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Keizo Nabeshima

For Keizo Nabeshima's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Commentary Apr 2, 2007

The risks of not acting bold

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who took office six months ago, is beginning to reveal his true self as a dyed-in-the-wool conservative. In December, Abe won Diet enactment of the revised Fundamental Law of Education, which stresses public spirit, tradition and patriotism. Previous administrations of the ...

Commentary Mar 19, 2007

Security panel's birth pangs

Under the initiative of the Prime Minister's Office, the government is moving to establish a national security council that will formulate Japan's diplomatic and security strategies. On the basis of a Feb. 27 report submitted by an expert panel, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is ...

Commentary Mar 5, 2007

To move without U.S. cues

In their talks Feb. 21, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and visiting U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney reaffirmed the "unwavering" Japan-U.S. security alliance. This raises a question: Why did Abe have to reaffirm an alliance that is said to have already benefited from the long ...

Commentary Feb 19, 2007

Nuclear uncertainties linger

For the people of Japan, the world's only country to suffer atomic-bomb attacks, the existence of nuclear weapons in any form is unacceptable. Regrettably, however, nuclear proliferation is continuing outside the framework of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). The nuclear arms of North Korea, which ...

Commentary Feb 5, 2007

Gaffes dog Abe's leadership

A series of inept remarks made by ministers of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Cabinet have undermined public support for his administration. Opinion polls show that public approval ratings for his Cabinet continue to fall. Abe's leadership is in doubt while his administration faces a mountain ...

Commentary Jan 22, 2007

Unshackling Japan's defense

On Jan. 9 the Defense Agency was upgraded to full ministry status. At a ceremony marking the change, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said it was a major step from the "postwar regime" toward a foundation for national rebuilding. The transformation, combined with the planned establishment ...

Commentary Jan 8, 2007

Cabinet office losing its grip

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is under intense pressure to overhaul his administration after two scandal-tainted aides were forced to resign in December. The trouble came only three months after he took office. Abe's influence could decline sharply, and the reform plans he inherited from predecessor ...

Commentary Dec 25, 2006

No rush to divide the north

In a recent appearance before the Diet, Foreign Minister Taro Aso floated the idea of settling the long-standing feud with Russia over the sovereignty of the Northern Territories (four islands off Hokkaido) by evenly dividing the total area of dispute. In September, Aso sug ...

Commentary Dec 12, 2006

Abe at crossroads of reform

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's two-month-old administration stands at the crossroads of how to implement the reform agenda inherited from the previous government of Junichiro Koizumi. There are two problems: return to the ruling Liberal Democratic Party of lawmakers who were expelled from the party for ...

Commentary Nov 27, 2006

Abe, Bush to strengthen ties

In his first summit with President George W. Bush held in Hanoi on Nov. 18, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed to strengthen the "Japan-U.S. alliance for Asia and the world" in security and economic relations. Abe faces the challenge of further improving Japan-U.S. ties following ...