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Abe Becomes Third-Longest-Serving Leader in Postwar Japan (News)

Tokyo, May 28 (Jiji Press)—Abe Shinzō became the third-longest-serving Japanese prime minister in post-World War II history on Sunday with 1,981 days in office including his first tenure between September 2006 and September 2007. His stint as Japanese leader surpassed that of Koizumi Jun'ichirō, who was in office between April 2001 and September 2006. Koizumi utilized internal opposition wit…

Abe’s Growth-First Fiscal PolicyTobias Harris

On June 30, the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy, the Japanese government’s leading economic advisory council, issued the 2015 version of its Basic Policies for Economic and Fiscal Management and Reform. This is a blueprint for the government’s economic policy agenda for the current fiscal year and the following fiscal year’s budgetary process, which starts in the summer. While drafting the…

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.

“Word of the Year” Contest Tracks Popular History of JapanRichard Medhurst

For three decades now, an annual ritual has seen the year’s most popular Japanese buzzwords compiled into a list by the publisher Jiyū Kokumin Sha. The long list for 2014 was announced last week. Looking back over the complete 30-year history reveals the preoccupations of the period, offering a scenic route through the changing zeitgeist for newcomers to Japan and nostalgia to anyone with long-ter…

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.

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.

Include Nuclear Power in Japan’s Basic Energy PlanShiraishi Takashi

Voters in Tokyo went to the polls on February 9 to elect a new governor. The victor was Masuzoe Yōichi, former minister of health, labor, and welfare, who had the full backing of the Liberal Democratic Party and of the New Kōmeitō, its coalition partner in the national government. The turnout was 46.14%. Masuzoe got 2,112,979 votes, 43.4% of the total. In distant second place was Utsunomiya Kenj…

Timeline for January 2014

Prime Minister Abe Shinzō's busy schedule takes him to Africa, Switzerland, and India; the Tokyo governor race begins to heat up; and scientist Obokata Haruko announces a potentially major discovery in cell biology. Review the events that shaped Japan in January 2014.

The Impact of Koizumi’s Call for Zero Nuclear PowerHarano Jōji

At a press conference held at the Japan National Press Club in Tokyo on November 12, 2013, former Prime Minister Koizumi Jun’ichirō discussed his position on nuclear power. In view of the March 2011 disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, Koizumi said, zero nuclear power can be achieved—if only Prime Minister Abe Shinzō makes the decision. Regarding timing, he said, “We should go …

Yasukuni and the Enshrinement of War CriminalsHigurashi Yoshinobu

The advent of the second Abe Shinzō cabinet has rekindled the bitter controversy over official visits to Yasukuni Shrine, where war criminals are honored alongside Japan’s other war dead. Diplomatic historian Higurashi Yoshinobu sheds light on the process that culminated in the secret enshrinement of Class A war criminals in 1978.

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