Archive for the Tokyo Category

Bombs Bursting in Air: State and citizen responses to the US firebombing and Atomic bombing of Japan [The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus]

Posted in China, Corporate Media Critique, Depleted Uranium weapons, DPR Korea, DU Depleted Uranium weapons, Germany, Hiroshima, Historical myths of the US, Japan, Media cover-up, Nagasaki, Pentagon, Tokyo, U.K., US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA, USSR, Vietnam, World War II on January 25, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 12, Issue 3, No. 4, January 20, 2013.

by Mark Selden

I US Firebombing and Atomic Bombing of Japan

This paper assesses and compares the impact and historical significance of the firebombing and atomic bombing of Japanese cities in the history of war and the history of disaster. Japan’s decision to surrender, pivoting on issues of firebombing and atomic bombing, Soviet entry into the war, and the origins of Soviet-American confrontation, is the most fiercely debated subject in twentieth century American global history. The surrender question, however, is addressed only in passing here. The focus is rather on the human and social consequences of the bombings, and their legacy in the history of warfare and historical memory in the long twentieth century. Part one provides an overview of the calculus that culminated in the final year of the war in a US strategy centered on the bombing of civilians and assesses its impact in shaping the global order. Part two examines the bombing in Japanese and American historical memory including history, literature, commemoration and education. What explains the power of the designation of the postwar as the atomic era while the area bombing of civilians by fire and napalm, which would so profoundly shape the future of warfare in general, American wars in particular, faded to virtual invisibility in Japanese, American and global consciousness?

World War II was a landmark in the development and deployment of technologies of mass destruction associated with air power, notably the B-29 bomber, napalm, fire bombing, and the atomic bomb. In Japan, the US air war reached peak intensity with area bombing and climaxed with the atomic bombing of Japanese cities between the night of March 9-10 and the August 15, 1945 surrender.

The strategic and ethical implications and human consequences of the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki have generated a vast, contentious literature. By contrast, the US destruction of more than sixty Japanese cities prior to Hiroshima has been slighted, at least until recently, both in the scholarly literatures in English and Japanese and in popular consciousness. It has been overshadowed by the atomic bombing and by heroic narratives of American conduct in the “Good War” that has been at the center of American national consciousness thereafter.2 Arguably, however, the central breakthroughs that would characterize the American way of war subsequently occurred in area bombing of noncombatants prior to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. A.C. Grayling explains the different responses to firebombing and atomic bombing this way:

. . . the frisson of dread created by the thought of what atomic weaponry can do affects those who contemplate it more than those who actually suffer from it; for whether it is an atom bomb rather than tons of high explosives and incendiaries that does the damage, not a jot of suffering is added to its victims that the burned and buried, the dismembered and blinded, the dying and bereaved of Dresden or Hamburg did not feel.” 3

Grayling does, however, go on to note the different experiences of survivors of the two types of bombing, particularly as a result of radiation symptoms from the atomic bomb, with added dread in the case of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki hibakusha, not only for themselves but also for future generations.

If other nations, notably Germany, England and Japan led the way in area bombing during World War II, US targeting of entire cities with conventional weapons emerged in 1944-45 on a scale that quickly dwarfed all previous destruction. Targeting for the most part then and subsequently essentially defenseless populations, it was an approach that combined technological predominance with a priority on minimization of US casualties. This would become a hallmark of the American way of war in campaigns from Korea and Indochina to the Gulf and Iraq Wars. The result would be the decimation of noncombatant populations and extraordinary “kill ratios” favoring the US military. Yet for the US, victory in subsequent wars—Korea, Indochina, Afghanistan and Iraq being the most notable — would prove extraordinarily elusive. This is one reason why, six decades on, World War II retains its aura for Americans as the “Good War”, a conception that renders difficult coming to terms with the massive bombing of civilians in the final year of the war.

As Michael Sherry and Cary Karacas have pointed out for the US and Japan respectively, prophecy preceded practice in the destruction of Japanese cities. Sherry observes that “Walt Disney imagined an orgiastic destruction of Japan by air in his 1943 animated feature Victory Through Air Power (based on Alexander P. De Seversky’s 1942 book),” while Karacas notes that the best-selling Japanese writer Unna Juzo, beginning in his early 1930s “air-defense novels”, anticipated the destruction of Tokyo by bombing.4

Curtis LeMay was appointed commander of the 21st Bomber Command in the Pacific on January 20, 1945. Capture of the Marianas, including Guam, Tinian and Saipan in summer 1944 had placed Japanese cities within effective range of the B-29 “Superfortress” bombers, while Japan’s depleted air and naval power and a blockade that cut off oil supplies left it virtually defenseless against sustained air attack.

The full fury of firebombing and napalm was unleashed on the night of March 9-10, 1945 when LeMay sent 334 B-29s low over Tokyo from the Marianas.5 Their mission was to reduce much of the city to rubble, kill its citizens, and instill terror in the survivors. Stripped of their guns to make more room for bombs, and flying at altitudes averaging 7,000 feet to evade detection, the bombers carried two kinds of incendiaries: M47s, 100-pound oil gel bombs, 182 per aircraft, each capable of starting a major fire, followed by M69s, 6-pound gelled-gasoline bombs, 1,520 per aircraft in addition to a few high explosives to deter firefighters.6 The attack on an area that the US Strategic Bombing Survey estimated to be 84.7 percent residential succeeded beyond the wildest dreams of air force planners.

Nature reinforced man’s handiwork in the form of akakaze, the red wind that swept with hurricane force across the Tokyo plain and propelled firestorms with terrifying speed and intensity. The wind drove temperatures up to eighteen hundred degrees Fahrenheit, creating superheated vapors that advanced ahead of the flames, killing or incapacitating their victims. “The mechanisms of death were so multiple and simultaneous — oxygen deficiency and carbon monoxide poisoning, radiant heat and direct flames, debris and the trampling feet of stampeding crowds — that causes of death were later hard to ascertain . . .”7

The Strategic Bombing Survey provided a technical description of the firestorm and its effects on Tokyo:

The chief characteristic of the conflagration . . . was the presence of a fire front, an extended wall of fire moving to leeward, preceded by a mass of pre-heated, turbid, burning vapors . . . . The 28-mile-per-hour wind, measured a mile from the fire, increased to an estimated 55 miles at the perimeter, and probably more within. An extended fire swept over 15 square miles in 6 hours . . . . The area of the fire was nearly 100 percent burned; no structure or its contents escaped damage.

The survey concluded—plausibly, but only for events prior to August 6, 1945—that

“probably more persons lost their lives by fire at Tokyo in a 6-hour period than at any time in the history of man. People died from extreme heat, from oxygen deficiency, from carbon monoxide asphyxiation, from being trampled beneath the feet of stampeding crowds, and from drowning. The largest number of victims were the most vulnerable: women, children and the elderly.”

How many people died on the night of March 9-10 in what flight commander Gen. Thomas Power termed “the greatest single disaster incurred by any enemy in military history?” The Strategic Bombing Survey estimated that 87,793 people died in the raid, 40,918 were injured, and 1,008,005 people lost their homes. The Tokyo Fire Department estimated 97,000 killed and 125,000 wounded. According to Japanese police statistics, the 65 raids on Tokyo between December 6, 1944 and August 13, 1945 resulted in 137,582 casualties, 787,145 homes and buildings destroyed, and 2,625,279 people displaced.8 The figure of roughly 100,000 deaths, provided by Japanese and American authorities, both of whom may have had reasons of their own for minimizing the death toll, seems to me arguably low in light of population density, wind conditions, and survivors’ accounts.9 With an average of 103,000 inhabitants per square mile and peak levels as high as 135,000 per square mile, the highest density of any industrial city in the world, 15.8 square miles of Tokyo were destroyed on a night when fierce winds whipped the flames and walls of fire blocked tens of thousands who attempted to flee. An estimated 1.5 million people lived in the burned out areas. Given the near total inability to fight fires of the magnitude produced that night 10, it is possible, given the interest of the authorities to minimize the scale of death and injury and the total inability of the civil defense efforts to respond usefully to the firestorm, to imagine that casualties may have been several times higher than the figures presented on both sides of the conflict. Stated differently, my view is that it is likely that the number of fatalities was substantially higher: this is an issue that merits the attention of researchers, beginning with the unpublished records of the US Strategic Bombing Survey…

…No previous or subsequent conventional bombing raid anywhere ever came close to generating the toll in death and destruction of the great Tokyo raid of March 9-10. Following the Tokyo raid of March 9-10, the firebombing was extended nationwide. In the ten-day period beginning on March 9, 9,373 tons of bombs destroyed 31 square miles of Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka and Kobe. Overall, bombing strikes destroyed 40 percent of the 66 Japanese cities targeted, with total tonnage dropped on Japan increasing from 13,800 tons in March to 42,700 tons in July.12 If the bombing of Dresden produced a ripple of public debate in Europe, no discernible wave of revulsion, not to speak of protest, took place in the US or Europe in the wake of the far greater destruction of Japanese cities and the slaughter of civilian populations on a scale that had no parallel in the history of bombing…

…Throughout the spring and summer of 1945 the US air war in Japan reached an intensity that is still perhaps unrivaled in the magnitude of human slaughter.15 That moment was a product of the combination of technological breakthroughs, American nationalism, and the erosion of moral and political scruples pertaining to the killing of civilians. The point is not to separate the United States from other participants in World War II, but to suggest that there is more common ground in the war policies of Japan and the United States in their disregard of citizen victims than is normally recognized in the annals of history and journalism.

The targeting for destruction of entire populations, whether indigenous peoples, religious infidels, or others deemed inferior, threatening or evil, may be as old as human history, but the forms it takes are as new as the latest technologies of destruction and strategic innovation, of which firebombing and nuclear weapons are particularly notable in defining the nature of war in the long twentieth century.16 The most important way in which World War II shaped the moral and technological tenor of mass destruction was the erosion in the course of war of the stigma associated with the systematic targeting of civilian populations from the air, and elimination of the constraints, which for some years had restrained certain air powers from area bombing. What was new was both the scale of killing made possible by the new technologies and the routinization of mass killing of non-combatants, or state terrorism. If area bombing remained controversial throughout much of World War II, something to be concealed or denied by its practitioners, by the end it would become the acknowledged centerpiece of war making, emblematic above all of the American way of war even as the nature of the targets and the weapons were transformed by new technologies and confronted new forms of resistance. In this I emphasize not US uniqueness but the quotidian character of targeting civilians found throughout the history of colonialism and carried to new heights by Germany, Japan, Britain and the US during and after World War II…

…The US has not unleashed an atomic bomb in the decades since the end of World War II, although it has repeatedly threatened their use in Korea, in Vietnam and elsewhere. It nevertheless incorporated annihilation of noncombatants into the bombing programs that have been integral to the successive “conventional wars” that it has waged subsequently. With area bombing at the core of its strategic agenda, US attacks on cities and noncombatants would run the gamut from firebombing, napalming, and cluster bombing to the use of chemical defoliants and depleted uranium weapons and bunker buster bombs in an ever expanding circle of destruction whose recent technological innovations center on the use of drones controlling the skies and bringing terror to inhabitants below.19

Less noted then and since were the systematic barbarities perpetrated by Japanese forces against resistant villagers, though this produced the largest number of the estimated ten to thirty million Chinese who lost their lives in the war, a number that far surpasses the half million or more Japanese noncombatants who died at the hands of US bombing, and may have exceeded Soviet losses to Nazi invasion conventionally estimated at 20 million lives.22 In that and subsequent wars it would be the signature barbarities such as the Nanjing Massacre, the Bataan Death March, and the massacres at Nogunri and My Lai rather than the quotidian events that defined the systematic daily and hourly killing, which would attract sustained attention, spark bitter controversy, and shape historical memory…

II The Firebombing and Atomic Bombing of Japanese Cities: History, Memory, Culture, Commemoration

Basic decisions by the Japanese authorities and by Washington and the US occupation authorities shaped Japanese and American perceptions and memories of the firebombing and atomic bombing. Throughout the six month period from the March 9 attack that destroyed Tokyo until August 15, 1945, and above all in the wake of the US victory in Okinawa in mid-June 1945, a Japanese nation that was defeated in all but name continued to spurn unconditional surrender, eventually accepting the sacrifice of more than half a million Japanese subjects in Okinawa and Japan to secure a single demand: the safety of the emperor. In preserving Hirohito on the throne and choosing to rule indirectly through the Japanese government, the US did more than place severe constraints on the democratic revolution that it sought to launch under occupation auspices. It also assured that there would be no significant Japanese debate over war responsibility or the nature of the imperial or imperial-military system in general, and the decision to sacrifice Okinawa and Japan’s cities with massive loss of life in particular.

From the outset of the occupation, the US imposed tight censorship with respect to the bombing, particularly the atomic bombing. This included prohibition of publication of photographic and artistic images of the effects of the bombing or criticism of it. Indeed, under US censorship, there would be no Japanese public criticism of either the firebombing or the atomic bombing. While firebombing never emerged as a major subject of American reflection or self-criticism, the atomic bombing did. Of particular interest is conservative and military criticism of the atomic bombing, including that of Navy Secretary James Forrestal, and Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, John Foster Dulles and a range of Christian thinkers such as Reinhold Niebuhr. Thus Sec. of War Henry Stimson worried about the “growing feeling of apprehension and misgiving as to the effect of the atomic bomb even in our own country.”24

As Ian Buruma observes, “News of the terrible consequences of the atom bomb attacks on Japan was deliberately withheld from the Japanese public by US military censors during the Allied occupation—even as they sought to teach the natives the virtues of a free press. Casualty statistics were suppressed. Film shot by Japanese cameramen in Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the bombings was confiscated…

…The Japanese authorities had reasons of their own for highlighting atomic bomb imagery while suppressing imagery of the firebombing. They include the fact that the dominant victimization narrative was preferable to having to engage war issues centered on Japanese aggression and war atrocities. Moreover, Japanese authorities preferred to emphasize the atomic bomb over the fire bombing for at least two reasons. First, it suggested that there was little that Japanese authorities or any nation could have done in the face of such overwhelming technological power. The firebombing, by contrast raised uncomfortable issues about the government’s decision to perpetuate the war through six months of punishing bombing with no alternative except defeat. Second, as Cary Karacas has argued, Japan’s bombing of Chongqing and other Chinese cities, including the use of Unit 731’s bio-weapons, raised uncomfortable questions about its own bombing…27

…The United States, in substantiating its claim as the unrivaled superpower, highlighted the atomic bomb as the critical ingredient in Japan’s surrender. It is worth recalling however, that six months of firebombing had laid waste to Japan and revealed the inability to defend the skies, but it had failed to force surrender. The atomic bombs further underlined the nature of American power, but it is important to note what the official US narrative elides: the Soviet invasion of Manchuria on August 8, one day before Nagasaki, was critical to the Japanese surrender calculus…

…The Japanese government also underlined the distinction between nuclear and firebombing survivors not only in its lavish funding for the museums in the two cities, but by making available funds to provide medical care for the victims of the atomic bombing. It is worth underlining the fact that it was the Japanese government and not the US government that provided, and continues to provide, substantial funds for the hibakusha. The larger numbers of surviving victims of firebombing never received either recognition or official support from national or local government for medical care or property losses, and they certainly never dreweither Japanese or international attention. In short, while the surviving victims of the atomic bomb were a continuing reminder to Japanese of their victimization, bomb survivors in other cities were expected to embrace the forward looking national agenda of reconstruction to build Japan again into an industrial power that would rise not under the banner of the military but under permanent US military occupation, a US nuclear umbrella and a peace constitution…

What then of the treatment of commemoration of the firebombing that destroyed 66 Japanese cities in 1945? First, it is notable that there is no national or even prefectural site of commemoration of the firebombing. National and most local governments—important exceptions include the cooperation of local governments in Nagoya and Osaka with citizens groups commemorating the bombing—have chosen not to memorialize the hundreds of thousands who died and were injured, and the millions who lost their homes and were forced to evacuate as a result of fire bombing35. In striking contrast to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, local and national governments have trained their eyes on the future, rebuilding the cities while doing their best to forget the trauma of firebombing and denying official responsibility for the victims. To my knowledge, there is no single state-sponsored monument to the victims of the firebombing preserved for reflection or education in ways comparable to Hiroshima’s atomic dome, which was embraced not only by Hiroshima and Tokyo, but was also designated as a World Heritage site…36

…through official Japan’s suppressing or downplaying the firebombing, America’s nuclear supremacy provides reassurance for Japanese leaders committed to maintaining Japan’s subordinate position in the US-Japan alliance in perpetuity: the US nuclear umbrella is the most powerful guarantee of Japan’s security. Thus, in drawing attention to the atomic bomb, Japanese leaders are simultaneously reaffirming their core diplomatic choice in the contemporary era…

Excerpted; full article with footnotes here: http://japanfocus.org/-Mark-Selden/4065?utm_source=January+20%2C+2014&utm_campaign=China%27s+Connectivity+Revolution&utm_medium=email

Manila’s base plan targets China [People’s Daily]

Posted in China, Diaoyu Islands, Guam, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, South China Sea, Tokyo, USA, USA 21st Century Cold War, Vietnam on August 12, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Zhao Shengnan (China Daily)
July 30, 2013

Troop relocation invites outside intervention in region, experts say

Manila’s plan to relocate its major air force and navy camps to a former US naval base near the South China Sea is designed to increase pressure on China and introduce more outside forces to the region to contain the country, experts said.

As soon as funding is available, the Philippine government plans to transfer air and naval forces, with their aircraft and warships, to Subic Bay, northwest of Manila, to gain faster access to the South China Sea, Philippine Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said on Sunday.

“It’s for the protection of our West Philippine Sea,” said Gazmin, using Manila’s newly adopted name for part of the South China Sea.

Subic’s location will cut the time it takes for fighter aircraft to get to the South China Sea by more than three minutes, compared with flying from Clark Air Base, north of Manila, where some air force planes are currently based, according to a confidential defense department document obtained by The Associated Press.

The natural deep harbor can also accommodate two large warships that the Philippines recently acquired from its ally the United States, and will grant visiting US forces, ships and aircraft temporary access to more of its military camps to allow for more joint military exercises than are currently held, the media reported.

The first US coast guard cutter was relaunched as the Philippines’ largest warship in 2011. Philippine President Benigno Aquino III will lead ceremonies on Aug 6 to welcome the second ship at Subic, the Philippine navy has said…

– Facility has long history –

Subic Bay is located about 100 km northwest of Manila Bay. It was formerly the site of US Naval Base Subic Bay, a major maritime facility. It is now an industrial and commercial area known as the Subic Bay Freeport Zone under the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority.

It holds a hallowed place in naval history. According to the SBMA’s official website:

In 1800, Spain discovered it was a naturally deep and strategically located harbor and soon built a naval fortress.

In 1898, a US fleet seized the port after destroying the Spanish fleet in the Battle of Manila Bay.

In 1909, the US navy selected it as a repair and supply depot. During the Vietnam War, Subic Bay’s piers and anchorages were used as repair and refueling stops for hundreds of ships each month.

In 1992, after almost 90 years as a US military facility, Subic Bay was turned over to the Philippines.

Excerpted; full article link: http://english.people.com.cn/90786/8345287.html

The Bombing of Nagasaki August 9, 1945: The Un-Censored Version [Globalresearch.ca]

Posted in Germany, Hiroshima, Japan, Nagasaki, Nazism, Russia, Tokyo, US imperialism, USA, USSR, War crimes, World War II on August 10, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Dr. Gary G. Kohls
Global Research, August 07, 2013

8 years ago, at 11:02 am on August 9th, 1945, an all-Christian bomber crew dropped a plutonium bomb, on Nagasaki, Japan. That bomb was the second and last atomic weapon that had as its target a civilian city. Somewhat ironically, as will be elaborated upon later in this essay, Nagasaki was the most Christian city in Japan and ground zero was the largest cathedral in the Orient.

These baptized and confirmed airmen did their job efficiently, and they accomplished the mission with military pride. There was no way that the crew could not have known that what they were participating in met the definition of an international war crime (according to the Nuremberg Principles that were very soon to be used to justify the execution of many German Nazis).

It had been only 3 days since the August 6th bomb, a uranium bomb, had decimated Hiroshima. The Nagasaki bomb was dropped amidst considerable chaos and confusion in Tokyo, where the fascist military government had been searching for months for a way to honorably end the war. The only obstacle to surrender had been the Roosevelt/Truman administration’s insistence on unconditional surrender, which meant that the Emperor Hirohito, whom the Japanese regarded as a deity, would be removed from his figurehead position in Japan – an intolerable demand for the Japanese that prolonged the war and kept Japan from surrendering months earlier.

The Russian army had declared war against Japan on August 8, hoping to regain territories lost to Japan in the disastrous Russo-Japanese war 40 years earlier, and Stalin’s army was advancing across Manchuria. Russia’s entry into the war represented a powerful incentive for Japan to end the war quickly and they much preferred surrendering to the US rather than to Russia. A quick end to the war was important to the US as well. It did not want to divide any of the spoils of war with Russia.

The Target Committee in Washington, D.C. had made a list of relatively un-damaged Japanese cities that were to be excluded from the conventional fire-bombing (using napalm) campaigns that had burned to the ground 60+ major Japanese cities during the first half of 1945. That list of protected cities included, at one time or another Hiroshima, Niigata, Kokura, Kyoto and Nagasaki. These relatively undamaged cities were off-limits from incendiary terror bombings but were to be preserved as possible targets for the new “gimmick” weapons of mass destruction.

Scientific curiosity was a motivation in choosing the targeted cities. The military and the scientists needed to know what would happen to intact buildings – and their living inhabitants – when atomic weapons were exploded overhead. Ironically, prior to August 6 and 9, the residents of Hiroshima and Nagasaki considered themselves lucky for not having been bombed as much as other cities. Little did they know.

Early in the morning of August 9, 1945, a B-29 Superfortress that had been christened Bock’s Car, took off from Tinian Island in the South Pacific, with the prayers and blessings of its Lutheran and Catholic chaplains, and headed for Kokura, the primary target. Bock’s Car’s plutonium bomb was in the bomb bay, code-named “Fat Man,” after Winston Churchill.

The only field test (blasphemously code-named “Trinity”) of a nuclear weapon had occurred just three weeks earlier (July 16, 1945) at Alamogordo, New Mexico. The molten lava rock that resulted from the heat of that blast (twice the temperature of the sun) can still found at the site today. It is called trinitite.

The reality of what had happened at Hiroshima was only slowly becoming apparent to the fascist military leaders in Tokyo. It took 2 – 3 days after Hiroshima was incinerated before Japan’s Supreme War Council was able to even partially comprehend what had happened there, to make rational decisions and to discuss again the possibility of surrender.

But it was already too late, because by the time the War Council was meeting that morning in Tokyo, Bock’s Car and the rest of the armada of B-29s was already approaching Japan – under radio silence. The dropping of the second bomb had initially been planned for August 11, but bad weather had been forecast, and the mission was moved up to August 9.

With instructions to drop the bomb only on visual sighting, Bock’s Car arrived at the primary target, but Kokura was clouded over. So after futilely circling over the city three times, there was no break in the clouds, and, running seriously low on fuel in the process, the plane headed for its secondary target, Nagasaki…

Excerpted; full article link: http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-bombing-of-nagasaki-august-9-1945-the-un-censored-version/5345274

Also see by the same author: “The Hiroshima Myth. Unaccountable War Crimes and the Lies of US Military History” – http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-hiroshima-myth-unaccountable-war-crimes-and-the-lies-of-us-military-history/5344436

Commentary: Abe’s double faces [Xinhua]

Posted in Beijing, China, Diaoyu Islands, Japan, Philippines, Singapore, Tokyo on August 8, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Xinhua writer Shang Jun

BEIJING, July 30 (Xinhua) — Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Akitaka Saiki is wrapping up a two-day visit to China on Tuesday, the latest move taken by Tokyo to mend its strained ties with Beijing.

The senior diplomat was believed to be working for a possible summit between Chinese and Japanese leaders, for which Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has made repeated calls recently.

It seems that Japan is stretching out the olive branch and intends to repair its relations with China, which soured due to a heightened territorial dispute over the Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea and Tokyo’s unapologetic attitude toward historical issues.

By playing the good guy, Japan is trying to gain international support and sympathy, but the good-will gesture is just one face of Abe.

During his visit to Singapore on Friday, Abe voiced his desire for an unconditional summit with the Chinese leader as soon as possible.

However, a hawkish Abe wasted no time in pledging coast guard patrol boats to the Philippines when he was in Manila one day later, a move apparently designed to embolden the Philippines to confront China at their separate territorial dispute.

This is in line with Abe’s hardline position on the Diaoyu Islands. Despite the fact that the uninhabited islands are inherent part of China as proved by history, Abe has been flatly denying the existence of a dispute with China, effectively shutting the door for any candid talks.

While at home, Abe is catering to the rightist forces for political gains and attempting to distort Japan’s history of aggression in a bid to challenge the post-war international order, a worrisome tendency for its Asian neighbors, which suffered the atrocities of Japanese invaders during World War II.

What is more disturbing is the ongoing push by Abe to revise Japan’s pacifist constitution to allow for full-fledged military buildup.

All these aggressive moves exposed the other face of Abe, which may lead to a dangerous path of confrontation and raises doubt about the sincerity of his good-will for a candid dialogue.

As a Chinese saying goes, a person should be judged by his deeds, not just by his words.

It is worth noting that Japan should be held fully accountable for the deterioration of bilateral relations, and it is Tokyo that should make sincere efforts to mend the ties.

Without sincerity, the repeated calls for dialogue are nothing but empty talks.

Article link: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/indepth/2013-07/30/c_132587874.htm

China refutes Japan’s allegations on radar targeting [People’s Daily]

Posted in Anti-China propaganda exposure, Black propaganda, China, Diaoyu Islands, Japan, Tokyo on February 12, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

February 09, 2013

BEIJING, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) — China on Friday refuted Japan’s allegations that Chinese warships targeted fire-control radars at Japanese vessels in the East China Sea.

“Recently, Japan has repeatedly spread false accusations that have distorted facts and defamed Chinese military’s normal combat readiness training,” according to a statement issued by the information office of the Chinese Ministry of National Defense.

The statement was issued responding to Japanese media reports that Japan’s defense ministry said Tuesday that a frigate of the Chinese navy directed its fire-control radar at a destroyer of the Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) in the East China Sea at around 10 a.m. on Jan. 30.

The Japanese side also said that a Chinese frigate was suspected of locking a similar radar on a MSDF helicopter on Jan. 19 in the East China Sea.

The defense ministry’s statement pointed out that Japanese warships and airplanes have often conducted long and close-in monitoring and surveillance over China’s naval ships and airplanes in recent years.

It said this “is the root cause to air and maritime safety issues between China and Japan.”

“At around 4 p.m. on Jan. 19, a Chinese naval frigate, while conducting routine training in relevant waters in the East China Sea, spotted an approaching ship-borne helicopter of the Japanese Self Defense Force (JSDF),” said the statement.

It added that the ship-borne radars of the frigate kept normal observation and were on alert but the fire-control radar was not used.

“At around 9 a.m. on Jan. 30, a Chinese naval ship found itself closely followed and monitored by JSDF destroyer Yudachi while conducting routine training in relevant waters in the East China Sea; ship-borne radars of the Chinese naval ship kept normal observation and were on alert, and fire-control radar was not used,” said the statement.

“The Japanese side’s remarks are against the facts,” it said.

During a daily news briefing on Friday, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying called Japan’s allegations “a sheer fabrication out of nothing.”

Hua said the Chinese side has always been restrained, taken a responsible attitude and is committed to addressing the relevant issue through dialogue and consultation, while taking necessary measures to safeguard the country’s territory and sovereignty, since the Japanese side triggered the disputes over the Diaoyu Islands last year.

“Rather than rectify their wrongdoings, the Japanese side has dispatched many warships and airplanes to infringe on China’s sovereignty,which has further escalated the tensions,” Hua said.

She urged Japan to “stop playing petty tricks” and go back on the right track of addressing the issue through dialogue.”

According to the defense ministry’s statement, China has lodged representations to the Japanese side many times.

In the statement, the Chinese defense ministry accused Japan of unilaterally releasing untrue information to the media. It also accused senior Japanese government officials of making irresponsible remarks that hyped up the “China threat”, without verifying related facts with the Chinese side.

The statement said Japan’s allegations this time “recklessly” created tensions and misled public opinion in the world.

“We must be vigilant against and ponder such moves by Japan,” said the statement.

“China hopes that Japan will take effective measures and stop stirring up tensions in the East China Sea, and stop making irresponsible remarks,” added the statement.

“China refutes Japan’s allegations on radar targeting”, article link: http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90883/8126955.html

See also: “Tokyo hyped ‘radar lock-on’: experts” [People’s Daily / China Daily] http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90883/8124773.html

Commentary: Western countries’ debt addiction poisonous to world economy [Xinhua]

Posted in Capitalism crisis early 21st century, Greece, Obama, Tokyo, U.K., USA on February 2, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Xinhua writer Shang Jun

BEIJING, Jan. 25 (Xinhua) — As global elites gathered at the Swiss ski resort of Davos for their annual brainstorming, they were asked to find ways to build a more resilient and dynamic world economy.

Four years after the 2008 financial crisis struck, the Davos attendants felt somewhat relieved that the worst part of the global nightmare might be finally over. However, that feeling is unwarranted as the debt bombs in the developed world are yet to be defused.

A report released by the World Economic Forum ahead of the Davos meeting said that burgeoning government deficits are among the top five risks to the world over the next decade.

The fact that the richest countries are heavy debtors is ironic. From Washington to London, from Tokyo to Athens, debt addiction is like a virus fast infecting the developed world and threatens the health of the world economy.

Over the past decade, Americans have lived beyond their means and their country, the world’s biggest economy, has racked up whopping debts and budget deficits due to unbridled binge spending and overconsumption.

During President Barack Obama’s first four-year term, the U.S. government’s budget deficit never stayed below 1 trillion U.S. dollars, while its public debt swelled to nearly 16.4 trillion dollars. Uncle Sam now saddles every American with roughly 51,000 dollars in federal debt, more than the average mean wage for Americans in 2011.

The fiscal issue can be much thornier when entangled with irresponsible partisan politics, which led to a disturbing “fiscal cliff” drama in Washington with global ripple effects.

Though the danger of Washington falling off the “fiscal cliff” has been temporarily averted, a replay remains possible and the path to fiscal sustainability is set to be bumpy.

The situation is even worse on the European continent, where a sovereign debt crisis has dragged on for more than three years and poses the biggest-ever challenge to their shared currency, the euro.

Unfortunately, debt addiction, like smoking, is a bad habit that is hard to kick. When in the red, short-sighted governments are often tempted to cover the existing fiscal holes by borrowing more and leave a bigger problem to their successors. They shy away from radical reforms which are politically unwelcome, blindly believing they can rely on the last resort — printing more money.

Japan, which has the highest debt level in the world, was the latest country to follow the steps of the United States to start up the money printing machine.

The Bank of Japan announced on Tuesday that it would switch to an open-ended commitment to buying assets next year, a program resembling the quantitative easing introduced by the U.S. Federal Reserve. The European Central Bank has taken a similar move, but to a lesser extent.

These unconventional measures may provide temporary relief, but their side-effects are evident. They can push up domestic inflation and reduce the motivation to implement structural reforms, which are usually painful but vital for the indebted countries to get rid of their debt addiction and return to a healthy path.

By pumping trillions of dollars into the financial system to shore up their sluggish economies, the developed countries are flooding the world with easy money and thus exporting their own crisis.

This kind of beggar-thy-neighbor practice risks a competitive devaluation among world currencies and a disturbance of capital flow. It may also create asset bubbles and sow the seeds of the next financial storm.

The current crisis tells us that to borrow from the future is a dead end. A more resilient and dynamic world economy has to be built on fiscal sustainability, which can be achieved only if the developed countries abandon their debt addiction and embark on fiscal discipline and structural reform.

[What would Marx say about the proposition of the final paragraph? — Zuo Shou]

Article link: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/indepth/2013-01/25/c_132127037.htm

Unwise foreign policy turns Japan into its own enemy [Xinhua]

Posted in China, Diaoyu Islands, Japan, Tokyo on January 20, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Calling Japan “Patient of Asia” in the first paragraph is an allusion to the old appellation of “Sick Man of Asia” which used to be applied the humiliated China of pre-PRC days – Zuo Shou

by Ming Jinwei

BEIJING, Jan. 11 (Xinhua) — The Japanese economy, under the burden of years of deflation and an aging population, has been the “Patient of Asia” for the last two decades.

The Japanese people can cite many reasons for their economic malaise, from bad government policies that led to the forming and bursting of a giant economic bubble in late 1980s and early 1990s to cumbersome mega companies that have been losing money and shedding jobs due to increasing global competition.

More recently, the Japanese economy has suffered another blow due to a bitter row with China, a crucial trade and investment partner, ignited by Tokyo’s repeated provocations over the Diaoyu Islands, an integral part of Chinese territory.

Yet new Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe turned the facts upside down when he claimed Friday that China has deliberately targeted Japanese companies as part of a strategy to confront Japan over the territorial dispute.

It is true that economic ties between China and Japan have chilled considerably since former Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s cabinet decided to “buy” part of the Diaoyu Islands in September despite strong Chinese opposition.

The outcome is nothing but natural, as good economic relations are always based on sound political ties. It is naive to believe that Japan can maintain strong trade and investment ties with China while repeatedly provoking China on critical issues.

In addition, the pinch felt by Japanese companies results largely from an across-the-board boycott of Japanese goods spontaneously staged by Chinese consumers who felt betrayed by the bellicose Japanese government. The Chinese government has nothing to do with this.

Japanese politicians, including Abe, have only themselves to blame, because their brinkmanship is the root cause of the deterioration of China-Japan economic ties.

They have also been stoking fears about the so-called “China threat” in the broader Asia-Pacific region and trying to build a coalition of countries against China.

For many in China, Abe’s latest remarks are just part of an attempt by the Japanese government to depict China as the villain and gain an upper hand in the territorial dispute.

But Tokyo is doomed to lose the gamble, as more and more countries have come to realize that China acts responsibly in the international arena and its development is a real blessing for the whole world.

Meanwhile, Japan has raised concerns in capitals worldwide that its increasingly hawkish policy toward China will further escalate the situation and pose a serious risk to regional peace and stability.

For Japan, its fragile economy is in urgent need of the opportunities a sound China-Japan relationship brings, but Japan’s unwise foreign policy has made these opportunities harder to come by.

Thus it is of pressing importance that Abe immediately arrest his country’s self-destructive tendency and put its foreign relations and economic recovery back on track so as not to waste his second chance at the top.

Article link: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/indepth/2013-01/11/c_132096137.htm