Saturday, November 22, 2014

Prime Minister of Japan’s Schedule September 22-28, 2014

Monday, September 22, 2014

AM
12:00 At official residence (no visitors)
08:00 At private residence (no morning visitors)
09:15 Depart from private residence
09:42 Arrive at Haneda Airport
09:51 Interview open to all media: When asked “What are you going to attend to at the UN General Assembly?” Mr. Abe answers “I want Japan to exhibit leadership with the UN in reforming the 21st century into a suitable condition.”
09:53 Interview ends
10:17 Depart from airport with wife Akie on private government aircraft bound for New York in order to attend UN General Assembly
(Local time in New York, United States)
Arrive by private government aircraft at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, United States
Lunch meeting with Japanese women who work in American business at Consul General of Japan’s official residence in New York

PM
(Local time in New York, United States)
Visit Columbia University in New York. Deliver address to students, question and answer session
Stay night at Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

AM

(Local time in New York, United States)
Attend Invest Japan Seminar hosted by Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) at hotel Hilton Midtown in New York, deliver address
Summit Conference with President of Iran Hassan Rouhani at UN Headquarters
Summit Conference with President of Mongolia Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj
Attend UN Climate Summit, give speech

PM
(Local time in New York, United States)
Informal talk and lunch meeting with members of New York City-based think tank Council on Foreign Relations
Summit Conference with President of UN General Assembly Sam Kutesa at UN Headquarters
Summit Conference with President of Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi
Attend ambition session of UN Climate Summit, deliver address
Informal talk with accompanying group of reporters at DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Metropolitan in New York
Stay night at Waldorf Astoria Hotel

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

AM

(Local time in New York, United States)
Attend international event concerning women sponsored by Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel
Dialogue with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
Conference with President of France François Hollande at hotel Langham Place in New York
Conference with President of Panama Juan Carlos Varela at UN Headquarters

PM
(Local time in New York, United States)
Conference with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at UN Headquarters
Conference with Prime Minister of Australia Tony Abbott at sushi restaurant Sushiden in New York
Give words of encouragement to Japanese UN personnel at Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York
Attend Japanese meal reception at UN Ambassador Yoshikawa Hajime’s official residence
Stay night at Waldorf Astoria Hotel

Thursday, September 25, 2014

AM

(Local time in New York, United States)
Conference with President of Iraq Fuad Ma’soum at Waldorf Astoria Hotel
Attend Japan-Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting at UN Headquarters
Attend High-Level Meeting on Response to Ebola Virus, give remarks

PM
(Local time in New York, United States)
Address UN General Assembly’s General Debate at UN Headquarters
Conference with Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani at Permanent Mission of Qatar to UN in New York City
Press conference with domestic and foreign media at hotel Grand Hyatt New York
Stay night at Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York

Friday, September 26, 2014

AM

(Local time in New York, United States)
Conference with Vice-President of the United States Joe Biden at Waldorf Astoria Hotel
Attend High-Level Meeting concerning UN Peacekeeping Operations at UN Headquarters

PM
(Local time in New York, United States)
Depart from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York on private government aircraft

Saturday, September 27, 2014

AM

In transit

PM
(Japan time)
04:03 Finish attendance of UN General Assembly, arrive at Haneda Airport on private government aircraft with wife Akie
04:37 Arrive at office
04:38 Interview open to all media
04:39 Interview ends
04:40 Speak with Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide, Deputy Chief Secretary for Crisis Management Nishimura Yasuhiko, and Assistant Chief Cabinet Secretary Takamizawa Nobushige at Crisis Management Center
04:53 Finish speaking with Mr. Suga, Mr. Nishimura and Mr. Takamizawa
04:54 Interview open to all media: When asked “How will you deal with Mt. Ontake’s eruption affecting Nagano and Gifu Prefectures?” Mr. Abe answers “At this point it has been confirmed that there were casualties. We have indicated that we will exhaust our whole energy securing relief for victims and ensuring safety for mountaineers.”
04:55 Interview ends
05:02 Extraordinary Session Cabinet Meeting and Cabinet Meeting Concerning Mt. Ontake’s Eruption and Related Matters
05:21 Cabinet Meeting ends
05:24 Speak with Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ohta Akihiro
05:36 Finish speaking with Mr. Ohta
07:40 Informal talk open to all newspaper and correspondent editorialists
08:10 Talk ends
08:11 Informal talk with commentary committee members of all Tokyo commercial broadcasting companies
08:32 Talk ends
08:35 Informal talk with all top reporters of Cabinet Kisha Club
08:55 Talk ends
08:57 Depart from office
09:12 Arrive at private residence in Tomigaya, Tokyo

Sunday, September 28, 2014

AM

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

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


Provisional Translation by: Erin M. Jones

Zombienomics by Abenomics












Zombie Abenomics
Japan's Missing Economic Revival


By Richard Katz, APP member and editor of The Oriental Economist

Foreign Affairs, November 20, 2014

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s economic revival is hardly going as planned. A consumption tax hike that he introduced in April triggered a recession over the following six months, prompting him to announce the delay of the second hike, from October 2015 to April 2017. In his November 18 press conference, he also vowed to make no further postponements, to dissolve the Japanese parliament, and to hold a snap election to gain a mandate for his economic plan.

The tax delay is unquestionably necessary. Before the first hike, the Ministry of Finance and the Bank of Japan had blithely promised Abe that Japan would see only a mild and short-lived response, which proved disastrously wrong. Just as wrong were their warnings that any delay in the second hike would cause stock prices to crash and interest rates to spike. In reality, the first sign of a possible delay sent stock prices to seven-year highs. Meanwhile, the Bank of Japan has easily kept interest rates at near-record lows, not only for 10-year bonds but also for 30-year and 40-year bonds.

The real question is this: If Abe’s strategy, known as Abenomics, is such a miraculous revival plan, why was the delay necessary? And, given Abe’s track record, why should anyone trust his guarantee that he will make the economy strong enough by 2017 to weather another tax hike? Healthy economies are not thrown into recession by relatively small hikes in a consumption tax from five percent to eight percent, but Japan’s was—indicating that it isn’t healthy and that Abenomics has done little to help.

In some ways, Abenomics has made the situation worse. It’s not just the tax hike. There is also the 30 percent yen depreciation that Abe encouraged as a way to increase exports. Just as I discussed in my recent article for Foreign Affairs, because Abe left many structural competitive problems unaddressed, the depreciation has done nothing of the sort, spurring no real growth at home. Instead, price hikes sparked by the depreciation have led to a big decline in price-adjusted incomes. Among working families, real disposable incomes are down six percent from a year ago. That is why consumer spending has plunged and why the economy is in recession.

Supposedly, Abenomics has three “arrows”: monetary stimulus, fiscal stimulus, and structural reform. Over time, fiscal stimulus was replaced by austerity. Structural reform was always more talk than action. As a result, all that remains of the three arrows is monetary stimulus—the Bank of Japan governor, Haruhiko Kuroda, flooding the system with money by buying Japanese government bonds. The Bank of Japan is already purchasing so many that holdings of government bonds by other investors have declined to 142 percent of GDP compared to 154 percent of GDP two years ago. On October 31, the Bank of Japan announced that it would up its Japanese government bond purchases to ¥80 trillion ($690 billion) per year, almost twice as much as the government’s annual budget deficit. So, at the same time that Kuroda sends out false alarms that tax hike postponement would lead to a debt crisis, he is removing the cause of that potential crisis by reducing private holdings of the debt.

Abenomics is banking on the hope that monetary stimulus alone can engender growth by reviving “animal spirits” via inflation. Kuroda is acting like a doctor who says he can make a severe asthmatic run by giving him lots of oxygen. When the patient points out that he also has a broken leg in need of surgery, Kuroda proposes to double the oxygen. If Abe were implementing a genuine three-arrow program, he would use fiscal and monetary stimulus as anesthesia to make possible the long and difficult surgery of structural reform. But for too long, Japan has used fiscal and monetary stimulus as a narcotic to dull the pain and thereby avoid the surgery. And, for too long, it has swung back and forth between poorly implemented fiscal stimulus and ill-timed bouts of fiscal austerity. Abe is continuing that tradition.

Consider just one of the many cases in which Abe talks of bold action, but does very little: the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade talks. The talks are in danger of turning into another Doha Round, where negotiations go on forever and nothing gets signed. There are many causes, but one of the most important is Tokyo’s refusal to eliminate most of the import trade barriers in a few farm products: beef, pork, dairy, and wheat. The tragedy is that Japan, not its trading partners, has the most to gain from freeing up its market. A true reformer would liberalize farming, not because Washington demands it but because the Japanese economy needs it. Japanese consumers spend 14 percent of their household budget on food, far more than the six percent Americans spend. Imports of cheaper food, along with reforms in the food industry, could drastically lower this cost and release consumer spending power for other products.

Instead, Abe is sacrificing the welfare of 46 million Japanese households for the sake of the mere 100,000 households involved in those few products. Most of the latter are aging part-time farmers who get the lion’s share of their income from nonfarm work, government subsidies, and pensions. Abe heeds their demands because malapportionment enables the rural districts to select an outsized share of the Diet members and because one of the pivotal allies for Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is the adamantly anti-TPP farm lobby.

Even though his approval ratings are falling, Abe still has the clout to challenge domestic special interests, just as he has defied the powerful Ministry of Finance. Hopefully, in the snap election, the voters will give Abe a reason to do so. The opposition is too weak and divided to drive the LDP from power. The LDP-led coalition, which now controls more than two-thirds of the seats, expects to lose just 30–40 of those. That would leave it with a very comfortable majority of 45–55 seats. But if the disgruntled voters take away any more of the ruling coalition’s seats, they will send a message that economic malfeasance carries a political price.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Monday in Washington, November 17, 2014


THE ECONOMIC AND SECURITY FUTURE. 11/17, 8:30am-1:30pm, Breakfast. Sponsor: Economists for Peace and Security. Speakers: Richard Kaufman, Bethesda Research Institute; Carl Conetta, Project on Defense Alternatives; Damon Silvers, Policy Director, AFL-CIO; James K. Galbraith, Economists for Peace and Security; Bill Spriggs, AFL-CIO; Marshall Auerback, Institute for New Economic Thinking; Rachel Cleetus, Union of Concerned Scientists; and more.

HISTORY, POLITICS, AND POLICY: U.S.-KOREA. 11/17, 9:00am-6:00pm. Sponsor: Center for East Asia Policy Studies, Brookings Institution. Speakers: Robert Gallucci, Georgetown University, President of MacArthur Foundation (2009-2014), Dean, School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University (1996-2009); Han Sung-joo, Professor Emeritus, Korea University, Foreign Minister, Republic of Korea (1993-1994), UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Cyprus (1996-1997); and more. 

2014 OPEN DOORS REPORT. 11/17, 9:30-10:30am. Sponsor: Institute of International Education (IIE). Speakers: Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Evan Ryan; Allan Goodman, IIE president and CEO.

AID FOR E-TRADE: ACCELERATING THE GLOBAL E-COMMERCE REVOLUTION. 11/17, 10:00-11:30am. Sponsor: Europe Program, CSIS. Speakers: Dr. Kati Suominen, Adjunct Fellow, Europe Program, CSIS; Dr. Joshua Meltzer, Fellow, Global Economy and Development, Brookings Institution; Mr. Fabrizio Opertti, Chief, Integration and Trade Sector, Inter-American Development Bank; Ms. Jennifer Sanford, Senior Manager, International Trade & Energy Policy, Cisco Systems.

THE CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES OF URBANIZATION. 11/17, 10:00-11:30am. Sponsor: Project on Prosperity and Development, CSIS. Speakers: Hazem Galal, Cities and Local Government Sector Leader, PricewaterhouseCoopers; Scott McGuigan, Global Project Development Director, CH2M Hill; Charles North, Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator, Bureau of Economic Growth, Education, and Environment, U.S. Agency for International Development; R. Mukami Kariuki, Sector Manager, Urban Development and Services Practice, World Bank Group; and Robin King, Director of Urban Development and Accessibility, World Resources Institute; Moderator: Daniel F. Runde, Director, Project on Prosperity and Development, and William A. Schreyer Chair in Global Analysis, Center for Strategic International Studies.

U.S.-KOREA RELATIONS IN PUBLIC DIPLOMACY. 11/17, 10:30am-5:00pm. Sponsor: Asia Program, Wilson Center (WWC). Speakers: Kisuk Cho, Director, Public Diplomacy Center, Ewha Womans University; Eugene Bae, Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Craig Hayden, Assistant Professor, American University; Marvin Ott, Senior Scholar, Wilson Center; Hochang Shing, Professor, Sogang University; James Person, Deputy Director, Wilson Center; Chris Nelson, Samuels Associates International; Dong Min Lee, Yonhap News Agency; Myung-bok Bae, Joongang Daily; Paul Eckert, Asian Affairs Journalist.

PUTIN AT VALDAI: RUSSIA'S BREAK WITH THE WORLD ORDER? 11/17, 11:00am-12:30pm. Sponsor: Center on Global Interests (CGI). Speakers: Clifford Gaddy, senior fellow at the Brookings Foreign Policy Program's Center on the United States and Europe, and co-founder and senior scientific adviser of the Russian-American Center for Research on International Financial and Energy Security, based at Penn State University; Ariel Cohen, senior research fellow in Russian and Eurasian studies and international energy policy in the Heritage Foundation's Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign and National Security.

MULTILEVEL GOVERNANCE AS A FRAMEWORK FOR REGIONALIZATION AND THE QUESTION OF TIBET: RECENT DEVELOPMENTS AND NEW PROSPECTS FOR CHINA'S TIBET POLICY. 11/17, Noon-1:00pm. Sponsor: GWU Elliott School. Speaker: Tashi Rabgey, research professor in international affairs at GWU.

THE MORAL CASE FOR FOSSIL FUELS. 11/17, Noon-1:00pm. Sponsor: Heritage. Speaker: Alex Epstein, Author, founder of the Center for Industrial Progress.

THE NEW CONGRESS AND U.S. ENERGY POLICY. 11/17, Noon-1:30pm. Sponsor: Marshall Institute. Speakers: Scott H. Segal, Partner, Bracewell & Giuliani; Mark Mills, CEO, Digital Power Group; Senior Fellow, Manhattan Institute; and member of the Board of Directors of the George C. Marshall Institute; William O’Keefe, President, Solutions Consulting, Inc. and CEO of the George C. Marshall Institute.

FINANCIAL STABILITY: FRAUD, CONFIDENCE, AND THE WEALTH OF NATIONS. 11/17, Noon-2:00pm. Sponsor: Cato. Speakers: co-author, R. Christopher Whalen, Senior Managing Director and Head of Research, Kroll Bond Rating Agency; with comments by Paul Miller, Managing Director, FBR Capital Markets.

NATIONAL PRESS CLUB LUNCHEON WITH ALLISON MACFARLANE. 11/17, 12:30-2:00pm. Sponsor: National Press Club (NPC). Speaker: Allison Macfarlane, chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

PROJECT SAPPHIRE 20 YEARS LATER: COOPERATIVE THREAT REDUCTION AND LESSONS FOR THE FUTURE. 11/17, 5:30 -7:30 pm. Sponsors: Embassy of Kazakhstan in cooperation with the CSIS Russia and Eurasia Program and the National Security Archive of the George Washington University. Speakers: Andrew Kuchins, Director and Senior Fellow, Russia and Eurasia Program, CSIS; Kairat Umarov, Ambassador of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the United States; Richard Hoagland, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, U.S. Department of State; Andrew Weber, Deputy Head, Ebola Coordination Unit, U.S. Department of State; Member of the 1994 top-secret "Tiger Team"; Laura Holgate, Senior Director, WMD Terrorism and Threat Reduction at the National Security Council; David Hoffman, Pulitzer-Prize winning author of The Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and its Dangerous Legacy; Tom Blanton, Director, National Security Archive at the George Washington University.

Comfort Women issue in the Sunday New York Times

Sunday Review | OPINION
The Comfort Women and Japan’s War on Truth
By MINDY KOTLER, APP Director


Robert G. Fresson

WASHINGTON — In 1942, a lieutenant paymaster in Japan’s Imperial Navy named Yasuhiro Nakasone was stationed at Balikpapan on the island of Borneo, assigned to oversee the construction of an airfield. But he found that sexual misconduct, gambling and fighting were so prevalent among his men that the work was stalled.

Lieutenant Nakasone’s solution was to organize a military brothel, or “comfort station.” The young officer’s success in procuring four Indonesian women “mitigated the mood” of his troops so well that he was commended in a naval report.

Lieutenant Nakasone’s decision to provide comfort women to his troops was replicated by thousands of Imperial Japanese Army and Navy officers across the Indo-Pacific both before and during World War II, as a matter of policy. From Nauru to Vietnam, from Burma to Timor, women were treated as the first reward of conquest.

We know of Lieutenant Nakasone’s role in setting up a comfort station thanks to his 1978 memoir, “Commander of 3,000 Men at Age 23.” At that time, such accounts were relatively commonplace and uncontroversial — and no obstacle to a political career. From 1982 to 1987, Mr. Nakasone was the prime minister of Japan.

Today, however, the Japanese military’s involvement in comfort stations is bitterly contested. The government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is engaged in an all-out effort to portray the historical record as a tissue of lies designed to discredit the nation. Mr. Abe’s administration denies that imperial Japan ran a system of human trafficking and coerced prostitution, implying that comfort women were simply camp-following prostitutes.

The latest move came at the end of October when, with no intended irony, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party appointed Mr. Nakasone’s own son, former Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone, to chair a commission established to “consider concrete measures to restore Japan’s honor with regard to the comfort women issue.”

The official narrative in Japan is fast becoming detached from reality, as it seeks to cast the Japanese people — rather than the comfort women of the Asia-Pacific theater — as the victims of this story. The Abe administration sees this historical revision as integral to restoring Japan’s imperial wartime honor and modern-day national pride. But the broader effect of the campaign has been to cause Japan to back away from international efforts against human rights abuses and to weaken its desire to be seen as a responsible partner in prosecuting possible war crimes.

A key objective of Mr. Abe’s government has been to dilute the 1993 Kono Statement, named for Japan’s chief cabinet secretary at the time, Yohei Kono. This was widely understood as the Japanese government’s formal apology for the wartime network of brothels and front-line encampments that provided sex for the military and its contractors. The statement was particularly welcomed in South Korea, which was annexed by Japan from 1910 to 1945 and was the source of a majority of the trafficked comfort women.

Imperial Japan’s military authorities believed sex was good for morale, and military administration helped control sexually transmitted diseases. Both the army and navy trafficked women, provided medical inspections, established fees and built facilities. Nobutaka Shikanai, later chairman of the Fujisankei Communications Group, learned in his Imperial Army accountancy class how to manage comfort stations, including how to determine the actuarial “durability or perishability of the women procured.”

Japan’s current government has made no secret of its distaste for the Kono Statement. During Mr. Abe’s first administration, in 2007, the cabinet undermined the Kono Statement with two declarations: that there was no documentary evidence of coercion in the acquisition of women for the military’s comfort stations, and that the statement was not binding government policy.

Shortly before he became prime minister for the second time, in 2012, Mr. Abe (together with, among others, four future cabinet members) signed an advertisement in a New Jersey newspaper protesting a memorial to the comfort women erected in the town of Palisades Park, N.J., where there is a large Korean population. The ad argued that comfort women were simply part of the licensed prostitution system of the day.

In June this year, the government published a review of the Kono Statement. This found that Korean diplomats were involved in drafting the statement, that it relied on the unverified testimonies of 16 Korean former comfort women, and that no documents then available showed that abductions had been committed by Japanese officials.

Then, in August, a prominent liberal newspaper, The Asahi Shimbun, admitted that a series of stories it wrote over 20 years ago on comfort women contained errors. Reporters had relied upon testimony by a labor recruiter, Seiji Yoshida, who claimed to have rounded up Korean women on Jeju Island for military brothels overseas.

The scholarly community had long determined that Mr. Yoshida’s claims were fictitious, but Mr. Abe seized on this retraction by The Asahi to denounce the “baseless, slanderous claims” of sexual slavery, in an attempt to negate the entire voluminous and compelling history of comfort women. In October, Mr. Abe directed his government to “step up a strategic campaign of international opinion so that Japan can receive a fair appraisal based on matters of objective fact.”

Two weeks later, Japan’s ambassador for human rights, Kuni Sato, was sent to New York to ask a former United Nations special rapporteur on violence against women, Radhika Coomaraswamy, to reconsider her 1996 report on the comfort women — an authoritative account of how, during World War II, imperial Japan forced women and girls into sexual slavery. Ms. Coomaraswamy refused, observing that one retraction did not overturn her findings, which were based on ample documents and myriad testimonies of victims throughout Japanese-occupied territories.

There were many ways in which women and girls throughout the Indo-Pacific became entangled in the comfort system, and the victims came from virtually every settlement, plantation and territory occupied by imperial Japan’s military. The accounts of rape and pillage leading to subjugation are strikingly similar whether they are told by Andaman Islanders or Singaporeans, Filipino peasants or Borneo tribespeople. In some cases, young men, including interned Dutch boys, were also seized to satisfy the proclivities of Japanese soldiers.

Japanese soldiers raped an American nurse at Bataan General Hospital 2 in the Philippine Islands; other prisoners of war acted to protect her by shaving her head and dressing her as a man. Interned Dutch mothers traded their bodies in a church at a convent on Java to feed their children. British and Australian women who were shipwrecked off Sumatra after the makeshift hospital ship Vyner Brooke was bombed were given the choice between a brothel or starving in a P.O.W. camp. Ms. Coomaraswamy noted in her 1996 report that “the consistency of the accounts of women from quite different parts of Southeast Asia of the manner in which they were recruited and the clear involvement of the military and government at different levels is indisputable.”

For its own political reasons, the Abe administration studiously ignores this wider historical record, and focuses instead on disputing Japan’s treatment of its colonial Korean women. Thus rebuffed by Ms. Coomaraswamy, the chief cabinet secretary, Yoshihide Suga, vowed to continue advocating in international bodies, including the United Nations Human Rights Council, for Japan’s case, which is to seek to remove the designation of comfort women as sex slaves.

The grave truth about the Abe administration’s denialist obsession is that it has led Japan not only to question Ms. Coomaraswamy’s report, but also to challenge the United Nations’ reporting on more recent and unrelated war crimes, and to dismiss the testimony of their victims. In March, Japan became the only Group of 7 country to withhold support from a United Nations investigation into possible war crimes in Sri Lanka, when it abstained from voting to authorize the inquiry. (Canada is not a member of the Human Rights Council but issued a statement backing the probe.) During an official visit, the parliamentary vice minister for foreign affairs, Seiji Kihara, told Sri Lanka’s president, “We are not ready to accept biased reports prepared by international bodies.”

Rape and sex trafficking in wartime remain problems worldwide. If we hope to ever reduce these abuses, the efforts of the Abe administration to deny history cannot go unchallenged. The permanent members of the United Nations Security Council — all of whom had nationals entrapped in imperial Japan’s comfort women system — must make clear their objection to the Abe government’s perverse denial of the historical record of human trafficking and sexual servitude.

The United States, in particular, has a responsibility to remind Japan, its ally, that human rights and women’s rights are pillars of American foreign policy. If we do not speak out, we will be complicit not only in Japanese denialism, but also in undermining today’s international efforts to end war crimes involving sexual violence.

NB: The print version in the Sunday New York Times is slightly shorter than the online version featured above.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Prime Minister of Japan’s Schedule September 15-21, 2014

Monday, September 15, 2014

AM

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

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

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

AM

12:00 At private residence (no visitors)
08:00 At private residence in Tomigaya, Tokyo (no morning visitors)
09:09 Depart from private residence
09:26 Arrive at LDP Party Headquarters
09:31 LDP Officers Meeting
09:55 Meeting ends
09:56 Depart from LDP Party Headquarters
09:58 Arrive at office
10:02 Cabinet Meeting begins
10:15 Cabinet Meeting ends
10:20 Reconstruction Promotion Council meeting
10:30 Meeting ends
10:32 Speak with Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Shimomura Hakubun
10:35 Finish speaking with Mr. Shimomura
10:36 Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA)’s Minister Kishida Fumio, Vice-Minister Saiki Akitaka, Director-General of Foreign Policy Bureau Hiramatsu Kenji and Director-General of Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau Ihara Junichi enter
11:06 Mr. Saiki, Mr. Hiramatsu, and Mr. Ihara leave
11:12 Mr. Kishida leaves
11:43 Commemorative photo session with President of National Association of Chairpersons of Prefectural Assemblies and Chairman of Hiroshima Prefectural Assembly Hayashi Masao and colleagues
11:47 Photo session ends
11:48 Panel discussion with National Association of Chairpersons of Prefectural Assemblies. Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications Takaichi Sanae and Minister in charge of Overcoming Population Decline and Vitalizing Local Economy in Japan Ishiba Shigeru also attend

PM
12:48 Panel discussion ends
12:49 National Security Council (NSC) meeting. Obuchi Yuko also attends
01:09 NSC meeting ends
01:20 Receive courtesy call from All-Japan Ryokan Proprietress Group’s Sato Jun and others
01:27 Courtesy call ends
01:28 Meet with Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Terada Itsuro
01:48 End meeting with Mr. Terada
01:49 Depart from office
01:57 Arrive at Imperial Household Agency. Attend Imperial Household Economy Council
02:24 Depart from Imperial Palace
02:33 Arrive at office
03:15 Meet with Minister in charge of Economic Revitalization Amari Akira and Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI)’s Director-General of Economic and Industrial Policy Bureau Sugawara Ikuro
03:34 End meeting with Mr. Amari and Mr. Sugawara
03:51 Regulatory Reform Council meeting
03:54 Meeting ends
04:04 Director of Cabinet Intelligence Kitamura Shigeru, National Police Agency’s Director-General of Security Bureau Takahashi Kiyotaka, and Public Security Intelligence Agency’s Director of First Investigation Department Tago Tsukasa enter
04:23 Mr. Takahashi and Mr. Tago leave
04:31 Mr. Kitamura leaves
04:32 Deliver notices of personnel change of Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy members to Chairman of Keidanren (Federation of Economic Organizations) Sakakibara Sadayuki and incoming President of Suntory Holdings Niinami Takeshi. Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide and Minister of State for Economic and Fiscal Policy Amari Akira also attend
04:40 Finish delivering notices of personnel change
04:41 Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy meeting
05:42 Meeting ends
05:44 Meet with Minister of State for Science and Technology Policy Yamaguchi Shunichi
06:05 End meeting with Mr. Yamaguchi
06:06 Meet with Vice-Minister of Finance Kagawa Shunsuke, finance official Yamasaki Tatsuo, and Ministry of Finance (MOF)’s Director-General of International Bureau Asakawa Masatsugu
06:26 End meeting with Mr. Kagawa, Mr. Yamasaki, and Mr. Asakawa
06:27 Meet with Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Saiki Akitaka
06:48 End meeting with Mr. Saiki
06:49 Depart from office
06:50 Arrive at official residence. Dinner meeting with former Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications Shindo Yoshitaka, former Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare Tamura Norihisa, and other former cabinet ministers. Mr. Suga also attends
08:17 Everyone leaves

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

AM

12:00 At official residence (no visitors)
07:44 Depart from official residence
07:55 Arrive at JR Tokyo Station
08:01 Meet with President of East Japan Railway Company Tomita Tetsuro
08:04 End meeting with Mr. Tomita
08:08 Depart from station on Yamabiko no. 127. Minister of the Environment Mochizuki Yoshio accompanies
09:32 Arrive at JR Koriyama Station
09:36 Depart from station
10:56 Arrive at municipal Kawauchi Nursery School in Kawauchi Village, Fukushima Prefecture. View nursery school. Exchange of views with nursery school teachers. Mayor of Kawauchi Village Endo Yuko and Minister of State for Measures for Declining Birthrate Mori Masako accompany
11:06 Depart from Kawauchi Nursery School
11:07 Arrive at temporary housing in Kawauchi Village. Exchange of views with residents
11:22 Depart from temporary housing
11:26 Arrive at soba restaurant Soba Shubo Tenzan in Kawauchi Village. Lunch
11:56 Depart from soba restaurant

PM
12:06 Arrive at temporary holding area for waste in Kawauchi Village. View site
12:12 Depart from holding area
12:59 Arrive at proposed construction site for interim storage facilities in Okuma Town, Fukushima Prefecture. View proposed construction site. Exchange of views with Mayor of Okuma Town Watanabe Toshitsuna and Mayor of Futaba Town (Fukushima Prefecture) Izawa Shiro
01:09 Depart from proposed construction site
01:41 Arrive at planned construction site for prefectural middle and high school, Futaba High School’s future campus, in Hirono Town, Fukushima Prefecture. View planned construction site. Mayor of Futaba Town Endo Satoshi accompanies
01:47 Depart from planned construction site
01:51 Arrive at rice paddy in Futaba Town. Try harvesting with mechanized harvester. Sample onigiri
02:06 Interview open to all media: When asked “What were your thoughts when viewing [development in Fukushima Prefecture]?” Mr. Abe answers “The opening of Joban Expressway between Namie and Sendai will be pushed forward to December 6.”
02:11 Interview ends
02:19 Depart from Futaba Town
05:18 Arrive at office
05:39 Meet with Cabinet Advisor Hamada Koichi
05:54 End meeting with Mr. Hamada
06:16 Education Rebuilding Implementation Council meeting
06:29 Meeting ends
07:28 Depart from office
07:40 Arrive at private residence in Tomigaya, Tokyo

Thursday, September 18, 2014

AM

12:00 At private residence (no visitors)
08:00 At private residence in Tomigaya, Tokyo (no morning visitors)
09:07 Depart from private residence
09:25 Arrive at Imperial Hotel in Uchisaiwai-cho, Tokyo
09:28 Attend Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) General Meeting in banquet hall Fuji, deliver address
09:36 Leave meeting
09:37 Depart from hotel
09:45 Arrive at office
10:06 Film video message for sports-related event
10:25 Finish filming
10:26 Minister in charge of Economic Revitalization Amari Akira and Vice-Minister of Cabinet Office Matsuyama Kenji enter
11:00 Mr. Matsuyama leaves
11:08 Mr. Amari leaves
11:09 Meet with MOF’s Minister Aso Taro, Vice-Minister Kagawa Shunsuke, Director-General of Budget Bureau Tanaka Kazuho, and Director-General of Tax Bureau Sato Shinichi

PM
12:06 Lunch with Special Advisors to the Prime Minister Kimura Taro, Isozaki Yosuke, and Eto Seiichi
01:00 Finish lunch
01:01 Speak with President of Yamaguchi Bank Fukuda Koichi
01:15 Finish Speaking with Mr. Fukuda
01:40 Industrial Competitiveness Council meeting
02:38 End meeting
03:10 Meet with Minister in charge of the Abduction Issue Yamatani Eriko
03:42 End meeting with Ms. Yamatani
03:43 Meet with Chairman of Science and Technology in Society (STS) forum and former Minister of State for Science and Technology Policy Omi Koji
04:02 End meeting with Mr. Omi
04:03 Speak with Minister of State for Special Missions Yamamoto Ichita
04:08 Finish speaking with Mr. Yamamoto
04:09 Minister for Foreign Affairs Kishida Fumio, Administrative Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Sugiyama Shinsuke, MOF’s Director-General of International Bureau Asakawa Masatsugu, METI’s Director-General of Industrial Science and Technology and Environment Bureau Katase Hirofumi, and Ministry of Environment’s Vice-Minister for Global Environment Seki Soichiro enter
04:39 Mr. Kishida leaves
05:07 Everyone leaves
05:08 Meet with Director of Cabinet Intelligence Kitamura Shigeru, MOFA’s Director-General of Foreign Policy Bureau Hiramatsu Kenji, and Chief of Staff for Joint Staff Council Iwasaki Shigeru
05:44 End meeting with Mr. Kitamura, Mr. Hiramatsu, and Mr. Iwasaki
06:13 Depart from office
06:56 Arrive at municipal Katsumi Middle School in Katsushika Ward, Tokyo Prefecture
07:06 View pupils’ self-study in supplementary night class. Exchange of views with volunteer instructors. LDP Lower House member Hirasawa Katsuei accompanies
07:25 Finish exchanging views
07:29 Interview open to all media: When asked “How will you make use of what you witnessed [today]?” Mr. Abe answers “In the next five years I want to expand learning assistance programs to 5,000, and increase the number of school social workers to 10,000.”
07:33 Interview ends
07:37 Depart from Katsumi Middle School
08:09 Arrive at official residence

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Lane Evans, Comfort Women Advocate in Congress, Dies at 63

None of the obituaries written about former Congressman Lane Evans (D-IL) note that he originated the Comfort Women resolution. All mention he was a dogged advocate for his fellow veterans, but not even The Washington Post nor The New York Times nor the White House recognized that through four Congresses, starting in 2001, he introduced four resolutions asking the Government of Japan to acknowledge and apology to the Comfort Women--sex slaves to Imperial Japan's military. An 2001 Los Angeles Times op ed pointed out Evans' principled act in contrast to US government efforts to protect Japan from being held accountable for its war crimes.

In 2006, a revised version of his resolution, H Res 759, finally made it through the House International Relations Committee. This resolution was the foundation of Congressman Mike Honda’s H Res 121 that passed the full House. Mr. Honda (D-CA) took up the cause after Mr. Evans retired in 2006 for health reasons. 

To sign his memorial book and find out about funeral arrangements contact Esterdahl Mortuary, Moline, Illinois.
U.S. Rep. Lane Evans, D-Ill., was elected in 1982 to serve the people of Illinois' 17th District. He was 31 years old. Mr. Evans is survived by three brothers.

Lane Evans leaves behind a legacy of public service
QuadTimes, November 06, 2014

Former U.S. Rep. Lane Evans was remembered Thursday as a gentle soul who worked ceaselessly to help veterans and the common man in a 24-year political career.

Evans, who battled Parkinson's since 1995, died Wednesday night. He'd represented the 17th Congressional District in Illinois for parts of three decades and was a hero to area Democrats on both sides of the Mississippi River.

He was 63 years old and had been living at the Hope Creek Care Center in East Moline.

In a statement late Thursday, President Barack Obama praised Evans' work on veterans issues and noted his early support for him.

"Above all, Lane was an American hero, a dear friend and a beloved public servant of the people of Illinois. Michelle and I extend our thoughts and prayers to Lane’s family and friends, and the people he represented in Congress who loved him so dearly," the president said.

Phil Hare, the former congressman who was also Evans' longtime district director, said he got the call late Wednesday night informing him of his friend's passing. Hare said he saw Evans last month when U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, who is retiring from the Senate at the end of this year, also paid a visit.

"I was fortunate to even know him, much less work for him," said Hare, who succeeded Evans and was close to him for years.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., who entered Congress the same year as Evans, issued a statement saying, "Illinois lost one of it kindest, most caring public servants."

Durbin said that the degenerative neurological disease "trapped (Evans') body but never restrained his great spirit," and he concluded with a phrase that had long been a campaign rallying cry for the congressman's supporters: "Thank heavens for Lane Evans."

U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, the Democrat who now represents the 17th District, said, "Lane will be sorely missed by all who he touched, but his legacy of service will never be forgotten."

Jerry Messer, a longtime friend and former president of the Quad-City Federation of Labor, remembered Evans as a man who always had time for constituents — so much so that having a quiet lunch at a public diner meant having to go to the Iowa side of the Quad-Cities.

Even then, Messer said, Evans didn't dine alone. "His constituents, every one of them, were his best friend," he added.

Veterans' friend
A former Marine who served during the Vietnam War, stationed in Okinawa, Evans mostly made his mark in Congress by seeking to help war veterans suffering the effects of Agent Orange and by working to advance legislation to ban landmines.

He was a longtime member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, and he nearly rose to its chairmanship twice. He challenged a sitting chairman in 1994 and lost.

In 2006, he was the ranking Democrat, when his party won control of the House. But, with Parkinson's having exacted a greater impact on his health, Evans had by then already announced he would retire from Congress at the end of the year.

A legal aid attorney from Rock Island, Evans was swept into office in 1982 at the age of 31, when the country's economy was suffering and the midterm elections served as a backlash against the new president, Ronald Reagan.

Evans defeated Republican Ken McMillan of Bushnell, who was the party's nominee after he won a surprising primary victory over Tom Railsback of Moline, the incumbent congressman at the time.

Evans won the general election with 53 percent of the vote.

He was re-elected two years later, with an even higher percentage than two years earlier, as western Illinois suffered the devastating impacts of the farm crisis.

Preferred 'populist'
Evans, who was often called a liberal but preferred the term "populist," built a record of opposing Reagan-era policies. The 1986 Almanac of American Politics said he had "one of the strongest anti-Reagan voting records in the House."

It added he was "a congressman to watch."

Evans was an unapologetic backer of government programs such as welfare and Medicare, voting against GOP efforts to revamp them. And he organized like-minded lawmakers in the House.
In an interview Thursday, Harkin recalled that he, Evans, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Jim Hightower and Maryland state Sen. James Rosapepe came up with the idea for the populist caucus in the House, and that after the Iowan went to the Senate, Evans kept it going.

"He was a kind person and, for a Marine, he was a gentle person," Harkin said. "He had no bluster. He wasn’t given to tub-thumping speeches. He had an inherent goodness about him that everyone recognized.”

Evans often faced criticism from Republicans who said his liberal voting record didn't fit the district that included wide swaths of rural areas. Evans voted against against trade agreements such as NAFTA and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.

That drew criticism from business and some agricultural interests, but it endeared him to labor unions, particularly in an area of the country that was undergoing hard times and whose blue-collar economic roots were undergoing transition.

Evans remains so beloved by area unions that pictures of him still hang in some of their labor halls.

Bustos said she was at a union hall in Sterling earlier this week and a person there asked that she supply a picture of herself for their wall. However, she said, another person quickly added, "Make sure you don't remove Lane's picture."

Still, it was Evans' work on behalf of veterans and other military matters that marked his tenure.

In 2000, only five of the 22 bills he introduced were not related to military or veterans issues, according to Congressional Quarterly.
It took years to get benefits extended to the victims of Agent Orange, but Evans persisted.

In the mid- and late-1990s, he pushed to draw attention to illnesses being experienced by Gulf War veterans.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent who chairs the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, said in a statement that on a range of veterans issues, "Lane was always in the lead."
Evans also partnered with Sen. Pat Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, to push for a ban on land mines.

Republicans who ran against Evans were critical of his votes against defense spending bills, particularly because they said that hurt the Rock Island Arsenal.

He also was one of the Democrats who voted against the authorization to go to war against Iraq in 2002. He also voted against the first Gulf War in 1991.
The criticism that he was anti-military didn't stick.

Evans was able to win re-election in the Reagan era. Even in the 1990s, when the Quad-Cities lost hundreds of Arsenal jobs and he faced three battles for re-election that, at the time, were historic for the amount of money poured into the race, he emerged victorious.

In addition to his work for veterans, Evans' office was always praised, even by rivals, for its constituent work.

After 2000, Evans never faced any real electoral challenges, but as the Parkinson's took a greater toll, he had other difficulties. He missed votes and, after the 2006 primary had passed, announced that he would retire.

At the end of that year, Evans recalled his life in politics and said he wasn't through with it. "It never really leaves you," he told the Quad-City Times.

In fact, Evans was an early supporter of President Obama's. And in Chicago, on the night when Obama was elected president in 2008, Evans was there, meeting privately with the president-elect just hours before he went to Grant Park for his victory speech.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Japan Is Turning Right

Right-wing witch hunt signals dark days in Japan

BY Dr. Jeff Kingston, Director of Asian Studies, Temple University Japan.
The Japan Times, November 8, 2014
for educational use

Many Japanese and long-time Japan observers have expressed dismay about the recrudescence of self-righteous nationalism under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has emboldened right-wing extremists now threatening democratic institutions and civil liberties.

“The revisionist right in Japan with the active encouragement, if not involvement, of the Abe government has succeeded in controlling NHK news, intimidating Asahi Shimbun and now academia,” says Koichi Nakano, a professor of political science at Sophia University.

Abe has presided over the mainstreaming of reactionary extremism in his quest to rewrite and rehabilitate Japan’s wartime past in Asia, and in doing so instigates widespread international criticism. Any other national leader who did the same for their nation’s egregious history would merit a similar reaction.

This past week, Hokusei Gakuen University in Sapporo moved to fire part-time lecturer Takashi Uemura, a former Asahi Shimbun journalist, because right-wing goons had threatened violence if he wasn’t removed. The university was reportedly inundated with threatening letters and phone calls demanding the teacher’s dismissal for his controversial articles in the 1990s about the comfort women system.

What started as a clash over history has morphed into a broader political battle over national identity and Japan’s democratic values. Nakano worries that “each time a university succumbs to right-wing intimidation, ‘success’ encourages more terrorist threats.”

Reactionaries maintain that the Asahi and its reporters tarnished Japan’s international reputation, but as Hokkaido University historian Philip Seaton explains, it is the “efforts by a small but powerful minority in Japan to deny atrocities that sullies Japan’s name in international eyes.”

These reactionaries are now inflicting infinitely more damage on Japan’s reputation than a handful of newspaper articles in the 1990s. It is scandalous that the so-called Net Right (netto uyoku) of extremists, lurking behind pseudonyms and spewing ill-informed vitriol on the Internet, are eroding democratic freedoms, censoring inconvenient truths and degrading Japan’s dignity.

As Martin Fackler of the New York Times recently wrote (Oct. 29), these cyberactivists “have gained an outsize influence with the rise of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s conservative government, which shares the goal of ending negative portrayal of Japan’s history, and with the acquiescence of a society too uninterested or scared to speak out.”

Fackler goes on to note several examples around Japan where the Net Right has imposed its agenda through thuggery.

Japan’s cyber-terrorists sound like religious extremists, threatening “divine retribution” in the form of gas canisters packed with nails. By stopping towns from erecting repentant war memorials, caterwauling on the Internet and scaring employers into firing “undesirables,” these vigilantes represent Japan in jackboots. It is like the 1930s, when ultranationalists hounded respected academics such as Tatsukichi Minobe and Tadao Yanaihara from their posts.

The Net Right embodies Japan’s 21st-century McCarthyism, from an era when communist hysteria in the United States unleashed a witch hunt that trampled on democratic freedoms.

“Defending academic freedom must be sacrosanct,” Seaton says. “To terminate the ex-Asahi reporter’s contract simply sends the message that ‘intimidation works.’ This incident could initiate a dangerous slide toward the muzzling and dismissal of researchers working on sensitive issues.”

Andrew Horvat, former president of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan, points out that Uemura “has been caught in the crossfire of a proxy war on the comfort women issue. The aim of the rightists is to undermine the reputation of the Asahi, a liberal paper, and he has become a pawn in this game.”

Tomomi Yamaguchi, a professor of anthropology at Montana State University, says Uemura has been on the right’s hit list from the mid-2000s largely due to vilification by Tsutomu Nishioka, a professor at Tokyo Christian University.

Satoko Norimatsu, director of the Vancouver-based Peace Philosophy Centre, speculates that Hokusei itself is a target because of its 1995 Peace Declaration, which goes much further than the Murayama Statement in acknowledging Japan’s war responsibility and obligation to atone. Back then, Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama condemned Japanese aggression in Asia and called for an end to “self-righteous nationalism.”

“The Abe regime has clearly abetted this mobilization of right-wing extremists against academic, media and other institutions,” asserts Andrew DeWit, a professor of public policy at Rikkyo University. “Allowing extremists to intimidate academe will not foster the learning environment that Japanese universities require in order to become the ‘super global universities’ envisioned in Abenomics. You cannot have it both ways, winking at ultra-nationalism that targets academe while at the same time actually building globally competitive institutions of critical inquiry.”

Alexis Dudden, a professor of history at the University of Connecticut, argues that post-1945 Japan has advanced because of the ability to study, learn and teach in an open atmosphere.

“Since then, Japanese society and all who engage with it have benefited and thrived because of this fundamental freedom guaranteed in the 1947 Constitution,” says Dudden, who believes that “turning away now degrades Japan’s capacities to lead and defines a ‘safe’ society as one that cowers from bullies and sanitizes history to fit contingent political demands.”

Sven Saaler, a professor of history at Sophia University, notes that “right-wingers have been pushing their agenda constantly with violence. They have actually violently attacked journalists, newspaper offices and politicians.”

Mark Mullins, a professor of Japanese studies at the University of Auckland, warns that right-wing threats must be taken seriously.

“Recall that in 1990 Nagasaki Mayor Hitoshi Motoshima was shot by rightists for expressing his views about the Emperor and war responsibility; and in 2006, Koichi Kato, a moderate (Liberal Democratic Party) politician, had his house in Yamagata burned down for his criticism of Prime Minister (Junichiro) Koizumi’s visits to Yasukuni Shrine.”

Saaler sees a broader pattern.

“In recent years, pressure by right-wing groups has led to cinemas canceling movies dealing with sensitive war-related issues; hotels canceling the reservations of conference rooms for symposia dealing with such issues; and museums canceling or revising exhibitions with sensitive contents,” he says.

The Peace Philosophy Centre’s Norimatsu thinks things are getting worse under the Abe regime.
“(There has been) widespread anti-China and anti-Korea sentiments (and) books of that kind becoming best-sellers, hate demonstrations, assaults on history by the nation’s leaders that trickle down to the general public, page-ripping of Anne Frank’s diaries, hiding of ‘Barefoot Gen’ in school libraries, assaults on protest tents in Okinawa and anti-nuclear tents in Tokyo, and public places refusing to rent space to groups that discuss issues like the Constitution and anti-nuclear power,” she says.

Amid this rightist chill, Mullins is worried that “academic freedom — and freedom of speech more broadly — is clearly threatened and is a legitimate concern for those who care about the future of democracy in Japan.”

Sophia’s Nakano laments that Abe exacerbates the situation.

“When an important principle of liberal democracy is under attack, the government should be playing an active role to condemn the attacks in strongest terms,” he says, but instead points out that it is actually fanning the fires.

Saaler’s suggests that, “The situation can be compared to Weimar Germany, where the authorities turned a blind eye to right-wing activities and let right-wing violence go largely unpunished.”

Here we remain far from descending into that Nazi abyss, but government tolerance for intolerance and hooliganism makes a mockery of the rule of law, democratic norms and the Olympic spirit.