Monday, July 26, 2010

Monday Morning Reading

What would it make sense to read?

Auslin, Michael - Angsty Allies in The Wall Street Journal.

Harris, Tobias - Toward a New Security Consciousness in Japan? at ANU's East Asia Forum.

Lord, Arthur - Japan’s Defense Establishment in a Post July 11 World: Looking Ahead
at the Mike and Maureen Mansfield Center's website

Schuman, Michael - A Clouded Outlook in TIME.

I know what you are spluttering, "But, that's TIME, the magazine. The purveyors of some of the most egregious garbage on Japan over the last decade!" The article is nevertheless a reasonably solid presentation of what are some chronic problems, best when you can hear the author just about tearing his hair out as he interviews his most obdurate subjects.

Yes, I too wish I had a least one op-ed or article by a woman of the female persuasion to recommend this morning. Women are all over the day-to-day news -- Hiroko Tabuchi, Michiyo Nakamoto, Isabel Reynolds, Sachiko Sakamaki, Anna Kitanaka, Yuri Kageyama, to name but a few -- but are M.I.A. in the commentary department, Sheila Smith being the lonely exception.

Hat tip this morning to Japan Without the Sugar, for pointing me in the direction of the TIME article.


Anonymous said...

The fallout from the latest wikileaks is going to be huge and pervasive.

If in my haste I read it correctly around 3000 of the abducted baddies sent to Baghram are not accounted for; i.e. "rendered" somewhere.

That is 3000 flights of CIA planes to all sorts of different places. After a while they will find it tough to find new places to jail these guys. Europe, middle east, full up. Hmmm, how about Guam, Micronesia or Indonesia? What's the best way to get there? Through the bases in Korea and ..... Okinawa.???!

Am I raving? Yes. Have the events which we have learned about overshadowed in this endless war on terror matched the most ridiculous paranoid fantasies of crazy people? Yes.

If it comes out that Okinawa served as a way station in the rendition system what would this do to public sensibility?

call me Cotrerly

MTC said...

Corterly -

To which of the articles mentioned are you making reference? Your comment at present fails to meet the relevance standard.

Anonymous said...

This is Cotrely.
Point well taken. Please accept my apologies and withdraw/delete the comment if you wish. I was caught up in the moment.

This time it's "Vessi".

Fat Tony said...

I'm sorry, but I really don't see anything interesting in that TIME article at all. It is just the same old "declining Japan" story with a bit of a local spin. I felt like saying "Yes, and?" after reading it.

Wow! Japan has a lot of bureaucrats! You don't say!

("Statistics for the 2004-05 period show that Japan had 5,380,000 people working for the central and local governments and for quasi-public bodies, compared with 5,740,000 of Germany, 5,680,000 of France, 5,840,000 of the United Kingdom and 21,660,000 of the United States." And there are more stats to show that bureaucratic control of government actually began to decline in the 1970s.)

A few things that the author might mention is that Japan may well have kept its manufacturing sector intact, and the world may love LG TVs but Japanese companies have figured out that the most profitable parts of a television isn't the set itself, but the components inside it. Those Korean televisions that the author gushes over are full of Japanese parts. And that's why Japan maintains a trade surplus with Korea.

Speaking of trade, not once did the author mention the weight of domestic consumption, nor the fact that when Japan was a roaring economy and seen as a trading rival of the U.S., the domestic economy was huge even then. If I am going to accept his assertion that Japan needs to focus less on exports, I'd like to see a few figures. Same with sovereign debt and interest. Etc, etc, etc.

Japan's growth has slowed, yes, and it has social problems, yes, but that article doesn't even begin to describe them, let alone offer solutions. It just repeats the same old line.