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Boosting Japan’s “Proactive Contributions to Peace”Jeffrey Hornung

Prime Minister Abe Shinzō returned to office in 2012 with a promise to change Japan. Looking at his term thus far and his efforts to strengthen the US-Japan alliance, revise his country’s security policies, and pursue difficult economic reforms, Abe has already proven to be one of Japan’s most transformative premiers. This year, after a speech to Congress and a seventieth anniversary statement mar…

Sugihara Chiune: “Japan’s Schindler”

Sugihara Chiune saved thousands of lives by issuing visas to Jewish refugees in Lithuania in 1940 and was honored as Righteous Among the Nations by the Israeli government in 1985. However, it was several more years before he was properly recognized in Japan.

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…

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 …

Good Heir Days: Prince William’s Soft Power a Big Hit in JapanDavid McMahon

The United Kingdom’s Prince William—the Duke of Cambridge, second in line to his country’s throne—was in Japan from February 26 to March 1 on a whistle-stop tour that was equal parts tradition and technology, celebrities and civilians. It was a state visit that for many sparked memories of another nearly 30 years ago, when William’s parents Charles and Diana, then Prince and Princess of Wales, …

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 Daesh, which calls 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 journ…

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.

Japan’s Post–World War I Foreign Policy: The Quest for a Cooperative ApproachSakurai Ryōju

In the wake of World War I, Japan shifted its foreign policy stance, particularly with regard to China, turning away from imperialism and seeking to act in concert with the other great powers. Historian Sakurai Ryōju explains the events and thinking behind this shift.

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?

The Turnabout of Japan’s Security Policy: Toward “Proactive Pacifism”Kitaoka Shin’ichi

At the end of 2013 the establishment of the National Security Council, the formulation of a National Security Strategy, and other moves shed light on new developments in Japan’s security policy. Kitaoka Shin’ichi, president of the International University of Japan, who played a leading role in the policy-making process for these measures, explains the trajectory of recent developments.

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