Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Then perhaps he should stop trying to deny the past

Tokyo - Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday expressed regret at a US resolution demanding an "unambiguous apology" for Japan's use of sex slaves in World War II, saying he hoped to look to the future instead. (Story from www.iol.co.za here.)

Certain Japanese rightists keep bringing up old WW2 issues (which the rest of the planet knows the facts about) and try to deny or revise them. This is what causes the controversy. Anyway, the resolution is mute. There is absolutely no way that Japan under the LDP and rightwing elite will "unambiguously" apologize for anything it did in WW2. Why should they? They are the primary victims and besides, everyone else has done bad things too. Never, ever, will there be such an apology from the LDP. Ever. Even a vague one will be in effect retracted later by the statements of some politician.

Anyway, hopefully just a few Americans will be woken up a bit about what Japan's view of its role in WW2 really is. Eddy Reischauer's fiction may melt away just a bit more.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Abe says he'll stay on

as PM. According to NHK TV, Abe believes his loss was due to scandals by his cabinet and the pension disaster and had nothing to due with his education/constitution reforms. Therefor, he won't resign as his policies weren't rejected by the public. I suspect that he is right, people are most concerned about the first two and other money issues.

LDP appears headed for a loss

At least from the early returns, the LDP is in trouble and at present (840 pm Japan time) looks to be losing badly. It will be interesting to see where this leads if they do lose.

Insightful, intelligent US coverage of Japan

from the Washington Post.

It is really no wonder that Americans in the US in general don't know much about Japan. As we all know, international news coverage there is usually poor to horrible, but just as often non-existent. I wonder how we are supposed to believe their coverage on Iraq or other places when it is so poor in Japan where they have access and which has a stable government and is not in a war zone?

The Post occasionally will have a decent article, but today's is just trivial, shallow nonsense. The article covers fringe candidates in today's election, but in no depth. If one were reading it without much or any knowledge of Japan, it would only serve to make Japan seem to be a weird inscrutable alien country. This article was not published to inform people, but to entertain them. And they wonder why newspaper readership had decreased (not that TV news would do better. It would be even worse) and Americans have a distrust of the media. Full article is here.

Note that the Post recently got into a bit of a scandal after it published another deeply insightful, intelligent article on Hillary Clinton's cleavage which the Post insists was news. No surprise on the stubborn insistence that they are right and everyone else is wrong---and more or less stupid. Have they ever admitted error other than for a misspelling of a name, or an incorrect address? (Of course this little controversy benefits Hillary, so the whole thing is more or less a joke.)

Abe campaigns with the bigot Ishihara

Rightwing revisionist Abe campaigned for the LDP with the well-known racist and bigoted governor of Tokyo, Shintaro "Blinky" Ishihara. This was apparently to make sure that all the extremist voters were covered. Well, perhaps that's going too far. After all, the citizens of Tokyo elected Ishihara 4 times, and one could never say that there was any racism/bigotry/nationalism involved. After all, such things don't exist in Japan.

It seems unlikely that this will work though, for the citizens seem to be more concerned about money issues and the continued scandals under Abe and the LDP than they are in Abe's "Beautiful Country." (Some may be shocked that money is important to people here as it is everywhere else except Fijuwara's neo-bushidoist dreamworld and in a few socialist/Marxist fantasies).

Ichiro Ozawa's Democratic Party may be poised to win:

“If we fail to win a majority and allow Abe’s administration to survive, it means democracy will never take root in Japan,” Mr. Ozawa said Saturday. From the Japan Times. Full article here.

Huh? Japan is not a democracy? How 1980s.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Wildlife books

I mentioned earlier that I had been having trouble finding wildlife-related books and magazines at bookstores here. I did finally find several types of field guides----just what I was looking for---at Kinokuniya in Takashimaya Dept store in Futakotamagawa. I guess they are not sold so widely because Japanese have such a close connection with nature that they have the knowledge available in their DNA. Or, perhaps it is like my wife said "They're not needed. Nobody cares." She was only half joking. Poor barcode head Fujiwara Masahiko-chan would have peed his undies had he heard that. But then again, he did write in his book that many Japanese who speak English well should shut up because they ruin the impression that Japanese are deep. He did not, however, follow his own advice.

Rightist revisionist Aso after Abe

Foreign Minister Aso, who would be likely called a racist in Europe or North America (Remember his remarks of the dangers of a blue-eyed foreigner marrying in to the Japan Imperial family? Should be under one of the posts under the Aso label below).

I have long suspected that Aso will be the next nutjob in line for prime minister. The LDP is likely to lose the election this Sunday, which theoretically could influence Abe to resign---or perhaps quibble over the meaning of the word "loser."

Just a few other Aso "gaffes" (gaffe implies error, he is saying what he believes to constituents who have the same beliefs.):

[Aso] got Beijing's dander up last year when he described Taiwan as a "law-abiding country," a remark that came not long after he said colonial ruler Japan's compulsory education was a good thing for Taiwan....


...."even people with Alzheimer's disease can understand" that the price marked on Japanese rise [sic] is higher in China than in Japan...He later apologized. These are just a few minor examples. Quotes are from the Japan Times article:

I also recall him denying that his family mines used slave labor in WW2 although the folks involved have different recollections. (The article says he has "kept silent" on the issue.)

I am sure if the LDP loses the election, once aqgain we will here that it is the final nail in the LDP's coffin. It won't be even close to that. It's the sort of thing we've heard for years, even when the win in landslides. "Oh, the LDP won, but that just shows they are losing power. Their support among grannies with red shopping bags dropped by .01%---they are doomed!!!"

However, according to the Japan Times article, Aso would have to tone down his rightist rhetoric if he does get the job because of his lack of power in the party

Friday, July 20, 2007

Japan sends warning letter to US

threatening to damage relations if the US congress passes a resolution by Mike Honda asking Japan to clearly and sincerely apologize to former sex slaves. Japan, of course, denies government/military responsibility. They are threatening that they will stop cooperating on Iraq and take other unspecified (anti-US) actions. I wonder if the US will have the balls to respond in kind to Japan? Note that this is after Japanese government officials have been running around, obviously lying, and saying the resolution would have no effect on US-Japan relations. More Abe/rightwing honesty?

I have not found any reference as of yet in the major US newspapers, but the South Korean Chosun Ilbo has a story HERE.

There was and is absolutely no chance in hell that Japan will issue an official apology for this. However, one hopes that it makes news enough in the US to alert people to what the nutjobs are up to here and to make people a bit more cautious about becoming overly close to Japan as an ally in the region. The Japanese rightwing is itching for trouble with the US in order to further its nationalistic goals.

This is fantasy on my part. Most Americans are paying zero attention to this issue. It only perks up when some of the rightwingers do things like place an ad in the Washington Post denying history. But the threat by Abe and his helpers (those who have not resigned nor committed suicide yet) to somehow cause problems in Iraq might get a little mileage. If it comes to it, can we not at the very least say to Abe: "You remember the six-party talks with North Korea? Remember your little problem there? Well, we don't. And they are now five-party talks. UN Security Council seat? Good luck with that. See if you can buy it."

27 July 2007: Amazingly, I have found no reports on this anywhere else. None of the major US online newspapers carried it. Is it not accurate? Why would US newpapers not find this newsworthy?

Monday, July 16, 2007

Fujiwara and the unique love of bug sounds

in Japan. As I mentioned, in his comic book Masahiko-kun claimed that the Japanese are uniquely unique because they notice and enjoy insect sounds and can connect those sounds with such things as a change of seasons, which except for a few "obscure poets" (Emily Dickinson for example?) non-Japanese cannot do. Even the Koreans and Chinese don't notice bugs in the superior, more cultured and more beautiful way that the Japanese do.

Now being a stupid, semi-evolved, primitive non-Japanese, I was a bit confused when I read that because I recall things differently. When I was in the US---and even now---I notice things like that and can associate those things with seasons or nostalgia or other things. Now ol' Barcode head did admit that it could be possible for us robot-like foreigners to notice insect sounds and perhaps even enjoy them, but he implied it would be in a sort of inferior sub-Japanese way.

I googled "poems about insect sounds" and got 1.5 million hits. The first several pages---I went no further---had numerous references to such in the west, and mainly in the USA. (Because I used US Google. Wouldn't be surprised if Fujiwara's less logical, humor-filled British had a few too, as well as the Chinese, Koreans, and all other folks on the planet).

Oh drat! Oh fiddle! Now I am more confused! I am sure the quality of the western stuff is poor compared to that of Fujiwara-chan's neo-bushidoist Japan. It has to be, because he said it was. To use his logic: It is because it just is!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Nutjobs pissed at US congress

for spreading lies about the pure, innocent Japanese Imperial Army in WW2:

Conservative Japanese politicians, scholars and journalists plan to write to U.S. lawmakers urging them to revoke a resolution calling on Tokyo to apologize for forcing women to serve as sex slaves during World War Two....

Arguing that there were no sex slaves and that the women were prostitutes, the group said they were "surprised and shocked"...

...this resolution on the comfort women issue was passed based on wrong information completely divergent from the historical truth," said the letter...

Read the full article at the Washington Post HERE.

Food Safety

Recently the news (both here and in the USA) has been filled with problems with Chinese food. The Japanese media has especially loved this, taking us into China and showing just how poor Chinese food hygiene can be among the poor in China (while showing the program panelists making faces of disgust). Some Japanese whom I have talked to---actually many---are quick to point out yet another problem with China. One went through a long explanation of why this sort of thing is a result of Chinese selfishness. They don't want to follow the rules for the rest of the world, you see. They only think of themselves. He is a very nice, pleasant guy who is fun to be around. It's just that he, led by Japan's media and gov't elites, distrust and dislike China. In some societies, one could view some of the comments and stereotypical beliefs as bigotry at the best. But, Japan is different. We are all pure here.

The strange thing is that while this has been going on there has been yet another serious food safety scandal in Japan. These seem to crop up at least once per year---old food relabeled as fresh etc. Meat Hope is interesting as it was a Hokkaido-based Japanese meat processor which, after first denying any wrongdoing, admitted to: relabeling out-of-date products; labeling beef as pork; labeling imported chicken as Japan-raised (a very big sin here); mixing guts into ground meat and forgetting to label it; mixing barbecued pork into ground pork; using meat "unfit for human consumption." and much more. At least 18 serious violations. The last is especially appetizing. Supposedly, they took spoiled meat, sterilized it, and added fresh blood to it to make it appear red and used it in its products. Most of Meat Hopes products were sold to convenience stores and restaurants. What's more, the government knew about this long ago after whistle-blowers from the company informed it and even provided sample and evidence. Nothing was done until it became public. Article HERE.

Mmmm. Sounds great. I am becoming as concerned with Japanese processed food as with Chinese. I know the the use-by dates are quite shaky. If you are looking for skim milk, for example, at Tokyu, and it is within 3-4 days of its use-by date I'd be suspicious. That milk is first sold with around a 10 day use-by date. It is sold at the expensive Precce branches of Tokyu, (Denenchofu, for example) and it all seems to disappear and be replaced by fresh milk within 2-3 days. I remember at Kajigaya Tokyu though, all the skim milk would arrive with only 3-4 days left. Still safe to drink, not illegal or even particularly deceptive. It's just not fresh.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Although the nutjobs of Japan's elite

may be leaning (or plummeting) towards the extreme nationalist right, I don't think that at present the average Japanese has much sympathy for such ideas. I have to be cautious and mention that I have not taken a poll, and most Japanese whom I know speak English to some degree and are comfortable around non-Japanese, and as such are not representative of the Japanese people as a whole. My wife is Japanese and she has much harsher words and thoughts about Abe, Ishihara, Aso, Tojo than I do---if that is possible. And her comments on Fujiwara's writing were along the lines of "What kind of idiot is going to read that?" when I asked her to read his comic book last year. Apparently, a large number of folks don't share her views since his masterpiece of idiocy was a best seller here.

One would have to have the utmost faith in the human race, or else believe the nihonjinron nonsense that the Japanese are somehow different as human beings than the rest of the world (and have blind, stupid faith in believing that every belief that the Japanese had pre-WW2 suddenly did a 180 at the war's end) in order to assume that the increasingly incessant nationalistic, far right rhetoric in so many areas of public life will have no influence on the future course of Japan. Most of us would find it hard to believe that Japan would ever repeat the errors of WW2. But then again, Japan's elite rightists increasingly deny that there were errors.

I find it hard to believe that the US repeated some of the errors of Vietnam too. We went into a war on flimsy, exaggerated evidence in the 1960s, and we've done it again. We knew we should not trust the government very far. But we did. And now we want to pretend it wasn't our fault, it was all George Bush's. And the US has a incomparably freer, more aggressive media, and a long tradition of debate, democracy, citizen involvement, and distrust of government. Why would Japan or any other country be necessarily exempt from this type of tragic misjudgment? Moral/cultural superiority or uniqueness? Exceptionalism? Hmmm. Heard something like 'bout the US before. Turned out to be wrong.

Amazingly, as the USA has become more isolated in the world and has taken a more aggressive, go-it-alone, militaristic stance, its relationship with Japan has become closer than at any time in recent history. The US may have hit the wall and seems to be altering course now, but Japan appears to have missed some parts of that lesson. But then again, Fujiwara's elite(?) also seem to have missed the lessons of World War Two.

By the way, Tojo's granddaughter has started her campaign for parliament. She won't win, but she will get a nice platform for her extreme rightwing nutjob views. Folks to the left may have a tougher time.

Friday, July 13, 2007

A Quality Company in eikaiwa

This summary is not available. Please click here to view the post.

Japanese media

A dog without a nose? So asks Michael Hoffman in an article in the Japan Times. I can answer that offhand. Yes, it is. The media is not really free to investigate much that would oppose mainstream or government beliefs. For example, the Japanese hostages and North Korea, as is discussed in the article:

..."Reporting on North Korea," Byon tells Dacapo, "is extreme, exaggerated, distorted. There is no digging, only regurgitation. Anyone who deviates even a little [from the government line] is liable to get 'bashed.' Many commentators are afraid to express their true opinions. They express instead what they feel is expected of them."...

...In the 1930s and early '40s, Dacapo hears from Rikkyo University media scholar Naoki Kadona, Japanese newspapers championed war and absolutism. The war ended, and they espoused peace and democracy. The transition was abrupt and, he feels, not entirely convincing....The full article is here.

A reflection of Japan, not the media alone. The sudden complete reversal of beliefs after the war was not and is not entirely convincing....except for those such as the long dead sugar-coater Edwin Reishauer.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Free speech in Japan

Fujiwara may be getting what he and the extreme rightwing hope for in Japan. A country without dissent. Sort of a follow the leader shut up and do/believe as you are told neo-bushido paradise.

As has been obvious to nearly anyone who has been living in Japan, or closely following what has been going on politically and socially over the last decade or so, Japan has been going further and further right. "Right" as in the sense of nationalism as opposed to patriotism, and retreating more and more from any responsibility for past actions. Some from the US who believe that the right in Japan has the same interests as conservatives in the US see this as a good thing. They ain't even similar.

It has always been especially difficult for those with views opposed to the mainstream in Japan to speak out. It has historically been even tougher for those who oppose nationalistic right wing groups. Pre-WW2, this could get one killed. Post WW2, it at least meant harassment by the thuggish nutjobs in sound trucks.

Last August, the Washington Post published an article by Steven Clemons titled: The Rise of Japan's Thought Police in which he describes some recent events in which the right wing has managed to stifle opposing views:

...In 2003, then-Japanese Deputy Foreign Minister Hitoshi Tanaka discovered a time bomb in his home. He was targeted for allegedly being soft on North Korea. Afterward, conservative Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara contended in a speech that Tanaka "had it coming."...


...Right-wing activists threatened her [Sumiko Iwao] last February after she published an article suggesting that much of Japan is ready to endorse female succession in the imperial line; she issued a retraction and is now reportedly lying low....

He notes:

...I have spoken to dozens of Japan's top academics, journalists and government civil servants in the past few days; many of them pleaded with me not to disclose this or that incident because they feared violence and harassment from the right...(Clemons full article is HERE.)

So Japan has completely changed since WW2? All the ingredients that helped Japan enter into that war just suddenly disappeared. Perhaps nothing that has been going on means anything like similar scenarios did before the war. No doubt, the country, government, and people are different and have very different views.

Then again, Fujiwara's book in which he suggests that Japanese culture is superior to any other in history and that a good government would be one of elites who run the country by dictates based on the theory that they are somehow better and smarter than everyone else; and that people should have no rights at all except the right to complain was a top seller in Japan last year. (Fujiwara's fantasy may be too soft for the rightwing as they don't seem to acknowledge any right to complain.)

Perhaps none of this means anything and I am going wildly overboard here. After all Japan is a US ally and the US has no history of deluding itself about its superior culture/values/beliefs and going to war with another country in order to spread those ideals. So as long as Japan seems to toe the US line, all will be fine.

I found that article at ikjled.com, has a list of more articles from various sources describing the rightwing trend in Japan.

Japan Times on Fujiwara

Andrew Rankin has reviewed Fujiwara's comic book The Dignity of the Nation for the Japan Times entitled: A question of dignity or a cause for embarrassment. He begins by stating the deliberate similarity of the title of Fujiwara's latest to a nationalist pamphlet issued by the WW2 era Japanese government in which asserted the superiority of Japanese culture. (Just like Fujiwara does in this hack job.)

He has the same worry I do:

"Rather worrisomely, "The Dignity of a Nation" was one of Japan's top sellers in 2006..."


"It is depressing to hear an intellectual who has spent several years in Europe and America regurgitate the old myth about Japan being the "only country to have four distinct seasons."

"You can listen to most of Fujiwara's other ideas for free at any noodle stand in Japan." All quotes from his review in today's Japan Times. Read the full review HERE.

I think Rankin was a bit soft on the silly old doofus, but obviously he didn't want nor need to waste much time on every idiotic thing Fujiwara wrote.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Where is all the wildlife?

I wonder, since the Japanese have the world's most uniquely deep relationship with nature---so we read and hear ad nauseum---where are all the animals and why is it that nobody seems to know anything about them (or care.)

Japan does have a variety of wildlife (I suppose some nihonjinronist will say it has the widest variety of any country on earth): deer, bear---including a close relative of the grizzly which attacks and kills several every year---a type of mountain goat, marine mammals, waterfowl and other birds. But in the city there are few animals like you will see in American cities like squirrels, rabbits and such. (I have seen a tanuki, a raccoon like animal, in Kajigaya of all places.)

When I see a type of bird or ask about a certain type of animal, about all I can get if I am lucky is the name. There is little to no knowledge of habits, habitat or anything else about the animal. I suppose this is about normal for city people---no real knowledge and a Disney-like vision of wildlife---but I would have thought Japan was different with its supposed "deep relationship with nature." Obviously it is not. Even more surprising, I can find no magazines and very few books on wildlife and that includes those in Japanese. Perhaps they exist, but not in the book stores I have been to recently. I am still looking.

This is even more shocking after reading Fujiwara's book in which he said that non-Japanese cannot connect insect sounds with nature in the same way that the uniquely human Japanese people in his neo-bushidoist world can. A Stanford professor visited Fujiwara-sama's house and heard crickets and, not being familiar with the sound, asked what that noise was. Fujiwara, the clever man that he is, immediately recognized that the Japanese were unique and superior in enjoying bug sounds. Although he thought it was strange that Imperial Dai Nippon could have lost a war to such idiots as Stanford professors, he did admit that there might possibly be a few non-Japanese who enjoyed insect sounds. However, he pointed out that in Japan, unlike anywhere else on earth, folks recognized the sounds of crickets in the late summer as harbingers of autumn. (Perhaps that's because Japan is the only country on earth with four seasons?)

Now I don't know about Stanford professors---perhaps he did not represent everyone in American or the rest of the world, but when I was a kid, we always enjoyed hearing crickets (and other insects) in the evening. Our parents and everyone else seemed to enjoy it and recognized that the crickets meant summer was ending, and fall coming soon. I remember in school having to write poems and one of the topics was insect sounds. Of course, THE all around expert on American and the world, Masahiko Fujiwara, admits a few obscure poets in the US did write about the sounds of insects---though not as well as Japanese poets, I'm sure. I wonder if Fujiwara was referring to us grade school kids.

But anyway, where are all the animals, insects (fireflies are near extinct in Tokyo), and the rest of nature in this land with such a deep respect for it?

Related National Geographic photos and narrative, Japan's Winter Wildlife; Raising Japanese awareness HERE.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Only Japan has fireflies

Speaking of nihonjinron, I was talking to a guy the other day and mentioned how we could easily see fireflies in my hometown and how we would catch them and keep them overnight in jars to watch their lights.

This shocked him as his eyes grew as big as saucers. He was so stunned he could barely compose himself to ask "Are there fireflies in America too?" Like four seasons, I suppose a lot of folks here believe that Japan is THE ONLY Country with fireflies. Mmmm. Fujiwara does say that Japanese education is deteriorating and Japanese are becoming nearly as dumb as Americans, despite the "fact" that a Japanese junior high student has an education equal to a US university freshman. (Please tell Malaysia that fact, as they don't---or at least did not--accept a Japanese 4-year degree as a valid university education. Those stupid foreigners!)

Friday, July 06, 2007

Fujiwara's version of Logic.

Fujiwara spends a lot of time in his book, The Dignity of the Nation, explaining his stunning new revelation that "simple logic" can't solve all the world's problems. He claims that Mr. Spock-like westerners cannot understand this shocking new piece of Fuijawarian neo-bushidoism. (The English may get it to some degree---I assume. He does not say so, but he does imply that the British are less logical than Americans because of their use of humor over logic. They're more clownish than rational?)

Masahiko-sama claims that at a school graduation in Japan, a student asked why it was wrong to kill someone and none of the teachers could answer.

He then takes the universal statement, "It is wrong to kill a human being" then uses logic to show that the statement is logically flawed. He points out that there could be 50 reasons why it isn't wrong, and 50 more why it is, which in his mind shows that logic is useless here. And then he uses his razor-sharp mind to inform us that it is more than just a question of logic!!! Who would disagree? Naturally it is more, but that does not preclude the use of logic to attempt to explain it or to challenge it.

However, what he did was show that the initial statement itself is is an overly-broad universal statement. All one has to do to show the flaw in a universal statement is to show one instance in which it is not true, and Fujiwara-SAMA did so. He then makes an absurdly nonsensical leap to conclude that since he has shown that the initial statement might be debatable with logical arguments on both sides that logic doesn't work here!!!! According to him, you cannot provide a logical explanation for the above statement, so you just have to accept it as true: It is wrong to kill a human being because it just is. Fujiwara says so. Don't think, don't question, just shut up and believe the elites of Fujiwara's neo-bushido dream world in which the non-elites have no rights except the right to complain. (He contradicted his own argument in reaching this conclusion, but he is very good at contradicting himself throughout the book.)

Fujiwara does not seem to understand that the reason that it is difficult to logically explain the rationale for such a universal statement is because it is a universal statement and likely logically flawed right off the bat. Yes, it is hard to logically explain a logical fallacy.

However, as I mentioned, there are some who do believe that killing is always wrong and those with perhaps a bit more intellect and knowledge than Fujiwara could use logic to support their position. After all, a Quaker or a Buddhist, or simply someone who opposes any killing could come up with logic to support their position. Doesn't mean the logic is always perfect or that one could not logically argue the opposite. Again, Fujiwara seems to have little understanding of what logic is, or he assumes his audience has no clue. What does that say about Fujiwara and his opinion of the people of Japan?

His book is based on attacking logic and asserting that one must just accept what they are told. Forget using your brain. He comes up with dozens of strawman arguments (e.g. westerners, especially Americans, believe that logic can explain everything and solve all problems), hilariously absurd errors in facts about American society (Americans take typing in English class and don't study English and that's why none of them can spell as good as he can), selective amnesia about Japanese history, and more. He is inconsistent throughout the book, arguing one way on one page and the other on the next. But then again, since he has shown logic to be useless if it does not support his argument, there would be no need for him to do much more than just make assertions and claims based on his neo-bushidoist fantasies.

I could write another book---as could a reasonably intelligent American third-grader provided he or she isn't too busy shoplifting when folks aren't watching---on this thing. I will do some more posts, but then again, I don't think he is worth it. He does represent a current of thought in Japan, one that supports Abe and others of the nationalist right in many aspects. It is amazing to me that anyone except for the most ardent believer in the myths of Japan could take any of this even slightly seriously. Most of it is extraordinarily silly. I expected more, even from a nihonjinron writer.

Sorry for any spellling mistakes as I done never taked English in English class, I done taked typerighting. I remember different, but I cannot logically argue with Fujiwara. I taked typerighting in Enlish class cause he done said so.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Resignation over WW2 comments

In a very unusual case, a politician has resigned over comments he made concerning a WW2 event in which Japan was involved.

This may be a first for Japan---at least it is extremely unusual. His remarks offended many. Some victims have said that he appears not to have learned the lessons of history and that he has ignored the feeling of those victims.

So actually was so bad that a Japanese politician had to resign over it? There have been many politicians who have made controversial, insensitive remarks concerning WW2 and few have actually apologized for the remarks, let alone resigned. Well, it seems Defense Minister Fumiyo Kyuma suggested that the US atomic bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima were inevitable in ending WW2---they couldn't be helped.

Prime Minister Abe himself rebuked Kyuma earlier by saying Kyuma must "strictly refrain from making remarks that cause misunderstanding." (BBC) Abe, however, did not offer to resign for his comments concerning Japanese use of forced sex slaves in WW2. (He denied that the sex slave were forced to be sex slave by the Japanese military.) No other politician, such as Foreign Minister Aso has offered to resign over similar remarks concerning Japanese actions in WW2. In fact, there is usually little outrage obvious among the public in Japan when politicians make these types of remarks.

Kyuma's remarks were different however, as they concerned Japan as a (THE) victim of the war, not an aggressor. And there is a strong tendency for Japan to see itself that way. Japan's "victimization" by foreign countries in the war is much more real to many. Japan was just tryin' to do good, when for no good reason evil foreigners attacked.

Full BBC article here.