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Yasukuni Shrine: the Basics

Prime Minister Abe Shinzō’s visit to Yasukuni Shrine on December 26, 2013, was the first by a Japanese leader for seven years and drew fierce criticism from China and South Korea. What started as a place to honor those who fell while fighting the Tokugawa shogunate has become a center of controversy in East Asian relations. This article presents the key historical, religious, and political information regarding the shrine.
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Reforming Corporate Tax by Expanding the Tax BaseMorinobu Shigeki

One pillar of Prime Minister Abe’s growth strategy is lowering the corporate tax rate. Tax expert and former Ministry of Finance official Morinobu Shigeki contends that a shortfall in corporate tax revenue can be offset by expanding the tax base and calls for further reforms in Japan’s corporate taxes.
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Timeline for July 2014

The government reinterprets the Constitution, sanctions on North Korea are eased, and Typhoon Neoguri causes three deaths. Here are the key Japanese news stories for July 2014.
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Methinks the Nation Doth Protest . . . How Much?David McMahon

Japan, the popular consensus goes, is a country in which congruence and harmony are valued above all else. For many years I accepted this wisdom at face value and assumed that this tendency lay behind the seeming absence from Japanese society of any sort of large-scale civil disobedience, the strikes and demonstrations that are a periodic occurrence elsewhere in the world. Gradually, though, I fo…
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The Illusion of “Rising Nationalism”: Internationalism and Xenophobia in Today’s JapanKarube Tadashi

Both in Japan and overseas, journalists have been expressing concern about the rise of nationalism under Prime Minister Abe Shinzō. A political scientist questions the validity of these worries.
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Abe’s Moves Toward Collective Self-Defense

On July 1, 2014, Prime Minister Abe Shinzō’s cabinet adopted a resolution to reinterpret the Constitution to allow Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense. What does this reinterpretation entail, and what are the security ramifications?
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Moves Toward Lowering Japan’s Corporate Taxes

Japan is set to lower its corporate tax rate in fiscal 2015 to improve the competitiveness of its companies and encourage inbound corporate investment. Prime Minister Abe Shinzō proposed new economic and fiscal policy measures, including tax revision, in June; the blueprint is to lower the effective rate, now 35.64% for companies based in Tokyo to under 30%.
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A Nascent Democratic Axis for AsiaBrahma Chellaney

Narendra Modi, who recently became prime minister of India, is scheduled to visit Japan later this summer. Geostrategist Brahma Chellaney revisits the Indo-Japanese relationship and finds it thriving on both the economic and security fronts. What is the strategic outlook for these partners moving forward?
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Timeline for May 2014

Prime Minister Abe Shinzō completes a six-nation tour of Europe, a manga series spurs debate over Fukushima, and Japan enjoys a day of sporting triumph. Review the major news stories of May 2014.
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Japan One Step Closer to Collective Self-Defense?

On May 15, 2014, Prime Minister Abe Shinzō gave a press conference after receiving a report from the Advisory Panel on Reconstruction of the Legal Basis for Security, an advisory body to the prime minister. Regarding the use of the right of collective self-defense, in which the Self-Defense Forces would use arms to counter an attack on an ally, he said the government would study the proposal further with an eye to permitting it in a limited manner.
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