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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.

Abe Shores Up Power with Cabinet ReshuffleKakizaki Meiji

On September 3, Prime Minister Abe Shinzō reshuffled his cabinet and leadership of the Liberal Democratic Party for the first time since assuming office in 2012. Political journalist Kakizaki Meiji considers the motivations behind Abe’s choices and the effects they will have on the balance of the administration and his party.

A First Reshuffle for Second Abe Cabinet (September 2014)

On September 3, Prime Minister Abe Shinzō announced the results of his first cabinet reshuffle since assuming office for the second time in December 2012. Six senior ministers retained their positions, including Deputy Prime Minister Asō Tarō, Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide, and Minister for Foreign Affairs Kishida Fumio. Former Liberal Democratic Party Secretary General Ishiba Shigeru took the newly created post of minister in charge of reviving local economies.

Abe’s Moves Toward Collective Self-Defense

On July 1, 2014, Prime Minister Abe Shinzō’s cabinet adopted a resolution to reinterpret the Constitution to allow Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense. What does this reinterpretation entail, and what are the security ramifications?

Behind Moves to Revise Article 96Hitora Tadashi

The movement to amend Article 96 of Japan’s Constitution, Prime Minister Abe Shinzō’s first priority in a grand scheme of constitutional revision, is attracting more attention as the House of Councillors election scheduled for July 21 approaches. The prospect of amending this article, which sets forth procedures for revising the Constitution itself, is drawing support from some opposition partie…

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