The ongoing standoff over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands is key for global peace and prosperity. In September 2012, in reaction to the Japanese government’s hastened acquisition of three Senkaku islets from a Japanese private citizen, China started to send its forces in the waters surrounding the small archipelago administered by Japan.
In collaboration with the Embassy of Japan in Italy, ISPI organized a lecture on the Japanese economy, its prospects and its relevance for European economies. To what extent is the ‘Abenomics’ adopted by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2012 a success story? How to assess Abe’s ambitious plan of monetary, fiscal and structural reforms four years after his election? Have they produced the desired result of putting Japan back on the track of a sustainable and sound economic growth?
Abstract Numerous bilateral initiatives, in various cultural, political and economic fields, were organized to celebrate the 150° anniversary of the diplomatic relations between Italy and Japan. Among them, Keio University of Tokyo, jointly with Bocconi University and the Embassy of Italy in Tokyo, gathered a conference on “The economics of Italy and Japan: Historical Development and Future Policies for Stability and Growth” (Tokyo, 23 May, 2016).
In May 2014 Prime Minister Shinzo Abe decided to launch the Cabinet Bureau of Personnel Affairs, a new bureau, run by Katsunobu Kato, Abe’s closest aid. This maneuver is no doubt aimed at tightening control of bureaucrats, that have been indulging overwhelming power for ages. This shows clearly the importance of bureaucracy in political life of Japan.
Forget the political parties that are contesting Japan’s parliamentary election this weekend. The real choice for Japanese voters as they cast ballots is between cynicism and indifference. Prime Minister Abe Shinzo has called a snap election less than halfway through the parliament’s term – but not because his parliamentary majority is at risk and voters need to give him and his party a new mandate. Just the opposite: Abe has called an election to exploit a disorganized opposition and protect his own back. This is breath-taking opportunism.
Economic good sense and reforms as opposed to ill-fated nationalism and historical revision. In a nutshell, this is what Japan’s current and most probably also future government should be able to provide the Japanese electorate with after Japan’s Lower House elections on December 14.
Il primo ministro giapponese Shinzo Abe lo scorso 21 novembre ha annunciato lo scioglimento anticipato della Camera Bassa, la Camera dei Rappresentanti. Ciò porterà a nuove elezioni politiche, previste per il 14 dicembre.
Sia in Giappone sia all’estero il ricorso a elezioni anticipate è stato percepito come un referendum sulla Abenomics, la politica economica promossa dal governo Abe. Queste elezioni, tuttavia, potrebbero avere notevoli ripercussioni anche sulla politica estera del paese.
Abenomics is at a crisis point. The economy slipped back into recession in Q3, prompting a delay to the second planned consumption tax hike and a snap election. The Bank of Japan meanwhile has also reacted to weak growth by expanding its monetary easing programme. The latter decision may avoid a return to deflation but unless the ‘third arrow’ of Abenomics – structural reform – is activated, Japan’s relative economic decline is set to continue.
Two Asian leaders who planned to meet at the APEC meeting in Beijing actually did just that: on November 10 Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping met for a short but nonetheless symbolically very important encounter. During their reportedly not exactly ‘warm-hearted’ encounter, Abe and Xi reportedly agreed to make efforts to work on maritime crisis management in order to prevent further Japanese-Chinese maritime clashes in disputed territorial waters in the East China Sea.
While the US is seeking a way of rebalancing China in East Asia its approach left space for interpretation. The strategy of positioning itself in Asia on basis of concrete security issues and alliances while keeping its involvement open is seemingly only one aspect of the new game. Today a more or less refined toolbox of ‘strategic persuasion’ was designed in order to deal with an increasingly influential and powerful China. Instead of engaging in a non-desirable and costly direct military opposition to China, the US tries to pull all the strings in order influence its behavior towards moderation particularly in East Asia. In so doing, Washington is encountering an expectation-perception gap. So far the strategy has not necessarily proven successful. In Beijing, strategic maneuvers were often not fully understood and responses did not turn out not as initially desired. The US’ pivot to Asia has aroused a primordial fear in modern China: containment by outside powers. With a return to more traditional language of balancing, in China the situation was better understood. Yet, the implication remains the same. China has in reaction adopted a more assertive stance in military affairs while gradually trying to limit political damage in the ASEAN framework.