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» Harvard Professor Warns of “Devastating” China-Japan War Alex Jones’ Infowars: There’s a war on for your mind!
Russian study says U.S. could easily defeat Beijing in nuclear conflict
Paul Joseph Watson
January 23, 2014
Harvard Professor Ezra Vogel warned of the devastating consequences of a potential war between China and Japan during a conference in Beijing.
Vogel, a Henry Ford II Professor of the Social Sciences Emeritus at Harvard University, is an expert sinologist having written extensively on relations between the two countries for decades.
During his speech, Vogel highlighted Japan’s historical revisionism, characterized by the refusal in Japanese school textbooks to accept responsibility for the second world war, as well as the territorial dispute over the Senkaku Islands, as the two key factors driving hostilities.
“Any potential war between the two nations would be devastating to both, Vogel said,” according to the Want China Times, “adding that it would take at least 10 years for Beijing and Tokyo to resume normalized relations if a third Sino-Japanese war were to take place.”
Vogel also urged Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to stop visiting the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo that honors 14 war criminals who were executed as a result of post-war Allied tribunals. During his speech at Davos yesterday, Abe warned that the global community must restrain military expansion in Asia. Although he didn’t name them directly, Abe’s comments were obviously aimed at Beijing.
Vogel’s warning arrives concurrently with analysis by Moscow-based Expert magazine which suggests that the United States would easily defeat China in a potential nuclear war because Beijing is reliant on decades-old Soviet technology. Back in November, Chinese state-run media released a map showing the locations of major U.S. cities and how they would be impacted by a nuclear strike launched from the PLA’s strategic submarine force.
Earlier this week, state media reported that China’s new hypersonic missile vehicle is primarily designed to target U.S. aircraft carriers.
A deluge of aggressive rhetoric has emerged out of official Communist Party organs in recent months, including discussion about China’s ability to attack US military bases in the Western Pacific, as well as a lengthy editorial which appeared in Chinese state media last month explaining how the Chinese military’s current reformation process was part of a move by President Xi Jinping to prepare the People’s Liberation Army for war.
We have long held that Africa is a crucial region of the world in the near future because there is no more incremental debt capacity at any level: sovereign, household, financial or corporate – in any other region. As we noted previously:
without the ability to create debt out of thin air, be it on a secured or unsecured basis, the ability to “create” growth, at least in the current Keynesian paradigm, goes away with it. Yet there is one place where there is untapped credit creation potential, if not on an unsecured (i.e., future cash flow discounting), then certainly on a secured (hard asset collateral) basis. The place is Africa, and according to some estimates the continent, Africa can create between $5 and $10 trillion in secured debt, using its extensive untapped resources as first-lien collateral.
Africa is precisely where the smart money (and those who quietly run the above mentioned “power echelons”), namely China and Goldman Sachs, have refocused all their attention in the past year precisely because they both realize that Africa is the last and only bastion of untapped credit growth and capacity.
Africa in geographical perspective…
So it is perhaps unsurprising that China’s current arch-enemy Japan – and its apparently bottomless well of printed money – are taking aim also…
Submitted by Shannon Tiezzi, via The Diplomat,
As tensions between China and Japan multiply, there is an increasing battle for influence in other states. For example, in his recent article in The Diplomat, Jin Kai noted China and Japan’s global media war. There has also been an upswing in more traditional diplomatic wrangling, with Japan seeking to increase its influence in ASEAN as an attempt to reduce China’s sway in the region. With both China and Japan seeking to assert their leadership over the Asia-Pacific, it makes sense that both countries would woo ASEAN. It’s a bit more surprisingly to see China-Japan diplomatic competition supposedly pop up in Africa.
Recently, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe both visited the African continent. Abe left on January 9 for a week-long tour of the Ivory Coast, Mozambique, and Ethiopia. Meanwhile, Wang was in Africa from January 7 to January 11, visiting Ethiopia, Djibouti, Ghana, and Senegal. Given the current chill in China-Japan relations (and the tendency for both countries to snipe at each other in the media), the two trips quickly morphed into a sign of ‘competition’ over Africa.
Both countries rejected the idea that they were competing. When Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying was asked to comment on the idea that Wang Yi’s visit to Africa “is directed against Japan,” she responded that anyone harboring this idea “is not so acquainted with the past and present of China-Africa relations.” Indeed, as Hua pointed out, it’s traditional for Chinese Foreign Ministers to visit Africa as their first overseas trip of the new year. Hua praised China “sincere and selfless help” for Africa, and warned that trying to stir up a rivalry in Africa is “a wrong decision which is doomed to fail.” This comment was likely directed at Japan, but could just as easily apply to the United States and other countries seeking to increase their influence in Africa.
Japan also denied that Abe’s visit to Africa had anything to do with China. Hiroshige Seko, a deputy chief cabinet secretary, was quoted in an Associated Press article as saying that competing against China is “not our intention at all.” Seko added, “As far as the African nations are concerned, they are important regardless of China.” African countries are important to Japan for the same reason they are to China — a wealth of natural resources as well as ample opportunity for foreign investment. The New York Times pointed out that increasing ties with Africa is just one aspect of Abe’s diplomatic strategy, all of which is designed to support “Abenomics.”
In a speech in Ethiopia, Abe reaffirmed Africa’s importance. “A considerable number of Japanese believe that Africa is the hope for Japan,” he said. His speech focused almost entirely on the potential for a positive relationship between Africans and Japanese companies — including how Japanese management strategies can benefit African people. “When Japanese companies that value each and every individual come to Africa, a win-win relationship in the truest sense can emerge,” Abe said. By contrast, his vision of the Japanese government’s role in Africa seemed like an afterthought. Abe did discuss his wish for more cooperation with the African Union, and offered to increase Japans’ assistance and loans to the continent, but he spent far less time on this point than on extolling the virtues of Japanese businesses.
Japan’s strategy, in other words, is economically focused. It’s clear that Abe’s pursuit of a relationship with Africa is closely connected with Japanese businesses. China, on the other hand, constantly emphasizes the “friendship” between its government and those of African nations. Though Chinese companies do big business in China, Beijing almost never alludes to this fact in its official remarks. When joint projects (such as roads or government buildings) are brought up, these projects are always a sign of China’s friendship towards Africa.
Accordingly, in his speeches Wang Yi focused on the government-to-government relationships between China and African nations. In Senegal, Wang called for both countries “to firmly support each other’s core interest[s] and major concerns.” In Ghana, he spoke about the need “to promote practical cooperation through strengthening traditional friendship.” China’s relationships with African countries are focused not just on business opportunities (although of course that’s an important aspect) but also on gaining African diplomatic support for China’s policies.
Whereas Abe seems content to have Japanese businesses make profits, China is actively pursuing soft power on the continent. This is nothing new for China. A 2013 study by Gustavo Flores-Macías and Sarah Kreps of Cornell University found that, since the mid-1990s, China has been quite successful at parlaying its trade relationships in Africa and Latin America into tangible foreign policy support. Japan doesn’t seem to be seeking this sort of influence (at least, not yet). Instead, Abe is more openly concerned with increasing economic interactions. While China and Japan may look like they’re competing in Africa, the two countries are actually playing different games.
The war of words (and deeds) is once again escalating between China and Japan. As we detailed last night, this has been a long time coming and as Reuters reports today took a further turn for the worse. In an op-ed in Britain’s Daily Telegraph, the Chinese ambassador to Britain, Liu Xiaoming, wrote last week: “If militarism is like the haunting Voldemort of Japan, the Yasukuni shrine in Tokyo is a kind of horcrux, representing the darkest parts of that nation’s soul.” Liu’s commentary was followed by another published on Sunday by his Japanese counterpart, Keiichi Hayashi, in the same newspaper, headlined: “China risks becoming Asia’s Voldemort“. As was noted, “Five thousand years of traditional virtues have been turned into this?”
China lambasted Japan on Tuesday for comparing it to Lord Voldemort, the villain in the Harry Potter stories, after both countries used the character to describe each other in a tit-for-tat diplomatic spat.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s December 26 visit to Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine, where Japanese leaders convicted as war criminals are enshrined along with other war dead, infuriated China and South Korea and prompted concern from the United States, a key ally.
Both China and Korea suffered under brutal Japanese rule, with parts of China occupied in the 1930s and Korea colonized from 1910 to 1945.
In an op-ed in Britain’s Daily Telegraph, the Chinese ambassador to Britain, Liu Xiaoming, wrote last week: “If militarism is like the haunting Voldemort of Japan, the Yasukuni shrine in Tokyo is a kind of horcrux, representing the darkest parts of that nation’s soul.”
Liu’s commentary was followed by another published on Sunday by his Japanese counterpart, Keiichi Hayashi, in the same newspaper, headlined: “China risks becoming Asia’s Voldemort”.
“I would like to point out that, to Asia and countries in other regions of the world, militaristic invasion is the darkest devil in the history of Japan,” Hua said at a daily news briefing, according to a transcript posted on the foreign ministry’s website.
the People’s Daily, said the “Sino-Japanese war of public opinion is facing an escalation on all fronts“.
“We need to make our demands simple and clear, that is, the Japanese prime minister cannot visit the war criminals in Yasukuni because it is equivalent to paying homage to criminals like Hitler and Goebbels,” the newspaper said, referring to the leaders of Nazi Germany.
“Five thousand years of traditional virtues have been turned into this?” wrote another microblogger.
China and Japan, Asia’s two most powerful nations, are increasingly jousting in the skies and in the seas near a set of disputed islands. Although their economies remain deeply intertwined, relations between the two governments seem locked in an irreversible, dangerous downward spiral.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe further embittered feelings last week by visiting the controversial Yasukuni shrine, which honors the souls of Japan’s war dead, including 14 World War II leaders convicted as Class-A war criminals.
Needless to say, neither side seems terribly interested in a rapprochement. That’s a shame, because the deterioration in ties is fairly recent, stemming from a single incident involving the islands administered by Japan, which calls them the Senkakus, and claimed by China, which refers to them as the Diaoyu. A single, symbolic-but-generous gesture could well halt the slide.
Abe, though unquestionably a hawk on China, had nothing to do with the triggering event. In September 2012, then-Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda ordered his government to buy several of the disputed islands from a private owner — an action which, in China’s view, effectively nationalized them.
Noda hadn’t intended to provoke the Chinese. On the contrary, he aimed to preempt a more aggressive gesture by hyper-nationalist politician Shintaro Ishihara — then Tokyo’s governor — who wanted to have the Tokyo metropolitan government purchase the islands and build on them to assert Japan’s sovereignty.
Still, barely two days before Noda’s decision, China’s then-President Hu Jintao had specifically warned him not to proceed. Hu’s concerns were legitimate. For years, China had quietly acceptedJapan’s “de facto” occupation of the islands even as it disputed sovereignty. By buying them, Japan appeared to be moving to “de jure” ownership. Given the nationalist mood in China, the Beijing government couldn’t risk appearing weak in its response.
If Abe really wanted to break the chain of escalation that has since played out between China and Japan, he could singlehandedly return to the status quo ante. He would only need to “sell” the islands to a private Japanese foundation or environmental group, ostensibly to preserve their undeveloped natural beauty.
Japanese hard-liners would no doubt regard such a move as a capitulation to China. It wouldn’t be. Even after a sale, Japan would continue its de facto occupation of the islands, as it has for decades. Since the islands’ purchase was made by a previous government, Abe’s Liberal Democrats need not feel bound by the decision. In fact, after pacifying his nationalist supporters by visiting Yasukuni, Abe may be in a stronger position to compromise on the islands.
In an interview with Bloomberg earlier this month, Abe called for a summit with President Xi Jinping of China and said, “Now is the time to go back to that starting point.” Abe was referring to a bilateral agreement he reached with Hu in 2006, during a previous term as Japan’s prime minister. Selling the islands would be a critical first step toward returning to that calmer time.
If Abe wanted to be bolder, he could make the same offer to China that Japan has made to South Korea over a different set of disputed islands: to have the issue resolved by the International Court of Justice. The chances of China agreeing to this are minuscule. But by taking the moral high ground, Japan would both reaffirm its reasonableness, and satisfy the major precondition China has imposed on any Xi-Abe summit — acknowledging that sovereignty of the Senkakus/Diaoyu is in dispute.
Of course, if it’s hard to imagine an Abe administration reaching out to Beijing now, it’s equally hard to see Chinese leaders responding constructively. Yet on a simple cost-benefit analysis, Xi has incentive enough to scale back aggressive naval and air patrols of the waters surrounding the islands. He has just embarked on a set of difficult, potentially far-reaching economic reforms. Although he can’t afford to look weak domestically, he also can’t afford a geopolitical crisis that would disrupt China’s economy and possibly global trade.
A major rebalancing is gradually taking place in Asia as China’s economy becomes larger than Japan’s. But it isn’t in China’s interest to push for this rebalancing too aggressively. When I was in Tokyo in early December, I was struck by the intensity of concern over China’s aggressive posturing. The harder the Beijing government pushes now, the more rapidly Japan will move to upgrade its military capabilities and strengthen its alliances with the U.S. and countries ringing China.
Both sides need to find a way to ratchet down their words and deeds. Japan can and should take a first, small step forward by “going back” and selling the islands. Any Japanese leaders who doubt the wisdom of doing so should ask themselves a question: Are they really better off today than they were two years ago?
(Kishore Mahbubani, dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore, is author of “The Great Convergence: Asia, the West and the Logic of One World.”)
To contact the writer of this article: Kishore Mahbubani at email@example.com.
To contact the editor responsible for this article: Nisid Hajari at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It has been 7 years and 4 months since the last Prime Ministerial visit to Yasukuni Shrine (a symbol of Japan’s past militarism – and its convicted war criminals – which appears to be resurrecting); but in what China describes as an act that is “absolutely unacceptable to the Chinese people,” current Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe paid tribute to the war dead today. The strong reaction was met with a rapid ‘apology’ of sorts as Abe stated officially, “I am aware that, because of misunderstandings, some people criticise a visit to Yasukuni shrine as an act of worshipping war criminals… [but] I have no intention at all to hurt the feelings of Chinese or South Korean people.”
In the past… (via Reuters)
China and South Korea have repeatedly expressed anger in the past over Japanese politicians’ visits to Yasukuni Shrine, where Japanese leaders convicted as war criminals by an Allied tribunal are honored along with war dead.
The shrine is seen in parts of Asia as a symbol of Japanese past militarism.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Thursday his visit to the controversial Yasukuni war shrine was a pledge that Japan would not go to war again and was not intended to hurt Chinese or South Koreans.
“I chose this day to report (to enshrined spirits) what we have done in the year since the administration launched and to pledge and determine that never again will people suffer in war,” he told reporters at the shrine.
“I am aware that, because of misunderstandings, some people criticise a visit to Yasukuni shrine as an act of worshipping war criminals, but I made my visit to pledge to create an era where people will never suffer from catastrophe in war,” Abe said.
“I have no intention at all to hurt the feelings of Chinese or South Korean people.”
And The Chinese response…
Chinese foreign ministry Asian affairs dept head: Yasukuni visit “absolutely unacceptable to the Chinese people” pic.twitter.com/c3skU6FnTn
— Austin Ramzy (@austinramzy) December 26, 2013
And the consequences…
Chinese Foreign Ministry on Abe Yasukuni visit: “The Japanese side must bear all consequences.” #uhoh
— ian bremmer (@ianbremmer) December 26, 2013
The Chinese people are enraged…
Chinese netizens call for anti-Japan boycott and inquire about street protest on Strong Nation Forum http://t.co/FYp4SEjAmS
— Jessica Chen Weiss (@jessicacweiss) December 26, 2013
and The Koreans are now chiming in…
(LEAD) Abe’s Yasukuni visit to have diplomatic repercussions: Seoul http://t.co/n6iX6rz1pf
— Yonhap News Agency (@YonhapNews) December 26, 2013
We warned last week of the rising nationalism and concerns about Abe’s intentions and this evening the escalating tensions in the East China Sea are clear once again. In an effort to “normalize” an officially ‘pacifist’ policy, a hawkish Abe announced that Japan has tonight increased its military budget notably to buy drones, amphibious vehicles, submarines, and vertical take-off aircraft to boost defenses around the remote Senkaku islands. It seems the farce is getting more surreal as Japan also considers obtaining the means to counter ballistic missiles the point of launch. Why go to war and risk it all by printing and deficit spending your country into oblivion for a ‘purpose’ when you can do it without spilling a drop of blood?
Japan said Tuesday it intends to boost military spending by five percent over the next five years, with a hardware splurge intended to beef up defence of far-flung territories amid a corrosive row with China.
The cabinet of hawkish Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed 24.7 trillion yen ($240 billion) would be spent between 2014 and 2019, including on drones, submarines, fighter jets and amphibious vehicles, in a strategic shift towards the south and west.
The shopping list is part of efforts by Abe to normalise the military in Japan, which has been officially pacifist since defeat in World War II. Its well-equipped and highly professional services are limited to a narrowly defined self-defensive role.
New defence guidelines approved by the cabinet on Tuesday said Tokyo will introduce a “dynamic joint defence force,” intended to help air, land and sea forces work together more effectively in the face of danger.
“China … is taking dangerous action that can draw unexpected contingencies,” said the guidelines.
The government will also consider obtaining the means to counter ballistic missiles at the point of launch, according to new security plans which set a total five-year budget of 24.67 trillion yen ($239 billion), up about 1 trillion yen on the previous five-year plan.
Japan will set up a marines-style force to deal with any island incursions, equipping it with 17 tiltrotor aircraft and 52 amphibious vehicles, as well as three surveillance drones, according to documents given to reporters in advance.
Of course, the populism garnered by such a move is worrisome as these two powers engage in a bigger and bigger pissing match; but it seems, as we warned here, that no matter the cost, there may be war. Bear in mind this move comes on top of passing the Secrecy bill last week.
The right to know has now been officially superseded by the right of the government to make sure you don’t know what they don’t want you to know. It might all seems like a bad joke, except for the Orwellian nature of the bill and a key Cabinet member expressing his admiration for the Nazis, “just as Germany needed a strong man like Hitler to revive defeated Germany, Japan needs people like Abe to dynamically induce change.”
We are sure the world (and the BoJ) will be more than happy to fund this latest Keynesian black hole.
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Japanese (And American) Governments Go to Extreme Lengths to Cover Up Fukushima and Other Disasters
Japan and the U.S. are doing everything they can to cover up the danger of the Fukushima crisis.
The Daily Beast notes:
The Japanese government, which already has a long history of cover-ups and opaqueness, is on its way to becoming even less open and transparent after the lower house the Diet, Japan’s parliament, passed the Designated Secrets Bill on Tuesday. With new powers to classify nearly anything as a state secret and harsh punishments for leakers that can easily be used to intimidate whistleblowers and stifle press freedom, many in Japan worry that the if the bill becomes law it will be only the first step towards even more severe erosions of freedom in the country.
Even politicians inside the ruling bloc are saying, “It can’t be denied that another purpose is to muzzle the press, shut up whistleblowers, and ensure that the nuclear disaster at Fukushima ceases to be an embarrassment before the Olympics.”
The new law would enact harsher punishment to leakers and ominously would allow journalists who obtained information by “inappropriate means” and whistleblowers to be jailed for up to ten years. The law would also allow the police to raid the offices of media organizations and seize evidence at their discretion.
The bill has even grants no longer existent agencies the power to classify secrets.
Despite the bill’s enlargement of the state’s power over information, it contains no oversight process to act as a check on ministries and government agencies designating large amounts of information as ‘secret’ for capricious or self-interested reasons.
Masako Mori, the Minister of Justice, has declared that nuclear related information will most likely be a designated secret. For the Abe administration this would be fantastic way to deal with the issue of tons of radiated water leaking from the Fukushima Daichi Nuclear Power Plant since the triple meltdown in March of 2011.There seems to be no end to stopping the toxic waste leaks there but the new legislation would allow the administration to plug the information leakspermanently.
Mizuho Fukushima, former leader of the Social Democratic Party, compared the bill to the pre-World War II Peace Maintenance Preservation Laws and other Secrecy laws at the time, remarking that there was a time in police-state Japan when the weather reports could be considered “secret.”
““Once you open the door to such kind of laws, the government will have the right to designate anything as a state secret and by speaking about it or mentioning it, you can be arrested and prosecuted.” Ms. Fukushima explained, “Especially during war time, it was very difficult for defendants and lawyers to fight their court cases, because they were not told what exactly what was the state secret that they had been accused of having revealed.”
Outspoken Upper House Councilor Taro Yamamoto, who is known to be a strong supporter of investigative journalism, minces no words: “The path that Japan is taking is the recreation of a fascist state. I strongly believe that this secrecy bill represents a planned coup d’état by a group of politicians and bureaucrats,” he warned.
While his statement may seem alarmist, even a senior official of the National Police Agency agrees. “I would say this is Abe’s attempt to make sure that his own shady issues aren’t brought to light, and a misuse of legislative power.
The Japan Newspaper Publishers & Editors Association, the Civil Broadcasters Federation, and most major news organizations in Japan’s have expressed staunch opposition to the bill.
Japan is about to take a giant step back into its oppressive past. When one also considers Prime Minister Abe’s stated ambition to restart Japan’s nuclear power plants and remove Article 9 from the constitution, the article which prevents Japan from waging war, it seems like the Empire of The Sun may be moving towards darker times.
Indeed, Ex-SKF notes that :
A citizen was forcibly removed from the balcony in the Diet where he was observing the debate of the State Secrecy Protection Law in the Lower House on November 26, 2013, as he shouted his opposition to the passage of the law. His mouth was stuffed with cloth so that he couldn’t shout any more while being removed by several guards against his will.
(From Tokyo Shinbun, 11/26/2013, via this tweet)
What’s even scarier to me than the man being forcibly removed by the guards is people sitting near him. They just sit there as if nothing is happening. They are not even looking; the one in the same row even looks away.
It’s not just Fukushima … and It’s not Just Japan
It’s not just Fukushima …
Governments have been covering up nuclear meltdowns for 50 years.
There has been a cover-up by the American government ever since the Fukushima earthquake. TheAmerican (and Canadian) authorities virtually stopped monitoring airborn radiation, and are not testing fish for radiation.
The U.S. government increased allowable radiation levels so that we could be exposed to radiation. Nuclear expert Arnie Gundersen says that high-level friends in the State Department told him that Hillary Clinton signed a pact with her counterpart in Japan agreeing that the U.S. will continue buying seafood from Japan, despite that food not being tested for radioactive materials.
The American government controls Japanese nuclear policy. And the Japanese would never have proposed such a draconian bill without U.S. backing. Indeed, the U.S. Charge d’Affairs Kurt Tong saidof the Japanese bill:
It’s a positive step that would make Japan a “more effective alliance partner.”
Earlier this year, the acting EPA director signed a revised version of the EPA’s Protective Action Guide for radiological incidents, which radically relaxed the safety guidelines agencies follow in the wake of a nuclear-reactor meltdown or other unexpected release of radiation. EPA whistleblowers called it “a public health policy only Dr. Strangelove could embrace.”
It’s not just nuclear accidents … it’s everything.
The American government repeatedly covers up how bad things are, uses claims of national security to keep everything in the dark, and changes basic rules and definitions to allow the game to continue. Seethis, this, this and this.
When BP – through criminal negligence – blew out the Deepwater Horizon oil well, the governmenthelped cover it up (and here). As just one example, the government approved the massive use of ahighly-toxic dispersant to temporarily hide the oil.
The government covers up the disgusting and unhealthy natureof much industrially-produced food.
The government’s response to the outbreak of mad cow disease was simple: it stopped testing for mad cow, and prevented cattle ranchers and meat processors from voluntarily testing their own cows (and see this and this)
In response to new studies showing the substantial dangers of genetically modified foods, the government passed legislation more or less pushing it onto our plates.
The Centers for Disease Control – the lead agency tasked with addressing disease in America – covered up lead poisoning in children in the Washington, D.C. area.
The former head of the National Mine Health and Safety Academy says that the government whitewashed the severity of the Tennessee coal ash accident.
And after drug companies were busted for using fraudulent data for drug approval, the FDA allowed the potentially dangerous drugs to stay on the market.
Indeed, the cynical might say that the main function of government these days is to throw money at giant corporations and to cover up for them when their misdeeds are revealed.
And the American government is censoring reporters at least as much as Japan.
Japan approves new state secrecy bill to combat leaks
The lower house of the Japanese parliament has approved a state secrecy bill that imposes stiffer penalties on civil servants who leak secrets and journalists who try to obtain them.
The move had been criticised by reporters and freedom of speech campaigners as a heavy-handed effort to suppress press freedom.
But the government says the move is needed for national security reasons.
The bill now goes to the upper house, where it is also likely to be passed.
Critics say the new law could allow the government to withhold more information and ultimately undermine Japan’s democracy.
Security informationThe bill was approved by the lower house – the more powerful of the two chambers in the Japanese parliament – after it was delayed following hours of protests by opposition lawmakers.
The bill’s supporters in the government confidently expect it to be approved by the upper house next month.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party says the law is needed to encourage the US and other allies to share national security information with Japan.
Correspondents say that it is part of Mr Abe’s efforts to strengthen his country’s role in global security.
“This law is designed to protect the safety of the people,” Mr Abe said, promising that people’s concerns about the bill would be addressed through further parliamentary debate.
The bill allows heads of ministries and agencies indefinitely to make secret 23 types of information related to defence, diplomacy, counter-intelligence and counter-terrorism.
Under the law, public servants or others cleared for access to state secrets could be jailed for up to 10 years for leaking information.
Journalists and others in the private sector convicted of encouraging such leaks could get up to five years in jail if they use “grossly inappropriate” means to solicit the information.
Opponents of the legislation say the new rules fail to address basic concerns on civil liberties and the public’s right to know.
They say that the regulations will adversely affect freedom of information and block critical reporting of the government.
Campaigners have also warned that reporting on a wide range of sensitive issues will be affected by the changes, which will also have a dampening impact on whistleblowers.
The Japanese move has been welcomed by the US, which wants a stronger Japan to offset China’s military rise.
But correspondents say it has also raised fears that Japan could be edging back toward its militaristic past, when free speech was severely restrained.
Some experts say that the new legislation eases the way for Mr Abe’s campaign to revise Japan’s US-drafted pacifist constitution.
One of Prime Minister Abe’s first decisions was to increase Japan’s defence budget [File: AFP]
|Japan is ready to counter China if it resorts to force in the pursuit of its geopolitical interests, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said in an interview.
Abe in an interview with the Wall Street Journal published on Saturday said Japan should take the lead in guarding against what he said might be an attempt by China to use force to attain its diplomatic goals.
He said he had realised at recent meetings with South East Asian leaders that the region sought leadership from Tokyo in terms of security amid China’s more forthright diplomacy.
“There are concerns that China is attempting to change the status quo by force, rather than by rule of law. But if China opts to take that path, then it won’t be able to emerge peacefully,” he told the paper.
“So it shouldn’t take that path and many nations expect Japan to strongly express that view. And they hope that as a result, China will take responsible action in the international community.”
A top retired Chinese diplomat said any move by Tokyo to contain China could amount to an attempt to conceal ulterior motives in the region and prove to be “extremely dangerous”.
The defence ministry warned Japan not to underestimate China’s resolve to take whatever measures were needed to protect itself.
China took issue with a Japanese media report saying Abe had approved a policy for Japan to shoot down foreign drones that ignore warnings to leave its airspace.
“Don’t underestimate the Chinese army’s resolute will and determination to protect China’s territorial sovereignty,” Defence Ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng said on the ministry’s website.
For more than a year, relations between Beijing and Tokyo have been chilled by a territorial dispute in the East China Sea where China claims a small, uninhabited archipelago administered by Japan under the name of Senkaku, though Beijing calls it Diaoyu.
Ties have taken a further battering over visits by Japanese lawmakers this month to the Yasukuni shrine in Tokyo honouring both war dead and Japanese leaders convicted as war criminals.
One of Abe’s first decisions as prime minister has been to increase Japan’s defence budget for the first time in 11 years.
Tokyo also plans to hold a large air and sea exercise in November to strengthen the island’s defenses, and as a display of might intended for the Chinese.
- Japan will ‘stand up to China’ – Abe (bbc.co.uk)
- Japan PM says won’t tolerate use of force to change status quo (worldbulletin.net)
- Japan to be more assertive against China, says PM Abe (abc.net.au)
- ICE WALL to save humanity from Fukushima! (faithandsurvival.com)
- Winter is Coming to Fukushima (tradethenewsroom.com)
- Japan government joining efforts to contain Fukushima toxic water (reuters.com)
- Japan PM to call for stronger response to Fukushima water crisis: Nikkei (reuters.com)
- National › Abe orders gov’t to help contain toxic water at Fukushima plant (japantoday.com)