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The Genbaku Dome at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial has long been the focus of remembrance and now also serves as a site for reconciliation between former enemies. Saleem H. Ali

The case for Japan to play a bigger part in global affairs and security

The horrific murder of Japanese nationals by Islamic State (IS) terrorists in early February has sparked a pensive debate about whether the pacifist Japanese constitution is an anachronism. Article 9 of…
A war footing for business? DVIDSHUB

Planning for war: a guide for businesses

The turmoil of 2014 was a timely reminder to businesses that they need to be prepared and have contingency plans for global conflict. The crisis in Ukraine brought Russia and the West to the brink of military…
If Tony Abbott loses office in the near future, his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe will suffer a not-inconsiderable setback. EPA/Barbara Walton

Why Japan has a big stake in the fate of Tony Abbott’s leadership

As Prime Minister Tony Abbott dusts himself down after what might be the first of a number of challenges to his leadership, interest in Japan about Australian politics is acute. Japanese political elites…
Shinzo Abe’s decisive win at the weekend’s Japanese election has given his LDP a mandate for sweeping reform. EPA/Kimimasa Mayama

Abe’s early election gambit pays off

As widely expected, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has led his conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) to a landslide victory in the country’s snap election. The LDP holds a 291-seat majority in…
Catch from Japan’s previous whaling program. The new program will kill fewer whales. EPA/TIM WATTERS / SEA SHEPHERD

Japan’s new whaling program is a small win for whales, but…

This week, Japan announced a research plan for its New Scientific Whale Research Program in the Antarctic Ocean, to replace previous programs. In March this year, Japan’s previous whaling program, JARPA…
Shinzo Abe, looking for a majority about yay big. EPA/Franck Robichon

Abe can win Japan’s snap election but he needs to win big

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s decision to call a snap election for December 14 comes after what has been a rather bad week for him. Japan has slipped back into recession for the first time since…
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is presenting a snap election as a referendum on his once-lauded policy of ‘Abenomics’. EPA/Franck Robichon

Abe takes a high-stakes gamble in calling an early election in Japan

It may seem politically counter-intuitive for a prime minister to seek an early election just when the economy has gone into recession. But following his return to Japan from the G20 Leaders' Summit in…
This is Abe’s best chance at re-election. Toru Hanai /Reuters

Japan’s snap election is about more than just Abenomics

The decision by Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, to call a snap election barely two years into a four-year term demonstrates a degree of political flexibility other world leaders can only envy. Abe…
Golden handshake. Abe and Xi meet on the sidelines of the APEC meeting on Beijing. Kim Kyung-Hoon/Pool/EPA

APEC summit shows how hard it is to define the Asian ‘region’

With considerable pomp and circumstance – and at considerable expense – it fell to China to host the annual APEC summit this year. If it lives long in the memory at all, the meeting will probably be remembered…
The Abbott governments rush to sign bilateral trade deals with countries including Japan has meant quality has been sacrificed. Alan Porritt/AAP

Australia’s trade negotiating strategy fundamentally flawed

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. In this Free Trade Scorecard series…
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…

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