After Abe Shinzo announced his early retirement at the end of August, Japan has had to come to terms with a significant structural change on top of all the challenges left by the Covid-19 pandemic. By his own admission, the sharply elected new Premier, Suga Yoshihide, Abe’s right-hand man, is better-versed in domestic issues rather than foreign policy—a feature that might prove to be challenging, to say the least, in ever-changing regional and international scenarios such as the ones Suga is today asked to navigate.
After almost eight years as Prime Minister, Abe Shinzo retired. On 16 September the national Diet (Japan’s parliament) nominated Suga Yoshihide as his successor. Since Abe announced his intention to resign on 28 August, the ruling Liberal-Democratic Party (LDP) has gone through three frantic weeks to find an agreement on the succession.
Japan’s longest-serving Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has resigned. Officially because of reasons related to his health but unofficially and in reality there is probably much more than meets the eye. Abe’s involvement in various scandals and his recently rapidly plummeting public approval rates might indeed have played a role why Abe decided to throw in the towel. Or: the reason why he was urged by his fellow Liberal-Democratic Party (LDP) members to call it quits to contain further damage to the party. Who knows.
The G7 summitry is in serious doubt. As is widely reported, German Chancellor Merkel declined the invitation by US president Trump, currently holding the G7 presidency, to attend the meeting, and in turn Mr Trump announced that the meeting would be postponed until September, with its membership expanded to Russia, Australia, India and South Korea.
The many skeptics of the annual G7 summit of major market democracies have long doubted that the promises its leaders make together from their sunny summit peak are actually kept when they return to the dark valleys of domestic politics back home. Such skepticism has spiked as US president Donald Trump prepares to host the 2020 G7 summit, amidst a still deadly COVID-19 pandemic and massive economic pain.
Leadership from the Group of Seven (G7) is needed more than ever as the pandemic continues to devastate economies and as we begin to grapple with the many legacies this global crisis will leave in its wake. Given the increased need for G7 leadership at this time, it is notable that the next meeting is being postponed to September, if it will be held at all.
On June 10 a virtual G7 summit was supposed to take place in the US. As the Covid-19 pandemic is still taking its toll across the world, Donald Trump tried to hold the G7 in person in late June. After a (very) cold reception by the other leaders he had to postpone the meeting until September. However, this decision is raising further doubts, as the US presidential elections will be just around the corner, and as President Trump plans to invite other countries, most notably Russia. Is the G7 still a meaningful summit?
On 14th January, the 15th round of the ‘China-Japan Strategic Dialogue’ was held in Xi’an, the ‘Terracotta Army’ city of China’s Shaanxi province. The mechanism is one of the few communication channels that remain active between the two countries: in addition to this Dialogue and regular diplomatic exchanges, the ‘China-Japan High-Level Economic Dialogue’, the ‘China-Japan Security Dialogue’ and the ‘China-Japan High-Level Political Dialogue’ make up for the entire system of bilateral consultations between Beijing and Tokyo.
South East Asia is an area of utmost importance for Japan’s economic, political and security interests, amounting to “a core strategic interest” for Tokyo.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s long-life obsession to revise the country’s pacifist constitution suffered a blow in Japan’s Upper House elections last Sunday. The pro-revision political parties and groups – Abe’s Liberal-Democratic Party (LDP), its junior coalition partner Komeito, the revisionist and nationalist Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Innovation Party) and a few independent lawmakers – did not win enough seats to hold on to the two-third majority in the 245-seat Upper House they obtained in 2016.
As the US-China trade war rages, and fears of a new conflict in the Gulf loom, world leaders meet in Osaka (June 28-29) at the G20 Summit. Beyond today's crises, the Summit will be a litmus test for the G20 countries’ ability to tackle key global challenges: from financial stability to climate change, from trade protectionism to aging populations and the future of work in the digital age. Will the sense of urgency prevail over growing divisions?
As the world’s premier forum on international economic governance, the G20 plays an important role in global rule-making. Born out of crisis, the G20 has morphed into the inner sanctum of world governance. Given that Africa has been a rule-taker since its decolonisation, its limited participation in this grouping (only South Africa is a full member) runs the risk of perpetuating this situation.