Wednesday, March 31, 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
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
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
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.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
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.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
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.
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.
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?
Picture: Google's salute to the 2010 Chinese New Year. From Google's Logos page.
Monday, March 22, 2010
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
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.
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
Strike Two - Postponement of Obama Trip to Indonesia & Australia by Ernest Bower, CSIS, Southeast Asia Program
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
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."
Sunday, March 14, 2010
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.
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 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.
Monday, March 8, 2010
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
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.
Ms. Mindy Kotler
Monday, March 1, 2010
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.
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.