Will size matter in Japan’s upper house election?

LDP candidate Junko Mihara, and LDP leader and Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe, raise joined hands during a campaign event for July’s House of Councillors elections outside Sakuragicho Station on 27 June 2016. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Purnendra Jain, University of Adelaide

The 2016 triennial House of Councillors or upper house election is set to test Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s policy and popularity. Although the House of Councillors is less powerful than the House of Representatives, past prime ministers have been forced to resign after poor electoral results in the upper house. Read more…

Three more arrows to revive the Japanese economy

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shakes hands with supporters after he delivered a campaign speech ahead of the 10 July upper house election. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Shiro Armstrong, ANU

Prime Minister Abe is attempting to revitalise the Japanese economy after two decades of stagnant growth. In December 2012 he launched the reform program that became known as Abenomics, consisting of monetary policy aimed at reflating the economy, flexible fiscal policy with medium-term fiscal consolidation and structural reform. Read more…

Making the most of Japan’s tourism boom

Author: Yoko Konishi, RIETI

Japan registered a travel surplus of about US$10.6 billion in 2015, suggesting its growing competitiveness as an exporter of tourism. According to the Japan National Tourism Organisation (JNTO), the number of inbound tourists increased by 47.1 per cent to 19.7 million in 2015 Read more…

Can Japan’s opposition parties compete?

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe high-fives people in Nara on 10 June 2016 after making a speech for the 10 July House of Councillors election. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Corey Wallace, Free University of Berlin

On 10 July, Japan will hold its upper house elections with half of its seats to be contested. This will be the first time that 18 and 19 year-old citizens will be able to cast a vote in a national election. Read more…

Public-private cooperation needed to boost Japanese HA/DR

High school students participate in a ‘Security Camp’ conducted in Nankoku, Kochi Prefecture, Japan, to discover and nurture cybersecurity specialists, 27 June 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Takashi Kawamoto, Keio Research Institute

Humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA/DR) are on the rise as new forms of security cooperation in the Asia Pacific. Read more…

Lessons in managing disasters from Kumamoto

Collapsed houses and damaged cars, one month after series of devastating earthquakes that struck eastern Kumamoto suburb of Mashiki and neighbouring areas on 14 April and 16 April, 2016. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Hitomi Nakanishi, UC

On the night of 14 April 2016, five years after the devastating 3/11 triple disaster, a magnitude 6.5 earthquake struck the Kumamoto region on the Japanese island of Kyushu. It was caused by a vertical strike-slip fault that runs underneath the area — a vertical rupture where, during an earthquake, two blocks of rock strata slide past each other. The earthquake, initially announced as a main shock, caused 9 deaths and at least 765 injuries. Read more…

Strategic partnerships: helping or hindering security?

The Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force have brought two Asagiri class destroyers and a Soryu class submarine to Australia and will take part in the bilateral Exercise Nichi Gou Trident with the Royal Australian Navy until 26 April 2016. (Photo: AAP).

Authors: H. D. P. Envall, ANU, and Ian Hall, Griffith University

Strategic partnerships are becoming central to the management of international security in the Asia-Pacific region. All the major powers and many of the minor ones have entered into multiple partnerships with both friends and potential strategic rivals. China, for instance, has cultivated close to 50 strategic partnerships across the region and beyond, with nations as diverse as Afghanistan, Australia and India. By contrast, India has about 20 or so partnerships and Japan around 10.

Read more…