By: Stephen Blank, Senior Fellow and resident Russia expert at the American Foreign Policy Council
First published in the Eurasia Daily Monitor, Jamestown Foundation, Volume: 12 Issue: 212, November 20, 2015
Although Russian President Vladimir Putin will not be visiting Japan this year or anytime soon (see EDM, October 9) and currently no agenda even exists for any such visit, Tokyo appears so desperate for reconciliation with Moscow that it has agreed to continue discussing the status of the disputed Kurile Islands and overall normalization of relations with Russia. Indeed, Putin invited Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe to Moscow instead, and Abe is apparently considering accepting. But if Japan follows this path, it will be venturing into dangerous diplomatic territory. As noted at a conference hosted by the Carnegie Endowment, on November 15, several Japanese analysts and policymakers harbor the belief that Russia may be prepared to return at least two of the Kurile Islands. Moreover, they contend that if Japan and Russia are able to come to some kind of agreement on the disputed territories, this could open the way for an overall, if gradual, rapprochement between Russia and the West, which would redound to Japan’s credit (Kyodo News Service, November 15, 16; Japan Times, November 17).
However, Tokyo’s persistent chasing after Moscow probably has not strengthened its cause or reputation. For one thing, it has likely reinforced Russia’s preconceptions that Japan needs Russia more than Russia needs Japan, even though the truth is arguably the exact opposite. But additionally, it has bolstered Russia’s seeming belief that it can bully Japan, insult it with impunity, and still gain its objectives (see EDM, July 31). Illustratively, in mid-September 2015, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told his Japanese counterpart, Fumio Kishida, that normalization was only possible if Japan first recognized the “historical realities” regarding the Kurile Islands (Japan Times, September 22).
Moscow has clearly demonstrated it would not negotiate on the island issue for as long as sanctions on Russia, which were passed by Tokyo and its Western partners in response to Putin’s aggression in Ukraine, remain in place. In other words, for Japan to receive any of its islands back, let alone regain sovereignty over them, the price it will probably have to pay would be breaking the West’s united front on sanctions. Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov, who oversees Russia’s Asian policies, said as much several months ago (Interfax, September 2). But that action, if taken, would place a landmine under Japan’s relations with its most important ally—the United States—and the West in general.
Putin has reportedly warned Abe that if he comes to Japan, the Russian leader must have concrete economic results to show for it (Nikkei Asian Review, September 15). And at the Putin-Abe meetings in September 2015, Putin pointedly referred to declining Russo-Japanese trade (Ajw.asahi.com, September 29). However, he also expressed his confidence that both states have a high potential for economic cooperation on a large number of joint projects (Kyodo, September 29). Similarly Sergei Naryshkin, the speaker of the State Duma (lower house of parliament) and a close aide to Putin, has stated that “Japan’s imposition of sanctions on Russia has become an obstacle to bilateral relations” (Kyodo, September 11).
Logically one should have concluded that no realistic prospect for normalizing Russo-Japanese relations exists. The evidence has been wide and varied, including Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s recent visit to the Kurile Islands; the new Russian plans for a military buildup there (see EDM, October 28); fresh insults directed against Tokyo in the wake of Japanese protests about those actions; the August 2015 Russo-Chinese naval maneuvers, which featured simulated amphibious landings (RT, August 16); as well as President Putin’s prominent presence in Beijing, in September, at the 70th anniversary celebration of the end of World War II, which was marked by a high level of anti-Japanese rhetoric (Xinhua, September 3). Moreover, during August–September 2015, almost every day featured a Japanese or Russian denunciation of the other government’s actions or speeches in regard to the Kurile Islands. Indeed, Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs infuriated Tokyo by saying at one point that the Kurile Islands problem does not exist—i.e., that for Russia, there is no problem (Sputnik News, September 4). Neither was this the first time the Russian foreign ministry or other officials have simply denied the existence of the problem. Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, a known provocateur, exemplified such inflammatory rhetoric when, in August, he suggested that the Japanese government would be better off committing collective ritual suicide (hari-kiri) rather than continue to complain about Medvedev’s recent visit to the Kurile islands (Kyodo, August 25).
Even if Japan renounces the sanctions it imposed on Russia, it might still not receive the disputed islands back; and if Tokyo does eventually regain the Kuriles, it could well be in the form of a “gift” from Moscow that does not entail the full transfer of sovereignty to Japan. Such an outcome would thus be a poisoned chalice for the East Asian island country. Accordingly, if Japan were to indeed break the sanctions regime on Russia, it is difficult to see how such a step would translate into Tokyo becoming a broker for an East-West rapprochement. Nor would Japan dropping its sanctions be likely to contribute to geopolitically detaching Russia from China. Importantly, Japan would probably not receive anything other than a symbolic acknowledgement of territories whose symbolic value far outweighs their strategic utility for Tokyo. Rather, Tokyo would have isolated itself from its allies and shown Beijing that it can be pushed around simply for the sake of its “status.”
Put another way, by agreeing to abandon sanctions in exchange for Moscow’s partial or conditional acceptance of Tokyo’s claim to the Kuriles, Japan would inadvertently be signaling to other governments in the region that it does not hold fast to the principle of the territorial inviolability of states. That would be an ominous precedent with regard to its claims to the Senkaku Islands, which are under a Chinese challenge. Ultimately then, the belief that Japan can break its alliance ties in order to gain some symbolic victories or economic opportunities represents not realism but wishful thinking. And in regard to Russia, wishful thinking is never enough.
This is Thanksgiving week and Washington pretty much shuts down.
THE “PITILESS” WAR: A STRATEGY AFTER THE PARIS ATTACKS. 11/23, 10:00-11:15am. Sponsor: The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF). Speakers: James Jeffrey, Distinguished Fellow, Washington Institute for Near East Policy; Matthew G. Olsen, Former Director, National Counterterrorism Center; Derek Chollet, Counselor and Senior Adviser for Security and Defense Policy, GMF.
THE DETERIORATING STATE OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN CHINA. 11/23, Noon-1:30pm. Sponsor: CATO Institute. Speakers: Chen Guangcheng, Visiting Fellow, Catholic University; Teng Biao, Associate, Carr Center for Human Rights Policy; Wei Jingsheng, Chairman, Wei Jingsheng Foundation; Xia Yeliang, Director, Center for Liberty and Global Prosperity, CATO Institute.
A TRANSATLANTIC POLICY CONVERSATION ON GLOBAL FOOD SECURITY. 11/23, Noon-1:30pm. Sponsor: Center for American Progress. Speakers: Dan Glickman, Vice President, Aspen Institute; Nancy Stetson, U.S. Special Representative for Global Food Security, U.S. Department of State; Richard Leach, President and CEO, World Food Program USA; Alexander Müller, Member of the German Council for Sustainable Development; Alexander Carius, Managing Director, Adelphi.
US COMBATING THE ISLAMIC STATE: IS A NEW STRATEGIC BLUEPRINT NEEDED? 11/23, Noon-2:00pm, Arlington, Virginia. Sponsor: Potomac Institute for Policy Studies. Speakers: Michael S. Swetnam, CEO, Chairman, Potomac Institute; Robert C. McFarlane; Former NSA to President Reagan, Co-Founder, US Energy Security Council; Keith J. Stalder, General (Ret.), USMC (Ret.), Former Commanding General, USMC Forces Pacific, Camp H.M. Smith, Hawaii, Senior Fellow, Member, Board of Regents, Potomac Institute; Judith Yaphe, Former Senior Analyst, Office of Near Eastern and South Asian Analysis, Directorate of Intelligence, CIA, Professor, Elliot School, GWU; Dean Alexander, Director, Homeland Security Research Program , Professor, Homeland Security, School of Law Enforcement & Justice Administration, Western Illinois University.
The Sankei Shimbun advocates a more aggressive diplomatic stance on history issues and this dovetails with the mission of Japan Conference, a reactionary organization that includes numerous lawmakers. From their perspective, Japan has been too reticent and polite on the world stage and the gloves need to come off.
It never seems to occur to them that this might be a counterproductive strategy and that on history issues it leaves Japan vulnerable to criticisms of promoting an exonerating narrative that glorifies wartime and colonial excesses.
But Japan is not exactly a public-diplomacy wallflower. The Japanese government, foundations and firms have developed an influential network in the United States that dates back to the 1970s. That era of acrimonious trade frictions spawned what American scholar Robert Angel has dubbed the “Japan Lobby,” a multipronged public- and private-sector effort to shape U.S. policy and attitudes. ProPublica estimates that total Japanese spending on lobbying and public relations was a whopping $4.2 billion in 2008, putting Japan third behind the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom, while South Korea ranked eighth with $2.9 billion.
It is unlikely that these polemical jeremiads will convince anyone to change their mind. The tone of the Sankei book is closer to unhinged ranting rather than reasoned argumentation and stretches credulity in asking to be taken seriously. It trots out the familiar assertion that there is no documentary proof of coerced recruitment of “comfort women,” but undermines its own case by acknowledging that Dutch women were coercively recruited by force. The soldiers involved were convicted solely on the testimony of these white comfort women while testimony by Korean comfort women about coercive recruitment is dismissed outright — an unseemly double-standard that speaks volumes about Sankei’s bias.
The Sankei book also points out that in 1993 when the Kono statement acknowledging state responsibility for coercive recruitment of comfort women was issued, the government clearly defined coercion as including threats and intimidation. This is an awkward point given the Sankei’s disingenuous efforts to downplay the comfort women issue by focusing exclusively on denying coercive recruitment involving physical force. The Sankei apparently thinks that if it can redefine coercion and convince everyone that there were no comfort women recruited at bayonet point, then Japan can wriggle off this hook of history as if the entire sordid system is not the issue.
Korean scholar Park Yu-ha, who is often cited by Japanese conservatives, refers to archival documents that prove private recruiters, including Japanese civilians dressed in military uniform, recruited comfort women through intimidation and deception at the behest of Japanese military authorities. She believes the Korean women who testify that they were coercively recruited, and also maintains that Chinese women and others across Asia were pressed into sexual service through coercion. Park also wants the Diet to issue an apology to the comfort women.
Moreover, scholar C. Sarah Soh also found that in battlefront areas wherever Japanese troops were stationed, local women were forced to serve in improvised comfort stations. It is also documented that the military transported the comfort women to the comfort stations on military bases where they were denied freedom of movement. So what exactly is the Sankei’s point?
The Sankei is also up in arms about China’s alleged backing of a comfort woman statue and Pacific War Museum in San Francisco [WWII Pacific War Memorial Hall, the first overseas anti-Japanese war memorial, VIDEO], apparently misunderstanding the local politics that drive these initiatives. It conveniently overlooks how, in 2013, Toru Hashimoto, as mayor of Osaka, sister city of San Francisco, drew the ire of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and city residents with his apologist comments about the comfort women system.
Raising the alarm about ongoing “History Wars” being waged in the United States, the Sankei asserts that China is orchestrating discord between the U.S. and Japan over history. If so, Beijing is doing a lousy job as more Americans by far distrust China: Only 38 percent of Americans have a high opinion of China while 74 percent have a favorable view of Japan. Tokyo’s best bet here is just to get out of the way and enjoy China’s self-inflicted wounds. It’s time Tokyo grasped that attacking criticism of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his historical views as anti-Japanese, makes it look both paranoid and malicious.
San Francisco Bay Area activists assert that before the board unanimously approved the comfort women memorial in September, the Japan Lobby was vigorously working behind the scenes to kill the resolution. Locals privately assert that there was an anti-statue campaign of disinformation, and that local Japanese-American organizations were pressured to lobby against the resolution, with continued Japanese corporate funding hanging in the balance.
The board disregarded allegations about incidents of discrimination and bullying targeting ethnic Japanese children in Glendale, California, after a comfort woman statue was erected there. Glendale authorities dismissed these unsubstantiated claims by opponents to the statue, pointing out there were no reports to schools or police at the time. It seems that Japan would do better to shrug off these comfort women statue and memorial initiatives because intervention seems to backfire, throwing fuel on the fires of recrimination over the shared East Asian past thereby ensuring that more will be built.
So what should we make of the newly established organization Voices of Vietnam, a well-funded group that has hired former Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman [lobbyist with Hogan Lovells, Embassy of Japan's longtime lobbying firm] to serve as point-man in demanding President Park Geun-hye apologize for Vietnamese comfort women who served some 320,000 South Korean soldiers fighting at the behest of Washington in the Vietnam War? This organization held a press conference on Oct. 15 in connection with Park’s summit with U.S. President Barack Obama. In a Fox News op-ed published on the eve of the summit [President Park should publicly apologize for South Korea's sexual violence in Vietnam], Coleman demanded Park apologize to the Vietnamese victims of Korean sexual predations: “Failing to make such an unequivocal apology would only undermine President Park’s moral authority as she presses Japan to apologize for the sexual violence perpetrated against South Korean ‘comfort women’ during World War II.”
Apparently whacking Park is the main mission of an organization that seems, rather curiously, to have sprung up out of nowhere, according to sources in the Vietnamese diaspora in the U.S.
Certainly, amends to these women — there are an estimated 800 survivors — and the thousands of children of mixed ancestry born to them, are in order, but why hasn’t Coleman spoken out about the far larger, similar problem involving U.S. soldiers? And, given the expense of hiring ex-senators to be lobbyists, as the Japanese government has already done with Tom Daschle, who is paying the bills here?
6th ANNUAL GLOBAL SECURITY FORUM. 11/16, 8:00am-3:30pm. Sponsor: CSIS. Speakers: John O. Brennan, Director, CIA; Thomas Pickering, Former Ambassador to UN, Russian Federation, India, Israel, and Jordan; Michael Vickers, Former Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence; Michael Green, Senior Vice President for Asia and Japan Chair, CSIS, Christopher Johnson, Senior Adviser, Freeman Chair in China Studies, CSIS; Kathleen Hicks, Senior Vice President, Henry A. Kissinger Chair, Director, International Security Program (ISP), CSIS; Denis Bovin, Senior Advisor, Evercore Partners; William Lynn, CEO, Finmeccanica North America and DRS Technologies, Vago Muradian, Editor, Defense News; Eric Schwartz, Dean, Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota; Tina Jonas, Former Undersecretary of Defense, Senior Adviser, ISP, CSIS; Steve Kosiak, Former Associate Director for Defense and International Affairs, Office of Management and Budget; Charlene Barshefsky, Former U.S. Trade Representative, Senior International Partner, WilmerHale; Scott Miller, Senior Adviser, Scholl Chair in International Business, CSIS; Michael Cohen, Head of Energy Commodities Research, Barclays; Michelle Patron, Former Senior Director for Energy and Climate, NSC; Adam Sieminski, Administrator, U.S. Energy Information Administration; Michael Wittner, Managing Director, Global Head, Oil Market Research, Societe Generale Corporate & Investment Banking; Jason Cone, Executive Director, Médecins Sans Frontières, USA; Rebecca Hersman, Director, Project on Nuclear Issues, Senior Adviser, ISP, CSIS; Robert Mardini, Regional Director for Middle East, Red Cross; Derek Chollet, Former Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, Counselor, Senior Advisor, Security and Defense Policy, German Marshall Fund; Paula Dobriansky, Former Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center, Harvard University; Mackenzie Eaglen, Resident Fellow, AEI; Daniel Kurtz-Phelan, Fellow, ISP, New America; Henry Kissinger, Former Secretary of State and NSA; John Hamre, President and CEO, CSIS; Moderators: Olga Oliker, Senior Adviser, Director, Russia and Eurasia Program, CSIS; Andrew Hunter, Director, Defense-Industrial Initiatives Group, Senior Fellow, ISP, CSIS; Todd Harrison, Director, Defense Budget Analysis, Senior Fellow, ISP, CSIS; Ernie Bower, Senior Adviser, Sumitro Chair for Southeast Asian Studies, CSIS; Sarah Ladislaw, Director, Energy and National Security Program, CSIS; Frank Verrastro, Senior Vice President, James R. Schlesinger Chair for Energy & Geopolitics, CSIS; Steve Morrison, Senior Vice President, Director, Global Health Policy Center, CSIS.
U.S.-CHINA ENERGY COOPERATION: RISKS, OPPORTUNITIES, AND SOLUTIONS. 11/16, 9:00am-5:15pm, Lunch, Washington, DC. Sponsor: Hudson Institue. Speakers: Yossie Hollander, Co-Founder, Fuel Freedom Foundation; Michael Pillsbury, Senior Fellow and Director for Chinese Strategy, Hudson; Liu Qiang, Secretary-General, Global Forum on Energy Security; Fuqiang Yang, Senior Advisor on Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Natural Resources Defense Council’s China Program; Damien Ma, Fellow, Paulsen Institute; Gal Luft, Co-Director, Institute for Analysis of Global Security; J.J. Fletcher, Director, U.S.-China Energy Center & Natural Resource Analysis Center, West Virginia University; Anne Korin, Co-Director, Institute for Analysis of Global Security; David Sandalow, Inaugural Fellow, Center on Global Energy Policy, Columbia University; Jeremy Carl, Research Fellow, Hoover Institution; Arthur Herman, Senior Fellow, Hudson.
PROSPECTS FOR JAPAN-RUSSIA RELATIONS AND IMPLICATIONS FOR THE US-JAPAN ALLIANCE. 11/16, 9:15am-5:30pm. Sponsors: Sasakawa USA, Carnegie. Speakers: Dennis Blair, Chairman, CEO, Sasakawa USA; Douglas H. Paal, Vice President, Carnegie; Kazuhiko Togo, Director, Institute for World Affairs, Kyoto Sangyo University; Alexander Nikolaevich Panov, Professor, Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MSIIR); Yasuhiro Izumikawa, Professor, Faculty of Policy Studies, Chuo University; Vasili Kashin, Senior Analyst, Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies; Georgy Toloraya, Director, Asia Strategy Center, Institute of Economics, Russian Academy of Sciences; Eugene Rumer, Director, Senior Associate, Russia and Eurasia Program, Carnegie; Edward Chow, Senior Fellow, Energy and National Security Program, CSIS; Alexander Gabuev, Senior Associate, Chair, Russia in the Asia-Pacific Program, Carnegie Moscow Center; Irina Timonina, Professor, Institute of Business Studies, Moscow; Taisuke Abiru, Research Fellow, Tokyo Foundation; Frank Jannuzi, President, CEO, Mansfield Foundation; Narushige Michishita, Director, Security and International Studies Program, Professor, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies; Dmitry Streltsov, Director of Japan Studies, MSSIR; Moderators: Jeffrey Hornung, Fellow, Security and Foreign Affairs Program, Sasakawa USA; Daniel Bob, Senior Fellow, Sasakawa USA; James L. Schoff, Senior Associate, Asia Program, Carnegie.
POLICY BY OTHER MEANS: A REVIEW OF DOD’S LAW OF WAR MANUAL. 11/16, 7:00pm, Dinner, Arlington, VA. Sponsor: National Security Law Journal. Speakers: Matthew McCormack, Associate General Counsel, U.S. Department of Defense; Dr. Nicholas Rostow, Research Professor, National Defense University; Tom Bowman, Pentagon Reporter, National Public Radio.
12:00 At private residence (no visitors)
08:00 At private residence in Tomigaya, Tokyo (no morning visitors)
09:39 Depart from private residence
09:51 Arrive at office
11:05 Meet with Governor of Nagasaki Prefecture Nakamura Hodo and Mayor of Sasebo City (Nagasaki Prefecture) Tomonaga Norio
11:20 End meeting with Mr. Nakamura and Mr. Tomonaga
11:24 Speak with New Grand Chamberlain of Imperial Household Agency Kawai Chikao, former Grand Chamberlain of Imperial Household Agency Kawashima Yutaka, and Grand Master of the Ceremonies of Imperial Household Agency’s Board of the Ceremonies Akimoto Yoshitaka
11:29 Finish speaking with Mr. Kawai, Mr. Kawashima and Mr. Akimoto
11:30 Meet with Chairman of Japan Association of Corporate Executives (Keizai Doyukai) Kobayashi Yoshimitsu, former Chairman of Japan Association of Corporate Executives (Keizai Doyukai) Hasegawa Yasuchika
11:46 End meeting with Mr. Kobayashi and Mr. Hasegawa
12:03 Ruling Party Liaison Conference
12:25 Conference ends
01:50 Meet with Chairman of Science and Technology in Society (STS) Forum and former Minister of State for Science and Technology Policy Omi Koji, and LDP Lower House member Omi Asako
02:05 End meeting with Mr. Omi and Ms. Omi
03:55 Meet with Minister of State for Economic and Fiscal Policy Amari Akira, Vice-Minister of Cabinet Office Matsuyama Kenji, and Cabinet Office Director-Generals for Policies on Cohesive Society Maekawa Mamoru, Habuka Shigeki and Tawa Hiroshi
04:15 End meeting with Mr. Amari, Mr. Matsuyama, Mr. Maekawa, Mr. Habuka, and Mr. Tawa
04:20 Phone Conference with Prime Minister of UK David Cameron. Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretaries Kato Katsunobu and Seko Hiroshige also attend
04:30 Phone Conference ends
04:57 Depart from office
04:58 Arrive at Diet
04:59 Enter LDP President’s Office
05:00 LDP Officers Meeting
05:36 Meeting ends
05:46 Leave LDP President’s Office
05:47 Depart from Diet
05:49 Arrive at office
06:00 Chairman of Panel for Nuclear Power Renaissance Policy, Former President of University of Tokyo Akito Arima and others
06:18 End meeting with Mr. Akito
06:30 Depart from office
06:31 Arrive at official residence. Dinner meeting with Manager of Yomiuri Giants baseball team Tatsunori Hara and Minister in charge of Economic Revitalization Amari Akira
08:16 Mr. Tatsunori and Mr. Amari leave
12:53 Depart from office
12:55 Arrive at Diet
12:56 Enter Lower House Speaker’s Reception Room
01:00 Leave Lower House Speaker’s Reception Room, enter Lower House Chamber
01:02 Attend the plenary session of the Lower House
02:50 The plenary session of the Lower House adjourns. Leave the Lower House Chamber
02:51 Depart from Diet
02:53 Arrive at office
03:25 Meet with LDP Upper House member Yamamoto Ichita
03:41 End meeting with Mr. Yamamoto
03:42 Meet with Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Saiki Akitaka
04:16 End meeting with Mr. Saiki
04:17 Meet with LDP Lower House member Nukaga Fukushiro
04:41 End meeting with Mr. Nukaga
04:42 Director of National Security Council (NSC) Yachi Shotaro, Director of Cabinet Intelligence Kitamura Shigeru, and Deputy Director-General of Public Security Intelligence Agency (PSIA) Sugiyama Haruki enter
04:58 Mr. Yachi and Mr. Sugiyama leave
05:15 Mr. Kitamura leaves
05:17 Hold the 5th meeting in 2015 of the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy
06:17 Meeting ends
06:19 Depart from office
06:26 Arrive at Tokyo Prince Hotel in Shibakoen, Tokyo. Attend a party hosed by LDP Hosoda faction in banquet hall Ho-Oh-No-Ma within the hotel, deliver address
06:40 Depart from hotel
07:00 Arrive at Building 1-chome 3-bankan in Shinjuku, Tokyo. Informal talk with Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications Takaichi Sanae, Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Shimomura Hakubun, Chairperson of LDP Policy Research Council Inada Tomomi, and others in commentator Kin Birei’s office within the building
08:33 Depart from the building
08:55 Arrive at private residence in Tomigaya, Tokyo
Wednesday, May 13, 2015
12:00 At private residence (no visitors)
08:00 At private residence in Tomigaya, Tokyo (no morning visitors)
08:32 Depart from private residence
08:47 Arrive at office
08:50 Meet with Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Seko Hiroshige
09:31 End meeting with Mr. Seko
09:53 Depart from office
09:54 Arrive at Diet
09:55 Enter Upper House President’s Reception Room
09:57 Leave Upper House President’s Reception Room, enter Upper House Chamber
10:01 Attend the plenary session of the Upper House
11:41 Leave in the middle of the plenary session of the Upper House
11:43 Depart from the Diet
11:45 Arrive at the office
12:56 Meet with LDP Secretary-General Tanigaki Sadakazu
01:30 End meeting with Mr. Tanigaki
02:09 Meet with Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) Shimomura Hakubun
02:36 End meeting with Mr. Shimomura
02:47 Depart from office
02:55 Arrive at Imperial Palace. Secret report to Emperor
04:03 Depart from Imperial Palace
04:12 Arrive at office
04:20 Meet with Director of National Security Council (NSC) Yachi Shotaro, MOFA’s Director-General of Foreign Policy Bureau Hiramatsu Kenji, and Ministry of Defense (MOD)’s Director-General of Bureau of Defense Policy Kuroe Tetsuro
04:45 End meeting with Mr. Yachi, Mr. Hiramatsu, and mr. Kuroe
05:51 Reception for Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Belgium Charles Michel. Commerorative photo session
05:52 Commerorative photo session ends
05:53 Attend a ceremony by the guard of honor
05:58 Ceremony ends
06:00 Japan-Belguim Summit Meeting with Prime Minister Charles Michel
06:50 Summit Meeting ends
06:51 Joint Press Release
07:05 Press Release ends
07:06 Depart from office
07:07 Arrive at official residence. Dinner meeting hosted by Prime Minister Abe Shinzo
08:33 See off Prime Minister Charles Michel
12:00 At official residence (no visitors)
07:56 Depart from official residence
07:57 Arrive at office
08:28 Cabinet meeting
08:42 Cabinet meeting ends
08:44 Meet with Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Kato Katsunobu
09:35 End meeting with Mr. Kato
09:54 Depart from office
09:56 Arrive at Diet
09:57 Enter Lower House Committee Room No. 17
10:00 Attend a meeting of the Committee on Economy, Trade and Industry of the Lower House
12:04 Meeting adjourns
12:05 Leave Lower House Committee Room No.17
12:06 Depart from Diet
12:07 Arrive at office
12:09 Meet with Special Advisor to the Prime Minister Kimura Taro
12:15 End meeting with Mr. Kimura
12:53 Depart from office
12:55 Arrive at Diet
12:56 Enter Lower House Speaker’s Reception Room
12:57 Speak with Minister of Defense Nakatani Gen
12:59 Finish speaking with Mr. Nakatani
01:00 Leave Lower House Speaker’s Reception Room, enter Lower House Chamber
01:02 Attend the plenary session of the Lower House
02:42 Leave in the middle of the plenary session of the Lower House
02:43 Depart from Diet
02:44 Arrive at office
03:04 Meet with Director of Cabinet Intelligence Kitamura Shigeru
03:35 End meeting with Mr. Kitamura
03:52 Meet with Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Saiki Akitaka, Administrative Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Sugiyama Shinsuke, and Administrative Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Nagamine Yasumasa
04:24 End meeting with Mr. Saiki, Mr. Sugiyama, and Mr. Nagamine
04:25 Meet with Administrative Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Nagamine Yasumasa, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA)’s Director-General of International Cooperation Bureau Ishikane Kimihiro, Vice-Minister of Finance for International Affairs Yamasaki Tatsuo, Ministry of Finance (MOF)’s Deputy Vice-Minister Fukuda Junichi, and Director-General of MOF’s International Bureau Asakawa Masatsugu
05:06 End meeting with Mr. Nagamine, Mr. Ishikane, Mr. Yamasaki, Mr. Fukuda, and Mr. Asakawa
05:27 Depart from office
05:33 Arrive at Hotel Okura’s annex in Toranomon, Tokyo. Attend a a celebration of the establishment of the Robot Revolution Initiative Council in the banquet hall Orchard Room within the hotel, deliver address
05:46 Depart from hotel
05:51 Arrive at office
05:53 Meet with Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Saiki Akitaka
06:25 End meeting with Mr. Saiki
06:28 Depart from office
06:32 Arrive at Nippon Press Center Building in Uchisaiwai-cho, Tokyo. Attend “the gathering in memory of Abe shintaro with Prime Minister Abe Shinzo,” deliver address
08:02 Depart from the building
08:10 Arrive at Starbucks coffee Four Seas Pond Sanno Building Store. Dinner with President of Nippon Television Holdings, Inc Okubo Yoshio and President of Nikkei Visual Images, Inc. Akiyama Teruto, and others from the mass media
09:34 Depart from the store
09:48 Arrive at private residence in Tomigaya, Tokyo (no morning visitors)
Saturday, May 16, 2015
12:00 At private residence in Tomigaya, Tokyo (no visitors)
06:52 Depart from private residence
07:17 Arrive at Haneda Airport
07:44 Depart from Haneda Airport by Flight 103, Japan Airlines. Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Seko Hiroshige, Cabinet Advisor Honda Etsuro accompany Prime Minister
08:30 Arrive at Itami Airport
08:44 Depart from Itami Airport
09:28 Arrive at Higashi Yuenchi Park in Chuo-Ku, Kobe. Mayor of Kobe-city Hisamoto Kizo and others receive Prime Minister
09:30 Offer flowers at the Monument of Victims and Reconstruction in Higashi Yuenchi Park. Visit the Lights of Hope Monument. State Minister of Cabinet Office Nishimura Yasutoshi and other colleagues also attend
09:36 Finish vising the Monument
09:38 Depart from park
09:54 Arrive at a company that manufactures women’s shoes in Nagata-cho, Kobe. Visit the company
10:14 Depart from the company
10:33 Arrive at the Disaster Reduction and Human Renovation Institution in Chuo-ku, Kobe. Governor of Hyogo Prefecture Ido Toshizo and Chairman of the Institution Kawata Yoshiaki recevie Prime Minister. Visit the institution.
10:50 Exchange views with volunteers
11:03 Depart from the institution
11:21 Arrive at Kobe Bay Sheraton Hotel in Chuo-ku, Kobe. Meet with female entrepreneurs in the banquet hall Moyasan within the hotel
11:42 Depart from hotel
11:51 Arrive at Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK Line) Kobe Container Terminal. Visit
12:02 Depart from Kobe Container Terminal
12:49 Arrive at Hotel Swisshotel Nankai Osaka in Chuo-ku, Osaka-city
12:50 Depart from the hotel
12:51 Arrive at Namba Station
01:00 Depart by Train Koya 9 from Namba Station
02:20 Arrive at Gokurakubashi Station
02:25 Depart from Gokurakubashi Station by cable car
02:31 Arrive at Koyasan Station
02:33 Depart from Koyasan Station
02:44 Arrive at the Koyasan Shingon Sect Main Temple Kongobu-ji in Koya-cho, Wakayama Prefecture. Governor of Wakayama Prefecture Nisaka Yoshinobu and others receive Prime Minister. Meet with members of the temple. Chairman of LDP General Council Nikai Toshihiro also attends
03:50 Depart from the temple
04:00 Arrive at Ekoin Temple in Koya-cho, Wakayama Prefecture. Exchange views with tourists from overseas and members of groups of licensed guide-interpreters
04:30 Interview open to all media: when asked, “how will today’s visit affect the future policy?” Mr. Abe answers, “ It is important to hand down the words and experience I heared from everyone. I will make the most of (the words and experience). And I will work hard to futher increase foreign tourists to Japan.”
04:34 Interview ends
04:35 Depart from the temple
05:27 Arrive at roadside rest area Kinokawa Manyounosato in Katsuragi-cho, Wakayama Prefecture. Rest
05:34 Depart from rest area
07:26 Arrive at Hotel Hamachidoiri-no-Yu-Kaishu
07:45 Dinner with Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Seko Hiroshige, Chairman of LDP General Council Nikai Toshihiro, and other colleagues in resturant Shiosai within the hotel
09:44 Dinner ends
Sunday, May 17, 2015
12:00 At hotel (visitors)
08:35 Depart from Hotel Hamachidoiri-no-Yu-Kaishu
09:17 Arrive at a section of National Route 311 in Tanabe City where work is underway to repair the road following a natural disaster. Visit. Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Seko Hiroshige, Chairman of LDP General Council Nikai Toshihiro, and Governor of Wakayama Prefecture Nisaka Yoshinobu also attend
09:31 Depart from the site
09:51 Arrive at a forest planted by LDP Wakayama branch. Visit. Commorative photo session with Chairman of LDP General Council Nikai Toshihiro and others
09:54 Depart from the forest
09:57 Arrive at a worksite where the Nakahechi Town Forest Union is thinning forests. Test drove a processor and exchanged views with workers
10:10 Depart from the worksite
10:32 Arrive at Kumano Hongū Taisha (a Shinto shrine) in Tanabe City. Visit the shrine
11:00 Depart from the shrine
11:04 Arrive at Kumano Hongu Heritage Center. Vist the center.
11:17 Exchange views with Mayor of Tanabe City Manago Mitsutoshi and others
11:32 Finish exchanging views
11:41 Arrive at Oyunohara where Kumano Hongu Taisha was originally located at. Visit Oyunohara.
Noon Depart from Oyunohara
12:23 Arrive at tourist facility Kodoaruki-no-sato-chikatsuyu. Lunch at resturant Kumanoji
12:55 Depart from resturant
01:49 Arrive at Hanwa Expressway Inami Service Area in Inami-cho, Wakayama Prefecture. Buy orange juice and other things in a shop
02:04 Depart from the Service Area
03:03 Arrive at fiber products manufacturing machine maker Shima Seiki in Wakayama-city. Visit. Try on a vest made by machine
03:36 Depart from the maker
04:27 Arrive at Kansai Airport
05:23 Depart from Kansai Aiport by Flight 26, StarFlyer
06:22 Arrive at Haneda Airport
06:39 Depart from Haneda Airport
07:11 Arrive at private residence in Tomigaya, Tokyo
PRESIDENT OBAMA AT G20, APEC AND ASEAN SUMMITS. 11/9, 8:30-9:30am. Sponsor: CSIS. Speakers: Heather Conley, Senior Vice President for Europe, Eurasia and the Arctic, CSIS; Michael Green, Senior Vice President for Asia, CSIS; Matthew Goodman, Senior Adviser for Asian Economics, CSIS; Ernest Bower, Senior Adviser for Southeast Asia Studies, CSIS.
IMF AFRICA REGIONAL ECONOMIC OUTLOOK. 11/9, 8:45am-12:30pm. Sponsor: Institute for International Economic Policy (IIEP), GWU. Speakers: Stephen C. Smith, IIEP Director; Celine Allard, IMF Lead Author; Amb. Reuben Brigety, Dean, Elliott School, GWU; Bhaswar Mukhopadhyay, IMF; Fariha Kamal, U.S. Census Bureau; Danny Leipzeiger, GWU; Dalia Hakura, IMF; James Foster, GWU.
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO HELP THE WORLD’S POOREST AND MOST VULNERABLE? 11/9, 10:00-11:30am. Sponsor: Center for Global Development (CGD). Speakers: Owen Barder, Director of CGD Europe and Senior Fellow, CGD; Jodi Nelson, Senior Vice President, Policy and Practice, International Rescue Committee; Sarah Bailey, Research Associate, Overseas Development Institute; Satwik Seshasai, Vice President of Engineering, Segovia; Moderator: Rajesh Mirchandani, Senior Director for Communications and Policy Outreach, CGD.
U.S. FED INTEREST RATE NORMALIZATION: THE IMPACT ON KOREA, THE U.S., AND THE GLOBAL ECONOMY. 11/9, Noon-1:30pm, Lunch. Sponsor: Korea Economic Institue (KEIA). Speakers: Thomas Byrne, President, Korea Society; Ayhan Kose, Director, Development Prospects Group, World Bank Group; Alex Pollack, Resident Fellow, AEI. Moderator: Donald Manzullo, President, CEO, KEI of America, Former member, House Subcommittee on Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises.
SECURITY CHALLENGES IN EAST ASIA. 11/9, 2:30-4:00pm. Sponsor: Wilson Center. Speakers: J. Stapleton Roy, Distinguished Scholar, Kissinger Institute, Wilson Center; Gerald Curtis, Burgess Professor of Political Science, Columbia University; Evans Revere, Nonresident Senior Fellow, Center for East Asia Policy Studies, Brookings; Rear Admiral Michael McDevitt, Senior Fellow, Center for Naval Analyses; Moderator: Donald Zagoria, Senior Vice President, National Committee on American Foreign Policy.
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