The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus Newsletter
Newsletter No. 4. 2014    

January 27, 2014    
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Sven Saaler
Could Hosokawa Morihiro's political comeback restore sanity to Japanese politics?


In the upcoming Tokyo gubernatorial elections, Hosokawa Morihiro could make an astonishing comeback more than a quarter of a century after retiring as Prime Minister. Mainstream and independent media have generally stressed his opposition to nuclear power and his support for green energy alternatives, in contrast to the national government of Abe Shinzō. However, Abe and Hosokawa also represent different poles in another controversial field of politics - the politics of memory including the fraught question of apologies for war and the regional and global implications of their respective stances.

This article details how Hosokawa, as governor, would push policies to end Japan's reliance on nuclear power. Furthermore, after more than a decade of a rising historical revisionism and provocative statements concerning Japan's war responsibility, the author considers how Hosokawa might help restore sanity to discussions among Japanese and Japan's neighbors on the history of East Asia in the twentieth century. 


Of course, he needs to be elected first.


Sven Saaler is Associate Professor of Modern Japanese History at Sophia University. He co-edited Pan-Asianism in Modern Japanese HistoryThe Power of Memory in Modern Japan, and Pan-Asianism: A Documentary History.


Martin J. Frid 
WikiLeaks and the Release of the Secret TPP Environment Report 

WikiLeaks has done it again - made available important documents that governments and corporate interests have tried to keep secret from the general public. Until this new release, we had almost no idea what was going on within the secret Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations involving an extraordinarily diverse group of 12 large and small, as well as rich and poor, nations of East and Southeast Asia, Australasia, and North and South America.
TPP has been billed as an ambitious, 21st-century trade agreement. The documents reveal that Japan plays a major role in obstructing the progress of the Environment Chapter. They also make clear that there is far from consensus among the negotiating parties on the most sensitive issues, and that everything is possible, including collapse of the negotiations.
This article is for the activists and journalists, as well as concerned citizens who are trying to probe deeper into the ways the TPP will shape our future. 
Martin J. Frid was born in Sweden and works for Consumers Union of Japan. He is author of the food guide book Nippon no Shoku no Anzen 555 (Kodansha 2009). He has participated in food safety meetings on local, national, and international levels.
Gavan McCormack 

The Front Line in the Struggle for Democracy in Japan - 

Nago City, Okinawa

Through the first year of his second term as Prime Minister (December 2012-December 2013) Abe Shinzo's government stirred concern on the part of neighbour countries, Japan's key "ally" the United States, and global opinion generally. 
The nature and implications of the changing balance of forces in the nation state and the global system may not be immediately felt at the centre, in Tokyo, or grasped by the major media, Japanese or international.At the periphery, however, especially in Okinawa, the lines of regional, national, international, and global policy intersect and the grand design has immediate implications for everyday life.
This essay considers the events leading to and from the gubernatiorial election held in Nago City on 19 January 2014. 
International political solidarity is something that Okinawans have long looked for and deserved - by the justice of their struggle, their persistence over so many years, and the resolutely non-violent, citizen-centred democratic frame of their movement. Yet such solidarity, whether from mainland Japan or from the international community, has been rare. In the grim days that now seem to lie ahead, a new national and international movement of support will have to be constructed. If any place in Asia deserves a democratic spring, it is surely Okinawa, and Nago City.
Gavan McCormack is an emeritus professor of Australian National University and coordinator of The Asia-Pacific Journal. He is co-author Resistant Islands: Okinawa Confronts Japan and the United States (2012) and co-author of Tenkanki no Nihon e - Pax Americana ka Pax Asia ka (2014).