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The lesson of Yukawa’s death, rather, should be that liberal nations face a choice: whether to do what they can to battle growing disorder in the world, or to try and hide. The Japanese public should think about what kind of global role will best serve their interests in the Middle East, as well as in Asia.
President Obama fears having to publicly identify the perpetrators of cyber attacks on the United States. God forbid the likes of Russia or China ever carry out such an attack—if President Obama was forced to point the finger at the attacker, he’d actually have to [gulp] retaliate.
According to press reports, Abe will yet again express “remorse” for the events of what is known in Japan as the Pacific War and that he will uphold prior government statements. The strongest Japanese official statement was offered in 1995, on the 50th anniversary of the war, by then-Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama.
In an interview with Financial Times this week, Iraqi foreign minister Ibrahim Jafari revealed China has offered to provide support for Iraqi airstrikes against ISIS. It’s unclear whether Beijing plans to follow through on this proposition, but potential Chinese-Iraqi cooperation could include weapons sales, intelligence sharing, and military training.
Few thought the LDP would lose its majority in the Lower House of the Japanese Diet, but opposition parties hoped to give Abe a “black eye,” and make it more difficult for him to pass any further reform legislation. However, the latest polls ahead of the December 14 election show that Abe’s gamble may actually result in a pick-up of seats for the LDP.
Moody’s is to be commended for facing up to reality and for downgrading the rating of Japanese government bonds (JGBs) from Aa3 to A1. However, it is to be regretted that Moody’s did so for the wrong reason. Since, contrary to Moody’s belief that JGB investors now face a heightened risk of rising yields and reduced debt affordability over the medium term, the real risk that JGB investors face is a rapidly depreciating Japanese exchange rate and a burst of Japanese inflation that would reduce the real value of their JGB holdings.
Japan does not have to be Asia’s biggest military, but it can compete technologically with anyone. Its armed forces, especially the Ground Self-Defense Forces, may have far less experience than the South Koreans, but neither does the PLA have much recent ground experience. Much of the battle in Asia remains focused on the air and sea domain.
Abe’s goal is to gain a renewed mandate for his controversial policies, including a disastrous sales tax increase earlier this year, more fiscal stimulus spending, and monetary expansion. From a policy point of view, that may not be a bad thing, given the lack of other plans from either Abe’s own LDP or the DPJ. But from a political perspective, the continuing lack of confidence in Japan’s leaders is a worrisome sign for the long-term health of the democracy.