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Prime Minister Abe’s Trip to the United States: The Official and the UnofficialGlen S. Fukushima

Prime Minister Abe Shinzō’s eight-day trip to the United States from the end of April to early May was, officially speaking, a success. He was welcomed warmly in the four stops he made―in Boston/Harvard University, Washington DC, San Francisco/Stanford University, and Los Angeles―by his American hosts, most of whom viewed him as a reformer on economic issues and an advocate of strong US-Japan secu…
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Timeline for April 2015

Prime Minister Abe addresses the US Congress, the imperial couple visits World War II monuments in Palau, and a Japanese maglev train breaks the world speed record. These are the key Japanese news stories of April 2015.
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“Asahi Shimbun” Coverage of the Comfort Women Issue Through the Years

On August 5, 2014, the Asahi Shimbun ran an article assessing its past coverage of the comfort women issue, admitting many factual errors including the 32-year-old testimony of Yoshida Seiji. What came to light through this article, however, was not so much the truth about comfort women as the mutually skewed debate in both Japan and South Korea, which share a peculiar postwar history.
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Seventy Years Since World War II: Historical Perceptions and Present RealitiesWatanabe Tsuneo

It seems to me that Western media coverage of historical perceptions in East Asia is misleading. While Japan’s acts of violence against the global order in the past should certainly be criticized, attention should also be directed at the aggressive challenges to the international order in our own time. This year marks the seventieth anniversary of the end of World War II, bringing a greater foc…
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The Road Not TakenKent Calder

One cold winter day over half a century ago, minutes before John F. Kennedy rose to speak in January 1961, Robert Frost became the first person to read poetry at a US Presidential inauguration. Frost, a four-time Pulitzer Prize winner, has long been one of America’s most beloved poets for his immortal poem: “The Road Not Taken.” Its beginning and ending lines are ones that many Americans, who are …
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Japan’s Long Wait for US Congress Invitation

When Prime Minister Abe Shinzō addresses a joint session of the US Congress on April 29, 2015, he will become the first Japanese leader ever to do so. Since 1874, there have been over 100 addresses to the full Congress by foreign leaders, so why has it taken so long for Japan to win its turn?
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Major Makeover for the University Entrance SystemIsoda Fumio

Japan’s university entrance exam system and high school education are on the verge of undergoing a large-scale reform. Factors driving the reform include changes in the university student selection process, wrought by the declining birthrate, and awareness that the current system is not doing enough to prepare students for a global world.
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Leprosy as a Human Rights Issue

On January 27, a ceremony was held in Tokyo to announce the 2015 Global Appeal to End Stigma and Discrimination against People Affected by Leprosy. Prime Minister Abe Shinzō and other dignitaries pledged their support for the struggle against leprosy-related discrimination.
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Rebuilding Japanese Finances: Tackling a ¥1 Quadrillion Debt

The third Abe cabinet, formed after a landslide victory for the Liberal Democratic Party in the December 2014 election, has embarked on a wide range of economic policies. Over the short term, the key questions are how to break out of deflation and stimulate the economy. Looking farther ahead, the road is thorny as the government tries to move forward on the Abenomics growth strategy and restore fiscal soundness.
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Terror Strikes During Abe’s Mideast TripKamal Gaballa

Prime Minister Abe Shinzō’s visit to the Middle East, which this week took him to Egypt, Jordan, Israel, and Palestine, was dramatically interrupted on January 20 by a terrorist incident targeting Japanese nationals. The group calling itself Islamic State, or ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant), released a video that afternoon (Japan time) claiming to have taken hostage the journalist Gotō…
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