The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus Newsletter
Newsletter No. 48. 2012   

November 26, 2012   
New Articles Posted
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In This Issue
John A. Mathews  
The Asian Super Grid
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This week we celebrated  the 10th anniversary of the Asia-Pacific Journal with a conference at Sophia University with a focus on geopolitical conflicts in the Asia-Pacific and the post-3.11 political economy and energy policies of Japan as well as a review of how far we've come and where the next decade should take us. This was our largest and most diverse meeting to date, with participants from Japan, Canada, Australia, and the US, and a rare mix of scholars-journalists-activists.

Our annual fund-raiser is now in high gear. Please note that we have our first challenge grant: An anonymous donor has pledged to match all donations of $50 and more up to a total of $2,500 with a deadline of December 15. So your donation will have a double barreled effect.

The Journal needs your financial support to take the next step in expanding our work and placing it on a firm long-term trajectory. We draw your attention to our work on 3.11, and our new course readers, an initiative that has just been launched with the first four readers. Our campaign has had strong support from readers in the range of $100-500. Among our goals are the hiring of a part-time managing editor that will permit us to place the journal on a long-term basis. Please go to the red sustainer button on our home page to contribute.

We invite you to help increase activity level on our facebook page - by commenting on  articles, hitting  "like" buttons, or posting relevant articles/news reports on our page. This helps increase the exposure of our page to a broader audience  And if you haven't "liked" our facebook page yet, please do so now -

Our subscribers via this Newsletter, as well as through Facebook and Twitter now number 6,000. We invite you to  help us expand these numbers by informing colleagues, associates, students and friends who might find our work useful. The best way to do so is to send along a recent article of interest and invite them to subscribe via our homepage either to receive the Newsletter or to receive notification via Facebook or Twitter. Another good way is to include APJ in your syllabus.

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.

More than 6,000 people now subscribe to APJ, either through our Newsletter or the more than 2,700 who follow us  through Twitter or Facebook, whose numbers are growing steadily. Please consider joining them by clicking at the appropriate link on our home page.       


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.

Contact Japan Focus by email at

To access our full archive with more than 2,000 articles, and to view the most widely read articles through their titles or via our index, go here. 
Subscription information
The Asia-Pacific Journal is freely available to all. We invite those who wish to support our work by allowing us to make technical upgrades, defray technical, mailing and maintenance fees, and to enable us to expand our output since the 3.11 earthquake and tsunami. 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 
John A. Mathews, The Asian Super Grid

The integration of East Asia is a topic of perennial interest - whether it be monetary integration (much discussed in the wake of the 1997 financial crisis), trade integration (promoted via ever-expanding FTA areas) or even political integration. But what is not widely discussed (as yet) is actually the best hope for effective integration - and that is energy integration, via an Asian super grid linking the enhanced electric power systems of China, Japan, Korea, Mongolia and perhaps Russia.

Just such an Asian Super Grid has been proposed - by the charismatic Softbank CEO Son Masayoshi, driver of Japan's post-Fukushima shift to a renewable energy pathway. The first steps towards the Asian Super Grid (ASG) were taken in October, when SB Renewables, Son's new subsidiary specializing in renewable energy, announced an agreement with a company in Mongolia, Newcom, to develop a site in the Gobi desert for a giant wind farm that would feed renewable power into the grid. (See 'Softbank plans to develop wind power in Mongolia with Newcom', by Chisake Watanabe, Bloomberg, Oct 24 2012)

By the end of 2012, it is anticipated that SB Renewables and Newcom will have identified the site for the first wind farm in the Gobi desert through a joint venture, Clean Energy Asia established in March 2012.

John A. Mathews is Professor of Management, Macquaries University, Australia, and Eni Chair of Competitive Dynamics and Global Strategy at LUISS Guido Carli University in Rome. His research focuses on the competitive dynamics of international business, the evolution of technologies and their strategic management, and the rise of new high technology industries. His work has focused in recent years on the emergence of the 'green economy' and the transition to renewable energies, and the institutional changes needed to provide industrial capitalism with genuine long-term sustainability. He is the author of Strategizing, Disequilibrium, and Profit.   


Recommended citation: John A. Mathews, "The Asian Super Grid," The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol 10, Issue 48, No. 1, November 26, 2012.





Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus-Free Downloadable Course Readers!


The Asia Pacific Journal: Japan Focus announces the start of a new initiative: volume-length e-book compilations of essays on selected topics with explanatory introductions by scholars.  


These volumes are designed to make it easier for teachers and students to use the Asia-Pacific Journal archive. Many teachers already use many of the individual essays in the classroom, for example:  


I used Japan Focus in two classes at Williams last spring: a tutorial class on Hiroshima/Nagasaki: Memory, and a course on Japan Since 1945. There is nothing--literally nothing--in English that does as good a job of making available the latest thinking about the issues that lie at the heart of today's Japan. The articles deal with all of the key issues; they forefront opinion and ideas; and they adhere to strong scholarly standards. ... the Japan Focus articles provoked some of my best class discussions.   Jim Huffman, H. Orth Hirt Professor of History Emeritus, Wittenberg University


The volume editors have chosen articles from the archive that lend themselves particularly well to classroom use and work well as a set.All volumes have been peer-reviewed, in addition to the initial review process before each article was originally posted, and we have permission from all verified copyright holders.

Students like the fact that the articles areavailable 24-7, are storable on-line, searchable, and cost nothing to them.  


We begin with four volumes on the following topics. For a quick look at the tables of contents and title pages, please open the TOC files.


  1. War and Visual Culture edited by Hong Kal and Jooyeon Rhee.
  2. Environmental History       edited by Eiko Maruko Siniawer.
  3. War in Japanese Popular Culture       edited by Matthew Penney.
  4. Women and Japan's Political Economy edited by Valerie Barske.


The topics of other volumes currently in preparation include:


** The Air Raids and Atomic Bombs in Historical Perspective.

** Ethnic Minorities and Japan.

** Globalization and Japanese Popular Culture: Mixing It Up.

** Japan's "Abandoned People" in the Wake of Fukushima.

** The Japanese Empire.

** Japanese Intellectual Currents of the Twentieth Century.

** The Politics of Memory in East Asia.

** Public Opinion on Nuclear Power in Japan after the Fukushima Disaster.

** Putting Okinawa at the Center.


To Download a Volume: The volumes are downloadable from the Asia-Pacific Journal website as searchable PDFs. The PDF versions can be highlighted and bookmarked as well as printed. From the home page, please click on the button marked Course Readers at the top and center of the page. Interested viewers may also browse the tables of contents of each volume, marked TOC and posted at the website. Select a Reader. This process can be repeated to choose other Readers.


The Editorial Board for this project consists of Mark Caprio; Rikkyo University; Lonny Carlile, University of Hawai'i, Parks Coble, University of Nebraska; Sabine Früstück, UC-Santa Barbara; A. Tom Grunfeld, Empire State College; Laura Hein, Northwestern University; James Huffman, Wittenberg University; Jeffrey Kingston, Temple University-Japan; Susan Long, John Carroll University; Laura Miller, University of Missouri, St. Louis; Mark Ravinia, Emory University; Mark Selden, APJ-Japan Focus; Stephen Vlastos, University of Iowa.


If you are interested in creating a volume yourself, wish to participate as a reviewer and editor, have suggestions for new topics, or want to discuss another aspect of this project, please contact Laura Hein at


We welcome donations to support the Journal and this initiative. We suggest doing so at the level of $25.00 or more for the general public and $10.00 for students (or the equivalent in other currencies). Please click on the red button Sustaining APJ on the left side of the APJ home page to contribute.


 Course reader website