The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus Newsletter
Newsletter No. 31. 2011  
August 1, 2011  
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In This Issue


We present two articles on the Libyan War and the US; four articles on 3.11, a leading Japanese nuclear scientist's critique nuclear power; the history and future of the site of earthquake/tsunami/meltdown disaster; an article on radiation and food safety; and another on US nuclear technology as Japan's salvation. Finally, on the eve of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we introduce Greg Mitchell's new book on six decades of suppression of images of the human costs of the bomb.

Many of our most important articles appear in What's hot and they bring a diversity of sources and reports from Ground Zero in Tohoku and Tokyo. "What's hot" presents 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.

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Peter Dale Scott, Bosnia, Kosovo, and Now Libya: The Human Costs of Washington's On-Going Collusion with Terrorists



Twice in the last two decades, significant cuts in U.S. and western military spending were foreseen: first after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and then in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. But both times military spending soon increased, and among the factors contributing to the increase were America's interventions in new areas: the Balkans in the 1990s, and Libya today. Hidden from public view in both cases was the extent to which al-Qaeda was a covert U.S. ally in both interventions, rather than its foe.

U.S. interventions in the Balkans and then Libya were presented by the compliant U.S. and allied mainstream media as humanitarian. Indeed, some Washington interventionists may have sincerely believed this. But deeper motivations - from oil to geostrategic priorities - were also at work in both instances.
In virtually all the wars since 1989, America and Islamist factions have been battling to determine who will control the heartlands of Eurasia in the post-Soviet era. In some countries - Somalia in 1993, Afghanistan in 2001 - the conflict has been straightforward, with each side using the other's excesses as an excuse for intervention.

Peter Dale Scott looks behind the headlines to the deep structure of European and U.S. intervention in Libya in light of US wars from Bosnia and Kosovo to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Peter Dale Scott, a former Canadian diplomat and English Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, is the author of Drugs Oil and War, The Road to 9/11,The War Conspiracy: JFK, 9/11, and the Deep Politics of War. His most recent book is American War Machine: Deep Politics, the CIA Global Drug Connection and the Road to Afghanistan. His website, which contains a wealth of his writings, is here.

Recommended citation: Peter Dale Scott, "Bosnia, Kosovo, and Now Libya: The Human Costs of Washington's On-Going Collusion with Terrorists," The Asia-Pacific Journal Vol 9, Issue 31 No 1, August 1, 2011.

Read more . . .   
Peter Lee, The Labyrinthian International Geopolitics of the Libyan Conflict

Western self-regard was on full display in a United States headline describing the Libya Contact Group (LCG) meeting in Istanbul over the weekend of July 15. It read: World leaders open Libya talks in Turkey. Well, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was there. Much-diminished leaders of 19th-century world powers Britain and France - and Italy - were there, too. But attendance from the BRIC countries was patchy: Russia, boycotted the talks. China declined to send a representative. Brazil and India only sent observers, which meant they had no vote in the proceedings. South Africa didn't attend, and blasted the outcome of the meeting.

Peter Lee examines the international framework and legitimacy of the Libyan war and intervention.

Peter Lee writes on East and South Asian affairs and their intersection with US foreign policy.

This is a revised and expanded version of an article that appeared at Asia Times.
Recommended citation: Peter Lee, "The Labyrinthian International Geopolitics of the Libyan Conflict," The Asia-Pacific Journal Vol 9, Issue 31 No 2, August 1, 2011.

 Read more . . .

Koide Hiroaki, Sakai Yasuyuki & Norimatsu Satoko, The Truth About Nuclear Power: Japanese Nuclear Engineer Calls for Abolition



 Koide Hiroaki began his career as a nuclear engineer forty years ago drawn to the promise of nuclear power. Quickly, however, he recognized the flaws in Japan's nuclear power program and emerged as among the best informed of Japan's nuclear power critic. His cogent public critique of the nuclear village earned him an honourable form of purgatory as a permanent assistant professor at Kyoto University. Koide would pay a price in career terms, continuing his painstaking research on radio nuclide measurement at Kyoto University's Research Reactor Institute (KURRI) in the shadows. Until 3.11.

Since the earthquake tsunami and nuclear meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi, he has emerged as a powerful voice and a central figure in charting Japan's future energy course in the wake of disaster: in scores of well attended public lectures, in daily media consultations and interviews, in his widely read posts and in three books that have helped to redefine public consciousness and official debate. Here he offers a deeply informed critique of Japanese nuclear policy and practice in the wake of 3.11 as one of four invited lecturers to appear before the Government Oversight Committee of the House of Councillors. 

Koide Hiroaki is Assistant Professor at the Kyoto University Research Reactor Institute.

Sakai Yasuyuki is a mechanical/electronics engineer.

Norimatsu Satoko, a Japan Focus Coordinator, is Director of Peace Philosophy Centre.
Recommended citation: Koide Hiroaki, The Truth About Nuclear Power: Japanese Nuclear Engineer Calls for Abolition, The Asia-Pacific Journal: August 1, 2011.

 Read more . . .  



Oguma Eiji, The Hidden Face of Disaster: 3.11, the Historical Structure and Future of Japan's Northeast


 It is not well-known that the Tōhoku region only established its position as the nation's rice production center after World War II. Yields of rice, a commercial crop of tropical origin, were relatively low in the Northeast until the Taishō Era (1912-1926).

Rice production in the region, however, started growing partly due to advances in agricultural technology and partly due to a variety of economic and political factors. The factors included the expansion of Tokyo as the nation's principal consumer market, government efforts to increase food production during and after the war, and the postwar independence of colonial Korea and Taiwan, which supplied Japan's rice before the war. As a result, Tōhoku became a major supplier of rice, vegetables and seafood for Tokyo.

Historical sociologist Oguma Eiji traces the history of the Tohoku region and considers its daunting prospects in the wake of the 3.11 disaster. 

Oguma Eiji is professor of Policy Management, Keio University and an historical sociologist.

 Read more . . . 


Martin J. Frid, Food Safety: Addressing Radiation in Japan's Northeast after 3.11



This article provides observations from the consumer perspective on food safety in the wake of the Great East Japan earthquake tsunami and nuclear disaster of March 11, 2011.


Martin J. Frid was born in Sweden and works for Consumers Union of Japan. He is the author of the food guide book Nippon no Shoku no Anzen 555 (Kodansha) published in 2009. He has participated in food safety meetings on the local, national, and international levels, including as an expert at FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius Commission meetings. He currently resides in Saitama, Japan.

Recommended citation: Martin J. Frid, "Food Safety: Addressing Radiation in Japan's Northeast after 3.11," The Asia-Pacific Journal Vol 9, Issue 31 No 3, August 1, 2011.

Read more . . .  


Asia-Pacific Journal Feature, US Nuclear Technology as a Cure for Japanese "Ignorance"

Scholars have long recognized that the United States government and bureaucracy considered Japanese anti-nuclear sentiments in the 1950s to be irrational prejudices working against American interests or even part of an anti-American communist conspiracy. In the wake of the Lucky Dragon No. 5 incident of 1954 in which 23 Japanese fishermen were hit with fallout from the Bikini Atoll hydrogen bomb test, United States Atomic Energy Commission head Lewis Strauss claimed that the fishermen, one of whom died from radiation exposure, were a "red spy outfit" who had either faked their injuries or deliberately sought to be irradiated to discredit the America's atomic weapons program. There were also efforts to control the release of Bikini fallout information to the Japanese public.
Now, documents located at the US National Archives and publicized by Japan's Kyodo News provide insight into how the Japanese public, still struggling with the legacies of the atomic bombings and the new military partnership with the US, was convinced to accept American nuclear power technology as a major part of their country's energy strategy.

 Read more . . .
Greg Mitchell,  The Great Hiroshima Cover-Up-And the Greatest Movie Never Made

This article introduces and draws on Greg Mitchell's new book Atomic Cover-up. Two U.S. Soldiers, Hiroshima & Nagasaki, and The Greatest Movie Never Made. This is a detective story that weaves the profiles of two U.S. military officers, the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the official suppression of the most important film footage of the human consequences of the bombing, created by the American military and a Japanese newsreel team.

Greg Mitchell is the author of twelve books including several on nuclear weapons and nuclear war. The former editor of Editor and Publisher, he currently blogs for The Nation on the media and politics, and, since April 2010, on WikiLeaks.   His recent books include Atomic Cover-Up: Two U.S. Soldiers, Hiroshima & Nagasaki, and the Greatest Movie Never Made and The Age of Wikileaks: From Collateral Murder to Cablegate (and Beyond). With Robert J. Lifton, he wrote Hiroshima in America.

Recommended citation: Greg Mitchell, "The Great Hiroshima Cover-Up-And the Greatest Movie Never Made," The Asia-Pacific Journal Vol 9, Issue 31 No 4, August 1, 2011.

 Read more . . .