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…

Relief, surprise and ambiguity in Abe’s war apology

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe bows before reading out his statement to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Kazuhiko Togo, Kyoto Sangyo University

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s much-anticipated statement to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the Pacific War provoked relief, surprise and some ambiguity for the future. It was a relief because there had been some reports that Abe would go through with a cabinet decision to pull away from the position of the 1995 Murayama Statement, which was a clear apology to victims of Japan’s wartime aggression. That did not happen. Read more…

What does the Iran nuclear deal mean for South Asia?

Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Javad Zarif (L) is greeted by his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj prior to their meeting in New Delhi, India, 14 August 2015. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Sameer Patil, Gateway House

As reports on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreement between Iran and the P5+1 — the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China and Germany — began to trickle out from Vienna on 14 July 2015, India and Pakistan quickly put out statements welcoming the deal. The deal will have major consequences for South Asia. Indian and Pakistani policymakers realise that since they had curtailed their engagement with Iran during the sanctions period, both countries will now have to make extra efforts to benefit from the strategic and economic opportunities arising from the potential rapprochement with Iran. Read more…

Subplots in Thailand’s submarine setback

China Navy

Author: Greg Raymond, ANU

In June 2015, several announcements suggested that Thailand would acquire three Chinese submarines for 36 billion baht (US$1.03billion). But by mid-July, Thai Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon stated that the proposal would be deferred and subject to further review. Read more…

Bridging the trust deficit in Northeast Asia

People walk past the Atomic Bomb Dome beside the Peace Memorial Park at sunset in Hiroshima on 5 August 2015. Japanese Prime Minister is scheduled to make a statement commemorating WWII on 14 August. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Peter Drysdale, East Asia Forum

There has been a great deal of soul-searching about Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s statement on the anniversary of the end of the Pacific War. On 15 August 1945, Emperor Hirohito made his ‘jewel voice broadcast’ of surrender to the Allied forces, accepting the terms of the Potsdam Declaration and ending World War II in the Pacific. After 70 years, some might wonder what’s the big deal over recognising wartime history. Read more…

Japan must face history to move forward

A girl offers a prayer for A-bomb victims before lanterns placed at the Peace Memorial Park in Nagasaki, Japan's southern island of Kyushu on 8 August 2015. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Kazuhiko Togo, Kyoto Sangyo University

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is scheduled to make a statement commemorating the end of World War II on 14 August 2015 — 70 years short a day since the day Japan officially announced its acceptance of the Potsdam Declaration. Read more…