• Japan's foreign aid is a critical part of its foreign policy toolkit.

    We're Japan, and We're Here to Help

    Foreign aid is a key instrument of international engagement in Japan’s foreign policy toolkit. Although Tokyo is no longer the world’s top aid donor that it once was in the 1990s, it still was the world’s number four aid donor in 2015 with close to a US$10 billion annual budget.

    It is not just the size of the aid budget that has changed. So has Tokyo’s thinking behind foreign aid.

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  • Japan's male dominated army is one of many gender issues.

    Japan's Military 'Gender Perspective'

    On 4 November 2014, Lieutenant-Colonel Chizu Kurita of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force became the first Japanese military officer to be attached to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) headquarters in Brussels. As advisor to the NATO Special Representative for Women, Peace and Security in the office of the Secretary General, she has been primarily advising the body on the how to better integrate a ‘gender perspective’ into its policies and activities.

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  • The weakening yen likely will lead the Japanese government and BOJ to act.

    Investors Anticipate Fiscal and Monetary Stimulus from Japan

    The US dollar is broadly mixed against the major currencies.  The Swiss franc's 0.25% gain puts it at the top of the board, after sterling's earlier gains were largely unwound in late-morning turnover.  The yen is the weakest major, extending its loss by 0.6%, to bring the weekly decline to more than 5%.  The pre-referendum result high for the dollar was near JPY106.85.  Today's high has been about JPY106.30. In emerging markets, we note that the Taiwanese dollar is at 11-month highs, helped by $3 bln portfolio capital inflow this week.   

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  • Abe gets the upper hand in the upper house.

    How to Successfully Wield a Supermajority

    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party and its junior coalition partner, Komeito, have won 70 of the 121 seats up for grabs in the upper house triennial elections held on Sunday 10 July. The seats obtained in the upper house are not only many more than the ruling coalition’s 61 seat target, but deliver a two-thirds majority in the upper house for constitutional revision when taking into account other pro-revision political parties.

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  • Japan's disaster response requires continuing education.

    Being Smart about Dealing with Disaster in Japan

    As a country prone to natural disasters, especially earthquakes, tsunamis and typhoons, Japan has a long history of disaster education. However, what does Japan’s public disaster education look like and how should it be further developed?

    Broadly speaking, disaster education fits within two categories: publicly funded and voluntarily organised education. Currently, voluntarily organised disaster education is rapidly outpacing its publicly funded counterpart.

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  • Revitalizing Japan's economy is proving difficult for Abe.

    Japan's Abe Reaches for More Arrows

    Prime Minister Abe is attempting to revitalise the Japanese economy after two decades of stagnant growth. In December 2012, he launched the reform program that became known as Abenomics, consisting of monetary policy aimed at reflating the economy, flexible fiscal policy with medium-term fiscal consolidation and structural reform.

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  • Japan's tourism industry is booming.

    In Japan, Inbound Tourists Have Eclipsed Outbound Tourists

    Japan registered a travel surplus of about US$10.6 billion in 2015, suggesting its growing competitiveness as an exporter of tourism. According to the Japan National Tourism Organisation (JNTO), the number of inbound tourists increased by 47.1 percent to 19.7 million in 2015, outnumbering outbound tourists for the first time in 45 years. Foreign tourists also spent a record US$32.6 billion, up roughly 70 percent from 2014. So what explains Japan’s booming tourist industry?

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  • Japan's LDP may still need partner Komeito even though it doesn't want help.

    Low Voter Turnout could Worry Japan's LDP

    On 10 July, Japan will hold its upper house elections with half of its seats to be contested. This will be the first time that 18 and 19 year-old citizens will be able to cast a vote in a national election.

    There was a possibility that this would be a rare double election, but a number of factors convinced Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to decide against this. One factor was caution over placing any additional burdens on the areas struck by April’s Kumamoto earthquake.

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  • Japan's private sector expertise can teach the government HA/DR.

    HA/DR Lessons from Japan's Private Sector Expertise

    Humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA/DR) are on the rise as new forms of security cooperation in the Asia Pacific. The Japanese government has recognised the importance of HA/DR capacity building for a stable regional security environment through relevant legislation initiated under the former Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) government and continued by the current Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) government under its banner of ‘proactive contribution to peace’.

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  • Kumamoto was another Japanese disaster wake up call.

    Evaluating Japan's Evolving Disaster Response

    On the night of 14 April 2016, five years after the devastating 3/11 triple disaster, a magnitude 6.5 earthquake struck the Kumamoto region on the Japanese island of Kyushu. It was caused by a vertical strike-slip fault that runs underneath the area — a vertical rupture where, during an earthquake, two blocks of rock strata slide past each other.

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