U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe both used Trump’s visit to Japan to bolster confidence in the U.S.-Japan alliance as the “cornerstone” of regional peace and security. Focus on the North Korean threat, as well as shared interests in the face of Chinese expansionism, allowed the ...

Japan has the means, motive, and opportunity to produce nuclear weapons. However, as a matter of long-standing policy, Tokyo has kept its options open, as long as it can rely on the U.S. nuclear umbrella. The perception is widespread that, due to its history as the only country upon which ...

The North Korean regime of Kim Jong-un conducted its sixth underground nuclear test early this September – which Pyongyang claims as its first test of a hydrogen bomb – and in late August and again, two weeks later, the hermit kingdom launched a ballistic missile directly over the territory of ...

The nightmarish threat of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program appears more real than ever, but the devil is in the details. This summer’s most recent round of tension came after the successful test by North Korea of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) potentially capable of reaching the U.S. mainland, and ...

The recently agreed framework for a Europe-Japan free trade agreement could not provide a clearer indication as to the changing of the guard in terms of free trade leadership. At a time when the United States is following an America-First trade policy, it is Germany and Japan that are now ...

In keeping with his America First agenda, President Donald Trump is pushing ahead with the promised new direction in U.S. trade and international economic policy. On July 17, the Trump Administration released a 17-page guideline outlining its ambitious goals for renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), top officials ...

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s current political problems obscure the striking speed with which he successfully tackled thorny and long-standing security policy problems, including the lifting of the country’s arms export ban. In very short order, Abe adjusted Japan’s security institutions, selectively enhanced its military power, and diversified its strategic ...

Alongside his "Abenomics" economic reform package, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his government have sought to reform and expand the authority of the Japanese military. This effort has mainly focused on loosening the restrictions against offensive military action imposed by Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution. However, a related ...

When Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government redrew Japan’s self-imposed arms export restrictions in 2014, it hoped to spark a revolution in a domestic defense industry that had been isolated for almost 40 years. In part, it succeeded. In June, Japanese companies such as Fuji and Kawasaki Heavy Industries displayed ...

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, after last year’s U.S. election, was quick to meet with President Donald Trump to seek reassurance on the strength of the U.S.-Japan alliance and find areas of economic cooperation after Trump’s rejection of the Trans-Pacific Partnership – seen as necessary for Japan’s economic revitalization. Tokyo ...

South Korea and Japan are attempting to maintain business as usual in their alliances with the U.S., but the Trump Administration has not made this easy. A gap between President Donald Trump’s unpredictable comments and the more measured statements of his top Cabinet members has made building relations difficult. As ...

More than seven decades after the end of World War II, Germany and Japan – two societies with complicated relationships with armed conflict – are building up defense capabilities. Germany moved toward a more robust defensive posture in 2014, after Russia’s invasion of eastern Ukraine and annexation of Crimea. “That ...

Over the past decade, Japan has had to deal with external threats, from Chinese assertiveness in the seas surrounding the island nation to North Korea’s nuclear ambitions. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been making moves to give his country greater capabilities and flexibility to defend itself. The Cipher Brief’s ...

The countries of the Pacific Alliance – a small Latin American trade bloc – will hold a summit next week in Vina del Mar, Chile. All eyes will be on another meeting, though, held on the sidelines of this summit. That meeting will bring together the remaining 11 members of ...

Just three days after his inauguration, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that confirmed his intent to abandon American participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Barring an about-face from Washington, the TPP as negotiated may now be dead. However, the deal includes 11 other Asia-Pacific economies, including Japan and Canada, ...

President Donald Trump confirmed his intention to abandon American participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership after signing an executive order on the subject in January. However, this does not necessarily mean that TPP is dead. The United States was the most important partner in the agreement but the deal includes 11 ...

Japan is a nation in flux. Economically, the government is struggling to stoke growth with expansionary monetary policy and reform; demographically, it is challenged by a rapidly aging population; and strategically, the pacifist island nation is rebuilding its military in the face of perhaps the most complex regional security environment ...

During the 2016 U.S. presidential contest, Donald Trump was highly critical of the structure and costs of the U.S.-Japan mutual defense relationship and openly raised the possibility of a Japanese nuclear deterrent. His remarks caused substantial confusion, concern, and consternation within Japan and among U.S. supporters of the U.S.–Japan alliance, which has more typically been ...

After a presidential campaign peppered with accusations of inadequate burden-sharing by Japan in its security relationship with the United States, President Donald Trump has attempted to calm fears of a U.S. retreat from its old ally. In February, the President hosted Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the White House and ...

Conventional wisdom suggests Asia’s increasing wealthy and educated population will make it the most dynamic region of the world and that it will drive the global economy in the 21st century. However, there are many risk factors to keep an eye on. In his new book, “The End of the ...

On Monday, Jan. 23, President Donald Trump used his first full weekday in office to sign an executive order pulling the United States out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact. The TPP was signed by all 12 parties – representing almost 40 percent of the global economy – last ...

During his campaign, President-elect Donald Trump repeatedly slammed the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) as a "bad deal" that would harm U.S. workers and export jobs to Asia. He has promised to renegotiate the agreement, or more likely, back out altogether. For TPP partners and American allies in the region, this is ...

President-elect Donald Trump’s first meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe appears to have gone smoothly, though it remains too soon to say what policies Trump will pursue to promote U.S. strategic and economic interests in East Asia. The Cipher Brief spoke with Mansfield Foundation President and CEO Frank Jannuzi ...

On Tuesday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, alongside U.S. President Barack Obama, made a landmark visit to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. His appearance marked the first by a Japanese Prime Minister at Pearl Harbor while accompanied by a U.S. president. Abe also became the first sitting Prime Minister to visit the ...

As President-elect prepares to take office, the new administration has an opportunity to adjust U.S. foreign policy direction with key allies. After a recent meeting with Prime Minister Abe, Trump has begun to outline how he envisions the U.S. relationship with Japan. The Cipher Brief spoke with Thomas Cynkin, Vice ...

The uncertainty surrounding President-elect Donald Trump’s foreign policy platform caused a sense of unease in Japan over the future of cooperation with the U.S. on economic and security issues, though a subsequent meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe established a personal rapport that bodes well. The Cipher Brief spoke ...

On the campaign trail, Donald Trump made several foreign policy statements which if, as President-elect, were to be put into practice, would undercut several traditional U.S. alliances. Britain and America have long enjoyed a “special relationship,” but dismay in the United Kingdom at how long it took British Prime Minister ...

Chinese rivalry with the U.S. for regional dominance will be central to U.S. East Asia policy for the incoming administration.  China’s aggressive use of economic leverage, its mercantilism and revanchism will continue to complicate U.S. relations with its main rival - and potential partner - in East Asia.  This is ...

In an announcement on August 9th, Japan’s Foreign Minister stated that China-Japan relations were “deteriorating” in reaction to the recent incursions by Chinese vessels into waters claimed by Japan. This is but the latest in a string of events - leading some observers to comment that relations between the two ...

In her first press briefing as Japan’s new Defense Minister, Tomomi Inada sidestepped questions over Japan’s actions in the Nanjing massacre during WWII, confirming for some the worst fears of Japan’s neighbors that she will bring a hawkish, conservative view to her new post. This comes at a time when ...

The adversarial relationship between China and Japan reaches back centuries, and the memories of Japan’s imperial past continue to plague a productive and peaceful relationship. Recent events between the two countries continue to stymie what is one of the world’s most valuable economic relationships. The Cipher Brief interviewed former U.S. ...

In the past decade, Sino-Japanese ties have progressively deteriorated over opposing claims to islands in the East China Sea to the point where some analysts have begun to worry about the possibility that China might initiate a conflict with Japan. Other experts have suggested that economic links between the two ...

North Korea is once again taking provocative actions, this time launching two ballistic missiles in which one landed for the first time in Japanese controlled waters.    Last month, North Korea fired three short-range missiles into the sea.    The latest series of tests, which violate UN resolutions, come on the heels ...

On May 26th, leaders from the Group of Seven (G7) met on the Ise-Shima peninsula of Japan to hold their annual economic summit. For Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the event could not have come at a better time. Held in the wake of an historic visit by U.S. President ...

Shinzo Abe is one of the most successful prime ministers in Japanese history if we measure success by longevity alone. His first term in office lasted just one year (2006-2007), but he returned triumphantly in December 2012 and has been the brand face for Japan’s revitalization ever since. The trouble ...

Over the past two decades, Japan's economic growth has been sluggish. Per capita income fell from a level matching the top half of Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries in the early 1990s to 14 percent below in 2013 (Figure 1). The collapse of the massive asset price ...

Last Friday, Barack Obama became the first sitting U.S. President to visit Hiroshima after the city was destroyed by an American atomic bomb on August 6 1945. Although the President did not apologize for the act, he did use the occasion to advocate nuclear nonproliferation, mourning the day when “a ...

Seventy-one years ago, on August 6, 1945, a U.S. B-29 bomber dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, killing an estimated 140 thousand people. The bombing came at the end of a long and bloody war in which 20 million people or more died in Asia. Soon thereafter, for the first ...

Against the backdrop of an increasingly assertive China and a highly-provocative North Korea, President Barack Obama attended the G-7 summit in Ise-Shima, followed by a personal trip to Hiroshima, where he was accompanied by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. In what was sure to be his last official trip to ...

Last week, South Korea, Japan and the U.S. announced they will hold their first-ever joint anti-missile exercise next month, signaling an effort by Korea and Japan to overcome decades of historical tension and work together. The joint exercise, set for June 28, will focus on information exchange and logistics as ...

Among Republican frontrunner Donald Trump’s array of foreign policy positions is the suggestion that South Korea and Japan develop nuclear weapons for their own security so the U.S. would not have to take responsibility for their protection. While national security experts responded that Trump’s view was nearsighted and would be ...

North Korea’s nuclear saber rattling is raising concerns about further proliferation in the region.  There is a risk that should they feel sufficiently threatened by developments in neighboring states, the Republic of Korea (ROK, or South Korea), Japan, and/or Taiwan (the Republic of China) could take steps in the direction ...

The Cipher Brief: Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan have the technical ability to pursue nuclear weapons, but all three have refrained. What conditions would have to exist for these countries to consider nuclear programs? Tom Cynkin: Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan have each considered the circumstances under which they would ...

Despite being the wellspring for cutting-edge technology brands such as Samsung, Sony, and HTC, Asia has proven to be less adept at managing a different sort of technological challenge: cybersecurity threats. A recent Deloitte Consulting white paper identified the “Cyber Five”—the five countries whose economies had the greatest vulnerability to ...

South Korea—boasting cutting-edge digital technology, efficient computer networks, and the world’s top high-speed Internet penetration rate—has earned global renown as a “strong Internet nation.” Behind these impressive feats, however, lies an unpleasant reality: its vulnerability to cyber threats, particularly to those allegedly originating from North Korea. Beginning with a series ...

Thanks to breach disclosure regulations in the U.S. and U.K., we regularly learn about the latest capers from the headlines. Without a doubt, these countries still face daunting cyber security challenges. One way to make those challenges look almost manageable is to compare them with the state of cyber awareness ...

China’s less discussed territorial dispute is one that has the greatest potential for the United States to be drawn into conflict. While China has been more aggressive in building up military power in the South China Sea, for the past three years the Chinese have slowly been seizing control over ...

As the world pays attention to the recent Chinese militarization of the South China Sea islets, China is establishing a “new normal” with more frequent military and paramilitary presence in the East China Sea. China is taking necessary steps to make the South China Sea a Chinese lake with surveillance ...

China’s militarization of the South China Sea includes beefing up its military facilities on Woody Island in the Paracel chain – occupied by China but also claimed by Taiwan and Vietnam – where the Chinese reportedly just deployed eight batteries of its advanced, long-range HQ-9 air defense system.  This is ...

North Korean President Kim Jong Un announced Wednesday the successful test of what he claimed was a hydrogen bomb outside Pyongyang, and in doing so, angered the international community, including its closest ally, China.  Mike Chinoy, Senior Fellow at the U.S.-China Institute at USC, discussed with The Cipher Brief China’s likely ...