Japan

Japanese PM calls for grand coalition government

By John Chan, 23 March 2011

The government’s appeal for “national unity” is designed to block any public criticism amid growing anger over the official response to the earthquake.

Discontent growing over Japanese government’s response to humanitarian disaster

By Mike Head, 22 March 2011

Anger is emerging over the Democratic Party government’s failure to provide basic services to the nearly half a million people rendered homeless.

Japanese government delayed nuclear emergency measures to protect TEPCO profits

By Mike Head, 21 March 2011

As food and water contamination spreads to Tokyo, there is mounting evidence that government and company cover-ups have continued throughout the unfolding crisis.

Threat from Japanese nuclear emergency widens

By Chris Talbot and Patrick O’Connor, 19 March 2011

Radiation from Fukushima has now been detected as far away as California as Japan’s nuclear safety agency raised its assessment of the crisis from 4 to 5 on the 7-point scale.

Japanese emperor calls on the nation to “share the burden”

By John Chan, 18 March 2011

An unprecedented speech delivered by Japanese Emperor Akihito on Wednesday underscores the severity of the crisis facing the ruling Democratic Party government and the entire political establishment.

Japan disaster to intensify global economic contradictions

By Nick Beams, 18 March 2011

The Japanese earthquake disaster could well be the catalyst that sets off a new stage in the global financial breakdown that began with the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008.

Desperate efforts to prevent full meltdown at Fukushima

By Patrick O’Connor, 18 March 2011

TEPCO remains in charge of the emergency response, despite bearing primary responsibility for what is shaping up as the greatest corporate crime of the twenty-first century.

Japan nuclear emergency deepens

By Chris Talbot, 17 March 2011

Neither the Japanese government nor the utility company TEPCO are giving trustworthy accounts of the dimensions of the crisis.

Japan’s TEPCO: a history of nuclear disaster cover-ups

By Mike Head, 17 March 2011

The Tokyo Electric Power Company has a long, documented record of serious safety breaches, systemic cover-ups of potentially fatal disasters, and suppression of popular opposition.

Tsunami survivors endure freezing conditions and food shortages

By Patrick O’Connor, 17 March 2011

Six days after the natural disaster struck, the survivors are suffering extremely difficult conditions.

Japanese nuclear crisis escalates as emergency workers withdrawn

By Patrick O’Connor, 16 March 2011

Several nuclear reactors in the Fukushima facility remain at risk of total meltdown, following a series of explosions and fires.

Share markets slide in response to Japan disaster

By Nick Beams, 16 March 2011

Japanese equity markets have experienced their worst fall since the global share market crash of October 1987 in the wake of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster that struck last Friday.

Who is responsible for the nuclear catastrophe in Japan?

By Patrick Martin, 16 March 2011

Over the past 40 years there have been repeated warnings of the danger of nuclear technology, as well as a series of incidents—Windscale, Fermi I, Three Mile Island, Chernobyl—that demonstrated the real-life consequences for millions of people.

Japanese disaster’s economic fallout spreads globally

By Mike Head, 15 March 2011

The tremendous shock to the Japanese economy has profound international implications.

Mounting human toll and nuclear emergency in Japan

By Mike Head, 15 March 2011

Japan’s nuclear power plant crisis worsened today, even as the full horror of the death and destruction left by Friday’s earthquake and tsunami continued to emerge.

Humanitarian disaster in wake of Japanese earthquake, tsunami

By Patrick O'Connor, 14 March 2011

Entire towns on the country’s north-east coast were wiped out by the 10-metre high wall of water.

The implications of the Japanese catastrophe

By Chris Talbot and Patrick Martin, 14 March 2011

The World Socialist Web Site expresses its deepest sympathy to the families of those who have died, to those who have been injured, and to those who have lost their homes and whose livelihoods have been swept away in this cataclysm.

A report from Tokyo

12 March 2011

A WSWS reader in Japan sent a report overnight on the earthquake’s impact in Tokyo and northern prefectures.

Japanese earthquake causes catastrophic damage

By Mike Head, 12 March 2011

The people of Japan have been struck by the largest quake in the country’s history, followed by tsunamis that have washed away thousands of homes.

WikiLeaks cables reveal closer US-Japan intelligence relations

By Oliver Campbell, 18 February 2011

The cables, from 2006 and 2008, underscore the growth of tensions in the Asia-Pacific region, and point to Washington’s attempts to undermine Chinese influence, in concert with its allies.

Japan and Russia in diplomatic row over disputed Kuril Islands

By John Chan, 17 February 2011

Talks between the Japanese and Russian foreign ministers broke down last week—another indication of sharp tensions in North East Asia.

Japan under growing international pressure for austerity measures

By Joe Lopez, 2 February 2011

Despite widespread public opposition, the Japanese government is determined to double the unpopular consumption tax.

South Korea and Japan discuss first-ever military agreements

By John Chan, 13 January 2011

The US is pushing its allies, Japan and South Korea, into closer defence relations as part of its broader efforts to counter Chinese influence in the region.

Japan issues new defence guidelines aimed at China

By John Chan, 15 December 2010

The focus on strengthening Japan’s naval power is in line with US strategic efforts to maintain naval dominance in North East Asia and thus the potential to cut off China’s vital shipping routes.

Disputed Pacific islands spark tensions between Russia and Japan

By Andrea Peters, 5 November 2010

Diplomatic tensions have erupted between Russia and Japan, following a high-profile visit by Russian President Dmitri Medvedev to the South Kuril Islands.

Sino-Japanese relations remain tense

By John Chan, 29 October 2010

None of the issues that erupted between Japan and China last month during a sharp dispute over the arrest of a Chinese trawler captain by Japanese authorities in waters near the contested Diaoyu/ Senkaku islands has been resolved.

Japan-China tensions over disputed islets unresolved

By John Chan, 11 October 2010

Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao agreed last week to restore high-level talks between the two countries, but addressed none of the underlying issues.

China-Japan standoff continues over disputed islets

By John Chan, 29 September 2010

Tensions between Japan and China are continuing, amid new claims and counterclaims, despite Tokyo’s release of a Chinese trawler captain.

Japan releases trawler captain after China threatens economic war

By John Chan, 25 September 2010

The rapid escalation of a minor incident into a major confrontation between the world’s second and third largest economic powers has underlined the extreme tensions between the major powers.

Japan-China dispute in East China Sea flares up

By John Chan, 21 September 2010

Japan and China are both taking a hard-line stance in the diplomatic row that has erupted over Japan’s detention of a Chinese trawler captain in disputed waters in the East China Sea.

Economic crisis threatens to unleash global currency wars

By Barry Grey, 18 September 2010

Two events this week have highlighted the growth of global economic tensions and the slide toward international trade and currency wars.

Japan’s prime minister fends off leadership challenge

By John Chan, 16 September 2010

None of the conflicts behind the Democratic Party’s leadership contest on Tuesday has been resolved after Naoto Kan’s victory over Ichiro Ozawa.

Japan-China tensions flare up over disputed Diaoyu islets

By John Chan, 14 September 2010

Sharp diplomatic exchanges have erupted between Japan and China after two Japanese Coast Guard vessels reportedly collided with a Chinese fishing trawler in the waters off the disputed Diaoyu Islands last week.

Tense contest over Japan’s prime ministership

By John Chan, 11 September 2010

Next week’s ballot for the leadership of Japan’s ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) and the post of prime minister has brought to the surface deep divisions not only within the party but within the political establishment as a whole.

Japan’s new political crisis

By Peter Symonds, 4 September 2010

If Ichiro Ozawa wins the top job in the Democratic Party of Japan, he will become the country’s third prime minister in just over a year, reflecting deep-seated political instability fuelled by economic stagnation, a worsening social crisis and growing global antagonisms.

Japan’s prime minister faces leadership challenge

By Peter Symonds, 28 August 2010

Japan is heading for new political turmoil after key powerbroker Ichiro Ozawa announced a bid on Thursday to oust Naoto Kan as prime minister.

IMF tells Japanese government to raise consumption tax despite election defeat

By John Chan, 17 July 2010

Japan’s ruling Democratic Party lost its majority in the upper house of the Diet in last Sunday’s elections, amid mounting public hostility to the government’s proposed austerity measures.

Japanese government announces pro-business agenda

By Peter Symonds, 21 June 2010

Last week newly installed Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan unveiled new concessions to the corporate elite, even as he foreshadowed a doubling of the country highly unpopular sales tax.

New Japanese prime minister installed

By Peter Symonds, 8 June 2010

Naoto Kan faces the task of trying to revive the government’s fortunes before next month’s upper house elections, but confronts the same basic dilemma as his predecessor—how to implement policies that are widely unpopular.

Japanese prime minister resigns after just nine months

By Peter Symonds, 3 June 2010

The resignation follow a disastrous slump in the government’s poll ratings amid opposition to its decision to retain a major US military base on Okinawa, as well as growing economic uncertainty and rising social tensions.

Japan: Mass protest against US base on Okinawa

By John Chan, 29 April 2010

A rally of 90,000 people in Okinawa on Sunday against the continued presence of a US Marine air base has heightened the political crisis facing the Japanese government over the issue.

Japanese economy plagued by deflation and debt

By Alex Messenger, 25 March 2010

Recent economic statistics appear to show Japan is shaking off the worst of the global economic crisis, but the headline figures say nothing about the most critical issues, chronic deflation and public debt.

Japanese government reveals secret nuclear agreement with the US

By John Chan, 24 March 2010

The Japanese government has revealed the existence of a five-decades-old secret arrangement with the US, allowing the American military to bring nuclear weapons into the country.

Toyota recall highlights crisis in global auto industry

By Alex Messenger, 12 February 2010

Toyota’s recall of eight million cars worldwide, and the protectionist response of the US government, media and unions, underscore the ongoing fallout in the international auto industry from the global financial crash.

Japanese finance minister quits

By John Chan, 19 January 2010

The resignation of Hirohisa Fujii as Japan’s finance minister is the first clear sign of crisis in the country’s Democrat-led government.

Amid new recessionary signs, Japan unveils major stimulus package

By John Chan, 11 December 2009

The Japanese government has announced an emergency stimulus package worth 7.2 trillion yen for the first quarter of 2010 in a bid to stave off what officials warn could be a “double-dip recession”.

New Japanese government under pressure to slash social spending

By John Chan, 12 November 2009

The government of Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama is facing growing demands from big business to ditch its election promises, slash social spending and rein in mushrooming public debt.

Japan’s new government seeks to refashion US alliance

By John Chan, 4 November 2009

In the lead-up to US President Barack Obama’s first visit to Japan, Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has signalled that his government is wanting to readjust the country’s longstanding alliance with the US.

Democrat government installed in Japan

By Peter Symonds, 17 September 2009

The Hatoyama government is the end product of a lengthy process that followed the break-up of the post-war relationships in the 1970s and 1980s. Powerful sections of the establishment concluded that a new instrument was required to aggressively prosecute its interests at home and abroad. That is precisely what the new administration will now be under enormous pressure to do.

Japan: Democrats prepare to slash public spending

By Peter Symonds, 11 September 2009

Even before it is sworn into office, the Hatoyama government is preparing to make deep cuts to the previous government’s stimulus spending.

The historic decline of Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party

By Peter Symonds, 9 September 2009

The ignominious electoral collapse of the LDP amid the greatest global economic crisis since the 1930s is another sign that politics, not only in Japan but internationally, is entering uncharted and stormy waters.

Japan’s election: Divided Democrats prepare for office

By John Chan, 7 September 2009

The Democratic Party of Japan won a landslide victory in the country’s general elections on August 30. Yet despite its control of both houses of parliament, the next government will not be in a strong position.

Japan’s new government: Promise and reality

By John Chan, 2 September 2009

The gulf between the limited election pledges of the Democrats and the social realities facing broad layers of working people will quickly become evident.

Japanese voters sweep Liberal Democrats from office

By Peter Symonds, 31 August 2009

The opposition Democratic Party of Japan routed the Liberal Democratic Party in lower house elections yesterday, ending more than 50 years of almost continuous rule.

Japanese government faces landslide electoral defeat

By Peter Symonds, 29 August 2009

Japan is poised on the eve of a political sea change. All the opinion polling points to a landslide defeat in tomorrow’s election for the Liberal Democratic Party, which has held power almost continuously since its formation in 1955.

Japan’s elections: the Communist Party’s role

By Peter Symonds, 28 August 2009

At a critical turning point in Japanese politics, the Communist Party is positioning itself as a safety valve for the political establishment.

Japan’s fragile economy overshadows general election

By John Chan, 25 August 2009

The Japanese economy officially grew by 0.9 percent in the second quarter. The news, however, is unlikely to affect the outcome of Sunday’s general elections.

Japanese prime minister dissolves parliament and sets election date

By Peter Symonds, 23 July 2009

The ruling LDP heads into a general election trailing behind the opposition DPJ in all the polls and facing an end to its virtually unbroken 53-year rule.

Japanese PM calls crisis election

By Mike Head, 16 July 2009

Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso has called an early election for August 30, even though his LDP-led coalition seems almost certain to lose.

Japan: Ruling LDP in disarray

By John Chan, 9 July 2009

Japanese prime minister Taro Aso appointed two new cabinet ministers in the latest move to shore up his government.

Japan’s economy suffers record contraction

By Peter Symonds, 22 May 2009

The Japanese economy shrank by 4 percent in the first quarter of 2009 or an annualised rate of 15.2 percent. The plunge in GDP was the worst since records began in 1955 and the largest of any major industrialised country.

Japan’s alarmist reaction to North Korean missile test

By John Chan, 16 April 2009

One aspect of North Korea’s missile launch has been the Japanese government’s reaction. With his popularity at record lows, Prime Minister Taro Aso exaggerated the threat to divert attention from the crisis at home and boost the case for military rearmament.

Poverty, unemployment and homelessness hit Japanese workers

By Carol Divjak, 26 March 2009

With the Japanese economy hit hard by plummeting exports and a deep recession, hundreds of thousands of people are facing unemployment and poverty.

Japanese opposition party in crisis

By John Chan, 20 March 2009

A fund-raising scandal has exposed the fragility of the opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), once thought to be marching unstoppably toward office.

Economic slump deepens in Japan as exports collapse

By Peter Symonds, 26 February 2009

The collapse of Japanese exports last month underscores just how rapidly economic recession is turning into a full-blown depression—and not just in Japan.

Japanese government in crisis as recession deepens

By John Chan, 23 February 2009

As Japan confronts its worst recession since World War II, the government is in disarray, with the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) heading toward defeat in general elections due by September.

Record slump in Japan: a sign of deepening global recession

By Peter Symonds, 18 February 2009

Economic data released on Monday revealed that the world’s second largest economy contracted at an annualised rate of 12.7 percent for the final quarter of 2008—the steepest decline since 1974. Deutsche Bank in Tokyo bluntly predicted a “severe depression” in Japan, lasting at least until late 2010.

Former Japanese air force chief justifies colonialism and militarism

By John Chan, 8 January 2009

Last year’s scandal involving the Japan Air Self-Defence Force chief of staff Toshio Tamogami has highlighted the resurgence of militarism within sections of the political establishment. Tamogami was sacked from his post in October after he won an essay competition with an entry that justified Japanese military aggression in the 1930s and 1940s.

Japanese government flounders amid worsening recession

By John Chan, 18 December 2008

Less than three months after assuming office, the future of Japan’s Prime Minister Taro Aso is in doubt as both the economy and his government’s approval ratings have plunged sharply.

North Asian summit: an empty show of unity

13 December 2008

The leaders of China, Japan and South Korea will meet today for their first-ever joint summit. While the meeting is billed as a show of Asian unity in the face of the deepening global economic crisis, the longstanding animosities and tensions that blocked collaboration in the past are not far below the surface.

Signs of political radicalisation in Japan, despite its confused direction

By John Chan, 24 November 2008

There are signs of a growing radicalisation among young people in Japan provoked by their own worsening prospects and the deepening gulf between rich and poor, amid the worst global economic crisis since the 1930s.

Japan sinks into recession

By Peter Symonds, 19 November 2008

The Japanese economy has officially entered recession for the first time since 2001 after the release of figures on Monday showing a second quarter of negative GDP growth.

Global economic crisis hits Japanese banks, exporters

By Peter Symonds, 29 October 2008

Despite claims that Japan was well positioned to weather the crisis, the world’s second largest economy is rapidly being dragged into the financial and economic maelstrom sweeping the globe.

More signs of recession in Japan

By Peter Symonds, 22 October 2008

After weeks of wild fluctuations on the Japanese and global stock markets, further indications have emerged this week that the world's second largest economy is in recession.

Asian stocks tumble after rejection of US bailout package

By John Chan, 2 October 2008

All major share markets across Asia tumbled badly on Tuesday after the US House of Representatives rejected the Bush administration's $US700 billion rescue package for Wall Street.

Taro Aso: third Japanese prime minister in two years

An offbeat image

By John Chan, 27 September 2008

The lower house of Japanese parliament, the Diet, endorsed Taro Aso as Japan’s new prime minister on Wednesday, after he won the post of president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) on September 22. Aso takes over from former Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, amid low support for the LDP government, a global financial crisis and signs of recession in the Japanese economy.

Japan’s ruling party to select new prime minister as economy slides into recession

Aso’s opponents

By John Chan, 20 September 2008

Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is due to pick a replacement for outgoing Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda on Monday.

The American “financial tsunami” hits Asia

Regional downturn

By John Chan, 18 September 2008

The American financial crisis has sent shockwaves throughout Asia over the past few days as governments, banks and corporations scramble to cope with plunging share prices, international financial turmoil and the prospects of a serious downturn in the US and other major economies.

Japan’s prime minister quits amid signs of economic downturn

Koizumi’s record

By Peter Symonds, 3 September 2008

Confronting a slowing economy and continuing political deadlock, Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda abruptly resigned on Monday after just under a year in power. While Fukuda expressed the hope that his resignation would prevent “a political vacuum,” his successor will face the same problems that plagued his term in office.

Japan-South Korea tension heightens over disputed islets

By John Chan, 4 August 2008

After an attempted rapprochement earlier this year, relations between South Korea and Japan have deteriorated since the Japanese government’s decision on July 14 to include its claim over the tiny Dokdo islets (known as Takeshima in Japan) into teaching guidelines for middle school teachers. The South Korean government of President Lee Myung-bak immediately reacted by stirring up Korean nationalism as a means of diverting attention from widespread opposition to his administration.

Japan: Rising fuel prices lead to largest ever fishermen’s strike

By Eric Des Marais, 29 July 2008

In the largest strike ever in the history of the industry, Japanese fishermen brought the nation’s 200,000-strong fishing fleet to a grinding halt on July 15 to protest against the high fuel prices that are crippling their livelihoods. It is estimated that nearly 400,000 fishermen refused to go to sea. In Tokyo, 3,600 marchers joined a protest to demand tax breaks and financial support in front of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

Random killing in Tokyo points to deepening social crisis in Japan

By John Chan, 23 June 2008

Millions of Japanese citizens were shocked by a bloody lunchtime scene on June 8, when Tomohiro Kato, a 25-year-old temporary auto worker, went to Tokyo’s busy Akihabara shopping district, ran down several people with a truck and proceeded to stab others in the street, killing seven. Ten people were wounded.

Japan: By-election defeat points to growing crisis of Fukuda government

By John Chan, 2 May 2008

The victory of the opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) in the lower house by-election for Yamaguchi prefecture on April 26 has delivered a major blow to embattled Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).

Japanese government pushes through law to allow naval support for Afghan occupation

By Peter Symonds, 18 January 2008

Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda last Friday used his government’s two-thirds majority in the lower house of parliament to force through legislation restarting Japan’s naval refuelling assistance to the US-led occupation of Afghanistan. The vote not only overruled the opposition-controlled upper house, but also ignored widespread popular opposition in Japan to the Bush administration’s “war on terror”.

School’s collapse leaves foreign teachers stranded, homeless in Japan

By Eric Des Marais, 4 December 2007

Nova Corporation, Japan’s largest provider of private English and other foreign language education, has collapsed. The company, which at its height comprised over 900 schools, employed over 4,000 foreign teachers and 2,000 Japanese staff, and provided lessons to nearly 500,000 students, closed its doors on October 27, leaving its foreign language instructors stranded halfway around the world from homes as far away as Europe and America. Most of these workers are broke and many have already been evicted from their apartments.

Japan withdraws naval support for US war in Afghanistan

By John Chan, 6 November 2007

Japan’s Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda was forced last week to end the country’s logistical support for the US-led war in Afghanistan. While the immediate reason was the refusal of the opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) to support enabling legislation in the upper house of the Diet, the government confronts broad popular hostility to its backing for the Bush administration’s “war on terrorism”.

Japan’s new prime minister: a recipe for another short-lived government

By John Chan, 26 September 2007

Yasuo Fukuda, 71, was installed as Japan’s new prime minister on Tuesday following the resignation of Shinzo Abe after less than 12 months in office. Fukuda, one of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) factional heavyweights, is widely regarded as “a safe pair of hands” following the party’s disastrous loss in the upper house elections on July 29.

Japanese prime minister resigns abruptly

By John Chan, 14 September 2007

Less than a year after assuming his post, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced his resignation on Wednesday. His decision comes in the wake of a disastrous result for the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in the country’s upper house elections on July 29 and continued poor polling following a major cabinet reshuffle on August 27.

Japanese cabinet reshuffle points to deepening political crisis

By John Chan, 4 September 2007

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reshuffled his cabinet on August 27 in a desperate attempt to prop up a deeply unpopular government. Only five ministers retained their posts. Most of the remaining eleven positions were filled with factional bosses and longstanding ministers drawn from previous Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) governments, especially that of Abe’s predecessor Junichiro Koizumi.

Japanese government suffers major defeat in upper house elections

By Joe Lopez, 4 August 2007

The defeat of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in upper house elections on July 29 is a serious political blow to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who took office just 10 months ago. The result revealed widespread hostility toward Abe’s agenda of reviving Japanese militarism, backing the US “war on terror” and implementing regressive economic and social policies.

Japan’s defence minister resigns over remarks on US dropping of atomic bombs

By John Chan, 16 July 2007

Japan’s defence minister, Fumio Kyuma, resigned on July 3, just three days after he provoked public outrage by declaring that the US “could not help” but drop atomic bombs on Japan in August 1945. Kyuma’s rapid political demise not only revealed the continuing deeply-felt hostility in Japan to the US atrocities six decades ago, but the growing public opposition to the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and its militarist policies.

Geo-politics and oil: Japanese leader visits the US and Middle East

By John Chan, 8 May 2007

More than six months after assuming power, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe finally made his first trip to Washington on April 26. He then travelled on to visit five major oil producers in the Middle East, demonstrating that one of the fundamentals of the US-Japan alliance is energy.

Abe’s denial of Japan’s wartime sex slavery provokes tensions

By Joe Lopez, 13 April 2007

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe provoked a wave of international protests by claiming early last month there was “no evidence” suggesting that Japan’s wartime militarist regime coerced—“in the narrow sense of the word”— the sex slavery of “comfort women” throughout Asia in 1930s and 1940s. While aimed at stirring up right-wing nationalist sentiment at home, Abe’s comments generated opposition from China, South Korea and elsewhere in the region.

Former Japanese PM advises unpopular Abe to ignore public opinion

By John Chan, 7 March 2007

Amid plummetting support in opinion polls for Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, his predecessor Junichiro Koizumi had a word of advice for the incumbent. He told a top-level meeting of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) on February 20 that Abe had to defy public opinion and press ahead with the government’s unpopular policies.

Japan’s defence minister strikes an anti-US posture

By John Chan, 31 January 2007

Just weeks after being installed as Japan’s first post-war defence minister, Fumio Kyuma has openly criticised the US over the war in Iraq. The comments are at odds with Japan’s previous wholehearted support for the Bush administration’s “war on terror” and the deployment of Japanese troops to Iraq—a move that was deeply unpopular.

Japan establishes first postwar defence ministry

By John Chan, 19 January 2007

In a step towards the revival of Japanese militarism, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) government on January 9 set up the country’s first defence ministry since the end of World War II. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the new defence minister, Fumio Kyuma, attended the official ceremony to rename the previous defence agency headquarters as the new defence ministry.

Japan’s “education reform” to indoctrinate nationalism

By Joe Lopez, 3 January 2007

The Japanese government has pushed through controversial changes to the country’s education law, winding back the clock to the state indoctrination that characterised the militarist regimes of the 1930s and 1940s. The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and its coalition partner New Komeito passed the so-called reform in the parliamentary upper house on December 15.

Japanese prime minister faces sharp fall in opinion polls

By John Chan, 13 December 2006

After just three months in power, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is confronting a sharp drop in his approval ratings. Questions are already being raised in ruling circles about Abe’s ability to push ahead with the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s (LDP) agenda of militarism and free-market economic reforms.

Japan’s energy diplomacy and Koizumi’s trip to Central Asia

By Joe Lopez, 28 September 2006

In one of his last trips abroad before stepping down as Japan’s prime minister this week, Junichiro Koizumi visited the Central Asian republics of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan late last month. The main aim was to secure agreements to supply oil, gas and uranium to Japan.

Shinzo Abe: Japan’s new prime minister

By John Chan, 26 September 2006

Shinzo Abe is due to be installed today as Japan’s new prime minister, succeeding Junichiro Koizumi, after being elected as the president of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) on September 20. He will continue Koizumi’s right-wing agenda of reviving militarism to assert Japanese strategic and economic interests abroad, while continuing a relentless assault on the social position of working people at home.