Sunday, June 28, 2015

Monday in Washington, June 29, 2015

DEGRADE AND DEFEAT: EXAMINING THE ANTI-ISIS STRATEGY. 6/29, 9:00-10:30am. Sponsor: CSIS, Transnational Threat Project. Speakers: David Ignatius, Columnist, Washington Post, Associate Editor, Author, The Director; Stephen Kappes, Deputy Director, Operations, Former Deputy Director, CIA; Tom Sanderson, Director and Senior Fellow, CSIS Transnational Threats Project.

REVITALIZATION OF THE JAPANESE ECONOMY AND THE JAPAN-US RELATIONSHIP. 6/29, 10:00-11:00am. Sponsor: US Chamber of Commerce (USCC). Speaker: Sadayuki Sakakibara, Chairman of Keidanren, the Japanese Business Federation. 

CAN RUSSIAN-WESTERN COOPERATION IN THE ARCTIC SURVIVE THE CURRENT CONFLICT? 6/29, 10:00-11:30am. Sponsor: Wilson Center (WWC). Speakers: Irvin Studin, Founder, Global Brief magazine, President, Institute for 21st Century Questions, Toronto; Hon. Kenneth S. Yalowitz, Global Fellow, Former U.S. Ambassador, Republic of Belarus and Georgia.

INDIA-BANGLADESH RELATIONS IN THE WAKE OF MODI’S VISIT TO BANGLADESH. 6/29, 10:30am-Noon. Sponsor: Carnegie Endowment (CEIP). Speakers: Farooq Sobhan, President and CEO, Bangladesh Enterprise Institute; Frederic Grare, Director, South Asia Program, CEIP. 

FIFTY YEARS AFTER THE ESTABLISHMENT OF DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS: ARE GERMAN-ISRAELI RELATIONS STILL “SPECIAL”? 6/29, 12:30-9:00pm. Sponsor: American Institute for Contemporary German Studies (AICGS). Speakers: Harald Kindermann, Ambassador, Republic of Germany; Mitchell Barak, KEEVOON Global Research; Nora Müller, Körber Stiftung; Shlomo Shpiro, Bar-Ilan University; Eric Fusfield, B'nai B'rith International; Michael Borchard, Konrad Adenauer Foundation – Israel; Jeffrey Herf, University of Maryland; Hadas Cohen, Israeli Political Scientist, Author and Germany Close Up Alumna; Lily Gardner Feldman, American Institute for Contemporary German Studies at Johns Hopkins University; Katharina von Münster, U.S. Communications Director of Action Reconciliation Service for Peace, former Israel Program Director.

DIPLOMACY BEYOND THE NATION-STATE. 6/29, 2:00-4:00pm. Sponsor: Atlantic Council, Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security. Speakers: H.E. Rachad Boulal, Ambassador, Embassy, Kingdom of Morocco; Paula Dobriansky, Senior Fellow, Future of Diplomacy Project, Harvard University; H.E. Ashok Kumar Mirpuri, Ambassador, Embassy of Singapore; Thomas Perriello, Special Representative for the Quadrennial Diplomacy, Development Review, US Department of State; H.E. Juan Gabriel Valdes, Ambassador, Embassy of Chile.

THE RESULTS WE NEED IN 2016: POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE NUCLEAR SECURITY SUMMIT. 6/29, 2:30-4:00pm. Sponsor: CSIS. Speakers: Andrew Bieniawski, Vice President for Material Security, Nuclear Threat Initiative; James Doyle, Former Nuclear Policy Specialist, Los Alamos National Laboratory; Sharon Squassoni, Director, Proliferation Prevention Program, CSIS.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Prime Minister of Japan’s Schedule February 9-15, 2015

Monday, February 9, 2015


12:00 At private residence (no visitors)
08:00 At private residence in Tomigaya, Tokyo (no morning visitors)
09:18 Depart from private residence
09:32 Arrive at office
10:40 Receive courtesy call from UN Special Representative of Secretary-General (SRSG) for Disaster Risk Reduction Margareta Wahlström. Ambassador in charge of Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction Suganuma Kenichi also attends
10:57 Courtesy call ends
11:02 Speak with Headquarters for Accelerating Reconstruction after Great East Japan Earthquake’s LDP Chairman Oshima Tadamori and New Komeito Chairman Inoue Takahiro, Governor of Miyagi Prefecture Murai Yoshihiro, and Mayor of Sendai City Okuyama Emiko
11:13 Finish speaking with Mr. Oshima, Mr. Inoue, Mr. Murai, and Ms. Okuyama
11:46 Speak with Plum Mission from Daizaifu Tenmangu Shrine including Chief Priest Nishitakatsuji Nobuyoshi, and Shrine Maidens Usuma Tomoka and Wakiyama Kanako
11:53 Finish speaking with Mr. Nishitakatsuji, Ms. Usuma, and Ms. Wakiyama

12:08 Ruling Party Liaison Conference
12:21 Conference ends
12:22 Speak with LDP Executive Acting Secretary-General Hosoda Hiroyuki, Chairman of LDP Election Strategy Committee Motegi Toshimitsu, and Secretary-General for LDP in Upper House Date Chuichi
12:25 Finish speaking with Mr. Hosoda, Mr. Motegi, and Mr. Date
12:27 Meet with Director of Cabinet Intelligence Kitamura Shigeru
12:46 End meeting with Mr. Kitamura
01:24 Meet with incoming Commissioner-General of National Police Agency Kanetaka Masahito and outgoing Commissioner-General Yoneda Tsuyoshi
01:40 End meeting with Mr. Kanetaka and Mr. Yoneda
01:56 Minister of State for Economic and Fiscal Policy Amari Akira, Cabinet Office’s Vice-Minister Matsuyama Kenji, and Director-Generals for Policies on Cohesive Society Habuka Shigeki and Tawa Hiroshi enter
02:23 Mr. Matsuyama, Mr. Habuka, and Mr. Tawa leave
02:29 Mr. Amari leaves
02:30 Meet with Ministry of Finance (MOF)’s Vice-Minister Kagawa Shunsuke, Director-General of Budget Bureau Tanaka Kazuho, and Director-General of Tax Bureau Sato Shinichi
03:07 End meeting with Mr. Kagawa, Mr. Tanaka, and Mr. Sato
03:08 Speak with Chairman of LDP Research Commission on Regional Diplomatic and Economic Partnership Eto Seishiro
03:13 Finish speaking with Mr. Eto
04:53 Depart from office
04:54 Arrive at Diet
04:55 Enter LDP Secretary-General’s Conference Room
04:56 Endorse candidate for Tottori gubernatorial election
04:57 Finish endorsing candidate
04:58 Leave room
04:59 Enter LDP President’s Office
05:00 LDP Officers Meeting
05:14 Meeting ends
05:17 Depart from Diet
05:19 Arrive at office
06:01 Summit Conference with Acting Prime Minister of Thailand military government Prayut Chan-o-cha commences
06:50 Summit Conference closes
06:55 Witness Signing Ceremony, Joint Press Release
07:11 Press Release ends
07:12 Depart from office
07:13 Arrive at official residence. Dinner meeting hosted by Prime Minister Abe Shinzo and his wife. Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare Shiozaki Yasuhisa also attends
08:27 See off Prime Minister Prayut and his wife together with wife Akie
08:28 Finish seeing off Prime Minister Prayut and his wife

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


12:00 At official residence (no visitors)
08:00 At official residence (no morning visitors)
08:19 Depart from official residence
08:20 Arrive at office
08:22 Nine Ministers’ Group of National Security Council (NSC) meeting
08:30 Meeting ends
08:38 Headquarters for Japan’s Economic Revitalization meeting
08:49 Meeting ends
08:52 Cabinet Meeting begins
09:34 Cabinet Meeting ends
10:12 Speak with Special Advisor to the Prime Minister Kimura Taro
10:18 Finish speaking with Mr. Kimura
10:20 Meet with Director of NSC Yachi Shotaro, Director of Cabinet Intelligence Kitamura Shigeru, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA)’s Director-General of Foreign Policy Bureau Hiramatsu Kenji, Ministry of Defense (MOD)’s Director-General of Bureau of Defense Policy Kuroe Tetsuro and Chief of Staff for Joint Staff Council Kawano Katsutoshi
10:45 End meeting with Mr. Yachi, Mr. Kitamura, Mr. Hiramatsu, Mr. Kuroe, and Mr. Kawano
11:35 Receive courtesy call from President of International Committee of Red Cross Peter Maurer
11:53 Courtesy call ends

12:04 Depart from office
12:05 Arrive at official residence. Lunch meeting with 1st-time elected LDP Lower House members. Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide and Mr. Kimura also attend
12:54 Depart from official residence
12:55 Arrive at office
12:57 Meet with Chairman of LDP General Council Nikai Toshihiro
01:20 End meeting with Mr. Nikai
01:46 Informal talk with editorialists and others from all newspapers and news companies
02:14 Finish talk
02:15 Informal talk with commentary committee members of all broadcasting companies in Tokyo and others
02:38 Finish talk
02:39 Informal talk with all top reporters of Cabinet Kisha Club
03:00 Finish talk
03:05 Speak with South Korea’s Governor of Gyeonggi Province Nam Kyung-pil
03:15 Finish speaking with Governor Nam
03:37 Central Advancement Committee of “Movement to Make Society Brighter” meeting
03:50 Committee meeting ends
03:59 Mr. Yachi, Mr. Kitamura, and MOD’s Director of Defense Intelligence Headquarters Miyagawa Tadashi enter
04:09 Mr. Yachi and Mr. Miyagawa leave
04:22 Mr. Kitamura leaves
04:24 Meet with Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Saiki Akitaka
04:50 End meeting with Mr. Saiki
05:03 Cyber Security Strategic Headquarters meeting
05:06 Meeting ends
05:23 Depart from office
05:29 Arrive at Hotel New Otani. Attend Gathering of Economic Community and LDP Officials, deliver address
06:06 Depart from hotel
06:12 Arrive at office
06:32 Summit Conference with Prime Minister of Mongolia Chimed Saikhanbileg
07:02 Signing Ceremony and Joint Press Release
07:16 Ceremony and Press Release end
07:17 Depart from office
07:18 Arrive at official residence. Dinner meeting hosted by Prime Minister Abe Shinzo
08:30 See off Prime Minister Saikhanbileg
08:31 Depart from official residence
08:35 Arrive at Japanese restaurant Sato in Akasaka, Tokyo. Dinner meeting with former Prime Ministers Mori Yoshiro, Koizumi Junichiro, Fukuda Yasuo, and others
09:15 Depart from restaurant
09:32 Arrive at private residence in Tomigaya, Tokyo

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

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

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

Thursday, February 12, 2015


12:00 At private residence (no visitors)
08:00 At private residence in Tomigaya, Tokyo (no morning visitors)
08:53 Depart from private residence
09:08 Arrive at office
09:14 Extraordinary Session Cabinet Meeting
09:22 Cabinet Meeting ends
09:24 Meet with Minister of State for Economic and Fiscal Policy Amari Akira, Cabinet Office’s Vice-Minister Matsuyama Kenji, and Directors for Policies on Cohesive Society Maekawa Mamori, Habuka Shigeki, and Tawa Hiroshi
09:50 End meeting with Mr. Amari, Mr. Matsuyama, Mr. Maekawa, Mr. Habuka, and Mr. Tawa
09:51 Meet with Director of NSC Yachi Shotaro
10:04 End meeting with Mr. Yachi


12:51 Depart from office
12:53 Arrive at Diet
12:54 Enter Lower House Speaker’s Drawing Room
01:00 Leave room, enter Lower House Chamber
01:02 Lower House Plenary Session opens. Give policy speech
02:33 Lower House Plenary Session adjourns
02:34 Leave Lower House Chamber
02:36 Enter State Ministers’ Room
02:54 Leave room
02:55 Enter Upper House President’s Reception Room
02:57 Leave room, enter Upper House Chamber
02:58 Speak with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Aso Taro
02:59 Finish speaking with Mr. Aso
03:01 Upper House Plenary Session opens. Give policy speech
04:23 Upper House Plenary Session adjourns
04:24 Leave Upper House Chamber
04:26 Depart from Diet
04:28 Arrive at office
05:04 Speak with Commissioner of Agency for Natural Resources and Energy Ueda Takayuki and MOFA’s Director-General of Middle Eastern and African Affairs Bureau Uemura Tsukasa
05:14 Finish speaking with Mr. Ueda and Mr. Uemura
05:15 Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy meeting
06:03 Council meeting ends
06:05 Depart from office
06:13 Arrive at Dai-ichi Hotel Tokyo in Shinbashi, Tokyo. Attend meeting of Prime Minister supporters’ group formed by psychiatrists Shinsei-kai [晋精会] in banquet hall Lumière within hotel, panel discussion. Special Advisor to President of LDP Hagiuda Koichi also attends
06:47 Depart from hotel
06:54 Arrive at official residence. Meet with Chairman of General Assembly of LDP Members in Upper House Mizote Kensei, Secretary-General for LDP in Upper House Date Chuichi, and colleagues. Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Seko Hiroshige also attends
08:32 Everyone leaves

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Monday in Washington, June 22, 2015

POLITICAL POLARIZATION: FINDING SOLUTIONS. 6/22, 10:00-11:30am. Sponsor: Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC). Speakers: Nate Persily, Editor, Solutions to Political Polarization in America, Professor, Stanford Law School; Matthew Green, Associate Professor, Politics, Catholic University, President-elect, NCAPSA; John Fortier, Director, BPC’s Democracy Project.

SHARED WATER RESOURCES IN A WARMING WORLD: CONFLICT AND COOPERATION. 6/22, 10:00-11:30am. Sponsors: Wilson Center, Stimson. Speakers: Anders Jägerskog, Counselor for Middle East and North Africa Regional Water Issues, Embassy of Sweden, Amman, Jordan; Aaron Salzberg (TBC), Special Coordinator for Water Resources, US Department of State; Eileen Burke, Senior Water Resources Specialist, Nile Program, World Bank; David Michel, Director of the Environmental Security Program, Stimson Center.

IOSCO CHAIRMAN: GLOBAL REGULATORS WERE WRONG. 6/22, 10:00am. Sponsor: National Press Club (NPC) Newsmaker Program. Speaker: Greg Medcraft, Chairman, International Organization of Securities Commissions.

A NEW FOREIGN POLICY FOR AMERICA. 6/22, Noon-1:00pm. Sponsor: Wilson Center (WWC). Speakers: Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn; Aaron David Miller, Vice President of New Initiatives, WWC.

AT A CROSSROADS: THE FUTURE OF AMERICA’S MILITARY INSTALLATIONS AND COMMUNITIES. 6/22, Noon – 6/24. Sponsor: Association of Defense Communities. Speakers: Sen. Jerry Moran (KS): Sen. Dan Sullivan (AK); Congressman Adam Smith (WA); Congressman Joe Courtney (CT).

A NEW CLIMATE FOR PEACE: TAKING ACTION ON CLIMATE AND FRAGILITY RISKS. 6/22, 3:00-5:00pm, Washington, DC. Sponsor: Wilson Center's (WWC) Environmental Change and Security Program. Speakers: Alexander Carius, Co-founder and Managing Director, Adelphi; Geoffrey Dabelko, Senior Advisor, Environmental Change and Security Program, Professor and Director, Environmental Studies, Ohio University; Roger-Mark De Souza, Director, Population, Environmental Security and Resilience, WWC; Richard Engel, U.S. Air Force (retired), Director, National Intelligence Council's Environment and Natural Resources Program; Alice Hill, White House Senior Advisor, Preparedness and Resilience; Christian Holmes, Deputy Assistant Administrator, U.S. Agency, International Development's Bureau, Economic Growth, Education and Environment; David McKean, Director, Policy Planning, State Department; Andrew Selee, Executive Vice President and Senior Advisor, Mexico Institute; Navy Rear Adm. Jonathan White, Oceanographer and Navigator, Navy, Director, Task Force Climate Change.

INDIA'S NUCLEAR COMMAND AND CONTROL AND ITS IMPLICATIONS FOR STRATEGIC STABILITY IN SOUTH ASIA. 6/22, 3:30-5:00pm. Sponsor: Atlantic Council. Speaker: Brigadier Arun Sahgal, Director, Forum for Strategic Initiative.

ALLEVIATING POVERTY BY FREEING THE WORLD OF ECONOMIC DISTORTIONS. 6/22, 4:30-6:00pm. Sponsor: Institute of World Politics (IWP). Speaker: Shanker A. Singham, Managing Director, Competitiveness and Enterprise Cities Project at Babson Global.

A NEW TRANSATLANTIC TRADE DEAL: GOOD FOR AMERICA? 6/22, 5:30-7:00pm. Sponsor: McCain Institute. Speakers: Ted Bromund, Senior Research Fellow, Heritage; Jon Decker, White House Correspondent, Fox News; Shaun Donnelly, Vice President, Investment and Financial Services, USCIB; Jim Kolbe, Senior Transatlantic Fellow, German Marshall Fund; Thea Lee, Deputy Chief of Staff, AFL-CIO.

BETWEEN RECOVERY AND DECLINE? OBSERVATIONS OF AN ECONOMIC HISTORIAN ON THE OBAMA YEARS AND BEYOND. 6/22, 6:30-8:30pm. Sponsor: German Historical Institute (GHI). Speaker: Hartmut Berghoff, GHI Washington.

Prime Minister of Japan’s Schedule February 2-8, 2015

Monday, February 2, 2015


12:00 At official residence (no visitors)
07:50 Depart from official residence
07:51 Arrive at office
08:04 Ruling Party Liaison Conference
08:13 Conference ends
08:14 Meet with Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Seko Hiroshige
08:44 End meeting with Mr. Seko
08:53 Depart from office
08:55 Arrive at Diet
08:57 Enter Upper House Committee Room No. 1
09:02 Upper House Budget Committee opens
11:54 Upper House Budget Committee recess
11:55 Leave room
11:57 Depart from Diet
11:59 Arrive at office

12:54 Depart from office
12:56 Arrive at Diet
12:58 Enter Upper House Committee Room No. 1
01:00 Upper House Budget Committee reopens
05:01 Upper House Budget Committee adjourns
05:02 Leave room
05:05 Enter LDP Secretary-General’s Conference Room. Endorse Shimane Prefecture gubernatorial candidate. Commemorative photo session
05:07 Leave room
05:08 Enter LDP President’s Office
05:11 LDP Officers Meeting
05:33 Meeting ends
05:34 Speak with LDP Vice-President Komura Masahiko, LDP Secretary-General Tanigaki Sadakazu, Chairman of LDP General Council Nikai Toshihiro, Chairperson of LDP Policy Research Council Inada Tomomi, and colleagues
05:40 Finish speaking with Mr. Komura, Mr. Tanigaki, Mr. Nikai, Ms. Inada, and colleagues
05:42 Leave room
05:44 Depart from Diet
05:45 Arrive at office
06:02 Meet with Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Saiki Akitaka
06:29 End meeting with Mr. Saiki
06:30 Speak with Cabinet Advisor Furusawa Mitsuhiro
06:34 Finish speaking with Mr. Furusawa
07:07 Depart from office
07:08 Arrive at official residence

Tuesday, February 3, 2015
12:00 At official residence (no visitors)
07:16 Depart from official residence
07:17 Arrive at office
07:18 Meet with Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Seko Hiroshige
08:26 End meeting with Mr. Seko
08:28 Cabinet Meeting begins
08:36 Cabinet Meeting ends
08:53 Depart from office
08:55 Arrive at Diet
08:56 Enter Upper House Committee Room No. 1
09:00 Upper House Budget Committee opens
11:52 Upper House Budget Committee recess, leave room
11:54 Depart from Diet
11:56 Arrive at office

12:54 Depart from office
12:55 Arrive at Diet
12:57 Enter Upper House Committee Room No. 1
01:00 Upper House Budget Committee reopens
04:05 Upper House Budget Committee adjourns, leave room
04:08 Depart from Diet
04:10 Arrive at office
04:36 Director of National Security Council (NSC) Yachi Shotaro, Director of Cabinet Intelligence Kitamura Shigeru, and Director of Cabinet Satellite Intelligence Center Shimohira Koji enter
04:46 Mr. Yachi and Mr. Shimohira leave
05:03 Mr. Kitamura leaves
05:04 Receive courtesy call from Myanmar’s opposition party leader and others
05:30 Courtesy call ends
05:32 Depart from office
05:41 Arrive at Federation of Economic Organizations [Keidanren] Assembly Hall in Otemachi, Tokyo. Attend 100th Anniversary Party for Establishment of Iron and Steel Institute of Japan, deliver address 
05:51 Depart from Keidanren Assembly Hall
06:01 Arrive at office
06:15 Phone Conference with President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
06:30 Phone Conference ends
06:48 Depart from office
06:49 Arrive at Diet
06:51 Enter Upper House President’s Reception Room
06:52 Leave room, enter Upper House Chamber
06:56 Upper House Plenary Session opens
07:41 Leave seat during proceedings, enter Upper House President’s Reception Room
07:45 Leave room
07:46 Make rounds to President of Upper House Yamazaki Masaki, Vice-President of Upper House Koshiichi Azuma, Chairman of Upper House Committee on Rules and Administration Nakagawa Masaharu, and majority and minority political parties
07:56 Finish making rounds
07:58 Depart from Diet
08:06 Arrive at Tokyo Prince Hotel in Shiba Park, Tokyo. Attend New Year’s Party of LDP policy group Kisaragi-kai [きさらぎ会] in banquet hall Sun Flower Hall, deliver address
08:28 Depart from hotel
08:48 Arrive at private residence in Tomigaya, Tokyo

Japan World Heritage Island

Island of Horror: Gunkanjima and Japan’s Quest for UNESCO World Heritage Status

by Mark Siemons, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Introduction by William Underwood, Independent Scholar

First appeared in JapanFocus, June 22, 2015

Seventy years after the end of World War Two, Germany enjoys mostly excellent relations with the rest of Europe, where the history of wartime hostilities is largely a non-issue. The same cannot be said for Japan and its neighbors in Northeast Asia. The UNESCO World Heritage Committee will begin meeting in Bonn on June 28 to consider this year’s nominations for World Heritage status, and a Tokyo-sponsored package called “Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution” is attracting intense attention. Seven of the two dozen properties that make up Japan’s proposal, carefully defined as covering the years from 1850 to 1910, later became the scene of wartime forced labor by Koreans, Chinese and Allied POWs, a history unmentioned in the proposal. For this reason South Korea and China are urging that the UNESCO committee reject the Japanese nomination.
The article below appeared in German in the May 17, 2015, issue of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, as the Sunday edition of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (or FAZ) is known. The FAZ is said to have the widest overseas circulation of any German newspaper, and Berlin-based reporter Mark Siemons formerly served as an East Asia correspondent. The Asia-Pacific Journal is providing this English translation of the article, which explores why Japan’s World Heritage bid has become so divisive. The piece focuses on the undersea coal mine beneath Nagasaki’s Hashima Island, popularly known as Gunkanjima (Battleship Island) due to its distinctive shape.
Three days after the FAZ article was published, the German government announced it plans to pay a total of 10 million euros (about $11 million) in symbolic compensation to some 4,000 surviving soldiers of the Soviet Union who became prisoners of war under Nazi Germany. Each survivor is set to receive 2,500 euros (about $2,800) for his suffering. Postwar Germany has reportedly paid out more than 72 billion euros (roughly $80 billion) in total damages for Nazi wrongdoing, with much of the compensation going directly to individuals. Indeed, in recent years it has seemed as if Germany is running out of victim groups to compensate. Japan, on the other hand, has largely evaded facing up to the legacy of the Asia Pacific War. Not surprisingly there is much less warmth in the neighborhood. –William Underwood

Japanese government photo of Gunkanjima in Nagasaki Bay included in “Evaluations of Nominations of Cultural and Mixed Properties to the World Heritage List” (ICOMOS Report for the World Heritage Committee,” 39th ordinary session, Bonn, June - July 2015). During the war hundreds of Koreans and Chinese were forced to work, with either partial payment or no payment at all, at depths of up to 600 meters.
World War II ended in 1945, but there is a place where it still continues.
The South Korean and Japanese governments are engaged in disputes over the proposed inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List of a place where Koreans were exploited in forced labor during World War II. Japan emphasized that the site is a memorial of its industrialization.
UNESCO is to make a decision on this matter at the end of this coming June in Bonn, Germany.
There is a legitimate reason that Hashima Island was described as the "Island of Horror" in the James Bond film, Skyfall. These ruins soaring from the sea served as an inspiration for the lair of the villain, Raoul Silva, in the film. It is a perfect location to represent an enigmatic place that harbors all kinds of scary secrets. It is no wonder that many companies have found this forgotten island off the coast of the Japanese mainland suitable for their purposes. When filming for Street View, Google showed footage of a lone Google employee wearing a camera on his head and groping his way out of the ruins, which could collapse at any time. Sony chose this island as a location to show how well its aerial drone could function even in an extremely hazardous place.
The Japanese government actually intends to use Hashima Island for a different purpose: a cultural project. It wants to list 22 industrial facilities from the 19th century as UNESCO World Heritage sites. These include the island as well as coal mines operated by Mitsubishi from 1890 to 1974. The final decision on whether to accept them as World Heritage sites will be made in a UNESCO Committee meeting in late June in Bonn, Germany. About 15 km from the coast of Nagasaki, the island is now deserted as it had been before industrial facilities were built here. In its heyday, it was inhabited by more than 5,000 workers who lived in the high-rises constructed in 1916. They were the first high-rise buildings built in Japan. The Japanese government is pressing for the island's designation as a World Heritage site because this and other such industrial facilities provide excellent evidence of the industrial revolution achieved by Japan during the Meiji period. Japan was the first non-Western nation to introduce European technology, economy, and social principles. It achieved the most rapid modernization in the 19th century and emerged as a leader in East Asia.
Nevertheless the tragic fact remains that Hashima Island has a completely different significance to some East Asian nations. On Hashima and at six other facilities proposed for World Heritage listing, Korean and Chinese laborers [as well as Allied POWs] were brought in and forced into labor under deplorable conditions. Many of them did not survive World War II, which is why the South Korean government officially opposes Japan’s proposal.
The South Korean government takes the position that, “designating such a place as a World Heritage site violates the dignity of the survivors of forced labor as well as the spirit and principles of the UNESCO Convention. World Heritage sites should be of outstanding universal value and be acceptable by all peoples across the globe.”
This incident is much more than a matter of academic discussion among historians. It represents the ever-intensifying conservative shift and historical revisionism that have occurred in Japan since the inauguration of the Abe administration as well as the vigilance of the nations once ruled by Japan. Japanese Prime Minister Abe and his cabinet insist on paying respects to Japan's war dead at the Yasukuni Shrine, where a number of Class A war criminals of World War II are enshrined. They are publicly declaring a “new Japan,” according to which view, “Japan should dismiss a historical viewpoint that ideologically torments it.” The Abe government is also attempting to strip its Constitution of the peace clause that was required of Japan after 1945.
Vague, contradictory arguments are ongoing in Japan over the criminal acts by Japan against Korea, China, and other nations starting in the late 19th century. During his visit to the US in late April this year, Abe was unable to offer anything more than uncertain "feelings of deep remorse” over Japan’s role during the Second World War. Just a short time before the US visit, he criticized the description in US textbooks of the comfort women of the Japanese military, namely, the Korean women who were forced into prostitution within the military during the war. It seems that historical revisionism is now widely accepted in Japanese society.
Under undisguised pressure, one Japanese prefecture has already removed a memorial stone that honored Korean forced laborers who died. The stone had been erected in 2004 by a civilian human rights organization and bore the following inscription: “We solemnly pledge that we will not repeat this kind of mistake and remember and deeply ponder the fact that our nation inflicted horrible pain on Koreans in the past.” Apparently, such determination and views are now retreating. In no other country in the world does the Second World War remain an ongoing issue and disputes over the war are yet to be resolved.

A Chinese survivor of forced labor at Mitsubishi’s Hashima coal mine tosses flowers into Nagasaki Bay in 2004, during a shipboard memorial ceremony for fellow Chinese workers who died at the site that Japan wants to see recognized as a world cultural landmark. The prefectural government rejected the mourners’ request to hold the service on Hashima Island. (Photo by Nagasaki Support Group for Chinese Forced Labor Lawsuits)
The latest front of these disputes is, of all places, an organization that symbolizes solidarity among nations and upholding of mankind’s universal values: UNESCO. On this past May 8 when all of Europe commemorated the end of the war, on this day when it seemed that the war could not assume any more significance, an envoy presented in Berlin South Korea’s position on one of the unresolved disputes from the war. The true measure of the great significance the South Korean government places on this issue can be discerned from the fact that Choi Jong-mun, former ambassador and presently a special aid to the South Korean Foreign Affairs Minister, has handled all matters involving UNESCO since March.
He has travelled around the world to meet politicians, diplomats, and members of the press to let them know about the Korean forced laborers. The Committee session in late June will be attended by 19 nations in addition to Japan and South Korea. The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), which offers advice to UNESCO on World Heritage sites, already made a recommendation last week to accept Japan’s proposal. Thus, the South Korean government still has much persuasion to do. This is why not only Ambassador Choi but also an appropriate Foreign Affairs Ministry official, and a councilor and two staff members of the South Korean Embassy in Germany, came to an interview with just one German journalist to fully explain the issue. This testifies to the importance of the issue to South Korea.
Ambassador Choi emphasized the case of Germany. The Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex (German Zeche Zollverein) in Essen was listed as a World Heritage site in 2001. There, many people were forced into labor during the war. According to Choi, however, there is a difference between Germany and Japan. Germany has squarely faced the injustices it had committed during the war and strived to compensate the victims for their sufferings. Ambassador Choi's intent in mentioning this difference is to show that Japan’s proposal is being called into question not merely because of historial truths. This is related to South Korea’s criticism of Japan: that is, if Japan does not use the island only as an instrument of propaganda about its past glory as it does now and instead recognizes its complex history, the name of Hashima Island will be cleared.
In 2012, the South Korean Supreme Court found invalid the argument by Japanese companies that the right to claim compensation by Korean forced laborers had been rescinded through the South Korea-Japan treaty in 1965, which normalized bilateral diplomatic relations. Since this ruling, many Koreans have claimed damages from Japanese companies such as Mitsubishi and Nippon Steel and South Korean courts have already ruled in favor of some of them.
The South Korean government said in a statement that these compensations for Korean forced laborers are “not related” to Japan’s World Heritage proposal but reveal an aspect of Japan’s attitude toward its history.
Not only disregarding these claims by Koreans, Japan argues that the criticism against its proposal is logically flawed. Several ministers of the Japanese government attribute the blame for the criticism to South Korea and they nonchalantly put a “political spin” on it. They argue that the proposal for Hashima only concerns the time period until 1910, not what happened afterwards. Like China, South Korea also has made efforts to normalize relations with Japan over the last few months. Thus, a polite suggestion was made to Japan to have a bilateral dialogue about the World Heritage proposal. “We hope Japan will appropriately respond to our flexible suggestion,” remarked Ambassador Choi.
Western nations also have a role in the dispute between South Korea and Japan on this issue. The success of Japan in the 19th century was attributable to its acceptance of European technology and modernity. Initially defeated by the Western powers, Japan vigorously pushed forward under the banner of national prosperity and military power. China ventured along the same path as Japan only decades later. Some time later, after having learned from European imperialism, Japan proceeded to expand its sphere of influence by annexing other nations. Now, in 2015, Japan is only inclined to talk about its history of modernization in a very selective way; negative aspects are swept under the rug. Furthermore, Japan argues that others do not properly understand it. Consequently, Hashima Island, also called Gunkanjima (“Battleship Island”), remains a dismal place.
This article originally appeared in German as “Insel des Grauens” (Island of Horror) in Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung ( on May 17, 2015. English translation posted at The Asia-Pacific Journal on June XX, 2015. The original German article is available here.
Mark Siemons is a Berlin-based reporter for Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. William Underwood is a California-based independent researcher of reparations movements for forced labor in wartime Japan.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Prime Minister of Japan’s Schedule January 26-February 1, 2015

Translator’s note: As of 2015 names of National Diet facilities will be slightly different to more closely resemble the translations of facility names on the House of Councillors and House of Representatives websites. (Upper House Plenary Session Hall will now be Upper House Chamber, Lower House 1st Committee Members’ Room will now be Lower House Committee Room No. 1, etc.)

Monday, January 26, 2015


12:00 At official residence (no visitors)
08:00 At official residence (no morning visitors)
08:55 Depart from official residence
08:56 Arrive at office
09:04 Extraordinary Session Cabinet Meeting begins
09:11 Cabinet Meeting ends
09:14 Meet with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Aso Taro
09:57 End meeting with Mr. Aso
10:18 Meet with Ministery of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT)’s Minister Shimomura Hakubun and Vice-Minister Yamanaka Shinichi
10:33 End meeting with Mr. Shimomura and Mr. Yamanaka
11:26 Depart from office
11:28 Arrive at Diet
11:29 Enter Lower House Waiting Room No. 14
11:30 General Meeting of LDP Upper and Lower House Members
11:39 Meeting ends
11:40 Speak with LDP Vice-President Komura Masahiko
11:50 Finish speaking with Mr. Komura
11:51 Gathering of LDP Diet Members
11:54 Gathering ends
11:55 Speak with Chairperson of LDP General Council Nikai Toshihiro and Chairperson of LDP Policy Research Council Inada Tomomi
11:56 Finish speaking with Mr. Nikai and Ms. Inada
11:57 Leave Lower House Waiting Room No. 14
11:58 Enter Lower House Chamber

12:02 Lower House Plenary Session opens
12:07 Lower House Plenary Session recess
12:08 Leave Lower House Chamber
12:09 Depart from Diet
12:11 Arrive at office
12:37 Depart from office
12:38 Arrive at Diet
12:39 Enter State Minsters’ Room
12:51 Leave room
12:52 Enter Upper House Chamber
01:00 Opening Ceremony for 189th Ordinary Diet Session
01:07 Ceremony ends
01:09 Leave Upper House Chamber
01:12 Depart from Diet
01:13 Arrive at office
01:39 Depart from office
01:40 Arrive at Diet
01:42 Enter Lower House Speaker’s Office. Greet Lower House Speaker Machimura Nobutaka and Vice-Speaker Kawabata Tatsuo. Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide and Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Kato Katsunobu also attend
01:49 Leave room
01:51 Enter Upper House President’s Office. Greet President of Upper House Yamazaki Masaaki. Mr. Suga and Mr. Kato also attend
01:53 Leave room
01:54 Enter Upper House Vice-President’s Office. Greet Vice-President of Upper House Koshiishi Azuma
01:55 Leave room
01:57 Enter Lower House Speaker’s Drawing Room
02:00 Leave room, enter Lower House Chamber
02:02 Lower House Plenary Session reconvenes
02:08 Lower House Plenary Session adjourns
02:09 Leave Lower House Chamber
02:10 Enter State Ministers’ Room
02:25 Leave room
02:26 Enter Upper House President’s Reception Room
02:28 Leave room, enter Upper House Chamber
02:29 Speak with Mr. Aso
02:30 Finish speaking with Mr. Aso
02:31 Upper House Plenary Session reconvenes
02:37 Upper House Plenary Session adjourns
02:38 Leave Upper House Chamber
02:39 Depart from Diet
02:41 Arrive at office
02:55 Director of Cabinet Intelligence Kitamura Shigeru and Director of Cabinet Satellite Intelligence Center Shimohira Koji enter
03:10 Mr. Shimohira leaves
03:26 Mr. Kitamura leaves
04:22 Meet with Minister of Foreign Affairs Kishida Fumio, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA)’s Vice-Minister Saiki Akitaka, Director-General of Middle Eastern and African Affairs Bureau Uemura Tsukasa, and Director-General of Consular Affairs Bureau Miyoshi Mari
04:51 End meeting with Mr. Kishida, Mr. Saiki, Mr. Uemura, and Ms. Miyoshi
04:52 Depart from office
04:54 Arrive at Diet
04:55 Enter LDP Secretary-General’s Conference Room. Endorse candidates for Nara Prefecture and Fukuoka Prefecture gubernatorial elections
05:00 Leave room
05:02 Enter LDP President’s Office
05:03 LDP Officers Meeting
05:19 Meeting ends
05:27 Leave room
05:28 Enter State Ministers’ Room
05:29 Meet with Chairman of LDP Election Strategy Committee Motegi Toshimitsu
05:44 End meeting with Mr. Motegi
05:45 Leave room
05:46 Depart from Diet
05:48 Arrive at office
05:50 Administrative Reform Promotion Council meeting
05:54 Council meeting ends
06:06 Speak with young participant representatives of Cabinet Office’s Global Leaders Development Program
06:18 Finish speaking with representatives of Global Leaders Development Program
07:58 Depart from office
07:59 Arrive at official residence

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

12:00 At official residence (no visitors)
08:00 At official residence (no morning visitors)
08:16 Depart from official residence
08:18 Arrive at office
08:20 Speak with Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Kato Katsunobu
08:25 Finish speaking with Mr. Kato
09:27 Ministerial Council on Promotion of Policies for Dementia Care meeting
09:35 Council meeting ends
09:40 Cabinet Meeting begins
09:53 Cabinet Meeting ends
09:56 Ministerial Council on Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games
10:09 Council meeting ends
10:15 Depart from office
10:21 Arrive at ANA InterContinental Hotel Tokyo in Akasaka, Tokyo
10:23 Speak with Chairman of The Nippon Foundation Sasakawa Yohei in banquet room Luminous within hotel. Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare Shiozaki Yasuhisa also attends
10:30 Finish speaking with Mr. Sasakawa
10:31 Attend Global Appeal 2015 Announcement Ceremony addressing Leprosy with wife Akie in banquet hall Prominence, deliver address
10:39 Leave ceremony
10:40 Depart from hotel
10:46 Arrive at office
11:22 Meet with Minister of Foreign Affairs Kishida Fumio, MOFA’s Vice-Minister Saiki Akitaka, and Director-General of Middle Eastern and African Affairs Bureau Uemura Tsukasa
11:53 End meeting with Mr. Kishida, Mr. Saiki, and Mr. Uemura

12:52 Depart from office
12:53 Arrive at Diet
12:55 Enter Lower House Speaker’s Drawing Room
01:00 Leave room, enter Lower House Chamber
01:02 Lower House Plenary Session opens
03:13 Lower House Plenary Session adjourns
03:14 Leave Lower House Chamber
03:15 Depart from Diet
03:16 Arrive at office
03:29 Meet with Minister of State for Economic and Fiscal Policy Amari Akira, Cabinet Office’s Vice-Minister Matsuyama Kenji and Director-Generals for Policies on Cohesive Society Maekawa Mamoru, Habuka Shigeki, and Tawa Hiroshi
03:52 End meeting with Mr. Amari, Mr. Matsuyama, Mr. Maekawa, Mr. Habuka, and Mr. Tawa
03:56 Receive courtesy call from Mayor of Hofu City (Yamaguchi Prefecture) Matsuura Masato of Education Rebuilding Leaders Council and other council members
04:08 Courtesy call ends
04:33 Council on National Strategic Special Zones meeting
04:53 Council meeting ends
05:10 Exchange of opinions with patients concerning dementia policies. Mr. Shiozaki also attends
05:35 Finish exchanging opinions
06:04 Receive courtesy call from First Deputy Prime Minister of Uzbekistan Rustam Sadikovich Azimov
06:26 Courtesy call ends
07:32 Depart from office
07:33 Arrive at official residence

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

12:25 Meet with Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide
12:42 End meeting with Mr. Suga
01:50 At official residence (no visitors)
08:00 At official residence (no morning visitors)
08:25 Depart from official residence
08:26 Arrive at office
08:27 Meet with Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Seko Hiroshige
09:24 End meeting with Mr. Seko
09:25 Speak with Minister of Foreign Affairs Kishida Fumio, MOFA’s Vice-Minister Saiki Akitaka, and Director-General of Middle Eastern and African Affairs Bureau Uemura Tsukasa. Mr. Suga also attends
09:35 Finish speaking with Mr. Kishida, Mr. Saiki, and Mr. Uemura
09:37 Ministerial Council meeting
09:43 Council meeting ends
09:44 Interview open to all media: When asked “What did you talk discuss in the Ministerial Council meeting?” Mr. Abe answers “In these grave circumstances, the government is coming together as one to take direction and strive deliberately toward Mr. Goto Kenji’s swift release.”
09:45 Interview ends
09:51 Depart from office
09:53 Arrive at Diet
09:54 Enter Upper House President’s Reception Room
09:58 Leave room, enter Upper House Chamber
10:01 Upper House Plenary Session opens
11:24 Upper House Plenary Session recess
11:25 Leave Upper House Chamber
11:26 Depart from Diet
11:28 Arrive at office

12:53 Depart from office
12:54 Arrive at Diet
12:56 Enter Upper House President’s Reception Room
12:58 Leave room, enter Upper House Chamber
01:01 Upper House Plenary Session reopens
02:11 Speak with Mr. Suga
03:37 Speak with Mr. Kishida
03:38 Finish speaking with Mr. Kishida
03:55 Upper House Plenary Session adjourns
03:56 Leave Upper House Chamber
04:00 Enter Lower House Committee Room No. 1
04:02 Lower House Budget Committee convenes
04:06 Budget Committee adjourns
04:07 Leave room
04:09 Enter Upper House Committee Room No. 1
04:13 Upper House Budget Committee convenes
04:18 Budget Committee adjourns
04:19 Leave room
04:22 Depart from Diet
04:23 Arrive at office
05:27 Education Rebuilding Implementation Council meeting
05:47 Council meeting ends
07:34 Depart from office
07:36 Arrive at official residence

Monday in Washington, June 15, 2015

AGRICULTURE IN AFRICA: TELLING FACTS FROM MYTHS. 6/15, 9:00am-5:00pm. Sponsor: World Bank. Speakers: Karen Brooks; Paul Dorosh; Maximo Torero; Etherl Sennhauser; Shenggen Fan; Stan Wood; Chris Barrett; Gero Carletto.

COMMERCIAL ESPIONAGE AND BARRIERS TO DIGITAL TRADE WITH CHINA. 6/15, 9:00am. Sponsor: US-China Economic and Security Review Commission. Speakers: Samm Sacks, China Analyst, Eurasia Group; Matthew Schruers, Vice President for Law and Policy, Computer and Communications Industry Association; Paul Tiao, Partner, Hunton and Williams; Dennis Poindexter, Author; Jen Weedon, Manager of Threat Intelligence and Strategic Analysis, FireEye and Mandiant Inc. 

KOREA AND THE TPP: THE INEVITABLE PARTNERSHIP. 6/15, 12:15-1:30pm. Sponsor: Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE). Speakers: Jeffrey Schott, PIIE senior fellow; Cathleen Cimino, PIIE research associate; Marcus Noland, executive vice president and director of studies at PIIE.

BLOOD YEAR: TERROR AND THE ISLAMIC STATE. 6/15, 12:15 pm. Sponsor: New America Foundation (NAF). Speakers: Author, David Kilcullen, NAF senior fellow and chairman of Caerus Global Solutions; and Peter Bergen, NAF vice president and director of its International Security Program.

GLOBAL COOPERATION UNDER THREAT: ADAPTING THE UN FOR THE 21ST CENTURY. 6/15, 1:30-3:00pm. Sponsor: Brookings. Speakers: United Nations Chef de Cabinet Susana Malcorra and former Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Pickerting, distinguished fellow for foreign policy at the Brookings Institution.

U.S. PRIORITIES FOR THE ADDIS ABABA CONFERENCE ON FINANCING FOR DEVELOPMENT. 6/15, 2:00-4:00pm. Sponsor: Brookings. Speakers: Paul O’Brien, ‎Vice President for Policy and Campaigns, Oxfam America; Eric Postel, Acting Associate Administrator, U.S. Agency for International Development; Alexia Latortue, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Development Policy and Debt, U.S. Department of the Treasury; George Ingram, Senior Fellow, Global Economy and Development, Development Assistance and Governance Initiative; Beth Tritter, Vice President, Department of Policy and Evaluation, Millennium Challenge Corporation; Shaida Badiee, Managing Director, Open Data Watch; Daniella Ballou-Aares, Senior Adviser for Development to the U.S. Secretary of State, U.S. Department of State.

SINGAPORE’S FOREIGN MINISTER. 6/15, 2:30-3:30pm. Sponsor: CSIS Sumitro Chair, Southeast Asia Studies. Speaker: K Shanmugam, His Excellency Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Law, Republic of Singapore.

2015 EIA ENERGY CONFERENCE. 6/15-16. Sponsor: U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Prime Minister of Japan’s Schedule January 19-25, 2015

Monday, January 19, 2015
(Local time in Israel)
Joint press release at Prime Minister’s Office
Conference with Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu

(Local time in Israel)
Perform courtesy call to President of Israel Reuven Rivlin at President’s Office
View Jewish sacred place Western Wall in Old City of Jerusalem
Receive courtesy call from Leader of opposition Labor Party Isaac Herzog at David Citadel Hotel
Attend class reunion of Joint Invitation Program for Israeli and Palestinian Youth Leaders at lodging David Citadel Hotel in Jerusalem City
Receive courtesy call from US Senator John Sidney McCain III (R – AZ)
Dinner meeting hosted by Prime Minister Netanyahu at Beit Aghion
Stay night at David Citadel Hotel

Tuesday, January 20, 2015
(Local time in Israel)
Arrive at David Citadel Hotel

(Local time in Israel)
Reception event at President’s Office
Conference with President of Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas
Attend meeting of economic mission with President Abbas
Joint press release
Lunch meeting hosted by President Abbas
Arrive at David Citadel Hotel in Jerusalem City
Phone conference with King of Jordan Abdullah II bin Al Hussein and President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Phone conference with President of Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi
Depart from Ben Gurion International Airport on outskirts of Tel Aviv, Israel

Wednesday, January 21, 2015
(In transit)

04:26 Arrive at Haneda Airport on private government aircraft, completing tour to four Middle Eastern countries
04:36 Depart from airport
04:57 Arrive at Imperial Palace. Register return to Japan
05:04 Depart from Imperial Palace
05:11 Arrive at office
05:20 Meet with Deputy Prime Minister Aso Taro, Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretaries Kato Katsunobu, Seko Hiroshige, and Sugita Kazuhiro, Director of National Security Council (NSC) Yachi Shotaro, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary for Crisis Management Nishimura Yasuhiko, Director of Cabinet Intelligence Kitamura Shigeru, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Saiki Akitaka, and colleagues
05:47 End meeting with Mr. Aso, Mr. Suga, Mr. Kato, Mr. Seko, Mr. Sugita, Mr. Yachi, Mr. Nishimura, Mr. Kitamura, Mr. Saiki, and colleagues
06:00 Council Meeting ends
06:01 Interview open to all media: When asked “From here on what will be your interaction with ISIS?” Mr. Abe answers “Up to this point we have cultivated every diplomatic channel to the maximum potential. Towards the release of both people we will exhaust every option.”
06:03 Interview ends
08:45 Depart from office
08:47 Arrive at official residence
11:40 Receive phone report from State Minister for Foreign Affairs Nakayama Yasuhide. Mr. Suga and Mr. Kato also attend
11:45 Finish receiving report

Monday in Washington June 8, 2015

CAN THE FINANCIAL SECTOR PROMOTE GROWTH AND STABILITY? 6/8, 8:30am-2:00pm. Sponsor: Brookings Institution’s Initiative on Public Policy. Keynote Speaker: Richard Berner, Director, Treasury Department’s Office of Financial Research.

WORLD BANK’S EIGHTH MIGRATION AND DEVELOPMENT CONFERENCE. 6/8, 9:00am-5:00pm. Sponsor: World Bank. Featured Speakers: Dani Rodrik, Professor, Princeton University and Ran Abramitzky, Professor, Stanford University.

HOW ICELAND WEATHERED THE FINANCIAL CRISIS. 6/8, Noon-1:30pm. Sponsor: National Economists Club. Speaker: Geir Haarder, Iceland Ambassador to the US.

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THE ROK-US ALLIANCE: FACING MISSILE AND NUCLEAR THREATS ON THE KOREAN PENINSULA. 6/8, 3:00-4:30pm. Sponsor: Asan Institute for Policy Studies. Speakers: Thomas Karako, Director, Missile Defense Project, CSIS; Choi Kang, Vice President for Research, Asan; Woo Jung-Yeop, Director, Asan Washington Office.

NEW WAYS TO MEASURE THE IMPACT OF COUNTRY HEALTH PROGRAMS. 6/8, 4:00pm. Sponsors: UN Foundation; World Bank. Speakers: Jennifer Adams, Deputy Assistant, USAID’s Bureau for Global Health; Ties Boerma, Director, World Health Organization’s Department of Measurement and Health Information Systems; Tim Evans, Senior Director of Health, Nutrition and Population, World Bank; Elizabeth Cousens, Deputy CEO, UN Foundation. 
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THE POST-WWII TRADE SYSTEM: A PILLAR OF FREEDOM. 6/8, 4:30-6:00pm. Sponsor: Institute of World Politics (IWP). Speaker: author, Douglas A. Irwin, John Sloan Dickey Third Century Professor in the Social Sciences, Dartmouth College.

FROM STARVATION IN NORTH KOREA TO SALVATION IN AMERICA. 6/8, 6:30-9:00pm. Sponsor: Korean Economic Institute (KEI). Speaker: author Joseph Kim, North Korean Refugee.

Monday, June 1, 2015

The understanding of modern history that Shinzo Abe lacks

May 2012

INTERVIEW/ Akira Iriye: Transcending the logic of power

First published in the Asahi Shimbun's Asia Japan Watch July 5, 2014
By HIROKI MANABE/ Correspondent

The Abe administration focused on the logic of “power,” as in state and military strength, as the Cabinet on July 1 approved the reinterpretation of the Constitution to allow the exercise of the right to collective self-defense.

But Akira Iriye, professor emeritus of history at Harvard University, who has been studying history since moving to the United States 60 years ago, says such a state-centric view is outdated in today’s globalized world.

In an interview with The Asahi Shimbun, Iriye says we need to view the world through the lens of “sharing” and “connecting.”

Excerpts from the interview follow:

Question: How does Japan under the Abe administration look in the eyes of a historian who has lived in the United States for so long?

Iriye: I think the country has become ensnared in a Japan-centric view. The state-centric thought symbolized by phrases like “our beautiful country” and “defend Japan’s pride” shows ignorance of what the world is like in the present day.
Q: Are you saying it does not suit the times?

A: Yes. Recent historiography focuses not only on great power relations, territorial issues and power games, but also attaches importance to the presence of non-state actors, such as multinational companies, NGOs and religious organizations, as well as to interpersonal connections that transcend national borders. This is because most issues, like environmental problems and terrorism, cannot be understood or solved within the context of a single country.

In the past, I used to study history by looking at different states, such as British history, American history, Chinese history and the history of international relations. The trend of viewing history in non-state terms came about among researchers in the late 1980s or so, and I, too, began to think that way.

In a speech I gave upon stepping down as president of the American Historical Association in 1988, I argued that historiography must have a more global perspective. I received support from many more people than I had expected.

Until then, historiography was an idea that even applied the chronological periods of Western history to other countries, but then came the line of thought that stepped away from the Western-centric view and decentralized historiography.
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Furthermore, we have made advances in global history, which makes the Earth the framework rather than states, and in what we call transnational research, which has a focus on relationships that transcend national borders, rather than on relationships between states.


Q: Arguments premised on power politics are still prominent in international relations theory and political science. When you say “transcend national borders,” don’t people tell you that it is unrealistic?

A: On the contrary, I think realist perspectives on international relations are shallow and hold little meaning in today’s world. Paul Kennedy, who wrote “The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers,” was a great scholar, but many “realists” who stress that national interests move the world are being extremely narrow.

Realist views became widespread in Japan in the 1960s. I was acquainted with Masataka Kosaka, the scholar of international politics, who wrote “Genjitsushugisha no Heiwaron” (A realist’s perspective on peace), and at the time my thinking was similar to his.

I felt uncomfortable with ideologically driven opposition to the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, and I thought that a close partnership between Japan and the United States was important. That is because when I studied the history of international relations, I tended to concentrate on the arms race and other policy decisions.

Since we focused too much on balance of power considerations, however, not a single researcher, myself included, predicted the end of the Cold War that came around the year 1990. I think you could say that realism lost its standing.

For it is now believed that the 1975 Helsinki Accord, in which the Soviet Union recognized respect for human rights, spread democratization hopes in the Eastern Bloc, while at the same time the global economy exerted a greater than anticipated effect on the Soviet Union.

If you do not understand such deep connections going beyond the state framework, it would not be possible to anticipate an end to the Cold War. Realism is an idea that does not recognize global changes caused by cultural, social or ideological forces.

Inter-power relations are important, but many historians now believe that these are not as fundamental as transnational connections. The transnational approach to the study of history focuses on phenomena that transcend borders, for example, migrations, cultural interactions, environmental problems, women’s movements, terrorism and so on.

It has been said that it takes 30 years for historians to catch up with forces leading up to the present, so our conceptions may have finally caught up to reality.

Q: In Japan, there are growing fears over Chinese expansionism, so we seem to be preoccupied with the state as the basic framework in discussing Japan-China relations.

A: That is an old-fashioned geopolitical idea. I think Chinese expansionism is just one aspect to consider. To only emphasize territorial issues, despite the fact that so many things, people and money are moving across national borders, goes against the global trend.

And China will inevitably undergo further changes. It is wrong to assume that the whole country acts at Beijing’s command. The Chinese researchers and exchange students I know have ideas different from the government's. There is much Japan and China, and Japan and South Korea, can share with each other.

I think that just clamoring that “China is going to invade another country,” even though all the world’s countries are heading in a direction of a shared fate, is to ignore the bigger picture. Such people seem completely preoccupied with territory issues and are making the situation graver for all of East Asia.

Q: Some are of the opinion that Article 9 of the Constitution is unrealistic. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has decided to allow Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense.

A: I think such realism is out of date, whereas Article 9 of the Constitution is not. For nearly 70 years, there has been no world war, and the majority of the world agrees with the idea that armed force does not settle international disputes. Even the idea of getting the United States to protect Japan instead of Japan's exercising the right of self-defense is an old-fashioned geopolitical idea of the sort that predates World War II.

There is no easy answer to the question of whether it is the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty’s nuclear umbrella or rather Article 9 that has kept Japan in peace, but at the very least, Japan has not posed a threat to its neighbors. This has been a necessary precondition for its economic growth, which has been undertaken in conjunction with the development of a more globalized world.

These days, even the United States under President Barack Obama is attempting arms reduction, and it may be said that Japan has been the global leader when it comes to this development. This is nothing for the Japanese to feel humiliated about or entertain self-doubt. It is also in Japan's interest to pursue such a policy.


An exclusionist movement has begun to rear its head in Japan.

A: Right-wing parties are also making great strides in France. I think this is a transitional phenomenon common to many countries, and it is very serious. I believe people are beginning to feel impatient because they are being left out by economic stagnation, and it is steering them toward a bigoted nationalism.

Speaking of nationalism, some people say that looking squarely at our past is a masochistic way to view history, but if we are going to truly take pride in Japan, then naturally we should start by accepting the past.

A lesson that has been drummed into my head from studying history is that you cannot arbitrarily change the past. It is important to thoroughly explore and look at things from many angles, but you cannot alter the facts themselves. There is only one history, no matter what country of the world you are from, whether you are Japanese, Turkish or Brazilian. A history that you cannot share with others cannot be called history.

Q: You say going “beyond the state,” but in a globalizing economy there is a negative side, such as the growing disparity between the rich and the poor.

A: That would not mean, however, it would be wise to return to the Cold War or to protectionism. I think it is erroneous to perceive of the Trans-Pacific Partnership in a traditional manner, or as a contest of national interests. Basically I support it. Rectifying its possibly negative aspects would require closer global, non-economic links transcending national boundaries.

We cannot stop the flow of money and people anymore. Humanitarian connections such as non-state actors and international NGOs will be playing greater roles in the globalized world.

Q: So how should an individual face globalization?

A: My granddaughter who graduated from a public high school in Illinois this year has a Japanese mother and an Irish American father. And my last graduate student, a very fine scholar who received his doctorate recently, has a German father and a Chinese mother. These are the sort of inter-racial blending that is happening in American society as well as elsewhere. President Obama is another example, of course.

People and society are becoming “hybridized,” so to speak. If there is to be hope for the world’s future, then I think that is where it lies.

There was cultural hybridization in Japan during the Meiji Restoration. I cannot understand why, despite this history, there is an anti-foreign sentiment today seeking to close off the country from international contact. That is ridiculous. Japan can never be an exception to globalization. We cannot go back to the "good old days," which never existed any way.

Agree to Differ

Agree to Differ released May 18, 2015 at The 3rd World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue “Sharing Culture for Shared Security" in Baku, Azerbaijan. A UNESCO and Tudor Rose publication on the International Decade for the Rapprochement of Cultures, for which UNESCO is lead agency.
'Agree to Differ' is a fresh assessment of the contemporary world with some of its significant contradictions, but also solutions for the future. Following the initiative of Tudor Rose on the occasion of the International Decade of the Rapprochement of Cultures, this publication establishes a picture of experiences at the international, regional, national and local levels, which call for rapprochement of cultures and mutual understanding. Hence, 'Agree to Differ' brings elements of reflection that will feed into the work of UNESCO in the field of intercultural dialogue. Moreover, this publication contributes to the construction of a framework of common values that foster social cohesion.