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Binational Pearl Harbor?
Tora! Tora! Tora! and the Fate of (Trans)national Memory
Marie Thorsten and Geoffrey M. White
The fifty-year anniversary of the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between Japan and the United States, signed on January 19, 1960, was not exactly a cause for unrestrained celebration. In 2010, contentious disagreements over the relocation and expansion of the American military presence in Okinawa, lawsuits against the Toyota Motor Corporation, ongoing restrictions on the import of American beef, and disclosures of secret pacts that have allowed American nuclear-armed warships to enter Japan for decades, subdued commemorative tributes to the U.S.-Japan security agreement commonly known as “Ampo” in Japan.1
Comfort women exhibition sparks fury, disappointment
Taipei, Dec. 26 (CNA) Taiwanese former comfort women denounced Japan Sunday at the opening of an exhibition that unveils Taiwan's litigation against Japan over the issue of sex slaves used by the Japanese Imperial Army during World War Two.
Chen Tao, one of the 13 surviving comfort women in Taiwan, said she traveled all the way from Pingtung, the southernmost county in Taiwan, to the capital to attend the opening and ask for assistance from President Ma Ying-jeou, who attended the opening, in helping them find justice and dignity
[Japanese colonialism] [Comfort women]
Japan retools military to face China fears
By Mure Dickie in Tokyo
Published: December 17 2010 03:25 | Last updated: December 17 2010 07:11
Japan has ordered a historic refocusing of its military forces to strengthen the defences of southern islands seen as threatened by China's rising power.
The new National Defence Policy Guidelines promise a more mobile military with additional submarines but fewer tanks, a move based on the view that Japan faces a greater threat from China.
Stephens: On the way to a new global balance - Dec-16.Japanese growth data fails to alleviate gloom - Dec-15.Japan to shift military towards China threat - Dec-13.Fresh push to lift Japan arms export ban - Dec-13.Editorial: Japanese defence - Dec-14.Philip Stephens: China reaches for power - Dec-09..Japan's Self Defence Forces, as the military is known in a nod to the country's US-imposed pacifistic constitution (sic), has long maintained substantial armoured army units in northern Japan designed to defend against invasion from the Soviet Union.
The military has resisted previous attempts to revise its Cold War posture despite the virtual evaporation of such a threat with the collapse of the Soviet Union.
The guidelines – the first new defence framework since the left-leaning Democratic party won power last year – highlight China's rise as a "great power".
They express concern about the rapid expansion and modernisation of the Chinese military, and its increasing ability to project force far beyond its shores.
"The insufficient transparency of China's military affairs and security guarantees is becoming a cause for concern in the regional and global community," the guidelines say.
They stress the need to strengthen island defences to better secure in particular the south-western Nansei chain that runs from Japan's main islands down to near Taiwan.
Defence planners worry that China could challenge Japanese and US military dominance in the area. These fears have been recently fuelled by Beijing's fierce reaction to the arrest of a Chinese fishing boat captain by Japanese coast guard near the Japanese-controlled but Chinese-claimed Senkaku islands.
The guidelines, which set the framework for defence policy for the next decade, also lay out plans to ensure the military is better able to take part in international "peace co-operation activities" and to respond to any threat from North Korea.
The number of submarines is to be increased from the current 16 to 22, while tank forces – many of which are based on the northern island of Hokkaido – are to be cut from the current 830 tanks to just 400.
However, implementing the cuts could prove a challenge given an apparent lack of urgency among commanders at the Ground Self Defence Force, the Japanese army, for achieving the target of 600 tanks set out in the policy guidelines issued in 2004.
Pressure is growing on the military, though, for cost savings, given that the refocusing of forces will not be accompanied by any significant budget increase.
A separate midterm defence plan approved by the cabinet on Friday anticipates military spending of about Y23,490bn ($279bn) over five years, suggesting that Japan is going to maintain defence spending at broadly current levels.
Defence officials believe Japan could cut the cost and raise the effectiveness of its military procurement by easing a ban on arms exports. That would allow joint development of sophisticated weapon systems with allies and their sale to friendly nations.
Strong political opposition prevented such a move being included in the guidelines. But the government kept the door open for a shift by promising to "examine" policies to respond to the fact that such international co-operation had become "mainstream among advanced countries".
In a recent interview with the Financial Times, Jun Azumi, a senior defence official, called for "full and open" discussion that could allow an easing of the restrictions while ensuring arms exports remained within the "bounds of a peaceful nation".
[China confrontation] [Japanese remilitarisation]
Japan Announces Defense Policy to Counter China
By MARTIN FACKLER
Published: December 16, 2010
TOKYO — Japan announced a new defense policy on Friday that will respond to China’s rising military might by building more submarines and other mobile forces capable of defending Japan’s southernmost islands.
The new National Defense Program Guidelines are the biggest step yet in a decade-long shift away from cold war-era deployments of heavy tank and artillery units on the northern island of Hokkaido — to counter a now-vanished Soviet threat — and toward bolstering Japanese forces in the southern islands around Okinawa, where China’s navy has become a growing presence.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [China confrontation]
New Japan defense policy focuses on China
By MARI YAMAGUCHI
The Associated Press
Thursday, December 16, 2010; 10:12 PM
TOKYO -- Japan needs to focus on the rise of China and not the Cold War threat of Russia in defining its security goals, according to new defense guidelines announced Friday.
The guidelines, which were approved by the Cabinet, also call for a stronger alliance with the U.S. - Japan's biggest ally - and expanded security networks with regional partners, including South Korea and Australia.
To bolster its forces, Japan will acquire new submarines and fighter jets, upgrade its missile defense capabilities and make its ground forces more mobile so that they can quickly respond to emergencies in southwest Japan.
The guidelines paint China as a bigger threat than Russia and say Japan is shifting its defense emphasis from the northern island of Hokkaido to islands in the south, such as Okinawa and territories claimed by both Tokyo and Beijing that have recently led to diplomatic tensions.
[China confrontation] [Japanese remilitarisation]
Japan's defense outline to look at possible lifting of arms export ban
In this photo released by U.S. Navy, USNS Tippecanoe (T-AO 199), center, refuels Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Escort Flotilla ships Ikazuchi (DD-107), right, and Kongo (DDG-173) as USS George Washington (CVN 73) steams behind during "Keen Sword" U.S.-Japan joint military exercise in the Pacific Ocean Sunday, Dec. 5, 2010. (AP Photo/U.S. Navy, Mass Communication Spc. 3rd Class Charles Oki)TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japan is looking at a possible lifting of its long-standing arms export ban, as the new defense policy guidelines are set to contain wording that stresses the need to promote discussion of the issue, government and ruling party officials said Wednesday.
Under the forthcoming defense outline, which is expected to get Cabinet endorsement on Friday, Japan will state that it will consider measures to meet the changes in the global environment amid a worldwide trend to conduct joint development of weapons.
The expression made its way into the guidelines at the prodding of Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa who is keen on seeing a new framework for Japan's exports of weapons.
Kitazawa has advocated reviewing the policy, saying the arms export ban has prevented Japan's defense industry from participating in joint international technological development, potentially putting it at a disadvantage in the race for defense business.
[Arms sales] [Japanese remilitarisation]
Japan to continue paying $2 billion for US troops
By MARI YAMAGUCHI
The Associated Press
Tuesday, December 14, 2010; 7:15 AM
TOKYO -- Japan's government agreed Tuesday to continue contributing $2.2 billion a year toward the cost of stationing American troops in the country.
Under the agreement with the United States, Japan's share will remain at the current 188 billion yen ($2.2 billion) through March 2016. The current pact expires next March.
Japan had sought a cut in its payment during months of negotiations on the renewal because of economic woes. But officials agreed on no reduction after tensions on the Korean peninsula and worries over China's growing military might highlighted the U.S. military's role as a deterrent for security threats.
"As both Japan and the U.S. are in extremely tight fiscal conditions, we are striving to act under the spirit of our alliance," Japanese Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa said. "The agreement to maintain the amount is reasonable."
The payment supports the 47,000 American service members based in Japan under a bilateral security pact. Tokyo's share is about a third of the total, and about three times what Germany pays to host U.S. forces on its soil.
Japan Shifts Defense Strategy to Meet New Threats
Japan has decided to shift its defense strategy for the first time in 40 years as it sees the main threat shifting from the former Soviet Union to China and North Korea. Tokyo is going to reorganize its military into mobile units capable of engaging in operations in the Pacific Ocean and countering North Korean missile threats.
The Diet is expected to pass the revisions this week.
The most notable change is the transformation of the Self-Defense Forces from a static to a more mobile military.
Japanese PM's Remarks Were a Serious Blunder
Speaking with family members of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korean agents, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan said, "We must consider ways to rescue Japanese abductees in North in case of an emergency situation." He added there are no rules on the dispatch of the Self Defense Forces for such rescue operations but he would "like to seek a Japan-South Korea agreement to allow the SDF to be involved in an emergency." Kan added discussions "are ongoing."
Kan later explained his intent was to see whether South Korea "could accept" Japanese military transport aircraft and other means "and that this needs to be thought about." The Japanese media took a critical approach, saying the dispatch of troops would be against Article 9 of the Constitution and the military law, which prohibit the use of force, and the chances of it happening are scant. South Korean government officials said Kan's comments were "totally unexpected" and there has been no previous discussion.
One thing is clear: Kan's comments were made based on a premature assessment of the situation on the Korean Peninsula. But his comments cannot be brushed aside as a simple slip of the tongue. Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said during a recent visit to South Korea, "It's important that we look to the future and work together, in terms of making a difference in that stability. So I would hope that we would see more interaction, more trilateral interaction and multilateral interaction in the region in the future to involve South Korea, the United States and Japan." This year, for the first time ever, an SDF official observed a joint South Korea-U.S. military exercise, while a South Korean official observed a joint U.S.-Japan military drill.
The U.S. is calling for cooperation between the three countries against North Korean aggression, but a bigger goal of the drills is to keep China in check
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Buildup]
Japan Promises 'Dynamic' Defense Strategy
In a move away from a strictly defensive posture Japan has maintained since World War II, the country will introduce what it calls a "dynamic" military strategy to better respond to threats to its security.
In the National Defense Program Outline for 2011-2015 to be released this month, Tokyo introduces a new concept dubbed "dynamic defense capability" that boosts deterrence against China and enables a rapid response to threats such as terrorism, NHK reported Sunday. So far there has only been a strategy aimed at responding to an invasion.
The defense program outline is revised regularly to reflect changing security policy.
The outline also includes plans to boost the U.S.-Japan alliance and enhance defense cooperation with South Korea and Australia. It expresses concerns over North Korea's nuclear and missile development and China's rapid military buildup.
Meanwhile, Washington and Tokyo are to start policy talks in preparation for a possible regime collapse in North Korea, the Asahi Shimbun reported Saturday. Their preparation aims to handle emergencies such as a mass exodus of refugees as uncertainties are rising amid Kim Jong-il's deteriorating health and dynastic succession to his son Jong-un.
The two countries are expected to consult a conceptual plan South Korea and the U.S. have worked out for the same scenarios.
[China confrontation] [Japanese remilitarisation] [Takeover] [Camouflage]
Japan 'Could Deploy Troops in Korea in Emergency'
Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan raised hackles in Korea on Saturday by saying Tokyo will consider dispatching troops there to rescue Japanese citizens in case of an emergency. Kan told reporters his government will consult on the matter with the South Korean government and revise Japanese laws to allow the country's Self-Defense Force to engage in such rescue operations.
The daily Tokyo Shimbun reported on Sunday that the Japanese government already sounded out to the Korean government the possibility of dispatching SDF transport aircraft and vessels to Seoul, Incheon and Busan to rescue around 28,000 Japanese citizens residing in Korea.
U.S. warships led by the nuclear-powered attack submarine Houston sail the Pacific Ocean south of Japan on Friday. /Courtesy of U.S. Navy But the daily said the Korean government rejected the proposal citing a potential public outrage among Koreans who may be reminded of the forced occupation of their country by the Japanese imperial military from 1910 to 1945. Seoul was also reportedly concerned that the consultation itself could give the impression that a war is imminent.
[Buildup] [Japanese remilitarisation]
From the Firing at Yeonpyeong Island to a Comprehensive Solution to the Problems of Division and War in Korea
The firing by North Korea on Yeonpyeong Island dealt an unprecedented blow to the national mood. Following the June 15, 2000 declaration by Kim Dae Jung and Kim Jong Il, the feeling that no state of war existed between North and South gripped the people of South Korea. But now, islanders and military personnel died as a result of the bombardment from the North in broad daylight, and houses and facilities were destroyed. South Korean people felt shock, fear and anxiety. It’s understandable that President Lee Myung-bak, who first warned against enlarging the situation, eventually decided to take counter measures. People of South Korea have to think about how to prevent the situation from worsening, while responding to this new situation. Moreover, people throughout the region need to reflect on this situation.
[Clash] [Territorial disputes]
Japan plans more Patriot systems to shoot down N. Korean missiles
07:47 11/12/2010© AFP/ KIM JAE-HWAN Kim Jae-Hwan
Japan will deploy a larger network of land-based U.S. Patriot PAC-3 systems to ensure effective defenses against North Korean ballistic missiles, a draft defense document says.
The White Paper on national defense, an annual revision of the country's basic defense program, is expected to be adopted by the end of 2010 to reflect the recent crisis on the Korean peninsula.
Patriot missiles were previously deployed only at three air bases in Japan but in the near future additional systems will be placed on all major Japanese islands, the draft document says.
North Korea became one of Tokyo's biggest security worries after it test-fired a long-range ballistic missile over Japan in 1998, prompting Tokyo to begin researching missile defense.
Japan's determination to boost its missile defenses was strengthened after Pyongyang conducted a series of ballistic missile tests in July 2006, and an underground nuclear test explosion three months later.
Japanese military is particularly concerned about N. Korean medium-range ballistic missiles with the flight range of 1,300 kilometers.
Japan is one of the 12 nations that have selected the combat-proven Patriot system as a key component of their air and missile defense program
[Threat] [Japanese remilitarisation]
S. Korean, Japanese lawyers demand Tokyo release documents on 1965 treaty
Lawyers from South Korea and Japan pressed Tokyo to disclose all documents regarding a 1965 treaty that the Japanese government insists closed all compensation matters for victims of colonial rule, blaming its refusal to do so for the persisting distrust between the neighboring countries, Yonhap News Agency reported Sunday in a dispatch from Tokyo.
In a joint statement adopted Saturday after a forum, members of the two countries' bar associations said inconsistent and different interpretations of the treaty by Seoul and Tokyo have interfered in victims' efforts to claim their rights, letting questions and distrust to grow.
In a pact that normalized relations between South Korea and Japan, Tokyo provided soft loans and grants worth close to $8 million. Japan says the treaty effectively settled all compensatory issues, barring governments from seeking reparations for its 1910-45 colonial rule over the Korean Peninsula.
Defense draft voices concern over China's military buildup
A Chinese fisheries patrol boat, below, sails through waters off the disputed Senkaku Islands while being monitored by Japan Coast Guard patrol vessels on Nov. 20. (Photo taken from a Mainichi aircraft)The draft of a new National Defense Program Outline that the government is expected to approve later this month has expressed grave concerns over China's rapid military buildup and enhanced maritime activities.
A summary of the draft obtained by the Mainichi Shimbun indicates that China has been increasing its defense spending in recent years and has been rapidly modernizing its nuclear missiles as well as its navy and air force weapons and other equipment.
The draft expresses grave concerns over China's increasing military and economic presence in the East China Sea, stating: "China is expanding its activity while strengthening its assertions regarding its sovereign rights over the sea around the nation."
The draft underscores the need for dynamic defense capabilities to flexibly counter various threats in East Asia, noting that North Korea's nuclear weapons, missile programs and military provocation, among other factors, are destabilizing security in East Asia. It marks a departure from the principle of possessing minimal defense capabilities as a sovereign state with a possible invasion by the now-defunct Soviet Union in mind.
Specifically, the draft states that aerial and maritime defense capabilities, such as warning and surveillance activities, seaborne patrols and ballistic missile defense, should be upgraded to enhance the defense of southwestern Japan.
Describing island areas as a "void" in terms of Self-Defense Force presence, it urges the government to deploy minimal troops to such areas. It envisages the deployment of Ground Self-Defense Force personnel to Yonaguni and other islands in Okinawa Prefecture.
As part of efforts to decrease equipment produced with the Cold War in mind, it calls for a decrease in the number of tanks from the current 600 to less than 400, in line with the current defense program outline.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Threat] [China confrontation]
Japan to raise armed forces mobility to boost defense
TOKYO | Wed Dec 8, 2010 3:21am EST
TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese Vice Defense Minister Jun Azumi said Japan's armed forces need to improve their mobility to boost the country's defense capability in the southwest, where it shares a maritime border with China.
Azumi also said Japan aims to strengthen its security cooperation with South Korea, Australia and India, on top of its ties with closest ally the United States, as North Korea's artillery shelling of the South last month raised regional tensions.
"In a sense, the Cold War era structure has remained unchanged in the Far East. Only, China's military expansion has added to instability," Jun Azumi told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [China confrontation]
Kan gives up idea of lifting weapons export ban: sources
Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan speaks during a press conference at his official residence, as the extraordinary Diet session ended last Friday, in Tokyo, Monday, Dec. 6, 2010. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The government of Prime Minister Naoto Kan has given up the idea of lifting Japan's long-standing arms export ban in consideration of opposition parties whose support is crucial for the ruling party to pass bills for a fiscal 2011 budget in parliament next year, government sources said Monday.
The government had been considering reviewing the so-called "three principles" relating to weapons exports so it can join the international development and production of fighter jets and other arms, and issuing a statement declaring the removal of the ban along with its new defense policy guidelines, set to obtain Cabinet endorsement as early as Dec. 14.
Japan seeks to limit defense expenses growth in draft guidelines
English.news.cn 2010-12-05 10:19:30 FeedbackPrintRSS
TOKYO, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- A draft of Japan's policy guidelines urged for limiting the growth of its defense expenses at zero percent or lower from their fiscal 2009 level in the next five years, local media reported on Sunday.
The Ministry of Defense has requested a 155,000-quota for the Ground Self-Defense Force, down 2,000 from its previous request. The number is expected to be further cut due to strong calls for the reduction within the Democratic Party of Japan-led ruling bloc, Kyodo News reported.
The document, which is to be approved by the Cabinet later this month, said Japan will enhance defense cooperation not only with the United States but also with South Korea and Australia.
In the draft, terrorism and guerrilla attacks are described as "new threats". The document indicates that Japan will shift toward a more multifunctional, resilient and effective defense capability to help contain threats to regional security and avoid a situation in which Japan would be a power vacuum in the region, according to Kyodo News report.
In addition, the Ministry will expand its Maritime Self-Defense Force submarines from 16 to 22 and step up studies for procuring new main fighter planes for the Air Self-Defense Force, a draft appendix states.
China, Japan Confrontation on Diaoyu Islands Renews
Epoch Times Staff Created: Dec 2, 2010 Last Updated: Dec 2, 2010 . Facebook Digg StumbleUpon Twitter | |
Related articles: China > Regime The Japanese Coast Guard reported that its aircraft sighted an ‘advanced’ Chinese fishing boat 23 miles northwest of the Senkaku Islands (Chinese name: Diaoyu Islands) on the morning of Nov. 20. Twenty minutes later, another fishing boat was sighted in the same area.
[China confrontation] [Territorial disputes]
US, Japan begin war games; China denounces drills
By ERIC TALMADGE
The Associated Press
Thursday, December 2, 2010; 11:47 PM
TOKYO -- In an ongoing show of force following a deadly North Korean attack on a front-line island, the U.S. and Japan began one of their biggest-ever military exercises Friday, mobilizing more than 44,000 troops, hundreds of aircraft and a U.S. supercarrier.
The drills come just after the U.S. and South Korea concluded maneuvers in the Yellow Sea. The exercises brought immediate criticism from China, which is wary of having foreign navies off its shores and has been increasingly assertive over large swaths of waters in the south and east China seas, where some of the drills would take place
[China confrontation] [US Joint military] [Japanese remilitarisation]
Japan, US to conduct biggest ever military drill
TOKYO (AFP) – Japan and the United States will hold their biggest ever joint military drills just days after a US and South Korean show of force amid tensions on the Korean peninsula, officials said Thursday.
The previously announced "Keen Sword" drills, which were planned before North Korea's artillery barrage of a South Korean island last week, will take place from Friday to December 10, a US military official confirmed.
"Keen Sword will cap the 50th anniversary of the Japan-US alliance as an 'alliance of equals'," Major William Vause, chief of operational plans, training and exercises said in a statement.
[Joint US military] [Japanese remilitarisation] [US Japan alliance]
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Philippines prepares for possible mass evacuation from S.Korea, requests Japan's aid
Philippine President Benigno Aquino has held talks with Japanese Ambassador Makoto Katsura in Manila on the possible immediate evacuation of some 50,000 Filipinos from South Korea to Japan, NHK television reported on Saturday.
President Aquino's concerns come after reports of a U.S. naval task force led by the George Washington nuclear-powered aircraft carrier that will join South Korean warships in naval exercises on November 28-December 1.
Japan governor race may strain U.S. alliance
Yoichi Iha, one of two candidates in a tight race for governor, wants Futenma Air Station out of Japan. A recent poll shows that 84 percent of Okinawans oppose plans to relocate the U.S. base further north. (Chico Harlan)
By Chico Harlan
Washington Post Foreign Service
Saturday, November 20, 2010; 8:02 PM
NAHA, JAPAN - Disrupted last year and restored this summer, the cohesion in the U.S.-Japan alliance is now partly dependent on two local politicians who appear certain to cause headaches for Washington and Tokyo.
Japan governor race may strain U.S. alliance
Okinawa: A land of cultural clashes
The two - Hirokazu Nakaima and Yoichi Iha - are locked in a tight gubernatorial race in Okinawa that has broad implications for the alliance. That is because the Okinawan governor has the right under Japanese law to approve - or not - pending construction plans for the controversial Futenma U.S. Marine air base, currently tucked next to schoolyards and houses in Okinawa's densely populated Ginowan City. Both Washington and Tokyo want to relocate Futenma to a northern part of Okinawa prefecture, calling it an essential deterrent to an ascendant China and a nuclear-armed North Korea.
[US Japan alliance] [Bases]
The Ozawa Factor and the DPJ’s Pro-US Tilt
Thursday, November 18, 2010
I’ve written quite a bit about Japan’s Foreign Minister, Seiji Maehara, in the context of his “China-hawk” policies.
He’s a firm believer in the U.S. security relationship and, I think, sees himself as the Asian Tony Blair:
Youthful, intelligent, agile, sophisticated in the modern diplomatic discourse, but also possessing the clarity and cojones to push/follow the United States into bold, new, and effective paradigms for the projection of military and soft power into East Asia.
Or, from a more cynical perspective (which, I confess is the habitual posture of this blog), one might view Maehara as an ambitious politician who has hitched his wagon to hyping the China threat, upgrading the security relationship with the United States, and revising the peace constitution to permit overseas military operations in order to position himself as a pre-eminent neo-liberal hawk.
[China confrontation] [US Japan alliance]
Easing arms export ban eyed / Draft defense strategy proposes weapons trade with limited nations
The Yomiuri Shimbun
New arms export principles will limit the nations to which Japan's embargo on arms exports applies, according to a draft review of defense guidelines that has been compiled by a Democratic Party of Japan panel, it has been learned.
The government is scheduled to formulate new National Defense Program Guidelines, which are expected to involve revisions to the three basic principles on arms exports, by the end of this year.
The draft, recently compiled by the Foreign Relations and Security Research Committee chaired by House of Representatives member Masaharu Nakagawa, also says development and production programs conducted jointly with other nations should be allowed.
The current three principles prohibit in principle the export of weapons and weapons-related technologies to all other countries.
When the Cabinet of Prime Minister Eisaku Sato first proposed the three principles on arms exports in 1967, the target nations were communist bloc countries, countries subject to arms trade embargoes under U.N. Security Council resolutions and countries involved in or likely to become involved in international conflicts.
In 1976, the Cabinet of Prime Minister Takeo Miki expanded the scope of the principles to include all countries, in principle.
According to the DPJ panel's draft, the embargo will be scaled back to apply only to those nations stipulated by the Sato Cabinet.
In addition, the draft adds four more principles on arms exports:
-- Exports of finished products will be allowed only to aid peacekeeping and humanitarian efforts.
-- Even in those cases, products will be restricted to weapons of limited lethality.
-- Nations permitted to be involved in joint development and production programs will be member states of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Australia, South Korea and others that make strict arms export control efforts, including participation in treaties on the nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
-- A legal framework should ensure weapons and weapons-related technologies are not transferred to third countries.
The draft also includes measures to beef up Japan's defense capability in and around the Nansei Islands, a grouping that extends into Okinawa Prefecture from part of Kagoshima Prefecture.
The measures include reinforcing Ground Self-Defense Force deployments in Kyushu and Okinawa Prefecture, improving the capabilities of Maritime Self-Defense Force submarines, and using high-speed transport ships and large cargo vessels to increase mobility in the deployment of defense forces.
(Nov. 18, 2010)
[Arms sales] [Japanese remilitarisation]
KCNA Blasts Japan's Moves to Beef up Its Naval Force
Pyongyang, November 1 (KCNA) -- The Japan "Self-Defence Forces" have stepped up their moves to bolster up their capability in recent years.
Japan, which has already grown strong backed by huge military spending and prodded by the right-wing forces at home, is rapidly beefing up its military muscle for overseas operations of the SDF.
A particular mention should be made of the fact that the Japan Maritime SDF has openly embarked upon carrying out its strategy for "ocean attack" after discarding the veil of "coastal defense," touching off concern among the neighboring countries.
Ideas, Identity and Ideology in Contemporary Japan: The Sato Masaru Phenomenon
Sato Masaru is a name virtually unknown outside Japan (recognized by Google and Wikipedia’s English language search engines only through footnotes from earlier texts by this author) but inescapable within Japan. He may indeed be the most prolific and widely read Japanese intellectual of the early 21st century. This short essay introduces Sato’s writings, suggesting they form a useful prism through which to observe contemporary Japan.
It looks at Sato’s thinking, the nature of the media boom that has enveloped him, Sato’s own claim to a politics beyond the dichotomy of “left” and “right,” and the intellectual and social context for the popularity of his ideas. It pays attention to the critique most thoroughly developed by the independent Zainichi (Korean-in-Japan) intellectual, Kim Gwang-sang. Kim, who first coined the expression “the Sato Masaru phenomenon,” sees the astonishing boom that has surrounded Sato’s writing as a concentrated expression of a general rightward shift (on a nationalist axis) on the part of Japanese intellectuals. If Kim is right, this slide has affected some of Japan’s most respected public intellectuals.
This essay considers the evidence for such a proposition in the context of debates over constitutional reform, the politics of wartime apology and compensation (especially in relation to the “Comfort Women”), the “East Asian Community,” Okinawan base politics, and the role of the emperor. While respecting Kim Gwang-sang’s critique, the stance adopted here is somewhat different. These tentative thoughts are offered in the belief that Sato is indeed an important, if deservedly controversial, thinker, and that the “Sato Masaru phenomenon” deserves attention.
Neo-Nationalist Interpretations of Japan’s Annexation of Korea: The Colonization Debate in Japan and South Korea
This is the first in what we hope will be a continuing series of articles on the one hundredth anniversarch of Japan's annexation or colonization of Korea and the subsequent colonial experience. The coordinators.
Disarming Japan’s Cannons with Hollywood’s Cameras: Cinema in Korea Under U.S. Occupation, 1945-19481
Brian Yecies and Ae-Gyung Shim
In July 1950, within days of the start of the Korean War, hundreds of 16mm prints of Hollywood feature and short films and more than fifty film projectors were rushed from Japan to US Army and United Nations troops in the field. With many thousands of movies and over one thousand new projectors eventually sent from the United States, the Motion Picture Division of the Army’s General Headquarters, Far Eastern Command, went to great lengths to entertain the troops with some of the latest commercial releases – such as Sunset Boulevard (1950), The Next Voice You Hear (1950), The Black Rose (1950) and Father of the Bride (1950) – as well as Disney animations and current newsreels of the war (Pacific Stars and Stripes, 28 October 1950).
Onscreen entertainment was available to soldiers in the field almost every night throughout the three-year conflict. Troops swapped foxhole assignments and huddled inside abandoned railroad tunnels, burned-out houses and half-bombed buildings, enduring rain and freezing weather to catch a glimpse of films that were often simply projected onto walls or hanging bedsheets. In the words of one anonymous soldier, “When you go the movies over here, you get out of Korea for a couple of hours” (Pacific Stars and Stripes, 28 Aug 1951, p. 10). These daily Hollywood film screenings were a critical catalyst for raising the morale and national spirit of the troops on the front lines in Korea – an intriguing military strategy for bolstering the fight for democracy.
Japan As Number One in the Global Economic Crisis: Lessons for the World?
R. Taggart Murphy
The following remarks were prepared for the forum “Japan as Number One Revisited” held the evening of October 27, 2010 at the Iwasaki Koyata Memorial Hall of the International House of Japan in Tokyo. The occasion was an 80th birthday celebration for Harvard Professor Emeritus Ezra Vogel.
I think it was about two years ago when the full scale of the financial and economic crisis that has now swept the world was becoming obvious that I remarked at a conference similar to this one that a possible silver lining would be an end to the condescension of the world's pundits and policy makers towards Japan. You all remember the various loudly advertised and mutually contradictory formulas for pulling Japan out of its stagnation – inflation targeting, restructuring of the banks with the bad loans – furyo saiken – separated out so that newly recapitalized banks could start lending again, full-bore pedal-to-the-floor fiscal stimulus, not to mention that old standby, complete re-organization of the economy along neo-liberal lines. What I used to find irritating was not only the smug assurance of those proferring the advice, but the sense they conveyed that the only reason Japan's policy makers didn't drop everything and follow whatever it was they were recommending was that policy makers here were stupid or corrupt or in the thrall of incorrect mercantilist doctrine or what have you; not that policy makers here might be subject to the same fears and doubts that assault their counterparts in Washington, London and Berlin, or be subject to similarly immense and countervailing political pressures.
It just may be the case, therefore, that Japan is Still Number One – or at least out there in front – in figuring out how to manage the aging of society, how to spread the pain when employment levels stubbornly refuse to recover, how to keep things from falling apart when no matter which monetary lever you press, nothing seems to happen, what to do when your currency keeps rising no matter how low you cut your interest rates or how much jawboning you do, how to keep your would-be pensioners/retraités or Tea Party equivalents from destroying the social and political bonds that are needed to maintain some sort of functioning political order. And that in the workings of the Japanese political economy that Ezra has described for us are still to be found some very important Lessons for America – and for everyone else.
US-Japan alliance the big winner from the Senkaku Islands dispute
Aurelia George Mulgan, ADFA@UNSW
October 26th, 2010
Japan’s new DPJ government initially set out to rebalance Japan’s relations between the United States and Asia by emphasising a more independent Asia-oriented diplomacy with an East Asian Community as the centrepiece.
Japanese rhetoric about the alliance has also changed: There was more talk of an ‘equal’ alliance and a security stance ‘equidistant’ between the United States and China. The shift in the government’s foreign policy stance was subtle but clear: Japan was reorienting itself toward Asia and away from the United States. Difficulties over the Futenma base issue compounded the view of a troubled and tense bilateral relationship and a possible weakening of alliance commitments on both sides. Some in the DPJ, such as former leader Ozawa Ichiro, made explicit their antipathy towards the presence of US military forces in Japan.
The Sino-Japanese dispute over the Senkaku Islands has changed all that. It has energised the Japan-US alliance across a number of fronts.
[US Japan alliance] [China confrontation] [Territorial disputes]
The Senkaku Islands incident and Japan-China relations
October 25th, 2010
Author: Satoshi Amako, Waseda University
Since the Senkaku Islands ship collision incident, media sensationalism has raged, and Japan-China relations have been greatly shaken. In the middle of this upheaval, which involved the cancellation of various Japan-China related events, I went to Beijing on September 26 to participate in the Japan-China-Korea Symposium hosted by the Chinese East Asia Forum. The keynote speech strongly urged that ‘given the current difficulties, dialogue between Japan and China is necessary more than ever. Cutting off dialogue will not achieve anything’. Almost all of the 150 participants enthusiastically supported the idea. The worsening relation is saddening, and I sincerely hope improvements can be realized as also did many of the Chinese participants.
So, how should we interpret the recent sequence of events? After the incident occurred on September 7, the current situation was set in train by Japan’s rigid stance, arresting the Chinese sea captain and extending his period of detention
The first problem is whether this incident was accidental or intentional. Foreign Minister Maehara, having seen the video evidence, described it as ‘clearly a ramming’, asserting that it was intentional
[China confrontation] [Inversion] [Territorial disputes]
Japan-China Relations Stand at Ground Zero
By Yoichi Funabashi
To my friend in China,
How did you enjoy this year's China National Day?
I attended a party in Tokyo hosted by the Chinese ambassador to mark the occasion. It was a somewhat lonely affair as less than half of the number of Diet members attended compared with last year's party. This was likely due to fallout from the recent row over the Senkaku Islands.
The reason I am writing to you today is because I have serious reservations about the way the Chinese government acted toward Japan over the incident involving a violation of territorial waters near the Senkaku Islands by a Chinese trawler, and especially, after the boat's captain was arrested.
[China confrontation] [Inversion]
Japans' Moves to Turn into Military Giant Slammed
Pyongyang, October 7 (KCNA) -- Shortly ago, Japan launched H-2A No. 18 carrying satellite Michibiki under the pretext of "eliminating" the weak points of the GPS of the U.S. It was reported that Michibiki would fly over Japan about 8 hours every day as Japan's first GPS satellite.
The Japanese reactionaries are contemplating launching several more satellites of such type in the days ahead, contending that GPS is not enough to have accurate positioning.
Rodong Sinmun Thursday says in a signed commentary in this regard:
This is aimed to develop its own GPS, free from the dependence on the GPS of the U.S., in a bid to acquire its independent intelligence-gathering capability for overseas aggression and realize its ambition to turn Japan into a military power.
[Satellite] [Japanese remilitarisation] [Intelligence]
U.S. Works to Ease China-Japan Conflict
By MARK LANDLER
Published: October 30, 2010
HANOI, Vietnam — With tensions between China and Japan spilling out at an East Asian summit meeting here, the United States is trying to defuse an escalating diplomatic row over their competing claims to a cluster of small islands in the East China Sea.
On Saturday, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton proposed a three-way meeting with China and Japan to resolve the dispute, which has raged since last month when Japan detained the captain of a Chinese fishing vessel that struck two Japanese patrol boats near the islands.
[China confrontation] [Spin]
Clinton proposes China, Japan join 3-way talks with U.S. to ease tensions
By John Pomfret
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, October 30, 2010; 9:27 PM
SANYA, CHINA - Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told China on Saturday that she expects Beijing to press North Korea not to take "provocative steps" against South Korea. She also appealed to Chinese and Japanese officials Saturday to end their month-long spat.
Chinese officials told Clinton, for their part, that China was committed to maintaining its exports of rare-earth minerals - crucial to the manufacture of many high-technology products - despite reports that it had halted its sales to gain diplomatic leverage over Japan and the United States
[China confrontation] [Spin]
Lower Temperature of Chinese Relations with Japan and the U.S. from "Nippy" to "Chilly"
China's Assistant Foreign Minister, Hu Zhengyue--who seems hold the bash-Japan brief--expressed umbrage that some Japanese officials somewhere had made inappropriate statements to the media concerning the Diaoyutai/Senkaku dispute,
Apparently there will be no fence-mending meeting between Wen Jiabao and Naoto Kan at the ASEAN get-together in Hanoi
What China is probably really angry about is this exchange at a press availability featuring Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Hawaii a day or so earlier:
QUESTION: (Via interpreter) (Inaudible) Deguchi with Kyodo News Service. First a question for Secretary Clinton, and this is about security. Recently – this is about Senkaku Islands, which has (inaudible) spat between Japan and China. And I wonder if the security treaty between Japan and the United States will be applied.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first let me say clearly again that the Senkakus fall within the scope of Article 5 of the 1960 U.S.-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security. This is part of the larger commitment that the United States has made to Japan’s security. We consider the Japanese-U.S. alliance one of the most important alliance partnerships we have anywhere in the world and we are committed to our obligations to protect the Japanese people.
[China confrontation] [US Japan alliance] [Territorial disputes]
Dispute scuppers China-Japan summit
By Mure Dickie in Tokyo and Geoff Dyer in Beijing
Published: October 29 2010 19:27 | Last updated: October 29 2010 19:27
China accused Japan of “violating Chinese sovereignty and territorial integrity”, reopening a bitter row between the two countries over disputed islands in the East China Sea.
The renewed diplomatic tensions scuppered plans for a Sino-Japanese summit meeting in Hanoi on Friday that had been seen as a key step toward calming ties between the world’s second and third-largest economies
[China confrontation] [Territorial disputes]
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Japan, worried by China, may boost submarine fleet
By ERIC TALMADGE, Associated Press Eric Talmadge, Associated Press – Tue Oct 26, 2:32 am ET
TOKYO – Japan may increase the size of its submarine fleet, officials said, as concerns rise that the expansion of the Chinese navy is tipping the regional balance of power.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [China confrontation]
The Japan Roadblock to Nuclear Cooperation
A stalled deal with India means both wasted commercial opportunities and dangerous strategic imbalance.
By HARSH V. PANT
China's muscular military stance and increasingly aggressive economic rhetoric are having some unexpected results. Chief among them is the desire of democracies to band ever closer together. The region's two biggest—India and Japan—shouldn't waste this opportunity.
If this week's summit was any indication, they might. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan met Monday and inked a trade pact, but made little headway on the biggest impediment to the burgeoning relationship: a civil nuclear deal. Tokyo wants the ability to halt nuclear cooperation if Delhi conducts a nuclear test.
Japan's nuclear nostrums have long been a point of contention. After India tested nuclear weapons in 1998, Japan suspended economic assistance for three years and froze all political exchanges. The former included halting grant aid for new projects, the suspension of yen loans and the imposition of strict control over technology transfers. Tokyo called on the Group of Eight to condemn the Indian and Pakistani nuclear tests.
The U.S.-India civilian nuclear energy cooperation pact ratified during the Bush administration ought to have assuaged many of Japan's concerns.
[Nuclear deal] [China confrontation] [Inversion]
Resolving the China-Japan Conflict Over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands
Translation by Michael K. Bourdaghs
On September 7 Japanese patrol boats intercepted a Chinese fishing trawler near Kubashima, one of the Senkaku [Chinese: Diaoyu] Islands in the East China Sea. After it repeatedly rammed the patrol boats in attempting to escape, the fishing boat was detained and its captain arrested and charged with interference in the execution of official duties. The incident would come to have enormous repercussions, shaking up Sino-Japanese relations.
The Senkaku Islands are claimed by Japan and are at present under Japanese control
This all took place just before the hotly contested September 14 election to select the leader of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), and, distracted by the ongoing election campaign, the government seems initially to have paid little heed to the incident.
The Japanese press likewise seemed unconcerned, especially since the Chinese government was taking steps to check the outbreak of large anti-Japan demonstrations
In the September 14 party leader elections Kan Naoto was victorious, defeating Ozawa Ichiro, who was widely perceived as supporting closer ties with China.
Behind the hard-line stance taken by the Chinese lay a determination to somehow avoid having the trawler captain put on trial under Japanese domestic law. This was because such a trial would undermine China’s territorial claims to the Senkaku Islands, resulting in a situation that could be effectively countered only by military action.
[Territorial disputes] [China confrontation]
High Stakes Gamble as Japan, China and the U.S. Spar in the East and South China Seas
In China's international relations, 2010 has been the Year of Zero Sum.
A standoff between a Chinese fishing trawler and two Japanese Coast Guard vessels on September 7 off the Diaoyutai/Senkaku Islands led to the Japanese detention of Captain Zhan Qixiong and the provocative assertion that his case would be adjudicated under Japanese domestic law, rather than resolved through quiet diplomacy between Tokyo and Beijing
Immediately after the trawler collided with Japan Coast Guard vessels on Sept 7, Maehara called Coast Guard Commandant Suzuki Hisayasu and told him, "The captain of the Chinese fishing boat must be arrested."
It also has the effect of isolating China from Western and some Asian democracies—a useful geopolitical windfall for nations anxious about China’s rising economic, military, and geopolitical clout and the global gains Beijing made in the first decade of the 20th century while the Bush administration was asleep at the Asian switch.
On North Korea, China was told to abandon its useful buffer, the DPRK, and join a chorus of condemnation over the sinking of the Cheonan that would shift the focus toward the reunification of the peninsula under the aegis of the United States and the ROK.
Japan-China relations stand at ground zero
October 20th, 2010
Author: Yoichi Funabashi, Asahi Shimbun
I have serious reservations about the way the Chinese government acted toward Japan over the incident involving a violation of territorial waters near the Senkaku Islands by a Chinese trawler, and especially, after the boat’s captain was arrested.
In Japan, public opinion has been highly critical of the government led by the Democratic Party of Japan, with its decisions described as ‘a national disgrace brought about through diplomatic defeat.’ Admittedly, many measures taken by the government were half-hearted, from the lack of any decision by prosecutors to indict the captain, to the handling of a Japan Coast Guard video of the collision between the trawler and two patrol vessels.
[China confrontation] [Territorial disputes] [Inversion]
Senkaku/Diaoyutai islands: Has China lost Japan?
October 19th, 2010
Author: Joel Rathus, Adelaide University
Sino-Japanese relations have entered a dangerous new era. Previously, Japan was willing to take an unobtrusive and patient approach to China. But last month’s less than diplomatic arm wrestle over the fate of the arrested captain of a Chinese fishing boat in disputed territory in the East China Sea may have effectively ended Japan’s ambivalence toward China.
[China confrontation] [Territorial disputes] [Inversion]
Asia’s clouded horizon
October 18th, 2010
Author: Yoichi Funabashi, Asahi Shimbun
We are witnessing a ‘brave, grave new world’ – with the rise and fall of nations underway on a grand scale.
China’s rise and India’s advance are two of the most spectacular dynamics. The power shift to the Asia Pacific, however, will be a long transition, and Asia faces three major challenges over the next decade: First, the instability of the North Korean regime in the process of leadership succession and the eventual unification of the Korean peninsula; secondly, maritime security in the South China Sea, the Yellow Sea and the East China Sea; and third, energy and the environment.
Instability of the Korean peninsula is likely to bring the most problems in the next three to five years. Against the backdrop of a delicate leadership succession, economic crisis and further hardship unfold for North Korean citizens. The situation is unsustainable, and likely the regime will collapse. If North Korea does implode, there could be far-reaching ramifications for the stability of the region. So the vision of a unified Korea is a priority
[Collapse] [Takeover] [China confrontation] [Decline]
U.S., Japan Firm up Alliance vis-a-vis China
The U.S. and Japan have agreed to step up strategic talks in the face of China's increasing military might and expansion of influence in the international community, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported Sunday.
During a visit to the U.S. on Sept. 23, Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara agreed with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to expand bilateral political and security talks from the ministerial level to the working level, the Japanese daily wrote.
The suggestion came from the U.S. The two sides decided to postpone an official announcement to avoid upsetting China at a time when there was tension with Beijing about Korea-U.S. naval maneuvers.
[China confrontation] [US Japan alliance]
Japan Protests Presence of Chinese Boats Near Disputed Islands
Japan filed a formal protest with Beijing Monday, after two Chinese patrol boats were spotted near a disputed island chain in the East China Sea.
Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshito Sengoku said Monday that the coast guard (sic) spotted the two Chinese boats leaving the disputed waters Sunday night and sailing north toward China.
Beijing and Tokyo have been locked in their worst dispute in years, which started after Japan arrested a Chinese fishing trawler captain on Sept. 8, near the uninhabited island chain.
[China confrontation] [Territorial disputes]
Enhancing Japan's position in the Senkaku Dispute
By Robert Dujarric
Oct 15, 2010
Following the release of the captain of the Chinese trawler involved in a collision with Japanese Coast Guard vessels off the Senkaku (Diaoyu) islands, we can draw some lessons from the incident. It is also a good time to think about how Japan can prepare itself for the next crisis with China.
[US Japan alliance] [MISCOM] [China confrontation] [Territorial disputes]
How Japan Views Territorial Claims to Disputed Islands
A look at the website of Japan's Foreign Ministry shows that there are considerable differences in terms of the urgency and persuasiveness of Japan's international territorial disputes in areas to the north, east and west
Japan Goes From Dynamic to Disheartened
By MARTIN FACKLER
Published: October 16, 2010
OSAKA, Japan — Like many members of Japan’s middle class, Masato Y. enjoyed a level of affluence two decades ago that was the envy of the world. Masato, a small-business owner, bought a $500,000 condominium, vacationed in Hawaii and drove a late-model Mercedes.
Weddings in Osaka, Japan, now tend to be small, low-budget affairs, not the lavish celebrations once favored by couples.
But his living standards slowly crumbled along with Japan’s overall economy. First, he was forced to reduce trips abroad and then eliminate them. Then he traded the Mercedes for a cheaper domestic model. Last year, he sold his condo — for a third of what he paid for it, and for less than what he still owed on the mortgage he took out 17 years ago.
“Japan used to be so flashy and upbeat, but now everyone must live in a dark and subdued way,” said Masato, 49, who asked that his full name not be used because he still cannot repay the $110,000 that he owes on the mortgage.
Few nations in recent history have seen such a striking reversal of economic fortune as Japan
Where is ‘Peaceful Japan’ heading?
By Lee Jong-won, Vice President, Rikkyo University, Japan
On Aug. 27, while South Korea was holding a flurry of events in connection with the hundredth anniversary of its forcible annexation by Japan, an important policy document was released that may prove a turning point for “peaceful nation” Japan. The document in question was a policy proposal drafted, after half a year of deliberation, by the “Round table on National Security and Defense Capabilities for a New Era,” an advisory organization for Prime Minister Naoto Kan. Despite its historic content, it did not receive much attention from the Japanese media, buried amid the “fever” of the election for the Democratic Party of Japan chairman.
Around 40 pages in length, this report presented the conclusion that the “peaceful nation” system sustained for over half a century following World War II is an obsolete relic that has failed to respond to an altered international environment. Instead, the report advocated Japan’s aiming to become a “peace-creating nation.”
As a key slogan, it emphasized the transition from a “passive peaceful nation” to an “active peace-creating nation.”
The report proposes using Japan’s military might, concentrated in the Japan Self-Defense Forces, in a somewhat more active manner.
A Loyal Retainer? Japan, capitalism, and the perpetuation of American hegemony
R. Taggart Murphy
Sixty five years ago, the United States emerged from the Second World War as the undisputed hegemon of world capitalism. But within a generation, neither the American will nor the American ability to continue managing the global capitalist order could be taken for granted. This essay will argue that the key to understanding the repair and continued re-enforcement of American economic and financial primacy since the system-shaking tremors of the 1970s can be found in the postwar experience of Japan and its neighbors. Within that experience lies a paradox: it was precisely Japan’s deviations from orthodox capitalist methods – the distinctive marks that characterize its political economy – that help explain the continuation of an American-centered world capitalist system long after one might have expected its manifest contradictions to bring it down.
Perry Anderson has recently written: 'In Japan, Korea and Taiwan, the post-war states were creatures of American occupation or protection, on a front-line of the Cold War. Strategically, they remain to this day wards of Washington – planted with US bases or ringed by US warships – without real diplomatic or military autonomy. Lacking political sovereignty, yet needing domestic legitimacy, their rulers …compensated with policies of economic self-development, keeping foreign capital at bay with one hand, promoting domestic corporations with the other.'1 In other words, for reasons that go directly to the core political legitimacy of their power structures, these states have deliberately flouted neo-liberal development doctrine with its emphasis on the free movement of goods and capital.
Gov't to review weapons export ban, says chief Cabinet secretary
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshito Sengoku (Mainichi)The government will consider easing a weapons export ban as part of its review of the basic defense program, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshito Sengoku has suggested.
"Discussions will be held on whether to review the three principles of banning the exports of weapons to be better suited to the 21st century," Sengoku told a news conference on Oct. 12.
Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa told U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates on Oct. 11 that Tokyo will proactively review the principles.
The move is in response to calls in August by a private advisory panel to the prime minister for a review of the principles.
The panel made the recommendation out of fear that the domestic weapons market will remain in a slump because of the government's fiscal squeeze, and that Japan will be left behind in the joint development of a next-generation fighter that is under way across the world.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [MISCOM]
Japan, U.S. affirm cooperation on disputed Senkaku Islands
Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2010
HANOI (Kyodo) Japanese and U.S. defense chiefs agreed in their talks Monday that their countries will jointly respond in line with a bilateral security pact toward stability in areas in the East China Sea covering the Senkaku Islands that came into the spotlight in disputes between Japan and China, according to Japanese officials.
The officials said Japanese Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa his U.S. counterpart Robert Gates also affirmed the need for strengthening collaboration with countries in the region over the situation in the East China Sea.
[China confrontation] [US Japan alliance] [Territorial disputes]
Veterans Ministry considers revoking honors from 20 Independence Patriots
The individuals appear in the “Encyclopedia of Pro-Japanese Figures”
By Ko Na-mu
A Democratic Party Lawmaker confirmed Thursday that the Ministry of Patriots’ and Veterans’ Affairs (MPVA) received supporting documents from the surviving family members of 16 Independence Patriots whose names were listed in the “Encyclopedia of Pro-Japanese Figures.” These individuals included Hwangsung Newspaper Editor in Chief Chang Chi-yon. MPVA is now considering whether to revoke their honor.
[Japanese collaborators] [Japanese colonialism] [Client]
Japan's self-defense forces to join anti-proliferation drills in S Korea
English.news.cn 2010-10-06 16:52:30
TOKYO, Oct. 6 (Xinhua) -- The Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) will take part in the two-day maritime anti-proliferation drills starting next Wednesday in the port city of Busan in South Korea, local media reported on Wednesday.
Japan would send frigates and shipborne helicopters to the exercise for role including searching and tracking, Jiji Press reported, citing officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [SK Japan] [PSI] [Joint military]
Northeast Asia Needs a Maritime Code of Conduct
By Mark Valencia
October 5th, 2010
Mark Valencia, senior associate at the Nautilus Institute, writes, “Although reverberations continue, Japan and China have wisely stepped back from the political brink in the East China Sea. But if the past has anything to say about the future, there will be similar serious confrontations at sea disturbing not only relations between the disputants but the security regime in Asia. This instability is not acceptable—not only for the parties directly concerned –but for their neighbors and extra-regional partners. What is needed are some guidelines or an agreed declaration of expected behavior in disputed areas that could avert such confrontations.”
[Territorial disputes] [China confrontation]
Japan, U.S. cooking up island defense war games
Japan and the United States are preparing to hold a joint exercise in December that will focus on defending islands in remote waters, sources involved in bilateral relations said Sunday.
The scenario for the exercise is likely to involve an invasion of remote Japanese islands by an armed force, which will give the Self-Defense Forces and the U.S. military a chance to use joint tactics to deal with the situation, the sources said.
The maritime part of the drill is likely to be held on the Pacific side of the Nansei Islands, which consists of such isles as Okinawa and Ishigaki Island. The candidate site for the ground part of the exercise is likely to be the Ground Self-Defense Force's Hijudai exercise area in Oita Prefecture on Kyushu, the sources said.
[Territorial disputes] [China confrontation] [Joint US military]
Washington forces Japan's retreat from Iran oil fields
THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
Tokyo's decision to withdraw from a key oil drilling project in Iran after threats from Washington to impose sanctions is being interpreted as a major defeat for Japan's attempts to balance its own interests with its alliance with the United States.
On Thursday, Inpex Corp. announced that it would withdraw from development of the Azadegan oil field in southwestern Iran.
One senior Foreign Ministry official commented that the decision meant: "We have given up the independent line of diplomacy."
Inpex, in which the Japanese government effectively holds about 30 percent of shares, has invested 12.4 billion yen ($148.8 million) in its drilling rights at the Azadegan oil field, which is believed to have some of the largest reserves in the world. It faces losing much of that investment.
Beijing, which has become a major competitor with Japan for oil resources around the world, has quickly entered the picture as a possible replacement for the Japanese at Azadegan.
[Tribute] [Sanctions] [Iran]
China-Japan trawler incident: Japan’s unwise – and borderline illegal – detention of the Chinese skipper
September 30th, 2010
Author: Sourabh Gupta, Samuels International
In the inflamed commentary that has followed the Chinese skipper’s collision with Japanese coast guard vessels in the East China Sea, there has perhaps been no more flawed a characterisation than portrayal of the incident exclusively through the lens of territoriality. In fact, considering the location of the clash — in coastal waters abutting the disputed Senkaku Islands — and the prior existence of mutually agreed disciplines (Sino-Japanese Fisheries Agreement of 1997) that seek to functionally quarantine Senkaku-related bilateral fisheries disputes from the charged accompanying issue of territorial title, portrayals of the incident have ranged from the naïve to the disingenuous.
As such, not only are Chinese vessels — as per mutually agreed legal principle and fact — allowed to operate along the Senkaku’s coastline, subject to regulatory limitations no doubt imposed by a standing bilateral Fishery Joint Commission, but, more crucially, such vessels are also deemed to be plying the high seas and hence subject to flag-state jurisdiction – in this case’s China’s.
Bearing this background in mind, it is hard to square the Kan government’s domestic actions with its bilateral commitments in this trawler incident. Not only were the legalities of the 1997 fisheries accord in regards to effective high seas jurisdiction violated by Tokyo but the broader, commonly agreed principle of shrewdly building separation between territorial and fisheries issues in the East China Sea too was unilaterally re-interpreted.
For unofficial Washington, meantime, its almost-Wilhelmine haste to ascertain the US-Japan security arrangements’ Article V triggers vis-à-vis the Senkakus bespeaks an appetite not wholly consonant with its claimed desire for the pacific resolution of disputes.
[China confrontation] [US Japan alliance] [Territorial disputes]
Japan Noncommittal About N.Korean Succession
Senior Japanese government officials on Wednesday declined to draw definite conclusions from the appointment of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's son and heir Jong-un as vice chairman of the Workers Party's Central Military Commission, saying it is too soon to say for certain whether that establishes Kim Jong-un as the successor to the country's leadership.
"We'll have to further confirm and analyze what's really going on in the North," Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara told reporters.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshito Sengoku separately said, "It's too early to conclude that [Kim junior] was established as the successor."
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[Editorial] Escalating conflict between China and Japan
A Chinese ship captain arrested by Japan on charges of violating the country’s territorial waters near the Daoyutai Islands, called the Senkaku Islands in Japan, has returned home. However, friction continues between China and Japan. The Chinese government, which applied heavy pressure on Japan before the release, has been demanding an apology and compensation from Japan even after the captain was freed, while Japan is refusing to do so. Conflicts between the two countries at the private level have also remained tense. The general Chinese consulate in Nagasaki was attacked with a flare bomb, while in China there is seething public opinion supporting a policy hardline, arguing that China showed its superior power to Japan.
Rekindling China-Japan Conflict: The Senkaku/Diaoyutai Islands Clash
Translation by Kyoko Selden
He locates the incident, and its potentially far-reaching, even disastrous consequences, in the changing politics of Japan’s Democratic Party administration, and US policies pertaining to Japan, China and Korea.
Viewed from the Japanese side, the Chinese fishing boat entered Japanese territory (the area of the sea within twelve nautical miles of Kubajima, which is Japanese territory) and was fishing illegally. Thus Japan arrested it for interference with its duties in enforcing criminal law. However, viewed from the Chinese side, a Chinese boat, operating within Chinese waters off Taiwan, a Chinese territory, was arrested by the Japan Coast Guard, which is a foreign agency. (Viewed from Taiwan (ZHMG), the crew of a fishing boat in its territorial waters, an area that is a part of Ilan prefecture, was arrested by the Japan Coast Guard).
This time, however, the Japanese authorities captured a Chinese boat and arrested the captain. This is an epoch-making event that signifies a reversal of policies toward China.
After the incident, the Chinese authorities decided to dispatch fishery patrol boats which are under quasi-military authority in order to protect Chinese fishermen who operate around the Senkaku islands. For the first time, a situation has arisen in which Japan (the Coast Guard) and China (a quasi-military fishing patrol boat under the Department of Agriculture) confront each other at sea. This is a situation in which a battle could take place between China and Japan. A situation that did not exist for sixty-five years since the Asia-Pacific War, one in which Japan could again go to war, now looms. (Instead of the catch phrase “US-British demons” used during World War II, the threat of China will become the target of Japanese propaganda.) The Senkaku Islands, along with the Nansha Islands and the Yellow Sea, has been upgraded to a world-level maritime dispute in which China and countries around it, with US support, confront one another.
The crucial point of this arrest and indictment drama is not the reaction of China or the conduct of the fishing boat. Rather, it is the active political will of the Japanese government to arrest and indict when it knows perfectly well that this will anger China. The important question is why the Japanese government now acts to anger China.
Even in that kind of situation, however, if Japan and China are on the verge of going to war, the US military will not withdraw from Okinawa, and Japan’s dependence on US groups that promote the Japan-US alliance (Ampo) will be able to prolong their life. Senator Wants to Cut Overseas Base Construction
Another idea is that, on the contrary, the US may be leading Japan and China into conflict. Taking advantage of the Cheonan incident in late March, the US sided with South Korea, heightened North-South tensions, and angered China as the protector of the North. The US also backed Vietnam, which is agitating over the conflict with China over the Nansha Islands. This Senkaku fishing incident is of the same type. The US is pressing Korea, Vietnam and Japan to construct a net encircling China.
The Foreign Ministry, the head temple of pro-US dependence, is likely to be resuscitated immediately by Maehara’s appointment as Foreign Minister.
South Korea under President Lee Myung-bak, when instigated by the US over the Cheonan Incident, raced ahead with the theory of North Korea guilt on scant evidence, but when repulsed by China and Russia, it tried reconciliation with North Korea only to fall into greater political confusion.
Taiwan under Guomindang rule is irritated by Japan’s opposition to China. Japan and the US carry out military exercises in the name of protecting Taiwan from Chinese invasion.
[China confrontation] [US Japan alliance] [US global strategy] [Client]
The Other China Sea Flashpoint
Japan risks unleashing the genie of Chinese nationalism.
Rival claims to islands in the South China Sea have garnered plenty of attention in the last year, as Beijing raised its territorial ambition to the level of a "core interest." But an equally dangerous flashpoint lurks in the East China Sea. The collision of a Chinese fishing boat and two Japanese coast guard vessels near the Senkaku Islands last week brought a long-simmering quarrel between the two nations back on the boil.
The islands, known as the Diaoyutais in Chinese, are uninhabited, and when sleeping dogs are allowed to lie, the dispute is manageable. A 1997 fisheries agreement allows both sides' fishermen to operate free of regulation around the islands. So it's not clear why the Japanese coast guard needed to stop the Chinese boat.
While Japan needs to show that it won't be intimidated, using the Senkakus to do so would be dangerous. The genie of pan-Chinese nationalism re-emerged in the 1970s, for the first time since the 1949 civil war, after the U.S. returned the Senkakus to Japanese control along with Okinawa. This enraged Chinese in Taiwan and Hong Kong, who noted that the islands were first seized by Japan when Taiwan was taken as a colony in 1895. By rights, they reasoned, the islands should have been returned to China like other former colonial possessions.
[China confrontation] [Territorial disputes]
US, Japan to hold exercise to recapture disputed isles
RING OF FIRE: A military expert says that China wants to occupy some or all of the Ryukyu Islands because it could then project force on east coast areas in Taiwan
By William Lowther
Staff Reporter in Washington
Wednesday, Sep 15, 2010, Page 1
A massive military exercise of potential importance to Taiwan will be staged in December on and around the Ryukyu Islands by the Japan Self-Defense Forces and ships from the US 7th Fleet.
According to a study just released by James Holmes and Toshi Yoshihara, associate professors of strategy at the US Naval War College, the exercise is aimed at perfecting plans for recapturing the lightly protected islands should they be invaded by China.
[China confrontation] [Joint US military]
Japan Retreats With Release of Chinese Boat Captain
By MARTIN FACKLER and IAN JOHNSON
Published: September 24, 2010
TOKYO — A diplomatic showdown between Japan and China that began two weeks ago with the arrest of the captain of a Chinese trawler near disputed islands ended Friday when Tokyo accepted Beijing’s demands for his immediate release, a concession that appeared to mark a humiliating retreat in a Pacific test of wills.
Japan freed the captain, Zhan Qixiong, 41, who left Saturday on a chartered flight sent by the Chinese government to take him home. Mr. Zhan had been held by the Japanese authorities since his boat collided with Japanese patrol vessels on Sept. 7 near uninhabited islands in the East China Sea, and Japan had insisted that he would be prosecuted.
His release handed a significant victory to Chinese leaders, who have ratcheted up the pressure on Japan with verbal threats and economic sanctions.
Japan threatens build up of military forces amid rising tensions with China
Japan is threatening an almost 10 per cent increase in its ground defence forces in response to a growing diplomatic dispute with China.
By Danielle Demetriou in Tokyo
Published: 1:06PM BST 21 Sep 2010
Japan is considering stepping up its self-defence forces which include this plane flying over disputed islands in the region Photo: AP
The defence ministry is reported to be exploring plans to expand the size of the Japan's ground personnel by 13,000 troops – almost 10 per cent – as early as next year. The expansion would be the first in almost 40 years and come amid growing regional tensions, particularly in areas where China's navy is increasingly active.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [China confrontation]
The US-Japan ‘Alliance’, Okinawa, and Three Looming Elections
1. Agreement after Agreement
World attention through the early months of 2010 focussed on the tiny hamlet of Henoko in Northern Okinawa as Prime Minister Hatoyama struggled to find a way to meet his (and the Democratic Party of Japan's) electoral commitment to see that no substitute for the existing Futenma Marine Air Station be constructed in Okinawa. Confronted by adamantine pressures from the US government, and surrounded by uncooperative (some would say even traitorous) bureaucrats who insisted there was no other way but to submit to the US-Japan agreement to construct a new base negotiated by the former LDP government. Hatoyama duly capitulated, reaching agreement on 28 May 2010 that the 2009 Guam International Agreement (or Treaty) would be implemented, and that Japan would pay $7 billion towards the cost of relocating 8,000 Marines and 9,000 of their family members from Futenma to Guam by 2014, while also constructing a “Futenma Replacement Facility” in the vicinity of Henoko, by the shores of the Oura Bay in Northern Okinawa. Details of the “location, configuration and construction method would be completed … no later than the end of August” by a joint committee of specialists.
[US Japan alliance]
The Failure of Imagination: From Pearl Harbor to 9-11, Afghanistan and Iraq
John W. Dower with an introduction by Laura Hein
The Asia Pacific Journal is proud to offer its readers a preview of John W. Dower’s new book, Cultures of War: Pearl Harbor/ Hiroshima/ 9-11/ Iraq (New York: Norton 2010). In the first days after the Al Qaeda attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, prominent American news sources reacted by invoking the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s description of the event as an act of “infamy.” That analogy caught the attention of many people, but Dower has thought more deeply than most about the underlying issues. The resonances between the past and the present are profound and disturbing.
[Imperialism] [Japanese colonialism]
All Koreans Called upon to Eliminate Pro-Japanese Lackeys
Pyongyang, September 3 (KCNA) -- It is impossible to protect the dignity and sovereignty of the nation, force the Japanese reactionaries to redeem their crime-woven past and foil the Japanese militarists' moves to stage a comeback to Korea as long as such pro-Japanese sycophantic and treacherous group as the Lee Myung Bak group of south Korea is allowed to remain in power, observes Rodong Sinmun Friday in a signed article.
It goes on:
The Japanese reactionaries are sharpening their swords to revive militarism, persistently denying Japanese imperialists' blood-stained history of aggression, exploitation, massacre and maltreatment. This is a hideous crime as it infringes upon the dignity and sovereignty of the DPRK, challenges the history and justice and wantonly violates human ethics and morality.
What matters is that among the Koreans there is a group of wicked pro-Japanese sycophants and lackeys defending and encouraging such criminal acts of militarist Japan.
It is only two and a half years since the Lee Myung Bak group came to power but they committed bigger and more intolerable sycophancy and treachery to serve Japan than any preceding ruling quarters perpetrated in the whole period of their office.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Lee Myung-bak]
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Korean culture 'invades' Japan, a century after annexation
By Kang Hyun-kyung
Makgeolli, Korean rice wine also known as “drunken rice” in English, has been a big hit in Japan with its consumption soaring three times this year, compared with that of a year ago.
The domestic liquor became popular among Japanese, a century after Japan annexed Korea by force.
Now Korea has conquered Japanese taste buds with its cuisine and won their hearts and minds with dramas and K-pop.
Japan Urged to Make Apology for Its Past Crimes
Pyongyang, August 22 (KCNA) -- A spokesman for the Central Committee of the Democratic Front for the Reunification of Korea made public a statement on Sunday on the occasion of the lapse of a centenary since the Japanese imperialists fabricated the illegal "Korea-Japan Annexation Treaty".
The statement said that the treaty cooked up by the Japanese imperialist aggressors on August 22, 1910, was a completely illegal and invalid document and an unprecedented criminal document of aggression in view of historical facts and from the viewpoint of international law.
The Japanese imperialists enforced the harshest colonial rule in history over Korea, bringing unspeakably horrible misfortune and sufferings and disasters to the Korean nation, the statement noted, and went on:
Japan to Stage Drill in Response to Chinese Naval Buildup
Tension is growing in the South China Sea as Japan works out a response to China's naval buildup.
The Japan Self-Defense Forces plan to stage a massive drill in December to practice recapturing islands in the Ryuku chain, also known as the Nansei Islands, which stretches from the southern tip of Kagoshima to Okinawa and waters near Taiwan. The drill is based on a hypothetical seizure of the islands by China, the Yomiuri Shimbun daily reported on Thursday.
Japan will mobilize state-of-the-art equipment including F2 fighter jets and PC3 patrol planes. The 7th U.S. Fleet will support the drill, the daily said.
[China confrontation] [US Japan alliance] [Japanese remilitarisation]
Japanese Press Highlights Seoul's Diplomatic Defeat
South Korea suffered a total diplomatic defeat over North Korea's torpedo attack on the Navy corvette Cheonan, culminating in a toothless UN Security Council presidential statement on July 9, the Japanese media reported.
The Sankei Shimbun on Monday recalled that the UNSC presidential statement failed to point to the North as the culprit. "North Korea is wearing a smile of satisfaction and calling this a diplomatic victory."
"South Korea barely managed to save face but it suffered a deep wound in diplomacy as the UNSC statement failed to finger the North as the culprit," the daily added. "The U.S. and China engaged in a proxy war for South and North Korea at the UNSC. As a result, the North showed off its close ties with China to the world."
Japan apologizes to South Korea (sic) for decades of colonial rule
More than 50 years after Japan ended its Korean occupation at the close of World War II, many wounds have still not healed.
August 10, 2010|Ethan Kim, Staff writer
SEOUL — On the 100th anniversary Tuesday of Japan's annexation of the Korean peninsula, office worker Hwang Jung-won listened as Japan's prime minister apologized for his nation's role in decades of harsh colonial rule. But like many others here, she wasn't convinced of the sincerity of this latest mea-culpa.
"An apology is better than nothing, but if they are truly sorry, they should make compensations for all the victims during the colonization including comfort women," the 33-year-old said.
More than a half-century after Japan ended its 35-year occupation of Korea at the close of World War II, many wounds have still not healed. Many older Koreans still remember such indignities as being forced to change their names to Japanese, fight as soldiers and even work as prostitutes for the military – young girls who became known as comfort women.
Prime Minister Naoto Kan apologized to South Korean residents for his nation's transgressions all those generations ago. "For the enormous damage and suffering caused by this colonization, I would like to express once again our deep regret and sincere apology," Kan said in a statement endorsed by his cabinet.
Japan's Korean occupation came to a close with its surrender at the end of World War II. While Tokyo has in the past apologized for its past aggression against its Asian neighbors, Kan's statement on Tuesday specified South Korea. No mention was made of North Korea.
Racist undercurrents taint whaling rhetoric
Dougal McNeill sees uncomfortable parallels with past anti-Asian campaigns in Australasia debate
By DOUGAL MCNEILL
Sea Shepherd's Web site describes him as "the first New Zealander to be taken as a prisoner of war from the Southern Ocean to Japan," and there is no doubting Peter Bethune's popularity in this country. His trial in Tokyo earlier this year for interfering with Japan's annual whale hunt dominated New Zealand media, and direct action at sea connects with long-standing cultural currents to do with whales and whaling.
There is a worrying undercurrent of anti-Asian racism that permeates Sea Shepherd's publicity and arguments
Implications for Asia in Japan’s economic decline
August 11th, 2010
Author: David Envall, ANU
‘To lose one decade may be a misfortune…’ ran a recent article in The Economist, the unstated quip being that the next one was lost due to carelessness. Another ‘lost decade’ would further justify such dark humour and would also present the Asian region with a significant security challenge.
Japan’s economic decline is well established. That country’s stock market, which was just below 40,000 points in 1989, finished 2009 at just over 10,500. Yet Japan’s underlying economic problems are wider and more complex. They range from low growth and deflation to expanding public debt and rising inequality. And the global financial crisis has further exacerbated matters.
What makes Japan’s economic woes a regional security challenge is the important role of the US-Japan alliance in maintaining regional stability.
[US Japan alliance]
JAPAN OUTLINING NEW DEFENSE POLICY
Global Times (, Beijing, 2010/07/27) reported that Japan's new defense-program outline should enhance security on the country's southern islands and relax restrictions on arms exports, the Kyodo News Agency quoted a defense official as saying Monday. Akihisa Nagashima, parliamentary defense secretary and a senior lawmaker of Prime Minister Naoto Kan's Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), said at a party he was hosting in Tokyo that the government should "seriously consider" deploying more troops to southern Japanese islands, Kyodo reported. Nagashima listed five core aspects of the new outline, including a new strategy for national security, enhancing security in Japan's southwest region, transforming some of the Ground Self Defense Force into marines, participating more in international peacekeeping missions, loosening restrictions on arms exports and encouraging co-development of weapons technology with Japan's allies.
KAN STATEMENT EYED ON CENTENARY OF JAPAN'S ANNEXATION OF S. KOREA (sic)
Kyodo (Tokyo, 2010/08/05) reported that the Japanese government is eyeing issuing a statement by Prime Minister Naoto Kan, endorsed by the Cabinet, apologizing to the ROK for its colonial rule on this month's centenary of Japan's annexation of the Korean Peninsula, government sources said Thursday. The government plans to include in the statement a phrase expressing remorse and an apology for Japan's colonial rule and wartime aggression, similar to a statement released in August 1995 by then Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama, the sources said.
PRO-NORTH KOREA GROUP LOSING TAX BREAKS
Asahi Shimbun (Tokyo, ) reported that on Wednesday, the Japanese government released the property tax collection practices for Chongryon-related facilities at 130 local governments throughout Japan. According to officials of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, no local governments completely exempt Chongryon from paying property taxes on its facilities. There are now 94 local governments that no longer reduce property tax amounts for Chongryon facilities, while 30 still have a partial exemption. The remaining six local governments are reviewing their tax policies for the organization.
The US-Japan Alliance Must Evolve: The Futenma Flip-Flop, the Hatoyama Failure, and the Future
Translation by John Junkerman
After meandering through the course of some eight months, the administration of Prime Minister Hatoyama Yukio collapsed. It was as if, true to his "alien" nickname, Hatoyama disappeared into space with his plans for a game-changing paradigm shift, wearing that expression of sublime pleasure far removed from the fetters and hardship of earthlings, and taking with him the man who performed as the true authority, Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) secretary general Ozawa Ichiro.
But history is harsh. Hatoyama left the stage, with the problem of the US marine base at Futenma unresolved and having failed to set a course for Japanese diplomacy after his party's defeat of the long-ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).
[US-Japan alliance] [Hatoyama]
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Police arrest 2 for alleged illegal 'luxury' exports to N Korea
Thursday 08th July, 05:12 AM JST
Police on Thursday arrested the operator and an employee of a trading company in Sakaiminato, Tottori Prefecture, on suspicion of illegally exporting pianos to North Korea in violation of a ban on the export of ‘‘luxury’’ items to the country, investigative sources said. The company is suspected of having exported several pianos (sic) worth some 4 million yen from February to the fall of 2009 to North Korea via Dalian in northeastern China, in violation of the foreign trade control law, according to the sources.
Japan banned the export of luxury items to North Korea in November 2006 in response to the country’s first nuclear test a month earlier and expanded the ban to cover all exports to North Korea in June last year, due to Pyongyang’s second nuclear test and unresolved issues including the abduction of Japanese nationals. In late May, the Tottori prefectural police raided the company’s office and other related locations and have since analyzed confiscated materials such as account ledgers, the sources said.
Assault on the Sea: A 50-Year U.S. Plan to Build a Military Port on Oura Bay, Okinawa
Ryukyu Asahi Broadcasting (Video) and Norimatsu Satoko (Introduction and translation)
So often, Okinawan voices go unheard outside of Okinawa. So often, probing TV documentaries on such sensitive issues as the Battle of Okinawa or on Okinawa-Japan-U.S. relations are shown once and archived, never to return to public view. So often, even if they are broadcast outside of Okinawa, they are aired at odd times. This was the fate of this documentary on Oura Bay, which TV Asahi scheduled at 2:40 a.m., but it deserves the attention of more than a few night owls. The documentary, “Nerawareta Umi: Okinawa,Oura-wan - Maboroshi no gunko keikaku 50 nen” (The Targeted Sea - A 50-year Unrealized Plan for a Military Port in Oura Bay, Okinawa), was produced by QAB (Ryukyu Asahi Broadcasting) and broadcast in the first week of October 2009. This program reveals the little-known fact that the plan to build a large-scale U.S. military complex in Oura Bay, including a military port, was initiated as early as the mid-1960s. Oura Bay is located on the northeastern shore of Okinawa Island, adjacent to USMC Camp Schwab and Cape Henoko, where the U.S. and Japanese governments are planning to build the controversial “replacement facility” for the Futenma Air Station. While it is widely believed that this facility is being built as a substitute for the dangerous Marine airbase in a crowded residential area of Ginowan City, the evidence disclosed here confirms that the U.S. aims to take advantage of this opportunity to close an obsolete base and build (for the most part at Japanese expense) the brand-new military complex that it has sought to build since the 1960s.
In Japan but surrounded by U.S. influence, Okinawa struggles with split identity
By Chico Harlan
Thursday, July 1, 2010
CHATAN, JAPAN -- These days, when Melissa Tomlinson describes her fraught relationship with the United States, she speaks in English, the language she once rejected.
Part Japanese, part American, and torn apart
Okinawa: Video reports from Japan and America
She grew up here on the island of Okinawa. Her mother was Japanese, and her father was an American who served in the U.S. Army, came to Okinawa, fell in love, fell out of love, then fell out of touch.
"I had plans to track him down, find him and punch him in the face," said Tomlinson, 22. "I just wanted to figure out my identity."
Tomlinson's family tensions illustrate the complex cultural clashes that dominate the politics of Okinawa and, lately, relations between what have been the world's two largest economies as they cope with a rising China and a belligerent North Korea.
For the more than 60 years since the end of World War II, native Okinawans and U.S. troops stationed on nearby bases have developed deep, passionate and generation-spanning ties that complicate political and diplomatic debates about the future of the U.S. military here.
Those passions have recently claimed the head of one Japanese prime minister, Yukio Hatoyama, who had called for the Americans to be booted off Okinawa, and caused his successor to sharply tone down his party's assertive stance toward the United States.
A vocal majority of Okinawans still demand closing the Futenma Marine Corps Air Station
[Bases] [US Japan alliance]
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Okinawa and Guam: In the Shadow of U.S. and Japanese “Global Defense Posture”
Okinawa is Japan’s southernmost prefecture lying between mainland Japan and Taiwan off China’s east coast. The main island measures twice the size of Guam and has a population roughly seven times greater, or one-third the size of New York’s Long Island with 50,000 more people. On its slender, irregularly shaped island, which constitutes a mere 0.3 per cent of the country?Okinawa hosts 75 per cent in size of all U.S. only military bases in Japan, exclusive of sea and air space. U.S. bases include the Marine Corps jungle training, aviation, bombing and shooting ranges, landing training grounds and an ammunition depot, the largest Air Force base in the region with its own ammunition site, a naval station often visited by nuclear submarines and Army facilities, adding in sum to roughly one-fifth of the densely populated island. It is home to an estimated 24,600 U.S. service personnel, out of a total of 36,000 in all of Japan, many of them living with their dependents in fenced-in “American towns” with schools, gyms, golf courses, shopping centers and churches. Nearly 90 per cent (about 15,000 in number) of the Japan-based Marines are concentrated in Okinawa.
Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, located in the middle of a residential area of the city of Ginowan (population 91,000) north of the capital Naha, reportedly stations 2000 to 4000 personnel of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing of the III Marine Expeditionary Force.
[US Japan alliances] [Bases]
Japan to extend ADIZ despite ROC opposition
Source: United Daily News
Despite Taiwan’s opposition, the Japanese government is moving forward with plans to extend its air defense identification zone over the island of Yonaguni to the west.
Japan’s Ministry of Defense said June 24 that it would shift the air defense identification line running through Yonaguni westward the following day by extending it 12 nautical miles from baseline and adding 2 nautical miles as a buffer zone.
Yonaguni, the westernmost island of Japan and the last of the Ryukyu Islands chain, lies less than 110 kilometers east of Taiwan proper’s east coast.
Reports out of Japan have said that in view of mainland China’s growing military prowess, the Japanese defense ministry is currently studying plans to deploy Ground Self-Defense Forces to the nation’s southwestern islands. Expanding the ADIZ over Yonaguni is one of the measures aimed at strengthening the nation’s defenses in the area.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [China confrontation]
EDITORIAL: Kan's nuclear policy
The export of nuclear power plants is part of the economic growth strategy of the administration of Prime Minister Naoto Kan. The administration is now considering extending nuclear cooperation to India.
In pursuing its economic growth strategy, the Kan administration should focus on the Chinese market. Japan already has a nuclear cooperation agreement with China. To improve the safety of Chinese nuclear power plants that cluster along coastal areas, Japan should aim to expand its exports of highly reliable, earthquake-resistant components. We certainly think this will benefit both Japan and China.
Hiroshima: Breaking the Silence
Howard Zinn with an introduction by Yuki Tanaka
Introduction to The Bomb by Howard Zinn
In January 2010, Howard Zinn passed away at the age of 87. His new book, The Bomb, will soon be published in the U.S. by City Lights Books. The Japanese edition will be published simultaneously by Iwanami Publishing House. This small book consists of two chapters – Chapter One, “Hiroshima: Breaking the Silence” and Chapter Two, “The Bombing of Royan.” The texts of both chapters, which have previously been published separately elsewhere, are now combined in one book with a new introduction by the author. In Chapter One, which is excerpted here, Zinn lucidly analyzes the causes of the Pacific War and deals with important issues related to responsibility for the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in a comprehensive yet concise manner. In Chapter Two, he describes the tragic consequences of the unnecessary bombing mission over Royan, a small French coastal town, conducted by U.S. Forces only a few weeks before the end of World War II in Europe, a mission in which Zinn himself participated as a bombardier. Zinn passed away without seeing a final published copy of this compelling book, with its profound criticism of the inhumanity of indiscriminate bombing.
[Nuclear weapons] [WMD] [War crimes]
Prime Minister Hatoyama’s resignation at the
beginning of June highlights Japan’s dilemma. It wants an eastern equivalent of the
EU to guarantee stability and trade. But who will join, and will the US accept
Japan’s exit from a co-dependency guaranteed by treaty since the end of the second
by Martine Bulard
“You can choose your allies, but not your neighbours,” said Japanese diplomat
Yasushi Masaki, summing up the geopolitical options. Among his country’s awkward
neighbours are Russia (getting strong again), China (emerging as a world power) and
North Korea (making no secret of its nuclear ambitions). The image of Japan as a
kind of Alamo, defended only by the US, is popular with the Tokyo elite, many of
whom are Americanophiles.
But judging from their different approaches to North Korea, it will be a long
march. So far, China has favoured pressure and negotiation, South Korea has taken a
firm stance and Japan has refused to talk to North Korea. North Korea’s missile
launches across Japanese airspace and its nuclear ambitions worry Japan, even if
privately nobody really believes it is a serious threat.
[US Japan alliance] [Threat]
New Japan PM affirms US ties in call with Obama
By MARI YAMAGUCHI
The Associated Press
Sunday, June 6, 2010; 3:56 AM
TOKYO -- Japan's new prime minister made his diplomatic debut Sunday in a telephone call with President Barack Obama, reaffirming his country's alliance with Washington and promising to work hard on an agreement to relocate a contentious U.S. Marine base.
Naoto Kan, a straight-talking populist, was elected prime minister Friday, replacing Yukio Hatoyama who stepped down last week after breaking a campaign promise to move the Marine base off the southern island of Okinawa.
Kan told Obama that relations with Washington are a "cornerstone" of Japan's diplomacy and vowed to "further deepen and develop the Japan-U.S. alliance to tackle global and regional challenges," Japan's Foreign Ministry said.
He also promised Obama to "make a strenuous effort" to tackle the relocation of Marine Air Station Futenma, it said
[US Japan alliance] [Tribute] [Client]
KCNA on Hatoyama's Miserable Fate
Pyongyang, June 3 (KCNA) -- Japanese Prime Minister Hatoyama resigned on Wednesday.
This was a stern judgment given by the Japanese people and history to him as he unhesitatingly betrayed the people's mindset and yielded to the U.S. to realize his political ambition.
As universally known, he emerged prime minister from the Democratic Party, putting an end to the long history of the Liberal Democratic Party's rule because he advocated "independence" in Japan's policy toward the U.S. and made an exceptional election promise to ensure that the U.S. forces base in Futenma is transferred to an area outside Okinawa Prefecture or outside the country as strongly demanded by the Japanese people including the inhabitants of the prefecture, in particular.
The Japanese people expected him to put his promise into a reality and the international community followed with interest his attitude in the subsequent period.
But Hatoyama betrayed them by reneging on his promise.
Ties to U.S. Played Role in Downfall of Japanese Leader
By MARTIN FACKLER and MARK LANDLER
Published: June 2, 2010
SEOUL, South Korea — When Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama of Japan abruptly stepped down Wednesday, largely for his failure to move an American air base off Okinawa, he was essentially admitting he had not won popular support for a prominent campaign pledge: ending Japan’s postwar dependence on the United States for its security.
“This has proved impossible in my time,” Mr. Hatoyama said in a teary speech to explain his decision to step down. “Someday, the time will come when Japan’s peace will have to be ensured by the Japanese people themselves.”
Mr. Hatoyama’s plunge in popularity, just eight months after his victory ended a half-century of nearly unbroken one-party control, suggested that the Japanese public had rejected his attempt to rethink Japan’s cold-war-era alliance with the United States, its most important ally. Rising tensions between North and South Korea in recent weeks and an increasingly assertive China reinforced the public’s sense that Japan needed the United States more than ever.
The Obama administration’s reaction to the resignation suggested that it would not miss Mr. Hatoyama much either. The White House, in its statement, pointedly did not thank or praise him, saying only that the alliance would “continue to strengthen,” regardless of who was in charge. Senior officials often seemed frustrated by his decision-making, and President Obama never developed a rapport with him.
[Hatoyama] [Inversion] [Tribute]
Prime Minister of Japan Tells Nation He Plans to Quit
By MARTIN FACKLER
Published: June 1, 2010
SEOUL, South Korea — Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama of Japan, who swept into power last year with bold promises to revamp the country, then faltered over broken campaign pledges to remove an American base from Okinawa, announced Wednesday that he would step down.
Mr. Hatoyama faced growing pressure to quit, eight months after taking office, amid criticism that he had squandered an electoral mandate to change Japan’s sclerotic postwar political order.
Since taking office in September, he had come to be seen as an indecisive leader. This image was reinforced by his wavering and eventual backtracking on the base issue, which set off huge demonstrations on Okinawa and drove his approval ratings below 25 percent.
Calls had been rising within his Democratic Party for him to step aside before elections on July 11 that are seen as a referendum on the party’s first year in power.
“Unfortunately, the politics of the ruling party did not find reflection in the hearts of the people,” Mr. Hatoyama told an emergency meeting of Democratic lawmakers, broadcast live on television. “It is regrettable that the people were gradually unwilling to listen to us.”
Mr. Hatoyama is the fourth Japanese prime minister to resign in four years, which is likely to renew soul-searching about Japan’s inability to produce an effective leader and to feed concerns that political paralysis is preventing Japan from reversing a nearly two-decade-long economic decline.
[Tribute] [Hatoyama] [Cheonan]
Ampo’s Troubled 50th: Hatoyama’s Abortive Rebellion, Okinawa’s Mounting Resistance and the US-Japan Relationship
This is the first of a three part comprehensive survey of the US-Japan relationship defined by the Ampo Treaty of 1960, and refined subsequently in ways that have deepened Japanese and Okinawan subordination to American global power and ambitions. The article focuses on questions pertaining to the legacy of Article Nine of the Constitution, and to Okinawa and base relations as a template for exploring the troubled Ampo relationship, including the powerful and sustained Okinawan resistance to US base expansion.
[US Japan alliance] [Hatoyama]
Party defection, poll results highlight unpopularity of Japan's Hatoyama
By Blaine Harden
Monday, May 31, 2010
TOKYO -- Japan's increasingly unloved prime minister was battered Sunday with more demoralizing news, as a small political party abandoned his ruling coalition ahead of a key election and a poll showed that more than half the electorate wants him to quit.
Less than a year ago, Yukio Hatoyama garnered a landslide election victory that ended nearly a half-century of one-party rule. His Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) seemed then to have a historic mandate to revive the country's stagnant economy and reform the government's sclerotic bureaucracy.
But Hatoyama has since shown an astonishing capacity for indecision. His government frittered away most of the past nine months trying to decide whether and where the U.S. Marine Corps would be able to relocate an air base on the island of Okinawa.
Finally, he decided Friday to renege on a campaign pledge to move the noisy (sic) base off the island. Acceding to U.S. pressure, he agreed to uphold a previous government's commitment to keep the Marines on Okinawa, albeit at a less populous location.
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Reports: Japan party quits government over US base
By MARI YAMAGUCHI
The Associated Press
Sunday, May 30, 2010; 3:57 AM
TOKYO -- A small party decided Sunday to leave Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama's ruling coalition over his broken campaign promise to move a U.S. Marine base off Okinawa island, media reports said.
Hatoyama on Friday dismissed Gender Equality and Consumer Affairs Minister Mizuho Fukushima, head of the Social Democratic Party, after she refused to sign a Japan-U.S. agreement to move the American base to a less crowded part of Okinawa.
Executives of the Social Democrats decided at a meeting Sunday to withdraw from the ruling coalition, public broadcaster NHK and Kyodo News agency reported. Party officials could not immediately be reached for comment.
Because of the party's small size, the departure of the Social Democrats is unlikely to bring down Hatoyama's Democratic Party of Japan-led government. But his poor handling of the base row could hurt the Democrats' performance in upper house elections expected in mid July.
Japanese PM reaffirms support for Seoul's responses to sunken ship
Voiceware Text Obama calls for tougher engagement with N.K. Caviar vending machine in Russia N.K. military ends guarantee of safety of joint programs UAE Prince’s Korea visit strengthens business ties Airlines fined W120b for fixing cargo service fees Seoul launches antisub drills, raises vigilance Seoul may control foreign-exchange forwards Korea inks $1b property deal with China Hana Financial gears up for World Cup Lotte emerges as Asia’s No. 1 retailer
JEJU ISLAND -- President Lee Myung-bak and Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama reaffirmed during a summit here on Saturday their close partnership in pressuring North Korea, which Seoul accuses of torpedoing a South Korean warship.
"Japan will wholeheartedly support South Korea (in responding to the sunken ship case)," Hatoyama said during the 90-minute summit.
"President Lee did an admirable job in calmly dealing with the case. I’d like to once again pay condolences to the 46 victims on behalf of the Japanese government."
How Japan Got N.Korea to Apologize
Park Jung-hoon It is not surprising to see North Korea up in arms threatening an "all-out war," ranting and raving in protest when presented with evidence linking it directly to the attack on the South Korean Navey corvette Cheonan. North Korea has committed numerous crimes that cost South Korean lives, but has always denied responsibility and blamed the South for "fabricating" accusations, from the 1968 raid by a hit squad sent to assassinate former President Park Chung-hee to the bombing of the Korean Air passenger jet in 1987 and the submarine infiltration back in 1996. Even when presented with concrete evidence and facing mounting international condemnation, North Korea has accused the outside world of conspiring against it.
But there was one exception. Japan was able to get an apology out of North Korea and received a promise from the North not to repeat such offenses. While constantly touting its "Juche" ideology of self-reliance and repeating the fact that South Koreans are its "brethren," North Korea has bowed its head to Japan while ranting and raving at the South.
In September 2002, North Korean leader Kim Jong-il admitted to visiting Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi that his government kidnapped 14 Japanese citizens. Koizumi had presented Kim with the option of normalizing diplomatic relations, and Kim said the abductions were the result of "rashness and heroism" during the 1970s and 80s by some North Korean officials and offered an apology.
[Koizumi] [Renege] [Abductees]
US, Japan to keep US military base in Okinawa
Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama raises his head skyward as he passes by a banner reading "Keep the promise" in Naha during his tour to Okinawa, southern Japan, Sunday, May 23, 2010. Hatoyama apologized Sunday to the people of Okinawa for ditching his campaign promise to move a U.S. military base off the island, a concession likely to further erode his grip on power. During his party's campaign for last year's elections that swept him to power, Hatoyama had promised to relocate U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station off Okinawa, perhaps even out of Japan. (AP Photo/Kyodo News) (AP) Network NewsX Profile
By TOMOKO A. HOSAKA
The Associated Press
Friday, May 28, 2010; 2:58 AM
TOKYO -- Washington and Tokyo agreed Friday to keep a contentious U.S. Marine base in the southern island of Okinawa, reaffirming the importance of their security alliance amid heightened tensions on the Korean peninsula.
In a joint statement, the two allies agreed to move the Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to Henoko, in a less crowded, northern part of the island. The decision is broadly in line with a 2006 deal forged with the previous, conservative Tokyo government, but represents a broken campaign promise on the part of Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama.
[Hatoyama] [Tribute] [Threat]
Japan May Restrict North Korean Fund Remittances, Nikkei Says
By Fergus Maguire
May 25 (Bloomberg) -- Japan may increase restrictions on fund remittances to North Korea in response to the communist country’s suspected sinking of a South Korean warship, Nikkei English News said, without citing anyone.
Japan may lower the 10 million yen threshold at which remittances have to be reported to the finance minister, the Nikkei said. The government may also increase travel restrictions, and bar ships that have gone to North Korea from entering Japanese ports, the report said.
Online Japanese Dictionaries and Glossaries [An Annotated Catalogue]
Clayton School of Information Technology, Monash University,
Clayton/Melbourne, VIC, Australia.
South Korea to halt all trade with North Korea over sinking of Cheonan warship
By John Pomfret
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, May 24, 2010
BEIJING -- South Korean President Lee Myung-bak said Monday that his country is stopping all trade and most investment with North Korea and closing its sea lanes to North Korean ships after the nation's deadly attack on a South Korean warship.
The attack has provided political cover for Japan's government -- only the second opposition party to take power in nearly 50 years -- to end an eight-month-long feud with the United States and accept a plan to relocate a U.S. Marine base within Okinawa. On Sunday, Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama announced that his country would abide by a 14-year-old agreement to move the Futenma air base in Okinawa to a less populated part of the island.
[US Japan alliance] [Cheonan] [Manipulation] [Threat] [Hatoyama]
When Empires Join Hands: Japanese Military Joins U.S. And NATO In Horn Of Africa
By Rick Rozoff
URL of this article:
Global Research, April 26, 2010
Japanese navy commander Keizo Kitagawa recently spoke with Agence France-Presse and disclosed that his nation was opening its first overseas military base – at any rate since the Second World War – in Djibouti in the Horn of Africa.
Kitagawa is assigned to the Plans and Policy Section of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, as his nation’s navy is called, and is in charge of the deployment.
AFP quoted the Japanese officer as stressing the unprecedented nature of the development: “This will be the only Japanese base outside our country and the first in Africa.” 
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Why Is the Japanese Press So Interested in N.Korea?
Japanese newspaper reports over the weekend that North Korean leader Kim Jong-il is about to visit China are not the first instance that dailies there have raced each other to deliver the latest scoop about North Korea. When the search for a successor to the North Korean leadership was hot news, Fuji TV beat its rivals in intense competition by exclusively reporting the whereabouts of Kim Jong-il's eldest son Jong-nam and second son Jong-chol.
Major international news agencies jumped on the trail of Kim Jong-il's third son Jong-un last year, and the Mainichi Shimbun was the first to publish a photograph of him taken when he was 16 at a public secondary school in Bern, Switzerland. But the abundant scoops have included a number of duds.
The Japanese press employs a relatively large number of reporters specializing in North Korea.
[Regime change] [Abductees]
History on Trial: French Nippon Foundation Sues Scholar for Libel to Protect the Honor of Sasakawa Ryichi
Karoline Postel-Vinay with Mark Selden
Something unusual happened on 5 March 2009 in the quiet compound of the French school known as Sciences Po, the National Foundation for Political Science, from which most of the past and present French governmental elite graduated. It was the first day of a major conference on “Memory, The Writing of History and Democratization” that assembled political scientists, sociologists, and historians, addressing a vast array of issues related to World War Two, Stalinism and Maoism, and recent African wars. Around one hundred people had gathered in one of the main lecture halls. The first session was ending when a woman from the audience quickly approached the speakers’ table. She was not your typical academic conference attendant. A bailiff, she was there to hand one of the speakers a subpoena to appear before the Paris district court at the request of the “French Sasakawa Foundation” (FFJDS).1 The Foundation, having filed a libel suit against that particular scholar, had chosen this flamboyant way to make the case public.
Recent Developments in Korean-Japanese Historical Reconciliation
The Hankyoreh and William Underwood
Following through on a pledge made in early 2010, the Japanese government in late March supplied the South Korean government with a list of 175,000 Koreans forced to work for private companies in Japan during World War Two. The long-sought records include details about the 278 million yen (about $3 million, unadjusted for interest or inflation) in wages the workers earned but never received. The funds reside in Japan’s national treasury today; the government has never indicated what it intends to do with the money. The data will enable authorities in Seoul to verify the forced labor experience of individuals listed in the records, and to finally compensate them under a South Korean program set up in 2007.
“Tenno-empire” and the Struggle Against Established Power in Japan – One Historian’s Engagement
Translated by Meredith Box and Gavan McCormack
1. The Tenno-Empire – A Definition
The Tenno-empire (tenno teikoku, literally “emperor empire”) is Japan’s hierarchical class order combining authority and power that oppresses and exploits the common people. At its summit are the bureaucrats who support the emperor, together with the complex of political parties and monopoly capital and its affiliates.
The Tenno-empire model continued to evolve from the Meiji Restoration to the war period, was dissolved after defeat in the war, but then, after several years during which it stayed hidden during the US occupation, revived from the 1960s around its kernel of the symbolic emperor system. Thereafter, allied with the US global empire - which had become a super-empire - it flaunted its power both within Japan and beyond, and has continued to do so ever since.
Okinawans rally for US base to be moved off island
By Mari Yamaguchi
The Associated Press
Sunday, April 25, 2010; 12:05 PM
TOKYO -- Tens of thousands of Okinawan residents and leaders demanded a U.S. Marine base be moved off the island at a mass rally Sunday, inflamed by speculation the government may finally accept a plan to merely relocate it to another part of the southern Japanese island.
Okinawans have long complained of the burden of hosting most of 47,000 American troops in Japan under a security pact. Okinawa was under U.S. occupation until 1972 and many residents resent the U.S. military presence as legacy of Japan's World War II defeat.
Tokyo and Washington agreed in 2006 to move sprawling Futenma Marine Corps air field to a less crowded part of Okinawa and to move 8,000 of its Marines to Guam. But when Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama took power last September he said he would not honor the deal struck by his political rivals and promised to find a site off Okinawa for the troops.
"We will not allow the base to stay here," Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima told the cheering crowd. "We want the Hatoyama government to keep its promise."
[US military] [Tribute] [Takeover]
Japan moves to settle dispute with U.S. over Okinawa base relocation
By John Pomfret
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, April 24, 2010
The Japanese government indicated Friday that it would broadly accept a plan to relocate a U.S. Marine Corps base on Okinawa, a move that could ease months of discord between the two allies, U.S. and Japanese officials said.
Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada presented U.S. Ambassador John V. Roos with a proposal to settle the dispute, telling him that Japan was moving toward accepting significant parts of a 2006 deal to move the Futenma air station from the center of a city of 92,000 to a less populated part of Okinawa, the sources said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.
[US Japan alliance] [Tribute] [Hatoyama]
Japan’s Stumbling Revolution
Karel van Wolferen
Seven months after the Democratic Party of Japan’s triumph in the national elections of 30 August 2009, Hatoyama Ichiro’s government is meeting with so much trouble that rumours have begun to circulate that it is doomed.
For two decades, since he wrote his classic (and best-selling) The Enigma of Japanese Power (1989), seasoned political commentator, Karel van Wolferen, has been thinking and writing about the problem of political power, the Japanese state’s absent “centre.” Here he offers his reflections on the current crisis, the controversial Democratic Party (Minshuto) Secretary-General, Ozawa Ichiro, and the role of the Prosecutor’s Office. Van Wolferen’s outspoken defense of Ozawa (“one of the most formidable political figures in the world today”, superior to President Obama in his “political skills and understanding of the dynamics of power”), his critical attention to what he sees as the failure of the Japanese media, and his warnings of the possible consequences of a failure and/or collapse of the Hatoyama government, merit careful reading.
This analysis was written for the monthly Chuo Koron, where it appears in Japanese in the March 2010 issue. The Asia-Pacific Journal is grateful to the author for his permission to publish it here in English. (GMcC)
Not only domestic forces but also Washington will seek to torpedo the plans for a truly independent Japan that can stand on its own feet in the world.
We learn from this that the Obama administration does not have its act together with respect to the revamped diplomatic attitude toward the world it announced when taking over from George W. Bush. It also proves that the American military has taken over far more American foreign policy than the details that relate to the countries it occupies
The problem goes deeper nowadays. A big complication is that the United States has slipped into the grip of a militant nationalism. It is hardly a secret that its designs to deal with the emerging world reality include building military encirclement for containing China. It counts on Japan to be part of that plan.
[Hatoyama] [US Japan alliance] [China confrontation]
Richard H. Minear, in conversation with Mark Selden
Charles Pellegrino’s The Last Train from Hiroshima (Henry Holt, 2010)1 came highly touted. Its special claim to fame seemed to be its scientific background. The jacket identified the author as someone who “has contributed articles to many scientific journals based on his work in paleobiology, nuclear propulsion systems for space exploration, and forensic archaeology.” A blurb from a research associate at the American Museum of Natural History (he is an associate professor of biology at C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University) praises the “scientist’s eye for detail” that Pellegrino exhibits. The reviewer in the New York Times wrote: “He pays particular attention to forensic detail, and provides a slow-motion, almost instant-by-instant explanation of how the atom bomb discharged its fury.”2 The reviewer for the Washington Post wrote: Pellegrino “lets cool, scientific description produce its own shock effects. He shows us the physics of atomic destruction. It may be that what makes Hiroshima so horrifying is seeing human beings reduced to bare elements, death a matter of chemicals, not consciousness. Pellegrino describes what happens inside: iron separating from blood, an atomic refinery, bones becoming incandescent, marrow boiling away, soft tissue dissolving in Ebola-like bleeding.”3
Despite all this cheerleading, Last Train is a train wreck. The first sign of trouble came from U.S. airmen on the Hiroshima and Nagasaki missions; they charged that Pellegrino informant Joseph Fuoco, who claimed to have been a last-minute replacement on the Hiroshima mission, flew on neither mission.4 Then came questions about Pellegrino’s story that a civilian weapons specialist died of radiation on Tinian the night before the mission and about his assertion that the Hiroshima bomb was a “dud.”5 Then came the news that Pellegrino’s claim to have a Ph. D. from Victoria University in New Zealand was false.6
Once drawn to U.S. universities, more Japanese students staying home
By Blaine Harden
Sunday, April 11, 2010
TOKYO -- Takuya Otani would love an MBA from a top U.S. business school, but he won't apply. When he graduates from college in Tokyo next year, he'll pass on an American degree and attend graduate school in Japan.
"I am a grass-eater," Otani said wistfully, using an in-vogue expression for a person who avoids stress, controls risk and grazes contentedly in home pastures.
Once a voracious consumer of American higher education, Japan is becoming a nation of grass-eaters. Undergraduate enrollment in U.S. universities has fallen 52 percent since 2000; graduate enrollment has dropped 27 percent.
It is a steep, sustained and potentially harmful decline for an export-dependent nation that is losing global market share to its highly competitive Asian neighbors, whose students are stampeding into American schools.
Total enrollment from China is up 164 percent in the past decade; from India, it has jumped 190 percent. South Korea has about 76 million fewer people than Japan, but it now sends 2 1/2 times as many students to U.S. colleges.
Tokyo Unrepentant Over Claim to Dokdo
Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has made it clear that Tokyo continues to claim Korea's easternmost islets of Dokdo.
Japan's latest diplomatic bluebook states that the country regards the islets as Japanese territory under international law and illegally occupied by Korean troops.
Soon after Hatoyama came into office in September last year, he visited Korea and vowed to "face up" to his country's past mistakes, but his government appears determined carry on the position of his Liberal Democratic predecessors that the issue is purely a territorial spat, rather than an issue that should be seen from the perspective of colonial domination.
Seoul Decries Tokyo’s Claim to Dokdo Islets
By Na Jeong-ju
The presidential office expressed deep regret Tuesday over Japan's territorial claims to a set of South Korean islets in the East Sea, saying the provocative act is a result of its misunderstanding and distortion of historical facts.
"It is truly disappointing," Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Park Sun-kyoo said, hours after Japan's Diet approved the government's diplomatic bluebook, an annual report on foreign policies and activities, which described Dokdo, called Takeshima in Japanese, as part of Japan's territory.
Memories and Aporias in the Japan-Korea Relationship
2010 is the centennial year of Japan's takeover of Korea. The history of this event is of enormous significance to the 20th century, and not simply because it garnered Japan a foothold on mainland Asia. Although Koreans see it very differently, for Japan, the 1910 annexation of Korea established Japan's entry as a power on the world stage.
Although Japanese Prime Minister Hatoyama Yukio's administration has signaled shifts from the "abductees above all" approach that Japan's Liberal Democratic Party pursued from 2002-2009, to the continued bewilderment of many in Washington, Beijing, and Seoul, Japan's regional policy still champions the abductee issue in the same breath as nuclear weapons, indicative of the fact that the LDP's stance succeeded in abducting Japanese society and blinding it to the nation's past actions in the Korean peninsula. In the wake of Japan's collapsed empire, the founders of North Korea held purge trials against those among them most complicit with Japanese control.  "Bad Japan" stories wove North Korea together from the nation's inception in markedly different ways from the South, where, as is well known, many of those most complicit with Japanese rule glided into American-approved positions of power, the physical and phenomenological tendrils of which exist very much to this day. The centrality then, and in many respects truth of North Korea's "bad Japan" thesis rests on the stark fact that Japan kidnapped and enslaved millions of Koreans during the colonial era.
[Japanese colonialism] [Abductees]
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Japan to extend sanctions against North Korea
Monday, March 29, 2010; 11:52 PM
TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan will extend sanctions against North Korea first imposed after the reclusive country tested a nuclear device and ballistic missiles in 2006, a senior official said on Tuesday.
The sanctions, previously set to expire on April 13, ban imports from North Korea and prohibit North Korean ships from calling at Japanese ports.
"Basically, I don't see any reason for not extending (the sanctions)," Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano told a news conference.
[Sanctions] [|Satellite] [Hatoyama] [Continuity]
Koreans come together to memorialize Ahn Jung-geun
Participants from N.Korea and S.Korea to honor the 100 year anniversary of the Ahn’s martyrdom
» Father Ham Se-ung, Catholic priest of South Korea, left, and Jang Jae-un, chairperson of Korean Council of Religionists from North Korea shake hands in front of the bust statue of Ahn Jung-geun at the Lushun Prison in China, March 26.
“Today we carry Ahn in our hearts. The hearts of 80 million Koreans, North and South, are Ahn’s tomb.”
On Friday, 100 years after Ahn Jung-geun met his death in a imperial Japanese execution ground, his ancestors from North Korea and South Korea put aside their tensions for a moment as they met for a memorial mass at a hotel in Dalian, where the former Lushun Prison was located. The Ahn Jung-geun Memorial Society, led by Father Ham Se-ung, and an Korean Council of Religionists from North Korea led by Chairperson Jang Jae-un, held the first North Korea-South Korea memorial ceremony after a long period of preparation.
The priests, including Ham, wore red vestments and lit a red candle on the altar, honoring Ahn as a martyr. In the last moment of his life as he was heading towards the execution grounds, Ahn read a will to his two brothers, mother and wife. “Even if I shall go to heaven, I will strive for Korea’s independence. If news of Korea’s independence reaches heaven, I shall dance and cry mansei in celebration.”
[Japanese colonialism] [Terrorism] [Joint Korean]
Centenary of Demise of An Jung Gun Observed
Pyongyang, March 25 (KCNA) -- The History Society of the DPRK issued an article on Thursday 100 years since An Jung Gun, a patriotic martyr, was killed by the Japanese imperialist hangmen.
An Jung Gun shot to death Hirobumi Ito, the chieftain of Japan's aggression on Korea, at Haerbin Railway Station on Oct. 26, 1909. This was a stern punishment meted out to the Japanese imperialists by the Korean people as well as a patriotic deed as it showed that the Koreans are a nation strong in the spirit of independence and they do not fear to die for the restoration of the national sovereignty, the article said, and went on:
[Japanese colonialism] [Terrorism]
Koreas United Over Ahn Jung-geun
By Do Je-hae
Despite recent shaky relations, the two Koreas are united in commemorating the legacy of independence activist Ahn Jung-geun (1879-1910).
Ahn was executed 100 years ago today in a Chinese prison for his 1909 assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Hirobumi Ito (1841-1909), who had masterminded Japan's annexation of Korea.
Representatives from the two Koreas will participate in a series of commemorative events from today for Ahn in Lushun, China, the site of the prison where he was executed a few months after he shot Ito to death at a train station in the northeastern Chinese city of Harbin.
[Joint Korean] [Japanese colonialism]
Korean, Japanese Historians Agree to Ditch Occupation Theory
Historians from Korea and Japan have agreed that a theory long asserted in Japan about its occupation of ancient Korean kingdoms is false.
Researchers from both countries agreed to reject the term "Imnailbonbu" which justified Japan's colonization of Korea from the end of the 4th century to the 6th century A.D.
Documents Shed Light on Last Days of Korean Freedom Fighter
The Japanese colonial administration drastically reinforced security around the prison in Lushun and set up a temporary court within the prison while Korean independence fighter Ahn Jung-geun was held there, recently discovered documents show. Ahn assassinated Japan's first resident-general in Korea, Hirobumi Ito.
Changing Identity: Koreans Told to Adopt Japanese Names
By Michael Breen
Korea Times Columnist
This is the 12th in a 60-part series featuring 60 major events in Korea's modern history from 1884 till now. The project is part of the 60th anniversary of The Korea Times, which falls on Nov. 1.
After the suppression of the independence protests of 1919, the Japanese colonial authorities set about absorbing Korea with a strategy combining force and sophistication that forced independence activists to operate overseas, where they were largely ineffective.
The Will and Imagination to Return to Common Sense: Toward a Restructuring of the US-Japan Alliance
Translation by John Junkerman
In a discussion of early 20th-century China, the writer Lu Xun lamented how the Chinese, completely accustomed to their colonial status, had become “slave-faced.” Slave-faced is the expression of a person who is accustomed to being persecuted and lives by toadying to the powerful. It is the hollow expression of those who have lost the courage to think on their own about the condition they are in, of those who do not determine their own fates. That is “slave-faced.”
Tracking media reports on the Futenma base relocation issue since the fall of 2009, I realized that slave-faced expressions have become a permanent feature of Japanese intellectuals, including the media. The US-Japan military alliance has become fixed as an unalterable postulate, and the intellectual indolence of those who utterly reject any discussion of altering the alliance is simply astonishing.
To return to common sense. This is what is required of the Japanese, to return to the common sense of international society and to restore the recognition that it is unnatural for foreign military forces to be stationed for an extended period of time in an independent nation. A nation that does not have the will to transcend sophistry and narrow self-interest and confront this problem directly cannot be called an independent nation. Let me once again specify the facts we must face.
[Imperialism] [Client] [Tribute]
The Great Tokyo Air Raid and the Bombing of Civilians in World War II
The Asahi Shimbun
The firebombing of Tokyo on the night of March 9-10, 1945 touched off the wave of firebombing that destroyed 64 Japanese cities and culminated in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. While Hiroshima and Nagasaki have been deeply engraved on the consciousness of humanity and commemorated in monuments, museums, films, novels and textbooks, the firebombing and napalming of civilians of many other Japanese and Asian cities has largely disappeared from consciousness, except for the victims. The bombing of March 9-10 took the lives of 100,000 Tokyoites and leveled sixteen square miles of the city in the most devastating raid in human history to that time . . . according to Japanese and US Strategic Bombing Survey figures, and may have taken the lives of many more. In recent years commemorative efforts have begun to remember the events and the victims, and lawsuits have been filed seeking damages for victims.
Japanese support for Joseon schools’ inclusion in free education policy becoming widespread
In the wake of increasing support from Japanese lawmakers and citizens, the schools may be included in the Hatoyama government‘s new free education policy
The main entrance to the Tokyo Joseon Middle and High School located near Jujo Station in the Kita District of Tokyo customarily opens in a narrow fashion in order to prevent intruders from entering who may assault the students.
Putting an end to the disgraceful Joseon school controversy
It appears the controversy that began when certain figures in Japan pushed to exclude Joseon schools from the government’s plan to make high school education free from 2010, which begins next semester, has entered its final stage. A final decision has yet to be reached, but there are media reports that Japanese Prime Minister Hatoyama Yukio and Education Minister Kawabata Tatsuo have agreed to include the Jeseon schools in the program.
If the reports are true, this is fortunate. Yet the attitude revealed by Japanese politicians over the course of the controversy has been very disappointing. This is because it clearly exposed not only their insufficient understanding of education, which is a universal right, but also their discriminatory attitudes toward Koreans living in Japan.
Mission Impossible? Misawa as the Forward Staging Area for the Secret US-Japan Nuclear Deal and the Bombing of Iraq
Translation by Kyoko Selden
“4200 miles,” says a US military source I have before my eyes. Four F-16 combat planes that had been dispatched from the Misawa Base covered this tremendous distance flying non-stop to Iraq before flying from Baghdad to eastern Afghanistan, where they performed nighttime precision bombing raids.
[Imperialism] [US military] [US Japan alliance]
Can Japan Say No to Washington?
By John Feffer, March 4, 2010
Originally published in TomDispatch
For a country with a pacifist constitution, Japan is bristling with weaponry. Indeed, that Asian land has long functioned as a huge aircraft carrier and naval base for U.S. military power. We couldn’t have fought the Korean and Vietnam Wars without the nearly 90 military bases scattered around the islands of our major Pacific ally. Even today, Japan remains the anchor of what’s left of America’s Cold War containment policy when it comes to China and North Korea. From the Yokota and Kadena air bases, the United States can dispatch troops and bombers across Asia, while the Yokosuka base near Tokyo is the largest American naval installation outside the United States.
[US Japan alliance]
The Travails of a Client State: An Okinawan Angle on the 50th Anniversary of the US-Japan Security Treaty
“It is incredible how as soon as a people become subject, it promptly falls into such complete forgetfulness of its freedom that it can hardly be roused to the point of regaining it, obeying so easily and so willingly that one is led to say that this people has not so much lost its liberty as won its enslavement.”
Etienne de la Boétie (1530-1563). Discours de la servitude volontaire ou le Contr'un (Discourse on Voluntary Servitude, or the Anti-Dictator).
For a country in which ultra-nationalism was for so long a problem, the weakness of nationalism in contemporary Japan is puzzling. Six and a half decades after the war ended, Japan still clings to the apron of its former conqueror. Government and opinion leaders want Japan to remain occupied, and are determined at all costs to avoid offence to the occupiers. US forces still occupy lands they then took by force, especially in Okinawa, while the Government of Japan insists they stay and pays them generously to do so. Furthermore, despite successive revelations of the deception and lies (the secret agreements) that have characterized the Ampo relationship, one does not hear any public voice calling for a public inquiry into it.  Instead, on all sides one hears only talk of “deepening” it. In particular, the US insists the Futenma Marine Air Station on Okinawa must be replaced by a new military complex at Henoko, and with few exceptions politicians and pundits throughout the country nod their heads.
[Imperialism] [Nationalism] [US Japan alliance]
Ethnic Koreans in Japan Unlikely to Get the Vote Soon
It is becoming clearer that the promised vote for permanent foreign residents including ethnic Koreans in Japan will not be forthcoming due to opposition from right-wing groups and flagging determination in the ruling party.
After a Cabinet meeting last Friday, Interior Minister Kazuhiro Haraguchi told reporters, "Because of conflicts of opinions within the ruling coalition, it's very hard for the government to submit the bill for parliamentary passage."
Indiscriminate Application of Tuition-free High Schools Demanded in Japan
Pyongyang, February 28 (KCNA) -- Japanese concerned with education and those concerned of Korean schools expressed their resolution to conduct activities to check and frustrate the movement aimed at excluding Korean schools from the "tuition-free program for senior high schools" due to go into force in Japan from April.
The 33rd national exchange meeting was held at Tokyo Korean Senior High School on Feb. 21 under the sponsorship of the Japan-Korea Society for Scientific and Educational Interchange.
Attending it were Japanese concerned with education and those concerned of Korean schools.
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Targeting Toyota: US Economic War Directed Against Japan
By Mike Whitney
Global Research, February 25, 2010
Does anyone really believe that Toyota is being pilloried in the media for a few highway fatalities?
Nonsense. If Congress is so worried about innocent people getting killed, then why haven't they indicted US commander Stanley McChrystal for blowing up another 27 Afghan civilians on Sunday?
But this isn't about bloodshed and it's certainly not "safety regulations". It's about politics--bare-knuckle Machiavellian politics. An attack on Toyota is an attack on Japan's leading export. It is an act of war.
Japan to Come Clean About Secret Military Pacts with U.S.
The Japanese government will officially admit that it signed two secret pacts with the U.S. in 1960 and 1972, allowing the U.S. Forces Japan to intervene in a war on the Korean Peninsula without consulting Tokyo and allowing the U.S. to deploy nuclear weapons in Okinawa in a regional emergency.
The Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported Wednesday that an expert committee at the Japanese Foreign Ministry recently investigated the question and recommended admitting the existence of the two secret pacts. They will be made public in March
[Imperialism] [US military dominance] [US Japan alliance]
Will Japan Fail to Win a Single Gold Medal Again?
Japan is having a tough time at the 2010 Winter Olympics and is on track to come home with no gold medals for a second time. Once a powerhouse in the winter games alongside the U.S. and Germany, Japan currently ranks 20th place in the medal standings in Vancouver with one silver and two bronze.
Japan calm as treasured status slips away
By Mure Dickie in Tokyo
Published: February 22 2010 16:28 | Last updated: February 22 2010 16:28
For just over four decades Japan has basked in its status as the world’s second-largest economy. On current trends, however, that title will be lost this year to a resurgent China that is enjoying annual growth rates the like of which Japan has not seen since the 1970s.
Japan balks at $2 billion bill to host US troops
By Eric Talmadge
The Associated Press
Sunday, February 7, 2010; 12:00 AM
GINOWAN, Japan -- In a country where land is a precious commodity, many U.S. bases in Japan boast golf courses, football fields and giant shopping malls whose food courts offer everything from Taco Bell to Subway and Starbucks.
They are the most visible point of grievance in a sharpening debate about the cost to Japan of supporting the 47,000 American service members here - about $2 billion a year. That's nearly a third of the total, and about three times what Germany pays to host U.S. forces on its soil.
Dragging Toyota Through the Media Muck
The Toyota recall is not as serious or dramatic as the media, tort lawyers, and its competitors make it out to be, writes Ed Wallace By Ed Wallace
The U.S., like much of the industrialized world, is currently enjoying a media feeding frenzy over cases of unintended acceleration in Toyota-made vehicles. No one knows whether the ultimate culprit will be ill-fitting floor mats, gas pedals manufactured by CTS, or drive-by-wire software that develops a mind of its own, possibly dooming occupants to swift, untimely death. But Toyota's (TM) problem is far worse than a media circus.
Sorge's Spy is Brought in From the Cold. A Soviet-Okinawan Connection
Edan Corkill with an introduction by Chalmers Johnson
Long reviled in his homeland and all but forgotten by Moscow, an Okinawan former Soviet agent in Tokyo is finally accorded the recognition and respect that his devoted niece has sought for so long
Secrets and Lies: Ampo, Japan’s Role in the Iraq War and the Constitution
Japan marked the 50th anniversary of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty on January 19 amid calls for an inquiry into the dispatch of Japanese Self-Defence Forces to Iraq, which critics say was illegal and in violation of Japan’s no-war Constitution. But in contrast to the fierce debates over the origins and legitimacy of the 2003 Iraq invasion in both the United States and the United Kingdom, public discussion in Japan is muted and there will be no official investigation.
Okada apologizes for Japan’s rule of Korea as colony
Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada offered a rare apology to South Korea yesterday for Japan’s colonial rule over Korea from 1910 to 1945.
“I fully understand the agonies of people who lost their countries and had their national pride harmed,” said Okada at a press conference after having talks with South Korean Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan.
Remains of unidentified Korean conscripted laborers remain at Takashima Island
Traces of forced mobilization-part two] Observers say it would be possible to identify the remains if the Japanese government demands the temples examine related documents such as death registries
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the forceful annexation of Korea by Japan in 1910. A number of issues, however, remain unresolved between South Korea and Japan. This is part two of the Hankyoreh’s series about traces of history, which has been made in hopes that both countries are able to move together toward a brighter future after having resolved remaining issues concerning conscripted labor and other human rights issues.
“Takashima, Hashima, Sakito.”
These three words were on the lips of miners and people of the Nagasaki Prefecture mining industry during the period of the Japanese Empire. Today, there is a bridge leading to Sakito and it can be reached from central Nagasaki by traveling about two hours on the expressway, but at that time all three islands were cut off completely from the outside world by rough waves. Minors called them the “Ghost Islands,” meaning that anyone who set foot on them was unlike to come back alive. Even the most experienced ones who had worked in the coalmines of the Chikuho area, the site of the largest coalfield on Kyushu, were afraid to go to the Ghost Islands. The order of the sites was determined by the rhythm of Japanese pronunciation, but in terms of poor working environments, they are all said to have been more or less the same.
On the remilitarization of Japan
Selig S. Harrison, Director of the Asia Program at the Center for International Policy
General Ri Chan Bok, the spokesman of the People‘s Army, told me on my last visit to Pyongyang in January, 2009, that there are two principal reasons why North Korea decided to develop nuclear weapons.
First, the United States not only deploys both strategic and tactical nuclear weapons nearby, but more important, reserves the right to use them first. Second, Japan is accelerating a formidable buildup of sophisticated conventional military forces in addition to the steady expansion of civilian nuclear and space programs that are readily convertible to military purposes.
Recent developments in the United States and Japan have made these reasons increasingly compelling and have strengthened the nuclear hawks in the National Defense Commission who pushed for nuclear weapons.
In Washington, President Obama is caving in to Pentagon hawks
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Obama] [Pentagon]
Yesterday Is Another World
Tanka by Yosano Akiko
From “Disheveled Hair”
Translations and Text by Roger Pulvers
Yosano Akiko (1878-1942), poet, educator, and anti-war and social critic. “Dishevelled Hair” was her first published collection of tanka (1901).
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Toyota’s Push for Fast Growth Put Quality in Question
By MICHELINE MAYNARD and HIROKO TABUCHI
Published: January 27, 2010
DETROIT — Toyota executives set an ambitious goal in 2002 to own 15 percent of the global auto industry by 2010, meaning it would surpass General Motors as the world’s largest carmaker. To get there, it would have to grow by 50 percent. It would have to build new plants in the United States, China, and elsewhere in Asia, and introduce dozens of new models.
Toyota managed to win bragging rights as the world’s biggest car company. But that focus on rapid growth appears to have come at a cost to its reputation for quality, creating an opportunity for others to potentially take back market share they lost to Toyota.
In Japan, U.S. Losing Diplomatic Ground to China
By MARTIN FACKLER
Published: January 23, 2010
TOKYO — When Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates visited Japan’s new leaders in October, not long after their historic election, he pressed so hard and so publicly for a military base agreement that the Japanese news media labeled him a bully.
Japan responded with eager hospitality during a visit to Tokyo last month by Vice President Xi Jinping, China's heir apparent.
The difference between that visit and the friendly welcome that a high-level Japanese delegation received just two months later in China, Japan’s historic rival, could not have been more stark.
A grinning President Hu Jintao of China took individual photos with more than a hundred visiting Japanese lawmakers, patiently shaking hands with each of them in an impressive display of mass diplomacy.
The trip, organized by the powerful secretary general of Japan’s governing Democratic Party, Ichiro Ozawa, was just one sign of a noticeable warming of Japan’s once icy ties with China. It was also an indication that the United States, Japan’s closest ally, may be losing at least some ground in a diplomatic tug-of-war with Beijing.
[Decline] [Softpower] [Realignment] [China rising]
A New Japan, a New Asia
By G. JOHN IKENBERRY and CHARLES A. KUPCHAN
Published: January 21, 2010
This week marks the 50th anniversary of the U.S.-Japan alliance, but the Obama administration seems sincerely flummoxed as to whether to bemoan or commemorate the occasion.
[US Japan alliance]
The Lesson from Dutch Protests Against the Japanese
Weekly protests take place at the Hague similar to the demonstrations held every Wednesday by former Korean "comfort women" in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul. A group called Stichting Japanse Ereschulden (NGO Foundation Japanese Honorary Debts) organizes the protests, which are held at noon every Tuesday in front of the Japanese Embassy there. The group's demands are quite similar to those made by the Korean women who were forced to serve as sex slaves for Japanese soldiers during World War II: a formal apology and compensation by the Japanese government for those who lost their lives or suffered other damages due to the Japanese invasion of Asian countries during World War II. Both protests began in 1992.
The Smallest Army Imaginable: Gandhi's Constitutional Proposal for India and Japan's Peace Constitution (1)
C. Douglas Lummis
In 1931, on his way to the London Round Table Conference, Mahatma Gandhi was asked by a Reuters correspondent what his program was. He responded by writing out a brief, vivid sketch of “the India of my dreams”. Such an India, he said, would be free, would belong to all its people, would have no high and low classes, no discrimination against women, no intoxicants and, “the smallest army imaginable.” (2)
The last phrase presents a puzzle: What is the smallest military imaginable? But the fact that it presents a puzzle is also puzzling. For what is so unimaginable about no military at all? The question is not rhetorical, for most people do find the no-military option unimaginable. It is easy enough to pray for peace, to petition and demonstrate for peace, or to imagine oneself as a perfectly pacifist non-killer. It is harder to imagine a state with no military.
One of the few places where this option is clearly and forcefully stated is in Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution.
Hatoyama to Nanjing, Hu to Hiroshima? The New Face of China-Japan Relations
TOKYO - With the world economy's center of gravity shifting from the West to the East, led by China's rising economic and corresponding political power, the year 2010 may witness a series of epoch-making events in Asia.
A grand rapprochement between Japan and China could be one such happening. The idea has recently been floated through the media by anonymous diplomatic sources in Tokyo and Beijing, attracting attention among experts worldwide.
The French newspaper Le Figaro reported from Tokyo on January 6 that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) had delivered to the ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) the script of a spectacular reconciliation this year between the two countries. The report said that China had proposed that Japanese Prime Minister Hatoyama Yukio begin the process by going to Nanjing, where a mass killing of Chinese civilians by the Japanese Imperial Army took place in December 1937 and subsequently.
This first visit to Nanjing by a Japanese prime minister since the war would present to the Chinese people Tokyo's official apologies without ambiguity, easing lingering anti-Japanese sentiment among the Chinese public that many associate with unresolved conflicts over the war that ended more than six decades ago. In return, some months later, on August 15, the anniversary of the Japanese surrender in 1945, Chinese President Hu Jintao would go to Hiroshima, the first city to experience atomic bombing, and declare the three non-nuclear principles: China will not make a nuclear first strike, will not attack any non-nuclear country and will not export nuclear arms. The French paper named as its source only "our information".
[Japan China relations] [Realignment]
S. Korea, Japan Oppose Lifting NK Sanctions
The two top diplomats from South Korea and Japan on Saturday rebuffed North Korea's call for early talks on a peace treaty, saying any such concessions will only be made after the North first committees to denuclearization.
The joint call between South Korean Foreign Minister Yu Myung-Hwan and his Japanese counterpart Katsuya Okada was made at a bilateral meeting held on the sidelines of the Forum for East Asia-Latin America Cooperation here. The South Korean minister arrived in the Japanese capital on Friday.
'Comfort Women' Mark 900th Protest at Japanese Embassy
Kim Hak-sun, a former "comfort woman" forced to work in brothels serving the Japanese military during World War II, held a press conference at the headquarters of the Korean Women's Association United on Aug. 14, 1991. Facing a throng of reporters, Kim recalled the painful memories of being dragged away to China by Japanese soldiers when she was just 17 and forced to have sex with four to five soldiers a day. She was kept under watch 24 hours a day and was beaten almost to death after several failed escape attempts. "Until now, I did not have the courage to speak," Kim said, "I still shudder when I see the Japanese flag or hear anything related to comfort women
Japan to come clean on secret nuke deals with US
By YURI KAGEYAMA
The Associated Press
Monday, January 11, 2010; 12:34 AM
TOKYO -- To the government's critics, it was a long and shocking act of official stonewalling: Agreements long hidden in Foreign Ministry files allowed nuclear-armed U.S. warships to enter Japanese ports, violating a hallowed principle of postwar Japan. Yet their very existence was officially denied.
Now, in a clear break from the past, a new prime minister has gone where none of his predecessors dared go: He has ordered a panel of ministry officials and academics to investigate the secret agreements.
[Nuclear weapons] [US Japan alliance]
Bibimbap Controversy Was Caused by 'Misunderstanding'
Kuroda Katsuhiro, Seoul bureau chief of the Japanese right-leaning Sankei Shimbun, who created controversy for his derogatory remark on a Korean dish, said there was some "misunderstanding."
In his Saturday column titled "Bibimbap Terror?" on Sankei, Kuroda said his earlier calling bibimbap as"Yang Du Gu Yuk" (????) was meant to be a humor, Chosun Ilbo reported.
Yang Du Gu Yuk literally means "to hang a lamb's head outside the shop to lure customers, but actually sells a dog meat." It's comparable to the English expression of "crying wine, and selling vinegar."
In his December column, titled "Tormenting Bibimbap," Kuroda used the expression to decry bibimbap, which is a popular Korean dish that is served as a bowl of warm white rice topped with saut?ed and seasoned vegetables with a raw or fried egg on the top.
Japan: Returning to Asia
January 1st, 2010
Author: Tobias Harris, MIT
To a certain extent, Japan’s political year ended in August when the Democratic Party of Japan defeated the Liberal Democratic Party in a landslide. From the vantage point of December, 100 days into the Hatoyama government, the Aso government and LDP rule already seem distant.
But from another perspective, it is not so easy to draw a line in Japan’s political history.
The DPJ’s victory represents not so much a break as an experiment. Beset with difficulties at home and abroad — naiyu gaikan, in the Japanese — the Japanese public opted to change captains after giving the LDP opportunity after opportunity to right the ship of state.
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