Tag Archives: Joachim de Villiers and Lee Jay Walker

US and Japan holding military exercises: People of Okinawa are being marginalized

US and Japan holding military exercises: People of Okinawa are being marginalized

Joachim de Villiers, Hiroshi Saito and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The United States and Japan are currently holding military exercises which will last until November 16. Yet the biennial military exercise called Keen Sword appears to show a lack of sensitivity towards the people of Okinawa. This applies to the existing tensions between Okinawa and mainland Japan which continues to brush aside the demands of local people.

Currently the United States military is being forced to keep its head down in Okinawa after recent rape allegations and because of a brutal attack against a teenager. Of course, the issue of American bases throughout Okinawa runs much deeper. This doesn’t only apply to the actions of the United States but also towards the government of Japan. Yet with such recent heightened tensions over the deployment of MV-22 Osprey and the behavior of American troops, then once more it appears that the people of Okinawa are not viewed highly to political leaders based in Tokyo.

In Okinawa, many local people believe that the central government in Japan treats this area like a second-class region. This is based on the reality that a sizeable amount of the armed forces of America are stationed in Okinawa compared to mainland Japan. Historical realities also mean that the indigenous people of Okinawa seem to be a pawn which is openly manipulated by Tokyo and Washington. Therefore, if Okinawa is truly part of Japan, then why are the wishes of local people ignored so much?

The people of Okinawa on the whole are not demanding the expulsion of all American bases but they do want mainland Japan to share the burden. America is not insensitive to the demands of Okinawa but clearly the central government of Japan seems distant. After all, over 70% of all American forces are based in Okinawa despite repeated demands for sharing the responsibility with mainland Japan.

In the New York Times editorial (November 2, 2012) it is stated that “Many Okinawans believe, with justification, that their views are irrelevant to the Japanese government and the United States, whose geopolitical priorities trump local concerns about jet crashes, noise, environmental destruction and crime. That has not stopped protesters from tirelessly raising objections, most strongly in 1995, when three servicemen gang-raped a schoolgirl, and in September, when tens of thousands demonstrated against the deployment of the Osprey.”

Further down in the same editorial it states about America that political leaders“…should move swiftly to lighten its presence on Okinawa, by shifting troops to Guam, Hawaii and elsewhere in Japan. Okinawans will feel safer and less aggrieved only when they believe that Japan and the United States are taking their objections seriously.

The sad truth is that political leaders in Tokyo appear to view the area to be second-class because historically Okinawa (Ryukyu Kingdom) never belonged to Japan. Therefore, the government of Japan is still viewing Okinawa in a subservient manner. This policy is not only backfiring against political leaders in Tokyo but it is also impacting on America and the military forces based throughout Japan. Given this reality, then Washington should make the first move because little seems to change the hearts of political leaders in Tokyo.

Currently, relations between China and Japan have hit rock bottom because of the territorial dispute. Yet for people in Okinawa it is the lack of transparency within successive governments based in Tokyo which is the real issue.

Therefore, the current joint military exercises by America and Japan in the waters of Okinawa is also a symbol of major powers ignoring the wishes of local people. China may hog the headlines because of the current tense situation with Japan over territory. Yet in Okinawa it appears that their voices count for nothing because countless demonstrations and protests have not altered the major imbalance of American forces being based in Okinawa.

In the Asahi Shimbun (article written by Satoshi Okumura, Norio Yatsu and Tsukasa Kimura) it was stated that“Huge protests erupted in Okinawa Prefecture and other parts of Japan over the deployment of the Osprey to Okinawa Prefecture. Residents and local leaders cited the spotty safety record of the aircraft, and they repeated that the island prefecture continues to shoulder the overwhelming burden of hosting U.S. military bases under the Japan-U.S. security alliance.”

The government of Japan just like China uses nationalist rhetoric over the ongoing territorial dispute between both nations. Ironically, however, many people in Okinawa are also disillusioned with political leaders in mainland Japan because of the second-class nature of the treatment of people from Okinawa. It is time for political elites in distant Tokyo to wake-up to the demands of local people in Okinawa. Also, Washington must do more to defuse the situation.



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Afghanistan and Syria: Even funeral processions are attacked by FSA and the Taliban

Afghanistan and Syria: Even funeral processions are attacked by FSA and the Taliban

Joachim de Villiers and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times


The Taliban and Free Syrian Army (FSA) have much in common when it comes to car bombs, attacking funeral processions and beheading people. In recent times the brutal nature of the Taliban and FSA can be seen by scores of people being killed during funeral processions by both terrorist forces. Neither the Taliban nor the FSA respect the living or the dead instead they both spread their hatred to every fabric of society which is deemed permissible to attack.

Organizations and wealthy individuals in Saudi Arabia and Qatar who sponsor terrorism will share much in common with both the FSA and the Taliban. After all, these terrorist organizations are deemed to be “the soldiers of Sunni Islamic jihad” within the stark militancy of the countries where funding is easily obtained.

Of course, with the vast majority of individuals who did September 11 coming from Saudi Arabia alongside the largest forces of international Islamists fighting in Iraq coming from the same country; then the Saudi connection to international terrorism is more than obvious. At the same time both Saudi Arabia and Qatar are spreading the dangerous Salafi ideology whereby other Muslims are deemed to be infidels like non-Muslims. This means that other Muslims and non-Muslims are deemed to be subhuman and worthy of slaughter providing Islamist clerics sanction this murder.

The mass contradiction of spreading hatred to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Mali, Somalia and a host of other nations, doesn’t apply to the policies of individuals and organizations which fund Salafi indoctrination and terrorism. On the contrary, the mass contradiction applies to nations like America, France and the United Kingdom which deem the same terrorist forces to be either friends or foes depending on the given situation.

Therefore, while the nation of Syria is on the frontline of protecting secularism, the rights of women and protecting all religious minorities against the forces of terrorism and Islamist ideology. The hypocrites in Washington, London and Paris are on the same side of the brutal forces of Islamist terrorism, car bombing, sectarianism and other evil deeds against the government of Syria. Yet in Afghanistan, the very same nations which supported Islamist terrorism in the 1980s and early 1990s are now fighting the same forces they once supported. It is this schizophrenic policy which is most alarming because these Western powers clearly have no morals.

Given this reality, it is now open season against the government of Syria. This means that car bombings, killing minorities, attacking funeral processions, killing journalists and other brutal deeds by the FSA and Islamist factions like al-Qaeda; are all glossed over and manipulated by language and a compliant media which is also inciting hatred. However, for the people of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria (and other nations) it is clear that all terrorist attacks are evil and should be condemned. Not only this, all ratlines which are maintaining the flow of funding brutal terrorist organizations like the FSA, al-Qaeda and the Taliban should be eradicated where it is possible. However, when it comes to Syria it is clear that nations like America, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, the United Kingdom and France are enabling these Islamist and terrorist ratlines to spread their sectarian hatred to the people of Syria.

The latest Islamist terrorist attacks against funeral processions and ceremonies in Nangarhar (Afghanistan) and Jaramana (Syria) which is a suburb which is mainly Druze and Christian; highlights the brutal reality of Islamist terrorism whereby nothing is sacred. The FSA in Syria and its Islamist cohorts were behind the brutal attack in Damascus in the suburb of Jaramana. Meanwhile, the Taliban was behind the brutal carnage in Nangarhar whereby at least 25 civilians have perished. However, for policy makers in Washington, London and Paris then clearly they are in a flux and rely on the mass media to manipulate reality.

After all, how can world leaders in America, France and the United Kingdom condemn the brutal terrorist attack in Afghanistan but remain silent about the same crime in Syria because it was done by FSA forces they support? Islamists clearly have no principles when it comes to killing innocents but sadly the same can be said for political leaders who govern in Washington, London and Paris. After all, nobody expects morality to come out of Saudi Arabia under its brutal monarchy which supports killing all apostates and child marriage to old men. Yet why are democratic nations being dragged down to the same depravity which is spreading so much evil far and wide?


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Islamists in Libya now targeting Westerners

Islamists in Libya now targeting Westerners

Murad Makhmudov, Joachim de Villiers and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

In the last few weeks increasing uneasiness in Libya is gripping elites who worked closely with America, France, and the United Kingdom, in toppling Gaddafi. This uneasiness is based on attacks against Westerners in Libya. The attacks have been limited in scope and don’t have the hallmarks of major sophistication at this stage. Despite this, these warning signs are triggering alarm bells within Libya and in nations which supported the uprising against Gaddafi.

Libya is still blighted by the reality of vast numbers of different militias whereby some have political aims, while others are based on special interests, regionalism, monetary factors, and so forth. In truth, you don’t really have a centralized state which is functioning throughout the country but clearly the situation doesn’t resemble Iraq after the demise of Saddam Hussein. This isn’t surprising because the various different Islamist movements have different thought patterns and links.

Unlike in Iraq part of the opposition in the Libyan uprising came from Islamist networks which had fought against America and its allies in Iraq.  Therefore, you clearly have a pragmatic angle within the patchwork of different movements. This is a “safety cushion” for leading Western nations which supported the uprising because radical Sunni Islamic networks and Western forces worked together in Libya.

Also, unlike in Iraq you don’t have a sectarian angle and the same applies to nationalism. After all, the Kurds currently control northern Iraq despite various different ethnic groups residing within the Kurdish heartland. More important, the sectarian angle doesn’t exist in Libya and this in itself reduces the flashpoint factor based on different sects within Islam.

In saying this, radical Sunni Islamists may turn against moderate Sunni Islam in Libya just like what happened in Iraq. However, even if this happens it doesn’t compare to the sectarian angle in Iraq. Another important feature is that the American government is clearly open to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Syria. Therefore, regional outside meddling is less potent than the geopolitical and religious angle which applies to Iraq.

The real “vacuum” which will enable Islamists to grow in power which are anti-Western and anti-moderate Sunni Islam, is the failed state scenario. Following on from the failed state factor will be poverty, indoctrination, bitterness, and other negative forces which will play into the hands of radical Islamists who want to turn Libya into a fundamentalist Islamic state.

Tara Bahrampour stated in The Washington Post that “The attacks included a bombing last week outside the U.S. Consulate in the eastern city of Benghazi and a rocket-propelled grenade attack there on a convoy carrying the British ambassador, which injured two bodyguards.”

“Explosions have also targeted offices of the International Committee of the Red Cross and a U.N. vehicle, as well as British Embassy cars visiting the southern city of Sabha last week.”

Further down in the article it is stated that “Libyan authorities are investigating the attacks, said Othman Bensasi, director of administration for the Transitional National Council, which has run Libya for the past year. He said there was no evidence that foreigners were involved.”

“We think it is fundamentalist Islamic groups,” he said. “They don’t want stability. They don’t want democracy.”

The ousting of Gaddafi led to many massacres against Gaddafi loyalists and black Africans. Even today you have untold numbers of people being held in deplorable conditions and this “taints” the opposition movement and Western nations which supported the uprising. However, irrespective of the rights and wrongs of what happened in Libya it is now essential to rebuild the infrastructure and to increase the power of the central state.

It is clear that the various Islamic groups in Libya are extremely divided because the majority favor positive ties with Western nations and support the political process. However, a militant fringe remains and given the prowess of radical Sunni Islamic movements to enter “failed states” and to exploit political vacuums then the situation remains dangerous. Therefore, it is essential that measures are taken which favor the political system and the rule of law.

Yet the history of Libya, vastness of this nation, the reality of various different militias, powerful regionalism, and other factors, means that a political vacuum currently exists. If Libya is to prosper from the brutal war which took place, then central forces and institutions need to grow quickly. Also, it is pivotal that educational institutions are supported and that economic investment is put into Libya which reduces poverty.

Libya deserves peace after so many individuals on both sides were killed and this nation also needs an independent judicial system which prevents the abuse of power. However, currently Libya is still in transition and the future remains in the balance.


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North Korea: Associated Press news agency opens a bureau in Pyongyang

North Korea: Associated Press news agency opens a bureau in Pyongyang

Joachim de Villiers and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

North Korea gave the go ahead for the Associated Press news agency to open a small bureau in the capital Pyongyang on January 16, 2012. This is a very important scoop for this news agency because it is the first Western based agency to open up a bureau in North Korea. Therefore, irrespective of the size of the new office it is a positive start and much needed.

It is unsure if Kim Jong-un, the new leader of North Korea, rushed up the process or if he is firmly behind supporting the move. However, it would be welcome if he supported this because it would be a positive sign that the new leader is focused on opening-up North Korea in the field of economics and other important areas.

Other international agencies have a presence in Pyongyang, for example Xinhau from China, but like it was stated earlier the new Associated Press bureau is the first Western news agency. However, it is clear that this move will be welcomed by Xinhau and other agencies because it will enable more coverage to reach the international community. This fact must be welcomed by all individuals who are interested in “the real facts and stories” in North Korea because the vast majority of articles carry little substance and are biased to an extreme.

It is understood that the new bureau will be supervised from South Korea and will involve two journalists from North Korea who will be based in Pyongyang. Associated Press opened a video bureau in the capital of North Korea in 2006 and clearly this laid the foundation stone.

Bridges in many areas need to be built between North Korea and the international community and this is a positive step. Also, it will be interesting to follow the news coming out of North Korea and how it is reported. After all, this will provide details about the real substance of this new venture.

John Daniszewski from Associated Press commented that “For North Korea, which for decades has remained largely off-limits to international journalists, the opening marked an important gesture, particularly because North Korea and the United States have never had formal diplomatic relations. The AP, an independent 165-year-old news cooperative founded in New York and owned by its U.S. newspaper membership, has operations in more than 100 countries and employs nearly 2,500 journalists across the world in 300 locations.”

“The bureau puts AP in a position to document the people, places and politics of North Korea across all media platforms at a critical moment in its history, with Kim’s death and the ascension of his young son as the country’s new leader, Curley said in remarks prepared for the opening.”

This move by Associated Press is very positive because it provides “a bridge” to the international community. Also, this news agency is internationally famous and because of this the readership is vast throughout the world.


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Okinawa and the delicate relationship with mainland Japan and America

Okinawa and the delicate relationship with mainland Japan and America

Joachim de Villiers and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

In history the Okinawan people were independent and traded openly throughout the region and they preserved their own distinctive culture, language, religion, and other aspects of culture. However, like many smaller ethnic groups the history of Okinawa is one of being “swallowed up” and aspects of Japanization taking place. The end product is that native speakers of Okinawan continue to decrease and powerful political elites in Tokyo and Washington desire to maintain powerful military bases in Okinawa.

Of course, this is an over simplification because major investment from Japan also took place and the standard of living increased for all nationals irrespective of ethnicity since the reversion of Okinawa to Japan. However, negative policies of the past, which applies to dictates over language and so forth, remains in the “psyche” of Okinawan people.

Therefore, despite Japan being democratic it is like the United Kingdom whereby the Welsh people believe that their language was dismissed and the same applies to their culture by the dominant English in history. Events may have moved on but if the United Kingdom suddenly put the vast majority of military forces from a different nation into mainly Wales, then the people of Wales would feel the same. Therefore, policies need to be handled with care and sensitivity when national issues and cultural issues are at stake and leaders in Tokyo need to bare this in mind.

Okinawa and Japan is united in modern history and this will never change and clearly the vast majority of Okinawans understand the need to have military bases on Okinawa. However, it is clear that the vast majority of American military bases are concentrated on Okinawa and not throughout mainland Japan. This policy seems unfair to many individuals and this policy by the government of Japan isn’t helping because the burden should be more equal.

Also, the Cold War era and recent power politics between major nations like America and China is increasing the burden on the people of Okinawa. Indeed, the government of Japan is also caught up by the real geopolitical game being played by America and China when it comes to maritime power. Therefore, any weakness in Tokyo is condemned by Washington because political leaders in America believe that they have been patient enough. This applies to the stalled relocation of a United States military base.

The views of America will obviously be very different because this nation could rightly claim that it is their sons and daughters who are on the frontline of defending Japan from any military aggression. If you look back in history with regards to militant Maoism during the Cultural Revolution, hostilities between Japan and North Korea, and an expansionist Soviet Union, then clearly America does have a point.

This perhaps is the real tragedy because in modern times the people of Okinawa and the central government in Tokyo, alongside the military of America, have got more in common and share similar values. Times have moved on apart from the military angle and even this is vague because many Okinawans understand the importance of American forces. Therefore, relations on the whole are positive but the percentage of American troops based on Okinawa compared with the rest of Japan is a major stumbling block.

It is worth mentioning that after the March 11 tsunami hit Japan the military of America did a magnificent job. This applies to search and rescue and “being a friend” during a very difficult time for Japan and this also applies to helping with reconstruction, when it was most needed. Also, Americans fully participate in the local economy of Okinawa and bring many jobs and clearly local relations have developed in many fields.

Therefore, when a senior defense official from Japan comments about “rape” this turned the clock back once more because it appears that political leaders in Tokyo are not taking the opinions of the Okinawans into consideration. The vast majority of Japanese nationals and Okinawans understand that America doesn’t have any ill will towards the government of Japan or Okinawa. However, the central government in Tokyo isn’t helping when so much emphasis is being put on Okinawa without any real dialogue being based on equality.

The recent comment by Satoshi Tanaka, director-general of the Okinawa Defense Bureau, was a disgrace and the Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima responded by stating that “My mouth would become tainted (if I made a comment).”

It is reported that Tanaka asked, “Would you say, ‘I will rape you,’ before you rape someone?” This comment was given about the contentious relocation of American military forces in Okinawa. Therefore, once more Tokyo, and not America, have increased passions on Okinawa which accounts for roughly 70% of all American forces based in Japan.

Ironically, it may be in the interest of President Obama to reach out to the Okinawan people directly because the central government in Tokyo isn’t doing a good job. However, this is most unlikely because this would infringe on the sovereignty of Japan. Therefore, the battle will continue and the armed forces of America and the people of Okinawa deserve proper policies being enacted by the government of Japan.

If the residents of Okinawa witnessed an equal burden with mainland Japan then this would help greatly. Or if major concessions were given to Okinawa with regards to economic free zones, greater cultural awareness, and so forth, then a solution may be found which benefits everyone.


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President Obama: New Asia Policy is like the Old Policy – Japan beware

President Obama: New Asia Policy is like the Old Policy – Japan beware

Joachim de Villiers and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The government of Japan should take a step back and think wisely before following the “containment” policies of President Obama of America towards China. After all, China and Japan rank first and second respectively when it comes to owning US Treasury bonds and China is Japan’s biggest trading partner. Therefore, political leaders in Tokyo must adopt a foreign policy based on the interests of Japan instead of supporting Washington which appears to be returning to a Cold War mentality.

Northeast Asia is delicate at the best of times but economic trade continues to grow and massive cultural exchanges are happening. Therefore, the region is crying out for progressive forces and not out-dated thinking based on political posturing.

Also, if Obama and America is so concerned about containing nations which are spreading a deadly ideology then why isn’t the president focused on Saudi Arabia and Pakistan?  The same applies to past leaders irrespective if Democrat or Republican because September 11 was mainly done by Saudi nationals. Also, Sunni Islamic jihadists in Saudi Arabia did more to endanger the armed forces of America in Iraq than Iran ever did but the usual silence came out of Washington.

Therefore, the stationing of American Marines on Australian soil appears rather shallow and out of tune with recent events in Afghanistan and Iraq. Not only this, the spiraling debt of America and military cutbacks announced by Obama should mean a more pragmatic approach. However, to the bemusement of political leaders in China it appears that Obama wants to open up a new front against political leaders in Beijing.

Japan should stay out of the loop regarding this issue because given America’s past history and conflict in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kosovo, and Vietnam, it would be unwise to follow America’s logic under Obama. Yes, Japan and America have shared interests in protecting Japan because of constitutional constraints which hinder the independence of political leaders in Tokyo. However, Japan doesn’t need to become embroiled in any containment of China because this could lead to future military complications if tensions erupted between political leaders in Washington and Beijing.

Also, it is in the interest of Japan to foster closer ties with China but based on equality because economic investment and past cultural interactions in history were always favorable until the late nineteenth century. Therefore, instead of becoming embroiled in “Obama’s Cold War logic” political leaders in Tokyo should become “a bridge” between both America and China. After all, it is in the interest of Japan to have favorable relations with America and Japan because all nations are major economic powers irrespective of current debt related issues.

Japan also needs to focus on strengthening economic and military ties with the Russian Federation instead of political posturing over the Northern Territories. This applies to increased economic trade, joint military exercises linking Hokkaido and Vladivostok and developing energy policies which will help Japan to break free from relying on oil and gas from the Middle East.

In return, the Russian Federation could arrange to give some disputed islets to Japan while remaining in firm control of Sakhalin. However, Tokyo must abide by certain military pre-conditions if this happened with regards to the stationing of either American or Japanese troops.

In some areas America and Japan must work together and this applies to currency related issues, patent law, abiding by maritime law, supporting democracy, boosting the defensive shield of Japan, and supporting democratic nations throughout the region. Yet Japan should not become involved in political posturing from either Beijing or America.

In other words, Japan should maintain its special relationship with America but outside of the geopolitical concerns of Tokyo, it is incumbent that the non-aligned approach is taken. After all, either regional economic and political blocs will be strengthened or the continent will become divided between Washington and Beijing.

Regional nations don’t need to become embroiled in the “ego” of either America or China and instead international law needs to be maintained. If any nation threatens another, then sides or condemnation is only natural but currently no major power in Asia wants to become embroiled in a major war.

China does need to understand that certain policies have upset nations and that diplomacy is essential at all times. However, to be fair to political leaders in Beijing it is factual that some of the so-called threats have been over-hyped and China also needs to protect sensitive geopolitical areas.

Japan should heed the wise concerns of Singapore because the Foreign Minister K. Shanmugam commented that ASEAN countries do not desire to get “caught between the competing interests” of any major power. Indonesia and Malaysia also expressed dismay over the stationing of US Marines in Australia.

Therefore, Japan needs to adopt a pragmatic approach to America and China and listen to the words of the Foreign Minister of Singapore. It is time for political leaders in Beijing and Washington, irrespective of which nation is more confrontational, to realize that the world is moving on.

The world doesn’t need a new “Cold War” and sadly Obama’s political posturing during the worst economic crisis in recent history in both America and the European Union is rather baffling. Therefore, Obama’s “New Asia Policy” sounds like the “Old Policy” of the Cold War.

Japan must say no to Obama’s “New Asia Policy” and focus on developing closer ties with China and maintaining a strong relationship with America. It is pointless to create an applecart against any single nation when it isn’t warranted because once an applecart is created then “a ticking bomb” may erupt based on a divided region. This will serve no nation and given the American sales pitch of “globalization,” then what happened to Obama?


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Economic growth in Japan but external factors remain troublesome

Economic growth in Japan but external factors remain troublesome

Joachim de Villiers and Lee Jay Walker 

Modern Tokyo Times

The economy of Japan despite all the scaremongering continues to show great resilience and this is despite many massive internal and external factors. Of course, the events that unfolded on March 11 led to major economic convulsions and the loss of life was enormous but on top of this is also the global economic situation. Therefore, for Japan to rebound when America and the European Union are suffering so much is also remarkable.

Tens of thousands of people died because of the potent and deadly tsunami which was unleashed by the 9.0-magnitude earthquake. This was followed by a huge nuclear cloud which hung over Japan and the mass media didn’t help. Therefore, many embassy staff fled alongside foreign nationals and this uncertainty put enormous strains on the economy.

Also, for major manufacturing companies who were based in the areas hit by the earthquake and tsunami, it was essential to restructure and solve the huge cog in the machinery which was hindering the supply chain. However, corporate Japan and the government pumped vast sums into the economy and the banking system. Therefore, a huge capital base was built in order for Japanese companies to obtain funds internally (applies to companies hit by March 11) and also to expand internationally because of the strong yen.

Not only this, the weakness of the American dollar and the Euro meant that exporters would have been hit badly during natural economic events. Yet despite everything, including typhoon Talas which killed many in Wakayama and other prefectures, Japan’s economy is showing signs of economic growth and a rebound was announced.

This applies to gross domestic product growing by 1.5% and while the government of Japan can’t rest on these laurels, it is still a remarkable achievement given the reality of 2011 in Japan. Of course, the ill-winds of America and the European Union will continue to hinder further economic progress but a base is being built and stability is the first step after such internal disasters this year related to nature.

In an earlier article by Modern Tokyo Times it was stated that If you want to study about the uniqueness of Japanese capitalism and how companies respond to enormous adverse conditions, then the Tankan survey by the Bank of Japan will make you fully aware. After all, the devastation caused by March 11 and the ongoing crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant would have caused most nations to bow down to mass uncertainty.  However, welcome to corporate Japan where the response may seem slow but once the juggernaut starts, then it eats into the crisis and returns to normal.”

“Let us also remember that unemployment in America remains within the 9% range to just below 10% despite enormous debt borrowing and having no internal devastating consequences to face.  Also, remember, that the dollar is very weak and should be helping exporters but in Japan the opposite is happening because the yen is too strong and causing many problems.”

“However, unemployment in Japan is falling despite all these negatives to below 4.5% and it is Japan and not America which is trying to help the European Union and crisis hit Greece.  This applies to buying more Eurobonds and making it fully aware that Japan will step in and help Greece providing a sound economic policy is put on the table.”

Therefore, the announcement that Japan’s economy is picking up is remarkable given the adverse conditions but sadly the economic situation isn’t out of the woods. This applies to external factors like the high yen; the sluggish global economy; recent floods in Thailand hindering Japanese companies with regards to the supply chain; the ensuing crisis in Europe and the “Euro cloud;” and other factors.

If the global economy was in a healthier condition and the international exchange rates of major currencies were based on realism; then Japan would have more hope for optimism. However, it is hard to imagine other nations rebounding so quickly from such a traumatic event and for this fact alone it is clear that Japan can recover quickly from major internal convulsions.

The next quarter may show that all is not well because of external factors and consumer spending internally remains problematic. Yet the scaremongering of the demise of Japan can be seen for what it was.



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