Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Okinawa Threat to U.S.-Japan Defense Ties

Especially controversial is whether the U.S. Marine Air Station at Futenma, in the densely populated city of Ginowan, will be relocated to a rural part of the island—as Washington and Tokyo agreed in 1996—or moved out of Okinawa, as the local governor and many voters demand.

During my tenure as a fellow of the Okinawa prefectural government from 2012 to 2014, I visited most of the U.S. military bases and their local city halls in Okinawa. This is the island where nearly 75% of U.S. military facilities (for exclusive use) in Japan are concentrated. I met with many local residents and members of the U.S. military and learned a great deal about U.S.-Japan relations on the ground.

To my dismay, and despite much high-level rhetoric from Washington and Tokyo about the importance of the U.S.-Japan alliance, most Okinawans had very low opinions of the U.S. military. Some local government officials told me it had been several years since a U.S. military officer last visited their offices.

Few Okinawan officials had a clear understanding of the chains of command within the military institutions based on the island. Local U.S. Marine commanders may provide the prefectural government with an organization chart, I was told, but there would be no accompanying explanation of how each department within the organization functions.

Part of this stems from wariness on the part of the Americans. When one U.S. Marine commander suggested that more information be shared with the prefectural government in order to minimize the chances of miscommunication, his advisors rejected the proposal, believing that Okinawan officials would leak the information to local interest groups opposed to the presence of U.S. bases there.

This lack of communication helps create a climate of animosity, as local officials seeking clarity on military procedures are routinely stonewalled and frustrated, lending credence to their belief that the U.S. military doesn’t care about them. They, in turn, become more uncooperative toward U.S. military personnel.

The onus, however, is on the Americans. The Americans need to maintain good relations with the locals, especially given that many locals question the very existence of the bases. The base issue has always been a touchy one, driving risk-averse local bureaucrats to avoid military contact. The language barrier stands tall, while the fence surrounding the U.S. bases creates a physical divide that allows little space for interaction.

Americans have tried to build good relations with the locals and contribute to Okinawa’s quality of life—for instance, by cleaning up beaches, teaching English or organizing sporting events. But such actions don’t always succeed. Often they are viewed by locals with suspicion or cynicism.

These acts of goodwill should not be a goal but merely a starting point. I found during my interviews, with very few exceptions, that the most successful U.S. base commanders and liaison officers were those who had developed deep local relations. These officers and commanders are frequently visiting city halls and befriending ward chiefs. They also clean beaches and teach English, but they focus first on establishing friendships with the locals, sometimes going for coffee together after beach events or having dinner after language lessons.

Such relationships make it easier to establish the necessary lines of communications when potential controversies arise, such as car accidents or crimes committed by U.S. service members. The locals would inform the liaison officers and base commanders of incidents soon after they occur, helping them understand how and when to apologize, and to whom—all of which would be vital for effective damage control.

Meeting in person with local leaders and residents, therefore, is the essential first step to reducing mistrust between the U.S. military and the people of Okinawa. As one successful U.S. commander said he learned from his Okinawan interlocutors: “If I see you in person, it is difficult to hate you.”

"Shocking and Shameful" Says Congressman Honda's


Washington, D.C. – Congressman Mike Honda (D-CA17) today made the following statement about Japanese Prime Minister Abe’s speech to a joint meeting of Congress:

It is shocking and shameful that Prime Minister Abe continues to evade his government’s responsibility for the systematic atrocity that was perpetrated the Japanese Imperial Army against the so-called “comfort women” during World War II, by not offering an apology during his speech today.

Today, he said Japan “must not avert our eyes” from the suffering of the Asian countries, and that he upholds his predecessors’ views. Yet, he refused to explicitly mention the "comfort women," nor their sexual enslavement. Today’s refusal to squarely face history is an insult to the spirit of the 200,000 girls and women from the Asia-Pacific who suffered during World War II. This is unacceptable.

He also said in today’s speech “In our age, we must realize the kind of world where finally women are free from human rights abuses.” I agree with him completely. But without acknowledging the sins of the past, history will repeat itself.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Abe claimed to be “deeply pained to think about the ‘comfort women’” who experienced this suffering. But, his pain is nothing compared to the 70-year-long torment of justice denied. Having waited these seven decades for an honest and humble apology, 87-year old Ms. Yong-Soo Lee traveled from Korea to be my guest in the House Gallery today. My heart breaks for Ms. Lee and her sisters, as she must now return to Korea without having received an apology from Prime Minister Abe.

Negotiating Reconciliation with Japan

Bataan Death March By Ben Steele
Negotiating Reconciliation with Japan
American POWs of Japan 

Friday, May 1, 2015

2:30 PM – 2:00 PM

Bernstein-Offit Building, Room 500
1717 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20036

Lester Tenney | Former POW and Bataan Death March Survivor
Jan Thompson | President, American Defenders of Bataan & Corregidor Memorial Society

Event will be webcast HERE. Please fill out the registration HERE.

Please join the U.S.-Korea Institute at SAIS and Asia Policy Point for a panel discussion featuring Bataan Death March survivor Lester Tenney and documentary filmmaker Jan Thompson, who will discuss reconciliation efforts between POWs and Japan, as well as what is left to do. They will also address the idea of closure for both the victims of the war and the generations to come.

Lester Tenney, 94, was the last National Commander of the American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor Memorial Society (ADBC-MS). He successfully convinced the Japanese government to deliver a formal apology to American POWs of Japan in 2009 and create a reconciliation program for former POWs to visit Japan. He was a tank commander from the famous Maywood, Illinois National Guard, Company B, 192nd Tank Battalion and fought in the Battle for Bataan from December 1941 to April 1942. He survived the infamous Bataan Death March, a hell ship, and slave labor mining coal for Mitsui at Fukuoka #17 Branch POW Camp in Omuta. Dr. Tenney is a professor emeritus of finance and accounting at Arizona State University. He lives with his wife in Carlsbad, California.

Jan Thompson is the Founding President of the American Defenders of Bataan & Corregidor Memorial Society (ADBC-MS). For nearly three decades, she has devoted much of her time to researching and creating works about the POW experience. Part of this work includes two documentaries: The Tragedy of Bataan, narrated by Alec Baldwin, and Never the Same: The Prisoner of War Experience. Thompson is a professor at Southern Illinois University, where she teaches documentary production. She is the daughter of Robert E. Thompson, who served as a Pharmacist’s Mate on the USS Canopus and survived the Bilibid and Mukden Prison Camps as well as three infamous hell ships: Oryoku Maru, Enoura Maru and Brazil Maru.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Shinzo Abe’s Ill-Timed Speech

The young Edward Jackfert
(VW Public Broadcasting)
Addressing the U.S. Congress on Hirohito’s birthday is an insult to Pacific War veterans

 The Diplomat, April 27, 2015

By Edward Jackfert, 93, a POW of Japan captured on Mindanao, The Philippines as a member of the U.S. Army Air Corps. He was twice National Commander of the American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s April 29 address to the U.S. Congress will come at the expense of America’s Pacific War veterans. As a former POW of Japan who endured a hellish three-and-a-half years of captivity and slave labor, I am astonished that Abe’s address falls on the birthday – a national holiday in Japan – of the man who initiated World War II, Emperor Hirohito. For me, it was a day of harsher beatings and lower bows. I am outraged that this high American honor was given to a Japanese leader who still evades his country’s war responsibilities. 

It has been difficult for me to watch the fading memory of Japan’s war atrocities accompanied by increasing Japanese denials of their heinous war record. A complacent U.S. Congress has been complicit. In 2011, no effort was made to remember the 70th Anniversary of Japan’s surprise attack on Pearl Harbor and the American entry into WWII. This omission and others regarding the war, I understand, were the result of new House rules ending commemorative resolutions.

But Congress was not totally opposed to celebratory resolutions that year. On December 19, 2011, it marked the 70th anniversary of Winston Churchill’s December 1941 speech before Congress. Churchill, barely two weeks after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, urged Americans to pursue the war first in Europe and not in Asia.

As someone who fought in the Philippines in the first battles of WWII, I have painful reminders of Churchill’s successful Europe-first lobbying. Most Pacific veterans from the early months of the war believe that his efforts ensured that we were abandoned. We were condemned to hopeless battles with obsolete weapons and no provisions ending in death or imprisonment in Japan’s notorious POW camps.

I think that most Americans view the bombing of Pearl Harbor as a more transformative event than a speech by a foreign dignitary – even one by Churchill. Ignoring the attack on Pearl Harbor was a slap in the face to Pacific War veterans.

Previous Japanese government officials have apologized for their country’s actions before and during WWII. Abe objects to those. He believes the war was just and walked out on the parliamentary vote in 1995 for the now-standard government apology. Today, he never uses the word “apology.” Instead, he is “deeply pained” by events of the past, yet never connects them to decisions made by Japanese leaders.

Speaking to Australia’s parliament last year, Abe was neither contrite nor clear. He merely mentioned “Sandakan” and sent his “condolences towards the many souls who lost their lives.” Never mentioned was that “Sandakan” was a series of death marches in 1945 on Borneo forced upon approximately 2,400 emaciated Australian and British POWs by the Japanese. [only 6 survived]

Most important, Abe failed to identify who was responsible for this war crime against Australians. It was simply something that “happened in the past.” As a survivor, myself, of Imperial Japan’s mindless brutality and fanatical leadership, I am not satisfied with disconnected “condolences” for “the evils and horrors of history.”

I want to know what Abe learned from the past, and what steps he plans for reconciliation with Japan’s former adversaries and victims. To the American POWs of Japan, this means acknowledging our inhumane imprisonment and brutal slave labor for Japan’s corporations. It means creating a program of remembrance and education on the war.

We Pacific War veterans ask most that what we fought for not be forgotten. This is what Congress must demand of Shinzo Abe.

Imperial Japan was a brutal regime that was merciless to the people put in its care. It astonishes me that Japan’s leaders now avoid offering an apology or acts of contrition. Yet, if the U.S. Congress cannot remember this history, it is unlikely that the Japanese will want to disturb that amnesia. And if Congress does not speak for America’s veterans, it is unlikely that Japan will feel compelled to remember them as well. Prime Minister Abe will simply indulge this ignorance.

Showing Abe Americans care

On Tuesday, April 28th and Wednesday, April 29th from 9:00am to Noon there will be demonstrations on the West side of the Capitol Building on the grassy middle area, know as Area 1 hoping to catch the attention of visiting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. A Comfort Woman from South Korea will be there. It is an opportunity to show that Abe’s denial of Japan’s responsibility for WWII and Imperial Japan's war crimes concerns Americans. It is not merely a problem for Korea and China.

Events Happening Elsewhere in the country related to the Comfort Women

Uemura Takashi, a former reporter of the Asahi Shimbun, is currently an adjunct lecturer at Hokusei Gakuen University in Sapporo. In 1991, while a reporter for the Asahi, he wrote two articles on Kim Hak-sun, the first “comfort woman” to come forward to tell her story (1991). Because of these two articles, Uemura has been the target of denunciations by nationalists. He has been labeled "the reporter who fabricated the 'comfort woman' issue" and denounced by nationalists as a “traitor.” Such bashing took a critical turn for the worse in 2014, to the extent that he and his family risk losing their right to a livelihood.

REPORTING ON THE "COMFORT WOMEN": THE EXPERIENCES OF A JOURNALIST NOW FIGHTING A BACKLASH. 5/1, 9:00am-3:30pm, Milwaukee, WI. Sponsor: Center for Transnational Justice, Marquette University. Speakers: Takashi Uemura, former Asahi Shimbun reporter; and Norma Field, University of Chicago. Location: Marquette U, Alumni Memorial Union, 1442 W Wisconsin Avenue, Room 163.

REPORTING ON THE "COMFORT WOMEN": THE EXPERIENCES OF A JOURNALIST NOW FIGHTING A BACKLASH. 5/4, 4:00-6:00pm, New York, NY. Sponsors: New York University (NYU); Columbia U. Speaker: Takashi Uemura, former Asahi Shimbun reporter; Introduction: Carol Gluck, Columbia University; Commentator, Yukiko Hanawa, NYU. Location: NTU, 19 University Place, 1st floor conference room.

SCENES FROM A JAPANESE BACKLASH: THE EXPERIENCES OF A FORMER JOURNALIST REPORTING ON THE 'COMFORT WOMEN. 5/8, 5:30-7:00pm, Los Angeles, CA. Sponsor: UCLA, Asia Institute. Speaker: Takashi Uemura, former Asahi Shimbun reporter. Location: UCLA, 10383 Bunche Hall. 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

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

Monday, December 15, 2014

12:04 End meeting with Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide and Special Advisor to President of the LDP Hagiuda Koichi
12:37 Depart from LDP Party Headquarters
12:47 Arrive at private residence in Tomigaya, Tokyo
01:30 At private residence (no visitors)
08:00 At private residence in Tomigaya, Tokyo (no morning visitors)
11:29 Depart from private residence
11:49 Arrive at LDP Party Headquarters

12:00 LDP Officers Meeting opens
12:29 Meeting closes
12:46 Speak with Chairman of LDP Election Strategy Committee Motegi Toshimitsu. Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide also attends
12:55 Finish speaking with Mr. Motegi
12:56 Depart from LDP Party Headquarters
12:59 Arrive at Diet
01:00 Enter Committee Chairman’s Room. Ruling Party-Leader Coalition with Chief Representative of New Komeito Yamaguchi Natsuo opens
01:27 Ruling Party-Leader Coalition closes
01:28 Leave room
01:30 Depart from Diet
01:33 Arrive at LDP Party Headquarters
02:00 Press conference
02:29 Press conference ends
02:31 Depart from LDP Party Headquarters
02:34 Arrive at office
03:18 Meet with former Minister of Finance Omi Koji
04:02 End meeting with Mr. Omi
04:03 Meet with Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Saiki Akitaka
04:33 End meeting with Mr. Saiki
04:41 Speak with Minister for Foreign Affairs Kishida Fumio
04:51 Finish speaking with Mr. Kishida
05:00 Phone conference with Prime Minister of the UK David Cameron
05:10 Phone conference ends
05:14 Meet with Minister of State for Economic and Fiscal Policy Amari Akira, Vice-Minister of Cabinet Office Matsuyama Kenji, and Cabinet Office Director-General for Policies on Cohesive Society Maekawa Mamoru
05:41 End meeting with Mr. Amari, Mr. Matsuyama, and Mr. Maekawa
06:40 Depart from office
07:03 Arrive at private residence

Monday in Washington, April 27, 2015

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in the United States this week.

Monday he gives a speech at Harvard University's Kennedy School and visit the Kennedy Library. In the afternoon he flies to Washington and will visit Arlington Cemetery and the Holocaust Museum.

On Tuesday, he will hold a summit with US President Barack Obama and attend an official dinner at the White House.  On Wednesday, at 11 am he will give an address to a joint meeting of Congress and then attend a reception and meet with members of Congress. In the late afternoon he will give a speech to a conference held by the Sasakawa Peace Foundation and go on a gala hosted by the Japanese Embassy. On Thursday he flies to San Francisco to visit Silicon Valley and Stanford and then on to Los Angeles, leaving on Saturday.

STATE OF RIGHTS: CHINA MEDIA FREEDOM. 4/27, 8:30-10:00am. Sponsor: State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. Speakers: James Fallows, The Atlantic; William Wan, Washington Post; Kathleen McLaughlin, Journalism Fellow, MIT; Melissa Chan, Al Jazeera.

HOW TO END THE KIM JON-UN REGIME AND BRING ABOUT PEACEFUL REUNIFICATION OF KOREA. 4/27, 9:00am. Sponsor: National Press Club’s Newsmaker Program. Speakers: North Korean Defectors.

THE FUTURE POSTPONED: WHY DECLINING INVESTMENT IN BASIC RESEARCH THREATENS A US INNOVATION DEFICIT. 4/27, 9:00-11:00am. Sponsor: Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF). Speakers: Rush Holt, CEO, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS); Katrine Bosley, CEO, Editas Medicine; Marc Kastner, Report Committee Chair, MIT; Chris Kaiser, Professor of Biology, MIT; Karl Berggren, Director, MIT’s Nanostructures Laboratory; Anne White, Associate Professor in Nuclear Engineering, MIT; Ron Weiss, Director, MIT, Synthetic Biology Center; Maria Zuber, Vice President for Research, MIT.

INSURGENCY IN THE MIDDLE EAST AND ITS THREAT TO THE UNITED STATES. 4/27, 9:00am-Noon. Sponsors: Elliott School, George Washington University (GWU); National Capital Area Political Science Association; Institute for Security and Conflict Studies. Speakers: Tricia Bacon, Professorial Lecturer, American University; Dorle Hellmuth, Assistant Professor, Catholic University; Christopher Kojm, Visiting Professor of International Affairs, GWU; Thomas Sanderson, Codirector, CSIS’s Transnational Threats Project; Jon Alterman, Senior Vice President, CSIS; Kathleen Gallagher Cunningham, Associate Professor, University of Maryland; Dafina Rand, Deputy Director of Studies, Center for a New American Security; Joseph Young, Associate Professor, American University.

WOMEN IN COMBAT: WHERE THEY STAND. 4/27, 12:30-5:00pm, Reception. Sponsor: Women in International Security (WIIS). Speakers: Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, (D-CA) 46th District; Congresswoman Martha McSally, (R-AZ) 2nd District; Ms. Juliet Beyler, Director of Officer and Enlisted Personnel Management for the Office of the Secretary of Defense; Major General Jacqueline Van Ovost, Vice Director of the Joint Staff for the Department of Defense; Nancy Duff Campbell, Co-President of the National Women’s Law Center; Carolyn Becraft, Former Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Manpower and Reserve Affairs; Ellen Haring, Senior Fellow at the Women In International Security; Sue Jaenen , Manager of Human Performance for the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command; Michael Breen , Executive Director of the Truman National Security Project; Dr. Megan McKenzie, Research Supervisor at the University of Sydney; Dr. Robert Egnell Visiting Professor and Director of Teaching at Georgetown University; Major Bryan Coughlin, United States Marine Corps; Gayle Lemmon, Author and Journalist, Ashley’s War and The Dressmaker of Khair Khana.

click to order
 BEYOND EXCLUSION: HOW CITIZENS TACKLE CORRUPTION. 4/27, 2:00-3:30pm, Washington, DC. Sponsors: SAIS, Johns Hopkins University; Center for Transatlantic Relations (CTR). Speakers: Author Shaazka Beyerle, Fellow, Center for Transatlantic Relations; Andras Simonyi, Managing Director, CTR.

 2015 NATIONAL SECURITY STRATEGY: PROCESS, PRINCIPLES, AND PRIORITIES. 4/27, 6:00-8:00pm. Sponsor: Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab. Speaker: Colonel Troy Thomas, Director for Strategic Planning for the National Security Council.

6TH CHINA BUSINESS CONFERENCE. 4/27-4/28, 3:00pm. Sponsors: Association of Women in International Trade (WIIT), AmCham China and US Chamber of Commerce. Speakers: Ambassador Michael Froman, United States Trade Representative; Ambassador Robert Zoellick, Former President of the World Bank, US Trade Representative, and Deputy Secretary of State ; General Michael Hayden, Former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency; Ambassador Stapleton Roy, Former US Ambassador to China; Ambassador Cui Tiankai, Chinese Ambassador to the United States.

click to order
ARSENAL OF TERROR: NORTH KOREA, STATE SPONSOR OF TERRORISM. 4/27, 6:00-7:30pm. Sponsor: Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK). Speakers: Report Author Joshua Stanton; Nicholas Eberstadt, Chair in Political Economy, American Enterprise Institute; Marcus Noland, Executive Vice President and Director of Studies, Peterson Institute for International Economics; moderator: Greg Scarlatoiu, Executive Director, HRNK

COUNTDOWN TO ZERO DAY: STUXNET AND THE LAUNCH OF THE WORLD’S FIRST DIGITAL WEAPON. 4/27, 6:00-8:00pm. Sponsors: Elliott School, George Washington University; Institute for Science and International Security. Speaker: Author Kim Zetter, Journalist.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Abe's Canberra Strategy, will it work in Washington?

Abe at Australian War Memorial 2014
APP member Peter Ennis interviews for his Dispatch Japan APP member Professor Tessa Morris-Suzuki on Abe's forthcoming trip to the United States. It is likely that the prime minister will try to present himself to the world as being a compassionate and caring person, but at the same time avoid any notion of historical responsibility. Morris-Suzuki says
I am concerned that Abe and his advisors may be planning to use verbal games to send one message to the English speaking world and another to East Asian countries, including Japan itself. The terrible events of the Pacific War should be recalled with sincerity, honesty and directness, not with word games.
Abe’s ‘Canberra Strategy’

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan will speak to a joint meeting of the US Congress on April 29, marking the first time Japan’s top political leader will address the full US national legislature. The speech will carry enormous symbolism; Abe will speak from the rostrum of the House of Representatives, from which Franklin Roosevelt declared war on Japan in 1941 in the wake of the attack on Pearl Harbor in December of that year. The US and Japan have long been reconciled, of course, with a post-war bilateral security alliance that continues to form the bedrock of stability in East Asia. But Abe has a testy relationship with his leadership counterparts in China and South Korea, and both countries will be listening carefully to hear if and how he addresses lingering animosities about Japan’s historical role in the region.

Many analysts in Washington expect (and some have recommended) that Abe will model his upcoming address to Congress on the talk he delivered to the Australian parliament in capital-city Canberra in July of last year. Abe effectively referenced two incidents of severe mistreatment of Australian prisoners-of-war during World War II that had long been thorns-in-the-side of Japan-Australia relations. The Bataan ‘Death March’ of 1942, in which hundreds of American POWs died in Japan-occupied Philippines, conjures up similar emotions in the United States. In 2009, Japan officially apologized for that mistreatment of captured American soldiers. Japan’s prime minister at that time, Taro Aso, was under some pressure in part because his family’s lucrative coal mining business used US POWs as forced-laborers during World War II. (Aso is now Japan’s finance minister.)

Whether Abe really apologized to Australians on behalf of Japan, or merely commiserated about a shared bitter experience, remains a matter of contention. And his Canberra comments made no reference to China, Korea, or any other country in East Asia, leaving unanswered whether he really agrees with his predecessors Tomiichi Murayama and Junichiro Koizumi, who stated unambiguously in 1995 and 2005 respectively that Japan adopted a “mistaken national policy” that resulted in “aggression” and “colonial rule” in the first half of last century.

While stating that he agrees with his predecessors “on the whole,” Abe himself has never used the most important operative words from those past apologies that Chinese and Korean officials consider a litmus test of his views and intentions.

Unresolved history issues between Japan and Korea – key US allies – continue to complicate American diplomacy in East Asia, making Prime Minister Abe’s upcoming address to Congress, and his planned statement in August marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, particularly important.

To discuss Abe’s ‘Canberra Strategy,’ we turned to Tessa Morris-Suzuki, one of Australia’s top specialists on Japan. Morris-Suzuki is professor of Japanese history at Australian National University, and author of East Asia Beyond the History Wars. She is past president of the Asian Studies Association of Australia.

Morris-Suzuki: ‘Prime Minister Abe is deliberately ambiguous about apologies’

DISPATCH JAPAN: Was Prime Minister Abe’s “Canberra” speech last year well-received in Australia?
MORRIS-SUZUKI: The prime minister’s speech made headline news and attracted some media debate at the time, but its long- term impact on Australian views of Japan appears to have been quite small. It is difficult to say whether this impact was positive or negative. A number of media, business, and political commentators praised Abe’s words of condolence for the Australian servicemen killed in World War II, but much of the discussion in letters-to-the-editor of major newspapers was critical. The event also attracted public criticism from Australia’s main veterans’ organization, the Returned and Services League. An interesting note is that much of the criticism focused on Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who replied by praising the skill and sense of honor shown by Japanese troops during the war. This was widely criticized by veterans and others, who argued that Japan’s wartime treatment of prisoners of war was not honorable.

DISPATCH JAPAN: Abe referred specifically to the Sandakan wartime events on Borneo, and the Kokoda events in Papua New Guinea. Remind readers why Sandakan and Kokoda resonate with Australians.
MORRIS-SUZUKI: Abe began his speech by referring to Sandakan and Kokoda. Sandakan in Borneo is the site of a death march during which some 1,000 Australian soldiers were killed or died of starvation, disease, and exhaustion. The Kokoda track over the mountains of Papua New Guinea was the site of crucial and fierce battles between Australian and Japanese forces, in which some 600 Australian soldiers were killed. 
It is worth noting that although Abe mentioned the place name Sandakan, he did not use the term “death march”. These two sites, and particularly Kokoda, have become key symbols of the sufferings of Australian soldiers during the Pacific War. Monuments to the Kokoda track exist in many parts of Australia, and some Australians still visit the track to reenact the march over its rugged terrain.

DISPATCH JAPAN: Did Australians receive Abe’s comments as an apology? He seemed to speak somewhat in the passive tense – “regretting” that terrible things happened, but not acknowledging responsibility on the part of Japan.
MORRIS-SUZUKI: Most commentators noted that Abe expressed condolences but not apology. In fact, Abe’s speech presented the war, not as an event for which Japan should apologize, but rather as a part of history which Australia and Japan share. He spoke of “our fathers and grandfathers” -- both Japanese and Australian -- experiencing the events of Sandakan and Kokoda, and went on to speak of the Japanese naval officers killed in an attempted midget submarine attack on Sydney harbor. He recalled how Australia had invited the mother of one of the dead to visit Sydney for a memorial ceremony, and then quoted the words of former Australian Prime Minister Robert Menzies: “Hostility to Japan must go. It is better to hope than always to remember.” The clear message was, “We all suffered similarly during the war. We should let bygones be bygones.”

DISPATCH JAPAN: Abe seemed perhaps more ready to reconcile with Australia than with China or Korea?
MORRIS-SUZUKI: I look at this in strategic terms. Abe wishes as far as possible to avoid making any direct apologies or acknowledgments of wrongs committed by the Japanese military during the war. But at the same time his strategy is to deepen the military alliance with the United States and forge new and deep military and intelligence alliances with countries like Australia. In order to combine these two aims, he and his advisers choose words very carefully to try to smooth over concerns about memories of the war without directly addressing or apologizing for the events of the past.

DISPATCH JAPAN: Abe says he upholds the Murayama and Kono statements “as a whole.” To you, what does that mean?
MORRIS-SUZUKI: This is a phrase devised to confuse and blur the meaning of Abe’s stance on the issues of war responsibility and apology. It is a deliberately ambiguous phrase which enables him to avoid saying whether he accepts words such as “aggression” and “apology” contained in the Murayama statement, and to avoid reconfirming the Kono statement’s acknowledgment that “comfort women” were recruited by coercion.

DISPATCH JAPAN: What do you anticipate the prime minister will say in his August 15 statement, marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II in the Pacific?
MORRIS-SUZUKI: I think it likely that he will use two verbal strategies in an effort to appease international (particularly US) opinion, while at the same time avoiding making a direct statement of apology about the war. First, he will express a personal sense of pain at the memory of the war. In many recent statements, including his Canberra speech, Abe has spoken of his sadness and heartache at this memory. These words present the prime minister to the world as being a compassionate and caring person, but at the same time avoid any notion of historical responsibility. The second strategy is to use the word “反省” [hansei - best translated as “reconsideration” or “self-questioning”] in his statement in Japanese, but to translate this into English as “remorse”. The word “remorse” in English has a much stronger meaning than “反省” in Japanese (and would most commonly be rendered in Japanese as 後悔 [kōkai] or 自責の念 [jiseki no nen]). In the Murayama and Koizumi statements, the word “反省” was also translated into English as “remorse”, but was followed by the words お詫びの気持ち[owabi no kimochi - a feeling of apology]. If Abe uses the word 反省 (translated as remorse) but not the word お詫び (apology), he will convey to English speaking audiences the impression that he is apologizing, but will make it clear to those who read his statement in Japanese, Korean or Chinese is that he is merely expressing 反省 and not お詫び.

DISPATCH JAPAN: How will Korea react if PM Abe omits the wording of the Murayama Statement – “aggression,” “colonial rule,” and “mistaken national policy”?
MORRIS-SUZUKI: I am deeply concerned about the likely impact of Abe’s 70th anniversary statement. If he uses the verbal strategies I have mentioned, these will not only fail to ease the painful memories of many people in Korea, China and elsewhere, but also deepen misunderstandings between East Asian countries and the English-speaking world. Many Americans and others, hearing the word “remorse”, will think that Abe has issued an apology, and fail to understand why Chinese and Koreans are still dissatisfied. In short, I am concerned that Abe and his advisors may be planning to use verbal games to send one message to the English speaking world and another to East Asian countries, including Japan itself. The terrible events of the Pacific War should be recalled with sincerity, honesty and directness, not with word games.

DISPATCH JAPAN: Do you think Abe a transformational figure, leading and reflecting fundamental changes in Japan?
MORRIS-SUZUKI: The Abe administration has already changed Japan in important ways through alterations to military strategy, state control of information, educational guidelines, trade and energy policy and other matters. In this sense Abe is a transformational figure; but it still too early to say whether he will succeed in carrying out the further and even more fundamental transformations, including changes to the constitution, which remain on his policy agenda.

DISPATCH JAPAN: Why does the Abe Cabinet receive high marks in public opinion polls, but low marks for its major policies?
MORRIS-SUZUKI: Public opinion is still reacting to the sense of crisis and absence of leadership which followed the triple disaster of March, 2011. Many people in Japan feel a profound sense of insecurity because of the ongoing aftermath of the disaster, the continuing weakness of the Japanese economy and the rise of China. In this situation, Abe’s large and simple statements about Japan’s revival and national pride are reassuring. Many people also still pin hopes on the future effects of Abenomics, even though, after two-and-a-half years, no significant positive impact on economic fundamentals or on the lives of ordinary Japanese people has yet been seen.

DISPATCH JAPAN: Is there a thought-out, realistic national strategy underlying “revisionism,” or is it more of a romantic whim about Japan.
MORRIS-SUZUKI: I believe that this is driven by emotion and ideology, not by political realism. A more realistic political strategy would positively and creatively address the concerns of China, Korea, and other Asian neighbors, since Japan’s long-term economic and security future rely on good relations with its neighbors. Revisionism is also creating deepening divisions within Japanese society itself. At a grassroots popular level, Japan has a fine history of efforts to seek reconciliation with neighboring countries and address problems of war responsibility. A more realistic national policy would build on these grassroots achievements, rather than ostracizing and marginalizing ordinary Japanese people who have worked so hard for reconciliation.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Prime Minister of Japan’s Schedule December 8-14, 2014

More Electioneering!

Monday, December 8, 2014


12:00 At private residence (no visitors)
08:00 At private residence in Tomigaya, Tokyo (no morning visitors)
08:29 Depart from private residence
08:51 Arrive at JR Tokyo Station
09:03 Depart from station on Hikari no. 465
09:47 Arrive at JR Mishima Station
09:49 Depart from station
10:13 Arrive at JR Numazu Station north entrance. Soapbox speech
10:44 Depart from station
11:07 Arrive at JR Mishima Station
11:25 Depart from station on Kodama no. 647

12:59 Arrive at JR Mikawa-anjo Station
01:02 Depart from station
01:15 Arrive at front of Ito Yokado Anjo location in Anjo City, Aichi Prefecture. Soapbox speech
01:39 Depart from Ito Yokado
02:20 Arrive at Toyota Stadium in Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture. Campaign speeches by LDP Lower House Election candidates
02:41 Depart from Toyota Stadium
03:24 Arrive at front of Nisshin Take no Yama Shopping Center in Nisshin City, Aichi Prefecture. Soapbox speech
03:53 Depart from shopping center
04:26 Arrive at front of LDP Lower House Election candidate’s office in Midori Ward, Nagoya City. Soapbox speech
04:53 Depart from candidate’s office
05:29 Arrive at front of Imaike Gas Building in Chikusa Ward, Nagoya City. Soapbox speech
05:47 Depart from Imaike Gas Building
06:13 Arrive at front of Bic Camera Nagoya Station west location in Nakamura Ward, Nagoya City. Soapbox speech
06:35 Depart from Bic Camera
06:38 Arrive at JR Nagoya Station
06:53 Depart from station on Nozomi no. 44
07:05 Interview with NHK
07:12 Interview ends
08:33 Arrive at JR Tokyo Station
08:37 Depart from station
08:50 Arrive at LDP Party Headquarters. LDP Election Strategy Board of Directors Meeting
09:44 Meet with Chairman of LDP Election Strategy Committee Motegi Toshimitsu
09:59 End meeting with Mr. Motegi
10:16 Arrive at private residence

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

12:00 At private residence (no visitors)
07:36 Depart from private residence in Tomigaya, Tokyo
07:53 Arrive at office
07:57 National Security Council (NSC) Meeting. Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Miyazawa Yoichi also attends
08:05 NSC Meeting ends
08:12 Cabinet Meeting begins
08:30 Cabinet Meeting ends
08:32 Speak with Minister in charge of the Abduction Issue Yamatani Eriko
08:41 Finish speaking with Ms. Yamatani
08:47 Depart from office
08:56 Arrive at JR Tokyo Station
09:08 Depart from station on Hayabusa no. 9
10:40 Arrive at JR Sendai Station
10:50 Depart from station on Yamabiko no. 43
11:46 Arrive at JR Kitakami Station
11:49 Depart from station
11:54 Arrive at front of Sakurano Department Store Kitakami location in Kitakami City, Iwate Prefecture. Soapbox speech

12:31 Depart from Sakurano Department Store
12:34 Arrive at soba restaurant Sobadokoro Suzukiya in Kitakami City. Lunch
01:01 Depart from restaurant
01:07 Arrive at JR Kitakami Station
01:29 Depart from station on Yamabiko no. 48
03:03 Arrive at JR Koriyama Station
03:06 Depart from station
03:34 Arrive at front of supermarket Lion D’or Sukagawa east location in Sukagawa City, Fukushima Prefecture. Soapbox speech
03:50 Depart from Lion D’or
04:17 Arrive at JR Koriyama Station
04:31 Depart from station on Yamabiko no. 146
05:22 Arrive at JR Omiya Station
05:25 Depart from station
05:27 Arrive at JR Omiya Station west entrance. Soapbox speech
05:57 Leave west entrance
06:00 Arrive at JR Omiya Station
06:28 Depart from station on Suwaro Akagi no. 1
06:47 Arrive at JR Konosu Station
06:49 Depart from station
06:51 Arrive at JR Konosu Station east entrance. Soapbox speech
07:21 Depart from JR Konosu Station
08:34 Arrive at private residence

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

12:00 At private residence (no visitors)
07:02 Depart from private residence in Tomigaya, Tokyo
07:19 Arrive at JR Tokyo Station
07:30 Depart from station on Nozomi no. 11
09:12 Arrive at JR Nagoya Station
09:13 Depart from station on foot
09:15 Arrive at Kintetsu Nagoya Station
09:30 Depart from station on Kintetsu Limited Express
09:58 Arrive at Kintetsu Yokkaichi Station. Reception by Governor of Mie Prefecture Suzuki Eikei
10:00 Depart from station on foot
10:02 Arrive at Yokkaichi City Park in Yokkaichi City, Mie Prefecture. Soapbox speech
10:40 Depart from park
11:59 Arrive at front of Keihan Yamashina Station in Yamashina Ward, Kyoto City. Soapbox speech

12:24 Depart from station
01:05 Arrive at front of Lower House Election LDP candidate’s office in Ukyo Ward, Kyoto City. Soapbox speech
01:33 Depart from candidate’s office
02:17 Arrive at front of Kintetsu Momoyama Goryo-mae Station. Soapbox speech
02:42 Depart from station
03:06 Arrive at front of JR Uji Station. Soapbox speech
03:30 Depart from station
04:29 Arrive at JR Nara Station west entrance. Soapbox speech
04:56 Depart from station
05:53 Arrive at front of shop Takashimaya Osaka location in Chuo Ward, Osaka City. Soapbox speech
06:21 Depart from Takashimaya
06:45 Arrive at front of home electronics store Yodobashi Camera Multimedia Umeda in Kita Ward, Osaka City. Soapbox speech
07:14 Depart from Yodobashi Camera
07:33 Arrive at Itami Airport
07:34 Dinner with secretary at restaurant 551 Horai Yamucha Cafe within airport
07:56 Finish dinner
08:31 Depart from airport on ANA Flight 40
09:17 Arrive at Haneda Airport
09:27 Depart from airport
09:53 Arrive at private residence

Thursday, December 11, 2014

12:00 At private residence (no visitors)
07:25 Depart from private residence in Tomigaya, Tokyo
07:52 Arrive at Haneda Airport
08:22 Depart from airport on ANA Flight 661
10:02 Arrive at Nagasaki Airport
10:14 Depart from airport
10:59 Arrive at front of facility complex Hamacross 411 in Nagasaki City. Soapbox speech
11:31 Depart from Hamacross 411

12:53 Arrive at front of JA Saga Mikazuki Branch Office in Ogi City, Saga Prefecture. Soapbox speech
01:20 Depart from JA Saga Mikazuki Branch Office
01:57 Arrive at Tashiro Elementary School in Tosu City, Saga Prefecture. Commemorative photo session with pupils
02:00 Arrive at yakiniku restaurant Kira Tosu locaton in Tosu City. Lunch with secretaries
02:24 Depart from restaurant
02:30 Arrive at front of Tosu City Hall in Tosu City. Soapbox speech
02:56 Depart from Tosu City Hall
03:02 Arrive at JR Shin-Tosu Station
03:03 Meet with President of Hisamitsu Pharmaceutical Company Nakatomi Hirotaka in station reception room
03:28 End meeting with Mr. Nakatomi
03:33 Depart from station on Sakura no. 413
03:57 Arrive at JR Kumamoto Station
04:00 Depart from station
04:11 Arrive at front of McDonald’s Kumamoto Shinshigai location in Chuo Ward, Kumamoto City. Soapbox speech
04:40 Depart from McDonald’s
04:46 Arrive at JR Kumamoto Station
04:59 Depart from station on Sakura no. 415
05:42 Arrive at JR Kawauchi Station. Soapbox speech in front of station
06:09 Depart from station
07:10 Arrive at Kagoshima Airport. Dinner with secretary at restaurant Airport Yamakataya within airport
07:57 Depart from airport on ANA Flight 630
09:11 Arrive at Haneda Airport
09:23 Depart from airport
09:47 Arrive at private residence

Friday, December 12, 2014

12:00 At private residence (no visitors)
07:37 Depart from private residence in Tomigaya, Tokyo
08:05 Arrive at Haneda Airport
08:33 Depart from airport on JAL Flight 1251
09:15 Arrive at Yamagata Airport
09:26 Depart from airport
11:06 Arrive at Hotel Inn Sakata parking lot in Sakata City, Yamagata Prefecture. Soapbox speech
11:32 Depart from parking lot

01:11 Arrive at front of JR Sakurabo-Higashine Station. Soapbox speech
01:38 Depart from front of station
01:39 Arrive at station
01:47 Depart from station on Tsubasa no. 144
03:57 Arrive at JR Utsunomiya Station
03:58 Speak with Chairman of LDP Diet Affairs Committee Sato Tsutomu
04:00 Finish speaking with Mr. Sato
04:01 Depart from station
04:45 Arrive at front of JR Imaichi Station. Soapbox speech
05:09 Depart from station
06:02 Arrive at JR Utsunomiya Station
06:20 Depart from station on Nasuno no. 280
06:49 Arrive at JR Omiya Station
06:55 Depart from station on Akagi no. 10
07:00 Arrive at JR Urawa Station
07:03 Depart from station
07:04 Arrive at station’s east entrance. Soapbox speech
07:34 Depart from station
08:16 Arrive at private residence

Saturday, December 13, 2014

12:00 At private residence (no visitors)
08:00 At private residence in Tomigaya, Tokyo (no morning visitors)
09:04 Depart from private residence
09:21 Arrive at JR Shinjuku Station
09:30 Depart from station on Kaiji no. 101
10:36 Arrive at JR Otsuki Station. Walk in front of station
10:50 Depart from front of station
11:38 Arrive at front of Koshu City Hall, Yamanashi Prefecture. Soapbox speech

12:08 Depart from Koshu City Hall
12:49 Arrive at JR Kofu Station south entrance. Soapbox speech
01:15 Depart from front of station
01:19 Arrive at station
01:20 Speak with Head of LDP Yamanashi Chapter Shimizu Takenori and LDP Upper House member Moriya Hiroshi at Yamanashi Prefectural Railway Police Unit Office within station
01:28 Finish speaking with Mr. Shimizu and Mr. Moriya
01:29 Depart from station on Super Azusa no. 15
02:28 Arrive at JR Shiojiri Station
02:55 Depart from station on Wide View Shinano no. 13
03:56 Arrive at JR Nagano Station
03:59 Depart from station
04:01 Arrive at station’s Zenko-ji entrance. Soapbox speech
04:27 Depart from station entrance
04:29 Arrive at JR Nagano Station
04:49 Depart from station on Asama no. 540
05:01 Arrive at JR Ueda Station
05:02 Depart from station
05:03 Arrive at station’s Oshiro entrance. Soapbox speech
05:25 Depart from Oshiro entrance
05:26 Arrive at JR Ueda Station
05:27 Speak with LDP Upper House members Kosaka Kenji and Wakabayashi Kenta in Station Master’s Office
05:37 Finish speaking with Mr. Kosaka and Mr. Wakabayashi
05:43 Depart from station on Asama no. 542
07:05 Arrive at JR Ueno Station
07:11 Depart from station
07:32 Arrive at Akihabara Electric Town Gate. Soapbox speech
08:04 Depart from Akihabara Electric Town Gate
08:24 Arrive at LDP Party Headquarters
08:26 Appear on LDP internet program Café Sta
08:33 Finish appearance on Café Sta
08:34 Depart from LDP Party Headquarters
08:44 Arrive at yakiniku restaurant Ryugetsuen in Yotsuya, Tokyo. Dinner with secretary
11:33 Depart from Ryugetsuen
11:40 Arrive at official residence

Sunday, December 14, 2014

12:00 At official residence (no visitors)
10:00 At official residence (no morning visitors)
Stay at official residence throughout morning (no visitors)

Stay at official residence throughout afternoon (no visitors)
06:51 Depart from official residence
06:54 Arrive at The Capitol Hotel Tokyu in Nagata-cho, Tokyo. Dinner with secretary at restaurant ORIGAMI within hotel
07:50 Depart from hotel
07:52 Arrive at LDP Party Headquarters
09:28 Speak with Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Shimomura Hakubun
09:40 Finish speaking with Mr. Shimomura
10:00 Appear on all television companies’ news program in Press Conference Room
10:49 Finish news program appearance
10:58 Appear on all radio companies’ news program in Press Conference Room
11:15 Finish news program appearance
11:16 Appear on Internet video hosting website NicoNico Douga in Press Conference Room
11:19 Finish appearance
11:21 Interview open to all newspaper and television companies
11:32 Interview ends
11:33 Meet with Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide and Special Advisor to President of the LDP Hagiuda Koichi

Provisional Translation by: Erin M. Jones

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Monday in Washington, April 20, 2015

POLITICS OF A NUCLEAR DEAL: FORMER U.S. & IRANIAN OFFICIALS DEBATE. 4/20, 9:30-11:00am. Sponsors: US Institute of Peace, Wilson Center, Partnership for a Secure America, RAND Corporation, Center for New American Security, Stimson Center, Arms Control Association (ACA) and Ploughshares Fund. Speakers: Stephen Hadley, Chairman of the Board at the US Institute of Peace, Former National Security Advisor; Ali-Akbar Mousavi Khoeini, Former Member of Iran’s Parliament, Human Rights Advocate; Jim Slattery, Former Congressman (D-KS), Partner at Wiley Rein LLP; Howard Berman, Former Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee (D-CA), Senior Advisor at Covington & Burling LLP; Michael Singh, Former Director for Middle East Affairs at the National Security Council, Senior Fellow at the Washington Institute.

CHINA 2050 HIGH RENEWABLE ENERGY PENETRATION SCENARIO AND ROADMAP STUDY. 4/20, 10:30-11:45am. Sponsor: Resources for the Future (RFF). Speakers: Wang Zhongying, Director, China National Renewable Energy Center, National Development and Reform Commission in China; Samuel Baldwin, Chief Science Officer, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office; Li Junfeng, Director General, National Center for Climate Change Strategy and International Cooperation, National Development and Reform Commission in China; Joanna Lewis, Associate Professor of Science, Technology and International Affairs, Georgetown University; Phil Sharp, President, RFF.

IMPLEMENTING COOPERATIVE THREAT REDUCTION: THE PRIVATE SECTOR’S ROLE IN CTR. 4/20, Noon-2:00pm. Sponsor: Elliott School, George Washington University. Speaker: Ighor Uzhinsky, Senior Technical Project Manager, Orbital ATK.

JAPAN’S ROLE IN UN PEACEBUILDING EFFORTS: PROSPECTS FOR COOPERATION WITH THE UNITED STATES. 4/20, Noon-2:00pm, Lunch. Sponsor: Stimson Center. Speakers: Toshiya Hoshino, Professor at Osaka School of International Policy; Yuji Uesugi, Associate Professor Waseda University; Victoria Holt, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the US State Department; Yuki Tatsumi, Senior Associate of the East Asia Program at the Stimson Center.

A CASUALTY OF BUREAUCRACY? THE COMPELLING CASE FOR FREE TRADE AND LNG EXPORTS. 4/20, 12:30-2:00pm. Sponsor: SAIS, Johns Hopkins University. Speaker: Robert S. Franklin, President, ExxonMobil Gas & Power Marketing Company.

click to order
UKRAINIAN ENERGY REFORMS AND EUROPEAN GAS SUPPLY. 4/20, 2:00-3:30pm. Sponsor: CSIS’s Energy and National Security Program. Speakers: Alan Riley, Professor of Law, City University in London; Amb. Richard Morningstar, Founding Director, Atlantic Council’s Global Energy

REMEMBERING WWII: THE 70TH ANNIVERSARY OF VICTORY. 4/20, 3:00-6:00pm. Sponsor: Kennan Institute, Wilson Center. Speakers; Sergey Kislyak , Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the United States; Michael David-Fox , Fellow; Professor, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service and Dept. of History, Georgetown University; Daniel Newman, Program Manager, Initiative for the Study of the Holocaust in the Soviet Union, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum; Martin Sieff, Columnist, Post-Examiner; Senior Fellow, American University, Moscow.

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U.S.-CHINA RELATIONS: FACING CHINA'S 100 YEAR MARATHON AS A RISING POWER. 4/20, 3:30 4:30pm. Sponsor: Mark Palmer Forum for Advancing Democracy, Freedom HouseSpeakers: author, Michael Pillsbury, Hudson Institute.; Sarah Cook, Freedom House, Senior Research Analyst for East Asia; Moderator;: Mark P. Lagon President, Freedom House

THE HISTORY MANIFESTO. 4/20, 4:00-5:30pm. Sponsor: Wilson Center’s (WWC) History and Public Policy Program. Speakers: Author Jo Guldi, Assistant Professor of History, Brown University; Author David Armitage, Professor History, Harvard University; Eric Arnesen, Professor of Modern American Labor History, George Washington University; J.R. McNeill, Professor of International Environmental History, Georgetown University; Rosemarie, Zagarri, Professor of Early American History, George Mason University.

THIRD ANNUAL NANCY BERNKOPF TUCKER MEMORIAL LECTURE ON U.S.-EAST ASIA RELATIONS. 4/20, 4:00-5:30pm, Reception. Sponsor: Wilson Center. Speaker: Thomas Fingar, Distinguished Fellow of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University.

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PERSPECTIVES ON THE REBALANCE. 4/20, 6:00pm. Webcast. Sponsors: Council on Foreign Relations; Lowry Institute of International Policy. Speakers: Michael Fullilove, Executive Director, Lowy Institute for International Policy; Daniel Russel, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, US Department of State.

MYANMAR: A NEW HOPE FOR SOUTHEAST ASIA? 4/20, 7:00-8:30pm. Sponsor: George Washington University’s (GWU) Elliott School. Speaker: Christina Fink Professor, GWU.

THE GLOBAL VATICAN: LECTURE BY AMBASSADOR ROONEY. 4/20, 7:00-8:30pm, Washington, DC. Sponsor: Georgetown University. Speaker: author Francis Rooney, former Ambassador to the Holy See.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Hinting of remorse, but not responsibility.

In July 2014, Prime Minister Abe traveled to Australia and gave a speech to the country's parliament. His words were well received and viewed as thoughtful and healing. Thus, there is a focus on Abe's speech Down Under as a model for his upcoming address to a joint meeting of Congress on April 29th, Emperor Hirohito's birthday.

Will Americans and America's Pacific war veterans be satisfied with the same sort of statement? To understand why this is problematic, we reprint and analyze the relevant sections here:
Our fathers and grandfathers lived in a time that saw Kokoda and Sandakan. How many young Australians, with bright futures to come, lost their lives? And for those who made it through the war, how much trauma did they feel even years and years later, from these painful memories?

I can find absolutely no words to say. I can only stay humble against the evils and horrors of history.

May I most humbly speak for Japan and on behalf of the Japanese people here in sending my most sincere condolences towards the many souls who lost their lives.
I can find absolutely no words to say. I can only stay humble against the evils and horrors of history.

May I most humbly speak for Japan and on behalf of the Japanese people here in sending my most sincere condolences towards the many souls who lost their lives.
Many people believe that the Prime Minister used the word "remorse" in the speech. This is not true. It is not in the document.

Instead, he sends” his “condolences towards the many souls who lost their lives." It is a general expression of empathy without any hint of responsibility. Who was responsible for the dead?

Abe merely mentions “Sandakan." It dangles out there without explanation or reflection. It is associated with distant time, not tied to a series of human decisions. He does not say that “Sandakan” was a series of senseless death marches in 1945 on Borneo for approximately 2,400 Australian and British POWs. Only six Australians survived. Of those who died, most were never found.

He did not say that Sandakan was a callous, premeditated war crime perpetrated by an incompetent and fanatical leadership. He did not say that it was an atrocity perpetrated by Imperial Japan. He did not say there was any justification to march to death or murder these sick and defenseless men.

Americans should insulted if Abe mentioned the Bataan Death March in as off-handed a manner. No former POW of Japan will be satisfied to only receive a condolence for his suffering and the deaths of his buddies. They do not want a promise to do better and they certainly do not want condescending pity. They want the assurance that comes with acknowledgment of responsibility. They want to hear remorse.

Prime Minister Abe objects to his country’s past war apologies. He walked out on the vote for the 1995 war apology. He now shuns apologies and never mentions who was responsible for his country's most fatal mistakes.

Abe will squander his grandest opportunity to show that Japan has learned from 70 years of peace if he fails to say that Imperial Japan was responsible for the War. Americans want less an apology than an affirmation that what happened was wrong, very wrong.

Shinzo Abe's Duty to History

Tojo on trial
The Japanese prime minister does the U.S. no favors by overlooking his country’s past atrocities.

Professor of international relations at Yonsei University’s Graduate School of International Studies and a nonresident senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
First appeared in the Wall Street Journal, April 16, 2015

All eyes in Asia are on Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as he prepares to address a joint session of the U.S. Congress on April 29. This year being the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, what historical message will Mr. Abe choose to deliver?

He has roughly three options: admit the horrible wrongdoings of Japan’s military regime before and during World War II; stress a kind of moral equivalence between Japan and the U.S., as Tokyo started the war by attacking Pearl Harbor but Washington ended it by dropping two atomic bombs; or highlight Japan’s postwar history as a model democracy, America’s best friend in Asia and the region’s biggest contributor to economic development.

If Mr. Abe’s previous comments and actions are a guide, he will likely choose the second and third options, which reflect the narrative that most Japanese prefer. Mr. Abe has said that Japan must never go back to its imperialist past, but he has also stressed the solemn duty of honoring Japanese soldiers killed in World War II.

Yet if Mr. Abe continues to whitewash and ignore Japan’s wartime atrocities—including sexual slavery and grotesque medical experiments on live prisoners, including Americans—then Japan will lose its claim to being a postwar beacon of democracy, human rights and dignity.

Many Americans feel uneasy, if not fatigued, by the constant Chinese and South Korean focus on history. Yes, they say, Japan made terrible mistakes during the war, but that was 70 years ago and it’s time to move on. Besides, all countries have dark chapters in their histories, and China is hardly an exception. Japan has been a responsible major power since 1945, is one of the largest contributors to the United Nations and stands with the U.S. on virtually all the important issues. South Korea’s wounds are understandable, but a fellow democracy and major U.S. ally should have the courage to look beyond historical grievances.

Such assertions miss a central point: Japan’s benign postwar record doesn’t erase what came before. The still-mighty yen can buy many things, but it can’t buy the collective memory of Asians or even Americans.

Mr. Abe’s revisionism works against U.S. strategic interests—including President Obama’s signature pivot to Asia—because a Japan that won’t come to terms with history undermines regional reconciliation and provides China with its best excuse for growing its military. A Japan that denies history also raises China’s international profile and feeds a perception that China’s official voice is in harmony with the rest of Asia’s.

Amid China’s rise, ensuring security and stability in Asia isn’t just about maintaining effective deterrence and defense. It also requires strengthening Asian democracies and building up soft-power assets such as respect for human rights, civil liberties and historical reconciliation.

No matter how much Japan contributes to the U.S.-Japan alliance or overseas development assistance, a Japanese leader who is moved to tears by a hit movie on the sacrifices made by kamikaze pilots in World War II, or who disputes that 300,000 innocents were butchered in the 1937 Nanjing Massacre, can never win the hearts and minds of fellow Asians.

Mr. Abe may believe that winning hearts and minds isn’t nearly as important as turning Japan into an “unsinkable aircraft carrier.” But if that’s the exclusive message he wishes to convey to the U.S. Congress, he will forsake a golden opportunity to showcase Japan as an indispensable U.S. ally, a responsible counterpart vis-à-vis China and, most importantly, a friend to the rest of Asia.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Prime Minister of Japan’s Schedule December 1-7, 2014

Electioneering, who is running the country
Monday, December 1, 2014
12:00 At private residence (no visitors)
08:00 At private residence in Tomigaya, Tokyo (no morning visitors)
09:12 Depart from private residence
09:29 Arrive at office
09:34 Courtesy call from Liaison Council of Municipalities in Nemuro Subprefecture for Development of Regions near the Northern Territories’ Mayor of Nemuro City (Hokkaido Prefecture) Hasegawa Shunsuke and colleagues
09:43 Courtesy call ends
09:44 Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary for Crisis Management Nishimura Yasuhiko, Assistant Chief Cabinet Secretary Takamizawa Nobushige, and Director of Cabinet Intelligence Kitamura Shigeru enter
09:54 Mr. Nishimura and Mr. Takamizawa leave
10:01 Mr. Kitamura leaves

12:37 Depart from office
12:44 Arrive at Nippon Press Center Building in Uchisaiwai-cho, Tokyo
01:05 Question Time Meeting with 8 Political Parties hosted by Japan National Press Club commences
03:07 Question Time Meeting closes
03:09 Depart from Nippon Press Center Building
03:14 Arrive at LDP Party Headquarters
03:22 LDP Election Strategy Board of Directors Meeting
04:44 Meeting ends
05:06 Depart from LDP Party Headquarters
05:09 Arrive at office
05:32 Depart from office
05:51 Arrive at NHK in Jinnan, Tokyo
05:54 Speak with Minister in charge of Promoting Women’s Empowerment Arimura Haruko in waiting room
05:59 Finish speaking with Ms. Arimura
06:23 Filming for broadcast of political views related to Lower House Election proportional representation seats
06:58 Finish filming
07:01 Depart from NHK
07:14 Arrive at The Capitol Hotel Tokyu in Nagata-cho, Tokyo. Dinner with secretaries at restaurant ORIGAMI within hotel
08:00 Depart from hotel
08:09 Arrive at Nippon TV in Higashi-Shinbashi, Tokyo. Filming for new program
09:39 Depart from Nippon TV
09:59 Arrive at private residence

Tuesday, December 2, 2014
12:00 At private residence (no visitors)
06:46 Depart from private residence in Tomigaya, Tokyo
07:06 Arrive at JR Tokyo Station
07:13 Depart from station on Yamabiko no. 123
07:44 Interview with NHK
07:49 Interview ends
08:47 Arrive at JR Fukushima Station
08:54 Depart from station
10:47 Arrive at Matsukawa Bay Fishing Harbor in Soma City, Fukushima Prefecture. Soapbox speech
11:01 Depart from harbor
11:26 Arrive at set menu shop Hanazen in Yamamoto Town, Miyagi Prefecture. Lunch with secretaries
11:59 Depart from shop

12:03 Arrive at front of Japanese-style restaurant Denen in Yamamoto Town. Soapbox speech
12:16 Depart from restaurant
01:19 Arrive at front of supermarket York Benimaru, Ishinomaki Hebita location in Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture. Soapbox speech
01:46 Depart from supermarket
02:11 Arrive at Kazuga Parking Area in Rifu Town, Miyagi Prefecture. Shopping at vendors
02:20 Depart from parking area
02:56 Arrive at front of facility complex building AER in Sendai City. Soapbox speech
03:21 Depart from facility complex
03:23 Arrive at JR Sendai Station
03:44 Depart from station on Yamabiko no. 146
05:47 Arrive at JR Tokyo Station
05:52 Depart from station
06:06 Arrive at office
06:54 Depart from office
06:59 Arrive at NHK Chidoya Broadcasting Hall in Kioi-cho, Tokyo. Appear on news program
07:44 Depart from broadcasting hall
07:48 Arrive at official residence
08:31 Depart from official residence
08:39 Arrive at TBS Broadcasting Center in Akasaka, Tokyo
10:05 Depart from broadcasting center
10:22 Arrive at private residence

Wednesday, December 3, 2014 
12:00 At private residence (no visitors)
07:16 Depart from private residence in Tomigaya, Tokyo
07:38 Arrive at JR Tokyo Station
07:48 Depart from station on Max Toki no. 307
09:03 Arrive at JR Echigo-Yuzawa Station
09:14 Depart from station on Hakutaka no. 4
10:09 Arrive at JR Naoetsu Station
10:13 Leave station
10:14 Arrive at front of station. Soapbox speech
10:43 Depart from station
11:31 Arrive at front of performing arts center Art Forêt in Kashiwazaki City, Niigata Prefecture. Soapbox speech
11:59 Depart from performing arts center

12:50 Arrive at restaurant Bistro and Café Rikuchokan in Tsubame City. Lunch
01:24 Depart from restaurant
01:28 Arrive at front of AEON main Niigata prefectural location in Tsubame City. Soapbox speech
01:43 Depart from AEON
02:44 Arrive at front of Shibata City Culture Center in Shibata City, Niigata Prefecture
03:01 Depart from Shibata City Culture Center
03:58 Arrive at front of JR Niigata Station. Soapbox speech
04:18 Leave front of station
04:21 Arrive at JR Niigata Station
04:45 Depart from station on Max Toki no. 338
05:41 Film for NHK program
05:56 Finish filming
06:59 Arrive at JR Tokyo Station
07:01 Depart from station
07:12 Arrive at official residence
07:30 Depart from official residence
07:43 Arrive at TV Asahi in Roppongi, Tokyo
09:03 Depart from TV Asahi
09:23 Arrive at private residence

Thursday, December 4, 2014
12:00 At private residence (no visitors)
07:02 Depart from private residence in Tomigaya, Tokyo
07:30 Arrive at Haneda Airport
07:56 Depart from airport on All Nippon Airways (ANA) Flight 93
09:10 Arrive at Kansai Airport
09:22 Depart from airport
10:06 Arrive at front of JR Wakayama Station. Soapbox speech
10:20 Depart from station
10:56 Arrive at front of Open-Air Market by Izumisano Fishermen’s Cooperative Association in Izumisano City, Osaka Prefecture. Soapbox speech
11:10 Depart from open-air market
11:45 Arrive at front of Semboku Rapid Railway Izumi-Chuo Station in Izumi City, Osaka Prefecture
12:03 Depart from station
12:30 Arrive at front of Semboku Rapid Railway Izumi-Gaoka in Minami Ward, Sakai City. Soapbox speech
12:49 Depart from station
01:00 Arrive at office of Lower House Election LDP candidate in Nishi Ward, Sakai City. Lunch
01:23 Depart from candidate’s office
02:03 Arrive at front of Sakai City Hall. Soapbox speech
02:21 Depart from city hall
02:45 Arrive at front of Nishinari Ward Office, Osaka City. Soapbox speech
02:58 Depart from ward office
03:49 Arrive at front of Kintetsu Yao Station in Yao City, Osaka Prefecture. Soapbox speech
04:10 Depart from station
04:50 Arrive at front of Keihan Moriguchishi Station in Moriguchi City, Osaka Prefecture. Soapbox speech
05:05 Depart from station
05:40 Arrive at front of JR Shin-Osaka Station. Soapbox speech
05:57 Depart from station
06:40 Arrive at front of JR Takatsuki Station. Soapbox speech
07:03 Depart from station
07:37 Arrive at Itami Airport
08:28 Depart from airport on ANA Flight 40
09:20 Arrive at Haneda Airport
09:32 Depart from airport
09:59 Arrive at private residence

Monday, April 13, 2015

Womenomics is it for real?


Womenomics for Japan: is the Abe policy for gendered employment viable in an era of precarity?

By Helen Macnaughtan, Senior Lecturer in International Business and Management (Japan) at SOAS, University of London and Co-editor of Japan Forum, the official journal of the British Association for Japanese Studies (BAJS)

First published in The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 13, Issue 12, No. 1, March 30, 2015

Summary: Womenomics is a theory that advocates the empowerment of women, arguing that enabling women to have access to equal participation in an economy and society will result in economic benefits and social progress. The need for Japan to implement womenomics was first advocated by Kathy Matsui in 1999, and since 2013 Prime Minister Abe’s government has pledged to promote womenomics as policy.1 In theory, womenomics is a viable policy for Japan. I argue, however, that gendered norms and practices in Japanese society act as a strong impediment to its realization. In addition, the approach being taken by the Abe government is flawed by underlying gender bias. This article outlines the historical context of current womenomics policy, provides a critical analysis of implementation strategies discussing progress and socio-structural obstacles, and concludes with an assessment of the viability of womenomics for Japan.

Prime Minister of Japan Abe Shinzō has pledged to create a society in which “all women can shine” (subete no josei ga kagayaku nihon e). Writing in the Wall Street Journal in September 2013, Abe acknowledged that womenomics was not a new concept, but that his government’s commitment to pursuing it in Japan was new.2 Why is the government now adopting womenomics? There are arguably two key reasons. First, Japan has come under increasing international criticism because of the low level of gender equality in society, including high profile comments such as that from Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the IMF.3 Since 1999, Kathy Matsui of Goldman Sachs Japan has argued that a key solution for Japan’s economic woes is her brand of womenomics, advocating breaking down structural impediments in the labour market and raising female labour participation to that of men in order to generate GDP growth. At the very least, Abe wants to appear to be responding to this international criticism and has latched onto the concept of womenomics, a term which fits neatly into his Abenomics policy. Second, on the domestic front, Japan is dealing with well-known demographic and economic challenges, including a declining and aging population, low birth rate, emerging labour shortage, low GDP growth rates, deflation and stagnating levels of domestic investment and consumer spending. All of this has combined to prompt the government to acknowledge that Japanese women have long been underutilised in the economy and must now be called upon to help ‘save Japan’.

Since taking office in December 2012, Abe has been pushing his agenda of economic growth and reform known as Abenomics. With the headline that “Japan is Back”, Abenomics is focused on the so-called “three arrows” of (1) fiscal stimulus (2) monetary easing and (3) structural reform. As part of the third arrow, Abe has been citing ‘womenomics’ with a promise to enable Japanese women to ‘shine’, better contribute to the economy and reach leadership positions. But in precisely what way and how are women to ‘shine’? Is Abenomics a program, a set of policies, or simply a somewhat condescending statement that women have not been ‘shining’ in Japan.4 Based on Matsui’s central argument about enabling women to raise their current levels of participation in the paid economy, the Abe government claims that it is advancing a new approach to women’s employment. However, I will demonstrate that, far from a new approach, it remains wedded to much that has been attempted previously and with scant results. In the early 1960s, Japanese women were perceived as essential to meet increased demand for labour under high levels of economic growth. Given official reluctance to seek additional labour via immigration, women were encouraged into the workplace. Specifically, they were encouraged to work for a few years before marriage as regular workers and then again after several years of child-rearing as non-regular workers.5

The result was a system of highly gendered employment that continues today. Under the guise of womenomics, many aspects of this system are being reinforced and Japanese women are again being asked to fill a gap. This time there is both a supply and demand gap for them to help re-stimulate economic growth. This is due in part to the long underutilisation of female labour but is also the product of a growing labour shortage under depopulation. The government once again wants more women to work as a means to fill a perceived employment gap and support a core male labour force. I show that Abe’s brand of womenomics has little intention to question the gendered status quo of an employment system that allocates productive roles to men and reproductive roles to women. On the surface there is the promise of delivering gender equality, but gender equality has been debated since the mid-1980s only to stall again and again. If the Abe government really had gender equality as an aim then key barriers both in society and in the workplace would need to be challenged and overcome. Herein lies the crux of the policy known as womenomics that is being prescribed for Japan by Matsui and loosely translated by the Abe government. In sum, the womenomics being prescribed for Japan assumes an implicit gender bias: the assumption that core male employment is normative. Moreover, womenomics will have only limited success at best because it is focused on women. In order to really deliver employment equality, womenomics needs to include men too.

The gendered life cycle of work in Japan

Japan’s post-war employment system is well-known for being distinctly gendered, and has been described as having a “gender fault line”.6 The system is founded on the male breadwinner model, with men primarily responsible for productive roles and women for reproductive roles within the family unit and more broadly in society. At its core, this division of labour is premised on harnessing the strong commitment of a core male workforce with stable employment while making use of a supporting non-regular workforce which has increasingly comprised female workers. While the male breadwinner model was certainly not unique to Japan in the early post-war years, its persistence as an ideology over time is striking, particularly when comparing employment practices with that in other advanced nations. Even though the reality of this model has been much debated – with the acknowledgement that at best only one third of the Japanese workforce has ever been within this core elite ‘lifetime’ system – this model continues to be held as an ‘ideal’ and is a pervasive force underpinning the political and institutional organisation of work. While acknowledging the increasingly precarious reality of work for both women and men in Japan, I will argue that an attachment to this male breadwinner model continues to impede any real progress toward gender equality, and that any solution to employment problems must go beyond Abe conceptions of womenomics and seek to break down gendered norms for both men and women in Japan.