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Why Japan is dreaming of 1914

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Abe has been basically begging neighbors in Southeast Asia for business (while everyone really wants to do business with Beijing). He passed a shady state secrets law curtailing all substantial public information about Fukushima and, more crucially, Japan's military expansion.

All along he has unleashed what can only be constituted as a bellicose foreign policy, whose central target is China. The speech at Davos is supposed to have been his crowning achievement.

None of that expunges the fact that Japan has been fatally insecure since the late 1980s. There is no meaningful intellectual debate. By sheer intimidation, ultra-nationalists have kept the upper hand. Abe plays to this gallery -- oblivious to the reality of a Japan contrasting a mega-wealthy, corrupt elite with a mass of docile salarymen who have, essentially, nothing.

It's in this context that an adventurist like Abe openly flirts with yelling Banzai all over again. Some voice of reason -- once again, as in a Kurosawa movie -- could always suggest to him that he brushes up on Japan's 20th century history.

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Pepe Escobar is an independent geopolitical analyst. He writes for RT, Sputnik and TomDispatch, and is a frequent contributor to websites and radio and TV shows ranging from the US to East Asia. He is the former roving correspondent for Asia (more...)

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