The past year has brought a series of major political changes to Northeast Asia, with new leaders coming to power in North Korea, China and Japan, and a new president about to take the reins of government in South Korea. Northeast Asia is the only region of the world in which the Cold War has never fully come to an end. The current transformations may either signal the final emergence of a truly post-Cold War order in the region, or a slide towards something resembling a new Cold War. Either outcome has profound implications for the rest of the Asia-Pacific, including Australia. In this context, how should we interpret the advent of the new Liberal Democratic Party-led government in Japan? What was the background to the election of the second Abe administration, and what implications does the new government have for regional relations in Northeast Asia, and in the Asia-Pacific region more generally?
Professor Tessa Morris-Suzuki is an Australian Research Council Australian Laureate Fellow; Professor of Japanese History, School of Culture, History and Language, College of Asia and the Pacific, the Australian National University.
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