Saturday, January 31, 2015

Monday in Washington, February 2, 2015

THE FUTURE OF OIL MARKETS. 2/2, Noon-1:00pm. Sponsor: SAIS, Johns Hopkins University. Speaker: Claudio Descalzi, CEO, Eni.

NEW AGENDA SETTER SERIES DISCUSSION ON US POLICYMAKING ANDPOLITICS. 2/2, Noon-12:45pm. Sponsor: Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC). Speakers: Sen. Thom Tillis, R-NC; Interviewed by Jason Grument, President, BPC.

THE UKRAINE CRISIS: WITHSTAND AND DETER RUSSIAN AGGRESSION. 2/2, 2:00-4:00pm. Sponsor: Atlantic Council. Speakers: Ivo Daalder, President, Chicago Council on Global Affairs; Michele Flournoy, CEO, Center for a New American Security; John Herbst, Director, Eurasia Center, Atlantic Council; Jan Lodal, Fellow, Atlantic Council; Steven Pifer, Senior Fellow, Brookings; James Stavridis, Dean, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts university; Strobe Talbott, President, Brookings; Charles Wald, Board Director, Atlantic Council.

GLOBAL EFFECTS OF THE OIL PRICE CRASH. 2/2, 2:00-3:30pm. Sponsor: Brookings Institution. Speakers: Charles Ebinger, Senior Fellow, Energy Security and Climate Initiative, Brookings; Clifford Gaddy, Senior Fellow, Center on the United States and Europe, Brookings; Suzanne Maloney, Senior Fellow, Center for Middle East Policy, Brookings; Harold Trinkunas, Senior Fellow and Director, Latin American Initiative, Brookings; Tim Boersma, Fellow and Acting Director, Energy Security and Climate Initiative, Brookings.

70 Years of Liberation from Imperial Japan

click to order
On January 30, 1945, three days after Soviet troops liberated their first Nazi death camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau, American Rangers and Filipino guerrillas rescued American and Allied POWs from the first of many Japanese concentration camps on the Philippines.

The Great Raid—as the liberation of Cabanatuan was called-was urgent and heroic. General Douglas MacArthur approved the raid ahead of his advance on Manila and the full liberation of the Philippines after an intersected cable revealed a “kill all” order by Japan for all prisoners.

entrance to Palawan Massacre 
Proof that the Japanese were serious about this order was confirmed in early January by reports of the December 14th
Palawan Massacre. On Palawan Island in the Philippines, Japanese forces anticipating an American invasion pushed 150 American POWs into an air raid shelter, doused them with gasoline, set them afire, and then machine gunned, bayoneted and clubbed to the screaming men to death. Miraculously, eleven escaped to tell their story. Last Man Out: Glenn McDole, USMC, Survivor of the Palawan Massacre in World War II is one of these inspiring accounts of survival and perseverance.
One hundred and twenty-three are now buried at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St. Louis, Missouri.

Nearly 3,000 American POWs had died in Cabanatuan. Further thousands had been transported to Japan for slave labor from the camp. Remaining were the sick and dying.

DVD click to order
Immortalized in the movie, The Great Raid, a group of more than 100 Army Rangers, Alamo Scouts and Filipino guerrillas traveled 30 miles behind Japanese lines to reach the camp on Bataan, Philippines. Along the route, other guerrillas in the villages muzzled dogs and put chickens in cages lest they alert the Japanese.

The nighttime raid, under the cover of darkness and a distraction by a P-61 Black Widow, surprised the Japanese forces in and around the camp. Hundreds of Japanese troops were killed in the 30-minute coordinated attack; the Americans suffered minimal casualties. The POWs were escorted back to American lines, often with Rangers carrying two emaciated men on their backs. In the end, the rescuers rounded up nearly 60 caribou carts to transport the survivors. The rescue allowed the prisoners to tell of the death march and prison camp atrocities, which sparked a new rush of resolve for the war against Japan when it was made public in March 1945.
click to order

The raid was considered successful—489 POWs were liberated, along with 33 civilians. The total included 492 Americans, 23 British , three Dutch, two Norwegians, one Canadian, and one Filipino. The rescue, along with the liberation of Camp O'Donnell the same day, allowed the prisoners to tell of the Bataan and Corregidor atrocities.

The Great Raid was soon followed by additional successful liberations, such as the raid by the 1st Cavalry Flying Column of Santo Tomas Civilian Internment Camp on February 3, raid of Bilibid Prison on February 4, and the 11th Airborne's raid at Los Baños on February 23. 

A poorly worded and inaccurate joint resolution by Congress directed then-President Ronald Reagan to issue a proclamation designating April 12, 1982 as "American Salute to Cabanatuan Prisoner of War Memorial Day".

Monday, January 26, 2015

Abe ignores his Emperor - at his peril

‘Emperor Akihito favors an honest and long-overdue reckoning with Japan’s wartime past’

Interview by APP member, Peter Ennis of Dispatch Japan published January 23, 2015

Emperor Akihito raised many an eyebrow in Japan and abroad recently when he used his New Year message to urge Japan’s citizens to learn from history in this, the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. He specifically referred to the Manchurian Incident of 1931 as the start of the war, which many saw as a not-so-veiled swipe at Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and other advocates of a ‘revisonist’ view of history, who have tried to diminish Japan's responsibility for the hostilities in the Pacific that ultimately led to Japan’s destruction and surrender in 1945. The key passage in the Emperor’s message was:“This year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, which cost many people their lives. Those who died on the battlefields, those who died in the atomic bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, those who died in the air raids on Tokyo and other cities-so many people lost their lives in this war. I think it is most important for us to take this opportunity to study and learn from the history of this war, starting with the Manchurian Incident of 1931, as we consider the future direction of our country.”The Emperor’s comment was initially overshadowed by the New Year’s festivities in Japan, but subsequently provoked a subdued but charged debate in intellectual and policy circles.

Below is the first of a two-part discussion about the controversy with Tokyo-based scholar and commentator Jeff Kingston. Professor Kingston is the director of Asian Studies at Temple University Japan, where he teaches courses on modern Japanese history, contemporary Japan, and Japan’s relations with Asia. He has been a regular contributor to The Japan Times since 1988. Kingston’s most recent book, Contemporary Japan, was published in 2012. He has a B.S. degree in foreign service from Georgetown University, and a PhD. in history from Columbia University.

DISPATCH JAPAN: Emperor Akihito referred to the Manchurian Incident of 1931 in several of his past birthday greetings, but never in a New Year’s message. Why do you think it is notable that he brought this up in his most recent New Year’s message?

KINGSTON: It is impossible to know what exactly Emperor Akihito intended with his 2015 New Year Thoughts. His comments were sufficiently vague to avoid giving the impression that he was infringing on constitutional limits that prevent him from weighing in on political issues.

The Imperial Household Agency carefully vets his remarks, so one can only speculate about the message he is trying to convey. In my opinion, the choice of topics is indicative, and must be considered in the context of Akihito’s track record on war responsibility. He has relentlessly crisscrossed the region over the past quarter of a century to express remorse to nations victimized by Japanese aggression.

Akihito has done more than all of Japan’s politicians combined to demonstrate that Japan is not in denial, and is contrite about the horrors it inflicted. Although revisionist politicians and the jingoistic press have worked hard to undermine the emperor’s reconciliation diplomacy, Akihito regards this as the unfinished business of the Showa Emperor (Akihito's father, Emperor Hirohito, who died in 1989), and persists in doing what he can in his circumscribed role.

His record suggests he favors an honest and long overdue reckoning. He has maintained his father’s post-1978 boycott of Yasukuni Shrine that was prompted by the enshrinement of 14 Class A war criminals at that time.

He also rebuked a Tokyo government official who explained to the monarch at an autumn 2004 garden party that he was in charge of enforcing a directive to teachers to stand and sing the national anthem (kimigayo) facing the national flag (Hinomaru). Akihito replied that this is not desirable, and should be left up to individual choice, comments he repeated in the Spring 2005 garden party. The Imperial Household Agency went into damage control mode, arguing that Akihito’s remarks held no political implications, even though they had clearly offered moral support to teachers who complained that their constitutional rights were being infringed on.

So when Akihito refers to the Manchurian Incident, he is weighing in on contemporary history controversies. Prime Minister Abe and like-minded revisionists seek to legitimize Japanese aggression, asserting that it was a war of Pan Asian liberation aimed at lifting the yoke of western subjugation. In addition, revisionists argue that it was a defensive war against escalating pressures from the western powers, the so-called ABCD (American, British, Chinese and Dutch) encirclement thesis.

But by pegging the war’s onset to 1931, Akihito inconveniently focused attention on the Kwantung Army’s plot in Mukden, which blamed ‘Chinese terrorists’ for a staged attack on Japan’s South Manchurian Railway, and used this as a pretext to launch a full-scale invasion and pacification of Manchuria.

This interpretation meshes with what scholars call the Fifteen Year War (1931-45), a reference to escalating Japanese aggression in China and a decision in 1940 to widen the war to Southeast Asia in order to secure the resources needed to subjugate China.

This narrative dismisses the Pan Asian liberation thesis as a fig-leaf for Japanese imperialism. Moreover, in 1931 Japan was not being encircled, but rather was carving off part of China to promote autarchy and prepare for the coming war with the US for hegemony in the Pacific. Ishiwara Kanji, the man who planned the Mukden Incident, was Japan’s foremost military strategist, and someone who had carefully studied the lessons of WWI. Total war meant a no-holds barred approach to winning, meaning that civilians were fair game and that economic sanctions were a weapon of war.

Ishiwara believed that Germany lost the war owing to economic sanctions that starved its war machine of what was required to wage war and thus became an advocate of economic autarchy. Manchuria had many of the resources Japan lacked that were crucial for its war machine, so taking it over was aimed at promoting autarchy and getting ready for the coming conflict. The Pan Asian thesis is more appealing to contemporary conservatives because it positions Japan as selfless and sacrificing for the benefit of others.

By contrast, the Manchurian thesis makes Japan look like a greedy predator, invading nations to secure resources and markets just like other imperial nations.

So Akihito’s apparently bland remarks actually resonate loudly in the arena of historiography. They position him in the camp critical of Japanese aggression, and critical of contemporary revisionists like Abe, who seek to rehabilitate Japan’s wartime past and assert a valorizing and vindicating narrative.

Akihito’s view represents the longstanding mainstream consensus in Japan (and elsewhere), but revisionists have bristled at this ‘masochistic’ history that singles Japan out for blame while overlooking Allied war crimes. They argue that the mainstream consensus is based on the judgments of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMFTE), a biased ‘victor’s justice’ narrative.

Judicial process at the IMFTE was indeed very flawed, and the guilty verdicts were preordained, but this doesn't mean that Japan’s military forces, or the architects of war called the Class A war criminals, were innocent. Revisionists often cite the dissenting opinion of Radhabinod Pal as exonerating Japan from the war crimes charges. A memorial to him is even located just outside the Yushukan Museum adjacent to Yasukuni Shrine, the talismanic ground zero for an unrepentant view of Japanese military aggression. In fact, Pal argued no such thing. He dismissed the IMFTE as lacking legal standing in international law, and for the baseless retroactive application of laws it allowed. But Pal readily acknowledged that Japan committed war crimes, and he lamented the fact that the Allies were not in the dock alongside the Japanese, sensibly pointing out that they should also be held accountable.

DISPATCH JAPAN: Why is this relevant to contemporary Japanese politics, and Japan’s national security policy?

KINGSTON: The judgments of the IMFTE, deeply flawed as they may be, are intrinsic to the Treaty of San Francisco that Japan signed to end the US occupation and make peace with the other signatories. In signing the treaty, Japan committed itself to accepting these judgments. Prime Minister Abe often talks about overthrowing the ‘postwar system’, one that most Japanese are rightly proud of. He is unhappy with the denunciatory view of wartime Japan and the US penned constitution, both essential elements of the postwar order that he believes humiliates Japan and keeps it subordinate.

In contrast, Akihito and most Japanese feel that Japan’s exemplary record in the second half of the 20th century brought redemption, and serves as the basis for the nation regaining its dignity. While Abe rails against the Peace Constitution, most Japanese see it as a reassuring touchstone of national identity. That is why his efforts to chip away at Article 9 are so unpopular. Hardly anyone in Japan supports Abe’s reinterpretation of Article. 9 to allow for collective self-defense, because they worry that Washington will drag them into war, and they understand that the new US-Japan Defense Guidelines will facilitate that scenario. Both governments keep postponing formal adoption of the guidelines precisely so they don’t become a liability to the LDP in elections.

DISPATCH JAPAN: So the political right finds itself in the interesting position of opposing the views of an Emperor in whose honor they claim to speak?

KINGSTON: The Emperor’s remarks highlight the horrors of war and send a strong anti-militarism, pro-peace message. He has enjoined Japanese citizens to reflect on the lessons of the past, perhaps because he has witnessed the culture wars since Abe came to power. Many Japanese and long-time Japan observers have expressed dismay about the recrudescence of self-righteous nationalism under Mr. Abe, who has emboldened right-wing extremists.

They have aggressively attacked liberal targets, such as the Asahi, and downplayed some of the more egregious examples of wartime Japan’s depredations, including the comfort women. Akihito is surely aware that Abe did nothing to repudiate colleagues in the Diet who worked to undermine the 1993 Kono Statement, in which Japan accepts responsibility and promises to atone for the sordid system of sexual slavery that involved tens of thousands of young women throughout Asia between 1932-1945. They were recruited through deception and/or coercion, both direct and indirect.

The Asahi’s admission that a handful of their reports on the comfort women over twenty years ago were based on the discredited testimony of Yoshida Seiji has been disingenuously used as a pretext to try to cast doubts on the nature and extent of this system and thereby promote a narrative of minimization and denial. Naturally, Team Abe is manipulating the Asahi affair for political advantage. This saga is, after all, more about politics than journalism, part of a larger culture war being waged by conservatives to redefine Japanese identity on their terms. The Asahi has long been the right’s main media adversary in this culture war and thus a prime target.

There is also the case of Net Uyoku (ultra-nationalists on the Internet) harassing former Asahi reporters and their university employers, threatening to harm students by deploying nail bombs if these former journalists’ contracts are not terminated. And the hate speech campaign promoted by the Zaitokukai (an organization devoted to denying rights to non-citizens – mostly Koreans – residing in Japan), harassing Japan’s zainichi (mostly Korean) community, again threatening death. Abe has tolerated this intolerance, and indeed has acted as cheerleader in chief for the anti-Asahi campaign. This is not the Japan that most Japanese feel comfortable with, and is not consistent with their national identity.

This is the context in which Akihito’s comments can be interpreted as a rebuke and warning.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Monday in Washington, January 26, 2015

EMERGING MODELS FOR ENERGY AND CLIMATE COOPERATION IN THE ASIA-PACIFIC REGION. 1/26, 9:30-11:45am. Sponsor: Center for American Progress (CAP). Speakers: Carol Browner, Distinguished Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress; Amb. David Carden, Partner, Jones Day; former Ambassador to ASEAN; Jesus “Gary” Domingo, Assistant Secretary, United Nations and International Organizations Office, Philippines Department of Foreign Affairs ; Satu Limaye, Director, East-West Center in Washington; Lt. Gen. Noboru Yamaguchi, (ret.), professor, National Defense Academy of Japan; S. Julio Friedmann, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Clean Coal and Carbon Management, U.S. Department of Energy; Shoichi Itoh, Manager and Senior Analyst, Strategy Research Unit, The Institute of Energy Economics, Japan; Jake Levine, Director for Strategy and Chief of Staff, Opower; Ryan Shaffer, Associate Director of Programs, Mansfield Foundation; Moderators: Pete Ogden, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress; and Danielle Baussan, Managing Director of Energy Policy, Center for American Progress. 

FOURTH CENTRAL ASIA FELLOW'S SEMINAR. 1/26, 11:00am-2:00pm. Sponsor: Women In International Security (WIIS). Speakers: Rashid Gabdulhakov, Political Science Instructor, International University of Central Asia in the Kyrgyz Republic; Natalia Zakharchenko, Analyst, Norwegian Helsinki Committee; and Marina Kayumova, Research Fellow, Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies.

EXPANDING COUNTERTERRORISM PARTNERSHIPS: U.S. EFFORTS TO TACKLE THE EVOLVING TERRORIST THREAT. 1/26, Noon-2:00pm. Sponsor: Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP). Speaker: Tina Kaidanow, ambassador-at-large and coordinator for counterterrorism at the State Department.

GOVERNMENTS AND INTERNET GOVERNANCE: A PANEL DISCUSSION. 1/26, 12:30-2:00pm. Sponsors: Institute for International Economic Policy (IIEP), Elliott School of International Affairs, GWU; and DC Chapter of the Internet Society (ISOC-DC). Speakers: Amr Aljowaily, Embassy of Egypt, NYC; Sally Wentworth, Vice President of Global Policy Development, The Internet Society; Veni Markowski, ICANN VP for UN Engagement, Bulgaria; Dr. Marc Daumas, Scientific Attache, Embassy of France; Carolina de Cresce El Debs, Embassy of Brazil; David Satola, The World Bank; and Moderator: Nancy Scola, Technology Journalist.

AMERICA’S NEW CYBER WAR. 1/26, 2:00pm. Sponsor: Newseum. Speaker: Shane Harris, senior intelligence and national security correspondent at The Daily Beast, author @War: Rise of the Military Internet Complex.

BOOKMEN AT WAR: LIBRARIES, INTELLIGENCE AND CULTURAL POLICY IN WORLD WAR II. 1/26, 4:00-5:30pm, Washington, DC. Sponsor: Woodrow Wilson Center (WWC). Speaker: Kathy Peiss, Professor of American History at University of Pennsylvania. 

AFTER SOUTH STREAM: TURKISH STREAM? 2/2, 3:00-4:30pm. Sponsor: Energy and National Security at CSIS. Speakers: Najia Badykov, Non-Resident Senior Associate, CSIS Russia and Eurasia Program; Edward Chow, Senior Fellow, CSIS Energy and National Security Program; Bulent Aliriza, Director and Senior Associate, CSIS Turkey Project; and Moderator: Andrew Kuchins, Director and Senior Fellow, CSIS Russia and Eurasia Program.

Mongolia: Proponent of Peace in Northeast Asia

Mongolia: Potential Mediator between the Koreas and Proponent of Peace in Northeast Asia
By: David L. CapraraKatharine H.S. Moon and Paul Park
Brookings Center for East Asia Policy Studies, Dr. Moon and Mr. Park are APP members.

Opinion | January 2015

2014 was a relatively friendless year for the Democratic Republic of Korea (DPRK or North Korea). It publicly lost its best friend and patron, China, to its erstwhile nemesis, the Republic of Korea (ROK or South Korea), when Presidents Park Geun-hye and Xi Jinping celebrated their growing friendship at the July summit in Seoul. Recently, retired PLA General Wang Hongguang wrote in the Chinese language site of Global Times, which is closely linked to the Chinese Communist Party, that China tired of cleaning up North Korea’s “mess” and would not step in to “save” North Korea if it collapses or starts a war.[1] And there is a vigorous debate in Beijing on whether the DPRK should be treated on a “normal” basis with China’s interests as the sole guide and purpose or be treated as a special case needing China’s indulgence and protection.[2] Since the Sony hack of November, North Korea has been under tighter scrutiny, both real and virtual, by Seoul, Beijing and Washington, accompanied by tighter sanctions in the new year. Bludgeoned by global condemnation of its atrocious human rights record, Pyongyang’s pariah status has intensified. Only Russia has been warming up to North Korea out of its own economic and political self-interest.

Is there any sizable country with good intentions for the region that is not giving up or beating up on North Korea? Is there any country Pyongyang likes and possibly even trusts? Mongolia stands out as the sole candidate, and it is friendly with both the East and the West.

Since the 2000s, Mongolia has played an increasingly constructive and steady role in in its bilateral ties with the DPRK and in its promotion of peace and cooperation in Northeast Asia. President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, who visited Pyongyang in 2013, was the first head of state to reach out to the DPRK since Kim Jung Un assumed power and helped author the “Ulaanbaatar Dialogue on Northeast Asia Security,” which held its first meeting in June, 2014. It is a unique forum that combines official (track one) and unofficial academic/think tank/NGO (track two) participants, on a variety of important regional issues. The goals are to decrease distrust among nations and increase cooperation and peace. Both the DPRK and the ROK (Republic of Korea or South Korea) were represented at the inaugural meeting, as were the United States, China, Russia, Japan, and some European nations.

The UB Dialogue, as a consultative mechanism, has the potential to bring together policymakers, international organizations such as the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), and civil society entities and facilitate a range of initiatives related to economic cooperation; military transparency; environmental issues; non-traditional security threats; regional stability, cultural and educational exchange among the participants, including the two Koreas. These are official agenda items and goals of the UB Dialogue. With the Six-Party Talks nearly defunct and inter-Korean relations unable to address regional issues that affect the peninsula, Mongolia may be able to serve as a “Geneva or Helsinki of the East” as some observers have suggested.

Mongolia’s expanding global presence
Mongolia is uniquely positioned as the only country in Northeast Asia that enjoys good relations not only with North Korea but also South Korea, the United States, China, Russia, and Japan.

Mongolia’ relations with the United States, Canada, and Western Europe have steadily improved and deepened since the late 1980s. In recent decades, both Democratic and Republication administrations in Washington have enjoyed mutually warm and collaborative relations with Mongolia. President George W. Bush was the first sitting U.S. president to visit the country in 2005; he thanked the Mongolians for sending troops to join U.S.-led forces in Iraq and Afghanistan and for supporting anti-terrorism initiatives. Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld also visited in the same year. In 2007, President Nambaryn Enkhbayar visited Washington to co-sign the Millennium Challenge Corporation Compact with President Bush. The next (and current) leader, President Elbegdorj, met U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House in 2011, as did the first civilian Minister of Defense, L. Bold. Vice President Joe Biden included Mongolia on a three-country Asia visit in August, 2011; China and Japan were the other two. A year later, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton took her turn in Ulaanbaatar. The most recent visit by top-level U.S. officials to Mongolia was by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel in April 2014.

Mongolia’s pursuit of the “third neighbor” policy allows the country to develop cooperative relations with the United States, Western Europe, ASEAN nations and others partly as “an air pocket” from its economic and security reliance on Beijing and Moscow. The softer side of this diplomatic push has been demonstrated by Ulaanbaatar’s membership in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and its previous chairmanship of the Community on Democracies.”[3]

Western experts on Mongolia applaud the way the country has developed a unique “peacekeeping niche” that facilitates participation in UN peacekeeping activities, international anti-terrorism measures, and humanitarian actions. For its small population of about three million, Mongolia takes on a heavy load of peacekeeping activities, ranking 26th on the UN’s list of contributing nations.[4]

Since 2003, Mongolia annually hosts the “Khaan Quest” peacekeeping exercises for the purpose of tactical advancement and capacity building for its Mongolian Armed Forces (MAF) and for the improvement of regional confidence building. Although the United States and NATO play prominent roles, the Quest has attracted more diverse participants over the years so that by 2012, the number of interested parties expanded to include representatives from China and India as well as an array of developing nations such as Vietnam and Cambodia. These exercises are acknowledged as gatherings devoted to strengthening international cooperation and interoperability on peacekeeping initiatives around the world.[5]

On the economic side, Mongolia has been diversifying its external relations, with the maintenance of sovereignty and the related desire to reduce its overwhelming dependence on China as important goals. Expansion of economic relations is driven in part by a desire to participate in and benefit from global standards investment funds, and market access is a national priority. In that context, Mongolia’s relations with the West have been constructive and collaborative. For example, in 2013, the United States Trade Representative Michael Froman and Mongolia's Minister for Foreign Affairs, Luvsanvandan Bold, signed the Agreement on Transparency in Matters Related to International Trade and Investment between the United States of America and Mongolia. The Agreement commits the parties to provide opportunities for public comment on proposed laws and regulations and to publish final laws and regulations in Mongolian and English in order to facilitate access, openness, fairness, and procedural coherence in international trade and investment between Mongolia and other countries. “Additional commitments address the application of disciplines on bribery and corruption.” This type of administrative and legal modernization and the incorporation of measures to prevent and correct corruption are exemplary measures that could be helpful to the DPRK and other countries that are unfamiliar with or lagging in appropriate frameworks for doing business with diverse international actors.

Maintaining sovereignty between giants
China and Russia have vied for influence over Mongolia for many decades, from the time when Mongolia was in the Soviet sphere in influence to the present. Although 89 percent of foreign trade in 2013 was with China and Russia provides about 75 percent of Mongolia’s gasoline and diesel fuel and much of its electricity, Ulaanbaatar is assertively broadening and deepening its economic interests with the two big neighbors, especially greater transportation access and cheaper costs (vital to the landlocked nation), participation in the development of the New Silk Road corridor, and the construction of a Russian oil and gas pipeline through Mongolia that reaches China. All three countries have mutual interests and investments in developing Mongolia’s well-endowed mining industry.

But being sandwiched between two giants means Mongolia has to be prudent in preserving its sovereignty and independence, and Ulaanbaatar has done so in practical ways, balancing the two large powers’ interests with its own. The 2010 National Security Concept’s “One-Third Clause” sets a clear limit on the proportion of foreign direct investment from any one country: one-third. Legislation limits (foreign) state-owned companies from gaining control of strategic assets. And as numerous bilateral security and military cooperation agreements link Mongolia with China and Russia, UB has strategically and legally created elbow room for its autonomy. The government’s National Security and Foreign Policy Concepts outline a specific policy of not allowing foreign troops the use of its territory. Such preservationist measures to maintain sovereignty and independence in economic and security terms would be welcome examples to a North Korea which zealously prioritizes national sovereignty.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Sourcing Misinformation from Japan's Rightwing

Denying cannibalism by Japanese troops is popular trope used by Japan's Rightwingers to discredit the book and film Unbroken. The net-uyoku have accused the author of Unbroken of spreading a lie about Japanese having a “custom” of cannibalism. They proudly declare that Japan has no "food culture" of cannibalism, thus it is simply untrue that Imperial Japanese soldiers and sailors consumed POWs out of hunger or triumph. This denial is at the heart of the online petition to ban the movie in Japan. However, neither the book nor the movie depict acts of cannibalism.

Unbroken is a biography of Olympian and former American POW of Japan Louis Zamperini. The author, Laura Hillenbrand, tries to capture in one paragraph (p 315), the litany of abuses heaped upon those captured by the Japanese. One clause in one sentence refers to "eaten alive in ritual acts of cannibalism." Nowhere else is this mentioned.

The book has not been translated into Japanese nor has the film been shown in Japan. Thus, what is the source of this misperception?

It seems that it can be traced to an one-word mistranslation in a book review of Unbroken in Wedge, a conservative magazine published by a subsidiary of JR Central [see below]. The honorary chairman of JR Central is Yoshiyuki Kasai and the then-adviser to the magazine was Tomohiko Taniguchi. Kasai is a confidante of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Taniguchi is in charge of the government's international public relations. 

Neither man has moved to clear up this misunderstanding. Both are deeply concerned with Japan's global public image. The result is that the campaign  against Unbroken is intensifying and in December a book was published embellishing the false notion that Unbroken is part of a campaign to dishonor Japan. This view is part of a greater ideology that the war crimes trials were based of falsified information and the product of victor's justice.

Unfortunately, reports of cannibalism are true. Officers were prosecuted in war crimes trials and hanged. Imperial Japan's excessive abuse of its military and civilian prisoners is also true.

The following, for scholarly understanding and analysis, is a provisional, annotated translation of the Wedge article that propagated the campaign against Unbroken.

Very Popular Book In U.S.A. Stirs-up Anti-Japan Feelings
-- Japanese Military's Abuse of POWs, Why Bring It Up Now?

Wedge Magazine, February 20, 2011
By Soichiro MORIKAWA -- Journalist who has experience of living in New York during the time of IT Bubble
Link: 反日感情をあおる本が米国で大人気

* * * * * * * * * *
COLUMN: What best-seller books are being read in America? Learn about trends/signs of the times. You think you know, but may not really know, the true state of affairs in America -- and this is essential for thinking about Japan.
* * * * * * * * * *

"UNBROKEN", by Laura Hillenbrand, published by Random House. $27.00

A non-fiction book which describes the true story, in great detail, how a Japanese soldier abused a U.S. POW during World War II. It is unmistakably a book which will certainly heighten anti-Japanese feelings in America, and is being widely-read in the U.S. It is a special category book listed in the New York Times weekly non-fiction bestseller list, and has ranked in the top-five for thirteen-straight weeks. Most recently it dropped to number two, but for six weeks before that it was at the top of the list.


Louis Zamperini, is currently a healthy 93-year-old American man of Italian ancestry. The book follows/describes the misfortunes he experienced during his lifetime -- in particular how he had to deal with inhumane treatment as a POW held by the Imperial Japanese military.

As a young 19-year-old middle-distance runner, he raced in the 1936 Berlin Olympics as part of the U.S.A.'s team. He did not win a medal, but his hard-running style drew the attention of Adolf Hitler, who was watching from the stands -- and there is an anecdote that later on,

Hitler shook Zamperini's hand.

Thereafter, Zamperini continued to train as a runner, hoping to compete in teh 1940 Olympics, which were schedule to be held in Tokyo -- but due to the Japan-China War, those games were postponed, and he joined the U.S. Army Air Force. However, bad luck later struck when his aircraft developed engine trouble and it crashed. He eventually drifted ashore on Kwajalein Island, located in the Marshall Islands, about 3,900 KM southwest of Honolulu, Hawaii.

That was when Zamperini became a POW of the Japanese military, in a place which was called "Execution Island." Zamperini was not executed, once the Japanese military realized he was an Olympic athlete, and he was sent bakc to the mainland Japan.

After that, we had to survive being a POW, who was moved from place-to-place in camps at Ofuna, Omori, and Naoetsu, and eventually returned alive to America in August 1945. The book describes, in a cool/factual style, the numerous cases/examples of maltreatment Zamperini received while in the POW camps -- and, conversely, this really causes the image of the cruel Japanese soldiers to vividly emerge.

In particular, the most involved/powerful descriptions of abuse and cruelty are those which cover the actions of Japanese Corporal Mutsuhiro Watanabe, who came to be called "The Bird." The book calls Watanabe a sadist, who seemed to derive sexual pleasure feelings from punishing/tormenting the POWs. For example, the following is one example of innumerable POW-abuse scenes which
are written in the book:


"The Bird swung the belt backward, with the buckle on the loose end, and then whipped it around himself and forward, as if he were performing a hammer throw. The buckle rammed into Louie’s left temple and ear. Louie felt as if he had been shot in the head. Though he had resolved never to let the Bird knock him down, the power of blow, and the explosive pain that followed, overawed everything in him. His legs seemed to liquefy, and he went down. The room spun." (page 251)

Corporal Watanabe, aka "The Bird", made Zamperini his personal enemy, and almost every day he would beat Zamperini, and would also prevent him from receiving adequate amounts of food. The book also states that Japanese soldiers would seize food from International Red Cross relief packages, and prevent distribution of such food to the POWs.

The book further describes, using statistical information, to show that Japan's treatment of POWs was clearly much worse and cruel than Nazi Germany.

"In its rampage over the east, Japan had brought atrocity and death on a scale that staggers the imagination. In the midst of it were the prisoners of war. Japan held some 132,000 POWs from America, Britain, Canada, New Zealand, Holland, and Australia. Of those, nearly 36,000 died, more than one in every four. Americans fared particularly badly; of the 34,648 Americans held by Japan, 12,935? more than 37 percent?died. By comparison, only 1 percent of Americans held by the Nazis and Italians died." (pages 314-315)

POWs were subjected to especially cruel treatment, supposedly, as described in the following passage...

"Thousands of other POWs were beaten, burned, stabbed, or clubbed to death, shot, beheaded, killed during medical experiments, or eaten alive in ritual acts of cannibalism. And as a result of being fed grossly inadequate and befouled food and water, thousands more died of starvation and easily preventable diseases." (page 315)

** TRANSLATOR'S NOTE: Here Mr. Morikawa (mis)translated the phrase "ritual acts of cannibalism" as hito-kui fushu de-- he used the word fushu for :ritual", but, fushu's meaning is customary, or common practice -- which does not really match the nuance of ritual.**

The book then tries to explain why the Japanese military's abuse of POWs occurred so routinely/commonly. As is shown in the following quote, the cause can be seen from one aspect of the Japanese military's unique "culture": "In the Japanese military of that era, corporal punishment was routine practice. “Iron must be beaten while it’s hot; soldiers must be beaten while they’re fresh” was a saying among servicemen. “No strong soldiers,” went another, “are made without beatings.” For all Japanese soldiers, especially low-ranking ones, beating was inescapable, often a daily event." (page 194)

Since Japanese soldiers themselves routinely experienced being beaten, their resentment/anger was thereafter directed at the POWs.

This writer, Morikawa, at the time of reading this section of the book, recalled reading the war novel: "The Human Condition", by Junpei Gomikawa, which described the irrational/unreasonable aspects of the army, and I found myself nodding in agreement with what was written about the reality/true nature of the Japanese military in UNBROKEN.


However, I cannot accept the logic deployed by the book that: since POWs were abused/treated cruelly, therefore, the large-scale bombings of Tokyo and other cities, and the A-bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were unavoidable.

For example, the book tells of a newly-released POW, right after the end of the war, travelling by train through central Hiroshima after the dropping of the a-bomb, and looking at the scene he said:

“Nothing! It was beautiful.”

The American POW felt it was due to the A-bombings that he was able to meet/reach the end of the war, where he were released from captivity. So this is the deep emotion he had when he saw devastated nothingness of the central explosion area -- and to him it looked beautiful. The book records the ex-POW's comment using the following expression:

“I know it’s not right to say it was beautiful, because it really wasn’t. But I believed the end probably justified the means.” (p320)


The typical thinking/logic of America's conservative class can be seen in the assertion that the A-bombings were unavoidable actions, which were required to end the war. While UNBROKEN goes into great detail explaining the abuse of POWs by Japanese soldiers, it does not mention at all that hundreds of thousands of civilians were killed by the A-bombings. The following passage from the book is written as if to say that, from the start, the Japanese government was really responsible for the victims of the A-bombings:

"That same night, B-29s showered leaflets over thirty-five Japanese cities, warning civilians of coming bombings and urging them to evacuate. The Japanese government ordered civilians to turn the leaflets in to authorities, forbade them from sharing the warnings with others, and arrested anyone with leaflets in their possession. Among the cities listed on the leaflets were Hiroshima and Nagasaki." (page 297)

To be honest, this writer, Morikawa, had no previous knowledge about the issue of how Japan handled/treated POWs during the Second World War. So, I had numerous confused/bewildered thoughts as I read UNBROKEN. I also have no ability to judge/verify the statistical information which was cited in the book.

Furthermore, what I cannot understand is why this book was published at this time -- and, beyond that, that fact of how it has become a top best-seller.

Japanese should take notice/be aware that such a book is selling well in America. I think it would be wise for Japan's MOFA to read and analyze the contents of UNBROKEN, and then develop a countermeasures plan as part of a diplomatic strategy to improve the image of Japan.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Shape of Japan to Come

by Alexis Dudden, a professor of history at the University of Connecticut and APP member

First published in The New York Times

January 16, 2015

TOKYO- Bolstered by his party's victory in Diet elections last month, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has renewed his vow to free Japan from the fetters of the past, especially its defeat in World War II. Mr. Abe and his supporters view the prevailing accounts of that era as "masochistic" and a hindrance to taking pride in what he calls the "new Japan." They propose to modify the article in Japan's Constitution that sates the Japanese people "forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation."

These aspirations have been laid out in a map of Japan that the Japanese Foreign Ministry published on its website last April, with translations in 12 languages. The map extends beyond Japan's internationally recognized boundaries, incorporating in the name of ryodo - or the "inherent territory" of Japan - many islands claimed by neighboring countries. Those lands, the argument goes, are integral to Japan's very being.

In fact, the Abe government's expansionist view undermines Japan's interests, both economic and strategic.

Ryodo promotes a notion of Japan's territory that circumvents history, particularly the history of how Japan laid claim to these islands in the first place - through imperial wars with China and Russia, through wars of conquest against Koreans, through the extermination or assimilation of indigenous peoples.

Partly as a result, Japan is embroiled in many territorial disputes. China and Taiwan contest the Senkaku Islands, which Beijing calls the Diaoyu and Taipei and Diaoyutai. South Korea claims Takeshima (calling it Dokdo) where it has stationed military police since 1954. Russia claims sovereignty over what Japanese know as the Northern Territories, four islands in the Kuril chain northeast of Hokkaido where Russians have lived since 1945, numbering about 20,000 today.

Under the terms of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), Japan already has access to vast fisheries and rides up to $3.6 trillion in seabed materials. The disputed islands would add much more.

'Inherent' Japan
Tokyo is more aggressively claiming island groups that have long been in territorial dispute. The government highlighted these 3 areas on a new map.

Sources: ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan:
According to some estimates, including by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the East China Sea holds 200 million barrels in proved and probable oil reserves (the world consumes around 90 million barrels of liquid fuels each day) and between 1 and 2 trillion cubic feet of natural gas (the United States consumed about 26 trillion cubic feet in 2013). Japan and China contest nearly 17 percent of the sea.

A volcano on one of the southern Kurils has rhenium, a rare-earth metal with a melting point that makes jet-engine designers dream. There are also vast quantities of untapped methane hydrate in the seabed between Japan and the Korean Peninsula. After gas was extracted from similar deposits elsewhere for the first time in 2013, a spokesman for the Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation said, "Japan could finally have an energy source to call its own."

The lure of such riches might seem like reason enough for resource-poor Japan to claim these territories. The government spent $250 billion on imported fuel in 2012. And the cost of decommissioning the nuclear reactors at Fukushima after the meltdown following the March 2011 tsunami is expected to reach at least $90 billion. 

Yet Japan risks losing access to many of these resources because of its brinksmanship. UNCLOS does not determine sovereignty over land, and it allows for joint development agreements in waters around contested territory. When disputes heat up, however, they naturally tend to scuttle any joint schemes.

In 2008 China and Japan agreed to explore together four gas fields in the East China Sea. But the project was scuttled the following year, after China went at it alone. Mr. Abe's maximalist policy only undermines the prospects that his development project could be revived, or that new ones involving Japan might be struck.

The costs of Mr. Abe's territorial revisionism are also strategic. Ryodo implicitly dismisses as partial the terms of the 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty, which formally ended World War II between Japan and the Allies. The agreement redrew Japan from the massive empire it had become during the war - stretching from northern China to Guadalcanal - more or less into the country familiar today. (Some islands, notably Okinawa, reverted to Japan in the intervening years.) Many Japanese at the time, including Mr. Abe's grandfather, Nobusuke Kishi - who was accused of being a Class A war criminal -  were infuriated, claiming in particular that the Kurils were "essential" to the Japanese.

In a separate agreement that went into force at the same time, the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty of 1951, the United States would "maintain armed forces of its own in and about Japan" in order "to deter armed attack upon Japan." By the time the treaty was revised in 1960, Japan had acquired limited self-defense forces, and the two countries undertook various commitments in case of "an armed attack against either Party in the territories under the administration of Japan." These still stand today, hence the critical importance also for the U.S. government of properly defining what Japan is.

Officials in Washington and Tokyo are currently reviewing each side's responsibilities in the event of the threat of the peace and security of Japan. One fraught issue is the United States' dual obligation, under separate security arrangements, to defend both Japan and South Korea because one could attack the other over territory they both claim. In other words, the very notion of ryodo challenges the United States' postwar security commitments even as it risks triggering them.

Mr. Abe's revanchist view of the past is central to his vision of a future in which Japan "once again shines on the world's center stage." But it distorts history in a way that undermines the country's major interests and, arguably, its identity. The constitutional changes advocated by Mr. Abe's party include an "obligation" for citizens of Japan to "defend the nation's inherent territory, inherent seas and inherent skies," disputed islands and all. The proposed draft adds that, "All citizens must honor the Constitution," suggesting that failure to do so could endanger their rights, maybe their citizenship. In his bid to claim more for Japan, Mr. Abe may reap less.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Prime Minister of Japan’s Schedule October 27-November 2, 2014

Monday, October 27, 2014


12:00 At private residence (no visitors)
08:00 At private residence in Tomigaya, Tokyo (no morning visitors)
09:30 Depart from private residence
09:46 Arrive at office
10:13 Meet with Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare Shiozaki Yasuhisa, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary for Crisis Management Nishimura Yasuhiko, Assistant Chief Cabinet Secretary Furuya Kazuyuki, and Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare’s Director-General of Health Service Bureau Shinmura Kazuya
10:52 End meeting with Mr. Shiozaki, Mr. Nishimura, Mr. Furuya, and Mr. Shinmura
10:53 Meet with Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Saiki Akitaka
11:27 End meeting with Mr. Saiki

12:02 Meet with Secretary-General of Japan-Korea Parliamentarians’ Union [日韓議員連盟 : Nikkan Giin Renmei] Kawamura Takeo
12:19 End meeting with Mr. Kawamura
03:56 Meet with South Korean resident Ambassador to Japan Yoo Heung-soo
04:11 End meeting with Mr. Yoo
04:13 Receive courtesy call from Speaker of National Assembly of South Korea Chung Ui-hwa. Mr. Yoo also attends
04:41 Courtesy call ends
04:42 Speak with Minister of State for Disaster Management Yamatani Eriko
04:56 Finish speaking with Ms. Yamatani
05:00 Depart from office
05:01 Arrive at Diet
05:02 Enter LDP President’s Room
05:03 LDP Officers Meeting
05:18 Meeting ends
05:19 Meet with LDP Vice-President Komura Masahiko, Secretary-General Tanigaki Sadakazu, and Chairman of Election Strategy Committee Motegi Toshimitsu
05:41 End meeting with Mr. Komura, Mr. Tanigaki, and Mr. Motegi
05:42 Leave LDP President’s Room
05:43 Depart from Diet
05:45 Arrive at office
05:46 Meet with Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Shimomura Hakubun
06:14 End meeting with Mr. Shimomura
06:19 Director of Cabinet Intelligence Kitamura Shigeru, Director of National Security Council (NSC) Yachi Shotaro, and Director of Cabinet Satellite Intelligence Center Shimohira Koji enter
06:28 Mr. Yachi and Mr. Shimohira leave
06:42 Mr. Kitamura leaves
06:50 Depart from office
06:54 Arrive at Hotel Okura in Toranomon, Tokyo. Attend Memorial Reception for Murase Jiro in banquet hall Heian Room, deliver address
07:15 Depart from hotel
07:21 Arrive at Chinese restaurant Fureika in Higashi-Azabu, Tokyo. Dinner meeting with female reporters
09:55 Depart from restaurant
10:09 Arrive at private residence

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

12:00 At private residence (no visitors)
07:45 Depart from private residence in Tomigaya, Tokyo
07:59 Arrive at office
08:08 Cabinet Meeting begins
08:17 Cabinet Meeting ends
08:20 Ministerial Meeting on Response to Ebola Virus Disease
08:28 Meeting ends
08:31 Meet with Administrative Vice-Minister of Defense Nishi Masanori
08:57 End meeting with Mr. Nishi
10:13 Meet with former Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) researcher Edward Luttwak
10:58 End meeting with Mr. Luttwak
11:07 Speak with Director of Cabinet Intelligence Kitamura Shigeru
11:12 Finish speaking with Mr. Kitamura
11:13 Meet with Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Kato Katsunobu
11:31 End meeting with Mr. Kato
11:32 Speak with Special Advisor to the Prime Minister Kimura Taro and Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA)’s Director-General of Middle Eastern and African Affairs Bureau Uemura Tsukasa
11:41 Finish speaking with Mr. Kimura and Mr. Uemura
11:49 Lunch with Chairperson of LDP General Council Nikai Toshihiro and political commentator Morita Minoru

12:44 Finish lunch
12:52 Depart from office
12:53 Arrive at Diet
12:55 Enter Lower House Speaker’s Reception Room
01:00 Leave room and enter Lower House Plenary Meeting Hall
01:02 Lower House Plenary Session convenes
03:35 Lower House Plenary Session adjourns
03:36 Leave meeting hall
03:37 Enter LDP Secretary-General’s Room
03:38 Endorse candidate for Fukuoka City’s gubernatorial election. Commemorative photo session
03:42 Photo session ends
03:43 Depart from room
03:44 Depart from Diet
03:46 Arrive at office
04:00 Filming video message for National Convention of Japan Commercial Broadcasters Association
04:10 Finish filming
04:43 Receive courtesy call from Speaker of House of Peoples’ Representatives of Ethiopia Abadula Gemeda
05:03 Courtesy call ends
05:22 Receive proposal letter from Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Business Advisory Council
05:33 Finish receiving proposal
05:34 Education Rebuilding Implementation Council meeting
06:00 Meeting ends
06:01 Meet with Director of NSC Yachi Shotaro, MOFA’s Vice-Minister Saiki Akitaka, Administrative Vice-Minister Sugiyama Shinsuke, and Director-General of European Affairs Bureau Hayashi Hajime
06:38 End meeting with Mr. Yachi, Mr. Saiki, Mr. Sugiyama, and Mr. Hayashi
06:43 Depart from office
06:44 Arrive at official residence. Dinner meeting with Chairman of LDP Diet Affairs Committee Sato Tsutomu, Chairman of New Komeito Diet Affairs Committee Oguchi Yoshinori, and colleagues. Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide and Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Kato Katsunobu also attend
08:10 Mr. Sato, Mr. Oguchi, and Mr. Kato leave
08:43 Mr. Suga leaves

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

12:00 At official residence (no visitors)
08:00 At official residence (no morning visitors)
08:46 Depart from official residence
08:56 Arrive at Imperial Palace. Reception event with wife Akie for King of the Netherlands Willem-Alexander and his wife the Queen
09:40 Depart from Imperial Palace
09:54 Arrive at Tsukiji Honwanji Temple in Tsukiji, Tokyo. Condolence call for former resident Ambassador to Thailand, the late Okazaki Hisahiko
10:00 Depart from temple
10:09 Arrive at office
10:46 Director of Cabinet Intelligence Kitamura Shigeru and Councillor of Cabinet Secretariat Kitamura Hirofumi enter
11:12 Councillor Kitamura leaves
11:16 Director Kitamura leaves
11:37 Speak with Director of NSC Yachi Shotaro
11:40 Finish speaking with Mr. Yachi
11:41 Meet with Minister in charge of Overcoming Population Decline and Vitalizing Local Economy in Japan Ishiba Shigeru, Special Advisor to Minister of State for Special Missions (Ishiba Shigeru) Ito Tatsuya, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Sugita Kazuhiro, and Acting Senior Chief Secretary of Headquarters for Overcoming Population Decline and Vitalizing Local Economies Yamasaki Shiro

12:05 End meeting with Mr. Ishiba, Mr. Ito, Mr. Sugita, and Mr. Yamasaki
12:06 Depart from office
12:07 Arrive at Lower House 1st Diet Members’ Meeting Hall. Dental examination at dentist’s office within hall
12:20 Depart from meeting hall
12:23 Arrive at LDP Party Headquarters. Lunch meeting with Special Advisor to President of the LDP Hagiuda Koichi and LDP Upper House member Yamamoto Ichita
01:04 Depart from LDP Party Headquarters
01:07 Arrive at office
01:20 Meet with CEO of US corporation BlackRock Laurence Fink, President of Your Party Asao Keiichiro, and Your Party Upper House member Inoue Yoshiyuki
01:58 End meeting with Mr. Fink, Mr. Asao, and Mr. Inoue
02:04 Meet with Chairman of Germany’s ruling parties Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU) Group Volker Kauder
02:32 End meeting with Mr. Kauder
03:31 Meet with Cabinet Advisor Munakata Norio
03:46 End meeting with Mr. Munakata
03:47 Meet with LDP Secretary-General Tanigaki Sadakazu
04:40 End meeting with Mr. Tanigaki
04:45 Meet with Minister in charge of TPP Amari Akira and Deputy Chief Negotiator of Government Headquarters for TPP Oe Hiroshi
05:13 End meeting with Mr. Amari and Mr. Oe
05:17 Headquarters for Healthcare and Medical Strategy Promotion meeting
05:53 Meeting ends
06:35 Depart from office
06:41 Arrive at Imperial Palace. Attend Imperial Banquet Reception for King and Queen of the Netherlands with wife Akie
10:02 Depart from Imperial Palace
10:15 Arrive at private residence in Tomigaya, Tokyo

Thursday, October 30, 2014

12:00 At private residence (no visitors)
07:21 Depart from private residence in Tomigaya, Tokyo
07:34 Arrive at office
07:35 Meet with Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Kato Katsunobu
08:47 End meeting with Mr. Kato
08:49 Depart from office
08:50 Arrive at Diet
08:52 Enter Lower House 1st Committee Members’ Room
08:53 Speak with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Aso Taro
08:54 Finish speaking with Mr. Aso
08:55 Speak with LDP Lower House member Kawamura Takeo
08:56 Finish speaking with Mr. Kawamura
08:59 Lower House Budget Committee convenes

12:00 Lower House Budget Committee recess
12:01 Leave Lower House 1st Committee Members’ Room
12:03 Depart from Diet
12:05 Arrive at office
12:54 Depart from office
12:55 Arrive at Diet
12:57 Enter Lower House 1st Committee Members’ Room
01:00 Lower House Budget Committee reconvenes
05:02 Lower House Budget Committee adjourns
05:03 Leave room
05:05 Depart from Diet
05:07 Arrive at office
The Dutch King & Queen
05:10 Meet with President of American think tank Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) Richard Haass. Administrative Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Sugiyama Shinsuke and Assistant Chief Cabinet Secretary Kanehara Nobukatsu also attend
05:33 End meeting with Mr. Haass
05:58 Depart from office
06:05 Arrive at Akasaka Palace (State Guest House) in Moto-Akasaka, Tokyo
06:30 Reception for King of the Netherlands Willem-Alexander and his wife the Queen at Akasaka Palace
06:32 Conference with King and Queen in Hall of the Sunrise
07:02 Conference ends
07:03 Dinner meeting hosted by Prime Minister Abe and his wife in Kacho Hall
08:16 Dinner meeting ends
08:20 See off King and Queen of the Netherlands
08:23 Depart from Akasaka Palace
08:27 Arrive at official residence
08:29 Meet with MOFA’s Director-General of Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau Ihara Junichi. Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide, Minister for Foreign Affairs Kishida Fumio, Minister in charge of the Abduction Issue Yamatani Eriko, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Saiki Akitaka, and Secretary-General of Headquarters for the Abduction Issue Ishikawa Shoichiro also attend
09:19 End meeting with Mr. Ihara
09:20 Interview open to all media: When asked about “the content of the report from Bureau Director Ihara” Mr. Abe answers “Without obsessing over the results of the immediately previous investigation of North Korea, he has indicated to Japan a plan to use a new angle and pursue a more thorough investigation.”
09:23 Interview ends

Friday, October 31, 2014

12:00 At official residence (no visitors)
07:54 Depart from official residence
07:55 Arrive at office
08:01 Cabinet Meeting begins
08:14 Cabinet Meeting ends
08:40 Meet with Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Kato Katsunobu
09:19 End meeting with Mr. Kato
09:37 Depart from office
09:38 Arrive at Diet
09:40 Enter Lower House 1st Committee Members’ Room. Attend Lower House Special Committee on Regional Vitalization meeting
11:57 Meeting adjourns. Leave room
11:59 Depart from Diet

12:04 Arrive at Imperial Hotel in Uchisaiwai-cho, Tokyo. Dinner meeting with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Aso Taro, President of Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Hirano Nobuyuki, President of Mitsui Sumitomo Banking Corporation Kunibe Takeshi, and President of Mizuho Financial Group Sato Yasuhiro at French restaurant Les Saisons within hotel
12:50 Depart from hotel
12:58 Arrive at office
01:26 Meet with Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Saiki Akitaka
01:53 End meeting with Mr. Saiki
02:07 Meet with Minister of Finance Aso Taro, Ministry of Finance’s Vice-Minister Kagawa Shunsuke, Director-General of Budget Bureau Tanaka Kazuho, and Director-General of Tax Bureau Sato Shinichi
03:05 End meeting with Mr. Aso, Mr. Kagawa, Mr. Tanaka, and Mr. Sato
03:06 Speak with Director of Cabinet Intelligence Kitamura Shigeru
03:15 Finish speaking with Mr. Kitamura
03:16 Meet with Minister of State for Economic and Fiscal Policy Amari Akira, Cabinet Office’s Vice-Minister Matsuyama Kenji, and Director-Generals for Policies on
Cohesive Society Maekawa Mamoru, Habuka Shigeki, and Tawa Hiroshi
03:46 End meeting with Mr. Amari, Mr. Matsuyama, Mr. Maekawa, Mr. Habuka, and Mr. Tawa
03:48 Depart from office
03:52 Arrive at Hotel Okura in Toranomon, Tokyo
04:14 Attend concert sponsored by King of the Netherlands Willem-Alexander and his
wife the Queen in banquet hall Akebono Room within hotel
05:15 Concert ends
05:37 Attend return reception hosted by King and Queen of the Netherlands in banquet hall Heian Room within hotel
06:04 Reception ends
06:09 Attend inaugural celebratory reception for Japan-US Intellectual Exchange Joint Research Program [日米知的交流・共同研究プログラム:Nichibei Chiteki Koryu Kyodokenkyu Puroguramu] hosted by Japan Center for Economic Research and Japan Institute of International Affairs in banquet hall Ascot Hall within hotel annex, deliver address
06:36 Reception ends
06:37 Depart from hotel
06:45 Arrive at Imperial Hotel. Attend Akahige Award Reception hosted by Japa
Medical Association in banquet hall Peacock within hotel, deliver address
06:54 Depart from hotel
07:07 Arrive at Ark Mori Building in Akasaka, Tokyo. Dinner meeting with President of Kyodo News Service Fukuyama Masaki, colleagues, and news people in Ark Hills Club within building
09:22 Depart from Ark Mori Building
09:40 Arrive at private residence in Tomigaya, Tokyo

Saturday, November 1, 2014

12:00 At private residence (no visitors)
08:00 At private residence in Tomigaya, Tokyo (no morning visitors)
11:52 Depart from private residence

12:15 Arrive at hotel Grand Hyatt Tokyo in Roppongi, Tokyo. Work out at NAGOMI Spa and Fitness within hotel
03:24 Depart from hotel
03:45 Arrive at private residence
06:36 Depart from private residence
06:50 Arrive at restaurant L’art Et Mikuni in Kitanomaru Park, Tokyo. Dinner with Governor of Kanagawa Prefecture Kuroiwa Yuji, TV personality Kataoka Tsurutaro, and others
09:38 Depart from restuarant
09:52 Arrive at private residence

Sunday, November 2, 2014

12:00 At private residence (no visitors)
10:00 At private residence in Tomigaya, Tokyo (no morning visitors)
At private residence throughout the morning (no visitors)

12:34 Depart from private residence
12:46 Arrive at office
12:48 Speak with Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ohta Akihiro
12:58 Finish speaking with Mr. Ohta
01:21 Nuclear Energy Disaster Prevention Drill
01:55 Drill ends
02:30 Depart from office
02:42 Arrive at private residence

Provisional Translation by: Erin M. Jones

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Can Japan come back from the "Lonely Death"? The Demographic Challenge

Sustainable Governance Indicators is a platform built on a cross-national survey of governance that identifies reform needs in 41 EU and OECD countries. The 2014 Report assess a period of two years, beginning May 1, 2011 and ending May 15, 2013. It is a project supported by the Bertelsmann Foundation.

Japan generally falls in the middle of the 41 countries and appears to be shifting downward in its strength of democracy.

EU affairs writer, Craig James Willy examines below the indicators for Japan in light of the country's low fertility, low immigration and low female participation in the labor force. He finds, like many, Japan needs more action to address demographic challenges, as those are major underlying causes of weakening economic growth in the island-nation.

The Japanese have evocative words for some disturbing phenomena. One of these is kodokushi or "lonely death," referring to elderly people dying alone in their home, only to be horrifyingly discovered much later. Indeed, cleanup after such occurrences is a growing industry in the country. The word kodokushi expresses some of the extreme trends of Japan as a postmodern society: the tragedy of elderly loneliness, the challenge of a rapidly-aging society.

Indeed, Japan's over-65s currently make up 24 percent of the population, something which is forecast to rise to 30 percent by 2025 and, extraordinarily, almost 40 percent by 2060. In contrast, the working-age population between 15 and 64 years is expected to precipitously decrease to just over 50 percent by 2050.

Another striking expression is parasaito shinguru which, you may or may not have guessed, stands for "parasite singles," referring to individuals who continue to live with their parents in their late 20s and beyond. If Japan is aging so fast, it’s also because it is an increasingly childless society, with a fertility rate of just 1.4, one of the lowest in the world. These deep-seated demographic trends are unlikely to change any time soon.

This makes the Japanese government's stated objective of returning the country to economic dynamism and international prominence all the more difficult. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, whose ruling coalition just won a sweeping victory in the recent general elections, has implemented a radically heterodox approach to economic policy with the so-called "three arrows" of what wonks are calling "Abenomics": fiscal stimulus, money printing and structural reforms. So far however, results have been mixed, with two quarters of recession over the past year.

Unfortunately, Japan's economic problems are on one level intractable, not resolvable through economic policies, because they are fundamentally deriving from this poor demography. Japan ranks dead last in the Bertelsmann Stiftung’s Sustainable Governance Indicators (SGI) in terms of fiscal sustainability, which analyzes budgetary policy of all countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation (OECD) and the European Union. Tokyo's incredible government debt is clocking in at around 240 percent of GDP (however, the cost of interest rates on that are very low as the government borrows directly from the Bank of Japan).

This is likely to worsen as the Japanese population shrinks, the pension and healthcare costs of retirees inevitably grows, and the working-age population declines. In all likelihood, a significant part of this public debt will be monetized and reduced through inflation, with pensions declining as a result.

Paradoxically, one of Japan’s strengths accentuates these demographic problems. Japanese healthcare is remarkable in being relative cheap (10.1 percent of GDP, just over half as much as the United States) and achieving spectacular results: the average Japanese can hope to live over 84 years, longer than in any other country.

Japan’s gender situation is alarming: While the country has the second-highest gender income gap among full-time employees in the OECD and female participation is low, women are also not having children. Although the government has made attempts in recent years to improve women's ability to balance work and family life, so far the results have been slim.

Could immigration solve Japan’s demographic problems?

Immigration has been suggested as a way of rejuvenating the population and growing the workforce. However, the Japan is basically closed off to foreign settlement. While it is not unusual for over 1-in-10 people in Western countries to be foreign born, in Japan foreigners make up less than 2 percent of the population.

Indeed, foreigners find it difficult to integrate and assimilate to Japan's unique, particularistic culture with a language only distantly related to others. As SGI’s Japan report notes: "Given Japan’s restrictive approach to immigration, there is little integration policy as such." This appears unlikely to change as the Abe government has taken a nationalist tone and remains reluctant to loosen grip on immigration controls. A majority of Japanese has generally opposed increasing immigration.

Unless fertility is increased, Japan then looks set for economic and international decline. Poverty and inequality have spread, although these remain at relatively low levels. Pensions are likely to be insecure. At the same time however, a shrinking population can be a positive in terms of increasing environmental sustainability and energy independence. Indeed, Japan may be uniquely well-suited to tackling aging’s challenges through automation and robotics.

Ultimately, demographic challenges can however only be fully addressed through demographic solutions, as opposed to economic or technological band-aids. A nation may be more than the sum of its parts, but it is also simply the people that make it up, and there are not quick-fix solutions if those people disappear.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Monday in Washington, January 12, 2015

BE AFRAID. BE A LITTLE AFRAID: THE THREAT OF TERRORISM FROM WESTERN FOREIGN FIGHTERS IN SYRIA AND IRAQ? 1/12, 10:00-11:30am. Sponsor: Brookings. Speakers: Daniel Byman, Research Director, Center for Middle East Policy, Brookings; Jeremy Shapiro, Fellow, Center on the United States and Europe, Brookings; Daniel Benjamin, Non-resident Senior Fellow, Brookings; and Moderator: William McCants, Director of U.S. Relations with the Islamic World, Brookings.

CRACKDOWN ON INDEPENDENT VOICES IN AZERBAIJAN. 1/12, Noon-2:00pm. Sponsor: National Endowment for Democracy (NED). Speakers: Audrey Altstadt, Professor of History at the University of Massachusetts Amherst; Catherine Cosman, Senior Policy Analyst at the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom; Christopher Walker, executive director of the International Forum on Democratic Studies; Altay Goyushov, Professor of Turkic History, Baku State University, fellow at NED; Kenan Aliyev, Director, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Azerbaijani Service; Thomas O. Melia, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, United States Department of State; Miriam Lanskoy, Director of Russia and Eurasia Programs, National Endowment for Democracy.
WHITHER WORLD: POLITICAL ECONOMY OF FUTURE. 1/12, 12:30-2:00pm. Sponsor: World Bank. Speaker: author, Grzegorz Kolodko, Director, TIGER Center (Transformation, Integration and Globalization Economic Research), Kozminski University, Poland; Kaushik Basu, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist, Development Economics; Hans Timmer, Chief Economist, Europe and Central Asia Region World Bank.

ENDGAME: SUCCESS OR FAILURE IN IRAN NUCLEAR TALKS? 1/12, 4:30-6:00pm. Sponsor: Mortara Center for International Studies. Speakers: Bill Luers, Professor at Columbia University; Paul Pillar, non-resident Senior Fellow at Georgetown University; Robin Wright, Senior Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace.

The Wall Street Journal, of all publications, reprimands Abe

Abe at Ise Shrine January 5, 2015
Abe’s New Year Resolution
Honesty about World War II will bolster Japan’s standing in Asia.

The Wall Street Journal, Editorial
January 8, 2015

East Asia would benefit from improved relations between Japan and South Korea, the region’s U.S.-allied liberal democracies. So it’s good to hear Japanese leader Shinzo Abe resolve that, in marking the 70th anniversary of Tokyo’s World War II surrender later this year, he won’t again whitewash the history of Imperial Japanese aggression.

Debates over World War II still influence Asian politics to a degree that Americans and Europeans find hard to understand. Though Japan has been a pacifist democracy for more than six decades, many of its neighbors condemn it for failing to admit its sins from the first half of the 20th century.

The charge is largely cynical coming from Chinese officials who downplay their own atrocities during the Great Leap Forward or Cultural Revolution. But the dynamic with South Korea is more complex.

South Koreans know that in recent decades Japanese leaders have repeatedly apologized for the past. In 1993 Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono expressed Tokyo’s “sincere apologies and remorse” for the Imperial Army’s conscription of Korean women as sex slaves, or “comfort women.” In 1995 Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama expressed “deep remorse” and “sincere apology” that “through its colonial rule and aggression [Japan] caused tremendous damage and suffering to the people of many countries.” In 2005 Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi repeated these words.

Several Japanese Prime Ministers have also apologized directly to South Korean Presidents for the colonization of Korea and abuse of comfort women. One apology, in 2010, came with the return of 1,200 volumes of Korean royal records looted during colonization.

The problem is that some Japanese politicians and groups promote textbooks that omit wartime atrocities, or insist that the Rape of Nanjing never happened. Mr. Abe, whose grandfather sat in Tojo’s wartime cabinet before serving as a pro-American postwar Prime Minister, sometimes joins this revisionist chorus. He has criticized “masochistic” textbooks, quibbled over the definition of “aggression” and flirted with withdrawing the Kono Statement, which he once said “put dishonor on the back of Japan.” In 2013 he visited Tokyo’s Yasakuni Shrine, which includes 14 class-A war criminals among its honored dead.

All this causes fury in South Korea, where President Park Geun-hye has refused to meet Mr. Abe unless he can “break away from denial of the past.” Chinese officials have been all too happy to embrace Ms. Park and play up Mr. Abe’s diplomatic isolation.

Hence the significance of Mr. Abe’s promise this week to prepare a statement for the Aug. 15 surrender anniversary that will illustrate “Japan’s remorse over the war, its postwar history as a pacifist nation and how it will contribute to the Asia-Pacific region and the world.” He added that his government “has and will uphold statements issued by past Administrations.”

Perhaps nothing Mr. Abe could say would soothe relations with Beijing, where leaders appear committed to stoking anti-Japan nationalism to boost their own legitimacy. As of last year, China’s official calendar includes three new holidays commemorating the Sino-Japanese war.

But with Seoul, Mr. Abe could make real progress. Last month Japan and South Korea agreed for the first time to share intelligence on North Korea through a trilateral arrangement including the United States. A similar deal that didn’t include the U.S. fell apart in 2012 amid popular uproar in South Korea.

Most South Koreans still view Japan negatively, but advances at the official level should be possible given the high stakes in nuclear proliferation, missile defense and cyberwarfare. U.S. involvement will be crucial, but the onus is on Mr. Abe to make good on his pledge to mute Tokyo’s revisionism. Doing so would bolster Japan’s standing in East Asia.