Saturday, January 12, 2008

JSDF Out to Africa

After the tragic comedy of the "terror bill", Japan's ruling coalition forced its law through parliament to revive an international U.S. led anti-terrorism mission in the Indian Ocean. Done. Now what does it mean for other engagement of Japan's defense on mini scale and expeditionary cute missions overseas? Well, simple, a Japanese military specialist said: "Chinese sent troops for PKO in recent missions", they did it, then the Japanese did it too and they will follow Beijing's mood again. "士馬 tel le Samouraï chevauchant son noble destrier."

Absolutely true, nationalisme oblige "China joined the UN PKO both in East Timor and in Cambodia" as Professor Edward Friedman wrote, "China has launched a major effort to train Chinese PKO forces and has brought trainees to China from all over Asia." Remember the early 90's, when JSDF did a deployment for PKO to Cambodia, helped by France defense personal, and, to Mozambique * in addition to Middle East? The Japanese armed forces specialist continues: "So, Japanese will do it again, as Chinese do", and this time following the mood of the time, to Africa too because things changed there.

This China Japan watching each other moves is an "interesting element", fact of major importance, a fresh update, in substance, according to political scientist Dr. Richard J Samuels, author of "Securing Japan: Tokyo's Grand Strategy and the Future of East Asia" (Cornell Studies). "Japan is more rational than we think", Dr. Samuels said to an informal group of Japan watchers recently in Tokyo.

Indeed Japan is "considering sending members of its Self-Defense Forces to a peacekeeping training facility in Africa as instructors, this is according to government sources on Thursday. The first dispatch is intended to highlight Japan's international contribution, as it often faces difficulty sending peacekeeping troops to Africa due to stringent domestic rules according to sources.

In Africa, instructors from European and other countries' forces are training military personnel and other experts at facilities such as the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Center in Ghana and the Peacekeeping School in Mali.

Tokyo has recently rejected a request from Burundi to send an SDF helicopter unit to help airlift its soldiers to take part in the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur, Sudan, and a similar request from Tanzania, citing the lack of a comprehensive peace accord there.

Under the PKO cooperation law enacted in 1992, Japan requires parties of a conflict to have agreed on a cease-fire and accept Japan's participation in a peacekeeping operation in the area, and that Japan remains neutral and withdraws if these conditions are no longer met."

* The law has allowed the SDF to take part in operations in Cambodia, Mozambique and three other countries. SDF troops are participating in the U.N. Disengagement Observer Force in the Golan Heights to maintain the cease-fire between Israel and Syria, and the U.N. Mission in Nepal under a cease-fire accord between the Nepalese government and Maoist rebels.

One cannot say one day that China is backward and the day after that China is a growing threat thanks to European, Russian, Israel military technologies... Click the title to access to this blog "angrychineseblogger" which describes the contradicting views prominently growing in the "Kick China's butt" sphere.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Defense Inc. generous funds

I remember attending some superb seminars in Tokyo on Japan US defense, invitations of VIPs entirely paid by US Japan institutions linked with defense firms. At that time officials from both US and Japan attended and offered their speeches about the issue of the moment. North Korea, China, Integration etc. But who paid such seminars and for what reason, some people asked...? Here is a good answer in this article: "Akiyama reveals sphere of influence" (Click the title to access the story.)

The answers are obvious except for Mr Akiyama and his American colleagues. Insiders know who is targeted in Nagatacho and in town, will these people be moved out? There is one who dares to talk about it these days. From Tottori (furusato), he is born in the year of the Rooster* and he's rising in Japanese politics. He, no doubt, is ready to wash his hands and money a.s.a.p. from the Akiyama Moriya Miyazaki case.

Quote: " Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba effectively admitted Tuesday that the Defense Ministry controls a slush fund worth tens of millions of yen pooled from money earmarked for gathering information and investigating crimes committed by Self-Defense Forces personnel. "We are not in a situation where we can answer correctly whether (the fund) is worth ¥20 million or ¥70 million," Ishiba told the House of Councilors Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defense, rather than dismissing the existence of such a fund. He was responding to a question by an opposition lawmaker over a recent news report on the fund. Ishiba said he has a "vital interest" in whether money is used for its original purpose of collecting information or other activities, indicating the ministry will announce how it will deal with the allegation after fully investigating the alleged slush fund, including its total amount. Some retired ministry officials have said the Defense Ministry and the SDF built up the slush fund over several decades using fake receipts." (Agencies)

Defense Ministry plans to talk about " the alleged slush fund " later, in January.

Born in the year of the Rooster? It means "hardworking, resourceful, courageous and talented, Roosters are self-assured people. They possess powerful personalities and are notoriously dominant. In groups they are vivacious, amusing and popular. But Roosters can be conceited creatures, vain and boastful, with a strong egotistical need to constantly be the center of attention."

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Sarkozy wants Japan and Brasil among permanent members at U.N.S.C.

In Tuesday's Paris press conference attracting waves of journalists caught by the media frenzy curiosity for the new France President, Nicolas Sarkozy declared that the UNSC should get 5 new members: Japan, Germany, Brasil, India and an African nation. "How can things work out well in XXIst century with a system built in the XXth Century? Sarkozy told reporters.

French leader also announced he would most probably marry model-turned-singer Carla Bruni. Sarkozy's romance with Bruni reportedly started shortly after the French leader and his second wife, Cecilia Sarkozy, divorced three months ago. Sarkozy, 52, and Bruni, a 40 year old Italian born French model with a successful folk music career, have since been photographed together in recent weeks in locations from Disneyland Paris to the pyramids in Egypt, often entwined arm-in-arm, looking happy.

The conservative president has been accused of publicizing his relationship with Bruni to try to distract from a dramatic recent slide in polls. Some analysts also say that "Sarkozy's flaunting of his private life is a turnoff for many voters, especially more traditional ones." Sarkozy said he wanted "to break with a long tradition of French leaders keeping their love lives secret, with the media's tacit accord." He alluded to late former French President Francois Mitterrand, who kept the existence of a mistress and illegitimate daughter a secret for most of his 1981-95 presidency. Sarkozy pointed out that "journalists felt comfortable" asking him questions they had never dared to ask his predecessors. "I have been a part of a break with a deplorable tradition in our country: hypocrisy and lies," he said.

Sarkozy's approval rating stands around 48 percent, a drop of seven points in a month, a sharp departure from his highest level, 65 percent, in July, according to a recent poll from CSA. People got bored and disappointed with French politics during former president Jacques Chirac. Today, media commentators claim that "Sarko" succeeded in attracting, thanks to the paparazzi stories, more French voters than ever who now want to get informed with their president's policy in addition to his private life, and therefore raising interest for national politics.

A kind of Koizumi Gekijo (theater) "a la mode française"?

On the international economy, France president stated that he expects the G-8 to transform in a G-13. How? "By thinking sound and fair, and by discussing the question with Paris "allies."

Sarkozy's wide-ranging news conference Tuesday touched on questions from the economy to the environment to ways to promote diversity. Sarkozy gave a one-hour speech, then opened the floor to questions. The second question was about his relationship to Bruni — an issue that has had France buzzing for weeks. "What is extraordinary is that you were kind enough to wait until the second question," he told the reporters, drawing laughs.

I feel like people are in a mood of hypnotic fascination same as what fans feel for a rock-star, with Sarko, maybe a new political phenomenon is re appearing in the "City of Lights" fascinated by the Napoleon's ego and decisive rules. Locally here, Toyako remote G8 Summit, while US and Japan communication and leadership are transitionally weakened, will no doubt flash on Sarkozy and his talk-true-to-people tailored communication to gain what I would call a raison d'être médiatique for the costly G8 show.

Yes, but is it enough to deliver and then convince electors on voting day?

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

2008 Nippon Verbatim

Entendu hier a la réception de nouvel an 2008 de la Chambre japonaise de commerce, de la Keizai Doyukai et du Keidanren a laquelle participaient le premier ministre Fukuda et le Gotha de la politique, du commerce et de l'économie japonaise.

"2008 sera très dure pour l'économie japonaise et mondiale et les échéances électorales internationales nuiront a l'adoption de mesures appropriées pour améliorer nos économies, mais cela, personne n 'osera vous le dire aujourd'hui ici." Relations Chine Japon: "Notre voisin chinois ne risque-t-il pas l'implosion emmêlé dans ses contradictions politiques et économiques?" Source nippone éminente qui adhère a son anonymat.

Citation d'une autre autorité en la matière: Tadashi Okamura, puissance invitante a cette même "Shinenkai" tenue au splendide hotel New Otani et dirigeant la "Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry": Quote: "We have to be cautious about the economy's prospects, as there are the clouds over the U.S. and European economies and high oil prices." Les mauvais génies contrediraient-ils les prédictions de l'année du Rat théoriquement réputée pour sa prospérité?

Monday, January 07, 2008

Japan new rich... a performance!

"They customize the headrests of their Rolls-Royces with "Harry Potter writing," sip martinis poured over diamonds and buy $130,000 watches on a whim....

... The spending habits reflect a deepening economic divide. Japan, long known for its safe and stable corporate culture, introduced performance-based wages and stock options and made it easier to hire and fire temporary workers to boost competitiveness after the 1990s economic slump. This has produced a new business elite as well as a growing number of poor and unskilled temporary workers. For luxury goods makers, the new rich are an appetizing prospect. The number of people in Japan holding more than $1 million in financial assets grew 5.1 percent... to some 1.5 million, about three times as many as in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong put together, according to the Capgemini/Merrill Lynch World Wealth Report." (To read the report, click the title)