Senkaku/Daiyo Island Dispute
After two weeks of one-upsmanship, tensions surrounding the uninhabited islands have cooled a bit in the last few days, but there have been a few interesting stories. Tourism in Japan is down, as Chinese change their golden week plans. Internationally acclaimed author, Haruki Murakami has criticized both governments for their use of inflamatory nationalistic rhetoric. There is also an interesting piece in the International Affairs Review on why the conflict is unlikely to result in full-scale war.
On the economic front, Nippon Steel and Sumitomo Metal have announced plans to merge. The combined operation will become the second largest steelmaker in the world. Meanwhile, cell phone carrier, Softbank is buying rival eAcess for $2.3 billion, in an effort to bolster its broadband capacity and attract more smartphone users.
New Old Prime Minister?
Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has announced a new Cabinet, his fourth since taking office last September – an attempt to improve flagging support for the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ). With elections set for sometime between November and next summer, the rival Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) elected Shinzo Abe as its leading representative last week. Should the LDP re-take the Diet in the next election, Abe would begin his second term as Prime Minister. He previously held the office from 2006-2007.