My next Japan Times JBC 92 Oct. 5, 2015: “Conveyor belt of death shudders back to live”, on how Abe’s new security policy will revive Prewar martial Japan

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Hi Blog. My next Japan Times JBC 92 crystal balls again about Japan’s future based upon the landmark security legislation passed last month. JBC has been quite right about a lot of future developments these past few years. Let’s see how we do with this one. Dr. ARUDOU, Debito

JUST BE CAUSE
justbecauseicon.jpg

Conveyor belt of death shudders back to live
By Dr. ARUDOU, Debito
Column 92 for The Japan Times Community Page
Monday, October 5, 2015

He’s done it.

As past JBCs predicted he would, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has gotten his way. Last month he closed a chapter on “pacifist Japan,” ramming through unpopular new security legislation that now allows Japanese military engagement in offensive maneuvers abroad.

That’s it then. The circle is complete. Japan is primed to march back to its pre-World War II systems of governance.

Now just to be clear: I don’t think there will be another world war based on this. However, I think in a generation or two (Japan’s militarists are patient – they’ve already waited two generations for this comeback), a re-armed (even quietly nuclear) Japan selling weapons and saber-rattling at neighbors will be quite normalized.

Alarmism? Won’t Japan’s affection for Article 9 forestall this? Or won’t the eventual failure of Abenomics lead to the end of his administration, perhaps a resurgence of the opposition left? I say probably not. We still have a couple more years of Prime Minister Abe himself (he regained the LDP leadership last month unopposed). But more importantly, he changed the laws.

So this is not a temporary aberration. This is legal interpretation and precedent, and it’s pretty hard to undo that (especially since the opposition left is even negotiating with the far-right these days). Moreover, Japan has never had a leftist government with as much power as this precedent-setting rightist government does. And it probably never will (not just because the US government would undermine it, a la the Hosokawa and Hatoyama Administrations).

But there’s something deeper at work beyond the Abe aberration. I believe that social dynamics encouraging a reverse course to remilitarization have always lain latent in Japanese society…

Read the rest in The Japan Times at http://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2015/10/04/issues/japan-rightists-patient-wait-conveyor-belt-death-shudders-back-life/.

22 comments on “My next Japan Times JBC 92 Oct. 5, 2015: “Conveyor belt of death shudders back to live”, on how Abe’s new security policy will revive Prewar martial Japan

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    Dr. Debito, the JBC is up now, it’s a great read.

    Although (sadly) I think failure to see Abe’s purpose by now can only be due to denial rather than a lack of imagination.

    In the US, doubts about Iraq and Afghan wars were smothered by the pressure to ‘rally round the flag’ and ‘put differences behind us now that our troops are in harms way’, when Japanese troops start coming home in bags, it will be a full blown nationalist shinto propaganda fest of ‘we Japanese’ myths. I can see that you share my belief that the state and the media will abuse it’s power in many way to crush dissent, not least by enabling all of the seediest and most repulsive and abusive dynamics of Japanese social power relationships; it will be ‘Bully thy neighbor, colleague…anyone really’.

    And yet, Abe has been secretary of Nippon Kaigi, and these are it’s expressed goals.
    The Japanese are getting what they voted for; bullying, oppression, state induced myopia and media black-outs. A kind of voluntary North Korea! How strange.

    Reply
  • j_jobseeker says:

    Great read Debito. I’ve tried to tell my friends and family that this would happen but they didn’t take me seriously–chalking it up to a bit of American “conspiracy theory”–but as the lack of due process began to show itself, they now feel different. But as you say, it’s too late and it’s now law…constitutional law. Does anyone want to guess whether Abe will now put forward a proposal to make the changing of constitutional laws harder before he leaves office (or quits to “take responsibility” for either A. Abenomics not working or B. the LDP losing many seats in the Diet as part of a one-time backlash against his activities this year)?

    And @#1 Jim Di Griz
    “A kind of voluntary North Korea! How strange.”
    Exactly.

    Reply
  • Douglas Meyer says:

    My understanding is that Japan’s military can now fight overseas only under three conditions:

    1. Japan (or close ally) is attacked, threatening nation’s survival and posing a clear danger.
    2. When there is no other appropriate means available to repel the attack and ensure Japan’s survival and protect its people
    3. The use of force is restricted to a necessary minimum

    While I’m no fan of Abe, these conditions for national defense seem reasonable for any nation. Why is modern-day Japan assumed by so many destined to repeat such an awful history? Should Japan remain under American protection forever?

    — Well, you could actually read the article and see why I for one think Japan is marching back to a repeat of history.

    Reply
  • Jim Di Griz says:

    @ Douglas Meyer #3

    In addition to asking you to read this months JBC to answer your questions, I would also offer you these supplementary answers;

    1. Because Japan started a war of aggression and genocide, and lost. And the enlightened and humanitarian victors (unlike, say, the Japanese when they were victorious around Asia) decided that in victory the US wouldn’t pursue a course of genocide against the Japanese, but rather thought that the Japanese should enjoy the same quality of life as losers, that the US did as winners, with one condition; Japan should never be in a position to cause so much trouble, death and expenditure ever again. Seems like a very fair deal to me!

    2. Regardless of the debate around the right of sovereign states to defend themselves under international law, Japan’s law (the constitution) forbids military activity. The Constitution also prescribes a procedure for it’s own amendment. This procedure has not been observed, and the law has been subverted. Rationalizing this subversion does not uphold the law, nor does it protect citizens and the state from potential future subversions that would oppress their democratic rights. Since we know that Abe is secretary of Nippon Kaigi, and Nippon Kaigi’s explicit agenda is to remove the concept of ‘individual human rights’ from Japanese law, and replace it with ‘responsibilities to the state’ (along with removal of votes for women, and other 1930’s legal recidivism), it should not be tolerated that politicians can ignore the law of the land because it’s ‘really, really important to me right now’- the law is the same, for everyone, equally, until amended by the procedures laid out by law. Therefore, the PM of Japan, and those who voted in agreement with the security bills should be arrested, as I would be for not carrying even my gaijin card, never mind breaking the ‘law’ as laid out in the constitution!

    Reply
  • Jim Di Griz says:

    @ J_jobseeker #2

    Yeah, for sure!
    Curtis did a great doc for the BBC, ‘The Power of Nightmares’ (you can watch on youtube’. It focuses on politicians refusal to sit back and let society choose it’s own values and course, but rather feel the need to have ‘powerful visions’ to beguile the masses. But it also explains that the masses want to be ‘beguiled by powerful visions’ so that they can abdicate responsibility for what happens in their society. he uses this to explain why Russians rejected post-cold war attempts at democratization, and instead chose Putin who rules like a soviet dictator.

    Slavoj Zizek has an excellent seminar about fascism and violence on youtube, where he explains the appeal of fascism, He uses Burlesconi’s Italy as an example (I especially recommend this, change ‘Italy’ to Japan, and everything fits perfectly).

    In both the cases of Russia and Italy, you could be talking equally about Japan. It is strange to live in a country that voluntarily chooses this path of oppression. But I guess this is exactly how 1930’s Germany felt, and everyone said ‘oh, you’re over-reacting’. In fact, there is an excellent movie that shows Germany’s slide into fascism whilst all the time people are saying ‘It’s not that bad’ and ‘Hitler won’t go that far’, and then at the end, they are standing in a death camp. It’s called ‘Good’. It had terrible reviews, but I watched it with a slack jaw; if you translated some of the dialogues into Japanese, they would sound like everyday comments these days.

    Reply
  • Jim di Griz says:

    Over at JT the usual character assassination attacks Debito for ‘not really being Japanese’ and ‘not living in Japan’, and totally refuses to engage on the issue.

    Meanwhile, Abe resurrects the wartime propaganda slogan of the Japanese committing suicide attacks en-masse as his latest policy slogan;

    http://www.japantoday.com/smartphone/view/politics/abes-new-slogan-stirs-memories-of-wartime-rhetoric

    Abe’s new slogan stirs memories of wartime rhetoric
    By Linda Sieg
    Oct. 05, 2015 – 03:05PM JST

    TOKYO — A new slogan adopted by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and meant to show that all Japanese will benefit from economic growth is raising eyebrows among those who see it as an eerie echo of wartime propaganda.

    Abe unveiled the goal of building a “Society in Which All 100 million People can be Active” after his re-election as ruling party chief late last month. He will create a new post to oversee the plan when he reshuffles his cabinet on Wednesday.

    Political insiders say the phrase describes a society in which all can achieve their potential. The 100 million level is where the government wants to hold Japan’s shrinking population over the next five decades, versus 126 million now.

    However, some bloggers and historians say the slogan recalls wartime rhetoric, such as a call for all “100 million” civilians, spanning Japan’s then-colonies of Korea and Taiwan, to be ready to die, rather than accept defeat, in World War Two.

    “Abe-chan, is this a return to 1937 and a “Movement to Mobilise the National Spirit?” quipped one person on an Internet chat board, addressing the premier by a familiar diminutive, and referring to another wartime propaganda campaign.

    Asked about the perception that the phrase echoed wartime rhetoric, a government source familiar with Abe’s thinking said,

    “The biggest meaning is ‘inclusive growth.’”

    Abe, 61, has often spoken of “escaping the post-war regime”, a legacy of the U.S. occupation that conservatives say eroded national pride and traditional mores.

    “Whether he chose this slogan consciously or as a result of a mindset that doesn’t think it is somehow problematic, I don’t know,” said Sven Saaler, a history professor at Sophia University in Tokyo. “But it comes from a basic sympathy he has for prewar and wartime Japan.”

    Political analysts say the new slogan and Abe’s three new “arrows” of economic policy, ranging from a strong economy, and support for child-rearing, to a stable social security system, are aimed at wooing voters ahead of an upper house poll next July.

    Abe’s support has sagged over a controversial change in defense policy that could allow troops to fight abroad for the first time since 1945.

    “It’s not only pre-war nostalgia. He needed to step up the rhetoric for the election,” Saaler said. ” But I don’t think its coincidental that something related to wartime propaganda came up.”

    ENDs

    Reply
  • Loverilakkuma says:

    @ Douglas Meyer #3

    > Why is modern-day Japan assumed by so many destined to repeat such an awful history? Should Japan remain under American protection forever?

    That’s because the Abe regime and LDP national leaders have been seeking political sovereignty independent of western influence in a long run. Revised bi-lateral security bill is a back-door strategy to achieve their goal–which is the revision of Article 9. It is the presence of US military that serves as deterrence to Japan’s entire reversion to state militarization. Check and balance. The pre-revised treaty has directed Japan over the role of its military use in limited term–“self-defense,” to make sure it aligns with the national constitution.

    I agree it’s very remote possibility that Japan would revert to remilitarization, unless something shocking, let’s say, the US decided to withdraw all their troops and military bases from the entire soil in 20XX, would occur. But it still leaves uncertainty over the geopolitical power of bi-lateral security. While it seems unlikely that the US would approve Japan of expanding military force outside the scope of bi-lateral agreement, several key diplomatists from American side entice them into changing some key statements in the treaty and/or constitution that would enable Japan to send SDF elsewhere–regardless of geographic location. It’s just naive to assume that Japan can make their own decision regarding dispatch of SDF to a war combat zone and withdrawal without the leverage of US request. Japan’s SDF is not equivalent to US army, and that should not be treated like foot soldiers who are about to be sent to Iraq, Afghanistan or any war-torn areas around the world for risky military operation.

    Even though revision of article 9 would become an unavoidable consequence, there’s one thing that ought to be done. That is the abolishment of Emperor
    re-inscription. The last thing we want to see is the revival of idolatry ancestor worship that would lead the nation to promote national military service to the general public under the name of international peace and security.

    Reply
  • @Douglas Meyer

    Regarding the 3 conditions you spoke of, and my comments:

    1. Japan (or close ally) is attacked, threatening nation’s survival and posing a clear danger.
    -> The current Self Defense Force is already authorized to defend the country in case of an attack.

    2. When there is no other appropriate means available to repel the attack and ensure Japan’s survival and protect its people.
    -> Again, the current SDF can already to this. Do you “repel” an attack by fighting overseas?

    3. The use of force is restricted to a necessary minimum.
    -> Define “necessary minimum”. We’re talking about a country who doesn’t even follow its own laws regarding civil rights, and has no clear use-of-force doctrine domestically.

    Reply
  • What worries me isn’t the content of the article, but the response to this article on the Japan Times. Jez, what the heck is wrong with those people and the personal attacks by just dismissing Debito’s argument based on “he’s not really Japanese”?

    I really don’t understand how the NJ community is so polarized on such aspects, and how dismissive they are of an article just because it was written by one person.

    That concern aside, I appreciate you writing this article. It might be a extreme in some aspects, but I worry that it is all too possible since it has happened before. I never expected Japan to shift even this far right in such a fast motion. I hope it doesn’t continue and that your article proves wrong… I’m sure you hope for the same.

    Reply
  • Another excellent article. Thanks for that!

    But I too am somewhat disturbed by how pathetic most of the comments are on JT in response to your article. I am beginning to think that some sort of IQ test should need to be passed before comments are approved on there. Why can’t these “posters” just concentrate on the issues at hand instead of always just attacking the writer personally?? Disgraceful.

    Reply
  • Jim di Griz says:

    @ B#9

    Yes, isn’t it?
    The typical right-wing Japanese/apologist NJ responses;

    1. Debito isn’t ‘really’ Japanese, so he doesn’t understand.
    2. Debito isn’t ‘really’ Japanese, so he can’t understand.
    3. If Debito hates Japan so much, why doesn’t he ‘go home’.
    4. Debito doesn’t even live in Japan.

    All straw man arguments that fail to address the issue, and serve to demonstrate how racist the writers are.

    Reply
  • Loverilakkuma says:

    @B, #9

    Some of those appearing in the JT community have earned reputation as an online troll as they saw their postings purged in less than 24 hours. You can see less actual number of comments–1/4 of those being purged– than the number indicated in the right corner of the article thumbnail. It seems like some of those change their initial alias name to other in disguise, but it’s so easy to tell who they were/are since their language behavior and knee-jerk response remain unchanged.

    Reply
  • Jim di Griz says:

    What do you get if you add Abe’s ‘100 million!’ and 1000 nuclear weapons a year?
    You know what Abe and the LDP learned from WW2?
    Use the A-bomb.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/japan/11913660/Japans-PM-accused-of-echoing-wartime-propaganda-with-new-slogan.html

    http://www.japantoday.com/smartphone/view/technology/experts-warn-plutonium-stocks-could-soar-in-east-asia

    ///////////////////////////////////////////////

    Japan’s PM accused of echoing wartime propaganda with new slogan

    Shinzo Abe’s calls for a society in which “all 100 million” can be active, prompting claims that he is echoing wartime propaganda.
    By Danielle Demetriou, Tokyo. The Telegraph, 06 Oct 2015

    A new slogan adopted by the Japanese prime minister to promote economic growth has prompted criticism among those who claim it eerily echoes of wartime propaganda.

    Shinzo Abe, the prime minister, recently unveiled his new goal of building a “Society in which all 100 million people can be active” as part of his wider mission to fuel economic growth.

    Mr Abe plans to create a new post to oversee this vision – which apparently refers to a society in which everyone can achieve their potential – which is due to be announced in Wednesday’s cabinet reshuffle.

    The reference to 100 million reportedly refers to the level at which the government hopes to halt and stablise its now 126-million but rapidly shrinking population within the next five decades.

    However, the PM’s shiny new slogan for the future of Japan faced an instant backlash on social media, with eyebrows being raised over its apparent echoes of wartime propaganda.

    A number of bloggers and historians claimed that the slogan recalls rhetoric used by leaders during the Second World War, including the nation’s call for all “100 million” civilians spanning Japan’s then-colonies of Korea and Taiwan to be ready to die rather than accept defeat.

    “Abe-chan, is this a return to 1937 and a ‘Movement to Mobilise the National Spirit’?”, asked one person on an Internet chat board, addressing the premier by a familiar diminutive, and referring to another wartime propaganda campaign.

    Meanwhile, a front page Vox Populi column in the Asahi Shimbun, a popular national newspaper, described the new slogan as “unpleasantly pushy”, adding: “Abe’s slogan must have reminded many people of similar expressions of the past. A buzz phrase in the immediate aftermath of Japan’s defeat in World War II was “ichioku so zange” (the entire population of 100 million is repentant).”

    Mr Abe is currently promoting his three new “arrows” of economic policy – ranging from support for child-rearing and women in the workplace to a more stable social security system – as he woos voters ahead of an upper house poll next July.

    However, mixed reactions to his new slogan coincide with a slump in his popularity due to the recent passing of his controversial defence bills allowing troops to fight abroad for the first time since 1945, despite widespread public protests.

    “Whether he chose this slogan consciously or as a result of a mindset that doesn’t think it is somehow problematic, I don’t know,” Sven Saaler, a history professor at Sophia University in Tokyo, told Reuters. “But it comes from a basic sympathy he has for prewar and wartime Japan.”

    He added: “It’s not only pre-war nostalgia. He needed to step up the rhetoric for the election. But I don’t think its coincidental that something related to wartime propaganda came up.”
    ENDS
    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////

    Experts warn plutonium stocks could soar in East Asia
    By MATTHEW PENNINGTON and MARI YAMAGUCHI
    AP Oct. 08, 2015

    WASHINGTON — Experts warn that Northeast Asia could see a dangerous growth in stocks of weapons-usable plutonium — and U.S. lawmakers say Obama administration policies could be making matters worse.

    Japan plans to open as early as next spring a plant that could reprocess enough spent reactor fuel to make as many as 1,000 nuclear bombs a year. The plutonium that is produced is supposed to be for generating electricity, but Japan already has tons on hand and no use for it, with its reactors at a virtual halt following the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi disaster. Local politicians are aggressively backing the plant, eager for investment in a remote northern region.

    Meanwhile, the U.S. is renewing civil nuclear agreements with China and South Korea on less restrictive terms.

    For the first time, China has prior consent to extract plutonium from the spent fuel generated in U.S.-designed reactors. The plutonium could potentially be used for nuclear weapons, though the agreement bars the use of American technology for military purposes. South Korea could also get permission to reprocess within six years.

    Some lawmakers say that sends the wrong message.

    “We should not leave doors open for our partners to use U.S. technology to process spent nuclear fuel in ways that produce material that can be used as the building blocks for nuclear weapons,” Democratic Sen. Ed Markey told the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations last week.

    Reprocessing is the method by which spent reactor fuel is recycled chemically to separate nuclear waste from plutonium that can be used as fuel.

    From the inception of its nuclear energy program, Japan decided to pursue reprocessing to provide a self-sustaining nuclear fuel source. But technical hurdles and the growing availability of uranium on the international market has diminished the economic rationale.

    Japan has already accumulated a massive stockpile of plutonium it sent overseas for reprocessing. There are 11 metric tons in Japan and another 36 metric tons reprocessed in Britain and France waiting to be returned to Japan — in all enough for nearly 6,000 atomic bombs.

    Few question Japan’s opposition to nuclear weapons. It is the only nation to have suffered an atomic attack, and unlike nuclear-armed China, it has an impeccable nonproliferation record. Like South Korea, Japan relies on U.S. nuclear deterrence in the face of the growing threat from North Korea.

    But experts say that if Japan opens the Rokkasho Reprocessing Plant when it’s unclear how it would use the plutonium, alarm bells would ring in Beijing and Seoul, which are already suspicious of the current government’s tougher national security posture. Some fear a regional fissile production race could ensue.

    “It sets a bad example, precisely because Japan is such a well-respected country in terms of non-proliferation. If in future a different country starts to stockpile — could be enriched uranium, it could be plutonium — that country could cite Japan as a precedent,” said James Acton, author of a new report on Japan’s reprocessing policy at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace think tank.

    President Barack Obama, who has made international nuclear security a policy priority, has highlighted the dangers of stockpiling fissile material.

    “The very process that gives us nuclear energy can also put nations and terrorists within the reach of nuclear weapons. We simply can’t go on accumulating huge amounts of the very material, like separated plutonium, that we’re trying to keep away from terrorists,” Obama told a nuclear summit in Seoul in 2012.

    But Robert Gallucci, a former chief U.S. negotiator with North Korea, has criticized the administration for failing to address the threat posed by what he calls a “tsunami of rising plutonium stocks.”

    China, which has its own military stockpile of 1.8 metric tons of plutonium, has yet to decide to reprocess spent nuclear fuel on a commercial scale for its fast-growing atomic energy industry. But its new 30-year agreement with the U.S., negotiated by the Obama administration, allows for that eventuality.

    The proposed 20-year U.S. agreement with South Korea, currently under congressional review, provides a pathway toward reprocessing as early as 2021 pending the results of a joint study into the viability of a method of recycling nuclear waste called pyro-processing.

    Republican Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee said the Obama administration was leading Seoul “with a bread trail toward reprocessing” and undermining the goals of nonproliferation.

    “It’s as if they are being treated less well (than Japan) if we did not allow them to do this,” said Corker, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

    Thomas Countryman, U.S. assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, said it was a “reasonable compromise” with Seoul to postpone the decision on the right to reprocess. He denied that regional competitiveness entered into the negotiations.

    “The message for partners in East Asia or anywhere else is that decisions about enrichment and reprocessing technologies must be transparent, must be economically logical and must be defensible on the basis of the physical security and the safeguarding of such fissile material,” he told the hearing.

    Whether the Rokkasho plant meets those standards is doubtful.

    The operator, Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd., or JNFL, says government and U.N. surveillance would make illegal removal of plutonium “impossible.”

    But the economic fundamentals of the delay-plagued plant are lousy.

    Now scheduled to be completed in March 2016, it has cost $22 billion so far — four times the planned cost in 1989. Further delays are likely because of stricter safety screening by the nuclear regulators required after the Fukushima disaster. The plant depends on nine regional utilities for funding, based on their reactor operations, the prospects for which are uncertain. Most experts contend it would make more sense to bury the nuclear waste in concrete casks rather than try to recycle it.

    But local pressure to proceed with the plant is intense. The local prefecture wants the jobs and has threatened to demand the removal of the more than 3,000 tons of spent fuel if the project falls through.
    ENDS

    Reply
  • Jim di Griz says:

    I honestly believe that the Abe government is actively seeking situations where it can embarrass Japan on the international stage, by such stupid actions as this;

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/10/16/national/japan-eyes-requesting-documentary-heritage-listing-review-unesco/

    because it wants Japan to be ridiculed and criticized by the international community so that Abe can ramp up the ‘their ganging up on us’ rhetoric to reinforce myths of Japaneseness to counter opposition to his governments failing policies.

    Reply
  • Jim di Griz says:

    Hi Dr. Debito.
    I saw that you commented on this story (http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/10/28/national/politics-diplomacy/anti-war-student-organization-close-shop-upper-house-poll/), and I wanted to agree with your comment; given that the leaders of SEALDS have decided to give up protesting because they will soon graduate, it seems strange to announce some 6 months in advance, that they have decided to wrap the whole thing up!

    I can’t help but wonder if;
    1. It was all just a way to meet girls?
    2. They were threatened into quitting? http://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2015/08/30/issues/sealds-student-activists-worry-not-getting-hired/
    3. The leaders got great job offers in PR and marketing (thank you all very much, but we don’t need the ’cause’ anymore?
    4. Or if, just like the overwhelming majority of Japanese university students, they were just ‘playing’ during their final student year, and now the are serious about becoming ‘shakaijin’ and selling out/buying into the J-rat race?

    Either way, just because the leaders are graduating, why don’t they hand over the baton to the next generation of students? Given how many other groups of mothers, adults, and elderly who came out and joined SEALDS demonstrations, why not develop/expand the organization so that they could continue their political activity after graduation? It looks incredibly selfish to me that now they are graduating, they are taking away the legitimacy that SEALDS gave to others who may still wish to protest.

    It seems that the ‘leaders’ are really just a very facile group self-important, self-aggrandizing pretenders who were ‘playing’ at being radical students for the summer. It makes me think of your recent JBC and the fake left of Japanese politics who lack talent for politics and exist more as a ‘symbolic’ opposition for the sake of appearances.

    Reply
  • Baudrillard says:

    @#6,7,13 on Abe “a speech praising the “spiritual essence” of Asia, as opposed to the “materialistic civilization” of the West.”

    Except this is a speech by Hideki Tojo, at the Greater East Asia Conference in 1943. W. G. Beasley, The Rise of Modern Japan, p 204 ISBN 0-312-04077-6

    When I saw this, I was shocked how similar it is in tone to Abe’s rejection of the western constitution in favor of a “spiritual” Japanese one….

    Reply
  • Jim di Griz says:

    @ Baudrillard #17

    Yes, it’s stomach churning, isn’t it?
    Of course, the focus always becomes one of ‘Abe is driven by the psychological baggage of having to exonerate his grandfather (and his grandfathers generation) from the western ‘victors justice’ of having committed war-crimes’, hence his constant idealization of imaginary past Japanese rural ideals, rejection of post-war western democratic concepts, historical revision and, most importantly for him, the desire to ‘normalize’ Japan’s military so that he can put them in harms way, because nothing would re-legitimize Yasakunj shrine (and Shinto in general) like being able to pay respects to ‘souls’ of SDF members killed helping the U.S. and other western countries ‘protec global freedom and democracy’.

    What all this does though, is conflate a simpler truth; Abe is obsessing over his place in history and his own self-importance.
    Why? Because he can’t have children (of course, being misogynist Japan, his wife takes the fall for that). As a result, he does not (unlike me, for instance) focus on doing the best he can for his kids as they are his legacy, but rather seeks ever greater ways to impact himself on others for eternity as a kind of sub-conscious self affirmation exercise IMHO.
    It all a cry for help in the face of his own mortality (I was Shinzo Abe! I was here, and ai was important!).

    Once you see that it’s an outcome of his struggle to to come to terms with his own mortality, it explains his disregard for the lives and safety of others ( the SDF, people who oppose nuclear plants, parents worried about contaminated food, actions that increase regional tension).

    As I said, most of us come to terms with our own mortality know on that the values we instilled in our kids will be the best legacy we can give, but Abe doesn’t have that; he’s looking directly ‘at the end of everything’ from his point of view.

    This explains so much about him and his ‘après nous les deluge’ attitude to the whole country.

    Reply
  • Loverilakkuma says:

    Aha! Something interesting had happened at the very end in the closing ceremony!!

    The moment when he changed his name to an animated Italian ojisan in the NES and DS is definitely WTF moment.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/23/world/asia/shinzo-abe-super-mario-tokyo-rio-olympics.html?mwrsm=Facebook&_r=0

    Okay. Here’s a tongue twister:

    “AbeMario is No Dan Marino. It makes him look like a DUMBER in Rio.”

    (Repeat that 10 times and see how your mouth works.)

    Reply
  • Baudrillard says:

    More kawaii “friendly neighborhood fascism” stunts: Abemario is typical of the place that brought you “Kawaii Hitler” and the soft fascism of a techno Disneyland in Dreamy Day Denial.
    http://www.spiritofeureka.org/index.php/news-a-articles/143-friendly-neighbourhood-fascist-shinzo-abe

    I also think it belittles his image as a (would be) dignified statesman and makes him seem a bit of a clown. Hang on, that’s good news, it led to the undoing of e.g. Mori, on the international stage.

    Another take is sad that GOJ have to resort to these kind of stunts to get world attention. Those who do not know what Abe stands for, will just continue to see Japan as wacky. those who do, will see it as distraction.

    Bread and circuses. And Abe is the ringmaster.

    Reply
  • Sorry to “necro” the thread, but I just happened to re-read the article. It’s fantastic, and I can appreciate it more now that the dust has settled.

    Excerpts:
    “The people who die on battlefields must live on, remembered positively, so families don’t feel that their kin died in vain. So if The State doesn’t want revolution, it had better find a means to deflect society’s anger, pain and feelings of injustice for killing loved ones.

    Solution: Glorify them in song, monument and, in Japan’s case, shrine. Deify them.”

    This explains why my feeling of reading the letters of fallen 19 year-old soldiers at Yasukuni is anger. Anger at a state that sent them to die and never admitted it.

    “But deification goes beyond glorification. Japan’s ancestor worship silences critical thinking. Finding fault with gods is blasphemy, so don’t vocalize.”

    Reply

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