The Unz Review: An Alternative Media Selection
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
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US-Australia-Japan alternative to Belt and Road helps explain why the US sent a junior delegation to Thailand and why...
Chinese President Xi Jinping six years ago launched New Silk Roads, now better known as the Belt and Road Initiative, the largest, most ambitious, pan-Eurasian infrastructure project of the 21st century. Under the Trump administration, Belt and Road has been utterly demonized 24/7: a toxic cocktail of fear and doubt, with Beijing blamed for everything... Read More
The most recurring story Westerners get about Japan is that their society is old and dying. The latest polling data shows that 40% of Japanese Millennials are fewer couples get married and fewer babies are born than the last year. The country's median age? 46. This sterility is caused by the Allied imposition of two... Read More
I like Pachelbel's Canon in D. Sure it's overplayed, but I like it, so I was stirred to action after hearing Prof. Greenberg pass some mildly snarky comments about it in
World War II-era poster celebrating the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor
And the Quest for a New European Spirituality
In November 1940, a six-member delegation of Hitler Youth visited Japan, tasked by Adolf Hitler himself with a single task: “The only thing you need do is thoroughly experience the great spirit of the Japanese people that has arisen in their national polity.”[1] In honor of their visit, the Japanese composed a song entitled Banzai... Read More
Tokyo, 2018
Generally seen as highly homogenous, Japan is changing fast. In Tokyo, Kawasaki and Osaka recently, I encountered quite a few
Osaka, 2018
Before my recent trip to Tokyo,
Tokyo, 2018
We landed in darkness. The last time I was in Narita was 18 years earlier. With a six-hour layover, I inexplicably didn’t leave the airport. “Can I possibly die without at least a glimpse of Japan?” I’d ask myself, cringing. Finally, I was there. My first impressions were the generous legroom on the train to... Read More
There is
Alarm bells ringing as rampant speculation breaks out over Pyongyang's 'possible' miniaturized nuclear warheads
Beware the dogs of war. The same intel “folks” who brought to you babies pulled from incubators by “evil” Iraqis as well as non-existent WMDs are now peddling the notion that North Korea has produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead able to fit its recently tested ICBM. That’s the core of an analysis completed in July... Read More
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Despite a bloody history, Japan and China are now cooperating in ways that shut out the United States
China is now widely seen as the coming superpower. But few even among the west’s China-watchers understand quite how fast this geopolitical freight train is approaching. Moreover, most western observers assume that China’s ambitions are being opposed by its East Asian rival, Japan. In the words of the Economist, Japan is “standing in the way”... Read More
Understandably, a lot of the coverage analyzing the impact of Trump on Japan has emphasized the negative: Trump is a trade-war guy, he wants Japan to pay more for bases, he’d be happy to stand aside as Japan slugged it out in some military encounter with North Korea, he’s pulled the plug on TPP… Quite... Read More
Another day, another piece of US think-tankery poo-pooing the prospects for a nuclear confrontation with the PRC. RAND came up with a new report on the economic costs of war with China,
Motoyuki Shibata in New York City, 2016
In Japan, even a serious writer may be seen on mass advertising, and a translator can become a star. One of Japan’s most famous intellectuals, Motoyuki Shibata is a specialist on American literature. He has translated books by Thomas Pynchon, Paul Auster, Steven Millhauser and Stuart Dybek, among others. Shibata is also the editor of... Read More
shamirjapan
I came to Japan for the preview of Obama’s visit, when the G7 foreign ministers assembled at Hiroshima, led by the US State Secretary John Kerry. He should apologise, people said. You do not think Kerry apologised for nuking the city, did you? Neither did Obama. The Americans never apologise, banish the thought. Love means... Read More
Should Japan and South Korea be permitted to develop nuclear weapons? That was the very good question posed last week by candidate Donald Trump. Washington’s elite and neocon war party threw up their hands in horror at Trump’s heretical question. The media, heavily influenced by neocons who hate Trump’s call for even-handed US policy in... Read More
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Why the Media's Silence on Japanese Protectionism Gives Trump Another Priceless Opening
In few places has Donald Trump’s rise caused more unease than in Tokyo. Indeed it is probably safe to say that, underneath an ostensibly imperturbable exterior, top Japanese officials are running far more scared than even Trump realizes. They have a lot to be scared about. Much of what the Washington establishment thinks it knows... Read More
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One byproduct of tensions with the People’s Republic of China over the South China Sea (to be followed, shortly, I believe by tensions over the friction between the PRC and Taiwan ruled by the DPP) is the opportunity for the United States to abandon the useful but by now threadbare fiction that the massive U.S.... Read More
On October 6, 2015, the Wall Street Journal carried this headline:
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Japan, the United States, and the Security Laws
The passage of the collective self defense bills-- enabling Japanese participation in military activities beyond its home territory under restrictions that
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On Refugees as on Trade, It Excels in Managing Anglophone Opinion
As Third World migration increasingly dominates the headlines in the European Union and the United States, the rich nations of East Asia have been keeping heads their down. With good reason. True to their ultra-strict immigration policies, they have been admitting virtually no refugees. South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and mainland China are at one... Read More
NSA spying often occurs because the resources are in place, and have to be used for something
The drama of Edward Snowden’s exposure of wide-ranging National Security Agency (NSA) domestic spying has somewhat overshadowed the steady flow of somewhat lesser revelations derived from the massive cache of documents known as Wikileaks. The most recent news reports based on five Wikileaks documents, plus a list of targeted telephone numbers, detail how Washington spied... Read More
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A $10,000 Invitation to FT Editor-in-chief Lionel Barber
Dear Lionel: I refer to your public assurances that the Financial Times’s independence will not be compromised by the Nikkei takeover. You are misinformed. Frankly, I concur with the BBC’s economics editor Robert Peston who has tweeted that this is a “desperately sad” moment. As you know, I have spent 27 years covering finance and... Read More
For years, anglophone media ignored the Japanese economy’s strengths. Now it’s time for a rethink
For decades the Financial Times has hardly had a good word to say about the Japanese economy. It is a special irony therefore that the paper’s longtime British owner, the Pearson group, has nowNikkei that is buying the FT, not the other way around? After all, the two companies have cooperated since at least as... Read More
The other day the New York Times highlighted anti-black discrimination in Japan. Focusing on the experiences of Ariana Miyamoto, a half-black/half-Japanese beauty queen who was born in Japan and enjoys full Japanese citizenship, the Timespresented
Cyborg She, a love story about a female android and a shy young man. Credit: Gaga Communications, for use in critical commentary
Can humans and robots get along together? Actually, they already do in a wide range of applications from surgery to assembly lines. The question is more vexing when the robots are androids—human-like creatures that can recognize faces, understand questions, and behave as social, emotional, and affective beings. It is this aspect that troubles us the... Read More
Perhaps the highest honor the United States can confer on a foreign dignitary is to invite him or her to address both houses of Congress. Invitees join an exclusive club that has included such esteemed figures as Winston Churchill, Charles de Gaulle, Yitzhak Rabin, Nelson Mandela, Lech Walesa, and Corazon Aquino. Now the currency is... Read More
In the spring of 1995 – twenty years ago almost to the day – I published a book about Japan entitledBlindside. Endorsed by such long-time Japan watchers as James Fallows, Sir James Goldsmith, and John Kenneth Galbraith (Galbraith had clocked considerable on-the-spot experience as a senior official of the American occupation in the late 1940s),... Read More
How much silicon is there in Silicon Valley? Not much, if we are talking super-pure monocrystalline silicon, which is the high-end material driving the digital revolution. As with countless other advanced materials these days, most of the world’s semiconductor-grade silicon comes from Japan (yes, Japan Inc has kept on trucking even if this is rarely... Read More
Even judged by the usual indiscriminate scorn heaped on the Japanese economy these days, John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge seem exceptionally dismissive. In their latest book The Fourth Revolution, they contend that illegitimate entities have acquired a “frightening” chokehold on the Japanese government, and add that for decades Japan has “failed to fix its sclerotic... Read More
This story appears in the December 2014 issue of Forbes Asia. Honda and Toyota stand out as the Japanese automobile industry’s strongest players. So when in 2008 Honda launched the FCX Clarity, the world’s first plausibly commercial fuel-cell car, people wondered why Toyota was nowhere in this exciting new technology. Now the shoe is on... Read More
The Double Whammy
Japanese stocks suffered their biggest one-day plunge in more than four months following an announcement that the world’s third biggest economy had slipped back into recession. The two consecutive quarters of negative growth were triggered by an increase in the sales tax that was implemented by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in April. The VAT tax... Read More
According to press reports this morning, the Japanese economy is now yet again in recession. Poor, poor Japan, you might think! How unlucky it has been, plagued by a bizarre series of economic accidents and miscues for nearly 25 years! Is it time we reached for our checkbooks and made a Christmas donation to the... Read More
As most Americans, if not the financial media, are aware, Quantitative Easing (a euphemism for printing money) has failed to bring back the US economy. So why has Japan adopted the policy? Since the heavy duty money printing began in 2013, the Japanese yen has fallen 35% against the US dollar, a big cost for... Read More
At a welcoming banquet in Japan in the 1980s,
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The American-triggered regime change in Ukraine at the Western end of the Eurasian continent has been widely discussed. Less noticed, if at all, has been the American-triggered change of government in Japan four years ago as part of the so-called ‘pivot’ aimed at holding back China on the Eastern end. The two ought to be... Read More
Class Warfare Saps the Economy
By every objective standard, Abenomics has been a complete flop. Household spending has plunged, wages have dropped for 23 months in a row, inflation is on the rise, the number of workers who can only find part-time jobs has ballooned to 38 percent, and most economists now expect 2nd quarter GDP to shrink to minus... Read More
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As we near the grim anniversary of World War I, let us remember the first great war of the blood-soaked 20th Century. Shortly before midnight on 8 February, 1904, Japanese destroyers and torpedo boats launched a surprise attack on the great Russian Pacific naval base at Port Arthur. Located at the tip of Manchuria’s strategic... Read More
I'll let the tweets speak for themselves:
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Retail Sales Apocalypse leaves Abenomics in Tatters
Plunging retail sales and rising inflation have rocked Japan’s anemic economy and cast doubt on the future of Abenomics. While the US Commerce Department announced that first-quarter growth in the United States had slipped into negative territory for the first time since 2011 (-0.1 percent), the news from Tokyo was even grimmer. Following a tax... Read More
And...Island Games: Okinotorishima vs. Johnson South Reef
My Twitter feed contained the following ringing statement: To paraphrase Napoleon on the Pope, how many battalions does the frickin’ passive voice have? “Must be prevented”. That’s the problem with the pivot. The "pivot to Asia" is an idea. It's not a doctrine, like the Monroe Doctrine, the Truman Doctrine, the Eisenhower Doctrine, or the... Read More
Last month I recounted how a top U.S. law firm had agreed to help shadowy Japanese interests try to portray the so-called Comfort Women – the sex slaves grotesquely abused by the Japanese Imperial Army in World War II – as no more than common prostitutes. As I pointed out, the case is totally toxic... Read More
For anyone who follows East Asia, here’s a question: what is Japan’s guiltiest secret? The “comfort women”
Enough Already
It looks like QE is going to end with a whimper instead of a bang. The bigwigs in the G-20 have put the kibosh on Japan’s money printing extravaganza. While most analysts expect the Bank of Japan (BoJ) to announce more “easing” in the days ahead to counter weakening economic data and droopy stock prices;... Read More
Post updated, 9/14/14 6/5/14. See below! In my earlier post on Gregory Clark's work,
Would any self-respecting U.S. law firm represent a client who suggested the Jews deserved the Holocaust? Probably not. As a matter of honor, most law firms would run a mile, and even the least honorable would conclude that the damage to their reputation wasn’t worth it. Where imperial Japan’s atrocities are concerned, however, at least... Read More
Abe's Kamikazenomics Slashes GDP to 0.7 Percent
Abenomics has been great for stock speculators and corporate bigwigs, but for everyone else, not so much. The fact is–despite all the media hype and monetary fireworks–Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s three-pronged strategy to end 20 years of deflation has been a total bust. But don’t take my word for it, check out this clip from... Read More
The New York Times the other day suggested that Japan may revoke its apology to the so-called comfort women, the sex slaves used by the Japanese imperial army during World War II. The Times was vague about the details – probably because it has next to nothing to go on. For anyone who knows Tokyo,... Read More
[This piece may be reposted if Asia Times Online is credited and a