The Japan Considered Podcast Archive
January 2007

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

January 26, 2007 . Volume 03, Number 04.

Click here for the audio file for this program.

Click here for a transcript of this program.

Welcome again this week to another edition of the Japan Considered Podcast. Click on over to to directly download the audio file to your own computer, or to read the text transcript of the program. And continue sending your comments and suggestions to me at I read them all, though it sometimes takes a while to get out a response. The more the better, though. Lots of good ideas for future programs comes through that route. Thanks.

This week we focus on the policy speeches given to the Diet today, January 26, by Prime Minister Abe and Foreign Minister Aso. Not just the content of the speech. You can read that most anywhere. But the significance of the items they chose to highlight in their speeches.

We also look at the results of the Miyazaki Prefectural gubernatorial election, and the surprise win of a comedian known as Sonommama Higashi. With no organized political party support. What does that tell us about the evolution of Japan's electoral politics?

And we close with a splendid bluegrass clip from the Wind Riders of North Carolina. They really do -- I'll admit! -- know how to play bluegrass up there.

January 19, 2007 . Volume 03, Number 03.

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Click here for a transcript of this program.

Thanks for dropping in again to the Japan Considered Podcast. Lots happening in Japan of significance to domestic politics and the conduct of international relations. We have to be even more selective than usual this week, however, since we have an excellent interview with Dr. James Auer, director of Vanderbilt University's Center for U.S.-Japan Studies and Cooperation.

We'll also consider encouraging events related to political funds reporting revelations we've discussed during the past few weeks. And I introduce another excellent source of English language information on Japan's politics. This one unapologetically from the Left. It is the "Japan Press Weekly," produced by the Japan Communist Party. You can find it on the web at

And we close with a remarkable bluegrass clip. This one from a 1972 album by the Seldom Scene featuring John Starling on "Raised by the Railroad Line." You can buy the album at Rebel Records by clicking here. Or, just go to iTunes, click on the iTunes store, and punch in Seldom Scene. All of Act I is there, or you can buy the individual songs. Enjoy

January 11, 2007 . Volume 03, Number 02.

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Click here for a transcript of this program

Welcome again to the Japan Considered Podcast. And a day early this week. I leave for a conference early tomorrow morning. So it's today or never for this week's program. And we have material that just can't wait.

After considering continuing reports of LDP political "sloppy bookkeeping" and what it means for Japan's electoral politics, we take a preliminary look at Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's tour of Europe and NATO. More on that next week after we have better information.

The biggest treat,however -- well, other than the bluegrass -- this week is an interview with Mr. Gregg Rubinstein, Director of GAR Associates in Washington, D.C. Gregg joined us via the SkypePhone yesterday, and discusses the significance of the elevation of Japan's Defense Agency to ministerial status. As before, Gregg provides us with lots of useful information and interpretation.

And we close with an instrumental that features John Duffey's incomparable mandolin playing. This again from the Seldom Scene's "Live at the Cellar Door," recorded back in the 1970s.

Enjoy, and I hope you join me next week when we will again consider the longer-term significance of events in the news for Japan's domestic politics and conduct of international relations.

January 5, 2007 . Volume 03, Number 01.

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Click here for a transcript of this program.

A somewhat belated Happy New Year to all of you. Thanks for tuning again to the Japan Considered Podcast for another program. Each week at this time we select a few items from Japan's news and consider their longer-term significance for Japan's domestic politics and conduct of international relations. Also, from time to time, we are joined on the program by another specialist on Japan, who shares their interpretation of events and prospects.

This week we begin with consideration of the significance of continuing disclosure in Japan's political press of campaign financing scandals for LDP politicians. Following that we are joined by Francis A. Moyer, Director of North Carolina's Japan Center, in Raleigh, North Carolina. He discusses developments in Japan's stock market since he worked there throughout much of the 1980s as a stock analyst.

We conclude the program with a short clip from a Virginia-based bluegrass band, Lakeside Junction. This band no longer exists, unfortunately. But their sound has been preserved, thanks to banjoist, Mr. Bill Krumpter.