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J-SOFT POWER WEEKLY BRIEF Nº38
Photo of the week: Public support for the Noda Cabinet has plunged to 18 percent, the lowest level since the administration came to power in September 2011, an Asahi Shimbun survey shows. (AJW Asahi)
Quote of the Week
今週のピックアップ “The status of bilateral relations might be set back to more than 40 years ago (if the dispute is not settled soon). (...) Otherwise, efforts by many Japanese prime ministers (to maintain good relations with China) over the past four decades could come to naught."
Japanese Ambassador to China in Asahi Shimbun 1
3 Chinese Navy ships seen off
September, a survey by the ministry breaking the political impasse. As DPJ has revealed. This is apparently due to legislators have been quitting the party an increase in foreigners accessing the one after another, the governing party site to conﬁrm Japan's stance on the appears to be on the verge of losing a Senkaku Islands, a senior ministry simple majority in the lower house. (...) ofﬁcial said Friday. On Sept. 11, Japan The Diet has come under mounting nationalized three of the ﬁve islands, a pressure from the public to pass a territorial issue that has led to a sharp special measures bill to issue deﬁcitdeterioration in Japan-China ties. The covering bonds into law as soon as ministry plans to more actively send possible. The prime minister has messages conﬁrming the legitimacy of instructed his government to draw up its claim that the islands are an economic stimulus measures using inherent part of Japanese territory.” (Yomiuri) reserve funds, but questions remain as to how far such makeshift measures will be effective in bringing the economy out of the prolonged slump. Party leaders should not contribute to political impasse Priority must be placed on deliberating on and approving the bill so that the
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Okinawa “The Defense Ministry's Joint Staff Ofﬁce said Tuesday it has conﬁrmed the presence of three Chinese Navy vessels off Okinawa Prefecture's main island.Maritime Self-Defense Force P-3C patrol aircraft found the three vessels sailing north in waters about 470 kilometers south of Okinawa Island at around 5 p.m. Monday. Of the three, two were missile destroyers and one was a frigate, the Joint Staff Ofﬁce said, adding one of the destroyers was of a type never before seen by the MSDF. The ofﬁce said it is unclear why the three military ships were sailing in the waters..” (Yomiuri)
budget can be properly implemented. “A meeting between Prime Minister There are no prospects that a national and ruling Democratic Party of Japan convention on social security system (DPJ) leader Yoshihiko Noda, largest reform, which was incorporated in the opposition Liberal Democratic Party three-party agreement on integrated
Haneda named ambassador to Iran “The government on Tuesday named
head Shinzo Abe and New Komeito reform of the tax and social security chief Natsuo Yamaguchi on Oct. 19 systems, will be launched anytime Koji Haneda, former director general of collapsed after the prime minister soon. The prime minister should be the Cabinet Ofﬁce's international refused to promise to dissolve the aware that vainly delaying the peace cooperation ofﬁce, as House of Representatives within this implementation of these policy ambassador to Iran, effective the year. In a meeting with Abe's measures will only contribute to the same day. Haneda, 56, entered the predecessor, Sadakazu Tanigaki, the political stalemate. (...) As the lower Foreign Ministry in 1979. He worked at prime minister had agreed to dissolve house must be dissolved within less the peace cooperation ofﬁce from the powerful chamber "sometime than a year, it is absurd to focus August 2010 to September this year soon" to call a general election. (...) excessively on the tug-of-war between after taking such posts as deputy More than two months have passed ruling and opposition parties over the director general of the Foreign since Noda pledged to dissolve the timing of the dissolution of the Ministry's North American Affairs lower house "sometime soon." The chamber. Prime Minister Noda and Bureau.” approval rating for the Noda Cabinet LDP head Abe must not throw the (Yomiuri) has been hovering low and calls extraordinary Diet session into persist within the DPJ for a delay in confusion.” Foreign Ministry sees website hits rise 50% “The number of visits to the English version of the Foreign Ministry's website surged 50 percent from the previous month to 4.97 million in the dissolution of the powerful chamber until sometime next year. As such, the prime minister may be bound hand and foot. Still, one cannot help but wonder whether the Noda administration can make any achievements if he convenes an extraordinary Diet session without Unequal division of electorate pie an offense to Japanese democracy “Now think of the Japanese (Mainichi Daily News)
electorate, whose votes are divided
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into constituencies like the pie into slices -- unequal slices. However, though the inequality in the value of our votes threatens the very root of democracy in this country, moves to remedy this disparity have gone nowhere. The disparity is extreme, with votes in some constituencies carrying ﬁve times the weight of those in others. Imagine getting a slice of pie one-ﬁfth the size of that of the person next to you? But that's the reality of vote values in House of Councillors elections. After the 2010 upper house election, a group of attorneys ﬁled a suit to have the poll declared invalid by the courts. The Supreme Court violates the foundational document of eventually dismissed the suit, but also our polity. Neither the governing nor declared that the current vote value the opposition parties appear to have
“A huge wind turbine built in the Paciﬁc off the coast of Chiba Prefecture was shown to media representatives Oct. 22.’.” (AJW Asahi)
policy also made it unnecessary for Japan to build nuclear weapons. Israel already has a strong military and
d i s p a r i t y w a s " i n a s t a t e o f any respect for vote parity, though this already has nuclear weapons, so unconstitutionality." The ruling then is one of democracy's most sacred extending the U.S. nuclear umbrella to called on the Diet to pass the tenets. What we need now is a wise Israel would not be fully comparable to necessary electoral system reform mother to make sure we slice the pie the U.S.-Japan Mutual Defense Treaty.” legislation as soon as possible to equally.” correct the disparity. The most recent Supreme Court declaration on the unconstitutionality of upper house constituencies is its second decision on the issue, the ﬁrst coming in 1996. Furthermore, in March last year the The nuclear umbrella: The differences between Japan and Israel Tanzania: Japan Projects Bright Future for Nation (Mainichi Daily News) (Washington Post)
“For ﬁve decades, Tanzania and Japan “Moderator Bob Schieffer asked the have enjoyed cordial relations based Supreme Court also declared the highest vote weight disparity of 2.3 candidates if they would declare that on mutual trust. Japan International times in House of Representatives they would consider an attack on Cooperation Agency (JICA-Tanzania) constituencies was in a state of Israel as an attack on the U.S., Chief Representative Yukihide Katsuta, unconstitutionality. In other words, essentially putting the country under in an interview with staff writer Masato both the current upper and lower America’s nuclear umbrella. He cited Masato, anticipates that Tanzania's house were formed after unfair the U.S. mutual defense pact with elections -- an offense to the Japan as an example. One bit of development could lead to closure of the operations of the Japanese Ofﬁcial important context is that the U.S. Development Assistance's (ODA) constitution that the chambers have so far taken too lightly. Of course declared this policy with Japan in the executing agency in the country within constituency reform is no easy task, wake of World War II speciﬁcally so the next 50 years. You can read the bound up as it is with partisan political that the country would not need to full interview here” interests. Our political representatives, rebuild the enormous military that it however, appear unfazed by the fact had used with such disastrous results that the electoral system as it stands in the 1930s and 1940s. The U.S. (AllAfrica.com)
Japan, IAEA working on Fukushima
India, Japan hold talks to increase cooperation in key areas
sounded a strong warning on strained bilateral ties following the recent ﬂareup of a territorial dispute, declaring the
J-SOFT POWER WEEKLY BRIEF
decontamination and disposal base
“The International Atomic Energy “ I n d i a a n d J a p a n t o d a y h e l d situation so dire that it could set back Agency and the Japanese government discussions on enhancing cooperation diplomacy between the two nations to plan to set up a long-term research in key bilateral areas, including a time before they normalized relations base in Fukushima to study ways to maritime, cyber, outer space security 40 years ago. Uichiro Niwa, who decontaminate radiation-tainted areas and also exchanged views on regional returned to Japan on a temporary visit, and dispose of radioactive waste, and international security situation stressed the urgency to resolve the government sources said Saturday. here, ahead of Prime Minister “territorial issue” over the Senkaku (…)The IAEA is expected to dispatch Manmohan Singh's visit on November Islands at the earliest possible time, in researchers from Belarus, Ukraine and 15. During the 2nd India-Japan 2+2 an address on Oct. 20. ‘The status of Russia who participated in the Dialogue involving foreign policy issues bilateral relations might be set back to research and rebuilding efforts and security, the two countries more than 40 years ago (if the dispute l a u n c h e d f o l l o w i n g t h e 1 9 8 6 "reviewed bilateral security and is not settled soon),’ Niwa told an Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine, which defence cooperation and discussed audience at Nagoya University, his was then a part of the former Soviet ways of further expanding such ties. alma mater. “Otherwise, efforts by Union, the sources said. At the (…) These 2+2 consultations at Senior many Japanese prime ministers (to ministerial conference on nuclear Ofﬁcial level are mandated by the maintain good relations with China) safety in Fukushima on Dec. 15, the Action Plan to Advance Security over the past four decades could two parties hope to see Fukushima Cooperation concluded between the come to naught.” He said that both Gov. Yuhei Sato and IAEA Director two countries in December 2009. nations should never let that occur. ‘As General Yukiya Amano sign an These consultations were build on the Chinese Prime Minister Chou En-lai agreement for the project. Fukushima last round of the 2+2 Dialogue held at said, both sides will get hurt in the initially called on the IAEA to open an New Delhi in June 2010. While Japan squabble, with their economies, ofﬁce in the prefecture, but the nuclear has been holding similar consultations cultures and art affected,” Niwa, 73, watchdog was unable to secure the with the US and Australia, this is said. “We have to stem the escalation funding needed. The Japanese India's ﬁrst 2+2 dialogue with any of the feud.’ Niwa described the government, with the cooperation of country and hence is an indication of current souring of Japan-China Fukushima Prefecture, is seeking to the growing proximity between both relations as one the two nations have secure a facility stocked with the the countries. The ﬁrst 2+2 India- never experienced since the two necessary equipment by January, the Japan interaction was held in July countries normalized relations in 1972. sources said. The central government 2010. Intended to be an annual event, “It is essential for the Japanese side to has allotted ¥930 million from the ﬁscal however, the meeting could not be realize that the recent standoff is totally 2011 budget to conduct joint projects held last year due to scheduling in a different sphere, compared with with the IAEA and is negotiating to use problems. The ofﬁcials also discussed the bickering over former Prime part of those funds for the research the agenda and possible deliverables Minister Junichiro Koziumi’s visits to project. On Aug. 31, Sato visited IAEA for the Summit-level meeting between Yasukuni Shrine and a Chinese ﬁshing headquarters in Vienna to request the Singh and his Japanese counterpart boat’s ramming of Japan Coast Guard IAEA's help with decontamination and Yoshihiko Noda.” other efforts.” (The Japan Times) Niwa: Japan-China ties faces worst crisis in 40 years “The Japanese ambassador to China (DNA) vessels off the Senkaku Islands (in 2010),” the ambassador said.” (East Asia Forum)
J-SOFT POWER WEEKLY BRIEF
THINK TANK FOCUS
Japan Should Take Steps for Strategic Use of Oda
“The "strategic use" of Japan's ODA (Ofﬁcial Development Assistance) has long been advocated, particularly over the past 20 years since the end of the Cold War. There are two ways to interpret the term "strategic use." One interpretation of "strategic use" concerns "what" to be focused, namely the security of the international community or Japan's national interests. In other words, ODA is more than a vehicle for assisting impoverished countries. (…) The other interpretation of "strategic use" concerns "how" to implement ODA, namely "mobilizing all the resources and tools in one's possession and combining them organically to respond in a prompt, timely and ﬂexible manner to changes in circumstances." This is what one often sees in business administration. For the sake of "strategically" utilizing and investing resources at hand, policy decision-making processes and organizational structures need to be tailored to this end. Careful consideration is necessary to determine which regions/countries should be prioritized and what assistance should be emphasized, in order to achieve strategic objectives. As one good example for such consideration, the Japanese government is contemplating using ODA to provide the Philippines with patrol boats to enhance that country's coastal security capabilities in the face of growing Chinese political and military inﬂuence in the South China Sea. (…) At the same time, one should not be oblivious of the importance of "strategic use" in the sense of "how" to implement ODA. Peacebuilding and reconstruction assistance is a case in point, where a deliberate combination of PKOs (peace keeping operations), humanitarian assistance and development assistance is required in conﬂict-affected areas. (…) As PKOs, humanitarian assistance, and development assistance take different approaches organizationally and procedurally, it is essential for relevant departments and agencies responsible for these three activities to share information and collaborate closely, to have meaningful coordination. (…) In Japan, however, changes in the organizational structure for such "strategic" implementation of Japan's ODA have been nothing more than incremental, conﬁned to changes within the existing ODA framework, and moves toward more systemic ODA reform have stalled in the midst of the political confusion of recent years. Greater efforts must be made to "strategically" utilize Japan's funds and technology by promoting closer collaboration among a wide range of entities. “ (Juichi Inada – AJISS) what Japan faced in the 1960s and 1970s. (...) Population aging is a phenomenon seen in almost all Asian countries. Figure 1 shows the age dependency ratio (ratio of the population 65 or over to the population between 15 and 64) in various Asian countries. In 2060, the ratio is projected to be 0.464 in Thailand, 0.508 in Viet Nam, 0.518 in China, 0.643 in Korea, and 0.784 in Japan. (…) Aging and social security is a very serious issue in Japan. If the government were to use consumption tax revenues to maintain the present level of social security beneﬁts, the rate would have to be raised to anywhere between 70% and 80% by 2060. This is based on a simple calculation. In 2010, Japan spent 81 trillion yen for social security (pensions, medical treatment, nursing care, etc.) for the aged. This means that Japan spent 2.76 million yen per senior citizen. If this expenditure level is maintained, total social security expenditures would rise with the increase in the number of the aged. Using the future population projections by age group released by the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research, I calculated total social security expenditures by multiplying per capita expenditures by the projected number of the elderly. (…) This is not the end of the story. Until today, the aged did not bear a full burden of social welfare costs. In 1989, when the consumption tax was introduced, and in 1997, when the rate was raised from 3% to 5%, pension beneﬁts were also raised to offset the higher costs for pensioners. This effectively meant that those living on pensions did not have to bear the burden of the tax hike; it was borne by the rest of the population. Since working-age people will make up only 60.1% of the population in 2060, the 39.8% hike in the consumption tax rate will need to be divided by 0.601, resulting in an equivalent of a 66% increase for people not receiving pensions. (…) Recognizing this problem, the Japanese government has been trying to reduce this percentage since the early 1980s. (...) One way of meeting rising social security costs is to increase the consumption tax, and the government did recently succeed in passing a tax hike bill. But this will not solve the problem, since the rates needed to meet projected costs will be unrealistic. The government will have no choice but to cut expenditures. (…) The source of Japan’s skyrocketing social security costs was created in the 1970s. At that time, while the high-growth era had come to an end, Japan’s growth rate was still higher than those of other developed countries. The age dependency ratio was as yet relatively low, allowing Japan to increase social security expenditures. This is a lesson from which Asian countries can learn. Many are now trying to create overall social security systems, while growth rates are high and aging is not yet a serious issue. They can therefore afford to create generous social security systems for the aged. They must realize, though, that this will not be sustainable over the long run and that such a system could come back to haunt them in the future.” (Yutaka Harada— The Tokyo Foundation)
Aging and Social Security in Japan
“Japan’s social security system is too generous, and current beneﬁt levels cannot realistically be maintained. The system was created when Japan enjoyed relatively high growth and aging was not yet a serious problem. Asian countries are now in a situation similar to
J-SOFT POWER WEEKLY BRIEF
Extension of the Dispatch of the International Peace Cooperation Corps in South Sudan [http:// www.mofa.go.jp/u_news/20/ H992012101618411101A/] Japan-Switzerland Summit Meeting [http://www.mofa.go.jp/u_news/20/ H512012101619563201A/] Japan-Luxembourg Summit Meeting [http://www.mofa.go.jp/region/europe/luxembourg/ meeting1210_pm.html] Courtesy Call on Prime Minister Noda by H.E. Ir. M. Hatta Rajasa, Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia [http://www.mofa.go.jp/region/asia-paci/indonesia/ meeting1210_pm.html] Japan-Zambia Summit Meeting [http://www.mofa.go.jp/region/africa/zambia/ meeting1210_pm.html] Holding of the seventh meeting of the Japan-Qatar Joint Economic Committee [http://www.mofa.go.jp/announce/event/ 2012/10/1011_01.html] Visit to Japan by H.E. Mr. Michael Chilufya Sata,President of the Republic of Zambia, Dr. Kaseba Sata [http://www.mofa.go.jp/announce/event/ 2012/10/1005_01.html]
J-SOFT POWER WEEKLY BRIEF
Editor: Rui Faro Saraiva Assistant Editor: Eduardo Passos Assistant Editor: Seiko Sakuragi
Osaka, Japan • Editor’s mailbox: firstname.lastname@example.org 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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