Thursday, February 28, 2013

Prime Minister of Japan's Schedule Jan 28-Feb 3, 2013

January 28, 2012 (MON)


08:55 Office
09:04 Extraordinary Ministerial Meeting
10:30 Mr. Yonemura, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary for Crisis Management; and Mr. Kitamura, Director of Cabinet Intelligence
10:47 Mr. Takeshi Okinaga, Mayo of Naha City, Okinawa; Mr. Susumu Inamine, Mayor of Nago City; Mr. Suga, Chief Cabinet Secretary
10:53 Mr. Yonemura, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary for Crisis Management; and Mr. Kitamura, Director of Cabinet Intelligence
11:29 Parliament
11:31 LDP General Assembly
11:44 Mr. Ibuki, Lower House Chair; Mr. Akamatsu, Lower House Vice Chair; Mr. Suga; Mr. Kato, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary; and Mr. Sekou, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary
11:49 Mr. Hirata, Upper House Chair; and Mr. Yamazaki, Upper House Vice Chair
11:51 Mr. Kishida, Foreign Minister; and Mr. Onodera, Defense Minister

12:02 Lower House Plenary Session
12:11 Office
12:37 Parliament
01:00 Opening ceremony of the 183rd Ordinary Diet Session
01:13 Office
01:48 Parliament
02:02 Policy Speech by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the 183rd Session of the Diet
03:01 Upper House Plenary Session
03:24 Office
03:41 Mr. Nishimura, Senior Vice Minister of Cabinet Office
04:01 Mr. Motegi, Minister of Economy, Trade, and Industry; and Mr. Adachi, Administrative Vice Minister of Economy, Trade, and Industry
04:29 Mr. Minamikawa Administrative Vice Minister of Environment
05:00 Parliament
05:01 LDP Executive meeting
05:32 Mr. Etou, Special Advisor for PM
05:38 Office
05:40 Mr. Suga, Mr. Katou, Mr. Sekou, and Mr. Sugita, Chief and Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretaries
06:03 Ceremony to Present the Certificate of Honor to Dr. Shinya Yamanaka, Director of the Center for iPS Cell Research and Application; Mr. Shimomura, Minister of Education attends
06:32 Residence; Dinner with Mr. Nakasone, LDP Upper House Member Council Chief; Mr. Mizote, LDP Upper House Secretary General; and Mr. Hashimoto, LDP Upper House Policy Council Chair; Mr. Suga and Mr. Sekou also attend
08:21 Home in Tomigaya

January 29, 2013 (TUE)
09:02 Office
09:20 Conference call with Prime Minister Harper of Canada
09:42 Ministerial Meeting
10:00 Reconstruction Promotion Council
10:18 Headquarters for the Promotion of Administrative Reform
10:29 Liaison Council of Government and Ruling and Opposition Parties Institutions for Measures against Abduction Issue
11:00 The Prime Minister Receives a Request from the Governor of Fukui Prefecture and others
11:21 Mr. Tsuneo Hara, President, National Personnel Authority
11:37 Mr. Hiroshi Okuda, President of Asia Development Bank (a candidate for the next Bank of Japan President)
11:42 Mr. Okuda leaves

01:16 Mr. Toshiaki Endo, LDP Education Revitalization Headquarters Director
01:44 Verification Committee on the Terrorist Incident against the Japanese Nationals in Algeria
01:49 Mr. Kawai, Administrative Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs; Mr. Saiki, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs; and Mr. Sugiyama, Director General, MoFA Asia Pacific Affairs Bureau
02:27 Mr. Otani, Deputy Minister of Health, Labor, and Welfare
03:07 Mr. Yatanaka, Finanacial Affairs Agency Director
03:47 Mr. Kitamura, Director of Cabinet Intelligence; and Mr. Shimohira, Cabinet Satellite Intelligence Center Director
03:53 Mr. Shimohira leaves
03:57 Mr. Kitamura leaves
04:00 National Security Council meeting
04:23 Extraordinary ministerial meeting
05:13 Nihon TV, Higashi Shimbashi
05:28 Appear on a broadcasting program
06:19 Office
06:59 Residence; dinner with Mr. Koumura, LDP Vice President; Mr. Tsuyoshi Noda, LDP Tax Research Council Chief; and Mr. Machimura, former Chief Cabinet Secretary; Mr. Suga attends
09:18 Home in Tomigaya

January 30, 2013 (WED)


09:24 Office

12:53 Parliament
01:02 Lower House Plenary Session
03:20 LDP Headquarters
03:22 Video Message Recording for LDP candidates
03:42 Office
04:32 Video message recording for the “G1 Summit”, which aims to hold a “Japanese version of the Davos meeting”
04:58 Mr. Aso, Deputy Prime Minsiter and Finance Minister
05:25 LDP Upper House Member Council Chief
05:50 Mr. Suga, Mr. Katou, Mr. Sekou, and Mr. Sugita; Chief and Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretaries
06:10 Mr. Kawai, Administrative Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs; Mr. Saiki, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs; and Mr. Sugiyama, Director General, MoFA Asia Pacific Affairs Bureau
06:19 Mr. Ishiba, LDP Secretary General
07:14 Dinner with Mr. Akio Mimura, Advisor of NIPPON STEEL & SUMITOMO METAL CORPORATION; and Mr. Tadashi Okamura, Advisor of Toshiba at Arc Hills Club, a membership club
09:20 Home in Tomigaya

January 31, 2013 (THU) 


08:05 Office
09:49 Parliament
10:01 Upper House Plenary Session
11:33 Office

01:00 Mr. Kitamura, Director of Cabinet Intelligence
01:53 Parliament
02:02 Lower House Plenary Session
04:22 Office
05:02 Extraordinary Ministerial Meeting
05:12 Mr. Yamamoto, Minister of State for Okinawa and Northern Territories Affairs; Mr. Inouye, Director-General for Policy Planning, Cabinet Office
05:49 Mr. Yamaguchi, Senior Vice Minister of Finance
05:58 Mr. Kenji Yamagishi, President, Japan Federation of Bar Associations
06:28 Interview with six sports news paper agencies
07:00 Residence; Dinner with Mr. Yamaguchi and Mr. Kitagawa, President and Vice President of the New Komei Party
08:50 Home in Tomigaya

February 1, 2013 (FRI)


07:35 Office
09:13 Parliament
09:21 Ministerial meeting
09:59 Mr. Jimi, President of the People’s New Party
10:01 Upper House Plenary Session
11:23 Office
11:26 Mr. Minehisa, Fukushima Reconstruction Office President; Mr. Nakajima, Administrative Vice Minister of Reconstruction; Mr. Suga
09:40 Mr. Murayama, former PM; and Mr. Kouichi Katou, former LDP Secretary General

12:10 All leave
12:52 parliament
01:01 Upper House Plenary Session
04:14 Office
04:50 Mr. Kazaoka, Imperial Household Agency Director
05:04 Kawai, Administrative Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs; Mr. Saiki, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs; and Mr. Ihara, Director General, MoFA North American Affairs Bureau
05:30 Mr. Sugiyama, Director General, MoFA Asia Pacific Affairs Bureau, joins
05:33 Mr. Ihara leaves
05:48 All leave
05:51 Mr. Kunio Mikuriya, Secretary General of the World Customs Organization
06:02 Mr. Hiramatsu, Director General, MoFA Foreign Policy Bureau; and Mr. Miyama, Director General, Civil Affairs Bureau, Ministry of Justice
06:25 Mr. Yauchi, Cabinet Office Councillor
06:39 Dinner with Emperor and Empress with Mrs. Abe
08:53 Home in Tomigaya

February 2, 2013 (SAT)
Visit Okinawa

February 3, 2013 (SUN)


Home in Tomigaya

12:56 Hair cut at “Hair Guest” in Shibuya, Tokyo
02:39 home

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Japan's Cautious Hawks

In Japan's Cautious Hawks: Why Tokyo Is Unlikely to Pursue an Aggressive Foreign Policy published in the March/April 2013 issue of Foreign Affairs, APP member and Columbia University Professor Gerald L. Curtis argues that even the ideological Prime Minister Abe will be pragmatic in his relations with China and the United States. He cannot afford, materially or politically, to do otherwise.

Here is the conclusion to his excellent piece:


In assessing the current Japanese political scene and the possible strategic course that Tokyo might chart, it is important to remember that a right-of-center government and a polarized debate over foreign policy are nothing new in Japan's postwar history. Abe is one of the most ideological of Japan's postwar prime ministers, but so was his grandfather Nobusuke Kishi, who was a cabinet minister during World War II and prime minister from 1957 to 1960. Kishi wanted to revise the U.S.-imposed constitution and to undo other postwar reforms; these are his grandson's goals more than half a century later.

But Kishi was also a pragmatist who distinguished between the desirable and the possible. As prime minister, he focused his energies on the latter, negotiating with the Eisenhower administration a revised security treaty that remains the framework for the U.S.-Japanese alliance today. For Abe as well, ideology will not likely trump pragmatism. The key question to ask about Japan's future is not what kind of world Abe would like to see but what he and other Japanese leaders believe the country must do to survive in the world as they find it.

If Tokyo's foreign policy moves off in a new direction, what will drive it there is not an irrepressible Japanese desire to be a great power. Although some Japanese politicians voice that aspiration, they will gain the support of the public only if it becomes convinced that changes in the international situation require Japan to take a dramatically different approach from the one that has brought it peace and prosperity for decades.

The Japanese public remains risk averse; nearly 70 years after World War II, it has not forgotten the lessons of that era any more than other Asian nations have. And despite changes in the region, the realities of Japanese politics and of American power still favor a continuation of Japan's current strategy: maintaining the alliance with the United States; gradually expanding Japan's contribution to regional security; developing security dialogues with Australia, India, South Korea, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations; and deepening its engagement with China. China's growing economic clout and military power do present new challenges for Tokyo and Washington, but these challenges can be met without dividing Asia into two hostile camps. If Japanese policy changes in anything more than an incremental manner, it will be due to the failure of Washington to evolve a policy that sustains U.S. leadership while accommodating Chinese power.

Will the Abe government chart a new course for Japanese foreign policy? Only if the public comes to believe that the threat from China is so grave and the credibility of the United States' commitment to contain it is so weakened that Japan's survival is at stake. But if rational thinking prevails in Beijing, Tokyo, and Washington, the approach that has made Japan the linchpin of the United States' security strategy in Asia, stabilized the region, and brought Japan peace and prosperity is likely to persist.

Japan Week in Washington

ABE’S FOREIGN POLICY: PRAGMATIC REALISM OR EMOTIONAL NATIONALISM? 2/25, 12:30-1:45pm, Washington, DC. Sponsor: Sigur Center, George Washington University. Speaker: Kazuhiko Togo, Professor and Director of the Institute for World Affairs, Kyoto Sangyo University.

UNDERSTANDING OUR CHALLENGES IN ENERGY, FOOD AND CLIMATE CHANGE: IMPLICATIONS FOR THE U.S. AND JAPAN. 2/25, 10:00-11:45am, Washington, DC. Sponsor: U.S.-Japan Research Institute (USJI). Speakers: Masahiko Gemma, Operating Adviser, U.S.-Japan Research Institute (USJI), Professor, Waseda University; Simla Tokgoz, Research Fellow, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI); Yacov Tsur, Ruth Ochberg Professor, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Harry de Gorter, Professor, Cornell University.

DISASTER RESILIENCE 2030: U.S. AND JAPAN. 2/25, 3:00-4:30pm, Washington, DC. Sponsor: U.S.-Japan Research Institute (USJI). Speakers: Haruo Hayashi, Professor, Kyoto University; Carole Cameron, Director, International Affairs Division, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS); Norio Maki, Associate Professor, Kyoto University; Shingo Suzuki, Assistant Professor, Kyoto University; .

3.11: DISASTER AND CHANGE IN JAPAN. 2/26, 12:30-1:45pm, Washington, DC. Sponsor: Sigur Center, GWU. Speaker: Richard Samuels, Ford International Professor of Political Science, MIT, author, 3.11: Disaster and Change in Japan.

THE KOREAN PENINSULA IN THE 21ST CENTURY. 2/26, 3:00-4:30pm, Washington, DC. Sponsor: U.S.-Japan Research Institute (USJI); Organization for Asian Studies, Waseda University (OAS). Speakers: Maji Rhee, Professor, Waseda University; L. Gordon Flake, Executive Director, The Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation; Jason Fiske, Program Director, Thomas Jefferson School of Law; Sadaharu Kataoka, Professor, Waseda University.

THE U.S. PIVOT TO ASIA AND JAPAN, CHINA, AND KOREA – HOW CAN NEW LEADERS IN NORTHEAST ASIA MAINTAIN THE REGIONAL PEACE? (PART 1: AMERICA’S TPP, CJK’S TRILATERAL FTA, AND DOMESTIC ADJUSTMENT PROBLEMS). 2/28, 10:00-11:40am, Washington, DC. Sponsors: U.S.-Japan Research Institute (USJI); Waseda University Organization for Japan-US Studies (WOJUSS). Speakers: Takashi Terada, Professor, Doshisha University; Leonard Schoppa, Professor, Associate Dean for the College, University of Virginia; Junya Nishino, Associate Professor, Keio University.

INTRODUCTION TO THE PROJECT: THE ROLE OF THE U.S.-JAPAN ALLIANCE IN THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE EAST ASIAN COMMUNITY. 2/28, 2:00-3:30pm, Washington, DC. Sponsors: U.S.-Japan Research Institute (USJI) and Carnegie. Speakers: James L. Schoff, Senior Associate Asia Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; Mike M. Mochizuki, Associate Dean for Academic Programs, Associate Professor of Political Science and International Affairs, The George Washington University; James J. Przystup, Senior Research Fellow East Asia Group, National Defense University; Toru Oga, Associate Professor, Kyushu University.

TERRITORIAL TENSIONS IN NORTH EAST ASIA – LESSONS FROM GERMAN RECONCILIATION. 2/28, 2:00-4:30pm, Washington, DC. Sponsor: American Institute for Contemporary German Studies at Johns Hopkins University. Speakers; Dr. Somei Kobayashi, Visiting Fellow at the East-West Center in Washington, DC; Dr. J.J. Suh, Associate Professor and Academic Adviser at the U.S.-Korea Institute at SAIS, Johns Hopkins University; and Dr. Daqing Yang, Associate Professor of History and International Affairs at the Elliott School of International Affairs at the George Washington University. Comments will be provided by Dr. Lily Gardner Feldman, Harry & Helen Gray Senior Fellow and Director of the Society, Culture & Politics Program at AICGS.

ECONOMIC CONDITION IN JAPAN: BUSINESS SENTIMENT AND REAL FINANCIAL POSITIONS. 2/28, Noon-1:30pm, Lunch, Washington, DC. Sponsor: Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA (SPFUSA). Speakers: Dr. Cindy Yoshiko Shirata, Professor of International Business, Graduate School of Business Sciences, Tsukuba University, Tokyo, Japan; Takahiro Nanri, Director, SPFUSA.

THE U.S. PIVOT TO ASIA AND JAPAN, CHINA, AND KOREA- HOW CAN NEW LEADERS IN NORTHEAST ASIA MAINTAIN THE REGIONAL PEACE? (PART 2: MARITIME SECURITU IN EAST ASIA AND CJK PROBLEMS). 3/1, 10:00-11:40am, Washington, DC. Sponsors: U.S.-Japan Research Institute (USJI); Waseda University Organization for Japan-US Studies (WOJUSS). Speakers: Takashi Terada, Professor, Doshisha University; Chikako Ueki, Operating Adviser, U.S.-Japan Research Institute (USJI) / Professor, Waseda University; Mark Manyin, Specialist in Asian Affairs, Congressional Research Service (CRS); Scott A. Snyder, Senior Fellow for Korea Studies and Director of the Program on U.S.-Korea Policy, Council on Foreign Relations.

EVALUATING JAPANESE GROWTH AND REBIRTH STRATEGY; IS ABE INHERITING DPJ’S POLICY? 3/1, 2:00-3:30pm, Washington, DC. Sponsor: U.S.-Japan Research Institute (USJI). Speakers: Keiji Nakatsuji, Operating Adviser, U.S.-Japan Research Institute (USJI) / Professor, Ritsumeikan University; Susan J. Pharr, Edwin O. Reischauer Professor of Japanese Politics, Harvard University; Tadashi Yokoyama, Counselor (Economic Affairs), Embassy of Japan in the United States.

JAPAN-KOREA RELATIONS. 3/5, 2:30-4:00pm, Washington, DC. Sponsor: American University Center for Asian Studies. Speaker: Sachio Nakato, Ritsumeikan University/American University.

Japan-Korean Relations

"With the help of Japan, China,
and Manchukuo, the world
can be at peace"
On Friday afternoon, February 22, Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe gave a speech to a hand-selected crowd at CSIS in Washington. He is the grandson of Nobusuke Kishi who was an unprosecuted Class-A war criminal. He had been an administrator of Manchukuo and appointed by Tojo in 1941 as Minister of Commerce and Industry, and he held this position until Japan's surrender in 1945. In 1957, Kishi became a postwar Prime Minister through 1960. He subsequently played an important role in the normalization of relations between Japan and South Korea.

On the 25th, Park Geun-hye will be inaugurated as the first female president of South Korea. One of her many challenges is overcoming her father's legacy as ruthless dictator who was trained at Japan's Imperial Army Academy and served in the Manchukuo Army. Last September, Ms. Park made a painful apology for her father's abuses of human rights. 

During the Qs&As at this CSIS speech, Abe veered closer to his feelings than the diplomatic, prepared speech he gave had allowed. It is unlikely that Ms. Park was pleased with his answer. On the eve of her inauguration, lawmakers from both the ruling and opposition parties moved to set up a forum to review human rights abuses committed under the Japanese occupation of the Korean Peninsula. The research group assisting the the legislators is the Japanese Forced Labor & Peace Studies Research Group [일제강제동원&평화연구회].

Q: Mr. Prime Minister, it’s good to see you again. Victor Cha from CSIS and

You mentioned in your speech about North Korea, and I’d actually like to ask you about South Korea. We have a new president in South Korea going to be inaugurated next week, Park Geun-hye. But at the same time, frankly speaking, it’s a period of some difficult tensions in Japan-South Korea relations. So I guess I would like to know what your vision is for the future of Seoul-Tokyo cooperation in the face of many of the threats that you mentioned in your speech.

PRIME MIN. ABE: (Through interpreter.) First of all, I would like to say that Korea-South Korea is the most important neighbor for us. And President-elect Park Geun-hye – I have had – I met her twice, I’ve also had a meal with her actually, and my grandfather was best friends with her father, President Park Chung-hee. So – but at the same time – so President Park Chung-hee was someone who was very close with Japan, obviously.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Abe's twisted approach to trust

Prime Minister Abe Shinzo is not trusted in Washington. Although he pledges to enhance the security relationship with the United States, his desire to revise Japan’s peace constitution and his historical revisionism regarding World War II generate real doubt about both his sincerity and his effectiveness. In his meeting today with US President Barak Obama, Abe will need to work hard and move out of his comfort zone to counter the skepticism that he himself has created.

Policymakers in Washington worry that his bellicose language and history denials will antagonize other American friends in Asia and complicate if not erode regional cooperation. They worry that his emphasis on undoing Japan’s American-inspired constitution and forcing patriotic education will undermine Japan as East Asia’s model of liberal democracy. And they worry he is not leader enough to move beyond his narrow interests and beliefs.

If he can, Abe does have an opportunity to strengthen the US-Japan alliance at its roots. It is also one that can provide a model of reconciliation with Japan’s neighbors.  It is an opportunity that reinforces a successful new effort to deal directly and sensitively with Imperial Japan's atrocities committed during the War.

In the waning days of the last LDP administration, on May 30, 2009, Japanese Ambassador to the United States Fujisaki Ichiro traveled to the last meeting of the American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor (ADBC) and offered Japan’s apology to the surviving POWs for their maltreatment. All the elderly men in the room had survived torture, starvation, disease, humiliation, and slave labor as Japanese POWs.

The former POWs do not ask for compensation from the Japanese companies that benefited from their forced labor. To them, compensation is an official apology that acknowledges their dignity and remembers their history.

The Japanese government, encouraged by the U.S. government, then took the next important step in the reconciliation process and offered a visitation program to former POWs who are able to travel to Japan. Thus far, there have been three trips. In most cases, the Japanese companies at the former POW camp sites welcomed the men and their caregivers warmly.

Last week, the ADBC Memorial Society that represents surviving POWs, their families, and descendants sent a letter to the State Department expressing concern that the Abe Administration might end this remarkable visitation program. The visits have quieted nightmares and replaced bitterness with goodwill for POWs and descendants alike. Both the POW families and the U.S. government want the program continued.  

With two members of his cabinet from families involved in the use of POW slave labor—Deputy Prime Minister Aso Taro (Aso Group) and Agriculture Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa (Ube Industries)—Abe is in a unique position to extend and enhance this visitation program. He can expand it to include widows and descendants on the trips to Japan, research on the POW experience, placement of memorials, preservation of records, and education on human rights.

By showing his understanding of the pain inflicted on soldiers of what is now Japan’s closest ally, Abe can strengthen bilateral relations at its fundamental level. He engenders trust among the Americans tasked with protecting Japan by honoring their veterans. And he signals to Japan’s other wartime victims that meaningful reconciliation is possible.

Prime Minister Abe brings to Washington promises to increase the material strength of the U.S.-Japan Alliance. This is not enough. He also needs to reassure Americans that he will not inflame regional sensibilities or upend the intent of Japan’s peace Constitution.  These are elements of regional security as well, which cannot be ignored.

Mindy Kotler
Asia Policy Point

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Educating Congress

In an update of their periodic report on Japan-US Relations: Issues for Congress (February 15, 2013) the Congressional Research Service (CRS) included background Abe history problems and on the continuing history issues of the American POWs of Japan and Comfort Women.

CRS wrote:

Abe and History Issues

During his year-long stint as Prime Minister in 2006-2007, Abe was known for his nationalist rhetoric and advocacy for more muscular positions on defense and security matters. Some of Abe’s positions—such as changing the interpretation of Japan’s pacifist constitution to allow for Japanese participation in collective self-defense—were largely welcomed by U.S. officials eager to advance military cooperation. Other statements, however, suggest that Abe embraces a revisionist view of Japanese history that rejects the narrative of imperial Japanese aggression and victimization of other Asians. He has been involved with groups arguing that Japan has been unjustly criticized for its behavior as a colonial and wartime power. 

Among the positions advocated by these groups, such as Nippon Kaigi Kyokai, are that Japan should be applauded for liberating much of East Asia from Western colonial powers, that the 1946-1948 Tokyo War Crimes tribunals were illegitimate, and that the killings by Imperial Japanese troops during the 1937 “Nanjing massacre” were exaggerated or fabricated. Historical issues have long colored Japan’s relationships with its neighbors, particularly China and South Korea, who remain resentful of Japan’s occupation and belligerence during the World War II period. Abe’s selections for his Cabinet appear to reflect these views, as he chose a number of politicians well-known for advocating nationalist, and in some cases ultra-nationalist views. 

The previous DPJ government adopted a more conciliatory view of Japan’s past and worked to mend historical wounds with South Korea and China. In August 2010, the 100th anniversary of Japan’s annexation of the Korean Peninsula, then-Prime Minister Naoto Kan renewed Japan’s apology for its treatment of Koreans during colonial rule, and offered to return historical documents and other artifacts taken from Korea. Until the end of their time in power, DPJ leaders also avoided visiting the controversial Yasukuni Shrine, a shrine that honors Japan’s wartime dead and includes several Class A war criminals. Visits to the shrine by LDP Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi had severely strained Tokyo’s relationships with Beijing and Seoul in the early and mid-2000s. 

Abe last visited the Yasukuni Shrine in October 2012, after he was elected president of the LDP but before the parliamentary elections that made him Prime Minister. Many analysts say that Abe’s re-ascension to the premiership risks inflaming regional relations, which could disrupt regional trade, threaten security cooperation among U.S. allies, and further exacerbate already tense relations with China. Abe is under pressure from the Japan Restoration Party, a new fiercely nationalist party that won the third largest number of seats in the Diet. On the other hand, during his last stint as Prime Minister, Abe successfully repaired ties with South Korea and China and is regarded by some observers as a pragmatic operator. Since becoming prime minister, he has not repeated his calls while in opposition to station Japanese civilians on the Senkaku Islands and to designate a national “Takeshima Day” to promote Japan’s assertion of sovereignty over the Dokdo/Takeshima island that is controlled by South Korea. Although relations with China are far more problematic now, he recently sent an envoy to reach out to the new government in South Korea, raising hopes that relations will not deteriorate significantly. 

Comfort Women Issue

Abe’s statements on the so-called “comfort women”—sex slaves used by the Japanese imperial military during its conquest and colonization of several Asian countries in the 1930s and 1940s—have been criticized by other regional powers and the U.S. House of Representatives in a 2007 resolution. Abe has suggested that his government might consider revising a 1993 official Japanese apology for its treatment of these women, a move that would be sure to degrade Tokyo’s relations with South Korea and other countries. 

In the past, Abe has supported the claims made by many on the right in Japan that the women were not directly coerced into service by the Japanese military. When he was Prime Minister in 2006-2007, Abe voiced doubts about the validity of the 1993 “Kono Statement,” an official statement issued by then-Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono that apologized to the victims and admitted responsibility by the Japanese military. As the U.S. House of Representatives considered H.Res. 121, calling on the Japanese government to “formally acknowledge, apologize, and accept historical responsibility” for forcing young women into military prostitution, Abe appeared to soften his commentary and asserted that he would stand by the statement. The House later overwhelmingly endorsed the resolution. Then-Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Hakubun Shimomura had been leading the movement to revise the statement; Abe recently appointed him Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology. 

The issue of the so-called comfort women has gained visibility in the United States, due primarily to Korean-American activist groups. These groups have pressed successfully for the erection of monuments commemorating the victims, passage of a resolution on the issue by the New York State Senate, and the naming of a city street in the New York City borough of Queens in honor of the victims. In addition, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reportedly instructed the State Department to refer to the women as “sex slaves,” rather than the euphemistic term “comfort women.”

U.S. World-War II-Era Prisoners of War (POWs)

For decades, U.S. soldiers who were held captive by Imperial Japan during World War II have sought official apologies from the Japanese government for their treatment. A number of Members of Congress have supported these campaigns. The brutal conditions of Japanese POW camps have been widely documented. [22] In May 2009, Japanese Ambassador to the United States Ichiro Fujisaki attended the last convention of the American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor to deliver a cabinet-approved apology for their suffering and abuse. In 2010, with the support and encouragement of the Obama Administration, the Japanese government financed a Japanese/American POW Friendship Program for former American POWs and their immediate family members to visit Japan, receive an apology from the sitting Foreign Minister and other Japanese Cabinet members, and travel to the sites of their POW camps. Annual trips were held in 2010, 2011, and 2012. [23] It is unclear whether the Abe government will continue the program. It is also unclear if Abe and other LDP politicians’ suggestions that past Japanese apologies should be reworded or retracted include the apologies to the U.S. POWs.

In the 112th Congress, three resolutions—S.Res. 333, H.Res. 324, and H.Res. 333—were introduced thanking the government of Japan for its apology and for arranging the visitation program. [24] The resolutions also encouraged the Japanese to do more for the U.S. POWs, including by continuing and expanding the visitation programs as well as its World War II education efforts. They also called for Japanese companies to apologize for their or their predecessor firms’ use of un- or inadequately compensated forced prison laborers during the war.

[22] By various estimates, approximately 40% percent held in the Japanese camps died in captivity, compared to 1%-3% of the U.S. prisoners in Nazi Germany’s POW camps. Thousands more died in transit to the camps, most notoriously in the 1942 “Bataan Death March,” in which the Imperial Japanese military force-marched almost 80,000 starving, sick, and injured Filipino and U.S. troops over 60 miles to prison camps in the Philippines. For more, see CRS Report RL30606, U.S. Prisoners of War and Civilian American Citizens Captured and Interned by Japan in World War II: The Issue of Compensation by Japan, by Gary Reynolds, currently out of print but available from the co-authors of this report. Estimates of the death rates in German prison camps for POWs are in the low single digits, compared to rates near 40% for Imperial Japanese camps.

[23] For more on the program, see Since the mid-1990s, Japan has run similar programs for the POWs of other Allied countries.

[24] S.Res. 333 (Feinstein) was introduced and passed by unanimous consent on November 17, 2011. H.Res. 324 (Honda) and H.Res.333 (Honda) were introduced on June 22, 2011, and June 24, 2011, respectively, and referred to the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific.

Warning Abe

White House: Japan should do more to address 
‘comfort women’ issue

Posted By Josh Rogin, The Cable on Foreign Policy, Thursday, February 21, 2013 - 4:19 PM

On the eve of Japan's new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to Washington, a top White House official said that Japan should do more to address lingering regional and international anger over its handling of World War II atrocities, including the forced sexual enslavement of hundreds of thousands of "comfort women."

On a conference call Thursday, The Cable asked top White House officials whether President Barack Obama believes that the Japanese government has done enough to address the comfort-women issue and whether Obama would raise the issue when he meets Abe on Friday. The top White House official dealing with Asia, National Security Council Senior Director for Asia Danny Russel, said that the impetus was on Japan to do more.

"President Obama knows full well that there are very sensitive legacy issues from the last century and believes that it's important to take steps to promote healing. So our position has always been to encourage Japan to take steps that will foster better relations, that will foster closer relations will all of its neighbors," Russel said. "At the same time, we would hope and expect that others would reciprocate to constructive and positive steps the Japanese government might take."

Last July, then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton caused a diplomatic rift between the United States and Japan when it was reported that she corrected a State Department employee during a private briefing, insisting that the term "comfort women" was incorrect and that the victims of forced prostitution in wartime Japan should instead be called "enforced sex slaves."

Russel declined to say whether Obama would raise the issue directly with Abe Friday.

"Prime Minister Abe will be here and will be addressing the public as part of his own program," Russel said. "Let's hear what he has to say when he visits Washington."

White House officials did say that Abe and Obama are likely to talk about tensions in the East China Sea, tensions in the South China Sea, Iran, Afghanistan, North Africa, North Korea, the Trans Pacific Partnership, climate change, and cyber security.

Soon after Abe's Liberal Democratic Party took control back from the Democratic Party of Japan in parliamentary elections last December, Abe's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga shocked the region by suggesting that the Abe government wanted to review the 1993 Japanese government statement apologizing for the Japanese military's treatment of the "comfort women" and acknowledging the military's role in setting up "comfort" stations during the war.

In late January, Abe backed off of Suga's remarks and said that his government was shelving plans to review the 1993 statement, which had been issued by Suga's predecessor Yohei Kono. "The matter should not be turned into a political and diplomatic issue," Abe told Japan's Lower House on Jan. 31.

"There have been many wars throughout history, involving infringement on the human rights of women," Abe said. "When it comes to the issue of comfort women, my heart aches acutely when I think about those who had to go through painful experiences beyond description. I am no different from successive prime ministers on that point."

That promise wasn't enough for some U.S. lawmakers, who issued statements Thursday calling on the Japanese government to do more to make amends.

"Japan's government must fully acknowledge, apologize for and increase awareness of its history of ‘comfort women,'" Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) said in a statement. "These survivors of physical, sexual and psychological violence that was sanctioned by the Japanese government deserve this apology. But beyond that Japan must prove to the rest of the world that it is willing to express sincere regret for a systematic atrocity that was committed in its country's history in order to move forward as a democracy."

Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA) said in a statement Thursday that as a former inhabitant of an American internment camp during World War II, he knew from personal experience that reconciliation related to the war was only achievable through direct government action.

"Indeed, nothing is more important right now than for a democratic country like Japan to formally acknowledge and unequivocally apologize for its systematic atrocity. Government is a living, breathing organism that is responsible for its past, present and future," Honda said. "In order to move toward a more peaceful, global world, Japan must accept responsibility and apologize. The grandmothers -- those survivors of physical, sexual and psychological violence perpetuated by Japan's Imperial Army -- are still waiting for an appropriate apology."

Israel and Honda wrote a letter Feb. 20 to Japan's ambassador to Washington Kenichiro Sasae urging the Japanese government not to revise the Kono statement, as the 1993 apology is known, and also calling on the Abe government to go further in apologizing and acknowledging wrongdoing.

In 2007, the House of Representatives unanimously approved a resolution expressing the sense of the U.S. Congress that Japan should "formally acknowledge, apologize, and accept historical responsibility in a clear and unequivocal manner for its Imperial Armed Force's coercion of young women into sexual slavery."

Mindy Kotler, an expert on the comfort-women issue and the founder of Asia Policy Point, a non-profit organization that does research on Japan, told The Cable that the concern over the Abe government's handling of this issue goes much deeper than just the statements his aide made about revising the Kono statement.

"Abe and his supporters -- and you have to remember that 10 members of his cabinet including himself signed an ad last November that appeared in the New Jersey Star Ledger condemning the Comfort Women -- hold antiquated views of women, war, and just general human rights," she said. "Thus the problem is not about history but about a worldview that is out of touch with contemporary values and understanding. They do not engender trust, which is critical to any security situation in Asia."

For another story on the Honda/Israel letter see Agence France-Presse, US lawmakers warn Japan PM on 'comfort women'

Listening to Abe

On Friday afternoon in the basement of CSIS, the Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe will give a presentation (Webcast). He will have just come from lunch and talks with US President Barack Obama.

It will not the first time that Abe has given a speech in Washington. And it is likely he will deliver it in English. At the recent Davos conclave, he sent in an English-language message to the attendees. He observed that "democracy is on the wax among assin' nations."

Abe is again getting public relations advice from Tomohiko Taniguchi who was recently appointed Naikaku Shingikan (Cabinet Councillor) for Public Relations. In the first Abe Administration, Taniguchi was Deputy Press Secretary for the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. A former Nikkei reporter, Taniguchi has spent the last few years as an adviser to the head of JR Central Kasai and the company's magazine The Wedge. In 2006, Taniguchi gave a presentation on Abe's foreign policy at The Brookings Institution where he described Abe as "one of the most relaxed lawmakers, a very much approachable figure, thereby winning bi-partisan support."

Abe has spoken publicly a number of times in Washington: AEI (2004), Brookings (2005 and 2009), and Hudson (2010). At times he startles his audience with awkward references to American literature or values.

In 2004, speaking at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), he explained that Japan needed to change its Constitution and rid itself of the "mind control" imposed by the Americans.
Perhaps it was because of the trauma of defeat that postwar Japan looked upon its Constitution as an immutable code of laws. In this climate, the dominant sentiment was one that claimed that the Constitution should not be touched or changed in any way. In a sense, the whole nation was victim to a form of mind control. I believe that these tendencies must definitely be abolished.
Abe relaunched his political career at The Brookings Institution on April 17, 2009* with a speech entitled A New Era Requires a New Political Will.
Last time I gave a speech here was four years ago in 2005.  To end that speech, I quoted from Miles to Go, a book by Daniel Patrick Moynihan.  That quote went like this:  “Politics is almost always in some measure an argument about the future and persons claiming to be knowledgeable in this regard will almost always find an audience among politicians.”  For me, this quote means that you must have the courage to swallow bitter medicine if it is from someone really knowledgeable.  I am engaged in politics only to build a better future for Japan and for the world.

Most Americans would interpret that passage as a warning to be wary of those who claim to know the future as the only ones who believe them are politicians looking for a quick fix.

Still, he ended his speech identifying himself as a statesman, a topic that came up several times in his remarks.
In democracies, statesmen are a critical part of the system. They hear the vox populi, and do what ought to be  done, though it may be bitter, rather than easy to digest. Therefore, the strong wills of the statesmen count most. That is what I tell myself, every day when I wake up.
At the Hudson Institute in October 2010, Abe failed to understand that the founder of the Institute Herman Kahn was a proponent of thermo-nuclear warfare. He opened his luncheon speech by noting his “deep admiration for Dr. Herman Kahn, the founder of the Hudson Institute.” He said
The phrase that he coined, ‘thinking the unthinkable,’ has provided me much food for thought throughout my career as a member of the Diet. My own interpretation of the phrase 'thinking the unthinkable' is as follows: 'to provide hope for the future, based on a clear understanding of the past and an accurate perception of the present.'
The audience, which included Herman Kahn's daughter, wondered how the thought of surviving a thermal-nuclear war had provided Abe with “hope”?

*1996: Japan and the United States signed the “Joint Declaration of the Japan-US security”

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

What Abe Can Do in Washington

ADBC Memorial Society

February 15, 2013

The Honorable Joseph Y. Yun
Acting Assistant Secretary of State
Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs,
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20520 

Dear Mr. Yun:

As representative of the surviving POWs of Japan, their families, and descendants, the ADBC Memorial Society asks you to encourage Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during his visit next week to continue and expand his government’s visitation program to Japan for American former POWs.

The POW/Japan Friendship Program only initiated in 2010 has brought immeasurable benefit to the former POWs, their families, and to the U.S.-Japan relationship. As you can see from this representative note to our newsgroup, it has brought closure and peace of mind to its participants:

This program has really helped my Dad.  For years, Dad would have nightmares after any talk, show, or sometimes just because of his years as a POW.  Since our visit his nightmares have gone.  I cannot really put in words what that day at the Japanese Factory in Takaoka, Toyama, Japan did.  He has not forgotten or totally forgiven but there is now a peace to his remembrance. If you are able please consider participating in this program.  My Dad's memory is failing on his daily activities but he continues to recall his trip to Japan.  Now when he talks about his POW experience he can now add closure.  The audience is amazed at his story.  I was honored to go with Dad to Japan.  If you are a descendant please talk with your parent about the program.  It truly is a life changer.

                                    Debra Bergbower-Grunwald
                                    Daughter of Harold Bergbower, Past National Commander, ADBC

Impressions of former POWs who have participated in the POW/Japan Friendship Program are on the Outreach section of our website at  The program is a solid example of a successful acknowledgement by Japan of Imperial Japan’s injustices. The Japanese government offered an official apology and followed it up with a program that confronts the past while preserving the dignities of both Americans and Japanese.  

It concerns us that the Abe Administration wants to limit the program to former POWs and possibly end the program this year.  Widows, children, and other descendants have also been affected by the former POW experience of their relative in Japan and they should be included in future programs.  We are concerned about how little the Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs publicizes the program’s accomplishments.  Most important, we are troubled by the Japanese companies that have refused to allow our nonagenarian POWs to visit the sites of their imprisonment and slave labor.

The success of this visitation program should encourage Japan to do more.  Still we wait for Japan’s great multi-national corporations to acknowledge their use of POW labor.  Still we wait for Japan to create national memorials to the POWs who slaved and died on Japanese soil.  And still we wait for Japan to establish a fund to continue this visitation program and expand it, as it did for other Allied POWs in 1995, to include research, documentation, and people-to-people exchanges.

We are grateful for the State Department’s past efforts to encourage the Japanese government to do the right thing by initiating a process of reconciliation.  This issue is even more poignant today as two Abe Cabinet members have family ties to companies that used POW slave labor during the war.

We ask that the Obama Administration insist that Japan preserve its visitation program for former POWs and expand this remarkable program to include family members and to initiate a plan to preserve their history.


Joseph A. Vater, Jr.

cc:        Daniel Russel, National Security Council
Steve Pomper, National Security Council
Darianne Page, The White House
Marc Knapper, Japan Desk, Department of State
Anne Debovoise, Japan Desk, Department of State
The Honorable Robert Menendez
The Honorable Bob Corker
The Honorable Ben Cardin
The Honorable Marco Rubio
The Honorable Bernie Sanders
The Honorable Richard Burr
The Honorable Edward Royce
The Honorable Eliot Engel
The Honorable Steve Chabot
The Honorable Eni F.H. Faleomavaega 
The Honorable Jeff Miller
The Honorable Michael H. Michaud
The Honorable Mike Honda
Mr. Barry Jersinoski, Disabled Veterans of America

February 22, 2013 Maps

Kuribayashi's Map
February 22nd, 71 years after President Franklin Roosevelt ordered General Douglas MacArthur out of the Philippines to ensure that he would not be captured by the invading Japanese, Japan remains a topic of concern in Washington.

In Japan, on the 22nd, nationalists will gather in Matsue, Shimane Prefecture to celebrate Takeshima Day. The event marks the incorporation on Feb. 22, 1905 of the rocky islands (Dokdo to the Koreans) in the Sea of Japan as Japanese territory. The ruling LDP is sending its executive acting secretary general, Hiroyuki Hosoda who is a Matsue native and its director of the LDP’s Youth Division former Prime Minister Koizumi's popular son Shinjiro Koizumi, who also attended the event last year. They will be accompanied by a record 18 Diet members. The Abe Administration, reneging on a promise not to send an official representative, plans to have Parliamentary Secretary Aiko Shimajiri from the Cabinet Office present.  She is elected from Okinawa. This would be the first time anyone from among the top three posts in a ministry will attend the ceremony since it began in 2006. Shimajiri is a member of the Diet members' group that promotes official visits to Yasukuni Shrine on August 15.

In New York City, Bonhams will hold an auction of items from the Pacific theatre of World War II. Offered for sale are items ranging from monuments and medals to ship models and samurai swords. Top lot is the original 1945 Iwo Jima Monument model unveiled in Washington in November 1945 and possibly the original Iwo Jima map used by Commander Tadamichi Kuribayashi for the defense of the island by the Imperial Japanese Army, February - March 1945. Kuribayashi's grandson, Yoshitaka Shindo, who is Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications in Abe's Cabinet. Shindo is well-known as an outspoken advocate for Japan's territorial rights and is one the legislators that landed on a Senkaku islet in August 2012. He was also one of the signatories of the November 4, 2012 FACTS advertorial in the New Jersey Start Ledger dismissing the claims of the Comfort Women as fabrications designed to dishonor Japan.

And in Washington Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will have his first meeting with U.S. President Barak Obama. Later in the day, at 4 o'clock, he will give a speech entitled Japan is Back in the basement of CSIS to selected and vetted Japan and Asia experts and CSIS contributors. He plans to map out his plan to revive Japan's economy.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

President's Day China Events

PRIVATE CHINESE INVESTMENT IN AFRICA: MYTHS AND REALITIES. 2/18, Noon-2:00pm, Washington, DC. Sponsor: SAIS, Johns Hopkins. Speaker: Xiaofang Shen, visiting scholar in the SAIS China Studies Program. 

ON BECOMING A NORMS MAKER: CHINA AND PEACEBUILDING IN AFRICA. 2/18, Noon-1:30pm, Arlington, VA. Sponsor: School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason Unviersity. Speaker: Chris Alden, co-head of the Africa International Affairs program at the London School of Economics. 

CHINA'S ASAT (ANTI-SATELLITE) & MISSILE DEFENSE PROGRAMS: A REVIEW OFPROGRAMS, PLANS, AND MOTIVATIONS. 2/19, 9:00-11:00am, Washington, DC. Sponsor: George C. Marshall Institute and the TechAmerica Space Enterprise Council. Speakers: Dean Cheng, research fellow in the Asian Studies Center at the Heritage Foundation; Mark Stokes, executive director of the Project 2049 Institute; and Scott McMahon, senior defense research analyst at RAND Corp. 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Radar Incident Obscures Beijing’s Conciliatory Turn toward Japan

Analysis by Andrew Chubb
First published in the Jamestown Foundation's China Brief Volume: 13 Issue: 4, February 15, 2013

Nationalists are Not Restraining Beijing from Stepping Back

On February 5, Japanese Defense Minister Onodera Itsunori told the world that a Chinese Navy frigate had pointed “something like fire-control radar” at a Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) destroyer some 100-150 kilometers north of the disputed Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands on January 30. He said the same may have happened to a MSDF helicopter on January 19, though this remained unverified (Daily Yomiuri, February 7; Sydney Morning Herald, February 7).

This marked the first direct involvement of People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy ships in the ongoing confrontations around the islands since Japan's government purchased three of them from a private Japanese owner on September 10 last year. Accordingly, much reportage and analysis has characterized this as part of an ongoing series of escalatory Chinese actions in the East China Sea. Yet the radar incidents ran counter to a distinctly conciliatory trend since mid-January in China’s official rhetoric, diplomatic action, media discourse and even maritime activities.

Part of Xi's Plan?

Chinese officials told the Lowy Institute's Linda Jakobson that a Diaoyu response leadership task force formed in September under Xi Jinping's leadership devised a step-by-step plan to force the Japanese government to acknowledge the existence of the sovereignty dispute. According to Dr. Jakobson, “the most recent escalation reflects the next step” in the implementation of such a plan (The Diplomat, February 8; Asahi Shimbun, February 4; Sydney Morning Herald, December 5, 2012).

There are compelling reference points to support the idea of a centrally-mandated Chinese strategy of steadily increasing pressure on the Japanese position in the waters and skies around the islands. The most salient are the regularization of previously-occasional maritime law enforcement patrols in contested waters since September; the first-ever recorded incursion by a PRC government plane into Japan-administered territorial airspace on December 13; and the scrambling of PLA fighter jets to confront Japanese F-15s on January 10 and 19 (Asahi Shimbun, February 6; South China Morning Post, January 11; Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs [MOFA], December 18, 2012).

Beijing’s official reaction to Japan's allegation—more than two days of silence followed by flat denials by both the foreign and defense ministries—however, raises the possibility that the radar incidents were not a continuation of this pattern of deliberate escalation. Upon finding its voice on February 8, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) accused Japan of “completely creating something out of nothing,” while a Ministry of National Defense statement confirmed both encounters but said fire-control radars simply had not been used. These responses contrasted sharply with the ministries' usual refrain when Chinese behavior in such areas has been questioned—namely, asserting that such activities are “routine” and “completely normal.”

The long silence would seem to imply that the incidents were a product of decisions made by actors outside the party center, possibly a mid-level PLA Navy commander was responsible. The MFA and MND’s effective disavowals of the PLA's actions are not the only signs that the Chinese central leadership may have adjusted its approach to the Diaoyu crisis. Indeed, a range of conciliatory behavior over the past few weeks also suggests such a shift. 

Sino-Japanese Diplomatic Thaw

From January 14, starting with Vice Foreign Minister Fu Ying's meeting with Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Senator Kenji Kosaka, a succession of visits by China-friendly Japanese politicians were accorded prominent coverage in the official and popular media, dressed in positive imagery and photo-ops with Chinese leaders. Beijing also invited former Prime Minister Hatoyama Yukio for a four-day visit, and his January 16 meeting with Jia Qinglin ran on both CCTV's flagship 7pm national news bulletin and the front page of the People's Daily (People's Daily, January 17; CCTV, January 16; Daily Yomiuri, January 12). Hatoyama's apology the following day for crimes committed by Japanese soldiers during the Second World War was hailed by CCTV as “unprecedented,” and images of his visit to the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall were splashed across the front pages of major daily newspapers (Japan Times, January 19; CCTV, January 17).

Next, and most importantly, came Yamaguchi Natsuo, leader of the New Komeito party, a junior coalition partner in Abe Shinzo's government, who arrived on January 22 carrying a handwritten letter from the Japanese prime minister. His arrival was reported immediately in state television news updates, and the Chinese MFA spokesman Hong Lei quickly welcomed the visit by saying: “This facilitates both sides to step up communications, settle disputes and promote healthy bilateral ties” (South China Morning Post, January 23).

Chinese media coverage presented Yamaguchi as a powerful, moderate element in a Japanese government previously depicted as beholden to “rightists” with militarist ambitions. CCTV's evening current affairs magazine show ran a segment that emphasized the New Komeito party's positive historic role in Sino-Japanese relations, and told viewers it was now “once again a ruling party” that would directly influence the LDP's judgments. The show even presented Japanese newspaper analyses stating Abe's decision to send Yamaguchi “expressed the Japanese government's intention to improve bilateral ties” (CCTV, January 22). In a further illustration of Beijing’s intention to shape the public mood to become more amenable to warming ties, a People's Daily commentary questioning the sincerity of Japan's stated intention to mend relations appeared only in the paper's overseas edition (South China Morning Post, January 24).

Aside from scheduled meetings with two Chinese government-affiliated friendship associations, Yamaguchi's itinerary was not declared publicly, and it remained unclear whether party General Secretary Xi Jinping would agree to meet with him or receive Abe's letter. At one point on January 24, major internet news portals displayed leading headlines proclaiming “Japanese envoy visits China for two days with no result, has not obtained audience with Xi Jinping.”

On January 25, the last day of the trip, Xi did receive Yamaguchi in the Great Hall of the People. According to the People's Daily's front-page, top-right, photo-illustrated lead report on the meeting, Xi Jinping said China “remains committed” to Sino-Japanese relations and urged both sides to “look at the big picture.” Invoking the legacies of Zhou Enlai and Tanaka Kakuei, who re-established Sino-Japanese diplomatic relations in 1972, Xi said: ”Like the older generation of leaders, we should show a sense of national and historical responsibility and political wisdom, overcome the difficulties in bilateral relations and push relations forward.” (People's Daily, January 26).

Determined to De-escalate?

The high-profile, high-volume Chinese media coverage of the warming diplomatic ties indicates the leadership perceived little in the way of constraints on their freedom of action resulting from oppositional public or party opinion. Between Hatoyama's arrival on January 16 and Yamaguchi's meeting with Xi on January 25, a number of negative bilateral developments occurred, any of which may have prompted Xi to decline to meet with Abe's emissary had the leadership been worried about a domestic backlash. <On January 15, Defense Minister Onodera implied that Japanese fighter planes may fire warning shots at Chinese aircraft in airspace above the disputed islands (Asahi Shimbun, January 16). Popular Chinese media reported this as “explicit confirmation” that tracer bullets would be fired, spurring discussion of Japan's hostility and the likelihood of war breaking out.

On January 18, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, speaking at a joint press conference alongside Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, stated for the first time that the United States was “oppose[d]” to acts that “seek to undermine Japanese administration” of the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands (U.S. State Department, January 18).

On January 22, Abe declared Japan would continue to send military aircraft to Senkaku/Diaoyu airspace whenever it so wished, and reiterated the position that no dispute over the islands' sovereignty existed, rejecting Yamaguchi's well-publicized proposal of “shelving” the island dispute (South China Morning Post, January 24).On January 24, Japan Coast Guard (JCG) vessels used water cannons on a Taiwanese fishing boat carrying Diaoyu activists, which was under escort from the Republic of China Coast Guard, 17 nautical miles from the islands. Dramatic footage and photographs of the skirmish were aired on China’s commercial television and widely published online.

Yet the Xi-Yamaguchi meeting not only went ahead, the stream of visits by Japanese statesmen continued afterwards with the arrival of former Prime Minister Murayama Tomiichi along with other current LDP politicians on January 29. More upbeat remarks from Chinese officials followed, including the Chinese Ambassador at Geneva Liu Zhenmin saying the Diaoyu/Senkaku dispute could be “controlled”, and PLA Deputy Chief of Staff Qi Jianguo telling U.S. lawmakers “China will never cause a maritime conflict by choice” (Asahi Shimbun, February 4; AP, January 25).

Monday, February 11, 2013

Prime Minister of Japan's Schedule Jan 21-27

January 21, 2012 (MON)


09:07 Imperial palace, report of return
10:02 Office
10:30 Mr. Iijima, Cabinet Office Special Advisor
10:46 Mr. Kishida, Minister of Foreign Affairs; and Mr. Hiramatsu Foreign Policy Bureau Director General
11:07 National Council on Social Security System Reform
11:50 Issue an appointment letter for Mr. Hiroto Izumi as Special Adviser for PM

01:05 Mr. Amari, Minister for Economic Revitalization; Mr. Matsumoto, Administrative Vice Minister of Cabinet Office; and Mr. Matsuyama, Cabinet Secretariat Councillor
01:58 Mr. Sekou, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary
02:09 Mr. Suga, Chief Cabinet Secretary; Mr. Kato, Mr. Sekou, and Mr. Sugita, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretaries
04:00 Mr. Kitamura, Director of Cabinet Intelligence
04:37 Mr. Ogasawara, Administrative Vice Minister of Internal Affairs and Communication; Mr. Junichi Tanaka and MR. Ryo Ooishi, Councillors, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication; and Mr. Sakurai, Director General, Global ICT Strategy Bureau
04:56 All leave
07:18 Video message shoot for the Davos World Economic Forum annual meeting [very funny]
07:51 Shooting ends
09:43 Mr. Sugita, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary
10:13 Mr. Sugita leaves
10:49 Meeting of the Response Headquarters for the Japanese Nationals Abducted in Algeria
11:12 Home in Tomigaya

January 22, 2013 (TUE)


09:16 LDP Headquarters
09:32 LDP Executive meeting
10:01 Office
10:03 Ministerial meeting
10:29 Mr. Nishikawa, Administrative Vice Minister of Justice
11:05 Mr. Adachi, Administrative Vice Minister of Economy, Trade, and Industry; and Mr. Takahara, Director-General, Agency for Natural Resources and Energy
11:41 Mr. Sato, Administrative Vice Minister of Land, Infrastructure, and Transportation

12:12 Mr. Sato leaves
02:08 Mr. Shimomura, Minister of Education; and Mr. Yamanaka, Ministry of Education Councillor
02:34 Mr. Yamaguchi, Director of LDP Accounting Office
02:41 Receives a Report from Mr. Taro Aso, Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Akira Amari, Minister of State for Economic and Fiscal Policy, and Mr. Masaaki Shirakawa, Governor of the Bank of Japan; Mr. Suga attends
02:50 Make comments for the press
02:57 LDP Headquarters
03:00 LDP Local Secretaries meeting
03:41 Office
03:43 Mr. Kaneko, Administrative Vice Minister of Health, Labour, and Welfare; Mr. Okazaki, Director, Employment Security Bureau, Ministry of Health; and Mr. Muraki, Social Welfare and War Victims' Relief Bureau Director General
04:25 Mr. Amari, Minister for Economic Revitalization
04:47 Mr. Suzuki, Senior Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs; and Mr. Hiramatsu, MoFA Foreign Policy Bureau Director General
05:10 Mr. Suzuki and Mr. Hiramatsu leave
06:13 Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy
06:53 Meeting neds
09:29 TV Asahi, Roppongi, Tokyo
09:54 Appear on a news program
11:03 Home in Tomigaya

January 23, 2013 (WED)


08:24 Office
08:31 Industrial Competitiveness Council
09:40 Meeting ends
09:42 Professor Heizo Takenaka of Keio University
09:53 Mr. Katsuyuki Kawai, Lower House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair
10:06 Mr. Kitamura, Director of Cabinet Intelligence; and Mr. Nishi, Director General, Defense Policy Bureau, MoD; and Mr. Kinomura, Director of Defense Intelligence Headquarters
10:20 Mr. Nishi and Mr. Kinomura leave
10:40 Mr. Kitamura leaves
10:50 Mr. Taniuchi, Cabinet Office Advisor
11:08 Mr. Matsumoto, Administrative Vice Minister of Cabinet Office; Mr. Shimizu and Mr. Matsuyama, Councillor of Cabinet Office

12:01 Mr. Lee Sung-yoon and Hideo Watanabe, Vice Chairs, Japan-Korea Cooperation Committee
12:17 All leave
01:01 Mr. Aso, Minsiter of Finance
01:32 Ministerial Council on Monthly Economic Report and Other Relative Issues
02:03 Mr. Minagawa, Administrative Vice Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishery
02:43 Mr. Moriguchi, Administrative Vice Minister of Education
03:19 Presentation Ceremony of the Prime Minister's Award to the Winner of the Japan Professional Sports Grand Prize
03:56 Mr. Nemoto, Minister of Reconstruction
04:18 Mr. Yamamoto, Minister of State for Okinawa and Northern Territories Affairs
04:39 Mr. Ishihara, Minister of Environment; Mr. Saito, Parliamentary Secretary of Environment; and Mr. Ikeda, Director, Nuclear Power Regulatory Agency
05:24 Mr. Kawai, Administrative Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs; and Mr. Saiki, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs
06:11 Mr. Kawamura, LDP Election Affairs Council Chief
06:25 Mr. Kawamura leaves
07:49 Mr. Yonemura, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary for Crisis Management
08:45 Mr. Yonemura leaves
09:02 Home in Tomigaya

January 24, 2013 (THU) 


08:31 Office
08:33 Mr. Inada, Minister in charge of Administrative Reform
09:15 Regulatory Reform Council
09:47 Mr. Ryuhei Maeda, new Ambassador for Switzerland and Lichtenstein; and other new Ambassadors
10:02 Education Rebuilding Implementation Council
11:08 Meeting ends
11:35 Interview with Kyodo News

12:06 Mr. Yamamoto, Minister of State for Space Policy
01:00 Mr. Aso, Minister of Finance; Mr. Manago, Administrative Vice Minister of Finance; and Mr. Tanaka,Director General, Tax Bureau, MoF
01:09 Mr. Furusawa, Director General, Financial Bureau, MoF, joins
01:37 All leave
01:38 Mr. Amari, Minister for Economic Revitalization; Mr. Matsumoto, Administrative Vice Minister of Cabinet Office; and Mr. Matsuyama, Cabinet Office Councillor
01:59 Reiyukai, Azabudai, Tokyo,”Inner Trip” meeting
02:19 LDP Headquarters: Photo shoot with the candidates for Tokyo Assembly election: Mr. Ishiba attends
03:08 Office
03:10 Mr. Kitamura, Director of Cabinet Intelligence
03:16 Mr. Hiroshi Inouye, Chair of the private broadcasting company federation
03:47 Ms. Junko Kawaguchi, LDP Okinawa development research board chair; and Mr. Fukushiro Nukaga, former Minister of Defense
03:57 Mr. Aso, Minister of Finance; Mr. Manago, Administrative Vice Minister of Finance; and Mr. Kinoshita,
0431 Courtesy Call from Representatives of the Ship for World Youth (SWY) Program
05:03 Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy
05:54 Extraordinary Ministerial Meeting
06:17 Mr. Amari, Minister of Economic Revitalization
06:42 Mr. Motegi, Minister of Economy, Trade, and Industry
07:44 Residence: Dinner with Mr. Kimura, Isozaki, and Eto, Special Advisors of PM
09:34 Home in Tomigaya

January 25, 2013 (FRI)

08:20 Office
08:21 Mr. Nemoto, Minister of Reconstruction
08:46 Mr. Kishida, Minister of Foreign Afairs; Mr. Suzuki, Senior Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs; and Mr. Kawai, Administrative Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs
08:58 The Seventh Meeting of the Response Headquarters for the Japanese Nationals Abducted in Algeria
09:16 National Security Council
09:37 Strategic Headquarters for Space Development
10:02 Ministerial Meeting
10:27 Headquarters on the Abduction Issue
10:44 Headquarters for Japan's Economic Revitalization
11:08 Mr. Shunichi Tanaka, Chair of Nuclear Regulatory Committee; and Mr. Ikeda, Director, Nuclear Regulatory Agency

12:00 Mr. Yuuji Yamamoto, the Lower House Budget Committee Chair
12:16 Lunch with Mr. Suga, Chief Cabinet Secretary
01:31 Mr. Sugita, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary
01:41 Mr. Shindo, Minster of Internal Affairs and Communications
02:02 Meeting with newspaper and broadcasting editors
02:29 Meeting with private broadcasting analysts
02:55 Cabinet Press Club members
04:10 Interview with Mainichi Shimbun
04:53 Mr. Yneda and Mr. Katagiri, Old and New National Police Agency Director
05:00 Mr. Nishimura and Mr. Higuchi, New and Old Superintendent General
05:15 Mr. Kitamura, Director of Cabinet Intelligence
05:25 Mr. Onodera, Minister of Defense; Mr. Nishi, Defense Policy Bureau Director General; and Mr. Kimizuka, GSDF Chief of Staff
05:50 Mr. Fujii, Cabinet Office Secretariat Councillor; and Mr. Izumi, Special Advisor for PM
06:30 Teleconference with Prime Minister Merkel of Germany
07:16 Residence: Dinner with Mr. Hamada and Mr. Honda Cabinet Office Secretariat Councillors
08:51 Mr. Ihara, North American Affairs Bureau Director General, MoFA; and Mr. Sakurai, Assistant Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary
09:57 Home in Tomigaya

January 26, 2013 (SAT)

08:50 Keio University Hospital; medical checkup

02:29 Home in Tomigaya
03:12 NHK International’s Studio in the Japan Amway Headquarters Building; Attend the World Economic Forum (Davos Meeting) TV meeting
03:56 Residence
03:57 Mr. Yamaguchi, President of New Komei Party; Mr. Ishii, Komei’s Policy Research Chief; and Mr. Nishida, Komei’s Parliamentary Affairs Chief
04:21 Mr. Kinouchi, Parliamentary Secretary of Foreign Affairs; Mr. Suga; Mr. Sugita, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary; Mr. Yonemura, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary for Crisis Management; and Mr. Kitamura, Director of Cabinet Intelligence
04:54 Give comments to the press
05:14 Home

January 27, 2013 (SUN)


Home in Tomigaya

04:39 Ryougoku Sumo Wrestling Arena
04:41 Kitanoumi, Chair of Japan Sumo Wrestling Association
04:53 Watch the sumo matches
05:44 Presentation ceremony for the champion
06:32 Home
08:33 Office
08:35 Mr. Aso, Minister of Finance; and Mr. Manago, Administrative Vice Minister of Finance
09:02 Ruling party meeting for the FY2013 budget
09:18 Mr. Suga
09:21 Mr. Amari, Minister for Economic Revitalization
09:57 Home

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Monday in Washington - February 11

National Foundation Day [Empire Day] in Japan.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society holds a 9:00am news conference in at the National Press Club in Washington to announce legal action being taken against Japan's Institute for Cetacean Research a "government subsidized front" for commercial whaling. On February 7, the International Fund for Animal Welfare, in Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts, released a report, The Economics of Japanese Whaling, asserting that the whaling industry is heavily government subsidized and challenging assertions by the Japanese government that whaling is a tradition with wide support among Japanese consumers.

THE HISTORICAL ORIGINS OF DEMOCRACY AND AUTOCRACY IN INDIA AND CHINA. 2/11, 12:30-2:00pm. Sponsor: Center for Global Development (CGD). Speakers: Francis Fukuyama, Olivier Nomellini Senior Fellow, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Stanford University, Non-Resident Fellow, Center for Global Development; Arvind Subramanian, Senior Fellow and Director of the Understanding India Initiative, Center for Global Development.

MARITIME SECURITY IN EAST ASIA AND THE PACIFIC. 2/11, Noon-2:30pm. Sponsor: Sigur Center for Asian Studies, George Washington University, Japanese Student Union of DC, and the Organization of Asian Studies. Speakers: Professor Takeshi Sakadearun, Associate Professor of Economics, The Graduate School of Economics, Kyoto University; Professor Mike Mochizuki, Associate Dean for Academic Programs, Associate Professor of Political Science and International Affairs, The Elliott School of International Affairs, The George Washington University, APP Board member; Professor Robert Sutter, Professor of Practice of International Affairs, The Elliott School of International Affairs, The George Washington University; Takamasa Ito, Shoki Oyabu, Shoko Kawata, Kyoto University Student Presenters. 

ABE’S FOREIGN POLICY: IMPLICATIONS FOR THE U.S. 2/11, Noon-1:30pm. Sponsor: Sasakwa Peace Foundation USA (SPF). Speaker: Rust Deming, Adjunct Professor of Japan Studies at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies. 

SECURITY IN THE ASIA-PACIFIC REGION. 2/11, 5:00-6:30pm. Sponsor: Johns Hopkins SAIS. Speaker: PK Singh, director of the United Service Institution of India.