The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus Newsletter
Newsletter No. 28. 2014    

July 14, 2014    
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Hideki YOSHIKAWA        
Urgent Situation at Okinawa's Henoko and Oura Bay:
Base Construction Started on Camp Schwab

Here we provide an update on the situation concerning US military base construction in Okinawa's Henoko and Oura Bay. The author divides his analysis into three parts: The Japanese government (and US government), Opposition movements, and issues that need to be clarified.

With the Japanese government and people in Okinawa both determined to prevail, Yoshikawa predicts that tensions between the two will escalate--with the possibility that confrontation will become ugly and dangerous. This article locates the current crisis in light of the 18-year-long Okinawan saga to prevent base expansion and protect nature in Oura Bay.

Hideki Yoshikawa is an anthropologist who teaches at Meio University and the University of the Ryukyus in Okinawa. He is the International director of the Save the Dugong Campaign Center, a Japanese environmental NGO.


Magosaki Ukeru    
Japan's Collective Self-Defense and American Strategic Policy: Everything Starts from the US-Japan Alliance
Translated and Intr
oduced by John Junkerman  

This article presents an interview with a former top official of Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs that was conducted immediately after the  adoption of a Cabinet resolution that changed the government's long-standing position: that Article 9 of Japan's Constitution prohibited the country from engaging in collective self-defense (military action in support of an ally that has come under enemy attack).  


The debate over collective self-defense has continued for decades, but this  accelerated push to change the policy in the face of broad public opposition has left many wondering why it is happening now and what the implications are. The author contends that this development stems from the ever-deepening strategic alliance between Japan and the US, and that, if not constrained, it will lead inexorably to Japan's direct military involvement in the wars of choice that the US continues to fight in the name of collective self-defense. 


Magosaki Ukeru is the former director general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs International Information Bureau and former professor at the National Defense Academy. His books include Nihon no Kokkyo Mondai (Japan's Border Problems).


John Junkerman is an American documentary filmmaker and Asia-Pacific Journal contributing editor living in Tokyo. His film, "Japan's Peace Constitution" (2005), won the Kinema Jumpo and Japan PEN Club best documentary awards.


Philip Seaton    
Remembering Biowarfare Unit 731 Through Musical Activism: A Performance of the Choral Work The Devil's Gluttony

We find it all too easy to criticize the Japanese for "forgetting history," but in turn we must be wary of "forgetting the people who remember." The international media is often guilty of this in the context of Japan and World War II. The author reflects on a recent performance of  composer Ikebe's Shinichiro's Akuma no Hōshoku (The Devil's Gluttony), a piece about Unit 731, Japan's chemical and biological warfare unit located near Harbin in northeastern China. Akuma no Hōshoku is a piece of profound musical activism that provides  evidence of a determination among many Japanese people that the horrors of war  not be forgotten.


Philip Seaton is a professor in the International Student Center, Hokkaido University., Hokkaido University. He is the author of Japan's Contested War Memories: the "memory rifts" in historical consciousness of World War II


Andrew DeWit
Abe and Abbot Out under Australia's Midday Sun

July 9 was the final day of Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo's historic and surreal 3-day visit to Australia. Abe and Australia's climate-denialist Prime Minister Tony Abbott jetted to the West Angelas iron ore mine in the Pilbara region, home to earth's oldest rocks and evidence of life. This article contemplates a contrived "money shot" that placed the two leaders atop an enormous dump truck. This article assesses the associated information and communications technology capabilities spreading across a range of industries and sectors at the perilous edge of our present era against the climate denialist politics of the Japanese and Australian leaders.

Andrew DeWit is Professor in Rikkyo University's School of Policy Studies and a coordinator of The Asia-Pacific Journal. His recent publications include "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).