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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Free trade and war

Yet another pillar in the free trade theory appears to be on the verge of falling:
China declares economic war on Japan

China is trying to hurt Japan economically, to gain leverage in its campaign to take control of the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands. In the 2010 confrontations, China took revenge on Japan by terminating shipments of rare earth minerals, needed for manufacturing of many of Japan's electronic products. In the current confrontation, the Beijing government is encouraging the Chinese people to demonstrate and protest against Japanese businesses in China. The government urged protesters not to use violence, but that part of the message is clearly not getting through. Protesters torched a Panasonic factory and Toyota dealership, looted and ransacked Japanese department stores and supermarkets in several cities. China's National Tourism Administration ordered travel companies last week to cancel tours to Japan over the weeklong National Day holiday in early October. AP and Bloomberg

Chinese Communist Party urges punitive sanctions against Japan

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is urging strong punitive sanctions against Japan, for its "well-orchestrated plan" to take control of the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands, according to the CCP's official newspaper:

"The "nationalization" of the Diaoyu Islands by Japan after "purchasing" them from a "private owner" is ridiculous and cannot change the fact that they are Chinese territory. ... China should take strong countermeasures, especially economic sanctions, to respond to Japan's provocations. Military consideration, however, should be the last choice.

The United States has frequently used Article XXI Security Exceptions of the WTO (taken from the earlier General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) to impose economic sanctions on other countries. The security exception clause says a country cannot be stopped from taking any action it considers necessary to protect its security interests. That means a country can impose sanctions on enterprises, financial institutions, organizations and even other countries' central and local governments. Taking a cue from the US' practice, China can use the security exception clause to reduce the export of some important materials to Japan.

China didn't announce any sanctions against the Philippines in April, but it froze banana imports from that country in response to Manila's aggressive attitude in the Huangyan Island dispute. Though the economic countermeasure forced the Philippines on the back foot, it also harmed the interests of some Chinese enterprises.

So it is important for China to devise a sanction plan against Japan that would cause minimum loss to Chinese enterprises.

The US' capability to impose economic sanctions on other countries is based on its economic strength, huge share in global trade, financial institutions and global intelligence network. China, too, has the capability to impose sanctions on other countries now that it is the second largest economy, has the largest foreign reserves, and is the largest exporter and second largest importer.

An analysis of Sino-Japanese economic interdependence shows that Japan's economy will suffer severely if China were to impose sanctions on it. China's loss would be relatively less. ... So it's clear that China can deal a heavy blow to the Japanese economy without hurting itself too much by resorting to sanctions.

Apart from its reliance on China, Japan has been suffering from other economic ills. First, Japan's massive government debt is increasing substantially. ... Third, Japan's fiscal deterioration is likely to continue. There are enough indications that Japan's economic growth in 2013 will slow down or slip into another recession. The irreversible trend of long-term economic downturn, combined with Japan's aging population, will eat into the country's household savings, and the declining purchasing power of the Japanese will increase Japan's fiscal debt. ...

But instead of blindly boycotting Japanese goods, China should work out a comprehensive plan which should include imposition of sanctions and taking precautionary measures against any Japanese retaliation. China should also have several rounds of policies ready to undermine the Japanese economy at the least cost of Chinese enterprises.

Furthermore, in case Chinese enterprises suffer because of the sanctions, the Chinese government should be prepared to compensate them. And once China imposes sanctions on Japan, the government should ensure that all enterprises in the country, domestic and foreign, obey the rules."
China and Japan have only been trading since diplomatic ties were normalized in 1972; China became Japan's largest trading partner in 2004. A war between two of the world's largest economies would permanently shatter the oft-heard argument that trade eliminates the possibility of war. It's an argument that should always have been dubious, however, as England's many wars against the various principalities in India and the USA's Middle East wars have all followed the inception of large-scale trade with the region.

Once more, we see that free trade delivers precisely the opposite of what it promises. And, as Generational Dynamics adroitly points out, trade actually expands the range of warfare as well as providing an economic weapon that can be wielded against the trading partner. Even when trade is not a cause of the war, it provides a means of fighting it.

Lest anyone think I am setting up a strawman here, consider this article by a free trade advocate at the Mises Institute: "The Classical Liberals of the nineteenth century were certain that the end of the old Mercantilist system--with its government control of trade and commerce, its bounties (subsidies) and prohibitions on exports and imports--would open wide vistas for improving the material conditions of man through the internationalization of the system of division of labor. They also believed that the elimination of barriers to trade and the free intercourse among men would help to significantly reduce if not end the causes of war among nations."

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71 Comments:

Anonymous the abe September 19, 2012 5:04 AM  

Not to mention "free trade" came to China and Japan alike by gunboat diplomacy.

Anonymous Roundtine September 19, 2012 5:33 AM  

I do not believe Japan is a sleeping giant, but their economy has been experiencing real growth for 20 years. It's the demographic change and debt pileup that has led to their current situation. If China sets off a run on the yen and Japan's economic implosion, Japan's nationalists will have their way and rearm. The growth of a defense industry coming out of a depression will be a 1930s replay, and China's own economy will be harmed longer-term by Japan becoming more competitive. Japan will take the lead in robotic warfare and Chinese soldiers will eventually go up against Japanese T-800s, Voltron, or whatever they come up with.

Blogger Peter Garstig September 19, 2012 5:41 AM  

Whenever trade establishes a imbalance of economic power, it will likely be used as leverage in crisis and might lead to war. It's not hard to argue that.

The free trade argues in the opposite direction: it will create a kind of a dependency between nations and therefore the incentive to go to war lowers. This might be true in theory if the dependency is well balanced; but as resources (including cheap work force) are not distributed equally among nations, there will always be imbalances in trade between nations.

I guess that most wars are fought for economic reasons.

Anonymous Luke September 19, 2012 5:45 AM  

Samuel Huntingdon predicted in his book "The Clash of Civilizations" that Japan would change sides from the West to China, this obviously taking place after a significant amount of weakening by the U.S. and waxing of Chinese strength. I predict initially something closer to Finlandization of Japan, with some variations for local history.

Blogger Fred September 19, 2012 6:17 AM  

Sounds like a door through which you and Gary North can renew your old beef.

Anonymous Stilicho September 19, 2012 6:31 AM  

Whenever disparate peoples are brought into closer contact whether through trade, immigration, forced busing, etc. friction always increases.

Anonymous Rantor September 19, 2012 6:44 AM  

I spent the weekend at the Liberty Political Action Conference with the Drs Paul and many of their followers. The only thing I could not agree on with them was the idea that free trade with everyone will magically bring about peace. I have actually been thinking of researching and writing further on this -although I doubt it would help.

I am reading a collection of Ron's writings on Foreign Policy and so far they are just prescient statements on the danger of our executive driven adventures in foreign lands. I will have to keep my eyes open for free tradism as I continue.

Blogger Dan Hewitt September 19, 2012 7:06 AM  

If China and Japan do not end up going to war, would you reconsider your views?

Blogger Vox September 19, 2012 7:22 AM  

If China and Japan do not end up going to war, would you reconsider your views?

On free trade eliminating war? Of course not. Two countries not going to war can't possibly prove that trade prevents war. On the other hand, one big example of this sort would be sufficient to disprove the opposite.

Anonymous DJF September 19, 2012 7:26 AM  

"""'Rantor writes

The only thing I could not agree on with them was the idea that free trade with everyone will magically bring about peace."""

If somehow "free trade" actually existed, not the present system but real free trade then it would so transform the world that the nation state would probably not even exist so nation state wars would not exist

However this does not mean the end of wars, just on how the fighting is organized. The wars fought by the British to conquer India was mostly fought not by the British government but by the British East Indies Company, the British first limited liability corporation. So corporate wars, tribal wars, city state wars, etc would happen in the “free trade” world and even nation states would try to reappear by restricting free trade and restoring their power.

Blogger Dan Hewitt September 19, 2012 7:44 AM  

Two countries not going to war can't possibly prove that trade prevents war. On the other hand, one big example of this sort would be sufficient to disprove the opposite.

Thanks for your reply. A full reading of the article you linked shows that "trade prevents war" is not the argument being presented, and thus is not falsified by a single occurrence.

Blogger Vox September 19, 2012 7:52 AM  

A full reading of the article you linked shows that "trade prevents war" is not the argument being presented, and thus is not falsified by a single occurrence.

You have failed to understand the article. The argument being presented is a belated attempt by a single modern free trader to walk back the "trade prevents war" argument commonly made by classic free traders. The very fact this argument is now being presented only underlines my point. And a single occurrence of the magnitude involved, with two very large and primary trading partners, would certainly suffice to completely scupper the concept.

Anonymous Josh September 19, 2012 8:09 AM  

We already have numerous examples of trade not preventing war. Germany and France in 1939, Germany and the Soviet union in 1941.

Anonymous RedJack September 19, 2012 8:10 AM  

I remember that arguement being made in my econ classes. When I pointed out that the Nazi invasion of Soviet Russia happened even after large scale trade (in fact the first invasion troops road the coal train into Soviet Poland), and that the US and Japan were trading steel right up to the boming of Pearl Harbor, the teacher usually pretended not to hear me.

You could make the counter arugement more easily. Trade can inflame tensions between to countries and provoke war.

Blogger Joshua_D September 19, 2012 8:23 AM  

Not all free trading communists Asian states are like that.

NAFTCASALT!

Anonymous Gx1080 September 19, 2012 8:36 AM  

Vox, dunno. While it's obvious that trade encourages economic interests that can lead to war, on this example, there's an opinion that is just a bunch of sabre ratting done by the Chinese goverment to distract the peasants.

So yeah, what if it's true?

Anonymous Rally September 19, 2012 8:38 AM  

Omega Supreme can lift 300,000 tons with one arm. Yeah, the transformers are a Japanese creation. I'd hate to be in the Chinese platoon that comes face to face with him.

Anonymous Heh September 19, 2012 8:44 AM  

"We already have numerous examples of trade not preventing war. Germany and France in 1939, Germany and the Soviet union in 1941."

Neither this nor US-Japan trade before 1941 was "free" trade, and the free trade enthusiasts will always claim trade was not "free enough" if two parties go to war. In short the free trader position can never be falsified.

Anonymous Rantor September 19, 2012 8:46 AM  

DJF,

You are ignoring the numerous examples of trading states going to battle. All existence is not about free trade. Sometimes it is about ethnicity, clan, tribe or history. In the end an analysis that includes power politics must be inserted. Just as neoliberal theory fails to accout for power politics, so to free traders wish away all other elements of national behavior.

As you point out, we don't have free trade, we haven't made the state cease to exist and we still surround ourselves with invisible, imaginary lines that we don't want others to cross.

Anonymous Kyle In Japan September 19, 2012 8:47 AM  

I agree with Vox on free trade (though I admit only the most casual interest in economics) but I still don't think they'll go to war for a whole bunch of other reasons.

OT: Vox, what did you think of The Way Of Kings? I've been reading Sanderson's Mistborn books and I'm thinking of picking up that one next.

Blogger Nate September 19, 2012 8:50 AM  

I am unfamiliar with the "free" being a requirement for the trade to gain its pacifying capabilities.

Trade... any trade... free or otherwise... is supposed to reduce the tendencies for war. When goods don't cross borders... soldiers do. That's the old saying.

This claim never stood up to scrutiny.

Blogger Nate September 19, 2012 8:53 AM  

" In short the free trader position can never be falsified."

sure it can. remove all inspectors... remove all tariffs. remove all embargos. All done.

Contrary to the claim... free trade does not require two partners. According to the theory.. if one nation went totally free trade... and no others did... that nation should prosper far more than all the others... and that would encourage them to become free as well. like... free trade cancer.

Anonymous bw September 19, 2012 8:58 AM  

In short the free trader position can never be falsified.


"No True ______". Works across the board.

Anonymous FUBAR Nation (Ben) September 19, 2012 9:33 AM  

Vox your analysis is incorrect because the Chinese government clearly doesn't want to hurt its corporations that are doing business with Japan and plans to compensate them in the event of monetary damage. If there was no trade between China and Japan, China would not have to make that calculation at all and could go to war immediately.

What does history say about two adjoining countries that are autarchies? Are they any less likely to go to war?

You seem to be grasping at straws.

Anonymous Daniel September 19, 2012 9:33 AM  

You fell victim to one of the classic blunders! The most famous of which is "never get involved in a land war in Asia," but only slightly less well-known is this: "Never go in against a Free Trader when pride is on the line!"

Urk.

Anonymous Heh September 19, 2012 9:34 AM  

"I am unfamiliar with the "free" being a requirement for the trade to gain its pacifying capabilities."

Um, it's from the Mises quote in Vox's original post.

They also believed that the elimination of barriers to trade and the free intercourse among men would help to significantly reduce if not end the causes of war among nations.

Anonymous Daniel September 19, 2012 9:35 AM  

You fell victim to one of the classic blunders! The most famous of which is "never get involved in a land war in Asia," but only slightly less well-known is this: "Never go in against a Free Trader when pride is on the line!"

Urk.

Anonymous jack September 19, 2012 9:39 AM  

I suspect that China may be attacking Japan using economics to give the USA a no so subtle hint that we can do this to you. Be warned!

Anonymous The One September 19, 2012 9:40 AM  

This war is good for the U.S and European economy. Romney/Obama approves this war.

Anonymous DonReynolds September 19, 2012 9:48 AM  

Von Mises did not argue that free trade causes war or prevents war. In "Human Action", he used a single word to explain the causes of war.....autarky. Wars are caused because the governments have become dependent upon or a keen interest in the economic advantages of trade, such that the military and diplomatic and political forces at their disposal are used to advance that trade. War is when those forces collide in direct opposition, as would be inevitable when trade involves two or more countries.

Anonymous john September 19, 2012 9:49 AM  

Time for me to buy good Japanese defence industry stocks. That is how I can benefit from my prediction things will go worse for China the second time than the first.

Anonymous Josh September 19, 2012 9:49 AM  

I suspect that China may be attacking Japan using economics to give the USA a no so subtle hint that we can do this to you. Be warned!

They could potentially do this to us...at which point they'd also be shooting themselves in the dick...

Anonymous DonReynolds September 19, 2012 10:17 AM  

The first risk China seems to accept is the possibility that Japan will respond to a temporary interruption of trade by making it permanent. Almost none of China's boycott cannot be replaced by other sellers and buyers. When the storm is over, Japan may not return to the previous levels of trade.

The second risk China seems to heavily discount and that is the possibility of other trading partners voluntarily joining with Japan in order to present a wider economic war, obviously not one the Chinese actually want. This has been the more likely US response in the past and, in the case of Japan, a response from the US is much more likely.

Anonymous Azimus September 19, 2012 10:29 AM  

Boy China seems to be following the NSDAP model, from the glorious Olympics right down to the occpupation of the Rhineland (Senkaku Islands).

Surely the Japanese will appease the Chinese in some way since they have nothing to bring to the table but a handfull of small-tonnage warships and nuclear fire.

Next on the timetable is what - Anschluss? Where are there a bunch of ethnic Chinese being ruled by another nation? Is that Taiwan? I heard it said that the majority of the Taiwanese want to rejoin China - just like Austria.

Blogger Andrew Taylor September 19, 2012 11:20 AM  

If this leads to the inauguration of giant robot warfare, it all will have been worthwhile.

Anonymous VD September 19, 2012 11:26 AM  

Vox, what did you think of The Way Of Kings? I've been reading Sanderson's Mistborn books and I'm thinking of picking up that one next.

Meh. 6 out of 10. Had its moments, but mostly harmless.

Anonymous VD September 19, 2012 11:30 AM  

If there was no trade between China and Japan, China would not have to make that calculation at all and could go to war immediately.... You seem to be grasping at straws.

Sure, never mind that pesky treaty of alliance with the USA. China is clearly more concerned about protecting its Japanese trade than kicking off a nuclear war with the USA. You clearly haven't given this any thought whatsoever except beyond a kneejerk reaction to defend free trade doctrine.

Anonymous Josh September 19, 2012 11:30 AM  

If this leads to the inauguration of giant robot warfare, it all will have been worthwhile.

Don't the Japanese robots usually end up attacking Tokyo?

Anonymous Stilicho September 19, 2012 12:11 PM  

Free trade arguments can expand to a whole new level and Krugman might just get that interstellar war he's pining for if this Warp Drive pans out.

Yeah, it's a bit OT, but the possibility is too cool to pass up.

Anonymous Daniel September 19, 2012 12:28 PM  

If this leads to the inauguration of giant robot warfare, it all will have been worthwhile.

Josh
Don't the Japanese robots usually end up attacking Tokyo?

You don't honestly expect the Chinese to come up with a decent giant robot warrior, do you? They'd probably ship it to Japan as a knock-down kit and expect the bored kids of Sapporro to build their own country's invader.

Meanwhile, Mazinger Z and Getter Robo will be turning on their masters in the Japan Self-Defense Forces...in Tokyo.

Regardless of what city the big finale happens in, it will be great.

Anonymous Frederick303 September 19, 2012 12:29 PM  

Prior to the First World War there was a lot of trade between the various alliance blocs. Once could very reasonably make the argument that this trade was one of the primary reasons for the war becoming global and of long duration. This line of argument sees England commitment to France and Russia against their old ally Prussia was due to the perceived threat of the united Germany’s massive technological and growing world trade economy. The English saw this as a very real threat to their ascendant trade position and so instead of keeping their traditional role of keeping out of land wars in Europe; committed to a war that they saw could crush their main economic competitor. The result was WWI, WWII and much of the problems of the twentieth century.

As regards WWII, the Japanese suicidal attack on the US, starting a war their own military told them they could not win, was due to the US and British embargo on oil and US scrap metal in late July of 1941 (at least from the Japanese point of view). The Japs were dependent on both for their economy; the embargo essentially required them to back down in Indochina and China, a loss of face they could not accept. Hence their decision to gamble on a war they at best could achieve a tie and more likely would face a brutal defeat.

In both cases the cause seems to be interconnected trade economies. Both examples tend to disprove the enhanced or interdependent trade leads to peace theory.

Anonymous Athor Pel September 19, 2012 12:48 PM  

OT geek subject.

It's not giant robots, it's man-sized powered body armor....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maschinen_Krieger_ZbV_3000
and
http://www.q-net.net.au/~nipngnwm/index.html


Blogger Nate September 19, 2012 1:01 PM  

"Um, it's from the Mises quote in Vox's original post. "

Sure... but the point is... its not something specific to only free trade. Its been an assumption that has been applied to all trade. Free or otherwise.

Blogger ajw308 September 19, 2012 1:07 PM  

Japan is China's Sudatenland. Their national heritage and history calls for them to crush Japan in some way but it won't stop there.

Anonymous Jimmy September 19, 2012 1:08 PM  

Trade made China rich so it can afford to wage war against its enemies. The risk of trade sanctions can mollify the risk of war, but only slightly. Maybe its time for U.S.A intervention in the trade front. We have much more cards to pull.

Blogger Joshua_D September 19, 2012 1:09 PM  

Andrew Taylor September 19, 2012 11:20 AM

If this leads to the inauguration of giant robot warfare, it all will have been worthwhile.


Oh yes.

Blogger ajw308 September 19, 2012 1:10 PM  

Author, I've looked for the models, but I've only been able the find the resin kits and those haven't been under $300 which is over my budget.

Blogger ajw308 September 19, 2012 1:21 PM  

Not to mention that Japan would be a good drill to go through and analyze what went right/what went wrong before taking on a larger country in economic woe.

Blogger Nate September 19, 2012 2:00 PM  

now... given that Samsung is a japanese company which makes the screens for iphones... clearly the US must join in this war on japan's side.. to protect the vital access to iphones for our nation.

Of course... the factory that makes those screens is in china... and the phones are actually assembled in china as well... so clearly the US must join the chinese side.

And thus...

We see how US foreign policy actually forces the US to fight itself.

Blogger James Higham September 19, 2012 2:04 PM  

Don't forget that 1998 came out of Asia first.

Anonymous JCclimber September 19, 2012 2:15 PM  

one major mistake in the quoted analysis. China is much closer to the edge in terms of social stability than Japan is right now.
Therefore, even a slightly negative impact on their economy piled onto all the other hits they've been taking since 2008 will tip them over the cliff.
Japan will experience severe pain, but hey they've survived much worse in living memory during WWII.

People in Japan may be sometimes be disgusted with their government, but they're not on the edge of rioting anger at their government.

China on the other hand has to constantly ruthlessly suppress local uprisings against local governments.

Anonymous Stilicho September 19, 2012 2:21 PM  

We see how US foreign policy actually forces the US to fight itself.

We have always been at war with Apple...

Anonymous applette September 19, 2012 2:24 PM  

We have always been at war with Apple...

Good one, Stilicho.

Anonymous Stilicho September 19, 2012 2:32 PM  

China on the other hand has to constantly ruthlessly suppress local uprisings against local governments.

Which raises an interesting point: to what degree has the ChiCom government created a monster by sponsoring these anti-Japanese (and now anti-U.S.) protests? Sure today, the mob is happy to target the Japanese, but, living in a repressive society with few outlets for expressing dissatisfaction with its own government and having developed a taste for this sort of thing will it meekly go home or will it turn on its handlers and have to be forcibly suppressed a la Tiannamen.

Anonymous Heh September 19, 2012 2:32 PM  

"Sure... but the point is... its not something specific to only free trade."

It says: the elimination of barriers to trade and the free intercourse among men would help to significantly reduce if not end the causes of war among nations.

That is a plain statement that free traders believe this benefit applies specifically to free trade.

Anonymous WaterBoy September 19, 2012 2:33 PM  

Nate: "to protect the vital access to iphones for our nation."

Of course. It's a matter of national security.

Anonymous Porky? September 19, 2012 2:33 PM  

Watch it China! If you mess with us we'll print trillions of dollars and make all your US bonds worthless!



Anonymous Heh September 19, 2012 2:35 PM  

As regards WWII, the Japanese suicidal attack on the US, starting a war their own military told them they could not win, was due to the US and British embargo on oil and US scrap metal in late July of 1941 (at least from the Japanese point of view). The Japs were dependent on both for their economy; the embargo essentially required them to back down in Indochina and China, a loss of face they could not accept. Hence their decision to gamble on a war they at best could achieve a tie and more likely would face a brutal defeat.

In both cases the cause seems to be interconnected trade economies. Both examples tend to disprove the enhanced or interdependent trade leads to peace theory.


Yeah but the cause of war was our embargo on Japan - in other words, when we refused to trade with them.

Anonymous Azimus September 19, 2012 3:05 PM  

Heh September 19, 2012 2:35 PM
As regards WWII, ... [i]n both cases the cause seems to be interconnected trade economies.

Yeah but the cause of war was our embargo on Japan - in other words, when we refused to trade with them.


Is China doing the same thing then? The situation could be considered somewhat parallel to 1941, in that the Chinese own much of the Pacific Rim's natural resources... if China discontinues trade w/Japan, would it be similar to the effects of pre-World War 2?

Anonymous Nah September 19, 2012 3:31 PM  

"Is China doing the same thing then?"

No, because Chinese trade is not essential to the Japanese economy and national existence. Japan can trade elsewhere if China doesn't want to play ball. In 1941, Japan had no other option but war or surrender if America refused to trade with her.

Anonymous Athor Pel September 19, 2012 4:00 PM  

" Nate September 19, 2012 2:00 PM

now... given that Samsung is a japanese company which makes the screens for iphones... clearly the US must join in this war on japan's side.. to protect the vital access to iphones for our nation.

Of course... the factory that makes those screens is in china... and the phones are actually assembled in china as well... so clearly the US must join the chinese side.

And thus...

We see how US foreign policy actually forces the US to fight itself."



I can see the logic here. But Samsung is a Korean company.


Blogger Nate September 19, 2012 4:04 PM  

"I can see the logic here. But Samsung is a Korean company."

...

Damn.

See what happens when you assume things?

Blogger Nate September 19, 2012 4:05 PM  

"That is a plain statement that free traders believe this benefit applies specifically to free trade."

Yes... and I can go on to show 100 quotes and references where simple trade is described as a pacifier... not free trade... just trade.

I'm not going to bother though.. because you're just being willfully obtuse.

Anonymous Dr. Idle Spectator, Japanologist September 19, 2012 4:39 PM  

Japan since the end of World War 2 has felt guilty of their part in it. Hence their meakness. With the rise of China, expect that to completely disappear and them to start kicking some ass again.

I mean damnit, this is the land of Tom Cruise the Samurai. Ask some WW2 vets from the Philippines how nice and cuddly the Japanese were.

Great Japanese Author Yukio Mishima
"For instance, after the war, our brutal side was completely hidden, but I believe it is just hidden I think."

This is the Japanese author that was nominated three times for the Nobel Prize in literature. He is also the author that decided to take over the Tokyo headquarters of the Eastern Command of Japan's Self-Defense Forces in 1970 and have a coup d'état to restore the Emperor. It did not work, so he then commited hara-kiri.


Weird shit like that?
Only in Japan.

Anonymous Dr. Idle Spectator, Japanologist September 19, 2012 5:00 PM  

Now, you may be asking, why I am bringing up Yukio Mishima? Besides the fact his death was completely epic.

Well, you see he was good friends with Shintaro Ishihara, who is alive and well, and currently the Governor of Tokyo. Shintaro was a prolific writer in the 1960s.

Someone writes:

"Nathan, a biographer of Mishima and a translator of one of his novels, had this to say about him: "Mishima, seven yours older than Ishihara, was his ardent champion from early on. Mishima introduced Ishihara to the writers and playwrights and critics in the literary world. Ishihara was Mishima's guide to the sensual world." Ishihara witnessed: "Mishima-san had grown up in a family of bureaucrats, and underneath his pretensions he was conventional and inhibited." Ishihara misses Mishima: "Japan is not the same since with him gone, but his politics were a joke."


Shintaro Ishihara said publicly in April of this year that he wanted to purchase the Senkaku Islands to end the territorial dispute.

In September, the Japanese government nationalized its control over Minamikojima, Kitakojima, and Uotsuri islands. It purchased them from the Kurihara family for 2.05 billion Yen.



Weird shit like that?
Only in Japan.

Blogger ajw308 September 19, 2012 5:54 PM  

Oh, wait! It's not the Japanese the Chinese are preparing to fight!

This stuff just gets weirder and weirder.

I just want to see a giant radioactive lizard fight humoungous moths before Japan is fully destroyed.

Anonymous Azimus September 19, 2012 6:04 PM  

ajw308 September 19, 2012 5:54 PM Oh, wait! It's not the Japanese the Chinese are preparing to fight!

This stuff just gets weirder and weirder.


Captain Ramius is bringing us the top secret caterpillar drive to preserve world peace!

Blogger Tertius Lydgate September 19, 2012 7:21 PM  

There is too much loot to be had for the ruling class in China to risk stopping the party, especially over wounds over 60 years old. Wake me when rival armies are exchanging fire.

Anonymous JCclimber September 19, 2012 7:59 PM  

Hmmm. How many foreign armies have successfully invaded mainland Japan?
......
Still waiting..... (hint, Okinawa is not mainland Japan.....)...
....
waiting....

By the way, how exactly are the Chinese going to get the required millions of soldiers into the Japanese islands against the #1 and #2 strongest Pacific Ocean fleets? And keep them supplied?

No, they are engaging in the usual give and take of threatening this action, executing that little action, using some more tough talk over here, and then long drawn out negotiations at the table.

America could learn a few things, and maybe we could resolve the North Korea situation...

By the way, the Japanese SDF may be small, but they were one of the few nations who deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan whom our marines did not think were a joke at all. Stupid recruiting videos aside....

Anonymous zen0 September 19, 2012 11:01 PM  

And to think these Jap losers thought they could send an amphibious invasion force to America!

As if............

Blogger Rahul September 20, 2012 1:43 PM  

Isn't this ironic that China and Japan are at each other's throats when Qe3 was announced. Then Japan announced QE. This is how China responds. The currency wars continue.

And violence in the MidEast.

We see all of these cyberattacks as well.

Hmmm. Looks like an October surprise on the way?

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