Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Abe's shrine visit raises risk of conflict: analysts

AFP reporting by Harumi Ozawa on December 27, 2013.

Tokyo — Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's inflammatory visit to a Tokyo war shrine demonstrates his determination to drag pacifist Japan to the right, and nudges northeast Asia a significant step closer to conflict, analysts say.

Already-frayed regional ties will be further damaged by what Abe claimed was a pledge against war, but what one-time victims of Japan's aggression see as a glorification of past militarism.

Abe's forthright views on history -- he has previously questioned the definition of "invade" in relation to Japan's military adventurism last century -- have raised fears over the direction he wants to take Japan.

"His ultimate goal is to revise the (pacifist) constitution," said Tetsuro Kato, professor emeritus at Tokyo's Hitotsubashi University. He is "arrogant and running out of control".

After a creditable performance in getting Japan's chronically under-performing economy back on track, which has kept his poll numbers respectable, Abe is now spending his political capital pursuing pet nationalist projects.

His trip to Yasukuni Shrine on Thursday, the anniversary of his coming to power, came days after approving the second consecutive budget rise for Japan's military.

That money will partly buy stealth fighters and amphibious vehicles intended to boost Japan's ability to defend remote islands, the government said, citing fears over Beijing's behaviour in a row over the ownership of a Japanese-controlled chain.

Observers say China has stepped up the aggressiveness of various sovereignty claims against Japan and other Asian countries, setting nerves on edge throughout the region.

It has also invested heavily in its armed forces, and has no compunction in parading its military capabilities, sailing its battleships through narrow sea lanes between Japanese islands.

In November the world reacted uneasily to Beijing's unilateral declaration of an Air Defence Identification Zone over the East China Sea, including disputed islands, a move the US said was an attempt to change the status quo by force.

Ed Griffith, a specialist in Sino-Japanese relations at Britain's Leeds University, says Beijing's apparent intransigence led Abe to conclude he had nothing to lose by going to Yasukuni.

"Abe has always wanted to pay a visit to the shrine as prime minister, but the threat of ruining Japan's relationship with China has previously been enough to keep him away," he told AFP.

"However, with the dispute over the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands taking the relationship to its lowest point since 1945, he clearly no longer sees that as an impediment."

Beijing says the islands have been its territory for hundreds of years and were snatched by Japan in the opening stages of its empire-building romp, which culminated in the brutal subjugation of swathes of China.

Like Yasukuni, they stand as a symbol in Chinese eyes of Japan's unrepentant militarism, and as a proxy among the Japanese Right for righteous nationalism.

"China has made it abundantly clear that visits to Yasukuni Shrine by a serving prime minister cannot be tolerated," said Griffith. "With (President) Xi Jinping still in the early stages of his leadership he cannot afford to be seen as weak.

"In the context of the unresolved dispute in the East China Sea, that is very serious indeed."

For Takehiko Yamamoto, professor of international relations at Waseda University, the pilgrimage was the natural extension of Abe's efforts to ape his staunchly nationalist grandfather.

Nobusuke Kishi, a World War II cabinet member who was arrested, but never convicted, for war crimes, was prime minister in the late 1950s and is remembered for fighting leftists and his desire to slough off the US-imposed constitution.

"Abe is regressing to the Kishi doctrine," he said. "He has implemented national security measures since taking power almost as if there is something in his DNA that has made him do it."

Earlier this month the government rode roughshod over objections from opposition lawmakers, media, lawyers and social rights activists to hammer through a far-reaching national secrecy law.

Critics say the legislation represents a real threat to freedom of the press and democratic governance, and recalls the repressive laws used to silence dissent in pre-war Japan. Abe dismissed the qualms.

But it was his explosive visit to Yasukuni that proved the icing on the cake.

Around 2.5 million souls are enshrined there, the majority of them common soldiers, but also including senior officials executed for war crimes, like General Hideki Tojo, the prime minister who ordered the attack on Pearl Harbor.

For Jia Qingguo, an international relations expert at Peking University, Abe is being deliberately provocative to prove he will stand up to China.

"I think it makes the already very difficult relationship between the two countries more difficult."

Hitotsubashi's Kato agrees, warning neither side is prepared to back away.

"Even if (this visit) does not mean an immediate war," said Kato, "a small clash at the border is now much more likely."

Friday, December 27, 2013

Unbought and unbossed






Yasukuni is no Arlington

Judge Pal at Yasukuni Shrine
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe headed a carnival of reporters and sycophants to the Yasukuni Shrine on December 26th. In a well-planned visit, the Prime Minister paid homage to both the known defenders of Imperial Japan and their enemies. Abe brushed aside criticism by saying that going to Yasukuni is no different than an American president’s visit to Arlington National Cemetery.

Beyond being war memorials to some who served their country, there is no similarity between Yasukuni and Arlington. They share neither the same history nor spirit. Any effort at comparison questions who won the Pacific War and why. It revises Japan's modern history. This is what Prime Minister Abe wants for to do that is to disavow Japan's pacifist constitution and its decades of democracy.

Arlington National Cemetery was created from the estate of General Robert E. Lee, commander of the Confederacy. Occupying Union Brig. Gen. Montgomery C. Meigs appropriated the grounds around the mansion in 1864 to use as a military cemetery. Meigs wanted to ensure that if the Lee family returned, their home would be surrounded by tombstones and widows in mourning. The intent was for Lee's estate to symbolize the pain and suffering caused by the South's engaging in the Civil War.

Unlike Yasukuni, Arlington is a cemetery. The bodies or ashes of those who served and their family members are interred on the grounds. The fallen will continue to rest at this national park as long as the United States exists.

None of this is true at Yasukuni. It is a religious shrine established in 1869 to embed the Shinto faith, the Imperial institution, and the divinity of the Emperor into the national polity. At Yasukuni, those fighting for the Emperor from the civil wars of mid-19th century Japan through the end of the Pacific War were transformed into divine spirits to join as one with the Emperor. Here the common foot soldier became equal to the Emperor.

At Arlington, men and women of all religions and races are buried. At Yasukuni, only the souls of identified and approved members of Imperial Japan's military who died on the battlefield--although there have been many exceptions--can be apotheosized with the Emperor. Some Japanese social classes are not allowed; and the unknown are not mentioned.

Yasukuni is now a private shrine. It hosts a museum glorifying wartime deeds. The Yushukan displays a museum full of memorabilia and trophies of past conflicts, especially the “Greater Asian War” and related “incidents.” The narrative boasts of how Japan liberated Asia from the Western colonialists. Its website states “the truth of Japanese history is now restored.”

In contrast, Arlington does not dwell on the glory of any war and claims no truth. It is a quiet place of reflection and contrition. Arlington’s website is subdued and factual. It reviews the rules for interment, outlines the property, and notes the names of famous people buried there, especially women, Jews, African Americans, and Japanese Americans.

Most important, one of the criteria for those buried at Arlington is that they have had to have been honorably discharged from the military. Those court-martialed or tried for war crimes cannot be interred. This is not the case for Yasukuni. In addition to the 14 Class A convicted war criminals who were found responsible for carrying forward the Pacific War, there are thousands who violated both Japanese and international laws.

Yasukuni is about rejecting the judgments of Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal. Many Japanese conservative nationalists believe that Imperial Japan should not be subject to rules created by the West. To emphasize this point, a large monument to Tribunal Judge Radha Binod Pal, who rejected its judgments, stands on a plaza at the Shrine (see above).

Yes, buried at Arlington are soldiers from campaigns of which Americans are less than proud. And there are many that escaped justice. Americans, however, do not visit the cemetery to honor them or to consider them gods. And unlike their Japanese counterparts, American politicians do not come to Arlington make political points, especially on the souls of the defeated. For Japan’s leaders, Yasukuni has become a tacit political expression of Japanese defiance and autonomy.

A visit to Yasukuni is a political act. The rites, the grounds, and museum all focus on Japan's Pacific War. The story Yasukuni wants to tell is that Japan liberated Asia and that their fellow Asians should be grateful. Mostly, the Shrine swipes at the United States and the Allies for not believing this narrative. And finally it is a protest against the Peace Treaty and Constitution that remove the divinity of the Emperor.

The Yasukuni Shrine is about declaring victory. The Emperor God was right, the barbarians were wrong. Yasukuni is not about contrition or reflection, but about certainty. It is a place of defiance and this is what separates it most from Arlington National Cemetery.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Monday in Washington, December 16, 2013

ANNUAL ENERGY OUTLOOK 2014. 12/16, 9:30-11:00am. Sponsor: Energy, Resources and Environment Program, SAIS, Johns Hopkins. Speaker: Adam Sieminski, Administrator, US Energy Information Administration (EIA).

DEEP INTEGRATION IN MEGA TRADE AGREEMENTS: WHAT ROLE FOR JAPAN AND THE US? 12/16, 10:00-11:30am. Sponsor: Center for East Asia Policy Studies, Brookings Institution. Speakers: Michitaka Nakatomi, Consulting Fellow, RIETI; Bruce Stokes, Director of Global Economic Attitudes, PEW Research Center; John Veroneau, Partner, Covington & Burling LLP; Yorizumi Watanabe, Professor of International Political Economy, Keio University.

THE MYTHOLOGY OF THE KINGSBURY COMMITMENT. 12/16, Noon-1:30pm. Sponsor: Hudson Institute. Speakers: Robert Crandall, Brookings; John Thorne, Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd, Evan & Figel, PLLC. 

THE FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION (FTC): TECHNOLOGY AND REFORM PROJECT. 12/16, Noon-6:30pm. Sponsors: TechFreedom; International Center for Law and Economics. Speaker: Joshua Wright, FTC Commissioner.


CLIMATE INFORMATION NEEDS FOR FINANCIAL DECISION MAKING. 12/16, 3:00-5:00pm. Sponsors: American Meteorological Society; University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR). Speakers: Lawrence Buja, Director, Climate Science and Applications Program, National Center for Atmospheric Research; Sharon Hays, Account General Manager, Computer Sciences Corporation; Jeffrey Marqusee, Chief Scientist for Engineering and Environment, Noblis.

THE FEDERATED DEFENSE PROJECT LAUNCH. 12/16, 5:00-7:00pm. Sponsor: CSIS. Speakers: Richard Armitage, President, Armitage International; Peter Westmacott, British Ambassador to the US; Jon Alterman, Director, Middle East Program, CSIS; David Berteau, Senior Vice President and Director, National Security Program on Industry and Resources, CSIS; Michael Green, Senior Vice President for Asia and Japan Chair, CSIS; Scott Miller, Senior Advisor and Scholl Chair in International Business, CSIS.

RETHINKING NATIONAL AND CYBER SECURITY POLICIES. 12/16, 6:00-8:00pm. Sponsor: Rethinking Seminar Series, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab. Speaker: Jason Healey, Director, Cyber Statecraft Initiative, Atlantic Council.

THE ROLE OF CIRCUMVENTING TOOLS IN INTERNET FILTERING COUNTRIES. 12/16, 6:00-8:00pm. Sponsor: New America Foundation. Speaker: Collin Anderson, Technology Researcher.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Monday in Washington, December 2, 2013

HISTORICAL RECONCILIATION AND PROSPERITY IN NORTHEAST ASIA: 70 YEARS SINCE THE CAIRO DECLARATION. 12/2, 8:45am-5:40pm. Sponsor: Sigur Center for Asian Studies, George Washington University (GWU); "Memory and Reconciliation in the Asia-Pacific Program." Speakers: Mike Mochizuki, Associate Professor of Political Science and International Affairs; James Matray, Professor, California State University; Robert Sutter, Professor of Practice of International Affairs, GWU, Deepa Ollapally, Associate Director, Sigur Center; Yong-Chool Ha, Professor, University of Washington; Hirofumi Hayashi, Professor, Kanto Gakuin University; Jennifer Lind (Associate Professor, Dartmouth College; Erin Aeran Chung, Associate Professor, Johns Hopkins University; Daqing Yang, Associate Professor of History and International Affairs, GW; Thomas Berger, Associate Professor, Boston University; John Duncan, Professor, University of California, Los Angeles.

US-CHINA CLEAN AIR AND CLIMATE COOPERATION. 12/2, 10:30-11:30am. Sponsor: Center for American Progress (CAP). Speakers: Gina McCarthy, EPA Administrator; Carol Browner, Senior Fellow, CAP.

DANCING WITH THE DEVIL: LESSONS FROM NEGOTIATING WITH ROGUES AND TERRORISTS. 12/2, 5:30-7:00pm. Sponsor: American Enterprise Institute (AEI). Speaker: Author, Michael Rubin, Resident Scholar, AEI.

A CONVERSATION ON US-PHILIPPINE RELATIONS. 12/2, 6:00-8:00pm. Sponsor: Women's Foreign Policy Group. Speaker: Jose Cuisia Jr., Philippine Ambassador to the US. Fee.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Monday in Washington, November 18, 2013

AIR FORCE ASSOCIATION BREAKFAST: THE STATE OF THE AIR FORCE. 11/18, 7:00-9:00am. Sponsor: Air Force Association (AFA). Speaker: Eric Fanning, Acting Air Force Secretary.

OIL SECURITY AND THE US MILITARY COMMITMENT TO THE PERSIAN GULF. 11/18, 9:00am-2:30pm. Sponsor: Institute for Security and Conflict Studies, George Washington University. Speakers: Salim Yaqub, University of California-Santa Barbara; Thomas Lippman, Middle East Institute; Joshua Rovner, Southern Methodist University; Rosemary Kelanic, Elliot School, GW; Eugene Gholz, University of Texas; Kenneth Vincent, GWU; Charles Glaser, Elliot School; Daniel Byman, Georgetown University; Caitlin Talmadge, Elliot School, GW.

A PATH FOR DURABLE DEFENSE REFORM. 11/18, 11:00am-Noon. Sponsor: CSIS. Speakers: William Thornberry, R-TX; John Hamre, CEO and President, CSIS.

. 11/18, 11:30-1:45pm. Sponsor: Washington Space Business Roundtable. Speakers: Kevin Wolf, Assistant Commerce Secretary for Export Administration; James Stearns, Regional Trade Compliance Counsel for Americans, Accenture; Corinne Kaplan, Vice President of Affiliate Trade Compliance, EADS North America.

MAGNIFICENT DELUSIONS: PAKISTAN, THE US, AND AN EPIC HISTORY OF MISUNDERSTANDING. 11/18, 11:45am-2:00pm. Sponsor: Hudson Institute. Speaker: Author Husain Haqqani, Former Pakistani Ambassador to the US.

SISTER DON'T SLEEP: VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN. 11/18, 12:30-1:45pm. Sponsors: World Bank Gender & Development, Embassy of Italy. Speakers: Author Serena Dandini, Italian TV Host; Mary Ellsberg, Director, Global Women's Institute; Piero Cipollone, Executive Director for Italy, Portugal, Greece, Albania, Malta, San Marino & Timor-Leste, World Bank Group.

CITIES AND ENVIRONMENTAL SECURITY: ECOLOGY AND CONFLICT ON AN URBANIZING PLANET. 11/18, 2:00-3:30pm. Sponsors: Atlantic Council; Stimson Center. Speakers: Malia Du Mont, Strategist, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy; Peter Engelke, Senior Fellow, Strategic Foresight Initiative, Atlantic Council; Caitlin Francis, Sustainability and Urban Planner, Urban Programs Group, CH2M HILL; David Michael, Director, Environmental Security Program, Stimson.

DRIVING GOVERNMENT INNOVATION: LEVERAGING TECHNOLOGY TO CHANGE THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. 11/18, 2:30-4:00pm. Sponsor: Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA). Speakers: Darrell Issa, R-CA, Chairman, House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman; Doug Bourgeois, Vice President of Services and Solutions, VMware; Mark Forman, Founder Government Transaction Services; John Landwehr, Vice President for Digital Government Solutions, Adobe; Dan Chenok, Executive Director, IBM Center for the Business of Government.

GLOBAL CORRUPTION REPORT: EDUCATION. 11/18, 3:00-4:00pm. Sponsor: InfoShop, World Bank. Speakers: Sanjay Pradhan, Vice President, Change, Knowledge and Learning, World Bank; Gareth Sweeney, Chief Editor, Global Corruption Report, Transparency International; Harry Patrinos, Education Manager, World Bank; Lubov Fajfer, Education and Youth Advisor, US Agency for International Development.

NEXT STEPS FOR THE US-JAPAN ALLIANCE. 11/18, 3:00-4:30pm. Sponsor: Carnegie. Speakers: Yuichi Hosoya, Professor of Law, Keio University; Matake Kamiya, Professor of International Relations, National Defense Academy Japan; Hisayoshi Ina, Foreign Policy Columnist, Nihon Keizai Shimbun; Keiko Iizuka, Senior Political Writer, Yomirui Shimbun; Yoichi Kato, National Security Correspondent, Asahi Shimbun; James Przystup, Senior Research Fellow, National Defense University.

DEBATING SOCIAL ISSUES AND CIVIL SOCIETY IN KAZAKHSTAN. 11/18, 4:30-6:00pm. Sponsor: Central Asia Program, Elliot School, George Washington University. Speakers: Marlene Laruelle, GWU; Margarita Assenova, Jamestown Foundation; Anara Ibraeva, Kazakhstan International Bureau for human Rights and Rule of Law.

AIRSEA BATTLE: USEFUL OR DANGEROUS? 11/18, 6:00-8:00pm. Sponsor: Alexander Hamilton Society. Speakers: Elbridge Colby, Research Analyst, Center for Naval Analyses; Joshua Rovner, Professor of Political Science, Southern Methodist University; Thomas Mahnken, Chair of Economic Geography and National Security, Naval War College.

GEORGE WASHINGTON'S SECRET SIX: THE SPY RING THAT SAVED THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 11/18, 6:00-8:00pm. Sponsor: Heritage Foundation. Speaker: Author Brian Kilmeade, Co-Host, Fox &Friends, Fox News Channel; Mike Gonzalez, Vice President, Communications, Heritage.

DATA + FOREIGN POLICY. 11/18, 6:30pm. Sponsor: Young Professionals in Foreign policy (YPFP). Speaker: Michael Leiter, Senior Counsel to CEO, Palantir Technologies.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Caroline Kennedy goes to Japan

Ambassador Caroline Kennedy was sworn in on November 12th and goes to Japan this week. Here is her introduction to the people of Japan. Gambatte!

Prime Minister of Japan's Schedule October 1-11, 2013

October 1, 2013 (Tue)

08:00 At private residence in Tomigaya (No visitors)
09:00 Depart from residence
09:15 Arrive at LDP Headquarters
09:24 Recommended Testimony Approval for Mayoral Candidate of Kawasaki
09:28 Certificate of Appreciation presented to Masuda Toshiya , President of Seed Company “Atriya;” Nikai Toshiro of Land Surveying is also in attendance
09:23 Executive Committee meeting
09:57 Meeting with Kato Katsunobu , member of the House of Representatives;  Seko Hiroshige,
Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary; Ishiba Shigeru, Secretary General of the LDP; and Kawamura Takeo, Chairman of Sentai.
10:10 Departure from LDP Headquarters
10:12 Arrive at office

01:23 Meeting with veteran journalist Kimura Taro 
02:17 Meeting with President of Japan Foundation Ando Hiroyasu 
02:41 Depart from office
02:53 Arrive at Nihon Keizai Shinbun’s Tokyo Headquarter’s in Otemachi for the Japan Foundation Symposium on "Asia in Harmony: New Horizons for Cultural Exchange."
03:13 Depart
03:22 Arrive at office
05:01 Cabinet meeting
05:17 Deputy Prime Minister Aso Taro, Finance Minster Amari Akira, Minister of Public Management, Home Affair and Telecommunications ShindoYoshitaka  and Minister of Education, Culture, Sports and Science Hakubun Shimomura also in attendance
06:54 Interview with TV Tokyo
08:02 Interview with TBS
08:35 Arrive at official residence
08:48 Arrive at NHK
09:00 Appear on news program
09:20 Depart from NHK
09:44 Arrive at Nippon TV
10:00 Appear on BS NTV news program
10:37 Depart from Nippon TV
10:58 Arrive at private residence

October 2, 2013 (Wed)

08:00 At private residence in Tomigaya (no visitors)
09:16 Depart from private residence
09:36 Arrive at office
09:37 Meeting with Yamamoto Kaguta, Minister of Northern Okinawa
09:47 Meeting with Defense Minister Onodera Itsunori 
10:39 Video recording for the Minamata Convention for Mercury
11:48 Depart from office
11:59 Arrive at JR Tokyo Station

12:00 Depart from station
01:03 Meeting with Furuya Keiji , Abduction Issue Minister
01:51 Arrive at JR Nagoya Station
01:52 Depart from JR Nagoya station
01:53 Arrive at Kintetsu Nagoya Station
02:10 Depart from Kintetsu Nagoya Station via Limited Express train
03:33 Arrive at Kintetsu Ujiyamada Station to be greeted by Governor Suzuki Hidetaki
03:37 Depart from train station
03:51 Arrive at Ise Shrine for a meal
05:20 Depart from Ise Shrine
05:42 Arrive at Miyamae for meeting with Hakubun Shimomura of Education, Culture, Sports and Science
09:24 Depart from Miyamae
09:45 Arrive at Jingu Tsukasa Agency
10:00 Departure
11:33 Arrive at Nagoya Marriot Associate Hotel Nagoya (No visitors)

October 3, 2013 (Thu)

07:17 Depart from the Marriot
07:18 Drive to JR Nagoya
07:24 Arrive at JR Nagoya
08:07 Meet with Eto Seichii, Assistant to the Prime Minister
09:03 Arrive in Tokyo
09:08 Depart from JR Tokyo
09:30 Arrive at Tokyo’s Meiji Shrine Hall in Yoyogi Kamizono district
10:00 Meeting with Ibuki Bunmei and Yamazaki Masaaki speakers from both houses
10:57 Depart from the event
11:12 Arrive at office
11:25 Meeting with NagamineYasumasa, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs; Ishiguro Norihiko, Deputy Director for Economy, Trade and Industry; Miyauchi Yasutaka, Director of Customs; and Haribara Toshiro, Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries Deputy Director
11:37 Meeting with Ishiba Shigeru, LDP Secretary General for the Prime Minister
12:38 Meeting with Kimura Taro, Assistant to the Prime Minister
02:04 Meeting with Sugiyama Susumu , General Affairs Deputy Director; Yamazaki Tatsuo from Ministery of Finance; and Shigeharu Kato, Officer for the Ministry of Overseas Education
02:45 Meeting with Akitaka Saiki, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ihara Junichi, Director of the Asia Pacific Bureau
04:36 Meeting with Us Secretary of State John Kerry, and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. Kishida Fumio, Minister of Foreign affairs and Onodera Itsunori, Minister of Defense are also in attendance
05:48 Meeting with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy
07:05 Depart from office
07:06 Arrive at official residence for a dinner party
08:42 Dinner ends
08:43 See off Spanish Prime Minister
00:00 No visitors

October 4, 2013 (Fri)

08:00 At official residence in Tomigaya
08:53 Depart from residence
09:32 Cabinet Meeting
09:47 Meeting with Inada Tomomi, Administrative Reform Minister
10:07 Meeting with Tamura Norihisa, Minister Director of Health Labor and Welfare
10:12 Meeting with Cabinet Secretariat Shotaro Yachi
10:30 Meeting with Murakami Seiichiro, Vice Chairman for the LDP Investigation on the Subcommittee on the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Investigation
10:51 Meeting with Amari Akira; Akitaka Saiki, Permanent Secretary; Sugiyama Susumu, Foreign Affairs Deputy Director; and Ihara Junichi, Asia Pacific Director
11:38 Shimomura Hakubun of Education, Sports and Science enters
11:52 Depart from office
11:53 Arrive at Tokyo Cabinet office
11:54 Signboard hanging for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympic games
11:57 Depart
11:59 Arrive at office

12:11 Government and ruling party liaison meeting
12:35 Meeting with New Komeito party leader Yamaguchi Natsuo; Cabinet Chief SugaYoshihide is also in attendance
01:10 Murai Yoshihiro, Governor of Miyagi, LDP House of Representatives member Ito Shintaro, Katsunobu Kato, Cabinet Deputy Secretary all enter
01:30 Sasae Kenichiro, Japanese Ambassador to the US also in attendance
01:41 Meeting with Sugiyama Shinsuke , Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and Toyohisa Kozuki , General Director of European Affairs also in attendance.
02:01 Meeting with Sugiyama Yasumasa and Nagamine Anesei, Deputy Ministers of foreign affairs; Kozuki, General Director of the European Affairs; Bando Kumiko, Education, Director-General of Higher Education Bureau; and Director of the Ministry of Finance Ishiguro Norihiko all in attendance
02:11 Kozuki and Bando leave
02:14 Ihara Junichi, Asia Pacific Director enters
02:34 Yamazaki leaves
02:48 Ihara leaves
02:54 Everyone leaves
03:24 Toyoda Shoichiro, Honorary Chairman of NPO “ITS Japan” leaves
04:29 Interview with British newspaper, Financial Times with David Pilling and Jonathan Soble
05:31 Meeting with Suga Yoshihide, Kato Koichi, Seko Hiroshige and Sugita Kazuhiro, Vice Chief Cabinet Secretary
05:36 Kitamura Shigeru, Cabinet Information Officer enters
07:00 Depart from office
07:04 Arrive at ANA Intercontinental Hotel in Akasaka for dinner with Takenaka Heizo, Economics Professor from Keio University
09:00 Depart from the hotel
09:14 Arrive at private residence
00:00 No visitors

October 5, 2013 (Sat)

08:00 At private residence in Tomigaya (no visitors)

02:21 Depart from private residence
02:39 Arrive at Wako Hall in Tokyo’s Ginza District for calligraphy presentation "Yahagi Harue"
03:07 Depart from show
03:30 Arrive at JR Tokyo Station
03:40 Meeting with 3:40 pm, Yamamoto Kazuta Science and Technology Minister
05:51 Arrive at JR Kyoto Station
05:54 Depart from JR Kyoto
06:07 Arrive at Japanese restaurant, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto, "Okazaki Tsuruya" for dinner with Kashiwabara Yasuo, Bank of Kyoto Chairman; Wacoal Holdings President Yoshikata Tsukamoto
08:36 Depart from restaurant
08:51 Arrive at the Grand Prince Hotel in Kyoto Ward
00:00 No visitors

October 6, 2013 (Sun)

07:53 At Grand Prince Hotel in Kyoto
07:55 Arrive at Kyoto International Conference Center for the STS Conference and be greeted by Yamada Keiji, Governor of Kyoto Prefecture and Kadokawa Daisuku, Mayor of Kyoto
07:57 Start breakfast meeting and the "International Forum on the future of humanity and science and technology.” Omi Koji, Former Finance Minister is also present
09:13 Breakfast ends
09:37 Meet with Deputy Prime Minister of Russia Arkady Dvorkovich
10:19 Attend opening ceremony of the forum
10:21 Depart
11:55 Arrive at Kansai Airport

Monday, November 11, 2013

Not so stuffy Japanese bureaucrats

Kanagawa Governor Yuji Kuroiwa’s cameo in a music video of “Fall-in-Love Fortune Cookie,” by J-pop‘s most popular girl group AKB48 has been viewed by 2.4 million people since it was launched in October. The Wall Street Journal's Japan RealTime Blog gives a good history of viral video.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Prime Minister of Japan's Schedule September 23-30, 2013

September 23, 2013 (Mon)

09:15 Departure from private residence in Tomigaya to attend Koreisai Festival
09:30 Arrive at the Imperial Palace
11:16 Departure from the Imperial Palace
11:35 Arrival at private residence

04:10 Departure from private residence
04:38 Arrival at Haneda Airport
04:47 Interviews with media outlets on the presence of Japan in the international community and the North America visit

September 24, 2013 (Tue) (Local Time September 23)
Arrive Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Aiprort followed by an interview with CTV and a dinner hosted by Canadian Speaker of the Senate Noel Kinsella

September 25, 2013 (Wed) (Local Time September 24)
Attend a welcoming ceremony at the Capitol building followed by a summit meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Offers flowers at Ground Zero
September 26, 2013 (Thu) (Local Time September 25)
Arrive in New York City at the Pierre Hotel to attend a lunch hosted by the Hudson Institute and gives a speech; Foreign Minister Kishida Fumio also be in attendance. Afterwards, speak at the New York Stock Exchange, visit Ground Zero and attend a reception hosted by Japan Society

September 27, 2013 (Fri) (Local Time September 26)
Attend a summit meeting with Iranian President Rhouhani at the UN Millenium Hotel. Afterwards go the the UN General Assembly for a high level speech on nuclear disarmament. Finally, attend in a summit meeting with Pakistani politician and industrialist Naway Sharif

September 28. 2013 (Sat) (Local Time September 28)
Have breakfast and then go to JFK international Airport. Depart for Haneda at 4:50am

September 29, 2013 (Sun)

10:00 At private residence (no visitors)
11:36 Departure from residence
11:44 Arrive at Shibuya salon “Hair Guest” for a haircut

01:15 Depart from salon
01:26 Arrive at private residence
03:29 Meeting with Shigeru Kitamura, Cabinet Informtion Officer
04:39 Meeting with President of Mongolia Tsakhiaglin Elbegdorj

September 30, 2013 (Mon)

08:00 At private residence in Tomigaya
09:51 Depart from private residence
10:09 Arrive at the Imperial Palace for bookkeeping
10:18 Depart from the Imperial Palace
10:26 Arrive at office
10:27 Meeting with Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Saiki Akitaka
11:16 Meeting with Hiramatsu Kenji, Comprehensive Foreign Policy Director and Kozuki Toyohisa, General Director of the European Affairs Bureau
11:40 Isa Ijima, Cabinet Secretariat in attendance
11:59 Forest and Fisheries Permanent Secretary Yoshitsugu Minagawa in attendance

12:15 Depart from office
12:51 Arrive at the Hotel Okura
01:05 Meeting with Prince Andrew of Britain on the Kensington Terrace
01:55 Depart from the Hotel Okura
02:00 Arrive at office
02:26 Meeting with Aso Taro, Chief Cabinet Secretary; Amari Akira, Finance Minister; and Chief Cabinet Secretary SugaYoshihide.
04:00 Meeting with Kitamura Shigeru, Cabinet Information Officer and Kinomura Kenichi, Minister of Defense Information
04:30 Kitamura leaves
04:48 Special Cabinet meeting begins
04:53 Special Cabinet meeting ends
05:12 Meeting with Tokuji Hideshi from the Defense Policy Bureau
06:45 Depart from office
09:24 Depart from the Imperial Palace
09:31 Arrive at office
09:49 Photo shoot with Deputy Ministers
10:01 Meeting with Deputy Ministers
10:46 Letters of appointment to parliamentary secretary
11:03 Commemorative photo with parliamentary secretary
11:36 Arrival at private residence
11:45 No visitors

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Rewalking the Path to Chinese Political Reform through Foreign Investment

A version of this essay first appeared in Asia Policy Point's  Asia Policy Calendar, November 3, 2013. The authors are Research Interns at APP, Mr. Michael Sutherland (Nebraska Wesleyan University) and Ms. Jessie Ding (Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania).

There are many expectations for China’s Third Plenum Meeting of its 18th Party Congress. During the November 9-12 meeting, President Xi Jinping is expected announce new, “liberal” economic reforms to accelerate the country’s internationalization. These financial and structural adjustments are unlikely to be matched on the political side. Nevertheless, as China engages in this “Opening Up 2.0,” its success can be used by the international community to exact more accountability from the Chinese government on human rights and political liberties.

Economists agree that the Chinese growth model needs to be reworked if it is going to remain sustainable. Brookings economist David Dollar notes: “On the demand side there needs to be a shift from investment to consumption…. Opening up to foreign investment and foreign trade is an important part of that agenda.” Xi’s reforms are expected to include a loosening of state controls and regulations to encourage foreign direct investment. As part of this opening to foreign investment, the United States and China have begun discussing the possibility of a Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT). China may also seek membership in the TPP, further opening itself to negotiations with the United States.

Chinese direct investment in the United States has expanded tremendously over the past five years, from $879 million in 2008 to $12.2 billion in 2013. On October 31st, President Barak Obama issued a statement that his administration is committed to bringing more foreign investment to the United States. Given how much the Chinese already invest in the United States and the amount of capital they have to spare, it seems likely that each of economy will become more intertwined.

In contrast, the Xi government has tried to restrain civil society and liberties. Over this summer, the government  began enforcing what is known as the “Seven Speak-Nots” (七不讲). This policy prohibits the media, intellectuals, and university professors from discussing certain subjects in public. These include freedom of the press, civil society, and past mistakes of the Chinese Communist Party. In October Xia Yeliang, a professor at Peking University, was dismissed for discussing the internet as a tool for political reform. Mr. Xia reportedly has ties with the New Citizens’ Movement, a group of activists and academics in China who organize public meetings to call for political reforms.

Guo Feixiong, a leader of the New Citizens’ Movement, was was detained in Guangzhou on August 8th and formally arrested on October 17th. At an October 29th House Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations hearing “Guo Feixiong and Freedom of Expression in China,” Mr. Guo’s wife and daughter testified alongside prominent Chinese civil rights activists Reverend Bob Fu and Chen Guangcheng. Each urged the Obama administration to appeal publicly to the Chinese government to release Guo Feixiong.

Both Reverend Fu and Mr. Chen suggested further measures that the Obama administration should press while negotiating with the Chinese government. Mr. Chen urged the United States government to commit to making the annual Human Rights Dialogue with the PRC an event that is on par with and connected to the annual Strategic and Economic Dialogue (SED). Top officials from each government attend the SED, including the U.S. Secretaries of State and Treasury. However, the Human Rights Dialogue is conducted behind closed doors and involves mostly lower-level officials, allowing China to dismiss the event as insignificant. Reverend Fu felt that the HR Dialogue should be broadcast live, in order for the public to hold Chinese officials accountable for what they say.

China’s new focus on foreign investment possibly provides a political environment similar to when the country was trying to gain its Most-Favored-Nation trade status. China’s willingness to abide by international norms was a major factor in its success. The international laws and regulations needed to expand investment, therefore, should also come with conditions. The bilateral investment treaties can include stipulations regarding human rights and corporate social responsibilities.

The results of the Third Plenum may provide an indirect opportunity to influence political reform in China. Societal responsibilities and accountability are now at the core of today's global financial transactions. China's leadership wants something from the international community—market access and respect—that should not be given lightly. Human rights can and should again be tied to investment agreements and market access.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Building state capacity to prevent atrocity crimes

Professor David Simon is interviewed at the MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale about building state capacity to prevent atrocity crimes. He reflects upon Rwanda now 20 years after that country's Genocide of the Tutsis and how the international community can best respond to such atrocities. Unsaid are the lessons learned from the war crimes of WWII.

The interview reflects his 2012 Policy Analysis Brief for the Stanley Foundation, Building State Capacity to Prevent Atrocity Crimes: Implementing Pillars One and Two of the R2P Framework. Simon focuses on the first and second pillars of the doctrine, namely the aspects of state and local capacity building—assisted where appropriate through international cooperation—that offer the best hope of realizing R2P principles before the prospect of adversarial intervention arises. 

Working from a simplified model of how mass-atrocity threats unfold, the brief seeks to enumerate the types of interventions best suited to derail that process. It begins with state-level capacity building, consistent with the standard formulation of the first pillar of the R2P framework. 

Because state authorities and individual elites are often complicit in mass atrocity crimes, however, a robust capacity-building effort should also reinforce the capacity of a broader cross section of stakeholders, including nonstate actors, to strengthen social and institutional resilience in the face of mass atrocity threats.

He argues that international cooperation should support such in-country efforts, while noting some of the complications that are likely to arise in doing so. He suggests that domestic efforts and international assistance should be supplemented with ongoing internal reviews, peer evaluations, and monitoring.

David Simon is a Lecturer, Political Science and Ethics, Politics & Economics; Director of Graduate Studies African Studies at Yale University. He studies African politics, focusing on the politics of development assistance and post-conflict situations, particularly in Rwanda. He is editor of the Historical Dictionary of Zambia, and has contributed to Comparative Political Studies, The Journal of Commonwealth and Comparative Politics, and The Journal of Genocide Research. He also teaches classes on international relations in Africa and the comparative politics of development.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Prime Minister of Japan's Schedule September 17-22, 2013

September 17, 2013 (Tue)

08:00 At private residence in Tomigaya, Tokyo
09:24 Meet with Tokuchi Hideshi of the Ministry of Defense Policy Bureau and Kanehara Nobukatsu, Cabinet Deputy Secretary at residence.
09:29 LDP group meeting
09:32 LDP Executive Committee
09:40 Masahiko Komura, Vice President
09:43 Shigeru Ishiba, Secretary General of the LDP
09:44 Seiko Noda, President of Internal Affairs and Communication
09:46 Sanae Takaichi, Chairman of the Policy Research Council
09:48 Takeo Kawamura, Constituency Chairman
09:51 Shigeru Ishiba again
09:52 Ichiro Kamoshita, Diet Affairs Committee Chairman
09:54 Hiroyuki Hosoda, Acting Secretary
09:56 Wataru Takashita LDP member of the House of Representatives
09:58 Departure from LDP Headquarters
10:04 Cabinet meeting
10:27 Receive Zomahoun Idossou Rufin, Ambassador from Benin and Sugiyama Shinsuke, Head of the Asian and Oceanic affairs Bureau
10:57 Departure from official residence
11:00 arrive at LDP headquarters
11:02 Meeting with the LDP General Council
11:12 Photo-shoot with new LDP directors
11:15 Meeting with Acting Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda

12:00 Record message for local support group
12:07 Departure from LDP headquarters
12:09 Arrive at official residence
01:30 Meeting with Shimomura Hakubun, Minister of Education, and Shinichi Yamanaka, Permanent Secretary of Education, Culture, Sports, Science
02:02 Departure from official residence
02:14 Asahi TV interview
02:54 Meeting with Saiki Akitaka, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs , Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Sugiyama Shinsuke and Junichi Ihara, Asia Pacific director
03:17 Ihara departs
03:18 Kenji Hiramatsu joins
04:00 Everyone leaves
04:16 Video recording message for the General Assembly of Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry
04:37 Meeting with Shigeru Kitamura, Cabinet Information Officer and Koji Shimohira, Cabinet Satellite Information Center director
04:49 Shimohira leaves
05:05 Kitamura leaves
06:42 Meeting ends
07:00 Return to official residence 
07:01 Meeting with Toshio Kagami, CEO and Uenishi Kyouchiro, president of Oriental Land Group
00:00 No visitors

September 18, 2013 (Wed)

08:00 At residence in Tomigaya
05:50 Departure from residence
09:11 Meeting with Kato Katsunobu, Cabinet Deputy Secretary and Shinsuke Sugiyama, Assistant Foreign Affairs Deputy Director, Toshiro Haribara, Deputy Direct General of Agriculture of Forestry and Fisheries, Ryuji Masano, Vice Minister for Transport and International Affairs and Tatsu Yamazaki, International Director
09:28 Sugiyama leaves
09:56 Everyone else leaves
11:31 Yayoi and Ryutaro leave
11:32 Meal with Oda Etsuro Yamaguchi Prefecture Medical Chairman

12:45 Telephone conversation with Prime Minister of Australia Tony Abbott
01:35 Meeting with Hiramatsu, General Ministry of Foreign Affairs Foreign Policy Director and Shigeru Iwasaki, Ministry of Defense Head of Joint Staff
02:05 Greet Kazuo Kodama Economic Ambassador from Co-operation and Development (OECD) Mission
02:16 Meeting with Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso
03:08 Education Rebuilding Conference
03:48 Meeting with Shigeru Kitamura, Cabinet Information Officer
04:34 Departure from official residence
04:45 Arrival at Imperial Palace for secret report to Emperor
05:25 Departure from Imperial Palace
05:31 Arrival at official residence
05:33 Meeting with Aisawa Ichiro, LDP House of Representatives and Keizo Takemi, House of Councillors member.
06:14 Visit with exhibit winners
06:32 Greeting at award ceremony
06:33 Departure from award ceremony
06:37 Arrive at the Capitol Hotel Tokyu in Tokyo, Nagatacho to attended the "meeting of female LDP lawmakers"
07:30 Departure from the hotel
07:32 Arrive at official residence
07:33 Dinner with Governor of Yamaguchi Prefecture Yamamoto Shigetaro.
08:54 All guests leave

September 19th, 2013 (Thu)

07:15 At residence
07:24 Arrive at JR Tokyo Station
08:36 Depart from Yamabiko station No. 125
08:58 Arrive at Koriyama station
09:02 Leave Koriyama station
10:27 Measurement of internal exposure dose, change of clothes, overview, lunch. Accompanied by
Akabane Kazuyoshi, Vice Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry and Kazuhiko Shimokobe TEPCO chairman.
11:16 Departure
11:50 Arrival at TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Okuma prefecture, Futaba Ryocho. Talk with worker in the main anti-earthquake building

12:02 Visit contaminated water storage facilities
12:09 Talk with media outlets
12:41 Departure
03:06 Arrival at J-Village
03:33 Departure from J-Village
04:11 Arrival at JR Iwaki station
04:17 Departure from Super Hitachi No. 54
06:34 Arrival at JR Ueno station
06:52 Arrival at restaurant Hirayama in Ginza. Dinner with Hiroshi Mikitani, President of Rakuten; Susumu Fujita, Cyber Agent President and Masato Matsuura, Avex Group Holdings President
09:01 Departure from restaurant
09:17 Arrival at Hotel New Otani in Tokyo, Kioicho. Round Table with Taichi Sakaiya, Cabinet participation, Aoki Hironori AOKI Holdings chairman, and Hiroshi Yamada House of Representatives member of the society of Japan Meiji Restoration in the rooms.
10:28 Arrive at official residence