Friday, November 7, 2014

Back to Yasukuni

              Last week the New York Times ran an interesting article about Yasukuni Shrine and the War Bereaved Families Association (Izokukai), one of the Shrine’s bigger patrons.  Abe visited Yasukuni again this past August to the typical responses from the world at large.  The NYT tells us that Izokukai has an interesting request for the shrine: remove the Class-A war criminals.  Izokukai has joined other people in protesting the presence of the class-As since they were enshrined in 1974.  But Izokukai also calls on the Prime Minister and the Emperor to pay homage at Yasukuni.  The Emperors have boycotted Yasukuni over the class-As investiture.  It is interesting to see this nuance from Japan about the controversial shrine, but removing the Class-As would not make a difference to other people around Asia.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

F-35 Does Something It's Supposed To

Normally when the troubled F-35 Lightning II makes the news, it's because something went wrong.  On Sunday, a Navy test pilot successfully landed his F-35C on USS Nimitz.  The F-35C is a variant of the stock F-35 model designed to operate from US Navy aircraft carriers.  So, good news for the plane and Lockheed Martin.  The US Navy may get it's stealth plane after all.  For a while, it looked like the STOVL and carrier F-35 variants were going to be cancelled due to delays and cost overruns.  Plenty of people probably still want to cancel the project.  If Lockheed Martin and the US Department of Defense have more successful tests and exercises with the plane, then it will succeed.  I wrote last year that South Korea had committed to buy F-35As, and Japan is planning to as well.  So, I think we should expect to see them flying in Asia sooner or later.  Unfortunately, that will only encourage China to develop counter-measures, such as it's own stealth planes (remember the mysterious J-20?)