The Japan Considered Podcast Archive
October 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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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.

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Show Notes

October 27, 2006. Volume 02, Number 39

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Thanks for tuning in again. A rainy cool day here in the Carolina Midlands. This week we'll consider the outcome of the two Lower House by-elections held last Sunday, one in Kanagawa and the other in Osaka. What they tell us about the direction of Japan's domestic politics.

Then, following on last week's profile of Chief Cabinet Secretary, Yoshihisa Shiozaki, we'll look at Prime Minister Abe's new "public relations" adviser, Hiroshige Sekou. And consider just what his appointment tells us about the way Prime Minister Abe is likely to run his Kantei.

At the end of the program, a special Bluegrass treat. A short clip from an upcoming CD by North Carolina's Wind Riders. You can reach their website and listen to this and other clips by clicking here. A truly remarkable band.

October 20, 2006. Volume 02, Number 38.

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Thanks for tuning in again. Or "Welcome" if you've just found the program. Each week on the Japan Considered Podcast we select a few recent events in the news related to Japan and consider what they tell us about how Japan manages its domestic politics or its international relations. Or both!

This week we complete our tour of Japan's Kantei, or central political executive, with a closer look at the office of the Chief Cabinet Secretary, and the new incumbent, Yoshihisa Shiozaki. You can see his personal website by clicking here. Quite an impressive undertaking that tells us, I think, something about him as a policy actor and as the second-most important person in Japan's government.

Then we return to consideration of how Japan has responded to North Korea's recent nuclear test provocation through an interview with Mr. Gregg Rubinstein, director of GAR Associates, and a long-experienced expert on Japan-U.S. defense relations. Gregg actually knows one end of a missile from the other. So his comments are especially valuable.

October 13, 2006. Volume 02, Number 37.

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Click here to read a transcript of this program.

Thanks for tuning in again this week. Another full week of events in Japan of longer-term significance for Japan's domestic politics and international relations. This week, of course, we begin with Japan's response to North Korea's announcement of a nuclear weapons test. Then, we consider the implications of Prime Minister Abe's quick visits to Beijing and Seoul on Sunday and Monday.

Then, responding to several e-mail comments, we return to the domestic political arena with discussion of the difference between parliamentary and presidential political systems.
Does a parliamentary system have to behave as if it were a presidential system in order to be effective?

Finally, again in response to e-mail, I try to clear up the confusion between the Kantei's new prime ministerial advisers and the prime ministerial secretaries. There are five of each. And it can be confusing.

We close with a beautiful bluegrass clip. This one from the original Seldom Scene: "Different Roads." You can buy the album, "Old Train," from Sugar Hill Records.


October 06, 2006. Volume 02, Number 36.

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Click here for a transcript of this program.

Welcome again to the Podcast. We didn't have a program last week. Too much going on here. And too much going on in Japan to absorb by Friday! Thanks for dropping by again. Or, Welcome, to those of you who have found the program for the first time.

This week we consider how Japan is coping with change in its international and domestic environments, the significance of how Shinzo Abe has been selected as Japan's 90th prime minister, and then the role Abe's new five prime ministerial advisers are likely to play in his new Administration.

We didn't have time to run through the bios of the individuals Abe appointed to his cabinet. But you can find an excellent reference from Kyodo News by clicking here.