The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus Newsletter
Newsletter No. 44 2011  
October 31, 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. Coming this week. In addition, we have added a guide to some of the most important, and liveliest, online and print sources on 3.11 including blogs and websites. 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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Sun-Jin YUN, Myung-Rae Cho and David von Hippel, The Current Status of Green Growth in Korea: Energy and Urban Security


The Republic of Korea's economy has been one of the economic marvels of the last few decades, growing rapidly and steadily, with few downturns.  By 2010, the ROK had the world's 12th largest GDP, and ranked 10th among nations in electricity consumption and production, 10th in gas imports, 9th in oil consumption, and 4th in oil imports.  The ROK has become an international force in several industries, including steel, automobiles, and electronics, and has experienced a large increase in the living standards of its people, as well as in urbanization.  Much of the ROK's energy needs are supplied by imports, and the ROK has embraced nuclear power as a key source of electricity.

The last decade has seen some transitions in the ROK energy sector, including a partial restructuring of the electricity sector, expanded investment in oil and gas producer nations, and a drive to export nuclear technologies. In August 2008, President Lee Myung-bak announced "low carbon green growth" as a "new national development paradigm" in his speech on the 60th anniversary of national independence.  The years since that announcement have seen the development, and the very early phases of implementation, of green growth principles in South Korea, and of policies related to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
This paper explores the energy sector and energy security policies in the ROK, describes the genesis and current status of green growth and GHG emissions reduction policies and projections, reviews the strengths and weakness of existing green economy policies, and suggests how green economy and energy security policies in the ROK can be developed and carried out.

Sun-Jin YUN, Associate Professor, Graduate School of Environmental Studies, Seoul National University and Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Environmental Studies.

Myung-Rae CHO is Professor of Social Sciences at Dankook University and editor of the Quarterly Journal of Environment and Life.

David von Hippel is a Nautilus Institute Senior Associate based in Eugene, Oregon. His work with Nautilus has centered on energy and environmental issues in Asia, and particularly in Northeast Asia. 

Recommended citation: Sun-Jin Yun, Myung-Rae Cho and David von Hippel, 'The Current Status of Green Growth in Korea: Energy and Urban Security,' The Asia-Pacific Journal Vol 9, Issue 44 No 4, October 31, 2011.



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Philip Brasor, Gender, Equity and the Japanese Welfare System

Komiyama Yoko is the first woman to ever be appointed Japan's Minister of Health, Welfare and Labor. As a mother she may have more insight and empathy than many of her male colleagues into the issues her ministry addresses. What is certain is that, as soon as she took the job in August, she stirred up controversy, mainly with her comment that the cigarette tax should be raised in order to help fund reconstruction in the areas devastated by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. But tax matters are the responsibility of the Finance Ministry.

Another controversial comment had to do with something Komiyama does oversee: social security. At her first press conference as minister she said she wanted to revise the designation in the current system that allows homemakers a pension share if their husbands are enrolled in the program through their employers. She called this designation "very strange" since it "privileges" ten million full-time housewives over 33 million other women, married or single, who work either part-time or full-time and have to pay pension premiums themselves. This article assesses the controversy over the gender provisions of the pension system.

Philip Brasor is a Japan Times columnist. He blogs at

Recommended citation: Philip Brasor, Gender, Equity and the Japanese Welfare System, The Asia Pacific Journal, Vol 9, Issue 44, No 2.

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Nakajima Takeshi, The Tokyo Tribunal, Justice Pal and the Revisionist Distortion of History

Since the mid 1990s, Japan's neonationalist forces have made important gains: in education, culture and politics, as manifested notably in the activation of the Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform and the popularity of the best-selling comic book Sensōron (On War) by cartoonist Kobayashi Yoshinori.

Japanese historical revisionists have contrasted their approach with what they term the 'Tokyo Trial view of history' and the 'masochistic view of history'. These revisionists regard as 'masochistic' any characterisation of Japan's military advances in Asia during the pre-World War II period as an 'invasion'. And they claim a 'spell' lingering from the International Military Tribunal for the Far East ('Tokyo Tribunal') underlies this 'masochistic view of history'. Arguing that the Tokyo Tribunal created and disseminated a false perception of the Greater East Asia War as 'the war in which the liberal Allies defeated a fascist Japan', the revisionists hold that denouncing and rejecting the Tribunal is the key to shaking off this 'masochistic view of history'.

In their discourse on the denial of the Tribunal, revisionists frequently invoke the so-called 'Pal Judgment'. An Indian judge participating in the Tokyo Tribunal, Radhabinod Pal issued a Dissenting Opinion entitled Dissentient Judgment of Justice Pal, which asserted that all Japanese Class A defendants at the Trial were innocent of crimes. However, the Opinion is often presented without a thorough examination of its content. Instead, only the decontextualised conclusion - that the Japanese suspects were not guilty - is singled out.

This article analyses Justice Pal's theory in his Dissenting Opinion and examines the philosophy behind it. I also introduce an overview of how Justice Pal's Opinion first became misinterpreted by Japanese historical revisionists, in order to explain how current revisionist discourse on the Opinion has been shaped.

Nakajima Takeshi is the author of Pāru Hanji: Tōkyō Saiban hihan to zettai heiwa-shugi (Justice Pal: Criticism of the Tokyo Trial and Absolute Pacifism) and Bose of Nakamuraya: an Indian revolutionary in Japan.

Recommended citation: Nakajima Takeshi, 'The Tokyo Tribunal, Justice Pal and the Revisionist Distortion of History,' The Asia-Pacific Journal Vol 9, Issue 44 No 3, October 31, 2011.

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Richard Bradshaw and Jim Ransdell, Japan, Britain and the Yellow Peril in Africa in the 1930s

During the 1930s, a dramatic increase in Japanese exports to Africa and Japan's growing influence in Ethiopia led many Europeans and South African whites to evoke the specter of the 'Yellow Peril' and to call for measures to halt Japan's 'penetration' of Africa. Japan's close ties with Ethiopia and her growing exports to South Africa were of particular concern. Japan and Italy were able to reach an agreement with regard to their conflict of interest in Ethiopia, but Japan's relations with the British Empire suffered as a result of anti-Japanese sentiment in South Africa.


Growing Chinese economic and political influence in Africa has recently received considerable attention, but this is not the first time that the projection of Asian power into Africa has provoked great concern. In the 1930s, a rapid rise in Japanese exports to Africa and Japan's close ties with Ethiopia invoked cries of the 'Yellow Peril' and led to efforts to stop Japan's penetration of Africa. Barriers to Japanese exports were erected all over Africa to secure markets for the colonial powers of Europe, Britain in particular. With decline in European exports during World War I, the Japanese had been able to gain an economic foothold in countries such as the Union of South Africa. This growth of Japanese exports to southern Africa during the first decades of the 20th century coincided with the growth of South African economic nationalism, which, in turn, led to public hysteria among European competitors and domestic business interests over what was perceived as Japanese economic "dumping." The conclusion of a "Gentleman's Agreement" with Japan by Prime Minister Hertzog's government in the 1930s further antagonized white South Africans who displayed widespread bi-partisan hostility to the arrangement. Later, following the Great Depression and South Africa's gold standard crisis, the economic concerns of South African whites were compounded with worries over Japan's political ambitions in Ethiopia.


This became a matter of concern from Rome to Cape Town at the time of the Italo-Ethiopian crisis of 1934-35, during which Italy feared that Japan would provide military assistance to Ethiopia, were it attacked. Though this incident initially saw public outcry on both sides, it ultimately brought Italy and Japan closer together. The Italian and Japanese governments were able to overcome their clash of interests in Africa by reaching a compromise regarding their respective spheres of influence in Ethiopia and Manchuria. But for the British, the Japanese activities in Manchukuo combined with the ongoing competition between the two over exports throughout Africa was a point of tension dividing the two former allies.


Richard Bradshaw is a professor of history and international relations at Centre College, Kentucky. His dissertation focused on Japanese-African relations prior to World War II and he has written several articles on this topic.


Jim Ransdell is a history and East Asian Studies major at Centre College, Kentucky. He co-authored an article in the 2010 edition of the Southeast Review of Asian Studies (SERAS) on Japanese-South African relations in the prewar period and is currently working on a book on Japanese-African relations.


Recommended citations: Richard Bradshaw and Jim Ransdell, 'Japan, Britain and the Yellow Peril in Africa in the 1930s,' The Asia-Pacific Journal Vol 9, Issue 44 No 2, October 31, 2011.


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Peter Hayes, Chung-in Moon and Scott Bruce, Park Chung Hee, the US-ROK Strategic Relationship, and the Bomb

Declassified US Embassy Seoul cables related to nuclear proliferation during the Park Chung Hee era show that, far from making South Korea more secure, Park's toying with the nuclear option made him an unpredictable and even dangerous client who needed restraint in the eyes of US policymakers.

A recently declassified set of documents posted by the US Central Intelligence Agency (hereafter, the CIA) provides important new information on Park's efforts, and on the US response to his continuing program. These documents form the basis for an important study published in 2011 by Sung Gul Hong on Park's attempts to obtain missile, dual use technology, and fissile material needed to make a nuclear weapon. The ROK's nuclear ambitions, especially in the post-1975 period, resulted in the United States threatening to rupture the security alliance if the ROK did not stop its nuclear intransigence.

Of these declassified documents, the most important is South Korea: Nuclear Developments and Strategic Decisionmaking, issued in June 1978 by the CIA's National Foreign Assessment Center and released in 2005 under the CIA's routine 25-year declassification program.  Other than use in a Princeton graduate curriculum, the document has languished unnoticed on the web since its release.  In this essay, we review the new insights provided by the CIA's report, supplementing as necessary with reference to other primary and secondary sources.

Given the contemporary public debate in Seoul about reintroducing American nuclear weapons or trying again to go-it-alone with nuclear weapons, we believe that there are lessons to be learned from Park Chung Hee's failed proliferation strategy in the 1972-1978 period, especially now that the North has obtained nuclear arms and the Soviet nuclear threat has evaporated. 

Peter Hayes is Professor of International Relations, RMIT University, Melbourne and Executive Director, Nautilus of America, San Francisco.

Chung-in Moon is Professor of Political Science, Yonsei University. He served as Dean of Yonsei's Graduate School of International Studies and as Chairman of the Presidential Committee on Northeast Asian Cooperation Initiative, and Ambassador for International Security Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Republic of Korea.

Scott Bruce is Director of the Nautilus Institute, San Francisco. He is the editor of the North-East Asia Peace and Security Network (NAPSNet), and manager of the Institute's East Asia Initiative.

Recommended citation: Peter Hayes, Chung-in Moon and Scott Bruce, 'Park Chung Hee, the US-ROK Strategic Relationship, and the Bomb,' The Asia-Pacific Journal Vol 9, Issue 44 No 6, October 31, 2011.

 Read more . . .


Stephen Epstein and Rumi Sakamoto, The True Origins of Pizza: Irony, the Internet and East Asian Nationalisms

On September 30, 2011, an outfit named GumshoePictures uploaded on YouTube a video entitled "The True Origins of Pizza," which, in the format of a brief documentary (3:44), reminiscent of those seen on such stations as the Discovery Channel, investigates an apparent historical puzzle: a series of speakers, from academics to a blogger and a representative of the "Korean Culinary Center," are interviewed and advance evidence that pizza originated in Korea and had been "stolen" by Marco Polo, much as he had reputedly brought back noodles from China to Italy as spaghetti. Before we engage in an analysis of this remarkable well-produced clip, let us first encourage readers of The Asia-Pacific Journal who have yet to see this video to watch it, unencumbered by any spoilers or the authors' own opinions.

Stephen Epstein is Associate Professor and the Director of the Asian Studies Programme at the Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. He has published widely on contemporary Korean society and literature and has translated numerous works of Korean and Indonesian fiction.

Rumi Sakamoto is Senior Lecturer in the School of Asian Studies, the University of Auckland, New Zealand, and a Japan Focus associate. She is the coeditor with Matthew Allen of Popular Culture, Globalization and Japan.

Recommended citation: Stephen Epstein and Rumi Sakamoto, 'The True Origins of Pizza: Irony, the Internet and East Asian Nationalisms,'
The Asia-Pacific Journal Vol 9, Issue 44 No 5, October 31, 2011.

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