Friday, December 21, 2018

Human Rights Day and Japan

December 10th was the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (#StandUp4HumanRights!). It is International Human Rights Day.

Human Rights Day is also when the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded. This year it is of special interest to those who care about the Comfort Women as the honors went to Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict and the UN Security Council held an Arria-formula meeting on "Raising the effectiveness of atrocity crimes prevention: role of the United Nations Security Council and its Members".

Few appreciate the role of Asian states and diplomats in forming the Universal Declaration and modern human rights principles. Recent scholarship has highlighted extensive involvement in the 1940s by Asians in identifying war crimes and demanding accountability. Dan Plesch's work on the UN War Crimes Commission (1943-48) [Human Rights after Hitler] outlines how Chinese and Indian lawyers and officials were deeply involved before 1948 in defining crimes against humanity.

The new book by Robin and Bertrand Ramcharan, Asia and the Drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights describes how the values of the Universal Declaration are very much Asian values and that the future of the world must continue to be inspired by those values. [Springer Press has made the introductory chapter from this book available free on December 10th]

This contradicts the excuses behind the human rights violations in Burma, China, Vietnam, and North Korea. The scholarship also challenges Japanese PM Abe's rationale for revising Japan's "imposed" constitution. From his many statements, he believes the charter's provisions concerning human rights do not accurately reflect the history, culture and tradition of Japan. Concerned critics fear Abe and elements in the LDP want the references to individual liberties removed and replaced with greater loyalties to the state.

The LDP draft published in 2012 confirms as much. Japanese legal expert Larry Repeta analyzes the changes proposed and how they will upend Japanese democracy in Japan's Democracy at Risk – The LDP's Ten Most Dangerous Proposals for Constitutional Change (July 22, 2013).

This focus on traditional Japanese values leads critics to worry that a vital supporter of the liberal international order does not actually believe in the universal nature of human rights as a practical matter. Most Westerners belief Constitutional change is only about Japan's war-fighting abilities. This is merely a backdoor. Japan's conservatives, who are currently running the country are most concerned with rejecting the individual liberties and human rights embodied in the current constitution.

Whereas it remains to be seen if Abe can fundamentally alter Japan Constitution, he has succeeded in adjusting the language both Japanese citizens and foreigners use in describing the history of Imperial Japan. On December 1, all the state-involved news agencies, such as JiJi, Kyodo, and NHK as well as MOFA publications and the English-language Japan Times no longer say "comfort women" or "forced laborers." It is now "women who worked in brothels" and "wartime laborers.

These changes not only erase the actual wartime language used by Imperial Japan..."comfort women" is not something imposed postwar by us... it can be argued that the new language somehow sanitizes the imagery of these wartime tragedies and abuses, and thus flies in the face of every aspect of today's Nobel Peace Prize award.

Human rights are tools that human beings designed to protect ourselves from the arbitrary exercise of power. They are not culture specific. Yet with the proposed changes to the Constitution, the Abe government now finds itself in the uncomfortable position of apparently denying a key human element of the liberal international order.

Working to preserve the histories of the Comfort Women, forced laborers, and all of Imperial Japan's victims is important in that it reminds the Japanese people of the consequences of believing that they are unique and do not share values with others. It is less about those harmed than about the abyss that Japan can again fall. It is about democracy under attack and the values of individual dignity it can protect.

Not all in the LDP want to Constitution revised. In fact, the 10th was also the last day of the current Diet session and the party did not submit any constitutional revisions for consideration.

But if Abe continues to revise Japan's wartime past and cleanse the language used to describe the war, his patience might pay off.

For a good history of how the Universal Declaration of Human Rights came to be, see: A World Made New: Eleanor Roosevelt and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by Mary Ann Glendon.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Resolution of the Association of German Historians on Current Threats to Democracy

Where are Japan's historians?
Resolution of the Association of German Historians (VHD, Verband der Historiker und Historikerinnen Deutschlands) on Current Threats to Democracy
In Germany as in numerous other countries, excessive attacks on democratic institutions are currently threatening the foundations of the political order. As historians, we feel it is our duty to warn against these threats. Dispute is essential in a pluralistic society, but it must follow certain rules if it is not going to undermine democracy itself.
Historiography as a scholarly discipline has the task of analyzing historical developments in order to contribute to a better understanding of contemporary issues and to explore the complexity of their causes. Given that politics seems to be increasingly driven by the volatility of public opinion polls and ever faster-paced media dynamics, we would like to stress that only thinking in longer-range time periods can guarantee the future of our political system in the long run.
We therefore consider the following basic attitudes for democratic interaction in politics and society essential:

For historically sensitive speech, against discriminatory terms
Political discussion in a democracy involves pointed language that clearly expresses one’s own position but does not deny other people fundamental respect. Today’s derogatory descriptions of politicians as “enemies of the people” or the media as producers of “fake news” employ the same kind of anti-democratic language that was used in the interwar period. We also have many historical examples of the dangerous effects of using disparaging terms to exclude perceived “others” on the basis of their religion, their ethnic background, their gender or their sexual orientation.
For parliamentary democracy and a pluralistic culture of debate, against populism
In pluralistic democracies, public policy is the result of open debates in which a variety of political opinions and social interests are expressed. A unified will of the people that can be discerned by those regarding themselves as “called” is, in contrast, a fiction, used by people in political debates primarily for the purpose of making themselves invulnerable. In the Weimar Republic, the idea of “the people’s will” smoothed the way to power for a movement whose “Führer” saw himself as the incarnation of that will.
For unified European action, against nationalist unilateralism
Given the many violently waged intra-European conflicts of the past, European unification based on a commitment to pluralistic democracy and inalienable human rights is one of the most significant accomplishments of the 20th century. While the legitimacy of individual national interests is undisputed, unilateral nationalist actions threaten this historical achievement. Exclusively national problem-solving strategies cannot meet the political, humanitarian, ecological and economic challenges of the globalized present. Also, in light of colonial violence committed by Europeans in other parts of the world, it is crucial to acknowledge our shared responsibility for the consequences of our policies in regions outside of Europe.

For humanity and the rule of law, against the slander of migrants
Migration is a historical constant. Despite all the problems it entails, on the whole it has benefited societies – including Germany’s. It is therefore important to work toward proactive, pragmatic policies concerning migration and integration that respect both human and international rights. It is essential that the constitutionally guaranteed right to political asylum and the duty to provide help in humanitarian crisis situations be applied in a way that falls to Germany not only because of its economic power but also for historical reasons.

For critical engagement with the past, against the political misuse of history
The Federal Republic of Germany today is a stable democracy. One of the reasons why is that the German people, after considerable resistance at first, now for the most part deal with the history of National Socialism in a self-critical and reflective way. Our own discipline, too, was slow to embrace this process. In any case, a responsible approach to the past has as its prerequisite the findings of historiography, a field that must also be willing to be self-critical and that in principle is independent of political influence. Its information is based on research into historical sources and is open to critical discussion. Only in this way will it be possible to remain mindful of the historical bases of our democracy and defend them against “alternative facts.”

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Democracy may not be the result of economic success

Jim Mann details why "engagement" with China failed

Bill Bishop of Sinocism, Axios, Dec 14, 2018

Author James Mann, whose views once stirred controversy about a decade ago when he suggested prosperity might not bring the PRC closer to Western liberal ideals in his book "The China Fantasy," now appears vindicated by the evolution of the relationship between the two superpowers.

What's new: I interviewed Mann this week about the current state of U.S.-China relations, to compare with his older premise (which was one of three possible scenarios) that Western elites misrepresented the benefits of engagement with China. Back then, Mann posed the question...
"What if, twenty-five or thirty years from now, a wealthier, more powerful China continues to be run by a one-party regime that still represses organized political dissent much as it does today? ... What if, in other words, China becomes fully integrated into the world’s economy, yet it remains also entirely undemocratic?"
Bill: In the last year we have seen lots of discussion and handwringing about the “failure” of the engagement policy. Why has it failed, and why were you treated as almost a pariah in the China-watching world when you wrote this book?
To answer that, we have to start with the history of​ what “engagement” is, or was. Does an “engagement” policy mean simply having contacts with China — going to meetings, talking? Or does it mean a policy based on the belief that those contacts would lead “inevitably” (that was the word Bill Clinton used) lead to political change in China?
It is often forgotten now, but at first, “engagement” just had the meaning of contacts. 
The word first began to be used by George H.W. Bush in the aftermath of the Tiananmen crackdown. The debate was over whether to stop meeting with high-level officials. Bush said he wanted to “engage” China, because isolating it would lead to a hostile China. (Later, retroactively, the word “engagement” in this narrower sense was applied to the Nixon opening, too, and the meaning more or less fit; even before Nixon took office, he had written about bringing China out of isolation.)
It was only in the 1990s, mostly in the Clinton years, that “engagement” came to take on this new additional meaning of opening up China’s political system. Clinton needed that argument because he was trying to persuade Congress to renew China’s trade benefits. But this redefinition of “engagement” also fit with the spirit of the 1990s, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, when Francis Fukuyama was writing about “the end of history.” Indeed, Clinton used to say that China was on "the wrong side of history." 
Now — to come back to the China Fantasy: I’d lived in China in the mid and late 1980s. I’d been there for the crackdown in 1989. When I saw in the early 1990s, back in Washington, that Clinton and others were saying that China would open up as a result of trade, investment and prosperity, it struck me as simply out of contact with the China I’d so recently lived in and covered. Why did China have to open up and liberalize? Just because Taiwan and South Korea had? 
China was different. It took me several years to put it all together in my mind — that what people comforted themselves by saying inside the U.S. was just at odds with the reality of China on the ground. So why did engagement (in this second sense) fail? It failed because the political change vaguely held out as a prospect was never in the running. The Communist Party wasn’t going to give up power. And the idea that the party would reform itself from within was precisely what had been rejected, with violence, when Zhao Ziyong was ousted from power in 1989. 
Finally, you asked why was I treated as “almost a pariah.” The short answer is simply that people disagreed with what I was saying. But there was a human dimension to this, too. In the late 1980s, when I returned to Washington from China, most people covering foreign policy in Washington spent their time on either the Soviet Union, the Middle East, or both. 
I was one of the few reporters covering Asia on a full-time basis. So of course I talked a lot with the China-watching community. Yet for most of that decade, I was a reporter, and I tended to keep my views to myself. I mostly just asked questions, rather than volunteering opinions. Indeed, it wasn’t until 2005, on a fellowship away from Washington, that I began to collect my thoughts and write a book. So when the book came out, some of the people I’d been dealing with for years were taken by surprise. 
After the book, one China hand I’d talked to amicably probably 50 times in the past once walked across the street so he didn’t cross paths with me. But all that’s mostly passed now. 
The assumption that things would gradually open up in China turned out to be harmful American policy. It provided comfort to American officials and prevented them from focussing on or preparing for other possible scenarios — that, in fact, China could become more tightly controlled and less interested in integrating in the existing international order.
Bill: Who do you see as the key drivers of China policy in the Trump administration, and how are they doing?
Not necessarily the faces you see on TV. If you watch, or read the news coverage, you'd think that under [President] Trump, the main drivers of China policy are people like [U.S. Trade Representative] Robert Lighthizer and [White House trade adviser] Peter Navarro — essentially the trade agencies and constituencies.  
But that coverage is misleading. I do think Lighthizer is important — Navarro not so much, except as a convenient demon for those who oppose the policies. 
Matt Pottinger at the NSC may be more important than either of them. But more broadly, the other, largely uncovered constituencies behind the changes in China policy are the high-tech community, the intelligence community and the Pentagon. They're the ones who have been increasing upset — and this dates back before Trump -- about China's theft of American technology, including weapons systems and technology with military applications. 
We rarely see a face on television to represent those three constituencies, but they're the driving force behind the series of actions like Huawei. I'm assuming that the FBI, the intelligence community and the Pentagon are all not only supporting but pressing for the stronger actions Trump has taken, based on what the Chinese are doing.  
So when you ask who are the driving forces? I'm guessing the FBI director, the DNI and CIA director, and the leading China people under them inside their agencies. I'd put the attorney general on that list, too, but there isn't one — so let's add the national security people inside the Justice Department.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Japanese Rightwing's Manipulation of the Western Press

Shingetsu News Agency Intrepid reporter Michael Penn has tracked down a source of the change to the Japan Times history language. We find it unlikely that former Sumitomo executive (his offices are in Sumitomo buildings) Yoshito Hori acted alone or with his own finances. His ties are deep within Japan's alt-right. There are no lone wolves or individual thinkers among them.

Yoshito Hori and the Rightwing Turn of the Japan Times

December 17, 2018, Shingetsu News Agency


SNA (Tokyo) — The November 30 “Editor’s Note” in the Japan Times—which appeared to adopt the rightwing Abe administration’s historical revisionist views on Pacific War Comfort Women and forced laborers—came as a shock to many of its readers. As it turns out, it was also a major shock to many of the editors and journalists working in Japan Times own newsroom.

Inside accounts have been clear that the Editor’s Note policy change was driven by Executive Editor Hiroyasu Mizuno, with the consent of a handful of other senior editors. No one else—at least within the Japan Times newsroom—seems to have been in the loop.

The reaction to the Editor’s Note, briefly tacked on to the end of a news article, was enormous, generating international articles and provoking a revolt from some Japan Times staff members and readers.

It also gained the outspoken support of some far right Japanese commentators.

Among those who celebrated the change in the Japan Times editorial line was Yoshito Hori, managing partner, chairman, and CEO of Globis Capital Partners, as well as the founder of the Globis University Graduate School of Management.

Hori’s reaction on Twitter was almost immediate (as if he knew in advance about what was coming). He offered one tweet in Japanese and one in English. His English tweet read, “Japan [Times] has changed the term ‘Forced Labor’ to ‘Wartime laborers’. Brave and right step to avoid misunderstanding. I hope other newspaper will follow.” In the Japanese tweet he singled out the Financial Times as an example of an English-language newspaper that he hoped would follow the Japan Times’ lead.

When The Guardian quickly published an article with a critical tone toward the Japan Times editorial note, Hori was evidently annoyed and he renewed his defense of the paper: “The Guardian should stop using the terms ‘Sex Slaves’ and ‘Forced Labour’, as these words are misleading and mostly wrong. Foreign media should learn from Japan Times’ decision, which changes of terms depict the historical facts better.”
  • While Yoshito Hori was hardly the only commentator who jumped to the defense of the rightwing turn of the Japan Times, he had three distinctions easily visible in the public record that set him apart: He is a long-time major advertiser in Japan Times through Globis University; 
  • Japan Times had become an official media partner to his G1 Global Conference 2018 only the previous month; 
  • and, most of all, Hiroyasu Mizuno, the Japan Times executive editor who had driven the policy change, had come the previous year from—you guessed it—the Globis Corporation, where he had served as Hori’s manager of global communications for almost six years.
What Hori was failing to mention in his tweets to his 115,000 followers was that he is not exactly an appreciative observer from the sidelines, but in fact the previous boss of the man who had engineered the controversial Editor’s Note.

We don’t know exactly what role Hori played in helping Mizuno to get the top job at the Japan Times in June 2017, but it is difficult to believe that the new owners of the Japan Times would have entrusted their newspaper to Mizuno without Hori’s advocacy. For Hori, it must have been quite a coup to get one of his proteges installed as the day-to-day chief of the nation’s leading English-language newspaper.

But it’s also in the public record what Yoshito Hori thinks of the English-language news media in Japan, and what goals he had for it, even before News2u Holdings took over the Japan Times from the Ogasawara family in June 2017.

Hori has spent several years promoting his rather megalomaniacal “100 Actions” program, whose purpose, he explained, is to fundamentally change Japan: “I’ve been gathering the best ideas from G1 Summit, the annual multi-day conference I run, to create a vision for Japan based on 100 necessary reforms,” he wrote earlier this year.

Among the “necessary reforms” Hori preaches are staples of Japanese rightwing thought such as revising the pacifist Constitution, increasing the use of nuclear power, the creation of a “state of emergency” power under which the rights of the people can be restricted, the abolition of prefectures, and an emphasis on the notion that the Japanese people have “responsibilities” to the state, and not simply rights to be protected.

While the entire document is quite an eye-opener in terms of the man’s messianic self-confidence, it is his section about the media that is most relevant to us in our current context.

Namely, one subheading of his “Action 89” calls for the need to “Cultivate a Healthy English-Language Media.” And what exactly is a “healthy” English-language media? In the English-language version of the 100 Actions document, Hori explains: “Japan’s English-language media is a gateway through which foreign nationals can access information about the country. It is unfortunate that the English-language media available in Japan is of poor quality. Since the English-language media is expected to play a leading role in disseminating information throughout the world, it is necessary to fundamentally improve its quality to ensure accurate information is shared so that Japan may be assessed fairly. It is also essential to build relationships with the foreign media. The Japanese English-language media should not only assert Japan’s position as a matter of public relations, as in the past, but should also lead the discussion in the media.”

This passage, published in English about nine months before Hori’s protege took over editorial control of the Japan Times, makes clear that he sees the role of the English-language media not as any kind of watchdog for the public interest or a venue for Japanese and resident foreigners to communicate honestly with one another, but rather as international PR outfits for the government “so that Japan may be assessed fairly.”

This is spelled out even more starkly and in more detail in the Japanese-language version of the document.

The Japan Times itself (then under the previous owners) was singled out for criticism by name: “The English-language media is naturally the portal through which foreigners come to know about Japan. It was very crude as journalists for the managers of the Mainichi Shinbun and the Japan Times to publish articles at variance with the facts, and they did enormous damage to Japan.”

Again, Yoshito Hori’s view is that the mission of the English-language media is only to distribute “correct” information about Japan, thus strengthening the nation’s positive image abroad. This is explicitly a call for journalists to become national propagandists. And it is the man who served as Hori’s own propagandist when he wrote these words—Hiroyasu Mizuno—who now runs editorial affairs for the Japan Times.

The evidence is strong, though not entirely conclusive, that Yoshito Hori is the immediate string-puller behind the rightward turn of Japan Times. Ultimately, however, it is clearly bigger than just one man. It is rather the rightwing political establishment in general that has now got its hooks into what some had regarded as the “last bastion” for independent English-language journalism in Japan. 

In that sense, Hori himself is not much more than a willing puppet.

It has been a clear pattern of the Abe years that many institutions that previously exercised a degree of independent power have been brought in line with the regime’s rightwing policies. Most of the time this has been done through some form of cooptation. It would appear that the Japan Times’ number came up last summer when the Ogasawara family sold the newspaper that they had held for decades. What is occurring now under the new owners was probably planned long ago.

When Mizuno became sufficiently panicked about the strong reaction to the Editor’s Note and wrote a full-page explanation on December 7, Yoshito Hori made no comments on his Twitter feed. He did, however, retweet an article published by the rightwing Japan Institute for National Fundamentals (#561 - We Support Japan Times’ Wise Decision by Hironobu Ishikawa, 2018.12.12)

The author of the piece that Hori recommended to his followers wrote: “Although the Japan Times is the country’s oldest English-language newspaper, founded in 1897, during the time of the previous owners it took an anti-Japanese editorial stance and thus was rightly called the ‘Anti-Japan Times.’ 

Last June it was bought by the online media company News 2u (with Minako Kambara as representative director). Since then, under the editorship of Hiroyasu Mizuno and others, it is adopting a new line. For the foreign journalists in Japan, who are mostly unable to read Japanese and so must use this English-language paper as their information source, the Editor’s Note was unmistakably a huge shock.”

Sunday, December 16, 2018

This Week in Washington, December 17, 2018

The member's only Asia Policy Calendar is on hiatus until January 7, 2019.

Here are a few Washington events this coming week. Congress will be in session this week in order to vote on funding bill to keep the government running past Friday, December 21.


CHINA'S BELT AND ROAD IN CONTEXT. 12/17, 10:00am-Noon. Sponsor: Heritage. Speakers: Daniel Kliman, Senior Fellow, Asia-Pacific Security Program, Center for New American Security (CNAS); Yun Sun, Co-Director of East Asia Program, Director of China Program, Stimson; Jeff M. Smith, Research Fellow, South Asia, Heritage; moderator, Walter Lohman, Director, Asian Studies Center, Heritage.

OUTLOOK FOR THE GLOBAL TRADING SYSTEM AND THE WTO. 12/17, 12:15-1:30pm. Sponsor: Peterson Institute. Speaker: Alan Wm. Wolff, Deputy Director-General, World Trade Organization.

BUILDING TRUST THROUGH MUSIC DIPLOMACY ON KOREA PENINSULA. 12/17, 5:00-8:00pm. Sponsor: National Committee on North Korea; GWU Institute for Korean Studies. Speaker: Hyung Joon Won, South Korean violinist; Moderator: Jisoo M. Kim, Director, GW Institute for Korean Studies. 


AWIC AND FUTURE FORCE DESIGN. 12/18, 9:30-10:30am. Sponsors: Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, Air Force Associations. Speakers: Maj Gen Clint Crosier, USAF, Director, Air Force Warfighting Integration Capability.

U.S. CHINA 2018 YEAR IN REVIEW: A NEW COLD WAR? 12/18, 10:30am-Noon. Sponsor: Kissinger Institute, Wilson Center. Speakers: Amb. J. Stapleton Roy, Kissinger Institute; Meredith Oyen, UMBC; Robert Daly, Kissinger Institute; Yun Sun, The Stimson Center, Moderated by Katie Stallard-Blanchette, History and Public Policy Program.


INNOVATION, PARTNERSHIP, AND SELF-RELIANCE: HEALTH POLICY LESSONS FROM INDIA’S BIHAR STATE. 12/19, 8:00am-1:30pm. Sponsors: CSIS; CARE. Speakers: Sara M. Allinder, Executive Director, Senior Fellow, Global Health Policy Center, CSIS; Sushil Kumar Modi, Deputy Chief Minister, Government of Bihar; Usha Kiran, India Country Lead, State Health and Community Systems, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Mangal Pandey, Health Minister, Government of Bihar; Hemant Shah, Chief of Party, Bihar Technical Support Program; Heather Higginbottom, Chief Operating Officer, CARE; Sanjay Kumar, Principal Health Secretary, Government of Bihar; Kenney Ng, Manager, Health Analytics Research Group, IBM; Macon Phillips, Chief Digital Officer, CARE; Gary Darmstadt, Associate Dean for Maternal and Child Health, Stanford University School of Medicine; Kerry Pelzman, Deputy Assistant Administrator, Bureau for Global Health, USAID; J. Stephen Morrison, Senior Vice President and Director; Global Health Policy Center, CSIS.

WHEN GIANTS QUARREL: THIRD COUNTRY REACTIONS TO THE US-CHINA TRADE DISPUTES. 12/19, 9:00-10:30am. Sponsor: Global Business Dialogue. Speakers: Elisabeth Bowes, Embassy of Australia; Shige Watanabe, Embassy of Japan; Tami Overby, McLarty Associates; Philip Houlding, Embassy of New Zealand.

COMPARATIVE MISSILE BALANCE IN EAST ASIA. 12/19, Noon-1:30pm. Sponsor: Global Taiwan Institute (GTI). Speakers: Brendan Mulvaney, Director, China Aerospace Studies Institute, National Defense University, Former Director of the Commandant’s Red Team, USMC; Rick Fisher, Senior Fellow, Asian Military Affairs, International Assessment and Strategy Center; Eric Gomez, Policy Analyst for Defense and Foreign Policy Studies, Cato; moderator, David An, Senior Research Fellow, GTI, Former Political-military Affairs Officer, US State Department.

DENIED FROM THE START: HUMAN RIGHTS AT THE LOCAL LEVEL IN NORTH KOREA. 12/19, 2:00-4:00pm. Sponsor: Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK). Speakers: Robert Collins, Author; David Maxwell, Senior Fellow, Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Board Member, HRNK; Jung Pak, Senior Fellow and SK-Korea Foundation Chair in Korea Studies, Brookings; Moderator: Greg Scarlatoiu, Executive Director, HRNK. 130-page report.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Monday in Washington, December 10, 2018

BRINGING PUBLIC PERSPECTIVES INTO ENERGY PROJECTS. 8:30-10:30am. Sponsor: Consortium for Science, Policy & Outcomes, ASU. Speaker: Kirk Jalbert, assistant professor, Arizona State University, School for the Future of Innovation in Society, joint appointment with School of Computing, Informatics, and Decision Systems Engineering.

BRIDGING THE DATA-POLICY GAP ON COUNTERTERRORISM. 10:30am-12:30pm. Sponsors: US Institute of Peace (USIP); Institute for Economics & Peace (IEP). Speakers: Richmond Blake, Director of Policy and Advocacy, Mercy Corps; Michelle Breslauer, Director, Americas Program, IEP; Leanne Erdberg, Director Countering Violent Extremism, USIP; Elizabeth (Liz) Hume, Vice President, Acting CEO, Alliance for Peacebuilding; Erin Miller, Global Terrorism Database Manager, National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism.

MORAL CASE FOR A FREE ECONOMY. 11:00am-Noon. Sponsor: Heritage. Speakers: Robert Sirico, Reverend, President, Acton Institute; David R. Burton, Senior Fellow, Economic Policy, Heritage.

NEEDED NOW MORE THAN EVER: THE INTERNATIONAL RELIGIOUS FREEDOM ACT OF 1998. 11:45am-1:30pm. Sponsor: Hudson. Speakers: Samuel Brownback, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom; Frank R. Wolf, Former U.S. Representative (R-VA) and primary sponsor of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998; Thomas L. Gallagher, President and CEO, Religion News Foundation; Nina Shea, Senior Fellow and Director, Center for Religious Freedom; Hudson Institute and Co-Chair, Working Group on Christians and Religious Pluralism in the Middle East; Kristina Arriaga, Vice Chair, U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom; Paul Marshall, Senior Fellow, Center for Religious Freedom, Hudson Institute and Distinguished Senior Fellow, Institute for the Study of Religion, Baylor University; Hillel Fradkin, Senior Fellow and Director, Center on Islam, Democracy and the Future of the Muslim World, Hudson Institute and founder and co-editor of Current Trends in Islamist Ideology; Elizabeth Prodromou; Co-chair, Working Group on Christians & Religious Pluralism in the Middle East, Center for Religious Freedom, Hudson Institute and Associate Professor, Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy, Tufts University; Erin Rodewald, Co-author, 20th Anniversary of the International Religious Freedom Act: A Retrospective; Lou Ann Sabatier, Co-Author, 20th Anniversary of the International Religious Freedom Act: A Retrospective.

FUTURE DIRECTIONS FOR THE PEACE CORPS. 1:00-2:30pm. Sponsor: CSIS. Speakers: Dr. Jody K. Olsen, Director, Peace Corps; Mark L. Schneider, Former Director, Peace Corps, Senior Adviser, Americas Program, Human Rights Initiative, CSIS.

DIVERSE BOOTS ON THE GROUND: EU AND NATO EFFECTIVENESS. 3:30-5:30pm, Washington, DC. Sponsors: German Marshall Fund (GMF); Women International Security (WIIS); Women in Public Service Project (WPSP), Wilson Center. Speakers: Laura Groenendaal, Europe Program, GMF Brussels; Ellen Haring, Senior Fellow, WIIS, Director Combat Integration Initiative Project; Kathleen Hicks, Senior Vice President, Henry A. Kissinger Chair, and Director of the International Security Program, CSIS; Dr. Gale A. Mattox, Global Fellow, Professor of Political Science, U.S. Naval Academy; Moderator: Gwen K. Young, Director, Women in Public Service Project, Wilson Center.

LANTOS RULE OF LAW LECTURE WITH HAROLD HONGJU KOH. 4:30-6:00pm. Sponsor: SAIS, Johns Hopkins. Speakers: Harold Hongju Koh, Professor of International Law, Yale Law School; Eliot Cohen, Vice Dean for Education and Academic Affairs, Professor of Strategic Studies, SAIS, Johns Hopkins; moderator, Katrina Lantos Swett, President, Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice.

HOW A MISGUIDED FEDERAL RESERVE EXPERIMENT DEEPENED AND PROLONGED THE GREAT RECESSION. 5:00-6:15pm. Sponsor: AEI. Speakers: Paul H. Kupiec, Former Associate Director, Division of Insurance and Research, FDIC, Resident Scholar, AEI; George Selgin, Senior Fellow, Director, Center for Monetary and Financial Alternatives, Cato, Professor of Economics, University of Georgia; David Beckworth, Senior Research Fellow, Mercatus Center, George Mason University; Bill Nelson, Executive Vice President, Chief Economist, Bank Policy Institute.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Fury as Japanese paper redefines 'comfort women'

The Japan Times' decision to revise its description of women forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military during World War II has triggered anger and condemnation. Julian Ryall reports.

by Julian Ryall, December 5, 2018

Japan's oldest English-language newspaper, The Japan Times, has provoked anger and accusations of historical revisionism after announcing that it will no longer use the term "comfort women" to describe women forced to serve in front-line brothels for the Japanese military during World War II.

The paper also said that it was dropping the phrase "forced laborers" for the hundreds of thousands put to work in often appalling conditions during the conflict.

Read more: 'Comfort women' - The wounds of their lives

On November 30, The Japan Times said in an editor's note attached to a story that the terms "comfort women" and "forced labor" were "potentially misleading."

Claiming that the "conditions [the laborers] worked under" and how they were recruited "varied," the paper said it will from now on refer to them as "wartime laborers."

The definition of "comfort women" has previously been understood to refer to women who were forced to provide sex to Japanese troops before and during World War II, but that is being altered, the paper added.

Rewriting history
"Because the experiences of comfort women in different areas throughout the course of the war varied widely, from today we will refer to 'comfort women' as 'women who worked in wartime brothels, including those who did so against their will, to provide sex to Japanese soldiers.'"

The announcement appeared in the paper at the bottom of a story about the ruling by the South Korean Supreme Court on November 29 that Mitsubishi Heavy Industries should pay compensation to a group of Koreans who had been forced to work in the company's munitions factories and dockyards during the war.

Mindy Kotler, director of Asia Policy Point and an advocate for the rights of former Allied prisoners of war, many of whom were also forced to work in Japanese factories, described the paper's change in editorial policy as "a dramatic capitulation" to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's "PR efforts to rewrite history" and fit his own political agenda.

"This is nothing less than astonishing and outrageous," she said. "This is not a change of wording; it is a change of definition. It is the manipulation of language to bury history."

Read more: Is the Japan-South Korea 'comfort women' deal falling apart?

Kotler charges that a "central theme" of the Abe administration has been to deny Japan's war crimes "as mere manifestations of victor's justice" and his administration has set up committees to undermine the 1993 statement by then Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono apologizing to the comfort women, as well as the outcomes of the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunals.

"The goal is to build an idealized wartime regime," Kotler said. "Ignored is the fact that Japanese fascism had bad personal, national and international consequences."

The Japanese government is likely to try to apply the same term to Allied prisoners of war (POWs) who were put to work, Kotler said, adding, "Mostly it whitewashes the horrors and abuses inflicted upon those who did not willingly work for Japanese industries."

Change in ownership
The change in editorial policy at The Japan Times — founded in 1897 — comes 17 months after it was sold to a Tokyo-based public relations company called News2U Holdings for an undisclosed amount. In a statement issued at the time, the new owner said it would maintain the paper's editorial independence.

But some people believe that the Japan Times is already taking a new editorial line by adopting a position which is closer to the Abe administration, which has been determined to deny Japan's war crimes 'as mere manifestations of victor's justice'.

"The reason this new policy at the newspaper is in error is because when it comes to sex slavery, they try to conflate voluntary prostitution with the women and girls who were abducted and forced to work in these brothels," said a former employee of The Japan Times who wished to remain anonymous.

"It may be that there were some women who were working voluntarily, but the rest of the world is talking about those who were not volunteers," the source said, adding: "To me, this is a disingenuous attempt to whitewash history and, for me, the only people who don't know about Japanese history are the Japanese themselves."

The Japan Times was contacted for a comment for this article but did not reply.

Critics say the Abe administration has been determined to deny Japan's war crimes 'as mere manifestations of victor's justice'

Kotler believes that Tokyo will continue to use diplomatic pressure and money to promote its version of history, such as the removal of a "comfort woman" statue that stood close to the site of the Bayview Hotel in Manila, scene of an alleged mass rape and murders by the Japanese military in the closing days of the war.

"This is not a mere editorial policy of an independent newspaper," she said. "The only response should be loud condemnation. The New York Times should sever its ties with The Japan Times."

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Monday in Washington, December 3, 2018

A CRISIS OF BELIEFS: INVESTOR PSYCHOLOGY AND FINANCIAL FRAGILITY. 12/3, 12:15-1:30pm. Sponsor: Peterson Institute. Speaker: author, Andrei Shleifer, Professor of Economics, Harvard University. Webcast only.

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THE ARTICLE II MANDATE: FORGING A STRONGER ECONOMIC ALLIANCE BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND JAPAN. 12/3, 1:00-3:30pm. Sponsor: CSIS. Speakers: Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX), Founding co-chair of the U.S.-Japan Caucus and the Congressional Caucus on ASEAN; Matthew P. Goodman; Senior Vice President, Simon Chair in Political Economy, and Senior Adviser for Asian Economics; CSIS; Satu Limaye, Director; East-West Center and Director; Asia Matters for America Initiative; Erin Murphy, Founder and Principal; Inle Advisory Group; Shin Oya, Senior Consulting Fellow; API and Chief Representative for Strategic Research, JBIC; Moderator: Jacob Schlesinger, Senior Asia Economics Correspondent and Central Banks Editor-Asia, Wall Street Journal.

ADVANCING THE NEXT WAVE OF AVIATION INNOVATION. 12/3, 3:00-4:30pm. Sponsor: Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF). Speakers: Greg Bowles, Vice President of Global Innovation & Policy, General Aviation Manufacturers Association; Eli Dourado, Head of Global Policy and Communications, Boom Supersonic; Jay Dryer, Deputy Associate Administrator for Aeronautics Programs, NASA Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate; Jenny Rosenberg, Founder, JTR Strategies.

JAPANESE AND AMERICAN INNOVATION IN A GLOBAL AGE. 12/3, 3:00-7:00pm. Sponsor: Carnegie; Social Science Research Council; Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership. Speakers: Takahiro Ueyama, executive member of the Council for Science, Technology and Innovation, Cabinet Office of Japanese Government; James L. Schoff, Senior Fellow, Carnegie Asia Program; Kathryn Ibata-Arens, Vincent de Paul Professor, director, Global Asian Studies Program, DePaul University; Masaru Yarime, associate professor, Division of Public Policy, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology; Marie Anchordoguy, professor in the Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington; Linda Grove, consulting director for the Tokyo office of the Social Science Research Council, senior adviser to the Abe Global Fellowship program.

ICAS ANNUAL LIBERTY CELEBRATION DINNER. 12/3, 6:30-9:30pm. Sponsor: Institute for Corean-American Studies (ICAS). Speakers include: Amb. Thomas Hubbard, Chairman, Korea Society, Senior Director, McLarty Associates; Sunny K. Park, Chief Executive Janitor, General Building Maintenance, CEO, Global Sun Investments Inc.

PROSPECTS FOR JAPAN-RUSSIA RELATIONS. 12/3, 5:00-6:00pm. Sponsor: Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies, GTU. Speaker: Taisuke Abiru, Senior Representative, Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), Former Research Fellow, Tokyo Foundation.