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J-Soft Power Weekly Brief 32

J-Soft Power Weekly Brief 32

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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 Sep 05, 2012
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09/05/2012

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Quote of the Week 
 
今週のピックアップ
“Prime Minister Noda, meanwhile, seems happy to contribute to the escalation of the various territorial disputesthat Japan is embroiled in with its neighbors. The exploitation of nationalism by politicians is, of course, notunique to Japan, or for that matter, to Asia. It was Samuel Johnson writing in 18
th
century England who famouslyremarked that ‘patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel’” But whatever is the case overseas, one thing is clearhere in Japan – as the end draws near for the DPJ government, nationalist chest-beating is poised to be anunfortunate substitute for any serious attempt at providing better social protection for Japanese in the comingmonths and years.”
 
Koichi Nakano
Professor of Political Science, Sophia Universityin CNN
J-SOFT POWER WEEKLY BRIEF Nº32
Photo of theweek:China onlybegan openlyclaimingSenkakus in the1970’s.(AJW Asahi)
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Govt 'in last stage of talks to buySenkakus'“The central government is in the finalstage of negotiations to buy three of the Senkaku Islands in Ishigaki,Okinawa Prefecture, directly from theowner for about 2 billion yen,according to sources close to thegovernment. The government plans tobuy the islands, which China alsoclaims, with reserve funds, the sourcessaid. (…) The central governmenthopes to convince the owner of theneed to bring the islands under statecontrol and to offer him more than Tokyo has collected, the sources said. The Tokyo government startednegotiations to purchase the islandswith the owner before the centralgovernment did. However, when the Tokyo government filed a request forpermission to land on Uotsurijimaisland, one of the Senkaku Islands, in August, it did not include a letter of agreement from the owner, promptingsome government officials to suspectnegotiations between Tokyo and theowner have bogged down. But the Tokyo government has not changedits plan to buy the islands. On Sunday,a team of surveyors dispatched by Tokyo surveyed the islands andconducted research from boats in thesea surrounding the islands. Therefore,the central government hopes tospeed up negotiations with the ownerto sign a purchase contract as soonas possible.”(Yomiuri)Japanese U.N. director works toprotect refugee health“As the director of the healthdepartment of a U.N. body, AkihiroSeita has spearheaded a program todevelop networks of family doctorsamong Palestinian refugees. ‘It's beenmore than 60 years since the outbreak of the Palestinian refugee problem. They live in so-called refugee camps,but these places are like ordinarytowns,’ Seita, 51, said. Based inJordan, Seita oversees 3,000 staffersin the health department of the U.N.Relief and Works Agency for PalestineRefugees in the Near East (UNRWA),which provides education and medicalassistance to about 5 millionPalestinian refugees. Seita wastransferred to the United Nations fromthe World Health Organization twoyears ago to lead health reforms in therefugee camps. What he saw amongresidents in the camps was increaseddiabetes and high blood pressurepartly due to stress over the deadlock in Middle East peace efforts. He cameto believe that what the refugeesneeded most was improved livinghabits.”(Yomiuri)Japan, North Korea agree to discuss'issues of interest'“Japanese and North Korean officialsagreed Friday to discuss a ‘broadrange of issues that interest bothsides’ and hold ‘higher-level’ talks inBeijing in the near future. The twocountries reached the agreement onthe third day of preliminaryconsultations, held for about twohours at the Japanese Embassy in theChinese capital, to lay the groundwork for full-fledged bilateral negotiations.Wednesday's talks were the first infour years between the twogovernments. (…) The two countrieswill try to arrange the full-fledgednegotiations in mid-September, asSept. 17 marks the 10th anniversary of their Pyongyang Declaration stipulatingresolution of bilateral problemsincluding the abductions, the sourcesadded.”(Yomiuri)Japan must take initiative to resolve"comfort women" issue“Considering our current situation, weshould address the tensions betweenJapan and South Korea over the issueof "comfort women" beginning with itsorigins. South Korean President LeeMyung-bak has said that the "comfortwomen issue" was his motivation forvisiting the Takeshima islets. TheJapanese government's subsequentwaffling has dissatisfied South Koreaand the Japanese public. The viewthat the institution of comfort stationswas a barbaric one unique to theJapanese military is spreadinginternationally. Efforts must be madeto understand what led to this currentstate of affairs, and to clear up anymisconceptions. (...) The JapaneseMinistry of Foreign Affairs refers to thewomen at the center of the conflict as‘comfort women,’ but most foreignmedia call them ‘sexual slaves.’ The1996 United Nations Human RightsCouncil report called them "sexualslaves," and we must understand why.Hata's book ‘Ianfu to senjo no sei’takes an empirical approach indiscussing the problems that arise intranslation. The root of the problemlies with Japan. Instead of waiting tosee what steps South Korea takes,Japan must take steps to first dispelany misunderstandings. Why not startby creating a precise, high-qualityEnglish translation of Hata's book forthe world to read?”(Mainichi Daily News)First Japan-N. Korea talks since '08show need to respect PyongyangDeclaration“Japan-North Korea consultations latelast month, the first such talks since August 2008, highlight the need forboth countries to respect the spirit of the 2002 Pyongyang Declarationsigned by then Prime MinisterJunichiro Koizumi and late NorthKorean leader Kim Jong Il. Divisiondirector-level officials of the Japaneseand North Korean foreign ministriesmet in Beijing for talks from Aug. 29 to31 and agreed to upgrade theconsultations to bureau directorgeneral-level negotiations. Bothcountries should use the move as aspringboard to break the deadlock over their bilateral ties. The issue overthe collection of the remains of Japanese nationals who died in NorthKorea around the end of World War IIhelped open the door to the firstbilateral talks in four years. The ashesof at least 20,000 Japanese peoplewho died around that time arebelieved to remain in North Korea, butthe issues of collecting their remainsas well as visits to their graves by theirbereaved families had remainedunsettled due largely to the lack of diplomatic relations between the twocountries. In early August, the RedCross societies of both countriesdiscussed the matter and agreed thatboth governments would increasetheir involvement in efforts to settle theissue, which led to the latest inter-governmental talks. Pyongyang hadproposed talks on the collection of theashes since last year. The country isbelieved to have intended to use suchtalks to resume consultations betweenthe two governments and win acommitment from Japan to extendingfinancial and other assistance. (...)Sept. 17, 2012, marks the 10thanniversary of Koizumi's visit to
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Pyongyang and the signing of thePyongyang Declaration with Kim JongIl. The joint declaration partly reads,‘Both leaders confirmed the sharedrecognition that establishing a fruitfulpolitical, economic and culturalrelationship between Japan and theDPRK through the settlement of anunfortunate past between them andoutstanding issues of concern wouldbe consistent with the fundamentalinterests of both sides, and wouldgreatly contribute to the peace andstability of the region.’ The twocountries cannot even pave the wayfor normalization of bilateral ties unlessthey respect this spirit.”(Mainichi Daily News)Japan to set energy policy but "nostance" on nuclear - minister“Japan is scheduled to set nationalenergy policy early next week,Economics Minister MotohisaFurukawa said on Tuesday, althoughhe said the government had not takenany particular position on the mainquestion over the role of nuclearpower. An anti-nuclear clamour hasgrown in Japan since an earthquakeand tsunami damaged the Fukushimanuclear power plant in March last year,triggering the world's worst nuclearcrisis in 25 years. The government,mindful of public opinion ahead of anelection, had been hinting that it mightset a target of eliminating atomicpower by 2030 - a big shift for aneconomy that had planned to boostnuclear energy before last year'saccident. Furukawa said the rulingDemocratic Party would draw up thepolicy at the end of the week.”(Reuters)Japan Listed Dokdo as 'NationalProperty' in 1945“Japan first listed Korea's easternmostislets of Dokdo as national propertyshortly before its defeat in World WarII, when Korea was under colonialoccupation, and calculated the valueof the land. The Asahi Shimbun onMonday said the Japanese FinanceMinistry listed Dokdo as Takeshima in1945. The land was classified as"wilderness" measuring 231,371 sq.m. The ministry took over the rights tothe islets from the Japanese Navy foraround 2,000 yen at the time. In 2001,Japan valued the islets at around 5.32million yen, and in 2010 at 5 millionyen. At the end of March this year thevalue had fallen to 4.37 million yen. The estimates are based on Japaneseislands of similar size, with the drop invalue reflecting a decline in Japanesereal estate prices. But Tokyo in 1945took no steps to register Dokdo,which would have been necessary toclaim ownership. The Asahi Shimbunsaid the ministry felt there was noneed to register the property ‘sincethe ownership was clear.’”(Chosunilbo)Japan: Get ready for a rightward shift“Three years ago last week, havingcampaigned on a platform of “puttingpeople’s lives first,” the rulingDemocratic Party of Japan triumphedin the country’s historic generalelection, overcoming a LiberalDemocratic Party that had ruledalmost uninterrupted for more thanfive decades. Yet two (soon likelythree) prime ministers later, the DPJhas lost its way. How? For a start theDPJ has managed to make itself hugely unpopular by ditching most of its main campaign manifesto pledgesand letting the country’s bureaucratsredefine the policy agenda. Havingdeterminedly pursued and achievedthe controversial policies of restartingnuclear power generation after theFukushima disaster and setting inplace a timetable for raising theconsumption tax, it’s clear that PrimeMinister Yoshihiko Noda and his partyhave achieved little else, and the DPJlooks likely to have power wrestedfrom it by the LDP at the next election,which many expect to be called thisautumn. With the credibility of theliberal alternative once personified bythe DPJ in tatters, the form of the nextgovernment is increasingly seen as achoice between a so-called grandcoalition of the LDP, its long-time allyNew Komeito, and an emasculatedDPJ on the one hand, and a radicalconservative “Great Reset” alliance ledby the populist, authoritarian mayor of Osaka, Toru Hashimoto, together witha right wing-dominated LDPdominated by the likes of formerPrime minister Shinzo Abe (…)It’sarguable that Japanese have onlythemselves to blame for this diresituation. Regardless, this driftrightwards will have implications forJapan’s neighbors and partners. Withthe rejection of the liberal approach of compensating for the inherent costsexperienced in a globalizing economy,it is all but certain that the familiar“New Right” formula – strong stateand a free market – will return inforce.”(Koichi Nakano - CNN)Why Japan and South Korea AreFeuding Over a Cluster of Rocks“The frenemies are at it again. Despiteall their longstanding shared interests,Japan and South Korea just can’t finda way past their long and bitter history. At present they’re focusing their love-hate conflict on a desolate little cluster

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