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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 "Japan"

Friday Asia Update: Top Five Stories for the Week of December 27, 2013

by Guest Blogger for Elizabeth C. Economy
abe-visits-yasukuni-shrine Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe follows a Shinto priest during a visit to the Yasukuni shrine in Tokyo on December 26, 2013. Abe’s visit to the shrine for war dead has angered China and South Korea (Toru Hanai/Courtesy: Reuters).

Darcie Draudt, Will Piekos, and Sharone Tobias look at the top five stories in Asia this week.

1. Japanese prime minister pays his respects to Yasukuni Shrine. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe paid his respects at the controversial Yasukuni Shrine, which honors 2.5 million Japanese war dead, including over a dozen “Class A” war criminals. It was the first visit to the Shinto shrine by a serving prime minister since 2006, when Junichiro Koizumi went. Abe tried to play down the visit, saying it was an anti-war gesture, but Abe’s actions were widely and swiftly condemned; the Yasukuni Shrine is seen by the region as a symbol of Imperial Japanese aggression. China called the visit “absolutely unacceptable to the Chinese people”; South Korea expressed “regret and anger”; and the U.S. embassy in Tokyo said in a statement that it was “disappointed” and the prime minister’s actions would “exacerbate tensions” with Japan’s neighbors. Read more »

Friday Asia Update: Top Five Stories for the Week of December 20, 2013

by Guest Blogger for Elizabeth C. Economy
India's Deputy Consul General in New York, Devyani Khobragade, attends a Rutgers University event at India's Consulate General in New York on June 19, 2013. (Mohammed Jaffer/Courtesy Reuters) India's Deputy Consul General in New York, Devyani Khobragade, attends a Rutgers University event at India's Consulate General in New York on June 19, 2013. (Mohammed Jaffer/Courtesy Reuters)

Darcie Draudt, Will Piekos, and Sharone Tobias look at the top five stories in Asia this week.

1. Fury erupts over Indian diplomat’s arrest in New York. Anti-American protests have erupted across India after Devyani Khobragade, India’s deputy consul general in New York, was arrested for allegedly underpaying a domestic worker and lying about her wages to obtain a U.S. visa for the woman. Khobragade claimed that she paid the women $4,500 per month, but the worker in fact received less than $600 per month, or approximately $3.13 per hour in wages. Khobragade said that she was handcuffed and faced a cavity search despite her diplomatic immunity; U.S. officials countered that she received preferential treatment, was allowed to keep her mobile phone, and did not face a cavity search. India lodged a formal complaint with U.S. ambassador to India Nancy Powell, and Indian politicians have refused to meet with a congressional delegation. A senior Indian diplomat also said that the government could retaliate against gay partners of U.S. diplomats. Read more »

A New Strategy for a New Era

by Sheila A. Smith
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (4th L), flanked by Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera (5th L), reviews Japan Self-Defence Forces' (SDF) troops during the annual SDF ceremony at Asaka Base in Asaka, near Tokyo October 27, 2013 Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (4th L), flanked by Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera (5th L), reviews Japan Self-Defence Forces' (SDF) troops during the annual SDF ceremony at Asaka Base in Asaka, near Tokyo October 27, 2013 (Issei Kato/Courtesy Reuters).

Calling it a “proactive strategy for maintaining peace,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe today announced Japan’s new long-term National Security Strategy (NSS). This strategy statement is new for Japan, and represents the first comprehensive, “whole-of-government” effort to articulate the ends and means for Japan’s long-term security. While North Korea remains a serious challenge, the Abe cabinet has abandoned past hesitancy and has clearly identified China and its maritime activities as Japan’s primary security concern. Read more »

Friday Asia Update: Top Five Stories for the Week of December 13, 2013

by Guest Blogger for Elizabeth C. Economy
South Korean soldiers walk past a television showing reports on the execution of Jang Song-taek, who is North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's uncle, at a railway station in Seoul on December 13, 2013. (Kim Hong-ji/Courtesy Reuters) South Korean soldiers walk past a television showing reports on the execution of Jang Song-taek, who is North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's uncle, at a railway station in Seoul on December 13, 2013. (Kim Hong-ji/Courtesy Reuters)

Darcie Draudt, Will Piekos, and Sharone Tobias look at the top stories in Asia this week.

1. North Korea announces execution of top official. The Korean Central News Agency announced yesterday the execution of Jang Song-taek, a top North Korean official and uncle of leader Kim Jong-un. The announcement follows Jang’s highly publicized arrest, which was unprecedented in North Korea; at an enlarged meeting of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Korean Workers’ Party, Jang was charged with “anti-party, counter-revolutionary factional acts” against the “unity and cohesion of the party.” Read more »

Drawing Lines in the East China Sea

by Sheila A. Smith
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden speaks after a welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing December 4, 2013 U.S. Vice President Joe Biden speaks after a welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing December 4, 2013 (Lintao Zhang/Courtesy Reuters).

When Vice President Joe Biden originally planned his trip to Northeast Asia, the policy agenda for each of his stops differed. In Japan, the Trans-Pacific Partnership was high on his list; in Beijing, it was cementing his friendship with China’s new leader, Xi Jinping; and, in Seoul the road ahead in coping with Pyongyang seemed most important. Liz Economy does a terrific job of evaluating the vice president’s impact in China, and Scott Snyder offers his insights on how Biden managed the sensitive diplomatic moment in Seoul. Read more »

Friday Asia Update: Top Five Stories for the Week of December 6, 2013

by Guest Blogger for Elizabeth C. Economy
Chinese President Xi Jinping shakes hands with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (L) inside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on December 4, 2013. (Lintao Zhang/Courtesy Reuters) Chinese President Xi Jinping shakes hands with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (L) inside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on December 4, 2013. (Lintao Zhang/Courtesy Reuters)

Darcie Draudt, Will Piekos, and Sharone Tobias look at the top stories in Asia this week.

1. White House declares China’s East China Sea air defense zone (ADIZ) “unacceptable.” The White House called China’s new air defense zone “unacceptable” on Thursday but stopped short of calling for China to rescind the declaration. Imposed on November 23, the ADIZ means that all aircraft must report flight plans to Chinese authorities and reply promptly to identification inquiries. The United States, Japan, and South Korea have all sent military aircraft through the zone without informing Beijing since it was first imposed. U.S. vice president Joe Biden said that he had “very direct” talks about U.S. concerns over the ADIZ while meeting with Chinese president Xi Jinping this week. Read more »

Japan Moves Forward in Cyberspace

by Adam Segal
A Diet guard stands guards in front of the parliament building in Tokyo on December 26, 2012. (Yuriko Nakao/Courtesy Reuters) A Diet guard stands guards in front of the parliament building in Tokyo on December 26, 2012. (Yuriko Nakao/Courtesy Reuters)

As Rob Sheldon and Mihoko Matsubara have noted in previous guest posts, there has been a great deal of cybersecurity policy activity in Japan over the last year, both on the domestic and international fronts. In June 2013, Japan’s Information Security Policy Council released a new cybersecurity strategy. In October, the United States and Japan announced a new Cyber Defense Policy Working Group, and in the same month Japan released its first International Strategy on Cybersecurity. Read more »

China Ups the Ante in East China Sea Dispute

by Sheila A. Smith
China announces new Air Defense Identification Zone across the East China Sea November 23, 2013 (Courtesy China's Ministry of National Defense). China announces new Air Defense Identification Zone across the East China Sea November 23, 2013 (Courtesy China's Ministry of National Defense).

Over the weekend, China announced a new Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) across the East China Sea. Already at odds over their maritime boundary in the East China Sea, as well as over their sovereignty dispute over the Senkaku Islands (Diaoyu Islands for the Chinese) that sit offshore Okinawa, Beijing’s unilateral assertion of its control over the airspace above the sea will further upset the predictability of maritime relations in Northeast Asia. Coming too at a time when Beijing refuses to discuss these issues with Tokyo, China has vastly increased the unpredictability of the already growing interaction between Japanese and Chinese militaries. Read more »

A New Island Is Born…

by Sheila A. Smith
Smoke from an erupting undersea volcano forms a new island off the coast of Nishinoshima (top L), a small uninhabited island, in the southern Ogasawara chain of islands in this November 21, 2013 Smoke from an erupting undersea volcano forms a new island off the coast of Nishinoshima, a small uninhabited island, in the southern Ogasawara chain of islands in this November 21, 2013 (Kyodo/Courtesy Reuters)>

Japan witnessed the arrival of a new island with a volcanic eruption near Nishinoshima in the Bonin group of islands 600 miles south of Tokyo. In just one day, the land mass grew approximately 100 square meters.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga beamed from ear to ear at his daily press conference, exclaiming “If it becomes a full-fledged island, we would be happy to have more territory!” I wonder if it will extend Japan’s EEZ? Read more »

Ambassador Caroline Kennedy

by Sheila A. Smith
Newly appointed U.S. ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy (L) is escorted by protocol chief Nobutake Odano as she arrives at the Imperial Palace by horse-drawn carriage in Tokyo, November 19, 2013 Newly appointed U.S. ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy is escorted by protocol chief Nobutake Odano as she arrives at the Imperial Palace by horse-drawn carriage in Tokyo, November 19, 2013 (Issei Kato/Courtesy Reuters).

There are times when pictures speak louder than words. An aura of the past surrounded the procession that bore U.S. ambassador Caroline Kennedy to the Imperial Palace to present her credentials to his majesty, Emperor Akihito. All ambassadors sent to Japan go through this ceremony, but the choice of an antique carriage and entourage replete with an Imperial footman on a white horse could not have suited Ambassador Kennedy better. The daughter of former U.S. president John F. Kennedy, the ambassador is the first woman appointed to lead the U.S. diplomatic mission to Japan. Crowds of Japanese lined the streets outside the palace to wave flags and snap photos. From inside the carriage, she smiled and waved warmly as if this was an everyday occurrence, and at her press conference after meeting the Emperor, she said simply, “I’m honored to represent my country.” Read more »