Osaka Mayor Hashimoto vs Zaitokukai Sakurai: I say, bully for Hash for standing up to the bully boys

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Hi Blog. Making the news recently is this very unusual public smackdown in the halls of the Osaka government:

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Osaka mayor gets into shouting match with head of anti-Korean group
KYODO/JAPAN TIMES, OCT 21, 2014

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2014/10/21/national/social-issues/osaka-mayor-engages-shouting-match-head-anti-korean-group/

OSAKA – Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto met with the head of an anti-Korean group Monday as he considers cracking down on hate speech rallies in the city, but they ended up having a shouting match in which they more or less just insulted each other.

The meeting with Makoto Sakurai, who heads the group commonly known as Zaitokukai, at City Hall was tense from the beginning, with both men calling each other names.

Sitting 3 meters apart, the two came close to a scuffle at one point before people around them intervened. The meeting, which was open to the media, last just 10 minutes, far shorter than originally planned.

During the meeting, Hashimoto said: “Don’t make statements looking at ethnic groups and nationalities as if they are all the same. In Osaka, we don’t need guys like you who are racists.”

The meeting took place at the request of Zaitokukai, which describes itself as a group of citizens who do not tolerate privileges for Korean residents of Japan.

In a ruling in July, the Osaka High Court determined that rallies staged by the group near a pro-Pyongyang Korean school amounted to racial discrimination.

Lee Sin Hae, a journalist and Korean resident of Japan, said after watching the face-off between Hashimoto and Sakurai that she didn’t want people to get the impression that there is no difference between the two just because they both resorted to using abusive language.

“Zaitokukai is still campaigning in the streets. I want the mayor to actually go to places to see that terrible things are happening,” said Lee, who is suing Zaitokukai over online abuse.
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I don’t think this article really captures the event well. See it for yourself on YouTube (courtesy MS):

FULL VERSION (which captures the flavor of Sakurai bullying and berating the press at the very beginning):
橋下市長 在特会・桜井誠会長と面談 2014-10-20 フルバージョン
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxL383jN484

SHORT VERSION (excellent for capturing the register of the language:  bully vs. bully):
橋下徹vs在特会・桜井誠 【全】10/20
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ACRxHAC-tyg

SAKURAI’S FOLLOW-UP (also instructive for showing just how little substance he actually has behind his argumentation):
在特会桜井誠 橋下徹市長との対談後の感想
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6dMHEpoMruA

COMMENT:  A journalist friend whom I highly respect had this to say about the event:

=======================

I’m sure some people will view this showdown between Osaka mayor Toru Hashimoto and Makoto Sakurai, leader of Japan’s hate speech movement, as high drama, but it struck me as pathetic. Sakurai struts in front of the media, telling NHK and the Mainichi that they “hate Japan”, then sits fanning himself waiting at what looks like a school desk for Hashimoto. They get into a shouting match at roughly the same level as my three-year-old. Hashimoto has been praised for facing down Sakurai but he made a mistake: he should never have sat in the same room as this pathetic schoolyard bully.

=======================

I think it’s more significant than mere high drama.  I think it is a very necessary smackdown of a person who has spent his whole life taking advantage of Japan’s weakness towards bullies, cringing before loud voices and verbal abuse.  A person like Sakurai should have been socked a few times in the schoolyard for this behavior long before he ever reached adulthood (looking at him, I doubt he’s ever really taken a punch, despite all his protestations about the lack of “manliness” in the Hashimoto exchange).  A dork like this, full of sociopathic hangups who goes through life this perpetually unchallenged, can grow this big.

Sakurai is a bully.  I was raised by a bully for a stepfather, and I personally have learned that you never show a bully any weakness during confrontation.  And you inevitably must stand up to them as I believe Hashimoto did.  People will be confused about what it all means (as the Kyodo article above certainly was), but I have to admit this is the second time (here is the first) that I have respected one of Hashimoto’s actions.  He was clearly telling this oaf that he should not generalize about a whole minority, and that his discriminatory actions are not welcome in his city.  And he did it in the same register as he was being addressed.  Good.  Fire with fire.

Bureaucrats who have spent their lives behind desks and never entered a fray like this have glass jaws in a verbal debate arena.  My experience watching the Foreign Ministry in 2007 unable to handle Right-Wing bullyboys during a human-rights hearing is a prime example.  It is time even public officials learned to use the register of fighting words, as Hashimoto did.  Otherwise the fighters will dominate the dialog by drowning everyone else out.  Dr. ARUDOU, Debito

UPDATE OCTOBER 23, 2014:

Oh oh. Osaka Mayor Hashimoto has just come out, according to J-Cast.com, in favor of making the Regular and Special Permanent Residents into one unified category. Meaning he buys into the Zaitokukai’s core (surface) argument that the Zainichis should not have “special privileges” (as opposed to earned rights, thanks to their historical contributions to the Japanese Empire and their aberrational status as generational foreigners). Courtesy of MS.

Now it’s time for me to make some qualifications.  As others have said, I now agree that what Hashimoto did was a publicity stunt, to make himself look like the “softer side” of Japan’s exclusionary nationalism.  I will stand by my statement that his proclaiming that hate speech of the Zaitokukai ilk as wrong and unwelcome, and his demonstrating how and why hate speech should be fought against, are positive steps.  But this statement that the Zainichi should simply be made invisible, after all that has happened between Japan and Korea historically, is not positive.  As the headline below questions, would this make the hate speech disappear?  I say no.  People don’t hate certain foreigners because they have special privileges.  That’s just a ruse.  They hate foreigners because they are racist xenophobes.

橋下徹「在日の特別永住者制度を見直す」 これでヘイトスピーチも差別もなくなる?
2014/10/22 19:48 J-Cast News
http://www.j-cast.com/2014/10/22219051.html?p=all

在日韓国・朝鮮人らの特別永住者制度について、維新の党共同代表で大阪市長の橋下徹氏が、見直して一般永住者制度への一本化を目指す考えを示した。特別扱いしなくなれば、ヘイトスピーチも差別もなくなるのではないかというのだ。
「在日特権を許さない市民の会」会長との罵り合いになった面談で、橋下徹氏は、「文句があるなら、国会議員に言え」との発言を繰り返した。その国会議員を抱える政党代表を意識してか、橋下氏は、面談翌日の2014年10月21日、在特会の主張を受けたかのような発言をした。
「ほかの外国人と同じように制度を一本化していく必要がある」
在日韓国人らについて、「特別扱いすることは、かえって差別を生む」と記者団に答え、在特会のヘイトスピーチで標的の1つになっている特別永住者制度を問題視したのだ。報道によると、橋下氏は、ほかの外国人と同じように制度を一本化していく必要があるとの考えを示した。つまり、特別永住者制度を止めて、一般永住者制度だけにするということだ。

Rest of the article below in the Comments Section.

29 comments on “Osaka Mayor Hashimoto vs Zaitokukai Sakurai: I say, bully for Hash for standing up to the bully boys

  • Except Hashimoto is himself a world-class horrid bully; the worst kind. He absolutely should not be given a pass for successfully pulling a PR stunt, one without political risks for him because it makes his rightwing Japanism/ Japanese Ideology appear moderate in comparison. One must NOT forget what the political project of the Japanese right (as represented by Hashimoto) is, and what impact he and his ilk have (and want) on Japanese political affairs.
    Debating a lunatic for tv cameras is a stunt that elevates both of them equally in visibility; but it is not admirable.
    This is how Hashimoto has repeatedly kept himself from fading into the irrelevance and ridicule where he belongs – by pulling the tenor of politics to its lowly, right wing place of idiocy at intervals, and giving anyone who sees this and other events like it a very plausible reason to give up entirely on the irrelevance of Japanese politics.
    Given that “depoliticized subjects” are the ultimate goal and outcome of neo-liberalism generally, and of Japanese neo-conservatism in particular, this sort of pseudo event serves that end well.

    Reply
  • Jim Di Griz says:

    Great analysis Doctor!

    I agree with Brian Prager (#1) that Hashimoto is in many ways a nasty little popularist, with fascist tendencies most likely stemming from all the chips he has on his shoulders about his background. He is by no means a human rights knight in shining armor.

    In that respect, we do have to question his motivation for attending the meeting. I would suggest that he senses an opportunity to jump on the anti-discrimination bandwagon (as highlighted by the recent UNHCR report), with no real depth of feeling, but rather as a way to be seen to be a strong politician taking action, at a time when Abe has only a forked tongue on the issue, and the recent criticism of Yamatani. In effect, the meeting served to massage Hashimoto’s ego as ‘a strong, decisive leader’, and as a stunt to keep him in the media after his recent re-election was less than spectacular. Of course, he must be aware that his comments regarding Korean sex-slaves were poorly received by the international community (cancelled visit to US), and therefore likely saw the meeting as a means to say ‘look, I’m standing up for Koreans!’.

    All of that said and done, forget the history of the man, and his political context, and look at the meeting itself.
    Some will say that Hashimoto made a mistake to dignify this group by meeting with it’s leader. I understand, but disagree. I saw this covered on morning TV yesterday, and I think that the more coverage it gets, the less respectable Sakurai will become in the eyes of the populace. I think that more many Japanese, Hashimoto, like Ishihara, represents ‘good nationalism’ (educated, and generally polite and well spoken, wears a suit), whereas Sakurai will be seen as ‘bad nationalism’ (bad manners, rude, aggressive, and looks a messy loser).

    There will always be some Japanese who are attracted to Sakurai’s message, and unable to recognize that he is some type of crazy with a chip on his shoulder. But, rather than reading his best-selling book in your own voice, seeing him act like he is on drugs on national TV will, I believe, revolt most Japanese (even those who would normally agree with his racist ideas).

    I could be wrong, but I expect that such TV coverage will, in the short term, boost Zaitokukai membership by a few thousand nation-wide, and their demos will swell a little, but they will not have the credibility to garner sufficient support amongst the J-population at large, and fail to become a viable overt political force (however, there is a discussion to be had about their links to the Abe government, and what the effects of that relationship are and will be). After all, Hashimoto tells Sakurai to enter national politic if he doesn’t like the governments policies, and Sakurai says (in a moment he surely now regrets) ‘I’m not interested in politics’. What message does that send people who bought his book, the people who join his demos? It doesn’t say ‘we have a map for the future, for making our ideas real’, does it? It just says ‘we’re going to make a lot of noise, and boost Sakurai’s ego’.

    As for Hashimoto’s register during the meeting, I think no problem. It shows that he is really prepared to ‘stick it to Sakurai’ and that he is not physically intimidated. This makes him look good with regard to the ‘standing up for Koreans’ factor I mentioned above- Hashimoto looks honestly up for the ‘fight’ (even if he is playing to the crowd). And anyway, he is the Mayor of Osaka, after all- it fits the national obsession with regional differences that has cast Osaka as being a ‘rough’ kind of place.

    Dr. Debito is right. Hashimoto is displaying discussion skills that blue-blood, silver-spoon politicians are simply lacking (submit questions before interview, anyone?), after all, look how Abe failed to make a clear condemnation of the youtube video that featured a schoolgirl calling for the massacre of Koreans in Japan, and Yamatani at the FCCJ where she fails to answer clearly about her connection to Nazis. They simply don’t have the skills to deal with unscripted questions.

    So, all things considered, it’s a win-win for Hashimoto, and firmly puts Zaitokukai in the loony fringe section.

    Reply
  • Baudrillard says:

    this is worrying “many Japanese, Hashimoto, like Ishihara, represents ‘good nationalism’ (educated, and generally polite and well spoken, wears a suit), whereas Sakurai will be seen as ‘bad nationalism’ (bad manners, rude, aggressive, and looks a messy loser).” (Jim)

    Thats what I am afraid of. That reactionaries like Ishihara and Abe (and Hashimoto, a wannabe demagogue) appear respectable just because there is a loony even worse.

    Lets face it, their agendas overlap. Where is the (slightly more moderate) DPJ? its like they dont exist these days, although good work on getting one of Abe’s token women ministers to resign.

    Where is the Socialist party? Muzzled by the media?

    Reply
  • — Debito here. Oh oh. Osaka Gov Hashimoto has just come out, according to J-Cast.com, in favor of making the Regular and Special Permanent Residents into one unified category. Meaning he buys into the Zaitokukai’s core (surface) argument that the Zainichis should not have “special privileges” (as opposed to earned rights, thanks to their historical contributions to the Japanese Empire and their aberrational status as generational foreigners). Courtesy of MS.

    Now it’s time for me to make some qualifications. As others have said, I now agree that what Hashimoto did was a publicity stunt, to make himself look like the “softer side” of Japan’s exclusionary nationalism. I will stand by my statement that his proclaiming that hate speech of the Zaitokukai ilk as wrong and unwelcome, and his demonstrating how and why hate speech should be fought against, are positive steps. But this statement that the Zainichi should simply be made invisible, after all that has happened between Japan and Korea historically, is not positive. As the headline below questions, would this make the hate speech disappear? I say no. People don’t hate certain foreigners because they have special privileges. That’s just a ruse. They hate foreigners because they are racist xenophobes.

    橋下徹「在日の特別永住者制度を見直す」 これでヘイトスピーチも差別もなくなる?
    2014/10/22 19:48, J-Cast News
    http://www.j-cast.com/2014/10/22219051.html?p=all

    在日韓国・朝鮮人らの特別永住者制度について、維新の党共同代表で大阪市長の橋下徹氏が、見直して一般永住者制度への一本化を目指す考えを示した。特別扱いしなくなれば、ヘイトスピーチも差別もなくなるのではないかというのだ。
    「在日特権を許さない市民の会」会長との罵り合いになった面談で、橋下徹氏は、「文句があるなら、国会議員に言え」との発言を繰り返した。その国会議員を抱える政党代表を意識してか、橋下氏は、面談翌日の2014年10月21日、在特会の主張を受けたかのような発言をした。
    「ほかの外国人と同じように制度を一本化していく必要がある」
    在日韓国人らについて、「特別扱いすることは、かえって差別を生む」と記者団に答え、在特会のヘイトスピーチで標的の1つになっている特別永住者制度を問題視したのだ。報道によると、橋下氏は、ほかの外国人と同じように制度を一本化していく必要があるとの考えを示した。つまり、特別永住者制度を止めて、一般永住者制度だけにするということだ。
    特別永住者制度とは、連合国との戦争状態を終結させた1952年のサンフランシスコ講和条約発効で、日本国籍を失った人たちとその子孫が対象になっている。長く永住が制度化されていなかったが、91年になって入管特例法が施行されて導入された。
    特別永住者は、2013年末に38万人強おり、そのほとんどが韓国・朝鮮人だ。一方で、在日韓国人には、戦後に密航してきたケースがかなり多いとされている。
    ネット上などでは、税金・公共料金の減免や生活保護の優遇といった「在日特権」があるのではないかとの疑念もくすぶり続けている。実際、三重県の自治体で住民税が半額にされていたことなど問題が発覚したことはあるが、実態はよく分かっていない。
    「『外国人』の中では安定的な地位にすぎない」
    橋下徹氏が言うように、もし在日韓国人らの特別永住者制度を止めたとしたら、どうなるのだろうか。
    入管特例法の第20~23条などによると、特別永住者らは、内乱といった重大な犯罪をしない限りは、国外退去を強制されない。また、再入国では、顔写真や指紋による審査を受けなくてもいい。その子供についても、特別永住を申請すれば許可されることになっている。
    これに対し、在日韓国人らが一般永住者になれば、1年を超える実刑確定で国外退去になり、顔写真や指紋による再入国審査を受ける。さらに、その子供については、審査によっては、一般永住を許可されないこともありうる。
    このように厳しくなれば、在日韓国人らには、日本に帰化したり、韓国に戻ったりするケースが増えてくるのだろうか。
    法務省の在留管理業務室では、特別永住者制度廃止による影響について、「橋下氏がどのような考え方で言われたのか分からないですし、こちらではなんとも言えません」と取材に答えた。
    特別扱いがヘイトスピーチなどを生むという橋下氏の主張に、異論も出ている。関西学院大学社会学部の金明秀(キム・ミョンス)教授は、言論サイト「シノドス」上で、「特別永住資格は『在日特権』か?」とのタイトルで長文を載せた。そこでは、「特別法とは、一般法ではとらえきれない例外的な問題を扱う法律を指す言葉であり、『特権』とは何の関係もない」「あくまで『外国人』の中では比較的安定的な地位であるということにすぎない」と主張している。
    ENDS

    Reply
  • Jim Di Griz says:

    @ Dr. Debito,

    Hashimoto never fails to disappoint, does he?
    You are right: People hate foreigners because they are racist. There is no excuse.

    Reply
  • A couple of thoughts:

    1) Zaitokukai blames Japan’s economic malaise on foreigners, when in reality it’s due more to Japanese inability to adapt to the modern international economy. There are maybe 500,000 Koreans in Japan, which is less than 1% of the population. If anything Koreans in Japan are helping Japan overall.

    2) I give Hashimoto a lot of props for doing this. I think Hashimoto may be a “nationalist”, but he is much more willing to open up Japan’s economy to the rest of the world and shine a light on the current problems in Japan than Abe and the rest of the LDP.

    3) I wonder what is going to happen in Japan when the economy collapses due to the debt. Kyle Bass (who predicted the Lehmann Bros. crash and Greek debt crisis) thinks Japan will have a 経済危機 in a year or two, where most Japanese citizens will lose up to a third of their wealth. Will the crazies come out and try to ethnically cleanse the Koreans, Chinese, and other foreigners like they did prior to WWII? Or will the presence of the US military keep them in check?

    Reply
  • Am inclined to agree with Andrew. Hashimoto is more your pro-globalisation nationalist rather than the protectionist, isolationist type that the Zaitokukai is full of. Nice contemporary sample of the old left-right paradigm’s insufficiency. Both we’d regard as ‘right’, yet Zaitokukai are quite ‘left’ in their working-class, conservative appeal – fascism dressed in (oxymoronic) ‘nationalist-socialism’, I suppose. Hashimoto is closer to a free-marketeer with a populist nationalist bent.

    As Baudrillard points out, though, both are dangerous in the sense that the real nutcases make the moderate nutcases look more sensible. In democratic societies, zaitokukai would be considered so fringe that mainstream politicians could just leave them to counter-protestors, and thus not have to engage them at all (besides maybe the occasional disparaging comment about their being a loony fringe). In Japan, the loony fringe seems to have a much more mainstream platform because grass-roots counter-protestors are fewer and/or quieter.

    Reply
  • Jim Di Griz says:

    @ Andrew #6

    Re: #3

    It will ALWAYS be the foreigners fault. It doensn’t matter how badly the economy of Japan is managed, how slow they are to drop tariffs and join TPP, or whether the Abe govt. are such an international eye-sore that they alienate customers and suppliers, it will ALL be blamed on foreign governments ‘manipulating’ their currencies and stock-markets to ‘destroy the ¥’, and customers rejecting Japanese products because ‘China and Korea have given the world an incorrect understanding of Japan’.

    Reply
  • I don’t think it is helpful to look at these two in a “one’s better than the other” way.

    Japan’s government knows that what works best for them is to hide reality behind a Westernized, democratic, orderly facade. Don’t attract attention to your real dealings and intentions. That’s why I often say that in a way, Japan as a whole works like organised crime, where you set up a respectable, normal looking business as a front for your real operations.

    People like the Zaitokukai crazies attract attention. They can’t do the “polite smile” and they don’t give “lip service”. They speak their true opinions. And that’s why they are now facing opposition from the powerful in Japan.

    It’s the same as with some low-level Yakuza thugs who go overboard with their crimes – they’ll be cut down because they are putting the bigger operation in danger.

    And it’s also the reason why you never hear a proper apology if a Japanese politician makes a bizarre statement (like Aso), but always something along the lines of “it is unfortunate that Aso said this or the other” – yes, it’s unfortunate that he lost control for a second and let his true intentions become obvious.

    Maybe for the global understanding for the forces that are at work behind Japan’s calm facade, it would be better not to suppress the Zaitokukai and other outspoken groups.

    Reply
  • Baudrillard says:

    @ Andrew “but {Hashimoto} is much more willing to open up Japan’s economy to the rest of the world”-only on his own terms, which seem to be the same old same old “explaining” to the world how J rule over Korea was beneficial, blah blah.
    This is really a deeply held belief among much of the microcosm of Japanese society. As I said the other day, even a J gay guy who lives overseas (who would have much to lose in a right wing narrated Japan)was trying to peddle this spiel. He should know better, and his Chinese friend was nodding off.

    Yeah, yeah naruhodo zzz. Waiter, the check please!! Taxi!

    Reply
  • #6 3) That prediction – I hope it’s wrong, although things definitely are going in the wrong direction…
    Personally, I have no trust in the yen, am buying dollars bit by bit… I mean I started this at 80, now it’s about 110 and there seems no end to the fall…
    Nonetheless, even if the economy sinks I still think ethnic cleansing is more a fantasy than an actual possibility

    Reply
  • Andrew in Saitama says:

    I suspected Hashimoto was in it because the Zaitokukai’s actions made “Japan look bad”, not because they were bad. He wants foreign capital and knows he’ll have a harder time getting it with bad publicity.

    I wish someone would sit down with the entire Japanese population and explain what the “special privileges” the Zainichi actually mean. (There are internet rumors of them receiving discounts from Softbank, for example)
    But haters don’t need a reason.

    Reply
  • Jim Di Griz says:

    As an addendum to my post above, I just want to say that what we should all be most afraid of is the fact that there is still a deafening silence on the zaitokukai from government. Silence on these issues seems to be Abe’s forte.

    Without a clear, unequivocal, condemnation of zaitokukai actions, speeches, books, and ideology, I fear that they may be ‘normalized’ in the same way that Ishihara, Abe, Aso, and Hashimoto have become. As I said before, normalizing those peoples racism will encourage more extreme positions, and now it has- we have the zaitokukai as Amazon best seller.

    Reply
  • If anyone has ever seen Japanese “debating”, it usually comes down to this. Either they use lots of polite sounding words that mean nothing, or they get into a shouting match that means nothing. Either way, the Japanese don’t debate with well-formed arguments; they either say nothing or explode in anger.

    Reply
  • Baudrillard says:

    Al”they either say nothing or explode in anger.’ Is very perceptive comment of both changes in Japanese society (nothing, then huge changes usually brought on by war or revolution, yikes) and even Japanese sonic art. Its either almost inaudible, (Sachiko M’s sine tones and seems to be saying nothing) or really noisy like Boredoms or Merzbow.

    Pretentious westerners, either apologists or too deep thinkers have tried to make much of this, e.g. saying Nakamura Toshihiko’s feedback is “Zen”, but he himself denies any thought going into it “but I don’t make it consciously. I just want to let things happen. ”

    Reminded me of Hashimoto and Sakurai. Didnt either of them plan the conversation, possible responses? I get the feeling they didn’t, hence the juvenile, unprofessional feel of it all. It may as well have been a shouting match in a bar.

    Maybe this is their idea of a “real” politician, like Ishihara, one who shoot his mouth off instead using tatemae. But its all this “heartspeak” which appeals to a simple minded demographic, but is in fact just offensive and insensitive.

    Reply
  • The zainichi are de-facto Japanese citizens, only without official citizenship. In general, they are born here, speak Japanese as a native language (often no other languages), and many have never left the country. Their recent ancestors were made actual Japanese citizens when Japan annexed certain Asian regions during the war. As recently discussed here, that citizenship was stripped away by a government mandate at the end of the war. Fast forward a few decades and now the children and grandchildren of those people are in the same situation.

    Like other embarrassing historical events, I have a feeling that Japan is waiting until the problem is forgotten. In the case of the zainichi, I think they are trying to breed them out. The only option Japan gives them them is to naturalize, which requires relinquishing any non-Japanese citizenship, or eventually die out over several generations. Either way Japan will win in the end. (While no direct evidence, I suspect that the relinquishment requirement in naturalization stems from this issue if not directly related.)

    A better solution to this issue is to recognize multiple citizenship. I know several zainichi and they tell me that naturalization is simply not an option because it would require them to relinquish their other citizenship. Even if one does not wish to use their citizenship to live outside of Japan, it is part of their identity (and for some pride) and is not easily given up. While it is ultimately up to the individual, often the family ties are quite strong and parents or grandparents oppose such decisions. I suggest that if multiple citizenship were recognized, the vast majority of zainichi would naturalize. An appropriate window of say 15-20 years could then be set to then discontinue the special PR status, giving sufficient time to complete the naturalization process.

    Reply
  • #6 Andrew – what is going to happen? I am seeing lots of Japanese people with money moving part (or all) of their wealth out of Japan – to Hawaii. I know others are moving their money to Canada, the U.S. mainland, Singapore, and many other places.
    With Abe’s stated goal of a much weaker yen, the writing is on the wall. Wealthy Japanese, the kind with financial planners, are getting their money out of the country while the exchange rate is favorable. At some point in the near future, when the GOJ does a bulk robbery (like in Crete) to pay down its debt, the super wealthy will bear less of the burden.
    Will the crazies come out? They are already out. They will just gain momentum, and their message (that foreigner has YOUR job, money, house, whatever…) will gain ground. Unless you think Japan will transform itself significantly in the near term, it would be wise to have a plan B.

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  • Mark in Yayoi says:

    Japan will have a 経済危機 in a year or two, where most Japanese citizens will lose up to a third of their wealth

    Denominated in anything other than yen, this has, of course, already happened. There won’t be a need for a Cyprus-style naked theft of savings when it can be done much more subtly, as we are seeing right now.

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  • On a somewhat related note, I want to report one of the many little methods Anti-Korean propaganda in the Japanese mainstream media. On yesterday’s “Za Tetsuwan Dash” (10/26/2014, 7pm on Nihon Terebi) program, which is sort of an “idols go outdoor and do handiwork” kind of thing, there was a segment about “Suzumebachi” (the Asiant Giant Hornet), which they found on this small island in the inland sea. The narrator said things along the lines of “these are not your usual Japanese Suzumebachi, but KOREAN ones”, which are more aggressive and “abunai” (I am reluctant to translate the word abunai as dangerous because the Japanese apply to mostly non-dangerous things and situations).
    These hornets are known to kill normal bees for food, among other things. Anyway, the point of this segment seemed to be to report that some sort of “invasion” of these supposedly typically Korean giant hornets was underway, and that they pose a risk for Japanese people.
    The braindead idols (my interpret) of “TOKIO” were shown asking for advice on how to get rid of these Korean giant hornets, and one Oyaji said, and I quote, “our usual bees are good natured and working hard, but these Korean giant hornets don’t want to do any work so come in and feast on the good (Japanese) bees”.
    It seems the main sponsor of this show is JA (Japan agriculture), one of the most beloved institutions of the LDP, so it doesn’t really surprise that nationalistic / xenophobe ideas are portrayed in it, but what surprises me is how little they try to hide it.

    — The whole show is available in low-res at
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ofx2PGaF0Ck

    I got the bits where it seems like an invasion of Japan’s shores (and of a supposed 1500 years of traditional beekeeping) by hornets more aggressive than Japanese giant hornets (see minutes 3:02 and 3:49, for example). Could you find the time locations about the indolent foreign hornets vs. the hardworking Japanese bees, or anything else you’d like to bring up? Thanks.

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  • The quote starts at 5:43 in the YouTube video. The “expert” says that the giant hornets keep the bees from doing their work, by “hovering” around the bee colony. To be fair, in the quote, he doesn’t explicitly repeat “Korean hornets vs. Japanese bees” there, but at that point, the message that the “good, traditional” Japanese bees are in danger from the foreign, Korean “thugs” is pretty obvious at least to me.
    I suspect that this invasion of Japan by specifically Korean giant hornets is manufactured or at least wildly exaggerated to set the mood. I can’t find proof for this phenomenon but I might not be googling for the right things. I was able to find a news items that Asian Giant Hornets were found in France but there is no way to tell how they were imported. Could be they were brought over by the many Japanese tourists visiting France every year?

    — Probably not. More likely in an imported product. Hard to imagine a tourist unwittingly carrying a giant buzzing hornet in his or her suitcase. Anyway, let’s close this tangent.

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  • LongTimeLurker says:

    Not to nit-pick, but Hashimoto is no longer the governor of Osaka Prefecture; he is now the mayor of Osaka City. [No need to publish this comment, but you should fix the several places in the post where you refer to him as the governor].

    — Quite so. I’ll approve this comment to say thanks properly.

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  • @ Jim, wait and see, I am not buying. Zaitokukai was Sakurai’s own fiefdom, I think this is an Ishihara style ploy before he makes his next move. Its all about ego with these people (ironic in a country that stereotypes itself as selfless, thinking of others before speaking etc- none of which applies to NJs of course…)

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  • @Baudrillard,

    I think what happened to Sakurai is that he lost face to a Japanese in a superior position, which is a big transgression in Japan. If he had confronted a forienger on TV in the same manner, he would of been promoted as a celebrity. His thugery and obnoxious behavior was ignored or tolerated by many for a long time, but in the video he comes across as somebody who has overstepped the wide boundaries of the Wa for Japanese. Hashimoto san wisely talked down to him in a paternal tone infuriating Sakuari even more. I dont think youll see much of Sakurai, unless its walking as a participate in a demo.

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  • @ Spruce #25

    Yes, I’d agree with you there.
    I think Sakurai expected to do well out of his arrogant tone, no doubt in the same way he thinks that the likes of Ishihara and (ironically) Hashimoto have done. But he’s just shown himself up to be acting like a wannabe yakuza loud mouth.

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  • OK so the “hierarchy of racism” in Japan is like this; if you are a popularly elected demagogue, err sorry public official like Von Papen, I mean Ishihara and Hash, you can do it as you are an “erai hito” with the trappings of public office. If you are unelected and a loudmouth like Sakurai, then you do not have the proper “mandate” to be discriminatory and so you had better leave it to your “betters”, who although elected, often basically inherit their seats from their ancestors (like any if not most Japanese prime ministers).

    So basically it was like the head of the yakuza calling a wannabe gangster to heel and putting him in his place. No right or wrong here, just a power struggle, just like so interactions at all levels of society here.

    Sakurai’s support came from the dregs, the have nots, the underemployed losers in Japanese society- can Ishihara the wannabe star, the egotist, the would be international agenda setter, who sits in his ivory tower, say the same? Hitler too, was a popularist, and as Japan’s economy worsens for the common man, there lies the danger.

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  • @ Baudrillard #27

    I would be wary of labeling Sakurai’s support as coming ‘from the dregs, the have nots, the underemployed losers in Japanese society’. I understand why you say this, and I would normally have jumped to the same conclusion but for the fact that I know an architect, a web designer, and a doctor, who have all told me that ‘Koreans are stealing from Japanese because of their ‘special rights”.

    I think that these kind of supporters are the kind of people who were likely massively put off by seeing the youtube video of Sakurai’s yobbish performance.

    On another note, has anyone seen the news that Ishihara has said he won’t run in Abe’s ‘snap election’?

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  • I think Sakurais interview with Hashimoto did more to shut him up than all the complaints, reports to city hall, confrontations etc could ever do. Shame in Japan usually does the trick, you rarely see allot of celebrities come back without a public apology etc. I suspect the talk shows were coming for him as well and being the coward that most bullies are, he ran from it.

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