Tokyo: How Many ‘Great Powers’ Can Asia Handle?

TOKYO- Is Japan a “great power”? The country’s defense minister said so in a recent speech, uttering a phrase rarely used by the Japanese political leaders and sticking his finger in the eye of China, which has been pursuing its own vision of “great powers” in the region.

Delivered on July 11 at Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., Itsunori Onodera’s speech was aimed at explaining Tokyo’s efforts to take on a bigger policing role in Asia through a more expansive interpretation of its postwar pacifist constitution.

Japan defense budget to top $40 billion

KONFRONTASI - Japan’s defense budget for the next fiscal year is set to top 5 trillion yen (USD 40 billion) for the first time ever, government sources say. 

According to the Japanese government sources, the budget for the 12 months from April 2016 would include funding for relocation of a controversial US military base in southern Okinawa Island. The base is host to the bulk of US military forces in Japan.

S&P downgrades Japan's sovereign credit rating to A+

KONFRONTASI - Standard & Poor's ratings agency has downgraded its sovereign credit rating for Japan by one notch, saying that chances for the country being able to revive its economic growth are slim.

The agency issued a statement on Wednesday, noting that the East Asian country was not probable to end the current state of deflation in its economy and reinvigorate growth within the next few years, AFP reported.

Anger as Japan resumes work on US base in Okinawa

KONFRONTASI - Anger is mounting as the Japanese government has resumed work on the construction of a controversial new US military base in southern Okinawa following a month-long suspension.

The government resumed work on the construction of the base on the island of Okinawa on Saturday. Almost one month of talks between Tokyo and Okinawa officials opposed to the plan failed to reach a compromise.

The resumption prompted Takeshi Onaga, the outspoken governor of Okinawa, to issue a statement, saying the move was "extremely regrettable."

Japan: Taking to the streets to combat militarism

KONFRONTASI-They gathered in the drizzling rain in the tens of thousands on Sunday to make their objections heard to new security laws that would allow the military to deploy overseas for the first time since the end of World War II.

It was one of the largest protests in recent Japanese history as ordinary citizens raised their voices in defiance while surrounding the Diet, the nation's parliament.

The contentious issue that has mobilised such opposition is a series of national security bills drafted by the conservative administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Puluhan Wisman Ikut Meriahkan HUT RI di Bali

Konfrontasi - Wisatawan mancanegara (wisman) yang rata-rata bule di Kuta, Kabupaten Badung, Bali ikut memeriahkan sejumlah lomba khas menyambut Hari Ulang Tahun Kemerdekaan ke-70 Republik Indonesia yang diadakan salah satu hotel di kawasan wisata itu.

"Ini sangat berbeda, dan pertama kalinya saya ikut merayakan Hari Kemerdekaan Indonesia," kata Gary Giuffre, wisatawan dari Perth, Australia di Kuta, Kabupaten Badung, Sabtu (15/8/2015).

China calls for ‘sincere apology’ by Japan

KONFRONTASI - China has officially rejected as insufficient an expression of “deep remorse” by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe about his country’s World War II aggression, saying Tokyo should make a “sincere apology.”

In a statement posted on the website of China’s Foreign Ministry on Friday, Beijing reacted with skepticism to a morning speech by Abe, in which the Japanese premier repeated Tokyo’s previous expression of grief.

China says Japan defense review misleading, damages relations

KONFRONTASI-China reserves the right to a "necessary reaction" after Japan issued a defense review that called on Beijing to stop building oil and gas exploration platforms close to disputed waters in the East China Sea, the Defense Ministry has said.

In the paper issued on Tuesday, Tokyo expressed concern that Chinese drills could tap reservoirs that extend into Japan's territory.

Japan's Mitsubishi apologises to US prisoners of war

KONFRONTASI-Japanese corporation Mitsubishi has issued an historic apology for forcing American prisoners of war (POWs) to work in its mines during World War II.

While Japan's government has formally apologised to American POWs in 2009 and again in 2010, Sunday's move by Mitsubishi was the first made by a Japanese corporation.

The apology came 70 years after the war ended.

During WWII, 12,000 American prisoners were shipped to Japan and employed as slave labour, including 500 who were forced to work for Mitsubishi's predecessor, the Mitsubishi Mining Co.

Japan overtakes China as largest holder of US debt

KONFRONTASI - Japan has overtaken China as the largest holder of US government debt, according to a report by the US Treasury Department.

The monthly report, released on Wednesday, showed that Japan held more than $1.224 trillion in US government securities at the end of February, ending China's six-year run as the top holder of US debt.

Since February 2014, Japan increased its US debt holdings by $13.6 billion while China’s holdings dropped by $49.2 billion as it sold more US Treasuries during the month of January.