Foreign Policy Blogs

Japan

IMF Recommends Japan Triple Consumption Tax

IMF Recommends Japan Triple Consumption Tax

The International Monetary Fund said Japan should triple its consumption tax in order to cut the country’s massive public debt.
At 5 percent, Japan’s consumption tax rate is one of the lowest in the world.
Anoop Singh, IMF chief for Asia, said “It has been our sense… that raising the consumption tax …

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Why is Suicide Rampant in Japan?

Why is Suicide Rampant in Japan?

The number of suicides in Japan surpassed 30,000 for the 14th year in a row in 2011, according to the National Police Agency.
The numbers released this month show 30,513 people took their lives last year, down 1,177 from 2010.
At a suicide rate of 28.3 per 100,000, Japan ranks third among …

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Noda Retracts Assurance to Cut Iranian Oil

Noda Retracts Assurance to Cut Iranian Oil

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda retreated Friday from the strong assurances given by Finance Minister Jun Azumi the day before that Tokyo would cut oil imports from Iran.
Noda said Azumi was expressing his “personal view” in supporting the U.S.’s attempt to isolate Iran over its nuclear program.
“Japan’s basic stance is …

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Japan indicts Chinese fisherman in lastest string of Chinese-Japanese tensions

Japan indicts Chinese fisherman in lastest string of Chinese-Japanese tensions

Japanese prosecutors indicted a Chinese fishing boat skipper for fishing illegally in Japanese waters, a local official said Friday. The arrest is the latest in a long series of events surrounding the tense Chinese-Japanese maritime relations.
Zhong Jinyin was arrested in Japanese waters Dec. 20, the second arrest in the area …

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Japan Using Quake Budget for Whaling

Japan Using Quake Budget for Whaling

Japan is using 2.28 billion yen ($29.4 million) from its 12.1 trillion yen ($156 billion) extra budget passed last month to beef up security for its whaling fleet.
This comes after Australia refused to deploy its own ships to protect Japan’s fleet as it does “scientific research” by killing whales in …

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3rd-party panel calls Olympus management ‘rotten’

3rd-party panel calls Olympus management ‘rotten’

A committee of lawyers and an accountant appointed by Japanese precision technology maker Olympus said, “The management (at Olympus) was rotten to the core and contaminated what was around it, creating in the worst sense a group mentality of the typical salarymen,” in reference to the company’s practice of “tobashi,” …

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Year in Review

Year in Review

Foreign Policy Association bloggers write their “Year in Review” posts for their respective topics by Dec. 1 of every year. Of course any Year in Review of Japan will be dominated by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami and subsequent nuclear crisis.
Summary of the Past Year
The year started out quietly …

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Japan Concerned over Chinese Aircraft Carrier

Japan Concerned over Chinese Aircraft Carrier

Japan has voiced concern over the second trial of China’s first aircraft carrier, which started Tuesday.
Even though the refitted Soviet carrier is technologically pretty much what you’d expect from a third-world country, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said, “I am concerned about their reinforcement of national defense power, which lacks …

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Japan to loan Iraq $750 million

Japan to loan Iraq $750 million

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said Japan will offer Iraq $750 million in his meeting with visiting Iraqi leader Nouri al-Maliki Tuesday. The loans will go toward refurbishing oil refineries and other infrastructure and health care projects.
Noda said: “We are proud of having contributed to the development of Iraq through yen …

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TPP pact controversial in US and Japan

TPP pact controversial in US and Japan

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has indicated that Japan will participate in U.S.-backed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade talks at the APEC summit next weekend in Hawaii. This has triggered emotional responses in both the U.S. and Japan, especially from farmers in Japan, and lawmakers in the U.S.
Japan hasn’t been self-sufficient in …

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Japan to Welcome Thai Workers… For a Time

Japan to Welcome Thai Workers… For a Time

Tokyo is planning to allow thousands of Thai workers employed by Japanese firms to come to Japan to work for six months as an “emergency and temporary measure.” This move is meant to offset the damage months of flooding have wreaked on Japanese companies in Thailand.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura …

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More lessons from firing of Olympus CEO

More lessons from firing of Olympus CEO

Last week I wrote about Olympus firing its president and CEO, Michael Woodford, over reported “cultural differences.” Olympus Chairman Tsuyoshi Kikugawa blamed Woodford for ignoring the company’s organizational structure, circumventing the hierarchy that is typical in …

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What does the firing of Olympus’ CEO teach us about Japan?

What does the firing of Olympus’ CEO teach us about Japan?

Japanese camera and precision-technology maker, Olympus, announced the firing of its president and CEO, the Briton Michael Woodford, last Friday. Woodford, one of the few foreign CEOs in Japan, apparently ruffled some feathers in Olympus’s hierarchy, leading to culture clash. The firing of Woodford illustrates how Japanese values are sometimes …

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Japan: The Strange Country

Japan: The Strange Country

“Japan: The Strange Country” is a short, animated documentary by graphic designer Kenichi Tanaka. It illustrates a lot of things I’ve been talking about on this blog, and sums up Japan great in under 12 minutes. Tanaka explains that even though Japan is a relatively small …

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10,000 foreigners to get free trip to Japan

10,000 foreigners to get free trip to Japan

The Japan Tourism Agency plans to offer free airfare to and from Japan to 10,000 foreigners in order to boost the tourism industry. Tourism dropped 50 percent in the months following the March 11 quake and tsunami, due largely to fears of radiation from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant.
The …

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