The Abe Government and the 2014 Screening of Japanese Junior High School History Textbooks

School textbooks are an arena of contesting the past to shape the future, and can be a sign of democracy as well as an indicator of efforts to suppress it. Results of the Japanese government’s school textbook screening show how successful the Abe administration is in imposing its views of controversial issues, such as the ‘comfort women’ and the Nanjing Massacre.

Read more

Statement of Social Democratic Party of Japan on the House of Representatives General Election

In response to the surprise dissolution and general election seeking the voters' judgment on ‘Abenomics’, the Social Democratic Party (SDP) positioned the election as questioning the politics of the Abe administration. It chose the slogan “For Peace and Social Welfare, it must be the SDP”, as the very opposite to the policies of the Abe administration.

Read more

"The Politics of History - History in Politics. Sources relating to the History Textbook Controversy and other debates over history and memory in Japan and East Asia."

Discussions about the Asia-Pacific War (1931-1945) still have a tremendous impact on international relations in East Asia. As we approach the 70th anniversary of the end of the war in August 2015, this collection of documents will help to better understand the complex processes of reconciliation and the tensions that continue to play out in the region.

Read more

Japanese translation of "Die 6 Mythen der Euro-Krise" ("ユーロ危機をめぐる6つの「神話")

In the European elections of 2014, many demonstrated their distrust towards the European institutions after years of crisis and economic turmoil. Even though Germany is at the centre of this development, Euro-sceptic right-wing movements have not yet fundamentally troubled German politics. However, we clearly reject the view that Germany ‘has done just fine’.

Read more

"Learning from the Nazis? How the Japanese constitution is being quietly undermined."

In summer 2013, Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso suggested that Japan should learn methods of constitutional revision from the Nazis: "Let's do [the revision] quietly, the way the Nazis did it. The Weimar constitution was replaced […] without anyone even noticing." This paper analyses the background of this statement and the underlying ideology of Japan's political class.

Read more

"Japan ist übrigens auch noch da" (Japan is still important)

Whereas in 2014 German Chancellor Angela Merkel travelled to China for the seventh time, she visited Japan only once in 2007. Similarly, German media is slow to re-focus from the Fukushima catastrophe to more current politico-economic issues. Overall, German interest in Japan is not adequate for a country that is the world’s fourth-largest economy and that plays a central role in the Asia-Pacific region.

Read more

"Rechtsruck in Japan? - Am Rundfunksender NHK zeigen sich die Konflikte der japanischen Gesellschaft" (Japan shifts to the right?)

Even though NHK is Japan’s publicly owned broadcaster, to this date it has maintained its independence from the government. This is increasingly changing, due to more active political interventions to key areas like program planning and staffing. This development has led to fierce discussions about the freedom of media in Japanese politics.

Read more

"PM Abe Overturns Japan’s Pacifist Postwar Order"

1 July 2014 will go down in history as a watershed in Japan’s postwar history, a twenty-first century "day of infamy" when Abe hijacked democracy by renouncing Article 9 and the nation’s pacifist postwar order in an unscrupulous manner, achieving by fiat what he didn’t dare try through established constitutional procedures.

Read more

"Geschichte der Sozialdemokratie in Japan" (History of Social Democracy in Japan)

Among political ideologies in Japan, Social Democracy has been of minor relevance. What is understood by the concept has been subject to profound changes, however overall has remained a foreign idea to the Japanese. Situated between right- and left-leaning ideologies like Marxism, Conservatism and Neo-Liberalism, Social Democracy has at no point reached a broad audience in Japan.

Read more

"Abenomics and Japan’s Growth Prospects"

Until 2012, Japan had suffered two decades of economic stagnation and deflation. Particularly frustrating to businesses was the rampant appreciation of the yen, which accelerated despite such poor growth and the earthquake and tsunami of March 2011. After his election, Abe pressed the Bank of Japan to embark on monetary easing, achieving both a weaker yen and a rising stock market.

Read more

Japan Office

7-5-56 Akasaka
Tokyo, 107-0052

+03 6277-7551
+03 3588-6035


Please also visit the FES library website in order to search for full-text accessible publications published by FES.

FES library website

Photo: Conference, FES Japan