Japan: Truth, Knowledge, History Of The East Asian Power House Nation

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CIA WORLD FACT BOOK)

 

Japan

Introduction In 1603, a Tokugawa shogunate (military dictatorship) ushered in a long period of isolation from foreign influence in order to secure its power. For more than two centuries this policy enabled Japan to enjoy stability and a flowering of its indigenous culture. Following the Treaty of Kanagawa with the US in 1854, Japan opened its ports and began to intensively modernize and industrialize. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Japan became a regional power that was able to defeat the forces of both China and Russia. It occupied Korea, Formosa (Taiwan), and southern Sakhalin Island. In 1931-32 Japan occupied Manchuria, and in 1937 it launched a full-scale invasion of China. Japan attacked US forces in 1941 – triggering America’s entry into World War II – and soon occupied much of East and Southeast Asia. After its defeat in World War II, Japan recovered to become an economic power and a staunch ally of the US. While the emperor retains his throne as a symbol of national unity, elected politicians – with heavy input from bureaucrats and business executives – wield actual decision-making power. The economy experienced a major slowdown starting in the 1990s following three decades of unprecedented growth, but Japan still remains a major economic power, both in Asia and globally.
History The first signs of occupation on the Japanese Archipelago appeared with a Paleolithic culture around 30,000 BC, followed from around 14,000 BC by the Jōmon period, a Mesolithic to Neolithic semi-sedentary hunter-gatherer culture of pit dwelling and a rudimentary form of agriculture. Decorated clay vessels from this period, often with plaited patterns, are some of the oldest surviving examples of pottery in the world.

The Yayoi period, starting around the third century BC, introduced new practices, such as wet-rice farming, iron and bronze-making and a new style of pottery, brought by migrants from China or Korea. With the development of Yayoi culture, a predominantly agricultural society emerged in Japan.

The Japanese first appear in written history in China’s Book of Han. According to the Chinese Records of Three Kingdoms, the most powerful kingdom on the archipelago during the third century was called Yamataikoku.

Buddhism was first introduced to Japan from Baekje of the Korean Peninsula, but the subsequent development of Japanese Buddhism and Buddhist sculptures were primarily influenced by China.[15] Despite early resistance, Buddhism was promoted by the ruling class and eventually gained growing acceptance since the Asuka period.[16]

The Nara period of the eighth century marked the first emergence of a strong central Japanese state, centered around an imperial court in the city of Heijō-kyō, or modern-day Nara. In addition to the continuing adoption of Chinese administrative practices, the Nara period is characterized by the appearance of a nascent written literature with the completion of the massive chronicles Kojiki (712) and Nihon Shoki (720).[17] (Nara was not the first capital city in Japan, though. Before Nara, Fujiwara-kyō and Asuka served as capitals of the Yamato state.)

In 784, Emperor Kammu moved the capital from Nara to Nagaoka-kyō for a brief ten-year period, before relocating it to Heian-kyō (modern-day Kyoto) in 794, where it remained for more than a millennium.[18] This marked the beginning of the Heian period, during which time a distinctly indigenous Japanese culture emerged, noted for its art, poetry and literature. Lady Murasaki’s The Tale of Genji and the lyrics of modern Japan’s national anthem, Kimi ga Yo were written during this time.

Japan’s feudal era was characterized by the emergence of a ruling class of warriors, the samurai. In 1185, following the defeat of the rival Taira clan, Minamoto no Yoritomo was appointed Shogun and established a base of power in Kamakura. After Yoritomo’s death, the Hōjō clan came to rule as regents for the shoguns. Zen Buddhism was introduced from China in the Kamakura period (1185–1333) and became popular among the samurai class. The Kamakura shogunate managed to repel Mongol invasions in 1274 and 1281, aided by a storm that the Japanese interpreted as a kamikaze, or Divine Wind. The Kamakura shogunate was eventually overthrown by Emperor Go-Daigo, who was soon himself defeated by Ashikaga Takauji in 1336.[20] The succeeding Ashikaga shogunate failed to control the feudal warlords (daimyo), and a civil war erupted (the Ōnin War) in 1467 which opened a century-long Sengoku period.

During the sixteenth century, traders and Jesuit missionaries from Portugal reached Japan for the first time, initiating active commercial and cultural exchange between Japan and the West (Nanban trade).

Oda Nobunaga conquered numerous other daimyo by using European technology and firearms and had almost unified the nation when he was assassinated in 1582. Toyotomi Hideyoshi succeeded Nobunaga and united the nation in 1590. Hideyoshi invaded Korea twice, but following several defeats by Korean and Ming China forces and Hideyoshi’s death, Japanese troops were withdrawn in 1598.

After Hideyoshi’s death, Tokugawa Ieyasu utilized his position as regent for Hideyoshi’s son Toyotomi Hideyori to gain political and military support. When open war broke out, he defeated rival clans in the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600. Ieyasu was appointed shōgun in 1603 and established the Tokugawa shogunate at Edo (modern Tokyo). The Tokugawa shogunate enacted a variety of measures such as Buke shohatto to control the autonomous daimyo. In 1639, the shogunate began the isolationist sakoku (“closed country”) policy that spanned the two and a half centuries of tenuous political unity known as the Edo period. The study of Western sciences, known as rangaku, continued during this period through contacts with the Dutch enclave at Dejima in Nagasaki. The Edo period also gave rise to kokugaku, or literally “national studies”, the study of Japan by the Japanese themselves.

On March 31, 1854, Commodore Matthew Perry and the “Black Ships” of the United States Navy forced the opening of Japan to the outside world with the Convention of Kanagawa. Subsequent similar treaties with the Western countries in the Bakumatsu period brought Japan into economic and political crises. The abundance of the prerogative and the resignation of the shogunate led to the Boshin War and the establishment of a centralized state unified under the name of the Emperor (Meiji Restoration). Adopting Western political, judicial and military institutions, the Cabinet organized the Privy Council, introduced the Meiji Constitution, and assembled the Imperial Diet. The Meiji Restoration transformed the Empire of Japan into an industrialized world power that embarked on a number of military conflicts to expand the nation’s sphere of influence. After victories in the First Sino-Japanese War (1894–1895) and the Russo-Japanese War (1904–1905), Japan gained control of Taiwan, Korea, and the southern half of Sakhalin.[24]

The early twentieth century saw a brief period of “Taisho democracy” overshadowed by the rise of expansionism and militarization. World War I enabled Japan, which joined the side of the victorious Allies, to expand its influence and territorial holdings. Japan continued its expansionist policy by occupying Manchuria in 1931. As a result of international condemnation for this occupation, Japan resigned from the League of Nations two years later. In 1936, Japan signed the Anti-Comintern Pact with Nazi Germany, joining the Axis powers in 1941.

In 1937, Japan invaded other parts of China, precipitating the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945), after which the United States placed an oil embargo on Japan.[26] On December 7, 1941, Japan attacked the United States naval base in Pearl Harbor and declared war on the United States, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. This act brought the United States into World War II. After the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, along with the Soviet Union joining the war against it, Japan agreed to an unconditional surrender on August 15 (Victory over Japan Day).[27] The war cost Japan millions of lives and left much of the country’s industry and infrastructure destroyed. The International Military Tribunal for the Far East, was convened by the Allies (on May 3, 1946) to prosecute Japanese leaders for war crimes such as the Nanking Massacre.

In 1947, Japan adopted a new pacifist constitution emphasizing liberal democratic practices. The Allied occupation ended by the Treaty of San Francisco in 1952[29] and Japan was granted membership in the United Nations in 1956. Japan later achieved spectacular growth to become the second largest economy in the world, with an annual growth rate averaging 10% for four decades. This ended in the mid-1990’s when Japan suffered a major recession. Positive growth in the early twenty-first century has signaled a gradual recovery.

Geography Location: Eastern Asia, island chain between the North Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Japan, east of the Korean Peninsula
Geographic coordinates: 36 00 N, 138 00 E
Map references: Asia
Area: total: 377,835 sq km
land: 374,744 sq km
water: 3,091 sq km
note: includes Bonin Islands (Ogasawara-gunto), Daito-shoto, Minami-jima, Okino-tori-shima, Ryukyu Islands (Nansei-shoto), and Volcano Islands (Kazan-retto)
Area – comparative: slightly smaller than California
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 29,751 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm; between 3 nm and 12 nm in the international straits – La Perouse or Soya, Tsugaru, Osumi, and Eastern and Western Channels of the Korea or Tsushima Strait
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climate: varies from tropical in south to cool temperate in north
Terrain: mostly rugged and mountainous
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Hachiro-gata -4 m
highest point: Mount Fuji 3,776 m
Natural resources: negligible mineral resources, fish
Land use: arable land: 11.64%
permanent crops: 0.9%
other: 87.46% (2005)
Irrigated land: 25,920 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources: 430 cu km (1999)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 88.43 cu km/yr (20%/18%/62%)
per capita: 690 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards: many dormant and some active volcanoes; about 1,500 seismic occurrences (mostly tremors) every year; tsunamis; typhoons
Environment – current issues: air pollution from power plant emissions results in acid rain; acidification of lakes and reservoirs degrading water quality and threatening aquatic life; Japan is one of the largest consumers of fish and tropical timber, contributing to the depletion of these resources in Asia and elsewhere
Environment – international agreements: party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
Geography – note: strategic location in northeast Asia
Politics Japan is a constitutional monarchy where the power of the Emperor is very limited. As a ceremonial figurehead, he is defined by the constitution as “the symbol of the state and of the unity of the people”. Power is held chiefly by the Prime Minister of Japan and other elected members of the Diet, while sovereignty is vested in the Japanese people.[31] The Emperor effectively acts as the head of state on diplomatic occasions. Akihito is the current Emperor of Japan. Naruhito, Crown Prince of Japan, stands as next in line to the throne.

 

People Population: 127,433,494 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 13.8% (male 9,024,344/female 8,553,700)
15-64 years: 65.2% (male 41,841,760/female 41,253,968)
65 years and over: 21% (male 11,312,492/female 15,447,230) (2007 est.)
Median age: total: 43.5 years
male: 41.7 years
female: 45.3 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate: -0.088% (2007 est.)
Birth rate: 8.1 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate: 8.98 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.055 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.014 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.732 male(s)/female
total population: 0.953 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 2.8 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 3 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 2.59 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 82.02 years
male: 78.67 years
female: 85.56 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.23 children born/woman (2007 est.)Nationality: noun: Japanese (singular and plural)
adjective: Japanese
Ethnic groups: Japanese 98.5%, Koreans 0.5%, Chinese 0.4%, other 0.7%
note: up to 230,000 Brazilians of Japanese origin migrated to Japan in the 1990s to work in industries; some have returned to Brazil (2004)
Religions: observe both Shinto and Buddhist 84%, other 16% (including Christian 0.7%)
Languages: Japanese
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99%
male: 99%
female: 99%

Strong earthquake reportedly buries homes in Hokkaido, Japan

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Strong earthquake reportedly buries homes in Hokkaido, Japan

Tokyo (CNN)Landslides resulting from a preliminary magnitude 6.7 earthquake early Thursday on Japan’s Hokkaido island buried a “large” number of homes at the foot of a ridge, officials said.

At least 28 people were injured in the region and 20 residents in the town of Atsuma may be unaccounted for, officials said. Twenty of those injured were in the city of Sapporo.
The earthquake was followed by multiple aftershocks, including one registered at 5.4, public broadcaster NHK reported, citing the Japan Meteorological Agency. The US Geological Survey said the earthquake registered at 6.6.
Nearly 3 million households lost power, according to the Hokkaido Electric Power Company. Officials said a main power station lost operations, affecting other sites. Independently owned power generators were assisting.
“The electric supply was stopped to Tomari nuclear plant, but it can operate without external electric supply for one week,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said.
Residents said they awoke to a powerful earthquake that lasted 30 seconds to one minute.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said 4,000 defense forces joined rescue operations, and that number could increase to a maximum of 25,000.
A woman covers her face as she takes shelter on a road following a strong earthquake in Sapporo.

Some streets were cut off by downed trees, and additional images from the broadcaster showed crumbled buildings.
Additionally, Japan Meteorological Agency officials told NHK that risks of aftershocks are substantial for as long as the next week. They warned residents about increased risks of collapse among buildings near the epicenter.

Japan executes seven cult leaders behind Tokyo Sarin attacks

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BBC)

 

Japan executes seven cult leaders behind Tokyo Sarin attacks

Shoko AsaharaImage copyrightAFP
Image caption Shoko Asahara headed the Aum Shimrikyo cult

Seven members of the Aum Shinrikyo doomsday cult which carried out a deadly chemical attack on the Tokyo underground in 1995 have been executed, including cult leader Shoko Asahara.

The Sarin attack, Japan’s worst terror incident, killed 13 people and injured thousands more.

The executions took place at a Tokyo detention house on Friday morning.

Japan does not give prior notice of executions, but they were later confirmed by the justice ministry.

Shoko Asahara and his followers were also accused of several other murders and an earlier Sarin gas attack in 1994 which killed eight and left 600 injured.

Their execution, by hanging, had been postponed until all those convicted had completed their final appeals. That happened in January.

Another six members of the cult are still on death row.

What was the Tokyo attack?

On 20 March 1995, cult members released the Sarin on the subway in the Japanese capital. They left punctured bags filled with liquid nerve agent on train lines going through Tokyo’s political district.

Witnesses described noticing the leaking packages and soon afterwards feeling stinging fumes hitting their eyes.

The toxin struck victims down in a matter of seconds, leaving them choking and vomiting, some blinded and paralysed. Thirteen people died.

In the following months, members of the cult carried out several failed attempts at releasing hydrogen cyanide in various stations.

Media captionWitness: Tokyo attack

The attack shocked Japan, a country that prided itself on low crime rates and social cohesion.

Scores of Aum members have faced trial over the attack – 13 were sentenced to death, including Asahara.

Another six are serving life sentences.

What is the Aum Shinrikyo cult?

The cult, whose name means “supreme truth”, began in the 1980s as a spiritual group mixing Hindu and Buddhist beliefs, later working in elements of apocalyptic Christian prophesies.

The group’s founder, Shoko Asahara, also known as Chizuo Matsumoto, declared himself to be both Christ and the first “enlightened one” since Buddha.

Aum cultist in Japan - 1999 file picImage copyrightAFP
Image captionAum Shinrikyo is believed to still have thousands of followers

Aum Shinrikyo gained official status as a religious organisation in Japan in 1989 and picked up a sizeable global following. At its peak, Asahara had tens of thousands of followers worldwide.

The group gradually became a paranoid doomsday cult, convinced the world was about to end in a global war and that only they would survive.

The cult went underground after the 1995 attack, but did not disappear, eventually renaming itself Aleph or Hikari no Wa.

Aum Shinrikyo is designated a terrorist organisation in the US and many other countries, but Aleph and Hikari no Wa are both legal in Japan, although designated as “dangerous religions” subject to surveillance.

It still has followers both in Japan and also worldwide, in particular in some countries of the former Soviet Union.

In 2016, police in Russia conducted a number of raids on suspected cult members in Moscow and St Petersburg.

Why has the execution been so delayed?

In Japan, death sentences are not carried out until the verdict against all accused and accomplices are final, with no pending appeals left against any of the group.

The trials against the cult members only wrapped up in January this year after the Supreme Court upheld the verdict against one member sentenced to life in prison.

There has been strong public support for the Aum convicts to be put to death.

Since an effective moratorium ended in 2010, Japan has executed as many as eight people a year.

The death penalty is only used for serious cases of murder and is carried out by hanging.

Officials do not give advance public notification – condemned prisoners themselves are usually only told they are to die a few hours before the sentence is carried out.

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    4 hours ago

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This small Japanese island could change the global economy

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

How the mud in this small Japanese island could change the global economy

Minamitorishima Island

(CNN)A small island in the Pacific Ocean is the site of a huge discovery that could change Japan’s economic future. How huge? One economist called it a “game changer.” The researchers who helped find it said it had “tremendous potential.”

It’s mud. A whole bunch of mud — an estimated 16 million tons, to be exact. And in that mud, there are massive, “semi-infinite” stores of valuable rare earth minerals.
Rare earth minerals contain rare earth elements (located here on the periodic table) that are used in high-tech devices like smartphones, missile systems, radar devices and hybrid vehicles. For instance, yttrium, one of the metals included in this recent discovery, can be used to makecamera lenses, superconductors and cell phone screens.
According to a new paper published by a team of Japanese researchers, this huge patch of mineral-rich deep sea mud lies near Minamitorishima Island, a small island 1,1000 miles off the coast of Japan.
The 16 million tons of materials could contain 780 years worth of yttrium, 620 years worth of europium, 420 years worth of terbium, and 730 years worth of dysprosium. In other words, according to the paper, it “has the potential to supply these materials on a semi-infinite basis to the world.”
That alone is a pretty big deal, but it becomes even more significant given the current supply and demand of rare earth metals. China currently holds a tight grip on the rare earth minerals — controlling about 95% of global rare earths production as of 2015. Because of this, Japan and other countries rely on China to set prices and availability.
However, Japan has complete economic control over the new supply.
Even though Minamitorishima Island is more than a thousand miles away, it is still technically a part of Tokyo, in the village of Ogasawara, and falls within Japan’s economic borders.

Japan: Serial Killer; Police Find Body Parts Of 9 People, Suspect Arrested

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME.COM)

 

(TOKYO) — Japanese police found nine dismembered bodies hidden in coolers in an apartment southwest of Tokyo, an apparent serial killing case that is transfixing and horrifying the nation.

Police were working Tuesday to identify the victims after the man who lived there, 27-year-old Takahiro Shiraishi, confessed to cutting them up and hiding them in cold-storage cases, some covered with cat litter, a police spokesman said.

The bodies, in varying stages of decomposition, were found Monday while police were investigating the disappearance of a 23-year-old woman, the spokesman said. He did not give his name, in line with police policy. The woman’s brother reported her missing last week, he said.

The gruesome case captured attention in a country known for public safety, topping news with reports that showed the building where the suspect lived in a small studio apartment. It was cordoned off by yellow police tape, its balcony draped with blue plastic sheets to block the view as investigators went in and out.

The missing woman is thought to be one of the eight women and one man who were dismembered and hidden in the apartment from late August to late October.

A toolbox and saw found in Shiraishi’s apartment may have been used to dismember the bodies, the police official said.

Police were still investigating the suspect’s motives, said the spokesman. He refused to give further details.

It was unclear who the other eight victims might be, or why it is that neighbors who said they had noticed foul smells coming from the apartment had not raised any alarms.

Local media reported that police first found the severed heads of two victims in coolers in the apartment’s entryway, then found the bodies of the other seven while searching the apartment.

Shiraishi told police that he dismembered the bodies in his bathroom, which according to online descriptions of the apartment building where he lived was a plastic-sealed “unit bath.” He put out some of the body parts as garbage, Kyodo News agency reported.

Reports said the missing woman got in contact with Shiraishi via Twitter, seeking a partner for a suicide pact and saying she was afraid to die alone.

The two were recorded by security cameras walking together outside of train stations near her apartment and the suspect’s apartment, the reports said.

Local media ran junior high school photos of the suspect, beaming, his hair fluffy, braces on his teeth suggesting a relatively well-off family background.

But there was little other information about his education or where he comes from. Japan’s national broadcaster NHK said he was working as a “scout” in the sex industry, recruiting women in entertainment districts in Tokyo.

Although Japan has one of the lowest crime rates in the world, it has seen some high-profile killings recently.

In July last year, a 27-year-old former employee at a care home for the disabled killed 19 and injured more than 20 in a knife attack in what is believed to be the deadliest mass killing in postwar Japan. The man’s murder trial has not started yet.

Earlier this month, a man was arrested for killing his wife and five children after setting fire to their house. In 2015, a man killed five people, including relatives and neighbors, in a knifing spree in western Japan, and was later sentenced to death.

Typhoon Lan churns toward Japan

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Typhoon Lan churns toward Japan, bringing ferocious winds

  • Lan is expected to make landfall overnight Sunday into Monday in Japan
  • Tokyo will likely get hit with severe winds and torrential rain

(CNN)A mammoth typhoon is closing in on Japan, hurling dangerous winds and threatening to cause major flooding and mudslides.

Typhoon Lan is expected to make landfall overnight Sunday into Monday along Japan’s southern coast near Minamiizu, CNN meteorologist Haley Brink said.

As of Sunday evening, Lan was whipping winds of 215 kilometers per hour (134 mph). Although the typhoon is weakening, Tokyo is expected to get hit with possibly damaging winds and heavy rains, Brink said.
The storm has already caused massive waves in South Korea.

Enormous waves crash onto the coast of Busan, South Korea, on Sunday. Fishing boats were forbidden from going out to sea.

Typhoon Lan is so enormous that its cloud field is larger than Japan, Brink said.
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On Sunday, Japanese voters participated in a snap general election that was expected to make Shinzo Abe the longest-serving leader in the country’s post-war history.
The turnout Sunday was stymied by the typhoon, but a record number of Japanese citizens voted earlier ahead of the storm.

China’s Leadership Doesn’t Know Whether To Laugh Or Cry At Trumps Idiocy

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST)

June 2 at 6:55 AM
Japan’s environment minister is angry, Indians are outraged but China’s nationalist state media isn’t sure whether to laugh or cry.President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris accord was a “huge setback” in the global battle against climate change, Chinese state news agency Xinhua said Friday, calling it a retreat from the “common aspiration of mankind for a low-carbon future.”The dismay from Asia carried additional sting as nations such as China and India — once scorned as runaway polluters — now portray themselves as responsible global citizens and leaders in trying to limit climate change.But if there was regret in Beijing, it was mixed with not a little gloating.

Citing environmentalists, Xinhua news agency called Trump “reckless and foolish,” and said he was isolating the United States. China Daily denounced the “single action of just one man” that can change the course of the world, drawing a direct parallel with former president George W. Bush and decisions taken in the name of the war on terror.

Fact Check: President Trump’s remarks on leaving the Paris climate accord
Fact Checkers Glenn Kessler and Michelle Lee examine several of President Trump’s claims from his speech announcing the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris climate accord on Thursday.(Video: Meg Kelly/Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post/The Washington Post)

In Tokyo, the Japanese government issued a diplomatic statement calling the American decision “regrettable” and vowed to work with the other signatories to implement the treaty.

But Koichi Yamamoto, the environment minister, didn’t mince his words. “The decision made by American President Trump amounts to turning their backs on the wisdom of humanity. I’m not just disappointed, I’m angry,” he told reporters.

But the clearest denunciation came, as it often does, from nationalist Chinese tabloid Global Times, a state-owned paper whose editorials don’t represent official policy but do often represent a strain of thinking within the Communist Party.

Hours before Trump made his announcement, it said America’s “selfishness and irresponsibility will be made clear to the world, crippling the country’s world leadership.”

Pointing out that the United States joined only Syria and Nicaragua in rejecting the accord, it argued that “the Trump administration doesn’t care about putting the U.S.’s reputation at risk.”

There is a certain irony in the world’s biggest source of greenhouse gases rounding on the United States for turning its back on a climate change accord, especially when China’s promises under that accord are not particularly ambitious — while U.S. emissions are already falling.

Play Video 2:02
Nine reactions to Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate deal
Former president Barack Obama on June 1 said President Trump’s administration “joins a small handful of nations that reject the future” by withdrawing from the Paris climate deal.(Video: Bastien Inzaurralde/Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

As Trump himself pointed out in an attempt to justify his decision, China has only promised to cap carbon emissions by 2030, giving it theoretical carte blanche to raise its emissions levels every year for the next 13 years.

Yet Trump also failed to mention other important points: that Western nations are historically much more culpable than developing nations for global carbon emissions, and on a per capita basis continues to be by far the worst offenders.

He also failed to mention that China’s emissions have been stable or falling since 2013, and are forecast to fall by around 1 percent this year. Coal consumption fell by around 1.3 percent last year, the third annual fall in a row, while China is “smashing records” for solar panel installations, installing enough panels to cover three football pitches every single hour of the year, according to Greenpeace.

It is a dramatic development that has helped halt the rise of global CO2 emissions for the first time since a global climate change treaty was first signed almost three decades ago, the environmental advocacy group said.

It is also the sort of record that has prompted some environmentalists to talk of China taking over a leadership role vacated by the United States.

In Europe this week, Premier Li Keqiang appears to be grasping that challenge — or exploiting that vacuum.

He will join with the European Union on Friday in a commitment to cut back on fossil fuels, develop more green technology and help raise $100 billion a year by 2020 to help poorer countries cut their emissions, Reuters reported.

There are parallels as well to China’s attempt to portray itself as a champion of economic globalization, with President Xi Jinping attempting to seize that mantle in a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January as the United States threatened to become more protectionist.

Yet talk of China as a leader in trade and globalization overlooks one massive contradiction: its own increasingly protectionist attitude at home. Similarly, talk of Beijing as a leader in climate change also overlooks some uncomfortable facts.

As Greenpeace clean air campaigner Lauri Myllyvirta pointed out in a series of tweets on Thursday, leadership can involve taking action at home, symbolic or rhetorical steps, provision of finance to drive carbon cuts or diplomatic efforts.

“China has merits on all aspects but is no means a saint,” he tweeted.

China has been vocal in defending the Paris accord, and has become the world’s number one manufacturer, developer and exporter of renewable energy. But it remains by far the world’s leading polluter, has one of the world’s most CO2-intensive economic models, and continues to subsidize “dirty” sectors.

And it is building dozens of polluting, subsidized coal plants in other countries, that could lock them into a dirty development path, Myllyvirta said.

During his speech, Trump also railed against India, which he claimed was making its participation in the pact “contingent on receiving billions and billions and billions of dollars in foreign aid from developed countries.”

The Times of India called it an “epic rant” with “hyperbolic falsehoods,” arguing in a piece by their Washington correspondent that U.S. aid to India is set to be whittled down to $34 million in 2018.

Experts from the New Delhi-based Center for Policy Research’s “Initiative on Climate Energy and Environment” called Trump’s remarks on the climate pack “baffling” and said he displayed “a disturbing lack of knowledge” on how the climate pact works.

“India’s pledge does make a partial link between implementation and financial support from the global community, but does not state that India would only make an effort to limit carbon if international support is available,” senior fellow Navroz K. Dubash said in an interview.

More important, Dubash said, is to see what India has done since — shifting in a big way to renewable energy, so that it is likely to meet or exceed its pledge of make 40 percent of its electricity capacity fossil-fuel-free by 2030.

“Trump is hiding behind India’s poor who, meanwhile, are already making the transition to clean energy that Mr. Trump scorns as unviable,” he said.

In a commentary piece, China’s Xinhua argued that Trump’s decision to quit the Paris accord would “leave a fairly big shoe for a single country to fill,” while the Global Times claimed that China is “not interested in discussions about the leadership of fighting climate change.”

Under President Obama, cooperation between the world’s two largest polluters had been widely seen as a major achievement and a bright spot in relations between the two countries. This week, it is more likely to be seen as contest, and a point of friction.

Yet seeing climate change largely in geopolitical terms, as a battle for supremacy between American and Chinese leadership, could be missing the point.

“We don’t need one perfect leader, need lots of countries, states, firms to step up, laud progress and expose unhelpful policies,” Greenpeace’s Myllyvirta tweeted.

Annie Gowen in New Delhi, Anna Fifield in Tokyo and Shirley Feng in Beijing contributed to this report.

Japan’s military begins major drill with U.S. carriers watching North Korea

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF REUTERS NEWS AGENCY)

Japan’s military begins major drill with U.S. carriers watching North Korea

Japan’s navy and air force began a three-day military exercise with two U.S. aircraft carriers in the Sea of Japan on Thursday adding pressure on North Korea to halt an accelerating ballistic missile program.

Japan’s Maritime Self Defence Force has sent two ships, including one of its four helicopter carriers, the Hyuga, to join the U.S carriers, the USS Ronald Reagan and USS Carl Vinson, and their eight escort ships, Japan’s military said in a release.

Japanese Air Self Defence Force F-15s are taking part in simulated combat with U.S. Navy F-18 fighters at the same time, the military said.

“It’s the first time we have exercised with two carriers. It’s a major exercise for us,” a Japanese military spokesman said.

The Sea of Japan separates Japan from the Korean peninsula.

The United States sent the warships to the region after a surge of tension on the Korean peninsula over fears the North was about to conduct a sixth nuclear test, or another test in its bid to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of hitting the mainland United States.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has vowed to work with other countries to deter North Korea, which on Monday conducted a short-range ballistic missile test.

The missile reached an altitude of 120 km (75 miles) before falling into the Sea of Japan in international waters, but inside Japan’s exclusive economic zone where it has jurisdiction over the exploration and exploitation of maritime resources.

The launch followed two successful tests of medium-to-long-range missiles in as many weeks as North Korea conducts tests at an unprecedented pace,

North Korea can already strike anywhere in Japan with missiles, raising concern in Tokyo that it could eventually be threatened by a North Korean nuclear strike.

South Korea’s new liberal president, Moon Jae-in, who took office on May 10, has taken a more conciliatory line than Abe, pledging to engage with his reclusive neighbor in dialogue.

(Reporting by Tim Kelly; Editing by Robert Birsel)

China says North Korea tension has to be stopped from reaching ‘irreversible’ stage

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF REUTERS)

China says North Korea tension has to be stopped from reaching ‘irreversible’ stage

By Dominique Patton and Sue-Lin Wong | BEIJING/PYONGYANG

China said on Friday tension over North Korea had to be stopped from reaching an “irreversible and unmanageable stage” as a U.S. aircraft carrier group steamed towards the region amid fears the North may conduct a sixth nuclear weapons test.

Concerns have grown since the U.S. Navy fired 59 Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian airfield last week in response to a deadly gas attack, raising questions about U.S. President Donald Trump’s plans for North Korea, which has conducted missile and nuclear tests in defiance of U.N. and unilateral sanctions.

The United States has warned that a policy of “strategic patience” is over. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence travels to South Korea on Sunday on a long-planned 10-day trip to Asia.

China, North Korea’s sole major ally and neighbor which nevertheless opposes its weapons program, has called for talks leading to a peaceful resolution and the decentralization of the Korean peninsula.

“We call on all parties to refrain from provoking and threatening each other, whether in words or actions, and not let the situation get to an irreversible and unmanageable stage,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters in Beijing.

“Force cannot solve the problem, dialogue can be the only channel to resolve the problem.”

North Korea for its part denounced the United States for bringing “huge nuclear strategic assets” to the region.

A spokesman for the North Korean Foreign Ministry’s Institute for Disarmament and Peace issued a statement condemning the United States for its attack on the Syrian airfield.

“The U.S. introduces into the Korean peninsula, the world’s biggest hotspot, huge nuclear strategic assets, seriously threatening peace and security of the peninsula and pushing the situation there to the brink of a war,” the North’s KCNA news agency said on Friday, citing the statement.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un waves to people cheering during an opening ceremony of a newly constructed residential complex in Ryomyong street in Pyongyang, North Korea April 13, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

“This has created a dangerous situation in which a thermo-nuclear war may break out any moment.”

North Korea, still technically at war with the South after their 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce, not a treaty, has on occasion conducted missile or nuclear tests to coincide with big political events and often threatens the United States, South Korea and Japan.

On Saturday, it marks the “Day of the Sun”, the 105th anniversary of the birth of state founder Kim Il Sung.

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While Trump has put North Korea on notice that he will not tolerate any more provocation, U.S. officials have said his administration is focusing its strategy on tougher economic sanctions.

Trump said on Thursday North Korea was a problem that “will be taken care of” and he believed Chinese President Xi Jinping would “work very hard” to help resolve it.

Trump has also said the United States is prepared to tackle the crisis without China, if necessary.

He diverted the nuclear-powered USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier and its strike group towards the Korean peninsula last weekend in a show of force. (tmsnrt.rs/2p1yGTQ)

The dollar fell on Friday against a basket of currencies, on track for a losing week as tension over North Korea underpinned the perceived safe-haven Japanese yen.

Media in Japan said the government confirmed it would take all precautions in the face of possible North Korean provocations.

The Nikkei business daily said government discussions included how to rescue the estimated 57,000 Japanese citizens in South Korea as well as how to cope with a possible flood of North Korean refugees coming to Japan, among whom might be North Korean spies and agents.

In Pyongyang, retired soldier Ho Song Chol told Reuters that North Korea would win should there be any conflict with the United States.

“We don’t think about other things, we just live in our belief that we will win as long as our Supreme Leader is with us,” Ho said, referring to Kim Jong Un.

Kang Gil-won, a 26-year-old graduate living in Seoul, said his biggest concern was not North Korea, but finding work in a tough job market.

“There’s no concern that war is going to break out tomorrow,” he told Reuters at a “study café” where many young job seekers prepare for interviews.

“Getting a job is a war that I feel in my bones.”

Many South Koreans, meanwhile, marked “Black Day” on Friday, but it had nothing to do with worry about North Korea.

Black Day is a day for singles, marked by eating “jajangmyeon”, a noodle dish topped with a thick sauce made of black beans. It’s celebrated by singles as a response to “White Day”, an Asian Valentine’s Day which falls a month earlier, on March 14.

(Additional reporting by Nick Macfie, James Pearson and Ju-min Park in SEOUL, Natalie Thomas in Pyongyang, Linda Sieg in TOKYO and Michael Martina in BEIJING; Writing by Nick Macfie; Editing by Robert Birsel)

South Korea, Japan impose new unilateral sanctions on North Korea

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF REUTERS NEWS AGENCY)

South Korea, Japan impose new unilateral sanctions on North Korea

 (LOOK AT THE SMILING AND CLAPPING FRAUDS AS THEY ATTEMPT TO NOT BE MURDERED BY THE LITTLE FAT BOY LUNATIC WITH THE BAD HAIRCUT)(TRS)
By Ju-min Park and Kaori Kaneko | SEOUL/TOKYO

South Korea and Japan said on Friday they would impose new unilateral sanctions on North Korea over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, following a fresh U.N. Security Council resolution imposed on the reclusive country this week.

North Korea has rejected the U.N. resolution, aimed at cutting Pyongyang’s annual export revenue by a quarter after its fifth and largest nuclear test in September, as a conspiracy masterminded by the United States to deny its sovereignty.

Both South Korea and Japan already have comprehensive unilateral sanctions in place against North Korea.

South Korea said in a statement its expanded measures would blacklist senior North Korean officials, including leader Kim Jong Un’s closest aides, Choe Ryong Hae and Hwang Pyong So.

Hwang, at one point considered North Korea’s second-most powerful official outside the ruling Kim family, is already subject to U.S. Treasury sanctions.

South Korea also said it would ban entry from the South by foreign missile and nuclear experts if their visits to North Korea were deemed to be a threat to South Korean national interests.

Japan said on Friday it too would add to its own list of unilateral sanctions, including a ban on all ships that have called at ports in North Korea, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference.

“It is a new phase of threat that North Korea forced, carrying out nuclear tests twice this year and launching more than 20 missiles, and it is enhancing capability. Japan absolutely cannot tolerate these acts of violence,” Suga said.

“Japan will consider further measures depending on moves by North Korea and the international society,” he said.

Tokyo will freeze the assets of more groups and individuals connected to North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, he said.

The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, told the Security Council on Wednesday the United States was realistic about what the new sanctions on North Korea could achieve.

“No resolution in New York will likely, tomorrow, persuade Pyongyang to cease its relentless pursuit of nuclear weapons. But this resolution imposes unprecedented costs on the DPRK (North Korea) regime for defying this council’s demands,” she said.

In February, Seoul suspended operations at a jointly run factory park just inside North Korea, ending the only significant daily interaction across the heavily fortified inter-Korean border.

In March, Seoul released a list of companies and individuals it said were connected to North Korea’s weapons trade and nuclear and missile programs.

South Korea said its new sanctions would expand the entities on that list to include Dandong Hongxiang Industrial Development Co, a Chinese company sanctioned by the United States in September for using front companies to evade sanctions on North Korea’s banned programs.

In Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said China was opposed to unilateral sanctions and urged countries to proceed cautiously.

“China always firmly opposes unilateral sanctions on a country outside the framework of U.N. Security Council sanctions, and is even more opposed to any party harming China’s reasonable and lawful interests through unilateral sanctions,” he told a regular news briefing.

The new U.S.-drafted U.N. resolution is intended to slash North Korea’s exports of coal, its biggest export item, by about 60 percent with an annual sales cap of $400.9 million, or 7.5 million metric tonnes, whichever is lower.

It also bans North Korean copper, nickel, silver and zinc exports – and the sale of statues. Pyongyang is famous for building huge, socialist-style statues which it exports mainly to African countries.

(Additional reporting by Jack Kim in SEOUL and Michael Martina in BEIJING; Writing by James Pearson; Editing by Nick Macfie)