Wednesday 20 Jun 2018 | 10:27 | SYDNEY
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Japan

Should Shinzo Abe happen to meet Kim Jong-un

In recent weeks, Northeast Asia has enjoyed an unprecedented season of summitry. Spurred by a common desire to curb the North Korean nuclear threat, key leaders from the region have held historic bilateral talks with Kim Jong-un in close succession. Despite the fact that a concrete denuclearisation

Japan-Russia: Abe’s brutal truth

On 26 May, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin in Moscow for what was their 21st bilateral meeting. For the most part, the outcomes of that meeting paint a sorry picture for the Abe administration. No meaningful progress was made at the meeting on core

Shinzo Abe “outside the net”

What if you invited 10,000 of your closest acquaintances to a cherry blossom viewing party in Tokyo, only to find that the blossoms had peaked only days before? What if you flew halfway around the world to play golf with your buddy in Florida, only to have him undercut your deals? What if

Is Japan’s rare earth discovery fool’s gold?

Rare earth. The term sounds like something derived from the imagination of J. R. R. Tolkien, but these composites of seventeen rare minerals are a silent but central foundation of global industry. Rare earth metals are critical to the production of a massive array of industrial goods,

A new high: India–Japan defence links

An unexpected partnership was forged last week at India’s defence exhibition, DefExpo 2018, in Chennai. For some time, India has been in negotiations with Japan to purchase more than a dozen US-2 amphibious aircraft for the Indian Navy and Coast Guard. Considered the world’s best amphibious

What next for the anti-whale hunters?

Japan’s whale hunters are expected home any day, carrying up to 300 minke whales killed in the Southern Ocean. A harpoon ship, Yushin Maru No. 2, quietly slipped into Shiogama Port on Saturday, while the giant abattoir ship Nisshin Maru is still at sea (with its marine tracking monitor turned off

Moon versus Abe and the contest for America’s ear

A battle is underway between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-in over their differing approaches to North Korea. They are competing to shape the attitudes of US President Donald Trump, and this contest has been a compelling sideshow at the PyeongChang Winter

Asia’s escalating missile race

If the Cold War was one long arms race, the modern era could be accurately described as an arms jog. Countries are defined less by how many nuclear warheads they have, and more by what they can do with them. This is particularly the case in Australia’s immediate region, where a

Japan: Shinzo Abe faces challenges across the board

As news outlets in Japan summed up the year that was and the year ahead, Yomiuri Shimbun, Japan’s most widely read (and notably pro-government) newspaper featured its top 10 stories for 2017, domestic and international, according to its readers. Domestically, the story was Sota Fujii, a 14-year-

Japan: Shinzo Abe wrestles with constitutional change

Wednesday 29 November in Tokyo, and the morning's breaking news was not Kim Jong-Un firing another missile but that sumo grand champion Haruma Fuji had announced his retirement following a week of scandal surrounding an alleged attack on a junior wrestler. As the two stories played

The symbolic politics of the Dokdo/Takeshima dispute

In recent years, maritime disputes have become highly visible microcosms of broader contests in the Indo-Pacific region. While much attention has been paid to disputes in the South China and East China Sea, a lower profile dispute has bubbled away for years between South Korea and Japan over a

A reborn quadrilateral to deter China

Recent news that Australia’s Foreign Minister has indicated interest in taking part in a resurrected US-Australia-Japan-India quadrilateral dialogue on the sidelines of the upcoming ASEAN Summit is to be welcomed. It is an indication how much the strategic situation in the Asia Pacific has shifted

Asia trip reveals the Trump dichotomy

Speaking in Tokyo on Monday night, President Donald Trump was serious and gracious. 'Japan is a very special place. The Japanese people are thriving, your cities are vibrant, and you've built one of the world’s most powerful economies.' Then he looked up from his prepared remarks, and with an

Why South Korea and Japan should not go nuclear

By David Vallance, an intern in the Lowy Institute's International Security Program, and Euan Graham, Director of the International Security Program. The road to nuclear Armageddon is not straight. The North Korea crisis has led commentators to reassess the conventional wisdom that, when it

Trump’s Asia trip kicks off with Abe meeting

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe managed a canny mixture of deference and guile when he rushed to New York last November with a gold-embossed golf club to be the first foreign leader to meet the newly-elected Donald Trump. The question now is whether Trump can return the favour as he

Duterte’s mutually beneficial Japan trip

President Duterte returned last night from a three-day working visit to Japan, his second bilateral trip to Tokyo since taking office in June 2016. This visit took place only two weeks before Duterte and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will rub shoulders at the APEC meeting in Danang and Duterte

The limits of India-Japan defence cooperation

The visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to India this September was much talked about in the context of the evolving Asian balance of power. Big ticket ventures including the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Railway were the highlight of the summit. But the larger issue of defence cooperation,

Abe gambles on a stoic Japanese electorate

With his dynastic heritage, five years of assertive nationalism as Prime Minister, and eponymous brand of economics, Shinzo Abe warrants a seat at the top table of global conservative politics. But in his rush to an early election this week the Japanese leader will be counting on a boost from the

With an eye on Beijing, India and Japan double down

In 1999, India’s then foreign minister, Jaswant Singh, travelled to Tokyo to smooth ruffled feathers after India's nuclear tests of that year. 'Relations between Japan and India are basically good', declared Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi, damning with faint praise.' But the nuclear issue

What is gained by shooting missiles across Japan?

On Tuesday morning, North Korean launched a missile over the southern tip of Hokkaido in northern Japan. Given the close interdependence of North Korea’s satellite launch program and its missile development, the latest launch invokes memories of August 1998, when the North Korean Kwangmyŏngsŏ

Japan’s five years of Abenomics

For many international observers, the Japanese economy is an enigma. On the face of it, the economy has been in bad shape ever since the Japanese stock market began to crash in late 1989, almost 30 years ago. Yet as you wander around Japan, both in Tokyo and across the country, it hardly seems a

Abenomics loses some of its razzle-dazzle

One of the hallmarks of Shinzo Abe’s longevity in power has been his ability to switch back to bread and butter economic issues when he tests the patience of voters with his more nationalistic inclinations. But an interesting feature of his latest series of political setbacks has been the way

Abe's troubles at home cause for concern abroad

This month Japan's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) - which is led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe - experienced its first major electoral defeat since Abe’s inauguration in December 2012. The Tomin First no Kai (‘Tokyoites First’, known as Tomin), a local political party led by the Governor of

Learning to live with a North Korean ICBM

Last week’s test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) by North Korea raises the time-honored question of East Asian international relations: what to do with a neo-feudal, cold war-relic wildly out of touch with the modernising ethos of the fast developers of this region? North

Does Abe want to fast track constitutional reform?

Last month Japan’s Shinzo Abe marked a political renaissance that few would have expected when he secured an unusual second go at being prime minister at the 2012 election when his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) returned to power. Abe is now the third longest serving prime minister in the post-

A neo-nationalist crack in Abe’s grand strategy

As we approach the third month of the Trump Administration, experienced observers of world politics continue to be intrigued, curious and at times perhaps perplexed. Indeed, those who like their international politics with a little chaos theory are probably in their element. Prime Minister Shinzo

Abe's Trump moves: Proactive pragmatism at its finest

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has accomplished what no other foreign leaders has with US President Donald Trump. Not only has he already met him twice — once before and again just after the inauguration — but Trump appears to genuinely like Abe. Of course, the state of US-Japan relations

Why Australia and Japan need a Plan B

Concern over the possible decline of US power and the resilience of its commitment to underwriting security in Asia is not new. In the post-1945 period, doubts over Washington’s commitment to maintaining a leadership role in the region have followed President Nixon’s shift to the Guam Doctrine

Missed opportunities at the Australia-Japan summit

Although it took place at Kirribilli House, just around the corner from where I live, I can unfortunately claim no inside information on last weekend’s Sydney summit between Prime Ministers Malcolm Turnbull and Shinzo Abe. From this nosy neighbour’s reading though, the outcomes on defence and

The future according to Vlad and Shinzo

Vladimir Putin’s visit to Japan later this week is not interesting in itself. Rather, it is the strategic environment in which it is happening that holds our attention. Through this visit we can discern what the world’s powers think a Trump administration may mean for them, and see how they

What to make of Abe's Pearl Harbor visit

In May this year, US President Barack Obama visited Hiroshima, the first serving president to do so. At the end of this month, on 26 and 27 December, Japan’s Prime Minister Abe will visit Pearl Harbor (though whether he is the first serving Japanese prime minister to do so is subject to some

South Korea-Japan relations: Threat and identity

In May 2012, Japan and Australia signed a bilateral information-sharing agreement. There was little media coverage in either country and neither government faced any political backlash. In the same year, Japan and South Korea were supposed to sign a similar agreement with the inelegant acronym

Japan’s golden opportunity

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s overtures to China, hostility to the US and lavish praise of Japan have certainly raised some eyebrows. Yet, as surprising as his rhetoric has been, there is no reason to be overly concerned at this juncture. The fissure that has opened between Manila