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Hi Blog. As the last post for 2013, let me ask you your opinion:
What do you think were the most important issues/events affecting or concerning NJ in Japan during 2013?
I will be doing my regular annual Top Ten recap in my next Japan Times JBC column (moved to Thursdays since November, so out January 2).
I’ve already ready written up and submitted my list to the JT, but I don’t want to influence your answers by doing a blog poll of options or anything like that. I’ll keep the question open-ended and ask for your feedback in the Comments Section.
So as 2013 draws to a close, I want to say thanks as always to everyone for reading Debito.org for yet another year. We’re only two years and a bit from our twentieth anniversary (as we were created on March 15, 1996! Read a brief synopsis of our history here.) Here’s to another successful (and hopefully hacker-free) year of reading and commenting on Japan and human rights issues.
12 comments on “Best of 2013: What do you think were the most important issues/events affecting NJ in Japan?”
Just a few off the top of my head (in no particular order)
* Return of Abe and the LDP (neither particularly liberal or democratic), leading to a rise in nationalism.
* Racist protesters being able to march through major cities largely unchallenged and not covered by mainstream media.
* Territorial disputes and war games.
* Revision of history, officially denying war atrocities.
* Tokyo getting the 2020 Olympics, giving Japanese the wrong impression.
* Can you keep a secret?
* (More!)Stupid TV reinforcing stereotypes and the us/them divide.
Hands down the return of Abe and the LDP. For Japan as a whole, he and the party’s stances and goals will only lead to serious domestic problems in the long term. In terms of NJ in Japan, the affects of his policies can be as large as anti-Chinese and Korean sentiments to as subtle as the whitewashing of racial, historical, and international points-of-view in favor of a Japanese centric mindset plenty of evidence of whicncan already be seen on TV, both in “news” and “entertainment.” It’s the dumb leading the blind (or vice-versa whichever way you see it). Everything Andrew in Saitama mentions on his list are firmly rooted in the LDP and Abe’s return to power.
Abe, like Hitler, won an election-in this case by a landslide. What does this tell you about the majority’s concerns? Economic “recovery” and national pride trumps human rights (including NJ rights- what are they?).
I think the single most important issue is the continued erosion in the quality of life in Japan: The environment, economy,education, employment rights, rates of pay, general tolerance and happiness/social cohesion of the populace have just gotten worse, year after year, and there is no sign that this will reverse. In fact, it’s speeding up. People in Japan,NJ especially, really need to take a cold hard look at the country and see where it’s heading.
@ Baudrillard #3
Please don’t be offended, but Abe didn’t win by a landslide.
We posted about this at the time, but he scored as low as 20%-16% of the public eligible to vote, in a system courts up and down the country have ruled as ‘being in a state of unconstitutionality’ due to voter weighting disparities. There was no Abe landslide by votes cast.
I don’t disagree with your point though, that the fact that the voting public, by not voting against him, are guilty of endorsing him and his recidivist policies, and must surely continue to endorse him since there is no meaningful expression of anti-Abe discontent. Tiny anti-nuclear and anti-secrecy law protests by a very small minority. No marches demanding that the ‘unconstitutional’ election results be voided.
And that’s it. The public have chosen to give up their democratic rights and responsibilities, and are reaping the results of that (nikkei bubble? massive national debt? constitution al revision? relations with China; the worlds biggest market?) with misplaced pride. The J-public never stood up for NJ rights, they won’t even stand up for their own! They can see what Abe’s got in store for them, and their willing to ‘gaman’, so what do you think they are prepared to subject NJ to?
1) Abe and his national reform council creating and widening social inequality in education and family income; 2)JLEC(the Japanese Legal Executive Council or MOJ) defending abusive treatment of asylum seekers and migrant workers; 3)overall tax increase for all residents from 2014; 4)ballooning national debt; 5)decline of socio-legal mechanism (i.e., failure of anti-stalker law, anti-mobster legislation); and 6) whistle blower witch hunting (e.g., National Secrecy Bill).
One the one hand I would agree. On the other hand, I disagree. I would not automatically conclude that those unwilling to vote against Abe is a de facto endorsement of Abe and his policies and relinquishing their democratic rights.
In the 2000’s the Labour Party in the UK won several times. At one point the percentage of the electorate that voted was around ~30%; hardly a ringing endorsement either. The reason in the UK then is the same here, there was/is no real opposition, and none that one can consider ‘effective’ either. Thus voter apathy. The electorate voted by not voting..a simple protest vote. They did not vote as a signal to Labour, they were unhappy with Labour/Blair et al, but there was nothing else worth voting for.
The conditions are the same here. Thus, in the face of any real meaningful opposition, one can easily conclude that a “protest vote” is being exercised, as in the UK. Since who else is there to vote for? Blair created draconian laws/rules on surveillance/public social order etc, yet he wasn’t voted out until many years later when a meaningful opposition eventually jelled. Mind you the Big Brother society he created has yet to be removed!
@ John K #7
Thank you for your response. I think we’ll have to agree to disagree on this one.
I understand your logic, but given Japan’s experience with nationalism in the past, how the people were manipulated, lied to, led into committing brutalities, and the way their government refused to even answer surrender demands immediately after Hiroshima- leading to the Nagasaki bombing- and all the navel gazing they do about that, that they should know better than to ‘opt out’ of voting. History should have taught them that it is an illusion to pass off responsibility. Now they are getting the decrease in human rights and living standards they deserve.
Don’t know if any Japanese newspapers are covering this story of Yakuza involvement in the clean up of Fukushima, recruiting homeless people through subsiduary companies etc.
keep up the good work Debito.
I wonder why the accident at Fukushima has seemed to slip from the news.
@ # 10
Territorial disputes + Winter Olympics = no domestic problems.
“New” Japan brands for the 20th Century:
“Safety Country” (2014 remix) by Abe Shinzo
“Kamikaze Athletes” By The Divine Dinosaurs, feat. Y Mori aka “Shark Brain”
“Lame Japan” (inspired by Taro Aho” Cool Japan”
“Lame is J Cool”
With thanks to South Park for inspiring the last two!