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  • Political convulsions in Japanese politics

    Since the early 1950s, two factors have remained constant in Japan - the political domination of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and the continuation of the Japan-US security alliance. The first factor is expected to undergo a change as the LDP is likely to give way to the opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) in the forthcoming elections for the lower House. Given this prospective political change, one might see a perceptible shift in Japan’s foreign policy, particularly its relationship with the US.

    August 03, 2009

    Will Japan go Nuclear?

    Event: 
    Fellows' Seminar
    July 31, 2009
    Time: 
    1030 to 1300 hrs

    F-22 Raptor : Economics versus Technology

    The US Department of Defence has been contemplating whether to lift the ban on F-22 exports, the fifth generation stealth aircraft. This would mean that many of the US allies namely Japan, Israel and others might become interested in procuring the aircraft. For Japan it would provide much needed air superiority to the Japanese Air Force concerned at North Korean long range missiles and nuclear capabilities (even though the US has stationed a dozen F-22s at Kadena air base in Japan since May 2009). Israel would like to get the aircraft to launch any pre-emptive strike on Iran.

    July 13, 2009

    Japanese Vulnerabilities increases following North Korea’s actions

    The delicately maintained fragile peace in Northeast Asia received a severe jolt when North Korea conducted an underground nuclear test on May 25, 2009, followed by the test launch of four short-range missiles. Earlier on April 5, North Korea had launched a long-range rocket, which drew condemnation from the UN Security Council (UNSC) in the form of a strong presidential statement.

    June 23, 2009

    Sino-Japanese relations warming up following Aso’s Beijing Sojourn

    On the invitation of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso paid an official visit to China on April 29-30. This was Aso’s first official visit to China since he took office in September 2008. Aso’s visit is significant in more than one way. Being the first between leaders of the two countries in 2009, it was important as it came after a number of exchanges of high level visits in 2008. Aso’s visit was expected to advance China-Japan strategic relations further.

    May 22, 2009

    North Korea continues to defy the world

    True to its planned schedule, North Korea defied warnings from the international community on 5 April 2009, launching a rocket capable of reaching Alaska and Hawaii. As was expected, it stirred a chorus of worldwide criticism. Yet, the emergency meeting of the United National Security Council convened for the specific purpose of debating the North Korean issue remained deadlocked. China armed with veto power remained inflexible in its position and called for “calm and restraint” from the international community in an effort to “safeguard peace and stability of the region”.

    April 13, 2009

    Japan’s Response to Sea Piracy

    In its efforts to check the piracy menace, Japan deployed two Maritime Self Defense Force (MSDF) destroyers - Sazanami and Samidare - on March 14, 2009 in the Gulf of Aden, off the coast of Somalia, on a four-month long anti-piracy mission. Japanese law mandates that that the destroyers can only escort Japanese merchant ships through this piracy-prone area without the authority to use weapons. 2,595 Japan-linked commercial ships have already registered their requests to be escorted.

    March 30, 2009

    Volatility in Japanese Politics Intensifies following fundraising Scandal

    Ichiro Ozawa, leader of the opposition Democratic Party of Japan and projected to be the man most likely to become Japan’s next prime minister, has become dangerously entangled in an illegal political funds investigation. The resulting damage to the DPJ appears to be severe. It was believed to have had a strong chance to win the coming general elections, scheduled anytime before September 2009. The scandal has injected a new dimension to the already volatile political situation that has evolved in Japan since 1992, when the Liberal Democratic Party lost power for the first time.

    March 18, 2009

    Obama’s New Engagement Policy Towards Japan

    US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s recent four-stop swing through Asia – Japan, Indonesia, South Korea and China – in her first tour as Secretary of State represented a strong new beginning for America’s Asia diplomacy. Relations between the US and China and the US and Japan at the moment are free of any acrimony and generally good. However, the recent global economic meltdown has affected the major Asian economies such as Japan and China to some extent given their heavy dependence for exports on the American market.

    March 09, 2009

    Obama’s Likely Policy Towards North East Asia

    Expectations are high in Japan, both in the general public and amongst the elite, after Democrat Barack Obama’s ascendancy to the American Presidency. Japan was clearly uncomfortable with Republican Bush administration’s pursuit of a unilateralist foreign policy as against Obama’s more pronounced multilateral approach. According to Professor Kenji Takita of Chuo University, multilateralism is closely associated with smart power and therefore Obama’s shift towards multilateralism is likely to undo some of the damage that the Bush administration’s unilateralism has done to American standing.

    January 29, 2009

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