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the merits of Abe Shinzō's "shining women society" policy are
being questioned in Japanese media following the speedy resignations of two
central female cabinet members, Stephanie
Assmann looks at the current state of gender equality in Japan.
Drawing a distinction between the letter of the law and its implementation,
she assesses the effectiveness of the Equal Employment Opportunity Law of
1986 and its revisions through both global statistics and studies of
specific cases, arguing that a shift towards a sincere acknowledgement of
gender equality is essential to bring about actual change.
In a rather less visible part
of Japanese society, Sabine
Frühstück examines the position of women in the Self-Defense
Forces. Invoking Miriam Silverberg's analysis of the "modern
girl" of the early Shōwa period, she sees the SDF as presenting a
liberation from social constraints for many contemporary Japanese women who
choose military service, despite their continued presentation by the SDF
and depiction in popular culture, feminized, infantilized and sexualized.
Japan and the United States continue to struggle diplomatically with China
and Russia, Mongolia is attempting to position itself to take advantage of
deepening Sino-Russian economic relations. A summit this past September
among leaders of the three nations, reports Mongolia expert Alicia
Campi, was the culmination of an intense push in diplomatic
action on the part of Mongolian president Tsakhia Elbegdorj to take a more
active role in expanding economic relationships beyond simply providing raw
materials to China. This, she argues, may present new market alternatives
to Chinese provision of goods for other east Asian economies, including
Japan, South Korea and Vietnam.
Okinawa approaches a
gubernatorial election this Sunday, and the issue of Henoko as the
relocation site for the Futenma base is again the main point of contention.
With the current governor Nakaima Hirokazu trailing Naha mayor Onaga
Takeshi in polls, Maki
Sunagawa and Daniel Broudy demonstrate how the prefectural
government has attempted to sell the Henoko plan to residents. They
illustrate how the government is emphasizing the danger of the Futenma
base, while ignoring environmental concerns about Henoko, presenting the
acceptance of the new base as the final (and only) solution to the military
base problem, ultimately linked to a brighter future for Okinawa.