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Roar Power: Watanabe Ken Talks Godzilla

Japanese actor Watanabe Ken has become a Hollywood fixture in the past decade. His latest blockbuster role is in Godzilla, directed by Gareth Edwards. Nippon.com recently interviewed the global star, and he shared with us his views on the underlying message of the iconic character Godzilla today—60 years after its screen debut.
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Methinks the Nation Doth Protest . . . How Much?David McMahon

Japan, the popular consensus goes, is a country in which congruence and harmony are valued above all else. For many years I accepted this wisdom at face value and assumed that this tendency lay behind the seeming absence from Japanese society of any sort of large-scale civil disobedience, the strikes and demonstrations that are a periodic occurrence elsewhere in the world. Gradually, though, I fo…
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Masuzoe Yōichi: Tokyo’s Next Governor

On February 9, 2014, Tokyo voters trudged to the polls through deep snow. There they elected Masuzoe Yōichi, a former member of the House of Councillors who served several terms as minister of health, labor, and welfare, to be the metropolis’s next governor. Backed by the Liberal Democratic Party and New Kōmeitō, Masuzoe handily beat his main opponents in the contest: Hosokawa Morihiro, a former …
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What I Think About When I Think About FukushimaWoody Epstein

Learning lessons the hard way from the Fukushima disaster, the Japanese government implemented new safety requirements for nuclear plants on July 8. Risk assessment consultant Woody Epstein shared his thoughts on the Fukushima accident and the use of nuclear energy at a symposium in Hiroshima in March 2013. Here we present excerpts from his speech.
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Trade Pact Progress, Nuclear Plant FaultfindingShiraishi Takashi

On February 22, Prime Minister Abe Shinzō met in Washington with President Barack Obama, and the Japanese and US governments issued a joint statement concerning the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations. This statement confirmed that if Japan were to participate, “all goods would be subject to negotiation,” but noting that “both countries have bilateral trade sensitivities” and that “as the fin…
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Abe’s Visit to Southeast Asia and Japan’s Five New Diplomatic PrinciplesShiraishi Takashi

From January 16 to 18, Prime Minister Abe Shinzō visited Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia; this visit to Southeast Asia was his first international trip since taking office on December 26. On the first day of his trip, Abe flew to Vietnam, where he met with Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung in Hanoi. The two leaders agreed to promote bilateral cooperation through trade and investment in areas includ…
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A US Strategist Speaks on Japan’s Leadership and Energy Policy NeedsTaniguchi Tomohiko

In early November 2012, Abe Shinzō, president of the main opposition Liberal Democratic Party, was announcing that his party would reactivate Japan’s nuclear power plants if it returned to power. This was in response to Prime Minister Noda Yoshihiko’s announcement of a plan to phase out nuclear power by the 2030s. On November 7, Nippon.com editorial board member Taniguchi Tomohiko spoke to John Hamre, president of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, to hear what he had to say about Japan’s energy policy choices and the outlook for bilateral ties.
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Japan and the Geopolitics of the Shale RevolutionTaniguchi Tomohiko

The “shale revolution” offers the promise of energy independence for the United States and another energy option for Japan in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. But Taniguchi Tomohiko argues that it could also have perilous repercussions—political as well as economic—for which Japan must prepare itself by “thinking about the unthinkable.”
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Election 2012: The People’s Verdict, Abe’s AgendaShiraishi Takashi

On December 16 Japan held a general election for the House of Representatives, the lower house of the National Diet. As had been expected, the Liberal Democratic Party, which lost power three years ago, emerged victorious this time. The LDP achieved a sweeping victory, taking 294 of the 480 seats in the chamber. Adding the 31 seats won by the New Kōmeitō, its long-time ally, gives a total of 325, …
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Five Things to Know About Energy in Japan

Basic information about Japan’s energy situation is indispensable when examining the prospects for renewable energy sources here. We kick off our series with a quiz to see what you know about things like Japan’s energy self-sufficiency ratio and the price of gas.
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