Fresh from his trip to Washington, D.C., Abe Shinzo has thrust himself into the debate over how Japan should respond to North Korea's rocket launch this month...

Benign neglect at work?

After President Barack Obama met with Prime Minister Aso Taro at the White House in February, I suggested that " the administration may be prepared to follow through on an unstated policy of benign neglect: having given Japan its assignments (civilian reconstruction in Afghanistan, progress on realignment, etc.), the administration will now turn its attention elsewhere."

The conservatives undaunted

Abe Shinzo, former prime minister and favorite of many alliance managers in Washington, was in Washington, D.C. this past week, meeting with Vice President Joe Biden...

The end of values diplomacy

Prime Minister Aso Taro is a firm believer in "values-oriented diplomacy," the use of Japan's foreign policy tools to promote the spread of "universal values" like democracy and human rights...

The LDP's window of opportunity

The Aso government and the LDP, confident due to polling numbers trending in their favor, are publicly mulling the timing of the next general election...

The LDP's loose lips

When Ozawa Ichiro suggested that at some unspecified point in the future the US forward-deployed forces in Japan might be reduced to the Seventh Fleet with Japan's taking greater responsibility for its own defense...

Is the government running out of options — or out of options already?

The political system is gearing up for a debate over the government's 15 trillion yen stimulus package that could decide the timing and the outcome of the next general election.

The Aso government's need for speed

Ozawa Ichiro, marking the third anniversary of his leadership of the DPJ, gave a long (and rambling) press conference at DPJ headquarters to mark the occasion...

After the launch

In the wake of North Korea's Unha-2 launch Sunday, the Japanese establishment and public have uniformly reacted with a sense of outrage and a desire for an vigorous Japanese and international response to the test.

The mountain ahead

April is here, the new fiscal year has begun, and Prime Minister Aso Taro is in London for the G20 summit.


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