The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus Newsletter
Newsletter No. 3. 2014    

January 20, 2014    
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Andrew DeWit
Spinning the Tokyo Metro Election


The election campaign for the Tokyo metropolitan government (TMG) begins officially on January 23, with voting scheduled for February 9. It appears that former Prime Ministers Hosokawa Morihiro and Koizumi Junichiro have seized the TMG election as an opportunity, among other things, to advance an antinuclear program and to test the Abe regime. There is an enormous amount of spin on related issues in the Japanese press and social media, as well as in the lamentably meagre coverage offered by English-language media and bloggers.This article considers what some of the spin reveals about the stakes in the present election, its consequences for Japan's trajectory and the world. 


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.


Mark Selden 
Bombs Bursting in Air: State and citizen responses to the US firebombing and Atomic bombing of Japan 

Japan's decision to surrender at the end of WWII- pivoting on issues of firebombing and atomic bombing, Soviet entry into the war, and the origins of Soviet-American confrontation-is perhaps the most fiercely debated subject in twentieth century American global history. This article focuses on the human and social consequences of the bombings, and their legacy in the history of warfare and historical memory in the long twentieth century. The first section provides an overview of the calculus that culminated in the final year of the war in a US strategy centered on the bombing of civilians, and assesses its impact in shaping the global order. The second section examines the bombing in Japanese and American historical memory, including history, literature, commemoration and education. 
What explains the power of the designation of the postwar as the atomic era while the area bombing of civilians by fire and napalm, which would so profoundly shape the future of warfare in general, American wars in particular, faded to virtual invisibility in Japanese, American and global consciousness? This paper assesses the impact of the firebombing and atomic bombing of Japanese cities in the history of war and the history of disaster.
Mark Selden is Senior Research Associate, Cornell University and an Asia-Pacific Journal Coordinator. His books include The Atomic Bomb: Voices From Hiroshima and Nagasaki (with Kyoko Selden) (1989) and Living With the Bomb: American and Japanese Cultural Conflicts in the Nuclear Age (with Laura Hein) (1997).
C. Douglas Lummis
The Great Betrayal
December 27, 2013 will be remembered as a black day in Okinawan history. On that day, Okinawa Governor Nakaima Hirokazu cast aside his campaign promises, his statements made repeatedly during the last three years, and his duty as Governor to represent the will of the Okinawan people. Nakaima approved the Japanese government's application for permission to begin reclaiming land offshore from Henoko in northern Okinawa, on which to build a new US Marine Corps base. This amounts to approval of the base, which he had promised to oppose.
So what happens next? 
The next crucial event is the election for Mayor of Nago City (where Henoko is located), which was held on January 19.  The issue in this election is clearly defined: the incumbent Mayor Inamine Susumu, is adamantly against the new base project; the challenger, Suematsu Bunshin, is enthusiastically for it. Inamine has said that if re-elected, he will use his authority as mayor positively to block the project. The Tokyo Government has announced plans to spend fabulous sums to defeat him. Money will also be poured in by the companies expecting to get construction contracts, and pressure will be put on their employees. The outcome of the base debate depends on whether the next election can be bought. [Editor's note: On January 19 Mayor Inamine won a stunning victory at the polls re-opening the question of the base.] 
C. Douglas Lummis, a former Marine stationed on Okinawa, is the author of
Radical Democracy and other books in Japanese and English. He is an Asia-Pacific Journal Associate and formerly taught at Tsuda College.   
Brian Daizen Victoria
A Zen Nazi in Wartime Japan: Count Dürckheim and his Sources-D.T. Suzuki, Yasutani Haku'un and Eugen Herrigel 
Throughout the 1930s, Japan's relationship with Germany was in flux according to the changing political interests of both countries. This article completes a three-part series on the relationship of D.T. Suzuki and other Zen figures in wartime Japan to Count Karlfried Dürckheim and other Nazis. Neither Dürckheim nor Suzuki ever expressed regret, nor accepted personal responsibility, for their moral blindness in having promoted the unconditional acceptance of death on behalf of two aggressive states. This article reveals how each man contributed to the greatest war and accompanying loss of life in world history. 


Brian Daizen Victoria is a Visiting Research Fellow at the International Research Center for Japanese Studies, Kyoto. He holds an M.A. in Buddhist Studies from Sōtō Zen sect-affiliated Komazawa University in Tokyo, and a Ph.D. from the Department of Religious Studies at Temple University.

David McNeill,
Al-Jazeera America on the Fukushima Triple Disaster, Three Years On 

As the third anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear disaster approaches, a string of new projects analyzing its causes and impact are underway. Al-Jazeera America is among the first out of the blocks with a four-part documentary, broadcast on its "America Tonight" segment in early January 2014. Among the questions it explores in the video below: Does the lingering aftermath of the crisis pose any danger to people living on the West Coast of North America? The documentary concludes that it does not. "The radiation will slowly sink, before harmlessly decaying over decades as Pacific currents turn most of the groundwater toward Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean," says Professor Aoyama Michio, a scientist at the Meteorological Institute of Japan. But, he adds, operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) must remove all the Strontium-90 from contaminated water or it will cause a "big problem" for the whole Pacific. Compiled during two weeks of November 2013, the documentary's most damning report profiles the so-called nuclear gypsies, the largely unskilled, non-unionized and transient workforce that TEPCO has employed, through a network of subcontractors, to clean up from the disaster.

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