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2015

The Abe cabinet succeeded in passing legislation to expand the scope of Japan’s security options in September, but the strength of public opposition was surprising. Satoru Mori urges the government to address the “unilateral pacifist” mindset of the Japanese people and to make a greater effort to convince them of the need to actively defend the embattled international order to ensure continued peace and prosperity.

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On July 6, 2015, with Prime Minister Abe’s much-anticipated 70th Anniversary Statement in the offing, the Tokyo Foundation held a forum to explore the challenges of historical reconciliation in the context of Japan’s relations with China, South Korea, and the United States. In Part 2 (abridged), the panelists review progress and setbacks to date and discuss what it will take to complete the reconciliation process.

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Washington is pursuing a hedging strategy toward Beijing in the hopes of accruing the benefits of cooperation while avoiding the costs of competition. The core problem, Paul Saunders notes, is whether the United States and China can develop a sufficiently trusting relationship for engagement to succeed even as Washington conveys mistrust. The current state of the US-Russia relationship may be a cautionary tale.

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On July 6, 2015, with Prime Minister Abe’s much-anticipated seventieth anniversary statement in the offing, the ninety-fifth Tokyo Foundation Forum explored the challenges of historical reconciliation in the context of Japan’s relations with China, South Korea, and the United States. In Part 1 (abridged), the panelists draw on their areas of expertise to outline the basic issues and their context.

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There was very little debate on the actual substance of Japan’s recently enacted security legislation, despite the uproar it caused at home and abroad. Senior Fellow Noboru Yamaguchi provides an analysis of the provisions from a perspective closer to on-the-ground operations with reference to the new Guidelines for Japan-US Defense Cooperation, which sets the parameters for cooperation between the US military and the SDF.

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Recent years have witnessed important milestones in the global trend toward sustainable investment. ESG expert Hiroshi Komori discusses the challenges facing Japanese companies amid these developments from the perspective of foreign institutional investors.

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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe achieved a cherished policy goal with the September 19, 2015, passage of security legislation revising the ground rules for military engagement. In the process, however, he triggered a major public backlash, underscoring the strength of the nation’s attachment to its pacifist Constitution. Katsuyuki Yakushiji weighs the costs and benefits of Abe’s legislative victory.

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The Northern Territories are not part of the Kuril Islands but are the inherent territories of Japan and have never belonged to any other country, writes Masahiro Akiyama. The Japanese people feel that the Russian occupation of the islands is illegal and unfair, he notes, but have gradually come to accept that there is no choice but to find a compromise.

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Prime Minister Abe's statement on the seventieth anniversary of the end of World War II turned out to be less hawkish than initially expected, using the same three key terms—aggression, colonial rule and deep remorse and heartfelt apology—as the Murayama statement. This, notes Taisuke Abiru in an article originally published by the Valdai Discussion Club, indicates that the statement is a reflection of historical realism, not revisionism.

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Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization visited the Tokyo Foundation on September 14, 2015, to deliver a keynote address at a seminar on Japan-NATO relations, co-organized with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Prior to this meeting with Japanese security experts and foreign officials from NATO member states, he granted an interview with the Foundation.

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