December 27, 2013

Is Japan Finally a 'Normal Country'?

Lionel Pierre Fatton, The Diplomat

The Associated Press

So is Japan now finally a normal country? The question has been asked and debated for about two decades, the answer quite naturally depending on the definition given to the concept of “normal country.” A first step to address this question is to approach it in reverse, asking why Japan was seen as “abnormal” in the first place.

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December 26, 2013
Why Abe Visited the Yasukuni Shrine
Rupert Wingfield-Hayes, BBC
So if the shrine is so offensive to China and South Korea why did Mr Abe go? Firstly, because he wanted to. Close observers of the Japanese prime minister say he is at heart a nationalist and a historical revisionist. He... more ››
December 23, 2013
Japan Doubles Down on ASEAN
J. Berkshire Miller, The Diplomat
This month, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe finished up a busy year of diplomatic overtures in Asia with a summit hosting leaders from the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Tokyo. The Japan-ASEAN summit... more ››
December 26, 2013
Japan's Soft Power Stumble
James Fallows, The Atlantic
Only one step could have made conditions worse among Japan, China, and South Korea, with spillover effects on America. That is the step Japan's prime minister has just taken. more ››
December 27, 2013
Risky Nationalism in Japan
New York Times
Mr. Abe’s ultimate goal is to rewrite Japan’s pacifist Constitution, written by Americans during the postwar occupation, which restricts the right to go to war. Here, too, Emperor Akihito disapproves, though he has no... more ››
December 27, 2013
Shinzo Abe's Nod and Wink
JoongAng Daily
Abe has crossed a bridge of no return. His self-righteous visit explicitly reflects a lopsided and obstinate image of the hard-line prime minister. If he made the visit elated by high approval ratings, he may start to lose those... more ››