Japan to Decides to Purchase Aegis Ashore System In Response to North Korean Missile Threats

This expected purchase of an Aegis Ashore system seems to make sense considering it can provide a persistent missile defense capability for Japan without having to rotate in and out their current Aegis BMD ships:

Japan is planning to deploy a new U.S.-developed ground-based missile defense system.

The Defense Ministry is to provisionally request that the fiscal 2018 budget cover planning costs for installing the Aegis Ashore system, according to a ministry official. “We are being urged to enhance our capabilities to continually protect the entirety of Japan from the threat of a missile attack,” the official said.  (……)

Japan’s Defense Ministry has studied whether to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, system or the Aegis Ashore shield. But it has not planned for Aegis Ashore installations. The system is not included in the current National Defense Program Guidelines or mentioned in mid-term defense planning documents. The official said Aegis Ashore plans will be finalized by the end of the year.  [Asian Review]

You can read more at the link.

US Sailor Makes Marriage to Japanese Military Servicemember Work

It is pretty cool that this couple has been able to make this marriage work despite being in two different militaries:

Brandon and Yuriko Reed pose with their 9-month-old son, Lucas, last month at Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan. Brandon is a Navy religious program specialist, while Yuriko is an intelligence specialist serving in the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force. TYLER HLAVAC/STARS AND STRIPES

While it’s not unusual to see American servicemembers with Japanese spouses in Japan, couples like Brandon and Yuriko Reed are a lot less common.

Brandon, a Navy petty officer first class and religious program specialist, is married to Yuriko, a petty officer third class and intelligence specialist serving in the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force.

The Reeds, who wed in 2012 and have two children, met while both were stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni. It was Brandon’s first duty station and Yuriko’s second, after a stint as a trumpet player at a Japanese base near Hiroshima.

The couple met through mutual friends after Yuriko sought an American who could help her practice English.

“Everyone wants this crazy story,” Brandon said. “But that’s really all there is. Nothing spectacular.”

Through careful coordination with their respective services, the Reeds managed to secure orders for both to be stationed at Yokosuka. Brandon said he and Yuriko are lucky that his job allows him to be stationed at any major Navy or Marine Corps base. Because the JMSDF has no permanent installations outside of Japan, Yuriko is generally limited to just a handful of U.S. and Japanese bases in Japan.  [Stars & Stripes]

You can read more at the link, but I can’t ever recall meeting anyone in the US military married to someone in the South Korean military.  Has anyone else seen such a marriage?

Picture of the Day: China Donates Ahn Jung-geun Statue to City of Uijongbu

China donates statue of Korean national hero

A project to set up the donated statue of Korean independence fighter Ahn Jung-geun is underway at a park in Euijeongbu, north of Seoul, on Aug. 8, 2017. The Charhar Institute, a Chinese civic think tank, donated the statue to the city to promote friendship between the two countries. The Korean national hero shot and killed Hirobumi Ito, the first Japanese governor-general of the Korean Peninsula, at a railway station in the Chinese city of Harbin in 1909. The statue depicts Ahn pulling out a gun to shoot the governor while running toward him. (Yonhap)

Korean Researcher Claims 1886 Map Proves Dokdo Is Not Japanese Territory

It seems to me that Japanese geographers would not include Dokdo on their maps in the 1800’s because no one cared about two worthless rocks in the Sea of Japan at the time.  The two rocks only gained value in modern times when national borders and thus exclusive economic zones could be tied to them.  Using the logic this Korean researcher is using does he support Japan’s claim to the Kuril Islands based on this map?:

On the map of Asia from Okamura’s textbook compiled in 1886, a red line is drawn to mark Japan’s territory. Dokdo is not included on the map. / Yonhap

A scholar recently unveiled maps of a government-approved Japanese textbook which show that Japan did not perceive Dokdo as its territory in the 19th century.

The findings will give weight to Korea’s ownership of the islets off the country’s east coast, which Japan claims as its own, referring to them as Takeshima Islands.

Prof. Han Cheol-ho of Dongguk University’s history education department displayed maps of a geography textbook compiled by Okamura Matsutaro in 1886 in a presentation at a conference held at the Northeast Asian History Foundation’s Institute of Dokdo Research last week.

The textbook’s map of Asia does not mark Dokdo as its territory. On the map is a red line marking Japanese territory, but not only is Dokdo not included in the area inside the red line, Dokdo is not marked on the map at all.

The border lines are marked the same way in textbooks compiled by geologist Manziro Yamagami in 1902 and 1903.

“The textbook’s map of Asia has the Oki Islands marked, but not Ulleungdo and Dokdo,” Yonhap News Agency quoted Han as saying.

“If Japan perceived Dokdo as its territory it would have drawn the islets on the map and stretched the line to include Dokdo.”  [Korea Times]

You can read more at the link.

Does Old Map Japanese Map Show Dokdo as Korean Territory?

Here is the latest development on the Dokdo front:

An ancient map found in Japan shows Dokdo to the right of Ulleung Island in the East Sea / Yonhap

An antique map from the 19th century depicting the Dokdo Islands as part of Korean territory has been discovered in Japan.

Nam Kwon-hee, a professor of library information science at Kyungpook National University, said he confirmed a Japanese collector has a hand-drawn map of “Daedongyeojido,” a Korean map made by cartographer and geologist Kim Jeong-ho in 1861 that marks Dokdo to the right of Ulleung Island in the East Sea, according to Yonhap News.

The research was co-conducted with Professor Kim Sung-soo of Cheongju University and professor emeritus Yukio Fujimoto of the University of Toyama in Japan.

The map was originally in the collection of the Pyongyang Provincial Library, but was smuggled out via an unknown route. The atlas has the library’s registration number and Aug. 30, 1932, marked as the date acquired.

Professor Nam estimates that the hand-drawn map including Dokdo was created between 1864 and 1889. The map supplements the woodblock book printed by Kim, which does not mark Dokdo.  [Korea Times]

You can read more at the link, but I look at this map and that does not look like Dokdo at all.  It makes more sense that the island to the right of Ulleongdo is actually Jukdo Island.  The island on the map looks like Jukdo and is located where Jukdo is near Ulleongdo.  Also back in the 1800’s no one would have cared about two insignificant rocks in the middle of the Sea of Japan to make them so big on a map like this.

Why the US Military Presence Remains in Northeast Asia

Ian Buruma a very notable author in regards to Asian affairs had this to say in the New Yorker about the US military presence in South Korea and Japan:

Ian Buruma

The problem is that the existing order, put in place by the United States after the Second World War, might be exactly what hampers efforts to thicken that web. In a sense, America is experiencing the dilemmas typical of an empire in its twilight years. Imperial powers in the middle of the twentieth century used to argue that they couldn’t withdraw as long as their colonial subjects were not ready to rule themselves. But, as the British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan once explained to a rather baffled William F. Buckley, Jr., the continuance of colonial rule would not make them more ready. If the United States were to give up its policing duties in Asia too quickly, chaos might ensue. The longer its Asian allies remain dependent on U.S. military protection, however, the harder it will be for them to take care of themselves.

The most desirable way to balance the rising power of China would be the creation of a regional defense alliance stretching from South Korea to Burma. Japan, as the leading economic and military power, would be the logical choice to lead such a coalition. This would mean, in an ideal world, that Japan should revise its pacifist constitution after a national debate, led not by a government of chauvinistic revanchists but by a more liberal administration. But we do not live in an ideal world. Abe’s revisionism (he has currently set 2020 as a deadline for the amended constitution) is unlikely to achieve its aims in Japan. Most Japanese are no keener than most Germans to play a major military role once again. And as long as Japanese leaders insist on whitewashing their country’s recent past they will never persuade other countries in the region to trust them.

This is the status quo that dependence on the United States has frozen into place. As much as Abe’s government wishes to remain under the American military umbrella, the American postwar order, including the pacifist constitution, still inflames right-wing resentment. Yet Washington, and especially the Pentagon, which shapes much of U.S. policy in East Asia, has consistently supported conservative governments in Japan, seeing them as an anti-Communist bulwark. Meanwhile, as long as the United States is there to keep the peace, the governments of Japan and South Korea will continue to snipe at each other, instead of strengthening their alliance.  [The New Yorker]

You can read much more at the link, but Buruma’s comments are based on a book he reviewed titled “Avoiding War with China: Two Nations, One World” by Amitai Etzioni.  This analysis seems pretty accurate, does anyone disagree with it?