From hate speech to witch hunt: Mainichi Editorial: Intimidation of universities employing ex-Asahi reporters intolerable; Sakurai Yoshiko advocates GOJ historical revisionism overseas

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Hi Blog.  It’s the next natural step of Japan’s Extreme Right:  jingoism and terrorism.  They feel empowered enough in present-day Japanese society (especially in the wake of the Asahi retracting some articles on Japan’s “Comfort Women” wartime sexual slavery) to start making larger threats to bodily harm.  No longer are they satisfied with being bully boys during demonstrations (beating up Leftists with relative impunity, see here and here) — as seen in the article below they have to hound from livelihood those who oppose them using nail bombs.

The tactics behind the practitioners of hate speech have morphed into real power to conduct ideological witch hunts.  And it won’t stop there — the most powerful elements of the Extreme Right are gearing up like never before in the Postwar Era to rewrite history overseas too (see Yomiuri advert below).  The fact that the Nobel Peace Prize did not go to people advocating for the conservation of Article 9 in Japan’s “Peace Constitution” is more evidence that the outside world still hasn’t caught up with what’s really going on with Japan’s Right Wing Swing.  Dr. ARUDOU, Debito

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Editorial: Intimidation of universities employing ex-Asahi reporters cannot be tolerated
October 03, 2014, Mainichi Shinbun, courtesy of YX
http://mainichi.jp/english/english/perspectives/news/20141003p2a00m0na003000c.html

Two universities have received letters threatening to harm their students unless the institutions dismiss a pair of instructors, who as Asahi Shimbun newspaper reporters had written articles about the wartime comfort women issue.

The universities are Tezukayama Gakuin University in Osakasayama, Osaka Prefecture, and Hokusei Gakuen University in Sapporo. Osaka and Hokkaido prefectural police are investigating the respective incidents on suspicion of forcible obstruction of business.

One of the two teachers, a professor at Tezukayama Gakuin University, has stepped down following the incident.

The Tezukayama Gakuin professor was previously said to be the first journalist to report the late Seiji Yoshida’s testimony that he captured women on Jeju Island to work as “comfort women” for Japanese soldiers during World War II, when Korea was under Japanese colonial rule. In its assessment of its coverage of the issue published in August, the Asahi Shimbun retracted the article about Yoshida’s claim after deeming it a fabrication. Moreover, the Asahi Shimbun later ran a correction saying that a reporter other than the professor wrote the story.

The part-time instructor at Hokusei Gakuen University was the first journalist to report a former comfort woman’s testimony. He was accused by some critics of receiving favors from his mother-in-law — a member of an organization supporting former comfort women’s lawsuits against Japan — in reporting the testimony, as well as covering up facts that would be disadvantageous to former comfort women. However, the Asahi’s assessment concluded that he never distorted facts relevant to the issue.

The Asahi Shimbun has been paying a high price for failing to correct its coverage of Yoshida’s fabricated stories for so many years. Asahi President Tadakazu Kimura held a news conference to offer an apology, and the company will commission a third-party panel to review its coverage of Yoshida and its impact on society. There are numerous things that the daily must clarify.

Still, this does not justify the culprits’ attempts to rid society of news reports and writers they do not like by threatening institutions irrelevant to the Asahi controversy. The intimidation has affected not only the universities, but also the instructors’ families, who have become targets for harassment after their private information was posted online.

Hokusei Gakuen University has received inquiries from the parents of many students about the instructor, prompting its president to post an explanation on the university’s website. Close attention should be focused on how the university, which is supposed to respect freedom of thought, will respond to the situation.

To ensure free discussions, police should apprehend suspects in these cases as soon as possible. Behind the incidents is an atmosphere of intolerance being spread by some magazines and on the Internet — in which dissenters are condemned out of hand as “anti-Japanese” and “traitors.” This is similar to the spread of racist hate speech campaigns across the country. The settlement of the comfort women issue would become increasingly remote if those who incite racial discrimination with violent language are ignored.

The simplistic branding people as “anti-Japan” could be the seedbed for similar incidents. Each and every member of the public should try to eliminate discriminatory words and deeds from their conduct to create an environment for calm discussions.

ENDS

=============================================

Ad in September 16, 2014’s Yomiuri Shinbun taken out by Sakurai Yoshiko’s “Japan Institute for National Fundamentals”, courtesy http://en.jinf.jp/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/The_Japan_News.pdf 

SakuraiYoshikoJINFYomiuriAd

Searchable text:

Time to hit back at international aspersions over ‘comfort women’

http://en.jinf.jp/news/archives/3224

“The Japanese military forcibly rounded up 200,000 Korean women and girls and forced them to become sex slaves.”
This fabricated story has become widely believed in the international community.

The evidence behind this story was the untrue statements of Seiji Yoshida, who was said to be the former head of the mobilization department of the Shimonoseki Branch of Romu Hokoku-kai, an organization in charge of recruiting laborers and claimed to have participated in forcible abductions. Thirty-two years after The Asahi Shimbun first reported these comments by Yoshida, a man it lionized as a “conscientious Japanese,” the daily admitted these stories were false and retracted them. During this time, Japan was insulted and shamed over the comfort women issue.

The Foreign Ministry bears an even heavier responsibility for this deplorable state of affairs. In August 1993, the Japanese government issued a statement through then Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono (the Kono statement), which expressed the government’s “sincere apologies and remorse” to former comfort women. After the statement, the misperception that comfort women had been forcibly taken away spread around the world. Despite this, the Foreign Ministry has not presented a single clear counterargument to set the record straight, even to this day.

In 1996, Radhika Coomaraswamy, a U.N. special rapporteur on violence against women, submitted a report to the U.N. Human Rights Commission that accepted Yoshida’s remarks as fact, and jumped to the conclusion that comfort women had been “sexual slaves.” This report fueled groups seeking to erect statues dedicated to comfort women in several nations, and influenced the U.S. House of Representatives’ adoption of a resolution calling on Japan to apologize to comfort women.

Now, more than ever, Japan needs to tell the world the facts about this matter and dispel entrenched misperceptions about comfort women. Instead, the Foreign Ministry will build “Japan House” public relations hubs in major cities overseas to promote Japanese cuisine and anime as a pillar of the “strategic proliferation of information abroad.” Does the ministry have its priorities in the right order?

A task force charged with protecting Japan’s reputation and directly controlled by the prime minister should be set up, and a minister and dedicated secretariat placed in charge of handling this matter. A united effort by the whole government is required—urgently.

ENDS

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October 19, 2014, Sunday Mainichi 2-page article talking about how “Asahi Bashing” has morphed into nail bombs, presenting danger to Japan’s very democracy.  Courtesy of XY.

SundayMainichi1019141

SundayMainichi1019142

ENDS

37 comments on “From hate speech to witch hunt: Mainichi Editorial: Intimidation of universities employing ex-Asahi reporters intolerable; Sakurai Yoshiko advocates GOJ historical revisionism overseas

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    Well, this is very scary, but so Japan.

    Let the media fret about how their non-stop Asahi bashing on the Yoshida issue has led to this, after all, god forbid the nutter sets off a nail bomb, and then blames the mass gomi for getting him all worked up enough to do it.

    As for Sakurai, be my guest! The more they talk about this issue, the greater the effect will be the opposite of that which they are aiming for; international respect.

  • The attempt to go after and tear down statues and mention of the comfort women abroad is disgraceful… I hope academics and journalists will speak up about this issue.

  • It’s disgraceful to wait uintil all the documentation of the activities has been destroyed (It was, apparently, destroyed by Japanese officials just before the end of the war, although this is admittedly difficult to prove) and also wait until all the participants and victims have died, to start revising history. Why has Japan waited until now, just when eveyone is is dead?

  • As I read in Germany’s Spiegel magazine, in Hong Kong people who were taking part in peaceful protests for more democracy were attacked by thugs identified as members of the “Triads”. So far, without any discernible legal consequences for the perpetrators – rumours are that they are working for the government.
    In Japan, dubious groups are bullying / threatening what they perceive as “Unjapanese”, and it’s not a huge stretch to assume that it is the usual secret police of “chivalrous” Yakuza / Uyoku thugs, working under the eyes of the police and the government. They have seriously hurt and killed outspoken members of the “left wing” in the past (and in my opinion, in Abe’s Japan, anyone who’s not a die-hard ultranationalist is considered left wing and fair game for intimidation).
    Why are many Japanese looking down on China again? Both are still dangerous countries if you speak out. But Japan has done a better job to control the message until Abe came back and with him the foaming-at-the-mouth nationalists.

  • Andrew in Saitama says:

    Did anyone else notice Blinky’s name on the list of board members of Japan Institute for National Fundamentals?
    They must be pretty desperate if they’re trying to recruit outsiders into their ranks – unless it’s just another case of “take some NJ’s money for Team Japan”.

  • Hi, Debito

    I’ve been following your website for a while. Just saw this article today, and just to let you know: other media are picking up on this particularly from South Korea. I just saw this on Arirang TV (I like to note this is my first time posting on this website, so forgive me):

    http://www.arirang.co.kr/News/News_View.asp?nseq=169762&category=1

    [b]Japan to promote that it has done “nothing wrong” in regards to sex slave issue[/b]

    [i]The frosty ties between Korea and Japan are far from thawing.
    The Japanese government says it will actively promote that Japan has committed “no sins” when it comes to forcing women to serve as sex slaves during World War Two.
    The statement, made at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, is in response to a lawmaker’s question about the Asahi Shimbun newspaper’s decision in early August to retract what it called erroneous articles published in the ’80s and ’90s about the sexual slavery issue.
    According to the statement, Japan will strengthen foreign communications so that its stance and handling of affairs receives a fair assessment by the international community.
    The move goes against Korea’s demand that Japan acknowledge and show sincerity about its historical wrongdoings, particularly the sexual enslavement of women.
    The Seoul government also deplored on Wednesday that Japanese Foreign Minister Kishida Fumio a day earlier repeated Tokyo’s claim to Korea’s easternmost Dokdo Island, despite Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration’s pledge to take steps to improve bilateral ties.
    Adding fuel to the fire, a top cabinet official who has spearheaded efforts to deny Japan’s wartime sexual enslavement, said she will visit a controversial war shine that honors A-class war criminals.

    (Japanese)
    “When time allows, I will visit the Yasukuni Shrine.”

    Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said there’s nothing wrong with paying respect to those who lost their lives while fighting for the country.
    With Korea and Japan on diverging paths, it seems highly unlikely that long-delayed bilateral summit talks will be arranged any time soon.
    Kim Min-ji, Arirang News.[/i]

    KBS World News has also reported on this:

    http://world.kbs.co.kr/english/news/news_In_detail.htm?lang=e&id=In&No=105987&current_page=1

    [b]S. Korea, Japan Exchange Heated Words at UN over Sex Slavery[/b]

    [i]Anchor: South Korea and Japan have exchanged heated words at the UN over Japan’s sexual enslavement of women during World War II. South Korea called on Japan to follow recommendations given by the UN over the past two decades on the issue. In response, Japan revealed intentions to deny a 1996 UN report on the country’s wartime sex slavery.
    Our Bae Joo-yon has more.

    Report: South Korea has stressed that Japan’s wartime sex slavery issue must be addressed as it falls under the category of one of the UN’s key tasks of eradicating sexual violence.

    South Korea’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Hahn Choong-hee made the call on Wednesday during a discussion at the UN on raising the status of women.

    Hahn said the latest attempts by Japanese leaders to deny that Japan forced women to serve as sex slaves for its soldiers during World War II are moves that challenge the UN.

    [Sound bite: Hahn Choong-hee –South Korea’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN (English)]
    “Such actions undermining the Kono Statement constitute a direct challenge to the historical truths as well as the consistent recommendations to Japan.”

    He noted that for the past 20 years, the UN Commission on Human Rights and the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination have urged the Japanese government to take responsibility for its wartime sex slavery and provide compensation to the victims.

    In response, Japan revealed intentions to deny a 1996 UN report by former UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women Radhika Coomaraswamy.

    Japanese Minister to the United Nations Naoto Hisajima underlined that the Asahi Shimbun had recently retracted its 1982 series on Jeju women who had been forced to serve as sex slaves, which had been quoted in the UN report.

    [Sound bite: Naoto Hisajima – Minister, Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations (English)]
    “The article of the Asahi Newspaper, which was likely to give strong influence on the Coomaraswamy report, was recently retracted as false.”

    Meanwhile, the Japanese government urged Coomaraswamy to withdraw some parts of the special 1996 report.

    In a meeting with the former rapporteur on Tuesday, Tokyo asked her to take out the part quoted from the retracted Asahi article, which ran a testimony by a Japanese author who said he was involved in abducting Korean women to work at Japan’s military brothels.

    However, Coomaraswamy turned down the request, saying what was featured in the Asahi article was only one part of various testimonies that had been quoted in the UN report.
    Bae Joo-yon, KBS World Radio News.[/i]

    To make it worse, now Japan’s foreign minister, Fumio Kishida has now renewed claim to Dokdo Island (known as Takeshima Island to Japan):

    http://world.kbs.co.kr/english/news/news_Po_detail.htm?lang=e&id=Po&No=105961&current_page=2

    [b]Seoul: Japan’s Renewed Claim to Dokdo ‘Deplorable'[/b]

    [i]South Korea has strongly denounced the Japanese foreign minister’s remarks that his country will not back down from its territorial claims to the Dokdo islets.

    In a statement issued Wednesday, Seoul’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said Seoul will not tolerate the “groundless claims” and will firmly respond to any attempts by the Japanese government to undermine South Korea’s territorial sovereignty over Dokdo.

    The statement said the Japanese government is again raising outrageous claims in contrast to its pledge to work toward improving bilateral relations.

    Speaking to lawmakers Tuesday, Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida called South Korea’s easternmost Dokdo islets Japanese territory and said Japan will consistently convey its claim over Dokdo.[/i]

    Despite all these recent problems between Japan and South Korea, some Japanese lawmakers are going to meet President Park on Oct 24, according to KBS World:

    http://world.kbs.co.kr/english/news/news_In_detail.htm?lang=e&id=In&No=105998&current_page=1

    [b]Japanese Lawmakers Seek to Meet Pres. Park Oct. 24[/b]

    [i]Japanese lawmakers are likely to meet with South Korean President Park Geun-hye later this month to attempt to improve relations between the two countries.

    The chief secretary of the Korea-Japan Parliamentarians Union, Takeo Kawamura of the Liberal Democratic Party, said Thursday he expects to meet President Park during the union’s joint conference to be held in Seoul from October 24.

    The former Chief Cabinet Secretary said if he meets the president, he wants to deliver his candid views on various pending issues like the summit between South Korea and Japan.[/i]

    So yeah, despite these rocky incidents in their relation, I have mixed feeling when it comes to Japan and South Korea relation.

  • Baudrillard says:

    National Fundamentals looks like a who’s who of reactionaries, or fundamental nationalists.What worries me or bores me is that now quite a few Japanese people overseas will now attempt to take it upon themselves to “re educate” foreigners about, e.g. Japan’s benevolent rule over Korea.

    Case # 1. Last night a well travelled gay Japanese, lives abroad who speaks 6 languages (and who arguably has a lot to lose from Abe/Sakurai/National Socialist rule when in his cups boorishly attempted to tell us that Korea was a territory of Japan, not a colony etc etc. Sadly most of us had switched off by then, and were just there to finish our beers. His drunken ramblings-probably necessary to overcome his inhibitions on this taboo subject- were about as effective as “shut up shut up why are you laughing” at the UN.

    Ah, those funny Japanese. Mendokusai. Shut up and finish your sake so we can go home. Gotta get up early to start trading with Shanghai.

    Japanese revisionists underestimate the gullibility of their international audience. Sure, its worrying the world hasnt fully caught on to what Abe and co are up to, but this is always counter balanced by e.g “Bridge over the River Kwai” redux aka “The Railway Man”, “Pearl Harbor” “Flowers of War” etc which is the dominant zeitgeist in the minds of the postmodern western audience. Japanese revisionism only finds a domestic audience.

    And Japanese cinema cannot really compete with Hollywood narratives. Miyazaki Hayao”s last effort “The Wind Rises” was about the best it got for the revisionist zeitgeist, but this was a mediocre film he will not be remembered for and he has retired now. (As an aside, it is the only film of his that does not have a female protagonist, so thats a double whammy for the misogynist LDP and co)

    Which brings me to case #2. Taiwanese artist has a Japanese friend. One day again when in her cups the Japanese comes out with the whole “Japanese rule over Taiwan was benevolent” spiel without knowing that the former’s grandfather was a victim of Japanese rule.

    It wrecked their friendship and they didnt speak or work together for three years. I foresee that macrocosm Japan broaching of what is in fact a taboo subject by “explaining the facts” will similarly just damage Japan’s international standing enormously. It already has.

    But why oh why the obsession with these issues? Surely salvaging the economy is of far more significance? Not to Abe and co it seems.

    Very very few NJs are buying this. And like Ishihara awaking a sleeping dog (the Senkakus), it is just making Japan passing more common. Doing far more harm than good.

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    More on Blinky’s move to deport foreigners down on their luck, instead of paying them the benefits they legally could not avoid paying into, following the Oita ruling;

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2014/10/16/national/welfare-rollback-underway-ruling-empowers-xenophobes/

    This is what happens when you have a right-wing government, with an extreme agenda, that never challenges the anti-foreigner narrative, but is in fact a propagator of it- it encourages the loons to make even more outrageous actions.

  • >But why oh why the obsession with these issues?

    This is what gets me. Go to any online comments section about Japan/Korea/China, and people just go on and on about how “Korea needs to get over it!” “China needs to let go of ancient history!”

    Yet no one comes out nearly as strongly against Japan.

    Which is weird. Because Korea, China? They were invaded by Japan. Japan? They invaded Korea and China. When Korea and China say, “Hey, we need to remember the awful things that happened.” People say, “Get over it.”

    When Japan says, “We need to tell people the real story of the Japanese people who totally didn’t do anything wrong during the war but were actually totally nice guys,” everyone says: “Yeah, ok. Good on you for protecting your image.”

    How badly has Japan ever been victimized? Even when America occupied them, we let them get away with a TON of stuff, and bent over backwards to both preserve and rebuild their society. Modern Japan wouldn’t even exist without US largesse, and yet they have the GALL and AUDACITY to even try to claim that they are in any way the victim of “propaganda” from Korea or China?

    Yes. The entire thing does make you want to just throw up. Racists are universally disgusting, stupid people.

  • Baudrillard

    I’ve just returned from several trips oversea. When i note I am living in Japan the first comments I get are the usual ones. But now I am noticing I’m getting more of the critical looking at Japan, because of the slowly increasing media coverage of Japan’s past being exposed and the current incumbents lack of well known factual evidence that counters their narrative. Japan’s “influence” is slowly ebbing away…if indeed it had any to begin with.

    I posted this article on one of the other threads:
    http://www.theglobalist.com/japan-a-polite-nations-dark-underbelly/

    I read this with my morning coffee over breakfast in the national newspaper of one of the SE Asian countries I have just visited; several regularly. It was a large head line editorial. These articles are becoming more common in national media….all of which run counter to Abe’s et al, constant narrative of “we come in peace”. The word is getting out….don’t fool for the hype of Japan Inc.

  • Jim di Griz says:

    @ Baudrillard,

    Yes, I agree.
    Hot on the heels of the Asahi admitting its mistake, I read yesterday that Japan is now pressing the UN to come to a ‘correct understanding’ of the sex-slave issue.

    The more noise they make on this subject, the worse their international image will be, since, as you have pointed out, the overwhelming narrative in the West is that it was the ‘good war’ fought by the ‘greatest generation’, and that narrative necessitates that the Japanese were (correctly IMHO) evil.

    This narrative is an unassailable cornerstone of modern allied identity.

    Attempts to challenge it will be seen as recidivist and patronizing, but it will take a whole yet (and more right-wing attempts to rock the apple cart) before the western media overcome Japan’s economic and political ‘ally’ narrative, and consistently call them out on it.

    The failure of the Japanese right to bring the world to a ‘correct understanding’ of history, and even official international condemnation of thier efforts will only empower Abe to play the victim card, and allow Abe to ramp up re-militarization since he will be able to present the world as being ‘anti-Japan’.

    Obama should have slapped him down sternly much earlier over all this, the same way W. Bush did last time he tried it.

  • Loverilakkuma says:

    Ishihara’s “Jisedai no To” never misses their opportunity to humiliate ‘poor’ foreigners through propaganda campaign like this. They falsely claim that NJ living in poverty are responsible for ruining national social welfare system. Just how idiotic and hysterical their claim is, regarding that foreigners represent just 2% of overall claimants who are filing for welfare benefits under the clause of “life assistance”(生活保護). Who cares their chance to receive the benefits—regardless of NJ or Japanese is very low? You can hear a subliminal message through this right-wing party: “Your low social well-being is not our problem.” And, oh, don’t forget that those Japanese individuals born out of the wedlock will less likely receive the benefits thanks to the flawed family registration (koseki) system.
    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2014/10/15/editorials/flaws-family-registry-system/

    The rate of foreign to Japanese nationals in registering welfare benefits is getting even lower, as there are more Japanese citizens who are applying for life assistance every month. Silly JT article for Simpson’s paradox by providing data for NJ but not overall registered applicants to make it look bigger.

  • Baudrillard says:

    Japan “Flogging a dead horse” was the idiom I was looking for, the dead horse being this whole comfort women/nanjing never happened issue. Boring, and the world isnt buying. As Jim points out, victory over fascist Japan defines the postwar western narrative so the more the GOJ raises this, the more annoying they appear (at best).

    @ Chester, “Modern Japan wouldn’t even exist without US largesse, ” oh absolutely. This is the postwar, postmodern Brand Japan, created by USA. This is partly what irks Ishihara (as he feels emasculated by muscular US soldiers who licked his ice cream in 1945- a real story see link here
    http://newint.org/columns/worldbeaters/2002/12/01/shintaro-ishihara/
    ) and Abe.

    Ever since the 80s, what really grated on my nerves coming to Japan was hearing some anti American (western) ojisan go on about the alleged women stealing of the bad gaijin in Japan etc. Never mind I came here for a different reason and do not want to hear about their sexual inadequacies.

    With Akiba nerds now recognized as an important and influential demographic (20% and rising) and thus Sakurai’s office being in Akihabara, Japan is arguably filled with a bunch of anti social nerds with victimization complexes. They fetishize weapons (Girl und Panzer) but have never fought in a real war.

    Multiply this by a few million and you get what Japan is on the international stage today; that weird (male) kid at school with no friends and a bunch of insecurities, harping on about conspiracy theories to anyone who will listen.

  • Baudrillard says:

    for Jim, “Is it all about an ice cream with Ishihara”? Just google “Ishihara Shintaro ice cream American”
    “One of the soldiers playfully smacked him over the top of the head, took his ice cream and started licking it. Ishihara has reportedly never forgotten the humiliation. As a university student he went on to write a short prize-winning novel, Seasons of the Sun, in just three days. After the novel became a film Ishihara developed a kind of cult following of young acolytes called the Sun Trip whose members dressed in Hawaiian shirts and baggy pants. He spiced a life of bohemian adventure (sex, yacht racing and travelling across Latin America by motorcycle) with more books and plays – even a musical version of Treasure Island.

    Ishihara entered politics in the 1980s when he served as both Minister of Transport and Minister of the Environment. His loose tongue started to get him into trouble right away…..”

    We should humiliate Ishihara in international circles, along the lines of “He wants his ice cream”

  • NHK is self-censoring: http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/world/asia/article4239769.ece

    A ban on reference to the Rape of Nanking is seen as a surrender of editorial independence by Japan’s public broadcaster, NHK

    Japan’s public broadcaster, NHK, has banned any reference to the notorious Rape of Nanking, to the country’s use of wartime sex slaves, and to its territorial dispute with China, in what critics see as a surrender of its editorial independence.

    In a secret internal document, obtained by The Times, journalists on NHK’s English-language services are instructed about the precise phrasing to be used in reporting some of the most controversial topics in Japanese politics. The rules appear to reflect the position of the government of Shinzo Abe, Japan’s conservative nationalist prime minister.

    The revelation follows the assertion by NHK’s chairman,

    can’t paste more, since the article seems to be behind a paywall…

  • Japan Times: Web page on ‘comfort women’ donations taken down by Foreign Ministry
    BY REIJI YOSHIDA, STAFF WRITER, OCT 15, 2014
    Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration has again deepened international suspicion that it aims to revise history despite repeated denials.

    The Foreign Ministry has deleted a page from its website that carried a 1995 appeal for donations to a government-linked fund for former “comfort women” forced to work at Japanese wartime military brothels.

    The move drew immediate protest from the South Korean government, which issued a written statement by a spokesperson at its Foreign Ministry, because it came at the demand of a right-leaning lawmaker who has called for the retraction of the government’s apology, made in 1993.

    A key part of the appeal read: “Particularly brutal was the act of forcing women, including teenagers, to serve the Japanese armed forces as ‘comfort women,’ a practice that violated the fundamental dignity of women. No manner of apology can ever completely heal the deep wound inflicted on these women both emotionally and physically.”

    Hiroshi Yamada, secretary-general of Jisedai no To (Party for Future Generations), said those lines erroneously suggested that Japanese authorities had directly and forcibly recruited women for military brothels.

    “This has been posted on a government website, which is a big problem,” Yamada said during a Diet session on Oct. 6.

    “The education ministry, too, might have a document like this, which implies forced recruitment,” Yamada added. “We need to search through the ministries” and remove them.

    Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida did not challenge Yamada directly, only saying the ministry would consider Yamada’s demand. The page disappeared last Friday.

    Rest of the article at http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2014/10/15/national/politics-diplomacy/web-page-on-comfort-women-donations-taken-down-by-foreign-ministry/

  • Jim di Griz says:

    @ Anonimasu #17

    Ah, just what was to be expected when Abe staffs NHK’s board with his right-wing revisionist cronies. More like N. Korea every day.

  • It seems that fiction is again playing an important role in uncovering the truth of Japan’s brutal past that these shameless right wingers are scrambling to conceal. Have a look at the recent Man Booker Prize, Richard Flanagan’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North, and at another superb novel published this year, on the plight of women and children POWs under the Japanese in Southeast Asia:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-29665232
    They should do some good to Japan’s coveted “international image”.

    — The more Japan’s Revisionist Right tries to suppress these narratives, the more they will squish out through the cracks, especially since people will have more incentive to tell these stories now. They’re realizing that these stories, instead of being passively forgotten, are being forcibly ignored.

  • “This is the postwar, postmodern Brand Japan, created by USA. This is partly what irks Ishihara”

    I’ve never read Botchan, but Benedict discussed in her book (which, yes, I realize has many flaws and isn’t too useful for understanding modern Japan) – she said that the entire theme of Botchan was basically, “That guy helped me, and now I owe him, and I hate him for it.”

    So, you know, Benedict may not help us understand modern Japan, but the intensely xenophobic, right-wing political elite in Japan’s upper echelons DON’T represent modern Japan!

    Benedict’s book has been roundly criticized as being outdated and a relic of another era – but, Abe and his cronies are ALSO outdated people, worshiping the relics of another era…

    Maybe that’s the key to these guys: we helped them, and they hate us for it. They know full well how much they NEED us, and they can’t handle it.

    That would also explain why they hate the Zainichi Koreans so much – had Japan not colonized Korea and exploited both the people and resources of Korea, modern Japan wouldn’t exist. The Zaitoku Kai must know full well that Koreans quite literally built this country – often without actual compensation. This country owes so much to so many people, and the oyaji running it just don’t know how to express it except by lashing out in rage at everyone they owe.

    Hm. Benedict also said that, in old Japan, suicide was seen as a noble way to clear one’s debts. Maybe Abe IS purposefully trying to crush the country, as an act of self-destructive contrition.

    Well, whatever. Racists are morons, so it’s kind of pointless to think too much about their motivations.

  • Baudrillard says:

    Sakurai Yoshiko puzzles me-here she is in league with Ishihara and co, and yet she has done a lot of work to expose Amakudari and stand up for Japanese AIDS victims, so what gives?
    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/life/2006/07/11/people/yoshiko-sakurai/

    Just a hunch but it might also be the old “rights for Japanese, but not for foreigners” thinking which puts her in league with Ishihara.

    However, she then goes off on a nutjob tangent to say Asahi Shimbun is a tool of China and China asked Japan to double its defence spending in the 80s (which I doubt)- is there any evidence for this? I would like to know more. Another Libertarian rightist?

    She says “The Asahi Shinbun doesn’t read like a Japanese newspaper — it’s more like the voice of Communist China and North Korea. ”

    This is trad rightist thinking- but Weberist postmodern thought would say that most of the main Japanese media is either communist or Fascist now, like NHK with its new self censoring. And there is little difference between the two.

    I dont expect Sakurai or any of her ilk to grasp the subtleties of thinking outside the cold war dinosaur box.

  • @Chester If the current guys at the (visible) top of the Japanese power structure “don’t represent modern Japan”, then who is? Remember that the LDP was elected with huge margins in the last election, and people already knew what they would be getting because Abe is a repeat offender. Also, his “take back Japan” narrative didn’t leave much room open for speculation what his agenda would be.

    These people were elected by the majority to represent them. As was Ishihara, the psychopath racist, as the top guy of Tokyo four or five times over.

    In my opinion, most Japanese elect the people that they think will make Japan more intimidating to China, Korea, and the rest of the world, rather than those with an agenda to bring it back economically and culturally. To say that the people in power don’t represent modern Japan is plain wrong, imho.

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    @ Baudrillard #15

    Thanks for the link.

    I could understand (not condone, but understand) if Ishihara was driven by resentment that all the ‘hot chicks’ when he was growing up were (in his twisted mind) ‘throwing themselves at GI’s with pockets full of cash’, but all this over an ice-cream? For real, nobody ever told him to grow up and get over it?

    The Japan that can say ‘No, get your own ice-cream’?

  • Baudrillard says:

    “The Japan that can say ‘No, get your own ice-cream’? Jim, that is it, in a nutshell (or in a cone).

    Now let the media pick up on this and ridicule Ishihara with this slogan.

  • Baudrillard says:

    Jim “For real, nobody ever told Ishihara to grow up and get over it? ” Doubt it, as Dr Debito points out, bullies like Sakurai (Zaitokai, not Yoshiko) never get called out or stood up to,so they flourish until a bigger bully (Hashimoto) feels they are invading his narrative, his territory.

    Somthing akin to a gang turf war. There is no morality here, no good and bad, just bad and worse.
    So enjoy your time and do what you wilt is the whole of your law. Compared to this lot, you’ll still occupy the moral high ground by default!

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    @ Baudrillard #27

    Thanks for the link. Someone will be going to hell for that one.
    I can just picture the scene when it comes time for Japanese revisionist nazis to round up the NJ and deport them. ‘We can’t deport THAT one!’, they’ll say. ‘He does all our on-line English!’.
    A sold soul indeed.
    Still, as I have said before, anything that helps these loonies and their opinions extend their message internationally is a good thing, since it can only do them harm and draw more criticism, so perhaps this translator is one of us? After all, how many times have the highly offensive opinions of J-policy makers and elected officials been criticized by NJ, only to draw the (equally racist) response that since the comment was in Japanese, the NJ listener was incapable of understanding it’s true meaning, leading to a ‘regrettable’ case of ‘incorrect understanding’?
    With good English translation, we can all see the Emperors new clothes, ne?

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    @ Baudrillard #29

    Thanks for the post. Some good analysis of Japan’s situation.

    Found this a couple of days ago;
    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2014/10/28/commentary/japan-commentary/perilous-spirit-times/

    The article attacks Abe on many fronts (womanomics, secrecy law, remilitarization), but most pointedly, shows that the difference in how Japanese perceive Abe’s efforts, and the way they are seen internationally, means that Abe is doing Japan more harm than good (as I predicted- every time he opens his mouth, he puts his foot in it).

  • Baudrillard says:

    “Better a candid friend than an insincere sycophant.” (Cortazzi). Indeed, excellent article that hits every nail on the head. Good that a former British ambassador has written this, as I find recent western embassies lack the cojones to say anything against Japan for fear of losing out on business, a la PM Cameron and China.

    Both analytical and prophetic, Cortazzi’s article should be a warning siren to western governments about how dangerous Abe and co are.

  • Baudrillard says:

    “(Abe”s) stupidity and egocentrism are beyond redemption.The permanent members of the UNSC are an exclusive club comprising the victors of World War II. It is hardly possible that they would welcome a nation whose leader denies its wartime aggression and atrocities.”

    Love the honne here. That is, as we discussed before, the bottom line. The allies control the defining narrative and it justifies the entire world order. Abe’s attempts are the product of the dream world he inhabits, he clearly believes his own propaganda, not to mention the spiel that the UN is some kind of idealistic organization in which all nations are equal, or that Japan is somehow” special.”

    His and Japan’s false sense of entitlement is a joke. Always has been- what, you want western privileges without being held to western norms of civilized behavior? Still playing that game.

  • “Abe may or may not push Japan further to the right during his remaining months in office, but it is important to understand that the rightward shift did not start with him and will most likely not end with him either ”

    Japan, historically has and is moving right, has seen itself as a society of stability and continuity with deviations from this world view being
    restricted.

    It could be argued generously (and I mean very generously) that the brief period of the 1990’s under Murayama and the DPJ period of 2009-2002 may be seen as an attempt at a Japanese Spring, comparable(??) to the Prague Spring or more recently the Arab Spring…… Yes well….

    https://crawford.anu.edu.au/distribution/newsletter/ajrc/ajrc06.html

    Koichi Nakano: “It should also be pointed out that the rightward shift has not been a unilinear progression rightward in a single stroke. Rather, it has been a lengthy process over the past couple of decades occurring in fits and starts— and in successive waves. While there have also been reverse waves which led to periods of relative opening up, as in the government of the Socialist leader, Murayama Tomiichi, in the mid-1990s and the DPJ government between 2009 and 2012, they were invariably followed by yet another wave, shifting to the right.

    In other words, the pendulum is not simply hanging from a fixed point, swinging right and left, but rather, with each swing of the pendulum to the right, its supporting point is also shifting rightward. As a result, even when the pendulum swings back leftward, as was the case when the DPJ came to power, the DPJ position at the time was still considerably more rightward leaning than that of the previous Socialist position, and perhaps even that of the leftwing in the LDP in the 1955 system. Superficially, the political system may seem more pluralistic and fragmented, but in reality the ideological parameters have been shrinking and drifting to the right.

    Last but not least, the rightward shift of Japanese politics that resulted from the New Right transformation has essentially been an elite-driven process rather than a society-driven process. Social crises, real and constructed, including those caused by the disasters in 1995 and 2011, have been exploited by the conservative political elites. This has not, however been a case of Japanese society shifting to the right first, and then the political elites responding and adjusting their positions accordingly, but rather the opposite.

    Certain observers point to the fact that the change of government in 2009 suggests that this rightward shift is merely imagined, while others point to the absence of a surge in nationalistic sentiment among the ordinary Japanese (for now) in order to claim that Japan is not becoming more rightwing. However, it is precisely the shifting pendulum dynamics of this elite-driven process of rightward shift that obscures the drift itself.

    “It is precisely the shifting pendulum dynamics of this elite-driven process of rightward shift that obscures the drift itself.”

    The New Right transformation did not take place in one stroke but rather in repeated waves that came and went, each wave pushing the parameters more and more to the right. A contemporary of Thatcher and Reagan, Nakasone Yasuhiro’s government represented the first wave in the 1980s with his privatisation drives severely weakening public-sector unions, and consequently, the support base of the left parties, while also attempting to centralise power within the government to the prime minister and his cabinet. Ozawa Ichiro more than anyone else embodied the second wave that came in the period between the late 1980s and early 1990s as he single-mindedly promoted the introduction of the Westminster model, most notably the introduction of the ‘majoritarian’ first-past-the-post (FPTP) system –the preferred electoral system of the New Right. The third wave, was led by Hashimoto Ryutaro, who presided over the financial ‘Big Bang’ as well as administrative reform in the late 1990s.

    In retrospect, it was the institutionary machineries that were put in place by earlier waves, the FPTP electoral system and the reinforced power of the prime minister in particular, that enabled Koizumi Junichiro (and Abe in his first government) to form the fourth wave. It should also be noted that these ‘reformist’ prime ministers, Nakasone, Hashimoto, and Koizumi have all visited the Yasukuni shrine during their terms in office.

    One year since his return to power, Abe has already instituted the new National Security Council, enacted the controversial state secrecy law, visited the Yasukuni shrine, and intends on revising the interpretation of the constitution to lift the ban on the exercise of the right of collective self-defense. The fifth wave may very well turn out to be biggest yet.”

  • @Baudrillard (#32) – I also applaud anyone taking a stance against the myth of a “modern Japan” publicly, but I think I might have an explanation while officials nowadays are so quite about it. It could be that they’ve already moved past such ideas because there’s no point in “making waves” about a country that’s irrelevant for most of the world (unfortunately not for the US because they still suffer from becoming its watch dog after WWII).
    I think administrations around the world have given up on Japan ever catching up to the enlightened world where nobody thinks that “trains running on time” balance out a system where organised crime runs everything behind the scenes and “rule of law” is just an inconvenience which you have to pretend to embrace.
    Japan’s over. The only thing that needs to be done is keep an eye out for surprise attacks. Maybe not in the next couple of years – but if Japan continues down this road, nuclear armament will be inevitable (it’s the one thing the powerful in Japan crave most), and from then on it’s anyone’s guess when we’ll see Japan switching back to aggression.

  • Baudrillard says:

    @ Markus “Japan’s Over”. Care to elaborate? I feel and fear this is the case too. I don’t want to believe it, but I am afraid this is indeed the case, in so many ways, from nightlife (its dead/gloomy) thru the arts scene (no one is buying) to rising taxation, reduction of human rights, more mistrust of NJs, while trying to squeeze more money out of NJs while they are here (unless they leave after 3 years like good little permanent outsiders/eternal tourists).

    Hope I am wrong.

  • @Baudrillard (#36) Well, “Japan’s over” is of course hyperbole, because the country will not cease to exist unless it actually chooses to become aggressive not only in speech, but action again. But I do strongly feel that Japan has been written off by most of the countries that had entertained lively and friendly relationships with it during the 80s and 90s, both economically, and more importantly politically.
    The election of Abe and the dangerous policies he put in place (although to be fair, he’s not the first ultra-rightwing head of government) have been the last nail on the coffin for international relations. It’s pretty clear now that the Japanese (and I mean the majority of voters who put the “old guard” like Ishihara or Abe into power over and over again) have learned nothing from WWII, and are too stubborn and too prideful to ever take a hint from the outside world.
    I feel this unfounded, exaggerated pride is what will ultimately be Japan’s ticket to doom. Nobody outside the echo chamber understands where this sense of pride is coming from. The rise of Japan was a project by the US. None of the inventions that drove the Japanese miracle were made in Japan (the car, the stereo, the tape deck, the video game, the microchip, etc.) – and now, with the countries that manufacture Western inventions cheaply being Korea and China, the Western world has no incentive to steer Japan into the right direction anymore.
    Unless there is a movement by the Japanese to get rid of the evil structures that hold back their society, they will soon become East Asia’s least reliable country. I don’t know how such a thing could be achieved without bloodshed, though. If I was Japanese, I would never dare to speak up against the status quo so my house doesn’t get lit on fire or my family doesn’t get abducted by the Yakuza. It’s the dark secret of Japan, the thing the Japanese really mean when they tell outsiders “you don’t understand Japanese culture, it’s very ‘traditional'”.

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