The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus Newsletter
Newsletter No. 35. 2013    

September 2, 2013    
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The Asia-Pacific Journal now has Non-Profit Organization status. Your contribution to the Journal is tax deductible.  


Twice a year we invite our readers to help us to continue to publish The Asia-Pacific Journal. Thank you. 


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 
Andrew DeWit and Christopher Hobson, Abe at Ground Zero: the consequences of inaction at Fukushima Daiichi


Japan's searing summer of 2013 saw the lid slide further off Fukushima Daiichi and its Pandora's box of radioactive and political crises. The company in charge, Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco), already Japan's most distrusted firm, was irredeemably exposed as dangerously incompetent. A slew of reports concerning leaks of high-level radiation led to increasingly concerned appeals, from within Japan and from overseas, for the Abe Shinzo government to take over at Fukushima Daiichi.   

The most recent opinion poll, released by the Mainichi Shimbun on August 25, shows that no less than 91% of the Japanese public wants the government to intervene. Clearly, Abe's August 7 gambit of publicly declaring "Tepco: shape up!" convinced few that he was doing enough. Indeed, while the Mainichi was in the midst of polling, Abe was being lambasted by an August 23 editorial in Nishinihon Shimbun. The editors demanded he act, expressing open dismay that he would call for decisive action from Tepco given its shameful record of endless mishaps and denials. From beyond Japan's shores, The Economist depicted Fukushima Daiichi as a "nightmare" with "no end in sight," and the editors of Bloomberg addressed Abe directly with stern warnings that the site is "ground zero" for his government, insisting that decisive intervention is crucial in order to "redeem Japan's nuclear industry, jump-start its economy, and perhaps increase the odds of removing the radioactive pall over Tokyo's bid to land the 2020 Olympics."


Andrew DeWit is Professor in the School of Policy Studies, Rikkyo University.


Christopher Hobson is an Assistant Professor in the School of Political Science and Economics, Waseda University, and a Visiting Research Fellow at the United Nations University. You can follow him on Twitter at @hobson_c 

Recommended citation: Andrew DeWit and Christopher Hobson, "Abe at Ground Zero: the consequences of inaction at Fukushima Daiichi," The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 11, Issue 35, No. 1, September 2, 2013.

Jon Mitchell, Oliver Stone on Okinawa - The Untold Story


On August 13, a dozen anti-base demonstrators scuffled with police outside the gates of Futenma Air Station in Ginowan City, Okinawa, as U.S. marines watched from behind the fence cracking jokes and laughing. Such scenes occur daily on Okinawa - saddled with roughly 70% of U.S. bases in Japan - and are usually ignored by the national media1. But on this day, Tokyo TV stations had dispatched so many reporters they outnumbered the protesters.   

The journalists had come to interview U.S. movie director, Oliver Stone, who'd just arrived on the island and was standing on a hilltop overlooking the Futenma base. Although the reporters bombarded Stone with questions about his reaction to the U.S. presence on Okinawa, he declined to give any statements and soon ducked into his van to escape the camera scrum. "What do they want me to say? Okinawa is pinned between the United States and Japan. The bases have been here for 68 years and it seems they always will be," he told me. It was not a promising start to his trip to Okinawa. In less than 36 hours, he was scheduled to give a talk to 1500 people about U.S. bases on the island but now he just looked hot, irritated and ready to go home.  


Stone's visit to Okinawa came at the end of a 12-day tour of Japan - which included stops in Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Tokyo - accompanied by Satoko Oka Norimatsu, co-author of "Resistant Islands: Okinawa Confronts Japan and the United States", and Peter Kuznick, associate professor at American University, Washington D.C. The tour was arranged to promote "The Untold History of The United States", the book Stone had written with Kuznick - and the 10-hour TV series of the same name. 


Jon Mitchell is a Welsh-born writer based in Japan. He has written widely on Okinawan social issues for the Japanese and American press. A selection of his writings can be found here. Currently, he teaches at Tokyo Institute of Technology and Meiji Gakuin University. 


Recommended Citation: Jon Mitchell, "Oliver Stone on Okinawa - The Untold Story," The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 11, Issue 35, No. 2, September 2, 2013.