Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Japan becoming foreign

Recently there has been a lot of handwringing by politicians such as PM Fukuda and "experts" in the media about the danger of Japan "becoming like foreign countries." This has been especially noticeable since a murderer used a shotgun with rifled slugs (perhaps slugs. Some victims seem to have been hit by shot.) to kill two and wound six others last Friday evening.

It appears that the fact that a firearm was used instead of the much, much more common murder by knife is what set off this worry. It should be no surprise that this incident---entirely Japanese and involving only Japanese---is somehow connected to those dastardly foreign things. Had the murders been committed with a knife or other more "traditional" Japanese methods of murder, I doubt that Fukuda would have had anything to say about it.

On the crime front so far today:

A woman was sentenced to 15 years in prison Monday for starving her 1-year-old son to death by leaving him at home unfed for more than a month. More here.


The Tokyo High Court on Monday trimmed two years off the prison sentence of an 18-year-old youth convicted of stabbing his parents to death and causing an explosion at the family's Tokyo residence in 2005, acknowledging the boy suffered at the hands of an abusive father. More here

Complaints prior to the shootings:

...Nearby residents had consulted with a local police officer over the man's possession of guns due to his strange behavior, but the officer apparently never acted on their concerns, the sources said. More here.

and of course more crime/scandals in the government:

Accused bribe-taker Takemasa Moriya was provided with at least several hundred thousand yen out of a ¥160 million Defense Ministry slush fund while he was still vice defense minister, several defense sources alleged.

The ministry has been under fire since recent allegations that it systematically amassed a slush fund for use by senior officials and related departments out of money earmarked for information-gathering, and that some officials used the off-the-books money for entertainment. More here.

Are those foreign too? Or is Japan just being like Japan?

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