DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 1, 2013

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DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OCT 1, 2013

Hello Newsletter Readers. Back mere hours ago from a trip to Japan (thanks to everyone for their hospitality and support), so I have largely vacationed Debito.org for the past month or so.  That’s why there are so few blog entries in this Newsletter.  We’ll get back up to speed soon, but meanwhile, here’s what transpired on Debito.org in September (and yes, come what may, I get in my Japan Times columns on time and under budget):

Table of Contents:

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TOKYO GETS 2020 OLYMPICS

1) Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Column 68 Oct 1 2013 (yes, today) on what I think about that:  “Triumph of Tokyo Olympic bid sends wrong signal to Japan’s resurgent right” (excerpt and link to article)

2) Is Japan ready for Olympics? Kyodo: Hokkaido bathhouse refuses entry to Maori visiting scholar due to traditional tattoos

3) Zakzak: Counterdemos against hate speech in Japan, now supported by Olympic fever

… and finally…

4) Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Column 67 Sept 10 2013 “If you’re jozu and you know it, hold your ground”

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By ARUDOU Debito (debito@debito.orgwww.debito.org, twitter arudoudebito)
Freely forwardable

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TOKYO GETS 2020 OLYMPICS

1) Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Column 68 Oct 1 2013 (yes, today) on what I think about that:  “Triumph of Tokyo Olympic bid sends wrong signal to Japan’s resurgent right” (excerpt and link to article)

Blame news cycles, but I’m coming in late to the discussion on Tokyo’s successful bid for the 2020 Olympics. Sorry. The most poignant stuff has already been said, but I would add these thoughts.

Probably unsurprisingly, I was not a supporter of Tokyo’s candidacy. Part of it is because I have a hard time enjoying events where individuals are reduced to national representatives, saddled with the pressure to prove an apparent geopolitical superiority through gold medal tallies. Guess I’m just grouchy about international sports.

That said, this time around, the wheeling and dealing at the International Olympic Committee has been particularly distasteful. Unlike the IOC, I can’t forget Tokyo Gov. Naoki Inose’s denigration of fellow candidate city Istanbul for being “Islamic” (conveniently playing on widespread Western fears of a religion and linking it to social instability). This was especially ironic given rising xenophobia in Japan, where attendees at right-wing rallies have even called for the killing of ethnic Koreans who have lived in and contributed to Japan for generations.

Nor can I pretend to ignore the risk of exposing people to an ongoing nuclear catastrophe in Fukushima. Even if you think the science is still unclear on the health effects of radiation in Tohoku, what’s not in doubt is that there will be incredible amounts of pork sunk into white-elephant projects in Japan’s metropole while thousands of people still languish in northern Japan, homeless and dispossessed. When so much work is incomplete elsewhere, this is neither the time nor place for bread and circuses.

All of this has been said elsewhere, and more eloquently. But for JBC, the most important reason why the Olympics should not come to Japan is because, as I have argued before, Japan as a government or society is not mature enough to handle huge international events.

Read the rest at
http://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2013/09/30/issues/triumph-of-tokyo-olympic-bid-sends-wrong-signal-to-japans-resurgent-right/

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2) Is Japan ready for Olympics? Kyodo: Hokkaido bathhouse refuses entry to Maori visiting scholar due to traditional tattoos

Kyodo: A public bath facility in Eniwa, Hokkaido, refused entry to a Maori woman from New Zealand due to her face tattoos, a facility official said Thursday. The Maori language lecturer, 60, has the tattoos, called ta moko, worn traditionally by some indigenous New Zealanders, on her lips and chin. She was in Hokkaido for a conference on indigenous languages in the town of Biratori in the northernmost prefecture. On Sunday afternoon a group of 10 people involved in the conference visited the thermal baths but were refused entry by a facility staff member.

Oh the ironies of the above happening: a) it’s in Hokkaido, site of the famous Otaru Onsens Case (where people were refused entry just for being foreign; well, okay, just looking foreign), b) it’s in Hokkaido, site of the indigenous Ainu (whose conference in Biratori this indigenous Maori lecturer was attending), and c) it’s a traditional face tattoo, which the Ainu themselves used to have before the GOJ outlawed them.

But wait, there’s more irony. Check this out: Mainichi: Gov’t aims to complete national Ainu museum for 2020 Olympics: “The project aims to end discrimination against Ainu people in Japan and create a society where people of different ethnicities can live together in harmony.”…

http://www.debito.org/?p=11858

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3) Zakzak: Counterdemos against hate speech in Japan, now supported by Olympic fever

Here’s some good news. Finding a silver lining in Japan’s successful Olympics 2020 bid, here’s Zakzak reporting that Olympic fever has seized the groups protesting against the anti-Korean demonstrations happening in Tokyo: They are blocking demonstrations and not wanting them to spoil Tokyo’s Olympics. Well, very good. Should think that as the time draws nearer the xenophobic elements within Japan’s ruling elites will be leaning on the rabid Rightists as well. But it’s nice to see the Grassroots doing it for themselves. May it become a habit.

http://www.debito.org/?p=11855

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… and finally…

4) Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Column 67 Sept 10 2013 “If you’re jozu and you know it, hold your ground”

Courtesy http://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2013/09/09/issues/if-youre-jzu-and-you-know-it-hold-your-ground
Version with blog commentary at http://www.debito.org/?p=11840

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Alright, back on track for next month. Thanks for reading, everyone!

ARUDOU Debito (debito@debito.orgwww.debito.org, twitter arudoudebito)
DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OCT 1, 2013 ENDS

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