Monthly Archives: May 2013

Japan Focus once again waves the flag for China

It’s Japan Focus time again, with an article entitled "Much Ado over Small Islands: The Sino-Japanese Confrontation over Senkaku/Diaoyu". Before I get into the details, I will say that there are a couple of interesting claims that I’d like to hear more about.

So, off we go:

the San Francisco Treaty that purportedly resolved the Asia-Pacific War

"Purportedly" gives you an early indication of how the article is going to go.

In a draft paper prepared in 1950, soon after the Chinese Communist party came to power, it referred simply to the islands by their Japanese name as "part of Okinawa." Some doubt must remain on the status of this proposal until the actual document is published

We see that China thinking the Senkakus were Japanese is "doubtful", according to the author.

In 1943, he [US President Franklin Roosevelt] considered China’s claim to the Okinawan islands as a whole so strong that he twice asked Chinese president Chiang Kai-shek whether he would like to take possession of them in the eventual post-war settlement. Chiang, in a decision he is said to have later deeply regretted, declined.

That is an interesting new claim that I’d like to hear more about, although is "he considered China’s claim […] so strong" actually true, or is this wishful thinking by the author?

Why then, did the US split Senkaku from Ryukyu in 1972? Hara Kimie, Toyoshita Narahiko, and others, attribute the decision to Machiavellian US design.


occasional landings (by Chinese activists from a Hong Kong base and by Japanese rightists sailing from ports in Okinawa)

What’s the difference between an activist and a rightist?

In 2010, the Democratic Party of Japan’s government arrested the Chinese captain of a fishing ship in waters off Senkaku

Err, the DPJ or the government did not arrest him, it was the coastguard and police, and there was the small matter of the captain ramming a coastguard vessel twice, and the government did its best to try to pervert the course of justice to appease China.

Protest demonstrations followed in Hong Kong and cities and towns across China – cars were overturned, Japanese restaurant windows smashed, Japanese goods trashed

Err, what about the two department stores trashed top to bottom?

In April Diaoyu was for the first time declared a “core interest,” and in May the People’s Daily added that the status of Okinawa itself had to be negotiated.

And that is not worthy of any comment or analysis?

When the Government of Japan “nationalized” the “Senkakus” in 2012, it acted in relation only to the three of them nominally in private hands.

The scare quotes and phraseology is straight out of the Chinese playbook.

They are commonly known, even to the Japanese Coastguard, by their Chinese names, Huangwei and Chiwei, rather than their Japanese names, Kuba and Taisho

Can we get a reference for that one?

the inequity in the hand China is bequeathed by its forbears because they did not establish a chain of island colonial and dependent territories like the other powers of the early modern and modern world


Although anti-Japan sentiment in China is undoubtedly subject to some manipulation by government

You sure on that point? :facepalm:

if, for example Japan were to successfully to extract some resource, to attempt then to transport it across the Ryukyu Trench to Japanese markets would also be forbiddingly difficult and expensive

No. The Chunxiao gas field at least is quite far north of the Senkakus, so that avoids most of the trench issues, I think.

The election in Japan late in 2012 of a government of “Shinto” believers


who were denialists of Nanjing and “Comfort Women”

No, there are people in the government who disagree with the number of people killed at Nanking, and no-one (that I am aware of) in government denies that Comfort Women existed, it is the compulsion issue that is being debated by people, including Hashimoto.

Japan’s claim is rhetorical, ambiguous, manipulative, and hostile to compromise or negotiation, yet few doubt that the Japanese position is "fundamentally solid and quite tenable under existing international law."

So, Japan’s claim is correct, then. (Note, the author previously established that morality should trump the law.) How about describing China’s claim?

Cooperative arrangements for fisheries and resource extraction had been put in place in parts of this sea before the crisis that erupted in 2010 froze most of its mechanisms

So, it is all China’s fault, as I noted above. Existing fishing agreements did not include the EEZ, and it was the Chinese captain doing the illegal fishing and the ramming.

South Korean newspaper calls for Japan Jihad

In the Korean JoongAng Daily, and perhaps also in the Korean (and even Japanese?) version of the same paper, one of the top three broadsheets in Korea, I believe, was a perhaps ever-so slightly unbalanced editorial of utter :headdesk: hatred, entitled "Abe tempts God’s vengeance", with this conclusion:

Abe is free to do as he wishes. But God, too, is at liberty. The vindictive spirit of the Maruta has been resurrected thanks to Abe. God may feel that retaliation against Japan hasn’t been complete.

In further news in the same paper, the headline "Prosecutors raid the tax office to probe CJ" proved to be not worth the click.

In yet further news from AP, we have some failure to understand and/or an attempt to mislead issues regarding radiation doses:

His cumulative radiation exposure is at more than 300 millisieverts. Medical experts say a rise in cancer and other illnesses is statistically detected at exposure of more than 100 millisieverts, but health damage varies by individuals. He was exposed to 60 millisieverts of radiation the first year after the disaster and gets a health checkup every six months.

Nuclear workers generally are limited to 100 millisieverts exposure over five years, and 50 millisieverts a year, except for the first year after the disaster when the threshold was raised to an emergency 100 millisieverts.

This person has worked in the industry for 20 years, so at 100 mSv max per five years, 300 mSv seems not unusual, and I don’t believe 100 mSv spread over five years is really that much of a risk – I thought the 100 mSv was for short-term exposure. Furthermore, assuming that a barium meal stomach exam gives a dose of about 10 to 15 mSv, the average Japanese corporate drone sitting behind a desk for 20 years will also get about 300 mSv courtesy of the annual health check-ups (my employer gives them every year to all employees over 40, for instance).

Just Be Cause is back on form!

After a few months of disappointingly uncontroversial JBC’s, Mr Arudou is back on form with more ill-thought through material. The basic premise that 外国人風 is a useless and offensive term in police reports is one that I hope all my readers would agree with, however.

This is why judiciaries provide mechanisms to keep media accountable.

Hmm, that doesn’t seem quite right to me; I would say they provide mechanisms to provide redress from irresponsible media.

But what about broadcasting misleading or false information about groups? That’s a different issue, because Japan has no laws against "hate speech" (ken’o hatsugen).

We have two different issues conflated here; "All foreigners hate natto" is most certainly false, but it’s not hate speech. Furthermore, hate speech seems to be 憎悪発言, 差別発言 or just ヘイトスピーチ.

If there is a crime where the perpetrator might be a non-Japanese (NJ), the National Police Agency (and by extension the media, which often parrots police reports without analysis) tends to use racialized typology in its search for suspects.

I expect VK to pop up and explain why this use of "racialized typology" is all wrong!

Typology such as this has long been criticized by scholars of racism for lacking objectivity and scientific rigor.

:headdesk: The police and press are passing on witness descriptions, not carrying out a scientific analysis.

One might see […] the occasional chūgokujin-kei, firipin-kei, etc., for suspects involved in organized crime or the "water trade."

Tut-tut Mr Arudou. Shall I report you to your censorship police for suggesting Chinese and Filipinos are Triads and prostitutes?

1) When there is a suspect on the run, and the public is being alerted to be on the lookout, then give phenotypical details (e.g., gender, height, hair color) — the same as you would for any Japanese fugitive.

Does Mr Arudou believe that skin colour or indeed nose size is a phenotypical detail?

2) When there is a suspect in custody for interrogation (as in, not yet charged for prosecution), then it is not necessary to give phenotypical or nationality details.

3) When there is an arrest, giving out details on specific nationality is permissible

A suspect in custody by definition has been arrested. I think in 2) he means a person of interest, someone the police want to eliminate from their enquiries.

2) […]it is not necessary to give phenotypical or nationality details. Why? […] It is also not yet a fact of the case that this particular crime has been committed by this particular person — innocent before proven guilty, remember.

3) When there is an arrest, giving out details on specific nationality is permissible

3) contradicts 2).

when there is an acquittal, the police and media should mention the nationality of the former suspect in a public statement, to counteract the social damage caused by any media coverage that may have inadvertently linked criminality to a nationality.

I’m getting reminded of the Monty Python News for Parrots sketch

In addition, the police should repeatedly caution the media against any tone associating nationality with criminality.

NO, NO, and thrice NO!

Because the media must not only watch the watchers; it must watch itself.

I thought you just said that was the police’s job?

I also know that policymakers read the Japan Times Community pages and this column, because they have changed their policies after withering criticisms here.

:roll: :roll: :roll:

Anyone ready to say in public "He’s a criminal because he’s from Osaka"?

Didn’t the Asahi Weekly imply Hashimoto was a criminal because of his Burakumin roots? And people seem quite happy to ask similar questions on Q&A sites. You’ll also see similar broad brushes on Japan Today and, dare I say it,

Japan Times on anti-nuclear groups leave questions unanswered

The article "Antinuclear drive in search of new strategies" is, as is common with many anti-nuclear articles, a bit of a mixed bag of interesting reporting but with important information left out, and too much of the writer’s opinion slipped in. It starts from the sub-heading, "Reactor foes risk burnout unless LDP stonewalling can be overcome"; surely they should have chosen meltdown for maximal effect? And the stonewalling appears to be the LDP not wanting to rush into a decision like the DPJ did.

they are struggling to get their views reflected in the policies of the LDP-led administration.

Isn’t that just how democracy works? They were on the losing side, so they should be struggling!

after the Fukushima meltdowns tainted the northeast with radiation.


Hiroyuki Kawai, who represents the commission’s [Citizens’ Commission on Nuclear Energy] main sponsor, a private group.

"A private group"? Can we not get a name? The guy appears to be an anti-nuclear campaigner and lawyer.

"We need to draft a policy that everyone will have no choice but to accept," [Kawai] said.

Hmm, that sounds ominous!

Kondo claimed this prevented atomic energy from becoming an issue in the race [April 28 Upper House by-election in Yamaguchi Prefecture], allowing Ejima to trounce his antinuclear opponents.

I remember at the Yamaguchi governor election last year the green lobby also made excuses when they got defeated then.

They [the LDP] said they will review the DPJ’s policy (of ending nuclear power by 2040), but didn’t say if they will promote nuclear power, so it’s very vague

Well, that’s because they don’t want to bias the review (or at least make it too obvious that they are biasing the review!)

activists launched the advocacy group Ryokucha Kai (Green Tea Party) on April 24 to provide financial support to antinuclear candidates running in national elections.

Hideaki Takemura, an executive at Tokyo-based Energy Green Co. and head of Ryokucha Kai

Looking up Energy Green Co., as you have probably guessed, I see that they are a renewable energy supplier, so no conflict of interest there. :roll: They also seem to have a curious market where you can buy (or should that be "buy") 100 kWh lots of green energy; looking at this page it appears that it is a voluntary carbon offset type of idea, and for your money you get a certificate to download and print off. I cannot find anywhere on the site any information about what they do with your money, though, and considering that they can sell back the generated power at 21 yen/kWh, they are making an extra 50% or even more, if they get over-subscribed! Is some of the money being directed towards sponsoring candidates? How the money is being used should be clearly stated!

it won’t be backing anyone running for the LDP or New Komeito.

New Komeito had a manifesto pledge for phasing out nuclear power.

NHK on changing the Japanese constitution

Here is a post I made on What Japan Thinks about the NHK survey on the proposed amendments to the constitution:

NHK, Japan’s public broadcaster, today, the 2nd of May 2013, published the results of survey on changing the Japanese constitution. For reference, here is the current constitution.

If you read the foreign press on the amendment plans, I would forgive you for thinking the new draft constitution is:

  1. Nuke China and North Korea
  2. Err
  3. That’s it

However, the reality is of course quite different, and the will of the people quite different from the will of the politicians, as this survey demonstrates.


Between the 19th and 21st of April 2013 2,685 people were called by computer-selected random digit dialling (RDD); from that 1,615 people (60%) aged 18 or older from all over the country replied to the survey. No further demographic breakdown was given. Note that this RDD methodology calls mainly fixed-line phones during weekdays, so there is going to be a bias in the sample. Also note that “No answer” was an acceptable reply to some questions, so the percentages below sometimes don’t add up to 100% as the “No answer” figure is not noted.

The need for constitutional amendment

Does the constitution need to be amended? graph of japanese statisticsThe first question was about the need for constitutional amendments. 42% thought it was necessary to do so, 16% that it was unnecessary, and 39% couldn’t say one way or the other. However, when NHK previously asked the question six years ago, the numbers were 41%, 24% and 30%, so it would appear that all the recent talk about external threats like China in the Senkaku islands and North Korea have not convinced a significant number of people of the necessity of change.

When asked why they thought the change was necessary, 75% said that times have changed and problems that cannot be dealt with have occured, up just two percentage points in six years. Next, 15% said that changes are needed so that Japan can play its role in international society, down from 18% six years ago. For those who thought the changes were unnecessary, the top reason given by 53% was that they want to protect Article Nine, the Renunciation of War Article, down nine percentage points, then 36% saying that there are some problems with the current constitution, but not enough to merit amending it, up ten percentage points.

Article Nine, the Renunciation of War Article

Does the Renunciation of War Article need to be amended? graph of japanese statisticsLooking specifically at Article Nine, just 33% thought it was necessary to amend it, 30% thought it was unnecessary, and 32% couldn’t say either way. Six years ago, the numbers for and against were 28% and 41% respectively.

When asked why they were in favour of amending it, 47% said that it should be clearly written in the constitution that Japan can have a defence force, and 32% that Japan should be able to participate in military operations of the United Nations and others. 66% of those against amending said that in the Peace Constitution, Article 9 is the most important article, and 16% said that even without amendment, we can change how the Article is interpreted.

Article 96, the Amendment Article

Does Article 96 need to be amended? graph of japanese statisticsThis article spells out how the constitution may be amended, namely that a two-thirds majority of all members (not just those present for the vote) of both Houses, and then a national referendum where a simple majority of the votes cast will be sufficient to ratify the amendment. The proposed amendment to the Amendment Article is that both houses need just a simple majority of all members of each House.

First of all, people were asked if they knew about the proposed amendment to Article 96; 17% said they knew it well, 36% knew something about it, 30% didn’t really know much, and 15% knew nothing at all. Regarding the specific amendment, reducing from a two-thirds to a simple majority, 26% said they agreed, 24% disagreed, and 47% couldn’t say.

Finally, there are a number of new rights, etc that it is being argued may require either new articles or amendments to existing ones. People were asked for their opinion on the following:

  Agree Disagree Can’t say
Right to live in a healthy environment 65% 3% 23%
Right to know government information (Freedom of Information) 62% 5% 20%
Rights of victims of crime 50% 11% 25%
Right to privacy 49% 15% 25%
Changing from a bicameral (two chambers) to a unicameral (single chamber) government 35% 29% 25%