The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus Newsletter
Newsletter No. 33. 2013    

August 19, 2013    
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Twice a year we invite our readers to help us to continue to publish The Asia-Pacific Journal. The first responses have been gratifying and we look forward to hearing from more of you who value our work.


The Journal is and will continue to be provided free to readers. But if you value the work of our authors and would like to assure continued publication, we hope that you will subscribe at the rate of $25 or $50 ($10 for students and residents of low income countries). You can contribute via Paypal or credit card at our home page on the upper left side.  


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 
Jeff Kingston, Abe's Nuclear Energy Policy and Japan's Future

"The utility's glaring ineptitude with crisis ­management was noted right from the start of the Fukushima disaster. How and why could TEPCO have kept repeating the same blunders over and over?" (Asahi 7/31/2013)

On August 7, 2013 PM Abe Shinzo finally announced that the government had lost faith in Tepco's ability to manage the ongoing crisis at Fukushima following months of media reports documenting dangerous radioactive water leaks. NHK News (8/6/13) commented, "Once again Tepco is one step behind." And the following night it described Tepco's efforts as "groping in the dark". This explains why 94% of Japanese believe that the Fukushima accident has not been brought under control and why 31% want to abandon nuclear energy as soon as possible with an additional 54% supporting a gradual phase out. (Asahi 7/18/2013)

Abe was belatedly forced to state, "Rather than relying on Tokyo Electric, the government will take measures." Two and a half years after the three meltdowns at Fukushima, Tepco has not come to grips with the problem of how to manage accumulations of contaminated water being used to cool the crippled reactors and the spread of that contamination to groundwater that flows through the plant site to the sea. It also seems to have made little progress in decommissioning the plant, a process that will take an estimated forty years and cost $11 billion, although the final price tag is expected to balloon. The ongoing leaks of massive amounts of radioactive water into the ocean demonstrate that the Fukushima crisis is far from over and that entrusting the clean-up to the plant operator was a colossal mistake because it left critical decisions up to the industry insiders who compromised nuclear safety before 3.11and subsequently mismanaged the crisis. Why, despite a cascade of media exposés about the water problem, did the government wait so long to intervene? And, why did intervention suddenly become so urgent?

Jeff Kingston is the Director of Asian Studies, Temple University Japan. He is the editor of Natural Disaster and Nuclear Crisis in Japan: Response and Recovery after Japan's 3/11, Routledge 2012 and the author of Contemporary Japan. (2ndedition), London:Wiley 2013. 
Recommended citation: Jeff Kingston, "Abe's Nuclear Energy Policy and Japan's Future," The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 11, Issue 34, No. 1, August 19, 2013.      



Sherman Cochran and Andrew Hsieh, The Lius of Shanghai: A Chinese Family in Business, War and Revolution


From the Sino-Japanese War of 1937-45 to the Communist Revolution of 1949, the onrushing narrative of modern China can drown out the stories of the people who lived it. Yet a remarkable cache of letters from one of China's most prominent and influential families, the Lius of Shanghai, sheds new light on this tumultuous era.    


These letters take us inside the Lius' world to explore how the family laid the foundation for a business dynasty before the war and then confronted the challenges of war, civil unrest, and social upheaval. In the first half of the twentieth century, the Lius became one of China's preeminent business families, presiding over an industrial empire that produced matches, woolens, cotton textiles, cement, and briquettes.   

At the same time, the father and mother in the family prepared for the future by giving international educations to almost all of their twelve children - nine boys and three girls - sending them not only to schools in China but also to Cambridge University, Harvard Business School, University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Tokyo Institute of Technology, and other leading institutions of higher learning in the West and Japan. Moreover the father and some of his sons became politically influential, accepting appointments to high official posts and dealing in person with top leaders such as Chiang Kai-shek in the Nationalist government and Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai in the People's Republic. Even during two of the greatest upheavals in twentieth-century Chinese history - the Sino-Japanese War of 1937-45 and the Communist Revolution of 1949 - the Lius retained high positions in China's economic, social, and political life.  


Sherman Cochran is Hu Shih Professor of History Emeritus at Cornell University. He and Andrew Hsieh are co-authors of The Lius of Shanghai, which was published earlier this year. Of Cochran's previous books, the most recent is Chinese Medicine Men: Consumer Culture in China and Southeast Asia (2006).

Andrew Hsieh is Professor of History Emeritus at Grinnell College. He has been co-author with Sherman Cochran of not only The Lius of Shanghai but also an earlier book, One Day in China: May 21, 1936 (1983). 


Recommended Citation: Sherman Cochran and Andrew Hsieh, "The Lius of Shanghai: A Chinese Family in Business, War and Revolution," The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol 11, Issue 33, No. 2, August 19, 2013.

Andrew DeWit, Fukushima, Fuel Rods, and the Crisis of Divided and Distracted Governance

Japan is more fluid than it has been in years. The end of Japan's "nejire kokkai" ("divided Diet)" via Abe's resounding win in the July 21 Upper House elections was hailed in many circles in Japan and internationally as heralding three years of stability in government. But perhaps this sense of stability has very weak foundations. 

Geopolitics and the economy certainly could deliver significant shocks to the regime. But if there is one thing that has immense, latent potential to disrupt the confident assumptions that the next three years will be smooth sailing, so long as the swollen multitude of officers and crew is kept compliant with rum and the lash, it is the worsening Fukushima Daiichi crisis. As Aaron Sheldrick and Antoni Slodkowski detail in an excellent overview in the August 13 Reuters dispatch, among other deeply unsettling risks, removing spent fuel rods from above reactor number 4 is slated to begin in November. -

Andrew DeWit is Professor in the School of Policy Studies at Rikkyo University and an Asia-Pacific Journal coordinator. With Iida Tetsunari and Kaneko Masaru, he is coauthor of "Fukushima and the Political Economy of Power Policy in Japan," in Jeff Kingston (ed.) Natural Disaster and Nuclear Crisis in Japan.

Recommended citation: Andrew DeWit, "Fukushima, Fuel Rods, and the Crisis of Divided and Distracted Governance," The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 33, No. 3, August 19, 2013. 

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