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Timeline for December 2015

The government endorses exemptions for food in the country’s upcoming consumption tax hike, the Supreme Court upholds a law requiring married couples to have the same last name, and Japan and Korea reach a potentially ground-breaking agreement on the "comfort women" issue. Here are the top Japan-related stories for December 2015.

The All Japan Obachan Party: A Political Voice for Middle-Aged WomenTaniguchi Mayumi

Seventy years after women’s suffrage was first recognized in Japan, the number of female representatives in Japan’s National Diet is still stuck in the doldrums. Here Taniguchi Mayumi introduces the “second women’s suffrage movement” launched by obachan (middle-aged women), who have raised the flag of revolution against their male ossan counterparts through the new medium of Facebook.

Timeline for May 2015

The volcano Shindake erupts on the southern island of Kuchinoerabujima, a plan to reform local government in Osaka is defeated, and debate over new security legislation begins in the Diet. These are the top Japanese stories for May 2015.

Timeline for February 2014

Japanese athletes experience success and disappointment in Sochi; a new governor defeats antinuclear candidates to win election in Tokyo; and record snowfall brings chaos to parts of Japan. Look back on the top Japanese news stories of February 2014.

Ishihara Shintarō’s New Party and the “Third Force” in Japanese PoliticsHitora Tadashi

Eighty-year-old Ishihara Shintarō has put the cat among the pigeons again, announcing that he will resign from his position as governor of Tokyo in order to form a new political party and stand as a candidate in the next elections for the House of Representatives. Ishihara caused an international furor earlier this year with his plans for the metropolitan government to purchase the disputed Senkak…

An Uncertain Year Ahead Following the Leadership ElectionsMasuzoe Yōichi

Leadership elections for Japan’s two largest political parties took place in September 2012. While Prime Minister Noda Yoshihiko easily retained control of the governing Democratic Party of Japan, the contest was considerably more eventful for the opposition Liberal Democratic Party. The incumbent president, Tanigaki Sadakazu, withdrew from the competition, leaving a battle between five contenders…

Consumption Tax Bill Repercussions Have Just BegunGotō Kenji

As we all know, the last phase of deliberations over the consumption tax bill took place on August 8, at a meeting between Prime Minister Noda Yoshihiko of the Democratic Party of Japan and Tanigaki Sadakazu, leader of the opposition Liberal Democratic Party.(*1) It was then that Noda promised Tanigaki that he would dissolve the lower house and call a general election “soon,” persuading Tanigaki t…

Gearing Up for the General ElectionMasuzoe Yōichi

Setting aside their political differences, the Liberal Democratic Party, the New Kōmeitō Party, and the Democratic Party of Japan joined together to pass a bill in the Diet for a comprehensive reform of the taxation and social security systems. Leading up to this, Prime Minister Noda Yoshihiko promised LDP President Tanigaki Sadakazu(*1) that he would dissolve the Diet to hold a snap general ele…

The New Parties’ Political ImpactHitora Tadashi

Chances for Coalition and Cooperation

In the second half of 2012, with an eye on the potential political landscape following a general election, Japan’s ruling and opposition parties will escalate their leadership struggles in preparation for a possible early dissolution of the Diet. The ruling Democratic Party of Japan and the opposition Liberal Democratic Party are both s…

From Local Juggernaut to National Leader—Can Hashimoto Make the Leap?Machidori Satoshi

Osaka Mayor Hashimoto Tōru is one of several dynamic young local leaders bent on building a national organization capable of making a splash in the next general election. Analyzing this phenomenon in the context of Japan’s dual political system, Machidori Satoshi asks whether the charismatic, confrontational style that has served Hashimoto and his ilk so well at the local level can translate into success in the national arena.

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