Revitalising Japan’s security policy: Between pacifism and the modern world

Japanese soldiers carry an injured non-combatant during the annual multinational military exercise, Cobra Gold, at a military base in Thailand on 15 February 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Hitoshi Tanaka, JCIE

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. Such milestones offer an opportunity to reflect on the progress made and the steps needed to ensure that such tragic events are never repeated. Read more…

Revitalising sluggish FDI in Japan

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attends a meeting of Cabinet ministers in charge of the government's monthly economic report in Tokyo on 19 February 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Shujiro Urata, Waseda University

Japan’s inward foreign direct investment (FDI) is extremely low compared with that of other developed countries and even its Asian neighbours.

In 2013, the ratio of Japan’s inward FDI stock to its GDP was 3.5 per cent, the lowest among developed countries and far below the global average of 34.1 per cent. The US and Germany for instance have ratios seven to eight times higher than Japan, while China and South Korea have ratios three to four times that of Japan’s. Read more…

Hostage crisis tests Japan’s Middle East policy

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (C) leaves after the opening of the ordinary Diet session at the Parliament in Tokyo, Japan, 26 January 2015

Author: Emily S. Chen, Stanford

The recent Japanese hostage crisis has divided public opinion on its dealings in the Middle East. On 20 January, the extremist organisation Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) released an online video showing two Japanese men kneeling in orange jumpsuits beside a masked man who demanded that Japan pay a US$200 million ransom within three days. The sum was no coincidence. Read more…

What the TPP portends for Japan–Australia agricultural trade

Akira Amari, Japan's minister in charge of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade negotiations, attends a meeting of trade chiefs from 12 countries involved in the negotiations in Sydney on 25 October 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Aurelia George Mulgan, UNSW Canberra

Australia’s farmers, particularly beef producers, may have celebrated too early when the Japan–Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (JAEPA) took effect on 15 January 2015. The deal may be gazumped by another that is taking shape between Japan and the United States in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations. Read more…

Abe’s Middle Eastern ambition

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe gestures as he speaks at a press conference in Jerusalem during a recent tour of the Middle East, 20 January 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Kai Schulze, HUJI

After his victory in the December 2014 elections, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has pledged to turn Japan into ‘one of the greatest powers in the world’ by implementing the new foreign policy approach of ‘proactive pacifism’. Abe is seeking to foster Japanese international engagement, which will increasingly reach beyond the regional boundaries of the Asia-Pacific. Read more…

Why Japan should sell assets and spend big on research


Authors: Robert Alan Feldman, Takeshi Yamaguchi and Shoki Omori, Morgan Stanley

The debate on fiscal reform in Japan has been heating up. The working assumption so far has been that tax hikes will be sufficient to solve the fiscal problem. Fortunately the fiscal debate has now gone beyond this innocent simplicity and spending control is finally on the agenda. Read more…

Will Abe champion democracy and human rights in Asia?


Author: André Asplund, EIJS

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe seems to be interested in breaking with traditional Japanese diplomacy by emphasising the need to strengthen democracy and human rights in ASEAN. But will Abe be able to promote the strengthening of these values over strategic cooperation? Read more…