The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus Newsletter
Newsletter No. 49. 2011  

December 5, 2011  
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We're now well into our annual fundraising appeal to allow us to continue to make Asia-Pacific Journal available to all at no charge. Our target of $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. It will enable us to publish work like Jon Mitchell's account of the US government coverup of the use of Agent Orange in Okinawa as well as in Vietnam and Guam that has produced important responses from GIs and former GIs. Thanks to readers who have already responded to our appeal. We hope to hear from many more of you in the final week. We ask that you consider a donation of $25, $50, $100. To contribute, click on the above hot link, or  
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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.

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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: Buried Evidence? 


A former US soldier has identified a busy neighborhood in the Okinawa town of Chatan as the burial site of dozens of barrels of the toxic defoliant Agent Orange. The alleged burial took place in 1969 when the area was part of the US military's Hamby Air Field. Since its return to civilian use in 1981, it has been redeveloped into a sightseeing district with restaurants, hotels, apartment blocks and a popular beach.

The US veteran identifies the location of the buried barrels of Agent Orange.
Recently there have been several other claims concerning the burial of Agent Orange within US military bases on Okinawa - including on MCAS Futenma, Kadena Air Base and Camp Schwab. To date the Japanese and US governments have refused to conduct environmental inspections within these installations. But this is the first time an alleged burial site has been identified on civilian land - paving the way for independent dioxin tests to be conducted.

Meanwhile, both the US and Japanese governments continue to stonewall in the face of rising popular anger on Okinawa.

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

Recommended citation: Jon Mitchell, 'Agent Orange on Okinawa: Buried Evidence?,' The Asia-Pacific Journal Vol 9, Issue 49 No 2, December 5, 2011.


 Read more . . . 
Tanaka Sakai, Why the New "Emphasis on Asia" in U.S. Policy?

In his remarks to the Australian parliament on November 17, President Obama declared that the U. S. was making the Asia-Pacific region a top priority.  While promising a continued U.S. military presence in the region, Obama also expressed his intention to strengthen U.S.-China cooperation.  This declaration, however, was made at the same time as Obama announced a series of anti-China measures: to station U.S. forces permanently in Australia for the first time, to promote the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) - a multilateral trade agreement that excludes China - and to discuss the South China Sea Islands at the ASEAN summit, to Beijing's displeasure.  Therefore, the Japanese media view Obama's emphasis on Asia as strengthening an anti-China containment ring.

In Japan, there is heightened expectation for Obama's new policy, which is thought to signal that the U.S. is finally treating China as an enemy. Since the late-1990s, U.S.-China relations have seen China's ascension and America's decline, especially in the economic arena.  An anti-China policy of the United States would inevitably involve pro-U.S. Asian countries like Japan, South Korea, and ASEAN. The author examines the tension between growing US-China geopolitical rivalry and deepening economic ties.

This is a translation of an article that appeared in Tanaka News under the title米国の「アジア重視」なぜ今?Tanaka Sakai is the creator, researcher, writer and editor of Tanaka News (, a Japanese-language news service on Japan and the world.Tanaka Sakai's new book is 『日本が「対米従属」を脱する日-多極化する新世界秩序の中で-』The Day Japan Breaks with "Subordination to the US": Amidst the Multipolarizing New World Order.

Recommended citation: Tanaka Sakai, 'Why the New "Emphasis on Asia" in U.S. Policy?,'
The Asia-Pacific Journal Vol 9, Issue 49 No 1, December 5, 2011.

Read more . . .
Janis Mimura, Japan's New Order and Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere: Planning for Empire

This essay examines the ideology and politics of Japanese technocrats during the Pacific War. Focusing on Kishi Nobusuke and his faction of reform bureaucrats, it analyzes how these technocrats viewed the war as an unprecedented planning opportunity to realize their vision of Japan's New Order and Asian empire.

Janis Mimura is Associate Professor of History at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and the author of Planning for Empire: Reform Bureaucrats and the Japanese Wartime State. This essay is excerpted from Chapter Six of that book.

Recommended citation: Janis Mimura, 'Japan's New Order and Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere: Planning for Empire,' The Asia-Pacific Journal Vol 9, Issue 49 No 3, December 5, 2011.

Read more . . .
Geoffrey Gunn, War Claims and Compensation: Franco-Vietnamese Contention over Japanese War Reparations and the Vietnam War

This article seeks to disentangle the complex claims and counterclaims to Japanese war reparations deriving from the period of Japanese rule in Vietnam in the years 1940-45.

It demonstrates that, alongside Cambodia, Vietnam stands out among the beneficiaries of Japanese war reparations for the huge gap in expectations over compensation issues.  Not only was the Tokyo government challenged internationally by the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV) as the sole legal claimant upon these reparation funds against both the Republic of Vietnam (SRV) and France, it was also challenged domestically by Japan's major left-wing opposition parties.

Recommended citation: Geoffrey Gunn, 'War Claims and Compensation: Franco-Vietnamese Contention over Japanese War Reparations and the Vietnam War,' The Asia-Pacific Journal Vol 9, Issue 49 No 4, December 5, 2011.

 Read more . . .