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J-Soft Power Weekly Brief 27

J-Soft Power Weekly Brief 27

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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 31, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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07/31/2012

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Editor’s Note
By Rui Faro Saraiva
PhD Candidate at Osaka School of International Public Policy
In another consecutive week of protests, around 12000 Demonstratorssurrounded the Diet Building in ChiyodaWard, Tokyo, to oppose thegovernment's decision to restart nuclearpower reactors. These unprecedenteddemonstrations in Japan reveal amaturation of the Japanese democracyand civil society. Also this week anti-nuclear campaigners have created thecountry's first green party, more than ayear after the triple March 11
th
 catastrophe. The party wants toemulate other green parties of Europeand influence Japan's energy policy andpublic policies in general. Again this isreinforcing the pluralist character of Japanese democracy and attractingmore Japanese citizens to participateactively in the country’s political life.Greens Japan, was created by localpoliticians and activists, and looksforward to become an officiallyrecognized political party in time for thenext general elections. Akira Miyabe,Greens Japan's deputy leader, saidvoters had been deprived of the chanceto support a party that puts nuclearabolition and other green policies at thetop of its agenda. "We need a party thatputs the environment first," he said at alaunch event in Tokyo. Japan’sexceptionalism in terms of green partiesin the world of liberal democracies isnow over. Its prior inexistence wasmainly due to passivity and apoliticalbehavior, two trends that after March11
th
were transformed into activism andpolitical engagement.
J-SOFT POWER WEEKLY BRIEF Nº27
Photo of the week:
 Sensing the timingis right, a
Japanese
version of theenvironmentalist
Green Party
hasbeen formed tonudge Japan toabandoning nuclearpower by fieldingcandidates inupcoming nationalelections.. (AJW Asahi)
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 Antinuclear demonstrators surroundDiet Building“Demonstrators surrounded the DietBuilding in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, onSunday night to protest thegovernment's decision to restartnuclear power reactors. The latestdemonstration was organized by theMetropolitan Coalition AgainstNukes, which has held publicprotests in front of the PrimeMinister's Office almost every Fridaysince March. (…) Several lawmakersfrom different parties, including TaroKono, a House of Representativesmember of the opposition LiberalDemocratic Party, joined the protest. According to the Metropolitan PoliceDepartment, the number of demonstrators was about 12,000.”(Yomiuri)Putin wants to continue treaty talkswith Japan“Russian President Vladimir Putinsaid Saturday that Moscow wants tocontinue talks with Japan onconcluding a peace treaty to formallyend the two countries' World War IIhostilities while seeking a mutuallyacceptable solution to theirlongstanding dispute over thenorthern territories. Putin made theremark when Foreign MinisterKoichiro Gemba paid a courtesy callon the Russian leader at thepresidential retreat in this Black Searesort. (…) The Russian presidentalso pinned high hopes on hismeeting with Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, which is expectedto be set up on the fringe of thisyear's Asia-Pacific EconomicCooperation summit talks in Vladivostok, Russia, on Sept. 8-9.Cooperation between the twocountries should be expanded, Putinsaid, adding that Moscow is ready tohelp Japanese firms expand theiroperations in Russia. Gemba toldPutin that Japan and Russia havecommon strategic interests at a timewhen the environment surroundingthe Asia-Pacific region is changing. The two countries can becomestrong partners by concluding apeace treaty, he said. Japan wants toexplore a solution to the territorialissue while promoting cooperationwith Russia in various fields, Gembasaid.”(Yomiuri)Japan 'Arigato' event launched inLondon“A 15-day event began in London inSaturday to show Japan's gratitudefor the support and encouragement itreceived from around the worldfollowing the Great East JapanEarthquake and tsunami on March11 last year. Former professionalsoccer player Hidetoshi Nakata, oneof the organizers of the ‘Arigato inLondon’ event, said, ‘We want toexpress our gratitude [to the world]and show progress in Japan's effortsfor restoration.’ (…) The ceremonywas also attended by other eventorganizers, including renownedfashion designer Junko Koshino andDai Tamesue, who won bronzemedals in 400-meter hurdles in theWorld Championships in Athletics inEdmonton, Canada, in 2001, and inHelsinki in 2005.”(Yomiuri)Poll results, nuke protests showpublic's distrust in gov't at boilingpoint“Members of the general public havealmost simultaneously sent signalsfrom two locations that their distrustin politics has heightened to analarming level. In the Yamaguchigubernatorial election on July 29, acandidate who ran on an anti-nuclearpower platform had a strong showingeven though he was narrowlydefeated by a former bureaucratbacked jointly by the largestopposition Liberal Democratic Party(LDP) and its former ruling coalitionpartner New Komeito. Meanwhile, alarge number of people surroundedthe Diet Building during a major anti-nuclear power demonstration in Tokyo on the same day. (...) Large-scale, nonpartisan movements,which had not been observed inJapan for decades, should beviewed as citizens' extremelyimportant expression of their will. (...) The Mainichi Shimbun's latestopinion poll shows that the approvalrating for the Noda Cabinet hit arecord low of 23 percent since itsinauguration. The sharp decline in theapproval rating is attributable tovarious factors, such as a split of theDPJ and the public's opposition tothe consumption tax increase. Nodaand members of his Cabinet shouldtake its declining popularity seriouslyas the public's warning against thehigh-handed manner in which theNoda administration has decided onpolicy measures, such as thereactivation of nuclear plants and theintroduction of the Osprey aircraft.”(Mainichi Daily News)Foreign Ministry to enhance infocontrol“The Foreign Ministry will carry outan organizational overhaul nextWednesday to strengthen its abilityto distribute information about thecountry abroad, Foreign MinisterKoichiro Gemba said Friday. (…)Separately, the ministry will set up theSecond China and Mongolia Divisionunder the Asian and Oceanian AffairsBureau. The division will mainly takecharge of economic issues related toChina, the economy of which israpidly growing. In addition, theexisting office for African issuesunder the Middle Eastern and African Affairs Bureau will be upgraded to adepartment as Japan is aiming tostrengthen its relations with Africancountries.”(Yomiuri)Japan flags Chinese army's growingrole as risk issue“Japan on Tuesday flagged theChinese army's growing role in
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shaping the country's foreign policyas a security risk, saying a sense of caution exists across East Asiaabout Beijing's apparent militaryexpansion in the region. In its annualdefense white paper, Tokyo saidsome believe that relations betweenthe People's Liberation Army (PLA)and the Communist Party leadershipwere "getting complex" and said thiswas a matter of concern. There is apossibility that the degree of militaryinfluence on foreign policy decisionshas been changing, the paper said,without elaborating. (…) In the whitepaper, Tokyo reaffirmed theimportance of its alliance with theUnited States. ‘The presence of U.S.forces stationed in Japan functionsas deterrent against regionalcontingencies, and it brings thesense of security to countries in theregion,’ it said.”(Reuters)Japan’s New Korea Policy: Closer —But Not Close Enough“In the latest edition of its DefenseWhite Paper, Japan made a subtlechange to the key sentence thatdescribes its bilateral relationship withSouth Korea, revealing a surprisingdegree of affection toward itsneighbor. (…) ’South Korea sharesthe closest relationship with Japanhistorically and in various areas suchas economy and culture,’ Tokyo said Tuesday. (…) Tokyo’s friendly gesturehas failed to draw any warm andfuzzy response from Seoul. Rather, itwas hit immediately by a sharply-worded rebuke, as South Koreafocused on another short sentence inthe white paper, one that hasremained the same for several yearsin a row. (…) The Government of theRepublic of Korea once again makesclear the plain fact that Dokdo is anindigenous territory of the ROK overwhich it exercises full territorialsovereignty, and that it will nottolerate any unjust claim of Japan tothe territory, said a spokesperson forthe ministry of foreign affairs andtrade. (…)Still, the white paper listedplenty of evidence that things aremoving forward. In June, Japan,Korea and the U.S. conducted theirfirst three-way military exercise, whilethe two and Australia agreed to holdregular consultations between theirdefense ministers. In addition to theinformation exchange pact that hasbeen put on hold, the two are alsotrying to forge an agreement to gettheir military personnel to work together for peacekeeping andhumanitarian and disaster aid.”(JRT – Wall Street Journal)China Sea Cold War: Japan ‘coulddeploy troops on islands’“Japan’s defence minister on Fridaywarned Tokyo could send troops to achain of East China Sea islands atthe centre of a territorial row withChina if the simmering disputeescalated. Japanese soldiers takepart in a military parade at theGround Self Defence Force’s trainingground in Asaka. Japan’s defenceminister has warned Tokyo couldsend troops to a chain of East ChinaSea islands at the centre of aterritorial row with China if thesimmering dispute escalated. SatoshiMorimoto said Tokyo’s position hadnot changed, but confirmed that itwould use force to defend the islandsknown as Senkaku in Japanese andDiaoyu in Chinese.’”(StratRisks)Japanese women fall to No. 2 in lifeexpectancy“For the first time in more than 25years, Japanese women are notconsidered to have the longest lifeexpectancy across the globe, losingout to Hong Kong, according toJapan's Ministry of Health, Labourand Welfare. Japanese women's lifeexpectancy at birth dropped from86.30 in 2010 to 85.90 in 2011, whilemen dipped from 79.55 in 2010 to79.44 in 2011, according to theministry of health. For Hong Kong, lifeexpectancy at birth in 2011 forfemales was 86.7 years, while formales it was 80.5 years. (…)However, these female icons of longlife should be back on top next timestatistics are calculated. That'sbecause life expectancy is calculatedcross-sectionally, meaning it relies ondata from a slice of the population atone time point. And 2011 happenedto be a bad year for mortality inJapan.”(CBS News)

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