Japan’s long road to normalization

Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations and director of the State Department's Policy Planning Staff early in the Bush administration, has an op-ed on the occasion of Abe's visit that title of which says it all: "Asia's Overlooked Great Power." (Hat tip: Project Syndicate)Most of Haass' essay is innocuous, typical proposals about …

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The future of the Japanese RMA

The Yomiuri Shimbun reported today on the release of a report by the Japanese Defense Ministry's Technical Research and Development Institute providing a medium- to long-term technology estimate, essentially outlining the future of the Japanese variant of the revolution in military affairs.The question is, essentially, how will technology impact Japanese force structure and doctrine.I have …

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The offensive continues

Yesterday I wrote that the Abe Cabinet launched an "offensive" on the question of collective self-defense.It seems that that offensive continued today, with Prime Minister Abe meeting with Richard Armitage, former deputy secretary of state, co-chair of the groups that produced the two reports on the US-Japan alliance that bear his name (alongside Joseph Nye), …

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Postponing structural reform

Following on the heels of an announcement last week of a plan to amend Japan's rules separating banks and brokerages, the Abe Cabinet has announced, in connection with its Asia Gateway Initiative, that Japan will revise its customs rules and standards to better comply with international standards and make Japan more competitive regionally and globally.Both …

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Koizumi comparisons continue

Hanaoka Nobuaki, journalist and onetime gubernatorial candidate in Nagano, has an interesting op-ed in today's Sankei Shimbun looking at how Abe has yet to find his "Three Sacred Treasures," the equivalent of the three advisors to Koizumi who helped shape his reform agenda: Shiokawa Masajyuro, his finance minister; Takenaka Heizo, his reform guru; and Iijima …

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