The Japan Considered Podcast Archive
January 2006

Weekly programs of analysis and commentary on Japan’s domestic politics and foreign relations. Role of the prime minister and cabinet, changes in Japan's domestic political environment, connecting voters and candidates, constitutional revision, and Japan’s relations with other Asian nations. These broadcasts are created by Japan Considered Project creator/maintainer, Robert Angel, and include short interviews with other specialists on Japanese politics and international relations

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If none of that makes sense, then in the space below you can read the show notes for each weekly program, and download the audio file to your computer by clicking on the link. The audio files are in compact MP3 format, but still range in size from 8 to 25 meg, so they'll take a while to download.

Beginning with the first show of 2006, I have included a transcript of the whole program for those of you who would rather read than listen.

Thanks for listening, and send comments and suggestions to me via e-mail at

Show Notes

January 27, 2006. Volume 02, No 04

Click here for the audio file for today's program.

Click here for a transcript of today's program.

Special welcome to first-time listeners, and welcome back to returning listeners. This week again has been busy for political and diplomatic Japan. But, following advice from faithful listener and mentor on things Asian and the communications media, Sol Sanders, I've kept the program to just over 20 minutes.

We begin with an update on the Livedoor Company/Horie scandal [last week it was just a 'fracas'; this week it became a full-blown 'scandal'] that includes comments by Dr. Edward Lincoln of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Then we review the eruption of another incident in the long-running saga of the export of American beef to Japan. We review the background of that bilateral issue as a key feature of the "gai-atsu," or foreign pressure, pattern in U.S.-Japan relations.

We then consider how Japan's political Opposition is combining the beef export issue with the condominium earthquake resistance data falsification scandal and the Livedoor stock manipulation scandal to create a three-pronged trident with which to torment Prime Minister Koizumi's reform plans for the current Diet session.

For several weeks we have been thwarted by a lack of time in our efforts to take a more comprehensive look at problems and opportunities facing Japan's leading opposition party, the Democratic Party of Japan. This week we made it. In the main segment of today's podcast we consider the challenges facing DPJ President Seiji Maehara, as he tries to lead his Party to adapt to changes in Japan's electoral environment. Divisions in Party ideology and policy orientation combine with the self-interest and traditional orientations of older Party leaders to challenge his popular, or even populist approach. An approach that brings Junichiro Koizumi's strategy to mind.

Then, as usual, we close with some inspiring bluegrass music from North Carolina's Wind Riders, a great band.

Here are a few links to individuals and organizations mentioned in today's podcast.

Council on Foreign Relations

Dr. Edward Lincoln

Interview with Dr. Lincoln on Japan Considered

United States Embassy, Tokyo

United States Department of Agriculture

The U.S. Cattlemen's Beef Board

Japan's Ministry of Agriculture

The Democratic Party of Japan

The North Carolina Wind Riders

Remember to continue to send me your comments and suggestions for the program at And click through the other sections of the Japan Considered Project website at

January 20, 2006, Volume 02, No 03

Click here for the audio file for this program

Click here for a transcript of the Podcast

Another busy week, and a program that runs a few more minutes than the target of twenty minutes. This time we look at the opening day of the 164th Ordinary Session of Japan's Parliament, with focus on Prime Minister Koizumi's policy address, and prospects for this session.

Then we consider the political significance of the Livedoor Co. securities flap that erupted Monday afternoon in Tokyo. Livedoor President Horie ran unsuccessfully for Parliament in the last election as an independent candidate, but with considerable support and encouragement from the LDP. Horie is a name we're bound to hear more of during this session of the Diet.

Then we return to the topic we began last week, what early maneuvering in the LDP presidency race tells us about how Japan's political environment has changed. I suggest that Koizumi and politicians who share his perspective have a better understanding of those changes than do the traditionalists. But also predict that the traditionalists will continue to exercise influence over the selection process.

Below are links to individuals and organizations mentioned during this program:

Japan Considered Project Website

Columbia, South Carolina Weather

Livedoor Co. [in Japanese]

The Liberal Democratic Party

Japan's Parliament: Lower House

Japan's Parliament: Upper House

January 13, 2006, Volume 02, No 02

Click here for the audio file for this program

Click here for a transcript of this program

Spring classes have begun here at the University of South Carolina. Students are back, and the USC campus is altogether a brighter place. I have an undergraduate class in Japan's foreign relations this semester. About 50 students. Looks like a good group.

This week we run a bit longer than usual, beginning with an update on negotiations with China over exploitation of natural resources in the East China Sea, and then a look at what the handling of the Shanghai Consulate Incident of 2004 tells us about relations between Japan's central political executive and the Foreign Ministry.

Then we begin a review of the Liberal Democratic Party's preparations for a party presidential election to be held this September. Conditions have changed somewhat, and to better understand the current situation we look back at the April 2001 LDP presidential election that placed Junichiro Koizumi in the prime minister's office.

As usual we close with some progressive bluegrass, this time the opening of Billy Parks' "That Memphis Sound." You can hear the whole song on the webpage he maintains for the Dirty River Band, listed below.

Some links to individuals and organizations mentioned in today's podcast:

Dirty River Band

USC's Department of Political Science

Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Office of the Prime Minister

Japan's Liberal Democratic Party

The Japan Considered Project

January 6, 2006, Volume 02, No 01

Click here for the Audio File for this Program

Click here for a transcript of the Program

During this first program of the New Year, we focus again on recent developments in Japan's relationship with the People's Republic of China, and how changes in Japan's domestic political environment and political leadership have influenced events.

Next week we will turn to the LDP and DPJ party presidential succession battles, reviewing the candidates, how they are conducting their campaigns, and how the competition has changed since Prime Minister Koizumi's incumbency.

A listener last week suggested that I post transcripts of each podcast, and make them available in the show notes. Would show transcripts be useful? Send me an e-mail at with your opinion, as well as your comments and suggestions on the show.

Check other sections of this website for more English language resources on political and Diplomatic Japan. Earlier in the week I posted an interview with Professor Nathaniel B. Thayer, author of How the Conservatives Rule Japan, in which he discusses his early experiences in Japan and how he got into the field.

Links to individuals and organizations mentioned this week:

The Prime Minister's Office, or Kantei, Website

People's Republic of China Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Website of the Okinotorishima Island

Japan Considered Project Interview with Professor Nathaniel B. Thayer