Japan’s Good Fight

It is somewhat ironic that, as the world gears up to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Japan’s defeat in World War II, the governments of the US and almost every major Asian country are quietly cheering for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. What Japan is fighting for this time promises to bring far-reaching benefits, in Asia and beyond.

SYDNEY – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s recent visit to the United States was, from his perspective, hugely successful. The first revision in 18 years of the bilateral defense guidelines was concluded, giving Japan’s Self-Defense Forces an expansive role in providing logistical support to the US. And US President Barack Obama reaffirmed that the Japanese-administered Senkaku Islands, over which China has attempted to stake its claim, are covered by the mutual-defense treaty. Progress was made on the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact, which needs Japan’s buy-in to succeed. And Abe became the first Japanese leader to address a joint session of Congress.

But, despite this impressive list of achievements, the most striking part of Abe’s trip came at the end. Instead of heading home soon after the official part of his visit was over, Abe headed to California, including Silicon Valley, for four days.

According to official Japanese media reports, Abe visited California to gain inspiration and insights to take back to Tokyo. But the California sojourn also sent a strong message: graceful decline is not Japan’s pre-determined path. Under Abe’s leadership, the country will do what it takes to reinvent itself economically, just as the US has done so many times.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

Registration is quick and easy and requires only your email address. If you already have an account with us, please log in. Or subscribe now for unlimited access.

required

Log in

http://prosyn.org/Fd4MHIP;
  1. China corruption Isaac Lawrence/Getty Images

    The Next Battle in China’s War on Corruption

    • Chinese President Xi Jinping knows well the threat that corruption poses to the authority of the Communist Party of China and the state it controls. 
    • But moving beyond Xi's anti-corruption purge to build robust and lasting anti-graft institutions will not be easy, owing to enduring opportunities for bureaucratic capture.
  2. Italy unemployed demonstration SalvatoreEsposito/Barcroftimages / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

    Putting Europe’s Long-Term Unemployed Back to Work

    Across the European Union, millions of people who are willing and able to work have been unemployed for a year or longer, at great cost to social cohesion and political stability. If the EU is serious about stopping the rise of populism, it will need to do more to ensure that labor markets are working for everyone.

  3. Latin America market Federico Parra/Getty Images

    A Belt and Road for the Americas?

    In a time of global uncertainty, a vision of “made in the Americas” prosperity provides a unifying agenda for the continent. If implemented, the US could reassert its historical leadership among a group of countries that share its fundamental values, as well as an interest in inclusive economic growth and rising living standards.

  4. Startup office Mladlen Antonov/Getty Images

    How Best to Promote Research and Development

    Clearly, there is something appealing about a start-up-based innovation strategy: it feels democratic, accessible, and so California. But it is definitely not the only way to boost research and development, or even the main way, and it is certainly not the way most major innovations in the US came about during the twentieth century.

  5. Trump Trade speech Bill Pugliano/Getty Images .

    Preparing for the Trump Trade Wars

    In the first 11 months of his presidency, Donald Trump has failed to back up his words – or tweets – with action on a variety of fronts. But the rest of the world's governments, and particularly those in Asia and Europe, would be mistaken to assume that he won't follow through on his promised "America First" trade agenda.