The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus Newsletter
Newsletter No. 39. 2013    

September 30, 2013    
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The Asia-Pacific Journal now has Non-Profit Organization status. Your contribution to the Journal is tax deductible. Our thanks to those who have taken notice of this new opportunity.



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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.


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 earlier 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 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.


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




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..

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. 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.  
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 

C. Douglas Lummis, It Would Make No Sense for Article 9 to Mean What it Says, Therefore It Doesn't. Transforming Japan's Constitution 



On April 27 this year (2013), the LDP published a new Proposal for Amendment of the Japanese Constitution. Both Prime Minister Abe Shinzo and former PM Aso Taro were Senior Advisors to the constitutional drafting committee. So far as I know, this document has not been translated into English. As many critics have pointed out, the word "amendment" in the title is inappropriate, as the constitution depicted in it is utterly different, in letter and in spirit, from the present Constitution. As is well known, both the Italian and the German post-war Constitutions contain clauses prohibiting amendments that would move their governments back in the direction of Fascism or Nazism. The post-war Japanese Constitution contains no such specific provisions, though there are general clauses that some people interpret as meaning that. In any case, if either the Italian or the German government adopted a policy of returning to its pre-war political system, that would hardly be considered a purely internal affair. Similarly, the world ought to know that Japan's LDP and the LDP's Proposal spells out in detail, is planning just such a transformation. But before discussing that Proposal, I need to say a few words about the nature of the Constitution Japan has now.   


C. Douglas Lummis is a Lecturer at Okinawa International University. He had promised himself to write no more about the Japanese Constitution, but when he read the newest LDP amendment proposal, broke that promise. This essay is abbreviated and somewhat rewritten from the new afterword to his Kenpo wa Seifu ni taisuru Meirei de Aru (Heibonsha) which was reissued this year (original 2006). 


Recommended citation: C. Douglas Lummis,"It Would Make No Sense for Article 9 to Mean What it Says, Therefore It Doesn't," The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 11, Issue 39, No. 2, September 30, 2013.   

David McNeill and Miguel Quintana, Mission Impossible. What Future Fukushima?

Across much of Fukushima's rolling green countryside they descend on homes like antibodies around a virus, men wielding low-tech tools against a very modern enemy: radiation. Power hoses, shovels and mechanical diggers are used to scour toxins that rained down from the sky nearly 31 months ago. The job is exhausting, expensive and, say some, doomed to failure. A sweating four-man crew wearing surgical masks and boiler suits cleans the home of Saito Hiroshi (71) and his wife Terue (68). Their aim is to bring average radiation at this home down to 1.5 microsieverts an hour, still several times what it was before the accident but safe enough, perhaps, for Saito's seven grandchildren to visit. "My youngest grandchild has never been here," he says. Since 2011, the family reunites in Soma, around 20 km away.

For a few days during March 2011, after a string of explosions at the Daiichi nuclear plant roughly 25 kilometers to the south, rain and snow laced with radiation fell across this area, contaminating thousands of acres of rich farming land and forests Over 160,000 people near the plant were ordered to evacuate. The Saito's home fell a few miles outside the 20-km compulsory evacuation zone, but like thousands of others they left voluntarily. When they returned two weeks later their neat, two-story country house appeared undamaged but it was blanketed in an invisible poison only detectable with beeping Geiger counters.

Those 160,000 people, most of whom left with nothing on a freezing cold night in March 2011, have not returned and are scattered throughout Japan, and as far away as Europe and North America. The nuclear diaspora is swelled by thousands of voluntary refugees. Local governments are spending millions of dollars to persuade them to come back, dividing the cleanup with the central government, which handles the most toxic areas.

David McNeill writes for The Independent and other publications, including The Irish Times, The Economist and The Chronicle of Higher Education. He is an Asia-Pacific Journal coordinator and coauthor of Strong in the Rain: Surviving Japan's Earthquake, Tsunami and Fukushima Nuclear Disaster (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012). Miguel Quintana is a freelance journalist and translator based in Tokyo. A regular contributor to Nuclear Intelligence Weekly (Washington DC) and correspondent for Le Soir (Belgium), he is an Asia-Pacific Journal associate.
Recommended citation: David McNeill and Miguel Quintana,"Mission Impossible. What Future Fukushima?," The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 11, Issue 39, No. 1. September 30, 2013.
Read More. . .
Oliver Stone, Peter Kuznick, Satoko Oka Norimatsu, Narusawa Muneo, "We used chemical weapons in Vietnam": Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick explain how telling the untold history can change the world for the better 

Joint Interview by The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus & Shukan Kinyobi

The Japanese weekly Shukan Kinyobi and The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus jointly interviewed Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick, co-authors of The Untold History of the United States, a 10-episode documentary series (broadcast on Showtime Network, 2012-13) and a companion book of the same name (Simon and Schuster, 2012), on August 11 in Tokyo. It was the 8th day of the duo's 12-day tour of Japan, right after they visited Hiroshima and Nagasaki to participate in the 68th memorial of the atomic-bombing on August 6 and 9 respectively, and before they visited Okinawa, to witness the realities of the continuing US military base occupation and resistance to it. Stone and Kuznick  talked about the importance of learning and teaching history, the "thread of civilization" as a people's "weapon of truth," to defend against the power of the American empire, whose image has rested on the continuing distortion of history and glorification of past wars. This applies to Japan and its government's denial of aggression in its past wars, too. The interview ranges widely over their five years of collaboration on the Untold History.

An abbreviated version of this interview in Japanese appeared in the September 6, 2013 edition of Shukan Kinyobi.
Oliver Stone, filmmaker and screenwriter, has won numerous Academy Awards for his work on such iconic films as Platoon, WallStreet, JFK, Born on the Fourth of July, Natural Born Killers, Salvador, and W. He and Peter Kuznick co-authored The Untold History of the United States, the 10-part documentary series broadcast on Showtime Network, and the book with the same title published by Simon & Schuster, 2012.
Peter Kuznick is a Professor of history and Director of the Nuclear Studies Institute at American University. Author of Beyond the Laboratory: Scientists as Political Activists in 1930s America (1987), and co-author (with Yuki Tanaka) of 『原発とヒロシマ-「原子力平和利用」の真相』 [Nuclear power and Hiroshima - Truths about the "Peaceful Use of Nuclear"] (2011). Since 1995, he has led a study tour to Hiroshima and Nagasaki every summer in collaboration with Ritsumeikan University.
Satoko Oka Norimatsu is Director of Peace Philosophy Centre. Co-author (with Gavan McCormack) of Resistant Islands: Okinawa Confronts Japan and the United States (2012), and『沖縄の怒-日米への抵抗』 [Anger of Okinawa: Resistance against Japan and US] (2013). She is a Japan Focus coordinator.
Narusawa Muneo is an editor of Shukan Kinyobi, a weekly magazine established in 1993. Author of 『ミッテランとロカール』[Mitterand and Rocard](1993), 『911の謎』 [Mysteries of 911] (2006), 『続911の謎』 [Mysteries of 911: Sequel] (2008), and『オバマの危険-新政権の隠された本性』[Dangers of Obama: The True Character of the New Administration] (2009).

Read More . . .


Asia-Pacific Journal Feature, The Tokyo Shimbun's Five Challenges for Tokyo 2020

On September 10, 2013, the Tokyo Shimbun, a Japanese newspaper that has raised its profile considerably through its detailed, critical reporting of the Fukushima nuclear crisis and issues related to nuclear power post-3.11, ran an article which offered a concise and powerful summary of the major issues facing Tokyo and Japan looking forward to 2020 and the hosting of the Tokyo Summer Olympics.   The following is a summary of the original article.