The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus Newsletter
Newsletter No. 7. 2013    

February 18, 2013    
New Articles Posted
Quick Links
In This Issue
Quick Links
Quick Links
The common theme linking our two articles this week is the Abe administration, is "amnesia" on questions of war memory and the rising tide of nationalism (and not only in Japan) that is producing high tensions between China/Taiwan and Japan over the rocks called Diaoyutai or Senkakus.

Are you interested in reading the most widely read articles at APJ? Click on "Top Ten Articles" at the top of the page, for the top articles of the last month, last year, and last decade.

Our home page has a number of important features. There is a powerful search engine that permits search by author, title, and keyword, found in top left of the home page. For most purposes, author's surname or a keyword entered in Title is most useful. Another 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 thanks to all who contributed to our annual fund-raiser. APJ will continue to be available free to all in 2013. If you missed the opportunity to join our sustainers, you can still do so by going to the red sustainer button on our home page to contribute via Paypal or credit card. Or, if you prefer, we can accept checks on US banks: write to us at  Thank you for your support. 

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.

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 

Alexis Dudden, Bullying and History Don't Mix
As someone who cares deeply about many Japanese people and learns from them, I am most concerned by Japanese voters' decision to return Prime Minister Abe Shinzo to office because of his lengthy record of denigrating the histories of those who suffered under Japan's attempts to conquer and control much of Asia during the first half of the twentieth century. Abe has an equally vibrant record of denigrating those who give voice to these histories today. In response to the prime minister's first few weeks in office, Australia's former Foreign Minister Gareth Evans pointedly noted that it was "the responsibility of statesmen, if they are to deserve the name... to take the politically uncomfortable high ground and then bring their publics along." With Abe we have it the other way around; he drags Japan down.
Many around the world share frustration and anger with many Japanese each time Abe denies some known part of Japanese history. I find myself hoping that he will say something truly awful sooner rather than later so that his surreal view of the twentieth century will again lead to his departure from office. It worked before in 2007 when Abe and his words, together with those of his supporters, spiraled into a series of self-destructive tailspins over the question of whether or not the former sex slaves of the Japanese empire had been coerced into their horrific experience. The international opinion pages were clear: "Just what doesn't Prime Minister Abe understand?"    

This is an English version of the author's article that appeared in the February 15, 2013 edition of Shukan Kinyobi, a weekly magazine in Japan.  

Alexis Dudden is a professor of history at University of Connecticut. Author of Troubled Apologies Among Japan, Korea, and the United States (Columbia University Press, 2008) and Japan's Colonization of Korea: Discourse and Power (University of Hawai'i Press, 2005), she is an Asia-Pacific Journal associate.


 Read More. . .  

Richard Tanter, An Australian Role in Reducing the Prospects of China-Japan War over the Senkakus/Diaoyutai?

The idea that China and Japan are slipping towards war over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands territorial conflict is deeply shocking. How could the world's second and third largest economies even consider the possibility of war over half a dozen uninhabitable islets? For Australians, the question is more serious still: could Australia be drawn into the dangerous conflict between its two largest trading partners on the side of Japan because of its defence agreements with Japan and because of the pull of the ANZUS alliance?

The Australian government needs to consider carefully but with all due speed Australia's interest in actively encouraging a negotiated solution to the dispute. Most importantly, Australia needs to ensure that its alliance with the US and its growing military ties with Japan do not lead to it being drawn into support for military action by the most nationalist Japanese government in half a century.
Most Australians are unlikely to know just how close our military ties with Japan have become. Even before the signing of the comprehensive Japan-Australia Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation in 2007, ANU strategic analyst Desmond Ball placed Japan as our fourth most important strategic partner - after the United States, Britain and New Zealand. Since then the ties binding the two defence forces have become closer still, with an agreement on defence cooperation, an intelligence sharing agreement, and, quietly coming into force a few weeks ago, a defence logistics-sharing agreement. It's not quite ANZUS, but absent some careful rethinking of the default position of Australia foreign policy, a real defence treaty with Japan may not be far away.

Richard Tanter is Professorial Fellow in the School of Social and Political Studies, University of Melbourne, and Senior Research Associate, Nautilus Institute: He is an Asia-Pacific Journal Associate.


Richard Tanter, "An Australian Role in Reducing the Prospects of China-Japan War over the Senkakus/Diaoyutai?" The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 11, Issue 7, No. 1, February 18, 2013.


 Read More. . .