Sunday, December 10, 2017

Monday in Washington, December 11, 2017

RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT FUNDING IN THE 2018 US FARM BILL. 12/11, 8:30-9:15am. Sponsor: AEI. Speakers: Vincent H. Smith, AEI; Philip Pardey, University of Minnesota.

U.S.-KOREA DEFENSE ACQUISITION AND SECURITY COOPERATION. 12/11, 9:00am-12:30pm. Sponsors: CSIS; Defense Acquisition Program Administration; Korea Institute for Industrial Economics and Trade; Korea Aerospace Industries. Speakers: Dr. Jeon, Jei Guk, Minister, Defense Acquisition Program Administration; Yu, Byoung-Gyu, President, Korea Institute for Industrial Economics and Trade.

BEYOND TRADE: THE COSTS AND CONSEQUENCES OF EXITING NAFTA. 12/ 11, 10:00-11:30am. Sponsor: CSIS. Speakers: Richard Miles. Senior Fellow and Deputy Director of the Americas Program, CSIS; Scott Miller, Senior Adviser and Scholl Chair in International Business, CSIS; Ambassador Carla Hills, CSIS Counselor and Trustee; ​Ambassador Earl Anthony Wayne, Senior Adviser with the Project on Prosperity and Development at CSIS and former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico and Argentina; Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan, former Mexican Ambassador to the United States; Ambassador Michael Wilson, former Ambassador to the United States and Former Minister of Finance for Canada; moderator: Romina Bandura, Senior Fellow with the Project on Prosperity and Development and the Project on U.S. Leadership in Development at CSIS.

12/11, Noon–2:00pm. Sponsor: Elliott School, GW Speakers: Matt Chessen, Foreign Service Officer, State Department; Robert Ogburn, Visiting State Department Fellow, The Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication, School of Media and Public Affairs and the Elliott School of International Affairs.

CLASHING OVER COMMERCE. 12/11, 12:15-1:30pm. Sponsor: Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE) Speaker: author Douglas Irwin, Professor, Economics, Dartmouth College. Webcast.

WHITHER AMERICA? A STRATEGY FOR REPAIRING AMERICA'S POLITICAL CULTURE. 12/11, 2:00pm. Sponsor: Atlantic Council. Speaker: John Raidt, Nonresident Senior Fellow, Middle East Security Initiative, Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security.

JAPAN AND THE UNITED STATES AS GLOBAL LEADERS IN ENERGY AND INNOVATION. 12/11, Noon-1:30pm, Lunch. Sponsor: Sasakawa USA. Speakers: Robbie Diamond, Founder, President and CEO, Securing America's Energy (SAFE); Phyllis Yoshida, Fellow for Energy and Technology, Sasakawa USA; Moderator: Daniel Bob, Director of Programs and Senior Fellow, Sasakawa USA.

12/11, 5:30-7:30pm. Sponsor: Atlantic Council. Speakers: Harlan Ullman, Distinguished Senior Fellow, U.S. Naval War College, Senior Adviser, Atlantic Council; Susan Eisenhower, President of The Eisenhower Group and Chairman Emeritus at the Eisenhower Institute; Edward Luce, Washington Columnist for the Financial Times; Frederick Kempe, President and CEO of the Atlantic Council. 

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Spirits Homecoming in DC

Two Screenings in Washington, DC

5:00-7:30pm, Reception, Washington, DC
Washington Coalition for Comfort Women Issues (WCCW); Institute for Korean Studies, GWU Speaker: Junglae Cho, Director and Screenplay
George Washington University
1957 E St., NW, Marvin Center, Amphitheater, Room 213

3:00-4:30pm, Reception, Rockville, MD 
Washington Coalition for Comfort Women Issues (WCCW)
Speaker: Junglae Cho, Director and Screenplay 
Universities at Shady Groves (USG)
9630 Gudelsky Drive, Building II, Auditorium

View the Trailer

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

War and Memory in Japan

Something Dreadful Happened in the Past: 
Generational Memory of War and Peace in Japan

Akiko Hashimoto (Visiting Professor of Sociology and Asian Studies at Portland State University, and Faculty Fellow of Yale University’s Center for Cultural Sociology) speaks to Temple University's Japan Campus,
Institute of Contemporary Asian Studies (ICAS) on November 9, 2017.

click to order
She is author and editor of volumes on cultural sociology and comparative sociology, focused on social constructions of reality in varied cultural settings. Her special interests are cultural trauma, war memory, national identity, culture and power, popular culture and media, family and aging.

Japanese children are raised in an environment encoded with generational memory that encourages them to develop negative moral sentiments about the Asia-Pacific War. The “encouragement” comes in subtle and unsubtle ways, as young children develop gut instincts that “something dreadful happened in the past,” even if they don’t fully understand what or why. A growing number of cultural institutions and communities play a pivotal role in producing this generational memory as the wartime generation passes on. Drawing on the emotions of cultural trauma to forge a pacifist moral consciousness is a common technique of transmitting memory at such sites. Hashimoto’s talk will explore the broader cultural premise of the pacifist nation underlying the plural narratives of dark history that continue to cast a shadow on postwar Japan. The talk is based on Hashimoto’s The Long Defeat: Cultural Trauma, Memory and Identity in Japan which has recently been published in a Japanese translation.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Monday in Washington, December 4, 2017

RAISING GLOBAL THREATS: WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO WIN. 12/4, 8:00am-Noon. Sponsor: Defense Forum Washington 2017, U.S. Naval Institute. Speakers Include: Richard V. Spencer, Secretary of the Navy, CAPT John Cordle, USN (Ret.), Director, Maintenance University, Huntington Ingalls Industries.

8th ANNUAL CONFERENCE ON TURKEY. 12/4, 9:00-3:00pm. Sponsors: Middle East Institute (MEI); Friedrich Ebert Stiftung. Speakers: Michael Meier, Representative to the U.S. and Canada, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung; Gönül Tol, Director, Turkish Studies, MEI; Aykan Erdemir, Senior fellow, Foundation for the Defense of Democracies; Ahmet Kuru, Professor, Political Science, San Diego State University; Giran Ozcan, Washington representative, People's Democratic Party; Günes Murat Tezcür, Jalal Talabani Chair, Kurdish Political Studies, University of Central Florida; Arne Lietz, Member of the European Parliament; Sebnem Kalemli-Ozcan, Neil Moskowitz Professor, Economics, University of Maryland; Omer Taspinar, Professor, National Defense University; Dimitar Bechev, senior fellow, Atlantic Council; Jonathan Cohen, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Turkey, Greece, & Cyprus, U.S. Department of State; Kati Piri, Member of the European Parliament; Ozturk Yilmaz, Member of Parliament, Republican People's Party, Republic of Turkey; Moderators: Lisel Hintz, Assistant professor , SAIS, Johns Hopkins; Amberin Zaman, Al-Monitor.

THE NATURE OF CHANGE: THE SCIENCE OF INFLUENCING BEHAVIOR. 12/4, 9:00am-6:00pm. Sponsor: World Wildlife Fund. Speakers: Dr. Dan Ariely, Professor, Psychology and Behavioral Economics, Duke University; Sarilani Wirawan, Director, Rare-Indonesia; Gayle Burgess, Consumer Behavior Change Coordinator, TRAFFIC; Ronan Donovan, Wildlife Photographer and Filmmaker, National Geographic Explorer; Dr. Beth Karlin, Research Director, Norman Lear Center, University of Southern California.


WINNING THE THIRD WORLD: THE SINO-AMERICAN RIVALRY. 12/4, 11:00am-Noon. Sponsor: CSIS. Speaker: Gregg Brazinsky, Author, Associate Professor, GWU.

, Noon-1:30pm. Sponsor: Atlantic Council. Speakers: Amb. Masood Khan, President, Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK); Moderated by: Dr. Bharath Gopalaswamy, Director, South Asia Center, Atlantic Council.

70TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE MARSHALL PLAN. 12/4, Noon-1:30pm. Sponsor: Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership and Policy, University of Southern California. Speaker: Karen Donfried, President, German Marshall Plan of the United States. 

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Japanese state history dissemination

Autobiography of Massachusetts
native who survived
the Bataan Death March
On November 30, the Abe Administration through its Foreign Ministry's think tank, the Japan International Institute for International Studies (JIIA), will sponsor a conference in Washington, DC at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP), entitled, POST-WAR U.S.-JAPAN RECONCILIATION: STRATEGIC BENEFITS OF HEALING.

Its purpose, as the Sankei Shimbun article below explains, is to present the current Japanese government's views of history.

This means it is an effort to sanitize the Japanese Administration's denier history narrative and to discredit Korea and China's historical views of WWII.  The United States will be presented as the "good" reconcilier. However, people who actually fought for historical justice for the American POWs, civilian internees, and comfort women are not included in the conference. These scholars and activists are likely to observe that the U.S. was a reconciler through neglect and its absence in reconciliation programs.

Speakers complicit in this effort are: Representative Niki Tsongas (D-MA); Michael H. Armacost, Shorenstein APARC fellow, Stanford University; Gerald L. Curtis, Burgess professor emeritus of political science at Columbia University; Thomas Berger, professor of international relations at the Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University; Rohan Mukherjee, assistant professor of political science at Yale-NUS College in Singapore; Keiko Iizuka, editorialist and senior political writer for the Yomiuri Shimbun; Koichi Ai, acting director general at the Japan Institute of International Affairs; Michael R. Auslin, Research Fellow, Hoover Institution; Jennifer Lind, Associate Professor, Department of Government, Dartmouth College; Toshihiro Nakayama, Professor, Faculty of Policy Management, Keio University; Douglas H. Paal, vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; James L. Schoff, senior fellow in the Carnegie Asia Program.

Japan International Institute for International Studies Begins to Spread Japan's Viewpoints on History by Initiating its First International Symposium on History and Reconciliation

Sankei Shimbun, November 19, 2017 [Provisional Translation by APP Interns]

The Japan International Institute for International Studies (President and Director General Yoshiji Nogami, Former Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs) will hold a number of symposia overseas on the theme of "history and reconciliation.” It is the first time for JIIA, established in 1959, to hold a symposium overseas on this theme. This is an effort to disseminate overseas the arguments of the Japan side based on objective historical research on such issues as territory and comfort women that Japan has [differences] with neighboring countries.

The symposia will be held in Washington DC on November 30th; in Paris next January; and in New Delhi in February. Researchers from Japan and overseas will participate and it is expected that the latest research in Japan and the opinions of researchers from third-party countries will be presented.

In addition to underscoring the differences between regions that experienced the last world war [大戰] and other events where reconciliation has progressed and those regions where it has not, the symposia are expected also to focus discussion on nationalism in each country.

[Note: The Sankei’s text is ambiguous and written badly. The Sankei writer is hinting above that one should “look at Taiwan and the Philippines, etc., who are very cooperative with Japan despite their war experience, and compare them with the Koreans and Chinese who continue to condemn Japan.”]

The Institute held a symposium in Tokyo this October [the 12th, (Japanese only)] that invited history researchers and others from South Korea, India and the U.S. entitled “History and Reconciliation - Thinking from International Comparison.” One participant, Professor Park Yu-ha of Sejong University [not a historian], the author of the book The Empire's Comfort Women, who was charged [and convicted] of defamation against the several former Comfort Women, said, “The background of the comfort women issue as a major problem between Japan and South Korea can be traced to the fact that the ideological conflict between the left and right in South Korea is closely linked to their views of Korean history as related to Japan.” [i.e., Park is saying that the Korean Left is anti-Japanese and the Right is pro-Japanese]

With an unfair “history war” developing abroad, a JIIA official noted, “We hope that these symposia can spread the data [correct historical evidence] that Japan has accumulated so far in order to appeal to the hearts of people in the West and elsewhere.


>Japan Institute of International Affairs caves to right-wing pressure. 2006/2007

The Struggle for the Japanese Soul: Komori Yoshihisa, Sankei Shimbun, and the JIIA controversy By David McNeill, Japan Focus, September 4, 2006.

Softly, Softly: Did the Japan Institute of International Affairs buckle under right-wing pressure? No, says Ambassador Satoh Yukio. Yes, say his critics by David McNeill; Fred Varcoe interviews Amb. Satoh Yukio, Japan Focus, July 3, 2007.


Part I: "Case Studies on Reconciliation" [Video]

Mr. Brahma Chellaney, Professor, Strategic Studies, Center for Policy Research in New Delhi

Ms. Lily Gardner Feldman, Senior Fellow, American Institute for Contemporary German Studies(AICGS), Johns Hopkins

Mr. Fumiaki Kubo, Senior Fellow, American Government and History, Graduate Schools for Law and Politics, University of Tokyo

Mr. Nobukatsu Kanehara, Deputy Secretary General of National Security Secretariat and Assistant Chief Cabinet Secretary, Prime Minister’s Office of Japan

Part II: "What Promotes and Prevents Reconciliation?"

Ms. Yinan He, Associate professor, Department of International Relations, Lehigh University

Ms. Ji Young Kim, Associate Professor, Department of Area Studies, University of Tokyo

Mr. Kazuya Sakamoto, Professor, Department of Law and Political Science, Graduate School of Law and Politics, Osaka University

Mr. Thongchai Winichakul, Emeritus Professor of Southeast Asian History, University of Wisconsin–Madison

Part III: "Reconciliation and Nationalism"

Mr. Yūichi Hosoya, Senior Fellow, Tokyo Foundation, Professor, Faculty of Law, Keio University.

Mr. Lung-chih Chang, Associate Research Fellow and Deputy Director, Institute of Taiwan History

Mr. Daqing Yang, Associate Professor of History and International Affairs, GWU

Ms. Yu-ha Park, Professor, College of Liberal Arts, Sejong University

Mr. Shin Kawashima, Professor, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Tokyo

Abe's success of Trump's Japan visit

Japan’s Pyrrhic Victory Over ‘Comfort Women’ Commemoration

Blocking comfort women documents from UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register could do Japan more harm than good.

By Edward Vickers, Professor of Comparative Education at Kyushu University, Japan. He is a member of the War Memoryscapes in Asia Partnership (WARMAP), funded by the Leverhulme Trust and coordinated by Mark Frost of Essex University. His latest book, Education and Society in Post-Mao China, was published by Routledge in 2017.

The Diplomat, November 25, 2017

October was a good month for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Following his crushing electoral victory came a further triumph highly prized by Japanese rightists: the stymieing of attempts to inscribe documents relating to “comfort women” — wartime sex slaves of the Japanese military — on UNESCO’s “Memory of the World Register.”

An international alliance had submitted an application, “Voices of the Comfort Women,” in May 2016. But on October 27, inscription was declared “postponed” pending “dialogue” between the applicants and the Japanese government.

This decision is portrayed by Abe’s supporters as endorsing his efforts to close the book on the wartime past, and restore Japan to a “normal” role in world affairs. But does Japan’s UNESCO diplomacy really serve this end? Or does it rather ensure that controversy over wartime atrocities continues to fester, imperiling Japan’s security by lending ammunition to anti-Japan nationalists?

Over many decades, Japan has invested heavily in UNESCO, which it joined in 1951, five years before becoming a full member of the UN itself. From 2011, following withdrawal of U.S. funding, it became the biggest contributor to the organisation’s budget. UNESCO has served as a rare arena for Japanese diplomatic leadership; it was largely at Japanese instigation, for example, that UNESCO declared 2004-2014 the “Decade of Education for Sustainable Development.” Through such initiatives, Japan built up a reputation for responsible global citizenship.

But the Abe administration claims that in recent years other states — specifically China and South Korea — have sought to “politicize” the organisation, in particular its heritage listing process. In 2015, China secured “Memory of the World” inscription for documents relating to the 1937 Nanjing Massacre. Shortly thereafter, Japan suspended its financial contribution to UNESCO in protest.

Japan also sought to buy South Korea’s silence over the “comfort women” issue. A bilateral agreement in December 2015 offered compensation to surviving victims, in return for the South Korean government’s defunding campaigns for further recognition — specifically the application to UNESCO. But far from resolving tensions, the agreement exacerbated them. This was due not least to the blatantly disingenuous nature of the Japanese stance: half-hearted contrition for foreign consumption, alongside intensifying revisionism within Japan itself. Under Abe, discussion of “comfort women” has all but disappeared from school textbooks.

This does not mean that the history of wartime sex slavery simply pits Japanese villainy against Korean or Chinese victimhood. As the South Korean scholar Park Yu-ha has controversially pointed out, Chinese and Korean gangs trafficked women for the Japanese military; some girls were sold into prostitution by their impoverished families; and while most were tricked or coerced, there were exceptions. Trafficking in women for sex is nothing new, and continues across Asia and beyond. For example, China’s skewed sex ratio — a by-product of the One Child Policy — is today fueling an upsurge in trafficking along its southern borders.

Nor were Japan’s imperial forces unique in deploying sexual violence. The Soviet advance into Germany at the end of World War II witnessed an orgy of rape and assault on women, as troops took revenge for suffering inflicted by the Germans on their compatriots. And as Japanese revisionists like to point out, American military bases in South Korea and Japan today are liberally serviced by local sex workers.

However, the “comfort women” system was a particularly coordinated, institutionalized, and brutal form of sexual exploitation. Moreover, for many campaigners, the continuing abuse of women today is precisely the point. The activists at the Women’s Active Museum of War and Peace in Tokyo, for example, see a failure to acknowledge the iniquity of the “comfort women” system as symptomatic of the entrenched chauvinism of Japanese society. For many, securing recognition for wartime sex slaves is partly about drawing attention to the widespread persistence of the kinds of attitudes toward women that underpinned that system. This aim would seem eminently consistent with UNESCO’s humanitarian mission.

But UNESCO is an organization in crisis. In parts of its decrepit Paris headquarters, rusty reinforcing rods can be seen poking through the crumbling concrete. A lack of UNESCO funding left the German government to cover my group’s travel costs when recently visiting to launch a UNESCO-commissioned report on education in Asia. One official whispered fears that Japan might follow the United States in withdrawing completely. Meanwhile, Chinese influence is rapidly filling the void, leaving many UNESCO insiders desperate somehow to restore political balance.

This is the context for the recent “Memory of the World” decision. In 2015, a related Chinese application was turned down, despite the fact that the International Advisory Committee adjudged the submitted documents to have “met the criteria” for registration. In light of the transnational nature of the issue, the committee recommended that groups in various affected countries (not just China) jointly submit a more comprehensive collection of documents. Hence the subsequent South Korean-led 14-country application, the documents submitted by which were described earlier this year by UNESCO’s Register Sub-Committee as “irreplaceable and unique.”

Japan was meanwhile fiercely pressing for revision of the criteria for inscription. It finally secured a commitment to pursue “dialogue” in cases where an application is contested — the principle cited in the recent “postponement” decision. However, as the alliance supporting registration noted in an October 31 press release, this potentially amounts to a perpetrator’s veto: “It means that documents related to colonial regimes should be negotiated with the colonizers, and the damage suffered by victims of war should be discussed with the perpetrators.”

UNESCO’s eagerness to placate Japan is apparent elsewhere, too. This July, the island of Okinoshima off the coast of Kyushu was declared a “World Heritage Site,” along with related shrines on the mainland. The island is a repository of thousands of ancient artifacts from South Korea, China and beyond, mysteriously deposited over the centuries. Intensive Japanese lobbying persuaded the UNESCO committee to override an expert recommendation to register only the island itself, and agree instead to inscribe the mainland sites as well. Moreover, the official description of the site notes neither a “traditional” ban on women landing on Okinoshima, nor the island’s association with nationalistic annual commemorations of a nearby 1905 naval battle.

Not all recent decisions have gone Japan’s way. An application to inscribe as “Memory of the World” documents relating to Sugihara Chiune, the wartime Japanese consul in Latvia who helped save several thousand Jews, was rejected. The reasons were not divulged, but celebrating an instance of wartime Japanese humanitarianism while denying inscription to “comfort women” documents was probably seen as politically unwise.

Given threats from a nuclearizing North Korea and an increasingly assertive China, the project of pursuing a more “normal” constitutional position for Japan’s armed forces has much to recommend it. However, to seek constitutional reform alongside historical revisionism is both ethically indefensible and strategically insane. It needlessly sullies Japan’s international reputation and awards easy propaganda points to nationalists elsewhere intent on portraying Japanese as unrepentant militarists.

And Japan’s actions threaten UNESCO’s reputation, too. In squandering much of the goodwill acquired over decades of involvement in UNESCO, it has exacerbated the very process of “politicization” it claims to lament. Denying inscription to records of wartime atrocities brings discredit both to Japan, for its bullying and mendacity, and to UNESCO, for buckling under pressure and subverting its own processes.

The international alliance has pledged to continue its campaign to inscribe “comfort women” documents, declaring its readiness to enter whatever form of dialogue UNESCO mandates. It remains to be seen whether Japan will approach such an exercise as more than a means of blocking and obfuscation. But for truly meaningful dialogue with its neighbors over this and other aspects of the wartime past, what Japan needs first of all is a long-overdue dialogue with itself.