Regional Vitalization: Japan at the Crossroads

The Heisei mergers are long done and Japan has turned to vitalizing its rural economy. The question is whether such a policy will work.

Memo #331

By Anthony Rausch – asrausch [at]

Andrew S. RauschThe current focus on regional vitalization by the Abe Cabinet reflects Japanese concern with its dropping rural population and Tokyo-centered economy. The question facing Japan… Continue reading

Japan’s Economy & Trade (A Video Interview with Watanabe Yorizumi)

Memo #280

Featuring Watanabe Yorizumi

Last month the Asia Pacific Memo sat down with Watanabe Yorizumi, since 2005 a member of the Faculty of Policy Management at the Graduate School of Media and Governance, Keio University. Professor Watanabe came to his academic career with a distinguished diplomatic background, having served several appointments in Japan’s foreign service, where he specialized in international trade policy. His diplomatic career saw significant engagement… Continue reading

Reforming “Regular” Employment in Japan: A Target of Abenomics’ “Third Arrow”

Memo #273

By Scott North – north [at]

“Regular” employment in Japan connotes unlimited samurai-style devotion by employees, with employers responsible for worker well-being and employment stability. Japan’s courts cite this relationship ideal to restrict employers’ legal right to dismiss workers. Therefore, to cut costs, employers have turned to increasing non-regular employees, which now comprise some 40%… Continue reading

Resolving the Senkaku/Diaoyu Island Dispute: The Limitations of International Law

Pacific Prospective features the research of graduate students.

Memo #272

By  Keshav Kelkar – keshav.kelkar [at]

Among the many issues causing friction in Sino-Japanese relations, none has as great a potential for generating armed conflict as the dispute over the Senkaku, or Diaoyu Islands. And in attempts to resolve the impasse, international law has if… Continue reading

The Global Intensification of Supplementary Education

Memo #271

Featuring Julian Dierkes

Recently, Ee-Seul Yoon of the Faculty of Education at UBC in coordination with the Asia Pacific Memo sat down with Dr. Julian Dierkes, Associate Professor and Keidanren Chair in Japanese Research at UBC’s Institute for Asian Research, to pose a few questions about Professor Dierkes’ recently co-edited volume, Out of the Shadows: The Global Intensification Of Supplementary Education, which was published in December 2013… Continue reading

Against Abe: Listening for Oppositional Voices within Japan

Memo #268

By Hyung-Gu Lynn – hlynn [at]

The poster beside the headquarters of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in Tokyo features a photograph of Prime Minister Abe Shinzō, adorned with the slogan “Take back Japan!” Most English-language media accounts and op-eds create the impression that all of Japan is enthusiastic in its endorsement of… Continue reading

Fragmentation vs. Integration in Asia in 2014: A Year for the History Books

Memo #259

By Yves Tiberghien – yves.tiberghien [at]

Dr. Tiberghien at the G-20 in St. Petersburg, Russia (September 2013).

In the wake of major leadership change around East Asia, what will be the major trends in the Asia/Pacific region in 2014? Did the battle over the Chinese Air Defense Identification Zone… Continue reading

Japan-China Relations: Issues and Prospects (Video Interview with Akio Takahara) – Part 2 of 2

Memo #254

Featuring Akio Takahara

In part two of his interview with the Asia Pacific Memo (see part one here), Dr. Akio Takahara , a professor in the Graduate School of Law and Politics at the University of Tokyo and a recognized authority on contemporary Chinese politics and Japan-China relations, talks about bridging the divides in Japan-China relations. Dr. Takahara contrasts the “resilient” versus the “fragile” aspects of… Continue reading

Japan-China Relations: Issues and Prospects (Video Interview with Akio Takahara) – Part 1 of 2

Memo #253

Featuring Akio Takahara

Recently the Asia Pacific Memo sat down with Dr. Akio Takahara, Professor in the Graduate School of Law and Politics at the University of Tokyo and a recognized authority on contemporary Chinese politics, international relations in East Asia, and Japan-China relations in particular.

In this first part of a two-part video memo, Dr… Continue reading

Japan as Test Case for a New Age: The Importance of Understanding Local Places

Memo #240

By Anthony S. Rausch – asrausch [at]

Japan faces an aging population and rural out-migration, a sluggish economy and drastic divisions between urban-rural economies, a critical techno-environmental catastrophe and vital debates regarding energy policy. A bleak set of problems, but also a fair representation of some of the issues the… Continue reading