Godzilla’s New Stomping Ground

Godzilla’s New Stomping GroundLooking hardly a day over 60 million years old, Godzilla turned 60 this year, brought back to life as Hollywood resuscitated the slumbering giant monster and turned what had been and is a Japanese icon into an American smash hit of global proportions. The new Godzilla franchise reboot set a record, earning $196 million in…

Japan and the South China Sea Conflict

Japan and the South China Sea ConflictImagine this scenario: China decides to erect another offshore oil digging rig this time in waters in the South China Sea claimed by the Philippines. It surrounds the rig with numerous coast guard vessels. Manila calls for help from its good, long-time alliance partner the United States. But it also appeals for help to another…

Sea Shepherd or Sea Scandal?

Sea Shepherd or Sea Scandal?At a small pier at the bottom of Ann Street in Williamstown, a bayside suburb of Melbourne is a small letterbox with the words "Sea Shepherd" painted over it. It is a remarkably open entry to what has been characterized as the Action Directe of environmental NGOs, given to scuttling whaling ships in harbor, shining…

Japanese Whalers Again Face Confrontation in Antarctic

Japanese Whalers Again Face Confrontation in AntarcticThe annual whale hunt season has arrived in the Southern Seas with the embarkation of the notorious Japanese whalers early this month, undeterred by the expected interception of the anti-whaling group- Sea Shepherd Australia (SSA). The whale activists launched the 10th Antarctic Defense Campaign, dubbed “Operation Relentless, early this month. As in the past nine…

Blundering into war

Blundering into warIt was surely enough to send a shiver down American, European and Asian spines in the lead-up to the festive season, the signs of a putative new war in East Asia. But was anyone really listening, even as South Korea announced this past weekend it had extended its air defense zone into a similar zone declared by China two weeks ago? Is…

Past is Present for Japan

Past is Present for JapanIn the nearly one year that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been in power, he has visited some 23 countries, far more than any other Japanese premier in his first year in office. He has visited all 10 Asean countries, most recently Laos, several Middle East countries (twice to Turkey), and even Mongolia. There are…

Japan’s Call for Collective Defense

Japan’s Call for Collective DefenseImagine this scenario: a lightly-armed US Navy intelligence-gathering ship cruising off the coast of North Korea is suddenly surrounded by enemy patrol vessels demanding that it surrender. Only a few kilometers away, a destroyer belonging to the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force – the navy in everything but name –happens to be cruising close enough…
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