How long will the Japanese people support Abe (and Abenomics)?

The most remarkable contrast between Abe Shinzō's tumultuous first term as prime minister in 2006-2007 and his current term is the degree to which Abe has been able to rely on significant public support. By this time in his first government — approximately five-and-a-half months after his inauguration — Abe's disapproval rating had surpassed his …

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The US and the history wars in Asia

Jeffrey Bader, former senior director for Asia at the National Security Council earlier in the Obama administration, has drawn attention for remarks criticizing comments made by Abe Shinzō and other Japanese leaders about Japan's wartime past. As Kyodo reports:Bader...also warned the U.S. government could be more "vocal" if Japan reviewed past statements in which the …

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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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