Japan

Japanese PM foreshadows tougher action over disputed islets

By Peter Symonds, 29 October 2013

Abe’s stance on the Senkaku islands is part of a broader strategy to reassert Japanese imperialism’s interests throughout the region.

US-Japan talks escalate war preparations against China

By Peter Symonds, 5 October 2013

The talks announced deployments of hi-tech US weaponry to Japan and a green light for Japanese remilitarisation, in the framework of “a more robust alliance”.

US-Japan ministerial meeting strengthens military stance against China

By John Chan, 4 October 2013

The US Secretary of State and Defence Secretary yesterday sent a strong message that the American military build-up in Asia would continue.

Japanese defence ministry calls for substantial budget increase

By John Watanabe, 25 September 2013

The increased spending is in line with the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s turn to the remilitarisation of Japan.

Sino-Japanese tensions flare over disputed islands

By John Chan, 16 September 2013

Both Japan and China engaged in risky military manoeuvres on the anniversary of Tokyo’s nationalisation of the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands.

Divisions in Japanese government over consumption tax hikes

By John Watanabe, 7 September 2013

Financial markets demand the scheduled doubling of Japan’s consumption tax, but sections of the ruling elite fear social unrest and the negative impact on economic growth.

Fukushima leaks’ radioactivity 18 times higher than previously reported

By John Marion, 4 September 2013

Water leaking from Japan’s stricken Fukushima nuclear reactor is so radioactive that exposure to it for four hours would be deadly.

TEPCO reports new leaks at Fukushima reactor

By John Marion, 28 August 2013

This latest threat to public health comes after revelations that radioactive water from underground storage tanks and groundwater has leaked into the ocean.

Japanese PM drops pledge to renounce war

By John Chan, 17 August 2013

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe marked Thursday’s anniversary of Japan’s wartime surrender by again indicating his determination to revive Japanese militarism.

Japan’s new naval carrier heightens regional tensions

By John Chan, 12 August 2013

The Izumo is the latest attempt to circumvent the pacifist clause in the country’s constitution that nominally bans offensive weapons.

Contaminated water leaks into sea from Japan’s crippled nuclear plant

By Peter Symonds, 7 August 2013

Japan’s nuclear regulatory authority has offered no solution to what it has declared as an emergency.

The revival of Japanese militarism

By Peter Symonds, 3 August 2013

Japanese militarism has been deliberately encouraged by the Obama administration as part of its “pivot to Asia”, aimed at encircling China militarily.

Constitutional amendments prepare authoritarian rule in Japan

By John Watanabe, 31 July 2013

The draft constitution prepared by Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party scraps fundamental democratic rights.

Japan seeks pre-emptive military strike capabilities

By John Chan, 29 July 2013

The report is in line with Prime Minister Abe’s calls for a “strong Japan” and a “strong military."

Japan scrambles fighters against Chinese plane in East China Sea

By John Chan, 26 July 2013

Japan scrambled fighter jets on Wednesday after a Chinese military aircraft flew between the main island of Okinawa Prefecture and Miyako Island, south of Japan.

Ruling LDP wins Japanese upper house election

By Peter Symonds, 22 July 2013

Prime Minister Abe will use his control of both parliamentary houses to advance his right-wing agenda of militarism and austerity.

The re-emergence of Japanese militarism

By John Chan, 13 July 2013

The defence white paper adopts a belligerent tone toward China and emphasises expanding Japan’s military capacities and ties with Washington.

Japanese PM seeks election win to advance his right-wing agenda

By Peter Symonds, 9 July 2013

The main reason for the LDP’s lead is the collapse of support for the opposition DPJ, which came to power in 2009 and reneged on its election promises.

Japan moves to boost influence in Asia

By Ben McGrath, 18 June 2013

Prime Minister Abe visited Burma and met with the Indian prime minister last month as part of his “strategic diplomacy” to rebuild Japan as a major power.

Visiting Europe, Chinese premier demands Japan return “stolen” territories

By John Chan, 29 May 2013

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang used the Potsdam Declaration to challenge Japanese sovereignty over the disputed Diaoyu/Senkaku islands.

Japanese share sell-off a sign of growing financial instability

By Nick Beams, 27 May 2013

A key element in the Japanese stock market was the fear of a crisis if the Fed cuts back its “quantitative easing” program

Japanese officials secretly visit North Korea

By Ben McGrath, 25 May 2013

The secret trip to North Korea by an advisor of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has raised questions concerning Japan’s intentions in the Korean Peninsula.

Global stock markets fall after 7 percent collapse in Japan’s Nikkei index

By Alex Lantier, 24 May 2013

The one-day 7.3 percent drop in Japan’s Nikkei stock index came amid signs of a growing global slump and demands for attacks on the working class in Japan.

Far-right Japan Restoration Party defends wartime abuse of “comfort women”

By John Chan, 23 May 2013

Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto recently declared that the Japanese army’s policy of keeping thousands of women as sex slaves during World War II was necessary.

China challenges Japanese sovereignty over Okinawa

By John Chan, 18 May 2013

China’s state-owned People’s Daily published a provocative article last week implicitly asserting Chinese claims over Okinawa.

Japanese government promotes “Sovereignty Restoration Day”

By John Watanabe, 16 May 2013

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe commemorated the anniversary of the end of the US occupation by reviving symbols of Imperial Japan.

US concerns about Japanese nuclear reprocessing

By Peter Symonds, 7 May 2013

Japan is preparing to open a huge plutonium reprocessing plant that can manufacture fuel not only for power reactors, but for nuclear weapons.

Japanese retail giant introduces Third World wages

By John Watanabe, 6 May 2013

Japan’s richest man declared that workers must accept wages at the level of developing countries.

South Korea protests against Japanese shrine visits

By Ben McGrath, 3 May 2013

Behind the growing tensions between Japan and South Korea are not just disputes over past history, but present-day economic and geo-political rivalry.

Australian warship to join US fleet off Korean peninsula

By Mark Church and James Cogan, 3 May 2013

The deployment of the HMAS Sydney is part of preparations by the Australian military for participation in larger US operations to contain China.

Japanese ministers visit notorious war shrine

By Peter Symonds, 23 April 2013

The decision to visit the Yasukuni Shrine is another sign of the militarist agenda being pursued by the Abe government.

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.