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Showing posts for "U.S.-Japan Relations"

Okinawa and Tokyo Today

by Sheila A. Smith
Governor of Okinawa Hirokazu Nakaima (Issei Kato/courtesy Reuters) Governor of Okinawa Hirokazu Nakaima (Issei Kato/courtesy Reuters)

My visit to Okinawa two weeks ago provided the opportunity to think about what has happened there over the past seventeen years, as the U.S. and Japanese governments have struggled to find a replacement facility for the Futenma Marine Air Station. Yet is it also important to recognize that national politics have changed considerably over this time, as have regional security dynamics. Today, the government in Okinawa faces new decisions, with as yet uncertain consequences for the effort to close Futenma. Read more »

Abe Reassures After Election Victory

by Sheila A. Smith
Japan's prime minister Shinzo Abe (L), who is also the leader of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), puts a rosette on a name of a candidate, next to the party secretary-general Shigeru Ishiba, at the party headquarters in Tokyo July 21, 2013. Abe's ruling bloc won a decisive victory in an upper house election on Sunday, cementing his grip on power and setting the stage for Japan's first stable government since the charismatic Junichiro Koizumi left office in 2006. (Issei Kato/courtesy Reuters) Japan's prime minister Shinzo Abe (L), who is also the leader of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), puts a rosette on a name of a candidate, next to the party secretary-general Shigeru Ishiba, at the party headquarters in Tokyo July 21, 2013. Abe's ruling bloc won a decisive victory in an upper house election on Sunday, cementing his grip on power and setting the stage for Japan's first stable government since the charismatic Junichiro Koizumi left office in 2006. (Issei Kato/courtesy Reuters)

As expected, Japan’s ruling coalition won a majority in Sunday’s Upper House election, earning majority control of both houses of parliament for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The standoff between Upper and Lower Houses that began in 2007—what became known as the “twisted Diet”—is over. The question now is what the Abe cabinet will do with this legislative majority, and what priorities he will bring to Japanese governance over the next three years. Read more »

Okinawa, Then and Now

by Sheila A. Smith
Citizen protest signs decorate the fence that borders U.S. Marine base Camp Schwab, where the U.S. and Japanese governments hope to build a new runway. Signs include protests against the Osprey and also ask for protection of the endangered manatee habitat. July 10, 2013 (Sheila Smith) Citizen protest signs decorate the fence that borders U.S. Marine base Camp Schwab, where the U.S. and Japanese governments hope to build a new runway. Signs include protests against the Osprey and also ask for protection of the endangered manatee habitat. July 10, 2013 (Sheila Smith)

For seventeen years, the U.S. and Japanese governments have sought to relocate the U.S. Marines from a heavily congested municipality to a more remote, rural one in northern Okinawa. Futenma Marine Air Station, however, remains open, and the prospects for relocation seem as unfathomable as ever. This past week, I revisited Okinawa, and these are my impressions of what has changed over the many years since I first came here to do research on the base protest movement in the late 1990s. Read more »

Friday Asia Update: Top Five Stories for the Week of June 14, 2013

by Guest Blogger for Elizabeth C. Economy
Protesters supporting Edward Snowden, a contractor at the National Security Agency (NSA), chant slogans as they march to the U.S. Consulate in Hong Kong on June 13, 2013. (Bobby Yip/Courtesy Reuters) Protesters supporting Edward Snowden, a contractor at the National Security Agency (NSA), chant slogans as they march to the U.S. Consulate in Hong Kong on June 13, 2013. (Bobby Yip/Courtesy Reuters)

Sharone Tobias and Will Piekos look at the top five stories in Asia this week. There will be no Friday Asia Update next week, June 21st. 

1. Leaked NSA information could hurt U.S.-China ties; Snowden makes it to Hong Kong. Edward Snowden, a twenty-nine year-old Booz Allen Hamilton employee and contractor with the National Security Agency (NSA), fled to Hong Kong shortly before leaking information about a secretive NSA program called Prism. From Hong Kong, Snowden told Hong Kong newspaper South China Morning Post that the U.S. government has been hacking into computers in Hong Kong and mainland China for years. Read more »

Mihoko Matsubara: A Roadmap for U.S.-Japan Cybersecurity Cooperation

by Guest Blogger for Adam Segal
U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Martin Dempsey (centre R) stands below flags of Japan (L) and the U.S. as he talks to U.S. military personnel stationed at Yokota Air Base in Tokyo on April 25, 2013. (Courtesy Reuters/Yuya Shino) U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Martin Dempsey (centre R) stands below flags of Japan (L) and the U.S. as he talks to U.S. military personnel stationed at Yokota Air Base in Tokyo on April 25, 2013. (Courtesy Reuters/Yuya Shino)

This is a blog post by Mihoko Matsubara, a cybersecurity analyst and adjunct fellow at the Pacific Forum Center for Strategic and International Studies in Honolulu, Hawaii. 

On May 9-10, 2013, American and Japanese governments held the first U.S.-Japan Cyber Dialogue in Tokyo. This meeting comes nineteen months after the two sides met in September 2011, for the first working-level dialogue on cybersecurity. These meetings have set a good foundation for cooperation, but they must be followed by concrete steps if Tokyo and Washington truly want to make cybersecurity a cornerstone of the U.S.-Japan relationship. Read more »

Secretary Kerry’s First Visit to Northeast Asia: Rolling the North Korea Stone Back Up the Hill

by Scott A. Snyder
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (C) walks with U.S. Ambasador to South Korea Sung Y. Kim (L) and deputy director general of South Korea's Foreign Ministry Moon Seoung-hyun upon his arrival at a military airport in Seongnam, south of Seoul, April 12, 2013. Kerry begins a three-day visit to Seoul, Beijing and Tokyo as U.S. and South Korean officials say the nuclear-armed North appears poised to test a medium-range missile after weeks of threatening statements. (Kim Hong-ji/courtesy Reuters) U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (C) walks with U.S. Ambasador to South Korea Sung Y. Kim (L) and deputy director general of South Korea's Foreign Ministry Moon Seoung-hyun upon his arrival at a military airport in Seongnam, south of Seoul, April 12, 2013. Kerry begins a three-day visit to Seoul, Beijing and Tokyo as U.S. and South Korean officials say the nuclear-armed North appears poised to test a medium-range missile after weeks of threatening statements. (Kim Hong-ji/courtesy Reuters)

Secretary of State John Kerry’s first visit to Northeast Asia came against the backdrop of increasing tensions stoked by North Korean evacuation announcements and missile-launch threats.  His meetings with new leaders Park Geun-hye, Xi Jinping, and Abe Shinzo succeeded in changing the tone of the conversation about North Korea from a military to a diplomatic focus and to strengthen  diplomatic consultation processes with new administrations in South Korea and China, but it remains to be seen whether there will be substantive shifts in the respective policies of the various governments. Read more »

Japan Prepares for Pyongyang’s Worst

by Sheila A. Smith
Members of the Japan Self-Defence Forces stand guard near Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) land-to-air missiles, deployed at the Defense Ministry in Tokyo December 7, 2012 Members of the Japan Self-Defence Forces stand guard near Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) land-to-air missiles, deployed at the Defense Ministry in Tokyo December 7, 2012 (Issei Kato/Courtesy Reuters).

Tokyo has thus far kept a low profile as Seoul and Washington responded to the steady stream of threats emanating from Pyongyang. Today, however, as governments around the region prepare for a likely missile launch, and perhaps even another nuclear test, the Abe cabinet announced serious preparations to defend Japan against possible attack. Read more »

Post-Summit Decisions for Prime Minister Abe

by Sheila A. Smith
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe participates in a media conference at a Washington hotel, February 22, 2013 Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe participates in a media conference at a Washington hotel during his visit to meet with President Barack Obama February 22, 2013 (Jason Reed/Courtesy Reuters).

Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, returned to Tokyo this weekend after his first summit meeting in Washington with President Barack Obama. Post-summit, Abe faces two important economic decisions. The first is his nomination for the next governor of the Bank of Japan (BOJ). The second is whether Japan’s prime minister will urge his party onwards to participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). To succeed, Abe now has to confront some political hurdles at home. Read more »

Presidential Inbox: U.S. Policy in Northeast Asia

by Sheila A. Smith
U.S. President Barack Obama attends the East Asia Summit plenary session in Phnom Penh alongside then Japanese prime minister Yoshihiko Noda and Chinese premier Wen Jiabao U.S. President Barack Obama attends the East Asia Summit plenary session in Phnom Penh alongside then Japanese prime minister Yoshihiko Noda and Chinese premier Wen Jiabao November 20, 2012 (Jason Reed/Courtesy Reuters).

President Obama,

As you consider America’s foreign policy challenges, I would urge you to pay particular attention to Northeast Asia. I believe U.S. policy will be tested in this part of Asia, and that our maritime commitments in particular will require clear and committed action. There are leadership transitions there too that deserve some of your personal engagement in building trust.

Let me suggest three areas where I think significant policy attention is warranted. Read more »

Mihoko Matsubara: What the LDP Victory Means for Japan’s Cybersecurity Policy

by Guest Blogger for Adam Segal
Japan's conservative Liberal Democratic Party's (LDP) leader and next Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attends a news conference at the LDP headquarters in Tokyo December 17, 2012. Japan's conservative Liberal Democratic Party's (LDP) leader and next Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attends a news conference at the LDP headquarters in Tokyo, December 17, 2012 (Toru Hanai/Courtesy Reuters).

Mihoko Matsubara is a cybersecurity analyst and a nonresident Sasakawa Peace Foundation fellow at Pacific Forum CSIS, Honolulu, Hawaii. The views expressed here are her own. 

The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) won a majority in the lower house election on December 16. This victory will make it easier for the next administration to reinforce cybersecurity as part of national security and improve technologies to deal with cyber attacks. Yet this will not be sufficient, and the new government must also enhance nontechnical aspects of cybersecurity policy, including international cooperation. Read more »