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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Criticize the media, but don’t let up on the pols

Ampotman directs another post against the media -- this time the Wall Street Journal -- for being unfair to Japanese prime ministers, this time Abe's august predecessors from the revolving-door nineties.Now, I don't disagree with his main point: the Western media's lack of attention to what happens in Japan is shockingly bad, with the possible …

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The beginning of a trend?

Yomiuri reported today that exit polling from Sunday's by-elections in Fukushima and Okinawa suggests showed a pronounced tendency among independents to vote for the DPJ candidates.In Okinawa, 55% of independents voted for Karimata Yoshimasa, the candidate backed by the DPJ and three other opposition parties, while 36% supported Shimajiri Aiko, backed by the LDP and …

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Japan’s unchanging defense budget

Courtesy of Japan Probe, I came across this summary of Abe's interview with the Wall Street Journal, which seems to have focused more on defense matters than the Washington Post/Newsweek interview.Abe apparently told the WSJ that Japan does not plan to raise its defense spending to match China's growing defense expenditures, which, the article reports, …

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