Posted by Charles II on April 22, 2014
Justin McCurry, The Guardian:
Barack Obama is expected to offer guarded support for Japan in its bitter territorial dispute with China over a group of islands in the East China Sea, as Washington seeks to reassure its Asia-Pacific allies of its commitment to regional security in the face of an increasingly assertive China.
In a sign of how anxious Japan has become over potential threats to its thousands of outlying islands, it began its first military expansion in more than 40 years at the weekend, starting construction of a new base on the southern island of Yonaguni, which is located near the Senkakus.
In a move likely to cause alarm in Beijing, Obama is expected to reach an agreement with the Philippines on better access to the country’s airbases and ports for the US air force and navy, more than 20 years after the US closed its huge naval base in Subic Bay.
Obama’s visit to South Korea will centre on security ties….
In Malaysia, where Obama will be the first sitting US president to visit since Lyndon Johnson in 1966, Obama will attempt to strengthen ties with the leadership despite concerns over its treatment of opposition politicians.
Now, I think that Japan and China should agree to let these islands be a world property, whose resources will be used to make whole those impacted by global warming. Both should have a right of free commercial passage through the area, and make an agreement that there would be no military vessels except in response to outside intervention (by, say, pirates). That would be a slight irritant to China, which doesn’t want to have any restrictions on its military movements, but it would demonstrate good faith. But that is not what is happening. Japan is forward positioning its military and the US is lining up with Japan. This will go a long way toward helping re-form the ties between China and Russia. Other than that, I see little that a formal, public tilt toward Japan will accomplish.
Posted in China, Japan | 2 Comments »
Posted by Charles II on November 27, 2013
Spencer Ackerman, The Guardian:
US warplanes have directly challenged China’s claims of an expanding territorial air defence zone, flying dramatically and without incident on Monday over a disputed island chain [the Senkakus/Diaoyus].
Lieutenant Colonel Tom Crosson, a defence department spokesman, said the planes were not armed and flew “as part of a long-planned training sortie”. The Chinese did not in any way attempt to challenge the planes’ flight, Crosson said, nor did the pilots announce themselves to any Chinese authorities.
A comparable US military challenge to Chinese power has not happened for nearly two decades
The Chinese are IMO behaving very badly. The Senkaku/Diaoyu islands are not important to the Chinese nor, of course, to the Japanese. None of their citizens live there. They are only useful as chits to win military and economic advantage. That’s a good sign that they should be made independent of all.
Instead, we seem to be drawn inexorably toward war.
Update: US, Japan, and S. Korea send aircraft through China’s newly-annexed “air defense zone;” China responds by sending an aircraft carrier into the Taiwan Straits.
Update, 11/29:: So of course the Chinese retaliate by sending their own jets into the Senkaku airspace.
(image from here
And now S. Korea jumps in. Reuters:
South Korea’s Defence Ministry said that in expanding the zone to include two territorial islands to its south and a submerged rock also claimed by Beijing it has fully explained its position to related countries.
Posted in China, Japan, military | 10 Comments »
Posted by Charles II on October 21, 2013
State Dept. briefing 10/18 by Jen Psaki:
QUESTION: What is the U.S. Government’s stance on the Japanese official visit to the Yasukuni Shrine [the Imperial Shrine, which commemorates (among many others) war criminals from WW II]?
MS. PSAKI: Well, we’ve obviously seen, of course, those reports. The real issue here, as we’ve indicated many times, is encouraging – which we continue to do – Japan to continue to work with its neighbors to resolve concerns over history in an amicable way, through dialogue. The U.S. obviously has an interest in regional peace. That’s why we’re so supportive of that. Beyond that, I don’t have any further comment on decisions made by authorities in Japan.
QUESTION: Having more than 100 lawmakers visit the shrine, and one cabinet member —
MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: — do you think this move help to resolve the concern, or actually increase the concerns of the neighbors?
MS. PSAKI: I don’t have any other further analysis on that, other than to convey that what we’re pressing for, and certainly what we – the Secretary did when he was in Japan just a few weeks ago is the importance of continuing to work with Japan’s – of Japan continuing to work with their neighbors and addressing concerns about history in an amicable way.
QUESTION: But one thing I don’t understand is why the U.S. Government don’t have a clear stance, since the shrine has 14 Class A war criminals in that shrine, and whom actually the U.S. helped Chinese to fight against (inaudible). Why are you being so cautious?
MS. PSAKI: So cautious? I don’t think I am. I think I’m conveying what our focus is, and I don’t have any further comment on whether an official does or doesn’t visit a shrine.
QUESTION: Do you encourage Japanese Foreign Minister Abe to visit the shrine in the future?
MS. PSAKI: I don’t have any more for you.
QUESTION: But you do understand why the question is being asked, correct?
MS. PSAKI: I do, Matt. Thank you.
It’s Bitburg on the Arakawa. The US Government should get this and should tell the Japanese government that it doesn’t appreciate inflaming tensions.
Posted in fascism, Japan | 1 Comment »
Posted by Charles II on August 6, 2013
For everyone who has made the pilgrimage
The domed temple beneath the blast
Is a wailing wall for those whose humanity survived.
Who can ever forget the keening moans
Of the little children who walk through the museum,
Not knowing what what they see,
But knowing Abaddon instinctively.
Let the generals and the historians play God,
And tell us that it had to be,
In Hiroshima, each pilgrim palpates God,
Touching her own mortality.
(crossposted from Daily Kos)
Posted in Japan, nukes | 1 Comment »
Posted by Charles II on May 23, 2013
Outsourced to Ritholtz:
Nikkei is down 7.3%….Major European indices are off 2-3%.
Year of the Water Snake indeed.
Added: So, of course, what looked like a major crisis brewing turned out to be a simple correction. That’s the Water Snake. The minute you think it’s going one way, it turns the opposite direction.
Posted in Japan, stock market | Comments Off on Look out below, Japan edition
Posted by Charles II on April 24, 2013
Reuters, in The Guardian:
China will build a second, larger aircraft carrier capable of carrying more fighter jets, the official Xinhua news service has reported, quoting a senior officer with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy.
China is also building up other forms of military hardware, including a stealth fighter jet believed to be capable of landing on a carrier, drone aircraft and nuclear submarines.
China is alone among the original nuclear weapons states to be expanding its nuclear forces, according to a report by the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission.
Japan will respond, I suspect, by amending its peace constitution to repeal Article 9 which is the basis for restricting its spending on military to 1% of GDP.
Japan is also, in my opinion, engaging in a trade war with China by devaluing the yen. Of course, China may be engaging in proxy war using North Korea. Both sides are unwise to escalate tensions. They would do better to work to ensure adequate petroleum supplies to the region and not worry so much about which economy gets the proceeds.
Posted in China, Japan | 5 Comments »
Posted by Charles II on January 7, 2013
Via Avedon, former House Majority Leader Tom “The Hammer” DeLay earns himself 3 years in prison, assuming he doesn’t jump his ridiculously low bond, get the sentence overturned, or get a pardon from the Republican Governor. [Oops. My bad. The article is from 2011. Thanks, PW.]
Also via Avedon, we learn of Beate Gordon, who helped write gender equality into Japan’s Constitution. It has never fully become a reality (as it has not in the US), but what she did dramatically improved the lot of people who had been treated as property until then. Quite an accomplishment for a 22 year old.
Posted in Japan, Republicans, women's issues | 1 Comment »
Posted by Charles II on December 19, 2012
Justin McCurry, The Guardian:
Park Geun-hye, whose father ruled South Korea with an iron fist for 18 years, became the country’s first female president on Wednesday….
Moon, a leftwing former human rights lawyer from the Democratic United party, conceded defeat and congratulated Park on her victory.
Park, 60, had to overcome resentment towards her privileged background and accusations that her Saenuri party was too close to the powerful chaebol conglomerates that dominate the South Korean economy.
OK: An expansionist China, an ultranationalist government in Japan, a dictator’s daughter in control of South Korea, and North Korea firing missiles.
Anyone see a pattern here?
Posted in China, Japan, Korea | Comments Off on South Korean dictator’s daughter becomes president
Posted by Charles II on December 15, 2012
Foreign Policy has long been a bastion of conventional wisdom against the armies of common sense. But sometimes they produce something interesting. Such is the case with their article on the yakuza, Japan’s organized crime families. Jake Adelstein:
The yakuza has its origins in federations of gamblers and street merchants of the Edo period (from the 17th to the 19th centuries), which evolved over time into the sprawling crime syndicates they are today. Currently, the yakuza comprises roughly 79,000 people, divided among 22 groups. Although referred to by authorities as “anti-social forces,” it’s actually a semilegal entity with offices, business cards, and fan magazines. The yakuza groups make their money through a combination of legal businesses — like dispatching day laborers — and illegal activities such as extortion, racketeering, and financial fraud. The largest yakuza group, the Kobe-based Yamaguchi-gumi, has 39,000 members. The Inagawa-kai, the group most closely tied to former Justice Minister Tanaka, has 10,000 members and is based in Tokyo. Its offices are across from the Ritz-Carlton.
Adelstein was a main source for the Richard Wilcox article I linked some time ago regarding the yakuza’s involvement in Fukushima.
Adelstein demonstrates that both of the main political parties of Japan are hopelessly entangled with the yakuza and, not so incidentally, corrupt.
Update: Oh, and the modern yakuza exists because of the CIA. Adelstein:
Chapter 12 [of Tim Weiner’s Legacy of Ashes]: “We Ran It In A Different Way” is a must for anyone interested in the shadow history of Japan. It details how in post-war Japan, the CIA, using large amounts of cash, reinstated former war criminal Kodama Yoshio and hand-picked one of Japan’s Prime Ministers–in order to supress communist/socialist movements. Kodama had extensive yakuza ties and huge amounts of capital made in the black markets in China. ($175 million estimated). The Tokyo CIA station reported on September 10th, 1953, “(Kodama) is a professional liar, gangster, charlatan, and outright thief….and has no interest in anything but the profits.” It still didn’t keep the CIA from doing business with him up to that time and behind the scenes later. The chapter also notes how the CIA was able to ensure that Nobusuke Kishi became Japan’s prime minister and the chief of its ruling party, in order to ensure that Japan didn’t go red. The president himself seemed to have authorized huge cash payments to Kishi and his other lackeys within the LDP.
Posted in corruption, Japan | 3 Comments »
Posted by Charles II on December 14, 2012
China violates airspace, claims Japan is intruding.
Japan tipped to elect bellicose PM.
What could go wrong?
Posted in China, Japan | 2 Comments »