Japanese should embrace activism as apology

Japanese students and scholars stage a demonstration march to protest against controversial security bills which would expand the remit of the country's armed forces, in front of the National Diet in Tokyo on 31 July 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Akiko Takenaka, University of Kentucky

15 August 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of Emperor Hirohito’s historic speech of surrender ending the Asia Pacific theatre of World War II. Speculation about what Abe will say on this year’s anniversary has been more intense than in previous years due to the prime minister’s nationalistic agenda. Read more…

China takes the lead on the silk road

China worker Sudan

Author: Paul Hubbard, ANU

China has accepted that its newfound economic clout as the world’s largest economy (in purchasing price parity terms) comes with responsibilities for economic leadership. Within two years the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank grew from a proposal put on the table by China alone to a US$100 billion multilateral agreement supported by 57 countries. Read more…

The next step for the US-Japan alliance

Japan Ground Self Defense Forces' type 92 anti-landmine missile firing while 74 tanks stand by during an exercise at the Higashi-Fuji training ground in Gotemba, some 100 kilometres west of Tokyo. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Hitoshi Tanaka, JCIE

US-Japan relations gained momentum with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s US visit in late April. Abe’s historic speech to a joint sitting of the Congress was well received. The two countries also announced the first revision of the US-Japan Defense Cooperation Guidelines since 1997, based on the understanding that the Japan Self-Defense Force (SDF) will take on a larger role and US-Japan security cooperation will be expanded. Read more…

China’s negotiation strategies at the crossroads of international trade

Chinese Minister of Commerce Dr Gao Hucheng speaks during the signing ceremony of the Free Trade Agreement between Australia and China.

Authors: He Fan, CASS, and Xiaoming Pan, SIIS

The international trading system is at a crossroads. While the Doha Round of WTO negotiations remains deadlocked, new trade rules are being called for to adjust for new realities, such as the expansion of global value chains (GVCs). This means for the first time since the establishment of the WTO in 1995, regionalism has prospered over multilateralism, with the parallel emergence of three mega-regional trade negotiation platforms. With this in mind, China must reconsider its approach to negotiating trade agreements. Read more…

The trouble with Japan’s new security bills

People shout slogans as they hold a banner during a rally to protest against controversial security bills which would expand the remit of the country's armed forces, in front of the National Diet in Tokyo on 27 July 2015. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Peter Drysdale, East Asia Forum

The debate over Japan’s new security bills, which seek to overhaul post-war defence policies, has shifted to the upper house and the streets, as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe presses on to secure their passage into legislation. On 16 July the lower house passed the package of bills in a vote that was boycotted by opposition parties as tens of thousands protested outside the Diet. Read more…

Storm brews over Japan’s new security laws

Students and scholars stage a demonstration march to protest against controversial security bills which would expand the remit of the country's armed forces, in front of the National Diet in Tokyo on 31 July 2015. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Ben Ascione, ANU

On 16 July 2015 Japan’s lower house passed a package of security related-bills in a vote that was boycotted by opposition parties as tens of thousands protested outside the Diet.

Under the Article 9 ‘peace clause’ of its post-war constitution, Japan foreswears the use of military force as a means of settling international disputes. Read more…

Japan’s defence and diplomacy heading in the wrong direction

Protesters walk towards the National Diet building in a demonstration march on 28 July 2015 against the Abe government’s controversial security bills which would expand the remit of the country's armed forces. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Arthur Stockwin, Oxford University

Japan is at a momentous turning point. On 16 July 2015 the government of Shinzo Abe used its big majority in the House of Representatives to override objections from opposition parties and pass legislation permitting collective self-defence (CSD). But this is one of several misdirected solutions following years of conservative revisionism. Read more…