The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus Newsletter
Newsletter No. 14. 2012   

April 2, 2012   
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In This Issue

Our home page has two important 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.  Second, the list of articles now indicates all those available in Japanese translation or original, as well as other languages.

Many 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 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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Gavan McCormack, North Korea's 100th - To Celebrate or To Surrender?


On 16 March 2012, North Korea announced that it would launch an earth observation satellite named Kwangmyongsong (Lodestar) 3, aboard an Unha carrier rocket sometime between the hours of 7 am and noon on a day between 12 and 16 April, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of its state founder, Kim Il Sung, and the attainment of "strong and prosperous" status by the country. The launch from a base in the north of the country close to the border with China would be pointed south, dropping off its first phase rocket into the Yellow Sea about 160 kms to the southwest of South Korea's Byeonsan peninsula and the second into the ocean about 140 kilometres east of Luzon in the Philippines. Due notice of the impending launch was issued to the appropriate international maritime, aviation and telecommunication bodies (IMO, ICAO and ITU) and, to mark the occasion, North Korea announced that it would welcome scientific observers and journalists. The 15 April date, in the 100th year according to the calendar of North Korea, has long been declared a landmark in the history of the state, and the launch seems designed to be its climactic event.

Satellites, of whichever type, are a mark of advanced scientific status and economic development. As a country that especially in recent years has suffered from acute weather irregularities, presumed due to global warming, and is surrounded by satellite-operating states, North Korea has a strong interest in itself joining the select company, both for motives of pride and face as well as for scientific and economic reasons. A covert military purpose, development of intercontinental ballistic missile capacity, may be assumed, since the rocketry is virtually the same, only the load and the trajectory differ; but this is true of all satellite-launching countries. North Korea became a signatory to the Outer Space treaty (of 1966) in 2009, and now protests that it alone of the world's nations cannot be denied the universal right to the scientific exploration of space simply because of that convergence of civil and military technology.

However, no sooner was its March announcement of the launch made than much of the world exploded with indignation and demanded it immediately cancel it.  South Korea called it a "grave provocation." The US State Department declared the launch would be a breach of North Korea's obligations under Security Council Resolutions 1718 of 2006 and 1874 of 2009 (both banning "missile-related activity" or launches "using ballistic missile technology").

This article examines the North Korean proposed launch in the context of six decades of war and the US-DPRK relationship.

Gavan McCormack is an emeritus professor of the Australian National University and a coordinator of The Asia-Pacific Journal. He is author of many books and articles on modern and contemporary East Asia, and many of his articles are accessible on this site. His Target North Korea: Pushing North Korea to the brink of Nuclear Catastrophe, was published in 2004 and translated and published in Japanese and Korean. In 2008 and 2009 he contributed a monthly column to the Seoul daily Kyunghyang shinmoon. His discussion with John Dower of the prospects for 2012 was featured on NHK satellite television as its New Year program ("Kantogen 2012"). His most recent book, co-authored with Satoko Oka Norimatsu, is Islands of Resistance: Okinawa Confronts Japan and the United States, forthcoming, Rowman and Littlefield, July 2012.

Recommended Citation: Gavan McCormack, "North Korea's 100th - To Celebrate or To Surrender?" The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol 10, Issue 14, No 2, April 2, 2012.

  Read more . . .
Michael Pettis, with an introduction by R Taggart Murphy, Japan's Debt disaster and China's (Non)Rebalancing: Stormy seas ahead?

Michael Pettis and Taggart Murphy examine the economic and financial prospects for the Chinese and Japanese economy in the years ahead, and what might be done to stave off looming problems centered on demand for exports, domestic consumption (China), and large deficits (Japan).  


Michael Pettis is a Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a finance professor at Peking University's Guanghua School of Management, where he specializes in Chinese financial markets. Pettis has worked on Wall Street in trading, capital markets, and corporate finance since 1987. He received an MBA in Finance and an MIA in Development Economics, both from Columbia University.He is the author of The Volatility Machine: Emerging Economics and the Threat of Financial Collapse.


R Taggart Murphy is Professor and Chair of the MBA Program in International Business at the Tokyo Campus of the University of Tsukuba and an Asia-Pacific Journal Coordinator. He is the author of The Weight of the Yen and, with Akio Mikuni, of Japan's Policy Trap. 


Recommended citation: Michael Pettis with an introduction by R Taggart Murphy, "Japan's Debt disaster and China's (Non)Rebalancing: Stormy seas ahead?" The

Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol 10, Issue 14, No 1, April 2, 2012.



Read More. . .
 Koide Hideaki, translated by Kyoko Selden, Japan's Nightmare Fight Against Radiation in the Wake of the 3.11 Meltdown

 Koide Hiroaki, b. 1949, assistant professor, Kyoto University, Nuclear Reactor Experiment Research Center.

This interview appeared in the March 16, 2012 Shukan Kinyobi.

Posted April 1, 2012.


Peter Hayes, Global Perspectives on Nuclear Safety and Security After 3-11

The earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011 did more than just devastate Japan and unleash a local nuclear disaster. They exposed a host of design flaws in current nuclear technology whose solutions are linked to dramatically unsettling security issues.


The nuclear power industry spent decades distancing itself in the public mind from the dangers of radiation released by nuclear weapons. Having largely overcome that psychological obstacle in many countries, it first had to overcome the immense challenges to sustaining public trust posed first by the Three Mile Island reactor meltdown in March 1979 and then the catastrophic failure of the Chernobyl reactor complex in April 1986.


In the last decade, with a self-proclaimed mandate to produce "low-carbon electricity" in the face of global warming, the industry looked set for a renaissance, especially in Asia. That was before 3-11. The global future for nuclear power is now dim although not yet pitch black.



Recommended Citation: Peter Hayes, "Global Perspectives on Nuclear Safety and Security After 3-11," The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol 10,  Issue 14, No 3, April 2, 2012.  


Peter Hayes is Executive Director of the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainability and an Asia-Pacific Journal Associate. Recent publications include Extended Nuclear Deterrence, Global Abolition, and Korea and The Path Not Taken, The Way Still Open: Denuclearizing The Korean Peninsula And Northeast Asia (with Michael Hamel-Green)

 Read More. . .