Seiharinokaze comments

Posted in: Opposition, too weak to take power, aims to dim Abe's luster See in context

Yes, timtak, the Japanese are not into ideologies but into real world action. Abe established the cabinet personnel management bureau in May this year that takes the authority to manage personnel affairs of higher ranking officials from the hands of bureaucrats to the government, maybe to much chagrin of the Finance Ministry the boss manager of Kasumigaseki. Even the news of how Abe got a cold reception by Chinese President Xi Jinping at APEC may arouse a tender sentiment for him among the Japanese who traditionally have sympathy for the underdog. Also the news of where the G20 leaders slept in Brisbane, Australia might do a lot for him. Abe booked at a AUS$200 a night room at Novotel, probably the cheapest stay of all, compared with Barack Obama who stayed at a suite at Marriott Hotel at AUS$2,500 a night and Chinese President Xi at the Stamford Plaza suite at AUS$1,695 a night. Probably it is difficult to dim Abe's luster for the time being in spite of the joint front (if formed at all) by the opposition parties morally supported by Presidents Xi and Park and the NYT.

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Posted in: Lackluster economic data paints gloomy picture for Abe See in context

The data doesn't look so gloomy. The core inflation rate at 0.9% is not so bad a news for those who don't spend much and are accustomed to live in a modestly small way. Cheap yen gets tourism balance in the black for the first time in decades (Tokyo is awash with Chinese tourists) while the recent plunge in the crude oil prices will reduce the cost of energy imports, a good news for both consumers and industries. This country, though rather down on its luck now, is still something of an industrial nation ranking with Germany. So cheap yen and cheap energy cost, if both come to stay, will improve exports in time. But the problem is that the money the BOJ supplies with its asset-buying program does not actually cause much credit easing in Japan but is invested in the financial market of the US where FRB just ceased its QE after it has allowed "Bad credit no problem" type of spending spree to be occurring again. We had better brace ourselves for another sub-prime loan crisis rather than what the lackluster economy data paints for the immediate future.

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Posted in: Election is all about political timing See in context

Abe's coalition government has 325 seats in the House of Representatives. If his agenda is to push through security-related important bills, he has better not dissolve the House when his support rate is reported to be declining. The reason why Abe decided to dissolve the House is because he was enraged by the Finance Ministry who tries to have him implement the sales tax increase to 10% on schedule in November 2015. If the economy doesn't pick up, Abenomics will fail. Abe wants to postpone the tax increase for now. The Finance Ministry thinks differently. If the economy doesn't pick up and the tax revenue decreases deepening the budget deficit, it will become a good reason for them to have to increase tax. So Abe plays his trump card (the right to dissolve the Diet) not so much against the opposition parties (moribund zombies) as against the Finance Ministry (magnum vampires), though the latter may pull wires to increase the number of LDP lawmakers who are pro tax increase.

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Posted in: Will Abe, Xi take a seat for talks, or standing room only? See in context

China does not want Abe to advocate the rule of law in the ocean in APEC and criticize China's action in the East and South East China See. Also the poaching of red coral by Chinese fishermen and smuggling of ivory by Xi's suite compromised China's pride. So probably they will let Abe take a seat, even though he does not meet the two preconditions for the meeting.

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Posted in: Author Murakami chides Japan over WWII, Fukushima responsibility See in context

What Murakami said is almost the same as the late author Inoue Hisashi said several years ago. The Japanese got away with the WW2 by putting all the blame on the military. They regard themselves as victims who were deceived by the military and the emperor was also utilized by them. We leapt at the happy fiction of immunity though many of us like characters of Inoue's play were ill at ease knowing that it was not true and perhaps it was the best laid schemes of GHQ.

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Posted in: Hashimoto, Zaitokukai chairman get into shouting match See in context

Fanning himself with a folding fan (sensu) and railing at the mass media by name in front of him is interesting to see. He even had it filmed and put on YouTube without editing for all to see in detail and let the existence of Zainichi Koreans' privileges widely known. Mr. Hashimoto should not have used the word "Omae-na" when addressing his interlocutor, which degraded or perhaps betrayed himself thus not giving a good impression to the audience. But true, Abe may be gloating over the scene backstage as what the three dudes are aiming is almost one and the same thing.

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Posted in: Abe, Putin meet in Milan See in context

Abe might want Putin to "pull the plug on Russian gas supplies to western Europe" so that Merkel would turn her coat before winter comes. Staying in line with Washington on sanctions over Russia's involvement in Ukraine will help China fish in the troubled waters. It also helps BRICs establish New Development Bank as well as sort of energy security for themselves by which they trade gas/oil in other currencies than US dollar to grow out of the Bretton Woods system. Putin is clever to dangle a carrot (natural gas pipeline) before Abe who gapes while China makes a contract with Russia to buy 38 billion cubic meters of Russian natural gas over 30 years from 2018 which makes sanctions against Russia actually meaningless.

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Posted in: Japan, S Korea finance ministers to meet in Washington See in context

turbotsat san,

Abe doesn't let prosecutor's office indict Asahi for its news report. He just lets Asahi take its medicine as journalism. Besides Abe's friendly approach may make Ms Park creep all over perhaps because Abe has no intention to pay any more than what was paid when the normalization treaty of 1965 was concluded in the name of perfect settlement of individual claims between Korea and Japan, and also because the cheap yen policy of Abenomics, if not successful in increasing the amount of export from Japan, weakens South Korea's export competitiveness in the automobile and steel industries, adding insult to the sharp drop in the sales of smart phones though it has nothing to do with Xperia or Aquos. Also the recent administrative action by the Financial Services Agency against KB Bookman Bank might shed light on the gross darkness behind its fraudulent loans. So Abe's style is more tricky and resourceful than Ms Park's which is rather temperamental.

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Posted in: Japan, S Korea finance ministers to meet in Washington See in context

South Korea's recent defamation charge against a Japanese journalist nipped the possibility of a meeting between President Park and Prime Minister Abe either at ASEM or APEC. Abe so much disliked by Ms Park has no choice but to stand clear of the peninsula but he may find it not so bad as he can be a bit cold to not extend the bilateral currency swap that expires in February next year and apply himself to ruining unti-Japan clout such as the case of KB Kookmin Bank that was inspected by the Finance Ministry and ordered to suspend business for several months, which might brings more repercussions than the idiotic defamation case that only exposes the backwardness of Korea.

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Posted in: Japan, U.S. remain apart in trade talks, dealing blow for TPP See in context

In a figurative sense in comparison with the Tea Act, the colonists are Japanese and British Parliament is US Congress which accord every facility to the present day Company such as Cargill and AIG. Actually they are mightier than the government and the colonists might oppose the TPP even though it may reduce consumer prices, as it legitimizes the Company's ability to rule the market.

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Posted in: China says no change in policy on improving ties with Japan See in context

"China says no change in policy on improving ties with Japan", a face-saving expression which should be paraphrased "there is a change in China's policy and they will shelve their conditions for meeting Abe and Xi will meet him in APEC."

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Posted in: Mr Abe was never a real reformer in the same way his predecessor Junichiro Koizumi at least tried to be. He looks backward, not forward. See in context

The Financial Times editorial suggested that the Bank of Japan buy yet more government bonds or increase the purchase of other assets such as equity and real estate funds, that is, Japan should print more money and gush it into the market. That is what a real reformer seems to mean, according to the paper. It also urged Abe to postpone the next scheduled increase in consumption tax from 8 to 10 per cent. It even wrote that Abe's decision to go ahead with April's three-point rise to 8 per cent, though brave, may have been foolhardy. I remember that the Financial Times in line with IMF lectured Japan for the necessity to increase sales tax to readjust the state finance. The press journalism anyway seems rather freewheeling.

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Posted in: Russia, in sanctions retaliation, bars some Japanese citizens See in context

Neither Russia's foreign ministry nor Japan's disclosed the names of the citizens who are banned from entering Russia. That's the saving point. Sanctions will let Moscow sidle up with Beijing. Even if the Japanese banks keep from providing Russian companies with fund, China will always be ready to take advantage of loopholes. See what happened to Azadegan oil field in Iran. Abe may learn from Netanyahu and wait and see how the wind blows pretending to fight with Putin while expecting Merkel or someone to steal a march on the US before the winter comes.

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Posted in: Russia begins military exercises around Pacific islands also claimed by Japan See in context

A military drill has to be prearranged at least 6 months before. Even one year maybe. It is not something to be conducted suddenly anyway. If so, we better not jump at a conclusion and join the Western condemnation of Russia yet, although to do so might suit the convenience of some people. We better take note of the fact that Putin delisted Japan from the list of import embargo even though Medvedev had included Japan in it.

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Posted in: Russia begins military exercises around Pacific islands also claimed by Japan See in context

According to Mr Sato Masaru, an ex diplomat dubbed Japanese Rasputin, the Japanese Foreign Ministry is getting tired of being caught in dilemma between Russia and the US who may glower if Japan proceeds with the Norther territory issues and gas pipeline project off Sakhalin particularly when the Ukrainian situation is so acute. The Foreign Ministry may well jump and bite at the Russian military drill which Russia had decided to do more than six months ago as an ordinary small scale exercise so that they (the J-Foreign Ministry) may look compelled to defer progression with Russian agenda. He suggests however that Putin still sends signals by delisting Japan from the list of countries to lay under an import embargo.

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Posted in: Aso says Obama powerless to get U.S. Congress behind TPP See in context

What the TPP promotes is globalization of the market, that is, to standardize the rules of the market in the interest of multinational corporations. Foreign investors may demand of your government that the purification level of atmosphere go backward before early 1970s so as to sell cars with polluted exhaust or that financial rules be changed so that they can sell derivatives all over the world. Get the handful of people richer while neglecting the other 99% with an empty promise of trickle-down effect coming on us some day. As Japan depends on the US for security, Abe has no choice but to sit and join the talks on the TPP. He cannot say to Obama san that it is not TPP but high-performance and usability of a product that make it accepted by the market. (TPP will not make Japanese cars sell still more in the US or its smartphones count for much in the world market.) So as it stands, he can only wait for the TPP to abort of its own accord instead of Japan's. Aso said what Abe cannot say by courtesy.

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Posted in: Japan to unveil Y100 bil in aid to Ukraine at G7 summit See in context

Japan does it in a halfhearted way out of regard for Washington of course. Sort of alibi for stealing its way for bargaining with Russia on the other side of the hemisphere. Tokyo's seemingly lukewarm sanctions compared with those of the US and EU may be recognized by Moscow too. The president of Rosneft a Russian oil company who is close to Putin attended the Russian investment forum in Tokyo on March 19 and said that the critical situation in Ukraine won't last long and its influence on the natural gas exploitation project with Japan off Sakhalin will be limited. Must lose a fly to catch a pink salmon.

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Posted in: Abe says there will be no change to wartime sex slave apology See in context

In 1993, after hearing testimony from 16 Korean women, Japan offered “sincere apologies and remorse” to the women and vowed to face the historical facts squarely.

One of those 16 Korean women said elsewhere that she was forced to deal with dozens of soldiers on Christmas holidays for the Japanese army. I wish we maintained the custom even to this day. And Abe just decided to check if she also testified so in the hearing by an inquiry commission of the Japanese government which was conducted 5 days before the Kono Statement was released.

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Posted in: China says Germans fine if their war atonement is compared to Japan See in context

China fought with Japan in 1930's with the help of Nazis Germany, which supplied China with military materials and technological know-how and was in turn supplied by China with militarily important stuff such as tungsten and antimony. But Hitler realized in mid course that China (Kuomintang) was not worthy of the role to contain Bolshevism. China might spare a little time to reflect upon such a role-playing game of history.

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Posted in: Abe promises Japanese support for U.S. in Ukraine crisis See in context

Abe just recognized Obama's efforts for Ukrainian orange revolution but he didn't make any commitment in concrete terms, though Obama expects Japan to help put the Ukrainian finances in order. Not sure who pulls the strings, but Putin seems to be a cut above the State Department staff and Merkel. Japan better watch as a worried spectator while tightening its purse strings.

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Posted in: Kennedy urges Japan, S Korea to mend ties See in context

Don't take in what the US urges at all times. Better not mend ties with South Korea until we hear what IMF will have to say about the country's financial stress check. Japan is most often for them to tap for money. Stay clear of the peninsula (either Korean or Crimean) rather than the shrine, and it may serve the best interest of this country.

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Posted in: Kerry cautions N Korea; urges Japan, S Korea to put past behind them See in context

The internal strife still continues on the Korean peninsula as in the days of Queen Min and Daeweongun. I don't think Japan will have anything more to do with the turmoil on the peninsula. Even if the right of collective self-defense is approved, Japan with its leaders' shrine visit or historical views will be ostracized in the region and prevented from forming a united front with the US and South Korea and getting involved as a military subcontractor in the peninsula.

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Posted in: Abe to hold summit with Putin at Sochi Olympics See in context

For all the Western leaders have to say about Putin, he is so attached to Abe to make a concession both in territories and natural gas. Lavrov thinks it necessary to estrange them. Abe may want to bet on the natural gas pipeline from Sakhalin rather than invest in the shaky project of shale gas revolution in the US though he may pretend to weigh the price against the other.

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Posted in: Biden spent hour on phone asking Abe not to visit Yasukuni shrine See in context

Sankei reported yesterday. On his Asian trip last December, Biden told President Park that he thought Abe would not visit Yasukuni. And after he returned to the US, Biden telephoned Abe saying that he had told President Park that Abe would probably not visit the Yasukuni shrine, so that if Abe vows he would refrain from visiting the shrine, Ms Park would consent to meet him. Abe was more than upset because Biden did it over Abe's head. He replied he would decide for himself whether or not he would visit the shrine. And Abe went there as he had pledged all these years. It became clear in the testimony of several diplomats that Biden insisted the announcement of disappointment as the will of the White House. It just encouraged anti-Japan sentiments on a triumphant roll in China and South Korea. Biden seems to be a rather gratuitous politician. He might as well urge China to go to the ICJ.

http://sankei.jp.msn.com/politics/news/140130/plc14013008110003-n1.htm

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Posted in: Biden spent hour on phone asking Abe not to visit Yasukuni shrine See in context

Biden seems to suggest that Japan shelf the sovereignty issue of the islands and sit and talk with Beijing to share the seabed resources a little bit to China's advantage and allow the Chinese Navy sail through between Okinawa and Miyako. Perhaps visiting the shrine is sort of magic to ward off a genius cajoler China's finesse. Abe does it with conviction even though he may know that his tenure of office is numbered.

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Posted in: China hits back at Abe over World War I analogy See in context

"China had no choice but to react to the Japanese move," Wang said. "We have offered negotiations but the Japanese refuse to discuss the island because, in their view, they are not in dispute. Let me again make the offer: We should begin to have a bilateral negotiation over the island to establish a crisis management mechanism."

Wang, for the stability of the region, you should take the case to the ICJ which will automatically make the islands disputed instead of declaring that China reserves the right not to comply with the judgement handed down there.

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Posted in: Japanese WWII soldier who hid in Philippine jungle until 1974 dies See in context

He just believed the validity of the emperor's decree of opening war on America and Britain until the end of his life. That may be why the emperor Showa kept silent about him and also why Onoda himself declined to meet the emperor. His ruthlessness and dedication as a soldier cannot be envisaged or cinematized as Francis Coppola depicted Kurtz.

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Posted in: China takes propaganda war with Japan to United Nations See in context

CraigHicks,

I am talking about the peace proposal handed by the Japanese ambassador (Nomura) to the Secretary of State (Cordell Hull) in November 1941. The proposal was offered by the Japanese government under Tojo Hideki who succeeded to Konoe. His stance as a premier was basically the same as Konoe's. Talk with the US and find ways to evade war including the withdrawal of the Japanese troops from China. And Matsuoka had already been displaced. But somehow it didn't interest the US. Or was it because the US and the British governments had agreed in the previous year (1940) to send and actually sent 100 American-made fighters as the Flying Tigers to British Burma to open hostilities with Japan as if according to some prearranged plan?

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Posted in: China takes propaganda war with Japan to United Nations See in context

Konoe's peace proposal just before the Pacific War started was to pull out the Japanese troops from the Indochina peninsula, and pull out from China except Manchuria while taking measures to prevent the spread of communism, and it even left rooms for negotiation about withdrawal from Manchuria. FD Roosevelt rejected it and let Japan decide to start hostilities with the US as much welcomed by Britain and the Soviets. Japan's action was condemned as a crime against peace by the allies whereas Japan regarded it as a war for self-existence and defence. Yasukuni thinks likewise and ironically enough Herbert Hoover almost shared the view. So it's a never ending story.

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Posted in: Abe has three overseas trips planned in January See in context

China builds infrastructure as a sort of economic aid and gets in return resources and support from African countries, which maybe makes Abe restless and urges him on an African journey. He is also preparing for a Russian trip in February to have the two northern islands returned and to get LNG a bon marche. He also sends the Defense minister and Foreign minister to France from Jan. 9 perhaps to talk about on how to tag team against China's expansion in the West Pacific. Really an obnoxious horn in China's side.

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