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Japan’s snap election and an opposition divided

Japan’s snap election and an opposition divided

While general elections in Japan were not legally due for another 14 months, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s snap decision to hold them on 22 October should surprise no one. At first glance, the timing seemed puzzling. Economic improvements notwithstanding, 2017 has not...
Where is Japan’s party system headed?

Where is Japan’s party system headed?

In recent years, predicting where Japan’s party system is heading has not been easy. The fluidity of party organisations, the internal fracturing and transient existence of many party groupings, and the migration of politicians from one party to another has presented...
Press freedom and politics in Japan

Press freedom and politics in Japan

Most international attention on East Asia today is sharply focused on North Korea’s nuclear and missile developments. But this does not mean that we can neglect the significant developments taking place in Japan’s domestic political landscape. Since winning the...
Abe shuffles his pieces for the political endgame

Abe shuffles his pieces for the political endgame

It looks as if Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is fighting for his political endgame, but his pet policy Abenomics is coming under increasing pressure on a number of fronts. First, history is against Abe. Japan’s current business cycle began in November 2012, coinciding...
Much at stake for the Japan–EU trade deal

Much at stake for the Japan–EU trade deal

The announcement of the Japan–EU Economic Partnership Agreement (JEEPA) on 6 July 2017 was timed perfectly: the day before the G20 summit in Hamburg. At a time of growing concern about economic integration and US unilateralism, JEEPA signals that complex trade...
Repositioning the US–Japan alliance under Trump

Repositioning the US–Japan alliance under Trump

As the Trump wrecking ball swings at the machinery of US relations in Asia and the Pacific, US allies are quietly contemplating how to best respond to the new reality. The pain of this is particularly acute in Japan. Throughout the postwar era the US–Japan alliance...