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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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Surprise Agreement on Comfort Women Issue and the Blowback in South KoreaRoh Daniel

December 2015 was a historic month for the relationship between Japan and South Korea. December 18 marked the fiftieth anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic ties between the two countries, and one week later, on December 25, Japan’s foreign minister suddenly announced that he planned to visit South Korea. Following a meeting between him and his South Korean counterpart in Seoul on Decembe…
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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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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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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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Pew Survey Sheds Light on Regional Sentiment in Asia-Pacific

In September, the Pew Research Center released the finding of its 2015 Global Attitudes Survey exposing a discrepancy in how Japan is viewed by its Asia-Pacific neighbors. While only 12% in China and 25% in South Korea saw Japan favorably, over 70% of other countries in the region had a positive view.
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Meeting Japanese Remorse with Chinese AcceptanceMa Licheng

Chinese commentator Ma Licheng considers the various factors that shaped Prime Minister Abe Shinzō’s statement marking the seventieth anniversary of the end of World War II and calls for China to be more open-minded in its response to Abe’s words.
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Seoul’s Last-Minute Campaign to Derail Japan’s World Heritage BidKimura Kan

The dispute between Japan and South Korea regarding historical perceptions became the source of a major tussle over the bid for inclusion of the “Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution” in the World Heritage List. The sites were added to the list, but meanwhile Seoul won international attention for its position on Japan’s wartime conscription of Korean laborers.
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