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The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus
In-depth critical analysis of the forces shaping the Asia-Pacific...and the world.


"Science" and "Nature" on Fukushima
Apr. 11, 2011:
「サイエンス」「ネイチャー」両誌における福島原発事故評価 A summary of the latest assessments of the Fukushima Daiichi crisis from leading journals "Science" and "Nature".
Unease or Untruth? – The Removal of Nakamura Koichiro
Apr. 10, 2011:
不安か不誠実か--中村幸一郎おろし Shukan Post reports that Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency bureaucrat Nakamura Koichiro was removed from press conferences for his early assertion that the Fukushima Daiichi plant was in meltdown.
Apr. 09, 2011:
ローレンス・ウィットナー[Lawrence Wittner]の"How Japan Learned About "Nuclear Safety": The Politics of Denial"の日本語訳
Apr. 09, 2011:
"TEPCO, Credibility, and the Japanese Crisis"の日本語訳
Fukushima Fallout Monitoring Needed
Apr. 08, 2011:
福島発放射性物質放出監視の必要性 By Arjun Makhijani -- More stringent, coordinated Fukushima fallout monitoring needed to determine radioactive iodine risk to U.S. milk and water
Leuren Moret, Japan's Deadly Game of Nuclear Roulette
Apr. 08, 2011:
日本の致死的核ルーレットゲーム By Leuren Moret -- We reintroduce a prophetic 2004 article that examined the many dangers of Japan's nuclear power production.
Back from the Brink
Apr. 07, 2011:
危機よりの帰還へ向けて David McNeill reports from Minami-Soma City -- As Japan’s government gets set to expand a nuclear evacuation area, the mayor of a city inside the radioactive zone speaks about his fears.
“Unforgivable” – TEPCO’s Plan to Add Reactors in Fukushima
Apr. 04, 2011:
「許せない」−−東京電力の福島原子炉増設計画 In the midst of one of the most serious nuclear crises in history, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) has submitted plans to build two more reactors in Fukushima.
Matthew Penney, Bodies in Fukushima
Apr. 02, 2011:
福島における遺体 Radiation from the Fukushima Daiichi plant has left authorities unable to recover the bodies of up to 1000 quake and tsunami victims.
SOS from Minami Soma City
Apr. 01, 2011:
南相馬市よりSOS The mayor of Minami Soma, one of the cities closest to the Fukushima Daiichi plant, has posted vidoes appealing to the Japanese government and international community for supplies and evacuation assistance.
Arjun Makhijani, Light and Water in Fukushima
Mar. 29, 2011:
福島第一原発のタービン建屋の水と照明について Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IEER) head Arjun Makhijani offers suggestions for how to move forward at the stricken Fukushima Daiichi plant.
Heroes or Victims? - The "Fukushima Fifty"
Mar. 28, 2011:
英雄か犠牲者か−−”福島の五十人” Are the workers at the Fukushima plant sacrificing their health and possibly their lives for company and country? Or are they older contract workers without adequate food or even blankets?
In the Shadow of Japan’s Wounded Nuclear Beast
Mar. 27, 2011:
原子力発電所という手負いの獣の陰で David McNeill reports from Fukushima on the plight of those left behind near the stricken Daiichi plant.
“Long Since Passed the Level of Three Mile Island” – The Fukushima Crisis in Comparative Perspective
Mar. 25, 2011:
「スリーマイル島をはるかに超えるレヴェル」−−比較的観点から見た福島の危機 International scientific organizations sound in on the seriousness of the Fukushima crisis. Latest Update - 3.27 (Japan Time)
Fukushima: The Situation on the Ground  福島ーー現地の状況
Mar. 24, 2011:
A collection of reports on the ongoing crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. LATEST UPDATE 3.25 (Japan Time)
Lawrence S. Wittner, How Japan Learned About "Nuclear Safety": The Politics of Denial
Mar. 24, 2011:
Lawrence W. Wittner considers the history of nuclear weapons and nuclear power in Japan.
R Taggart Murphy, Assessing the Economic Aftershocks of Japan’s March 11 Earthquake  日本の3.11地震の経済的余波を評価する
Mar. 22, 2011:
R. Taggart Murphy considers the global economic repercussions of Japan's earthquake and tsunami damage.
Outpouring of International Support for Japan  日本を支える声、各国よりほとばしる
Mar. 21, 2011:
In the aftermath of the March 11 quake, a dramatic outpouring of international support for Japan. LATEST UPDATE - 3.30 (Japan Time)
Reports from Tohoku: Assessing Death, Dislocation, and Flight of the Victims  東北より−−被害者の死亡、退去、離散の算定
Mar. 20, 2011:
An assessment of the difficulties facing survivors in Japan's earthquake and tsunami hit Tohoku region. LATEST UPDATE 3.30 (Japan Time)
TEPCO, Credibility, and the Japanese Crisis
Mar. 16, 2011:
Criticism of the TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company) response to Japan's nuclear crisis recalls a history of misinformation and deception.
Japan's Nuclear Crisis: A Wakeup Call for the World  日本の核機器−−世界への警鐘
Mar. 14, 2011:
After years of warnings about the "North Korean nuclear threat" now suddenly the entire Northeast Asian region is subjected to the "Japan nuclear threat," just as North Korea has been warning for years. Apart from the Fukushima meltdown risk, how safe is Japan's plutonium mountain, accumulating in the waste piles and underground parking places outside reactors up and down the country, 50 odd tons of radioactive sludge, and at the vast repositories at Rokkasho, just up the road from Fukushima, which has a planned reprocessing capacity of 800 tons of spent fuel per year, including eight tons of plutonium?
After the Quake: The Town That Was Washed Away  地震の後−−洗い流された町
Mar. 14, 2011:
It was once a family house in this northeastern corner of Miyagi Prefecture. Mum would have cooked dinner on the kitchen stove. Children may have played video games in the front room, facing the Pacific Ocean. Now all that's left of the house is its bare concrete base and a few scattered belongings: the shreds of a kimono and a child's schoolbag.
Japan's Nuclear Crisis: Status of Spent Fuel at Exploded Reactor Buildings Unclear  日本の核危機
Mar. 14, 2011:
The Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IEER) is asking an important question about Japan's nuclear crisis that seems to have been ignored by the media and in announcements from the Japanese government and Japan's nuclear power industry: What is happening with the spent fuel pools located at the top of the buildings housing the Unit 1 and Unit 3 reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant facility? Both reactor buildings have lost their upper structures due to explosions possibly caused by a hydrogen gas build-up (Unit 1 on March 12, Unit 3 on March 14).
David McNeill, After the Quake: Journey to Fukushima
Mar. 13, 2011:
Tokyo is crawling unsteadily back on its feet. Its buildings are intact, its vast transport network is creaking back to life, cellphones work again, patchily. Planes land in the main international airports but traffic crawls through the streets. But the world outside, along Japan's Pacific coast to the northeast has been knocked flat on its back. Battered by tsunamis, rocked by a steady, terrifying string of aftershocks, thousands of people bed down for the second night in makeshift refugee centers in schools, sports centers and gymnasiums.   The world's media has begun descending on the capital, looking to tell this story. And three hundred kilometers north of Tokyo comes the biggest story of all: a fire at a nuclear plant that could potentially rival the twin nuclear disasters of Three Mile Island (1979) and Chernobyl (1986).
Ghost of Manzanar Hangs Over US Congressional Hearing on Muslim "Radicalization"
Mar. 10, 2011:
 Worried by a US political climate that in some respects bears an uncomfortable resemblance to the fear mongering that 70 years ago led to the forced relocation of more than 100,000 Japanese American citizens from the west coast and southwest to internment camps located in the American interior, some Japanese Americans are speaking out against the US Congressional hearing planned for March 10 by New York Representative Peter King to examine the alleged "radicalization of the American Muslim community."   In a December 2010 op-ed, King cited as evidence of this radicalization a failure by Muslim leaders to cooperate with US law enforcement officials investigating terrorist threats, which he claims provides an opening for al-Qaida to recruit "homegrown
Tokyo Governor: Japan Should Build Nukes to Counter China
Mar. 09, 2011:
Tokyo's outspoken governor Ishihara Shintaro says his country, which suffered history's only nuclear attack, should build nuclear weapons to counter the threat from fast-rising China.   In an interview with The Irish Times, Ishihara said Japan could develop nukes within a year and send a strong message to the world. "All our enemies: China, North Korea and Russia - all close neighbors - have nuclear weapons. Is there another country in the world in a similar situation?"
Tokyo Police Crackdown on Okinawa Protestors
Feb. 26, 2011:
We’ve recently covered here the accelerated construction of six new US heliports in the village of Takae, and a new fence on Henoko beach on Okinawa. This, despite the apparently more conciliatory tone on base issues in Japan’s southernmost prefecture struck last month by US Defence Secretary Robert M. Gates:
Birds & Bombs: US Live-Fire Air Force/Navy Training in the Pacific Centers on No'os Island in the Northern Marianas
Feb. 25, 2011:
On February 25 the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy and units from the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) were scheduled to wrap up Cope North, an annual military exercise run in Guam that is designed to improve US-Japan joint air operations in the Pacific.   According to a US military news release, the 2011 Cope North, which began February 13, was the largest "ever executed by Pacific Air Forces, with nearly 50 percent more sorties than last year's exercise."   The U.S. has around 600 participants and the JASDF 300 participants involved in the exercise (700 personnel from both countries participated in the 2010 exercise). A key element of the exercise is five days of live-fire bombing of the island of No'os from morning to night. This live-fire training comes on the heels of 3-4 days of US Air Force bombing of the island at the end of January. When trainings are scheduled, authorities issue strong warnings in advance to fishermen, commercial pilots, marine tour operators and anyone else to steer well clear of the island.  
Tokyo High Court Rejects Teachers' Claims to Freedom of Thought
Feb. 12, 2011:
On January 28, a panel of the Tokyo High Court rejected the demands of approximately 400 Tokyo public school teachers for a court declaration that they not be forced to stand before the Hinomaru, Japan's national flag, and sing Kimi ga Yo, Japan's national anthem, at school ceremonies. The High Court ruling overturned a historic Tokyo District Court decision of September 2006 that favored the teachers based on constitutional language which declares "Freedom of thought and conscience shall not be violated."
Another Okinawa Battle
Feb. 11, 2011:
In June 2009, Okinawa became the unexpected political graveyard of Hatoyama Yukio, who quit after months struggling to bear the weight of, then reversing, a pledge he made to its citizens. He had come to power the previous September in an election that ended half a century of LDP rule, promising to tackle one of the great Cold War anomalies. For over half a century Japan, constitutionally pacifist and neutral had sheltered beneath the US military umbrella as a loyal and in recent years increasingly proactive ally. "We're still in Cold War mode," he lamented to this journalist before he took power.