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Will Japan Move to Amend the Constitution?Takahashi Masamitsu

The ruling coalition’s upper house election victory gives Prime Minister Abe the numbers he needs to initiate a constitutional referendum. Political journalist Takahashi Masamitsu examines the hurdles the administration must clear to achieve a constitutional amendment.

Landslide Victory for LDP in 2016 Upper House Election

The ruling coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and Kōmeitō won comfortably in the House of Councillors election on July 10, 2016. The LDP nonetheless ended one seat short of its first simple majority in 27 years.

The Roots and Realities of Japan’s Cyber-NationalismFuruya Tsunehira

The prevalence of anti-Korean and anti-Chinese hate speech on Japanese websites has raised concerns about the spread of a virulent strain of right-wing cyber-nationalism in Japan. Furuya Tsunehira traces the rise of Japan’s “Internet right-wingers” and dispels some myths about their identity and potential impact.

The Difficult Role of the Top Opposition PartyMachidori Satoshi

The Democratic Party of Japan, which governed from 2009 to 2012, failed in its quixotic attempt to block the government’s national security legislation by joining forces with protesters outside the Diet. The DPJ must return to a textbook approach to its role as the top opposition party if it hopes to regain power.

Timeline for September 2015

Security legislation is passed in the House of Councillors, record-breaking rain causes major flooding in the Kantō and Tōhoku regions, and Japan wins a historic victory over South Africa at the Rugby World Cup. An overview of the key news stories for September 2015.

Thinking about Okinawa (3): The Regional Security Context

The Japan-US security setup and moves by China have a major bearing on prospects for the US bases in Okinawa. In the last of a three-part series, political experts consider the regional security context and domestic political situation relating to the “Okinawa problem.”

Abe Returned as LDP President in Uncontested Election

Prime Minister Abe Shinzō has won a new three-year term as president of the Liberal Democratic Party. The campaign for the LDP presidency was due to start on September 8, but as no other candidates filed by that date, the election was decided without the vote that had been scheduled for September 20. The LDP has selected a president 41 times over the years since it was formed in 1955, but this i…

Ambivalent Mandate for the Abe CabinetTakenaka Harukata

Was the ruling coalition’s landslide in the recent general election a sweeping mandate for Prime Minister Abe’s economic policies, as the government has claimed? Political scientist Takenaka Harukata suggests otherwise, arguing that voter support for the status quo rests on disillusionment with the opposition and uncertainty about the long-term success of “Abenomics.”

Lower House Election Provides Little Drama as LDP Stays in Power

The forty-seventh House of Representatives election on December 14, 2014, saw the ruling coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and Kōmeitō retain their two-thirds majority in the lower house by combining to capture 326 seats, an unchanged number. The much-expected gains of the LDP failed to materialize as the party lost four seats, slipping from 295 to 291. Coalition partner Kōmeitō managed to…

Abe’s Enforcer: Suga Yoshihide’s Stabilizing Influence on the CabinetMakihara Izuru

Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide has played a key role in the second Abe Shinzō administration, picking the right senior bureaucrats to support the administration’s policies, keeping cabinet members in line, and preventing gaffes from escalating into PR fiascos. As a self-made man—quite rare in national politics today—Suga has managed to work his way up, but challenges remain.

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