Japan in the World: Independent Web Journal on the Politics, Economics, Society and Culture of Japan, the Region and the World, from a Transnational Civil Society Perspective

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Independent critical views on Japanese, regional, and global politics, economy, society, and culture, voiced from a transnational civil society perspective
This site is run by SEKAI(The World), a Japanese monthly journal, and ICU Peace Research Institute (ICUPRI).
The contents, unless indicated otherwise, are translations of the selected articles, originally published in SEKAI, which are edited or abridged by the Editorial Committee for this on-line version.


New  Don't Lose Track of Basic Diplomatic Principle

SAKAMOTO Yoshikazu, Professor Emeritus, The University of Tokyo.
Asahi Shimbun, 21 June 2003; The International Herald Tribune/Asahi , 2 July 2003,
uploaded on 16 July 2003.

New  Is There a Tomorrow for a Japanese Society without Hope?
—A Dialogue between Kaneko Masaru and Kaneko Masaomi—
KANEKO Masaru, Professor, Keio University,
KANEKO Masaomi, Deputy director, Office of Labor Policy, Tokyo Metropolitan government.
SEKAI no. 710 (February 2003),
uploaded on 16 July  2003.

The Politics of Hysteria: America's Iraq, Japan's North Korea

Tessa MORRIS-SUZUKI, Professor, The Australian National University.
SEKAI no. 710 (February 2003),
uploaded on 13 February 2003.

[In the United States, concern about terrorism after September 11 has been transformed into an obsessive media and public focus on the person of Saddam Hussein and the issue of Iraq's "weapons of mass destruction". In Japan, the admission by North Korea in September 2002 that it had been responsible for kidnapping fifteen Japanese citizens, and the subsequent return of the five surviving kidnap victims to Japan, unleashed a wave of media frenzy that continued unabated for months, with serious consequences for efforts to normalize relations between Japan and North Korea. Drawing on the analysis of "political hysteria" developed by the late Murray Levin, this article compares these recent events in the US and Japan with earlier waves of twentieth century national hysteria. It suggests some reasons for these phenomena, and emphasises the importance of open international communication as a means of combating the politics of hysteria. ]

Can North Korea's Perestroika Succeed?

WADA Haruki, Professor Emeritus, The University of Tokyo.
SEKAI no. 707 (November 2002),
uploaded on 21 October 2002.

[The author was a major commentator in recent years on the case of the missing Japanese, and here offers his interpretation of the significance of the Pyongyang visit by Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi which laid the groundwork for the resolution of the tragic mystery of their disappearance. Wada is an internationally well-known specialist in Russian and Korean history and politics. ]

Without an Independent and Multilateral Foreign Policy, There is No Future for Japan: Some Proposals for Japan's Foreign Policy

TANIGUCHI Makoto, Director, Research Institute of Current Chinese Affairs, Waseda University
SEKAI no. 702 (July 2002),
uploaded on 11 October 2002.

[Japan's foreign policy has been rocked in recent years by scandals involving the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. These events occurred in the context of a continuing contest over the appropriate diplomatic orientation for Japan in the post-Cold War and post-9/11 world. This article opens an unusual window into thinking within senior, but non-mainstream, bureaucratic circles on the nature of the crisis and how to respond to it. Its author joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1959, served in various posts connected with GATT, ESCAP, and UNCTAD before becoming Ambassador to the United Nations, and Deputy Secretary-General of OECD. He calls for a sweeping reconsideration of the fundamental "Follow the US" mindset within the Foreign Office, and for the adoption of an independent, multilateral and more balanced foreign policy, paying due attention to Asia, in particular, to China. ]

Qestioning Japan's 'Closed Country' Policy on Refugees

ISOZAKI Yumi, Journalist, Mainichi Shimbun.
SEKAI no. 703 (August 2002),
uploaded on 20 August 2002.

[At a time when refugee policy is becoming an issue of intense controversy worldwide, Japan continues to take a relatively restrictive approach to accepting asylum seekers. In this article, the author critically looks at recent developments in Japan's refugee policy, and in particular at the contentious issue of the treatment of Afghan asylum seekers in Japan. ]

Implementing Policy Change: The Possibilities and Limitations of the Koizumi Cabinet's "Highway Privatization Committee"

IGARASHI Takayoshi, Professor, Hosei University.
SEKAI no. 699 (March 2002),
uploaded on 14 June 2002.

[Postwar Japan, under the influence of the complex made up of the ruling party, construction companies, local electorates and bureaucrats, spent vast sums on public work projects. Recently, a majority of people has come to favor a reduction in wasteful public works and a return to fiscal balance. Yet reform does not proceed smoothly. Why should this be so? ]

Opposing U.S. Hegemony: A Long-Term Response to Bush's War

J. Victor KOSCHMANN, Professor, Cornell University.
SEKAI no. 699 (March 2002),
uploaded on 15 March 2002.

[Opposition to Bush's war against terrorism should be just one stage in a longer-range effort to resist U.S.-led "vertical globalization." One strategy is to support transnational movements for people's rights and justice, exemplified by the Women's International War Crimes Tribunal held in Tokyo in December 2000.]

Japan's FTA Strategy and the East Asian Economic Bloc

YUN Chunji, Associate Professor, Yamaguchi University.
SEKAI no. 699 (March 2002),
uploaded on 15 March 2002.

[Japan chose Singapore as the hub for free trade agreement networks both inside ASEAN and in the Asia-Pacific region. But since China is also vying for ASEAN, Japan and ASEAN have to search for cautious, competitive regional cooperation with China. If Japan seeks to build a regional economic community in East Asia, however, it must depart from its U.S.-centered Pacific Rim orientation.]

The Politics of Terrorism and "Civilization":
How to Respond As A Human Being

SAKAMOTOYoshikazu, Professor Emeritus, The University of Tokyo.
SEKAI no. 697 (January 2002),
uploaded on 12 February 2002.

[The author looks at terrorism from the perspective of humanity, not of the hegemonic power or the alliance of democratic and anti-democratic regimes under the name of "anti-terrorism", and points out that the structural root causes of "anti-civilizational" terrorism raise the question whether the North, including Japan, is really "civilized".]

Japan's Afghan Expedition
Gavan McCORMACK, Professor, Australian National University.
SEKAI no. 695 (December 2001),
uploaded on 5 November  2001.

Koizumi's "Structural Reform" - Critical Alternative Proposals:
A Manifesto for the 21st Century, Series 2.
The Post-Boomer Generation Has a Say
KANEKO Masaru, Professor, Keio University,
YAMAGUCHI Yoshiyuki, Professor, Rikkyo University,
NUMAO Namiko, Lecturer, Nihon University,
YUN Chunji, Associate Professor, Yamaguchi University.
SEKAI no. 691 (August 2001),
uploaded on 5 October  2001.

Why Must Japan Apologize for War While the United States Has Not Apologized for the Atomic Bombing?:
Reply to a Young Japanese

TAKAHASHI Tetsuya, Associate Professor, The University of Tokyo.
SEKAI no. 687 (April 2001),
uploaded on 25 July 2001.

Okinawa Calls for a Just Peace:
Speech to the U.S. Congressional Study Group on Japan

OTA Masahide, Former Governor of Okinawa.
in Ota's Essays on Okinawa Problems, 2000, Yui Shuppan CO., Okinawa
uploaded on 24 May 2001.

What is the "Yasukuni Problem"?

TANAKA Nobumasa, Freelance writer.
SEKAI no. 679 and 680 (September and October 2000),
uploaded on 24 May 2001.

[Statement] Deeply Concerned about the Regressive History Textbooks, We Urge the Japanese Government to Take Appropriate Action

SEKAI no. 688 (May 2001),
uploaded on 2 May 2001.

The Unbelievable "Lightness" of the US-Japan Alliance:
The Ehime-maru Incident in Historical Perspective

MAEDA Tetsuo, Military analyst.
SEKAI no. 686 (April 2001),
uploaded on 2 May 2001.

The Hanaoka Incident:
Corporate Compensation for Forced Labor

UCHIDA Masatoshi, Attorney.
SEKAI no. 684 (February 2001),
uploaded on 2 May 2001.

Packaging Prejudice for the Global Marketplace: 
Chauvinism Incited by Tokyo Governor Ishihara

Tessa MORRIS-SUZUKI, Professor, The Australian National University.
SEKAI no. 678 (August 2000),
uploaded on 2 May 2001.

Structured Corruption involving Local Interests and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries:
What's "Public"  about Public Works?

YOKOTA Hajime, Freelance writer.
SEKAI no. 672 (March 2000),
uploaded on 1 March 2001.

Revival of Pork-Barrel Politics

YAKUSHIJI Katsuyuki, Assistant editor, Political News Department, Asahi Shimbun.
SEKAI no. 678 (August 2000),
uploaded on 1 March 2001.

Junior High School History Textbooks:
Whither "Comfort Women" and the "Nanking Massacre"?

TAWARA Yoshifumi, Secretary General, The National Network of Concerned Citizens on Textbooks and Children.
SEKAI no. 681 (November 2000),
uploaded on 1 March 2001.

Envisioning a Peace in Korea:
Can Japan Do It?

SAKAMOTO Yoshikazu, Professor Emeritus, The University of Tokyo.
SEKAI no. 678 (August 2000), 
uploaded on 1 March 2001.

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