Will the Tokyo Olympics Increase Japan’s Soft Power?

July 15, 2021

Sport is often a great source of soft power, or the ability to shape the preferences of others by appeal instead of coercion or monetary incentives. The Olympic Games are a powerful tool for this type of attraction. Awarded to Germany before the Nazis came to power, the 1936 Berlin Olympics helped...

Japan’s Art of Forgetfulness

April 14, 2021

What choices are available to a nation that, in its quest for modernization, foolishly built a nuclear reactor in a seismically active tsunami zone? The Royal Society reported in 2015 that the disastrous fate of Fukushima in 2011 resulted from a “cascade of engineering and regulatory...

Can Japan Maintain Its Economic Fortunes?

June 24, 2019

Japan is set up for a stint in the international spotlight, hosting the G20 summit at the end of June and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. It will be a busy few years for Japan, which hosts the G20 summit on June 28-29 followed by the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. The international attention sparks questions...

Are Japan and Russia Ready to Resolve the Kuril Islands Dispute?

January 14, 2019

Russia and Japan have disparate views on the Kuril Islands that can only be overcome through significant concessions. Last year, the 70-year-long territorial dispute between Russia and Japan over the Kuril Islands again rose to prominence. On September 12, at an economic development conference...

Developing Regional Security in the Indo-Pacific

September 23, 2018

Can East Asian nations help develop an Indo-Pacific security architecture? Contesting International Society in East Asia, edited by Barry Buzan and Yongjin Zhang, provides an account of how remnants of colonial thought and the distinct civilizational inheritances of East Asian countries have...

The Aum Shinrikyo Executions: Why Now?

July 13, 2018

With the execution of the Aum Shinrikyo leader and six of his followers, Japan looks to leave behind an era of tragedy.  On July 6, 2018, Japanese authorities executed seven members of the religious movement Aum Shinrikyo (Aum true religion, or supreme truth), which carried out the 1995 Tokyo...

The Tokyo Gas Attack Was Japan’s 9/11

July 11, 2018

On that fatal March morning in 1995, Aum Shinrikyō tried to mount an attack that would cause so much indiscriminate carnage that it would actually bring down the government. The execution by hanging in Tokyo on July 6 of the "doomsday cult" leader Shoko Asahara and six of his followers has...

The Daily Devil’s Dictionary: “High-Quality” Dessert in a Shoe

May 14, 2018

Benjamin Netanyahu has put his foot in it with the Japanese prime minister. In the latest news from hyperreality, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has demonstrated simultaneously his commitment to innovating in the “art de la table” and his total absence of cultural sensitivity by...

If Asia Leads on Climate, the World Will Follow

November 09, 2017

China and South Korea could be game changers on climate, creating a more peaceful region in the process. There’s been precious little good news from Asia these days. Washington and Pyongyang continue to trade threats of war. Right-wing nationalist Shinzo Abe won reelection as prime minister in...

The World This Week: Shinzo Abe’s Sun Rises in Japan

October 29, 2017

With Xi Jinping and Shinzo Abe on the ascendant, tensions are bound to rise in East Asia despite Japan’s aging population and tottering economy. This week, US Senator Bob Corker turned on the man he endorsed not too long ago. The senator called US President Donald Trump “utterly...

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