| Apr 19, 2010

Playing ends off the middle

Komeito, the third largest political party in Japan, is striving not to antagonize but to be friends with as many rival groups as possible in a determined bid to win in the Upper House election scheduled for this summer. The principal reason for pursuing ...

| Mar 22, 2010

A haphazard approach to making foreign policy

“I wonder to what extent the Hatoyama administration relies on bureaucrats for its foreign policy,” a diplomat from a Middle Eastern country said recently. “It has not expressed its own messages on issues such as Iran’s nuclear weapons programs and the Mideast peace process. ...

| Mar 15, 2010

Running against the wind

In the gubernatorial election of Nagasaki Prefecture on Feb. 21, the candidate backed by the ruling Democratic Party of Japan was roundly defeated by his opponent, who was supported by the No. 1 opposition Liberal Democratic Party. The winner, former Vice Gov. Hodo Nakamura, ...

| Feb 22, 2010

Root of premier ambitions

Interior Affairs Minister Kazuhiro Haraguchi is that rare politician who doesn’t hesitate to say he’ll eventually be prime minister. He has apparently become more confident than ever after receiving support and encouragement from two of the most influential figures in the Japanese media. In ...

| Feb 15, 2010

LDP flailing for relevance

The once dominant Liberal Democratic Party is said to be trying to re-establish its identity as a genuine conservative force, but the LDP leadership appears to be doing nothing more than working desperately to maintain the status quo. On the very day that Ichiro ...

| Jan 18, 2010

Ex-minister making waves

Former Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Yoichi Masuzoe, who had lain low for some time, resumed his political activities in earnest late last year. Political observers now wonder what his ultimate aims are: Does he seek to create a political party of his own? ...

| Nov 23, 2009

Whither the LDP withers

The once dominant Liberal Democratic Party has withered so miserably since losing the general election Aug. 30 that it looks as if it could suffer a total collapse or disintegration. Nearly three months after the Democratic Party of Japan unseated the LDP, the new ...

| 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. ...