| Oct 19, 2009

Kremlin cajoling Hatoyama

Russia seems to be stepping up efforts to build closer ties with Japan through cracks in Tokyo’s alliance with the United States, even as it tries to resolve the thorny Northern Territories issue on terms favorable to Moscow. Japan is in danger of playing ...

| Oct 16, 2009

Government's gatekeeper

A month in office, Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama appears to face difficulty in effecting his key slogan of reducing, if not eliminating, the government’s heavy reliance on the bureaucracy, due mainly to confusion as to who will take the lead andwith how much power. ...

| Sep 24, 2009

Can LDP recoup the glory days?

Is former Prime Minister Taro Aso solely to blame for the crushing defeat of his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in the Aug. 30 general election at the hands of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ)? No, because even before the election campaign started, the ...

| Aug 18, 2009

Weighing the nuclear option

In his 2008 New Year’s speech, Japanese political doyen and former Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone warned that without a clear-cut national vision and objective, Japan might tread a path toward ruin like the ancient city-state of Carthage, which was defeated and destroyed by Rome ...

| Jul 27, 2009

Mettle of 'thoroughbreds'

What does Prime Minister Taro Aso have in common with his immediate predecessors — Junichiro Koizumi, Shinzo Abe and Yasuo Fukuda? Each is either a son or a grandson of a well-known politician of the past. And they are not alone. There are a ...

| Jun 22, 2009

Factional beat of the LDP

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party could very well be in for a bitter power struggle among three of its principal intraparty factions following the general election expected by September. The outcome of that struggle could also be a harbinger of a broader political reorganization ...

| Jun 16, 2009

Ozawa's residual influence

Even after being forced to resign as Democratic Party of Japan president because of a scandal involving his secretary, Ichiro Ozawa appears to exert strong influence over his successor, Yukio Hatoyama. A second factor that may augur ill for the unity of the No. ...

| May 25, 2009

Paying Aso back with praise

Ranking officials at the Foreign Ministry appear more preoccupied with presenting Prime Minister Taro Aso as dexterous at diplomacy than promoting the national interest. One official has confided that it is now their turn to return the favor given to them when Aso was ...