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Refining Hospitality: “Omotenashi” and Foreign Visitors to JapanŌtsuka Tomohiko

Japan is opening its doors wide to foreign travelers, with the aim of welcoming 40 million international tourists annually by 2020. Yet many visitors from religiously diverse Southeast Asia can stumble into the shadows of the nation’s widely touted hospitality. A journalist reflects on the state and true meaning of Japanese omotenashi.
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5,805 Foreigners Refused Entry to Japan in 2016 (News)

Tokyo, March 24 (Jiji Press)—The number of foreign visitors who were refused entry to Japan in 2016 rose 25.9% from the previous year to 5,805, the Justice Ministry said Friday. The figure surpassed 5,000 for the first time in eight years. By nationality, 1,683 Indonesians were turned away, the largest group, up 86.8% after inflows of visitors from the country surged under a visa waiver prog…
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Asia-Pacific Nations Agree on Close Cooperation with United States: Abe (News)

Hanoi, Jan. 16 (Jiji Press)—Wrapping up his tour to four Asia-Pacific countries, Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzō said Monday that he has agreed with the leaders there to continue their close cooperation with the United States for peace and security in the region. Ahead of Donald Trump's inauguration as US president on Friday, Abe expressed his willingness to hold talks with the new president…
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Abe Leaves on Four-Nation Asia-Pacific Tour (News)

Tokyo, Jan. 12 (Jiji Press)—Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzō left Thursday for the Philippines, the first destination of a six-day tour of four Asia-Pacific nations. Abe aims to strengthen ties with the Philippines, Australia, Indonesia, and Vietnam to highlight the significance of multilateral cooperation involving the United States for the stability of the Asia-Pacific region amid uncertain…
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Selling the Shinkansen Overseas: What Are Japan’s Chances?

Countries around the world are planning to construct high-speed rail networks, and the competition to win their orders is heating up. Japan, justifiably proud of its Shinkansen bullet train system, is an energetic competitor, but sparks are now flying as China and European countries have entered the fray. Just when it seemed to be coming Japan’s way, the order for a high-speed rail line in Indones…
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On the Frontline of Gender and Technology: Engineer Abe Reiko Brings Japanese Know-How to Asia’s Rail Infrastructure

Civil engineer Abe Reiko travels the world applying her expertise in ensuring safety and quality on a wide variety of rail projects in Asia, including construction of metro lines in India and high-speed trains in Taiwan.
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Talking Points from the 2015 Asia-Africa Conference in JakartaRichard Susilo

The major results of the 2015 Asia-Africa Conference in Jakarta, including approval of the Bandung Message to Strengthen South-South Cooperation, have been reported in a range of online sources. However, here I would like to focus on a couple of interesting talking points from the conference. The first is the way Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzō and Chinese President Xi Jinping were often see…
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Presidential Visit Underscores Closeness of Indonesia-Japan TiesRichard Susilo

During his first visit to Japan on March 22–25, newly elected Indonesia President Joko Widodo provided business and political leaders with a firsthand glimpse of the charisma and geniality that carried the young leader to victory in 2014. Not since the days of President Suharto nearly two decades earlier has an Indonesian head of state displayed such openness toward Japan and its citizenry. In …
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Issues and Expectations for Indonesia’s Incoming PresidentShiraishi Takashi

Joko Widodo, a politician who worked his way up from a common background, is about to take office as president of Indonesia. Shiraishi Takashi considers the significance of Widodo’s election and the prospects for the new president.
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China’s Summit Diplomacy and the Geopolitics of the “Indo-Pacific” RegionShiraishi Takashi

October was a busy month for top-level diplomacy in Asia. Bali was the site of the October 7–8 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit and of the October 8 meeting of leaders from the countries participating in the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations. These APEC and TPP meetings were followed by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit in Brunei (October 9–10), which was accompanied…
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