Saturday, April 24, 2010

Okinawa Protests

Among the many interesting results of the DPJ’s rejection of the LDP-negotiated Futenma Air Station relocation plan has been the further empowerment of the citizens of Okinawa. Always Japan’s backwater and where Tokyo confined the majority of U.S. military bases, the prefecture has traditionally had little clout in the capital. Now, the Okinawans are leading an international movement for base closure. Their mascot? An endangered manatee.

Ever since Okinawa was returned to mainland Japan in 1972, politics was merely the art of obtaining and dividing up economic development and construction funds. The anti-text book protests in 2007 were the first effective push back at Tokyo. Okinawans objected to moves to modify and tone down passages in textbooks that say Imperial Japan’s Army ordered Okinawans to kill themselves rather than surrender. Over 100,000 turned out in protest on September 29, 2007. The government soon stepped back and ordered reinstatement of references to the military's role in forcing civilians to commit mass suicide during the 1945 Battle of Okinawa.

Another protest on Okinawa as large or larger than the textbook rally is expected Sunday, April 25th, or the evening of April 24th Washington time. This is against the expansion of U.S. military bases on the island. The effort to close the dangerous Futenma Air Station and move it to Camp Schwab and Henoko Bay is viewed by many on Okinawa as less a consolidation of resources than a further entrenchment of the U.S. military on the island. This view is intensified by the DPJ’s campaign pledge to move Futenma off of Okinawa.

Environmentalists have also targeted Okinawa as a prime example of how military installations ruin local environments and threaten endangered species. They point to a United States District Court for the Northern District of California summary judgment in 2008, holding that the Defense Department violates the National Historic Preservation Act by "failing to take into account the impact of the project on the Okinawa dugong."  Ironically, April is the when the Department of Defense announces its environmental awards. Each year since 1962 the secretary of defense has honored individuals, teams, and installations for their outstanding achievements to conserve and sustain the natural and cultural resources entrusted to the Department of Defense.

If you want to watch “history in the making,” you can watch the Okinawan Rally by relay through this WEBSITE. It is from 3:00 pm Japan time (2:00 am DC time) until the end of the rally.

No matter how you think about the necessity of the U.S. military on Okinawa, worth taking note is that the Sunday protest is the first time there has been substantive collaboration with international peace, religious, and environmental activists. Americans have recently organized into the Network for Okinawa and there is significant cooperation of other groups across the Pacific from Hawaiians to Chamorros, from Filipinos to other Pacific Islanders. They will be coordinating rallies for Okinawa in Washington, DC, San Francisco, and Honolulu as well as throughout Japan.

For more details on the Close the Base movement see these websites:

2010 Okinawa

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Catching Whales

The last of Japan's five Antarctic research whaling ships returned home this week. The whaling fleet had their lowest catch in years, which they blamed on harassment by the environmental group Sea Shepherd. The fleet's haul of 507 whales was down sharply from last year's of 680 and below the this year's target of 850.

The research results of this whaling expedition can be already found in the the Survey Results of the Fifth Voyage (2009/10) (Japanese Only), part of the "Second Phase of the Japanese Whale Research Program under Special Permit in the Antarctic (JARPAII)" conducted by the Institute of Cetacean Research for the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF). The press release of the report on the Ministry's website is HERE (Japanese Only).

The survey reports that their lethal scientific research had to be curtailed because of the Sea Shepherd. The whaling operation lost over a month from the environmentalist's interference. However, through their visual surveys, the Japanese whalers were able to determine that all the whale populations in the Antarctic are recovering.

Last month, whale researchers from the Australian-led Southern Ocean Research Partnership, returned from their first expedition to the Antarctic. Their purpose was to show that non-lethal methods of research were just as effective as Japan's program, which kills up to 1,000 of the mammals a year.

The scientists’ research focused on whale numbers, what they eat, how they move between food patches and how they travel to and from their breeding grounds in the central Pacific.

“All of those questions can be and are being answered using nonlethal techniques,” said expedition leader Nick Gales.

Peter Garrett, Australia’s environment minister, said in a statement that the research showed “effective and achievable ways to collect a whole range of important data without the need to kill these mammals.” The Minister was there at the March launch of the Antarctic expedition.

In February, the Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said "It's time that Australia got serious when it comes to the slaughter of whales, particularly the slaughter of whales in the Australian Whale Sanctuary. What we will do in Government is to take Japan and other countries as necessary to court in the International Court of Justice to bring a stop to this practice of whale slaughter."

Also this week, scientists say they have found clear proof that meat from whales captured under Japan's whaling programme is being sold in US and Korean eateries. The researchers say they used genetic fingerprinting to identify meat taken from a Los Angeles restaurant as coming from a sei whale sold in Japan.

Writing in the Royal Society journal, Biology Letters, the researchers involved say that trading in this meat is banned between countries that have signed the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.

In Washington, this week, members of the International Whaling Commission are attempting to negotiate an agreement to limit and eventually end whaling. The proposal would include stricter monitoring of whaling operations, such as placing of tracking devices and international monitors on all whaling ships and participation in a whale DNA registry to track global trade in whale products. This agreement is to be presented at the annual meeting in Morocco, June 21-25.

Later: "U.S. Leads New Bid to Phase Out Whale Hunting" The New York Times, April 15, 2010. Excellent review of current negotiations to curtain whaling complete with sources and a multimedia presentation,

Monday, April 12, 2010

APP members to testify in Congress

APP members George Packard, President, United States-Japan Foundation and Richard Katz, Editor-In-Chief, Oriental Economist Report will join Michael Auslin, Director, Japan studies for the American Enterprise Institute at a hearing on U.S. - Japan Relations before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee East Asian and Pacific Affairs Subcommittee the morning of April 15th.

The hearing will be webcast.

Nuclear prosture reviewed

Above is the briefing on April 6 by Secretary of Defense Bill Gates introducing the Nuclear Posture Review. Additional briefings and relevant documents can be found on a Defense Department website devoted to the NPR.

Prior to the release of the Review, President Barak Obama gave an exclusive interview on his thinking toward the use of nuclear weapons to The New York Times. Video clips and a transcript are available.

The Defense Department study says that “the fundamental role” of nuclear weapons is to deter nuclear attacks on the United States, allies or partners, a narrower presumption than the past. It reject, however, the formulation sought by arms control advocates that the “sole role” of nuclear weapons is to deter a nuclear attack.

The NPR eliminates much of the ambiguity that has deliberately existed in American nuclear policy. For the first time, the United States is explicitly committing not to use nuclear weapons against nonnuclear states that are in compliance with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), even if they attacked the United States with biological or chemical weapons or launched a crippling cyberattack.

There are five declared nuclear states — the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China. Three states with nuclear weapons have refused to sign — India, Pakistan and Israel — and North Korea renounced the treaty in 2003. Iran remains a signatory, but the UN Security Council has repeatedly found it in violation of its obligations, because it has hidden nuclear plants and refused to answer questions about evidence it was working on a warhead.

The shift of the nuclear deterrent toward combating proliferation and the sale or transfer of nuclear material to terrorists or nonnuclear states is to be reflected on the in focus of this week's Nuclear Security Summit hosted by the President. A major declaration outlining international cooperation against the trafficking of nuclear weapons or materials is expected.  

The release of the Nuclear Posture Review opens an intensive nine days of nuclear diplomacy geared toward reducing weapons. Mr. Obama flew to Prague to sign a new arms-control agreement, START, with Russia on April 8th and then from April 12-13, he hosts 47 world leaders in Washington for the Nuclear Security Summit.

In May, the 2010 Review of the Non Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty will be held at the UN in New York City. See this Congressional Research Service report for a run down Arms Control and Nonproliferation: A Catalog of Treaties and Agreements.

For further research:

Arms Control Association (ACA)
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace - Nuclear Policy Program
Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation
Federation of American Scientists - A World Free of Nuclear Weapons
Harvard University - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs: Managing the Atom
Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS)
International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN)
James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS)
Nuclear Threat Initiative
Ploughshares Fund
Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs
Stanford University - CISAC, Preventing Nuclear Proliferation and Terrorism
Union of Concerned Scientists - Nuclear Weapons and Global Security

United Nations Office of Disarmament Affairs
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Nuclear Suppliers Group
Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)
Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO
Wassenaar Arrangement

Global Security Newswire
Arms Control Wonk
Strategic Security Blog

Friday, April 9, 2010

Remembering Bataan

Today, April 9th, is Araw ng Kagitingan in the Philippines. It is a national day of observance to commemorate the fall of Bataan during World War II

On April 9, 1942, Gen. Edward P. King surrendered the Luzon Force in Bataan to the 14th Imperial Army under the command of Lt. Gen. Masaharu Homma. The surrendered men were ordered to gather in Mariveles, Bataan.

The Filipino and American soldiers were then forced to form columns of 100 to 400 men. These columns, guarded by Japanese soldiers, were forced to march 65 miles to the train station in San Fernando, Pampanga.

The Death March lasted for seven 15-hour days (for some it was 14 days) in the tropical sun with no food, water, medicine, or rest. The Japanese guards berated, beat, beheaded, bayoneted, buried alive, raped, and shot both Americans and Filipinos at will.

When they reached the town of San Fernando, the POWs were herded into 40’x8’ French-made boxcars (photo above), packed so tightly they could hardly move. Men gasped for air in the rising heat and died standing up. Those who survived the four-hour ride had to stumble another six miles to reach their destination, Camp O’Donnell. Hundreds died en route, thousands in the camp itself.

This forced march was later memorialized as The Bataan Death March. It still symbolizes for Filipinos and Americans the greatest example of patriotic sacrifice, heroism and man's inhumanity to man. It remains one of the greatest war crimes in modern memory.

Japan ready to turn off political set

If the Democratic Party of Japan were a TV pilot, it's unlikely a second show would ever get made. 

The latest series of ratings finds that the Japanese public are again turned off politics. After a brief period of euphoria following the DPJ election last fall, voters continue to be appalled at the perceived policy ineptitude of the ruling DPJ.

The administration of Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama does not engender confidence and seems to be plagued by the same money politics as the LDP. Meanwhile on the other channel, the LDP is losing sponsors and cohesion under its President Sadakazu Tanigaki.

All polls show the public approval rate for the Hatoyama Cabinet dropping precipitously. It slipped 8 points in the latest (April 5) Yomiuri poll to 33%. A majority of Japanese have turned against the DPJ administration, with the disapproval rate jumping 6 points to 56% in the Yomiuri poll.

The cabinet is just as unpopular in Kyodo News ’ poll, released April 5, which shows the support rate slipping 3 points to 33%, and the non-support rate increasing 4.4 points to 53.3%. Nikkei’s poll, released on March 29, has the non-support rate soaring 8 points to 57% and the support rate falling by 7 points to 36%. The chief reason cited for the public’s disaffection with Prime Minister Hatoyama is his “lack of leadership” – 57% in the Nikkei poll and 33.6% in the Kyodo poll.

The polls offer various reasons for the public’s severe view, but the issue on everyone’s screens these days seems to be Hatoyama’s handling of the Futenma airfield relocation. In the Kyodo and Yomiuri surveys, asked whether the prime minister should resign if he didn't settle the issue by the end-of-May time limit he has set, 47.1% in the Kyodo poll and 49% in the Yomiuri poll said yes.

The fear of a voter backlash may be one reason for a recent flurry of activity on the Futenma front – heavily covered by the press - by the prime minister and his aides. Hatoyama seems to be frantic to cobble together a consensus in the cabinet and come up with a tangible relocation proposal that can be coordinated with local communities and the US government.

The popularity of the DPJ also has been eroding at an alarming rate. Support for the DPJ plummeted 8 points to 33% in the Nikkei poll and 7 points in the Yomiuri poll to 24%. It stayed about the same in the Kyodo poll, but the figure is only 26.3%. However, the LDP, too, is losing ground, with only 23% supporting it in the Nikkei poll, down 1 point, and down 5.1 points to 21.3% in the Kyodo poll. The Yomiuri survey put LDP support at a dismal 16%, down 4 points from the last monthly poll. The party has been suffering from a leadership struggle against President Tanigaki, and prominent members have been leaving the party, with one, former Finance Minister Yosano, announcing that he is forming a new party on April 8.

The Yomiuri poll also shows that voters are deserting both parties to enter the ranks of the unaffiliated, with the figure shooting up from 36% to 50% in one month. In other words, almost a majority of the electorate are now floaters, whose votes are up for grabs, creating considerable fluidity in the upcoming summer election for the Upper House.

Asked in the Nikkei poll about which party they would vote for in the election, only 24% picked the DPJ, a drop of 9 points since February. But only 20% picked the LDP. Small parties may pick up some of the disaffected voters, for example, Your Party is coming in third after the DPJ and LDP as the party of choice, with 9% of the electorate in the Nikkei poll and 9.6 in the Kyodo poll, a jump of 5.7 points in a month.

Press leaks since the beginning of April seem to indicate that Hatoyama may be ready to float his grand solution for the Futenma conundrum. He will then have to try the Herculean task of convincing the locals and the US to accept it. Even if this surge in political energy, long overdue, is real, however, it seems unlikely that the public is likely to return that easily to the DPJ program. Other issues, such as the Ozawa money scandal, remain unsettled.

There's nothing much to see here, but there's nothing much on the other side either.

Dr. William Brooks
APP Senior Fellow

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Must go events

Every year the Heritage Foundation holds a forum on congressional views of Asia and possible policy initiatives. It is one of the best and most interesting events held on Asia in Washington. The announcement, unfortunately, was left out of our newsletter. We urge you to attend or at least watch the webcast.

ASIA 2010: VIEW FROM CAPITOL HILL. 4/7, 10:30am-Noon, Washington, DC. Sponsor: Heritage Foundation. Speakers: J.J. Ong, Professional Staff, House Foreign Affairs Committee; Joel Starr, Counsel, Legislative Assistant, Office of Senator James M. Inhofe (R-OK), Ranking Republican, Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia and Pacific Affairs; Edward A. Burrier, Professional Legislative Staff, Office of Congressman Ed Royce (R-CA); Vance Serchuk, Foreign Policy Advisor, Office of Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT). 

Photo found here.

This coming Saturday, March 10th, in downtown Washington, DC, the largest Japanese spring festival is held outside Japan. The 50th ANNUAL SAKURA MATSURI JAPANESE STREET FESTIVAL begins shortly after the Cherry Blossom parade ends and features, arts, crafts, performances, food, and a beer garden (where you will find the APP interns, ask for Milton and Michael).

A nuclear week

Congress in recess until the 12th.

QUESTIONING OBAMA’S NUCLEAR AGENDA. 4/6, 10:00am-Noon, Washington, DC. Sponsors: AEI, Heritage. Speakers: Bruce Klingner, Heritage; Lisa Curtis, Heritage; Amb. Kurt Volker, Former U.S. Ambassador to NATO; Thomas Donnelly, Director, Center for Defense Studies, AEI; Tom Scheber, Vice President, National Institute for Public Policy; Stephen Rademaker, Senior Counsel, BGR Group. 

NEW START: PROVISIONS AND PROSPECTS FOR RATIFICATION OF THE NEW U.S.-RUSSIAN STRATEGIC ARMS TREATY. 4/7, 10:00-11:30am, Washington, DC. Sponsors: James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS), Monetary Institute of International Studies (MIIS). Speakers: Dr. Nikolai Sokov, MIIS; Miles Pomper, CNS. 

2010 CSIS PROJECT ON NUCLEAR ISSUES (PONI) SPRING CONFERENCE. 4/8-9, 8:00am-6:00pm, Washington, DC. Sponsor: CSIS. Speakers: Deepti Choubey, Deputy Director, Nuclear Policy Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; Sanhita Ambast, MALD Candidate, Tufts, LLM Candidate, Harvard; Natalia V. Saraeva, Georgetown; Gareth Stevens, Nuclear and Stratefic Deterrent Office, British Defense Staff, British Embassy; Sebastian Miraglia, Norwegian Institute for Defense Studies; Rizwan Ladha, M.A. Candidate, Tufts; Saurabh Dutta Chowdhury, M.A. Candidate, Monterey Institute of International Studies; Philp Johnson, Senior Research Fellow, M.A. Candidate, Georgetown; Major Gn. Don Alston, Assistant Chieg of Staff, Strategic Deterrence and Nuclear Integration; Nikita Perfilyeb, Fulbright Scholar, M.A. Candidate, Monterey Institute of International Studies; Tong Zhao, Ph.D. Candidate, Georgia Institute of Technology; Sico van der Meer, Research Fellow, Netherlands Institute of International Relations; Togzhan Kassenova, Senior Research Associate, Center for International Trade and Security; James Cooley, Physicist, X-4 Division, Los Alamos National Laboratory. 

NONPROLIFERATION AND THE NUCLEAR RENAISSANCE: THE CONTRIBUTIONS AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE NUCLEAR INDUSTRY. 4/8, 9:00-10:30am, Washington, DC. Sponsor: Brookings. Speakers: John P. Banks, Nonresident Fellow, Foreign Policy; Michael Moodie, Executive Editor, WMD Insights; Lawrence Scheinman, Distinguished Professor, Center for Non-Proliferation Studies; Sharon Squassoni, Director, Proliferation Prevention Program, CSIS.  

2010 PUBLIC POLICY AND NUCLEAR THREATS. 4/9, 9:00am, Washington, DC. Sponsor: University of California Washington Center. Speakers: Robert Brown, Temple University; Rachel Whitlark, GWU; Amir Stepak, GWU; Shaheen Dewji, Georgia Tech; Jacqueline Shire, Senior Analyst, Institute for Science and International Security; Susan Burk, State Department. 

Friday, April 2, 2010

Edwin O. Reischauer remembered

Edwin O. Reischauer is a controversial figure to Japan scholars. Many believe he protected and mythologized postwar Japan. The result was an unrealistic picture of a modern world power. Reischauer's Japan was a wish hoping to be fulfilled. Nevertheless, the wartime intelligence analyst and peacetime professor and diplomat, for better or worse, has had a profound influence on generations of the Japan-interested.

Dr. George Packard, aide to Reischauer, former dean of SAIS, president of the US-Japan Foundation, and APP member, has written the first full-length biography of the legend. Due out mid-April, the book promises to be an important contribution to our understanding of the history of US-Japan relations and the sacrifices made for it.

Dr. Packard will be in Washington on the 15th to talk about his book and to sign copies.

EDWIN O. REISCHAUER AND THE AMERICAN DISCOVERY OF JAPAN. 4/15, 6:15-8:15pm, Washington, DC. Sponsor: Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies, SAIS. Speakers: George R. Packard, President, United States-Japan Foundation; Kent Calder, Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies and the SAIS Japan Studies Program.