Sunday, December 03, 2006

Dignity of a State (which rigs town meetings)

This has been in the news for a few weeks, but it appears---in fact the government admits that it has been putting government plants in town meetings to push the governments point of view. One thing pushed is the new government emphasis of patriotism. Japan Times has an article of how the government did this in a September meeting in Aomori thus limiting real questions from real citizens to a total 0f 8 minutes in a 2 hour meeting:

The government has admitted planting school-board officials and other allies in five town meetings over a three-year period, having them pose government-drafted questions and make government-drafted comments that put a positive spin on patriotic education.

Citizens attending the Sept. 2 town meeting in Hachinohe, Aomori Prefecture, for example, were greeted by slogans on a screen inviting "the voice of the people" to "a direct dialogue with the Cabinet," so that "your opinions will make Japan's future."

A question period followed nearly two hours of speeches by education ministry officials. Ten people rose -- six of whom, reports Sunday Mainichi, were plants. Each questioner was limited to two minutes. In short, "in a meeting lasting 120 minutes, 'the voice of the people' was allotted all of eight minutes." From The Japan Times here.

In nearly every area, Japan, writers like Fujiwara, movies, the news media, seem to be pushing strongly for the same thing: Patriotism, whatever that may mean here. You might look at Japan's past history to find out. Even 20 years ago during the "bubble." There was NO shortage of love of Japan, Japan as number 1, pride, patriotism, and arrogance during that period. Certainly wasn't during the early 90s when I was here before even though the bubble had already officially collapsed.

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