The Abe administration is now warming to the notion of moving forward with the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) pact with the eleven nations other than the United States.
The US debate about Muslims and terrorism has become so extreme that it seems almost any claim, no matter how farfetched and at variance with the facts, can gain wide traction so long as it corresponds with popular prejudices. One recurring meme that illustrates this tendency is the notion that terrorism does not exist in Japan, and the reason is that the Japanese have adopted strict measures to keep Muslims out of the country. These notions promoted mainly by US conservatives are simply wrong on so many levels that it almost seems pointless to address such ignorant and lazy-minded arguments.
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.
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.