Thursday, July 29, 2010

Japan's Doves and Hawks!

For how long?

Again! Here is an other mystery of Japanese politics. The continuing business and industrial relation that started between Japan and China 30 years ago when Deng Xiaoping opened the door to foreign capital and transform China economy to the level that we know today... proved to be successful... for China.

Today, there are flocks of Chinese tourists in Tokyo, Nikko, Yokohama, Kyoto, Nara, Nagasaki, and without them the local tourist sector and escorts economy would suffer even more than it already does with hotels half-empty the whole working week and shops who can't afford more than 1 staff.

While I was shopping the other day on Ginza and strolling around the boutiques and luxury shops in the hot weather, I could recognize that 3/4 of the people near me were not speaking Japanese. They all spoke Chinese. Apparently they are the cream of Chinese economy, their noisy enthusiasm and clamors for the simple joy to be a tourist, shopping in a rich neighboring nation such as Japan, was a comfortable vision after all the news I had read last days about the military training of US - South Korea military forces held in Japan sea / East sea and the threat of nuclear fire to strike on Japan's heads. Mine included.

Packets in the hands, running from shops to cafes and restaurants, queuing hours in front of a famous beer house on Ginza, laughing loudly in groups, sitting on the floor and smoking a packet of cigarettes while watching the Japanese rare crowds, except elegant young women and their mothers, the Chinese tourists always seem very comfortable and add a joyful expected touch of Far East exoticism to Tokyo town center. Here too, it looks more and more like any city town centers in the world with same famous brands harbored on top of the high buildings, like in Paris, London, Rome, New York or Shanghai.

The only grumpy ones who do not seem to be happy of such touristic success are the Japanese military industrial lobby and their scholar' s "voices" who see a formidable danger into having these Chinese and what some Japanese right wingers described as PRC advanced 5th column invading, with their bad manners, the archipelago's shopping streets. And all what is hiding behind the Yellow and China Seas. Yes I heard it.

Hey, they are not illegal immigrants! They are tourists!

While young generations of Japanese, Chinese, Koreans go to study same topics in similar universities, wear the same clothes and listen to the same music and rhythms, and look alike more and more, the elder Japanese and right-wing ultra conservatives continue to agitate the old drum of the foreign threats, with the aid of western foreign administrations who are not quite sure either of what is going on exactly in Japan's power headquarters.


"An advisory panel to Prime Minister Naoto Kan has compiled a preliminary report that if implemented would see a more robust military and less reliance on a diminished United States, while marking a sharp departure from the current national security policy. The draft rejects the long-held notion that Japan only needs a bare minimum defense capability and emphasizes a redeployment of Self-Defense Forces members within Japan to meet the nation's most pressing defense needs. The report clearly lays out the threats posed by China and North Korea. It also proposes that Japan strengthen its role in order to deepen the alliance with the United States."


I guess there are a lot of reasons why Japan should build its own defense posture and use its defense industry, build a better sovereign future, get ready in case of any contingency, and adapt the society to the current pattern of this western world that some Japanese people dream so much to mimic.

But I am wondering about tomorrow when I read that Keidanren, the Employers association, has lots of ideas in its "Proposal for the new National Defense Program Guidelines"

And what is to understand when one can read that "Nippon Keidanren, the Japan's largest business lobby, has called for an easing of the restriction, which has prohibited the country's defense industry from joining multinational projects or that Japan is set to allow exports of missile interceptors it is developing jointly with the United States."

By the way, dear readers "attentifs et patentés", I am told that it would involve lots of fresh cooperation in the shipbuilding (understand "military") projects here and there with US and European firms...

I was told the other day that the Cabinet and the MOD of Japan would modify its doctrine and re focus its Ground forces and Navy's strategy more towards the Okinawa and the Southern Seas, but that the planet Japan is divided between

1) its fatal attraction with war building preparation, step by step and little by little, as the excellent Richard J. Samuels***, Cornell Studies in Security Affairs , wrote in "Securing Japan: Tokyo's Grand Strategy and the Future of East Asia".

2) the choice to go "business as usual" legitimate design which is to live in peace as constitutionally underlined, to tear to shred any remilitarization's plan (and just bring assistance such as PKO or basic protection plans) not to frighten her Asia neighbors.

Exactly what the "market" illustrates nowadays with these hordes of Chinese and other tourists peacefully shopping in Ginza or Yokohama Motomachi.

Indeed! This ought to be one difficult moment to be able to balance political fragile equilibrium between "Japan's Doves and Hawks". Those lately seem to be playing hard games. To them, strongly advised is a little walk around Ginza and other Japan's wonders. They are genuine peace loving attractions for the benefit of both the nation and the individuals' bank deposits.

*** 2 articles about Richard J. Samuels "Securing Japan: Tokyo's Grand Strategy and the Future of East Asia"

"To demystify Japan's foreign policy behavior: Samuels has done a masterly job of relating Tokyo's grand strategy to international relations theory. Japan's defeat in World War II set the stage for the Japanese to rethink their policies, but the spirit of pacifism and antimilitarism was never as binding as many foreigners thought it was. According to Samuels, the end of the Cold War forced Japanese strategic thinkers to deal with four new threats: the rise of China, a miscreant North Korea, the possibility of abandonment by the United States, and the relative decline of the Japanese economy. One way or another, the Japanese have had to come up with new policies -- and in the process they have also had to form new connections."


"Securing Japan begins by tracing the history of Japan's grand strategy—from the Meiji rulers, who recognized the intimate connection between economic success and military advance, to the Konoye consensus that led to Japan's defeat in World War II and the postwar compact with the United States. Samuels shows how the ideological connections across these wars and agreements help explain today's debate. He then explores Japan's recent strategic choices, arguing that Japan will ultimately strike a balance between national strength and national autonomy, a position that will allow it to exist securely without being either too dependent on the United States or too vulnerable to threats from China. Samuels's insights into Japanese history, society, and politics have been honed over a distinguished career and enriched by interviews with policy-makers and original archival research. Securing Japan is a definitive assessment of Japanese security policy and its implications for the future of East Asia."

"The Japanese government said that 678,000 tourists visited Japan in June 2010, an increase of 59.7% compared to last year. The increase comes mainly from Asian tourists. Tourists from China have seen their number multiplied by 3 to 104,000 and were to visit the country of the rising sun. South Koreans remain in first position (179,400 visitors) to the Taiwanese (113,900). Overall in the first half of 2010, 4.2 million tourists visited Japan in an increase of 35.8% compared to 2009".

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