Japan wins hearts and minds of Russians on Kuril Islands

Japan uses Russia’s blunders to get closer to its goal: the country desperately wants the Kuril Islands back. Japan tries to win the hearts and minds of the residents of the disputed islands. Many Russian women from the Kurils eventually prefer to seek better lives in Japan. Many young Russians are interested in the Japanese culture and language
Read more from source:“Pravda”

Spain extends lead in FIFA world rankings

ZURICH (AP) — Spain extended its lead at the top of FIFA’s monthly worldrankings on Wednesday, as 2012 European Championship group winners Greece andDenmark entered the top 10. Spain won its two Euro 2012 qualifying matches this month while No. 2Netherlands lost one, to Sweden. Germany and Uruguay stayed third and fourth, respectively. Brazil rose twoto No. 5 followed by Italy and England. Greece rose three to share eighth place with Portugal. Argentina, which lost a 2014 World Cup qualifier against Venezuela, is tiedat No. 10 with Denmark. Japan leads Asian nations at No. …
Read more from source:“Yahoo”

Rugby team in Japan suspended over quake taunt

A Japanese rugby team has suspended operations for a month after one of its players taunted an opponent from a team affected by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
Read more from source:“Yahoo”

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BREMMER: There Was Only One Election That Mattered In 2012

Godzilla City

Ian Bremmer, President of the Eurasia Group and renowned geopolitical risk analyst, argues that there was only one election in 2012 that really mattered.

His Reuters article is aptly named, ‘In a year of big elections, Japan’s was Godzilla.’ 

Here’s how Bremmer characterizes the results of other major elections from the past year:

  • China: largely the same as it was
  • USA: Status quo preserved – GOP House, Democratic Senate, Obama presidency
  • Russia: Putin goes from Prime Minister to President, retains control.

In his opinion, these seemingly important events “were largely red herrings.”

By contrast, he argues that the Japanese election signifies a major policy shift on at least two major fronts. We’ve commented on Shinzo Abe’s commitment to defeat deflation and repair the Japanese economy through monetary easing and stimulus.

But the second shift, Japanese nationalism, has a much broader global impact. China’s aggressive attempts to claim the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands have helped trigger this surge in Japanese nationalism, which Shinzo Abe reflects when he says that “The Senkaku Islands are inherently Japanese territory.”

Japan’s nativist turn was affirmed not only through the election of Shinzo Abe, but more importantly by the ascent of the Restoration Party, which wants to “remilitarize, rip up the U.S.-brokered Japanese constitution and install a federalized system.”    

As the conflict with China continues to adversely affect Japanese exports, the island nation could turn to different, albeit less geographically convenient, trading partners.

Bremmer suggests that Japan ought to “engage with other countries that are concerned about China’s rise” and strengthen its ties with the U.S. Bremmer feels this separation from to approve of this Japanese turn away from China, recognizing that any prolonged confrontation between the two would end in disaster for Japan.

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Read more from source:“Business Insider”

Strict Gun Control – Fewer Shootings in Australia, Japan and the UK; Would It Work in US?

Six days after the tragic shooting in Newtown and one day after President Obama announced a gun control task force, hundreds of you wrote in asking about future legislation and the consequences of this new task force. Pam Ramagano tweeted asking “What can the president…
Read more from source:“Yahoo”

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Nintendo’s amazing triumph in Japan may doom the company internationally

According to Japanese gaming bible Famitsu, Nintendo (NTDOY) 3DS sold 333,000 units in the week ending December 16, while Sony’s (SNE) PS Vita limped along at 13,000 units, the new Wii U did an okay 130,000 units and the PlayStation 3 managed to sell 46,000 units.  The utter hardware domination of the 3DS is reshaping the Japanese software market. Franchises that were thought to be fading have been revitalized in their portable versions. The 3DS version of the ancient Animal Crossing series, famed for being the game where nothing happens, hit a staggering 1.7 million units last week in Japan. Inazuma Eleven sold 170,000 units in its launch week, up from 140,000 units its DS version managed in 2011. Nintendo’s
Read more from:“Yahoo”