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  • Author: Jeong Yeon Lee
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Multi-factor productivity (MFP) compares the growth of gross domestic product with the growth of combined capital and labor inputs. The growth rate of MFP assumes theoretical significance because it represents the slope of the steady-state growth path, and hence is a major determinant of the long-term growth trend. This paper offers the balanced panel of the estimated growth rates of MFP for 24 OECD countries over 1986-2011. Based on the estimates of MFP growth, a number of notable trends in productivity growth are identified for the entire OECD area as well as three major economies – the United States, the Eurozone and Japan – within the OECD.
  • Topic: Economics, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, Europe
  • Author: David P. Aldrich
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Over the past fifty years, Japan has developed one of the most advanced commercial nuclear power programs in the world. This is largely due to the government's broad repertoire of policy instruments that have helped further its nuclear power goals. These top-down directives have resulted in the construction of 54 plants and at least the appearance of widespread support for nuclear power. By the 1990s, however, this carefully cultivated public support was beginning to break apart. And following the earthquake and tsunami of March 2011 and resulting nuclear crisis in the Fukushima nuclear complex, the political and social landscape for energy in Japan has been dramatically altered. The crisis has raised and reinforced environmental concerns and health fears, as well as skepticism about information from government and corporate sources. A civil society that for decades has appeared weak and nonpartcipatory has awakened and citizens are carrying out bottom-up responses to the accident, effecting change with grassroots science and activism.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Environment, Health, Natural Disasters, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: Japan, Israel
  • Author: Philip Shetler-Jones
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: During his recent visit to Japan, British Prime Minister David Cameron signed a landmark defense cooperation agreement with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda making the United Kingdom Japan's only defense technology partner after the United States. The agreement comes just months after Japan relaxed its post-World War II restrictions on its participation in international research, development and trade in defense equipment. There are few publicly-available specifics on the deal, but official statements from Tokyo suggest the plan is to start small and slowly increase cooperation. Artillery and tank technology has been mentioned; along with helicopters, mine detection and chemical protection suits.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Science and Technology, Treaties and Agreements, War, Biosecurity, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, Tokyo
  • Author: Jane Nakano
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: The United States, Japan, and the European Union—the three key consumers of Chinese rare earth materials—formally complained to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in March about Chinese restrictions on its rare earth exports. Several weeks later, China announced the establishment of a 150-plus member association with the official aim of promoting sustainable development within this sector. Some analysts wonder if this is part of a Chinese plan to circumvent international complaints by instituting an oligopolistic arrangement to control its rare earth exports. Others ask if this could be another step in an escalating dispute with China over the global supply of rare earth materials.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Europe
  • Author: Yogesh Joshi
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: US President Barack Obama used his 2012 State of the Union speech to explain that evolving geopolitical realities continue to make the United States indispensable in global politics. In the Asia-Pacific this indispensability emanates, in part, from the waves caused by the rise of China. Consequently, demands for an increased US presence echo around the region. In response, the United States has renewed its commitments to Japan, South Korea and Australia, stepped up its relations with Southeast Asia, and reasserted itself as an important player in multilateral institutions including the East Asia Summit, APEC, and ASEAN. Clearly, in the 21st century, US strategic focus has shifted from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific and Indian Oceans.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, International Security, Power Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, India, South Korea, Australia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Malcolm Cook, Thomas S. Wilkins
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: The post-Cold War era in the Asia-Pacific has not witnessed the triumph of low over high politics. Rather, it has seen the simultaneous intensification of both economic integration and security cooperation and competition. This is true both at the level of the region, and for China and most other countries in the region.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Cold War, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Asia, Australia
  • Author: Yasuhiro Matsuda
  • Publication Date: 02-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: In 2010, two important documents on Japan's security and national defense policies were released under the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) government in Japan. One report is entitled “Japan's Vision for Future Security and Defense Capabilities in the New Era: Toward a Peace-Creating Nation.” This report was issued in August by the Council on Security and Defense Capabilities in the New Era, the Prime Minister's private council on national security and defense capabilities which is chaired by Shigetaka Sato— hereafter the Sato Report. The other is the “National Defense Program Guidelines, FY 2011-” that was issued by the Japanese government in December—hereafter the 2010 NDPG. The former is a blueprint of Japan's national security and defense strategy, the latter addresses the formal Japanese defense program guidelines for the next ten years. While the Japanese government is not legally bound by the Sato Report, since it is not the Japanese version of a National Security Strategy, a formal document issued by the US government, the 2010 NDPG does contain actual guidelines for building the defense capability of Japan. The overlap between the two documents represents the new directions of the Japanese security and national defense policies, and the gap between them illustrates the old restrictions that remain.
  • Topic: Security, Government, National Security
  • Political Geography: Japan
  • Author: Jeffrey Hornung
  • Publication Date: 02-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: When the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) kicked the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) out of power in 2009, there was some sense of hope amongst the Japanese that things would change. If nothing else, the Japanese hoped that the DPJ would bring new ideas to tackle some of the country's ongoing problems. Reality soon proved otherwise. Not only has the DPJ quietly abandoned many of its campaign pledges, it has proved just as incapable at resolving ongoing problems. Seventeen months into a DPJ-led Japan, Prime Minister Naoto Kan faces a number of domestic problems that threaten his government's survival. The unfortunate result is another expected turn of the revolving door that is the Japanese premiership.
  • Topic: Democratization, Politics, Governance
  • Political Geography: Japan, Israel, Asia, Tokyo
  • Author: Sidney B. Westley, Robert D. Retherford, Minja Kim Choe
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Fifty years ago, women in Asia were having, on average, more than five children each, and there was widespread fear of a “population explosion” in the region. Then birth rates began to fall—in several countries more steeply than anyone had anticipated. This unexpected trend has now raised concerns about the social and economic impact of extremely low fertility. Today, four of Asia's most prosperous economies—Japan, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan—have among the lowest birth rates in the world. With women having, on average, only one child each, these societies have expanding elderly populations and a shrinking workforce to pay for social services and drive economic growth. And in Japan, overall population numbers are already going down. Why are women choosing to have so few children? How are policy- makers responding to these trends? Government leaders have initiated a variety of policies and programs designed to encourage marriage and childbearing, but to what effect? Given current social and economic trends, it is unlikely that Asia' s steep fertility decline will be reversed, at least not in the for eseeable future.
  • Topic: Demographics, Health, Population
  • Political Geography: Japan, Taiwan, Asia, South Korea, Singapore
  • Author: Jeffrey Brown, Kang Wu
  • Publication Date: 10-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: The Asia Pacific region's dynamic oil market is marked by strong growth in consumption, declining regional oil production, and over capacity in its highly competitive oil-refining sector. Its "key players" are China, India, Indonesia, Japan, and South Korea—a group that includes the region's five top consumers and three of its major producers—and developments in these countries will have commercial and strategic implications for the whole region. On the consumption side, Japan's slow growth in demand has failed to dampen regional growth, which is now driven by China and India's fast growing thirst for oil. On the supply side, Indonesia's inevitable transition to a net oil importer highlights the trend toward growing dependence on Middle East oil, which already comprises 42–90 percent of imports among the key players. In response to this trend, China, Japan, and South Korea are pushing to acquire overseas oil reserves, with Japan and China already locked in a fierce competition for projected Russian supplies—a type of struggle that will likely become more commonplace.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Indonesia, Middle East, India, Asia, South Korea
  • Author: John Ravenhill
  • Publication Date: 06-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Western Pacific Rim states have been slow to participate in preferential trade agreements (PTAs). In the past four years, however, more than 40 PTAs involving these economies have been proposed or are being implemented. For the first time, Japan and China have either signed or are negotiating bilateral or plurilateral agreements. The new interest in PTAs reflects the perception that they have been successful in other parts of the world, and is reinforced by dissatisfaction with the region's existing trade groupings. Although arguments can be made in favor of PTAs, they amplify political considerations in trade agreements, may adversely affect the political balance in participating countries, impose costs on nonparticipants, and deplete scarce negotiating resources. Nevertheless, the number of western Pacific Rim states participating in PTAs continues to climb. Northeast Asian countries have been following Europe in exploiting loopholes in WTO rules on PTAs to protect their noncompetitive sectors, thereby strengthening their political positions, which will likely make global liberalization more difficult.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Asia, Australia/Pacific
  • Author: Terutomo Ozawa
  • Publication Date: 12-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Just over a decade ago, the phenomenal economic growth of Japan was admired and even feared. It had pursued a successful strategy of industry upgrading to catch up with the West, maximizing bank-based, state-directed financing. Ironically, the very institutional setup that was required for success eventually resulted in a devastating economic downturn. Japan remains languishing in a state of economic stagnation, but that may change: market forces are now driving Japan to carry out major reforms. A market-oriented business environment is crucial, and thus Japan is being propelled toward deregulation and institutional reform. In particular, its traditionally protected, inner-dependent sector must be opened to competition in order to improve efficiency, and obstacles to direct foreign investment must be eliminated. Although the process is a gradual one that has been further hampered by the slump in the U.S. economy, dramatic changes are in motion, creating promising roles and opportunities for foreign investors as well as potential for Japan to realize a new economic vitality.
  • Topic: Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia
  • Author: Harry Bhaskara, Gautam Chikermane, Unaloto Ofa Kaukimoce, Amantha R. Perera, Takeshi Yamashina
  • Publication Date: 10-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Three weeks after the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C., five journalists—from India, Fiji, Japan, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka—visiting the East-West Center on an exchange program accepted an invitation to write about the attacks and "America's War on Terrorism" from the perspective of their own country. Their responses are frank and sometimes anguished. "As global terrorism evolved into a beast out of control, America enjoyed the good life," writes a Sri Lankan. The United States has declared a war on terrorism but, an Indian asks, is it only because now "the grief pours out of American eyes"? In Japan, resentment over America's increasing "unilateralism" coexists with an unprecedented willingness to send troops overseas, says a writer for The Mainichi Newspapers. A Fijian broadcaster notes that calls for international action are accompanied by "unease over violent retaliation." The mixed emotions described by many are dramatically evident in predominantly Muslim Indonesia where, says a newspaper editor, anti-American demonstrations defied President Megawati's assurances of support for the United States.
  • Topic: Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Japan, America, Indonesia, India, Asia, Sri Lanka
  • Author: Sheila A. Smith
  • Publication Date: 09-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Since the end of the Cold War, U.S. and Japanese policy-makers have successfully reaffirmed the U.S.-Japan security alliance. Yet, even as they have done so, a series of events has revealed a deeper ambivalence in Japan about the terms of the alliance. These events began with the 1995 rape of a school girl in Okinawa by U.S. servicemen, focusing attention on the social costs to residents of hosting U.S. forces. In 1999 came North Korea's launch of a missile over Japan, raising doubts among many Japanese about their alliance partner's ability to protect them. Most recently, the outcome of the 2001 sinking of the Ehime Maru training ship by a U.S. nuclear sub seemed to many to sacrifice Japanese citizens' interests to those of the U.S. military. Taken independently, these developments may seem temporary set-backs to policymakers, but together they suggest that there is increasing impatience among Japan's citizens with the way the alliance is managed. This disconnect between the public and policymakers could, if untended, have serious implications for the U.S.-Japan alliance.
  • Topic: Security, Cold War, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, Asia, North Korea
  • Author: Ji Guoxing
  • Publication Date: 08-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: In the wake of a collision between a U.S. spy plane and a Chinese jet fighter off the coast of Hainan in April 2001, verbal skirmishing between the United States and China revealed sharply different conceptions of jurisdictional and navigational principles. These differences persist and will likely be the cause of future conflicts; they have already caused strife among countries ringing the South China Sea. Central to these conflicts are the exclusive economic zones (EEZ) that extend 200 nm into the sea from coastal nations' baselines. Created by the UN Law of the Sea Convention, these zones attempt to accommodate coastal states' interest in controlling offshore resources and maritime powers' interests in maintaining freedom of navigation. But ambiguities in the Convention's language combined with coastal states' proliferating EEZ claims have created a tinderbox. The situation will remain volatile as long as the focus remains on jurisdictional disputes. But confidence-building efforts aimed more narrowly on practical navigation issues and managing “incidents at sea” offer a starting point for first bilateral and then multilateral agreements. In the wake of a collision between a U.S. spy plane and a Chinese jet fighter off the coast of Hainan in April 2001, verbal skirmishing between the United States and China revealed sharply different conceptions of jurisdictional and navigational principles. These differences persist and will likely be the cause of future conflicts; they have already caused strife among countries ringing the South China Sea. Central to these conflicts are the exclusive economic zones (EEZ) that extend 200 nm into the sea from coastal nations' baselines. Created by the UN Law of the Sea Convention, these zones attempt to accommodate coastal states' interest in controlling offshore resources and maritime powers' interests in maintaining freedom of navigation. But ambiguities in the Convention's language combined with coastal states' proliferating EEZ claims have created a tinderbox. The situation will remain volatile as long as the focus remains on jurisdictional disputes. But confidence-building efforts aimed more narrowly on practical navigation issues and managing “incidents at sea” offer a starting point for first bilateral and then multilateral agreements.
  • Topic: Security, Energy Policy, International Law
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China