Beyond the questions of legal right, free speech and ethical questions that followed the story of the publication of the book, ‘A record of my two year seven month void before arrest,’ there is another issue that has so far not been reported: the battle for the ownership of Gentosha Inc.
Gentosha published the book by Tatsuya Ishihashi, which document his time on the run after being accused of killing British citizen Lindsay Ann Hawker, and is currently trying to fend off interference in a management buyout from a company based in the British Cayman Islands.
As the Asahi Shimbun explained in December:
A major battle is brewing between a foreign investment fund and a major Japanese publisher amid growing overseas interest in what experts describe as undervalued Japanese stocks.
Isabel Ltd., based in the Cayman Islands, has been aggressively buying shares of Gentosha Inc., threatening to derail the publisher’s plan to undertake a management buyout (MBO).
Gentosha’s stock price offer for the MBO was apparently below the actual value perceived by Isabel.
Isabel Ltd., based in the British Cayman Islands, said in (a report sent to the Kanto Local Finance Bureau on Jan. 24) that it holds 28.58% of outstanding shares of Gentosha, equivalent to a stake of 37.48% in terms of voting rights, allowing the fund to veto key proposals at the publisher’s general meetings, such as amending its articles of incorporation.
Whether the release of the Ichihashi memoirs will deter the Cayman company from interfering in the management buyout remains to be seen. As do the motivations for publishing Ichihashi’s book.
* article written in full from RSS sources.
Japan has been involved in a territorial dispute with Russia since the end of World War II over islands to the north of Hokkaido,
including and very close to Sakhalin.
In a recent meeting with Embassy officials in Sakhalin, Shell oil representatives stated that no LNG (liquified natural gas) had been shipped from the Sakhalin II facility to the U.S. due to soft prices in that market. Much of this LNG has been shipped to Japan instead.
Business is business, after all.
Norwegian paper Aftenposen has released two cables relating to the 2007 Chinese anti-satellite missile test (Wikipedia entry on the incident here):
- 22.01.2007: AFM HE SAYS “TEST” POSES NO THREAT; NO PLANS FOR FURTHER TESTS
- 6.1.2008:SECOND DEMARCHE FOR CHINA REGARDING CHINAS JANUARY 2007 ANTI-SATELLITE TEST
There is one potential inaccuracy to watch out for in coverage of this leaked cable. The first report that I saw of this was on Reddit.com, where the headline unfortunately/incorrectly states ‘Wikileaks: China shot down American satellite.’ The satellite was China’s own, so lets hope no one is so sloppy as to run with that one.
As for the cables themselves, the second one is the most interesting read, covering a number of American talking points on the missile test and concerns for their interests in space. Afterposen‘s article on the cables is here. I’ll pass on commenting as my Norwegian is lacking…
As far as I can understand, these two cables seem to be exclusively released by Aftenposten, which according to Wikipedia is the country’s largest so I expect the cables are legit. Surprisingly they, like The Guardian, have access to all 250,000+ cables with a post on their site saying:
“Internet site Wikileaks has obtained more than 250 000 documents from U.S. embassies and consulates worldwide. Aftenposten has gained access to all documents without any clauses. The documents will be continually reviewed as the basis of articles by the same editorial criteria and ethical rules as the rest of the Evening Post’s journalism. E-mail to the editors: firstname.lastname@example.org” (Google translation)
I wonder if Aftenposen is open to inquiries like the Guardian? Better still, I wonder how many media orgs here in Japan or China are inquiring? Admittedly none of the Asia-related leaks have been earth shattering so far (I asked a while back ‘Is it anything?‘) but there are still a LOT more cables to go.
Further reading: Google results for ‘China’ + ‘Satellite’ from January 2007
However, most missed a leak that came from Australia on the subject, which summarizes Canberra’s opposition to an attempted deal that would have seen the practice legalized with certain restrictions.
Canberra’s opposition to that deal can be summarised as followed:
Garrett Chief of Staff David Williams told econoff that the GOA could accept a compromise that delivers a much lower level of whaling, but it has to be accompanied by signals of commitment to address other key issues – sustaining the commercial moratorium, keeping whaling out of the southern sanctuary areas and Australian antarctic waters, bringing all whaling under the control of the IWC, and preventing future scientific whaling. Absent any signals on these areas, Garrett and other political leaders will be under consistent attack on a deal that only addresses
numbers, however low.
Later, I will discuss more comprehensive search techniques for people using Wikileaks and hopefully complete a detailed post on what the cables released Jan. 3 tell us.
So far, the documents that mention Japan in the Wikileaks U.S. State Department cables have proven by and large a dull affair. One man, however, stands out – Lionel Dumont.
Clearly, Dumont ought to be avoided. A former French soldier, Dumont converted to Islam after serving in Somalia. After this, his life took him to war-torn Yugoslavia, where he would be arrested and convicted of murdering a police officer. Escaping from jail in Sarajevo, Dumont fled to Japan, where he was eventually arrested before being extradited to France, where he was convicted of a number of violent crimes in absentia.
The picture painted of Dumont and the risk of a Japan terrorist cell in the cables, however, is very different to that described by correspondents based here.
According to one cable: “Dumont spent a number of years in Japan, and is suspected of building links there to Islamic extremism.” This, argues the U.S. State Department, demonstrates that “Islamic political extremism in France takes on many forms: it has bubbled up on its own, in cooperation with other autonomous groups, and also in cooperation with al-Qaida linked groups.”
Months before, another cable had explained how at a dinner with French terrorism investigating judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere, Dumont’s name had been mentioned in connection to an increase in terrorism in Asia.
Bruguiere … cited Asia as a particular area of concern. He and (his coworker Jean-Francois) Ricard had discovered a Japan-based network after arresting and interrogating French citizen and longtime Japanese resident Lionel Dumont.
But to what extent the State Department can use Japan as an example of a country that is at risk of becoming the center for a terrorist plot is up for question. In a description of the investigation by the Associated Press, Eric Talmadge notes:
“Dumont is suspected of trying to establish an al-Qaeda cell to carry out a terrorist attack, Japanese media have reported, quoting anonymous police officials who called him a ‘senior al-Qaeda member.’
“But French authorities say that is ‘largely exaggerated.'”
It certainly does not seem that any terrorist organization was found to be operational in Japan. In an interview with The Japan Times, one man arrested in the investigation that followed the capture of Dumont protests his innocence and explains the damage the investigation did to his family and his business.
It’s a sentiment echoed by Muslims affected by a recent leak of police investigations in Japan. Those Muslims have said they are shocked by investigations into their community, that seem to have led to dead ends.
Whether Wikileaks will give us a more detailed idea of the “war on terrorism” over the coming months is as yet unknown. There are, however, 166 cables set to be released from Tokyo labeled “terrorists and terrorism (PTER).” Current documents and knowledge of Japan’s “war on terrorism,” however, suggest there is little to fear living in this country, unless you are a Muslim.
With so few cables discussing Japan so far released, understanding the implications of Cablegate can be a challenge. There are, however, techniques that allow us to set a basis now for future analyzes of the cables. Previously, we have on this site discussed the way currently released subject lines offer clues as to U.S. dealings with Japan, and how an awareness of historical events can be used to predict, or request a look at, unreleased cables. A search for the word Tokyo, rather than Japan, can also be helpful.
The U.S. State Department refers to Japan as “Japan” (rather than Tokyo, land of the rising sun, etc.) This means that Japan references are talking ABOUT the country. It appears, however, that the word “Tokyo,” means in general that a document should be shared with the Tokyo Embassy, and thus represents a subject that the U.S. is discussing WITH Japan. *1
What does this mean? Essentially, the Cables can be read in two ways. One set, in which the name of a country is searched for, represents the U.S. State Department’s opinion of a nation. A second set, in which a nation’s capital is searched for, represents the U.S. State Department’s opinion on what information selected embassies CCed on cables should be aware of, for whatever reason.
The second search, which refers to capitals rather than countries, allows us to narrow down our view of the United States. One cable in particular that includes the keyword Tokyo illustrates this point.
Lee Kuan Yew on Burma’s “stupid” generals and the “gambler” Chen Shui-Bian, dated Oct. 17, 2007, includes a section on the Minister Mentor of Singapore’s opinion on the way Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda could help change Taiwanese politics:
Japan should speak out to restrain Taiwan from making provocative moves towards independence, MM Lee said. He asked what Japan had agreed to do in response to the proposed referendum on joining the UN under the name Taiwan. DAS Christensen noted that Japan has expressed its opposition privately with President Chen, but did not agree to make any public statements opposing the referendum. MM Lee suggested that Japan might be willing to make a public statement now with Yasuo Fukuda serving as prime minister. Fukuda has close ties to the KMT and his father even risked China’s ire to attend former President Chiang Ching-kuo’s funeral in 1988, according to Lee.
the cable states.
Clearly, the news of this cable that discusses Japan made it at least as far as Tokyo. The U.S. Embassy in Tokyo was, at the very least, aware that Singapore wished to see Japan intervene in Taiwan’s political process in connection to China.
As much cannot be said for the cable Ambassador’s parting thoughts on taking the Dutch, in which a U.S diplomat documents the strategic importance on working together with the Netherlands on numerous strategic issues. We are yet to find out whether or not Ambassador Clifford Sobel opinion that the Dutch “presence provided the political and military cover necessary for Japan to commit forces.” We can, however, infer, that despite Japan’s strategic importance is as an ally, it is still seen as part of a bigger picture.
Perhaps this should not be a surprise, but it is noteworthy for those looking to place Japan in the larger world.
The cables shared with the Tokyo not mentioning Japan so far read as diplomatic “press releases,” presenting U.S. perspectives on other nations and discussing matters that seem unrelated to Japan.
Some 99 percent of the U.S. cables are, however, still to be released, and it is likely that there will be revelations in their contents. For those wishing to find information quickly on Japan, as well as searching for the country’s name, searching for “Tokyo” offers further clues to the nation’s place in the world as it is seen by the U.S. State Department.
For looking into this series of leaks, the website Cablesearch has so far proved the best tool for me.
EDITS *1: Often, in cables where the word Tokyo can be found, it is in a header that operates seemingly as a CC. As such, Tokyo mentions do not necessarily mean the cable includes Japanese involvement or discussion of Japan, but rather mean that the U.S. Embassy in Japan has been sent the information. (Added after a comment via Twitter from ourmaninabiko)
This cable is one of the most controversial released by Wikileaks and media organizations so far during the Cablegate affair.
Summarizing the contents of the leak, which outlines the U.S. National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP), the State Department says:
The overarching goal of the NIPP is to build a safer, more secure, and more resilient America by enhancing protection of the nation’s CI/KR (critical infrastructure and key resources) to prevent, deter, neutralize or mitigate the effects of deliberate efforts by terrorists to destroy, incapacitate or exploit them; and to strengthen national preparedness, timely response, and rapid recovery in the event of an attack, natural disaster or other emergency.
Here are the locations that the U.S. State Department sees as key in Japan (marked on the above map):
|C2C Cable Network undersea cable landing||Chikura, Japan|
|C2C Cable Network undersea cable landing||Shima, Japan|
|China-US undersea cable||Okinawa, Japan|
|EAC undersea cable landing||Ajigaura, Japan|
|EAC undersea cable landing||Shima, Japan|
|FLAG/REACH North Asia Loop undersea cable landing||Wada, Japan|
|Japan-US undersea cable landing||Maruyama, Japan|
|Japan-US undersea cable landing||Kitaibaraki, Japan|
|KJCN undersea cable landing||Fukuoka, Japan|
|KJCN undersea cable landing||Kita-Kyushu, Japan|
|Pacific Crossing-1 (PC-1) undersea cable landing||Ajigaura, Japan|
|Pacific Crossing-1 (PC-1) undersea cable landing||Shima, Japan|
|Tyco Transpacific undersea cable landing||Toyohashi, Japan|
|Tyco Transpacific undersea cable landing||Emi, Japan|
|Hitachi, Hydroelectric Dam Turbines and Generators|
|Port of Chiba||Port of Chiba|
|Port of Kobe||Port of Kobe|
|Port of Nagoya||Port of Nagoya|
|Port of Yokohama||Port of Yokohama|
|Iodine Mine||(mostly Chiba?)|
|Metal Fabrication Machines Titanium||null|
|Metal (Processed) Biken, Kanonji City, Japan||Kanonji City, Japan|
|Hitachi Elec. Power Generators & Components Large AC Generators above 40 MVA||null|
The data is not so surprising: It explains that the State Department sees Japan’s strategic importance coming through its industry, its ports and the data that travels via undersea cables that pass through the country. One anomaly: There seems to be little of concern to the U.S. State Department in the north of Japan.