Koike versus the "soft liners"

On Tuesday, Yuriko Koike, former defense minister and aspirant to the LDP presidency, announced her resignation as chair of the LDP's special committee on base countermeasures...

Is Japan balancing?

"Randy Waterhouse," the nom de blog of a contributor to the political science group blog Duck of Minerva, looks to Japan in a discussion of when and why states balance against other states...

The rebirth of the right to equality?

A year ago this week, the Supreme Court of Japan issued a judgment that struck down a clause in the Nationality Act as being a violation of the Constitution. There are good reasons for everyone in Japan to celebrate that decision. While little noted outside of specialized legal journals at the time, the decision may have been the beginning of a more robust judicial protection of the right to equality in Japan.

The battle for "reform"

In remarkably little time, the LDP has swung from doomed to ebullient and now once again is showing its age and fragility. And all it took was a nominal change in leadership in the DPJ...

Separated by a common enemy

Already under consideration before North Korea's nuclear test last week, the LDP's push to include plans for an indigenous capability to strike North Korea to preempt an attack on Japan has picked up speed over the past week. On May 26th, Prime Minister Taro Aso reminded reporters that since 1955 preemptive self-defense has been considered legal.

Bang? I never heard anything!

So here we are in Japan. A relatively few miles across the ocean we have Mad Uncle Ernie (aka Kim Jong-Il) who sits out on the porch with a half-empty whiskey bottle beside him and his loaded shotgun across his knees. Occasionally he swigs from the bottle and raises the shotgun to his shoulder, pointing it meaningfully at anyone whom he thinks might refill the bottle. The other day he fired it in a pretty random direction.

The pain of being ordinary

While the White House has not made the announcement official, the Nelson Report said that the Obama administration will be sending John Roos, Silicon Valley lawyer and major Obama fundraiser, to Tokyo as U.S. ambassador...

The DPJ bets on Hatoyama

As became clear in the days before the DPJ's Diet members met Saturday to elect a party leader to replace Ozawa Ichiro, Hatoyama Yukio, one of the founders of the Democratic Party of Japan, has once again been selected to serve as party president...

The DPJ rattles markets

How much longer can the US count on Japan to buy Treasuries?

A perfect storm for security policy change?

The great puzzle in Japanese security policy is why despite the consensus within the LDP in favor of a more robust, independent security and persistent worries about North Korea and China among the public at large Japan has failed to spend more — or the same — on defense and made legal and doctrinal changes that would enable Japan to meet threats originating from its neighbors...


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