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J-Soft Power Weekly Brief #23

J-Soft Power Weekly Brief #23

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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 04, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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07/04/2012

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Editor’s Note
By Rui Faro Saraiva
PhD Candidate at Osaka School of International Public Policy
The central actor of this week Japanese political events was Mr. IchiroOzawa. One of the most influentialJapanese politicians, called by many asthe “shadow shogun”. Such acharismatic figure always attracts theattention of the media in all sorts of ways. Having many enemies, Mr.Ozawa was often a target of falsegossiping and when foreign publicationstry to write about him, due to the “lost intranslation” factor, it is difficult to findtrue and correct information about anyevent related with this influential politicalfigure. If Mr Ozawa was the centralactor, the most important political eventin Japan this week was the split of DPJ,the party in power.
 
 Theformer DPJPresident (Ichiro Ozawa) and 49members from both houses of the Dietsubmitted letters of resignation to theparty's executive branch. They areexpected to launch a new party soon.
 
 The 50 members comprise 38 from theLower House, becoming the thirdlargest force as the number exceedsthat of the New Komeito, along with 12members from the Upper House.Ozawa is reportedly considering thecreation of a united parliamentary groupwith other parties including the KizunaParty, which was formed by lawmakerswho left the DPJ in December last year.Despite all of this political turmoil,despite the extenuation of the PM Nodaand the party in power, it is possibe toaffirm that Japan is the beacon of democracy in East Asia. This week events definitely confirm that Japan hasconsolidated its democratic politicalsystem, and therefore defined itspolitical values.
J-SOFT POWER WEEKLY BRIEF Nº23
Photo of the week:In June 1993, 54lawmakers boltedfrom the rulingparty, which wasreplaced by acoalitiongovernment twomonths later. Nearlytwo decades later,on July 2, 50lawmakers left theruling party to forma new politicalforce. (AJW Asahi)
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Japan 'ready to discuss new UNSCmembership status'“Japan is ready to discuss theintroduction of semipermanentmembership on the U.N. SecurityCouncil, Japanese Ambassador tothe United Nations Tsuneo Nishidasaid Monday. Nishida was speakingat international negotiations onSecurity Council reform.Semipermanent status would belonger than the current two-year termof nonpermanent members. Japan'sconventional stance has been toseek permanent membership on theSecurity Council becausesemipermanent membership isconsidered less prestigious.Discussion on Security Councilreform ‘has not brought any tangibleresults" toward "real negotiations,’Nishida said. The intergovernmentalnegotiations on the Security Councilreform started in 2009. (…) Thesemipermanent membership statuswas originally proposed by countriessuch as South Korea and Italy whooppose the aspirations of the so-called Group of Four memberstates--Japan, Brazil, Germany andIndia--that are seeking permanentmembership on the Security Council.By showing a flexible stance towardthe semipermanent option, Japan isseeking ways to cooperate withcountries that oppose its permanentSecurity Council membership,diplomatic sources said.”(Yomiuri)Clinton, Ban Ki Moon to visit for Afghan meeting in Tokyo“U.S. Secretary of State HillaryClinton and U.N. Secretary GeneralBan Ki Moon will visit Japan toattend an international ministerialconference Sunday on support for Afghanistan, the Foreign Ministry said Tuesday. The conference, to be heldin Tokyo, will be hosted by theJapanese government.”(Yomiuri)REFLECTIONS ON LEADERSHIP--PART 2 / Consider past and future,too, not just present“(…) A historic new developmenthas been put off, at least for now. OnMay 13, Prime Minister YoshihikoNoda and South Korean PresidentLee Myung Bak agreed at a meetingin Beijing to conclude a generalsecurity of military informationagreement. The agreement toconclude the first military cooperationaccord between Japan and SouthKorea since World War II is epoch-making. However, cautious viewswere expressed in some SouthKorean quarters later andpreparations to conclude the accordground to a halt. Some SouthKoreans harbor an aversion towardthe Self-Defense Forces as theKorean Peninsula was under Japan'scolonial rule in the early 20th century. There is a rift between the twocountries over historical perceptions,such as the so-called comfortwomen. In a summit meetingbetween the two countries inDecember, Lee toughened hisattitude over historical issues asSouth Korean public opinionhardened and he demanded Japanplace priority on resolving thecomfort women issue. As thesituations vis-a-vis North Korea andChina remain tense, Japan has theurgent task of bolstering securitycooperation with South Korea.Because of this, many Noda aidesand DPJ members suggest theprime minister flexibly deal with thecomfort women issue and similarproblems and place priority onachieving substantial and strategicresults so his administration canscore high marks. While the primeminister is apparently consideringwhat course to take, he does notappear ready to deal with SouthKorea's demand, insisting that thecomfort women issue concerns thefundamentals of this country. (…) Asto why there are so few politicianstoday with firm state and historicalviews, Nakasone said: "Politicians of my age experienced World War II. Iattended international meetings [asprime minister] with the same senseof urgency as if I were a soldier sentoverseas. We thought about howJapan would be able to survive theCold War and what form our countryshould take. But many recentpoliticians are like salaried workers." Yamauchi said those who did notexperience the war should readclassics and foster viewpoints toconsider the relationship betweenJapan and other countries from ahistorical perspective. What do weexpect from Japanese leaders andwhat kind of leaders do we want tonurture? These are the questionsvoters should consider beforechoosing who should represent us.”(Yomiuri)Japan raps Medvedev's visit todisputed Kunashiri Island“Japan lodged a protest with Russiaon Tuesday after Russian PremierDmitry Medvedev visited thedisputed Kunashiri Island off Hokkaido, with Foreign MinisterKoichiro Gemba criticizing it aspouring ‘cold water’ on bilateralrelations.
 
 The visit by Medvedevand several ministers came only twoweeks after Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and RussianPresident Vladimir Putin agreed toreactivate bilateral talks on the long-standing territorial dispute in a calmmanner. Medvedev became the firstRussian head of state to visit one of the four disputed islands off Hokkaido claimed by Japan when hewent to Kunashiri as Russianpresident in November 2010. Afterthe visit, Japan's relations withRussia deteriorated to the lowestpoint in years. His two visits toKunashiri, despite warnings fromJapan, are widely seen by experts asdemonstrating Russia's strongresolve to show its effective control of the islands that lie northeast of Hokkaido. (…) Japan and Russiahave been at odds over thesovereignty of the four islands --Etorofu, Kunashiri, Shikotan and theHabomai islet group -- preventing thetwo countries from signing a postwarpeace treaty. The islands were seizedby the Soviet Union following Japan'ssurrender in World War II on Aug. 15,1945.”(Mainichi Daily News)Japan pledges 6 billion dollars inODA over next 3 years“Japan will provide a total of 6 billiondollars in official developmentassistance over three years from
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fiscal 2013, Foreign Minister KoichiroGemba said at the U.N. Conferenceon Sustainable Development,dubbed Rio+20. Through the aid,the nation will help developingcountries establish measures tominimize damage from naturaldisasters and introduce renewableenergy. Gemba said in a speech thatJapan wishes to share its disasterprevention technologies and know-how with developing countries tocreate communities resistant todisasters. Such knowledge wasacquired from the experience of theMarch 2011 earthquake andtsunami, he added. (…) He saidJapan plans to send about 10,000experts to developing countries overthe next three years to support theirtransition to a green economy inwhich both economic growth andenvironmental protection arerealized.”(Mainichi Daily News)Defense minister eyes U.S. trip inJuly, Osprey on agenda“Defense Minister Satoshi Morimotois making arrangements to travel tothe United States as soon as late Julyto meet with U.S. Defense SecretaryLeon Panetta and discuss theplanned deployment of the MV-22Osprey transport aircraft to OkinawaPrefecture, sources close to thematter said Tuesday. Morimoto's tripis being planned amid growing localopposition to allowing Osprey aircraftto be stationed at the U.S. MarineCorps' Futenma Air Station in theOkinawan city of Ginowan. OnSunday, the United States took amajor step toward deployment bydispatching a civilian cargo shipcarrying the aircraft to Japan. TheU.S. Marine Corps said Monday theship left the United States on Sundayand is headed for the Marine Corps'Iwakuni Air Station in YamaguchiPrefecture. The U.S. military plans toconduct safety checks and testflights of the tilt-motor Osprey atIwakuni before being deploying theaircraft to Futenma in August.”(Mainichi Daily News)China’s navy engaging inunprecedented coordination withIndia, Japan on anti-piracy patrols“China is closely cooperating with thenavies of Japan and India in patrollingagainst piracy off Somalia, a sign of the country’s greater willingness towork with other nations insafeguarding global trade despitemixed sentiments among Chinesetoward the country’s main Asianrivals. Japan’s Maritime Self-DefenseForce became the lead navy Sundayin the pact that allows the three tosynchronize patrols and best allocateeach country’s escort resources,Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun told reporters at abriefing. Analysts say the escort pactis a sign of growing Chinese navalconfidence that could reduce thechances of confrontation in waterscloser to China where navies fromJapan, the U.S. and others operate inincreasingly tight proximity. WithChina expanding its naval capabilitiesand asserting its interests, it’simportant that Beijing’s admirals startworking more closely with theirforeign counterparts, defense expertssay.”(Washington Post)Japan’s Crown Prince makeslandmark visit to Laos“His Imperial Highness the CrownPrince of Japan arrived in Vientianeyesterday on his first official visit toLaos. Crown Prince Naruhito ispaying a three-day official visit toLaos from June 29 to July 1, inresponse to an invitation fromPresident Choummaly Sayasone, (…)who paid an official visit to Japan inMarch 2010 when the two countriesmarked the 55th anniversary of diplomatic relations. (…) The visitwould enhance the close contact andmutual understanding between high-level leaders of Laos and the ImperialFamily of Japan, he said, as well asunderstanding between the twopeoples. The Lao leader expressedhope that the visit of the prince wouldpromote greater investment by theJapanese private sector in Laos.Laos has received enormousassistance from the government andpeople of Japan. The Japanesegovernment provides about US$80million in official developmentassistance (ODA) to Laos every yearon average, making Japan Laos’ssingle largest ODA provider,according to the Ministry of Planningand Investment.”(Vientiane Times)Japan’s Leader Is Set Back as aFaction of His Party Quits“The unpopular government of PrimeMinister Yoshihiko Noda sufferedanother setback on Monday whenthe largest faction of his DemocraticParty quit over a proposed taxincrease, leaving the party barely in

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