Japan Today

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Posted in: Abe certain to be re-elected LDP president See in context

****Mr. Abe appears to be a galvanizing force for the Liberal Democratic Party at this point in Japanese Politics. It is truly amazing that any politician can revive his political career and have a "second chance" given the very competitive nature of politics. Yet, to his credit, Mr. Abe has not only recreated his political identify and reinvigorated his political career, but Mr. Abe has managed to "scare away" his competition, by his sheer force of personality. I am an American who is very captivated by Japan. I am truly amazed that Mr. Abe has been able to steadily solidify his political base. Here in the United States, we will be undergoing a Presidential Election, and despite eight years of leadership under Mr. Obama, those favoring Mr. Obama's political agenda remain very concerned that the front-runner, former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton will be unable to successfully carry forth Mr. Obama's Agenda. In fact, there are those in the Democratic Party Leadership that are fearful that Mrs. Clinton will move away from Mr. Obama's Agenda. In contrast, in Japan, Mr. Abe's Agenda seems to be rather solidified within his Liberal Democratic Party. The possible future challenge might be to see with whom Mr. Abe would designate to be his successor who would keep Mr. Abe's Agenda moving forward. Mr. Abe's Agenda, from an outsider's perspective, seems quite ambitious and challenging, both in terms of his "Three Arrow" Economic Program to his Constitutional Revisionist Movement. My hope for Japan is that the people of Japan will benefit from Mr. Abe's Agenda both now and into the future.

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Posted in: Japan protests Russian PM's visit to disputed Kuril islands See in context

****The visit by the Russian PM is another indication of the aggressiveness of President Putin. The delicate balance between economic cooperation and maintaining sovereignty in the matter of Japan's Relationship with the Russians is being challenged by President Putin and is the ultimate in gamesmanship. President Putin is a dangerous leader who is willing to push the limits of tolerance in order to advance the interests of his government. This has been evidenced in Europe in Ukraine, and is also evidenced in President Putin's deteriorated relationship with the United States. Japan has every right to claim sovereignty over the northwest Pacific archipelago, and the aggressiveness demonstrated by Russian Prime Minister Medvedev is an extension of the aggressive policies established by President Putin. Japan's response is appropriate for the time being. However, at some point in the future, the Abe Administration may need to become more aggressive by using the Japan Self-Defense Force if President Putin increases his aggression. This would be very problematic not only for Japan, but for the other countries in the East Asian Region as well. Even the United States would become involved as Japan's strongest military ally.

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Posted in: Japan's long wait to address U.S. Congress See in context

As someone born after World War II whose father served in the European Theater, and who lives on the island of Oahu, and who is of Caucasian (Irish) and Japanese ethnic hertiage, I have mixed feelings about the arrival of Prime Minister Abe to address a Joint Session of the United States Congress. I am pleased that the relationship between the United States of America and Japan has improved over the seventy years since the conclusion of World War II that the Prime Minister of Japan will be able to address a Joint Session of the American Congress. Once bitter enemies, Japan and the United States have become strong allies. I am also hopeful that the Prime Minister's visit will enhance the overall relationship with the United States in the critical area of international trade, where Japan and the United States have experienced strong differences. I am also hopeful that the Prime Minister's visit will enahnce a mutal understanding of the "new role" that Prime Minister Abe has strongly advocated for Japan in the area of Self-Defense. I am also hopeful that mutual understanding be achieved with respect to honoring the past sacrifices made by the "Greatest Generation of Americans" who fought bravely in both the European and Pacific Theater Operations during World War II for demoncracy and true freedom so that people of future generations like myself, can grow up, attain a college education, and live the dream of my father's generation.

Thank you very much.

Respectfully Submitted: Mark Kazuo Bradley

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Posted in: Gov't says it will go ahead with U.S. base plan despite Nago election result See in context

****The vote reflects the majority opinion of those who voted. Based on this vote, moving forward appears to be contrary to the opinion of those majority who voted, and may reflect the sentiment of the majority as a whole. Having stated this, the key question is: How does this vote affect the long range atmosphere between the United States and Japan, not only in terms of the relocation of the Marines, but also in terms of the overall presence of American Forces in Japan? Earlier, proposals were made to relocate American Forces from Okinawa to Guam and Hawaii, along with possibly New Zealand. While relocating American Forces to New Zealand may not be easily accomplished given that New Zealand, like Japan is a sovereign nation, and previously, New Zealand has expressed concern over nuclear warships visiting New Zealand, the transfer of American Forces to both Guam and Hawaii should be able to be accomplished much easier, given that both Guam and Hawaii are "part" of the United States. Perhaps, both America and Japan need to re-examine our bilateral military relationship as a whole. Clearly, given the tensions in the region, especially the current tensions between the PRC and Japan, and North Korea and Japan, some presence of American Forces appears to still be necessary, especially given Japan's Constitution. Should Japan's Constitution be revised, i.e. the portion describing the presence of American Forces in Japan and the restrictions placed on Japan's Self-Defense Forces, then, perhaps, the bilateral military relationship between Japan and the United States will be changed. In the interim, the relationship most likely will remain relatively unchanged. This will cause much stress for those in Japan who would appreciate a reduction in the presence of American Forces throughout Japan, not only in Okinawa. Thank you very much.

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Posted in: Kennedy meets emperor in ceremonial pomp broadcast live on TV See in context

****Congratulations to Ambassador Caroline Kennedy. Her appointment is particularly heartwarming given the tremendous dedicated service given by her family, especially her father, President John F. Kennedy.

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Posted in: Defense chief: Japan needs to bolster surveillance over Pacific See in context

Japan is well within its legal rights to claim the disputed islands. Japan is also well within its right to exercise proper restraint while also defending its territorial waterways.

This is a most unfortunate historical dispute, however, Japan is well within its legal rights to make assertions concenring the disputes islands, and China, although an extremely culturally rich nation, and a leading Asian economic powerhouse, most likely would be well advised not to press the Abe Government, since unlike his immediate past predecessors, Prime Minister Abe appears prepared to assert Japan's authority over its territorial waterways and this includes the disputed islands.

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Posted in: TOKYO AWARDED 2020 OLYMPICS See in context

****Congratulations to the Japanese people for receiving the honor to host the Olympics. Your friends here in the State of Hawaii extend our warmest Aloha.

Mahalo, Mark Kazuo Bradley & Miho Nagata Bradley

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Posted in: Big election win for Abe could strengthen vested interests See in context

The upcoming national elections will be a true test of the confidence of the Japanese voting majority concerning the proposals set forth by Prime Minister Abe and his LDP. Prime Minister Abe has projected an image of an economic reformer who is willing to turn Japan upside down in order to shake up a stagnant economy, and return Japan to prominence. Having said this, the challenge is whether or not Prime Minister Abe will be able to successfully meld his Conservative Political agenda with his Economic Revitalization agenda, in a manner which will encourage development and not discourage development. Reforming the Japanese Economic System is a formidable task, and should take center stage and remain center stage. Reforming the Constitution, while important, should not constrict the progress already achieved under Prime Minister Abe's leadership. As the Prime Minister stated, "A country that has lost economic power cannot maintain its national power,” Abe told a recent news conference, adding he would focus on reviving the economy after winning the poll. “To ensure national power and pride, we need to regain a strong economy.” Thank you very much. Respectfully Submitted: Mark Kazuo Bradley Honolulu, Hawaii.

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Posted in: Japanese lawmaker on boat near disputed islands See in context

The presence of Kenji Yamada, a parliamentarian and member of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party is another indication of the activism of the current government. I agree with those who argue that the islands in question is legally the responsibility of the Japanese government to maintain and if necessary, defend from hostile aggression.

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Posted in: N Korea proposes high-level talks with U.S. See in context

The proposal made by North Korea's leadership team to meet with the United States alone is suspect. While the United States has long historical ties to this region, and whle the United States should be involved in any meaningful dialog with North Korea, I feel that it would be far more productive to have South Korea, and the United States meet with both North Korea and China. China is the key player in any meaningful discussions since China is the main reason why North Korea is still able to function as a government. Additionally, South Korea needs to have a seat at the table since South Korea would be the primarily beneficiary of any success, and the primary loser in any protracted conflict between North Korea and South Korea. I agree that without the pre-condition of having the North make substantial and permanent moves towards denuclearisation, there is no meaningful commitment demonstrated by the North, and this sadly becomes merely another means to irritate all parties involved. Thank you very much. Respectfully Submittted: Mark Kazuo Bradley Honolulu, Hawaii.

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Posted in: The deeper agenda behind Abenomics - constitutional change See in context

The political autobiography of Mr. Abe is truly fascinating, even for an American. As someone who is very interested in Japanese History and Politics, I am truly amazed at the renaissance of Mr. Abe's political career. I am hopeful that Mr. Abe's Economic Plan will be successful in the long-term as it has apparently been in the short term. In terms of Mr. Abe's desire to restore traditional Japanese cultural values, and create a more Japanese oriented Constitution, as an American, I really have no rightful say. I am hopeful that should this occur, that the "New Japan" under Mr. Abe will be as successful as has been the Post-War Japan.

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Posted in: Japan, ASEAN to shore up financial ties See in context

This article points out an excellent example of Japan's emerging leadership in ASEAN and around Asia in general. Japan's leadership is most welcomed.

Thank you very much.

Respectfully Submitted: Mark Kazuo Bradley

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Posted in: Tokyo protesters say no to amending constitution See in context

The recent protests against revising the Japanese Constitution are a prime example of democracy. In a healthy democracy, the people are encouraged to voice their opinions and participate in the decision making process. Clearly, this demonstrates that Japan has a very healthy democracy.

Thank you very much.

Respectfully Submitted: Mark Kazuo Bradley Honolulu, Hawaii.

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Posted in: Abe's 'stealth' constitution plan raises civil rights fears See in context

The changes that Prime Minister Abe appears to be seeking are dramatic to the extent that these changes represent a form of political philosophy that appears to go against the rising tide of Western Style Democracy. Yet, I feel that it is important to note that Prime Minister Abe's populairty appears to be more focused on the short-term success of his economic policies, than on his political philosophy per se. Therefore, perhaps, as one could surmise, the longer that Prime Minister Abe's economic policiies are successful, the more encouraged Prime Minister Abe and his LDP supporters will be to aggressively advocate for a more politically conservative Constitution. The values currently embodied in the Japanese Constitution are Western oriented, and in particular, American Democracy oriented. The Prime Minister appears to be accepting of the success of Western Capitalism, and simultaneously rejecting of American Democracy. Indeed, it would appear that the Prime Minister would like to retain the benefits of American Democracy with respect to Western Capitalism as an economic system, while revising the focus of the Japanese Constitution back to the Pre-World War II philosophy. This Pre-World War II philosophy encouraged a more centralized, autocratic, police state where individual civil liberties are significantly curtailed. One could argue that the whole notion of individual civil liberties is a Western concept that is inherently foreign to the more Traditional Asian focus on sacrificing individual civil liberties on behalf of the entire country-group over individual wellbeing. The United States and the other Western Democracies cannot dictate to the Japanese the type of Constitution that Japan will have moving forward through the 21st Century. The United States can strongly influence the Abe Government in terms of the presence of American Forces on Japanese soil, and to some limited extent, can influence the "benefits" derived from a continued U.S. military presence. Yet, we should not reduce the vision to one where America's military influence is the key link to whether or not the Abe Government would be wise to revise the Japanese Constitution, since the American military influence, however important, is but one of many issues that are intricately linked to the discussion over the revision of the Post-World War II American Influenced Japanese Constitution. Finally, what makes a Constitution strong is that despite the changes in political parties, and despite the cyclical fluctuations of the business cylce, the Constitution embodies the"Spirit" of the People-The Constitution at its very best, embodies the Spirit of a Nation. Therefore, perhaps the larger question to ask is this: "What is the Spirit of the Nation of Japan"? Thank you very much.

Respectfully Submitted: Mark Kazuo Bradley Honolulu, Hawaii.

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Posted in: 2 ministers visit Yasukuni shrine See in context

The visit by Japanese Government officials to the Yasukuni Shrine is a very controversial action, as demonstrated by the numerous comments made, and by the media attention dedicated, along with the frequent protests made by those neighboring countries, such as China, and South Korea. There appears to be no lessening of the emotional response with the passage of time. Whether this is because of the symbolism that this particular shrine holds for those who lived through the horrors of World War II, or whether because of the political nuances associated with a particular political party or philosophy, or whether because many have difficulty moving beyond the fact that this memorial site contains the remains of many of those in leadership positions during World War II whose decisions resulted in generations of suffering, this symbol of Japanese History remains a most paintful one, even for those of us who have never experienced directly the horrors inflicted by World War II. My hope is that one day, peace will prevail over the Earth, and forgiveness will be a reality. Thank you so very much.

Respectfully Submitted: Mark Kazuo Bradley Honolulu, Hawaii.

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Posted in: G-20 finance leaders decry lack of global growth See in context

The recent meeting of the G-20 Finance Ministers and International Banking Executives seems to point out the many challenges facing our global economy. What is beneficial for some countries, is not necessarily seen as beneficial by the other members. Japan's Growth Policies are to be applauded and seem to be a model for other countries to follow.

Thank you very much. Mark Kazuo Bradley Honolulu, Hawaii.

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Posted in: Hiroshima A-bomb re-enactment dropped from U.S. air show See in context

I agree that the dropping of the Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki is one of the most controversial decisions made by President Truman during his tenure as our President. The outcome of the Atomic Bomb on the people of Japan was devastating, and continues to the present. Whether or not the end of the Pacific War would have been prolonged had the United States not dropped both Atomic Bombs on Japan is an historical question that while important, most likely can never be answered to all parties satisfaction. I would suggest that the more relevant lesson for all parties is that all nations should do their utmost to avoid conflicts which involve the potential for nuclear engagement. Since most conflicts do not originally start out as potential "world wars", and since many more nations in today's world either have direct access to nuclear weapons, or can purchase the materials needed to create "weapons of mass destruction", extreme caution must be taken when countries engage themselves in disputes. Thank you very much. Mark Kazuo Bradley Honolulu, Hawaii.

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Posted in: U.S. warns China, Japan, S Korea on currencies See in context

****The United States should be careful in its criticism of the actions undertaken by its trading partners. It makes sense that each country will do what is in that particular countries best interest first, and then undertake actions which strengthen the Economic Alliance. The United States cannot really expect its trading partners to always do what the United States feels is in the best interest of the Economic Alliance.

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Posted in: Okinawa governor to skip ceremony marking restoration of Japan's sovereignty See in context

****This anniversary is a reminder that the goal of all nations should be to respect one another, and to encourage open, honest, and forward-thinking dialog when issues arise which cause disagreements. The Restoration of Japan's Sovereignty as a Nation was an important step in developing a long-term sense of peace and stability not only for Japan and the Japanese, but for the entire East Asian Region as well. Japan is truly the shining light of hope in East Asia.

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Posted in: Ex-PM Fukuda meets China's Xi See in context

This is good news. Any opportunity for responsible individuals to dialogue can enhance the overall understanding and diffuse the tension. I hope that informal discussions as well as more formal sessions between responsible individuals on all sides continues, in order that a more peaceful East Asia can be achieved.

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Posted in: 3 dead, more than 30 injured by weekend storms See in context

This is such a tragic event.

My prayers are with the familes of those who have suffered.

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Posted in: Japan rides 'Abenomics' wave 100 days after election win See in context

"Abenomics" appears to be very successful. Congratulations to the Liberal Democratic Party, and Prime Minister Abe. Hopefully, as time progresses, Japan's economy will continue to grow, and that the Japanese will once again enjoy the full benefits of a robust economy.

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Posted in: Could N Korea hit Japan, S Korea with nukes? No one seems to know See in context

The recent events involving North Korea's military buildup and subsequent threats of targeting Japan, South Korea, and the United States, specifically, Guam, the Hawaiian islands, and several cities in North America have created an extremely tense situtation. Given the laregly unknown with respect to the current North Korean Leadership Team, coupled with an uncertainty about the actual capabilities of the North Korean military, many here in Hawaii are extremely concerned, since we are in the crossfire zone. The presence of United States troops on both Japanese and South Korean soil does invite aggression against both South Korea and Japan. However, with respect to the comments made earlier, North Korea most likely would still exhibit aggression against both Japan and South Korea even if the United States were to substantially withdraw its military presence from Japan and South Korea, since both Japan and South Korea are democracies, and North Korea is a Communist country. The key to resolving this dispute is the role that the People's Republic of China will play. Historically, the Communist Chinese government has been very supportive of the Kim Government of North Korea, ever since the overthrow by Mao Zedong in 1949, and the subsequent Korean War. However, the relationship between China and the United States has evolved substantially since the Korean War, and now, the United States and China enjoy a robust trading relationship where the United States is a debtor nation to China. Please consider contrasting this changing relationship with the rather stagnant relationship between China and North Korea from the end of the Korean War to the Present. Quite honestly, China gives far more to North Korea, than North Korea is able to reciprocate back to China. Thank you very much.

Respectfully Submitted: Mark Kazuo Bradley Honolulu, Hawaii.

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Posted in: Handgun reported stolen from U.S. military base at Camp Zama See in context

This incident is very troubling. The fact that the U.S. Army serviceman placed a weapon, albeit unloaded on his desk and left this weapon unattended for two hours demonstrates a mistake in judgement on the part of the U.S. Army servicman. Hopefully, this weapon will be recovered soon.

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Posted in: Asian giants tiptoe toward free trade deal See in context

The prolonged trade development negotiations seem to be finally bearing fruit. This would provide China, Japan, and South Korea with an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the strength of the East Asian Countries, and would effectively counter the growing pressure placed on all three by the United States. The United States should take this as a positive step in the evolution of a more independent East Asian Trading Partnership. One of the possible side benefits would be a reduction in the intensity of the conflicts between China and Japan, and between Japan and Korea over long-standing territorial disputes, which would benefit the entire region, and the relationship between the United States and Japan; the United States and South Korea; and the United States and the entire region.

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Posted in: Osaka gov't survey on employees' union activities called unfair practice See in context

The actions undertaken by Mayor Hashimoto seem to be reasonable since the computers used are government property, and the time spent using these computers is government time. Therefore, the government does have the right to monitor the use of their computers by their employees. Perhaps, the extent to which Mayor Hashimoto used his authority might seem somewhat undemocratic, however, I feel that it is important to remember that as a govenment employee, one's actions reflect upon the government as a whole. Therefore, using government property during government compensated work time to explore personal business opportunities, and or to advance one's standing within the government is an ill-advised use of both government time and government property. Mayor Hashimoto is demonstrating that he is truly an independent leader, and while his methods may appear to be over aggressive, as long as he is an elected leader, he does have the ultimate responsibility of managing his government and those working for the people, since an ill-advised action undertaken by one civil servant/political appointee, unfortunately reflects poorily upon all government employees.

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Posted in: U.S. Senate OKs amendment backing Japan in Senkaku dispute See in context

****The affirmation by the United States Senate concerning the right of Japan to administer the Senkaku Islands is a clear indiciation of the strong support, on a bipartisan level, that the United States Senate has concerning the U.S. - Japan Relationship. Clearly, the United States Senate has taken this important public step in order to re-enforce our long-standing working relationship, and also to send a strong message to the new government leadership in China, that the United States Senate is prepared to support defending Japan against Chinese aggression.

The Liberal Democratic Party will most likely be the beneficiary of this stance given that most polls indicate that the LDP will soundly defeat the Democratic Party of Japan. It will be very interesting to watch how Mr. Abe, should he become the next Prime Minister, will use this re-affirmation by the United States Senate, in his foreign policy positions with respect to the relationship between the LDP and the Obama Administration.

It will also be interesting to see how the new Secretary of State for the United States will work with the new Foreign Minister of Japan not only on the Senkaku Islands issue, but on the other "hot button" issues such as the continued military presence of the United States on Japanese soil, in particular the U.S. Marines presence on Okinawa, as well as the continued support by the United States of Japan militarily. Mr. Abe has seemed to indicate a more conservative/nationalist viewpoint in which Mr. Abe has indicated a desire to re-examine the Security Agreement between the United States and Japan. How the affirmation by the United States Senate of Japan's right to administer the Senkaku islands will impact Mr. Abe's view of the Security Agreement will be interesting.

Thank you very much.

Respectfully, Mark Kazuo Bradley 500 University Avenue, Apt. #519 Honolulu, Hawaii. 96826

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Posted in: 5 LDP candidates, in 2nd debate, push for hard line with China See in context

****The upcoming LDP Elections should provide an important insight into the current status of the Liberal Democratic Party with respect to their potential to field a viable candidate for the Office of Prime Minister of Japan. While the candidates mentioned in today's article all have proven political backgrounds, and all three could easily become LDP President, the real challenge is which of the candidates are best prepared to offer long-term solutions to the prolonged economic challenges facing Japan, as well as which of the candidates is best able to balance the relationship between the United States and Japan as both seek to work collaboratively to maintain a stable economic relationship. Additionally, the next LDP President should be able to clearly articulate the advantages for voters to selecting the LDP as opposed to the other parties, most especially the DPJ. There are many challenges facing Japan-Economic; Geo-Political; and Social. The leadership team of the LDP must be able to clearly articulate a bold, and innovative strategy that looks at the long-term benefits to be derived by the Japanese by electing the LDP to power again. After all, the LDP lost to the DPJ in large measure because the LDP Leadership Team was inarticulate and incapable of promoting its own agenda on how to support Japan's Economy into the 21st Century. Thank you very much.

Respectfully, Mark Kazuo Bradley

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Posted in: Noda, Hu briefly meet at APEC summit See in context

"Despite such friction, economic ties between Japan and China are deeper than ever and both countries are believed to want to keep the feud from spiralling out of control."

I agree that the long-term goal of all countries, not only Japan and China, should be to enhance the economic ties that bind all countries together. We are living in a global economy, and in order for all countries to truly begin to benefit from our global economy, I feel that it is necessary for our leaders to not become unduly distracted by the short-term gains to be made by attempting to "one upmanship" the other countries in the world. This short-term game strategy will put in peril, the long-term goal of enhancing the global economy by working collaboratively. This is not to suggest that the current dispute between Japan and China is unimportant, nor is it to suggest that this current dispute is an example of the decades old conflicts which arose out of the historical tensions between Japan and China. I am suggesting that given the nature of our increasingly competative global exchange marketplace infrastructure, and given that our global economy ties all countries together, our leaders should focus on how to strengthen our global exchange marketplace as opposed to remain rooted in seeking to secure short-term gain. The United States should be more supportive of Japan, and the Japanese Government's efforts.

Thank you very much.

Respectfully, Mark Kazuo Bradley

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Posted in: Tanigaki blames territorial disputes on weak DPJ leadership See in context

The recent incidents involving Japan, China, Russia, and Korea appears to demonstrate that Japan's Government is being viewed as weak by these three countries, all of whom have long standing historical disputes with Japan. While disagreements such as those which have arisen recently have a long history, dating back decades, the increase in conflicts between Japan and these three countries appears to have increased with the passage of time, and more so, with the passage of successive leaders of Japan. Perhaps, Japan's leaders would be well advised to take a more aggressive stand against those foreign nations which are seeking to take advantage of the frequent leadership changes in Japanese politics. Additionally, those in leadership positions within Japan's political parties, such as those in leadership of the DPJ, and LDP, should work more diligently to create working coalitions of a bipartisan nature when issues of national defense are concerned. While such coalitions are very difficult to form and even more difficult to maintain, a government which continues to experience frequent leadership changes and internal distress, will mostly likely encourage harassment by these three countries, all of whom were former adversaries of Japan. Thank you very much.

Mark Kazuo Bradley

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