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  • BBC on Japan’s remilitarization: Island disputes justifying quiet buildup in Japan’s aircraft carriers, xenophobia in J youth

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on February 5th, 2013

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    Hi Blog. In one of the most haunting news dispatches I’ve seen on Japan, Rupert Wingfield-Hayes of the BBC reported from the field last November in a video I have watched several times just to take in all the points. I’ll paste the accompanying text below, but make sure you watch the video, as Wingfield-Hayes takes us to the Senkakus, before a pre-PM Abe Shinzou talking tough, to otherwise sensible-looking college students spouting in public anti-Chinese vitriol to support a remilitarizing Japan, before an equally vitriolic Ishihara Shintaro calling for Japan to unsheath its sword (who, visibly chuffed by the international attention, comes back with a smirk (and a surprising level of English) to make sure the BBC got his point), finishing aboard a brand-spanking new Japanese aircraft carrier, the Hyuuga (one of two others planned), showing an emerging arms race in Asia. Watch it!  And shudder as the dogs of war begin straining their leashes.  Arudou Debito

    Video at (could not embed, so please click):

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-20302604

    Accompanying article:

    Watching Japan and China square off in East China Sea
    By Rupert Wingfield-Hayes
    BBC News, Japan, 12 November 2012

    Who do the Senkaku or Diaoyu Islands belong to? The short answer is I don’t know.

    Japan once had a small colony there for a few decades. But they left in the 1940s.

    No-one has lived on the remote islands since the end of WWII. As a piece of real estate they are not very attractive. Only one is big enough to be, just possibly, habitable.

    But to therefore dismiss the islands as an irrelevance would be a mistake.

    China has long claimed them, and is now for the first time aggressively asserting that claim. It is equally clear Japan is not about to give them up, and is possibly prepared to fight to keep them. It is, in other words, a very dangerous situation.

    The only way to get to the islands is by fishing boat. It is not a particularly pleasant journey. In late October, the seas were choppy. The small 12m (39ft) fishing boat we had chartered pitched and rolled constantly. Inside the cabin the engine-noise was almost unbearable.

    After 10 hours ploughing through the waves, the islands hove in to view through the pre-dawn light.

    But between our boat and the islands were two large, white coastguard cutters. Out of the gloom, a pair of speedboats came skipping across the waves towards us. The coastguard officers were extremely polite, but made it clear we must stay at least one mile off shore.

    Japan has banned all civilians, including Japanese, from landing on the island. It is to stop right-wing Japanese nationalists, who have in the past attempted to build a lighthouse and other structures there. It is exactly the same reason the Japanese government gives for “nationalising” the islands in September; to stop right-wing nationalists taking control of them.

    When Japan and China established diplomatic relations in 1972, the leaders of both countries agreed to put the issue of the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands to one side; to let future, supposedly wiser, generations deal with the problem. They both also agreed that neither side would unilaterally change the status quo.

    That is what China says Japan has done by “nationalising” the island. Beijing is now using that alleged change to justify its own assertion of sovereignty.

    Brazen tactics
    As the sun rose higher over the island the radio on board our fishing boats crackled into life. It was the Japanese coastguard. “Chinese ships are heading in this direction, please immediately move around to the north of the island!”

    Over the horizon we could see them coming: first two, then two more. Large, white Chinese ships with four blue stripes down the side.

    Our fishing boat captain didn’t need asking twice. He was off. We sped round to the north of the main island.

    But the Chinese boats kept on coming.

    A Japanese P3 Orion surveillance plane then appeared from the east, swooping back and forth over the Chinese ships. The Japanese coastguard was now extremely nervous.

    “Please stop filming and leave the area immediately,” came the message from the radio.

    “They’re worried the Chinese will come and board us,” said the captain. If that happened it could turn into an international incident.

    I don’t think that was really ever the Chinese intention. Their job was pretty simple, to brazenly sail through Japanese-controlled waters, while loudly proclaiming them to actually be Chinese.

    The Chinese tactics are aggressive, but not too aggressive. The ships are “civilian” not naval. The aim is to wear down the Japanese resolve, to make Chinese control of the waters around the islands at least equal to that of the Japanese.

    The Japanese government does not appear to have a counter strategy. We watched as the Japanese coastguard ships shadowed the Chinese ships, always keeping a distance.

    After the anti-Japanese violence in China in September, Tokyo is understandably reluctant to do anything to antagonise Beijing further.

    But China’s communist leadership, caught up with the 18th party congress, has shown no interest in dialogue.

    Indeed, President Hu Jintao’s speech at the opening of the congress last week was a very public statement of China’s determination to build a powerful blue-water navy and enforce its territorial claims.

    Such rhetoric is making people in Japan nervous of China’s intentions and more susceptible to the calls of right-wingers like Shintaro Ishihara, the former governor of Tokyo. He is one of many on the right who say it is time for Japan to scrap its pacifist constitution, and prepare to defend itself.
    ENDS

    23 Responses to “BBC on Japan’s remilitarization: Island disputes justifying quiet buildup in Japan’s aircraft carriers, xenophobia in J youth”

    1. Markus Says:

      While this shows nothing most NJ residents of Japan haven’t already seen, it is a good introduction into Japanese nationalism and its allegedly “returning” bellicose nature to those back home who still hold up their beloved image of “quirky, pacifist Japan”. I wonder if the message came across, because it is hard for me to see this with fresh eyes, i.e. as if I had never lived in Japan.
      It is good to show those senile geezers of “Tachiagare Nippon” in context with these scary young people who are not educated enough to understand the difference between the Falkland islands and the “Senkaku” islands. Because it is definitely not “just a bunch of fringe extremists nobody pays attention to” that wants to go back to ultra-nationalism and militarism.
      These young people strike me as extremely angry and aggressive, so much that they can barely hide it their emotions. I wonder if they had to suffer through a lot of caning during their childhood (another area where Japan hasn’t caught up with the enlightened world yet), so all the suppressed anger at the sadists who abused them is channeled into their hate against another country that has never actually attacked them? I would be surprised if the extreme tension a society like the Japanese creates in its members wouldn’t have a big part in this.
      On a side note, I think it is very embarrassing that even the BBC seems to have a hard time finding Japanese translators who can speak proper English. Is this really the best they could do? I have heard Chinese translators on BBC programs who spoke almost accent-free, grammatically perfect English.

    2. Jim Di Griz Says:

      Yeah, I smile every time I watch that clip. It’s great that the BBC are on the case.

      It shows an interesting difference between Japan and Germany, best summed up by the following (although I forgot who said it originally);

      “…can you not imagine a Europe in which Germany was like Japan? A “pacifist” Germany defended by America, occupied by America, overseen by America? A Germany with “self defense” forces led by officers who wrote essays on the glories of the Third Reich? A Germany which wrote a few diplomatic communiques apologizing for the holocaust, but whose schoolchildren and general citizenry were taught and believed that the Third Reich was intended to help Europe, and was crushed by greater, more foreign empires. A Germany whose only commemorations of WW2 were to shed tears for Dresden and the fallen veterans of the SS? Imagine a Germany with no Nuremburg, where Goebbels and Goring were never prosecuted. Indeed where they became CEOs of BASF and BMW? And a Germany where Herr Hitler’s son still lorded over the Alps as a figurehead Kaiser? A Germany which was taught and believed that Dachau and Auschwitz were nothing?…”

      The point being that Germany has never been anything less than totally repentant for WW2, never attempted to revise history, never endorsed a continuation of aryan beliefs, never pressed for a greater role for it’s military, and never antagonized it’s neighbors, since 1945. German politicians never talk about ‘returning to pre-war values’, and it would be a crime to say anything positive about National-Socialism.

      Contrast that with Japan, which even before the end of the occupation, was champing at the bit with unrepentant arrogance (GHQ= Go Home Quickly!).

      Where has this gotten them both now? Germany has (as one of my UK friends remarked bitterly the other day) achieved in the post-war period, all the things that it hoped to achieve from the war; it is now the economic and political center of Europe, with massive global political and economic influence. The Germans enjoy a high standard of living, and a thriving economy.

      Whereas Japan, stewing over past glories non-stop, unable to focus on the future, unwilling to concede that the war is over, Japan lost, and the world has changed, are stuck in the humiliation of post-war defeat, and rather than receiving international admiration, respect, and influence, are treated with contempt and distrust by their closest neighbors. What the Japanese hope to gain (now as ever) from nationalism is global influence and power, and precisely because of this very desire for it, they will never receive it.

      There is no statute of limitations on the Japanese Surrender of 1945, a surrender they made not only to the US, but also to China.
      When article #9 says that the Japanese ‘forever renounce the right to use force to settle international disputes’, I didn’t realize that the Japanese interpretation of ‘forever’ is 68 years.

    3. john k Says:

      Just keep on getting better too:
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-21347915

      Radar locks on the Japanese coastguard vessels…..it’ll end in tears!

      Markus,

      The BBC has Mariko Oi, she is native Japanese and fluent English speaking. However either by choice or otherwise, she never seems to report on “these” nationalist type of issues. Pity..she would be perfect, but I suspect being Japanese makes this hard factual reporting too hard for her, as it squares up hard in the face of her indoctrinated upbringing by the GoJ.

    4. dude Says:

      Great post Debito.

      Yes, all Japan needs is more bullets and guns to shoot them with… and everything will be just fine.
      It almost seems like WW 2 for Japan was like WW 1 for Germany. It left them conflicted and wanting more… war.
      With the current “Bring back the good old days before we got our asses kicked” theme gaining in popularity, I really don’t think anything short of dead soldiers is going to change their thirst for glory.
      Pity. Some countries just learn slower than others.

    5. Andrew in Saitama Says:

      And ever notice how feelings of anger and frustration amoung Chinese youth are reported endlessly in the Japanese media?

      http://news.livedoor.com/article/detail/7380808/

      「釣魚島、中国的! 不容侵犯」(釣魚島は中国のもの! 侵犯許すまじ)。

       首都・北京を中心に、中国大陸を襲う殺人大気汚染。北京市民の中には、どう見てもニセモノにしか見えない有名ブランドのロゴやキャラクターがデザインされたマスクを着ける人も多いようだが、案の定というべきか、今度は“反日マスク”とでもいうべきシロモノが出現した。

       上海から南に300kmほど離れた義烏市の問屋街の一角で、中国国旗とともに冒頭のスローガンをあしらったマスクが販売されていた。店員が嬉しそうに話す。

      「いいデザインでしょう。大気汚染のニュースが増えるおかげで、もう600枚は売ったね。全土からネット注文が相次いでいて、儲かってますわ」

       この業者以外にも、インターネット通販などでは日章旗をバツ印で汚したデザインや、「打倒日本帝国主義」というスローガンを印字したものなど、さまざまな“反日マスク”が売られている。

       日本にも影響を及ぼしつつある大気汚染の科はもちろん中国政府にあるのだが、そんなストレスさえも反日感情へと転化し、ビジネスにまでしてしまう中国って、やっぱりヘンだろう……。

      撮影・取材■西谷格

      ※週刊ポスト2013年2月15・22日号

    6. Winning Gold in Dressage Doesn't Count Says:

      Comparing Germany to Japan on apology is silly. Japan never sat within the protective embrace of NATO where it was essentially forced to mend fences with its democratic neighbors to balance the Soviet Union.

      It was the United States, meanwhile, that insisted Japan recognize Taipei instead of Beijing, which led to a period where Japan technically couldn’t apologize to China, because there was no official way to do so. As soon as Nixon announced the U.S. was engaged in talks with Beijing, Japan leaped at the opportunity to engage with China as well. And guess what? Tanaka, the Japanese prime minister admitted Japanese aggression and apologized on his first visit. Since then, Beijing, to its credit, has never demanded further apology or compensation, although it did get a quick positive reaction from Tokyo when it complained in 1982 about an offending phrase in a textbook *that was never actually there* and a few years later about Nakasone’s visits to Yasukuni. Japan was also China’s largest foreign aid donor for many years–still is, I think–and Tokyo took a soft line on Tienanmen.

      Korea was a little different. Yes, there were rightists who thought that there was nothing to apologize for, but there were also leftists who demanded that Japan apologize to Korea as a whole. Apology to North Korea was anathema to rightists and Japanese moderates. The latter were, along with the left, also wary about apologizing to the South, a dictatorship at the time. It’s no coincidence that Japan started issuing apologies to Korea only after democratization. Meanwhile, however, Tokyo normalized relations with Korea in 1965, providing $800m in grants and soft loans, a huge amount at the time. It also provided around $400m for compensation of individual Koreans forced to work or fight for the Japanese Empire, on the condition that the Korean government distribute it to those it was intended for. The Korean government pocketed the lot. So, it seems the left and the moderates in Japan were correct about the usefulness of making amends with a dictator. If Germany had apologized to the Soviet Union, you may have had a point. But it didn’t.

      Meanwhile, anyone who thinks that Japanese children are taught that the Rape of Nanjing is “nothing” haven’t read Japanese history textbooks. Even the most “nationalistic” of middle school books mention that many civilians lost their lives due to the invasion of the Imperial Army.

      I think this much of this is covered in Jennifer Lind’s “Sorry States” if you are interested. Some of it appears in Seraphim’s “War Memory and Social Politics in Japan.” Lind, by the way, thinks that Japan should follow Germany’s route, because, while Germany still pays reparations to Israel–a politically contentious issue, by the way–and maintains memorials for its actions during the Holocaust, it has offered little in the way of apology for other nation states. Even Willi Brandt’s great kneeling gesture was not an actual apology, when you think about it. I believe Lind compared it to Sato’s deep deep bow to Mao and Chou En Lai.

      As for Nazis in the Bundeswehr, scandals pop up all the time. Just a few months ago it was revealed that troops, with officers present, were worshipfully commemorating the SS and Panzer Divisions who had been directly involved in war crimes. In fact, the anchor on this report notes that such cases do appear fairly frequently, although the Bundeswehr claims that they are only isolated cases. Except, as the report notes, the Bundeswehr still does things like issuing academic prizes in the name of a Nazi propagandist and commander of an occupied territory. The anchor at the beginning strongly implies that this is a sign of systemic Nazi worship in parts of the Bundeswehr. The prize, as far as I can tell, has not been rescinded, and the report states that the German defense minister is not at all interested in this type of thing. At least Tamogami was forced to resign by his political overlords.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wm2c6-W-1MQ

      Meanwhile, the reason that you haven’t heard so much about Nazis in postwar German industry is, apparently, because the industrialists did a great job of covering things up. In fact, some of the executives actually asked for money for the time they spent in jail after the war.

      http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/4127877?uid=3738736&uid=2&uid=4&sid=21101644461751

      Plus, of course, there is this:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_war_apology_statements_issued_by_Japan

      My impression is that most “third country” academics working on the subject of apology in Japan pretty much acknowledge these days that the notion that Japan hasn’t apologized is nonsense or at best a huge simplification.

    7. john k Says:

      Interesting how xenophobia by the Chilean Navy is being dealt with:
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-21362538

      “..About forty men appear jogging along a beach while chanting that they would “kill Argentines, shoot Bolivians and behead Peruvians..The ministry of defence promised to punish those responsible and ordered an investigation within 24 hours…”

    8. Mikan Says:

      I did some research and it turns out the so-called ‘Students for the Future’ (未来創造の会)is a Meiji University front organization for the Kofuku-no-kagaku destructive mind control cult. What puzzles me, is why the biggest news organization in the world would cover a destructive cult with history of anti-social behavior (The attack on Friday magazine’s premises) and its sex, money and power obsessed guru Okawa Ryuho. His rambling has been completely ignored by the mainstream Japanese media and the cult’s political organization, the Happiness Realization Party(幸福実現党)has proved to be a fiasco, failing to win even a single seat since its creation in 2009.

      – Links to sources please.

    9. Jim Di Griz Says:

      Problem neighbors?
      Korea got ‘your island’?
      North Korea testing ‘missiles’ and nukes?
      China ‘making a grab’ for another one of ‘your islands’?
      BUT THAT’S NOT ALL!

      On the day that Sick-note announces that he will work out a peace treaty with the Russians, two russian fighters allegedly fly into Japanese airspace near Hokkaido!
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-21364559

      It’s all going wrong…..or is it?
      The J-media is hyping the ‘little peace loving country under siege, should defend itself’ message for all they are worth.

      Better change that constitution quick Sick-note! Wait, no! Not article #9, you fool! Change article #96, and then you can make Japan a fascist little junta unopposed.

    10. Jim Di Griz Says:

      @ John K #47

      Given the recent comments by the Argentine government about disregarding the choice of the Falkland Islanders to remain British subjects, I might e-mailthe PM about a possible anti-Argentine alliance! LOL!

    11. Jim Di Griz Says:

      This would be funny, if it wasn’t for real;

      http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/02/08/national/china-provocation-slammed/#.URP4GxwSGkM

      Starts by explaining that Japan is well within UN law by firing on Chinese ships that paint SDF ships with radar since it constitutes an attack! (even though NATO and Warsaw Pact ships and planes did this to each other for 50 years without a shooting war, but anyway). But then the article goes on to mention that DPJ one-time PM hopeful Seiji Maehara pressured Sick-note at the same meeting to review the comfort women statement. Yeah, that should get Japan some international sympathy…

      Actually, while I’m banging the keyboard about Maehara, here’s an interesting collection of facts…

      Maehara was the minister in charge of the government agency that manages the Japan Coast Guard a couple of years back (2010), when the JCG arrested the Chinese fishing boat skipper who was ‘ramming’ JCG ships.
      Maehara switched jobs a couple of weeks after that incident.
      Then a JCG officer anonymously posted that video the JCG shot of the incident on the internet via a net-cafe in Sannomiya, Kobe, after allegedly down-loading it from the computer on his ship, stationed in Kobe port.
      The upload was made at a weekend, and straight after, the memory stick containing the video was dumped in a bin in the street. Allegedly.
      That same weekend, Maehara was in Kobe for a dinner with party supporters.

      What if (and I am hypothesizing) Maehara issued un-official instructions to the JCG to harass the Chinese ship, and video it.
      Then he engineered the surrounding furore and leak of the video in order to try and weaken Kan’s position as PM, since the media criticized Kan at the time for being weak against China, and too harsh on the JCG officer who uploaded the video.

      The investigation into the leak stated that the video was not stored on the Kobe based ships computer (‘could not be found’), and the JCG officer who ‘confessed’ was unable to explain how he had down-loaded the video file (ie; ‘he did not have the technical skills to do so’ was the actual quote). The data stick was never found.

      It’s no secret that until the scandal of Maehara receiving donations from a zainichi Korean in Kyoto (Feb 2011), he had hopes for getting the PM’s job after Kan. Maehara is a former LDP right-wing hawk.

      Kind of a DPJ prototype of the scenario made around the Senkaku islands for the sake of nationalistic domestic power-plays. And in the above link, we have Maehara criticizing Sick-note for not revising history quickly enough!

      Isn’t democracy working well in Japan!

    12. john k Says:

      JDM

      Count me in on that email :)

      Interesting how Abe reacts to the 2 Russian planes.

      The islands down south, which Japan insists are theirs, they ratchet up the tensions with China. Bravely, powerfully, looks great in the press…we can stand up to our old foes of China.

      Yet now, another group of islands up north, similar territorial claims, coupled with the fact that Japan is still ‘technically’ at war with Russia, the response when their airspace is violated is:

      “..The incident happened after Japanese PM Shinzo Abe said he was seeking a solution to a territorial dispute with Russia over a Pacific island chain..”

      Chalk and cheese. More schizophrenic that sick note :)

    13. Winning Gold in Dressage Doesn't Count Says:

      “I did some research and it turns out the so-called ‘Students for the Future’ (未来創造の会)is a Meiji University front organization for the Kofuku-no-kagaku destructive mind control cult.”

      Certainly seems that way from their Facebook page.

      http://www.facebook.com/pages/%E6%9C%AA%E6%9D%A5%E5%89%B5%E9%80%A0%E3%81%AE%E4%BC%9A/529153117101953

      I don’t think that matters. What got me was that there looked to be only five or six of them in the report. The report was all about rising nationalism, but this wasn’t exactly the Tate no Kai.

      I’m sorry to say, there was a lot more wrong with the report than that. The fact that the Hyuga and its sister ships can’t actually support planes without VTOL capabilities, which Japan doesn’t yet have, wasn’t mentioned, a significant fact given that the reporter was touting it as an “aircraft carrier.” Later ships may be able to carry certain types of F35, but it is not at all clear that these models of aircraft will even be built. It’s also questionable to interview people coming to visit a warship what they think about war as if this is some kind of representative sample. Finally, to have an arms race, one would think you would need some kind of competition in spending between one or more countries. Japan’s defense spending on the graph provided was flat.

    14. Dude Says:

      A surprising number of older Japanese people have told me, in all seriousness, that China is a young country – because it “started” in 1954, with their post-war constitution.
      I like to take the opportunity to point out that Japan’s 1947 constitution makes Japan virtually the same age.
      Meanwhile, the USA, with its 1776 constitution, is nearly 4 times older than Japan (using this stupid logic).
      This leads to immediate objections – how can I call Japan a young country?
      I reply with “How can you call China a young country?”
      This is where they wake up, stop sleep-talking, and shut the f@#k up.

      What Japan needs, sooner rather than later, is for Shintaro and his bullies to talk themselves and Japan into a direct military confrontation with China. Japan will come away bloody and wounded, and this will (hopefully) wake up the majority, and then they might stop following the old idiots leading Japan over the edge.

      – For the record, Debito.org does not condone war.

    15. john k Says:

      Now China denies Japan’s claims of radar locking:
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-21378035

      “..Japan’s remarks “were against the facts”, a statement on its website read. On neither occasion cited by the Japanese side had the Chinese vessel used its fire-control radar, it said. It urged Japan to “stop stirring up tension in the East China Sea.

      …Japan said the Chinese explanation did not match the facts”

      So, who is right??!!…the usual smoke and mirrors.

    16. Mikan Says:

      Debito,
      Sorry for not providing links to sources in my previous post.
      What caught my attention was the fact that the so-called ‘Students for the Future’ group is extensively covered by the Kofuku-no-kagaku magazine ‘The Liberty’.
      http://www.the-liberty.com/article.php?item_id=5144

      While the student group doesn’t explicitly declare their affiliation to the cult at this point, stories in Kofuku-no-kagaku publications are almost always connected to the cult’s agenda.
      The group’s ‘representative’ Mizouchi Yuki(水落悠樹)is one of the contributors to the Happiness Realization Party’s ‘Student Blog’.
      http://ameblo.jp/7hermes/archive-201010.html

      Also their activities feature prominently in the blog of the cult’s Tokyo Central branch.
      http://hctokyochuo.blog.fc2.com/blog-entry-147.html

      In response to post Nr. 13, I can’t stress enough that things like that do matter. We as a society are entitled to more information concerning the relationship between new religious movements and politics. I am all for freedom of religion. But I don’t think it’s normal for a tax-exempt group like the Soka Gakkai to support tax-increases via its political party. Or for members of the Kofuku-no-kagaku to plot against the Constitution, the supreme law of the land on Sakura Channel.
      http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/junkey_junkjp/53850578.html

      The recent assault on prominent journalist Fujikura Yoshiro(藤倉善郎)should serve as a wake-up call that some groups deeply deplore the democratic society and its institutions.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJqsYuTjPik&list

      Also the seemingly limitless financial resources of some cultic groups must be accounted for before society. No serious observer can believe the implication that it’s all about the followers selling over-priced merchandise.

    17. Jim Di Griz Says:

      Ah, now we have J-nationalists protesting outside the Russian embassy.

      http://www.japantoday.com/category/picture-of-the-day/view/we-protest#comments

      Is this part of Sick-notes plan to ramp up the fear, or is his encouragement of nationalism now risking the tail wagging the dog?

      Interestingly, the BBC today is suggesting that Senkaku problem could lead to a shooting war because both sides have painted themselves into a corner with Nationalism. The US analyst describes both sides ability to manage a crisis as ‘moderate at best’. Singing to the choir my friend, singing to the choir…

      ===============
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-21290349
      BBC News 7 February 2013
      Viewpoints: How serious are China-Japan tensions?

      A row over islands in the East China Sea has left ties between Japan and China severely strained. In the latest development, Japan says a Chinese frigate locked weapon-targeting radar on one of its navy ships in waters near the islands, called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China. Five experts assess how serious the situation is.

      Overview: Christopher Hughes

      The situation is certainly the most serious for Sino-Japanese relations in the post-war period in terms of the risk of militarised conflict. The two sides have had periodic deteriorations in bilateral ties before and usually found a way to settle if not resolve differences. Moreover, in the past there was never really any risk of armed conflict.

      The situation is thus serious, with a risk of the militarisation and escalation of tensions. There are mechanisms to defuse tensions somewhat but there is also perhaps a lack of leadership on both sides necessary to really focus on dealing with the problems…

    18. Jim Di Griz Says:

      @ Winning Gold In Dressage Doesn’t Count #13

      I am loathe to enter long winded exchanges with you, but I have to call you out on your criticism of the BBC report.

      ‘the Hyuga and its sister ships can’t actually support planes without VTOL capabilities, which Japan doesn’t yet have’.

      The BBC report states that the 2 sister ships will be of double the Hyuga’s displacement. This will be sufficient for catapult launches and arrester wire recoveries.
      As for VTOL aircraft, Congress has approved, and Japan has signed a contract, for the purchase of F-35 variants in 2012. The F-35 is a lemon, but whatever.

    19. Bayfield Says:

      “I like to take the opportunity to point out that Japan’s 1947 constitution makes Japan virtually the same age. Meanwhile, the USA, with its 1776 constitution, is nearly 4 times older than Japan (using this stupid logic).This leads to immediate objections – how can I call Japan a young country”

      Well, in the case of defining modern Japan, in the context of defining a modern state it might kinda make sense to define Japan as a young modern nation. The idea of human rights, voting, and the whole democratic ideology of “everyone is equal” is something new. I am under the impression that MacArthur and Co was attempting to build a new Japan by eliminating the imperial system and replacing it with a western democracy system.

      When the U.S. was first founded, democracy was still far from what it was as compared to now. I see the current Japan similar in a way as compared to the U.S. when it was still young. So its possible that Japan is currently at where the U.S. was over 200 years ago.

      At the rate things are going with democracy in Japan and how resistant they are too change, it might just make sense that Japan is still in the beginning stage of democratic development. Also, government and bureaucracy is slow to do things and change is slow.

      Japan, being an isolated and insular country most of the time, they might just needed more time to adapt the world outside Japan.

      U.S. democracy took 200+ years to mature to what it is now, so compared to that, Japan would be a young modern country. Japan might just need that much time. But with things are going in Japan, 200 years might be a bit too optimistic. After all it took generations for African Americans too fight for equality. So the cause for NJ rights might also take 100+ years.

      Japan being an isolated country will need time to open up. Maybe after a few centuries, people will be so used to NJ that the scare tactics of ultra-nationalists will no longer work, then we can move forward, after Japan gets tired of their xenophobia.
      So in this sense, Japan is young, as in adapting a new government system.

    20. Winning Gold in Dressage Doesn't Count Says:

      “U.S. democracy took 200+ years to mature to what it is now, so compared to that, Japan would be a young modern country. Japan might just need that much time”

      I don’t think you are aware of the fact that this is really quite offensive. In Japan the association of some sort of sempai-kohai, or just younger-older, relationship between Japan and the United States takes us back to MacArthur’s testimony in Congress, when he said much the same thing, to the disgust of many Japanese. And a lot of them were probably disgusted because they knew that the democracy that had been “given” to them by paternal, forgiving, liberal democratic America was, by that time, being eroded by undemocratic Cold War America.

      “After all it took generations for African Americans too fight for equality.”

      And that’s even worse.

      Anyway, as I understood it, Japan has ordered the F35A, which does not have (S)VTOL capabilities. Moreover, there are a whole load of technical problems (that is, even more than tha F35A) that make the F35B, which does have those capabilities, an unlikely order for the time being. Nevertheless, I will concede that it is the view of a lot of military analysts that the new ships are designed as platforms for (S)VTOL aircraft. However, even if Japan did order the B (or C) it would mean that it is just adopting similar policies to such nations as Britain. That is, like just about every developed nation on the planet, Japan has had a policy since 1950 to incrementally augment its defense forces as technological advances enable them to do so. Acquiring the F35′s, whatever flavor they may be, is really only the latest step in this process. Of course, one can point fingers and say that Japan has a constitutional provision that says it should not have a military at all, but this completely ignores the interpretation that allows for the minimum necessary maintenance of forces for self defense. Truth is, Japan hasn’t and doesn’t spend nearly as much on its military as it can. And it can never win. Spend too little and in the eyes of its critics it is a “free rider” on U.S. military beneficence. Spend too much and it is a militarizing fascist state that has lost view of its historical responsibility. No wonder Japan’s governments (including the DPJ) have begun to just focus on what they think is within the national interest strategically.

    21. Nancy Says:

      @3 John K.

      Maybe she was listening to you?

      13 March 2013
      What Japanese history lessons leave out
      By Mariko Oi
      BBC News, Tokyo
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-21226068

    22. Karjh12 Says:

      And Japan wonders why and is piqued,to the point of petulance, that it has yet to gain a revolving seat,yet alone a permanent seat on the UN Security Council

    23. john k Says:

      Nancy #21

      Yup, i read that earlier. About time she broke away from her Japanese origins and reported properly. Since for the past several years she has always avoided reporting anything “negative” about Japan. rather like J media does!

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