Sunday, April 15, 2012

Prime Minister of Japan's Schedule April 2-8

April 2, 2012 (MON)

AM

07:16 Mr. Nagahama, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary; Mr. Tezuka, Special Advisor to PM
08:26 Both leave
08:48 Parliament
09:00 The Upper House Budget Committee
11:59 Office of PM

PM 
12:48 Parliament
01:00 The Upper House Budget Committee
05:38 Office of PM
05:50 Mr. Nakao, Vice Minister of Finance for International Affairs ;Mr. Okada, Vice-Minister for International Affairs, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
06:00 Frontier Subcommittee of the Council on National Strategy and Policy
06:09 Three DPJ/Government Executive Meeting
07:00 Conference call with Ms. Merkel, Prime Minister of Germany
07:21 Mr. Saito, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary
07:25 Mr. Tezuka, Special Advisor to PM
07:53 Residence of PM

April 3, 2012 (TUE)

AM

08:24 Parliament
08:33 Headquarters for Administrative Reform Implementation
08:50 Ministerial meeting
09:14 Office of PM
11:40 Mr. Yuhei Sato, Governor of Fukushima Prefecture; and Mr. Katsutaka Idogawa, Mayor of Futaba-machi, Fukushima

PM
12:02 Everyone leaves
01:51 Mr. Takagi, DPJ constituency chairman
02:28 Mr. Takagi leaves
03:59 Mr. Nagashima, Special Advisor to PM
04:49 Mr. Tezuka, Special Advisor to PM
05:16 Mr. Okada, Deputy Prime Minister
06:11 Attend Arab Day Reception at the Mandarin Oriental Tokyo
06:57 Office of PM
07:03 Meeting among Four Ministers on the Issue of Nuclear Power Stations
08:20 Residence of PM

April 4, 2012 (WED)

AM

07:16 Mr. Nagahama, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary; and Mr. Tezuka, Special Advisor to PM
08:40 Both leave
08:51 Parliament
09:00 The Upper House Budget Committee
11:59 Office of PM

PM
12:50 Parliament
01:00 The Upper House Budget Committee
05:11 Office of PM
05:18 Mr. Gemba, Minister of Foreign Affairs
05:45 Mr. Tezuka, Special Advisor to PM
06:15 Mr. Tezuka leaves
06:59 At NHK
07:30 Appear on a NHK TV program
08:21 Residence of PM
08:30 Three DPJ/Government Executive Meeting
10:10 Mr. Okada, Deputy Prime Minister; Mr. Fujimura, Chief Cabinet Secretary; Mr. Koshiishi, DPJ Secretary General; Mr. Jojima, DPJ Deputy Secretary General; and Mr. Tarutoko, DPJ Acting Secretary General, leave
10:26 Mr. Maehara, chairperson of DPJ Policy Research Council, leaves

April 5, 2012 (THU)

AM
07:46 Mr. Nagahama, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary; and Mr. Tezuka, Special Advisor to PM
08:37 Mr. Nagahama leaves
08:43 Mr. Tezuka leaves
08:46 Parliament
08:51 Mr. Edano, Minister of Economy, Trade, and Industry
09:00 The Upper House Budget Committee

PM
01:01 The Upper House Plenary Session
02:06 Office of PM
02:43 Parliament
02:45 Mr. Hirofumi Hirano, Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology
02:52 The Lower House Plenary Session
02:57 Office of PM
03:57 Mr. Gemba, Minister of Foreign Affairs; Mr. Tanaka, Minister of Defense; and Mr. Ihara, Director-General of North American Affairs Bureau, Ministry for Foreign Affairs
04:37 Mr. Gemba and Mr. Ihara leave
04:44 Everyone leaves
04:46 Mr. Tezuka, Special Advisor to PM
05:09 Parliament
05:22 The Lower House Plenary Session
05:30 Mr. Hirata, Chairperson of the Upper House; Mr. Otsuji, Vice-Chairperson of the Upper House; Mr. Tsuruho, Chair of the Steering Committee.
05:48 Mr. Eto, Lower House Vice Chair; Mr. Kodaira, Chair of the Steering Committee; and others. Mr. Fujimura, Chief Cabinet Secretary; Mr. Azumi, Minister of Finance; and Mr. Katsu, Administrative Vice-Minister of Finance, accompany
06:03 Office of PM
06:04 Press interview
06:12 Meeting among Four Ministers on the Issue of Nuclear Power Stations
08:01 Residence of PM

April 6, 2012 (FRI)

AM

07:50 Breakfast with Mr. Homei Shirakawa, Governor , Bank of Japan, at a Japanese restaurant “Suiren” in the Capitol Hotel Tokyu
08:49 Office of PM
09:25 Mr. Kitamura, Head of Cabinet Intelligence and Research Office; and . Mukuki, Director of the Cabinet Satellite Intelligence Center
09:35 Mr. Mukuki leaves
09:51 Mr. Kitamura leaves
10:01 Ministerial meeting
10:29 Mr. Ono, Director-General of the Headquarters for Ocean Policy
10:44 Mr. Sasae, Administrative Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs
11:32 Mr. Yoshitake Yokokura, President of The Japan Medical Association; Mr. Nagahama, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary, also attends
11:39 Mr. Masanao Ozaki, Governor of Kochi Prefecture; Mr. Kamon Iizumi, Governor of Tokushima; and others

PM
01:00 Mr. Tarutoko, DPJ Acting Secretary General
01:57 Delivers an Address to New Civil Servants
02:19 Office of PM
03:10 Imperial Palace, Appoint ceremony for newly appointed Senior Vice-Ministers and Parliamentary Secreatries
04:00 Office of PM
04:23 Giving of Letters of Assignment to newly appointed Senior Vice-Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries followed by a photo shooting session
04:44 Mr. Jimi, Head of the People’s New Party (Kokumin Shinto); Mr. Koshiishi, DPJ Secretary General; Mr. Tarutoko, DPJ Acting Secretary General; and Mr. Shimoji, Secretary-General of the People’s New Party
05:00 Mr. Tezuka, Special Advisor to PM
05:33 Meeting among Four Ministers on the Issue of Nuclear Power Stations
06:50 Residence of PM

April 7, 2012 (SAT)

AM

07:19 Haneda Airport
07:51 Leave the airport on JAL Flight 103
08:41 Arrive at Itami Airport
10:04 Visit Kashiwabara Prefectural Hospital in Tanba City, Hyogo Prefecture. Observe the pediatrics unit
10:10Meeting with Mr. Toshizo Ido, Governor of Hyogo Prefecture; and Mr. Adachi, Hospital Director
11:05 Press Interview

PM
12:33 Konan University, Nishinomiya Campus
12:34 Lunch with Hajime Ishii, DPJ Upper House member; Mr. Toshiro Ishii, DPU Lower House member; and Mr. Mizuoka, Special Advisor to PM
12:48 Mr. Matsumoto, DPJ Deputy Diet Affairs Chief
12:51 Mr. Masahiro Kono, Mayor of Nishinomiya City
01:03 The “Peace of Mind for Tomorrow Dialogue” in Hyogo Prefecture
02:24 Dialogue ends
02:29 Press interview
03:02 Itami Airport
03:40 Leave the airport on JAL Flight 124
04:31 Arrive at Haneda Airport
05:13 Residence of PM

April 8, 2012 (SUN)

AM

Spend the morning at the residence

PM
01:05 Mr. Jojima, DPJ Deputy Secretary General
02:20 Mr. Jojima leaves

Misunderstandings on the US Military Bases in Okinawa

Longtime APP member, Ms. Yukie Yoshikawa, a fellow at the Regional Security Policy Division of the Okinawa Prefectural Government, published a CSIS Pacific Forum PacNet essay on April 5. She observes that although the relocation of Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Futenma in Okinawa has been the source of a long dispute between the United States and Japan, there is scant hope for resolution in the foreseeable future.

Ms. Yoshikawa finds this situation peculiar, since all parties – the US, Japan, and Okinawa – agree that the Futenma base is dangerous (with homes and schools close by), share the goals of removing the risk of accidents and reducing the US footprint on the local community, and have strong respect for the US-Japan alliance. Yet, nearly two decades passed with little change. She writes:
Roughly, 20 percent of Okinawans are pro-base (many of whom benefit from contracts with the Japanese defense ministry), and another 20 percent is anti-base, demanding a return of all bases in Okinawa. The silent majority of 60 percent is moderate, with mixed sentiments that include admiration for American culture and economic benefits, especially in the past, and anger and sorrow toward crimes by US soldiers, especially marines, and all the inconvenience the bases create, including noise. Given Prime Minister Hatoyama’s flip-flops, which alienated the silent majority, it is expected to take some more time for them to express understanding of the Henoko plan. 
For Okinawans, a tangible reduction of the US military presence at the earliest possible time, while giving deference to Okinawa’s political climate, is the highest priority. Okinawans appreciate the intellectual exploration of alternatives to the Henoko plan, including those of US Sen. Jim Webb, Mike Mochizuki at George Washington University and Michael O’Hanlon at the Brookings Institution, and encourage others to follow suit. 
Ideas worth pursuing further, include: merging MCAS Futenma marines into Kadena Air Base, while shrinking the US footprint to a smaller level than that currently at Kadena; a considerable reduction of marines in Okinawa to fill vacancies back home in alignment with marine corps downsizing; and a two-step measure to first, temporarily move marines to a few bases including MCAS Iwakuni, Kadena, and/or Self-Defense Force bases to clear MCAS Futenma while allowing Tokyo more time to find a suitable Futenma Replacement Facility (FRF) site, and then to relocate them to that site. 
In April 2012, the Okinawan Prefectural Government created a new division, the Regional Security Policy Division, to develop an Okinawa version of alternatives, and to discuss them with distinguished external experts and with the two capitals. This is a bold step for a Japanese local government. The OPG thought out of the box and decided it had to do so as a responsible host to US Forces in Japan, a sincere contributor to regional security, and as a proud representative of Okinawans who have suffered enough and continue to do so.

This Week in Washington

IMPROVED OIL SECURITY: AN IMPERATIVE FOR U.S. FOREIGN POLICY, NATIONAL SECURITY AND ECONOMIC GROWTH. 4/16, Noon-1:45pm, Washington, DC. Sponsor: Hudson Institute. Speakers: Frederick W. Smith, Chairman, President, CEO, FedEx Corporation, Co-Chairman, SAFE’s Energy Security Leadership Council; P. X. Kelley, 28th Commandant, United States Marine Corps, Co-Chairman, Energy Security Leadership Council; James Conway, 34th Commandant, United States Marine Corps, Member, Energy Security Leadership Council; Bob Lutz, Former Vice Chairman, General Motors Company. Moderator: Kenneth Weinstein, President, CEO, Hudson Institute.

POWER, IDENTITY, AND SECURITY IN ASIA: VIEWS ON REGIONAL COOPERATION AND THE US ROLE. 4/16, 9:00am- 5:45pm, Washington, DC. Sponsors: George Washington University (GWU) Elliott School of International Affairs; Sigur Center for Asian Studies and the Rising Powers Initiative. Speakers: Deepa Ollapally, Associate Director, Sigur Center for Asian Studies, Associate Research Professor of International Affairs, GW; Alyssa Ayres, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, Chair, State Department; Deepa Ollapally, Associate Director, Sigur Center for Asian Studies, Associate Research Professor of International Affairs, GW; Amitabh Mattoo, Professor of Disarmament Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Director, Australia India Institute, University of Melbourne; Jonah Blank, Senior Political Scientist, RAND Corporation; Edward J. Lincoln, Professorial Lecturer, GW (Chair); Mike Mochizuki, Associate Dean for Academic Programs, Japan-US Relations Chair, Memory of Gaston Sigur, Elliott School of International Affairs, GW; Isao Miyaoka, Associate Professor of International Politics, Department of Political Science, Keio University; Sheila Smith, Senior Fellow for Japan Studies, Council on Foreign Relations; Thomas Hubbard, McLarty Associates, Former U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Korea; Gregg Brazinsky, Associate Professor of History and International Affairs, GW; Jong-dae Shin, Associate Professor, University of North Korean Studies; Ji-Young Lee, Assistant Professor, School of International Service, American University; Chas W. Freeman, Jr., Former Assistant Secretary, Defense for International Security Affairs; Satu Limaye, Director, Chair, East-West Center in Washington; Amitav Acharya, Professor of International Relations, School of International Service, American University; Allan Layug, Japanese Government Scholar, Sophia University, Japan; Alice Ba, Associate Professor, Political Science and International Relations, University of Delaware; Evan Medeiros, Director, Chair, for Asian Affairs, National Security Council; Allen Carlson, Associate Professor, Department of Government, Cornell University; Taylor Fravel, Associate Professor of Political Science, MIT; G. John Ikenberry, Albert G. Milbank Professor of Politics and International Affairs, Princeton University; Charles Glaser, Professor of Political Science and International Affairs, Director, Institute for Security and Conflict Studies, GW.

POLITICS AND THE JUDICIARY IN NORTHEAST ASIA. 4/17, 3:30pm-5:30pm, Washington, DC. Sponsor: Asia Program, Wilson Center (WWC). Speakers: Carl Goodman, Adjunct Professor of Law, Georgetown University; David Law, Professor of Law and Political Science, Washington University in St. Louis; Jonathan Kang, Assistant Professor of Law, University of Washington.

POPULATION DECLINE AND THE REMAKING OF GREAT POWER POLITICS. 4/17, Noon-1:30pm, lunch, Washington, DC. Sponsor: Hudson Institute. Speakers: Susan Yoshihara, Ph.D., Director, International Organizations Research Group, C-FAM, and Coeditor, Population Decline and the Remaking of Great Power Politics; Phillip Longman, Senior Research Fellow, New America Foundation; Thomas Mahnken, Ph.D., Jerome Levy Chair of Economic Geography and National Security, U.S. Naval War College, and Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense; John Fonte Ph.D. (Host and Moderator) Director of Hudson Institute's Center for American Common Culture.

U.S. POLICY TOWARD AFGHANISTAN. 4/18, 2:00-3:00pm, Washington, DC. Sponsor: Carnegie Endowment. Speakers: John McCain, Senator; Jessica Tuchman Mathews, President, Carnegie Endowment.

ENGAGING ASIA 2012: STRATEGIES FOR A SHIFT TOWARD THE ASIA-PACIFIC. 4/18, 8:30am- 12:30pm, Washington, DC. Sponsor: National Bureau of Asian Research. Speakers: Ambassador Mike Moore of New Zealand to the United States; Charles Boustany, Congressman, co-Chair, the House of Representatives US-China Working Group, Member, House Ways and Means Committee; Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa, member of the House Armed Services Committee; Edward Gresser, Director, Progressive Economy; Thomas Mahnken, Chair, Economic Geography and National Security, Scholar, Johns Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS); Michael O’Hanlon, Director, Research and Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution; Michael Schiffer, Senior Advisor, Counselor, US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

MAINTAINING THE MOMENTUM: APEC IN 2012. 4/19, Noon-1:30pm, Washington, DC. Sponsor: East-West Center in Washington. Speakers: Hans Klemm, Senior Official, APEC; Wendy Cutler, Assistant US Trade Representative, APEC.

AN ASSERTIVE CHINA AND ASIA’S EMERGING REGIONAL ORDER: THE VIEW FROM A POTENTIALLY CONFLICTED AMERICAN ALLY. 4/19, Noon- 1:30pm, Washington, DC. Sponsor: East-West Center in Washington. Speaker: Dr. Nick Bisley, Professor, Department Head of Politics and International Relations, La Trobe University, Australia.

Shintaro Ishihara in Washington This Week



 Tokyo Press Conference March 23 (J)

Ultra conservative Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara will be in Washington April 13-18. He will participate in Cherry Blossom Festival activities, talk at Georgetown University, give a public speech at the Heritage Foundation, and hold a roundtable at CNAS. He also had a private meeting with Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell to discuss the commercial use of Yokota AF Base. He is likely more interested in having Japanese planes reclaim the Imperial Army's Tama Airfield than bringing in more tax yen for Tokyo.  HERE is a picture of the Governor in the Cherry Blossom Parade held on the 14th.

THE U.S.-JAPAN ALLIANCE AND THE DEBATE OVER JAPAN'S ROLE IN ASIA. 4/16, 1:00-2;30pm, Washington, DC. Sponsor: Asian Studies Center, The Heritage Foundation. Speakers: The Honorable Shintaro Ishihara, Governor of Tokyo; Followed by a Panel Discussion with Richard Lawless, Former Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs; James Auer, Director, Center for U.S.-Japan Studies and Cooperation, Vanderbilt University; Walter Lohman, Director, Asian Studies Center, The Heritage Foundation (Moderator).

Friday, April 13, 2012

American Manufacturing - Did You Know?


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Prime Minister of Japan's Schedule March 26-April 1

March 26, 2012 (MON)

AM

07:02 Mr. Nagahama, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary; Mr. Tezuka, Special Advisor to PM
08:48 Both leave
08:51 Parliament
09:00 The Upper House Budget Committee
11:59 Office of PM

PM
12:49 Parliament
01:00 The Upper House Budget Committee
05:14 Office of PM
06:31 Press interview
06:55 Haneda Airport
07:19 Depart Haneda Airport for the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul
Arrive at Seoul Gimpo Airport, stay at the Lotte Hotel

March 27, 2012 (TUE)

AM

“COEX”, a convention center in Seoul, President Lee Myung-bak welcomes.
Meeting with President Hu Jintao of China; then, with President Obama of the United States
Plenary session of the Nuclear Security Summit
Meeting with President Medvedev of Russia
Photo shooting with other heads of states
Working lunch with other heads of states
Press interview at the Lotte Hotel
Depart Seoul Gimpo Airport

PM
05:04 Arrive at Haneda Airport
05:43 Imperial Palace: report of return
06:00 Residence of PM
06:01 Mr. Okada, Deputy Prime Minister; and Mr. Terada, Special Advisor to PM
06:48 Mr. Okada, Deputy Prime Minister; and Mr. Koshiishi, DPJ Secretary General; Mr. Maehara, chairperson of DPJ Policy Research Council
07:43 Mr. Koshiishi and Mr. Maehara leave
07:48 Mr. Okada leaves
08:31 Mr. Okada, Deputy Prime Minister
09:13 Mr. Maehara, chairperson of DPJ Policy Research Council, joins
09:40 Mr. Koshiishi, DPJ Secretary General, joins
09:45 Everyone leaves

March 28, 2012 (WED)

AM

09:38 Office of PM
09:39 Press interview
10:22 Mr. Kinoshita, Director-General of the International Bureau, Ministry of Finance
11:01 Meeting for an Exchange of Views on Children and Child-Rearing

PM
12:02 Courtesy call from Ms. Etsuko Tamagawa, Japan Cherry Blossoms Queen.
12:07 Ms. Tamagawa leaves
02:20 Mr. Edano, Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry; and Mr. Sugawara, Director-General of Industrial Science and Technology Policy and Environment Bureau, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
02:28 Mr. Saito, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary, joins
02:32 Mr. Fujimura, Chief Cabinet Secretary, joins
02:48 Everyone leaves
03:40 Courtesy Call from the Representatives of the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts Who Received the Fuji Award
03:51 Meeting Adjourned
04:50 Mr. Masaki Yoshida, and Mr. Koji Kato, The Maritime Self Defense Force, Old and New Sasebo headquarter general
05:06 Three DPJ/Government Executive Meeting
06:01 Prime Minister Monti of Italy,
06:54 Press Announcement
07:07 See of Mr. Monti at the entrance of PM office
07:27 Dinner with Mr. Edano, Mr. Tezuka, and Mr. Honda at “Barbecue House Sanpo”, Kagurazaka, Tokyo
10:11 Residence of PM

March 29, 2012 (THU)

AM

08:29 Mr. Tezuka, Special Advisor to PM
09:24 Parliament
09:31 Extraordinary ministerial meeting
10:00 The Upper House Committee on General Affairs
11:05 Office of PM
11:25 Mr. Tezuka, Special Advisor to PM
11:43 Mr. Taketoshi, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary

PM
02:01 Mr. Kitamura, Head of Cabinet Intelligence and Research Office; and Mr. Mukuki, Director of the Cabinet Satellite Intelligence Center
02:07 Mr. Mukuki leaves
02:25 Mr. Kitamura leaves
02:26 Mr. Okada, Deputy Prime Minister
02:42 Mr. Okada leaves
03:31 Parliament
03:44 The Upper House Committee on Financial Affairs
04:59 Office of PM
05:23 The Central Disaster Prevention Council
05:43 Meeting with Mr. Mark Elliot Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook; Mr. Nagashima, Special Advisor to PM, attends
06:04 Japan-Chile Summit Meeting with Dr. Sebastian Pinera Echenique, President of the Republic of Chile
06:33 Dinner hosted by Prime Minister
07:44 See off President Pinera
07:46 Residence of PM
07:57 Mr. Kamei, Leader of the People’s New Party (Kokumin Shinto)
10:07 Mr. Kamei leaves

March 30, 2012 (FRI)

AM

06:02 Mr. Nagahama, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary; and Mr. Tezuka, Special Advisor to PM
07:02 Mr. Nagahama leaves
07:06 Mr. Tezuka leaves
07:28 Mr. Kamei, Leader of the People’s New Party (Kokumin Shinto)
07:48 Parliament
07:54 Security Council
08:23 Ministerial meeting
08:43 Appointment issue to Mr. Osamu Ikeda, Chair of National Public Service Ethics Board; Mr. Fujimura, Chief Cabinet Secretary, also attends
08:59 The Lower House Budget Committee

PM
12:32 The Lower House Plenary Session
01:00 The Upper House Budget Committee
02:40 Office of PM
03:23 Parliament
03:31 The Upper House Plenary Session
03:38 Office of PM
04:04 Mr. Fujimura, Chief Cabinet Secretary; Mr. Saito, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary; and Mr. Tezuka, Special Advisor to PM
04:37 Mr. Fujimura, and Mr. Saito leave
04:52 Mr. Tezuka leaves
06:00 Press Conference
06:41 Greeting from the Governor of Okinawa Prefecture
07:00 Extraordinary Ministerial Meeting
07:21 Nuclear Emergency Response Headquarters
07:42 Mr .Maeda, Minister of Land, Infrastructure, and Transportation
07:50 Mr. Furukawa, Minister of State for National Policy
07:56 Mr. Gemba, Minister of Foreign Affairs
08:07 Residence of PM

March 31, 2012 (SAT)
Spend whole at the residence

April 1, 2012 (SUN)
Spend whole at the residence

When Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda Visits the United States


When a head of state of a major country visits the United States, there is a focus in the State Department, the Pentagon and the National Security Council on “deliverables” – items of agreement where one or both sides have made some sacrifices and which can be offered as bullet points in a press release.

An upcoming visit by Prime Minister Noda Yoshihiko to Washington (April 30-May 1) to meet with President Barak Obama may be seen as a disappointment or even pointless to American foreign policy observers.  There are virtually no big ticket deliverables in Prime Minister Noda’s travel bag. 

On all the major issues that interest the United States – progress in the construction of a Futenma Replacement Facility (FRF) at Henoko on Okinawa, a clear mandate from the Diet for the Prime Minister to negotiate Japan’s participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership preliminary talks with no exclusions, Japan’s immediate signature on the Hague Convention on child abduction; greater commitments of Japanese military power to the security of the Asia-Pacific region and the Gulf as the U.S. makes “the pivot” in its focus from West Asia to East Asia – Noda has no capacity to make any promises.

The best hope for a civil and significant conversation in between the prime minister and the president would be over the Japan-U.S. relationship in a broad context.

On Futenma, for example, the PM can report that he has sent minister after minister and even gone himself to Okinawa to seek the understanding of the people of Okinawa.  He will, if he dares, point out that a lot of Japanese citizens have been paying close attention to words of Senator Jim Webb and to the U.S. Congress spiking the apportionment for the U.S. contribution to the Futenma-Henoko-Guam plan. While Noda is self-effacing and non-confrontational in his speech patterns, he might ask what U.S. plans are regarding the Marine Corps, which would put President Obama on his back foot.

The question of Japanese importation of Iranian oil is tied into the question of restarting Japan's nuclear power plants. There will be huge delays in the restarting of Japan’s nuclear plants, too many of which are close to the 40-year lifespan of such facilities.  The lack of nuclear power has compelled Japan to keep its oil-fired plants full blast, forcing Japan to rely on large amounts of imported bunker oil.  Energy security has become a major issue among Japanese strategic thinkers, since with the exception of Australia and Indonesia, Japan will have to be keep buying fossil fuels from the Gulf, where the close of the Strait of Hormuz would lead to chaos in every East Asian nation, not just Japan.  As for buying oil on the spot market, it can only be realized with folks the U.S. would find unsavory.

As regards global financial stresses, particularly the situation in Europe, the PM will promise that Japan will be a full partner in aiding Europe to right itself financially. However, the government of Japan has, along with China, a quiet reticence about doing much of anything for Europe.  For China it is a question of balancing the needs of some of China's best customers versus the use of China's money to help the Chinese people directly. In Japan, the question is electoral, as the voters here will ask why Japanese taxes have to rise in order to bail out Greek pensioners.

Noda will probably want to talk all day about his government’s efforts to put its fiscal house in order. He will try to assure the president that raising the consumption during a period of deflation is a good idea, when the president's own economists will tell him what an absolutely terrible idea it is.  Noda will try to paint the consumption tax rise as Japan's contribution to greater global financial stability, as if constricting Japanese consumption will help the world economy grow.  He will also use the current fiscal numbers to try to explain the otherwise unexplainable: that after the Self Defense Forces saw their greatest deployment since '45 and performed a magnificent job in rescue and recovery from 3/11 and when it must counter rising, multi-faceted regional threats -- the Noda government has gone ahead and cut the SDF's budget again.

Noda will likely also touch upon the high yen, for the sake of Japan's manufacturers.  Not that there is anything much the president can or would want to do. Having Ben Bernanke raise U.S. interest rates, the only action the U.S. could take that would relieve the pressure lifting the yen, is nowhere on the president’s horizon.  Noda would love to say that Japan's growth is being stifled by the yen's strength and the problems with electricity supply, leading to the withering of Japan's manufacturing base, with production flying overseas, skipping over the structural issues the United States would like to bring up.  He will also probably bring up the matter of Japan’s moving into a structural trade deficit, a huge reversal of Japan’s longstanding position in international trade in goods.

Noda will also want to talk about the political situation in the Diet, and how he is making the most of the split in the parties control of the House of Representatives and the House of Councillors. He may try to draw parallels between his situation and the situation the president faces with Congress, in order to put the difficulties he faces in some perspective.

On foreign policy, Noda will try to steer the conversation away from Japan’s contribution to classical security and toward Japan’s more obvious contributions to the more diffuse realm of human security.  He likely will asking for the U.S. to work with Japan in building a better international infrastructure for dealing with natural disasters. He will also seek a common understanding of the immediate threat posed by the DPRK during its period of political transition, on the significance of the coming political transition in China (including whatever the U.S. knows about the Bo Xilai demotion) and Japan's many territorial disputes with its neighbors.  He would like to share a smile with the president over recent events in Myanmar/Burma and the SDF’s deployment of a peace-keeping force to South Sudan.  Noda would also likely like to sound out the president’s view of the future of India-U.S. cooperation and mention the immense investments Japanese corporations will be making in that country’s infrastructure and manufacturing base over the next decade.

As for the post-summit takeaway for the press corps, Noda will offer the image of Japan as a reliable U.S. ally in meeting the challenges of 1) a rising China’s political and military might, 2) in combating human security challenges and terrorism and 3) global instability.  He will likely have to admit that much of his time will be taken up putting Japan’s domestic house in order.  However, he will argue that a Japan with a more stable fiscal and political situation will be of the greatest benefit to the rest of the world. 

By Michael Cucek
Research Associate
MIT Center for International Studies
This essay first appeared in the April 1, 2012 issue of the Asia Policy Calendar sent to APP members.

Prime Minister of Japan's Schedule March 19-25

March 19, 2012 (MON)

AM

08:51 Office of PM
09:03 Mr. Maehara, chairperson of DPJ Policy Research Council
09:36 Mr. Tatsuo Hirano, Minister for Reconstruction in the Response to the East Japan Earthquake
09:54 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; Mr. Fukano, Director-General of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency; Mr. Sengoku, DPJ Deputy Chair of Politicy Research Council
10:42 Mr. Adachi, Mr. Takahara, and Mr. Fukano leave
10:43 Mr. Saito, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary, joins 11:03 Mr. Edano, Mr. Saito, Mr. Sengoku, leave
11:11 Mr. Yonemura, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary for Crisis Management; and Mr. Kitamura, Head of Cabinet Intelligence and Research Office
11:32 Both leave

PM
01:01 The Frontier Subcommittee of the Council on National Strategy and Policy – Frontier of Happiness Panel
01:19 Office of PM
03:23 Mr. Sonoda, Parliamentary Secretary of Cabinet Office; and Mr. Shimizu, Councillor of Cabinet Office
04:01 Video Message Recording for Japan Professional Boxing Association
04:30 Mr. Tezuka, Special Advisor to PM
05:01 Reconstruction Promotion Committee
05:32 Meeting with Prime Minister of Timor-Leste Kay Rala Xanana Gusmao
06:00 Signing ceremony
06:03 Saw off Prime Minister Gusmao
06:07 Employment Strategy Dialogue
06:31 Mr. Okada, Deputy Prime Minister
06:58 Residence of PM

March 20, 2012 (TUE)

AM

09:33 Imperial Palace, ceremony for spring equinox
10:36 Office of PM

PM
01:30 Courtesy call from Governor Yuzaki of Hiroshima Prefecture and others
01:58 Press interviews
01:59 Interview ends
02:29 Conversation with Ms. Sawako Agawa, Writer
03:37 Meeting ends
03:38 Mr. Saito, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary; Mr. Nagashima, Special Advisor to PM; Mr. Bessho, Foreign Ministry councilor in charge of political affairs; and Mr. Fukano, Director-General of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency
04:56 Meeting with Mr. Morihiro Hosokawa, former Prime Minsiter, and Mr. Akira Miyawaki, Professor Emeritus of Yokohama National School; Mr. Nagahama, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary, also attends
05:45 Residence of PM

March 21, 2012 (WED)

AM

06:45 Mr. Nagahama, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary; and Mr. Tezuka, Special Advisor to PM
07:25 Both leave
07:51 Office of PM
08:01 Ministerial meeting
08:56 Imperial Palace, Welcome ceremony for Amir of Kuwaiti Sheikh Al-Sabah
09:54 Parliament
10:00 The Upper House Plenary Session

PM
12:33 Office of PM
02:56 Mr. Tatsuo Hirano, Minister for Reconstruction in the Response to the East Japan Earthquake
03:01 Mr. Saito, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary, joins
03:33 Both leave
04:30 Mr. Tezuka, Special Advisor to PM
05:17 Ministerial Council on Monthly Economic Report and Other Relative Issues
05:33 Mr. Taketoshi, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary
05:48 Residence of PM
06:39 Banquet at the Imperial Palace for Amir of Kuwaiti Sheikh Al-Sabah
09:07 Residence of PM

March 22, 2012 (THU)

AM

09:33 Office of PM
09:55 Mr. Taketoshi, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary
10:00 Mr. Taketoshi leaves

PM
01:55 Mr. Kanazawa, Administrative Vice Minister of Defense
02:30 Conversation with participants of DPJ student internship program; Mr. Keisuke Tsumura, Director-General of Youth Agency, also attends
02:40 Mr. Sasae, Administrative Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs
03:03 Three DPJ/Government Executive Meeting
03:38 Mr. Edano, Minister of Economy, Trade, and Industry; Mr. Adachi, Vice-Minister of Economy, Trade, and Industry
04:05 Mr. Okada, Deputy Prime Minister
04:45 Mr. Tezuka, Special Advisor to PM
05:31 Welcome Amir of Kuwaiti Sheikh Al-Sabah, at the residence of PM; Photo shooting
05:34 Summit meeting with Sheikh Al-Sabah; Mr. Edano also attends
06:14 Signing ceremony
06:23 Dinner ceremony hosted by Prime Minister
07:25 Saw off Sheikh Al-Sabaha
07:29 Residence of PM

March 23, 2012 (FRI)

AM

06:33 Mr. Nagahama, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretar; and Mr. Tezuka, Special Advisor to PM
07:47 Mr. Nagahama leaves
07:53 Mr. Tezuka leaves
07:55 Parliament
08:10 Ministerial meeting
08:53 Mr. Nakatsuka, Senior Vice Minister of Cabinet Office / Senior Vice Minister for Reconstruction
08:56 Mr. Azumi, Minister of Finance
09:00 The Upper House Budget Committee

PM
12:28 The Upper House Plenary Session
01:00 The Upper House Budget Committee
05:42 Office of PM
05:51 Joint Meeting of the Headquarters for Administrative Reform Implementation and the Headquarters to Promote Civil Service Reform
06:16 Mr. Kitamura, Head of Cabinet Intelligence and Research Office; and Mr. Nishi, Director-General of the Bureau of Defense Policy, Ministry of Defense; Mr. Kinomura, Chief of Defense In
06:30 Mr. Nishi and Mr. Kinomura leaves
06:42 Mr. Kitamura leaves
06:43 Mr. Tezuka, Special Advisor to PM
07:38 Residence of PM

March 24, 2012 (SAT)

AM

Spent the morning at residence of PM

PM
03:59 The First Gathering with Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda Hosted by Japan Akademeia, at Hotel the Prince Park Tower Tokyo, Shibakoen, Tokyo
05:52 Haircut at Ginza Matsunaga at Yaesu, Tokyo
06:58 Residence of PM

March 25, 2012 (SUN)
AM
11:11 Office of PM
11:31 Meeting with Prime Minister Harper of Canada
11:53 Luncheon hosted by Prime Minister Noda

PM
01:17 Joint Press Statement
01:25 See off Prime Minister Harper at the PM residence entrance
02:00 Exchange opinions with members of the Frontier Subcommittee of the Council on National Strategy and Policy
03:29 The meeting adjourned
03:47 Mr. Saito, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary; Mr. Fukano, Director-General of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency; Mr. Bessho, Foreign Ministry councilor in charge of political affairs
04:17 Mr. Saito, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary
04:31 Recording of video message for the Korean media on the Nuclear Summit
04:36 Residence of PM
06:24 Dinner with Mr. Fujii, DPJ Head of Tax Research Commission; and Mr. Kaname Tajima, DPJ Lower House member, at the Japanese restaurant “Suiren” in the Capitol Hotel Tokyu
09:17 Residence of PM

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Japan on human rights


Not so Shared Values: Japan distances itself from the US on Human Rights

The Sri Lankan government welcomed the Japanese declaration on March 13th (see video) that "no country has a perfect record on human rights." Although only an observer to the UN Human Rights Council, the Japanese government felt it important to speak out against the US-sponsored resolution "Promoting reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka" (A/HRC/19/L.2/Rev1).

The US introduced the resolution by saying that it "is not intended to condemn....[however] the government has not yet promulgated a credible action plan for implementation of those recommendations [toward peace]  nor has it taken the additional needed steps since the war to foster national reconciliation....[the objective of the resolution is] to ensure accountability for actions taken during the war."

The resolution, opposed by Russia and China*, presses the Sri Lankan government to investigate the deaths of tens of thousands of civilians in the final stages of the civil war with the Tamil Tigers. Passed March 22, it requires the United Nations high commissioner for human rights to report back next year on whether the government followed the council’s recommendation, which many see as crucial to healing the divide between Sri Lanka and its minority Tamils.

For those interested in resolving lingering wartime justice and peace issues with Japan, the Japanese UNHRC statement is a stunning slap at contemporary efforts toward post-conflict reconciliation. Japan rejects essentially rejects today's norms of recognition of and accountability for war crimes. This is particularly troubling to the American POWs of Japan who are pressing on Japan and its companies to respect their human rights and to do more to show the sincerity of their apology.

In contrast, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton released released a strong statement hours after the vote that the United States and the international community “had sent a strong signal that Sri Lanka will only achieve lasting peace through real reconciliation and accountability.” More interesting, Secretary Clinton noted that Sri Lanka's commitment to the reconciliation process cements the "shared values" between the two countries.
Today’s action by the UN Human Rights Council encourages the Government of Sri Lanka to continue on the path toward reconciliation following 27 years of civil war. The United States, together with the international community, sent a strong signal that Sri Lanka will only achieve lasting peace through real reconciliation and accountability, and the international community stands ready to help. The next steps are clear. We look to the Government of Sri Lanka to implement the constructive recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) and take the necessary measures to address accountability. We are committed to working with the Sri Lankan Government to help realize this goal, and I look forward to discussing future actions with Foreign Minister Peiris soon. We will continue the productive working relationship we have with the Sri Lankan Government based on shared values, respect and constructive dialogue. Most important, we seek to strengthen our partnership with all the people of Sri Lanka.
The White House followed by saying: 
The United States Government applauds today's passage of the UN Human Rights Council's resolution on "Promoting reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka." The resolution, which received broad support from around the world, calls for a range of critical steps that would go a long away to advancing the rights and dignity of the Sri Lankan people. The United States urges the Sri Lankan government to develop a comprehensive action plan for implementing steps on reconciliation and accountability, as called for in today's resolution, and to work with UN experts and its partners in the international community to take meaningful action to achieve these important goals, which will be a critical part of Sri Lanka's efforts to provide a bright, peaceful, and stable future for all of its people. We stand ready to partner with Sri Lanka in this important effort.
For their part, Sri Lankan officials retorted that "We hope those human rights champions will take note of the Japanese sentiment as laid out by Minister Sakashita Osamu of the Japanese Permanent Mission in Geneva:
No country has a perfect record on human rights, and countries need to be given time, space, encouragement, advice, and where appropriate, concrete assistance in order to overcome existing challenges. The political, socio-economic and cultural contexts of each country duly need to be considered when addressing human rights issues. Too often a false dichotomy is constructed between the universality of human rights per se and the particularity of specific human rights situations. Discussions, including those by this council, need to combine the two essential facets of human rights issues in a constructive manner. 
Of the four Co-chairs to the failed Norway-led peace process for Sri Lanka, only Japan had objected to intervention. The other Co-chairs, the US, Norway and EU lambasted Sri Lanka, with UK's human rights minister, Jeremy Browne calling for UN intervention in Sri Lanka. With the exception of Japan, the allies believed it important to compel Sri Lanka to live up to its commitments to postwar reconciliation.

For those who say that the US-Japan Alliance is based on shared values, the Japanese objection to UN pressure on Sri Lanka to pursue meaningful postwar reconciliation is a contradiction, if not a set back. As with Sri Lanka, it is also important to the US that Japan develops a comprehensive action plan for implementing steps on postwar reconciliation and accountability. For the American POWs of Japan it is fundamental.

As Eileen Donahoe, the United States ambassador to the Human Rights Council, told the press after the vote:
Our view is that if there isn’t some form of truth and accounting of these kind of mass-scale atrocities and casualties, you can’t have lasting peace. You will sow the seeds of future violence. So we think it’s important that they take steps to show there will be some form of truth and accountability. 
This is true for any conflict, any country, and even any time. Seventy years later, Japan still has a lot to account for.

*Against (15): Bangladesh, China, Congo, Cuba, Ecuador, Indonesia, Kuwait, Maldives, Mauritania, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Thailand and Uganda.

Mindy Kotler
Director, Asia Policy Point
This essay first appeared in the Asia Policy Calendar of March 26th.