Post-passage of State Secrets Bill, watch as Abe further dismantles Japan’s postwar anti-fascism safeguards


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Hello Blog.  Some very significant things have happened in the two weeks since got zapped and taken offline, and for the record we should cover them now since they warrant discussion.

My conclusions first:  If you really want to “look on the bright side” of recent events, we could say “we live in interesting times”.  Given the normally glacial pace of reforms in Japan, the Abe Administration is proceeding with incredible speed — which he can do, given LDP control over both houses of Parliament.  It’s a pity that things are heading in the Rightist direction, dismantling the Postwar order of governance and the safeguards against Prewar fascism faster than the public or media can keep up.

As discussed here before got tackled, both inside and outside observers (including the UN) were alarmed at the contents of the State Secrets Protection Law (himitsu hogo hou), the one that leaves vague what a “government secret” is exactly (for better public non-transparency), and offers criminal penalties of up to ten years’ incarceration for violators, including journalists.  The tone of this law is pretty clear:  Anyone who gets in the way (and according to LDP Secretary General and defense policy wonk Ishiba Shigeru, “noisy” protestors will be labeled “terrorists”; I’m waiting for Ishiba to say the same thing about the perennially noisy, intimidating, and sometimes violent right-wing sound trucks) will be dealt with accordingly. said that the protests in any case were too little, too late, and it would make no difference.  It didn’t (except in Abe’s approval ratings, which dipped below 50% for the first time for this administration; never mind — a few more saber rattlings with the Chinese bogeyman will remedy that), and the bill was rammed through both the Lower and Upper Houses and is now law.  SITYS.

This after, as also noted on previously, Abe’s Gaijin Handlers were sent off on a mission to placate the one country that might get them to avert this course:  The United States.  Top Abe advisor Kitaoka Shin’ichi recently visited Hawaii and points mainland to sell Japan’s remilitarization as a means to help America’s security exploits abroad, saying it would be possible by a mere circumvention of the Constitution by reinterpretation.  Who needs to go through that laborious process of actual Constitutional revision when you can just ignore it?  And it seems the Americans have signed off on it.  And on Japan’s new protection measures of “state secrets”.  And on a creation of a National Security Council that reports to Abe, modeled on the USG’s NSC, so who could object?  Checkmate.

Next up, as Reader JJS sent me this morning:

Hi Debito. Glad to see you got control of your website back, though there may be lots still to do to secure it and prevent any further attacks. When you’re ready to start posting again, here are some juicy tidbits to chew on. With the passage of the Special State Secrets Bill, the Abe Administration is wasting no time making sure to A) start talking up Japan’s image as the “safest country in the world” while B) making sure to utilize the newly passed bill to start covering up any unsightly information from getting out about such things like nuclear powerplants, nuclear energy, etc. Finally, what will “cyber-terror” actually mean to this far right wing administration? Maybe your site may be included?? The next seven years leading up to the Olympics will be frightening to say the least.

12月10日 12時49分







日経)サイバー犯罪対策で官民組織 政府、東京五輪に向け戦略
2013/12/10 11:24






産経)東京五輪へ、「世界一安全な日本」を 犯罪対策閣僚会議が新計画
2013.12.10 11:14








(2013年12月10日19時55分 読売新聞)

官邸公式)『世界一安全な日本』創造戦略(pdf 63ページ)

Thanks JJS.

Look, some people might be surprised by all this, but I’m not. saw this coming more than ten years ago, and watched it play out since 2000 as innate fears of outsiders in general were made into public policy that portrayed foreigners as criminals, then terrorists etc.  Now, it’s Chinese foreigners in specific (what with the two-plus “Lost Decades” of stagnant to negative growth causing Japan to be eclipsed by China as the largest economy in the region).  I’ve charted the arc of this public debate in a paper for Japan Focus, showing how officially-sponsored xenophobia was used to undermine, then decimate, Japan’s Left.  And with no opposition Left, there’s nothing to stop a dedicated silver-spoon elite like Abe, who has known no war (and accepts no responsibility for Japan’s historical role in it), for swinging the pendulum the furthest Right it has been in the Postwar Era.  Provided his health holds up, he’s got three years to do it.  Just watch him do it as quickly as possible.  Arudou Debito

30 comments on “Post-passage of State Secrets Bill, watch as Abe further dismantles Japan’s postwar anti-fascism safeguards

  • Closer to home for this web page: would this law extend its tentacles into the content, tone and inconvenient veracity of, either the Japanese language version, or this one? Scary thought, but not beyond the realm of possibility, given the sweeping nature of the probably-yet-to-be fully understood legislation. And who knows how it will eventually implemented, if certain topics or revelations make Nagata-cho displeased? Japan’s finest are not known for their subtlety. Will we see TV reports from a helicopter, telling the tale of an army of be-suited gendarmes carrying bundles of flat cardboard boxes, showing up at your house?

    — Probably not, in my case.

  • Didn’t Taro Aso “gaffe” that the implementation of the proto-fascist ideas of Japan’s ruling caste should be done in a stealthy way so people won’t notice until it’s too late? This isn’t stealthy at all. Even the foreign press takes notice (which are all owned by the Chinese, as a Japanese co-worker tried to school me the other day).
    The only thing left for us “Gaijin” to do is go home, and put the pressure on our own governments to stop dealing with Japan as if it was a democratic country.

    The German head of state made public this week that he will not visit the Olympics in Russia for their homophobic laws. I think if we look at the full picture of statements and actions since the LDP took over again, it already makes Putin, in comparison, appear to be a figurehead of liberalism and democratic values.

    I’d love to know the real opinion and plans of the US and European Governments regarding the latest developments in Japan. To me, and I know this has been called hyperbole before, Japan is one of potentially most opaque dangerous countries in the world. Maybe only surpassed by North Korea.

  • I am not too sure about your world view. Certainly the powers that be in Japan and the US have different agendas here, but I don’t think this is a case of the U.S. being duped by those talented gainjin handlers. If the US is applauding the passage of this bill. it is because a fasist dictatorship in Japan suits, or at least doesn’t particularly hinder US foreign policy. I don’t think the US gives a damn about democracy in Japan anymore.

  • Loverilakkuma says:

    Believe it or not, the Abe administration is boasting with this muzzling Patriot-Act that could compare the American counterpart implemented in the Bush II era. It is still effective today, and Obama and Eric Holder are not willing to take it down for the sake of his political interests. The only difference is that GOJ is not yet to seek for spying like NSA is doing today. But I wouldn’t be surprised if that tempts some right-leaning LDP leaders in the future.

    The real danger I see in the Abe regime is an undemocratic process for passing bill without giving the general public clear information on the whole content and substantial amount of time for its deliberation. Even the controversial ACA(Affordable Care Acts) took years long to process for official implementation. And it still needs to fix many problems–including the government website bugs.

    But this bill was bulldozed through both Houses in a non-regular Diet session, in order to shut down the voices of opposition without holding congressional public hearings. They weren’t even making a clear picture of check-and-balance in classifying information until someone in LDP came up with third-party arbitration in the 11th hour effort. Incredible.

  • — I think this overlooked article deserves a rereading — it describes well the corrupting official dynamic that is fostered by unclear guidelines towards “secrets”:

    The secret of keeping official secrets secret
    NOV 30, 2013

    “He that would keep a secret must keep it secret that he hath a secret to keep,” says Sir Humphrey Appleby, permanent secretary to the Department of Administrative Affairs, a fictitious branch of the British government. He is one of the main characters in the highly acclaimed 1980s BBC television series “Yes Minister” and its equally phenomenal sequel, “Yes Prime Minister.” Sir Humphrey’s axiom would surely be readily shared by current real-life Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as he bulldozes his bill for the protection of special official secrets through parliament.

    The bill would meet with Sir Humphrey’s high approval not least because it keeps secret what secrets it deems especially secret. People who supposedly violate the regulations set down by the legislation would never be sure what secret it was that they failed to keep secret. Civil servants would become even more secretive than they already are because they fear a potential 10-year imprisonment for divulging secrets whose degree of secrecy they are secretly never quite sure of. Their unwritten code of secret conduct would ultimately be: “When in doubt, keep secret.”

    Such a mindset would also be very much after Sir Humphrey’s own heart. Not only the civil service but ordinary citizens would also walk in fear of breaking the law whose notions of secrecy are shrouded in secrecy. The whole nation would turn into a secret society in which people’s lips are sealed because they do not know what secrets they may be unwittingly sharing with each other…

    Rest of the article at

  • ‘People who supposedly violate the regulations set down by the legislation would never be sure what secret it was that they failed to keep secret’.

    And that’s a home run for fascism. Now you can be arrested for nothing at all (speak out against nuclear power? Against Abenomics or changing the constitution? Speak out against the introduction of new laws?) and they can dissapear you without due process because the whole things ‘secret’, and you (as the accused) don’t need to be told what your breach of secrecy law was!

    Carte blanche to throw away the key on anyone who says anything. But Japan’s ‘not a fascist police state- its a democracy’, right? The apologists have to take down because their logic is demonstratably failing.

  • @Jim I agree, but isn’t this new law not simply a legal manifestation of what is the usual practice in this country? It’s not like there was a an actual legal system as we have it in the Western world (flawed as it is sometimes).
    All lawyers (“Bengoshi”) fulfil their jobs in loyalty to the emperor, not to their clients. But who needs Western “nuisance makers” like real lawyers anyway? If you have a small problem, you do it as it was always done in Japan – go to your neighborhood Yakuza and let him handle it.

    For a good overview what a lawless country we live in, I highly recommend this guy’s YouTube clip:

    If that doesn’t want to make you pack your bags and head to Narita, I don’t know what does.

    — I find the “Better Call Saul” nature of this online promo pretty creepy.

  • “Abe’s Gaijin Handlers were sent off on a mission to placate the one country that might get them to avert this course: The United States. Top Abe advisor Kitaoka Shin’ichi recently visited Hawaii and points mainland to sell Japan’s remilitarization as a means to help America’s security exploits abroad”…

    Debito, do you still honestly believe it is Japan that is manipulating the US and not the other way round?

    As the East China Sea (manufactured) crisis unfolds, things are becoming so depressingly clear.

    These Japanese ultra-nationalist imbeciles are once again being led by the nose and, if a war with China comes to fruition, Japan will be mere cannon fodder.

    For such blockheads, it’s really a case of “be careful what you wish for”…

    — “Do you still honestly believe it is Japan that is manipulating the US?” Answer: Yes I do.

  • Well, I hope, for the sake of the world at large, that you are right: that Japan’s right wing, with its evil master-plan, is the real bad guy here, and that at some point the US, as a… erm… benign world power, will “get them to avert this course”. This would make things far simpler and more controllable, no doubt.

    There are, however, increasingly alarming signs in the air that larger forces and motivations might be at play, and that Japan’s rising fascism is a mere pawn in all this. Some examples:

    But let’s hope these are just groundless “conspiracy” theories. Yes, I want to believe!

    Time will tell.

  • DK
    “Do you still honestly believe it is Japan that is manipulating the US?”
    “Answer: Yes I do.”

    To an extent yes. But I feel that the US itself also has some historic beef with China. This will be a bit off tangent but I want to also draw a point of how strong the bond between Washington and Tokyo is and how they are both collaborating very, very closely together to achieve a common goal.

    The US does have something to gain from antagonizing China. War with China might not be in the interest of the USA (not yet at least), but the elite military industry of the America benefits greatly from using the tensions to increase arms sales and profiting from weapons sales to Japan and other parts of Asia not friendly with China.

    But other sources are telling me that the destruction of China is the USG’s ultimate goal.

    And even if the US knows Japan is lying through their teeth, I wouldn’t count on US doing anything to stop Japan from reviving entirely of its former regime. This is betting on the idea that Japan and the US remain allies of course. So in a way, you could say that the US elite is following up with Japan’s geopolitical conquests, knowingly and willingly.

  • And another must-read that puts things into a much-need historical perspective:

    US-Japanese Militarism and China’s Air-Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) over Disputed Islets. Pretext for Another Pacific War?
    By Yoichi Shimatsu
    Global Research, December 07, 2013

    The White House refusal to recognize China’s new air-defense identification zone (ADIZ) is a knee-jerk reaction that reveals an astounding ignorance of historical, legal and geopolitical issues in Asia and the Pacific. The US-Japan Security Treaty, as a defense agreement to protect the Japanese homeland against foreign invasion, was never intended for settling boundary conflicts, as in the current cases of the Senkaku-Diaoyu islets dispute with China, the Tokishima-Tokdo tussle with South Korea and the Northern Territories-South Kurile claim against Russia. Washington should not poke its long nose into these bilateral matters of limited local concern, just as Japan should never militarily intervene in the U.S. border problems with Mexico.

    If anything should cause Washington to desist from war-mongering, it is the Japanese claim that there exists no islets dispute whatsoever. Tokyo maintains the pretense that the Senkaku-Diaoyu issue is just being exploited by Beijng for energy-exploration domination of the seabed and that the controversy will soon blow over like a summer squall. This diplomatic posture is, in reality, contradicted by the dispatch of battle-ready Japanese warships and fighter aircraft to the surrounding waters and airspace.

    Japan has drawn its own ADIZ, modeling it after the 1945 airspace map drawn up by the U.S. occupation force. The Japanese claim includes not just those barren rocks but also a vast swath of far inside the continental shelf, which is claimed by China and South Korea. In 2011, Beijing and Seoul filed a joint position paper and complaint with the United Nations against Japanese encroachment across the continental shelf.

    Rejecting the World Court
    The quickest resolution to the Senkaku-Diaoyu quarrel, along with the overlapping air-defense zones, is to bring a territorial case to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the world court that handles international boundary disputes at The Hague. The ICJ requires sovereign parties involved in the dispute to accept the court’s jurisdiction and abide by its ruling. Japan’s rejection of an ICJ case therefore indicates serious weaknesses in its territorial claims under existing international law.
    The U.S. is thus backing a sure loser under the UN Law of the Sea, rendering its support for Japanese control over the Senkaku an untenable and probably illegal act of maritime aggression and territorial expansionism. For a nation that from its very inception has supported freedom of navigation and national sovereignty, Washington’s bias toward the Japanese claim runs counter to America’s traditional standards of maritime law.

    Before proceeding, as someone born on Japanese soil it is difficult not to be arguing instead in Japan’s defense against hostile neighboring countries. Protection of one’s native land is paramount, especially when considering the fact that Japan has so little acreage compared with its gigantic neighbors. By the same token, for its national honor, Japan should relinquish any territory that might still be illegally held as a vestige of the colonialist policies of the past 120 years. The seizure and renaming of those tiny islets was a disgraceful act of international deception, which harms Japan’s postwar policy of legitimate self-defense under international law.

    Logic of Air Defense Zones
    China’s recent move to declare an air-defense zone is not precedent-setting, since the U.S., Japan and South Korea have already imposed their own arbitrary ADIZ boundaries in the East China Sea. Under ADIZ rules, which by the way are not regulated by any international treaty, civilian aircraft are required to notify the relevant national air-traffic authority of its flight plan and aircraft number.
    These security measures are especially needed over disputed maritime areas to avert the shoot-down of a civilian aircraft mistaken as a military intruder. The potential for the deliberated downing of a passenger jet was highlighted in the missile that struck KAL007 in 1983, when a Korean Airline jet was flown on a CIA espionage mission over a Soviet air-defense base on the Kamchatka Peninsula, just north of Japan. An air-defense zone is therefore sometimes necessary to ensure the safety of civil aviation and to discourage harmful incidents by intelligence agencies or terrorist hijackers.

    There is a darker side to this airspace dispute, which none of the parties are willing to admit. Former Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara, during his last year in office, led an ultranationalist team of civil engineers to plan the construction of a helipad, capable of landing light aircraft, on the largest islet Uotsuri. Donations for Tokyo’s Olympic bid were allegedly misappropriated in 2012 for the quasi-military project, according the city press.

    Ishihara’s intervention in the Senkaku-Diaoyu dispute was initiated much earlier, back in 1996 with the construction of a lighthouse on the islets, intended to enable boat landings, by the Japan Youth Federation. This rightist organization was created by a Ginza-based yakuza group whose members are “zai-nichi” or ethnic Koreans, specifically descendants of collaborators with the Japanese colonialist occupation of the Korean Peninsula from 1895 to 1945. The ethnic gangster group provided campaign funds for Tokyo Metropolitan Governor Ishihara in spite of his racist agitation against third-world immigrants from Korea, China and the Philippines.

    Manchurian Memories

    More worrisome perhaps from the Chinese historical perspective is the potential for covert sabotage of one of Japan’s own passenger jets. A violent plane crash, blamed on Beijing, could rally international support for invoking the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty to launch a counterstrike against Beijing. Then notorious precedent for false-flag attacks was set in the 1931 Mukden Incident, when Imperial Army officers bombed the Japanese-owned South Manchurian Railroad (Mantetsu). The clandestine operation provided the pretext for an outright military invasion of northeast China . Soon after the plot was exposed in the world press, Japanese Foreign Minister Yosuke Matsuoka, former head of the Mantetsu, led the 1933 walk-out from League of Nations, which marked the actual start of World War II.
    The legacy of the Manchurian covert operation is also a major chapter in the family history of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, whose grandfather Nobusuke Kishi became the finance and economy minister of the puppet state of Manchukuo as a direct beneficiary of that false-flag attack. Inside Manchuria , Kishi sponsored the infamous bioweapons Unit 731, which launched mass-murder attacks on populous cities with bubonic plague and Hanta virus. Simultaneously, Kishi served as wartime head of the Munitions Ministry, which developed an atomic bomb program on Konan ( Hungnam Island ) in northern Korea and inside Fukushima Prefecture .

    Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is an unrepentant admirer of his grandfather Kishi, often quoting his forebear on the necessity of nuclear weapons for Japan . The naval standoff around the Senkaku-Diaoyu islets, as a provocation campaign, is connected with the continuing nuclear armaments program centered in Fukushima Prefecture, where the military ran uranium and thorium mines in the late 1930s, under a secret project codenamed BUND-1.

    The pall of secrecy is being reinforced by the Liberal Democratic Party, which has just rammed through a state secrets law aimed at suppressing whistleblowers and journalists on grounds of national security in foreign affairs. While the Senkaku-Diaoyu clash serves as a news diversion from the massive radioactive releases from the destroyed Fukushima nuclear plant, the maritime conflict also serves as a rallying point for Abe’s calls for “nuclear capability”.

    The postwar “peace” Constitution, forbidding Japan from war as an instrument of state policy, was drafted with assistance from Americans aiming to prevent a repeat of the wartime horrors. However, a by-now forgotten point that needs reminding is that the United States was a de facto ally of Japanese militarist aggression in Manchuria, where U.S. Army observers and railway engineers with the Harriman-owned Union Pacific Railway were stationed until just before the Pearl Harbor attack..

    Statements by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel in support of Tokyo’s claims on the islets reveal a deep-seated split between the Pentagon’s global military agenda and the State Department’s traditional support for democracy and sovereignty.

    Deceptions in History

    Tokyo’s claim to the Senkaku group is based on the principle of “terra nullis”, a Latin term that means the site was uninhabited and unclaimed until discovery by Japan. On historical record, however, the Diaoyu group was registered as part of Toucheng Township in northeast Taiwan, the closest land mass to those islets (140 kilometers versus 170 km distance from Ishigaki Island, Okinawa Prefecture).

    Japanese “discovery” of the islets in January 1895 happened to coincide with the seven-month-long First Sino-Japanese War. That conflict ended in April of that same year with the signing of the Treaty of Shimonoseki, under which diplomats of the defeated Qing Dynasty ceded the Korean Peninsula and Taiwan to Japanese rule.
    While that treaty, drafted and signed under coercion, did not specifically mention the Diaoyu group, those islets formed the critical flank for subsequent Japanese naval operations, which began in June against resistance from the newly declared Republic of Formosa. Japanese cruisers and troop carriers had to cruise past the Senkaku isets to attack the offshore Pescadore Islands in the Taiwan Strait and then proceed to the southernmost tip of Taiwan. In short, capture of the Daioyu was an integral step in Japan’s first war against China and in preparation for its military takeover of Taiwan.

    Roots of American-Japanese militarism

    Taiwan was the victim of aggression from the first joint U.S.-Japan military operations decades prior to the Nine-Power intervention against the Boxer Rebellion, which destroyed Beijing and Tianjin at the turn of the century. The punitive Taiwan Expedition of 1874 was organized by American Civil War veteran Gen. Charles Le Gendre, while the Japanese invasion forces were led by Saigo Tsugumori. These real-life figures inspired the fictional characters for the film “The Last Samurai” with Tom Cruise in the role of Capt. Nathan Algren (modeled after Le Gendre) and Ken Watanabe as Katsumoto (Saigo Takamori, Tsugumori’s elder brother).

    In contrast to the romantic Orientalism of that Hollywood version of events, the actual historical figures were not traditionalist practitioners of the warrior code known as “bushido.” In fact, Le Gendre and the Saigo brothers were military modernizers and aggressive imperialists responsible for the slaughter of Taiwanese aboriginal people who established the guidelines for Japanese expansionism into Korea and China.

    Since the 1879 visit to Japan of retired President and Civil War hero Ulysses Grant and as continued by Theodore Roosevelt during the 1904-05 Russo-Japanese War, the United States was firmly allied with its fellow republic, Meiji Japan , against a “backward” East Asia . The American view of republican Japan conveniently ignored the “deep-state” power of a coterie of militarist aristocrats and war industrialists who stood above the law from the 1868 Restoration until the 1945 defeat. The Cold War and the conflicts in Korea and Vietnam led to the revival of the military-industrial complex known as the “zaibatsu”, which is now, at this very moment, proceeding to eliminate the democratic rights of a cowed Japanese public.

    The Pacific War of 1941-45 was therefore a rare rupture i the historical cooperation between the hegemonic powers of West and East. The rise of China now threatens to upset this longstanding alliance between Washington and Tokyo, and so their joint military forces are mobilizing at the “strategic pivot” to roll back unwanted challenger. The fulcrum of the pivot, around which the entire Western Pacific now turns, is the Senkaku islets, where American and Japanese naval and air forces have a formidable strategic and tactical advantage over the People’s Liberation Army.
    Meiji Japan’s spectacular victories over the navies of Qing-dynasty China and tsarist Russia, along with the capture and colonization of Taiwan and Korea, were made possible by top-of-the-line battleships built at Scottish shipyards with loans from J.P. Morgan bank and with gunnery training from British and American officers. Ever since those days of gunpowder and glory, the domination of continental Asia remains a vital part of the globalist agenda of the financial and political elites in New York, Tokyo and London. The threat of another world war arises from these global centers, and certainly not from a defensive Beijing, Pyongyang or Moscow.

    Maritime Resource Rivalry

    In its policy paper on the Senkaku non-dispute, Japan’s Foreign Ministry claimed that China never claimed sovereignty over the islets until oil resources were discovered in the vicinity in the late 1970s. The credibility of this claim, however, was overturned by a 2012 revelation from LDP veteran Hiromi Nonaka, an expert on security affairs, in his recollection of the late Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka’s unexpected query to Chinese Premier Zhou En-lai in September 1972.

    Aides from the Foreign Ministry were reportedly taken aback by Tanaka’s off-the-cuff question to Premier Zhou about China’s position on the islets dispute. Given the urgency to normalize relations with the US and Japan, while negotiating for an end to the Vietnam War, the Chinese statesman suggested a deferral of the Senkaku negotiations until the unspecified future, according to Nonaka, who was present at that historic summit. Foreign Ministry spokesmen have since claimed that the diplomatic archives contain no record of this exchange, which is certainly not the first or last time that the historical record disappears in Tokyo.

    Taiwan left out

    Even among diehard supporters of Taiwan independence, Beijing and not Taipei has been recognized as sovereignty holder in the bilateral dispute. As a former LDP parliamentarian, Shintaro Ishihara organized the Blue Wave club of Diet members who supported Taiwan independence. In wake of the Tokyo subway gassing, however, Ishihara resigned from the Liberal Democrats due to media disclosures of his role in founding the Russo-Japan College, which was run by the subway sect Aum Shinrikyo as a front for smuggling weapons of mass destruction from a collapsing Russian economy. His close partner in creating the doomsday sect was the late Foreign Minister Shintaro Abe, father of the present prime minister.

    Despite his verbal support for an independent Taiwan, Ishihara never acknowledged that the Senkaku islets or disputed Yonaguni Island were part of Taiwan, and instead focused on opposing mainland China as the sovereign power and sworn enemy. Ishihara’s bluster and antics on the islets have united the Chinese worldwide as never before, a backlash with negative ramifications for Japan’s economy as well as its diplomacy. The landing by Hong Kong activists on the islets lends even more support for a united Chinese claim on the Diaoyu as a part of Taiwan Province.
    A note in passing: Yonaguni, famed for its mysterious underwater “pyramid”, is the southernmost island of the Ryukyu chain, and was traditionally controlled by Taipei. In the 1970s, then President Chiang Ching-kuo sent Taiwanese jet fighters on flyovers to assert Taipei’s territorial claim over that small inhabited island

    Maritime Markers

    Today, the barren outcrops are far more important as markers for 200 nautical mile maritime economic zones, under the UN Law of the Sea, than for their land value. The countries of East Asia are vying for fishery resources and more importantly the mineral and petroleum deposits below the seafloor.

    Chinese and Korean claims to the East Asian continental shelf add up to about 1 million square kilometers of maritime area, excluding the Paracel and Spratley archipelagos, which are disputed by Southeast Asian nations.

    In contrast, Japan’s ever-expanding Exclusive Economic Zone comprises 4.5 million square kilometers, a dozen times larger than Japan’s landmass. While fixating the news media on the Senkaku-Diaoyu confrontation, Tokyo has quietly laid claim to more than 30 islands and atolls on the far ends of the North Pacific, along with the 200-mile oceanic zone around every reef and outcrop.
    The Senkaku islands comprise only about 9 hectares of steep rock jutting out of rough seas. In comparison, the land area lost to the Fukushima nuclear disaster within the exclusion zone amounts to some 3,000 square kilometers. More than 33,000 Senkaku archipelagos could fit inside the radioactive dead zone.

    A die-hard supporter of nuclear power, Prime Minister Abe is willing to throw away millions of dollars “defending” a remote fringe of the East China Sea while failing to provide compensation and living expenses, much less alternative land and homes, to 160,000 evacuees from radioactive areas of Fukushima in the Honshu heartland. The current emphasis on national security and nuclear capability are completely out of kilter with the increasingly harsh conditions faced by the Japanese people.

    Winners and Losers

    The islets conflict has also permanently harmed Japan’s chances of ever recovering from Russia two of the four disputed islands of the South Kurile chain, which are lush with vegetation and once inhabited by Japanese fisher folk, who have lived in exile on Hokkaido since the war’s end. Provoking China and South Korea, while alienating Russia, have wrecked any hopes for regaining the Northern Territories.

    The only winner in the islets dispute is the Chinese navy, which by now has overwhelming and unquestioning domestic support for naval modernization and fleet expansion. Tokyo’s confrontational attitude has resurrected painful memories of past atrocities and imperialist arrogance during the two modern wars against China. It is just a matter time before an aging and less agile Japan slips badly, and the Chinese forces move in – hopefully for no more than those tiny outcrops.
    The strategic pivot policy promises only costly military spending and humiliating setbacks ahead. Japanese policymakers should accept a world court judgment, if only to prevent future losses of legitimate national territory, which is more vulnerable than any military strategist is ready to admit in public. The long-term interests of Japan and the US are better served by a maritime security treaty and resource partnership with China and Russia, not a self-defeating rivalry against these East Asian powers.

    If a strategic retreat is not implemented sooner than later, the Senkaku-Diaoyu dispute could rapidly escalate into the last battle of the Pacific War and the first shots fired in World War III. Diplomacy, as the art of compromise, is needed more than ever to prevent the unthinkable.

    Yoichi Shimatsu, a Hong Kong-based journalist, is former editor of the Japan Times Weekly in Tokyo .

  • Loverilakkuma says:

    @ DK, #8

    >…do you still honestly believe it is Japan that is manipulating the US and not the other way round?

    The US doesn’t see the Senkakus as their utmost priority so far, compared to Syria and Iran. It is true that China is strengthening their aggressive behavior in diplomacy and media communication, but they are not yet ready to become an axis of evil by breaking off normal ties with Japan and the US at their own risk.

    It is Japan’s responsibility to make its choice on the island issue without hurting relationship with its neighbor–not the US.

  • @DK #8

    I think I can see where you’re coming from, but I disagree with you.
    I’m sure that there are those in the US establishment who have eaten the ‘modern democratic Japan’ lie hook, line, and sinker, and cynically have no problem with pushing Japan into tensions with China, and by virtue of such, using Japan as their anti-China proxy; a move that still allows the US to ‘help’ its ally Japan, and ‘mediate’ some restrictions on China. Of course, it’s much cheaper for the US tax payer if Japan re-militarizes and plays cat and mouse with the Chinese navy and air force for the next 50 years or so.
    In addition, with the winding down of 2 wars and the ‘pivot to Asia’, with the exception of the USN, the US military must be worried about a sudden cut in funding, hence all the US military activity; ospreys buzzing around, US Marines teaching the SDF, B-52s flying in Chinas ADIZ- it’s ‘justify your budget time’.

    So, whilst I’m sure that the Abe administration is making all the right noises and doing its best ‘US’s poodle’ impression, I am sure that it’s quite a different story behind closed doors. Abe is a man obsessed with what he sees as Japan’s humiliation in the war, and restoring some abstract sense of ‘pride’ based on imposing Japanese standards on others. Do you really believe he can be a loyal ‘poodle’?
    After all, with his twisted world view and incorrect understanding of history, I’m sure he’d be satisfied to provoke any US/China clash, and sit back smugly as the enemies of ‘the Empire of the Sun’ went at it. After all, what would demonstrate Japsnese superiority more than manipulating Americans into dying for Japan.

    The US, driven by economic and internal issues is backing Japan, and promoting Abe’s nationalism- a nationalism that it doesn’t fully understand. At the same time Abe is a typically narrow minded o-yaji with no real understanding of the west, who is seriously miscalculating the US- Americans ate smarter than he thinks.

    Abe is in for a shock when the shooting starts, and the US orders him to shut his mouth and sit down and work something out with the Chinese. America wants a cold war only, Abe’s world view demands compliance through the application of force.

  • Are we looking at the first fallout (no pun intended) of this new law? “An Information Iron Curtain”?

    “Arnie Gundersen, Chief Engineer at Fairewinds, Dec. 16, 2013: The Japanese parliament has just passed the state secrets law. It’s really an information ‘iron curtain’ that’s preventing people in Japan from learning just how bad the exposures were that they received after the accident at Fukushima.”

    Source: (I can’t get the original page to open.)

    I know this post is not about Fukushima, and I’m not attempting to re-direct it in that direction. However, this public safety issue needing accurate information would, at a glance, seem to be the first of what will be, no doubt, many others to fall afoul of this law. If reporting this is deemed a ‘national secret’ punishable by prison, then what other essential information may be withheld on similar grounds, real or imagined? Any number of the money-politics scandals which have plagued Japan since WWII come to mind. Will reporting on the next Minamata, Itai-Itai, poison-laced chicken, broccoli, gyouza, JPY100m Dental Association cheques under the table, Shizuoka-ken Police slush-fund, Muneo-House, Loughheed etc. etc. etc. ALL be protected, given a ‘legitimate’ code of silence, an ‘Omerta’ if you will?

    Whatever one thinks of Arnie Gunderson, I think that his description of this law as an “Information Iron Curtain” is most apt and fitting. If memory serves me well, one of the first things that happened after the last ‘iron curtain’ was erected was the building of special ‘centres’ for those who did not, or would not comply with this kind of legislation. Can “Arbeit Macht Frei” or “労働はあなたが自由になる” be far behind? Especially if you are not Japanese?

    Would the Abe regime do something like this? My answer: “Yup, in a heartbeat.” Aso’s ironing his brown shirt already!

  • Loverilakkuma says:

    Colin Jones joins in the critique of the “Government 4th Amendment”(secret laws bill) in his recent JT article.

    If I follow his point correctly, I think this law will likely function in a way to protect a mastermind in the seat–such as James Clapper for lying under oath (classic example here, for covering-up critical information that threatens the national security and/or human life.

  • #18JDG

    There is also, not that I can find, anyone explain how and where the funds are coming from to pay for all this too? With a 280%-ish GDP debt ratio, and many starting to realise that Abenomics is all bluster & show but not much else, and when the Yen starts falling back once the lack of structural reforms is exposed…where will the money come from to pay for all these toys??….is this the slow burning ember that becomes a spark for locals to protest to their politicians that it is THEY that need help and financial support not the Military!

  • Opposition to Abe’s policies? Opposition party not required! Again, with no checks, balances, nor oversight, we are expected to believe that we can leave opposition to…..Abe’s wife? Is that really the sorry state of Japanese democracy, and does the unelected Wife of Abe have the power to hold him publicly accountable? No. But a fascist state only needs the appearance of those things.

  • @ John K #19

    I totally agree that it’s a waste of money, that will most likely start an arms race that will easily bankrupt Japan before it could bankrupt China, but Abe doesn’t care about that; a lack of the ‘third arrow’ shows that he’s got no interest in saving the Japanese economy. Abenomics was the lie that got him elected to pursue his nationalist agenda. All Abe wants is a Japanese military putting fear into the hearts of his perceived enemies, and recognized by others as ‘leading Asia’ for the sake of his personal grudge about his families wartime history IMHO.
    The Japanese won’t, I think, wake up from the lie until its too late, just like 1945.

  • Loverilakkuma says:

    @JDZ, #22

    >Has the J-press reached it’s tipping point now that it’s freedom of speech has been threatened? A little late, but better than nothing…..

    I haven’t seen that coming yet. Some Japanese free-lance journalists may pick it up—but I haven’t see anyone doing a similar thing as investigative journalists such as David Sirota and James Fallows are addressing the issue in both major and independent media on a daily basis.

    We may have a different view on the JT regarding its role and footprint, depending on how people frame English-language media in contrast to Japanese language media at local or tertiary level. My gut feeling is that JT can be placed into sub-category of Japanese media but could be treated somewhat differently from local/regional newspaper (i.e., Tokyo Shinbun) possibly due to its liminal characteristics as ‘international/intercultural’ media. Few people will pay attention unless someone translates and puts it into Japanese language media outlet for those who don’t understand English.

  • #23JDG

    I suspect that China, is playing a bit of the same trick the US did with the USSR, re: Star Wars. Which coerced the USSR to make their own, or rather attempt to make their own version of Star Wars missile defence system which ultimately bankrupt the country as being a technological step and financial step too far. If China ramps up the Military spending and its verbal subtle rhetoric, then they know Japan will follow suit (keeping up with the Jones’), viz a viz, US and USSR.

    Japan, or rather as you note Abe, will blindly go down that route for his own personal selfish reasons and bankrupting the country in the process….only time will tell if the J-sleeply citizen will wake up in time. Assuming anyone can report as such, since it is a “state secret”!!!

  • Possible new comeback in English classes in Japan:

    Student: Sensei, how old are you/are you gay/are you married/what is your blood type? (all real questions I have got first time).

    Sensei: Sorry, that is a state secret (punishable with up to 10 years in prison). Because here is (safety) Japan.

    Adjust parts in parentheses according to the amount of irony you feel you can get away with.

    Merry Xmas.

  • It just keeps getting worse:

    “..Governor of Japan broadcaster NHK denies Nanjing massacre..”

    How much air brushing of history do these people think is possible until someone that is not Japanese notices??

    “..”In 1938, Chiang Kai-shek tried to publicise Japan’s responsibility for the Nanking Massacre, but the nations of the world ignored him. Why? Because it never happened,” the Asahi newspaper quoted Mr Hyakuta as saying…”



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