The New Politics And Economy Of Japan

Between China and the United States. “Abe-nomics.”  Talk of remilitarization. We’ll check in.

A ferry goes by the Rainbow Bridge in Tokyo, a single-span suspension bridge over half a mile long. (AP)

A ferry goes by the Rainbow Bridge in Tokyo, a single-span suspension bridge over half a mile long. (Itsuo Inouye/AP)

Put yourself in Japan’s shoes for a minute. You had a great run building cars and Walkmen. Grabbed the American market. Got incredibly rich.

Then here comes China, eating your lunch in manufacturing. Getting pushy in the neighborhood. But your constitution — written by Americans — reins in your military.

Now your economy’s in the tank. Your population’s aging. China’s looming. What to do?

Japan just put nationalist prime minister Shinzo Abe back in power. For “Abe-nomics” and, maybe, remilitarization.

This hour, On Point: A struggling Japan looks to restart.

— Tom Ashbrook


Jacob Schlesinger, Japan Editor in Chief at The Wall Street Journal.

Mike Mochizuki, professor of political science and international affairs at the George Washington University’s Elliot School of International Affairs. Co-editor and author of “The Japan-U.S. Alliance and China-Taiwan Relations: Implications for Okinawa” and “Japan in International Politics: The Foreign Policies of an Adaptive State.”

Yuki Tatsumi, senior associate of the East Asia program at the Henry L. Stimson Center and co-author of “Global Security Watch: Japan” and “Japan’s National Security Policy Infrastructure: Can Tokyo Meet Washington’s Expectations?”

Hugh Patrick, founder and director of the Center on Japanese Economy and Business at Columbia Business School and author of “Reviving Japan’s Economy: Problems and Prescriptions,” “Crisis and Change in the Japanese Financial System” and “Asia’s New Giant How the Japanese Economy Works”

From Tom’s Reading List

The New York Times: Election Win By Ruling Party Signals Change In Japan: “By securing control of both houses of Parliament for up to three years, the win offers Prime Minister Shinzo Abe — an outspoken nationalist who promises to revitalize Japan’s deflationary economy and strengthen its military — the chance to be the most transformative leader in a decade.”

The Economist: Man With Plan: “Despite the party’s history of tending to vested interests, it has taken up the economic concerns of a broader slice of the population. In particular, the fizz of ‘Abenomics’, the programme of monetary easing, fiscal stimulus and structural reforms, has caught on with the country. Businesses large and small, along with their employees, are the loudest cheerleaders for the economic revival plan.”

The Washington Post: Can Japan’s Shinzo Abe Deliver On Deeper Reforms?: “Mr. Abe is likely to push to restart many of the nuclear reactors that were shut after a 2011 earthquake and tsunami. And he will seek to reinterpret Japan’s “peace constitution” to allow its military to engage not only in ­self-defense but also in collective self-defense — to come to the aid of a U.S. ship, say, if it is attacked by North Korea.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Nov 26, 2015
This photo taken July 31, 2012 shows a "tiny" house April Anson built in Portland, Ore. For the past couple of months, 33-year-old Anson and her friends have been planning, measuring, sawing and hammering their way toward completion of what might look like a child’s playhouse. (AP)

Tiny houses, micro-apartments. They’re hot. Americans are downsizing.

Nov 26, 2015
Jewel performs in the On Point Studio on Tuesday, September 22, 2015. (Liz Gillis / WBUR)

Singer-songwriter Jewel asked “who will save your soul”? Now she’s talking about saving her own. We’ll talk to Jewel.

Nov 25, 2015
Three of baker Renee McLeoud's delicious pies, on display in the WBUR studios. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

Bring your appetite! We’re gathering around the radio table with three chefs and new Thanksgiving recipes.

Nov 25, 2015
President Barack Obama, accompanied by Pulitzer Prize winning Iowa writer Marilynne Robinson, arrives to the State Library of Iowa in the Ola Babcock Miller Building, Monday, Sept. 14, 2015, in Des Moines. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

On the day before Thanksgiving, we talk with Marilynne Robinson – one of America’s greatest authors, thinkers, moralists — about fear and hope in a hard, frightening time.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Fresh Ideas For Your Thanksgiving: Recipes
Wednesday, Nov 25, 2015

Did our Thanksgiving 2016 episode make you hungry? Good news — we’ve got recipes right here.

More »
Karl Rove Still Won’t Get Involved In The 2016 G.O.P. Primary
Tuesday, Nov 24, 2015

Karl Rove may say he’s not endorsing or getting involved in the 2016 G.O.P. presidential primary, but that won’t stop from offering advice on how to beat Republican front runner Donald Trump.

More »
Roger Cohen And Barry Posen On ISIS
Monday, Nov 23, 2015

A brief, but illustrative exchange between Barry Posen and Roger Cohen during our conversation on ISIS today.

More »