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#41 JasonJ

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Posted 27 April 2016 - 0646 AM

Ships assigned to the United States Navy John C. Stennis Strike Group (JCSSG) and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force ships JS Ise (DDH-182) and JS Akebono (DD-108) sail in fleet formation.

 


 


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#42 Josh

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Posted 27 April 2016 - 0835 AM

Man, those are some big <cough> destroyers.


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#43 JasonJ

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Posted 05 May 2016 - 2012 PM

Not directly related but worth noting.

This week the Ministry of Education and Training signed agreements with 17 Japanese universities to boost student mobility and lower tuition fees during a visit from Hiroshi Hase, Japanese Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.
Welcoming Hase, the prime minister said education is the two countries’ strongest area of collaboration, noting that in recent years the flow of students has grown in both directions.

He also welcomed support from Japan in the form of workforce training, Official Development Assistance to upgrade Vietnam’s universities and the development of academic partnerships between institutions in the two countries.

During his visit to Vietnam, Minister Hase also outlined Japan’s plan to establish a foundation to launch the Japanese education model in Vietnam and receive Vietnamese doctors conducting research on cancer treatment in the future.

The Japanese delegation’s visit followed a trade mission by UK foreign secretary Philip Hammond, who met with Nguyễn Xuân Phúc and Pham Binh Minh, Vietnam’s deputy prime minister and foreign minister, in Hanoi last month.

“The UK is at the forefront of supporting Vietnam’s education reform plans and collaborating on science and technology”
During the visit, the two governments reiterated their shared ambition to increase two-way student mobility and to support the goals laid out in a joint statement issued by the Vietnamese government, British Council and UK International Unit at the Vietnam-UK Education Cooperation Forum last year.

They also agreed to accelerate the implementation of the Vietnam-UK University project – working towards the creation of a joint university by 2024 – and expand cooperation in vocational training to develop Vietnam’s workforce.

“The UK is at the forefront of supporting Vietnam’s education reform plans and collaborating on science and technology through the UK’s Newton Fund,” Hammond commented. “I look forward to discussing opportunities for further collaboration.”

Hammond also underlined the importance of economic ties between the two countries, adding that although bilateral trade has more than doubled since 2010, there is “still scope for British companies and products to do much better in this market”.

Meanwhile, the US deputy secretary of state, Antony Blinken, also made the trip to Hanoi ahead of a scheduled visit from President Obama later this month.

As well as meeting with government officials, Blinken gave a speech to students at the Vietnam National University-Hanoi, during which he underlined the two countries’ commitment to deepening cooperation in education and bolstering student mobility and heralded the opening of Fulbright University Vietnam later this year.

“Built on an American model of education, this university will emphasise academic independence, inspire innovation, and help new generations of Vietnamese seize the opportunities before them,” he said.

There are currently 19,000 Vietnamese students studying in the US – up 40% in the last seven years, he noted.
“We can imagine a future 20 years from now… where there are not just 19,000 Vietnamese studying in the United States—but 90,000, or even more,” he added.


https://thepienews.c...k-us-and-japan/
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#44 JasonJ

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Posted 05 May 2016 - 2053 PM

HANOI: Japan’s foreign minister Fumio Kishida arrived in Vietnam on Thursday (May 5) as the two countries step up a strategic alliance in the face of China’s increasing maritime ambitions in the region.

 

Both Japan and Vietnam have competing claims with China over distinct groups of islands in the East and South China Seas, a shared dispute analysts say has bonded the pair in a security partnership.

 

The two countries signed a defence cooperation agreement in 2011 and Japan gave Vietnam's marine police a gift of six secondhand patrol ships last year.

 

In the latest sign of cosier defence ties, Japan is now considering Vietnam's request for brand new ships.

 

The issue was raised at Mr Kishida's meetings with Vietnam's foreign minister and prime minister on Thursday evening, and the early signs are positive, Japan's foreign ministry deputy spokesman Masato Otaka told reporters in Hanoi.

 

"Japan is a maritime country with a lot of know-how, so it's perfectly understandable that countries like Vietnam come to Japan for help. We're doing our best," Mr Otaka said.

 

In April, two Japanese navy ships made a historic port call at Vietnam's Cam Ranh Bay, a strategic area for Vietnam's defence of the South China Sea.

 

Kishida’s arrival in Vietnam follows a series of high-level exchanges in recent months. Japan’s Defence Minister Gen Nakatani visited Hanoi last November, and Vietnam’s Communist Party chief Nguyen Phu Trong was in Tokyo in September.

 

Japan is Vietnam’s largest donor in terms of preferential loans and ranks second in foreign investment, registering US$37 billion of cumulative investments in the emerging ASEAN market as of mid-2015. Both countries are involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a global trade deal that will encompass 40 per cent of global GDP if and when it is concluded.

 

In Hanoi, Kishida held talks with newly-elected Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh on Thursday evening. He is scheduled to address media before meeting President Tran Dai Quang on Friday.

 

 

http://www.channelne...ts/2759778.html

 

Top foreign investor to Vietnam goes to South Korea since 2014.
 

South Korea accounted for over 30 percent of nearly US$19.3 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI) in January-October, according to the Foreign Investment Agency (FIA) under the Ministry of Planning and Investment.

 

Total newly-registered and additional capitals of South Korean investors topped $6.22 billion in the period.

 

The newly-registered capitals of 583 projects reached $2.27 billion while the investors added $3.94 billion to 257 existing projects, the agency said.

 

This means that Korean businesses are increasingly confident in the domestic investment climate so they decided to expand their investment in Vietnam, the FIA said.

 

Korean firms focus on manufacturing and processing, covering over 90 percent of total registered capital.

 

Their investment is mainly in the form of 100 percent foreign-owned firms, with 96 percent of total FDI projects registered in this fashion.

Apart from South Korea, Vietnam also attracted huge Japanese investment with a total of $1.48 billion in 258 new projects and 137 existing ones in the first 10 months, according to the FIA.

 

The capital of Japanese enterprises in manufacturing and processing accounted for 51 percent, followed by construction (24 percent) and real estate (10 percent).

 

According to the FIA, total newly-registered and additional FDI capitals nationwide hit $19.29 billion in January-October, up 40.8 percent against the same period last year.

 

In January-August 2014, South Korea topped the list of foreign investors, with total investment of $3.22 billion for its Vietnam projects, while Japan fell to second place, with $1.27 billion worth of newly, and additionally, registered capital.

Korean businesses have maintained their top spot ever since.

 

http://tuoitrenews.v...stor-in-vietnam


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#45 swerve

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Posted 06 May 2016 - 0603 AM

Not directly related but worth noting.
 

This week the Ministry of Education and Training signed agreements with 17 Japanese universities to boost student mobility and lower tuition fees during a visit from Hiroshi Hase, Japanese Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.
Welcoming Hase, the prime minister said education is the two countries’ strongest area of collaboration, noting that in recent years the flow of students has grown in both directions.
 


https://thepienews.c...k-us-and-japan/

 

I've recently been working on stuff related to the Japanese push towards attracting foreign students to Japanese universities, & encouraging foreign language learning & overseas study by Japanese students. Translation of the rules & guidance for students into English for one university, for example, & degree programmes which include a compulsory spell abroad. It looks as if universities are responding to government pressure. There's also the little matter of lacking opportunities for growth within Japan: the potential student population isn't going to increase in the next 18 years, at least, & mid & upper-ranked universities don't want to damage their brands by competing with the bottom-feeders for marginal students & running sub-degree courses.


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#46 JasonJ

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Posted 06 May 2016 - 0619 AM

Not directly related but worth noting.
 

This week the Ministry of Education and Training signed agreements with 17 Japanese universities to boost student mobility and lower tuition fees during a visit from Hiroshi Hase, Japanese Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.
Welcoming Hase, the prime minister said education is the two countries’ strongest area of collaboration, noting that in recent years the flow of students has grown in both directions.

https://thepienews.c...k-us-and-japan/
I've recently been working on stuff related to the Japanese push towards attracting foreign students to Japanese universities, & encouraging foreign language learning & overseas study by Japanese students. Translation of the rules & guidance for students into English for one university, for example, & degree programmes which include a compulsory spell abroad. It looks as if universities are responding to government pressure. There's also the little matter of lacking opportunities for growth within Japan: the potential student population isn't going to increase in the next 18 years, at least, & mid & upper-ranked universities don't want to damage their brands by competing with the bottom-feeders for marginal students & running sub-degree courses.

Labor shortage is another incentive. Vietnam potentially offers a big help in this regard and in a mutually beneficial way. India is another place that has potentially a lot of temporary workers for Japan.

One of the nursery schools that I teach English at used to be an elementary school. So for a nursery school, the building is very big with some rooms that are normally not used. Outside school grounds is very specious for the 3 to 5 year olds as well.
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#47 Colin

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Posted 06 May 2016 - 1153 AM

I take it Indians or Vietnamese are more favourable than Koreans for historical reasons and to make sure no one population is to large in country?


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#48 JasonJ

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Posted 06 May 2016 - 1844 PM

I take it Indians or Vietnamese are more favourable than Koreans for historical reasons and to make sure no one population is to large in country?


While there is the historical issue, demographically and economically speaking, they're in a similar situation as Japan. Both are 1st world, high tech, low fertility rate, and so on. Korea's population hasn't started shrinking and graying yet but that point of time is approaching fairly soon. Vietnam and India on the other hand are developing countries with a large young population proportionately. So even if there was no historical issue, South Korea really wouldn't have any workers to offer since they'll need just about everyone they can get. With that said, one thing different is that South Korean graduates have a harder time finding work these days than their Japanese counterparts. But that's because their unwilling to settle for less then top company in the goal, so they're slower to getting themselves hired at less prestigious places. I would think that they will sort it out in the coming years as the worker per senior citizen rate continues becoming more severe.

I'm not sure if there is any specific desire to diversify the ethnicities of foreign workers. Would make sense though.
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#49 JasonJ

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Posted 06 May 2016 - 2329 PM


On May 6th, Australia Collins-class submarine "Rankin" made a port call to JMSDF Hanshin Naval Base in Uozakihama, Higashinada ward, Kobe for joint-training with the JMSDF. It is the first time that an Australia naval submarine has made a port call to the prefecture.

 

According to the JMSDF this joint-training with an Australian naval vessel marks the 7th time since 2009. In 1975 and 1981, an Australian naval vessel has made a port call to the prefecture at Kobe port.

 

Rankin has a displacement of 3,100 tons, is 78 meters long, and 8 meters wide. After staying until May 10th at Hanshin Naval Base, the submarine will leave port for the Pacific Ocean and train until May 15th. While staying at Hanshin Naval Base, its said that they will exchange things like sports with JMSDF personnel and deepen close relations. They will stay in Japan until May 20th.

 

On the day of the welcoming the port call, Commanding office of JMSDF submarine fleet Vice Admiral Seiichi Doman welcomed them and said "From now on I'd like to accelerate the defense relations between the two countries." Commander of Rankin, Commander Doug Theobald, said "This joint-training will be a good opportunity to deepen the relationship between Australia and Japan."

 

Spoiler

 

ausjpnasujpnfudehfjkwe.jpg

 

http://www.sankei.co...5070027-n1.html


Edited by JasonJ, 06 May 2016 - 2330 PM.

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#50 JasonJ

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Posted 08 May 2016 - 0501 AM

Malabar 2016 in June.

The Indian fleet will include two stealth frigate, one tanker and one Kirch-class corvette with integral helicopters for Malabar 2016, a set of exercises that began 24 years ago.

Four ships of the Indian Navy will participate in Exercise Malabar along with the navies of Japan and the US. The trilateral naval exercise, scheduled for next month, will be held in Japanese waters east of Okinawa.

The Indian fleet will include two stealth frigate, one tanker and one Kirch-class corvette with integral helicopters for Malabar 2016, a set of exercises that began 24 years ago.

Exercise Malabar has been a highlight of naval cooperation between India and the US, since BJP government came to power in May 2014. During Prime Minister Narendra Modis visit to the US in September 2014, the joint statement noted that the two countries had agreed to upgrade their existing bilateral Exercise Malabar. This was reiterated during President Barack Obamas visit to New Delhi in January 2015.

India has, however, been reluctant to take the American offer for joint naval patrols. During the visit of US Defence Secretary Ash Carter to Delhi last month, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar rejected any suggestion of joint naval patrols with the US Navy. He instead argued for deepened cooperation on naval exercises between the two countries.


http://indianexpress...ercise-2783422/
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#51 Corinthian

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Posted 11 May 2016 - 0245 AM

Asia-Atlantic? Hehehe

 

http://www.dfa.gov.p...-meetings-in-ph

 

Supposedly, the reason why the Philippine Air Force's CAS program has not yet chosen the Super Tucano was because of the absence of such an agreement between the two countries. If so, this makes the acquisition of the Super Tucano a bigger possibility in the future.


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#52 JasonJ

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Posted 11 May 2016 - 1048 AM

Obama to visit Hiroshima.

 

U.S. President Barack Obama’s announcement that he will visit Hiroshima on May 27 following the Group of Seven Ise-Shima summit was welcomed by a variety of people in Japan and the United States on Wednesday.

Attention has turned to what he will say and do at the site of the world’s first atomic bombing, and whether the visit by the first ever sitting U.S. president will be viewed as a de facto apology.

A diplomatic source said Obama may lay flowers, visit the Peace Memorial Museum and make a short speech or statement in which he calls for nuclear disarmament.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Tuesday that there were a lot of opinions about the trip in the U.S., but that Obama would visit Hiroshima’s Peace Park and offer his own reflections to the people of that city.

“The president certainly does understand that the U.S. bears a special responsibility. The U.S. continues to be the only country to have used nuclear weapons, and it means that our country bears a special responsibility to lead the world in an effort to eliminate them. This is a goal that has been sought by Democratic and Republican presidents,” Earnest said.

He said it remains to be seen if Obama will have a chance to meet hibakusha atomic bomb survivors during the visit.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga on Wednesday welcomed Obama’s decision, but he stopped short of commenting on historical issues related to World War II to avoid a diplomatic row with the United States.

“What hibakusha want is no repeat of the calamity the atomic bombings caused,” Suga told a daily news conference, referring to survivors of the 1945 destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Tokyo believes Obama’s visit is intended to “send a strong message toward a world free of nuclear weapons,” he added.

The Obama administration has been weighing a visit ever since U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry last month set foot in Hiroshima for a G-7 Foreign Ministers’ meeting.

“I welcome President Obama’s visit to Hiroshima from the bottom of my heart,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who will accompany Obama to Hiroshima, said Tuesday evening.

Also on Wednesday, the Nikkei financial newspaper reported that Abe may visit Pearl Harbor in November in a symbolic gesture to cement Japan’s alliance with the U.S., quoting an unnamed government source.

Suga said the government is not currently considering such a trip, but he added: “I don’t know about the future.”

The apparent government leak to the Nikkei may be a trial balloon by Abe to test reactions in Japan and the U.S.

Discussing historical issues relating to the U.S. atomic bombings or Japan’s surprise attack on Pearl Harbor is a potential minefield for Abe, who has centered most of his diplomatic and military policies on Japan’s ties with the United States.

Abe and Suga have repeatedly dodged questions over whether Tokyo will seek an apology for the bombings, which killed at least 140,000 people in Hiroshima and another 74,000 in Nagasaki.

On Tuesday Abe only said that Obama made a “grave decision” to visit Hiroshima, and on Wednesday Suga went only as far as saying Obama’s plan will be “a historic opportunity to give momentum” to the effort for a world without nuclear weapons.

Asked if Japan expects Obama’s visit will be future-oriented and not focused on historical issues, Suga said he believes Obama will come to Hiroshima harboring such a hope.

Tobias Harris, a Japanese politics specialist at Washington-based risk advisory service Teneo Intelligence, said Obama is likely to focus on the suffering of the victims.

“Surely he can’t go to Hiroshima and discuss the atomic bombing in passive voice, as if it were some kind of natural disaster?” Harris said. “I do expect that he’ll have to discuss the suffering — and therefore the humanity — of America’s victims in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which certain sections of American political opinion will criticize as an apology, but I don’t think he’ll go so far as to question the necessity of the decision or, for that matter, offer a lengthy defense of the U.S. decision to drop the bomb.”

Richard Samuels, director of the Japan Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, says the Obama visit will create strong reactions in two constituencies in particular.

“In Japan, it is the Japanese right which has spun up the narrative of ‘Japan as victim.’ They will insist that an Obama visit is vindication of that view. The other is the American right, which will bark about an Obama apology tour, without regard for what he actually says or does in Hiroshima. They will try to agitate the veteran’s community and survivors of the POW camps,” Samuels said.

“Neither is a reason to avoid the visit. Obama has the opportunity to acknowledge the past and to remind the world how important it is to take responsibility for the horrors of war into our respective civic cultures. And in so doing, he will be pointing his metaphorical finger right back at Japan, which has often failed to do this,” Samuels added.

How surviving veterans in the U.S. will view the visit is of special concern to Obama. Jan Thompson, President of American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor Memorial Society, welcomed the visit but said it should not void the full history of Hiroshima.

“This history is first and foremost about the most devastating war in world history where more noncombatants died than combatants. It is about American and Allied soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen who fought for peace in Asia,” Thompson said. “It is about a war started by Japan, and for the visit to be solely aspirational and focused on nuclear weapons avoids the hard truths of what it means to fight for freedom and released from tyrannical militarist regime.”

Although there will be no formal apology by Obama for the bombing and the Japanese government has said none is being sought, some Japanese feel such words are necessary.

Organizers of a May 21 meeting in Hiroshima seeking an apology are asking Obama to use his remaining time in office to take responsibility for the bombing, even as they are also calling on the Japanese government to accept Japan’s responsibility for waging war.

“We seek public recognition that Obama will in Hiroshima, as president, clearly recognize the criminality of mass, indiscriminate slaughter using atomic weapons, have the U.S. take responsibility, and apologize to the victims of the atomic bomb,” the group said in a statement on Tuesday evening. “At the same time, the Japanese government and the Abe administration should sincerely accept Japan’s war responsibility and apologize, as well as offer a just compensation to victims of Japan’s aggression.”

The city of Hiroshima itself is not seeking an apology. On Wednesday, the city established a task force to prepare for Obama’s visit. Yoshifumi Ishida, head of the task force, said that, fundamentally, it was hoped the U.S. president would do two things.

“We want him to meet with the hibakusha and listen to their personal stories and memories of August 6th, 1945. In addition, we also hope that Obama will build on his speech that he made in Prague in 2009 and work hard to eliminate nuclear weapons,” Ishida said.

 

http://www.japantime...d/#.VzNSTOQXWj8

 

 

 

 

WASHINGTON/TOKYO, May 11 (Xinhua) -- The White House said Tuesday that U.S. President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima later this month, but he won't apologize for the United States' nuclear attacks in Japan at the end of World War II.

As many observers and U.S. local media have pointed out, with the end of his last term in office approaching in January 2017, Obama hopes to cement his legacy as an advocate of nuclear disarmament by claiming the title of the first sitting U.S. president to visit Hiroshima.

Calling the visit to Hiroshima "historic," the White House said in a statement that Obama's trip will highlight his "continued commitment to pursuing the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons."

On Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest also told reporters that the upcoming visit to the Japanese city of Hiroshima should not be viewed as an apology.

"If people do interpret it that way, they will be interpreting it wrongly."

Obama's visit to Hiroshima is slated for May 27.

"He (Obama) will not revisit the decision to use the atomic bomb at the end of World War II. Instead, he will offer a forward-looking vision focused on our shared future," said Ben Rhodes, Obama's deputy national security advisor.

The White House had previously said unequivocally that Obama did not believe that Japan deserved a formal government apology.

During his tenth trip to Asia from May 21 to May 28, Obama will also visit Vietnam and participate in his final G7 Summit in Ise-Shima, Japan, said the White House.

On the final day of the summit in Japan, Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park near the spot where a U.S. warplane dropped an atomic bomb 71 years ago.

JAPAN'S HIDDEN AGENDA

Political observers believe that Japan is eager to take Obama to Hiroshima -- and not because it wants an apology.

Japan says the aim of the Hiroshima visit is to call for a nuclear-free world. However, given Japan's huge stockpile of weapons-grade nuclear material and the government's recent statement that using nuclear weapons is not against its constitution, such a claim is highly dubious.

Instead, Japan is more interested in highlighting the tragedy of Hiroshima while ignoring the sufferings of countries that it brutalized before and during WWII. Japan is trying to downplay its role as an aggressor and attempting to portray itself as a victim, observers say.

"Every summer Japan holds memorial services for the dead of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And every year the mayors of those cities make peace declarations while noting the deaths, the suffering and the need to abolish nuclear weapons. Yet I never see or hear mention of what brought about all this misery," said writer John Boyd in an article for Forbes.

Boyd called on Abe to visit Pearl Harbor and Nanjing.

"Visit the USS Arizona Memorial above the resting place of the 1,102 dead young sailors and marines and pray for their souls and the souls of the other 1,301 sailors who were also killed during your country's sneak attack on Dec. 7, 1941," he wrote.

The infamous raid ignited the Pacific War that led to an estimated 36 million deaths, and eventually resulted in the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki that ended the war.

"From Hawaii, please fly to Nanjing in China, and bow before the Nanjing Memorial Hall and pray for the thousands of people estimated killed, some of them at the very least by the Japanese Imperial Army," Boyd wrote.

Back in 1894, Japan launched a war of aggression against China. In September of that year, Emperor Meiji decided to temporarily move the command headquarters and the parliament to Hiroshima.

During World War II, Hiroshima acted as Japan's most important base for munitions factories and barracks. The Hiroshima-based Fifth Division was the main force that caused the 1937 Marco Polo (Lugou) Bridge Incident and committed atrocities in China.

Historical documents show that choosing Hiroshima as the first and foremost target was not a random decision made by the United States, but a carefully calculated one that considered Hiroshima's role and function in the aggressive war.

Given the unspeakable pain it suffered, Japan should rationally have more remorse and reflection on the war.

But the Japanese prime minister has shown no such intention or inclination. Just one day before the Nikkei financial newspaper's report on Obama's alleged visit, Abe made an offering to the notorious Yasukuni Shrine where 14 Class-A Japanese war criminals, convicted by an international tribunal after WWII, are enshrined and honored.

The U.S. president yearns for his political legacy to be one that paved the way toward a nuclear-free world. But he must also realize that Japan is simply using Hiroshima to whitewash its crimes instead of truly reflecting on its wartime past.

 

 

http://news.xinhuane...c_135351136.htm


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#53 JasonJ

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Posted 14 May 2016 - 1114 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Amid maritime tension in the Spratlys island chain, the Philippines continues to strengthen its defense alliances with friendly states.

 

Last Wednesday the government forged a defense agreement with France.

 

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and French Ambassador Thierry Mathou inked the defense cooperation arrangement, which both countries had been working on since 2014.

 

“Our relationship would be further enhanced as we institutionalize our cooperation through this agreement,” Gazmin said during the signing ceremony held at the defense department at Camp Aguinaldo.

 

Gazmin said both countries could start working on the implementation of the deal.

 

Under the arrangement, both countries agreed to focus their cooperation on high-level dialogues and defense policy consultations, visits of defense and armed forces authorities, education and training exchanges, and cooperation in defense equipment, logistics and defense industry.

 

The Armed Forces of the Philippines is deemed to be one of the weakest in the region. Manila has been on a diplomatic offensive to boost security alliances and its defense capability.

 

It is also enlisting the support of other countries for Manila’s maritime arbitration case against China. The case questioned the legality of Beijing’s nine-dash line territorial and maritime claims to almost the entire South China Sea.

 

“The conclusion of the Philippines-France Defense Arrangement is very timely given the increasing defense and security challenges both countries are confronted with. The cooperation provided for in the agreement could enhance the two countries’ defense capacities and capabilities essential in addressing such challenges,” defense spokesman Peter Paul Galvez said.

 

Aside from its key ally the United States, the Philippines also has standing defense cooperation agreements with Japan, Australia and several Asian countries.

 

 

http://www.philstar....ooperation-pact

 

The Philippines is gathering all sorts of defense partners.


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#54 Corinthian

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Posted 15 May 2016 - 0247 AM

These defense agreements with France, Brazil, etc are aimed to make purchasing equipment from those countries easier. Brazil, for example, WRT the Super Tucano. I think the idea is to make acquisition cheaper and/or more efficient, in the form of excess defense articles, or government-to-government deals.


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#55 JasonJ

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 0837 AM

South Korea, the United States and Japan will hold their first joint military drills focused on tracking missile launches from North Korea, according to media reports.

 

The exercises, which will involve Aegis destroyers from the three nations, will take place in late June off Hawaii, South Korea’s Defense Ministry said in a text message Monday, according to Bloomberg.

 

It will not involve missile-interception training, the Associated Press reported, citing a South Korean official who spoke on condition of anonymity, citing department rules.

 

The three countries made an intelligence-gathering pact in 2014 in response to growing nuclear and missile threats from North Korea.

 

 

http://www.usatoday....hreat/84432596/


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#56 JasonJ

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Posted 19 May 2016 - 2158 PM

Another Okinawa base related headache.

OKINAWA (TR) Okinawa Prefectural Police have announced that an examination of material found in the vehicle of a former U.S. serviceman matches that of a 20-year-old woman who had been reported missing, reports Ryukyu Shimpo (May 19).

On Thursday, police said that a DNA analysis of material taken from the vehicle of Kenneth Franklin Shinzato, a 32-year-old former member of the U.S. Marine Corps, proved to be a match with that of Rina Shimabukuro, a resident of Uruma City. Police suspect that it is her body that was discovered on that same day in a groove of trees in the village of Onna.

...


http://www.tokyorepo...-ex-u-s-marine/

Edited by JasonJ, 19 May 2016 - 2159 PM.

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#57 JasonJ

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Posted 20 May 2016 - 1120 AM

Things like this suggest that the US still plans to stay in the western part of the Asia-Pacific for a long time to come. That would imply that US behavior towards China is methodical rather than timid. TRA = Taiwan Relations Act (1979). I will add [number] into the quoted article to indicate the 6 assurances.

 

The US House of Representatives on Monday passed a resolution aimed at boosting relations with Taiwan as members reassured Taipei of Washington’s support.

Close observers on Capitol Hill said that the resolution — which triggers no specific action — was in part designed as a goodwill gift to president-elect Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文).

“It is the sense of [US] Congress that the Taiwan Relations Act and the six assurances together form the cornerstone of US relations with Taiwan,” the resolution read.

“Since the six assurances were a verbal pledge, this is the first time in history that they have reached the floor of Congress in the form of legislation,” Formosan Association of Public Affairs president Peter Chen (陳正義) said.

“It adds tremendous weight and momentum to the six assurances and further solidifies the US commitment to Taiwan,” Chen said. “With the May 20 inauguration in Taiwan, passage of the resolution is a welcome gift to the people of Taiwan and a celebration of their continued commitment to freedom, human rights and democracy.”

The resolution was first introduced by Representative Steve Chabot, former chairman of the Asian Subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Speaking from the floor of the House, Chabot said the US-Taiwan relationship is vital to the security of the whole region.

“China has been bullying Taiwan for many years now. It is unfortunate that China doesn’t follow Taiwan as an example. Taiwan faces an unrelenting threat from China, which has nearly 1,600 ballistic missiles aimed at this small island,” Chabot said.

“Although Taiwan enjoys de facto independence, China’s ultimate goal is to take over Taiwan, to annex Taiwan. We absolutely cannot let that happen,” he said. “The Taiwan Strait continues to be one of the most dangerous flash points on the globe. [Former US] president Ronald Reagan realized that Taiwan needed to be reassured that it would not be abandoned and it will not be abandoned by the US.”

Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce told the House of Representatives: “Taiwan has always been a strong friend and critical ally to the United States.”

It is the US’ interest to have a prosperous and a stable Taiwan, he said.

Royce praised the democracy and fairness behind Tsai’s election and said the new legislation was especially important because Congress was going on record for the first time to say that the six assurances are part of the cornerstone of US-Taiwan relations.

Royce said the legislation urges US President Barack Obama and all administrations that follow to publicly, proactively and consistently take the six assurances into account.

The legislation strengthens the US-Taiwan partnership, he said.

Representative Eliot Engle, a ranking member of the committee, said that the new legislation sends a “clear signal” of US support as Tsai’s inauguration nears.

“Even as we deal with China, we must stand with our friends in Taiwan,” Engle said.

Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a former chairwoman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, said the new legislation leaves no doubt about US commitment to Taiwan.

“It is one of the world’s strongest and most vibrant democracies,” she said, congratulating Tsai on her “tremendous” election victory.

She said that China continued raising tensions in the region and that it was “crucial” that the US provide Taiwan with the capability to defend itself against Chinese oppression.
 

“Both China and Taiwan must know that our commitment to Taiwan has not wavered one bit. Taiwan is an essential US ally. It is our friend. It is our partner. The US will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with Taiwan,” Ros-Lehtinen said.

 

The TRA came into force in 1979 during the administration of former US president Jimmy Carter, but three years later, Reagan said that Taiwan needed reassurance that it would not be abandoned, and gave it what became known as the “six assurances.”

 

[1] They promise that a date will not be set for ending arms sales; [2] that China will not be consulted on arms sales; [3] that the US will not play a mediation role between Beijing and Taipei; [4] that the TRA will not be revised; [5] that the US will not alter its position regarding sovereignty over Taiwan; [6] and that the US will not pressure Taiwan to negotiate with China.

 

Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Eleanor Wang (王珮玲) yesterday said that the ministry welcomed and appreciated the concrete actions taken by the US House of Representatives to acknowledge the significance of the TRA and the “six assurances” on Taiwan-US ties.

 

“The US House of Representatives has been a long-term supporter of Taiwan. It is the first time it has passed a resolution to recognize the important roles played by the Taiwan Relations Act and the six assurances on our bilateral ties, urging the US president and the [US] Department of State to openly, actively and consistently reaffirm them as the cornerstone of US-Taiwan relations,” Wang said.

 

http://www.taipeitim...18/2003646514/1


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#58 JasonJ

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Posted 22 May 2016 - 0423 AM

Field carrier landing practice at Iwo Jima in May 2015.

 

 

 

 

The following link and article have a video for 2016 training. Same thing pretty much as 2015, just that there's no Youtube video for 2016.

 

IWO JIMA, Japan -- Flight crews who used to work with U.S. Navy pilot John Pitta know how talkative he could be in the cockpit. As his FA-18 would approach the deck of an aircraft carrier, Pitta's chatting would begin.

"No, no, no, no, no. Stay, baby, stay," he would shout at the deck ahead. "Turn left, left, left," he would instruct his fighter jet.

Landing a fighter jet speeding along at 200kph on a 30-meter wide strip of concrete without clipping any of the 70 aircraft or 300 support personnel crammed onto the deck is no small task. Navy pilots repeat these landings until they can perform them without having to think. "We call it muscle memory," said Pitta, now the assistant chief of staff for operations, plans and training at U.S. Naval Forces Japan. "Your body just makes it happen."

It is a perishable skill. Therefore, by rule, if a Navy pilot has not flown for a certain period, he or she must undergo landing practice on land before going out to sea. The Navy recently invited the Nikkei Asian Review to Iwo Jima to observe field carrier landing practice by the air wing attached to the USS Ronald Reagan. Iwo Jima is roughly 1,200km south of Tokyo.

Field carrier landing practice generates a tremendous amount of noise. The Navy's most advanced FA-18 Super Hornets descend on the airstrip and, at the point of contact with the ground, go full throttle back into the air. This "touch and go" exercise mimics the actual landing on a ship.

At sea, the pilots are required to hook their tails onto a steel arrest wire placed 4 meters from the end of the ship. The plane goes into full throttle at the point of landing to prevent it from falling off the other end of the carrier if it fails to grab the wire.

It is considered one of the most difficult maneuvers a Navy pilot will ever do. By design, if the ship is moving, the landing deck always glides to the right. Waves can cause the deck to jolt up by 3 meters, and often in a figure eight.

The U.S. Navy has been using aircraft carriers for nearly 100 years. Call it a history of trial and error, one not without painful accidents. Through this process, the Navy has arrived at a rule that says if a pilot has been away from carrier landing for 29 days, he or she must first undergo training on land, then move to training at sea within 10 days.
 
Iwo Jima was the site of heavy fighting between the U.S. and Japan during World War II.

For the 100 pilots of the Reagan to be ready for summer patrol, the Navy must conduct 4,200 touch and gos. The remote Iwo Jima is ideal for this training, conducted during the day and at night. The Navy could only carry out the drills at bases in Japan with significant restrictions.

On Iwo Jima, the FA-18s can approach the runway at a height of 180 meters -- close to what would be required at sea. At Naval Air Facility Atsugi, in Kanagawa Prefecture, next to Tokyo, pilots would have to descend from a height of 460 meters in an effort to reduce noise levels. The drills were conducted at Atsugi in 2007 and 2012 due to unfavorable weather conditions at Iwo Jima.

 

The arrangement left something to be desired. It "is like hitting a golf ball off a 7.5cm tee instead of a 3cm tee," Pitta said. "It messes up your muscle memory."

Iwo Jima is not without its own challenges. With no alternative landing strips in the vicinity, pilots are at risk if there is damage to the runway. Furthermore, when the Reagan's air wing, Carrier Air Wing Five, relocates its home base from Atsugi to Iwakuni, in western Japan, sometime next year, the distance to Iwo Jima will increase by 160km, furthering the risk that pilots face.

As such, the Navy and Japanese government have been looking for an alternative, permanent location for field carrier landing practice that can be used year round and is closer to Iwakuni.

In the U.S., the Navy has nine such airstrips on the West Coast alone. The single Iwo Jima location forces the Navy to cram in the training, considering that all 100 pilots have to fly out to sea within 10 days of concluding the field drills.

The island of Mageshima, off Japan's southwesternmost main island of Kyushu and part of Kagoshima Prefecture, has been mentioned as a destination, but local authorities oppose hosting the drills due to the noise they would bring.

A resident near the Atsugi base told the Nikkei Asian Review about the pain of living near the airstrip. "The day we moved here, I could not believe the decibel level. The ground beneath my feet shook," the man, in his 40s, said.

In terms of radio communication, the drills are conducted in utter silence. Fifteen fighters circling in the air above the ship fly down one by one without orders from traffic control. To avoid enemy eavesdropping, there is no radio communication within the ship, including among those working frantically on the deck. Just silence. "It is like a ballet," Pitta said.

China, which possesses one aircraft carrier and is said to be preparing two more, will have to give its pilots and flight crews similar training if it is to have an operational carrier fleet.

"The air strike power of the aircraft carrier is one of the core pillars of the Japan-U.S. security alliance," said Tetsuo Kotani, chief researcher at the Japan Institute of International Affairs, a think tank. "Maximizing the strength of the carrier air wing is vital to maintaining the peace and security of Japan and Asia."

While Kotani acknowledged the noise damage that these planes bring, he noted that the Navy has been sincere in trying to reduce the pollution. "Moving the air wing to Iwakuni, far from the carrier in Yokosuka, also in Kanagawa, goes against Navy rules," he said. "But they are doing it as an exception. They are being considerate."

 

http://asia.nikkei.c...-practice-strip


Edited by JasonJ, 22 May 2016 - 0430 AM.

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#59 JasonJ

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Posted 22 May 2016 - 1309 PM

Obama is bringing an ex-POW with him to Hiroshima.

 

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS – The White House has invited a former prisoner of war to accompany President Barack Obama on his historic visit to Hiroshima, a group of former POWs said Saturday.

 

“As you can imagine, we see this as a positive step . . . and that maybe, finally, (the government is) noticing,” Jan Thompson, president of the American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor Memorial Society, said at a news conference during the society’s annual convention in San Antonio, Texas.

 

Daniel Crowley, 94, a former U.S. Army air corpsman, has been chosen to make the trip to the atomic-bombed city on Friday, according to Thompson, who added, “I think it’s powerful because the victims must face each other in order to become the victors of peace.”

 

The society sent a letter to the White House, urging the president “to focus your remarks at the upcoming historic visit to Hiroshima on the events leading to the decision to use the bomb and recognize the effects it has had on the people of both countries.”

 

“The Pacific War must not be remembered simply as the legacy of one new weapon, for it is not the weapons of war, but rather the causes, conduct, and lessons of that war that matter most,” the letter also said.

 

Thompson pointed out that for many former POWs, Obama making a momentous visit to Hiroshima without acknowledging the pain and suffering that all victims, including the POWs, endured would only serve to further muddy the history of the war.

 

“I understand that he’s going to go there and remember the victims. I think that’s right. That’s morally correct,” she said.

 

“But (Obama) has to remember the POWs who were abandoned by the government and (who) made sacrifices, who died right there on that land that he’s stepping foot on, who were used as slave labor. To me, it’s unfathomable for him not to.”

 

When asked about Obama’s visit to Hiroshima, some of the POWs did not see a problem with the visit, while others questioned or opposed it.

 

Ralph Griffith, a 93-year-old former army private, said he has “nothing against him going.” But he also said, “I don’t want him to apologize.”

Griffith was one of the 10 former American POWs who attended the four-day convention, along with relatives and other supporters of the POWs.

 

 

http://www.japantime...t/#.V0Hy3uQXVxM

 

About Daniel Crowley.

http://ctsenaterepub...y/#.V0Hxd-QXVxM

 

In 2014, 7 US ex-POWs, including Daniel Crowley, spoke in Japan.

https://www.youtube....h?v=eWGWdnBtzCQ


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#60 Roman Alymov

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Posted 23 May 2016 - 0523 AM

Not Pacific, but Asia: last week there was sort of  ”Maidan” attempt in Kazakhstan, quickly suppressed by officials, with about 100 activists arrested and storages of weapons and Molotov cocktails  discovered on rented flats. Protests were planned to be  against new law easing condition of agricultural land rent for foreigners,  but real reason is believed to be significant problems in Kazahstan economy (hit badly by drop of oil prices)  causing all long-suppressed ethnic and  tribal problems to become sharp again.


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