The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus Newsletter
Newsletter No. 12. 2014    

March 24, 2014    
New Articles Posted
Quick Links
In This Issue


The Asia-Pacific Journal, its authors and colleagues interested in learning more about our work are welcome to join us during the AAS meeting in Philadelphia on Saturday March 29 from 1-2:30 p.m. at the Marriott Downtown in room 413. If you plan to attend, please confirm via note to 

China has replaced the United States as the world's leading producer of greenhouse gases, indeed, the citizens of leading cities including Beijing and Shanghai, are choking on unbreatheable air. Why then do John Mathews and Hao Tan present an image of China at the cutting edge of global green energy, indeed a potential model for others? Their China's Continuing Renewable Energy Revolution addresses one of the critical controversies determining the future of planet earth. Jon Mitchell continues his series of reports on the tragedies associated with Agent Orange and now PCBs on US bases on Okinawa, including their threat not only to GIs and their families but also to Okinawan citizens. Now the US has belatedly provided benefits to a GI who fought in the courts, even while it continues to deny the presence of A.O. in Okinawa and the dangers of dioxin on the bases.  The Japanese military, long in the shadows of the US, is now stepping forward with its own upbeat version of a "Dynamic Joint Defense Force" in a new attempt to brand itself at a time of growing tensions with China, as Sabine Frühstück shows. Over the postwar decades, Japan's rural peripheries have virtually disappeared from view in Japanese and international consciousness, overshadowed by the Tokyo-Osaka corridor of mega-cities. John Mock offers a sympathetic portrait of the problems confronting rural Japan at a time of coping with population decline and economic stagnation.

We recently introduced an important new feature: a PDF is provided for all articles, accessible by a click on the PDF symbol located at the top right of each article. Readers printing out articles may find the new feature particularly convenient. The PDF offers features that permit commenting on and underlining the text for those who work online. Let us know of any problems or suggest improvements in this feature as we fine tune it.

Interested in seeing our most widely read articles ofthe last month, year, or ten years? Find out here.

Thanks to  the generous support of our readers, we succeeded in raising more than $12,000 to fund the Journal for 2014. The Journal will remain free. You can still support the journal at our home page with your 501 (C) tax-deductible gift.

Quick Links
Subscription Information
The Asia-Pacific Journal is freely available to all. Your 501 (C) tax-deductible gift will help to make technical upgrades, defray technical, mailing and maintenance fees, and  enable us to expand our output. Payment by Paypal and credit card at our home page. Recommended support level: $25 and up ($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 
John Mathews and Hao Tan
Visualizing Protest in Modern Japan  
China's renewable energy revolution is powering ahead, with the year 2013 marking an important inflection point where the scales tipped more towards electric power generated from water, wind, and solar than from fossil fuels and nuclear.The energy landscape continues to give the clearest indication of the trends in industrial dynamics and prospects for the future: China is powering ahead with renewables while at the same time it expands its reliance on fossil fuels; the US, by contrast, is further locking in its dependence on fossil fuels. The distinction is critical.

The authors argue that China's energy security is being enhanced, while carbon emissions from the power sector can be expected to soon start to fall.
There is a lesson here for all other developing countries, and notably for India and Brazil. And not only developing countries.

John Mathews is a Professor in Management at the Macquarie Graduate School of Management, Macquarie University, Australia, and Eni Chair in Competitive Dynamics and Global Strategy, LUISS Guido Carli University, Italy.


Hao Tan is a Senior Lecturer in International Business at the Newcastle Business School, University of Newcastle, Australia. Their article "The Transformation of the Electric Power Industry in China" appears in Energy Policy, Vol. 52, January 2013.    

Jon Mitchell
Military Contamination on Okinawa:
PCBs and Agent Orange at Kadena Air Base 
In January, U.S. service members and their families stationed on Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, rallied together to demand an investigation into a dioxin dumpsite located near two Department of Defense schools. For decades, Kadena Air Base has been the largest US Air Force installation in the Pacific region - and this dioxin usage has taken its toll on the health of the land, nearby residents and on-base service members.

In this article, Jon Mitchell analyzes the public relations, public fears, and public health factors related to the storage of recently uncovered Vietnam War era defoliants (PCBs) on and around Kadena Air Base. 

Jon Mitchell is a visiting researcher at the International Peace Research Institute of Meiji Gakuin University, Tokyo and an Asia-Pacific Journal associate.  


Sabine Frühstück
A "Dynamic Joint Defense Force"?
An Introduction to Japanese Strategic Thinking

The Japan Ground Self-Defense Force public relations channel recently announced in an illustrated video showing the GSDF in action that Japan is building a "Dynamic Joint Defense Force." The grand and stylish 15-minute film is perhaps the most combative piece of public relations issued by the Self Defense Force thus far.  


This article contextualizes the GSDF's new-found hawkish rhetoric, critiquing its smooth aesthetic and musical dramatization through a comparison with  American military public relations efforts. The author presents an image-based interpretation of this clear departure from earlier, more amateurish attempts to familiarize a broad audience with Japan's Self-Defense Forces.

Sabine Frühstück is Professor of Modern Japanese Cultural Studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara and a Japan Focus associate. She is interested in problems of power/knowledge, gender/sexuality, and military/society.
John Mock
Hidden Behind Tokyo: Japan's Rural Periphery
This article extends the reader's gaze beyond the Metropolitan Core (Tokyo-Osaka) that dominates the English language literature on Japan. It is important to understand rural, small town and smaller city Japan because most Japanese do not live in the Core and most of the land area of the Japanese archipelago lies outside the boundaries of Japan's urbanized confines. There is a very different dynamic in rural and small town Japan which has experienced a dramatic level of depopulation and aging and economic stagnation.

To bring out distinctive features of the "other" Japan, the one hidden behind the metropolitan core, the author considers changes in land use, demography, the rural and small town economy, transportation, communications and architecture to argue that the declining "other" has been subjected to extensive and misguided government policy interventions. The "other" Japan remains an important arena of identity politics in a nation that has experienced massive socio-economic convulsions in the post-World War Two era.

John Mock is a social anthropologist who has lived and worked in the United States and Japan. He teaches at Temple University Japan and is the author of Culture, Community and Change in a Sapporo Neighborhood 1925-1988: Hanayama (Edwin Mellen Press, 1999).