June 07, 2006

Hisashiburi ni: Japan politics

I have to admit that I haven't been keeping track of Japan-related news for quite some time - despite having studied the country quite intensively over the past 8 years or so (well, until last summer, that is).

But, I opened my inbox yesterday to find two very interesting essays/articles on Japanese politics - and realized that it still is a fascinating country.

The first is an article in the Far Eastern Economic Review by a former Japanese diplomat Kazuhiko Togo: Togo in FEER In the article he offers his ideas on how to work towards the resolution of the Yasukuni-issue.
I am proud to say that an organisation that I am involved with in the Netherlands is hosting a lecture by him tonight on exactly this issue so this comes as a very timely publication and event. I am increasingly disappointed that I will not be able to attend the evening myself but except detailed feedback from my fellow-organisers!

Secondly, a new report has been published by James Schoff for the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis about Japanese policy towards North Korea (the topic of my thesis) and how this influences American policy: IFPA report I've only just started reading it but it looks good. It's also interesting to see someone else tackle exactly the same questions as I did a few years ago, although this is obviously at a much more professional level.

It does offer me a glimpse of what could be if I would ever decide to pursue an academic career. After all, for now I have decided that that is not the thing for me to do right now but this could easily change in a few years. Especially when I realize how interesting I find it to be reading about these issues and to make my brain work again!


Rachelle said...

I know, I know.. I had lost track of developments in Japan as well, but now that I am back and busy with these matters every day at the embassy, I find that it is very very interesting. But, still, if you ask me if I would want to be doing this for the rest of my life, hmm... Maybe we should set up a Japanese politics discussion group in Leiden when we are both back.. what do you think?!

machiruda said...

but chelle, that would mean that I should actually start keeping track again! *shock*

It could be a good idea though, do you think any other people might be interested? You heard about the Togo-lecture? Loads of people showed! I'm very chuffed about it :-)

Rachelle said...

But don't you want to stay at least somethat in touch with what is happening here? I guess it might be a nice idea to make it a monthly event, maybe even with dinner. We could invite a speaker, let him/her introduce a topic for a while and then have a discussion. Might be motivating as well! Think about it!

machiruda said...

well, yes, I do but there's so much going on that I would like to keep track of... The monthly dinner thing sounds good actually. That would motivate me to start reading the news a bit more... let's think about it when you are back next month.