Saturday, October 23, 2004

Arms for China put US-EU ties to the test

Heisbourg is director of the Fondation pour la Recherche

AT ONE level the European Union's embargo on arms sales
to China can be seen as an anachronism, the absurdity of
which was underlined last week by the lifting of a
similar EU prohibition against Libya hardly a role model
in human rights.

The US state department, in its opposition to lifting
the EU embargo, warns of upsetting the east Asian
strategic balance.

The US has a fair point about risks to the east Asian
strategic balance: aside from prime US defence
contractors, European groups such as EADS, BAE Systems
and Thales are virtually unique in their largescale
defence systems integration capability. Open access to
Europe's defence expertise would save China time and
money in defence modernisation. China's immediate
defence objective is to deny the US easy options in the
US defence of Taiwan.

Between the US and Europe, there is a basic asymmetry
not of interests but of commitments regarding east Asia,
the main trading partner for both. All the Atlantic
partners have a common desire to see strategic stability
prevail there. Serious tension in the region would have
negative economic consequences for all.

But only the US is the external guarantor of this
stability, backed by the presence of more than 100000 US
soldiers. It is the US that would be at the receiving
end of strategic consequences of European arms sales to
China. Hence Washington's concern. This does not mean
Europeans should simply take their marching orders from
the US when it comes to their armaments policy towards
China. After all, if the embargo is maintained it is the
EU, not the US, that presumably will be punished by
China across a range of economic, financial and trade
interests. Conversely, China makes it clear advantages
will accrue to EU members if the embargo is lifted.

Washington confines itself to threats of consequences in
transatlantic defence relations if the embargo goes.
Between Chinese threats and blandishments and solid US
negativity, the difference of approach is not in
Washington's favour. Worse, Washington has given China
more "pull" by opposing the EU as the site for the
International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER),
with Cadarache in France as a prospective location.

China, along with Russia, is supporting the EU bid to
host the ITER project. Rather than threaten, the US
should demonstrate to Europe what it has to gain from
maintaining the embargo.

The China arms embargo issue is a taste of things to
come. Transatlantic relations will be determined
increasingly by the level of agreement or disagreement
on how to adapt to the rise of Chinese power. The
Europeans need to think strategically about their
relations with China and the effect on US-European

But it takes two to tango: there is no sign of broad,
high-level US-EU dialogue on China's emergence as a
world power. After the US presidential elections, this
needs to be done in the framework of much-strengthened
transatlantic summits capable of dealing with
multifaceted issues such as relations with China. This
is not likely to happen if Iraq continues to suck the
oxygen from America's ability to launch forward-looking
international policy initiatives. Financial Times

Heisbourg is director of the Fondation pour la Recherche

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Japan defense: F-35 sure candidate?

The Defense Agency plans to select new multipurpose jet
fighters to function as both interceptors and
fighter-bombers because of disappointment over the F-2
fighter's performance and cost, government sources said

The agency will select the new fighters during the
implementation of the next midterm defense buildup plan,
set for fiscal 2005 through 2009, to make up the
shortfall in F-2 fighter-bombers--called
support-fighters in the Air Self-Defense Force's

The agency initially planned to buy about 130 F-2 jets
but the number will now be limited to about 100.
Procurement of F-2 jets will be halted within the next
three years because, despite a high price tag, the
aircraft's performance has not met expectations. The
agency also plans to phase out aging F-4 Phantom
fighters, and replace them with the new multipurpose

Following the change in policy, the agency predicted the
number of ASDF jet fighters would be insufficient and
air defense capability limited, and so decided to
procure a new type of fighter. Currently, there are two
categories of ASDF jet fighters--interceptors to attack
enemy aircraft and support-fighters to attack ground and
sea targets.

The agency plans to abolish the categorization and
increase the percentage of multipurpose jet fighters,
making the ASDF's air combat units more operationally

The next midterm defense buildup plan originally did not
include new jet fighters, but the agency moved the
schedule forward.

Candidates for the new jets include the F-35 joint
strike fighter being developed jointly by 11 countries,
including the United States, Britain, Italy and the
Netherlands, and the U.S. F-15 Strike Eagle.

As of the end of March, the ASDF had 203 F-15
interceptors, 92 F-4 fighters, 49 F-2 support-fighters
and 23 F-1 fighters. In principle, the agency possesses
three types of jet fighters.

However, as F-1 fighters are being replaced by F-2 jets,
there are currently four types of jet fighters in
service. All F-1 fighters are scheduled to be retired by
the end of fiscal 2005.

Nort Korea nuclear proliferation worst than ever, IISS say.

The nuclear proliferation threat posed by North Korea
has worsened over the past year, the International
Institute for Strategic Studies said in a report
released Tuesday.

Both North Korea and Iran were cited in the British
think tank's "Military Balance 2004-2005" as exploiting
the United States' growing troubles in Iraq to gain
enough confidence to stall talks on disarmament.

The report outlined the little progress toward restoring
a disarmament agreement with North Korea made at the
third round of six-nation talks hosted by China, stating
that "Pyongyang appears content to bide its time,
waiting for the outcome of the U.S. elections."

Regarding the extent of North Korea's arms, the
situation remains ambiguous. The IISS said Pyongyang had
"apparently separated enough plutonium for a few
additional nuclear weapons" and that there is a
possibility the country may have obtained Soviet missile
technology, but that this was impossible to confirm
using satellite technology alone.

The IISS reiterated a report made in early June that
North Korea had conducted an engine test for the
Taepodong 2, a missile estimated to have a maximum range
of 6,000 kilometers. But it said further testing was
unlikely at present as it would only serve to antagonize
Beijing, Tokyo and Washington.

The next step toward any form of agreement with North
Korea is likely to depend very much on the outcome of
the U.S. presidential election in November.

Sen. John Kerry, the Democratic Party contender, has
already indicated he would be prepared to enter into
bilateral negotiations with Pyongyang, offering
incentives if it abandons its nuclear weapons programs.

President George W. Bush, if reelected, is likely to
continue to reject bilateral negotiations and pursue the
six-party formula.

Whatever approach the next U.S. administration takes,
nonproliferation of nuclear weapons is likely to receive
new urgency.

But the IISS emphasized that diplomatic efforts to
deprive North Korea of its nuclear capability and
prevent Iran from obtaining one will be difficult,
stating that "the occupation of Iraq will continue to
sap Washington's energy and potentially weaken its

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

East Asia region: how to deal with both Cold War-era threats?

Interview of US based former ambassador Shunji Yanai

(Profile: Shunji Yanai was born in Tokyo in 1937. After
graduating from the University of Tokyo's faculty of
law, he joined the Foreign Ministry and served as
director-general of the Treaties Bureau and the Foreign
Policy Bureau before assuming the post of administrative
vice minister in 1997. He served as ambassador to the
United States from September 1999 to October 2001. He is
currently a professor of law at Chuo University and was
a member of the Security and Defense Capabilities
Council, an advisory body to Prime Minister Junichiro

"...The East Asia region is unique in that it has to
deal with both Cold War-era threats, represented by the
division of the Korean Peninsula, and present-day
threats of terrorism and proliferation of weapons of
mass destruction. To deal with the situation, we have to
create a multifunctional and flexible defense structure
and a unified security policy. Since it is financially
impossible to create various defense structures to deal
with each threat, we need to give the defense structure
various functions and allow that structure to utilize
those functions flexibly.

Considering our relations with the United States, a
unified security policy is important, as it is
impossible for the SDF to take on Japan's security
alone. The pillars of this policy are 1) self-defense,
which includes diplomacy and use of official development
assistance for security, 2) the U.S.-Japan security
alliance, 3) international cooperation. While
international cooperation has tended to be seen as a
philanthropic activity, here it refers to engaging in
peacekeeping operations and humanitarian assistance with
an eye to creating security for Japan and the region.

Joint development had already started when I took
office, and the government had its eye on deployment for
some time. It didn't decide on the timing until December
last year (when Japan announced it would purchase
missile systems from the United States).

The delay of a decision to deploy MD was largely due to
technical difficulties. The fact that 200 Nodong
missiles are aimed at Japan and capable of reaching
targets within 10 minutes further complicated the
creation of an interceptor missile system.

Along with that, the cost of such a deployment and
constraints under the Constitution were also obstacles.
Many argued that to shoot down a Taepodong missile,
which could either be heading toward Japan or the United
States, could constitute the exercise of collective
self-defense. There is no time to debate such a matter
when the missile could strike in 10 minutes. What we
need to think about is how to protect ourselves. My
personal view is that if North Korea were to launch a
missile, it would definitely not aim it at the United
States. Pyongyang has neither the intention to do so,
nor the necessary technology at this point. If it were
to attack the United States, the retaliation would be
too great.

If North Korea's missiles are aimed at Japan, then this
is an issue of individual self-defense, and we should be
able to intercept them without hesitation.

While some may argue that attacking a missile base
preparing to launch would constitute a pre-emptive
attack, they are wrong. It is widely accepted that the
act of preparation is part of the launching process. If
there are other ways to stop a launch, then by all means
that would be preferable. But in the absence of such an
alternative, attacking at the point of preparation would
be considered individual self-defense.

The deployment of a missile system would definitely
increase U.S. faith in the U.S.-Japan alliance, as Japan
would be showing a more assertive involvement in
creating security in the East Asian region..."

(Click the tittle for full interview)

Bush signed the North Korean Human Rights Act of 2004

Bush signed the North Korean Human Rights Act of 2004,
which is "intended to help promote human rights and
freedom in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea."

The law allows the president to provide grants to
private, non-profit groups to support programs promoting
human rights, democracy, rule of law, and the
development of a market economy in North Korea.

Under the law, Washington can spend at least 20 million
dollars a year until 2008 for humanitarian aid to North
Korean citizens and refugees, the bulk of whom go to

The law requires strict monitoring of the aid to ensure
that it is not diverted to the military, and establishes
a special envoy to oversee North Korean human rights

The legislation also paved the way for North Koreans to
seek refugee status in the United States and provides
four millions dollars for expanding American radio
broadcasts into the North to promote democracy and human

The North Korean government reportedly holds about
200,000 political prisoners in camps managed through the
use of forced labor and torture.

More than two million North Koreans are estimated to
have died of starvation since the early 1990s due to
food shortages.

The US Congress had made clear that under the law, human
rights of North Koreans should remain a key concern in
future six-party negotiations to end the Stalinist
state's nuclear weapons drive.

The negotiations involve the United States, the two
Koreas, Russia, China and Japan.

US Secretary of State Colin Powellis scheduled to visit
Japan, China and South Korea from October 23 to 26 to
discuss the possibility of wooing North Korea back to
the negotiating table with its neighbors.

Last month, North Korea refused to return to the talks
after rejecting an aid-for-disarmament plan proposed by
the United States, citing Washington's "hostile" policy
towards it and South Korea's nuclear experiments.

It is also believed Pyongyang wants to await the outcome
of the November 2 US presidential elections.

While Bush backs multilateral talks to resolve the
nuclear crisis in the Korean peninsula, his rival for
the White House Senator John Kerry (news - web sites) is
pushing for bilateral talks with Pyongyang aside from
international diplomacy.

Speaking ahead of Powell's trip, State Department
spokesman Richard Boucher told reporters he did not
expect the United States to sweeten its offer to North

At the last round of talks in June, the United States
offered Pyongyang three months to shut down and seal its
nuclear weapons facilities in return for economic and
diplomatic rewards and multilateral security guarantees.

"I don't anticipate there will be any particular
modification of those proposals in coming months,"
Boucher said. "And it's important for North Korea to be
prepared to deal with them seriously."

He said all the other five parties, including host China
and Russia, allies of North Korea, were prepared to
resume the six-party talks.

Powell would "take the opportunity in public and in
working with our allies to remind people that we have a
significant and comprehensive proposal on the table,"
Boucher said.

He insisted that the upcoming US elections and policy
differences between Bush and Kerry on North Korea were
unlikely to hinder Powell's efforts to revive the
six-party talks.It was in the "national interest" to
revive the negotiations, he said.

Japan China trade: 160 billion $, still shadowing relations!

Chinese Ambassador to Japan Wang Yi on Monday renewed
his call on Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to
stop visiting Tokyo's war-related Yasukuni Shrine and
warned such visits could adversely affect bilateral
economic ties.

The shrine visits have become "a serious diplomatic
problem" between Japan and China, Wang said at the Japan
National Press Club in Tokyo.

It is "difficult" for people in China to tolerate the
Japanese leader's repeated visits to the Shinto shrine
as it honors convicted Class-A Japanese World War II
criminals along with war dead, Wang said.

"I ask the Japanese leader to reconsider (the visits)
and refrain from doing something that harms the feelings
of Chinese people," said Wang, a former vice foreign

Wang indirectly linked Koizumi's visits to Yasukuni to
Japan's bid to become a permanent member of the U.N.
Security Council.

"It is better for Japan to win trust by people in
neighboring countries" for that end, he said.

But he went into no further detail about Japan's U.N.
ambitions, saying, "China, as a responsible permanent
member of the UNSC, refrains from expressing its
position on a demand from a particular country" related
to the envisaged expansion of the council.

China is among the Asian countries that strongly react
to Koizumi's paying homage at Yasukuni Shrine and has
urged him not to do so as memories of the Japanese
military's aggression are still fresh there.

Despite the calls, Koizumi has gone to the shrine four
times since taking office in 2001, saying he does so to
renew his resolve to create a world free of war.

Wang said Monday that Koizumi's visits to Yasukuni
Shrine could adversely affect "bilateral economic
relations that have largely developed."

The ambassador said the amount of bilateral trade for
2004 is likely to come to $160 billion, which indicates
that "China will be Japan's largest economic partner in
the not-so-distant future."

He welcomed the economic trend and said the positive
prospect should not be clouded by protracted political
rows between the two countries stemming from Koizumi's
visits to the shrine.

Wang also voiced hope that ongoing disputes over China's
projects to explore for natural gas in the East China
Sea will be settled through dialogue, in particular the
bilateral senior working-level talks on the issue
planned for later this month.

"Free the airspace economy" EADS say

Talks between the U.S. and European Union to rework the
terms of government aid to aircraft makers should
include Brazil, Canada and Japan, said Philippe Camus,
co- chief executive of European Aeronautic, Defense &
Space Co.

Paris and Munich-based EADS, which owns 80 percent of
aircraft maker Airbus SAS, wants government subsidies
worldwide eliminated, including what it says is $1.6
billion in Japanese government payments to suppliers of
Boeing Co.'s 7E7, he said.

``We want an open and fair aerospace economy,'' Camus
said in an interview from New York where he is meeting
with investors. ``Let's put it all on the table and
discuss it. Everybody linked to aircraft should be
brought into this.''

The World Trade Organization already ruled the Brazilian
and Canadian governments unfairly subsidized their
aircraft makers -- Empresa Brasileira de Aeronautica SA
and Bombardier Inc. respectively. The Japanese aid to
Boeing suppliers is part of what Camus labeled as an
``unacceptable'' financing plan for Boeing's 7E7. Boeing
and Airbus are the only makers of large commercial

The U.S. earlier this month withdrew from a 12-year-old
agreement on subsidies to aircraft makers and filed a
complaint at the World Trade Organization, saying
European start-up loans give Airbus an unfair advantage
over Boeing. The EU responded with a WTO complaint of
its own targeting aid for Boeing's 7E7.

As part of the WTO process, the U.S. and EU will begin
formal consultations this month in Geneva to resolve the

Japanese Suppliers

The EU says Boeing's suppliers in Japan got $1.6 billion
in government loans, in violation of a 1992 agreement on
aircraft aid. So far the EU hasn't filed a complaint
against Japan or requested that Japan join the WTO

``We don't receive any support from Japan or the
Japanese government,'' Boeing spokeswoman Amanda Landers
said. ``We're not privy to how suppliers work within
their own country.''

The overall U.S.-EU dispute may force each planemaker to
find new financing to develop aircraft. It also risks
damaging the $400-billion U.S.-EU trade relationship,
already marred by discord over U.S. export tax breaks,
an EU moratorium on genetically modified foods and
European customs procedures.

Both Camus and his counterpart, Boeing Chief Executive
Harry Stonecipher, say they want all subsidies to
aircraft makers to be accounted for and removed, in
order to ``level the playing field.''

``What we'd like to do is see everything brought to the
table, provide full transparency and have the discussion
in an open and honest way,'' Stonecipher said last week.

7E7 Competitor?

The U.S. says its complaint is aimed at preventing new
aid to Airbus if it tries to develop a competitor to
Boeing's 7E7. Airbus said Friday it was considering such
a competitor and would seek government aid, drawing a
quick rebuke from the U.S.

``He flouted the fact that Airbus would ask taxpayers to
foot the bill even though Airbus can afford to fund the
plane itself,'' said Neena Moorjani, a spokeswoman for
the U.S. Trade Representative's office. ``It's time to
level the playing field.''

Camus today said that Airbus is in discussions with
airlines about a possible new aircraft, although stopped
short of the specifics Airbus offered on Friday.

``We are not looking at matching the 7E7. We are in
discussion with out customers about how to meet their
needs,'' Camus said.

Camus also said today that the company would spend $600
million to build an assembly plant and hire 1,000
workers in the U.S. if it got a contract to make
aerial-refueling tankers.

``In order to be accepted as a competitor, we will have
to comply with the rules of having large U.S. content,''
Camus, 56, said in an interview in New York. ``The U.S.
tanker we will supply will have more than 50 percent
U.S. content.''

Shares of EADS rose 16 cents to 21.71 euros in Paris
trading today. They are up 15 percent so far this year.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Asians want George W. Bush voted out of office Most

Asians want George W. Bush voted out of office in next
month’s US presidential election, even though many are
unaware who his challenger is. But many of the region’s
business leaders would prefer it if John Kerry were kept
out of the White House and are particularly put off by
the Democrat’s more protectionist trade stance. “Bush
and who? John who?� asked Desy Darman, a civil servant
in the Indonesian capital Jakarta.

“(Bush) is maybe too arrogant toward the less developed
countries. It’s probably better to replace him,� Darman
said, reflecting strong anti-Bush sentiment among Asian
people which, more than Kerry’s policies, colours views
of the US election in this vast region. Nearly everyone
has an opinion, mostly negative, of Bush’s US-led war on
Iraq and not just in Muslim-dominated Indonesia,
Malaysia and Pakistan. Surveys in Japan, which has sent
troops to the war-torn country, show almost 80 percent
of people oppose the war and a recent online poll there
showed 56 percent of 1,730 responses favoured Kerry
against 21.5 percent for Bush.

“Many of the correspondents disapprove of Bush in
connection with the war in Iraq,� said the site’s
operator, Yoshiaki Hirai. Australians also backed Kerry
despite giving prime minister John Howard, Bush’s friend
and ally in Iraq, a fourth term in the country’s
elections last week. A recent poll conducted as part of
a global exercise involving 10 newspapers around the
world saw 54 percent of respondents in Australia
supporting Kerry while only 28 percent backed Bush. Some
Asians particularly in India, Thailand and China are
apathetic about the US poll, but others have strong
views crystal lised by US foreign policy issues that
affect them at home: the war on terror; economic
policies on protectionism and outsourcing; and potential
regional flashpoints such as North Korea and Taiwan.

The Republican incumbent is viewed by the region’s
conservative business leaders as strong on the economy,
while Kerry scores more highly with the public, media
and intelligentsia on international issues. In Pakistan,
a key ally on the frontline of the war on terror, mostly
Muslim citizens widely oppose US-led military action in
Afghanistan and Iraq, but are not totally anti-Bush. “It
is an assumption, that may not be fully true, that
Republicans are pro-Pakistan,� political analyst Hasan
Askari Rizvi told AFP, adding “there is a general
feeling that if Kerry wins he will pursue nuclear
non-proliferation and democracy issues more strongly
than Bush.�

In Indonesia, home to the world’s largest Islamic
community and the scene of three major bombings bla-med
on an Al-Qaeda-linked group, there is widespread
interest in the poll, according to political analyst
Sudjati Djiwandono. “I think in terms of popularity many
support John Kerry because the name of Bush is closely
connected to with the attack on Iraq,� Sudjati said.
Surveys in the Philippines, a former US colony, show it
is one of the few countries where the local populace
supports Bush. “If Filipinos were voting for the
American president, George W. Bush would have this
election in the bag,� wrote political scientist Alex
Magno, an adviser to President Gloria Arroyo, in a
newspaper column.

“Filipinos... have a frontline appreciation of the
threat posed by international terrorism,� Magno said,
citing attacks by Al-Qaeda-linked militants on
Philippines soil. South Koreans, concerned chiefly with
US policy towards North Korea, are split over Bush’s
perceived hawkish stance. “Conserva-tives definitely
want Bush to be reelected, while liberals who support
peaceful engagement with North Korea oppose him and
think inter-Korean relations will be better if Kerry
wins,� said Lee Nae-Young, political science professor
at Korea University.

Along with business leaders in Japan, Korean executives
fear a Kerry win will spark trans-Pacific trade
friction, while India’s booming information technology
sector is wary of Kerry’s promise to fight outsourcing
of American jobs. Indians generally are uninspired by
Bush or Kerry, unable to decide who they dislike least,
says S. Sudeshana, professor of political science at
Delhi University. “It is Hobson’s choice. One feels
sorry for the United States... and the rest of the
world.� Many ordinary Chinese display a similar apathy.
“We common people don’t pay too much attention,� said Li
Wenxia, a Beijing woman. “That’s something we leave for
the leadership.�

Zhao Ziyang, China's Former CCP leader, turns 85 in captivity

Former communist leader Zhao Ziyang spent his 85th
birthday under house arrest Sunday as a human rights
group said pressure was mounting for his release after
15 years in captivity.

Zhao, who was deposed as China's Communist Party leader
following the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy
protests, is said to be in poor health and reportedly
was hospitalized earlier this year.

The New York-based group Human Rights in China said a
growing number of Chinese officials sympathetic to Zhao
are pressing for his release.

Groups of Zhao's relatives and former subordinates,
sometimes numbering more than 100, gathered last week
outside his heavily guarded house in Beijing, asking to
see him, the group said. It said some were allowed in,
though it didn't say whether they met Zhao.

Zhao told a relative who phoned from the United States
that little has changed and that those whom he wanted to
see weren't allowed in, Human Rights in China said. It
didn't cite any sources for its information and the
report couldn't immediately be confirmed.

Out of power and public view for half a generation, Zhao
still makes Chinese leaders uneasy as a symbol of the
reform era of the 1980s, and the government refuses to
release any information on him.

"Zhao Ziyang is one of the giants of China's reform
movement," Human Rights in China president Liu Qing said
in the statement.

"He's already lost his freedom for 15 years, and is an
elderly man in poor health," Liu said. "It's time for
the Chinese authorities to restore his freedom, and
allow him his rights to normal social activities."

Zhao was the chosen successor of then-supreme leader
Deng Xiaoping and spearheaded bold economic reforms. But
he fell from favor and was dismissed after being accused
of sympathizing with the demands of the nonviolent
protests that centered on Tiananmen Square.

Zhao was last seen in public on May 19, 1989, when he
visited the square to talk to student hunger strikers.
In tears, he apologized to the protesters, saying: "I
have come too late."

His support for political reform apparently angered
party hardliners who used the 1989 upheaval as an excuse
to get rid of him.

The protests ended in an army crackdown on June 4, 1989,
that killed hundreds and perhaps thousands.

In the 1990s, Zhao was occasionally spotted playing golf
at Beijing golf courses while surrounded by guards.

His former secretary, Bao Tong, who served a prison term
after the 1989 crackdown, wrote in The Asian Wall Street
Journal earlier this year that there was "little hope"
that Zhao's situation would improve.

Asked last year when Zhao might be released, Premier Wen
Jiabao didn't answer directly, but lauded China's
economic success — implicitly arguing that the 1989
crackdown was justified because of the prosperity that

Other activities planned for his birthday include a
conference at Columbia University in New York City and a
petition circulated among China scholars abroad calling
for his release, Human Rights in China said.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Press: 'A Public Betrayed'! Japan establishment press leaks tips to Japan's weekly magazines

'A Public Betrayed': Establishment Press Leaks Tips to Japan's Weeklies

In a new book, media ethics professor Takesato Watanabe and writer Adam Gamble explore the massive influence of Japan's controversial weekly newsmagazines, or shukanshi. This edited excerpt from the book is the second of two installments.

Because journalists from the weeklies are banned from the press clubs, they are unable to offer their readers the same timely official information provided by press club journalists. Instead, they have to gather material through a variety of alternative methods. Although this may sound like a difficult situation for shukanshi writers and editors, it actually suits them just fine -- so much so that their industry-wide organization, the Japanese Magazine Publishers Association, does not even complain about its members' exclusion from the clubs. In fact, if weekly magazines did belong to Japanese press clubs, not only would they have to pay much more money to support the staff required, but one of their presumed raisons d'être would be eliminated -- they would no longer be able to pose as an "outsider" or alternative press.

Of course, the best way for magazine reporters to get material outside the press clubs is to follow the traditional journalist work ethic of chasing leads and tracking down information. Excellent journalism often requires that reporters go around official sources anyway. Also, it is not impossible for non-press club reporters to arrange interviews with government and corporate sources in Japan; it is just more difficult and time consuming.

Author and press club critic Tatsuya Iwase, who has many years of experience writing for Japanese newsmagazines, prides himself on performing just such investigative reporting. Iwase believes that good investigative reporting is gaining favor with the Japanese public because readers have grown increasingly frustrated with the establishment press and overloaded with the barrage of sensationalism coming from television, radio and elsewhere. Although Iwase is no starry-eyed optimist, he says that the newsmagazine industry is slowly starting to improve. In an interview for this book, he predicted that investigative journalism will eventually make up as much as 20 to 30 percent of the contents of many Japanese weekly newsmagazines. However, Iwase also estimates that currently only about 3 or 4 percent of all the material in a given weekly newsmagazine could be categorized as solid investigative reporting. He qualified this statement by estimating that, unlike in the establishment press where 90 percent or more of all stories are derived from government and corporate sources, as many as half of the stories (at least in non-newspaper-published weeklies) are on original topics that were not initiated by a press release or similar official source.

However, if Iwase and the many who agree with him are correct, and only a tiny percent of all the reporting in Japanese weekly newsmagazines is worthwhile, how do these publications fill their pages each week?

"Weekly magazines are very influential, and the reason is the advertisements. The headlines reproduced in ads on trains and in other publications are nationwide. Millions see them every week."  -- Jun Kamei

One common information-gathering method employed by weekly newsmagazines is simply to bribe press club reporters to "leak" information from the clubs. Indeed, newsmagazines commonly pay press club reporters to write entire stories anonymously, a fact confirmed repeatedly in interviews with numerous newspaper and magazine reporters. Although frowned upon by establishment-media companies, this practice can be a boon for the press club reporters themselves. Not only are they able to earn extra income while plying their trade, they also are provided a much-desired outlet for the hottest insider information, which they can obtain as club members but which club rules and other restrictions often prevent them from disclosing in the establishment press. Yasunori Okadome, the publisher and editor in chief of the monthly scandal magazine Uwasa no Shinso (Truth of Rumors) for 25 years, until its discontinuation in 2004, has estimated that 30 to 40 percent of all the articles in his magazine "come from information leaked by newspaper reporters who feel they cannot write about much of the information they have in their own publications."

Another method is simply to repackage public information already reported in the establishment news media by putting a different spin on it. This usually means making the information somehow more sensational. A good example is a Shukan Shincho article that repeated accusations already widely reported against an innocent man, Yoshiyuki Kono. It is obvious that writers working for the magazine simply added to this public information by interviewing some of Kono’s neighbors and acquaintances and researching his parents' and grandparents' histories. Although the information collected was fundamentally innocuous and had no bearing on the validity of the accusations against Kono (all of which later proved false), Shukan Shincho ran its story about "The Originator of the Poisonous Gas and His Macabre Family Line" as though it had achieved an inside scoop that demonstrated Kono's guilt in an original way.

A variant on this technique is to rehash news already reported elsewhere in the media and then simply hire experts to comment on it. This can be a popular format among Japanese readers, who do not often encounter detailed news analysis in the opinion-shy establishment press. A Shukan Shincho article opens with a criticism of Asahi newspaper's coverage of the "comfort women" story and then simply recounts the opinions of so-called experts (some of whom are nothing but neonationalist cranks), who variously accuse the surviving women of being prostitutes and opportunists.

Yet another popular shukanshi method for gathering material is simply to report hearsay, rumors, or other unreliable sources as news. Such unsubstantiated claims, collected from various neo-Nazi and other Western sources, became the basis for a freelance writer's "proof," published in a Japanese newsmagazine, that no Jews were gassed at Auschwitz.

 'A Public Betrayed': Establishment Press Leaks Tips to Japan's Weeklies

Of course, the easiest and least expensive way to produce "news stories" is simply to invent them, a common practice in the shukanshi industry. Dave Spector explains: "They will use fuzzy expressions like 'A kankeisha ni yoru to ... ' ('According to source A ... '), and they will make up many things. It's so obvious they are making up things. And they are not even interviewing anyone. They are just thinking it up in the editorial room there. Rather than saying they go overboard, I think it's a lot of sloppy journalism that would not cut the mustard in other countries."

The practice of false reporting is so commonplace among the nonestablishment Japanese press that journalists have coined a term for it: netsuzo, or "the manufacturing of the news." In one documented case, a group of sportswriters, wishing to quote the unavailable baseball player Hideo Nomo, agreed on a common statement on the basis of what they "thought the pitcher would say if he were there" and then falsely attributed it to him in print. The National Press Club of Japan even published an account of the incident, written by one of the very sportswriters involved, without any comment that it had been a breach of journalistic ethics.

These are just a few of the more popular methods Japanese newsmagazine reporters commonly employ to get around the lack of access to official sources through the press clubs. Some of these methods are, of course, perfectly legitimate, and certainly none of them are unique to the shukanshi, for they have all been employed by reporters around the world. What is interesting in the case of the shukanshi, however, is that any given issue can include articles that run the gamut of journalistic scruples: from top-notch investigative work to formulaic techniques, to bald-faced lies. This range of quality is perhaps matched only by the magazines' range of subject matters. It is in itself dangerous, since it puts the readers of the weeklies in the difficult position of never being sure how much credence to give what they are reading.

The massive influence of the shukanshi

The influence wielded by Japanese weekly newsmagazines is far more pervasive than is usually recognized. A primary reason for this is their advertising campaigns, which are structured so that 20, 40, or even 80 times the number of people who actually buy the magazines are influenced by their content. These advertisements do not merely promote the magazine as a brand or just give the latest issue's top story. Rather, they feature the table of contents with the headlines of most of the major stories carried in each week's issue. These advertisements are blazoned across posters, displayed prominently on trains and subways around the country, mounted on the inner walls of the cars, or hung from the ceilings. Moreover, the weeklies' tables of contents are regularly advertised in the major national daily newspapers.

One informal group of Japanese media scholars who meet at Doshisha University in Kyoto have conservatively estimated that the table of contents of each issue of the Japanese weekly newsmagazines Shukan Shincho and Shukan Bunshun are seen by between 10 million and 20 million people each week. This range reflects the dynamic nature of the magazine's advertising campaigns, which vary according to their advertising budgets and the effectiveness of their campaigns. Nevertheless, even the lower figure of 10 million is quite substantial. Given that Japan had a population of about 128 million in 2003, this means that between 7.8 and 15.6 percent of the Japanese public is exposed to the table of contents of each newsmagazine every week.

"We are always told to write stories with the headlines in mind. If you can't come up with an enticing headline for a story, don't write it." -- Kensuke Nishioka, a reporter for Shukan Bunshun

The estimate is not hard to get at, as both magazines -- like most of their fellow shukanshi -- advertise their tables of contents in the morning edition of two or three of the five major national daily newspapers. Depending on just which two or three newspapers the magazines advertise in, this portion of the campaign alone means that they are seen by between 5.1 and 20.5 million people. Adding to those that see the advertisements in newspapers are the millions more who see their ubiquitous advertisement on Japanese public transportation -- on trains and on buses. For example, 99 of the 100 individuals in Tokyo who took part in an informal survey for this book said that they regularly read advertisements for weekly newsmagazines that are hung on trains and subways. Indeed, the lone individual who said he did not read the advertisements explained that he probably would read them if only he did not suffer from vision problems!

Thus, while only 52 people of the 100 surveyed said that they read shukanshi regularly, nearly all of them said that they regularly read the headlines in the advertisements for them, and 76 admitted to being influenced by them to some degree. Of course there is also the roughly half a million people who buy shukanshi each week, as well as those who are likely to browse through them in waiting rooms and the like. Given the previous factors, the estimate of 10 million to 20 million is clearly a conservative one, and it may well be that some weeks many more millions of Japanese are exposed to these headlines.

One might suppose that many Japanese might ignore these advertisements. In reality, though, it is quite likely that most Japanese do read them when they see them, if only because they are so provocative and sensational. Jun Kamei explains the popularity of the ads:

"Weekly magazines are very influential, and the reason is the advertisements. The headlines reproduced in ads on trains and in other publications are nationwide. Millions see them every week. And they are very, very clever at getting those one-liner headlines down so that they deliver their messages, be it serious sensationalism or a political agenda on those headlines. They can be very searing, and they can be very seamy. A huge chunk of people in Japan who never buy the periodical walk away thinking that they know about what they are writing every week."

The headlines in the advertisements are often far more sensational than the actual content of the articles. David Kaplan, a freelance journalist with experience in Japan, confirms this reality: "Even those solid reports would get headlines (translated into ad placards) that absolutely lied about the contents. It's pure hype and typical of Japanese magazine publishing."

'A Public Betrayed': Establishment Press Leaks Tips to Japan's Weeklies

When it comes to the headlines of the weeklies, the cart is regularly before the horse. Kensuke Nishioka, an accomplished reporter for Shukan Bunshun, explains that coming up with a good headline may well be the single most important aspect in researching and writing a story for a weekly: "Headlines are the bread and butter for the weeklies. The editor in chief's biggest prerogative is making the advertisements each week. We are always told to write stories with the headlines in mind. If you can't come up with an enticing headline for a story, don't write it."

The tremendous dependence of the newsmagazines on ads to drum up their readerships each week also means that at least some headlines are composed in advance of the news articles themselves. This isn't always the case, and interviews with weekly newsmagazine editors and writers indicate that some magazines have systems in place that help to mitigate the problem. However, the fact remains that a number of each week's articles are completed at the last minute. In these cases, headlines must be written for the advertisements before their corresponding stories have been put to bed, sometimes even before they have been properly researched. Thus, it is not uncommon for there to be a serious disconnect or incongruence between advertised headlines and the content of stories. The real problem arises when the advertised headline asserts something that is not in the story at all or that even contradicts the actual article. In such cases, the millions of people who read the ads but not the stories are completely misled.

Exacerbating the situation is that Japanese newsmagazine headlines are often exceptionally sensational. Keigo Takeda, editor in chief of the Japanese-language edition of Newsweek, who has experience in both U.S. and Japanese journalism, says that even a relatively reserved magazine such as his regularly sexes up its headlines. Takeda is especially aware of this, since the Japanese edition of Newsweek often runs stories that were originally written in English. He says that the original English-language headlines often just aren't sensational enough for the Japanese market. He claims that, unlike the English-language version of Newsweek, which has a broad base of subscribers, the Japanese industry's reliance on newsstand sales demands provocative headlines.

A case in point is a cover story about the insider-trading scandal involving American do-it-yourself icon Martha Stewart. Soon after the story broke in the summer of 2002, both the U.S. and Japanese editions of Newsweek carried the same cover story on the subject. The article was originally written in English and then translated into Japanese. Both editions of the magazine featured the same photograph of Stewart on their covers. The cover of the U.S. edition offered the words "Martha's Mess" below Stewart's photo, with the words "An Inside Trading Scandal Tarnishes The Queen Of Perfection" next to her image. However, Takeda and his editorial team in Japan felt that this headline was just too weak for the Japanese magazine market. As a result, the Japanese edition used the more inflammatory language:  "Martha Stewart: Corrupt Queen" and "The Behind-The-Scenes Suspicions Of The Charismatic Housewife. The Endless Greed Of Wall Street".

Unlike the U.S. edition, the Japanese edition was widely advertised with posters on subways and trains. The poster ad for this particular issue not only featured the Japanese cover with its two significantly stronger, more damning headlines, it also sported an additional two headlines: "Martha Stewart Falls Off Her Pedestal As America's Charismatic Housewife" and "The Shocking Scandal: Her Insider Trading With Her Dubious Circle Of Friends".

It is true that the four Japanese headlines do more than simply sensationalize the story. They also contextualize the story for Japanese readers, who are typically less familiar with Stewart than their U.S. counterparts. Still, the example is revealing. Where one relatively plain headline sufficed for the U.S. magazine, four were required in Japan, two on the actual cover and two more on the ad poster.

Martha Stewart was found guilty of four crimes related to the scandal. However, it is worth noting that it wasn't until May 2003, some 10 months after the article appeared, that any formal charges were lodged against her. If Stewart were later found innocent, the difference in the influence of the U.S. and Japanese headlines would be even starker. For example, as the U.S. cover was not widely advertised, the lone headline published there primarily only reached those people who were actually in physical proximity to the magazine. Those who saw the magazine headline but who did not read the article only learned from the cover that Stewart was involved in a "mess," a relatively mild accusation. Only those U.S. readers who actually took the time to read the article in question learned anything else from Newsweek.

In Japan, however, the more inflammatory headlines presumably reached many more people than did the actual magazine. Many of those who read the headlines on the advertisements simply did not have the benefit of being in the physical proximity of a magazine and, by extension, had a much smaller chance of reading the actual article associated with those headlines. Given that this case involved Newsweek, a "reputable" magazine that is so comparatively tame that it cannot accurately be categorized as a Japanese "weekly," it is easy to imagine how overblown the headlines on domestic Japanese newsmagazines can be.

With shukanshi, it is not at all uncommon for a single fact to be misrepresented and exaggerated, first in the body of an article, a second time in the headline for that article, and then a third time in the advertisements for the magazine -- and this doesn't even take into account the possibility of an especially hot or provocative article being posted on the Internet or repeated by word of mouth. Moreover, each level of exaggeration tends to reach a geometrically larger, and less well-informed, group of people.

Of course, it would be foolhardy to think that all Japanese readers patently believe what they are exposed to by weekly newsmagazine headlines, or articles, for that matter. However, it would be equally naive to suppose that the millions who read the headlines just dismiss them. Studies indicate that Japanese tend to put far more faith in what they read than do Westerners. Media professor and author Kenichi Asano states it simply: "People say that they don't believe Japanese weekly newsmagazines, but they do. It's impossible to read them or their headlines all over the trains and in ads and to simply assume that everything is false. It's only natural to believe that there is truth to things that are published so widely by national publishing companies."

"A Public Betrayed" will be released 2004 August 17 by Regnery Publishing

Takesato Watanabe is a professor of media ethics at Doshisha University in Kyoto and was a visiting scholar at Harvard University in 2001. He is the author of a dozen Japanese-language books, including "Information Democracy and the People's Right to Communicate" (2000). He is co-author of the Encyclopedia of Media & Communication Studies (1999). His next book, "The Media and Power Structure in Modern Japan, 1945–2000," will be published in English in 2005 through Harvard University's East Asia Monograph Series.

Adam Gamble is a writer and investigative reporter, and the author of "In the Footsteps of Thoreau." He has served as publisher at On Cape Publications in Massachusetts since 1995, where he has produced some two-dozen books. During the three years of research that went into "A Public Betrayed," he personally interviewed more than 150 individuals.

Pugwash 2004 Council, Seoul: Nuclear weapons at critical turning point!

Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs
Recipient of the 1995 Nobel Peace Prize

54th Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs

Bridging a Divided World Through International
Cooperation and Disarmament

Statement of the Pugwash Council 9 October 2004, Seoul,

The Pugwash Council, meeting during the 54th Pugwash
Conference held in Seoul, Korea from 5-8 October 2004,,
expresses its grave concern that the international
community faces a critical turning point in the threat
to global security posed by nuclear weapons.

The potential collapse of the nuclear non-proliferation
regime and the weakening of the taboos in place since
1945 on the use of nuclear weapons, coupled with the
very real dangers of a terrorist group manufacturing and
detonating a nuclear explosive device, combine to
produce a recipe for unmitigated disaster.

Regarding the non-proliferation regime, the upcoming
Third Review Conference of the Non-Proliferation Treaty
– being held in the spring of 2005 – faces daunting
challenges. The original nuclear weapons states (US,
Russia, UK, France and China) have not lived up to their
obligations under Article VI of the NPT to move
decisively toward the irreversible elimination of their
nuclear arsenals. Such inaction invites charges of
hypocrisy when these same countries seek to deny access
to nuclear technologies to non-nuclear weapons states,
or – in the case of the United States – threaten and
carry out military pre-emption to prevent the
acquisition of nuclear weapons by other countries.

On the Korean peninsula – the site of this year’s
Pugwash Conference – stability and the relaxation of
tension is undermined by continued hostility between the
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the
United States and by the continued crisis over the
nuclear program of the DPRK. The DPRK’s withdrawal from
the NPT in early 2003 poses a serious challenge to the
non-proliferation regime and must be solved through
multilateral negotiation and cooperation as soon as

In the Middle East, Israel’s policy of opacity
concerning its nuclear weapons program, while meant to
avoid embarrassing NPT-parties in the region, does
provide arguments to those who advocate nuclear weapons
programs in other countries. Israeli policy also
provides a justification to those in other countries who
oppose the chemical and biological weapons conventions,
resulting in a net decrease, in our judgment, of
Israel’s security. There are also grave uncertainties
and concerns with Iran’s nuclear intentions that need to
be resolved through transparent fulfillment with IAEA
obligations. In this volatile region in the world, bold
steps are needed to support the proposals for a WMD-free
zone in the Middle East as well as such initiatives as
the Arab Plan and the Geneva Accord that can bring about
effective regional security.

In South Asia, India and Pakistan continue to face each
other with nuclear arsenals. Although significant
progress has been made in improving relations between
the two, there remains the very real possibility of the
resumption of open hostility and conflict.

More broadly, the entire framework of nuclear weapons
disarmament is in danger of being swept away. Strategic
arms control between the US and Russia is moribund, the
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) has not entered
into force, and serious negotiations have not even
started on a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT) to
eliminate production of weapons-grade Highly Enriched
Uranium (HEU) and plutonium. Moreover, too little is
being done to control and dispose of existing stockpiles
of HEU that run the risk of falling into the hands of
terrorist groups. No attention is being paid to large
numbers of tactical nuclear weapons that continue to
exist in great numbers with no military rationale
whatsoever, while the deployment of weapons in space
moves closer to reality. Adding fuel to this nuclear
fire is the fact that the Bush administration in the US
has increased the role of nuclear weapons in US national
security policy by its renewed interest in nuclear
war-fighting strategies, in possibly developing new
nuclear weapons, and in a possible resumption of nuclear

At the same time as little progress is made toward the
twin objectives of nuclear disarmament and nuclear
non-proliferation, the phenomenon of international
terrorism continues to cast a spectre over the
international community. The US-led military presence in
Iraq has become a source of continued instability and
loss of life and a focus for international terrorists.
We hope for an early mitigation of this violence and
believe that a major step in this direction would be the
transfer of authority to a democratically-elected (under
UN supervision) and effective Iraqi government. This
government should then be provided with all necessary
military support by the international community in order
to re-establish democratic law and order in Iraq.

At the 54th Pugwash Conference in Seoul, all of these
themes were touched on by such speakers as Dr. Mohamed
ElBaradei, Director General of the International Atomic
Energy Agency; Dr. Hussain Al-Shahristani of Iraq, who
was imprisoned by Saddam Hussein for refusing to work on
nuclear weapons, and by Nobel Peace Prize Laureautes Kim
Dae-Jung, former President of South Korea, and Dr.
Joseph Rotblat, co-founder and past President of the
Pugwash Conferences.

These speakers and others stressed the need to reduce
the tensions that undermine global security, whether
between nuclear and non-nuclear states, or between those
who act unilaterally and those committed to a
multilateral international legal order, or between those
who continue to rely on the primacy of nuclear weapons
for security and those who would reduce the insecurities
that stimulate interest in nuclear weapons in the first
place. In particular, Dr. Hussain al-Shahristani spoke
eloquently from his own experience of the moral
imperative of scientists not to work on nuclear weapons
and other instruments of indiscriminate destruction.

Time is running out if a nuclear catastrophe is to be
averted. Political solutions are urgently needed to
resolve those conflicts that either spawn international
terrorism, or increase the risk of nuclear weapons use,
or both. Global security must be based on international
institutions and the rule of law rather than on
unilateral action and an excessive reliance on military

In looking ahead to the 2005 NPT Review Conference, the
Pugwash Council calls on national governments,
multilateral institutions, and international NGOs to
lead the international community away from a misplaced
reliance on nuclear weapons and the catastrophic dangers
that await us if clear progress is not made to
decisively reduce and eventually eliminate nuclear


Dr. Jeffrey Boutwell, Executive Director Pugwash
Conferences on Science and World Affairs 11 Dupont
Circle, NW Suite 900 Washington, DC 20036
Phone: 1-202-478-3440