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Top LDP Politician Explains Why he Left Governing Party

Former top LDP member Yoshimi Watanabe stepped out of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) this week. In this clip of an ANN interview of Jan 13, he explains why he was about to take this step (sorry, no subtitles). “Kasumigaseki has too much control,” he says. Kasumigaseki refers to the Japanese bureaucracy. His dramatic divorce from the governing party was approved by 60% of the voters according to an opinion poll. Watanabe is a former Minister of State for Financial Services and Administrative Reform of Japan (2007-2008) and former Minister of State for Regulatory Reform of Japan (2006-2007). When an important person like Watanabe leaves, the downfall of the LDP can’t be far off.

ANN • Thursday January 15, 2009 • PoliticsAdd Comment

The Democratic Party of Japan Keeps it to the Point

A commercial for the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) gets the message through with just a few sentences: “Economic issues, pension issues, medical issues. People are now embraced by fear in many different ways. We feel a heavy political responsibility about these issues. Making it possible for every single citizen to live life without worry. That is the kind of politics that we, the Democratic Party of Japan, will make a reality.” The DPJ hammers on the same issue, “we will improve your life.” The message is simple, clear and straight, and it is repeated daily.

Democratic Party of Japan • Saturday December 20, 2008 • PoliticsAdd Comment

Japan in de toekomst vast tussen de VS en China: denktank

National Diet Building, Tokyo

Japan zal waarschijnlijk vast komen te zitten tussen de VS en China over de volgende 17 jaar, met haar buitenlands beleid overgeleverd aan het beleid van Washington en Beijing, berichte een Amerikaanse inlichtingendiensten-denktank donderdag.

In een niet-geclassificeerd verslag met de titel #Globale trends 1025: Een getransformeerde wereld,” zei de National Intelligence Council ook dat Amerikaanse macht zal afnemen tegen 2025, met de wereld meer instabiel als het internationale systeem van na de Tweede Wereldoorlog verdwijnt.

Volgens het 120-pagina tellende verslag gaat Japan een “grote heroriëntatie” tegemoet ten aanzien van het binnenlands en buitenlands beleid, maar zal het land zijn status als een “top macht van de middelste rang” behouden.

OHet voorspelt dat Tokyo’s buitenlands beleid “beinvloed zal worden door het beleid van China en de Verenigde Staten,” met een breed spectrum van mogelijke opties. (Bron: The Japan Times)

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The Japan Times • Saturday November 22, 2008 • PoliticsReageer

Japan in the future to be caught between U.S., China: think tank

National Diet Building, Tokyo

Japan will probably find itself caught between the United States and China over the next 17 years, with its foreign policy at the mercy of the policies of Washington and Beijing, a U.S. intelligence community think tank reported Thursday.

In an unclassified report, titled “Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World,” the National Intelligence Council also said U.S. power will decline by 2025, with the world becoming unstable as the post-World War II international system vanishes.

On Japan, the 120-page report said the country will face a “major reorientation” of its domestic and foreign policies yet maintain its status as an “upper middle rank power.”

It forecast Tokyo’s foreign policies “will be influenced most by the policies of China and the United States,” with a broad spectrum of options possible. (Source: The Japan Times)

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The Japan Times • Saturday November 22, 2008 • PoliticsAdd Comment

The Ghost of Wartimes Past

Illustration by Georges Bigot

Many Japanese were surprised that a hotel chain, under a cloud for shoddy earthquake-proofing standards, should sponsor a competition for the best essay to deny Japan’s wartime role as an aggressor and sponsor of atrocities. But then the chain’s boss, Toshio Motoya, is a vigorous historical revisionist (and big supporter of Shinzo Abe, prime minister in 2006-07). More astounding, then: the competition winner, Toshio Tamogami, was none other than the head of Japan’s air force.

Mr Tamogami’s offering is a warmed-through hash of thrice-cooked revisionism. Japan, he writes, fought a war of self-defence, protecting its legal territories of Manchukuo (North-East China) and Korea against communists. Pearl Harbour was an American-laid trap. Japanese occupations were both benevolent and a liberation of Asia from the yoke of Western imperialism—indeed, neighbours (20m of whose deaths were caused by the Japanese) now look fondly on wartime Japan. Japan must “reclaim its glorious history”, Mr Tamogami ended with a barrel-rolling flourish and a want of irony, “for a country that denies its own history is destined to fall.”

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The Economist • Thursday November 6, 2008 • PoliticsAdd Comment

Obama for Obama

On November 5th, 2008 the small Japanese town of Obama celebrated Senator Barack Obama’s historical election as the next US President. Local shops sold everything from Obama t-shirts to Obama Burgers. A hula dance group did a victory dance.

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• Wednesday November 5, 2008 • PoliticsAdd Comment