Japan

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Review Essay, May/June 2014
Margarita Estévez-Abe

David Pilling's useful book, Bending Adversity, takes a relatively hopeful view of the conservative nationalism advocated by Japanese president Shinzo Abe. But a more thorough accounting of Japan’s recent past and the country's political system would suggest a less sanguine outlook.

Snapshot,
J. Berkshire Miller

When U.S. President Barack Obama touches down in Asia later this month for a long-overdue trip, he will have a daunting challenge ahead of him: pushing Washington’s two major regional allies together.

Snapshot,
Gi-Wook Shin and Daniel C. Sneider

Disputes over wartime history between Japan and South Korea are proving a useful wedge for China to drive the two U.S. allies apart. As Obama heads to Asia this month, it is time for the United States to tackle wartime history in Asia head on.

Snapshot,
Michael T. Klare

U.S. President Barack Obama must consider which priority in East Asia -- the credibility of the pivot or the avoidance of conflict -- is the most pressing and deal with it, since the risk of confrontation in the East China Sea will not go away anytime soon.

Snapshot,
J. Berkshire Miller

Much of the alarmism over Japan’s new national security tilt is misplaced. A balanced interpretation must not dwell only on Abe’s personal views -- and his recent unhelpful visit to Yasukuni Shrine -- but also take into account what policies the country needs to be the United States’ prime ally in the region.

Postscript,
Richard Katz

When it comes to Japan, China seems torn. On security issues, it is increasingly hawkish. But on economic ties -- from Japanese imports to Japanese investments -- it has become downright dovish. At the heart of China’s reversal is the economic reality that China needs Japan just as much as Japan needs China.

Snapshot,
Michael J. Green

Much of the coverage of China's recent announcement of a new Air Defense Identification Zone in the East China Sea contends that Beijing made a hasty move that the region can now correct with a little help from Washington. Unfortunately for the Obama administration, however, a little help won't be enough. It will need to firmly and consistently stick by its allies for the long haul.

Snapshot,
Fiona Hill

Russia and Japan suddenly find themselves linked by a shared predicament in the Asia-Pacific: both are secondary players in a region overshadowed by an increasingly assertive China. Despite recent high-level meetings on foreign and defense policy, however, the relationship remains delicate and each partner is wary of taking new risks.

Postscript,
Jennifer Lind

During negotiations over a new security pact, Kabul demanded that Washington apologize for its military’s bad behavior. Such apologies are generally unnecessary and sometimes even counterproductive. Still, reconciliation requires some acknowledgement of past harm.

Response,
Tobias Harris

Noah Smith might be right that neoliberal reforms could rescue Japan's economy. But he's wrong about Abe's ability to try them. 

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