Articles by: Gavan McCormack

Author Biography:

Gavan McCormack is an emeritus professor of Australian National University (ANU). A graduate of the University of Melbourne (arts and law, MA in history) and SOAS University of London (PhD 1974), he taught at the Universities of Leeds, La Trobe and Adelaide before joining ANU. He is also an editor of the web journal Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus and the author of many books and articles on aspects of modern East Asian, mostly Japanese, history, many of them published also in Japanese, Korean and Chinese translation.

Yi Hak-nae and the Burma–Thailand Railway

In 1946–47, Australia conducted twenty-three war-crimes trials in Singapore, with sixty-two defendants. It found eighteen guilty and sentenced them to death, acquitted eleven, and sentenced an additional thirty-three to varying prison terms.

Informit: Servile state Japan

The Obama administration 'pivots' to Asia, reinforcing its regional alliances and shoring up its hegemony. The Gillard government waltzes towards the Asian century, promising bliss and prosperity as Asia becomes the centre of the global economy. But neither the pivot nor the Asian century doctrines address the key question: how will the dominance of the region planned in Washington (and endorsed, explicitly or implicitly, by Canberra, Tokyo and other capitals) be reconciled with the emergence…

Informit: Smoke signals, North Korea

Just over a year and a half ago the 'North Korea problem' was on the brink of resolution. The Beijing parties had agreed that in return for North Korea disabling its facilities, readmitting international inspectors and declaring its nuclear facilities (for eventual demolition), partner countries would supply energy aid, relax sanctions and move towards full 'normalisation'. Shortly afterwards, the New York Philharmonic performed to delighted audiences in Pyongyang. North Korea did what was required of…

Informit: Rebooting Asia: Conflicting agendas

The Obama administration 'pivots' to Asia, reinforcing its regional alliances, shoring up its hegemony and putting pressure on its allies to shoulder more of the costs. By 2020 it will have 60 per cent of its navy - six aircraft carriers plus 'a majority of our cruisers, destroyers, littoral combat ships and submarines' in the Pacific, that is, primarily with China in its sights. A stepped-up Indian Ocean role is also currently on the drawing…

Informit: North Korea: Birth Pangs of a New North-East Asian Order

A transformed North-east Asian order is expected in the twenty-first century due to the United States' involvement in an agreement over the North Korean nuclear issue. The challenges facing the settlement's implementation are discussed, highlighting the need for improved relations between North Korea and Japan, and North Korea and the U.S., for the agreement to be a success.

Informit: Partnership 135 degrees east

The current Japanese and Australian governments came into being in December 2012 and September 2013 respectively. Both are headed by conservative, neoliberal, climate-denialist, pro-American leaders, of similar age (Abe Shinzo was born in September 1954, Tony Abbott in November 1957), who quickly established a close rapport. Following their first meeting, at an ASEAN summit in October 2013, Abbott declared Abe Australia's 'best friend in Asia'. In meetings that followed, in Tokyo in April and Canberra…

Informit: Burchett in Australian media

Why Robert Manne's campaign against Burchett is wrong. Wilfred Burchett (1939-1983) is very likely the most vilified of all Australians. He endured much during his lifetime and his ghost has known no rest in the thirty years since then. The principal protagonist pitted against Australia's 'Public Enemy Number One' (as he became known) over these three decades has been the one commonly proclaimed Australia's 'Public Intellectual Number One', Robert Manne of La Trobe University.