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Jeff Kingston

Jeff Kingston lives in Tokyo, teaches history at Temple University Japan and has been contributing to The Japan Times since 1988. “Contemporary Japan” (Wiley-Blackwell, 2012) is his most recent book.

For Jeff Kingston's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

| Dec 13, 2014

Abe's secrets law undermines Japan's democracy

On Dec. 10, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s new special secrets law took effect despite overwhelming public opposition. The new law gives bureaucrats enormous powers to withhold information produced in the course of their public duties that they deem a secret — entirely at their ...

| Dec 6, 2014

Hot-air Abe can't campaign on 'womenomics'

For a guy with a two-thirds majority in the Diet, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has accomplished remarkably little since 2012. In the past year, real wages declined 3 percent while the economy fell into recession. Even so, this may be the least-worst bad time ...

| Nov 29, 2014

Abe seeks mandate for floundering 'Abenomics'

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s call for snap elections, implausibly pitched as a referendum on “Abenomics,” is a waste of time and money, and a stunning 63 percent of the public remains unconvinced there is any good reason to hold it. What is the point ...

| Nov 15, 2014

Japan's 21st-century tsunami stones

A familiar sight along Tohoku’s Sanriku coastline are the tsunami stones erected by past generations that alert residents to the high-water mark of previous tsunami and the perils of building any closer to the sea. Over time these warnings were ignored, and those who ...

| Nov 8, 2014

Right-wing witch hunt signals dark days in Japan

Many Japanese and long-time Japan observers have expressed dismay about the recrudescence of self-righteous nationalism under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has emboldened right-wing extremists now threatening democratic institutions and civil liberties. “The revisionist right in Japan with the active encouragement, if not involvement, ...

| Nov 1, 2014

Commemorating wartime Soviet spy Sorge

Seventy years ago on Nov. 7, the Japanese authorities executed Richard Sorge, a Soviet spy who became a member of the Nazi Party and was operating as a journalist in wartime Tokyo. He was a raffish, womanizing, hard-drinking party animal who produced intelligence coups ...

| Oct 25, 2014

Abe downsized, comfort women reprised

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe now understands why political gurus say that a week is a short time in politics. Last week, I speculated about why Abe remains popular despite promoting policies that most people oppose. But even before two of his Cabinet ministers submitted ...

| Oct 18, 2014

The Abe conundrum and the pitfalls ahead

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is a polarizing figure, lauded as the resolute leader Japan needs to revive its flagging fortunes and slammed for mishandling history issues in ways that undermine national interests. The Abe conundrum is how he manages to retain a high degree ...

| Oct 11, 2014

China's new strongman Xi has a dream

President Xi Jinping is China’s most authoritarian leader since Deng Xiaoping, a strongman who has moved aggressively to assert and consolidate power while promoting a cult of personality. Rivals have been dispatched, he has rooted out those in the ruling oligarchy that were planted ...