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

Hajime Funada: Will the Japanese Change Their Constitution?

by Guest Blogger for Sheila A. Smith
(Liberal Democratic Party) (Liberal Democratic Party)

This blog post is part of a series entitled Will the Japanese Change Their Constitution?, in which leading experts discuss the prospects for revising Japan’s postwar constitution.

This is the second of four essays by Japanese political leaders on constitutional revision. Hajime Funada is also a member of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) who advocates for revision. Since 1979 Funada has served eleven terms in the Lower House, representing the first district constituency of Tochigi prefecture. He served as chair of the LDP’s Headquarters for the Promotion of Revision to the Constitution (2014-2015), and played an important role in the Lower House Commission on the Constitution during the deliberations of the Abe cabinet’s new security laws. Read more »

Kazuo Aichi: Will the Japanese Change Their Constitution?

by Guest Blogger for Sheila A. Smith
(Liberal Democratic Party) (Liberal Democratic Party)

This blog post is part of a series entitled Will the Japanese Change Their Constitution?, in which leading experts discuss the prospects for revising Japan’s postwar constitution. 

The next four essays present the views of leading Japanese legislators on constitutional revision.  I invited each to share their thoughts with us, and all four graciously agreed to comment in Japanese. I have translated the essays into English for an audience largely unfamiliar with Japanese politics. For readers with greater in-depth knowledge of Japan, I have included the original Japanese-language essay as reference.

Our first reflection today is by former Lower House Member Kazuo Aichi, a long time leader of the Liberal Democratic Party’s deliberations on constitutional revision. Before he retired in 2009, Aichi served for eight terms (from 1976-2000), representing the first district constituency of Miyagi prefecture, and returned to office in 2005 for his final term. In the Diet, he served as director of the Special Research Commission on the Constitution in the Lower House. Today, he serves as secretary general of the Caucus for A New Japanese Constitution, a cross party group of legislators led by former Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone in support of constitutional revision.

Read more »

Anti-Nuclear Sentiment and Japan’s Energy Choices

by Guest Blogger for Sheila A. Smith
Japan Nuclear Fuel Limited's Rokkasho Nuclear Fuel Reprocessing Facility is pictured in Rokkasho village, Aomori prefecture, Japan, December 4, 2015 (Kentaro Hamada/REUTERS). Japan Nuclear Fuel Limited's Rokkasho Nuclear Fuel Reprocessing Facility is pictured in Rokkasho village, Aomori prefecture, Japan, December 4, 2015 (Kentaro Hamada/REUTERS).

Daniel P. Aldrich is professor of political science and public policy and co-director of Northeastern University’s Security and Resilience Studies Program. Read more »

Remembering Tohoku

by Guest Blogger for Sheila A. Smith
Takayuki Ueno, who lost his parents, daughter, and son in the March 11, 2011 tsunami, searches for missing people inside the exclusion zone in Okuma, near Tokyo Electric Power Co's  tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, on February 14, 2016 (Toru Hanai/REUTERS). Takayuki Ueno, who lost his parents, daughter, and son in the March 11, 2011 tsunami, searches for missing people inside the exclusion zone in Okuma, near Tokyo Electric Power Co's tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, on February 14, 2016 (Toru Hanai/REUTERS).

Ayumi Teraoka is research associate for Japan studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Many people across Japan observed a moment of silence at 2:46 P.M. on March 11, 2016—five years after the fourth biggest earthquake in history struck Japan’s Northeast, bringing about the “triple disaster” that included an earthquake, a tsunami, and the nuclear plant meltdown in Fukushima. Read more »

Post-Abe: Back to the Future for Japan?

by Guest Blogger for Sheila A. Smith
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (C) raises his arms as he shouts "Banzai" (or "Cheers") with his party lawmakers after he was re-elected as the head of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party on September 24, 2015 (Issei Kato/REUTERS). Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (C) raises his arms as he shouts "Banzai" (or "Cheers") with his party lawmakers after he was re-elected as the head of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party on September 24, 2015 (Issei Kato/REUTERS).

James Gannon is executive director of the Japan Center for International Exchange (JCIE)/USA, and Ryo Sahashi is associate professor at Kanagawa University and research fellow at the JCIE.

Barely three years ago, Japan watchers were wondering what it would take to break the country’s streak of short-term prime ministers—six premiers had cycled through office in six years and a total of fourteen in two decades. Then Shinzo Abe upended expectations by returning to power and projecting an aura of strong leadership. He has already become one of Japan’s longest-serving prime ministers and, in the process, racked up an impressive list of foreign policy accomplishments. In light of his success, one could assume that the problem of short-lived, weak prime ministers is a thing of the past. But a recent Japan Center for International Exchange study, Looking for Leadership, warns that Abe may be the exception rather than the rule. Post-Abe, Japan is likely to slip back into the pattern of frequent leadership changes. Read more »

What’s Next for Japan-Taiwan Relations

by Guest Blogger for Sheila A. Smith
Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson and presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (L) and vice presidential candidate Chen Chien-jen greet supporters as they take the stage during a final campaign rally ahead of the elections in Taipei, Taiwan, January 15, 2016 (REUTERS/Pichi Chuang). Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson and presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (L) and vice presidential candidate Chen Chien-jen greet supporters as they take the stage during a final campaign rally ahead of the elections in Taipei, Taiwan, January 15, 2016 (REUTERS/Pichi Chuang).

Ayumi Teraoka is research associate for Japan studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Taiwan’s presidential and Legislative Yuan elections on Saturday were closely monitored in Japan, where deep historical, cultural, and social ties with Taiwan remain. Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) released its official statement congratulating Tsai Ing-wen on her victory and assuring her that the Abe government would work toward “further deepening cooperation” with Taiwan. Japan’s strategic opportunities with Taiwan lie in further economic cooperation, and Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga’s statement of support this Monday for Taiwan’s entry into the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a step in a welcome direction for Tokyo-Taipei relations in 2016 and beyond. Read more »

Maclachlan and Shimizu: Shinzo Abe’s Tug-of-War With the Farm Lobby

by Guest Blogger for Sheila A. Smith
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe drives a rice planting machine at a a paddy field in Sendai, Miyagi prefecture. (Courtesy Kyodo/Reuters) Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe drives a rice planting machine at a a paddy field in Sendai, Miyagi prefecture. (Courtesy Kyodo/Reuters)

Last week, ministerial negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) between Japan and the United States ended abruptly after the two sides failed to reach an agreement on key sticking points, including the removal of tariffs on sensitive Japanese farm products. The failure of the talks disappointed both sides, including Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has long upheld TPP as a fundamental component of his structural reform agenda. Read more »

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 »