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Naruto’s Limits: What Soft Power Can Actually AchieveDavid Leheny

“Soft power” receives much attention in Japan as a means to project national influence on the global stage. But does soft power truly impact other nations in the way that leaders expect it to? Political scientist David Leheny argues that only diffuse forms of soft power at the popular level count in the end.
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Taiwanese Voters Say No to Ma Ying-jeouOgasawara Yoshiyuki

In Taiwan’s November 2014 local elections, the ruling party suffered greater-than-expected losses, further weakening the position of President Ma Ying-jeou. Why did the Kuomintang fare so poorly, and what lies ahead for Taiwan and its relations with mainland China?
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Senkaku Power Game: An Overview of the Japan-China Islands Dispute

In September 2012, Japan’s nationalization of the Senkaku Islands brought a flare-up to a simmering dispute with China over who owns the territory. As a result, the November 2014 bilateral summit in Beijing was the first between the countries’ leaders for over two years. This article summarizes the complex history of the islands and the dispute and explores the larger issues of sea power in the region.
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Preserving Order in Japan’s EEZ: Toward a New Paradigm of Maritime SecurityKōda Yōji

The Japanese people were shocked by the incursion of some 200 Chinese poaching vessels into protected waters around the Ogasawara (Bonin) Islands last fall, and dismayed by Japan’s limited ability to enforce the law within its own exclusive economic zone. Kōda Yōji, a retired vice admiral of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, explores the implications for Japanese maritime security and calls for new modes of cooperation between the Japan Coast Guard and the Maritime Self-Defense Force.
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APEC Summit in Beijing Brings Minor Thaw to Japan-China Relations

The first formal talks between Japanese and Chinese leaders in two and a half years took place on the sidelines of this month’s APEC summit in Beijing. Prime Minister Abe Shinzō and President Xi Jinping spoke for the first time since assuming leadership, marking an upturn for frosty bilateral relations. This article summarizes the key points of the latest summit and the 25-year history of APEC.
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Hong Kong’s Pro-Democracy Protests Strike a Global ChordKurata Tōru

The world has been closely watching developments in Hong Kong, where pro-democracy forces have protested Beijing’s proposed election reform for the city. Chinese authorities have stood firm in the face of the protests, raising the possibility of a long-term stand-off between the two sides. Kurata Tōru, a professor at Rikkyō University, examines the protests, which he views as occupying the front line of a new “cold war.”
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Building Legends in International Cooperation: An Interview with JICA President Tanaka Akihiko

Japan's top foreign aid official looks back on six decades of official development assistance and airs his vision for "cooperation with a face" and the kind of ODA that will be remembered for years to come.
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Japanese Studies Overseas: A Target for More Strategic SupportKawashima Shin

The field of Japanese studies in other countries is currently undergoing a major transformation in various respects. I would like to offer a quick overview of the concerns this raises based on what I have heard from researchers and academics working in this field. First of all, the focus of interest is rapidly shifting away from topics like literature and economic affairs to “soft culture” topi…
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Tackling China’s Diabetes ProblemIizuka Yōko

China now has the largest diabetic population in the world. In October 2011 a Japanese medical team began a project in Shanghai to apply Japanese-style treatment to this growing problem. Iizuka Yōko, born in China to a Chinese father and Japanese mother, was involved in proposing and planning the project, and she participated in it as a physician.
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The Rise of Ramen: How “Chinese Noodles” Became a Japanese Favorite

Originally from China, ramen has become one of Japan’s most popular dishes over the past few decades, sparking intense competition among the nation’s ramen shops. This article looks at the history behind Japan’s infatuation with ramen.
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