper House election on July 21, and gained control of both houses of the Diet together with its coalition partner New Komeito. The LDP has been historically pro-nuclear and may push more strongly for nuclear power after the election. However, power sector reforms, renewable energy development, and uncertainty over plutonium use may dampen the LDP’s ability to push an overly pro-nuclear energy policy. Read more »

Toshihiro Nakayama: Japan’s Soul Searching

by Guest Blogger for Sheila A. Smith
Buildings are silhouetted against the setting sun in front of Mount Fuji in Tokyo December 2, 2009 Buildings are silhouetted against the setting sun in front of Mount Fuji in Tokyo December 2, 2009 (Gary Hershorn/Courtesy Reuters).

This blog post is part of a series entitled Is Japan in Decline?, in which leading experts analyze Japan’s economy, politics, and society and give their assessment of Japan’s future.

Being cynical just to be cynical is the worst frame of mind. Unfortunately, however, you can’t avoid being cynical when talking about my country these days.

A couple of years ago, many of us in Japan complained that there was a tendency to overlook Japan in Washington. But today, Japan experts sit in almost all of the major think tanks there. Yes, Americans seem to be worried about us. You are worried that your major ally in the Asia-Pacific is in a constant flux. You are worried that we are drifting into a “tier-two status” in global relations, as one major report suggested. Read more »

Jeffrey W. Hornung: Japan, a Consequential Power

by Guest Blogger for Sheila A. Smith
Buildings are silhouetted against the setting sun in front of Mount Fuji in Tokyo December 2, 2009 Buildings are silhouetted against the setting sun in front of Mount Fuji in Tokyo December 2, 2009 (Gary Hershorn/Courtesy Reuters).

This blog post is part of a series entitled Is Japan in Decline?, in which leading experts analyze Japan’s economy, politics, and society and give their assessment of Japan’s future.

The debate over Japan’s decline overlooks Japan’s long-term strengths and global contributions, focusing instead on current, high visibility factors like GDP growth and military power. In particular, it misses Japan’s continuing strategic importance in both security and diplomatic spheres. While Japan may not be a great military power or no longer the second largest economic power, it is a consequential power. Read more »

Glenn Hoetker: Leveraging Japan’s “Old Economy”

by Guest Blogger for Sheila A. Smith
Buildings are silhouetted against the setting sun in front of Mount Fuji in Tokyo December 2, 2009 Buildings are silhouetted against the setting sun in front of Mount Fuji in Tokyo December 2, 2009 (Gary Hershorn/Courtesy Reuters).

This blog post is part of a series entitled Is Japan in Decline?, in which leading experts analyze Japan’s economy, politics, and society and give their assessment of Japan’s future.

Those predicting Japan’s decline overlook one of its greatest resources: its large, established firms and the model that produced them. With the tribulations of Panasonic, Sony, and others in the headlines, this claim may seem to be dubious and to run counter to the many efforts underway to increase the role of start-up firms and entrepreneurs in the Japanese economy. Read more »

Keiko Iizuka: Abe’s Challenge

by Guest Blogger for Sheila A. Smith
Buildings are silhouetted against the setting sun in front of Mount Fuji in Tokyo December 2, 2009 Buildings are silhouetted against the setting sun in front of Mount Fuji in Tokyo December 2, 2009 (Gary Hershorn/Courtesy Reuters).

This blog post is part of a series entitled Is Japan in Decline?, in which leading experts analyze Japan’s economy, politics, and society and give their assessment of Japan’s future.

On December 26, 2012, Japan chose its seventh prime minister in seven years, a new record for the annual turnover in leadership that has plagued the country since Junichiro Koizumi stepped down in 2006. For a second time, Shinzo Abe has stepped up to the plate. A coalition government, comprised of the conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and the New Komei Party, has returned in the wake of over three years of reformist rule by the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ). Read more »

Charles T. McClean: The LDP’s Freshmen

by Guest Blogger for Sheila A. Smith
Hideki Murai (L) from Saitama 1st constituency appears at a rally alongside Liberal Democratic Party president Shinzo Abe (R). Murai, a first-time candidate, won his district with 96,000 votes. November 30, 2012 (Mamoru Watanabe/Courtesy Hideki Murai, Facebook). Hideki Murai (L) from Saitama 1st constituency appears at a rally alongside Liberal Democratic Party president Shinzo Abe (R). Murai, a first-time candidate, won his district with 96,000 votes. November 30, 2012 (Mamoru Watanabe/Courtesy Hideki Murai, Facebook).

Charles T. McClean is a Research Associate for Japan Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

On Sunday, Japan’s citizens went to the polls and elected 294 members of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) to the national parliament.

Of the 294 LDP members, 105 are incumbents, 70 are former lawmakers, and 119 are first-time legislators. These 119 are part of a group of 184 new faces—the largest number of freshmen lawmakers to enter Japan’s Diet since 1949. Read more »

Japan’s Twenty Somethings Speak Out

by Guest Blogger for Sheila A. Smith
Buildings are silhouetted against the setting sun in front of Mount Fuji in Tokyo December 2, 2009 Buildings are silhouetted against the setting sun in front of Mount Fuji in Tokyo December 2, 2009 (Gary Hershorn/Courtesy Reuters).

This blog post is part of a series entitled Is Japan in Decline? Today, by invitation we are featuring two essays by former interns of the Japan program, Miyuki Naiki and Go Katayama, who share their perspectives on Japan’s future.

Choosing Japan’s Future by Miyuki Naiki

Japan today is struggling to keep up with a rapidly globalizing world and has been experiencing a long period of economic stagnation and political gridlock. Having been raised in post-bubble Japan, I became accustomed to hearing about my country’s economic collapse and predictions of a bleak future. I did not feel the negative effects of this decline, however, and so came to the conclusion that this “decline” would be a gradual process rather than a rapid plunge. Read more »

David Boling: What Is Japan’s Clout?

by Guest Blogger for Sheila A. Smith
Buildings are silhouetted against the setting sun in front of Mount Fuji in Tokyo December 2, 2009 Buildings are silhouetted against the setting sun in front of Mount Fuji in Tokyo December 2, 2009 (Gary Hershorn/Courtesy Reuters).

This blog post is part of a series entitled Is Japan in Decline?, in which leading experts analyze Japan’s economy, politics, and society and give their assessment of Japan’s future.

Lady Gaga’s Klout score is 93 out of 100. Many readers of Asia Unbound are probably familiar with Klout. For those who aren’t, Klout is a webpage that measures a person’s social media “clout” and assigns a numerical value to it. One can check one’s Klout score to see whether it has decreased or increased within the last seven days, thirty days, or ninety days.

My Klout score, on the other hand, is merely 49. I was told by a social media expert that a minimum score of 50 is required to be considered an “influencer”. I tried not to take it personally. Read more »