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What was Abe thinking, going to Yasukuni?
29 December 2013
Author: Tessa Morris-Suzuki, ANU
When a new Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) government headed by Shinzo Abe came to power a year ago, international reactions were deeply divided. Some commentators expressed alarm at the new prime minister’s nationalist rhetoric, and warned of heightened tensions in East Asia. Others, pointing to the experience of Abe’s earlier brief period in power in 2006–07, suggested that, despite the rhetoric, Abe was a pragmatist who would soon take steps to improve relations with Japan’s most important neighbours, China and South Korea.
A year into Abe’s second prime ministership, it seems clear that the pessimists were right. Over the past year, relations between Japan and its neighbours, particularly China, have sunk to a low point not seen since the Cold War era. Regional tensions have been exacerbated by statements emanating from Beijing and Seoul as well as from Tokyo, but the Abe administration’s nationalist stance has been a major factor in these tensions. That stance was on display again on 26 December, when Abe made a highly controversial visit to Yasukuni Shrine — the Shinto shrine in which the spirits of Japan’s fallen soldiers are revered.
[Abe Shinzo] [Yasukuni]
Most oppose using force to aid ally: poll
23 December, 2013 – Japan Times
More than half of the public opposes revising the government’s interpretation of the Constitution just for the sake of engaging in collective self-defense, a survey says.
According to a weekend telephone survey on the issue of collective defense, or aiding an ally that comes under military attack, 53.1 percent of the respondents oppose the change sought by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and 37.0 percent support it.
The survey, conducted Sunday and Monday by Kyodo News, also found the public approval rating for Abe’s Cabinet has jumped to 54.2 percent, up 6.6 points from two weeks ago, when it plunged after the secrecy law was rammed through the Diet.
Despite the rebound, it was the still the Cabinet’s second-lowest score since Abe returned to power in December last year.
The Cabinet’s disapproval rating meanwhile stood 33.0 percent, down from 38.4 percent in the Dec. 8 to 9 survey.
Abe is on a mission to change the way the government interprets the war-renouncing Constitution so Japan can exercise its U.N. right to collective self-defense, which implies the use of force.
The use of force to settle international disputes, however, is banned by Article 9.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Abe Shinzo] [Article 9] [Public opinion]
Will Japan Get Its F-22 Raptors? Will It Need Them?
Sunday, December 29, 2013
Recently, the Japanese cabinet, in announcing plans to purchase 28 additional U.S. F-35 fighters (in addition to 42 already contracted), affirmed a policy of maintaining Japanese air superiority over the PRC.
The F-35 may indeed contribute to Japanese air superiority in unexpected and, to the United States, undesirable ways.
I found it interesting that the Abe administration has gone all-in on the F-35, a U.S. “jack of all trades and master of none” fifth generation (stealth) multi-purpose warplane that gets no love from the zoom-and-boom crowd, and has apparently reconciled itself to not buying any F-22 Raptors.
The F-35’s development history (and cost and schedule overrun statistics) makes for sobering reading. The US fleet of 2400 planes will cost $400 billion to develop and build—and another $1.1 trillion to operate over its projected 50 year life. It remains to be seen if the plane is remembered as a monument of sustained US pre-eminence--or a Great Wall of China-style tombstone for an empire-ending megaboondoggle.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Military balance] [China confrontation] [Fighter] [F35] [F22] [Export controls] [Arms sales]
Young Japanese Drift to the Right
Young people in Japan are being swept along on a wave of resurgent rightwing sentiment set in motion by the Abe administration.
The Asahi Shimbun reported on Sunday that 33 percent of twenty-somethings in Japan believe the Pacific War was not a war of aggression, compared to 28 percent in their thirties and 24 percent in their 40s and 50s.
The proportion of those who believe Japan did start the war was just 45 percent among those in their 20s and 37 percent in their 30s, compared to 57 percent in their 40s and 60 percent among in their 50s.
Young people are poorly educated in the country's recent history. Asked whether they knew that wartime leader Hideki Tojo and other convicted war criminals are being honored at the Yasukuni Shrine, 43 percent of those in their 20s answered no.
They also showed stronger leanings toward racism, with 22 percent agreeing that ethnic Koreans should leave Japan, compared to 19 percent among those in their 30s.
The young generation generally see the rightwing government of Shinzo Abe as a force for reform. Those in their 20s gave the ruling Liberal Democratic Party a score of 3.03 points on a six-point scale between reform-minded and conservative, and those in their 30s 3.09 points.
The Abe administration boosted the budget for teaching patriotism from 800 million yen to 1.4 billion yen for next year, and experts believe these efforts are already reflected in the poll.
[Abe Shinzo] [Public opinion]
Lavish Are The Dead: Re-envisioning Japan’s Korean War
Tessa Morris-Suzuki The Bodies in the Academy In 1957, a young Japanese writer published a collection of short stories which quickly attracted nationwide attention. The title of the collection - Shisha no Ogori - is particularly difficult to render into English, but has been translated by John Nathan as Lavish Are The Dead. The writer was O¯ë Kenzaburo¯, and the success of this, his first published book, was the start of a career that would ultimately bring him international fame and a Nobel Prize for literature1 The title story of Lavish Are The Dead is a surreal tale of a young man who, like O¯ë himself, is a student of French literature at the University of Tokyo. To earn a little money, the student takes a job looking after dead bodies that are stored, floating in vast pools of preservative beneath the university's Medical Faculty, awaiting dissection. As he works with these bodies, the student enters into mental conversations with the dead, who include soldiers and civilians killed more than a decade earlier in the Pacific War: I saw the bullet wound in the soldier's side; it was shaped like a withered flower petal, darker than the skin around it, thickly discoloured. Do you remember the war? You must have been just a child?... What it amounts to is that I was carrying your hopes on my shoulders. I guess you'll be the ones who dominate the next war.2 O¯ë's fable can be read in many ways. Viewed through one prism, it is a reflection on the forgetting of the Pacific War, whose whispering corpses float beneath the surface of national memory, just as the dead of the story float in their subterranean tanks beneath the halls of Japan's intellectual establishment. But Lavish Are The Dead, both in its subject matter and its silences, can also be read as a strangely powerful metaphor for the submerged presence of the Korean War in Japanese society, culture and memory.
[Korean War effect]
Abe's shrine visit condemned at home and abroad
China.org.cn, December 27, 2013
Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo's Thursday visit to the Yasukuni Shrine was widely condemned both at home and abroad.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (2nd R) visits the war-linked Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, Japan, on Dec. 26, 2013. [Photo/Xinhua]
Abe's visit is the first visit by an acting Japanese prime minister since Junichiro Koizumi visited on Aug. 15 in 2006. The notorious Yasukuni Shrine honors Japan's war dead, including 14 Class-A convicted WWII criminals.
The reckless move — widely viewed as rewriting public memory on Japan's militaristic past — enraged Japan's victimized neighbors including China and South Korea and disappointed Japan's traditional ally the United States.
Observers said the hard-core nationalist Abe is ruining the stability of Northeast Asia and that he seems to believe it is worthwhile to sacrifice honesty about history in order to revitalize Japan's assertive style of expansion before World War II.
[Abe Shinzo] [Yasukuni]
Abe Angers Neighbors with War Shrine Visit
Japans Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is led by a Shinto priest as he visits the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo on Thursday. /Reuters-Newsis Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is led by a Shinto priest as he visits the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo on Thursday. /Reuters-Newsis
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited the controversial Yasukuni Shrine on Thursday, which honors Japan's war dead including convicted World War II criminals. It was the first visit by a Japanese prime minister to the shrine since Junichiro Koizumi in 2006.
The visit angered not only Korea and China, who see the shrine as a symbol of Japanese wartime atrocities, but also domestic critics after a Japanese court ruled in 2004 that visits by the country's prime minister could be a violation of the pacifist constitution drafted after World War II.
[Yasukuni] [Abe Shinzo]
Chinese media attacks Japan's Shinzo Abe for visit to Yasukuni shrine
Abe accused of undermining stability by 'paying homage to devils' and 'failing to understand the evils of the fascist war'
Reuters in Beijing
theguardian.com, Friday 27 December 2013 04.26 GMT
Chinese newspapers rounded on the Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe, on Friday, describing his visit to the Yasukuni war dead shrine as "paying homage to devils" and warning that China had the ability to crush "provocative militarism".
[Abe Shinzo] [Yasukuni] [Media] [China bashing]
ROC calls on Abe to avoid inflammatory gestures
ROC calls on Abe to avoid inflammatory gesturesThe ROC Ministry of Foreign Affairs called on Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Dec. 26 to refrain from inflammatory gestures at a time of increased regional tensions. (MOFA)
•Source: Taiwan Today
The ROC Ministry of Foreign Affairs called on Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Dec. 26 to refrain from action that might harm the sensitivities of neighboring nations.
The MOFA statement was made prior to Abe’s visit that day to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine, where many Japanese war criminals from World War II are enshrined.
The ROC government reiterated that history should not be forgotten, and it hopes that the Japanese government and politicians will face historical facts, remember past lessons, and refrain from action that could inflame the feelings of people in neighboring countries.
The ministry said that at this time of heightened tensions in the East China Sea, all parties should remain calm. “The ROC onc e again urges all relevant parties to respond in the spirit of the East China Sea peace initiative, and to avoid any action that could elevate regional tensions.”
[Yasukuni] [Abe Shinzo]
Shrine visit fury mounts
China Daily, December 28, 2013
South Korean protesters participate in an anti-Japan rally in front of the residence of Japanese embassador in Seoul, South Korea, Dec. 27, 2013. The South Korean government on Thursday officially denounced Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to the Yasukuni Shrine, Yonhap news agency reported. (Xinhua/Park Jin-hee)
World powers and Asian neighbors united in their condemnation of Abe
Outrage from Asian neighbors and world powers continued to grow on Friday over Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to a controversial shrine.
Observers described the visit to Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine, made on Thursday, as a dangerous attempt to redefine Japan's militaristic wartime history.
The shrine honors 14 of Japan's World War II Class A war criminals among the country's war dead.
[Yasukuni] [Abe Shinzo]
Seoul hardening stance on Japan
Members of an anti-Japanese civic group hold up placards and shout slogans as they rally in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, Friday, in protest of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo a day earlier. / Korea Times photo by Shin Sang-soon
National Assembly to adopt anti-Abe resolution
By Chung Min-uck
Seoul will overhaul its diplomatic policy line toward Tokyo and put on hold meetings with ranking Japanese government officials in the wake of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to Yasukuni Shrine, government officials said Friday.
The government will pursue all diplomatic efforts possible to increase pressure on Japan for its “anachronistic” viewpoint of its imperial history represented by Abe’s visit to the shrine in Tokyo that honors the country’s war dead, including Class-A war criminals during World War II (1939-45).
“We have been trying really hard to stabilize relations with Japan but Abe’s Yasukuni visit has ruined our efforts,” said a foreign ministry official, Friday. “Seoul-Tokyo relations remained at a low-ebb and I believe the status quo is likely to continue or even become worse.”
[Yasukuni] [Abe Shinzo]
Abe's visit to Yasukuni Shrine draws outrage
China.org.cn, December 26, 2013
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Yasukuni Shrine for war dead on Thursday despite strong opposition from China and other neighboring countries.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks during a meeting of Japan Akademeia in Tokyo, capital of Japan, on Dec. 19, 2013. [Xinhua/Stringer]
Following the 30-minute visit, China condemned Abe's visit to the Yasukuni shrine, saying the gesture is "a major new political obstacle" to already strained relations.
"(We) strongly protest and condemn the Japanese leader's wrongdoing, which has deeply hurt the feelings of Asian war victims." Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said immediately after Abe's Thursday visit to the shrine, where 14 WWII class-A war criminals are honored.
Abe's visit is the first by a serving Japanese prime minister since 2006. Former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's annual visits to the shrine during his tenure from 2001 to 2006 were a major factor that affected the ties between Japan and its Asian neighbors.
[Yasukuni] [Abe Shinzo]
South Sudan Debacle Plays Right Into Japan's Hands
Korean troops stationed in strife-torn South Sudan as part of UN peacekeeping operations have accepted 10,000 rounds of ammunition from Japan's Self Defense Forces. Korea dispatched 210 engineering troops and 70 soldiers to protect them to South Sudan, and Japan sent 320 peacekeeping troops.
But while the Korean troops were supplied only with enough ammunition to carry on their bodies, Japanese soldiers had ample reserves in case of an emergency.
Ethnic disputes between factions led by South Sudan's incumbent president and former vice president have spread to a full-blown conflict that threatens the safety of UN peacekeeping troops. The conflict was foreseen when the president ousted the vice president in July this year.
That means Korean troops should have been supplied with ample ammunition and weapons when they were sent to South Sudan in October, but the military command here failed to even assess the basic political situation in the region.
The military says it initially asked for extra ammunition from the UN Mission in South Sudan, which in turn asked American and Japanese troops to supply bullets for Korean troops since they were the only two among 11 nations dispatched there that used the same 5.56 mm ammunition.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Decision making]
Seoul condemns Abe for Yasukuni visit
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is led by a Shinto priest as he visits the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, Thursday, drawing sharp rebukes from Asian neighbors, South Korea and China. / Yonhap
Japan PM’s trip to war shrine spurs new regional tension
By Kim Tae-gyu
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited the Yasukuni Shrine, which honors 14 Class-A war criminals, Thursday, drawing fierce protest from Korea and China.
The hawkish politician made a trip to the controversial temple in Tokyo exactly a year after he returned to power and to become the first sitting Japanese Prime Minister to do so since 2006.
“We cannot withhold regrets and anger over Abe’s visit to the Yasukuni Shrine,” said Yoo Jin-ryong, minister of culture, sports and tourism. He is a spokesman of the Korean government.
“It is a facility that enshrines unforgivable wartime criminals. Abe’s visit, which demonstrates his problematic recognition of history, is anachronistic as it hurts the basis of stability and cooperation in Northeast Asia,” he added.
[Yasukuni] [Abe Shinzo]
Japanese prime minister’s visit to Yasukuni war shrine spurs new tension in Asia
By Chico Harlan, Updated: Thursday, December 26, 9:37 PM E-mail the writer
SEOUL — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday visited a Shinto shrine that honors Japan’s war dead, including 14 war criminals, and is seen by Asian neighbors as a symbol of the nation’s unrepentant militarism.
The visit to Yasukuni Shrine, the first by a sitting Japanese leader in seven years, raises the prospect of even deeper hostility between an already-isolated Tokyo and its neighbors. It also suggests that Abe, after a year of focusing on pragmatic, economic issues, is increasingly willing to play to his conservative base — a group that believes Japan has been unfairly vilified for its wartime past.
Abe said he made the trip to reflect on the “preciousness of peace,” not to antagonize South and China. But those two countries responded furiously to Abe’s visit, with Beijing’s foreign ministry calling it a “gross violation of the feelings of Chinese people and people from other Asian countries” who were harmed during World War II.
[Yasukuni] [Abe Shinzo]
Yasakuni Blues: Understanding Shinzo Abe’s Historical Revisionism
Myth: Shinzo Abe is a leading member of the team of world and Asian democracies standing up to China in the name of universal values like “freedom of navigation” and to help ensure the shared peace and prosperity of Asia.
Reality: Shinzo Abe is a revisionist nationalist using friction with China to pursue Japanese national interests, put Japan on the right side of a zero-sum economic equation opposite the PRC, maximize Japan’s independence of action as a regional hegemon, hopefully peacefully, but if not...
[Yasukuni] [Abe Shinzo] [Client] [Japanese remilitarisation]
S.Koreans Like Japan No Better Than N.Korea
The affection South Koreans feel for Japan has chilled to the temperature generated in their hearts by North Korea, chiefly due to Tokyo's lurch to the far right this year.
Research and Research surveyed attitudes among South Koreans to neighbors China, Japan and North Korea as well as the U.S. in December, and Japan scored just 2.57 points on an affection scale from zero to 10, similar to North Korea's 2.37 points.
The U.S. scored a respectable 5.4 points and China 4.37 points.
The report was commissioned by the Asan Institute for Policy Studies.
Japan’s Designated Secrets Protection Law Would Foreclose Criticisms of the Government
Sakaguchi Shojiro Translation and Introduction by Hase Michiko On December 6, 2013, Japan’s Diet (national assembly) passed a controversial Designated Secrets Protection bill, having rushed it through both chambers in barely a month. Both the Liberal Democratic Party [LDP]-led administration that proposed the bill and the LDP-dominated Diet brazenly disregarded many voices of opposition, expressed in the public comments collected by the government (77% against and 13% for the bill), public opinion polls showing twice as many respondents opposing the bill as those in favor, daily demonstrations in front of the Diet building, and statements by an array of professional organizations: lawyers, journalists, academics, writers, film directors and actors, religious leaders as well as human rights and civil rights advocates. The law, promulgated December 13, 2013 and slated to take effect in a year’s time, gives the government potentially unchecked power to designate government information as special secrets, some for an indefinite time, and to punish leakers much more harshly than now. Critics of the law fear that it will further restrict citizens’ already limited access to government information and intimidate public officials, journalists, and citizens, thereby severely eroding the people’s constitutionally guaranteed right to know. Despite the grave and far-reaching implications of the legislation that could seriously jeopardize democracy in Japan, the Abe Shinzo administration rammed the bill through the Diet in less than a month: the administration introduced the bill on November 7, and the Diet spent only 67-68 hours to deliberate it, a strikingly brief time compared with more than 210 hours each that the Diet had spent deliberating the 2005 Postal Service Privatization Act and the 2012 legislation relating to the comprehensive reform of social security and tax systems, commonly known as the tax hike legislation. Although the bill has been passed, critics believe there is much work to be done: continuing to expose and criticize what is in the law and the process through which it was passed, attempting to prevent it from taking effect and, if that is not possible, monitoring and challenging its implementation so as to curb unbridled government power. The article below was originally published in Japanese in the October 2013 issue of JCLU [Japan Civil Liberties Union] Newsletter. Although it was written before the passage of the legislation, we publish an English translation here because we believe the issues Professor Sakaguchi raises remain relevant and need to be shared with readers of English. •
The Abe administration is pushing to pass a Designated Secrets Protection bill to harshly clamp down on leaks of state secrets. The government’s draft bill identifies four categories of information as “special secrets”—“defense,” “diplomacy,” “prevention of activities that threaten security,” and “prevention of terrorist activities”—and aims to drastically increase the maximum penalty, which is currently one year in prison under the National Public Service Act. Not only public officials who leak “designated secrets” but anyone who asks them to leak the information would also be punished. The [governing] Liberal Democratic Party [LDP] is seeking to revise the Constitution to make the emperor Head of State and severely limit the people’s freedom and rights. If the proposed bill becomes law, the people could completely lose control over the government even without constitutional revisions…
The United States has armed forces and a law to protect state secrets. If Japan wants to conduct joint military operations with the United States, it has to comply with the U.S. secrecy law.1 This is the background for the proposed secrecy law.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Abe Shinzo] [Repression]
Chinese military lashes out at Japanese defense documents
Xinhua, December 21, 2013
Chinese military on Friday accused Japan of using the pretext of safeguarding its own national security and regional peace for military expansion.
The Japanese government approved its first national security strategy on Tuesday. Based on it, new defense program guidelines and a mid-term defense buildup plan were also adopted.
"China is firmly opposed to Japan's relevant actions," said Defense Ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng in a statement.
He said the three documents aimed at playing up the "China's military threat", increasing regional tensions and using the pretext of safeguarding Japan's own national security and regional peace for its military expansion.
Keeping North Korean in Japan
Parents and students in Japan's "North Korean" schools struggle to maintain their identity in an increasingly hostile environment.
By Markus Bell, December 16, 2013.
A classroom from a chosen gakko, or North Korean cultural school, in Tokyo. Ethnic Koreans in Japan who identify with the North are struggling to maintain their identities in an increasingly hostile environment. (Photo: Wikipedia)
However prepared I may have been before entering the school building, the first thing that struck me as I walked from classroom to classroom were the stern portraits of Kim Il-sung, the first North Korean leader, and his son and successor, Kim Jong-il, hanging above a dusty blackboard.
This might be expected in a school in Pyongyang. But I was in Yokohama, Japan, where escalating tensions with North Korea have left that country a pariah state.
Japan and South Korea hold joint exercise in China’s air defence zone
12 December, 2013 – South China Morning Post
Rescue exercise near Suyan Rock is seen as sending out a strong signal to Beijing, but two nations are at odds over commercial flights
Japan and South Korea have conducted a joint naval exercise in an area covered by China’s air defence identification zone – a move that is seen as sending a firm message to Beijing.
Both countries said that while they didn’t inform the Chinese authorities, the joint maritime rescue drill was planned long before Beijing announced the controversial zone over the East China Sea. Under Chinese rules, all aircraft are required to report flight plans in advance.
The drill had been planned for a long time, since before China’s announcement
JAPANESE NAVAL SPOKESMAN
But yesterday’s exercise added another complication to the issue, with the two countries divided over compliance by commercial flights.
Korean Air and Asiana Airlines said they would start to notify the Chinese authorities from yesterday, while Japan has told its commercial operators not to comply.
However, analysts said the Asian neighbours were sending a strong signal to China by choosing to carry out the exercise near Suyan Rock. The tiny, submerged rock has become the focus of renewed disputes between Beijing and Seoul since the air zone was declared on November 23.
[Territorial disputes] [China confrontation] [Provocation] [ADIZ]
Japan's defense plans focus on China and islands dispute
By Kiyoshi Takenaka
TOKYO Wed Dec 11, 2013 3:59am EST
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks during a news conference at his official residence in Tokyo December 9, 2013.
Credit: Reuters/Toru Hanai
(Reuters) - Japan will set up a new amphibious military unit and deploy unarmed surveillance drones in its southwest, where it faces a row with China over disputed islands, according to drafts of the nation's latest defense plans seen on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ordered the defense policy review after returning to office last December, pledging to strengthen the military and boost Japan's global security role.
Japan's designated secrets bill - the sound of the jackboots
Saul Takahashi 10 December 2013
Japan's new secrecy law is yet another disturbing symptom of the country's rising militarism, broadening the government's power to classify state secrets amidst increased belligerence in the region.
As if it ever needed repeating, the people of Japan were once again treated to a reminder of how secretive and arbitrary their government can be during the nuclear disaster in Fukushima 2011. Government foot-dragging and reluctance to divulge information meant that people remained exposed to high doses of radiation for over a month after the meltdown with potentially grave health consequences. Now, what is easily the most right wing government Japan has seen in decades has forced through parliament a bill to classify “special secrets” that would essentially give the executive carte blanche to withhold information on a massive scale, not seen since the period of militarism directly leading up to, and during, World War 2.
The law, known as the Designated Secrets Bill, was hurriedly rammed through the more powerful lower house on 26 November, and then passed through the upper house in equally speedy fashion on 6 December.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Abe Shinzo]
Marines, Missiles, and the Iron Lady: The Military Leg in Japan’s Ocean Strategy
Alex Calvo The complex situation in East Asia and the wider Pacific-Indian Ocean Region is prompting governments to deploy a full range of tools, from economic diplomacy to humanitarian relief operations to declarations of exclusive air space, in their search for a balance between what they consider to be their key national interests and their shared wish to avert open conflict. Tokyo is one of these actors who feel compelled to defend their national interests while at the same time recognizing that war would imply harsh costs, to itself and the region, at many levels, from the human to the economic to the political. While many Asian leaders have expressed the wish to see tensions ease and differences settled without recourse to violence, all understand the high risk of conflict and look to higher levels of military preparedness to enhance their position. Japan is no exception. Japan is unique, however, in moving to reinforce military capabilities despite a restrictive legal and constitutional framework. The development of an amphibious capability by the SDF (Self-Defense Forces), their latest drills featuring among others shore-based anti-ship missile deployment, more frequent joint exercises with the US and appeals to Washington for a firmer position in the Pacific, a push for constitutional change involving the reinterpretation or formal amendment to Article 9, and repeated public references to the late Margaret Thatcher, former British prime minister, illuminate the military leg in Tokyo’s conflict prevention and management strategy. This paper seems to examine these factors, on the understanding that developments in the military sphere are only part of Tokyo’s foreign policy towards East-Asia. Recent amphibious drills offer a glimpse into Tokyo's strategy to deter and avoid armed conflict with China. The goal is to prevent giving the impression that limited force could succeed in securing a foothold in contested islands, with Japan either unable (for lack of military capabilities) or unwilling (due to insufficient domestic support or international opposition) to counterstrike. The security component in Japanese strategy consists of at least six legs: the development of specialized Marine-like units, the holding of regular drills, the deployment of shore-based anti-ship missiles, the incorporation of the memory of Margaret Thatcher and the 1982 Falklands War into standard political discourse, better and deeper relations with Russia, and a strengthening of the alliance with the US and of wider defense and security agreements with other democracies such as India, Australia, and ASEAN member states including Vietnam. This article will examine the first four factors, while also referring to the wider Japanese search for a security and defense identity, an image, a brand, which leaves behind both Article 9 idealism and unbalanced defense treaties while avoiding suspicions from the international community in general, and the United States in particular. Japan today is a country looking not only for security but also an international identity. The large-scale amphibious drills in early November constitute a major step forward in deterrence strategy, putting on display Japan’s ability both to reconquer an island and to prevent the passage through key straits of hostile shipping. This follows Prime Minister Abe Shinzo 's repeated references to the Falklands in his speeches, an indirect yet unequivocal way of warning China that an invasion of the Senkaku Islands (Diaoyu for Beijing, Diaoyutai for Taipei) would be met with an amphibious counterstrike - See more at: http://japanfocus.org/-Alex-Calvo/4045?utm_source=December+9%2C+2013&utm_campaign=China%27s+Connectivity+Revolution&utm_medium=email#sthash.VWhsYkxN.dpuf
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Amphibious] [Diaoyu]
China's CCTV goes wild with Korean professor's anti-Abe ad in WSJ
The anti-Abe ad created by Prof. Seo Kyoung-duk, which was posted on Wall Street Journal homepage for a week, attracted China Central Television which widely broadcasted the related news across China on Sunday.
/ Courtesy of businesskorea.co.kr
By Ko Dong-hwan
China’s China Central Television (CCTV) broadcasted with rare focus a Korean professor’s anti-Abe ad published on America’s Wall Street Journal homepage.
CCTV broadcasted on Sunday a three minute-long interview footage of Sungshin Women's University Prof. Seo Kyoung-duk, the creator of the ad which was up on WSJ’s front ad section for a week from Dec. 2, led by its Korean correspondent.
The footage was wired to China’s news channels and CCTV-4 and went live across the nation.
[Abe Shinzo] [War crimes] 
The Harbin An Jung-Geun Statue: A Korea/China-Japan Historical Memory Controversy
The Chinese and South Korean governments have recently announced the building of a new monument to An Jung-Geun in Harbin. An is most famous for his 1909 assassination of Ito Hirobumi, a high Japanese official who framed the Meiji constitution, served as prime minister, and is credited with being one of the great modernizers of the Meiji period. Ito also led Japan’s colonization of Korea and negotiated the Treaty of Shimonoseki with Li Hongzhang, which concluded the Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895), giving Japan control over Taiwan, the Kwantung Peninsula, and reparations equal to several times the Qing Empire’s annual budget. For these reasons, Ito is widely reviled and An lionized in Korea and China. By contrast, Ito remains an iconic figure in Japan and the Japanese government has responded to the news of the plan to honor the man who killed one of the nation’s modern heroes in this way by stating that it would “not be good for their relations and that An was a criminal.”
An Jeung-Gen before his execution
News coverage has followed fairly predictable contours, largely focusing on the same statements issued by government spokespeople (China helps South Korea celebrate the assassin of a Japanese colonial official - The Economist; China & South Korea reject complaint from Japan about statue of assassin - South China Morning Post; S. Korean president proposes memorial of anti-Japanese hero in China - Asahi Shimbun; Which Japan is real? - Korea Times), However, my eye was particularly drawn to an article on the Japan Today website (China praises Korean assassin whom Japan calls "criminal") which images of An: anti-Japanese hero and criminal. Noticeably absent in all of this is any thoughtful consideration of who An was or what might have driven him to shoot Ito.
[Assassination] [Japanese colonialism] [History]
Korean Places Anti-Abe Ad in Wall Street Journal
Prof. Seo Kyoung-duk of Sungshin Women's University has posted an ad in the Wall Street Journal criticizing Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's attempts to whitewash his country's World War II atrocities.
The ad, with the slogan "Do You Know?" started appearing on the WSJ's online edition on Monday, and features a photo of Abe taken in May in the cockpit of a fighter jet giving the thumbs-up. The jet bears the number "731," which was a notorious Japanese unit that conducted brutal experiments on human beings in Harbin from 1932 to 1945. They included injecting prisoners with bubonic plague, cholera and anthrax and cutting them up without anesthetic to study the effects.
[Abe Shinzo] 
Japanese troops return to the Philippines
November 27th, 2013
Author: Jeffrey Ordaniel, GRIPS, Tokyo
Japanese troops are back in the Philippines, 68 years after the end of the Second World War. This time though, not as aggressors. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s decision to send 1,200 members of the Japan Self-Defence Forces (SDF) to typhoon-devastated areas of the Philippines, along with other forms of disaster-relief assistance, carries more than just the usual soft power significance. The mission is by far the largest overseas deployment to a single country for the SDF, and the biggest humanitarian relief operation dispatched by the Japanese government in history. Moreover, Japan’s foreign ministry announced an additional US$20 million in emergency grant aid to the Philippines, bringing total monetary assistance to a staggering US$52 million. Tokyo’s assistance is comparable to that provided by Manila’s own treaty ally, Washington. And it dwarfs the less than US$2 million provided by China.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Aid weapon]
New enmity between Japan and Korea plays out in Tokyo’s Koreatown
By Chico Harlan, E-mail the writer
TOKYO — The main streets of Shin-Okubo — Tokyo’s Koreatown — are lined with smoky barbecue restaurants and overlit cosmetics emporiums. Staircases lead down to basement music venues and up to hidden drinking holes.
Japanese once thronged the neighborhood, which is home to many ethnic Koreans and known for its fiery food and late nights. But in recent months, the crowds have thinned, replaced by anti-Korean protesters who have turned Shin-Okubo into a rough barometer of deteriorating Japan-Korea relations.
On occasional weekends this year, megaphone-wielding demonstrators have taken to the streets, telling the Koreans to “go home or die.” They’ve threatened to “flatten this neighborhood” and build a gas chamber in its place. The Koreans say that they — and the police — have little recourse against the threats, because Japan is one of the few democracies that don’t restrict hate speech.
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Japanese Spies Work Overseas Without Telling PM
Japan's Self-Defense Force operates clandestine intelligence-gathering teams in South Korea and other countries without informing its civilian government, Kyodo News reported Wednesday.
The teams are operated independently by the force without notifying the prime minister or defense minister, Kyodo quoted a former army chief and top defense intelligence official as saying, flying in the face of democratic control of the armed forces.
The force's Ground Staff Office formed a spying team that sets up bases overseas to gather intelligence. All members undergo training in espionage and counterintelligence.
Warships, 650 troops sent to help Philippines
Nov 18, 2013
Japan on Monday dispatched two warships carrying some 650 troops to the typhoon-ravaged Philippines, the first major contingent of its military’s largest overseas aid deployment.
The two vessels, also carrying six helicopters, left the port of Kure, Hiroshima Prefecture, and are scheduled to arrive on Friday, said a Defense Ministry spokesman.
The Self-Defense Forces are sending 10 planes Monday to the disaster-struck nation — seven C-130 transports, two KC-767 tankers and one U-4 multipurpose support aircraft, he said.
The troops’ duties will include medical support and transport of relief supplies. An advance team of about 50 SDF troops was sent last week but the total was expected to rise to almost 1,200. The timeline for sending the remainer remains unclear.
It is the first time Japanese troops have been active in Leyte — an area hit hard by Typhoon Haiyan — since the island became one of the biggest battlegrounds of World War II when U.S. forces retook the area in 1944.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Aid weapon]
For ‘no war’ Article 9, any reinterpretation will do
In ironic twist, could neighbors use similar rationales to justify a Fukushima foray?
by Colin P.A. Jones
Nov 20, 2013
American presidents generally try to appoint Supreme Court justices whose constitutional views are consistent with their own political philosophy. By contrast, Japan’s Supreme Court is apparently the perfect place to send jurists whose opinions on the nation’s most important law are politically inconvenient.
This was nicely illustrated by Prime Minister Shinzo’s Abe’s recent appointment to the top court of Tsuneyuki Yamamoto, the former director-general of the Cabinet Legislation Bureau. One of the government’s most powerful agencies, the CLB oversees the drafting of most legislation passed by the Diet and provides legal advice to the government, including constitutional interpretations. In performing its advisory role, the CLB has long held that Article 9 of the Constitution does not allow the nation to participate in collective self-defense activities abroad in concert with other nations.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Article 9]
Back to the future: Shinto’s growing influence in politics
A small organization, little known to the public, has helped restore much of Japan’s controversial past — and it is only getting started
by David Mcneill
Special To The Japan Times
Nov 23, 2013
Immaculate and ramrod straight in a crisp, black suit, Japan’s education minister, Hakubun Shimomura, speaks like a schoolteacher — slowly and deliberately. His brow creases with concern when he talks about Japan’s diminished place in the world, its years of anemic economic growth and poorly competing universities. Mostly, though, he appears to be worried about the moral and spiritual decline of the nation’s youth.
“The biggest problem with Japanese education is the tremendous self-deprecation of our high school children,” he says in an interview at his Tokyo office. He cites an international survey in which children are asked: “Are there times when you feel worthless?” Eighty-four percent of Japanese kids say yes — double the figure in the United States, South Korea and China, he laments. “Without changing that, Japan has no future.”
Shimomura’s remedy for this corrosive moral decay is far-reaching: Children will be taught moral and patriotic education and respect for Japan’s national symbols, its “unique” culture and history. Textbooks will remove “self-deprecating” views of history and references to “disputed” war crimes. They will reflect the government’s point of view on key national issues, such as Japan’s bitter territorial disputes with its three closest neighbors: China, Russia and South Korea.
Education reform represents only one layer of Shimomura and his government’s ambitions. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a close political ally, wants to revise three of the country’s basic modern charters: the 1946 Constitution, the education law, which they both think undervalues patriotism, and the nation’s security treaty with the United States. The Emperor would be returned to a more prominent place in Japanese society. The special status of Yasukuni Shrine, which enshrines most of Japan’s war dead, including the men who led the nation to disaster between 1933 and 1945, would be restored.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Yasukuni] [Shinto]
Japanese PM reportedly calls S. Korea “a silly country”
Posted on : Nov.17,2013 11:09 KST
S. Korean officials decline to comment on alleged remarks; Japanese government denying Abe made such comments
By Gil Yun-hyung, Tokyo correspondent and Park Byong-su, staff reporter
A delegation from the National Assembly demanded an explanation about a report that ran in a Japanese weekly paper claiming that Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe had criticized South Korea as being a “silly country.”
A delegation of South Korean lawmakers led by Seo Byeong-su, currently in Japan to represent South Korea at the Korea-Japan Cooperation Committee, issued the statement on Nov. 15.
“The Japanese government must be fully aware of the negative impact that the article in question could have on bilateral relations. We strongly urge Japan to immediately reveal what happened and to take responsible measures,” the statement said.
Japanese weekly magazine Shukan Bunshun ran a report in its latest Nov. 21 issue (printed on Nov. 14) in which Abe was quoted as saying, “China is an absurd country, but you can still engage in reasonable diplomacy with it. South Korea on the other hand is just a silly country.”
Seeming unfazed by the controversy, Abe made an appearance at the joint assembly of the Korea-Japan Cooperation Committee, which was held at the Imperial Hotel Tokyo on Nov. 15 to deliver some remarks.
Ministry seeks radical revamp of defense equipment production policy
Nov 9, 2013
The Defense Ministry aims to adopt by March a new defense equipment production strategy, revamping a policy followed since 1970 of limiting manufacture to domestic companies, a government official said Saturday.
The new strategy will open the way for Japan to play a greater role in jointly developing and producing weapons with other nations and to globally market more noncombat equipment for commercial use, the official said.
The first change in strategy in 43 years is linked to a review by the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan’s self-imposed arms export embargo.
The nation’s “three principles” on arms exports were introduced in 1967, with the rules tightened into a virtual blanket ban in 1976. Under the three principles, Japan prohibits weapons sales to Communist states, countries subject to embargoes under U.N. resolutions, and nations engaged in international conflicts.
Japanese scholar reveals how Japan claimed the Diaoyu Islands
By Zhang Lulu1 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, November 15, 2013
Adjust font size:
"Bringing the real history to light was what motivated me to write this book and what I want to emphasize most is the issue of the Diaoyu Islands," Professor Tadayoshi Murata of Japan's Yokohama National University told China's Oriental Outlook magazine on Nov 4.
Professor Murata's new book, "The Origins of the Japan-China Territorial Issue", was published in Japan this June, and its Chinese version went on sale last month. The 67-year-old historian revealed in the book how Japan came to claim ownership of the Diaoyu Islands.
Busan holds underlying resentment toward Japan
On the right of the entrance to Yongdusan Park in the Junggu District of Busan is a memorial stone inscribed “Choryang Oegwan” to commemorate trade relations with Japan during the latter period of Joseon Kingdom (1392-1910). / Korea Times photo by Chung Min-uck
By Chung Min-uck
BUSAN ? Being close to Japan, this city is second only to Seoul in terms of the number of visiting Japanese tourists. Bilateral trade is pretty strong as well.
However, Busan retains historical scars with Japan using it as a bridgehead for two major invasions.
“Citizens who understand the city’s history have mixed feelings of intimacy with and dislike of Japan,” said an analyst who has lived in Busan all his life. “No place in the city demonstrates such feelings more clearly than Yongdusan Park.”
Japan’s war potential and the case of the Izumo ‘destroyer’
September 5th, 2013
Author: Corey Wallace, University of Auckland
On 6 August 2013 the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force (JMSDF) unveiled its new helicopter ‘destroyer’, the Izumo (22DDH).
Crowds watch as Japan launches the Izumo, its largest warship since World War II, at a launching ceremony on 6 August 2013. (Photo: AAP)
Considerable media and diplomatic fuss has been made about this being an ‘aircraft carrier in disguise’, with potentially offensive applications. Some commentators have argued not only that the Izumo represents a provocation that could lead to military insecurity in East Asia, but that the Izumo also breaches Japan’s pacifist constitution.
The Izumo’s size (and the absence of a catapult and arresting gear) suggests, however, that the only fighter jets that can realistically be launched or recovered from the Izumo are those with short take-off vertical landing capabilities. The only candidate to fill such a role would be the ‘B’ variant of the F-35 Lightning II multi-role fighter.
Japan’s Mongolian connection in North Korea
November 5th, 2013
Authors: Julian Dierkes, UBC and Otgonbaatar Byambaa, Waseda
President Ts Elbegdorj of Mongolia became the first head of state to visit North Korea since Kim Jong-un came to power, even though initial reports suggest that the two leaders did not meet.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has staked a great deal of political capital on his commitment to resolve the issue of the North Korean abductions of Japanese citizens. In this Abe is placing at least a partial bet on mediation by Mongolia. But is the Mongolian government both willing and able to assist in achieving a solution to this long-simmering crisis? The answer to these questions is yes. Serving a mediating role in finding a way to engage North Korea fits squarely into Mongolian foreign policy. Historical and on-going links with the DPRK put Mongolia in a good position to at least gently push or assist in a mediation.
For the past twenty years, Mongolia has pursued a ‘third neighbours’ foreign policy that attempts to cultivate friends beyond China and Russia in order to balance the influence these two powerful neighbours have. This has enabled Mongolia to achieve a visibility in international affairs that belies its status as a landlocked nation with a small population of just 3 million people. Japan has responded to this engagement with significant development aid, and also through some limited investments in Mongolian industrial ventures.
What Ever Happened to Japanese Electronics?: A World Economy Perspective
Steven K. Vogel Japan has not only suffered from dismal macroeconomic performance over the past two decades, but it has lost its edge in areas of its greatest competitive strength, such as electronics, especially information and communications technology (ICT) hardware.Japanese electronics firms have declined by many standard measures of industrial performance, such as market share, exports, and profits. Japan’s postwar economic miracle did not quietly fizzle out, but rather exploded in grandiose fashion in the early 1990s. Japan’s descent from industrial dominance arrived later, evolved more slowly, and varied considerably by sector – and yet the turn of fortunes was equally stunning. Japanese manufacturers’ global market share dropped from 76 to 3 percent from 1987 to 2004 in DRAM chips; from 95 to 20 percent from 1997 to 2006 in DVD players; from 100 to 5 percent from 1995 to 2005 in liquid crystal display panels; from 100 to 20 percent from 2003 to 2007 in car navigation systems; from 45 to 21 percent from 2004 to 2007 in solar energy panels; and from 90 to 48 percent from 2000 to 2008 in lithium ion batteries (See Figure 1).2 One government report estimates that Japanese electronics companies produced 70 percent of an iPod in 2005 but only 20 percent of an iPad in 2010.3 Japan’s share of OECD ICT goods exports dropped from 16.8 percent in 1999 to 10.4 percent in 2011 (See Table 1). JAPAN’S CHALLENGE So what went wrong? In short, recent developments in the global economy have severely undermined Japanese firms’ institutional strengths and exacerbated their weaknesses. Japan’s weak macro-economic performance contributed to declining industrial competitiveness because it left the government and the private sector with diminished resources to invest toward future productivity gains.Beyond that, however, Japanese firms have confronted two critical challenges: the decomposition of production and the services transformation.The decomposition of production refers to the process whereby integral production centered in one country has given way to modular production and global supply chains.In the earlier era, vertically integrated manufacturers controlled the production process from research through production to final assembly.In the current period, manufacturers engage in more outsourcing, purchasing goods or services from outside the firm, and offshoring, moving production abroad or purchasing from a foreign supplier.The services transformation refers not only to the growth of services relative to manufacturing but also to the integration of manufacturing itself with more service functions, including software and applications.
U.S. Assures Korea Over Deployment of Japanese Troops Abroad
The U.S. has tried to reassure the Korean government that it will allow Japan to deploy troops abroad only under special circumstances, such as when U.S. forces are attacked on the high seas, a senior diplomatic source in Seoul said Monday.
Japan is pushing to engage in something called "collective self-defense," which would allow it to send troops to an ally which is in some way under threat.
The U.S. reassurance comes after widespread unease in Korea about Japan's moves to bolster its military power. The diplomatic source said the Obama administration is "well aware" of the concerns felt by Koreans.
Earlier, chief presidential security advisor Kim Jang-soo met in Washington with U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice to express concern about the U.S.' endorsment of Japan's right to engage in military operations abroad.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been pushing to revise Japan's pacifist post-war constitution in order to give the country's Self-Defense Forces the right to be deployed overseas.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [US dominance] [Sidelined]
We Need a Dictionary
Nov. 03, 2013
Saito Minako (?????, 1956-) - Saito is an award-winning literary critic, feminist writer, prolific author. The translation below by Yayoi Koizumi is from her weekly column “Column of Hon’ne (True Inner Feelings)”
Tokyo Shinbun, October 9, 2013
Languages of politicians have always been treasure troves of lies and deception. But watching a number of new Japanese phrases the Abe Administration spews out one after another, I started to think that perhaps we even need a special new dictionary for this administration alone.
For example: With respect to the radioactive waste water from the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, the administration used the phrase “being under control(??????????? kontororu sarete iru).” But the situation is such that it is actually more fitting to say it is “impossible to control(????? seigyo fukano).” Another example: the administration’s proposal to make Japan “the world’s most business-friendly environment(?????????????? sekaiichi bijinesu no shiyasui kankyo)” seems to be rather more appropriately named “the best environment to prey on workers and consumers(????????????????????? rodosha to shohisha o sekaiichi kuimono ni shiyasui kankyo).” Here’s another: the program called “The future where women shine(??????? josei ga kagayaku mirai)” - touted as part of an economic growth strategy - can be more readily understood as “the future where women are used till they drop (????????? josei o tsukaitaosu mirai).”
[Spin] [Abe Shinzo]
Misawa base likely to host U.S. spy drones from next spring
By KOJI SONODA/ Staff Writer
Japan and the United States are discussing plans to deploy U.S. Global Hawk drones in Aomori Prefecture to better grasp the regional security situation, such as North Korea’s missile and nuclear development.
The U.S. Air Force is expected to relocate some or all of the three unmanned surveillance aircraft from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam to Misawa Air Base for several months a year from next spring, sources said.
The two countries had agreed on a plan to move the spy aircraft from Guam to U.S. bases in Japan during a meeting of foreign and defense chiefs in early October.
The Global Hawks are expected to be deployed at the Misawa base mainly in summer months, when it is often difficult to fly from Guam due to frequent typhoons, the sources said.
[UAV] [Surveillance] China confrontation] [US Japan alliance]
South Korea: Tokyo needs Seoul's OK for collective self-defense action on Korean Peninsula
October 28, 2013
By AKIRA NAKANO/ Correspondent
SEOUL--Japan must obtain Seoul’s consent to exercise the right to collective self-defense in an emergency on the Korean Peninsula, a South Korean government official said.
South Korean officials, led by National Security Office chief Kim Jang-soo, made the stance clear in a meeting in the United States with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. Their visit started on Oct. 23.
The South Korean side said that lifting Japan’s self-imposed ban on the right to collective self-defense “is an issue the Japanese citizens should decide.”
However, one South Korean official said: “It would be unacceptable for (Japan to) stretch its interpretation of the right, and (exercise the right) to address issues involving the Korean Peninsula and sovereignty of South Korea.”
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Spin]
62% of South Koreans regard Japan as a military threat: think tank poll
Oct 30, 2013
SEOUL – Over 60 percent of South Koreans regard Japan as a military threat, according to a recent survey by Seoul-based think tank Asan Institute for Policy Studies.
In the public opinion poll on foreign relations conducted by the think tank, 62 percent said they feel militarily threatened by Japan.
Japan got only 2.66 on a 10-point scale of favorableness, slightly higher than the 2.43 points given to North Korea.
The survey results released Tuesday likely reflect soured ties over territorial and historical issues as well as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s eagerness to allow Japan to exercise its right to collective defense, the think tank said.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [SK Japan] [Public opinion]
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Intelligence Report: The Outlook for Nuclear Weapons Production in Japan
?Author/Editor: Department of State Office of Intelligence Research, Division of Research for Far East
?Read the full report: Intelligence-Report-The-Outlook-for-Nuclear-Weapons-Production-in-Japan-1957.pdf
?Categories: Japan, Nuclear Weapons Policy
Date of report: August 2, 1957
Nautilus publication date: October 29, 2013
After the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, postwar Japanese public opinion was largely opposed to the production of nuclear weapons. Even against this opposition, the conservative Japanese government in the 1950s considered the idea viable as the Far East region became a hotbed for Cold War tensions. Stuck between the belief that nuclear weapons are key to Japan’s defense and appeasing the public opinion that the production would not occur, then-Prime Minister Kishi was not able to produce nuclear weapons. Although there are current atomic weapons in Japan, Japan’s technology, material, and capital makes it possible for them to produce the weapons within a very short time.
This 1957 report examines Japan’s capabilities and factors if nuclear weapons are produced, the large public opposition, the international responses, and the political and economic consequences.
“Japan is rich in scientific talent and technological resourcefulness, and is capable of developing novel weapons which could have an unanticipated military effectiveness. Within the next decade, however, it is unlike that Japan, even with the exercise of greater decisiveness and economic effort than seems reasonable to expect, would be able to produce more than a limited number and range of nuclear weapons, possibly rather primitive in design.”[page 8]
Contrary to the impression conveyed by the overwhelming popular sentiment in Japan against any association with nuclear weapons, there is mounting evidence that the conservative government in Tokyo secretly contemplates the eventual manufacture of such weapons, unless international agreements intervene.
[Nuclearisation] [Japanese remilitarisation]
EDITORIAL: Spirit of Japan-China peace and friendship treaty still relevant today
Thirty-five years have passed since Japan and China took their first step toward building friendly relations as neighbors who stand on an equal footing and respect each other.
The Treaty of Peace and Friendship between the two countries came into effect on Oct. 23, 1978. A ceremony held in Tokyo for the exchange of instruments of ratification was attended by Prime Minister Takeo Fukuda and Chinese Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping.
There were two key factors that bound the two countries back then.
One was their diplomatic stance against the Soviet Union. During the negotiations for the treaty, China insisted a provision be included in the final document stating that the two countries are opposed to any attempts to establish hegemony in Asia. It was clearly aimed at the Soviet Union, and Japan accepted China’s demand.
The other factor behind the treaty was Japan’s economic aid to China. At that time, China’s gross domestic product was less than a quarter of Japan’s. Anticipating China’s future economic development, Japan offered financial assistance to the country. Over a period of years, Japan provided more than 3 trillion yen ($30 billion) in yen loans to China.
Times have changed. The Soviet Union is gone, while China’s GDP has surpassed Japan’s. The interests of both countries now are quite different from those that defined the relationship more than three decades ago
NSC and secrets protection bills to turn Japan into a war-fighting nation
October 13, 2013
Akahata editorial (excerpts)
Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s cabinet plans to submit a bill to set up a National Security Council (NSC) and a secrets protection bill at the extraordinary Diet session starting on October 15. It is attempting to form a special committee to discuss the two bills in order to rush through their enactment.
The bill to establish a Japanese-version of the U.S. National Security Council, if passed, will enable the prime minister to take more flexible and broad-ranging actions in diplomatic and security matters. It proposes to install a four ministers’ consultative grouping (prime minister, chief-cabinet secretary, foreign and defense ministers) and a national security bureau in the prime minister’s office to consolidate all necessary information from government ministries and agencies.
The secrets protection bill is designed to ban the leaking of information designated as “special secrecy” by administrative organ heads and will impose a 10-year maximum sentence on public employees who violate the regulation. Citizens and media reporters can be punished by any attempt to obtain such information.
As the Japan Federation of Bar Associations, the Japan Newspaper Publishers & Editors Association, and the Japan P.E.N. Club are raising voices of protest against the bill, it is aimed at hiding information the government does not want the public to gain access to.
Prime Minister Abe is also attempting to revise the government interpretation of constitutional provisions in order to allow Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense so that the nation can take part in wars abroad with the Unites States. His move to get the two bills enacted at the upcoming Diet session is instrumental in attaining this objective.
The move to keep the public in the dark and to install the NSC as a control tower in wars with the U.S. by means of the two proposed bills, the move will turn Japan into a war fighting nation.
With a keen eye, Japan watches closer ties between N. Korea and Mongolia
Posted on : Oct.30,2013 14:54 KST
Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, center right, accompanied by his wife Khajidsuren Bolormaa, inspects a military honor guard with Kim Yong Nam, center left, president of the Presidium of the Supreme People‘s Assembly of North Korea, upon arrival at Pyongyang airport on Oct. 28. (AP Photo)
Japan wondering if Mongolia will act as a bridge on abductees between antagonistic Tokyo and Pyongyang
By Gil Yun-hyung, Tokyo correspondent
The Japanese press has been watching the increasingly close ties between North Korea and Mongolia with interest lately.
The main reason is the long shadow Mongolia is casting on one of the biggest issues between Pyongyang and Tokyo, that of Japanese citizens abducted to North Korea. Mongolia has also been implicated in another major North Korea issue - the auction of the headquarters for the pro-North Korea General Association of Korean Residents in Japan (known locally as “Chongryon”).
Shinzo Abe: “Japan’s Thatcher” or “The Netanyahu of Asia”?
Update: According to the Japanese Coast Guard via AFP, the PRC did its bit to escalate tensions by dispatching two Coast Guard vessels to loiter in the territorial waters of the Senkakus for two hours. AFP also added this tidbit concerning Abe's defense posture:
On Sunday, he told troops the "security environment surrounding Japan is becoming increasingly severe".
"You will have to completely rid yourselves of the conventional notion that just the existence of a defence force could act as a deterrent."
Global Times weighed in with a ferocious editorial addressing Abe's remarks to the Wall Street Journal:
Should one drone of China be fired upon, hostility between Beijing and Tokyo will be fully activated and the situation of Northeast Asia will topple like dominoes. The outbreak of a regional war is possible. Although the US' support to Japan is obvious, it's uncertain how the US will interfere. There is too much variance concerning where a China-Japan military clash will go.
China has not been involved in war for a long time but a war looms following Japan's radical provocation. China's comprehensive military power, including the navy, air force and the Second Artillery Force of the PLA, is stronger than Japan's. Once a war breaks out, China will also be able to bear the economic blow better than Japan.
Since the real game in Asia is economic, not military, hopefully the legendary "cooler heads" will prevail. PL 10/28/2013]
As far as I can tell, the pundit community is continuing to peg the needle on the obliviousness meter concerning Shinzo Abe’s China posture.
Conventional wisdom: Abe is chugging along with domestic economic reforms while occasionally and not particularly enthusiastically pandering to his nationalist base with chesty responses to relentless Chinese provocations.
What’s really going on: Encouraging tensions with China is an integral element of Abe’s strategy to redefine the role of the Japanese government both domestically and internationally.
Abe welcomes a polarizing environment in Asia, because it allows Japan to position itself as the protector of the smaller Pacific states against the Chinese behemoth. And I think this has more—a lot more—to do with an attempt to block the extension of PRC trade and investment hegemony in East Asia and aggrandize Japan’s economic role at China’s expense than it does with genuine fears of a Chinese military threat. But the Chinese military threat must be hyped, since it enables the re-emergence of Japan as a regional military power (and put some backbone into the anti-China alliance) despite the anxieties of the United States, many nations in the region, and a significant chunk of the Japanese electorate.
[China confrontation] [Abe Shinzo] [Japanese remilitarisation]
Japan’s persistent pacifism
October 24th, 2013
Author: Daniel Clausen, Florida International University
Japanese pacifism appears to be fading.
As the generation that experienced the Second World War is replaced by a new cohort that is psychologically detached from the horrors of the war, the number of devotees to fervent pacifism has been shrinking. Japanese pacifism as a meaningful policy alternative is no more. The once-significant Japan Socialist Party (JSP), a staunch proponent of unarmed neutrality during the Cold War, split in 1994 when the socialist Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama accepted both the constitutionality of the Japan Self-Defense Forces (SDF) and the legitimacy of the US–Japan Security Treaty as part of a deal to create a coalition government with the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). In any case, the governors of Japan always tacitly accepted the need for a military force, the utility of the US nuclear deterrent, and the need to cooperate militarily with the United States, so Japan never truly embraced pacifism. What it embraced, both in its domestic and foreign policy, was an aversion to using coercive force.
Chongryon Building Sold to Mystery Mongolian Firm
The headquarters of the pro-Pyongyang association of Korean residents in Japan, or Chongryon, was auctioned off to a mysterious Mongolian company on Thursday.
The building in Tokyo was sold to AVAR for around US$51 million. Although the company is based in Mongolia, its owner and the purpose of the acquisition remain a mystery, according to Japanese broadcaster NHK.
Abe Makes Another Offering to Yasukuni Shrine
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent a ritual offering worth about 50,000 Japanese yen to the militarist Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo on Thursday, a move seen as avoiding a personal visit to the shrine.
Visits to Yasukuni by previous Japanese prime ministers invariably chilled relations with Korea and China to freezing point since it honors convicted World War II criminals among the country’s war dead.
Abe made the offering to mark the shrine's autumn festival, which runs from Thursday until Sunday. He also sent an offering to the shrine during the spring festival in April.
Abe had said he felt "bitter grief" for failing to pay homage at the shrine when he was prime minister from 2006 to 2007.
The Mainichi Shimbun said Abe avoided visiting the shrine for fear of agitating Korea and China. The two neighbors have already canceled a summit with Japan and are freezing out Tokyo diplomatically, and Abe clearly wanted to avoid further exacerbating the situation.
Japan’s new defense guidelines to stipulate amphibious force
By KOJI SONODA/ Staff Writer
Japan is moving closer to commissioning a new U.S. Marine-like amphibious force that can better protect outlying islands in areas of potential conflict.
The creation of a Japanese version of U.S. Marines will be included in the National Defense Program Guidelines to be compiled in December, Defense Ministry sources said.
The amphibious force will be set up as early as fiscal 2015 to bolster the nation’s defensive capabilities for the Nansei Island chain, which includes the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.
Beijing also claims the isles, and Chinese aircraft and ships are now a common sight in the area.
The Defense Ministry says the unit will eventually number 3,000 active military personnel and will be tasked exclusively with defending outlying islands, acting as a deterrent against potential hostile forces.
However, the move could heighten tensions in East Asia because the new unit will give the Self-Defense Forces the capability to land on occupied islands and attack enemy forces.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Amphibious]
Abe makes offering to war-linked shrine
Xinhua, October 17, 2013
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday morning made an offering to the war-linked Yasukuni Shrine during its autumn festival, according to local media.
The offering is made amid strained relations between Japan and its neighboring countries, namely China and South Korea, due to territorial disputes and Japan's attitude toward war-related history.
The shrine, which honors Japanese war dead, including 14 class-A war criminals during the World War II, is considered as the symbol of Japan's past militarism.
[Abe Shinzo] [Yasukuni]
[Column] Northeast Asia is positioned for more conflict instead of cooperation
Posted on : Oct.12,2013 13:52 KSTModified on : Oct.12,2013 13:53 KST
With Japan militarizing, there are new power currents at work that impede lasting peace in the region
By Kim Yeon-chul, Inje University professor
The US has thrown its weight behind Japan’s right to collective self-defense. This right would empower Japan strike on behalf of an ally that has been attacked. In effect, Washington has released Tokyo from the knot of the Peace Constitution. Why would it do that? Well, right now, the Barack Obama administration is hard up. The country’s finances are in decline, and it has to cut US$259 billion in defense expenses over the next five years, and US$487 billion in the next ten. Much as it would like to keep holding China back, it doesn’t have the resources to do so - so it has enlisted Japan instead.
No specifics have yet emerged, so we’ll have to wait to see how things actually turn out. But Japan’s rearmament has already begun. X-band radar has been positioned in Kyoto to detect ballistic missiles, a National Security Council has been set up, and there are plans to establish a marine corps. The country is also building a substantial store of offensive weaponry. The US has consistently asked Japan to take on a larger role in their alliance, but now Japan is fast on its way to becoming a military power.
[NCW] [Japanese remilitarisation]
Foreign minister warns Abe over Yasukuni
By Kim Tae-gyu
JAKARTA ? Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se warned against Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s likely visit to the Yasukuni Shrine in time with its usual fall event slated for this week.
“I hope that he is well aware of the atmosphere in Korea and makes the right choice,” Yun told reporters at a luncheon meeting in Jakarta, Saturday.
Park, Abe Avoid Each Other at APEC
President Park Geun-hye ended up having to sit next to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during the APEC Summit in Bali, Indonesia on Monday despite assiduously trying to avoid him amid chilly ties.
The seating arrangement was in alphabetical order of participating countries, so Korea comes after Japan.
Park and Abe ignored each other as they sat side by side. A Cheong Wa Dae official said the two leaders "looked in different directions" and did not exchange greetings as they passed by each other during the event.
It was a vivid illustration of how bad things have got due to the Abe administration's lurch to the far right.
In a meeting in Seoul last week with visiting U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Park said constant Japanese attempts to whitewash the island country's past atrocities led to a "lack of trust" between Seoul and Tokyo.
In contrast, Park's meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping was extremely amicable. Park used a line from a Chinese poem to illustrate how keen she is to improve relations. The line came from a work of calligraphy Xi gave Park during her trip to Beijing in June.
The Chinese leader noted this was his third meeting with Park since June and said t demonstrates the "close ties" between the two countries.
Also at the APEC Summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin celebrated his birthday with other heads of state singing "Happy Birthday" and sharing a cake.
[SK Japan[ [Abe Shinzo]
Released document shows Japan’s forced mobilization of comfort women
Posted on : Oct.8,2013 16:50 KST
A document being displayed at the National Archives of Japan in Tokyo from the end of September through Oct. 6 showing details of the forced mobilization of Dutch women to serve as sexual slaves for the Japanese military. (captured from SBS)
Document from Japanese archive provides clear evidence of mobilization of Dutch women in Japan-controlled Indonesia
By Gil Yun-hyung, Tokyo correspondent
A document has been made public showing that the Japanese government forced women from the Netherlands to serve as so-called comfort women, or sex slaves for the Japanese military. The women were being held in a concentration camp in Indonesia toward the end of World War II.
This is the first time that a document has been made public meaning it is now possible to specifically determine how the Japanese military was directly involved in forcing women to serve as sex slaves.
Japanese wire service Kyodo News reported on Oct. 7 that a document showing that the Japanese military forced 35 Dutch women in a POW camp in Indonesia to work as comfort women was displayed at the National Archives of Japan in Tokyo from the end of September through Oct. 6.
[Comfort women] [Netherlands]
US pivot to Abe backfires
President Park Geun-hye responds to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a session among leaders at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Bali, Indonesia, Tuesday. / Yonhap
Park, Xi getting closer; Japanese premier shunned
By Kim Tae-gyu
BALI, Indonesia — Both President Park Geun-hye and Chinese President Xi Jinping refused to meet with Japanese Premier Shinzo Abe on the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Economic Forum (APEC) Summit.
During a meeting with Xi, Park talked about North Korea’s unpredictability.
“Abe has asked for a summit with both Korean President Park and Chinese President Xi after they took office earlier this year. But they have yet to respond positively,” said a Japanese source familiar with the issue.
“Things are similar in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings as Park and Xi won’t meet Abe despite the Japanese Prime Minister’s requests. There are worries that Tokyo’s relations with Seoul and Beijing will worsen as Japan seeks to jack up its military clout, which the United States endorsed.”
Korea, China Freeze Out Abe at ASEAN Meet
The leaders of Korea, China and Japan sat side-by-side at the ASEAN+3 conference in Brunei on Thursday, but no three-way communication took place and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was left out in cold.
President Park Geun-hye sat flanked by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Abe, since Korea is the chair country of the "plus three" countries.
They arrived at the conference hall separately. At a joint photo session of the 13 leaders of the ASEAN+3 member nations just before the start of the conference, Park was flanked by the Sultan of Brunei Hassanal Bolkiah and again Abe. But a Cheong Wa Dae official said Park and Abe "were not seen exchanging a single word throughout the conference."
US and Japan agree to upgrade military alliance
Posted on : Oct.5,2013 13:03 KST
Japan’s moves to expand its military receive US endorsement at meeting between ministers in Tokyo
By Gil Yun-hyung, Tokyo correspondent and Park Hyun, Washington correspondent
Since Japan’s surrender in World War II in 1945, there have been two major changes in its relationship with the US.
The first took place at the summit between US President Ronald Reagan and Japanese Prime Minister Zenko Suzuki in May 1981. During this meeting, the relationship between the two countries was described for the first time as an “alliance,” signifying military cooperation. Japan agreed to the US request to field P-3C anti-submarine patrol planes and took on the task of watching for Russian subs.
The second change was the revision of the Guidelines for Japan-US Defense Cooperation in 1997. The US asked Japan to be prepared to respond to regional situations such as the nuclear threat posed by North Korea. The guidelines were first compiled in 1978 during the Cold War over concern about invasion by the Soviet Union. When the guidelines were revised in 1997, the main focus was a possible military conflict on the Korean peninsula.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [US Japan alliance] [China confrontation] [Threat]
[Editorial] Japan’s militarization should not be condoned
Posted on : Oct.5,2013 13:06 KSTModified on : Oct.5,2013 13:06 KST
The US has sided with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe about strengthening Japan’s military role, which could threaten peace and security in Northeast Asia and bring the region into turmoil.
The foreign and defense ministers of Japan and US met in Tokyo on Oct. 3 for the Japan-US Security Consultative Committee Meeting, also known as the “2+2” meeting.
“[Japan] is re-examining the legal basis for its security including the matter of exercising its right of collective self-defense, expanding its defense budget, reviewing its National Defense Program Guidelines, [and] strengthening its capability to defend its sovereign territory,” the two countries said in a joint statement that was issued after the meeting. “The United States welcomed these efforts and reiterated its commitment to collaborate closely with Japan.”
The substance of the joint statement is that the US is actively supporting Abe’s drive to turn Japan into a strong military power without repenting for its past actions.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [US Japan alliance] [China confrontation] [Threat]
Japanese PM Abe says sure, call me a far-right militarist
Posted on : Sep.28,2013 17:49 KST
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe makes a fist as he speaks at UN headquarters in New York, Sept. 26. (AP/Newsis)
In recent comments in the US, Abe talks of need to expand Japan’s military and economy
By Gil Yun-hyung, Tokyo correspondent
Even while visiting the Hudson Institute, a conservative American think tank, on Sept. 25, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pulled no punches. He made this remark as he was emphasizing the necessity of interpreting the Japanese constitution to justify collective self-defense, a position he is currently pushing.
“The military expenditures of our next-door neighbor are at the least twice that of Japan, and it is second in the world after the US,” Abe said. That country [China] has been increasing its defense budget 10% each year over the past 20 years, but this year we barely increased ours by 0.8%, the first such increase in 11 years.”
“So call me, if you want, a right-wing militarist,” he said.
As soon as Abe said this, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported on Sept. 27, the auditorium erupted in applause. The paper noted that the Abe’s audience included many analysts who are critical of China.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Abe Shinzo]
US voices objections to Japan’s plan to ensure “preemptive strike capabilities”
Posted on : Oct.5,2013 13:16 KST
John Kerry and Chuck Hagel shake hands with Itsunori Onodera and Fumio Kishida, before the Japan-US 2+2 meeting in Tokyo, Oct. 3, 2013.
Washington appears unenthusiastic about becoming involved in military issue that could draw objection from South Korea
By Gil Yun-hyung, Tokyo correspondent
Washington expressed opposition to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ambitious plan to ensure “enemy base strike capabilities” for Japan’s Self-Defense Forces (JSDF).
According to an Oct. 4 report in the Asahi Shimbun, US government secretaries responded unenthusiastically to the plan for responding to North Korean nuclear and missile threats, which would give the JSDF the ability to strike enemy bases, when it was explained to them at the Japan-US Security Consultative Committee Meeting the day before. The so-called “2+2” meeting in Tokyo brought together the two countries’ foreign and defense ministers for talks.
The newspaper also noted that the topic was not mentioned at all in the joint statement or press conference after the meeting.
In an interview, Michael Green, the Japan Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told the newspaper that “the [Barack] Obama administration does not want to become involved” in an issue that would likely draw objections from Seoul.
“Even if Japan possessed the capability to attack enemy bases, it would be limited so it would be the United States that would have to deal with any counterattack,” Green added.
The guidelines that assign the roles of the US and Japan in the event of a war or other emergency call for the former to be the “spear” for attacking the enemy, and the latter to be the “shield,” with a focus on defense and rear support.
But the Abe administration has used the North Korean threat as an excuse for maintaining that the amended guidelines should permit the JSDF the ability to carry out its own strikes against adversaries.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [US dominance] [Threat] [Control]
It Would Make No Sense for Article 9 to Mean What it Says, Therefore It Doesn’t: The Transformation of Japan's Constitution
The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 11, Issue 39, No. 2, September 30, 2013.
C. Douglas Lummis
There is a rumor in Japan that Aso Taro, former Prime Minister and present Deputy Prime Minister, never reads real books but only cartoon books: manga. It is said that when he was PM he kept a stash of these in the back of his official car so he could read them going to and from meetings and other duties. If these rumors are true, they would go a long way toward explaining his recent gaffe. On 29 July this year, speaking before an ultra-rightist audience on the subject of Constitutional amendment, he said, according to the Asahi Shinbun’s summary,
It should be done quietly. One day everybody woke up and found that the Weimar Constitution had been changed, replaced by the Nazi Constitution. It changed without anyone noticing. Maybe we could learn from that. No hullabaloo.
Aso was bombarded with criticism from within Japan and from around the world, from people shocked to learn that there is a political leader in a major democratic country who could confess to believing that something useful about how to deal with democratic constitutions can be learned from the Nazi example. After a couple of days, he “retracted” the statement. Trouble is, you can’t talk the cat back into the bag once you’ve let it out. And also, if you make a statement that reveals your dreadful ignorance (The Weimar Constitution was never amended by the Nazis; the Nazis did not take over the government “quietly”) retracting it will not persuade people that you weren’t so ignorant after all.
U.S. Welcomes Japan's Military Expansion
The U.S. and Japan will drastically bolster their military alliance to counter China's increased spending on arms development and North Korea's nuclear and missile program.
The U.S. has decided to support Tokyo's attempt to engage the country's strictly defensive military in what is called "collective self-defense," allowing it to send troops to an ally which is in some way under threat.
The agreement came in meetings on Thursday between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel with their Japanese counterparts Fumio Kishida and Itsunori Onodera.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [US Japan alliance]
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The joy of art: why Japan embraced sex with a passion
Japan is the only country in which erotic art – 'shunga' – has been mainstream. A new exhibition at the British Museum shows how sex was often allied to comedy and political subversion
The Guardian, Friday 27 September 2013 14.03 BST
The image of an ecstatic woman having cunnilingus administered by an octopus would seem to be far removed from the mainstream of any major artistic tradition. Yet this is one of the most famous pictures by Hokusai, perhaps the greatest Japanese print artist of his or any other time.
Rembrandt did some etchings of couples having sex. Picasso did many erotic pictures, as did Degas, Toulouse Lautrec and Rodin. George Grosz did some remarkably kinky watercolours. But erotic art was never in the mainstream of European art, or any artistic tradition that I can think of, except that of Japan. Even ancient Greece was not quite in the same league. Almost all the major Japanese artists of the 17th and 18th centuries depicted sexual intercourse – featuring men, women, foxes, donkeys, ghosts and even the odd stingray.
Japanese Minister Proposes More Active Military Presence in Region
27 July, 2013 – New York Times
TOKYO — Japan is considering the acquisition of offensive weapons and surveillance drones and will assume a more active role in regional security, the country’s defense minister said Friday, providing an early glimpse of ways the new conservative government could lead the nation farther than ever from its postwar pacifism.
The minister, Itsunori Onodera, said Japan was considering taking such steps to counter the growing military capabilities of North Korea and of China, which has been extending its influence in the region and is embroiled in a territorial dispute with Japan over islands in the East China Sea. The drones would be used to monitor Japan’s vast territorial waters, presumably including the area around the islands.
Abe rushes to revise constitutional interpretation
August 26, 2013
Following the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s landslide victory in the Upper House election in July, Prime Minister Abe Shinzo is accelerating his move to enable the country to exercise the right to collective self-defense by changing the government’s interpretation of the Constitution.
The Abe Cabinet on August 8 decided to appoint as director general of the Cabinet Legislation Bureau Komatsu Ichiro, former ambassador to France who supports Japan’s use of the right to collective self-defense.
Successive heads of the Cabinet Legislation Bureau have expressed in the Diet that the use of the right to collective self-defense goes against Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution. The government’s official interpretation of the Constitution has also recognized it as unconstitutional.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Article 9]
U.S. worried by aggressive military posture
Visiting official relays warning about angering regional community by acquiring strike ability
Aug 7, 2013
The United States has expressed concern about Japan’s desire to acquire the ability to attack enemy bases in an overhaul of defense policies pursued by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a government source said in Tokyo.
One of the American officials attending bilateral talks on foreign and defense policy cooperation late last month in Tokyo asked the Japanese side to consider the possible negative fallout on neighboring countries if the Abe administration embarks on such a policy shift, the source said Tuesday.
The U.S. official conveyed Washington’s message that Tokyo should not further worsen relations with China and South Korea, which have been plagued for months by territorial rows, as well as the issue of Japan’s wartime aggression.
The government is currently compiling new defense guidelines, and an interim last month stated that Japan should take on a greater regional security role and reinforce its defense capabilities, including enabling the Self-Defense Forces to attack enemy bases.
The proposal comes as Japan faces North Korea’s missile and nuclear threats. The government is planning to agree within the year on the long-term guidelines, which would also mention the need to counter China’s increasing military assertiveness.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [US Japan alliance] [US global strategy] [US dominance] [Subordinate]
The U.S. and Japan: Partners in Historical Falsification
Posted: 09/10/2013 4:25 pm
We recently returned from a 12 day speaking tour in Japan that took us to Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Tokyo, and Okinawa. Before we joined forces in Hiroshima prior to the August 6 commemorative events, Oliver lent support to the activists protesting the South Korean naval base under construction on Jeju, South Korea, less than 500 kilometers from Shanghai. Peter was in Kyoto with participants in American University's Nuclear Studies Institute's annual study-abroad class. Being in Hiroshima and Nagasaki around the anniversaries of the atomic bombings was a powerful experience for both of us and a vivid reminder of why whitewashing the past is so critical to perpetuating empire in the present -- a project in which the U.S. and Japan have collaborated for the past 68 years.
Both nations' elites have undoubtedly benefited from this symbiotic relationship. Until Japan was recently displaced by China, the U.S. and Japan were the world's two biggest economies. They are among the top five spenders on their militaries. Japan has been the fulcrum of U.S. policy in Asia since the end of World War II and remains so today.
[US-Japan alliance] [Imperialism]
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China VP tells S Korea he’s ‘very furious’ over Japan’s rightward shift
? Aug 21, 2013 ? Ida Torres
China VP tells S Korea he’s ‘very furious’ over Japan’s rightward shift
China‘s Vice Premier Zhang Dejiang is reportedly “very serious” over Japan’s veering to right-wing politics, with Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pushing for a revision of the country’s Pacifist constitution. The Chinese VP spoke with visiting South Korean lawmakers and said their two countries should take a coordinated approach over history issues with Japan.
Zhang met with eight South Korean lawmakers, led by Rep. Lee Byung-suk of the ruling Saenuri Party. Lee shared with reporters that Zhang was especially angry over Japan’s moves to “distort history” and the fact that they’re trying to bring back their militarism.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [China SK]
ASAHI POLL: 59% against moves to allow right to collective self-defense
GSDF conducts live-fire drill at Mt. Fuji with eye toward the sea Next
Abe: State secrets bill will take into account reporters' freedom August 26, 2013
THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
Fifty-nine percent of voters do not support moves by the Abe administration to change the current interpretation of the Constitution to allow Japan to exercise its right of collective self-defense, according to a weekend poll by The Asahi Shimbun. This compares with 27 percent of voters who do.
Abe's Far-Right Lurch Wins Alarming Popular Support
An opinion poll in Japan last week showed 62 percent of respondents welcomed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ritual offering to the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, which honors convicted war criminals among the country's war dead. That is more than twice the number of people who felt it was inappropriate. In another poll in June, 56 percent said the prime minister should visit the shrine in person, compared to just 31 percent who were against.
This contrasts alarmingly with a poll in 2006 which showed that 60 percent were against their leader visiting the shrine and only 20 percent in favor.
[Yasukuni] [Abe Shinzo]
The Purple Heart [US WWII propaganda film]
In this scene from the film "The Purple Heart", General Matsubi (Richard Loo) has an ideological debate with Capt. Harvey Ross (Dana Andrews), highlighted by Matsubi's explaining why Japan is destined to win the war. An excellent, if misguided, speech.
[Comment re Chinese response to Surrounded: How the U.S. Is Encircling China with Military Bases]
I sympathize with your motivations, but you're sounding like the bald guy. Second half of the clip.
You're repeated the tired old cliche that "Asiatics" have no fear, no value on their own lives or those of their fellow people. I'm not questioning Chinese bravery, but sacrificing millions isn't required. The people who are encircling you are not impressed by millions willing to die -- they are more than happy to kill them.
And a nuclear exchange will likely end civilization -- yours and ours.
For my money, I'm counting on China to outsmart the military/industrial schemes to encircle it. Better technology, defenses that make the US' trillions in "force projection" worthless.
China needs to resume the role it once played as revolutionary -- encourage people in strategic places to rise up and fight, and supply them weapons and resources. Want to keep Obama from "pivoting?" Mire him in the Mideast. Arm Iran and the national liberation movements fighting Israeli occupation and aggression.
Wave the revolutionary banner -- billions will respond.
Our oligarchical owners are losing their grip. They are not the real American people -- they are parasites and we need a national enema. Our economy is tottering. The One Percenters are panicking and are sure to miscalculate.
BTW, the actor, Richard Loo, was a Chinese-American citizen who played he Japanese stereotype -- because the US had put its Japanese- American citizens in concentration camps. For the record, the buck teeth are fake.
Japan Puts Troops on Display, Says Role to Grow
GOTEMBA, Japan August 20, 2013 (AP)
By ERIC TALMADGE Associated Press
Japan put its army on display Tuesday in an annual exercise at the foot of Mount Fuji intended to showcase the nation's ability to defend itself and to drum up support for plans to give Japanese troops a broader role at home and abroad.
Designed more as a spectacle than a training opportunity, the exercises focus on a scenario in which Japan is attacked from the sea. As a narrator explained the attack to thousands of spectators in grandstands, a wide array of aircraft, artillery, tanks and helicopters fired on targets at the base of the scenic mountain, a powerful symbol of Japan itself.
This year's exercises involve 2,400 troops, 30 aircraft and 80 tanks and armored vehicles, which is fairly typical. They will continue for several days. The exercises, held since 1961, are the biggest event put on by Japan's army, called the Ground Self-Defense Forces, each year.
Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera, in a written statement, said the exercises show Japan's resolve to meet "deepening uncertainties'" in the region and to be able to defend its own territory.
China, Japan, and India's Asian Arms Race
By Bruce Einhorn
August 16, 2013
China and Japan managed to get past the Aug. 15 anniversary of the Japanese surrender in World War II without incident. For weeks leading up to the date, the question was, will he or won’t he? Will Shinzo Abe, the conservative prime minister who last year infuriated the Chinese by visiting the Yasukini Shrine in Tokyo, which commemorates Japan’s war dead—including war criminals from World War II—go to the shrine on the anniversary?
Abe has enough on his agenda without provoking another crisis with China, so he decided to stay clear. Three members of his cabinet did go to Yasukini, part of a group of 100 members of Japan’s parliament who prayed at the shrine. While Abe wasn’t one of them, the prime minister did make a gesture to his nationalist supporters, sending a cash offering to the shrine.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Arms race]
'Never forget Japan threat'
Kim Hak-joon, president of the state-run Northeast Asian History Foundation (NAHF), speaks during an interview with The Korea Times, Monday, at his office in Seoul. / Korea Times photo by Shim Hyun-chul
By Chung Min-uck
“Japan has been so eager to take possession of Korea for so long that it has become part of its indelible national genome. To fight this neighbor’s constant threat, we Koreans should never let our guard down at the same time seeking to lead it on a peaceful path.”
This is a reminder of history given by Kim Hak-joon, president of the state-run Northeast Asian History Foundation (NAHF), on the anniversary of the Aug. 15, 1945 national liberation from Japan’s 36-year colonial occupation.
During an interview at his office, Kim said, “History proves this point.”
According to Kim, the Nihon Shoki, or the Chronicles of Japan, one of Japan’s oldest history records, claims the countries’ relations started with a fantastical account of fictional Japanese conquering Silla, an ancient kingdom on the Korean peninsula.
Japan to Allow Use of Imperial Flag
Japanese Imperial Navy veterans salute with a rising sun flag to mark the 63rd anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour in 1941, at the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo on Dec. 8, 2004. /Reuters Japanese Imperial Navy veterans salute with a rising sun flag to mark the 63rd anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour in 1941, at the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo on Dec. 8, 2004. /Reuters
The Japanese government plans to allow the use of the rising sun flag symbolizing imperial Japan, the conservative Sankei Shimbun daily reported Tuesday.
The plans, if true, would be the latest lurch to the far right by the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who also wants to revise Japan's pacifist postwar constitution, which puts tight limits on what its military can do, and retract apologies for wartime and colonial atrocities.
According to Sankei, the Japanese government decided to clarify its position after the Korea Football Association lodged a complaint against Japanese soccer fans for unfurling the rising sun flag during a match against Korea in the East Asian Cup in Korea last month.
Moves to allow the use of the rising sun flag are expected to poison already strained relations with Korea and China, where it is seen as the equivalent of the Nazi swastika in Europe.
Exclusive: Pentagon's chief weapons buyer builds Japan ties as it eyes arms exports
By Tim Kelly
TOKYO | Wed Jul 31, 2013 6:25am EDT
(Reuters) - The U.S. Defense Department's chief weapons buyer, Frank Kendall, will on Thursday meet officials in Tokyo overseeing Japan's defense contractors, his first visit with industry regulators reviewing the pacifist nation's decades-old ban on overseas arms sales.
The under secretary of defense for acquisitions, technology and logistics will meet officials at the Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry, a spokesman for the U.S. military said. He will also visit the foreign affairs and defense ministries.
The three ministries are together considering guidelines on what weapons, and to whom, Japanese defense contractors could sell arms.
Almost half-century-old export restrictions have isolated Japan's defense contractors, keeping the industry small, fractured and cost heavy.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Arms sales] [Strategic incoherence]
Japan moving toward constitutional revision to allow a military
Posted on : Aug.5,2013 15:40 KST
Following election victory, Abe government now has enough seats to make a firm push away from historical pacifism
By Jeong Nam-ku and Seong Yeon-cheol, Tokyo and Beijing correspondents
Now that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government has gained a secure number of seats in both the lower and the upper houses of the Japanese Diet following its victory in the House of Councilors Upper House election last month, it is accelerating efforts to depart from the post-war pacifist system.
1993 Kono Statement facing an existential crisis
Posted on : Aug.5,2013 15:43 KST
Modified on : Aug.5,2013 15:57 KST
Then-Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono announces the Kono Statement on August 4, 1993. (News1)
20 years after apology was issued, the Abe government working to negate statement
By Jeong Nam-ku, Tokyo correspondent
The Kono Statement, which reached the 20th anniversary of its release on Aug. 4, is facing an existential crisis. The statement was an apology and acknowledgment that women from Korea and other countries were coerced into sexual slavery during World War II and that the Japanese army had been involved their coercion.
The current Japanese government, led by Prime Minister Abe Shinzo, took a step back when Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said in May, “we have never said that we would revise the statement.” Nevertheless, a significant number of Japanese politicians, including Abe himself, effectively deny the substance of the statement.
The statement was released by Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono on Aug. 4, 1993, when Kiichi Miyazawa of the Liberal Democratic Party was Prime Minister of Japan.
Seoul-Tokyo relations set to dip as Japan releases results of Dokdo opinion poll
Posted on : Aug.3,2013 13:46 KSTModified on : Aug.3,2013 13:47 KST
Japan could be trying to bolster its claim to the South Korean islets by releasing poll data
By Park Byong-su, staff reporter and Jeong Nam-ku, Tokyo correspondent
The South Korean government responded vehemently on Aug. 2 to Japan carrying out its first-ever public poll on Dokdo and announcing the results. Now it plans to continue responding sternly to what is describing as a “new breed of provocation.”
In a spokesperson’s statement released on Aug. 2, the day after the results were announced, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent a sternly worded message to Tokyo.
EDITORIAL: Opportunity for talks with North Korea should not be wasted
July 30, 2013
Peace has remained frustratingly elusive on the Korean Peninsula in the six decades since a truce was declared to end the Korean War.
On July 27, the day when the armistice was signed in 1953, North Korea held a pompous ceremony, including a troop review, in Pyongyang.
But supreme leader Kim Jong Un didn’t deliver a speech to mark the occasion, and no new weapons were displayed during the huge military parade, according to news reports.
This spring, North Korea created a fresh and acute security crisis by carrying out a series of highly provocative acts. Recently, however, the reclusive country has switched to a diplomatic offensive to seek dialogue.
The Land of the Sinking Sun
Is Japan’s military weakness putting America in danger?
BY PHILIPPE DE KONING , PHILLIP Y. LIPSCY | JULY 30, 2013
Since returning to office in December, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has done little to reassure his neighbors that Japan comes in peace. Within his first two weeks of office, he ordered a review of his country's defense guidelines, which his defense minister, Itsunori Onodera, described as "a priority we must work on with no letup." On July 26, Japan's Defense Ministry released interim results of the review, urging significant military upgrades. It included plans to create an amphibious island defense force, and hinted at the possibility of preemptive strikes against foreign military targets.
Over the last seven months, Abe's staunchly nationalistic views and desire to revise Japan's post-war constitution, which prohibits the use of military capabilities except in self-defense, have exacerbated tensions with China and South Korea. A Pew Research Center poll, released in July, found that 85 percent of Chinese and South Koreans view Abe unfavorably, and that sentiment towards Japan has worsened sharply. The now regular flare-ups over the disputed Senkaku islands in the East China Sea have increased the risk of conflict between Japan and China, which calls the islands the Diaoyu. And Abe's decisive victory for the Liberal Democratic Party in late July's upper house elections brought him closer to the two-thirds legislative majorities in both houses of the Diet required to initiate constitutional reform.
Japanese Mass Daily Calls for Revision of Sex Slave Apology
Japan's top-selling daily newspaper in an editorial published on Thursday called for the revision of a 1993 apology for the sexual enslavement of Asian women for the imperial army in World War II.
The apology was made by then Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono and admits Tokyo's responsibility for the atrocity.
But the editorial in the Yomiuri Shimbun, which came after the unveiling of a statue near Los Angeles commemorating the victims, repeats the claim that there exists no evidence that the imperial Army had any direct hand in rounding up the women.
Japanese politician retracts comments on Nazis
Posted on : Aug.2,2013 14:07 KSTModified on : Aug.2,2013 14:18 KST
Taro Aso had suggested that Japan could follow Nazi tactics in revising the country’s constitution
By Jeong Nam-ku, Tokyo correspondent
Deputy Prime Minister of Japan Taro Aso finally retracted remarks he had made implying that Japan should learn from the techniques that the Nazi regime used to revise the German constitution. The remarks had generated a negative reaction around the world.
“I regret the fact that I unintentionally caused misunderstanding, and I take back my use of the Nazi regime as an example,” Taro told Japanese reporters on August 1.
“I had brought up the situation with the Wiemar Constitution during the Nazi regime as a bad example of how constitutional reform might take place without adequate understanding and discussion by the people,” Taro tried to explain.
According to the Asahi Shimbun, Aso retracted the remarks in an attempt to get control of the situation after criticism increased both in Japan and internationally.
On July 29, Aso said, “Constitutional reform must be done quietly. The Weimar Constitution was replaced with the Nazi Constitution before anyone realized it. Perhaps Japan should learn from that approach.”
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Article 9]
U.S. shows nuclear facilities to reassure Japan, allies on deterrence
By YOSHIHIRO MAKINO/ Correspondent, The Asahi Shimbun, at ajw.asahi.com, July 30 2013,
WASHINGTON--The United States has allowed Japanese officials to see confidential nuclear-related facilities to allay concerns that the Obama administration’s disarmament initiative could weaken its nuclear umbrella.
The move was also intended to prevent Japan from developing nuclear weapons using its massive stockpile of plutonium to counter potential threats from its neighbors in East Asia, sources said.
Senior officials of Japan’s foreign and defense ministries were granted access to three U.S. military installations, according to Japanese and U.S. government sources.
In May last year, they were briefed in the center for the Headquarters of the U.S. Strategic Command at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska, and they also took a look at the control center for intercontinental ballistic missiles at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana.
New Chauvinist Wave in Japan as Minister Slams Koreans
Members of Japan's Cabinet have upped the ante in a war of words between the neighbors by reviving ancient slurs against Koreans as uncivilized. Meanwhile the government in Tokyo continues to lurch to the far right, with one senior politician recommending Nazi tactics to change the country's pacifist postwar constitution.
One trigger was a banner unfurled by Korean fans during the recent match against Japan in the East Asian Cup in Seoul. "A nation that forgets its history has no future," the banner read, referring to attempts by Japanese politicians to whitewash their country's World War II atrocities.
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Japan military 'needs marines and drones'
Tensions between China and Japan over East China Sea islands remain high
Japan should bolster its marine force and introduce surveillance drones, a defence review paper says, highlighting concerns over China and North Korea.
Units that could be dispatched quickly to remote islands were needed, the document said, and equipment to detect "at an early stage signs of changes in the security situation".
The report comes amid ongoing tensions with China over disputed islands.
It also flagged up the need for better defences against missile attacks.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Media]
Is AP and/or the Japanese Government Really Confused About the Difference Between a Fighter Jet and a Surveillance Turboprop?
Thursday, July 25, 2013
After raking the Irish Times over the coals for screwing up the headline it tacked onto the Reuters story about the alleged intrusion of a Chinese military aircraft into Japanese airspace by calling a Y-8 turboprop a “fighter plane”, I was…interested? bemused? incensed? to see AP run its story with the fighter plane characterization in the body of the text. As in:
Tokyo expressed unease Thursday over Chinese military and maritime activity near disputed islands that Japan controls, as China defended a flight by one of its fighter jets near Japanese airspace.
I think it was a flub by AP, though I would be interested to find out if the reporter was simply passing on an incorrect? misleading? dishonest? characterization by a Japanese government official.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Media] [Disinformation]
Japan likely to mull pre-emptive strike ability in defence update
By Linda Sieg
TOKYO | Wed Jul 24, 2013 5:40pm EDT
(Reuters) - Japan is likely to start considering acquiring the ability to launch pre-emptive military strikes in an update of its basic defense policies, the latest step away from the constraints of its pacifist constitution.
The expected proposal, which will almost certainly sound alarm bells in China, is part of a review of Japan's defense policies undertaken by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government, an interim report on which could come as early as Friday.
The hawkish Abe took office in December for a rare second term, pledging to bolster the military to cope with what Japan sees as an increasingly threatening security environment including an assertive China and unpredictable North Korea.
Abe victory to deep freeze Seoul ties
By Chung Min-uck
Following Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling coalition’s majority victory in the parliamentary upper house elections, Korea-Japan relations are expected to remain frozen without a drastic turnaround, experts said, Monday.
“The Abe government will seek for a stable and long-term management. It is unlikely that Japan will take immediate actions that can irritate its neighbors,” said Jin Chang-su, director of the Sejong Institute’s Center for Japanese Studies. “Seoul-Tokyo relations will remain frozen as they are now.”
Japan's Elections Rattle China
By Bruce Einhorn
July 22, 2013
With Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party rolling to a big victory in elections over the weekend, one of the biggest losers could turn out to be the country’s regional rival, China. The LDP, which already was in charge of the lower house of the Diet, regained control of the upper house on Sunday, trouncing the opposition Democratic Party of Japan. The landslide could embolden Abe, who has made no secret of his desire to counter China’s rise by rewriting the pacifist constitution imposed on the Japanese by the Americans after the end of World War II.
Even before the votes were counted, China was showing its unhappiness about Abe’s looming triumph. “To consolidate power, the prime minister and other Japanese politicians wrongfully chose to indulge a rightist tilt and constantly provoke Japan’s neighbors on sensitive territorial and historical issues,” a commentator for the official Xinhua News Agency wrote on Sunday. The article warned “if policymakers in Tokyo believe a potential election win could serve as a warrant for further rash behaviors to strain the ties with Japan’s neighbors, challenge the post-WWII world order, or abandon its pacifist commitment, they risk steering the country further down a wrong path.”
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Abe Shinzo]
The Wild Card
Is popular Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe trying to rewrite history with a radical nationalist new constitution?
BY KIRK SPITZER | JULY 19, 2013
TOKYO — Japanese voters are almost certain to give Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) an overwhelming victory in upper house elections on July 21. The election so far has focused largely on economic recovery -- and for once there's hope on the horizon. Abe's aggressive program of monetary easing and government spending has begun to jolt the economy out of nearly two decades of deflation and stagnation. The prime minister, who's been operating with only the lower house of the Diet backing him, is looking to regain a majority in the upper house to help push through his "third arrow" of structural reforms.
But voters who are pleased with his bold economic plans may also be unwittingly giving Abe free rein to pursue a radically nationalist agenda that risks destabilizing the already tense security situation in East Asia.
Abe and supporters in the conservative LDP, which already has a solid majority in the more powerful lower house, have made no secret of their desire revise the constitution, which has remain unchanged since it was adopted in 1947.
Abe failed with a similar agenda during his first, brief tenure as prime minister in 2006-2007, but the growing missile threat from North Korea and belligerent territorial claims by China have helped boost public support for revising the constitution's war-renouncing Article 9, and easing the ban on collective self defense, which prevents Japan's highly capable armed forces from coming to the aid of the United States or other allies, unless Japan or Japanese forces are attacked first.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Abe Shinzo]
A more militaristic Japan?
Shinzo Abe's party now controls both houses
Nationalism, a less pacific constitution and an aggressive, pro-Japan economic plan all pushed to the fore
By Craig Dale, CBC News
Posted: Jul 22, 2013 5:02 AM ET
Last Updated: Jul 22, 2013 4:57 AM ET
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has proved that patience in politics, along with good timing, can pay off.
Six years ago, he was licking his wounds after his Liberal Democratic Party suffered a demoralizing defeat in an upper house election. He resigned two months later, citing health issues.
Today, he's feeling the rush of political redemption. He returned to the top job in December following a landslide general election, and now he’s savouring the complete victory that eluded him back in 2007.
"I think the people have shown that they believe in us," Abe said in an interview with public broadcaster NHK after the LDP and its junior coalition partner, New Komeito, won yesterday's upper house vote. "We are really the only choice."
Abe's triumph breaks a deadlock in the Diet and may end the leadership shuffle that has given the country a rotating cast of prime ministers for much of the past seven years. It also threatens to usher in a more militaristic Japan, as well as a revitalized manufacturing base — buoyed by hyper-cheap government money — that has some of its critics and trading partners more than a little worried.
"Abe himself, but also his entourage, have stayed on message so far not in order to just do economics, but also to push their nationalistic agenda," says political science professor Koichi Nakano of Sophia University. "He's a hardcore nationalist with a very jarring, revisionist view of history."
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Abe Shinzo]
No One in Japan Likes North Korea
Posted on 07 June 2013.
By Troy Stangarone
Last week we looked at the results of a recent BBC survey of international perceptions of South Korea’s influence. The same survey asked people around the world about North Korea as well and the one thing that really stands out is that no one, not one single respondent in Japan expressed a positive view of North Korea’s influence in international affairs.
Practically speaking, we know that there are supporters of North Korea in Japan among the ethnic Koreans those who immigrated there during the period of colonial occupation and the Second World War. So, someone in Japan does like North Korea. However, it is still eye opening that in a random sample of 1560 people not one person had a positive impression of Pyongyang in international affairs.
S. Korean president proposes memorial of anti-Japanese hero in China
THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
BEIJING--South Korean President Park Geun-hye asked China to build a memorial of Korean activist An Jung-geun, who assassinated Japan’s first prime minister on Oct. 26, 1909.
Park’s request for the An memorial in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, was made over lunch with Chinese President Xi Jinping on June 28.
An killed Ito Hirobumi at Harbin station. He is considered a national hero in South Korea because he symbolizes the resistance to Japan’s 1910-45 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.
“I hope you will install such a memorial at Harbin station because he is a historical figure respected by the peoples of South Korea and China,” Park told Xi, according to a source in the South Korean president’s office.
[Japanese colonialism] [Assassination]
Green Shoot: Abenomics and the 3rd Arrow
REPORT BY ANDREW DEWIT
This article describes the impressive, resilience-targeted greening of Japan, evident in nationwide deployments of renewable energy, radical efficiency, and other core aspects of sustainability. These developments are already underway, and include public- and private-sector actors as well as community groups. The greening also has promising stamina due to being increasingly deeply inscribed in the fiscal, regulatory and other mechanisms of a rapidly emergent industrial policy.
Japan, North Korea and the abduction issue
July 5th, 2013
Author: Sebastian Maslow, Heidelberg University and Tohoku University
In May 2013, amidst rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe dispatched his top cabinet advisor Isao Iijima to Pyongyang, leaving Seoul and Washington puzzled over the shock visit. The purpose was to make headway in resolving the abduction issue in the lead up to July’s Upper House elections.
North Korea admitted to the Cold War abductions of Japanese citizens during former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s landmark visit to Pyongyang in 2002. The revelation stalled further progress in normalising diplomatic relations between Japan and North Korea and triggered an avalanche of public criticism in Japan. Abe is a key advocate for the resolution of the issue, and it seems that his rapid political rise since the early 2000s is closely connected to his hard-line policy approach toward North Korea.
July 02, 2013
Tessa Morris-Suzuki writes 'in recent months sections of the media in Japan, and even internationally, have gone into overdrive to sell the message that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is not a nationalist.
'Those who care about the future of Japanese society should not allow the dazzle of verbal juggling to induce a political version of the Gruen Transfer. The prime minister’s ideology may be re-branded for the global market, but the old adage remains: buyer beware.'
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Park Has No Plan for Summit with Abe
President Park Geun-hye has no plan to meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for the time being, a senior diplomat in Seoul said Monday.
"Some people are saying Park should have a summit also with Abe following her summits with U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping, but I understand that she isn't seriously thinking about a Seoul-Tokyo summit," the diplomat added.
China slams Japan's new defense white paper
China.org.cn, June 27, 2013
A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman slammed an overview of Japan's Defense Ministry's white paper for 2013, urging the country to conduct some introspection and do more to facilitate regional peace and stability.
"China adheres to a road of peaceful development and pursues a national defense policy with a defensive nature," spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a regular press conference, adding that China is transparent in its military's strategic intent and poses no threat to any country.
China's national defense development is aimed solely at maintaining national sovereignty, territorial integrity, and peace and stability in the region and the world at large, Hua noted.
Owing to historical factors, Japan's military development, however, has received great attention from neighboring Asian countries, she said.
"The Japanese side has been advocating the 'China threat' and deliberately creating tensions in recent years," Hua said, highlighting the international community's concerns about Japan's continuous arms expansion and frequent military drills.
"We hope the Japanese side could follow the historical trend, seriously re-examine itself, take a deep look at its history of aggression and do more to facilitate the preservation of regional peace and stability," Hua said.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Diaoyu]
Japan’s emerging amphibious capability
By Benjamin Schreer
Print This Post Print This Post
A forbidding sky over JS Hyuga (DDH 181) What a change in threat perception can do: for years, Japan’s strategic establishment discussed the need to readjust the nation’s military posture to meet a changing external security environment, with nothing much coming from it. Enter China, and Japan has found a new resolve. Beijing is steadily building up its missile arsenal capable of hitting targets in Japan, including US bases. The dispute over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands from Tokyo’s view demonstrates a Chinese ‘probing’ strategy aimed at testing Japanese and American resolve in territorial conflicts. Recent claims by Chinese quasi-officials that even Japan’s Ryukyu Islands historically belonged to the Middle Kingdom have only exacerbated Tokyo’s concerns.
Japanese soldiers debut in live firing exercise in Australia
English.news.cn 2013-05-30 15:25:33
MELBOURNE, May 30 (Xinhua) -- Soldiers from the Japanese Self- Defense Force have attended their first live firing exercise in Australia, the local newspaper The Australian reported Thursday.
According to the report, the Japanese soldiers joined the exercise in the Puckapunyal army base located in the southern state of Victoria, together with their counterparts from the United States and Australia.
A NEW CARRIER RACE?
Strategy, Force Planning, and JS Hyuga
Vice Admiral Yoji Koda, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (Retired)
On 18March 2009 JS Hyuga (DDH 181) was commissioned and delivered to
the JapanMaritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF). The unique characteristic
of this ship is its aircraft-carrier-like design, with a “through” flight deck and
an island on the starboard side.Hyuga was planned in the five-yearMidterm Defense
Buildup Plan (MTDBP) of 2001 and funded in Japanese fiscal year (JFY)
2004 as the replacement for the aging first-generation helicopter-carrying destroyer
(DDH), JS Haruna (DDH 141), which was to reach the end of its service
life of thirty-five years in 2009.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Amphibious]
A-bomb survivors protest Abe’s plan to revise pacifist Constitution
By DAISUKE SHIMIZU/ Staff Writer
Survivors of the 1945 atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki adopted a resolution on June 5 to protest Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s plan to revise Japan’s pacifist Constitution.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Article 9]
Abe: Japan needs to develop offensive military capacity
Xinhua, June 11, 2013
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Tuesday that Japan needs to study the possibility to develop offensive military capacity so as to attack enemy bases, according to local media.
Abe made the remarks when he responded to proposals, which aimed at strengthening the country's military capabilities, submitted by lawmakers from his Liberal Democratic Party, reported Japan's Kyodo News.
Abe said the matter is an important one and indicated that it would be in the discussion of compiling a governmental long-term defense program that to be outlined by the end of this year.
The proposals referred to promote Japan's capability to defend its islands, touching on the necessity to equip the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) with U.S. MV-22 Osprey transport aircrafts to create amphibious forces, said Kyodo.
The proposals also called for approving Japan to exercise collective self-defense right, the report said.
Abe, a well-known hawkish politician that returned to power last December, is eager to revise the country's war-renouncing constitution so as to make the SDF a full national army, raising concerns and worries from neighboring countries.
Evolution of Japan’s Grand Strategy
June 4th, 2013
Author: Richard Samuels, MIT
Finding the right distance between the United States and China is the most important strategic choice facing Japan today.
A woman holds a Japanese national flag as she takes part in a rally, opposing China
‘Getting it just right’ with these two powers will require both military and economic readjustments. But it will not be easy given that there are four contending national security strategies for Japan’s relationships with the United States and Japan.
China asks for cancellation of Japan-US amphibious assault exercises
Posted on June 5, 2013 by John Hofilena in Politics
China asks for cancellation of Japan-US amphibious assault exercises
China has asked the United States and Japan to cancel its scheduled exercises this month in California where U.S. military and Japan’s Self Defense Forces (SDF) will be training for amphibious assault aimed at recapturing an island, this in light of the ongoing territorial spat between the two Asian neighbors regarding an uninhabited chain of islands in the East China Sea. Sources have revealed that China filed this request through diplomatic channels, adding that Beijing’s stance is firmly against the drill.
[Joint US military] [US Japan alliance] [China confrontation]
Inside Japan’s growing xenophobic right-wing
Posted on : Jun.9,2013 11:18 KST
Right-wing protesters on Hallyu (Korean Wave) Street in Tokyo hold signs calling for South Koreans to be kept off of Japanese television, March 31.
Nativist far-right groups target ethnic Koreans in Japan with discrimination and foul-mouthed criticism
By Jeong nam-ku, Tokyo correspondent
Following former South Korean president Lee Myung-bak’s visit to Dokdo in October of last year, relations between South Korea and Japan were quickly chilled. There was also a sharp increase in the number of anti-Korean protests by Japanese far-right groups. Starting this year, about once or twice a month protesters have taken to the streets in Shin-Okubu, Tokyo’s Koreatown, to shout inflammatory, anti-Korean phrases.
The group at the center of the gatherings is called Citizens against Special Privilege of Zainichi (abbreviated as Zaitokukai). Goichi Yasuda, who wrote a book titled “Right-Wing and Patriotism Online,” says that people join Zaitokukai because they are looking for the solidarity of a family and out of a desire for acceptance. The group is extremely xenophobic. At a joint meeting of Japan’s far-right nationalist groups, the Hankyoreh’s Tokyo correspondent had a chance to hear their unvarnished opinions. The point of the visit was to seek a more accurate understanding of the real identity of groups like this.
Japan's 'Pacifist' Militarization
Tokyo's defense plans hinge on Abenomics' success and winning over wary neighbors..
By JOHN LEE
After the opening speech by U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel at the Shangri-La Dialogue of Indo-Pacific defense ministers last weekend, many delegates left the room for a cup of coffee in the foyer. They should have stayed, for they missed some surprising remarks moments later by Japanese Minister of Defense Itsunori Onodera.
Over the past few years, presentations by Japanese delegates have tended toward the anodyne and predictable. But Mr. Onodera presented a radically new view of Japan's military position, and its role in the region. While affirming that Japan remains a "pacifist" country, he indicated that Tokyo is now redefining what this means. Under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, pacifism will no longer imply passivity. Tokyo is nurturing an ambition, if not yet the means, to significantly alter the regional military balance and strategic environment.
LDP Pro-China Wing Fires Back at Abe
LDP’s Pro-China Wing Fires Back at Abe; More Yeast for the Nikkei; and More Confusion About the Ryukyus
It always seemed likely that, back in the Deng Xiaoping days, the PRC and Japan were eager to cut a deal for normalization of relations and, therefore, both sides would agree to put the Senkaku issue on the backburner.
The “set aside the Senkakus” sentiment was certainly the governing spirit at a press conference during Deng’s 1978 visit to Japan, as Ezra Vogel’s biography of Deng records (pg. 304 of the ebook):
When a reporter asked about the ownership of the Senkaku Islands, the audience became tense, but Deng replied that the Chinese and Japanese held different views, had different names for the islands, and should put the issue aside so that later generations, who would be wiser than those present, could solve the problem. The audience was visibly impressed…
[Abe Shinzo] [China confrontation]
Contradicting government, Tanaka confidant says two sides cut deal at time of normalization of ties
Senkaku row shelved in ’70s: Nonaka
Jun 5, 2013
BEIJING – In a new ripple to Japan’s assertion of ownership of the disputed Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, former chief Cabinet Secretary Hiromu Nonaka said leaders from Japan and China had agreed to shelve the territory row when the two countries normalized relations in the early 1970s.
China Has a Medium-Sized Financial Anvil It May Want to Share With Japan
“Abenomics” pumps liquidity into the Japanese financial markets through government bond purchases by the Bank of Japan. The liquidity creates asset inflation, mainly in the stock market at least for now.
Theory is, the owners of these bubblicious assets feel rich (or, according to the politically less offensive explanation, feel the raw terror that sustained, government-mandated inflation will erode the value of their savings), buy things, trickle down trickle down trickle down.
Right now it’s too early to see signs that this process is succeeding. Instead of buying things, canny investors are taking profits off the bubble (“correction”) and then putting their money back in the market on the calculation that the Japanese government isn’t going to stop the liquidity injections just yet.
The other, voodooish side of Abenomics is the theory is that the increased demand for government bonds thanks to the Bank of Japan intervention will trigger lower interest rates (in bond-speak, lower yields; since the interest payment is fixed, strengthening or weakening demand is reflected in the price of the bond. Lower yields means higher bond prices).
The lower yields promised by Abenomics mean Refi! to reduce the carrying cost of Japan’s truly awesome national debt and cheaper money to provide some conventional Keynsian stimulus to the economy through some infrastructure giveaways.
Instead, bond prices are falling and yields are increasing—an indication that the bond market is fixating on the inflationary implications of Abenomics and the need to boost yields to keep pace, which is indeed a very traditional view of how bonds are supposed to behave in an inflationary environment, especially one in which the stock market has jumped 79% year to date—and the opposite of the Bank of Japan’s optimistic prediction.
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Abe rocks Japan’s constitutional boat
May 21st, 2013
Author: Aurelia George Mulgan, UNSW Canberra
Japan’s Prime Minister Abe and the ruling LDP are capitalising on their popularity and the deterioration in Japan’s regional security environment to launch a reinvigorated campaign to amend the Japanese Constitution. In April 2012, the LDP released new draft proposals for revising the document, the most important legacy of the US Occupation of Japan.
[Abe Shinzo] [Japanese remilitarisation] [Article 9]
Rising Sun, Morning Calm, Redeeming Step
by Roger Cavazos
May 23, 2013
Roger Cavazos writes “Both Japan and North Korea are presently taking concrete steps, and responding primarily to their own perceived national interest. The path to redemption is rarely linear and never easy. North Korea’s tentative reaching out should be met with reversible actions and Japan’s bold steps should be encouraged – maybe even followed.”
There existed a tone deaf Japanese leader with an alternate view of history. There also existed a North Korean leader skilled in the dark arts of increasing tensions only to decrease them while asymptotically approaching red lines. Surely a pair of leaders like that can’t possibly have productive discussions. But they did. Junichiro Koizumi and Kim Jong-il met one summer day in 2002 just before the autumnal equinox a symbolic 50-50 mix of light and dark. It was the closest the two countries came to normalizing relations. Both countries missed important steps on the road to their own normalization.
[Japan NK] [Sterile]
Japan's peace pledge under attack
Yoshioka Tatsuya and Celine Nahory 23 May 2013
Japan adopted its war-renouncing constitution following World War II, with Article 9 as a promise to itself and a pledge to the world to never repeat its mistakes. The debate provoked by Prime Minister Abe Shinzo over amending this famous peace clause threatens to destabilise the fragile regional peace
Crowd of young people behind a banner holding up yellow sheets with '9' written on them. Young activists express support for Article 9. Photograph: Stacy Hughes / Peace Boat
In the past few months, Japan has been experiencing political changes, notably with the December 2012 re-election of Abe Shinzo, a key figure of Japan’s ideological conservative right, as the country’s Prime Minister. This development threatens to have a drastic impact on Japan’s longstanding war-renouncing policies in the international area.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Abe Shinzo] [Article 9]
A Timely UN Warning to Japan
The UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in a report last week urged the Japanese government to "educate its citizens" so they do not make hateful comments or dishonor women who were forced to serve as sex slaves for Japanese soldiers during World War II.
The CESCR's report comes amid a lurch to the right by the Japanese government and persistent attempts to whitewash the country's wartime atrocities. It singled out a vicious Japanese rock band that sent the former sex slaves a CD with a song calling them "prostitutes," in polite translation.
Osaka Mayor Weighs into Sex Slaves Debate Again
Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto has again found himself with his foot in his mouth after claiming that armies including Korea's have habitually used women to solve "the problem of sex on the battlefield."
At an event on Monday involving the rightwing Japan Restoration Party, of which he is a co-leader, Hashimoto claimed that all militaries used women in war, apparently to illustrate that there was nothing so unusual about the Japanese army's use of sex slaves during World War II.
"Japan was bad," he said. "It is true that we used women to solve the problem of sex on the battlefield. Having said that, America, Britain, Germany and France, and even the Korean military in Vietnam after WWII, they all used women to address the issue."
Japan mulls bilateral talks with North Korea, raising coordination concerns among allies
By Associated Press,
Updated: Wednesday, May 22, 5:18 PM
TOKYO — Japan’s government is looking into re-opening official talks with North Korea to resolve questions over the abductions of Japanese citizens decades ago, raising concerns among allies who fear Tokyo’s focus on that issue might weaken efforts to rein in Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program.
Chief Cabinet spokesman Yoshihide Suga said Wednesday that high-level talks with the North are possible if they would lead to a breakthrough on the abductions. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has indicated he is open to holding a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un if such a breakthrough could be made.
Abe dispatched a senior adviser to Pyongyang last week, catching Seoul and Washington off guard. Both said they were not given prior notice.
Japan tips its hand via North Korea
[This piece appeared at Asia Times Online on May 21, 2013. It can be reposted if ATOl is credited and a link provided.]
The big story in Asia affairs today is a little trip that was supposed to stay a secret: the dispatch of Isao Iijima, adviser to Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, to meet with senior officials in North Korea, thereby breaking the united US/South Korean/Japanese front in negotiations with Pyongyang.
It is the first instance of an overt divergence between Japanese and US diplomatic and security strategies, something that has been implicit in Japan's sometimes-inflammatory brand of nationalism under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe - and Abe's determination to move Japan beyond its traditional role of obedient US ally to independent regional force.
The United States has been quietly disapproving of Japan's China strategy - witness Kurt Campbell's statement that the US advised Japan against nationalizing the Senkaku islands - and provocative nationalist hi-jinks on issues like the Yasukuni Shrine, but excused them as politically motivated exercises in domestic base-pandering.
Abe's Sophistry Proves Japan Cannot Be Trusted
In an interview with the U.S. policy magazine Foreign Affairs on Sunday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe likened the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, which houses the remains of Japan's war dead including convicted World War II criminals, with the Arlington National Cemetery in the U.S.
"Let me humbly urge you to think about your own place to pay homage to the war dead, Arlington National Cemetery, in the United States," he said. "I think it's quite natural for a Japanese leader to offer prayer for those who sacrificed their lives for their country, and I think this is no different from what other world leaders do."
Abe claimed South Korea and China remained silent for years after convicted war criminals were enshrined there in 1978. "Then suddenly, they started opposing the visits" by lawmakers and government officials.
[Abe Shinzo] [Yasukuni]
Former Japanese Prime Minister criticizes Abe’s remarks
Posted on : May.21,2013 14:13 KST
Tomiichi Murayama, forrmer Japanese Prime Minister
Current Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has made reactionary comments on the definition of the word “invade”
By Jeong Nam-ku, Tokyo correspondent
Former Japanese Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama, who made the 1995 Murayama statement, an apology to the countries that were affected by Japan’s colonial rule and invasions, has criticized Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for his recent remarks related to the definition of the word ‘invade’.
In a May 19 interview with the Nihon Keizai Shimbun newspaper, Murayama said, “If you enter an enemy country by force, that is an invasion”. This can be taken as criticism of Abe’s remark, “the definition of invasion hasn’t been specified”.
On Apr. 22, Abe said in regard to the Murayama speech, “I will not accept it as it is. The definition of invasion isn’t set in stone”.
Japanese Prime Minister Abe’s visit to Russia
May 15th, 2013
Author: Dmitri Streltsov, MGIMO University
On 29–30 April 2013, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe paid a visit to Moscow.
It was the first official visit of a Japanese prime minister to Russia since Junichiro Koizumi’s trip to Moscow in January 2003. In many ways, the recent summit can be seen as not just an important meeting but even as a landmark event in the history of Russo–Japanese relations.
Changes in the international political environment in Northeast Asia over the last year have proved to be beneficial for relations between the two countries. Against the backdrop of rising tension on the Korean peninsula, Russia and Japan came to a mutual understanding of the need to strengthen the political component of their relationship. The growing threat of military conflict arouses great concern not only in Japan, for which North Korea has become a sort of a geopolitical ‘bugbear’, but also in Russia, which shares a land border with North Korea.
Abe Seeks Talks with N.Korea Over Abducted Japanese
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Sunday said he wants to hold talks with North Korea about Japanese citizens abducted by the North during a bizarre campaign in the 1970s and 80s, Kyodo News reported.
Abe pledged to continue to pressure North Korea with sanctions as long as the abduction issue remains unresolved. "It is an area in which Japan should take the initiative," Japan's economic revitalization minister Akira Amari told NHK.
Isao Iijima, Abe's advisor on North Korean affairs, raised eyebrows in Seoul and Washington with a surprise visit to Pyongyang last week. It was apparently an attempt to reopen dialogue about the abduction victims.
Abe also said he wants to discuss both the North's nuclear weapons and the abduction victims under a bilateral accord signed back in 2002. The Pyongyang Declaration was signed by former prime minister Junichiro Koizumi and then-North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and is a roadmap to normal diplomatic ties between the two countries.
The endeavor stalled when the North refused to release more abduction victims and conducted a nuclear test. Activists believe that North Korea abducted dozens of Japanese, mostly to train spies.
[Abe Shinzo] [Abductees]
Japan will not take action until the abduction issue is solved
CNTV, May 19, 2013
An adviser to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told DPRK officials during his recent trip to Pyongyang that Japan will not budge an inch until the abduction issue involving Japanese nationals is resolved, a Japanese government source said Saturday.
In talks with the DPRK officials, Isao Iijima demanded that Pyongyang return all Japanese nationals abducted by the DPRK, hand over the abductors and provide a full account of the abductions. He said the abduction issue must be solved within Shinzo Abe’s term of office.
The source said Isao Iijima also asked the DPRK to give a comprehensive solution to the nuclear and missile issues, but it was not clear about his specific suggestions and the DPRK’ reactions.
[Japan NK] [Abductees]
[Editorial] Seoul should welcome N. Korea-Japan dialogue
Posted on : May.18,2013 15:08 KST
It’s problematic for the South Korean government to openly criticize Japan for pursuing dialogue with North Korea. First of all, it is inconsistent with its own criticisms of Pyongyang for not responding to its dialogue offers. Seoul should be taking the initiative in improving inter-Korean relations by having the relevant departments address peninsular issues more actively than they're doing right now.
Abe Bows to Int'l Pressure Over WWII Apology
Bowing to international pressure, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Wednesday he will endorse a 1995 apology by then-prime minister Tomiichi Murayama to all Asian victims of Japanese aggression.
In April, Abe told the Japanese Diet that he does not feel bound by what is known as the Murayama statement and vowed to issue a new one by 2015 to mark the 70th anniversary of Japan's defeat in World War II.
The comments drew fierce condemnation from Korea and China as well as the U.S. and Europe.
N. Korea-Japan relations at a pivotal point with high-level visit
Posted on : May.17,2013 17:04 KST
Japanese Cabinet Secretariat Advisor Isao Iijima (left) meets with North Korean Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly Kim Yong-nam in Pyongyang, May 16. (KCNA/Yonhap News)iijima
Pyongyang and Tokyo have several lingering issues to be worked out before relations can be normalized
By Jeong Nam-ku, Tokyo correspondent
In Sep. 2002, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi made a surprise visit to North Korea. He met with former North Korean leader Kim Jong-il in the first summit meeting ever held between North Korea and Japan. After the meeting, the Pyongyang Statement was released, which declared the beginning of negotiations toward diplomatic relations. Koizumi received a personal apology from Kim for the abduction of Japanese citizens, and upon his return from his second trip to North Korea in May 2004, he brought back five Japanese who had been abducted.
Eleven years later, would it be possible for current Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to once again dramatically transform relations between North Korea and Japan? Abe said that he would be willing to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un if that were necessary to find a solution to the abduction issue. Politicians in Japan believe that Abe is intent on holding a summit meeting. Nevertheless, Japanese generally do not have high expectations. The problem is that the gap between the North Korean and Japanese positions is too wide, and the regional situation is not on their side.
[Japan NK] [Abe Shinzo] [Abductees]
Why Japan’s surprise push for contact with North Korea?
Posted on : May.16,2013 17:12 KST
Japanese Cabinet Secretariat Advisor Isao Iijima (R) is greeted by Kim Chol-ho, vice director of the North Korean Foreign Ministry's Asian Affairs Department, upon his arrival Pyongyang airport, May 14. 2013.
S. Korea and the US troubled by Japan’s decision to hold a visit without any notification
By Jeong Nam-ku, Tokyo correspondent
The Japanese government’s decision to send Cabinet Secretariat adviser Isao Iijima to North Korea, without notifying either the South Korean or US government in advance, appears to have been based on a strategic determination. With North Korea suffering under sanctions by the international community, Tokyo could gain an advantage in its negotiations about Japanese citizens who were abducted by North Korea.
[Japan NK] [Abe Shinzo] [Abductees]
Japanese envoy leaves North Korea, gives no details on outcome of talks
By Associated Press,
Saturday, May 18, 12:26 AM
TOKYO — An adviser to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ended a visit to North Korea on Friday but would not give details of his talks with leaders in Pyongyang.
Isao Iijima’s three-day visit came amid a slight easing of tension on the Korean Peninsula after weeks of threats from the North aimed at Washington, Seoul and Tokyo.
Japan has not disclosed the purpose of Iijima’s trip.
“I had serious and long hours of talks (with North Korean officials) during my visit,” Iijima told reporters after he arrived in Beijing. He would not give details about the talks.
“I will not speak to any media,” he said. “I plan to inform the prime minister about my talks.”
Abe Hints at Meeting Kim Jong-un
Shinzo Abe Shinzo Abe
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday hinted that he could meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Speaking at a session of the House of Councilors' budget committee, Abe said such a meeting would be worth considering if it can help resolve the issue of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korea during a bizarre campaign in the 1970s and 80s.
"The meeting wouldn't be an end in itself," he added, pointing out that former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi visited North Korea in 2002 and won the release of five abduction victims and their families.
This suggests that Japan is pushing for a summit through Cabinet Secretariat Advisor Isao Iijima, who made a surprise visit to Pyongyang the previous day.
But when asked about the exact purpose of Iijima's visit, Abe refused to comment. He would only say that the overall goal of diplomacy with North Korea is "to improve relations with the North in accordance with the Japan-North Korea Pyongyang Declaration by resolving the abduction, nuclear and missile issues."
The declaration was issued by Koizumi and then-North Korean leader Kim Jong-il in 2002 and aims to establish normal diplomatic ties between the two countries.
The endeavor stalled when the North refused to release more abduction victims and conducted a nuclear test.
A diplomatic source in Tokyo said, "Japan seems to be putting out its own feelers because it was excluded from discussions of the North Korean issue due to conflict with South Korea and China" over Tokyo's lurch to the right and territorial disagreements.
Abe Aide Meets Top N.Korean Apparatchik
Japanese Cabinet Secretariat advisor Isao Iijima on Wednesday met with senior North Korean apparatchik Kim Yong-il, the North's official KCNA news agency said.
Kim is among the top 20 officials in the repressive regime and deals with international affairs.
KCNA did not say what was discussed.
Kim Yong Il Meets Japanese Cabinet Official
Pyongyang, May 15 (KCNA) -- Kim Yong Il, secretary of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea, met and had a talk with Isao Iijima, special counsellor in charge of crisis management in Abe's Cabinet of Japan, and his companion on Wednesday.
Abe taking Japan back to imperial past
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in the cockpit of a T-4 training jet at an airbase in Miyagi gives a thumbs up, Tuesday. The number on the fuselage of the aircraft — 731— has triggered protests from Korea, China and imperial Japan’s other victims, who have taken offense because it coincides with that of Unit 731, which conducted biological and chemical warfare experiments using people from countries Japan occupied. / AFP-Yonhap
By Kim Tae-gyu
People from countries that suffered Japan’s wartime atrocities have fears and concerns deep down that the island nation may be returning to its old imperialistic ways under right-wing leaders.
That fear is personified by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, regarded as far more right-wing than any of his predecessors, as the two-time leader continues to behave and talk controversially.
[Abe Shinzo] [Japanese remilitarisation]
Abe’s pose resurrects horrors of Unit 731
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe poses inside the cockpit of a T-4 training jet plane, emblazoned with the number 731, of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force’s Blue Impulse flight team on Sunday at the JASDF base in Higashimatsushima in Miyagi Prefecture, Japan. Provided by JIJI
A photograph of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe smiling and giving a thumbs up from inside a training jet emblazoned with the number 731 is going to infuriate Chinese, Russians, Koreans and other victims of Japanese brutality before and during World War II.
 [cbw] [Abe Shinzo] [Japanese remilitarisation]
Abe Sends Key Aide to Pyongyang
Japans Cabinet Secretariat Advisor Isao Iijima (right) shakes hands with North Korean Foreign Ministry official Kim Chol-ho at Pyongyang Airport on Tuesday. /Reuters-News 1 Japan's Cabinet Secretariat Advisor Isao Iijima (right) shakes hands with North Korean Foreign Ministry official Kim Chol-ho at Pyongyang Airport on Tuesday. /Reuters-News 1
A key aide to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrived in Pyongyang on Tuesday afternoon, Kyodo News reported. Cabinet Secretariat Advisor Isao Iijima (67) was welcomed by North Korean Foreign Ministry official Kim Chol-ho at Pyongyang Airport.
Japanese media reported Iijima's arrival in Pyongyang as breaking news.
The surprise is that Abe is openly sending a key aide to Pyongyang although his government increasingly lists to the far right, swimming slightly against international attempts to isolate the North.
But NHK said the visit is an attempt to find a solution to the issue of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korea during a bizarre campaign in the 1970s and 80s -- a matter that still carries a huge emotional charge in Japan.
[Abe Shinzo] [Abductees]
Japanese Cabinet Official Here Arrive
Pyongyang, May 14 (KCNA) -- Isao Iijima, special counsellor in charge of crisis management in Abe's Cabinet of Japan, and his companion arrived here Tuesday.
Osaka Mayor Says Sex Slaves Were 'Necessary'
Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto on Monday said women who were forced to serve as sex slaves for Japanese troops during World War II were "necessary." The remark by Hashimoto, who is also co-leader of the far-right Japan Restoration Party (JRP) and a rising star in Japanese politics, is just the latest in a series of extreme views he has expressed.
"When bullets are flying like rain and wind, the soldiers are running around at the risk of losing their lives. If you want them to have a rest in such a situation, a comfort women system is necessary," Hashimoto said. "Anyone can understand that."
He claimed his historical research has revealed that the Japanese Imperial Army was not the only one to use sex slaves.
He also claimed there is no proof that the women were abducted and forced into sexual slavery and added it is "problematic" that Japan is being viewed negatively due to what he called "propaganda" by Korea and other countries.
He went on to criticize Japanese lawmakers, saying they failed to apologize for things that need to be addressed and speak out on issues that need explanations.
The JRP wants to revise Japan's pacifist postwar constitution and bolster its military. At present, the sole official function of the Japanese military is to protect the country from invasion.
In August last year, Hashimoto also claimed there is no evidence that the so-called "comfort women" were forced into sexual slavery.
Abe still denying Japan’s acts of aggression
Posted on : May.10,2013 15:58 KST
Japanese Prime Minister again hides behind semantic ambiguity when asked about Japan’s imperial past
By Jeong Nam-ku, Tokyo correspondent
Japan has faced criticism not only from South Korea and China, but also from the US over its attempts to adjust its position on historical issues. But even as Tokyo moves into damage control mode to handle the resultant backlash, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has once again shown his deep-seated desire to deny the appropriateness of the term “act of aggression.”
According to a May 9 Asahi Shimbun report, Abe cited verbatim the apology portion of the Murayama Statement of 1995 during a May 8 meeting of the Upper House budget committee. “This government shares the view of past governments that Japan brought great loss and pain to the people of other Asian countries in the past,” Abe said. However, he hesitated to admit the fact that this was caused by Japanese acts of aggression.
[Abe Shinzo] [Japanese colonialism]
Poll: Japanese choose South Korea over China, but South Koreans like China better
By ATSUSHI HIROSHIMA/ Staff Writer
Japanese overwhelmingly prefer South Korea to China, but South Koreans favor China by an almost equally wide margin over Japan, according to a joint poll by private Japanese and South Korean organizations.
The survey, released on May 7, also found that a large proportion of the respondents’ view of the other country turned negative over the past year, which was marked by South Korean President Lee Myung-bak’s visit to the Takeshima islets in August, a first by any South Korean president.
China Questions Japan’s Ownership of Okinawa
State-run Chinese media claim that Japan's southernmost island chain including Okinawa really belongs to China.
The People's Daily on Wednesday published a contribution by a researcher at the nationalist-tinged Chinese Academy of Social Sciences arguing the U.S. violated postwar treaties when it handed over control of the Diaoyu and Ryukyu islands to Japan.
He said the Ryukyu kingdom that ruled the island chain was a vassal state of the Chinese empire before being annexed by Japan in the late 19th century.
The author recalls that the Qing Dynasty protested against the annexation and held negotiations with Japan, during which Japan offered to divide the Ryukyu Islands, with Japan controlling the northern half and China the southern half.
The Qing emperor instead wanted to put the Ryukyu king back on the throne to control the main island, while China and Japan each control the southern and northern island chains. The First Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895) put an end to further negotiations.
N. Korea censures Japan's nuclear fuel purchase
North Korea denounced Wednesday Japan's recent purchase of nuclear fuel from France, saying it is motivated by the country's ambitions to produce nuclear bombs.
In April, Japan's state-run Kansai Electric Power Co. brought in a shipment of mixed oxide fuel (MOX) from France and said it will be used to run a nuclear reactor in Takahama, west of Tokyo. MOX is nuclear fuel, usually consisting of plutonium blended with natural uranium, reprocessed uranium or depleted uranium.
"Japan's steady purchase of a large amount of plutonium is intended for efforts to nuclearize itself," the Rodong Sinmun, published by the North's governing party, said in its Wednesday issue.
The North Korean newspaper added, "Japan's drive to purchase a large amount of nuclear fuel is not aiming at electric power production only."
Japan has already been equipped with skills to produce nuclear arms at any time, said the news outlet, adding, "The plutonium reserve currently owned by Japan is enough for making 5,000 units of the nuclear bomb, which (the U.S.) dropped on Nagasaki" during World War II.
The recent shipment of MOX marks Japan's first purchase of nuclear fuel since the nuclear disaster in Fukushima in March 2011.
Only two reactors, operated by Kansai Electric near Takahama, are still running after the country shut down the rest following the nuclear accident. Japan has said it will rethink its previous decision to abandon atomic power following the 2011 disaster.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Nuclearisation]
Is Japan Developing a Nuclear Weapons Program?
Huge reprocessing plant could be used to stockpile plutonium for the future manufacture of nuclear weapons.
By Peter Symonds
Global Research, May 07, 2013
The Wall Street Journal published an article on May 1 entitled “Japan’s nuclear plan unsettles US.” It indicated concerns in Washington that the opening of a huge reprocessing plant could be used to stockpile plutonium for the future manufacture of nuclear weapons.
The Rokkasho reprocessing facility in northern Honshu can produce nine tonnes of weapons-grade plutonium annually, or enough to construct up to 2,000 bombs. While Japanese officials insist that the plutonium will be used solely to provide nuclear power, only two of the country’s 50 nuclear power reactors are currently operating.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Nuclearisation]
Japan, Russia agree to revive talks on island dispute
By Alexei Anishchuk
MOSCOW | Mon Apr 29, 2013 4:34pm BST
(Reuters) - Russia and Japan said on Monday they would revive talks on ending a territorial dispute that has prevented them signing a treaty to formally end their World War Two hostilities and, wary of China's growing influence, agreed to thicken trade ties.
At the two G8 powers' first Moscow summit for 10 years, President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had China's economic and political might in mind as they launched a new effort to warm up their relationship.
An end to the dispute over four Pacific islands is not in sight, but reviving long-stalled talks is a first step to improving economic cooperation, which both sides say has failed to live up to its full potential.
"We have agreed to revive talks (on the islands)," Putin told a news conference with Abe after a Kremlin ceremony at which about 20 economic cooperation agreements were signed, but said this did not mean the issue would be resolved "tomorrow".
[Russia Japan] [Territorial disputes]
Japan Under Neonationalist, Neoliberal Rule: Moving Toward an Abyss?
Herbert P. Bix
It is widely assumed that the Japan-U.S. military alliance plays a key role in securing peace in Northeast Asia. It not only shores up procedural democracy in Japan and South Korea but also assures Japan’s neighbors, China in particular, of Japan’s commitment to pacifism. Close analysis of the current stage of neonationalism and neoliberal austerity economics in Japan, as exemplified by the government that recently took over in Tokyo, conveys a different impression.
Following the December 19, 2012, general election to the powerful House of Representatives, the first since the Great East Japan Earthquake and the nuclear catastrophe at TEPCO’s Fukushima complex, Abe Shinzo won a solid victory, restoring to power the LDP and its coalition partner, New Komeito.
Five years earlier, in September 2007, Abe had resigned as prime minister after less than a year because of scandals, incompetence, and gaffes. Having taken over from Koizumi Junichiro, who had set back Japan’s relations with South Korea and China through repeated visits to Yasukuni, the controversial shrine celebrating Japan’s war dead, Abe, in the short time he held office, tried to reset the relationship with China. Yet in both China and South Korea deep undercurrents of anti-Japanese feeling lingered. After leaving office, Abe served as an adviser to the Seiwa Policy Research Society, the LDP faction once headed by former Prime Minister Mori Yoshiro. Holding a position in this extremist group, Abe delivered an occasional lecture and watched for his chance to regain the nation’s highest political office. In the midst of the Japanese people’s rush to recover from nuclear disaster and reconstruct the northeast coast, he made known his intention to bid again for the prime ministership.
[Abe Shinzo] [Japanese remilitarisation]
Yet Another Lost Decade? Whither Japan’s North Korea Policy under Abe Shinzo
The return to power of Abe Shinzo and his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) unfolded as tensions on the Korean peninsula mount. As a key advocate of the abduction lobby, Abe’s rapid political rise since the early 2000s is closely connected with his role in promoting a hardline policy towards North Korea. Mobilizing a new nationalism in Japan, Abe’s return as prime minister in December 2012 signals a rightward shift in Japanese politics. The current international crisis surrounding North Korea offers a critical test for analyzing the trajectory of Abe’s foreign and security policy. In addition to joining multilateral United Nations sanctions, the Abe administration has increased the pressure on North Korea through new measures constraining the activities of pro-Pyongyang groups within Japan. Moreover, as Abe has pledged yet again to solve the abduction issue, the kidnapping problem has brought the old anti-DPRK policy network back to the forefront of Japan’s North Korea policy.
China says U.S. should watch Japanese nationalism
BEIJING | Wed May 1, 2013 6:57am EDT
(Reuters) - The United States should be just as concerned as other countries about a rise in Japanese nationalism, China's ambassador to Washington said, hinting that the United States should not offer Japan encouragement in its dispute with China over a group of islets.
China and Japan are involved in an increasingly bitter stand-off over the uninhabited islands in the East China Sea, called Senkaku by Japan and Diaoyu by China, which lie atop of possibly large energy reserves.
Beijing last month protested a voyage by 10 boats carrying Japanese activists into waters near the islands.
While tensions flared between Japan and China and South Korea last month after Japanese lawmakers visited a shrine seen by China and Korea as a symbol of Japan's past militarism.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Yasukuni]
U.S. to Deploy Strategic Weapons in Japan
The U.S. and Japan have agreed to deploy state-of-the-art strategic weapons in Japan in a bid to build an early warning system against North Korean missiles. U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and his Japanese counterpart Itsunori Onodera announced the decision in a joint press conference in Washington on Monday.
"Today, we made progress on plans to deploy a second TPY-2 radar to Japan, which will help protect both of our nations from the threat of North Korean ballistic missiles,” Hagel told reporters.
The TPY-2 radar will be positioned in Kyoto following one already placed at a Japanese Air Force base in Tsugaru, Aomori Prefecture in 2006.
Using 2.5-3.75 cm wavelength, far shorter than other radars, the TPY-2 radar can identify ballistic missiles within a radius of 4,000 km.
According to Hagel, the U.S. also agreed to deploy in Japan a second squadron of MV-22 Ospreys, the vertical takeoff and landing cargo transport aircraft. It will be deployed in Iwakuni, Yamaguchi Prefecture this summer and then transferred to Futenma Base in Okinawa, Onodera said.
The two defense chiefs also agreed that the U.S.-Japan Security Consultative Committee consisting of defense and foreign ministers will meet this year to speed up revision of the guidelines for bilateral defense cooperation in the face of China's military buildup.
[US Japan alliance] [China confrontation] [Threat]
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Shinzo Abe wearing camouflage jacket in tank
China.org.cn, April 29, 2013
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wearing a camouflage jacket and helmet enters a tank at an event, promoted by the Internet video sharing site in Chiba, suburban Tokyo, on April 27, 2013. Abe's recent remarks defending his cabinet and parliamentarians' visits to the notorious Yasukuni Shrine have aroused strong criticism from the international community.
[Abe Shinzo] [Japanese remilitarisation]
Japan marks first sovereignty recovery day
Xinhua, April 29, 2013
The Japanese government on April 28 for first time commemorated the day that the country ended the U.S. occupation and recovered its sovereignty in 1952 after its defeat in the World War II. [Chinanews.com]
The Japanese government on Sunday for first time commemorated the day that the country ended the U.S. occupation and recovered its sovereignty in 1952 after its defeat in the World War II.
The government held a ceremony, in which the Japanese Imperial Couple, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as well as about 390 lawmakers, prefectural governors and government officials participated.
On April 28, 1952, Japan recovered its sovereignty, except Okinawa Prefecture, as the San Francisco Peace Treaty took effect, putting an end to a seven-year occupation by the U.S.-led forces.
Okinawa, Japan's southernmost island prefecture that was returned by the United States in 1972, consider April 28 as "day of insult" and oppose the central government's sovereignty recovery ceremony.
The prefecture's governor Hirokazu Nakaima skipped the ceremony and local assembly members also staged protests in the city of Ginowan in the prefecture, according to reports.
Japan Shakes the US Pivot to Asia
by PETER LEE
Oscar Wilde wrote, “When the gods wish to punish us, they answer our prayers.” Perhaps this is how Kurt Campbell feels today.
Campbell, after all, as assistant secretary for East Asia in Hillary Clinton’s State Department, was a key architect and proponent of the “pivot to Asia”, which was meant to elicit satisfactory behavior from China – and, in the process, demonstrate US leadership and relevance – by confronting the PRC with a phalanx of Pacific democracies (plus Vietnam of course) determined to impose liberal security, economic, and human rights norms on the rogue superpower.
The inevitable result of US backing has been an increased willingness of the Philippines, Vietnam, and Japan to stand up to China, which has contributed a virtuous cycle of Chinese hostility and a further defensive cleaving of the smaller nations to the United States.
Northeast Asia in flux due to Japan’s sharp right turn
Posted on : Apr.25,2013 17:49 KSTModified on : Apr.25,2013 20:03 KST
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s recent negation of history added further tension to a region already complicated by N. Korea
By Jung E-gil, senior staff writer and Seong Yeon-cheol, Beijing correspondent
Northeast Asia has been unsettled by the North Korean nuclear issue in recent months, and now Japan has started causing problems, too. By making comments denying Japan’s past acts of aggression, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has added another variable to the web of alliances and rivalries in the region.
On Apr. 23 (local time), Patrick Ventrell, deputy spokesperson for the US Department of State, spoke about China and Japan’s territorial dispute over the Senkaku Islands (known as the Diaoyu Islands in China). “[The US has] said…many times that we do not take a position on the question of the ultimate sovereignty over the islands,” Ventrell said.
The comment indicates that the US will not take sides on the question of whether China or Japan should have the right to control the islands
KCNA Commentary Censures Japan's Moves to Revive Militarism
Pyongyang, April 24 (KCNA) -- An increasing number of right-wing reactionaries are visiting Yasukuni Shrine against the backdrop of the trend of Japanese society's extreme lurch to the Right.
It was reported that Prime Minister Abe donated a tree called Bitsugi to the shrine since the start of the spring festival on Apr. 21.
Deputy Prime Minister Aso, the Minister of General Affairs, the Minister in charge of "Abduction Issue", the Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary and other high-ranking officials paid a group visit to the shrine.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Yasukuni] [Abe Shinzo]
Abe Denies Japan Invaded Asian Neighbors
In a further lurch to the far right, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told lawmakers on Tuesday that he does not believe Japan's occupation of other Asian countries during World War II can be considered "invasions."
Has Japan’s DPRK Policy Reached a Dead End?
By Yuki Tatsumi
22 April 2013
On February 12 2013, North Korea conducted an underground nuclear test. In response, the United Nation’s Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 2094 and imposed additional economic and financial sanctions against Pyongyang. Still, North Korea remains defiant as ever as events of the past few weeks have shown. As the international community grapples for ways to de-escalate the current tension on the Korean peninsula, Japan is reminded yet again how little influence it has on efforts to address security concerns posed by North Korea.
[Japan NK policy] [Sterile]
Foreign minister’s Japan trip cancelled after visits to Yasukuni shrine
Posted on : Apr.23,2013 15:37 KST
New governments in Seoul and Tokyo will have a tough time mending relations as Japanese politicians visit controversial shrine
By Park Byong-su, staff reporter and Jeong Nam-ku, Tokyo correspondent
Korea-Japan relations, which the new South Korean administration has been so carefully seeking to rebuild, have once again hit a snag. After visits by several Japanese cabinet members to the Yasukuni Shrine, the South Korean government issued a strongly worded complaint on Apr. 22 and canceled plans for South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se to visit Japan the following weekend. It appears that a chill in relations between South Korea and Japan may well be unavoidable for the time being.
Japan shrine visit angers South Korea
Seoul cancels visit by foreign minister after Taro Aso, deputy prime minister under Shinzo Abe, leads trip to war memorial
Justin McCurry in Tokyo
guardian.co.uk, Monday 22 April 2013 05.44 BST
South Korea has abruptly cancelled a trip to Tokyo by its foreign minister in protest at visits to a controversial war shrine over the weekend by Japanese cabinet ministers, including the deputy prime minister.
Visits to the Yasukuni shrine – which honours 14 class-A war criminals among 2.5 million other Japanese war dead – have traditionally angered China and South Korea, which view the site as a symbol of Japanese militarism.
Four ministers in the conservative administration of Shinzo Abe paid visits to the shrine, including his finance minister, Taro Aso.
U.S. warned government against buying Senkaku Islands: Campbell
Apr 10, 2013
WASHINGTON – The United States warned the government not to purchase the Senkaku Islands last fall, former U.S. Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell said in an interview Monday.
The Japanese government consulted with the State Department prior to the purchase, Campbell revealed, and was given “very strong advice not to go in this direction.”
The U.S. government, in urging Japan not to follow through with the purchase, stressed the action could “trigger a crisis” with China, which claims the islands for itself.
“Even though we warned Japan, Japan decided to go in a different direction, and they thought they had gained the support of China, or some did, which we were certain that they had not,” Campbell said.
The central government purchased three of the five islets from their private owner in September to bring them under its control. The action enraged the government in Beijing and sparked a wave of anti-Japanese protests across China.
[Diaoyu] [US Japan alliance] [Client]
2012 saw record 306 Japan fighter scrambles against Chinese aircraft
Apr 18, 2013
Japan scrambled fighter jets 306 times in response to intruding Chinese aircraft in fiscal 2012 through March, a record high, the Defense Ministry’s Joint Staff said Wednesday.
It is the first time scrambles against Chinese planes have surpassed those against Russian aircraft. For fiscal 2012, scrambles against Russian aircraft totaled 248, an increase by one incident from the previous fiscal year.
Scrambles by Air Self-Defense Force jets against Chinese aircraft rose due to heightened tensions over the Japanese-administered Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea following Tokyo’s effective nationalization last September of the islet chain.
Japan's Self Defense Forces to save own citizens in NK
Japan has said it is prepared to amend its laws to make it possible for its Self Defense Forces to rescue its citizens who have been abducted to North Korea, according to a report in Sankei News.
The report said senior officials of the Defense Ministry have discussed the issue with the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and there has been a general consensus on introducing the legislation.
“We must have a legislation to provide care for Japanese citizens who are abducted,” said Vie Defense Minister Shu Watanabe.
Reviews are currently underway on how and what the legislation will cover, another senior defense official said.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Constitution]
Japan, U.S. Get Ready to Shoot Down N.Korean Missile
A U.S. SM-3 missile A U.S. SM-3 missile
The U.S. and Japan are preparing to shoot down any medium-range missile North Korea is likely to launch.
The Musudan missiles being readied on the east coast have a range of 3,000 to 4,000 km and could theoretically reach the U.S. territory of Guam. That means they would have to fly over Japan on their trajectory, prompting Tokyo to get ready to shoot them down.
The SM-3 missiles aboard two Japanese Aegis-class ships dispatched to the East Sea can shoot down a projectile from 150 to 500 km away. "The SM-3s are capable of intercepting the Musudan before it reaches its maximum altitude of 300 to 400 km," said a military source here.
But other experts believe that if a missile flies over Japan, it would fly so high above the island country's air space of some 100 km as to give Tokyo little reason to intercept it.
[Hysteria] [Buildup] [Legality]
U.S-Japan Core Issues
by Sheila A. Smith
April 02, 2013
Sheila Smith writes: “The proposal for A New Approach to Security in Northeast Asia: Breaking the Gridlock offers a fresh perspective on the diplomatic framework for negotiating peace and stability for Northeast Asia. This memo responds to this initiative from the perspective of Japanese security and the shared strategic goals of the U.S.-Japan alliance.”
Sheila A. Smith is a Senior Fellow for Japan Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.
The proposal for A New Approach to Security in Northeast Asia: Breaking the Gridlock offers a fresh perspective on the diplomatic framework for negotiating peace and stability for Northeast Asia. This memo responds to this initiative from the perspective of Japanese security and the shared strategic goals of the U.S.-Japan alliance.
Two sets of issues would affect Japanese participation, and alliance support for, a comprehensive regional approach. The first set is related to Japan’s security, and the role of the U.S. security guarantee in ensuring Japan’s security. The second set relates to the legacy of negotiations to date with Pyongyang, and how they shape Japanese perceptions on a comprehensive regional approach.
I. Strategic/Security Concerns: Japanese cooperation in comprehensive regional agreements will depend on a number of factors, but the most important will be the extent to which Japan’s security concerns are met.
[US Japan alliance] [MISCOM]
Japanese professor proposes a way forward on Dokdo issue
Posted on : Apr.1,2013 14:55 KSTModified on : Apr.1,2013 15:03 KST
Haruki Wada, Tokyo University emeritus professor
According to Haruki Wada, Japan should renounce its claims to Dokdo and seek dialogue
By Han Seung-dong, senior staff writer
Tokyo University emeritus professor Haruki Wada proposes a very realistic solution on Northeast Asian territorial concerns such as the dispute over the Dokdo islets (called Takeshima in Japan).
“The crux of [South Korea’s] argument is that Japan’s possession of Takeshima in January 1905 was a precursor of its forcible annexation of Korea five years later,” he said. “It is impossible for Japan to refute this claim. And its control over Dokdo, which is based on this claim, will not go away so long as there is a Korean nation or a Republic of Korea.”
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Seoul, Tokyo on clash course
By Chung Min-uck
Relations between Korea and Japan are likely to remain at a low point under the Park Geun-hye government for the time being, as Tokyo is set to provoke Seoul over its easternmost islets of Dokdo.
President Park is expected to go toe-to-toe in the ongoing feud with Japan over various issues including Dokdo. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs already made its uncompromising stance clear, Wednesday.
Japan is also in no mood for reconciliation.
[Territorial disputes] [Dokdo]
Abe’s neo-Cold War diplomacy and Korea-Japan relations
Posted on : Mar.20,2013 13:39 KST
Park’s newly formed government must follow through with active diplomacy to establish peace in Northeast Asia
By Lee Jong-won, professor at Waseda University Graduate School of Asia Pacific Studies
At long last, the Park Geun-hye administration is starting to take shape. Considering the urgent situation on the Korean peninsula, it is hard not to feel frustrated about all the delays.
Park has decided to visit the US in early May, after her diplomatic team is set. It is at this time that she must hasten to implement the ambitious North Korea and China policies that she promised during her election campaign.
At the end of May 2013, a summit will be held in Seoul for the heads of government from South Korea, China, and Japan. Along with this, attention is focusing on in what manner Park will pursue summit diplomacy with important states in Northeast Asia such as China, Japan, and Russia. This is a situation that calls for Korea to take the lead in active diplomacy, even if only to prevent the situation on the Korean peninsula from deteriorating further.
Japanese Conductor Tours Pyongyang
Pyongyang, March 5 (KCNA) -- Japanese conductor Michiyoshi Inoue and his party visited Pyongyang Kim Won Gyun Conservatory on Tuesday.
They went round a main education building, halls and a music hall there.
At the end of the visit the Japanese conductor said:
I got deep impression from the conservatory attaching importance to education in national music.
I visited various conservatories in the world but it is the first time for me to see such conservatory putting efforts in developing national music as this conservatory.
I hope the rising generations of this conservatory would visit Japan to show an excellent performance.
I believe the conservatory would contribute to developing musical art of the DPRK in the future, too.
The guests also visited the Pyongyang Cultural Exhibition, the Kyongsang Kindergarten, etc.
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Boycott of Japanese products announced
Posted on : Feb.26,2013 15:34 KST
After Japan celebrates its erroneous claim to Dokdo, Korean business owners aim to stop flow of Japanese goods to Korea
By Kwon O-sung, staff reporter
Store and small business owners across Korea have joined a boycott of Japanese products, denouncing the country’s decision to celebrate Takeshima Day. Takeshima is the Japanese word for Dokdo.
On Feb. 25, the Save Local Stores Alliance announced the start of the boycott. “Japan is already subject to global censure for its distortion of the historical fact that it was a colonial aggressor,” the alliance said. “The country’s move to celebrate Takeshima Day cannot be accepted. It is not only an affront to the international community, but it is also derived from an imperialist view of history that shows no signs of contrition for its misdeeds.”
Meeting by Obama and Japan’s Abe shows sign of warming ties
Posted on : Feb.25,2013 14:48 KST Modified on : Feb.25,2013 14:48 KST
Tokyo and Washington cooperating to contain China, but Obama showing caution about leading to far toward Japan
By Park Hyun and Jeong Nam-ku, Washington and Tokyo correspondents
While the summit by the Japanese and US heads of government on Feb. 22 (local time) may not have had any concrete results, observers are viewing it as an indication that the relationship between the two countries is improving after chilly relations during the three years when the Democratic Party of Japan was in power. The US came bearing gifts, of a sort, for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, reaffirming the importance of the US-Japan alliance and suggesting that it would ease requirements for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). However, the US showed a cautious attitude about the escalating territorial issue concerning the Senkaku Islands (called Diaoyu in China) so as not to offend China.
The summit produced three rough results.
First, it reaffirmed the US-Japan security alliance. Obama said that the alliance is “the central foundation for our regional security and so much of what we do in the Pacific region,” while Abe said, “I think I can declare with confidence that the trust and the bond in our alliance is back.”
Second, the two countries came to an agreement about taking firm measures to respond to North Korea.
Third is the fact that the US said it would not view the abolishment of tariffs on agricultural products and other sensitive items as a prerequisite for Japan’s participation in negotiations for the TPP.
[US Japan alliance] [US global strategy] [China confrontation]
Abe and constitutional revision: round two
February 21st, 2013
Author: Rikki Kersten, ANU
Following the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) victory in the December elections in Japan, new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reiterated his desire to revise Japan’s 1947 Constitution.
While Japan watchers will immediately assume that this means the potential eradication of the so-called ‘pacifist clause’, it is better understood as Abe’s attempt to reposition pacifism in Japan’s postwar national identity.
Transcript of interview with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
Published: February 21
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was interviewed Saturday.
Accordingly, the duties and mission that I must fulfill are pretty clear: namely, to regain a strong and robust economy, and also to restore Japan’s strong foreign policy capability.
‘Japan’s back,’ says PM, vowing stronger alliance with US, solidarity with Obama on NKorea
By Associated Press, Saturday, February 23, 1:26 PM
WASHINGTON — Japan’s new prime minister declared Friday he would make his country a stronger U.S. ally and joined President Barack Obama in warning North Korea that its recent nuclear provocations would not be tolerated.
After meeting Obama in the Oval Office, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also sent a clear message to China: that while Japan does not want confrontation with Beijing, it won’t tolerate challenges to its sovereignty over islands disputed by the two Asian powers.
The Post had quoted Abe as saying China had a “deeply ingrained” need to spar with neighbors over territory.
Those regional tensions served as the backdrop for Friday’s meetings, which came just two months after Abe began his second stint as Japan’s prime minister following a convincing election victory.
Obama said he and Abe were united in their “determination to take strong actions” in response to North Korea’s nuclear test this month, which followed a successful long-range rocket launch last month. That has propelled the isolated, authoritarian state closer to having a weapon of mass destruction that could threaten the U.S.
[US Japan alliance] [Pretext]
China 1, Japan 0. Allies beware
Nautilus Peace and Security (NAPSNet)
Go to the weekly report for 21st February 2013
Japan has a talent for border disputes: it has one with all of its neighbours: the Senkakus or Diaoyutai with China (and with Taiwan for good measure); Takeshima/Tokdo with both Koreas and the southern Kurils/Northern Territories. All these disputes share important qualities that should be remembered when governments are formulating policy responses to the latest flare-up, especially friends of Japan.
First, all three are derived from the period of Japanese colonial expansion which was ended by the Soviet entry into the Pacific War at the end of 1945.
Second, all three have considerable strategic significance, apart from any economic and EEZ issues.
Thirdly, all three provide oxygen to volatile nationalist claims on both sides of the disputes.
Japan Eyes Cruise Missiles to Attack N.Korea
Tokyo is eyeing the development of cruise missiles to launch pre-emptive strikes on North Korean missile bases, the Sankei Shimbun reported Wednesday.
The daily said the Japanese government is likely to put a clause paving the way for such missiles into a revised 10-year defense plan at the end of this year.
Takeshi Iwaya, a lawmaker who heads a security committee in the ruling Democratic Liberal Party, told party members Tuesday, "Japan relies on the U.S. for the capability to hit enemy bases. Whether Japan can acquire part of that capability will be a major point in the defense plan."
Earlier, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told the Diet that Japan needs to "consider acquiring the means to hit enemy bases in accordance with the changing international political situation."
At present, Japan's pacifist postwar Constitution prohibits it from acquiring pre-emptive attack weapons. In 2004, Tokyo considered developing a cruise missile with a range of 300 km but scrapped the plan due to mounting public concern that they would violate the non-aggression principles.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Cruise missile]
Pro-North Korea schools in Japan losing funding due to Pyongyang’s latest antics
Posted on : Feb.21,2013 15:30 KST
The survival of Joseon schools is now in question as prefectures pull crucial financial aid
By Jeong Nam-ku, Tokyo correspondent
“Even now, parents are paying 20,000 yen (US$213) a month for middle school students and 30,000 yen (US$320) for high school students. We can’t increase the burden on parents any more. We’re not even sure whether we will be able to pay our teachers.”
Kang Mun-seok, principal of Kanagawa Joseon Middle and High School in the city of Yokohama in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan, let out a sigh during a phone interview with the Hankyoreh on Feb. 20. The school is in trouble because Kanagawa Prefecture has decided to cut off funding to it and the other four Joseon schools located in the prefecture starting this year due to North Korea’s rocket launch and nuclear test.
Japan Left Atrocity Victims Out of Compensation for Korea
Japan had no intention of apologizing to or compensating Asian women drafted as sex slaves for Japanese troops in World War II before it concluded a treaty with Korea in 1965, according to a declassified document.
The Japanese Foreign Ministry declassified a diplomatic document on the normalization of Seoul-Tokyo relations in 1965 at the request of a Japanese civic group, the Tokyo Shimbun reported Tuesday.
According to the 1962 document, then chief Cabinet secretary Masayoshi Ohira instructed the Foreign Ministry and Finance Ministry to calculate the amount of Korea's compensation claims before negotiations for the 1965 treaty got underway
The Japanese government calculated compensation claims over postal savings, stocks and bonds, and unpaid wages and pensions only. This indicates that Tokyo gave no consideration to reparations for colonial-era atrocities like forced labor and sexual slavery.
[Japanese colonialism] [Reparations]
37% of Japanese Fear Military Threat from S.Korea
Almost four out of 10 Japanese people feel South Korea poses a military threat to their country, according to a Gallup poll for the Yomiuri Shimbun.
The survey, published Friday, shows 79 percent of Japanese see China as the biggest military threat to Japan, 77 percent North Korea, 45 percent Russia, 39 percent the Middle East and 37 percent South Korea. The poll was conducted among 1,001 Japanese and 1,005 Americans.
Japan Sets Up Gov't Office to Deal with Dokdo, Senkaku
The Japanese government has set up a new office that specifically deals with Tokyo's colonial claim to Korea's Dokdo and the dispute with China over the Senkaku or Diaoyu Islands.
So far Tokyo only had a separate agency that handled its claim to the Kuril Islands, which were occupied by Russia after Japan's defeat in World War II.
Ichita Yamamoto, the state minister for Okinawa and affairs related to Japanese territories, told reporters on Tuesday that the office was set up in order to "strongly claim" the territories.
The office will initially have 15 staff assembled by former prime minister Yoshihiko Noda to pursue Tokyo's Dokdo claim.
Will Japan Take the Bait?
by JOHN V. WALSH
At the height of the 2012 election campaign in late October, a U.S. delegation tiptoed into Japan and then China with scant media coverage. It was “unofficial,” but Hillary Clinton gave it her blessing. And it was headed by two figures high in the imperial firmament, Richard L. Armitage, who served as Deputy Secretary of State for George W. Bush; and Joseph S. Nye Jr., a former Pentagon and intelligence official in the Clinton administration and Dean Emeritus of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. The delegation also included James B. Steinberg, who served as the Deputy Secretary of State in the Obama administration and Stephen J. Hadley, Bush Two’s national security adviser.
The delegation was billed as an attempt by the U.S. to defuse tensions between Japan and China over a number of small islands both claim. But was it? What is the outlook of these influential figures? Interestingly, Armitage and Nye provide us with a partial answer in a brief paper published the preceding August by the Center for International and Strategic Studies (CSIS), entitled “The Japan-U.S. Alliance. Anchoring Stability in Asia,” the carefully crafted fruit of a CSIS Study Group they chaired. The strategy proposed therein, as outlined below, should be very distressing to the Chinese – as well as to the Japanese and Americans.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [US Japan alliance]
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Abe Won't Come to Park's Inauguration
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has decided not to attend president-elect Park Geun-hye's inauguration on Feb. 25, Japanese media reported Tuesday. Kyodo News said Abe will not go because he has not been invited.
Park has invited no foreign leaders to her inauguration, only foreign diplomats in Seoul.
Most Japanese Want Abe to Visit Militarist Shrine
More than half of the Japanese feel Prime Minister Shinzo Abe should visit the Yasukuni shrine, which houses the remains of Japan's war dead including convicted World War II criminals. The shrine has a museum that glorifies Japan's imperialist adventures in Asia before and during World War II.
According to a survey by Jiji Press of 1,292 Japanese last week, 56.7 percent said Abe should visit the shrine, while only 26.6 percent were against.
That is a significant swing to the right. A similar poll by the Nihon Keizai Shimbun in 2006 showed 43 percent in favor of the prime minister paying his respects at the shrine and 39 percent against it.
"The results may stem from deteriorating public sentiment toward China, which has taken steps to challenge Japan's control of the Senkaku [or Diaoyou] Islands in the East China Sea, such as intrusions into Japanese waters and airspace," the website said.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Yasukuni]
Tokyo’s strategic offensive: From Diaoyu Islands to Nay Pyi Taw
Global Times | 2013-1-21 22:43:01
By Dai Xu
Shinzo Abe's election has pushed the Diaoyu Islands crisis into the edge of all-out confrontation between China and Japan.
While Japan's high-profile move on the Diaoyu Islands is a direct confrontation against its neighbor, its actions in Myanmar are a secret detour against China.
As the Diaoyu Islands dispute gripped the attention of China and the whole world, Japan's newly appointed Finance Minister Taro Aso visited Myanmar to write off its debt of 500 billion yen ($5.58 billion), followed by major financial groups covertly pushing into Myanmar's economic field.
In fields where China is also involved, Japanese financial groups, with their advanced technology, strong capital and national support, are in a race with Chinese enterprises.
They do not aim for profits at the moment, and some would rather suffer a loss.
This is not a healthy competition, but a vicious economic war which aims to drive out Chinese companies, control Myanmar's economy, and finally, cut off China's energy passageway to the Indian Ocean.
Soon after the US focused on hedging against China in Myanmar, Japan immediately started annihilating Chinese enterprises under the umbrella of the US' strategy.
China has three grand strategic projects in Myanmar - the Myitsone hydropower project, which has been forced into a total shutdown, the Monywa-Latpadantaung copper mine, where several public protests have taken place, and finally, the construction of an oil and gas pipeline between China and Myanmar, where recent signs have become increasingly disturbing.
Myanmar joins sea and land in the US' C-shaped encirclement of China, which includes the Pacific Ocean, the Indian Ocean, East Asia and South Asia.
[China confrontation] [Abe Shinzo] [Myanmar]
War In the East China Sea: Not Quite Yet
Thursday, January 17, 2013
The PRC regime has been preparing for escalating confrontation with Japan if Tokyo decided it really wanted to test the commitment of the United States to back it in the crisis over the Senkaku/Daioyutai Islands.
Showing Japan the undesirability of openly aligning with the United States as the U.S. pivots into Asia—instead of giving some lip service at least to PRC interests and priorities—is pretty close to an existential issue for the PRC.
And the PRC knows that the U.S. appetite for giving Japan military support over the Senkakus/Diaoyutai is extremely limited, despite the brave talk of the U.S. defense appropriations bill. If an incident had occurred between the PRC and Japanese ships and planes jostling around the islands, the U.S. would have been faced with the very difficult choice between exacerbating a crisis in Asia and admitting the limitations of the “pivot”, not only to Japan but to Vietnam, the Philippines, and, for that matter, everybody else.
So, if the Japanese forces had decided to engage in some pushback on the provocative PRC actions around the Senkaku/Diaoyutai, the PRC would have made sure that things got pretty ugly pretty quick.
And if the PRC wanted to try to strangle the pivot in its cradle, they might have rolled the dice, provoked an incident, and let the crisis escalate.
However, it seems that the PRC is thankfully willing to let the crisis de-escalate for now.
[Territorial disputes] [US Japan alliance]
Japan: Abe’s New Military Drive To Meet The China Challenge – Analysis
January 15, 2013
By Rajaram Panda
After the assumption to office of Liberal Democratic Party leader Abe Shinzo as Prime Minister, following his massive electoral victory in December 2012, Japan’s foreign policy profile seems to be undergoing a perceptible overhaul. Apart from domestic issues such as arresting a surging Yen, increasing spending on infrastructure, and resuscitating the economy, his stance on the diplomatic row with China over the ownership of the Senkaku Islands has become an important issue. Keeping this in perspective, his government has sought to increase defence spending in 2013. What would the implications of such a scenario be?
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Shill] [Thinktank]
Abe to turn the screws on N. Korea over abductions
January 14, 2013
THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
Japan plans to expand travel restrictions on resident North Koreans and increase scrutiny on remittances to the country as part of independent sanctions over Pyongyang’s recent launch of a long-range ballistic missile, sources said.
Japan prohibits top executives of the pro-Pyongyang General Association of Korean Residents in Japan (Chongryon) from re-entering Japan if they travel to North Korea.
The government is considering expanding the scope of senior Chongryon officials subject to the ban, the sources said.
It is also considering lowering the remittance to North Korea for which reports are required, which is currently more than 3 million yen ($33,600), the sources said.
The government will also set up a new headquarters comprising all Cabinet ministers in late January to resolve the issue of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korea.
Keiji Furuya, minister in charge of the abduction issue, said the new headquarters, chaired by new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, will demonstrate to North Korea that an “all-Japan” team will deal with the issue.
The current abduction issue headquarters, created by the previous Democratic Party of Japan government, will be abolished. Only four Cabinet ministers--the prime minister, the chief Cabinet secretary, the foreign minister and the minister in charge of the abduction issue--served in the headquarters.
Furuya on Jan. 12 visited a beach in Hioki, Kagoshima Prefecture, where abductees Shuichi Ichikawa and Rumiko Masumoto went missing in 1978.
“I felt strongly again that we have to resolve the abduction issue under the Abe Cabinet,” he told reporters. “I will become the last minister in charge of the issue.”
Kenichi Ichikawa, Shuichi’s elder brother, accompanied Furuya.
“He came here less than a month after his appointment,” Ichikawa said. “I felt anew that the government is serious about resolving this issue.”
Abe has taken a hardline stance against North Korea, particularly on the abduction issue.
When five abductees returned to Japan in 2002, Abe, who was deputy chief Cabinet secretary under then Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, decided not to return them to North Korea although other officials were opposed.
[Abe Shinzo] [Abductees] [Pretext]
Japan to discuss self-defense rights in talks with Obama
Posted on : Jan.15,2013 15:29 KST
US likely to welcome larger military role for a major ally in East Asia
By Jeong Nam-ku, Tokyo correspondent
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has confirmed that he will seek to reinterpret the Japanese constitution in order to permit the country the right to exercise collective self-defense. Abe said that the matter will be discussed in summit talks with US President Barack Obama. In stating that he plans to address the issue with the president of an allied country, the matter of Japan receiving permission to exercise its collective self-defense rights appears to be a fait accompli.
In an appearance on Japanese broadcaster NHK on Jan. 13, Abe said, “One of our government’s central policies will be changing the interpretation of the constitution so that we can exercise collective self-defense rights. I think it’s a priority to reinvigorate the Japan-US alliance, which suffered during three years of Democratic Party rule. I wish to discuss with President Obama precisely how Japan’s application of collective self-defense rights will change our alliance and how it can lead to a safer region.” The US and Japan are discussing possibly holding summit talks in February.
China and Japan digging in their heels over disputed islands
Posted on : Jan.12,2013 16:32 KSTModified on : Jan.12,2013 16:36 KST
Both countries using vessels and aircraft to enhance their sovereignty claims
By Jeong Nam-ku and Park Min-hee, Tokyo and Beijing correspondents
The Senkaku Islands (called the Diaoyudao Islands in China) have become entrenched as an area over which China and Japan are vying for control. Thus far in 2013, China has begun sending naval surveillance craft and aircraft into the region with greater frequency, while Japan has responded by setting up a 400-member maritime police task force composed of to strengthen its effective control of the area.
In a bid to extend its watch over the seas surrounding Okinawa and the Senkakus, the Japanese Coast Guard has decided to create a maritime police task force charged with guarding the area, the Asahi Shimbun reported on Jan. 11. The force will be composed of 12 1,000-ton patrol vessels and 400 people. Until this point, the Coast Guard had given jurisdiction of the entire southwest region to the 11th Region Headquarters, which has seven 1,000-ton patrol ships.
Pro-North Korea schools in Japan at risk of losing government funding
Posted on : Jan.11,2013 11:44 KSTModified on : Jan.11,2013 11:45 KST
Right-wing Japanese politicians working to pull support for Joseon schools as part of sanctions on NK for its provocative acts
By Jeong Nam-ku, Tokyo correspondent
“Our curriculum covers both North and South Korea. Our educational goal is to train talented workers who can be productive members of a united Korea. All we do is teach our students about the Korean language and history. What in the world makes the Joseon School different from other schools for foreigners?”
Shin Gil-ung, 63, the principal of the Tokyo Joseon Middle and High School, spoke by phone to Hankyoreh reporters on Dec. 26. His voice was trembling, as earlier that day, the Japanese newspaper the Yomiuri Shimbun had reported that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party had made clear that it intended to exclude so-called “Joseon schools” from the list of state-supported high schools (schools whose students are eligible for tuition vouchers).
“The Abe administration has resolved to make the Joseon schools ineligible to become free high schools,” reported the Yomiuri Shimbun. “This reflects the strong opinion of Hakubun Shimomura, former deputy chief cabinet secretary, who has been appointed as minister of education.”
“The Abe administration has decided that, since the Japanese government under Abe’s leadership is continuing financial sanctions on North Korea due to its experimentation with nuclear weapons and missiles, it cannot waive tuition for schools that are affiliated with Chongryeon, or the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan,” the newspaper reported.
The sick man of Asia: costs of denial
by Richard Tanter
January 10, 2013
Richard Tanter explains why the new Japanese government led by Prime Minster Abe Shinzo renders Japan incapable of serving as the northern anchor of the US pivot strategy—not for military reasons, but due to the inability of Japanese restorationist nationalists to come to terms with the pain inflicted by sexual slavery conducted by its military forces during its colonial and imperial occupation of Asia during World War II.
The views expressed in this report do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Nautilus Institute. Readers should note that Nautilus seeks a diversity of views and opinions on significant topics in order to identify common ground.
Let me tell you a story. It’s a bit long, and about a friend of mine and her family, but it might explain why I believe that the idea of Japan as the northern hinge of the United States’s pivot strategy against China is simply not viable in political terms, and may well prove dangerous.
Before I was able to say any of these well-meaning, but, as it turned out, naive things, Ms. Koike leaned towards me and said,
“But you know, all this is the work of Korean leftists. There’s nothing to it.”
I was left with my mouth open as she wished me good bye, leaving the room with her minders. I realised that I had just heard the authentic voice of Japanese restorationist nationalism from a woman already spoken of at that time as a future prime minister. If a woman younger than me – and a journalist even! – was in such deep denial, it was clear that there really was nothing useful to be said.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Abe Shinzo] [Comfort women]
Japan Explores War Scenarios with China
By J. Michael Cole
January 9, 2013
As Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party national defense task force announced on Jan. 8 that it would increase the nation’s defense budget by more than 100 billion yen ($1.15 billion), three of five scenarios explored by the defense ministry recently involve the Self-Defense Forces squaring off against the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
While contingencies involving North Korea’s ballistic missiles and Russia were among the scenarios the defense ministry explored, the top three all involved a crisis in the East China Sea. The first scenario examined a war between China and Japan over the disputed Diaoyu/Senkaku islands in the East China Sea. Earlier on Tuesday Japan summoned the Chinese ambassador in Tokyo for the first time since Shinzo Abe was sworn in as prime minister to protest the continued presence of official Chinese ships in waters around the islets, which are claimed by Japan, Taiwan and China.
China-Japan Dispute Takes Rising Toll on Top Asian Economies
By Bloomberg News - Jan 9, 2013 9:05 PM GMT+1300
The last time a dispute between Japan and China blew up in 2010 over eight uninhabited islands, the economic fallout lasted less than a month. This time, the spat is prolonging a recession in the world’s third-largest economy.
Four months after Chinese consumers staged a boycott of Japanese products over the islands in the East China Sea, sales of Japanese autos in China have yet to recover, Chinese factories began to favor South Korean component suppliers, and the U.S. has displaced China as Japan’s largest export market.
“The spats have become increasingly costly as Japan’s dependence on China as an export market has risen,” said Tony Nash, a Singapore-based managing director at IHS Inc., which provides research and analytics for industries including financial companies. “Nationalism around the issue has resulted in lower demand for Japanese products in China and even Chinese firms sourcing products from Korean suppliers.”
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Boycott]
Japan increases defense budget for first time in 11 years
Posted on : Jan.7,2013 14:30 KSTModified on : Jan.8,2013 10:43 KST
New Abe government says territorial disputes with China require stronger defense of Japanese airspace
By Jeong Nam-ku, Tokyo correspondent
Citing tensions with China over claims to the Senkaku Islands (called the Diaoyu Islands in China), the Japanese government has decided to increase its defense budget for the first time in 11 years.
In order to keep Chinese aircraft from entering the air space above the Senkaku Islands, Abe Shinzo, prime minister of Japan, has ordered the Minister of Defense to expand the operation of fighters with the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF). This is expected to ratchet up tensions in the ongoing territorial dispute with China over the islands.
Japan Plans to Raise Military Budget Amid China Row
Jan. 8, 2013 - 07:40AM |
By AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE | Comments
TOKYO — Japan will raise military spending this year for the first time in more than a decade under a ruling party plan, an official said Jan. 8, as Tokyo summoned Beijing’s envoy in a territorial row.
The national defense task force of the newly elected Liberal Democratic Party will increase the defense budget request by more than 100 billion yen ($1.15 billion) in response to an emboldened China, a party official told AFP. The relatively small amount — just more than two percent of the total military budget — is largely symbolic but reflects anxiety at what Japan sees as an increasingly hostile region in which China appears happy to throw its weight about.
“We have decided that the additional budget will be used for research into a new radar system as well as fuel and other maintenance costs for early-warning aircraft,” the official said on condition of anonymity.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Abe Shinzo] [China confrontation]
U.S. Warns Japan Over 'Comfort Women'
The U.S. is trying to put the brakes on Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's moves to withdraw a 1993 admission of the sexual enslavement of Asian women during World War II, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported Sunday.
The paper said U.S. officials warned Tokyo late last year that Washington would have no choice but to react if it revises the apology by then chief cabinet secretary Yohei Kono.
What steps the U.S. could take is not known.
Court Denies Extradition of Chinese Arsonist to Japan
A court on Thursday denied an extradition request to Japan of a Chinese man tried setting a small fire at the Japanese Embassy in Seoul. Earlier, Liu Qiang had also allegedly firebombed the militarist Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo.
The court found Liu's actions were politically motivated.
"His political convictions and his views of historical facts" such as the sexual enslavement of Asian women by the Imperial Japanese Army "are not his own independent and original ideas. They are in sync with views that have gained wide-ranging sympathy and support in the international community as well as in Korea and China."
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