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Abe’s Groundbreaking US VisitNakayama Toshihiro

While many pundits have pronounced Prime Minister Abe’s recent visit to the United States a qualified success, Nakayama Toshihiro argues that it broke new ground—not through the kind of personal rapport prized by previous Japanese prime ministers in their dealings with US presidents but through a shared commitment to the kind of frameworks needed to build a new global partnership.
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Yasukuni Shrine: the Basics

Prime Minister Abe Shinzō’s visit to Yasukuni Shrine on December 26, 2013, was the first by a Japanese leader for seven years and drew fierce criticism from China and South Korea. What started as a place to honor those who fell while fighting the Tokugawa shogunate has become a center of controversy in East Asian relations. This article presents the key historical, religious, and political information regarding the shrine.
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The Illusion of “Rising Nationalism”: Internationalism and Xenophobia in Today’s JapanKarube Tadashi

Both in Japan and overseas, journalists have been expressing concern about the rise of nationalism under Prime Minister Abe Shinzō. A political scientist questions the validity of these worries.
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The Pressures of Change: The Office of Prime Minister in the United Kingdom and JapanTakayasu Kensuke

Although Japan and the United Kingdom both use a parliamentary system, the position of the prime minister differs significantly. As the role of the Japanese prime minister becomes increasingly important, political scientist Takayasu Kensuke looks at the weaknesses of the present system through a comparison with the situation in the United Kingdom.
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The Role of the Kantei in Making PolicyMakihara Izuru

The Prime Minister’s Official Residence, known as the Kantei, can be thought of as Japan’s answer to the White House: it serves as both home and headquarters to the nation’s chief executive, and its name is a metonym for that top government office. But until relatively recently, a powerful bureaucracy and a tradition of decentralized decision making, added to the inherent constraints of Japan’s parliamentary system, had reduced the Kantei to little more than an onlooker in the actual policymaking process. Makihara Izuru traces the development of “Kantei leadership,” from the dawn of the LDP’s hegemony in 1955 to the present.
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Margaret Thatcher: The Iron Lady and JapanHosoya Yuichi

Although Margaret Thatcher kept a low profile during her final years, as she struggled with Alzheimer’s, media fascination with her life continued to keep her name in the public eye—not least in Japan, where the Iron Lady biopic was a big hit after its release in March 2012. Her death on April 8, 2013, at the age of 87, was a major news story in the Japanese media, more than 20 years after her tim…
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Stay Hungry, Japan! An Interview with Nakasone Yasuhiro

Over the past five years, Japan has had six prime ministers, none of whom has exerted the leadership to make a lasting impact. Nakasone Yasuhiro, prime minister from 1982 to 1987, talks about the training that underpinned his success on the domestic and diplomatic stages and what Japanese politics needs today.
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