Saturday, March 30, 2013

This Monday in Washington

lantern at the Tidal Basin
The cherry blossoms will bloom in Washington this week. Congress remains in recess. The 2013 Sakura Matsuri will end the week on Saturday April 13th. HERE you can find the history of Japan's gift of the cherry trees to the city of Washington.

THE POLITICAL TURMOIL IN ITALY ON THE STABILITY OF EUROPE. 4/1, 10:00-11:30am. Sponsor: Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE). Speakers: PIIE fellows Dave Stockton, Jacob Kirkegaard and Barbara Kotschwar.

NEGOTIATING WITH IRAN: HOW BEST TO REACH SUCCESS. 4/1, 10:00-11:30am. Sponsor: Brookings. Speakers: Martin Indyk, vice president and director of foreign policy at Brookings; Javier Solana, former European Union high representative for common foreign and security policy, and distinguished fellow at Brookings; Gary Samore, former National Security Council coordinator for weapons of mass destruction, and executive director for research at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.

THE FUTURE OF CHINA AND JAPAN-CHINA RELATIONS. 4/1, 1:30-3:00pm. Sponsor: Carnegie. Speakers: Akio Takahara, Professor of contemporary Chinese politics, Graduate School of Law and Politics, University of Tokyo; James L. Schoff, Senior Associate in the Carnegie Asia Program.

PREVENTING GENOCIDE AND PROTECTING HUMAN RIGHTS IN PLACES SUCH AS CONGO, SUDAN, SOUTH SUDAN AND SOMALIA. 4/1, 3:00-4:00pm, Washington, DC. Sponsor: School of International Service (SIS), American University. Speakers: SIS Dean James Goldgeier and John Prendergast, SIS/MA '90, co-founder of the Enough Project.

SUPER-LEGISLATURES: EVALUATING DODD-FRANK'S CFPB (CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU) AND OLA (ORDERLY LIQUIDATION AUTHORITY) PROVISIONS AND OBAMACARE'S IPAB (INDEPENDENT PAYMENT ADVISORY BOARD). 4/1, 4:00-5:00pm. Sponsor: Cato. Speakers: former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and former White House Counsel C. Boyden Gray, founding partner at Boyden Gray & Associates LLP; Michael Cannon, director for health policy studies at Cato Institute; Louise Bennetts, associate director of financial regulation studies at the Cato Institute. 

THE POWER AND LIMITS OF LAW: TERRITORIAL AND MARITIME DISPUTES IN EAST ASIA. 4/1, 5:00-7:00pm, Washington, DC. Sponsor: SAIS, Johns Hopkins. Speaker: Professor Peter Dutton Director of the China Maritime Studies Institute, The U.S. Naval War College.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

America’s Commitment to Asia

On March 20th, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Ed Royce (R-CA) gave an inspiring and important speech to an audience at the Heritage Foundation. The video is above and the text is HERE.

Notable was Chairman Royce's emphasis on strengthening America's economic relationships in the region. He made only passing reference to Japan and none of the US-Japan Alliance.

As Royce stated:
A fundamental restructuring of U.S. involvement in the Asia-Pacific region will resolve the endless standoff with North Korea once and for all.  India will no longer be artificially separated from the rest of Asia, and we will firmly anchor Taiwan into the global trading system.  The U.S. must take an in-depth look at its relationship with China and find a balanced approach that takes into account America’s interests while striving for a productive relationship.  Finally, we must once again make America the most attractive location to do business for the Asia-Pacific region.  Let’s get the conversation back on to economic prosperity and away from divisive nationalism.
And he ended his speech by pointing out today's political realities:
In my congressional district, for example, we have one of the highest concentrations of Asian Americans in country.  This includes Chinese Americans, Taiwanese Americans, Korean Americans, Filipino Americans – the list goes on.  In fact, there are 95 countries of origin represented within California’s 39th Congressional District.  I have long consulted with my constituents to better understand developments abroad.  Many of my constituents are active in trading and investing in Asia, which is a source of our national strength.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The constitutionality of Japan's December 2012 elections

Carl F. Goodman, Adjunct Professor of Japanese Law at Georgetown University Law Center and at George Washington University School of Law and author of The Rule of Law in Japan : A Comparative Analysis (3rd Revised Edition, Kluwer Law International, 2012) writes: 

click to order
Three cheers for the Judges on the High Court in Hiroshima. On March 25th, they held that the December 2012 Lower House election was unconstitutional and invalid. They ruled that the malapportionment of votes among the electoral districts was unconstitutional—a result that appears to follow from the fact that the election was held under the same system that the Supreme Court had in 2011 characterized as being in a “State of Unconstitutionality.” The Court also provided plaintiffs with relief by setting aside the elections in two Hiroshima electoral districts. This was unprecedented.

Other High Courts have found that the election results in some of their districts were held under either an unconstitutional system or a system that was in a “state of unconstitutionality.” The Hiroshima High Court is the first to actually provided relief for the unconstitutional action of the Diet in failing to correct the disproportion that denied rights to voters in some electoral districts. Although the decision is welcome, it is too early to celebrate the triumph of the rule of law.

The history of constitutional litigation in Japan shows that District and High Court Judges are far more likely to find laws unconstitutional or to provide relief for unconstitutional action than is the Supreme Court. If appealed, as is likely, the Supreme Court has numerous avenues for denying the plaintiffs the minimal relief that the High Court would grant. This is “minimal” because the Court set aside elections in only two districts. It was possible for the Court to set aside the entire Lower House election or at least stipulate that a new election be held under a constitutional system within a limited time period.

Prime Minister Abe
The Supreme Court likely will find that setting aside the election in these two districts deprived the voters in those districts of their right to vote and be represented in the Diet. It is, thus, not in the public interest to set aside the election in these districts and leave the voters therein without representation. The Court can also say that it is the function of the Diet to set electoral districts, not the Court.

This later argument would reignite the debate among the Justices that came to the fore in the case finding a portion of the Nationality Law unconstitutional. Here the majority simply excised the unconstitutional provision of the law while leaving the rest of the Nationality law intact. Even this approach brought forth a spirited dissent that the Court went beyond its power to decide legal questions and entered the realm of writing a new Nationality Law provision.

In the election field, it is far more difficult to excise a part of the law and leave the remainder as a whole—especially as in an unified country leaving the rest of the law as is would leave electoral districts with malapportionment. Far more likely, that if any relief is granted by the Supreme Court, it would be monetary relief such as was provided in the Overseas Election Law case where the Court ordered the Diet to pay damages to the successful plaintiffs because of the Diet’s failure to amend the law to provide for a Constitutional approach to voting rights by overseas Japanese citizens.

What the Court’s decision may reflect is a growing impatience by some Judges with the failure of the Judiciary to take effective action in the apportionment arena. If the Supreme Court feels the same frustration, it might just provide some relief that would cause the Diet to actually amend the law to conform to the Constitution.

Perhaps most intriguing is how the world community and the Japanese people would view any law or any Constitutional amendment approved by a two-thirds vote of a Lower House that was elected under a state of unconstitutionality. Will this matter?

In addition to the issue of rule of law in Japan, this question is urgent as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe working on a number of amendments to the Constitution. He has said that his first goal is to change the two-thirds vote to one of a simple majority. Can a legislative body in a "state of unconstitutionality" rule on its own constitution?

Of immediate concern is how the Court decisions will affect or not the current Government of Japan. Already, some politicians are talking about holding a double House election in July. But this and the Diet's legal standing are the subject for greater debate later when we know what the other High Courts have to say on the election issue and what the Supreme Court may have to say.

Click to see Japan's Constitution

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Monday in Washington

Congress is out of session this week and the National Cherry Blossom Festival has begun. This week is also Passover and Easter.

REGIONAL TRADE AGREEMENTS: IMPLICATIONS FOR WTO (WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION). 3/25, 8:30-10:00am. Sponsor: Asia Program of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (USCC). Speakers: New Zealand Minister of Trade Tim Groser; Tami Overby, vice president for Asia at USCC; William Moser, president of the United States-New Zealand Council.

DISCUSSION ON AFGHANISTAN WITH GENERAL JOHN ALLEN. 3/25, 10:00-11:30am. Sponsor: Brookings. Speakers: General John Allen, USMC, Former Commander, International Security Assistance Force, Afghanistan; Michael E. O'Hanlon, Director of Research, Foreign Policy.

CHAIRMAN’S FORUM WITH RICHARD G. OLSON, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO PAKISTAN. 3/25, Noon-1:30pm. Sponsor: Stimson. Speakers: Richard G. Olson, U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan; Lincoln P. Bloomfield, Jr., Stimson Chairman.

OKINAWA REVERSION AND THE "SECRET PACTS": NEW EVIDENCE FROM SOUTH KOREAN ARCHIVES. 3/25, Noon-1:30pm. Sponsor: East-West Center Washington (EWC). Speakers: Dr. Somei Kobayashi is a 2012 Japan Studies Fellow at the East-West Center in Washington; International Scholar at the Department of Philosophy, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, Korea.

UNCHARTED STRAIT: THE SURPRISING SHIFT IN CHINA-TAIWAN RELATIONS? 3/25, 12:45-2:00pm. Sponsor: China Studies, SAIS, Johns Hopkins University. Speaker: Richard Bush, senior fellow and director of the Center for Northeast Asian Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution.

BALANCING ACT ON THE MEKONG: BUILDING LINKAGES FOR SUSTAINABLE DAM DEVELOPMENT. 3/25, 2:00-3:30pm. Sponsor: Wilson Center. Speakers: Michael Victor, communications coordinator at the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research; Robert Mather, head of the Southeast Asia Group at the International Union for the Conservation of Nature; Douglas Varchol, director of Mekong.

THE ARAB SPRING, WHERE IS IT LIKELY HEADED, AND IMPLICATIONS FOR U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY. 3/25, 6:00-8:00pm, Arlington, VA. Sponsor: Applied Physics Laboratory, Johns Hopkins University. Speaker: Robin Wright, U.S. Institute of Peace Senior Fellow-Wilson Center Distinguished Scholar.

WHOSE RIVER, WHOSE CHOICE? HYDROPOWER,GOVERNANCE AND ENVIRONMENT IN THE MEKONG. 3/25, 6:30-8:30pm, Washington, DC. Sponsor: Goethe-Institut Washington, Goethe Forum. Speakers: Preceded by a screening of the film Mekong, this panel discussion will touch on issues such as regional stability and trans-boundary management, environmental and energy security, political stability and cultural tradition. Words of welcome: Asterio Takesy, Ambassador from Micronesia; Felix Leinemann, European Union Delegation; Panelists: Douglas Varchol, film director; Erik Stokstad, AAAS; Jeff Opperman, The Nature Conservancy; Michael Victor, CGIAR Challenge Program on Water and Food; Robert Mather, International Union for the Conservation of Nature. 

Friday, March 22, 2013

New Jersey State Assembly passes Comfort Women resolution

Gordon Johnson

NEW JERSEY STATE ASSEMBLY DEMOCRATS PRESS RELEASE                                                               3/21/2013

Assembly Advances Johnson & Wagner Measure Seeking Redress for the Many Woman [sic] Interned & Subjected to Brutality by Japanese Imperial Army [sic]

Connie Wagner

(TRENTON) - A measure sponsored by Assembly Democrats Gordon Johnson and Connie Wagner to help provide redress to the many women forced into internment by the Japanese Army and subjected to horrific conditions during World War II was approved 75-0 by the full Assembly on Thursday.

The concurrent resolution (ACR-159) commemorates and supports "comfort women" in their fight for proper acknowledgement by the Japanese government of the suffering they endured during their forced internment in military comfort stations.

"Some of these women were sold to comfort stations as minors, others were deceptively recruited with the promise of employment and financial security, and still others were forcibly kidnapped and sent to 'work' for soldiers stationed throughout the Japanese occupied territories," said Johnson (D-Bergen). "Although many have long since passed, they still deserve the dignity of having these crimes acknowledged by their perpetrators with the hope that it will never be repeated again."

The term "comfort women" is a euphemism used by the Japanese government to describe women forced into sexual slavery by the Imperial Japanese military between 1932 and 1945. The majority of comfort women were of Korean or Chinese descent but women from Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Australia, and the Netherlands were also interned in military comfort stations run directly by the Imperial Japanese military or by private agents working for the military.

"The crimes against these women are too horrific to ignore or gloss over with historical inaccuracies," said Wagner (D-Bergen/Passaic). "Approximately three-quarters of comfort women have died as a direct result of the brutality inflicted on them during their internment. Of those who survived, many were left infertile due to sexual violence or sexually transmitted diseases and many are now dying without proper acknowledgment by the Japanese government of the suffering they endured during their forced internment in military comfort stations."

Johnson and Wagner noted that the lack of official documentation, most destroyed on the orders of the Japanese government after World War II, has made it difficult to estimate the total number of comfort women. Most historians and media sources approximate that about 200,000 young women were recruited or kidnapped by soldiers to serve in Imperial Japanese military brothels.

The measure also calls upon the Japanese government to accept historical responsibility for the sexual enslavement of comfort women by the Imperial Japanese military and educate future generations about these crimes.

The bill now heads to the Senate for further consideration.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Abe’s Bold Decision on TPP Wins Public Approval

On March 15, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe formally announced that Japan would join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations. He had promised as much to President Barack Obama at their February summit. This bold decision, which many critics thought would be delayed by internal political feuding—the kind that blocked earlier attempts by Abe’s DPJ predecessors Naoto Kan and Yasuhiko Noda—is not without political risk.

Abe successfully argued to his party and coalition partners that joining the TPP can open the door to 3.2 trillion yen in much needed GDP growth. With Japan’s entry, the TPP comprises 12 nations, accounting for 40% of world GDP, making it the largest regional trading bloc. TPP is also seen as a means for Japan to reduce its economic dependency on the China market. Abe stressed that joining now was “so that the world’s third largest economy can take the lead in rule-making” before TPP talks wrap up late this year. Otherwise, he believes that Japan would be left behind and internationally disadvantaged.

Abe received grudging acceptance from anti-TPP elements in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) by saying that he would protect Japan’s agriculture sector and public health insurance system during negotiations. In theory, TPP members had agreed beforehand to abolish all tariffs without exception. The expectation is that his government will make Japan’s interests reflected in the final set of rules, as well as to gain exemptions from zero-tariffs for certain politically-sensitive agricultural products such as rice and sugar.

With about half of the LDP lawmakers in the Diet opposing TPP, Abe’s strategy is a gamble. All could backfire on him if negotiations with the U.S., which include the knotty side issues of auto trade and government-backed insurance, fail. In particular, if Japan cannot obtain the minimal exceptions on “sacred” agricultural areas it seeks, the party expects it to pull out of the talks. This would be a political disaster and would cost Abe his premiership. On the other hand, if Japan is seen in the U.S. – read the Congress – as receiving special exemptions on key items, the backlash could even jeopardize the passage of the TPP treaty.

Before his statement, the ruling LDP's panel on the TPP passed a resolution that:

-- seeks the premier's crucial decision based on a century-long nation-building plan.
-- urges maintaining tariffs on certain farm products, with rice and others in mind, as well as protection of Japan's universal health insurance system.
-- suggests Japanese negotiators should withdraw from talks if national interests are threatened.
-- notes concerns that Japan will not benefit from growth in the Asia-Pacific region if it does not take part in TPP talks.
-- calls for close communication between the government and the LDP once Japan joins the TPP talks.

Abe is operating with both party and constituent restraints. He is counting on other TPP members, including the U.S., to seek to retain vestiges of its protected trading areas in order to sell the resulting treaty to domestic constituencies and legislative bodies. Abe seems convinced that the TPP goal of 100% zero-based tariffs will have to be eased to reflect domestic political realities. He may be right; it would seem that the U.S. Congress in the end would try to keep protective tariffs on such sensitive products as sugar.

Public Gives Abe High Marks 

The general public appears to support Abe’s gamble. , In the latest opinion surveys released by three major dailies on March 18: the Asahi poll found 71% of the public giving the Prime Minister high marks for his decision to join TPP talks, and 53% would approve Japan actually joining the free trade agreement; a poll by the Yomiuri found 60% of the public supporting entry into the TPP talks, and one by the Mainichi placed such support at a lofty 63%.

Moreover, the popularity of the Abe Cabinet remains strong. The Asahi found the cabinet support rate up three points from the February survey to 63% -- a record high for it in that newspaper. The Yomiuri poll put the cabinet approval rate at a heady 72%, up slightly, and the rate soared 7 points in the Mainichi survey to 70%. For the Japanese people, already pleased with Abe’s brash economic-stimulus policies, dubbed “Abenomics”, the Prime Minister at this juncture can do no wrong.

In response to the public’s positive reaction, the LDP has turned surprisingly supportive of Abe’s TPP strategy. The party members are apparently satisfied that it will do little or no harm to lawmakers running in the Upper House this July. After all, the results of the TPP talks will not be known until around October. Abe in a meeting at LDP headquarters on March 16 asked local party officials gathered from all over the country to “place your trust in me” on TPP matters, and they seemed to agree.

The party will campaign for the July election on a platform that includes measures to bolster the agricultural sector, which is in serious decline. Party Secretary General Shigeru Ishiba added at the LDP’s plenary meeting that the party will seriously debate what to do next to rescue the farm sector and safeguard its base in the nation’s economy. Already, party officials are making the rounds of rural areas likely to be affected by TPP liberalization, to convince them that their interests will not be sacrificed.

Junjiro Koizumi, the son of former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, who took his father’s place in the Diet, even entered the lion’s den. He visited a small island near Okinawa where the only cash crop for the 1,300 inhabitants is sugar cane. This constituency is “absolutely opposed to TPP.” The move was good publicity, producing a photo in a major magazine.

China Syndrome 

As with all of Abe’s strategies affecting external relations, there is a security aspect that even anti-TPP diehards in the LDP have had to acknowledge: the China factor. The media has already picked up this issue, with some analysts seeing Japan’s decision to enter TPP talks as a clear message to China. They say that Japan is now linked more closely to the U.S. in both security and economic terms.

The Senkaku row with China and other regional factors has drawn Japan and the U.S. closer, while the free-trade agreement can bring many other advantages, including access to cheap shale gas. And as the regional bloc grows, China will find itself increasingly left out in the cold – encircled strategically and isolated economically. The analysts note that South Korea is already showing signs of interest in joining TPP, as well, adding to the regional pool.

TPP, in the words of one analyst (Nikkei, March 17), is “a tool that has enhanced the U.S.’s political influence” in the region. There is no doubt in this analyst’s view that for China, the U.S.-Japan condominium has become a potential “major threat” to its interests. China fears that as TPP membership grows, it will see the new trade rules become the new global standard that it will eventually have to accept. Japan seems to playing this China card for all that its worth.

Prime Minister Abe said he “has been tasked” with realizing the promise of TPP’s benefits to Japan. He has also pledged to do his “best to protect Japan's agriculture and food" as it represents Japan’s tradition and culture. For now, he has the support of his party and the electorate as he tries to stitch together Japan’s various definitions of national and economic security.

By William Brooks,
APP Senior Fellow and Adjunct Professor SAIS 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Human Dignity as foreign policy

Human Dignity and the Future of Global Institutions: A Working Conference

March 19, 2013
8:45 AM - 2:00 PM

Bunn Intercultural Center (ICC) Executive Conference Room

RSVPs are required for this event. RSVP here.

Georgetown University’s Master of Foreign Service (MSFS) and Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs are pleased to offer this focused, half-day conference that brings together a diverse group of scholars and practitioners to preview the collaborative book edited by Mark P. Lagon and Anthony Clark Arend of MSFS, Human Dignity & the Future of Global Institutions. In this forum, the book’s contributors will discuss how the concept of human dignity can—and ought to—guide traditional and hybrid institutions in their work. Panelists will explore how a number of given institutions are already promoting human dignity, or what actions could best support those institutions in fulfilling that objective. The range of topics covered will include institutions seeking to address poverty, economic growth, HIV/AIDS, human trafficking, and terrorism. A keynote address will explore the resonance of human dignity as a foundational concept in various religions and cultural traditions. The contributors seek feedback and engagement from faculty, graduate students, and Washington colleagues. Moderators will engage panelists and all attendees in intensive discussion.

8:45 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. Arrival

9:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. Opening: The Nature of Global Institutions Today and Human Dignity as Their Touchstone

Anthony Clark Arend, Director of Master of Science in Foreign Service (MSFS)

Mark P. Lagon, Concentration Chair of International Relations and Security, MSFS

9:30am – 11:00am: Panel 1

Moderator: Kristen Silverberg, Former Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs and U.S. Ambassador to the European Union

Anthony Clark Arend 
“A Human Dignity Lens on Terrorism: National and International Institutions’ Response”

Mark P. Lagon
“Fighting Human Trafficking: Transformative versus 'Cotton-Candy' Partnerships”

11:15am – 12:45pm: Panel 2

Moderator: Matthew Carnes, S.J. Assistant Professor of Government

Anoop Singh, Director of Asia and Pacific Department, IMF
“Inclusive Growth, Institutions, and the Underground Economy: The IMF and Rule of Law”

Raj Desai, Associate Professor of International Development
"New Players, Institutions, and Partnerships in Poverty Alleviation and Development”

Rosalia Rodriguez-Garcia, World Bank, and Co-Chair of the UN Co-sponsoring Agencies Group of UNAIDS
“Transcending Social Stigma: Putting HIV/AIDS and Human Dignity Center State in Global Institutions”

1:00pm – 2:00pm: Lunch and Keynote Address

Introduction: Anthony Clark Arend

Thomas Banchoff, Professor of Government and Director of the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs
“Human Dignity & Intercultural Dialogue for the 21st Century”

Moderating Questions: Nicole Bibbins Sedaca

Sunday, March 17, 2013

New South Korean Leader Affirms Strategic Partnership with Kazakhstan

Writes APP member, Richard Weitz of the Hudson Institute, in the Jamestown Foundation's Eurasia Daily Monitor Volume: 10 Issue: 49, March 15, 2013 

Although the threat of war on the Korean Peninsula has been drawing most international attention, from the perspective of Central Asia, another interesting question is whether the new South Korean government will pursue as vigorous a Central Asian strategy as its predecessor. Under President Lee Myung-bak (2008–2013), the Republic of Korea (ROK) engaged in a “Global Korea” campaign and a “New Asia Initiative” that both encompassed Central Asia. President Lee himself had visited Kazakhstan seven times in the space of four years.

At the end of February 2013, Bakytzhan Sagintayev, Kazakhstan’s first deputy prime minister and minister of regional development, travelled to Seoul to attend the inauguration ceremony of the new South Korean President Park Geun-Hye as the head of a Kazakhstani delegation and as a special envoy of President Nursultan Nazarbayev. The Kazakhstani and South Korean governments affirmed their commitment to develop their “strategic partnership,” which they established in May 2009 (Tengrinews, February 27).

Sagintayev had visited Seoul in 2003 for an intergovernmental meeting and in 2012 for the Yeosu Expo 2012, whose theme was “the living ocean and coast.” South Korea supported Kazakhstan’s winning bid to host the World Expo in 2017, under the theme of “future energy.” In his late February–early March 2013 visit, Sagintayev reaffirmed Kazakhstan’s interest in obtaining access to South Korean investment and technologies. He told the media that, “Resources-wise we are a very wealthy country now, but we need to do more to implement further restructuring, and we need advanced technologies to reach our goal” (The Korea Herald, March 3).

The Republic of Kazakhstan and the Republic of Korea established diplomatic relations on January 28, 1992. After a slow start, their bilateral ties have expanded greatly in recent years, especially in the economic and energy sectors. Senior leaders from both countries, including their presidents, now regularly visit each other. The year of 2012 was a banner time in their diplomatic relations. In addition to celebrating two decades of bilateral ties, Presidents Lee and Nazarbayev held two high-level meetings—once during the March Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul and again when Lee visited Kazakhstan in September.

Scholars have noted important similarities between the ROK and Central Asian countries such as Kazakhstan. They are surrounded by more powerful countries, many of which now have nuclear weapons. Lying at the crossroads of powerful empires, Central Asia and Korea have often been valued for their strategic rather than intrinsic worth—as terrain and clients for use against rival empires. They look to extra-regional partners to weaken the dominance of the nearby great powers. Globalization has now made it possible for Koreans and Central Asians to develop close economic and other ties with each other.

Despite their physical remoteness from each other, Kazakhstan has historical ties with Korea. During Soviet leader Joseph Stalin’s tyranny, all 172,000 ethnic Koreans were forcibly removed from the Russian Far East and deported to unpopulated territory in modern Kazakhstan. Since their arrival in October 1937, these Koryo Saram have become well integrated into Kazakhstan’s diverse ethnic mix. Today, some 100,000 ethnic Koreans live in Kazakhstan, with several holding prominent public and private sector positions (The Korea Herald, March 3). “Kazakhstan is the only country in the post-Soviet space and possibly in the whole world to have on its soil a Korean national musical and drama theater,” President Nazarbayev had remarked in summer of 2011. “This is the symbol of our friendship, our brotherhood and a bridge between the two nations” (CACI Analyst, August 31, 2011).

Recent years have seen efforts to build on these historical ties and promote cultural exchanges between Koreans and Kazakhs. The two governments designated 2010 the “Year of Kazakhstan” in South Korea, while 2011 was the “Year of Korea” in Kazakhstan. Under the Lee administration, some South Koreans offered their own country as a possible developmental role model of a state that had developed a powerful economy and transitioned from an authoritarian to a democratic political system (

Kazakhstan and South Korea are cooperating on various regional security issues. In June 2006, South Korea became a full member of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA), a Kazakhstan-initiated project begun in 1992 that seeks to enhance security throughout Asia. The two countries are leading global efforts to prevent nuclear nonproliferation and enhance the safety and security of dangerous nuclear materials. For example, President Nazarbayev attended the March 2012 Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul and made major commitments to prevent the diversion of its expanding nuclear materials and technologies for illegal uses. In an interview later that year, President Lee praised Kazakhstan’s contributions to nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament: “Kazakhstan is an active participant in the discussions on reduction of nuclear weapons and non-proliferation. The country deserves to be respected for playing a leading role in [advancing] nuclear security in the region. Right after gaining sovereignty, Kazakhstan announced it had banned nuclear weapons and tests on its territory. Kazakhstan shut down the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site and took up the initiative of creating a nuclear free zone in Central Asia. I was deeply impressed with Kazakhstan’s efforts” (KazInform, September 12, 2012)

The Kazakhstani and ROK governments are now cooperating bilaterally, as well as with other partners, to counter North Korea’s development of nuclear weapons. Kazakhstan and the Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea (DPRK) do not have embassies in each other’s countries, their economic exchanges are miniscule, and only Kazakhstan’s ethnic Koreans have any cultural interactions with North Korea. Kazakhstani and ROK officials have jointly denounced North Korea’s tests of nuclear weapons and long-range ballistic missiles and urged the DPRK to rejoin the Six-Party Talks seeking to eliminate all nuclear weapons in North Korea in return for security, economic and other benefits. For example, on February 12, Foreign Minister Erlan Idrissov urged Pyongyang to “abandon any steps [that] might lead to the escalation of tensions” and complained that the DPRK’s nuclear weapons program “affects the non-proliferation process and bears security risks on a regional and global scale (Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, February 25).

Bilateral defense ties have also been growing. In October 2010, the Kazakhstani and South Korean defense ministries signed a memorandum of understanding on military cooperation. South Korea is helping to develop Kazakhstan’s naval forces and train Kazakhstani military officers in its military academies (Kazakhstan General Newswire October 4, 2010). One even might see arms trade develop in future years since both countries are trying to raise their defense exports. Thanks to Astana and Seoul’s overlapping interests and complementary foreign and economic policies, ties between the two Asian countries have been growing. And this cooperation is likely to increase further the more Kazakhstan develops and modernizes.

Monday in Washington

RUSSIA AS A GLOBAL POWER: CONTENDING VIEWS FROM RUSSIA. 3/18, 9:00am-4:45pm. Sponsors: PONARS Eurasia; Rising Powers Initiative. Speakers: Vladislav Inozemtsev, Director, Centre for Post-Industrial Studies; Andrey Kortunov, President, New Eurasia Foundation, Director General, Russian International Affairs Council; Fyodor Lukyanov, Editor-in-Chief, Russia in Global Affairs, Chairman, Presidium of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy; Andranik Migranyan, Director, Institute for Democracy and Cooperation; Leon Aron, Director of Russian Studies, American Enterprise Institute; Samuel Charap, Senior Fellow, International Institute for Strategic Studies; E. Wayne Merry, Senior Fellow, American Foreign Policy Council; Paul Saunders, Executive Director, Center for the National Interest.

EMPLOYING INDIA'S RURAL POOR. 3/18, 9:30-11:00am. Sponsor: Carnegie (CEIP). Speakers: Milan Vaishnav, associate in the South Asia Program at CEIP; Eduardo Zepeda, inter-regional policy coordinator of the Development Policy and Analysis Division in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs at the United Nations; and Selim Jahan, director of the Poverty Group at the United Nations Development Program.

OVERCOMING OBSTACLES TO PEACE. 3/18, 10:00-11:30am. Sponsor: United States Institute of Peace (USIP) and the RAND Corporation. Speakers: James Dobbins, director of the International Security and Defense Policy Center at the RAND National Defense Research Institute; and Laurel Miller, professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School; William Durch, senior associate at the Stimson Center; Joe Collins, professor of National Security Strategy in the National War College at National Defense University; and Paul Hughes, senior adviser for international security and peacebuilding at USIP.

ISSUES AND IMPLICATIONS OF PRESIDENT OBAMA'S FIRST VISIT TO ISRAEL AS PRESIDENT. 3/18, Noon-1:30pm. Sponsor: AEI. Speaker: Danielle Pletka, AEI vice president of foreign and defense studies and former Senate Foreign Relations Committee senior professional staff member.

THOUGHTS ON THE FUTURE OF THE GULF. 3/18, Noon-1:30pm. Sponsor: CSIS. Speaker: General Martin E. Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Webcast.

THE SOCIAL DIMENSIONS OF RESILIENCE. 3/18, Noon-2:00. Sponsor: Wilson Center (WWC). Speakers: Roger-Mark De Souza, vice president of research and director of the Climate Program at Population Action International; Elizabeth Malone, senior research scientist at the Joint Global Change Research Institute; Betty Hearn Morrow, professor emeritus at Florida International University; and Laurie Mazur, director of the Population Justice Project.

THE MEASURE OF CIVILIZATION: HOW SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT DECIDES THE FATE OF NATIONS. 3/18, 12:30-2:00pm. Sponsor: World Bank. Speakers: author, Ian Morris, Willard Professor of Classics and Professor of History, Stanford University; Zia Qureshi, Director of Strategy and Operations, Development Economics, World Bank.

OBAMA TO THE MIDDLE EAST: EXPECTATIONS AND IMPLICATIONS. 3/18, Noon-1:30pm. Sponsor: Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP). Speakers: Dennis Ross, counselor to WINEP; Michael Singh, managing director at WINEP; David Makovsky, director of the Project on the Middle East Peace Process at WINEP.

MR. PUTIN: OPERATIVE IN THE KREMLIN. 3/18, Noon-1:00pm. Sponsor: Wilson Center. Speakers: author, Clifford Gaddy, senior fellow at the Brookings Institutions Center on the United States and Europe. Location: Wilson Center, One Woodrow Wilson Center, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, 6th Floor Auditorium. Contact: 691-4100, .

THE INSURGENTS: DAVID PETRAEUS AND THE PLOT TO CHANGE THE AMERICAN WAY OF WAR. 3/18, 12:30-2:00pm. Sponsor: Cato. Speakers: author Fred Kaplan; Spencer Ackerman, national security correspondent at Wired; Christopher Preble, vice president for defense and foreign policy studies at Cato; Janine Davidson, assistant professor in the School of Public Policy at George Mason University.

PRINTING PRESSURE: GLOBAL CURRENCY WAR AND THE GLOBAL RECOVERY. 3/18, 2:00-4:00pm. Sponsor: AEI. Speakers: Jeffrey Frankel, Kennedy School, Harvard University; Anne Krueger, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies; John Makin, AEI; Alberto Musalem, Tudor Capital Management; Desmond Lachman, AEI.

PRESIDENT OBAMA'S MIDDLE EAST TRIP: ARE THE LIGHTS BLINKING RED? 3/18, 2:00-3:30pm. Sponsor: Heritage. Speakers: Mary Habeck, associate professor of strategic studies at John Hopkins' School for Advanced International Studies; James Phillips, senior research fellow for Middle East affairs at the Heritage Foundation; Kenneth Katzman, specialist in Middle Eastern affairs at the Congressional Research Service; Steven Bucci, director of the Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies at the Heritage Foundation.

THE DIPLOMATIC CAMPAIGN IN AFGHANISTAN AND PAKISTAN. 3/18, 3:00-4:30pm. Sponsor: Carnegie. Speaker: Marc Grossman, vice chairman of The Cohen Group and former special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan; and Jessica Mathews, president of CEIP.

STALIN'S DECISION FOR WAR IN KOREA. 3/18, 4:00-5:30pm. Sponsor: Wilson Center (WWC). Speaker: Samuel Wells, WWC senior scholar.

THROUGH A SCREEN DARKLY: POPULAR CULTURE, PUBLIC DIPLOMACY, AND AMERICA'S IMAGE ABROAD. 3/18, 5:30-7:00pm, Washington, DC. Sponsor: AEI. Speakers: Martha Bayles, author; and Karlyn Bowman, AEI senior fellow.

BRINGING MULLIGAN HOME: THE OTHER SIDE OF THE GOOD WAR. 3/18, 7:00-8:30pm. Sponsor: Politics and Prose Bookstore. Speaker: Dale Maharidge, author.

Prime Minister of Japan's Schedule Feb 11-17



Spend the morning at home in Tomigaya

12:20 Lunch with Youji Ohashi, ANA Board Chair; and Kenneth Weinstein, CEO of the Hudson Institute at ANA Intercontinental Hotel
02:18 Akasaka Palace, Home of Prince Takamado, attend a funeral.
02:41 Home in Tomigaya

February 12, 2013 (TUE)


07:00 Office
07:02 Mr. Kato, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary
08:17 Mr. Kato leaves
08:23 Parliament
08:27 Ministerial meeting
08:59 Lower House Budget Committee

12:02 Office
12:31 Meeting for an Exchange of Views with the Business Community on Overcoming Deflation
12:48 National Security Council meeting
01:06 Press interviews
01:09 Parliament
01:11 Lower House Budget Committee
05:07 Office
05:19 Receives a Visit from US Ambassador to Japan, Mr. John Victor Roos
05:40 Mr. Kitamura, Head of Cabinet Intelligence and Research Office
05:56 Mr. Manago, Administrative Vice Minister of Finance; Mr. Nakao, Director General of Finance Bureau, MoF.
06:38 Hotel New Otani; Attend Dinner Party of Mr. Urushihara, Komei Party’s Diet Affairs Chief
07:00 Dinner with Mr. Takashi Imai, Board Chair Emeritus of Shin Nittetsu; and Mr. Okuda, President Emeritus of Keidanren
08:30 Home in Tomigaya

February 13, 2013 (WED)


08:39 Office
09:00 Tele conference with President Lee Myung-bak of South Korea
09:25 Mr. Sasae Ambassador for the U.S.; Mr. Saiki
10:01 Foreign Minister Kishida; and Defense Minister Onodera
10:45 Mr. Shimizu, Cabinet Office Deputy Minister; and Mr. Mochizuki, Director general of Local Administration Bureau, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications
10:51 Courtesy call from Abu Al Hassan of Kuwait

12:13 Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Sugita
12:19 Special Advisor for PM, Isozaki
01:07 Mr. Atiyah, Qatari Administrative Oversight Agency Director
01:18 He leaves
02:22 Parliament
02:24 Lower House Budget Committee
05:05 Office
05:10 Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga
05:30 Forum for Promoting Active Participation by Young People and Women
09:11 Home in Tomigaya

February 14, 2013 (THU) 


07:29 Office
07:55 Teleconference with U.S. President Obama
08:16 Mr. Saiki and Mr. Sugiyama from MoFA
08:30 Mr. Seishiro Eto and Mr. Nobuo Kishi, LDP Diplomacy and Economic Cooperation Research Council President and Secretary General
08:54 Parliament
09:00 Lower House Budget Committee
09:36 Mr. Ichiro Aisawa, LDP Political Structure Reform Implementation Headquarters Chief
10:30 Office
10:56 MoFA Administrative Vice Minister Kawai; Mr. Saiki; Mr. Kozuki, European Affairs Bureau Director General
11:46 Courtesy Call from the Mayor of Fujinomiya City and Others

12:31 LDP Secretary General Ishiba
12:52 Parliament
01:03 Lower House Plenary Sessionl
02:15 Lower House Chair Ibuki and Vice Chair Akamatsu; visit ruling party factions; Deputy PM Aso accompanies
02:34 Office
02:50 Mr. Soichiro Tahara, Journalist
03:28 Mr. Tahara leaves
03:55 Former PM Mori
04:26 New and Old Supreme Court Judges, Kaoru Onimaru and Masahiko Sudo
04:45 Administrative Vice Minister of Defense Kanazawa
05:10 Foreign Minister Marti of Indonesia
05:31 Courtesy Call from the Mayor of Obama City, Mr. Koji Matsuzaki
05:54 Meeting with the Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority, Dr. Salam Fayyad
06:01 Foreign Minister Kishida; Administrative Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Kawai; Deputy Foreign Minister Saiki; MoFA North American Affairs Bureau Director General Ihara
07:00 Kawai, Saiki, and Ihara leave
07:15 Kishida leaves
07:33 Dinner with former Cabinet Office National Security Director Atsuyuki Sasaki; former Ambassador to the U.S. Ryozo Kato; and President of Sankei Shimbun Takehiko Kiyotake
09:18 Home in Tomigaya

February 15, 2013 (FRI)


09:06 Office
09:08 Education Minister Shimomura
09:28 Ministerial Meeting
09:52 Parliament
10:01 Upper House Plenary Session
10:19 Office
10:28 Administrative Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Kawai; Saiki; and Ihara
11:17 All leave
11:31 Japan-Palau Summit Meeting

12:04 LDP Headquarters
12:05 LDP Constitutional Revision Promotion Director, Kosuke Hori
12:47 Office
12:48 Ihara, MoFA
01:39 Minister of Economic Reform, Amari
02:11 Amari leaves
03:19 Education Rebuilding Implementation Council
04:47 Meeting ends
05:02 Mr. Kitamura, Director of Cabinet Intelligence; Mr. Kinomura, Director of Defense Intelligence Headquarters; and Mr. Manabe, Deputy Director General, MoD Defense Policy Bureau
05:14 Mr. Kinomura and Mr. Manabe leave
05:30 Mr. Kitamura leaves
06:03 Council of advisers for establishment of National Security Council
07:29 Meeting ends
07:46 Dinner with Satoshi Ishikawa, President of Kyodo News
09:56 Home in Tomigaya

February 16, 2013 (SAT)


10:01 PM Residence
10:23 Interview with Jiji Press
11:10 Interview with the Washington Post

12:07 Interview ends
12:28 LDP Headquarters
12:40 Lunch with secretaries at Japanese Restaurant Origami, the Capitol Hotel Tokyu
01:18 Exercise at Nagomi Spa and Fitness, Hotel Grand Hyatt Roppongi
05:08 Home in Tomigaya

February 17, 2013 (SUN)


09:04 Jog around his home and Yoyogi Park
09:47 Home


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The LDP’s constitution

The following is an interview on the LDP's proposed constitutional revisions with Professor Yoichi Higuchi of Tokyo University, one of Japan’s most respected Constitutional scholars and a leading intellectual by The Oriental Economist’s Regis Arnaud. Professor Higuchi is author of Five Decades of Constitutionalism in Japanese Society.

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                The Japanese Constitution has never been modified since its enactment in 1947 despite many attempts. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s try may be the one that succeeds, depending on the outcome of the July Upper House elections. Abe’s most cherished goal is to end the pacifist Article 9 as well as depart from notions he sees as non-Japanese, imposed by the US after the war.

In April 2012, then-opposition Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) published a draft of revision of the Constitution that is still the basis for the LDP’s position. The draft calls for a revision of Article 9. It also calls for strengthening the role of the Emperor and to exempt him from “the obligation to respect and uphold the Constitution”; restricting freedom of assembly, association, speech and other forms of expression that are done “for the purpose of interfering public interest and public order”; and negating public servants’ right to strike.

New Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says his first goal is to change Article 96, which governs the amendment process. Currently, an amendment must be passed by a two-thirds majority in each House of the Diet and then must be supported by a majority of the public in a referendum. Abe wants to reduce the Diet portion of the process to a simple majority in each House.

TOE: What do you think of the [LDP] draft revision?
Higuchi: This draft represents nothing less than a vision of the world for the LDP. Of course it attacks article 9, which grounds pacifism. But there is more: it wants to renounce the universalistic nature of the Constitution and set up a “purely Japanese” democracy. For its writers, there is a Japanese democracy an Egyptian democracy, a Chinese democracy. For example, Article 21 guarantees freedom of expression and association, against which some exceptions can and shall be set up by law. The LDP’s new Article 21 adds a paragraph saying that this freedom is limited when such activities “for the purpose of interfering public interest and public order.” This would put freedom and the exceptions to it on the same Constitutional level. The LDP says this draft aims at making Japan a “normal” country. But no normal developed country would accept such rules.
There have been more than ten Constitution revision drafts since 1947. In the 80s, then PM Yasuhiro Nakasone talked about it. At the time, he had started visiting Yasukuni Shrine again [where the souls of war dead, including some war criminals from World War II, are enshrined]. But he finally gave up his nationalistic agenda and refrained from visiting Yasukuni on the ground that he did not want to upset his “reformist friend,” then-Chinese Communist Party leader Hu Yaobang. This was wise.
The current LDP draft is different. It is not excessive to say that Abe in power in Japan is like having Le Pen in power in France. The LDP is not conservative anymore; rather, it is nationalist-radical. It ignores history and feels ashamed of Japan’s modern, democratic past. Take for example the myth that the Constitution was imposed on the Japanese people. Of course, it was imposed on Japan’s leaders. But one should not forget that the US imposed this Constitution also on its own allies, like the Russians and Australians, who were way less merciful towards Japan. They rejected the idea of the Emperor playing any role in post-WWII Japan.

TOE: Is public opinion still attached to Article 9?
Higuchi: Yes. The very existence of SDF [Self-Defense Force] was in debate after the war. Today, the SDF is popular because of its response to the Fukushima disaster. But that does not mean that Japanese people are ready to throw article 9 under the bus. Article 9 allowed Japan to stay clear from the Iraq war. It is perfectly sufficient to allow the defense of the Senkaku islands.

TOE: Is Constitutional protection of liberty important to the public?
Higuchi: The only Constitutional topic that truly matters for Japanese public opinion is war. It is regrettable, but it is a fact.

TOE: Isn’t it a paradox that one of the strongest nationalists in Japan, Shinzo Abe, is also the staunchest defender of the Alliance with the United States?
Higuchi: That is the great paradox. Shinzo Abe refuses the legitimacy of the 1945 Tokyo trial, yet he wants to strengthen the relationship with America. The other paradox concerns memory. Shinzo Abe thinks that comfort women are a detail of WWII, yet his friends buy advertising pages in America’s main newspapers to try to negate this claim.

TOE: Japanese leaders never stop apologizing; yet Japan is still viewed as denying its history.
Higuchi: Japanese leaders apologize, but dissenting opinions make ripples abroad. The Japanese people truly feel sorry for Asian victims of WWII. But there is no Willy Brandt [the former West German Chancellor] in the Japanese ruling elite to remind them of what the Japanese Imperial Army truly did then. And Japanese leaders told them so many times that they did not do anything wrong that they ended up believing it. To end this deadlock, Japan should both renew its apologies to Asian victims of the Imperial Army, and condemn the Tiananmen slaughter and the oppression in Tibet. My generation still has memory. I was 10 when the war ended. I still remember it. The school order was modeled on the army. Intelligence counted for nothing. Only physical ability and obedience were praised.

TOE: How to convince the Japanese people of the importance of democracy?
Higuchi: I am writing a small book that will remind Japan of its history. Undoubtedly, Japan has a democratic tradition. This tradition is mentioned in the Potsdam Statement of July 26, 1945, in which the Allied forces define the terms of what would be Japan’s surrender: “The Japanese Government shall remove all obstacles to the revival and strengthening of democratic tendencies among the Japanese people. Freedom of speech, of religion, and of thought, as well as respect for the fundamental human rights shall be established [emphasis added].


Hat tip to Shisaku who provided the translation below.

The Tokyo High Court and Saporro High Court's decisions to declare the December 16, 2012 election unconstitutional but not invalid is a head scratcher, to be sure. American complacency about its democratic partner's situation is peculiar. 

As a senryu by Tanaka Jiro of Koshigaya City put it:

Iken demo
senkyo yuko?
aho kai na

Even though it's unconstitutional
The election's valid?
Do you think I'm a moron?/Are you morons?
Source: Tokyo Shimbun of 9 March 2013

More Sizzle than Steak

In the 2013 Winter issue of International Economy,  economic writer and APP member Richard Katz outlines "Why the Abe economy will fail."

Mr. Katz is editor of the semi-weekly Oriental Economist

Abe is a victim of his own engineered good fortune. Katz writes:

Abenomics, the popular term for the economic policies of new Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, is likely to fall far short of its goals of reviving long-term vitality in Japan, although it could succeed in providing a temporary and illusory lift to both the economy and Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party. To provide a lasting revival, Japan needs a three-pronged approach of monetary stimulus, the right kind of fiscal stimulus, and structural reform. None of the three work without the other two.Abe, however, is focused only on the first two. With his party just back in power, he doesn’t want any reforms that step on toes. As a result, Japan is more likely to do what it has repeatedly done after previous bouts of stimulus:fall back into lethargy as soon as the stimulus is withdrawn. Beyond that, political obstacles from the Ministry of Finance, the Bank of Japan, and some parts of the business community are already preventing Abe from even implementing many of his ideas on fiscal and monetary stimulus.

Abe’s notion of a “growth strategy” is mainly a trickledown approach of increasing corporate profits via a cheaper yen and tax cuts in the false hope that this would lead to more investment, hiring, and wage hikes. Real structural reform has to tackle Japan’s deep-seated defects

Unfortunately, Japan is not a healthy economy and so is unable to respond to fiscal-monetary stimulus in the normal way. The household share of real national income has fallen. People are spending as much as they can, with the savings rate now down to around 2 percent from 13 percent back in 1997. If households  had more money, they’d spend more. Instead, the scheduled consumption tax hike will leave them with even less income.This chronic shortfall in consumer demand is why Japan had to depend so unhealthily on a growing trade surplus in 2002–2007, a tactic that Abe wants to repeat by driving the yen as low as ¥100 per dollar, according to some of his aides.


Monday, March 11, 2013

3.11 and beyond

Professor Samuels
An instant swept away, lives, livelihoods, pasts and futures. But how long will the March 11, 2011 triple disasters remain in Japanse consciousness?  To the surprise of many, this is debatable.

People still suffer and remain displaced. Donations and service are still welcome.

The world has been incredibly generous and emphatic to the people of Tohoku. As the Japan Center for International Exchange (JCIE) has found in its recent Special Report (Civil Society Monitor, March 2013, 5 pgs). The U.S. private sector alone has donated $712.6 million (approximately 67.7 billion yen) for relief in Japan over the past two years. This is the largest amount of disaster assistance the U.S. has ever extended to an advanced nation.

The total was obtained by tallying up donations by U.S. corporations, nonprofit organizations, and individuals. This is the fifth largest amount of money ever donated by the U.S. private sector after a disaster, following the donations to victims of Hurricane Katrina in the U.S. (5.2 billion dollars), the 9/11 terrorist attacks (2.8 billion dollars), the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami (1.9 billion dollars), and the 2010 Haiti earthquake (1.4 billion dollars).

Grassroots and exchange organizations played a key role. Altogether, more than 65 organizations dedicated to various aspects of US-Japan exchange raised roughly $50 million. These ran the gamut from Japan-America Societies to foreign policy institutes. The top three fundraisers reporting results were the American Red Cross ($312 million), Save the Children ($26.2 million), and Samaritan’s Purse ($23.3 million).

But what of the politics of hope and change?

Professor Richard J. Samuels of MIT in another of his seminal books on Japanese politics and society, 3.11: Disaster and Change in Japan, examines that question. He finds that both are difficult achieve or maintain.

You can preview his book this recent journal article, "Japan's Rhetoric of Crisis: Prospects for Change after 3.11" published in the Winter 2013 volume of the Journal of Japanese Studies.

Over this month, Dr. Samuels is giving a series of off-the-record, unrecorded lectures at universities and organizations on his book. He will be speaking March 12th, 6:00-8:00pm, at the Japan Society in New York:  3.11: DISASTER AND CHANGE IN JAPAN and March 14th at MIT. And in Tokyo to the MIT Japan Association on March 26th, 6:30-8:30pm. We hope there will be a recording of one of these talks.

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The catastrophes, he finds, were not the catalyst for change as some believed they would be. Instead, different political interests used March 2011 to nudge national policy in the direction of their own choosing. For some, 3.11 was a warning for Japan to “put it in gear’’ and head off on a new path. For others, the catastrophe was a once in a millennium “black swan,” so Japan should “stay the course.’’ Still others declared that 3.11 taught that Japan must return to an idealized past and rebuild what was lost to modernity and globalization. The political battles were therefore less about national rebuilding than about preserving and expanding special interest power. He observes that: "The political world was not 'reborn,' nor was national life 'reset.'"

In regard to U.S.-Japan relations, the "success" of Operation Tomodachi also did not translate into any substantive change. The Alliance was not transported to the next level. As Dr. Samuels notes:
There is no evidence that the U.S. response was calculated as a matter of "disaster diplomacy," which is good, since there has been no appreciable "Tohoku dividend" for the alliance. As one official told me, the U.S. knew going in that there would be "no withdrawals from the Bank of Goodwill." This is probably as it should be, but still, uncertainty and policy gridlock on force realignment and trade issues continue to weigh down alliance policymaking more than helped.
Yet, as he concludes, despite the axiom that crises provide great opportunity, there were inflated expectations for what would actually be achieved. After all, as one Japanese politician pointed out to Dr. Samuels, "only" 20,000 people died in this tragedy. The fact that 30,000 people commit suicide each year in Japan shows that Tohoku, sadly, does not represent a tipping point.
So we are left with a paradox. 3.11 has not been the “game changer” many policy entrepreneurs desired and predicted. It did not “cause” structural change to the Japanese body politic. “Normal” politics prevailed, with all its imperfections, and “staying the courses,” rather than the more forward leaning “put it in gear,” seemed to prevail across the three policy areas we have examined. Still, the rhetoric of crisis infused democratic politics, empowered new actors, stimulated long awaited if piecemeal reform, aroused considerable public protest, and may have pushed the policy process in the direction of transparency. At a minimum, the catastrophe opened all of these possibilities and, in a famously conservative system, the first months that followed the quake, the tsunami, and the meltdown provided encouraging (if limited) signs of change for those who hoped for a new style in Japanese politics. Would those early move result in long-term alterations in the country’s politics? It is too early to tell and too soon to conclude otherwise: a 3.11 master narrative is still under construction. 
Someone once wrote that studying Japan leaves one broken-hearted.

Dr. Samuels heads the MIT Japan 3.11 Initiative. This is MIT’s response to the March 2011 triple disaster in Japan.

LATER: Dr. Samuels created a website devoted to his new book 3.11: Disaster and Change in Japan.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Monday in Washington

APEC: CHALLENGES &OPPORTUNITIES OF INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT. 3/11, 8:30-11:00am. Sponsor: CSIS, Trans-Pacific Partnership Speaker Series. Speakers: Jose L. Cuisia, Jr., Ambassador of Republic of the Philippines; Karan Bhatia, Vice President and Senior Counsel in Global Affairs & Policy of General Electric.


RUSSIAN POLITICS: THE PARADOX OF A WEAK STATE. 3/11, Noon-1:00pm. Sponsor: Wilson Center’s Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies. Speaker: Marie Mendras, Professor in the School of International Affairs at Sciences Po University in Paris, author.

THE EUROPEAN CRISIS CONTINUES: NO SOLUTION ON THE HORIZON. 3/11, Noon-1:30pm. Sponsor: Cato. Speakers: Vaclav Klaus, Former Czech Republic President; Uri Dadush, Director of the International Economics Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; Roger Pilon, Director of the Center for Constitutional Studies at Cato.

FOREIGN POLICY FOR THE INFORMATION AGE. 3/11, 1:00-2:30pm. Sponsor: New America Foundation (NAF). Speakers: Lorelei Kelly, Research Fellow and Smart Congress Pilot Lead, Open Technology Institute, New America Foundation; Gerald Hyman, Senior Adviser and President, Hills Program on Governance, Center for Strategic and International Studies; Joseph Siegle, Director of Research, Africa Center for Strategic Studies, National Defense University; Jim Herlong, Independent Cyber Strategy and Intelligence Analyst.

U.S. NAVY HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE IN AN ERA OF AUSTERITY. 3/11, 2:00-3:30pm. Sponsor: CSIS’ Global Health Policy Center. Speakers: Gary Roughead, Retired Navy Adm., Former Chief of Naval Operations; Thomas Cullison, Retired Navy Adm., former Navy Deputy Surgeon General; Jim Marshall, former Rep., D-GA; John Hamre, president and CEO of CSIS. WEBCAST.

THE UNITED STATES AND THE ASIA-PACIFIC IN 2013. 3/11, Noon-2:00pm, New York, NY. Sponsor: Asia Society. Speaker: Thomas Donilon, National Security Advisor to President Barack Obama. WEBCAST.

RISING VIOLENCE IN PAKISTAN: A COMPLEX CHALLENGE. 3/11, 5:00-6:30pm. Sponsor: East-West Center Washington (EWC). Speakers: Najia Ashar, Senior Achor/Producer at Geo Television Network; Nisar Ali Khokar, Special Correspondent at KTN News TV; Abdul Ghani Kakar, Chief Investigative Reporter at Daily Awam.

THE END OF POWER: FROM BOARDROOMS TO BATTLEFIELDS AND CHURCHES TO STATES, WHY BEING IN CHARGE ISN’T WHAT IT USED TO BE. 3/11, 5:30-7:00pm. Sponsor: Carnegie. Speakers: Moises Naim, Author; Thomas Friedman, Columnist at the New York Times; Jessica Mathews, president of CEIP. 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Mike Mochizuki on PBS

APP Board Member Dr. Mike Mochizuki was interviewed on February 22nd on the PBS NewsHour regarding Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to Washington and the tensions in the Senkakus/Daioyus.