The Japan Considered Podcast Archive

March 2008

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.

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

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Show Notes

March 28, 2008; Volume 04, Number 11

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It's Friday again. And the links above will take you to the audio file for today's Japan Considered Podcast, and to an accurate transcript of the program. Interesting goings-on in Tokyo these days. Just as we like it!

First we continue with our consideration of Japan's response to eruption of Tibet problems for Beijing. Asking why Japan's official response has been so muted and cautious. And what that means for overall Japan-China relations. I then try to put the current situation into historical perspective, emphasizing development of more realistic give-and-take in the relationship.

Following that we take a close look at a surprising political event in Tokyo yesterday, Thursday. A hastily-called press conference at the Kantei. During which Prime Minister Fukuda announced an end to the earmark for proceeds from the "provisional" gas tax. Beginning during FY2009. An announcement that took many of the LDP's senior Traditionalist Zokuists by surprise. And they said so.

Fukuda told the press he made his proposal to encourage the DPJ to return to the negotiating table. I doubt that, and provide an alternative explanation. One related to increasing strength of the Reformists within the LDP.

In response to countless protests, we close again this week with an inspiring clip of bluegrass music. The early Seldom Scene's "Want of a Woman." Enjoy

March 21, 2008; Volume 04, Number 10

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Thanks for dropping by again this week. You won't be wasting your time, that's for sure. Whether you're listening, or just reading the transcript. Since we're joined again this week by Dr. Edward Lincoln. Who gives us quite a different perspective on the Bank of Japan governorship vacancy than the one I presented last week. As usual, Ed combines his insights as an economist with a keen sense of the political. For very useful commentary. So listen closely to what he has to say this week.

I'd hoped to cover in some detail Japan's response to the crisis in Tibet that erupted onto the front pages of the world media last Friday, the 14th. But there was time only to introduce the subject. The details will have to wait until next Friday. Details that I think will give us additional perspective on Tokyo's conduct of international relations in the 21st century. Well worth keeping an eye on.

March 14, 2008; Volume 04, Number 09

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Thanks for joining me again today for the Japan Considered Podcast. This week's program is devoted almost entirely to comments from listeners. Comments about last week's program.

Specifically, the issue of physical violence in the halls of the Diet, and what I described last week as the antique tactic of parliamentary boycott. Lots of e-mailed reaction to those points.

This week I provide a little more detail on each of these issues, and also consider the current debate over replacement of the Bank of Japan Governor.

Thanks again for all of the e-mailed comments, and please keep them coming. To

March 07, 2008; Volume 04, Number 08

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Click here for a transcript of this program

Thanks for dropping by today. I've got a loooong show for you. Beginning with some follow-up on the tainted gyoza negotiations between Japan and China. Then moving on to discussion of introduction of what I describe as antique parliamentary tactics into Japan's 21st Century Diet. And the implications of the introduction of those tactics. As well as the reaction of Japan's communications media. Including even violence within the chambers of the Diet.

So, have a listen. Or, a read. Depending on your preference. As always, e-mail your comments and suggestions to me at And have a look through the other features available on the Japan Considered Project website at It's all free for the clicking, so to speak.