Monthly archive March, 2012
Japan's Strategic Geography, 1983

Japan’s Strategic Geography, 1983

Published in 1983, Strategic Atlas was one of several atlases published during the 1980s that blended world maps with political, economic and military figures and trends. It was the kind of well done set of infographics that really isn’t done anymore, particularly now that nobody wants to pay for content. I’ll be featuring maps from...

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MHI Delivers 13 Type-10 Tanks in FY2011

Japan's newest tank, the Type-10, flies past

Type-10 at the Fuji School Open Day last year

Friend of JSW, Susumu of Surveillance to Go Nowhere tipped us off to a small news release from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries announced that they have completed the provision of 13 Type-10 tanks to the Ground Self-Defense Force in FY2011, the first year of a four-year contract to supply of these 58 state-of-the-art tanks. This is on schedule and is pretty much a non-event, except that they are at least getting these tanks through the door.

It is also worth bearing in mind the troubles faced by the first commissioned production-line Type-10 earlier this year – it is unclear just how many of these Type-10 have received their commissioning yet and whether they have faced any further setbacks like the ones reported in January. What is clear is that the replacement for the Type-74 tanks, which have recently seen renewed service in the Fukushima Dai-Ichi crisis, appears to be on track.

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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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Problems piling up for the Japanese F-35 dream

Problems piling up for the Japanese F-35 dream

The Yomiuri has published (j) a report worrying about the British Sunday Times’ revelation that BAE Systems internal network may have been hacked by Chinese spies and critical information on the F-35 fighter may have been lost. Both the UK and the US were targets of the attack. In particular there is concern that the advanced...

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MSDF Destroyers Visit Vietnam

MSDF Destroyers Visit Vietnam

Three MSDF destroyers visited the Vietnamese port of Haiphong Sunday, starting a visit expected to last through Friday. They are the destroyers JS Hamagiru (sic), JS Sawayuki and JS Asayuki, led by Colonel Tomoo Mizukami, commander of the Japanese Navy’s 15th fleet of Escort Ships. Colonel Mizukami and the ships’ officers paid courtesy visits to...

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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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