DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JANUARY 6, 2014

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DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JANUARY 6, 2014

Happy New Year to Debito.org Newsletter Readers!

Table of Contents:
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1) NYT Editorial: “Japan’s Dangerous Anachronism”, on State Secrets Law and 2) PM Abe’s intentions to “cast off Postwar regime”
2) Best of 2013: What do you think were the most important issues/events affecting NJ in Japan?
3) Holiday Tangent: Other Americans who have relinquished US Citizenship (not just me; I am in good company)
4) Holiday Tangent: Debito.org cited in Cracked.com!

And finally…

5) My Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Col 70, Dec. 4, 2013: “In Japan, no escape from The Eye’s perpetual policing glare”
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1) NYT Editorial: “Japan’s Dangerous Anachronism”, on State Secrets Law and 2) PM Abe’s intentions to “cast off Postwar regime”

You know things are really getting serious when the Old Grey Lady starts doomsaying. After a milder editorial last April, the NYT has broken the news about Japan’s Extreme (I think we can call it “extreme” without hyperbole) Rightward Swing in an editorial last month. And it does it without worrying about allegedly imperiling “The Relationship”, the typical excuse for pulling punches when it comes to criticism of Japan (e.g., avoid “racist Japan bashing”, and protect our closest ally, hitherto largest sales market outside of the USA, and most successful American-reconstructed Postwar country in Asia). The NYT now sees the “danger” (and calls it that). It’s time for people to start considering the PM Abe Administration as a regional security risk, and — Dare I say it? Yes I do — drawing up contingent strategies of containment as one would China. This is where we’re heading in 2014. The longer the world averts one’s eyes to Abe’s true intentions over the next two years, the worse it will be for the Japanese, and for Japan’s neighbors.

NYT: The government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe this month rammed through Parliament a state secrecy law that signals a fundamental alteration of the Japanese understanding of democracy. The law is vaguely worded and very broad, and it will allow government to make secret anything that it finds politically inconvenient. Government officials who leak secrets can be jailed for up to 10 years, and journalists who obtain information in an “inappropriate” manner or even seek information that they do not know is classified can be jailed for up to five years. […] Mr. Abe’s aim is to “cast off the postwar regime.” Critics in Japan warn that he is seeking to resurrect the pre-1945 state. It is a vision both anachronistic and dangerous.

http://www.debito.org/?p=12039

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2) Best of 2013: What do you think were the most important issues/events affecting NJ in Japan?

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.

(We had a number of comments, at http://www.debito.org/?p=12036)

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3) Holiday Tangent: Other Americans who have relinquished US Citizenship (not just me; I am in good company)

I found this tasty website on TIME Magazine, showing that other famous Americans have chosen to relinquish their US citizenship. Think singers Tina Turner and Maria Callas, film directors John Huston (AFRICAN QUEEN and MALTESE FALCON) and Monty Python animator Terry Gilliam, actors Jet Li and Yul Brynner, performers Yehudi Menuhin and Josephine Baker, writers T.S. Eliot and Shere Hite, politicians Valdas Adamkus (Lithuanian President) and Andreas Papandreaou (Greek PM), and businesspeople Earl Tupper (of Tupperware) and Eduardo Saverin (co-founder of Facebook — yes, the guy with the chicken problem in the movie SOCIAL NETWORK).

I found this even tastier Wikipedia entry giving stories of dozens of people who have not only given up their US legal status, but also even got it back after doing so (Liz Taylor!) or never clearly gave it up (Bobby Fischer, Grace Kelly, Jesse Ventura, and Boris Johnson — yes, that Boris Johnson, London Mayor!)

My point is that the Americans are so convinced that American citizenship is so coveted and honored that one must be crazy to ever give it up (I personally have been called a “traitor” by an official at the US State Department for doing so). Not true. As one can see by that Wikipedia article, people have been doing it for as long as there have been formal citizenships to adopt or forsake. It’s a legal status like any other. And anyone who plans to live in the country, any country, for good I think should take it.

http://www.debito.org/?p=12023

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4) Holiday Tangent: Debito.org cited in Cracked.com!

As the year-end holidays approach, Debito.org usually puts up topics that are more tangental and less serious. As Japan is going through something I consider to be very serious (a return to Prewar values and political systems), this is hardly the time, but I think I’ve said so far all that one needs to say about the issues for now in previous blog posts. So today, let’s look at a site that I have become quite a fan of: Cracked.com.

I used to read CRACKED magazine, but always found it to be an insipid copy of MAD Magazine. But online, it’s a place with an obnoxious, scatological tone that has thankfully graduated from its high-school smart-alecky roots. Their articles are some of the best diversions and procrastinations I’ve had over the years (they’re quite well referenced, too). It seems that writers from them are fans of Debito.org as well. Check out this site:

5 Innocent Gestures That Make You Look Like a Dick Overseas (cites Debito.org!)

http://www.debito.org/?p=11892

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And finally…

5) My Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Col 70, Dec. 4, 2013: “In Japan, no escape from The Eye’s perpetual policing glare”

Thanks once again for putting this article on the JT Online’s Top Ten for more than a day. Channelling Foucault’s Panopticon:

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In Japan, no escape from The Eye’s perpetual policing glare
BY DEBITO ARUDOU
The Japan Times, DEC 4, 2013
Courtesy http://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2013/12/04/issues/in-japan-no-escape-from-the-eyes-perpetual-policing-glare/
Version with comments and links to sources at http://www.debito.org/?p=12010

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That’s all for this month. Thanks as always for reading!
ARUDOU, Debito

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JANUARY 6, 2014 ENDS

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