Is constitution revision actually possible?

Last week, the Sankei Shimbun reported that, in the face of mounting public opposition, the LDP would in fact not put revising Article 96 of the constitution at the heart of its upper house campaign strategy. (Naturally, the next day Sankei published an editorial arguing that the LDP should make revising Article 96 central to the campaign …

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The power of positive thinking?

Prime Minister Abe Shinzō Abe spoke with Jonathan Tepperman, managing editor of Foreign Affairs this month in an interview published under the heading "Japan Is Back."The interview is fairly comprehensive, discussing Abenomics and Japan's economic problems, history issues, territorial disputes, the constitution, and security policy. Tepperman was not shy about confronting Abe, especially when it comes to …

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Cognitive biases and the rise of China

Harvard's Alastair Iain Johnston has a must-read article in the Spring issue of International Security in which he dissects the spread of a meme of China's "new assertiveness" spread among policy analysts, the media, and scholars in the US in 2010. (Available for free as a pdf, at least for the time being.)As Paul Pillar notes, …

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Don’t declare victory for Abenomics yet

With the yen's falling to below ¥100/$1 for the first time since 2009 and the Nikkei’s posting five-year highs, analysts have begun declaring victory for the Abe administration’s campaign against deflation and slow growth. Paul Krugman, the intellectual godfather of Abenomics, has not quite begun his victory dance yet, but he is optimistic that under …

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Resisting the urge to "just do something" in US foreign policy

Edward Luttwak has a brief piece at Foreign Policy in which he praises the restraint with which the Obama administration has approached the ongoing conflict in Syria. Luttwak argues that the importance of managing China's rise means that the US should get out of the business of determining the nature of political regimes in the Middle …

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Following the leader

Michael Cucek catches a comment from LDP Secretary-General Ishiba Shigeru at a public appearance in Kagawa. Ishiba said, "The Liberal Democratic Party is a party for doing what?...First and foremost, it a party for the revision of the Constitution." Cucek raises some useful questions about what this statement means, but I wonder whether Ishiba wasn't just being …

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