Japan embraces ASEAN region despite investment risks

 Japan is investing twice as much money in South Eastern Asian countries than it is in China. Many countries which were invaded by the Japanese in the last century now want Japan to help their economies grow. This week I attended a conference about the ASEAN countries at Asia House in London. It gave a […]

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Clinton and Obama split on US-Japan trade deal

Japan’s prime minister Shinzo Abe hailed a trade deal with the US and other countries as a major political victory. The deal has been welcomed by Japanese exporters like Toyota but Japanese farmers are worried about its implications. The Tran-Pacific Partnership (TPP) aims to make commerce easier between twelve countries, including the US and Japan. It removes […]

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Abe’s ally urges women to have more babies

What is most important for Japanese women? Getting ahead at work or having babies? These are questions raised in the international media this week, following controversial remarks by a male politician. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga encouraged women to “contribute” to the nation by bearing lots of children. Speaking on a Fuji TV news show, […]

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Japan experts scrutinise Shinzo Abe at Chatham House Conference

This week I attended a lively conference about Japan at Chatham House in London. The speakers included experts on Japan from universities and institutions from the UK, the United States and Japan. Most of the discussion was about politics, economics and international relations. I heard a number of comments about Japan which surprised me and […]

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Abenomics floods the economy with yet more borrowed cash

What can be done by Japan’s Central bank to shake off the threat of recession and get the economy growing again? The media were asking this question before the central bank in the US, the Federal Reserve, left interest rates unchanged. The Bank of Japan was waiting for that news before deciding what it should […]

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Toshiba’s image tarnished further

There was a further blow to the reputation of Toshiba. The Tokyo stock market soared. And Shinzo Abe is set to become Japan’s longest serving prime minister since the 1970s. Toshiba revealed in April it has exaggerated its profits, leading to the resignation of its chief executive Hisao Tanaka. This week Toshiba admitted the scale […]

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Japan’s defence spending to rise as Chinese troops parade in Beijing

An enormous military parade marking the anniversary of Japan’s defeat took place in China. Japan’s defence ministry has requested its largest ever budget. And the Yakuza crime gang Yamaguchi-gumi has broken up. China marked the 70th anniversary of Japan’s surrender in WWII with a vast parade of soldiers and weapons in Beijing, including intercontinental ballistic […]

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Chinese trouble ripples through the Tokyo market

Turmoil on the Chinese stock market caused alarm in Japan at the beginning of the week. Finance minister Taro Aso called for a “cool headed response”. Yet as one might expect, given the complex relationship between the two countries, China’s trouble could bring benefits for Japan. Huge losses on the Chinese stock market prompted share […]

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China unimpressed by Abe’s WWII commemoration speech

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s speech about WWII led to much debate in the media about Japan’s history and its current international role. A record number of foreigners went to Japan last month but the economy is struggling. And the pop group AKB48 were praised as peacemakers but continue to annoy some foreign male writers. The […]

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Wartime memories still haunt East Asia

This week, the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II led to reflection in the international press about Japan’s past and its role in the modern world. The words of prime minister were closely scrutinised. Japan’s spending power was emphasised by another multi-billion dollar takeover, this time in the insurance industry.  And Toyota […]

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