Memory and Reconciliation in the Asia-Pacific


DPJ Victory in Lower House Election: Hopes and Fears of the Asia-Pacific
September 4, 2009, 6:46 pm
Filed under: China, China-Japan, China-Korea, Japan, Japan-Korea, Korea, Yasukuni Shrine

The landslide victory of the DPJ and its junior partners over the LDP-Komei coalition in the recent general election for the Lower House of Parliament has led many to consider the possibility of a positive change in regional relationships between Japan and its neighboring countries.  Since the beginning of the campaign period, Yukio Hatoyama and his fellow DPJ leaders have articulated the importance of developing closer, more amicable relationships with Japan’s Asian neighbors, and Hatoyama has been extremely vocal when addressing issues pertaining to the legacy of historical issues that has consistently tested Japan’s relations with its neighbors.  While these promises for closer ties has left some in neighboring China and S. Korea optimistic toward the incoming administration, across the Pacific there are many who raise the question, “at what cost?”  Hatoyama’s recent Op-Ed in the New York Times entitled, “A New Path for Japan” raised some concerns in the United States of a possible distancing between the US and its ally in the Far East.  While DPJ officials quickly dispelled the idea of Japan moving away from the US, the question remains as to how Japan’s role in the region will (or will not) change with the arrival of the DPJ leadership.

This week’s news brief focuses on the varying hopes and fears of the Asia-Pacific as it witnesses the historic change in leadership within Japan:

A New Path for Japan, The New York Times, Aug. 26, 2009.

Korea Hopes for New Era in Japan Relations, The JoongAng Daily, Sept. 01, 2009.

South Korea Eyes Better Ties with Japan’s Next Leader, ChannelNewsAsia, Aug. 26, 2009.

Likely Japan Leaders to Focus on Asia Ties, Wall Street Journal, Aug. 27, 2009.

Hatoyama Seeks ‘Yukio-Barack’ Rapport, China Ties, Bloomberg, Sept. 1, 2009.

Interest High Among Foreign Media in ‘Historic’ Election, The Japan Times, Sept. 1, 2009.

U.S. May Profit from Better Japan-Asia Ties, Reuters, Sept. 3, 2009.

Sino-Japanese Ties not to be Affected After DPJ Assumes Reins of Government, SINA, Aug. 31, 2009.

DPJ to Further Advance Japan-China Ties: Party Chief, Xinhua, Aug. 11, 2009.

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Sixty Fourth Anniversary of the Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima

On August 6, 1945, the first atomic bomb to be used in war was dropped on the city of Hiroshima.  Sixty-four years later, as the number of survivors from the bombing steadily grow thin in numbers–Hiroshima, the bomb, and their legacy continue to live on as symbols within contemporary debates over the future of nuclear armaments, denuclearization, and non-proliferation.  The media surrounding the sixty-fourth commemoration of the bombing include articles on the reparations for under-represented Korean victims of the bombing, an American public opinion poll indicating that 61 percent of 2,400 questioned Americans believe the US did the “right thing” by dropping the bomb, personal narratives by both the Hibakusha victims and from Enola Gay crew member Morris Jeppson, and the controversy over former-JASDF Chief of Staff Gen. Toshio Tamogami’s lecture in Hiroshima entitled “Casting Doubt on Hiroshima’s Peace.”

In other recent news, the Yokohama city board of education approved the use of the controversial Jiyuu-sha textbook, setting the precedent as the first major city in Japan to approve the use of the controversial history textbook.  Additionally, as the August 30th election for the lower-house of the Japanese parliament looms near, media sources are speculating on the impact a DPJ government may have on historical memory issues in the Asia-Pacific.

Hiroshima Marks 64th Anniversary of Atomic Bombing, Asahi Shimbun, August 6, 2009.

Aso, Hibakusha Sign Accord on Peace Measures, Asahi Shimbun, August 6, 2009.

Panel Proposes Inviting Obama to Visit Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Asahi Shimbun, August 3, 2009.

U.S. Poll Finds Support for Atomic Bombing of Japan, Mainichi Shimbun, August 5, 2009.

Interview with Enola Gay Crew Member Morris Jeppson, Mainichi Shimbun, August 4, 2009.

A-bomb Victims Refuse to Lapse into Silence, Mainichi Shimbun, August 3, 2009.

Strive for Nuclear Disarmament, The Japan Times, August 6, 2009.

Tamogami’s A-bomb Speech Plan Slammed, The Japan Times, August 2, 2009.

Ex-Soldier to Stir Up A-bomb Survivors, The Australian, August 4, 2009.

Recent News:

Yokohama OKs Disputed History Text, Asahi Shimbun, August 5, 2009.

Yokohama Adopts Nationalistic Junior High History Textbook, The Japan Times, August 5, 2009.

Japan Party Set to Shun War Shrine, The China Daily, August 5, 2009.

Yuji Hosaka: Born to Defend Korea’s Dokdo Claims, The Korea Herald, August 3, 2009.

History May Haunt Asia Less Under Japan Democrats, Reuters India, August 2, 2009.



How to Move Forward with Reconciliation in East Asia

Professor Mike Mochizuki pointed out the importance of developing a web of institutions for reconciliation in East Asia in his presentation at the Northeast Asian History Foundation, Seoul. Mainichi Shimbun argues that Japan needs to find its atonement in East Asia after the demise of the the San Francisco Treaty structure.

Web of Institutions Can Resolve History Issues in Northeast Asia, Korea Times, July 8, 2009

Japan must find its own path to atonement for wartime, colonial history, Mainichi Shimbun, July 7, 2009



Weekly Update – July 10

John Woo will remain in China for his next film on WWII, which takes a theme in the American volunteers recruited to aid the Chinese Air Force prior to the US participation in WWII; Veterans of the Korean War will be special guests during opening ceremonies for the Great Texas Balloon Race this year; Japan received the first Chinese individual tourist after change in its law; Taiwan is ready to receive more investment from China.

John Woo Divebombs Into WWII Again With ‘Flying Tiger Heroes’, MTV Blog, July 6, 2009

Balloon Race honors Korean War veterans, News-Journal.com, July 3, 2009

Taiwan Opens 100 Industries to Chinese Investment (Update2), Bloomberg, June 30, 2009

First individual Chinese tourists visit Japan, AFP, July 8, 2009



Nanjing!Nanjing! – Follow Up 3
July 6, 2009, 6:42 pm
Filed under: China, China-Japan

The articles discuss the Chinese movie titled Nanjing!Nanjing!.

Nanjing Massacre Movie Shows Sympathy for Japanese Army: Review , Bloomberg, June 23, 2009



Japanese textbook controversy, Japan-China over History
June 12, 2009, 2:44 pm
Filed under: China, China-Japan, History Textbooks, Japan

The frist article discuss the textbook issue in Japan. The other two articles discuss the tension between Japan and China on the history issue:

Japanese Textbook Controversies, Nationalism, and Historical Memory: Intra- and Inter-national Conflicts, Japan Focus, June 2009

China-Japan Tensions, 1995-2006: Why They Happened, What to Do, Brookings Institution, June 2009

China’s Other Massacre, Foreign Policy, June 2009



China Halted its Official Exchanges with NK
June 12, 2009, 2:40 pm
Filed under: China, China-Japan, China-Korea, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, Korea

China halted its official exchanges with North Korea after its second nuclear test. The articles below also introduce responses from other countries such as South Korea, Japan, and the United States:
SKorean nuclear envoy says he will visit China, AFP, June 9, 2009

‘An Act of State Terrorism By North Korea’, Fox News, June 9, 2009

China pressed on N.Korea, Straits Times, June 7, 2009

Hatoyama, Lee agree China key in North U.N. resolution, Japan Times, June 6, 2009

China’s ties with North Korea fraying, JoongAng Daily, June 6, 2009

Japan plans missile early warning system, Reuters, June 2, 2009

China Suspends North Korea Exchanges, Yonhap Reports (Update1), Bloomberg, June 1, 2009

The power of presidential restraint, Boston Globe, June 1, 2009

North Korea’s Point of View, Seoul Times, June 2009

The Japanese Skeleton In Kim’s Closet, Forbes, May 31, 2009

Gates Looks to Tougher Approach on North Korea, May 30, 2009