Sunday, July 28, 2013

Monday in Washington July 29th

IRAN: HOW A THIRD TIER CYBERPOWER CAN STILL THREATEN THE UNITED STATES. 7/29, 9:30-11:00am. Sponsor: Atlantic Council. Speakers: Barbara Slavin, Senior Fellow, South Asia Center, Atlantic Council; Jason Healey, Director, Cyber Statecraft Initiative, Atlantic Council; Dmitri Alperovitch, Senior Fellow, Cyber Statecraft Initiative, Atlantic Council.

SQUARING THE CIRCLE: GENERAL RAYMOND T. ODIERNO ON AMERICAN MILITARY STRATEGY IN A TIME OF DECLINING RESOURCES. 7/29, 10:30-11:30am. Sponsor: The Marilyn Ware Center for Security Studies. Speakers: Mackenzie Eaglen, AEI ; General Raymond T. Odierno, US Army.

GIVING A VOICE TO OUR QUIET PROFESSIONALS: SUSTAINING SPECIAL OPERATIONS FORCES (SOF) IN THE 21ST CENTURY. 7/29, Noon-1:00pm. Sponsor: Heritage Foundation. Speakers: Capt. Steve Wisotski, Commanding Officer, Center for SEAL (sea, air, land), SWCC (Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewmen); Col. Stuart Bradin, Chief of the Expanding Global SOF Network, Operational Planning Team, U.S. Special Operations Command; Steven Bucci, Director, Center for Foreign Policy Studies, Heritage.

EGYPTIAN REVOLUTION 2.0. 7/29, Noon-1:30pm. Sponsor: Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD). Speakers: Bahaa El-Taweal, Correspondent, OnTV; Khairi Abaza, Senior Fellow, FDD; Reuel Marc Gerecht, Senior Fellow, FDD; Samuel Tadros, Research Fellow, Center for Religious Freedom, Hudson Institute; Jonathan Schanzer, Vice President for Research, FDD.

A GREATER MEKONG HEALTH SECURITY PARTNERSHIP. 7/29, Noon-2:00pm, Lunch. Sponsor: CSIS. Speakers: John Hamre, President, CEO, CSIS; Adm. William Fallon (ret.), US Navy; Lt. Gen. James Peake (ret.) US Army; Stephen Morrison, Director, Global Health Policy Center, CSIS; Rear Adm. Scott Dowell, US Public Health Service, Director, Division of Global Disease Detection & Emergency Response, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Rear Adm. Tim Ziemer (ret.), US Navy, US Global Malaria Coordination.

ASIA: URBAN SPACES, THE LOCAL ENVIRONMENT AND GLOBAL SUSTAINABILITY. 7/29, 1:00-3:30pm. Sponsors: Wilson Center (WC), USAID Alumni Association. Speakers: Peter Marcotullio, Professor, Geography, Hunter College, City University of New York; Michael Rock, Professor, Economic History, Bryn Mawr College; Jean-Jacques Dethier, Research Manager, World Bank, Member, Urban Sector Board, Sustainable Development Network, World Bank; Peter Kimm, Emeritus Director, Founding Member, International Housing Coalition; Warren Evans, Senior Adviser, Sustainable Development, World Bank.

PLANNING FOR A POST-2014 AFGHANISTAN: OPPORTUNITIES AND RISKS. 7/29, 2:00-3:00pm. Sponsor: Partnership for a Secure America. Speaker: Ronald Neumann, President, American Academy of Diplomacy, former Ambassador to Afghanistan.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Russel: U.S. Policy in the East Asia and Pacific Region

Daniel R. Russel, the newly installed Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and the Pacific, gave an Overview of U.S. Policy in the East Asia and Pacific Region on July 22, 2013 at Washington's Foreign Press Center. A 28-year foreign service veteran, Russel had served as special assistant to the president and senior director for Asian affairs at the National Security Council since 2011.

A transcript of his remarks can be found here and the video appears here and below

"And I can say with great confidence that there is no let up, no backtracking, no diminution of that commitment," he said at a press briefing. "First and foremost, the East Asia and Pacific region is immensely important to the interests of the United States."

He said Washington based its rebalance strategy on three "areas of focus" -- modernizing and upgrading America's alliances in the region, participating in and investing in regional institutions, and building better and stronger relations with the emerging powers in the region.

Washington's "enduring" treaty alliances with Australia, Thailand, the Philippines, Japan and the Republic of Korea "form the foundation of peace and stability," while China has dominated the administration's engagement with emerging powers in the region, Russel said.

In regard to Japan he "warmly" congratulated the ruling coalition for their success in the election. "If this is a step that will help facilitate greater continuity of leadership in Japan, I think it will be welcomed by all of Japan's friends," he added.

“It’s true Japan faces a range of thorny problems with some of its neighbors,” he continued. “These are problems that sometimes seem to get worse and other times seem to get better. We hope that all leaders and the public will be guided by a sense of wisdom, of shared interest, and will take actions and decisions with a view to the future."

“With respect to specific problems, including the issue of the territorial dispute in the East China Sea, the U.S. is very consistent and very clear, both with Japan and with China. We don’t take a position on the substance of the territorial disputes. We continue to strongly encourage a process, a diplomatic process that can manage differences in a way that will reduce tensions,” Russel said.
Additional coverage of the event can be found through the following news organizations: XinhuaThe Philippine Star, Mainichi Shimbun (J), Yomiuri,  The BRICS Post, The Japan Times

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Washington Book Events - Week of July 22

RESISTING IMPERIALISM, RESISTING DECOLONIZATION: MAKING 'CHINA' FROM THE RUINS OF THE QING, 1912-1949. 7/23, 4:00pm. Sponsor: Library of Congress. Speaker: Kenneth Pomeranz, Professor, University of Chicago, President-elect of the American Historical Association, Author, The Great Divergence: China, Europe, and the Making of the Modern World Economy.

Asia Society, New York, July 16, 2013

Authors Orville Schell, Director of the Center on U.S.-China Relations at Asia Society, and John Delury, Assistant Professor of East Asian Studies at Yonsei University, in conversation with Jonathan Spence, Professor of History at Yale University, on their new book Wealth and Power: China’s Long March to the Twenty-first Century.

You can find more information on Wealth and Power on the book's website here

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Monday in Washington, July 22, 2013

US State Dept Report
PROTECTING THE AMERICAN ECONOMY FROM CYBER ATTACKS. 7/22, 10:00-11:00am, Washington, DC. Sponsor: International Institute for Strategic Studies – US (IISS-US). Speaker: Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), Chairman, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS REPORT 2013: FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS. 7/22, Noon-2:00pm. Sponsor: John Hopkins, SAIS, Protection Project. Speaker: Luis CdeBaca, State Department Ambassador at Large to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons.

THE INTERNATIONAL TERROR NEXUS: UNDERSTANDING THREATS FROM ABROAD. 7/22, Noon-1:00pm. Sponsor: Heritage. Speakers: Mary Habeck, Associate Professor of strategic studies, SAIS, Johns Hopkins; Ariel Cohen, Senior Research Fellow, Russian and Eurasian studies, Heritage; Luke Coffey, Thatcher Fellow, Heritage; Jessica Zuckerman, Policy Analyst for the Western Hemisphere, Heritage.

TWENTY YEARS OF U.S. ECONOMIC ASSISTANCE TO EASTERN EUROPE AND EURASIA. 7/22, 1:30-3:00pm. Sponsor: Brookings. Speakers: Paige Alexander, Assistant Administrator, Bureau for Europe and Eurasia, USAID; William Taylor, Special Coordinator for Middle East transitions, State Department; Donald Pressley, Senior Vice President, Booz Allen Hamilton; Barbara Turner, President, University Research Company; George Ingram, Senior Fellow, Brookings.

OVERVIEW OF U.S. POLICY IN THE EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC REGION. 7/22, 2:00pm. Sponsor: State Department. Speaker: Daniel Russel, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and the Pacific.

Awake Peace-addicted Japanese!

The above is a stump speech Nariaki Nakayama (J), gave for his wife Kyoko on July 17th in Otemachi, Tokyo for the Upper House elections. In it, he urges Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to visit Yasukuni in August as it is a symbol of Japan's fight for equality and justice. Japan prepared the ground for the civil rights movement in the United States and the election President Barak Obama. Starting at about 5:40, Nakayama says
Japan lost in the previous Great War, but we fought with a slogan of national independence and equality for all. The result was Asian and African countries gained independence. Black people steadily came to Washington and New York, and started to appear in public places like restaurants. Black Americans all around saw that and said “we want those kinds of rights,” so a civil rights movement started and requested various demands. At last, U.S. President Obama (who is a black person) was born. Shouldn’t we take pride that the world is the way it is today thanks to our ancestors?
This is exactly what happened when you look directly at history. What will happen when China and Korea really look directly at history? There’s no comfort women issue or Nanking incident, we know well that they were completely fabricated.
On August 15, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe should visit Yasukuni Shrine. Beyond this, there won’t be worsening relations with China and Korea. It’s the worst time, so it’s ok to go now. We lead and pull the LDP along. It is the responsibility of the Japan Restoration Party to wake up the Japanese that have become addicted to peace. [Provisional translation by Asia Policy Point] 
Narioki is a seven term Lower House Dietmember (Kyushu Bloc proportional) and his wife, Kyoko Nakayama is running for a second term in the Upper House (national proportional). They are both founding members and leaders of the Japan Restoration Party (J).

Previously, he had been a LDP member and then a Sunrise Party member. In the Koizumi Cabinet, he was Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. In the Aso Cabinet, he was very briefly Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. In 2009, Nakayama was de-endorsed by the LDP for his controversial statements and lost his Diet seat. Comments ranged from Nakayama vowing to destroy the teacher’s union to declaring that Japan was an ethnically homogeneous country. He is active in a number of conservative nationalist organizations and causes. Nakayama is an outspoken denier of the Nanjing Massacre and the coercion of the comfort women. He has tried to revise the Kono Statement and censor junior high history textbooks. You see him expound on these issues on the floor of the Diet this year HERE.

His wife was Special Advisor to the Prime Minister for the North Korean abduction issue under Junichiro Koizumi, beginning in 2002. She left the post in 2004 but was reappointed by Shinzo Abe in 2006. She was appointed by Yasuo Fukuda as State Minister in charge of the Population and Gender Equality Issues on August 1, 2008. She was one of the signatories of the November 4, 2012 "The Facts" ad in the New Jersey Star Ledger condemning the Comfort Women.

Nariaki Nakayama’s official website, blog, Facebook, and Twitter

Friday, July 19, 2013

Re-Branding Abe's Nationalism

The Re-Branding of Abe Nationalism: Global Perspectives
The Asia-Pacific Journal, Volume 11, Issue 28, No. 1, July 15, 2013

Tessa Morris-Suzuki*, Australian National University, APP Member

In 2010, the Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC) launched a highly successful TV show called The Gruen Transfer. The title refers to the disorienting psychological effects produced on consumers by the architecture of shopping malls, whose dazzle and noise are deliberately designed to mesmerize: on entering, “our eyes glaze over, our jaws slacken... we forget what we came for and become impulse buyers.” (1) The ABC’s Gruen Transfer explored the weird, wonderful and disorienting effects produced by the advertising industry. Its most popular element was a segment called “The Pitch,” in which representatives of two advertising agencies competed to sell the unsellable to the show’s audience - creating gloriously sleek videos to market bottled air, promote the virtues of banning religion, or advocate generous pay raises for politicians.

I have been reminded of The Gruen Transfer in recent months, as sections of the media in Japan, and even internationally, have gone into overdrive to sell an equally challenging message: the message that Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo is not a nationalist. (2) This particular pitch has been running for some time. It began with the inception of Abe’s first short-lived prime ministership in 2006, when Japanese Foreign Affairs Deputy Press Secretary Taniguchi Tomohiko devoted considerable energy to persuading a US audience that Abe was “almost the polar opposite” of a nationalist. (3) The right-of-centre Sankei Newspaper took up the challenge with enthusiasm: its Washington correspondent, Komori Yoshihisa, published numerous articles, including an opinion piece in the New York Times, which aimed to refute the “nationalist” tag. Far from being a hawkish nationalist, Komori argued, Abe had “merely been shaped by democracy,” and his real aim was to bring Japan back from the “post-war extreme towards the center.” (4) But these pronouncements had only limited impact on international opinion, and by early 2007 one prominent Japanese marketing consultant was lamenting, in the pages of the Yomiuri newspaper, that the government needed a far more effective foreign media strategy to rescue Abe from the “hawk” and “nationalist” labels. (5)

The issue has resurfaced with renewed vigor since the advent of the second Abe regime in December 2012. In May 2013, a US Congressional Research Service paper describing Abe as a “strong nationalist” evoked a surprisingly querulous response from pro-government media in Japan, and even from Prime Minister Abe himself. Abe hit back with a statement in parliament, expressing his unhappiness that “the ideas of our country” were being misunderstood by foreigners. He went on to call for measures to “actively collect and spread information so that we will be correctly understood.” (6)

The prime minister’s sensitivity to the “nationalist” label seems curious, since he is on record as arguing with considerable passion that there is nothing wrong with nationalism: “nationalism as I think of it is a sense of belonging to the nature, ancestors, family and the local community where one was born and brought up and with which one has become familiar. This sense of belonging is not something that we are told to have, but is completely natural and spontaneous...”(7); in which case, the label “strong nationalist” should presumably be taken as a compliment.

Georgetown University professor Kevin Doak also claims that Abe has been internationally misunderstood. Rather than denying the Japanese prime minister’s nationalism, though, Doak argues that Abe-style nationalism belongs to a brand distinct from the bad nationalisms of wartime Japan, or (apparently) of other Asian nations. Doak’s argument rests on the distinction between two quite different types of nationalism, “ethnic nationalism” and “civic nationalism.” He associates the first with the Japanese term minzoku - the equivalent of the German “Volk” - and the second with the term kokumin - which simply means “people of the nation,” and can be given a wide range of nuances depending on context (though Doak questionably chooses to translate it as “civic nation”). (8)

“Ethnic nationalism,” writes Doak, “has also been positioned as ‘Asian nationalism’ at least since the 1955 Bandung Conference; in contrast, civic nationalism has from its very beginning in modern Japan and throughout East Asia been seen as the favorite of pro-Western governments, Christian minorities and intellectuals thought to be tainted by Western ways of thinking”. The mistake of outside observers, he tells us, is that they have taken Abe to be an ethnic nationalist, whereas in fact he is “one of the leaders in the current renaissance of civic nationalism in Japan.”

Abe’s identity as a civic nationalist can be demonstrated (says Doak) by a reading of his best-selling book, Towards a Beautiful Country Utsukushii Kuni e: “throughout the book, Abe consistently renders the Japanese nation as kokumin (civic nation) not as minzoku (ethnic nation), a distinction made not only conceptually but also through his description of how democratic nationalism functions in practice.” (9) Doak’s depiction of the civic and democratic Abe is in dramatic contrast to his depiction (in a recent Sankei newspaper interview) of “emotional South Korea”, which (apparently in toto) “links Japan bashing to ethnic pride minzoku puraido.” (10)

This re-labeling of Abe’s nationalism raises several problems. First, it assumes that the phenomenon of nationalism can be neatly separated into an “ethnic” and a “civic” variant, with the second being morally superior to the first. But “the manichean view that there are two kinds of nationalism, a good, civic kind and a bad, ethnic kind” (11) has been very effectively criticized by many scholars, who point out that the notions of race, culture, tradition and citizenship bound up in nationalism are far too complex to be isolated and captured in this easy formula. (12) The identification of ethnic nationalism as “Asian” (or at least “non-Western”) and civic nationalism as “Western” or “pro-Western” has come in for particular criticism. As sociologist David McCrone puts it, the distinction “does lend itself to caricature - why can’t they be more like us?” (13) History shows that, even in nations seen as exemplars of civic nationalism (such as the US and France), the ethnic undercurrents of nationalism can all too easily surge to the surface, as they did in the US following 9/11.

A second problem is that, in the context of Abe’s political rhetoric, Doak’s distinction between minzoku-based and kokumin-based nationalism simply does not stand up to scrutiny. It is not correct to state (as Doak does) that Abe “directly rejects ethnic nationalism,” or to imply that Abe does not use the term minzoku. Though the word kokumin often appears in Abe’s speeches and writings, he also uses the term minzoku, and indeed uses the two terms interchangeably - as in: “when people come from foreign countries, surely they get a sense that Japanese are a minzoku, a kokumin, of high quality; they get the impression that even if we are poor, we are a country of culture...” (14) Abe’s vision of a national identity rooted in nature and tradition is evident in statements like: “the Japanese are originally an agricultural minzoku, a minzoku who produced rice by sharing water, so I think that from the beginning we have had a sense of mutual cooperation built into our DNA”;(15) or, more recently, “in the case of Japan, in particular, we are an agricultural minzoku. This is the ‘land of rice’. We firmly retained the traditions and culture of this Japan. For Japanese to be Japanese, it is necessary that agriculture be the basis of our country.” (16)

This vision is also reflected in Abe’s central role in a range of political groups which proclaim a unique national character grounded in timeless cultural tradition. For example, as of 2012 Abe headed the liaison group of parliamentarians cooperating with the Shinto Association of Spiritual Leadership, a body that aims to restore traditional Japanese spiritual values weakened by postwar prosperity, promote the central place of the imperial house in Japanese life and create a new constitution built on Japanese national character. (17)

A third problem with the “civic nationalist” label is that “civic nationalism” is frequently associated with liberalism, particularly respect for the rights of the individual, and commitment to equality and human rights. (18) If there is one thing that Abe Shinzo definitely is not, that is a liberal in the sense of commitment to human rights. The two books in which he most clearly sets out his political credo both begin with warnings of the dangers of liberalism (indeed, the first is subtitled “The Choice for Anti-Liberalism”). (19) In the US, Abe cautions, the term “liberal” has come to refer to people whose ideas are “socialist, or close to it... Revolutionaries and left-wingers are included in this category.” (20) By contrast, Abe firmly identifies himself as a conservative. Though he intermittently expresses his admiration for the British conservative party, his conservatism is really in a distinctly Japanese mold. His political hero is his grandfather Kishi Nobusuke, a key architect of Japanese economic policy in prewar Manchuria who went on to be a profoundly controversial postwar Japanese prime minister, famous in particular for his very divisive role in ramming ratification of the 1960 Security Treaty with the US through the Japanese parliament. (21)

Abe’s core goal, inherited from Kishi, clearly set out in Towards a Beautiful Country, and echoed in the manifestos of groups like the Shinto Association of Spiritual Leadership, is to “escape from the postwar regime”: that is, to reverse the political reforms introduced to Japan during the allied occupation. In his view, these reforms undermine Japan’s traditions, which are centred on the figure of the Emperor. What Abe’s nationalist vision means in practice is best understood by examining his party’s far-reaching proposals to rewrite the postwar Japanese constitution. The proposed changes include removing the reference to “respect for the individual” and making it constitutionally impossible for foreign permanent residents to be given national or local voting rights. Freedom of expression and freedom of association would not be protected where these “have the purpose of harming the public interest or public order”. The same formula would be used to limit the right of citizens to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. The revised constitution prepared by the Liberal Democratic Party contains no guidelines as to how, and by whom, “public interest” and “public order” would be defined, leaving an alarmingly large loophole for the repression of civic freedoms by the state. A new article would also be added to the constitution to give the state sweeping powers to declare prolonged states of emergency, during which constitutional rights could be suspended. (22) With the prospect of an LDP super-majority in parliament for the next two to three years, there is a strong likelihood that the ruling party will push forward with an attempt to carry out these changes: changes so profound that they should probably be described, not as plans for constitutional revision, but rather as plans for a new constitution.

This artwork appeared in an exhibition entitled "the Constitution and Peace" which opened in a public art space in Fukui Prefecture in May. The work consists of several sections of the current constitution written out in attractive calligraphy and coloured ink on Japanese paper. Soon after the exhibition opened, it was removed on the orders of the company which manages the art space for the local government on the grounds that "its political content might offend the feelings of some viewers."

The current popularity of the Abe administration in no way reflects public enthusiasm for these grand political designs. It is, instead, a response to the government’s economic stimulus package, and to Abe’s skill in making optimistic statements, which convey a sense of leadership to a population weary of political uncertainty and economic malaise. In the end, the Abe government’s performance should and will be judged, not on any political labels, but on the impact that it has on Japanese society and on Japan’s relations with its region and the world. It is possible that Abe may yet choose to focus on the vital tasks of creating a basis for a strong Japanese economic future and improving relations with Japan’s neighbours, rather than pursuing the ideological agendas of anti-liberalism and “escape from the postwar regime.”

In the meanwhile, though, those who care about the future of Japanese society should not allow the dazzle of verbal juggling to induce a political version of the Gruen Transfer. The prime minister’s ideology may be re-branded for the global market, but the old adage remains: buyer beware.

*Tessa Morris-Suzuki is Professor of Japanese History in the Division of Pacific and Asian History, College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University, a Japan Focus associate, and an APP member. Her most recent books are Exodus to North Korea: Shadows from Japan's Cold War, Borderline Japan: Foreigners and Frontier Controls in the Postwar Era and To the Diamond Mountains: A Hundred-Year Journey Through China and Korea.

See References on the next page

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Washington Book Events - Week of July 15

STRANGE REBELS: 1979 AND THE BIRTH OF THE 21ST CENTURY. 7/16, 6:30-8:00pm. Sponsor: World Affairs Council. Speaker: Christian Caryl, Author, Strange Rebels: 1979 and the Birth of the 21st Century

THE HISTORICAL ROOTS OF CHINA'S RISE. 7/17, 12:30-1:45pm. Sponsors: GWU, Elliot School, Sigur Center for Asian Studies; Asia Society. Speakers: Orville Schell and John Delury, co-Authors, Wealth and Power: China's Long March to the Twenty-first Century

WEALTH AND POWER: CHINA'S LONG MARCH TO THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY. 7/17, 7:00pm. Sponsor: Politics and Prose Bookstore. Speakers: Orville Schell, Director, Center on U.S.-China Relations, Asia Society; and John Delury, Assistant Professor, East Asian studies, Yonsei University, Seoul; co-Authors, Wealth and Power: China's Long March to the Twenty-first Century

THE GLOBAL FOOD CRISIS IN THE MIDDLE EAST. 7/18, 10:30am-Noon. Sponsor: Stimson Center. Speaker: Eckart Woertz, Author, Oil for Food

MONEY, GOLD, AND HISTORY. 7/18, Noon-1:30pm. Sponsor: Cato Institute. Speakers: Lewis Lehrman, Author, Money, Gold, and History, Founder and Chairman, Lehrman Institute; Mark Calabria, Director of Financial Regulation Studies, Cato

A CALL TO ARMS: MOBILIZING AMERICA FOR WORLD WAR II. 7/19, 7:00pm. Sponsor: Politics and Prose Bookstore. Speaker: Maury Klein, Author, A Call to Arms: Mobilizing America for World War II

'How Asia Works': A New Book

Interview: Author of How Asia Works

Interview with Joe Studwell by Sam Roggeveen, Editor, The Interpreter, Lowy Institute for International Policy, July 11, 2013

This interview originally appeared as a three-part series published on July 11 (Part I), July 12 (Part II), and July 16 (Part III) on Lowy Institute's blog, The Interpreter

Last month Marginal Revolution blogger Tyler Cowen described Joe Studwell's How Asia Works: Success and Failure in the World's Most Dynamic Region as 'perhaps my favourite economics book of the year'.

I decided to see for myself what the fuss was about, and I must say I have rarely had my economic preconceptions so thoroughly tested. This book challenges a lot of free market notions I had taken for granted, and as this interview progresses, I will try to tease out some of those ideas with Studwell.

SR: How Asia Works is a bold assault on what we might call the neo-liberal consensus about what makes economies grow. You argue that protectionism and industry policy are actually important policy tools for countries at an early stage of development, and that Asian governments have adopted this model with varying degrees of success.

This is an almost heretical thought in the Western economic debate, and I suspect a lot of readers of this site would dismiss it out of hand. So what are some of the key facets of Asia’s economic development you would point to that prove your case?

JS: The distinction I make is between the 'economics of learning' and 'the economics of efficiency'. Poor countries lack technological capacity and have low quality human capital. This is why they need to target investible funds at a learning process and such a learning process requires nurturing and protection as well as competition.

It was ever thus. Anyone who disagrees is simply historically ignorant. The history of British, American, German, and indeed Australian development is the history of government policies that nurtured globally competitive firms, whether those policies were Britain's Navigation Acts, the average 40% tariff applied in the US in the 19th century, German export subsidies of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, or Australia's own long history of tariff protection and industry subsidy.

Those 'infant industry' policies allow learning to take place and produce more competitive firms, especially when subsidy is predicated on exports, or what I call 'export discipline', as has very much been the case in the fastest growth stories in Japan, ROK, Taiwan and now China. The capacity to export into the global market tells governments of development countries if they are getting an acceptable return on their subsidies to domestic firms.

However, the economics of learning only get you so far. There comes a point when an economy is close to the global technological frontier and it is much harder, if not impossible, to run cost-effective industrial policy. It is then necessary to enter the world of Adam Smith or (to put things in Australian terms) Colin Clark. It is no surprise that Smith produced his ideas in the late 18th century, when Britain was close to global technological dominance but the British consumer was getting screwed every day by oligopolies and monopolies set up in the infant industry era. Britain needed to be more efficient, more focused on short-run profit, more fair to the consumer. And that was what gradually happened in the 19th century.

Colin Clark made similar points in Australia in the early 1960s and was fortunate that Labor Party politicians were receptive to his arguments about the need for deregulation so that Australia could continue to progress on its development path (I was going to say to the promised land of Kath and Kim, but I'll leave that out).

Anyhow, the basic point is that it is a stages game, and there are different solutions for different stages of development. This, of course, is horribly problematic for modern economics because everything is supposed to fit in the same spreadsheet — there are no stages. And behind this problem is the other one that so many contemporary economists are really just (drug-less) hippies, whose every statement begins with 'Imagine!': 'Imagine that there are large numbers of participants in every transaction, imagine that information is perfectly dispersed...Dude, you'd get a perfect price function. Pass the dooby!'

So I have a number of issues with the economics profession as it is presently constructed. But economics offers us powerful analytical tools and there are also some very smart, historically literate economists. In the book I quote Charles Kindleberger's question about whether there really can be only one kind of economics. My answer, as stated above, is that, at a minimum, there is an economics of development and an economics of efficiency and what we really need to understand is where and how they meet in the middle. (But please don't ask for the answer to this question because I don't know and it is the subject of my next book.)

SR: Asia is home to some of the great cautionary tales of industry policy: Malaysia’s national car brand, Proton, and Indonesia’s aircraft manufacturer IPTN come to mind. So what is it that distinguishes those failed efforts from success stories such as Hyundai?

And how do you get around the argument that, even where state-backed companies succeed in the long term, they still represent a misallocation of resources and an attempt to pick winners? Why wouldn’t these governments have been better off creating favourable tax and regulatory conditions for industry to flourish, rather than backing specific industries themselves?

JS: This is a number of different questions. First, what makes industrial policy cost-effective? The answer to this in east Asia has been what I term 'export discipline', or the conditioning of subsidy (in all its myriad forms) on a significant level of exports at the firm level. In essence, export discipline solves an information problem. If you give subsidy to entrepreneurs they are amazingly good at taking the money and pretending to do what you want in terms of developing globally competitive firms that carry an economy forward, but not actually doing so.

Most obviously they tend to concentrate on services, which employ and 'upgrade' relatively few people, avoid adding value through manufacturing by importing components of manufactured goods or even finished manufactured goods, and they tend to limit the competition they face by sticking to the domestic market. They then take the cash flows from subsidised domestic activity and invest it on a portfolio basis in more advanced and competitive economies.

This is the story of what my last book dubbed 'godfathers' — the oligarchs who dominate economies from south-east Asia, to Russia, to Latin America (KS Li, Ambramovich, Carlos Slim, if you want three examples). In essence these entrepreneurs outplay the state in its efforts to foster economic development based on technological learning and broad-based improvement of human capital.

When you have export discipline, the game changes. First, export discipline is almost inevitably bound up with a focus on manufacturing because manufactures are way more freely traded in the world than services (services are only 19% of world trade and have been stuck at that level for a quarter century). So entrepreneurs manufacture because manufactures are readily exportable.

Then comes the information bit. The capacity to export tells the state whether firms it subsidises and otherwise supports are globally competitive. Domestic financial institutions benefit from the same information feedback. Of course you can sell at a loss for a while, but not long if you have to export, say, 30% of your output, because it will bankrupt your firm. As a result, the capacity of the entrepreneur to deceive the state is undermined. He or she faces the horrible reality that in order to feed their insatiable desire for wealth and recognition (those 'animal spirits') they have to knuckle down, actually make stuff, and sell it in the viciously competitive world market.

Hyundai is a good example because founder Chung Ju Yung was himself a godfather, bribing his way to construction contracts under Syngman Rhee in the 1950s. Then came Park Chung Hee's coup in May 1961. Park brought in so much export discipline that firms had to file their export returns to the government on a monthly basis. Suddenly Chung became a big fan of manufacturing for export and had to get rich that way.

In Southeast Asia, industrialisation programs like Proton and IPTN did not face export discipline. As a result the state's return on industrial policy was very poor. Was it zero, however? I think not. There has been some industrial learning in Malaysia and, to a lesser extent, in Indonesia. So I doubt they would have been better off without Mahathir or Habibie, the main people who drove those programs. However, the performance was lousy by the standards of Japan, ROK, Taiwan and China and I talk in a lot more detail in the book about exactly why. After the Asian financial crisis, when the IMF went in to Indonesia and dismantled/emasculated its industrialisation strategy, it made things worse. If you look at IPTN, on which the Indonesians spent billions training engineers, designers and so on, many of the key people went off in the late 90s and 2000s to work in places like the US or Germany. Indonesia's learning-oriented subsidy ended up going to the world's richest nations (that's why we have black humour).

On the inevitability of misallocation of resources in industrial policy, the answer is 'yes'. There is a lot of waste in industrial policy. But the waste is at an acceptable level when you are far behind the technological frontier because you can see where you need to go. Steel, chemicals, plastics, construction materials, etc — you have to learn to make this stuff just like everybody before you. You have to fill your society with tacit, value-adding knowledge. Critically, manufacturing is the way to learn because people learn on the job, in factories, generating the capital to pay for their education. It is affordable in the way that more schooling for everybody would not be because school is just a sunk cost until you leave and get a job. (Indians — don't get me started — only think about learning through investment in formal education and have no real manufacturing strategy, which is why they are relatively so much poorer than the Chinese.)

On 'picking winners', this is a term of abuse coined by neo-liberal economists in Europe in the 1970s (I have never managed to identify first use of the term) when they were beginning to criticise the industrial policies that made a country like Italy grow 5-6% for a quarter century after World War II. It is a term of abuse because, as far as I can see, successful industrial policy has never been about picking winners. It is about culling losers, which is very different. Culling losers means cutting off state support to subsidised firms that are failing to make the grade, judged by profit & loss and export performance. There is a period of culling losers going on in China right now, so you can watch live!

On 'favourable tax and regulatory environments', development requires these, but the objective remains that of learning, as I have said, not efficiency expressed in terms of short-run returns. That comes later. I think that perhaps the answer you want to this question is the following statement: if you can show me a country, other than anomalous offshore financial centres/trading entrepots, which has developed to the first rank through policies of free trade from the get-go, then tell me which country it is. (Certainly not yours or mine...)

Reading through the first part of this answer, I realise that I simplified and exaggerated considerably to make a point. Perhaps too much so. But people need to read the book!

Can we talk about the cricket rugby now?

SR: In your previous answer you took a swipe at the IMF for its behaviour towards Indonesia during the currency crisis, so I wonder if you could say some more about the role of international institutions.

I notice that Michael Pettis, in his Amazon review of your book, says the merits of industry policy are so obvious as to be not worth debating. The fact it is debated 'suggests to me how unreal academic economics has become and how divorced from historical understanding.'

But it's not just academic economics, clearly. It's also the policy advisers in the IMF and World Bank (and perhaps even the NGOs?) who push a pure free market line. How do you account for the fact that these institutions seemingly continue to ignore the evidence of successful industry policy? And how have Asian governments dealt with advice from the IMF, World Bank and others? Do they just ignore it?

JS: The story of the international institutions is a complex one, so I'd like to try to reflect that complexity. I would also like to say that I am not an expert in the history of these institutions and mostly know them from the work I have seen them doing in east Asia.

The first point is to consider the origins of the IMF, the institution that is best known for going in to countries after financial crises occur and agreeing (forcing?) and overseeing reform 'programs'. The IMF was created at the end of the Second World War and gained its early crisis experience in the 1970s in already quite mature western European countries after the Bretton Woods fixed exchange rate regime broke down. The IMF played an important role cajoling countries that had employed what I earlier called the 'economics of development' or 'economics of learning' in order to get back on their feet after the Second World War towards what I called the 'economics of efficiency'.

Continues on the next page

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Japan stays a Tier 2 country

On June 19, the US State Department cited Japan for the 13th year in a row as a Tier 2 Country in its annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report [See Japan Section below]. The country is a major destination, source, and transit country for men and women subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking, and for children subjected to sex trafficking. Japan is recognized as having one of the most severe human trafficking problems among the major industrialized democracies.

A Tier 2 country does not fully comply with the US's Trafficking Victims Protection Act minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking adopted in 2000, but is making significant efforts to do so. Japan does not have a comprehensive anti-trafficking law. In 2005, responding to international pressure,  its criminal code was amended to prohibit the buying and selling of persons, and a variety of other criminal code articles and laws, could be used to prosecute trafficking offenses. Enforcement is lax.

In Japan, The Body Shop sponsors with ECPAT Japan a campaign to Stop Sex Trafficking of Children & Young People. For more information about human trafficking in Japan and Asia see the project by the Academy for Educational Development (AED).

Polaris Japan is a leader in highlighting human trafficking in Japan and providing care for its victims. They will hold their second Introduction to Human Trafficking seminar on July 30, 2013 at 7:30pm in Tokyo. Their last seminar attracted a large turn out.

July 30th happens to be the 6th Anniversary of the passage of the US Congress'  2007 Resolution 121 in support of the Comfort Women's struggle for recognition and justice. During Imperial Japan's 14-year war, the government organized and managed an extensive human trafficking system to provide women to its troops (and others) throughout the then-expanding Empire.

Internationally, the United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking (UN.GIFT) promotes the global fight on human trafficking, on the basis of international agreements reached at the UN. To date, 140 parties have signed the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons especially Women and Children (neither Japan nor South Korea have acceded to this Protocol), which supplements the Palermo Convention against transnational organized crime.

UN.GIFT was launched in March 2007 by the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the "guardian" of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) and the Protocols thereto, assists States in their efforts to implement the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons (Trafficking in Persons Protocol).

You can find the Japan chapter of the US State Department TIP Report by clicking on the next page

Monday in Washington July 15

POLITICS IN TOUGH PLACES: UNITED NATIONS DIPLOMACY IN TODAY'S CRISES. 7/15, 11:00am-12:30pm. Sponsor: Brookings. Speakers: Jeffrey Feltman, United Nations Undersecretary-General for Political Affairs; Wegger Strommen, Norwegian Ambassador to the United States; Martin Indyk, Vice President and Director of Foreign Policy, Brookings; Bruce Jones, Senior Fellow and Director of Managing Global Order, Brookings.

WHAT DOES NASA HAVE TO DO WITH INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT? 7/15, Noon-1:30pm. Sponsor: Society for International Development. Speakers: Nancy Searby, NASA's Capacity Building Program Manager; Basanta Shrestha, Regional Program Manager, ICIMOD; Birendra Bajracharya, Program Coordinator, ICIMOD.

EARTH OBSERVATION SATELLITE DATA-SHARING: POLICIES AND PARTNERSHIPS. 7/15, Noon-2:00pm. Sponsor: Wilson Center, Science and Technology Innovation Program. Speakers: Mariel John Borowitz, Research Analyst, Space Foundation; Molly Macauley, Vice President of research, Senior Fellow, Resources for the Future; Martha Maiden, Program Executive, NASA Earth Science Data Systems; Timothy Stryker, Chief of Plans and Analysis in the Land Remote Sensing Program, U.S. Geological Survey; Tiffany Chow, Project Manager, Secure World Foundation.

THE EICHMANN TRIAL. 7/15, Noon. Sponsor: Georgetown University, School of Foreign Service. Speaker: Deborah Lipstadt, Professor of modern Jewish history and holocaust studies, Emory University.

VIETNAM: TWO DECADES OF POVERTY REDUCTION, AND CURRENT CHANGES. 7/15, 2:00-3:30pm. Sponsor: World Bank. Speakers: Bui Quang Vinh, Minister of Planning and Investment, Socialist Republic of Vietnam; Axel van Trotsenburg, Regional Vice President, East Asia and the Pacific, World Bank.

TECHNOLOGIES FOR REMOVAL OF CO2 FROM THE ATMOSPHERE. 7/15, 2:00-3:30pm. Sponsor: United States Energy Association (USEA). Speaker: Tim Fox, Head of Energy and Environment, Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

REAL POLITICS OF IRAN: VIEWS FROM WITHIN. 7/15, 2:00pm-4:00pm. Sponsor: United States Institute of Peace (USIP). Speakers: Fatemeh Haghighatjoo, President & CEO, Nonviolent Initiative for Democracy; Kevan Harris, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Princeton University; Daniel Brumberg, Senior Program Officer on Iran and North Africa, USIP.

G-20 AND THE GLOBAL ECONOMY. 7/15, 4:00-5:00pm. Sponsor: Carnegie (CEIP). Speakers: Lael Brainard, Treasury Undersecretary for International Affairs; Moises Naim, Senior Associate, CEIP's International Economics Program, Chief International Columnist, El PaisLa Republica.

HIGH TECH, LOW LIFE. 7/15, 6:00pm-9:00pm. Sponsor: Reporters Without Borders; New America Foundation; POV films. Speakers: Stephen Maing, Director and Producer of "High Tech, Low Life"; Delphine Halgand, U.S. Director of Reporters Without Borders; Rebecca MacKinnon, Co-founder, Global Voices Online, Senior Research Fellow, New American Foundation.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Prime Minister of Japan's Schedule June 29-July 5

June 29, 2013 (Sat)


11:45 Leaves private residence in Tomigaya

12:03 Arrives at Grand Hyatt Tokyo Hotel in Roppongi. Inside, exercises at NAGOMI Spa and Fitness
03:18 Leaves hotel
03:51 Arrives at private residence

June 30, 2013 (Sun)


11:35 Leaves private residence in Tomigaya
11:49 Arrives at LDP Headquarters
11:57 Attends LDP’s Small to Medium Enterprises – Small Businessmen Policy Emergency Forum

12:36 Inspects display corners
01:09 Koichi Hagiuda, Nobuo Kishi, both LDP Lower House Members
01:45 Interview with media outlets
01:51 Leaves party headquarters
02:09 Arrives at private residence

July 1, 2013 (Mon)


08:18 Leaves private residence
08:42 Arrives at JR Ueno Station
09:00 Leaves station on Super Hitachi 11
11:29 Arrives at JR Iwaki Station
11:32 Leaves station. Takumi Nemoto, Minister for Reconstruction; Masako Mori, Minister for Consumer Affairs, accompany
11:50 Arrives at road station Yotsukura-kou at Iwaki, Fukushima
11:51 Inspects the road station and adjoining seawater baths

Abe memorializes
12:06 Inspection ends
12:07 Receives a written request from Takao Watanabe, Mayor of Iwaki
12:11 Leaves roadside station
12:19 Arrives in front of the cenotaph in Hisanohama, Iwaki. Prays, observes the surrounding victims’ situation
12:25 Leaves Hisanohama
12:34 Arrives at Japanese restaurant Wafu Misaka in Hirono, Fukushima. Has lunch with Mr. Nemoto, Ms. Mori, and Motohoshi Yamada, Mayor of Hirono
01:05 Leaves restaurant
01:33 Arrives at Joban Expressway reconstruction site in Naraha, Fukushima. Observes. Accompanied by Yukiei Matsumoto, Naraha Mayor
01:46 Leave work site
01:57 Arrives in front rice paddy field in Hirono, Fukushima
01:58 Inspects paddy and encourages farmers
02:07 Interview with media outlets
02:12 Receives a written request from the mayor of Yamada
02:15 Leaves Hirono
02:51 Arrives at JR Iwaki Station
03:17 Leaves station on Super Hitachi 50
05:37 Arrives at JR Ueno Station
05:40 Leaves station
06:03 Arrives at Hotel Okura in Toranomon, Tokyo. Inside, dines at Japanese restaurant with Bunmei Ibuki, Speaker of the House of Representatives; Hakubun Shimomura, Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology; Hirofumi Nakasone, Chairman of the LDP in the House of Councillors
08:07 Leaves hotel
08:20 Arrives at Hotel Grand Palace in Iidabashi, Tokyo. Inside, dines at Japanese restaurant with Keiko Iizuka, Editorial and Senior Political Writer at Yomiuri Shimbun
10:09 Leaves hotel
10:23 Arrives at private residence

[A video compilation of Abe’s visit to Fukushima prefecture can be found here (Japanese)]

July 2, 2013 (Tues)


09:12 Leaves private residence in Tomigaya
09:27 Arrives at office
09:40 Keiji Furuya, Minister in charge of the Abduction Issue
10:02 Cabinet meeting
10:17 Reconstruction Promotion Council
10:41 Tomomi Inada, Administrative Reform Minister
11:24 Courtesy Call from Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook Chief Operating Officer
11:50 Akitaka Saiki, Administrative Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs, enters

12:12 Mr. Saiki leaves
12:15 Taro Kimura, Aide to the Prime Minister
12:52 Leaves office
12:55 Arrives at Hotel Okura in Toranomon, Tokyo. Attends the National Meeting of the Japan Private Kindergarten PTA Association, gives address
01:30 Leaves hotel
01:35 Arrives at office
02:05 Leaves office
02:21 Arrives at NHK in Jinnan, Tokyo. Recording broadcast of political views of proportional representation segment of Upper House
04:45 Leaves NHK
05:02 Arrives at LDP Headquarters. Records Internet publicity video with Shinjiro Koizumi, Chief of LDP Youth Division
05:24 Leaves headquarters
05:27 Arrives at office
05:28 Request for regional agriculture promotion from Shinji Kitamura, Mayor of Yachimata City and Masatoshi Akimoto, LDP Lower House Member
05:37 Ichita Yamamoto, Minister of State for Ocean Policy and Territorial Issues
05:58 Akira Amari, Minister of Economic Revitalization
06:28 Leaves office
06:37 Arrives at Tokyo Prince Hotel Shiba Park, Tokyo
06:38 Inside hotel, attends publication party for Yoshiro Mori’s My Biography, gives address
07:08 Leaves hotel
07:33 Arrives at Yakiniku restaurant in Honmachi, Shibuya, Tokyo. Dines with secretary
09:11 Leaves restaurant
09:19 Arrives at private residence
09:32 Takes photograph for Asahi Shimbun’s House of Councillors Election Project

Cultural tourism in Washington

SATURDAY, JULY 13, 2013 


Logan Circle Park

Washington, DC


With emcee Derrick Ward of NBC 4, Councilmember Jack Evans, and distinguished guests

Korean Legation


Featuring guided tours and open houses
(Total trail walking distance: 1.5 miles)


No reservations required.

Presented by Cultural Tourism DC, Logan Circle Heritage Trail Working Group, and Logan Circle Community Association.

Cultural Tourism DC initiated the District of Columbia Neighborhood Heritage Trails program to bring visitors to DC’s historic neighborhoods and to promote community pride. Each of the 15 Heritage Trails is produced by Cultural Tourism DC staff with the active involvement of neighborhood residents and organizations that help identify landmarks of local and national importance.

Korea’s first legation building in the United States is included on the new Logan Circle trail. Korean Ambassador Ahn Ho-young will offer remarks commemorating the friendship and ties between the Republic of Korea and the United States. 

The unveiling ceremony on the 13th will showcase the trail’s 7th sign, which includes the history of the Korean Legation building as a key highlight of the trail. The ceremony has special symbolic meaning because the 7th sign was chosen from among 15 that comprise the Logan Circle Heritage Trail.

Interior of Korean Legation
The legation building at 15 Logan Circle was purchased for $25,000 in 1889 by King Gojong of the Joseon Dynasty, which was Korea's last royal dynasty. It served as the Korean Legation for 16 years until Korea’s diplomatic independence was lost to Imperial Japan in 1905. When Japan annexed Korea by force five years later, the building was forcibly sold to Japan for only $5 and then sold to a third party. 

For over a century since, the building has had various American owners. In 2012, the Korean government successfully re-claimed its old legation when it purchased the building from private ownership.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Congress by the numbers

The Brookings Institution in collaboration with AEI has made public data its scholars collect on the U.S. Congress. This dataset of "Vital Statistics" documents the increasing polarization of Congress and the demographics of those who serve in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives. Interestingly, there are no statistics for Asian Americans in Congress.

Chidorigafuchi National Cemetery.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is keen on visiting soon the Yasukuni Shrine. He believes, as noted in the translation below, that his recent visits to foreign war cemeteries are equivalent to paying homage to Imperial Japan's war dead. And he laments that there is an "asymmetry" in that foreign leaders do not visit Japan's war dead.

Abe consistently gives long-winded non-answers preceded by references to what other countries do for their war dead when questioned whether or not he will visit Yasukuni. A simple no would do. His intent, however, is to say yes. When is now a parlor game.

Lanterns at Yasukuni
In the next two months, he has two choices to visit Yasukuni, a private Shinto Shrine where the spirits of Japan's named war-
Lanterns at the Yasukan
dead, mostly military, are enshrined. Yasukuni was created to embed a state religion tied to the Emperor. Most important, Yasukuni is to glorify Japan's selective war dead and honor them for their sacrifice to the Emperor.

Best known among the days that Abe may select to visit Yasukuni is the non-festival day, August 15, which is the anniversary of Japan's cessation of hostilities toward the Allies. True conservatives in Japan are not supporters of the Alliance. Some observers think to lessen the annoyance to Americans, however, he will chose to visit the Shrine a day or so earlier.

The other is this week, July 13-16, that are the official Shinto festival days of Mitama Matsuri (Souls/Spirt Festival). Called the Lantern Festival, it was created in 1947 as a mid-summer remembrance to the war dead and positioned to dovetail and ressemble the Buddhist Obon summer festival honoring one's ancestors. Abe and most other prominent politicians of all parties send commemorative lanterns to the Shrine.

[For more background see Japan's Yasukuni Shrine: Place of Peace Or Place of Conflict? Regional Politics of History and Memory in East Asia (Google eBook).]

More important, July 13 it is the festival day for the Chinreisha (Spirit Pacifying Shrine), which is a small shrine off to the left (south) of the main shrine [honden] at Yasukuni. Erected in 1965, this structure houses (or welcomes) the spirits of all the war-dead (unnamed) since 1853 that are not enshrined at the honden. This means both Japanese and non-Japanese who who died fighting against the Emperor. A visit to this part of Yasukuni to honor these kami can balance a visit to the honden. As Professor John Breen, one of the world's leading authorities on Shinto notes, the Chinreisha "has the capacity to recall a more nuanced past, a past of perpetrators and of victims, of winners and losers, of horror as well as heroism."  To the best of my knowledge, no Japanese official has done this. Until October 2006, the Chinreisha was fenced off and inaccessible.

Abe, however, ignores that he has another option. As friends of Abe reminded Americans on Japan has a memorial day on the last Monday of May. Since 1959, members of the Imperial Family and national leaders gather at Chidorigafuchi for a ceremony honoring Japan's unidentified dead from their 14 years of war in Asia.  The focus is the military dead, but as all the collected remains are unidentified, it is impossible to separate the combatants from the noncombatants.

The Health Labor and Welfare Ministry oversees the collections of remains of the unknown throughout Japan's former battlefields, arranges for their ashes to be entombed collectively at Chidorgafuchi, and organizes the national ceremonies. This public park, steps away from Yasukuni and the Imperial Palace, is managed by a non-governmental organization, in cooperation with the Environmental Ministry. Different religious ceremonies and rites are held throughout the year at the ossuary.

Abe at Chidorigaifuchi May 27, 2013
Every year new ashes are added to the crypt. Abe, himself, collected remains on Iwoto (Iwo Jima) this past April, which were deposited in May at Chidorigaifuchi.

On May 27th, the remains of 1,628 unidentified Japanese who died fighting for Imperial Japan during World War II were laid to rest in a memorial service at the Chidorigafuchi National Cemetery. The remains were from Iwo Jima and Russia. With the addition, the number of the war dead honored in the cemetery came to 358,260. Princess Takamado attended the ceremony. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, Minister of Health, Labor and Welfare Norihisa Tamura, Minister of Defense Itsunori Onodera, Minister of the Environment Nobuteru Ishihara, representatives from bereaved family organizations, and foreign ambassadors attended.

As you can see from this video, the Prime Minister is decidedly uncomfortable at the ceremony. He spends his required ten minutes and rushes off to his next appointment.

Abe in Burma
Social Media
Most interesting is how Abe's staff handled his social media posts. Abe’s Chidorigafuchi visit is noted on the official Kantei websites in both Japanese and English (albeit without the video link).

However, the staff significantly downplays the visit on his three associated Facebook pages. A post detailing the visit to Chidorigafuchi on May 27th complete with a picture was removed from Kantei’s Japanese-language Facebook page by June 1. In its place, is a picture of the Prime Minister with his back to the camera before the black memorial tablet at Kazuo Nakamura's grave located near the Burma Peace Memorial. A fictionalized account of Nakamura, as Imperial Japanese Army "Lance Corporal Mizuma," during Japan's surrender in Burma is the theme of  the famous anti-war book and movie The Burmese Harp. Abe visited this memorial and cemetery on May 25th.
PM Noda

There was never a mention of the Chidorigaifuchi visit on the Kantei's English-language Facebook page. Instead, for May 27th is the same picture and description of  Prime Minister Abe before Nakamura's memorial tablet at Burma's Peace Memorial in the Yeway cemetery that holds the remains of Japanese who died both before and during the War.

On Abe’s personal Japanese-language Facebook page for May 27th is a photo of Abe and his wife bowing at the Burma Peace Memorial in the Yeway Japanese Cemetery. As noted above, this took place on the 25th. At the end of the post there is a one sentence mention of the Chidorigaifuchi visit on the 27th: Today, a worship ceremony was held in Chidorigafuchi cemetery for the war dead; remains have been returned starting with Iwo Jima, Sakhalin, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Myanmar, Palau, Eastern New Guinea, Bismarck, Solomon Islands, Mariana Islands, and the former Soviet Union and an offering has been made for each.

It does not appear that Prime Minister Abe visited the Taukkyan War Cemetery, a memorial to Allied soldiers from the British Commonwealth who died in battle in Burma. In January, Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso had visited the Yeway Cemetery. Together, Abe and Aso are setting the precedent for visiting Japan's war dead at memorials and cemeteries in Asia.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda worshiped and honored Japan's war dead on August 15, 2012 at Chidorigafuchi (see bottom of page).

For the translation of “Asymmetry” Should Be Resolved on Leaders’ Pilgrimage to War Memorial
By: Megumi Nishikawa, Mainichi Shimbun, 6/28/13 Click next page