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  JAPAN ECHO

JAPAN’S ECONOMY GETS BACK ON TRACK
Vol. 33, No. 1, February 2006


FROM THE EDITOR (IWAO Sumiko)

CHRONOLOGY (November – December 2005)

JAPAN’S ECONOMY GETS BACK ON TRACK

Groping Toward a New Growth Pattern (Kojima Akira)


WHERE HAVE ALL THE CHILDREN GONE? (KONDÔ Motohiro)

What Can We Do About the Baby Bust? (MIYAZAKI Tetsuya, moderator, AKAGAWA Manabu, KATAYAMA Satsuki, SHIGEMATSU Kiyoshi, YASHIRO Naohiro)

Japan’s fertility rate has hit a record low, prompting much discussion about what can be done to counter it. The government has already tried various measures, but so far to no avail. Some suggest more generous child support, while others doubt that anything the government does can help. (Bungei Shunjû, December 2005)

The Real Story Behind Japan’s Marriage Crisis (YAMADA Masahiro)

Diplomat Kondô explains the background to the establishment of the Council on the Promotion of Cultural Diplomacy and the significance of its recommendations. (Chûô Kôron, December 2005)


HEIRS FOR THE JAPANESE THRONE (IWAO Sumiko)

Recommendations for the System of Imperial Succession (Advisory Council on the Imperial House Law)

In November 2005 a panel appointed by the prime minister submitted a report calling for the rules on the imperial succession to be changed to allow the throne to pass to females and their offspring. Otherwise the time may come when there are no more eligible successors.


POLITICAL PROSPECTS (KABASHIMA Ikuo)

The Road to Renewal for the Democratic Party of Japan (YAMAGUCHI Jirô)

Prime Minister Koizumi’s neoliberal program has ended up expanding the risks that ordinary people face. Even so, the administration has won broad support because it is seen as fighting vested interests. The opposition needs to stake out a clear position to the left of Koizumi and his Liberal Democratic Party. (Sekai, December 2005)

The Opposition’s Tenacious New Face (MAEHARA Seiji, interviewed by YAKUSHIJI Katsuyuki)

Elected to lead the DPJ following its drubbing in the September 2005 lower house election, Maehara faces the daunting task of revitalizing a dispirited party. He proposes to adopt a more combative stance toward the LDP, competing with the ruling party by offering its own proposals for reform. (Ronza, December 2005)

Building a Strong, Small Government (ASÔ Tarô)

Viewed as one of the leading candidates to succeed Koizumi, Foreign Minister Asô has a reputation for making provocative statements. He takes a hawkish line on the controversial issue of visits by politicians to Yasukuni Shrine, saying Japan’s leaders should go there to pay their respects to the war dead regardless of opposition from China and South Korea. (Voice, December 2005)


MILITARY REALIGNMENT (WATANABE Hirotaka)

US Bases: Time to Ease Okinawa’s Burden (MIYAZATO Seigen, ÔSHIRO Tatsuhiro, SUNAGAWA Keishin, YAMAZATO Kiyoshi, GABE Masaaki)

For 60 years the small island prefecture of Okinawa has borne a grossly disproportionate share of the burden of hosting US military bases in Japan. As Tokyo and Washington discuss the realignment of US forces here, their top priority should be to ease Okinawa’s burden. Unfortunately, the Japanese government seems to be failing to take advantage of this opportunity. (Ronza, Septermber 2005)


REGIONAL AFFAIRS

Aiming to Build an East Asian Community (SHIRAISHI Takashi)

ASEAN has become the hub of the various networks of regional cooperation in East Asia. Neither China nor Japan can replace it. Japan should promote the further growth of these networks and find ways to involve the United States in regional affairs beyond security; in this way it can both engage and deter China. (Chûô Kôron, January 2006)


KEYS TO THE JAPANESE MIND

The Aesthetic of Purity (TAKASHINA Shûji)


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