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A Statement by Korean NGO on Korea-Japan Agreement on the "Comfort Women" Issue
Here is a statement from the South Korean NGO working on the "comfort women" issue on the recent governmental agreement on the issue, citing the absence of legal responsibility by the Japanese government and the lack of Korean government's consultation with the survivors:
The Official Statement from the Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan regarding the Agreement on the Military Sexual Slavery (“Comfort Women”) Issue during the Korea-Japan Ministerial Meeting
Today’s meeting between the foreign ministers of South Korea and Japan concluded with an agreement on the resolution for the military sexual slavery issue. The survivors of the “Comfort Women” system as well as the Korean citizens sincerely hoped for the rightful resolution on the issue through this meeting, on the year which marks the 70th anniversary of Korea’s independence.
Taiwan demands Japan's apology to 'comfort women'
Xinhua, December 30, 2015
Taiwan urged Japan to apologize and compensate Taiwanese women who were forced into sex slavery during World War II following Monday's deal between Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) on the issue.
Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou told media that Taiwan authorities have always demanded an apology from the Japanese government to "comfort women" in Taiwan and for compensation.
Justice should be served and the dignity of these women should be respected, Ma said.
[Comfort women] [Taiwan]
Gov't Tries to Placate Sex Slavery Victims
The government is trying to seek understanding from the victims of Japan's wartime sex slavery over a statement signed between the two countries on the way to settling the long-smouldering issue.
Many people besides the victims have complained that the statement is deliberately mealy-mouthed and dodges important issues.
The victims are reportedly upset because they were not consulted ahead of the deal despite campaigning intrepidly for decades.
Vice Foreign Ministers Lim Sung-nam and Cho Tae-yul on Tuesday visited the shelters for the elderly victims in Seoul and Gwangju, Gyeonggi Province, which are run by the Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan.
Foreign Vice Minister Cho Tae-yul bows to victims of Japans wartime sexual enslavement at their shelter in Gwangju, Gyeonggi Province on Tuesday. Foreign Vice Minister Cho Tae-yul bows to victims of Japan's wartime sexual enslavement at their shelter in Gwangju, Gyeonggi Province on Tuesday.
The officials told victims they quite understand that they may be disappointed by the deal, "but the government tried its best to restore your honor and dignity."
"What's important is that the Japanese government admitted responsibility, apologized and promised to take follow up on the deal," they said. These three points are definite signs of progress.
But some victims remained unconvinced, saying the government struck a backroom deal with Japan and deliberately kept them in the dark.
Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn will also go and visit the victims soon, a government source said.
The Foreign Ministry and Ministry of Gender Equality and Family will set up a foundation that will support the victims from the additional money Japan pledged under the deal.
[Editorial] No final resolution without legal responsibility on comfort women issue
Posted on : Dec.29,2015 17:23 KST
Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs Fumio Kishida, left, and South Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs Yun Byung-se held a joint press conference after the meeting on the comfort women issue at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Seoul’s Jongno district, Dec. 28. (by Kim Bong-gyu, senior staff photographer)
The South Korean and Japanese governments declared they were “finally and irreversibly resolving” the comfort women issue on Dec. 28 with their announcement of an agreement on the matter. But the actual agreement announced by their foreign ministers after talks in Seoul that day was a far cry from any real solution. Most crucially, it fails to clearly state the Japanese government’s legal responsibility for the state-level crime of enforcing a system of sexual slavery.
Far from a real solution
According to the agreement, the Japanese government is to state its “painful awareness” of responsibility for the comfort women issue, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressing his heartfelt apologies and remorse for it. Tokyo is to undertake projects on behalf of the victims at government expense, and the two governments are to refrain from criticizing one another over the issue in international settings. The South Korean government, for its part, is to work toward relocating a statue of a young girl -- symbolizing the victims -- that currently sits in front of the Japanese embassy in Seoul.
[Comfort women] [Japan SK] [US dominance]
South Korea, Japan announce settlement to comfort women issue
Posted on : Dec.29,2015 17:25 KST
Declared “final and irreversible,” the accord stops short of applying legal responsibility to Japan’s government, angering former comfort women and their supporters
The governments of South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reached an agreement about resolving the issue of the comfort women during a meeting between their two foreign ministers on Dec. 28 and announced a “final and irreversible settlement” to the issue, assuming that both sides faithfully carry out the points agreed upon.
But the Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan (Jeongdaehyeop) released a statement criticizing the agreement as a “shocking and disgraceful diplomatic conspiracy.”
The comfort women were women forced to serve as sex slaves for the Imperial Japanese Army.
On the afternoon of Dec. 28, South Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs Yun Byung-se and Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs Fumio Kishida held a joint press conference at the office of South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs that only lasted for 15 minutes, in which both foreign ministers made separate remarks.
Diverse interests paved the way for historic comfort women agreement
Posted on : Dec.29,2015 17:29 KST
Members of Solidarity for Peace and Reunification of Korea hold a press conference in front of the Foreign Ministry Building annex in Seoul’s Jongno district, Dec. 28, the day the South Korean and Japanese foreign ministers announced a resolution to the comfort women issue. The members advocate for legal compensation for the comfort women and express opposition to the removal of the comfort women statue currently situated in front of the Japanese embassy. (photo by Kim Seong-gwang, staff photographer)
November’s Park-Abe summit, US pressure, and economic worries all led to Monday’s settlement; government must now deal with public opposition
With the meeting between the foreign ministers of South Korea and Japan on Dec. 28 leading to a breakthrough in negotiations on the issue of the so-called comfort women change is on the horizon for relations between South Korea and Japan, despite mixed views on what changes the agreement will bring.
But with the former comfort women - women who were forced to serve as sex slaves for the Imperial Japanese Army - and civic groups opposed to the deal, the direction of public opinion has become an important variable affecting progress in relations between the two countries.
[Comfort women] [US dominance]
Sex slavery agreement drawing backlash
Former sex slave Lee Yong-soo shouts at First Vice Foreign Minister Lim Sung-nam, during his visit to a shelter for sexual slavery survivors in Seoul to brief them on an agreement with Japan, Tuesday. The victims said they cannot accept the agreement. / Yonhap
By Kim Se-jeong
The landmark deal between Korea and Japan over the sexual slavery issue is triggering a backlash from civic groups and the victims of Japan's wartime atrocities.
On Monday, Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se and his counterpart Fumio Kishida announced that the Japanese government would pay 1 billion yen ($8.3 million) to establish a fund for the 46 surviving former sex slaves.
They called the agreement "final and irreversible" on condition that Japan fulfills its promises.
South Korea, Japan reach settlement on wartime Korean sex slaves
Japan agreed to pay about $8.3 million dollars into a fund to help restore honor and dignity to so-called "comfort women"- women forced into prostitution for Japan's military brothels during World War II. The issue has long plagued ties between South Korea and Japan. (Reuters)
By Anna Fifield December 28 at 2:10 PM
TOKYO — Japan and South Korea said Monday they had “finally and irreversibly” resolved a dispute over wartime sex slaves that has bedeviled relations between the two countries for decades.
In something of a surprise development, the two countries’ foreign ministers met in Seoul to finalize a deal that will see Japan put $8.3 million into a South Korean fund to support the 46 surviving “comfort women” and to help them recover their “honor and dignity” and heal their “psychological wounds.”
The move was welcomed in Washington, which has been both concerned and annoyed by the fighting between its two closest allies in Asia. This year marks seven decades since the end of World War II and the end of the Japanese occupation of the Korean peninsula.
Independent historians have concluded that as many as 200,000 women and girls — from occupied countries including Korea, China, the Philippines and other Southeast Asian nations — were coerced by the Japanese Imperial Army to work as sex slaves during the war.
“We made a final and irreversible solution at this 70th anniversary milestone,” Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe told reporters in Tokyo after speaking to his South Korean counterpart, President Park Geun-hye, on the phone.
South Korean bereaved family members of victims of World War II stage a rally in Seoul, South Korea, on Dec. 28, 2015. (Ahn Young-joon/Associated Press)
Earlier, in Seoul, his foreign minister had said Abe “expresses anew his most sincere apologies and remorse to all the women who underwent immeasurable and painful experiences.”
“I feel we’ve fulfilled the responsibility of the generation living now,” Abe said after his call with Park. “I’d like this to be a trigger for Japan and South Korea to cooperate and open a new era.”
Park meets with Japan's FM over deal on 'comfort women'
SEOUL, Dec. 28 (Yonhap) -- President Park Geun-hye met with Japan's top diplomat on Monday following a landmark deal that resolved the issue of former Korean sex slaves for Japan's World War II soldiers, Cheong Wa Dae said.
No details of the meeting between Park and Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida were immediately available.
Park also plans to speak with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe by phone later Monday, the presidential office said.
Just before the move, South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se and Kishida produced a deal that ended one of the thorniest diplomatic issues between the two neighbors.
Seoul, Tokyo Conclude Talks on Sex Slaves
Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se and his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida on Monday produced a statement that to some extent concedes Japanese responsibility for drafting women as sex slaves for soldiers during World War II.
The statement, which also contains words of regret from Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, follows talks on the question of compensating the former sex slaves, who were mostly Korean, and marks a small but significant step in settling the issue.
For 24 years since victim Kim Hak-soon first went public with her ordeal in an interview with Japan's Asahi Shimbun, the issue has bedeviled Korea-Japan relations at every turn and is unlikely to be settled in a day.
Monday's statement sticks to the Japanese line that, even if the Imperial Army bore direct responsibility for rounding up the women, any claims they may have had were "finally and irreversibly" settled under a 1965 treaty, despite its failure to clarify Japan's "legal responsibility."
Japanese rightwingers variously claim the women were voluntary prostitutes or that the Imperial Army was supplied with the victims by private operators, so Tokyo would be in the clear either way. In fact, documentary evidence points persuasively to the orders coming from the top.
[News Analysis] Korean, Japanese foreign ministers seek “creative solutions” to comfort women issue
Posted on : Dec.28,2015 12:12 KST
A focus on diplomatic language could lead to concessions from Japan, but proposals likely wouldn’t go far enough to satisfy S. Korean victims and public
The administrations of South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are reportedly in agreement about looking for “creative solutions” relying on diplomatic language for the issue of the comfort women, which includes acknowledging the legal responsibility of the Japanese government, restoring the reputations of the former comfort women, and providing those women with compensation. The issue of the comfort women, or women forced to provide sexual services for the soldiers of the Imperial Japanese Army, will be on the agenda when South Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs Yun Byung-se and Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs Fumio Kishida meet in Seoul on Dec. 28.
The main components of the agreement are likely to be the creation of a fund to support the former comfort women, in which the Japanese government would invest 100 million yen (US$832,000), and a letter of apology, written by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and personally delivered to the former comfort women by the Japanese ambassador to South Korea.
Since this does not begin to satisfy the demands made by the former comfort women and the Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan (Jeongdaehyeop), there is expected to be a severe backlash from civic groups in South Korea.
After President Park called for accelerated talks to reach a breakthrough on the comfort women issue during her summit meeting with Abe on Nov. 2, deliberations on the issue - some public, and some behind closed doors - appear to have moved forward apace.
[Comfort women] [Japan SK]
MOFA reaffirms stance on Taiwan comfort women
Publication Date: December 29, 2015
Source: Taiwan Today
MOFA reaffirms stance on Taiwan comfort women
MOFA Minister David Lin urges the Japanese government to apologize to Taiwanese comfort women and offer them compensation during a press conference Dec. 29 in Taipei City. (CNA)
The ROC remains steadfast on its stance that the Japanese government should officially apologize to and compensate Taiwanese comfort women, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dec. 29
“We will continue negotiating with Japan to restore the dignity of Taiwanese women forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese army during the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945) and World War II,” MOFA Minister David Lin said during a press conference.
[Comfort women] [Taiwan]
Japan Approves Record Defense Budget as China's Presence Grows
December 24, 2015
Military spending increases for fourth straight year under Abe
• Figure includes $1.4 billion for new Aegis-equipped ship
Japan’s cabinet approved a record defense budget Thursday as it seeks to ensure security in the waters and airspace around the island nation amid China’s increasingly assertive military posturing in the region.
QuickTake Japan’s Military
The 5.1 trillion yen ($42 billion) spending package for the year starting April is an increase of 1.5 percent from the current fiscal year, marking the fourth straight annual rise under the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. It accounts for just over 5 percent of the overall 96.7 trillion yen budget, also approved Thursday.
Major purchases include:
• 173 billion yen for an Aegis-equipped anti-ballistic missile ship
• 108 billion yen for six F-35A fighter aircraft
• 103 billion yen for 17 SH-60K patrol helicopters
• The figure also includes increased funding for the realignment of U.S. troops in Japan and a new government plane for use by the prime minister on foreign trips
Japan’s Largest Rightwing Organization: An Introduction to Nippon Kaigi
The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 13, Issue. 48, No. 5, December 14, 2015
Mine Masahiro, Okamoto Teruaki
Translated by J. Victor Koschmann
Sexist heckling, discriminatory language on Twitter, etc. A significant number of the local politicians who have recently made spectacles of themselves are members of the local assemblyman’s alliance affiliated with Japan’s largest rightwing organization, Nippon Kaigi (Japan Council). Moreover, the influence of this alliance extends beyond local areas to impact the centers of political power. Prime Minister Abe Shinzo is special adviser to the Japan Council-affiliated National Diet Member Discussion Group [Kokkai Giin Kondankai], and this organization’s advocacy of positions such as Constitutional revision, the right of collective self-defense, and respect for traditional family values coincides perfectly with the Prime Minister’s political views. We have thoroughly investigated the poorly understood organization called Japan Council. (Shinogase Yuji, Hayashi Keita and Sato Kei)
The Tokyo Metropolitan Assemblyman, Suzuki Akihiro, who in June 2015 heckled a female assemblyman during her speech with phrases like, “Shouldn’t you just hurry and get married?” is a member of a local assemblyman’s alliance affiliated with Nippon Kaigi, often rendered in English as Japan Council.
Disputing Korean Narrative on ‘Comfort Women,’ a Professor Draws Fierce Backlash
The Saturday Profile
By Choe Sang-hun
Dec. 18, 2015
Park Yu-ha, the professor who wrote “Comfort Women of the Empire,” in Seoul, South Korea. Credit Jean Chung for The New York Times
SEOUL, South Korea — WHEN she published her book about Korean “comfort women” in 2013, Park Yu-ha wrote that she felt “a bit fearful” of how it might be received.
After all, she said, it challenged “the common knowledge” about the wartime sex slaves.
But even she was not prepared for the severity of the backlash.
In February, a South Korean court ordered Ms. Park’s book, “Comfort Women of the Empire,” redacted in 34 sections where it found her guilty of defaming former comfort women with false facts. Ms. Park is also on trial on the criminal charge of defaming the aging women, widely accepted here as an inviolable symbol of Korea’s suffering under colonial rule by Japan and its need for historical justice, and she is being sued for defamation by some of the women themselves.
The women have called for Ms. Park’s expulsion from Sejong University in Seoul, where she is a professor of Japanese literature. Other researchers say she is an apologist for Japan’s war crimes. On social media, she has been vilified as a “pro-Japanese traitor.”
“They do not want you to see other aspects of the comfort women,” the soft-spoken Ms. Park said during a recent interview at a quiet street-corner cafe run by one of her supporters. “If you do, they think you are diluting the issue, giving Japan indulgence.”
Japan steps up military presence in East China Sea
Tokyo confirms that new anti-ship and anti-aircraft batteries are designed to check Chinese military influence in the region
Justin McCurry in Tokyo and agencies
Friday 18 December 2015 08.21 GMT
Japan is to deploy thousands of troops and build missile batteries on islands in the East China Sea, as officials confirmed for the first time that the defences were designed to check Chinese military influence in the region.
In response to US pressure to play a bigger role in deterring increasingly assertive Chinese naval activity in the South China Sea and East China Sea, Tokyo is to position a line of anti-ship and anti-aircraft missile batteries along 200 islands stretching 870 miles (1,400km) from the Japanese mainland towards Taiwan.
In addition, Japan will increase the number of military personnel on its islands in the East China Sea by about a fifth to almost 10,000 over the next five years.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [China confrontation]
In Preparation to Join US Wars, Japan Dismantles Freedom of the Press
Thursday, 17 December 2015 00:00
By Jon Mitchell, Freedom of the Press Foundation
Two Okinawan women demonstrate against the construction of a new US Marine Corps base in Henoko district. (Photo: Jon Mitchell)
Two Okinawan women demonstrate against the construction of a new US Marine Corps base in Henoko district. (Photo: Jon Mitchell)
In 2010, Japan was ranked #11 in Reporters Without Borders' global Press Freedom Index. By February 2015, that number had plummeted to #61 - and next year it will likely fall further.
Since coming to power in 2012, PM Shinzo Abe and his Liberal Democratic Party have embarked upon a war of attrition against press freedoms in Japan.
Assaults have included: embedding neo-nationalists in key positions at state broadcaster, NHK; issuing veiled threats to TV networks that coverage critical of the government might cost them their broadcast licenses; and accusing a German journalist - who'd written about PM Abe's historical revisionism - of accepting a bribe from China.
This week, David Kaye, UN Special Rapporteur on the freedom of opinion and expression, was scheduled to visit Tokyo - a trip which would have brought international attention to the Japanese government's suppression of the media. But at the last moment, officials canceled his trip claiming they were too busy to meet him.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Repression] [Media]
Japan probes mystery boats carrying dead bodies off coast
1:45 AM Wednesday Dec 2, 2015
TOKYO (AP) " They drift into seas near Japan by the dozens every year, ghostly wrecked ships thought to come from impoverished North Korea.
Japanese authorities said Tuesday they are investigating nearly a dozen wooden boats carrying decomposing bodies that were found off the country's northwestern coast over the past month.
In most cases, the bodies are in such bad shape after being at sea for weeks that it's been impossible to determine their cause of death, officials say.
On Nov. 20, officials found 10 bodies in three boats off the coast of Ishikawa prefecture. Two days later, another wooden boat was found off nearby Fukui prefecture with six skulls, one nearly intact body with a head, and various other bones and remains, coast guard official Yuka Amao told The Associated Press.
Ginowan mayor wants Disney facility built after Futenma base closes; Suga supportive
DEC 9, 2015
The mayor of the Okinawa city of Ginowan, home to a key U.S. air base, has said he aims to have a Disney Resort facility built on a land area to be vacated after the base is replaced, with Tokyo expressing full support for the idea.
After holding talks at the prime minister’s office with Ginowan Mayor Atsushi Sakima, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Tuesday he heard a “very much dream-inspiring” idea from Sakima, for the realization of which the central government “will pledge to work all-out.”
Onaga defends Henoko action in 1st court hearing
The Yomiuri Shimbun
Okinawa Gov. Takeshi Onaga heads to the Naha branch of Fukuoka High Court in Naha on Wednesday.
8:31 pm, December 02, 2015
NAHA (Jiji Press) — Okinawa Gov. Takeshi Onaga on Wednesday defended his decision to revoke approval for land reclamation to build a planned U.S. base in the Henoko coastal area in the prefecture, in a lawsuit with the central government.
In the first court hearing on the suit, filed by the central government to revive the landfill permission, Onaga said his prefecture suffers a heavy burden from hosting many U.S. military bases. He also called on the court to take into account the will of the people in Okinawa.
The lawsuit is the first between the two sides over a U.S. base issue since 1995, when the central government sued then Gov. Masahide Ota after he refused to sign a document on forcible land use for a U.S. military facility.
Okinawans Say “No Pasarán” to the U.S. Marines: A delegation to Washington asks the Obama administration to respect democracy
Tim Shorrock, Steve Rabson
The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 13, Issue. 47, No. 2, December 7, 2015
Okinawans opposed to US base expansion on their island demonstrate at the White House on November 20th. (John Junkerman)
In November, 2015, with the world’s eyes focused on the latest terrorist threats to Europe and Africa, two dozen activists from the Japanese island of Okinawa came to Washington to demand justice for a region that the U.S. military has dominated since World War II.
The activists represent The All-Okinawa Council, a broad coalition of over 2,000 women’s rights activists, businessmen, trade unionists, academics and citizens’ groups formed to stop construction of a new Marine Corps base on an island that already hosts 32 American military installations.
Their message, which was delivered to two dozen lawmakers and the Pentagon, was simple. Okinawans want the Obama administration to cancel an agreement with the conservative government of Abe Shinzo to build the new base on reclaimed land on a coral-rich bay on the northern coast of Okinawa. Over 80 percent of Okinawans oppose the new base in Henoko, according to recent polls, and they now have the support of the island’s entire elected leadership.
“The military occupation of Okinawa has been the policy of the United States for over 70 years,” Yasutomi Nobutake, a member of the Kin town assembly, told me. He was angry and disappointed to see the Obama administration support Abe and the Pentagon against the wishes of the Okinawan people. “This is not the democracy the United States boasts about,” he said.
Okinawa’s strategic value for U.S. forces causes long stalemate with locals
November 21, 2015
For residents of the Japanese island, American bases are seen as perennial danger
Daily protests aimed at halting expansion
Clash over war and peace began with U.S. victory in World War II
By Adam Ashton
“I feel the vibration” when Marine aircraft pass overhead, says Anna Shimabukuro, 37. “I feel uncomfortable.”
She’s spent more than half her life fighting a proposal to place new Marine air strips near the village where she grew up on the southern Japanese island of Okinawa. Her side has thwarted the plan year after year.
But the day when Marine planes land near her may be inching closer, with Tokyo and Washington insisting that the runways must be built. They plan to expand a base on the front lines of a standoff where traditional U.S. allies are guarding against China’s growing military might in the South and East China seas.
Read more here: http://www.theolympian.com/news/local/military/article45820935.html#storylink=cpy
[Okinawa] [China confrontation]
Korean Suspected in Bombing at Japanese War Shrine
A Korean suspect was caught on surveillance cameras before an explosion outside a public restroom at Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine on Nov. 23, Japanese media reported Thursday.
The shrine houses the remains of Japan's war dead, including convicted World War II criminals.
Reports said the suspect was dressed in black and wore a backpack. He was spotted walking around the shrine around 30 minutes before the blast and then returned to his nearby hotel.
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Japan is using South China Sea tensions to peddle military hardware in Asia
November 22, 2015
Last year Japan lifted a decades-long ban on military exports, part of a loosening of restrictions on its military power that were put in place after its World War Two defeat. Now, as Japanese companies such as Mitsubishi, Kawasaki, and Hitachi market their military offerings, one area of geopolitical tension is serving as a particularly effective selling point: the South China Sea.
This weekend Japan’s foreign and defense ministers reiterated concerns about China’s strengthening position in the South China Sea as they pressed the case, according to Bloomberg, for their Australian counterparts to buy a new generation of submarines made by Japanese defense contractors.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Arms sales] [Submarines] [Australia] [Pretext]
Japan Renews South China Sea Alert, Pushes Aussies on Submarines
November 22, 2015 — 8:16 PM NZDT
Japan’s foreign and defense ministers reiterated concerns about China’s strengthening position in the South China Sea in meetings with their Australian counterparts and pressed the case for Japanese companies to build new generation submarines Down Under.
“China is increasing its activities,” Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters in Sydney at the conclusion of the so-called two-plus-two meeting with Australia on Sunday. “To accommodate or condone the current situation, we cannot accept -- we need to ensure the rule of law and freedom of navigation,” he said via a translator.
è Gen Nakatani and Fumio Kishida, pay their respects
square before the information Gen Nakatani and Fumio Kishida, pay their respects Photographer: David Moir via Getty Images
China claims more than 80 percent of the South China Sea based on a nine-dash line drawn on a 1947 map for which it gives no precise coordinates, an assertion that has led to complaints from other claimant states. Under President Xi Jinping, the country has stepped up efforts to assert control of the waters, including building islands that offer possible bases for its ships and planes.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop reiterated Australia’s position that while it doesn’t take sides on the various claims of surrounding nations, it urges “all claimants to settle any disputes pursuant to international law and in accordance with a rules-based international order.”
Japan is also pressing to receive the contract to build Australia’s next-generation submarine, and Defense Minister Gen Nakatani sought to cast the bid in the context of freedom of the seas. “Both of our nations are maritime nations and we have a key interest in freedom of navigation,” he said via a translator Sunday.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Arms sales] [Submarines] [Australia] [Pretext]
A New Look at Japan's Unit 731 Wartime Atrocities and a U.S. Cover-Up
Didi Kirsten Tatlow
The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 13, Issue. 44, No. 3, November 16, 2015
Harbin, China, September 2015
The new Museum of War Crime Evidence by Japanese Army Unit 731 opened on Aug. 15 on the site of Japanese biological and chemical warfare experiments on prisoners. Credit Gilles Sabrie for the New York Times
Joy Chen is sitting on a bench outside a new museum in Harbin devoted to the medical atrocities committed by Japan’s Unit 731 in Manchuria during World War II, trying to absorb what she learned inside: After the war, the United States covered up Japan’s biological warfare research on humans, allowing the perpetrators to escape punishment and to prosper.
That is detailed prominently in exhibition notes and an audio guide in the black marble building that lies like a split box here in Pingfang, on the edge of Harbin in northeast China: “Out of considerations of its national security, the U.S. decided not to prosecute the leader of Unit 731 and the
criminals under him. They all escaped trial for war crimes.”
 [cbw] [Japanese colonialism] [US Japan alliance]
Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group Kicks Off Annual Exercise with JMSDF to Increase Readiness
Date: 11/16/2015 10:16:00 AM
From Commander, Task Force 70 Public Affairs
AT SEA (NNS) -- Sailors and units with the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group (RRCSG) along with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) began their Annual Exercise (AE) 16, Nov. 16.
AE16 is a bilateral field-training exercise to increase interoperability between the United States Navy (USN) and JMSDF. AE16 is designed to allow the USN and JMSDF to practice and evaluate the coordination and tactics required to mutually respond to the defense of Japan or to a regional contingency, while building bilateral relationships.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [US Japan alliance] [Interoperability] [Intervention]
100 Percent of Targets Destroyed: Japan Is Testing New Missile in US
The Japanese military has been conducting missile drills at a US test site.
By Franz-Stefan Gady
November 13, 2015
The Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) has successfully test-fired the Chu-SAM Kai surface-to-air missile, destroying 100 percent of its targets at the White Sands Missile Range in southern New Mexico, the United States Army website reports.
Over the summer of 2015, the JGSDF conducted ten flight tests intercepting various targets, including a GQM-163A Coyote target system used to simulate supersonic cruise missiles.
The Chu-SAM Kai is an advanced version of the Chu-SAM medium range surface-to-air missile system domestically developed and produced in Japan. It is a multi-segment propellant missile launched from a road-mobile vertical launch container and has been undergoing evaluation and testing since 2014.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [US Japan alliance]
Korea dismisses Japan's claims over sex slavery
No progress made at negotiations
By Yi Whan-woo
Korea dismissed Japan's claims, Wednesday, that its legal responsibility for coercing Korean women into sexual slavery during World War II was settled when the two countries signed a bilateral treaty in 1965, indicating that tough talks lie ahead on how to resolve the issue.
"We remain firm that the issue of wartime sex slavery was not included in the 1965 treaty that normalized diplomatic relations between Korea and Japan," First Vice Foreign Minister Lim Sung-nam said during a radio interview.
"So, Japan's claims that it no longer has legal responsibility are wrong."
Lim's comment revealed a yawning gap between the two countries over the issue.
Korean and Japanese diplomats had their 10th round of talks in Seoul to resolve their decades-long dispute over Japan's sexual enslavement of Korean women. However, they failed to narrow their differences, officials said.
North Korea demands justice for its 'comfort women'
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, on podium, stresses Thursday the importance of political thought in a meeting of military workers in Pyongyang, North Korea. / Yonhap
North Korea urged Japan to take responsibility for Korean women forced into sexual slavery during World War II, adding that some of the so-called "comfort women" live in the North, Yonhap reported Friday.
Pyongyang's call comes in the wake of agreement between South Korea and Japan to spur efforts for a resolution to the issue.
A North Korean foreign ministry spokesman was quoted by the Korean Central News Agency as saying, "This issue can hardly find a final solution unless the damage suffered by all Koreans is redressed throughout Korea because there are victims of the sexual slavery of colonial Japan not only in the South but also in the North."
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Japan Overturns Move to Block Expansion of U.S. Base in Okinawa
October 27, 2015 — 7:55 AM CET
Okinawa is a critical part of the U.S. military presence in Asia, playing host to about half the roughly 50,000 U.S. military personnel in Japan, the biggest deployment of American forces outside the home front.
square before the information Okinawa is a critical part of the U.S. military presence in Asia, playing host to about half the roughly 50,000 U.S. military personnel in Japan, the biggest deployment of American forces outside the home front.
Photographer: Toru Yamanaka/AFP via Getty Images
Japan invalidated a decision by Okinawa’s governor to stop landfill work for a controversial expansion of a U.S. base, in a move that is likely to reignite protests by islanders against the central government in Tokyo and the Obama administration.
At the core of the dispute is the planned move of the city center-based Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to the less populated Henoko area in the north of the island. Governor Takeshi Onaga, who was elected last year on a platform of opposition to the relocation plan, earlier this month revoked approval --granted by his predecessor -- for the reclamation work to build a new airstrip.
[Okinawa] [Bases] [Democracy]
Japan Needs Keeping in Close Check
Seoul says the Japanese government has not yet responded to a proposal for President Park Geun-hye and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to hold a rare summit next Monday.
Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters that he was not aware of any proposal and the two sides are "fine-tuning schedules." Summit schedules are announced jointly by both governments, and it is highly unusual for them to continue bickering six days before a proposed date.
The government apparently insists on putting the issue of Korean women forced to serve as sex slaves for Japanese troops during World War II on the agenda, and Abe, who has been busy denying that Tokyo had anything to do with the atrocity, does not want to talk about it.
Park-Abe Face-to-Face Talks in Doubt
Plans for a one-on-one meeting between President Park Geun-hye and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe seem to be in doubt due to remaining differences over their shared history.
Those reading the runes noted that Cheong Wa Dae on Monday only announced that Chinese Premier Li Keqiang arrives in Seoul on Saturday to meet with Park.
But the presidential office did not mention that the meeting will happen on the sidelines of a three-way summit with Abe.
Huckleberry Finn and the American Dream in the Shadow of the Vietnam War
The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 13, Issue. 42, No. 1, October 26, 2015
Translated by Hiroaki Sato
What follows is a translation of the second half of Oe Kenzaburo’s article, America ryokosha no yume—jigoku ni yuku Huckleberry Finn, which was first published in the September 1966 issue of the monthly Sekai (The World). The untranslated first half begins, “America. I shall never become entirely free from the oppressing, demonic power of the word America,” and describes how the writer has lived since boyhood “within the conflicting, extremely complicated [inferiority] complex that the word America evokes.”
Oe first read Huckleberry Finn as a boy in a remote Japanese mountain village. The United States and Japan were at war at the time, and his mother told him that if his teacher caught him with the book, he should tell her that “Mark Twain” was the pseudonym of a German author. As Oe recalled in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, “The whole world was then engulfed by waves of horror. By reading Huckleberry Finn I felt I was able to justify my act of going into the mountain forest at night and sleeping among the trees with a sense of security which I could never find indoors.” Twain’s novel would make its presence felt throughout Oe’s own books—which often center on marginal people and outcasts, on existential heroes sickened by civilization who choose to “light out for the territory”—including his new novel, Death by Water.
Oe, who won Japan’s prestigious Akutagawa Prize when a 23-year-old student, in 1958, becoming the youngest writer to do so, was a French literature major at the University of Tokyo. He attended an international summer seminar at Harvard University in 1965 at a time when he was preoccupied with issues of the Vietnam War, the atomic bomb, and race relations, subjects that he would explore in his writing and speeches over subsequent decades. Oe won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1994. Hiroaki Sato
Park to Meet Abe After All
President Park Geun-hye will finally sit down face to face with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ahead of the trilateral summit between Korea, China and Japan on Nov. 1.
Reasons Behind Abe’s Trip Across Central Asia
October 22 was marked by the beginning of a five-day trip of Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe across six Central Asian states. According to the Nikkei Asian Review, during his visits to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Mongolia, Abe was accompanied by 50 representatives of 50 major Japanese companies that sought opportunities to invest up 2 trillion yen (16.6 billion dollars) in the region. The contracts that were signed during the visit along with memorandums of intent to develop trade and economic cooperation with the countries of Central Asia, may bring, according to the Japanese Prime Minister, up to 30 trillion yen (250 billion dollars) in profits to the Japanese business giants until 2020.
There’s little doubt that this trip was designed to fulfill Japan’s desire to strengthen its presence in Central Asia, by obtaining access to its natural resources and countering expanding Chinese influence. The Japanese government is convinced that this step will strengthen Japan’s energy security as well, which will reduce its dependence on nuclear power.
Defense Ministry in Deepening Mire Over Japanese Troops
The first meeting of the South Korean and Japanese defense ministers Tuesday after a freeze of almost five years seems only to have complicated ties between the estranged neighbors.
Any gains from the talks have been overshadowed here by Defense Ministry attempts to keep the lid on one point of contention, namely whether newly empowered Japanese forces would ask permission from Seoul before launching operations in North Korea.
Meeting with Defense Minister Han Min-koo on Tuesday, his Japanese counterpart Gen Nakatani refused to commit himself on whether Japan will need Seoul's approval before launching an intervention in the North in an emergency.
Japan earlier this year decided to reinterpret its pacifist postwar constitution so its forces can deployed abroad under the doctrine of "collective self-defense," i.e. if an ally is in some way under threat.
"There are some opinions that the scope of South Korea's effective control is below the truce line," Nakatani was quoted as saying.
Nakatani had earlier agreed to seek permission from Seoul before any forces are deployed in South Korea, and Han reminded him that the South Korean constitution extends Seoul's sovereignty to the North.
The question is highly charged since many Koreans are sensitive about the prospect of Japanese troops ever setting foot on Korean soil again.
Perhaps mindful of the repercussions, the Defense Ministry did not mention Nakatani's comments in a briefing on their talks and the issue only became public via Japanese media.
Faced with the evidence, the Defense Ministry then accused Japan of breaking a promise to keep shtum on the matter until trilateral defense alliance talks with the U.S. later this year clarify the parameters.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Intervention]
Expert survey: Kim Jong-un far more popular than Shinzo Abe
Posted on : Oct.23,2015 16:44 KST
US President Obama by far most popular leader among 113 South Korean experts surveyed
“If Barack Obama, Xi Jinping, Vladimir Putin, Shinzo Abe, and Kim Jong-un were running a race, who would you root for?”
This was one of the prompts in a survey titled “South Korea’s Diplomacy: Strategy and Future” that was given to 113 South Korean experts in the areas of diplomacy and security. The survey was organized by the Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security at the Korea National Diplomatic Agency, which is affiliated with South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The results of the survey were released on Oct. 22, to coincide with the 2015 Global Conference of the Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security, which was held at the Korea National Diplomatic Agency on Oct. 23. It is not hard to guess who came in first. As expected, it was Barack Obama, president of the US, which is South Korea’s only ally. He was the choice of 72% of respondents (82).
[Japan SK] [Abe Shinzo]
Defense ministry hit for changing words
Minister under fire for inconsistent explanation about talks with Japan
By Jun Ji-hye
Defense Minister Han Min-koo
The Ministry of National Defense is being criticized for continuing to change its words whenever it has gotten in trouble due to the sensitive remarks made by Japanese Defense Minister Gen Nakatani.
A day after the talks between Seoul's Defense Minister Han Min-koo and his Japanese counterpart, it was known that Nakatani indicated during the meeting on Tuesday that Japan views the valid scope of the Republic of Korea's governing area as south of the Military Demarcation Line.
The remark was considered very sensitive here as it indicated that that Japan could begin military operations in North Korea without consent from Seoul in the event of another war on the Korean Peninsula.
The reason why such a sensitive remark was belatedly known in South Korea was that the ministry did not disclose it immediately after the talks.
On the other hand, Japan's Defense Ministry told reporters in that country about the remark right after the talks, which was subsequently reported.
Until Tuesday night, the ministry insisted Nakatani did not make such a remark although the Japanese media reported he had done so.
But on Wednesday morning, the ministry acknowledged that the Japanese minister made such a remark.
In explaining why it did not initially disclose the remark while its Japanese counterpart did, a ministry official said, "The two sides agreed not to disclose it to the media during the talks."
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Intervention]
Another Defense Ministry Bid to Hide Awkward Truths
Japanese Defense Minister Gen Nakatani refused to commit himself on whether Japan will need Seoul's approval before launching any military operations in North Korea. "There are some opinions that the scope of South Korea's effective control is below the truce line," Nakatani was quoted as saying.
That is as good as saying that Japan does not recognize South Korea's constitutional authority in North Korea and feels it would not need permission to deploy troops in the North. But his South Korean counterpart Han Min-koo apparently raised no objections when the two met Tuesday.
The Defense Ministry did not mention Nakatani's comments in a briefing on their talks and the issue became public via Japanese news.
The issue of the Japanese forces operating in North Korea is not only a question of territorial sovereignty but of the scope of operations in case of North Korean invasion.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Intervention]
Seoul concealed Japanese Defense Minister’s comment from recent meeting
Posted on : Oct.22,2015 16:34 KST
Gen Nakatani had said something implying that South Korea’s sovereignty doesn’t extend past Armistice Line
During a meeting with his South Korean counterpart on Oct. 20, Japanese Defense Minister Gen Nakatani made a comment implying that South Korea’s sovereignty only applied south of the DMZ, the South Korean government finally admitted.
Not only did the South Korean Defense Ministry fail to mention this important remark during its briefing on the results of the meeting, but it told reporters inquiring into the matter after the Japanese briefing that no such remark had been made. It was not until the next day that it finally admitted it.
Along with controversy about a deliberate cover up by the government, this is increasing doubts about the South Korean government’s response to the issue of Japan exercising the right to collective self-defense.
“During his meeting with the South Korean Defense Minister on the previous day, Nakatani noted that the scope of South Korea’s effective control applies to the area south of the armistice line and said that this was why there needed to be close cooperation between South Korea, the US, and Japan. He said that he wanted to keep discussing this in the future,” a South Korean Defense Ministry official said during a press briefing at the Ministry‘s office on Oct. 21.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Intervention]
Japan's military role discussed at trilateral meeting
By Jun Ji-hye
South Korea, the United States and Japan held working-level trilateral security talks in Tokyo, Thursday, to discuss the possibility of Japan conducting military operations in North Korea in the event of another war on the Korean Peninsula.
According to the Ministry of National Defense, the talks will continue until today, and there will be further meetings in the coming months because there are many sensitive and complicated issues with which to deal.
Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said Thursday, "Vice ministerial level officials from the three nations plan to discuss their mutual security concerns."
The ministry refused to elaborate further on the agenda. But sources here noted that the three nations discussed prospective scenarios in which Japan's Self-Defense Forces (SDF) would be able to conduct military operations on the peninsula, and whether the SDF could enter the North without consent from South Korea.
The scenarios include if Japan needs to carry out an evacuation operation to bring home Japanese personnel in a contingency situation on the peninsula, and if North Korea's ballistic missiles are launched toward the U.S. mainland or bases of the U.S. Forces Japan.
The trilateral meeting came two days after South Korean Defense Minister Han Min-koo and his Japanese counterpart Gen Nakatani held a bilateral meeting in Seoul.
During that meeting, Nakatani vowed to seek approval from countries in accordance with international laws before sending the SDF to their territories. But the two ministers showed some differences about whether North Korea should be viewed as South Korean territory.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Intervention] [Sidelined] [US dominance]
Japan Pledges to Seek Approval Sending Forces to Korea
Defense Minister Han Min-koo (right) and his Japanese counterpart Gen Nakatani shake hands in Yongsan, Seoul on Tuesday. Defense Minister Han Min-koo (right) and his Japanese counterpart Gen Nakatani shake hands in Yongsan, Seoul on Tuesday.
Japanese Defense Minister Gen Nakatani on Tuesday said Tokyo will seek approval from countries according to international law before sending its Self-Defense Forces to their territories.
The announcement came in a joint statement with his Korean counterpart Han Min-koo after the two met for talks in Seoul.
The Defense Ministry said this was the first time that Japan has confirmed the position in a written statement with a foreign country.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Intervention]
Seoul, Tokyo apart over operations in NK
Japan's war scenario to fuel regional tensions
By Jun Ji-hye
Japanese Defense Minister Gen Nakatani indicated that Japan could conduct military operations in North Korea without consent from Seoul in the event of another war on the Korean Peninsula.
His remarks imply that Japan has set up a contingency plan to send its Self-Defense Forces (SDF) into North Korea without seeking consent from the South. He made the comments during talks with South Korean Defense Minister Han Min-koo in Seoul, Tuesday.
This clearly shows that there is a wide gap between Seoul and Tokyo about the scope of South Korean territory, adding fuel to controversy over Japan's move to expand its military role by revising the country's Constitution.
The possible landing of Japan's SDF into North Korea could become a new seed of conflict in the Northeast Asian region because Japan's military operations there could provoke China and Russia, which border the North.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Intervention]
'Japan military can't enter peninsula without consent'
By Jun Ji-hye
Defense Minister Han Min-koo made it clear Tuesday that Japan must seek approval or consent from Seoul first for any military activities on or near South Korean territory.
During a bilateral meeting with his Japanese counterpart Gen Nakatani at the Ministry of National Defense in Seoul, Han delivered Seoul's concerns about Japan's move to expand its military role.
In response, Nakatani said Japan will seek approval from countries in accordance with international laws before sending its Self-Defense Forces (SDF) to their territories, according to a joint press release.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Intervention] [Wishful thinking]
Abe becomes first sitting Japanese leader to board U.S. aircraft carrier
Oct 18, 2015
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Sunday became the first sitting Japanese leader to set foot on a U.S. aircraft carrier when he boarded the USS Ronald Reagan, which arrived at its new home port at Yokosuka Naval Base in Kanagawa Prefecture earlier this month.
The move — coming almost a month to the day since the Diet enacted highly divisive security laws — is apparently aimed at showing off the bilateral military alliance. The laws will for the first time since World War II allow the Self-Defense Forces to come to the aid of allies under armed attack, giving Japan a freer hand in the defense arena.
Earlier, Abe attended a Maritime Self-Defense Force fleet review in Sagami Bay and called the U.S. flattop “a tomodachi (friend) who rushed to the rescue at the time of the Great East Japan Earthquake. I give it a hearty welcome.”
[Abe Shinzo] [Japanese remilitarisation] [US Japan alliance]
Japan shows off naval power as US signals wider engagement in western Pacific
Tim Kelly, Reuters
Posted at 10/19/2015 8:52 AM
TOKYO - An armada of carriers, cruiser, destroyers and submarines gathered off Japan's coast on Sunday in a display of naval power that showcased Tokyo's latest warships and signalled wider engagement by the U.S. Navy in the western Pacific.
The Fleet Review in seas near Tokyo was the first major display of Japanese military hardware since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe won lawmaker approval for legislation that for the first time since World War Two will allow Japanese soldiers to defend their foreign allies.
Abe is pursuing a doctrine of collective self defense with allies meant to give his nation a bigger role in regional security in order to counterbalance the military power of an increasingly assertive China.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Seapower] [Inversion]
Abe sends offering to Tokyo war shrine
Japanese Prime Minister Shinze Abe / AP-Yonhap
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent a symbolic offering to a controversial war shrine in Tokyo, Saturday, to mark its annual autumn festival, according to Japanese media.
He did not visit the Yasukuni Shrine, though, apparently in consideration of diplomatic relations with neighboring countries, especially South Korea and China.
[Abe Shinzo] [Yasukuni]
Sex Slavery Victims Hold 1,200th Weekly Protest
Participants hold pickets in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul on Wednesday at the 1,200th weekly protest on behalf of women forced into sexual slavery during World War II. Participants hold pickets in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul on Wednesday at the 1,200th weekly protest on behalf of women forced into sexual slavery during World War II.
Women forced into sexual slavery in World War II and their supporters held their 1,200th weekly protest in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul on Wednesday.
The first demonstration against Japan, which refuses to admit the atrocity, was held on Jan. 8, 1992.
The protests have been taking place every Wednesday, rain or shine, except once in consideration of the Kobe earthquake in 1995.
More than 200 victims participated in early protests, but many of them have died over the past 23 years and now only 47 are left.
Wednesday's protest brought together some 600 people but only two of the victims, Lee Yong-soo (87) and Kim Bok-dong (89)
Participants held pickets with the photos of about 30 victims who have already died or were too sick to attend.
"Japan, a war criminal country, is again trying to prepare for a war instead of reflecting on its past crimes," Kim said. "There must be no more victims of the war like us. Please join efforts to solve the issue of the sex slavery victims and pursue peace."
Lee, who presided over the protest, said, "I'm so angry that we're still protesting on the street. I want to hear Japan make a genuine apology as soon as possible."
PM's remarks on Japanese military trigger backlash
By Yi Whan-woo
Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn is under siege after he made remarks during an interpellation session Wednesday that the government can allow Japan's Self-Defense Forces to enter Korea in the event of a military contingency on the Korean Peninsula.
The main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD) issued a statement on Thursday criticizing Hwang.
"We witnessed a top-ranked government official officially opening the door for the SDF to land on Korean soil," said NPAD Chairman Rep. Moon Jae-in.
During an interpellation session, NPAD floor leader Rep. Lee Jong-kul said, "We ask President Park Geun-hye to make clear her stance over the issues and apologize over Hwang's remarks."
A day earlier, Hwang said the Japanese forces can land on the peninsula if Korea finds it necessary after consultations.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Intervention]
Urgent Statement Regarding Nullification of Reclamation Permit by Okinawa’s Governor Takeshi Onaga
by Hiroshi Ashitomi
On 13 November [October] Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga nullified the permit to carry out land reclamation in Oura Bay, granted by the previous Governor Hirokazu Nakaima, explaining that it contains illegalities. We of the Anti-Helicopter Base Council unconditionally support this decision, and more than ever give our full backing to the Governor.
However the Defense Department’s Okinawa Office has begun legal action aimed at having the nullification itself declared illegal. The Japanese Government not only wants to trample on the war-renouncing clause of the Constitution, but also is determined to reclaim land from the richly diversified Henoko and Oura Bays, habitat of the internationally protected dugong, so as to build a new attack base for the U.S. Marine Corps.
That the Governor, and Okinawa itself, shall not find themselves isolated, we call upon the people of all the regions of Japan, and of all the world, to act in solidarity with us, and come and join the sit-in that has been continuing at the entrance to the construction for- at the time of writing – for 465 days. At the same time we call upon all local governments in Japan to present to their councils resolutions demanding that local government be respected.
Game On! For Abe in Asia
On October 6, 2015, the Wall Street Journal carried this headline:
Japan Ready to Lead in Asia-Pacific, Abe Says
I expect that a few Japan-loving pivot-poobahs inside the Washington beltway had to spit out their breakfast sushi at that one.
“But…that wasn’t supposed to happen for decades! Ash Carter promised!”
After all, Secretary of Defense Carter had stated “We will remain the principal security power in the Asia-Pacific for decades to come, ” presumably relying on the assumption that by the time his prediction was proved false he would be safely in his mausoleum and indifferent to rebuke.
Relax, poobahs. The Wall Street Journal was just funning with you.
What Abe actually said was:
“Japan and the United States will together lead Asia Pacific toward the goal of turning it into an ocean of freedom and prosperity, working in partnership with countries that share values such as freedom, democracy, human rights and rule of law.”
That’s better. It’s a together-leady thing.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [TPP] [Client]
Return to top of page
Long Journey Home: A Moment of Japan-Korea Remembrance and Reconciliation
The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 13, Issue. 36, No. 1, August 31, 2015
The Bibai mine, where almost 5000 Korean labour conscripts worked during the war.
On 11 September 2015, a remarkable journey will begin from a little temple in the tiny northern Hokkaido town of Tadoshi. Over the following ten days, a group of Japanese, Koreans and others will wind their way through several Hokkaido towns, to Tokyo and Kyoto, Hiroshima and the port of Shimonoseki, and then across the straits to Busan in Korea, and finally to Seoul, where they will participate in a public memorial ceremony in the square in front of the city hall.
The most important participants in this journey are not the living, but the dead: the bones of 115 Koreans brought to Japan as labourers during the Asia-Pacific War will be carried along the route, with ceremonies of remembrance along the way, to their final resting place in Korea. The itinerary they will trace in September follows, in reverse, the route they travelled in trucks and boats and trains when they were taken to remote mines and construction sites in wartime Japan, unaware that they would never see their homes or families again. More than seventy years on, they are at last going home.
[Reporter’s notebook] Should Japan rearm to ‘deter North Korea’
Posted on : Sep.24,2015 14:12 KST
Vice Adm. Jung Ho-sub, new Navy Chief of Staff, takes an oath during his swearing in ceremony at the military headquarters at Gyeryongdae, South Chungcheong Province, Sep. 22. (Yonhap News)
Recent remarks by Navy Joint Chief of Staff raise questions over deterrence of Pyongyang, or checking China
During the parliamentary audit in the National Assembly’s National Defense Committee on Sep. 22, Navy Chief of Staff Jung Ho-sup, said that Japan needs to take part in the Key Resolve joint military exercises in order to deter North Korea. These remarks are regrettable, even if they only reflect Jung‘s personal opinion.
The Key Resolve drills are joint military exercises that presume a North Korean invasion of South Korea. This would mean that armed members of the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) would set foot on South Korean soil and train together with South Korean forces. How are we supposed to take this?
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Japanese collaborator] [Pretext] [Threat] [Joint US military]
Abe visits grandpa's tomb on passing new security law
By Chen Boyuan
China.org.cn, September 23, 2015
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited his maternal grandfather Nobusuke Kishi's tomb on Tuesday, and there he told his late grandfather that Japan's legislature passed a new National Security Law, which would lift the country's military restrictions.
Sept. 21 marked the 1,000th day of Abe's second tenure as the Japanese prime minister. Abe vowed before the tomb that he would use his experience accumulated in the past 1,000 days to rule the country with his full effort, and that developing the economy will be his top priority.
Nobusuke Kishi also served as the Japanese prime minister from February 1957 to July 1960, during which he passed the new Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, which allowed the United States to use military forces and facilities deployed in Japan for combat bases.
The controversial treaty increased Japan's risk to get involved in another war, resulting in the massive Anti-Security Treaty Movement, and the resignation of Kishi.
[Abe Shinzo] [Kishi Nobusuke] [Japanese remilitarisation]
S.Korea 'Can Tell Japanese Troops to Stay Out'
South Korea can reject any U.S. request for Japanese armed forces to enter the Korean Peninsula, Defense Minister Han Min-koo said Monday.
Han made the remarks at a National Assembly audit after Tokyo controversially reframed its pacifist constitution to allow its armed forces to engage in combat overseas.
"Wartime operational control is executed under the leadership of both the South Korean and U.S. presidents, therefore if our president does not allow it, [deployment of Japanese forces here] is not possible," the minister said.
Under the tripartite alliance with the U.S. and Japan, Japanese forces could be deployed in case of an attack from North Korea. But there is a lot of sensitivity here about Japanese troops ever setting foot on Korean soil again after the 1910-1945 occupation.
Han was in a tight spot because the current conservative government has sought to delay the handover of full troop control to from the U.S. to Seoul, raising fears that the U.S. could overrule South Korean command in wartime and let Japanese forces in.
Seoul and Washington agreed last year to delay the handover until the South is capable of countering the North Korean military threat on its own.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Intervention] [Wishful thinking]
Could Japan intervene militarily on the Korean peninsula?
Posted on : Sep.22,2015 15:47 KST
Seoul maintaining that even with recently passed defense laws in Japan, S. Korean consent is still required
The debate over how far the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) would be able to intervene in an emergency situation on the Korean Peninsula is heating up after the Shinzo Abe administration passed security legislation on Sep. 19, giving Japan the right to exercise collective self-defense.
Information given by Abe at an Aug. 24 meeting of the House of Councillors Budget Committee suggests that Japan's new powers would not result in the sending of fighting units overseas because it does not represent a complete form of collective self-defense of the kind that allowed South Korea to send large numbers of troops to Vietnam in the 1960s and 1970s. The only scenario Abe gave of collective self-defense was a situation involving the Korean Peninsula, in which North Korea attacked a US AEGIS destroyer.
But is a JSDF landing on the peninsula really out of the question?
The answer is no.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Intervention] [Sidelined]
Seoul likely to adopt two-track policy on Japan
Defense Minister Han Min-soo speaks during the National Assembly's annual audit session at the ministry's headquarters in Yongsan-gu, Seoul, Monday. Han said the Japanese military could not enter Korea without Seoul's permission even if the United States requested such a move. / Yonhap
By Yi Whan-woo
South Korea is expected to adopt a two-track approach when dealing with Japan's military expansion — seeking Tokyo's support to better deter North Korea's threats, while pressing it to apologize for its wartime atrocities, analysts said Monday.
The Japanese Diet approved revised security bills Saturday that permit its military to fight abroad for the first time since World War II.
The approval prompted concerns here that Tokyo may continue to deny its wartime crimes, revert to militarism again, and that its military may even forcibly enter the Korean Peninsula in the event of emergencies without South Korea's consent.
However, even under these circumstances, it is crucial for South Korea to enhance its trilateral security alliance with the United States and Japan to combat North Korean provocations, analysts said. They also underscored Washington's role as a "link" between Seoul and Tokyo, citing Defense Minister Han Min-koo.
During the National Assembly's annual audit session, Monday, Han said Japan's Self-Defense Forces (SDF) may not come on to the peninsula without South Korea's consent even if the U.S. requests them to do so.
"Our wartime operational control is carried out under the command of the presidents of both South Korea and U.S. It needs approval from our president for the SDF to land here," Han said.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Strategic incoherence] [SK Japan] [Sidelined]
Japanese Foreign Ministry Deletes War Shame from Website
Japan's Foreign Ministry revamped a section on its Internet website explaining the country's major historical milestones and deleted all references to its occupation of Korea.
Instead, the ministry claims that Tokyo has apologized for past atrocities and compensated governments and individuals for the damage caused by imperial Japan.
The revamp comes after the island country's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made a statement marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, where he pledged to forswear colonial rule forever.
The new website was unveiled on Saturday and also claims that women, mostly Korean, who were forced to serve as sex slaves for Japanese soldiers during World War II, had been legally compensated, and Tokyo "cooperated fully" from a humanitarian perspective with efforts to aid them, including establishing a fund.
[Japanese colonialism] [Comfort women]
Japan's peace pledge: a question of sovereignty?
Celine Nahory 19 September 2015
Japan adopted its war-renouncing constitution following World War II, with Article 9 as a promise to itself and a pledge to the world never to repeat its mistakes.
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
This article was first published in May 2013
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.
Abe’s new security legislation doubles-down on the US alliance
20 September 2015
Author: Sourabh Gupta, Samuels International
In the wee hours of the morning yesterday, Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)–Komeito coalition muscled a suite of security-related bills through the upper house of the Diet. The bills, now certain to become law, fundamentally re-draw the legal parameters of security cooperation in which the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) may now engage.
Japan to allow military role overseas in historic move
Japan's parliament has voted to allow the military to fight overseas for the first time since the end of World War Two 70 years ago.
A vote on the constitutional amendment was delayed for several hours as the opposition tried to stop the measure coming into law.
Outside, demonstrators rallied in a last-ditch show of protest.
Many Japanese are attached to the pacifist provisions in the constitution which banned fighting overseas.
The bills have already passed through the government-dominated lower house.
The government wanted to hold the vote before a five-day holiday begins on Saturday.
On Thursday, opposition politicians tried to physically delay proceedings ahead of a committee vote on the bills.
Rising Sun, Setting Sun: Japan, the United States, and the Security Laws
The passage of the collective self defense bills-- enabling Japanese participation in military activities beyond its home territory under restrictions that appear to be rather elastic--
In case Japan faces “a survival-threatening situation,” in which the United States and other countries that have close ties with the nation come under an armed attack by a third country and that poses a threat to the existence of Japan and the livelihoods of Japanese people, Japan now can use minimum necessary force.
--had a feeling of inevitability to me.
They give more freedom of movement to the Japanese government in its security policy, more leverage in its foreign relations, and more gravy to the corporate sector. These are opportunities that most modern governments, especially a right-wing government like Abe’s, would be eager to exploit.
And I think it’s accurate to describe them as a “normalization” of Japan’s international status, especially if “the norm” is understood to be a downgrade from the Japan’s previous condition, in other words a decline from the idealistic, pacifist aspirations of Japan’s US-imposed constitution to ordinary government-business-and-media driven war-grubbing.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Decline]
Reflections on war and peace in the Pacific
Posted by Randy Forbes | September 02, 2015
70 years ago on this day, Japan surrendered to the United States and its allies, marking an end to the cataclysm that claimed some 30 million lives across Asia and the Pacific Ocean. Today, we pause to remember the lives lost, the courage and heroism displayed, and the sacrifices made.
In remembrance of this somber anniversary, I joined Rep Mark Takai in sharing a few reflections with the Honolulu Star Advertiser on how and why the War in the Pacific happened, and the worrisome parallels visible in the Asia-Pacific region today. You can read below, and share your thoughts in response on my Facebook page, here.
[US Japan alliance]  [Hardliner]
Japan's upper house passes controversial security bills
Xinhua, September 17, 2015
A special committee under the upper house of the Japanese national Diet passed controversial government-backed security-related bills amid chaos in the chamber.
The passage came without a final debate on the bills, paving way for the chamber's plenary session to vote the bills.
The Japanese ruling camp led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe secured the majority in the upper house, meaning that the controversial bills would be approved in the upcoming plenary at earliest on Thursday.
Japan's ruling party passes controversial security bills
Japanese lawmakers scuffle during a committee voting of security bills at the upper house in Tokyo, Thursday. Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) pushed contentious security bills through a legislative committee, catching the opposition by surprise and causing chaos in the chamber. If the vote stands, the legislation will go to the upper house of parliament for final approval. The lawmaker at center left, is LDP's Masahisa Sato, acting chairperson of the committee. /AP-Yonhap
Japan's ruling party railroaded a set of controversial security bills through an upper house panel meeting Thursday.
The 11 bills were passed in a majority vote by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner, the Komeito party, amid protests from the opposition, who argue the bills violate Japan's pacifist constitution.
If approved in an upper house plenary session later in the day, the legislation would allow Japan's Self-Defense Forces to assist other countries in armed conflict in the name of collective self-defense.
South Korea has repeatedly sought assurances from Japan that any deployment of Japanese troops on Korean soil will require Seoul's request or consent.(Yonhap)
Thousands protest against PM's move to let Japanese troops fight abroad
Thousands of protesters rallied in Tokyo against Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's security policy on Monday as the government aims to enact legislation this month that would allow Japanese troops to fight abroad for the first time since World War Two.
Participants including Nobel literature laureate Kenzaburo Oe and leaders of main opposition parties gathered in front of the parliament building, waving glow sticks and holding up placards reading "no war" and "scrap war legislation."
Protesters broke through metal barriers after scuffling with police and streamed onto the street in front of parliament.
Organizers said the protesters numbered 45,000. A police spokesman said the Metropolitan Police Department did not give estimates for the size of the protest.
A similar rally on Sunday, Aug. 30 attracted about 120,000 people, according to the organizers.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Public opinion]
War criminal confesses to killing for weapon test
Xinhua, September 6, 2015
A handwritten confession by a Japanese World War II soldier confessed to brutal killing of innocent Chinese people to test weapon.
According to the confession by Kihachiro Sibayama, which was published by the State Archives Administration (SAA) of China on Saturday, in May 1940 in Shandong Province, the Japanese soldier "shot 30 bullets" "at Chinese people of about 40 to 50 years old who were carrying shoulder poles and walking," in order to test the effectiveness of the heavy machine gun, thus "brutally killed five Chinese."
Also, he confessed that in June 1943, Japanese soldiers did not give any medical treatment to the captured Kuomintang soldiers who suffered from colitis. They gave the patients nothing to eat and therefore tortured 12 men (of around 25 years old) to death. He also ordered Japanese guards to kill five other patients.
[War crimes] [WWII] [Japanese colonialism]
The future of Russia-Japan relations
By Andrei Cazacu
Sep 2, 2015
The security and defense bills up for consideration by Japan’s Parliament signal the beginning of a potentially major shift in East Asian security. The changes grant the SDF (Self Defense Force) the right to enter combat in support of an ally, in effect altering pacifist prerogatives of the post-WWII Japanese constitution and, in turn, raise questions about the future role of Japan in the Asia-Pacific security landscape.
Having been isolated by the West after the Crimean annexation, the Russian government has been increasingly looking toward East Asia, particularly seeking to strengthen ties with China, Japan’s main regional rival. Because of this, it has become imperative to reassess the future of Russian-Japanese relations.
[Japan Russia] [Academic]
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Hundreds of legal experts unite to attack Abe’s ‘unconstitutional’ security bills
August 27, 2015
By Ryota Goto/ Staff Writer
Three hundred or so legal experts gathered for a huge protest meeting to call on the Abe administration to withdraw security legislation that they say is unconstitutional.
Former Supreme Court justices, previous director-generals of the Cabinet Legislation Bureau and other constitutional scholars and legal experts held the meeting Aug. 26 to protest the government’s efforts to expand the overseas role of Japanese troops through collective self-defense. The bills are currently before the Upper House.
[Abe Shinzo] [Japanese remilitarisation] [Constitution]
Class and the Politics of Memory in Post-War Asia
By: Walden Bello
Published 24 August 2015
Perhaps the main factor explaining the different attitudes toward Japan is the class factor.
Over the last few decades in Asia, August has been dominated by the anniversary of the tragic nuclear devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, on the 6th and 9th days of the month. This year, however, being the 70th anniversary of the ending of the Second World War, people have recalled the havoc that war brought to so many in the region and discussed the ways that the protracted, bitter conflict, which arguably began with Japan’s invasion of China in 1937, left its mark not only on the post-war relations between Japan and the different countries in the region but on the relations among social classes within these countries.
In the occupied countries, social classes related to the Japanese in different ways, and the class factor might help explain why the current Philippine government, headed by the grandson of a despised collaborator, has become one of the most enthusiastic backers of the aggressive effort to dismantle Japan’s “Peace Constitution” by the grandson of a Class A war criminal.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Japanese collaborator]
Yokohama Street Life: The Precarious Life of a Japanese Day Laborer
The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 13, Issue. 34, No. 2, August 24, 2015
The first time I met Nishikawa Kimitsu was on October 20, 1993, at 6 o'clock in the morning in front of the casual labor exchange in Kotobuki, the notorious Yokohama slum district. He was struggling to get a day's work on a building site in Yokohama. When I told him I was doing fieldwork for a doctorate in social anthropology, he immediately asked me if I was a Malinowskian functionalist or a Levi-Straussian structuralist. He had a copy of Levi-Strauss's Le Regard Eloigné in his pocket. He lived in a run-down doss-house, in the filthiest room I have ever seen, with cobwebs, cockroaches, empty sake bottles, overflowing ashtrays and cigarette burns on the lank and greasy tatami.The room was stuffed with teetering piles of heavyweight scholarly monographs and intellectual magazines, and the walls were graffiti'd with his obsessive pictures of Nazi concentration camp guards.
It was the start of a friendship which continued intermittently for over two decades, culminating in my book, Yokohama Street Life: The Precarious Career of a Japanese Day Laborer, recently published by Lexington Books in the US and UK. It is a one-man ethnography of Kimitsu, who recently played out the last few months of his life in the dementia ward of a hospital in Yokohama. Nobody around him knew that one of the inmates was so well read that I was repeatedly obliged to scour the Meiji Gakuin library to look up references during the months I was interviewing him to write the book.Nor did they know that he was also an artist – the book contains quite a few of his unique sketches and cartoons.
As well as Kimitsu’s life and thoughts, the book also discusses the recent history of yoseba/doya-gai (street labor markets and skid row districts in Japan). And in surveying Kimitsu’s final years surviving a pair of strokes after a lifetime of alcoholism, chain smoking and hard work, with the aid of livelihood protection (seikatsu hogo), it casts some light on the Japanese welfare system, showing how marginal men who traditionally were left to die in the street are now cared for rather better.
Shortly after the book was published, Kimitsu passed away. In choosing the extracts from the book that follow, I have focused mainly on Kimitsu’s childhood and youth, mostly based on interviews conducted in 2007. Afterwards, I append a few episodes from the end of Kimitsu’s life. Consider them a postscript to the book of his life.
Japan’s Economic and Foreign Policies Under Shinzo Abe
Last month, during a visit to Japan, I had the privilege of meeting with a number of senior government officials, business leaders, and policy analysts in order to gain further insight into Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s policy aims for Japan’s economy, foreign relations, and national security future.
Prime Minister Abe has dedicated his second term in office to an ambitious economic reform agenda, known as “Abenomics.” The strength of Japan’s economy — the second largest in Asia — has a significant influence on the economic vitality of the Asia-Pacific region. Asia is watching closely whether the “third arrow” in his economic armory — structural reform — will be fired or will remain in the quiver.
In the international arena, Prime Minister Abe has pushed for Japan to assume a stronger leadership role in regional affairs and strengthen its commitment as an ally of the United States. Japan’s unfolding foreign and security policy under Prime Minister Abe has wide regional implications for China, the United States, and the Republic of Korea. Japan’s security policy also dovetails with security policy deliberations in Southeast Asia and South Asia, given the particular nature of the strengthening India-Japan relationship, as well as Japan’s relationships with the Philippines and Vietnam.
[Abe Shinzo] [Japanese remilitarisation]
Japan Deletes Webpage on Colonial Rule
The Japanese Foreign Ministry has deleted a webpage on Japan's colonial rule and a standing apology last Friday, when Prime Minister Shinzo Abe gave a speech marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.
A notice on the history Q&A webpage now reads, "The page you asked for cannot be found. It may have been moved or deleted."
There is speculation that the ministry deleted the page because its content is at odds with the Abe statement. The Asahi Shimbun reported that the ministry has promised to bring the page in line with Abe's speech.
The page formerly stated that Japan carried out colonial expansion and aggressive actions during World War II and always feels deeply repentant. It was in line with the Murayama Statement of 1995 that admitted the wrongfulness of Japan's colonial aggression.
In the speech last Friday, Abe pledged to abandon colonial rule forever. "Japan has repeatedly expressed the feelings of deep remorse and heartfelt apology for its actions during the war," he said, but stopped short of repeating the sentiment himself, apparently to shore up his far-right support at home.
Japan Exports Its Way to Irrelevance
Aug 17, 2015 6:00 PM EDT
There's a difference between bad economic news and the devastating variety that Japan received Monday. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe might have been able to weather the second-quarter data showing a drop in Japanese consumption and a 1.6 percent decline in annualized growth. But it's not clear his government can recover from the latest news about sputtering exports, which fell 4.4 percent from the previous quarter.
An export boom, after all, was the main thing Abenomics, the prime minister's much-heralded revival program, had going for it. The yen's 35 percent drop since late 2012 made Japanese goods cheaper, companies more profitable and Nikkei stocks more attractive. But China is spoiling the broader strategy. The economy of Japan's biggest customer is slowing precipitously, which has imperiled earnings outlooks for Toyota, Sony, and trading houses like Mitsui.
But Abe needs to recognize, as China already has, that this is only the latest sign of a broader reality: Asia's old export model of economic growth no longer works.
China's devaluation last week raised fears of a return of the currency wars that devastated Asia in the late 1990s. That's a reach, considering that exports are playing less and less of a role in China. McKinsey, for example, found that as far back as 2010, net exports were contributing only between 10 percent and 20 percent of Chinese gross domestic product. The services sector is growing in size and influence to rebalance the economy -- not fast enough, perhaps, but change is nevertheless afoot.
If any major country has been relying too much on exports it's Japan.
[Domestic demand] [Exports]
Alert raised following Abe's Yasukuni offering
China Daily, August 17, 2015
A Chinese official and scholars issued an alert over right-wingers in Japan on Sunday following Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's offering of a ritual donation to a shrine endorsing convicted war criminals.
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (R) bows before an altar as Emperor Akihito (back L) and Empress Michiko (2nd L) look on, as he prepares to read out his message of condolence during an annual memorial service for war victims in Tokyo on August 15, 2015. [Photo/Xinhua]
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (R) bows before an altar as Emperor Akihito (back L) and Empress Michiko (2nd L) look on, as he prepares to read out his message of condolence during an annual memorial service for war victims in Tokyo on August 15, 2015. [Photo/Xinhua]
On Saturday-the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II-some Japanese Cabinet members and about 70 lawmakers visited the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo.
Abe's ritual offering was conveyed by an official from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.
[Abe Shinzo] [Yasukuni]
[News analysis] After Abe’s statement, Pres. Park inching closer to Japan
Posted on : Aug.17,2015 17:46 KST Modified on : Aug.17,2015 17:46 KST
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe putts at a golf course in Yamanashi Prefecture on Aug. 16, the day after he made a statement for the 70th anniversary of Japan’s surrender to end World War II. Abe will be on summer vacation until Aug. 20. (Kyodo News/Yonhap)
Park seems to be working for some kind of diplomatic achievement as she enters the second half of her term
During President Park Geun-hye’s address on Aug. 15, marking the 70th anniversary of Korea’s liberation from Japan, she said, “Though many difficulties remain, now is the time to move together into a new future based on a correct understanding of history.” Park effectively reaffirmed her “two-track” strategy of separating historical disagreements from issues related to defense and the economy.
Along with the diplomatic fears that South Korea will be excluded from the multilateral framework that will be forming in Northeast Asia this fall if Park does achieve improved currently strained relations with Japan, analysts also see this as a strategic move aimed at achieving concrete diplomatic results as Park enters the second half of her time in office.
Her remarks hint at a wide gap between Park’s attitudes and the attitudes of the public, however. While the average South Korean feels hostility toward the statement made by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the 70th anniversary of Japan’s surrender in World War II, Park has tried to put a positive spin on it, refraining from criticism when possible and only saying certain parts were “unsatisfactory.”
[Park Geun-hye] [Japan SK] [Public opinion]
[Reporter’s notebook] The historical tale behind Abe’s statement
Posted on : Aug.17,2015 17:36 KST Modified on : Aug.17,2015 17:36 KST
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, along with his wife Akie Abe pay respects at the grave of his father, former Japanese Foreign Minister Shintaro Abe in Yamaguchi Prefecture, Aug. 14. Later this day, Abe made his statement for the 70th anniversary of Japan’s surrender to end World War II. (Kyodo/Yonhap News)
Historical episodes suggest that Japanese PM may think occupation of Korea doesn’t require an apology
The best summation of the Japanese attitude toward its recent history may be the view of novelist Ryotaro Shiba (1923-1996). This view was articulated most clearly in “Clouds above the Hill,” a fictional saga that was serialized in the Sankei Shimbun newspaper starting in 1968.
The novel consists of a coming-of-age story for three young people who are born in Iyo-Matsuyama Domain, which is now known as Ehime Prefecture. These ambitious young people grow up to be officers in the Japanese land forces and navy and a famous writer in Meiji-era Japan, which has become successfully modernized. The challenge of the time for these young people is war with Russia.
The major theme of the novel is that Japan had to fight - and ultimately defeat - Russia to keep Korea from falling into its clutches. Under this view of history, the wars that Japan waged against China and Russia during the Meiji Period to bring Korea under its dominion are transformed into pleasant memories from a golden era. In contrast, the wars during the Showa Period that began with the Manchurian Incident in 1931 are decried as mistakes that undid everything achieved during the Meiji Period, including the annexation of Korea.
This understanding of history was thoroughly reflected in the statement released by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Aug. 14.
[Interview] After Abe’s statement, one US professor wishes to bellow, “Bollux!”
Posted on : Aug.17,2015 17:24 KST Modified on : Aug.17,2015 17:24 KST
Alexis Dudden argues that Japan’s refusal to offer sincere apology compromises stability in Northeast Asia
Alexis Dudden, a professor at the University of Connecticut, drew a heated response when she spearheaded a joint statement by US historians last February opposing the Shinzo Abe administration’s attempts to misrepresent Japan’s historical actions. After Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe‘s statement on the 70th anniversary of Japan’s World War II surrender, she conducted an email interview with the Hankyoreh’s Washington correspondent.
Hankyoreh (Hani): What can you say about Abe’s statement, overall?
Alexis Dudden: Overall Mr. Abe has tried to do too much and not enough all at once. The statement is long which would be fine if it achieved a way to stem doubts about its intentions and meaning. Yet it does precisely the opposite, raising significant problems that will surely generate critical questioning and uneasy relations once everyone has had the time to fully examine each sentence.
For example, in broad terms it is clear that that for Abe and supporters of this statement the colonization of Korea is nothing to apologize for specifically, that Japanese should be bothered by learning anything about the extreme violence that took place throughout Japanese rule.
As a “cabinet decision” this is deeply unfortunate because it means it is government policy.
Keep Abe’s remarks in perspective
By Brad Glosserman
Aug 17, 2015
Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s speech to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II was destined to be a Rorschach test for listeners. There was almost no chance that the prime minister would assuage all his critics; at best, he would win over some fence sitters. He seems to have done just that. But amidst the controversy surrounding the speech, it is important to distinguish between the man making the statement and the country he leads. Of course, as prime minister Abe speaks for Japan, but overwhelming evidence makes clear that questions about his intentions apply only to a narrow slice of the country.
[Abe Shinzo] [US Japan alliance]
The Impact of “Comfort Woman” Revisionism on the Academy, the Press, and the Individual: Symposium on the U.S. Tour of Uemura Takashi
The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 13, Issue. 33, No. 1, August 17, 2015
Norma Field, Tomomi Yamaguchi
This article is the first of a five-part symposium on the U.S. tour of Uemura Takashi, former Asahi reporter and current part-time university lecturer, from late April to early May, 2015. (See parts two, three, four and five here).
Just as faculty and students at Central Washington University were preparing to respond to the screening of Taniyama Yujiro’s denialist film, The Scottsboro Girls, dedicated to the proposition that the Japanese military “comfort women” were not sex slaves,1 and just as Prime Minister Abe was in Washington DC preparing to address both houses of Congress where he would precisely not address the “comfort woman” issue, former Asahi reporter Uemura Takashi arrived in Chicago to embark on a speaking tour at six universities (the University of Chicago, DePaul University, Marquette University, New York University, Princeton University and UCLA).2 As recounted in his first extensive response to his attackers (translated on this site), over the last year Uemura and his family have been hounded for two pioneering articles he wrote twenty-four years ago as the first former Korean “comfort woman,” Kim Hak-sun, was preparing to go public. The attacks against Uemura, which of course must be understood as a virulent form of “comfort woman” denialism, targeted both the newspaper where he worked for over thirty years, the Asahi, long hated by the Japanese right, and academic freedom (see Hokusei University Support Group’s statement on this site). Rightist threats have robbed Uemura of a full-time teaching position at one institution and threaten even his two-course lectureship at another. That Uemura addressed these issues as part of his personal narrative, in other words, effecting the individualization of a social issue and the socialization of an individual struggle, proved to be effective in reaching audiences that differed enormously in their degree of familiarity with the “comfort woman” issue.
Japan More Unpopular Than Ever in Korea
Public opinion in Korea has worsened significantly over the last decade, and now more than half of Koreans have a negative opinion of Japan, a survey suggests.
The findings come from a poll by the Chosun Ilbo and Seoul National University on various contemporary issues to mark the 70th anniversary of independence from Japanese rule.
Only 13 percent said they have a favorable impression of Japan -- 0.5 percent very favorable and 12.5 percent slightly favorable.
In a similar survey on the 60th anniversary in 2005, 26.8 percent of Koreans had a favorable impression of Japan. The proportion who said they have negative feelings about Japan rose from 43.7 percent to 55.4 percent over the same period.
Japan has never been hugely popular here, but a Gallup poll in 2002, just after the Korea-Japan World Cup, showed a peak of 32.4 percent with a favorable opinion.
The U.S., by contrast is getting more popular. Some 54.2 percent had a favorable impression of the U.S., up slightly from 53.7 percent 10 years ago. China's popularity is also plunging, from 39.3 percent a decade ago to just 23.1 percent.
A majority also feel that Japan does not contribute significantly to peace on the Korean Peninsula and promoting reunification. Some 53.9 percent said Japan actually hinders stability on the peninsula, even more than North Korea's staunch ally China, which 42.1 percent see as an obstacle, and Russia at 37.9 percent.
Most said the U.S. helps maintain stability on the peninsula with 51.5 percent, followed by China (19.5 percent) and Russia (10.6 percent). Japan rated a mere 9.2 percent.
Some 57.5 percent see no need for President Park Geun-hye to seek a summit with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is widely blamed for Tokyo's lurch to the far revisionist right, but 42.5 percent feel the leaders of the two neighbors should still meet.
Ma responds to Abe’s speech on end of WWII
President Ma Ying-jeou urges Japan to develop friendlier relations with neighboring Asian countries as a way of promoting regional peace and stability during a speech Aug. 15 in Taipei City. (Courtesy of Presidential Office)
•Source: Taiwan Today
President Ma Ying-jeou said Aug. 15 that he hopes Japan can develop more forward-thinking and friendlier relations with its neighboring countries so as to contribute to regional peace and prosperity.
“Japan must continue to look squarely at its actions, engage in deep reflection and learn from the lessons of history,” Ma said during the opening ceremony of a special exhibition commemorating the 70th anniversary of the ROC’s victory in the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945) in Taipei City.
According to the president, the ROC armed forces and citizenry fought bravely against Japanese invasion, while making an invaluable contribution to the Allied victory in World War II. “Although mistakes of the past can be forgiven, the truth must not be forgotten,” he said.
“The ROC’s victory ended Japan’s colonial rule of Taiwan [1895-1945] and returned the island to the nation,” Ma said, adding that this fact marks an honorable and unforgettable chapter in the country’s history.
In response to an address by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe the day before on the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII, the president said he hopes Japan can do better and carry out more self-reflection, especially on the issue of so-called comfort women.
While the government recognizes the contribution by Japanese engineers such as Yoichi Hatta in developing Taiwan, the war caused great damage to the country, claiming millions of lives and inflicting unhealable wounds to numerous comfortable women, Ma said.
[Abe Shinzo] [Japanese colonialism] [Taiwan]
Abe offers no fresh apology for Japan's wartime atrocities
Xinhua, August 14, 2015
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attends a news conference for delivering a statement marking the 70th anniversary of World War II's end, at his official residence in Tokyo August 14, 2015. Abe acknowledged Japan had inflicted "immeasurable damage and suffering" on innocent people but said generations not involved in the conflict should not be burdened with continued apologies. [Photo:China Daily]
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday mentioned previous governments' apology for Japan's wartime past, but refrained from offering his own apology in a statement marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II at his official residence in Tokyo.
"Japan has repeatedly expressed the feelings of deep remorse and heartfelt apology for its actions during the war," the prime minister said. "Such position articulated by the previous cabinets will remain unshakable into the future."
But the prime minister also said that Japan must not let its future generations "be predestined to apologize."
[Abe Shinzo] [Japanese colonialism]
History Haunts Japan’s Prime Minister Abe
Aug. 09, 2015
On August 6 “The Advisory Panel on the History of the 20th Century and on Japan’s Role and World Order in the 21st Century” submitted its report to Prime Minister Abe Shinzo. Abe established this panel in February to provide input for his forthcoming statement commemorating the 70th anniversary of Japan’s wartime defeat. At the Advisory Panel press conference, members insisted that it is entirely up to Abe whether or not to apologize as his predecessors did in 1995 and 2005. All signs are that Abe will not say what needs to be said because he seeks to end what revisionists deride as Japan’s apology diplomacy and masochistic history.
Much is riding on what Abe says, and doesn't say, as South Korea and China are especially sensitive to any perceived backsliding on Japan’s war responsibility and contrition. Japan finds itself isolated in East Asia over this history of colonial rule and imperial aggression and there are concerns among Japan’s neighbors that Abe’s rigid revisionist agenda will lead him to downplay Japan’s misdeeds.
The Advisory Panel is unexpectedly critical of Japan’s conduct in the 1930s and 1940s, condemning Japan’s “reckless war” and concluding, ”it is inaccurate to claim that Japan fought to liberate Asia as a matter of national policy.” It is an assessment that is bound to antagonize Abe and his supporters. Later in the report, however, there is homage to the unintentional consequences of the nation’s wartime regional rampage: “Whether or not Japan intended to liberate Asia, it did wind up promoting the independence of the colonies in Asia.”
[Abe Shinzo] [Japanese colonialism]
Japan Pledges to Hold 'Intensive Talks' on Okinawa Base Issue
Tokyo will suspend construction on a new U.S. air base for one month in order to hold talks with Okinawan officials.
By Shannon Tiezzi
August 08, 2015
On August 4, Japan’s central government made the surprising announcement that it will temporarily halt construction on a controversial new U.S. air base in the Henoko district in Nago, Okinawa. The new base is supposed to replace the current U.S. Marines Corps Futenma Air Station, but local political opposition has kept the project stalled for nearly 20 years.
Tokyo’s announcement came after concerted efforts by Okinawa’s government to block the project. Okinawans believe the burden of hosting U.S. troops should be more evenly distributed across Japan, and want the Futenma base relocated out of Okinawa entirely. Many have been growing increasingly angry over Tokyo’s refusal to take local sentiment into account.
Okinawa’s governor, Takeshi Onaga, was elected in December 2014 after basing his platform on strong opposition to the Henoko base. Since taking office, Onaga has sought to suspend the work through legal action, while popular protests have indicated public discontent with the base construction. Onaga even visited the United States, hoping to win support or at least sympathy for the Okinawan point of view.
Until this week, however, Japan’s central government, had shown little inclination of changing its plans. When Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited the United States in April, he argued that the relocation of the air base to Henoko should be completed “as soon as possible.” But, as Yuki Tatsumi outlined in a Diplomat article in June, in practice Abe’s options for overruling Onaga’s opposition are less than ideal.
Korea Needs a Better Strategy for Dealing with Japan
President Park Geun-hye on Monday met with Katsuya Okada, the leader of Japan's opposition Democratic Party, and said she hopes Seoul and Tokyo can "continue to strengthen dialogue and cooperation" despite the Abe administration's lurch to the far right.
Speaking about the chances of a summit with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Park advised patience and called for resolving outstanding issues first.
Cheong Wa Dae now seems minded to separate disputes about history from current issues. But since the Park administration was launched almost three years ago, it has maintained that Japan must atone for its World War II atrocities if there is to be a summit.
[Japan SK] [Japanese colonialism]
Abe panel report angers Koreans
Bereaved family members of Koreans, who died while undertaking forced labor overseas during Japan's colonial rule, call on the government to establish a law offering them compensation during a rally at Gwanghwamun Square in Seoul, Friday. / Yonhap
Japanese leader urged to apologize for colonial rule, sex slavery
By Kang Seung-woo
A report from an advisory panel for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's war anniversary statement has reignited public anger here over Tokyo's controversial stance on its wartime atrocities.
Based on the report, Abe will write a statement to be issued on Aug. 14 to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.
The report, however, only mentioned Japan's wartime aggression without an apology.
This prompted strong protest from the Korean government as well as scholars awaiting an apology for Japan's wartime wrongdoings, including the sexual enslavement of Korean women -- the main impediment to improving bilateral ties
[Abe Shinzo] [Japanese colonialism]
Japan’s Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) Ground Stations: A Visual Guide
NAPSNet Special Report
by Desmond Ball and Richard Tanter
6 August 2015
This is a study of Japan’s ground-based signals intelligence (SIGINT) stations, the 17 (soon to be 19) major facilities that intercept, monitor, collect, process and analyse foreign electronic signals. Official statements convey nothing of the scale or detail of the Japanese SIGINT effort, which is probably the third or fourth largest SIGINT establishment in the world. These Japanese ground signals interception and location facilities are integrated with its air and missile defence radar facilities. Together with Japan’s own long-range underwater surveillance systems, and combined with the Japan-based US parallel air, ground and underwater surveillance systems, they take Japan a very long way towards its stated aim to ensure information supremacy in the region. As potentially lucrative targets in the event of war, destruction of these important but vulnerable facilities could alter escalation dynamics in such a way that the widespread assumption that a Japan-China armed conflict could be controlled before substantial escalation may not hold true.
This report is a visual guide, hopefully making it easier for those who come after us to identify what they are seeing. Similar and comparable systems are critical to the strategic planning of all countries with substantial military capacities – or ambitions. Accordingly an understanding of the Japanese ground stations, their physical characteristics, and the logic of their deployment may be of use in understanding non-Japanese systems.
[SIGINT] [Japanese remilitarisation]
Japan, North Korea foreign ministers meet in Kuala Lumpur
Aug 6, 2015
KUALA LUMPUR – Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said Thursday he urged his North Korean counterpart Ri Su Yong to ensure Pyongyang abides by a 2014 bilateral accord and promptly compile a report on the outcome of an investigation into the fates of Japanese citizens abducted in the 1970s and 1980s.
Park's sister calls Akihito 'His Majesty'
By Yi Whan-woo
President Park Geun-hye's youngster sister, Geun-ryoung, referred to Japanese Emperor Akihito as "His Majesty the Emperor" in an interview with a Japanese website, released Tuesday.
While showing respect for the Japanese leadership, she also said that "Japan bashing" in the Korean media has crossed a line.
Her pro-Japanese remarks sparked angry responses from Koreans ? and at the same time sympathy for the President, who is known to have long been at odds with her controversial sister.
The interview was released by Niconico, a video-sharing site that is known to be popular among Japanese conservatives.
During the interview which she answered in Korean, she called Akihito "His Majesty the Emperor" while talking about a meeting between the current Japanese emperor and then-Korean President Roh Tae-woo in 1990.
Japan defense chief says SDF could deal with nukes under security bills
by Reiji Yoshida
Aug 5, 2015
Under the ruling bloc’s security bills, the Self-Defense Forces would theoretically be allowed to transport, repair or store nuclear, chemical and biological weapons for a foreign or multinational force, Defense Minister Gen Nakatani told the Upper House on Wednesday.
But his statement came with an important caveat.
In reality, Nakatani emphasized, Japan would never actually carry out such an operation because the United States, Japan’s main military ally, would not ask Tokyo to do so, given the “unique nature” of nuclear weapons and Washington’s policy of not forward-deploying nuclear weapons in the Pacific.
“It’s true (that the bills) do not have any provisions to exclude particular items. However, the SDF would make an independent decision on what it would transport,” Nakatani said.
“Japan has maintained the three nonnuclear principles (of not making, possessing or bringing nuclear weapons into the country). We are not thinking about transporting nuclear weapons,” he said.
Still, Nakatani’s remarks, made in response to a question from an opposition lawmaker, could create a stir and provide ammunition to Diet members who are against the security bills.
It could also further prolong difficult deliberations in the chamber on the legislation.
Kenzo Fujisue of the Democratic Party of Japan, the largest opposition force, noted that the three nonnuclear principles are not enshrined in law, and the security bills themselves do not include any of the assumptions explained by Nakatani during the session.
[Nuclear weapons] [cbw] [Japanese remilitarisation] [US Japan alliance]
You Don't Want to Know About the Girls? The 'Comfort Women', the Japanese Military and Allied Forces in the Asia-Pacific War
The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 13, Issue. 31, No. 2, August 03, 2015
The Unasked Questions
Angus McDougall, an Australian serviceman, was captured by the Japanese in the early stages of the Asia-Pacific War and sent to Changi prisoner of war camp. From there he, like over 40,000 others, was transported by rail to Banpong in Thailand on his way to work on the Thai-Burma Railway. The journey was gruelling. POWs were packed 28 or more to a truck in goods wagons. The trucks were far too small to carry such a number, the heat was intense, and food and water were scarce. Interviewed about his experiences many decades later, McDougall echoes other survivors in describing the journey as “hell”.1
But, as you can hear if you listen to his recorded interview on the website of the Australian War Memorial, McDougall then goes on to make a remark that catches his interviewer unprepared: “You don’t want to know about the girls and everything in the truck?” he asks. “Girls in the truck?” echoes his interviewer in surprise. McDougall responds by explaining that alongside the POWs, their train also transported 25 to 30 “comfort girls”, as he calls them: “one carriage of them, with guards, same as we had, like the guards with us”. These girls, McDougall recalls, were not Japanese, but a multiethnic group made up (he thinks) of “Malays, Indians, Chinese and others”. Transported like prisoners, in the same hellish conditions on the same military train, the young women were on their way to Japanese army brothels in Thailand or Burma.2
But McDougall’s assumption was right. His interviewer evidently did not “want to know about the girls”, and briskly moved the conversation on to other topics. The pattern is repeated again and again in the oral history record of the Asia-Pacific War.
[Comfort women] [Myopia]
Japan’s defence and diplomacy heading in the wrong direction
1 August 2015
Author: Arthur Stockwin, Oxford University
Japan is at a momentous turning point. On 16 July 2015 the government of Shinzo Abe used its big majority in the House of Representatives to override objections from opposition parties and pass legislation permitting collective self-defence (CSD). But this is one of several misdirected solutions following years of conservative revisionism.
If CSD is permitted, Japanese Self-Defense Forces may fight alongside US forces in conflicts not directly related to the national security of Japan. The upper house of the Japanese Diet now has to debate the legislation, with the government determined to enact it by the end of the parliamentary session on 27 September.
This overturns decades of official interpretation of the ‘Peace Constitution’ of 1947 that CSD was not acceptable except on a case-by-case basis. Even though the Abe government is supported for its attempts to revive the economy, it lacks majority support in relation to the current bills.
Park's sister draws fire for pro-Japan remarks
By Yi Whan-woo
President Park Geun-hye's younger sister Geun-ryeong is disrupting the President's efforts to seek an apology from Japan over its wartime atrocities.
Geun-ryeong, 61, stirred up controversy over her pro-Japan remarks on Thursday when she said Seoul's repeated demands for Tokyo to apologize for the Japanese colonial rule were "inappropriate."
Her remarks came during an interview with Niconico, a Japanese video-sharing website that is popular among conservative Japanese. The interview footage will be released on the website on Aug. 4.
Geun-ryeong, who serves on the board of directors at a high school in Busan, added fuel to the dispute later on Thursday when she said, "being stricken with a victim mentality will not be good for the country's sake.
"Japan laid the groundwork for our country's economic development," Geun-ryeong told reporters upon her arrival from Tokyo. "And we ask Japan to apologize whenever Tokyo has a new prime minister, although its emperor bowed his head and offered an apology repeatedly."
[Park Geun-ryeong] [Japanese colonialism] [Park Chung-hee] [Park Geun-hye]
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524 Int'l Scholars Slam Abe's WWII Denials
A group of 524 international scholars led by the U.S. linguist Noam Chomsky, Japanese historian Wada Haruki and Korean poet Ko Un in a statement Wednesday slammed the Japanese government for attempts to whitewash its colonial and World War II atrocities.
In a press conference in downtown Seoul on Wednesday, they accused the administration of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of trying to "reverse" efforts by Japan to repent for the colonization of its Asian neighbors during World War II.
"I believe that peace in Northeast Asia can be attained when the people who suffered under Japan's colonial rule can finally be freed from the past," Wada told reporters. "Japan also understands the significance of clearly settling issues of history."
Lee Jang-hie of Hankuk University of Foreign Studies said, "We have looked at the positive progress made by Japan through the  Kono Statement, Murayama Statement [in 1995] and the summit between former President Kim Dae-jung and Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi [in 1998], but since Prime Minister Abe came into office, the progress made by his predecessors has been halted and the situation worsened."
Thirty-seven scholars from the U.S., U.K., Germany, Switzerland and Australia also signed the statement, in addition to 382 Korean and 105 Japanese academics.
They said Abe’s revisionism is ultimately a "delusion."
[Japanese colonialism] [Abe Shinzo]
More than 500 academics issue statement for peace in Northeast Asia
Posted on : Jul.30,2015 16:53 KST
Scholars argue that, “History is overcome through opening up, apologizing, and forgiving.”
More than 500 academics from South Korea, Japan, the US, and Europe released a joint statement calling for the resolution of conflict in Northeast Asia 70 years after South Korea was liberated from Japanese colonial rule and 50 years after South Korea and Japan signed a treaty normalizing their diplomatic relations. The statement, released five years after a similar statement, is called “2015 Joint Statement by Korean, Japanese and International Scholars for East Asia’s Freedom from the Past.”
In advance of the release of a statement by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe next month on the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, these scholars said, “His statement must follow in the footsteps of the Kono Statement, the Murayama Statement, the Kan Statement, and other Japanese government history-related statements, not only reaffirming their understanding of history but also taking things one step further. Abe must furthermore admit that Japan’s history of colonization inflicted tremendous pain and damage to neighboring countries, while also expressing sincere regrets and apologies on behalf of Japanese people.”
[Japanese colonialism] [Abe Shinzo]
An ‘Abe Doctrine’ as Japan’s Grand Strategy: New Dynamism or Dead-End?
Jul. 21, 2015
Christopher W. Hughes
Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s stunning return to power in the December 2012 landslide election victory, and the consolidation of his leadership in a repeat victory in December 2014, has heralded the resurgence for Japan of a more assertive, high-profile, and high-risk, foreign and security policy.[i] However, as Japan’s Foreign and Security Policy Under the ‘Abe Doctrine’ suggests, Abe’s status as an arch-‘revisionist’ ideologue, combined with the track record of his first administration in 2006-2007, made clear that he would move aggressively to shift Japan towards a more radical external agenda—characterized by a defense posture less fettered by past anti-militaristic constraints, a more fully integrated US-Japan alliance, and an emphasis on ‘value-oriented’ diplomacy with East Asian states and beyond.[ii] Indeed, Abe’s diplomatic agenda has been so distinctive and forcefully articulated in past years that it might be labeled as a doctrine capable of rivaling, and even of displacing, the doctrine of Prime Minister Yoshida Shigeru that has famously charted Japan’s entire post-war international trajectory. In contrast to Abe’s more muscular international agenda, the so-called ‘Yoshida Doctrine’, forged in the aftermath of total defeat in the Pacific War, has long emphasized for Japan the need for a pragmatic and low-profile foreign policy, a highly constrained defense posture, reliance but not over-dependence on the US-Japan security treaty, and the expedient rebuilding of economic and diplomatic ties with East Asian neighbors.[iii]
[Abe Shinzo] [Japanese remilitarisation]
[New analysis] Why is Japan apologizing to China and the US, but not Korea?
Posted on : Jul.25,2015 14:07 KST
Modified on : Jul.25,2015 14:07 KST
Yukio Okamoto, an outside director of Mitsubishi Materials, speaks at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan in Tokyo, saying that the company is planning to offer the same apology to prisoners of war from the UK, the Netherlands, and Australia, July 22. (AP/Yonhap News)
Korean forced laborers were in a different legal situation, Japan argues, while effectively ignoring Korean claims
Japanese company Mitsubishi Materials has agreed to provide an apology and compensation to Chinese who were forced to work for the company during the Second World War. On July 19, the company also apologized to American prisoners of war who had been pressed into service, while announcing that it would also apologize to victims from various countries, including the United Kingdom. But the company is declining to apologize or offer compensation to Koreans who were forced to work there, claiming that their situatio n was different.
[Japanese colonialism] [Labour] [Double standards]
Assassination 'jackpot' on theater opening
Highly anticipated Korean historical action movie "Assassination" hit the jackpot on its opening day, drawing almost half a million people.
The movie took the No.1 box office spot after selling more than 470,000 tickets on Wednesday. Including the movie's premiere on Monday, it has sold more than 485,000 tickets, according to reports Thursday.
The film made headlines on Tuesday by recording a rarely achieved ticket booking rate of almost 60 percent.
The movie is set in the 1930s, during Japanese colonial rule of Korea (1910-1945). It spotlights the heroic attempts of Korean independence fighters who battled fearlessly for freedom and justice in defiance of their colonial rulers.
[Japanese colonialism] [Assassination]
What I learned at the N. Korean school festival in Japan
Chosen schools are more about celebrating Korean identity than supporting the Kim regime
July 21st, 2015
If you’ve followed the news during the past few months, you’ve probably heard about the Japanese association of North Koreans called Chongryon and its problems with Japanese law enforcement. What you’ve probably missed from that story is the fact that, in Japan, there is a big community of Koreans with Northern citizenship who are not engaged in politics, and who simply want to live out their lives.
These Koreans living in Japan do, however, struggle to keep their national identity alive and one of the most important tools to achieve this are schools for ethnic Koreans. Sometimes these schools are opened to the public and I couldn’t miss the opportunity to see it with my own eyes.
The 15th Annyeonghaseyo (“Hello” in Korean) Festival took place June 21 at the Tokyo Middle and High School in Kita-ku district of Tokyo. The festival was free and open to the public. At the entrance gate visitors were greeted by schoolgirls wearing chogori, a traditional Korean dress, which is often worn as a school uniform. The bottom of the dress was dark blue and the top is snow white with, surprisingly, no visible Kim Il Sung pin. Had I come to the right place? The huge sign at the entrance did state that this is Chosen school, so I guess I hadn’t gotten lost.
First, I had to sign the guestbook. Upon completing this complicated registration, I received a small leaflet with a festival program written both in Japanese and Korean. The design obviously was prepared by the students and filled with cute pictures representing attractions for visitors.
Introduction: The Experts Report and the Future of Okinawa
The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 13, Issue. 29, No. 2, July 20, 2015
Henoko: The Experts Report and the Future of Okinawa
Part 1 of a three part series
1. Gavan McCormack, Introduction: The Experts Report and the Future of Okinawa
2. The Okinawa Third Party (Experts) Committee, translated by Sandi Aritza,
Report of Okinawa Prefecture’s “Third Party Investigation into the Reclamation of Oura Bay” (Main Points)
3. Sakurai Kunitoshi, translated by Gavan McCormack, “To Whom does the Sea Belong? Questions Posed by the Henoko Assessment”
Those who refer regularly to this journal will be familiar with the “Okinawa problem.” The “Okinawa problem” is best understood as the consequence of a post-war 70 years divided into 27 that were under direct US rule as a military colony and 43 that have been nominally under the constitution of Japan but in practice under a Japanese government embracing subservience towards the US and support for its various wars. That has entailed shifting the burden of the US military presence as much as possible away from densely populated areas in mainland Japan and as much as possible onto Okinawa prefecture. The well-known statistic of 74 per cent of US base presence concentrated on Okinawa’s 0.6 per cent of the national land is the plainest expression of this.
Following the outburst of sadness, anger, and resolve that galvanized Okinawa in 1995 (over the rape of the Okinawan child by three US servicemen) and made clear the Okinawan demand that the inequality be ended and civil priorities substituted for military ones, the two governments agreed that the Futenma Marine Air Station would be returned within five to seven years. Nineteen years have passed since then, and no progress has been made. While Futenma still occupies its extraordinary position in the middle of the township of Ginowan, the two states have shown no interest in return, but concentrated instead on that of replacement. They would construct a “Futenma Replacement Facility” (FRF) which would be larger than Futenma, multi-functional (with the addition of a major military port), ultra-modern, more-or-less free of the nuisance of an adjacent civil population, and constructed by reclaiming much of the waters of Oura Bay, a site of extraordinary bio-diversity.
History wars: Japan’s industrial heritage listings fuel controversy over Korean forced labour in WWII
Japan and South Korea reach a compromise of sorts over acknowledgment of Korean forced labour during the Second World War, but DAVID PALMER forsees further controversy.The history wars between Japan and South Korea continue to gather international publicity, this time focused on Koreans forcibly conscripted during the Second World War as workers in Japan’s industries.Twenty-seven industrial sites dating back to the Mejii Industrial Revolution or the late Edo era have recently been added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Of these sites, seven used forced labour in the war. - See more at: http://asaablog.tumblr.com/post/124623876346/history-wars-japans-industrial-heritage-listings#sthash.0B7t8cHn.dpuf
[Japanese colonialism] [Labour]
Japan's Mitsubishi makes prisoners of war apology
19 July 2015
Japan's Mitsubishi corporation has made a landmark apology for using US prisoners of war as forced labour during World War Two.
A senior executive, Hikaru Kimura, expressed remorse at a ceremony in Los Angeles that prisoners had been put to work in mines operated by the firm.
It is believed to be the first such apology by a Japanese company.
One of the few surviving former US prisoners forced to work in Japan was present to accept the apology.
James Murphy, 94, said this was "a glorious day... for 70 years we wanted this."
About 500 American POWs were forced to work in the mines by the Japanese
"I listened very carefully to Mr Kimura's statement of apology and found it very very sincere, humble and revealing," he added.
"We hope that we can go ahead now and have a better understanding, a better friendship and closer ties with our ally, Japan."
Japan’s Lower House Passes Bills Giving Military Freer Hand to Fight
By Jonathan Soble
July 16, 2015
TOKYO — The lower house of Japan’s Parliament passed legislation Thursday giving the country’s military limited powers to fight in foreign conflicts, something it has not done since World War II.
The lawmakers acted despite broad public opposition to the legislation, which has triggered Japan’s largest public protests since the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear accident four years ago. Opposition lawmakers walked out of Parliament in an unusual symbolic protest against the package of 11 security-related laws, which was championed by the conservative prime minister, Shinzo Abe, and supported by the United States, Japan’s longtime ally and protector.
Okinawa, Taiwan, and the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands in United States–Japan–China Relations
The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 13, Issue. 28, No. 2, July 13, 2015
The dispute over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands erupted in the 1970s, but the territorial dispute between Japan and China itself had started earlier, over Okinawa, immediately after the Second World War. The major point of dispute in the Senkaku/Diaoyu issue is whether these islands are part of Okinawa or part of Taiwan.
Japan’s MOFA claims to the Senkakus/Diaoyu Islands
The former is the position of the Japanese government, while the latter is the position of both Chinese governments, that is, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in Beijing and the Republic of China (ROC) in Taiwan.
There was no such dispute over these islands before the end of the Second World War, that is, when both Okinawa and Taiwan were territories of the Japanese Empire.
Many studies have been written on the cross-Taiwan Strait and Okinawa problems. There are also many Senkaku/Diaoyu studies, but as with the Takeshima/Dokdo dispute between Japan and Korea, little attention has been paid to the Cold War context. The reason for this is, in addition to the fact that Taiwan (ROC) remained in the “West,” that the dispute surfaced during the period of détente when major states in the West, including the United States and Japan, were improving relations with China (PRC). Also, newly discovered maritime resources, particularly potential oil and gas reserves, in the neighboring areas began to attract attention. However, the Senkaku/Diaoyu issue is also a dispute between “China,” which (except for Taiwan) became communist after the Second World War, and Japan, which became a “client state” (McCormack, 2007) of the United States in the San Francisco System against the background of the Cold War.
Chinese Defense Ministry Map showing Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands and Air Defence Identification Zones. 2015
This article looks at how the territorial disposition of Okinawa, Taiwan, and the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands were dealt with in the process of constructing the post-war international order in East Asia and how the territorial disputes between Japan and China emerged, developed, and remained in the regional Cold War system, with particular attention paid to the relations between Japan, China, and the United States. In doing so, it attempts to provide a broader international context beyond the China-Japan bilateral framework to consider possible solutions.
35 mln Chinese died during 14-year Japanese invasion
China Daily, July 15, 2015
During the 14-year Japanese invasion of China, the Chinese suffered more than 35 million military and nonmilitary casualties, accounting for a third of the total casualties of all the countries in World War II.
Military casualties during the invasion totaled 3.8 million, according to updated figures released on Tuesday.
At the 1937 exchange rate, property losses incurred by the Chinese amounted to more than $100 billion, with indirect economic losses of $500 billion.
The updated figures for Chinese casualties and property losses during the war and new research on China's contribution to victory in World War II were released at a briefing by the State Council Information Office.
They also show that Chinese forces killed, wounded or captured more than 1.5 million Japanese troops in the war.
Japan joins U.S.-Australia war games amid growing tensions with China
Jul 5, 2015
SYDNEY – The United States and Australia kicked off a massive joint biennial military exercise on Sunday, with Japan taking part for the first time amid looming tensions with China over territorial disagreements.
The two-week “Talisman Sabre” exercise in the Northern Territory and Queensland state involves 30,000 personnel from the U.S. and Australia practicing operations at sea, in the air and on land.
Some 40 personnel from the Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) — were to join the American contingent, while more than 500 troops from New Zealand were also to take part in the exercise, which concludes July 21.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [China confrontation] [NZ] [Allegiance]
Broadcast officials express anger at LDP study group call for media pressure
June 28, 2015
Disciplinary action taken against an official in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party could not quell anger in the broadcasting sector, which was threatened with the pulling of advertising for being critical of the LDP's policies.
Minoru Kihara was dismissed on June 27 as director of the party's Youth Division for the comments made at an LDP study group of young party lawmakers he headed. He is also banned from holding any party post for a year.
At the June 25 study group session at the party's headquarters in Tokyo, one participant said, "the most effective way to punish media organizations is to shut off their advertising revenues."
With commercial TV networks depending on advertising income for more than half of their total revenues, any call by politicians to have sponsors apply pressure on TV networks is a serious threat.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [LDP] [Censor]
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Hanaoka Monogatari: The Massacre of Chinese Forced Laborers, Summer 1945
The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 13, Issue. 26, No. 3, June 29, 2015
Richard Minear, Franziska Seraphim
Introduction by Franziska Seraphim
The Hanaoka Massacre
When U.S. occupation forces liberated Allied POW camps in the Akita area in northern Japan in the early fall 1945, they came across piles of unburied dead bodies, mass graves, and a labor camp of emaciated Chinese men living in appalling conditions.
This was Chusan Dormitory near the Hanaoka copper mine and river diversion project run by Kajima Corporation, one of Japan’s biggest construction and public works companies. Kajima-gumi, as it was then known, was headquartered in Tokyo with branches throughout Japan and Manchuria. The company had built Japan’s first hydroelectric dam in the 1920s and would remain at the forefront of innovative engineering projects in Japan and Asia throughout the twentieth and into the twenty-first century.1
In the closing years of the war, Kajima participated in a nation-wide system of forced labor from northern China and Korea ostensibly to offset labor shortages in Japan and to maximize industrial and mining production, including at the Hanaoka mine. Mitsui, Mitsubishi, and most other industrial combines used forced labor as well.
[Japanese colonialism] [Labour] [War crimes]
History in a Box: UNESCO and the Framing of Japan’s Meiji Era
The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 13, Issue. 26, No. 1, June 29, 2015
Japan has a great deal to be proud of regarding its rapid modernization and industrialization beginning in the mid-1800s, which launched the nation on the path to becoming the world’s second-largest economy scarcely one generation after a devastating war and the third-largest economy today.
But is it possible to tell this impressive, even inspirational, story while skipping over the deplorable middle chapters involving Japan’s massive use of forced labor during the Asia Pacific War?
That question is the crux of the controversy involving “Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution,” a Japan-sponsored nomination now before the UNESCO World Heritage Committee that would grant World Heritage status to two dozen mines, ports, factories and shipyards located mainly in the nation’s southwest. In May 2015 an advisory body recommended that the UNESCO committee approve the Japanese proposal when it meets in Germany from June 28 to July 8. The advisory report describes a “series of industrial heritage sites … seen to represent the first successful transfer of industrialization from the West to a non-Western nation.”
Video frame from website of the Consortium for the Promotion of the Modern Industrial Heritage in Kyushu and Yamaguchi to Inscription on the World Heritage, hereafter consortium. (Photo by Hideaki Uchiyama)
South Korea and China, however, have been firmly opposed to the celebratory listing and vigorous lobbying campaigns on both sides of the issue have been under way, injecting international politics into what is normally a low-profile decision about cultural landmarks. History is never easy in Northeast Asia.
The South Korean government loudly insisted for several months that the 23 Japanese properties fail to display the “universal values” required for World Heritage listing, pointing especially to the seven sites where some 60,000 Koreans were forced to work for Japanese companies in support of the imperial war effort. But in the days leading up to the UNESCO meeting in Bonn, Seould abruptly announced it now supports Japan's nomination. The reversal apparently resulted from a last-minute compromise with Tokyo about how the presence of the Korean workers in wartime Japan would be portrayed.
In addition to the Koreans, there were thousands of Chinese and Allied POW forced laborers at the seven industrial sites. Alluding to the unresolved legacy of wartime forced labor, the Chinese government argues that a “world heritage application should live up to the principle and spirit of promoting peace as upheld by UNESCO.”
[Meiji] [Japanese colonialism]
Island of Horror: Gunkanjima and Japan’s Quest for UNESCO World Heritage Status
The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 13, Issue. 26, No. 2, June 29, 2015
William Underwood, Mark Siemons
Seventy years after the end of World War Two, Germany enjoys mostly excellent relations with the rest of Europe, where the history of wartime hostilities is largely a non-issue. The same cannot be said for Japan and its neighbors in Northeast Asia. The UNESCO World Heritage Committee will begin meeting in Bonn on June 28 to consider this year’s nominations for World Heritage status, and a Tokyo-sponsored package called “Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution” is attracting intense attention. Seven of the two dozen properties that make up Japan’s proposal, carefully defined as covering the years from 1850 to 1910, later became the scene of wartime forced labor by Koreans, Chinese and Allied POWs, a history unmentioned in the proposal. For this reason South Korea and China are urging that the UNESCO committee reject the Japanese nomination.
The article below appeared in German in the May 17, 2015, issue of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, as the Sunday edition of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (or FAZ) is known. The FAZ is said to have the widest overseas circulation of any German newspaper, and Berlin-based reporter Mark Siemons formerly served as an East Asia correspondent. The Asia-Pacific Journal is providing this English translation of the article, which explores why Japan’s World Heritage bid has become so divisive. The piece focuses on the undersea coal mine beneath Nagasaki’s Hashima Island, popularly known as Gunkanjima (Battleship Island) due to its distinctive shape.
Three days after the FAZ article was published, the German government announced it plans to pay a total of 10 million euros (about $11 million) in symbolic compensation to some 4,000 surviving soldiers of the Soviet Union who became prisoners of war under Nazi Germany. Each survivor is set to receive 2,500 euros (about $2,800) for his suffering. Postwar Germany has reportedly paid out more than 72 billion euros (roughly $80 billion) in total damages for Nazi wrongdoing, with much of the compensation going directly to individuals. Indeed, in recent years it has seemed as if Germany is running out of victim groups to compensate. Japan, on the other hand, has largely evaded facing up to the legacy of the Asia Pacific War. Not surprisingly there is much less warmth in the neighborhood. –William Underwood
Japanese government photo of Gunkanjima in Nagasaki Bay included in “Evaluations of Nominations of Cultural and Mixed Properties to the World Heritage List” (ICOMOS Report for the World Heritage Committee,” 39th ordinary session, Bonn, June - July 2015). During the war hundreds of Koreans and Chinese were forced to work, with either partial payment or no payment at all, at depths of up to 600 meters.
• World War II ended in 1945, but there is a place where it still continues.
• The South Korean and Japanese governments are engaged in disputes over the proposed inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List of a place where Koreans were exploited in forced labor during World War II. Japan emphasized that the site is a memorial of its industrialization.
• UNESCO is to make a decision on this matter at the end of this coming June in Bonn, Germany.
Constitutional scholars demand retraction of security bills
June 25, 2015
THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
A group of constitutional experts called for the withdrawal of security bills pushed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and criticized his administration for trying to ram through the legislation during the current Diet session.
The ruling coalition has extended the Diet session by a postwar record 95 days to Sept. 27 in hopes of passing the highly contentious legislation.
Consisting of political scientists and scholars, the Save Constitutional Democracy Japan group released a statement at a June 24 news conference in Tokyo that said the bills are clearly unconstitutional because they allow for the exercise of the right to collective self-defense and integrate the activities of the Self-Defense Forces with those of foreign militaries.
The group also said a government that slights constitutionalism has no authority to make important policy decisions.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Constitution]
Korea, Japan Mark 50 Years of Diplomatic Ties
President Park Geun-hye and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attended embassy receptions in Seoul and Tokyo on Monday to mark the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries.
Relations are at a historic low, and the occasion saw the first conciliatory gestures since Abe's far-right government came to power.
Korea has been increasingly dismayed by Tokyo's inability to face up to its colonial and World War II atrocities and attempts to claim Korea's Dokdo islets.
[Japan SK] [Friction]
Japan’s Proposed National Security Legislation — Will This Be the End of Article 9?
The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 13, Issue. 24, No. 3, June 22, 2015
Champagne in Washington
Japan is facing a constitutional crisis. The ruling coalition seeks to pass legislation that would overturn the nation’s longstanding prohibition of “collective self-defense.” Expert opinion is nearly unanimous that these proposals violate Article 9, the peace provision of Japan’s Constitution. As of June 12, 225 constitutional scholars had signed a public declaration condemning the bills as unconstitutional.1 The list includes faculty members from every respected Japanese university. But never mind. Prime Minister Abe and his friends in Washington claim to know better.
Mr. Abe was the toast of the town in Washington in late April, when he was feted at a state dinner in the East Room of the White House with 200 guests. He also addressed a rare joint session of the Congress. The business end of Abe’s visit included discussion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and final agreement on a new set of guidelines governing joint U.S.-Japan joint defense operations. The new defense guidelines were lauded by American leaders in and out of the government. Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter described the new guidelines as “a very big change from being locally focused to being globally focused.”2 The pre-existing version was geared exclusively toward the defense of Japan. The big change was the elimination of any geographic restriction, ostensibly committing Japan to join U.S. operations anywhere in the world.3 In other words, Mr. Abe agreed to commit Japan to “collective self-defense.”
To fulfill this commitment, Abe must either revise Article 9 of the Constitution or act in defiance of its longstanding restraints. In his every word and gesture on the topic, he expresses his determination to take the latter course. In view of popular opposition and the unified position of Japan’s legal community, this action may cement Mr. Abe’s reputation as a dangerous ultranationalist unrestrained by the law.
In the words of Professor Kobayashi Setsu of Keio University, enactment of the proposed legislation “would be the beginning of tyranny, that is a destruction of the rule of law.”4 In this article we will explore the grounds for the opinions of Professor Kobayashi and other scholars and the response of leaders of Japan’s ruling coalition.
….a Bitter Brew in Tokyo
Is Japan’s national policy decided in Tokyo – or Washington?
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Constitution] [US Japan alliance]
Support for Abe security bills slumps: survey
Kyodo, Staff Report
Jun 22, 2015
Some 56.7 percent of the public believe the security bills under deliberation in the Diet are unconstitutional and 29.2 percent do not, a survey said Sunday.
In the telephone survey conducted by Kyodo News over the weekend, 58.7 percent said they oppose the bills, up 11.1 points from the previous poll in May, and 27.8 percent said they support the legislation.
The survey covered 1,447 randomly selected households with eligible voters and drew valid responses from 1,016.
In the meantime, the public approval rating for the Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe fell again, slipping 2.5 points to 47.4 percent from the previous survey.
If enacted, the security laws would permit the Self-Defense Forces to defend allies under armed attack even if Japan itself is not being attacked — a U.N. right called collective self-defense that until last year was deemed banned by the Constitution.
They would also greatly increase the type of logistical support and peacekeeping operations the SDF can engage in overseas.
Earlier this month, three prominent legal scholars asked to testify to a Diet committee on the Constitution stated that the government’s security bills were unconstitutional. This tarred their validity and heavily embarrassed Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party, which had been confident one of the experts was on its side. Hundreds of other scholars later joined them.
The issue of collective defense is controversial because permitting its use would effectively bring Japan’s pacifist stance and “exclusively defense-oriented policy” since the war to an abrupt end.
[Abe Shinzo] [Japanese remilitarisation] [Public opinion]
1965 treaty leaves thorny issues unresolved
Former President Park Chung-hee, left, shakes hands with then Japanese Foreign Minister Shiina Etsusaburo during his visit to Cheong Wa Dae on May 18, 1965.
/ Korea Times file
By Do Je-hae
It has been half a century since the landmark Korea-Japan treaty that normalized diplomatic relations, but the discrepancy between the two countries on the settlement issue remains a major roadblock in bilateral relations.
A Dong-A Ilbo survey published on June 18 found that 89 percent of respondents think that Japan should readjust their position on wartime reparation. However, the Japanese government's longstanding position regarding colonial reparations is that they were "completely" settled through a 1965 bilateral pact.
Japan has refused to pay damages to individuals such as "comfort women" and forced laborers, saying it settled those issues on a government-to-government basis in the form of economic cooperation under the 1965 Korea-Japan Normalization Treaty.
What is the reason for the huge gap in the two countries' perception regarding wartime reparations?
Some Korean historians have underlined the ambiguity of the 1965 treaty as the root of all the bilateral headaches — the comfort women, forced laborers, territorial disputes and the pillage of cultural heritage — that have strained relations since the end of the war.
[Japan SK] [Japanese colonialism]
'Support from Japan crucial for unification'
Updated : 2015-06-21 18:45
By Yi Whan-woo
South Korea will require support from regional powers in unifying with North Korea and mending its ties with Japan therefore will be essential, experts said Thursday.
They said Seoul will need to spend billions of dollars, collect intelligence and convince its neighbors that the possible post-unification era will be win-win situation for all.
And Japan, the world's third-largest economy that has recently bolstered ties with the United States, can be an "indispensable" partner for South Korea, they added.
"Peace on the Korean Peninsula is a matter of not only inter-Korean issues but also international affairs; and collaboration with neighbors will be important," said Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies.
[Unification] [Japan SK]
Could Japan carry out a preemptive strike on North Korea?
Posted on : Jun.21,2015 06:52 KST
Modified on : Jun.21,2015 06:52 KST
As Japan increases its military might, there’s a slight chance it could become involved in conflict on the Korean peninsula
Rep. Keiji Kokuta: The JASDF [Japan Air Self-Defense Force] decided to purchase the top-of-the-line F-35 fighter in Dec. 2011. This aircraft has stealth capabilities that make it extremely difficult for enemy radar to detect it. What is this aircraft’s range of activity?
Defense Minister Gen Nakatani: About 1,100 kilometers.
Kokuta: That means this aircraft is capable of reaching as far as the Korean Peninsula, Russia, and the East China Sea without aerial refueling. Another thing we can’t overlook is the weapons it can be equipped with. What is the JASSM [joint air-to-surface standoff missile]?
Nakatani: That would be the AGM-158, which is a stealth-capable long-range precision-guided surface-to-air missile. Apparently, this missile is currently carried by American F-15 and F-16 fighters and in the future will also be carried by F-35 fighters. However, there are no plans to equip the JASDF’s F-35As with this missile at the present time, and I don‘t know have any detailed information about it.
Kokuta: When you say there aren’t any plans to equip this missile at the present time, it sounds like you’re not completely denying that there are plans to equip it in the future. This weapon has a range of around 370 kilometers. That’s the distance from Tokyo to Nagoya. Isn’t the F-35 a fighter that meets all of the requirements for attacking an enemy base?
Nakatani: While the JASDF currently possesses some of the equipment required for attacking an enemy base, it does not possess the entire range of equipment for carrying out a series of operations. Fielding the F-35 will not change that fact.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Preemptive]
Striving for “Normalization” – Korea-Japan Civic Cooperation and the Attempt to Resolve the “Comfort Women” problem
The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 13, Issue. 23, No. 2, June 15, 2015
Fifty years have passed since relations between Japan and South Korea were “normalized.” Yet they remain in fact far from “normal.” Seventy years since the Japanese colonial empire collapsed the issue of the wartime “comfort women” system continues to bedevil relations and defy solution. It remains probably the most hotly contested among outstanding issues between the two countries, issues that include forced labor and a multitude of atrocities committed during the colonial era extending to 1945.1
During his visit to the United States in April 2015, Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo spoke of his “deep remorse” [kaigo] over the war and his intent to “uphold” statements (of regret and apology) by former Prime Ministers. However, the fact is that throughout his political career Abe has played a central role in casting doubt on those statements, especially those by Foreign Minister Kono in 19993 and Prime Minister Murayama in 1995. He avoided in his US speeches the key terms “aggression,” or “apology” or “Comfort Women” (much less “sex slave”) or any reference to the role of the Imperial Japanese Army in establishing and managing the Asia-wide system of military prostitution. It seemed unlikely that he was about to engage in a full and serious rethinking of his position in the seventieth anniversary year of Japan’s surrender.
Yet Japan-Korea cooperation at the civil society level seeking to achieve a resolution of the “Comfort Women” problem continues and deepens. The 10th anniversary of Japan’s annexation of Korea was marked by a joint statement (included in the following documents) signed by around 1,000 intellectuals and public figures of the two countries in 2010. They agreed that
the Japanese annexation of Korea was accomplished as a result of long-term Japanese aggression, repeated activities by the Japanese army, murder of the Korean Queen consort and intimidation of the king and major political figures and the crushing by force of resistance by the Korean people.
This is plainly not what Prime Minister Abe wishes to think of as the “proud” history that he believes the nation’s schools should teach.
Deeply dissatisfied with the continuing failure of the Abe government to move towards full resolution of the issues of colonialism, and especially of the exploitation and brutalizing of women, a group of Japanese historians, researchers, literary figures, editors, lawyers and social activists in June 2015 issued a new “Statement by Intellectuals in Japan on Japan-Korea Historical Problems.” That too follows below, in Japanese and Korean as well as English translation.
In the following, we present:
1) The 2015 Statement by Intellectuals in Japan on Japan-Korea Historical Problems, in English, Japanese, and Korean
2) The Recommendations to the Government of Japan for Resolution of the Comfort Women issue adopted in June 2014 (and cited in the 2015 Document), in English, Japanese, Korean, and Chinese
3) The 2010 “Joint Statement by Japanese and Korean Intellectuals on the 100th Anniversary of the Annexation of Korea,” in English, Japanese, and Korean
[Japan SK] [Comfort women]
Time to hit the reset button on Tokyo-Seoul relations
by Seong-hyon Lee
Special To The Japan Times
Jun 16, 2015
FUKUOKA – The problem with the current deadlock in Japan-South Korea relations is that both sides don’t feel too uncomfortable about it because they prioritize their relationship with the United States and China — the two heavyweight stakeholders in the region. Seoul and Tokyo feel ambivalent about just how important the other side is at a time when the geopolitical fluidity is increasing in East Asia — a factor that is influencing relational dynamics between Japan and South Korea.
Pessimism is rampant. In fact, pessimism is so great that even an argument such as “only time will solve the problem” is suggested as a solution. The danger of this logic is that both sides can settle for a strategy of waiting for the other side to scream “ouch” first.
There is no reason whatsoever to believe that time will run its healing course and salvage the relationship, which is at its lowest since the two countries normalized relations in 1965. The relationship will drift further apart without active intervention. But how?
[Japan SK] [Alliance]
Japan Pursues Rearmament, Despite Opposition
By Paul Kallender-Umezu 1 p.m. EDT June 14, 2015
TOKYO — Efforts by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to normalize Japan's security posture and bolster its US alliance against China hit an obstacle when the Lower House Commission on the Constitution declared Abe's moves unconstitutional. Still, Japan is expected to pass legislation around August to expand the nation's ability to better support the US in the defense of Japan.
In a minor bombshell, on June 4, Setsu Kobayashi, professor emeritus of Constitutional Law at Keio University and member of the Lower House Commission on the Constitution, said provisions allowing limited rights of collective self defense as promoted by the Abe administration are unconstitutional.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [US Japan alliance] [[China confrontation] [Reinterpretation]
EDITORIAL: Diet needs to debate constitutionality of security bills
June 05, 2015
All three constitutional scholars invited to the Diet declared that the package of security bills being considered by the Diet is unconstitutional.
The three researchers spoke about the security legislation proposed by the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at a June 4 session of the Lower House Commission on the Constitution. The session turned into an unusual scene in which experts appearing before the Diet as unsworn witnesses raised fundamental doubts about the legitimacy of bills submitted by the Cabinet.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Reinterpretation]
Experts’ tongue-lashing rekindles Diet debate on reinterpreted Constitution
by Reiji Yoshida
Jun 5, 2015
The surprise bashing of the Abe administration by three noted constitutional scholars — including one favored by the ruling bloc — rekindled debate in the Diet Friday on the constitutionality of the Cabinet’s decision last summer to reinterpret war-renouncing Article 9.
Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida rebutted the remarks of the three scholars, who were summoned Thursday to address a Lower House session on constitutional affairs, by saying not all academics share their opinion.
“Some academics say it is not unconstitutional,” Kishida said at a news conference, adding that many opinions were solicited before the Cabinet unilaterally decided in July last year that Japan could legitimately engage in collective self-defense without amending the Constitution after all.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Reinterpretation]
From constitutional revision to disdain over 'aggression,' Abe follows path of grandpa Kishi
June 10, 2015
THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
Upper House member Yoshiyuki Inoue cannot forget the time in the early 2000s when he caught his boss staring out the window of a building where his grandfather used to work.
The place was the prime minister’s office, and the boss was a rising politician named Shinzo Abe who was a deputy chief Cabinet secretary.
Inoue, 52, then an aide to Abe, said the future prime minister seemed to be imagining the area around the prime minister’s office and the Diet filled with protesters.
Abe then whispered to no one in particular: “My grandpa realized the amendment despite being surrounded by many demonstrators who opposed it. If his support rate was surveyed like now, it would have been zero. He is really great.”
That amendment was made to the old Japan-U.S. security treaty in 1960 by Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi (1896-1987).
[Abe Shinzo] [Kishi] [Japanese remilitarisation]
[Reporter’s notebook] Seoul’s perilous approach on security vis-a-vis Japan
Posted on : Jun.8,2015 16:28 KST
Modified on : Jun.8,2015 16:28 KST
Varying interpretations on JSDF‘s right to enter military conflicts highlights need for real inter-Korean peace
On May 30, as I was covering the defense minister talks between South Korea and Japan, I thought ‘South Korea’s position just keeps getting worse.’
One of the topics at the Singapore meeting - the first in four years - was Japan’s right to collective self-defense. Japan had approved the exercise of collective-self defense in July 2014, and its defense cooperation guidelines with the US were revised two months ago to reflect the change. It made sense, then, that concerns would be raised about a potential Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) presence on the Korean Peninsula.
But while South Korean Minister of National Defense Han Min-koo was trying to get a pledge that the JSDF would not enter the peninsula without Seoul’s prior consent, his Japanese counterpart Gen Nakatani would only give half an answer. He reassured Han that Tokyo‘s policy toward the South was to “obtain consent from the country in question as per international law.” As for the North, he suggested discussing the matter “at a later date.” Han had declared that North Korea was considered South Korean territory under the Constitution. Nakatani’s response was basically a ‘we’ll see about that.‘
Confusion over how to define North Korea is nothing new. It was a matter of debate back when South Korea and Japan normalized diplomatic relations in 1965. That time, the result was a compromise, with Article 3 of their Treaty of Basic Relations quoting the UN’s approval of the South Korean government as adopted in Dec. 1948. “It is confirmed that the Government of the Republic of Korea is the only lawful Government in Korea as specified in the Resolution 195 (III) of the United Nations General Assembly,” it read.
[SK Japan] [Japanese remilitarisation] [Dilemma]
Korean Activists Held Up at Nagasaki Airport
Activists supporting victims of sex slavery by the Japanese imperial army during World War II were held for nearly four hours at a Japanese airport on Wednesday.
The group arrived in Japan on Wednesday to visit industrial sites where Korean forced laborers worked in slave-like conditions but which Tokyo wants to list as UNESCO heritage sites.
Korean activists wait for immigration checks at Nagasaki airport in Japan on Wednesday. Korean activists wait for immigration checks at Nagasaki airport in Japan on Wednesday.
The activist group said 19 members, provincial parliamentarians and students arrived at Nagasaki airport at around 9:15 a.m. on Wednesday. However, Japanese authorities delayed their immigration checks until after 1 p.m.
Immigration officers persistently asked about the purpose of their visit and took issue with the past conduct of some members in Japan.
"We explained that we wanted to visit the industrial sites used for forced labor and pay tribute to victims, which resulted in four hours of delay," the group explained.
They will be in Nagasaki until Sunday.
Abe and history: words are not enough!
By Ralph A. Cossa
Jun 1, 2015
Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s recent visit to the United States was, by most (but not all) accounts, a success. While some may argue over which words he did or did not use, he essentially told his American audiences what they wanted to hear. In addition to underscoring the vital importance of the US-Japan alliance and his government’s commitment to continued peace and prosperity (and to the much-maligned Trans-Pacific Partnership, whose strategic significance was “awesome”), he acknowledged Japan’s past sins: “Our actions brought suffering to the peoples in Asian countries. We must not avert our eyes from that. I will uphold the views expressed by the previous prime ministers in this regard.” With “deep repentance in my heart,” Abe also offered “my eternal condolences to the souls of all American people that were lost during World War II.”
During a stop in Boston, in response to a student’s question, he even addressed the highly sensitive “comfort women” issue: “My heart aches when I think about the people who were victimized by human trafficking and who were subject to immeasurable pain and suffering, beyond description. On this score my feeling is no different from my predecessor prime ministers.” While he regrettably did not specifically mention the Kono Statement – the Aug. 3, 1993 statement by then-Chief Cabinet Secretary Kono Yohei that acknowledged official complicity in the coercion of military sex slaves – it was clear he was (once again) standing behind it and the numerous apologies Japanese leaders have made over the years.
[Comfort women] [Alliance]
At conference, experts criticize Japan on comfort women issue
Posted on : Jun.2,2015 17:02 KST
Modified on : Jun.2,2015 17:02 KST
Outcome of conference raises the possibility of inter-Korean cooperation on issue of sexual enslavement during World War II
Experts from North Korea, South Korea, and China at a recent international conference on the comfort women were unanimous in their calls for Tokyo take responsibility and apologize for the drafting of women as wartime sexual slaves.
The outcome is drawing particular attention as a sign that Seoul and Pyongyang may collaborate on addressing the comfort women issue.
Researchers from South Korea, North Korea and China attended the May 30 conference, which was jointly organized at China’s Yanbian University by the college’s Korea research center and the Japanese-Chinese history research center of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the Northeast Asian History Foundation said in a release on June 1.
[Comfort women] [Joint-Korean]
US to Continue Construction of US Military Base in Okinawa
© AFP 2015/ Toru YAMANAKA
Military & Intelligence
20:35 03.06.2015(updated 20:45 03.06.2015) Get short URL
The United States and Japan remain committed to expanding a US military base in Henoko on the Japanese island of Okinawa, the US Department of State said in a press release on Wednesday following the meeting of US officials with Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga in Washington, DC.
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — “During the meeting, [State Department Office of Japanese Affairs] Director [Joe] Young and Acting DASD [Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Cara Abercrombie] underscored that the governments of the United States and Japan share an unwavering commitment to the construction of the Futenma Replacement Facility (FRF), the airfield at Camp Schwab,” the release read.
Young and Abercrombie stressed in the release that the FRF is not a new base, “rather, the United States and Japan are adding capabilities to an existing base.”
Okinawa Governor Vows to Stop Relocation of US Base Within Prefecture
“The successful completion of the airfield at Camp Schwab will signal the strength of the Alliance to the region, deterring threats and enhancing peace and stability,” the release went on.
The State Department underscored that Washington is committed to maintaining good relations with the local communities on Okinawa.
In May, a new wave of protests erupted in Okinawa, with demonstrators clashing with Japanese police. The protesters called for shutting down the construction of a replacement base.
Okinawa Fights for Future Without US Military Bases
In 2006, Tokyo and Washington formally agreed to relocate the Futenma Air Station within Okinawa Prefecture from the city of Ginowan to the less populated Henoko coastal area in Nago city. The move triggered a wave of protests with people citing environmental concerns and opposition to the US military presence.
In April 2015, Japanese Defense Minister Gen Nakatani and his US counterpart Ashton Carter reconfirmed the relocation plan. Later that month, Onaga asked Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to stop the relocation of the US military base within the prefecture and convey to the US president the Okinawan people's opposition over the plan.
On May 20, Onaga said that Okinawa Prefecture will never allow the United States to relocate a military base on its territory.
[Okinawa] [China confrontation]
Okinawa used like a Japanese 'colony,' claims Nago mayor on U.S. trip
June 01, 2015
By Koshin Shisui/ Staff Writer
WASHINGTON--Tokyo is treating Okinawa just like a "colony," said Nago's mayor in a vociferous attack here on Japanese and American policies regarding military bases.
Susumu Inamine was following hot on the heels, both geographically and vocally, of Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga, who is in the United States seeking support for his opposition to moves to relocate the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Ginowan, Okinawa Prefecture, to the Henoko district of Nago, also in the prefecture.
"It is not too much to say that Okinawa is Japan's colony," Inamine said during a meeting with members of U.S. citizen groups in Washington on May 30.
He also unveiled photographs of antibase demonstrators clashing with local police officers and Japan Coast Guard personnel in front of a U.S. base as well as waters off Henoko, saying, "Having the locals at each other's throats and divided among themselves is a strategy typical of colonial policies."
Inamine and his party, including Naha Mayor Mikiko Shiroma, met with 10 or so U.S. peace activists, members of a women's rights group and others in the meeting.
Inamine explained that Okinawa hosts 74 percent of all U.S. military facilities in Japan even though World War II ended 70 years ago.
"I don't think such a discriminatory policy exists in any other country," the mayor said.
In response, members of the citizen groups suggested he approach candidates in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and widely publicize the matter through the use of video footage.
"It was highly reassuring that I was able to receive opinions from people who are active in a variety of fields," Inamine said.
'Comfort Woman' Revisionism Comes to the U.S.: Symposium on The Revisionist Film Screening Event at Central Washington University
The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 13, Issue. 21, No. 1, June 01, 2015
Norma Field, Tomomi Yamaguchi
This article is the first of a three-part symposium. See parts two and three here.
Perhaps it should have been foreseen, but it was not evident in 1995 just how farcical, tragic, and alarming the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII would look in Japan. Then, Prime Minister Murayama Tomiichi, the Socialist politician in an extraordinary coalition, to put it politely, with the Liberal Democratic Party, issued a statement acknowledging that his country, “through its colonial rule and aggression, [had] caused tremendous damage and suffering to the people of many countries, particularly to those of Asian nations.” That followed upon a declaration two years earlier by the then chief cabinet secretary, Kono Yohei, which states, “Comfort stations were operated in response to the request of the military authorities of the day. The then Japanese military was, directly or indirectly, involved in the establishment and management of the comfort stations and the transfer of comfort women. The recruitment of the comfort women was conducted mainly by private recruiters who acted in response to the request of the military. The Government study has revealed that in many cases they were recruited against their own will, through coaxing, coercion, etc., and that, at times, administrative/military personnel directly took part in the recruitments. They lived in misery at comfort stations under a coercive atmosphere.” This remarkably straightforward observation from what is known as the “Kono Statement” exists in “unofficial” translation on the site of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The U.S. as “Major Battleground” for “Comfort Woman” Revisionism: The Screening of Scottsboro Girls at Central Washington University
The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 13, Issue. 21, No. 2, June 01, 2015
This article is the second in a three-part symposium. See parts one and three.
Contentious debates between historians who investigate and document the Imperial Japanese military's active involvement in the establishment, maintenance, and operation of its system of enforced prostitution and those who seek to simultaneously refute and justify it have been ongoing since the mid-1990s. But Japanese far-right historical revisionists are now making concerted efforts to mobilize Japanese communities in the U.S. in an effort to induce sufficient doubt concerning the accepted historical knowledge of the WWII-era Japanese military "comfort women" to paralyze international efforts to hold the Japanese government accountable.
The existence of Japanese "comfort women" revisionism in the U.S. first came to light when former University of Southern California business professor Koichi Mera and his group, Global Alliance for Historical Truth (GAHT), filed a lawsuit in early 2014 against the City of Glendale, California to force the removal of the city's "peace memorial" dedicated to the victims of Japan's "comfort women" system. Mera and his co-plaintiffs lost both state and federal cases and are currently appealing.
Responding to “Comfort Woman” Denial at Central Washington University
The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 13, Issue. 21, No. 3, June 01, 2015
Mark Auslander, Chong Eun Ahn
This article is the third of a three-part symposium. See parts one and two.
In early April 2015, we learned that a Japanese language instructor at the university where we teach had invited online broadcaster Taniyama Yujiro to campus to screen his film Scottsboro Girls, a quite amateurish three-hour video devoted to the proposition that “comfort women” were not sexual slaves but instead were well-paid, self-interested prostitutes, who serviced the Japanese military of their own free will. Looking at the YouTube preview, we were struck by how the film repeated the standard revisionist talking points, with which we have become all too familiar over the past several years, along with various ethnic slurs against Koreans and others1. Announcing the screening, Taniyama published on his website a letter of invitation by the Japanese language lecturer and his own response.
This correspondence refers to the possibility that Korean (or Korea-associated) faculty might interfere with the screening. This is clearly a thinly veiled attack on our colleague, the political scientist Dr. Bang-Soon Yoon, who has published extensively on wartime sexual slavery and "comfort women," and who in 2006 brought surviving comfort woman Yong-soo Lee to speak on campus. Taniyama praises the lecturer, Mariko Okada-Collins, for her valor in standing up against Chinese and Korean “propaganda.” He also makes disparaging references to the “rotund” statues of comfort women erected by Korean Americans in the United States.
The “Open Letter in Support of Historians in Japan”: A Critique
May. 31, 2015
Some Japanese studies scholars recently published an “Open Letter in Support of Historians in Japan,” to counter the revisionist atmosphere surrounding the “comfort women” issue in Japan. While the author agrees that historical revisionism should be criticized, he takes issue with some elements in the Letter. First, it distorts the history of post-1945 Japan by listing factually incorrect “achievements.” Second, its treatment of nationalism in Japan and other countries is problematic. The Letter seems to be the result of a compromise among people with divergent views, and the author argues that what should not be compromised has been compromised.
Dear Signatories of the “Open Letter in Support of Historians in Japan,”
Revisionists of history are alive and well in Japan, denying the established facts of the atrocities committed during the period of its wars of aggression and colonial rule in the Asia-Pacific region. While it is important for those of us in Japan to fight against such forces, international pressures can be helpful. Your recently published “Open Letter in Support of Historians in Japan,”1 however, came as a disappointment. You try to glorify Japan’s post-defeat history by distorting facts, and I take issue with your formulation of critical remarks on Korea and China.
Let us start by quoting the second paragraph in your Letter:
In this important commemorative year, we also write to celebrate seventy years of peace between Japan and its neighbors. Postwar Japan’s history of democracy, civilian control of the military, police restraint, and political tolerance, together with contributions to science and generous aid to other countries, are all things to celebrate as well.
Perhaps it is nice, when one comments on something that may taste bitter to some, to say something positive about it first. The problem is, most of the things stated above are simply untrue. Since 1945, Japan has not been a peaceful nation. It quickly rebuilt its military under the occupation of, and later in alliance with, the United States. Not even Prime Minister Abe Shinzo denies its role in support of the US in the Korean War, the Vietnam War and throughout the Cold War and its aftermath.
[US Japan alliance] [History] [Japanese remilitarisation]
S. Korea and Japan hold first Defense Ministers talk in four years
Posted on : Jun.1,2015 16:42 KST
Modified on : Jun.1,2015 16:42 KST
Minister of National Defense Han Min-koo (right) shakes hands with Japanese Defense Minister Gen Nakatani before their bilateral meeting at the Shangri-la Dialogue in Singapore, May 30. (provided by the Ministry of National Defense)
Seoul concerned with preventing infringements on South Korean sovereignty by Japanese forces
How is it possible to guarantee the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) will not infringe South Korean sovereignty while exercising collective self-defense authority around the Korean Peninsula? It’s a question that has emerged in South Korea in the wake of the recent amendment of the US-Japan defense cooperation guidelines.
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US official hit for backing Abe's remark
By Kang Seung-woo
Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Russel
The U.S. government has shown no sign of offering support to Korea in its fight against Japan's distorted perception of history during next month's ROK-U.S. summit.
Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Russel reportedly said Wednesday that the issue between Seoul and Tokyo needs to be left for the historians.
Russel said that it is positive that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Cabinet were in the same position as previous governments that apologized for Japan's wartime aggression.
He made the remark during a speech in New York to the Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the United States.
Tokyo Teachers Win Damages for Anthem Punishment
AFP-JIJI – japan times
MAY 26, 2015
The Tokyo District Court has awarded hundreds of millions of yen in compensation to a group of teachers who were punished for refusing to sing the national anthem, the group said Tuesday as it condemned nationalism in education.
The court ruled Monday that the Tokyo Metropolitan Government must pay a total of ¥537 million to 22 former high school teachers.
The group said the metropolitan government refused to rehire them under a program that extends employment past the retirement age because they disobeyed orders to stand and sing “Kimigayo” at graduation ceremonies.
Some critics say the anthem amounts to a call to sacrifice oneself for the Emperor and celebrates militarism.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Nationalism]
Inferno on the Omotesando: The Great Yamanote Air Raid
The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 13, Issue. 20, No. 2, May 25, 2015
Tokyo in flames following the B-29 firebombing raid, May 25-26, 1945
May 25th is the 70th anniversary of the Great Yamanote Air Raid. This was the fifth and final low-altitude night incendiary raid on urban areas of Tokyo by the US Army Air Forces. The first of these five massive firebombing raids was the Great Tokyo Air Raid of March 10, 1945. On that night, 279 B-29s dropped 1,665 tons of incendiaries on the Shitamachi district of the capital. By dawn, more than 100,000 people were dead, over a million were homeless, and 15.8 square miles of Tokyo had been burned to the ground.
The number of bombers and incendiaries used in the final firebombing raid far exceeded those on March 10. On the night of May 25-26, 464 B-29s dropped 3,258 tons of incendiaries on the Yamanote district in the heart of Tokyo. 3,242 people were killed, 559,683 people were made homeless, and 16.8 square miles of Tokyo were incinerated. The area burned out that night was one square mile more than that of the devastating March 10 firebombing raid. After the Great Yamanote Air Raid, a total of 56.8 square miles of Tokyo had been destroyed. There were no “strategic targets” left.
The death toll of 3,242 people seems very low compared with the more than 100,000 who perished in the Shitamachi firebombing. In many places, the hilly topography of the Yamanote district slowed the progress of the fires, while the open spaces made it much easier for people to escape. In one place, however, the fires burned with a speed and intensity as great as any of those on March 10.
Japanese historians release statement, arguing comfort women were forcibly recruited
Posted on : May.26,2015 16:32 KST
Modified on : May.26,2015 16:32 KST
Position of leading historians is counter to Prime Minister Abe, who has denied the role of the Japanese state
Sixteen Japanese historical research organizations issued a joint statement declaring that the comfort women were recruited “against their will” and that this must be seen as “forced recruitment.”
This represents a direct rebuttal of the administration of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, which has been distinguishing “compulsion” from “forced recruitment” in an attempt to avoid legal responsibility.
On May 25, the Japanese Historical Society and 15 other Japanese historical organizations held a press conference at the second councilors’ hall at the Japanese Diet in Tokyo.
“Triggered by the retraction of articles in the Asahi Shimbun [about the testimony of Seiji Yoshida, who claimed to have personally kidnapped comfort women] in August 2014, certain politicians and sections of the media have made statements which intend to cast doubt on the wartime issue of the ‘comfort women’ and facts regarding their forced recruitment by the Imperial Japanese Army,” the academics said during the press conference. “It should be understood that forced recruitment of ‘comfort women’ was not limited to cases of straightforward kidnapping, but also included cases of recruitment against the will of the individual.”
The sixteen academic organizations that endorsed the statement on Monday included four of Japan’s preeminent academic associations with more than 2,000 members: the Historical Science Society of Japan, Japanese Historical Society, History Educationalist Conference of Japan, and Japanese Historical Council.
“13,800 historians [including duplicate members] took part in this statement. It is safe to say that the message of the statement represents the general position of Japan’s historians,” said Toru Kubo, chair of the Historical Science Society of Japan, who was at the press conference on Monday.
“History is harsh”: Prime Minister Abe, the Joint Session of Congress, and World War II
May. 18, 2015
Thanks to a referral from my university’s government relations office and an ability to head to Washington on short notice, I attended Prime Minister Abe’s April 29 speech before a Joint Session of Congress as a guest of Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. This essay began as an attempt to convey a few impressions of the event from the perspective of the House gallery, but upon reflection, and after encountering the generally uncritical reception the speech received from the media in the U.S., it seemed useful to engage more directly with what Abe had said, and with the arguments I think he meant to convey. I am very grateful to the Senator and his staff for the opportunity and for their hospitality. I should stress, however, that the views expressed in this essay are entirely my own.
The first thing that Prime Minister Abe Shinzo did after taking the podium and greeting his audience at last week’s Joint Session of Congress was quote from the speech that his grandfather, Prime Minister Kishi Nobusuke, had delivered in that same chamber in June 1957. Abe reminded listeners that Kishi “began his address by saying ‘It is because of our strong belief in democratic principles and ideals that Japan associates herself with the free nations of the world.’” That expression of fealty earned Kishi applause the first time it echoed through the House Chamber. Abe’s reward for recycling it was a rousing standing ovation.
[Abe Shinzo] [US Japan alliance]
'Japan can retaliate against North Korea'
By Jun Ji-hye
Japanese Defense Minister Gen Nakatani said Sunday that Japan could retaliate against a North Korean base if Pyongyang launched a missile attack on the United States.
According to the Mainichi Shimbun, Monday, Nakatani made the remarks during an appearance in a program on Fuji Television.
The minister added that Tokyo's attack would be based on the premise that the U.S. was being attacked by the North and serious damage was expected.
Defense observers in South Korea said the comments about a possible attack on the North were very rare and are expected to provoke a strong response from the repressive state.
Nakatani's remarks came after Washington and Tokyo revised their defense guidelines on April 28.
35,000 protest in Okinawa
8:47 pm, May 17, 2015
NAHA (Jjii Press) — An estimated 35,000 people took part in a rally on Sunday to raise an objection to the planned relocation of a controversial U.S. marine base within Okinawa Prefecture, chanting slogans such as, “We’ll never given in.”
In the rally, held at a ballpark in the prefectural capital of Naha, participants supported a resolution demanding the closure and removal of the U.S. Marine Corps’ Futenma Air Station in a congested area of Ginowan, Okinawa, and the cancelation of the construction of a replacement facility in the Henoko coastal area of Nago, also in Okinawa. It also urged the national government to give up relocating the Futenma base within Okinawa.
‘Okinawa without US bases’: 1000s march against foreign military presence in Japan
Published time: May 17, 2015 10:12
Edited time: May 18, 2015 12:45
Thousands have been marching in Okinawa and across Japan in protest against the planned relocation of a US military base in Okinawa. The protesters criticized the Japanese government, who appear to be turning a deaf ear to the locals.
The protests began on Friday with about 1,200 people in Okinawa, as the island marked the 43rd anniversary of its reversion to Japanese sovereignty, and continued into Sunday gathering thousands of people.
“Even after our reversion, the problems of the bases remain unchanged,” Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga said at the protest, adding reversion of sovereignty had failed to bring Okinawans what they wanted.
Shinzo Abe Visits Los Angeles, and speaks to Asia Society Southern California
May 1, 2015 by Jonathan Karp
A new defense cooperation agreement with the United States will be “instrumental in improving security” in Asia, and Japan is “doubling efforts to contribute to peace and stability in the region and the world,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told a luncheon co-hosted by Asia Society Southern California.
He also reiterated his hope to conclude negotiations on the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement. And he said he’s ready to reform policies on long-protected sectors such as agriculture, health care, energy and labor, even opening Japan’s economy to foreign skilled workers as the country’s working-age population declines.
The May 1 luncheon, attended by 750 dignitaries and invited guests, came at the start of Abe’s two-day visit to Los Angeles, the last stop on his U.S. tour.
“Welcome back home to Los Angeles,” Mayor Eric Garcetti told Abe, referring to the prime minister’s stint as a student at the University of Southern California in the late 1970s.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [US Japan alliance]
Japan's new defense bills pose threat to regional peace
English.news.cn 2015-05-15 11:21:28
by Xinhua Writer Zhu Chao
TOKYO, May 15 (Xinhua) -- The cabinet of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe approved a package of defense bills on Thursday and eyed their approval in the Diet before July.
If enacted, the legislations will give Japan's Self-Defense Forces (SDF) much greater power by removing geographical restrictions on its overseas operations, and allow the SDF to fight "under certain conditions" even if Japan itself is not attacked.
Those bills indeed are "war legislations," that turn Japan toward militarism, according to Yoshiki Yamashita, head of Japanese Communist Party's secretariat. The bills met strong opposition at home as they contradict Japan's long-cherished pacifist constitution, marking a complete overhaul of Japan's post- war exclusively defense-related policy.
More than half, or 52 percent, of respondents in a Nihon Keizai Shimbun survey in early May opposed Abe's bid to hastily enact the bills during the Diet session.
However, given the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its junior coalition partner Komeito's overwhelming majority in the parliament, they are likely to get a greenlight in the Diet.
At that time, Abe's ambitions since he took office in December 2012 to "lift the ban on collective self-defense, revise Japan-U.S. defense cooperation guideline as well as expand the SDF's role overseas" will finally be guaranteed by law, thus building a hotbed for the conservative and right-leaning trend in Japan.
According to the proposed bills, the definition of how and when Japan could exercise the right to collective self-defense or aid its allies is very vague, which means they are open to all sorts of interpretations.
It's particularly alarming that Japan will, in this way, shake off the shackles imposed by its war-renouncing constitution since the end of World War II.
New rule to require Japan to receive consent before entering overseas conflicts
Posted on : May.13,2015 17:44 KST
Modified on : May.13,2015 17:44 KST
Batteships of the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (Reuter Yonhap)
A new rule will require the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) to receive prior consent from any third country it enters to provide rear-area support or other “response measures.”
The addition is Tokyo’s signal that the JSDF will not engage in rear-area support to South Korean forces without their government‘s consent even if the need arises due to an emergency on the Korean Peninsula.
Japan’s ruling coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito held a “council on security legislation revision” at the National Diet on May 10 and reached a final agreement to amend ten related laws, including the JSDF Law and Law on Contingency Situations in Areas Surrounding Japan (“Situations Law”), local news outlets reported on May 10.
The coalition also agreed to enact a general “support law for international peace” that would allow the JSDF to provide rear-area support to multinational forces at any time.
Open Letter in Support of Historians in Japan
May. 07, 2015
On May 5, 2015 the online humanities and social sciences portal, H-Asia/H-Net, published a statement issued by 187 Japanese studies scholars that calls on Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo to “act boldly” on significant issues raised during his historic speech before a joint session of the U.S. Congress on April 29 — a first for a Japanese prime minister.
In particular, the statement urges Prime Minister Abe to realize the assurances he made in this speech about Japan today: a nation that places primacy on “human rights” and “human security.” To achieve this, the scholars call on Abe to directly acknowledge the truth of the histories involved in the “suffering that Japan caused other countries” during the era of total war and empire that ended 70 years ago. Most important, they urge reconciliation between Japan and areas that were the nation’s former empire in Asia through honest acknowledgment of the past. Doing so would underline how different Japan is today.
Focusing especially on the history of the so-called “comfort women” of the Japanese military — one of the key components in the region’s tensions over its “history problems,” together with the Nanjing massacre and the Yasukuni shrine, Tokyo’s monument to all Japanese war dead, including convicted war criminals — the scholars ask Prime Minister Abe to acknowledge openly that this system was “distinguished by its large scale and systematic management under the military, and by its exploitation of young, poor, and vulnerable women in areas colonized or occupied by Japan.”
[Japanese colonialism] [History] [Comfort women]
Fact Sheet on Japanese Military “Comfort Women”
May. 09, 2015
Who were the "comfort women"?
"Comfort women" is a historical term referring to women who were forced to provide sexual service to Japanese soldiers at military brothels called "comfort stations" established by the Japanese military in its occupied territories between 1932 and 1945. "Comfort women" were women and girls taken from all over Asia and the Pacific, with Japanese, Korean, Taiwanese, Chinese, Filipina, and Indonesian women comprising the vast majority. Experts using the best documentation estimate the number of "comfort women" at tens or hundreds of thousands.
Japan’s ruling coalition to OK bills to boost military role
By Mari Yamaguchi?|?AP May 11 at 3:30 AM
TOKYO — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is moving ahead this week with legislation that would boost the military’s international role, in a significant shift of the country’s pacifist policies.
His ruling coalition is set to reach formal agreement Monday on a package of bills that would loosen restrictions imposed on the military by the U.S. occupation after World War II. They would allow Japan to contribute more to the U.S.-Japan alliance, as the countries agreed to in revised security guidelines signed last month.
The proposals are expected to be approved by the Cabinet later this week for submission to parliament. The legislation is considered likely to pass this summer, given the comfortable majority held by Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its junior coalition partner, Komeito.
The changes would remove geographic restrictions on where the military can operate, and under certain conditions, allow it to defend allies for the first time since World War II. They would also make it easier for Japan to provide logistical support for other militaries and to participate in international peacekeeping operations.
“This marks a turning point in which Japan moves away from traditional isolationism where Japan doesn’t contribute too much to international security to a more cooperative, proactive internationalism,” said security analyst Narushige Michishita at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies in Tokyo.
Seoul sets up task force to deal with Japan
By Do Je-hae
The government has established a task force to respond effectively to increasing challenges in Korea-Japan relations, according to sources Sunday.
The task force comes as part of measures to address mounting criticism of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' inability to confront properly Japan's whitewashing of wartime atrocities.
The ministry has filled the new organization with experts from within and outside.
Officials from the ministry's divisions dealing with Japan, U.S. and the United Nations have been attached to the task force. The Northeast Asian History Foundation, a state-fund think tank, is also participating.
The task force has been meeting regularly.
"It can have a positive role in coordinating decisions from various divisions charged with Japan-related issues," an official told Yonhap news agency.
During a meeting with the government on April 8, the ruling Saenuri Party proposed establishing a task force to respond to Japan's apparent distortions of historical truth about wartime atrocities.
Another state-run think tank, the Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security (IFAN), is considering setting up a "Japan research center."
[SK Japan] [Sidelined]
Japan considering reinstating sanctions on North Korea
Posted on : May.8,2015 17:26 KST
Modified on : May.8,2015 17:26 KST
North Korea and Japan hold director-general level talks in Stockholm, Sweden seeking a resolution to the issue of Japanese citizens kidnapped by North Korea, May 26.
Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is considering a new bill for North Korea sanctions that would restore punitive measures lifted in July 2014.
It’s a signal that Tokyo has begun looking for an exit strategy from the Stockholm agreement it signed with North Korea in May of last year.
Japan’s NHK network reported on May 7 that the LDP‘s headquarters for addressing the abduction of Japanese citizens by North Korea plans to set up a new working team and compile a new list of economic sanctions to present to the government by this summer.
The new measures would include a reinstatement of some of the previous sanctions previously lifted with the Stockholm agreement, the report said.
The governments in North Korea and Japan previously reached the agreement at a meeting in the Swedish capital in late May 2014. Its terms included Pyongyang’s establishment of a special committee for a “comprehensive investigation of all Japanese people” in North Korea, including abductees, in exchange for Japan‘s lifting of sanctions on travel, remittances, and entry into Japanese ports for humanitarian purposes.
Shinzo Abe on American Tour
Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe paid an official state visit to the United States, which lasted an unprecedented seven days (from April 26 through May 3 of this year) and became one of the key cogs in the correlation machine that takes the form of a strategic “US-China-Japan” triangle, as well as in the APAC and the world as a whole.
The outcome of his talks with US president Barak Obama was a “mutual vision”, in which the attitudes of leaders of both nations towards the entire range of bilateral relations, the development of a variety of processes in the APAC and the world as a whole were expressed.
Another important document adopted by the so-called “2+2 committee”, which includes ministers of foreign affairs and defense, was the “Guiding Principles in the Japanese-American Defense Cooperation”. At a specific point in history, the “guiding principles” introduces distinct content in the basic 1960 document, by which a military and political alliance agreement was reached between the US and Japan.
First appeared: http://journal-neo.org/2015/05/09/rus-amerikanskoe-turne-sindzo-abe/
[US Japan alliance]
Pentagon Notifies Congress of Potential $3 Billion V-22 Osprey Sale to Japan
By: Sam LaGrone
May 5, 2015 5:33 PM
Congress has received notification of a potential $3 billon sale of 17 Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft and support equipment to Japan, according to a Tuesday announcement from the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency.
In its statement, DSCA (pronounced dis-kah) said the potential sale would expand the ability of the Japanese Self Defense Forces (JSDF) to operate more closely with the U.S. and extend the range of their ground forces.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Arms sales] [US Japan alliance]
Announcing the Kyoko Selden Memorial Translation Prize in Japanese Literature, Thought, and Society, 2015
The Department of Asian Studies at Cornell University is pleased to announce the 2015 prize honoring the life and work of our colleague, Kyoko Selden. The prize will pay homage to the finest achievements in Japanese literature, thought, and society through the medium of translation. Kyoko Selden's translations and writings ranged widely across such realms as Japanese women writers, Japanese art and aesthetics, the atomic bomb experience, Ainu and Okinawan life and culture, historical and contemporary literature, poetry and prose, and early education (the Suzuki method). In the same spirit, the prize will recognize the breadth of Japanese writings, classical and contemporary. Collaborative translations are welcomed. In order to encourage classroom use and wide dissemination of the winning entries, prize-winning translations will be made freely available on the web. The winning translations will be published online at The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus.
Elections in Japan and Consolidation of the Japan Communist Party Position
On April 12th and 26th in Japan two rounds of elections to local authorities were held. In the first round, 10 (out of 47) of governors of prefectures were elected, as well as the mayors of five large cities and members of representative bodies (assemblies) at various levels.
In the second round mayors of 131 cities and towns, as well as 11 (out of 23) special districts of Tokyo, were elected. In several hundreds of municipalities deputies of the assemblies were elected.
Special attention of the election campaign was paid to the ambiguous effects of the series of measures in the economic sphere, taken by the government of Shinzo Abe (so-called “Abenomics”). At their base is the artificial weakening of the national currency in order to improve the competitive position of national industry, for the most part working for foreign markets.
The views of the candidates on the issues of the resumption of nuclear power plants, Japan’s entry into the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TTP), as well as relations with China and the United States were also quite important.
A sufficiently clear character, confirming the emerging trends in recent years in the political life of Japan, was characteristic of the first round results. Candidates from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) won all the gubernatorial elections in 40 (out of 41) local assemblies.
Regarded as the main opposition force, the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) has suffered another heavy defeat, despite carefully preparing for the held elections, seeing them as a “key element” of the process of revival . Candidates from the DPJ won 3.5 time less (than representatives of the LDP) seats in the assemblies, falling short by 40% of their result for the previous elections in 2011.
However, this (albeit not new) player may still appear in the name of the Communist Party of Japan. For one of the most important results of the last elections was confirmation of the trend outlined in the last two or three years towards the revival of the CPJ. Although it is still far from the significance in Japan’s political arena that it possessed in the 50s of the last century.
According to the recent elections, the CPJ will now be represented in all 47 prefectural assemblies, having increased by one third the number of its deputies to local legislative bodies of different levels.
Commenting on the results of the first round of the elections, the British weekly The Economist noted that the CPJ could become a leading opposition political force in the country. In its ranks today there are about 300 thousand members (in the LDP – more than 700 thousand), and in 2014 alone it admitted 10 thousand people to membership. The circulation of the daily newspaper “Red Flag” is 1.2 million copies.
The political platform of the CPJ has changed only a little as compared to the peak of its popularity the 50s of the last century, when Japanese society was undergoing a tough struggle over the problem of choosing the country’s foreign policy.
Today, the CPJ opposes the military-political alliance with the United States and acceding to the TTP, as well as reducing legal barriers to the transition of the country’s military-political activity beyond its national borders. “Abenomics” is subject to tough criticism as leading to increased social and economic disparities among the population, as well as the government’s plans to resume nuclear work. All this contributes to the popularity of the party.
First appeared: http://journal-neo.org/2015/05/06/rus-o-vy-borah-v-yaponii-i-ukreplenii-pozitsij-kompartii-yaponii/
Let's not give Abe satisfaction
Pat on foreign minister's back may go long way
By Oh Young-jin
Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se is in hot water over what's viewed to be Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's triumphant visit to the United States.
Media outlets call it the start of a "new honeymoon period" between the World War II victor and the vanquished, leaving Korea diplomatically stranded.
They blame Yun for incompetency in failing to block the shrewd Abe from doing what he has done ? dancing around apologies made by his predecessors to victims of Japan's colonial rule, namely former sex slaves or "comfort women" who were forced to serve imperial Japanese soldiers.
However, let's be realistic.
Could Minister Yun have forced Abe to apologize?
He was not in a position to force anything on Abe, who leads an independent country that is many times stronger than Korea in economic power.
Rather, Korea was reduced to the status of bystander in Abe's moment in the spotlight.
Abe’s Best Strategic Play Is South Korea
by Scott A. Snyder
April 27, 2015
abe kennedy library tour
This post was co-authored with Brad Glosserman, executive director of Pacific Forum CSIS.
Since taking office in December 2012, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has shown himself to be a strong political leader and a keen strategic thinker. Agreement on new U.S.-Japan defense guidelines, scheduled to be reached next week, and a deal with Washington on the Trans-Pacific Partnership will further strengthen his reputation and standing. But Abe’s most prudent geostrategic move is the one that he has not yet made: reconciliation with America’s other close ally in Northeast Asia, South Korea.
The most important factor in Abe’s geopolitical calculus is the rise of China.
[Japan SK] [Alliance] [Friction] [Wishful thinking]
Prime Minister Abe's Very Good Visit
This post was co-authored with Brad Glosserman, executive director of Pacific Forum CSIS. A version of this post also appeared as a Pacific Forum CSIS PacNet publication, and can be found here.
Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s trip to the United States last week was about as productive and positive a state visit could hope to be. The trappings and status of the visit were second to none. It affirmed the importance of the U.S.-Japan partnership. It produced critical, forward-looking documents to chart the course of the U.S.-Japan relationship. Abe delivered remarks to enthusiastic and approving audiences. Significantly, there were no gaffes to muddy the message or the image he sought to present to the United States, Japan, and the rest of the world. Prime Minister Abe and his entourage should be delighted with the results.
The atmospherics were outstanding. The weather was good, Abe landed on the White House lawn to stand side by side with President Obama for his press conference, and most of the questions addressed relevant issues. Abe became the first Japanese prime minister to address a joint meeting of Congress and was given a state dinner with all of the associated buzz.
All statements, both scripted and informal, emphasized how the United States and Japan are in sync strategically and view the region and the world through the same lens. Both frame security challenges in the same way, are focused on the same sources of instability (without singling out any particular country), and back the same solutions to these problems. So, for example, Abe and Obama seek a strong international legal regime and protection for the international commons. They also see the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) as not just a trade deal, but as a strategic tool to shape the Asia Pacific region in both economic and security terms.
[Abe Shinzo] [US Japan alliance] [Japanese remilitarisation] [TPP]
Japan's greater military role double-edged sword for S. Korea
By Oh Seok-min
SEOUL, April 28 (Yonhap) -- South Korea fears Japan's greater military role abroad under revised U.S.-Japan defense guidelines will lead to a possible amendment of Japan's pacifist Constitution and a regional arms race amid a rising China and a nuclear-armed North Korea.
The Seoul government is scurrying to assess the impact of the new guidelines on its security interests despite Washington's hope for the new alliance to keep in check regional security.
On Monday, Washington and Tokyo announced the upgraded version of their 1978 defense cooperation guidelines for the first time in 18 years, factoring in changing security circumstances in the region marked by evolving threats by North Korea and China.
While addressing every aspect of the alliance and operational cooperation between the armed forces of the two nations, the new guidelines increase Japan's global presence by eliminating geographical restrictions on the military cooperation between the two that had been confined to areas around Japan.
The revision culminates the allies' perfect calculation: Washington needs Tokyo for its policy of rebalancing to Asia at a time when defense budgets are dwindling and Japan wants backing from the U.S. to free itself from its status as the invader during World War II.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Sidelined]
Abe’s amendment push energizes Constitution Day rallies
May 04, 2015
THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
An unprecedented sense of crisis as well as feelings of optimism engulfed rallies and other events around Japan on May 3, the 68th anniversary of the enforcement of the postwar Constitution.
While some gatherings backed the ruling parties’ plan to propose the first-ever amendment to the U.S.-initiated Constitution, defenders came out in droves, saying the government must not “destroy” the pacifist Constitution.
At Rinko Park in Yokohama’s Minato-mirai district, about 30,000 people rallied in favor of preserving the Constitution, a turnout that surprised organizers of the event.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Constitution] [Public opinion]
With the US on Japan’s side, time for a S. Korean diplomatic reset?
Posted on : May.1,2015 16:49 KST
Modified on : May.1,2015 16:49 KST
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe toasts US President Barack Obama with sake during a state dinner in Washington D.C., Apr. 28. (Reuters/Yonhap News)
With Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wrapping up his trip to the US without adopting a forward-looking attitude toward historical issues, cracks are showing in the assumptions of President Park Geun-hye’s strategic approach to foreign policy. Experts argue that South Korea must reset its approach to foreign policy so that it can avoid being isolated as the US sides with Japan on historical issues and defense cooperation.
Abe’s address to a joint session of US Congress on May 29 is being taken as a glib declaration of his unwillingness to give up his tendency toward historical revisionism. The problem is that the US government seems to have little intention of putting the brakes on Abe’s regression on historical issues.
In an interview with Kyodo News immediately after Abe addressed Congress, US Vice President Joe Biden said the speech was "very, very tactful and meaningful."
"I thought he made it very clear that there was responsibility on Japan's part,” Biden said.
Biden sided with Abe, ignoring criticism about what was missing from his address - it only contained a calculated apology about the War in the Pacific with the US, omitting an honest apology about Japan’s aggression against Asian countries and the issue of the comfort women.
And in Congress, while a few representatives asked for a clear apology and expressed their deep disappointment after the address, this did not lead to real action such as a boycott of the speech.
The American attitude ultimately leads one to ask whether the South Korean diplomatic strategy about historical issues - moving the US to push Japan to settle its historical accounts - isn’t working any longer. Experts suggest that, now that it is clear that the US has sided with Japan, South Korea needs to revise its diplomatic approach to the US.
[Sidelined] [US Japan alliance]
In Washington, views on East Asia tilting in Japan’s favor
Posted on : May.1,2015 16:44 KST
Modified on : May.1,2015 16:44 KST
There’s a group of Japanese experts in Washington who control US policy toward Japan. They are known as “Japan handlers,” since they offer advice about Japan policy. Their breadth and reach go much wider and much deeper than experts on the Korean peninsula. Some of these figures deal with both Japan and Korea policy, which means that their perspectives also have a major effect on the Korean peninsula.
Recently, I had a chance to speak on the phone with Michael Green, senior vice president and Japan chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). Along with former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, Green is one of the preeminent Japan handlers.
Green shared his opinions with great candor, and I was stunned to learn how great the rift between us was on some points.
Green contended that the Japanese government has been working in its own way to resolve historical disagreements with South Korea. Observing that last month Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that the comfort women had been “victimized by human trafficking” and that his “heart aches,” Green regarded this as a positive attitude.
[Sidelined] [US Japan alliance]
Abe’s remarks in Washington again evade responsibility for past aggressions
Posted on : Apr.30,2015 17:29 KST
Modified on : Apr.30,2015 17:29 KST
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe addresses a session of US congress in Washington D.C., as Vice President Joe Biden (left) and House Speaker John Boehner listen, Apr. 28. (Yonhap News)
“Post war, we started out on our path bearing in mind feelings of deep remorse over the war. Our actions brought suffering to the peoples in Asian countries. We must not avert our eyes from that. I will uphold the views expressed by the previous prime ministers in this regard.”
This was the sum total of Shinzo Abe’s remarks about his country’s historical aggressions during a joint address to the US Senate and House of Representatives on Apr. 29, the first ever by a Japanese Prime Minister. No clear message of reflection was given on past episodes of aggression or colonial rule by Japan. The term “comfort women” was never mentioned, let alone any apology to survivors of wartime sexual slavery.
Abe’s emphasis in the address was instead on Japan’s close ties with the US and the ways in which it has helped other Asian countries in the past. Noting the US‘s support in its postwar devastation 70 years ago and the benefits it enjoyed in the postwar economic system built by the US, Abe said, “Later on, from the 1980’s, we saw the rise of the Republic of Korea, Taiwan, the ASEAN countries, and, before long, China as well. This time, Japan too devotedly poured in capital and technologies to support their growths.”
DPRK FM Spokesman on Revised "U.S.-Japan Defense Cooperation Guidelines"
Pyongyang, April 30 (KCNA) -- Diplomatic and military authorities of the United States and Japan held a security meeting on April 27 to revise the "U.S.-Japan defense cooperation guidelines".
In the new "guidelines" the U.S. set major five sectors for security cooperation with Japan ranging from "peace time" to "contingency", calling for such strengthened role of the Japan "Self-Defense Forces" (SDF) as ballistic missile interception, logistic support to the U.S. forces worldwide, guarantee of maritime security, search and mine sweeping, non-proliferation of WMDs, inspection of vessels and anti-terrorism operation.
After all the U.S. expanded to the whole world the sphere of SDF's activities, which had been limited to the vicinity of Japan, and made it possible to get military support from Japan during its military operation in any part of the world.
In this regard, a spokesman for the DPRK Foreign Ministry issued a statement on Thursday condemning the revised guidelines.
What cannot be overlooked is the fact that the U.S. pulled up the DPRK, contending that the revision was needed to "deter any provocative action" of the latter, the statement said, adding:
The U.S. asserted that the revised "guidelines" are to cope with "threat" from the DPRK.
But it is the ulterior objective of the U.S. to lessen its heavy burden of military spending with the strengthened role of SDF, use Japan as a shock brigade for realizing its ambition for world supremacy, encircle and contain its rivals in Eurasia by force of arms and maintain its hegemonic position.
The U.S. has fanned up Japan's revival of militarism to attain its goal, in disregard of the world concern over the latter's attempt to embellish and deny the past history.
The strengthened U.S.-Japan military alliance will inevitably harass the stability of Northeast Asia, foment confrontation and friction in the region and spark off disputes and arms race.
No matter how the structure of relations among neighboring countries may change, the DPRK will invariably hold fast to the Songun politics and the line of simultaneously developing the two fronts and bolster up its capabilities for self-defense with the nuclear deterrent as a pivot unless the U.S. gives up its hostile policy aimed to stifle the former.
[US Japan alliance] [Japanese remilitarisation]
Seoul shows regret over Abe's speech
By Yi Whan-woo
The government expressed strong regret over Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's failure to make an apology for Japan's wartime atrocities in his address to the U.S. Congress, Thursday (KST), saying Tokyo is being regressive in recognizing its past.
"We find it regretful that Prime Minister Abe's speech contained no sincere apology although such an address could serve as a turning point for Japan's reconciliation and cooperation with neighboring countries," foreign ministry spokesman Noh Kwang-il said in a statement. "Japan is heading backward although it's critical for Tokyo to acknowledge and repent its wartime past so that it can contribute to world peace, which Abe underscored in his address.
Abe dampens Obama's hopes
By Tong Kim
WASHINGTON ? As expected, there was no surprise in Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress, Wednesday.
He did not even try to help bring about "a final resolution" to thorny historical issues that the White House had hoped he would address "honestly and forthrightly."
Abe's reference to history was very brief in length and vague in substance, a clear retreat even from his statement about "comfort women" that he made during a joint press conference with President Barack Obama, Tuesday.
[Sidelined] [Abe Shinzo]
By Kim Se-jeong
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's address to the U.S. Congress, Wednesday, has triggered anger and contempt among Korean netizens.
During his 50-minute speech, Abe did not apologize for Imperial Japan's sexual slavery of almost 200,000 women during World War II.
"He offered an apology to the dead American soldiers but didn't say a word about the other crime against humanity it committed. It is absurd," Song Kyung-yong wrote on naver.com, a web portal.
Another user, Kim Min-ho, wrote, "Japan is going crazy after the U.S. ignored what it did to the comfort women."
"The Japanese are criminals who have no idea what it means to be a neighbor and to have peaceful coexistence," wrote oilk****.
"I feel sorry for the ordinary Japanese who are nice and innocent. Their leader makes them a target of criticism," according to Ki95.
Many expressed disappointment at the way the Korean government is handling the comfort women issue.
"This is a failure of Korean diplomacy. Korea's security is in crisis," Sohn Jong-rak wrote.
Kim Duk-ho added, "What Abe and Obama are doing is for the interest of their countries. Diplomacy is for the national interest. President Park Geun-hye doesn't seem to know what diplomacy is."
[Sidelined] [Abe Shinzo]
US scholar hits Abe for failing to apologize
By Kim Hyo-jin
A U.S. historian has criticized Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for stopping short of apologizing to the victims of his nation's wartime atrocities during his speech to a joint session of the U.S. Congress, saying the speech lacked substance.
"Unfortunately, I think yesterday's speech has only made matters worse, rather than doing what could have been done," said Alexis Dudden, history professor at the University of Connecticut, during a speech at Yonsei University.
She said Abe should have repeated the Murayama statement issued in 1995. Former Japanese Prime Minister Murayama offered the statement in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II, saying he offered a "heartfelt apology" for the tremendous damage caused by "mistaken Japanese national policy."
Changes to US-Japan defense guidelines called “historic transition”
Posted on : Apr.29,2015 17:38 KST
Modified on : Apr.29,2015 17:38 KST
US President Barack Obama at an event to welcome Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to the White House in Washington D.C., Apr. 28. (AP/Yonhap News)
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to the US is ushering in major changes to the backbone of Washington’s Asia policy. The administration of President Barack Obama is now openly signaling its plans to beef up its containment of China with a stronger military alliance and economic cooperation with Tokyo.
Speaking on Apr. 27, US Secretary of State John Kerry described the revision of the two countries‘ defense cooperation guidelines, which removed regional limits on the areas where the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) could provide rear support for the US military, as a “historic transition.” He also indirectly singled out Beijing in a press conference after a meeting of the two countries’ foreign and defense ministers that day, declaring that the US “reject[s] any suggestion that freedom of navigation, overflight and other unlawful uses of the sea and airspace are privileges granted by big states to small ones.”
Washington’s hope is that the new guidelines will lead the JSDF to take on support duties for the US military even in the South China Sea, where territorial disputes are ongoing between China and several Southeast Asian nations.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [US Japan alliance]
[Interview] “I’m not pro-Korea or pro-Japan. I’m just a young academic who’s pro-history”
Posted on : Apr.29,2015 17:40 KST
Modified on : Apr.29,2015 17:40 KST
“I’m not pro-China, pro-Korea, or pro-Japan. I’m just a young academic who’s pro-history.”
Alexis Dudden, a professor at the University of Connecticut, drew a heated response when she spearheaded a joint statement by US historians last February opposing the Shinzo Abe administration’s attempts to misrepresent Japan’s historical actions.
“I got a lot of protest emails from Japan talking about how I was ‘pro-China’ or ‘anti-Japan,’” Dudden recalled.
“My favorite was one that accused me of being a ‘North Korean spy,’” she added with a wry smile.
Dudden‘s remarks came as part of a talk with reporters while visiting South Korea for Asan Plenum 2015, an event organized by the Asan Institute for Policy Studies.
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China hits out as Abe visits US
China Daily, April 29, 2015
Beijing warned on Tuesday that the alliance between the United States and Japan should not undermine China's interests or disturb the Asia-Pacific region.
The warning came as the two allies highlighted territorial issues and Japan's increased security role during Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ongoing trip to the US.
US President Barack Obama welcomed Abe to the White House on Tuesday. Hailing the alliance as the "cornerstone" of security in the Asia-Pacific, the two countries vowed to counter threats to "international order" by forging a trade deal and through an expanded security role for long-pacifistic Japan.
Observers said the Obama administration's latest policy agenda shows that the US views China's rising strategic influence in the region as an imminent challenge and that Tokyo has secured more tangible support from Washington during Abe's visit.
US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Monday at a joint news conference that Washington's "commitment to Japan's security remains ironclad and covers all territories under Japan's administration".
Agence France-Presse reported that Kerry clearly included China's Diaoyu Islands within the scope of Japan's administration.
Following a meeting of foreign policy and defense chiefs from both countries, the US and Japan announced new guidelines on Monday for bilateral defense cooperation.
Under these guidelines, revised for the first time since 1997, Japan will have the right to exercise collective self-defense — being allowed to defend not just its own territory, but also the United States and other countries if needed.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said on Tuesday, "Both the US and Japan have a duty to ensure that their alliance does not infringe the interests of third parties, including China, or the peace and stability of the Asia-Pacific region."
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Abe Shinzo]
Amendment of guidelines means closer US-Japan military cooperation
Posted on : Apr.28,2015 17:33 KST
Modified on : Apr.28,2015 17:33 KST
US Secretary of State John Kerry with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife outside Kerry’s home in Beacon Hill, Boston, Apr. 26. (AP/Yonhap News)
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe explained in a Wall Street Journal interview on Apr. 27 what Japan’s expanded military role and tighter military coordination with the US would mean after a recent amendment of the two countries’ defense cooperation guidelines.
“If there was an attack against the U.S. [Aegis] destroyer [near Japan], Japan would not be able to prevent that from happening under the current law,” Abe said in the interview. “In the future, the Japanese Aegis destroyer will be able to protect the U.S. Aegis destroyer.”
The chief outcome of the amended guidelines, which were confirmed by the US and Japanese foreign and defense ministers at a Security Consultative Committee on the first day of Abe’s US visit on Apr. 27, is the worldwide expansion of the scope of areas where the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) can offer rear-area support to the US and other countries’ forces.
The category of “situations endangering Japan’s existence” mentioned in the guidelines refers to scenarios where Japan would be allowed to exercise its collective self-defense rights by using military force even though not under attack itself. Specific examples listed include the weapon (asset) defense for US warships, minesweeping to ensure maritime transportation security, response operations to a missile attack, and preventing marine vessel activity in support of enemies.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [US Japan alliance]
Revision piques Korea
Guidelines feared to free ghosts of Japan's colonial past
By Yi Whan-woo
The revised defense guidelines between the United States and Japan are increasing concerns that Tokyo may revert to militarism.
The agreement signed Monday is also anticipated to bring a challenge for Seoul to avoid being sandwiched between Washington and Beijing. South Korea is walking a tightrope between joining a Washington-Tokyo military alliance and its economic partnership with China, the country's largest trading partner.
The revision of the 1997 U.S.-Japan defense cooperation pact, during a 2+2 meeting in New York, removes current geographic limits on the role of Japan's Self-Defense Forces and expands its role globally to help U.S. forces in the case of military emergencies.
Washington is expected to better capitalize on Tokyo in deterring North Korea's military provocations while containing China, which the White House sees as a threat to the international order it has established.
Foreign ministry spokesman Noh Kwang-il said Tuesday the guidelines "fully respect" the sovereignty of third party nations. He referred to the part of the agreement that says Washington and Tokyo will not intervene on the territory of a third country, unless given approval by that state.
With Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reluctant to issue an official apology for wartime atrocities, the public here is concerned whether Japan may capitalize on the revision to move onto Korean soil in the case of a North Korean attack.
Diplomatic and military experts rejected such speculation. But some of them warned any weakened ties in the Seoul-Washington alliance may leave room for joint U.S.-Japan forces to enter the peninsula without Korea's consent.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [US Japan alliance] [Sidelined]
No change in US policy on North Korean nuclear issue
By Tong Kim
WASHINGTON – President Obama will discuss the North Korean nuclear issue with Japanese Prime Minister Abe during their meeting in the White House Oval Office on Tuesday, but they are expected simply to confirm their solidarity in supporting the policy of holding North Korea accountable for its international obligations to denuclearize – including UN resolutions.
NSC senior director for Asian affairs Evan Medeiros supported this assessment during an on-the-record briefing at the Foreign Press Center on Monday afternoon to preview Abe's visit to the U.S.
Asked by the Korea Times, "When President Obama meets Prime Minister Abe, will he offer a new kind of approach to the North Korean nuclear issue, or are they just going to confirm the same approach of staying the course, doing nothing, unless and until North Korea shows something different?," Medeiros replied:
"Our approach is not doing nothing. I've never liked the term ‘strategic patience' because it implies passivity. We've had a very active approach to North Korea. First and foremost, it begins with the priority on denuclearization. It begins with the premise of holding North Korea to account for its international obligations ... numerous UN resolutions. It begins with the premise of strong unity between the U.S. and five parties of the six-party talks to ensure North Korea keeps its obligations. So it's a practical approach.
[US NK policy]
US-Japan alliance boosted
By Tong Kim
Japan to receive sophisticated US weapons
WASHINGTON – As Japan expands its international security role with American blessing, the U.S. will deploy more of its most-advanced weapons to Japan, as part of moves to rebalance the Asia Pacific region, in which other countries, including South Korea, Australia, and Southeast Asian nations are getting more deeply involved.
According to a joint statement released on the 2+2 meeting of foreign and defense ministers in New York on April 27, the U.S. will deploy "most modern and advanced U.S. capabilities to Japan".
By 2017, the deployment will include U.S. navy P-8 maritime unmanned aerial vehicles to Misawa Air Base, the U.S. Air Force Global Hawk, the USS Green Bay, an upgraded amphibious transport ship, and Marine Corps F-35B aircraft.
The U.S. also plans to deploy additional missile defense capable Aegis ships to Yokosuka Naval Base by 2017 and to replace the aircraft carrier George Washington with the more advanced Ronald Reagan this year.
To enhance Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD), the U.S. deployed a second AN/TPY-2 radar (X-band radar) in Kyokamisaki last year. China has been sensitive to the X-band radar, a critical component of the Terminal High Altitude Area (THAAD) system, which can spy up to 2,000 kilometers deep into target missile sites.
New defense guidelines adopted by the U.S. and Japan will support Japan's security legislation for regional and global military operations, moving beyond the traditional constitutional restriction.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [US Japan alliance]
Obama Says U.S. Will Defend Japan’s Senkakus
Invokes Article 5 of defense treaty in message to China (Updated)
BY: Bill Gertz
April 29, 2015 5:00 am
President Obama on Tuesday invoked U.S. military defense guarantees for Japan’s disputed East China Sea islands that have been the target of coordinated Chinese military provocations since 2012.
During a Rose Garden press conference with visiting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Obama repeated a promise to defend the Senkaku Islands, a statement that is likely to anger China, which claims the uninhabited islands as its own, calling them the Diaoyu Islands.
“I want to reiterate that our treaty commitment to Japan’s security is absolute, and that Article 5 covers all territories under Japan’s administration, including Senkaku Islands,” Obama said in a carefully crafted statement.
Additionally, Obama noted growing concern over China’s South China Sea assertiveness. Beijing has claimed some 90 percent of the sea as its maritime domain, putting it in conflict with Vietnam, the Philippines, and other regional states.
“We share a concern about China’s land reclamation and construction activities in the South China Sea, and the United States and Japan are united in our commitment to freedom of navigation, respect for international law, and the peaceful resolution of disputes without coercion,” he said.
The presidential statement of support comes as Japan works to adopt a new interpretation of its pacifist constitution that will permit the use of weapons and military forces for collective self-defense and for so-called “gray areas,” such as remote island disputes. Legislation to codify the new legal interpretation is pending before Japan’s legislature.
The announcement also comes amid revised U.S.-Japan defense guidelines that analysts say are designed to counter China’s regional aggression.
[China confrontation] [US Japan alliance] [Diaoyu]
The Abe-Obama Summit
By Michael J. Green, Matthew P. Goodman, Nicholas Szechenyi
Apr 28, 2015
President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan held a summit meeting at the White House today in conjunction with Abe’s official visit to the United States, the first by a Japanese prime minister in nine years. The visit demonstrates the strength of this alliance to audiences at home in Japan and the United States and in Asia, a region increasingly challenged by uncertainty about the rise of China. The summit meeting was anchored by three core themes. First, the two leaders endorsed new guidelines for U.S.-Japan defense cooperation in response to a range of regional and global security challenges. Second, they reaffirmed a commitment to strengthen the economic pillar of the alliance by concluding bilateral trade negotiations linked to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and addressed cooperation on global issues including development cooperation, climate change, global health and nuclear security. Third, history also features in the bilateral relationship this year, the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, and on April 29 Prime Minister Abe is expected to reflect on the past and discuss the evolution of the U.S.-Japan alliance as the first Japanese leader to address a joint session of Congress. Abe’s visit signifies a joint effort to further develop a strategic framework for the alliance based on shared regional and global
[Japanese remilitarisation] [US Japan alliance]
Remarks by President Obama and Prime Minister Abe of Japan in Joint Press Conference
For Immediate Release April 28, 2015
12:10 P.M. EDT
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Good morning, everybody. Please have a seat. Good afternoon. Konnichiwa. Once again, it is an honor to welcome my partner and friend, Prime Minister Abe, back to the White House. I’m told there’s a phrase in Japanese culture that speaks to the spirit that brings us together today. It’s an idea rooted in loyalty. It’s an expression of mutuality, respect and shared obligation. It transcends any specific moment or challenge. It’s the foundation of a relationship that endures. It’s what allows us to say that the United States and Japan stand together. Otagai no tame ni -- “with and for each other.”
This is the essence of the alliance between the United States and Japan -- an alliance that holds lessons for the world. Prime Minister Abe and I had the opportunity yesterday to visit our memorial to President Lincoln, who believed that a great conflict had to be followed with reconciliation. Shinzo, on behalf of the American people, I want to thank you for your visit to Arlington National Cemetery. Your gesture is a powerful reminder that the past can be overcome, former adversaries can become the closest of allies, and that nations can build a future together.
Across seven decades, our nations have become not just allies, but true partners and friends
[Japanese remilitarisation] [US Japan alliance] [Rhetoric]
Prelude to a Japanese Revival
April 28, 2015 | 08:00 GMT
By John Minnich
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has arrived in Washington, the third stop on his maiden voyage to the United States since assuming office in 2012. Over the next two days, he will hold a summit with U.S. President Barack Obama on U.S.-Japanese defense and trade cooperation, attend a state dinner in his honor and address a joint session of the U.S. Congress. In his speech before Congress, Abe will reaffirm Japan's commitment to promoting peace and security in East Asia and extol the virtues of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a 12-country free trade agreement that spans the Pacific Ocean Basin and pointedly excludes China.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [US Japan alliance] [TPP]
EDITORIAL: Revised Japan-U.S. defense guidelines a dangerous departure from pacifist credo
April 28, 2015
The guidelines for Japan-U.S. defense cooperation have been revised for the first time in 18 years.
The new guidelines, which confirm the direction of the security policies of the Japanese and the U.S. governments, call for “seamless” and “global” security cooperation between the two countries. They will accelerate the “integration” of the Self-Defense Forces with U.S. forces.
The guidelines make it look as if the constitutional restrictions on Japan’s military operations and the legal framework of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty have been consigned to oblivion.
The guidelines for bilateral defense cooperation were created in 1978 with a possible invasion of Japan by the Soviet Union in mind. They were revised in 1997 to respond to security situations in areas surrounding Japan.
The latest revision is designed to add a new dimension to bilateral security cooperation.
Underlying the revision is the Abe administration’s policy initiative to change the government’s traditional interpretation of the Constitution to allow Japan to exercise its right to collective self-defense. This radical shift in security policy was formally endorsed by the Cabinet’s resolution in July last year.
Proposed security legislation in line with the Cabinet decision is the focus of the current Diet session.
Although the Diet has yet to start debating the legislation, the new guidelines already reflect the Cabinet decision to make it possible for Japan to use its right to collective self-defense. They also include the SDF’s overseas minesweeping operations, an issue over which the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its junior coalition partner, Komeito, are at odds.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [US Japan alliance] [Constitution]
The Abe Government and the 2014 Screening of Japanese Junior High School History Textbooks
The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 13, Issue. 16, No. 2, April 27, 2015
Translation by Sven Saaler
Introduction by the Asia-Pacific Journal
School textbooks constitute one significant arena in which dominant, oppositional, and alternative forces in society contest the past to shape the future. Textbook controversies can be a sign of democracy—or they can indicate efforts to suppress democracy. As Tawara Yoshifumi meticulously documents, recently announced results of the Japanese government’s school textbook screening show clearly the Abe administration’s success in imposing its views of such controversial issues as the forced prostitution of the wartime Japanese military (the ianfu or ‘comfort women’) and the Nanjing Massacre, as well as territorial disputes with China and Korea, nations that Japan colonized or invaded in the first half of the twentieth century.
Japan’s governmental screening of school textbooks began in 1948, when the nation was still under Allied occupation. Since then, the regulations and rules of the screening system have remained for the most part “regulatory”—rather than “statutory”—in nature. This has often allowed recent Liberal Democratic Party’s (LDP) Prime Ministers and their administrations to be seen as acting fairly even as they accommodate demands from the rightwing nationalists who have long constituted the party’s hard-core conservative constituency.
Indeed, Prime Minister Abe has been the champion of the rightwing nationalists for the last two decades. In 1993, with the LDP out of power, Hosokawa Morihiro of the Japan New Party made the first clear-cut admission of the Asia-Pacific War as a “war of aggression” by a postwar Japanese prime minister. In response, Abe, then a newly elected Diet member succeeding his late father, played a key role in establishing (and subsequently directing) an LDP committee to attack school textbook content, promote revisionist views on the war, and deny the existence of the Nanjing Massacre and jugun-ianfu (“comfort women going with the army”).
[Textbook] [Comfort women] [Japanese colonialism]
Negotiating Reconciliation with Japan: American POWs of Japan
Lester Tenney | Former POW and Bataan Death March Survivor
Jan Thompson | Founding President of the American Defenders of Bataan & Corregidor Memorial Society
Friday, May 1, 2015
12:30 PM – 2:00 PM
Bernstein-Offit Building, Room 500
1717 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20036
Please join the U.S.-Korea Institute at SAIS and Asia Policy Point for a panel discussion featuring Bataan Death March survivor Lester Tenney and documentary filmmaker Jan Thompson, who will discuss reconciliation efforts between POWs and Japan, as well as what is left to do. They will also address the idea of closure for both the victims of the war and the generations to come.
US, Japan unveil new defense guidelines
Xinhua, April 28, 2015
The United States and Japan on Monday announced new guidelines for bilateral defense cooperation, allowing Japan's self defense forces to take on more ambitious global role that the Shinzo Abe administration has been seeking.
Under the new guidelines, revised for the first time since 1997, Japan will have the rights to exercise collective self-defense, therefore being able to defend other countries that may come under attack, said the U.S. Defense Department in a news release. It also allows for increased regional and global cooperation in the U. S.-Japanese alliance.
A joint statement of the New Guidelines for U.S.-Japan Defense Cooperation was released after the U.S. and Japanese foreign and defense ministers met in New York City Monday morning.
"U.S. welcomes and supports the ongoing efforts to develop the legislation, which is to reflect Japan's policy of 'Proactive Contributions to Peace' and its July 2014 cabinet decision," the statement said.
The Abe administration, through reinterpreting the constitution in July last year, gave green light to the Self-Defense Forces ( SDF) to exercise the collective defense, which allows for Japan's involvement in the defense of its allies. Previously, Japan's war- renouncing constitution allows the SDF to use force only if Japan itself was directly threatened. The move evoked harsh criticism both from home and abroad.
Fang Yan, a Chinese political commentator in New York, told Xinhua that the new defense guidelines will allow Japan to expand its military force and to get involved in global issues.
"It not only aims to contain the influence of China but also seek to defend hegemony of U.S.-Japanese alliance in East Asia," he said. "It will also help U.S. in its military existence across the world."
[Japanese remilitarisation] [China confrontation] [US Japan alliance]
Expansion of Japan’s military role from regional to global
Posted on : Apr.27,2015 17:00 KST
Modified on : Apr.27,2015 17:00 KST
US-Japan missile technology cooperation on SM-3 interceptor missiles since 1987
A little over a year and a half ago on Oct. 3, 2013, South Korean received some shocking news like a bolt from the blue. “We welcome Japan’s efforts, including its exercise of collective self-defense,” came the message.
It was an open expression of support from the US for Japan’s new collective self-defense rights, with Washington declaring at a U.S.-Japan Security Consultative Committee (2+2) meeting that day that it would “greatly bolster the US-Japan alliance’s capabilities in responding to a changing security environment in the Asia-Pacific region.” Until then, the prevailing mood in South Korea had been that the US would not particularly welcome a greater military role for Japan as long as it continued to engage in historical revisionism as part of its push to “leave behind the postwar system.”
In preparing US Congress address, Abe reportedly looking to his grandfather
Posted on : Apr.27,2015 13:50 KST
Modified on : Apr.27,2015 13:50 KST
Nobusuke Kishi (1896~1987)
Who is Shinzo Abe adopting as a role model as he prepares for the first ever joint address of the US Senate and House of Representatives by a Japanese Prime Minister?
Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper reported on Apr. 25 that Abe has been consulting a Congressional address by his grandfather, onetime Prime Minister and Class A war crime suspect Nobusuke Kishi (1896-1987) as he fine-tunes the speech‘s text. Abe is scheduled to deliver the 40-minute-long speech in English before Congress on Apr. 29, the day after his summit with President Barack Obama as part of his US visit.
According to the report, Abe is referring to the text of an address delivered separately before the Senate and House by Kishi on June 20, 1957, and hearing opinions from associates and consultants as he works on revising his own speech. He has also listened to recordings of Kishi’s address in his presidential office, sources reported.
In his address, Kishi emphasized Japan’s strategic importance in the international environment of the times, with the US and Soviet Union locked in the fierce battle of the Cold War.
“International communism is using the intense nationalism of Asians in an attempt to conquer Asia. Japan can play an effective and constructive role in Asia as a faithful member of the free world,” he said in his speech.
Kishi also emphasized “future-oriented relations” with Washington.
“Friendly relations between Japan and the US, mutual respect and trust, and bonds of cooperation must be made even firmer,” he declared.
The Yomiuri Shimbun described Abe as being “struck by the content of his grandfather’s address stressing ‘future-oriented’ Japan-US relations just over a decade after the end of World War II.”
This suggests that the same concept of “future-oriented relations” parroted by Abe every time one of Japan’s neighbors demands an apology and remorse for the country’s historical actions can be traced back to his grandfather Kishi, whose address did not include any apology or remorse for the Pearl Harbor bombing carried out by the Hideki Tojo Cabinet - which he was a member of - or Japan‘s aggressions and warfare.
Abe’s visit appears likely to establish him as a historic figure on par with his own grandfather. Three years after returning from his US visit, Kishi revised the US-Japan Mutual Defense Assistance Agreement in January 1960 to incorporate bilateral terms requiring the Japan to provide the US with military bases and the US to assume responsibility for Japan’s defense. Abe looks set to go even farther by agreeing to an amendment to the two countries’ defense cooperation guidelines in which the Japan Self-Defense Forces - now empowered with collective self-defense authority - would provide rear support for the US military throughout the world. His goal with this would be the culmination of his grandfather Kishi‘s dream as Prime Minister: a US-Japan alliance on an equal footing
[Abe Shinzo] [Kishi Nobusuke] [Client]
In Indonesia speech, Abe makes no apology for colonial aggression
Posted on : Apr.23,2015 16:14 KST
Modified on : Apr.23,2015 16:14 KST
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe makes a speech at the Asian-African Summit in Jakarta, Indonesia, Apr. 21. (Reuters/Yonhap News)
In a speech on Apr. 22 marking the 60th anniversary of the Bandung Conference, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ultimately did not express “deep remorse” or express a “heartfelt apology” for Japan’s “colonial rule and aggression.”
There is a high possibility that Abe’s attitude toward history will also be expressed in his address to a joint session of the US Congress on Apr. 29 and in the statement he will release this August.
In the speech on Wednesday, Abe only mentioned “deep remorse for World War II” without apologizing for the country’s colonial rule. South Korean diplomats are now faced with the question of how to interpret this language.
Korea Riled as Abe Hints at No WWII Apology
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe suggested Monday he may not apologize for Japan's wartime atrocities during his speech in August marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.
Abe said in a TV interview on Monday there is "no need" to apologize again, though he upholds "the basic thinking" behind previous apologies.
A government official here said Tuesday that any failure by Japan to apologize for its atrocities or display a "forward-looking" stance on issues like Korean women forced into sexual slavery for the Imperial Army would bring Seoul-Tokyo ties to a grinding halt.
Vietnam: Okinawa's Forgotten War
The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 13, Issue. 15, No. 1, April 20, 2015
Evacuation of CIA personnel, Saigon, 29 April 1975. North Vietnamese tank entering Presidential Palace, Saigon, 30 April 1975.
On 30 April 1975, North Vietnamese troops and their supporters entered Saigon.
Their arrival ended three decades of conflict - including 10 years of direct U.S. intervention - which left as many as 3 million dead and countless others suffering from the legacy of PTSD, unexploded ordnance and Agent Orange.1
As the world remembers this 40th anniversary, all too often forgotten is the role of the Pentagon’s most important launch-pad for this failed war: Okinawa.
The Vietnam War wrought massive changes on the lives of the island’s 900,000 residents. Many of Okinawa’s current problems date back to this era and, if the history of the Vietnam War there continues to be ignored, the island’s wounds - in many ways as raw as those in southeast Asia and the U.S. - will continue to fester long into the future.
* * *
Between 1945 and 1972, Okinawa was under American governance or, as former U.S. ambassador to Tokyo, Edwin O. Reischauer, stated in 1969, the island was “a colony of one million Japanese.”2 Few U.S. officials - then or since - have referred so bluntly to the island’s geopolitical status, however his assessment was entirely accurate. On Okinawa, the U.S. authorities kept tight control on the media, they denied passports to those deemed critical of Washington and Okinawans had no power to elect the person who governed them - the U.S. High Commissioner.3
With the island protected by neither the constitutions of the U.S. or Japan, the Pentagon exploited this limbo by transforming Okinawa into its Keystone of the Pacific. Throughout the 1950s and ’60s, it stockpiled an unprecedented arsenal of chemical weapons and atomic warheads there - and it built more than 80 installations, which convinced many residents that Okinawa didn’t just have bases, the entire island was a base.4
The Pentagon had used Okinawa to stage the 1950-53 Korean War but it was during the Vietnam War that its military build-up truly bore fruit. The first combat troops to be dispatched to South Vietnam - including members of the 3rd Marine Division - came from Okinawa and, over the following years, hundreds of thousands more Americans transited through Okinawa. Tragically, many of those killed in action also passed back through the island, which hosted some of the military’s mortuary services.
[Okinawa] [Bases] [Vietnam]
The Wired Seas of Asia: China, Japan, the US and Australia
The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 13, Issue. 15, No. 2, April 20, 2015
While it looks like China has the US and Japan on the defensive in pushing its maritime claims and expanding its maritime power, a closer look suggests the two powers have the Chinese cornered.
It’s about “humanitarian civil aid”, Australia’s Defence Department would have us believe about Exercise Balikatan which began in and around the Philippines on April 20. And indeed about 70 army engineers were duly sent to work on projects in Filipino villages on Luzon and Palawan when Australia joined the militaries of the United States and the Philippines for 10 days of exercises.
Practising for “natural disasters” has become something of a cover story, it seems, for what is going on in the tightening network of American alliances in the Western Pacific since Barack Obama announced the annual rotation of a US Marine Corps task force through Darwin in November 2011 as a part of a strategic “pivot” or “rebalancing” to Asia.
Photo 1. AP-3C Orion
But if it were just about cleaning up after cyclones, it is unlikely Canberra would be sending along one of the Royal Australian Air Force’s AP-3C Orions to Exercise Balikatan as well as the engineers. Bristling with electronic, infra-red and magnetic sensors, acoustic buoys to drop, and on-board computing power, the aircraft is one of the world’s most advanced aerial platforms for detecting hostile ships and submarines and vacuuming up local communications.
In fact, the sea and air elements of Balikatan play out close to where Chinese dredgers have been frantically pumping sand onto coral reefs in the Spratley Islands, also claimed by the Philippines and other Southeast Asian states. The Filipinos themselves say the exercise will “increase our capability to defend our country from external aggression”.
The exercise comes just after the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington institution close to the thinking in the Pentagon, published before and after satellite pictures of the Chinese reclamation work in the Spratly Islands, and the visiting chief of the US Navy’s Pacific fleet, Admiral Harry Harris, told a Canberra audience about the “Great Wall of Sand” China was building in the disputed islands far out from its coast, studded with ports and airstrips to intensify control over the South China Sea.
[China confrontation] [Intelligence] [Seapower]
US warming up for Shinzo Abe’s visit to Washington later this month
Posted on : Apr.16,2015 17:10 KST
Modified on : Apr.16,2015 17:10 KST
Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken
With Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s scheduled to visit the US at the end of this month, the US government is working overtime to set the mood for Abe.
On Apr. 14, the US State Department held a town hall debate at the Dean Acheson Auditorium to celebrate the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the US and Japan.
In terms of format, Monday’s event was very unusual. In general, debates about the relationship with a particular country are organized by a private sector think tank, which brings in senior government officials as keynote speakers.
But the event on Monday was hosted by the State Department itself, with the Japan-United States Friendship Commission (JUSFC), while Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken delivered the keynote address, increasing the gravity of the occasion.
The Japan-United States Friendship Commission is an agency established in 1975 with funds provided by Congress with the goal of promoting academic exchange between the two countries.
[US Japan alliance] [Abe Shinzo] [Sidelined]
Japanese WWII surrender photos debut
Xinhua, April 18, 2015
A museum in central China's Hunan Province debuted 32 photos on Friday that were donated by a U.S. veteran documenting Japan's surrender in the province in August 1945.
Japan jets scramble at Cold-War levels as Chinese and Russian incursions increase
(Reuters) - Japan's air force said on Wednesday said jet fighter scrambles have reached a level not seen since the height of the Cold War three decades ago as Russian bombers probe its northern skies and Chinese combat aircraft intrude into its southern air space.
In the year ending March 31, Japanese fighters scrambled 944 times, 16 percent more than the same period the previous year, the country's Self Defence Force said.
That is the second highest number of encounters ever recorded over the 12-month period since records began in 1958 and only one less than a record 944 scrambles in 1984.
"It represents a sharp increase," an SDF spokesman said at a press briefing. While not a direct measure of Russian and Chinese military activity, the numbers nonetheless point to an increase in operations by Japan's two big neighbors.
While coping with the growing military might of a more assertive China which is increasing defense outlays by more than 10 percent a year, Japan is also contending with a military resurgence of a Cold War foe that has gathered pace since Moscow annexed the Crimean peninsula from the Ukraine last year.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [NCW]
Poll: Americans divided over Japan's military role in Asia
April 08, 2015
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Seventy years after the U.S. defeated Japan in World War II, Americans are divided over Japan playing a more active military role in Asia--and most Japanese are opposed.
The results of a Pew Research Center poll released April 7 in Washington, D.C., come as the two countries are finalizing a revision of their mutual defense guidelines that is expected to expand the scope of Japan's military activities in the region.
The telephone survey of 1,000 Americans and 1,000 Japanese also found a high degree of trust between the two nations, a shift from the animosity that prevailed in the 1980s and 1990s when the two countries were embroiled in trade disputes.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Public opinion]
Anchoring last hopes on Abe, families of abductees vexed at lack of progress
April 04, 2015
THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held his first meeting in a year with families of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea, but he was unable to offer even a glimmer of hope about the eventual return of their loved ones.
“Abduction victims and their families are now in an extreme situation both mentally and physically,” said Shigeo Iizuka, the 76-year-old head of the Association of the Families of Victims Kidnapped by North Korea, during the talks with Abe on April 3 at the prime minister’s office in Tokyo.
His remarks were in response to Abe's comment at the opening of the gathering in which he expressed bitter disappointment that "no investigation results that include specific information (on abductees) have been presented so far.”
[Abductees] [Abe Shinzo] [Manipulation]
'Quiet diplomacy' with Japan proves to be ineffective
By Yi Whan-woo
The foreign ministry is facing calls for a drastic change in its "quiet diplomacy" with Japan.
Kim Yeol-su, an international politics professor at Sungshin Women's University, said Japan's recent actions related to Dokdo can be blamed, in part, on Korea's failure to deal with Japan's provocations properly in the past.
"The Abe government has made a series of diplomatic provocations, including its revision of its pacifist Constitution to give it a larger military role."
The ministry disagreed with that assessment.
"I can't agree with those who argue that the government is adhering to a policy of ‘quiet diplomacy,'" foreign ministry spokesman Noh Kwang-il said Tuesday. "We're working closely with the related ministries to deal with Japan in a calm, yet unyielding manner."
[Japan SK] [Japanese remilitarisation] [Dokdo]
Repatriation But Not “Return”: A Japanese Brazilian Dekasegi Goes Back to Brazil
The predicted impending end of dekasegi marks an opportune moment to explore the almost unstudied repatriation of migrants from their country of ethnic origin (Japan) to their country of citizenship (primarily Brazil). I consider issues of adjustment and identity upon “return” through a case study of “Diogo Pacheco Moriyama,” a mestiço Japanese Brazilian who has lived and worked in Brazil, Japan, and the United States.
Keywords: Japan, Brazil, Japanese Brazilian, ethnic return migration, dekasegi, returnee syndrome
In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Japan dispatched well over one million citizens beyond its archipelago in an effort to relieve perceived problems of scarce resources, overpopulation, and social unrest. The majority of emigrants who relocated to Japan’s Asian empire were repatriated after 1945.1 However, approximately half a million remained more or less permanently in the Americas, giving rise to Japan’s most significant contemporary diaspora. Within the Western Hemisphere, Brazil received the largest number of Japanese: by the early 1940s, nearly two hundred thousand emigrants had settled there (Tsuchida 1998, 78). World War II severed Japan’s diplomatic and economic relations with Brazil and its neighbors and created a new domestic need for labor. Together, these factors temporarily interrupted Japanese settlement in the New World. However, in the early 1950s migration from Japan to the Americas resumed, and over the next two decades more than fifty thousand Japanese nationals came to join earlier arrivals in Brazil (Lesser 1999; Lone 2004; Masterson 2004; Maruyama 2010).
DPRK Notifies Japanese Side of Its Stand on Grave Political Provocation and Encroachment on State Sovereignty
Pyongyang, April 2 (KCNA) -- The DPRK sent a notice to the Japanese side on Thursday through diplomatic channel, clarifying its stand on Japan's grave political provocation and encroachment on the state sovereignty of the DPRK which are going beyond tolerance limit.
Recalling that the DPRK is sincerely implementing the DPRK-Japan Stockholm Agreement, the notice said that Japan is internationalizing the abduction issue and hyping it as a main issue at the UN human rights forum in violation of the agreement in which both sides decided to settle the issue, thus making it hard to trust the dialogue partner.
Strongly denouncing the Japanese police for perpetrating the unheard-of encroachment on the sovereignty of the DPRK by searching the houses of the leading officials of the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan who are deputies to the Supreme People's Assembly of the DPRK, the notice demanded the Japanese government make a thoroughgoing probe into the case and make an apology.
Under such situation it is hard to hold DPRK-Japanese inter-governmental dialogue, it said.
[News analysis] Changes in Japan’s defense policy could reflect US wishes
Posted on : Mar.31,2015 15:41 KST
Richard Armitage, former US Deputy Secretary of State
Washington has described Japan’s peace constitution as “impediment to the alliance”, and encouraged Tokyo to take a bigger role
“Mr. Armitage, allow me to respond. Japan will not be a second-tier country either now or in the future. I came back, and Japan will do the same.”
It was Feb. 22, 2013, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was on his first trip to the US. The place that Abe visited after his summit with US President Barack Obama was the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), an American think tank in the areas of diplomacy and security.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [US global strategy]
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Japan’s 1968: A Collective Reaction to Rapid Economic Growth in an Age of Turmoil
Translation by Nick Kapur with Samuel Malissa and Stephen Poland
Tomatsu Shomei, Untitled from the Protest Series, 1969.
In 1967, 1968, and 1969, Japan was wracked by student uprisings that ultimately forced the closure of university campuses nationwide. Japan’s student uprisings more or less coincided with the so-called “Global Revolutions of 1968” raging around the world, including (among many others) civil rights and anti-Vietnam War protests in the United States, the Cultural Revolution in China, large uprisings of students and workers in France and Germany, and the “Prague Spring” in Czechoslovakia. Recent research on 1968 has focused on the common characteristics and the mutually reinforcing or convergent aspects of these many uprisings all around the world.i This has also been the major insight offered by recent research on the Japanese experience of 1968 published in English.ii
While it has become popular, however, to seek out underlying similarities between diverse social movements occurring around the world in and around the year 1968, especially within the context of global Cold War tensions, there remains value in investigating the ways these social movements were grounded in their own local social, political, and economic contexts. Accordingly, this article examines “Japan’s 1968” within the context of Japan.
Balloons and Tape as Hate Speech: American and Japanese Rightwing Responses to the Okinawan Anti-Base Movement
Mar. 23, 2015
Sunagawa Maki and Daniel Broudy
Communications scholar Herbert Schiller wrote about the “informational infrastructure” that the centers of social and political power have and can easily access to get their positions heard, understood, and hopefully accepted by mainstream society. Such is the case with the ongoing issue of Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Futenma in Okinawa and its planned relocation to Henoko, an area in the northern part of the main island presently enduring a kind of environmental assault in the name of economic development and national security.
In the face of popular opposition to the Henoko plan, both official U.S. military propaganda as well as local unofficial news sources have been necessary tools used in the manufacturing process of hoped-for public consent to the controversial relocation policy. In Okinawa, the discourse practices through which the appearance of consent is conjured up by the powerful has exposed troubling flaws in both the system and its representatives who appear willing to obscure the results of democratic processes. Character assassination is but one tactic.
The Asia-Pacific War and the Failed Second Anglo-Japanese Civilian Exchange, 1942-45
The proposed 2nd Anglo-Japanese civilian exchange, originally planned for October 1942, never eventuated partly due to differences in the interpretations of what constitutes a merchant seaman and views on whether the Hague Convention should apply. The failure of the exchange meant that over 3,000 Japanese and British civilian internees as well as another 2,000 or so Japanese and American civilian internees remained in internment camps until at least August 1945. At the heart of the negotiations were 331 Japanese pilots and pearl divers who had been employed in the pearling industry until the outbreak of war. The impasse would impact attempts at civilian exchange involving multiple powers throughout the Asia-Pacific War.
Keywords: civilian internment; Japanese; Australia; exchange
The outbreak of military conflict inevitably finds civilians living in what has become enemy territory. During both world wars, civilians were detained by the enemy and held in internment camps. During the Second World War, Japanese civilians were interned in camps in, among other countries, New Zealand, Australia, India, Canada, and the United States, and Allied civilians were interned in camps in Indonesia (the then Dutch East Indies), Hong Kong and the Philippines.1 During the course of the war, the Allied and Axis powers undertook a small number of civilian exchanges which enabled the repatriation of civilians. In each case, civilians were exchanged for civilians, often on a one-for-one basis. This contrasts with post-1945 exchanges which sometimes involve the exchange of civilians for combatants (e.g. exchanges between Israel and Syria and Egypt in the 1960s and Iran and Syria in 2013) and frequently on a basis other than a one-to-one exchange.
In September 1942, the first of what was hoped to be a series of exchanges of Japanese and British civilian citizens was held in Lourenco Marques in Portuguese East Africa (now Mozambique). Officially known as the “Anglo-Japan Civilian Exchange”, the exchange involved the repatriation of around 1,800 Japanese citizens resident across the British Empire, including Australia, India and Singapore and a similar number of British citizens who were in territory under Japanese control. Shortly after this exchange was completed, negotiations for a second exchange began. However, due to a combination of stubbornness by the Australian, British and Japanese governments and differences in the interpretation of what classified persons as merchant seamen, the second exchange never eventuated. At the heart of the failure of the negotiations were 331 boat pilots and pearl divers who had worked in the pearling industry until they were interned in Australia upon the outbreak of hostilities. These men were nominated by the Japanese government to be repatriated as part of the exchange but the Australian government insisted that they were merchant seamen and therefore considered prisoners of war and so ineligible to be included in a civilian exchange.
This paper looks at the negotiations between the United Kingdom - as the chief negotiator of the exchange - Australia and Japan over Australia’s decision to classify the boat pilots and pearl divers as merchant seamen and the consequences of that decision. It shows that Australia’s position was initially supported – if not encouraged - by the British government though London later pressured Australia to change its mind when the Japanese government nominated the men to be included in the exchange and refused to participate unless they were included. The Australian government’s position was steadfastly supported by General MacArthur, Commander-in-Chief, South West Pacific Area, and it was only after he withdrew his opposition to the repatriation of the men that Australia agreed to allow them to be repatriated. By that time however, Japan no longer had the shipping available to carry out the exchange and consequently it did not go ahead. The failure of the exchange meant that 1,600 Allied civilians interned in Japan and Hong Kong among other places remained in detention until at least August 1945 as did a similar number of Japanese residents across the British Empire.
“All Japan” versus “All Okinawa” - Abe Shinzo’s Military-Firstism
A grand, and massively unequal, struggle over the future of Japan is underway. At sea, a miniscule flotilla of canoes and kayaks confronts a solid wall of National Coastguard ships and on land a few hundred protesters face off 24 hours a day against riot police outside Camp Schwab Marine Corps base, trying in vain to halt the delivery of materials for the construction of a new Marine Corps base on Oura Bay.
As Okinawa struggles to assert and give shape to its new form of “All Okinawa” politics, its struggle is waged against the backdrop of nation-wide indifference, reinforced by the silence of the press, amounting to a national consensus of support for the discrimination and violent repression meted out by the be government, a contemporary soryokusen (All-Out War) in which Abe’s “All Japan” brings to bear the “irresistible force” of state power upon the “immovable object” of “All Okinawa” resistance.
Should the state now proceed to crush, divide, and remove that resistance, the crystallization of an unprecedented prefectural consensus, the humiliation would likely outrank all those of previous history – whether assimilation by punishment in 1879, reversion without reversion in 1972, or return of Futenma, repeatedly promised but repeatedly denied and postponed, since 1996 – since never has there been a consensus across Okinawan society in the past. By the end of 2015, Okinawan constitutional and democratic forces will either have forced unprecedented change of direction upon the national government or they will have suffered devastating defeat.
[Okinawa] [Abe Shinzo] [Japanese remilitarisation]
Scandal threatens Abe and Japan’s political stability
11 March 2015
Author: Brad Glosserman, Pacific Forum CSIS
The greatest threat to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his ambitious agenda is political instability in Tokyo. The spectre of such instability is re-emerging after a remarkable period of quiet as cabinet ministers in Abe’s government are being tarred with political funding scandals. Individually, the offences are insignificant. But, cumulatively, they are a distraction from the important work at hand and a regrettable return to politics as usual in Japan — at least before Abe took office. They could even derail Abe’s position as prime minister if the opposition within his party feels sufficiently emboldened.
[Abe Shinzo] [Japanese remilitarisation] [US global strategy] [Corruption]
Tokyo 1960: Days of Rage & Grief: Hamaya Hiroshi’s Photos of the Anti-Security-Treaty Protests
Introduction by John Dower
In earlier issues of APJ, we introduced three image-driven treatments of protest in prewar and postwar Japan: Andrew Gordon, “Social Protest in Imperial Japan: The Hibiya Riot of 1905”; Christopher Gerteis, “Political Protest in Interwar Japan: Posters & Handbills from the Ohara Collection (1920s–1930s,” part 1 & part 2; Linda Hoaglund, “Protest Art in 1950s Japan: The Forgotten Reportage Painters.” The following “visual essay” by Justin Jesty, also from MIT’s online Visualizing Cultures project [visualizingcultures.mit.edu], addresses perhaps the most famous of all 20th-century Japanese political protests: the 1960 demonstrations against renewal of the US-Japan Mutual Security Treaty. Based on unrestricted access to the classic photojournalism of Hamaya Hiroshi, “Tokyo 1960: Days of Rage and Grief” is a vivid reminder of the breadth and dynamism of grassroots movements in early postwar Japan.
In May and June of 1960 Japan was rocked by some of the largest protests in its history. They erupted over the passage of a revised security treaty between Japan and the United States, titled the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security (Sogo Kyoryoku Oyobi Anzen Hosho Joyaku), and have become known as the “Anpo” protests from the Japanese shorthand for that treaty. Hundreds of thousands of people came onto the streets day after day, ten million signed petitions against the treaty, thousands were injured, and one person was killed. The protests forced cancellation of a planned visit to Japan by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, toppled the conservative prime minister Kishi Nobusuke, and have come to be recognized as the most significant political crisis of the postwar period.
[US Japan alliance] [Public opinion]
Japan Warns N.Korea Over Sanctions
Tokyo has told Pyongyang it could extend sanctions which expire in April, Kyodo News reported Friday.
Japan imposed sanctions banning imports from the isolated country in 2006 and exports to it in 2009 over the North's nuclear and missile programs, and has renewed them every two years.
But it partially lifted bans on human exchanges, money transfer and the entry of ships in July last year, when the North agreed to probe abductions of Japanese citizens in the 1970s and 80s.
The warning that the sanctions may be renewed aims to prod North Korea to make progress in the investigation, Kyodo added.
A Cabinet meeting is expected to endorse the renewal in early April, unless there is palpable progress in the probe. The three provisions will remain lifted until the investigation comes to an end in July.
Japanese government moving toward “forcible inspections” of N. Korean vessels
Posted on : Feb.28,2015 16:32 KST
Legislation could be revised to allow inspection of vessels in waters near Japan even without the captain’s permission
The Japanese government has adopted a policy of carrying out “forcible inspections” of North Korean vessels in the event of an emergency on the Korean Peninsula, a newspaper reported. Since compulsory inspections of another country’s vessels during wartime is regarded as an exercise of force in international law, there are growing concerns that Japan could intervene militarily in the event of an incident on the Korean Peninsula.
On Feb. 27, Japanese newspaper the Mainichi Shimbun reported that the Japanese government had initiated discussions with the ruling party to revise current legislation governing the inspection of vessels. The government hopes to revise the law to relax the scope and conditions for inspecting vessels from other countries, which are currently limited to emergencies taking place around Japan.
Since “situations in areas surrounding Japan” refers to emergencies occurring on the Korean Peninsula or Taiwan, the attempt to revise the law is thought to mean that Japan would forcibly stop and search suspicious North Korean vessels passing through Japanese waters or through international waters nearby in the event of a war on the Korean Peninsula.
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Okinawa: State of Emergency
Feb. 12, 2015
C. Douglas Lummis
February 10, 2015: Outside the gate of the US Marine Corp’s Camp Schwab at Henoko in northern Okinawa a sign announced that this was the 220th day of the sit-in there. Next to it stood an elderly man holding a flag bearing the words, DO NOT DISCRIMINATE AGAINST OKINAWANS. He told me he had not been given it by any organisation, but had had it made with his own money. “This is it”, he said to me urgently. “This is the issue!”
His flag symbolises the sea change which the Okinawan anti-base movement has undergone in the last fifteen years or so, a change in thinking that has led to a major political realignment, which in turn has affected the shape of the increasingly desperate political confrontation taking place there now.
Briefly stated, for many years Okinawan politics was a contest between the anti-war, anti base progressives and the fewer but richer conservatives, who didn’t much mind the bases so long as the money kept coming in. Then in 1995 an Okinawan elementary school girl was gang raped by three GIs, and the island exploded. An all-Okinawa protest rally was held, which was attended by progressives and conservatives alike - some 70,000 people, which is a huge number in a population of 1,300,000. The US and Japanese governments realised they had to do something.
What they came up with was to promise to close the US Marine Corps Air Station at Futenma, smack in the middle of densely populated Ginowan City in central Okinawa. People rejoiced - for a day, until on the following day they learned that the air facility was not to be taken out of the Prefecture, but relocated in the village of Henoko, in Nago City, up north. Joy was replaced by outrage.
Abe acts quickly to exploit Japan’s ‘nightmare’
by Jeff Kingston
Special To The Japan Times
Feb 7, 2015
On adjacent televisions at my gym, I watched breaking news on the beheading of journalist Kenji Goto by the Islamic State group next to a “One Piece” anime segment in which fresh-faced youth defended their boat from marauding pirates. The kids routed them in a jiffy and suffered no casualties, a metaphorical moment where reality and fantasy collided.
The Islamic State has vowed to target Japanese all over the world because they have joined the American-led coalition against the terrorist group. Just before beheading Goto, his masked executioner declared, “Let the nightmare for Japan begin.” His murder has shocked the nation and sharpened divisions on Japanese security policy. However, since Goto’s reporting focused on the horrific humanitarian consequences of war, his mother and colleagues have expressed dismay that he is being used as a martyr to justify the move to shed pacifism and embrace a more assertive military posture.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Abe Shinzo] [Hostage]
China fears Japan will use hostage crisis to drop pacifist policies
By Stuart Leavenworth
McClatchy Foreign Staff February 3, 2015 Updated 2 hours ago
BEIJING — When news broke Sunday that Islamic State militants had beheaded journalist Kenji Goto after killing another Japanese citizen, much of the world condemned the executions and offered Japan condolences.
Not China. In Beijing, concerns over Tokyo’s possible response to the beheadings – a buildup of Japan’s military – trumped diplomatic niceties.
On Tuesday, Global Times, an arm of the government-run People’s Daily, published a commentary headlined, “Will hostage crisis work in Abe’s favor?” In it, a university professor questioned whether Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe might exploit the situation to beef up his country’s military and explore “a new model” for national security. It was the second time in as many days that the paper had taken that tack.
In an editorial Monday, Global Times had been quick to suggest that Abe would seize on the crisis to bulk up Japan’s military.
Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2015/02/03/255366/china-fears-japan-will-use-hostage.html#storylink=cpy
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Hostage]
Washington should take peril of Japanese re-militarization more seriously
Source: Global Times Published: 2015-2-3 19:58:02
Speculation has been mounting for quite some time among East Asian countries as to what Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will say on August 15 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII. When Abe on a TV political debate show recently hinted that the so-called Abe statement may drop some key words and phrases of remorse and apology in the previous Murayama and Koizumi statements such as "heartfelt apology," he once again triggered disappointment in neighboring states.
Meanwhile, it seems that there are some big and worrying gaps over Japan's attitude between Asian countries and the US.
Contrary to frustrated emotions in Asia over the slow pace of Tokyo's remorse for its wartime crimes, and amid the rapid emergence of its right-wing forces, Washington does not seem to take it seriously and few Americans are speaking on the issue.
There is no denying that the US is not pleased with Abe's and other Japanese right-wing politicians' view of history. For one thing, the US and Japan were opponents during WWII, and it was Japan that launched a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, provoking the war against the US. And Washington finds Tokyo's perfunctory attitude over historic issues incomprehensible.
Moreover, Japan's behavior has directly led to a complicated relationship between the US and South Korea, which is a major concern for the US.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Alliance] [US global strategy]
Japan’s Prime Minister Knew He Was Putting Hostage Lives at Risk
Japan’s media kept quiet about the kidnapping in Syria after being asked to show concern for the lives of the hostages. Why couldn’t their prime minister do the same?
TOKYO—The Japanese government knew as early as mid-November that both Kenji Goto and Haruna Yukawa were hostages of ISIS, but its efforts to negotiate for their safe return were conducted in secret.
Japan’s media were warned by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to keep silent or risk the captives’ lives. Yet Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ignored that same explicit advice from his ministry and, in what some described as a “giddy” mood, he embarked last month on a long-planned Middle East tour.
The tragic results for Goto and Yukawa are now all too well known. And Prime Minister Abe declared himself “speechless” on Sunday, after video of Goto’s murder was posted by the so-called Islamic State. He insisted on his “indignation over this immoral and heinous act of terrorism.” But at the same time he has used the hostage crisis to serve his long-standing goal: making formally pacifist Japan once again a military power to be reckoned with on the world stage.
The January 26 issue of the weekly magazine Shukan Post details how the Ministry of Foreign Affairs asked the editors in November 2014 not to write about Goto’s capture. The article has a provocative headline: “Prime Minister Abe Laughs, ‘Terrorism? I’m Lucky.’”
[Abe Shinzo] [Japanese remilitarisation] [Hostage]
Abe, ISIS, and Japanese remilitarisation
RT interview segment with Tim Beal, 4th February 2015
U.S. would welcome Japan air patrols in South China Sea
By Tim Kelly and Nobuhiro Kubo
Tokyo Thu Jan 29, 2015 6:46am EST
(Reuters) - The United States would welcome a Japanese extension of air patrols into the South China Sea as a counterweight to a growing fleet of Chinese vessels pushing China's territorial claims in the region, a senior U.S. Navy officer told Reuters.
Regular patrols by Japanese aircraft only reach into the East China Sea, where Japan is at loggerheads with China over disputed islands. Extending surveillance flights into the South China Sea would almost certainly increase tension between the world's second- and third-largest economies.
"I think allies, partners and friends in the region will look to the Japanese more and more as a stabilizing function," Admiral Robert Thomas, commander of the Seventh Fleet and the top U.S. navy officer in Asia, said in an interview.
"In the South China Sea, frankly, the Chinese fishing fleet, the Chinese coastguard and the (navy) overmatch their neighbors," Thomas said.
China's foreign ministry said it had no immediate comment on the interview.
Thomas's comments show Pentagon support for a key element of Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's push for a more active military role in the region. That is crucial because U.S and Japanese officials are negotiating new bilateral security guidelines expected to give Japan a bigger role in the alliance, 70 years after the end of World War Two.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [China confrontation] [US Japan alliance] [South China Sea]
Abe wants to enable SDF to rescue citizens overseas
by Mizuho Aoki
Feb 2, 2015
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Monday he wants to discuss granting the Self-Defense Forces a mandate to evacuate Japanese nationals from crises overseas.
His comments came on the heels of filmed beheadings of two Japanese citizens by Islamic State extremists.
Abe has long argued the SDF should be given greater roles to defend the lives of Japanese overseas by removing strict legal restrictions on its operations. His efforts have raised concerns among liberal pacifists in Japan.
He told the Upper House Budget Committee on Monday it is important to consider such changes for the SDF’s mandate given the events of the past two weeks. He said it is his duty to protect the lives of Japanese nationals worldwide, describing himself as the “chief executive” of that assignment.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Pretext]
Sink the Asahi! The ‘Comfort Women’ Controversy and the Neo-nationalist Attack
How did Japan’s 135-year-old liberal flagship end up in the crosshairs of neo-nationalists?
David McNeill and Justin McCurry
The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 13, Issue 5, No. 1, February 2, 2015.
Before last year it is doubtful that many Japanese knew the location of Glendale, California – an L.A. suburb with a population of 200,000 known for its large Asian population and the Big Boy fast-food chain. That’s changed, thanks to an unimposing bronze statue of a young woman installed last year in a local park that has become a microcosm of the toxic history war between Japan and South Korea.
The statue was meant to commemorate the suffering of women herded into wartime Japanese brothels – and to symbolize justice denied. Since the unveiling, however, the city has been targeted by diplomatic protests, hundreds of angry letters and a lawsuit demanding its removal. Japanese nationalist politicians even say the statue has triggered discrimination against Japanese schoolchildren in America.
The dispute took a farcical turn on Oct. 21 last year when Glendale City Council heard testimony from long-winded rightist video blogger Tony Marano. Marano travelled hundreds of miles from his home and took a break from warning against nefarious communists, Koreans who “eat dogs off the street” and President Obama’s plot to turn America into a Muslim nation, to pick up the cudgel against the hated memorial.
Known among nationalist circles in Japan as the “Texas Oyaji”, Marano appeared to believe he was speaking on behalf of an entire country as he told the council that the statue “has been perceived by Japan and by the people of Japan as an insult and a slight to their honor.” He urged the council to demonstrate that the city was not “bashing” Japan by removing it.
How did it come to this – a nondescript community on the edge of Los Angeles’ massive urban sprawl becoming the focus of a struggle between two East Asian nations for the world’s sympathy, if not its conscience? If rightist revisionists are to be believed, the Asahi Shimbun is to blame.
Citizenship and North Korea in the Zainichi Korean Imagination: The Art of Insook Kim
Young Min Moon with an Introduction by Sonia Ryang
Introducing Young Min Moon’s Reflection on the Photographic Art of Insook Kim
An article in the Hankyoreh a few months back caught my attention. The story is about Ko Kang-ho and Ri Mi-oh, a married couple of Zainichi Koreans living in Kyoto. Recently Mr. Ko had filed a lawsuit in Seoul City Court requesting that his South Korean nationality be annulled. Ko had become a South Korean national upon his parents’ acquiring that nationality after the 1965 normalization of diplomatic relations between Japan and the ROK. Now he has chosen to become stateless, the option which in theory is available to Zainichi, who were completely stateless between the years 1945 and 1965. Thereafter, only those who acquired South Korean nationality (including Mr. Ko’s family) obtained permanent residence in Japan, leaving a large number of Zainichi continuing to be stateless, the situation only to be addressed in the 1990s In 2012 this unprecedented request was denied in the Supreme Court of South Korea. Mr. Ko’s action was inspired by his wife, Ms. Ri, who has lived all her life stateless: she has no nationality, retaining only the Chosen identification in her Japanese alien registration. Excerpts from the Hankyoreh:
In the heart of Kyoto, Japan’s capital for a thousand years, many traditional homes can still be found in the narrow alleys around Nijo Castle, a World Heritage Site where Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu is believed to have stayed. The house, bearing a nameplate reading “Ko Kang-ho/Lee Mi-o,” was built about 90 years ago[….]
“Welcome.” The voice that rang out was high and gentle. This was Kang-ho’s wife Ri Mi-oh, 55. A doctor of respiratory medicine, she treats patients with terminal cancer at a hospital in Kobe, a city in nearby Hyogo Prefecture. The date of the visit happened to be a national holiday: National Foundation Day, commemorating the accession of Japan’s first emperor Jimmu. Other holidays include Showa Day, which honors the birthday of the late emperor Hirohito, and the Emperor’s Birthday, for current emperor Akihito. Kang-ho, who has run a dental clinic for over two decades in Otsu, a city in Shiga Prefecture, did not take the day off for holidays connected with the Japanese imperial family.
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South Korean Aegis destroyers could be object of defense by Japanese navy
Posted on : Jan.28,2015 16:47 KST
Tokyo is planning to revise a law to include any vessels contributing to Japanese defense
The Japanese government and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) are currently discussing the idea of including a provision about protecting South Korean Aegis destroyers in a revised version of the Self-Defense Forces Law, which will be submitted to the regular session of the Japanese Diet, newspaper reports indicate.
South Korea uses the Aegis destroyers to monitor ballistic missile launches by North Korea.
“The Japanese government notified the ruling party of its plan to include a clause that would allow the Japan Self-Defense Forces to defend the warships of countries other than the US in a revision to legislation pertaining to national security, including the Self-Defense Forces Act, which it plans to submit to the Diet during the current session,” the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper said in a Jan. 27 report.
“There is a growing sense inside the Japanese government that the militaries of other countries, including Australia, are likely to participate in a missile defense system. As a result, it began reviewing the idea of revising the law to enable the Japan Self-Defense Forces to defend the military units of other countries - not just the US - to ensure Japan’s security,” the newspaper said, explaining why the Japanese government had decided on this course of action.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Missile defense] [Pretext]
Where do North Korea-Japan relations stand today?
Posted on : Jan.23,2015 14:21 KST
Masao Okonogi, professor emeritus of Keio University in Japan, second from the left, speaks during a lecture titled, “Where do North Korea-Japan relations stand today?” in a small conference room of the East Asia Foundation, Jan. 21. (by Dan Sizer, Hankyoreh English intern)
After two hours of discussion among experts on East Asian affairs from South Korea, Japan, and Germany, the answer was inconclusive: we can only wait and see.
The future of relations between North Korea and Japan depends on the findings of a report that North Korea is overdue in releasing about Japanese nationals in North Korea, particularly those who were abducted during the Cold War.
On Jan. 21 at the East Asia Foundation in Seoul, Masao Okonogi, professor emeritus of Keio University in Japan and one of the leading scholars on Japan-North Korea relations, gave a lecture and answered questions on the current state of affairs between the Pyongyang and Tokyo.
There was not an empty seat in the small conference room of the East Asia Foundation, an organization founded by Hyundai Motor Group CEO and chairman Chung Mong-koo, to “advance peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula and East Asia.” Prof. Okonogi spoke for 45 minutes to a wide mix of listeners, among them diplomats, scholars, and journalists, before opening the floor to questions. Yonsei University Professor Moon Chung-in moderated and provided periodic summaries in English.
Okonogi listed two events that are fundamental in understanding why Japan-North Korea relations are at their current stalemate. Both have origins in the Cold War.
First, nukes. North Korea’s military agenda and nuclear program is the first hurdle that must be overcome if Japan and North Korea are to normalize relations.
Second, and most relevant to the current state of impasse, is the issue of Japanese nationals in North Korea. These Japanese include those left behind after WW2, those kidnapped during the Cold War, spouses of North Koreans, and the remains of those who have since died in North Korea.
The abductee issue came to the forefront of Japanese politics in the early 2000’s when Japan’s prime minister at the time, Junichiro Koizumi, began pursuing normalization. However, when Koizumi inquired about the whereabouts of 17 kidnapped Japanese, North Korea answered that five survived, eight were dead, and four were unaccounted for. This answer, and the questions it inspired, caused uproar throughout Japan and halted any chance of normalizing relations.
The same issue is what is causing the current diplomatic standstill.
At a meeting in Stockholm last May, North Korea agreed to begin a special investigation of Japanese citizens within North Korea, and in return Japan would begin lifting sanctions against the North. The first report was due by August, but as of yet North Korea has released no findings.
Prof. Okonogi posited that there is reason for both Pyongyang and Tokyo to be nervous due to the possible repercussions that the report could have. For North Korea, there is the likelihood that Japan will not be happy with the contents and stop dialogue altogether. The Japanese government worries that the Japanese public might divide after the report is released. Both sides suffer equally from a lack of trust. That, Okonogi says, is the biggest hurdle to overcome.
“DPRK-Japan negotiations are very difficult negotiations, because they are negotiating from a position of mutual distrust,” he said.
During the Q&A experts concluded that if Seoul and Washington don’t reciprocate Pyongyang’s attempts to improve ties, the North Korean leader will continue to follow his father’s agenda of military buildup and brinksmanship. They also said that Seoul would benefit from a more positive approach to North Korea.
By Dan Sizer, Hankyoreh English intern
Nominating Article 9 for the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize
Jan. 19, 2015
Last April, the Nobel Peace Prize Committee selected for contention Japanese citizens working to conserve Article 9, Japan’s long-standing constitutional prohibition against waging war.
Although trite, at certain moments original definitions are helpful. In his final will, dated November 27, 1895, the Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel stipulated that the bulk of his wealth should be used for five prizes — and, without explanation, one for “peace.” Award of the prize since to individuals such as Theodore Roosevelt and Henry Kissinger, whom many equate with war, has raised eyebrows about its virtue. Notwithstanding, Nobel’s initial terms that the award go to someone who has “done the most or the best work for the fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding of peace congresses” continues to make it synonymous with hope — as in the case of 2014’s worthy winners, Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi, and such earlier recipients as Martin Luther King Jr. and Albert Schweitzer.
Following Alfred Nobel’s aims to the letter of his words, no person or group of people more than Japanese citizens who work to preserve Article 9’s renunciation of a state’s right to commit extreme violence seems more worthy.
The text is worth quoting both as an ideal and to recall the many ways in which the principle has been, and continues to be challenged in Japan:
ARTICLE 9. Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes. To accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.
Anti-base protests flare at Futenma relocation site as survey work gets under way
January 16, 2015
The Asahi Shimbun
NAGO, Okinawa Prefecture--Protesters and authorities clashed on land and in water over preparatory work here to resume a seabed survey for the planned relocation of a U.S. air base.
The Defense Ministry’s Okinawa Defense Bureau started installation work Jan. 15 of a floating pier for the seabed drilling survey, part of measures toward relocating the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma from Ginowan in the prefecture to the Henoko district of Nago.
Protesters used kayaks in an attempt to disrupt the activity in the waters off the U.S. Marines’ Camp Schwab. The Japan Coast Guard forcibly removed 19 people from the waters.
Anti-base activists and riot police were also involved in skirmishes outside of Camp Schwab.
[Okinawa] [Japanese remilitarisation]
Japan's military spending set for 2.9pc rise as regional security fears grow
Equipment to help Tokyo defend disputed islands accounts for most of the 2.9pc increase
PUBLISHED : Monday, 11 November, 2013, 10:11pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 12 November, 2013, 3:32am
Julian Ryall in Tokyo
Japan's Defence Ministry is to ramp up its budget request for the next fiscal year by 2.9 per cent, a significant increase on this year's military spending and a reflection of Tokyo's concerns about the security of its borders.
The increase - a big leap from the 0.8 per cent rise in spending in the present fiscal year - will bring the budget request up to 4.893 trillion yen (HK$383 billion), according to sources quoted by the Asahi newspaper. It also signals a sharp departure from the declining defence outlays in the 10 years prior to the 2012 budget.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Amphibious]
Labeled the reporter who “fabricated” the comfort woman issue: A Rebuttal
Translation and Introduction by Tomomi Yamaguchi
The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 13, Issue 2, No. 1, January 12, 2015.
Uemura Takashi, a former reporter of the Asahi Shimbun, is currently an adjunct lecturer at Hokusei Gakuen University in Sapporo. In 1991, while a reporter for the Asahi, he wrote two articles on Kim Hak-sun, the first “comfort woman” to come forward to tell her story (1991). Because of these two articles, Uemura has been the target of denunciations by nationalists.1 He has been labeled the reporter who fabricated the “comfort woman” issue and denounced by nationalists as a “traitor.” Such bashing took a critical turn for the worse in 2014, to the extent that he and his family risk losing their right to a livelihood.
The article below is a translation of Uemura’s first article in which he rebuts the charge that he “fabricated” the “comfort woman” issue. He published the piece in Bungei Shunju magazine’s January 2015 issue (publication date December 10, 2014). Uemura made a rather unusual choice in writing this rebuttal for the influential conservative Bungei Shunju. He did so because it was Bungei Shunju that criticized him first in its April 1992 issue. He wanted to launch his effort to counter criticisms against him by writing first in the very magazine that initiated the campaign against his articles 23 years ago.
Storm Ahead: Okinawa’s Outlook for 2015
1. 2014: Year 18 of the Anti-Henoko Base Struggle
If 2014 was a year of consolidation on the two opposing sides of the long-running Okinawan saga over US military base hosting plans, 2015 promises to be one of intense, perhaps decisive struggle. By 2014, civic groups had established a strong institutional power base in the city administration in Nago and the prefectural one in Naha, while resistance continues also at Takae in the Yambaru forest (against the construction of “Osprey pads” for the Marine Corps), and on Yonaguni Island, where the town assembly has called a plebiscite on the issue of the construction of a Self-Defense Force base, to be held on 22 February 2015. But the Japanese state had shown itself to be implacable in its determination to push ahead with its long delayed project for the construction of a major military complex for the US Marine Corps at Henoko, in Northern Okinawa. Since the national government is unbending in its determination to overrule Okinawan dissent and the “Okinawan problem” was scarcely mentioned during the national elections of December 2014, Prime Minster Abe Shinzo has a more-or-less free hand to deploy whatever resources of the state he wishes in order to crush opposition and implement his design on all fronts.
Showa History, Rising Nationalism, and the Abe Government
Herbert P. Bix
The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 13, Issue 2, No. 4, January 12, 2015.
On September 9, 2014, the Imperial Household Agency released to the public its carefully vetted Authentic Account of the Showa Emperor’s Life and Reign (Showa Tenno Jitsuroku). This was the long-awaited official version of nearly every aspect of Emperor Hirohito’s long life and reign. Compilers, researchers, and outside scholars of the Agency’s Archives and Mausoleum Department—including a few specialists in modern Japanese history--started on the project in 1990. It took nearly a quarter century to finish. Through negotiations they secured the cooperation of imperial family members, chamberlains, and others who had worked closely with the emperor and were prone to self-censorship in revealing what they knew about him. They collected a huge trove of 3,152 primary materials, including some unpublished, even unknown diaries of military and civil officials, all of which were arranged chronologically in 61 volumes.1
[Showa] [Nationalism] [Abe Shinzo] [History]
Former Sex Slaves Mark 23 Years of Protests in Seoul
This week marks the 23rd anniversary of weekly protests by former sex slaves in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, which have been held every Wednesday.
The first protest was held on Jan. 8, 1992 ahead of a visit to Korea by then Japanese Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa.
The protest on Wednesday this week was the 1,160th, and a cake with the number 23 was displayed next to a statue of an unsmiling teenage girl honoring the women who were forced to serve as prostitutes for Japanese soldiers during World War II.
JAPAN’S NEWS EMPIRE AND THE DOMEI NEWS AGENCY IN OCCUPIED SOUTHEAST ASIA, 1942–45
The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 13, Issue 1, No. 3, January 4, 2014.
JAPAN’S WARTIME PROPAGANDA IN A GLOBAL CONTEXT
Just before the outbreak of the Second World War, E.H. Carr finished his draft of Twenty Years’ Crisis. In it he observed:
[W]ithin twenty years of the armistice [of the First World War]… many governments were conducting propaganda with an intensity unsurpassed in the war period; and new official and non-official agencies for the influence of opinion at home and abroad were springing up in every country.1
In these twenty years, foreign policy makers had to figure out how to utilize globalized telecommunication (cable and wireless) networks. Overseas events were reported almost immediately to the public, many of whom were also demanding greater political, economic and social rights. Carr argued that the propaganda institutions developed in many countries in 1919–39 because of ‘the popularization of international politics’ and more effective ‘propaganda methods’. Meanwhile, the League of Nations elevated the idea of ‘international public opinion’ into a norm in international politics.2 Although Carr remained sceptical about the effectiveness of international public opinion as a moral force in international politics, he never lost sight of its potential impact.
[Propaganda] [Public opinion] [Softwar]
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