The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus Newsletter
Newsletter No. 2. 2014    

January 13, 2014    
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In This Issue
Andrew DeWit


          Luigi Tomba            A New Chinese


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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 
Yabuki Susumu
Introduced by Mark Selden 
The Origins of the Senkaku/Diaoyu Dispute between China, Taiwan and Japan 

This article illuminates the background to the dangerous conflict that presently threatens to bring war to the Western Pacific in the wake of Japanese nationalization of three of the Senkaku islands in September 2012. Yabuki introduces Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) documents and Okinawa Reversion Treaty Hearings on the Senkaku dispute to clarify Japanese, Chinese and United States positions on the historical origins and contemporary trajectory of the Senkaku/Diaoyu dispute, showing the long trajectory of competing claims and the evolving policies of these three countries in shaping it. 
A particularly important contribution of this article is its clear presentation of US recognition no later than 1970, at the highest levels, of the competing territorial claims, and its maneuvering in negotiations with Taipei, Tokyo, and Beijing to determine the outcome. We need a new formula for peace in the East China Sea that will have to start from the recognition that the Senkaku dispute is not a China-Japan dispute but also deeply involves the United States.. 
Yabuki Susumu, Professor emeritus at Yokohama University, is one of Japan's leading specialists on Mao Zedong, on China-Japan Relations, and on Chinese economic development and geopolitics. His most recent book is チャイメリカ--米中結託と日本の進路 (Chimerica: US-China Co-dependence and Japan's Way Forward).
Mark Selden is Senior Research Associate, Cornell University and an Asia-Pacific Journal Coordinator. 
Andrew DeWit
How Important is the Tokyo Gubernatorial Election?


Metropolitan Tokyo, the world's largest city-region and site of the 2020 Olympics, lost its Governor (Inose Naoki) to a YEN 50 million political-donation scandal on December 19. Gubernatorial elections are set for February 9, with the official campaign period set to begin on January 23. There are at present three main candidates, one on the left (Utsunomiya Kenji), one on the neonationalist far right (Tamogami Toshio) and one roughly in the centre (Masuzoe Yoichi).


This election matters a great deal not only for Japan, but also for the world: Several of Japan's former prime ministers appear prepared to use it as a fulcrum for reorganizing the country's energy economy, focusing it on green power, as well as  dealing with its unbalanced politics and political economy. In a world challenged by climate change, resource crises, inequality, and other profound problems, what Tokyo does to build resilience is of global significance.


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.


Luigi Tomba
A New Chinese Land Reform? 

On 3 April 2013, the People's Daily published a commentary on the violent death of two protesting farmers in Henan, crushed in two separate incidents by vehicles used to clear their land for development. These episodes were followed just a few days later by a major incident in which 300 employees of the Ministry of Railways attacked farmers who were picketing land earmarked for expropriation. 


Over the last six decades, China has experienced repeated land reforms, each defining a different phase of the country's economic development. Some have argued that collective ownership has protected farmers from expropriation, and resulted in significant revenues for them, especially in rapidly urbanising areas. Nevertheless, 'who owns what' remains a question few can answer. Such uncertainty provides opportunities for land-based elites to emerge and for conflicts to develop. While no clear solution is on the horizon for the intense exploitation of resources that characterises urbanisation and industrialisation, this article gives voice to the increasingly loud public call for 'returning the land to the farmers,' and for reducing inequality and violence around land issues. 


Luigi Tomba is affiliated with the Australian Center on China in the World, Australian National University. Co-editor of The China Journal since 2005, he has written on topics including: labour politics, community governance, neighbourhood politics, housing reform and the emergence of a new Chinese middle class.