Japan

President Trump at the Akasaka Palace
3. May 2023

Japan’s Abduction Issue: Why Japan-North Korea Relations Remain at a Standstill

Human rights, InFocus, International relations, Japan, Korea

Prior to 2002, the idea that Japanese nationals were once abducted and transported back to North Korea was labelled as a conspiracy theory by the Kim regime. This was until the Japan-North Korea summit meeting held in Pyongyang on September 17, 2002. The Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi had hoped for three outcomes: for North Korea to agree they will no longer seek compensation and reparations, but rather economic cooperation; for North Korea to pledge to maintain international agreements on its nuclear programme and the moratorium on its missile testing programme; and finally, for North Korea to acknowledge the 1970s and 1980s abductions of Japanese nationals (Hughes, 2002, p.61). Few people expected North Korea to formally acknowledge their crimes, making the events of the summit and of the months to follow even more astounding.

Read more
21. Apr 2015

Japan’s ideal and less ideal victims

cultural studies, InFocus, Japan, terror, victimization

The brutal murders of Japanese hostages Kenji Goto and Haruna Yukawa at the hands of ISIS have understandably captured the interest of the Japanese nation. Opinions on the victims have ranged from the deeply sympathetic to the victim-blaming. Moreover the Japanese public seems more willing to embrace Goto as a true victim than Yukawa. These […]

Read more
29. Apr 2013

Japanese politics at the crossroads

government, InFocus, Japan, political parties, politics

At the time of writing, there is every sign that Japanese politics is at an historical crossroads. In December 2012 the Japanese electorate voted the conservative Liberal Democratic Party back to power after a three-year break from 2009. Before then, the LDP had governed the country almost uninterruptedly since the onset of the Cold War. […]

Read more
29. Mar 2012

One Year On: A Symposium Commemorating ‘311’, the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011

catastrophes, earthquake, InFocus, Japan, reconstruction, tsunami

On 8th March, the Alexandersalen was the venue for the symposium ‘One Year On: A Symposium Commemorating ‘311’, the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011’. The event was held with Danish scholars on Japan and Japanese scholars working in Denmark, who had the desire to do something from Denmark for Japan as people prepared to […]

Read more
19. Sep 2011

A female serial killer’s literary roots: Murakami Haruki, 1Q84 and Aomame

InFocus, Japan, literature

Five years after the long novel Kafka on the shore, Japanese author Haruki Murakami’s trilogy 1Q84 was published in Japan in 2009-10 where it quickly became a bestseller. With details of the book kept strictly secret prior to its release, anticipating Murakami readers had to satisfy their curiosity with train posters such as the above. […]

Read more
6. Sep 2011

Six Prime Ministers in 5 years – why Japanese Prime Ministers are so short-lived

Elections, government, InFocus, Japan, politics

“What is going in Japan with six prime ministers in five years?” seems to be a frequently asked question these days. In this blog post, I will try to answer this question – or at least shed some light on how we can understand current Japanese politics. We need to understand, firstly, why Kan chose […]

Read more
23. Jun 2011

Doing Design Business in Japan: Experiences from Hirameki

business culture, cultural studies, design, InFocus, Japan, marketing

Those who have already been to Japan – and particularly the bigger cities such as Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya – know that people consume a lot and in a fast pace. Despite the economic downturn in 2008, Japanese people have continued to spend remarkable amounts of yen on designer products. Design products to many Japanese […]

Read more
29. Mar 2011

Away from home when disaster strikes : Diary from a UK-based Japanese community after the Tohoku catastrophe

earthquake, InFocus, Japan, tsunami

Diary from a UK-based Japanese community after the Tohoku catastrophe

Read more
13. Mar 2011

The Great Eastern Japan Earthquake: Unmitigated disaster followed by a New Deal-type reconstruction?

earthquake, InFocus, Japan, tsunami

Four moving tectonic plates crowd each other in the eastern vicinity of Japan, and on Friday 11 March at 2:45 in the afternoon Japan Standard Time, pressure that had built up between two of them for years, perhaps centuries, was suddenly released, causing one to slip under the other. The ocean above this rising sea floor also rose, and these displaced masses of water shortly after inundated the northeastern coats of Japan.

Read more
20. Jan 2011

Still Repairing Chinese-Japanese Relations by Asger Røjle Christensen

China, InFocus, Japan, nationalism

Yes, there has been a serious crisis
recently between China and Japan.

The collision between a Chinese
fishing trawler and a Japanese coastguard patrol boat close to the disputed
islands, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, prompted both countries
to take drastic measures which resulted in China canceling a number of
high-level ministerial meetings between the two countries. But no, this doesn’t
imply that the region is on the brink of open confrontation. It doesn’t disturb
the general trend towards a more pragmatic cooperative attitude from both
sides.

Read more