What’s the significance of the 7th China-Japan-South Korea Trilateral Summit?

The main purpose of the meeting was simply to showcase good vibes among the three leaders. Beijing, Tokyo and Seoul are trying to overcome contemporary disputes and historical grievances so that they can promote regional trade and investment and coordinate their policies, particularly on North Korea. There were three broad priorities: improve diplomatic relations, manage the Korean peninsula crisis and make progress on cooperation mechanisms, as the joint statement emphasizes.

China and Japan also held bilateral meetings in which they signed ten agreements, including a long-delayed one to set up a maritime and aerial communication mechanism that may help manage military encounters, particularly in the East China Sea.…  Seguir leyendo »

The inauguration of a frigate built by Russia for the Vietnamese navy. Photo: Getty Images.

Russia’s new military agreement with Vietnam, which maps out cooperation between the long-time friends until 2020, has caused concern in Japan. An increased Russian presence brings into conflict two different foreign policies of Shinzo Abe’s government –maintaining a strong posture on power plays in the South China Sea and being careful to avoid confrontation with Russia.

The new agreement, which includes Russia agreeing to deploy rescue boats to Vietnam and to take part in rescue missions, follows a number of moves to deepen naval cooperation. Since 2011, four Russian-made naval vessels have joined the Vietnamese navy, and the two countries are planning a joint military exercise in the next three years.…  Seguir leyendo »

Protest Against Japanese PM Abe Over Land Sale Scandal

Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, faces a tough two days of meetings when he arrives today in Mar-a-Lago to meet President Donald Trump. Abe has to persuade Trump not to neglect Japan’s interests in the planned summit meeting with Kim Jong-un of North Korea; some officials in Tokyo fear that the US might strike an agreement that would involve Kim’s giving up his long-range missiles while keeping those that can reach Japan. Abe also wants to obtain for Japan an exemption from Trump’s new steel and aluminum tariffs—but without being drawn into a bilateral trade deal to address what Trump perceives as Japan’s unjustified trade surplus with the US.…  Seguir leyendo »

Des véhicules sont inspectés au checkpoint d'Okuma, près du site du TEPCO. KIMIMASA MAYAMA

Le 11 mars 2018, 7 bougies ont été soufflées sur le gâteau de la catastrophe nucléaire à la centrale de Fukushima Daiichi, au Japon. Le démantèlement estimé à 620 milliards de dollars, qui devrait durer quarante ans, suit son bonhomme de chemin. L’opérateur TEPCO continue de refroidir avec de l’eau les 3 réacteurs dont le combustible a fondu (corium) et espère pouvoir le repérer grâce à des robots et un peu de chance. Chaque jour, 6000 liquidateurs travaillent sur le site afin de garder la maîtrise sur le plus grand accident nucléaire mondial.

Après le tsunami, les combustibles nucléaires des réacteurs 1, 2 et 3 avaient rapidement fondu.…  Seguir leyendo »

Shinzo Abe arrives in parliament on 14 March. Photo: Getty Images.

It is no exaggeration to say that the bolt out of the blue commitment by US President Donald Trump to sit down for talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has had a severe impact on Japan’s government.

A carefully crafted, US-Japan coordinated strategy – of unremitting political and economic pressure on North Korea – has been a replaced by a new unilateral US policy of (albeit perhaps temporary) moderation. The shift is informed by Trump’s confident optimism that he will be able to reach a deal to negotiate away the North’s nuclear weapons and advanced missile programme.

But the unexpected talks will have an impact in Japan not unlike the July 1971 announcement by then-president Richard Nixon that he planned to travel to Beijing to meet Chairman Mao Zedong.…  Seguir leyendo »

El incidente registrado en la central nuclear de Fukushima Daiichi, el 11 de marzo de 2011, marca, posiblemente más que el de Chernobyl, el futuro de la energía nuclear. Las lecciones aprendidas de este incidente tienen hoy un impacto determinante en el coste y en la continuidad misma de esta fuente energética. Esta experiencia no se limita a cómo evitar un nuevo incidente sino que también servirá para buscar soluciones a posibles incidentes futuros.

Toda la información acerca de las causas del incidente y sus consecuencias inmediatas resulta fácilmente accesible. No obstante, parecería que, tras esta primera oleada informativa, se haya desvanecido el interés público por el proyecto de dar soluciones a las consecuencias de este incidente, que, sin embargo, por sus implicaciones técnicas, económicas y políticas, tiene una gran trascendencia.…  Seguir leyendo »

Members of the Unification Church commemorate the Korean Peninsula’s liberation from Japanese colonial rule, in Seoul in 2012. Credit Ahn Young-joon/Associated Press

On Friday morning, as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan was setting off to attend the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Olympics, as well as a side meeting with President Moon Jae-in of South Korea, he declared that cooperation among their two countries and the United States was “unshakable” in the face of threats from North Korea.

Yet just last week some commentators were forecasting that the encounter could only be “tense,” citing, as ever, residual tensions stemming from Japan’s colonization of the Korean Peninsula in 1910-45. As is routinely reported, Japan’s wartime treatment of so-called comfort women — women enlisted to sexually service Japanese troops — appears to endanger its ties with South Korea because, some say, it has not adequately apologized for its record.…  Seguir leyendo »

La economía japonesa ha disfrutado de siete trimestres consecutivos de crecimiento positivo, con una tasa anual promedio que alcanza el 1.9%. Debido a que la demanda agregada excede el producto potencial en un 1%, la “brecha del PIB” de este país ahora es positiva. El desempleo bajó al 2.7%, el nivel más bajo desde el año 1993, y el ratio de empleos disponibles con relación a la cantidad de solicitudes de empleos es de 1.56, el nivel más alto desde el año 1974, lo que resulta en una aguda escasez de mano de obra en varios sectores, incluyendo la construcción, venta al por menor y entrega de paquetes.…  Seguir leyendo »

The presidency of Donald Trump has triggered an unprecedented collapse of Brand America and sets the bar exceedingly low for global leaders. Yet Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Trump’s closest if not only friend among them, deserves special scrutiny for his recent refusal to apologize to South Korea over the horrors endured by tens of thousands of women treated as sex slaves by the Japanese military during the 1930s and 1940s.

There is a “been there, done that” aspect of South Korean-Japanese relations. These frenemies have never reached a mutually acceptable understanding of their shared past. Today true reconciliation has become even more elusive due to democratization in South Korea.…  Seguir leyendo »

Por qué Japón está libre de populismo

En un momento en que una ola de populismo de derecha está arrasando en Europa, Estados Unidos, India y partes del sudeste asiático, Japón hasta el momento parece ser inmune. No existen demagogos japoneses, como Geert Wilders, Marine Le Pen, Donald Trump, Narendra Modi o Rodrigo Duterte, que hayan explotado los resentimientos acumulados contra las elites culturales y políticas. ¿Por qué?

Quizá lo más cerca que haya estado Japón fue el ex alcalde de Osaka, Toru Hashimoto, que primero se hizo famoso como personalidad de la televisión y luego, en los últimos años, cayó en ridículo cuando elogió el uso de esclavas sexuales en tiempos de guerra por parte el Ejército Imperial Japonés.…  Seguir leyendo »

On Dec. 27, a woman puts a scarf on a statue of a comfort woman sitting in an installation of empty chairs symbolizing the victims in Seoul. (AP)

On Tuesday, the South Korean government wrapped up a months-long process of reviewing a landmark 2015 agreement with Japan over the “comfort women” issue. In the agreement, Japan apologized for the sexual enslavement of Korean women in military brothels before and during World War II. It also offered for the first time government money to support surviving victims through a foundation run by the Korean government. Both sides pledged to stop criticizing each other on the comfort women issue. They pronounced the deal a “final and irreversible resolution” to the issue.

However, the deal quickly faced backlash in South Korea and was further delegitimized when President Park Geun-hye was impeached last year.…  Seguir leyendo »

Schoolchildren read signs posted in the dense woods of the Aokigahara forest at the base of Mount Fuji in Japan in 1998. (Atsushi Tsukada/Associated Press)

New Year’s Eve is an important day in Japan. It ends with the ringing of a temple bell around midnight. The bell is rung 108 times to banish the sins, mistakes and sufferings of the previous year. However, for one YouTuber, Dec. 31 may haunt him long past the new year. That was the day Logan Paul posted a video of himself walking through Aoikigahara in Yamanashi Prefecture, also known as “the suicide forest.” The clip shows him appearing to discover a dead body. He is later seen laughing in the video, which raised the ire of many both in and outside Japan.…  Seguir leyendo »

The royal cremation of Thailand’s late King Bhumibol Adulyadej ended with a grand spectacle last month. King Bhumibol passed away on Oct. 13, 2016, ending his 70-year-reign. Now King Vajiralongkorn, Bhumibol’s son, is on the throne. But Vajiralongkorn’s lack of moral authority and his controversial lifestyle — both in sharp contrast to his father — have begun to worry Thais. The stability of the monarchy has long been the key to the stability of Thai politics.

Thailand’s friends have recently started to readjust their policy to cope with the new reign of Vajiralongkorn, which remains highly unpredictable. Japan, one of Thailand’s most crucial allies and economic partners, is also in the process of renewing its ties with the Bangkok monarchy — ties that were rock-solid during the Bhumibol era.…  Seguir leyendo »

Le Japon a beaucoup contribué au développement économique de la Chine. Les investissements massifs et les transferts de technologie offerts à partir des années 1980 ont lancé le pays sur le chemin de la modernisation. Aujourd’hui encore, la position officielle du Japon est favorable à l’essor de son immense voisin. Le gouvernement appelle au maintien d’une relation stable et mutuellement bénéfique et encourage la Chine à jouer un rôle actif en Asie et autour du monde. Derrière cette façade, cependant, se cache une appréhension croissante. Celle-ci est bien sûr d’abord due aux questions historiques et territoriales qui causent régulièrement des tensions entre les deux voisins ainsi qu’à une certaine déception face à l’autoritarisme continu du Parti communiste chinois.…  Seguir leyendo »

La demografía no determina el destino, al menos no del todo. A lo largo de siglos, las políticas pueden afectar las decisiones de fertilidad, y la migración puede transformar a un país, como lo demuestra la experiencia en Estados Unidos. Sin embargo, en horizontes de tiempo más cortos, las tendencias demográficas deben darse por sentadas, y ellas pueden tener un profundo impacto en el crecimiento. No obstante, los factores demográficos a menudo se descuidan en los informes económicos, lo que genera distorsiones significativas en las evaluaciones de desempeño de los países. En ningún lugar esto se hace esto más evidente que en Japón.…  Seguir leyendo »

President Trump is visiting Tokyo on Monday at a time of renewed national security debates within Japan. North Korea’s recent missile launches and nuclear tests have again prompted discussion in Tokyo on Japan’s policy against becoming a nuclear state.

Although Japan has long had the technical ability to develop nuclear weapons — its “nuclear hedge” — it has refrained from doing so. Japan instead remains firmly committed to its 1967 Three Non-Nuclear Principles of not developing, not possessing and not introducing nuclear weapons.

This is not the first time that Japan has reexamined those principles. Similar debates transpired after China’s hydrogen bomb test in 1967, the Soviet Union’s deployment of medium-range nuclear missiles in Siberia during the 1980s and North Korea’s first nuclear test in 2006.…  Seguir leyendo »

In late September, Prime Minister Abe Shinzo dissolved Japan’s House of Representatives and called a snap election. At the same time, Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike announced the formation of the new Hope Party, which aimed to win enough seats to replace Abe and his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).

The next twists? The leader of the largest opposition party, the Democratic Party, disbanded his party and encouraged its candidates, many of them incumbents, to “apply” to run under the Hope banner. Unhappy with the Hope party’s requirements that they support its center-right platform on national security and constitutional revision, a group of Democratic Party incumbents then decided to form their own party, the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan.…  Seguir leyendo »

Alors que sa voisine, la Corée du Nord, devient de plus en plus belliqueuse, le Japon se lance dans une élection générale impromptue. Beaucoup questionnent la décision du premier ministre Shinzo Abe de dissoudre la Diète et de faire appel à la population. La décision paraît en effet très opportuniste.

Après un été qui avait vu la popularité de Shinzo Abe chuter en raison notamment de deux scandales de trafic d’influence, il avait réussi à redresser la barre grâce à un remaniement de son cabinet et surtout à sa capacité à utiliser la crise nord-coréenne pour se présenter comme un pilier de stabilité dans la tempête.…  Seguir leyendo »

The whole world confronts an unprecedented, grave and imminent threat from North Korea. On Sept. 3, the regime carried out a reprehensible nuclear test. Late last week, it launched a ballistic missile over my country, Japan, only two weeks after a similar missile launch. By repeatedly testing missiles — in violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions — Pyongyang has shown its reach now extends to the United States and Europe.

North Korea’s actions are an outright challenge to the international community. On Sept. 11, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution on a new round of strict sanctions that restrict member states from selling oil to the North, ban North Korean textile exports and ban member states from authorizing North Koreans to work abroad.…  Seguir leyendo »

Pyongyang’s recent missile launch over Hokkaido and its underground nuclear test have laid bare Japan’s Achilles’ heel: Our country’s national security policy is still woefully ill equipped for this mounting danger. The new sanctions adopted by the United Nations Security Council on Monday will hardly limit Japan’s exposure.

North Korea’s latest provocations pose an unprecedented threat. Even during the Korean War in the early 1950s, Japan, as a rear support base for United States forces, was somewhat insulated; today, it is in the same theater as South Korea, also on the front lines. Any American military strike against North Korea would likely trigger retaliatory measures against Japan.…  Seguir leyendo »