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Tag Archives: Association of Southeast Asian Nations

The ‘China Threat’ Narrative Stumbles

The Mainichi Shinbun has opened the year with a blockbuster exclusive news story that is likely to be underplayed, or even ignored, by most of the rest of the Japanese media. One of the biggest headlines in November 2013 was the public announcement by Beijing that it was establishing an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) over a large swathe of the East China Sea.

Abe’s Grand Strategy

Following his party’s victory in the House of Councillors election, Shinzo Abe embarked on a trip to Southeast Asia. After Malaysia, the prime minister traveled to Singapore and the Philippines.

Abe’s Trip to Southeast Asia

The run up to the House of Councillors election in Japan, when opinion polls were already pointing to a victory by the ruling party, saw widespread speculation over a more robust foreign and defense policy by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. This included the possibility of amending Article 9 of the Constitution. News of the election results only served to prompt renewed speculation. However, Abe’s first overseas trip after the polls — to Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines — seemed to confirm that Tokyo would proceed with a gradual and pragmatic “normalization,” rather than embark on radical change.

Manila Debates the Hosting of Japanese Troops

Tokyo’s defense policy continues to shift and pushes the boundaries of what was acceptable in the past. Self-Defense Forces capabilities are expanding, and this is an essential component of the growing coordination between the region’s maritime democracies.