Thursday, October 30, 2014

Why are Japan's female cabinet members so conservative?

The five women ABE Shinzo selected for his Cabinet on September 3rd are not evidence of women's advancement in Japanese society, as SHIRAI Satoshi (白井 聡) argues in GQ Japan. Instead, they are indicative of how fundamentally patriarchal Japanese society remains.

The extreme right views of these women are reflections--indeed, amplifications--of the Nippon no ossan (ニッポンのオッサン) worldview that defines Japanese cultural and social norms. Nippon no ossan is a derogatory term meaning "Japanese Old Man" and connotes a traditional patriarchal perspective.

The female ministers' ascension to power in Japan is not the result of their breaking down barriers. Rather, it is the result of their becoming caricatures of the Japanese ossan's ideal woman. Further, they distinguish themselves as being the most outspoken defenders of traditional and retrogressive views. As an embodiment of the patriarchal ossan worldview, they remind us that feminism requires more than the mere presence of women in a male-dominated world. It requires the overthrow of the basic social values and worldview that privilege the male perspective.

Article Excerpt (Provisional translation by George Lazopoulos):
As you might easily guess, the proportion of Japan’s female parliament members is the lowest among the developed nations, making the surest means for women politicians to advance is to conform to the “Nippon Ossan” value system and worldview that has its grip on the center of power. That is, as often happens among minority group members, excessive conformity to the majority appears. In other words, the women’s extreme right views are nothing other than the result of conforming to the average value system of an overwhelmingly Ossan-centered society. So as the Hate Speech Incident in the Tokyo City Assembly this June made clear, in the world of parliamentary politics offensive behavior toward women that violates human rights is permitted in practice (as proven by the absence of any serious punishment for any Ossan), and the appearance of excessive conformity is inevitable.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Prime Minister of Japan’s Schedule September 8-14, 2014

Monday, September 8, 2014

AM

(Local time in Sri Lanka)
View Kelaniya Temple on the outskirts of Colombo, Sri Lanka
Depart from Colombo (Bandaranaike) International Airport on private government aircraft

PM
(Japan time)
08:59 Finish visit to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, arrive at Haneda Airport on private government aircraft with wife Akie
09:10 Depart from Haneda Airport
09:34 Arrive at private residence in Tomigaya, Tokyo

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

AM
12:00 At private residence (no visitors)
08:00 At private residence in Tomigaya, Tokyo (no morning visitors)
09:32 Depart from private residence
09:47 Arrive at office
09:48 Interview open to all media: When asked “What do you think of a Japanese player taking second in the US Open Tennis Championships?” Mr. Abe answers “I want our players to do their best to take first.”
09:49 Interview ends
10:02 Cabinet Meeting begins
10:13 Cabinet Meeting ends
10:18 Speak with Minister in charge of Overcoming Population Decline and Vitalizing Local Economy in Japan Ishiba Shigeru
10:29 Finish speaking with Mr. Ishiba
10:30 Speak with State Minister of Cabinet Office Taira Masaaki
10:43 Finish speaking with Mr. Taira
11:12 Depart from office
11:20 Arrive at Imperial Palace, register return to Japan
11:27 Depart from Imperial Palace
11:37 Arrive at office

PM
12:09 Ruling Party Liaison Conference
12:24 Conference ends
12:25 Speak with Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide, LDP Secretary-General Tanigaki Sadakazu, and Chairman of LDP Election Committee Motegi Toshimitsu
12:38 Finish speaking with Mr. Suga, Mr. Tanigaki, and Mr. Motegi
01:09 Meet with Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Obuchi Yuko, Commissioner of Agency for Natural Resources and Energy Ueda Takayuki, and Secretary-General of Nuclear Regulation Authority Ikeda Katsuhiko
01:33 End meeting with Ms. Obuchi, Mr. Ueda, and Mr. Ikeda
01:41 Speak with Cabinet Office’s Director-General of Decoration Bureau Kuroba Ryosuke
01:47 Finish speaking with Mr. Kuroba
01:51 Meet with Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Saiki Akitaka
02:49 End meeting with Mr. Saiki
02:50 Receive courtesy call from truck driver Yamane Rie, plasterer Fukuyoshi Natsuko, and colleagues (female truckers and construction workers)
03:03 Courtesy call ends
03:04 Meet with Mr. Saiki
03:28 End meeting with Mr. Saiki
03:39 Filming for event concerned with women
03:42 Filming ends
04:03 Receive courtesy call from CEO of US space venture SpaceX and Tesla Elon Musk
04:14 Courtesy call ends
04:32 Council on National Strategic Zones meeting
04:55 Meeting ends
05:06 Director of Cabinet Intelligence Kitamura Shigeru, Director of National Security Council (NSC) Yachi Shotaro, and Director of Cabinet Satellite Intelligence Center Shimohira Koji enter
05:19 Mr. Yachi and Mr. Shimohira leave
05:26 Mr. Kitamura leaves
06:02 Receive courtesy call from President of House of Councillors of Morocco Mohamed Cheikh Biadillah
06:23 Courtesy call ends
06:33 Depart from office
06:53 Arrive at private residence

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

AM
12:00 At private residence (no visitors)
08:00 At private residence in Tomigaya, Tokyo (no morning visitors)
09:30 Depart from private residence
09:44 Arrive at office
10:03 Receive courtesy call from Australia’s Speaker of the House of Representatives Bronwyn Bishop
10:19 Courtesy call ends
10:35 Council for the Protection of Information meeting
11:14 Meeting ends
11:19 Ceremony to Present Prime Minister’s Commendation to Contributors for Disaster Prevention
11:37 Ceremony ends
11:38 Meet with Minister in charge of Overcoming Population Decline and Vitalizing Local Economy in Japan Ishiba Shigeru

PM
12:03 End meeting with Mr. Ishiba
12:06 Depart from office
12:07 Arrive at official residence
12:09 Lunch meeting with female ambassadors to Japan hosted by Prime Minister Abe
01:22 Lunch meeting ends
01:23 Depart from official residence
01:24 Arrive at office
03:05 Depart from office
03:31 Arrive at free school Tokyo Shure in Kishimachi, Tokyo. Engage in activities with pupils who had issues attending school, and have an exchange of ideas with those pupils
04:04 Interview open to all media: When asked “What was your aim in visiting the school?” Mr. Abe answers “My take-away is that there are a variety of methods to approaching education. I want to examine what support we can offer academically and economically.”
04:14 Interview ends
04:46 Arrive at office
05:00 NSC meeting
05:52 NSC meeting ends
05:53 Meet with Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Obuchi Yuko, Minister of the Environment Mochizuki Yoshio, and Secretary-General of Nuclear Regulation Authority Ikeda Katsuhiko
06:20 End meeting with Ms. Obuchi, Mr. Mochizuki, and Mr. Ikeda
06:24 Depart from office
06:25 Arrive at official residence. Dinner with LDP incoming Secretary-General Tanigaki Sadakazu and outgoing Secretary-General Ishiba Shigeru, Chairperson of General Council Nikai Toshihiro, incoming Chairperson of Policy Research Council Inada Tomomi and outgoing Chairperson Takaichi Sanae, and colleagues
08:16 Everyone leaves

Thursday, September 11, 2014

AM
12:00 At official residence (no visitors)
08:00 At official residence (no morning visitors)
09:24 Depart from official residence
09:25 Arrive at office
09:36 Receive courtesy call from Japan Foundation Asia Center’s First Dispatch Group of Japanese Language Partners Enda Tamao and others
09:43 Courtesy call ends
09:52 Depart from office
09:59 Arrive at Japan Fire Station Hall [日本消防会館: Nihon Shobo Kaikan] in Toranomon, Tokyo
10:00 Attend National Memorial Service for Firefighters Who Lost Their Lives on Duty in Nissho Hall, deliver address, and offer flowers
10:31 Memorial service ends
10:32 Depart from Nissho Hall
10:37 Arrive at office
10:38 Meet with Minister of State for Regulatory Reform Arimura Haruko
11:05 End meeting with Ms. Arimura
11:08 Interview with Vice-Chair of International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) Jacques Lochard and other radiation specialists. Chairman of The Nippon Foundation Sasakawa Yohei also attends
11:27 Interview ends
11:30 Robot Revolution Realization Council meeting

PM
12:07 Meeting ends
12:12 Conference with President of Bank of Japan Kuroda Haruhiko commences
01:06 Conference with Mr. Kuroda closes
01:21 Depart from office
01:26 Arrive at Hotel Okura in Toranomon, Tokyo. Attend remembrance ceremony in honor of former Chairman of Cabinet Legislation Bureau, the late Komatsu Ichiro. Offer flowers and deliver address
01:41 Depart from hotel
01:49 Arrive at office
02:03 Meet with Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA)’s Director-General of Foreign Policy Bureau Hiramatsu Kenji and Director of Gender Mainstreaming Division Matsukawa Rui
02:47 End meeting with Mr. Hiramatsu and Ms. Matsukawa
02:48 Speak with Cabinet Advisor Furusawa Mitsuhiro and Executive Director of International Monetary Fund (IMF) Kajikawa Mikio
02:59 Finish speaking with Mr. Furusawa and Mr. Kajikawa
03:00 Speak with Assistant Chief Cabinet Secretary Furuya Kazuyuki
03:10 Finish speaking with Mr. Furuya
03:36 Depart from office
03:46 Arrive at Nippon Broadcasting System in Yuraku-cho, Tokyo
04:00 Participate in radio program “The Voice: Soko made iu ka!” [ザ・ボイス そこまで言うか!]
04:32 Finish participation in radio program
04:36 Depart from Nippon Broadcasting System
04:40 Arrive at office
04:47 Meet with MOFA’s Director-General of Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau Ihara Junichi
05:16 End meeting with Mr. Ihara
05:17 Speak with Ministry of Defense’s Administrative Vice-Minister Nishi Masanori and Director-General of Bureau of Defense Policy Kuroe Tetsuro
05:27 Finish speaking with Mr. Nishi and Mr. Kuroe
05:31 Meet with Minister in charge of Economic Revitalization Amari Akira
05:51 End meeting with Mr. Amari
05:52 Meet with Minister for Foreign Affairs Kishida Fumio and MOFA’s Director-General of European Affairs Bureau Hayashi Hajime
06:17 End meeting Mr. Kishida and Mr. Hayashi
06:33 Depart from office
06:47 Arrive at sushi restaurant Kozasa in Shinsen-cho, Tokyo. Dinner meeting hosted by Prime Minister Abe for Managing Director of IMF Christine Lagarde, Mr. Furusawa and Mr. Hiramatsu also attend
08:42 Depart from restaurant
08:48 Arrive at private residence in Tomigaya, Tokyo

Friday, September 12, 2014

AM
12:00 At private residence (no visitors)
08:00 At private residence in Tomigaya, Tokyo (no morning visitors)
08:45 Depart from private residence
09:00 Arrive at office
09:03 Speak with Chairman of General Assembly of LDP Members in House of Councillors Mizote Kensei. Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide also attends
09:18 Finish speaking with Mr. Mizote
09:19 Speak with Minister in charge of Promoting Women’s Active Participation Arimura Haruko
09:26 Finish speaking with Ms. Arimura
09:27 Speak with Minister of State for Economic and Fiscal Policy Amari Akira and Vice-Minister of Cabinet Office Matsuyama Kenji
09:36 Finish speaking with Mr. Amari and Mr. Matsuyama
09:47 Strategic Headquarters for Space Development meeting
09:58 Meeting ends
10:03 Cabinet Meeting begins
10:17 Cabinet Meeting ends
10:21 Joint Meeting of Nuclear Emergency Response Headquarters and Nuclear Emergency Preparedness Council
10:40 Joint meeting ends
10:54 Headquarters for Overcoming Population Decline and Vitalizing Local Economy in Japan meeting
11:09 Meeting ends
11:10 Meet with Director of Cabinet Intelligence Kitamura Shigeru
11:41 End meeting with Mr. Kitamura
11:42 Speak with MOFA’s Vice-Minister Saiki Akitaka and Director-General of Middle Eastern and African Affairs Bureau Uemura Tsukasa. Assistant Chief Cabinet Secretary Kanehara Nobukatsu also attends
11:53 Finish speaking with Mr. Saiki and Mr. Uemura
11:54 Speak with Governor of Hiroshima Prefecture Yuzaki Hidehiko

PM
12:00 Finish speaking with Mr. Yuzaki
12:44 Speak with Director of NSC Yachi Shotaro
12:53 Finish speaking with Mr. Yachi
12:57 Depart from office
01:07 Arrive at Federation of Economic Organizations [Keidanren] Assembly Hall in Otemachi, Tokyo. Attend World Assembly for Women [女性が輝く社会に向けた国際シンポジウム: Jyosei ga Kagayaku Shakai ni muketa Kokusai Shinpojiumu] in International Meeting Hall, give speech
03:27 Receive courtesy call from former President of Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) Naina Lal Kidwai and colleagues in Momoyama Room
03:47 Courtesy call ends
Ms. Zainab Hawa Bangura
03:53 Receive courtesy call from Special Representative of Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict Zainab Hawa Bangura and colleagues in Muromachi Room
04:17 Courtesy call ends
04:25 Receive courtesy call from U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy in Momoyama Room
04:55 Receive courtesy call from former Prime Minister of UK Tony Blair’s wife Cherie in Muromachi Room
05:17 Courtesy call ends
05:23 Conference with Speaker of Jatiyo Sangshad (Bangladesh’s Parliament) Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury in Momoyama Room
05:42 Conference ends
06:05 Attend World Assembly for Women reception in Diamond Room, deliver address
06:51 Reception ends
06:52 Depart from Federation of Economic Organizations [Keidanren] Assembly Hall
07:29 Arrive at private residence

Saturday, September 13, 2014

AM
12:00 At private residence (no visitors)
08:00 At private residence in Tomigaya, Tokyo (no morning visitors)
08:36 Depart from official residence
08:51 Arrive at Roppongi Hills Mori Tower in Roppongi, Tokyo. Attend a high-level round table of World Assembly for Women in cultural center Roppongi Academy Hills within Mori Tower, deliver opening greeting
10:06 Receive courtesy call from Co-Chair of Disney Media Networks Anne Sweeney and colleagues at Italian restaurant La Cucina within membership club Roppongi Hills Club
10:30 Courtesy call ends
10:34 Receive courtesy call from Executive Director of UN Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and colleagues
10:51 Courtesy call ends
11:03 Participate in subcommittee small group meeting of World Assembly for Women in Roppongi Academy Hills

PM
12:26 Subcommittee meeting ends
12:27 Depart from Roppongi Academy Hills
12:28 Arrive at hotel Grand Hyatt Tokyo in Roppongi, Tokyo. Dinner with secretaries at Japanese restaurant Shunbou within hotel
01:40 Depart from restaurant
01:50 Arrive at Tokyo Metropolitan Hibiya Public Hall in Hibiya Park, Tokyo. Attend assembly related to North Korean abduction issues Citizens’ Rally: “We cannot wait any longer! We want results this year!” and deliver address
02:15 Depart from Hibiya Park
02:32 Arrive at private residence

Sunday, September 14, 2014

AM
12:00 At private residence (no visitors)
08:18 Depart from private residence in Tomigaya, Tokyo
08:32 Arrive at NHK Chiyoda Broadcasting Hall in Kioi-cho, Tokyo
09:00 Appear in debate programming
09:30 Finish debate
09:33 Depart from NHK Chiyoda Broadcasting Hall
09:50 Arrive at private residence

PM
Stay at private residence throughout the afternoon and evening (no visitors)

Provisional Translation by: Erin M. Jones

Retrogressive education leads to retrogressive thinking

Japanese schoolgirl 1920
It was reported on October 23rd, that Japan's Finance Ministry will ask the Education Ministry to increase the maximum number of students per class for first-graders at public elementary schools to 40, from the current 35, in a bid to cut the education budget for next year. It would help reduce the number of teachers nationwide by 4,000, saving the government ¥8.6 billion in personnel costs per year. It is more likely this move--which is contrary to all modern pedagogy that finds smaller classes better for learning--is aimed at reducing the influence of Japan's Teacher's Union [(日教組 Nikkyōso] which the Abe Conservatives believe is has weakened educational rigor and national pride.

Redoing Japan's educational system is a priority of the Abe Administration. APP's Director, Mindy Kotler, is quoted in the article below wondering about the consequences.

Japan's Divided Education Strategy

By Michael Fitzpatrick
The New York Times, October 12, 2014

TOKYO — Japan’s simultaneous embrace of nationalism and cosmopolitanism is generating ambiguous signals from its education policy makers. They are rewriting textbooks along what they call “patriotic” lines, alienating their Asian neighbors in the process. But at the same time, they are promoting Japanese universities as globalized and open, in a bid to compete internationally.

“There is an obvious contradiction between Japan’s rightward shift on education policy and its strivings to internationalize,” said Thomas Berger, a professor at Boston University and an expert on Japanese politics.

“Japanese textbook policy is increasing tensions with Asia, undermining the willingness of Japanese to study in neighboring countries and of foreigners to come to Japan,” Prof. Berger said. “Education policy is caught on the horns of a dilemma: On the one hand, there are powerful economic and political pressures that favor internationalization — yet, in reality, Japan has been moving in the opposite direction.”

Following a rare term out of office, Japan’s conservatives returned to power last year with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at their head and an agenda to recast wartime history with a less apologetic tone. A more critical version of history, which casts Japan as an aggressor in World War II, has been replaced by material that is more “patriotic.”

Critics say the new government is trying to impose a rightist agenda on the nation’s schooling system. They point out, for example, that new state-sanctioned text books play down the death toll of the Nanjing massacre in China, which is now referred to as an “incident.”

There has been some resistance to the changes, but by and large, education boards across Japan are accepting them. One of the first boards to adopt the new textbooks was that of Yokohama, the country’s second-largest city.

At the same time, a formidable drive is underway by the same conservatives to globalize Japan’s inward-looking education system. Mr. Abe has stated that he wants 10 Japanese institutions to rank among the world’s top 100 universities. Currently only two make the cut in prominent lists like that of Times Higher Education: the University of Tokyo and Kyoto University.

The government’s plans include strengthening teaching staffs at universities by hiring foreign professors, initiating a certified evaluation system and expanding resources.

There is also a move to improve bilateral relations with the very countries that the new textbooks have irked — the United States, China and South Korea.

Japan’s Asian neighbors fear that its new emphasis on patriotism will lead to nationalism and a teaching of history that obfuscates wartime atrocities. They also accuse Mr. Abe of reviving past militarism. Tokyo is “attempting to deny and even beautify” the country’s history of military aggression, a statement from China’s Foreign Ministry said this year.

China and Japan — which are also facing off over territorial claims — both say that biased history textbooks and education are among the causes of a deep-grained hostility that threatens more than 50 years of peace between them.

Even allies like the United States are dismayed at the new textbooks, said Mindy Kotler, director of Asia Policy Point, an independent research center in Washington.

“Disappointment stems from the realization that Japan’s leaders hold a retrograde, discredited and offensive view of not just history, but also of race, women, war, peace and reconciliation,” she said. “Simply put, the issue is whether or not Japanese decision makers are capable of sound judgment.”

But the government says Japan has done enough to satisfy its neighbors’ sensitivities over Japanese aggression during the war years.

The education minister, Hakubun Shimomura, denies that the government wants to enforce a particular view of history. He says Japan’s textbook examination is undertaken fairly and impartially, “based on expert and academic deliberations.” But he concedes he is looking for a more patriotic take on Japan.

“History has positive and negative aspects,” Mr. Shimomura said in an email. “We believe it is important to teach a balance of the good as well as the bad parts so that children can be proud of and have confidence in our country’s history.”

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Monday in Washington, October 27, 2014

EBOLA: U.S. DOMESTIC AND FOREIGN POLICY OPTIONS. 10/27, Noon-1:00pm. Sponsor: Heritage Foundation. Speakers: Robert Kadlec, managing director of RPK Consulting LLC; Tevi Troy, president of the American Health Policy Institute; Charlotte Florance, research associate for economic freedom in Africa and the Middle East at Heritage; and Steven Bucci, director of the Center for Foreign and National Security Policy at Heritage.

VICTORY UNDONE: THE DEFEAT OF AL-QAEDA IN IRAQ AND ITS RESURRECTION AS ISIS. 10/27, Noon-2:00pm. Sponsor: International Security Program, Eurasia Center. Speaker: Carter Andress, Iraq War expert, Author, Victory Undone: The Defeat of al-Qaeda in Iraq and Its Resurrection as ISIS.

BROADER IMPLICATIONS OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS CRACKDOWN IN AZERBAIJAN. 10/27, 12:30-2:00pm, Lunch. Sponsor: Freedom House and Open Society Foundations (OSF). Speakers: Gerald Knaus, founding chairman of the European Stability Initiative; Paige Alexander, assistant administrator in the Bureau for Europe and Eurasia at the U.S. Agency for International Development; David Kramer, president of Freedom House; and Jeff Goldstein, senior policy analyst for Eurasia at OSF.


U.S.-CIVIL MILITARY RELATIONS AFTER 9/11. 10/27, 1:30-2:30pm Fairfax, VA. Sponsor: Alexander Hamilton Society-George Mason University. Speaker: author, Mackubin Thomas Owens, recently retired as professor of national-security affairs at the Naval War College. He is the editor of Orbis and a contributing editor to the National Review Online.

SUFFER NO FOOLS. 10/27, 5:00-7:30pm. Sponsor: Heritage Foundation. Speakers: Walter Williams, professor of economics at George Mason University; and Stephen Moore, chief economist at Heritage.

THE LIFE OF AN AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: A CONVERSATION WITH JULIA GILLARD ON MY STORY. 10/27, 9:00-10:15am. Sponsor: Brookings Institution. Speaker: author, Julia Gillard, Distinguished Fellow, Global Economy and Development, Center for Universal Education; Moderator: E.J. Dionne, Jr., Senior Fellow, Governance Studies.

WHAT LIES AHEAD FOR THE GLOBAL ECONOMY: A BRICS PERSPECTIVE. 10/27, Noon-1:30pm, Lunch. Sponsor: Peterson Institute for International Economics. Speaker: Mohamed A. El-Erian, chief economic adviser at Allianz.

RUSSIA’S WAR, UKRAINE’S HISTORY AND THE WEST’S OPTIONS. 10/27, 3:00-4:30pm. Sponsor: Russia and Eurasia Program, CSIS. Speaker: Timothy Snyder, Bird White Housum Professor of History, Yale University; Moderator: Jeffrey Mankoff, Deputy Director and Fellow, Russia and Eurasia Program, CSIS.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Big Lie Behind Japanese Whaling

Dr. Kirby's Book
The following New York Times (10/13/14) op ed by Oxford University researcher  Peter Wynn Kirby discusses Japan's rationale behind its insistence upon Antarctic whaling. He argues it is more about protecting their access to international waters for fishing than about a cultural proclivity. Japan has no tradition of hunting whales outside its coastal waters. Industrial pelagic whaling is a government endeavor for which the government has fabricated a history for Japan.

This "redo" of history, whether regarding the war or culture is a consistent theme among Japan's conservative nationalist politicians. There is an idealized past they believe needs to be retrieved for Japan to be a normal nation. Underlying these beliefs is a real effort to retrieve past properties and privileges lost after the war. The return of Antarctica and other maritime territories forfeited by the San Francisco Peace Treaty are the ultimate target.


TOKYO — The International Court of Justice’s decision last March to prohibit Japan’s annual whale hunt in Antarctic waters was greeted by many as an historic step against a reprehensible practice. Yet last month, despite the enormous diplomatic toll, Japan vowed to continue its whaling activities under a controversial research program of dubious scientific merit.

Japan’s determination may seem puzzling, but only if you assume its whaling activities are about science, or that its purportedly scientific whaling is a cover for commercial whaling. In fact, Japan’s pro-whaling stance isn’t really about whales at all; instead, it is about ensuring access to other fishing resources.

Japan’s so-called research whaling program is far from scientific: Thanks to unprofessional methodology and sloppy standards, its findings are widely regarded as risible. Some 3,600 whales have been slaughtered since 2005, but Japan’s Institute for Cetacean Research (I.C.R.), the de facto government entity that oversees the country’s whaling program, has only two peer-reviewed scholarly articles to show for it. And much robust testing doesn’t even require killing whales.

Meanwhile, the market for whale meat in Japan has slumped considerably. Whaling proponents claim the practice helps safeguard Japan’s culinary heritage against Western cultural imperialism. But survey after survey shows that outside a handful of small whaling communities, most Japanese regard whale meat with indifference, if not disgust. They eat less than 24 grams per capita annually. Thousands of tons of frozen whale steaks and whale bacon languish unwanted in expensive cold storage. As a result, the I.C.R., once largely funded by the sale of whale meat, is now claiming more taxpayer money.

These inefficiencies result from a policy that hides its true motives: If the Japanese government adamantly defends its marginal whaling rights, it is because it fears encroachment on its critical fishing activities. This concern is not only a point of cultural pride and a commercial necessity; it is also perceived as a strategic imperative. Japan catches several million tons of seafood a year and is the third-largest importer of seafood, behind the European Union and the United States. Japanese eat more fish per capita than the people of any other industrialized nation.

The problematic use of whaling to safeguard fisheries dates back to the early 1980s and discussions about an international moratorium on commercial whaling. With the negotiations stalled because Japan opposed the idea of a ban, the American government threatened to limit Japanese ships’ access to fishing stocks in United States waters unless Japan withdrew its objection. Japan complied in 1986, privileging fisheries over whaling. But the United States then curtailed Japan’s access to American fish stocks anyway. And in 1987 Japan announced it would resume whaling under the controversial pseudo-scientific program still in place today.

Since then, more hidebound Japanese bureaucrats, particularly in the Fisheries Agency, have feared that giving ground on whaling would undermine Japan’s ability to harvest other seafood. Joji Morishita, now Japan’s commissioner to the International Whaling Commission, let slip this rationale in an interview in 2000. He said he worried that conceding too much would “set a precedent” and that “once the principle of treating wildlife as a sustainable resource is compromised, our right to exploit other fish and animal products would be infringed upon.”

The Japanese government has been hostile to the creation of sanctuaries for threatened species as well as to any restrictions on indiscriminate catching methods, like the drift nets used in the 1990s or the huge, sinuous long lines in use today. Even with the endangered Atlantic bluefin tuna, a clear case of overexploitation, Japanese negotiators have pushed hard to ensure that oversight is conducted by smaller regional bodies, like the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, rather than high-profile international bodies created by the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species. In January 2008, the business magazine Shukan Toyo Keizai quoted a government source as stating, “If we give an inch on the whaling issue, we will also have to back down on tuna.”

Perhaps sensing that this domino theory might not convince non-Japanese, the whaling lobby also makes another, spurious, case: that whales, rather than humans, are responsible for declining global fisheries. The Institute of Cetacean Research claims that whales are “top predators” and “consume a colossal amount of fish.” Never mind overfishing or pollution. And never mind that many whales don’t eat the seafood prized by fishing fleets, or that many areas with recovering whale populations also boast abundant fish stocks. According to the I.C.R.’s twisted logic, to protect fish you must cull whales.

Such fallacies are reinforced by the patronage system that prevails in Japan. Being curmudgeonly on whaling plays well in conservative circles. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s return to power in December 2012 was a virtual palace coup for whaling proponents. When critical decisions on Japan’s research program were being made earlier this year, no fewer than 12 members of the cabinet — including the prime minister, the deputy prime minister, the chief cabinet secretary and the minister of agriculture, forestry and fisheries — were or had been members of the conservative Parliamentary League for the Promotion of Whaling. In his book “Whaling in Japan,” Jun Morikawa details how the corrupt official system that bolsters Japan’s whaling lobby virtually guarantees loyal officials a cushy salary and fringe benefits for their entire careers.

Solving this problem and the broader issue of Japanese whaling starts with the recognition that Japan’s insistence on whaling is far less about whales than about fish. Drawing on realpolitik, the governments that are concerned about whaling would do well to help Japan secure access to sustainable fisheries. Because, as it happens, the best way to protect the whales is to protect the fish.

Monday in Washington, October 20, 2014

DOES DEMOCRACY MATTER? 10/20, 8:30am-2:30pm. Sponsor: Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies, Wilson Center (WWC). Speakers include: Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Thomas Melia and Larry Diamond, director of Stanford University's Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law.

THE DREAM MACHINE: THE UNTOLD HISTORY OF THE NOTORIOUS V-22 OSPREY" AND "PREDATOR: THE SECRET ORIGINS OF THE DRONE REVOLUTION. 10/20, 9:00-10:30am. Sponsor: George Washington University (GWU) Law School. Speaker: Author Richard Whittle.

PREVENTING PROLIFERATION AND ADVANCING NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT. 10/20, 9:30am-2:30pm. Sponsor: Arms Control Association. Keynote Speaker: Lord Des Browne, former U.K. Secretary of State for Defense and Vice-Chairman of the Nuclear Threat Initiative.

THE 20TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE 1994 US-DPRK AGREED FRAMEWORK. 10/20, 10:00am-4:00pm. Sponsor: US-Korea Institute, SAIS, Johns Hopkins University. Speakers: Stephen Bosworth, Chairman, US-Korea Institute at SAIS, former KEDO Executive Director, US Ambassador to Republic of Korea; Robert Gallucci, former Ambassador At-Large and Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs; Sung-Joo Han, Chairman, International Policy Studies Institute of Korea (IPSIKOR), former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Korea; James Laney, former US Ambassador to Republic of Korea; Yukio Takeuchi, former Justice, Supreme Court of Japan, former Vice Foreign Minister, Japan; Thomas Hubbard, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and US Ambassador to the Republic of Korea; Dan Poneman, former Senior Director for Non-Proliferation and Export Controls, National Security Council and Deputy Secretary of Energy; Gary Samore, Executive Director, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, White House Coordinator for Arms Control and Weapons of Mass Destruction; and General Gary E. Luck, former Commander-in-Chief, United Nations Command (Korea)/Combined Forces Command/US Forces Korea.

INDIA: MANAGING ELECTIONS IN THE WORLD’S MOST POPULOUS DEMOCRACY. 10/20, Noon-1:30pm. Sponsors: South Asia Studies, SAIS, Johns Hopkins; Office of the Dean, SAIS, Johns Hopkins. Speaker: Navin Chawla, Former Chief Election Commissioner of India.

HYDROCARBONS, GOVERNANCE AND SOCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY IN THE CASPIAN BASIN AND BEYOND. 10/20, 1:00-2:00pm. Sponsor: Elliott School, George Washington, University. Speakers: Marc-Antoine Perouse de Montclos, professor in the French Institute of Geopolitics at the University of Paris; Sergei Gretsky, chair of Central Asia area studies in the Foreign Service Institute at the State Department; Peter Rutland, professor of government at Wesleyan University; Oksan Bayulgen, associate professor of political science and international relations at the University of Connecticut; Kate Watters, co-founder and executive director of Crude Accountability; and Sebastien Peyrouse, senior research fellow in the East West Center at GWU.

PRESIDENT PARK’S UNIFICATION BONANZA & U.S.-ROK RELATIONS. 10/20, 1:30-4:30pm. Sponsors: Korean-American Club; Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI). Speakers: Donald Manzullo, President & CEO, Korea Economic Institute of America; Dennis Hastert, Former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives; Ahn Ho-young, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to the United States; Chang-geuk Moon, Editor-in-Chief, The Joong-ang Ilbo Daily; Michael Schiffer, Senior Advisor and Counselor, U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations; Mark Tokola, Vice President, Korea Economic Institute of America; Richard Lugar, President of the Lugar Center, Former Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations; Sang-Seok Lee, Vice Chairman, The Hankook Ilbo Daily & Korea Times; Seung-ryun Kim, Anchorman, Dong-A Ilbo-TV; and Do-woon Lee, Secretary of Hanmi Club, Assistant Managing Editor, Seoul Shinmun Daily; Moderators: Troy Stangarone, Senior Director of Congressional Affairs & Trade, Korea Economic Institute of America; and David Pong, Chairman, Korean-American Club.

WARFARE BENEATH THE WAVES: THE UNDERSEA DOMAIN IN ASIA. 10/20, 2:00-3:30pm. Sponsor: American Enterprise Institute (AEI). Speakers: Dean Cheng, Heritage Foundation; Thomas Mahnken, Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies; Evan Montgomery, Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments; and Iskander Rehman, Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments; Moderator: Michael Mazza, AEI. 

U.S.-RUSSIA RELATIONS: BEYOND THE CRISIS IN UKRAINE. 10/20, 3:00-4:30pm. Sponsor: Brookings Institution. Speakers: Victoria Panova, director general of the Fund MGIMO-UT/Global Reform Fund; and Brookings Fellows Jeremy Shapiro, Steven Pifer and Michael O'Hanlon.

RUSSIA'S ENERGY RELATIONS WITH THE WEST: THE ENERGY CHARTER PERSPECTIVE. 10/ 20. 4:30-6:00pm. Sponsor: Atlantic Council. Speakers: Urban Rusnak, secretary-general of the Energy Charter Secretariat; Marat Terterov, executive director of the Brussels Energy Club; and David Koranyi, deputy director of the Eurasia Center at the Atlantic Council. 

THE NEW KINGS OF CRUDE: CHINA, OIL, AND CIVIL WAR IN SUDAN AND SOUTH SUDAN. 10/20 at 5:00-7:00 pm. Sponsor: SAIS, Johns Hopkins. Speaker: Author Luke Patey, senior researcher at the Danish Institute for International Studies.

U.S. LEADERSHIP, STRATEGY AND PREVENTING/CONTAINING FUTURE CONFLICTS. 10/20, 6:00-8:00pm, Arlington, VA. Sponsor: Rethinking Seminar Series, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. Speaker: Dr. Bruce Jones, Brookings Senior Fellow, Deputy Director, Foreign Policy. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Chinese Comfort Women

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Among the thousands of girls, women, and boys swept up in Imperial Japan's Comfort Women system were Chinese. Some were part of expropriated brothels, some trafficked by brokers who paid their parent's debts, but most were victims of victory.

This subject will be explored in Washington, DC, October 21-22 through a series of presentations by Dr. Peipei Qiu, Louise Boyd Dale and Alfred Lichtenstein Professor of Chinese and Japanese and Director of Asian Studies Program at Vassar College who is a co-author of Chinese Comfort Women: Testimonies from Imperial Japan’s Sex Slaves.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Untold Stories of Chinese Comfort Women

Noon - 2:00 pm
Luncheon

Presentation by Professor Qiu followed by a discussion on evidence supporting the history of Japan's military Comfort Women with Dennis Halpin, former Senior Asia Staffer (Republican) for the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Mindy Kotler, Asia Policy Point, and moderated by Jenny Town, Assistant Director, US-Korea Institute at SAIS.

SAIS, Johns Hopkins
Rome Auditorium
1619 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Co-sponsored by US-Korea Institute, SAIS, Johns Hopkins and Asia Policy Point

1:00-2:30pm 
Roundtable discussion with George Washington University professors

Sigur Center, Elliott School
George Washington University
Chung-wen Shih Conference Room - Suite 503
1957 E Street, NW
Co-sponsored by GW's Memory & Reconciliation in Asia Pacific program and Asia Policy Point

INTERVIEWS WITH THE AUTHOR

Los Angles Review of Books (October 2, 2014)

Voice of America (August 13, 2014)

The Wall Street Journal, China Real Time (June 24, 2014)
Vice Canada (April 18, 2014)