Sunday, May 30, 2010

Hatoyama's next decision: Go now or in July

It's cost him a the respect of two nations and a coalition ally, and it looks likely the Futenma flap will cost him his job.

After months of efforts in vain to find a spot to relocate Futenma Air Station anywhere but inside Okinawa, Prime Minister Yukio Hatayama has reluctantly concluded that something close to the original plan for a replacement facility at Henoko in Nago City is the only practical solution, and an agreement with the US is now in the works.

Opting to revisit the original plan to put relocate Futenma to the Camp Schwab vicinity at Henoko came after the Hatoyama administration's attempts to obtain the cooperation of new candidate sites for relocation – such as Tokunoshima Island in Kagoshima Prefecture--failed one after another, mainly due to opposition from local governments and residents. Swallowing his pride, the Prime Minister even journeyed to Okinawa over the weekend to personally apologize – with TV cameras rolling – to Governor Nakaima for reneging on his campaign promise to remove Futenma from Okinawan soil. The governor was predictably angry and uncooperative, and public outcries of “betrayal” from Okinawans dominated news coverage of the event.

Though he made the only decision he felt possible, Hatoyama is being attacked for it by even the liberal press. The usually Democratic Party of Japan-friendlyAsahi Shimbun and Mainichi Shimbun, severely faulted him in editorials for his decision to keep Futenma inside Okinawa, though neither paper offered any other solution. The conservative Yomiuri Shimbun, usually harsh toward the DPJ government on this issue, soundly scolded Hatoyama in its editorial for the long delay, but supported his decision to opt for the alliance over local interests.

The reaction of the former ruling Liberal Democratic Party was disappointing. Instead of applauding a decision on Futenma for a plan that they had favored, the LDP opportunistically used the occasion to blast Hatoyama for callous treatment of Okinawan sensitivities. The former ruling party is even threatening to file a no-confidence motion against the Prime Minister.

Okinawa may have their issues with a DPJ government that promised change but delivered the opposite, but the prefecture from the start has rejected any pragmatic resolution. The governor previously supported the Henoko plan negotiated and approved by his successor in 2006. Now, he has joined the crowd calling for Futenma’s immediate closure and removal from Okinawa.

The Hatoyama government is to blame for raising false hopes, and then wasting everyone’s time while it scurried around looking for relocation sites outside of Okinawa. It also needlessly tried US patience by reneging on the old agreement only to come up in the end months later with a resolution that is almost the same as before. Such a decision arguably could have been made last December. Of course, at that time, Hatoyama was besieged by the Social Democratic Party, which wanted the base moved to Guam and threatened to bolt the ruling coalition if he made a decision that kept Futenma in Okinawa. The SDP is no longer needed in the coalition now, the budget and other major legislation having been passed. The DPJ can find other, more cooperative coalition partners among the small parties after the July election.

Still, even at this late point, Prime Minister Hatoyama should be praised for finally displaying leadership and making a pragmatic decision and then swallowing his pride to apologize face to face to the Okinawa governor. Yes, it was probably the only choice he could have made under the circumstances; the only other alternative would have been to ask the US to send all the Marines home so he could close the base.

The Prime Minister cited the need to maintain “military deterrence” as his chief reason for not siding with Okinawa on this issue. He probably knew that was the priority all along. But it is tempting to speculate that the latest round of scary saber rattling by North Korea, torpedoing a South Korean patrol boat and killing 46 sailors, may have added impetus to Hatoyama’s resolve to side with the alliance in resolving the Futenma issue.

The Alliance may have suffered a bit of damage by this affair but that will heal. The real collateral damage is a major loss of trust in Okinawa for a party that was seen by many as the prefecture’s white knight on US base issues. Now, Futenma may be more than just a symbol of the base problem. It may in effect have become a rallying cry for a nascent political movement in Okinawa that not only rejects a pragmatic solution for the long-delayed reversion -- in effect keeping the citizens of Ginowan City near the base in perpetual limbo -- it also may seek the long-term goal of removing the US military presence from the island prefecture. Such goals and activities are not new in the history of base negotiations in Okinawa, but this inchoate movement, fueled by the DPJ government’s inept handling of the issue and anger at its broken promises, could escalate

The LDP’s tack in the past was to offer economic incentives to placate Okinawa whenever the base problem heated up, essentially capping strong anti-base movements. But the DPJ has been loathe to use such devices. Moreover, the locals were never given a say, reading about most proposals and now the final decision in the newspapers, which has only added more fuel to the fires of outrage. If the new relocation plan is ever to have a chance of being implemented, the ruling party may now have no choice but to belatedly enter the realm so masterly managed by the LDP in the past and offer lavish economic measures.

As for Prime Minister Hatoyama’s political fate, his popularity has already plummeted to 20% or below in the polls, and his party’s support ratings are even below the LDP’s in some surveys. Hatoyama’s controversial decision is not likely to endear him to a public that has already given up on his administration. Having made the decision, and assuming that a US-Japan agreement is in its final stage, the Prime Minister may indeed decide that the situation has become untenable and resign to let a fresh face take the party into the general election in July.

It may come down to a question of whether to resign before the election to take responsibility for breaking his promise to Okinawa, or having to resign after it to take responsibility for a poor showing for his party. In either case, Hatoyama gets no respect for a decision he promised and delivered in May.

Dr William Brooks
APP Senior Fellow

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Edwin O. Reischauer and the American Discovery of Japan

Edwin O. Reischauer 
and the American Discovery of Japan
A Book Talk
George R. Packard
President, US-Japan Foundation and APP member

Wednesday, June 2, 2010
2:00 – 3:00 PM

FPRI Library, 1528 Walnut Street, Suite 610
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Free and Open to the Public but Reservations Required
Please contact FPRI

In this biography of scholar and diplomat Edwin O. Reischauer, Packard explores Reischauer’s critical role in the history of U.S.-Japanese relations, a role that began during World War II in analyzing intelligence on Japan and training American code-breakers in Japanese; then, after the war, he helped steer Japan toward democracy, and as Ambassador to Japan in the early 1960s helped “reset” U.S.-Japanese relations. He was also one of the nation’s foremost scholars of Japan and East Asia, and, in that capacity, helped explain Japan to Americans. 

Dr. George R. Packard, an APP member, is president of the United States-Japan Foundation and Adjunct Professor of Political Science at Columbia University, where he is chairman of the Advisory Board of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute. He was dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (1979-1993), where he founded John Hopkins’s Foreign Policy Institute, the SAIS Review, the Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies, and the Hopkins-Nanjing Center in China. 

Earlier in his career, Dr. Packard was an intelligence officer and later a special assistant to US Ambassador Edwin O. Reischauer in Tokyo.  He has also worked extensively in journalism, first as a diplomatic correspondent for Newsweek, and then as White House correspondent and then executive editor of the Philadelphia Evening and Sunday Bulletin

His articles have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Foreign Affairs and elsewhere.  His latest essay, “The United States-Japan Security Treaty at 50: Still a Grand Bargain?” appeared in the March/April 2010 issue of Foreign Affairs.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Don't Forget the Polar Bears Daddy

Energy dominates “strategic” part of US-China

In the hopes of salvaging bi-lateral cooperative goodwill, energy and the environment have taken the front seat in this year’s US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED). What remains to be seen is if the Obama Administration will use this avenue as mere lip-service to the ailing “G-2” partnership, or as fresh inroads to resolving issues in the region and in bi-lateral trade.

Half of the 26 specific outcomes of the strategic track following the two-day high-level exchange focused on energy or environmental cooperation, most announcing progress on last November’s agreements.

The disappointments, on the other hand, are many:

Days after an international panel determined that North Korea is responsible for the March 26th sinking of the South Korean navy ship Cheonan, Chinese officials carefully avoided any mention of the incident during the talks. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave the Chinese time for “careful consideration” – avoiding stronger tones she has taken in the past, i.e., on internet censorship

US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner made little headway on bi-lateral sticking points, backtracking in his concluding remarks that currency reform is “of course China’s choice.” Furthermore, China’s commitment to resolve WTO disputes is still at the “basic principles” stage.

What both sides touted as a forum for a range of global issues now seems relegated to important yet benign agreements on joint research centers and educational exchanges.

US Energy Secretary Steven Chu’s arrival this week in Beijing to kick off the US-China Renewable Energy Forum and US Commerce Secretary Gary Locke’s clean energy trade mission last week indicate that other avenues of rapprochement might work better.

The joint statement on energy security cooperation following the dialogue reiterated the G-20 agenda and reaffirmed agreements on clean energy and energy efficiency.

However, as I suggested recently regarding the security implications of climate change, energy and environment present many opportunities for broader cooperation between the two countries. Orchestrating joint disaster relief exercises would resurrect military exchanges that could help to prevent an escalation on the Korean peninsula. Furthermore, the US Armed Services and the People’s Liberation Army support some of the most advanced scientific research programs in their respective countries.

Harnessing the “strategic” relationship will require a fresh look at the key security drivers of the Asia-Pacific region and progressively more engagement on the key economic driver: energy.

Michael Davidson
APP Visiting Fellow

India in Washington

INDIA’S LOOK EAST POLICY REVISITED. 5/27, 12:30-2:00Pm, Washington, DC (lunch will be served). Sponsor: East West Center in Washington. Speaker: Baladas Ghoshal, Visiting Scholar, East-West Center.

CHINA’S IMPACT ON INDIAN FOREIGN POLICY AND SECURITY STRATEGY. 5/27, 3:30-5:00pm, Washington, DC. Sponsors: CSIS, Asia Foundation. Speaker: Indrani Bagchi, Diplomatic Editor, Times of India

INDIA’S SCIENCE MINISTER. 6/2, 2:00-3:00pm, Washington, DC. Sponsors: AAAS, Indo-US Science and Technology Forum. Speaker: Prithviraj Chavan, Indian Minister of State for the Ministries of Science and Technology and Earth Sciences. Moderator: Alan Leshner, CEO, AAAS. 

SHIFTING THE BALANCE IN ASIA: INDIAN MILITARY MODERNIZATION. 6/8, 9:00am- 1:15pm, Washington, DC. Sponsor: AEI. Speakers: Jacqeuline Newmyer, Long Term Strategy Group; Stephen Rosen, Harvard University; Shivaji Sondahi, Princeton University; Chris Clary, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Sunil Dasgupta, University of Maryland; James R. Holmes, U.S. Navy War College; Walter Ladwig III, Oxford University; Jasmeet Ahuja, House Committee on Foreign Affairs; Timothy Hoyt, U.S. Navy War College; Remy Nathan, Aerospace Industries Association. 

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Slicing through the Gordonian knot of Futenma, one thread at a time

It's not a task for the faint-hearted, but Asia Policy Point's very own Bill Brooks has grasped the many tangled threads of the Futenma saga and unravelled them to find what lies at the core: a knot of conflicting demands between nations, capital city and province, and civilians and the military.

Bill's landmark paper for SAIS on the two sets of negotiations to relocate Futenma Air Station in Okinawa is a must read for it not only reveals how contentious and divisive the talks were, even to the point of near crisis situations, but also why the two agreements were never implemented.

Bill also has aptly compared the past attempts to resolve the Futenma issue with the current efforts of the Hatoyama administration, concluding that those who ignore the lessons of history are doomed to repeat the same mistakes.

By William L. Brooks
(Asia-Pacific Policy Papers Series, Reischauer Center, SAIS Johns Hopkins University, May 2010, 109 pages)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Amb Mike Armacost to speak in Tokyo May 28

A 50th Anniversary Symposium of the Japan-US Security Treaty hosted by APP member institution the US-Japan Research Institute will feature former US Ambassador to Japan 
Michael Armacost who is an APP member.

Friday, May 28

Waseda University
Okuma Auditorium
1-104, Totsuka-machi, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo

Admission is free. Simultaneous interpretation provided.
Register HERE.

Speakers include:
Michael H. Armacost, Shorenstein Distinguished Fellow, Asia Pacific Research Center, Stanford University, Former US Ambassador to Japan
Patrick M. Cronin, Senior Advisor & Senior Director of the Asia Program, Center for a New American Security
Yoshimasa Hayashi, Member, House of Councillors, Acting Chairman, Policy Research Council, Liberal Democratic Party Former Defense Minister
Akihisa Nagashima, Member, House of Representatives, Democratic Party of Japan, Parliamentary Secretary for Defense
Hiroshi Nakanishi, Professor, Kyoto University
Sheila A. Smith, Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations
Chikako Ueki, Professor, Waseda University
Shunji Yanai, Judge of the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea, Former Japan Ambassador to US
Naoyuki Agawa, Professor, Keio University

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Vanishing Japan

Aging Society White Paper, 5/15/10, Cabinet Office of Japan.
                The elderly (65 years and up) are 22.7 percent of the Japanese population as of October 1, 2009, according to the Japanese government's annual report on age demographics. This is an increase of 0.6 percentage points (790,000 people) over last year, and the highest since these surveys began in 1996. The ratio of men to women in this age range is 74.7 percent. By 2055, there will be only 1.3 non-elderly people (15-64 years) to support each person aged 65 and over, compared with 2.8 in 2009. In 2042, even as the total elderly population begins shrinking, the ratio of elderly in the overall population will continue to rise. The second chapter discusses the current situation of policies to address the aging society. Government expenditures in 2009 for related policies grew by 3 trillion yen to 17.1 trillion yen, by far the largest increase since these statistics begin in 1996. The majority of this increase was in employment and income benefits, followed by health and welfare. The final section, on 2010 policies, states that the 2010 budget for these programs is 17.4 trillion yen.

Records of 2009 Suicides, Japan National Police Agency, May 2010, 28 pgs.
                For the 12th consecutive year, the number of suicides in Japan was more than 30,000 last year, increasing 1.8 percent from 2008 to 32,845. Gender distribution was 71.5 percent male and 28.5 percent female. People in their 50s accounted for the largest of any decade, 19.8 percent of the total. “Economic/personal issues” were the reason with the largest increase, up 13.1 percent. The most common reason was “health issues.” A majority of suicide victims (57 percent) was unemployed; hence, the report concludes the number of suicides is partially attributable to the 2008 financial crisis. . The country's suicide rate of 24.4 per 100,000 people ranked the second-highest among the Group of Eight leading industrialized nations after Russia's 30.1, according to the World Health Organization.

Very Low Fertility in Asia: Is There a Problem? Can It Be Solved? by Sidney B. Westley, Minja Kim Choe, and Robert D. Retherford. AsiaPacific Issues, No. 94. Honolulu: East-West Center, May 2010, 12 pgs.
….four of Asia's most prosperous economies--Japan, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan--have among the lowest birth rates in the world. With women having, on average, only one child each, these societies have expanding elderly populations and a shrinking workforce to pay for social services and drive economic growth. And in Japan, overall population numbers are already going down. Why are women choosing to have so few children? How are policymakers responding to these trends? Government leaders have initiated a variety of policies and programs designed to encourage marriage and childbearing, but to what effect? Given current social and economic trends, it is unlikely that Asia's steep fertility decline will be reversed, at least not in the foreseeable future.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

China and Taiwan

AN ASIAN TIGER FOR THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY: TAIWAN’S POTENTIAL IN THE GLOBAL MARKETPLACE. 5/17, 9:30-11:30am, Washington, DC. Sponsor: AEI. Speakers: Paul Wolfowitz, AEI; Dan Blumenthal, AEI; Rupert Hammond, Chambers, U.S.-Taiwan Business Council; Derek Scissors, Heritage Foundation.  
A MID-TERM ASSESSMENT OF THE POLICIES OF THE MA YING-JEOU ADMINISTRATION. 5/18, 9:00am-5:00pm, Washington, DC. Sponsors: Brookings, CSIS. Speaker: Dr. Kurt Campbell, Assistant Secretary, East Asian and Pacific Affairs, U.S. Department of State; Jason Yuan, Representative, Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office, United States; Daniel H. Rosen, Principal, Rhodium Group, Visiting Fellow, PIIE; Dr. Kuo-yuan Liang, President, Polaris Research Institute; Dr. Rong-yi Wu, Vice President, Taiwan Brain Trust, Senior Advisor, Taiwan Institute of Economic Research; Dr. Paul C.H. Chiu, Chairman, Bank SinoPac; Alan D. Romberg, Distinguished Fellow, Henry L. Stimson Center; Dr. S. Philip Hsu, Associate Professor, Political Science, National Taiwan University; Shih-chung Liu, Senior Research Fellow, Taiwan Brain Trust; Dr. Steven M. Goldstein, Sophia Smith Professor, Government, Smith College; Director, Taiwan Studies Workshop, Harvard University; Dr. Alexander Huang, Professor, Strategy and War Gaming, Graduate Institute, International Affairs and Strategic Studies, Tamkang University; Dr. Joanne J.L. Chang, Research Fellow, Institute of European and American Studies, Academia Sinica. 

CHINA’S EMERGENT MILITARY AEROSPACE AND COMMERCIAL AVIATION CAPABILITIES. 5/20, 9:00am-4:00pm, Washington, DC. Sponsor: U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. Bruce S. Lemkin, Deputy Under Secretary of the Air Force for International Affairs, U.S. Air Force; Mary H. Saunders, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Manufacturing and Services, U.S. Department of Commerce; Dr. Roger Cliff, Senior Political Scientist, The RAND Corporation; Mark Stokes, Executive Director, Project 2049 Institute; Wayne Ulman, China Issue Manager, National Air and Space Intelligence Center; Peder Andersen, International Trade Analyst for Aerospace, U.S. International Trade Commission; Dr. Tai Ming Cheung, Scientist, Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation, Associate Adjunct Professor, School of International Relations and Pacific Studies; Richard D. Fisher, Jr., Senior Fellow, Asian Military Affairs, International Assessment and Strategy Center; Owen E. Herrnstadt, Director of Trade and Globalization, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers; Dan Elwell, Vice President for Civil Aviation, Aerospace Industries Association; Dr. Rebecca Grant, Director, Mitchell Institute and Senior Fellow, Lexington Institute; Jeff Hagen, Senior Engineer, The RAND Corporation. 

CHINA IN THE AMERICAS. 5/21, 2:00-3:30pm, Washington, DC. Sponsors: The Americas Society/Council of the Americas and the Americas Program of the Center for Strategic International Studies (CSIS). Speakers: Ambassador Richard Bernal, Alternate Executive Director, IDB, and former Director General of the Office of Trade Negotiations, CARICOM; Osvaldo Rosales, Director, International Commerce Division, Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean; Johanna Mendelson Forman, Senior Associate, Americas Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies; Eric Farnsworth, Vice President, Americas Society/Council of the Americas. 

EVOLVING AEROSPACE TRENDS IN THE ASIA-PACIFIC REGION. 5/25, 2:00-4:30pm, Arlington, Virginia. Sponsor: Project 2049 Institute. Speakers: Mark Stokes, Project 2049 Institute; Jim Thomas, Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments; Paul Giarra, Global Strategies & Transformation; Dr. Andrew Yang, Deputy Minister of Defense, Taiwan. 

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Japanese companies should apologize former POW says

Dr. Lester Tenney, past president of the American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor and APP member was a prisoner of Imperial Japan from 1942 to 1945. He is a survivor of the Battle of the Philippines, the infamous Bataan Death March, Camp O'Donnell, a Hell Ship, and a Mitsui coal mine.

After decades, with help from Japanese friends and DPJ members, he has finally persuaded the Government of Japan to initiate a program of invitation for American former prisoners of war. Such a program has existed since 1995 for all Allied POWS, except Americans. Millions have been spent to fund visits, scholarships, documentation, and research.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has yet to officially announce this new program of what they call "mutual understanding."

The US State Department become involved in the negotiations for the POWs last fall after the fading LDP government OKed a limited program and budgeted $180,000.  State was unable to persuade MOFA to expand the budget or scope of the program.  MOFA says these things are contingent upon the "success" of the inaugural visit by seven former POWs and their caregivers. It is unknown what is the measure of success.

Below is an op ed by Dr. Tenney that appeared in the May 10th evening edition of the Mainichi Shimbun (in Japanese) commenting on what is missing from the program, as proposed. It is  followed by a background piece Kinue Tokudome of the US-Japan Dialogue on POWs, which was requested by Mainichi.

Japanese Companies Should Apologize to Former POWs 
for Their WWII Forced Labor and Abuse

On April 9, 1942, I was one of approximately 12,000 American soldiers who were surrendered to the Japanese military on the Bataan Peninsula in the Philippine Islands. After the surrender, starving and sick POWs were forced to march 65 miles under the scorching sun without food, water, medical treatment, or rest. This march became known as one of World War II’s most infamous war crimes.

For those who survived the “Bataan Death March,” it was the beginning of over three years in an unimaginable hell that included our being sold into slavery by the Japanese military to over 60 Japanese companies. At companies like Mitsui, Mitsubishi, Kawasaki, Nippon Sharyo, and Hitachi, we labored in brutal conditions to sustain Japan’s war production of everything from coal to flour, from steel to train wheels.

The suffering we endured from the employees of these companies was comparable to, and sometimes worse than, that inflicted upon us by the Japanese military. As a result, more than a thousand American POWs (3,500 Allied POWs) died in Japan. Those who survived found themselves with permanent physical and mental damage.

In May 2009, Japanese Ambassador to the United States, Ichiro Fujisaki, apologized for his government for the atrocities committed by the Japanese on American POWs during WWII. This apology made me feel that our Japanese allies understood our need for justice and for closure of this wicked chapter in US-Japan relations.

But I ask, “Are we not also entitled to an apology from those companies who used and abused American POWs?” These companies are members of Nippon Keidanren, Japan’s premier business organization. They accept Keidanren’s “Charter of Corporate Behavior” which states, “Members are expected to respect human rights.”

With this in mind, I wrote to Chairman Fujio Mitarai in 2009 asking that Keidanren join the government of Japan in bringing honorable closure to the WWII POW forced labor by apologizing for inhumane forced labor. I have yet to receive a response.

I now ask the Chairman-elect, Mr. Hiromasa Yonekura, to offer an apology. Many Japanese companies, including his Sumitomo Chemical, deprived POWs of adequate food, clothing, and medical care and further allowed their employees to brutalize the POWs in their care. They withheld Red Cross care packages.

Keidanren’s members no longer have any legal responsibility to the American POWs, but there is a moral responsibility to acknowledge the past wrongs. We ask Keidanren to openly accept that responsibility and show their sincerity to former POWs. A genuine apology that shows understanding of our sacrifices is long overdue. We have waited 65 years for Japan’s business community to do the honorable thing.

APP at the United Nations

On May 13, APP's Visiting Fellow Michael Davidson gave a speech at United Nations Headquarters in New York during the 18th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development.

His address at a high-level round table segment on sustainable transportation focused on the need for reliable transportation systems in developing countries. Lack of these systems disproportionately affects youth and children in how they access basic services such as health and education, and impedes the attainment of the second Millennium Development Goal on universal primary education.

A video of the speech is available in the UN Webcast Archives. Click here to begin streaming. Davidson’s address starts at 2:16:50.

Photo by Michael Davidson

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Brooks to talk May 17 on Okinawa base politics

The Politics of Base Relocation in Okinawa 
The Futenma MCAS Negotiations 
1995-97 and 2005-06 
Dr. William L. Brooks
Professorial lecturer in the SAIS Japan Studies Program 
and APP Senior Fellow

4:30 PM - 6:00 PM

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

Photo lifted from here.

Public at peace with Japan's constitution

Polls show the Japanese public are losing interest in constitutional reform.

On May 3, Japan’s constitution marked its 63rd anniversary since its promulgation in 1947 under the MacArthur Occupation. To date, the document has yet to be amended, although there has been much talk about it and a spate of activity in recent years, particularly under the LDP administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (2006-7).

Every year, the major dailies on this day feature their own opinion polls on public attitudes toward the constitution and receptivity toward amending it. Although this year’s crop of polls by the Mainichi, Asahi, and Nikkei may vary slightly in the numbers, they all show strong support for the peace constitution and appreciation for its perceived contribution to the security of Japan nd the region. The polls also point to a trend in recent years of steady decline in public interest in changing the constitution, particularly the war-renouncing Article 9.

The Hatoyama government has quietly shelved debate on constitutional reform, despite the existence of a National Refendum Law coming into effect on May 18. Even more telling of the Democratic Party of Japan’s neglect of constitutional reform is the moribund state of constitutional examination committees (kenpou shinsakai) in both houses of the Diet. The panels have yet to meet since last September to fulfill their legal responsibility of setting up the procedures and rules for amending the constitution. Absent Diet debate on the subject, the Japanese public not surprisingly is paying less attention to this once hot-button issue in domestic politics. In fact, the Nikkei poll found 76% of Japanese unaware that procedures leading to constitutional reform would begin in May. Only 20% were savvy.

Mainichi’s poll, carried out April 17-18 as part of a general opinion survey, was the briefest, only asking respondents to give their opinion about whether they hoped to see the constitution amended or not. Views were split, with 50% saying “yes” and 48% saying “no.”

The Nikkei poll (March 3 edition, not on the Internet site) found 47% of the public supporting constitutional revision, the same level as in last year’s survey. It also found 40% of the public favoring keeping the Constitution just as it is. This was a 2-point rise from last year’s result. The gap is narrowing between those for and against amending the constitution.

In contrast, the opinion survey carried out by the Asahi also in mid-April, is more informative than the other two polls, underscoring a trend of eroding support for constitutional revision since the Abe administration. The survey found 47% of the general public in favor of amending the Constitution, with 39% against it. But this was a 10-point drop from the survey in 2007, Abe’s tenure, when positive views about constitutional revision accounted for 58% of the general public.

In the Asahi poll, the public was emphatic about Article 9, in which Japan renounces war and is barred from maintaining an armed force with war potential. Asked whether Article 9 should be changed, 67% said “no,” an increase of 3 points since the poll in 2008. But in the 2007 survey, only 49% were against Article 9 revision, with 33% favoring it. Since the 2008 survey, those negative about changing the article rose about 60%.

Asked in the current poll if they thought Article 9 was useful in maintaining peace in Japan and stability in the region, 70% answered affirmatively. Only 22% thought otherwise.

Picture from here.

William Brooks
Senior APP Fellow

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A climate of trust with China

Climate Security in East Asia: New Opportunities for Non-traditional Cooperation* 
by Michael Davidson, Visiting Fellow at Asia Policy Point
Later this month, US Commerce Secretary Gary Locke goes to China to promote US clean energy technologies while Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton follow for the second round of the US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue. All will discuss ways to strengthen the US-China relationship by combating environmental degradation.
The security implications of climate change offer promising areas of cooperation between the US and China. Both countries agree on the potential damaging effects of climate change as well as on the need for coordinated international responses. However, US defense planners have not fully recognized the many benefits to be gained by cooperating with China on this front. Given the scale of the problem, a US-China climate security partnership could dwarf existing military cooperation and help stabilize the bilateral relationship.
“Securitization” of Climate Change
Global climate change threatens to increase the frequency and severity of natural disasters. Mitigating and adapting to these effects has significant security implications that defense ministries have only begun to acknowledge. The 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) noted that “While climate change alone does not cause conflict, it may act as an accelerant of instability or conflict, placing a burden to respond on civilian institutions and militaries around the world.”
This year’s QDR – the first-ever to mention climate change – highlighted two important effects of climate and energy security: (1) the changing “operating environment, roles and missions” of US forces; and (2) the impact on military facilities and capabilities.
The changing roles and missions refer to the new and unpredictable requirements of providing disaster relief and humanitarian assistance. According to a 2007 report by the Center for Naval Analyses on which the QDR drew heavily, climate stresses can undermine public health infrastructure, destabilize economies, and contribute to a rise in terrorism.
The latter impact refers to, for example, the high price tag of delivering oil to the frontlines and the responsibility for mitigating climate change effects. The Department of Defense (DoD) has singled out military installations as a test bed for renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. Furthermore, as part of President Obama’s executive order on federal sustainability, noncombat activities are to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 34 percent in 2020.
In its 2008 white paper on defense, China highlighted energy conservation and ecological projects but failed to list their security implications. In other venues, such as the ASEAN Regional Forum, however, China has indicated the need to look beyond traditional security threats.
In a recent article, People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Maj. Gen. Luo Yuan called noncombat military activities overseas a “new mission for a new era” of the PLA. However, China has failed to keep up with the US, Japan, and other major powers in standardizing key elements of these activities such as personnel training and logistics support. This substantially restricts the PLA’s future presence abroad. He further emphasized that cooperation and dialogue are fundamental to these types of activities.

Dugong sighted off Nago, Japan

Click the Photo
QAB (Ryukyu Asahi Broadcasting) footage of a dugong witnessed 
on the morning of May 12 off the coast of Nago - 4 KM north of Camp Schwab

Pedaling Peril

In March, the US Government Accountability Office issued it report on Firms Reported in Open Sources as Having Commercial Activity in Iran's Oil, Gas, and Petrochemical Sectors [GAO-10-515R March 23, 2010]. The report noted the following companies as still doing business in Iran:
Japan’s INPEX Corp.and JGC Corp; Austria's OMV AG, Brazil's Petrobras and China National Pertoleum Corp. and China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. from China. Also on the list were Total SA from France, Eni SpA from Italy, Russia's Gazprom and Lukoil, Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. from South Korea, and Royal Dutch Shell PLC.

This week the Senate's Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a full committee hearing May 12th on "Iran Sanctions: Why Does the U.S. Government Do Business With Companies Doing Business in Iran?" with Congressman Ted Deutsch, U.S. House of Representatives; Joseph A. Christoff, Director, International Affairs and Trade, U.S. Government Accountability Office; Danielle Pietka, Vice President, Foreign and Defense Policy Studies, AEI for Public Policy Research. 

Following the hearing, there will be a number of programs exploring the issues brought up by the nuclearization of Iran and pending legislation to toughen sanctions against companies doing business with Iran (Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act, H.R. 2194 and S. 908).
PEDDLING PERIL: HOW THE SECRET NUCLEAR ARMS AMERICA’S ENEMIES. 5/13, 10:00am-Noon, Washington, DC. Sponsor: Center for Nonproliferation Studies. Speakers: David Albright, President, Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS); Dr. Matthew Kroenig, Assistant Professor, Georgetown University Department of Government; Dr. Catherine Lotrionte, Assistant Director, Georgetown Institute for Law, Science, and Global Security; Williams Reinsch, President, National Foreign Trade Council; Edmund Rice, Senior Professional Staff Member, House Foreign Affairs Committee. 

WORLD WITHOUT NUCLEAR WEAPONS: SOUND POLICY OR DANGEROUS ILLUSION. 5/13, Noon-2:00pm, Washington, DC. Sponsor: American Society of International Law (ASIL). Speakers: Amb. Thomas Pickering, Former Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs; Frank Gaffney, Former Assistant Defense Secretary for International Security Policy. 

EXPORTING THE BOMB: TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER AND THE SPREAD OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS. 5/14, Noon-1:30pm, Washington, DC. Sponsor: Wilson Center (WWC). Speaker: Matthew Kroenig, Assistant Professor, Department of Government, Georgetown University.

GETTING SANCTIONS RIGHT: PERSPECTIVES ON THE IRAN SANCTIONS LEGISLATION. 5/12, 9:00-10:30am, Washington, DC. Sponsor: Global Business Dialogue. Speakers: William Reinsch, National Foreign Trade Council; Catherine Robinson, NAM; Christopher Wenk, U.S. Chamber of Commerce; L. Charles Landgraf, Dewey & LeBoeuf.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Who said Washingtonians are no fun

Make it fun for 
Asian Pacific American Month

Saturday May 22, 1pm
Fiesta Asia Street Fair 
Pennsylvania Ave NW & 3rd St NW
Call Time 12.30pm (Wear Orange/Yellow!) 

The organizers of Washington, DC's Fiesta Asia Street Fair are looking for 300 or more people to do the 1st ever Bollywood Flash Mob Dance Street Style on Pennsylvania Ave "spontaneously"
Watch the video above or go to one of the classes noted on the Fiesta website

Join APP interns at the Fiesta!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Kim Jong Il visits China

Kim Jong Il has visited China four times since 2000, each time by train and each time under hush-hush circumstances. This week was his latest trip, lasting from May 3 to May 7th.

The following is a list of participants at a meeting between Chinese President Hu Jintao and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Wednesday, May 5th as reported by the Chinese media on Friday.

China: -- Hu Jintao, president -- Xi Jinping, vice president -- Dai Bingguo, state councilor -- Wang Jiarui, head of the Communist Party's International Department -- Ling Jihua, director of the General Office of the party's Central Committee -- Yang Jiechi, foreign minister -- Liu Hongcai, ambassador to North Korea 

North Korea: -- Kim Jong Il, general secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea -- Kang Sok Ju, first vice foreign minister -- Kim Yang Gon, director of the party's United Front Department -- Kim Yong Il, director of the party's International Department.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

No fighting in the war room

Twelve of the 47 nations attending the April 12-13 Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, DC were Asian. Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama reportedly gave the keynote address at the working dinner on the first night.

Eleven of these countries issued national statements or commitments outlining what they planned to do to lessen the risks of nuclear annihilation.

The Summit's attendees approved a Communique to advance a common approach and commitment to nuclear security. Leaders in attendance renewed their commitment to ensure that nuclear materials under their control are not stolen or diverted for use by terrorists, and pledged to continue to evaluate the threat and improve the security as changing conditions may require, and to exchange best practices and practical solutions for doing so.

The United States pledged to promote sustainable domestic nuclear security programs; minimize highly enriched uranium; plutonium disposition; ratifying international convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism and the 2005 Amendment to the Convention on the physical Protection of Nuclear Material; develop new neutron detection technologies; voluntary fund for UN Security Council Resolution 1540; and fund Nuclear Security Programme of IAEA.

Many states made commitments to support the Summit either by taking national actions to increase nuclear security domestically or by working through bilateral or multilateral mechanisms to improve security globally. Eleven of the 12 Asian nations attending issued national statements or commitments at the Summit.

Links to these statements and who was the country representative are as follows. Unfortunately, most national statements cannot be found on the Internet and many of the links below are simply to articles about them.


Representative of China: Hu Jintao, President of China
Announced cooperation on nuclear security Center of Excellence


Representative of India: Dr, Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister
Announced the creation of a Nuclear Energy Center with a nuclear security component


Representative of Indonesia: Dr, Boediono, Vice President
The final agreement is still being drafted. Indonesia will keep its position based on their basic principles.


Representative of Japan: Yukio Hatoyama, Prime Minister of Japan
Launching an integrated regional support center; research and development on detection and forensics; contributing new resources to International Atomic Energy Agency’s Nuclear Security Fund; hosting and funding a World Institute of Nuclear Security best practices conference.


Representative of Kazakhstan: Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of Kazakhstan.

Converting a highly enriched uranium research reactor and eliminating remaining highly enriched uranium; cooperative work on BN-350 rector shutdown and fuel security; hosting a Global Initiative Activity in June; considering a International Nuclear Security Training Center


Representative of Malaysia: Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak, Prime Minister of Malaysia
Passed new export control law.


Representative of New Zealand: John Key, Prime Minister of New Zealand
Contributing to International Atomic Energy Agency’s Nuclear Security Fund; contributing to the U.S. Nuclear Smuggling Outreach Initiative.


Representative of Philippines: Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, President of Philippines
Joining the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism.


Representative of Singapore: Lee Hsien Loong, Prime Minister
Strategic Goods (Control) Act (SGCA) includes a catch-all provision, brokering controls, sharing of intelligence with other countries, and controls on the Intangible Transfer of Technology (ITT). Singapore has adopted a number of Regulations and administrative measures. Singapore also complies with FATF guidelines to combat proliferation financing.


Representative of Korea: Myung-bak Lee, President
Hosting 2012 Nuclear Security Summit; hosting a Global Initiative activity.


Representative of Thailand: Trairong Suwannakhiri, Deputy Prime Minister
Joining the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism.


Representative of Vietnam: Nguyen Tan Dung, Prime Minister of Vietnam
Converting a highly enriched uranium research reactor; joining the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

World Bank & IMF Meetings

Washington hosted the annual IMF/World Bank spring meetings April 24 to 25. This year's protest were quite subdued and less colorful than in past years. Following the meetings and international development  issue have never been easier. There was a blog and a number of significant reports:

For the researcher, the most significant release of the meeting was the announcement that the World Bank Group will now offer free access to more than 2,000 financial, business, health, economic and human development statistics. An initial 330 indicators are available in French, Spanish and Arabic. The new website is

Meeting Site:
World Bank Meetings Blog:
Global Monitoring Report 2010: The MDGs after the Crisis,
World Economic Outlook,
Global Financial Stability Report,
East Asia & Pacific on the Rise Blog,

Organizations relevant to the study of international finance and development in Washington,

Peterson Institute for International Economics,
Institute of International Finance,
Center for Global Development,
Society for International Development,

Voters driven to distraction as Hatoyama destination is becoming known

There does not appear to be any way for Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama to head off the political train wreck coming his way.

With his popularity having reached even more dangerous lows – 20 to 24 percent range -- in the latest polls, an inquest panel’s finding this week that DPJ Secretary General Ichiro Ozawa should be indicted for his money scandals, and news of his seemingly desperate decision on Futenma relocation that is only likely to bring the wrath of Okinawa down on his head, the Prime Minister seems to be coming off the rails. He has no allies in the press, with even liberal dailies friendly to the DPJ decrying his mishandling of the issues. The Western press continues also to hammer him for allegedly creating a crisis in the US-Japan alliance over the Futenma issue.

The consensus in the press, and among a growing number in his party, seems to be that Hatoyama simply cannot lead his party into the summer Upper House election with a support rate now around 20% and falling. The result would be a disaster. It would not be surprising to have him first seal up a highly unpopular deal on Futenma and then, taking responsibility for breaking a campaign pledge to move the facility out of Okinawa Prefecture, resign his seat as prime minister to make way for a more popular leader. Rumors have Finance Minister Naoto Kan, a popular figure in Japanese politics, to take the driver's seat prior to the election campaign period.

After months of hemming and hawing on where to relocate Futenma, a Marine Corps base located in downtown Ginowan City on Okinawa, and floating just about every conceivable site proposal ranging from Kyushu to Guam, the Hatoyama government, reportedly has decided, apparently in desperation, to return to square one and opt for the original relocation plan from 2006 with some modifications.

Since Hatoyama promised in last year’s election campaign to move Futenma out of the prefecture, his reneging will inevitably outrage Okinawa, where only last week approximately 90,000 demonstrators* angrily protested against any agreement that resulted in Futenma being relocated inside the prefecture. The DPJ’s coalition partner, the Social Democratic Party, already has flatly come out against the plan. It is no wonder that the controversial decision was leaked to the press at the start of the Golden Week consecutive holidays, when people are on vacation and less attentive to the news.

According to the business daily Nikkei on April 29, the US government has been informed that: 1) the current plan to reclaim land along the shore line of Camp Schwab will be revised and altered to a more environmentally-friendly construction method that would involve installing a pier supported by posts; and 2) a portion of the training by the helicopter unit will be carried out on a scale of up to 1,000 troops on Tokunoshima, an island in Kagoshima Prefecture. Prime Minister Hatoyama plans to visit Okinawa May 4 to explain the new plan to Governor Nakaima. Working-level talks on the new plan will start possibly in early May.

The revised relocation plan, the third iteration since the 1995 SACO agreement, is a combination of a 1996 proposal to build a sea-based runway off Henoko and a 2006 revision to build the runway along the shoreline of Camp Schwab, with parts of it jutting into the sea. The revised plan if implemented would finally allow for the closure of Futenma, eliminating the potential danger there of another helicopter crash like the one in 2004 into an adjacent university campus, where miraculously no civilians were hurt.

The proposal to remove training to Tokunoshima, which has an existing runway, is an obvious attempt to convince Okinawa to somehow swallow the decision not to remove the helicopter unit from the prefecture. Even if the U.S. concurs with the new plan, there is no guarantee that the residents of Tokunoshima, half of whom turned out recently to protest any relocation of Marines to their island, will change their tune. And Okinawans, too, seem unlikely to forgive Hatoyama for a decision that the residents will paint as a betrayal of trust. Implementing the third iteration of the Futenma relocation plan may prove to be just as elusive as its predecessors.

Ozawa once more on hot seat

Hatoyama also faces the nation’s severe judgment for keeping in place a party leader who most Japanese want to see out of power, as the polls have repeatedly shown. The latest blow for the Prime Minister was the news on April 28 that an inquest panel had ruled DPJ Secretary General should be indicted for alleged violation of the Political Funds Control Law, even though the Tokyo District Prosecutors Office earlier this year decided not to prosecute, citing insufficient evidence. Prosecutors are now obliged to reinvestigate the case, which makes it all the more likely Ozawa will eventually be indicted. Though editorials and the public in the latest polls are clamoring for Ozawa to quit his post, the DPJ powerbroker continues to stonewall.

The Japanese public, which will soon go to the polls in the Upper House election this summer, have not only given up on the Hatoyama Cabinet, they also have turned aside from the DPJ as the party of choice. The latest round of opinion polls released this week all show Hatoyama’s popularity at an abysmally low 20-24 percent range, reminiscent of the status of the last three LDP prime minister’s before they left office.

The surveys also show rapid decline in the DPJ’s support rate, with voters either joining the unaffiliated ranks or opting to support small splinter parties. The former ruling LDP, now in shambles with defectors leaving to form mini-parties or become independents, has little appeal for disaffected voters. Even if the DPJ switches to a more popular leader and rids itself of the albatross that Ozawa has become, it seems unlikely that it will score a victory in the election, though it is too early to predict how bad the result will be. Japanese politics seems to settling into yet another long, hot summer of voter discontent.

Dr. William Brooks
APP Senior Fellow

*Japan's National Police Agency, however, estimates the crowd to be closer to only 25,000 and the US Consulate on Okinawa estimates it to have been 40,000 to 45,000 people.