Is Abe’s womenomics working?

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe poses with his new female Cabinet Ministers (clockwise), Yuko Obuchi, minister of economy, trade and industry, Haruko Arimura, minister in charge of supporting women's empowerment, Midori Matsushima, minister of justice, Eriko Yamatani, chair of the National Public Safety Commission and minister in charge of the abduction issue, and Sanae Takaichi, minister of internal affairs and communications, in Tokyo on 3 September 2014. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Helen Macnaughtan, University of London

In September 2013 Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged to create a society in which ‘all women can shine’. Abe acknowledged that women had long been an underutilised resource in the Japanese economy. He promised to boost female labour participation rates, increase the presence of women in corporate board rooms and improve gender equality. Two years on, is womenomics working in Japan? Read more…

Will regional tensions shift the deadlock on Okinawa’s military bases?

The Okinawa prefectural assembly adopts a resolution on 19 August 2015, calling for the consolidation and scaling down of US military bases. (Photo: AAP).

Authors: H.D.P. Envall and Kerri Ng, ANU

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe may be close to achieving one long-pursued goal, the relocation of the controversial Futenma airbase in Okinawa. This has been a perpetual sore in the US‒Japan alliance. But recent international trends may be reshaping Okinawa’s base politics and pushing the two allies closer to carrying out the Futenma relocation. Read more…

How to normalise Sino–Japanese defence relations

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and China's President Xi Jinping in Beijing in November 2014, at that time the first leaders' meeting in more than two years. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Tomohiko Satake, NIDS

Tensions between Japan and China in recent years have led many to argue that Sino–Japanese relations have entered a period of enduring rivalry, and that a Sino–Japanese military conflict is likely in the near future. But, looking back over post-war history, the current state of relations is rather exceptional. Read more…

Something for everyone in Abe’s WWII statement

there is something for everyone in Abe's WWII speech, even if some will not find enough within it to be satisfied. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Richard J. Samuels, MIT

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s carefully crafted statement marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II will leave some wanting. Still, it exceeds the expectations of those who doubted Prime Minister Abe’s ability or willingness to transcend pragmatically his revisionist base, and it attempts, appropriately, to speak to a broader domestic and international audience. Read more…

Abe’s history report fails Japan–ROK relations

South Korean protesters and North Korean defectors shout slogans during a rally denouncing Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's statement to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, near the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, South Korea, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Richard Samuels, MIT

Many have correctly objected to the potted history depicted in the front end of the Abe statement. But it seems that Abe was licensed in a sense by the report his expert advisory council issued on 6 August. Would they or would they not label Japanese behaviour as ‘aggression’? It had been leaked that they would, and they did — with a caveat.

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Abe treads a fine line on WWII

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe makes his speech during the memorial service at Nippon Budokan Hall in Tokyo, Japan, 15 August 2015. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Gerry Curtis, Columbia University

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s statement commemorating the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II probably satisfies no constituency — not his right wing base, not the political opposition, not the Chinese nor the Koreans. If the US government has any qualms about it, it is keeping them to itself. Read more…

Abe’s WWII balancing act

Chinese newspapers report on Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's statement to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II in their 15 August 2015 editions. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Amy King, ANU

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has marked the 70th anniversary of Japan’s World War II surrender with a statement that simultaneously tried to meet the expectations of conservatives in Japan and the expectations of Japan’s Asian neighbours. There was a risk that, in attempting to satisfy the demands of such different constituencies, Abe would fail to meet any of them. Read more…