| 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 ...

| May 11, 2009

Ozawa weighs next move

The attention of many political observers appears to be focused on when and how, rather than if, Ichiro Ozawa will step down as the leader of the No. 1 opposition Democratic Party of Japan before the next general election due to take place no ...

| Apr 20, 2009

Looking for a new leader

David Cameron, the leader of the British opposition Conservative Party, is the envy of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party, which is in desperate need to find someone to replace or succeed Taro Aso, whose popularity remains low despite a political scandal involving the Democratic ...

| Mar 16, 2009

LDP is running on empty

Amid the dwindling approval rate of Prime Minister Taro Aso, triggered by a series of gaffes coming out of his own mouth and by disgraceful behavior of his right-hand man in the international arena, the conventional wisdom would call either for him to resign ...

| Feb 11, 2009

Breaking the U.S.-Japan jinx

Prime Minister Taro Aso seems eager to meet the new president of the United States, Barack Obama, as the initial step toward accomplishing something big in the field of diplomacy, and in an effort to put the brakes on the downward spiral of his ...