15th December 2012


Photo of the week: “Foreign media often portray Shinzo Abe, the head of the opposition Liberal Democratic Party, as a hawk. While he is far from a warmonger, that label likely arose because his words and deeds lay out a hard-line stance in foreign relations, especially within a Japan with its pacifist Constitution.” (AJW Asahi)

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Quote of the Week

“Abe is not fundamentally a right-wing politician. What he most wants to work on is educational reform in order to retrieve the virtues that the Japanese once held” Sanae Takaichi
PR of the Liberal Democratic Party in AJW Asahi



LOWER HOUSE ELECTION 2012 / LDP seen maintaining momentum “The main opposition Liberal Democratic Party, which aims to regain power, appears set to maintain its momentum to win a single-party majority in Sunday's House of Representatives election, the latest Yomiuri Shimbun survey has found. While the Democratic Party of Japan has been catching up in some singleseat constituencies, the situation surrounding the ruling party is harsh, as some incumbent Cabinet ministers are facing uphill battles, according to the survey. Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party), the strongest among the so-called third-force parties, is fighting close races mainly in constituencies in the Kinki region, the survey found. Of the 300 single-seat constituencies across the nation, the latest telephone poll, conducted from Tuesday to Thursday, covered 70 closely contested or prominent constituencies. Aiming to obtain valid responses from 350 voters in each constituency polled, the survey was conducted on 40,593 households with at least one eligible voter. Of them, 26,231 people, or 65 percent, gave valid responses. In addition to the telephone poll, coverage of the latest campaign situation by Yomiuri Shimbun branch offices across the nation was added to the survey analysis. The previous opinion survey conducted on the 300 constituencies on Dec. 4 and 5 found that the LDP could win more than a 241-seat working majority in the lower house, raising the possibility that the LDP and its partner New Komeito together could win more than 300 seats of the 480-seat chamber. Meanwhile, the DPJ is expected to lose a large number of seats in the lower house election, according to the survey.” (Yomiuri) SDF to boost security in skies / Alert to be raised near Senkakus after Chinese plane's intrusion “After the intrusion of a Chinese airplane into Japanese airspace near the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa P r e f e c t u r e o n T h u r s d a y, t h e government plans to increase the level of alert around the islands. This comes as Beijing is expected to

take further moves to rile Tokyo. "Considering China's claim that the airspace is part of Chinese territory, the nation apparently is trying to emphasize its sovereignty over the Senkaku Islands. It's very regrettable, Defense Minister Satoshi Morimoto told reporters the same day. A senior Defense Ministry official said, ‘China took one step further in escalating tensions with Japan.’ The Self-Defense Forces' radar system failed to track the Chinese airplane due to a lack of coverage. After the government placed three of the Senkakus under state ownership in September, surveillance vessels of China's State Oceanic Administration or ships from its Agriculture Ministry have repeatedly intruded into Japanese waters off the islands. Over about three months up to Thursday, these vessels entered Japanese waters near the Senkakus about 60 times. It was the first time a Chinese aircraft has intruded into Japanese airspace. As to why China has taken such a provocative action at this time and not in the past, sources close to the prime minister said China may be exploiting a political vacuum ahead of Sunday's House of Representatives election.”

Political parties not holding enough discussion on nuclear waste

“There is no absolute safety with nuclear plants, only degrees of risk. Even though that has become clear, the political arena has been unable to produce a vision of a future without nuclear power for 21 months. The future of Fukushima Prefecture, where the people had their homes and jobs stolen from them, also remains unclear. It is only natural that feelings of hopelessness should spread. Even so, there are many things the political parties are not talking about in their election campaigns. One subject not getting enough discussion is what to do with nuclear waste. There are about 17,000 tons of spent nuclear fuel in Japan. Much of it is stored in pools at nuclear power plants, and part of it is sent to Aomori Prefecture and stored in the pools of reprocessing plants. Under a policy of fuel reprocessing, that fuel was considered a resource, but with a stop to that policy it has all become waste, and Aomori Prefecture will ask for nuclear plants to take back their spent fuel. However, nuclear plants do not have much space left in their pools, and if they become full the plants will stop. Local governments hosting (Yomiuri) nuclear plants also do not want to accept waste. (…) No matter what Japan demands stricter sanctions policy is pursued, the issue of nuclear waste disposal remains. A new plan is “As the U.N. Security Council began needed to solve the problem.” talks on the missile launch, the Japanese government has stepped up (Mainichi Daily News) its attempts to persuade other nations to tighten sanctions against North LDP pledge to consider stationing Korea. Foreign Minister Koichiro officials on Senkakus will intensify Gemba held teleconferences with his conflict French counterpart, Laurent Fabius, and his British counterpart, William “An election campaign pledge by the Hague, on Wednesday night. They largest opposition Liberal Democratic agreed that the missile launch was a Party (LDP) to consider permanently serious violation of U.N. Security stationing government officials on the Council resolutions. During the talks, Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture, Gemba emphasized that tougher steps which are also claimed by China, is need to be taken against North Korea feared to only intensify the bilateral than the statement of condemnation conflict. Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, issued after Pyongyang launched a who heads the ruling Democratic Party missile in April. Gemba said he expects of Japan (DPJ), and LDP President both nations to join this effort because Shinzo Abe are engaged in a fierce they are permanent members of the battle of words over diplomatic council. Fabius and Hague reportedly measures. However, it is not right for said they would properly deal with the major political parties to only criticize issue at the council.” each other over the country's (Yomiuri) diplomatic policy. All political parties should try to find common ground and cooperate to protect Japan's national interests. Most parties basically share


the view that the Japan-U.S. alliance is the core of Japan's diplomatic policy. They also agree on the need to tighten security around the Senkaku Islands by boosting the Japan Coast Guard's equipment and personnel. Since Chinese vessels have repeatedly intruded into Japan's territorial waters a ro u n d t h e i s l a n d s d u r i n g t h e campaign for the Dec. 16 House of Representatives election, it is only natural for political parties to call on the coast guard to be on full alert. The problem is that the LDP has pledged to review its policy of keeping the islands uninhabited and will consider assigning public servants to the Senkaku Islands and building infrastructure for fisheries t h e re . T h e p a r t y i s a p p a re n t l y considering building small craft basins. However such measures would be inconsistent with the policy of strengthening the Japan-U.S. alliance.” (Mainichi Daily News) The second coming of Japan’s Shinzo Abe “When ill health, diving popularity and a string of cabinet scandals forced Shinzo Abe’s resignation as prime minister five years ago, it was almost universally assumed that the debacle marked the end of his career at the top of Japanese government. But associates who shared Mr Abe’s nationalist vision for a revived Japan, and were still captivated by the charisma of a man groomed from the cradle for politics, never doubted he could win a rare second act on the national stage, says friend and former official Junzo Matoba. (…) It is a twist of political fate that could have implications far beyond Japan. The defeat of the centre-left ruling Democratic party will mark a clear shift to the right for Japanese politics and bring a tougher tone to foreign policy. Mr Abe’s deeply held desire to rewrite Japan’s pacifistic constitution and build a stronger and less constrained military raises hackles in Beijing and Seoul. And his plans for radical central bank policy and huge public spending could either give the world’s third-largest economy a growth boost or set it on the road to fiscal ruin.” (Financial Times)

Waiting for Japan's election: Could the law governing it to give more authority 'Abe trade' be justified? to the government, so it could decide on reactor restarts itself. To be sure, “Hopes that this weekend's Japanese with another general election—for the election will deliver a major policy shift upper house of parliament—coming up towards delivering higher growth and next summer, the LDP is moving with inflation have given the country's caution. They don't want to appear too financial markets a long-overdue shot eager for nuclear power until the upper in the arm. Stock markets have rallied, house election is over, experts and up 10% on the month to their highest government officials say.” levels since April. The yen, which was recently within touching distance of its (Wall Street Journal) post-war high, causing agony for Japan's manufacturers, has eased to eight-month lows. And Japan's longRural Japan term interest rates have fallen to their lowest levels since 2003. (…) The LDP “If there is anywhere in Japan that manifesto maintained Abe's appears to be in decline today, it is the commitment to a 2% inflation target, countryside. Rural areas have been with legislative action to be considered depopulating since the 1950s, when to force the Bank of Japan's hand if it young men, sometimes with their does not co-operate. Of course, families in tow, migrated to the cities to whether an LDP-led government can find work in the urban factories that amend laws related to the central p r o p e l l e d J a p a n ’s p o s t w a r bank, or will in large part depend on industrialization. The blows to rural the election outcome. But even if Abe communities kept coming. The secures a comfortable majority in the relaxation of timber imports in the Lower House, given its lack of control 1960s hurt towns dependent on of the Upper House, it might struggle forestry. The decision to shift to oil-fired to secure the working majorities it will power plants in the early 1970s need in the Diet to pass legislation pummeled coal mining regions. comfortably. Certainly, a government Globalization, the centralization of reliant on a number of parties to pass universities and economic activity in legislation may mean that complicated urban centers, particularly Tokyo, and reforms to shake up the Bank of Japan the rise of overseas tourism drew more are likely to remain more of a threat jobs (and people) out of the than a reality.” countryside. The depopulation of Japanese rural areas came despite a (CNN) thick pipeline of money and public works projects from the central Japan Energy Policy Likely to Change government. (…) The shrinking and Course aging of rural Japan sounds like a sad story of irreversible decline. And indeed “The LDP's platform proposes a three- some communities will disappear. But year period in which to decide which of their fate is fueling a new kind of the country's 48 offline reactors are a c t i v i s m a m o n g y o u n g e r l o c a l safe enough to restart—a controversial residents who see the villages’ clean issue that has been stalled since last water and air, natural environment, and year's massive earthquake and empty school places as selling points. tsunami sparked one of the world's (…) Rural Japan might be just the right worst nuclear accidents and turned place to raise the next generation of most of Japan against atomic power. Japanese children. ” While the DPJ has said it favors turning (Council on Foreign Relations) all reactors off by 2040, the LDP, led by Shinzo Abe, is merely saying it would like to create a society that doesn't depend on nuclear energy. Another potential flash point is the Nuclear Regulation Authority, which was set up in September by the DPJ after the old one was slammed for being lax in the wake of the 2011 nuclear accident. Critics say that the regulator wields too much power over restart decisions, and favor changing the half-year-old




Ishihara and the Senkakus: The Japanese State of help expand Japan's diplomatic horizons, one could take c o m f o r t f ro m l o o k i n g a t t h e s e m o re p ro m i s i n g Mind
“Ishihara was on the losing team in 1945 at the age of 13, born and raised in a country that he took pride of but that had been utterly defeated.Whilst at college, he became a national icon, having gained recognition as an accomplished novelist. He earned fame as a fearless straight talker by the young age of 25. It was as if he and his younger brother, a hugely popular actor who was the pin-up boy of every woman in 1960s Japan, were the epitome of a young, aspiring and rising nation. He must now be a frustrated old man, because the country he loves is in decay. (…) In this way Ishihara is emblematic of a Japan that is increasingly frustrated, even desperate, aware that the clock is ticking until its self-marginalization becomes irreversible. Robert Cooper hypothesized in his seminal work, The Breaking of Nations, that had Japan been located in Europe, it could have built a full-fledged "post-modern" nation with its restraint on defense build-up and stress on multilateralism. Yet, the British diplomat continued, how long a post-modern nation surrounded by a sea of "modern" nationalists in the Western Pacific can sustain itself is an open-ended question. (…) This is not an entirely new phenomenon but, truth be told, ten years ago when Japan's economy was as large as those of most of its neighbors' combined, Tokyo failed to recognize the serious consequences of its neighbors’ growth and its own demographic changes. It is now deprived of that luxury of economic supremacy. "Japan is no longer influential," Lee Myung-bak, the South Korean President, openly declared, justifying his intended provocation of setting foot himself on the long disputed island off Japan's Shimane prefecture. (…) This is a phenomenon rarely seen over the past decades: a Japan that feels increasingly insecure economically as well as militarily. (…) So far Tokyo has shown its hallmark perseverance. It could well have opted to become wholly self-occupied after the March 2011 disasters, but it did not. Tokyo instead showed its willingness to reinvest in the alliance with the United States despite the lingering stalemate―of its own making―regarding the relocation of elements of the U.S. Marine Corps that are based on Okinawa. (…) Japanese didn’t have a sudden epiphany about the importance for Japan of other countries. Indeed, it had been wrestling with how to position itself internationally for most of the previous decade – in various ways and in different directions. When this author served in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the late 2000s, seeking to developments. For in retrospect, Japan's foreign policy took an important turn toward more firmly enmeshing the country in the fabric of democracies, near and far, by the year 2006. (…) To further enhance its long-standing alliance with the U.S., Tokyo embarked on a path it had never followed before: an Atlantic path. In Iraq, Japan's army (Ground SelfDefense Force) worked for humanitarian assistance under the cover provided by the armies of Britain and Holland, two important members of the North Atlantic Alliance. (…) Japan’s gesture of moving closer toward the Atlantic-based military alliance was rather like a friend informally knocking at the back door of its most trusted ally, the United States. (…) In 2009, when the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) took power after decades of almost unbroken rule by the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) , new Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and his colleague, the DPJ heavyweight Ichiro Ozawa, both argued that Japan should seek an equidistant relationship, like an equilateral triangle, involving Japan, China and the United States. The idea of an East Asian Community, with the specific implication that Pacific partner nations, notably the United States, ought to be side-lined, also gained currency. But in order to materialize the equilateral triangle, it would first be necessary to make the relationship between Washington and Tokyo more distant. To say that Japan would need the East Asian Community was hence not unlike advocating that Japan should distance itself from the U.S. and willingly fall under the extended shadow of the Sino-sphere. With that short-lived confusion in the interval, it looks as if Japan's diplomacy has come full circle. The AFP as a slogan has disappeared. After all it was one of Japan's rare attempts at self-branding. However, its spirit remains alive, as evinced by its rapid involvement in the liberalizing Myanmar. Most notably Japan chose to deepen its relations further with India. Tokyo now holds its track-one trilateral dialogue with Delhi and Washington on a regular basis. The Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement Tokyo has accomplished with Delhi is a rare success among Japan's free trade agreements. Even with South Korea, Japan attempted to reinvent the bilateral relationship, by proposing to forge the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) between Seoul and Tokyo. This was to no avail as at literally the last minute Seoul backed off - reportedly for fear that any kind of military agreement with Japan could jeopardize Seoul's relationship with Beijing. Tokyo's sentiment, though, remains that as long as South Korea is a democracy, common sense and sober


consideration will eventually prevail there and that the GSOMIA, which would be necessary in the event of a threat to Korean security, will eventually be signed. Against this backdrop of international outreach from Tokyo, Chinese provocations over the Senkakus began. Despite Beijing’s assertions, Tokyo Governor Ishihara's announced intention to purchase the uninhabited islands' property rights from its individual owner, and the subsequent response of the central government to purchase the islands to prevent political grandstanding, did not rock the boat first. (…) Facing Chinese aggressions into its territorial and contiguous waters Japan has felt even more keenly the urgent need to anchor itself to the group of maritime democracies. Gradually a concept that Japan should form a "security diamond" (this author's term) between Hawaii, Canberra, Delhi and Tokyo has taken shape. The frequent military to military exchanges among the four apexes are proof of that emerging diamond. (…) At this writing, the general elections for the lower house of the Japanese Diet can take place anytime soon. The elections for the upper house are due in July 2013. It is now more likely that those elections will bring back the once ousted Liberal Democrats into a position pivotal enough to form the core of any coalition government. Ishihara will provide impetus for Japan's political discourse to lean toward the realist. “ (Tomohiko Taniguchi – The Tokyo Foundation)

A Referendum for Japan
“Japan’s politicians have been released from legislative deliberations, and are  rushing to prepare for the next Lower House election, scheduled for December 16. The media is in hot pursuit as politicians change allegiances and new parties emerge and join forces against Japan’s old legislative guard. There is a palpable frenzy of criticism against Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and his much maligned ruling party, the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ). But to think this election is just a referendum  against  the DPJ misses the point. This election will shape Japan’s choices for years to come. Ever since the DPJ came into power, the effort to force it back into an election has driven opposition parties, most notably the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). Several rounds of no-confidence votes were put forward in the Diet, one purportedly a deal between the DPJ’s Ichiro Ozawa and then LDP president Sadakazu Tanigaki. Electoral ambitions colored policy deliberations, and a policy consensus between the DPJ and the LDP proved illusory. (…) But watching the currents of politics in Tokyo these days, I find this idea of a grand coalition hard to grasp. First of all, this idea seems to overlook the fact that the DPJ itself was a realignment of this type, a forging of a coalition among those who wanted to put forward a viable political party that could contest the LDP’s longstanding grip on power. The coalition that emerged as the DPJ was hard to manage, however, once the party took power. Second, the erosion in DPJ membership, most notably the decision by Ozawa and his followers to leave the party in July, may have strengthened the DPJ rather than weakened it. (…) Finally, and perhaps most important, the scramble to

form new parties suggests to me that Japanese politics continues to fracture rather than congeal. These new parties aim to position themselves for leverage over the new government once the election is over. In the short term, the first casualty of this process could be the DPJ as more and more politicians seek opportunity on the “winning” side or in opposition to their own party. (…) The LDP president Shinzo Abe, seen as the most likely to succeed Noda as prime minister, will have to demonstrate that he is able to lead a coalition government. The conservatives will need to vastly expand their legislative presence, currently at 118 seats in Japan’s 480-seat Lower House. (…)Japan faces complex and contradictory sets of challenges. Many of these challenges are economic, and in this, Japan is no different than any other advanced industrial economy. But some of these challenges are particular to Japan’s economic institutions and priorities, and how to energize this national economy in the context of a much changed and still changing global economy. Demographics will matter also, and the social infrastructure to manage Japan’s aging society is not yet fully in place or affordable. Strategically, Japan is in a much different place than it was even a decade ago, and how it positions itself in the world will depend largely on how it organizes itself internally to make decisions and to deliberate options. But it will also depend on a careful analysis of Japan’s choices, including its alliance with Washington and its strained relations with its neighbors. Finally, some of the social patterns that informed national policy in Japan just no longer exist today, as more and younger Japanese have preferences and choices much different from their parents. Women need a larger place in Japan’s leadership if the country is to thrive. (…) The country has come through this tremendous test of its society with resilience and pride, and new ideas about Japan’s future prospects have been informed by this experience. Yet its politicians seem mired in the factionalism of the past, and limited in their ability to envision Japan’s future. December 16 ought to be a referendum on Japan’s future, and the people of Japan will need to choose their next government based on the ideas and the vision for the future that will move their society forward.” (Sheila A. Smith — CFR)




Statement by the Minister for Foreign Affairs on the plan for the construction of housing units for Jewish people in East Jerusalem and the West Bank [http://www.mofa.go.jp/announce/announce/ 2012/12/1203_01.html] Adoption of the UN General Assembly resolution on the status of Palestine in the UN [http://www.mofa.go.jp/ announce/fm_press/2012/11/1130_01.html] Adoption of the Draft Resolution on the Nuclear Disarmament Submitted by Japan to the United Nations General Assembly [http://www.mofa.go.jp/announce/announce/ 2012/12/1204_01.html] The Fukushima Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety [http://www.mofa.go.jp/announce/fm_press/ 2012/11/1130_01.html] Statement by the Minister for Foreign Affairs on the adoption of the negotiating mandates for a Japan-EU EPA and an agreement covering political and other cooperation by the Foreign Affairs Council of the EU [http://www.mofa.go.jp/ announce/announce/2012/11/1129_01.html] Entry into Force of the Tax Information Exchange Agreement between the Government of Japan and the Government of the Principality of Liechtenstein [http://www.mofa.go.jp/ announce/announce/2012/11/1130_01.html] Adoption of the Resolution on the Situation of Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea at the Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly [http:// www.mofa.go.jp/announce/announce/ 2012/11/1128_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/