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A Turning Point for Japan-Iran Relations

Japan’s relations with Iran have reached a turning point. As Japan and the United States discuss American sanctions against Iran, Japan’s petroleum wholesalers have decided to curtail imports of Iranian oil. Middle East expert and former diplomat Tanaka Kōichirō reviews the history of Japan-Iran relations from the first oil shock and the Islamic Revolution to the Iran-Iraq War, the Gulf War, and circumstances today.
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No Boost to Abe from Cabinet Reshuffle, but Public Support StableTobias Harris

Prime Minister Abe Shinzō, fresh off his successful bid for a third term as leader of the Liberal Democratic Party in the September 20, 2018, party election, announced a new lineup for his cabinet and for the LDP’s leadership on October 2. The August 2017 reshuffle brought talented and experienced LDP politicians who had at times been critical of Abe into the government and arguably revived the pr…
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Women Cabinet Ministers in Japan

The first Japanese woman cabinet minister was Nakayama Masa, appointed as minister of health and welfare in July 1960. More than 60 years have passed since then, so how has the political status of women in the National Diet changed?
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Japan’s Shrinking Democracy: Proposals for Reviving Local AssembliesKen Victor Leonard Hijino

As Japan’s population ages and shrinks, many of its rural communities are facing a shortage of politicians. In March, government-commissioned experts proposed to diversify the way town and village assemblies are organized. The proposals are a much-needed first step; but reviving democracy at the grass-roots will require many more fundamental changes.
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Stumbling Over Words: The Growing Communication Gap in Japanese Politics

Words may be the most potent weapon in politics, but they are a double-edged sword. In the social-media age, a slip of the tongue can quickly spell disaster and send a politician scrambling to do damage control. In Japan, a recent spate of gaffes and verbal chicanery among prominent legislators has many experts lamenting a breakdown in communication between leaders in Tokyo and their constituents around the nation.
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Lawmaker Close to Tokyo Governor Koike Creates New Political Group (News)

Tokyo, Aug. 7 (Jiji Press)—Japanese lawmaker Wakasa Masaru, who is close to popular Tokyo Governor Koike Yuriko, said Monday that he has established the Nippon First no Kai (Japan First), a new political group led by him. Using the group as a stepping stone, Wakasa, an independent member of the House of Representatives, the powerful lower chamber of Japan's Diet, intends to create a new party f…
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Abe Reshuffles Cabinet in Bid to Reverse Slumping Approval

On August 3, 2017, Prime Minister Abe Shinzō reshuffled his cabinet for the third time since being reelected premier in 2014, replacing 13 of 19 incumbent ministers. Kōno Tarō was appointed as minister for foreign affairs and Onodera Itsunori was tapped for minister of defense. Noda Seiko returned to the cabinet, taking on the role of minister of internal affairs and communications.
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New Polls Show Support for Abe ErodingTobias Harris

Three new opinion polls show Prime Minister Abe Shinzō’s approval declining significantly in the wake of his Liberal Democratic Party’s defeat in Tokyo’s metropolitan assembly elections on July 2. In tracking polls conducted by NHK, the Yomiuri Shimbun, and the Asahi Shimbun, the government’s net approval ratings fell into negative territory for the first time since September 2015. Approval fell t…
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Koike Camp Wins Landslide in Tokyo Election, Trounces LDP (News)

Tokyo, July 2 (Jiji Press)—Tomin First no Kai (Tokyoites First), a regional party led by Tokyo Governor Koike Yuriko, and forces supporting Koike won a landslide victory in a Tokyo metropolitan assembly election held on Sunday, handing Prime Minister Abe Shinzō's Liberal Democratic Party a historic defeat in the capital. Tomin First leader Koike Yuriko, governor of Tokyo, affixes green flowers…
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Noda Eager to Run in 2018 LDP Leadership Race (News)

Tokyo, April 29 (Jiji Press)—Noda Seiko, a senior member of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party, has expressed her eagerness to run in a party leadership election in autumn 2018. At an April 25, 2017, interview, Noda Seiko speaks of her intent to run for the LDP presidency in autumn 2018. (© Jiji)  In a recent interview with Jiji Press, Noda, former chair of the party's General Council,…
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