Articles on Japan

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Australia’s approach to trade policy is more thoughtful and calculating than it is given credit for by sections of the media, academia and the public who object to current negotiations. AAP/Newzulu/Jeff Tan

Staying engaged on every front: Australia’s trade policy strategy

Ten years on from the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement, Australia is entering another round of negotiations towards the new and controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership. This is the first article in the…
Shibitachi, a small fishing village, provides a microcosm of Japan’s dilemma. Marieluise Jonas

Reconstructing Japan requires smart building on the past

Long-term growth and development in Japan is best achieved by working with the landscape and people – a proposition that’s easier to say than put into effect. At 2:46 pm, March 11, 2014, Tokyo stood still…
Sekisui House, a prefab display house at the Shizuoka Factory, Japan. Author

20 shades of beige: lessons from Japanese prefab housing

On a recent tour of Japanese prefabricated housing factories, I was awestruck by the sophistication of Japan’s construction industry: entire factories populated by robots, houses trundling along assembly…
Phreatic eruption: Mount Ontake. EPA/Ministry of Land, Infrastructure

Why Japan’s deadly Ontake eruption could not be predicted

Mount Ontake, Japan’s second-highest volcano, erupted killing at least 31 people on September 27. Since then, there has been feverish speculation about why tourists were on an active volcano and why the…
Japan’s whaling program was defeated in The Hague, but that might not stop more whales being taken in the future. EPA/Tim Watters/Sea Shepherd Australia/AAP

Japan could resume whaling – this time with The Hague’s blessing

Japan is reportedly set to release plans to resume killing whales in the Southern Ocean in the 2015-16 season. It seems like a defiant move, coming just six months after the International Court of Justice…
Is the Bank of Japan holding the country back? EPA

Japan’s central bank is out of control and must be tamed

In the second quarter of this year Japan recorded its largest GDP contraction since the earthquake and tsunami hit in 2011. This time, the single most important reason for the downturn is technical: demand…

Don’t mention the war

Whatever you think about the Abbott government, one of its more surprising features is that foreign policy looks like its strongest suit. True, this may not be setting the bar terribly high given the unproductive…
The samurai is the focus of a major exhibition on display at Melbourne’s NGV. Utagawa Yoshitsuya, The death of Kusunoki Masatsura (19th century) colour woodblock (triptych) (a-c) 35.9x74.0 cm (image) (overall) (a-c) 36.4x74.0 cm (sheet) (overall). National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

Samurai are on show at the NGV – and they’re not just warriors

A new exhibition has opened at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) on the figure of the Japanese samurai. Bushido: Way of the Samurai explores popular conceptions of the samurai – as well as their lesser…
The Australian government has unquestioningly embraced Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe’s nationalistic defence policies. EPA/Kimimasa Mayama

Abe’s Australia visit comes in the wake of constitutional controversy

Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe will today address a joint sitting of the Australian parliament as part of his tour of Oceania. This rare honour comes in the wake of his cabinet’s controversial decision…
Australia’s free trade agreement with Japan has benefits outside the agricultural sectors. Kimimasa Mayama/AAP

FTA opens Japanese doors for Australian business

When Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrives in Australia to talk trade and investment in Canberra and sign a free trade agreement between the two countries, it will kickstart a relationship first formed…
Shinzo Abo’s visit to Australia this week, three months after Tony Abbott visited Tokyo, comes at a time of alarm in Asia about a shift in Japan’s defence policy. EPA/Franck Robichon

Japan and Australia join forces in Asia’s Brave New World

In his second stint as Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe seems in a hurry. His sudden fall from power in 2007 has left him with a strong sense of the need to get things done quickly. He has embarked on…
The Australian government hopes to finalise the Free Trade Agreement with China by the end of the year. PARKER SONG / POOL/ AAP

Why China-Australia FTA may still be some way off

This week treasurer Joe Hockey, and trade minister Andrew Robb have been in China for the inaugural Australia-China Strategic Economic Dialogue. These talks are one part of the “Strategic Partnership…
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (red helmet) is briefed about tanks containing radioactive water by Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant chief Akira Ono. EPA/Sankei Shimbun Pool

The case for Mark Willacy’s Fukushima

Many readers will know the name Mark Willacy, an Australian journalist who was the ABC’s North Asian correspondent for five years. On March 11, 2011, he would witness events that would redefine Japan as…
Beef sales in Japan involve tightly controlled captive supply chains. Andy Rain/AAP

Japan-Australia deal leaves beef trade in the 20th century

The Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (JAEPA) signed last week is a bilateral trade deal in the old-fashioned mould. In the twenty-first century, global economic negotiations tend to be preoccupied…

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