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  • Glimmers of hope: New PM Aso does not single out NJ as potential terrorists or agents of crime

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on September 25th, 2008

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    Hi Blog. As everyone no doubt knows by now, we have a new PM, Aso Taro. And it was with great interest I watched his inaugural press conference last night (I thought he came off looking very presidential and organized).

    But the good news as far as is concerned is how he sketched his new administration’s goals and cabinet profiles. Full text here (Japanese).

    I was pleased how he approached items such as “terrorism” and “crime”, often portrayed as something that NJ (within and without) get up to. That’s not how Aso portrayed it at all yesterday: Excerpts:


    (my translation) “As for Minister of Defense, Hamada Yasukazu. People connected to our defense departments have done quite a bit fighting against terrorism already, as has the rest of the world, but I don’t think that we can say that we’re completely disconnected from this problem. We had the Sarin Subway Gas Attacks, etc, and although that seems to be slowly forgotten, that’s an act of terrorism. With that in mind, in many ways I consider fighting against terrorism important, and that’s why I chose Hamada-sensei.”


    (my translation) “Head of National Public Safety Commission, Okinawa, the Northern Territories Issues, and Disaster Prevention [too busy right now to find out official English translations of these offices] Satou Tsutomu. Regarding prevention of heinous crimes: It is said that amongst the developed countries Japan has a very low crime rate. But I believe it’s a fact that these are times where clearly unusual things happen, so in that regard the responsibilties of the head of the NPSC are heavy. Not to mention that at the same time we have natural disasters, if not typhoons, then heavy rains in many quarters etc… [digression about the weather and the importance of Okinawan issues]

    There was one more mention of terrorism during the Q&A and its connection with Afghanistan and imports of oil through the Indian Ocean. But nowhere was there an express interest in linking terrorism to foreigners.

    Contrast that with the 2003 PM Koizumi Cabinet, where stomping on foreign crime was explicitly stated as a national goal (and its alarmism even played down in the English-language media).

    And that included Aso making statements about foreign crime as Public Management Minister in that cabinet. See “Time to come clean on Foreign Crime”, The Japan Times October 7, 2003, authorship unbilled.

    Perhaps Aso read the JT article? He does read English. In any case, this is progress — at least compared to Koizumi’s cabinet statements.  Wait and see what comes next, shall we?  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

    5 Responses to “Glimmers of hope: New PM Aso does not single out NJ as potential terrorists or agents of crime”

    1. Justin Says:

      Aso is also saying the right things about cutting taxes and getting the economy growing. Am I naive to think he might actually be a good PM?

      –At least for the short time before the LH election when he’s shoring up support for the LDP. Let’s hear his tune after the election. We’ve had enough history (nearly three generations, nearly unbroken) of the LDP and broken promises to justifying being cynical and wary.

    2. Kindaichi Says:

      I have nothing against Asō, but at least with Fukuda people could spell his name correctly.

      [asapu] > [asafu] > *[asawu] > [asau] > [asɔː] > [asoː]

      -the phoneme /h/ regularly undergoes the following historical changes: [p] > [f] > [w].
      -since */wu/ does not exist in Japanese, it becomes [u].
      -finally, -au- briefly becomes [ɔː] before finally stabilizing as [oː].

      And if that is not bad enough, then there is Tarō…

      [tarau] > [tarɔː] > [taroː]

    3. adamw Says:

      cmon you lot cant be serious.
      its hard to know whether to laugh or cry when looking at this cabinet.. seems like if you arent offspring of a PM you cant get in..
      at least the hat has been moved ,though hes still there

      cutting taxes,balancing the budget-hes known for the exact opposite,ditto with his views on foreigners.
      this wont change
      nakagawa?how the hell does someone who suggests women should stay in the kitchen get in the cabinet..

      only good thing you can say is that they aint going to be around long..

    4. adamw Says:

      here you go..its started already

    5. Tony in Saitama Says:

      >but I don’t think that we can say that >we’re completely disconnected from this >problem. We had the Sarin Subway Gas >Attacks, etc, and although that seems to >be slowly forgotten, that’s an act of >terrorism.

      Perhaps he is only planting the first seeds for justification of ID cards for ALL citizens?
      – it’s not JUST the foreigners who commit terrosism, so we’ve got to track Japanese as well!

      –Then he would have mentioned both, perhaps?

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