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J-Soft Power Weekly Brief 26

J-Soft Power Weekly Brief 26

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J-Soft Power Weekly Brief covers news or other articles related with Soft Power in the context of Japanese Foreign Policy. The opinions expressed are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of JFPO.

Editor: Rui Faro Saraiva
Assistant Editor: Seiko Sakuragi
Assistant Editor: Eduardo Passos

Japan Foreign Policy Observatory (JFPO)
J-Soft Power Weekly Brief covers news or other articles related with Soft Power in the context of Japanese Foreign Policy. The opinions expressed are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of JFPO.

Editor: Rui Faro Saraiva
Assistant Editor: Seiko Sakuragi
Assistant Editor: Eduardo Passos

Japan Foreign Policy Observatory (JFPO)

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Published by: Japan Foreign Policy Observatory on Jul 25, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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11/16/2012

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Editor’s Note
By Rui Faro Saraiva
PhD Candidate at Osaka School of International Public Policy
Japan’s demographics are one of thebiggest challenges and simultaneouslyone of the biggest threats the countrywill face considering the comingdecades. Shortly after the SecondWorld War the proportion of Japaneseover 65 was only around 5% of thepopulation, easily below that in Britain,France or America. By 2015 theproportion of elderly will have risen toone in four of the population, or morethan 30m. This fact has wider social,political and economic implications, andthis week the Japanese Labor Ministryunderlined that by 2030 Japan’sworkforce will decline by 9.5 millionworkers. This may push the country tochange some immigration and genderbiased conservative legal or customtrends. Opening Japan to foreign laborand promoting a more inclusive role of women at work and society in generalmay help the country to outline a newstrategy to face this demographic crisis. At the same time Japan being a countryprone to natural disasters that mayworsen the population decline rates,this indicates the urgency for reformsand for a broad government strategy toface these issues. Also this week agovernment panel underlined that “acomplete change in thinking aboutdisaster prevention is needed amongelectric power companies, regulatoryauthorities and other experts to preventa recurrence of the Fukushima nuclearaccident”. Japanese policymakers, the“Kaisha” (Japanese Corporations)CEO’s and society in general will needthe same innovative mindset toovercome 21
st
century challenges.
J-SOFT POWER WEEKLY BRIEF Nº26
Photo of the week:
Looking at theJapanesepopulation pyramid(The Economist). The labor ministrywarns that Japan’slabor force willdecline by 9.5million workers by2030 if thegovernment’semploymentmeasures do notwork, although onebright spot is theexpected increasein the number of working women.(AJW Asahi)
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Japanese Govt team to reviewOsprey reports“The government will send a team of experts to the United States later thismonth and in late August toinvestigate recent crashes involvingthe MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft,Defense Minister Satoshi Morimotosaid Tuesday. The U.S. governmentplans to present the findings of itsinvestigation into an Osprey crash inMorocco in April by the end of thismonth. The results of anotherinvestigation into an Osprey crash inFlorida in June will be presented inlate August. (…) Japan needs toindependently analyze the results of the U.S. investigations, Morimotosaid. The team, which will beestablished by the end of this week,will include a pilot from the Air Self-Defense Force, an aircraft accidentinvestigation expert from thetransport ministry and private-sectorexperts, Morimoto said. (…) TheUnited States has agreed not toallow any test flights using Ospreys inJapan until the aircraft's safety isconfirmed..’”(Yomiuri) Visitors to Skytree Town top 10million“The number of visitors to TokyoSkytree and its commercial complextopped 10 million in the two monthssince their May 22 opening, theoperator of the broadcast tower saidSunday. The cumulative number of visitors to the site, collectively called Tokyo Skytree Town, stood at about10.29 million as of Saturday, TobuRailway Co. said. About 830,000visitors entered one or both of the634-meter tower's twoobservatories, a number expected toexceed 1 million early next month.”(Yomiuri)Japan to host 38th IPCC plenarysession“The 38th plenary session of the U.N.Intergovernmental Panel on ClimateChange will be held in Japan inMarch 2014, Environment MinisterGoshi Hosono said Friday. RajendraPachauri, chairman of the panel, hasrequested that Japan host themeeting, Hosono said. It will be thefirst IPCC plenary session in Japan. The panel is scheduled to announceits next report on global warming inOctober 2014. At the plenarysession, it will discuss the impact of global warming on the world'secological system.”(Yomiuri)New nuke disaster report cue forJapanese people to join energydebate“It has now been more than a yearand four months since themeltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1nuclear plant. On July 23, acommission appointed by thegovernment to investigate thecatastrophe released its final report,and there are plenty of importantfindings in its pages. However,though the commission interviewed772 people for a total of 1,479 hours-- on top of the over 900 hours of interviews a Diet investigativecommittee conducted with 1,167people -- we still don't have the fullstory, and it's impossible to say allthe Japanese people's doubts havebeen addressed. (...)In the end, evenafter the reports issued by the Dietcommittee and the government-appointed commission, theinvestigative process remains onlyhalf-done. The government, the Dietand plant operator Tokyo ElectricPower Co. (TEPCO) must allcontinue their search for the causesof the disaster. As such, a permanentinvestigative committee must beestablished, one with completeindependence from the governmentand whatever administration is inpower at a given time. On the otherhand, the government-appointedcommission's report does spell somethings out very clearly. For instance,had TEPCO created a precise andwell-prepared accident responseplan in advance, the disaster at theplant and the damage it causedcould have been constrained. (...)What we can't quite get our headsaround is that, even though the Dietand government-appointedinvestigative committees havepointed out so many importantissues, the Cabinet of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda along with the entireDiet are being very slow to respond.We do not see any serious attempton the part of either to take theproblems presented seriously, andthis is a serious problem in itself.”(Mainichi Daily News)Foreign visitors for June surpassprequake level“The number of foreign visitors toJapan in June totaled 686,600, up1.4 percent from June 2010 andsurpassing for the first time the levelfor the same month from before theGreat East Japan Earthquake inMarch last year, according to thelatest statistics. The June figurerebounded 58.6 percent from thesame month last year, according topreliminary figures released by theJapan National Tourism Organizationon Friday. By country or region, thenumber of visitors from China, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam hit record highs for themonth. More people from Asiannations are traveling abroad, whichhas contributed to the higher numberof foreign visitors despite thelingering effects of the crisis at theFukushima No. 1 nuclear powerplant. (…) However, JNTO data alsoshows the number of South Koreanvisitors was down 15.1 percent fromJune 2010, and the figures fromFrance and Germany were down10.2 percent and 12.3 percent,respectively, underscoring the slowrecovery of tourism from thesecountries. .”(Yomiuri)
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Japan June exports fall 2.3 pct year/ year - MOF“Japan's exports fell 2.3 percent inJune from a year earlier, Ministry of Finance data showed onWednesday, marking the first declinein four months as a slowing globaleconomy hurt demand overseas.Exports to Asia, which account formore than half of Japan's totalexports, fell 4.4 percent from a yearearlier. The trade balance came to asurplus of 61.7 billion yen ($788.8million), as imports of nonferrousmetals and coal declined.”(Reuters)Japanese Panel Spreads Blame forFukushima Disaster“An investigative panel hasconcluded the last of a series of high-profile reviews of last year’s accidentat the Fukushima Daiichi nuclearpower plant. The report criticizesactions by the plant’s operator, thegovernment and industry regulators. The 12 members of a panelappointed by the Japanese Cabinetinterviewed 770 people in the pastyear. They include governmentofficials, Tokyo Electric PowerCompany employees and some of the 160,000 residents forced toevacuate their homes. Panelchairperson, Yotaro Hatamura, saysthe Fukushima accident illustrates theresults of Japan’s reliance on what hecalls the myth of nuclear safety. (…) The report says Japan’s mainregulatory body, the Nuclear andIndustrial Safety Agency, was tooconfident in the nuclear plant's abilityto withstand a severe accident. Itsays this sort of attitude preventedthe agency from adopting a pro-active stance on safety issues.”(Voice of America)Japan’s claim to Okinawa disputedby influential Chinese commentators“For many observers, rising frictionbetween China and Japan over agroup of remote and uninhabitedislands in the East China Sea isworrying enough. But if someinfluential Chinese nationalistcommentators have their way, thespat over the Japanese-controlledSenkaku islands — which Beijingcalls the Diaoyu — could widen into adispute over a much more importantarchipelago. In a fiery editorial thismonth, the Global Times newspaperurged Beijing to consider challengingJapan’s control over its southernprefecture of Okinawa, an islandchain with a population of 1.4 millionpeople that bristles with U.S. militarybases. ‘China should not be afraid of engaging with Japan in a mutualundermining of territorial integrity,” theCommunist Party-run paperdeclared.’(The Washington Post)Japan losing the PR war in the UnitedStates“In a column, Chosun Ilbo politicaldesk chief Lee Ha-won writes thatJapan is losing the PR war in theUnited States over the comfortwomen, and has been since 63Japanese leaders—including 45 Dietmembers—put their name to this adin the WaPo in 2007. Lee credits thatad—or more to the point, the outragesaid ad caused—with getting HouseResolution 121 passed. And best of all, Japan seems intent on makingthe same mistakes. According toLee, their efforts to get comfortwomen memorials removed havebackfired, leading to Mrs. Clinton’sreported comments that the victimsbe called not “comfort women,” but“enforced sex slaves.” Former USambassador to Korea KathleenStephens—still a high-ranking StateDepartment official—also said in arecent interview that the Koreanwomen forced into sexual slavery byJapan suffered “a grievous harm” and“horrendous violation of their humanrights.” She added that this was notonly her view, but also the view of theUS government.”(The Marmot Hole)Japan’s nuclear fight intensifies“The 1960s were a time of socialrevolution. Student, civil rightsactivists and anti-war protesters roseup against governments around theworld, and Japan was no exception.Hundreds of thousands took to thestreets to denounce the securitytreaty Japan signed with the U.S. in1960. The rallies, which turnedviolent at times, were the country’slast significant protests — until now.

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