Sunday, December 17, 2006

Foreign Press is Beginning to Notice

Japan's right-wing trend is finally beginning to be noticed even in the U.S. press.Belatedly, the New York Times has figured out a possible connection between Japan's hard line on North Korea and the right-wing here. The fact that the supposed DNA proof that the North Koreans were lying about the remains of one of the abductees was scientifically flawed was not enough for them. (The Washington Post and to a lesser extent, Time magazine picked that story up months ago after Nature magazine exposed it.)

Yesterday, there were rallies in Tokyo and Washington DC over the abductions. Whether or not North Korea still has abductees is not really known. What is known is that the Japanese government had to have been aware of the kidnappings for decade. I remember in the late 80s and early 90s when I was either visiting or living in Toyama City that everyone knew that it was risky to go to the beach because of possible kidnapping by North Korea. Everyone except for Tokyo, apparently.

Naturally, these kidnappings are serious and North Korea needs to fully answer for them. Should they apologize to Japan? Normally one would say yes, but since Japan cannot seem to give a believably sincere apology to anyone for its past actions, that ain't likely.

A Japanese NYT reporter covered yesterday's protests and draws the connection between the rightists and the anti-(North) Korea hard line and the effectiveness of the rightists on stifling accurate reporting on the issue:

Outside Japan, the abductions may have played out long ago, after North Korea’s leader,
Kim Jong-il, admitted four years ago that the crimes had occurred and returned five survivors. But here, they are still a burning issue, kept alive in the news media every day by nationalist politicians and groups that pound at the topic as firmly as their cherished goals, like jettisoning the pacifist Constitution and instilling patriotism and moral values in schools.

The highly emotional issue has contributed to silencing more moderate voices who expose themselves to physical harm or verbal threats from the right wing.
Read it HERE.

Notice that as is becoming more and more common, any dissent from the status quo is not tolerated. The threat is so real that even the media is cowed (although the media has always been afraid to take on the rightists.)

A South Korea point of view on Japan's manipulation of Megumi Yokota's kidnapping is here:

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