from The Great Debate:

With Pearl Harbor attack 73 years in the past, Japan to vote on its future

By Joshua W. Walker
December 8, 2014

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Pearl Harbor is a powerful reminder of the importance of Japan. The surprise attack launched 73 years ago, Sunday (or Monday by Tokyo time) by Japanese forces changed the course of history, plunging America into World War Two and, eventually, sealing Japan’s imperial fate. From the ashes of the war these bitter enemies forged an unlikely alliance that has weathered many storms. Today it is more important than ever before.

from Anatole Kaletsky:

Stock markets set to take off as Europe, Asia abandon austerity

By Anatole Kaletsky
November 28, 2014

A pedestrian walks past an electronic board showing Japan's Nikkei average outside a brokerage in Tokyo

The Great Divergence is a term coined by economic historians to explain the sudden acceleration of growth and technology in Europe from the 16th century onward, while other civilizations such as China, India, Japan and Persia remained in their pre-modern state. This phrase has recently acquired a very different meaning, however,  more relevant to global economic and financial conditions today.

from Anatole Kaletsky:

Why political gridlock works for the U.S. economy, but not for Japan or EU

By Anatole Kaletsky
November 7, 2014

U.S. President Obama hosts a luncheon for bi-partisan Congressional leaders in the Old Family Dining Room at the White House in Washington

Is gridlocked government a betrayal of democracy? Or does it allow citizens to get on with their lives and businesses, unencumbered by meddlesome politicians?

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 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 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 Anatole Kaletsky:

Abe’s disturbing lack of focus

By Anatole Kaletsky
April 24, 2014

President Barack Obama’s trip to Asia this week has focused mostly on Japan’s territorial disputes with China. On this issue, Obama seems to be repeating the same mistakes he made in Ukraine.

from Ian Bremmer:

Is the China-Japan relationship ‘at its worst’?

By Ian Bremmer
February 11, 2014

At the Munich Security Conference last month, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Fu Ying said the China-Japan relationship is “at its worst.” But that’s not the most colorful statement explaining, and contributing to, China-Japan tensions of late.

from MacroScope:

Iran and Japan in focus at Davos

By Mike Peacock
January 22, 2014

Lots of action in Switzerland today with the annual get-together of the great and good at Davos getting underway and Syrian peace talks commencing in Montreux.

from Nicholas Wapshott:

Does Japan show us the way out of secular stagnation?

By Nicholas Wapshott
December 2, 2013

Is America’s economy adrift in the doldrums? Lawrence Summers, perhaps the nation’s most inventive applied economist, thinks so. Speaking to an IMF forum last month, he described America’s current condition as “secular stagnation” in which we are stuck in a rut of weak demand, low growth, and low employment. This is the “L-shaped” recovery, or -- strictly speaking, non-recovery -- some warned about after the financial freeze of 2008. It is also sometimes dubbed “the new normal.”