Tohoku Earthquake
On the Misuse of the Reconstruction Budget

On the Misuse of the Reconstruction Budget

James Simpson takes issue with the reporting of misuse of reconstruction budget funds by the Ministry of Defense.

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Time For a Reform of the SDF Reserves?

Time For a Reform of the SDF Reserves?

Only 17.1% of reservists were able to be called-up following the March 11th Earthquake. With the Finance Ministry looking to cut the fat, is it time to take another look at the Reserves?

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SDF Considers Use of US Philippine Bases

SDF Considers Use of US Philippine Bases

While Japan participates in a Command Post Exercise in the Philippines, the US and Japanese governments consider future access and joint use of Philippines bases for training

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Post-Disaster Opinion: China and the SDF

James Simpson takes a look at the Cabinet Office's recent survey on public attitudes toward the SDF, as well as a brief look at a small poll on Sino-Japanese opinion.

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A Tohoku Earthquake Retrospective...

A Tohoku Earthquake Retrospective…

One year on, James Simpson remembers the Tohoku Earthquake and considers the challenges its has posed, and those that continue to lie ahead.

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NBR on the Anniversary of the Tohoku Earthquake

Two very interesting interviews out of National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR) looking at Japan one year on from the Tohoku Earthquake.

The first interview entitled ‘Policy Change in a Post-Crisis Japan’ has Richard J Samuels looking at national security through his own research, best seen in his 2007 book Securing Japan:

But there is debate about the lessons of their success for policy going forward. Those who say “put it in gear” have written a “wake-up call” narrative about March 11. They say, “Yes, the efficacy of the SDF and the alliance were demonstrated, but the real threat is not natural disaster. If we start thinking of the SDF merely as a humanitarian-assistance disaster-relief (HA/DR) operation, then we will be taking our eyes off the real threat. The real threats are China and North Korea, and we have to do more to deter them.”

The stay-the-course group offers a “proof of concept” narrative. They say, “What the self-defense forces and the alliance achieved is what we have been telling everyone that they could achieve for decades.” They insist that the effectiveness of the SDF demonstrated that the nation has something it should value and reward with better treatment.

The third group says that the successful deployment of the self-defense forces for rescue and relief after March 11 taught Japan that the SDF is best and most legitimate when it is carrying shovels, not guns. This group argues Japan should return to the true meaning of Article 9, and not be focused on armaments, but on the creation of a global disaster-relief function for the Japanese military.

Read the full interview at NBR

The second interview, ‘Fukushima One Year Later’, has Daniel Aldrich addressing the nuclear and civil society issues following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear crisis:

While the physical landscape in towns like Rikuzentakata, Ofunato, and Minami Sanriku better resembles normalcy, the recovery process is only just beginning. A number of larger issues, such as the balance between the central government’s fiscal control over the recovery process and the desire of local governments to have more autonomy to pursue creative rebuilding efforts, remain unresolved. Other local-level concerns for Tohoku residents, such as issues of radioactive decontamination, counseling for post-traumatic stress disorder, and the long-term economic viability of these coastal communities, which often depend on fishing and canning industries, must be addressed through intergovernmental consultation. Some larger issues, such as the length of time for which evacuated villages will remain empty, and the creation of new no-build zones adjacent to low-lying, vulnerable areas will take considerable political will to tackle.

Read the full interview at NBR

These are part of a much broader retrospective running through the media both here and abroad, and we will be adding out voice here at JSW this weekend. In the meantime, what other excellent articles or documentaries have you seen addressing the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear issues? Let us know in the comments.

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Hajime Funada (LDP): Increasing Public Bond with the Self-Defense Force

Hajime Funada (LDP): Increasing Public Bond with the Self-Defense Force

Hajime Funada, an LDP politician, writes on the SDF's surge of goodwill following the Tohoku Earthquake.

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Monday Morning Reading for 01/16

Monday Morning Reading for 01/16

Start your week with JSW's Monday Morning Reading, with some of the more in-depth articles we came across to keep you going throughout your working week.

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2011 and Japan: Highlighting the Positive Role of the SDF

2011 and Japan: Highlighting the Positive Role of the SDF

JSW contributor James Simpson offers his take on the most important security development for Japan and its neighborhood over the past year: better societal-military relations in Japan.

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Oriki briefs Pacific Defense Chiefs on Tohoku

Oriki briefs Pacific Defense Chiefs on Tohoku

Last month the 14th annual Chiefs of Defense Conference was held at Camp Smith, Hawaii. Hosted by U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM), the conference . Past attendees to the conference include defense chiefs from Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Canada, France, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, South Korea,...

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Japan Echo Web: Behind the Scenes of Operation Tomodachi

Japan Echo Web translated an eye-opening interview with representatives of the GSDF and USMC covering the decision-making and background to the US relief mission following the Tohoku Earthquake.

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Natchan High-Speed Ferry: The SDF and the Use of Civilian Transportation

Natchan High-Speed Ferry: The SDF and the Use of Civilian Transportation

The movement of GSDF vehicles from Hokkaido to Kyushu demonstrates the utility of chartering civilian assets for military logistics, an issue very much in debate among Japan's defense experts

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