13th June 2012


Photo of the week: Japanese elite forces march through central Tokyo. (AJW Asahi)

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

In a country that adopted pacifism as the basis of its doctrine for Defense and S e c u r i t y, a n d a f t e r s u f f e r i n g t h e consequences of its pre-WWII militarist regime, the image of the Japanese Armed Forces seems to be of extreme importance. Not only for Japanese citizens but for regional or global policymakers. Despite the trends that supports the article 9 erosion or the normalization of Japanese Security and Defense, it seems clear that national consensus is still around the current status quo, but with an increasing role of the SDFs in the context of the PKO’s. After Fukushima, given the disaster-relief role of

the SDFs, their image increased considerably among Japanese citizens. What was seen before as a not so noble activity gained another dimension after the 2011 triple catastrophe. This week, Armed members of the Ground Self-Defense Force’s elite Ranger unit marched in full battle dress through central Tokyo, after a court rejected an application to stop them. The lawyer for the residents, said: “The scene of exhausted (GSDF) members walking with alert expressions through an urban area is bizarre. This should be their last march (in central Tokyo). We have to maintain the peaceful lives of residents.” The

new Defense Minister Satoshi Morimoto replied to the media: “I think that this march is not peculiar. Training of this kind has been conducted before. I allowed the GSDF to conduct the march on the condition that they made sufficient safety precautions.” The Soft Power Dimension of a Hard Power asset like the SDFs, must be considered in a country where the collective memory of militarism is still present, and pacifism still has a strong role, along with the influence of the concept of legitimacy, and the issue of legality sealed on the article 9 of the Japanese constitution. No Japanese soldier marched in Tokyo before 42 years...



Lee: Onus on Japan to restart FTA talks “Japan must slash its trade surplus with South Korea before negotiations on a bilateral free trade agreement can resume, according to South Korean President Lee Myung Bak. Describing Seoul-Tokyo economic relations as ‘closely tied,’ Lee said companies in both countries feel the need for a trade deal, but that it is ‘necessary to resolve the problems that led to the suspension of the negotiations.’ (…) The president called on Japan to take concrete measures to reduce its trade surplus with South Korea, such as through technology transfers to help South Korea cut imports of parts and materials from Japan. Governmentlevel talks on a bilateral FTA started in 2003. However, the negotiations have been suspended since the sixth round held in 2004 because the South Korean side was deeply concerned that a trade agreement might negatively affect its vulnerable parts and material industries, and push up South Korea's trade deficit with Japan.” (Yomiuri) JICA official helps Thais in flood control “As the only foreign adviser to the Thai government's Strategic Formulation Committee for Water Resources Management, Kimio Takeya has been working hard to support reconstruction from largescale flooding last October, which killed more than 800 people and damaged many Japanese companies operating in Thailand. After arriving in the country as a visiting specialist from the Japan International Cooperation Agency, Ta k e y a w a r n e d s e n i o r T h a i government officials, ‘Flood control measures should be taken seriously, otherwise the country will suffer a greater shock than during the Asian financial crisis [in 1997].’ His ability to penetrate an inner circle of the Thai government certainly exceeds that of an ordinary technical expert. Aid entities from Japan, the United States and European nations fiercely compete against one another to help developing countries recover from

natural disasters. But Takeya is expectations that they would come confident in the superiority of away with medals from the 2014 Japanese resources.” Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. (…) The Olympic Games, however, (Yomiuri) requires citizenship of the country competitors represent. In other words, if Tran remains a Canadian Japan, U.S. agree on abduction citizen, he would not be able to efforts compete with Takahashi for Japan. “Japan and the United States This is where Article 9 comes into agreed on Friday to work together on play. (...) On May 21, 1898, at a the issue of North Korea's past meeting of a House of Peers special abductions of foreign nationals. Jin committee for the nationality act bill, Matsubara, Japanese minister for a legal scholar representing the Pyongyang's past kidnappings of government pointed to Gustave Japanese nationals, confirmed the Emile Boissonade de Fontarabie -- a collaboration at a meeting with French legal scholar who lived in Robert King, U.S. special envoy for Japan for over 20 years as a foreign North Korean human rights issues. It government adviser during the Meiji is extremely difficult for Tokyo to Era, and was largely responsible for provide any kind of humanitarian aid drafting the Meiji penal and civil as long as the abduction issue codes -- as someone whose remains unsolved, Matsubara said at contributions could be regarded "a the meeting, according to Japanese special distinguished service.’ (...) It officials. (…) Japan is a key partner does Tran no favors to compare his for resolving difficult issues involving contributions with that of a legal North Korea, King responded, scholar who provided significant vowing that his nation will continue assistance in Japan's transformation its cooperation with Tokyo. Speaking to a modern constitutional state. to reporters after the meeting, However, if a new interpretation or Matsubara revealed that their talks revision of the law is still deemed also touched on David Sneddon, an necessary so that Tran can be given American who disappeared in China Japanese citizenship, we urge the in 2004 and is believed to have been Diet to undertake careful and kidnapped by the secretive state.” comprehensive deliberations as it would with the Constitution.” (Yomiuri) (Yoroku - Mainichi Daily News) Service to Japan and a skater's citizenship “Debate over Article 9 has emerged once again, with some lawmakers calling for a revision. But this time, they're not talking about Article 9 of the Constitution, which prohibits the state from engaging in any act of war, but about Article 9 of the Nationality Act, which stipulates that with the approval of the Diet, the justice minister can permit naturalization of a foreign national who has provided a special distinguished service to Japan. It all began when Japanese pair skater Narumi Takahashi and her Canadian partner, Mervin Tran, won Japan's first bronze medal at the World Championships in March 2012. The following month, they helped Japan win its first gold at the ISU World Team Trophy in Figure Skating competition, which further raised IMF: Japan Must Do More About Deflation

“The International Monetary Fund said Japan's government and its central bank must do more to combat deflation, but the lender also expressed sympathy for Tokyo's controversial foreign-exchange interventions meant to limit the negative effects of a strong yen on the export-dependent economy. In a



report following its annual policy meeting with Japanese officials, the IMF said Tuesday that the Bank of Japan is capable of further measures, such as the purchase of longer-term government bonds as well as private-sector debt and e q u i t y, t o m e e t i t s r e c e n t l y announced 1% inflation goal. (…)The central bank is already engaged in what it calls "powerful" monetary easing, spearheaded by ¥70 trillion ($875 billion) in asset purchases, largely government debt. But the central bank is under strong political pressure to do more to weaken the yen and reverse entrenched deflation. At more than 200% of annual GDP, the nation's public debt makes more government spending difficult.” (Wall Street Journal) and China.” Lawmakers push Japan to get tough on isle dispute “Japanese lawmakers pushing for a tougher stance in a dispute with China over several uninhabited islands said Monday the country should allow a team of experts to travel there to study development possibilities and environmental issues. The proposal is the latest move by some influential Japanese to push their country's claims to the islands, which are called Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese. If carried out, it would likely heighten tensions with Beijing. The idea was debated a day after an unofficial "fishing" trip to waters off the islands by a half-dozen national lawmakers. China claims the islands are part of its sovereign territory. Taiwan also claims the islands. China's Foreign Ministry protested the lawmakers' visit, calling it an "illegal and ineffective" action. (…) No decision was made at Monday's parliamentary hearing, but several speakers expressed support for an onsite study. ‘We need to promote the development of the islands and the possibility of having people living there,’ Taro Kimura, a conservative lawmaker, told the hearing. ‘I support government approval for these missions.’ Surrounded by rich fishing grounds, the islands are a flash point in diplomatic relations between Japan (ABC News) Japan PM: Restart nuke reactors for 'survival of society' “Japan's prime minister said on Friday that two idled nuclear reactors in western Japan must be restarted to protect jobs and ensure the "survival of society", risking a voter backlash given safety fears more than a year after the Fukushima crisis. Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda sought to soothe those worries at a news conference just hours after the former president of Fukushima plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co testified in front of a panel appointed by parliament to probe the disaster (…) Noda's decision to restart the two reactors, expected to be confirmed at a meeting with key ministers, will ease worries about power shortages among firms in the region, including struggling electronics giants Panasonic Corp and Sharp Corp. But the move, seen by many as a first step to bringing more reactors on line even before a new nuclear regulator is in place, could undermine Noda's already sagging support among voters still worried about safety.” (MSNBC)

Japan vows to restart nuclear reactors despite public polls showing that Japanese people oppose nuclear power more strongly than a year ago. (Abc News

Japan's Economy Grew Faster Than Estimated “Japan's economy grew more strongly than previously estimated in the January-March quarter, but a smaller-than-expected rise in the current account in April suggests the good times may not continue. Revised government figures released Friday showed that annualized gross domestic product in the first quarter was up a price-adjusted 4.7%, compared with an initial reading of 4.1% released last month. (…)The strong yen has prompted manufacturers to move production overseas, reducing overall exports from Japan, while last year's nuclearplant accident has forced an increase in energy imports as fossil fuelpowered electricity plants replace idled reactors. (…) The main factor improving the GDP figures was capital spending—now said to have been down 2.1% from the previous quarter, rather than the previously estimated 3.9%. The estimate of growth from the previous quarter in private consumption, which accounts for about 60% of GDP, was revised to 1.2% from 1.1%.” (Wall Street Journal) Japan official pushes to buy disputed islands “Japanese national pride has



attracted $14 million and counting. That's how much citizens have chipped into a public fund to buy a set of islands the Japanese say is rightfully theirs. The islands, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, have been a diplomatic and emotional wedge between the two Asian superpowers, as both countries lay claims to the five uninhabited rocky islets in the East China Sea. The dispute, which dates back decades, came to a boiling point in 2010 when a Chinese fishing trawler rammed into a Japan Coast Guard vessel on patrol in the island's waters. Japan detained the crew but later released them under Chinese diplomatic and trade pressure. (...) Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara never got over that dispute and his national government's response, which he characterizes as ‘weak.’ Ishihara, an unrepentant nationalist who is loudly anti-China, said when it comes to the islands, China is acting like ‘a burglar in Japan's house.’ ‘Chinese hegemony is totally intolerable to us,’ said Ishihara. ‘We do not want to become a second Tibet and Mongolia. We have no intention of becoming China's annex. We shall stop China, who is coming to steal our land.’” (CNN) Prince Tomohito, 66, Japan’s ‘bearded prince’ who ignited controversy about women on throne “Prince Tomohito, a cousin of Japanese Emperor Akihito, died Wednesday after bouts with various ailments, the Imperial Household Agency said. He was 66. (…) Mr. Tomohito was the eldest son of Prince Mikasa and Princess Yuriko. Mikasa is the younger brother of Hirohito, the wartime emperor and father of Akihito. The public fondly called Mr. Tomohito “the bearded prince,” referring to his full beard, unusual for Japanese royalty. In 2005, he set off a stir when he wrote an essay saying Japan should exhaust all options, including bringing back concubines, before allowing a woman to ascend to the imperial throne. (…)But in 2006, Akihito’s younger son had a boy, Hisahito, solving the dilemma. Under the country’s postwar constitution,

imperial family members have no political power. Their role is largely symbolic, such as meeting foreign dignitaries and attending concerts and sports events. But Japanese feel an emotional attachment to the emperor. Thousands of people throng to the palace and wave to him and his family on special days.” (Chicago Sun Times) Japanese protest over planned restart of nuclear reactors “Hundreds of Japanese anti-nuclear protesters gathered outside the prime minister's office on Friday, beating drums and chanting slogans against the planned restart of reactors a year after the world's worst nuclear disaster in 25 years. (…) All of Japan's nuclear power plants, which once supplied about 30 percent of the country's energy needs, have been taken off line, leaving Japan vulnerable to power outages during the summer. Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said on Wednesday said that it is necessary to restart idled reactors whose safety has been confirmed and that the central government is winning the understanding of local authorities.” (Chicago Tribune) Pacific Japan researchers produce bio-based artificial bones “In Japan, Tokyo Tech’s Toshiyuki Ikoma and Junzo Tanaka have developed technology for producing artificial bones from fish scales and apatite. The new process forms new bone tissue with a much higher density and are thereby very strong and when implanted into bone defects transform into bone tissue much faster than those using porcine dermis collagen – three months for this process versus six months for bone from porcine dermis.” (Biofuels Digest) Japanese astronomers use telescope on Hawaii volcano to detect what could be oldest galaxy “A team of Japanese astronomers

using telescopes on Hawaii say they’ve seen the oldest galaxy, a discovery that’s competing with other “earliest galaxy” claims. The Japanese team calculates its galaxy was formed 12.91 billion light-years ago, and their research will be published in the Astrophysical Journal. The scientists with the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan used the Subaru and Keck telescopes on the summit of Mauna Kea. (…)Current theory holds that the universe was born of an explosion, called the Big Bang, about 13.7 billion years ago. So astronomers using the most powerful telescopes available are peering deeper and deeper into that dawn of the universe.” (Washington Post) In the footsteps of Captain Tsubasa, Manchester United-bound Shinji Kagawa continues to inspire a nation

“The star's rise from the J-League's second division to the Premier League mirrors that of a fictional player whose career began in 1981 and continues even today. When Japan captain Makoto Hasebe compared team-mate Shinji Kagawa’s Manchester United signing to something out of a comic book he would have read as a child, he was not exaggerating. For before Japan’s multiple Asian Cup championships, before a 40-team J-League and a regular stream of players to Europe, before ‘Samurai Blue’ became a household name, there was Captain Tsubasa. (…) ‘In a country where teamwork and cooperation are emphasised, Tsubasa's conversion to midfielder inspired an entire generation to follow suit’” (Goal.com)



The Myth of Change-Resistant Japan “All countries, peoples, cultures are unique, but in mainstream Western commentary no country surpasses the Japanese in being regarded as uniquely unique. This was true in the late-nineteenth century and early-twentieth century when Japan startled the world by moving swiftly from feudal isolation to one of the “Big Five” powers at the Paris Peace Conference following World War I. During the 1930s and early 1940s, Western commentators routinely diagnosed the nation's descent into militarism and war as singular historical and psychological or sociological pathologies. The highs and lows of Japan's post-1945 experience also prompted a steady stream of sui generis cultural explanations. In the realm of East-is-East-and-West-is-West myth making, “the Japanese mind” holds a special, and especially tenacious, place. (…) Beginning in the early 1990s, when the bubble burst and doldrums arrived, another cliché joined the old bromides about Japan's special character: “change-resistant.” Japanese popular culture and technological innovation generally escape this sentiment, but rarely the political economy and seldom Japanese society and culture at large. (...) Such crude cultural determinism tells us less about Japan than about our own abiding ethnocentricity. Of course history, and what Edward Gibbon called the commands of custom, matter. The history that matters most has little to do with feudalism, however, and a great deal to do with modernity as experienced by a vulnerable Asian state embedded in a fiercely competitive world defined and dominated by Western powers. (…) It is easy for outsiders to forget the conditions under which defeated Japan rejoined the so-called community of nations more than a half-century ago. It is not easy for the Japanese to forget these conditions, which continue to influence, haunt, and hamstring the nation's policymakers. Hammered out in the midst of the Korean War and just a few years after the Communist victory in China, the patchwork of interconnected bilateral U.S.-Japan agreements that accompanied restoration of sovereignty was simultaneously a blessing and curse. It established the military umbrella and patron-client relationship under which Japan promoted industrial policies that led to its emergence, beginning in the late 1960s, as the world's second-largest economy. At the same time, however, nestling so firmly under the eagle's wing locked Japan into what has turned out to be a lasting and psychologically enervating status of subordinate, or dependent, independence.(…)History does not repeat itself. We will not see another Japanese quest for autarky, such as occurred when the global depression that began in 1929 swamped the reconstruction boom and paved the way for the rise of the militarists. Nor will we ever again be bombarded with such hoopla as the “Japanese miracle” and “Japan as number one” that flourished in the 1970s and 1980s. That is all to the good: postwar reconstruction was no miracle and the “number-one” rhetoric was delusory. Still, it is instructive to look back to 1945 and recall what people of good will, standing on the cusp of the postwar world, hoped defeated Japan might become: democratic, equitably prosperous, and never again a threat to its neighbors. Japan achieved these goals and, for all its recent travails, has not lost hold of them. Such a fusion of resilience, competence, discipline, and collective creativity in the face of daunting challenges does not appear overnight; nor does it simply vanish.” (John W. Dower – JPRI) Japan Should Play a Constructive Role in the Arctic “The sea ice melting in the Arctic Ocean caused by climate change has effects on such issues as oil and natural gas development and environmental protection. Among those issues, the opening of Arctic sea routes may have the deepest impact on Japan. (…)Let's consider the impact of opening Arctic sea routes on Japan on two levels, regional and global. In Northeast Asia and around Japan, this raises concerns about increased traffic and a sea power struggle between Russia and China. If navigation on the Arctic sea routes becomes routine, traffic between the Asian littoral countries, including China-which has become an economic power-and South Korea, and Europe will pick up substantially. Active communication through those routes, including the one between Northeast Asia and the west coast of North America, would mean increased traffic by foreign vessels in the Sea of Japan, the waters from the Tsugaru Strait to the Kuril Islands, and other seas surrounding Japan. In such a scenario, the countries concerned would likely compete for protection, or appropriate control from the Russian viewpoint, of maritime traffic in the waters surrounding Japan. (…) On a global level, it is important to make rules and institutions regarding the Arctic. The Arctic littoral countries have agreed in general to respect the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). However, Russia and Canada are against free passage from their respective standpoints, and both are attempting to impose obligations such as escort and reporting. One issue that Japan needs to consider is whether it will pursue "freedom of navigation" like the United States or accept littoral countries' claims. Japan needs to take into account its alliance with the United States and the merits and demerits of the claims applied in other parts of the world when making decisions and claims of its own. (…) Nobody knows whether the sea ice will continue to melt and open regular sea routes. However, other countries are preparing for the opening of the Arctic and taking concrete measures. Given these circumstances, Japan urgently needs as a matter of security to become actively engaged if it is to survive as a major player in the international community.” (Takahiro Ishihara – AJISS-Commentary)



Japan-Kosovo Summit Meeting (Overview) [http://www.mofa.go.jp/region/europe/kosovo/ meeting1206_pm.html] Visit to Japan by Their Royal Highnesses Prince Philippe and Princess Mathilde of the Kingdom of Belgium [http:// www.mofa.go.jp/announce/event/2012/6/0608_02.html] Visit to Japan of H.E. Mr. K Shanmugam, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Law of the Republic of Singapore [http://www.mofa.go.jp/announce/announce/ 2012/6/0608_02.html] Statement by the Press Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, on the decision regarding the construction of housing units in the West Bank [http://www.mofa.go.jp/announce/announce/ 2012/6/0608_03.html] Japan-Armenia Foreign Ministers' Meeting (Overview) [http://www.mofa.go.jp/announce/announce/ 2012/6/0607_03.html] Meeting between Mr. Koichiro Gemba, Minister for Foreign Affairs, and H.E. Mr. Ashour Saad Ben Khaial, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Libya [http://www.mofa.go.jp/announce/announce/ 2012/6/0606_02.html) The 16th Round of Negotiations for Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) [http:// www.mofa.go.jp/announce/event/2012/6/0608_01.htm]


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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