Can Japan be cured? A review of Murakami Ryu’s ‘From The Fatherland, With Love’

Note: I originally wrote this review in 2013 for submission to the London Review of Books. The LRB passed, and it has sat orphaned on my hard drive. I figured I should probably put it here. A review of From The Fatherland, With Love by Ryu Murakami Translated from the Japanese by Ralph McCarthy, Charles de …

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Japan’s Upper House Elections: A Question of Stability

Japan’s party leaders have argued that voters face a stark choice in the July 10 election for the Diet’s upper house. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has warned that the opposition wants to undo Abenomics and bring Japan back to economic stagnation; Katsuya Okada, leader of the opposition Democratic Party (DP) has called upon voters to …

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The real problem with Asō’s gaffe

After the uprising of the 17th of JuneThe Secretary of the Writers' UnionHad leaflets distributed in the StalinalleeStating that the peopleHad forfeited the confidence of the governmentAnd could win it back onlyBy redoubled efforts.Would it not be easierIn that case for the governmentTo dissolve the peopleAnd elect another?Bertolt Brecht, "Die Lösung" (1953) Deputy Prime Minister/Finance …

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Abe’s underwhelming victory

Abe Shinzō's LDP-led coalition with Komeitō got its wish Sunday, winning enough seats to retake control of the House of Councillors for the government and ending the "twisted" Diet for at least the next three years. With five seats still undecided, the LDP and Kōmeitō have secured 134 seats, comfortably over the majority threshold of 122 seats. …

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Will nuclear restarts derail Abe? (Probably not.)

Say what you will about the LDP, but the party has been fairly open about its preference for nuclear energy and restarting Japan's idled reactors as soon as possible. The party may be about to get its wish. On July 8th, four regional power companies will apply to the Nuclear Regulation Authority to begin compulsory …

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Pinpointing public support for Abenomics

With the upper house election campaign in full swing — Michael Cucek has the campaign numbers breakdown here — there is no shortage of public opinion polling to wade through. Because the outcome of the election is more or less a foregone conclusion, not much of it is very interesting. However, it is still worth …

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