Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Asahi Breweries to acquire stake in Ting Hsin

Asahi Breweries, a Japanese beverage company, agreed to buy 6.54% of Ting Hsin Holdings, the largest instant noodle company in China, for $520 million.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Kan's total lack of vision will be his undoing, says former ally

The Shukan Asahi Weekly interviewed a former colleague of Naoto Kan, Shusei Tanaka, on September 24, 2010. Tanaka did not have nice things to say about Kan in this interview.

Tanaka noted that, in the not too distant past, Kan expressed his desire for the politicians to wrestle control of the government away from the bureaucrats. Tanaka said he supported this.

“However, in almost no time, he has changed his tune from one of moving away from bureaucrats to one of being completely in their control,” said Tanaka.

As an example of how the bureaucrats had Kan in their control, Tanaka cited Kan’s flip flop on the consumption tax. Before, Kan voiced his opposition to raising the tax. But now, Kan supports raising the tax. Tanaka apparently believes the bureaucrats got him to change his position.

“The biggest problem with Kan is that he has no vision of the kind of nation he wants Japan to become,” said Tanaka. “I have known him for close to 40 years, but I have never heard him mention anything along those lines. In a sense, the Kan government is like a bus that does not indicate its destination. The public will be wary about riding on such a bus.”


Monday, September 20, 2010

Nissan increases China production target

The BBC reported that Nissan had increased its production target for China. The company now hopes to produce 1.2 million cars in China by 2012. Previously, the company had hoped to produce 1 million cars in China by 2012.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Sekisui House to build factory in Shenyang

Kyodo News reported that Sekisui House, a Japanese company, would build a factory in China to produce steel-framed houses for the city of Shenyang. This factory would produce a total of 1,350 units which would include houses, hotels, condos, and other commercial buildings. The total value of this development would reach about 90 billion yen.

Releasing Nixon's Grand Jury Testimony

On September 17, 2010, the former White House Counsel for President Nixon during the Watergate Scandal, John W. Dean, wrote an op-ed calling for the release of Nixon’s grand jury testimony, arguing that the testimony could change history. Presumably, in that testimony, Nixon explained that the Watergate Scandal was nothing more than political theater. If so, that testimony certainly would change history.

Earlier in the week, Public Citizen sued the government in an attempt to get that information released, but so far, nothing has come of it. Instead of telling the truth, once again, our government decided to threaten to tell the truth.

Another year has passed – a year that saw several more civil wars erupt in the Middle East, countless people die, and more political theater.

Trash till the end.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Killing Me Softly

On September 16, I had the song “Killing Me Softly” stuck in my head. That made it hard for me to concentrate.
I felt he found my letters
And read each one out loud
I prayed that he would finish
But he just kept right on

Strumming my pain with his fingers
Singing my life with his words
Killing me softly with his song
Killing me softly with his song
Telling my whole life with his words
Killing me softly with his song

Kobelco Cranes to form manufacturing venture in China

Kobelco Cranes, a Japanese company, and Sichuan Chengdu Chenggong Construction Machinery, a Chinese company, announced they would form a joint venture to produce and sell cranes in China.

1985 to 2010 All seems just the same

On September 16, 2010, the Japan Times published its 40,000th issue. As part of that issue, the newspaper published a series of op-eds, one of which was written by Noriko Hama.

According to her, for Japan, history kept repeating itself. Hama argued that the problems Japan suffered through over the past three decades were due, in part, to a lack of defiance.

“To defy the odds, to aim for the impossible, to think the unthinkable,” said Hama. “These things are so critical if one means to reach a new world. And a new world is what awaited us in 1985. It awaits us now. If only we had the guts to reach for it.”

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Reset in Japan-U.S. Relations

The New York Times published an op-ed written by Jim Foster, a former State Department official, and Don Kanakis, the chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan, on September 15, 2010, right after Naoto Kan defeated Ichiro Ozawa in the election for DPJ president.

The authors referred to the election as a “bruising leadership race.” I’m not sure what was so “bruising” about that election except for the commentary I provided. Perhaps the authors known about what I have been doing.

The authors argued that the election gave Japan the opportunity to reset its relationship with America. They claimed that the issue of relocating Marine Corps Air Station Futenma had “dominated the U.S.-Japan security dialogue over the past year in a way that is out of all proportion to its strategic significance.”

Though the issue of relocating Futenma would drop from the headlines, the relationship between Japan and America would not improve. So much for the reset.

A big day for seikei bunri

Mitsubishi Heavy announced it would license its manufacturing technology for its 2.5 megawatt wind turbine to a Chinese company called Ningxia Yinxing Energy.

The Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported that Haier agreed to use its sales channels to market products made by JS Group, a Japanese company. The two companies also agreed to develop products together.

The newspaper also reported that Yida Group, a Chinese company, had agreed to build condos in Dalian, China that contained energy efficient appliances made by Panasonic Electric Works.

And the newspaper reported that the Development Bank of Japan and the China Development Bank had agreed to work together on syndicated loans and M&A advising.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Orix to Increase Assets Outside of Japan by $1.2 Billion, Targeting China

Bloomberg News reported that Orix, a Japanese equipment-leasing company, would spend $1.2 billion to expand its overseas business. Much of this money would go towards expanding its business in China.

Monday, September 13, 2010

US role crucial in Northeast Asian reconciliation

The Korea Times published an op-ed written by Shin Gi-wook, a professor at Stanford, on September 13, 2010. To this day, World War II remains a dividing line between Korea, China, and Japan. According to Shin, in order for those countries to reconcile with one another, America needs to be involved in the reconciliation process. After all, America was “deeply involved” in the “problems of history” of Northeast Asia. As part of the reconciliation process, Shin argued that President Obama should visit Hiroshima or Nagasaki. In response to his idea, I wrote the following in INDB.
America was involved in the problems of East Asia. Going to Hiroshima will not solve them. All it would do is stir up nationalism on all sides. That visit to Hiroshima by John Roos really didn't move forward relations one bit. That apology by Kan to South Korea really didn't move relations forward one bit. One of the problems of doing these things is that people claim that the actions are insincere. And in many ways these people are right. One of the reasons why these actions are insincere is because the people apologizing don't feel responsible for those prior actions. And they have good reason not to feel responsible. They didn't do it. People long since dead made the decisions that cost so many lives. The other reason these actions are insincere is because essentially no one - myself included - understands exactly what went on. No one understands why the various actors did what they did. In that context, any apology or action has to necessarily be insincere. What would really be helpful is for a more honest, public discussion of exactly what when on before the war, during the war, and after the war. I think this would lead to better decision making in the future and it would also lead to reconciliation. It would show that the idea of an East Asian Community has been something long sought for and worked for by all sides - Korea, Japan, and China. This would help improve relations between the three countries. It would, for instance, explain the actions of Junichiro Koizumi and show that what he did was vital to the emergence of East Asia and very much in the interests of South Korea and China.
I believe someone from Japan “helped” me write this response.

Japan frees crew of Chinese fishing vessel, but not captain

On September 13, 2010, the Japanese government released the 14 crew members of the Chinese fishing boat, but refused to release the captain of the ship.

Needless to say, this move failed to appease China.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Military investigates three separate U.S. servicemember deaths on Okinawa

A U.S. soldier stationed in Okinawa was found dead in his house. He was the third U.S. soldier to have died in Okinawa in the past three days. With much of the DPJ leadership election focused on the question of whether Japan would try to find a new solution to the relocation of Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, I’m thinking these three deaths can’t be a coincidence.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

France will investigate the plane crash that casued the Rwandan Genocide again

On September 11, a team of French investigators arrived in Rwanda to investigate the plane crash that caused the Rwandan Genocide. That plane crash occurred more than 17 years ago. Finding anything new seems unlikely, to say the least.

By beginning the investigation on 9/11, presumably, France wanted to send some sort of message to us. Perhaps, France wants to make it look like America caused the plane crash. Perhaps France has the evidence that implicates America and she will “miraculously” find this evidence 17 years after the plane crash. Perhaps America will use this “pressure” as an excuse to do what France wants.

As you can see, there are a lot of possibilities here.

U.S. soldier found dead in his barracks room in Okinawa

A U.S. soldier stationed in Okinawa was found dead in his barracks room.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Diaoyu Islands collision a dangerous game

On September 7, 2010, a Chinese fishing boat collided with a Japan coast guard ship near the Senkaku Islands. The Global Times accused the Japanese coast guard ship of ramming into the Chinese ship in an attempt to sink it.

“Japan’s irresponsible moves may eventually set fire to the Sino-Japanese relationship, or even force a military showdown,” said the Global Times.

So much for transforming the East China Sea from the Sea of Conflict into the Sea of Fraternity. This incident would mark the beginning of yet another period of seikei bunri. On the surface, the incident would damage the political relationship between China and Japan, as both sides would complain furiously about each other’s behavior in the wake of the incident. Meanwhile, on the economic front, both sides would work together quietly to build their East Asia Community.

This incident is probably why Obama was smiling and giving a thumbs up sign yesterday (I assume that the collision was planned and I assume Obama knew about the plan beforehand).

Obama would not be smiling for long, however.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Okinawa base issue and the DPJ race

The Asahi Shimbun published another editorial on the issue of relocating Marine Corps Air Station Futenma on September 5, 2010. The newspaper noted that Naoto Kan wanted to stick to the existing relocation agreement while Ichiro Ozawa wanted to find a new way forward. According to the Asahi Shimbun, if Ozawa became prime minister, he might ask America to move Futenma outside of Japan.

“We fear that the mutual trust that exists between the two countries would be damaged by making such a proposal to Washington,” said the Asahi Shimbun. “This approach would require huge conceptual power and, more than anything else, an unshakable resolution.”

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Mideast peace talks

The Asahi Shimbun published an editorial on the Middle East peace process on September 4, 2010. The Israelis and the Palestinians had just agreed to restart direct negotiations.

“The chances are slim that the parties will reach an agreement through direct negotiations,” said the Asahi Shimbun. “That is why the United States must exercise strong leadership to achieve peace. It is hoped that Obama should take on an aggressive role and propose a specific peace plan to both parties after he listens to the positions of both parties.”

Unfortunately, the Middle East peace process is yet another issue in which President Obama has failed to lead. Apparently, he likes the status quo.

“This must not just end as a diplomatic show,” said the Asahi Shimbun.

Unfortunately, that’s all it was.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Tony Blair in 'A Journey': On U.S. Leaders Bush, Clinton

Time Magazine published an article written by Tony Blair on September 2, 2010.

“The next years will test the American character,” said Blair. “America won’t be loved in this presidency any more than in previous ones. But America should have confidence. That ideal, which produces the optimism that generates the achievement, is worth all the striving. It is the most precious gift a nation can have.”

Given how much Europe hated George Bush, it is pretty remarkable to hear Tony Blair say that Europe won’t like the Obama administration anymore than the Bush administration. It makes you wonder why he would say such a thing. It also makes you wonder why he wants America to have confidence.

Remember that, more than anything else, Europe and America fear having the truth revealed. Were the truth revealed, the people responsible for what has happened would be in a tremendous amount of trouble. However, it is not a great argument to say that we should suppress the truth to protect the powers that be. It’s much better to suggest that we shouldn’t reveal the truth because that would damage the confidence of the public. Were the public to know the truth, they would not be so confident in what their country was doing because what their country was doing was wrong.

Remember also that, during 2010, a group of individuals, including myself, were publishing on the Internet a bunch of information that Europe and America wanted to remain secret. I am sure that this was a big part of why Blair said Europe wouldn’t like the Obama administration any more than the Bush administration.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Sweden Reopens Rape Investigation of WikiLeaks Founder

On September 1, the silliness over the rape investigation against Julian Assange continued. A Swedish prosecutor announced she had reopened the investigation.

“Considering information available at present, my judgment is that the classification of the crime is rape,” said the prosecutor.

Burete imasen.