‘[…] With their economies moving into the so-called middle-income bracket — higher in the case of fully developed Singapore — governments have more to spend on advanced military platforms and weapons. Southeast Asia’s defense spending grew by 5% on the year to nearly $36 billion in 2013, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, just ahead of the 4.7% increase for East Asia to $282 billion.
Meanwhile, established defense manufacturers in Europe, Russia and North America are eager to sell, with lavish export credits being made available to sweeten deals. Closer to the region, Japan and South Korea, the industrial giants of East Asia, are also entering the arms bazaar.
China’s growing assertiveness in claiming the South China Sea as sovereign territory — against counterclaims from five Southeast Asian countries — has brought encouragement from the U.S., Japan, India and Australia, and help in enhancing the capabilities of regional armed forces and coast guards.
Consequently, the region is seeing large-scale acquisitions of equipment aimed at establishing the ability to contest control and make potential rivals think twice about intruding.’
‘[…] For years nationalism in Japan was relegated to the sidelines. Prevalent before and during the Second World War it found intellectual and political space in the Kokugaku School, the works of Inoue Tetsujirō; before being institutionalized by the state in the form of a corrupted version of Bushido or in Japan’s vision of a “Co-Prosperity Sphere.”
After Japan’s defeat, nationalists faced a much more difficult environment, typified by Japan’s new pacifist constitution. For decades after the war, nationalism was kept alive by a relatively small cadre of political and intellectual elites. Incidents included the 1986 school textbook controversy, 2001 textbook controversy, and the concept of nihonjinron. However, none of these small movements gained any traction in mainstream political and social imagination.
Now, under Shinzo Abe, nationalism is making a disconcerting return to the forefront of Japanese politics. This has manifest in several ways. The first example was the lightning rise of the Japan Restoration Party to become the third-largest party in the Diet in its first election in 2012, displacing the NKP in the process. The party is by perhaps Japan’s leading nationalist, former Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara, whose his controversial proposal to buy the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands prompted their nationalization by the Japanese state, a move that sparked a serious downturn in Sino-Japanese relations.’
- China rebukes Japan nationalists over denying Nanjing massacre
- Japanese nationalists attempt to revise history on ‘comfort women’
- ‘New Nationalism’ in Japan
- NHK and Abe’s Agenda
- Tensions in Asia Stoke Rising Nationalism in Japan
- Japan’s State Secrets Bill Polarizes Society
- Is Shinzo Abe’s ‘new nationalism’ a throwback to Japanese imperialism?
- Japanese nationalism
‘Speaking at his country’s first state commemoration of the Nanjing massacre on Saturday, Xi Jinping criticized Japanese nationalists for denying the atrocity.
“Anyone who tries to deny the massacre will not be allowed by history, the souls of the 300,000 deceased victims, 1.3 billion Chinese people and all people loving peace and justice in the world,” Xi said, adding, “Forgetting history is a betrayal, and denying a crime is to repeat a crime.”
He, however, stated that while history must never be forgotten, China should not bear hatred against an entire region “just because a small minority of militarists set off an invasion and war.”’
Incontinence is a common problem among the elderly population and, with the average age of populations across the world increasing, the Japanese market is leading the way
In Japan, people aged 65-and-over account for around a quarter of the overall population, increasing from 17.4% in 2000..’
‘Preliminary work on a controversial new US Marine Corps base on the strategically important Japanese island of Okinawa took a blow Sunday when voters there elected a new governor who is fiercely opposed to the base.
The election was dominated by the US military presence, including the long-planned closure of Futenma, a base and runway situated in the midst of a densely populated city, and the construction of a new Marine air base in a remote and pristine offshore location farther north.
But the election of Takeshi Onaga may cast doubt on the base move, which has been the subject of wrangling for nearly 20 years.
Mr. Onaga would like to move the US base entirely off Okinawa. He is the first candidate for governor to openly oppose the US military base and win an election.’
Editor’s Note: Nomi Prins is a former managing director at Goldman Sachs and a former senior managing director at Bear Stearns. I would HIGHLY recommend reading her new book “All The Presidents’ Bankers“, quite possibly the best work on the history of America’s financial elite that has ever been written. She is also author of “It Takes A Pillage” and a novel “Black Tuesday“. You can check out more of her work at her website, or via the select links below.
‘The recent spike in global political-financial volatility that was temporarily soothed by European Central Bank (ECB) covered bond buying and Bank of Japan (BOJ) stimulus reveals another crack in the six-year-old throw-money-at-the-banks strategies of politicians and central bankers. The premise of using banks as credit portals to transport public funds from the government to citizens is as inefficient as it is not happening. The power elite may exude belabored moans about slow growth and rising inequality in speeches and press releases, but they continue to find ways to provide liquidity, sustenance and comfort to financial institutions, not to populations.
The very fact – that without excessive artificial stimulation or the promise of it – more hell breaks loose – is one that government heads neither admit, nor appear to discuss. But the truth is that the global financial system has already failed. Big banks have been propped up, and their capital bases rejuvenated, by various means of external intervention, not their own business models.
In late October, the Federal Reserve released its latest 2015 stress test scenarios. They don’t even exceed the parameters of what actually took place during the 2008-2009-crisis period. This makes them, though statistically viable, completely irrelevant in an inevitable full-scale meltdown of greater magnitude. This Sunday [Oct 26th], the ECB announced that 25 banks failed their tests, none of which were the biggest banks (that received the most help). These tests are the equivalent of SAT exams for which students provide the questions and answers, and a few get thrown under the bus for cheating to make it all look legit.
Regardless of the outcome of the next set of tests, it’s the very need for them that should be examined. If we had a more controllable, stable, accountable and transparent system (let alone one not in constant litigation and crime-committing mode) neither the pretense of well-thought-out stress tests making a difference in crisis preparation, nor the administering of them, would be necessary as a soothing tool. But we don’t. We have an unreformed (legally and morally) international banking system still laden with risk and losses, whose major players control more assets than ever before, with our help.’
- Nomi Prins: Dodd-Frank Turns Four and Nothing Fundamental has Changed
- Nomi Prins Interviewed on the Keiser Report
- Nomi Prins On The History of the Global Banking Elite
- All the President’s Bankers: Interview with Nomi Prins on Secret History of Washington-Wall Street Collusion
- Nomi Prins: The bankers behind FDR and the Glass-Steagall Act
- Nomi Prins: The Inevitability of Income Inequality
- Gar Alperovitz: Nuclear Attack on Japan was Opposed by American Military Leadership
- If Hiroshima was unnecessary, how to justify Nagasaki?
- Photos: Hiroshima Atomic Bomb Anniversary
- “War Makes Everyone Crazy”: Hiroshima Survivor Reflects on 69th Anniversary of U.S. Atomic Bombing
- Japanese Newsreel Footage on Effects of A-Bomb Seized by U.S. 68 Years Ago
- Chomsky: From Hiroshima to Fukushima, Vietnam to Fallujah, State Power Ignores Its Massive Harm
- U.S. Ramping Up Major Renewal in Nuclear Arms
- John Oliver on America not taking very good care of its 4,800 nuclear weapons
- U.S. Says it Needs Nukes to Defend Against Asteroids
- The five biggest threats to human existence
‘A Japanese governor said Wednesday the country should not restart any nuclear plants until the cause of the Fukushima meltdown is fully understood and nearby communities have emergency plans that can effectively respond to another major accident.
Hirohiko Izumida, governor of central Niigata prefecture — home to the seven-reactor Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant — said regulators look at equipment but don’t evaluate local evacuation plans.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is pushing to restart two reactors in southern Japan that last month were the first to be approved under stricter safety requirements introduced after the Fukushima disaster. Nuclear Regulation Authority Chairman Shunichi Tanaka has called the new standard one of the world’s highest.
Abe has said he will restart all reactors deemed safe, reversing the previous government’s policy of phasing out nuclear power.’
- Fukushima radiation nearing U.S. West Coast
- Japan’s timid coverage of Fukushima led this news anchor to revolt, says he’s not alone
- Recent Japan Typhoons Impact Fukushima Reactors, Radiation Levels at All Time High
- The Fukushima legacy… 25,000 who cannot go home again
- Fukushima’s Children Aren’t Dying
- The Fukushima Disaster Continues to Worsen
- Thyroid cancer diagnosed in 104 young people in Fukushima
- Fukushima Court Rules Against Nuclear Operator In Suicide Suit
- Two trillion becquerels of radioactive material may have escaped reactor No. 1
- TEPCO coating seafloor at Fukushima port with special cement mixture
- Fukushima’s Giant Ice Wall Can’t Get Cold Enough to Freeze
- TEPCO senior management still out of touch with their victims
- Birth defect deaths in West Coast state hit record levels during 2011, then returned to normal in 2012
- New Scientist Special Report: The fallout from Fukushima
‘It’s no secret that China’s rise as an economic power has been miraculous. Over the past few decades, hundreds of millions of people have been lifted out of poverty, BMWs have replaced many bicycles on the streets of Beijing, and China’s is now the second-largest economy in the world.
This economic explosion has in turn boosted the fortunes of China’s regional neighbors and trading partners — but they’re not entirely happy about China’s newfound power. Because in addition to having the world’s second-largest economy, China is also the second-largest spender on arms in the world — with a military to match.
Neighboring countries feel they’re being pushed around by an aggressive Chinese foreign policy, and as a result, they’re continuing to beed up their own militaries. And it’s Japan, China’s historical rival, that is quietly providing assistance to many countries that — like Japan itself — are feeling the heat from China.’
- Airpower in the Asia-Pacific Region
- China set to pump billions of dollars in India, outwit Japan
- China’s President Xi Jinping wins Maldives backing for ‘maritime silk route’
- Thailand’s ruling junta approves China rail links worth $23bn
- Simmering tensions in East Asia are echoes of Washington’s Cold War intrigues
- India Warships Off Japan Show Rising Lure as China Counterweight
- US and Japan arm satellites against China attack
- Asian worries about China’s rise
- Survey: Asians fear territorial disputes with China will lead to war
- With one eye on Washington, China plots its own Asia ‘pivot’
- Report: China key factor in U.S. military buildup in Guam
- Is the US ready to trigger war in Asia?
- Why China and America are Headed Toward a Catastrophic Clash
- The Militarized Pacific: An Anniversary Without End
- China’s president warns against growing threats to national security
- Obama: We Will Go To War For Other Nations’ Petty Territorial Disputes
- US Vows to Back Allies in Territory Disputes With China
- Obama Aims to Reassure Pacific Allies on ‘Asia Pivot’
- Obama’s Asian Pivot Stumbles
- Yes, Obama’s Asia Trip Is About Containing China
- Growing Muscle: China’s Neighbors Gear Up for a Fight
- Indonesia military worries over Asia arms race, territorial tensions
- Reminder: ‘The US Is Surrounding China With Military Bases, Not Conversely’
- China Hawks Walk the Line on Advocating War
- Hagel: China, Russia challenging US military power
- China Expands its Regional Reach
- The Empire’s New Asian Clothes
- Old game, new obsession, new enemy. Now it’s China.
‘Share trades worth more than the size of Sweden’s economy had to be cancelled in Tokyo after what is believed to be the biggest “fat finger” error on record.
It is thought to be the most extreme example of a trader in financial markets inputting hopelessly wrong figures while working under intense pressure. The identity of the trader is not yet known.
Mistaken orders for shares in 42 major Japanese companies, including household names such as Toyota, Honda, Canon and Sony, totalling ¥67.78trn (£381bn) were overturned, according to data from the Japan Securities Dealers Association.’
‘More than half of Chinese people think their country could go to war with Japan in the future, a new poll revealed Wednesday, after two years of intense diplomatic squabbles.
A survey conducted in both nations found that 53.4 percent of Chinese envisage a future conflict, with more than a fifth of those saying it would happen “within a few years,” while 29 percent of Japanese can see military confrontation.
The findings come ahead of the second anniversary Thursday of Japan’s nationalization of disputed islands in the East China Sea that have formed the focus of tensions between the Asian giants.’
- Japan Takes Large Southern Extension of Continental Shelf
- With eye on China, Japan slowly building amphibious force with help of US Marines
- With eye on China, South Korea, Japan ruling party eyes Bill to put troops on remote islands
- Japan names 5 disputed islets in East China Sea
- Sino-Japanese War still stings China 120 years later
- Chinese Think-Tank: Japan’s military buildup cause for worry
- Japan and China Compete for Latin American Clout
- China says Japan should respect concerns on military
- Japan blasts Chinese bid for U.N. recognition of Nanjing massacre
- China says Philippines stirring tensions after Aquino supports Japan
- China uses D-Day rites to blast Japan’s stance on war history
- Japan and the South China Sea Conflict
- Defense Academy Dorms Crowded as Japan Faces China Tension
- Pepe Escobar: Obama makes South China waves
- How China Is Eclipsing Japan in Asia
- Top U.S. Marine in Japan: If tasked, we could retake the Senkakus from China
‘China says its land reclamation work in the South China Sea is “totally justifiable” as it has “sovereignty” over the area. Its foreign affairs ministry spokesman Hua Chunying was responding to a BBC report which documented China’s construction work in disputed waters. The Philippines has accused China of illegal building in the area.
China is locked in a dispute with several countries over maritime claims in the South China Sea. The BBC report by Rupert Wingfield-Hayes said China was building new islands on five different reefs. He and his team documented Chinese work to dredge tonnes of rock and sand from the sea floor to pump into Johnson South reef in the Spratly islands, which are also claimed by Manila.’
- China’s Island Factory
- Philippines displays ancient maps to debunk China’s sea claims
- Singapore and the Sea of Discontent
- Remote, gas-rich islands on Indonesia’s South China Sea frontline
- Philippines Renews Arbitration Push in South China Seas Dispute
- U.S. to monitor South China Sea for de-escalation after China rebuff
- U.S. to press South China Sea freeze despite China rejection
- Manila urges unity for South East Asian nations in China sea dispute
- New Chinese map gives greater play to South China Sea claims
- China to build school in contested Paracel Islands
- China Building Dubai-Style Fake Islands in South China Sea
- China says Vietnam, Philippines’ mingling on disputed isle a ‘farce’
- China says Philippines stirring tensions after Aquino supports Japan
- Japan and the South China Sea Conflict
- 103 words that tie the U.S. military to barren rocks in the East China Sea
- China blames U.S. for stoking tensions in South China Sea
- Pepe Escobar: Obama makes South China waves
‘The Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) – the corporate lobbyist in Washington, D.C. for the disintegrating atomic power industry – doesn’t have to worry about repercussions from the negative impacts of nuclear power. For nuclear power is a government/taxpayer-guaranteed boondoggle whose staggering costs, incurred and deferred, are absorbed by American taxpayers via a supine government regulatory and subsidy apparatus.’
‘Japan’s defence ministry has made its biggest ever budget request, amid severe tensions with China over a maritime dispute in the East China Sea. The ministry is seeking 5.05 trillion yen (£29.4bn; $48.7bn) for the year – a 3.5% rise. If approved, it would mark the third year the defence budget had been increased, after a decade of cuts.
Earlier this month, the ministry described the security environment around Japan as “increasingly severe”. Beijing and Tokyo are engaged in a bitter dispute over islands known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China. In its annual white paper, the ministry spoke of “great concern” over China’s activities in the East China Sea and also cited North Korea as a security threat.’
‘A range of scientific studies at Fukushima have begun to reveal the impact on the natural world from the radiation leaks at the power station in Japan caused by an earthquake and tsunami in 2011. Biological samples were obtained only after extensive delays following the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear power plant meltdown, limiting the information which could be gained about the impact of that disaster. Scientists, determined not to repeat the shortcomings of the Chernobyl studies, began gathering biological information only a few months after the meltdown of the Daiichi power plant in 2011.
Results of these studies are now beginning to reveal serious biological effects of the Fukushima radiation on non-human organisms ranging from plants to butterflies to birds. A series of articles summarising these studies has now been published in the Journal of Heredity. These describe widespread impacts, ranging from population declines to genetic damage to responses by the repair mechanisms that help organisms cope with radiation exposure. “A growing body of empirical results from studies of birds, monkeys, butterflies, and other insects suggests that some species have been significantly impacted by the radioactive releases related to the Fukushima disaster,” says Dr Timothy Mousseau of the University of South Carolina, lead author of one of the studies.’
- The Fukushima Health Crisis: Why New Studies Are Needed Now!
- Study: Japanese monkeys’ abnormal blood linked to Fukushima disaster
- Abnormal changes in small birds and the role of science
- Harvey Wasserman: Fukushima’s Children are Dying
- Global Physicians Issue Scathing Critique of UN Report on Fukushima
- UN Report: Fukushima radiation ‘unlikely’ to increase cancer rates
- Trace Levels of Fukushima Disaster Radionuclides in East Pacific Albacore
- Navy sailor suffering after Fukushima exposure: Others with same symptoms “told to be quiet”
- Ailing U.S. Sailors Sue TEPCO After Exposure to Radiation 30x Higher Than Normal
- U.S. sailors sue Tepco for $1 billion over alleged radiation exposure
- Radiation damage at the root of Chernobyl’s ecosystems
- Japan Nuclear Prof.: Fukushima plant now a ‘swamp of radioactive material’
- Japan Correspondent: It’s very scary, officials trying to brainwash public about Fukushima crisis
- TEPCO faces hurdles in construction of ice walls to block flow of contaminated water
- Will the Ice Wall Contain Fukushima’s Radiation? Interview with Paul Gunter
- No End in Sight for Nuclear Meltdown: Interview with Paul Gunter
- Manager at Japan’s Fukushima plant admits radioactive water ‘embarrassing’
- Japan’s Government Says It Must Restart Nuclear Reactors To Fuel The Country
- Fukushima, General Electric and the Obama Administration
- Unskilled and Destitute Are Hiring Targets for Fukushima Cleanup
- Concerns Over Measurement of Fukushima Fallout
‘Photos of Mao’s archenemy Chiang Kai-shek adorn the walls of a Beijing restaurant, and his face looks up at diners from the menu. Online, the deposed Chinese leader’s image is used to sell the kinds of lamps and swords he might have used. A liquor brand has patterned its bottle on Chiang’s memorial in Taipei. Twenty years ago, Chiang was considered an enemy of the people on mainland China. Today, he has become part of mainstream culture — sort of.
There has been a grudging acceptance of Chiang’s historical role in fighting against Japan following its invasion in the lead-up to World War II. Chiang later lost to Mao Zedong’s Communists in the Chinese civil war and fled in 1949 to Taiwan, where he ruled until his death in 1975. His revival on the mainland points to how China’s Communist Party uses history to make points about present-day politics. Chiang is doubly useful in that sense because China’s relations with Taiwan have been warming, while those with Japan are in steep decline.’
‘Tokuro Inokuma, a former Imperial Japanese Army soldier, got his first taste of the horrors of war in 1945 when he scrambled to gather up the scattered limbs of his fellow servicemen, blown apart by a U.S. air raid in Japan. He was 16. One of a dwindling number of World War Two veterans, Inokuma now finds troubling echoes in Tokyo’s policy shift away from the pacifist ideals adhered to after 1945. “I find it quite dangerous … This is the path we once took,” said Inokuma, who fought in China soon after the deadly air strike, and survived two years in concentration camps in the then-Soviet Union following Japan’s surrender.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe last month took a historic step by ending a ban that has kept the military from fighting abroad since 1945. The move has riled China, whose ties with Japan have been frayed by a territorial row over East China Sea islets. “We have neither killed nor been killed (in battle) for almost 70 years. That’s unprecedented. It’s important we think hard about that,” Inokuma, 85, told Reuters in an interview. Proponents say Japan needs to be able to exercise its right of collective self-defense, or helping a friendly country under attack, to respond to a tougher security environment. Critics say the change makes Japan more likely to get sucked into overseas wars.’
- Japan Is Readying Stealth Technology for Future Aircraft
- How Japan Fell in Love With America’s Drones
- Japan eyes buying Ospreys as US looks to expand fleet to mainland
- Veteran politician Ozawa: Japan PM’s policy shift risks dangerous path
- AKB48 singer recruits for SDF as Abe boosts military
- Tokyo sued over growth of military power
- Japan Ditches Pacifist Constitution Clause, Legalizes Overseas Intervention
- Eric Margolis: War of the Rising Sun
- Japan’s Constitutional Revisionism – Bowing Low to Washington
- Thousands denounce Japanese PM Abe’s security shift
- Japanese man self-immolates in pro-pacifist constitution protest
- Japan Military Jets Scrambled Record 340 Times in April-June
‘If shame is the natural response to Hiroshima, how is one to respond to Nagasaki, especially in view of all the declassified government papers on the subject? According to Dr. Joseph Gerson’s With Hiroshima Eyes, some 74,000 were killed instantly at Nagasaki, another 75,000 were injured and 120,000 were poisoned.
If Hiroshima was unnecessary, how to justify Nagasaki?
The saving of thousands of US lives is held up as the official justification for the two atomic bombings. Leaving aside the ethical and legal question of slaughtering civilians to protect soldiers, what can be made of the Nagasaki bomb if Hiroshima’s incineration was not necessary?’
‘Sixty-nine years ago at 8:15 a.m., the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Destruction from the bomb was massive — shock waves, radiation and heat rays took the lives of some 140,000 people — nearly half of the town’s population. Three days later, the United States dropped a second atomic bomb on the Japanese Nagasaki killing another 74,000. At Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park, we hear from blast survivor Koji Hosokawa, who was 17 years old at the time. His 13-year-old sister, Yoko, died in the bombing. Hosokawa spoke to us next to the A-bomb Dome, one of the few structures in the city that survived the blast.’ (Democracy Now!)
‘World War II ended 69 years ago, but shells are still exploding off the coast of Okinawa. Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force explosive ordnance disposal technicians detonated two dozen U.S.-made munitions Wednesday morning about 800 yards from shore in Kadena town’s Mizugama district, an area known as the “sea wall,” close to Kadena Air Base.
Nineteen of the 24 rounds were 5-inch shells found near the mouth of Hija River in Kadena town along with an 81 mm mortar shell, according to Kadena Town official Nobukazu Kobashigawa. They were accompanied by four 5-inch shells found on the Yomitan Village side. “It is not surprising to find those shells because the beach is where the allied forces first landed during the Battle of Okinawa,” Kobashigawa said. “I am sure there are lots more.”’
‘Japan is poised for a historic shift in its defense policy by ending a ban that has kept the military from fighting abroad since World War Two, a major step away from post-war pacifism and a big political victory for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The change will significantly widen Japan’s military options by ending the ban on exercising “collective self-defense”, or aiding a friendly country under attack. It will also relax limits on activities in U.N.-led peace-keeping operations and “grey zone” incidents short of full-scale war, according to a draft government proposal made available to reporters.
For now, however, Japan is likely to remain wary of putting boots on the ground in future multilateral operations such as the 1990-1991 Gulf War or the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, activities Abe himself has ruled out. The change will likely rile an increasingly assertive China, whose ties with Japan have chilled due to a maritime row, mutual mistrust and the legacy of Japan’s past military aggression, but will be welcomed by Tokyo’s ally Washington, which has long urged Japan to become a more equal partner in the alliance.’
- Japanese oppose overseas military role
- Australia backs increased military role for Japan
- Japan’s military is back — and open for business
- Abe’s Military Push May Please U.S. but Rattle Neighbors
- Japan fighter jet dispatch highest since Cold War
- Hagel, in Tokyo, moves to reassure Japan on security ties
- ‘Japan wants to spread military wings in way it hasn’t for decades’
- Japan boosts military forces to counter China
‘Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima will not include a call to kick Futenma air base out of the prefecture at next week’s ceremony commemorating the 69th anniversary of the end of the Battle of Okinawa, prefectural officials said Thursday. The move comes six months after the governor approved a landfill project in Nago’s Henoko district needed to build a replacement base for the facility, which angered anti-base activists and a group representing the families of those lost in the battle.
It is also likely to increase tensions between Nakaima, who has indicated he wants to run for a third term this autumn, and his potential challenger, Naha Mayor Takeshi Onaga, who, although opposed to the Henoko relocation plan, is gaining ground among those who once backed Nakaima. More than 5,800 people attended last year’s June 23 ceremony, including Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Since 2012, the ceremony has included a recital of a peace declaration by the governor that calls on Tokyo to move Futenma outside Okinawa and to revise the U.S.-Japan Status of Forces Agreement to give local officials more authority over U.S. military personnel.’
‘There are now more millionaires in China than in Japan, as the wealthiest Chinese reaped huge returns from shadow-banking-related financial products, a new study revealed. China had 2,378,000 millionaire households in 2013, a rise of 82% from the previous year and almost double the 1,240,000 millionaire households in Japan, according to the Boston Consulting Group Global Wealth 2014 report. China’s millionaire population is now the world’s second-largest, trailing only the U.S., which boasted 7,135,000 millionaire households in 2013. BCG defines a millionaire household as those with $1 million in total liquid wealth, including stocks, cash and other financial investments but not real estate, collectibles or luxury items.’
‘To some, the long-stalled agreement to relocate a United States Marine base from a heavily populated area of Okinawa, Japan, to a smaller city might finally be seeing the light of day. During his visit to Japan in April, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said, “We look forward to the facility’s construction beginning soon.” A few weeks later at a news conference in Tokyo, President Obama and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed that progress had been made.
But for Susumu Inamine, mayor of the smaller city, Nago, the fight is far from over. In meetings at think tanks and with United States government officials this week, Mr. Inamine said that the government in Tokyo and Okinawa’s governor, who support the plan, did not speak for the island’s citizens. The city of Nago, he said, has the power to slow down or block construction of the base by deciding which roads or ports can be used and by exercising its authority to approve or deny certain permits. “What I really wanted to express here was if they unilaterally push forward this plan against the local people, it will not work well,” he said through an interpreter.’
‘Prime Minister Shinzo Abe may be about to take one of his biggest steps yet to nudge Japan away from its postwar pacifism after a government advisory panel recommended Thursday that constitutional restrictions on the military be eased to allow Japanese forces to come to the aid of allied nations under attack. The panel, which was appointed by the Abe government, called on Japan to adopt a new legal interpretation of its war-renouncing Constitution that would permit an expanded role for its military, the Self-Defense Forces. Those forces have been strictly limited to protecting Japan’s own territory and people since they were created soon after World War II.
The reinterpretation would allow Japanese armed forces to act in limited cases even when Japan is not at risk, such as by shooting down a North Korean missile headed toward the United States, something it cannot legally do now. The proposed change would also allow Japanese forces to play a larger role in United Nations peacekeeping operations, the panel said. Though Japan has sent troops to peacekeeping operations since 1992, they act under severe constraints. If accepted, it would represent a fundamental shift in the stance of Japan’s military.’
- Feeling Triumphalist in Tokyo: The Real Reasons Nationalism Is Back in Japan
- Japan weighs abandoning pacifism (Video)
- New Axis: NATO, Japan Deepen Partnership, Discuss Ukraine
- Japan split over revision to pacifist constitution
- Protecting the peace Constitution
- Obama Begins Asia Tour By Reassuring Japan The U.S. Stands With Them (Video)
- Obama, Abe under pressure to salvage signature Pacific trade pact
- Abe faces push-back in aim to free Japan military from constitution
- Japan expands army footprint for first time in 40 years, risks angering China
- Japan Sends Troops to Island, Risking China Tensions
- Japan PM Chucks Ban on Exporting Weapons
- Neo-Fascism and the Resurgence of Militarism in Japan
- U.S. to help in ‘elimination’ of sensitive Japanese nuclear stockpile
- Japan Has Nuclear ‘Bomb in the Basement,’ and China Isn’t Happy
- Japan To Commemorate Kamikaze Pilots (Video)
- U.S. Official: Beijing Preparing For ‘Short, Sharp’ War With Japan
- Japan’s chief cabinet secretary rejects charges country lurching toward militarism
- Nile Bowie: Is Japan’s Shinzo Abe pivoting to the past?
- U.S. may get official nod to bring in nukes in emergency
- Disputed islands: Japan gives teachers new instructions
‘The FORBES Global 2000 is a comprehensive list of the world’s largest, most powerful public companies, as measured by revenues, profits, assets and market value. We weight the four numbers equally to come up with a composite score, in pursuit of our goal to best capture the full picture of corporate size. This year, the Global 2000 companies hail from 62 countries, up from 46 in our inaugural 2003 ranking. In total, they raked in revenues of $38 trillion and profits of $3 trillion, with assets worth $161 trillion and a market value of $44 trillion. All those totals are higher than a year ago, with the largest growth being in market value (up 13% year-over-year). These firms employ 90 million people worldwide.
For the first time, China is home to the world’s three biggest public companies and five of the top 10. State-controlled Chinese bank ICBC holds onto its No.1 spot for a second consecutive year, while China Construction Bank takes second place and Agricultural Bank of China moves up five spots to third. They’re joined in the top 10 by the other member of the “Big Four” Chinese banks, Bank of China, at No.9. As China gains ground, its best frenemy – the United States – account for the other half of the top 10 spots. Berkshire Hathaway and Wells Fargo WFC +0.1% both move up four spots to No.5 and No. 9, respectively. J.P. Morgan slides to fourth place as its total composite score slipped behind Agricultural Bank of China. Say goodbye to the two Europe-based companies in Top 10 last year, Royal Dutch Shell (No.11) and HSBC Holdings (No.14).’
‘China is pressing for a vast Asia-Pacific free trade agreement, a senior official said Wednesday, as a rival US-led deal that excludes the Asian giant has yet to reach agreement. Wang Shouwen, an assistant commerce minister, told reporters at a briefing that China has proposed setting up a working group to study the feasibility of an Asia-Pacific Free Trade Agreement (FTAAP). The proposal comes ahead of a meeting in May of trade ministers from the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, which China will host.
…The United States has been trying to secure agreement on a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a grouping of 12 nations including Japan, Australia, Malaysia and Mexico. All belong to APEC. But the US-led trade talks have become hung up on issues related to Japan’s tightly-guarded auto and agricultural sectors. There had been hopes that Tokyo and Washington might break an impasse in the stalled talks during US President Barack Obama’s visit to Japan last week, but they failed to clinch a deal and negotiations continue.
Chinese President Xi Jinping in October said at the APEC business forum in Indonesia that his country will “commit itself to building a trans-Pacific regional cooperation framework that benefits all parties”. The comments were interpreted by Chinese media as criticism of the TPP — a key part of Obama’s economic and strategic policy.’