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This Week in Japan (11.16.17)

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 November 2017.

Lift Off for Terra Drone

“There is a profound shift underway – a tilt – in economic power from the northern hemisphere to the fast-developing markets and economies of the South,” says acclaimed business author Ram Charan. Terra Motors Co. Ltd., an electric vehicle company based in Japan, is a firm that has promptly addressed this tilt; 95% of the company’s sales are from South Asian and Southeast Asian countries like India, Bangladesh, Vietnam, and the Philippines. It has recently expanded its shares in the electric vehicle market in these countries, and predicts that it will make 30 billion yen (US$270 million) in this market period.

Shinzo Abe and the “Rule of Law”

Faced with a complex and increasingly dangerous regional scenario, under growing demands for naval hardware and diplomatic support from countries like Vietnam and the Philippines, in the midst of complex domestic negotiations concerning the evolving interpretation of constitutional provisions on security and defense, and faced with the need for Japan to redefine its international image, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe seems to have decided to emphasize the “rule of law” as a central tenet of Japanese foreign policy.

A Return to Vietnam

The first impression one encounters in Ho Chi Minh City is the swarms of motorbikes. I’d seen pictures of this, but nothing quite prepares you for the spectacle of thousands of the little scooters flowing along the streets and even sidewalks like an endless river. By some estimates there are five million motorbikes in Ho Chi Minh, a city of about eight million, which works out to one for practically every able-bodied adult in the city.

Chinese Air Zone Exposes US-Japan Limits

Beijing’s declaration of an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) covering the Senkaku-Diaoyu Islands and part of the waters between Japan and Taiwan has prompted a strong reaction from Tokyo and, generally speaking, has left nobody in East Asia indifferent.

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.

The Cold Road to Europe

The long string of incidents off the Senkaku-Diaoyu Islands this summer and the wider maritime territorial disputes in East and Southeast Asia have been overshadowing a major development with great potential implications for Japan: The northern sea route, linking East Asia with Europe through waters traditionally closed by ice to commercial navigation, are increasingly accessible during the Arctic summer thanks to the global warming.