As Japan debates restarting its dormant nuclear reactor fleet, leaders in Tokyo are under intense international pressure to address Japan’s large stockpile of plutonium. According to The Japan Times, the United States asked Japan to return over 300 kilograms of weapons-grade plutonium transferred to the island nation for energy research purposes during the Cold War. The consolidation of this nuclear material in Japan, which could be used to produce forty to fifty nuclear weapons, is a major priority of the Obama Administration ahead of the March 2014 Nuclear Security Summit in The Netherlands. The impact of Japan’s substantial remaining stock of plutonium on nuclear security and non-proliferation continues to be a source of debate within the country and throughout the region. This latest Nuclear Debates in Asia Digest examines China’s reaction to Japan’s plutonium repatriation, the future of Japan’s plutonium reserve, and the direction of nuclear security in Asia. (more…)Continue Reading →
The 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics ended on Sunday night after bringing countless cheers and tears to spectators around the world. In this Policy Alert, we examine commentary from Russia, China, India, Japan, South Korea, and Brazil on their performances and controversies that emerged in the world’s largest sports festival.
Host nation Russia won the medal count, bringing home 33 medals (13 gold, 11 silver, and 9 bronze). Despite concerns of a terrorist attack in the build-up to the Games, the Olympics were lauded by IOC president Thomas Bach as an event that “delivered all that it promised,” drawing in record numbers of television viewers across the globe. Russian commentary condemned the West’s negative portrayal of Sochi and contemplated Russia’s future following the Olympics. (more…)Continue Reading →
PRIMO (Power and Region in a Multipolar Order), a global PhD program funded by the European Commission, is offering doctoral fellowships on rising powers. PRIMO studies the rise of regional powers – notably Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, the so-called BRICS states – and its impact on international politics at large. The program’s network consists of partner institutions from the academic, business, and think tank communities around the world.
The currently open PhD positions include German Institute for Global and Area Studies, Hamburg (Deadline: February 28, 2014), Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi (Deadline: March 11, 2014), and University of Hamburg, Hamburg (Deadline: March 11, 2014).
For more information, visit the PRIMO’s website.Continue Reading →
The extravagant opening ceremonies on Friday marked the official start of the 2014 Sochi Olympics, attracting global attention to the world’s most popular sports event and to the political controversies surrounding it. In this Policy Alert, we examine commentary from Russia, China, India, Japan, and South Korea on politics and the Olympic Games.
Russian leaders and commentators emphasized the successful opening of the Sochi Olympics and its promises for Russia’s future while downplaying criticism against the sports event. (more…)Continue Reading →
Rajesh Rajagopalan, a participant in RPI’s Nuclear Debates in Asia and Worldviews of Aspiring Powers projects and professor in International Politics at Jawaharlal Nehru University, recently wrote an op-ed for the Observer Research Foundation where he argued the Japanese-Indian relationship — while important — will not be enough to achieve their common strategic goal of balancing China. Rajagopalan concluded only a strong U.S.-India partnership — in conjunction with better ties between India and other Asia-Pacific nations — will be sufficient to manage an “increasingly strong but aggressive China”:
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s short visit was high on symbolism but both countries need to carefully assess the utility as well as the limits of their partnership. While trade between the two countries have grown dramatically, the primary driver in the relationship has been strategic necessity, their shared concern about an increasingly strong but aggressive China.
This short visit was not expected to lead to any dramatic breakthrough and it did not disappoint. There had been some early hopes that the two countries would sign a couple of significant deals, one on nuclear commerce and another on Japan selling India an amphibious reconnaissance aircraft. They would have been important for their political rather than commercial significance. They appear to have been nixed by the bureaucracy on both sides despite the keenness of their political masters.
Still, there have been a couple of strategically significant agreements, including getting the hyper-cautious A.K. Antony-led MoD to invite Japan to the ‘Malabar’ naval exercise. This shows how much Indian grand strategy has been left to blow in the wind for the last several years: Japan had participated in earlier exercises but been ‘un-invited’ because of opposition from China. We are now reduced to counting as progress the undoing of strategic stupidity and returning to the status quo ante. (more…)Continue Reading →