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Peter Ennis
A long-time chronicler and analyst of Japan and US-Japan relations
Interests: Japanese politics, reform efforts, foreign and security policy; American politics, trade policy, energy policy, foreign and security policy; Asia-Pacific security; global security architecture
Recent Activity
President Barack Obama’s mission to corral President Park Geun-hye and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for a photo op in The Hague came off as planned on Tuesday this week. Now comes the hard part. Diplomats from the US, Japan, and Korea do not expect the icy relations between Tokyo and... Continue reading
Posted Mar 27, 2014 at Dispatch Japan
[Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, alone with his own thoughts, in his private residence in Tokyo] I see that Obama will be meeting Xi at the nuclear summit in The Hague next week. No surprise there. I’ll probably get a few minutes as well, as will Park Geun-hye. I still don’t... Continue reading
Posted Mar 19, 2014 at Dispatch Japan
[Ed: This is the second in a series of interviews on US-Japan relations in the wake of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit last December to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine.] Weston S. Konishi is the Washington, DC-based Chief Operating Officer of Peace Winds America (PWA), a disaster preparedness organization facilitating greater... Continue reading
Posted Mar 11, 2014 at Dispatch Japan
[Ed: This is the first in a series of interviews analyzing the continuing fallout from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s December 26, 2013 visit to Yasukuni Shrine.] Brad Glosserman is executive director of the influential Pacific Forum CSIS, based in Honolulu, Hawaii. The Pacific Forum, which is co-chaired by Prof. Joseph... Continue reading
Posted Feb 25, 2014 at Dispatch Japan
In Japan’s diplomatic war of words with China, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has armed his troops with pens that often don’t write straight. Since Abe’s visit to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine late last year, Japanese and Chinese diplomats have battled in the opinion pages of local newspapers in at least... Continue reading
Posted Feb 24, 2014 at Dispatch Japan
Secretary of State John Kerry welcomed Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida to the State Department on Friday, with the two diplomats reiterating the fundamental importance of the US-Japan security alliance to stability in Northeast Asia. Kerry in particular emphasized the “iron-clad” nature of US security commitments to Japan. The more... Continue reading
Posted Feb 9, 2014 at Dispatch Japan
Isao Iijima, special advisor to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and one of the more colorful figures in Japanese politics, has cancelled a return visit to Washington scheduled for the first week of February. News of the cancellation came via a letter from Roy Pfautch, a long-time Republican political consultant who... Continue reading
Posted Jan 25, 2014 at Dispatch Japan
Nago City Mayor Susumu Inamine cruised to reelection on Sunday, despite extraordinarily heavy-handed electioneering toward the end of the campaign by the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), which backed the unsuccessful challenge of Bunshin Suematsu. Inamine’s 56-44 percent win marked a strong rebuke of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, whose government has... Continue reading
Posted Jan 19, 2014 at Dispatch Japan
Three new polls indicate that incumbent Susumu Inamine is likely to win reelection as mayor of Nago City on January 19, in what would amount to a referendum against construction of a new US Marine Corps facility in the Henoko district of the municipality. None of the polls, conducted separately... Continue reading
Posted Jan 15, 2014 at Dispatch Japan
One of Japan’s top political fixers is trying to boost his profile in Washington, in an apparent effort to counter voices in Tokyo that warned Prime Minister Shinzo Abe against visiting the conflict-ridden Yasukuni Shrine in late December. Isao Iijima, a special advisor to Abe who has had little contact... Continue reading
Posted Jan 13, 2014 at Dispatch Japan
For well over a month now, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his top aides have privately been telling anyone and everyone within listening distance that a deal with Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima over a controversial US Marine base in Japan’s southern-most prefecture was all-but signed, sealed, and delivered. Now it... Continue reading
Posted Dec 24, 2013 at Dispatch Japan
Over the next two months, the battle in Okinawa will greatly intensify over whether and where to build a replacement facility for the US Marine Air Station Futenma. The struggle will culminate with the January 19 election for mayor of Nago, the municipality that is home to the picturesque Henoko... Continue reading
Posted Nov 18, 2013 at Dispatch Japan
William Grimes is chairman of the International Relations Department at Boston University. A graduate of Yale University and Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Grimes has taught at Boston University since 1996. Before becoming department chair in 2010, he helped to found the BU Center for... Continue reading
Posted Jun 25, 2013 at Dispatch Japan
When it comes to Shinzo Abe, the Obama administration continues to walk a fine line, careful to stay clear of the Japanese prime minister’s nationalist agenda while embracing Japan as a critical ally. In the diplomatic and security mine field that is Northeast Asia, it is no easy task. The... Continue reading
Posted Jun 22, 2013 at Dispatch Japan
Just two months after Washington and Tokyo announced a “breakthrough” roadmap for the realignment of US Marine forces on Okinawa, the same disagreements that have blocked progress for almost two decades have returned to the fore. On May 9, Major General James Kessler, commander of the Marine Corps Installations Command,... Continue reading
Posted May 31, 2013 at Dispatch Japan
[Editor’s note: South Korean President Park Geun-hye will be in Washington this week for talks with President Obama and members of his Cabinet. She will also deliver a speech to a joint session of Congress, a sign of continuing strong US support for its long-time ally. Much of the discussion... Continue reading
Posted May 5, 2013 at Dispatch Japan
Mark Lippert, the assistant secretary of defense for Asia and one of President Barack Obama’s closest friends, was close by Chuck Hagel today when the US defense secretary met in Washington with his Japanese counterpart, Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera. In a few days, Lippert will still be at Hagel’s side,... Continue reading
Posted Apr 29, 2013 at Dispatch Japan
Three weeks have passed since the United States and Japan announced with great fanfare an agreement on consolidating US military bases on Okinawa. The core of the agreement is the eventual, long-anticipated closure of the US Marine Air Station Futenma, perilously located in the crowded center of Ginowan City. The... Continue reading
Posted Apr 27, 2013 at Dispatch Japan
Robert Manning is a senior fellow of the Brent Scowcroft Center for International Security at the Atlantic Council. He served as a senior counselor from 2001 to 2004 and as a member of the US Department of State Policy Planning Staff from 2004 to 2008. The interview was conducted via... Continue reading
Posted Apr 22, 2013 at Dispatch Japan
Professor Mike Mochizuki holds the Japan-U.S. Relations Chair in Memory of Gaston Sigur at the Elliott School of International Affairs at The George Washington University. He co-directs the "Memory and Reconciliation in the Asia-Pacific" research and policy project of the Sigur Center. Previously, he was a Senior Fellow at the... Continue reading
Posted Apr 11, 2013 at Dispatch Japan
US and Japanese officials are promoting the April 5th agreement on returning some land in Okinawa now used by the US military as a breakthrough in long-stalled plans for an overall restructuring of the US presence in Japan’s southern-most prefecture. Amy Searight, the Pentagon’s principal director for East Asia policy,... Continue reading
Posted Apr 9, 2013 at Dispatch Japan
From the standpoint of his political image back home, the February 22 summit meeting between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Obama was a big success for the Japanese leader. Abe was able to bolster his standing with the Japanese public and within his ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) as... Continue reading
Posted Feb 26, 2013 at Dispatch Japan
With North Korea having recently tested a third nuclear device and China acting provocatively in the East China Sea, there will be plenty for Japan’s prime minister Shinzo Abe and President Obama to talk about when they meet at the White House later today. The summit will provide an opportunity... Continue reading
Posted Feb 21, 2013 at Dispatch Japan
Editor’s note: The following interview was conducted jointly for Weekly Toyo Keizai and Dispatch Japan. It is the fifth in a series of interviews and commentary about Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Friday meeting with President Obama. Rust Deming, a veteran Japan specialist, is an adjunct professor of Japan studies... Continue reading
Posted Feb 20, 2013 at Dispatch Japan
Editor’s note: The following interview was conducted jointly for Weekly Toyo Keizai and Dispatch Japan. It is the fourth in a series of interviews and commentary about Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s upcoming visit to Washington. Sheila Smith is senior fellow for Japan studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.... Continue reading
Posted Feb 19, 2013 at Dispatch Japan