Reopening the Abduction Case Files – Part Two: How North Korea Used Megumi as a Bargaining Tool

This article originally appeared in the Sankei Shimbun morning edition, September 1, 2012. All ages and dates are counted from that date.   Megumi Yokota, who was abducted by North Korean agents as she was coming home after middle school badminton practice, is representative of North Korea’s abduction victims. If her case is brought to […]

The Families of the Abducted: An Ultimatum and an Idea

The Association of the Families of Victims Kidnapped by North Korea and the National Association for the Rescue of Japanese Kidnapped by North Korea held a joint meeting in Tokyo on February 19. At the meeting they adopted a new policy for their movement, calling for the government to prioritize the situation of Japanese abductees […]

Reopening the Abduction Case Files – Part One: Why Did North Korea Lie about Megumi’s Death?

This article originally appeared in the Sankei Shimbun morning edition, August 31, 2012. All ages and dates are counted from that date.   “I regret to inform you…”   That was how then-Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Shigeo Uemura began while speaking to Yokota Megumi’s father, Shigeru (79) and mother, Sakie (76), in a room at […]

43 Hours on the Road with Trump and Abe

On the night of February 13, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government jet returned to Japan from the United States after a whirlwind visit of over 43 hours that started with a bear-hug welcome from President Donald Trump and ended with a visit to the exclusive members-only Mar-a-Largo resort in Palm Beach, Florida. The two leaders […]

Abe and Trump: A Good Start, but a Long Road Ahead

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s summit and golf outing with Donald Trump on February 10 and 11 could not have realistically gone much better. Expectations were admittedly low, but for good reason—Trump’s early relations with U.S. allies have gone poorly, like when he hung up early on the Australian prime minister after berating him about the […]

Building a Relationship with Trump is Abe’s Only Strategic Option

For the past 70 years, the only strand of diplomacy and foreign relations that has really, really mattered for Japanese governments has been the management and preservation of the country’s alliance with the United States. While other relationships—such as those with China, South Korea, partners with ASEAN, and most recently, Russia—have come in and out […]

Speak Loudly and Carry a Big Stick: Trump’s Asia Diplomacy and its Test for Japan

This will be Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s second meeting with President Donald J. Trump. Abe’s strategy is the correct one: he wants to build a familiarity with Trump through regular meetings, strengthening Japan-U.S. ties by engaging in direct diplomacy with the president himself. In the Trump administration, it will be the president who does all […]

Opinion: Don’t Panic – Three Rules for Dealing with Trump

The administration of US President Donald J. Trump is now upon us. My initial impressions are below:   Don’t assume Trump is acting alone   First, even though President Trump got to the White House by criticizing career politicians and establishment bureaucrats and by portraying himself as an apolitical outsider, he himself became an establishment […]

There Will Be Nothing Easy about a U.S.-Japan Free Trade Agreement

Now that Donald Trump has followed through on his campaign promise to withdraw the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), hopes for trade liberalization between the United States and Japan have shifted to a potential bilateral free-trade agreement. Bilateral FTAs are the preferred vehicle for Trump’s new economic team because it is easier for each […]

Editorial: Trump’s Trade Policies Will Make America Poorer

We cannot help but be disappointed by the seemingly inflexible stance of the Trump administration, which fails to understand the significance of free trade and which insists on viewing trading partners as enemies. President Trump’s view that the United States has been sacrificing American industry and enriching the industries of other countries for decades is […]

Trump’s Grand Strategy and What it Means for Asia

The Trump administration has been criticized for lacking a grand strategy. Instead of having a coherent long-term plan toward which all foreign policy will be oriented, it has been suggested that the new president will be guided by personal instinct and will pursue disconnected, short-term goals. Strategic thinking is therefore expected to give way to […]

Targeted Elections: What the U.S. Election Teaches Us about Disinformation Campaigns

A November 8, 2016, a chill went through the democratic world. A combination of disinformation, propaganda, and targeted leaks narrowly elevated Donald Trump to president of the United States. But it immediately became clear that the forces assisting him in his victory were not only powerful, but also intent on taking down the Western liberal […]