Harano Jōji
  • Harano Jōji 
  • By this author: 10 Latest posted: 2014.11.25
Representative director, Nippon Communications Foundation. Has been a political reporter, Paris correspondent, and assistant managing editor at Jiji Press, a television commentator for TBS, and a member of the Board of Councilors for the Japan Institute of International Affairs. Received the Order of the Star of Italy in 2008.
Kōmeitō Turns Fifty: A History of Political Twists and Compromises2014.11.25

The Kōmeitō has spent the last 15 years in partnership with the Liberal Democratic Party. Taking the occasion of the party’s semicentennial, we look back on its checkered history and the challenges it now faces.

The Rich History and Uncertain Future of Bunraku Puppet Theater2014.11.18

The traditional theatrical art of bunraku combines chanting, shamisen music, and puppets for a distinctive aesthetic experience. Despite having experienced surges of popularity, it is now struggling to find an audience. This article surveys the history of bunraku and looks ahead to a new initiative aimed at reviving public interest. Alongside kabuki and nō, the bunraku puppet theater is considere…

Scarecrows Stand Watch over Village on Borrowed Time2014.09.11

At first glance, they look much like people, and the village seems to be full of residents going about their daily business. These particular locals are not people, though, but scarecrows. The mannequins outnumber the village’s 40 or so human residents by more than two to one, and on the surface—with their own distinctive personalities—do create a rather cheerful atmosphere. But in the context of …

Japan Launches Its Own National Security Council2013.12.25

On November 27, 2013, the Diet passed a bill to establish a National Security Council, which will serve as the command center for Japan’s diplomatic and security policies and national strategy. Modeled after the US National Security Council, it is known as the Japanese NSC. Under the leadership of the Kantei (the prime minister’s office), within which it has been set up, the council will engage in…

The Impact of Koizumi’s Call for Zero Nuclear Power2013.12.05

At a press conference held at the Japan National Press Club in Tokyo on November 12, 2013, former Prime Minister Koizumi Jun’ichirō discussed his position on nuclear power. In view of the March 2011 disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, Koizumi said, zero nuclear power can be achieved—if only Prime Minister Abe Shinzō makes the decision. Regarding timing, he said, “We should go …

Learning From the Chōshū Five: A Conference in London Discusses the Past and Future of Japan’s Relations with Great Britain2013.10.15

The year 2013 marks a milestone for relations between Japan and the United Kingdom. As well as being the 400th anniversary of the first official diplomatic exchanges between the two countries, this year is also the 150th anniversary of the Chōshū Five, a celebrated group of samurai intellectuals who traveled to Britain to study and ended up playing a vital role in Japan’s modernization. Today too …

Getting More Young People to Study Abroad—and Companies to Hire Those Who Do2013.09.03

The number of Japanese studying in the United States is continuing to decline. This phenomenon is frequently cited as manifesting the inward-looking tendency of today’s Japan. One organization that has been working actively to reverse this negative trend is the US-Japan Conference on Cultural and Educational Interchange (CULCON). Though the Fulbright Program promoting international student exch…

Relations with Russia: Remembering the Past2013.05.01

Relations between Japan and Russia have been strained of late. Despite close trading ties and geographic proximity, the two countries have never signed a formal peace treaty after World War II, largely because of a long-running territorial dispute over several islands in the Kuril chain north of Hokkaidō (known as the “Northern Territories” in Japan). I recently had an occasion to reflect on the …

Daniel Inouye, Japanese American Statesman and Hero2013.02.20

On December 17, 2012, US Senator Daniel Inouye passed away at the age of 88. President Barack Obama issued a statement the same evening, saying, “our country has lost a true American hero.” As a longtime leader of the Japanese American community and a living link between Japan and the United States, the Hawaiian-born Inouye will be mourned on both sides of the Pacific. His death was a loss to bot…

Loss of an International Relations Leader2012.05.25

Prime Minister Noda Yoshihiko’s official visit to the United States at the end of April was a first for the head of a Democratic Party of Japan government. Furthermore, the summit marked the first time a top-level joint statement had been released since 2006. Although the result was a confirmation of the strong ties between the two nations, the six-year gap since the last joint statement, issued b…

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