DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER MAY 31, 2015

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DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER MAY 31, 2015
Table of Contents:

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HOW BAD IT’S GETTING

1)  Arimura Haruko, Minister for the Empowerment of Women: Immigration is a “Pandora’s Box”, offers weird Team Abe arguments to justify
2)  Online media outlet Japan Today acquired by right-wing Fuji Media Holdings, meaning Japan Times is last E-media news organization independent of J-media conglomerates
3)  J Times Kingston on Abe’s intimidation of media: You know it’s getting bad when even apologist bigot Gregory Clark complains about Rightists targeting him
4)  Debito.org Dejima Award #6 to Mishima Village, Kagoshima Prefecture, for subsidizing outsiders to move and live there — unless they are foreign
5)  Japan at Expo Milano 2015: Official display claims Japan is a land of “harmonious diversity” (in English). SRSLY? Yep. Let’s parse.
6)  Tangent: NYT Op-Ed: Foreigners Are Attacking … American TV, within US TV programs. Contrast with Japan.

… and finally …

7)  Japan Times JBC 87 May 4, 2015: Interview with M.G. Sheftall: “Japan-U.S. effort to tell Kamikaze suicide pilots’ stories dodges controversy, wins praise”
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By Dr. ARUDOU, Debito (debito@debito.orgwww.debito.org, Twitter @arudoudebito)
Freely Forwardable

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HOW BAD IT’S GETTING

1)  Arimura Haruko, Minister for the Empowerment of Women: Immigration is a “Pandora’s Box”, offers weird Team Abe arguments to justify

Now let’s get to the narrative by Team Abe on immigration. Despite calling for the expansion of the officially-sanctioned system of often-slavery that the “Trainee” Program constitutes (even cynically saying that we need cheap temporary foreign labor for constructing the 2020 Olympics), and the recognized need for caregivers below, we have a government official below charged with empowering people (a worthy goal in itself) also advocating the disempowerment of others — not giving people who would be contributing to Japan any stake in its society.

That’s one thing. Another is how this Minister for the Empowerment of Women Arimura Haruko is justifying this organized disenfranchisement of NJ. Despite being married to a NJ herself, she uses him as a fulcrum (his family in Malaysia forcing their Indonesian nanny to sleep on the floor), alleging that mistreatment of immigrants is something that naturally happens (okay, without their proper enfranchisement, yes) and that it would be “unthinkable in Japan” (oh, is she as a government official ignorant of the much bigger abuses of that “Trainee” program that have been going on for more than two decades)?

Completing the effect of working backwards from preset conclusions, Arimura then brings the song home by blaming foreigners for their own disenfranchisement: alleging their terroristic tendencies (a common trope for the past decade since PM Koizumi in 2005), and how bringing them here would be a “Pandora’s Box”:

Bloomberg: Japan should fix its shrinking workforce by enabling women to work, before turning to the ‘Pandora’s box’ of immigration, the country’s minister for the empowerment of women said in an interview last week. Haruko Arimura, a 44-year-old mother of two, said Japan must act fast to change a trend that could otherwise see the workforce decline by almost half by 2060. But she warned if immigrants were mistreated — something she’d witnessed overseas — it raised the risk of creating resentment in their ranks.

“Many developed countries have experienced immigration,” she said in her Tokyo office. “The world has been shaken by immigrants who come into contact with extremist thinking like that of ISIL, bundle themselves in explosives and kill people indiscriminately in the country where they were brought up,” Arimura said. “If we want to preserve the character of the country and pass it on to our children and grandchildren in better shape, there are reforms we need to carry out now to protect those values.”

http://www.debito.org/?p=13314

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2)  Online media outlet Japan Today acquired by right-wing Fuji Media Holdings, meaning Japan Times is last E-media news organization independent of J-media conglomerates

Something rather important happened within Japan’s English-language media landscape last month, and it’s only now starting (after some prodding) to come to light: Another NJ media voice has been absorbed by Japanese conglomerates: Japan Today, an online media outlet founded in 2001 by NJ.

This matters. Back in the 1990s we had a number of other outlets employing NJ reporters and offering a degree of news that served and spoke to the NJ communities in Japan (those that read English, anyway). Since then almost all of them have withered or winked out. Left-leaning Mainichi Shimbun succumbed to economic pressures and made its English-language daily into an online-only outlet that is a mere shadow publication (moreover succumbed to the pressure of online trolls by crucifying their reporters who dared translate scandalous Japanese tabloid media for their popular WaiWai column). The Centrist-Right Asahi Evening News, to bust their unionizing NJ employees, fired all of their reporters and now merely offers a translation service for what they write in Japanese (their presses closed down completely in 2010). Rightist Yomiuri Shinbun whitewashed itself by recently changing its name of its English-language publication from Daily Yomiuri to the anodyne and root-free The Japan News, and since it takes any criticism of Japan by a NJ as a personal affront, it basically marginalized its English-langauge staff into writing book reviews and fluff pieces before Asahi-ing them into proofreaders also. The last major national news outlet, the Sankei Shinbun, never bothered projecting their farther-right views into English. Until now, when it bought up Japan Today.

That just leaves the Japan Times as a serious news outlet outside of Japanese conglomerate control. I am proud to be amongst their ranks as a columnist pushing for media independence from a current political milieu under PM Abe increasingly intolerant of criticism. But even they have seen their Community Pages drop from four days per week to two. So support your Japan Times however and whenever you can, everyone. They’re all that are left, and if they get absorbed, it’s pretty clear that they’ll just become a mouthpiece for the Japanese corporate narrative all over again.

http://www.debito.org/?p=13286

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3)  J Times Kingston on Abe’s intimidation of media: You know it’s getting bad when even apologist bigot Gregory Clark complains about Rightists targeting him

JT: “[Government officials] have become more numerous, blatant and unapologetic,” [US-based journalist Ayako Doi] says, adding that the government is targeting both Japanese and non-Japanese critics alike. Japan Times columnist Gregory Clark says the atmosphere of intimidation has become exceptionally “ugly,” attributing it to a “right-wing rebound and revenge.”

“Something strange is going on,” he says, citing recent attacks on progressive media. “Particularly given that Tokyo keeps talking about its value identification with the West.” […] Clark himself was publicly defamed for his alleged anti-Japanese views because he raised some questions about government and media representations concerning the North Korean abductions of Japanese nationals. Following that, he says his university employer received a cascade of threatening letters demanding he be sacked. “Requests to write articles for the magazines and newspapers I had long known dried up,” Clark says. “Invitations to give talks on Japan’s lively lecture circuit died overnight. One of Japan’s largest trading companies abruptly canceled my already-announced appointment as outside board director with the vague excuse of wanting to avoid controversy.”

COMMENT: That’s how bad it’s getting for NJ in Japan — even the worm has turned. But given the history of fabrications, profiteering from pandering, and columns so bigoted and xenophobic (one entitled “Antiforeigner discrimination is a right for Japanese people”, and another essentially denying racism in Japan) that one had to be deleted from the Japan Times archives), I’m not sure you have a leg to stand on here, Greg. After all, isn’t discriminating against you a right for Japanese people? You made your bed, now sleep in it.

http://www.debito.org/?p=13316

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4)  Debito.org Dejima Award #6 to Mishima Village, Kagoshima Prefecture, for subsidizing outsiders to move and live there — unless they are foreign

As Japan’s depopulation proceeds and the countryside continues to empty out, we have seen ruralities offering FREE land if people will only build, move, and live there. Now we have another place offering even more generous terms. From The Japan Times, May 25, 2015: “The village of Mishima, composed of the small islands of Takeshima, Iojima and Kuroshima, has been trying to lure people to move there by offering the choice of a calf or a ¥500,000 lump sum, plus another ¥100,000 to help with moving expenses.”

But then… “Of all the emails the village received in the two-week period between the end of April and mid-May, 90 percent came from Serbians, Croatians and Brazilians, a local official said Monday,.. The official said that eventually, for various reasons, the village decided not to accept any of the applicants… “People are not aware that life here is not as simple as they imagined,” he said, adding that the language barrier may lead to problems of communication.”

Oh. Suddenly, life there is tough. So tough they’ll turn people away, sight unseen. If those people happen to be foreign. How open-minded. I assume the next argument will be that if the place becomes overrun with foreigners, they will vote to secede from Japan. Seriously, this argument has been made before. So allow me to award the Village of Mishima in Kagoshima Prefecture a coveted Debito.org Dejima Award, granted only to those who display eye-blinkingly stupefying bigotry and closed-mindedness that defies all logic, reason, and entreaty.

http://www.debito.org/?p=13327

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5)  Japan at Expo Milano 2015: Official display claims Japan is a land of “harmonious diversity” (in English). SRSLY? Yep. Let’s parse.

An interesting exercise in propaganda is Japan’s display at the Expo 2015, currently underway in Milano, Italy. It is a useful exercise to parse out the themes, memes, and dialectic within the display, as it is a good example of how Japan officially wants to be seen by the outside world. For example, chew on this word salad (the Exhibit Message) and digest the tropes:

====================================
Japan’s agriculture, which coexists with nature, cherishing all forms of life. Japan’s nutritionally balanced diet, as represented by the traditional menu of “one soup, three dishes” that is rich with diverse fermented foods and plant proteins. Japan’s cherished food culture, produced and nurtured by tradition and innovation. Building upon the spirit of mutual respect and appreciation of coexisting diversity, we will creatively address global issues to pioneer a bright future.
====================================

That’s amazingly easy to poke holes in, even before we get to calling Japan “diverse”. The government makes its case, and I perforate away in this blog entry. Opening:

====================================
Scene Ⅱ DIVERSITY
● The diversity and additional development of Japan’s agriculture, food, and food culture

There is a great variety of agriculture in the world, with diverse food to match. Similarly in Japan, unique agriculture, food and food cultures have been cultivated in the various regions according to weather and climate, with additional developments based on learning from the world. In this zone, visitors will fully realize the diversity of Japan and the world by taking in an overview of more than 1000 content items related to agriculture, food and food culture…
====================================

http://www.debito.org/?p=13296

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6)  Tangent: NYT Op-Ed: Foreigners Are Attacking … American TV, within US TV programs. Contrast with Japan.

In a previous blog entry, I mentioned the disenfranchisement of foreigners from Japanese media (with Fuji buying up Japan Today), and my upcoming book (out in November) will discuss further the effects of that in terms of tolerance of difference and counteracting public defamation. As a Debito.org Tangent, let’s contrast this with the degree of access that foreigners in America have to influence the domestic narrative and talking points. I don’t know how unusual this is on a country-to-country scale (Debito.org Readers are welcome to mention the foreign anchors/pundits holding court outside the US and Japan), but given the influence that American media has worldwide, this is not a small matter. The NYT does a survey:

NYT: American late-night television shows have probably never had so many anchors with foreign accents as they will have soon. Trevor Noah, a South African comedian, will become at least the third non-American native to host a popular TV comedy show later this year when he takes over “The Daily Show” from Jon Stewart. He will join two Britons, John Oliver of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight” and James Corden, who recently started hosting “The Late Late Show” on CBS.

http://www.debito.org/?p=13183

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… and finally …

7)  Japan Times JBC 87 May 4, 2015: Interview with M.G. Sheftall: “Japan-U.S. effort to tell Kamikaze suicide pilots’ stories dodges controversy, wins praise”

THE JAPAN TIMES: ISSUES | JUST BE CAUSE
Japan-U.S. effort to tell suicide pilots’ stories dodges controversy, wins praise
BY DR. DEBITO ARUDOU. MAY 3, 2015
http://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2015/05/03/issues/japan-u-s-effort-tell-suicide-pilots-stories-dodges-controversy-wins-praise/

Dr. M.G. Sheftall, professor of modern Japanese history at Shizuoka University and author of “Blossoms in the Wind: Human Legacies of the Kamikaze,” was in Honolulu last month for the dedication of a temporary exhibition about the Tokkō kamikaze suicide pilots aboard the battleship USS Missouri, the site of Japan’s surrender at the end of World War II. JBC sat down for an interview with Dr. Sheftall about the kamikaze phenomenon and what makes this exhibition unique.

Q: So, what’s going on here?

You’ve witnessed something very historic, because the exhibit is the first about any kind of Japanese military activity in the modern era ever held outside of Japan with Japanese cooperation — in this case, with the Chiran Peace Museum on the kamikaze in southern Kyushu.

What makes the USS Missouri an especially relevant venue is that it is to my knowledge only one of two still-existing ships — the other being the USS Intrepid — that were actually hit by kamikaze during the war. The USS Missouri was hit on April 12, 1945, exactly 70 years ago.

There’s a feel-good aspect to this story — very hard to do when you’re talking about kamikaze attacks. The bomb on the plane that hit the Missouri did not detonate. The wreckage spilled onto the deck and amidst that was the pilot’s remains. When the crew was putting out the fire, the initial reaction had been to hose his remains off the deck. But the captain of the USS Missouri, William Callaghan, announced to the crew: “No, we’re going to give him a proper military burial. Now that he’s dead, he’s not the enemy anymore. He’s just another human being, like you and me, who died for his country.”

The next day the crew formed on deck to consign their fallen former enemy to the depths with full naval honors. They even made a Japanese flag shroud from old unused signal flags.

I think that’s a nice story. If there can be some recognition of humanity even in such circumstances, that shows hope for human beings in an otherwise insane and irrational situation dominated by hatred and fear.

Q: How many ships were sunk in the kamikaze campaigns?

http://www.debito.org/?p=13288

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That’s all for this month.  Thanks for reading!
Dr. ARUDOU, Debito at Debito.org
DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER MAY 31, 2015 ENDS

31 comments on “DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER MAY 31, 2015

  • Jim di Griz says:

    Without Japanese organized crime, Japanese customers are at the mercy of those evil foreigners’

    “One reason (foreigners) have been running rampant can be blamed on the Organized Crime Exclusion Ordinance,” says a club owner in Tokyo’s Ginza district. “The gangs, which used to make the rounds as stand-ins for the police, have been put out of action. So you could say this trouble is a by-product of the ordinance.”

    Never mind that the article is about Japanese criminals..,

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/06/06/national/media-national/bottakuri-scams-put-the-squeeze-on-the-unwary/

    Reply
  • You got to love the irony here:-

    “..Japan’s failed bid: ” We were too naive.” – Yuuchiro Nakajima was the Executive Director of Japan’s unsuccessful bid committee for the 2022 World Cup. He reflects on FIFA’s scandal and Qatar’s “shocker” win….” *

    Perhaps they were naive in not using the same people that did the Winter Olympics in Nagoya with their excellent paper shredding skills…..or for those who did Tokyo bid!!

    *http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02syt8l

    Reply
  • Jim di Griz says:

    As I’ve said before, rewarding Abe’s revisionism and truth dodging over war responsibility by allowing him to address Congress would only encourage him, and it has.
    On this, the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII Abe is as intent as ever on souring international relations by showing Japanto be as unrepentant as ever.

    He has ordered a committee to investigate the war-trials and US Occupation as being based on an ‘incorrect view of history’. That is to say, he seeks to undermine the outcome of the war and the post-war international order.

    He is proceeding from a logical fallacy; the war-crimes trials and US Occupation were reality and based on reality, they weren’t based on our present day ‘history’, and therefore Abe’s claims should rightly be seen as the irrational ravings of an unhinged lunatic.

    Hopefully, this move will be so distasteful to the international community that Abe will receive the censure he so sorely seems to be seeking, and Japan’s international image will be proportionately sullied by him for the whole world to see.

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/06/19/national/history/ldp-scrutinize-allied-occupation-postwar-tribunal-faulty-views-history/

    Reply
  • Jim Di Griz says:

    Food for thought…

    One of the main retorts that apologists come out with to deny that Japanese nationalism isn’t a threat to the region/world, is ‘Japan isn’t the same country it was 70 years ago’.

    Hmmm, let’s examine that claim shall we?

    Imperial era Japan was a society built on racial supremacy myths and institutional racism. It was a society of strict vertical relationships that required obedience and engendered bullying. Since any military is no more than representative of the society from which it draws it members, it’s no surprise that the Imperial Japanese Army was rife with bullying, which combined with institutional racism, psychologically facilitated war-crimes by it’s lowest members (and I would argue that it was a result of conscious policy decision to do so).
    So, seventy years on, with Abe doing everything he can to get the SDF involved in a war, and Ishihara admitting that his biggest unfulfilled goal was to start a war with China, what have we got?

    Strict hierarchal social relationships? Check!
    Bullying and power harassment endemic in school and the workplace? Check!
    And now this;
    In peacetime, the SDF has double the suicide rate of Japan’s civilian population (which is high enough to start with!).

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/06/06/national/politics-diplomacy/suicide-rate-for-sdf-personnel-in-2003-2014-higher-than-national-average/

    Now, this is worrying enough, but then we see that the reason for the high suicide rate is that the SDF is rife with bullying, power harassment, and mental illness!

    http://www.japantoday.com/category/kuchikomi/view/sdf-rife-with-bullying-mental-illness-and-suicide

    It seems to me that nothing much has changed in the last seventy years except that Art. 9 of the constitution wisely keeps Japanese troops in Japan, rather than allowing them to go overseas to bully those they see as beneath them, and acting out on their mental illnesses!

    One shining beacon of hope though. Since the SDF is trapped by constitutional loop-holes from it’s inception, it’s members are free to quit at any time with no legal obligation to serve, just like a regular job (although, you could argue that as in any office job in Japan, quitting is allowed only when the boss says that you can go).

    However, there is the real risk that to avoid the extra mental health stresses of deployment shown above in the first link, SDF members who thought they would spend their days doing disaster relief in Japan, will quit in droves if Abe starts committing Japan to overseas wars. What Abe needs to do after his illegal re-interpretation of the constitution is find a way to bring back the draft…

    Reply
  • Jim Di Griz says:

    We’ve discussed here what this Olympic winning Omotenashi ‘selfless hospitality’ of Japan really means in practice (as opposed to NJ ‘selfish hospitality’?), and now we know!

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/06/22/national/omotenashi-promo-video-of-quick-shinkansen-cleanup-goes-viral/

    Two years after winning the Olympics due (so I am repeatedly told) to this ‘uniquely Japanese’ concept of being hospitable in some way that no one else on the planet could possibly comprehend (‘mystification language’ in practice), we finally have a concrete example to help us simple NJ understand where we have been going wrong all these years!

    Japanese Omotenashi means cleaning the train. Earth-shattering concept.

    Reply
  • Jim Di Griz says:

    Abe gets told to ‘Go home!’ during speech at Okinawa (NHK edited the booing and heckling out, naturally).

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-33229432

    Now he knows how I feel when people shout it at me.

    — I doubt it affects him all that much. To a person with a sense of entitlement as big as Abe, they’re just peasants without even pitchforks on a strategic island. Who in Tokyo has ever really cared about what Okinawans want?

    Reply
  • Jim di Griz says:

    @ Dr. Debito #7,

    He was described as being ‘visibly shaken’, just as he was when Southern All Stars sang anti-snap election song at a live concert he attended.
    And just like Southern All Stars anti-Abe performance being deleted from re-runs of Kohaku Uta Gassen, NHK didn’t mention the heckling in Okinawa, and voice-overed it in thier news coverage.
    Delicate Abe hasn’t got the stomach for it precisely because of his sense of entitlement.

    Reply
  • #13 JDG

    Hahahaha…..girl power eh?

    Well…at a gather to discuss the constitution…if this is not political, I don’t know what is. For once, a sign of dissension at the ruling elite. …whatever next…a Japanese version of UB40, Billy Bragg or The Smiths etc…??

    Reply
  • Jim di Griz says:

    @ John K #16

    Good link!

    There is no heckling in Japan! The Japanese have ‘wa’! This is a unique Japanese culture trait! Abe believes in unique Japanese cultural traits! He also chooses NHK governors! Hence, NHK will not report on heckling of Abe since it undermines the nationalism myths he believes in and would cause the masses to suffer from ‘confusion’.
    The real question is whether, if the heckling was reported, that Japanese would debate the opinions of the government and the Okinawans, or if they would blame the Okinawan hecklers for embarrassing Japan by showing ‘wa’ to be a myth?

    Reply
  • Jim Di Griz says:

    The Abe administration seems to be suffering from a fundamental case of confusion; the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing.
    Example; the Japanese government wants the number and quality of Japanese English speakers to improve;

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2015/03/28/editorials/disappointing-levels-english/

    But at the same time makes it clear that those who are fluent, or have attempted to become so by interaction with NJ abroad or in Japan will be seen as a security risk and denied access to government work;

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2014/12/08/national/overseas-work-study-seen-negative-point-anyone-handling-state-secrets/

    The government seems confused about what it’s goals are, right?
    Ok, lets look at another example.
    The Abe administration wants to increase the quality and international rankings of Japanese universities by boosting their funding;

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2014/10/22/national/universities-aim-to-boost-their-global-ranking/

    But at the same time, in order to reduce funding, the Ministry of Education has ‘requested’ that national universities close their Humanities departments;

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/06/25/national/subsidies-used-carrot-prod-national-universities-streamline-ditch-humanities/

    Now, you could make the argument that Japanese universities Humanities departments weren’t exactly lighting the world on fire to start with, and hence will not be missed, but this is a move that is at odds with the governments stated goals for improving Japanese universities. What to make of that?

    I’ll tell you. The call to improve English was a tatemae nod to western values for the sake of international image, the real priority was the advancement of fascist police-state institutional government, which over-rides and negates the governments pretty speeches about English education.

    The same is true for the plight of Humanities. The tatemae for the benefit of those who were paying attention was to make all the ‘right noises’ about Japan being a modern developed democracy, while at the same time, the honne is that the government is deeply involved in a war on intellectualism (such as it is in Japan). It’s a major battle-ground in Abe’s war to make Japan a fascist country in the imagined image of the 1930’s land of his grandfather.

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2015/06/23/commentary/japan-commentary/abes-security-legislation-freedom-expression/

    More surprising is that teachers aren’t striking over this, students aren’t protesting, and intellectuals (yes, I’m looking at you, Nobel wannabe Murasaki) have nothing to say. It’s a far cry from the Todai demonstrations of the 60’s. The right have learned their lessons well. As Aso re: changing the constitution, Abe’s government is over-seeing the increasing fascism of the state conducted in a quiet manner with no fuss.

    This is why you take control of the media when you start a revolution, just as Abe has broken NHK and frightened Asahi (and all other media who saw it happen).

    The apologists will argue that the Ministry of Education has been forced to take these measure in order to reduce costs as part of the governments budget tightening. Whilst I have no doubt that one day the government will be so cash-strapped that they will have to choose between universities and police (and we know which they will choose), or between hospitals and fire stations, that time is not now, clearly the government has enough money for the Olympics, and overseas aid, and to bribe members of the IWC (and likely the IOC as well).

    ‘Fiscal responsibility’ is a red herring considering the overall state of the nations finances.

    Reply
  • Jim Di Griz says:

    In addition to my above comment, Abe says he wants to make Japan attractive to elite NJ business people, but look at all the ‘trouble’ about the NJ Toyota director and some medicine! Not much of an incentive to come is it? After all, as William Pesek points out, Toyota HQ gets a police raid for this, but TEPCO still hasn’t been charged for anything, and 10 years of faulty Takata airbags with full corporate awareness of this issue, and the police aren’t interested in that either. Double-standards? No, Japanese fascism in action.

    http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2015-06-24/toyota-s-drug-problem-and-japan-s

    Reply
  • #19 JDG

    That is a very perceptive and succinct summary of Japan and its problems. It deserves a much wider readership….i hope it gets it inside the US and beyond as a real stark warning to all. The juxtaposition with TEPCO is so spot on and if it doesn’t should send a chill down the pine of many wishing to come or invest in Japan…as well as the IAEA making louder international noises of concern too!

    Reply
  • Jim di Griz says:

    New Japanese Comedienne’s break-out routine is based on one concept;
    Saying things a Japanese person would be embarrassed to say- but with an American accent!
    Because, y’know, those gaijin have just got no shame?!?

    http://grapee.jp/57111

    (With video).

    Oh yeah, racially offensive stereotypes, it just never gets old!*

    *In Japan.

    Reply
  • Jim Di Griz says:

    Ahead of 50th anniversary of restoration of diplomatic ties between Japan/Republic of Korea, right-wing Fuji TV ran a special where it fabricated interviews with Koreans on the street saying that they hated Japan;

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/06/29/national/social-issues/fuji-tv-apologizes-subtitles-inaccurately-quoting-south-koreans/

    Will Abe announce in the Diet that Fuji TV has harmed Japan’s international image, and ‘summon’ the president of Fuji TV to ‘appear’ before him for a dressing down? I’d wager he doesn’t because Abe is as right wing as Fuji TV, so no Asahi Newspaper style slap-down and intimidation from the government in this case.

    Reply
  • Jim di Griz says:

    So, Abe can sit in a Japanese air force fighter jet with a giant 731 painted on the sides, giving the thumbs up, and tell everybody to get stuffed (Unit 731 war crimes anyone?), but Flying Tigers replica plane with kill markings for shot down japanese planes?

    Oh! That’s a big ‘no-no’, and requires diplomatic intervention to protect Japan’s idea of historical ‘fact’.
    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/07/03/national/rising-sun-emblem-removed-taiwan-fighter-jets-tokyo-protests/

    This is the same kind of hypersensitivity that had Japanese diplomats complaining to the BBC about the QI program, and you know what happened? The QI host cancelled his plan to come to Japan, and made a one hour show about China instead.

    Reply
  • Jim Di Griz says:

    Now, Dr. Debito, I know that you remember the Japanese security paranoia over the G-8 meeting in Hakone, and I’m pretty sure that you remember the fear of NJ mongering ahead of the World Cup, well, now it seems the NPA is getting wise to the Olympics gravy train;

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/07/03/national/police-recruits-scarce-ahead-olympics/

    Even though the number of applicants is well above the required recruitment targets, the NPA is complaining that thanks to Abenomics success, all the good candidates are turning their noses up at the police to go into corporate security (thanks to all those wage hikes!).

    I find it difficult to believe that rent-a-cops are feeling any economic boom from Abenomics, and I find it equally difficult to believe that it pays a new guy with no experience better salary than joining the police. But apparently some police forces in Japan are now having to take short, fat (and presumably less smart?) applicants in order to fill their rural recruitment quotas.

    Prediction time; the NPA will demand an increase in cop salaries to lure back these mall and car park security guards. The NPA is also saying that they need more police for the Olympics, which makes you wonder, if the Olympics is such a massive threat, why bother to host it? (Don’t answer that, it’s a hypothetical question; of course Japan wants the olympics so that it can suck on the taxpayers fat).

    Anyway, expect another NPA blitz regarding insidious Gaijin in the shadows.

    Reply
  • Jim di Griz says:

    Shinkansen fire; racism and suppression of news in Japan.

    Many people will have noticed that on 30th June, a man committed suicide by immolation on a moving Shinkansen.
    This has been widely covered in the J-news, and even found its way to the BBC;
    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-33322794

    The narrative that has emerged over the days since the incident is that this was the suicide of a financially insecure old man. What no news service to my knowledge has reported is that it comes exactly one year, to the day, after a man in Shinjuku self-immolated as a protest against Abe’s efforts to undermine Article 9 of the constitution;
    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2014/07/05/commentary/japan-commentary/shinjuku-self-immolation-act-protests-abes-democracy-hijack/

    As noted last year, NHK (and other news sources) failed to report on the Shinjuku immolation, presumably to prevent upsetting Abe;
    http://thediplomat.com/2014/07/nhk-ignores-tokyo-self-immolation/

    The fact that reporting of last weeks Shinkansen immolation excludes reference to the earlier same dated Shinjuku immolation is disturbing, given the rarity of immolation cases in Japan. Since last years immolation was ignored by the Japanese press so as not to undermine Abe’s drive for unconstitutional reform, I am obliged to consider that the lack of reference to it in the reporting of the Shinkansen immolation is due to the fact that at this time the diet is debating Abe’s unconstitutional ‘re-interpretation’ of Article 9.
    In fact, given those circumstances, I am inclined to consider the possibility that last weeks Shinkansen immolation was connected to last years Shinjuku immolation, even if in only the fact that it was also a protest against re-militarization. Now that the State Secrecy Law is in effect, it would be a simple matter to conceal any protest letter or statement on the Internet, that the shinkansen suicide victim may have left behind.

    As if the narrative (true or not) that the Shinkansen immolation was caused by financial worries, there is now an emerging narrative that this only happened because of Japan’s ‘unique safety culture’ (echoes of Fukushima, anyone?), and that trains break down and catch fire all the time in foreign countries, because (of course!) foreign countries aren’t safe!

    Additionally, all those ‘unsafe’ foreigners will come to Japan for the Olympics, so Japan should get used to the fact that ‘safety’ can’t be ensured!

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/07/04/national/bullet-trains-get-rude-wake-up-call/

    Reply
  • Jim di Griz says:

    MASSIVE team Abe home goal!

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/07/06/national/history/unesco-decides-to-add-meiji-industrial-sites-to-world-heritage-list/

    Inclusion of Meiji era industrial sites to UNESCO World Heritage will include admission that Korean forced labor was used (but let’s keep our eyes out for any back-sliding on this).

    Why is this an ‘own goal’?
    Well, of course Japan craves international recognition and awards/certification, such as UNESCO listings and Michelin stars as proof to themselves that Japan has ‘arrived’ and is recognized by the Great Powers (the fact that this world view still underlies Japan’s identity and international relations so long after Jaoan was opened in 1864 should indicate the degree of paralysis in Japanese policy makers understanding of international relations).

    Anyway, it’s difficult to feel ‘proud’ of these sites and get respect for them, when they’ve basically been awarded UNESCO status on the same basis as Auschwitz.

    A massive blow for Abe who wanted a rubber stamp that said Japan is indeed a ‘beautiful country’, since Abe’s ever so imaginative, and reformative vision for turning Japan’s economy around is increasing tourism. I thought that was for developing countries, like Thailand?

    Reply
  • Jim di Griz says:

    Re; me at # 29

    The backsliding has started!

    http://www.sankei.com/smp/world/news/150706/wor1507060028-s.html

    Sankei prints it = Abe approved it.

    Sankei says Japan never agreed to include details of Koren forced labor (despite the Japanese spokesman himself saying that at the press conference), and says that the Koreans were ‘volunteers’, just like the sex-slaves.

    I think we have to reinterpret ‘volunteer’ as ‘coerced’ when Japanese use the word from now on.

    Reply
  • Jim Di Griz says:

    Re; me at #29

    Here it is in English;

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/07/06/national/history/unesco-decides-to-add-meiji-industrial-sites-to-world-heritage-list/

    Japanese language version says one thing for the domestic audience, English language version says something else for the international audience- Japanese responsibility dodging undermines it’s international standing.

    Ex;
    1. English report on Fukushima says ‘a disaster ‘made in Japan’. This conclusion not included in the Japanese version.
    2. It’s not ‘sex-slaves’, it’s ‘prostitutes’, according to the Japanese government.
    3. In the UNESCO listed sites, the UN was told by the Japanese delegation in English that there was Korean ‘forced labor’ (kyosei rodo). Japanese language version only says that Koreans were ‘forced to work’ (hatarakasareta).

    This is like saying there nobody was gassed to death at Auschwitz, rather, they ‘breathed poisonous gas until they died’.

    I think they should be stripped of their UNESCO status.

    Reply

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