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This Week in Japan (09.16.17)

This Week in Japan is your source for news and information about politics and other happenings in this East Asian island country. This episode covers the Top Five stories of the second week of September 2017.

This Week in Japan (08.31.17)

This Week in Japan is your source for news and information about politics and other happenings in this East Asian island country. This episode covers the Top Five stories of the final week of August 2017.

Red-Baiting in 2016

A recent attempt by the Liberal Democratic Party to brand the Japan Communist Party as violent has sparked a new debate on the political history of Japan, but it seems to be primarily a cynical political ploy.

House of Councillors Election Vote Disparity

With the passage into law on July 28 of the House of Councillors electoral district reform bill, there has been some amelioration of the wide disparity in the weight of individual votes. Nevertheless, many believe that the reforms of the new law as well are far too timid. It will still remain the case that one person’s vote in some prefectures will have the weight of almost three peoples’ votes in other prefectures.

The Limits of Japan’s Solar Energy “Gold Rush”

More than two years after the Fukushima disaster, the effects of the government’s first efforts to reduce the nation’s dependency on nuclear power are clearly visible to the citizens of Anpachi in Gifu Prefecture, where Sanyo, now Panasonic, constructed its 315-meter-wide Solar Ark consisting of over 5,000 solar panels. Besides generating 530,000 kilowatt hours annually, the site also features a museum and several outdoor exhibitions.

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.