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Whither Japan? Divine Wind, Take 2?

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash dri­ve that can be obtained here. (The flash dri­ve includes the anti-fas­cist books avail­able on this site.)

COMMENT: In numer­ous broad­casts, we have cov­ered the sad real­i­ty that in post World War II Japan, as in post World War II Ger­many, the pub­lic per­cep­tion that the forces of fas­cism were erad­i­cat­ed is a delib­er­ate­ly cul­ti­vat­ed polit­i­cal myth.

Inter­est­ed researchers are emphat­i­cal­ly encour­aged to read Gold War­riors by Ster­ling and Peg­gy Sea­grave. Cov­er­ing the Japan­ese equiv­a­lent of the Bor­mann flight cap­i­tal net­work, the vol­ume is a hero­ic, mas­ter­ful analy­sis and pen­e­tra­tion of the Asian wing of the car­tel sys­tem that spawned fas­cism, as well as the real­i­ties of the post-World War II Japan­ese polit­i­cal and eco­nom­ic land­scape. (FTR #‘s 290, 426427428446451501509, 689 deal with the sub­ject of the Gold­en Lily pro­gram suc­cess­ful­ly imple­ment­ed by the Japan­ese to loot Asia, as well as the restora­tion of Japan­ese fas­cists to posi­tions of promi­nence in post­war Japan.)

Be care­ful what you wish for, you might get it–a not-so-divine wind.

In addi­tion to his laud­able stim­u­lus pro­gram for Japan’s mori­bund econ­o­my, Japan­ese prime min­is­ter Abe has–much less laudably–embarked on a pro­gram of mil­i­tarism, per­haps to use the Ronald Rea­gan for­mu­la of “mil­i­tary Key­ne­sian­ism” to suple­ment the stim­u­lus.

Abe’s Lib­er­al Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty is the pri­ma­ry vehi­cle for the per­pet­u­a­tion of post­war Japan­ese fas­cism and is show­ing signs of return­ing to that unfor­tu­nate past.

In a recent cam­paign appear­ance, Abe advis­er Masahisa Sato read from the jour­nal of a Japan­ese Kamikaze pilot, who died crash­ing his plane into an Amer­i­can ship dur­ing World War II.

With Japan equipped with the poten­tial to devel­op nuclear weapons and with chief Japan­ese strate­gic rival Chi­na a nuclear pow­er, this kind of revan­chist, atavis­tic saber-rat­tling bodes poor­ly for the future of Asia and the world.

An all-out war between Japan and Chi­na would dev­as­tate both Chi­na and Asia. It would result in the  anni­hi­la­tion of Japan and the exter­mi­na­tion of its peo­ple.

Updat­ing this post, we learn that a Kore­an court has ruled that Mit­subishi must reim­burse some Kore­an nation­als for forced labor dur­ing World War II.  (See text excerpts below.) Note what the response was when U.S. POW’s attempt­ed to obtain com­pen­sa­tion for their forced labor.

“As Ten­sions Rise, Paci­fist Japan March­es Into a Mil­i­tary Revival” by Yuka Hayashi; The Wall Street Jour­nal; 7/18/2013.

EXCERPT: Masahisa Sato stood in a ball­room under a giant Japan­ese flag, read­ing to the after-work crowd from a let­ter a World War II kamikaze pilot sent his young daugh­ter.

“Don’t see your­self as a father­less child. I will always be look­ing out for your safe­ty,” Mr. Sato quot­ed the pilot as writ­ing before he flew his plane into a U.S. ship off the Philip­pines in 1944, with his daugh­ter’s favorite doll in the cock­pit.
As the audi­ence fell silent, Mr. Sato declared, his voice hoarse: “We have peo­ple we want to pro­tect. We must have the resolve to hand this nation to the next gen­er­a­tion.”

Mr. Sato is no fringe mil­i­taris­tic crank. He is a top defense advis­er to Prime Min­is­ter Shin­zo Abe and a mem­ber of Japan’s par­lia­ment run­ning for re-elec­tion on Sun­day. The vote will help deter­mine the extent of Mr. Abe’s grip on power—and his abil­i­ty to push through an agen­da to trans­form Japan’s mil­i­tary to an extent unseen since the bit­ter defeat near­ly 70 years ago.

“We see the votes Mr. Sato receives as the proxy for our par­ty’s hard-fought nation­al-secu­ri­ty strat­e­gy,” Shigeru Ishi­ba, a rul­ing-par­ty offi­cial, told vot­ers at the ral­ly. “We must revive a strong Japan. We have just a few years to make that hap­pen.”

The elec­tion is con­sid­ered like­ly to rat­i­fy a sur­pris­ing­ly swift Japan­ese embrace of a more mus­cu­lar mil­i­tary, as region­al ten­sions, shift­ing atti­tudes and gen­er­a­tional change erode post­war paci­fism. . . .

. . . . His Lib­er­al Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty is expect­ed to score a com­fort­able elec­tion win, giv­ing him a strong man­date. Mr. Abe, who him­self isn’t run­ning, remains very pop­u­lar, with an approval rat­ing above 60%. . . .

. . . . On Wednes­day, just four days before the vote, Mr. Abe took his cam­paign to the front lines of Japan’s ter­ri­to­r­i­al dis­pute with Chi­na, mak­ing a high­ly unusu­al trip to two out­er islands of Oki­nawa. He ral­lied troops at an air force radar site and board­ed a coast guard cut­ter assigned to patrol the con­tentious waters. “I intend to lead the way in efforts to pro­tect our ter­ri­to­r­i­al land, water and sky till the very end,” Mr. Abe said in a speech to coast guard offi­cials. . . .

. . . . “Defense of Japan White Paper” released July 9 spot­light­ed con­tin­u­ing debates among law­mak­ers and bureau­crats about the need for amphibi­ous forces and the capa­bil­i­ty to launch pre-emp­tive strikes against ene­my bases when attacks on Japan are thought immi­nent. The gov­ern­ment has already tak­en steps to expand bal­lis­tic-mis­sile defense sys­tems and pro­mote weapons exports. . . .

. . . . His hawk­ish rhetoric wor­ries neigh­bors once vic­tim­ized by Japan’s aggres­sion. The ten­sions involve lin­ger­ing dis­agree­ments over the inter­pre­ta­tion of Japan’s wartime role. Since Mr. Abe took pow­er, Chi­na and South Korea, in par­tic­u­lar, have bit­ter­ly com­plained about vis­its made by Mr. Abe’s top aides to a con­tro­ver­sial Tokyo war shrine and about remarks Mr. Abe made seem­ing to ques­tion whether Japan invad­ed any­body. . . .

“South Kore­an Court Tells Japan­ese Com­pa­ny to Pay for Forced Labor” by Choe San-Hung; The New York Times; 7/30/2013.

EXCERPT: In a ver­dict expect­ed to inten­si­fy ten­sions with Japan, a South Kore­an court on Tues­day ordered Mit­subishi Heavy Indus­tries to com­pen­sate five South Kore­ans who were forced to work in the company’s fac­to­ries dur­ing the peri­od of Japan­ese colo­nial rule of Korea, which end­ed with World War II.

The high court in Busan, a port city in south­east­ern South Korea, ordered the com­pa­ny to pay $71,800 to each of the five Kore­ans.

It was the sec­ond such rul­ing against a Japan­ese com­pa­ny this month. On July 10, the Seoul High Court ordered the Nip­pon Steel and Sum­it­o­mo Met­al Cor­po­ra­tion to pay $89,800 to each of four South Kore­an plain­tiffs to com­pen­sate them for forced labor. Nip­pon Steel and Mit­subishi each said they planned to appeal.

The Busan court said in its rul­ing that Mit­subishi forced the South Kore­an plain­tiffs to “toil in poor con­di­tions in Hiroshi­ma and yet failed to pay wages,” and “did not pro­vide prop­er shel­ters or food after the drop­ping of an atom­ic bomb” there in 1945. All five plain­tiffs are now deceased; their fam­i­lies rep­re­sent­ed them in court.

The two rul­ings were the first in favor of South Kore­ans in a 16-year legal bat­tle waged in Japan and South Korea, and they could prompt sim­i­lar law­suits from oth­er vic­tims or their fam­i­lies. At least 1.2 mil­lion Kore­ans were forced to work for Japan’s war efforts in Japan, Chi­na and else­where, his­to­ri­ans here said. Some 300 Japan­ese com­pa­nies still in oper­a­tion are believed to have used forced labor dur­ing the colo­nial peri­od from 1910 to 1945, accord­ing to offi­cials in the South Kore­an cap­i­tal, Seoul. . . .

Discussion

7 comments for “Whither Japan? Divine Wind, Take 2?”

  1. From pre­emp­tive paci­fism to pre­emp­tive strikes. Yikes:

    Japan to mull pre-emp­tive strike abil­i­ty in defense update

    By Lin­da Sieg

    TOKYO | Wed Jul 24, 2013 10:11pm EDT

    (Reuters) — Japan is like­ly to start con­sid­er­ing acquir­ing the abil­i­ty to launch pre-emp­tive mil­i­tary strikes in a planned update of its basic defense poli­cies, the lat­est step away from the con­straints of its paci­fist con­sti­tu­tion.

    The expect­ed pro­pos­al, which could sound alarm bells in Chi­na, is part of a review of Japan’s defense poli­cies under­tak­en by Prime Min­is­ter Shin­zo Abe’s gov­ern­ment, an inter­im report on which could come as ear­ly as Fri­day. The final con­clu­sions of the review are due out by the end of the year.

    The hawk­ish Abe took office in Decem­ber for a rare sec­ond term, pledg­ing to bol­ster the mil­i­tary to cope with what Japan sees as an increas­ing­ly threat­en­ing secu­ri­ty envi­ron­ment includ­ing an assertive Chi­na and unpre­dictable North Korea.

    Arti­cle 9 of Japan’s con­sti­tu­tion, draft­ed by U.S. occu­pa­tion forces after its defeat in World War Two, renounces the right to wage war and, if tak­en lit­er­al­ly, rules out the very notion of a stand­ing army. In real­i­ty, Japan’s Self-Defense Forces are one of Asi­a’s strongest mil­i­taries.

    The Defence Min­istry will call in the inter­im report for a study of how to “strength­en the abil­i­ty to deter and respond to bal­lis­tic mis­siles”, the Yomi­uri news­pa­per and oth­er media said on Thurs­day.

    But in a sign of the sen­si­tiv­i­ty, the report will stop short of specif­i­cal­ly men­tion­ing the abil­i­ty to hit ene­my bases when the threat of attack is immi­nent, the Yomi­uri news­pa­per said.

    The min­istry will also con­sid­er buy­ing unmanned sur­veil­lance drones and cre­at­ing a Marines force to pro­tect remote islands, such as those at the core of a dis­pute with Chi­na, media said.

    “The acqui­si­tion of offen­sive capa­bil­i­ty would be a fun­da­men­tal change in our defense pol­i­cy, a kind of philo­soph­i­cal change,” said Marushige Michishi­ta, a pro­fes­sor at the Nation­al Grad­u­ate Insti­tute of Pol­i­cy Stud­ies.

    Obtain­ing that capa­bil­i­ty, how­ev­er, would take time, mon­ey and train­ing, mean­ing any shift may be more rhetor­i­cal than real. “It’s eas­i­er said than done,” Michishi­ta added.

    The updat­ed guide­lines could also touch on Abe’s moves toward lift­ing a self-imposed ban on exer­cis­ing the right of col­lec­tive self-defense, or help­ing an ally under attack, such as if North Korea launched an attack on the Unit­ed States.

    The defense review may also urge replac­ing a self-imposed ban on arms exports, that has been eased sev­er­al times, mak­ing it eas­i­er for Japan’s defense con­trac­tors to join inter­na­tion­al projects and reduce pro­cure­ment costs.

    Some experts stressed that the changes were evo­lu­tion­ary rather than a sud­den trans­for­ma­tion in Japan’s defense pos­ture.

    QUESTIONS OVER HARDWARE, COST

    “It’s all part of a process of Japan edg­ing away from the most restric­tive inter­pre­ta­tion of Arti­cle 9,” said Richard Samuels, direc­tor of the MIT-Japan pro­gram at the Mass­a­chu­setts Insti­tute of Tech­nol­o­gy.

    Still, giv­en Japan’s strained ties with Chi­na over dis­put­ed isles and how to frame the nar­ra­tive of Japan’s wartime his­to­ry, Chi­na is like­ly to react strong­ly to the pro­pos­als, which come after Abe cement­ed his grip on pow­er with a big win in a week­end elec­tion for par­lia­men­t’s upper house.

    “No mat­ter how Japan explains things, Chi­na will attack it pret­ty harsh­ly,” said Michael Green of the Wash­ing­ton-based Cen­ter for Strate­gic and Inter­na­tion­al Stud­ies.

    Although Chi­na has been a nuclear pow­er for decades and North Korea is devel­op­ing nuclear arms, Japan says it has no inten­tion of doing so.

    Sup­port has grown in Japan for a more robust mil­i­tary because of con­cern about Chi­na, but oppo­si­tion also remains.

    Japan last updat­ed its Nation­al Defence Pro­gramme Guide­lines in 2010 when the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty of Japan was in pow­er.

    Those changes shift­ed Japan away from defend­ing areas to its north, a Cold War lega­cy, to a defense capa­bil­i­ty that could respond with more flex­i­bil­i­ty to incur­sions to the south, the site of the row with Chi­na over tiny, unin­hab­it­ed islands.

    Japan has for decades been stretch­ing the lim­its of Arti­cle 9 and has long said it has the right to attack ene­my bases over­seas when the ene­my’s inten­tion to attack Japan is evi­dent, the threat is immi­nent and there are no oth­er defense options.

    But while pre­vi­ous admin­is­tra­tions shied away from acquir­ing the hard­ware to do so, Abe’s Lib­er­al Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty in June urged the gov­ern­ment to con­sid­er acquir­ing that capa­bil­i­ty.

    Just what hard­ware might come under con­sid­er­a­tion is as yet unclear. And with a huge pub­lic debt, Japan may be in no posi­tion to afford the bill.

    ...

    It’s like going to be inter­est­ing (in a hor­rif­ic way) to see what kind of drones a coun­try with the robot­ics exper­tise of Japan will be churn­ing out if they con­tin­ue down this path. It’ll also be inter­est­ing (also in a hor­rif­ic way) to see how a dense­ly pop­u­lat­ed Island nation bristling with vul­ner­a­ble nuclear pow­er plants — includ­ing one that’s still releas­ing steam from the hole where the roof used to be — fares in a mod­ern mil­i­tary con­flict. This is one of those news sto­ries that makes zany pub­lic spec­u­la­tions by Defense Min­is­ters about the need to defend against UFO inva­sions seem rel­a­tive­ly reas­sur­ing.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 24, 2013, 7:30 pm
  2. A clar­i­fi­ca­tion on Japan mulling adding pre­emp­tive strikes to its con­sti­tu­tion: The review pan­el mak­ing these sug­ges­tions want to empha­size that the pre­emp­tive strike capa­bil­i­ties would be only for strik­ing ene­my mis­sile launch sites. So the pro­posed pre­emp­tive strike capa­bil­i­ty is going to be framed a form of mis­sile defense. Assum­ing that’s the actu­al long-term agen­da, it looks like Japan could be mak­ing some sig­nif­i­cant future invest­ments in mis­siles:

    Japan mil­i­tary ‘needs marines and drones’
    BBC, 26 July 2013 Last updat­ed at 01:27 ET

    Japan should bol­ster its marine force and intro­duce sur­veil­lance drones, a defence review paper says, high­light­ing con­cerns over Chi­na and North Korea.

    Units that could be dis­patched quick­ly to remote islands were need­ed, the doc­u­ment said, and equip­ment to detect “at an ear­ly stage signs of changes in the secu­ri­ty sit­u­a­tion”.

    The report comes amid ongo­ing ten­sions with Chi­na over dis­put­ed islands.

    It also flagged up the need for bet­ter defences against mis­sile attacks.

    North Korea con­duct­ed what was wide­ly seen as a long-range mis­sile test in Decem­ber 2012 and fol­lowed up with its third test of a nuclear device in Feb­ru­ary 2013.

    ...

    ‘More severe’

    The inter­im report is part of a defence review ordered by Mr Abe, with final pro­pos­als due by Decem­ber.

    On Sun­day, Mr Abe won back con­trol of Japan’s Upper House, mean­ing he now con­trols par­lia­ment and would be in a stronger posi­tion to reshape Japan’s cur­rent defence strat­e­gy.

    Under its post-war con­sti­tu­tion, Japan is blocked from the use of force to resolve con­flicts except in the case of self-defence.

    But Mr Abe has indi­cat­ed he would like to broad­en the scope of activ­i­ties that Japan’s mil­i­tary are allowed to engage in.

    In addi­tion to pro­pos­als con­cern­ing marines and drones, the report calls for a strength­ened abil­i­ty to “to deter and respond to bal­lis­tic mis­siles”.

    “Japan needs to enhance its abil­i­ty to respond to bal­lis­tic mis­sile attacks in a com­pre­hen­sive man­ner,” Kyo­do news agency quot­ed the report as say­ing.

    But offi­cials have been keen to empha­sise that this does not mean Japan is eye­ing pre-emp­tive strikes on ene­my tar­gets.

    “It is nec­es­sary to con­sid­er whether we should have the option to strike an ene­my’s mis­sile launch facil­i­ties,” an uniden­ti­fied defence min­istry offi­cial told Reuters news agency.

    “But we are not at all think­ing about ini­ti­at­ing attacks on ene­my bases when we are not under attack.”

    It’s also worth not­ing that Japan’s exist­ing mis­sile defense sys­tems are already amongst the most advanced in the world, with US tech­nol­o­gy play­ing a big role. And this advanced US/Japanees mis­sile defense sys­tems is appar­ent­ly slat­ed for glob­al export:

    The Wall Street Jour­nal
    Decem­ber 9, 2012, 5:54 a.m. ET

    Japan Shows Off Its Mis­sile-Defense Sys­tem

    By
    CHESTER DAWSON

    TOKYO—Since North Korea shocked Japan by lob­bing a rock­et over the coun­try near­ly 15 years ago, the Japan­ese have spent $12 bil­lion try­ing to make sure it nev­er hap­pens again. Japan now has the most sophis­ti­cat­ed mis­sile-defense sys­tem out­side the U.S., a sys­tem poised for export to oth­er nations.

    Japan’s ambi­tious, cost­ly effort to pro­tect itself from North Kore­a’s machi­na­tions and from poten­tial threats from Chi­na could be test­ed as soon as Mon­day. That is the ear­li­est date Pyongyang has said it plans to launch anoth­er mul­ti­stage rock­et that offi­cials in Tokyo warn could fly on a tra­jec­to­ry over south­ern­most Japan. Over the week­end, North Korea said it may delay the launch to an unspec­i­fied date.

    Just as the suc­cess of Israel’s so-called Iron Dome antirock­et sys­tem has attract­ed much atten­tion in recent weeks, Japan’s mul­ti­lay­ered bal­lis­tic-mis­sile defense pro­gram using licensed U.S. tech­nol­o­gy has been mov­ing qui­et­ly in recent years from the draw­ing board to full deploy­ment nation­wide.

    As part of the plan, start­ing as ear­ly as 2018, Japan is expect­ed to begin full-scale pro­duc­tion of a new gen­er­a­tion of pow­er­ful inter­cep­tors devel­oped joint­ly with the U.S., which wants the Japan­ese to export these mis­siles to oth­er nations, in line with the recent soft­en­ing of Toky­o’s decades-old ban on most weapons ship­ments.

    The lat­est state-of-the-art Japan­ese sys­tem uses both land-based Patri­ot-mis­sile bat­ter­ies and sea-based Aegis naval destroy­ers, along with dozens of radars. That makes Japan the only coun­try out­side the U.S. with both low-lev­el and upper-tier defens­es capa­ble of inter­cept­ing threats beyond Earth­’s atmos­phere.

    “Japan is at the lead­ing edge in that it’s the only nation oth­er than the U.S. with SM‑3” inter­me­di­ate-range mis­sile inter­cep­tors, said Shinichi Ogawa, a pro­fes­sor at Rit­sumeikan Asia Pacif­ic Uni­ver­si­ty and the for­mer research direc­tor at the Japan­ese defense min­istry’s Nation­al Insti­tute for Defense Stud­ies.

    ...

    In one sign of the devel­op­ing capa­bil­i­ties of advanced-bal­lis­tic-mis­sile defense, Japan­ese defense-min­istry offi­cials say they had the abil­i­ty to pin­point the loca­tion of North Kore­an long-range mis­siles launched in 2006 and 2009—iand hint Japan would have had no trou­ble inter­cept­ing them.

    “We pre­cise­ly tracked both those mis­siles, so we are very con­fi­dent in our sys­tem,” Masayu­ki Iwaike, direc­tor of mis­sile-defense and space pol­i­cy in the min­istry’s defense-pol­i­cy bureau, said in an inter­view.

    Even if Japan­ese destroy­ers are tech­ni­cal­ly capa­ble of inter­cept­ing a mis­sile, Tokyo has indi­cat­ed it is inclined to use land-based Patri­ots, and only if Japan­ese ter­ri­to­ry is endan­gered. Experts say a sea-based inter­dic­tion short­ly after launch could be seen as an act of aggres­sion by North Korea.

    The sys­tem was con­tro­ver­sial when first pro­posed in 1993 due to its high cost and poten­tial to antag­o­nize neigh­bor­ing states. But home­grown oppo­si­tion evap­o­rat­ed five years lat­er when North Korea sent a long-range mul­ti­stage mis­sile over north­ern Japan and into the Pacif­ic Ocean.

    Fol­low­ing years of study, Japan reached an agree­ment with the U.S. in 2003 to license tech­nol­o­gy for its bal­lis­tic-mis­sile defense.

    Since then, the pro­gram has accel­er­at­ed, begin­ning with the first Patri­ot Advanced Capability‑3 (PAC‑3) and Aegis-equipped ship deploy­ments in 2007. Today, Japan has 16 Patri­ot fir­ing units capa­ble of tar­get­ing low-lev­el mis­siles and debris, and four Aegis destroy­ers armed with bal­lis­tic-mis­sile inter­cep­tors.

    The next stage is poten­tial­ly even more ambitious—and con­tro­ver­sial. Japan and the U.S. are set to begin tests of a new inter­cep­tor with vast­ly expand­ed speed and range. A pro­duc­tion ver­sion of those mis­siles is expect­ed from 2018 and, in what some gov­ern­ment offi­cials call a game chang­er, the U.S. is push­ing hard for Japan to trans­fer this tech­nol­o­gy to oth­er allied coun­tries with Aegis sys­tems.

    Japan has agreed in prin­ci­ple to as much, as illus­trat­ed by a state­ment on the U.S. Mis­sile Defense Agen­cy’s home page about the spread of region­al bal­lis­tic-mis­sile defense, which says: “The SM‑3 Block IIA, being code­vel­oped with Japan, is on sched­ule for deploy­ment at Aegis Ashore sites in Roma­nia and Poland, and aboard Aegis BMD ships at sea.”

    Japan­ese offi­cials, sen­si­tive to domes­tic and for­eign wari­ness about Japan emerg­ing as a glob­al-weapons sup­pli­er, are quick to say that no for­mal deci­sion has been made to move for­ward. But last year, Tokyo cleared the way by lift­ing a self-imposed ban on arms ship­ments over­seas dat­ing from 1967.

    “There are no con­crete plans to deliv­er to a third par­ty because we are still in the devel­op­ment phase,” said Mr. Iwaike of the defense min­istry. “In the­o­ry, we could export them, but we haven’t done that.”

    ...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 25, 2013, 10:35 pm
  3. Did­n’t know it was the 68th aniver­sary of the drop­ping of the bomb on Hiroshi­ma till I read the arti­cle from CNN linked below. It was a very unfor­tu­nate thing that so many inno­cent Japan­ese Civil­lians died on that day, and the days that fol­lowed. But it is also unfor­tu­nate how Japan chose to mark the 68th aniver­sary today. See linked arti­cle: http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/06/world/asia/japan-new-warship/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

    “Divine” Wind: Take 2.

    Posted by GK | August 6, 2013, 8:17 pm
  4. Mr. “Hur­ry up and die” has a new idea:

    Japan­ese gov­ern­ment min­is­ter’s Nazi remarks cause furor

    By Jethro Mullen, CNN
    updat­ed 8:06 AM EDT, Fri August 2, 2013

    (CNN) — Japan’s deputy prime min­is­ter stirred con­tro­ver­sy this week by appear­ing to sug­gest that the gov­ern­ment could learn from the way that Nazi Ger­many changed its con­sti­tu­tion.

    The remarks by Taro Aso, who is also the Japan­ese finance min­is­ter, pro­voked crit­i­cism from Japan’s neigh­bors and a Jew­ish orga­ni­za­tion in the Unit­ed States.

    Aso, a for­mer prime min­is­ter who has slipped up with ver­bal gaffes in the past, retract­ed the com­ments lat­er in the week but refused to apol­o­gize for them or resign, say­ing they had been tak­en out of con­text.

    Amid per­sis­tent talk in Japan about revis­ing the coun­try’s paci­fist post-war con­sti­tu­tion, Aso set off the con­tro­ver­sy at a sem­i­nar Mon­day, in which he said that dis­cus­sions over con­sti­tu­tion­al changes should be car­ried out calm­ly.

    “Ger­many’s Weimar Con­sti­tu­tion was changed into the Nazi Con­sti­tu­tion before any­one knew,” he said in com­ments wide­ly report­ed by the Japan­ese media. “It was changed before any­one else noticed. Why don’t we learn from that method?”

    Aso added: “I have no inten­tion of deny­ing democ­ra­cy. Again, I repeat that we should not decide [con­sti­tu­tion­al revi­sions] in a fren­zy.”

    In 1933, Adolf Hitler’s Nation­al Social­ists turned the demo­c­ra­t­ic Weimar Repub­lic into a dic­ta­tor­ship using “a com­bi­na­tion of legal pro­ce­dure, per­sua­sion, and ter­ror,” accord­ing to the U.S. Library of Con­gress.

    Hitler used a fire that burned down the par­lia­ment build­ing as a pre­text to sup­press the oppo­si­tion through an emer­gency clause in the con­sti­tu­tion. He then pushed through the Enabling Act, which allowed him to gov­ern with­out par­lia­ment and vast­ly extend the Nazis’ grip on pow­er.

    Words that hurt

    ...

    ‘Great mis­un­der­stand­ings’

    Aso respond­ed Thurs­day to the crit­i­cism over his com­ments, which also came from oppo­si­tion law­mak­ers in Japan, say­ing he regret­ted that the remarks had “caused great mis­un­der­stand­ings despite my true inten­tions.”

    He said that he had referred to the Nazi takeover of pow­er as a “bad exam­ple” of con­sti­tu­tion­al revi­sion because changes were forced through “in a com­mo­tion.” They should be done through calm debates instead.

    “I believe it is obvi­ous that I feel extreme­ly neg­a­tive­ly about Nazi Ger­many, if you con­sid­er the entire con­text,” he said. “How­ev­er, since these remarks have caused seri­ous mis­un­der­stand­ings, I would like to retract them.”

    Japan­ese Cab­i­net Sec­re­tary Yoshi­hide Suga told a news con­fer­ence the same day that “the Abe admin­is­tra­tion def­i­nite­ly does not view Nazi Ger­many pos­i­tive­ly and I am sure Vice Prime Min­is­ter Aso him­self does not either.”

    It’s not the first time Aso’s words have got­ten him into hot water. At a meet­ing about social secu­ri­ty reform and health­care costs in Jan­u­ary, he caused offense by sug­gest­ing it would be best for peo­ple on life sup­port to “die quick­ly.”

    “Aso’s com­ment about Hitler and the impli­ca­tion that his exam­ple should be fol­lowed are utter­ly unac­cept­able,” the Asahi Shim­bun, a dai­ly news­pa­per, said in an edi­to­r­i­al Fri­day. ” The remark is not some­thing that Aso can get away with by sim­ply retract­ing it.”

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 7, 2013, 8:47 am
  5. I just find this a very com­pelling human inter­est sto­ry:

    Hiroo Ono­da Dead: Last Japan­ese WWII Sol­dier To Come Out Of Hid­ing Dies At 91
    By ELAINE KURTENBACH 01/17/14

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/17/hiroo-onoda-dead_n_4616252.html

    TOKYO (AP) — Hiroo Ono­da, the last Japan­ese impe­r­i­al sol­dier to emerge from hid­ing in a jun­gle in the Philip­pines and sur­ren­der, 29 years after the end of World War II, has died. He was 91.

    Ono­da died Thurs­day at a Tokyo hos­pi­tal after a brief stay there. Chief gov­ern­ment spokesman Yoshi­hide Suga on Fri­day expressed his con­do­lences, prais­ing Ono­da for his strong will to live and indomitable spir­it.

    “After World War II, Mr. Ono­da lived in the jun­gle for many years and when he returned to Japan, I felt that final­ly, the war was fin­ished. That’s how I felt,” Suga said.

    Ono­da was an intel­li­gence offi­cer who came out of hid­ing, erect but ema­ci­at­ed, in fatigues patched many times over, on Lubang island in the Philip­pines in March 1974, on his 52nd birth­day. He sur­ren­dered only when his for­mer com­man­der flew there to reverse his 1945 orders to stay behind and spy on Amer­i­can troops.

    Ono­da and anoth­er World War II hold­out, Sgt. Shoichi Yokoi, who emerged from the jun­gle in 1972, received mas­sive heroes’ wel­comes upon return­ing home.

    Before and dur­ing the war, Japan­ese were taught absolute loy­al­ty to the nation and the emper­or. Sol­diers in the Impe­r­i­al Army observed a code that said death was prefer­able to sur­ren­der.

    Ono­da refused to give up, despite at least four search­es dur­ing which fam­i­ly mem­bers appealed to him over loud­speak­ers and flights dropped leaflets urg­ing him to sur­ren­der.

    In his for­mal sur­ren­der to Philip­pine Pres­i­dent Fer­di­nand Mar­cos, Ono­da wore his 30-year-old impe­r­i­al army uni­form, cap and sword, all still in good con­di­tion.

    After the ini­tial sen­sa­tion of his return home wore off, Ono­da bought a ranch in Brazil. He lat­er was head of a chil­dren’s nature school in north­ern Japan.

    “I don’t con­sid­er those 30 years a waste of time,” Ono­da said in a 1995 inter­view with The Asso­ci­at­ed Press. “With­out that expe­ri­ence, I would­n’t have my life today.”

    Still, he showed a great zeal for mak­ing up for years lost.

    “I do every­thing twice as fast so I can make up for the 30 years,” Ono­da said. “I wish some­one could eat and sleep for me so I can work 24 hours a day.”

    The son of a teacher, Ono­da worked for a Japan­ese trad­ing firm in Shang­hai after fin­ish­ing high school in 1939. Three years lat­er, he was draft­ed and trained at a mil­i­tary acad­e­my.

    In Decem­ber 1944, he was sent to Lubang, about 150 kilo­me­ters (90 miles) south­west of Mani­la. Most oth­er Japan­ese sol­diers sur­ren­dered when U.S. troops land­ed on Lubang in Feb­ru­ary 1945, though hun­dreds remained miss­ing for years after the war.

    As he strug­gled to feed him­self, Onoda’s mis­sion became one of sur­vival. He stole rice and bananas from local peo­ple down the hill, and shot their cows to make dried beef, trig­ger­ing occa­sion­al skir­mish­es.

    The turn­ing point came on Feb. 20, 1974, when he met a young globe-trot­ter, Norio Suzu­ki, who ven­tured to Lubang in pur­suit of Ono­da.

    Suzu­ki qui­et­ly pitched camp in lone­ly jun­gle clear­ings and wait­ed. “Oi,” Ono­da even­tu­al­ly called out, and even­tu­al­ly began speak­ing with him.

    Suzu­ki returned to Japan and con­tact­ed the gov­ern­ment, which locat­ed Onoda’s supe­ri­or — Maj. Yoshi­mi Taniguchi — and flew him to Lubang to deliv­er his sur­ren­der order in per­son.

    ___

    Asso­ci­at­ed Press writer Mari Yam­aguchi con­tributed to this report.

    Posted by Swamp | January 17, 2014, 10:10 am
  6. Posted by Dave Emory | January 17, 2014, 7:21 pm
  7. With Japan remil­i­ta­riz­ing, the drone war­fare capa­bil­i­ties is prob­a­bly about to get a major upgrade in com­ing years. A very prof­itable upgrade:

    Bloomberg
    Japan Defense Shares Beats Nation­al Bench­mark as Abe Beefs Up Mil­i­tary: Chart
    By Isabel Reynolds Aug 19, 2014 10:00 AM CT

    Defense-relat­ed shares in Japan beat the nation­al bench­mark and U.S. peers since Prime Min­is­ter Shin­zo Abe came to pow­er and embarked on a pol­i­cy to strength­en the mil­i­tary and low­er bar­ri­ers to arms exports.

    The CHART OF THE DAY tracks defense gauges for Japan­ese, Amer­i­can and Euro­pean equi­ties and coun­ter­part geo­graph­ic bench­marks nor­mal­ized from Dec. 14, 2012, just before Abe led an elec­tion vic­to­ry, through Aug. 18. Gold­man Sachs’s new Japan defense mea­sure of 20 com­pa­nies was the biggest gain­er at 72 per­cent, with the Top­ix index next at 60 per­cent. In each pair­ing, the aero­space-mil­i­tary group beat the broad­er index, which also includ­ed the Stan­dard & Poor’s 500 and FTSE Euro­top 100.

    “Since we expect the defense theme to become a long-term sec­u­lar theme in the Japan­ese mar­ket, we see scope for improved rel­a­tive per­for­mance ahead for relat­ed stocks,” Gold­man Sachs ana­lysts led by Chief Japan Equi­ty Strate­gist Kathy Mat­sui said last week in a research note to unveil the gauge. Mit­subishi Heavy Indus­tries Ltd., Kawasa­ki Heavy Indus­tries Ltd. and Toshi­ba Corp. are among the com­po­nent stocks.

    Boost­ing Japan’s mil­i­tary capa­bil­i­ties has been one of the focus­es of the Abe gov­ern­ment, amid a ter­ri­to­r­i­al dis­pute with an increas­ing­ly assertive Chi­na. In 2013 Abe increased the defense bud­get for the first time in 11 years, and this year relaxed an effec­tive ban on defense export. Even with the changes, defense spend­ing will account for less than 1 per­cent of gross domes­tic prod­uct, com­pared with 4 per­cent in the U.S. and 1.3 per­cent in Chi­na, accord­ing to esti­mates by Japan’s Min­istry of Defense.

    That change “should pro­vide Japan­ese firms with the oppor­tu­ni­ty to joint­ly devel­op defense tech­nolo­gies and man­u­fac­ture equip­ment, as well as boost defense-relat­ed exports over time,” the Gold­man ana­lysts wrote. Abe’s cab­i­net also passed a res­o­lu­tion rein­ter­pret­ing the con­sti­tu­tion to allow Japan to defend oth­er coun­tries.

    ...

    Hope­ful­ly some of that new defense spend­ing will include the devel­op­ment of radi­a­tion-hard­ened robots sport­ing super ice-rays. Radi­a­tion-hard­ened ice-bots, unlike most weapons sys­tems, would have a num­ber of duel-use capa­bil­i­ties that would be extreme­ly use­ful for Japan’s domes­tic econ­o­my. And pos­si­bly exports.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 20, 2014, 6:21 pm

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