Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

What’s at Stake in Japan’s Election

 

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe surprised the country and dissolved the lower house of parliament on November 21, 2014, calling a snap general election for December 14. In a new Q&A, James Schoff explains Abe’s move and analyzes the issues at stake. Schoff says a strong result for Abe’s party could boost the prime minister’s political capital as he pushes for key reforms, and it might spark realignment among the opposition.

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2015: A World Confused

 

Norms and even basic tenets of international behavior have been scattered left and right in recent years: the annexation of Crimea by Vladimir Putin’s little green men and his stealth invasion of Ukraine by Russian soldiers “on vacation” with their tanks; the Islamic State’s combination of medieval mores and modern capabilities to govern as well as fight; China’s on-again, off-again provocations in the East and South China Seas; and, in Syria, the ruin of a recently functional state with the world unable to stop the human and physical destruction.

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Land Reclamation: A South China Sea Game Changer

 

It is widely reported that China is conducting land reclamation on six of its seven occupied features in the Spratlys in the South China Sea, transforming the submerged reefs and rocks into full-pledged islands with airstrips, harbors and other military and civilian structures. Once reclamation works are completed, Fiery Cross Reef alone will be at least two square kilometres in size – as large as all other islands in the Spratlys are combined.

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The Defense Authorization Act And China’s Maritime Moves

 

In a sign of growing congressional concern about China’s increased assertiveness in the South and East China seas, Congress has included a provision in the draft fiscal year 2015 National Defense Authorization Act requiring the Department of Defense to report to key congressional committees an assessment of China’s moves to affect the current state of affairs in these disputed seas.

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