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Hi Blog. You have to hand it to zealots in political power for their singlemindedness and clarity of message. The extreme-right leaders of the LDP are pursuing their agenda with messianistic fervor from both above and below, opening booths and putting in Prime Ministerial appearances at online geek festivals, and even enlisting the Emperor to push an overtly politicized agenda of historical revisionism. Consider these news items:
Japan marks ‘return of sovereignty’ day
BBC News, 28 April 2013, Courtesy of JK
Japan has for the first time marked the anniversary of the end of the allied occupation, which followed its defeat in World War II.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the “restoration of sovereignty day” would give Japan hope for the future and help it become “strong and resolute”.
The event is seen as part of Mr Abe’s nationalist campaign.
He is also pushing for a revision of Japan’s pacifist constitution to ease tight restrictions on the armed forces.
It was during last year’s election campaign that Mr Abe and his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) proposed the event to mark the day in 1952 when the San Francisco Peace Treaty took effect, formally ending WWII and the allied occupation.
“I want to make this a day when we can renew our sense of hope and determination for the future,” the 58-year-old said in front of officials gathered in Tokyo.
“We have a responsibility to make Japan a strong and resolute country that others across the world can rely on,” he said.
It was the latest in a series of events and remarks that have angered Japan’s Asian neighbours.
Mr Abe infuriated China and South Korea when he suggested he may no longer stand by the wording of an apology issued in 1995 for Japan’s war-time aggression, saying the definition of “aggression” was hard to establish.
China also strongly objected to the visits by several cabinet members and 170 MPs this month to the Yasukuni war shrine, which is seen as a symbol of Japan’s imperialistic aggression.
Sunday’s ceremony was also controversial with some Japanese. Thousands of people on the southern island of Okinawa took to the streets to denounce the event as a betrayal.
Okinawa was invaded by US marines in 1945 and was not returned to Japan until 1972.
Nearly three-quarters of US troops stationed in Japan under a bilateral treaty are based in Okinawa.
Right-wing Yomiuri’s less critical and more maudlin take on the event:
Japan in Depth / Rethinking Japan’s sovereignty
The Yomiuri Shimbun April 30, 2013 Courtesy of JK
By Yuichi Suzuki and Tetsuya Ennyu / Yomiuri Shimbun Staff Writers
Same photo as above’s caption: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, left, sends off the Emperor and Empress after a ceremony to mark the anniversary of the restoration of the nation’s sovereignty held Sunday at Kensei Kinenkan hall in Tokyo.
In hosting a ceremony to mark the anniversary of the restoration of the nation’s sovereignty after its defeat in World War II, the government apparently aimed at encouraging the people to deepen their perceptions of national sovereignty.
Also behind the government’s decision to sponsor the ceremony is the perceived threat to the nation’s sovereignty, as well as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s pursuit of constitutional revision, observers said.
The ceremony was held Sunday in Tokyo to mark the 61st anniversary of the effectuation of the San Francisco Peace Treaty on April 28, 1952, which ended the postwar Occupation of Japan by Allied forces.
After speeches by Abe, the speaker of the House of Representatives and the president of the House of Councillors, the Suginami Junior Chorus performed, easing the atmosphere with clear singing voices.
The chorus sang such popular songs as “Te no hira o taiyo ni” (Palms in the sun) and “Tsubasa o kudasai” (Please give me wings), as well as “Asu to iu hi ga” (The day called tomorrow), a song in support of people affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake.
These songs, which the emcee described as being full of hope for the future, were performed because the government deliberately staged the event to foster a future-oriented atmosphere, taking into account criticism it had received that holding such a ceremony is indicative of a reactionary and rightist inclination.
It was Takeshi Noda, chairman of the LDP Research Commission on the Tax System, who called on Abe and others to organize such a ceremony.
Noda began suggesting the idea about a decade ago. He believes it is necessary to give the people an opportunity to ponder why the nation lost its sovereignty by considering as a set the April 28 anniversary of the restoration of independence and the Aug. 15 anniversary of Japan’s surrender in World War II, the day the nation announced its acceptance of the Potsdam Declaration. He calls the Aug. 15 anniversary “the day of humiliation for losing [the nation’s] sovereignty.”
Efforts made by Noda and his followers bore fruit when the LDP, then an opposition party, held a people’s forum to mark the sovereignty restoration anniversary on April 28 last year at its party headquarters.
Abe, who was not the party leader at the time, delivered a video message, saying: “[The nation’s] failure to thoroughly review the Occupation period right after sovereignty was restored has left serious problems. The next [task for us] is [to revise] the Constitution.”
Event reflects Abe’s intent
Holding the government-sponsored ceremony was mentioned in the so-called J-File, in which the LDP explained in detail its manifesto for the House of Representatives election last year and its plan to hold ceremonies on National Founding Day on Feb. 11, and Takeshima Day on Feb. 22.
Of the three, however, only the sovereignty ceremony has been realized so far.
The prevailing view is that Abe’s strong intention to amend the Constitution had much to do with the event.
During recent interviews and on other occasions, Abe has repeatedly emphasized that “When the Constitution was enacted, Japan had yet to become independent…The Constitution was, as one might put it, created by the occupation forces. We haven’t made any constitution on our own.”
Abe’s strong desire to establish the nation’s own constitution was seen to have coincided with the holding of the ceremony.
During the ceremony, lower house Speaker Bunmei Ibuki said: “What does the restoration of the nation’s sovereignty mean? The most important thing is that the people have the right to decide the law and the systems within their own territory.”
Yet the nation’s territory and sovereign power have been threatened daily.
China’s maritime surveillance ships have repeatedly intruded into Japanese territorial waters near the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture. Meanwhile, the Takeshima islands have been illegally occupied by South Korea, and Russia has been intensifying its effective control over the northern territories off Hokkaido.
The current situation, in which the nation’s sovereignty is in unprecedented danger, also appears to have fueled Abe’s desire to hold the latest ceremony.
As for the future of the recent ceremony, Abe has not made his intention clear.
“This is not the kind of the event that is to be held every year,” he said.
The attendance of the Emperor and the Empress at the ceremony was included in the decision the Cabinet made March 12 to hold the ceremony. It seems the Imperial couple attended as part of their official duties at the request of the Cabinet, with whom final responsibility for the ceremony lies.
According to the Imperial Household Agency, the Cabinet briefed the agency on the purpose of the ceremony. On the basis of the Cabinet’s explanation, the agency requested the attendance of the Imperial couple at the ceremony.
Festive mood toned down
“Especially noteworthy is the fact that Okinawa Prefecture, which experienced heavy casualties in cruel infantry battles, remained outside of Japan’s control for the longest period,” Abe said in his speech, referring to the fact that Okinawa Prefecture remained under U.S. administration 20 years after Japan regained its sovereignty.
Abe called for the people to deeply respect the hardships the Okinawan people endured during and after the war.
Okinawa Prefecture was separated from Japan when the San Francisco Peace Treaty came into effect on April 28, 1952. As U.S. forces continued to expropriate land and construct bases in Okinawa Prefecture long after that time, some Okinawans regard April 28 as a “day of humiliation.”
However, it cannot be certain that the prime minister and those around him were fully aware of the backlash and mixed feelings of Okinawans regarding the ceremony.
Abe expressed his intent to hold the ceremony at the House of Representatives’ Budget Committee on March 7, but made no mention of Okinawa at the time. A government official said Abe’s “snub” incited mistrust and anger among residents of Okinawa Prefecture.
However, in his responses to questions in the Diet and other occasions, Abe said, “If Japan had not restored its independence, negotiations [for the reversion of Okinawa to Japan] would have been impossible.”
The ceremony was shortened to 40 minutes from the initially planed 60 minutes, as festive programs were cut shortly before the ceremony.
“Decorations for the ceremony were toned down to the absolute minimum,” said a government official.
After the ceremony, Okinawa Vice Gov. Kurayoshi Takara, who was in attendance, told the press: “[Abe] paid consideration to the problems of Okinawa Prefecture. I accepted his speech.” However, he added, “I can empathize with those who assembled in Ginowan in protest of the ceremony.”
Then we get to an even bigger surprise than this: The PM finding the time to put in an appearance at a local geek festival, sponsored by Internet snakepit of bullies and right-winger refuge 2-Channel’s corporate body, Niconico Douga a few days ago!
All screen captures from http://av.watch.impress.co.jp/docs/news/20130430_597889.html. Article courtesy of JJS, who comments:
Wanted to point your attention to this as it seems like one of those things that will be passed up, glossed over, or completely go unseen by most people. I guess NicoNico video held some type of “Big Conference” called 「ニコニコ超会議2」. It appears at first to be some gathering for tech-heads and geek culture of all kinds. But scroll down a bit to the section 自衛隊や在日米軍、各政党も参加 and you’ll see that Abe came to participate…essentially campaigning at the event. Nico Nico played a big role in one of the debates he proposed be put online, live. But to outright be campaigning at this event seems out of the norm and certainly a bending of the rules. Even more disturbing is the show of military hardware with tie-ins to cute “moe” characters, etc. There is something rotten in Nagatacho and it all seems to be going “according to plan.”
Thanks. Here’s the screen capture outlining the details of the event.
It even talks about the “movement on Japan’s Internet”, which manga/geek fan and rejuvenated political zombie Aso Taro (currently in the Abe Cabinet as the Deputy PM) no doubt appreciates. Given how there is even a word nowadays coined to describe the bullying tactics of the Internet Rightists (Netto Uyoku, or Neto-uyo), a sympathetic hearing was no doubt granted by this swarm of birds of a feather).
And in case you were wondering if these geeks were just hikikomori types more interested in using up their room’s inventory of kleenex than thinking militaristic thoughts, consider this screen capture from the event:
This ain’t something harmless like the KISS Army, folks. It’s the “Kiss our collective asses, world!” army being summoned through the LDP’s messages melding nationalism, militarism, and naked political ambition. Something wicked is not only this way coming, it is already here. If the LDP gets its way and converts this tone of agenda into real public policy, Japan is heading for remilitarization all over again. Arudou Debito