2012年08月11日

韓国の李大統領の竹島上陸について書きました

韓国の李大統領の竹島の上陸計画。9日夜から10日未明にかけて報道で明るみになり、10日の昼間に遂行された。これを受け、アジアタイムズとジェーンズ・ディフェンス・ウィークリーの両方に記事を書いた。先日の日中関係の記事に続き、再びアジアタイムズのトップ記事になっていた。慶応大名誉教授の小此木政夫先生、韓国の延世大の武貞秀士先生にコメントをいただきました。いつも取材に応じていただきまして、ありがとうございます。小此木先生いわく、今、問われているのは日韓基本条約が結ばれた1965年の「日韓の1965年体制」。竹島の帰属問題も、従軍慰安婦や徴用工の補償問題も、当時、あいまいにしたり、棚上げにしたりしていた問題が今、一気に噴き出しているとの指摘をされていた。今回の李大統領の竹島上陸で、日韓関係は冬の時代に入りつつあるようだ。

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Lee puts Japan-Korea ties on the rocks

The timing of South Korean President Lee Myung-bak's visit on Friday to islets disputed with Japan - days before the South marks its 1945 liberation from Japanese occupation - suggests he plans to inflame nationalist sentiment to distract from claims his government has run out of steam. For Tokyo, it now faces another territorial challenge alongside Russian and Chinese claims, as neighbors capitalize on its weakening regional clout. - Kosuke Takahashi (Aug 10, '12)

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Lee puts Japan-Korea relations on the rocks
By Kosuke Takahashi

TOKYO - August 10, 2012 will be long remembered in the history of Japan-Korea relations as a day that laid the seeds for future calamity.

Despite strong demands from Tokyo to cancel his plans, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak on Friday made an unprecedented visit to disputed islets in the Sea of Japan called Dokdo by Koreans and Takeshima by the Japanese.

The first such trip by a South Korean president to the islands, this will send already-chilly Japan-South Korean relations to their lowest point in decades. Repercussions will be felt not only in Seoul and Tokyo, but also Beijing, Washington and Pyongyang, likely impacting on a united front the US planned to build against China's naval expansion and North Korea's nuclear ambitions.

Japan has summoned South Korea's ambassador to protest against the visit, a Kyodo news agency report said. Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba had already said any such visit "would have a great impact on Japan-South Korea relations" and that Japan would "have to respond firmly".

South Korea's presidential office said the purpose of Lee's visit to the area was partly to confirm how the environment on nearby Ulleungdo Island was being protected. Lee's ministers of environment and culture accompanied him. It seems Lee is stressing this purpose of environmental research, perhaps to appease Tokyo.

His visit came ahead of August 15, when Korea will mark its liberation in 1945 from Japanese rule. Korean nationalism and patriotism always rise to the fore at this time.

It seems that Lee, already seen by many as lame-duck ahead of the presidential election in December, aims to recover his and his party's place in political power by fanning ethnic sentiment.

He also may want to distract the public from corruption scandals involving his elder brother and mentor, Lee Sang-deuk, 76, and his former aides, who were arrested on bribery charges last month. Lee was forced to apologize to the public on national television for the scandals.

"The lame-duck Lee administration in the last year is trying to make Japan into a scapegoat," Masao Okonogi, emeritus professor at Keio University in Tokyo and a noted expert on the affairs of the Korean Peninsula, told Asia Times Online on Friday. "In South Korea, no media can criticize such popularism openly, as long as the target is Japan."

Hideshi Takesada, a professor at Yonsei University of South Korea, echoed Okonogi's views. "Lee has become a lame duck faster than previous [Korean] presidents. The damage of the bribery scandals is also huge. To recover public support for him, he needs to take a hard-line stance toward Japan, which is a popular thing in both ruling and opposition parties as well as among both conservatives and liberalists."

As if reflecting growing anti-Korean feelings, on the Internet young Japanese even been claiming that Lee is visiting the disputed islands to provoke racial resentment as both nations face each other in bronze medal volleyball and soccer matches at the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Bilateral relations remain strained over historical issues, especially the unresolved issue of former "comfort women", who were mobilized, or often coerced, as sex slaves during Japan's Asia-Pacific War (1930-1945).

Although Seoul has repeatedly demanded the Japanese government compensate the women, Tokyo has refused to do so, saying it has no legal obligation to compensate war victims, including those forced to become laborers and comfort women.

Moreover, Japan's 2012 Defence White Paper, published by the Japanese Ministry of Defense on July 31, explicitly mentioned that the disputed islands were Japan's "inherent territory", prompting a strong South Korean protest. For Seoul, the islands are not only a subject of territorial dispute but also a legacy of Japan's brutal 1910-1945 colonial occupation. All of these factors have put Tokyo and Seoul on a collision course.

South Korea has had a permanent presence on the Dokdo islands since 1954, but Japan has never renounced its claim over the territory, which it incorporated in 1905. Both countries point to historical records dating back several centuries to support their cases.

This is not the only territorial dispute faced by Japan. To the south, it is engaged in a sovereignty dispute over the Senkaku Islands (known in China as the Diaoyu Islands) and competing development of offshore gas fields in the East China Sea. In the north, it has the thorny issue of the Russian-held Northern Territories, known in Russia as the Southern Kurils.

Russo-Japanese relations have also deteriorated as Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has repeatedly visited those disputed islands since November 2010, triggering fierce protests from Tokyo. "South Korean President Lee may have taken a cue from Medvedev's visit to Northern Territories," Okonogi said.

Japan's neighbors appear to be taking advantage of the country's weakening political and economic muscle

"Japan is looked down on by China, so South Korea thinks it not necessary to make a compromise with Japan," Takesada said. "This is the centerpiece of Seoul's stance toward Japan. Since China's influence over South Korea's economy is growing, people are increasingly thinking that as long as Seoul maintains good relations with Beijing, the nation will not have any difficulties."

In Tokyo, experts say South Korea is hoping Japan will take on the dangerous role of having to stand up to China, while Seoul itself pursues good terms with Beijing.

Kosuke Takahashi is a Tokyo-based Japanese journalist. His twitter is @TakahashiKosuke

(Copyright 2012 Asia Times Online (Holdings) Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact us about sales, syndication and republishing.)
posted by Kosuke at 04:56| Comment(11) | アジアタイムズ

2012年08月07日

悪化の一途を辿る日中関係について書いた

アジアタイムズに悪化する日中関係について書きました。尖閣への自衛隊出動をも示唆した野田首相と、それに呼応するかのごとく、同様に武力の行使を示唆した中国側の双方を記事で批判しました。領土問題で軍事力を使わないとする1972年の日中共同声明や1978年の日中平和友好条約の共通原則を逸脱し、日中両国は危険なゲームを繰り広げようとしています。

China, Japan stretch peace pacts

Japanese threats that force could be used to defend contested East China Sea islands against Chinese aggression are a significant - and dangerous - departure from the terms of non-aggression pacts keeping the peace between the Asian giants. Boasting the world's second-strongest destroyer fleet and cutting-edge command and control systems, Tokyo's navy presents a much more formidable foe than Beijing's rivals in the South China Sea.
- Kosuke Takahashi (Aug 6, '12)


記事の見出しのChina, Japan stretch peace pactsの意味がすぐにパッと分かった人はかなりの英語上級者だろう。stretchという単語は、あのスポーツをする前のストレッチィング(伸張体操)で使われている言葉。しかし、今回の記事の見出しの場合では、既存の日中共同声明や日中平和友好条約の解釈の許容範囲を試している、との意味。

英語の熟語に、push the envelope(もっと高いレベルを求める、既成概念の枠を超える、限界に挑む、許容範囲を超える)があるが、今回の見出しのstretchの意味はこれに近い。

6月のオスプレイの記事に続き、1カ月半ぶりにアジアタイムズのトップ記事となりました。手(チョキ)

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China, Japan stretch peace pacts
By Kosuke Takahashi

TOKYO - Asia's two giants, China and Japan, are playing a dangerous game, each indicating they are prepared to use force in defense of islands they both claim as their own.

With a side glance at China expanding its effective control of the disputed Paracel and Spratly islands in the South China Sea, Japan has been taking a stronger rhetorical stand against Beijing to protect its own sovereignty.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda on July 26 said in the Diet (parliament) that if necessary the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) can be mobilized to defend the contested Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea, which are controlled by Japan but claimed by China and Taiwan.

The following day, Defense Minister Satoshi Morimoto also said that "action by the SDF is secured by law in cases where the Japan Coast Guard or police cannot respond" and that sending the SDF to the uninhabited isles would be "a reasonable measure" under the country's legal framework.

Moreover, Japan's 2012 Defence White Paper, published by the Japanese Ministry of Defense on July 31, raised strong concerns over China's military build-up, especially its naval expansion. It pointed out for the first time that "Chinese government ships have also been observed, which were engaged in monitoring activities for protection of its maritime rights and interests. Moreover, advancements to the Pacific Ocean by Chinese naval surface vessels are being routinely conducted."

China didn't remain silent. On the same day, Senior Colonel Geng Yansheng, a Chinese defense ministry spokesman, quickly gave a rebuttal by saying that "the Japanese authorities have recently made a series of irresponsible remarks regarding the Diaoyu islands ... Safeguarding the nation's sovereignty and [Chinese] maritime interests is the joint responsibility of all state organs including the military. We will work closely with the other organs and conscientiously fulfill our duty."

This is a very big - and dangerous - departure from the previous common principle that both governments have shared, which is that the two nations should refrain from the threat or use of force against territorial integrity.

For example, specifically, Article 6 of the Japan-China Joint Communique of 1972, signed by then prime ministers Kakuei Tanaka and Zhou Enlai, said as follows.

The Government of Japan and the Government of the People's Republic of China agree to establish relations of perpetual peace and friendship between the two countries on the basis of the principles of mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, non-interference in each other's internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit and peaceful co-existence.

The two Governments confirm that, in conformity with the foregoing principles and the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, Japan and China shall in their mutual relations settle all disputes by peaceful means and shall refrain from the use or threat of force.


In addition, Article 1 of the Japan-China Treaty of Peace and Friendship of 1978 also confirmed non-use of their militaries.

The Contracting Parties shall develop relations of perpetual peace and friendship between the two countries on the basis of the principles of mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, non-interference in each other's internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit and peaceful co-existence.

The Contracting Parties confirm that, in conformity with the foregoing principles and the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, they shall in their mutual relations settle all disputes by peaceful means and shall refrain from the use or threat of force.


While the rhetoric on both sides seems a case of bluffing, implying that force could be used appears to breach previous pacts.

There is considerable argument over who is responsible for the current state of relations between Japan and China.

While China has been accused of renewed assertiveness over its territorial claims in recent years, it was Japan that re-ignited a long-simmering territorial dispute over the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands in April.

Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara said the metropolitan government would buy three of the Senkaku Islands' five main islands from a private landowner. Driven by Ishihara's populist campaign, Noda announced a government plan to nationalize the three islands.

Observers say Noda has used the island purchase plan to help buoy approval ratings, which have plunged to a low of 22% since he took power last September. The opposition Liberal Democratic Party is threatening to call a no-confidence vote on Noda, with political fortunes suffering over a split within his ruling Democratic Party of Japan related to his plan to double the sales tax to 10% by 2015.

China's Foreign Ministry on July 7 called Japan's plan to nationalize the islands "unlawful and invalid", saying "the Chinese government will continue to take necessary measures to firmly protect its sovereignty over the islands."

This was not a bluff. Beijing moved into action, sending three government fishing patrol ships to Japanese-claimed waters off the Senkaku Islands, prompting Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba to lodge a "strong" protest with his Chinese counterpart, Yang Jiechi.

For Tokyo, the responsibility for the current tensions lies with Beijing. Japanese vividly remember China's tactics in the wake of similar territorial disputes, including the temporary suspension of exports of rare earths to Japan following a spat over the Senkaku Islands in the fall of 2010.

China's approach to territorial disputes in the South China Sea, particularly with Vietnam and the Philippines, has also alarmed Japan.

China's Central Military Commission in late July approved the deployment of a division-level military garrison to "Sansha City" on Woody Island - one of the Chinese-controlled Paracel Islands - in the north of the contested maritime region. The jurisdiction of "Sansha", officially incorporated last month, covers the entirety of China's claims in the South China Sea.

State-run newspaper Xinhua reported on July 31 that the Sansha garrison is responsible for "defense mobilization, militia reserves, the relationship between the garrison and local government as well as the city guard, support for the city"s disaster rescue and relief work, and direct militia and reserve troops in the city of Sansha".


The stronger force
A Chinese military official recently told English-language state-run newspaper the Global Times that the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) is stronger than the People's Liberation Army Navy. He also accused Japan of stirring up the China threat while modernizing its army under the patronage of the United States.

The JMSDF is largely viewed as the second-strongest destroyer navy in the world, surpassed only by the US, as it boasts six Aegis-quipped destroyers and two state-of-the-art helicopter carriers.

Quality is more important than quantity in today's military world. Lacking high-tech warships with the so-called Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Integration (C4I) System, China would struggle to win a naval battle against Japan's forces. This means China is more likely to be engaged in territorial disputes in the South China Sea than the East China Sea in coming years.

Ma's proposal
Seemingly concerned as Japan and China headed for an all-out confrontation, Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou on August 5 proposed a peace initiative to address the territorial disputes over the Senkaku Islands, know in Taiwan as the Tiaoyutai Islands.

"We proposed the East China Sea Peace Initiative to urge all sides to seriously face the possible impact of this territorial dispute on the peace and security of the East China Sea," Ma said.

Ma called on all parties to refrain from taking antagonistic actions, to shelve their differences, to not abandon dialogue, to observe international law and to resolve the dispute via peaceful means.

Tokyo and Beijing in May started a first session of talks on maritime affairs to manage conflicts and properly handle relevant issues, but the initiative is still in its infancy. There remains much room for improvement in accordance with Ma"s proposal.

As the territorial disputes fuel nationalism and a "victim mentality" on both sides, politicians and military officers are exploiting the issue to boost their popularity and power bases. Japan and China need to take swift steps to break the spiral of mistrust. Otherwise, the situation could deteriorate further, delivering a blow to Asia's chances of being the epicenter of global growth in the 21st century.

Kosuke Takahashi is a Tokyo-based Japanese journalist. Besides Asia Times Online, he also writes for IHS Jane's Defence Weekly as Tokyo correspondent. His twitter is @TakahashiKosuke

(Copyright 2012 Asia Times Online (Holdings) Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact us about sales, syndication and republishing.)
posted by Kosuke at 01:11| Comment(6) | アジアタイムズ

2012年07月27日

オスプレイの日本での低空飛行訓練は地上15メートルでも実施予定

米海兵隊、オスプレイの日本での低空飛行訓練は地上50フィート(=約15メートル!)でも実施する予定です。Final Environmental Review for Basing MV-22 at MCAS Futenma and Operating in Japan (April 2012) の57ページに記載されています。アジアタイムズで書きました。

以下、昨日書いた、オスプレイに関する最新記事です。冒頭、英語のブログでも書いた、執筆後の感想を書いてあります。


Although the US repeatedly stresses “the MV-22 is a highly capable aircraft with an excellent safety record,” the majority of the Japanese people don't believe such “myth of security” or “safety dogma” any more in the wake of the nuclear meltdown at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

Until March 11, 2011, the Japanese government had long said the nation's nuclear plants were all proven safe. This has eroded public confidence in politics and sparked the nation's largest demonstrations every Friday in half a century since 1960s around when the Japan-US Security Treaty was revised.

Noda seems to be increasingly concerned over the deployment of the Osprey, which could deal a fatal blow to his already-suffering administration. His cabinet’s public approval rating fell to 20-30 percent, according to recent polls conducted by the Japanese media.

By destabilizing the Japanese government, the deployment of the Osprey seems to be providing Japanese people a good opportunity to think twice what for US bases and facilities in Japan are.


Noda feels heat over Osprey deployment
Japanese have accused Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda of "subservience" to the United States following the arrival of controversial Osprey aircraft soon to be deployed on Okinawa island. Noda says historic agreements leave Tokyo no room to maneuver, but this hasn't eased fears that the tilt-rotor aircraft's safety record makes it entirely unsuited for a highly populated area. - Kosuke Takahashi (Jul 26, '12)

Noda feels heat over Osprey deployment
By Kosuke Takahashi

TOKYO - The US Marine Corps (USMC) this week deployed 12 Bell-Boeing MV-22 Osprey aircraft to its Iwakuni Air Station in Yamaguchi prefecture of western Japan, despite concerns over the tilt-rotor aircraft's safety record heightened by two recent crashes.

More than 500 citizens on Monday staged rallies around the air base over the arrival of the Ospreys, with dozens of local people taking to fishing boat and dinghies to demonstrate in its harbor. Washington plans to deploy the MV-22s to Air Station Futenma in the city of Ginowan, Okinawa, in September.

In an attempt to ease local hostility, the US and the Japanese governments have agreed to refrain from test-flying the aircraft until the results of a US probe into its two recent crashes - one in Morocco in April and another in Florida in mid-June - are complete. Both governments are sticking to a plan to start full-scale operations of the Osprey at the Marines' Futenma Air Station on Okinawa in October after maintenance and trial flights at Iwakuni.

However, tensions over the Osprey will likely escalate further in coming weeks, local activists hoping to attract hundreds of thousands to the island's largest-ever protest rally on August 5.

Critics argue that Tokyo has failed to stand up to the US on the issue.

"The deployment itself is a basic policy of the US government," Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said flatly on a Fuji Television program on July 16. "Although Japan is an ally of the US, basically this isn't a matter where we tell the US government what to do."

Accused by an opposition lawmaker of subservience to the US over the Osprey deployment on July 24, Noda apologized for having given insufficient explanations as to his reasons for this.

The Japan-US security treaty
According to Noda, in 1960 when the Japan-US Security Treaty was revised, then prime minister Nobusuke Kishi and US secretary of state Christian Herter conducted an exchange of notes on the implementation of Article 6, agreeing that the US would consult with the Japanese government in advance regarding important changes in US military equipment in Japan.

Noda said the matter of the Osprey is not subject to prior consultations under the bilateral security treaty as "important changes in US military equipment in Japan" only cover "nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles and the like".

Noda also said the Japan-US Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), which has governed the management and operations of the US military in Japan since 1960, stipulates that US warplanes, such as the Osprey, are allowed to fly not only above US facilities and land areas in Japan but also above any area other than those.

As Asia Times Online reported in June, the United States Marine Corps (USMC) plans to conduct MV-22 Osprey's low-altitude flight training in Japan via six different flight routes above the Japanese archipelago. (See US Marines eye Japan as a training yard, Asia Times Online, June 23, 2012)

People in Chugoku areas such as Iwakuni City have pointed out there is a seventh route, a so-called brown route, which the USMC currently uses in Japan. Furthermore, the report, "Final Environmental Review for Basing MV-22 at MCAS Futenma and Operating in Japan" (April 2012), lists plans to conduct low-level flight training down to 50 feet, or 15.24 meters above ground level.

If the USMC plans to continue using the brown route for Osprey's flight training, critics have asked why it didn't mentioned this in its report on the deployment.

Critics have demand Tokyo ask Washington to review the deployment of the Osprey, despite Noda's inflexible approach.

"There is still room for negotiation," Ukeru Magosaki, the former chief of the Japanese Foreign Ministry's international intelligence bureau, told Asia Times Online. "The US and Japan have agreed to reduce burdens on Okinawa residents. Deploying the Osprey to Futenma increases danger. This clearly runs counter to the US-Japan agreements."

The already-controversial Futenma Air Station is located in a densely populated area of the city of Ginowan, which is surrounded by more than 100 schools, hospitals and shops. In November 2003, when then US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld visited Okinawa and looked over Futenma from the air, he said he could not believe there were not more accidents in such a place. He called it "the world's most dangerous base".

In April 1996, Japan and the US agreed to relocate the Futenma Air Station. But the local government has demanded the closure of the Futenma site while rejecting a prolonged plan to construct a sea-based replacement facility off Camp Schwab in the north of the island.

In August 2004, a US Marines CH-53 military helicopter crashed into a university building in the city, causing no serious damage or injuries but causing a major international incident. (Thanks to summer vacation, most students were off-campus.)

In 1959, a US fighter jet also crashed into an elementary school in central Okinawa, leaving 17 people dead, including 11 children. Okinawans remember these accidents vividly.

'Know nothing' stance
Okinawans have accused their central government of inaction over the dispute, saying the Okinawa Defense Bureau has ignored the issue despite the deployment of the Osprey to Futenma being announced in the US Navy's 1992 document "Master Plan for Marine Corps Air Station Futenma" and in the 1996 Special Action Committee on Okinawa (SACO) draft.

Although the US repeatedly stresses "the MV-22 is a highly capable aircraft with an excellent safety record," the majority of Japanese are even less likely to accept such pledges following the attempted cover-up of failures that contributed to the nuclear meltdown at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant following an earthquake there last March.

Noda seems to be increasingly concerned over the deployment of the Osprey, which could deal a fatal blow to his embattled administration. His cabinet's public approval rating fell to 20-30%, according to recent polls conducted by the Japanese media.

Kosuke Takahashi is a Tokyo-based Japanese journalist. Besides Asia Times Online, he also writes for Jane's Defence Weekly as Tokyo correspondent. His twitter is @TakahashiKosuke

(Copyright 2012 Asia Times Online (Holdings) Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact us about sales, syndication and republishing.)
posted by Kosuke at 00:17| Comment(0) | アジアタイムズ