The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus Newsletter
Newsletter No. 11. 2011  
March 14, 2011  
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In This Issue


This week we feature three articles from our new "What's hot" series, zeroing in on breaking stories and providing information beyond the headlines, to cast them in broader perspective. David McNeill's report from Fukushima on the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster in the making takes readers inside the belly of the beast as Japan experiences what may prove to be its greatest disaster of the postwar era. And one which will shape the nation's development trajectory for decades to come, calling into question plans for dramatic expansion of nuclear power as well as a drive to export nuclear power plants to the Middle East and elsewhere. This is the first in what we hope will be an ongoing series. We invite you to consult What's hot regularly on our homepage for updates. Other 'hots' are provided by John McGlynn who compares the treatment of Japanese and Japanese-Americans interned during World War II with the demonization of American Muslims today. David McGlynn adds his interview with Tokyo Governor Ishihara Shintaro calling on Japan to develop nuclear weapons, arguing that only in this way can it escape bullying by other nations. Kenneth Ruoff examines the tension between historical preservation and assimilation in Japan's colonial tourism in Korea.


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David McNeill,  Journey to Fukushima: After the Quake

Tokyo is crawling unsteadily back on its feet. Its buildings are intact, its vast transport network is creaking back to life, cellphones work again, patchily. Planes land in the main international airports but traffic crawls through the streets.
But the world outside, along Japan's Pacific coast to the northeast has been knocked flat on its back. Battered by tsunamis, rocked by a steady, terrifying string of aftershocks, thousands of people bed down for the second night in makeshift refugee centers in schools, sports centers and gymnasiums.
The world's media has begun descending on the capital, looking to tell this story. And three hundred kilometers north of Tokyo comes the biggest story of all: a fire at a nuclear plant that could potentially rival the twin nuclear disasters of Three Mile Island (1979) and Chernobyl (1986).

David McNeill is Japan/Korea correspondent for The Chronicle of Higher Education and a regular contributor to The Irish Times and The Independent.

Posted March 13, 2011.

    Read more . . . 
John McGlynn,  Ghost of Manzanar Hangs Over US Congressional Hearing on Muslim "Radicalization"

Worried by a US political climate that in some respects bears an uncomfortable resemblance to the fear mongering that 70 years ago led to the forced relocation of more than 100,000 Japanese American citizens from the west coast and southwest to internment camps located in the American interior, some Japanese Americans are speaking out against the US Congressional hearing planned for March 10 by New York Representative Peter King to examine the alleged "radicalization of the American Muslim community."
In a December 2010 op-ed, King cited as evidence of this radicalization a failure by Muslim leaders to cooperate with US law enforcement officials investigating terrorist threats, which he claims provides an opening for al-Qaida to recruit "homegrown terrorists", and a May 2007 Pew Poll that showed 15% of Muslim Americans age 18-29 say suicide bombing is justified. As chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, which will host the hearing, King intends to "drive the public debate on Islamic radicalization."

John McGlynn is What's hot editor and an Asia-Pacific Coordinator.

Posted March 10, 2011.

 Read more . . . 
Kenneth J. Ruoff,  Japanese Tourism to Korea, Circa 1940: The Tension between Tourism Promotion and Assimilation Policies

In 1940 the Japanese celebrated the 2,600th anniversary of the founding of the imperial dynasty.  This history was largely contrived.  For example, the supposed first emperor, Jimmu, never existed, and the first 1000 or so years of the 2600-year imperial history is also mythical.   But the 2600th anniversary celebrations in 1940 were nonetheless massive and empire-wide.

I recently published a book, both in English and Japanese editions, about these 2,600th anniversary celebrations and, in a broader sense, about Japan in 1940.  Three of the chapters in the book are about what I term "imperial tourism."  Contradictory though it may seem, tourism was booming in wartime Japan.

This article explores the tensions between cultural preservation and assimilation in the context of colonial tourism in colonial Korea.

Kenneth Ruoff is Professor of History at Portland State University and the author of Imperial Japan at its Zenith: The Wartime Celebration of the Empire's 2,600th Anniversary.

Recommended citation: Kenneth Ruoff, Japanese Tourism to Korea, Circa 1940: The Tension between Tourism Promotion and Assimilation Policies, The Asia-Pacific Journal Vol 9, Issue 11 No 1, March 14, 2011.

Read more . . . 


David McNeill,  Tokyo Governor: Japan Should Build Nukes to Counter China

Tokyo's outspoken governor Ishihara Shintaro says his country, which suffered history's only nuclear attack, should build nuclear weapons to counter the threat from fast-rising China.
Ishihara said Japan could develop nukes within a year and send a strong message to the world. "All our enemies: China, North Korea and Russia - all close neighbors - have nuclear weapons. Is there another country in the world in a similar situation?"
"People talk about the cost and other things but the fact is that diplomatic bargaining power means nuclear weapons. All the (permanent) members of the United Nations) Security Council have them."

David McNeill is Japan/Korea correspondent for The Chronicle of Higher Education and a regular contributor to The Irish Times and The Independent. March 8, 2011.

 Read more . . .