The Japan Considered Podcast Archive
May 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 on the Japan Considered Podcast page [click here] 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

May 26, 2006. Volume 02, Number 20.

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

Click here for a transcript of today's program.

Thanks for joining me again this week. Your interest is what keeps this program going. Please continue to send your comments and suggestions to me at I read them all and get valuable ideas for future programs.

This week we begin with a look at preparations for Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's visit to Washington, D.C. at the end of June, and what the preparations for the visit tell us about changes in Japan's behavior as an international actor.

Then we consider the events and significance of Foreign Minister Taro Aso's meetings with his foreign ministerial counterparts from Mainland China and South Korea earlier this week. With some background on the evolution of Japan's relationship with Mainland China.

And finally, I provide some more background on the conduct and significance of the contest to succeed Koizumi as president of the Liberal Democratic Party. LDP presidential contests are no longer what they used to be. And that's significant for the LDP, and for Japan.

Take a look at the new interview with Chinese/Japanese translator, Thomas Coffee, in the Japan Considered Interviews section. Tom is one of the very few Americans qualified to translate professionally from both Chinese and Japanese into English. As his interview demonstrates, he's as modest as he is good. He shares his insights into this important aspect of Japan studies, and also tells us which tools on the Web he finds most useful in his work. So enjoy.

May 19, 2006. Volume 02, Number 19.

Click here for audio file for today's program.

Click here for a transcript of today's program.

Thanks for tuning in again today, and for your interest in Japan's domestic politics and international relations. As I do each Friday, today I'll offer you some interpretation and analysis of events in Japan's political and international news.

This week we consider encouraging developments in Japan's relationship with the People's Republic of China, with some of my thoughts on how Japan's behavior as an international actor has chanced since the 1950s.

Then we review Ichiro Ozawa's debut at Diet "Question Time" as leader of the main Opposition Party, the DPJ. I give you some background on Opposition party boycotts -- and threats of boycotts -- of parliamentary debate since the 1950s. How has it worked in the past? Will the DPJ under Ozawa employ the same tactic in the near future in dealing with the LDP? And how will Japan's political news media evaluate the effort if he does? All questions worthy of consideration now, I think.

During the program I mentioned the recent Japan Considered interview with Dr. James E. Auer, director of the Center for U.S.-Japan Studies and Cooperation at Vanderbilt University. Click here to read and listen to that interesting interview.

I also mentioned a valuable resource Dr. Leonard Schoppa of the University of Virginia sent us last week. A chart of the history of the LDP's factions from 1959 to present. This too is a valuable contribution to our Occasional Papers section. You can access it directly by clicking on this paragraph, or in the Japan Considered Website's "Occasional Papers" section.

Also mentioned in the program was the video file of the "Question time" debate between Prime Minister Koizumi and DPJ leader Ichiro Ozawa. You can access that file with a click on this paragraph.

May 12, 2006. Volume 02, Number 18.

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

Click here for a transcript of today's program.

Thanks for tuning in again this week. Apologies again for the technical glitch that caused problems with the transcript of last week's program. It has been fixed, and I hope we now have enough server space to keep it from happening again. I appreciate your patience.

This week we return to a focus on domestic politics. Specifically, an update on the LDP presidential race, with analysis of a surprising announcement from Yoshiro Mori, head of the LDP's largest faction, the Seiwakai.

Next we consider the current state of legislative politics in Japan. The legislative agenda of the Koizumi Cabinet, recent changes in the strategy of the largest Opposition Party, the Democratic Party of Japan, and the consequences of all this. Click here for the promised link for the Lower House Internet TV site.

I had hoped to have time to review recent developments in Japan-China relations. But that will have to wait until next week.

Please continue to send your comments and suggestions for the program to me at I read them all and take them into consideration when planning new programs. The technical production advice a few of you have been providing is especially helpful. I hope it shows in the quality of the audio. I've still got lots to learn about this complex subject, so please continue sending suggestions.

This week's bluegrass clip at the end is from the Seldom Scene's 20th Anniversary album, available on Sugar Hill Records. Click on over and get a copy of the double-disk set. It's a gem.

May 5, 2006. Volume 02, Number 17

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

Click here for a transcript of today's program.

Welcome back again for another edition of the Japan Considered Podcast. This one was delayed due to technical difficulties. I apologize to those of you who tuned in earlier to find nothing available. Several loyal listeners e-mailed to tell me the link was broken. Thanks, and good to hear from you.

This has been Golden Week in Japan. Tokyo empties of most of its population, or at least its official and business population. Domestic political news dwindles to a trickle, providing public relations practitioners and political spinmasters with great opportunities.

So, this week I decided to focus on international developments, and, of course, on their domestic political implications. We begin with a review of Prime Minister Koizumi's tour of Ethiopia, Ghana, and Sweden, and reaction to that tour, from Japan and from China.

Then we review progress, or lack thereof, in the territorial dispute between South Korea and Japan over Takeshima, or Dokto.

Lots more to cover, but it will have to wait until next week, together with a look at the post-Golden Week Diet, which should be interesting this year.

As always, look around the Japan Considered website for useful resources, check out the program transcripts, and send your comments to me at