Can’t keep up with the news? Here’s a quick recap of three important stories in Japan this week with suggested reading for more details.
DPJ Leadership Elections
Prime Minister, Yoshihiko Noda faces 3 challengers for leadership of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ). However, Noda’s primary rival, Sadakazu Tanizaki announced last week that he will not be amongst the challengers. This election must occur once every two years, per party rules and the winner of the election will assume the premiership. Noda, who assumed office in September of 2011 is expected to retain his position.
Senkaku Islands Dispute
Tensions continue to escalate over the unihabited Senkaku (Daiyo) islands and their potential oil reserves with Taiwan, China and Japan all holding claims. With several nationalist groups having made overtures in 2012, Japan now plans to purchase the islands from a family they recognize as the rightful owners. Cabinet Secretary, Osamu Fujimura has stated that the move is meant to stabilize the region, not to anger China and Taiwan. The US has also been drawn into the dispute and all parties may face serious economic consequences.
Fishing, a major component of the northeastern Japanese economy, was catastrophically impacted by the 3/11 earthquake and tsunami. Previously accounting for about one-quarter of Japanese hauls, the region is showing significant signs of recovery.