The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus Newsletter
Newsletter No. 51. 2014       

December 22, 2014

New Articles

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Despite being ignored during the campaign for the recent election, Japan's National Resilience strategy is a very important, multi-trillion-yen initiative that, like most countries' efforts to bolster resilience against climate change and other urgent threats, is a work in progress. However, as Andrew DeWit shows, the scale and scope of Japan's strategy is unparalleled and could be of immense benefit to the nation's's resilience and sustainable growth prospects and a beacon for the global community. But in the absence of any clear direction to Abenomics, Japan's initiative could be largely squandered on roads and other concrete-intensive projects.

Denigrating women who survived comfort station internment is critical for the Japanese government to protect the historical record of the Japanese military and its contemporary reputation, by denying not only their "forced relocation" but also the violation of human rights of sexual abuse. With an introduction by Caroline Norma, Nishino Rumiko and Nogawa Motokazu describe recent efforts by the Abe regime and its neonationalist backers to revictimize the women, "rubbing salt in their wounds and violating their human rights." "We need to listen to the voices of the women victims, to find out what happened, to face their evidence," and to draw on the evidence of government records.

Little more than two months after the start of bombing operations, Australia's new war in Iraq is following the path of its predecessor: subordination to American interests, irrelevance to national interests, casual disregard for Iraqi sovereignty and law,  severe restriction of information provided to the Australian public, and an inclination to escalation. Richard Tanter reports on the background to Australia's deep involvement in the latest phase of the United States' longest war.

While the meetings between Barack Obama and Xi Jinping have resulted in an agreement on climate change and the opening-up of exchanges through visa extensions and technology, China and Russia move closer together, notably agreeing on a huge trade pact involving Russian natural gas. Referring to Henry Kissinger's "strategic triangle" with the Soviet Union and China, aimed at playing the two against one another, Mel Gurtov shows how Japan could play a pivotal position in China's recent "softer-touch" diplomacy.

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