22nd August 2012


Photo of the week: With the hint of a Lower House dissolution and snap election in the air, the formation of new parties is heating up as the new homes for lawmakers defecting from the ruling Democratic Party of Japan. (AJW Asahi)

Editor’s Note
By Rui Faro Saraiva PhD Candidate at Osaka School of International Public Policy

From the partition of the DPJ, the party in power in Japan, there are two main assumptions to consider. First, Japanese democracy is active, lively and mature. Second, “leadership” is the key word in Japanese politics, due to its absence since PM Koizumi. With the eminence of another Diet dissolution and new elections, along with the DPJ mass defections, Japan may lack the necessary stability or leadership to face its current challenges, but will underline its democratic commitments. The LDP

may gain a new passport to power, so it is interesting to see who will be LDP’s new leader and which ideas and policies will this party offer to face a challenging 21st century. The term of the current LDP President Sadakazu Tanigaki expires in late September, and he is not badly placed to be reelected and get the mandate to run for national elections. This week former PM Hatoyama was critical about DPJ performance in power. Three years after Yukio Hatoyama led Japan's

Democratic Party to a victory over its long-dominant conservative rival, the former prime minister fears the party he had helped to found has become an ally of the same vested interests it sought to destroy. Many say this is Asia’s century, and Japan needs the necessary leadership to address the current domestic, regional and global dynamics. Leadership is not an antonym for democracy; both are strong and necessary assets to face international politics today.



U.S. asks Japan, China to solve island dispute “Japan and China should solve their dispute over islands in the East China S e a t h ro u g h t a l k s , U . S . S t a t e Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said. Japan and China ‘need to work this out through consultation and not through provocation,’ Nuland said at a press conference Monday. The United States has been giving such messages privately to the two Asian countries, she said. Last week, Japanese authorities arrested and deported Chinese activists for landing on Uotsurijima island, in the Senkaku Island chain. The Senkakus are also claimed by China, where they are known as Daioyu. On Sunday, Japanese nationals landed on the island.” (Yomiuri) Japan asks ROK to join ICJ Takeshima action “Japan officially proposed to South Korea on Tuesday that the two countries jointly refer their territorial dispute over the Takeshima islands to the International Court of Justice in The Hague. Documents on the proposal were handed to South Korea's Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry via the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, Japanese government officials said. Tokyo hopes to prove its claim to Takeshima by bringing the row into the inter national arena. Japan also proposed seeking mediation to resolve the territorial row in accordance with a bilateral diplomatic note on settling disputes between the two countries, which was signed at the time of the 1965 normalization of their relations. Tokyo made the move in response to South Korean President Lee Myung Bak's unprecedented visit to the islands on Aug. 10. The islands are known as Dokdo in South Korea.” (Yomiuri)

Niwa to be replaced as ambassador to get international opinion on our side. China (...)Japan must communicate to the world that the Senkaku Islands belong “The DPJ has long touted the to Japan, based both on history and government's policy of ‘ending the on international law. We must shift conventional bureaucrat-led style of from a ‘silent’ mode of diplomacy to g o v e r n a n c e ’ i n d e v i s i n g a n d one in which we assert ourselves.” implementing policy, analysts said. Succeeding Niwa will be Shinichi (Mainichi Daily News) Nishimiya, deputy foreign minister in charge of economic affairs, who has Step up think tank diplomacy also served as a minister at the Japanese Embassy in China and “It has been some time now since consul general in New York, according suggestions emerged that Japan's to sources. Niwa is expected to leave presence in international society was his current post in October or later diminishing. The biggest reason for the after attending a series of events to downturn is that politicians have mark the 40th anniversary on Sept. 29 become engrossed in inward-looking of the normalization of diplomatic political struggles while making light of relations between Japan and China, diplomacy. But at the same time, the the sources said.” nation also seems to be lacking in an (Yomiuri) "all Japan" style of diplomatic power in which the government and the private sectors collaborate to transmit Gov't must employ proactive Japan's position throughout the world. diplomacy to influence international To regain ground, Japan would do well opinion to consider the position of its think tanks in diplomacy. Think tanks are “Tensions between Japan and China organizations that research, analyze and South Korea, respectively, have and make suggestions on government yet to calm down. On the same day policy mainly from a private-sector that anti-Japan protests took place perspective. When issues in which the across China, 10 Japanese landed on government can easily become Uotsuri Island, the largest of the trapped in an official position emerge, Senkaku Islands whose sovereignty is researchers of these organizations can disputed by Japan and China.(...) freely exchange honest opinions Japan's post-World War II territorial between themselves, and aid diplomacy -- including its dispute with diplomacy in the process. The Russia over the Northern Territories -organizations are also useful in helping has suddenly become front and the public understand diplomatic c e n t e r. ( . . . ) D u r i n g t h e a g e o f issues. (...) A report from a gathering imperialism, territorial conflicts were of Foreign Ministry experts showed largely resolved through military might, that over a 10-year period starting in but such methods are obviously not 1998, the budget for Japan's five main acceptable today in the 21st century, think tanks was slashed by 40 percent nor should they be. What becomes -- from a total of 3.2 billion yen to 1.8 crucial, then, is diplomatic skill. We billion yen. But during the same must hold talks to keep the emotional period, the budget for the five main standoffs of the Japanese, Chinese, think tanks in the U.S. surged 150 and South Korean public from percent. Even recent figures show that reaching a point of no return, but that the five main think tanks in Europe alone is not enough. The Japanese amassed a budget four times higher government must also make more than their Japanese counterparts. effort to deliver its own messages to Japan does not have a solid culture of



making donations, and the idea of borrowing wisdom from the private sector is weak among politicians and bureaucrats.” (Mainichi Daily News) Japan hints at economic action in South Korea island feud “Japan said on Tuesday it was considering taking measures beyond diplomatic action in its feud with South Korea over a group of disputed islands, suggesting Tokyo may take the unusual step of extending the stand-off into the economic arena. Finance Minister Jun Azumi suggested last Friday that Japan could roll back a n e m e r g e n c y c u r re n c y s w a p arrangement agreed last year and expiring in October. Japanese media has also speculated that Tokyo could abort a plan to buy South Korean government bonds, a step agreed as part of financial and economic cooperation between the two countries. Japan's cabinet on Tuesday held a meeting to discuss a response to what Japan considered a provocative visit of South Korea's president to disputed islands earlier this month.”

“Japan's 71 Olympic medalists received a hero's welcome as they rode through the streets of Tokyo's Ginza district on Aug. 20, being greeted by a crowd of about 500,000 wellwishers.” (AJW Asahi)

detaining and then expelling Chinese activists over the weekend is limited, argues Ting Wei, a professor in the department of government and international studies at Hong Kong Baptist University. “The Chinese government will be cautious,’ he says. (…)China has disputes with many of its neighbors, with the Beijing government quarreling not only with Japan but also with Southeast Asian countries like Vietnam and the Philippines. China has a border dispute with India, too. With a major (Reuters) leadership transition due to take place at the upcoming Communist Party Why China Can't Afford a congress, the last thing China’s rulers Confrontation With Japan want is an escalating political crisis “In its latest confrontation with Japan that will lead Asian countries wary of over disputed islands in the East Beijing’s intentions to look to the U.S. China Sea, China might seem to have for protection.” all the leverage. China is a rising (Businessweek) power, having passed Japan as the world’s second-largest economy, Dip diplomacy: Japanese activists while Japan is stuck in the doldrums. swim to disputed islands, raise flag With few growth prospects at home, Japanese companies like Toyota (TM) and Sony (SNE) need to sell to Chinese consumers. China is also the world’s biggest supplier of rare earth metals, crucial ingredients for hightech products like Japanese-made hybrid cars. Don’t be fooled, though. China’s ability to punish Japan for “Japan’s territorial disputes with its neighbors flared anew Sunday as a group of nationalist activists swam ashore and raised flags on an island also claimed by China. (…) Chinese took to the streets in protest, overturning Japanese-branded cars and smashing windows at some

Japanese-owned businesses, as Beijing lodged a formal complaint, urging Tokyo to prevent frictions from escalating further. Ten Japanese made an unauthorized landing on Uotsuri, the largest in a small archipelago known in Japan as the Senkaku Islands and in China as the Diaoyu Islands. The uninhabited islands surrounded by rich fishing grounds are controlled by Japan but also claimed by China and Taiwan.” (Christian Science Monitor)

Korea-Japan diplomatic war “The two geographically close neighbors ― South Korea and Japan ― are about to embark on a diplomatic warfare that could be a disturbing development to Washington’s Asia policy. It all began with President Lee Myung-bak’s visit to the Dokdo Islets on Aug. 10, to which the Japanese government waged a strong protest, threatening to take the territorial issue to the International Court of Justice. There is an assumption in inter national relations theory that foreign policy often reflects the pressure of domestic politics. The latest eruption of a renewed territorial dispute over the


sovereignty of Dokdo appears to support such an assumption. Both governments in Seoul and Tokyo are facing plenty of public discontent from respective sources of political trouble. (…)n domestic calculations, President Lee may have recovered leverage in demonstrating his urgent economic policy for the remainder of his term. On a diplomatic front, his government has isolated itself with a series of policy failures on North Korea, China and now Japan. Washington stands neutral on the sensitive territorial issue b e t w e e n S e o u l a n d To k y o . I n diplomatic calculation, neither South Korea nor Japan can afford a diplomatic warfare from which neither side can gain in the long term. The two should seek a constructive exit strategy from this nagging trap, maybe with Washington’s intermediation. What’s your take?” (Tong Kim – The Korea Times) Japan Returns Ambassador to S.Korea Amid Island Dispute “Japan is sending its ambassador back to South Korea, one week after recalling him in the wake of an intensifying island dispute between the two Asian neighbors. Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba said Wednesday the ambassador, Masatoshi Muto, will return to Seoul to help manage the dispute over the islands, known as Takeshima in Japan and Dokdo in Korea. Tokyo recalled the ambassador last week to protest South Korean President Lee Myung-bak's visit to the strategic islands, which are thought to be surrounded by energy deposits.” (VOA) In Japan, new taxes levy political toll on Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda “The Japanese prime minister swore for months that he was willing to risk his job for a controversial plan to double the country’s sales tax to 10 percent. Now, political analysts in

Tokyo and Washington say, Noda has won support for that increase, to be phased in by 2015, but he is nearly out of a job, having burned almost all of his political capital in order to push the bills through a notoriously inert parliament. Noda, they say, has proved far more capable than Japan’s previous five prime ministers, all shortlived in office. He is unlikely to keep his job much longer than any of them, though, because of concessions made to win opposition support for the tax increase, which he says is necessary to stabilize Japan’s balance sheet. The DPJ’s approval rating is only slightly lower than the LDP’s, which stands at 21 percent. Almost half of Japan’s voters favor no political party, making it likely that the next ruling party will be formed with a broad coalition, behind the LDP. Asked how Noda will be remembered as a politician, Tokyo-based political analyst Eiken Itagaki said: ‘The prime minister who raised consumption tax. .   .   . The prime minister who broke the DPJ.’” (The Washington Post)

messages of congratulations.” (Reuters) Energy policy chief inclined toward nuclear-free Japan “The nation's new energy policy goal should be to no longer depend on nuclear power, national policy minister Motohisa Furukawa said Tuesday. Furukawa told reporters this means Japan would have to embark on a broad quest to become totally nuclearfree. His comments could spark a backlash because he chairs the government panel that this month must unveil the nation's future energy mix. His remarks came as he announced the government will convene a meeting of experts Wednesday to study public opinions it collected during the course of hearings on the future use of atomic power. Furukawa said the government will reflect the results when drawing up a plan that will wean Japan off nuclear power. But Environment Minister Goshi Hosono cautioned against immediately ending Japan's reliance on atomic power, warning that doing so would lead to a decline in the number of nuclear experts, who are needed to deal with the decades-long work of scrapping the crippled reactors at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant.” (The Japan Times)


London victory parade brings Tokyo to standstill “Japan's Olympic medallists brought downtown Tokyo to a standstill on Monday in an open-top bus victory parade witnessed by around 500,000 flag and fan-waving supporters. The convoy of five buses caused gridlock as fans and shoppers in Tokyo's upmarket Ginza district help celebrate Japan's record haul of 38 medals (seven gold, 14 silver and 17 bronze) at the London Olympics. People working in offices above street level leant precariously out of windows to cheer as the athletes navigated through a vast sea of supporters in Japan's first Olympic celebratory parade of its kind. Attended by 71 of the country's 76 medallists in total, the athletes, sporting their red Olympic jackets, waved as fans crammed the pavement in sweltering summer heat and screamed their names and



How Japan Sees its Military
“Recently renewed concerns in Beijing, Seoul, and elsewhere about Japan’s military strategy for the future following the publication of the country’s most recent white paper on defense point out an interesting disconnect in how Japan is perceived when it comes to its military. (…) Over many years of conducting research in Japan and talking with Japanese living in the U.S., I have made it a point to ask a simple question:  Do you know where Japan ranks internationally in terms of defense spending?  Most of the people with whom I’ve spoken do not have an answer to this question, but the assumption is that Japan must rank very low.  When I explain that Japan is typically one of the top ten defense spenders in the world, the response is usually one of considerable surprise and even some doubt that I have my facts right. The first response to this by non-Japanese might be that the people with whom I’ve spoken are rather naïve about Japan’s military, and there is certainly some truth to this.  But these reactions also point to the fact that most Japanese have a different conceptualization of their military than do citizens in many other countries, even other democracies.  In fact, usually when I intentionally use the word “guntai” to describe Japan’s military, I am immediately corrected that the term should be “jietai”.  The U.S., as I have been often told, has a guntai or military force; Japan, by contrast, has a jietai or self-defense force.  This distinction is not trivial because Japanese people see their own military as an entirely defensive force and, in terms of its international activities, a force that is focused on helping people in other countries but not on fighting wars. (…) In short, while the Japanese government has tried to cautiously distance itself from a rigid interpretation of Article 9 for several decades, the Japanese public have embraced the notion that Japan is a country that has renounced war and does not maintain a military; instead, from many people’s perspectives it maintains a force similar to the U.S. Coast Guard and nothing more than that. Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution in many respects is deeply culturally embedded in a way not unlike the Bill of Rights in the U.S. Constitution. When it comes to nuclear weapons, it is very difficult to imagine a Japanese public that would tolerate a government intent upon overtly developing or deploying this technology. (…) Whether one agrees or disagrees with the perceptions that Japanese have of their own military, the fact remains that most Japanese do not see the SDF as a military force per se, nor are they comfortable with it becoming an offensive military force in the future.  (…) Were it to become public knowledge that the Japanese government was intent upon becoming a nuclear power, it is difficult to imagine the leaders pushing for that goal staying in power for very long. “ (John W. Traphagan –The Diplomat)

Tensions Rise in the East China Sea
“While the situation in the South China Sea is approaching a tense standstill, controversy is again brewing to the north, in the East China Sea and the Sea of Okhotsk. In the run-up to the anniversary of Japan's surrender at the end of World War II, several countries have reasserted territorial claims in the waters around Japan.     South Korean President Lee Myung Bak visited the disputed Dokdo Islands on  Aug. 10, declaring them part of South Korea's sovereign territory. (The islands, which Japan calls Takeshima,  are currently administered by South Korea).  Then on Aug. 15, a group of Hong Kong-based Chinese activists (from both China and Taiwan) journeyed by boat to the Diaoyu Islands -called Senkaku in Japan --  to reassert China's historical claim there.  Meanwhile, over recent weeks Taiwan has renewed efforts to differentiate itself from China even as it echoes Beijing's claims on the islands (while remaining careful not to harm relations with Japan). Even Russia is toughening its stance on Japan's territorial claims, announcing Aug. 15 that it would send four navy ships to the Kuril Islands, which are  administered by Russia but disputed by Japan, between Aug. 25 and Sept. 17. (…) None of these moves will have a lasting impact on regional tensions or, for that matter, the balance of power in Northeast Asia. But they nonetheless serve as reminders of the important role that memories of Japanese actions during World War II continue to play in East Asian politics. (…) On one level, the spike in tensions in the East China Sea reflects an attempt by claimant countries to offset growing political, social and economic instability at home. (…) At the same time, the periodic rise and fall in regional maritime tensions is not only about domestic political cycles. However superficial or passing in themselves, these tensions tap into deepseated geopolitical dynamics. These dynamics, shaped in large part by the region's geography -- by Japan's status as a resource-poor island nation, South Korea's as a peninsula and China's as a continental power -- are embedded in the idea of East Asia as a maritime sphere, where countries must compete for access to and control over water rather than land. (…) These conflicts are as much rooted in geopolitics as they are in history. As the countries of the region try to adapt to a new environment in which the role of the United States is eclipsed by that of regional powers, the notion that their energy and security futures is at stake is both shared and inevitable.” (Stratfor)



Visit to Japan of His Excellency Mr. Martelly, President of the Republic of Haiti [http://www.mofa.go.jp/ announce/event/2012/8/0821_01.html] 40th Anniversary of the ASEAN-Japan Exchange [http://www.mofa.go.jp/region/asia-paci/asean/relation/ ja40/index.html] Mr. Kenichiro Sasae, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, Lodges a Protest against Mr. Cheng Yonghua, Ambassador of the People's Republic of China to Japan [http://www.mofa.go.jp/announce/announce/ 2012/8/0815_01.html] Statement by the Press Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan on a series of terrorist attacks in Iraq [http://www.mofa.go.jp/announce/announce/ 2012/8/0817_01.html] Japan-North Korea Consultations, Japan-ROK relations [http://www.mofa.go.jp/announce/fm_press/ 2012/8/0814_01.html] Recruitment Notice Director, Pacific Islands Centre Tokyo, Japan [http://www.mofa.go.jp/region/asia-paci/ pic_120817_en.html] Details of competition to create a logo and catchphrase for the 40th anniversary of ASEAN-Japan exchange [http://www.mofa.go.jp/region/asia-paci/asean/relation/ ja40/lc_competition.html]


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

Osaka, Japan • Editor’s mailbox: ruifarosaraiva@gmail.com J-SOFT POWER WEEKLY BRIEF covers news or other articles related with Soft Power in the context of the Japanese Foreign Policy. The opinions expressed are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of JFPO. JAPAN FOREIGN POLICY OBSERVATORY (JFPO) HTTP://WWW.JAPANFPO.ORG/

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful