Home
Upcoming Issue
From the Editor
Chronology
Back Issues
Letters
Subscribe

Search
Resources

Cuadernos de Japón
Cahiers du Japon

About This Site
Job Opportunities


  JAPAN ECHO

FINDING JAPAN’S WAY IN THE WORLD
Vol. 37, No. 2, April 2010


FROM THE EDITOR (SHIRAISHI Takashi)

CHRONOLOGY (January – February 2010)

FROM THE PUBLISHER (HARANO Jôji)

FINDING JAPAN’S WAY IN THE WORLD (TANAKA Toshirô)

Hatoyama’s US Policy: An Unsteady Hand on the Tiller (KITAOKA Shin’ichi)

The performance of the Hatoyama administration in its first three months is a source of both hope and apprehension. The change of government resulting from the August 2009 election was historic. But the new administration has been clumsy, particularly in its handling of the crucial Japan-US alliance. (Chûô Kôron, January 2010)

Common Sense About the Japan-US Alliance (TERASHIMA Jitsurô)

The existing Japan-US security setup, under which US forces are stationed in Japan, is a relic of Japan’s defeat in World War II and the subsequent Cold War. It should have been fundamentally revised after the end of the Cold War. Instead of simply allowing the status quo to continue by inertia, we should consider the bilateral alliance carefully and turn it into one that both countries can rely on. (Sekai, February 2010)


WHITHER THE NATION?

In Search of Japan’s Identity (SHIRAISHI Takashi)

Japan has lost confidence in its status as a great economic power, and it is unsure how to define its identity. This uncertainty has produced a lack of direction in foreign policy. Until a new blueprint emerges, we must avoid destroying our existing assets. Japan must both preserve its alliance with the United States and work toward regional economic integration. (Chûô Kôron, February 2010)

Ten Years Down the Road: Overcoming the Obstacles (MASUZOE Yôichi, KATAYAMA Yoshihiro, MIZUKI Yô, HAMA Noriko)

Japan’s population has started to contract, and the lack of economic growth has made people more sensitive to disparities and unfair practices. The rise in longevity means increased pension payments and medical costs. One priority should be to encourage people to remain active even in old age. Higher taxes are probably inevitable. Sweeping decentralization of power could help reduce waste in government spending. (Bungei Shunjû, February 2010)


ERODING SUPPORT FOR HATOYAMA (TAKENAKA Harukata)

Disturbing Developments under the DPJ (TAKENAKA Heizô)

A key member of former Prime Minister Jun’ichirô Koizumi’s team rues the new government’s moves to turn the clock back on the Koizumi reforms, notably privatization of the postal services, while praising its initiatives in some areas. The current Hatoyama administration seems to lack a control tower, and it has allowed the budget to balloon. The biggest fear is that Japan will end up becoming a heavily taxed state. (Chûô Kôron, February 2010)

Bringing the Bureaucrats to Heel: A Report from the Front (MAEHARA Seiji, interviewed by HANAOKA Nobuaki)

As minister of land, infrastructure, transport, and tourism, Maehara has attracted attention with bold moves, such as an initiative to turn Tokyo’s Haneda Airport into an international hub. His freeze on construction at a major dam project caused consternation among bureaucrats, but it sent the message that the new political leadership was determined to fundamentally change the way the government spends money. (Voice, February 2010)


MACROECONOMIC STRATEGY FOR THE DPJ TEAM (NARIAI Osamu)

A Budget to Boggle the Mind (YOSANO Kaoru)

A conservative politician expresses his stupefaction at the bloated budget compiled by the Hatoyama administration for fiscal 2010. The Democratic Party of Japan had promised to slash wasteful spending if it came to power, but the budget-screening process the new government implemented was a hollow performance that failed to produce the hoped-for cuts. The DPJ must change course and move to rehabilitate government finances. (Bungei Shunjû, January 2010)

Economic Advice for the New Administration (IWATA Kikuo, IKEO Kazuhito)

Two economists offer prescriptions for dealing with the current slump. Iwata urges having the Bank of Japan set an inflation target and buy government bonds directly as a way of banishing deflation. Ikeo suggests that the central bank is already doing the best it can; the real need is for the government to come out with a proper growth strategy. (Asahi Shimbun, November 29, 2009)


VOICES OF JAPAN

Japan-US Relations: Anatomy of Denial (UCHIDA Tatsuru, interviewed by KÔNO Michikazu)


WAR RESPONSIBILITY

Delay and Finally Surrender (Yomiuri Shimbun War Responsibility Reexamination Committee)

Chapter 13 of the book From Marco Polo Bridge to Pearl Harbor: Who Was Responsible? (The Yomiuri Shimbun, 2006). Based on a series of articles in the daily Yomiuri Shimbun, this book examines the responsibility for Japan’s taking the path to war first with China and then with the United States.


TOP