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  • Author: Sheila A. Smith
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Electoral reform in the early 1990s ended single-party dominance in Japan and promised an era of new politics in which political parties would alternate control of the government. In the two decades that followed, Japan's foreign and domestic policy priorities were subjected to greater scrutiny and debate as Japan, like so many other nations around the globe, sought to reorient itself in a new post-Cold War world. The U.S.-Japan alliance that anchored Japan's postwar foreign policy was not immune to these domestic political reforms. For half a century, the conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) prided itself on managing the relationship with Washington. But its ouster in 2009 by the reformist Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) led many to expect that even Japan's alliance with the United States would be subject to serious review.
  • Topic: Government, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, Asia
  • Author: Richard Katz
  • Publication Date: 07-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Tensions between China and Japan are rising, but an economic version of mutual deterrence is preserving the uneasy status quo. Put simply, China needs to buy Japanese products as much as Japan needs to sell them.
  • Topic: Cold War, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Beijing
  • Author: Shinzo Abe
  • Publication Date: 07-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Japan's prime minister speaks openly about the mistakes he made in his first term, Abenomics, Japan's wartime record (and his own controversial statements on that history), and the bitter Senkaku/Diaoyu Island dispute with China.
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Island
  • Author: Cui Tiankai
  • Publication Date: 07-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: China's new ambassador to the United States (and a rising star in Beijing) sets out his vision for U.S.-Chinese relations, discusses whether China is a revisionist power, and how it plans to deal with cyber security -- and Japan.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Beijing
  • Author: Robert Zoellick
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: In 2007, the World Bank was in crisis. Some saw conflicts over its leadership. Others blamed the institution itself. When the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the cornerstone of what became the World Bank Group, was founded in 1944, poor and war-torn countries had little access to private capital. Sixty years later, however, private-sector financial flows dwarfed public development assistance. “The time when middle-income countries depended on official assistance is thus past,” Jessica Einhorn, a former managing director of the World Bank wrote in these pages in 2006, “and the IBRD seems to be a dying institution.” In roundtable discussions and op-ed pages, the question was the same: Do we still need the World Bank?
  • Topic: War, World Bank
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Japan, Europe
  • Author: Douglas Paal, Charles Glaser, Shyu-tu Lee
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: MISREADING CHINA'S INTENTIONS Shyu-tu Lee According to Charles Glaser, the prospects for avoiding war between the United States and China are good ("Will China's Rise Lead to War?" March/April 2011). But by ignoring China's history and economic policy and other relevant factors, Glaser arrives at policy prescriptions that would increase the chance of a Chinese nuclear attack on the U.S. homeland. Glaser misjudges Chinese motives. China's military modernization is not primarily motivated by insecurity, as he asserts. China is not threatened by the United States or any of its neighbors. It is advocating its model of governance -- managed capitalism combined with one-party authoritarianism -- as a more efficient alternative to a free-market economy and democracy. China's mission is to regain its place as the dominant superpower so that the country can cleanse itself of the humiliation it has experienced at the hands of the West. The rise of China poses grave challenges to U.S. security. Beijing implements a mercantilist trade policy and artificially sets a low value on its currency to promote exports, thus creating a large U.S. trade deficit with China year after year. Its army has been modernizing at a rapid pace, developing anti-access, area-denial weapons and cyber- and space-warfare capabilities. Meanwhile, China wants to integrate Taiwan because its democracy threatens Beijing's autocratic and repressive rule. In addition, Beijing needs Taiwan as a military base from which to project power into the Indian and Pacific oceans. To keep the peace, the United States must discard the culture of excessive deference to Beijing and implement policies to maintain U.S. military superiority, stanch the flow of U.S. wealth to China, steer China toward democratization, strengthen its alliances with Japan and South Korea, and engage China in an economic and strategic dialogue to promote fair trade and avoid misunderstandings.
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, South Korea
  • Author: Richard J. Samuels, Ely Ratner, Eric Heginbotham
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The earthquake and tsunami that struck northeastern Japan on March 11, 2011, caused almost unimaginable damage and misery. In a surge of floodwater that lasted just two minutes, Japan lost nearly as many people as a proportion of its population as the United States did during the entire Vietnam War. The subsequent meltdown of the Fukushima nuclear reactors deepened the crisis. But some see a silver lining to these dark tragedies. After 20 years of economic stagnation, the crisis could bring the Japanese together, catalyze much-needed reforms, and reverse decades of malaise. Many in the United States predict that the disaster will give a welcome boost to the U.S.-Japanese alliance. In an interview with Japan's national public television network on March 22, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton proclaimed, "Our alliance, which was already strong and enduring, has become even more so." Indeed, the U.S. response to the disaster showcased its lasting commitment to Japan, as well as the unique logistical and material capabilities that the U.S. military forces stationed in the Pacific can provide. In what was dubbed Operation Tomodachi (Operation Friendship), the United States mobilized some 20,000 service members to assist with relief activities. It was the largest joint operation in the history of the alliance, and it generated widespread public support in both countries. Despite the warmth of that the moment, however, deeper trends portend a far less certain future for the U.S.-Japanese relationship. Japan is undergoing profound changes aimed at empowering the political leadership at the expense of its historically preeminent bureaucracy. But rather than bringing about a clean transfer of institutional authority, the reforms have triggered battles among politicians and between politicians and bureaucrats, creating a power vacuum and undermining the government's ability to make policy. Complicating matters further are Japan's piecemeal policymaking institutions, a hypercompetitive media environment, and an increasingly dire fiscal outlook. The result has been uncertainty and gridlock, which are affecting alliance policymaking and are unlikely to disappear in the years ahead.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, Tokyo
  • Author: Bing West
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Two documentaries on the Afghan war, Restrepo and Armadillo, show how a combination of overwhelming military resources and aggressive counterinsurgency ultimately leads to frustration on the battlefield.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Japan
  • Author: Ernest Moniz
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: In the years following the major accidents at Three Mile Island in 1979 and Chernobyl in 1986, nuclear power fell out of favor, and some countries applied the brakes to their nuclear programs. In the last decade, however, it began experiencing something of a renaissance. Concerns about climate change and air pollution, as well as growing demand for electricity, led many governments to reconsider their aversion to nuclear power, which emits little carbon dioxide and had built up an impressive safety and reliability record. Some countries reversed their phaseouts of nuclear power, some extended the lifetimes of existing reactors, and many developed plans for new ones. Today, roughly 60 nuclear plants are under construction worldwide, which will add about 60,000 megawatts of generating capacity -- equivalent to a sixth of the world's current nuclear power capacity. But the movement lost momentum in March, when a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and the massive tsunami it triggered devastated Japan's Fukushima nuclear power plant. Three reactors were severely damaged, suffering at least partial fuel meltdowns and releasing radiation at a level only a few times less than Chernobyl. The event caused widespread public doubts about the safety of nuclear power to resurface. Germany announced an accelerated shutdown of its nuclear reactors, with broad public support, and Japan made a similar declaration, perhaps with less conviction. Their decisions were made easier thanks to the fact that electricity demand has flagged during the worldwide economic slowdown and the fact that global regulation to limit climate change seems less imminent now than it did a decade ago. In the United States, an already slow approach to new nuclear plants slowed even further in the face of an unanticipated abundance of natural gas.
  • Topic: Government, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, Germany
  • Author: Yanzhong Huang
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Although China has made remarkable economic progress over the past few decades, its citizens' health has not improved as much. Since 1980, the country has achieved an average economic growth rate of ten percent and lifted 400–500 million people out of poverty. Yet Chinese official data suggest that average life expectancy in China rose by only about five years between 1981 and 2009, from roughly 68 years to 73 years. (It had increased by almost 33 years between 1949 and 1980.) In countries that had similar life expectancy levels in 1981 but had slower economic growth thereafter -- Colombia, Malaysia, Mexico, and South Korea, for example -- by 2009 life expectancy had increased by 7–14 years. According to the World Bank, even in Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, and Singapore, which had much higher life expectancy figures than China in 1981, those figures rose by 7–10 years during the same period.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Malaysia, Asia, South Korea, Colombia, Australia, Mexico, Hong Kong