Saturday, November 06, 2010

Senkaku-Diaoyu Naval Battle: Japan's Government Caught in the Nets of YouTube!

At this stage, according to some of my informed sources, Chinese President HU Jintao will not hold a bilateral summit with Japanese prime minister Naoto KAN during the coming APEC Summit in Yokohama. But former vice president Lien Chan is expected to meet the Chinese President Hu Jintao on behalf of President Ma Yingjeou of Taipei.

Diplomatic patch needed, anyone on zone?

Early on Friday October 5th, 44 minutes of footage claiming to show the Senkaku Daioyu naval September incident were posted on the YouTube video-sharing website, sending officials in Tokyo and Beijing rushing in to contain the damage, a week before Japan hosts the APEC, the Asia-Pacific summit. A new episode in the ups and downs of the Naoto Kan administration.

The latest row, facts

According to local media: "Leaked video footage that appears to be of the September collisions between Japanese [ndag: Coast Guards] patrol boats and a Chinese trawler off a disputed island chain [ndag: the Senkaku Diaoyu islands] shows the names of Japan Coast Guard officers and subtitles explaining what is happening, Coast Guard and investigative sources said Saturday.

Prosecutors and the Coast Guard have launched a probe into the case, believing the video clips are among those edited by the Ishigaki Coast Guard office for submission as investigative materials to the Naha District Public Prosecutors Office, the sources said." This is in Today's Mainichi shimbun.

"Concerned about a possible angry reaction from China, the Japanese government Friday was scrambling to determine who leaked video footage of a Chinese trawler ramming Japan Coast Guard vessels off the disputed Senkaku Islands. Prime Minister Naoto Kan instructed Cabinet ministers to thoroughly investigate the source of the leak, which has further damaged Japan's reputation concerning information management." Today's Asahi shimbun writes.

In the early incident, the Japanese coast-guard arrested a Chinese trawler captain in early September for allegedly ramming two of its patrol boats near a disputed island chain in the East China Sea, sparking a barrage of protests from Beijing. The incident was sensitive because both sides claim the potentially resource-rich islets, known as the Diaoyu in China and Senkaku in Japan, along with the nearby seas where the incidents took place.

After the Google YouTube leakage (who did it by the way and who left 280 DVDs of the leaked footage in a corridor near the east exit of East Japan Railway Co.'s Kawaguchi Station on Friday morning?)*, of course it did not take much time for China to put the blame on Japan for the maritime incident that sparked the worst row between the Asian powers in years, after the leak of the video apparently showing the collision.

At this moment, in this video, it is difficult to identify the course of the Chinese fishermen boat and of the 2 Japanese Navy war boats and confirm an obstruction, a strong wave causing shock, or a direct clash. It also is not clear to assess the exact situation as seen in this filming after 1'42" --the camera moved out of the spotted scene at the exact alleged collision moment-- and also in the editing added to the filming --names of the JCG personal--. The whole "strange" thing escalating into an incident not only between Japan and China but also between political parties and the administration in Tokyo.

Now, the impression after watching the videos is that after being spotted and circled by the JCG, the Chinese trawler escaped out of the zone, which at a certain point ended in naval collisions. Is it a simple sea navigation accident or a political Senkaku Daioyu Incident? None at this stage has had the guts to offer a plausible analysis.

"I would like to reiterate that the Japanese side had disturbed, driven away, intercepted and surrounded the Chinese fishing boat, which led to the collision," Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said in a statement. "The behaviour of the Japanese side was illegal," Hong said, when asked to comment on the leaked video. "The so-called video cannot change the fact and cannot conceal the unlawfulness of the Japanese action," the spokesman added.

China certainly is watching the Foreign affairs minister Maehara, seen as a hawk compared to the doves of the DPJ, quotes: "Nevertheless, he [ndag: Maehara] should know that he is the focal point of Chinese attention, after having called the Chinese government response to the September 7 fishing boat captain incident "hysterical." (Shisaku blog, quotes, Oct 30, 2010)

What was shown on YouTube

The YouTube clip appears to show the blue Chinese boat, marked the Minjinyu 5179, colliding with a grey-hulled Japanese boat as a plume of black smoke is seen billowing from the patrol ship.

Yesterday, Japanese television stations showed the clips throughout the day, assuming them to be authentic, although no officials have confirmed this on the record. Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara told a media briefing: "I think it probably was taken by the coast-guard. That is how I feel after seeing the footage." He said the Chinese embassy in Tokyo had called Japan's foreign ministry to enquire about the leak, and that China later had "expressed concern and conveyed worry in Tokyo and Beijing through diplomatic channels".

We've seen what happened last time Beijing and Tokyo tried to mend. This leakage happened a few hours after Thursday visit of former PRC State Councillor Tang Jiaxuan who had agreed to make efforts to improve bilateral with the Chief cabinet secretary Sengoku, adding red face to the Japanese authorities while welcoming their host. Maybe it's time for Tokyo's current administration to reconsider the elementary definition of the words diplomacy and political maturity while Beijing seems comfortable in playing a new regional leader role... Tang visited in Japan since last Friday as the PRC chairman of the new "Japan-PRC friendship committee for the 21st century", also met with ruling Democratic Party of Japan Secretary General Katsuya Okada, opposition Liberal Democratic Party President Sadakazu Tanigaki and Japan Business Federation Chairman Hiromasa Yonekura.

* Quotes regarding the "Collision DVDs left at Saitama station; memo swipes at DPJ"

Saitama police are analyzing about 280 DVDs that were found Friday at a train station in Saitama Prefecture and are thought to be recordings of video footage apparently showing the September collisions between Japan Coast Guard cutters and a Chinese trawler off the Senkaku Islands, sources said. The DVDs were in two cardboard boxes left in a corridor near the east exit of East Japan Railway Co.'s Kawaguchi Station in the morning, the sources said. According to the sources, an attached memo read: "This indicates the realities of the Democratic Party of Japan. . . . Feel free to take these with you." The DVDs were discovered after video footage of what is believed to be the incident in the East China Sea on Sept. 7 was posted on YouTube Thursday night, they said. The police are trying to determine how the DVDs were made, suspecting a party critical of the ruling DPJ or China may have left them at the station. It is not clear whether the DVDs were made by the same party that uploaded the collision video on YouTube. (Kyodo Saturday, Nov. 6, 2010)


After the "western agencies" some quotes of Chinese and Hong Kong press, the comments and observations are quite astonishing.

South China Morning Post
Collision video turns up the heat again
November 6, 2010.

Japan said it is investigating the leak of a video showing a collision between a Japanese coastguard vessel and a Chinese fishing boat off the disputed Diaoyu Islands in September that inflamed bilateral tensions. The Foreign Ministry in Beijing expressed concern over the video, and diplomatic and military experts said the footage proved that Japanese patrol ships had been to blame for the incident as they had sought to contain the Chinese trawler.

Forty-four minutes of video footage, posted on YouTube yesterday morning, was widely picked up by Japanese television networks, prompting Beijing to express concern and sending Japanese officials scrambling to contain the damage, a week before Japan hosts an Asia-Pacific summit.

The clip appears to show the blue Chinese boat, the Minjinyu 5179, which was later detained by Japan, colliding with a grey-hulled patrol ship as a plume of black smoke billows from the Japanese vessel. Antony Wong Dong, president of the Macau International Military Association, said the video had been shot in such a way as to show the Chinese trawler intentionally crashing into the Japanese ship. "The video obviously was recorded by a cameraman on the Japanese coastguard boat, who used a good angle to shoot the whole process," Wong said. "We don't know whether the Chinese trawler was provoked before the collision, but it crashed rapidly into the Japanese ship after being circled by the Japanese vessel, which raises doubts about whether the Chinese side was provoked or had no other choice but to ram it."

Video footage taken by the Japanese coastguard had previously only been shown to Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan, security officials and some lawmakers, but not released to the public for fear it would worsen the spat. "I have a strong sense of crisis because our information management is not in shape," Kan said. "It is important for both countries to respond calmly even if such a problem arises."

Japanese foreign minister Seiji Maehara told a parliamentary committee that the Japanese government would investigate the leak. He said the Chinese embassy in Tokyo had called Japan's foreign ministry to check into the leak, and that China later had "expressed concern and conveyed worry in Tokyo and Beijing through diplomatic channels".

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said yesterday that the collision had occurred because the Japanese coastguard was undertaking "illegal operations" within Chinese territorial waters in the East China Sea. "The so-called video cannot either change such a fact or cover up Japan's illegality," Hong said in a statement on the ministry's website.

Beijing-based Sino-Japanese experts said the collision video would not harm China's international image, but would cause more domestic problems for Japan. "The video showed clearly that our small trawler was contained by at least three big Japanese coastguard patrol ships, which is like a poor child being bullied by three bruisers," Gao Haikuan , a specialist in northeast Asian security with the Chinese Association for International Friendly Contact, said. "I believe our fishing boat was forced to clash with the Japanese ship as it was under great pressure."

Kan is hoping to talk with President Hu Jintao when they attend next week's Asia-Pacific forum in Yokohama, and both Gao and Wong said the footage might have been leaked by Japanese right-wingers seeking to derail the talks.

Jiang Lifeng , former director of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' Institute of Japanese Studies, said the video had also pushed Kan into an embarrassing position. "Actually, both Kan and Maehara decided not to make the video public as they wanted to improve ties with China," Jiang said. "However, the video dragged them back into the crisis, ruining their plan."

Ming Pao Editorial. November 6, 2010.

From the YouTube video, the Minjinyu 5179 collided twice with Japanese coast guard ships. In the collision with patrol boat the Yonakuni, the ocean wake showed that the Yonakuni accelerated rapidly from the right hand side of the Minjinyu 5179, turned and decelerated in front of the Minjinyu 5179. Although the Minjinyu 5179 was slower, it still collided with the stern of the Yonakuni because the distance was too short.

In the other collision between the Minjinyu 5179 and the patrol boat the Mizuki, the ocean wake showed that the Mizuki was on the left side of the Minjinyu 5179. As the two ships neared each other, the Mizuki swung its tail at the Minjinyu 5179 (like a "dragon shaking its tail"). If this was a case of car driving, it would be reckless conduct by deliberately inducing the Minjinyu 5179 to collide. A marine expert who viewed the video concluded that the Japanese coast guard ships had flaws in their conduct when they deliberately caused collisions.

These videos were shot and edited by the Japanese on the basis of seeking public opinion support. As such, they ought to be showing the most favorable contents and angles for Japan. But these leaked videos do not establish that the Minjinyu 5179 deliberately rammed the Japanese ships. On the contrary, the behavior and motive of the Yonakuni and the Mizuki are debatable. When an edited video was showed to a group of Japanese parliamentarians recently, they unanimously condemned the Minjinyu 5179. But the facts now showed that it would be highly prejudiced to state that the Minjinyu 5179 bore all responsibility.

Oriental Daily

After watching the collision video, a Hong Kong marine expert Tony P.K. Yeung from the Maritime Services Training Institute pointed out that the Japanese coast guard deliberately intercepted the Chinese trawler and caused it to collide with the patrol boat. He criticized the Japanese ship for reckless behavior which might have caused the trawler to sink. The behavior violated international navigation norms.

In the first collision, the Japanese ship had been on the right behind the trawler. Then it suddenly accelerated, turned left and decelerated. The trawler could not brake quickly enough in seas with one meter waves. This gave the impression that the trawler rammed the patrol boat.

The marine expert pointed out that when a trawler is towing fishing nets, its motion is restricted. Any ship in front of such a trawler should take evasive action. But the Japanese ship did not take any evasive action. After the collision, the Japanese ship did not stop. Instead, it accelerated (with lots of black smoke appearing) and it turned its stern around, creating a huge wave directed at the trawler. There was a likelihood that the trawler might have sunk.

The marine expert said that the maximum speed of the Chinese trawler was at most 15 knots, whereas the Japanese boats can run at between 20 to 25 knots. "There was no way that a slower boat could collided a faster boat." From the photos that Japanese showed later, the damage from the collisions was minimal, indicating that the Chinese trawler did not carry a lot of momentum. He characterized the behavior of the Japanese boats was dangerous and inconsistent with international navigation norms.

Sources: Google YouTube,,
Asahi, Mainichi, Japan Times, Shisaku blog, Agencies,
SCMP, Min Pao, Oriental Daily,
Reporter's Notes

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

When Japan's Diplomacy Collides with Japan Inc !

How to define the key political risk limit?

There was a time when Japan diplomacy was only protecting business.

This is over, and Japanese business leaders are worried about China Japan and Russia Japan territorial disputes added to the USA Japan spat on Okinawa. But it is the Russian Prime Minister Medvedev's visit to the Northern Islands which led the Japanese business world into a succession of painful torments. "La goutte qui a fait déborder le vase," as we say in French language.

Enough is enough, media counter attack, quote: "The ongoing cooperation in development of energy sources between Japan and Russia has been made possible as it benefits both sides. I don't want (the current political situation) to affect it." Masamitsu Sakurai is the Chairman of the powerful Japan Association of Corporate Executives Keizai Doyukai after Medvedev visited Kunashiri island, one of four Russian-held northern islands off Hokkaido, claimed by Japan.

"The deterioration in relations with Russia and China can be traced back to strained relations with Washington over the relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station in Okinawa Prefecture... Behind Japan's troubled diplomacy is the DPJ led government's casual manner in dealing with the Japan-U.S. alliance, the linchpin of Japan's diplomacy," the Yomiuri Shimbun commented in a toxic editorial titled: Govt's immature diplomacy again at fault / DPJ's inconsistent approach to Japan-U.S. alliance leads to impasse with Beijing and Moscow. Here

And for others in the media, the Japan press weekly, it's not over and pressure is to increase locally but also between USA and Japan on the Futenma relocation issue: "The Democratic Party of Japan is showing party disunity over Okinawa Prefectural governor’s election to be announced on November 11 and polled on 28."

Inside the DPJ, it is difficult to seek coordination between the central DPJ, which refuses to support or recommend a candidate who opposes the government policy of building a new base at Henoko in Nago City, and the DPJ Okinawa chapter opposing the relocation of the Futenma base within the prefecture.

Tougher is the Asahi Shimbun of today who summarizes current Kan' administration in a formula: "Lack of vision defines Kan's diplomacy!" With the APEC summit approaching: "Even if a Kan-Medvedev meeting is held, Japan would have few options. A high-ranking Foreign Ministry official said, "What kind of face should Japan put on in welcoming him? The prime minister will not be able to smile and seek out a handshake."

But there is worst, the way the bureaucracy plays the DPJ of Mr Kan nowadays. Who in particular? The Finance ministry and this is not to entertain the very strict Japanese business community.

To be continued.

Sources: Yomiuri, Asahi, Kyodo, Japan press weekly, Reporter's Notes

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Never confide your secret to a Japanese spy! It might end shared on the web!

There was a time when we preferred cables to nowadays WiFis & Mobiles

Welcome to the grey world but don't be a snitch!

The other day while I was attending, as a Board Director, a session of the general assembly of my press club in Tokyo, I found out that I had been targeted a couple of times during the assembly meeting by a hacking group who tried to hook some info from my computer and poison my system. Of course I entered into research and what I found out after alarming all the security firms, experts, hackers and governments pro' "et al" was compelling and informative as one of my foreign correspondent colleague uses to say. Of course, I won't elaborate here what, who and where from. (Privacy thing you know...)

But luckily I was warned and my computer although opened to any "dangerous liaison" such as a WiFi communication potential harm, indeed survived. Well, kind of.

This is just to introduce the latest red face thing that happened to some officials of the Tokyo police forces just while everyone in the paranoid world of Tokyo government security agencies is preparing the Yokohama held APEC VIPs' Summit and embarked onto a blitzkrieg alike monitoring of all what could get wrong. Of course they are helped in this endeavor by their faithful allies and friends, friends of whom I naturally consider myself as being one of the closest devoted loyal and good hearted watcher.

This is why I like the Asahi and Mainichi pieces of today November 2nd followings. Quote: "a potential disaster that could shatter international trust in Japanese police, sensitive documents related to international terrorism, including personal information about informants and suspects, have leaked onto the Internet...

... The leaked documents, dating from 2004 through 2010, include those connected to the Third Foreign Affairs Division of the Metropolitan Police Department's Public Security Bureau, which deals with international terrorism, as well as the National Police Agency and the Aichi prefectural police..." (Asahi)

"Most of the documents were in PDF format. They are believed to have been created by the MPD's third foreign affairs division, which handles international terrorism investigations, as well as by the National Police Agency (NPA) and Aichi Prefectural Police, among other authors. Most of them were dated up until about January last year." (Mainichi)

By the way, you noticed the similarities in reporting, thanks to the Japanese kisha club system daily briefing.

"This is not simply a leakage of information, but a crisis for Japanese intelligence activities," a senior police official said. Sources at Tokyo's Metropolitan Police Department said officials suspect the highly confidential information included in more than 100 documents leaked through file-sharing software. They are studying the contents of the leaked documents while questioning officers involved to determine how the information got out.

The leaked data on foreigners who have cooperated with international anti-terrorism investigations both in Japan and abroad includes their names, investigators' plans to contact them and records of the information they provided. The leak could put their lives at risk, according to a former high-ranking police official who spent many years working in security matters."

"Police have found 114 documents online. Some of them contained detailed personal information on people believed to be cooperating with terrorism investigations in Japan and overseas, including their names, addresses and family information. Some of the documents contained information on foreigners in Japan who are apparently under investigation, together with information believed to have been supplied by the FBI."

"This is not the first time police information has spilled onto the Internet. In 2006 and 2007, investigative information leaked from the personal computers of officers at the Ehime and Yamanashi prefectural police departments as well as the Metropolitan Police Department's Kitazawa Police Station.

The officers all used the Winny file-sharing software. But the latest incident is by far the most serious in terms of safety of individuals and international trust in Japanese investigative authorities. Information on possible terrorist activities is accumulated over a long period through the building of relationships with individuals who can provide information about suspected terrorist organizations. Important individuals connected to such organizations also have to be placed under surveillance." Unquote.

Asahi, the full story here and "Leaked terror investigation documents contained info on people helping police probes" The Mainichi writes

I advise some computer users who have major responsibilities and not a very good command of their PC settings, files sharing und-so-weiter to drop by for a coffee with a few friends of mine. Not that we could be surprised to see our IPs' among some leaked data but rather to have a pleasant chat.

Last, I thank my honorable sources, and not the lowest in rank, at the TMG who confirmed for years now the lack of preparation of Tokyo in case of major catastrophe. The info-war has never been as strong and striking as today!

Sources: Asahi, Mainichi, Kyodo, Afp, Alternet, Freakingnews, Reporter's Notes and my little right finger

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Success at Nagoya COP-10 but "the nations must do more for biodiversity and the developing world"

Japan and participants orchestrated the conference with immense talent, not without fears

"And finally, to your clouded, wounded heart, even a true bell cricket will seem like a grasshopper. Should that day come, when it seems to you that the world is only full of grasshoppers, I will think it a pity that you have no way to remember tonight's play of light".

"The Grasshopper and the Bell Cricket" Yasunari Kawabata, 1968 Nobel Prize for Literature

After two weeks of intense negotiations, representatives of about one hundred and ninety countries, with the notable exception of the United States which never ratified the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), adopted a strategic plan for 2020 laying down twenty objectives to protect nature and slow the alarming rate of species loss at the Nagoya, Japan Cop 10 meeting (10th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity).

Following the debates which effects will have a major impact on businesses around the world, similar to the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions under the Kyoto Protocol, the groups discussions, the elaboration in plenary session and, on the last day, the very hard talks delaying the final plenary session approving the texts, was phenomenal and I have to say it all goes to the success of Japanese organizers and groups diligent presidents and chairs who proved that they have leadership when they are in close encounter with world preoccupations. There is a a model care here.

"Breakthrough, Success, Leadership, Agreement, Compromise Harmony with Nature," those are some of the media expressions used to praise the Nagoya conference. These same words could from now on be used to resolve other urgent crucial issues of our planet: Hunger, disease, conflicts.

"Applause and cheers filled the Plenary Session Hall early Saturday morning as attendees adopted the ABS protocol and the two key agreements that proved the thorniest of the negotiations." Local paper Japan Times commented. And "it's a shame for the United States government, not part in the negotiation, unable to share the success" [of this agreement] that will deliver new income for the developing world, as one exhilarated participant told me on the conference's last day!

Ten months after the huge disappointment of the Copenhagen summit, violence included, on global warming, the success of the conference should Nagoya, beyond the sometimes very technical provisions it contains, restore color to the UN negotiating process on the environment.

The adoption of these decisions has been welcomed by a long round of applause of all delegates. "The protocol of Nagoya is a historic achievement," said Jim Leape, Director General of WWF International. This protocol ABS is "a dream that all countries have in mind for a long time," said Japanese Environment Minister, Ryu Matsumoto, visibly moved, who chaired the discussion. "With great wisdom, tremendous effort and tears, we did it!" The French Secretary of State for Ecology, Chantal Jouanno, said too that it was "a historic agreement, a great moment."

But not binding...

The plan, which does not legally binding, can have a real impact for the protection of species throughout the world? "Yes," says Russell Mittermeier, president of the U.S. NGO Conservation International. "Protected areas, whatever their nature, are the best tool we have to date to protect the diversity of life," he said. "Even if it is not a legally binding decision, the message sent to all countries is: 'We must do more."

Delegates signed a deal on ecosystem preservation targets for the 2011-20 period, agreeing to set aside 17% of land and 10% of the sea for preserving biodiversity. Strengthening protection of endangered species was also included in the ecosystem preservation targets.

But a goal of boosting the scale of public and private sector funds for the preservation of biodiversity by 10 fold did not survive in its entirety, with the figure dropped from the final agreement.

Several commitments still leave the door open to many interpretations. Thus, a goal advocated the "elimination" or at least the "phasing" of "perverse subsidies" for biodiversity. Questions remain about its real influence on countless fisheries subsidies, particularly in Europe, while the overfishing of many species is scientifically documented. "70 to 80% of fish species that we eat" are fished beyond their reproductive capacity, recalled the actor Harrison Ford...

Keiichi Koga, an expert on environmental issues at the Japan Research Institute, a think tank, said to Kyodo news agency that while Matsumoto occasionally played an active role at the talks as president, Japan’s strong stance on the issue was not highly visible. "While I want to give Japan credit for getting a deal, I doubt that (Japanese) politicians understand the importance of COP10."

The next "Conference of the Parties" of the CBD will take place in two years, New Delhi, India.

Sources: Reporter's Notes, News agencies, Cop 10 CCTV live
broadcast & conferences, Secretariat.