The Japan Considered Podcast Archive

April 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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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

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Show Notes

April 28, 2008; Volume 04, Number 15

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Surprise. A Monday program this week. Since there won't be time on Friday to produce a regular program. And just too many things are piling up in Tokyo for us to consider.

Today we'll look first at the journey of the Olympic Flame through Japan on Saturday. And the significance of what has to be described as a strange event for Japan's relations with Mainland China. All went well. Given conditions. And Beijing should be pleased. Very pleased, in fact.

Then we continue our examination of the various cross-factional associations that have blossomed within the LDP during recent months. This one, Mokusatsu Giren, likely to exercise the most influence over medium-term domestic political events in Japan. The potent combination of Yuriko Koike, Hidenao Nakagawa, and Junichiro Koizumi alone is enough to attract our attention. It appears that Yuriko Koike has gained some potent support in her "non-quest" for the LDP presidency and premiership.

Thanks for continuing to send your comments and suggestions to me at They're all appreciated. You certainly don't have to agree with my analysis to have your comments read and taken into consideration.

April 18, 2008; Volume 04, Number 14

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Thanks for dropping by again this week. To you long-time listeners. And a hearty South Carolina welcome to those of you who have just joined us. Wow! The number of listeners -- and readers of the transcripts -- has made another jump during the past ten days. Good to see. I hope the program meets your expectations.

This week we begin by considering current relations between Japan and China. With focus on the Japan visit of China's foreign minister. For four days!

Then we begin our consideration of the new traditionalist and reformist cross-factional organizations within the LDP. We only had time to consider a few. So we'll be at this next program as well. So, tune in.

Continue to send your comments and suggestions for the program to me at I read them all, and appreciate every one. Still a bit behind on direct replies. But some of you will recognize implementation of suggestions you've made in the various programs.

It's the end of the semester at USC. So I will be unlikely to produce a program for April 25th. Day job has to come first! But I hope to be with you the following week. So stay tuned!

April 11, 2008; Volume 04, Number 13

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Welcome again this week to another Japan Considered Podcast. Thanks for dropping in again to you long-time listeners, and a hearty South Carolina welcome to those of you who have just found the program. Even though this week we come to you from North Carolina!

Last week I said we'd consider the proliferation of LDP cross-factional associations that have been developing recently. In anticipation of significant changes in the Party. If nothing intervened. Well, something did intervene. Wednesday's parliamentary "question time" debate between Prime Minister Fukuda and DPJ leader, Ichiro Ozawa.

The debate was far livelier than normal for these events. And full of interesting indications of change within Japan's parliamentary politics. So, I've devoted all of our time together this week to considering its significance.

April 4, 2008; Volume 04, Number 12

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Thanks for tuning in again. This week from the Mobile Studio, parked in Modoc, South Carolina. Right on the shore of Lake Thurmond. An inspiring site.

This week we begin with discussion of the surprising increase during the past few days of mainstream Japanese media articles on political party reconfiguration. And speculate on what may have inspired this blossoming of interest in the topic. Although I have no solid evidence, I suspect it to be the continued fall in Prime Minister Fukuda's public approval ratings. Across the board.

We then briefly discuss the problems involved in selecting a replacement for Fukuda. Now that the DPJ's strategy of demanding a general election seems to have fizzled.

And then briefly compare current developments with the early 1990s "political reform" mania that brought Japan Nihon Shinto, and the current period of political party system uncertainty.