from Nicholas Wapshott:

Nothing pacific about it: Japan pushes back on China

By Nicholas Wapshott
July 15, 2014

Members of Japan's Self-Defence Forces' airborne troops stand at attention during the annual SDF troop review ceremony at Asaka Base in Asaka

China is on the march. Or, to be precise, China has made a strong push, militarily and otherwise, into seas nearby, setting off alarms among its neighbors. Now Japan has pushed back, announcing it will “reinterpret” its pacifist constitution so it can be more militarily aggressive in responding to China’s persistent territorial expansionism.

from Counterparties:

The Abenomics arrows

July 14, 2014

Abenomics grinds on. Bloomberg has just put out a new report on the state of Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe’s project to revive his country’s economy and concludes that “the record is mixed.” “Inflation is up, though import prices rather than wages account for the bulk of the increase. A skeptical public remains unconvinced that long-term prospects are brighter.” Japan is a little over 18 months into Abenomics, and two of the three “arrows” — fiscal stimulus and monetary easing — have been deployed. Barry Ritholz thinks they’ve already been pretty successful so far: “deflation is being replaced by inflation; profits and investments are both increasing for Japanese companies; and the Nikkei 225 is up considerably.”

from Breakingviews:

Japan’s corporate tax cut could harm Abenomics

June 25, 2014

By Andy Mukherjee

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

from The Great Debate:

Is Iran being victimized by sanctions it doesn’t deserve?

By Yousaf Butt
June 20, 2014

A security official stands in front of the Bushehr nuclear reactor

Iranian officials met this week with their six-power counterparts to try to hammer out the outlines of a comprehensive nuclear deal set to last for several years. But its precise duration remains undecided.

from The Great Debate:

Let Japan help defend America — and itself

By Clyde Prestowitz
June 2, 2014

Members of Japan's Self-Defence Forces' airborne troops stand at attention during the annual SDF troop review ceremony at Asaka Base in Asaka

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is now following through on actions laid out in his recent bold speech calling for Japan to defend allies who might be under attack.

from Anatole Kaletsky:

Euro zone’s big problems require big fixes

By Anatole Kaletsky
May 16, 2014

ECB President Draghi addresses a news conference in BrusselsAt last, the European Central Bank seems ready to inject some adrenalin into the moribund euro zone economy. After last week’s news conference, when European Central Bank President Mario Draghi strongly hinted that action would take place after the June 5 council meeting, there have been a host of interviews and leaks specifically describing the new ideas the bank has in mind.

from Breakingviews:

Japan index: Wages bigger worry than spending

May 13, 2014

By Andy Mukherjee

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

from Ian Bremmer:

Japan’s path forward, in five steps

By Ian Bremmer
May 9, 2014

japan888

On the surface, Barack Obama’s recent Japan visit struck all the right chords for Tokyo. For the first time ever, an American president stated that the U.S.-Japan security treaty extends to the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands dispute, the most combustible geopolitical conflict between Japan and China. And Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced a “key milestone” for negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the trade deal that encompasses 12 countries and more than 40 percent of the world’s economic output.

from MacroScope:

Will sanctions bite?

By Mike Peacock
April 30, 2014

Financial markets may view the latest sanctions against Russia as feeble, but the reaction from Moscow – Vladimir Putin threatened to reconsider Western participation in energy deals and his foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, said they were the work of weak politicians – suggests otherwise.

from Breakingviews:

Abe’s small hits weightier than big trade miss

April 28, 2014

By Andy Mukherjee 

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.