Testing the United States: China and the Senkakus

  Despite the brief hiatus in tensions between Japan and China over the Senkakus—islands historically owned and administered by Japan but in recent decades claimed by China—the issue is flaring up again. Two Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) ships, including a submarine, entered the contiguous waters next to the islands and another island group in […]

Editorial: Japan Should Not Ignore China’s Real Intent at Senkaku

  Refusing to hide its ambition to take the Japanese sovereign territory of the Senkaku Islands (Okinawa Prefecture), China was not content with just sending Chinese Coast Guard vessels into the waters off Senkaku, so it also sent Chinese Navy vessels on January 10th to 11th, 2018.       The Japan Self-Defense Forces observed […]

After Trump’s Asia Trip, A Need for Ambitious Regional Strategy

  Douglas H. Paal, Vice President for Studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, spoke with the Sankei Shimbun’s Washington correspondent Hiroyuki Kano. As a former White House Asia specialist, Paal emphasized the need for an ambitious regional strategy after President Donald Trump’s Asia trip in November 2017.       How do you […]

Yuan Diplomacy: Panama Cuts Ties with Taiwan in Favor of the Mainland

People celebrate Christmas in Panama   Panama has received munificent rewards from Beijing for its decision to formally cut all diplomatic relations with Taiwan in favor of the Mainland. The joint statement of the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of Panama occurred in Beijing on November 17th and was unusually cryptic, symbolizing the […]

Nuclear Arsenal for Deterrence: JCPAC Highlights Japan’s Growing Security Challenges

Many expected North Korea to conduct yet another missile test last December 17, the sixth anniversary of Kim Jong Il’s death. Such tests have, rather worryingly, become something of a regular occurrence for Japan, with a North Korean intermediate-range missile passing over Hokkaido in August and September.   Although no such test happened, the United […]

Free and Open Indo-Pacific Crucial to Japan’s Continued Economic Success

  Of late, the term “Indo-Pacific” has gained increasing currency, as seen during the recent Asian tour of United States President Donald Trump. India’s importance in the US foreign policy calculus has been increasing progressively, as seen in a major policy speech delivered by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. He remarked that “the United […]

Will Japan Emerge as Champion of A Free and Open Indo-Pacific?

  Whether one considers Shinzo Abe’s decision to call a snap election in October and Donald Trump’s Asian trip in November successes or not, many Japanese and Americans believe, correctly in my view, that North Korea is the most immediate threat which cannot be ignored. However, China is the more serious medium to long-term concern that will […]

Behind Xi Jinping ‘Smiling Diplomacy’ Is a Strategy to Stop the Revision of Japan’s Constitution

  On his trip to Da Nang in central Vietnam, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the evening of November 11th, with both leaders vowing to further improve relations between their countries. The Prime Minister called for China to play a greater role in efforts to exert maximum pressure on North […]

Studies in Contrast: Abe’s Popular Mandate, Xi Jinping’s Monopoly of Power

  Democracies around the world have commonalities in terms of their approach and consequent connection with the masses or the electorate. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is the latest case in point, as he secured a decisive and resounding mandate in Japan’s general election. Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party and its second-fiddle coalition partner, Komeito, have secured […]

After Landslide Victory, Abe Has To Deliver on Dealing with North Korean Crisis

  With the landslide election victory by the mainly-Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)-Komeito coalition, the foundation has been laid for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to continue his medium- to long-term strategy.   Some analysts have said that the LDP win was due to the divided opposition. However, the bigger reason is probably voters’ judgment that only […]