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Abe’s Indo-Pacific “Security Diamond” Begins to ShineSuzuki Yoshikatsu

Last December Prime Minister Abe Shinzō wrapped up his 2015 diplomatic agenda with two events highlighting his “diamond” strategy for regional maritime security: a state visit to India and talks with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in Tokyo. The concept of a partnership between Japan, the United States, Australia, and India began to take on substance after Abe’s visit to Washington i…
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Japan Sets New Record with Nearly 20 Million International Arrivals in 2015

Japan saw a record 19.7 million international visitors in 2015. This included almost 5 million Chinese tourists, more than double the number for 2014, whose extravagant spending helped push total travel outlays for the year to over ¥3 trillion.
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The Geostrategic Significance of the TPP Agreement for the Asia-PacificShiraishi Takashi

On October 5, 2015, at a meeting in Atlanta, the trade ministers from 12 countries—Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam—reached an “agreement in principle” on the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership. The TPP, in addition to providing for the elimination of tariffs as under a traditional free trade agreement, cover…
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The Year Ahead in East Asia: China’s Regional Vision and Domestic PoliticsKawashima Shin

Looking back over the past year, one major issue of contention in East Asia during 2015 was history. It was a year of various major historical anniversaries—70 years since the end of World War II, 50 years since the normalization of diplomatic relations between Japan and South Korea, and 40 years since the end of the Vietnam War. And naturally enough, the moves that were made to mark these anniv…
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Japan’s Options in Countering China’s Maritime PushKawashima Shin

China appears to be pushing harder to secure its interests in the East and South China Seas since Xi Jinping became general secretary of the Communist Party of China in November 2012. Indeed, many foreign policy experts in China note that Xi will be less likely to compromise on territorial or maritime issues than his predecessor, Hu Jintao. Previous CPC leaders like Jiang Zemin (1989–2002) an…
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Japan in 2015: The Year’s Top Stories

Security legislation passes amid protests, Prime Minister Abe Shinzō makes a statement to mark the seventieth anniversary of the ending of World War II, and Japanese hostages are killed in Syria. A look back on the biggest Japan-related stories of 2015.
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Assessing the “Historic” China-Taiwan Summit and Its Implications for JapanKawashima Shin

On November 7, 2015, President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China and President Ma Jing-yeou of the Republic of China (Taiwan), held what was widely reported as a “historic” summit meeting in Singapore. It was the first such meeting between the leaders of the PRC and ROC. By way of background, in 1946, following the end of World War II, a full-scale civil war broke out between the f…
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Japanese Business Prospects in China’s Changing Environmental IndustrySomeno Kenji

January 2013 saw massive air pollution in Beijing and surrounding areas. While the thick PM2.5 smog brought the severity of environmental problems in China to the attention of many people, China had been riddled with grave environmental issues from well before the incident, having taken insufficient efforts to protect the environment in the face of the rapid growth of its economy beginning in the 1990s.
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Maintaining Peace in the South China SeaBonnie S. Glaser

China’s terraforming activities and territorial claims in the South China Sea have unnerved its neighbors in the region. The United States has made freedom of navigation operations near the Spratly Islands part of its strategy to address Chinese actions; they must be combined with diplomacy, as well as cooperation among America and its partners, to be truly effective.
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Teaming Up to Fight PM2.5 Pollution: Sino-Japanese Research into Causes, Ways to Counter It

On October 1, 2015, a public seminar took place in the Nippon Foundation Building in Tokyo with the aim of shedding light on air pollution caused by particulate matter with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers or less, and seeking the possibility of Sino-Japanese cooperation on the issue. The seminar was organized by the Sasakawa Japan-China Friendship Fund as the first phase of a joint research project launched this year involving Japanese and Chinese universities and corporations. Experts from both countries gave talks on PM2.5 air pollution, which is a widespread problem in China.
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