Wednesday, March 31, 2010

APP members in print

Political Change in Japan Affects US-Japan Security Relations, Regional Diplomacy, Interview with Professor Mike Mochizuki, George Washington University, by Barbara Wanner, US Asia Pacific Council, Washington Report, Vol 2, March 2010.
     "I was taken aback when former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said earlier this year that we were all caught by surprise by the DPJ’s unwillingness to readily implement the force realignment package.1 He may have been caught by surprise, but I think many of us who follow Japanese politics pointed out that the DPJ’s victory amounted to a structural change in governance."

Asian Regionalism and US Policy: The Case for Creative Adaptation by Donald K. Emmerson, Stanford University, RSIS Working Paper, No. 193, March 19, 2010, 36pgs.
      The United States belongs to various organizations and networks that encompass countries on both sides of the Pacific Ocean. The East Asia Summit (EAS) is not among them. Should the US try to join? This paper answers that question with a qualified yes: Despite formidable difficulties affecting President Obama’s schedule of foreign travel, his administration should try to “ease” the US into the Summit, initially as a guest of the host country. Eventually, pending a review of the EAS’s prior performance and future prospects, the administration may wish to upgrade that status to membership.

The 2010 QDR and Asia: Messages for the Region by Michael A. McDevitt, CNA, Asia Pacific Bulletin, East West Center, No. 53, March 11, 2010, 2 pgs.
     “In sum, the QDR message for Asia should be considered a good one for nations worried that the United States is intent on retreating from the region. The message is clear; the US still embraces its stabilizing role and is intent on ensuring it fields the military capability to do so for the foreseeable future.”

Politics of Well-Known Japanese “Secrets” Risk American Nuclear Umbrella by Bruce Klingner, Heritage Foundation, March 24, 2010.
     "By exposing the contradictory and hypocritical nature of Japan’s nuclear posture, the task force report may raise questions over the nature of Washington’s extended deterrence guarantee (“nuclear umbrella”) for the defense of Japan and South Korea. For decades Tokyo has embraced three non-nuclear principles that prohibit the manufacture, possession, or introduction of nuclear weapons into Japan. Tokyo has also depicted itself as a uniquely qualified advocate for a nuclear-free world, since it is the only nation to have suffered the effects of atomic weapons."

Featured Print by SB Colado

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Quiet week in Washington

Congress is in recess until April 12th

TRANSPARENCY IN ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AND CLIMATE CHANGE IN CHINA. 4/1, 2:00pm. Sponsor: Congressional-Executive Commission on China. Speakers: Barbara Finamore, Founder and Director, China Program, Natural Resources Defense Council; David Gordon, Executive Director, Pacific Environment; Deborah Seligsohn, Senior Advisor, China Climate and Energy Program, World Resources Institute; Michael Wara, Assistant Professor, Stanford University Law School.

OBAMA’S NUCLEAR AGENDA ONE YEAR AFTER PRAGUE. 4/5, 10:00-11:30am. Sponsor: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Speaker: George Perkovich, Vice President for studies and director, Carnegie Nuclear Policy; David Sanger, New York Times.

WHY ASEAN MATTERS FOR AMERICA. 4/2, Noon-2:00pm, Washington, DC. Sponsor: East-West Center. Speakers: Ambassador Scot Marciel, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Southeast Asia and Ambassador for ASEAN Affairs, U.S. Department of State; Keith Luse, Senior Professional Staff Member, U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee; Bronson Percival, Senior Advisor, Center for Strategic Studies, Center for Naval Analyses; Robert Scher, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for South and Southeast Asia, U.S. Department of Defense; Ms. Barbara Weisel, Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Know Your Summit



The Nuclear Security Summit will be held in Washington, DC on April 12-13. Here is our first installment of research resources for you.

US Government Web Resources

Department of State, Nuclear Security Summit
Department of State, Bureau of Verification, Compliance and Implementation (VCI)
Department of State, Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation (ISN)
Department of Defense, NDU, The Center for the Study of Weapons of Mass Destruction
Dept. of Defense, Office of the Deputy Assistant to the Sec. for Nuclear Matters (ODATSD(NM))
Office of the Director of National Intelligence, National Counterproliferation Center (NCPC)
Department of Energy, National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)
Department of Energy, Initiatives for Proliferation Prevention (IPP)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

What to be afraid of


Dr. Mathew J. Burrows, National Intelligence Council (NIC) Counselor and Director of the Analysis and Production Staff, spoke at the Washington Foreign Press Center on March 24, 2010, about the 2010 Annual Threat Assessment (ATA). Click here to read a copy of his remarks.

He identified cybersecurity as the top threat to the US: "In the dynamic of cyberspace, the technology balance favors malicious actors, and is likely to continue to do so for the foreseeable future. The growing role of international companies in supplying software and hardware for sensitive U.S. Government and private networks increases the potential for subversion. The recent intrusions reported by Google are another wake-up call to those who have not taken this problem seriously."

China's efforts to protect its growing economy and power were mentioned next as a potentially destabilizing world influence. Other major concerns to the NIC were violent extremism, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, WMD proliferation, and Mexican drug cartels.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Ozawa: Master chef of a party with too many cooks

Six months in, and Ozawa seems to be the only chef barking orders in the DPJ kitchen.

Effective power in the Hatoyama administration seems to be subtly shifting in the direction of the Democratic Party of Japan, a domain controlled by DPJ Secretary General Ozawa.

Faced with criticism that his government’s policymaking process has too many cooks, Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama in early March ordered the creation of a new policymaking mechanism that on the face of it looks like a crisp sharing of government-party responsibilities.

But looks can be deceptive. It turns out to be mainly a DPJ dish that will place policymaking control essentially into the hands of Ozawa. According to the Nikkei on March 9, Hatoyama ordered the establishment of a Council on Government Commitments (Seiken Kouyaku Kaigi), which he will chair. But the business daily sees the Council as mainly a rubber stamp for policy proposals set by the organ under it, the Manifesto Planning Committee (Manifesuto Keikaku Iinkai). This body split into government and party sections is charged with drafting a government new manifesto or set of campaign pledges for the Upper House election in July.

Though the new menu looks good on paper, it may further erode the Prime Minister’s top-down control on policymaking. The DPJ came into power last September promising to reform the policy-formation process by wresting power away from the bureaucracy and placing it in the hands of politicians. Specifically, the party promised to centralized policy under the Cabinet and the party’s leadership in the Diet. It said it would strengthen the Prime Minister’s Official Residence (Kantei) functions by creating a national strategy bureau headed by a cabinet-level official. The bureau has yet to be created by law.

In most key decisions, the Hatoyama administration has disappointed the public by indecisiveness, inadequate policy-making and consensus-building mechanisms, and, in the budget compilation done without bureaucratic oversight, runaway pork-barrel spending.

The structure of policymaking is clearly lacking a master chef. The Government Revitalization Council under the prime minister has taken the place of the party’s Policy Research Council (Seisaku Chosakai). The new process dealt with such policy issues as budget screening to root out waste and inefficiencies and compiling the national budget. But in each case in which the new formulation process was applied, the politicians at the top tended to accept recommendations from the working groups below instead of seriously evaluating and selectively adopting them. There also appeared to be a clear lack of prioritization in the mix.

Hatoyama ordered the establishment of the Council on Government Commitments to shore up the structural weaknesses of his administration, but the council with him at the head exists only to approve proposals coming up from the real center for policy making, the council, the Manifesto Planning Committee under it. This body will be split between party and government members and co-chaired by DPJ Deputy Secretary General Takashima and Minister for National Strategy Sengoku. Feeding ideas and proposals into the party side will be a newly created Diet members’ study group on policy (Seisaku Kenkyuukai), in which ordinary DPJ lawmakers may participate. This group also will present general proposals to a separate policy council representing the various ministries and agencies.

The scheme does not allow ideas to flow in from the bureaucracy. On the government side of the planning committee, proposals will flow in from three study groups – national life, growth and regional strategy, and decentralization and regulatory reform – that have the participation of ordinary DPJ lawmakers. The study groups also will assist in the drafting of the manifesto. The set up does not have provide for input from the party on the foreign and security policy front, so it is unclear whether the manifesto, at least, will address anything but a purely domestic agenda. Since Sengoku is not expected to play a major role, the DPJ deputy secretary general, Ozawa’s subordinate, will be the key person in the planning committee. Once ideas and proposals are fed into the planning committee, it chooses which ones to accept and incorporate into the manifesto. According to Nikkei, the council may be charged with drafting manifesto-related bills for submission to the Diet.

But the process only flows upward, for there is no vetting under this scheme of bills to the DPJ members before they are presented to the Diet. LDP governments used to do so by presenting bills to the Policy Research Council; but the DPJ abolished a similar council. Since the manifesto, despite its role as the official policy platform of the Hatoyama government, is always written by the party, the role of the government side in the planning committee is expected to be nominal, with the real work done on the party side.

Since last September, the only growing center of power in the party has been the office of the secretary general under Ichiro Ozawa, the party’s most experienced politician. To counter Ozawa’s growing influence, some senior DPJ lawmakers have asked that the party’s Policy Research Council be revived to serve as a counter. Those legislators would like to use that body’s consensus-building function to restore the power balance in the party. Meanwhile, Ozawa has used his office to unify policymaking under his control, extending even to local chapters. Moreover, he commands the respect and loyalty of some 140 lawmakers elected last summer whom he had handpicked as candidates – the so-called “Ozawa’s children.” Most if not all of them are centered in the party’s Diet Affairs Committee.

With the objective being to prepare for the July election, what seems to have been strengthened by Hatoyama’s new policy-making process to draft a new manifesto is the office of the DPJ secretary general, Ichiro Ozawa, the chief strategist and planner for the election. It is unclear how much substantive policy input will come from him directly, but with his deputy co-chairing the planning committee that is tilted already toward the party, Ozawa is certainly in a position to wield significant influence regarding the manifesto’s ultimate contents.

Ozawa seems unstoppable. Despite the public and the media’s critical view of his unwillingness to explain his role in the money scandals that have put three of his former aides in jail, there are no signs that he will step down before the summer election. He has even ignored a call for his resignation from the DPJ’s Gifu Prefecture chapter. Polls show at least 70% of the public want him to resign.

As Ozawa himself has stated, he would only resign if it were found he had done something wrong. The prosecutors by not indicting him, citing insufficient evidence, gave Ozawa the out he wanted. He continues to insist that he is totally innocent.

Moreover, since Hatoyama also has his money scandal, Ozawa could argue that his resignation would not help the prime minister in the polls. Ozawa apparently believes that by election time, the public will have forgotten the sleaze and will rediscover their taste for the cabinet and the DPJ. He continues to reiterate that the party will win the coveted sole majority in the Upper House race.

Ozawa’s major undoing may be the press adding spice to the stew. Just about every magazine has relentlessly run articles exposing or denouncing his past and present political misdeeds. Takashi Tachibana, the famous prize-winning journalist whose investigative journalism brought down Ozawa’s mentor, Kakue Tanaka, for his role in the Lockheed Scandal in the mid-1970s, has taken off against Ozawa recently. In an article for Shukan Gendai (January 9), Tachibana examines the power structure in the new government and concludes that Ozawa has become the real power in the party and government, seeing Hatoyama almost as a figurehead.

Given a daily diet of such fare, will the voters send the DPJ dinner back to the chef, and look for a more palatable party?

Dr William Brooks,
APP Senior Fellow

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Google pulls out of China…sort of

Google announced on March 22nd that it had ended prolonged negotiations with the Chinese government and would no longer censor its search engine. This historic decision has been praised by liberals and conservatives alike for its principled stance against self-censorship. The decision, however, may be simply good business practices and political common sense.

As of 3:00am Beijing time, Google.cn rerouted to Hong Kong, Google.com.hk, where the company offered simplified Chinese search results for Mainland users. A representative of China's State Council Information Office responded by stressing that all foreign companies operating in China must abide by Chinese law. Filtered search results may be available in the Mainland if the Chinese government chooses to use its firewall technology on the Hong Kong servers.

The Chinese government is relying on the allure of the Chinese market to discipline Google. Editorials in the China Daily and Xinhua accuse Google of putting political concerns over economic ones. Four hundred million users “can and only will grow stronger,” they warned.

Sales in China, however, accounted for only about 2% of Google's global revenue in the last quarter. Further, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has said China still wants the cell phone Android with its Google operating system. Google's other China operations--email, music sharing, map services, and sales divisions--remain untouched. It is unclear how Google will respond to competitor China Mobile's text message monitoring program, begun in early January. The overall revenue loss of the search engine withdrawal may not result in a significant loss in revenue for Google.

Political goodwill in Washington and in the capitals of other major markets may be the ultimate benefit for Google. The image of the company that "stood up to Beijing" plays well in an atmosphere stirred by China's uncooperative stances over Taiwan, Tibet, trade, currency, and climate change. Google's "independence" from Beijing may ease the battles faced by the Internet giant over privacy concerns, as with the launch of Buzz, and of the company possibly breaking antitrust laws.

On January 21st, at the Newseum in Washington, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pointedly indicted China's Internet censorship activities. She said, "But countries that restrict free access to information or violate the basic rights of internet users risk walling themselves off from the progress of the next century." Soon after the speech, Google announced that it was teaming up with the National Security Agency to bolster the company's cyber-defenses. These signs of closer cooperation between Google and the US government added to Beijing's discomfort with the company.

At first glance, it looks like Google had a lot to lose by withdrawing from the Internet search engine business in China. Upon closer examination, it was a reasoned, strategic business decision. For now, Google has more to gain both financially and politically by standing apart from China than toeing the Party line.


The Congressional Executive Commission on China will discuss the issue on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, March 34th at 2:00pm with a hearing Google and Internet Control in China: A Nexus Between Human Rights and Trade?

Mr. Michael Davidson
APP Visiting Fellow

Picture: Google's salute to the 2010 Chinese New Year. From Google's Logos page.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Korea matters

THE DOMESTIC AND INTERNATIONAL POLITICS OF SPENT NUCLEAR FUEL IN SOUTH KOREA: ARE WE APPROACHING MELTDOWN? 3/24, Noon-1:30pm, Washington, DC. Sponsor: Korea Economic Institute. Speakers: Miles Pomper, Editor, James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies; Seong Won Park, Visiting Fellow from Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute, James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies; Lawrence Scheinman, Distinguished Professor, James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies.

THE OPCON MILITARY COMMAND ISSUE AMIDST A CHANGING SECURITY ENVIRONMENT ON THE KOREAN PENUNSULA. 3/24, 10:45am-1:00pm, Washington, DC. Sponsor: Embassy of the Republic of Korea. Speaker: Larry Niksch, Senior Associate, Center for Strategic and International Studies.

ANTI-CORRUPTION AND TRANSPARENCY: SOUTH KOREA’S PATHWAY TO PREEMINENCE IN THE ASIA-PACIFIC. 3/29, 2:30-3:30pm, Washington, DC. Sponsor: US-Korea Institute at SAIS. Speaker: Lee Jae-Oh, Chairman of the Anti-Corruption & Civil Rights Commission (ACRC).

PACIFIC AND STRATEGIC COMMANDS/U.S. FORCES KOREA BUDGET
3/24 – 2:30pm, 216 Hart Senate Office Bldg. Senate Armed Services Committee Full committee hearing on U.S. Pacific Command, U.S. Strategic Command, and U.S. Forces Korea in review of the Defense Authorization Request for FY2011 and the Future Years Defense Program. Witnesses: Adm. Robert F. Willard, USN, Commander, U.S. Pacific Command; Gen. Kevin P. Chilton, USAF, Commander U.S. Strategic Command; Gen. Walter L. Sharp, USA, Commander United Nations Command/Combined Forces Command/U.S. Forces Korea.

DPJ is not anti-American

Former POW rejects idea that DPJ is anti-American

By LESTER TENNEY
Special to The Japan Times
Dr. Tenney, a survivor of the Bataan Death March is a member of Asia Policy Point

CARLSBAD, Calif. — As a survivor of Imperial Japan's infamous prisoner-of-war camps, forced labor at a Mitsui coal mine in Fukuoka and the horrors of the Bataan Death March in the Philippines, I know anti-Americanism when I see it. Some say the ruling Democratic Party of Japan is anti-American. I know that it is not.
...

Japan over the past 15 years has spent more than $14 million to invite 1,200 former POWs and their families from the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Canada, Australia and New Zealand to visit Japan as well as to support archival research on POWs held by Japan. I told Diet members and journalists that by being excluded from the initiative, we American former POWs felt abused once again.

I recalled the words of the Japanese commandant at our first POW camp, who bellowed that Americans were "lower than dogs" and that Japanese "would never be friends" with them. The DPJ members with whom I talked were all embarrassed to learn this and promised to do what they could to correct this slight to Americans — now Japan's closest ally.
...

The DPJ members I know are working hard to restore trust between the U.S. and Japan damaged by a long failure of Japan to acknowledge its past. There is no doubt that recognizing the plight of American POWs represents the foundation of the U.S.-Japan Alliance.

###

Picture: The picture above is of the burial detail at Camp O'Donnell, the first POW camp for the survivors of the Bataan Death March and where Dr. Tenney was told he was lower than a dog. Until recently, AP identified the picture as simply one of the March. This was recently corrected by AP, although many POW memoirs, such as Samuel B. Moody's Reprieve From Hell (New York: Pageant Press, 1961) identify the picture correctly. Mr. Moody ended the war at Narumi POW Camp where he was a forced laborer for Nippon Sharyo, the rail car maker.

Obama postpones trip to Asia


(March 18, 2010) The President is pleased that the House has posted the health care legislation on the Internet and that a final vote is coming.

But since the House rules rightly provide for a 72-hour public review period, it is clear that a final vote on health insurance reform cannot take place before Sunday afternoon.

As a result, the President telephoned the leaders of Indonesia and Australia and told them that he must postpone his planned visits there for a later date so he can remain in Washington for this critical vote. The President expects to visit Indonesia in June.

The President greatly regrets the delay. Our international alliances are critical to America’s security and economic progress. But passage of health insurance reform is of paramount importance, and the President is determined to see this battle through.

Informed Washington Commentary on the Postponed Trip

Asia trip delay good news for Sasha and Malia? by Josh Rogin, The Cable


Obama's Asia trip delay shows lower priority of foreign policy by Josh Rogin, The Cable

Indonesia trip complicates State Department Asia agenda by Josh Rogin, The Cable
"The visit is complicating on several levels," the [State Dept] official said. "We have a series of relatively modest deliverables, but every point has been difficult." [Ed. And Guam would have been totally unpleasant.]

Strike Two - Postponement of Obama Trip to Indonesia & Australia by Ernest Bower, CSIS, Southeast Asia Program
"I believe President Obama will be given a very easy pass on this second strike, and the postponement back to the originally planned date is almost welcome in Jakarta and Canberra."

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

OECD Economic Studies on Asia

Economic Survey of China, OECD, 2/2/10, 234pgs.

"With the help of massive government stimulus action, China is now leading the world economy out of recession. Already the world’s second largest economy, China could well overtake the United States to become the leading producer of manufactured goods in the next five to seven years, it says. It will be important to ensure that government saving, now falling in the wake of the crisis, does not revert to its previous, excessively high levels. Public spending should be stepped up to support much needed social reforms in areas such as education, welfare assistance, pensions and health."

Australia: Towards a Seamless National Economy, OECD, 2/15/10, 150pgs.

“Lifting regulatory constraints and removing bottlenecks in some infrastructure sectors would enable Australia to take full advantage of the rapid rebound of some Asian economies, notably China.” “Australia needs to boost productivity to return to long-term sustained growth. An efficient regulatory system is a main step to achieve that goal."

Supporting Japan’s Policy Objectives: OECD’s Contribution OECD, 2/16/10, 23pgs.

"Reforms in nine key areas - a strategy for domestic demand-led growth, the labour market, environment and climate change, education, taxes, health and long-term care, pension reform, regional policy and decentralization and public governance, could bring about a lasting improvement in Japan’s economic prospects."

China Breaking

CHINA'S ECONOMY IN THE POST-CRISIS WORLD. 3/17, 10:00am-Noon, Washington, DC. Sponsor: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Speakers: Douglas Paal, Vice President, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; Tom Byrne, Vice President and Senior Analyst in Sovereign Risk Unit of Moody's Financial Institutions and Sovereign Risk Group; Albert Keidel, Development Economist, Non-Resident Senior Fellow, Atlantic Council; Pieter Bottelier, Senior Adjunct Professor of China Studies, SAIS, Visiting Scholar, Carnegie Endowment.

TAIWAN-CHINA: RECENT ECONOMIC, POLITICAL, AND MILITARY DEVELOPMENTS ACROSS THE STRAIT, AND IMPLICATIONS FOR THE UNITED STATES. 3/18, 8:15am-4:00pm, Washington, DC. Sponsor: U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. Speakers: Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH); Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL); David B. Shear, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, U.S. Department of State; Michael Schiffer, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs, U.S. Department of Defense; Mark Stokes, Executive Director, Project 2049 Institute; Dr. Albert S. Willner, Director of China Security Affairs Group, CNA; David A. Shlapak, Senior International Policy Analyst, RAND Corporation; Rupert Hammond-Chambers, President, U.S.-Taiwan Business Council; Dr. Scott Kastner, Associate Professor, Department of Government and Politics, University of Maryland; Dr. Merritt T. Cooke, CEO, GC3 Strategy Inc.; Dr. Shelly Rigger, Professor of Political Science, Davidson College; Randall G. Schriver, President and CEO, Project 2049 Institute; Dr. Richard C. Bush III, Director, Center for Northeast Asian Policy Studies, Brookings Institution.

OUTLOOK FOR CHINA. 3/18, 9:00-11:00am, Washington, DC. Sponsor: Brookings. Speakers: Barry P. Bosworth, Senior Fellow, Economic Studies, Global Economy and Development, Brookings; Joanna Lewis, Assistant Professor, Georgetown University; Kenneth G. Lieberthal, Director, John L. Thornton China Center, Brookings; Anthony Saich, Daewoo Professor of International Affairs, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

Congressional Hearing on US-Japan Relations

U.S.-JAPAN RELATIONS: ENDURING TIES, RECENT DEVELOPMENTS
3/17 – 2:30pm, 2172 Rayburn House Office Building. House Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific and the Global Environment hearing on “.” Witnesses: Mr. Joseph R. Donovan, Jr., Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, U.S. Department of State,; Mr. Michael Schiffer, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian & Pacific, Security Affairs (East Asia), U.S. Department of Defense; Sheila A. Smith, Ph.D., Senior Fellow for Japan Studies, Council on Foreign Relations; and Michael Auslin, Ph.D., Director of Japan Studies, American Enterprise Institute.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

DPJ sees weapon of mass persuasion in LDP support of Iraq

Offense is the best defense, as the DPJ is learning from the LDP's playbook.

The "lies" of the 50-odd years of Japan's Liberal Democratic Party rule remain a popular topic for DPJ lawmakers. In part, the Democratic Party of Japan came into power rightfully promising to pursue the issue of a democratic government’s transparency. But the temptation to keep alive the memory of “LDP perfidy” in front of the voters has been hard for the party to resist, particularly with the Hatoyama cabinet’s popularity sharply eroding in the polls.

Last week, the establishment of an investigatory panel to examine recent LDP foreign and security policy decisions, followed the conclusion of one confirming old state secrets and deals with the United States. This time the focus is the Koizumi government’s decision to send troops to Iraq in support Washington’s request for “boots on the ground.”

At the same time, poll numbers here have continued to show that public support for the Hatoyama Cabinet is rapidly eroding and now in the 30-40% range. The Asahi reports that Cabinet support now at 37%, and may soon slip below 30%, traditionally a danger zone for previous governments that soon toppled afterward. Jiji Press surveys find support at 30.9 pct in March, down 4.8 percentage points from the previous month. The disapproval rate rose 3.8 points to 48.5%, according to the Jiji poll released on March 12th. Public support for the Hatoyama cabinet has dropped to half the level when it took office September 16,, 2008.

On Tuesday, March 9, a Hatoyama government panel released its
report confirming the existence of a secret Cold War deal allowing the transit of nuclear-armed US vessels through its ports. This ended decades of official denial, although the existence of the pact was an open secret since the U.S. government had declassified relevant documents years ago, and a number of scholarly works on the subject have since been written. (See also Nautilus report, Japan Under the US Nuclear Umbrella.)

The panel also confirmed the existence of other pacts, more like memorandums of understanding, relating to the use of US military bases in Okinawa in the case of an emergency on the Korean peninsula and to the cost of the 1972 reversion of Okinawa from US to Japanese control. For historical reasons, it was important for Japan to search its archives for documents comparable to the ones in the US long ago released to the public.

Foreign Minister Okada’s explanation of the investigative process as historical and not political have helped, but the strong image left behind from the DPJ’s campaign rhetoric and subsequent charges against the LDP is that previous governments deliberately lied to the public about something they knew to be true.

A new phase of LDP bashing may now be about to start. On March 13, NHK TV reported that Upper House DPJ lawmakers launched a working group in the party’s policy deliberative council (seisaku shingikai) to probe into the propriety of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s decision following the initial ending of US-led military actions in Iraq to support the reconstruction of that country by sending Self-Defense Forces.

The Ground Self-Defense Force sent troops to Samawah, Iraq for local-assistance projects, such as repairs and water-supply purification, and an Air Self-Defense Force was sent to Kuwait to airlift goods and personnel, mainly US troops, into Baghdad. Both efforts ended in 2008 without casualties or incidents.

The legislator’s panel was formed, according to NHK, because of deep doubts about the Constitutional legality of the SDF missions in Iraq. The SDF was sent under a
2003 Special Measures Law for Iraq ordered by Koizumi. The Cabinet Legislation Bureau, the government's constitutional watchdog, never challenged the law.

One of the reasons then cited for Japan's supporting the war was the alleged presence of weapons of mass destruction, later proven untrue due to false intelligence reports. The DPJ would like to prove that justification for the missions based on such assumptions was improper. The panel will summon experts, as well as relevant officials from the Foreign and Defense ministries to present their views of the decision-making process and rationale.

Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada may have prompted the formation of the panel on March 10 when asked in the Diet about Koizumi's decision to send troops. He responded “I am keenly aware that he too easily made the decision, and I would like at some point to look comprehensively into how the government was involved, for the sake of the future.”

With the conclusion of the Hatoyama government's probe into secret nuclear pacts between Japan and the US coinciding with a decline of voter confidence in the ruling DPJ, the need to discredit the LDP remains. The logic in the DPJ seems to be that voters still need to be reminded as to how the LDP treated them with condescension and contempt.

The Koizumi decisions on supporting Iraq’s reconstruction by sending troops, never popular with the public but tolerated, appear to be a good new way to again beat up on the LDP.

Dr. William Brooks
APP Senior Fellow

Ms. Mindy Kotler
APP Director

Photo: President Richard Nixon and Japanese Prime Minister Eisaku Sato meeting at the Western White House in San Clemente, California in January 1972. Nixon and Sato worked out the final details of the Okinawa reversion agreement during these meetings. [Source: Collection RN-WHPO: White House Photo Office Collection (Nixon Administration), 01/20/1969 - 08/09/1974; Richard Nixon Library - College Park, College Park, MD]

Monday, March 8, 2010

Samurai and Yakuza in California

APP Member Center for Japanese Studies, University of California, Berkeley has a series of fantastic events this week on a wide range of topics.

LORD IT'S THE SAMURAI: SOCIALLY ENGAGED ART AND THE CULTURAL PRODUCTION OF ORIENTALIST HYSTERIA. 3/9, 4:00-6:00pm, Berkeley. Sponsor: Center for Japanese Studies, University of California, Berkeley. Speaker: Majime Sugiru, Communications Director, Asians Art Museum.

TRANSNATIONAL GRASSROOTS EFFORTS TO REDRESS FORCED LABOR IN WARTIME JAPAN. 3/11, 4:30-6:00pm, Stanford. Sponsor: Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center, Stanford University. Speaker: William Underwood, Independent Researcher. Location: 616 Serra Street, 3rd Floor, Encina Hall, Philippines Conference Room.

LIVING AND LEARNING: SHARING MEMORIES OF THE GREAT TOKYO AIR RAID IN US. 3/16, 3:00-6:30pm, Berkeley. Sponsors: Center for Japanese Studies and Department of History, University of California, Berkeley. Speakers: Katsumoto Saotome, Director, Center of the Tokyo Air Raid & War Damages Resource; Haruko Nihei, Oral History Reciter, Center of Tokyo Air Raid; Tadahito Yamamoto, Staff Researcher, Center of the Tokyo Air Raid; Cary Karacas, College of Staten Island, CUNY.

EVERYTHING I EVER NEEDED TO KNOW IN LIFE I LEARNED FROM THE YAKUZA OR THE COPS. 3/17, 4:00pm, Berkeley. Sponsor: Center for Japanese and Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley. Speaker: Jake Adelstein, Investigative Journalist. Location: 2223 Fulton Street, 6th Floor, IEAS Conference Room.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Futenma politics: Heart of the impossible for Hatoyama

There's only one thing worse than enemies, and that's allies, as the Japanese Prime Minister is demonstrating in trying to answer the Futenma question.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano, on March 3, ended discussions within the coalition party panel for relocating the Marine Corps Futenma air station. Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama says this is not true.

Hirano briefed US Ambassador John Roos as to the Futenma options on Tuesday. The Prime Minister has said this is not true.

It is hard to tell what is.

In an apparent attempt to knock some sense into the issue, Aki Nakashima, one of three parliamentary defense vice ministers, stated on March 3 that the facility would stay in Okinawa, with compensation going to the local community affected by the move. Hirano, however, quickly said that was not true.

The political infighting in the coalition has dragged on for months. Hatoyama hopes to rely on the advice of the three-party panel to settle the Futenma issue by May. But every time the team seems to be inching toward a compromise, the anti-base Social Democratic Party stomps out. The latest scene started as an apparent ideologically tinged struggle between it and another miniscule coalition party, the People’s New Party.

Closing the debate and letting the cabinet screen the various proposals for feasibility is unlikely to muzzle the SDP, whose head, Mizuho Fukushima (pictured), holds a cabinet post. Ultimately, the final decision will depend on whether the Prime Minister is willing or able to knock everyone's heads together.

The PNP has proposed that Futenma base’s helicopter function be transferred to a land-based site on Camp Schwab in Nago City, scrapping the existing plan to build a V-shaped runway on the beachfront of that base. This is similar to the original, 1990s US proposal that only called for a small 500-meter heliport. but it now includes the possibility of a 1,500-meter runway to accommodate Ospreys, the successor aircraft to the Futenma choppers.

The SDP, however, has been committed to shipping all of Futenma’s Marines to Guam or even Hawaii, as long as they are out of Okinawa. The party in its latest proposal has added the possibility of transferring the functions to any one of a number of sites on mainland Japan, under the condition of the new facility having a shelf life of five to 15 years. But adding a time limit is a non-starter since then Okinawa Governor Inamine once tried to impose a 15-year limit on the first plan to move Futenma to waters off Camp Schwab but was stiffed by the US.

The SDP also reportedly wants the Marines now at Camp Schwab to be booted out of Okinawa, as well. The PNP says it is willing to entertain any proposal for debate, but is concerned about the SDP’s suggestion that it did not mind delaying the prime minister’s final decision indefinitely beyond May in order to build a consensus in the panel.

This apparently would allow the SDP to somehow impose its will on the majority. Upset, PNP lawmaker Shimoji, himself from Okinawa and a member of the coalition panel, has said he would resign his Diet seat if SDP head Fukushima has her way about letting the May deadline slip. He is aware that Fukushima has essentially been controlling the Futenma agenda since last December when she publicly blocked the Hatoyama government from making a decision through a bilateral working group with the US to go with the existing relocation plan.

Although the leaders of the ruling DPJ have kept out of the tug-of-war between the PNP and SDP, signs are that the DPJ is quietly siding with the PNP. Even Secretary General Ichiro Ozawa seemed to open the way to a land-based option at Camp Schwab in careful comments to his friend, lawmaker Muneo Suzuki.

The SDP is being disingenuous in proposing nine mainland sites, including Hokkaido’s Tomakomai, as candidates for the Futenma relocation facility. None of the sites seems to have been vetted for feasibility or local acceptance. Already, even the Nagasaki chapter of the SDP has weighed in with an “absolutely no” to the party’s including the SDF’s Omura Base in that prefecture. The list was apparently patched together to show the party’s reasonableness. Guam seems to remain the ultimate goal for the party’s relocation scheme.

Politics in Okinawa is also a complicating factor. Nago City’s new mayor, elected by a narrow margin, has come out strongly against moving any part of Futenma to Camp Schwab, including the inland proposal. His predecessor was willing to accept the facility. A weekly magazine, Shukan Shincho, in a recent issue that examined the some $2 billion in subsidies that Okinawa receives from the central government for hosting US bases, revealed that Nago City not only has benefited economically because of the presence of Camp Schwab but also is not representative of the views of Henoko, the district adjacent to the base, whose residents for the most part would benefit from the additional revenues, jobs, and subsidies the Futenma relocation would bring.

With friends like these, Hatoyama doesn't need enemies.

Dr William Brooks
APP Senior Fellow

Ms. Mindy Kotler
APP Director

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Big Picture

3/2 - 10:00am, 253 Russell Senate Office Bldg. Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee Full committee hearing on “Toyota's Recalls and Government's Response.” Witnesses: Hon. Raymond LaHood, Secretary, U.S. Department of Transportation; Hon. David Strickland, Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; Shinichi Sasaki, Executive Vice President, Toyota Motor Corporation; Yoshimi Inaba, President and Chief Executive Officer, Toyota Motor North America; Clarence Ditlow, Executive Director, Center for Auto Safety.

3/2 - 10:00am, 226 Dirksen Senate Office Bldg. Senate Judiciary Committee Human Rights and Law Subcommittee hearing on "Global Internet Freedom and the Rule of Law, Part II." Witnesses: Michael H. Posner, Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, U.S. Department of State; Daniel J. Weitzner, Associate Administrator for the Office of Policy Analysis and Development, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce; Nicole Wong, Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, Google; Louis Riley, Vice President and Assistant General Counsel, McAfee; Rebecca MacKinnon, Visiting Fellow at the Center for Information Technology Policy, Princeton University.

3/3 - 2:30pm, 2172 Rayburn House Office Bldg. House Foreign Affairs Committee Asia, the Pacific and the Global Environment Subcommittee hearing on "Regional Overview of East Asia and the Pacific." Witness: Hon. Kurt M. Campbell, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, U.S. Department of State.

3/4 - 2:00pm, 2172 Rayburn House Office Bldg. House Foreign Affairs Committee International Organizations, Human Rights and Oversight Subcommittee hearing on "Restoring America's Reputation in the World: Why it Matters." Witnesses: Andrew Kohut, President, Pew Research Center; Joseph Nye, Ph.D., University Distinguished Service Professor, Sultan of Oman Professor of International Relations, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University; J. Michael Waller, Ph.D., Vice President for Information Operations, Center for Security Policy.

APP Members in Print

Recent issues of the online foreign policy journal YaleGlobal have featured pieces by Asia Policy Point members.

To Deal With New Challenges, Should NATO Go Global? Before taking global responsibility, NATO needs to get its own house in order, by
Dr. Richard Weitz (Hudson Institute), YaleGlobal , 26 February 2010.
If NATO improves coordination among the dozens of countries and international institutions engaged in Afghanistan, then the Alliance might profitably consider performing the same role in other global hotspots. If it fails in Afghanistan, then NATO should properly concentrate on getting its own house in order before venturing out of its area any time soon.
Will Japan Emerge from its Shell? – Part I Climate change is a good platform for Japan’s greater global intercourse by
Dr. Edward J. Lincoln (New York University) YaleGlobal , 3 February 2010
Japanese must decide for themselves whether they want to come farther out from their shell. A society so insular that it cannot embrace a substantial inflow of immigrants to offset its declining population, however, might not step up to the international role that the world expects.
Will Japan Emerge from its Shell? – Part II The new government finds charting a new course not so easy by Mr. Daniel Sneider (Stanford University), YaleGlobal , 5 February 2010
Whether any real lessons have been learned in Tokyo or Washington remains to be seen [from months of reevaluating their relationship]. But perhaps the turn in Sino-US relations has reminded people in Tokyo and Washington that there remains a strategic purpose to the alliance.