Shimbun, The Yomiuri. “Osprey absent from Japan-U.S. joint drills.” The Japan News, Jiji Press, 10 Aug. 2017, the-japan-news.com/news/article/0003873968. Accessed 13 Aug. 2017.
This past Thursday, the United States and the Self Defense Forces in Japan had joint exercises, but the Osprey was not present for these. This was due to a request on Japan's part after an Osprey flight crashed, killing three of the people on board at the time. The exercises are scheduled to take place over the next week as well and the Osprey may or may not be taking part in these. According to Japan's Defense Minister, "Ospreys won't be used until coordination with the US side is made."
Shimbun, The Yomiuri. “Record number of foreign trainee employers violate labor laws in '16.” The Japan News, Jiji News, 11 Aug. 2017, the-japan-news.com/news/article/0003871992. Accessed 13 Aug. 2017.
According to the labor ministry, the number of employers that accepted trainees from other countries violated Japan's labor laws. More businesses were found to be violating the labor laws than ever before, the number of businesses coming to 4,004. This is 309 more businesses than were recorded last year, showing the continues increase of foreign trainees coming into Japan. Most of the law violations found were related to overtime procedures, safety, and unpaid extra pay.
Lies, Elaine, and Takaya Yamaguchi. “Abe, Trump Discuss N Korean Threat.” Japan Today, Japan Today, 31 July 2017 japantoday.com/category/politics/Abe-Trump-discuss-N-Korean-threat.
On July 31st, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met with Donald Trump to discuss what actions to take against North Korea. After North Korea tested its long-range missiles on July 28, many countries felt alarmed and threatened. The US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, previously stated that the UN is not putting enough pressure on North Korea, adding that Japan needs to do more to pressure the growing aggressor. While the two leaders agreed that action needs to be taken against North Korea, they did not specify what the action included. No potential military action against North Korea was discussed. Japan has emphasized that they believe China and Russia need to play larger roles in the North Korean dilemma. Trump argued that China has done “nothing” to help the US in the dilemma, while China has greatly benefitted from US trade. President Trump will be meeting with the South Korean President Moon Jae-in next to discuss the developing North Korean threat.
Reuter, Thomson. “A Maverick at Home, Taro Kono Set for Softer Diplomatic Approach Abroad.” Japan Today, Japan Today, 3 Aug. 1970, japantoday.com/category/politics/a-maverick-at-home-japan's-taro-kono-set-for-softer-diplomatic-approach-abroad.
Recently, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has picked Taro Kono as Japan’s new foreign minister. Taro Kono has deep connections with the United States, having connections to a variety of personnel throughout the country. As a fluent english speaker, one of Kono’s major tasks will be communicating with the US regarding the recent development of the North Korean threat. Kano and his family have had a long history of involvement in Japan’s government. His father, Yohei Kono, was a former chief cabinet secretary. Kono himself was first elected to parliament in 1996, and also served as head of the National Public Safety Commission in 2016. Taro Kono has pushed for a reduction of Japan’s nuclear arsenal throughout his involvement in the government. He has also criticized the government’s hesitance to open the doors for immigrant laborers. Despite these pushes, many experts believe his approach to international diplomacy will be similar to the previous foreign minister.
For this assignment, one student will volunteer each week to post on the blog two examples of current event/news items that offer some perspective on the course topic. Current event examples should be focused on the United States and Japan (and/or their position in global affairs). The two pieces you choose to bring in may be comparative (i.e. different perspectives on the same issue) or unrelated to one another. Please choose a week that best fits your schedule. You will complete one current event blog post by the end of your selected week with a Sunday 11:00 p.m. due date. Also, see program blog for resources related to selecting reliable news sources. *
Week of June 5 – Julie (Due June 11)
Week of June 12 – Kristi (Due June 18)
Week of June 19 – Angela (Due June 25)
Week of June 26 – Tobi Du (Due July 2)
Week of July 3 – Zoe (Due July 9)
Week of July 10 –Jacob (Due July 16)
Week of July 17 – Laura (Due July 23)
Week of July 24 – Alison (Due July 30)
Week of July 31 - Rhyan (Due August 13)
Week of August 7 – Yu-Won (Due August 13)
Week of August 14 – Mara (Due August 20)
Week of August 21 – Alvin (Due August 29 extended due to travel)
Week of August 28 – Ann (Due Sept 3)
Week of Sept 4 – Tian Wei (Due Sept 10)
Reading: Japan in Historical Context
- Embracing Defeat, John Dower (Introduction, pp. 19-30)\
- Precarious Japan, Anne Allison (Chapter 2: From Lifelong to Liquid Japan)
- Lecture: Japanese National Identity in Historical Context
- Note: This is a narrated PowerPoint lecture (~25 minutes long).
- Download the file.
- Open it in Microsoft PowerPoint.
- "Play" the slideshow from the beginning. You should hear the audio, and the slides should advance on their own.
- If you have any issues with this, email Kristi as soon as possible)
Due August 7: Write a short reflection (300-500 words approx) on the prompt below:
Thinking about the readings and lecture, what do you find to be the most interesting aspects of Japanese national narratives through history? (You can pick one aspect or address several.) Can you draw any parallels or contrasts between shifts in Japanese national identity and developments in the US or other countries?
Japan Daily Diary Schedule, Summer 2017
You will take turns posting a blog with visuals narrating two day’s activities on the main blog for the class. You decide on the length of your post and the method of presenting. Think of your Daily Diary assignment as a reflective travel-log that, collectively, will tell the story of the program.
You may use a VLOG style (video diary), a combination of writing and photos with music, or whatever fits your style and prospective. We are suggesting a minimum text posting of 350 words; however, if you choose to narrate your two days via video and audio, the 350-word minimum would not necessarily apply. If you do narrate your two days using video and audio, you will need to do a short write up post introducing/providing context to your Vlog post.
Be descriptive in your posts and remember to tie in your reflections of Tokyo (and Kyoto and Hiroshima) with the program’s themes and what you are learning on the ground. Your task is to report on the happenings of the program in a way that showcases Japan, the program activities and the learning and insights being gained. Please carefully review and edit before posting.
Each blog post is due by the end of the NEXT day assigned, i.e. if your assigned days are Aug 28-29, you would post no later than the end of the day Aug 30 (by midnight).
We have given each of you permission to post to the program blog (we have used your uw email): http://uwhonorsjapan2017.blogspot.com/
Daily Diary Schedule
Aug 26-27 first days: Allison Takahashi
Aug 28-29: Zoe Escalona
Aug 30-31: Laura Gumz
Sept 1-2: Tobi Du
Sept 3-4: Alvin Luc
Sept 5-6: Mara Kage and Tianwei Zhu
Sept 7-8: Angela Sun
Sept 9 -10: Yu-Won Youn
Sept 11-12: Jacob Burke
Sept 13-14: Rhyan Cockrell
Sept 15-16 End of Program: Ann Evans
The Associated Press. "Cheese, Please: Japan, EU Said near Agreement on Trade Pact:
The Asahi Shimbun." The Asahi Shimbun. N.p., 01 July 2017. Web.
Japan and the European Union (EU) are finalizing a trade agreement to reduce barriers between the two large economies. After President Trump’s withdrawal from Obama’s Pacific Rim trade agreement, Japan has continued to seek trade ties with other countries. One contentious point of the negotiations with the EU is Japan’s tradition of protecting domestic agricultural interests, with dairy products being debated over in this case. Both Japan and the United States have sought to protect their national economic interests by their international positions, with Trump citing an “America First” policy to trade deals and Japan insisting that they will “resolutely protect [their] interests”. This is compatible with both nations’ identities as powerful countries capable and willing to pursue national interests. However, the United States’ position in global affairs has noticeably decreased with Trump’s presidency, which contrasts with Japan’s trade negotiations with the EU. Thus, this trade agreement has also brought up questions about the United States' leadership in international issues like trade.
Shimbun, The Yomiuri. "Govt in Step with U.S. Sanctions." The Japan News. N.p., 01 July
The Japanese government agreed to cooperate with the United States on a pressing matter of national security for both nations: the sanctioning of North Korea, a rogue state with nuclear capabilities. Working with the US, Japan is seeking to pressure North Korea and China (a long-time supporter of North Korea) by implementing financial and trade sanctions. Given North Korea and Japan’s tumultuous history, in which Japanese citizens were abducted by North Korean agents, these actions are in line with the national narrative of continued contention between the two countries. In addition, Japan has long been active in concert with the United States on North Korean issues, especially in the Six Party Talks. With both the US and Japan as world leaders economically and militarily, cooperation to combat the North Korean threat shows both countries’ influence in the international arena.