The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus Newsletter
Newsletter No. 24. 2014    

June 16, 2014    
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In This Issue

The current issue is notable for its diversity. Jeremy Kuzmarov revisits the question of the responsibility of the intellectuals in a world in which humanitarian intervention is deeply intertwined with the mailed and destructive fist of the US military to survey the outcomes in America's wars. From Europe to Japan to the United States and China there are signs that the next major technological development at the cusp of the energy crisis may be the emergence of smart cities. But, Andrew DeWit asks, can it fulfill its potential in Japan or elsewhere that marginalizes citizens and deprive them of critical input in the process? Brian Victoria returns to Zen Masters on the Battlefield with undiminished fervor to examine once again the role of Zen in Japan's wartime military, but from new angles. And last, but perhaps first, as billions of people have their eyes trained on the World Cup, and millions of Brazilian citizens question the cost of the games, Nick Cunningham calculates the cost of the event in greenhouse gases.

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Jeremy Kuzmarov       
The Responsibility of Intellectuals Redux:
Humanitarian Intervention and the Liberal Embrace of War in the Age of Clinton, Bush and Obama

Harvard Kennedy School Professor Michael Ignatieff has long been an influential liberal champion of military intervention on humanitarian grounds. He and his associates such as Samantha Powers in the "cruise missile left" have often been more hawkish than neo-conservatives, championing wars in Libya, Syria, Iraq (initially), as well as escalation in Afghanistan-Pakistan.

This essay scrutinizes the doctrine of humanitarian intervention, discussing how Ignatieff and other have distorted history and served a useful function for the "power elite" by allowing them to re-appropriate a human rights rhetoric earlier adopted by antiwar activists to condemn US aggression in Vietnam. Replicating the role played by their predecessors in World War I, liberal interventionists have served the US military-industrial complex by building public consensus for dubious military interventions. 
Jeremy Kuzmarov is Jay P. Walker Assistant Professor of History at the University of Tulsa. He is the author of Modernizing Repression: Police Training and Nation-Building in the American Century and The Myth of the Addicted Army: Vietnam and the Modern War on Drugs.

Andrew DeWit

Japan's Rollout of Smart Cities: What Role for the Citizens?

Cities comprise 3% of global land area but produce 50% of global waste and about 70% of greenhouse gas emissions, while consuming nearly 75% of natural resources. They also generate about 80% of global GDP. Over half the total global population of 7 billion already lives in cities. UN projections suggest 2 billion new urban residents will likely be added over the next 15 to 20 years, during which time perhaps as many as 3 billion new "middle class" consumers will swell the ranks of the present 1.8 billion.  

The author contemplates the future of "smart" and sustainable cities in Japan, a developed country bogged down by the inertia of legacy interests and consumer expectations. He argues that Japanese smart cities should already be a national project, aimed at being  resource-lite and developed through deeply interactive processes that maximize acceptability to the Japanese people. Yet  Japanese political, business and bureaucratic elites seem a long way from understanding the need to engage citizens, a critical ingredient if they are to fully realize the promie of smart cities. 


Andrew DeWit is Professor in Rikkyo University's School of Policy Studies. His most recent publication is "Climate Change and the Military Role in Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response," in Paul Bacon and Christopher Hobson (eds) Human Security and Japan's Triple Disaster (Routledge, 2014).   


Brian Daizen Victoria 
Zen Master on the Battlefield (Part I)

A Zen master on the battlefield ought to be an oxymoron. The traditional Vinaya rules governing the conduct of Buddhist clerics forbid even going to a battlefield, much less intentionally killing someone on it. Nevertheless, it is fair to say that in Japan the restrictions of the Vinaya code have, for many centuries, been honored more in the breach than in reality.   


This article is the first in a two-part series describing the wartime roles of two of Japan's best-known 20th century Zen masters, Sawaki Kōdō (1880-1965) and Nakajima Genjō (1915-2000). Beginning with the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-5, and followed by the Asia-Pacific War of 1937-45, these masters left a record not only of their battlefield experiences but, more importantly, the relationship they saw between their Buddhist faith and war.  


Part I focuses on Sawaki, who served as a soldier in the Imperial Army during the Russo-Japanese War. The author engages his interlocutors in a battle of interpretation by putting forth the controversial argument that nothing Sawaki said or wrote interfered with the killing expected of his disciples once they became soldiers.


Brian Daizen Victoria 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. Major writings include Zen at War and Zen War Stories

Nick Cunningham
How Much Energy Will the 2014 World Cup Consume?
Introduced by Andrew DeWit

The World Cup competition currently underway in Brazil is the most popular sporting event on the planet. This year's matches appear likely to set both a viewing record as well as a record for energy consumption and carbon emissions.

This article provides a timely summary of the World Cup's gargantuan energy consumption and carbon footprint: Cunningham shows that the World Cup's 500,000-plus fans, officials, team-members and others will burn through the equivalent of roughly 7.3 million barrels of oil via their international flights and other energy-intensive activities. What are the odds that FIFA, the World Cup governing body, will keeps its eye on the ball and follow up this unprecedentedly energy- and emissions-intensive World Cup with deep cuts that become a model for all international events?
Nick Cunningham is a Washington DC-based writer on energy and environmental issues. You can follow him on Twitter: @nickcunningham1