The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus Newsletter
Newsletter No. 3. 2012   

January 16, 2012   
New Articles Posted
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In This Issue

Thank you to the many who supported our campaign. We're pleased to report that your response to our fundraising appeal has been successful and Asia-Pacific Journal available to all readers at no charge. We've  reached our target of $10,000.

We take a certain pride in our coverage of events in Fukushima and Tohoku over the last year and urge you to have a look at what we've done. Your support allows us to continue to expand post-3.11 coverage of Japan and the Asia-Pacific in the coming year as Japan continues to face the gravest challenges since its defeat in war nearly seven decades ago. Of course, it remains possible to contribute if you've not already done so. Click on the above hot link, or go to our   
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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 and widely read 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" offers 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. Find it at the top of the homepage.

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:


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Hiroshi ONITSUKA, Hooked on Nuclear Power: Japanese State-Local Relations and the Vicious Cycle of Nuclear Dependence


This article examines the problems associated with the fact that Japanese nuclear power plants have multiple reactors within one plant and are concentrated in specific regions.  It analyzes the situation from international, domestic, and local perspectives, revealing features of Japanese state-local relations.

The crisis of the crippled nuclear power plant Fukushima Daiichi has continued for nine months and will continue for some time to come.  One of the reasons that this has been such a protracted crisis is that four nuclear reactors within close proximity of each other were damaged simultaneously, making efforts to repair any one of them extremely difficult.  Fukushima Daiichi was equipped with six reactors (operation had been suspended at two of its reactors on March 11, 2011), and the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), together with the local government of Futaba Town, where the fifth and sixth reactors are located, had been planning to add two more reactors.  Japanese nuclear power plants are characterized by having multiple reactors within one plant, and being concentrated in specific regions.  The concentration of plants on the coastline of Fukushima Prefecture (two plants and ten reactors) and the Wakasa Gulf Coast of Fukui Prefecture (four plants and 13 reactors) has earned the two regions the nickname "Genpatsu [nuclear power plant] Ginza"1.  At the site located between Kashiwazaki City and Kariwa Village, Niigata Prefecture, TEPCO has what is, with seven reactors, the world's largest nuclear power plant complex (See Map).  This geographic concentration of nuclear reactors significantly increases the probability of a crisis occurring when any of those regions are struck by natural disasters.  Given the risks that they present, why do Japanese nuclear power plants have these features?

Hiroshi Onitsuka is an independent scholar who specializes in the history of modern Japan, especially local public finance, and in Japanese emigration to Manchuria.

Recommended citation: Hiroshi ONITSUKA, 'Hooked on Nuclear Power: Japanese State-Local Relations and the Vicious Cycle of Nuclear Dependence,' The Asia-Pacific Journal Vol 10, Issue 2, No 2, January 13, 2011.


Read more . . .
Matthew Penney, Business as Usual - Controversy Flares Over Japanese Nuclear Exports

Even as the Japanese public turns against nuclear power at home, the Japanese government and corporations such as Toshiba are moving swiftly to expand the country's nuclear business by exporting reactor technology abroad.
In a December 10 editorial, the Mainichi Shimbun said that an agreement for nuclear power cooperation and export to Jordan, Vietnam, Russia, and South Korea was based on a decision that "... came too hasty and has not been thought through."
The Mainichi editors are concerned that the agreements have no details about how nuclear power stations will be regulated and safety ensured. There are worries that an accident involving Japanese nuclear technology abroad could further undermine international confidence in Japanese technology and industry already shaken by the 3.11 earthquake tsunami and nuclear disaster. This article reviews and assesses Japanese press accounts to the government attempt to sell nuclear technology.

Matthew Penney is an Assistant Professor at Concordia University and an Asia-Pacific Journal Coordinator.

Recommended citation: Matthew Penney, 'Business as Usual - Controversy Flares Over Japanese Nuclear Exports,' The Asia-Pacific Journal Vol 10, Issue 3 No 3, January 16, 2012.

John Price, Racism, Canadian War Crimes, and the Korean War: Shin Hyun-Chan's Quest for Justice

Scholars and journalists in Korea and the United States have worked hard over the past 15 years to bring to light the mass killings of civilians that occurred during the Korean War. These stories, including that of the strafing of civilians at No Gun Ri, have challenged the hegemonic narrative of the 'good war' that has dominated south Korean and US accounts of this tragic past. In the following revised excerpt of a chapter from his new book, Orienting Canada: Race, Empire and the Transpacific (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2011), Canadian historian John Price documents the story of Mr. Shin Hyun-Chan, a survivor of a Canadian war crime committed during the Korean war. In investigating the Shin case the author uncovered numerous other war crimes committed by Canadian forces in Korea, including rape and murder. In almost all cases where the perpetrators faced court-martials, they were found guilty but then exonerated upon return to Canada. Reporters in Korea at the time pointed to racism as endemic and a contributing factor. But the Canadian military, supported by religious leaders, refuted the accusations and buried the stories. The case reveals much about the politics of impunity as practiced by both the American and Canadian military during and after the war. And of the politics of impunity wherever Status of Forces Agreements protect foreign military forces from prosecution on the ground. As in the US, the Canadian military continues to refuse to accept responsibility for this and other war crimes. Sixty years later, however, the truth is finally coming out. Mr. Shin has recently retained legal counsel to press his case with the Canadian government. The case illustrates the importance of expanding research on war crimes committed during the Korea War beyond the US and South Korean archives. It also raises important dimensions of law and justice in an era in which Status of Forces Agreements (SOFA) insulate US and other foreign military forces from domestic courts where soldiers are stationed on foreign soil, whether in war or peace.

John Price is associate professor of Japanese history at the University of Victoria and director of the E.H. Norman Digital Archive project. His new book, Orienting Canada: Race, Empire and the Transpacific (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2011) will be the subject of discussion and debate at H-Diplo in early 2012.
Recommended citation: John Price, 'Racism, Canadian War Crimes, and the Korean War: Shin Hyun-Chan's Quest for Justice,' The Asia-Pacific Journal Vol 10, Issue 3 No 2, January 16, 2012.