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Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has taken on an ambitious task: addressing and trying to fix the extensive gender imbalance in his country’s labor market, a policy now known as “Womenomics.”

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U.S. Army General Martin Dempsey (L), chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, shakes hands with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the start of their talks at Abe's official residence in Tokyo March 25, 2015. REUTERS/Franck Robichon/Pool

Tokyo cannot play the same security role in Asia that Washington does, nor does it want to. What it is seeking, however, under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, is to slowly reshape regional security relations.

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A White House official recently criticized the decision of a number of European countries seeking membership in the AIIB – the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank – something that the U.S. is unlikely to do. The AIIB will also face competition from the larger China Development Bank, and just how much effect the new institution will have has been questioned.

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Image Credit: shutterstock

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Covering a defense story today? Here’s the latest from the experts on the AEI defense team.

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Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks to the media at his official residence in Tokyo in this photo taken by Kyodo March 19, 2015. Abe said on Thursday the government had information three Japanese citizens were killed and three wounded in an attack on Tunisia's national museum. REUTERS/Kyodo

Coral reefs and concrete runways may not capture our imagination, but they are one piece of an increasingly complex security puzzle in Asia.

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Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe offers flowers to victims of the sarin poison gas attack on the subway system by members of the AUM Shinrikyo cult, which killed 13 people and injured more than 6,000 at the Tokyo subway's Kasumigaseki station March 20, 2015, on the 20th anniversary of the incident. Mandatory Credit. REUTERS/Kyodo

Twenty years ago today, Japan suffered its worst terrorist atrocity, the sarin gas attack on Tokyo’s subways by the religious cult known as Aum Shinrikyo.

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Doomsday cult Aum Shinrikyo followers work in front of a computer screen showing a picture of guru Shoko Asahara July 19 at Aum's key Adachi office in Tokyo where they conduct computer work including making and updating their internet homepage. While Japanese authorities have renewed their crackdown on the religious cult, accused of a 1995 nerve gas attack on Tokyo subways where 12 people were killed and thousands injured, the local Adachi ward has set up a task force aimed at easing the anxieties of residents who feel threatened by the cult's presence. Asahara is currently being held at a nearby detention center.

Twenty years later, there are still lessons to be learned from the atrocities committed by the Japanese terrorist group once known as Aum Shinrikyo.

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Despite another double-digit budget increase, the PLA may be headed for hard times as the Chinese economy stagnates and continental security concerns divert military resources away from the maritime domain.

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LEFT: U.S. President Barack Obama speaks to the City Club of Cleveland about middle class economics in Ohio March 18, 2015. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
RIGHT: Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivers opening remarks, during the Symposium of the 70th Anniversary of the United Nations, at the United Nations University in Tokyo, March 16, 2015. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

Abe may soon run up against the limits of his ability to take the initiative in Asia, but given widespread concern over China’s intentions, he will likely be able to continue surprising observers with his willingness to push boundaries.

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