Sunday, November 30, 2014

Abenomics in deep trouble

Policymakers need to realize the clock is ticking

by Dr. William H. Overholt, APP Board member and president of Fung Global Institute, a Hong Kong-based research center. Opinions expressed here are his own and have not been reviewed by his employer.

This essay first appeared November 27, 2014 in the Nikkei Asian Review

Japan's negative economic growth during 2014's third quarter does not yet doom Abenomics, but it does signify deep trouble.

Abenomics is a multiple-level bet.

It is a bet that monetary and fiscal stimulus -- Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's first and second "arrows" of reform -- will create enough growth momentum, through rising consumer and business confidence, to overcome the drag created by last April's sales tax rise. With negative economic growth and declining confidence, that bet looks risky.

Second, Abe has bet that monetary and fiscal stimulus can get the economy moving without his third arrow: significant labor reform, domestic competition reform, a reduction in protectionism, an opening of the market for corporate control, immigration reform and more sweeping efforts to give women fair access to the job market. There has been a legitimate debate among reputable economists about whether stimulus or structural reform is more important to Japan's economic rejuvenation. Abenomics promised both but chose to do stimulus, the politically easy part, and mostly renege on structural reform.

Why is structural reform crucial? Well, Japan had by far the world's best cellphones, but it protected its market, so Apple and Samsung Electronics went global and trounced their former Japanese superiors. Such situations pervade the Japanese economy; protectionism has turned Japan's brilliant heroes into losers. Moreover, like companies everywhere, Japanese ones reform only when they must; Nissan Motor managers knew how to create a great company, but they could only impose reforms when fear of bankruptcy enabled them.

Japan has numerous brilliant managers and good companies that are nonetheless decaying because, unlike most companies in other countries, they are protected against takeover and thus lack incentives to reform.

Simple fixes

Third, Abenomics bets that the economy can revive despite policies that create declining real incomes. Possibly the Japanese economy's biggest single long-term problem is insufficient final demand. Protectionism, restricted domestic competition and restrictive property and property tax rules lead to high prices and cramped housing, restricting what families can consume while funneling income toward corporations. Fix this and you get a more dynamic Japan. But Abenomics is raising the sales tax -- a tax on families -- and reducing families' purchasing power by devaluing the yen. It is also reducing corporate taxes, thereby transferring even more money from families to corporations.

Finally, the program is a bet that antagonistic policies toward China and South Korea will not cost the Japanese economy a crucial margin of growth when the economy is at a tipping point. The short-term effects are small, but the longer-term effects of ceding market share in Asia's most dynamic economies could become huge, as shown by the scale of the shift of Japanese investments from China to less important Asian markets.

Abenomics' most crucial decision was to postpone or abandon most structural reforms in order to placate Liberal Democratic Party interest groups. The risk is that this truncated Abenomics will trap the economy. We could reach a point where another sales tax increase causes a severe recession and makes bondholders lose faith in the government's creditworthiness but conversely not going ahead with a tax rise causes fiscal deficits with the same impact on bondholders. The resulting financial meltdown would be catastrophic.

To turn the economy around, Abenomics must refocus primarily on structural reforms: drastically reducing protectionist trade policies; bringing down the non-tariff barriers that inhibit successful foreign investment in many sectors, including finance; lowering domestic barriers to full competition; eliminating the practices that make it impossible for foreign companies to take over large domestic businesses; changing labor laws to promote mobility; increasing skilled immigration; reforming the regulations and taxes that make Japanese homes so small and expensive; stopping yen devaluation; leading a social movement to overcome the informal practices making it difficult for women to have both families and careers; giving up on revisionist history; and compromising on territorial disputes with South Korea and China.

Improved productivity, improved competitiveness and reduced prices would lift incomes, eventually enabling a corporate tax cut and higher sales tax rate. Confident that vital reforms were actually being implemented, bond markets would be more patient. Japan would quickly restore its stature as a great power, and the Japanese people could confidently expect the full value of their pensions.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Monday in Washington, December 1, 2014

12/1 - WORLD DEVELOPMENT REPORT 2015: MIND, SOCIETY AND BEHAVIOR released by the World Bank. Participate in a live chat on December 4th from 10:30am to Noon EST HERE

12/1-12 - United Nations Climate Change Conference. 20th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 20). Lima, Peru.

12/1-2 - Migration Forum and launch of International Migration Outlook 2014. Paris, France.

INTERNATIONAL PROGRAMS OF THE U.S. TREASURY: STRENGTHENING GOVERNMENT CAPACITY AND SUPPORTING PRIVATE SECTOR GROWTH. 12/1, 9:00-10:30am. Sponsor: CSIS Project on U.S. Leadership in Development. Speaker: Larry McDonald, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Treasury for Technical Assistance, U.S. Department of the Treasury.

IRAN NUCLEAR EXTENSION: KEY TO DEAL OR AN EMPTY ROOM? 12/1, 10:00-11:00am. Sponsor: Woodrow Wilson Center (WWC) Middle East Program. Speakers: Former Rep. Jane Harman, D-Calif., director, president and CEO of WWC; Robert Einhorn, senior fellow at The Brookings Institution; Ali Vaez, senior analyst on Iran at the International Crisis Group; Robin Wright, scholar at WWC and the United States Institute of Peace; Aaron David Miller, vice president for new initiatives at WWC; Robert Litwak, vice president of scholar and academic relations at WWC.

RUSSIAN-AMERICAN ENERGY DEVELOPMENT: CURRENT STATUS, FUTURE STEPS. 12/1, Noon-6:30pm. Sponsors: American Institute of Energy Efficiency; Embassy of Russia. Speakers: Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergey Kisliyak; Adrian Herrera, executive director of Arctic Power; Justin Russell, principal at Rialitas Public Strategies LLC; Charles McConnell, executive director of the Energy and Environment Initiative at Rice University; Claire Casey, managing director at Garten Rothkopf; Mike Moore, vice president of Fearn Oil Inc.

INTRODUCTION OF GOOD CLINICAL PRACTICE IN CHINA. 12/1, 1:00-2:00pm. Sponsor: Georgetown University Law Center's O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law. Speaker: Gao Minjie drug inspector at the Center for Certification and Evaluation of the Shanghai Food and Drug Administration.

PUTIN AND RUSSIAN POWER IN THE WORLD: THE STALIN LEGACY. 12/1, 2:00-3:30pm. Sponsor: Brookings. Speakers: Stephen Kotkin, professor of history and international affairs at Princeton University and author of Stalin Volume I: Paradoxes of Power, 1878-1928; Strobe Talbott, president of Brookings.

ADAPTING INTELLIGENCE FOR NEW NATIONAL SECURITY CHALLENGES. 12/1, 5:00-6:30pm. Sponsor: Atlantic Council. Speakers: U.S. National Intelligence Council Chairman Gregory Treverton; Moderator: Frederick Kempe, president and CEO, Atlantic Council.

International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC

November 25, 2014

Today, we mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and the start of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence. Over the next two weeks, U.S. embassies and missions around the world will all be working to raise awareness of the irreparable harm caused by gender-based violence.

This issue is seared into me. As a young prosecutor, I saw women and young girls whose lives and families were ripped apart by violence. I will never forget seeing women in dark glasses and long-sleeved shirts worn to cover up the black eyes and bruises of abuse. I couldn’t help but think about them as my two daughters went out into the world. As a Senator, working with Joe Biden and Cathy Russell, long before any of us were in the Administration, I helped pass the Violence Against Women Act.

In recent years, I’ve seen firsthand how much work remains to be done all across the globe, not just here at home. I saw it as a Senator, and I’ve seen it even more as Secretary. On my latest visit to Africa, while in Kinshasa, I toured a fistula clinic at St. Joseph’s Hospital. I spoke with doctors and activists alike who have devoted their life’s work to healing the scars left by sexual violence. And I listened to young women tell heartbreaking stories of their pain and ongoing recovery from the physical and emotional wounds left by their brutal assaults. These women were brave; they were extraordinarily strong. I came away inspired by their determination to make sure that no woman goes through the same ordeal as they did ever again.

Simply put, we must all do more to end violence against women in all its forms, wherever and whenever it occurs, and it starts by acknowledging it. There can be no conspiracy of silence.

The sad truth is that one in three women will experience gender-based violence in her lifetime. This violence knows no class, religious, or racial boundaries. And it comes at a terrible cost – not only for the woman or girl, but for families, communities, and entire countries. Preventing it is the only way to achieve a future of peace, stability, and prosperity.

Over the past year, the United States has worked to up our game battling gender-based violence across the globe. Through our Gender-based Violence Emergency Response and Protection Initiative, we help meet the immediate security needs of survivors. The Safe from the Start initiative is sending experts into the field to prevent gender-based violence in conflict zones and regions devastated by natural disasters. We are also working to address the scourge of early and forced marriage, most recently launching a program in Benin. And I’m proud to continually support our partnership with Together for Girls to collect data on the consequences of sexual violence against children and provide a foundation to mobilize responses to new outbreaks of violence.

We will not turn away in the face of evil and brutality. We stand up, and we reaffirm that all forms of gender-based violence will be not be tolerated. Not now, not ever.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Events for Thanksgiving Week

This is Thanksgiving Week in the United States. Congress is in recess and most people in Washington go "home."

Yet there are still a few programs in Washington of interest to the Asia policy expert. And the rest of the world does not go on holiday.

11/23 - Labor Thanksgiving, National Holiday, Japan.

11/24 - Deadline for Iran to submit a plan to curb its nuclear program.
11/25 - OECD releases its Economic Outlook, Volume 2014 Issue 2.
11/25-28- Polish President Bronisław Komorowski makes a working visit to Japan.
11/27 - Senior officials from Japan and South Korea hold talks in Seoul over a range of diplomatic issues.
11/27 - OECD releases its Health at a Glance: Asia/Pacific 2014

WORLD ENERGY OUTLOOK 2014. 11/24, 9:30-11:00am. Sponsor: Energy and National Security, CSIS. Speaker: Fatih Birol, Chief Economist, International Energy Agency; Moderator: Sarah Ladislaw, Director and Senior Fellow, Energy and National Security Program, CSIS.

CAPPING CHINA'S COAL. 11/24, 10:00am-Noon. Sponsor: Global Sustainability and Resilience Program, Wilson Center. Speakers: Jake Schmidt, Director, International Program, Natural Resources Defense Council; Fuqiang Yang, Senior Adviser on Climate, Energy and Environment, Natural Resources Defense Council; Hu Tao, China Program Director, World Wildlife Fund-US; Kelly Sims Gallagher, Senior Policy Advisor, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

ENTERING THE HOMESTRETCH: U.S. CLIMATE DIPLOMACY ON THE ROAD TO PARIS. 11/24, 2014, Noon-1:00pm. Sponsor: Center for American Progress. Speakers: Todd Stern, Special Envoy for Climate Change, U.S. Department of State; Moderated by: Pete Ogden, Senior Fellow and Director of International Energy and Climate Policy, Center for American Progress.

JIHADIST MOVEMENT IN AFGHANISTAN, SYRIA AND IRAQ: INEVITABLE RISE OF POLICY FAILURE? 11/24, 3:30-5:30pm. Sponsor: Carnegie Endowment. Speakers: Adam Baczko, corder, conflict, and violence fellow at Yale University; Gilles Dorronsoro, professor of political science at the University of Paris and a non-resident scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; Frederic Grare is senior associate and director of Carnegie’s South Asia Program; Arthur Quesnay, fellow at the French Institute for Near East (IFPO) and analyst at Noria Research; Frederic Wehrey, senior associate in the Middle East Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

IRAN-P5+1 NUCLEAR NEGOTIATIONS: THE ROAD AHEAD. 11/25, 10:30am-Noon. Sponsor: Brookings Institution. Speakers: Gary Samore, Executive Director of Research, The Belfer Center, Harvard University; David Albright, Founder and President, Institute for Science and International Security; Edward Levine, National Advisory Board Member, Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation; Moderator: Robert Einhorn, Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy, Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence, Arms Control and Non-Proliferation Initiative.

SECOND LIFE OF POLITICAL LEADERS: A CASE STUDY OF ADOLF HITLER’S IMAGE IN AMERICAN POP CULTURE. 11/25, Noon-1:30pm. Sponsor: Society, Culture & Politics Program, American Institute for Contemporary German Studies (AICGS). Speaker: Arleta Dulkowska, Research Fellow, DAAD/AICGS; Moderator: Dr. Lily Gardner Feldman, Director, Society, Culture & Politics Program, AICGS.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT FINANCING VEHICLES IN CHINA AND THEIR DEBT: THE LEGAL PICTURE. 11/25, 12:30–1:45PM. Sponsor:  Sigur Center for Asian Studies, Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University. SPEAKERS: Donald Clarke, research professor of law, George Washington University Law School.

THE SORROW AND HOPE OF COMFORT WOMEN: SEMINAR AND EXHIBITION. 11/25, 2:00-4:00pm, reception follows, Exhibition continues to January 12, 2015, Sponsors: National Catholic School of Social Service’s Center for International Social Development (CISD); Washington Coalition for Comfort Women Issues, Inc. (WCCW). Speakers: Prof. Frederick Ahearn, Professor and Director of CISD; Dr. Bonnie Oh, retired Professor, Georgetown University; Ms. Mindy Kotler, founder and director of Asia Policy Point; Dr. Julie Jungsil Lee, Adjunct Professor, George Washington University.

CORRUPTION, CONSTITUTIONALISM & CONTROL: IMPLICATIONS OF THE 4TH PLENUM FOR CHINA AND U.S.-CHINA RELATIONS. 11/25, 3:00-4:30pm. Sponsor: Kissinger Center on China and the United States, Wilson Center (WWC). Speakers: Donald C. Clarke, David Weaver Research Professor of Law, George Washington University Law School; Andrew Wedeman, Professor, Department of Political Science, Georgia State University. 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Prime Minister of Japan’s Schedule September 22-28, 2014

Monday, September 22, 2014

12:00 At official residence (no visitors)
08:00 At private residence (no morning visitors)
09:15 Depart from private residence
09:42 Arrive at Haneda Airport
09:51 Interview open to all media: When asked “What are you going to attend to at the UN General Assembly?” Mr. Abe answers “I want Japan to exhibit leadership with the UN in reforming the 21st century into a suitable condition.”
09:53 Interview ends
10:17 Depart from airport with wife Akie on private government aircraft bound for New York in order to attend UN General Assembly
(Local time in New York, United States)
Arrive by private government aircraft at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, United States
Lunch meeting with Japanese women who work in American business at Consul General of Japan’s official residence in New York

(Local time in New York, United States)
Visit Columbia University in New York. Deliver address to students, question and answer session
Stay night at Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


(Local time in New York, United States)
Attend Invest Japan Seminar hosted by Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) at hotel Hilton Midtown in New York, deliver address
Summit Conference with President of Iran Hassan Rouhani at UN Headquarters
Summit Conference with President of Mongolia Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj
Attend UN Climate Summit, give speech

(Local time in New York, United States)
Informal talk and lunch meeting with members of New York City-based think tank Council on Foreign Relations
Summit Conference with President of UN General Assembly Sam Kutesa at UN Headquarters
Summit Conference with President of Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi
Attend ambition session of UN Climate Summit, deliver address
Informal talk with accompanying group of reporters at DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Metropolitan in New York
Stay night at Waldorf Astoria Hotel

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


(Local time in New York, United States)
Attend international event concerning women sponsored by Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel
Dialogue with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
Conference with President of France François Hollande at hotel Langham Place in New York
Conference with President of Panama Juan Carlos Varela at UN Headquarters

(Local time in New York, United States)
Conference with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at UN Headquarters
Conference with Prime Minister of Australia Tony Abbott at sushi restaurant Sushiden in New York
Give words of encouragement to Japanese UN personnel at Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York
Attend Japanese meal reception at UN Ambassador Yoshikawa Hajime’s official residence
Stay night at Waldorf Astoria Hotel

Thursday, September 25, 2014


(Local time in New York, United States)
Conference with President of Iraq Fuad Ma’soum at Waldorf Astoria Hotel
Attend Japan-Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting at UN Headquarters
Attend High-Level Meeting on Response to Ebola Virus, give remarks

(Local time in New York, United States)
Address UN General Assembly’s General Debate at UN Headquarters
Conference with Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani at Permanent Mission of Qatar to UN in New York City
Press conference with domestic and foreign media at hotel Grand Hyatt New York
Stay night at Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York

Friday, September 26, 2014


(Local time in New York, United States)
Conference with Vice-President of the United States Joe Biden at Waldorf Astoria Hotel
Attend High-Level Meeting concerning UN Peacekeeping Operations at UN Headquarters

(Local time in New York, United States)
Depart from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York on private government aircraft

Saturday, September 27, 2014


In transit

(Japan time)
04:03 Finish attendance of UN General Assembly, arrive at Haneda Airport on private government aircraft with wife Akie
04:37 Arrive at office
04:38 Interview open to all media
04:39 Interview ends
04:40 Speak with Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide, Deputy Chief Secretary for Crisis Management Nishimura Yasuhiko, and Assistant Chief Cabinet Secretary Takamizawa Nobushige at Crisis Management Center
04:53 Finish speaking with Mr. Suga, Mr. Nishimura and Mr. Takamizawa
04:54 Interview open to all media: When asked “How will you deal with Mt. Ontake’s eruption affecting Nagano and Gifu Prefectures?” Mr. Abe answers “At this point it has been confirmed that there were casualties. We have indicated that we will exhaust our whole energy securing relief for victims and ensuring safety for mountaineers.”
04:55 Interview ends
05:02 Extraordinary Session Cabinet Meeting and Cabinet Meeting Concerning Mt. Ontake’s Eruption and Related Matters
05:21 Cabinet Meeting ends
05:24 Speak with Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ohta Akihiro
05:36 Finish speaking with Mr. Ohta
07:40 Informal talk open to all newspaper and correspondent editorialists
08:10 Talk ends
08:11 Informal talk with commentary committee members of all Tokyo commercial broadcasting companies
08:32 Talk ends
08:35 Informal talk with all top reporters of Cabinet Kisha Club
08:55 Talk ends
08:57 Depart from office
09:12 Arrive at private residence in Tomigaya, Tokyo

Sunday, September 28, 2014


12:00 At private residence (no visitors)
10:00 At private residence in Tomigaya, Tokyo (no morning visitors)
Stay at private residence throughout the morning (no visitors)

Stay at private residence throughout the afternoon and evening (no visitors)

Provisional Translation by: Erin M. Jones

Zombienomics by Abenomics

Zombie Abenomics
Japan's Missing Economic Revival

By Richard Katz, APP member and editor of The Oriental Economist

Foreign Affairs, November 20, 2014

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s economic revival is hardly going as planned. A consumption tax hike that he introduced in April triggered a recession over the following six months, prompting him to announce the delay of the second hike, from October 2015 to April 2017. In his November 18 press conference, he also vowed to make no further postponements, to dissolve the Japanese parliament, and to hold a snap election to gain a mandate for his economic plan.

The tax delay is unquestionably necessary. Before the first hike, the Ministry of Finance and the Bank of Japan had blithely promised Abe that Japan would see only a mild and short-lived response, which proved disastrously wrong. Just as wrong were their warnings that any delay in the second hike would cause stock prices to crash and interest rates to spike. In reality, the first sign of a possible delay sent stock prices to seven-year highs. Meanwhile, the Bank of Japan has easily kept interest rates at near-record lows, not only for 10-year bonds but also for 30-year and 40-year bonds.

The real question is this: If Abe’s strategy, known as Abenomics, is such a miraculous revival plan, why was the delay necessary? And, given Abe’s track record, why should anyone trust his guarantee that he will make the economy strong enough by 2017 to weather another tax hike? Healthy economies are not thrown into recession by relatively small hikes in a consumption tax from five percent to eight percent, but Japan’s was—indicating that it isn’t healthy and that Abenomics has done little to help.

In some ways, Abenomics has made the situation worse. It’s not just the tax hike. There is also the 30 percent yen depreciation that Abe encouraged as a way to increase exports. Just as I discussed in my recent article for Foreign Affairs, because Abe left many structural competitive problems unaddressed, the depreciation has done nothing of the sort, spurring no real growth at home. Instead, price hikes sparked by the depreciation have led to a big decline in price-adjusted incomes. Among working families, real disposable incomes are down six percent from a year ago. That is why consumer spending has plunged and why the economy is in recession.

Supposedly, Abenomics has three “arrows”: monetary stimulus, fiscal stimulus, and structural reform. Over time, fiscal stimulus was replaced by austerity. Structural reform was always more talk than action. As a result, all that remains of the three arrows is monetary stimulus—the Bank of Japan governor, Haruhiko Kuroda, flooding the system with money by buying Japanese government bonds. The Bank of Japan is already purchasing so many that holdings of government bonds by other investors have declined to 142 percent of GDP compared to 154 percent of GDP two years ago. On October 31, the Bank of Japan announced that it would up its Japanese government bond purchases to ¥80 trillion ($690 billion) per year, almost twice as much as the government’s annual budget deficit. So, at the same time that Kuroda sends out false alarms that tax hike postponement would lead to a debt crisis, he is removing the cause of that potential crisis by reducing private holdings of the debt.

Abenomics is banking on the hope that monetary stimulus alone can engender growth by reviving “animal spirits” via inflation. Kuroda is acting like a doctor who says he can make a severe asthmatic run by giving him lots of oxygen. When the patient points out that he also has a broken leg in need of surgery, Kuroda proposes to double the oxygen. If Abe were implementing a genuine three-arrow program, he would use fiscal and monetary stimulus as anesthesia to make possible the long and difficult surgery of structural reform. But for too long, Japan has used fiscal and monetary stimulus as a narcotic to dull the pain and thereby avoid the surgery. And, for too long, it has swung back and forth between poorly implemented fiscal stimulus and ill-timed bouts of fiscal austerity. Abe is continuing that tradition.

Consider just one of the many cases in which Abe talks of bold action, but does very little: the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade talks. The talks are in danger of turning into another Doha Round, where negotiations go on forever and nothing gets signed. There are many causes, but one of the most important is Tokyo’s refusal to eliminate most of the import trade barriers in a few farm products: beef, pork, dairy, and wheat. The tragedy is that Japan, not its trading partners, has the most to gain from freeing up its market. A true reformer would liberalize farming, not because Washington demands it but because the Japanese economy needs it. Japanese consumers spend 14 percent of their household budget on food, far more than the six percent Americans spend. Imports of cheaper food, along with reforms in the food industry, could drastically lower this cost and release consumer spending power for other products.

Instead, Abe is sacrificing the welfare of 46 million Japanese households for the sake of the mere 100,000 households involved in those few products. Most of the latter are aging part-time farmers who get the lion’s share of their income from nonfarm work, government subsidies, and pensions. Abe heeds their demands because malapportionment enables the rural districts to select an outsized share of the Diet members and because one of the pivotal allies for Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is the adamantly anti-TPP farm lobby.

Even though his approval ratings are falling, Abe still has the clout to challenge domestic special interests, just as he has defied the powerful Ministry of Finance. Hopefully, in the snap election, the voters will give Abe a reason to do so. The opposition is too weak and divided to drive the LDP from power. The LDP-led coalition, which now controls more than two-thirds of the seats, expects to lose just 30–40 of those. That would leave it with a very comfortable majority of 45–55 seats. But if the disgruntled voters take away any more of the ruling coalition’s seats, they will send a message that economic malfeasance carries a political price.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Monday in Washington, November 17, 2014

THE ECONOMIC AND SECURITY FUTURE. 11/17, 8:30am-1:30pm, Breakfast. Sponsor: Economists for Peace and Security. Speakers: Richard Kaufman, Bethesda Research Institute; Carl Conetta, Project on Defense Alternatives; Damon Silvers, Policy Director, AFL-CIO; James K. Galbraith, Economists for Peace and Security; Bill Spriggs, AFL-CIO; Marshall Auerback, Institute for New Economic Thinking; Rachel Cleetus, Union of Concerned Scientists; and more.

HISTORY, POLITICS, AND POLICY: U.S.-KOREA. 11/17, 9:00am-6:00pm. Sponsor: Center for East Asia Policy Studies, Brookings Institution. Speakers: Robert Gallucci, Georgetown University, President of MacArthur Foundation (2009-2014), Dean, School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University (1996-2009); Han Sung-joo, Professor Emeritus, Korea University, Foreign Minister, Republic of Korea (1993-1994), UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Cyprus (1996-1997); and more. 

2014 OPEN DOORS REPORT. 11/17, 9:30-10:30am. Sponsor: Institute of International Education (IIE). Speakers: Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Evan Ryan; Allan Goodman, IIE president and CEO.

AID FOR E-TRADE: ACCELERATING THE GLOBAL E-COMMERCE REVOLUTION. 11/17, 10:00-11:30am. Sponsor: Europe Program, CSIS. Speakers: Dr. Kati Suominen, Adjunct Fellow, Europe Program, CSIS; Dr. Joshua Meltzer, Fellow, Global Economy and Development, Brookings Institution; Mr. Fabrizio Opertti, Chief, Integration and Trade Sector, Inter-American Development Bank; Ms. Jennifer Sanford, Senior Manager, International Trade & Energy Policy, Cisco Systems.

THE CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES OF URBANIZATION. 11/17, 10:00-11:30am. Sponsor: Project on Prosperity and Development, CSIS. Speakers: Hazem Galal, Cities and Local Government Sector Leader, PricewaterhouseCoopers; Scott McGuigan, Global Project Development Director, CH2M Hill; Charles North, Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator, Bureau of Economic Growth, Education, and Environment, U.S. Agency for International Development; R. Mukami Kariuki, Sector Manager, Urban Development and Services Practice, World Bank Group; and Robin King, Director of Urban Development and Accessibility, World Resources Institute; Moderator: Daniel F. Runde, Director, Project on Prosperity and Development, and William A. Schreyer Chair in Global Analysis, Center for Strategic International Studies.

U.S.-KOREA RELATIONS IN PUBLIC DIPLOMACY. 11/17, 10:30am-5:00pm. Sponsor: Asia Program, Wilson Center (WWC). Speakers: Kisuk Cho, Director, Public Diplomacy Center, Ewha Womans University; Eugene Bae, Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Craig Hayden, Assistant Professor, American University; Marvin Ott, Senior Scholar, Wilson Center; Hochang Shing, Professor, Sogang University; James Person, Deputy Director, Wilson Center; Chris Nelson, Samuels Associates International; Dong Min Lee, Yonhap News Agency; Myung-bok Bae, Joongang Daily; Paul Eckert, Asian Affairs Journalist.

PUTIN AT VALDAI: RUSSIA'S BREAK WITH THE WORLD ORDER? 11/17, 11:00am-12:30pm. Sponsor: Center on Global Interests (CGI). Speakers: Clifford Gaddy, senior fellow at the Brookings Foreign Policy Program's Center on the United States and Europe, and co-founder and senior scientific adviser of the Russian-American Center for Research on International Financial and Energy Security, based at Penn State University; Ariel Cohen, senior research fellow in Russian and Eurasian studies and international energy policy in the Heritage Foundation's Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign and National Security.


THE MORAL CASE FOR FOSSIL FUELS. 11/17, Noon-1:00pm. Sponsor: Heritage. Speaker: Alex Epstein, Author, founder of the Center for Industrial Progress.

THE NEW CONGRESS AND U.S. ENERGY POLICY. 11/17, Noon-1:30pm. Sponsor: Marshall Institute. Speakers: Scott H. Segal, Partner, Bracewell & Giuliani; Mark Mills, CEO, Digital Power Group; Senior Fellow, Manhattan Institute; and member of the Board of Directors of the George C. Marshall Institute; William O’Keefe, President, Solutions Consulting, Inc. and CEO of the George C. Marshall Institute.

FINANCIAL STABILITY: FRAUD, CONFIDENCE, AND THE WEALTH OF NATIONS. 11/17, Noon-2:00pm. Sponsor: Cato. Speakers: co-author, R. Christopher Whalen, Senior Managing Director and Head of Research, Kroll Bond Rating Agency; with comments by Paul Miller, Managing Director, FBR Capital Markets.

NATIONAL PRESS CLUB LUNCHEON WITH ALLISON MACFARLANE. 11/17, 12:30-2:00pm. Sponsor: National Press Club (NPC). Speaker: Allison Macfarlane, chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

PROJECT SAPPHIRE 20 YEARS LATER: COOPERATIVE THREAT REDUCTION AND LESSONS FOR THE FUTURE. 11/17, 5:30 -7:30 pm. Sponsors: Embassy of Kazakhstan in cooperation with the CSIS Russia and Eurasia Program and the National Security Archive of the George Washington University. Speakers: Andrew Kuchins, Director and Senior Fellow, Russia and Eurasia Program, CSIS; Kairat Umarov, Ambassador of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the United States; Richard Hoagland, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, U.S. Department of State; Andrew Weber, Deputy Head, Ebola Coordination Unit, U.S. Department of State; Member of the 1994 top-secret "Tiger Team"; Laura Holgate, Senior Director, WMD Terrorism and Threat Reduction at the National Security Council; David Hoffman, Pulitzer-Prize winning author of The Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and its Dangerous Legacy; Tom Blanton, Director, National Security Archive at the George Washington University.

Comfort Women issue in the Sunday New York Times

Sunday Review | OPINION
The Comfort Women and Japan’s War on Truth

Robert G. Fresson

WASHINGTON — In 1942, a lieutenant paymaster in Japan’s Imperial Navy named Yasuhiro Nakasone was stationed at Balikpapan on the island of Borneo, assigned to oversee the construction of an airfield. But he found that sexual misconduct, gambling and fighting were so prevalent among his men that the work was stalled.

Lieutenant Nakasone’s solution was to organize a military brothel, or “comfort station.” The young officer’s success in procuring four Indonesian women “mitigated the mood” of his troops so well that he was commended in a naval report.

Lieutenant Nakasone’s decision to provide comfort women to his troops was replicated by thousands of Imperial Japanese Army and Navy officers across the Indo-Pacific both before and during World War II, as a matter of policy. From Nauru to Vietnam, from Burma to Timor, women were treated as the first reward of conquest.

We know of Lieutenant Nakasone’s role in setting up a comfort station thanks to his 1978 memoir, “Commander of 3,000 Men at Age 23.” At that time, such accounts were relatively commonplace and uncontroversial — and no obstacle to a political career. From 1982 to 1987, Mr. Nakasone was the prime minister of Japan.

Today, however, the Japanese military’s involvement in comfort stations is bitterly contested. The government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is engaged in an all-out effort to portray the historical record as a tissue of lies designed to discredit the nation. Mr. Abe’s administration denies that imperial Japan ran a system of human trafficking and coerced prostitution, implying that comfort women were simply camp-following prostitutes.

The latest move came at the end of October when, with no intended irony, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party appointed Mr. Nakasone’s own son, former Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone, to chair a commission established to “consider concrete measures to restore Japan’s honor with regard to the comfort women issue.”

The official narrative in Japan is fast becoming detached from reality, as it seeks to cast the Japanese people — rather than the comfort women of the Asia-Pacific theater — as the victims of this story. The Abe administration sees this historical revision as integral to restoring Japan’s imperial wartime honor and modern-day national pride. But the broader effect of the campaign has been to cause Japan to back away from international efforts against human rights abuses and to weaken its desire to be seen as a responsible partner in prosecuting possible war crimes.

A key objective of Mr. Abe’s government has been to dilute the 1993 Kono Statement, named for Japan’s chief cabinet secretary at the time, Yohei Kono. This was widely understood as the Japanese government’s formal apology for the wartime network of brothels and front-line encampments that provided sex for the military and its contractors. The statement was particularly welcomed in South Korea, which was annexed by Japan from 1910 to 1945 and was the source of a majority of the trafficked comfort women.

Imperial Japan’s military authorities believed sex was good for morale, and military administration helped control sexually transmitted diseases. Both the army and navy trafficked women, provided medical inspections, established fees and built facilities. Nobutaka Shikanai, later chairman of the Fujisankei Communications Group, learned in his Imperial Army accountancy class how to manage comfort stations, including how to determine the actuarial “durability or perishability of the women procured.”

Japan’s current government has made no secret of its distaste for the Kono Statement. During Mr. Abe’s first administration, in 2007, the cabinet undermined the Kono Statement with two declarations: that there was no documentary evidence of coercion in the acquisition of women for the military’s comfort stations, and that the statement was not binding government policy.

Shortly before he became prime minister for the second time, in 2012, Mr. Abe (together with, among others, four future cabinet members) signed an advertisement in a New Jersey newspaper protesting a memorial to the comfort women erected in the town of Palisades Park, N.J., where there is a large Korean population. The ad argued that comfort women were simply part of the licensed prostitution system of the day.

In June this year, the government published a review of the Kono Statement. This found that Korean diplomats were involved in drafting the statement, that it relied on the unverified testimonies of 16 Korean former comfort women, and that no documents then available showed that abductions had been committed by Japanese officials.

Then, in August, a prominent liberal newspaper, The Asahi Shimbun, admitted that a series of stories it wrote over 20 years ago on comfort women contained errors. Reporters had relied upon testimony by a labor recruiter, Seiji Yoshida, who claimed to have rounded up Korean women on Jeju Island for military brothels overseas.

The scholarly community had long determined that Mr. Yoshida’s claims were fictitious, but Mr. Abe seized on this retraction by The Asahi to denounce the “baseless, slanderous claims” of sexual slavery, in an attempt to negate the entire voluminous and compelling history of comfort women. In October, Mr. Abe directed his government to “step up a strategic campaign of international opinion so that Japan can receive a fair appraisal based on matters of objective fact.”

Two weeks later, Japan’s ambassador for human rights, Kuni Sato, was sent to New York to ask a former United Nations special rapporteur on violence against women, Radhika Coomaraswamy, to reconsider her 1996 report on the comfort women — an authoritative account of how, during World War II, imperial Japan forced women and girls into sexual slavery. Ms. Coomaraswamy refused, observing that one retraction did not overturn her findings, which were based on ample documents and myriad testimonies of victims throughout Japanese-occupied territories.

There were many ways in which women and girls throughout the Indo-Pacific became entangled in the comfort system, and the victims came from virtually every settlement, plantation and territory occupied by imperial Japan’s military. The accounts of rape and pillage leading to subjugation are strikingly similar whether they are told by Andaman Islanders or Singaporeans, Filipino peasants or Borneo tribespeople. In some cases, young men, including interned Dutch boys, were also seized to satisfy the proclivities of Japanese soldiers.

Japanese soldiers raped an American nurse at Bataan General Hospital 2 in the Philippine Islands; other prisoners of war acted to protect her by shaving her head and dressing her as a man. Interned Dutch mothers traded their bodies in a church at a convent on Java to feed their children. British and Australian women who were shipwrecked off Sumatra after the makeshift hospital ship Vyner Brooke was bombed were given the choice between a brothel or starving in a P.O.W. camp. Ms. Coomaraswamy noted in her 1996 report that “the consistency of the accounts of women from quite different parts of Southeast Asia of the manner in which they were recruited and the clear involvement of the military and government at different levels is indisputable.”

For its own political reasons, the Abe administration studiously ignores this wider historical record, and focuses instead on disputing Japan’s treatment of its colonial Korean women. Thus rebuffed by Ms. Coomaraswamy, the chief cabinet secretary, Yoshihide Suga, vowed to continue advocating in international bodies, including the United Nations Human Rights Council, for Japan’s case, which is to seek to remove the designation of comfort women as sex slaves.

The grave truth about the Abe administration’s denialist obsession is that it has led Japan not only to question Ms. Coomaraswamy’s report, but also to challenge the United Nations’ reporting on more recent and unrelated war crimes, and to dismiss the testimony of their victims. In March, Japan became the only Group of 7 country to withhold support from a United Nations investigation into possible war crimes in Sri Lanka, when it abstained from voting to authorize the inquiry. (Canada is not a member of the Human Rights Council but issued a statement backing the probe.) During an official visit, the parliamentary vice minister for foreign affairs, Seiji Kihara, told Sri Lanka’s president, “We are not ready to accept biased reports prepared by international bodies.”

Rape and sex trafficking in wartime remain problems worldwide. If we hope to ever reduce these abuses, the efforts of the Abe administration to deny history cannot go unchallenged. The permanent members of the United Nations Security Council — all of whom had nationals entrapped in imperial Japan’s comfort women system — must make clear their objection to the Abe government’s perverse denial of the historical record of human trafficking and sexual servitude.

The United States, in particular, has a responsibility to remind Japan, its ally, that human rights and women’s rights are pillars of American foreign policy. If we do not speak out, we will be complicit not only in Japanese denialism, but also in undermining today’s international efforts to end war crimes involving sexual violence.

NB: The print version in the Sunday New York Times is slightly shorter than the online version featured above.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Prime Minister of Japan’s Schedule September 15-21, 2014

Monday, September 15, 2014


12:00 At private residence (no visitors)
10:00 At private residence in Tomigaya, Tokyo (no morning visitors)
Stay at private residence throughout the morning (no visitors)

Stay at private residence throughout the afternoon and evening (no visitors)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


12:00 At private residence (no visitors)
08:00 At private residence in Tomigaya, Tokyo (no morning visitors)
09:09 Depart from private residence
09:26 Arrive at LDP Party Headquarters
09:31 LDP Officers Meeting
09:55 Meeting ends
09:56 Depart from LDP Party Headquarters
09:58 Arrive at office
10:02 Cabinet Meeting begins
10:15 Cabinet Meeting ends
10:20 Reconstruction Promotion Council meeting
10:30 Meeting ends
10:32 Speak with Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Shimomura Hakubun
10:35 Finish speaking with Mr. Shimomura
10:36 Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA)’s Minister Kishida Fumio, Vice-Minister Saiki Akitaka, Director-General of Foreign Policy Bureau Hiramatsu Kenji and Director-General of Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau Ihara Junichi enter
11:06 Mr. Saiki, Mr. Hiramatsu, and Mr. Ihara leave
11:12 Mr. Kishida leaves
11:43 Commemorative photo session with President of National Association of Chairpersons of Prefectural Assemblies and Chairman of Hiroshima Prefectural Assembly Hayashi Masao and colleagues
11:47 Photo session ends
11:48 Panel discussion with National Association of Chairpersons of Prefectural Assemblies. Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications Takaichi Sanae and Minister in charge of Overcoming Population Decline and Vitalizing Local Economy in Japan Ishiba Shigeru also attend

12:48 Panel discussion ends
12:49 National Security Council (NSC) meeting. Obuchi Yuko also attends
01:09 NSC meeting ends
01:20 Receive courtesy call from All-Japan Ryokan Proprietress Group’s Sato Jun and others
01:27 Courtesy call ends
01:28 Meet with Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Terada Itsuro
01:48 End meeting with Mr. Terada
01:49 Depart from office
01:57 Arrive at Imperial Household Agency. Attend Imperial Household Economy Council
02:24 Depart from Imperial Palace
02:33 Arrive at office
03:15 Meet with Minister in charge of Economic Revitalization Amari Akira and Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI)’s Director-General of Economic and Industrial Policy Bureau Sugawara Ikuro
03:34 End meeting with Mr. Amari and Mr. Sugawara
03:51 Regulatory Reform Council meeting
03:54 Meeting ends
04:04 Director of Cabinet Intelligence Kitamura Shigeru, National Police Agency’s Director-General of Security Bureau Takahashi Kiyotaka, and Public Security Intelligence Agency’s Director of First Investigation Department Tago Tsukasa enter
04:23 Mr. Takahashi and Mr. Tago leave
04:31 Mr. Kitamura leaves
04:32 Deliver notices of personnel change of Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy members to Chairman of Keidanren (Federation of Economic Organizations) Sakakibara Sadayuki and incoming President of Suntory Holdings Niinami Takeshi. Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide and Minister of State for Economic and Fiscal Policy Amari Akira also attend
04:40 Finish delivering notices of personnel change
04:41 Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy meeting
05:42 Meeting ends
05:44 Meet with Minister of State for Science and Technology Policy Yamaguchi Shunichi
06:05 End meeting with Mr. Yamaguchi
06:06 Meet with Vice-Minister of Finance Kagawa Shunsuke, finance official Yamasaki Tatsuo, and Ministry of Finance (MOF)’s Director-General of International Bureau Asakawa Masatsugu
06:26 End meeting with Mr. Kagawa, Mr. Yamasaki, and Mr. Asakawa
06:27 Meet with Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Saiki Akitaka
06:48 End meeting with Mr. Saiki
06:49 Depart from office
06:50 Arrive at official residence. Dinner meeting with former Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications Shindo Yoshitaka, former Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare Tamura Norihisa, and other former cabinet ministers. Mr. Suga also attends
08:17 Everyone leaves

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


12:00 At official residence (no visitors)
07:44 Depart from official residence
07:55 Arrive at JR Tokyo Station
08:01 Meet with President of East Japan Railway Company Tomita Tetsuro
08:04 End meeting with Mr. Tomita
08:08 Depart from station on Yamabiko no. 127. Minister of the Environment Mochizuki Yoshio accompanies
09:32 Arrive at JR Koriyama Station
09:36 Depart from station
10:56 Arrive at municipal Kawauchi Nursery School in Kawauchi Village, Fukushima Prefecture. View nursery school. Exchange of views with nursery school teachers. Mayor of Kawauchi Village Endo Yuko and Minister of State for Measures for Declining Birthrate Mori Masako accompany
11:06 Depart from Kawauchi Nursery School
11:07 Arrive at temporary housing in Kawauchi Village. Exchange of views with residents
11:22 Depart from temporary housing
11:26 Arrive at soba restaurant Soba Shubo Tenzan in Kawauchi Village. Lunch
11:56 Depart from soba restaurant

12:06 Arrive at temporary holding area for waste in Kawauchi Village. View site
12:12 Depart from holding area
12:59 Arrive at proposed construction site for interim storage facilities in Okuma Town, Fukushima Prefecture. View proposed construction site. Exchange of views with Mayor of Okuma Town Watanabe Toshitsuna and Mayor of Futaba Town (Fukushima Prefecture) Izawa Shiro
01:09 Depart from proposed construction site
01:41 Arrive at planned construction site for prefectural middle and high school, Futaba High School’s future campus, in Hirono Town, Fukushima Prefecture. View planned construction site. Mayor of Futaba Town Endo Satoshi accompanies
01:47 Depart from planned construction site
01:51 Arrive at rice paddy in Futaba Town. Try harvesting with mechanized harvester. Sample onigiri
02:06 Interview open to all media: When asked “What were your thoughts when viewing [development in Fukushima Prefecture]?” Mr. Abe answers “The opening of Joban Expressway between Namie and Sendai will be pushed forward to December 6.”
02:11 Interview ends
02:19 Depart from Futaba Town
05:18 Arrive at office
05:39 Meet with Cabinet Advisor Hamada Koichi
05:54 End meeting with Mr. Hamada
06:16 Education Rebuilding Implementation Council meeting
06:29 Meeting ends
07:28 Depart from office
07:40 Arrive at private residence in Tomigaya, Tokyo

Thursday, September 18, 2014


12:00 At private residence (no visitors)
08:00 At private residence in Tomigaya, Tokyo (no morning visitors)
09:07 Depart from private residence
09:25 Arrive at Imperial Hotel in Uchisaiwai-cho, Tokyo
09:28 Attend Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) General Meeting in banquet hall Fuji, deliver address
09:36 Leave meeting
09:37 Depart from hotel
09:45 Arrive at office
10:06 Film video message for sports-related event
10:25 Finish filming
10:26 Minister in charge of Economic Revitalization Amari Akira and Vice-Minister of Cabinet Office Matsuyama Kenji enter
11:00 Mr. Matsuyama leaves
11:08 Mr. Amari leaves
11:09 Meet with MOF’s Minister Aso Taro, Vice-Minister Kagawa Shunsuke, Director-General of Budget Bureau Tanaka Kazuho, and Director-General of Tax Bureau Sato Shinichi

12:06 Lunch with Special Advisors to the Prime Minister Kimura Taro, Isozaki Yosuke, and Eto Seiichi
01:00 Finish lunch
01:01 Speak with President of Yamaguchi Bank Fukuda Koichi
01:15 Finish Speaking with Mr. Fukuda
01:40 Industrial Competitiveness Council meeting
02:38 End meeting
03:10 Meet with Minister in charge of the Abduction Issue Yamatani Eriko
03:42 End meeting with Ms. Yamatani
03:43 Meet with Chairman of Science and Technology in Society (STS) forum and former Minister of State for Science and Technology Policy Omi Koji
04:02 End meeting with Mr. Omi
04:03 Speak with Minister of State for Special Missions Yamamoto Ichita
04:08 Finish speaking with Mr. Yamamoto
04:09 Minister for Foreign Affairs Kishida Fumio, Administrative Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Sugiyama Shinsuke, MOF’s Director-General of International Bureau Asakawa Masatsugu, METI’s Director-General of Industrial Science and Technology and Environment Bureau Katase Hirofumi, and Ministry of Environment’s Vice-Minister for Global Environment Seki Soichiro enter
04:39 Mr. Kishida leaves
05:07 Everyone leaves
05:08 Meet with Director of Cabinet Intelligence Kitamura Shigeru, MOFA’s Director-General of Foreign Policy Bureau Hiramatsu Kenji, and Chief of Staff for Joint Staff Council Iwasaki Shigeru
05:44 End meeting with Mr. Kitamura, Mr. Hiramatsu, and Mr. Iwasaki
06:13 Depart from office
06:56 Arrive at municipal Katsumi Middle School in Katsushika Ward, Tokyo Prefecture
07:06 View pupils’ self-study in supplementary night class. Exchange of views with volunteer instructors. LDP Lower House member Hirasawa Katsuei accompanies
07:25 Finish exchanging views
07:29 Interview open to all media: When asked “How will you make use of what you witnessed [today]?” Mr. Abe answers “In the next five years I want to expand learning assistance programs to 5,000, and increase the number of school social workers to 10,000.”
07:33 Interview ends
07:37 Depart from Katsumi Middle School
08:09 Arrive at official residence

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Lane Evans, Comfort Women Advocate in Congress, Dies at 63

None of the obituaries written about former Congressman Lane Evans (D-IL) note that he originated the Comfort Women resolution. All mention he was a dogged advocate for his fellow veterans, but not even The Washington Post nor The New York Times nor the White House recognized that through four Congresses, starting in 2001, he introduced four resolutions asking the Government of Japan to acknowledge and apology to the Comfort Women--sex slaves to Imperial Japan's military. An 2001 Los Angeles Times op ed pointed out Evans' principled act in contrast to US government efforts to protect Japan from being held accountable for its war crimes.

In 2006, a revised version of his resolution, H Res 759, finally made it through the House International Relations Committee. This resolution was the foundation of Congressman Mike Honda’s H Res 121 that passed the full House. Mr. Honda (D-CA) took up the cause after Mr. Evans retired in 2006 for health reasons. 

To sign his memorial book and find out about funeral arrangements contact Esterdahl Mortuary, Moline, Illinois.
U.S. Rep. Lane Evans, D-Ill., was elected in 1982 to serve the people of Illinois' 17th District. He was 31 years old. Mr. Evans is survived by three brothers.

Lane Evans leaves behind a legacy of public service
QuadTimes, November 06, 2014

Former U.S. Rep. Lane Evans was remembered Thursday as a gentle soul who worked ceaselessly to help veterans and the common man in a 24-year political career.

Evans, who battled Parkinson's since 1995, died Wednesday night. He'd represented the 17th Congressional District in Illinois for parts of three decades and was a hero to area Democrats on both sides of the Mississippi River.

He was 63 years old and had been living at the Hope Creek Care Center in East Moline.

In a statement late Thursday, President Barack Obama praised Evans' work on veterans issues and noted his early support for him.

"Above all, Lane was an American hero, a dear friend and a beloved public servant of the people of Illinois. Michelle and I extend our thoughts and prayers to Lane’s family and friends, and the people he represented in Congress who loved him so dearly," the president said.

Phil Hare, the former congressman who was also Evans' longtime district director, said he got the call late Wednesday night informing him of his friend's passing. Hare said he saw Evans last month when U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, who is retiring from the Senate at the end of this year, also paid a visit.

"I was fortunate to even know him, much less work for him," said Hare, who succeeded Evans and was close to him for years.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., who entered Congress the same year as Evans, issued a statement saying, "Illinois lost one of it kindest, most caring public servants."

Durbin said that the degenerative neurological disease "trapped (Evans') body but never restrained his great spirit," and he concluded with a phrase that had long been a campaign rallying cry for the congressman's supporters: "Thank heavens for Lane Evans."

U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, the Democrat who now represents the 17th District, said, "Lane will be sorely missed by all who he touched, but his legacy of service will never be forgotten."

Jerry Messer, a longtime friend and former president of the Quad-City Federation of Labor, remembered Evans as a man who always had time for constituents — so much so that having a quiet lunch at a public diner meant having to go to the Iowa side of the Quad-Cities.

Even then, Messer said, Evans didn't dine alone. "His constituents, every one of them, were his best friend," he added.

Veterans' friend
A former Marine who served during the Vietnam War, stationed in Okinawa, Evans mostly made his mark in Congress by seeking to help war veterans suffering the effects of Agent Orange and by working to advance legislation to ban landmines.

He was a longtime member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, and he nearly rose to its chairmanship twice. He challenged a sitting chairman in 1994 and lost.

In 2006, he was the ranking Democrat, when his party won control of the House. But, with Parkinson's having exacted a greater impact on his health, Evans had by then already announced he would retire from Congress at the end of the year.

A legal aid attorney from Rock Island, Evans was swept into office in 1982 at the age of 31, when the country's economy was suffering and the midterm elections served as a backlash against the new president, Ronald Reagan.

Evans defeated Republican Ken McMillan of Bushnell, who was the party's nominee after he won a surprising primary victory over Tom Railsback of Moline, the incumbent congressman at the time.

Evans won the general election with 53 percent of the vote.

He was re-elected two years later, with an even higher percentage than two years earlier, as western Illinois suffered the devastating impacts of the farm crisis.

Preferred 'populist'
Evans, who was often called a liberal but preferred the term "populist," built a record of opposing Reagan-era policies. The 1986 Almanac of American Politics said he had "one of the strongest anti-Reagan voting records in the House."

It added he was "a congressman to watch."

Evans was an unapologetic backer of government programs such as welfare and Medicare, voting against GOP efforts to revamp them. And he organized like-minded lawmakers in the House.
In an interview Thursday, Harkin recalled that he, Evans, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Jim Hightower and Maryland state Sen. James Rosapepe came up with the idea for the populist caucus in the House, and that after the Iowan went to the Senate, Evans kept it going.

"He was a kind person and, for a Marine, he was a gentle person," Harkin said. "He had no bluster. He wasn’t given to tub-thumping speeches. He had an inherent goodness about him that everyone recognized.”

Evans often faced criticism from Republicans who said his liberal voting record didn't fit the district that included wide swaths of rural areas. Evans voted against against trade agreements such as NAFTA and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.

That drew criticism from business and some agricultural interests, but it endeared him to labor unions, particularly in an area of the country that was undergoing hard times and whose blue-collar economic roots were undergoing transition.

Evans remains so beloved by area unions that pictures of him still hang in some of their labor halls.

Bustos said she was at a union hall in Sterling earlier this week and a person there asked that she supply a picture of herself for their wall. However, she said, another person quickly added, "Make sure you don't remove Lane's picture."

Still, it was Evans' work on behalf of veterans and other military matters that marked his tenure.

In 2000, only five of the 22 bills he introduced were not related to military or veterans issues, according to Congressional Quarterly.
It took years to get benefits extended to the victims of Agent Orange, but Evans persisted.

In the mid- and late-1990s, he pushed to draw attention to illnesses being experienced by Gulf War veterans.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent who chairs the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, said in a statement that on a range of veterans issues, "Lane was always in the lead."
Evans also partnered with Sen. Pat Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, to push for a ban on land mines.

Republicans who ran against Evans were critical of his votes against defense spending bills, particularly because they said that hurt the Rock Island Arsenal.

He also was one of the Democrats who voted against the authorization to go to war against Iraq in 2002. He also voted against the first Gulf War in 1991.
The criticism that he was anti-military didn't stick.

Evans was able to win re-election in the Reagan era. Even in the 1990s, when the Quad-Cities lost hundreds of Arsenal jobs and he faced three battles for re-election that, at the time, were historic for the amount of money poured into the race, he emerged victorious.

In addition to his work for veterans, Evans' office was always praised, even by rivals, for its constituent work.

After 2000, Evans never faced any real electoral challenges, but as the Parkinson's took a greater toll, he had other difficulties. He missed votes and, after the 2006 primary had passed, announced that he would retire.

At the end of that year, Evans recalled his life in politics and said he wasn't through with it. "It never really leaves you," he told the Quad-City Times.

In fact, Evans was an early supporter of President Obama's. And in Chicago, on the night when Obama was elected president in 2008, Evans was there, meeting privately with the president-elect just hours before he went to Grant Park for his victory speech.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Japan Is Turning Right

Right-wing witch hunt signals dark days in Japan

BY Dr. Jeff Kingston, Director of Asian Studies, Temple University Japan.
The Japan Times, November 8, 2014
for educational use

Many Japanese and long-time Japan observers have expressed dismay about the recrudescence of self-righteous nationalism under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has emboldened right-wing extremists now threatening democratic institutions and civil liberties.

“The revisionist right in Japan with the active encouragement, if not involvement, of the Abe government has succeeded in controlling NHK news, intimidating Asahi Shimbun and now academia,” says Koichi Nakano, a professor of political science at Sophia University.

Abe has presided over the mainstreaming of reactionary extremism in his quest to rewrite and rehabilitate Japan’s wartime past in Asia, and in doing so instigates widespread international criticism. Any other national leader who did the same for their nation’s egregious history would merit a similar reaction.

This past week, Hokusei Gakuen University in Sapporo moved to fire part-time lecturer Takashi Uemura, a former Asahi Shimbun journalist, because right-wing goons had threatened violence if he wasn’t removed. The university was reportedly inundated with threatening letters and phone calls demanding the teacher’s dismissal for his controversial articles in the 1990s about the comfort women system.

What started as a clash over history has morphed into a broader political battle over national identity and Japan’s democratic values. Nakano worries that “each time a university succumbs to right-wing intimidation, ‘success’ encourages more terrorist threats.”

Reactionaries maintain that the Asahi and its reporters tarnished Japan’s international reputation, but as Hokkaido University historian Philip Seaton explains, it is the “efforts by a small but powerful minority in Japan to deny atrocities that sullies Japan’s name in international eyes.”

These reactionaries are now inflicting infinitely more damage on Japan’s reputation than a handful of newspaper articles in the 1990s. It is scandalous that the so-called Net Right (netto uyoku) of extremists, lurking behind pseudonyms and spewing ill-informed vitriol on the Internet, are eroding democratic freedoms, censoring inconvenient truths and degrading Japan’s dignity.

As Martin Fackler of the New York Times recently wrote (Oct. 29), these cyberactivists “have gained an outsize influence with the rise of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s conservative government, which shares the goal of ending negative portrayal of Japan’s history, and with the acquiescence of a society too uninterested or scared to speak out.”

Fackler goes on to note several examples around Japan where the Net Right has imposed its agenda through thuggery.

Japan’s cyber-terrorists sound like religious extremists, threatening “divine retribution” in the form of gas canisters packed with nails. By stopping towns from erecting repentant war memorials, caterwauling on the Internet and scaring employers into firing “undesirables,” these vigilantes represent Japan in jackboots. It is like the 1930s, when ultranationalists hounded respected academics such as Tatsukichi Minobe and Tadao Yanaihara from their posts.

The Net Right embodies Japan’s 21st-century McCarthyism, from an era when communist hysteria in the United States unleashed a witch hunt that trampled on democratic freedoms.

“Defending academic freedom must be sacrosanct,” Seaton says. “To terminate the ex-Asahi reporter’s contract simply sends the message that ‘intimidation works.’ This incident could initiate a dangerous slide toward the muzzling and dismissal of researchers working on sensitive issues.”

Andrew Horvat, former president of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan, points out that Uemura “has been caught in the crossfire of a proxy war on the comfort women issue. The aim of the rightists is to undermine the reputation of the Asahi, a liberal paper, and he has become a pawn in this game.”

Tomomi Yamaguchi, a professor of anthropology at Montana State University, says Uemura has been on the right’s hit list from the mid-2000s largely due to vilification by Tsutomu Nishioka, a professor at Tokyo Christian University.

Satoko Norimatsu, director of the Vancouver-based Peace Philosophy Centre, speculates that Hokusei itself is a target because of its 1995 Peace Declaration, which goes much further than the Murayama Statement in acknowledging Japan’s war responsibility and obligation to atone. Back then, Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama condemned Japanese aggression in Asia and called for an end to “self-righteous nationalism.”

“The Abe regime has clearly abetted this mobilization of right-wing extremists against academic, media and other institutions,” asserts Andrew DeWit, a professor of public policy at Rikkyo University. “Allowing extremists to intimidate academe will not foster the learning environment that Japanese universities require in order to become the ‘super global universities’ envisioned in Abenomics. You cannot have it both ways, winking at ultra-nationalism that targets academe while at the same time actually building globally competitive institutions of critical inquiry.”

Alexis Dudden, a professor of history at the University of Connecticut, argues that post-1945 Japan has advanced because of the ability to study, learn and teach in an open atmosphere.

“Since then, Japanese society and all who engage with it have benefited and thrived because of this fundamental freedom guaranteed in the 1947 Constitution,” says Dudden, who believes that “turning away now degrades Japan’s capacities to lead and defines a ‘safe’ society as one that cowers from bullies and sanitizes history to fit contingent political demands.”

Sven Saaler, a professor of history at Sophia University, notes that “right-wingers have been pushing their agenda constantly with violence. They have actually violently attacked journalists, newspaper offices and politicians.”

Mark Mullins, a professor of Japanese studies at the University of Auckland, warns that right-wing threats must be taken seriously.

“Recall that in 1990 Nagasaki Mayor Hitoshi Motoshima was shot by rightists for expressing his views about the Emperor and war responsibility; and in 2006, Koichi Kato, a moderate (Liberal Democratic Party) politician, had his house in Yamagata burned down for his criticism of Prime Minister (Junichiro) Koizumi’s visits to Yasukuni Shrine.”

Saaler sees a broader pattern.

“In recent years, pressure by right-wing groups has led to cinemas canceling movies dealing with sensitive war-related issues; hotels canceling the reservations of conference rooms for symposia dealing with such issues; and museums canceling or revising exhibitions with sensitive contents,” he says.

The Peace Philosophy Centre’s Norimatsu thinks things are getting worse under the Abe regime.
“(There has been) widespread anti-China and anti-Korea sentiments (and) books of that kind becoming best-sellers, hate demonstrations, assaults on history by the nation’s leaders that trickle down to the general public, page-ripping of Anne Frank’s diaries, hiding of ‘Barefoot Gen’ in school libraries, assaults on protest tents in Okinawa and anti-nuclear tents in Tokyo, and public places refusing to rent space to groups that discuss issues like the Constitution and anti-nuclear power,” she says.

Amid this rightist chill, Mullins is worried that “academic freedom — and freedom of speech more broadly — is clearly threatened and is a legitimate concern for those who care about the future of democracy in Japan.”

Sophia’s Nakano laments that Abe exacerbates the situation.

“When an important principle of liberal democracy is under attack, the government should be playing an active role to condemn the attacks in strongest terms,” he says, but instead points out that it is actually fanning the fires.

Saaler’s suggests that, “The situation can be compared to Weimar Germany, where the authorities turned a blind eye to right-wing activities and let right-wing violence go largely unpunished.”

Here we remain far from descending into that Nazi abyss, but government tolerance for intolerance and hooliganism makes a mockery of the rule of law, democratic norms and the Olympic spirit.

Monday in Washington, November 10, 2014

MONEY LAUNDERING ENFORCEMENT CONFERENCE. 11/9-11. Sponsors: American Bankers Association, American Bar Association. Keynote Speakers: David Cohen, Treasury Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence; Jennifer Shasky Calvery, director, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network; Joshua J. Potter, Lieutenant Colonel (Promotable), J36, Transnational Threats Division, United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM).

NEW TOOLS FOR SCIENCE POLICY - INFORMING SCIENCE POLICY DELIBERATION. 11/10, 8:30-10:30am. Sponsor: Arizona State University Office of the President and Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes. Speakers: Elizabeth McNie, Research Scientist, University of Colorado’s Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Science; Adam Parris, interdisciplinary expert on social and environmental change in US coastal zones.

UKRAINE, RUSSIA AND THE WEST—THE WAY FORWARD. 11/10, 9:00am-4:00pm, Lunch. Sponsor: Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies, Georgetown. Speakers: Professor James Reardon-Anderson, Interim Dean SFS; Professor Stephen Kotkin, Princeton University; Dr. Keith Darden, American University; Dr. Andreas Umland, Institute for Euro-Atlantic Cooperation, Kyiv; Dr. Anders Aslund, Peterson Institute for International Economics; Dr. Olexyi Horan, Kyiv-Mohyla Academy; Eric Rubin, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Europe; Dr. Theresa Sabonis-Helf, National Defense University; Dr. Thane Gustafson, Georgetown University; Amb. Carlos Pascual, Columbia University; Dr. Edward Chow, CSIS; Dr. Angela Stent, Georgetown University; Dr. James Sherr, Chatham House; Robert Nurick, Atlantic Council; Maxim Trudolyubov, Wilson Center.

POST-ISIS IRAQ: CHALLENGES AND PROSPECTS. 11/10, Noon-1:30pm. Sponsor: Foreign Policy Institute (FPI), SAIS, Johns Hopkins. Speaker: Abbas Kadhim, FPI fellow.

WHY ADAM SMITH STILL MATTERS. 11/10, 12:30-2:00pm, Lunch. Sponsor: InfoShop, World Bank. Speaker: Russ Roberts, author How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life: An Unexpected Guide to Human Nature and Happiness and John and Jean De Nault Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University Host, EconTalk; Moderator: Ana Revenga, Senior Director, Poverty Global Practice, World Bank.

THE U-2 INCIDENT, PRESERVING COLD WAR HISTORY, AND HONORING COLD WAR VETERANS. 11/10, 5:00-6:00pm. Sponsor: Institute of World Politics. Speaker: Francis Gary Powers, Jr., Founder and Chairman Emeritus, The Cold War Museum.

THE IMPACT AND IMPLICATIONS OF IRANIAN NUCLEAR WEAPONS ON U.S. & REGIONAL SECURITY. 11/10, 6:00-8:00pm. Sponsor: Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. Speaker Ambassador Robert L. Gallucci, former Dean, School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University, former President, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Abe's Anxious Commitment

Can He Take Back Japan? is purported a book review in The New York Review of Books (November 6, 2014 Issue)of Chewing Gum and Chocolate: Photographs by Shomei Tomatsu. The book is an excuse for Ian Buruma to examine the policies of the conservative nationalist Abe Administration. He homes in on the contradiction between Abe's desire for national pride and his fear of losing American protection. Abe's government has tested and prodded the relationship. It is not indedence that that Abe wants, but unconditional love--the freedom to do anything it wants. Abe will not jettison the US, Buruma believes. Neither the US nor Japan is that independent. And this is the problem with Asia. With everything Buruma, the essay below is elegant and perceptive.

China! China! China!” That is how a former Japanese diplomat summed up his country’s foreign policy preoccupations this summer in Tokyo. A quick glance at what’s on sale at Japanese bookstores proves him right: pile upon pile of books about the “threat” of China, the “power” of China, China’s “hatred” of Japan, the “downfall” of China, the “triumph” of China, and so on.

Smaller but still considerable piles of books in a market that is struggling like everywhere else concern a subsidiary branch of the China obsession: books about the awfulness of Korea, for sucking up to China and for hating Japan. There have even been reports of demonstrations here and there of Japanese screaming: “Death to the Koreans!”

Relations among the countries of East Asia are tense, to be sure, with Chinese and Japanese military planes stalking one another over disputed islands in the East China Sea, and the South Korean President Park Geun-hye refusing to talk to the Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo because of territorial (more little islands) and historical quarrels. It cannot be easy for Japan, which had become so used to being the wealthiest, most dynamic, most modern nation in Asia, to see China’s power grow by the day. A younger generation of Japanese, tired of being told by foreigners to feel guilty about a war most of them know very little about, appears to be receptive to a dose of nationalist reassertion.

And so the second administration of Abe Shinzo (the first lasted only one year and ended rather shamefully in 2007) would seem to have arrived at just the right time. Reelected in a landslide in 2012, Abe promised to revive the lackluster economy, and also to be a tough nationalist. There would be no more apologizing for the past or kowtowing to foreigners. Abe vowed to “take back Japan.”

This meant, for one thing, that in 2013 he would visit Yasukuni Shrine, where the souls of soldiers who have died for the imperial cause, including war criminals, are remembered. He would revise the postwar pacifist constitution, written by Americans in 1947 (in rather poor Japanese) to take away Japan’s sovereign right to wage war. A new secrecy law has been passed, making it a punishable offense to leak state secrets or to publish them. There were plans to review apologies made by former Japanese governments for what was done in World War II—plans that ran into such opposition abroad and in Japan that they had to be abandoned.

Some of Abe’s cronies have openly questioned Japanese war guilt. Hyakuta Naoki, a board member of the national broadcasting company NHK, has stated that the notorious Nanking Massacre of 1937, when at least tens of thousands and probably many more Chinese were brutally murdered by the Japanese, never occurred. The head of NHK, Momii Katsuto, has argued that the systematic use of Koreans and other foreign sex slaves in Japanese Imperial Army brothels was an entirely normal enterprise. Few are in doubt that these views reflect those of the prime minister himself.

No wonder, then, that the South Koreans are upset, and the Chinese are warning the world, for their own self-serving reasons, naturally, that Abe is about to revive Japanese militarism. In fact, Abe has never gone that far. But his stated goal has consistently been to change the postwar order, to restore full Japanese sovereignty and national pride. Not only does he want to do away with official pacifism; he also wants to give young Japanese a new sense of patriotism. The so-called “Tokyo Trials View of History,” used to promote pacifism by recalling Japan’s dark wartime past, is dismissed by Abe’s followers as left-wing propaganda. It is time for a national reawakening, a new beginning.

All this would indeed be alarming if Abe’s program weren’t so riddled with contradictions. For even though he loudly proclaims his intention to overturn the postwar order, the main pillar of that order is still very much intact. As a result of its pacifist constitution, Japan is highly dependent on the US for its security. This would be the first thing one would expect a Japanese nationalist to want to change. And some do. The former governor of Tokyo, a right-wing popular novelist named Ishihara Shintaro, for example, makes no bones about this. “Taking back Japan,” he said, “should mean absolute independence.”

But Abe has shown no such intention. Since he cannot get the requisite two thirds of the Japanese Diet to agree to constitutional change, all Abe has achieved is a “reinterpretation” of the constitution, allowing Japan to help friendly troops or United Nations peacekeepers in case of an attack, and only when specifically asked to do so. Even as he huffs and puffs about taking back Japan, Abe has done everything in his power to tighten Japan’s relationship with the US, in security and trade; he is a champion of the “Trans-Pacific Partnership,” which includes Japan, the US, and ten other countries. Even the law protecting government secrecy came about after the US exerted pressure to safeguard shared intelligence. Far from wanting more independence from Washington, the main fear among Abe’s conservative advisers appears to be American weakness, the possibility that a war-weary US would not immediately come to Japan’s rescue in case of a conflict with China—over a few disputed rocks in the South China Sea, for instance.

Dean Rusk, who negotiated the US–Japan Security Treaty as assistant secretary of state in 1951, once called Japanese strategy “schizophrenic.” Japan, he said, was like “the man who wanted to sleep with a woman one night without having to say hello to her in public the next day.” What he meant then was that Japan’s eagerness for US military protection sat uneasily with its proud and sometimes moralistic pacifism. The same metaphor could be applied to Japan today, but with a new twist. Now it is Abe’s stated aim of restoring sovereignty that doesn’t quite square with his anxiousness to preserve Japan’s status as a kind of US military protectorate.

For more than 150 years, Japan has placed itself awkwardly between Asia and the West. To understand Japan’s current problems with China, one has to understand its tortured relationship with the US, the first nation to defeat Japan in a war. Not that China’s relations with the US are any more straightforward. The Chinese, feeling hemmed in by unfriendly powers, would dearly like to drive a wedge between Japan and its Western protector. At the same time, China is probably happier with the US as a Pacific policeman than it would be with Japan as a revived military power, even though China is also making a point of defying US policies in the Pacific.

One way to understand postwar Japanese attitudes toward US dominance in cultural, social, as well as military affairs is to look closely at Tomatsu Shomei’s extraordinary photographs taken of American military bases in Japan and Okinawa in the 1960s and 1970s. They have been described as pictures of hate, but that is to miss the deep ambivalence toward the US that was typical of Tomatsu and others of his generation.

Yes, there is the nasty image, taken from below, of a US army boot about to descend on the photographer’s head, with laughing crew-cut heads peering down, as though they represented the brute force of America stomping on poor wormlike Japan. Or the less contrived and even more shocking image of a B-52 bomber swooping over a steaming rubbish dump in Okinawa with an old woman in rags looking up. But there is also something alluring about the pictures of neon-lit bars in naval towns like Yokosuka, “home of the seventh fleet,” or the black GIs striking Black Panther poses, or even the graphic panache of huge Coca-Cola signs, dwarfing a line of shabby little Japanese umbrellas. The young Japanese men in several photos, mimicking an American fantasy in their cream-colored jive suits and shades, are a little pathetic but also touching. You sense that Tomatsu understood their vulnerability because he shared their fascination. (Chewing Gum and Chocolate, a new compilation of his photographs, has been superbly edited by Leo Rubinfien and John Junkerman.)

All Tomatsu’s pictures were taken after the Allied occupation of Japan (though not yet Okinawa) was long over. Japan became independent again after signing the Peace Treaty of San Francisco in 1951. But for many men of Tomatsu’s generation the occupation was never really over; it continued inside their heads. Occupation was the title he chose for the pictures he took around the US base towns in Japan and Okinawa. Tomatsu was fifteen when Japan was defeated and the US troops arrived, casually tossing sticks of gum and chocolates at the children running after their jeeps. The rampant conquerors, who could often buy the favors of local women with a pair of silk stockings or a Hershey bar, were for young Japanese men a source of deep humiliation. But they also came with jazz music, easy manners, cool clothes, a promise of democracy, and what seemed then like vast wealth. Tomatsu puts it well:
I always say that my Occupation series is on the border between love and hate. I can neither reject nor affirm the occupation. Of course I reject it, but there are many elements that I have to affirm. Immediately after the defeat, some people called the occupying forces an army of liberation. Those words imply an affirmation, and I experienced that very feeling.
For people on the left, including members of the Communist Party, which had been banned by the wartime Japanese authorities, the occupation really was a liberation. Political prisoners were released and trade unions reorganized. Land ownership was radically reformed. Women got the vote. In fact, the new Japanese constitution was a very progressive document. Despite General MacArthur’s own reactionary views, the politics of the early years of American tutelage were those of the New Deal.

That is why Japanese liberals felt so betrayed when the cold war put an end to all this. Love turned to hate when “red purges” took place in unions, educational institutions, and even movie studios. Japan—to the huge profit of the Japanese business elite—was dragged into American wars in Korea and Vietnam. Even as Republicans like Richard Nixon publicly stated that the pacifist constitution had been a terrible mistake, it became a badge of honor for the Japanese left. And in fact mainstream conservatives, who were more than happy to let the US take care of security while the Japanese got on with business, supported official pacifism too. They did not necessarily like the Americans, but they could profit from them.

But not everyone on the right was happy. Ever since the end of the war, a vociferous minority felt not only that Japan had been robbed of its sovereignty, but that a sinister alliance of foreign occupiers and Japanese leftists had destroyed the moral foundations of the Japanese polity, including the sacred imperial institution. Taking back Japan, for them, did not mean being pro-American. Such sentiments are still heard today. Here, for example, is Sugiyama Katsumi, managing director of the Defense Research Center in Tokyo, whose words are worth quoting, not because they represent mainstream opinion, but because they reflect a small but insistent current in conservative Japanese politics:
America’s fundamental strategy towards Japan is containment. For the last seventy years the US has continued to regard Japan as an enemy country. The reason for the continued presence of US troops in Japan is not just because Japan is strategically indispensible, but because it is viewed with the deepest distrust.
Ishihara, the former governor of Tokyo, is of the same persuasion. And Prime Minister Abe’s strident opinions about constitutional and cultural revisions suggest that he is too. In fact, however, his policies show that he is still firmly planted in the conservative mainstream. He would much prefer to be protected by the US, even if that means remaining under Washington’s thumb, than to make independent arrangements with Japan’s immediate neighbors.

And so Abe has to contend with furious demonstrations from people on his left; one middle-aged man actually set fire to himself in protest against tinkering with the pacifist constitution. But he is also attacked from the right for being such a pushover, relatively politely by Ishihara, and less so by extreme right-wing groups whose khaki and navy blue sound trucks drive around Tokyo blaring wartime military marches.