Wed, 18 February 2009
Welcome today from the shore of the Atlantic Ocean. At Edisto Beach State Park, South Carolina. Back at site # 18 again, and enjoying the view. What a great place to produce a podcast! You can see more of Edisto Beach at:
Today we'll focus on the problems of Japan's political party system at the national level. Really, the "trials of Taro," or, more politely, the challenges facing Prime Minister Aso, are only a manifestation of that more basic problem. As presently configured, Japan's national political party system has proven incapable of recruiting effective, competent central political executives. And Japan overall is paying the price. I suggest that this situation can't last forever. That we're likely to see the beginnings of fundamental change in the party system during the next general election.
Please continue to send your comments and suggestions for the program directly to me at RobertCAngel@gmail.com. I appreciate them.
Fri, 6 February 2009
February 06, 2009, Volume 05, Number 05
Click here for the audio file of today's program
This week we consider two recent international developments. Japan's recent dispute with Russia over the terms of access to one of the Northern Territories islands, Kunashiri. And the significance of what appears to be North Korea's latest missile diplomacy initiative.
Following that we return to the even more turbulent environment of Japan's domestic politics. With brief consideration of the role prefectural and local individuals and organizations may play in sorting out the current mess in Nagatacho.
Please continue to send your comments and suggestions to me at RobertCAngel@gmail.com. We've had a big increase in the volume of e-mailed comments recently. Thanks for the effort. They all help to improve the program.
Fri, 23 January 2009
January 23, 2009; Volume 05, Number 04
It's Friday again, and thanks for dropping by. Another excellent interview for this program. Timely, and full of useful information. Dr. Ed Lincoln, Director of the Stern School of Business's Japan-U.S. Center at New York University, agreed to come on to help us understand how bilateral economic relations between Japan and the United States are likely to change under the incoming Obama Administration. Ed is far closer to the new Administration and the people likely to assume senior policy posts than am I. And, his political and econo-political perspective is quite different than mine. So his comments at this time are especially valuable.
It's another longer program than we usually have. But I'm sure you'll agree it's well worth the extra time.
Tue, 20 January 2009
January 20, 2009; Volume 05, Number 03
Welcome back to another edition of the Japan Considered Podcast. A bit delayed by a five-day visit to Edisto Beach State Park, on beautiful Edisto Island, South Carolina. Right on the shore of the Atlantic. Click on the photo on the left to see some photos of the trip. Even warm enough to kayak one day!
This week I've got another treat for you. Mr. Gregg Rubinstein, principal of GAR Associates in Washington D.C., agreed to join us again to follow up Skipp Orr's interview with discussion of security policy issues between Japan and the United States during the incoming Obama Administration. So, enjoy. An excellent overall assessment of what we're likely to see in this increasingly important aspect of the bilateral relationship.
Fri, 9 January 2009
January 09, 2009; Volume 05, Number 02
Greetings again from Columbia, South Carolina. Just back from Dreher Island State Park with the Japan Considered Mobile Studio. A beautiful place to visit. Right on the shore of Lake Murray, and less than an hour from Columbia. Here are some photos on the left. Just click the picture to go to the Picasa website.
This week we have another treat. This is two in a row. You'll soon be spoiled! The media in Japan is full of articles about the effect of presidential administration change in Washington on U.S.-Japan Relations. Most of those articles have been either blatantly speculative, or showing signs of tight political spin. A number of you have written in asking about this as well, and suggesting that I spend more time on it.
Well, this week we will. Robert M. [Skipp] Orr agreed to join us via Skype-Phone from his home in Kamakura, Japan. It would be hard to find anyone more qualified to discuss this issue. Skipp played an important role in the Obama presidential election campaign. Further, as a former senior U.S. government official, academic, and businessman, he's developed an incredibly broad range of personal contacts in Japan over the past three decades. So, he's the fellow to go to for some answers. And we did.
Please continue to send your comments and suggestions directly to me at RobertCAngel@gmail.com. They've been especially helpful during the past few weeks. And I thank you for taking the time to write. Even if you do not receive a direct reply, be assured I've read your note, and will take it into consideration when planning new programs.
Fri, 2 January 2009
January 02, 2009; Volume 05, Number 01Click here for a transcript of today's program
Happy New Year to you and yours, from all of us in Columbia, South Carolina. I hope you will find for another year enough of interest on the Japan Considered Podcasts to bring you back for more. Now that I'm an officially retired person, I can no longer use the "day job got in the way" excuse for not producing programs on time. So hopefully we'll have even more of them this year. No promise! But I'll do my best.
This week I have a real treat for you. Dr. Jim Auer of Vanderbilt University agreed at the last minute to do an interview to explain the ins and outs of the collective self defense issue for us. Even though he was in the midst of year-end and year-beginning family festivities over there in Tennessee. Thanks, Jim!
Quite a few of you wrote in after the last program asking for more detail about this subject. And since it's well beyond my area of expertise -- even my presumed area of expertise -- I thought it best to call in an expert.
I'd hoped also to consider the timing of Japan's next general election. But that didn't work out. Next time for sure. There's lots of interest for us to consider there. Even though Japan's media has been full of the topic for the past couple of weeks.
Wed, 24 December 2008
December 24, 2008; Volume 04, Number 35
Thanks for dropping by again today. And Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours from all of us. I hope you have just the sort of year-end holidays you have been wishing for.
Today's Christmas eve. Only Wednesday. Earlier than usual this week, because of certain Holiday confusion from tomorrow onward. It may be a while before I even get this posted to the Net!
Today we begin by considering Japan's struggle with response to the U.N.'s call for support for the international Somalian antipiracy campaign. Once again Tokyo is forced to confront the thorny problem of collective self defense. And it appears to be no easier this year for Prime Minister Aso than it was for Prime Minister Abe.
Then we turn to domestic politics again to follow the "Trials of Taro." Whose position appears to be more and more difficult, if possible. Both the Traditionalists and the Reformists have intensified pressure on him. This week we focus on Yoshimi Watanabe's Lower House vote today for the Opposition-proposed dissolution resolution. And its significance for Japan's domestic politics. Quite a dramatic event.
As always, please continue to send your comments and suggestions to me at JapanConsidered@gmail.com. They make excellent reading. And help me to plan future programs. Even if you don't receive a reply, you can be sure that I've read and considered your note.
Fri, 19 December 2008
December 19, 2008; Volume 04, Number 34
Thanks for tuning in again today. Back home in the regular studio, with lots to consider again this week. We've neglected Japan's international relations for some time now. Thanks to those of you who've written in to remind me about that. So, let's make up for it this time by taking a closer look at the last round of the Six-Party Talks held in Beijing from the 8th to the 11th. And what they mean for Japan's diplomacy.
Then, we'll turn our attention to the Dazaifu Summit. A historic meeting of the leaders of Japan, China, and South Korea, held on Saturday, the 13th, in Dazaifu, Fukuoka. Quite an event. One Japan has been proposing for over a decade now. A good solid meeting, with one quite encouraging development. A frank exchange of views between Japan's prime minister and China's premier over the Senkaku Islands.
Fri, 5 December 2008
December 05 , 2008; Volume 04, Number 33
Back again. This time from the shore of beautiful Lake Wateree State Park. Producing the program from the Mobile Studio in an ideal setting. No excuse not to be upbeat today!
This week we look briefly at Japan's conduct of international relations. Focusing on the frenzied speculation in Japan's media about the effect of the incoming Obama Administration on U.S. relations with Japan. Then we consider very briefly some modest progress in the Six-Party Talks on North Korea's nuclearization plans.
Then we return to what has almost become "The Trials of Taro," with a look at recent developments -- perhaps significant -- within the Liberal Democratic Party. And how they are likely to affect Prime Minister Aso's future. The future of the LDP itself, for that matter! This includes appointment last week of Yoshinobu Shimamura as a spokesman assistant to Prime Minister Aso. An unexpected development that may or may not matter.
Thanks again for your cards and inquiries about the future of this program, and of the Japan Considered Project, after my retirement from the University of South Carolina. Response to both has been so encouraging that I plan to continue on. So, send your suggestions for the program, and for the overall project, that you can see at www.JapanConsidered.com.
Fri, 21 November 2008
November 21, 2008; Volume 04, Number 32
Thanks for joining me today for our Third Anniversary Show! Yup! Three years. A lifetime in the podcast world. With an archive chuck-full of the audio files and transcripts from past programs.
This week we conclude our discussion of political reform, or "seiji kaikaku." And then try to apply the concepts we've been considering to Prime Minister Taro Aso. Is he a Reformist or a Traditionalist? I conclude he's a Traditionalist who just happens to be able to give a wonderful stump speech! And, of course, we consider the significance of all this for the future of Japan's domestic politics.
Next week I hope to focus on the timing of the next general election, and what that tells us about parliamentary politics in Japan. And Japan's reaction to the election of Senator Barak Obama as president of the United States.