The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus Newsletter
Newsletter No. 41 2011  
October 10, 2011  
New Articles Posted
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In This Issue


Our home page has two new features. One is a guide to the more than 100 articles we have published on the 3.11 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear power meltdown which is transforming Japan and reshaping issues of nuclear power globally. Articles are arranged topically and will shortly be supplemented by a guide to other sources. Secondly, the list of articles now indicates all articles available in Japanese translation or original, as well as other languages. Please draw the attention of colleagues and friends to our comprehensive coverage of 3.11.

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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Aileen Mioko Smith with Mark Selden, Bringing the Plight of Fukushima Children to the UN, Washington and the World


Aileen Mioko Smith of Green Action Kyoto speaks with Mark Selden in New York about recent developments in Fukushima and the US tour by anti-nuclear activists from Fukushima and other parts of Japan.
"75% of Fukushima's 300,000 children are going to schools that are so contaminated they would be radiation control areas in nuclear plants where individuals under 18 are not legally allowed.  The Japanese government won't evacuate people unless radiation levels are four times what triggered evacuation in Chernobyl,"  Smith pointed out.
The Fukushima earthquake tsunami nuclear power meltdown of March 11 opened the way for a far-reaching debate in Japan, the US and globally that could lead to rethinking the risks of radiation, the viability of nuclear power, and even to its elimination in some countries.

When UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced that the UN would convene a high-level meeting on nuclear energy and security, Aileen Mioko Smith was meeting in Hokkaido with Izumi Kaori of Stop Tomari, the citizens group campaigning to prevent reopening of the dangerous nuclear power plant. They decided on the spot:

"We've got to go to Washington and New York to tell the world about the urgent threat of nuclear contamination unleashed by the Fukushima nuclear power plant meltdown, the special danger to children, the lies told by the nuclear power industry and the Japanese government, and the urgent need to close the world's most dangerous nuclear power plants."



Aileen Mioko Smith, Executive Director, Green Action based in Kyoto, has been working to eliminate Japan's nuclear power reactors since 1983.  This interview was conducted in New York City on September 24, 2011. Smith is co-author with W. Eugene Smith of Minamata: Words and Photographs.
Mark Selden is a coordinator of The Asia-Pacific Journal.

Recommended citation: Aileen Mioko Smith and Mark Selden, 'Bringing the Plight of Fukushima Children to the UN, Washington and the World,' The Asia-Pacific Journal Vol 9, Issue 41 No 4, October 10, 2011.  


Read more . . .
Tomomi Yamaguchi, The Kaminoseki Nuclear Power Plant: Community Conflicts and the Future of Japan's Rural Periphery

This article explores the controversy surrounding the construction of the Kaminoseki nuclear power plant in Yamaguchi prefecture. While briefly introducing opposition activism against the plant, it introduces the voices of proponents of the plant. By doing so, the article highlight the harsh economic realities facing this and other rural communities and divisions within the construction site community.

Tomomi Yamaguchi is an assistant professor of Anthropology at Montana State University. Her recent publications are "The Fukushima Daiichi Accident and Conservatives' Discourse about Nuclear Energy and Weapons in Japan," Anthropology News (October 2011), "The Pen and the Sword: Ethical Issues Surrounding Research on Pro-war Right-Wingers in Japan," Critical Asian Studies, Vol.42, No.3, August 2010. Her co-authored book in Japanese (with Ogiue Chiki and Saito Masami), Feminism and "Backlash" (provisional title) is forthcoming in 2012.

Recommended citation: Tomomi Yamaguchi, 'The Kaminoseki Nuclear Power Plant: Community Conflicts and the Future of Japan's Rural Periphery,' The Asia-Pacific Journal Vol 9, Issue 41 No 3, October 10, 2011.

 Read more . . .
Kyoko Selden, Memories of Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Messages from Hibakusha: An Introduction

In September 2011 the Asahi Shimbun added an English language webpage to the Japanese language site, launched in November 2010, introducing Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors' memoirs, "Memories of Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Messages from Hibakusha" (広島・長崎の記憶−−被爆者からのメッセージ , link).

The project, which provides vivid memoirs and reflections of the atomic bombing and its aftermath, goes back to 2005 when the Asahi sent out "Sixtieth Year Questionnaires" to over 40,000 Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors who were then reachable. Of these, 13,204 people responded. The questionnaire consisted of multiple choice and essay-type questions, formulated with the assistance of the Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organization, Hiroshima University, and Nagasaki University. It also provided a "message area." The original Japanese language "Memories of Hiroshima and Nagasaki" site mostly consists of those messages attached to the questionnaire. The respondents included nine people who experienced the bombing in both Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The questionnaire revealed that nearly 90 percent of the respondents felt insecure about their health and that nearly 80 percent constantly recalled their bomb experiences in their daily lives (link).

This article introduces the site and some of the respondents.

Kyoko Selden is the coeditor and translator of The Atomic Bomb: Voices From Hiroshima and Nagasaki and translation coordinator for The Asia-Pacific Journal.

Recommended citation: Kyoko Selden, 'Memories of Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Messages from Hibakusha: An Introduction,' The Asia-Pacific Journal Vol 9, Issue 41 No 1, October 10, 2011.

 Read more . . .


David McNeill, Implausible Denial: Japanese Court Rules on Secret US-Japan Pact Over the Return of Okinawa

The long-running fight for full disclosure and official recognition of the secret US-Japan pact on Okinawa reaches a legal dead-end.
A common perception about Japan's justice system is the higher up the court the more conservative the ruling. The most recent decision by the Tokyo High Court in a suit demanding the release of documents proving Japan's secret accord with the US over the 1972 Okinawa reversion did nothing to challenge that cliché. But it did expose the radical legal summersaults required to keep the full truth from seeping out.

In reversing an earlier ruling by the Tokyo District Court that ordered the state to release diplomatic documents on the accord, Presiding Judge Aoyagi Kaoru agreed that the secret pact existed but said it is "highly likely" that papers proving it have been thrown away. Aoyagi accepted that although the government had previously lied, it had since conducted an "intensive search" for the documents and no longer had any reason to conceal them.

David McNeill is a Tokyo-based correspondent for The Independent, The Irish Times and The Chronicle of Higher Education. He is an Asia-Pacific Journal coordinator.

Recommended citation: David McNeill, 'Implausible Denial: Japanese Court Rules on Secret US-Japan Pact Over the Return of Okinawa,' The Asia-Pacific Journal Vol 9, Issue 41 No 2, October 10, 2011.

 Read more . . .
Linda Hoaglund, ANPO: Art X War - In Havoc's Wake

Our plane was one hour away from landing when the pilot announced, "There's been a major earthquake in Japan and Narita is shut down."  It was March 11th, 2011. I was en route to Japan to teach my film, ANPO: Art X War in art, film and history classes at the American School in Tokyo the following week. Or so I thought. I could never have imagined I would arrive to witness Japan's greatest postwar disaster. Or the resonances my film would assume in its wake.

ANPO: Art X War is a film depicting decades of resistance to U.S. military bases in Japan, through a treasure trove of oil paintings, photographs, contemporary art and film clips I discovered, mostly languishing in museum storage and private collections in Japan. Although I made the film in 2009 and 2010, it is rooted in my childhood in provincial Japan where I was raised the daughter of liberal American missionaries. In the 1960s, my family lived in the Inland Sea port of Hofu, situated 70 kilometers from the Iwakuni Marine Corps base and 120 kilometers from Hiroshima. Although I never visited either as a child, the U.S. military presence in Japan and the atomic bombs we dropped would complicate my identification as an American, long after I moved to the U.S. to attend university and settle in the late 1970s.

Producer/Director Linda Hoaglund was born and raised in Japan. Her previous film, Wings of Defeat, told the story of Kamikaze pilots who survived WWII. She directed and produced ANPO, a film about Japanese resistance to U.S. bases seen through the eyes and works of celebrated Japanese artists. She worked as a bilingual news producer for Japanese TV. She has subtitled Japanese films, represents Japanese directors and artists, and serves as an international liaison for film producers. Email: An Asia-Pacific Journal Associate, she can be contacted at

Recommended citation: Linda Hoaglund, 'ANPO: Art X War - In Havoc's Wake,' The Asia-Pacific Journal Vol 9, Issue 41 No 5, October 10, 2011.

 Read more . . .