Home > Articles > 2014

2014

Although Prime Minister Abe’s decision to postpone the planned hike in the consumption tax was popular with voters, resulting in a commanding majority for his coalition government in the December 2014 lower house election, it could spell trouble further down the road for the nation’s public finances. Prescriptions for fiscal consolidation are quite simple, but politics, argues Senior Fellow Sota Kato, will likely get in the way of any serious attempts to restore fiscal health.

read more

Despite Russia’s serious economic woes, President Putin is unlikely to face a major political crisis, as long as weaknesses in the economy do not directly hurt his strongest supporters. Political stability should persist, argues Paul Saunders, if he can continue to blame Russia’s slumping economy on falling oil prices and Western sanctions.

read more

Buoyed by close, personal rapport between their leaders, Japan and Australia have been deepening their bilateral security relationship by "quantum leaps" in recent years. In a paper contributed by Australian scholars Malcolm Cook and Thomas Wilkins, the authors examine the factors behind the warmer ties and the key security issues the two "aligned" partners will need to address.

read more

Prime Minister Abe’s decision to hold a general election on December 14, at a time when the government has little to gain from a new mandate, has left observers perplexed. Katsuyuki Yakushiji illuminates the political calculus behind Abe’s timing.

read more

The Republican victory in the November 4 midterm elections will have major implications for the strategies adopted in the 2016 presidential campaign. The central question for President Obama during the remainder of his term, notes Paul Saunders, is whether he will adopt a conciliatory approach to the Republicans in Congress to pass key legislation.

read more

Existing multilateral institutions are becoming increasingly unable to deal with the stepped-up violence of nonstate actors and other security threats. While global governability is showing its limits, this does not mean there is a need to overhaul the rules of the world order, notes Tokyo Foundation President Masahiro Akiyama. The global order should continue to be based on established international laws and the nation-state system, and steps should be taken to prevent another Cold War.

read more

Prime Minister Abe has been forcefully advancing a foreign policy and security agenda, visiting a record 49 countries, creating a National Security Council, issuing a National Security Strategy, relaxing the ban on the transfer of defense equipment, and broadening the constitutional interpretation of the right of self-defense. These initiatives should expand the areas of cooperation between Japan and NATO. Maintaining this momentum, notes Research Fellow Ippeita Nishida, will hinge on the success of his Abenomics policy of economic growth. This article is reprinted with permission from the website of the Security and Defense Agenda, a Brussels-based think tank that, as of October 9, 2014, has become part of Friends of Europe.

read more

Why hasn’t the second Abe cabinet placed higher priority on repairing relations with China? And why has Beijing suddenly begun signaling an openness to rapprochement? Research Fellow Takashi Sekiyama explores the economic dynamics of Japan-China relations with the Beijing APEC summit coming up in November.

read more

The Fukushima nuclear accident turned Japan’s energy policy on its head, throwing into relief problem areas that had escaped scrutiny before the disaster. Electricity system reform is indispensable to rebuilding Japan’s energy policy and ensuring the success of Abenomics. This article by Research Fellow Hikaru Hiranuma was uploaded in September 2014 on the website of the Center for Asian Studies, Institut Français des Relations Internationales (Ifri), as part of its Asie.Visions series of electronic publications. It is reprinted here with Ifri's permission.

read more

While President Obama’s September 10 speech outlining a strategy to combat ISIL has been viewed as a return to intervention, he is expanding the US role only very reluctantly. Mounting pressure from both elite and public opinion prompted Obama to act, but it would be a mistake, Paul Saunders notes, to conclude from this that the president Obama has fundamentally changed his attitudes and approaches.

read more

next 1 2 3 4 6