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J-Soft Power Weekly Brief 17

J-Soft Power Weekly Brief 17

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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)
http://www.japanfpo.org
Osaka, Japan - Editor's mailbox
ruifarosaraiva(at)gmail(dot)com
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)
http://www.japanfpo.org
Osaka, Japan - Editor's mailbox
ruifarosaraiva(at)gmail(dot)com

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Published by: Japan Foreign Policy Observatory on May 23, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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05/23/2012

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Editors Note
By Rui Faro Saraiva
PhD Candidate at Osaka School of International Public Policy
 Japan inaugurated its newest landmark,the Tokyo Sky Tree, opening on the22
nd
of May with thousands of touristsand Japanese trying to catch the viewsof the capital, from the world's tallestfree-standing structure. The Tokyo Skytree seems to be some kind of demonstration of power or promotionof national pride. Actually it achievedsome success, as it was present in mostof the domestic and foreign press.Nevertheless the country is living one of the biggest challenges on the postWWII era. Japan is still recovering fromthe 11
th
of March triple catastrophe, itis struggling to define its energy policy,battling against a negative demographicrate, and on the top of that it has todeal with the political and economiccompetition of the BRICS, while thisweek its sovereign debt wasdowngraded by Fitch. It could beworse… Japan is not Europe… and itseems to still have the diplomatic,political, economic and cultural tools toface the observed domestic andinternational challenges. ProfessorAkihiko Tanaka, the new JICA chief mentioned that: “ODA is the mostimportant diplomatic tool for acountry”. ODA, along with othernational or international public policies,may need to be strengthened orreviewed while the strongest asset that Japan is lacking right now seems to bepolitical leadership.
J-SOFT POWER WEEKLY BRIEF Nº17
Photo of the week: TokyoSky Tree showcasescutting edge technology(AJW Asahi Shimbun)
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Gemba, Clinton warn N. Korea / Japan,U.S. agree on resolute response if Pyongyang carries out N-test“Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba andU.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton onMonday agreed on the need for aresolute response if North Koreaconducts a nuclear test. In a meetingheld in Chicago, the two ministers alsoconfirmed that Japan and the UnitedStates would call on China to helpaddress the problem. Clinton said it wasunderstandable for Japan to feelthreatened by Pyongyang's provocativeacts and the United States wouldcontinue to fulfill its responsibility todefend Japan. The ministers alsopledged that their two countries wouldcooperate further to support Afghanistan's reconstruction. (…) Afghancooperation sought. Japan is looking forcooperation from the internationalcommunity for the success of aconference in July on Afghanistan'sdevelopment, Foreign Minister KoichiroGemba said at a meeting of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. By co-hosting the international conference,Japan wants to "pave the way forsustainable growth of Afghanistan" afterNATO completes its plan to transfersecurity responsibilities to the Afghangovernment at the end of 2014, Gembasaid Monday.”(Yomiuri)Japan-funded clinics open in Chinaahead of massive quake's anniversary“Two Japan-sponsored clinics haveopened in a town in China's SichuanProvince ahead of the fourth anniversaryon Saturday of the Sichuan earthquakethat left about 87,000 people dead ormissing. The Japanese Red CrossSociety provided about 6 million yen forthe launch of the clinics from donations itcollected across Japan in the wake of themassive earthquake. The town wasrelocated to the Beichuan Qiang Autonomous County of the province afterit was destroyed by the earthquake. (…) A Japanese emergency relief missionarrived in the Beichuan county just afterthe quake for rescue work. ‘The clinicswill inherit the friendship that the relief team developed with the [people of]Beichuan county,’ said Kazutaka Isaka,who led the Japanese Red Cross crew.”(Yomiuri)Uyghur Congress wraps up in Tokyo“The World Uyghur Congress concludedits fourth triennial general meeting in Tokyo after reelecting Uygur activistRebiya Kadeer as its president. TheChinese government regards the WUCas an anti-China separatist group andhas expressed strong displeasure withJapan for allowing the gathering to beheld in Tokyo. The meeting was the firstin Asia for the organization, which isheadquartered in Munich.”(Yomiuri)G8's return to its roots a smokescreen,but group remains relevant“(…) With the global economic sandsshifting significantly over the pastdecades, the relevance of the G8 is onceagain being questioned. However, as thecore nations of the G20, the G8 will retainits importance. The group's value isespecially high to its only Asian member,Japan, which uses the summits as aforum to boost awareness of the NorthKorean nuclear problem and other Asiansecurity concerns. The Rambouilletsummit should be remembered as aseminal moment for postwar Japan, as itsignaled its formal admittance into thecompany of the world's mosteconomically powerful nations.Unfortunately, there is now little sense of exaltation at Japan's membership left.Japanese society has turned inward, andits politicians have weakened. Shouldn'ta country that has such weightyinternational responsibilities live asinternationally as possible? Of all the G8nations, perhaps the one in greatestneed of a return to the roots of Rambouillet is Japan.”(Editorial - Mainichi Daily News)Japanese Gov't panel eyes 4 energy mixscenarios for 2030 with focus on future of nuclear power“A Ministry of Economy, Trade andIndustry (METI) panel is in final stages of discussions to compile and present fourpossible energy mix scenarios for 2030,ranging from zero reliance on nuclearpower to no numerical targets for thecountry's dependence on atomic energy.(...) Therefore, the panel is set to presentfour possible energy mix scenarios: 1) theratio of nuclear power in relation to thenation's total power generation in 2030should be reduced to zero at an earlydate from 26 percent in fiscal 2010; 2)the ratio should gradually be reduced to15 percent; 3) the ratio should remain atcertain levels between 20 and 25percent; and 4) no numerical targetsshould be set. The panel is to compile aset of final proposals and present it to thegovernment's Energy and EnvironmentCouncil by the end of May so that itwould be reflected in the country's basicenergy plan due to be drafted before theupcoming summer. ”(Mainichi Daily News)Japan military visit canceled for 'work'reasons“China's Ministry of National Defense on Tuesday confirmed that Guo Boxiong,vice-chairman of the Central MilitaryCommission can hardly make the trip toJapan because of a ‘work commitment’. The Information Office of the NationalDefense Ministry replied to China Daily inwritten form, saying that China attachesgreat importance to its friendship andcooperation with Japan, and the Chinesegovernment had previously discussedGuo's visit with Japan. The senior militaryofficial's trip was originally planned tostart on Thursday and would haveincluded a meeting with Japan's PrimeMinister Yoshihiko Noda as well as a visitto the base of Japan's Self-defenseForces. Citing diplomatic sources,Japan's Kyodo News agency onSaturday said Guo's visit was postponedin protest due to the Diaoyu Islands issueand a scheduled meeting of the WorldUyghur Youth Congress, which Chinasees as a separatist group, in Japan.”(China Daily)Japan Downgrade Does Not Derail Stock Market From Chugging Higher“(…) Fitch downgraded Japan, theworld’s third largest economy. However,futures were able to shrug off thedowngrade and resume their climb. Gold,tracked by the GLD, and the Japaneseyen fell as a result of cut to A+ from AA with a negative outlook, meaning furthercuts are possible if the country does notget more aggressive in its plan to cutfiscal deficits. Despite the downgrade,Japanese stocks in the iShares Japan(EWJ) were moving higher on Tuesday.”(Forbes)Japanese Economic Policy: Aiming forLeast Ugly“From inside Japan, economicpolicymaking looks like a mess. Six primeministers in six years. A ruling party thatcan barely rule.
 
Outstanding governmentdebt worth more than twice the country’seconomy. (…) And yet, put Japan in aglobal context and, things maybe look kinda rosy. Washington is paralyzed bypartisan division, heading toward atrainwreck of automatic tax hikes andspending cuts. Europe is, well, Europe. As a result, global investors really are so
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doubtful about both the euro and dollarthat they’re putting money in the yen, Adam Posen, a member of the Bank of England’s monetary-policy committee,said ‘The only way to make sense of it,’he says of the yen’s strength, ‘is thatthere’s a least-ugly contest in the world.’ And Japan is winning.’”(Wall Street Journal)Khar to visit Japan“Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar willembark on her first visit to Japan fromMay 23 - 26 and apprise her counterpartPakistan's active role against extremismand terrorism. During the visit on theinvitation of the government of Japan, theminister will hold bilateral talks with herJapanese counterpart Koichiro Gembaon bilateral regional and global issues of mutual interest. The foreign minister'svisit will further strengthen and deepenthe existing relationship betweenPakistan and Japan includingdevelopment cooperation. Khar will alsoparticipate in the 18th Annual Conferenceon "Future of Asia", sponsored by NikkeiGroup, Japan. She will speak on `Pakistan's Perspective on the Future of  Asia' and how Pakistan was contributingand making efforts towards peaceful andsustainable development of Asia.’”(The News International)Japan / Enhanced Private Sector Assistance for Africa (EPSA)“At the G8 Gleneagles Summit in 2005,the Government of Japan, together withthe African Development Bank Group,launched the “EPSA for Africa (EnhancedPrivate Sector Assistance for Africa)”, a joint initiative to promote economicgrowth led by the private sector. Japanannounced provision of Japanese yenloan amounting to 1 billion US dollars,which has been accomplished.Stimulating private investment in Africahas become an important agenda, asdemonstrated at the G8 Camp DavidSummit where the “New Alliance” wasagreed with the aim of mobilizing privateresources to improve food security in Africa. In light of this, building on theachievements so far, the Government of Japan has decided to provide additionalJapanese yen loan worth 1 billion USdollars over 5 years under the EPSA. TheGovernment of Japan intends to continueto actively work on the promotion of  African economic growth led by theprivate sector.”(AfricanBrains)Japan set to sign Hague Convention onchild abduction“Japan is promising to change its lawsand sign the Hague Convention dealingwith child abduction across internationalborders. Currently, foreign parents of broken international marriages withJapanese nationals are often preventedfrom seeing their children at all..”(ABC News)New JICA chief wants aid profile lift“If Japan wants to maintain itsinternational influence, it should increase,not pare, official development assistancebecause South Korea, China and othercountries are boosting economic aid tokey developing states, the new JapanInternational Cooperation Agency chief says. (…) Akihiko Tanaka, a formerprofessor of international politics at theUniversity of Tokyo, replaced SadakoOgata at the JICA helm. During a recentinterview with The Japan Times, Tanaka,57, emphasized that global demand forODA is ‘rapidly increasing.’ Manycountries are in postconflict and peace-building mode or are developing on apath toward democracy, such asMyanmar. Tanaka expressed concernthat Japan could lose its internationalleverage if it continues to cut the ODA budget. Experts have pointed out thatwhile the United States, France andGreat Britain have increased their ODA budgets, especially since the Sept. 11,2001, terrorist attacks, Japan has takenthe opposite direction. (…) ’I believe ODA is the most important diplomatic tool fora country,’ Tanaka said. ‘Through ODA and JICA's development cooperation,people all around the world can get toknow who we are . . . and that helps theinternational community look up toJapanese diplomacy.’”(The Japan Times)
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 Akihiko Tanaka, president of the Japan InternationalCooperation Agency, isinterviewed last week inChiyoda Ward, Tokyo. (TheJapan Times)

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