Sunday, March 25, 2012

Report from India


Dinyar Patel, a former APP research assistant is a Ph.D. candidate in history at Harvard University, currently working on a dissertation on Dadabhai Naoroji and early Indian nationalism. Below is the first of a four-part series for the New York Times blog on India called India Ink.

March 20, 2012, 7:04 am

In India, History Literally Rots Away

Nations such as Russia and China destroyed historical documents and artifacts in fits of revolutionary zeal. India has taken a much easier route: it has allowed many priceless papers and other items to slowly disintegrate in, or be stolen from, institutions starved of funding, bereft of proper facilities and trained staff, and lacking proper security.

“They are, to say the least, appalling,” said Mushirul Hasan, who recently became director general of the National Archives of India, in assessing Indian archives and libraries. In 2004, for example, items in Rabindranath Tagore’s collection, including his 1913 Nobel Prize for literature, were pilfered from Vishva Bharati University while security guards were supposedly watching an India-Pakistan cricket match.

The deplorable state of many collections is an open secret amongst scholars but, due to fears of institutional retribution, many refuse to publicly draw attention to the destruction being committed.
There are many reasons for the woeful state of Indian archives and libraries.

“Archives are the lowest priority for any government,” said historian Ramachandra Guha. “They are staffed by government officials on punishment postings rather than trained professionals.” Furthermore, many institutions are housed in substandard structures. Open or broken windows are common, exposing historical documents to humidity and boiling hot temperatures, while allowing in the elements, insects, and the occasional animal. In the fall of 2010, several scholars were startled to find a monkey wandering through the research room of the National Archives. Termites and bookworms also have gutted the holdings of many institutions.

The damage has been significant. At the National Archives, letters penned by Mohandas K. Gandhi, B.R. Ambedkar, Gopalkrishna Gokhale, and other eminent Indian nationalists have suffered from exposure to humid weather, staff negligence and mishandling, and improper preservation methods. Many government records for the 19th and 20th centuries are untraceable. In the words of one of the most senior historians of Indian political history, S.R. Mehrotra, the National Library of India in Kolkata—India’s equivalent of the Library of Congress—is “a national disgrace.”

“Their books are turning into dust,” he said. Archives and libraries have also suffered from political controversy. In 2009, more than 50 Indian historians wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, accusing the director of Delhi’s prestigious Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, who was supposedly well-connected to the Congress Party, of trapping the institution “in a culture of apathy and mediocrity.”

Mr. Hasan and his staff have been working diligently to reverse decades of damage at the National Archives. The Nehru Library has recently installed a new director. But other institutions have not been as lucky. “The real tragedy is at the state and local archives,” Mr. Guha said.

A number of scholars interviewed singled out the West Bengal State Archives in Kolkata as suffering from especially appalling conditions. According to one historian who asked not to be identified, at least one of the archives’ branches is “dust-covered and fungus-ridden.” He added, “It is literally a health risk to work here,” noting that the archives’ only firefighting equipment — a collection of buckets — was filled with garbage.

Alexander Lee, a doctoral candidate in political science at Stanford University, estimates that white ants, the term used in India for termites, have destroyed about 10 percent of the files at the Kolkata archives. Staff relations have been another sore point. In late 2008, archival staff went on a one-month strike after a scholar from an Ivy League institution made a routine request for document retrieval.
The West Bengal State Archives is currently without a permanent director, but its temporary director, who assumed office six months ago, acknowledged in an interview that certain problems and “pandemonium conditions” exist. He also noted that he has submitted a detailed report to his superiors in the state government, calling for wholesale modernization of facilities.

If there are legions of horror stories, there are also now a few rays of hope. The National Archives has embarked on an ambitious program of expansion and modernization. Other institutions, both private and public, have started similar projects.

Prime Minister of Japan's Schedule March 12-18

March 12, 2012 (MON)

AM

07:01 Mr. Nagahama, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary; Mr. Tezuka, Special Advisor to PM
08:23 Both leave
08:43 Parliament
08:55 The Upper House Budget Committee

PM
12:00 Office of PM
12:48 Parliament
01:00 The Upper House Budget Committee
05:07 Office of PM
05:12 Three DPJ/Government Executive Meeting
05:51 The meeting adjourned
06:32 Meeting with Prime Minister of Mongolia Sukhbaatar Batbold and Signing Ceremony
07:01 A signing ceremony of yen loan for Mongolia
07:09 Dinner party hosted by Prime Minister Noda
08:11 Introduce the panel photos of the Great East Japan Earthquake to Prime Minister Batbold, and see him off
08:20 Residence of PM

March 13, 2012 (TUE)

AM

06:34 Mr. Nagahama, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary; Mr. Tezuka, Special Advisor to PM
07:33 Mr. Nagahama leaves
07:54 Mr. Tezuka leaves
07:57 Parliament
08:06 Ministerial Meeting on the Advancement of Disaster Waste Management
08:28 Ministerial meeting
09:00 The Upper House Budget Committee
11:59 Office of PM

PM
12:49 Parliament
01:00 The Upper House Budget Committee
04:28 Office of PM
05:00 Mr. Tezuka, Special Advisor to PM
05:45 Courtesy Call from Winners of the High School Speech Contest on the Northern Territories
05:57 Yuzaburo Mogi, Chairperson Emeritus of Kikkoman and Co-Chair of Japanese-German Forum
06:15 Issue an appointment order to Ms. Mariko Hasegawa, National Public Safety Commission member; Mr. Matsubara, Chairman of the National Public Safety Commission
06:50 Mr. Sugiyama, Director-General of Asia and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, Ministry for Foreign Affairs
07:26 Residence of PM
07:32 Mr. Kamei, Leader of the People’s New Party (Kokumin Shinto)
09:17 Mr. Kamei leaves

March 14, 2012 (WED)

AM

08:03 Office of PM
08:05 Mr. Nagahama, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary; Mr. Tezuka, Special Advisor to PM
09:35 Both leave
09:47 Parliament
09:55 The Upper House Budget Committee

PM
12:00 Office of PM
12:49 Parliament
01:00 The Upper House Budget Committee
05:12 Office of PM
05:14 Mr. Kazuhiro Haraguchi, DPJ Lower House member
06:02 Council for Gender Equality
06:07 Mr. Gemba, Minister of Foreign Affairs; and Mr. Tanaka, Minister of Defense
06:18 Mr. Gemba leaves
06:21 Mr. Tanaka leaves
06:22 Mr. Kitamura, Head of Cabinet Intelligence and Research Office; and Mr. Mukuki, Director of the Cabinet Satellite Intelligence Center
06:26 Mr. Mukuki leaves
06:43 Mr. Kitamura leaves
06:50 Mr. Katsuya Endo, Mayor of Tamioka Machi, Fukushima Prefecture
07:02 Mr. Tezuka, Special Advisor to PM
07:08 Mr. Tezuka leaves
09:02 Dinner with Mr. Tezuka, and Mr. Hiroaki Hashimoto, DPJ Lower House member at a Japanese restaurant “Arisugawa Shokudo”, Azabu-Juban, Tokyo
10:31 Residence of PM

March 15, 2012 (THU)

AM

09:34 Office of PM
10:00 Mr. Jojima, DPJ Diet Affairs Chief
10:25 Mr. Okumura, Senior Vice Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology; and Mr. Todani, Director-General of Research and Development Bureau
11:23 Mr. Eiji Nagai, Mr. Masuo Matsuoka, and Mr. Kotaro Yamazaki, former Japan New Party (Nihon Shinto) members; Mr. Nagahama, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary;
Mr. Tezuka, Special Advisor to PM
11:45 Everyone leaves

PM
02:16 Mr. Genshitsu Sen, Goodwill Ambassador for UNESCO; and Mr. Tetsuro Fukuyama, DPJ Upper House member also attends
02:46 The Imperial Hotel
02:48 Attend the General Assembly of the Regular Members of the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI)
03:07 Office of PM
03:09 Mr. Tarutoko, DPJ Acting Secretary General
03:35 Mr. Nishimura, Director General of Security Bureau, National Police Agency
03:59 Mr. Sasae, Administrative Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs
04:52 Courtesy call from Mr. Lamy, Director-General of the World Trade Organization
05:17 The Prime Minister Receives a Request Concerning an International Solidarity Levy
05:28 Mr. Fumikazu Yoshida, Chief Editor of Kyodo News
05:36 Mr. Kawabata, Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications; Mr. Fukuda, Parliamentary Secretary of Internal Affairs and Communications; Mr. Goto, Senior Vice Minister of Cabinet Office
06:00 Mr. Hironobu Takesaki, Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Japan
06:13 Ambassadors of Latin American countries who attended their meeting
06:31 Graduate Student from the Harvard Kennedy School; Mr. Nagashima, Special Advisor to PM also attends
07:05 Mr. Tezuka, Special Advisor to PM
07:39 Residence of PM

March 16, 2012 (FRI)

AM

06:16 Mr. Nagahama, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary; Mr. Tezuka, Special Advisor to PM
07:30 Parliament
07:35 Ministerial meeting
07:52 Office of PM
08:10 Mr. Tezuka, Special Advisor to PM
08:49 Parliament
09:00 The Upper House Budget Committee

PM
12:12 The Lower House Plenary Session
01:00 The Upper House Budget Committee
05:10 Office of PM
05:35 Summit meeting with Prime Minister Tonshin of Laos; Mr. Fujimura, Chief Cabinet Secretary attends
06:11 Signing ceremony
06:20See of Prime Minister Tonshin
06:24 Mr. Akito Arima, Chancellor of the Tokyo University; Mr. Takashi Iama, former Chairman of Keidanren
06:45 Mr. Tezuka, Special Advisor to PM
07:29 Residence of PM

March 17, 2012 (SAT)
Whole day at the residence of PM

March 18, 2012 (SUN)

AM

09:12 Office of PM
09:16 Leave the office on a GSDF helicopter
09:39 Japanese National Defense University
09:44 Mr. Tanaka, Minister of Defense; and Mr. Makoto Iokibe, President of National Defense University
10:05 Gave a speech at the university’s commencement ceremony

PM
12:13 Lunch with Mr. Tanaka and Mr. Iokibe
10:43 Leave the university on the GSDF helicopter
01:16 Heliport of the PM office
01:21 Residence of PM
01:48 Mr. Sengoku, Deputy Chief of DPJ Policy Research Council
02:24 Mr. Sengoku leaves

What if the tsunami never happened?


The Tokyo Diplomat provides a snappy, weekly roundup of news relevant to Tokyo’s foreign policy community. To find out more about this subscription service contact the Editor, Mr Michael Penn at the Shingetsu News Agency in Tokyo. He is the author of the piece below.


March 11 of this year has witnessed a tsunami of its own—a tsunami of news coverage of the anniversary. This entire week international news about Japan has been flooded with all kinds of stories about the disaster. The larger news organizations really geared up for this event and produced a number of very good reports which clearly had been in preparation for weeks or months.

It would be futile and just a bit repetitive to give an account here of rebuilding efforts in Rikuzen-Takata or the story of a family still suffering from the losses of that day. We recommend that you read some of the stories that are out there in the mainstream press, because in this case the international media is doing an excellent job.

What we want to do here is to play out a little thought experiment: How would Japan be different today had the 9.0 earthquake off the coast of Tohoku not occurred? Would this nation be radically different?

Needless to say, the lives of many people in the prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi, and especially Fukushima would certainly be quite different. About 20,000 more people would still be living and roughly a quarter of a million would be back in their own homes. Many of those regions would still be relatively poor and facing economic struggles, but their overall situation would obviously be much better than it is now.

At the national level, energy policy is the area that would be strikingly different. The national plan called for a massive expansion of nuclear power from 30% of the nation’s energy to 50% in the decades ahead. This plan had high-level political support in both the Democratic Party of Japan and the Liberal Democratic Party, and there were few effective forces countering them. The anti-nuclear groups were more marginal than they are today, and the mainstream was mostly indifferent. The biggest challenge was likely to come from local communities that didn’t want new nuclear plants to be sited in their immediate neighborhoods.

The struggle over nuclear power is ongoing, but almost no one argues in favor of expanding it beyond the March 11, 2011, level any more. Even the more conservative views now acknowledge that Japan’s reliance on nuclear power needs to be reduced below the levels of a year ago and that renewable energy needs to be pursued more keenly. Most of the arguments now are about speed and degree, not basic direction.

But what about Japanese politics? Have they been changed in any important way by the multiple tragedies of March 11?

We tend to think not.

When the disaster struck, Prime Minister Naoto Kan was on the ropes, and quite possibly within days of resigning. His administration’s star foreign minister, Seiji Maehara, had just resigned for accepting campaign contributions from a Korean national he had known in his youth. Another lawmaker who was a close ally of Kan had attended a conference in South Korea which demanded that Japan give up its territorial claims to Dokdo (Takeshima). Indeed, the story had just broken that Kan himself had received illegal donations from non-Japanese nationals. While the whole issue was basically a triviality whipped up into a national scandal by Japan’s far right and the media, the campaign was working and appeared to be on the verge of toppling Kan’s shaky government. The prime minister was in the Diet getting pounded by the opposition when the earthquake struck.

So the life of the Kan administration was extended from March to September, and Kan himself found a political cause (denuclearization) that had previously escaped him.

Would Yoshihiko Noda be prime minister today had there been no earthquake and tsunami? Possibly. He would have been a major contender had Kan been forced to resign over the campaign finance scandal in March. Maehara couldn’t have run and very well may have thrown his support to Noda. The Ozawa group’s situation was not dramatically altered between March and September, so Noda could very well have been the man to rise at that time too.

There’s no reason to think that the balance of power between the parties would be much different either. No one has really seen their political stock rise dramatically due to the March 11 tragedy—except arguably the Emperor Akihito and the Self-Defense Forces which both played positive roles. By the same token, no major political figure saw their career ruined by the disaster either. For most people in the political world, it made no significant difference to the trajectory of their personal fortunes.

Clearly, the anti-nuclear movement became more significant in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi meltdowns, but they still remain on the edges of the mainstream political world and are not united behind any of the existing political parties.

We also hear much about how the trust of the Japanese people in their leaders has been eroded by gross mismanagement by the authorities. However, it remains unclear if this signifies very much. Whatever distrust that ordinary Japanese citizens may feel, when it comes to action there is very little to behold. Only a handful takes part in protest movements and there is little evidence that people are organizing themselves in any fashion that will have a meaningful effect on government policy. Indeed, a very common reaction is to complain about a lack of leadership in one breath and then shrug that “it can’t be helped” in the next. No “Arab Spring” is imminent in this nation.

In any case, were bureaucrats and the political class highly regarded before March 11? The handling of the tragedy has only exacerbated old trends rather than produced entirely new factors—outside of the aforementioned changes in energy policy, which did take an unexpected U-turn.

Some political force is eventually going to capitalize on the popular discontent and be swept into power. The most obvious candidate at present is Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto, although we frankly doubt if he is really the answer to Japan’s problems.

However, all of this is something that has been building for decades and is not a product of March 11. For the past several election cycles, the Japanese people have continued to “throw the bums out” and give electoral victories to opposition parties. The August 2009 general election in which 54 years of Liberal Democratic Party rule was terminated was supposed to herald the new dawn, but the Democratic Party of Japan has—to say the least—failed to live up to its promises, which is a judgment that most lawmakers inside the ruling party freely admit. If a fresh general election is held soon, there is no reason to believe that the situation will radically improve. The dysfunctional system seems to have at least a few more years in it.

Surveying the year that has passed, one is therefore struck with the sense of how little things have changed from the perspective of Japanese politics and government institutions. Yes, there is a lot of discontent in Japan and a political turning point will eventually come. We can now safely say, however, that the March 11, 2011, disaster may one day be counted as a contributing factor to that change, but it does not represent the political turning point itself.

This essay first appeared in the Tokyo Diplomat March 12, 2012 and then in the Asia Policy Calendar for APP members on March 18th.

Gear up or fail


This coming week in Washington is all about American competitiveness and manufacturing. The focus is on China, as opposed to Japan as it was 20 years ago.

In December 2011, the Council on Competitiveness at its
National Manufacturing Competitiveness Summit announced a National Manufacturing Strategy. The Strategy - Make: An American Manufacturing Movement  - which engaged hundreds of private and public sector leaders in two years of work and numerous dialogues across the country - maps how the United States can lead the world in 21st century, advanced manufacturing that will be at the heart of the nation's long-term productivity and prosperity.


On March 9th, President Obama announced a new proposal for a National Network for Manufacturing Innovation, to build a network of up to fifteen Institutes for Manufacturing Innovation around the country, serving as regional hubs of manufacturing excellence that will help to make manufacturers more competitive and encourage investment in the United States. The President’s Budget proposes a $1 billion investment to create this new National Network for Manufacturing Innovation.

The opening for this week, was on the 21st with the release by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) of WORSE THAN THE GREAT DEPRESSION: WHAT EXPERTS ARE MISSING ABOUT MANUFACTURING'S DECLINE.

REPORT LAUNCH: EMERGING GLOBAL TRENDS IN ADVANCED MANUFACTURING. 3/26, 4:00-5:30pm, Washington, DC. Sponsor: Woodrow Wilson Center, Program on America and the Global Economy. Speakers: Sallie Keller, Director, IDA Science & Technology Policy Institute; Stephanie Shipp, Bhavya Lal, Nayanee Gupta, Justin Scott, Chris Weber, and Michael Finnin, author, Emerging Global Trends in Advanced Manufacturing, IDA Science & Technology Policy Institute; Carl Dahlman, Henry R. Luce Associate Professor School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University; Jim Turner, Senior Counsel, Innovation and Technology and Director, Energy Programs, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities; Moderator: Kent Hughes, Director, Program on America and the Global Economy.

2ND ANNUAL CONFERENCE ON THE RENAISSANCE OF AMERICAN MANUFACTURING. 3/27, 9:00-5:00pm, Washington, DC. Sponsor: Committee to Support U.S. Trade Laws and others. Speakers include: Gene B. Sperling, Director of the National Economic Council and Assistant to the President for Economic Policy; U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH); U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR); U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL); U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI); Gordon Brinser, President, SolarWorld Industries America Inc.; Leo W. Gerard, International President, United Steelworkers (USW); Rob Atkinson, President, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation; Rich Harshman, Chairman and CEO, Allegheny Technologies Incorporated; Brian Toohey, President, Semiconductor Industry Association; Scott Paul, Executive Director, Alliance for American Manufacturing; Thea Lee, Deputy Chief of Staff, AFL-CIO; Leo Hindery, Jr., Chairman, U.S. Economy/Smart Globalization Initiative at the New America Foundation; Clyde Prestowitz, President, Economic Strategy Institute; Roger Berkley, Former Chairman, National Textile Association; Harry Moser, Founder and President, Reshoring; Initiative and Retired President, GF AgieCharmilles; Former Governor Bob Ehrlich (Maryland).

CAN AMERICA RESTORE ITS COMPETITIVE EDGE? 3/28, 9:30-11:00am, Washington, DC. Sponsor: National Conversation at Woodrow Wilson Center. Speakers: The Honorable Jane Harman—President, Director and CEO, WWC; Norm Augustine, former CEO, Lockheed-Martin, Chair of the National Academies Gathering Storm Committee, author of Rising Above the Gathering Storm; John Engler, former Governor of Michigan, former President of the National Association of Manufacturers, President of the Business Roundtable; Paul Vallas, former Superintendent of the Recovery School District in Louisiana, former CEO of Chicago Public Schools and the School District of Philadelphia; Moderator: David Wessel, Chief Economic Correspondent, Wall Street Journal.

AMERICAN MANUFACTURING AND JOB REPATRIATION
3/28 – 9:00am, 2362-A Rayburn House Office Building. House Appropriations Committee - Hearing Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee hearing on "American Manufacturing and Job Repatriation." Witnesses: Dr. Niall Ferguson, Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History at Harvard University; Harry Moser, Founder, Reshoring Initiative; Scott Paul, Executive Director, Alliance for American Manufacturing; Jim Phillips, Chairman and CEO, NanoMech; Dr. Patrick Gallagher, Director, National Institute of Standard and Technology; Dr. Subra Suresh, Director, National Science Foundation.


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Prime Minister of Japan's Schedule March 5-11

March 5, 2012 (MON)

AM

09:33 Office of PM
09:34 Observe pictures of the Great East Japan Earthquake at the entrance hall of the PM Office

PM
12:10 Mr. Okada, Deputy Prime Minister; Mr. Terada, Special Advisor to PM; Mr. Shuhapa, Parliamentary Secretary of Internal Affairs and Communications
12:14 Mr. Shuhama leaves
12:26 Everyone leaves
01:47 The Lower House First Diet Member’s Building
01:48 Office of Prime Minister Noda, with Mrs. Hitomi Noda
02:12 Office of PM
03:29 Mr. Eiji Hayashida, Chairman of Japan Iron and Steel Federation; Mr. Kazuaki Kama, Chairman of the Shipbuilder’s Association of Japan; Mr. Nobumasa Iemori, Chairman of Japan Mining Industry Association; Mr. Rikio Kouzu, Chairman of Japan Federation of Basic Industry Workers’ Unions; Mr. Yoshiaki Takagi, DPJ Lower House member; and Mr. Minoru Yanagida, DPJ Upper House member
03:43 Everyone leaves
04:30 Mr. Tezuka, Special Advisor to PM
05:15 Conference call with Mr. Putin, Prime Minister of Russia
06:00 Courtesy Call from Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Morocco Saad Dine El Otmani
06:18 Mr. Saito, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary
06:53 Dinner with Mr. Hiroshi Komiyama, former Chancellor of the Tokyo University at Hotel New Otani, Guarden Court, Japanese Restaurant “Senbazuru”
09:31 Residence of PM

March 6, 2012 (TUE)

AM

06:31 Mr. Saito, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary; and Mr. Tezuka, Special Advisor to PM
07:41 Both leave
07:47 Parliament
07:55 Headquarters for Administrative Reform Implementation
08:17 Ministerial meeting
08:51 Lower House Budget Committee

PM
12:05 Office of PM
12:49 Parliament
12:59 Lower House Budget Committee
03:04 Office of PM
04:01 Mr. Yuji Kuroiwa, Governor of Kanagawa Prefecture and Others; Mr. Hosono, Minister of State for the Nuclear Power Policy and Administration
04:30 Three DPJ/Government Executive Meeting
05:05 The meeting adjourned
05:30 Mr. Tezuka, Special Advisor to PM
05:57 Mr. Nakagawa, Minister of State for Disaster Management; Mr. Goto, Senior Vice Minister of Cabinet Office; Mr. Matsumoto, Administrative Vice Minister of Cabinet Office
06:30 Issue appointment order of Mr. Ryoji Nakabachi, Vice chair of Sony to a member of Council for Science and Technology Policy; Mr. Fujimura, Chief Cabinet Secretary; and Mr. Furukawa, Minister of State for Science and Technology Policy
06:50 Residence of PM

March 7, 2012 (WED)

AM

09:31 office of PM
10:28 Mr. Taketoshi, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary
10:39 Mr. Nakagawa, Minister of State for Disaster Management; and Mr. Yonemura, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary for Crisis Management
11:01 Mr. Kitamura, Head of Cabinet Intelligence and Research Office
11:32 Mr. Saito, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary; Mr. Okada, Vice-Minister for International Affairs, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
11:55 Mr. Okada leaves

PM
12:01 Mr Saito leaves
03:17 Press group interview
04:00 Mr. Tezuka, Special Advisor to PM
04:48 The Prime Minister Receives a Courtesy Call from the Japanese American Leadership Delegation; Mr. Saito, Mr. Nagahama, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretaries
05:32 Japan-Thailand Summit Meeting and Joint Press Announcement; Mr. Gemba, Minister of Foreign Affairs; and Mr. Maeda, Minister of Land, Infrastructure, and Transportation
06:14 Joint press conference
06:29 Dinner party hosted by Prime Minister Noda
07:46 Introduce pictures of the Great East Japan Earthquake to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra of Thailand, and saw her off at the entrance of PM office
07:51 Residence of PM

March 8, 2012 (THU)

AM

07:16 Mr. Saito, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary; Mr. Tezuka, Special Advisor to PM
07:55 Both leave
08:23 Mr. Tezuka, Special Advisor to PM
08:50 Parliament
08:59 The Lower House Budget Committee

PM
01:00 The Lower House Committee on Internal Affairs and Communications
02:15 The Lower House Committee on Financial Affairs
03:24 Mr. Okada, Deputy Prime Minister
04:03 The Lower House Plenary Session
06:15 Visits ruling and opposing party factions; Mr. Fujimura, Chief Cabinet Secretary; and Mr. Azumi, Minister of Finance
06:34 Office of PM
06:43 Receives a Request from Futaba Town, Fukushima Prefecture, Mr. Idogawa, Mayor of Futaba T
07:02 Mr. Sugiyama, Director-General of Asia and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
07:19 Mr. Tezuka, Special Advisor to PM
07:46 The residence of PM

March 9, 2012 (FRI)

AM

06:31 Mr. Nagahama, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary; Mr. Tezuka, Special Advisor to PM
07:40 Both leave
07:48 Parliament
07:54 Strategic Headquarters for the Promotion of an Advanced Information and Telecommunications Network Society
08:13 Ministerial meeting
09:00 The Upper House Audit Committee

PM
12:00 Office of PM
12:48 Parliament
01:00 The Upper House Audit Committee
05:03 Office of PM
05:32 Courtesy Call from Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Volodymyr Lytvyn
06:02 The Government Revitalization Unit
06:10 Mr. Tezuka, Special Advisor to PM
06:23 Mr. Azumi, Minister of Finance; Mr. Furukawa, Minister of State for National Policy; and Mr. Ogushi, Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office
06:37 Mr. Shintaro Ishihara, Governor of Tokyo; Mr. Nagashima, Special Advisor to PM
07:05 Mr. Nagashima, Special Advisor to PM
07:56 Residence of PM

March 10, 2012 (SAT)
Spend whole day at the residence

March 11, 2012 (SUN)

AM

10:58 Mr. Okada, Deputy Prime Minister; Mr. Fujimura, Chief Cabinet Secretary; Mr. Azumi, Minister of Finance

PM
12:02 Everyone leaves
02:17 National Theater of Japan
02:41 Memorial Service for One Year Anniversary of 3.11 Disaster
03:49 Office of PM
04:15 Mr. Saito, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary; Mr. Tezuka, Special Advisor to PM
05:02 Press conference
05:40 Residence of PM

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Nanking, Nagoya


If you view Mayor of Nagoya Takashi Kawamura, who denied the atrocities of the Rape of Nanking in front of a visiting Chinese delegation, as an aberration, you might want to remember that as a DPJ Dietmember he was one of the over 60 signatories of the infamous June 14, 2007 “The Facts” ad in the Washington Post condemning the Comfort Women, girls and women who were sex slaves trafficked to Imperial Japan's military, as lying whores. He was a member of a number of Diet leagues to examine the truth about Nanking and other historical issues, as was Aki Nagashima, who is now an important foreign policy adviser to Prime Minister Noda.

Jin Matsubara, who is Minister for the Abduction Issue and Chairman of the National Public Safety Commission Minister of State for Consumer Affairs and Food Safety in the Noda Cabinet was also a signatory of “The Facts” ad. He was a founder of one of the Diet Leagues examining Nanking. Further, Composer Koichi Sugiyama, one of the main funders and signatories for “The Facts” ad, composed an election campaign song for Matsubara.

Hideo  Jinpu, who is now Parliamentary Secretary of Defense in the Noda Cabinet was also a signatory of “The Facts” ad.

Keirou Kitagami, who is now Parliamentary Secretary of Economy, Trade and Industry in the Noda Cabinet was also a signatory of “The Facts” ad. He was a visiting fellow at CSIS from 2004-05.

More Haiku

For those of you less satisfied by the nihonjin descriptions given by Ms. Hideki Kato in her US presentations on haiku, we suggest you read the beautiful essay on Matsuo Bashō, the most famous Japanese haiku poet, by Jane Hirshfield, Heart of Haiku. It is available through Kindle for 99 cents.

Packed with original translations, The Heart of Haiku is an elegant and reverent exploration of an itinerant artist who "wanted to renovate human vision by putting what he saw into a bare handful of mostly ordinary words, and… to renovate language by what he asked it to see."

Prime Minister of Japan's Schedule February 27-March 4

February 27, 2012 (MON)

AM


08:38 Leave Okinawa Harbor View Hotel Crown Plaza. Mr. Saito, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary; Mr. Taketoshi, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary; Mr. Nagashima, Special Advisor to PM; and Mr. Tezuka, Special Advisor to PM
08:41 Okinawa Prefectural Government Office
08:44 Meeting with Mr. Nakaima, Governor of Okinawa
09:06 Meeting with Mr. Zenshin Takamine, Chair of Okinawa Prefectural Assembly
09:28 Press interviews
09:44 ASDF Naha Base
09:50 Gave instructions to ASDF members
10:16 Leave the base on ASDF CH47 Helicopter. Fly over Henoko and surrounding area
11:14 Return to the base
11:53 Lunch with Mr. Koichi Kokuba, chairperson of Okinawa economic organizations

PM
01:11 Futenma Air Station. Meeting with Lieutenant General Kenneth Glueck, Okinawa Area Coordinator and commanding general of III Marine Expeditionary Force
02:35 Okinawa IT Shinryo Park, Uruma City
03:45 Camp Kinser, Urasoe City
04:22 Observe the status of the use of vacant land returned by U.S. Forces
05:01 Press conference
05:20 ASDF Naha Base, meeting with Mr. Zukeran, DPJ Lower House member; and Mr. Aragaki, DPJ Okinawa representative
05:47 Naha Airport
06:13 Leave the airport on ASDF U4 Multi-Purpose support plane
08:06 Arrive at Haneda Airport
08:42 Residence of PM
08:56 Mr. Okada, Deputy Prime Minister; Mr. Fujimura, Chief Cabinet Secretary; and Mr. Azumi, Minister of Finance
10:00 Everyone leaves

February 28, 2012 (TUE)

AM

08:42 Parliament
08:50 Ministerial Meeting
09:10 Office of PM

PM
01:57 Mr. Katagiri, Director-General of the National Police Agency
02:33 Mr. Kano, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
03:00 Mr. Sasae, Administrative Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs
03:34 Mr. Tsuji, Senior Vice Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare
04:00 Mr. Tsuji leaves
05:00 Mr. Tezuka, Special Advisor to PM
05:30 Receive report from Mr. Koichi Kitazawa, Chairman of Independent Investigation Commission on the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Accident; and Mr. Yoichi Funabashi, President of Rebuild Japan Initiative Foundation
06:01 Mr. Uichiro Niwa, Ambassador to China; Mr. Ichiro Fujisaki, Ambassador to the United States; and other Asia-Pacific countries’ ambassadors.
07:00 Residence of PM

February 29, 2012 (WED)

AM

09:34 Office of PM

PM
02:53 Parliament
03:00 Party leaders debate
03:51 Office of PM
04:30 Three DPJ/Government Executive Meeting
05:36 Meeting adjourned
05:37 Mr. Matsumoto, Administrative Vice Minister of the Cabinet Office; and Mr. Takekawa, Director-General of Decoration Bureau
05:50 Mr. Tezuka, Special Advisor to PM
06:11 Mr. Ichiro Fujisaki, Ambassador to the United States
06:46 Mr. Okada, Deputy Prime Minister
07:15 Mr. Saito, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary; and Mr. Nagashima, Special Advisor to PM
07:44 Residence of PM

March 1, 2012 (THU)

AM

07:01 Mr. Tezuka, Special Advisor to PM
08:32 Mr. Tezuka leaves
08:51 Parliament
08:56 Mr. Kozo Watanabe, DPJ Lower House member
08:59 The Lower House Budget Committee

PM
12:02 Mr. Fujimura, Chief Cabinet Secretary
12:12 The Lower House Plenary Session
12:59 The Lower House Budget Committee
05:10 Office of PM
06:00 Mr. Tezuka, Special Advisor to PM
06:38 Residence of PM

March 2, 2012 (FRI)

AM

07:53 Parliament
07:55 A Joint Meeting of the Council on Measures for Society with Decreasing Birthrate and the Council on the New System for Children and Child-rearing
08:17 Ministerial Meeting
08:39 Office of PM
09:58 Mr. Teruhiko Masuko, DPJ Upper House member; Mr. Kenya Akiba, LDB Lower House member; and Mr. Shigeyuki Tomita, New Koemei Lower House member
09:20 Mr. Akiba and Mr. Tomita leave
09:33 Mr. Masuko leaves
09:34 Mr. Edano, Minister of Economy, Trade, and Industry; Mr. Adachi, Vice-Minister of Economy, Trade, and Industry; Mr. Takahara, Director-General, Agency for Natural resources and Energy
09:51 Mr. Makoto Iokibe, Chair of the Reconstruction Design Council in Response to the Great East Japan Earthquake; Mr. Takashi Mikuriya, Vice Chair; Mr. Minehisa, Secretary General of the Secretariat of the Reconstruction Headquarters
11:13 Mr. Maehara, chairperson of DPJ Policy Research Council

PM
12:01 The APCAC 2012 U.S.-Asia Business Summit at hotel “The Prince Park Tower Tokyo”, Shibakoen, Tokyo
12:26 Office of PM
12:32 Mr. Hosono, Minister of State for the Nuclear Power Policy and Administration
01:10 Mr. Hosono leaves
02:47 Mr. Yoshiki Yamaura and Mr. Hitsuharu Miyagawa, new and old Supreme Court judges
03:21 Mr. Kitamura, Head of Cabinet Intelligence and Research Office
03:59 Mr. Saito, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary; and Mr. Nagashima, Special Advisor to PM
04:33 Mr. Tarutoko, DPJ Acting Secretary General
05:09 Mr. Tezuka, Special Advisor to PM
05:17 The Council on National Strategy and Policy
06:46 The council adjourned
07:08 Dinner with Mr. Tezuka, Special Advisor to PM; and Ms. Renho, DPJ Upper House member, at a Japanese restaurant “Matsuyama”, Ginza, Tokyo
10:05 Everyone leaves
10:16 Residence of PM

March 3, 2012 (SAT)

AM

11:57 Luch with Mr. Nobuaki Koga, President of Japanese Trade Union Confederation, at a Japanese restaurant “Suiren”, The Capitol Hotel Tokyu

PM
12:46 Office of PM
02:01 Interview from CNN
02:40 Joint interview with 18 foreign press including Xinhua News Agency of China
03:26 Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry, the Meeting of the Council to Cheer the Future of Japan – Power of Small Enterprises to Change Japan
03:45 Residence of PM
03:54 Mr. Tezuka, Special Advisor to PM
04:39 Mr. Tezuka leaves

March 4, 2012 (SUN)

AM

Residence of PM

PM
05:30 NTV (Nippon TV), Higashi Shinbashi, Tokyo
06:00 Appear on a news program
07:10 Residence of PM

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Notes on 3.11


Inside Japan’s Nuclear Meltdown: The desperate days after the Fukushima nucleardisaster, told by those who were there, Frontline, PBS, 2/28/12

Candle Night, to memorialize 3.11, Facebook

Policy Change in a Post-Crisis Japan: An Interview with Richard J. Samuels (MIT) by National Bureau of Asian Research, March 5, 2012
...the self-defense forces have not benefitted from their new levels of public support and legitimacy. Few new equipment requests were inserted into the FY2012 budget request, and in the end, the defense budget was cut again. The SDF is not benefitting in any direct way from its performance after March 11. Likewise, neither is the alliance in any better shape than it was beforehand. In fact, there are more questions than ever about basing issues in particular. In short—and in the near term—there does not seem to have been a particularly salutary effect on either the SDF or the alliance since March 11.
Fukushima in review: A complex disaster, a disastrous response by Yoichi Funabashi and Kay Kitazawa at Rebuild Japan Initiative Foundation (RJIF), a think tank created last year and funded by individuals and businesses. The conclusion of the report in English can be found on the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. It delves into the actions taken by Tepco, the utility that owns and operates the Fukushima Daiichi plant, as well as the role of the government and nuclear regulators. Summary

Why Fukushima Was Preventable by James M. Acton and Mark Hibbs Carnegie Paper, March 2012.
Had the plant’s owner, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), and Japan’s regulator, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA), followed international best practices and standards, it is conceivable that they would have predicted the possibility of the plant being struck by a massive tsunami. The plant would have withstood the tsunami had its design previously been upgraded in accordance with state-of-the-art safety approaches. The methods used by TEPCO and NISA to assess the risk from tsunamis lagged behind international standards in at least three important respects.

Let's talk disaster 3.11



CHERRY BLOSSOMS AND EARTHQUAKES: THE STATE OF U.S.-JAPAN RELATIONS. 3/8, 11:00-Noon, Washington, DC. Sponsor: Heritage Foundation Asian Studies. Speaker: Amb. Ichiro Fujisaki, Ambassador of Japan to the United States.

JAPAN-U.S. SECURITY RELATIONSHIP AFTER MARCH 11. 3/8, 9:00-10:30am, Washington, DC. Sponsor: US-Japan Research Institute (USJI) and Waseda University Organization for Japan-US Studies (WOJUSS). Speakers: Katsuichi Uchida, President, USJI / Vice President, Professor, Waseda University; Moderator: Shotaro Yachi, Visiting Professor, Waseda University; James P. Zumwalt, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Japan and Korea Affairs, U.S. Department of State; J.D. Crouch II, President, QinetiQ North America’s Technology Solutions Group; Tomohiko Taniguchi, Special Guest Professor, Keio University.

JAPAN'S MARCH 11 DISASTER: ONE YEAR LATER. 3/9, 10:00am-Noon. Washington, DC. Sponsor: Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies. Speakers: Marc Knapper, Director, Office of Japanese Affairs, U.S. Department of State; Rust Deming, SAIS Japan Studies Faculty.

REMEMBERING 3/11 THROUGH THE EYES OF STUDENTS FROM JAPAN. 3/9, 9:15-1:00pm, lunch, Washington, DC. Sponsor: Sigur Center, Japanese American Student Union, and Organization of Asian Studies, GWU. Speakers; Michael Green, Senior Adviser and Japan Chair, Center for Strategic and International Studies; Edward Lincoln, Professor, GWU; Mike Mochizuki, Associate Dean for Academic Programs, Elliott School; Associate Professor of Political Science and International Affairs, GWU.

RISK MANAGEMENT -FROM NATURAL DISASTER TO ECONOMY. 3/9, 9:00-8:00pm, Lunch, Reception, Washington, DC. Sponsor: US-Japan Research Institute (USJI) and Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS). Speakers: H.E. Ichiro Fujisaki, Ambassador, Japan to the United States; Hirotaka Sugawara, Director, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Washington Office; Akito Arima, Chancellor, Musashi Gakuen / Former Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) / Former President, University of Tokyo; Frank N. von Hippel, Professor, Princeton University; Yoshimitsu Okada, President, National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention; Ross S. Stein, U.S. Geological Survey (USGC); Hiroyuki Fujiwara, National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention (NIED); Richard A. Meserve, President, the Carnegie Institution; Richard Garwin, Fellow Emeritus, IBM; Otsura Niwa, Professor Emeritus, Kyoto University; Takatoshi Ito, Professor, The University of Tokyo; Junichi Mori, Vice Chair, USJI / Vice President, Professor, Kyoto University; Etsuro Shioji , Professor, Hitotsubashi University; Martin Neil Baily, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution; Akihiko Tanaka, Chair, USJI / Vice President, Professor, University of Tokyo.

DISASTER RESPONSE, RECOVERY, AND THE FUTURE OF JAPAN-UNITED STATES RELATIONS ONE YEAR AFTER THE GREAT EAST JAPAN EARTHQUAKE. 3/9, 1:30-2:30pm, Washington, DC. Sponsor: Brookings Institution, CNAPS. Speakers: Introduction, Strobe Talbott, President, The Brookings Institution; Moderator, Richard C. Bush, Senior Fellow and Director, Center for Northeast Asian Policy Studies, The Brookings Institution; Ichiro Fujisaki, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to the United States of America, Embassy of Japan; Major General Mark A. Brilakis, Assistant Deputy Commandant (Programs), Programs & Resources Department, United States Marine Corps.

JAPAN’S ECONOMIC PROSPECTS ONE YEAR AFTER 3/11. 3/12, 9:30-11:30am, Washington, DC. Sponsor: CSIS Simon Chair and Japan Chair. Speakers: Welcome by Dr. Michael J. Green, Senior Advisor and Japan Chair, CSIS; Introductory Remarks, Matthew Goodman (Moderator), William E. Simon Chair in Political Economy, CSIS; Dr. Arthur J. Alexander, Adjunct Professor, Asian Studies Program, Georgetown University ; Sumio Ohtsuji, Senior Vice President and Chief Coordinating Officer, Toyota Motor North America, Inc.; Kiyoaki Aburaki, U.S. Representative, Keidanren, Visiting Fellow, Japan Chair, CSIS; David Pumphrey, Deputy Director and Senior Fellow, Energy and National Security Program, CSIS.

ONE YEAR LATER: JAPAN AFTER CATASTROPHE. 3/12, 1:30-2:45pm, Washington, DC. Sponsor: AEI. Speakers: Ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki, Embassy of Japan; Rust Deming, School of Advanced International Studies; Marc Knapper, U.S. Department of State; Sheila Smith, Council on Foreign Relations; Moderator: Michael Auslin, AEI.

Why Noda will continue as PM longer than expected


One could get the impression from that the public is (as usual) ready for change after six months of the same Prime Minister. In a Mainichi Shimbun poll of 3-4 March, approval of the Noda Cabinet fell to 28%. Unsurprisingly, in the same poll, the consumption tax increase remains deeply unpopular with 58% disapproving of the two-stage increase, and with 79% skeptical that such an increase would stabilize pension and other social security policies. Yet Yoshihiko Noda has surprising resources to hold on as Prime Minister at the head of yet another configuration of the diverse groups within its ranks. If the question of raising the consumption tax can be settled—then Noda may have a lot more time as Prime Minister as his predecessors.

The latest whiff of change in Nagata-cho was the “rumored” meeting on February 25 between Prime Minister Noda and the LDP’s President Sadakazu Tanigaki. This set free speculation about the chances for a grand coalition. It is one possible outcome of the struggle to raise the consumption tax, and the one that would make the most sense if political parties were to seek coalition partners on the basis of policy agreements. One putative reason for the grand coalition is the opposition of parts of the DPJ and the LDP to Ichiro Ozawa, over the issue of the consumption tax in particular but over the relationship between parties and the bureaucracy and other deeper positions.

Despite the fireworks over the consumption tax, there is much less to the conflict inside the DPJ over Ozawa than meets the eye. First, Noda’s cabinet relies on senior politicians close to Ozawa to steer important policy, including even fiscal policy. Second, Ozawa’s ongoing problems in the political finance scandal involving his political fundraising organization make the duration of his political career uncertain. Third, Ozawa’s group has quietly folded in every other confrontation including the election of PM Noda in exchange for positions of responsibility. The high likelihood of losing any general election resulting from open revolt in the DPJ make them poor material for forcing a confrontation.

A grand coalition would have the advantage of receiving wide public support. Even in the early 1980s, when the LDP and JSP were 180 degrees apart on key policy issues, the public supported a grand coalition as the most preferred option in several NHK public opinion surveys. The condition of floating voters has also strengthened, if anything, since the advent of DPJ government in 2009.

At the same time, Noda is not focused on public opinion but rather on maintaining elite coalitions. The problem is that that while this shores up Noda’s standing with the various parts of the DPJ, the LDP, and with the Ministry of Finance, and foreign investors, the distance from the public is growing rather than shrinking.

As long as Noda’s pledge of “no side” politics is working in practice as well as a rhetorical device at the elite level, therefore, general public dissatisfaction can be expected to continue all the way up to the next election.

Unfortunately for Noda, this prospect of rising public dissatisfaction also raises the possibility of challengers outside the party system entirely…such as the One Osaka movement of the major of Osaka, Toru Hashimoto. After all, untested leaders from outside of politics-as-usual are the most appealing once all parties have lost their importance to the voters.

Dr. Paul Talcott
Advanced Research Associate
Japan Seminar, Institute of East Asian Studies
Freie Universität Berlin

This essay first appeared in the March 4th issue of APP's Asia Policy Calendar.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Haiku

JAPAN: ONE YEAR AFTER 3-11

Monday, March 5
12:30-2:00pm, lunch

Hosted by
German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF)
1744 R Street, NW
Washington, DC

Speakers
Hideki Kato, President of the Tokyo Foundation

Madoka Mayazumi, one of Japan's leading contemporary haiku poets, will elucidate what the haiku form reveals about the values that permeate Japan's culture. For more information see her, Haiku: The Heart of Japan in 17 Syllables

Moderator
Joshua Walker, Transatlantic Fellow at GMF.

Contact 

湖の面のひと揺れに発つ花筏
Blossom raft, begins to move with a small wave on the water