Monday, November 27, 2006

The risks of open debate/criticism in Japan

Most people know that it is very risky to publicly criticism nearly anything in Japan. Even politician who do so are taking risks. This is most especially true when the rightwing nut crowd is touched. Often they will send their lower-level thugs in their sound trucks and park it in front of the critic's home and shout over the loudspeaker attacking him/her at nearly all hours. The police will do nothing at all such as to tell the nutters to perhaps find another way to respond other than making life unbearable for for the critic and all his neighbors, because to do so would interfere with the right-winger's free speech. The free speech of the rightwing is the most important in Japan.

Gregory Clark, who has been in Japan for years and is generally considered quite knowledgeable and sympathetic toward the country has apparently been targeted by one of the rightists. He is now getting anonymous messages sent to his employers from these groups. He tells about it and also discusses his criticism of Japan's response to North Korean kidnapping of Japanese 20 plus years ago. (Hint: Japan is heading further right, but Clark attributes part of this to pressure from Washington. I'd guess Japan doesn't really need a push from D.C. to go right, but it helps. If the U.S. were applying pressure to Japan to go left, there would be more government resistance.)

Anyway, the article is in today's Japan Focus, here. Hopefully the link will still be there, if you click it.

29 November update: Not surprisingly, the article has disappeared from the site. Not to start conspiracy theories, but doesn't it make you wonder if the rightwing had something to do with it?

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