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Seiharinokaze comments

Posted in: Abe has no plans to visit Pearl Harbor; Obama offers condolences over Okinawan woman's murder See in context


Hostility between Japan and China started when Japan took over the rights/interests in Kwantung province and the South Manchurian Railroad from Russia after the Russo-Japanese War. Chinese asserted their rights to abolish unequal treaties which they concluded with the West including Japan and regain concessions. They tried to do that not by living up to the world standard and modernizing their social system but by spewing anger and violence. Communism was also fanning their nationalism. Even in Mukden (Shenyang) area alone, more than 300,000 cases of damage and injury to Japanese and their property were reported annually in early 1930's. These Chinese intifada or terrorism led Japan to the Manchurian Incident.

As for the liberation of Asia from the western colonization, Japan sent troops to the South East Asia because the Allies laid an embargo on oil to Japan while supporting KMT China. Security and cause for independence were symbiotic making use of each other at this time of history. So the Burma Campaign was fought between the forces of the British Empire and China with support from the United States, against the forces of Japan, the Burma National Army, Thailand and the Indian National Army. Chinese merchants in Malay however who got a commission for managing plantations on behalf of absent landlords in Britain sided with the Allies unlike other Burmese and Malays.

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Posted in: Obama's Hiroshima visit looks to future amid charges of selective amnesia See in context

The President’s chief of staff, William D. Leahy–the five-star admiral who presided over meetings of the Joint Chiefs of Staff–noted in his diary seven weeks before the bombing of Hiroshima: “It is my opinion that at the present time a surrender of Japan can be arranged with terms that can be accepted by Japan and that will make fully satisfactory provision for America’s defense against future trans-Pacific aggression.” http://www.salon.com/2016/05/11/we_didnt_need_to_drop_the_bomb_and_even_our_ww_ii_military_icons_knew_it/

Power vacuum in northeast China after Japan surrendered made poor provision for America’s and Japan’s defense against future East Asia’s instability. Present China and the Korean peninsula are out of kilter by all odds even 70 years after the war.

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Posted in: U.S. pressures Japan not to devalue yen See in context

A stronger yen hurts Japanese exporters, a key driver of the world’s third largest economy, by making their products relatively more expensive overseas.

No, stronger yen hurts Japanese exporters not by making their products relatively more expensive overseas but by forex loss resulting from the appreciation of the yen. Cheap yen in the last few years didn’t make the Japanese products cheaper in the US market. The exporters’ profits came from exchange gains. The U.S. blames its own huge trade deficit to the monetary policies of major trading partners. Higher yen won’t reduce America’s trade deficit as we can see what happened after the Plaza Accord of 1985. They do this when the election is approaching.

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Posted in: A-bomb survivors want Obama to meet them, apologize in Hiroshima See in context

The war Douglas McArthur Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers who convened the Tokyo Trial in which Japan was condemned for aggression said later that Japan’s purpose in going to war was largely dictated by security. If so, when Japan sent troops to Southeast Asia to get oil and iron, Britain may well have been more concerned about losing Indochina than about supporting China. By the same token Japan was more concerned about securing Manchu (northeast China) than supporting Chandra Bose and his Free India. And yet Japan has been apologizing all these years.

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Posted in: Abe to delay sales tax hike over economy fears: Nikkei See in context

Easing money policy which was started by the Governor of the Bank of Japan did not increase consumption or investment. Deflation cannot be ended by enlarging monetary base. What is short is not money but demand. Raising sales tax dampens consumption. Delaying it is a matter of course. All the opposition parties also oppose to the sales tax hike now, so it cannot be an issue for the election. What is weird, however, is the silence of the Finance Ministry. In addition to the above economic and political situations, it may be also due to the Cabinet Personnel Bureau which was set up by Abe (and Suga) with the aim to control the personnel affairs of high ranking officials of each ministry. Have the Finance Ministry capitulated to Abe who doesn’t seem to feel so guilty about fiscal finance (let BOJ buy up GBs) or are they just be playing possum?

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Posted in: Japan's U.S. ambassador takes veiled swipe at Trump's 'America First' stance See in context

TPP which Abe at the back of his mind did not want to be realized seems to be aborted for reasons of America’s own (how lucky for Abe). And should Mr. Trump be elected president, he may get mad about Okinawa opposing to the relocation of Futenma air base within the prefecture for such a long time and think it better to transfer the airbase to Guam at Japan’s cost. Not sure if anybody can then convince him of the validity of the Marines being required to be stationed near and mobilized along with the land, sea and air forces, therefore to be in Okinawa (either at Henoko or Futenma). Abe may welcome it inwardly.

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Posted in: Merkel, Abe differ on how to fix world economy See in context

Germany adopts a policy of protecting its own industrial technology and prevents the hollowing-out of domestic industry. It also benefitted from cheap euro thereby increasing the ratio of export to GDP at 40% (Japan’s being at 11%) and bringing about huge trade and current account surpluses as if they entered in its Fourth Reich. It sticks to the principle of fiscal balance which German Constitution obliges them to keep. They sell goods to near sovereign default countries in Southern Europe but do not financially support them. Even when the global economy is slowing down, Germany keeps its austere fiscal policy unwilling to expand its domestic demand. Abe may want to suggest to Ms Merkel that too good a model performer can be a disservice to grasshopper neighbors.

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Posted in: How France sank Japan's $40 bil Australian submarine dream See in context

The French contract is not an export of subs but a joint development of a sub not designed yet and it includes local production in Australia with technology transfer as well as creation of employment in the country. What Aussie demands seems inappropriate for a contract of sub building which is a security matter rather than business and includes military secret technology. Soryu a sub in active service (not a hard sell plan) is a result not only of numerically calculated design and technology but by the seat of the pants workmanship in the dockyard. Sheet steel and screws are often hammered and lathed and fine-tuned manually by a skilled workman. Such artisanal knowhow unlike secret technology cannot be digitalized and informed methodically to others. That might be what Mr. Costello was not aware of.

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Posted in: 'Japan as Number One' author Vogel still upbeat on country's future See in context

Vogel also has a favorable impression of Japanese women. Thirty years ago, the standard for women to achieve equality with men obliged many of them to affect masculine mannerisms. But Vogel feels that Japanese women are able to debate with men as equals while maintaining their femininity.

Equals? Actually they are the boss. Japanese household is governed by women. Men are controlled by wives who hold the purse-strings and even husbands’ willpower. Mountain goddess, kakaa-denka, oni-yome, slave driver, as you name it. This may be what helps make this society comparatively stable in the days of prolonged recession in addition to such social merits like the small disparity in wealth and the medical insurance program for the whole nation.

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Posted in: Russia, Japan agree to Putin-Abe meetings this year See in context

Economic sanctions by the West continue and Saudi Arabia and the US are in a kind of a oil price war to make it difficult for Russia to acquire foreign exchange. China is quick to take the occasion and tries to have Russian oil price further discounted. Turk also has fangs. So now is a good time to push ahead negotiation for the northern territories. Abe and Mr. Putin seem to have a good chemistry. Habomai and Shikotan will be returned. Kunashir (the second largest island) might be a bargaining chip.

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Posted in: G-7 foreign ministers call for nuclear disarmament in Hiroshima declaration See in context

The army recognized by June 1945 that to continue the war to the end was technically impossible due to the lack of numerical strength of the army left. The crucial point was how to surrender and preserve the emperor as the head of the state. The Allies did not make it clear whether they would secure the position of the emperor after Japan surrendered. That was the sole condition that Japan set for surrender, something more important than seppuku of the nation. And when the Japanese leadership was disputing over the matter, the atomic bombings were dropped.

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Posted in: G-7 foreign ministers call for nuclear disarmament in Hiroshima declaration See in context

Atomic bombings did not shorten the war or save the Allied solders. The atomic bombs were dropped just when the Japanese leadership was heatedly discussing on how to surrender, not continue the war with the emperor preserved as the head of the state.

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Posted in: G-7 foreign ministers call for nuclear disarmament in Hiroshima declaration See in context

The reporter of the AP didn't mention what drew the attention of Japanese media. G7 Hiroshima Declaration in the English text says in its first paragraph "The people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki experienced immense devastation and human suffering as a consequence of the atomic bombings." The same part in the Japanese text reads "原爆投下で広島と長崎は甚大な壊滅と非人間的な苦難という結末を経験した". "Human suffering" is worded as "inhuman suffering (非人間的な苦難)" in Japanese. How human means inhuman, if not inhumane, is beyond me but smells of a strained parley between Kishida and the Department of State on how to articulate or equivocate a touchy matter.

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Posted in: Russia says Abe may visit in May for meeting with Putin See in context

Three years ago Abe didn’t support President Obama who tried to carry out a military attack on Assad’s government in Syria. Putin appreciated it perhaps. Now again Abe rejected President Obama who asked Abe to refrain from visiting Russia in May. To appease Washington, Abe invited Ukraine President Poroshenko, but Abe doesn’t seem to be half as enthusiastic as he should be in isolating Russia.

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Posted in: Gov't considers 2nd sales tax hike delay as spending falls See in context

I will praise Abe if he can delay the second sales tax hike. It is a hard job to feign to go along with the Finance Ministry and baffle their scheme.

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Posted in: Trump's position on trade, alliances could strain Asia ties See in context

Mr. Trump seems to know that human rights do not exist in some parts of the world. Toppling Husain in Iraq making a political vacuum to give birth to IS and supporting the opposition forces in Syria who are little better than hooligans while thawing out with Iran again seems rather chaotic. He may be little interested in putting the Middle East in order. In that sense his diplomacy may be peaceful. His such stance will baffle Neocon and Wall Street. And will shake up Japan’s peace-at-any-price attitude which is actually at America’s price.

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Posted in: Japan urges China not to focus on 'unfortunate history' See in context


In what way that Great Britain and China undermined them to the point Japan invade China?

Actually Britain under Neville Chamberlain was sympathetic to Japan. Britain and Japan were doing business and had crucial interests in China which in those days had no reasonably organized government that could govern the whole country. The Soviets imbued self-assertion and disrespect for foreigners’ privileges among Chinese who began demanding abolishment of treaties they concluded with the Western Powers without modernizing themselves. The U.S. was however rather accommodating to China influenced by American missionaries who even urged the U.S. government to return extraterritoriality to China. Such an attitude made Chinese bolder and violence against Japanese including Koreans who migrated to Manchuria as Japanese citizens often happened until at last they declared that they would nullify the treaties that Japan concluded with China. But the Japanese government adhered to the Washington Conference and tried to deal with such a situation in corporation with other members of the conference. That was the background that let “Japan turn to her own military power to guarantee her interests, where hitherto she had relied on multilateral diplomacy.“

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Posted in: Japan urges China not to focus on 'unfortunate history' See in context

From Wikipedia on John Van Antwerp MacMurray (1881–1960) an American diplomat best known as one of the leading China experts in the U.S. government:

The conventional wisdom held that Japan was the unprovoked aggressor in the brewing conflict with China. However, MacMurray posited that Chinese and American policies were partly to blame for Japan’s actions; whereas Japan had closely adhered to the treaties and agreements brokered during the Washington Disarmament Conference, the United States, Great Britain and China frequently undermined them. Up until the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1931, the "Japanese Government ... was endeavoring in unimpeachable good faith to live up to its undertakings", wrote MacMurray. "The issue of success or failure for the policies evolved at the Washington Conference was actually in the hands of China herself, of Great Britain, and of the United States."

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Posted in: U.N. chief Ban defends China parade trip after Japanese concern See in context

Japan surrendered to the Allies including the Republic of China, not to the People’s Republic of China which did not exist at the time. Taiwan’s President Ma will not attend the parade of course. Victory over Japan meant disarmament of Manchuria and the spread of communism. China and Korea are still divided to this day. The UN Secretary General should be careful about attending a military parade held by one of the divided countries, particularly when the Democratic Progressive Party of Taiwan which aims to get independent from China seems to take office next year. A military parade is not a mere anniversary parade.

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Posted in: A simple comparison of Japan and Germany is inappropriate. The two countries differ in terms of what happened during the war, under what circumstances they engaged in post-war settlements, and which c See in context


Germany had 500 comfort stations which were controlled by the state. Japan didn’t have so many.

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Posted in: A simple comparison of Japan and Germany is inappropriate. The two countries differ in terms of what happened during the war, under what circumstances they engaged in post-war settlements, and which c See in context

The deeds in the past for which Germany paid reparation are basically the deeds related to the iniquity of Nazism (holocaust, ethnic cleansing, eugenic policies, etc.). Forced labor is not subject to compensation unless the labor is related to Nazism. So Germany didn't pay war reparation to the countries she sent troops or fought with in the sense that Japan paid it. Germany didn't pay reparation for the women who worked, forced or not, as prostitutes in the military. Simple comparison is misleading, though maybe deliberately so.

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Posted in: 70 years on, survivors keep memory of Battle of Manila alive See in context

When GHQ on Sep. 15, 1945 condemned the Japanese army for burning tens of thousands of civilians to death in Manila (never mind the number of victims in the Philippine–American War of 1899–1902), the Asahi newspaper wrote in its editorial of two days later that what GHQ said was too preposterous, and that it should be verified properly. The time when the Japanese army allegedly slaughtered 70,000 civilians coincided with the ten days when the US Forces did indiscriminate bombings and bombardment from warships on Manila . Some scrutiny might be required. Then the head of the Asahi newspaper was summoned to GHQ and ordered to suspend publication of the newspaper for two days.

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Posted in: German Chancellor Merkel to visit Japan next month See in context

As an admirer of Ekaterina II, Ms Merkel seems to have good chemistry with Mr. Putin and though she preaches him the Western rules, she behaves as if she helped him override Washington. It's actually not Poroshenko but Putin that Merkel and Hollande seem to be hand in hand with. It is no time for fighting with Russia now. Real threats are far down south. She may be even thinking to lift sanctions on Moscow in due course of time. Geopolitically correct decision perhaps. So her visit may be verysuggestive to Abe of how to seek the national interests while going through the motions of the vassal state obligations.

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Posted in: How come Japan has never demanded an official apology from any U.S. government for the dropping of atomic bombs on two of its cities? In fact, why don't Japanese hate America for dropping the bombs? See in context

Former head of the DPJ, Ozawa Ichiro, said to Premier Abe in his first administration in 2007 that he should demand apology from the US for the atomic bombing. To do so is to overthrow the basis of the Tokyo Trials that denies fairness. Abe with a little baffled poker face politely replied in the negative saying that he would seek abolishment of nuclear arms rather than an apology from the US. Probably he had a premonition that if he did so, he would be framed for a political fund scandal or something and lose his position.

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Posted in: South Africa slams newspaper column praising apartheid See in context

As a senior high I often strolled around what is called the bluff of Yokohama. As you go uphill on the slope from the lower area which is densely occupied with modest looking small houses, a different world opens up there where light-colored American style houses with large double-hung windows stand here and there with enough space between each other in a well-kept large green yard and the road has changed its name into Mayflower Street. The area is however enclosed with a fence forbidding the entry of outsiders as part of the US Navy detachment and it just looks like a residential area where they live apart from us. Members of the SDF, even when provided with official lodgings which are in most cases ordinary condos, don’t seem to be living apart from the rest of us. I told myself at the time that this arrangement is a sort of cultural buffer rather than mere lodgings, still less apartheid, for those who come from a different culture.

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Posted in: Abe pledges to carry out sweeping reforms See in context

the Central Union of Agricultural Co-operatives (JA-ZENCHU) will become a general incorporated association. Agricultural cooperatives will also be obliged to undergo an audit implemented by a certified public accountant.

The latter part means agricultural cooperatives nationwide aka Nokyo will be obliged to undergo an audit implemented by a public accountant instead of JA-Zenchu. Abe won in his first round. Good job. JA-Zenchu will no more be able to lead, audit and get tribute money from local Nokyo organs. Agribusiness will change Japan.

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Posted in: Analysts say Abe must follow through with structural reform See in context

It's not proposed changes to JA but legislation to be submitted to the Diet actually. The election victory has enabled Abe not only to face down fiscal hawks in his own LDP party who were lectured by the Finance Ministry on the necessity to raise the sales tax but also defy the JA's intimidation that they might not back up the LDP in the election unless he minds what they have to say. Abe seems serious about sending JA Zenchu to glory and will submit legislation on reforming the entity (to strip it of its power as headquarters to audit JA organs nationwide) during an ordinary Diet session beginning on Jan. 26.

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Posted in: Analysts say Abe must follow through with structural reform See in context

I think Abe's government is putting up a good fight, actually declared a war, with JA Zenchu (the headquarter of Japan Agricultural Cooperatives). It's epochal.

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Posted in: Abe pivots away from painful reforms See in context

Maintaining government spending and massive yen-printing by the Bank of Japan while putting off thorny economic reforms could mean Japan is left with an ever growing debt pile and little improvement in the economy's long-term growth potential.

The article sounds a grumble from the Finance Ministry who is displeased with Abe prioritizing business recovery over fiscal reconstruction. But I don't think Abe fights a losing battle, for example, with JA (Japan Agricultural Cooperatives) and JA-Zenchu, though the battle just got started and is fairly under way. Abe uses TPP as a foreign pressure to push through agricultural reform domestically while letting Amari take an unyielding stand with Mr. Froman with no end game in sight even after two years of negotiation. As for an ever growing debt pile, Abe a politician who kisses the hand he wishes to cut off is having the US treasury bonds redeemed and is often reluctant to roll over them. True he has many enemies.

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Posted in: Japanese right muzzling liberal media, say analysts See in context

Despite a dearth of official records, mainstream researchers estimate up to 200,000 women, many from Korea but also from China, Indonesia, the Philippines and Taiwan, served Japanese soldiers in “comfort stations”.

Let me know who are the mainstream scholars saying so. 200,000 is the number of women who a Korean newspaper wrote in 1970's were mobilized as "Joshi-Teishintai" to serve as factory workers during the later period of the Pacific War. Out of them, it said, 50,000 to 70,000 were estimated to be Korean women (and the rest were Japanese). And in 1973 a Japanese writer Senda Kako wrote in his book "Jugun Ianfu" based on the above news report that as many as 200,000 Korean women were mobilized in the name of "Teishintai" and 50,000 to 70,000 out of them were forced to be comfort women. Some other historians referred to his book and quoted the number in 1980's too. And then in August 1991 the news reporter Uemura Takashi of the Asahi newspaper wrote that Korean women were brought to the battle field by force in the name of "Joshi-Teishintai" and forced to work as prostitutes for the Japanese soldiers. With these gradually modified false reports, despite a dearth of official records, 200,000 has almost become a fait compli without verification.

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