Friday, December 31, 2004

Japan: second largest USA weapons buyer

Japan imported more arms from the United States under
the Foreign Military Sales program than any other Asian
country last year, according to data published by the
U.S. Defense Department's Defense Security Cooperation
Agency. In terms of money spent, Japan was the United
States' largest arms buyer after Greece.

According to the data, Japan spent 1.3 billion dollars
(about 135 billion yen) on U.S. arms last year. Japan
also made deals worth a further 800 million dollars,
making it the third-largest prospective buyer of U.S.
arms in the world after Poland and Egypt. Between 1996
and 1999, Japan was the United States' third-largest
arms buyer in Asia, but since 2000, it has ranked

Amid a realignment of the U.S. armed forces in Asia,
U.S. arms exports to South Korea and Taiwan have
decreased, while those to Japan have increased, making
Japan the top Asian importer of arms. Weapons sold under
the program include those rated highly restricted that
cannot be traded through commercial channels. Japan has
tentative deals to purchase weapon components such as
early-warning aircraft and surface-to-air missiles.
(YomiuriShimbun, conservative)

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Asia to see limited impact on economies of tsunami disaster

Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB) said Sunday's
earthquake and tsunami disaster around the Indian Ocean
is unlikely to have a significant negative impact on
Southeast Asian countries' economies in 2005. 'The
impact, on average, on GDP growth in 2005 is likely to
range in the 0-0.75 pct point range, which in our view
is unlikely to reduce the attraction of Southeast Asia
and India as an investment destination,' CSFB said in a
note. CSFB said that Thailand is likely to to be the
most severely affected, followed by Indonesia, India,
and Malaysia.

One reason for the limited impact of the disaster is
that the manufacturing sector is likely to be unscathed,
'while key service sectors such as banking, utilities,
and business services are likely to remain resilient',
CSFB said. Additionally, construction activity will
'receive a boost from re-building activities in the
infrastructure and tourism sectors', CSFB added.

The main sectors that will be hit in terms of output in
2005 are likely to be tourism, fisheries and
plantations, CSFB said. CSBF also warned that the
'large-scale destruction of property, availability of
clean water supply and medical attention for the victims
may spread to an epidemic-like scenario over the next
six to twelve months. This may have a more systemic
effect in terms of tourism flows to Asia and pose
downside risks to our assessment on GDP growth,' CSFB
said. For Thailand, CSFB said that the affected
provinces account for around 2.5 pct of the country's
GDP. 'Assuming that tourism to these provinces drops by
50 pct over the next 12 months, we anticipate the impact
on overall GDP growth to be in the region of 0.5 pct
points,' CSFB said.

For Indonesia, CSFB said that the direct impact on the
country's GDP growth from the disaster is likely to
shave less than 0.2 pct points off its forecast of 5.1
pct year-on-year growth for 2005. Among the countries
hit by the disaster, CSFB said that Malaysia is likely
to be the least impacted, and it is maintaining its GDP
growth forecast of 5.5 pct year-on-year.

Latest News: NY Times:

"Jan Egeland, the United Nations' emergency relief
coordinator, said Wednesday that the death toll from the
tsunamis had risen above 80,000, though that number
could still rise.

While the disaster affected countries from Malaysia to
Somalia, the greatest devastation appears to have
occurred in the Indonesian province of Aceh, where more
than 45,000 deaths have been reported. But large parts
of the province remain virtually cut off."

Monday, December 27, 2004

Thousands killed by earthquake and tsunami in south Asia

Sea surges kill thousands in Asia More than 11,500
people have been killed across southern Asia in massive
sea surges triggered by the strongest earthquake in the
world for 40 years, acccording to Sunday nigth datas.

The 8.9 magnitude quake struck under the sea near Aceh
in north Indonesia, generating a wall of water that sped
across thousands of kilometres of sea.

More than 4,100 died in Indonesia, 4,300 in Sri Lanka
and 2,900 in India.

Casualty figures are rising over a wide area, including
resorts in Sri Lanka and Thailand packed with

Exact numbers of people killed, injured or missing in
the countries hit, are impossible to confirm.

Hundreds are still thought to be missing from coastal
regions and, in Sri Lanka alone, officials say more than
a million people have been forced from their homes.

Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga declared a
national disaster and the military has been deployed to
help rescue efforts.

Hundreds of fishermen are missing off India's southern
coast, and there are reports of scores of bodies being
washed up on beaches.

In Indonesia, communications remain difficult,
particularly to the strife-torn region of Aceh where the
main quake, early on Sunday morning, was followed by
nine aftershocks. Reports speak of bodies being
recovered from trees.

A national disaster has also been announced in the
low-lying Maldives islands, more than 2,500km (1,500
miles) from the quake's epicentre, after they were hit
by severe flooding.

The Indian-owned Andaman and Nicobar islands, much
nearer the epicentre, were also badly hit.

Casualty reports could not be officially confirmed, but
a police chief told reporters 300 people had died and
another 700 were feared dead.

Waves forced out from the earthquake are even reported
to have reached Somalia, on the east coast of Africa.

And as far away as the Seychelles, nine people were
reported missing as a two-metre surge struck.

Resort 'wiped out'

International aid agencies have called for a rapid
response to the emergency to avert further deaths.

The European Union immediately pledged 3m euros (£2.1m)
to disaster relief efforts.

Messages of condolences have poured in from around the

US President George W Bush offered aid to affected
nations and expressed sorrow for the "terrible loss of
life and suffering".

Harrowing reports of people caught in the devastation
and dramatic tales of escape are emerging.

Jayanti Lakshmi, 70, had gone shopping with her
daughter-in-law in Cuddalore, southern India. Ms Lakshmi
returned to find her son and twin grandsons dead in
their hut.

"I wish I had died instead of the others, my
daughter-in-law would have a life. I can't bear to watch
her pain," she said.

All of us fear the final death toll, and in particular
are worried that many tourists who went out on boat
trips this morning have not returned Charles Dickson,
Phuket, Thailand

In Thailand, hundreds of holiday bungalows are reported
to have been destroyed on the popular Phi Phi island.

Resort owner Chan Marongtaechar told AP: "I am afraid
there will be a high figure of foreigners missing in the
sea, and also my staff."

Indonesia's location - along the Pacific geological
"Ring of Fire" - makes it prone to volcanic eruptions
and earthquakes.

Sunday's tremor - the fifth strongest since 1900 - had a
particularly widespread effect because it seems to have
taken place just below the surface of the ocean,
analysts say.

Bruce Presgrave of the US Geological service told the
Reuters news agency: "These big earthquakes, when they
occur in shallow water... basically slosh the ocean
floor... and it's as if you're rocking water in the
bathtub and that wave can travel throughout the ocean."

Experts say tsunamis generated by earthquakes can travel
at up to 500km/h.

Sri Lanka: 4,300 dead
Indonesia: 4,185 dead
India: 2,900 dead
Thailand: 310 dead
Malaysia: 28 dead
Maldives: 10 dead
Bangladesh: 2 dead

System might have reduced Tsunami damage

The catastrophic death toll in Asia caused by a massive
tsunami might have been reduced had India and Sri Lanka
been part of an international warning system designed to
warn coastal communities about potentially deadly waves,
scientists say.

Some 5,300 people in India and Sri Lanka were among the
more than 11,000 people killed after being hit by walls
of water triggered by a tremendous earthquake early
Sunday off Sumatra.

The warning system is designed to alert nations that
potentially destructive waves may hit their coastlines
within three to 14 hours. Scientists said seismic
networks recorded Sunday's massive earthquake, but
without wave sensors in the region, there was no way to
determine the direction a tsunami would travel.

A single wave station south of the earthquake's
epicenter registered tsunami activity less than 2 feet
high heading south toward Australia, researchers said.

The waves also struck resort beaches on the west coast
of the Thailand's south peninsula, killing hundreds.
Although Thailand belongs to the international tsunami
warning network, its west coast does not have the
system's wave sensors mounted on ocean buoys.

The northern tip of the earthquake fault is located near
the Andaman Islands, and tsunamis appear to have rushed
eastward toward the Thai resort of Phuket on Sunday
morning when the community was just stirring.

"They had no tidal gauges and they had no warning," said
Waverly Person, a geophysicist at the National
Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colo., which
monitors seismic activity worldwide. "There are no buoys
in the Indian Ocean and that's where this tsunami

The tsunami was triggered by the most powerful
earthquake recorded in the past 40 years.

The earthquake, whose magnitude was a staggering 9.0,
unleashed walls of water more than two stories high to
the west across the Bay of Bengal, slamming into coastal
communities 1,000 miles away. Hours after the quake,
Sumatra was struck by a series of powerful aftershocks.

Researchers say the earthquake broke on a fault line
deep off the Sumatra coast, running north and south for
about 600 miles or as far north as the Andaman and
Nicobar islands between India and Mynamar.

"It's a huge rupture," said Charles McCreary, director
of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center near Honolulu.
"It's conceivable that the sea floor deformed all the
way along that rupture, and that's what initiates

Tsunamis as large and destructive as Sunday's typically
happen only a few times in a century.

A tsunami is not a single wave, but a series of
traveling ocean waves generated by geological
disturbances near or below the ocean floor. With nothing
to stop them, these waves can race across the ocean like
the crack of a bullwhip, gaining momentum over thousands
of miles.

Most are triggered by large earthquakes but they can be
caused by landslides, volcanoes and even meteor impacts.

The waves are generated when geologic forces displace
sea water in the ocean basin. The bigger the earthquake,
the more the Earth's crust shifts and the more seawater
begins to move.

Most tsunamis occur in the Pacific because the ocean
basin is rimmed by the Ring of Fire, a long chain of the
Earth's most seismically active spots. Marine geologists
recently have determined that under certain conditions,
the U.S. East Coast and other heavily populated
coastlines also could be vulnerable.

In a tsunami, waves typically radiate out in directions
opposite from the seismic disturbance. In the case of
the Sumatra quake, the seismic fault ran north to south
beneath the ocean floor, while the tsunami waves shot
out west and east.

Tsunamis are distinguished from normal coastal surf by
their great length and speed. A single wave in a tsunami
series might be 100 miles long and race across the ocean
at 600 mph. When it approaches a coastline, the wave
slows dramatically, but it also rises to great heights
because the enormous volume of water piles up in shallow
coastal bays.

And unlike surf, which is generated by wind and the
gravitational tug of the moon and other celestial
bodies, tsunamis do not break on the coastline every few
seconds. Because of their size, it might take an hour
for another one to arrive.

Some tsunamis appear as a tide that doesn't stop rising,
while others are turbulent and savagely chew up the
coast. Without instrumentation, so little is known about
this tsunami that researchers must wait for eyewitness
accounts to determine its characteristics.

"It was a big tsunami, but it is hard to say exactly how
many waves there were or what happened," McCreary said.

In the hours following an earthquake, tsunamis
eventually lose their power to friction over the rough
ocean bottom or simply as the waves spread out over the
ocean's enormous surface.

The international warning system was started in 1965,
the year after tsunamis associated with a magnitude 9.2
temblor struck Alaska in 1964. It is administered by the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Member states include all the major Pacific rim nations
in North America, Asia and South America, was well as
the Pacific islands, Australia and New Zealand. It also
includes France, which has sovereignty over some Pacific
islands, and Russia.

However, India and Sri Lanka are not members. "That's
because tsunamis are much less frequent in the Indian
Ocean," McCreary said.

The warning system analyzes earthquake information from
several seismic networks, including the U.S. Geological
Service. The seismic information is fed into computer
models that "picture" how and where a tsunami might
form. It dispatches warnings about imminent tsunami
hazards, including predictions how fast the waves are
traveling and their expected arrival times in specific
geographic areas.

As the waves rush past tidal stations in the ocean,
bulletins updating the tsunami warning are issued. Other
models generate "inundation maps" of what areas could be
damaged, and what communities might be spared.

Not all earthquakes generate tsunamis. The warning
center typically does not issue warnings for earthquakes
below magnitude 7.0, which are still unusually powerful

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Japan rational versus anti-rational?

"As Sakai Taichi (former head of the Economic Planning
Agency) and others have argued, rationally thinking
economic and other leaders where opposed to the
irrational, anti-modern kind of nationalism supported by
the gunbu (Japan's military) in the thirties. Numerous
observers have stated that over the past few years
nationalism is on the rise in Japan, and that Koizumi
wants to make up for lack of support within his own
party (and elsewhere) by playing up to nationalist

Obviously the current situation cannot be compared to
the thirties, but it is still worth thinking about
whether it is appropriate to see a split in Japan's
larger community between the business community and some
other, anti-rational, nationalistic community. If that
is the case, the business community seems to be less
influential than has so often been argued. Or perhaps
some political/economic leaders want to play it both

Kurt W. Radtke, Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies,
Waseda University on NBR Forum ©.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Nuclear Threats Against North Korea. "The US did the same" according to Bruce Cumings!

Nuclear Threats Against North Korea Consequences of the
'forgotten' war, by Bruce Cumings; Le Monde Diplomatique.

The media claim that North Korea is trying to obtain and
use weapons of mass destruction. Yet the United States,
which opposes this strategy, has used or threatened to
use such weapons in northeast Asia since the 1940s, when
it did drop atomic bombs on Japan.

THE forgotten war -- the Korean war of 1950-53 -- might
better be called the unknown war. What was indelible
about it was the extraordinary destructiveness of the
United States' air campaigns against North Korea, from
the widespread and continuous use of firebombing (mainly
with napalm), to threats to use nuclear and chemical
weapons (1), and the destruction of huge North Korean
dams in the final stages of the war. Yet this episode is
mostly unknown even to historians, let alone to the
average citizen, and it has never been mentioned during
the past decade of media analysis of the North Korean
nuclear problem.

Korea is also assumed to have been a limited war, but
its prosecution bore a strong resemblance to the air war
against Imperial Japan in the second world war, and was
often directed by the same US military leaders. The
atomic attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki have been
examined from many different perspectives, yet the
incendiary air attacks against Japanese and Korean
cities have received much less attention. The US
post-Korean war air power and nuclear strategy in
northeast Asia are even less well understood; yet these
have dramatically shaped North Korean choices and remain
a key factor in its national security strategy.

Napalm was invented at the end of the second world war.
It became a major issue during the Vietnam war, brought
to prominence by horrific photos of injured civilians.
Yet far more napalm was dropped on Korea and with much
more devastating effect, since the Democratic People's
Republic of Korea (DPRK) had many more populous cities
and urban industrial installations than North Vietnam.
In 2003 I participated in a conference with US veterans
of the Korean war. During a discussion about napalm, a
survivor who lost an eye in the Changjin (in Japanese,
Chosin) Reservoir battle said it was indeed a nasty
weapon -- but "it fell on the right people." (Ah yes,
the "right people" -- a friendly-fire drop on a dozen US
soldiers.) He continued: "Men all around me were burned.
They lay rolling in the snow. Men I knew, marched and
fought with begged me to shoot them . . . It was
terrible. Where the napalm had burned the skin to a
crisp, it would be peeled back from the face, arms, legs
. . . like fried potato chips."

[Click the title to read the article]

Japan tougher tone on North Korea

Japan threatened retaliation against North Korea such as
cutting off economic ties unless the communist state
returned Japanese people it has kidnapped or gave a
"sincere response" on their fate.

Japan said it would send a "strong protest" to North
Korea accusing it of handing over false evidence to
prove the deaths of eight Japanese people it abducted
during the Cold War.

"We will have to take a serious response this time if
North Korea does not sincerely respond," said Chief
Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda, the Japanese
government spokesman.

"We strongly demand that North Korea immediately send
home the survivors. The Japanese government demands the
sincere response of North Korea."

A recent poll found that nearly two-thirds of Japanese
people want economic sanctions against North Korea,
despite warnings by the communist state that it would
consider the move an act of war.

Japan has already suspended food aid to North Korea.

Koizumi has previously indicated that sanctions -- which
could take the form of banning remittances by North
Koreans in Japan or barring Pyongyang's ships from
docking at Japanese ports -- would be a last resort.

In a sign that he still favors a cautious approach,
Koizumi declined to set a deadline for North Korea to
respond to the protest, which will be submitted through
diplomats in Beijing.

"We are not thinking about it at present," Koizumi said
of imposing a deadline.

Hosoda, asked whether Japan was presenting North Korea
with an ultimatum, said: "I don't see it that way."

The United States, South Korea (news - web sites) and
China have all warned Japan to be careful with North
Korea amid moves to bring the cash-strapped but heavily
armed country back into six-nation talks on ending its
nuclear program.

In line with world concerns, North Korea threatened to
boycott the nuclear talks unless Japan is excluded from
the negotiating table.

"It has become difficult for (the North) to sit down
with Japan at the six-way talks as Japan acts without
faith and morality," the North's Central Television
Broadcasting Station said late Thursday, in a report
monitored by South Korea's Yonhap news agency.

North Korea, which fired a missile over Japan in 1998,
has admitted kidnapping 13 Japanese people to train the
regime's spies in Japanese language and culture.

North Korea has released five and, to Japan's
skepticism, says eight others are dead.

The most famous victim is Megumi Yokota, who was a
13-year-old girl returning home from school when she was
whisked away in 1977.

North Korea said Yokota killed herself out of depression
and last month gave a visiting Japanese delegation human
remains purported to prove it, along with evidence said
to show seven other kidnap victims were dead.

When Japan said the ashes' DNA did not match Yokota's,
North Korea accused Tokyo of "cooking up" evidence and
asked for the remains back, saying the Japanese woman's
North Korean husband wanted them.

Yokota's father Shigeru Yokota called Friday for a
tougher approach by the government.

"We want the government to set an early deadline for
North Korea's response," he told reporters.

Kayoko Arimoto, whose daughter Keiko Arimoto was
kidnapped in 1983 by North Korean agents in Copenhagen,
said North Korea's false evidence was "so ridiculous I
can't find words to express it."

"None of the negotiations and discussions have resulted
in any progress," she said.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Japan's Emperor says He was shocked by his Son's rebuke of palace officials

Japanese Emperor Akihito Thursday weighed in on a
months-long controversy surrounding his
daughter-in-law's stress-related illness, saying he was
shocked by his son's accusations earlier this year that
palace officials were to blame.

In an imperial statement released to mark his 71st
birthday, the emperor said his son's imprudent remarks
had "caused a flurry of discussions including
speculations not based on fact ..."

The controversy _ sparked by Crown Prince Naruhito's
criticism of the officials in May _ has led to
speculation of a rift in the family. At the time,
Naruhito said his wife's handlers were trying to "deny
her character."

His comments garnered public sympathy for Masako, who
since last December has withdrawn from official duties
due to depression attributed to the pressures of palace

However, Naruhito's younger brother, Prince Akishino,
publicly rebuked his elder sibling for the statements,
saying the crown prince should have consulted his father
before accusing palace officials.

Educated at Harvard, Oxford and Japan's prestigious
Tokyo University, Masako gave up a career in Japan's
Foreign Ministry and married Naruhito in 1993.

Before falling ill, she complained of hardly being
allowed to travel abroad. Critics have suggested palace
officials were reluctant to let Masako, 41, travel until
she produces a male heir.

Masako and Naruhito have one daughter, 3-year-old
Princess Aiko.

In July, the Imperial Household Agency said Masako was
suffering from an adaptive disorder and was being
treated through counseling and medication. She has
largely stayed out of the public eye since last

Akihito said he has talked with his son several times
about his remarks and learned that Masako was facing "a
number of problems," but he added: "There are still some
things that I have not fully understood yet."

"I sincerely hope that in frankly conveying the hopes
that they now have, the Crown Prince and Crown Princess
will be able to move towards the realization of those
hopes and that this will bring them stability and
brightness in their life together."

Under Japan's postwar constitution, the royal family has
no official political power but plays an important
symbolic role in society.

The emperor's birthday, a national holiday, is only one
of two days during the year when the public is allowed
behind the palace walls. On Thursday, hundreds of well
wishers cheered Akihito as he waved at them on the
balcony, accompanied by his family, including Naruhito.
Masako was absent, however. Kyodo.

Japan USA military cooperation to be reinforced in 2005

A Japan-U.S. security statement to be released next year
will single out China and North Korea as sources of
instability and provide for closer military cooperation
between Tokyo and Washington against threats in the
Asia-Pacific region, a Japanese newspaper said on

The report by the Nihon Keizai Shimbun newspaper
coincides with growing concern in Japan about China's
military build-up and North Korea's missile and nuclear
programmes.Designating China as a potential threat would
anger Beijing, already upset over a similar statement in
a sweeping review of Japan's defence policy this month.

Calls have emerged in Japan to revise the 1960
U.S.-Japan Security Treaty -- the pillar of Tokyo's
post-World War Two defence policy -- to accommodate U.S.
requests for Japan to host a U.S. Army command covering
the Pacific Rim as part of Washington's realignment of
its forces around the globe. Revising the treaty would
be politically difficult given lingering pacifism and
opposition to the tightening of U.S.-Japan security ties
since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

Most Japanese voters opposed Japan's deployment of
troops on a reconstruction mission in Iraq, its riskiest
military venture since 1945. The Nihon Keizai newspaper
said the two allies would not revise the bilateral
security treaty, which limits the role of U.S. troops
based in Japan to the Far East. Instead, they would
outline in a statement how Japan and the United States
would cope with threats such as terrorism, North Korea
and tensions between Taiwan and China, it said.

A Japanese military source said drafting the document
was likely to take several months. "We have to discuss
common strategic objectives, roles and missions, and the
U.S. military posture in this region and Japan in the
future," he said. Whether and how China would be
mentioned remained to be seen, but the source added: "We
have to discuss how to address common strategic
objectives, how we see the international environment.

We should discuss each issue, such as the Korean
peninsula, the Taiwan Strait, southeast Asia and the
global war on terrorism." In a revamped defence policy
this month, Japan mentioned China's military build-up as
a cause for concern along with the potential threat from
North Korea. Beijing denounced that designation as
"groundless and extremely irresponsible". Sino-Japanese
ties have grown frosty of late, most recently because of
Japan's decision to issue a visa to former Taiwan
President Lee Teng-hui to visit as a tourist. Beijing,
which sees self-ruled, democratic Taiwan as a renegade
Chinese province, has protested and urged Japan not to
let in the 81-year-old Lee, an outspoken advocate of
independence for Taiwan.

China, where bitter memories of Japan's past militarism
run deep, is also annoyed over Japanese Prime Minister
Junichiro Koizumi's annual visits to Yasukuni shrine,
where World War Two war criminals are honoured along
with Japan's other war dead.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Japan arms exports: used warships to Singapore, Malaysia

The government plans to sell decommissioned
Maritime Self-Defense Force and Japan Coast Guard
vessels to Singapore and Malaysia for use in combating
pirates and maritime terrorism in what would be an
exception to the national policy of not exporting arms,
the Yomiuri Shimbun reported Wednesday.

Japan will announce the exception to the policy to
Singapore and Malaysia in January, the newspaper said.

Under consideration for sale are vessels in the range of
1,000- and 2,000-ton class owned by the MSDF as well as
Coast Guard patrol boats, it said. When delivered, they
will be stripped of canons and other heavy weapons
systems that are not required for fighting pirates.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Post-Helsinki: Turkey, Greece and the European Union

Post-Helsinki: Turkey, Greece and the European Union

Philip H. Gordon, Director, the Center on the United
States and France, and Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy

The European Union's December 1999 decision to accord
Turkey the status of official "candidate" was a historic
turning point that will have long-term benefits for the
entire eastern Mediterranean region.

The Helsinki outcome reinforces Turkey's European
orientation; provides a strong incentive for Ankara to
pursue its ongoing economic, political, and human rights
reform; bolsters Greece-Turkey relations; and eliminates
much of the deep resentment that many Turks felt toward
the EU following the December 1997 Luxembourg summit's
rejection of Turkey's candidacy.

The EU decision at Helsinki was the product of a number
of different factors. These included the 1998 election
of a Social Democratic government in Germany, replacing
the Christian Democratic regime that wanted to keep
Turkey at arm's length; the Kosovo conflict, which
demonstrated Turkey's role in European security and its
ability to cooperate with Greece; American pressure,
which was a persistent thorn in Europeans' side until
removed at Helsinki; and the policies of the Turkish
government led by Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit, elected
in April 1999, which had already begun to implement a
range of important reforms.

No factor, however, was more important than the new
approach taken by the Greek government, spearheaded by
Foreign Minister George Papandreou. Papandreou's new
approach—based on the realization that a Europeanizing
Turkey was in Greece's own national interest—has not
only helped to improve Turkey's relationship with the
EU, but it has already begun to bring about improvements
in Greece-Turkey relations that would have seemed
impossible only a few years ago.

Some have argued that the EU's Helsinki decision was a
mistake that will only encourage Turkey to maintain
illusions about an EU membership that it will never, in
fact, attain. According to this logic, the EU should
have been frank with Turkey and made it clear that the
bloc will never include a large Muslim country, most of
whose territory lies beyond what is traditionally
considered to be Europe.

It will be many years before Turkey is ready for actual
accession. But refusing it even the prospect of eventual
membership—no matter how the country evolves in the
coming years—would have been a great mistake. Not only
would such a decision have sent Turkey-EU and
Turkey-Greece relations into a new tailspin, but it also
would have taken away one of Turkey's most powerful
incentives to pursue the types of policies and reforms
that Europeans claim to want to see.

Europe's postwar history is full of examples of
countries undertaking major reforms in the name of
Europe that they would not otherwise have
undertaken—Greece's recent fiscal discipline as a path
to joining Europe's Economic and Monetary Union is a
relevant example—and there is no reason this external
stimulus will not affect Turkey as well.

Indeed, evidence of this effect is already becoming
apparent. Since Helsinki, Turkish leaders have openly
discussed the possibility of allowing Kurdish-language
broadcasts and education, a longstanding European
demand; postponed implementation of the death sentence
of Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan
in order to allow an appeal to be considered by the
European Court of Human Rights; talked about abolishing
the death penalty altogether; encouraged the
continuation of the first Cyprus talks to be held for
more than two years; made real efforts to improve their
human rights record; and moved forward with the
far-reaching economic reform program launched last

Not all of these things can be attributed to Turkey's
desire to join the EU, but there is no doubt that the
positive atmosphere at Helsinki and renewed hope for
eventual membership has inspired Turkey to stick to this

Even more important has been the great improvement in
Greece-Turkey relations that certainly would not be
continuing had Greece and its fellow EU members made a
different choice at Helsinki. Indeed, the evolution of
Greece-Turkey relations over the past few months has
been remarkable, including the first visit by a Greek
foreign minister, Papandreou, to Turkey in 38 years;
bilateral agreements on trade and investment, organized
crime, illegal immigration, tourism, and the
environment; and the possibility that Greek and Turkish
forces will conduct exercises together in Greek
territory as part of NATO's Dynamic Mix military

Many of the bilateral agreements are substantively
significant, not least because of the great potential
for an increase in Greek-Turkish trade from its
currently low level of less than $1 billion per year.
But even more important is their demonstration of the
two countries' common interests. As Hikmet Cetin, a
former Turkish foreign minister has put it, "People in
Turkey, Greece and Cyprus now see that the two
governments can deal with each other in a positive way."

None of this is to say that Turkey's candidacy status
has somehow resolved all of Turkey's or the region's
problems, or that positive Turkey-EU relations are now
guaranteed. Turkey has a lot of hard work to do—on human
rights, on economic development, in resolving problems
with Greece, and in reducing the military's role in
government—before it will be in a position to meet the
EU's tough membership conditions.

In this sense, Prime Minister Ecevit's talk after
Helsinki of possibly joining the European Union in 2004
seems excessively optimistic. Turkish leaders, with
encouragement from the EU and the United States, would
do well to start managing expectations so that another
disappointment does not set Turkey-EU relations back
again. Hopefully, Turkey's December decision to, in
effect, declare victory and accept the EU's offer of
candidacy, despite what might have been seen as
conditions attached to it on Cyprus and the Aegean, was
a sign that Turkey is realistic about what must happen
before it can actually join the EU.

Where external relations are concerned, the greatest
obstacles to continued Turkey-EU rapprochement remain
Cyprus and the Aegean. Anyone who has followed these
issues over the years knows how difficult they will be
to resolve. But they should also know that, as long as
Turkey feels ostracized by Europe and has a hostile
relationship with Greece, these problems will never be
resolved, and there will remain an unhealthy gap between
Turkey and Europe.

Turkey is a big, proud country with a growing economy,
and it has always been unlikely to compromise on these
issues through outside pressure alone. A far better
approach is one that allows Turks and Greeks to see
their overwhelming common interest in cooperating on a
wide range of problems. Once this new attitude prevails
among Turks, Greeks and Europeans, even the hardest
bilateral problems will come to be seen in a new light,
and solutions may finally become possible.

That new mood, and the incentive that possible EU
membership provides for Turkey to make difficult
domestic changes, offer the possibility of dramatically
transforming Turkey-EU relations, and, with them, the
prospects for peace and prosperity in the entire eastern
Mediterranean region.

The Strategic Regional Report, February 2000

Japan: "Single women in their 30s redefining societal roles", a local daily writes

Three terms have become popular this year for describing
women--makeinu (whipped dog), onibaba (ogre-like older
women) and sonatian, referring to enthusiastic fans of a
popular South Korean drama.

The phrases have often been misunderstood, sparking
criticism and feelings of solidarity. The situation
reflects the complex feelings of women who waver between
new and traditional values in life, such as finding
happiness in marriage and having children or choosing to
live one's own life in their own way.

Makeinu became a popular term after the book "Makeinu no
Toboe" (Whipped Dog's Howl), written by 38-year-old
Junko Sakai, became popular. Sakai referred to single,
childless women older than 30 as whipped dogs. The word
won a prize for being the most popular word of the year.
Many women respond to being called makeinu cynically,
saying, "I'm a whipped dog, so what?" Such an attitude
won empathy among women of the same generation.

Tsuda College Prof. Chizuru Misago, 46, an
epidemiologist who recently published a book titled
"Onibabaka Suru Onnatachi" (Women Who Turn Into Ogres)
in which she describes women as the ogres of traditional
folk tales. Misago warned, "Women store inborn energy
for sex and reproduction, eroding various parts of their

Sonatian refers to Bae Yong Joon's fanatical fans who
obsess over him in the South Korean soap opera "Fuyu no
Sonata" (Winter Sonata), which has aired on NHK since
April. The soap opera has been credited with creating a
hanryu (Korean culture) boom. Tours to its filming sites
in South Korea have become very popular among
middle-aged and older women. Some estimate the economic
effect of the show has reached about 230 billion yen.

"I couldn't decide whether to get married in my early
30s or not. I've reached 35 this year, and I don't have
a boyfriend," said a Tokyo office worker.

She holds down a good job and lives with her parents.
Her 61-year-old mother cleans the house and does the
laundry. Although her parents get along well, she said
her 64-year-old father keeps saying that he is very busy
with his work as an excuse for not spending time with
her mother.

So, occasionally the office worker travels overseas with
her mother on vacation. Last month they visited spots
featured in "Fuyu no Sonata" on a four-day tour. Her
mother was the first of the two to become infatuated
with "Fuyu no Sonata."

"I'm a typical makeinu. My mother has turned herself
completely into a sonatian," the office worker said and

The number of single women in their 30s is increasing.
According to the 2000 census, the number of women in
their early 30s who were unmarried reached 26.6 percent,
while that for women in their late 30s hit 13.8 percent,
rising twofold from the number in the census conducted
in 1990. The rate surges to more than 40 percent among
women in their early 30s who live in urban areas.

Clinical psychotherapist Sayoko Nobuta, 58, head of
Harajuku Counseling Center has been studying the
phenomenon for 10 years.

She has noticed general changes in the daughter-mother
relationships, as mothers who have lived their lives
according to traditional values do not recommend
marriage to their working daughters.

"Mothers have found hope in their daughters, who have
become financially independent, while daughters remember
very well the heavy burden and unhappiness their mothers
experienced when left with all the decision-making at
home by fathers that cared only for their companies.
This is why daughters are working so hard--they are
responding to their mothers' expectations," Nobuta said.

As many mothers reach an age where they can look back on
their lives, which they devoted to their families, they
tend to become obsessed with such dramas as "Fuyu no
Sonata," which emphasizes love rather than family life.

Tokyo University Assistant Prof. Kaori Hayashi, 41,
surveyed about 830 members of the audience at a "Fuyu no
Sonata" concert. She noticed that about half the women
in their 50s and 60s in the audience wrote that they did
not realize that a man could treat a woman so well and
protect them.

"Women of this age group supported corporate warriors.
Although they were supported financially, they were
frustrated by the lack of psychological protection.
Daughters are puzzled to see their mothers become
innocently infatuated with pure love," Nobuta said.

Women are becoming more selective and can choose to get
married or have a child. They live in the age and
society that has greater tolerance for such choices, but
experts have highlighted negative aspects of having such

One such expert is Misago who says makeinu eventually
turn into onibaba, while others criticize her for this
view. (Yomiuri 21 12 2004)

Sunday, December 19, 2004

French Helios-II A, a new generation of military satellites

Helios-II A: EU Ariane rocket successfully placed into
orbit the first in a new generation of French military

Four so-called Essaim (Swarm) microsatellites, a
microsatellite called Parasol and Nanosat, a tiny
Spanish civilian research satellite were also
successfully separated from the rocket, which had
earlier taken off from the European Space Agency's
launchpad in French Guiana.

French defense minister Michele Alliot-Marie hailed the
successful launch, sending her congratulations to the
scientists from Paris, where she watched it live on

Helios II A is designed to have enhanced imaging in the
optical and infrared range and is designed to improve
military intelligence which will be used notably by
France, Belgium and Spain. It has a five year space

The microsatellites are designed by French military
scientists as a testbed for new technologies in
electromagnetic surveillance.

Parasol is a microsatellite designed by French civilian
scientists to study cloud formations and aerosols in the
upper atmosphere, while Nanosat is also designed to
monitor atmospheric changes.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

53% of Japanese distrust United States

Fifty-three percent of Japanese respondents to a poll
said they did not trust the United States, a figure far
higher than the 29 percent of Americans who said they
distrusted Japan, according to the findings of a joint
Yomiuri Shimbun-Gallup survey released Wednesday.

Despite this, many respondents said they believed that
the Japan-U.S. relationship remained on good terms.

The distrust of the United States among Japanese was the
highest recorded in the survey over the past five years,
a sentiment believed to have been caused by U.S.
policies regarding the governing of postwar Iraq.

Meanwhile, 71 percent of Japanese respondents said they
did not trust China, reflecting their deteriorating view
of the country due to the recent intrusion into Japanese
territorial waters by a Chinese nuclear-powered
submarine and other gripes related to China.

The telephone survey was conducted in the latter half of
last month, with 1,006 voters aged 20 or older in Japan
and 1,000 voters aged 18 or older in the United States

Pollees who said Japan-U.S. relations were good
increased nine percentage points from the previous year
to 49 percent in Japan, but dropped one point to 53
percent in the United States.

Regarding mutual trust, the number of Japanese
respondents who expressed distrust of the United States
soared eight points to 53 percent from last year, a
figure much higher than the 38 percent who said they
trusted the United States.

In 2000, the interview format was changed from
person-to-person interviews to telephone interviews, and
since last year the number of Japanese pollees who said
they distrusted the United States exceeded those who
said they trusted it.

The gap has widened from four percentage points to 15
percentage points, showing that distrust of the United
States has increased.

In the United States, the number of respondents who said
they trusted Japan was 67 percent, much higher than the
29 percent who expressed distrust of Japan, illustrating
a gap between Japanese and U.S. pollees in their
perceptions about each other.

The Iraq problem is believed to be the main reason
behind the Japanese pollees' distrust of the United
States, with 75 percent of them expressing discontent
about the governing of Iraq led by the United States.

Sixty-one percent of Japanese pollees said they did not
feel a fondness toward U.S. President George W. Bush,
who was reelected in November. In the United States, it
was 60 percent for Bush and 39 percent against him. Even
in the United States, 62 percent of the respondents said
they did not believe other countries had a liking for
the United States.

The Iraq war has created a rift between the United
States and Europe, resulting in a deepened sense of
isolation among Americans.

In Japan, 71 percent of the respondents said they did
not think other countries admired the United States.

Regarding their relationships with China, 59 percent of
the Japanese respondents described Japan-China relations
as poor as did 16 percent in the United States.

The number of Japanese who described their relationship
with China as poor jumped 28 percentage points from the
previous year and was the highest since the 2000 survey.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Tensin Deleg Rinpoche, 52, a Tibetan monk on death row in China still alive

A high-profile Tibetan monk on death row in China, whose
case has sparked a raft of international appeals, is
still alive and may have his sentence reduced, prison
system officials said.

"This monk has not been executed. I heard they're
considering changing his penalty to life imprisonment or
a fixed-term penalty," an official surnamed Zheng at the
southwest Sichuan province prison administrative bureau

"It's because he behaved himself well in prison."

Tensin Deleg Rinpoche, 52, was sentenced to death in
2002 after being convicted of carrying out a 2002 bomb
attack in Sichuan province's Chengdu capital, charges
which he denied.

His sentence was suspended for two years and the
suspension expired on December 2, but China, which
referred to him as a "terrorist", had refused to say
what it planned to do with him.

The US Senate, the Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama
and international human rights groups stepped up
pressure for his release in recent weeks.

Protest rallies were held in London, New Delhi and other

The prison official said he did not know when a decision
would be made on a possible sentence reduction.

Officials at the prison where Tensin Deleg is being
held, Chuanzhong Prison in Nanchong city in Sichuan,
refused to comment.

Another man Lobsang Dhondup, a 28-year-old activist, was
also convicted for the bomb attack that killed one
person and injured another and other blasts in the Ganzi
region of west Sichuan.

Lobsang Dhondup denied the charges but he was executed
in January 2003, stirring international uproar.

Last week China rejected a resolution by the US Senate
that called for the monk's release, saying the case fell
within "China's internal affairs" and related to
stamping out terrorism.

"Deleg undermined the security of society and conducted
terrorist bombing activities, he would be punished in
any country," foreign ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue

In the latest appeal, hundreds of Tibetans took to the
streets of New Delhi Friday in a silent protest march to
demand his freedom, saying Tensin Deleg was innocent and
was denied a fair trial.

Suspended death sentences in China are often cut to life
imprisonment but cases involving Tibetans are treated
differently because of the political sensitivity of

China has ruled Tibet since 1951 following an invasion
of the Himalayan region, considering it an "inalienable"
part of its territory.

Since then it has routinely tried to stamp out dissent,
jailing and executing those suspected of separatism.

China executes more people every year than the rest of
the world combined.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Japan new defense plan adopted. Targets: China and North Korea

Japan adopted new defense guidelines Friday, including
the relaxation of an arms-export ban that will
facilitate missile security with Washington, another
sign of Tokyo's move away from its postwar pacifism in
favor of greater military cooperation with its top ally.

The new plan marked the most significant overhaul of the
country's defense policy in a decade - a period during
which Tokyo has tried to increase security cooperation
with the United States - and comes a day after the
pro-U.S. government voted to keep Japanese troops in
Iraq on a humanitarian mission for another year past its
Dec. 14 deadline.

``This is about ensuring security and dealing with new
threats as the times change,'' Prime Minister Junichiro
Koizumi told reporters after the new plan was unveiled.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda said the
government would ease Japan's ban on exporting weapons
to other countries in order to pursue a missile defense
program with Washington for security purposes. The plan
called for the easing, citing modern security threats,
including North Korean missiles, China's military
buildup and terrorism.

Japan has maintained the arms export ban since 1976 in
deference to its pacifist constitution, unchanged since
it was written by U.S. occupation forces after World War
II. The constitution renounces war and the use of force
in settling international disputes.

Yet Koizumi has stirred debate about constitutional
reform. He has backed an increasingly high-profile role
for Japan's military and closer security cooperation
with Washington, which maintains 50,000 troops here
under a security treaty.

Under his administration, Japan has 1,000 troops in Iraq
and neighboring countries engaged in non-combat
reconstruction work - the postwar military's largest and
most dangerous overseas operation. Earlier, in 2001,
Koizumi responded to the U.S. ``war on terror'' by
pushing through legislation to allow the navy to provide
logistical support to forces in Afghanistan.

Critics have said such efforts are chipping away at the
pacifist society Japan has built since its destruction
in World War II. The new guidelines played down such
fears, reiterating that Japan's military was not going
on the offensive.

``Our country, under our constitution, will adhere
exclusively to self-defense,'' the report said.
``Following our policy of not becoming a major military
power that would pose a threat to other countries, we
will secure civilian control.''

The plan, approved in a Cabinet meeting, also vowed to
maintain the country's policy of not making or
possessing nuclear weapons. Japan is the only country to
have been attacked with nuclear weapons, when the United
States twice hit the country in 1945.

The revisions threaten to alarm Asian neighbors, who
suffered under Japan's expansionist policies earlier
last century.

Both China and North Korea were singled out as regional
security concerns in the outline, which covers from 2005
to 2014.

China's efforts to build up and modernize its military,
as well as its expanded range of naval activities, have
been closely monitored by Japan. Tensions between the
two Asian powerhouses spiked last month, when a Chinese
nuclear submarine infiltrated Japanese waters and
prompted an alert.

Pyongyang has also grown into one of Tokyo's biggest
security worries. It test-fired a long-range ballistic
missile over Japan in 1998 and is believed to be
developing nuclear weapons.


-- "China, which has a great impact on security in this
region, is pushing ahead with enhancing its nuclear and
missile capabilities in modernizing its navy and air
force while expanding marine activities. We need to
continue to watch these moves in the future."

-- "North Korea is developing, deploying and
proliferating weapons of mass destruction and ballistic
missiles and maintains large-scale special units. These
military moves of North Korea are serious, destabilizing
factors for regional security."

-- Russian military power in the Far East has been
reduced greatly since the end of Cold War but there is
still uncertainty over the Korean Peninsula and Taiwan


-- Japan will maintain a policy of not exporting
weapons, but will make an exception under "strict
control" for exports to the United States meant for
joint development and production of a missile shield,
Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda said in a
statement on the new guidelines.

Japan will decide whether to export weapons to the
United States or other countries for purposes other than
missile defense, such as measures to counter terrorism
or piracy, on a case-by-case basis, Hosoda said.


-- Japan's security alliance with the United States is
"indispensable," the guidelines said.


-- Japan will reduce its conventional arms buildup as
the possibility of a full-scale invasion has decreased
with the end of the Cold War.

-- Japanese troops need to be able to cope with
emergencies quickly and flexibly based on high
technology and efficient information gathering.

-- Japan will keep a watch for and take "appropriate
measures" against foreign intrusions into its air and
sea space.

-- Japan will build up its information-gathering
capability to detect threats.


-- Japan will actively engage in international
peace-keeping activities in close cooperation with


-- The new guidelines are for the coming 10 years but
could be revised in five years if a "serious change"
emerges in the security situation.

Give Japan's royal diplomacy a chance

by Fumio Kitamura.
Something is amiss within Japan's Imperial household.
For nearly a year now, the Crown Princess Masako has
suspended her official functions for "health reasons."
The public knew next to nothing about the details of her
disposition or the effectiveness of treatment, for
reasons that included the extreme lack of information
disclosed by the Imperial Household Agency and the
voluntary restraint on reporting exercised by Japan's
mass media.

Eventually, the cause of Princess Masako's impaired
health was disclosed in an unexpected manner. The Crown
Prince himself said during a press conference in May
that the Crown Princess had been "deeply distressed by
the fact that she was not freely permitted to pay
overseas visits, even though she considered promoting
international good will an important role to be played
by a member of the Imperial family."

He went further, stating flatly that "there were indeed
some moves purporting to dismiss Masako's career and her
personality based on that career."

It was an unprecedented event in the Imperial family,
bound by tradition and convention and cloaked in a heavy
shroud of secrecy. It was only after the Crown Prince's
comments that the Imperial Household Agency announced
Princess Masako's illness to be "stress-induced
adjustment disorder."

Taken together, the Crown Prince's comments and the
official announcement of the Crown Princess's illness
allows us to infer that she had been tormented by the
inability to fulfill her self-imposed duty of Imperial
diplomacy and by a myriad of related psychological

Ordinary Japanese cannot fathom the kind of Imperial
diplomacy that the Crown Princess had been aspiring to.
Up to the mid-19th century, the fate of nations was
decided by the flamboyant and elegant diplomacy of
monarchs that was described as the "congress dances."

However, the epoch of absolute monarchy has long gone.
While several advanced countries still retain
monarchies, they do so under the "reigns but does not
rule" principle. Politicians and bureaucrats are the
central players in diplomatic negotiations. Members of
royalty are no longer diplomatic players in the true
sense of the word. Why then do we still refer to the
term "royal diplomacy"?

For today's royal houses, the opportunity for
international exchange lies mostly in ceremonial visits
to other countries -- attendance at royal weddings and
funerals and visits for good will and charity. Broad
attempts at contacting citizens of the receiving country
are made during the visits. Itineraries consists mainly
of attendance at charity events and concerts, art
exhibitions and sports events, as well as inspection
tours of kindergartens, universities, hospitals and
nursing homes. Almost without exception, royal diplomacy
is characterized by a schedule of events that are highly
visible to the mass media.

In today's information age, members of royalty attract
extra media attention as "noble celebrities." Their
graceful yet unassuming demeanor and friendly
conversations with the general public are magnified by
media reports. And the royal image thus created with
these goodwill visits has the effect of planting in the
minds of the general public an image of the country
whence they came.

The greatest function that can be expected of "royal
diplomacy" is creating a positive impression of the
society that has a constitutional monarchy.

Internal change within a royal household also tends to
signify social changes taking place in that particular
country. In the royal houses of Europe and the Middle
East, career women of common birth and foreign women
with a history of divorce are sometimes chosen as crown
princesses. Such news is received outside those
countries as an indication of democratic maturity and
tolerance not only by the royal house concerned but also
by that society as a whole.

Political leaders such as presidents and prime ministers
can seldom be expected to communicate a positive image
of their society to the outside world. While there are
no doubt many leaders with high-minded personalities,
power struggles are dogged by conspiracy, oppression and
treachery. There is no end to the number of political
leaders who have been stained by scandals involving
bribery and corruption, nepotism or illegal information
gathered against political rivals.

Severed from political power, today's constitutional
monarchies have been freed from the negative elements of
politics. Their transformation into such a detached role
has expanded the domains in which "royal diplomacy" can
be effective.

Crown Princess Masako is blessed with ample qualities
for pursuing "royal diplomacy." She was educated at the
best universities in America, Japan and Britain, is
fluent in several languages and has experienced
difficult diplomatic negotiations as a career diplomat.
She is an invaluable asset for communicating Japan's
good image abroad. That the Crown Princess has suddenly
disappeared from the public view and remains unable to
perform her official functions is indeed a considerable
loss in terms of promoting international exchange.

To help Princess Masako overcome her adjustment
disorder, we must alleviate and eliminate the
psychological pressure. According to media reports in
Japan and abroad, the greatest cause of pressure
apparently originates from her concern that she has yet
to produce a male heir to the Imperial throne. Many also
report that the Crown Princess also suffers from the
heavy sense of stagnation and isolation caused by
long-standing protocol that places excessive
restrictions on her freedom in daily life.

To restore a lively expression to Princess Masako's
face, it is essential to encourage more openness in the
Imperial institution and respect for the individual
freedom of Imperial family members. We must also
consider revising the Imperial Household Law, which
limits the right of succession to a male heir, and open
the way to accession of an empress.

[Fumio Kitamura is the former general manager of the FPC,
a former professor of Shukutoku University and former senior
editor and London bureau chief of the Yomiuri Shimbun.]

Friday, December 10, 2004

Did North Korea Cheat?

Did North Korea Cheat?
by Selig S. Harrison

From Foreign Affairs, January/February 2005

Summary: Two years ago, Washington accused Pyongyang of
running a secret nuclear weapons program. But how much
evidence was there to back up the charge? A review of
the facts shows that the Bush administration
misrepresented and distorted the data-while ignoring the
one real threat North Korea actually poses.

Selig S. Harrison is Director of the Asia Program and
Chairman of the Task Force on U.S. Korea Policy at the
Center for International Policy. He is also a Senior
Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for
Scholars and the author of Korean Endgame.

[Click the title to access the article of Foreign
Affairs January February 2005]

Sunday, December 05, 2004

A Japanese military officer breaking the Constitution?

A senior officer in the Ground Self-Defense Force has
compiled a draft plan for revising the Constitution to
authorize the existence of a "military force" and enable
the nation to engage in collective defense, it was
learned Saturday according to Kyodo quoted by a
newspaper in Japan.

The officer submitted the plan in October to Gen
Nakatani, a former Defense Agency chief who currently
heads a Liberal Democratic Party committee tasked with
drafting the party's proposal for a constitutional
amendment, according to sources familiar with the case.

All of the basic points contained in the officer's draft
were subsequently reflected in the outline of the
party's proposal for changing the Constitution, which
was compiled last month.

The officer was identified as a lieutenant colonel
assigned to the Plans and Operations Department of the
Ground Staff Office.

The LDP plans to finalize its proposal for a
constitutional amendment in November 2005, when the
party marks the 50th anniversary of its founding.

Nakatani, a uniformed SDF officer before he was elected
to the House of Representatives, confirmed that he had
asked the GSDF officer to single out problems of the
current Constitution from the viewpoint of national
security as he was trying to put together the LDP's
policy outline.

"I asked for his help so that I can study the matter as
a politician. I requested that he do so in my private
capacity, and I don't see any problem," said Nakatani,
who headed the Defense Agency between 2001 and 2002.

However, involvement by a uniformed SDF officer in the
ruling party's policymaking process in a highly
sensitive issue such as amending the Constitution could
stir up controversy, especially in light of the postwar
principle of civilian control of the military.

A senior Justice Ministry official well versed in
constitutional issues said that if the officer compiled
the draft in his official capacity as an SDF member, he
may have violated a public servant's duty to comply with
the Constitution.

The draft proposal submitted to Nakatani, a copy of
which has been obtained by Kyodo News, is titled
"Constitution draft" and bears the name of the GSDF
officer and his officer contact number.

While the draft says Japan will "renounce the threat or
use of force as a means of settling international
disputes," it calls on the nation to possess a military
force for the defense of the country.

The war-renouncing Article 9 of the current Constitution
says that "land, sea and air forces and other war
potential will never be maintained."

The draft also says the military force will be able to
engage in collective defense so that it can take part in
collective security frameworks. The government has
interpreted the current Constitution as banning the
nation from exercising its right o collective defense.

The lieutenant colonel also prepared a document titled
"other issues that should be included," which advises
against a draft system for compulsory military service.
This too was reflected in the LDP's revision outline.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Emails prove ties among military services, defense and Congress...

"Everyone's nervous," Acting Undersecretary of Defense
Michael W. Wynne warned in a confidential e-mail to Air
Force Secretary James G. Roche on July 8, 2003.

It was two days before the Bush administration was to
send its first detailed report to Congress about a
controversial Air Force plan to lease refueling tankers
from the Boeing Co., and a few days after a fierce
backroom struggle over its language between critics of
the plan and Air Force enthusiasts.

[To read the article, click the title]

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Asia is THE target market for luxury brands! Why?

Seven years of economic woe may have taught Asia's
zealous shoppers some restraint but, with economies
picking up, they are again flocking to luxury goods
stores, only this time with a more discerning eye.

As disposable incomes nudge the record highs of the
mid-90s Asian boom years, consumers have spurned the
spend, spend spend attitude for a more choosy approach
towards the finer things in life.

"The market is more mature now, people are not just
throwing money at the most expensive thing; they have
learned and they are choosing wisely," says Simon Tam,
wine consultant with the Cafe Deco Group chain of bars
and restaurants in Hong Kong.

"They are investing in quality as opposed to the things
they think they should be buying."

Asia is THE target market for luxury brands, accounting
for more sales than any other region, including Europe
and the United States.

For instance, half of Switzerland's eight billion
dollars of annual watch exports come here.

"The barometer of how well a (newly launched) watch will
do depends on two key markets, Asia and Italy,"
Singapore's Sincere Watch executive vice-president Ong
Ban tells AFP.

"If it can do well in these two major markets, it will
usually do well in other parts of the world."

Asia's numbers are huge. For France's LVMH, the world's
largest luxury goods maker and parent of brands such as
Louis Vuitton and Veuve Clicquot, 40 percent of world
sales are generated here. For shoe label Gucci it's 45

Still heading demand is Japan, which for some brands
accounts for a third of global sales.

Although economic problems have cast a shadow over the
past 15 years, designer labels are still investing
heavily. Among them is French retailer Chanel, which
will open a 240-million-dollar flagship store in Tokyo
on December 2 on the famous Ginza avenue, just near
Cartier's building.

"Chanel's revenue in Japan is three times more than in
France," said Richard Colasse, CEO of Chanel Japan.

If mobile phones were icon of the last boom, this one is
likely to be characterised by the smell of cigar smoke.

"In the last year dozens of humidors have opened
throughout Hong Kong -- and all the hotels I speak to
are busy putting together cigar and brandy deals in
their bars," says Andrew Dembina, editor of the newly
launched Cigar Cutter magazine, aimed at Asia's new
generation of stogie chompers. "You didn't see that

"The market is also different in that consumers are no
longer simply buying Cuban cigars because they are the
most expensive. Like the early days of new world wines
people are experimenting and sourcing cheaper cigars of
equal quality from other parts of the world."

Huge changes have been seen in the luxury travel market,
with travellers opting more for private flight charters
in the wake of the September 11, 2001 US terror attacks.
They are also demanding more value for money and healthy

"Guests are getting younger, they are asking for more
for their money and they want more than just gyms," said
a spokeswoman for Hong Kong's Peninsula Hotel, one of
the most luxurious in Asia.

"Guests are indulging themselves still, but they are
doing it with the family or as couples."

Some things, however, are so luxurious that their
attraction remains unaffected by mere economics.

Rolls Royce sells some 15 percent of its bespoke
limousines to Asian customers. Its Phantom model,
released last year, is the most expensive car the
100-year old company has ever produced.

"We launched it during SARS but it still sold as
expected -- about 1,000 a year -- because super-luxury
goods avoid the cyclical nature of economics," Colin
Kelly, the brand's regional director, tells AFP.

While Hong Kong no longer possesses more "Rollers" than
anywhere else, Kelly says the honour has not gone far.

"China is probably up there now -- 25 percent of our
Asian sales go to China now," says Kelly.

If the traditional Asian markets are maturing, the
Chinese luxury market is still in its formative stage --
and revelling in conspicuous spending.

Analysts expect growth in the world's most populous
country to boost Asia's share of world luxury sales to
60 percent.

"Chinese people have no qualms about rewarding
themselves for their success," says Rolls Royce's Kelly.
"It's natural for them to show off their success."

Shanghai's Nanjing Road is proof of the revolution.
Along the metropolis's Fifth Avenue, the titans of
Western luxury have replaced once shabby shops with chic

Christian Dior, which has been in China since 1998,
recently doubled its presence in the elite Plaza 66 mall
and is planning to set up Dior Hommes in December
alongside Prada, Cartier and Gucci. And Italian Ferrari
opened its first office in this September.

"Chinese have expressed a great interest in Ferrari and
the lifestyle that we represent," said Enrico Mussetto,
a top marketing executive with the firm.

"Our customers are successful people who know how to
take advantage of the economic growth that China has to
offer," Musseto said.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Covering Japan's Royals, according to Tony Mac Nicol

[This article is interesting in describing a certain
impression generally spread in the western media about
the crude reaction to press covering the Imperial
family. The blog's owner does not necessarily agree with
the author of the OJR]

"The Imperial family is in crisis, but that's often hard
to tell from Japanese media reports on royalty.
Conservative editorial policies, self-censorship and the
threat of right-wing intimidation prevent the media from
opening a proper debate on the Chrysanthemum Throne's
role in modern Japan.

by Tony Mc Nicol.

Many observers believe that interest in the Japanese
Imperial Household is at an all-time low. The emperor
and his family are often compared to civil servants --
and they are just about as glamorous. Few in number and
entirely supported by the state, generally they are left
to smile, wave and cut ribbons without too much
attention from the press or public.

All the same, in recent months the royal household has
been getting a bit more publicity than it's used to --
and unusually bad publicity at that. The popular Crown
Princess Masako, under pressure to bear an heir to the
Chrysanthemum Throne, reportedly suffered a nervous
breakdown and wasn't seen in public for months until two
brief appearances in September. (The palace also
released video of her playing happily with her only
daughter, Princess Aiko.) In May her husband, Crown
Prince Naruhito, stunned the press and public by using a
routine press conference to allocate blame for his
wife's illness and make a thinly veiled attack on
Imperial Household Agency bureaucrats.

The Japanese Imperial family is undergoing a quiet
crisis. In the short-term it seems likely that the rules
will have to be changed to allow Princess Aiko to one
day become empress. A long-term problem is that, if not
actively disliked, more and more the Imperial family is
simply ignored. Some commentators believe that public
indifference to the Imperial family is the result of its
growing irrelevance to modern Japan. They say it needs
to find a new role for itself before the Japanese public
loses interest completely.

In other constitutional monarchies one might expect that
role to be discussed through the media -- or if the
monarchy really is so irrelevant, questions about
whether the royals are actually needed at all. But there
is precious little sign of that. Instead, reports
largely skim the surface of events, refusing to delve
into more profound and troublesome issues.

Take an article in the June 10 edition of the weekly
Shukan Bunshun. The five-page report promised to look
"behind the Chrysanthemum curtain" and listed "10 taboo
topics" of the Imperial Household, including: "What is
the real cause of Princess Masako's illness?" and "What
is the budget of the Imperial palace?" Even, "Why
doesn't the Crown Prince drive?" and "How good is
Princess Masako at cooking?"

What was noticeable by their absence in the list,
however, were the biggest taboos of all: Namely, any
real criticism of the royal family or questioning of the
role of the institution itself.

Jun Kamei, a writer and teacher who spent 21 years
working for the Shukan Shichou tabloid weekly, points
out that 60 or so years might have passed since people
could be executed for criticizing the emperor, but old
habits die hard. "Freedom of speech and expression are
recognized," he says. "But all the same, those unwritten
rules are left over."

"Not one reporter ever asked Emperor Hirohito about his
responsibility for the war in Asia, potentially one of
the great stories of the last half century." -- David
McNeill, Japan Focus

"(It is) corporate censorship, or self-censorship by the
media," says Kenichi Asano, a professor of journalism
and mass communications at Doshisha University in Kyoto.
Along with the Yakuza organized crime networks, the
Imperial family is the big taboo subject for the
Japanese media.

Few journalists are brave enough to step out of line, he
says. "The top-ranking people in the press are mostly
close to the LDP (the ruling Liberal Democratic Party).
Young journalists know also that if they write something
to criticize the emperor system, they will lose their

During his 22 years at Kyodo News, Asano doggedly
refused to use special honorific terms (such as adding
"sama" to the end of a royal's name) when he wrote about
members of the Imperial family. "Always my editors
complained, 'You are against the Kyodo stylebook.' And I
told them, 'No, you are against the constitution.'" His
editors added the honorifics anyway.

A further psychological constraint on those
contemplating lese majesty is the threat of violence
from right-wing groups.

"As long as you don't say anything to resist the system,
it is calm and nothing happens," says Asano. But Japan's
journalists know the stories of those who dare to break
the unwritten rules. In June 2000 Yasunori Okadome, the
editor of a now defunct weekly magazine, Uwasa no
Shinso, received an unexpected visit from two members of
a right-wing organization. After clubbing him over the
head with a glass ashtray, they stabbed him for
neglecting to use an honorific when referring to
Princess Masako in an article.

Asano compares the media in Japan with their
counterparts in the United Kingdom. The U.K.'s Guardian
newspaper, a leading left-of-center daily, is openly
anti-monarchy. In December 2000 the paper pinned its
political colors to the mast, arguing in a leader that
Queen Elizabeth's successor should be replaced with an
elected head of state. Such an editorial stance is
unimaginable in Japan, Asano says.

Despite the self-imposed and external constraints,
journalists left with a hot story burning a hole in
their notebooks will often manage to get the news out.
Stories that might cause problems for press club
affiliated publications reach the public through weekly
magazines. Stories that no Japanese publication would
touch sometimes break in the foreign press.

"It's an odd system," says Kamei. "It depends on size
(of the story) ... the larger the story, the further it
will travel."

The media don't just pull punches, on occasion they
don't even bother stepping into the ring. Historic news
stories concerning the Imperial family have been
completely ignored by the major Japanese news
organizations and their thousands of reporters have been
repeatedly scooped by overseas publications in their own
back yard. In 1993 The Washington Post showed up the
Japanese media by breaking news of the engagement of
Masako and Naruhito after it had been embargoed by the
Imperial Household Agency.

It happened again in May of this year. Only after the
London Times revealed that Princess Masako was being
treated for a mental breakdown did the story appear in
the Japanese press. That's not to say Japanese
journalists didn't know about it in the first place,
explains Richard Lloyd Parry, author of the article.
"When we heard this story I talked privately to a number
of Japanese journalists, some of them senior, and they
had all heard about it," he says. "It didn't come as a
surprise to any of them. But none of them would have
dreamt of printing it. They could only do that because
we had."

Actually, the Japanese press may have something of a
guilty conscience over their coverage of Masako. When
the princess became pregnant in 1999, the media provided
enthusiastic and relentless coverage. Masako suffered a
miscarriage and the Imperial Household Agency had harsh
criticism for the press.

The press club system, often described as media cartels
that deny official information to nonmembers, also
discourages royal household reporters from rocking the
boat. As Independent (U.K.) correspondent David McNeill
pointed out in an article for the Japan Focus Web site,
press club members just don't ask the questions their
interviewees won't want to hear. "Not one reporter ever
asked Emperor Hirohito about his responsibility for the
war in Asia, potentially one of the great stories of the
last half century."

What are the chances of the press opening a real debate
on the Imperial Household? That may yet depend on the
depth of the present crisis. On the surface, it looks
like Masako's plight has been a PR catastrophe for the
royal household. Naoki Inose, a writer and media
commentator, says that the Imperial Household's standing
was already weakened before the present crisis. "What is
certain is that (the royal family's) deepest cultural
and psychological role has become diluted (since the
Pacific War)."

He believes that the bureaucrats of the Imperial
Household Agency made a serious mistake by forcing
Masako into a conservative role. At the time of her
marriage to Naruhito, Masako was seen as figure to whom
modern Japanese women could relate. An intelligent and
internationally minded working woman, she was the
Imperial family's chance to renew itself for the times.
Reportedly, Masako turned down the prince several times
before being persuaded that she could continue her
diplomatic work as a member of the Imperial Family.

But not everyone agrees that the Imperial institution
has actually been weakened. Asano suggests that the
strength of taboos concerning reporting of the royal
family is evidence of the system's strength. "Many
Japanese intellectuals and journalists say that the
emperor system is getting weaker, (that it is) in
crisis," he says. "I don't think so at all." Sometimes
he jokingly tells students who think the Imperial
Household has no connection with modern Japanese society
that they should start a demonstration outside the old
palace in Kyoto -- then wait to see what kind of
reaction they get from the police.

It's not easy to gauge Japanese affection for individual
royals or for the institution, not least because no
newspaper would dare to measure unpopularity. All the
same, most commentators seem to agree that interest has
been declining quite steadily since the end of the
Pacific War.

The public's apparent indifference might be a reflection
of the isolated lives of the Imperial Family. They are
entirely supported by the state and have no assets of
their own. They seem to live in a suffocatingly small
social world. As Lloyd Parry of the London Times puts
it, "They carry all the burdens of royalty without any
of the perks."

They also have far fewer opportunities to be involved
with charitable work than other royal families. The Web
site of Prince Charles, the heir to the U.K. throne,
states that the prince is president or patron of 363
charities. The Japanese prince's site lists just one
permanent post, the Japanese Red Cross.

Several commentators have described the prince's recent
outburst to the media as "a second declaration of
humanity," comparing it to his grandfather's
renunciation of divinity after the close of World War

Few Japanese today consider the emperor to be a god, but
it's possible that few members of the public or media
relate to the Imperial Family as human beings, either.
As Jun Kamei comments, "I think (the crown prince) was
probably saying, 'I'm a human. My wife's a human, too"."
(Story modified on Sept. 24, 2004)

Monday, November 29, 2004

Firm eyes sale of Japanese military plane abroad

Anticipating a shift in government policy on arms
exports, a company is gearing up to sell to overseas
buyers aircraft used solely by the Self-Defense Forces,
according to sources to the Asahi shimbun.

ShinMaywa Industries Ltd. has been supplying the
Maritime SDF with its US-1A short-takeoff-and-landing
amphibian plane since 1974.

An upgraded version of the search-and-rescue aircraft,
the US-1A Kai, has drawn interest from overseas for its
potential to be refitted to fight wildfires.

It is not the first time.

Controversy erupted in the 1970s over whether the plane
could be exported to the United States. Opposition
parties then raised questions in the Diet about the
nature of the military aircraft, claiming it could not
be exported under the government ban on weapons export.

The government ruled in 1975 that since the US-1A would
not be used directly in combat, it was exempt from the
ban. ShinMaywa decided at the time, however, not to
export the aircraft.

But times have changed.

The government's recent plans to ease the arms-export
ban for joint U.S.-Japan missile defense and weapons
production has apparently set the stage for ShinMaywa to
reconsider selling the planes overseas.

It would be the first time a domestic aircraft used by
the SDF was sold abroad.

The MSDF currently maintains seven US-1A aircraft at its
Iwakuni base. The planes are not armed.

The upgraded US-1A Kai will eventually take over the
search-and-rescue roles of its predecessor for the MSDF.

The improved version will have a higher flying altitude,
greater speed and longer flying distance. Development of
the US-1A Kai began in 1996. Its first prototype was
delivered to the Defense Agency in March.

ShinMaywa officials said the fuel tank on the US-1A Kai
can be modified to allow the aircraft to scoop up to 15
tons of water from a lake or ocean to drop on fires.

The company has received inquiries from European
nations, such as France and Greece, as well as the
United States, its officials said.

A model was displayed at Britain's Farnborough Air Show
in July.

ShinMaywa has begun discussions with the Ministry of
Land, Infrastructure and Transport to get the documents
needed to allow private-sector sales.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

North Korean Missile Taepo Dong Ready for Testing

The CIA posted the unclassified version of its report to
Congress on weapons of mass destruction:

North Korea is nearly self-sufficient in developing and
producing ballistic missiles and continues to procure
needed raw materials and components from various foreign

In the second half of 2003, North Korea continued to
abide by its voluntary moratorium on flight tests
adopted in 1998 but announced it may reconsider its
September 2002 offer to continue the moratorium beyond

The multiple-stage Taepo Dong-2- potentially capable of
reaching parts of the United States with a
nuclear-weapon-sized payload-may be ready for

[Click the tittle to get the CIA report]

British army to protect Japan's forces in Iraq ? Not so fast!

Japan has asked the British army to help protect its
troops in southern Iraq after Dutch soldiers withdraw
from the area in March next year.

Japanese and British generals have held discussions, but
Britain has so far not promised to send troops to the
area, the daily Asahi Shimbun said without citing

Japan has about 550 troops in the southern Iraq city of
Samawa, but its pacifist constitution limits their
activities to aid and reconstruction, including
providing fresh water.

Dutch troops from a nearby base currently maintain
security in Samawa, but the Dutch government has decided
to withdraw the troops in March. Dutch Defence Minister
Henk Kamp is set to meet Japanese officials this week to
explain the decision.

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, a close ally of U.S.
President George W. Bush, is widely expected to extend
Japan's own mission beyond its initial deadline of
December 14, although no official announcement has been

Newspaper polls indicate a majority of the electorate
want the troops to return home in December.

Katsuya Okada, leader of Japan's main opposition
Democratic Party, has called on Koizumi to explain the
extension, rather than make the decision at a cabinet
meeting after parliament goes into recess.

"If he extends the mission without doing so, he cannot
get away with it as a politician and as a human being,"
Kyodo news agency quoted him as saying in a speech in
Shiga prefecture on Saturday.

Defence chief Yoshinori Ono has expressed expectations
of British help in Iraq if the troops stay on, the Asahi

"Britain is in control of the entire southern region, so
if necessary we will hold full discussions with Britain
and have them maintain security."

If Britain does not send troops to Samawa, Japan will be
forced to rely on Iraqi troops for security, the Asahi

Japan's defence ministry fears the focus of local
people's resentment could switch from Dutch troops to
the Japanese after March, the Asahi said, citing a
ministry official. The Japanese camp has been hit by
rocket shells, but there have been no casualties so far.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

China testing Japan USA relations?

A rising China, North Korea's nuclear ambitions and the
setting of a new agenda for broader cooperation are
expected to test Japan-U.S. relations in the second term
of President George W Bush, according to U.S. experts.

"The reelection of Bush is good news for U.S.-Japan
relations because it really has been part of the most
effective alliance management in years," said Patrick
Cronin, senior vice president and director of studies at
the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

"Some of those key players may be changing, but you've
already forged at the very highest level, the prime
minister (Junichiro Koizumi) and the president, a very
special relationship, and that remains as long as the
prime minister is there," he said.

Cronin said the No. 1 diplomatic and security policy
issue in Bush's second term is the war on terrorism
which is "inseparable from success in Iraq." Bush is
expected to seek continued involvement of Japan in the
Iraqi issue.

"I'm sure Bush will not be letting Koizumi off the hook
because Japan's role is vital, has really been vital to
this solution as witnessed by the prime minister's
standing close by and having the donor's conference
recently and not giving in to terrorism, all of those
have been important," he said.

Japan has dispatched Self-Defense Forces troops to Iraq
for a reconstruction and humanitarian assistance
mission. Koizumi is expected to decide shortly to extend
the SDF deployment in Iraq beyond the Dec 14 deadline.

Cronin said a second set of diplomatic and security
issues in Bush's second term will go beyond the Middle
East and focus on Asia, including North Korea's nuclear
arms program and a rising China.

For Japan, the planned realignment of U.S. troops in
Japan will be the most immediate issue but there is "no
easy answer because it is so politically integrated into
the society," he said.

But Cronin said, "The U.S.-Japan relationship is so
good. I have no doubt that that will be a very serious
fruitful discussion between the United States and
Japanese governments."

Balbina Hwang, policy analyst on Northeast Asia at the
Heritage Foundation, also said Japan-U.S. relations in
the last four years have been a "resounding success."

But she said there is a need for the two countries to
establish a set of long-term objectives for their
alliance that take into consideration the security
environment after the Sept 11, 2001 terrorist attacks
and possible strategic shifts in Asia, such as the
collapse of North Korea.

"Although Japan's military and financial contributions
to the war efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan are
significant and important, the two countries have not
developed a clear definition of their regional
alliance's role in extra-regional conflicts," Hwang

"Moreover, less immediate issues, such as how the
alliance should address China's rise as a regional
power, have been pushed to the background by more
immediate threats such as North Korea," she said.

Japan can begin to set long-term objectives by
revisiting its 1997 Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense
Cooperation and specifying security threats and
interests beyond the current loose application of the
"defense of Japan as well as areas surrounding Japan,"
Hwang said.

"Japan's security commitments have already expanded
beyond the strict parameters of previous security
frameworks and should be rearticulated to reflect
current needs and threats, especially the proliferation
of weapons of mass destruction, antiterrorist
activities, and peacekeeping and reconstruction
efforts," she said.

But such efforts by Japan to rethink bilateral security
cooperation will certainly face a controversial issue —
whether to revise the war-renouncing Article 9 of the
Constitution and lift the ban on the use of the right of
collective self-defense.

The Japanese government interprets that to mean that
under international law Japan has the right to
collective self-defense — which involves coming to the
military aid of allies under attack — but that the
Constitution forbids the exercise of that right.

While stressing no foreigner has any business telling
Japan what it should do on the constitutional revision
issue, Hwang said she hopes there will be a "vigorous
public debate" in Japan.

"When they do that, I think they will discover that the
artificial restriction that has been placed through this
very odd interpretation of Article 9, probably no longer
serves the Japanese people in their own self-defense,
given the very changed security environment," she said.

Kent Calder, director of the Reischauer Center for East
Asian Studies at the Paul H Nitze School of Advanced
International Studies of Johns Hopkins University, said
the agenda for the Japan-U.S. alliance has been "far too
narrow" due mainly to the U.S. focus on Iraq.

"The United States should be contributing more actively
on the economy, environmental and the energy-policy
agendas," he said. "There should also be more priority
on cultural relations."

Calder said Japan needs to consider how to keep its
influence in Washington amid growing U.S. attention to
Chinese affairs.

A "bypass" phenomenon is "growing more serious within
the U.S.-Japan-China triangle, despite the strong
Bush-Koizumi relationship at the top," Calder said.

"I think the most serious issue is how influential Japan
will be in Washington relative to China, especially on
soft-security issues like energy," he said.

Calder said Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage's
departure from the Bush administration may adversely
affect Japan-U.S. relations. Armitage, known as a strong
supporter of the Japan-U.S. alliance, has offered his
resignation along with Secretary of State Colin Powell.

"Bush and Koizumi will likely continue to be close but
much will depend on the ambassadors and the middle-range
officials," he said.

"Those networks could hardly be better than they are
now," he said. "It would be hard to replace a senior,
highly strategic official such as Armitage. Other Japan
specialists simply lack his seniority and consequent

Calder, meanwhile, said Japan does not necessarily need
to remove all its constraints on military activity.

"Japan has a comparative advantage in peaceful
interchange with other nations, especially in Asia,
whereas the United States has a comparative advantage in
the military sphere," he said.

"Some constraints help to preserve this basic division
of labor within the U.S.-Japan alliance, which has
proved functional for more than half a century," Calder

"They also have inhibited arms races within Asia,
including those with China," he said. "They have also
made it easier for Japanese to support the U.S. presence
in Japan financially, since Japan has not had extensive
military expenditures offshore, due to the constraints."
by Yoichi Kosukegawa.