Country Reports

Coverage of Abe Shinzo in the Japanese media has centered on three familiar themes and on one that has gone mostly unnoticed abroad. The July 21 Upper House elections were a referendum on Abenomics. Speculation about Abe’s revisionism only quieted some after it became known that Abe would not visit the Yasukuni Shrine on August 15. Moreover, moves to bolster Japan’s defense capabilities, national security strategizing, and the US alliance—drew an upsurge of attention. Yet, another issue should not be overlooked in the preoccupation with these themes: there has also been growing interest in Asia as a sign of a more activist, realist/idealist foreign policy, triangulating with the United States on values and in maritime arenas from Australia to India, especially in Southeast Asia.

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