Friday, September 16, 2011

Worth Reading

- Joel Reuben at the East Asia Forum:

Could the Tohoku earthquake lead to local government reform?

Beware: link rot has already set in.

- Scott Hockley at The Diplomat:

The Poison of Guanxi

- Adam Segal at CFR Blogs:

China and Information vs. Cyber Security

This is going to be a sticky subject for the foreseeable future. It seems to portend the erecting of higher and higher walls around certain vital functions, the increased ability of rich dictatorial regimes to ferret out dissent and an eternal threat of superempowered angry young men (the only idea of Thomas Friedman which has had any staying power) to bring entire countries to their knees.

Yu Keping at East Asia Forum:

A shift towards social governance in China

A historical review of the evolution of a concept, by someone whose job it is to make concrete the political implication of such concepts.

- Robert Dujarric’s gleefully iconoclastic praise of the spy recruitment opportunities inherent in foreign investment at The Diplomat (not that I think that Japan can in any way take advantage of them):

China's Welcome FDI

[Full disclosure: I have been a dinner guest of M. Dujarric on more than one occasion and on a recent BBC broadcast, we spoke in succession on the challenges facing a Japanese prime minister.]

Advance warning: some readers will absolutely hate the Dujarric piece. That is half the fun.

The Tokyo Times on the 2011 JARPN II whale hunt (though I am somewhat disappointed by the use of what appears to be a pod of orcas as the illustration. Nobody hunts orcas):

Japan hunts 195 whales in northwest Pacific Ocean

This is the pelagic whale hunt nobody does diddly about, unlike the Antarctic one the now-exposed-to-be-a-semi-sociopath Paul Watson spends his time harassing.

For the Japanese press release on the results of the hunt, click here. What is interesting is the final map, showing that the kills of Minke whales were all fairly close into shore, indicating that the deal that fell through on replacing the pelagic hunt with a take of Minke by the existing small-scale coastal whaling stations is at least technically feasible. Of course, justification of the small-scale coastal whaling option may have led the whalers to concentrate on making their quota close to shore, while ignoring Minke in the open ocean.

- And last but not least, the very interesting comment by "Johntaro" to my post of Tuesday the 13th.


wataru said...

I agree that the media-generated furor over Hachiro's statement and alleged behavior may possibly have been inspired by his ministry committee plans as Johntaro suggests. (Can no longer comment at that post since the word verification is broken.) It's harder to accept that the Noda administration was also influenced by that factor, especially since Edano is very likely to go along with the plan and is supposedly disliked (feared) by the bureaucrats. Of course, if Edano turned around and dropped the committee reorganization that would change my view.

Anonymous said...

You're right about the Dujarric article. It felt like I was reading a spy novel in the 1950's, although he's usually not this much of an old cold warrior. I'll be critical of anything and everything that treats states as one unified mass of some common objective with no competing interests (i.e. China vis-a-vis U.S., EU, JP); just like I'll criticize certain politicians for going through the I'm-repeating-stupid-talking-points motion of talking about U.S.-Japanese relations in the "three pillars" of security, economics, and cultural, and managing to screw that up by giving military-military exchanges as an example of cultural exchange (paging Maehara).

My disclaimer: I've had the privilege of having lunch only a couple of times with Robert Dujarric, although we did participate in a monthly benkyokai for a year or so together. I'm sure he knows my criticism is not personal, and would have plenty of ammo to further the discussion.