By John Watanabe, 11 April 2013
TEPCO and the government are, as always, trying to downplay the significance of the leakages.
By Nick Beams, 6 April 2013
The Bank of Japan has unveiled a government bond-buying program of unprecedented proportions.
By Peter Symonds, 18 March 2013
While dressed up as “free trade”, the Trans-Pacific Partnership is in reality a trade war measure.
Two years after earthquake
By Peter Symonds, 11 March 2013
More than 300,000 evacuees are living in temporary accommodation and reconstruction has barely begun.
By Peter Symonds, 5 March 2013
Abe’s remarks are an unmistakeable declaration that he will, if necessary, go to war with China over disputed islands in the East China Sea.
By Peter Symonds, 2 March 2013
Abe compared his stance in the island dispute with China with that of Margaret Thatcher during the Falklands war between Britain and Argentina.
By Peter Symonds, 27 February 2013
Ex-assistant secretary of state Kurt Campbell described the escalating tensions between China and Japan as the most difficult situation he had faced.
By Alex Lantier, 26 February 2013
Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo pledged the closest collaboration with the US as Obama pursues his aggressive “pivot to Asia” against China.
By Peter Symonds, 7 February 2013
The latest Japanese claims come on top of months of escalating friction between the two countries following Tokyo’s “nationalisation” of the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu islands.
By Peter Symonds, 26 January 2013
The new Abe government is pursuing an aggressive nationalist program on two fronts: remilitarisation and a unilateralist monetary policy.
By Peter Symonds, 25 January 2013
Aso is seeking to cultivate a political constituency for a far-reaching assault on the most vulnerable sections of the working class.
By Peter Symonds, 22 January 2013
Clinton’s comments were a thinly-disguised warning that the US could intervene if China continued to challenge Japanese control over the contested islands.
By Peter Symonds, 17 January 2013
With Washington’s encouragement, Japan’s new government is pursuing an aggressive diplomatic and military strategy against China.
By Joseph Santolan, 12 January 2013
The meeting was calculated to defuse long-standing historical objections to Japanese expansionism throughout the South East Asian region.
By Peter Symonds, 8 January 2013
While the latest incidents have not escalated into a dangerous diplomatic row, each had the potential to do so.
By Peter Symonds, 27 December 2012
Prime Minister Abe has not resiled from the aggressive nationalist policies that he promoted during the election campaign.
By Peter Symonds, 19 December 2012
The right-wing nationalism that pervaded the election campaign signals the determination of the Japanese ruling class to reassert its interests by every means, including military force.
By Peter Symonds, 17 December 2012
The election outcome was not a positive vote for the LDP, but an overwhelming rejection of the ruling DPJ.
By Peter Symonds, 15 December 2012
Both countries have exploited the issue to stir up nationalism to divert attention from a worsening economic and social crisis at home.
By Peter Symonds, 8 December 2012
The rightward shift in Japanese politics is a warning of the dangers facing the working class as a consequence of the worsening breakdown of global capitalism.
By Oliver Campbell, 4 December 2012
Questions have been raised about the tunnel operator’s safety inspections.
By Peter Symonds, 30 November 2012
The establishment of the Japan Future Party is another sign of deepening political crisis in the lead up to the December 16 election.
By Peter Symonds, 24 November 2012
The election campaign is rapidly becoming a contest with each of the parties seeking to outbid each other as proponents of nationalism and militarism.
By Peter Symonds, 16 November 2012
The ruling DPJ appears to be headed for defeat just three years after coming to power.
By Nick Beams, 15 November 2012
Japan faces the prospect of entering its fifth recession in the past 15 years.
By Peter Symonds, 24 October 2012
By encouraging Japan to aggressively assert its interests, the Obama administration is responsible for the current tensions with China.
By John Chan, 17 October 2012
The escalating diplomatic row between China and Japan led to a boycott of IMF/World Bank talks in Tokyo by top Chinese financial officials.
By Alex Lantier, 16 October 2012
Washington is deepening its support for Japan in its standoff with China over uninhabited islands in the East China Sea.
By Nick Beams, 9 October 2012
The annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank which starts in Tokyo today comes amid growing signs of a major economic downturn.
By John Chan, 8 October 2012
The conflict between the governments in the world’s second and third largest economies over disputed islands in the East China Sea could compound global economic turmoil.
By Peter Symonds, 27 September 2012
Shinzo Abe, who was elected yesterday as LDP leader, is well known for his right-wing nationalist views.
By Peter Symonds, 26 September 2012
Despite talks between Chinese and Japanese officials, tensions remain high over the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu islands.
By Peter Symonds, 22 September 2012
While appealing for calm between Japan and China, Panetta took further steps to bolster the US-Japan alliance, exacerbating an already tense standoff.
By John Chan, 21 September 2012
Both governments have seized on the dispute over the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands to whip up chauvinism to deflect attention from deepening social and economic crises at home.
By John Chan, 19 September 2012
Both the Chinese and Japanese governments have stirred nationalist “public opinion” to such levels that it could drive them into a military confrontation.
By Peter Symonds, 13 September 2012
The dispute has the potential to escalate into a dangerous confrontation between the world’s second and third largest economies.
By Ben McGrath, 6 September 2012
Tokyo and Seoul have refused to back away from competing claims over the Dokdo/Takeshima islands.
By Peter Symonds, 22 August 2012
Both governments are stirring up nationalist sentiment at home to deflect attention from mounting social tensions and political opposition.
By John Chan, 20 August 2012
Both governments are exploiting the Senkaku/Diaoyu dispute to whip up chauvinist sentiment and divert from growing social tensions at home.
By John Watanabe, 15 August 2012
In exchange for supporting the bill, the opposition demanded an early election that the ruling Democrats are likely to lose.
By John Chan, 6 August 2012
The report’s alarmist assessment of China seeks to justify Japan’s own military build-up as part of the US “pivot” to Asia.
By Mike Head, 24 July 2012
Hatoyama’s gesture is a further sign of a deepening government crisis over the intense popular opposition to its policies.
By Peter Symonds, 10 July 2012
The catastrophe was the product of decades of collusion by governments, nuclear regulators and the nuclear power industry.
By Peter Symonds, 7 July 2012
The report is scathing of the government, regulators and TEPCO, declaring that “they effectively betrayed the nation’s right to be safe from nuclear accidents”.
By John Chan, 4 July 2012
Ichiro Ozawa and 49 supporters quit the Democrats on Monday, leaving the government with a shaky majority.
By Mike Head, 3 July 2012
Organisers estimated that between 150,000 and 180,000 people joined the rally in Tokyo outside the prime minister’s official residence.
By John Chan, 2 July 2012
The government is in political turmoil after a bloc of its lawmakers voted against the tax bill and threatened to split.
By Mike Head, 23 June 2012
A little more than a year since the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the Japanese government has ordered the re-opening of two reactors.
By Peter Symonds, 19 June 2012
Noda made the announcement under pressure from the corporate elite despite widespread public opposition in the wake of last year’s Fukushima nuclear disaster.
By John Watanabe, 11 June 2012
For both Tokyo and Washington the primary purpose of the Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting was to bolster their efforts to undermine Chinese regional influence.
By John Watanabe, 9 May 2012
Ichiro Ozawa’s return to public politics will further fuel ongoing tensions within the ruling Democrats over foreign and economic policies.
By Peter Symonds, 2 May 2012
While low-key, the talks between Obama and Japanese PM Yoshihiko Noda on Monday will compound tensions with China.
By John Watanabe, 3 April 2012
The doubling of the consumer tax rate to 10 percent is deeply unpopular and has reopened rifts within the ruling Democratic Party of Japan.
By Peter Symonds, 16 March 2012
The natural forces unleashed on March 11, 2011 were uncontrollable, but the scale of the death and destruction that followed was entirely avoidable.
By Mike Head, 13 March 2012
Twelve months on, the human, economic and political impact of Japan’s calamity is still deepening.
By John Wantanabe, 7 March 2012
A family of three starved to death near Tokyo, highlighting the sharpening inequality and social misery in the country.
By John Watanabe, 28 February 2012
Falling demand in China, Europe and North America, the high value of the yen and increasing competition are threatening the very viability of Japan’s basic industry.
By John Watanabe, 16 January 2012
Yoshihiko Noda carried out an anticipated cabinet reshuffle last Friday in a bid to consolidate his grip on power amid continued infighting within the ruling Democratic Party of Japan.
By John Chan, 17 November 2011
Noda’s announced commitment to the TPP is designed to signal Japan’s strong support for Washington’s broader campaign against China.
By John Chan, 23 September 2011
Like its counterparts around the world, the ruling Democratic Party of Japan is imposing the burdens of the worsening global economic crisis onto the backs of working people.
By John Chan, 21 September 2011
The 60,000-strong rally was the largest since the March 11 earthquake that triggered the Fukushima nuclear plant meltdown.
By Peter Symonds, 12 September 2011
Just as in tsunami-hit Aceh in Indonesia, the devastation in Japan has been greatly compounded by the dictates of the profit system.
By John Chan, 7 September 2011
Prime Minister Noda’s efforts to balance factional interests will do nothing to resolve the fundamental underlying dilemmas facing his government and the Japanese political establishment as a whole.
By Peter Symonds, 30 August 2011
Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda yesterday won the leadership of the DPJ but takes over a party deeply divided on fundamental economic and foreign policy issues.
By John Chan, 27 August 2011
The new government will face the impossible task of boosting growth amid deepening global economic turmoil, while cutting spending and imposing greater tax burdens on working people.
By Mike Head, 20 August 2011
Amid further reports of radiation dangers, the Kan government is trying to overcome popular anger and distrust by integrating two regulatory agencies into a Nuclear Safety Agency.
By John Chan, 17 August 2011
Kan is likely to be removed by the end of August, amid a stagnant economy and widespread distrust of the government’s handling of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
By Peter Symonds, 6 August 2011
In the wake of the Fukushima disaster, what characterises the political climate in Japan is a generalised public suspicion, hostility and distrust of all the major parties.
By William Whitlow, 6 July 2011
A report from the Economist Intelligence Unit predicts a massive worldwide growth in nuclear energy production over the next decade.
By a guest contributor, 24 June 2011
The propagation of nuclear technology in Japan was a direct consequence of US efforts—for military reasons— to wield influence over the country’s development immediately after the Second World War.
By a guest contributor, 23 June 2011
The propagation of nuclear technology in Japan was a direct consequence of US efforts—for military reasons—to wield influence over the country’s development immediately after the Second World War.
By Peter Symonds, 18 June 2011
The worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl has all but disappeared from the media amid a concerted effort to play down its implications and cover up the underlying causes.
By Peter Symonds, 13 June 2011
While TEPCO previously admitted that a meltdown had occurred in three of its Fukushima reactors, a government report said that a more serious “melt-through” might have occurred.
By John Chan, 4 June 2011
None of the issues that led to a rebellion against Kan inside the ruling party has been resolved.
By William Whitlow, 4 June 2011
A preliminary report by the International Atomic Energy Agency on the Fukushima nuclear disaster is a whitewash exonerating TEPCO and the Japanese government of blame.
By Mike Head, 25 May 2011
TEPCO’s announcement was made amid rising public distrust of the information that it and the government have provided.
By Peter Symonds, 24 May 2011
The central dilemma confronting the Japanese ruling elite is where to line up in the rivalry between its longstanding ally, the US, and its largest economic partner, China.
By Peter Symonds, 17 May 2011
Extensive damage at Fukushima plant compounds difficulties in stabilising crippled reactors.
By Peter Symonds, 13 May 2011
The discovery of a faulty water gauge highlights the fact that engineers working to stabilise reactors at the Fukushima plant still do not know the full extent of the damage.
By William Whitlow, 11 May 2011
The Japanese government has ordered the Chubu Electric Power Co. to close its Hamaoko Nuclear Power Plant, which has been at the centre of long-running protests and safety warnings from experts.
By Peter Symonds, 7 May 2011
Amid the devastation caused by the March 11 earthquake, the government is under pressure to impose the burden of reconstruction on working people.
By Peter Symonds, 3 May 2011
The resignation of a top nuclear safety adviser to Prime Minister Naoto Kan has compounded the political difficulties confronting the government.
By William Whitlow, 2 May 2011
As the twenty-fifth anniversary of Chernobyl passes, Fukushima looks set to overtake it as the world’s worst nuclear disaster.
By Peter Symonds, 26 April 2011
The Japanese government and TEPCO are attempting to reassure a sceptical public that the dangers at the Fukushima nuclear plant are receding.
By John Chan, 25 April 2011
Tens of thousands of residents forced to leave their homes in the evacuation zone around the Fukushima nuclear plant are unlikely to return for years.
By John Watanabe, 21 April 2011
The ongoing crisis at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant has produced rising public concern over the risks of nuclear power and indignation at the government’s response to the disaster.
By Peter Symonds, 20 April 2011
Criticism of the government’s handling of the disaster has come, not only from the opposition LDP, but, more significantly, from within its own ranks.
By Peter Symonds, 18 April 2011
TEPCO’s proposal for its Fukushima nuclear plant is a list of optimistic objectives designed to placate a hostile public.
By John Watanabe, 16 April 2011
While the ruling Democratic Party of Japan suffered a serious setback, the outcome reflected broad disenchantment with all the major parties.
By Peter Symonds, 15 April 2011
None of the economic assessments deals with the immense social cost of the disasters for the tens of thousands of people who have lost their homes, possessions and livelihoods.
By John Chan, 14 April 2011
At the Fukushima plant, owned by the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), 89 percent of the 10,303 workers were temporary contractors, subcontractors and sub-subcontractors.
By Peter Symonds, 13 April 2011
While the government and its nuclear agencies were at pains to explain that the Fukushima crisis was not as bad as the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, they had difficulty justifying the delay in lifting the ranking.
By Peter Symonds, 12 April 2011
From the outset, there has been a concerted effort to downplay the extent of the catastrophe at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant and its ongoing dangers.
By Joseph Santolan, 9 April 2011
Supposedly called to discuss ASEAN aid for Japan following the March 11 quake, the summit’s hidden agenda is to promote the Japanese nuclear industry.
By Peter Symonds, 9 April 2011
Three people died in the quake that left more than four million households without power, and disrupted gas and water supplies in Sendai and other urban areas.
By John Chan, 8 April 2011
In response to the earthquake and tsunami disaster, the Japanese political establishment is seeking to contain the popular anger that lies just beneath the surface of daily life.
By Peter Symonds, 7 April 2011
The US nuclear regulator has confidentially identified risks at the Fukushima plant far beyond those mentioned by TEPCO and Japanese nuclear authorities.
By Mike Head, 6 April 2011
With the Japanese government’s approval, TEPCO is pumping 11,500 metric tonnes of “low-level” contaminated water into the ocean from the Fukushima plant.
By John Chan, 5 April 2011
For tens of thousands of people in northeastern Japan, who have lost homes, jobs and loved ones, the disaster is far from over.
By Patrick O’Connor, 4 April 2011
Authorities are only now beginning to learn of the full extent of the damage inflicted by the March 11 tsunami and subsequent multiple hydrogen explosions at the facility.