The operational mission for the US Forces that are located in Japan covers the region from Hawaii to the Middle East. Japan hosts the Indo-Pacific REGIONAL HQs for US Air Force, Navy, Army, and Marines. They are not in Japan simply to defend Japan but to support US security commitments throughout the entire Indo-Pacific region. That is a very different mission from US Forces Korea for example who are 100% dedicated to defending South Korea.
Total out of pocket annual costs for Japan to host the 54,000 USF uniformed personnel in Japan averages $6B per year. Most articles you see refer only to the $2B spent on “sympathy” costs. When you add the rent Japan pays to 3rd parties for the land the bases sit on, all utilities, the costs for local labor the annual total is now over $4B. And when you then add the annual costs for base realignments, renovations, etc. that adds another $2B per year bringing the total to $6B. And that excludes the $3.3B estimated to move some US Marines to Guam and the $10B or more required to build Futemna.
By comparison, Seoul has been paying about $850M annually for 28,500 US service personnel. South Korea may wish to note that the US forces in Japan are in part there to back up the US Forces in Korea. So not only is Seoul not paying anywhere close to what Japan is paying, but Japan is also paying for forces that defend them. Not a word of gratitude of course much less an offer from Seoul to pay for part of those costs to be had.
9 ( +9 / -0 )
23 nuclear reactors. all on the coasts. Why? Because every nuclear reactor around the world sited near the ocean discharges its waste water AFTER treatment which ALWAYS leaves minuscule amounts of trition, which at this point NO ONE knows how to remove safely and economically and it is deemed internationally safe. There are efforts to find a method to remove tritium in Japan and around the world - mostly lab scale --and Japan tested one that was closer to commercial operation - but so far nothing works 100% with these kinds of volumes. And it nuc plant wastewater is in fact discharged every single day by nuc reactors around the world including the ones in South Korea. I am NOT a proponent of nuc energy in Japan given our geological and climatic volatility and with no viable plan to deal with the wastes generated by nuc energy including the dismantling of the plants when they reach end of life. BUT science is still science. The single biggest risk to ocean environments is if there is another major earthquake/tsunami in the Fukushima area and 1 MILLION tons of stored but treated waste water is let loose in an uncontrolled situation. Much safer for everyone if it is released very slowly in an appropriate ocean location under internationally monitored controlled conditions. Truly hard to now separate this latest complaint with the others now being raised of late from Seoul of various materials being shipped from Japan to Korea.
2 ( +9 / -7 )
basic monthly salary for a Diet member is ¥1,294,000 and his/her yearly bonus amounts to ¥5,530,000. So about Yen 21 million. Plus you can hire three secretaries at pubic cost for Yen 8M each up to a total of Yen 24M and get free shinkansen tickets to go home plus other annual stipends for communication etc. In short, this can and in some cases on BOTH sides of the aisle become a family business. Given’s shrinking population and the demographic shifts with towns/villages being merged in the rural areas, there seem to be a discussion awaiting about how many members of Diet are really required to provide full representation. Do we really need 680 representatives between Upper and Lower Hoses? Does the Upper House actually provide any value at all in today's world versus the age of nobility from whence it sprung? Or would we have a stronger, more cost efficient, democracy with no Upper House but the Lower house expanded but with a total reduction from 680 to perhaps 500?
11 ( +11 / -0 )
One must never immediately believe any media report that is getting information from unnamed sources. Everything must be qualified until you get confirmation from multiple credible sources. But there is one possible UNCONFIRMED explanation for the passport of Mrs. Ghosn being turned over. NHK has one report today that says that the $5M that got pushed into a bogus Lebanon company tied to Mr. Ghosn and part of that sum was then used by MRS, Ghosn to buy their family yacht and some of the funds went to a company owned by Mr. Ghosn's son. IF Prosecutors have any evidence that is accurate then she might in fact be under investigation now. AGAIN only a couple of reports so far point toward this as a POSSIBLE explanation. Japanese authorities do NOT require foreign nationals to turn over their passports regardless of whether their spouse is indicted. So we will hear that the passport was requested by mistake and immediately returned or we will learn why they pulled it.
4 ( +10 / -6 )
Every one the complaints noted had been covered in TPP that was all ready to go. So I have a hard time feeling too sorry for American producers. The rapid growth of beef, cheese, wine etc. imports into Japan from countries under the TPP and now under the Japan/EU agreement shows that Japanese consumers are willing to try these products and compare them to those they have enjoyed in Japan. Under TPP there were a number of trade offs between the US and and Japan. Lets see if the bilateral discussion now has USTR demanding things they already had under TPP but WITHOUT agreeing to those things in TPP that Japan had asked for. That should be a short discussion.
5 ( +5 / -0 )
If Korea starts putting "war crime" stickers on children's school supplies that are made by Japanese companies as is now being threatened by Gyeonggi-do province, near Seoul, this situation is going to deteriorate very quickly. That kind of action involving children is going to generate a strong emotional response from average Japanese who so far have not paid a lot of attention to the series of political escalations - from flyovers to fire radars to naval ensigns to international agreement reneging to Supreme Court justices being arrested to demands for personal apologies from “son of a war criminal” -- that have been created and then escalated by Seoul over the past 8 months that Moon has been trying to gain support from Beijing for Korean unification. Sorry, I do not believe in coincidences. Same old game being played with the same tired rules. Korean companies that have large trading positions with Japan best get ready for some serious blow back.
Kim and Xi must be loving this. First Moon drives major divisions between Seoul and Tokyo while also driving the splits between the US and Seoul through cessation of military exercises and at some time in the not too distant future a withdraw of US troops. This is a plan drawn up decades ago in Beijing and it appears to be gaining traction thanks to the all time patsy, Pres. Moon. I cannot decide whether Moon is the "Machurian candidate" of movie lore or simply delusional. Does he really believe that Beijing is ever going to allow for unification?
One of the most curious things about this situation is that it appears that Korea has NO history before 1910 when Japan annexed Korea or after 1945. Over the centuries, how many times has China invaded Korea killing, destroying and raping its way up and down the peninsula, fragmenting the country into pieces that was then manipulated endlessly by Beijing? Apparently, the fact that North Korea invaded the South to start the Korean war is forgiven. Apparently, also forgiven is the fact that (as per Chinese sources) over 3 Million PLA soldiers thru the fake Chinese "People's Volunteer Army" invaded and fought between 1950-1953 in the Korean war leading to (estimated) over 2 Million total Koreans deaths with over 600,000, perhaps as many as 1 million, the majority being civilian, in the South and the total destruction of every city, town and village on the Korean peninsula. And yet it is the "independence struggles" that are most important to Moon as this provides a common "national identity" to North and South. Nuts!
4 ( +4 / -0 )