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J-Soft Power Weekly Brief 31

J-Soft Power Weekly Brief 31

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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 Aug 29, 2012
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29th August 2012


Photo of the week:The latest assault on the official vehicle of Japan's ambassador to China demonstrates that the Chinese public's hostility toward Japan, set off by recent territorial disputes over the Senkaku Islands, is spiraling out of control in Beijing. (AJW Asahi)

Quote of the Week
                今週のピックアップ “Think of Tibet — it’s now a dependent territory of China. If Tibet wanted to be an Olympic host could it even apply? They don’t have a country. They don’t have a leader. They’ve even lost their culture. All they have is Dharamsala, India, which is where they have set up their government in exile. I don’t want Japan to end up as a second Tibet..” Shintaro Ishihara Governor of Tokyo in Wall Street Journal 1


Noda to send Hu letter to calm row over islands “Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda will send a letter to Chinese President Hu Jintao in a bid to prevent bilateral relations from deteriorating further after it was soured by a recent territorial spat, the top government spokesman said Tuesday.‘The letter is intended for the stable development of JapanChina relations from a big-picture perspective,’ Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said at a news conference. Parliamentary Senior Vice Foreign Minister Tsuyoshi Yamaguchi planned to visit China later in the day at the earliest to hand the letter to a senior Chinese government official. Given that this year marks the 40th anniversary of the normalization of the diplomatic relations between Japan and China, Noda intends to confirm the nation's policy of promoting mutually beneficial bilateral ties and will call on Beijing to calmly deal with the territory dispute over the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. Referring to Yamaguchi's visit to China, Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba said at a separate press conference that the nation must better communicate with China.” (Yomiuri) Ishin no Kai aims for party status in Sept. / Merger with other groups ruled out “The regional group headed by Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto has decided to establish itself as a political party in mid-September with an eye to contesting the next election of the House of Representatives, according to group executives. In forming the party, Osaka Ishin no Kai (Osaka restoration group) has no plan to merge with other political groups such as Your Party, they said Monday. Ishin no Kai will instead focus on recruiting individual lawmakers such as former Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Yorihisa Matsuno of the Democratic Party of Japan and Kentaro Matsunami of the Liberal Democratic Party, who are both lower house members, the executives said. They said Ishin no Kai is working hard to

secure at least five Diet members so it meets the requirements to become a political party. According to the Public Offices Election Law, a political group can be deemed a political party if it has five or more Diet members or it garnered 2 percent or more of all ballots cast in the most recent Diet election. If a group is recognized as a political party, it has advantages in elections, such as fielding the same candidate in a single-seat electoral district as well as the proportional representation segment.” (Yomiuri)

Flag torn from envoy's car in Beijing “An official car carrying Japanese Ambassador to China Uichiro Niwa was forced to stop in Beijing on Monday evening after two cars cut in front of it and stopped, the Japanese Embassy said. A man, apparently Chinese and believed to be in his 30s, got out of one of the cars, broke the Japanese flag off the ambassador's car and left the scene, the embassy said. Nobody was injured in the incident. Traffic was heavy at the time, and the ambassador's car was on its way to the Japanese Embassy. According to informed sources, the coordinated action by the two cars suggests premeditation. However, some observers said the suspects may have come across the ambassador's vehicle by chance and attacked it after noticing the Japanese flag, pointing out the difficulty in following the car from the embassy. The Japanese Embassy expects the case ‘to be solved soon’ as it has furnished the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau with the license plate numbers and photos of the two cars.” (Yomiuri) Attack on Japanese ambassador's car doesn't reflect sentiment of most Chinese “The attack was an extremely vicious incident. The ripping off of a national flag from the vehicle constitutes an insult against Japan. Moreover, forcing the car to stop is an act of intimidation

threatening to harm the ambassador. It could even be called a terrorist act that showed hostility toward the Japanese and Chinese governments. (...)The Chinese Empire had traditionally taken good care of foreign delegations because it was thought that the larger the number of foreign delegations, the higher the emperor's dignity and virtue was. Even now, Chinese people call foreigners "foreign guests." There is no doubt that a majority of Chinese citizens think the attack on the Japanese ambassador's limo was "shameful." It is naive to determine that the latest incident highlights growing anti-Japan sentiment among the majority of Chinese citizens.” (Mainichi Daily News) Japan, ROK leaders must tread carefully in Takeshima dispute “The South Korean government recently sent back an official letter f ro m J a p a n e s e P r i m e M i n i s t e r Yoshihiko Noda to South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, and the Japanese government turned back a South Korean diplomat who visited the Foreign Ministry in Tokyo to return the letter. It is difficult to believe that mature states were involved in such a childish conflict, and we are deeply concerned that Japan-South Korea friction will escalate further. South Korea's return of the Japanese prime minister's letter came as a surprise as it runs completely counter to diplomatic protocol. It is an extravagant act, especially following President Lee's landing on one of the disputed Takeshima islets and his demand that Emperor Akihito apologize for Japan's colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula. One cannot help but wonder how long the South Korean government will continue such an impolite anti-Japan stance. The Japanese government should respond to the dispute based on common sense and seek the international community's understanding of Japan's position on the issue, rather than dealing with South Korea's offensive acts in an unconstructive way. In that sense, from the viewpoint



of "diplomatic dignity," it is appropriate that Tokyo accepted the returned letter in the end. By dispatching the prime minister's letter to Seoul, Japan has succeeded in showing the world that it cannot compromise on its claim to Takeshima.” (Mainichi Daily News) Japan, North Korea hold first talks in 4 years “Officials from Japan and North Korea held their first gover nment-togovernment talks in four years on Wednesday, amid hopes that new leader Kim Jong Un will adopt a less confrontational approach to relations between his isolated, impoverished communist state and the outside world. The talks are being held at the Japanese Embassy in China, the North's closest ally and biggest aid source, which has been subtly pushing for economic reforms and a more cooperative tone. They are being described as preliminary discussions to pave the way for full-fledged talks in the future covering a broader agenda. (…)The talks were scheduled after the two nations' Red Cross societies met in Beijing earlier this month to discuss the repatriation of the remains of Japanese soldiers, and come a day after a Japanese delegation landed in Pyongyang in a bid to bring back the remains of relatives who died in North Korea during World War II. During the 10-day trip, the delegation will visit the graves of Japanese who died in Korea in the closing stages of the war. In another sign of a slight thaw in JapanNorth Korea relations, Tokyo issued special visas to North Korean soccer players to allow them to participate in the women's under-20 World Cup in Japan. Japan has banned trade and exchanges of people with North Korea under sanctions it imposed over the North's nuclear and missile programs, but sports and humanitarian visits are considered exceptions.”

Another J-Pop phenomenon with international success: “Momoiro Clover

Z dazzles audiences with shiny messages of hope.” (AJW

opinion ahead of an election, is leaning toward setting a target to eliminate atomic power by 2030 - a major policy shift for an economy that had planned to boost the role of nuclear energy before the Fukushima crisis. Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda is expected to call a snap election within months and with his Democratic Party's (DPJ) ratings sagging, pressure is mounting to respond to a growing grass-roots antinuclear movement and surveys showing that most voters want to abandon atomic energy eventually. Such a decision would fly in the face of objections from big business lobbies, which say an aggressive programme to exit nuclear power will boost electricity rates and force companies to move production - and jobs - overseas.” (Reuters) Japan under fire for trying to deny responsibility for wartime sexual enslavement

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said Monday there is no proof showing that Korean women were coerced into sexual servitude for Japanese troops during the 1910-45 occupation of Korea. The remark, along with a series of similar statements by other senior Japanese officials, including Jin Matsubara, chairman of Japan's National Public Safety Commission, bolstered the long-standing impression among South Koreans that Japan is an unrepentant neighbor. (…) On Tuesday, South Korea's envoy on the comfort women issue said the country will step up pressure on Tokyo to resolve the matter, saying it is an issue related to the universal values of mankind as well as Japan's national dignity. ‘Japan has been inert over the wartime sex slavery matter, though Seoul has been calling on it to take due responsibility for the atrocities,’ Ambassador Kim Young-won said in an interview with Yonhap News Agency. ‘We have been proactively putting forth various ways against Japan's inaction and will continue to do so.’”

“One of the long-running complaints (The Korea Times) Japan has about South Korea is that Seoul keeps asking for an apology (AFP) over its colonial rule. Indeed, Tokyo Japan blocks landing on disputed has offered a number of apologies, islands to defuse China tensions Japan leans toward zero nuclear but the fatal problem is that those stance, caution remains apologies never stood long. One such “The Japanese gover nment on “Japan's government, wary of public example of Japan backtracking on its M o n d a y r e f u s e d t o l e t To k y o apologies came this week, when



metropolitan authorities land on islands at the centre of a territorial dispute with China, a move aimed at defusing tensions that led to biggest anti-Japan protests in years. Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara has proposed buying the islands from their private Japanese owners and has sought central government permission to send a team of officials to survey the land. The plan has prompted Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda to suggest that the central government could instead buy the islands it now leases. Both plans sparked outrage in China.” (Reuters) S. Korea Says Japan Free Trade Talks ‘Difficult’ Due to Tensions “ S o u t h K o re a s a i d re s u m i n g negotiations with Japan over a free trade agreement will be difficult given a maritime territorial spat. ‘Soured relations between Korea and Japan pose a difficulty for us,’ head trade negotiator Choi Kyung Lim said at a briefing today in Seoul. ‘It is difficult for us to decide whether we will resume the talks unless these problems are resolved.’ (…) Japan is South Korea’s second-biggest trading partner, and commerce between the two rose 16.8 percent to $108 billion in 2011, according to the Korea International Trade Association website. The two countries played diplomatic ping-pong last week over a letter Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda wrote to Lee protesting the visit to the rocks, known as Takeshima in Japanese and Dokdo in Korean. South Korea returned the letter without response because it referred to the islets by the Japanese name. Japan’s foreign ministry initially refused to accept the returned letter.”

managed to do it anyway. And that’s not good for anyone. Japan and South Korea were in a renewed dispute over ownership of a small group of islands in the Sea of Japan last week when Lee declared that if Emperor Akihito wanted to visit South Korea, he would have to agree to apologize “from the bottom of his heart” for excesses during Japan’s colonial rule, which ended in 1945. The thing is, Akihito had no plans to visit South Korea, and Lee’s remarks were widely perceived in Japan as insulting to the emperor. Akihito is a well-liked and deeply respected figure whose unprecedented television address helped calm the nation in the days following the March 11, 2011, disaster.’” (Time)

U.S.-Japan Security Alliance Is Obsolete Leaving Japan Caught between China and the U.S. in a New Asian Order


“Has the U.S.-Japanese security alliance been a factor in the dangerous dispute between Japan and China over the Senkaku islands, controlled by Japan but claimed by China and called Diaoyutai? And is the alliance going to be a factor in any future resolution or management of this dispute? But in observing the irrelevance of what both the U.S. and Japan continue to claim is the cornerstone of our bilateral relationship, as well as the of the whole structure of the U.S.-dominated security system in Asia (the crux of “The Armitage-Nye Report: U.S.Japan Alliance: Anchoring Stability in Asia” from Washington, D.C.’s CSIS, of which more below), we must ask: ‘If not, why not?’ (…) White writes ‘Japan is the Asian power that will be (Bloomberg) most willing to support the United States in maintaining its supremacy…. Japan To South Korea: Lay Off The ( p. 82) Japan’s predicament is this: it Emperor d e e p l y f e a r s C h i n a ’s g r o w i n g power….Japan’s leaders have little “It’s not clear if South Korean faith that China will prove a benign President Lee Myung-bak intended to regional leader.’ (p. 83).” infuriate Japan, worsen a couple of (Forbes) territorial disputes and complicate U.S. security plans in Asia by picking on a kindly, 78-year-old emperor. But he Noda's hapless diplomacy

“Strange though it may seem, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, who heads the ruling Democratic Party of Japan, is seeking support and advice from former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori of the No. 1 opposition Liberal Democratic Party in his bid to restructure Japanese diplomacy in general as well as improve Tokyo's relations with Russia in particular. (…) Since coming to power in September last year, one of Noda's top priorities has been to restore the nation's diplomacy, which has suffered setbacks after the DPJ replaced the LDP as the governing party in 2009 through a number of blunders, committed first by Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and then by his successor Naoto Kan. And Noda, who replaced Kan, has endeavored to improve Japan's relations with Russia as the first step for restoring Japan's diplomacy. The Japan-Russia relations have long been marred by the territorial dispute over four islands off Hokkaido — Habomai, Shikotan, Kunashiri and Etorofu — which were occupied by the Soviet Union shortly after the end of the Pacific war. (…) Noda has been successful in maintaining good relations with the U.S. President Barack Obama. But his ‘yes-man diplomacy’ without a definitive view has contributed to aggravating the Japan-U.S. relations. A number of other crucial diplomatic issues await Noda, most notable being how to cope with the territorial dispute with China over the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea and whether to enter into formal negotiations on joining the Transpacific Strategic Economic Partnership agreement known as TPP. With the haphazard manner in which the Noda regime pursues international relations, a fundamental restructuring of Japan's diplomacy may be an unachievable dream.” (The Japan Times)


The Trans-Pacific Partnership and Japan
“As talks to conclude a Trans-Pacific Free Trade Agreement (TPP) have recently progressed , the question of whether Japan should be added to the present list of eleven participants and thus of whether it can meet reasonable criteria for open markets has come to the fore. A major obstacle is the structure, practices, and industrial policies associated with the Japanese auto industry. It is perhaps the foremost example of what has become known as the “Closed Open Market” phenomenon. In technical terms the market is completely open with no tariffs or quotas. In reality, the Japanese market, with 6.6 percent, has the lowest penetration of imports and foreign brand autos of all the major auto markets, and this is almost exclusively in the very high price luxury segment. Indeed, Hyundai, the Korean auto maker that is currently perhaps the world’s most competitive producer, has abandoned the Japanese market on the grounds that its non-tariff barriers are so great as to make investment nothing but a waste of money and time. In terms of trade negotiations, this Closed Open Market phenomenon means that Japan can negotiate secure in the knowledge that no matter what formal concessions it makes, imports will not rise. In the particular instance of the TPP, this is all the more the case because the negotiating agenda does not cover the intervention in international currency markets, various investment subsidies, and anti- competitive market structures and practices that cause the major distortions of free market trade flows. (…)It may be that free trade in autos is an impossible dream. For one thing, virtually every major government in the world has some kind of a special auto policy or has investments in its auto companies. Even the United States still owns part of General Motors and Japan is struggling to maintain employment in its biggest manufacturing sector and biggest employer while some European countries like France are actively trying to prevent reduction of production capacity and rationalization. (…) Although the TPP is being touted as a “Twenty First Century” agreement, it is, in fact, nothing of the sort in terms of substance. (…) The main drivers of globalization today are relative currency values, investment incentives and subsidies, anticompetitive practices and structures, and industry targeting policies both formal and informal. Because the TPP deals with none of these, it is largely irrelevant to the main game of globalization and certainly to the realities of the global auto industry and many other similar industries. If the TPP were concluded on its present basis and included Japan, it would inevitably result in an increase in the U.S. trade deficit and a decline in U.S. GDP growth as well as in U.S. employment while failing to achieve any increase in Japanese imports or anything like free trade. Unless the proposed agreement can be recast to cover the major elements driving trade and to provide for affirmative action to counter old structures and practices, it should not include Japan and should probably not proceed at all. “ (Economic Strategy Institute)

Too Late to Catch the TPP Train?
“Last June, during the G20 Leaders' Summit in Los Cabos, Mexico, the international community learned that Mexico and Canada had received official approval to enter into negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an initiative for a high-standard AsiaPacific free trade agreement. Although overshadowed in Japan by the political wrangling over the government's consumption-tax bill, it was a development with important ramifications for the emerging Asia-Pacific economic order—and for Japan's future role in that order.Eight months earlier, prior to the November 2011 APEC summit in Honolulu, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda grabbed the TPP spotlight by announcing that the Japanese government would "enter into discussions with the negotiating parties with a view to participating in the TPP talks." At the time, the international community greeted the statement as a de facto announcement that Japan desired to join the negotiations, and Mexico and Canada wasted no time using the APEC meeting as an opportunity to announce their own ambitions in that direction. Media commentators observed that Japan's decision carried considerable weight—enough to tip the scales where other countries were concerned. (…) All of this suggests that it is simplistic to blame Japan's current position vis-à-vis the TPP solely on Noda's failure to act decisively. A more astute interpretation would be that the forces that oppose Japan's involvement in the TPP process have taken advantage of the (in part, deliberately) vague language of Noda's November statement to make the case that Japan lacks the will—thereby justifying their own obstruction. (…) But Japan's posture in such negotiations should be aligned with basic government policy regarding FTAs. The government has been criticized domestically for providing insufficient information on the TPP. But the kind of information we need now is qualitative, not quantitative. By this I mean not merely a statement on whether or not Japan should participate in the negotiations but an explanation of how Japan proposes to make use of the TPP—as a means, rather than an end in itself—to further the nation's long-term interests. This would allow the public to grasp the TPP's significance in a larger context, while giving officials the means of responding quickly and flexibly at the negotiating table on the basis of Japan's ultimate objectives. What we do not need, clearly, is trade policy debates based on inaccurate information or "pie in the sky" promises about the good things to come once Japan joins a trans-Pacific agreement. The time has come to craft a comprehensive trade and commerce policy backed by a clear and sound vision of the future.” (Takaaki Asano — The Tokyo Foundation)



Japan-Burkina Faso Foreign Ministers' Meeting [http://www.mofa.go.jp/announce/announce/ 2012/8/0827_02.html] Statement by Mr. Yoshihiko Noda, Prime Minister of Japan, on the Passing of Mr. Meles Zenawi, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia [http://www.mofa.go.jp/announce/announce/ 2012/8/0824_03.html] Emergency Grant Aid for Earthquake Disaster in the Northwestern Part of Iran [http://www.mofa.go.jp/ announce/announce/2012/8/0824_02.html] Messages of Condolence for Damages by Tropical Storm Isaac in Haiti [http://www.mofa.go.jp/announce/ announce/2012/8/0827_01.html] Visit to Japan by Mr. Bassolé, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Cooperation of Burkina Faso [http:// www.mofa.go.jp/announce/event/ 2012/8/0824_01.html] Emergency Grant Aid for Refugees from Syria [http://www.mofa.go.jp/announce/announce/ 2012/8/0824_01.html] Statement by the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan on Accession of the Russian Federation to the World Trade Organization (WTO) [http://www.mofa.go.jp/announce/announce/ 2012/8/0822_01.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/

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