The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus Newsletter
Newsletter No. 50. 2014       

December 15, 2014

New Articles

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This issue mirrors our twin approaches in showing the achievements of the Asia-Pacific while highlighting ongoing historical and contemporary problems.Following up on his recent article, Andrew DeWit reports on the initiatives towards building "smart communities" throughout Japan. Inspired by German Stadtwerke in the energy industry, the movement hopes to surpass the German model by creating "sustainable economic growth" development that is remarkably not driven by large corporations but by local governments.

Last week, the Historical Science Society of Japan [!] issued a public statement in English on the recent wartime comfort women controversy centered o the Asahi Shinbun. While the testimony of Yoshida Seiji has long been discredited, the revelation that Asahi had cited him in the 1990s has led to dangerous attacks on the 1993 Kono Statement and the historical facts of the abuses of the Japanese military. The statement criticizes the Abe administration's blatant efforts to revise wartime history, clarifying the points of contention and pointing out flaws in the arguments made by the administration and its neonationalist allies.

Joshua Oppenheimer's recent award-winning film The Act of Killing presents the genocide in Indonesia forty years ago in the words of many of its perpetrators, but it does not address  the pivotal role of the United States in the killings and aftermath. Peter Dale Scott examines how the "deeply flawed authoritarian development model" of American social-scientific modernization theory paved the way for the atrocities, calling for academics to reflect on university culture then and now.

"'I died at that moment,' he said. He went under the knives, scalpels, forceps, scissors, and needles. A foot-long cut was carved on his right side." Writer and filmmaker Rey Ventura presents the dramatic story of how Filipino man came to "donate" one of his kidneys to a Japanese man in 1996, from his collection of nonfiction stories, Cherry Blossoms in the Time of Earthquakes and Tsunami.

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