Posts tagged japan
Perhaps it is possible — and how nice it would be to believe this — that war between the greatest nations on earth has been abolished.
The cost and the threat of nuclear escalation is so horrendous that reason argues that nothing remotely resembling the 20th century’s vast global clashes can ever happen again.
Assuredly, there can be no more Dunkirks or D-Days, because no Western nation — even the United States — can deploy a mass army.
If conflict does come, it will be waged with the high-tech weapons of our own time: warplanes manned and unmanned, missiles, cyber-attack weapons and the many instruments of destruction guided from space satellites.
But this would not make a great power conflict any less catastrophic.
And this is why a shiver will have run through the leaderships of Asia and of the Western powers this week when China’s ambassador to London argued that Japan risks ‘a serious threat to global peace’ by ‘rekindling’ the bellicose attitude that hastened the expansion of World War II into a global conflict.
He even compared Japan today to Lord Voldemort, the arch villain in the Harry Potter novels.
This comes just a few weeks after China — with absolutely no warning — declared hundreds of thousands of square miles of airspace above the East China Sea as its own Air Defence Zone.
This includes the eight tiny uninhabited pimples, called the Senkaku Islands by Japan and Diaoyu by China. Taiwan also has a claim to the islands — nationalised by Japan from private sellers in 2012, much to the anger of China.
The United States responded to this bitter dispute between Tokyo and Beijing by dispatching two USAAF B-52s bombers to overfly the islands, emphasising its commitment to the right of free navigation.
Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, declared gravely that China had started ‘a whole new game’. His government threatened to shoot down any Chinese drones that appeared over the Senkakus. Beijing responded that this would be an act of war.
Nobody, including the Chinese, wants armed conflict. Indeed, an analyst for the International Institute Of Strategic Studies has said that China ‘aims to push rather than break limits’.
Yet the tensions between Tokyo, Washington and Beijing have been increasing for years.
For the moment, China, the U.S. and Japan still maintain courtesies between governments. Most crucially, Beijing holds trillions of dollars of U.S. debt.
But many of history’s wars have been triggered by miscalculations while nations have been testing each other’s strengths.
Indeed, there is a profound fear in Washington, in Tokyo, and maybe also in Beijing, that one day something unspeakably ghastly could happen by mistake.
Remember that in 1914 before the outbreak of World War I, Britain and Germany were each other’s largest trading partners. Professor Peter Dutton, of the U.S. Naval War College, has warned of the growing tensions, saying: ‘China’s challenge to existing maritime norms is creating hairline fractures in the global order.’
This comment followed an authoritative Washington defence guru who said that, whatever short-term bother terror groups such as Al Qaeda might cause, ‘in the middle-long term, there will only be one main concern of the U.S. armed forces, and that is China. China is reshaping the military order in Asia, and is doing so at our expense’.
China has an ever-growing fleet of missile-armed warships — thought to number around 80, as well as nearly 300 amphibious assault ships — including fast-attack craft specifically designed as ‘carrier-killers’, to engage the U.S. Navy’s behemoths.
In response, the huge U.S. Andersen air force base on the Pacific Ocean island of Guam has become host to a £10 billion reinforcement programme.
As a result, its hangars now hold B-2 and B-52 bombers, air-to-surface and cruise missiles, Global Hawk drones, F-15 and F-22 fighters, the latter just a 20-minute flight from the Taiwan Strait.
Amitai Etzioni, professor of international relations at George Washington University, declares bleakly: ‘There are increasing signs that the United States and China are on a collision course.’
What is not disputed is that China is determined to assert its new status as a major regional power, while the U.S. is equally bent upon deterring or deflecting Chinese expansionism, and especially aggressiveness.
This was the reason behind President Obama’s 2010 decision to rebalance American strategic assets towards the Pacific.
The American case is as readily made as was the British one, for resisting quite similar German posturing before 1914. Washington’s attitude is: ‘We and our allies are democracies, while China is an autocracy which denies respect for human rights or international law.’
I believe that unless the Washington administration makes plain its determination to support any country (such as Japan) that is threatened with aggression by Beijing, China will go ahead and impose its ruthless will upon the entire Pacific region.
As for the contrary view from Beijing itself, China’s leaders cherish a profound grievance about the Tokyo government’s persistent refusal to confront the reality of Japan’s mid-20th century war crimes in Asia.
For the Tokyo government asserts that the time has passed for any Japanese apologies or even discussion of its historical record.
An example of this defiance is the military museum that is situated next door to Tokyo’s Yasakuni shrine, where so many Japanese war criminals’ ashes lie and to which many Japanese politicians visit to pay homage.
I have been to the place myself, and find it as repugnant as do the Chinese. Which is why they found such offence a few days ago when the Japanese premier arrived there to pay his respects. (Its choice of exhibits is intended to prove that during the middle of the last century, Japan entered China — where at least 15 million people fell victim to its occupation — and other Asian countries in order to ‘protect’ them from European exploitation.) In the same vein, Japan describes its half-century occupation of Korea as a ‘partnership’. source – Daily Mail UK
Systematically Poisoning The Western Ocean
When the nuclear power plants melted down in the aftermath of the 2011 tsunami in Japan, we received endless assurances and reassurance that the reactors did not leak. That no radiation of any quantifiable amount had gotten out.
As it turns out, Japan lied about that.
Mirror UK: A floating island of debris three times the size of BRITAIN is heading for the California coastline sparking huge environmental concerns.
Five millions tons of rubbish made up of devastated homes, boats, cars and businesses is making its way across the Pacific Ocean following the 2011 tsunami in Japan. Scientists have already discovered debris on the west coast but their latest findings suggest California is expected to be hit with a deluge all at once.
Don’t look now, but the birthday of Kim Jong-un’s grandfather, Kim Il-Sung, is right around the corner, on Monday, with absurd celebrations and marathons and magic horses all weekend. But nothing would do more poetic justice to North Korea’s warped version of history and its “unacceptable” war-mongering rhetoric than to drown one of its oldest enemies in a sea of nuclear flames. Which absurdity will win out?
“North Korea warned Japan Friday that Tokyo would be the first target in the event of a war on the Korean Peninsula if it continues to maintain its hostile posture,” reports South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency this morning in America, by way of a report from the DPRK’s state-run Korean Central News Agency. That’s pretty scary, especially since things had been calming down for a few days there — and especially considering the Pentagon can’t even make up its mind about what, exactly, Pyongyang’s nuclear capabilities look like right now. But there’s sort of a loophole in today’s news. Notice how the warning reads: “if it” — as in Japan — “continues to maintain its hostile posture.” What the North Korean propaganda machine appears to be referring to is Tuesday’s action out of Japan, when it set up a slew of interceptor missiles in Tokyo as a precaution against North Korea’s declarations of war. And there have been plenty of precautionary measures from around the globe of late after what Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday called “unacceptable” rhetoric from the all too excitable Kim dynasty.
But there is a deeper, more immediate layer of trouble: By the time Sunday afternoon strikes in the U.S., so will the 101st birthday of Kim Il-Sung, the autocrat who formalized the dynasty’s way of rule in the 1960s and ’70s and who, according to the history of North Korea, was responsible for single-handedly defeating the Japanese. Just yesterday KCNA, the state-run news agency, pumped out a story about a painting of Kim Il-Sung’s white horse, which supposedly saved his life by spotting that North Korea’s Supreme Leader was on fire.
That sort of gives you an impression of how ridiculous — and ridiculously important — this occasion will be in Pyongyang. For showing off. For history. For might. And some experts have long voiced legitimate fears that the Kim might actually do something to mark that occasion, such as sending — or threatening to send — a medium-range missile into the territory of the grandfather of absurdity’s favorite enemy.
So what’s giving peace a chance? Well, mostly that North Korea has an actual history of making threats it never fulfills. But, at least for planning purposes, nuclear provocations might get in the way of North Korea’s big national marathon Sunday to celebrate Kim Il-Sung. “Despite warnings of pre-emptive nuclear strikes and imminent war, ahead of the marathon state TV showed a calm scene in Pyongyang yesterday, with North Koreans holding open air dances in preparation for their April 15 national holiday,” reported NK News, which adds, “Held every year on the streets of North Korea’s capital city, the Mangyongdae Prize International Marathon will take place this Sunday as part of a broader multiple-day sports tournament held to commemorate the April 15 birthday of North Korea’s founding leader, Kim Il Sung.” There’s no way all that open-air dancing would be all for naught, right?
North Korea’s threat against Japan also comes as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke in Seoul on Friday. He offered, as Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon did yesterday, some very practical analysis that North Korea probably doesn’t want to hear — a lot of which revolved around not backing down (via the BBC):
The rhetoric that we’re hearing from North Korea is simply unacceptable – by any standard – and I am here to make it clear today on behalf of President Obama and the citizens of the United States and our bilateral security agreement, that the United States will, if needed, defend our allies and defend ourselves. source – Atlantic Wire
TOKYO — An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.1 hit east of Tokyo on Wednesday but no tsunami warning was issued and there were no initial reports of damage or troubles at area nuclear plants, the Japan Meteorological Agency and local media said.
The earthquake, which caused substantial shaking in Ibaragi and Chiba prefectures east of Tokyo, followed just a few hours after a magnitude 6.8 quake jolted northern Japan.
A tsunami warning was issued but later lifted after the northern Japan earthquake. Just over one year ago, the northeast coast was struck by a magnitude 9 earthquake, Japan’s strongest on record, and a massive tsunami, triggering the world’s. source – MSNBC
TOKYO (Newscore) – Japanese researchers have invented a speech-jamming gadget that painlessly forces people into silence.
Kazutaka Kurihara of the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, and Koji Tsukada of Ochanomizu University, developed a portable “SpeechJammer” gun that can silence people more than 30 meters away.
The device works by recording its target’s speech then firing their words back at them with a 0.2-second delay, which affects the brain’s cognitive processes and causes speakers to stutter before silencing them completely.
Describing the device in their research paper, Kurihara and Tsukada wrote, “In general, human speech is jammed by giving back to the speakers their own utterances at a delay of a few hundred milliseconds. This effect can disturb people without any physical discomfort, and disappears immediately by stopping speaking.”
They found that the device works better on people who were reading aloud than engaged in “spontaneous speech” and it cannot stop people making meaningless sounds, such as “ahhh,” that are uttered over a long time period.
Kurihara and Tsukada suggested the speech-jamming gun could be used to hush noisy speakers in public libraries or to silence people in group discussions who interrupt other people’s speeches.
“There are still many cases in which the negative aspects of speech become a barrier to the peaceful resolution of conflicts,” the authors said. source – Fox News
Biden to sell debt ceiling deal during trip to China, Japan
Vice President Biden will tout the debt ceiling deal during a trip to China and Japan, two holders of huge amounts of U.S. debt.
Biden will travel to top lender China on Wednesday and to Japan, the second-biggest holder of U.S. bonds, on Aug. 22. The vice president “will be in a good position to talk about the very strong deficit package that we concluded here recently,” Undersecterary of the Treasury Lael Brainard told reporters Monday in comments previewing the vice president’s visit.
The debt-ceiling deal signed by President Obama could cut up to $2.5 trillion from budget deficits over the next decade, but it was a smaller package than the grand bargain Obama flirted with striking.
Standard & Poor’s downgraded the nation’s AAA rating to AA+ a few days after Obama signed the legislation. S&P had called for a $4 trillion package, and said it was left uncertain that U.S. politicians could agree to a larger deficit-reduction package. source – The Hill
Japan comes clean
TOKYO (AP) – Japan raised the crisis level at its crippled nuclear plant Tuesday to a severity on par with the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, citing high overall radiation leaks that have contaminated the air, tap water, vegetables and seawater.
Japanese nuclear regulators said they raised the rating from 5 to 7 – the highest level on an international scale of nuclear accidents overseen by the International Atomic Energy Agency – after new assessments of radiation leaks from the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant since it was disabled by the March 11 tsunami.
Japan raises severity level at the crippled nuclear plant to a 7 — the highest on the international scale, which puts it on par with the ’86 Chernobyl disaster — as new setback discovered with radioactive water leaking into the sea. Fox News
The new ranking signifies a “major accident” that includes widespread effects on the environment and health, according to the Vienna-based IAEA. But Japanese officials played down any health effects and stressed that the harm caused by Chernobyl still far outweighs that caused by the Fukushima plant. The revision came a day after the government added five communities to a list of places people should leave to avoid long-term radiation exposure. A 12-mile (20-kilometer) radius already had been cleared around the plant.
The news was received with chagrin by residents in Iitate, one of the five communities, where high levels of radiation have been detected in the soil. The village of 6,200 people is about 40 kilometers from the Fukushima plant. ”It’s very shocking to me,” said Miyuki Ichisawa, 52, who runs a coffee shop in Iitate. “Now the government is officially telling us this accident is at the same level of Chernobyl.”
Japanese officials said the leaks from the Fukushima plant so far amount to a tenth of the radiation emitted in the Chernobyl disaster, but said they eventually could exceed Chernobyl’s emissions if the crisis continues. ”This reconfirms that this is an extremely major disaster. We are very sorry to the public, people living near the nuclear complex and the international community for causing such a serious accident,” said Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano.” source – My Way