The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus Newsletter
Newsletter No. 21. 2013    

May 27, 2013    
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We return again to the front lines of confrontation provoked by struggles over small rocks which have thrown China-Japan (and US) relations into turmoil, in this case involving Diaoyu/Senkakus, as Gavan McCormack profiles.



The 3.11 disaster offered Japan opportunities to rethink its approach to nature and the construction state in its vulnerable coastal areas. While earlier reports by Andrew DeWit and others have shown the emergence of new initiatives to replace nuclear power with green alternatives, Winifred Bird in her report on Post-Tsunami Tohoku reveals the Japanese state's plans to redouble its efforts to cement its coasts in ways that will be highly vulnerable to major disasters.

China, on the other hand, is launching perhaps the world's most ambitious solar power projects. Mathews, Hu and Wu outline the projects in progress. But how will these green initiatives play out as China simultaneously pursues the full cocktail of nuclear, coal, oil and fuel in the world's most expansive energy programs?


Asia Pacific Journal NEW Free Downloadable Course Readers!!!


The Asia Pacific Journal: Japan Focus announces the release of our second set of volume-length e-book compilations of essays on selected topics with explanatory introductions by scholars. 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. The readers can also be highlighted, annotated, printed, and include convenient bookmarks to navigate to the beginning of each article.


New Course Readers:

** The Japanese Empire: Colonial Lives and Postcolonial Struggle edited by Kirsten Ziomek

** Japan's "Abandoned People" in the Wake of Fukushima edited by Brian Earl

** Public Opinion on Nuclear Power in Japan after the Fukushima Disaster edited by Brian Earl

** The Politics of Memory in Japan and East Asia edited by Sven Saaler & Justin Aukema


They join the 2012 publications:

  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:  

** Japan and the American-led Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

** Ethnic Minorities and Japan.

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

** Japanese Intellectual Currents of the Twentieth Century.

** Putting Okinawa at the Center.


To Download a Volume: The volumes are downloadable from the Asia-Pacific Journal website as searchable PDFs. From the home page, please click on the button marked Course Readers at the top and center of the page, or go directly to the course reader page. Interested viewers may download a copy of any reader by clicking on the appropriate link at the course readers home page and entering their email address. In addition, viewers may directly download the table of contents of each course reader for a preview of the volume.


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


Although the course readers are free, we welcome donations to support the Journal and this initiative; please note the red button Sustaining APJ on the left side of the APJ home page.




All recent articles  are now available on Kindle, as are several recent articles. If you experience any difficulty in accessing them, please let us know at



Our home page has a category Featured Articles. This will take you to the most widely read articles of recent times and over our decade of publication. Check it out to discover some of the most important work that has appeared in the journal..

What have been the most widely read articles at APJ? To find out, click on "Top Ten Articles" at the top of the home page, for the top articles of the last month, last year, last five years 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. 

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. 
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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 
Gavan McCormack, Much Ado over Small Islands: The Sino-Japanese Confrontation over Senkaku/Diaoyu

More than six decades from the San Francisco Treaty that purportedly resolved the Asia-Pacific War and created a system of peace, East Asia remains troubled by the question of sovereignty over a group of tiny, uninhabited islands. The governments of Japan, China, and Taiwan all covet and claim sovereignty over the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands.


These tiny islands, together with other scattered outcroppings across the Western Pacific, assume today some of the weight that attached almost a century ago to the vast domain of Northeast China ("Manchuria"), with comparable potential to plunge the region into conflict. If the countries of the region are to transcend the 19th and 20th century eras of Japanese imperialism and US Cold War hegemony and construct a 21st century of peace, cooperation, and prosperity, the Senkaku/Diaoyu issue must somehow first be addressed.

Gavan McCormack is a coordinator of The Asia-Pacific Journal, emeritus professor of Australian National University, and co-author, with Satoko Oka Norimatsu, of Resistant Islands - Okinawa Confronts Japan and the United States, Rowman and Littlefield and Japanese edition from Horitsu Bunkasha, 2013 (Korean and Chinese editions forthcoming). Much of his work may also be consulted through the index to The Asia-Pacific Journal.


Recommended citation: Gavan McCormack, "Much Ado over Small Islands: The Sino-Japanese Confrontation over Senkaku/Diaoyu," The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol 11, Issue 21, No. 3, May 27, 2013.

Read More... 

Winifred Bird, Post-Tsunami Japan's Push To Rebuild Coast in Concrete   



In the wake of the 2011 tsunami, the Japanese government is forgoing an opportunity to sustainably protect its coastline and is instead building towering concrete seawalls and other defenses that environmentalists say will inflict serious damage on coastal ecosystems.



Winifred Bird is a freelance journalist living in Nagano, Japan. She writes for publications including the Japan Times, Christian Science Monitor, Dwell, and Environmental Health Perspectives. Her work includes an interview for Kyoto Journal with environmental historian Brett Walker and an in-depth look at government responses to radioactive contamination in the forests of Fukushima and Chernobyl.


Recommended Citation: Winifred Bird, "Post-Tsunami Japan's Push To Rebuild Coast in Concrete," The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 11, Issue 21, No. 1. May 26, 2013.



Read more . . .

John A. Mathews, Mei-Chih Hu, Ching-Yan Wu, Concentrating Solar Power - China's New Solar Frontier

While all eyes have been focused on China's dramatic recasting of the global solar PV industry, and the trade disputes engendered with the US and EU, there is another solar frontier now emerging, involving grid-connected concentrating solar power (CSP) plants. China is committed to developing capacity of 3 GW by 2015 (more than doubling cumulative world capacity) and 10 GW by 2020, which would make it by far the world's CSP leader, with consequent dramatic impact on cost reductions, driving the diffusion of CSP around the world as key challenger and alternative to nuclear and fossil power.


While much attention has been focused on solar PV (photo-voltaic) technology, with the dramatic cost reductions in first-generation crystalline solar PV produced in China dominating debate, the large-scale potential of Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) has also been improving, and is now a promising candidate for providing dispatchable, baseload power. In this article we survey developments in CSP (as well as current patenting trends) to gain insight into the direction of its future technology and business evolution.

John A. Mathews is Professor of Management, Macquarie University, Australia, and Eni Chair of Competitive Dynamics and Global Strategy at LUISS Guido Carli University in Rome. He researches the development of the institutional capacities of firms and governments in the Asia-Pacific, internationalisation processes of firms and the theoretical explanations for latecomer firms' success.


Mei-Chih Hu is an Associate Professor at the Institute of Technology Management, National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan. Her papers have been published in journals including Research Policy, World Development, Regional Studies, Scientometrics, Innovation and Industry, Technological Forecasting and Social Change, and Technology Analysis and Strategic Management.


Ching-Yan Wu received his PhD from Macquarie Graduate School of Management, Australia.His papers have been published in the Journals of Research Policy, Industry and Innovation, and Technology Analysis and Strategic Management.


Recommended citation: John A. Mathews, Mei-Chih Hu and Ching-Yan Wu, "Concentrating Solar Power - China's New Solar Frontier," The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 11, Issue 21, No. 2. March 27, 2013.


Read more . . .