Japan

Japan’s monetary boost to escalate currency wars

By Nick Beams, 13 April 2013

The Bank of Japan’s “quantitative easing” policy will both fuel the deepening global economic crisis and stimulate further attacks on the Japanese working class.

Japan’s Fukushima plant leaking radioactive water

By John Watanabe, 11 April 2013

TEPCO and the government are, as always, trying to downplay the significance of the leakages.

Japan announces “new dimension” in quantitative easing

By Nick Beams, 6 April 2013

The Bank of Japan has unveiled a government bond-buying program of unprecedented proportions.

Japan to sign up to US-led Asia-Pacific trade pact

By Peter Symonds, 18 March 2013

While dressed up as “free trade”, the Trans-Pacific Partnership is in reality a trade war measure.

Two years after earthquake

North eastern Japan still a disaster zone

By Peter Symonds, 11 March 2013

More than 300,000 evacuees are living in temporary accommodation and reconstruction has barely begun.

Japanese PM prepares for war

By Peter Symonds, 5 March 2013

Abe’s remarks are an unmistakeable declaration that he will, if necessary, go to war with China over disputed islands in the East China Sea.

Japanese PM calls for a “strong Japan”

By Peter Symonds, 2 March 2013

Abe compared his stance in the island dispute with China with that of Margaret Thatcher during the Falklands war between Britain and Argentina.

Former top Obama official warns of “powder keg” in Asia

By Peter Symonds, 27 February 2013

Ex-assistant secretary of state Kurt Campbell described the escalating tensions between China and Japan as the most difficult situation he had faced.

Japanese premier signals military buildup during US visit

By Alex Lantier, 26 February 2013

Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo pledged the closest collaboration with the US as Obama pursues his aggressive “pivot to Asia” against China.

Tokyo accuses Chinese navy of “locking onto” Japanese targets

By Peter Symonds, 7 February 2013

The latest Japanese claims come on top of months of escalating friction between the two countries following Tokyo’s “nationalisation” of the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu islands.

Japan’s currency war

By Peter Symonds, 26 January 2013

The new Abe government is pursuing an aggressive nationalist program on two fronts: remilitarisation and a unilateralist monetary policy.

Japan’s finance minister: Old people should “hurry up and die”

By Peter Symonds, 25 January 2013

Aso is seeking to cultivate a political constituency for a far-reaching assault on the most vulnerable sections of the working class.

US inflames island dispute between Japan and China

By Peter Symonds, 22 January 2013

Clinton’s comments were a thinly-disguised warning that the US could intervene if China continued to challenge Japanese control over the contested islands.

Japanese government boosts military spending

By Peter Symonds, 17 January 2013

With Washington’s encouragement, Japan’s new government is pursuing an aggressive diplomatic and military strategy against China.

Japan, Philippines boost ties as tensions with China escalate

By Joseph Santolan, 12 January 2013

The meeting was calculated to defuse long-standing historical objections to Japanese expansionism throughout the South East Asian region.

Island dispute continues to fuel China-Japan tensions

By Peter Symonds, 8 January 2013

While the latest incidents have not escalated into a dangerous diplomatic row, each had the potential to do so.

New right-wing Japanese government installed

By Peter Symonds, 27 December 2012

Prime Minister Abe has not resiled from the aggressive nationalist policies that he promoted during the election campaign.

New Japanese government marks dangerous turn to militarism

By Peter Symonds, 19 December 2012

The right-wing nationalism that pervaded the election campaign signals the determination of the Japanese ruling class to reassert its interests by every means, including military force.

Right-wing LDP government to take office in Japan

By Peter Symonds, 17 December 2012

The election outcome was not a positive vote for the LDP, but an overwhelming rejection of the ruling DPJ.

Air incident escalates Japan/China tensions over disputed islands

By Peter Symonds, 15 December 2012

Both countries have exploited the issue to stir up nationalism to divert attention from a worsening economic and social crisis at home.

Japanese election mired in nationalism and militarism

By Peter Symonds, 8 December 2012

The rightward shift in Japanese politics is a warning of the dangers facing the working class as a consequence of the worsening breakdown of global capitalism.

Japan: At least nine dead in tunnel collapse

By Oliver Campbell, 4 December 2012

Questions have been raised about the tunnel operator’s safety inspections.

New Japanese party formed to capitalise on anti-nuclear sentiment

By Peter Symonds, 30 November 2012

The establishment of the Japan Future Party is another sign of deepening political crisis in the lead up to the December 16 election.

Japan’s election dominated by right-wing nationalism

By Peter Symonds, 24 November 2012

The election campaign is rapidly becoming a contest with each of the parties seeking to outbid each other as proponents of nationalism and militarism.

Japanese prime minister calls snap election

By Peter Symonds, 16 November 2012

The ruling DPJ appears to be headed for defeat just three years after coming to power.

Deepening economic crisis in Japan

By Nick Beams, 15 November 2012

Japan faces the prospect of entering its fifth recession in the past 15 years.

Island dispute between Japan and China grows more tense

By Peter Symonds, 24 October 2012

By encouraging Japan to aggressively assert its interests, the Obama administration is responsible for the current tensions with China.

Economic fallout of Japan-China island dispute widens

By John Chan, 17 October 2012

The escalating diplomatic row between China and Japan led to a boycott of IMF/World Bank talks in Tokyo by top Chinese financial officials.

US stokes China-Japan dispute over Senkaku/Diaoyu islands

By Alex Lantier, 16 October 2012

Washington is deepening its support for Japan in its standoff with China over uninhabited islands in the East China Sea.

Growing world slump overshadows IMF-World Bank meeting

By Nick Beams, 9 October 2012

The annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank which starts in Tokyo today comes amid growing signs of a major economic downturn.

IMF chief warns: China-Japan dispute threatens world economy

By John Chan, 8 October 2012

The conflict between the governments in the world’s second and third largest economies over disputed islands in the East China Sea could compound global economic turmoil.

Japan’s new opposition leader promotes militarist agenda

By Peter Symonds, 27 September 2012

Shinzo Abe, who was elected yesterday as LDP leader, is well known for his right-wing nationalist views.

Japan and China face off in island dispute

By Peter Symonds, 26 September 2012

Despite talks between Chinese and Japanese officials, tensions remain high over the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu islands.

Amid rising tensions, US defense secretary visits China and Japan

By Peter Symonds, 22 September 2012

While appealing for calm between Japan and China, Panetta took further steps to bolster the US-Japan alliance, exacerbating an already tense standoff.

Oppose Chinese and Japanese nationalism

By John Chan, 21 September 2012

Both governments have seized on the dispute over the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands to whip up chauvinism to deflect attention from deepening social and economic crises at home.

Mounting anti-Japanese protests in China

By John Chan, 19 September 2012

Both the Chinese and Japanese governments have stirred nationalist “public opinion” to such levels that it could drive them into a military confrontation.

Tensions between China and Japan flare over disputed islands

By Peter Symonds, 13 September 2012

The dispute has the potential to escalate into a dangerous confrontation between the world’s second and third largest economies.

Tensions remain high between South Korea and Japan

By Ben McGrath, 6 September 2012

Tokyo and Seoul have refused to back away from competing claims over the Dokdo/Takeshima islands.

Japan-South Korea tensions flare over disputed islands

By Peter Symonds, 22 August 2012

Both governments are stirring up nationalist sentiment at home to deflect attention from mounting social tensions and political opposition.

China stirs anti-Japanese protests over disputed islands

By John Chan, 20 August 2012

Both governments are exploiting the Senkaku/Diaoyu dispute to whip up chauvinist sentiment and divert from growing social tensions at home.

Japanese government in turmoil after tax bill clears upper house

By John Watanabe, 15 August 2012

In exchange for supporting the bill, the opposition demanded an early election that the ruling Democrats are likely to lose.

Japan’s defence report takes tough line against China

By John Chan, 6 August 2012

The report’s alarmist assessment of China seeks to justify Japan’s own military build-up as part of the US “pivot” to Asia.

Ex-prime minister joins Japanese anti-nuclear protest

By Mike Head, 24 July 2012

Hatoyama’s gesture is a further sign of a deepening government crisis over the intense popular opposition to its policies.

Fukushima: A disaster produced by capitalism

By Peter Symonds, 10 July 2012

The catastrophe was the product of decades of collusion by governments, nuclear regulators and the nuclear power industry.

Japanese report blames government/corporate nexus for Fukushima disaster

By Peter Symonds, 7 July 2012

The report is scathing of the government, regulators and TEPCO, declaring that “they effectively betrayed the nation’s right to be safe from nuclear accidents”.

Japan’s ruling Democratic Party splits

By John Chan, 4 July 2012

Ichiro Ozawa and 49 supporters quit the Democrats on Monday, leaving the government with a shaky majority.

Japanese nuclear reactor re-activated despite mass protest

By Mike Head, 3 July 2012

Organisers estimated that between 150,000 and 180,000 people joined the rally in Tokyo outside the prime minister’s official residence.

Japan’s lower house doubles consumption tax

By John Chan, 2 July 2012

The government is in political turmoil after a bloc of its lawmakers voted against the tax bill and threatened to split.

Japan’s nuclear restart

By Mike Head, 23 June 2012

A little more than a year since the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the Japanese government has ordered the re-opening of two reactors.

Japanese PM orders restart of nuclear reactors

By Peter Symonds, 19 June 2012

Noda made the announcement under pressure from the corporate elite despite widespread public opposition in the wake of last year’s Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Japan’s South Pacific summit directed against China

By John Watanabe, 11 June 2012

For both Tokyo and Washington the primary purpose of the Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting was to bolster their efforts to undermine Chinese regional influence.

Japanese powerbroker acquitted of political funding charges

By John Watanabe, 9 May 2012

Ichiro Ozawa’s return to public politics will further fuel ongoing tensions within the ruling Democrats over foreign and economic policies.

US, Japan strengthen military ties against China

By Peter Symonds, 2 May 2012

While low-key, the talks between Obama and Japanese PM Yoshihiko Noda on Monday will compound tensions with China.

Tax bill precipitates crisis for Japanese government

By John Watanabe, 3 April 2012

The doubling of the consumer tax rate to 10 percent is deeply unpopular and has reopened rifts within the ruling Democratic Party of Japan.

Japan’s triple disaster: An indictment of capitalism

By Peter Symonds, 16 March 2012

The natural forces unleashed on March 11, 2011 were uncontrollable, but the scale of the death and destruction that followed was entirely avoidable.

One year since Japan’s triple disaster

By Mike Head, 13 March 2012

Twelve months on, the human, economic and political impact of Japan’s calamity is still deepening.

Starvation tragedy underlines social deprivation in Japan

By John Wantanabe, 7 March 2012

A family of three starved to death near Tokyo, highlighting the sharpening inequality and social misery in the country.

Japan’s economy contracts as exports plunge

By John Watanabe, 28 February 2012

Falling demand in China, Europe and North America, the high value of the yen and increasing competition are threatening the very viability of Japan’s basic industry.

Japanese PM reshuffles cabinet to push tax hike

By John Watanabe, 16 January 2012

Yoshihiko Noda carried out an anticipated cabinet reshuffle last Friday in a bid to consolidate his grip on power amid continued infighting within the ruling Democratic Party of Japan.

Japanese PM’s support for US trade pact provokes opposition

By John Chan, 17 November 2011

Noda’s announced commitment to the TPP is designed to signal Japan’s strong support for Washington’s broader campaign against China.

Japanese government proposes major tax increases

By John Chan, 23 September 2011

Like its counterparts around the world, the ruling Democratic Party of Japan is imposing the burdens of the worsening global economic crisis onto the backs of working people.

Mass protest in Tokyo against nuclear power

By John Chan, 21 September 2011

The 60,000-strong rally was the largest since the March 11 earthquake that triggered the Fukushima nuclear plant meltdown.

Japan: Six months after the triple disaster

By Peter Symonds, 12 September 2011

Just as in tsunami-hit Aceh in Indonesia, the devastation in Japan has been greatly compounded by the dictates of the profit system.

An unstable new government in Japan

By John Chan, 7 September 2011

Prime Minister Noda’s efforts to balance factional interests will do nothing to resolve the fundamental underlying dilemmas facing his government and the Japanese political establishment as a whole.

New Japanese PM pledges austerity measures

By Peter Symonds, 30 August 2011

Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda yesterday won the leadership of the DPJ but takes over a party deeply divided on fundamental economic and foreign policy issues.

Moody’s credit downgrade sends warning to Japan’s next leader

By John Chan, 27 August 2011

The new government will face the impossible task of boosting growth amid deepening global economic turmoil, while cutting spending and imposing greater tax burdens on working people.

Japanese government seeks to defuse opposition to nuclear industry

By Mike Head, 20 August 2011

Amid further reports of radiation dangers, the Kan government is trying to overcome popular anger and distrust by integrating two regulatory agencies into a Nuclear Safety Agency.

Japanese prime minister set to step down

By John Chan, 17 August 2011

Kan is likely to be removed by the end of August, amid a stagnant economy and widespread distrust of the government’s handling of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Japanese PM sacks three top nuclear officials

By Peter Symonds, 6 August 2011

In the wake of the Fukushima disaster, what characterises the political climate in Japan is a generalised public suspicion, hostility and distrust of all the major parties.

After Fukushima: Massive global expansion of nuclear industry under way

By William Whitlow, 6 July 2011

A report from the Economist Intelligence Unit predicts a massive worldwide growth in nuclear energy production over the next decade.

From Hiroshima to Fukushima: The political background to the nuclear disaster in Japan

By a guest contributor, 24 June 2011

The propagation of nuclear technology in Japan was a direct consequence of US efforts—for military reasons— to wield influence over the country’s development immediately after the Second World War.

From Hiroshima to Fukushima: The political background to the nuclear disaster in Japan

By a guest contributor, 23 June 2011

The propagation of nuclear technology in Japan was a direct consequence of US efforts—for military reasons—to wield influence over the country’s development immediately after the Second World War.

The Fukushima nuclear disaster—three months on

By Peter Symonds, 18 June 2011

The worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl has all but disappeared from the media amid a concerted effort to play down its implications and cover up the underlying causes.

Japanese nuclear crisis worse than previously conceded

By Peter Symonds, 13 June 2011

While TEPCO previously admitted that a meltdown had occurred in three of its Fukushima reactors, a government report said that a more serious “melt-through” might have occurred.

Japanese prime minister survives no-confidence motion

By John Chan, 4 June 2011

None of the issues that led to a rebellion against Kan inside the ruling party has been resolved.

IAEA whitewashes worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl

By William Whitlow, 4 June 2011

A preliminary report by the International Atomic Energy Agency on the Fukushima nuclear disaster is a whitewash exonerating TEPCO and the Japanese government of blame.

Japanese nuclear company confirms meltdowns in three reactors

By Mike Head, 25 May 2011

TEPCO’s announcement was made amid rising public distrust of the information that it and the government have provided.

Quake disaster renews debate over Japan’s relations with China

By Peter Symonds, 24 May 2011

The central dilemma confronting the Japanese ruling elite is where to line up in the rivalry between its longstanding ally, the US, and its largest economic partner, China.

Three Japanese nuclear reactors underwent meltdown

By Peter Symonds, 17 May 2011

Extensive damage at Fukushima plant compounds difficulties in stabilising crippled reactors.

Meltdown of Japanese nuclear reactor confirmed

By Peter Symonds, 13 May 2011

The discovery of a faulty water gauge highlights the fact that engineers working to stabilise reactors at the Fukushima plant still do not know the full extent of the damage.

New threats emerge at Japanese nuclear plants

By William Whitlow, 11 May 2011

The Japanese government has ordered the Chubu Electric Power Co. to close its Hamaoko Nuclear Power Plant, which has been at the centre of long-running protests and safety warnings from experts.

Credit rating agencies press Japan for budget austerity

By Peter Symonds, 7 May 2011

Amid the devastation caused by the March 11 earthquake, the government is under pressure to impose the burden of reconstruction on working people.

Japanese PM faces political crisis over nuclear disaster

By Peter Symonds, 3 May 2011

The resignation of a top nuclear safety adviser to Prime Minister Naoto Kan has compounded the political difficulties confronting the government.

Fukushima radiation levels rise to highest levels yet

By William Whitlow, 2 May 2011

As the twenty-fifth anniversary of Chernobyl passes, Fukushima looks set to overtake it as the world’s worst nuclear disaster.

Japan’s nuclear crisis far from over

By Peter Symonds, 26 April 2011

The Japanese government and TEPCO are attempting to reassure a sceptical public that the dangers at the Fukushima nuclear plant are receding.

Japan’s nuclear evacuees face bleak future

By John Chan, 25 April 2011

Tens of thousands of residents forced to leave their homes in the evacuation zone around the Fukushima nuclear plant are unlikely to return for years.

Report from anti-nuclear protests in Tokyo

By John Watanabe, 21 April 2011

The ongoing crisis at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant has produced rising public concern over the risks of nuclear power and indignation at the government’s response to the disaster.

Calls for Japanese PM to resign over nuclear crisis

By Peter Symonds, 20 April 2011

Criticism of the government’s handling of the disaster has come, not only from the opposition LDP, but, more significantly, from within its own ranks.

Japan’s reactor shutdown to take at least six months

By Peter Symonds, 18 April 2011

TEPCO’s proposal for its Fukushima nuclear plant is a list of optimistic objectives designed to placate a hostile public.

Japanese local elections reveal widespread voter alienation

By John Watanabe, 16 April 2011

While the ruling Democratic Party of Japan suffered a serious setback, the outcome reflected broad disenchantment with all the major parties.

Quake disaster shakes Japanese economy

By Peter Symonds, 15 April 2011

None of the economic assessments deals with the immense social cost of the disasters for the tens of thousands of people who have lost their homes, possessions and livelihoods.

Untrained labourers working in Japan’s nuclear industry

By John Chan, 14 April 2011

At the Fukushima plant, owned by the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), 89 percent of the 10,303 workers were temporary contractors, subcontractors and sub-subcontractors.

Severity of Japan’s nuclear disaster raised to highest level

By Peter Symonds, 13 April 2011

While the government and its nuclear agencies were at pains to explain that the Fukushima crisis was not as bad as the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, they had difficulty justifying the delay in lifting the ranking.

Japan’s nuclear cover-up

By Peter Symonds, 12 April 2011

From the outset, there has been a concerted effort to downplay the extent of the catastrophe at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant and its ongoing dangers.

Japan promotes its nuclear industry at special ASEAN summit

By Joseph Santolan, 9 April 2011

Supposedly called to discuss ASEAN aid for Japan following the March 11 quake, the summit’s hidden agenda is to promote the Japanese nuclear industry.

Large aftershock hits northern Japan

By Peter Symonds, 9 April 2011

Three people died in the quake that left more than four million households without power, and disrupted gas and water supplies in Sendai and other urban areas.

Major parties in Japan move closer to “national unity”

By John Chan, 8 April 2011

In response to the earthquake and tsunami disaster, the Japanese political establishment is seeking to contain the popular anger that lies just beneath the surface of daily life.

US report points to serious dangers at Japanese nuclear plant

By Peter Symonds, 7 April 2011

The US nuclear regulator has confidentially identified risks at the Fukushima plant far beyond those mentioned by TEPCO and Japanese nuclear authorities.

Japan: TEPCO dumps radioactive water in sea

By Mike Head, 6 April 2011

With the Japanese government’s approval, TEPCO is pumping 11,500 metric tonnes of “low-level” contaminated water into the ocean from the Fukushima plant.

Japan’s tsunami victims left struggling to cope

By John Chan, 5 April 2011

For tens of thousands of people in northeastern Japan, who have lost homes, jobs and loved ones, the disaster is far from over.