Month: March 2014

Debates on the right to exercise collective self-defense

This Sunday NHK organized debates between the major political parties on the issue of the right to exercise collective self-defense that is being pushed forward by LDP.

LDP – Liberal Democratic Party ( secretary-general Shigeru Ishiba
“We should consider how to avoid war, the collective self-defense is essential for Japan to protect its independence. It would need to be discussed what country is in question, how far geographically Japan can go, will Japan be able to enter the territorial waters, airspace and the territory of another country and what will constitute an immediate threat for Japan equal to that of an armed attack. All this questions must be deliberated“ Ishiba affirmed that discussions are needed to set the limits when the right to exercise collective self-defense is to be exercised.

NKP – New Komeito Party ( secretary-general Yoshihiki Inoue
“Commonly admitting of the right to exercise collective self-defense deals with the country’s basic principles and will lead to military interference into the other countries’ affairs. Japanese people will not accept it easily, we need to proceed very carefully. I think that most of the things can be achieved with the right to individual self-defense. We should start with what can be achieved.”

DPJ – Democratic Party of Japan ( secretary-general Akihiro Ohata
“If they want to justify the right to exercise collective self-defense, they should fairly and squarely change the Constitution and do it the right way. We will not approve PM’s change to the interpretation of the Constitution. A sort of special committee should be created in parliament, and non-partisan discussions be held. They should work hard to persuade the people.”

JRP – Japan Restoration Party ( secretary general Matsui Ichiro stated
“With the strained situation in Asia it is very important to strengthen the Japan-US alliance. It is only proper to discuss the right to exercise collective self-defense. This right is recognized under the UN Charter and as an opposition party we will be fully participating in discussions.”

YP – Your Party ( secretary-general Keiichiro Asao stated
“The right to exercise collective self-defense is recognized under the UN Charter and we need to consider that from now on we might be facing attacks in cyberspace and cyber-wars. Upon the approval of the right to exercise collective self-defense discussions need to be held as to what would be the scope of this right and how our laws would restrict it.”

JCP – Japanese Communist Party ( chief secretary Yoshiki Yamashita
“If we are to approve of the right to exercise collective self-defense, Japan will have to go to the war zone should America start a war. Japanese self-defense force members will have to go to the battlefield and their lives be in danger. It will also mean that we will be depriving people in other countries of their lives. We will never support this.”

UP – Unity Party ( secretary-general Jiro Ono
“The cabinet decision interprets the Constitution and things that were not possible become possible. This is wrong. We should respect the constitutional interpretations made so far.”

PLP – People’s Life Party ( secretary-general Katsumasa Suzuki
“The approval of the right to exercise collective self-defense deals with Constitution. To protect the Constitution and the democracy proper discussions are needed. It is not an issue that can be decided by the cabinet’s single decision. We are strongly oppose this.”

SDP – Social Democratic Party ( vice president Mizuho Fukushima
“So far both LDP and the parliament considered the right to exercise collective self-defense as unconstitutional. But PM Abe would not explain why it would suddenly become all right. If every cabinet would interpret the Constitution as it pleases, it would contradict to the principle of constitutionalism. We are opposing it.”



Chief cabinet secretary Suga – An Jung-geun is a criminal

During Nuclear Security Summit in Netherlands a separate China-Korea talks were held. Both countries expressed appraisal regarding the creation of memorial hall to tribute An Jung-geun, a Korean independence activist who assassinated former Japanese PM Hirobumi Ito.

Chief cabinet secretary Suga Yoshihide when appearing on TV Tokyo on Mar 29 confirmed that the talks between China and Korea took place and again expressed Japan’s dissatisfaction over the talks that “looked like the two countries were estranged from other Summit participants”. Suga stated that “Japan considers this to be a memorial hall for a criminal, a terrorist”.

Editorial – American view on Senkaku and Japan’s reaction

This week in the “Shinso News” on BS Nittere an interesting document was introduced – “Senkaku (Diaoyu/Diaoyutai) Islands Dispute: U.S. Treaty Obligations”. This short ten-page document dated January 22, 2013 and it the latest one that I could find, which reflects the official position of the US in regards to Senkaku Islands (Okinawa pref.)

I believe not many Japanese actually read this document though it gives some ideas how US understands or misunderstands the situation with Senkaku.

Let us take a look at some interesting passages.

In the Introduction the document describes how Japan nationalized the Senkaku islands.

“Ishihara, who is known for expressing nationalist Japanese views, called for demonstrating Japan’s control over the islets by building installations such as a telecommunications base, a port, and a meteorological station.”

The author, Mark E. Manyin calls Shintaro Ishihara a nationalist, a common cliché that was carefully planted by the likes of China and Korea. Ishihara is no bigger nationalist than the ‘tea party movement’ in the US. Yes, he is a right-wing politician but nothing more. His call to build something on Senkaku is a proper one because it would be yet another affirmation that Japan exercises effective control over the islands, and who knows, there would be less China’s provocations in the area.

Then the document correctly states that “… China never established a permanent settlement …” on the islands. Based on the results of the Sino-Japanese War the Treaty of Shimonoseki (Apr 1895) was concluded between China and Japan – Taiwan and the nearby islands became a part of Japan.

The document continues that China and Taiwan “… argue that the intent of the Allied declarations at Cairo and Potsdam during World War II was to restore to China territories taken from it by Japan through military aggression, and thus the islets should have been returned to China.”

I think everyone looking at this China and Taiwan claim would find it strange – why the WWII results would have any effect on the events happened in 1895.

“U.S. administration of the islets began in 1953 as a result of the 1951 Treaty of Peace with Japan.10 The Treaty did not mention the Senkakus (Diaoyu/Diaoyutai), but it referred to other islets that had reverted to Chinese control or which China claimed. These included Taiwan and the Pescadores (off the western coast of Taiwan), as well as the Spratlys and the Paracels (both in the South China Sea).”

The above statement completely rebukes China’s claims that the Senkaku islands were to be “returned” to China.

The US administered the southwestern islands south of 29 north latitude.

“In 1953, the U.S. Civil Administration of the Ryukyus issued U.S. Civil Administration of the Ryukyus Proclamation 27 (USCAR 27), which defined the boundaries of ‘Nansei Shoto [the southwestern islands] south of 29 degrees north latitude” to include the Senkakus.’”

Both Japan and US understood the Senkaku islands are administered by the US as a part of this agreement.

“Moreover, during the period of U.S. administration, the U.S. Navy established firing ranges on the islets and paid an annual rent of $11,000 to Jinji Koga, the son of the first Japanese settler of the islets.”

What more can be said on the issue? China had absolutely no control of the islands, US taken over the administration of the islands from Japan, and it is admitted that the first settlers were Japanese. In the annotation there are more details about the Japanese settlers “Koga’s father ran several commercial operations on the islands, including fish-canning and guano collection.”

On May 15, 1972 under the Okinawa Reversion Treaty, all territories administered by the US were returned to Japan. ‘All’ meaning Senkaku included.

“A letter of October 20, 1971, by Robert Starr, Acting Assistant Legal Adviser for East Asian and Pacific Affairs—acting on the instructions of Secretary of State William Rogers – states that the Okinawa Reversion Treaty contained ‘the terms and conditions for the reversion of the Ryukyu Islands, including the Senkakus.’”

Nevertheless, the US stated that it just returned the administrative rights to Japan, from which the rights were received and claims neutrality on the islands ownership issue up to this day.

When asked if the U.S. – Japan Security Treaty applies to Senkaku “Secretary of State Hillary Clinton summed up the U.S. stance by stating, ‘… with respect to the Senkaku Islands, the United States has never taken a position on sovereignty, but we have made it very clear that the islands are part of our mutual treaty obligations, and the obligation to defend Japan.’” Moreover, Hillary Clinton called for talks between Japan and China with the US participation “to discuss a range of issues” clearly hinting at Senkaku Islands status.

Quite a lukewarm reaction to China’s provocations around Senkaku Islands. One could even doubt her ears. And it is not about some distant and ‘couldn’t care less’ country, Hilary Clinton is talking about the main and probably the only US ally in the Pacific. Is it a proper way to treat your allies like this?

No wonder Japan was quite a bit ‘disappointed’ at such reaction, though probably did not voice its disappointment. But that’s Obaba’s administration for you. It must be said that the position of the republican administration of George W. Bush was much more assertive, which can also be seen from the document.

“In 2004, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage stated that the U.S.-Japan Mutual Security Treaty ‘ … would require any attack on Japan, or the administrative territories under Japanese control, to be seen as an attack on the United States.’”

That would have given China a crystal clear message. Having even this level of support from its biggest ally would allow Japan to be more proactive and build some facilities in Senkaku underlining its control of the islands.

The US Congress seeing that China is using the American ‘no position on the islands sovereignty’ to its advantage escalating the situation, “inserted in the FY2013 National Defense Authorization Act ( (H.R. 4310, P.L. 112-239) a resolution stating, among other items, that ‘the unilateral action of a third party will not affect the United States’ acknowledgment of the administration of Japan over the Senkaku Islands.’”

The meaning is that China’s attempts to show off some ‘administrative control’ of the islands by sending the guard ships and planes to the vicinity are all seen through and will not affect the US understanding that the rights of administration belong to Japan. From the Japan’s point of view it is not enough, but much better than nothing.

But even this statement was somewhat downplayed by Hilary Clinton in January 2013 right before the meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida: “‘we oppose any unilateral actions that would seek to undermine Japanese administration’ of the islets”.

“Attack on the United States” by Richard Armitage vs. “Oppose any unilateral actions” by Hilary Clinton… – such a huge gap. Many people in Japan would think – just what America is trying to do? How it is going to uphold its interests in the Pacific? Or even – are there any American interests in the Pacific at all…? These are all the questions yet to be answered.

One undeniably right thing of the U.S.-Japan Mutual Security Treaty can be found in the summary of the document: “… it is commonly understood that Japan will assume the primary responsibility for the defense of the treaty area…”. This is very much true. The major issue is to prevent Chinese nationals from coming ashore in Senkaku whatever the cost. The next major provocation would almost certainly include such an attempt. The mid-range program should be to build permanent facilities in Senkaku.

Japan must be prepared to protect the Senkaku Islands all by itself and be strong exercising its ownership rights over the islands no matter who is in power in the US.

by naokawa

Japan will not help… President Park Geun-hye might have to pay for her anti-Japan diplomacy

At long last the talks between Japan, America and Korea took place in Hague. However, Korea is facing a possibility of international isolation.

Last year an informal conference between the officials of Japan and Korea was held. It was about diplomatic relations between the two countries, the security issues, North Korea problems and the right to exercise collective self-defense that is being pushed by PM Abe. During this conference one of the Japanese officials mentioned that should a war occur again at the Korean peninsula with North Korea invading the South, Japan might not help the South Korea this time.

It is said that the Korean officials were shocked by these words.

But with Korea giving it all to bashing and spreading lies about Japan on the comfort women and history problems, why would Japan be helping Korea should an emergency situation occur? Then there is a Takeshima islands unlawfully occupied by Korea.

In Japan there is a Law on a Situation in the Areas Surrounding Japan that was established in 1999. Its primary goal is to help South Korea fighting the North should an emergency situation occur in the Korean peninsula.

So Korean officials at the conference just smirked that it is your law and why should we care. Then a Japanese official slowly and diligently explained that Japan would request prior consultation from the US and that it is possible that Japan would not allow the US to use its military bases in Japan to protect the South.

At this point the Korean officials finally got it.

The Japan-US Security Treaty stipulates that US can have its military bases in Japan in return for protecting Japan, and only Japan. If the US would like to act in favor of the third countries the “prior consultation” between Japan and US is required. And the Japanese official hinted that Japan may say “No” to the US request.

Up to now there were no cases when the “prior consultation” was conducted. During the Vietnam war and the Gulf war America did not launch attacks directly from its bases in Japan, and there were no need for the consultation. But if something happens in the Korean peninsula will Japan give ok to the US operations? If Japanese citizens would be completely fed up with Korea, they would oppose supporting it. Unless public opinion supports it Japan will not be able to give Korea all the help it needs.

As for Korea the Us involvement is a matter of life and death. And the US must use its military bases in Japan to head for Korea. But what if it would not be able to do so…

Sure enough that the probability that Japan would reject US request at the “prior consultation” is almost zero. However, the Japanese officials mentioning the “prior consultation” that never occurred before means a lot.

Jiniro Pyon, a chief editor of “Korea report”, who is well versed in the Japan-Korea relations says that never before the Japan-Korea relations over security were that bad. Korea opposing Japan trying to exercise the right of collective self-defense was the beginning of it, however such statements from government officials mean that Japan’s patience has run out. Japan is openly disappointed with Korea forgetting that Japan was helping to protect it for over half of a century from the moment the Korean state was established.

Jiniro Pyon continues that the danger that Korea is being exposed from the North is incomparable to that Japan is exposed to, and continuing opposing Japan trying to exercise the right of collective self-defense will do Korea absolutely no good. Park’s administration’s anti-Japan diplomacy will boomerang to Korea.

How Korea will act being confronted by this reality?


LDP to counter the anti-Japan campaigns by China and Korea

On Mar 27 LDP created a “Committee for the International Information Analysis”. This purpose of this committee is to develop strategies on how to relay information that would counter the anti-Japan propaganda by countries like China and Korea they engage in other countries. The committee will analyze propaganda activities of China and Korea in the US. Governmental information strategy office will be established in the US. It will be relaying the information that would counter the anti-Japan propaganda in the US.

The anti-Japan campaign by China and Korea over such issues as PM Abe visit to Yasukuni and comfort women problem has been gaining strength lately. The committee is called to prevent the false information from spreading around the world and have Japan take offensive by transmitting the information it possesses.

The committee was created under the LDP’s foreign affairs and economic partnership division (chief – Lower House representative Seishiro Etoh). Yoshiaki Harada Lower House representative is planned to become the chairman.

The main goal of the committee would be to investigate the propaganda activities of China and Korea in the US as well as cooperate with the lobbyist and parliamentary diplomatic actions, civil movements and educational institutions. The committee will fully study the end goal of the propaganda and consider how it would affect the diplomatic efforts of Japan and how to counter it.

Also, in order to efficiently execute information relaying strategies and stand up to China and Korea the creation of a new organization and foreign offices that would unify the governmental information transmittance activities is under consideration. Changes in the NHK World international broadcasting concept will also be discussed. Research of the civilian and governmental organization roles will be conducted and with funding being secured for the governmental organizations financial grants for the civilian activities will also be considered.


The renewed Three Principles on Arms Exports are approved – LDP panel

On Mar 26 the joint meeting of the Security Investigation Committee and the corresponding panel of LDP approved the new “Three principles on transferring defense equipment” that are to replace the “Three Principles on Arms Exports” that were effectively forbidding the export of arms and related technologies. The renewed principles on arms export have been approved on Mar 25 by the project team of LDP and Komeito. It is expected that on Mar 28 the new principles will be approved at the meeting of the ruling coalition policymakers. Following this the cabinet is set to approve the new rules on Apr 1 or Apr 4.

The new rules are: (1) Do not export (transfer) the defense equipment to the countries that are engaged in a military conflict and to the countries that are forbidden to import arms under the UN resolution, (2) Export is limited to the cases when it would promote world cooperation and contribute to the security of Japan, strict scrutiny and transparency is to be applied to each case, (3) Export is limited to the cases when the importing country can guarantee that the equipment will be properly supervised, used only for the purpose announced, and will not be transferred to the third parties.


Korea will not be sharing military intelligence with Japan

Press secretary for the Korean defense ministry on Mar 24 stated that the work on the memorandum of understanding on the military intelligence sharing with Japan and US that was discussed at working-level is now stopped. “It is very important that it is done in the right time. Now it is not the right time.” – mentioned press secretary.

Press secretary denied reports by some media that Japan, America and Korea are working to sign the memorandum.

In 2012 Japan and Korea were working to conclude the agreement on sharing confidential information, mostly in the military area, but the public opinion in Korea became increasingly negative and the work has stopped right before the agreement was to be signed.


Editorial – Nuclear weapons strategy for Japan

China is expanding its defense budget from year to year at a rapid pace. South Korea is leaning towards China more and more and its dependence on China is growing. The US can no longer be counted on to the extent it was possible some twenty years ago. Then there is the unpredictable North Korea. What can Japan do to protect itself in this situation in the most efficient and inexpensive way?

Japan is facing many challenges in the international arena now.

First one is China’s ambitions in the west china sea and its ever-growing military budget. This is an imminent threat. Fortunately PM Abe acknowledges it, but unfortunately he seems to be the only one as a large part of the Japanese establishment does not recognize this threat as a first priority one.

Then there is a possibility of the China-Russia alliance over the US sanctions imposed on Russia. China did not support these sanctions and said that it will not impose any of its own. In the light of sanctions Russia is even considering to forbid the use of MasterCard and Visa on its territory and possibly adopt China’s UnionPay system. China’s main newspaper “People’s Daily” says that the strategic convergence of China and Russia will serve for the stability in the world and the Putin’s Russia showed the West that there can be no winners in the cold war. Another Chinese newspaper “Global Times” notes that the Ukraine crisis ended up in fiasco of the West, and instead of a pro-Western regime the Western countries aimed to create, they got a state of chaos they cannot control any longer. The paper continues that China cannot disappoint Russia in such difficult times and that China should become Russia’s strategic partner.

Last year China approached Russia with an interesting proposal to fully support Russia on the Northern territories issue in exchange for Russia proclaiming that the Senkaku Islands belong to China. At that time Putin rejected the proposal. But that was way before the Ukrainian crisis. If the China-Russia alliance is to come true, who knows what Putin’s answer would be the next time.

For Japan there are difficult decisions to be made. It has been fully relying on the US to protect itself, but the America’s poor handling of Syrian crisis and the lack of any sensible response to the Russian aggression in Crimea shows that Japan can no depend that much on its biggest ally. And this calls for an overhaul of Japan’s defense strategy.

Nuclear weapons could and must be in the center of this new strategy. How America would react should Japan pronounce itself to be the nuclear weapon country? There are different opinions within the US on whether it is good or not for Japan to become a nuclear power. In reply to concerns Japan has over the drastic cuts of the US defense budget, Christine Wormuth, deputy under secretary of defense for strategy, said on Mar 10 that “… the risks of countries that are scientifically capable enough to develop their own nuclear program, which certainly Japan is, would go up”. She also mentioned: “Our alliance with Japan is very, very strong. We are committed to reassuring Japan and the region, and our view is that there’s not a need for any kind of nuclear capability as long as our alliance remains strong, which we believe it is.”

But why should Japan believe in this sweet talk when the facts prove otherwise. The former U.S. ambassador to the UN John Bolton gives his warning in the article in WSJ: “… if Mr. Abe really wants to know how the Obama administration treats close American allies, he can always call Bibi Netanyahu.” and continues: “Japan and Israel both live in the real world of threats and dangers, not in the Obama bubble where national-security issues rarely intrude on his efforts to reshape American society”. In an interview on Mar 13 John Bolton approves of Japan building up its military “… I don’t see re-militarization a la the 1930s, but I see Japan assuming more of a role in self-defense. Which is a legitimate function for them to do…”.

Due to the same weakness of Obama’s administration and difference of opinions in the American establishment there will not be much of negative reaction from the US. However, the question is whether Japan is really capable of developing its own nuclear weapons.

From the technical and technological point of view, Japan possesses all needed technologies for nuclear weapons development. From the national economy point of view it should not be that expensive to produce and maintain the nuclear power if we consider the overall defense budget. But from the domestic policy standpoint, it will not be that easy. After Fukushima general public is strongly allergic to anything having ‘nuclear’ in its name. In addition, there is general sentiment supported by mass media that international relations especially those with China and Korea got worse with PM Abe coming into power. Many people believe that Japan should work to restore these relations whatever the cost and, when asked, reply that it should do so even compromising on the sensitive issues like that of Senkaku Islands or WWII historical facts. Still every second says that improved relations with China and Korea do not worth the compromise on the national interests. Hopefully more people will come to understand this, but given the current domestic affairs, parliament will never approve the nuclearization of Japan. The only hope is PM Abe. One possible way could be to further the nuclear research and always able to produce the nuclear weapons in 1-2 months’ time should this be required. This is the way responsible politicians should take.

Nuclear weapons are not meant to be used, they are meant to deter. Japan’s possessing nuclear weapons will not pose any threat to any country, but will give it a new sense of safety and security and ability to defend itself independent of the external circumstances.

by naokawa

Do Japanese companies in China have a business continuity plan for emergencies?

China continues its hard-line anti-Japan stance be it on the pretext of Senkaku Islands (pref. Okinawa, Ishigaki) nationalization or PM Shinzo Abe’s visit to the Yasukuni shrine. It is not that improbable if an accidental skirmish would occur in the vicinity of Senkaku. Capt. James Fanell, director of intelligence and information operations for the U.S. Pacific Fleet during his speech on Feb 13 said that the background of large-scale military exercises of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army last year was “a strategy to assault and capture the Senkaku Islands.”

200,000 Japanese nationals in China
China’s defense budget 2014 grew by 12.2% in comparison to the previous year. Four years straight it is a two-digit increase and the increase is even larger than a year before (10.7%).

On Mar 5 China’s PM Li Keqiang during “government activity report” said meaning Japan-China relationships: “We have been firmly protecting our sovereignty on land and sea. We will reinforce the defense of state borders, territorial waters and airspace to prepare for a war conflict”. Satoshi Tachibana of ERIS Consulting Shanghai Ltd. points out that even in this harsh reality “only a few Japanese companies in China have a business continuity plan (BCP) for cases of emergency.”

The “emergency” mentioned by Mr Tachibana is not only direct military conflict, but also large-scale anti-Japan demonstrations and conflicts between Japanese management and Chinese workers that often make use of the anti-Japan sentiment. Also into the same category falls terrorist activities within China and anti-government riots. Basically any social disorder of a large-scale. Let’s take a look at the task of “protecting Japanese nationals”. It is considered over 200,000 Japanese nationals (short-term stay included) their families, exchange students, et al. are residing in China. It is not realistic to evacuate into safety all Japanese who would want to leave should an emergency occur.

Mr Tachibana emphasizes: “Only the companies they are working for can protect Japanese nationals in China.”. It is common sense for Japanese companies that first common workers should be evacuated and the managers should stay for as long as possible and be in command. But Mr Tachibana says: “It should be exactly the opposite.”

The one in charge should flee first
Even if the real emergency would not occur it is very easy for China to make up a civil lawsuit case to prevent Japanese managers from leaving China and arrest them. For a company incorporated abroad the first one to be targeted is local CEO. Mr Tachibana says in Japanese companies all responsibility lies with the local management. In China it would be the local management team under the Chief operating officer (COO). Mr Tachibana suggests that a BCP where the evacuation of COO comes firsthand should be created. Regular employees can hardly be of any value to the local officials.

It is vital for the Japanese companies to take the following measures: (1) Appoint a person who would make the final decision about evacuation, (2) Decide the order in which the large number of Japanese nationals and their families are to be evacuated, (3) Research the routes of evacuation from China
In 2012 during the anti-Japan demonstrations there were many cases in cities like Shanghai when Japanese were attacked on the streets and in the restaurants. Also in a course of labor-management disputes Japanese nationals were often locked up and held captive inside the factory buildings.

Most of the Japanese companies in China leave the most of the personnel risk management up to the local management. Should a crisis occur the headquarters would usually try to take control of the situation giving out orders like “Report the situation!”, “Evacuate immediately”, that do not really reflect the local situation.

In addition to protecting the Japanese nationals companies should think how to deal with their Chinese personnel should the situation escalate. Company should understand their emotional state, how they would react and help them into safety. All this must be immediately included into the BCP.

Aside from personnel safety it is important to understand how a Japanese company would protect their financial assets, factories, offices, equipment in China.

Make it look “less Japanese”
Japan-China relations will not improve in short-term, but if a Japanese company has to expand its business in China they should do it differently. “Instead of making a direct investment from Japan they should create an intermediary company in such a place as Hong Kong and thus make the investment look ‘less Japanese’, hire a Chinese, Malaysian, or a person of a Chinese descent living abroad as a top-level executive for the local company. There is no other way than try to be a ‘non-Japanese’ company as much as possible.”

Mr Tachibana classifies BCP risks in China for Japanese business into five levels: (level 1, call for attention) – danger is recognized, (level 2, high alert) – limited problems and social unrest will likely to be on the rise, (level 3, outbreak of crisis) – sporadic clashes and large-scale demonstrations, (level 4, serious crisis) – military conflict, social unrest, Chinese authorities are out to pacify the riots all over the country, (level 5, great crisis) – military conflict builds up, strife all over the country, civil war, coup. Mr Tachibana mentions that it is needed to work out detailed countermeasures for each level of risk.

Should there be businesses which would laugh and say that such situation is very improbable, they do not have any right to send personnel from Japan to work in China. If a company is not willing and all prepared to protect its business and people in China in any possible situation, it must pull back from there. It is as bad as this.

by Masami Kawasaki (Shanghai bureau)


Editorial – Putin’s occupation of Crimea, what’s in it for Japan

Now it has happened. Putin’s occupation of Crimea was virtually unchallenged. The world is laughing at Obama’s so called ‘sanctions’. While more sanctions from the EU and the US are still to come, what does this unchallenged occupation means for Japan?

On one hand Japan is a member of G7 and obviously G7 has to act in accord restraining Russia from any further military actions and imposing further sanctions as a punishment for for this occupation. But taking into account the PM Abe’s strategy of personal relationships with Putin, Japan should not act on its own accord and go any further imposing its own sanctions.

But what is more important is China. Following Syria fiasco the occupation of Crimea is an open challenge for Obama. And he is not up to this challenge. Obama’s America is weak. It does not matter whether it is really weak or not, the important thing is that almost everybody in the world thinks that America is weak. China certainly understands this as well.

Putin’s occupation of Crimea that nobody really expected may give China strange ideas that blitzkrieg-like invasion of the Senkaku islands and creation of fait accompli will not give the US any time to react and the weak America will not be taking any actions post-factum. This might as well be true. Japan must comprehend this situation very well. While Obama is in power should the Senkaku islands by any chance be occupied one way or another they are as good as lost. America will not fight for Japan and probably will not go any further than futile talk about some vague sanctions.

In addition, America now needs China to restrain and isolate Russia internationally. China abstained on UN resolution on Crimea and then clearly stated that it will not be supporting any sanctions against Russia. US will probably come to its senses in a couple of days realizing what has happened in Ukraine and that it could not do anything about it. The China’s help will be very handy.

For Japan this is all bad news. Defense of Senkaku islands should be reinforced immediately. Diplomatic efforts should be stepped up to make America realize that failure to protect its closest ally in Asia will mean the end of America as the only superpower in the world.

What is the most important, Japan needs the power to be able to protect itself. There will be all kinds of obstacles and ‘militaristic’ accusations, but those are to be ignored. I believe that Shinzo Abe understands all seriousness of the situation and will do the needful to protect Japan.

If Obama wants to really try and punish Putin, he should read an interesting article in the NY Times article “How to Punish Putin” by Alexei Navalny, who is Russian anti-corruption activist and opposition politician. However the time is lost now, and America’s credibility took yet another dip.

by naokawa