The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus Newsletter
Newsletter No. 48. 2011  
November 28, 2011  
New Articles Posted
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In This Issue

This is the second week of our annual fundraising appeal to allow us to continue to make Asia-Pacific Journal available to all at no charge. Our target is $10,000 to allow us to continue to expand post-3.11 coverage of Japan and the Asia-Pacific and to operate for the coming year. Please consider a donation of $25, $50, 
or $100. To contribute, click on the above hot link, or go to our home page. Library subscriptions, permitting unlimited duplication of Focus articles, are available at $40/year to institutions. If you use Focus in courses, please contact us about an institutional subscription at our website. You can also support the Journal by buying books through our Amazon account by clicking on a book cover on our home page or in an article. A small payment for any book ordered (not just those listed here) when placing your order is credited to the Journal.

Our home page has two new features. One is a regularly updated guide to the more than 100 articles we have published on the 3.11 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear power meltdown which is transforming Japanese politics and society, and is reshaping issues of nuclear power and energy policy in that nation and globally. Articles are arranged topically. 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.

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


More than eighteen 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:    


Growing numbers of colleges and universities are subscribing to the journal for use in classes. If you or colleagues wish to incorporate Asia-Pacific Journal articles into courses, please encourage your library to join subscribers on three continents by taking out a subscription to the journal. The rate is $40/year for unlimited access to, and reproduction of, all articles. Please contact your reference librarian and provide us with an e-ddress to contact and send an invoice. Please send the information to

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. 

Thanks to readers who subscribe or become sustainers of the Journal, and who order books and other items through Amazon via our website. A small portion of the sales of books and any other products purchased when accessing the Amazon site through one of the book logos on our home page go to the Journal at no cost to you.   
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We have begun our fundraising appeal to allow us to continue to make Asia-Pacific Journal available to all at no charge. $10,000 will allow us to continue to expand post-3.11 coverage of Japan and the Asia-Pacific and to operate for the coming year.  We invite supporters, authors and readers who find the journal useful to join our sustainers by making a small contribution to support technical upgrades, defray technical, mailing and maintenance fees, and help us to expand outreach. As we have expanded our output since the 3.11 earthquake and tsunami, our costs have risen sharply. Recommended support level: $25 ($10 for students and residents of developing countries); $40 for institutions including libraries, research centers, government offices. If you experience difficulty in subscribing, write to us with the error message at 

Jon Mitchell, Agent Orange on Okinawa - New Evidence


In September 2011, The Asia-Pacific Journal published my research into the presence of US military defoliants, including Agent Orange, on Okinawa during the 1960s and early '70s. Drawing on the testimonies of over 20 US veterans who had served on the island at a time when it was a forward staging post for the war in Vietnam, the article catalogued the storage, spraying and burial of these dioxin-tainted chemicals on 14 American installations from the Yambaru jungles in northern Okinawa to Naha Port in the south. Despite this large number of firsthand accounts, however, the Pentagon continues to deny that military defoliants were ever on the island.

Fuelled by the September article - as well as others I have written for The Japan Times and investigations conducted by journalists from the Okinawa Times - Okinawa's politicians and activists have now demanded that both the Japanese and US governments allay residents' concerns by coming clean on the usage of Agent Orange on the island. This tide of anger culminated on October 28th when Okinawa's governor, Nakaima Hirokazu, met with John V. Roos, the US Ambassador to Tokyo, and requested that he launch an investigation into the issue. Roos reportedly replied that he would do so assiduously.

With new information regarding the presence of these defoliants on Okinawa emerging rapidly, this article updates readers on the most significant developments. First, it looks at the recent statement from a senior US official who claims defoliants were tested on the island between 1960 and 1962. Next, it examines a 1966 Air Force document which seems to debunk contemporary Department of Defense denials that herbicides were ever present on Okinawa. Following this, the article explores new evidence that these defoliants were used post-1972 - specifically on Iejima Island as well as at Camp Foster and MCAS Futenma. Finally, it outlines the press conference I held in Nago City on November 4th where, for the first time, Okinawan residents told the media about their experiences of US defoliant usage on their island.

Jon Mitchell is a Welsh-born writer based in Yokohama. He has written widely on Okinawan social issues for the Japanese and American press - a selection of which can be found here. Currently, he teaches at Tokyo Institute of Technology.

Recommended citation: Jon Mitchell, 'Agent Orange on Okinawa - New Evidence,' The Asia-Pacific Journal Vol 9, Issue 48 No 1, November 28, 2011.


Read more . . . 
Peter Lynch with Andrew DeWit, Feed-in Tariffs the Way Forward for Renewable Energy

Peter Lynch, an expert on the renewable energy sector, offers a concise introduction to the central role of feed-in tariffs (FITs) in fostering the ongoing transition from conventional, carbon-laden sources of generating electricity to renewables such as solar, wind and geothermal. As the author points out, FITs guarantee markets and prices for renewable power, and drive down their cost through deployment and the encouragement of yet more technical advance. FITs thus offer much hope to a world that seems unable to reach any sort of global agreement on cutting emissions which have continued to spiral since the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.

Last year, according to figures from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (link), investment in new generation capacity from renewable energy sources (excluding hydro) totaled USD 187 billion, outpacing the USD 157 billion new investment in natural gas, oil, and coal-fired generating capacity. This rapid ramping up of deployment of existing technologies is key for renewables, as Bloomberg notes. For example, since the mid-1980s each doubling of wind generation capacity has led to a 14% reduction in cost through technical improvements in production, better materials, learning by doing, and the like. Advances have come so rapidly that the Bloomberg New Energy Finance researchers "expect wind to become fully competitive with energy produced from combined-cycle gas turbines by 2016 in most regions offering fair wind conditions."

Andrew DeWit is Professor of the Political Economy of Public Finance, School of Policy Studies, Rikkyo University and an Asia-Pacific Journal coordinator. With Kaneko Masaru, he is the coauthor of Global Financial Crisis published by Iwanami in 2008.

Recommended citation: Peter Lynch and Andrew DeWit, 'Feed-in Tariffs the Way Forward for Renewable Energy,' The Asia-Pacific Journal Vol 9, Issue 48 No 3, November 28, 2011.

 Read more . . .
SoonYawl Park, Restoring or Killing Rivers? The Political Economy of Sapjil and Citizens Movements in Lee Myung-bak's South Korea

In 2008 the government of Lee Myung-bak announced the Sadaegang Saligi (Four Major Rivers, Sadaegang, restoration) project, calling it also Korea's Green New Deal. Since then, Korea's Han, Nakdong, Geum, and Yeongsan Rivers have been ecologically and geographically transformed by dredging and weir construction.
The official aims of the project were declared to be: preventing flooding, addressing climate change, resolving water scarcity, and improving water quality. It would also constitute a counter-measure against the world-wide economic recession that followed the financial crisis of 2008, and a key policy component in a 'low carbon, green growth' policy against global climate change and resource depletion. In fact, however, transformation of the rivers has had deleterious effects on many local communities and has caused serious social and political conflict. The struggle over this vast, and vastly unpopular construction project that is the darling of the Lee administration, and the environmental consequences of its construction, is the subject of this article.

SoonYawl Park is a Research Fellow at the Asia Center, Seoul National University.

Recommended citation: SoonYawl Park, 'Restoring or Killing Rivers? The Political Economy of Sapjil and Citizens Movements in Lee Myung-bak's South Korea,' The Asia-Pacific Journal Vol 9, Issue 48 No 2, November 28, 2011.

 Read more . . .