The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus Newsletter
Newsletter No. 28. 2013    

July 15, 2013    
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Check out the most widely read articles at APJ . . . in the last month, last year, last five years and all time: at Top Ten Articles on our home page.



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 are available 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. 
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 
Tessa Morris-Suzuki, The Re-Branding of Abe Nationalism: Global Perspectives

In 2010, the Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC) launched a highly successful TV show called The Gruen Transfer. The title refers to the disorienting psychological effects produced on consumers by the architecture of shopping malls, whose dazzle and noise are deliberately designed to mesmerize: on entering, "our eyes glaze over, our jaws slacken... we forget what we came for and become impulse buyers". The ABC's Gruen Transfer explored the weird, wonderful and disorienting effects produced by the advertising industry. Its most popular element was a segment called "The Pitch", in which representatives of two advertising agencies competed to sell the unsellable to the show's audience - creating gloriously sleek videos to market bottled air, promote the virtues of banning religion, or advocate generous pay raises for politicians.

I have been reminded of The Gruen Transfer in recent months, as sections of the media in Japan, and even internationally, have gone into overdrive to sell an equally challenging message: the message that Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo is not a nationalist. This particular pitch has been running for some time. It began with the inception of Abe's first short-lived prime ministership in 2006, when Japanese Foreign Affairs Deputy Press Secretary Taniguchi Tomohiko devoted considerable energy to persuading a US audience that Abe was "almost the polar opposite" of a nationalist. The right-of-centre Sankei Newspaper took up the challenge with enthusiasm: its Washington correspondent, Komori Yoshihisa, published numerous articles, including an opinion piece in the New York Times, which aimed to refute the "nationalist" tag. Far from being a hawkish nationalist, Komori argued, Abe had "merely been shaped by democracy", and his real aim was to bring Japan back from the "post-war extreme towards the center". But these pronouncements had only limited impact on international opinion, and by early 2007 one prominent Japanese marketing consultant was lamenting, in the pages of the Yomiuri newspaper, that the government needed a far more effective foreign media strategy to rescue Abe from the "hawk" and "nationalist" labels.5 The issue has resurfaced with renewed vigor since the advent of the second Abe regime in December 2012.

Tessa Morris-Suzuki is Professor of Japanese History in the Division of Pacific and Asian History, College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University, and a Japan Focus associate. Her most recent books are Exodus to North Korea: Shadows from Japan's Cold War, Borderline Japan: Foreigners and Frontier Controls in the Postwar Era and To the Diamond Mountains: A Hundred-Year Journey Through China and Korea. Recommended Citation: Tessa Morris-Suzuki, "The Re-Branding of Abe Nationalism: Global Perspectives," The Asia-Pacific Journal, Volume 11, Issue 28, No. 1, July 15, 2013.  


Paul Jobin, The Roadmap for Fukushima Daiichi and the Clean-up Workers 


During his June 2013 visit to Poland, Prime Minister Abe Shinzo highlighted the crisis management of the post-3.11 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant as an argument for the sales and promotion of Japanese nuclear technology. A few weeks before, the French company Areva mobilized to promote cooperation with Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd, Atox and Hitachi-GE during French President François Hollande's visit to Japan.


These micro signals of another "nuclear renaissance" have provoked outrage in some quarters in Japan, for example from former Prime Minister Kan Naoto who branded the trend "disgusting" and even Abe's wife who openly declared her opposition to the restart of other nuclear plants. In other countries such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam, these efforts have thus far met no success.    

Nevertheless, despite repeated significant leaks of strontium or caesium into the Pacific from Fukushima Daiichi, the "Abenomics boom" has prompted a strong offensive of the nuclear lobby and government plans to reopen Japan's closed reactors. In this context, it is worth remaining alert to the "crisis management" of Fukushima Daiichi (hereafter F1 as the workers have come to call it).  


On June 20 and June 24, labor NGOs and civic groups held another round of negotiations with the government concerning working conditions at F1 and for those employed in decontamination work, as well as public health issues related to radiation exposure both for workers and citizens, particularly in Fukushima prefecture. Following up on the request they made at the last meeting in February, they again pressed the Ministry of Health and Labor to conduct its own surveys on working conditions at F1 instead of relying almost exclusively on the information provided by TEPCO.


The author documents the decline in the number of workers involved in the cleanup at Fukushima Daiichi, and the dangerous radiation levels that many workers have experienced. 



Paul Jobin is Director, French Center for Research on Contemporary China, CEFC, Taipei Office, Associate Professor, University of Paris Diderot, and an Asia-Pacific Journal Associate. Recommended Citation: Paul Jobin, "The Roadmap for Fukushima Daiichi and the Clean-up Workers," The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 11, Issue 28, No. 2, July 15, 2013.   


Read More. . . 

Matthew Penney, Public Opinion and the July 21 Election

The Japanese House of Councillors election will be held on July 21, 2013. It now seems certain that PM Abe Shinzo's Liberal Democratic Party will follow its landslide win in the December 2012 House of Representatives election with another overwhelming victory. This essay summarizes the results of recent Japanese opinion polls in order to identify major election issues, to assess what it is about the new iteration of Abe's LDP that has made them so popular with the public, and to examine areas in which the LDP has failed to win public support. 

Matthew Penney is an Assistant Professor at Concordia University, Montreal. He is an Asia-Pacific Journal Coordinator. His research focuses on war memory, nationalism, and anti-militarism in Japan.