AMPONTAN

Japan from the inside out

An American view of a nuclear-armed Japan

Posted by ampontan on Saturday, May 9, 2009

RICHARDSON OF DPRK STUDIES does us all a favor in this post by bringing our attention to the Congressional Research Service report, Japan’s Nuclear Future: Policy Debate, Prospects, and U.S. Interests, (PDF, 16 pages), dated 19 February 2009.

Richardson has a different perspective than ours because he uses his site to follow North Korean affairs, which means that he also closely follows South Korea. Still, he offers these two quotes:

The previous taboo within the Japanese political community of discussing a nuclear weapons capability appears to have been broken, as several officials and opinion leaders have urged an open debate on the topic. Despite these factors, a strong consensus—both in Japan and among Japan watchers—remains that Japan will not pursue the nuclear option in the short-to medium term.

And:

Any eventual reunification of the Korean peninsula could further induce Japan to reconsider its nuclear stance. If the two Koreas unify while North Korea still holds nuclear weapons and the new state opts to keep a nuclear arsenal, Japan may face a different calculation.

The report was written specifically to provide background information to members of the U.S. House and Senate. There are two authors; the first is Emma Chanlett-Avery, identified as a Specialist in Asian Affairs, and the second is Mary Beth Nikitin, cited as an “Analyst in Nonproliferation”. Ms. Chanlett-Avery has written several Congressional reports on Asian issues, though it’s not clear what territory is covered by Asia. (One of her reports was on Southeast Asia.) Ms. Nikitin also has written Congressional reports on non-proliferation.

Despite turgid prose, poor organization, and one serious flaw, the report is worth reading because it provides a basic overview of the many aspects involved, including:

  • Japan’s civilian nuclear power program
  • The historical background of Japan’s non-nuclear stance and governmental studies for creating a nuclear deterrent.
  • What Japan would need (and not need) to develop a nuclear arsenal
  • The difficulties in dealing with the substantial bloc of domestic public opinion opposed to nuclear weapons
  • The legal restrictions and obstacles to a nuclear program
  • The growing sense of nationhood among younger people
  • The possible effect on the U.S-Japan alliance, regional security, and Japan’s standing in the world

While most of the report is straightforward, here are some passages that raised my eyebrows:

Regionally, Japan “going nuclear” could set off an arms race with China, South Korea, and Taiwan.

I doubt that Taiwan would think it necessary to bulk up its military capabilities because Japan had nuclear weapons. China, yes; Japan, no.

Bilaterally, assuming that Japan made the decision without U.S. support, the move could indicate a lack of trust in the U.S. commitment to defend Japan.

The Japanese acquisition of nuclear weapons would almost certainly be due to a lack of trust in the U.S. committment to defend Japan.

An ascendant hawkish, conservative movement—some of whom openly advocate for Japan to develop an independent nuclear arsenal—has gained more traction in Japanese politics, moving from the margins to a more influential position.

Japan is as likely to start an aggressive war as shrimp are to learn how to whistle, regardless of the definition the authors choose for the word “conservative”. Therefore, the acquisition of the atomic bomb would be strictly as a deterrent, or in only the most dire threat to national security.

The description of this approach as “hawkish” in this context is curious.

…(F)ew dispute that Japan could make nuclear weapons if Tokyo were to invest the necessary financial and other resources.

“Few”? Does anyone dispute it at all?

…(I)f Japan manufactured nuclear warheads, then it would need to at the minimum perform one nuclear test—but where this could be carried out on the island nation is far from clear.

If there was a consensus on pursuing a nuclear program–a very big if–testing might–and that’s a very big might–be performed at an underground location at one of the remote islands to the south. Hatoma, for example, has a population of only 60 people that a determined government could relocate with the approval of an alarmed citizenry. There are other uninhabited islands scattered throughout the archipelago. This is very speculative, of course.

Japan’s nuclear materials and facilities are under IAEA safeguards, making a clandestine nuclear weapons program difficult to conceal.

If Japan felt threatened enough by North Korea or China to build a bomb, why would they want to conceal the program? And in the face of what such a threat would entail, why would they feel constrained by either the IAEA or the need for secrecy? I think the report would have been improved had the authors considered in greater depth the environment required to produce the events they suggest might occur.

Many observers have recognized a trend of growing nationalism in Japan, particularly among the younger generation. Some Japanese commentators have suggested that this increasing patriotism could jeopardize closer cooperation with the United States…

Subtract points for credibility due to the false equivalence of “nationalism” and “patriotism”.

Realist-minded security observers cite the danger of threatening China…

A nuclear deterrent is not a threat to China. Japanese actions in this regard would depend on Chinese behavior, and the leaders of China know it. The leaders of China also think it’s in their best interests to feed their public a different story, however. (Let’s not bring up the North Korean threat; if the Chinese were serious about stopping North Korean nuclear ambitions, Pyeongyang’s program would have ended long ago.)

Perhaps the “realist-minded security observers” might give greater consideration to the more realistic threat of Chinese nuclear weapons and ever-growing armed forces to Japanese security.

If Japan withdrew from the NPT, it would likely be subject to UN Security Council-imposed sanctions and economic and diplomatic isolation.

The only reason Japan would withdraw from the NPT would be due to a serious external threat that it was convinced the UN and the U.S., among others, were incapable of dealing with. Under that scenario, if the UN were to impose sanctions and economic and diplomatic isolation–which haven’t worked so well with Iraq, Iran, and North Korea–global security conditions would have become so perilous that Japan would probably need nuclear weapons.

Acquiring nuclear weapons could also hurt Japan’s long-term goal of permanent membership on the U.N. Security Council.

Japan isn’t going to become a permanent member until the South Korean state reaches diplomatic adulthood, which means not in the foreseeable future.

Some in Japan are nervous that if the United States develops a closer relationship with China, the gap between Tokyo’s and Washington’s security perspectives will grow and further weaken the U.S. commitment.

As well they should be.

To many security experts, the most alarming possible consequence of a Japanese decision to develop nuclear weapons would be the development of a regional arms race. The fear is based on the belief that a nuclear-armed Japan could compel South Korea to develop its own program.

It wouldn’t “compel” South Korea to develop its own program, but the current state of South Korean nationalism–not patriotism–would demand it. Just because Japan did it.

The counter-argument, made by some security experts, is that nuclear deterrence was stabilizing during the Cold War, and a similar nuclear balance could be achieved in Asia. However, most observers maintain that the risks outweigh potential stabilizing factors.

“Most observers”? Did they count the observers? Whom do they consider to be “observers”, and why? The authors tend to be vague throughout with their use of expressions such as these, despite what appears to be some lightness in the footnoted material.

Japan’s development of its own nuclear arsenal could also have (a) damaging impact on U.S. nonproliferation policy. It would be more difficult for the United States to convince non-nuclear weapon states to keep their non-nuclear status or to persuade countries such as North Korea to give up their weapons programs.

The United States and its European allies haven’t been very successful in convincing states with malevolent intent to remain non-nuclear. If it isn’t clear to the authors by now that nothing the Americans do (short of total warfare) will convince North Korea to give up its weapons programs, it never will be.

The first justification, by the way, is one cited by the Obama Administration for its sophomoric efforts to outlaw nuclear weapons. As George Jonas points out here, that is potentially more dangerous than anything a hawkish, conservative nationalist would do: “The genie is out of the bottle; good luck to anyone trying to stuff it back.”

The serious flaw of this report is that it assumes the existence of a marvelous policy control panel with hundreds of switches, and the operation in question is to turn only that switch marked “Japanese nuclear weapons” to the ON position. But that switch will not be turned on unless the current position of many other switches in the imaginary control panel also change; that much should be obvious. What, therefore, is the point of examining a single switch in isolation? One would have hoped the authors of Congressional reports were more imaginative when examining hypothetical scenarios.

The full report is here.

25 Responses to “An American view of a nuclear-armed Japan”

  1. It is an interesting theory or idea that Japan may eventually develop nukes. But it will never happen. Japan will never do it with their history as well as the general world feeling towards nukes. It will never happen in history.

  2. Aceface said

    “it wouldn’t “compel” South Korea to develop its own program, but the current state of South Korean nationalism–not patriotism–would demand it. Just because Japan did it.”

    South Korea has been attempting to acquire nuclear weapons multiple times.And judging from the poll,pro-nuke opinon has always been high.
    Japan’s move may become one excuse for international community,though.

  3. Richard said

    well-organized and presented site….valuable for researchers and policy-makers

  4. Dara said

    Great Read!

    This thought had been on my mind for quite awhile, though there’s many reasons that Japan couldn’t/shouldn’t/wouldn’t obtain nuclear weapons, but there are also several important reasons which they should.

    With neighbors like Russia, China and North Korea having nukes, and problems with South Korea, I think it’s only fair Japan should have sufficient means to protect themselves, including nuclear weapons since their 3 neighbors already have it.

    With China and the Koreas having grudge against Japan, and Russia being their comrades, It think it’s would be dumb to not protect yourselves from any future threats when they have nukes.

    The Northeast Asian region is a delicate situation.

  5. RMilner said

    >>There is no explanation at all why Japanese non-proliferation “experts” (however that is defined) think a civilian nuclear power arrangement between these two countries weakens the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. I suspect the only explanation is “because we think so”.

    Previous US policy was not to deal nuclear technology with nations who were not members of the NNPT. That principle has obviously been broken by the new treaty. Clearly this weakens the NNPT since it sends a signal to non-NNPT members that the ‘punishment’ for going nuclear by yourself may be set aside by one of the NNPT’s leading members.

    Obviously, non-NNPT members are capable of trading among themselves, however, if the NNPT is to have any utility, it ought to be upheld. Perhaps the USA considers the NNPT to be effectively defunct.

  6. ampontan said

    RMilner: I actually knew that, but had forgotten it. Thanks for reminding me.

  7. mac said

    There are far “better” weapons to have that no one complains about. Old school nukes are Cold War White Elephants. The discussion is passé.

    Turning the argument around, is there any legally binding and practically applicable statute, within any International law that the Chinese or Koreas would adhere to, by which Japan could become formally pacifist and neutral … i.e. extend Article 9 as far as the Article 9 folks would have it?

    I remember speaking to US Military personnel from Aomori about what would happen if China started a war with Japan and their answer, as quick as a blink, was pull out of Japan. That is, not engage with China under any circumstances and not waste a moment defending Japan.

    I put that to a Article 9 group to try to find some practicality within their position. What would they do? It was clearly something they had never considered. Life is enough rosy when you pay the US Military for parking in your backyard. I kind of got the impression their official response was “roll over and die” or deserve to suffer.

    I’d love to live in a neutral and pacifist nation (which would mean kicking out the Americans) and, strangely, Japan has a longer and more practical tradition of pacifism and non-aggression that any other great nation. I’d just like it to be a neutrality that others would respect like Switzerland (it still has an army).

  8. ampontan said

    Interesting points, Mac. Note also that Switzerland has universal male conscription until age 30, for which no college deferments are granted. The population is armed, and can purchase semi-automatic assault rifles cheaply.

    Also, Americans are starting to pay attention to the fact that Europeans get to spend all sorts of money on social programs because they’ve outsourced national defense to the US. They’re not thrilled by it, either. (At least not that element that wants to become Euro-socialists themselves.)

    Is the European financial liability for US bases equivalent to the Japanese financial contribution, I wonder?

  9. […] An American View of A Nucler Armed Japan […]

  10. Bender said

    Also, Americans are starting to pay attention to the fact that Europeans get to spend all sorts of money on social programs because they’ve outsourced national defense to the US. They’re not thrilled by it, either. (At least not that element that wants to become Euro-socialists themselves.)

    I think you need also to consider the shear number of jobs the U.S. military creates for Americans- not just soldiers but also for producing all those fancy gadgets the military uses. Want that all to go to Europe?

  11. Bender said

    Also, I remember the former president of Sony mentioning how hopeless it is for Japan to catch up with the U.S. regarding high-tech, no matter how much more Japanese companies spend in R&D than U.S. companies: the vast U.S. military spending is just unmatchable.

  12. mac said

    The interesting thing about Switzerland is that gun crime rate is so low that statistics are not kept. It has a population of six million and at least two million publicly-owned firearms, including about 600,000 automatic rifles and 500,000 pistols, but in 2005, only 48 people were murdered by gunfire in Switzerland – about the same number as in England and Wales, which have a population seven times as large and strict laws against gun ownership.

    Instead of a standing, full-time army, the country requires every man to undergo some form of military training. Between the ages of 21 and 32 men serve as frontline troops and are given an M-57 assault rifle and 24 rounds of ammunition to keep at home. Once discharged, men serve in the Swiss equivalent of the US National Guard.

    In addition to the government-provided arms, there are few restrictions on buying weapons and the government even sells off surplus weaponry to the general public when new equipment is introduced. More than 200,000 Swiss attend national annual marksmanship competitions.

    Partly due to other factors as well, such as shared wealth, education and social values that equate to Japan’s, gun and violent crimes in Switzerland are extremely rare. There are only minimal controls at public buildings and politicians rarely have police protection.

    Except for the US military interest, would it not be possible and in Japan’s interest to become the neutral, pacifist, offshore, tax free, financial investment center for East Eurasia that Switzerland is for Europe?

  13. Ecoutez said

    Also, Americans are starting to pay attention to the fact that Europeans get to spend all sorts of money on social programs because they’ve outsourced national defense to the US.

    I’m not sure that this is accurrate, actually – either the premise or the conclusion.

    Many European social programs like public education and health care are quite a bit less costly than their American counterparts. The U.S. outspends every European country per capita on those two areas by a substantial margin. Also, their prison population is a mere fraction of the U.S.

    Secondly, the E.U’s military budget is about 1/3 rd of the U.S. This might not seem like much, but its certainly substantial – and much more than China (the next biggest spender). And it’s not like the U.S. is spending that money protecting Europe. Most U.S military spending is going elsewhere – on adventures in the Middle East, for instance. So the idea that the U.S. is subsidizing European safety and decadence just doesn’t hold up for me.

  14. ampontan said

    I think you need also to consider the shear number of jobs the U.S. military creates for Americans- not just soldiers but also for producing all those fancy gadgets the military uses. Want that all to go to Europe?

    I don’t understand what you want to say–do mean that if the US left, Europeans would fill that military gap? I’m not so sure to what extent Europe as a whole is capable of, or interested in, that sort of thing.

    Many European social programs like public education and health care are quite a bit less costly than their American counterparts.

    Which immediately makes one wonder what part of Europe, what social programs, and what health care we’re talking about.

    The British health care system is a farce. 20% of treatable lung cancer patients have their tumors metastize because of long waiting times for treatment, doctors and hospitals turn away, or delay, admission and treatment to comply with bureaucratic requirements. Americans don’t ration health care yet, either (though it’s coming under this administration).

    Social programs? The French spend quite a bit on programs to allow women to have children and keep working (which have other de facto economic costs by permitting them to stay out of the workforce, thereby withholding their productivity). This has raised their birth rate from 1.8 to 1.9, assuming the Muslim population wasn’t responsible for most of it.

    The Swedes are finally turning a bit in the opposite direction, after years of 50%+ tax rates. Some factors include Swedish shock upon their discovery that the entire population has a lower income based on PPP than African-Americans. Swedish think tank Timbro said in 2004 the country was poorer than all but five U.S. states (and Denmark poorer than all but nine).

    America may have a larger prison population, but Europe has a much larger unemployed (and long-term unemployed) population and unemployment relief is a social program. France and Germany had double-digit unemployment even before the economic crisis. How many of those long-term unemployed in Europe are even interested in finding a job?

    The Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise said in 2006 that the country’s petroleum fund was in danger of being wiped out by social programs/unemployment programs for immigrants (i.e. Muslims), while another report said their roads were in worse repair than Albania’s. This is in a small country relatively rich due to North Sea oil.

    The American military presence in Europe most certainly does handle their defense, particularly from 1945-1990. Who apart from Britain is even capable of it? The French have one aircraft carrier that spends half its time in drydock because it’s always broken. About all they can handle are minor African coups. They’re certainly incapable of handling public order in the Paris banlieux. What part of the token forces NATO sends to Afghanistan are actually engaged in combat?

  15. Ecoutez said

    Ampontan,

    Point per point, as briefly as possible:

    -The World Health Organization has a website, with easily accessible statistics on health-care costs and outcomes. The United States spends 50% more per capita than the next-highest-spending nation, with verifiably worse outcomes. I have heard many try to rationalize these differences, but few these days will actually refute them. If you think there is no rationing of health care here in the U.S., you must have been away for a very long time. It’s not the 1980’s.

    -Timbro has an agenda. I’m sensing that you’re cherry picking one country here, and another there, to hold them up as examples of “Europe.” Shall Alabama, Vermont, and California represent the U.S. exclusively?

    -The U.S. also had double digit unemployment at that time, but you’d never know it because the books were cooked. See Kevin Philips (former Nixon man) on “Polyanna Creep,” the systematic editing of unemployment figures and the CPI over the past two decades to make the U.S. economy look better. By the Clinton era, the unemployment figure was only covering half of the “unemployed” it would have counted in decades past. http://harpers.org/archive/2008/05/0082023

    -Here is a chart on social spending per GDP, Europe vs. U.S. : http://atlanticreview.org/archives/1175-Social-Welfare-in-Europe-and-North-America.html

    As you can see, the difference is marginal in many cases. Even the biggest gap is not large enough to accomodate the differences in military spending.

    As I said, the U.S. is in Afghanistan primarily for its own protection (supposedly).

    Prisons are paid for by the state and are costly – more costly than welfare. We are talking ten and twenty-fold per capita differences in the prison population. That was my point. You pay the piper at some point. You can spend the money on keeping people out of prison, or you can spend it on putting them in prison.

  16. izanami said

    The irony is that the genie has a twin brother, who is translucent and has the magic power of hypnotizing humans into believing that mass-murder of unarmed civilians could be justifiable as an effective military strategy. And so it made Israel paranoid.

    The image of a mushroom cloud itself is overwhelmingly powerful and sometimes fear is stimulated by uncertainty.

    Even selling a gun is subject to numerous restrictions. A lollipop for each kid sounds fair, but you won’t give a weapon to a loony. The principle of “first come first served,” is just utterly stupid.

    In this situation, the only option is to put the genie brothers back into the moldy bin. Separating the two brothers is so inhumane. But who becomes the watcher is a different story; “the only nuclear power to have used a nuclear weapon” (against unarmed civilians)?

  17. ampontan said

    Ecoutez: We could go back and forth on this forever, but I’ll just limit myself to this one: why does Timbro have an agenda, but Kevin Phillips doesn’t?

    Calling Phillips a Nixon man is like calling Reagan an FDR man. Does anyone really believe that he is a man of the Right, or has been for the last 30+ years? No one believed it in the 80s when the print media tried to sell it to their readers then.

    Try this for a sample of the non-leftist take on Phillips.

    http://www.slate.com/id/2138947/

    I can’t find the quote now, but I did read somewhere pre-WWW but early Internet that he considered himself an “economic Marxist”. It’s an interesting phenomenon with Phillips: the further to the left the observer, the more likely he is to exaggerate Phillips’s brief role in the Republican party.

    And let’s not get started on what libertarian/small government people on the right think of Nixon and the two Bushes.

  18. Ecoutez said

    All I said was that he was a “former Nixon man.” And I did say “former.” How is that exaggeration? Yes, a Nixon man, not a Goldwater man. News to neither of us. He was a senior strategist in the ’68 campaign. I made no claims about where his present alliances are at. You seem to have decided I’m a doctrinaire leftist, and that you can thereby predict my views even before I articulate them. That’s okay – I get that a lot 🙂

    Your link does not address the arguments Philips makes about the unemployment figures. U-1 thought U-6 is clearly broken down, and the government’s alterations to the tally are easily verifiable independant of Phillips of myself. In fact, Philips’ biggest target on this matter is the Clinton Administration, so I hardly see what you get out of dismissing him as a spokesperson for the left.

  19. ampontan said

    My link may not address the arguments Phillips makes, but it does address his credibility. There are a lot of assertions in your link (with some numbers), but very little explanation of methodology. There’s also a lot of froth:

    The series nearest to real-world conditions is, not surprisingly, the highest: U-6, which includes part-timers looking for full-time employment as well as other members of the “marginally attached,” a new catchall meaning those not looking for a job but who say they want one. Yet this does not even include the Americans who (as Austan Goolsbee puts it) have been “bought off the unemployment rolls” by government programs such as Social Security disability, whose recipients are classified as outside the labor force.

    I don’t buy the assertion that people with part-time jobs are really unemployed, that they should be considered as such, and that statistics that include them are closer to real world conditions. (The Japanese use a term similar to fully unemployed for their public stats, but I forget off the top of my head.) Nor do I buy the assertion that people on disability and presumably can’t work should be on the unemployment rolls, nor that they have been “bought off” the rolls, nor that Barack Obama’s long-time economic advisor is agenda-free, or that anyone associated with what passes for Barack Obama economic policies is to be taken at face value. (Other than the fact that we have to, for better or worse.)

    Goolsby apparently wants to invest more in education, and he should know better (but then he’s a Democrat). It was shown nearly 50 years ago that the money spent on education is of limited value. More important is the learning environment at home.

    That article is exclusively about the US and doesn’t mention European methods of calculating unemployment. The US cooks the books but the Europeans don’t? So how can we compare the US with Europe?

    And your post doesn’t address the reason why we’re supposed to discount Timbro because they have an “agenda” and supposed to accept at face value whatever Phillips says because he’s presumably just a disinteresed social scientist.

    As I said, we could go back and forth forever.

  20. Ecoutez said

    I don’t buy the assertion that people with part-time jobs are really unemployed, that they should be considered as such, and that statistics that include them are closer to real world conditions. (The Japanese use a term similar to fully unemployed for their public stats, but I forget off the top of my head.) Nor do I buy the assertion that people on disability and presumably can’t work should be on the unemployment rolls, nor that they have been “bought off” the rolls, nor that Barack Obama’s long-time economic advisor is agenda-free, or that anyone associated with what passes for Barack Obama economic policies is to be taken at face value.

    I’m not asking you to “buy” any of this. It doesn’t matter what you think the statistics should or should not measure. All that matters is that the criteria have changed many times, and hence the numbers are incredibly deceptive. For instance, the UK in the late 1990’s revised their figures to include more at the same time the US was revising theirs to include less.

    So how can we compare the US with Europe?

    You can’t. That was my point from the beginning. The numbers are almost worthless, except for charting changes within one particular country for a limited period of time.

    Goolsby apparently wants to invest more in education, and he should know better (but then he’s a Democrat). It was shown nearly 50 years ago that the money spent on education is of limited value. More important is the learning environment at home.

    I agree. This is one reason why European schools achieve better results while spending less per student.

    And your post doesn’t address the reason why we’re supposed to discount Timbro because they have an “agenda” and supposed to accept at face value whatever Phillips says because he’s presumably just a disinteresed social scientist.

    As I said, we could go back and forth forever.

    Well, I’m getting mixed messages. You seem disappointed that I’m not responding to all your points, yet when you say “we could go back and forth forever” it suggests to me that you don’t want me to continue. I’ve been limiting my post-lengths because I don’t want to overstay my welcome.

    We don’t need to discount Timbro. But going into why their use of PPP in this case might be misleading could take up a tad too much space here (especially if you rebut my rebuttle). But if you really want my thoughts I’ll go into it.

  21. izanami said

    “The Japanese use a term similar to fully unemployed for their public stats, but I forget off the top of my head”

    I guess Americans are oversensitive to political innuendo. Is the loyalty to a political party that virtuous, as Uncle Dick put it?

    Anyway, I don’t mean to nitpick, but the U.S. and Japan both use a method of calculating unemployment in compliance with ILO standards, and yet there are some exploitable loopholes. Applying the U.S. metrics, the number of unemployed in Japan decreases by 16%, a relatively large difference.

    Ref. http://www.stat.go.jp/data/roudou/report/2007/ft/pdf/ref.pdf

    失業者数の試算、under 失業者数の国際比較。

    BTW, I’m not that lunatic “izanami.” I guess I should not use this HN any longer, thus my last post as “izanami.”

  22. ampontan said

    Ecoutez: This is what I mean when I say we could go back and forth forever.

    The erstwhile non-lunatic izanami:

    I guess Americans are oversensitive to political innuendo. Is the loyalty to a political party that virtuous, as Uncle Dick put it?

    Sorry, don’t understand what you’re referring to.

  23. melmo said

    Oh, it’s nothing important, but if you are kinda curious…

    First, nobody is agenda-free. We are the products of subjectivity, and are thus vulnerable to propaganda. But what we enjoy most in the U.S. is the freedom of speech, allowing us to nudge our distorted views here and there. But recently ideologies are becoming polarized in accordance with the two political parties. People are cozy in their own nest, and hardly venture to twitter with the others. They try to analyze the opinions of others through the stereotyped lens of political preferences before giving them due consideration – a sort of political xenophobia. I see flaws in both sides; territorial prejudice and defensiveness.

    The loyalty part is from one of the stupidest news stories I heard yesterday, where Cheney questions Powell’s “loyalty.” Do we have to maintain loyalty before our opinions? I thought the political party is the consequence of our opinions, not the source thereof. Anyway, that poor guy, with his naive militaristic loyalty, even went to the U.N. to convince the world that Saddam had WMD’s with lax evidence and propaganda. And now Limbaugh is saying Uncle Dick is motivated by the LOVE of his country.

    Let’s try to listen to it before dismissing it. Even a three-year sleepy head (三年寝太郎) had a great idea.

    Sorry for another rant on your blog.

  24. ampontan said

    Rant all you like; Mac’s rants make good readings.

    The left can be just as nasty, if not nastier, i.e., David Horowitz and Christopher Hitchens off the top of my head.

  25. mac said

    I have always stated in this continued discussion of real Japan that whatever the Imperial Army did 60 odd years ago, the miracle of Japan is that it just stopped in 1945. Absolutely. And have never started again since.

    This to be, with the background of 250 years of peace and environmental sustainability during Edo, is far greater evidence of the real nature of Japanese people and society. Bearing in that that those 250 years saw Europe’s “war again nature” by way of the Industrial Revolution starting.

    Well … real life follows art. In the news today May 2009, underlining what I wrote, US soldier convicted of rape and murder in Iraq has been spared the death penalty.

    Steven Green, 24, will now be sentenced to life in prison, after jurors in the state of Kentucky could not agree unanimously on his punishment.

    In May, the jury found Green guilty of the rape of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and the killing of her and her family near Baghdad in 2006.

    Four other soldiers are serving sentences of between five and 110 years for their roles in the 2006 incident. Three had admitted holding down Abeer Qassim al-Janabi, raping her and then killing her, her parents and her younger sister at the family’s home in Mahmudiya before torching the building.

    OK, that one made the court and news, how many did not?

    One question to all Americans that stumble this way … are you and your government partly responsibility for these actions?

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