The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus Newsletter
Newsletter No. 25. 2011  
June 20, 2011  
New Articles Posted
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In This Issue


The Journal has now published more than sixty articles on the catastrophe that has shaken Eastern Japan since 3.11. This week's lead story is particularly important. Say-Peace has prepared a valuable pamphlet, now available in John Junkerman's fine translation in English as well as Japanese. We hope to give this the widest circulation. Perhaps you noticed, as The New York Times did in referring its readers to APJ as a major source on the earthquake/tsunami/meltdown. If you appreciate this work, we would be pleased to hear from more of you. We need and value your financial support as subscriber or donor via Paypal to help defray the heavy expenses this additional coverage has entailed.

Many of our most import articles on 3.11  appear in What's hot and they bring a diversity of sources and reports from Ground Zero in Tohoku and Tokyo. "What's hot" present breaking stories and provides information beyond the headlines, to cast them in broader perspective. What's hot is regularly updated, at times on a daily basis, and we invite you to consult it and contribute to it.

We encourage those who wish continuing coverage of the earthquake and aftermath to follow the English and Japanese coverage on the Peace Philosophy Facebook page: 


More than fifteen hundred people now follow Focus through Twitter or Facebook and their numbers are growing steadily. Please consider joining them by clicking at the appropriate link on our home page:


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We invite authors, publishers and directors to bring their books, films and events on East Asia and the Pacific to the attention of our readers. See the home page for information about presenting relevant books and films at our site and for examples of authors, publishers and filmmakers who are presenting their work at the Journal. 

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Norimatsu Satoko and Say-Peace Project,Protecting Children Against Radiation: Citizens Take Radiation Protection into Their Own Hands



Robert Alvarez, a former senior policy adviser at the U.S. Department of Energy said in a Democracy Now! interview on June 10, "The nuclear industry, particularly in the United States, and elsewhere-Russia and Japan-has had a very long history of withholding information and misleading the public about the hazards of their activities." Being no exception to Alvarez's generalization, the Japanese government, since the mutiple meltdowns and explosions at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in mid-March, has withheld or controlled information about health risks of radiation, expected dispersion of radioactive materials, and their actual contamination measurements in areas surrounding Fukushima Daiichi. Instead of providing candid information to the public, the government started campaigns in the opposite direction-to lull the public into worrying less about radiation and its health risks. This citizens pamphlet provides valuable information for people in Japan and abroad about the nature and levels of radiation and their consequences, especially for children. And much more.

NORIMATSU Satoko, an Asia-Pacific Journal coordinator, is Director of the Peace Philosophy Centre, a peace-education centre in Vancouver, Canada, and Director of Vancouver Save Article 9.  


John Junkerman is an American documentary filmmaker and Asia-Pacific Journal associate, living in Tokyo. His most recent film, Japan's Peace Constitution, won the Kinema Jumpo and Japan PEN Club best documentary awards. It is available in North America from First Run Icarus Films.


Recommended Citation: Say-Peace, Protecting Children Against Radiation: Citizens Take Radiation Protection into Their Own Hands, The Asia-Pacific Journal, Volume 9, Issue 25, No. 1, June 20, 2011.

  Read more . . .  
Matthew Penney, Okinawa's Fukushima Connection: Nuclear Workers at Risk

Of Japan's prefectures, Okinawa lies farthest from Fukushima Daiichi. At over 1000 miles from the plant, even Seoul is closer. Okinawa also has no nuclear plant and seems to be distanced from the consequences of Japan's nuclear policies, but is this really the case?
Since the 1970s, Japanese academics and social commentators have highlighted the government and energy industry's targeting of peripheral and impoverished areas for nuclear development. Large subsidies to impoverished communities undermined resistance to nuclear power plants, fierce in the 1970s, as local populations fragmented between groups that considered atomic energy an existential threat and those that saw it the only hope to bring the type of prosperity promised by Prime Minister Tanaka Kakuei's Nihon retto kaizoron (On Remodeling the Japanese Archipelago). In this vision, infrastructure development, ranging from big dams to hydropower and nuclear power plants, was posited as the best way for the declining hinterland to share in the high growth prosperity of Japan's major cities and the Pacific industrial belt. Tanaka made these arguments just as the "oil shock" was shaking Japanese energy policy, heralding the shift to nuclear power as an answer to dependence on Middle East oil.
It was not just peripheral areas that were targeted, however, but also peripheral groups. Coal mining regions, where livelihoods collapsed from the 1960s as the nation shifted to primary reliance on oil, were a fertile ground for recruiting nuclear workers. Also, as outlined in books like Genbatsu ha sabetsu de ugoku (Nuclear is Powered by Discrimination), burakumin - Japanese who faced discrimination because the jobs of their ancestors were held to be "unclean" professions such as tanning and graveyard work - were also targeted by recruiters at a time when discrimination in mainstream society made even dangerous unskilled work in the nuclear industry attractive.
What then of Okinawa, Japan's poorest prefecture?

  Read more . . . 

Asia-Pacific Journal Editors, 74% of Japanese Favor Nuclear Phase-out

According to a survey conducted by the Asahi Shimbun in mid-June, nearly three-quarters of Japanese voters favor an immediate or gradual phase-out of nuclear power.
In mid-April, the Japan Research Center and Gallup released poll results indicating that Japanese support for nuclear energy had declined from 62% before the earthquake - one of the highest support levels internationally - to 39% in the aftermath of 3/11 and the Fukushima crisis. Rates of opposition increased from 28% to 47%. The more recent Asahi poll shows an even more dramatic shift to anti-nuclear positions.

 Read more . . .


Dazai Osamu and Roger Pulvers, Cherries

"It's not that I'm weak, it's that the suffering weighs down on me too heavily."
This was said, in 1938, by a writer whose life and death are noted with public attention every year in June.  The popularity of this author has not waned in Japan.  Crowds gather on June 19 around the country in rituals of celebration and mourning.  Given the personality of this man, it is not easy to separate the two.
He is Dazai Osamu, author of such postwar classics as Ningen Shikkaku ("No Longer Human") and Shayō ("The Setting Sun").  The leading publishing house Shinchosha ranks the former its second most popular novel, while the latter is its tenth most popular.  In fact, Dazai is extensively published by numerous major publishers, including Chikuma, Kadokawa and Iwanami.  His novels and stories are continually being made into feature films.

Young people today are particularly drawn to his works, and it is easy to see why.  Dazai is the King of Dysfunctionality.  His heroes are-as he fancied himself-deliberately behind the eight ball, having put themselves there in a diffident stance, as if waiting, with perverse anticipation, to be knocked down a hole and out of the game. 

Roger Pulvers provides a translation of a quintessential Dazai story.

Roger Pulvers is an American-born Australian author, playwright, theatre director and translator living in Japan. He has published 40 books in Japanese and English and, in 2008, was the recipient of the Miyazawa Kenji Prize. In 2009 he was awarded Best Script Prize at the Teheran International Film Festival for "Ashita e no Yuigon." He is the translator of Kenji Miyazawa, Strong in the Rain: Selected Poems. The Dream of Lafcadio Hearn is his most recent book.
Recommended Citation: Roger Pulvers, Cherries, The Asia-Pacific Journal, Volume 9, Issue 25, No. 2, June 20, 2011.

 Read more . . .