Book Authored (ISBN-10: 0824821599)

Book Authored (ISBN-10: 0824821599)
Sovereign Rights and Territorial Space in Sino-Japanese Relations: Irredentism and the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands (ISBN-10: 0824824938)

Friday, March 30, 2012

Freedom of Press in Japan/The 3rd-Rate Journalist in Japan-III

Reporters Without Borders, the global nonprofit group, reported the freedom of press in 2011globally. As many expected, Japan placed 22nd out 179 nations, slipping from 11th the year before due to “excessive restrictions” on the Fukushima nuclear disaster (Japan Times 27 January 2012).Also on the list, the United States fell 27 places to 47th after many Occupy Wall Street protests were arrested. Meanwhile, some countries in the Middle East improved their ranks. Tunisia rose 30 places to 134th and Libya ranked 154th, improving their ranks dramatically.

Source: Japan National Press homepage (access date: 30 March 2012).

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The End of the “Number One”/The First Trade Deficit

It is well-known that Japan has been one of trade surplus nations for over three decades. The year 2011 is significant year for the Japanese. That is, Japan has become the trade deficit since 1980. In addition, the 3.11 tragedy has put Japan into the financial crisis. In 2011, the exports went down by 2.7 percent from 2010, about 65.55 trillion yen. The imports grew by 12 percent, reaching 68.08 trillion yen. The total trade deficit is about 2.5 trillion yen (Japan Times, 26 January 2012). “Investor confidence in Japan could be rattled if the country cannot raise its consumption tax…. (Washington Post 25 January 2012). The “if” might or might not become reality, but Prime Minister Noda has a lot of explaining to do to tax payers.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Never Learning the Lesson

The Japanese government has decided to export nuclear plants to South Korea, Jordan, and Vietnam. How can Jordan which is located inside desert provide enough water to cool nuclear plants if the plants have similar nuclear accidents in Japan and Russia? By now, the government has worked out a revision of the law on the control of nuclear reactors. Unfortunately, the law has loophole, which allow the 40-year life span to expand to run 60 years (Japan Times, 19 January 2012). Neither the Japanese government nor pro-nuclear forces has learned any lesson from the March 11 disaster.


Source: Reuter News (access date: 25 March 2012)

Friday, March 23, 2012

How Rich is Romney?

The AP News (Japan Times 2 February 2012) published the article “how rich is Romney?” The article searched the wealth of American presidents since George Washington, who became the richest presidents with 14,000 hectares of land and more than 300 slaves. Mitt Romney, the Republican candidates for the president in November 2012, has somewhere $190 million to $250 million. That is 20 times richer than the 44th President (Obama) who has his wealth between 2.2 million to $7.5 million. Then, the question is how rich is Romney? “Add up the wealth of the last eight presidents, from Richard Nixon to Barack Obama. Then double that number. Now you’re in Romney territory.” ….. He made $50,000 a day while not working last year. Romney can easily get into the top four among all American presidents.

Source: CNN News (access date: 5 March 2012).


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Todai Shock?

The University of Tokyo (i.e., Todai) had drooped bombshell on 18 January 2012. A panel from the Todai has proposed that the institution shift undergraduate enrollment from April to the fall. The Todai decided to move its college calendar to the fall within the five years. Today, among 116 countries in the UN, only 3 percent of nations including Japan, along with other six countries including India, start their university in spring time, usually April; however, a majority of higher education in other countries begin in fall. Historically, Japan had the time starting in the fall in the college between 1872 to 1920. Due to receive subsidy from the national budgets and to be busy season for farmers in the fall, the government changed it to the spring (Weekly Gendai 11 February 2012). This has been bottleneck for Japanese universities to exchange and study with students and faculty from oversea for decades. “It’s not merely about schedule adjustment. It’s about speeding up the internationalization of (Japanese) universities and society (Japan Times, 21 January 2012),” said Hamada Junichi, Todai President. The Japanese government tried to change the system in 1987 and 2007, but it was never succeed. Well, the internationalization of Japan might be a little too late as Japan enters over two decades of the economic downturn.

Source: Todai Home page (access date: 20 March 2012).
 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Royal Pockets in the European Countries Have Been Hit

The financial crisis has attacked not only normal citizens but also royal families in the European countries (Japan Times, 11 January 2012). In the U.K., British taxpayers in 2011 have spent 5.5 percent (32.2 million British dollar or $49.5 million) less than in the previous year for Buckingham Palace. In Spain, the royal palace had 8.4 million ($11 million) euro in 2011, cutting some 5 percent overall including palace employees. The king received up to a 15 percent salaries cut. In Netherlands, the budget for Queen Beatrix, Crown Prince Willem Alexander and his wife, Princess Maxima, was cut by 422,000 ($537,000) euro in 2011. The royal family in Belgium has become the latest royal family to be cut. King Albert II announced that he wanted to freeze the 10.8 million ($13.8 million) euro on 9 January 2011. Where is the Japanese? Year 2011 is difficult year for Japan too because triples disasters: earthquake, tsunami, and ongoing nuclear radiation, have made Japan in financial crisis.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Tokyo’s Transformation?/Third-Class Politicians Only Provide the Third-Rate Policy-XXI

The article (titling “Tokyo’s transformation”) is published in Foreign Affairs by Eric Heginbotham, Ely Ratner, and Richard J. Samuels. It should be a very interesting article for many because Samuels is well-known figure in the academy world. However, something does not make sense in the article.
(1) “By April 2010, when the United States made it clear that it objected to renegotiating the deal (and then Chinese provocation gave him more pause), Hatoyama had realized that reopening the negotiation had been a mistake (p. 143).”
It is not true that the Chinese provocation make Hatoyma Yukio to retreat from his pledge regarding the Futenma case which has been the issue over two decades. When Hatoyama took the office in September 2009, he launched the idea of the “East Asian Community (EAC),” which the US did not like because the EAC is too leaning to China. Thus, the White House has repeatedly rejected to meet him (even Japan has requested many times) and forced him out the office. In addition, American media working with the US government had called Hatoyama as “rube” publicly when he did not get to meet President Obama at the UN meeting. This led the reputation of Hatoyama at home (to the low approval rate). The Social Democratic Party (SDP) did not bring down Hatoyama administration because both SDP and DPJ had the same platform regarding the Futenma in the 2009 election – moving the base off Okinawa. In fact, DPJ had overwhelmingly majority in both houses when Hatoyama was in office. However, Hatoyama lacked his leadership and strategy to deal with the Futenma case. What Hatoyama should do is: to ask the Diet to approve the Futenma case. Probably he will get enough politicians to support his idea (just as the government of the Philippine kicked out American from its home bases). Japan could kick Americans out from the Futenma, Okinawa. Probably, by then, Obama might have to pick the phone to call Hatoyama regarding the Futenma case.
(2) “In 2010, Tokyo provided $3.3 billion to Washington for everything from utilities on U.S. bases to the construction of new facilities on Guama. The majority of these funds fall under the category of “host-nation support,” although most Japanese derisively refer to them as “the sympathy budget”.… (p. 145).” It is true that we as Japanese taxpayers have paid everything for the American bases including garbage, construction, water, and others, except American soldiers’ salary. It sounds like the host-nation should support these costs. However, the fact of the matter is that many other nations including Germany do not pay everything like Japan for the American utilities on the bases. Japan has idiotic politicians who have been taken advantage of by the US; we as the Japanese taxpayers have been suckers for decades for American bases.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Lee’ s FTA with China/ China vs. USA: TPP Case-I

Since last year, the US has been high-jacking the TPP framework from Singapore and three other countries that founded TPP. The US has persuaded Japan to participate to the TPP. After North Korean leader Kim Jong Il died in last December, the president of South Korea Lee Myung Bak visited Beijing on 9 January 2012. To get North Korean information is one thing, but the really purpose for his trip to China was to negotiate with China regarding an FTA. Since South Korea has already signed TPP with the US, it will be another victory if South Korea can bring China into the FTA negotiation table with China. According to Japanese media reportedly three countries: China, Japan, and South Korea will negotiate an FTA framework by May 2012 (Japan Times 10 January 2012). What will the US think about?

Source: koreaherald.com (access date: 6 March 2012).

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Japan as “Asia’s Bridge to West”?

When a person becomes a well-known figure included as one of the “Top 100 Global Thinkers,” one might sometimes make a bad judgment. Kishore Mahbubani, dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore, a typical example. Recently, Mahbubani published an article in the Japan Times (13 January 2012) titled “Japan told to be ‘Asia’s bridge to the West.’” I showed it to my students in my Japanese Politics class and asked their reactions. One of my students gave a negative reaction saying, “this idea will not work in the Asian region because Japan is historically not able to get alone with other countries, especially WWII.” Well done my student! As Mahnubani points out, “While Japan was sleeping, China was cultivating ASEAN.” In face, the problem is Japan, while Japan may look like it slept it never really slept at all. Because Japan has lacked the political leadership to lead the country since the economic bubble bust in 1989, more than 10 prime ministers (Miyazawa, Hosogawa, Hata, Murayama, Hashimoto, Mori, Koizumi, Abe, Fukuda, Aso, Hatoyama, Kan, and Noda) have been changed. Mahbubani either does not understood or lacks knowledge of Japanese history and political dynamics since the Meiji era; his silly theory that Japan will be Asian’s bridge to West will not work. The Asian region will not become EU because Japan unlike Germany has not cleaned its WWII dirty laundry.

Source: globaltimes.cn (access date: 4 March 2012)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

China vs. USA: Syria Case-II/The 8th Veto by China/Doing Businesses in the Chinese Way-VII

On 4 February, 2012, a draft resolution to the UN Security Council, presented by Arab League (AU) and others, seeking to condemn Syria for use of force against civilians by asking to transfer power from President Bashar Assad to the vice president (CNN News; TBS News 5 February 2012). Once again, both Russia and China vetoed the resolution against Syria. This was China’s eighth veto at the Security Council. The US Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice called the veto “disgusting,” and Secretary Hillary Clinton stated “a travesty” (Wall Street Journal 6 February 2012). Well, this is only the eighth of Chinese veto since China took the UN Security Council seat in the 1970s. Both Ambassador Rice and Secretary Clinton should ask themselves how many times has the US vetoed the resolutions relating to Israel in the UN Security Council? If the over 100 vetos at the UN Security Council by the US are not “disgusting” or “a travesty,” then what are they? The Western hypocrisy and double standards must stop before lecturing to someone else.

Source: TBS News, (access date: 12 February 2012).


Monday, March 5, 2012

Japan “as Number One”/Supercomputer-V

After seven years struggle, a Japanese supercomputer has become the number one again. The world fastest supercomputer is performing 8.162 quadrillion per second according to the 2011 International Supercomputing Conference in Hamburg on 20 June 2011 (Daily Yomiuri 22 June 2011). This K computer is jointly developed by government-backed research institute RIKEN and Fujitsu Ltd. The second computer in rank is the Chinese supercomputer Taianhe-1A. 2012 is another fighting year between Japan and China regarding the supercomputer.

Source: http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2011/06/20/new-top-500-champ-the-k-supercomputer/ (access date: 1 March 2012).

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Kim Jong Un/China vs. USA: North Korea Case-I

When Kim Jong Il died the last December, Beijing probably received the information from Pyongyang in advance. Both South Korea and the US were totally surprised. Immediately after the official announcement by North Korea, all 9 Chinese leaders visited the North Korean embassy to pay their respect. The Chinese senior military general officially made the announcement that Beijing would stand with army of North Korea to safeguard the Asian region. The implication from Beijing is that no one (including Japan, South Korea, and the US) should mess with North Korea because China is ready to protect Kim Jong Un who is the transitional leader in Pyongyang. As Time states, “Telling Kim Jong Un and the decision makers behind him that the only way forward is economic reform on the Chinese model… (Time 9 January 2012).”

Source: Bloomberg News,  http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-12-27/north-korea-may-fete-touching-drama-for-kim-funeral-ushering-power-shift.html (access date: 1 March 2012).

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Ma Got the Second Term/China vs. USA: Taiwan Case-I/The Third United Front CCP-KMT-XV

Official comment from the White House is “welcome” when Ma Ying-jeou won his re-election on 15 January 2012. The fact of the matter is that the US might not really be happy that Beijing-friendly Ma got a second term in office. In his first term, Ma’s first priority was getting the economy moving again and creating a working economic relationship with China including the agreement ECFA (Economic and Cooperation Framework Agreement), a quasi FTA in 2010. On the other hand, Challenger Tsai Ing-wen from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has not convinced the people of Taiwan to embrace a “one China” policy. In the final analysis, Ma received 51.6 percent of the votes, 45.6 percent for Tsai, and the rest for James Soong. In 2012, Ma may seek to negotiate with Beijing to resolve both political and military issues, in particular, meeting with Hu Jintao. The Third United Front CCP-KMT might come to be true, shocking to both Washington and Tokyo. However, Ma insists on three Nos: no ambition for unification, no pursuit of independence, and no use of the armed force. All these items express the will of the current people in Taiwan, deciding to go for stability and prosperity by the status quo.
Source: Reuters News, http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/7e4b45bc-3eb3-11e1-9139-00144feab49a.html#axzz1nXmt0LG7 (access date: 26 February 2012).