Xi Jinping Rewrites WW2 History

Xi Jinping Rewrites WW2 HistoryMassive ceremonies focused on military display are planned by China on Sept. 3 to mark the defeat of Japan in World War II. This is yet another step in the re-writing of history that ignores most of the rest of Asia. The facts of history are that Japan lost a war with the United States,…

Will the Waters of the East China Sea Start to Boil?

Will the Waters of the East China Sea Start to Boil?As the world’s attention has been focused on China’s provocative land reclamation projects in the South China Sea and their implications for potential conflict, the situation in the East China Sea has been relatively quiet so far this year, which may be a comfortable delusion. The last major provocation was in November, 2013, when China…

China, India, Japan, US in Indian Ocean Great Game

China, India, Japan, US in Indian Ocean Great GameAlthough India and China are expected to become each other’s largest trading partners, the prospects of an Indian Ocean conflict between them are also increasing, with an emerging Great Game for influence. Of important developments taking place during the past year or so, one of the most recent is Japan’s decision to join India and…

Japan’s Security Pact: Long Hot Summer

Japan’s Security Pact: Long Hot SummerDuring his spring visit to the United States, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stood in the well of the House of Representatives and promised: “I will pass national security legislation by the end of summer.” He was referring to a new law and amendments to nearly a dozen other laws relating to the deployment of…

US-Japan Alliance Revitalized

US-Japan Alliance RevitalizedThe new Guidelines for the US-Japan Defense Cooperation represent the most sweeping changes in the US-Japan alliance in the 55 years since the mutual security treaty was signed in 1960. Indeed, it is possible now to write about the alliance without putting the word in quotation marks. The new guidelines, the first revision since 1997,…

Japan’s Abe Tries Painful Structural Reform

Japan’s Abe Tries Painful Structural ReformIn his 29 April speech to US Congress, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe proudly referred to his administration’s “sweeping reforms to our agricultural cooperatives that have not changed in 60 long years.”  Those reforms ae a part of Abe’s crucial “third arrow” of structural reform, which has been stalled since he took office. But the draft bill presented to…

The Pains and Gains of a Strong Japan

The Pains and Gains of a Strong JapanSept 2, 2015 will mark 70 years since V-J Day (Victory over Japan Day) and, in effect, the end of the Second World War.  In 1960, the United States and Japanese governments would sign a security treaty building upon previous arrangements permitting the stationing of American troops on Japanese soil and the restriction of Japanese…

Why are Japanese Baseball Pitchers Breaking Down?

Why are Japanese Baseball Pitchers Breaking Down?Fans of the Texas Rangers, the Texas-based baseball team, were downcast after learning that their ace Japanese pitcher, Yu Darvish, will remain on the disabled list and not play a game during the entire 2015 season because an elbow injury required surgery. As baseball writers on both sides of the Pacific were struggling to absorb…

Japan’s Disguised Aircraft Carriers

Japan’s Disguised Aircraft CarriersJapan commissioned the 24,000-ton Izumo last month. the largest warship to join the navy since the end of World War II. To hear Beijing, it was the second coming of the Imperial Navy and ipso facto evidence that the country, under its conservative premier Shinzo Abe, is hell-bent on “remilitarization” By coincidence the commissioning came…

Tokyo Districts Give Boost to Same-Sex Marriage

Tokyo Districts Give Boost to Same-Sex MarriageTwo Tokyo wards are considering a plan to issue same-sex “partnership certificates,” putting the spotlight on the status of same-sex marriage in Japan. Trendy Shibuya Ward got the ball rolling in early February by announcing that it would declare same-sex unions to be the “equivalent of marriage.” Setagaya, Tokyo’s most populous ward [borough] quickly followed…