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May 27, 2014 "Maritime Security and the Right of Self-Defense in Peacetime"


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The Tokyo Foundation eNewsletter 61 (May 27, 2014)


"Maritime Security and the Right of Self-Defense in Peacetime: Proposals for a National Security Strategy and the New National Defense Program Guidelines"

The Tokyo Foundation's National Security Project examined the most pressing national security challenges confronting Japan today and summarized the findings into a set of recommendations, just as the government was working to articulate its first-ever national security strategy and to update its National Defense Program Guidelines. The 16 proposals presented cover areas requiring the greatest attention, including the right of self-defense in peacetime; policies affecting maritime security; institutional measures; and issues regarding defense technology.


"Japanese Agricultural Policy: Last Chance for Change"

Domestic political concerns--particularly the importance of the farm vote--have hitherto tied the hands of Japanese negotiators in international trade talks, forcing them to make substantial concessions to maintain nominal safeguards, as during the Uruguay Round. Recent changes of government and growing awareness of the need for reform, notes Yuko Banno, though, have prompted a serious rethinking of Japan's farm policy.

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"Keeping the TPP On Course'"

Negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership have lost momentum and are in danger of stalling completely. Although Japan's tough stance on rice tariffs has been under scrutiny, the biggest obstacle to this Washington-led initiative may be the political climate within the United States, as the Tokyo Foundation's Takaaki Asano explains in this Nikkei Business Online interview.

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-- "Ocean Governance in East Asia," Masahiro Akiyama

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-- "The Rational Postwar Development of Japan's Security Policy," Tsuneo Watanabe

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-- "Growing the Japan-Europe Partnership," Akiko Fukushima

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"Closer US-China Ties Test Abe's 'Smart Diplomacy'"

US criticism of Abe's December visit to Yasukuni Shrine elicited a chorus of objections from Japanese politicians, most insisting that the prime minister has been misunderstood. Takashi Sekiyama sees the incident and its aftermath as a sign that Japan has much to learn about "smart diplomacy" in an era of rapidly growing Chinese influence.

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-- "China's Foreign Policy under Xi Jinping," Rumi Aoyama

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-- "Worsening Water Shortages," Kunio Takami

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"The Komeito's Curious Journey"

Established 50 years ago as the political arm of Japan's largest popular religious movement, the Komeito owes its longevity to a loyal, well-organized base and the ideological flexibility needed to maintain advantageous alliances. Katsuyuki Yakushiji traces the Komeito's journey from a left-leaning, pacifist minority party to a member of a conservative ruling coalition and discusses the dilemma it now faces as a result.

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"Moscow and Beijing Likely to Become Closer"

Western sanctions are driving Moscow and Beijing closer together, and this could prove awkward for Japan, notes Paul Saunders.

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"Working with Nigeria's Change Makers: (1) Leadership Training in New York"

In September 2013 Suzuka Kobayakawa began her 12-month fellowship under the Tokyo Foundation-Acumen Global Fellows Program. In her first report, she details her experiences during the initial training phase in New York before going to work at Pagatech, an innovative startup delivering universal access to financial services in Nigeria.

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"Music Connects Us All"

The seventh Sylff chamber music program, "New York-Paris-Vienna," was held recently in Paris with a grant from the Tokyo Foundation. Here, Paris steering committee member Gretchen Amussen introduces some of the enthusiastic comments by the participating fellows and professors.

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"Cars and Capitalism in Contemporary Hanoi"

Streets clogged with motorbikes in Hanoi have become familiar sights, as images are frequently featured in posters and magazines. Is there any room in this city now for automobiles, whose numbers are on the rise? Arve Hansen, a Sylff fellow at the University of Oslo in Norway, explores the socioeconomic transformation taking place in Vietnam through the lens of the nascent transition in the prevailing mode of personal transport from motorbikes to cars.

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-- "Response of Indian Industries to Global Environmental Sustainability," Shyamasree Dasgupta

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-- "The Arts in Crisis and their Survival in the Twenty First Century: A View from Sociolinguistics," Christopher Lees


"Japan Prepares to Enter the Arms Market," Bloomberg Businessweek (May 1, 2014)

Commenting on the Japanese government's easing of its longstanding ban on arms exports, Senior Fellow Tsuneo Watanabe notes that the old policy "was too strict. The voice of pacifism is getting lower because of tensions with China," citing the country’s contentious relations with China as having facilitated the politically controversial decision.

"Japan pleased with Obama's security stance, remains stymied by trade pact," Stars and Stripes (April 27, 2014)

The relationship between the top US and Japanese negotiators for the TPP free-trade agreement is "very strained," said Research Fellow Takaaki Asano. "A thin momentum was lost when the two biggest economies in the TPP framework could not deliver at this time," Asano said of the talks held during US President Obama's Japan visit in April. Asano added, though, that the wowo countries will have further opportunities to reach an accord in the coming months.

"In Japan, Obama Has a Message for China: Back Off," Bloomberg Businessweek (April 24, 2014)

Referring to President Obama's unequivocal statement that the Senkaku Islands are covered by the Japan-US Security Treaty, Senior Fellow Tsuneo Watanabe said, "It seems to me the U.S. government is trying to send a firm message to China against any attempt to change the status quo by force." Obama chided China for its actions around the islands, saying "all of us have responsibilities to maintain rules of the road and international order."

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