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Asia Unbound

CFR experts give their take on the cutting-edge issues emerging in Asia today.

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Showing posts for "Sheila A. Smith"

Looking Ahead in Asia, With Our Allies

by Sheila A. Smith
United States Navy Admiral Scott Swift greets Japan Maritime Defense Force Rear Admiral Koji Manabe before a press conference at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam about the multi-national military exercise RIMPAC in Honolulu, Hawaii, July 5, 2016 (Hugh Gentry/REUTERS). United States Navy Admiral Scott Swift greets Japan Maritime Defense Force Rear Admiral Koji Manabe before a press conference at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam about the multi-national military exercise RIMPAC in Honolulu, Hawaii, July 5, 2016 (Hugh Gentry/REUTERS).

The United States will face a variety of challenges ahead in the Asia-Pacific. It will need diplomatic supporters, economic partners, and military allies. Japan and our Asian allies are all of these, and more.

Today’s Asia is complex, but tomorrow’s Asia will be fraught if the United States fails to look ahead. It will be vital for the Trump administration to consider the longer game, aiming for a vision of Asia that in the end serves U.S. interests. Read more »

Abe’s Trump Test

by Sheila A. Smith
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (R) meets with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York, U.S., November 17, 2016 (CABINET PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICE). Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (R) meets with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York, U.S., November 17, 2016 (CABINET PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICE).

Like many around the globe, Japanese are stunned by the election outcome and worried about what this means for the United States’ role in the world. Of particular concern, of course, are the comments Candidate Donald J. Trump made on the campaign trail about Japan, about trade, and about U.S. alliances. But what matters now is what President-elect Trump will do to reassure Tokyo that he values the U.S.-Japan strategic partnership. Read more »

The Wishes of the Heisei Emperor

by Sheila A. Smith
Japan's Emperor Akihito (2nd R) and Empress Michiko (R) talk with evacuees from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, at Tokyo Budoh-kan, currently an evacuation shelter, in Tokyo, March 30, 2011 ( Issei Kato/Reuters). Japan's Emperor Akihito (2nd R) and Empress Michiko (R) talk with evacuees from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, at Tokyo Budoh-kan, currently an evacuation shelter, in Tokyo, March 30, 2011 ( Issei Kato/Reuters).

On Monday, in a ten-minute video, Japan’s emperor spoke directly to his people, asking them to allow him to give up the throne prior to his death. In the closed world of Japan’s imperial family, where the Imperial Household Agency largely manages and represents the family’s affairs, Akihito’s decision to challenge precedent seems striking. Yet he also spoke directly to the Japanese people. Now in his eighty-second year, Emperor Akihito has sat on the throne for twenty-seven years, assuming his position upon the death of his father, Emperor Hirohito, and ushering in a new era in Japan’s history. His reign is called Heisei—roughly translated as an era where peace can be realized—and yet the Heisei years have been full of change—and challenge—for the Japanese people. Read more »

Early Postwar Attitudes on Constitutional Revision

by Sheila A. Smith and Guest Blogger for Sheila A. Smith
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This blog post is co-authored with Ayumi Teraoka, research associate for Japan studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and 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. Read more »

Japanese Public Opinion on Constitutional Revision

by Sheila A. Smith
A girl looks on as her mother casts her ballot for Japan's upper house election at a polling station in Tokyo, Japan July 10, 2016 (Issei Kato/REUTERS). A girl looks on as her mother casts her ballot for Japan's upper house election at a polling station in Tokyo, Japan July 10, 2016 (Issei Kato/REUTERS).

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. Read more »

Voters Give Abe an Opening for Constitutional Debate

by Sheila A. Smith
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (2nd L), who is also leader of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), smiles with LDP policy chief Tomomi Inada (R), Secretary-General Sadakazu Tanigaki (2nd R) and Vice-President Masahiko Komura as they put a rosette on the name of a candidate who is expected to win the upper house election (REUTERS/Toru Hanai). Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (2nd L), who is also leader of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), smiles with LDP policy chief Tomomi Inada (R), Secretary-General Sadakazu Tanigaki (2nd R) and Vice-President Masahiko Komura as they put a rosette on the name of a candidate who is expected to win the upper house election (REUTERS/Toru Hanai).

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

A Personal Reflection on Today in Hiroshima

by Sheila A. Smith
President Barack Obama, flanked by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, talks with atomic bomb survivor Sunao Tsuboi (Toru Hanai/REUTERS). President Barack Obama, flanked by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, talks with atomic bomb survivor Sunao Tsuboi (Toru Hanai/REUTERS).

I woke up early this morning, before 4 a.m. in fact, to head to NPR to be live when President Barack Obama spoke in Hiroshima. As I drove across a dark and quiet Washington, DC, the president was already beginning what has to be his most moving speech to date. As my city was waking up, the entire Japanese nation was listening to our president, the first sitting U.S. president to visit the site of the atomic bombings. If you have not heard it, you should take a moment to read it here. Read more »

A Trilateral on the Mend

by Sheila A. Smith
U.S. President Barack Obama stands behind as South Korean President Park Geun-Hye (L) and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shake hands at the end of their trilateral meeting at the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington March 31, 2016 (KEVIN LAMARQUE/REUTERS). U.S. President Barack Obama stands behind as South Korean President Park Geun-Hye (L) and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shake hands at the end of their trilateral meeting at the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington March 31, 2016 (KEVIN LAMARQUE/REUTERS).

For the second time, President Barack Obama brought together President Park Geun-hye and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for a trilateral summit on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit. The first time in 2014 the president was facilitating a meeting the two leaders could not have on their own, but last week the improving relations between Seoul and Tokyo were obvious. While the United States has facilitated some of these improvements, ultimately it is North Korea and its provocations that brought the two U.S. allies back to the table. Whether the future of this trilateral can be bolder and more resilient remains to be seen. Read more »

Abe Focuses on Japan’s “Lessons Learned”

by Sheila A. Smith
People watch Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on a screen as he gives a statement in Tokyo August 14, 2015 (Thomas Peter/Reuters). People watch Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on a screen as he gives a statement in Tokyo August 14, 2015 (Thomas Peter/Reuters).

Prime Minister Abe Shinzo today presented his statement on the seventieth anniversary of the end of World War II (WWII). Much anticipated and debated, this Abe Statement included the language of statements made on the fiftieth and sixtieth anniversaries by former prime ministers Murayama Tomiichi and Koizumi Junichiro. But Abe took a different tack from his predecessors, identifying the lessons of that war and defeat, and articulating their link to Japan’s current and future ambitions. Read more »