Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Remembering American POWs killed at Hiroshima

May 28th, 2018. MEMORIAL DAY POW PLAQUE UNVEILING IN LOWELL, MA HONORING AMERICAN POWS OF JAPAN. Centralville Veterans dedicate a new plaque honoring the 12 Americans killed in and from the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, August 6, 1945. The new memorial joins the nine others in the park, which collectively display the names of over 3,000 service members. Special guests will be Mr. and Mrs. Shigeaki Mori from Japan, the subject of the documentary film, Paper Lanterns, that recounts Mr. Mori’s 35-year quest to identify the American POW aviators who perished and to notify their families. Mr. Mori was the Hiroshima survivor that President Barack Obama hugged at his speech in Hiroshima. The families and friends of two of the POWs he identified--Normand Brissette, U.S. Navy and Ralph Neal, USAAC--will be at the ceremony. The event will begin at 9:00AM. Location: Centralville Memorial Park, 700 Aiken Street, Lowell, MA 01850, at the intersection of Aiken and Ennell Streets, at the foot of Aiken Bridge, MAP  
PRESS RELEASE

PAPER LANTERNS: FILM SCREENING. 5/24, 7:00–9:00pm, San Francisco, CA. Sponsor: Asian Art Museum. Speakers: The film’s subject, Mr. Shigeaki Mori, a Japanese historian and atomic bomb survivor, who spent 35 years finding the families of 12 American POWs who perished during the Hiroshima bombing. Location: Asian Art Museum, Samsung Hall, 200 Larkin Street.

PAPER LANTERNS: FILM SCREENING. 5/25, 6:00–7:30pm, Mountain View, CA. Sponsor: Community School of Music and Arts. Speakers: The film’s subject, Mr. Shigeaki Mori, a Japanese historian and atomic bomb survivor, who spent 35 years finding the families of 12 American POWs who perished during the Hiroshima bombing. Location: Community School of Music and Arts, 230 San Antonio Circle.

PAPER LANTERNS: FILM SCREENING. 5/30, 7:30–9:15pm, Boston, MA. Sponsor: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Speakers: The film’s subject, Mr. Shigeaki Mori, a Japanese historian and atomic bomb survivor, who spent 35 years finding the families of 12 American POWs who perished during the Hiroshima bombing. Location: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Harry and Mildred Remis Auditorium (Auditorium 161), Avenue of the Arts, 465 Huntington Avenue.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Monday in Washington, May 21, 2018

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will deliver remarks on After the Deal: A New Iran Strategy” at The Heritage Foundation at 9:00am. It will be broadcast live on both the Heritage and State Department Websites.“

AFTER ISIS, WILL IRAQ’S ELECTIONS BE THE NEXT STEP TO STABILITY? 5/21, 2:00-3:00pm. Sponsor: USIP. Speakers: Joshua Johnson, Moderator, Host, NPR's 1A; Kenneth Pollack, Resident Scholar, U.S.-Middle East Security and Foreign Policies, AEI; Denise Natali, Director, Center for Strategic Research, National Defense University; Sarhang Hamasaeed, Director, Middle East Programs, U.S. Institute of Peace. 

MIDDLE EAST AFTER THE IRAN DEAL: FROM ESCALATION TO CONFLAGRATION? 5/21, 2:00-3:30pm. Sponsor: Atlantic Council. Speakers: Nicholas Blanford, Nonresident Senior Fellow, Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, Atlantic Council, Beirut Correspondent, Christian Science Monitor; Mona Yacoubian, Senior Adviser on Syria, US Institute of Peace, Former Deputy Assistant Administrator, Middle East Bureau, US Agency for International Development;  Faysal Itani, Senior Fellow, Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, Atlantic Council.

Will Greater Gender Equity Bring Higher Productivity?

Japan's Cabinet on May 18th approved a resolution to encourage gender equality in politics. At the same time, however, the Cabinet issued a cabinet decision saying that sexual harassment is not a crime. The ruling said "under the current legal system, 'criminal sexual harassment' does not exist." This essentially makes Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso's similar statement now government policy. It should be noted that the Kono Statement, the 1993 putative apology to the Comfort Women for sex slavery does not have the official imprimatur of a cabinet decision.

To address much of Japan's gender inequality, the Diet is deliberating laws to reform working life. Commenting on this is APP Board Member and Professor of Political Science, University of California, Berkeley Steven K. Vogel in the Toyo Keizai, May 17,2018

As the Diet continues deliberation on the detailed provisions of the Work Style Reform bill, it is easy to miss the bigger picture. But Japan has a unique opportunity to remedy some of the worst flaws of its employment system, such as blatant gender discrimination, while boosting productivity at the same time.

There is no guarantee that Japan will achieve such a “win-win” outcome, but that is all the more reason for Japan’s political leaders, ministry officials, company managers, union representatives, workers and citizens to keep their eye on the prize.

Japan is unique among the advanced industrial countries in the degree to which its government is now focused on labor market issues. The Abe administration has declared this to be the “Work Style Reform Diet,” and it has also launched a major effort to rethink education and training, the so-called “human resources revolution” (hitozukuri kakumei).

So in Japan the questions are not ones of political will, but of policy substance and workplace-level implementation. Can the government get it right? And will employers follow through?

The transition from labor surplus to labor shortage presents the perfect opportunity to address the systemic gender discrimination embedded in Japan’s starkly tiered employment system. The trend has become unmistakable over the past few years, as unemployment dipped to 2.5 percent and the job offers to applicants ratio surged to 1.6:1 as of March this year.

The government and industry have responded by shifting their goals from the zero-sum enterprise of shedding workers and lowering labor costs toward the positive-sum mission of increasing female workforce participation and enhancing labor productivity.

Just consider this: Japan now has a conservative ruling party that is promoting social democratic goals like equal pay for equal work and lower working hours. True, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is not advocating these measures for the same reasons as the left opposition, and it will not implement them in the same way. It is more concerned about increasing the labor force, enhancing productivity, stimulating consumption, and boosting the birth rate than in promoting equal rights per se.

Nonetheless, the LDP and the opposition parties agree on the most important elements of labor reform. As one labor union representative lamented to me: “The LDP leaders are clever. They want to win elections. So they take the best ideas from the opposition and they make them their own.”

This is actually a classic LDP strategy. LDP leaders adopted opposition proposals for stronger environmental protection and higher social welfare spending in the 1970s. Prime Minister Koizumi assumed the opposition’s critique of his own party as clientelistic and corrupt in the 2000s. And now Prime Minister Abe has embraced the empowerment of women and the improvement of working life.
Gender Equality as a “Win-Win” Proposition

Promoting gender equality and improving worker welfare should encourage more women to join the workforce and enhance labor productivity overall. Companies will be able to recruit more women by providing a better work environment, including day care facilities, child and elder care leave, more limited working hours, and greater opportunities for advancement.

Greater gender equality should increase productivity for the simple reason that discrimination means that companies are under-utilizing a key pool of talent. Hitotsubashi University Economist Kyoji Fukao notes that Japan ranks at the top among rich countries in literacy, numeracy, and problem-solving, yet it stands out in its low usage of the skills of females at work.

And Isamu Yamamoto of Keio University finds that Japanese listed firms with higher shares of female regular workers are more profitable. In pursuing gender equality, moreover, the government will also address other pressing social problems, including childcare and elder care, economic inequality, and the lack of flexibility in career choices.

The equal pay for equal work provisions in the reform bill are critical to addressing the gender gap. Of course, Japan formally committed to gender equality with the Equal Employment Opportunity Law in 1986.

But companies have preserved discrimination in practice via separate career tracks: a permanent track (seiki), primarily for men, and a “temporary” track (hiseiki), primarily for women. They have justified differences in pay, benefits, and job security on the basis of different levels of “constraint” (kousokusei).

That is, the permanent workers were obligated to accept overtime hours, geographical transfers, and new job assignments whereas the temporary workers were not. The current bill and implementation plans begin to address this problem by prohibiting the most blatantly unjustifiable discrepancies in compensation.

For example, employers will not be able to offer different commuter allowances for regular workers versus non-regular workers, because they cannot justify this difference by the different levels of obligation to accept assignments in the two categories.

Evaluating the Work Style Reforms
I have been struck in my field research on this topic that Japanese government officials are fully aware that simply declaring gender equity and diversity as a goal will not suffice. They are consciously designing mechanisms to monitor progress at the firm level, to reward companies that comply and punish those that do not.

On gender equity, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare devised a star (eruboshi) system to recognize companies for their effort, with three levels of achievement based on five criteria: female hiring, job tenure, work style (including working hours), share of executives, and multiplicity of career courses.

It is easy to make fun of this point system, given that it lacks an enforcement mechanism. But at least it represents a large-scale effort to influence practices at the workplace level, which is the ultimate goal, after all.

On equal pay for equal work, ministry officials took the unusual approach of issuing detailed guidelines before passing the reform law. They cannot impose penalties for non-compliance, but they can issue administrative guidance (gyousei shidou). And companies will have an incentive to comply with the guidelines because judges might refer to them in the case of disputes.

There are some real signs of progress, albeit modest ones. Female workforce participation has increased from 63.4% in 2012 to 68.2% in 2016. The female share of corporate executives increased steadily from a low base from 2012 to 2016, from 14.4% to 18.6% for subsection chief (kakarichō), from 7.9% to 10.3% for section chief (kachō), and from 4.9% to 6.6% for department chief (buchō), according to the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare.

An assessment of work style reform boils down to the proverbial glass half empty versus glass half full. Given the glacial pace of Japan’s shift toward gender equity in the workplace over the past 30 years, and the bias toward employer-friendly reforms over the past 20 years, I view the current reform efforts as a welcome change, both in pace and direction.

Those frustrated by the limitations of the current bill should direct their efforts to ensuring that the government enforces the provisions and that industry changes its practices accordingly. And then they should aim yet higher in the next stage of reform.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Monday in Washington, May 14, 2018

XI'S THREE BATTLES: CHINA'S CREDIT RISKS. 5/14, 9:30-11:00am. Sponsor: Freeman Chair in China Studies, CSIS. Speakers: Andrew Polk, founding partner of Trivium/China, a Beijing-based advisory firm, and Gene Ma, Chief China Economist at the Institute of International Finance.

THE U.S.-CHINA DIGITAL ECONOMY: OPPORTUNITY, COMPROMISE AND PERIL. 5/14, 10:00-11:30. Sponsor: Kissinger Institute, Wilson Center. Speakers: Wenhong Chen, Associate Professor, University of Texas at Austin Visiting Fellow, East-West Center; Aynne Kokas, Fellow, Assistant Professor of Media Studies, University of Virginia.

THE FUTURE OF NUCLEAR POWER IN CHINA. 5/14, 2:30-4:00pm. Sponsor: Asia Program, Carnegie. Author: Mark Hibbs, Senior Fellow, Nuclear Policy Program, Carnegie. Speaker: Jane Nakano, Senior Fellow, Energy and National Security Program, CSIS. Moderator: James Acton, Jessica T. Mathews Chair, Co-Director, Nuclear Policy Program, Senior Fellow, Carnegie.

PSYCHOLOGY OF A SUPERPOWER: SECURITY AND DOMINANCE IN U.S. FOREIGN POLICY. 5/14, Noon-1:30pm. Sponsor: Cato. Speakers: author, Christopher J. Fettweis, Associate Professor of Political Science, Tulane University​; Keir A. Lieber, Director, Center for Security Studies and Security Studies Program,​ Georgetown University and Associate Professor in the Edmund A. Walsh School ​of Foreign Service​; Moderated by John Mueller, Senior Fellow, Cato Institute.

HOW TO TALK TO NORTH KOREA. 5/14, 10:00-11:00am. Sponsor: Carnegie. Speakers: Suzanne DiMaggio, Director & Senior Fellow, New America; Robert L. Gallucci, Distinguished Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy, Georgetown University; Christopher Hill, Chief Adviser to the Chancellor for Global Engagement, Professor of the Practice in Diplomacy, University of Denver; Daniel Russel, Vice President for International Security and Diplomacy, Asia Society Policy Institute. Moderator: Mark Landler, White House Correspondent, New York Times.

UNDERSTANDING SECESSIONIST STRUGGLE IN SOUTH ASIA. 5/14, 11:00am-12:30pm, Washington, DC. Sponsor: Asia Program, Wilson Center. Speaker: Dr. Ahsan Butt, Assistant Professor, George Mason University, Author, Succession and Security: Explaining State Strategy Against Separatists.

VERIFIED DENUCLEARIZATION OF NORTH KOREA: MECHANICS AND PROSPECTS. 5/14, Noon-2:00pm. Sponsor: Institute for Science and International Security and Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Speakers: David Albright, Institute for Science and International Security and Houston Wood, University of Virginia.

U.S. & INDIA: FROM ESTRANGED DEMOCRACIES TO NATURAL ALLIES. 5/14, 1:00-5:00pm. Sponsor: Wadhwani Chair in U.S.-India Policy Studies, CSIS. Speakers: Dr. John J. Hamre, President & CEO, CSIS; Amb. Navtej Sarna, Ambassador of India to the United States; Amb. Frank Wisner, Counsel, Squire Patton Boggs; Amb. Susan Esserman, Chair-International Practice, Steptoe & Johnson; Hon. Arun Kumar, Chairman & CEO, KPMG India; Sadanand Dhume, Resident Fellow, AEI; Thomas Breckenridge, Vice President of Global Sales, Boeing Company; Hon. Raymond Vickery, Non-resident Senior Associate, Wadhwani Chair in U.S.-India Policy Studies, CSIS, Counsel, Hogan Lovells; Vikram Singh, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress. Moderators: Richard M. Rossow, Senior Adviser & Wadhwani Chair in U.S.-India Policy Studies, CSIS; Dr. Kathleen H. Hicks, Senior Vice President, Henry A. Kissinger Chair, Director, International Security Program, CSIS.

NPC HEADLINERS LUNCHEON WITH SECRETARY OF COMMERCE WILBUR ROSS. 5/14, 12:30-2:00pm, Lunch, National Press Club. Speaker: Wilbur Ross, 39th Secretary of Commerce, U.S. Department of Commerce.

OUR TIME HAS COME: HOW INDIA IS MAKING ITS PLACE IN THE WORLD. 5/14, 6:00-7:30pm, Reception. Sponsor: Women’s Foreign Policy Group. Author: Alyssa Ayres, Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations. Moderator: Elisabeth Bumiller, Washington Bureau Chief, New York Times.

U.S POLICY TOWARD IRAN: STRATEGIC OPTIONS. 5/14, 10:00-11:30am. Sponsor: Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC). Speakers: Amb. Eric Edelman, Former U.S. Ambassador to Turkey, Co-Chair, Task Force on Managing Disorder in the Middle East, BPC; Jake Sullivan, Former Director of Policy Planning, U.S. State Department, Former National Security Advisor to the Vice President, Co-Chair, Task Force on Managing Disorder in the Middle East, BPC; Amb. James Jeffrey, Former U.S. Ambassador to Turkey and Iraq, Member, Task Force on Managing Disorder in the Middle East, BPC; Mary Beth Long, Former Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, Member, Task Force on Managing Disorder in the Middle East, BPC; Denise Natali, Director, Center for Strategic Research, Institute for National Strategic Studies, Member, Task Force on Managing Disorder in the Middle East, BPC; Blaise Misztal, Director of National Security, BPC. Moderator: Arshad Mohammed, Diplomatic Correspondent, Reuters.

THE FALLOUT FROM TRUMP’S DECISION ON THE IRAN DEAL. 5/14, Noon-1:30pm. Sponsor: Future of Iran Initiative, Atlantic Council. Speakers: Axel Hellman, Policy Fellow, European Leadership Network; Elizabeth Rosenberg, Director, Energy, Economics and Security Program, Center for a New American Security; Ali Vaez, Director, Iran Project, International Crisis Group; David Mortlock, Nonresident Senior Fellow, Global Energy Center, Atlantic Council. Moderator: Barbara Slavin, Director, Future of Iran Initiative, Atlantic Council. 

Thursday, May 10, 2018

The Founders Worried too, About Foreign Meddling in Our Elections

Madison (L) Jefferson (R)
by Jeanne Abrams, professor at the University Libraries at the University of Denver and author of the book, First Ladies of the Republic: Martha Washington, Abigail Adams, and Dolley Madison and the Creation of an Iconic American Role (New York University Press, 2018).
History News Network, 5/6/18.

In December of 1787, leading American statesmen Thomas Jefferson and John Adams were both stationed in Europe on behalf of their fledgling country. Adams had been named the first U.S. minister to Great Britain in February, 1785 and Thomas Jefferson served as minister to France from 1785 to 1789. Comrades during the Revolutionary War, during their time in Europe, the two men were still good friends, although when they later returned to the United States their relationship fractured over radically different political outlooks. But when the Adamses left France after a residence of only eight months for another three years in England, John’s wife, future First Lady Abigail Adams, called Jefferson “one of the choicest ones of the earth.”

In 1787, the new United States Constitution was being debated in Philadelphia, and both Jefferson and Adams followed developments closely from afar. In an oft- quoted letter written by Adams to Jefferson on December 6, 1787, Adams referred to the “Project of the new Constitution,” and the various objections both men had to the evolving document. Adams famously declared “You are afraid of the one – I, of the few.” Jefferson detested the institution of monarchy and was concerned that the installation of a powerful executive would overturn the principles of the American Revolution and create a quasi-monarchy. Adams, on the other hand, feared the creation of an elite aristocracy in the form of senators. Because of his concern about such a possible oligarchy, Adams therefore maintained “I would have given more power to the President and less to the Senate,” and he advocated for a strong executive.

What is more surprising, and for the most part overlooked, about Adams’s letter is his discussion of the potential danger of foreign meddling in American elections, a subject that is especially timely today. “You are apprehensive of foreign Interference, Intrigue, and Influence,” Adams wrote. “So am I, - But, as often as Elections happen, the danger of foreign Influence recurs.” To counteract that danger, Adams maintained that the less frequently elections occurred, “the danger of foreign influence will be less.” Of course, Adams’s view did not prevail and regular elections and the peaceful transfer of power are still regarded as hallmarks of American democracy.

Once the two men returned in the early national period, radical divisions developed in the United States between the two nascent political parties, the Federalists headed by George Washington and John Adams, and the Republicans led by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. Old alliances were fractured, and the subject of the French Revolution became a pivotal flashpoint. The French Revolution had left a memory of radicalism and bloody terror in the minds of many Americans, heightening disagreements between political factions. Jefferson viewed the event in a largely benign manner as a step toward ousting monarchy and bringing progressive republican ideals of freedom and liberty to the oppressed common people. John and Abigail Adams, on the other hand, were appalled at the violence and chaos that the French Revolution had unleashed, which they viewed as the excesses of unfettered democracy. Later as First Lady, in 1798 Abigail confided to her sister about her fear of French subversion and the specter of French revolutionary “Jacobins,” supported by Jefferson, infiltrating American politics and government. The early camaraderie of the Washingtons and Jefferson also dissolved over political disagreements. A few years after George Washington’s death, the first First Lady, Martha Washington, had come to regard Jefferson’s election to the presidency in 1800 as a tragedy. She told a visitor to Mt. Vernon that “the election of Mr. Jefferson, whom she considered one of the most detestable of mankind, as the greatest misfortune our country has ever experienced.” Certainly not a very tactful way to publicly describe the leader of the country.

The deep schism between the Federalists and Republicans and fear of foreign meddling in elections in the early United States goes back to the dawn of the American republic and make today’s political divisions pale by comparison. Indeed, politics were every bit as divisive and fractious then as they are now. America’s first presidents and even their First Ladies all vocally entered the fray. We should take comfort in the fact that despite that rancorous rhetoric and division, the country survived and thrived. America’s founders exhibited all too human flaws, but they were united by principled convictions and a sincere underlying devotion to the public good. We can only hope a contemporary cadre of American leaders will rise to the occasion and demonstrate a similar measure of dedication.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Monday in Washington, May 7, 2018

AN AIR FORCE OPERATIONS ANALYSIS BRIEF. 5/7, 9:30-10:30am. Sponsor: Mitchell Institute. Speaker: Lt Gen Jerry Harris Jr., USAF, Deputy Chief of Staff, Strategic Plans and Requirements.

THE IMPACT OF DE-RISKING ON NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS AND THEIR BENEFICIARIES IN CONFLICT AREAS. 5/7, 10:00-11:15am. Sponsors: Human Rights Initiative, CSIS; Charity and Security Network; Humanitarian Forum. Speakers: Stuart Gordon, Assistant Professor in Managing Humanitarianism & Program Director, International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies, London School of Economics; Tracey Durner, Senior Analyst, Global Center on Cooperative Security. Moderator: Lana Baydas, Senior Fellow, Human Rights Initiative, CSIS.

click to order
WILL THE TRUMP TAX CUTS ACCELERATE OFFSHORING BY U.S. MULTINATIONAL CORPORATIONS? 5/7, Noon. Sponsor: Economic Policy Institute. Speakers include: Kimberly Clausing, Thormund Miller and Walter Mintz Professor of Economics, Reed College; Rebecca Kysar, Professor of Law, Brooklyn Law School; Chye-Ching Huang, Deputy Director, Federal Tax Policy, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

ON GRAND STRATEGY. 5/7, 2:00-3:00pm. Sponsor: Heritage. Author: John Lewis Gaddis, Robert A. Lovett Professor of History, Founding Director, Brady-Johnson Program in Grand Strategy, Yale University. Moderator: Theodore R. Bromund, Ph.D., Senior Research Fellow in Anglo-American Relations, Heritage.


WAR BY OTHER MEANS: RUSSIAN DISINFORMATION UNDERMINING DEMOCRACY, SPURRING CONFLICT. 5/7, 2-3:00pm. Sponsor: United States Institute of Peace (USIP). Speakers: Anne Applebaum, Washington Post columnist, Pulitzer-Prize winning author and Professor of Practice, Institute of Global Affairs, London School of Economics; William Taylor, Moderator: Executive Vice President, U.S. Institute of Peace. Location: USIP, 2301 Constitution Ave., NW. Contact:

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Abe's "diplomatic" accomplishment


As observed by the Shingetsu News Agency
Results: One Year of Moon Diplomacy vs. Six Years of Abe Diplomacy 
Or How was your April 27th?


As reported by Kyodo News

New ‘comfort women’ memorial removed from thoroughfare in Manila under pressure from Japanese Embassy
April 28, 2018

MANILA – A new memorial dedicated to the Philippines “comfort women” forced into Japan’s military brothels before and during World War II was removed Friday night, days after suspicions surfaced that it was being targeted for demolition.

The bronze statue of a blindfolded Filipino woman, erected in December, was removed from Roxas Boulevard in Manila. Workers left behind only debris fenced in by makeshift barriers.

Around two weeks ago, a Department of Public Works and Highways backhoe was seen parked beside the memorial, sparking speculation that it was to be demolished.

Local women’s rights organization Gabriela and cultural group Kaisa Para sa Kaunlaran (Unity for Progress) last Wednesday expressed their opposition to removing it, with both groups vowing to write to the government about the matter.

Government workers in the area Saturday morning said the memorial was removed so that pipes could be laid underground.

According to the Japanese Embassy in Manila, the Philippine government notified it before taking the statue away. The issue of the comfort women, Japan’s euphemism for the girls and women, is a sensitive one for Japan, and the embassy had expressed concerns over the statue, one of many sprouting up in South Korea, the United States and elsewhere to memorialize an episode of history Japan would rather forget.

In January, Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Seiko Noda visited Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to express displeasure over the memorial.

Since then, the Philippine government has been sending mixed messages on whether or not it supports advocacy efforts on behalf of former comfort women.

Duterte said in January that he cannot curtail the freedom of expression demonstrated by the groups who pushed for the statue to be erected. But his Foreign Affairs Secretary, Alan Cayetano, said the Philippines cannot strengthen its relationship with Japan if it keeps inflaming a matter that is considered “settled.”