Tag Archives: Japan

‘Spitting in the Eye of Transparency,’ Govt Reveals Just 22 Mar-a-Lago Visitors

Watchdog groups promise to keep fighting Trump administration in court after it refuses to release full list of presidential visitors to so-called Winter White House

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-15-2017

On Friday, the Trump administration released a list of visitors from President Donald Trump’s meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe at the president’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. (Photo: Shealah Craighead/TheWhite House)

“See you in court, Mr. President,” a watchdog group warned on Friday, after the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), under pressure from a federal lawsuit, released just two pages of Mar-a-Lago visitor records, despite earlier promises to reveal the full list of visitors to President Donald Trump’s so-called Winter White House.

After waiting months for a response to our request for comprehensive visitor logs from the president’s multiple visits to Mar-a-Lago and having the government ask for a last minute extension, today we received 22 names from the Japanese prime minister’s visit to Mar-a-Lago, and nothing else,” said Noah Bookbinder, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). Continue reading

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Warnings of ‘Nuclear Nightmare’ as Trump Escalates Tensions With World Powers

“We need to step up sustained diplomacy. Firing off a bunch of missiles does nothing to address the crisis. We need negotiation, not posturing.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-31-2017

“In response to North Korea’s second intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test late last week, the U.S. on Sunday carried out what the Washington Post called a “show of force” by flying two B-1 bombers over the Korean Peninsula.” Photo: YouTube

As President Donald Trump foments tensions with world powers by behaving recklessly and pursuing aggressive action over diplomacy, developments in several major nations over the weekend sparked urgent concerns among peace groups, activists, and analysts that the world’s largest militaries are inching dangerously close to war.

In response to North Korea’s second intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test late last week, the U.S. on Sunday carried out what the Washington Post called a “show of force” by flying two B-1 bombers over the Korean Peninsula. The Post noted that the move is “a sign that tensions are spiraling upward rapidly.”  Continue reading

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Debt Relief—Japanese-style—Could Work Here

Japan has found a way to write off its national debt without creating inflation. Why can’t we do that?

By . Published 7-3-2017 by YES! Magazine

Minatomirai 21, newly developed bayside district in Yokohama, Japan. Photo: Gleam [CC-BY-SA 3.0] via Wikimedia Commons

Let’s face it. The U.S. government is never going to pay back a $20 trillion federal debt. The taxpayers will just continue to pay interest on it, year after year.

A lot of interest.

If the Federal Reserve raises the Federal Funds Rate, which is the interest major banks charge each other for overnight loans, to 3.5 percent and sells its federal securities into the market, as it is proposing to do, the projected tab will be $830 billion annually by 2026. That’s nearly $1 trillion owed by the taxpayers every year, and that just covers interest. Continue reading

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War Between U.S. And China Brewing in S. China Sea?

By . Published 3-29-2017 by The Anti-Media

Photo: Screenshot of CNN

South China Sea — Adding fuel to an already highly combustible situation in Southeast Asia, Reuters reported Tuesday that China has “largely completed major construction of military infrastructure on artificial islands it has built in the South China Sea,” and that the Asian superpower “can now deploy combat planes and other military hardware there at any time.”

Citing satellite imagery analyzed by the Asian Maritime Transparency Initiative, part of Washington, D.C.’s Center for Strategic and International Studies, the news agency writes that “work on Fiery Cross, Subi and Mischief Reefs in the Spratly Islands included naval, air, radar and defensive facilities.” Continue reading

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Where’s Tillerson? Secretary of State Ducking Press Amid Reports of Being Sidelined

‘Your decision to travel without reporters sends a dangerous signal to other countries about the U.S. commitment to freedom of the press’

By Deirdre Fulton, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-11-2017

Photo: YouTube

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will embark on his first trip to Asia next week, visiting Japan, South Korea, and China. In what some journalists are calling an unprecedented move, he will not travel with members of the press.

“Not only does this situation leave the public narrative of the meetings up to the Chinese foreign ministry as well as Korea’s and Japan’s, but it gives the American people no window whatsoever into the views and actions of the nation’s leaders,” a dozen Washington bureau chiefs from major news organizations wrote in a letter to the State Department earlier this week.  Continue reading

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China Rejects Hague’s South China Sea Ruling as “US-Led Conspiracy”

Ruling in favor of the Philippines, tribunal court “cut the legal heart out of China’s claim” to the disputed marine region

By Lauren McCauley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-12-2016

Chinese dredging vessels seen in the waters around Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea in this video image taken by a P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft provided by the U.S. Navy, May 21, 2015.

Chinese dredging vessels seen in the waters around Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea in this video image taken by a P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft provided by the U.S. Navy, May 21, 2015.

An international tribunal at the Hague overwhelmingly rejected China’s claims to the South China Sea on Tuesday, in a move that observers say is likely to stoke tensions between the Asian powerhouse and its primary rival, the United States.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled that under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), China’s actions have violated the sovereign rights of the Philippines, which brought the case to court. Further, the court ruled that China’s practice of dredging sand to build artificial islands on the region’s disputed reefs has caused “severe harm to the coral reef environment.”  Continue reading

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As US Aggression Spikes, Russia-China Announce Joint Exercise to Counter ‘Provacative’ Attacks

The announcement follows the meeting in Moscow last week between Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan and Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu. The exercise also comes on the heels of NATO bolstering troop and armaments on the Russian border and an increasingly aggressive posturing by the U.S. towards China in the South China Sea.

Written by Jay Syrmopoulos. Published 5-7-16 by Free Thought Project.

Image via Free Thought Project.

Image via Free Thought Project.

Moscow, Russia – With tensions mounting between the United States and both Russia and China, the Chinese and Russian military have announced their first-ever joint exercises to counter “incidental or provocative” missile attacks to be conducted in Russia later this month.

The missile war games follow an August 2015 naval exercise between the two nations – dubbed Joint Sea II – held in international territorial waters in the Sea of Japan and off the coast of Russia’s Primorsky territory – approximately 250 miles away from Japan. That exercise was the first ever joint Sino-Russian amphibious assault drill.

The announcement follows the meeting in Moscow last week between Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan and Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu. The exercise also comes on the heels of NATO bolstering troop and armaments on the Russian border and an increasingly aggressive posturing by the U.S. towards China in the South China Sea.

The military chiefs’ stressed that their ministries need to implement “greater unity and joint effort” to tackle modern security challenges during a press conference, with the defense ministries noting that the drills were not “aimed against any third nation.”

Of course, reality dictates that the increased Sino-Russian military cooperation is a direct result of an increasingly imperialistic Western alliance pushing closer to each state’s borders with every regime change that is undertaken.

“NATO military infrastructure is inching closer and closer to Russia’s borders. But when Russia takes action to ensure its security, we are told that Russia is engaging in dangerous maneuvers near NATO borders. In fact, NATO borders are getting closer to Russia, not the opposite,” the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told Sweden’s Dagens Nyheter daily.

There is a continual expansion of NATO eastward that now allows for forces to be deployed on Russian borders, yet Western voices disingenuously claim that “Russian aggression” is precipitating the deployments. Similarly, recent FONOPS by the U.S. in the South China Sea are seen by the Chinese as an overt display of U.S. military might meant to intimidate the Chinese into compliance and violating their territorial sovereignty.

Speaking of attempts to put pressure on China, Chinese Foreign Ministry official, Ouyang Yujing, compared China to a spring that will bounce back with the same or even greater force if too much pressure is applied.

“If they are aimed at putting pressure on China or blackening its name, then you can view it like a spring, which has an applied force and a counterforce. The more the pressure, the greater the reaction,” he said, probably hinting at the military installations Beijing has already erected on the disputed islands.

The official English-language newspaper, China Daily linked the missile drill with U.S. plans to deploy the THAAD anti-missile system in South Korea. THAAD includes a long-range radar system, which would cover large parts of China and Russia’s Far East if deployed in South Korea.

The U.S. and South Korea claim that the system is necessary to protect America’s allies from a missile threat from North Korea, but the plan was criticized by both China and Russia, which said such a move would upset the balance of power in the region.

Interestingly, similar claims were made by the U.S. about missile defense interceptors being placed in Europe to protect against a possible Iranian bomb, which has since been revealed as being implemented as an American hedge against Russia.

For the U.S. to posture and provoke both the Russians and the Chinese in a manner that will ultimately force them into a defensive military conflict is nothing short of insanity. The United States would certainly feel threatened if a Russian force was amassing on its border, or if the Chinese were sending naval destroyers through the Gulf of Mexico or the Caribbean, and would certainly feel justified in defending themselves against such provocative actions.

As is the case, unfolding before our eyes, U.S. hegemonic ambitions only serve to force the other major militaries in the world to consolidate their power as a hedge against American imperialism, as they increasingly feel threatened by the predatory Western alliance. While precipitating this type of conflict might be a major win for the U.S. military industrial complex, neocons, and war hawks, the world may not survive such a cataclysmic collision of world powers.

In spite of Chinese and Russian claims to the contrary, these joint military drills are almost certainly meant to send a clear political signal to the United States and its allies in the region that Sino-Russian military ties are deepening in response continued imperial aggression by the West.

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Japan Takes Leap Toward Militarism With Passage of Controversial ‘Security’ Bills

‘We cannot allow a situation to arise anew in which our young people are sent off to war to kill and be killed.’

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-18-2015

Protesters hold signs against the then-proposed changes to Article 9 of the Japanese constitution. (Photo: Christian c/flickr/cc)

Protesters hold signs against the then-proposed changes to Article 9 of the Japanese constitution. (Photo: Christian c/flickr/cc)

Japan’s parliament passed into law on Saturday contentious bills would allow its troops to fight overseas for the first time since World War II.

The Japan Times reports that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s

goal was to find a way to remove some of the key legal restrictions that the war-renouncing Constitution imposes on the Self-Defense Forces during overseas missions in order to strengthen Japan’s all-important military alliance with the United States.

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Seventy Years After Little Boy – Have We Learned Anything?

Seventy years ago today, the world as we knew it changed forever. On that day, the United States became the only country to ever use nuclear weapons against another country.

At the time this photo was made, smoke billowed 20,000 feet above Hiroshima while smoke from the burst of the first atomic bomb had spread over 10,000 feet on the target at the base of the rising column. Photo public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

At the time this photo was made, smoke billowed 20,000 feet above Hiroshima while smoke from the burst of the first atomic bomb had spread over 10,000 feet on the target at the base of the rising column. Photo public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Somewhere between 45,000 and 80,000 people died that day, and between 19,500 and 40,000 people died in Nagasaki three days later. The same number would die as a direct result of the two bombs over the next four months.

The genie had been let out of the bottle. What had been accomplished could be duplicated. The Soviets, who already had a nuclear program underway, made the acquisition of a nuclear weapon a top priority. The arms race had come to “peacetime,” and the military-industrial complex grew in power by leaps and bounds.

Of course, you need delivery systems for these weapons. Besides strategic bombers, the United States and the Soviet Union both had missile development programs. Where did that knowledge come from? Scientists who worked for the Nazis at places such as the Peenemünde Army Research Center. Here in the US, the recruitment was known as Operation Paperclip.

Since Truman’s order authorizing Operation Paperclip expressly excluded anyone found “to have been a member of the Nazi Party, and more than a nominal participant in its activities, or an active supporter of Nazi militarism,” the Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency (JIOA) created false employment and political biographies for the scientists, while also erasing from public record the scientists’ Nazi Party memberships and régime affiliations. Once that was done, the scientists were granted security clearances by the U.S. government to work in the United States.

So, not only did we (the United States), kill thousands of people in a horrific manner never used before or since, we also brought in war criminals to make the weapons even more deadly. But wait! There’s more…

We hear from various media outlets about the dangers of relaxing sanctions against Iran, and how this will lead to Iran getting nuclear weapons. Where did Iran get its nuclear technology to begin with? If you guessed the United States, you guessed right. Under the “Atoms for Peace” program proposed by President Eisenhower in the early 1950s, American Machine and Foundry (AMF) built nuclear reactors in Iran, Pakistan and Israel. Notice that the only country of those three that hasn’t built a nuclear weapon is Iran…

The memorial at Ground Zero, Nagasaki. Photo by Dean S. Pemberton (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The memorial at Ground Zero, Nagasaki. Photo by Dean S. Pemberton (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

It’s been seventy years, and the horror is still present. There’s still close to 200,000 people alive today that are classified by the Japanese government as hibakusha; a Japanese word that literally translates as “explosion-affected people,” and refers to people who were exposed to radiation from the bombings.

We in the United States claim to be the only judge of who can or can’t have nuclear weapons, while at the same time we’re responsible for the spreading of nuclear technology to the very countries who we worry about, and we’re the only country to ever use one. Our hypocrisy can be staggering at times.

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The Rehabilitation Of Chiang

Chiang Kai-shek. Photo public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Chiang Kai-shek. Photo public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Over the last sixty years, one of the constants of life in mainland China has been the demonization of Chiang Kai-shek, the leader of China from 1926 to when the Communists took power in 1949. He was portrayed as an imperialist and an enemy of the people  both for his leadership of China during that time and for his leading of Nationalist forces against the Communists during the Chinese civil war.

After Chiang was expelled from the mainland, he ruled what was then known as the Republic of China (what we know as Taiwan) until his death in 1975. During most of his time as President of the Republic, the Taiwanese government was recognized as the official Chinese government by the U.S. After Nixon’s trip to China in 1972, the tension between mainland China and Taiwan began to ease, but Chiang was still seen both officially and in popular Chinese culture as an enemy of the state.

However, over the last few years, he’s slowly but surely becoming part of mainstream culture in China. His image is used to sell various goods, and restaurants are named after him. For its part, the Chinese government has softened the official view of Chiang and the KMT (Nationalists) by painting them as misguided patriots instead of enemies of the state. But, why the change? Politics, of course.

Since the Chinese first started becoming the economic powerhouse it is today, relations with Taiwan have become even warmer. And, during this time, China’s relations with Japan have grown much colder. In the Chinese media of today, Chiang and his KMT troops are painted as patriots bravely fighting the evil Japanese invaders instead of as corrupt and greedy officials living off the labor of the hardworking Chinese people.

Ironically enough (or maybe not), Chiang’s legacy’s seen differently in Taiwan by some. Chiang ruled Taiwan with an iron fist, and imposed martial law that lasted for nearly forty years – twelve years after Chiang’s death. Student protesters in Taiwan see the thawing of the relationship with China as possibly leading to the return of the repressive government that the country had under Chiang.

Recently, students from seven Taiwanese high schools united to commemorate the anniversary of the ending of martial law, and demanded that the statues of Chiang that festoon school campuses on the island be removed. Tung Lee-wei, 16, a first-year student at Cheng Kung Senior High School in Taipei and one of the campaign’s organizers, said; “Just because students are used to seeing his statues doesn’t mean they think the statues are right.”

By watching how the Chinese view Chiang, we can tell how the Chinese government feels in respect to Japan and Taiwan. But, by watching the students in Taiwan and their rejection of the memoralizing of Chiang and other policies of the Taiwanese government, we have to wonder what the thawing of relations between China and Taiwan will lead to,

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