How contact and English proficiency can help Japan’s immigration policy

his photograph taken on 27 September 2013 shows shoppers walking past displays offering clothing on sale in Tokyo's Harajuku shopping district. (Photo: AAP)

Authors: David Green and Yoshihiko Kadoya, Nagoya University

With the foreign population in Japan expected to grow in the future, policymakers have an interest in promoting a more positive view of immigration. Current public opinion toward immigration in Japan, like in much of the rest of the world, is generally negative. But recent public opinion data shows that individuals who are more likely to come in contact with foreigners or who self-assess as being of high English speaking proficiency are more supportive of increases in immigration. Read more…

The perils of legislating Abe’s collective self-defence

People protest against Shinzo Abe's defence policy change outside the Japanese prime minister's official residence in Tokyo, 1 July 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: J. Patrick Boyd, Waseda University

On 1 July 2014, the cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe issued a decision reinterpreting the Japanese constitution’s Article 9 ‘peace clause’ to allow the country to exercise collective self-defence — the right to use force to aid an ally under attack. Read more…

Japan should influence the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank from within

A businessman passes before a share prices board in Tokyo on 24 February 2015. (Photo: AAP)

Authors: Tomoo Kikuchi and Takehiro Masutomo, NUS

Japan should seriously consider joining the new China-led Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), regardless of the scheme’s detractors within the country.

The AIIB was first proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013. Beijing signed up 21 founding member nations in October 2014. Read more…

The Abe push behind the Australian sub deal

Australia's Defence Minister David Johnston and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop pose for photos with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo, 11 June 2014. Japan and Australia are considering a submarine deal, as Abe pushes to give his country a more assertive global military role. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Aurelia George Mulgan, UNSW Canberra

In July 2014, the Abe government adopted the ‘Three Principles on Transfer of Defense Equipment and Technology’, which approved Japanese weapons exports as long as certain conditions are met. Read more…

Scandal threatens Abe and Japan’s political stability

Newly appointed Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi attends a budget committee session of the House of Representatives at Parliament in Tokyo on 25 February 2015. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Brad Glosserman, Pacific Forum CSIS

The greatest threat to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his ambitious agenda is political instability in Tokyo. The spectre of such instability is re-emerging after a remarkable period of quiet as cabinet ministers in Abe’s government are being tarred with political funding scandals. Read more…

Rebuilding trust after the Fukushima disaster

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe bows to Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko in front of the altar for the victims of the 11 March 2011 earthquake and tsunami at the national memorial service in Tokyo, Japan, 11 March 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Peter Drysdale, East Asia Forum

This week is the fourth anniversary of Japan’s disastrous Tohoku earthquake and the massive tidal wave that fractured the ageing Fukushima nuclear power facilities, leading to a shutdown of Japan’s 48 nuclear power plants on top of the six decommissioned at Fukushima.  Read more…

Japan’s contaminated Fukushima debate four years on

Workers wearing protective suits construct tanks to store contaminated water at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. Sensors of the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) have detected a new leak of highly radioactive water, 23 February 2015. The firm has continued to decommission the crippled plant. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Tatsujiro Suzuki, Nagasaki University

On 24 February 2015, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) issued a press release saying that the source of high radiation levels in one of its drains came from a puddle of rainwater that had accumulated on the rooftop of Unit 2 at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. Read more…