The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus Newsletter
Newsletter No. 14. 2014    

April 7, 2014    
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In This Issue


Andrew DeWit offers a critique of the Abe administration's energy policy showing why nuclear startup will be a non-starter and showing how Japan's best prospects lie in the combination of green energy and smart growth to cut energy consumption. Drawing on the work of Thai political analyst Nidhi Eoseewong, and of Hannah Arendt, Tyrell Haberkorn examines the spectre of totalitarianism in the standoff in contemporary Thai politics. Yoshiko Sakumoto Crandell's memoir offers a child's eye view of the Okinawan people caught up in the crossfire between Japanese and US  forces in the 1945 Battle of Okinawa. The analysis of the American deep state is extended by Peter Dale Scott in an examination of off-the-books funding for such events as the Iran Contra incident and 9.11.

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Andrew DeWit
Japan's Energy Policy Impasse     
Japan's energy policy regime appears dangerously adrift in the context of accelerating climate change. The core problem is agency. On the one hand, Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo and the nuclear village appear obsessed with nuclear power restarts and 20th century paradigms of the power economy. On the other hand, Japan's anti-nuclear civil society lacks the political vehicle to force a combined nuclear pullout plus drastic reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

Some anti-nuclear forces do not yet understand the urgent need to reduce emissions, and are content to burn coal, despite the patent threat of climate change. In this article, the author argues that this is precisely what Japan has done in the wake of 3.11. DeWit explicates how the Abe cabinet has focused on getting restarts and a nuclear-based energy plan that lacks concrete numbers and seems doomed to fail. What is needed is a leadership focused on smart growth, in the context of what McKinsey specialists refer to as a "resource revolution" and what MIT economists depict as "the second machine age."

Andrew DeWit is Professor in the School of Policy Studies at Rikkyo University and an Asia-Pacific Journal coordinator. 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.

Tyrell Haberkorn
Hannah Arendt, Nidhi Eoseewong, and the Spectre of Totalitarianism in Thailand
Hannah Arendt published The Origins of Totalitarianism, her expansive analysis of the development and spread of totalitarianism in Europe, in 1951, in the aftermath of the rise of anti-Semitism and Nazism, the Holocaust, and the violent destruction of life amidst Stalinism. Over sixty years later, noted Thai historian Nidhi Eoseewong picked up Arendt's work to write two articles on the spectre of totalitarianism emergent in Thailand in the long aftermath of the 19 September 2006 coup.  
While the points of difference between interwar Europe and present-day Thailand are as multiple as the points of resonance, the shape of totalitarianism itself is very similar. The author presents Nidhi's analysis of changes in Thai society over the last ten years through a reading of the chapters on the mass and dictatorship in Arendt's work. Nidhi provides a broad context and framework for understanding present-day developments in Thailand. Haberkorn offers an account of the current crisis in Thai politics drawing on  Nidhi's analysis .

Tyrell Haberkorn is a fellow in the Department of Political and Social Change at the Australian National University. She is the author of Revolution Interrupted: Farmers, Students, Law, and Violence in Northern Thailand (University of Wisconsin Press, 2011) and many articles and translations on human rights and history in Thailand.
Yoshiko Sakumoto Crandell 

Translated by Mieko Maeshiro

Introduced by Steve Rabson


This article provides translated excerpts from Yoshiko Sakumoto Crandell's autobiography Tomari Story: My Life in the Showa Era, published by Shimpō Shuppan in 2002. The portion of the autobiography presented here describes her harrowing experiences during the Battle of Okinawa, in which she was wounded by shellfire and narrowly avoided rape by an American soldier. It concludes with her internment in a refugee camp during the battle's chaotic aftermath.  


Born in 1931, Yosiko Sakumoto Crandell was raised in Okinawa's famous port town of Tomari. In the early months of the 27-year-long U.S. military occupation of Okinawa (1945-72), the author worked briefly for the American forces in food service and laundry, and later for the Ryukyu Life Insurance Company. In 1969 she married an American in the U.S. Air Force stationed in Okinawa. They live today in Newport News, Virginia.


 Read more. . . 

Peter Dale Scott 

The American Deep State, Deep Events, and Off-the-Books Financing  


Here Scott highlights the interconnectedness of "deep events"  like the JFK assassination, the Watergate break-in, or 9/11, which repeatedly involve law-breaking or violence, and are embedded in deep politics. What Scott labels "structural deep events" (SDEs) are large enough to affect the whole fabric of society, with consequences that enlarge covert government, and are subsequently covered up by systematic falsifications in media and internal government records.  


The interrelationship of SDEs leads to two levels of history in America, and two levels of historical narrative: official or archival history, which ignores or marginalizes deep events, and a second level - called deep history by its practitioners or "conspiracy theory" by its critics - which incorporates them. It is important to analyze these events at the level of the supranational deep state in order to understand the interrelatedness of SDEs. The study of any one of them helps us to understand others. 

Peter Dale Scott is a former Canadian diplomat and English Professor at the University of California, Berkeley. His most recent book is American War Machine: Deep Politics, the CIA Global Drug Connection and the Road to Afghanistan.  

Read more. . .