Friday, March 30, 2007
Cherry blossoms are blooming in Tokyo now. Going to be windy tomorrow morning, but it shouldn't blow much of them off yet. If I can ride tomorrow, I can photograph some when I get back.
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Photo at right is of Ichihashi, the murder suspect.
He was described as having plucked eyebrows in the style of the co-called chimpira, or ‘little pricks’, young men who affect the style of older yakuza gangsters and indulge in petty crime, and sometimes drug dealing. Police revealed yesterday that Mr Ichihashi had a criminal record for stealing a wallet containing 10,000 yen (44 pounds) in May 2004. (Click for full story in sidebar of the article.)
One other murderer, Hiroshi Maeue, was sentenced to death today for killing three people in 2005.
Prosecutors had demanded the death penalty, insisting he could pose the threat of a repeat offender because he cannot control his sexual urges triggered by seeing a person being strangled and suffering. (Story in The Japan Times)
Wonder if Maeue is a rape and torture manga fan like Ichihashi? And the non-Japanese in Japan are the dangerous ones?!
On a side note, everyone that I know, Japanese and others feel the same way about this guy and this incident---angry, and disgusted. However, I have read on the Internet posting from Japanese who want to claim that the crime increase in Japan, even among the Japanese, is due to western influence. The "pure Japan" crowd--Masahiko Fujiwara et al--will never admit any possible problems in Japanese society that are simply the problems of Japan, not foreign countries or people.
This murder will get a lot of coverage overseas, but there are plenty of murders in Japan that get none outside of the country. Japan is relatively safe, but it ain't some fairy tale land where you can abandon common sense like many seem to believe.
'Murder copied from a comic'
COPS were last night probing the possibility that comic-book fan Ichihachi copied Lindsay’s grisly murder from a CARTOON story.
Police found piles of violent Japanese Manga comics at the suspect’s flat.The weekly cartoon-books — which are as popular as newspapers in Japan — frequently feature stories of young women and schoolgirls being raped and tortured...
“Lindsay, like most westerners, found them disgusting."
“They’re cartoon porn and Japanese men get a real kick out of them."
From The Sun Online.
Lots of Japanese find them disgusting too, but it is true that you can occasionally see men reading them openly on the train (though not so often anymore). This must be bushido. Well, at least Japan has started doing something about the child porn that until 2004 it was a major source for.
No word yet of Japanese businesses being punished because Japanese are responsible for the overwhelming majority of crime in Japan. Including Japanese men again and again murdering young British women.
Speaking of that, the murder suspect in the killing of a 22 year British English teacher remains at large after he escaped by running away barefooted from the police who were questioning him. (details)
Suddenly, the suave, sophisticated, well-mannered guy let loose with 2 back-to-back full volume sneezes. Naturally, this being Japan, he did not attempt to to cover his mouth, but did hold his hand about 5-6 inches in front of it coating it and everything near with a layer of spit. Then, he looked at his saliva-covered hand, licked something off, and began chewing it. The girls paid no attention to this.
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Thomas in Tokyo wrote to Lifelines in response to my Jan. 9 answer to an inquiry from reader Nick on the new law requiring the photographing and fingerprinting of foreigners on their entry into this country. I wrote that Japan Helpline is coordinating a response to the measure.
"If Nick is not Japanese, then he really has NO business lobbying against this law. Japan is not his country; he is a guest. As such, it is highly presumptuous of him to be telling Japanese how to run their country.
"Such lobbying only serves to besmirch the name of foreigners who graciously accept the opportunity (not right) to live in Japan and conduct themselves accordingly -- not to mention invite a backlash. Nick and his ilk have the option of leaving, which if they really are against the fingerprinting law, they should exercise. (Japan Times)
Those who object to people exercising free speech rights in a democracy should perhaps themselves leave the democracy.
When another young British woman, Lucy Blackman, was murdered by a Japanese man, there was not much coverage---in fact none---until Tony Blair leaned on former Prime Minister Koizumi to kick the Japanese "police" in the ass to get them to actually investigate the murder.
I read in Time magazine at the time---not an especially reliable source---that the police did not do much of an investigation because they don't take murders of non-Japanese women working in clubs as something warranting any effort. They don't---or didn't really give a damn until Blair and Koizumi pushed them into it.
Perhaps they have learned that sort of sweeping the murder of British women under the rug won't work.
What is it about Japanese men that make them murder British women? Is it genetic? Is it something in Japanese society? Is it bushido? (SARCASM!)
I think it is necessary for young British women to be aware of the fact that should they visit Japan, there is a chance that they will be murdered by a Japanese man!!! (SARCASM!) English teachers should take note too that student who is so kind and polite may murder you! Don't go to their apartment alone. Nova, the eikaiwa school denied reports that the man was a student. So one must be cautious of all Japanese men. To be really safe, you need to be cautious of all Japanese-looking men. What if he were a crossdresser? Better be careful of all Japanese-looking people period! I do think that only a Japanese could do this kind of crime. Of course this is not racist.
(Yes, in case you don't get it, I am doing to Japan what many in Japan do with crimes by non-Japanese.)
Oh, on a related story about Japanese worry over "foreign" crime:
In a 2006 Cabinet Office survey, 84.3% thought public safety had worsened over the past 10 years, with the largest number (55.1%) putting this down to "a rise in crimes by foreigners visiting Japan."
It appears Japan is a quite dangerous country. You can't trust anyone.
(Nobody really knows what happened to this unfortunate young woman except that she was murdered. Sarcasm aside, this does point out that one cannot accept everything that one reads about Japan being the safest country on earth or any of the other myths. Unfortunately, many people do.)
Sunday, March 25, 2007
For the last 3 weeks our 2 story, 4 unit apartment building has been being painted. Well, the trim has. The building is concrete and steel with fake brick siding. I figure that my brothers an I could do it in about 4 days if we were a bit lazy. But these guys are pros at drawing things out. (I saw the same thing when I worked for a small Japanese company in Toyama City years ago. 2 hours of work in 8.)
When we lived in Kajigaya Kawasaki a few years ago, our building was cleaned and painted. Took over a month. We has a walkway on our floor about 15 meters long and about 2 meters wide. It took the punk kid 5 days to complete it. Most of the time I saw him, he was simply loafing.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
There is some indication that the Japanese police may have been closely connected with the article. It seems to fit their policy/beliefs as it pertains to non-Japanese.
Japan Focus has an excellent article on this story describing in some detail about the racism in that magazine, the racist view toward non-Japanese, the Japanese media's reluctance to cover anything smacking of Japanese racism (Japanese are not racist because there is no racism in Japan---except the racism of non-Japanese who criticize anything about Japan), and how the mostly non-Japanese worldwide used the internet to embarrass the dealers (except Amazon Japan which viewed the sale of the magazine as a free speech issue) into removing the magazines.
The boycott and removal of the magazine from shelves of course, is not much of a victory. The ideas, beliefs, bigotry and racism that allows this kind of stuff to be published openly and freely is the problem. That most here do not recognize---or can't admit---that there is widespread racism---or at least racist beliefs among the public---and openly racist politicians and government officials is THE main problem. It's good that there was a small victory. However, since the Japanese-language press ignored the issue, there will be no debate, no reflection, no nothing by the Japanese public.
You've seen the 3 monkeys at the Tokugawa Ieyasu shrine in Nikko? Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil? We might say that is still very much alive in Japan.
The rather clueless editor of the bigot rag responded to all the criticism:
Shigeki Saka refused to apologize, claiming that he had become a victim of a campaign of harassment, censorship, emotional overreaction, and distortion by an "army of bloggers". He claimed that these puroshimin ("professional citizens", best translated as "do-gooders") had unfairly targeted him even though the only intention was to open a frank discussion on the "taboo" subject of foreign crime. He claimed, "This is not a racist book, because it is based upon established fact," with "no lies, distortion or racist sentiments."He added that translating nigaa as "nigger" was "unfair", as the term is merely
Hmmm. The "N word" has none of the emotive power in Japanese that it does in English? Probably not to the Japanese. Might be to others who hear it and don't understand that there is no racism in Japan.
A good rebuttal of Saka's absurd defense is at debito.org
Wanna see the whole book? A scan of it is available here for free.
About a week ago, they predicted an early bloom. Then they retracted it because they had miscalculated temperature or something. Then yesterday, supposedly some cherry blossoms were open in Tokyo Haven't seen any yet. Wonder where?
Sunday, March 18, 2007
It starts out as the person is refused a few times, then finally is allowed to stay a night with someone.
I like this program, even though it is a bit ridiculous, but I often tell my wife that I wanna run around and ask people to put me up over night. It might actually happen, I have heard/read of it before.
Anyway, what is really nice on this show is that the guests are served meals that one wouldn't likely get in a ryokan---a traditional inn. On tonight's show, not only did the woman get a good supper, she got a breakfast of shrimp the size of lobster (actually was lobster) and homemade tempura. That ain't exactly a normal breakfast in Japan or anywhere else.
Naturally, as happens every week, when it is time for the guest to leave, there will be extended goodbyes as they wave at one another until they are no longer in view. Sometimes for some reason (TV) the family who was visited, will follow hundreds of meters down the road waving. The the actor/guest always cries a bit at the end.
It is corny and goofy, but fun to watch.
Friday, March 16, 2007
Coercion means something different to Japan's government in 2007 than it did in 1993. Or 1945. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's office released a report today saying there is no evidence Japan's military forced women into sexual servitude during World War II. From Bloomberg.
If all that happened, America would lose its biggest market for its services and products, have to establish its own military defense, and have to actually be responsible for its comments and action worldwide, and take the hits when it wasn't.
Or have I got that backwards?
Anyway, we had one of our congressmen explain that the house resolution on the WW2 sex-slave issue was not intended to embarrass "Beautiful Country" Abe. I don't know why he had to bother with that comment. Abe did not give a f**k if he embarrassed the U.S. Congress, or more importantly the victims of Japan's sex slavery by in effect, calling them liars. Before it its over, we may just join in with Abe, Ishihara et al and claim there were no sex slaves. Hell, there wasn't even a war! The only thing that happened is that Japan was viciously attacked for no reason by evil foreigners led by the U.S. and atomic bombs.
If they had no guts, and one should have expected that they didn't when faced with ￥￥￥、
then why even bother to waste all the time and tax payer money? They surely did not believe that Japan was going to apologize anyway, I hope. If they did, then they were, and are, a bunch of fools.
Perhaps this is reading too much into the statement, but this sort of thing has happened again and again with the Congress or White House in the past.
A resolution pending in the U.S. Congress to seek Japan's apology for forcing foreign women into sexual servitude for its military during the war is not intended to embarrass Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the head of a House Foreign Affairs Committee panel considering the motion said Tuesday.
Miyazaki Gov. Hideo Higashikokubaru, a comedian-turned-rookie-politician, waded into a political minefield Wednesday, claiming it was hard to confirm as historical fact that the wartime Japanese military coerced women across Asia into frontline brothels."My position is that it is hard to make a comment (on the issue) unless the history is verified," he said. "Both cases of existence and nonexistence (of coercion) should be verified objectively."
Higashikokubaru said he believes there was nothing wrong with Japanese engaging in the sex trade in pre-1945 Korea, because under a "bilateral accord" in 1910, the Korean Peninsula became part of Japan, where the sex business had been allowed under certain regulations.
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Former education minister Nariaki Nakayama takes pride in an achievement he and about 130 fellow members of the Liberal Democratic Party took the past decade to accomplish: getting references to Japan's wartime sex slaves struck from most authorized history texts for junior high schools.
"Our campaign worked, and people outside the government also started raising their voices, creating a national trend," said the 63-year-old Lower House member from Miyazaki Prefecture, who also openly claims the 1937 Nanjing Massacre was a "pure fabrication."
Full article in the Japan Times:
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Anyway, our place is pretty quiet--very much so for a Japanese "mansion." Ours is not so flimsy or small, and I guess not over-priced for the area. The neighbors are quiet, much more so than one often encounters in American apartments.
But then again, there is the sneeze. The typical Japanese sneeze. A sneeze? Couldn't be that bad. But then again, you may not have experience with the Japanese sneeze. There is no attempt to stifle or at least quiet a sneeze. To do so could damage one's eardrums. So one lets it out full volume. One may, or may not, try to cover his/her mouth to prevent the force of the blast from soaking another in slobber. But one does not, ever try to reduce the volumn. Worry about one's own eardrums, but not those of another.
Our neighbor seems to have the very common allergy caused when the Japanese government decided to cut down much of the original forests and replant them with cedar trees. (Tokyo is covered in pollen from those trees this time of year. This is known as Japan's unique love of nature.) So he often goes into sneezing spells of 10-20 in a row. He is in another spasm as I type this. The problem is that they are full blast (I would bet over 90 decibels) and they nearly knock me to the floor, even through the walls. It is actually painful to the ears. Of course, it is much worse on a train when there are no walls to protect me from the near-atomic blast of noise, pressure and snotty slobbers.
Anyway, just another small thing that bothers me more than it should. I should just accept and enjoy the cultural differences. I wish thay everyone could have the experience of being exposed to the Japanese sneeze. Hey, maybe Fujiwara could export it with bushido in order to save the world!
Friday, March 09, 2007
LDP nutjobs did attend a lecture recently (6 March) about the Massacre being a complete fabrication. The speaker believes:
"We cannot let these distorted views of history spread throughout the world. We're not doing it because we're anti-Chinese; we simply want to tell the truth."
It's all lies! Foreign Lies!!!! Japan was and is innocent. Smeared by evil foreigners!!! Poor Japan. A victim again.
Why does the right-wing and the LDP want to withdraw the "apology" regardless of the international damage it does to Japan and more importantly, the insult and damage that it will do to victims? Why threaten the US over this? Who has the most to lose in damaged relations with the US? Why risk more problems in northeast Asia where few believe Japan anyway? This is the beautiful country Abe wants? Well, in the broad sense, yes.
Note that in the comments section of the article that one person denies that it was sexual slavery because, he says, they were paid. Others are excuses and apologies for Japan's behavior as expected. Naturally the victims' credibility is attacked without evidence (they all are old and can't really remember what happened or who did it. And they were paid anyway.) It's good that Japan has so many sympathizers, The Reischauer "chrysanthemum club" is alive and well.
The whole apology controversies ain't nothing new, and they will go on and on as Japan is incapable of clearly accepting responsibility for its WW2 actions.
1. We (Japan) are sorry for something, kinda.
2. We didn't do anything.
3. You misunderstood what we said. "Anything" has many different meanings.
4. We stand by the original statement which we will never repeat.
5. Start again from number 2 and continue forever.
6. Certain folks will believe it all.
Related articles on this subject:
Japan Focus: Morris-Suzuki: Gives detail and evidence of the Imperial Army's involvement, included statements from former Japanese soldiers--including ex-PM Nakasone. It also discusses Michael Honda's House Resolution 121 and how Abe's remarks have embarrassed the bill's US opponents. Abe's involvement in coercing (you guess what sense of the word) NHK to modify a 2001 documentary about comfort women.
It seems that neonationalists are in the process of reformulating their discursive strategy to appropriate (selectively) certain postmodern concepts such as “history as story” to serve the purpose of creating an idealized history of a pure Japanese nation. It is a project that resonates with dominant wartime ideologies of empire.
Japan Focus: Yoshiko Nozaki. A very interesting discussion of the history of the issue . Includes Japanese research. Interesting, the right-wing's practice of quibbling over the meaning of certain terms in order to try to refute evidence in this issue did no originate with Abe's argument over semantics. However, the meaning of coercion is one of the arguments used by neonationalists to attempt to deny government involvement.
I will list more as I find them mainly to provide web sources to refute the no evidence charge of Abe and his followers and apologists. It would never satisfy them though, as they mean evidence in the narrow sense of the word. In this case it seems to mean that they will accept only official documents from the military or war time government. Any other evidence appears not to be evidence to these people. And should this type of evidence be found, you can bet that they would refuse to accept it too.
Here's one with tons of sources from the US Congressional Research Service published in April partially in response to son of a war criminal Abe's confusing illogical denials and apologies for what he said never happened as stated.
According to the Japan Times and the BBC, Abe is considering exactly that move. Gee, shall we guess that if it comes about that Japan will be found to be basically pure and innocent? At least the kind, compassionate Japanese Imperial Army will come out clean. I would love to be wrong about the outcome, but does anyone wanna bet?
Thursday, March 08, 2007
Abe's denial of the need for an official admission of guilt for the suffering of some 200,000 women who were kept in military brothels should not be taken as a reflection on the Japanese people. Rather it is symptomatic of the nationalism Abe and other rightists within the governing Liberal Democratic Party have employed as a stepping stone to power. From the Boston Globe.
I agree to a limited extent. Abe's position, like Koizumi's visits to the Yasukuni Shrine, is not very popular among the Japanese public as a whole. Although there is an overall sense one can get from speaking to people that Japan was a victim of the war, you don't get the same sort of strong right-wing revisionism that the LDP shows. However, if this point of view continues, and Abe and his fellow travelers are able to push through most of what they want, the effect in the future will be to deepen these extremist beliefs among the population. They want to teach "patriotism" in schools and have already succeeded in revising the education law. Popular books (Fujiwara, for example) push the right leaning view even more. A few days ago, one Japanese author even suggested that for Japanese women to become more attractive internationally, they should become prouder of being Japanese. Proud as defined by the right-wing means never apologizing for anything in the past. For being arrogant. (Anyone who remembers the 1980s-early 90s should be able to recall that Japan has never lacked anything in the pride department. False modesty only hides so much.)
In the end though, Japanese citizens are responsible for the government they elected. Just like Americans are when we elected and reelected President Bush. We can all blame him for where the US has gone, but we all share responsibility. So do the Japanese share responsibility for Abe's words and actions. One of the defenses one often hears from people is that the average Japanese had little say in the government in the immediate pre-war years, so therefore, they were not responsible for the actions of the leaders. Why do many seem to assume that now? Does the world not expect more out of the Japanese public? Or do we just imagine it as the geisha, samurai, and tea ceremony fantasy world of The Last Samurai?
(Of course many of the strongest opponents of the right-wing antics of Abe and the others are Japanese citizens. In fact, many of the people and groups helping comfort women in court cases against Japan are Japanese.)
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
The fact is that nobody gives a f**k what Japan's definition of coercion is. The victims know what the meaning of Japanese atrocities like this are. That is what is important.
Here is a victim's statement. “I was taken away by force by Japanese officers, and a Japanese military doctor forced me to undress to examine me before I was taken away,”
Would this not be coercion? Japan is trying to withdraw its 1993 unofficial "apology" because Abe and his ilk who are running the country do not think Japan has anything to apologize for.
They believe if they insist upon this nonsensical spin that there will be plenty of naive, simple-minded foreigners who will accept it.
The Asahi Shimbun, supposedly a liberal newspaper, has published an editorial supporting Abe's excuses. They certainly took no issue with it except to say he should be careful so that foreign idiots do not misunderstand him and harm Japan's reputation. Screw the victims and their reputation, call them liars and whores.
No, the Asahi Shimbun in the IHT does not take letters to the editor.
EDITORIAL/ 'Comfort women' issue
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has ignited controversy at home and abroad for his remarks concerning "comfort women"--Asian women in sexual servitude to Japanese troops during World War II.
Responding to a question from the press last week, Abe stated: "There is no evidence to validate the coercion the way it was originally defined. We must now address this issue on the basis of this new understanding."
The U.S. media and others said that the prime minister was denying the existence of wartime sex slaves, or any evidence thereof. Song Min Soon, the South Korean minister of foreign affairs and trade, reportedly said that such comments were not helpful.
These reactions, however, seem to have been excessive. Questioned by a Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan) lawmaker during an Upper House Budget Committee meeting on Monday, the prime minister reiterated, "The government continues to support the Kono statement."
Issued by then-Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono in 1993, the Kono statement represents the Japanese government's official stand on the "comfort women" issue. The statement admits that the Imperial Japanese Army was involved in the establishment of brothels and that the recruitment of the women was generally against their will. The statement also notes that the women were forced to live in dire conditions.
Immediately after becoming prime minister last year, Abe declared that he would continue to support the Kono statement. He now appears to be saying that since his stance has not changed, he does not want anyone to misunderstand him.
Abe seems fixated on the word "coercion," and this is what has made his remarks difficult to understand. The prime minister explained Monday that there was "coercion in the broad sense of the word," citing the fact that traders effectively recruited the women by force. But Abe said there was no "coercion in the strict sense of the word," as in authorities abducting the women.
However, in the overall process of recruiting, transporting and supervising the women, there were obviously situations where coercion was used. The Kono statement takes this position. It is hardly gracious of Abe, the prime minister of Japan, to split hairs over the trivial definition or distinction of a word.
One reason why Abe's remarks have stirred controversy is that he was once the standard-bearer of a group of lawmakers opposed to the Kono statement. This group is still discussing how to revise the statement.
And the group opposes the recent U.S. House resolution bill demanding an official apology from the Japanese prime minister for his nation's wartime sexual exploitation of Asian women.
In response to the Kono statement, the government in 1995 established the Asian Women's Fund designed to compensate former "comfort women" with funds of the private sector. The fund was set up during the coalition administration of Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama of the Social Democratic Party.
After Murayama, each of the next four Liberal Democratic Party prime ministers--from Ryutaro Hashimoto to Junichiro Koizumi--signed a "letter of apology" and sent it to the surviving former "comfort women." This was part of a commitment maintained jointly by the government and private citizens to seek reconciliation with fellow Asians whom Japan victimized during the war.
Having confirmed his position on the "comfort women" issue as the head of government, Abe should refrain from making comments that may invite misunderstandings. He could hurt Japan's credibility if he is not careful.
What the government can do now is to explain to the U.S. Congress how Japan has been dealing with the issue, including the letters of apology and other facts.
Abe is denying any direct Japanese government involvement in this. It was all the dirty deeds of subcontractors? This is supposed to make a difference in the understanding of his statement? It seems to be accurate as reported. Abe is denying Japan's responsibility, like he always had before becoming prime minister. If not, wha exactly is the purpose of reopening the whole issue? Because the U.S. Congress may pass a resolution asking for a clear, unambiguous apology? Note that the Japanese government is NOT paying the victims with money from that fund. It is private contributions. It also ends very soon. And had Abe's LDP been in power in 1993, there would never have been even this inadequate action taken nor would they have permitted the quasi-official, quasi-apology.
Apparently they assume the U.S. Congress is full of idiots too. They may be right. Of course, they can always buy support. Always have.
I wonder why the victims do not accept the letters of apology? Is Japan claiming greed? Claiming they misunderstand? They don't know the meaning of coercion? Or simply calling them liars? (Abe has said there are no witnesses to prove the military forced women into becoming sex slaves. The women themselves apparently are not witnesses. Certainly not reliable, in Abe's and his fellow neo-emperor worshippers' opinions.)
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
The weather forecasters on NHK TV always say the weather will be "changeable." When is it not? (Except for San Antonio and Wichita Falls, Texas where it seemed to alway stick at High of 90 and 0% chance of rain during the summer.)
Monday, March 05, 2007
Abe's claim to fame, featured prominantly [sic] in a recent Time article and covered extensively by the Japanese press, is seen as his "firm," "hard line" position on the issue of the abductions of a group of Japanese civilians by North Korean agents in the period between 1977 and 1983. As Walsh describes it:
"Abe had been active on the abductee issue since the late 1980s, and he arranged meetings for [the family of one the abductees] with high-level officials and kept the couple personally updated on Tokyo's progress. But what mattered most ... was the sense that Abe truly cared" .
This public perception of a caring and courageous statesman "fighting for us" - greatly amplified by media attention lavished on the abduction issue - attracted much-needed popularity to a formerly little-known politician. Yet as Gavan McCormack and Wada Haruki point out:
"[T]he mainstream media failed to mention that during the colonial era Japan had abducted hundreds of thousands of Koreans to work as prostitutes ('comfort women') for Japanese soldiers or to work in mines, factories, and low-ranking jobs in the Japanese military such as guarding Western prisoners during World War II. Viewed in this larger historical context, by Koreans north and south, the transformation of the obviously criminal abductions of thirteen Japanese citizens into the crime of the century and the Japanese into the ultimate victims of Asian brutality had a painful air of unreality" . (Emphasis mine)
The situation was greatly exacerbated in October 2002 when, in an act of sheer hypocrisy, the Japanese government demanded compensation from North Korea for the abductions - itself having refused compensation to the victims of the colonial era. An agreement to allow five surviving abductees to "temporarily return" for one or two weeks was broken by the Japanese*, who made the decision, before the five had even set foot on Japanese soil, not to follow through on their part of the deal. As Japan pressured North Korea for further concessions, the Association of Families of Victims Kidnapped by North Korea and Association for the Rescue of Japanese Kidnapped by North Korea, represented in government by Abe and his supporters, issued a statement that Japan should "wait until the North Koreans can no longer endure" . In words that echo those of the former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Madeine Albright, who, probed on the "cost" of the sanctions against Iraq that had resulted in deaths of over 500,000 children, remarked that "we think the price was worth it," Abe Shinzo stood "firm" against North Korea, declaring: "In Japan, there is food and there is oil, and since North Korea cannot survive the winter without them, it will crack before too long" . Abe was proven wrong, and a prolonged stalemate ensued in which the Japanese government repeatedly played its key bargaining chips - freezing humanitarian aid and threating sanctions - to little success.
*I don't believe Japan can be criticized at all for breaking the agreement to return the kidnap victims to North Korea. Why would any country hold to such an agreement?
Abe has his flunkies out now claiming that Abe "stands by" Kono's 1993 apology in which the then chief cabinet secretary admitted to, and apologized for, Japan's use of sex slaves in the war. Perhaps you wonder how Abe can stand by an apology for something that he claims never happened. Ahh. You don't understand Japan!! Logic does not work here as our buddy Masahiko "comb-over" Fujiwara has written.
Japan always does this and has for at least 60 years. Politicians make some vague wishy-washy "apology" then claim what they apologized for never happened. Later, when them thar troublesome foreigners get upset over being lied to and deceived, Japan claims that there is some misunderstanding in translation, or in words or some such horse crap. In this case, Abe's flunky went on the Sunday news shows and claimed the misunderstanding was because there are many definitions of the word coercion. He did not give Abe's definition in any of the reports that I have read, however.
Abe simply said what he believes. He was telling the truth in his, and many other Japanese leaders', opinion. An opinion based on the extreme, xenophobic, nationalist right's view of history.
Oh Wait!! This morning Abe claimed that the US resolution to ask Japan to apologize clearly for the the use of sex slaves, was not based on objective facts. Like his position is. See: Abe Says U.S. Resolution on Sex Slaves Lacks 'Objective Facts' from Bloomberg.
Sunday, March 04, 2007
Accoding [sic] to the Feb. 13, 2003 digital Chosun Ilbo, the largest newspaper company in South Korea, the number of criminals who committed perjury in South Korea, on a populaion [sic] basis, was 671 times as many as that in Japan. It mentioned that South Koreans have a strong tendency to tell a lie [sic] in non-criminal trial because of no strict investigation of testimony.By htamashiro2003 | Mar 2, 2007 7:38:30 A
According to the October 7, 2004 digital Chosun Ilbo, which is the largest newspaper company in South Korea, about 3,000 South Korean prostitutes got together from several cities and demonstrated for the right to life [huh?]in front of the South Korean parliament building in Seoul. What we can learn from the news is that South Korea is one of the biggest countries in the world[sic] where so many women are working as professional prostitutes. When we think of the truth on the comfort women issue, this traditional culture of prostitution in Korea is very helpful to find truths about the issue. Anyway, it is true that there have been so many professional prostitutes throughtout [sic] Korean history. And it is also helpful to know that South Koea [sic] has established the Ministry for Women about 10 years ago, which is specialized in eliminating the serious and traditional discrimination against women. What we can learn from these factors about Korea is that its very likely Korean comfort women before 1945 working for Japanese soldiers were professional ones too.
These are rebuttals? Or the inane babbling of a rightist nutjob? They are illogical nonsense which don't even address the issue at hand, hell they aren't even good red herrings, (as in logical fallacy) but as Masahiko Fujiwara has said, logic doesn't really work, especially in Japan. Of course this could just be someone claiming to be Japanese who is not in order to discredit Japan even further.
I assume the US has not really pushed Japan on any apologies because we think we need Japan as a half-assed, fair-weather, parasitic "ally" in northeast Asia. It never apologized for Pearl Harbor, for the Death March of Bataan, or anything else. We know it ain't sorry. Besides, we have a military here to keep an eye on the country so its top loonybirds can't go off and start another war easily. (That's our job.) Plus, Japan is very good at playing the A-bomb card against the US if we criticize it for it's atrocities too much. (Besides the deaths of civilians, one of the worst results of the atomic bombings is that it does allow Japan to play the special victim, the ultimate victim of the war and gets Japan a lot of support and sympathy for it from overseas, while" forgetting" exactly why the whole world was so pissed.)
Japan believes that it was the primary victim of WW2 and did little or no wrong. If it did wrong, it is the type of thing every country at war does, so nobody has the right to criticize Japan. It ain't sorry, so we all just ought to accept that fact. And Japan should quit all pretensions that it is.
Here, and here
Saturday, March 03, 2007
You can read the article HERE
Friday, March 02, 2007
So Abe now has rejected the Japanese government's 1993 statement that the Japanese military had set up brothels and forced women into sexual slavery.
“There is no evidence to prove there was coercion, nothing to support it,” Mr. Abe told reporters. “So, in respect to this declaration, you have to keep in mind that things have changed greatly.” (New York Times)
This stooge is the leader of the USA's main ally in Asia? What core values do America (including Canada, of course) or Europe have with the Japanese elite? There should no longer be any question at all about the lack of sincerity of Japan's expressions of regrets or fake "apologies" about WW2. Abe and his fellow rightist thugs do not believe Japan was wrong in any way that I can see. If he does, perhaps he should explicitly express exactly what Japan did wrong. Don't hold your breath.
But this is a little too far. Imagine what would happen if Japan's WW2 ally Germany, denied that it did anything wrong in the war.
Where is Japan headed? Toward a beautiful country, or toward a nationalistic, racist, unapologetic holier-than-thou, fascist country of the past?
I don't suppose many will write to congress about this as most people in the US and other Western countries won't care. That is how Japan gets away with what it does. People do not hold it to the same standards as European or North American countries. Or any other advanced country. It's what you could expect from Japan, I suppose.
(Why doesn't North Korea just simply start denying that it ever kidnapped any Japanese? Ignore all evidence. Ignore the returnees. Just call it all lies and deny everything. Just like Japan.)
In 1986, Japan banned sexual discrimination against women, but provided no penalties for violations (a normal way of making fake law here). My wife laughed at that as it was such an obvious joke. Many of the foreign media ate it up.
Japan lags severely behind North America and Europe in anti-discrimination laws and enforcement.
This is one reason why my wife and many Japanese women refuse to work in Japanese companies. They know there is no future for them. If Japan as an aging society with fewer workers wants to prohibit half of their talent from contributing anything but babies---whether they want to or not---good for Japan! It will become the Beautiful Country ol' Abe wants. The Japanese public elected* him, Ishihara, (reelected and likely on his way to a third term) and the others who hold these beliefs, so frankly, they must agree with the rightists and deserve what they get.
"As women have come into the workforce, there has been only fractional progress in overall equality in the workplace," said Mutsuko Asakura, a professor of labor law at Tokyo's Waseda University. "In some companies, you've actually seen women fall further behind."
In Japan, women on average earn 44 percent of what men earn -- the widest income gap between sexes in the developed world. Even as the percentage of women in the workforce rose from 37 to 41 percent between 1980 and 2005, the number of women in top management positions climbed only slightly, from 1 percent to 2.8 percent.
In a recent lawsuit: A Tokyo district court judge ruled in favor of the company in 2003, arguing that Japan's equal opportunity law does not "prohibit a corporation from applying different hiring, job assignment and promotion rules" to men and women.
And Japan thinks it is going to fill the gap as the population ages with foreign workers? Do they think foreign workers will be as passive and submissive as the Japanese are forced to be? Well, maybe so. The government will do its best to ensure that they have to be.
*To be accurate, the public does not directly elect the prime minister. He is chosen by the LDP whose members are elected by the public.
All quotes are from the Washington Post article.
Thursday, March 01, 2007
Adachi Ward, Tokyo, has granted a residence certificate to a newborn as an exceptional case but refuses to accept her birth registration due to an archaic law that acknowledges paternity by the mother's ex-husband instead of her current spouse, the baby's biological father.
The ward said it could not accept the birth registration because Article 772 of the Civil Code, which took effect in 1898, considers a baby born within 300 days of a divorce to be the child of the ex-husband.so I guess as a non-Japanese, I don't have to feel so bad. I remember a book I read over 20 years ago university, Shadows of the Rising Sun, by Jared Taylor. I guess it is out of print now, but it was a book that really drove home the fact that Japan was not really the wonderland that many believe. It was recommended to me by my Japanese Politics professor, as was Japanese Society, by Chie Nakane. He suggested the first because Taylor had grown up in Japan and had gone through the Japanese school system and offered a unique perspective on Japan. One of the original "revisionists, " I suppose. (He suggested the Nakane book by saying if I understood that, I would understand Japan. He was Japanese. The idea that any non-Japanese could understand Japan would really anger some of the mystery of the orient crowd.)
Anyway, after showing how Japan was not the never-never land of Western fantasy---such as the fantasyland promoted by Edwin Reischauer---he wrote at the end of the book that no matter how non-Japanese were treated in Japan, the Japanese treated one another worse.
I'd recommend that book should anyone find a copy. Some of the material---trade, perhaps politics---are out-of-date, but most of the rest should at least be informative. Of course Chie Nakane's book is still good. The Enigma of Japanese Power is also a bit out-of-date, but despite pissing off an awful lot of Japanapologists, was one of the early revisionist books of Japan which certainly seems accurate in many, many ways and well worth reading...but I am getting off-topic here.
Surprisingly, even the North Korea issue only comes in at 32.8% despite the government forcing NHK to concentrate on that issue, and the governments manipulation of facts and science regarding the same.
Even members of Abe's right wing LDP seem to have little respect for him as they were recently chewed out for not standing when Beautiful Abe entered the room.
Of course one of the problems with his lack of support, in addition to his total disregard of economic issues is the fact that other than trying to push the country to a nationalistic right, nobody can tell exactly what he plans to do. It's as if he thinks all he has to do is make folks very patriotic, reduce individual rights, and harp on North Korea and somehow everything will be ok. Japan will turn into a beautiful country. What does that really mean anyway? A beautiful country? Even he has not really be clear about it.
Japan Focus has an article about this, if they don't remove it HERE
The uneducated Education Minister Ibuki got chewed out by the UN's anti-racism head the other day for sorta seeming to be a racist idiot. Ibuki actually said more:
In his speech about "education resuscitation" in a meeting of a Liberal Democratic Party chapter in Nagasaki Prefecture, Mr. Ibuki said the Yamato race has ruled Japan throughout history and that Japan is an extremely homogeneous country. He also expressed the idea that there should be limits to the enhancement of human rights. Likening human rights to butter, he said, "However nutritious butter is, if one eats only butter every day, one acquires metabolic syndrome. Human rights are important. But if they are respected too much, Japanese society will end up with human rights metabolic syndrome."(From the Japan Times)
This is what Abe, who appointed this retro-bushidoist and has said he sees no problems with any of Ibuki's comments, and his buddies like Fujiwara Masahiko (aka baldy with the hideous combover) want. This is the beautiful country. The words, books, and actions of these extremists all point toward an inward, nationalistic, undemocratic Japan. They may not get all they want, but the direction that the elite want to push the country is very obvious. Don't worry, the US will be dumb enough to help as will most of the rest of the non-East Asian world. They'll all ignore it. Were it going in in Germany or Austria, hell would be raised.
But we don't really expect much more of Japan anyway.
The Tokyo District Court threw out the governments attempt at repression of speech yesterday. However, it may only be temporary as Ishihara et al may appeal the decision to the Tokyo High Court. Story here.