The Japan Considered Podcast Archive
for December 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.

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Show Notes

December 24, 2008; Volume 04, Number 35

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Thanks for dropping by again today. And Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours from all of us. I hope you have just the sort of year-end holidays you have been wishing for.

Today's Christmas eve. Only Wednesday. Earlier than usual this week, because of certain Holiday confusion from tomorrow onward. It may be a while before I even get this posted to the Net!

Today we begin by considering Japan's struggle with response to the U.N.'s call for support for the international Somalian antipiracy campaign. Once again Tokyo is forced to confront the thorny problem of collective self defense. And it appears to be no easier this year for Prime Minister Aso than it was for Prime Minister Abe.

Then we turn to domestic politics again to follow the "Trials of Taro." Whose position appears to be more and more difficult, if possible. Both the Traditionalists and the Reformists have intensified pressure on him. This week we focus on Yoshimi Watanabe's Lower House vote today for the Opposition-proposed dissolution resolution. And its significance for Japan's domestic politics. Quite a dramatic event.

As always, please continue to send your comments and suggestions to me at They make excellent reading. And help me to plan future programs. Even if you don't receive a reply, you can be sure that I've read and considered your note.

December 19, 2008; Volume 04, Number 34

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Thanks for tuning in again today. Back home in the regular studio, with lots to consider again this week. We've neglected Japan's international relations for some time now. Thanks to those of you who've written in to remind me about that. So, let's make up for it this time by taking a closer look at the last round of the Six-Party Talks held in Beijing from the 8th to the 11th. And what they mean for Japan's diplomacy.

Then, we'll turn our attention to the Dazaifu Summit. A historic meeting of the leaders of Japan, China, and South Korea, held on Saturday, the 13th, in Dazaifu, Fukuoka. Quite an event. One Japan has been proposing for over a decade now. A good solid meeting, with one quite encouraging development. A frank exchange of views between Japan's prime minister and China's premier over the Senkaku Islands.

December 05 , 2008; Volume 04, Number 33

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Back again. This time from the shore of beautiful Lake Wateree State Park. Producing the program from the Mobile Studio in an ideal setting. No excuse not to be upbeat today!

This week we look briefly at Japan's conduct of international relations. Focusing on the frenzied speculation in Japan's media about the effect of the incoming Obama Administration on U.S. relations with Japan. Then we consider very briefly some modest progress in the Six-Party Talks on North Korea's nuclearization plans.

Then we return to what has almost become "The Trials of Taro," with a look at recent developments -- perhaps significant -- within the Liberal Democratic Party. And how they are likely to affect Prime Minister Aso's future. The future of the LDP itself, for that matter! This includes appointment last week of Yoshinobu Shimamura as a spokesman assistant to Prime Minister Aso. An unexpected development that may or may not matter.

Thanks again for your cards and inquiries about the future of this program, and of the Japan Considered Project, after my retirement from the University of South Carolina. Response to both has been so encouraging that I plan to continue on. So, send your suggestions for the program, and for the overall project, that you can see at