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Trans-Pacific Partnership
Trump and the Perils of Protectionism: Averting an Economic DisasterUrata Shūjirō

US President-elect Donald Trump has pledged to renegotiate free-trade agreements and impose punitive tariffs in order to protect American jobs. What are the likely consequences of such policies for international trade and the global economy, and how should Japan respond?

The Geostrategic Significance of the TPP Agreement for the Asia-PacificShiraishi Takashi

On October 5, 2015, at a meeting in Atlanta, the trade ministers from 12 countries—Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam—reached an “agreement in principle” on the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership. The TPP, in addition to providing for the elimination of tariffs as under a traditional free trade agreement, cover…

Why Does Japan Have Butter Shortages?Kikuchi Masanori

“Due to shortages, sales of butter are limited to one item per customer.” From spring until summer this year, signs like this were posted in the dairy sections of supermarkets and food stores around Japan. In fact, butter shortage notices have been a recurring sight for the past several years. This year it was particularly striking to see the number of stores that were completely out of butter a…

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.

TPP Talks Quietly Enter the Final StagesYoshizaki Tatsuhiko

Secrecy has been the general rule for negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, but information is gradually coming out as the talks approach the homestretch. Participating countries can no longer afford to keep everything behind closed doors once the talks reach a stage that requires domestic coordination toward market liberalization. Japan, too, appears to be easing itself into that task.

Is the Democratic Party of Japan Just a Reincarnation of the LDP?T. J. Pempel

For decades now the need for fundamental political and economic reform in Japan has been clear. And change seemed at hand when the Democratic Party of Japan took over the reins of government back in 2009. Some three years later, though, the DPJ is looking more and more like the Liberal Democratic Party it replaced. In this article, T. J. Pempel, a political science professor at the University of California, Berkeley, examines how the reformist impulses of the DPJ (and of the LDP under Prime Minister Koizumi Jun’ichirō) have been checked by the sluggish political status quo.

Reviving Japanese Agriculture to Cope with International CompetitionDōmoto Hiroshi

Japan’s noncompetitive farming sector has been a roadblock to participation in free trade pacts with other countries. Dōmoto Hiroshi explains how Japanese agricultural policy has weakened the farming sector, particularly rice growing, and suggests steps to make the sector internationally viable.

The Deepening of the Japan-US AllianceKitaoka Shin’ichi

The Japan-US alliance faces a number of knotty problems, exacerbated by initial bungling after Japan’s 2009 change of ruling parties. But the Japanese have been reawakened to the challenge posed by China’s fast-growing military might, and the United States has recommitted itself to involvement in East Asian security affairs.

The TPP as an International Public GoodYachi Shōtarō

Professor Yachi Shōtarō, a former vice-minister for foreign affairs, sees the Trans-Pacific Partnership as an opening that will enable Japan to reverse the decline that began in the 1990s. Its purpose is not to counter China but to create an international public good benefiting the entire Asia-Pacific region.

Evolving a New Order for the Asia-PacificShiraishi Takashi

On November 11, Prime Minister Noda Yoshihiko announced that Japan would seek to take part in the negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a broad regional trade and investment liberalization pact. At a press conference that evening he declared, “I have decided to enter into consultations toward participating in the TPP negotiations with the countries concerned.” And he delivered this mess…

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