Plunge Pontificates

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Thursday, June 30, 2005

Taiwan to 'stand-up' to the big bully Japan

Looks as if this island dispute isn't going to be resolved anytime soon.
To protect its fishermen, Taiwan will have to get tough with Japanese fishermen intruding into Taiwan's economic zone, authorities from the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) said yesterday.

Speaking at a symposium titled, "The Situation of Taiwan's Peripheral Seas and Relevant Policies," sponsored by the Ocean Business Research Committee, Chang Yuan-hsu (張元旭), director of the MOI Department of Land Administration, said that the central government is determined to address the thorny issue of Taiwan's fishing disputes with Japan.

This will be interesting to watch and a thorny issue to work through.

Chang continued to say that even if Taiwan-related affairs are brought to the negotiating table, the Taiwanese negotiating team is at a disadvantage due to the country's abnormal diplomatic status. Taiwan and Japan do not maintain official diplomatic relations.

Shame on Japan for not recognizing Taiwan's independence. A real slap in the face, especially considering their past.

North Korea Resumes Building Nuclear Reactors

File this under, SomethingHasToBeDoneSoonButDon'tAskMeBecauseIDon'tHaveASolution.

North Korea has restarted work on two nuclear reactors that was suspended under a 1994 landmark deal with the United States, a Japanese newspaper reported on Thursday.

Quoting unidentified U.S. government and other sources in Washington, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun said North Korea had resumed building a 50-megawatt reactor in Yongbyon and a 200-megawatt reactor in Thaechon, north of Pyongyang.

So is it time to pull an Israel and blow the hell out of the sites?

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Sen. Richard Durbin is a complete idiot

I normally stick with Asia, but decided to stray after reading the following editorial. Let me just say that Durbin is an idiot. Anyone voting for him should hang their head in shame.

As a Marine Corps officer, I spent five years and five months in a prisoner of war camp in North Vietnam. I believe this gives me a benchmark against which to measure the treatment which Sen. Richard Durbin, Illinois Democrat, complained of at the Camp of Detention for Islamo-fascists at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The senator's argument is silly. If he believes what he has said his judgment is so poor that his countrymen, assuming, of course, that he considers us his countrymen, have no reason not to dismiss him as a witless boob. On the other hand, if he does not believe what he said, the other members of the Senate may wish to consider censure.

Consider nutrition. I have severe peripheral neuropathy in both legs as a residual of beriberi. I am fortunate. Some of my comrades suffer partial blindness or ischemic heart disease as a result of beriberi, a degenerate disease of peripheral nerves caused by a lack of thiamin, vitamin B-1. It is easily treated but is extremely painful.

Did Mr. Durbin say that some of the Islamo-fascist prisoners are suffering from beriberi? Actually, the diet enjoyed by the prisoners seems to be healthy. I saw the menu that Rep. Duncan Hunter presented a few days ago. It looks as though the food given the detainees at Guantanamo is wholesome, nutritious and appealing. I would be curious to hear Mr. Durbin explain how orange glazed chicken and rice pilaf can be compared to moldy bread laced with rat droppings.

In May 1969, I was taken out for interrogation on suspicion of planning an escape. I was forced to remain awake for long periods of time -- three weeks on one occasion.

On the first of June, I was put in a cement box with a steel door, which sat out in the tropical summer sun. There, I was put in leg irons which were then wired to a small stool. In this position I could neither sit nor stand comfortably. Within 10 days, every muscle in my body was in pain (here began a shoulder injury which is now inoperable). The heat was almost beyond bearing. My feet had swollen, literally, to the size of footballs. I cannot describe the pain. When they took the leg irons off, they had to actually dig them out of the swollen flesh. It was five days before I could walk, because the weight of the leg irons on my Achilles tendons had paralyzed them and hamstrung me. I stayed in the box from June 1 until Nov. 10, 1969. While in the box, I lost at least 30 pounds. I would be curious to hear Mr. Durbin explain how this compares with having a female invade my private space, and whether a box in which the heat nearly killed me is the same as turning up the air conditioning.


Read the rest on your own.

Senator Durbin should retire and spend some time at the VA hospitals helping some that actually know what torture means.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Sex Workers in Korea Upset

But who cares. It is the headline here that nearly caused me to have to clean my monitor.

All credit to the esteemable Lost Seouls. Long may he blog, if liver disease doesn't kill him quick.

US to put military bases in...Vietnam!

That's right, back to Vietnam!

No, I'm not saying that, but Nora is!

Let her know what you think.

Japan pushes for less anonymity on the Net.

They say it is for safety. I say it is bunk.

Read more at the ever loving MutantFrog.

Chemical Weapons Kill Chinese Citizens!

These aren't new weapons, but ones left over from WWII Japan. Japan has apologized, but a solution needs to be found before more die needlessly.

Three Chinese people were injured last week when poisonous gas leaked from weapons left in the Panyu District of Guangzhou, capital of South China's Guangdong Province.

After checks by its own investigation team, the Japanese Embassy in Beijing yesterday confirmed the injuries had been caused by chemical weapons.

"Our government released a statement on Sunday and expressed true regrets for the accident," said Ide Keiji, minister in charge of press relations at the embassy.

Japanese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hatsuhisa Takashima said in the statement that Japan "truly regrets that the accident happened and expresses heartfelt sympathy to the sufferers."

...

In August 2003, one man was killed and 43 injured after five canisters of mustard gas were unearthed at a construction site in Qiqihar in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang.

In July 2004, two schoolboys in northeastern China were wounded when they uncovered and played with abandoned chemical weapons.

Bu Ping, a researcher at the Heilongjiang Academy of Social Sciences, estimated that Japan may have abandoned more than 2 million chemical weapons across China at the end of World War II.

Since then, about 2,000 Chinese people have been killed or injured by the weapons, said Bu.

Under the international Chemical Weapons Convention Japan is required to dispose of all chemical weapons left in China by 2007.

I don't know how Japan it going to accomplish this task, it seems to be nearly impossible. Similar to removing all the landmines abandoned around the world.

Sad sad situation.

Japan's Citizens Say "NO!"

Yes! The citizens of Japan seem to have a better clue than the government officials. I find the following power pleasing, not only because of its numbers, but the continuing trend it shows. This is now 4 or 5 polls that have shown similar numbers.

Fifty-two percent of respondents in a survey conducted by the Asahi Shimbun said Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi should stop visiting the war-related Yasukuni Shrine, while 36 percent said he should continue, the newspaper reported Tuesday.

Support for the Koizumi Cabinet stood at 43 percent in the weekend survey, down 2 percentage points from a month ago, while the disapproval rate was 39 percent, up 4 points, it said.

Of the respondents who want Koizumi to stop visiting the shrine, which enshrines Class-A war criminals along with Japan's war dead, 72 percent said they think so due to considerations to Japan's Asian neighbors. (emphasis added)

Kudos!


Korea = SamSungNation ?

A senior researcher at the Korea Institute of Finance, Lee Dong-gull, has contended the principles and constitutionality of the country's financial industry “are being shaken by the excessive influence of a particular mammoth chaebol." The chaebol -- or family-owned conglomerate -- is Samsung. Lee, who served as vice chairman of the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) for a year and a half from March 2003, accused the commission of failing to tackle Samsung's flagrant breaches of regulations.

As examples Lee cited that Samsung Card, one of the group’s subsidiaries, breached the law by not seeking FSC approval for holding a 25.6 percent stake in Everland, a Samsung Group flagship that engaged in creative accounting when it calculated the 19.3 percent stake it in turn holds in Samsung Life Insurance not in market prices but in book value. Then there was Samsung Life Insurance diverting some W2 trillion (US$2 billion) in profits that should have gone to the insurers…

So, are they above the law? Have they become so powerful as to be untouchable? This will be interesting to watch and see if someone will have the cahones to step up and slap them on the nose.

Emperor & Empress update

These two continue to impress!

The Japanese Emperor Akihito has paid a surprise visit to a monument for South Korean war dead on the island of Saipan. Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko bowed in front of the monument, a moment that the press were not permitted to film or photograph.

The South Korean community on Saipan was surprised but pleased with the visit by the Japanese royal couple. Relations between the two countries are tense on the issue of the war past. Seoul thinks Tokyo should recognise its war crimes more openly.

They continue to do exactly the right thing to help relations and show themselves to be giants of morality and integrity.

UPDATE: Even though I beat him to the punch, Oranckay has a much more indepth, well thought out post about this.

Japanese Women Prefer Korean Men

This is a shocker. Supposedly, for Japanese women that are going to marry foreigners, Koreans are their #1 choice followed by Americans.

For Japanese women, however, Kaori has found that the top preference of Japanese women as a marriage partner are Korean men and the second preference is American men. The logic is that Korean men are, according to Kaori's description, "passionate, faithful, and loyal to their families, compared to the cold, distant, neveraround Japanese male."

Read it all and decide for yourself.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Japan's courts slap another who suffered

Now, before posting this, let me make my feelings known. I do NOT believe in compensation for the families, relatives or decendants of victims. While they have heard the stories and had some suffering do the impairment of the one who suffered, I do not believe it rises to the level necessary for monetary reward. An apology would be nice and maybe even necessary, but I'm not a big fan of cash deals. Saying that, this suit was brought before the victim died and therefore, I feel that this verdict was unconscionable.

When 84-year-old Zhao Yulan packed luggage two weeks ago for her son heading for Tokyo for a lawsuit that two generations of her family had fought, she thought they would win.

Zhao even had planned to visit her husband's grave on the day of verdict, which was held Thursday, to tell the wartime forced laborer seized by the Japanese army that the injustice he suffered was finally redressed.

The family, however, lost the suit.

Their demand for a state compensation of 20 million Japanese yen (162,074 US dollars) from the Japanese government was denied by the high court Thursday, saying that China and Japan had not reached agreement on state compensation back in the wartime and the 20-year litigation term had expired when the forced laborer himself filed the suit in 1996.

Nice loophole guys!

So, was his treatment really so bad?

Liu Lianren, shipped to Japan at age 31, was forced to work at a mine on Japan's northernmost island of Hokkaido in 1944. But he escaped in April 1945 and went hiding in remote mountains on Hokkaido to avoid Japanese soldiers.

For the next 13 years, Liu lived as a "cave man" in the mountains with a saw, a cleaver, a bag and flints until he was found by a local hunter in 1958.

When he arrived home, he suffered from insomnia, arthritis, spur, round-worm disease, and almost lost the ability to talk.

"I thought he was dead," Zhao said. When Liu was taken away they were just two years into the marriage. Liu's parents were often in tears and prayed for their son's return every day, but unfortunately they did not live up to that day.

After Liu was gone, the whole family relied on her, said Zhao. She looked after the parents, funded his brothers' education, and brought up their own baby. "Our son hadn't met his dad until he was 14."

Zhao said 13 years of cave life had made Liu an entirely different person. After going through years of untold sufferings and hardships, he hesitate to talk about the past, even to his wife and his son. "But what hurt me most was he curled up wheneverhe slept. His back and legs were unable to stretch straight for the rest of his life," she said in tears.

It was the Japanese that brought all these sufferings to her family, Zhao said, and she could not believe the verdict would come down like this.

"Where is the justice? It is unfair," she said.

Justice? Justice? From the Japanese courts in a case dealing with WWII? It will never happen.

Kudos to Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko

Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko will leave for Saipan on Monday afternoon on their first overseas trip dedicated to offering condolences to victims of World War II.

During their two-day visit to the West Pacific island, which comes in the 60th year after the end of the war, the emperor, 71, and empress, 70, will visit several war memorials to pray for the souls of those who died in the Battle of Saipan in 1944.

Things like this give me hope. What a wonderful example for other Japanese to follow.

On Tuesday, the emperor and empress are scheduled to visit the Monument of the War Dead in the Mid-Pacific to offer condolences to war victims of all nationalities. The war memorial, which contains victims' belongings, was built in 1974 by the Japanese and local governments.

At American Memorial Park, the emperor and empress will lay flowers at monuments built in memory of islanders and American soldiers who lost their lives.

The couple will also visit two cliffs from which hundreds of Japanese soldiers and civilians jumped to their deaths after refusing to surrender. One of these cliffs is now known as Banzai Cliff, after the cry "long live the emperor" that the soldiers shouted before throwing themselves over the edge.

The Emperor and Empress to me seem to embody the attitude I wish others, especially those in the government, would show. The truly seem to feel for ALL those that perished. Again, kudos and well wishes for continued health and long life to this example of humanity.

Thar She Blows!




With all the whaling talk lately, this beauty caught my eye. What they think is a true albino whale.

Read here.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

6.25 remembered

God bless those that served, those that sacrificed and those that gave the ultimate sacrifice.



Look, in the near future, for my post on the origins of the Korean War.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Ugh...

Folks, all I can say is you don't want a bowel obstruction leading to a rather nasty case of involuntary expulsions from the mouth of a highly acidic matter that blisters the throat.

So, no voice, blistered throat and little sleep.

I'll be back soon.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

"This land is my land, this land ain't your land..."

On the heals of disputes over islands between Japan and Seoul, China and Russia, comes the latest, an island dispute between Japan and Taiwan.

Defense Minister Lee Jye and parliament speaker Wang Jin-pyng boarded the frigate in Suao on the northeast coast for the four-hour journey to the waters near a disputed group of mineral-rich islands claimed by Taiwan, China, and Japan.

"This area belongs to us historically, geographically and legally. There is no question about it," Wang told reporters before boarding on Tuesday.

"We must defend our sovereignty and protect our fishing rights," said Wang, who was accompanied by 15 lawmakers from the ruling and opposition parties.

Taiwan fishermen said they have been repeatedly driven away by Japanese patrol boats in what they said were their traditional fishing grounds. They have demanded government protection.

Speculation is that this is more because of potential gas deposits beneath the islands, but fishing seems to carry more weight.

Monday, June 20, 2005

More on Yasukuni

Everyone should go read Kushibo's post on Yasukuni. Then, read the comments. A 'MUST READ' for anyone interested in the subject.

Roh / Koizumi summit pretty much a bust!

Not much good happened. Basically, they agreed to disagree. Geez, you'd think they'd come up with something!

The leaders of Japan and South Korea tried Monday to heal ties wounded by spats over islands and Tokyo’s wartime history, but the Asian neighbors failed at a summit Monday to reach any significant new agreements on resolving their disputes.


South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun said he had a ‘‘honest and sincere discussion’’ with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi in two hours of talks mostly focusing on the history issue.

‘‘There were efforts to understand each other and in some areas there was understanding, but there was no agreement,’’ Roh told a news conference in gardens outside the presidential Blue House, where the two leaders spoke in somber tones and refused to take questions.

Relations between South Korea and Japan have soured in recent months with renewed Japanese claims to a set of islets in waters between the countries controlled by Seoul, and Tokyo’s approval of history textbooks that critics say gloss over Japan’s brutal military occupation of much of East Asia in the 1930s and ’40s.

South Korea has also been angered by a Japanese diplomat’s remarks alleging that Washington didn’t trust it with sensitive intelligence.

Koizumi’s annual pilgrimages to a Tokyo war shrine that honors Japanese war dead, including convicted war criminals, have also triggered angry reactions from South Korea, China and other Asian nations that suffered atrocities at the hands of Japan’s wartime troops.

Roh proposed an alternative memorial be built, and said Koizumi responded that the idea would be considered after officials weigh how the move would be seen by the Japanese public. The two sides also agreed to establish a joint history committee.

The leaders also agreed on the need for a peaceful resolution to the nuclear standoff with North Korea. South Korea and Japan are among the countries seeking the North’s return to six-nation arms talks, which also include China, Russia and the United States.

Koizumi invited Roh to visit Japan sometime this year.

Great new book out!

A good friend of mine and Gulf War vet (both Gulf Wars) has written a book.

Give it a look-see.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

South Korean Soldier Goes Nuts, Kills 8

Sad incident.

A South Korean soldier threw a grenade at his commander and then opened fire on his fellow soldiers Sunday near the border with communist North Korea, killing eight and injuring two others, the Defense Ministry said.

Kim Dong-min, 22, told military investigators he threw the grenade in an army barracks packed with sleeping soldiers out of anger when he saw a senior soldier who had often yelled at him, according to Army spokesman Chang Suk-gyu.

Five soldiers died in the explosion. Another three were killed when Kim then took a rifle from a fellow soldier and opened fire, the spokesman said. Kim fired some 40 shots, according to South Korea's Yonhap news agency.


That is all that is known at this time. Our prayers are with the injured to and the families of those killed.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

North Korean couple defects

Not particularly newsworthy given the number of defections in recent years except for this quote.

Choi had been determined to leave the communist state since his mother and younger brother were executed in 2004 for experiments on human bodies, the Inchon Metropolitan Police Agency said in a separate statement.
What the hell does that mean? Executed for 'experiments on human bodies'?!?

If anyone find out some more detail on this, please post it.

Go K. J. Choi!

Third day of the US Open and KJ is only 1 stroke back. Twould be awesome to see him win a major. From interviews I've read, he seems like a hard working, down to earth guy.



His score card for the open is here.

Full leaderboard here.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Thoughtless Korean Couple Kills Infant

Yes sir, the online game addiction is alive and well in Korea.

A thoughtless couple in their 20s who left their four-month old daughter at home while they played Internet computer games at a nearby PC café have been booked by police after the child died.

According to Incheon Police Station on Tuesday, a 29-year-old man husband identified by his family name of Yu and his wife put their four-month daughter in the bedroom of their home and went to a neighborhood PC café at around 4:00 p.m. on May 24 to play the online game "World of Warcraft.

Time flew by as the couple lost themselves in the game, and when they returned home at 9:00 p.m., their daughter was lying on her stomach, dead of suffication.

The couple told police, "We were thinking of playing for just an hour or two and returning home like usual, but the game took longer that day."

Amazingly, their inlaws live upstairs and they didn't even think to drop their child off so that she would be safe.

This is just sad, sad and disgusting.

"Little Black Sambo" resurrected

Couldn't leave well enough alone.
Seventeen years after it was removed from bookshops for its racist content, the children's story Little Black Sambo has made a comeback in Japan.

...

In 1988, Japanese booksellers agreed to remove it from their shelves after a US-led campaign against its racist language and imagery.


Gone, good riddance. But wait, let's just reissue it again!

Last April, Zuiunsha, a small publisher in Tokyo, decided to reissue the book -- under its Japanese title Chibikuro Sambo -- reckoning that today's children would be as enchanted by the book as their parents were.

The gamble has paid off. About 100,000 copies of the 30-page book have been sold in the past two months and it has made it into the top five on the adult fiction bestsellers' lists at big bookshops in Tokyo.

Let's not only publish a racist book, but hell, lets make it a best seller! Way to go people!

The publisher brushed aside claims that it was cashing in on a work that many consider racist, with its depictions of Sambo -- a derogatory word for black people -- with bulging eyes and exaggerated lips.
Na, it isn't racist! It's just a cute little book that I wanted to bring back. GAHHHH!

What is with some people. You had the Nazi themed bar in Korea, now this is Japan. It's time to realize how big and yet how small this world is folks!

UPDATE: Mutant Frog has some more info on racism or racial insensitivity in Japan.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

ABC's trip to North Korea a joke

Media Research center shows what a joke ABC's broadcast from North Korea truly was.

Last Thursday ABC framed a story from Bob Woodruff around how North Koreans hate Americans, but on Saturday Woodruff conceded that "because we were not allowed to bring in our own translator, we had to rely on our minders to tell us what people were saying." So they could have been praising Americans for all we know?

In his June 9 World News Tonight piece, Woodruff had showcased three 11-year-old girls whom he asked: "Do you know about America? Have you heard about America?" The translator then said that one girl answered: "They killed Korean people." Woodruff asked an 18-year-old man he found fishing: "What do you think about the Americans?" Woodruff relayed what the translator told him he answered: "'I curse them,' he said, 'as the sworn enemy of the Korean people.'" On Saturday, Woodruff also boasted that during his week of stories from North Korea that "not one word was censored" by his minders. As if that's anything to be proud of.
Nice, hope you're pleased with your propaganda piece. Next time maybe they will let you sit in an anti-aircraft gun and shot photos from there.

"Of course, there were many places completely off limits to us. They refused our request to visit their nuclear facilities. We didn't even bother asking to see military installations or the prison camps that North Korean defectors have described. But of the material we did gather, not one word was censored. And the only picture they stopped us from transmitting was this shot of the country's founder, Kim il Sung, because they said it was partly blocked by a tree. Even in this more open North Korea, there are still some absolute limits. Bob Woodruff, ABC News, Pyongyang."

Allowing one U.S. reporter to pass along images they like hardly constitutes a "more open" North Korea.

Amen on that. ABC should be ashamed.

It's the history stupid!

Yes, there are many current problems between Japan, Korea and China, but dismissing the history as so many Japnophiles wish to do is just wrong.

Stepped up tensions between China and Japan could be eased by the recognition and resolution of Japan and China's past, particularly as Japan steps up its security efforts in the region, experts said.

The two countries have been at odds over the recognition of war crimes committed by the Japanese army in the past, and what the Chinese perceive as Japanese efforts to play down and conceal its wartime past.

"I think history is a real issue, it's a real concern for the leadership of both countries," said Eric Higenbotham, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington at an event Tuesday.

The biggest problem comes when Japan apologists try and make it out like those protesting Japan's treatment of history are saying that it is the ONLY problem and do not recognize current situations. That is completely untrue. What most are saying is that it greatly adds to the anger and frustration.

It is unclear what Washington's role in the resolution of a historical dispute will be. So far many Japanese say the U.S. position over the tensions has been passive and Washington has advocated a fix-it-yourself policy. David Kang, an associate professor in government at Dartmouth College, says the issue will ultimately have to be decided by the leaders of the countries.

"Ultimately, a change in historic perceptions depends on the leadership," he said. "There has to be an overall change in the way academics, politicians, and people on the street view it."

Higenbotham also says the leadership must take a strong role in changing the perceptions and the anger. He says there must be a will to end the debates over history, and education must be changed to prevent youth from being misinformed.
Then, if Japan finally does this, they might be able to fill the role of leader they so desperately want.

Koizumi's visit to Yasukuni Official or Private?

Reading this article, it shed little new on the situation of Yasukuni until near the end where it said:
Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi visits Yasukuni Shrine as "a private citizen," not in his official capacity, the government said Tuesday.

The written comments were part of a response to questions by Lower House member Tetsundo Iwakuni of the Democratic Party of Japan.

The government said the prime minister's visits to the shrine are not official events and public money has not been spent on them.

But it did not explain why Koizumi signs the shrine's guest book using his official title.

So what is it? Are we visiting as Koizumi the citizen or Koizumi the Prime Minister? His signature seems to suggest the second.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Two Must Reads at Marmots

Two must read articles at the Marmot's Hole.

First, President Bush meets a North Korean defector for a private, 40 minute discussion.

Next, US forces in the Pacific to be all changed, so sorry Korea, its been fun.

Japanese explanation of the shrine

Mutant Frog Travelogue has posted a 3 part series on Yasukuni. It give the Japanese version of things, a must read.

Taiwanese might be a bit upset by what is posted there. If that doesn't work, a similar article here.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Condi says it like it is

Might piss off the North, but Condi speaks bluntly.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Monday she did not know whether North Korean leader Kim Jong-il was sane, a remark that could anger Pyongyang's unpredictable ruler.

Asked if she thought Kim was sane during an interview with MSNBC's "Hardball with Chris Matthews," Rice replied: "I don't know. I've never met the man." The interview was taped on Monday and was to be broadcast on Tuesday.

Heh... what a way with words.

And another 'official' denial...

Oh yes, why teach about comfort women when it never happened?
Japanese Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Minister Nariaki Nakayama said in a public address Saturday that there were originally no such words as "comfort women," so it was good that the "incorrect" description was removed from school textbooks.
Nice...

Japan to become a nuclear power?

Is Japan contemplating producing nuclear weapons?

"If North Korea did a nuclear test, South Korea and Japan could start debating seriously whether to arm themselves with nuclear weapons," Osaka University of Economics and Law professor Yasuhiko Yoshida.

"It's possible that a North Korean nuclear test could trigger a chain reaction. If Japan and South Korea decided to become nuclear powers, Taiwan could also want to take a similar path," added Yoshida, a former official at the International Atomic Energy Agency.

It's hard to contemplate a nuclear Japan, but given the alternative of China and now North Korea being the only nuclear powers in the area, a counter is needed. Given South Korea's recent actions and attitudes, Japan seems to be the better choice for that position.

Yasukuni and Yushukan looked at even more closely

As more and more articles are written, people finally start to find out the truth. The truth hurts. The truth is that Yasukuni and Yushukan are an abomination that should shame the average Japanese person and infuriate any nation that suffered because of her or had to fight against her.

"IT'S none of their business," Shigetada Maruoka says of Chinese complaints about the Shinto shrine where two of his friends, war comrades, are honoured. "Yasukuni is a matter for the Japanese."

The 83-year-old former Imperial Japanese Army soldier sits outside a theatrette on the first floor of Yasukuni's Yushukan war memorial museum, where he and his wife have just watched a patriotic film from the Greater East Asian War – the Pacific War.

It's the cry we hear time and time again. Why do you care? This is for the Japanese, it is part of our heritage, part of our religion. Yet, how can something so odious be left along?

The Yushukan, established in 1882, is Japan's oldest museum and stands just northeast of the Inner Shrine, the heart of the Yasukuni complex.

For those that don't know the difference between the two...



The Inner Shrine, a bleakly handsome structure with its interior curtained and dimmed by banners of mourning white, houses the souls of 2.46 million war dead from between 1868 and 1945 (or shortly afterwards, in the case of its most controversial spirits). Inside, their names, details of their closest family, military units and, where available, circumstances of death are inscribed on parchment forms.

But Yasukuni has an ideological as well as memorial purpose and that is met by the Yushukan.

The museum is the repository of a distorted, victimised and self-excusing version of Japan's modern military history that inspires contemporary ultra-nationalists – some of whom cruise the Yasukuni precinct in black vans with loudspeakers – as well as comforts those such as Maruoka who survived the sufferings of six decades ago. (emphasis added)

Wonderful explanation of what this place represents. I couldn't have said it better.

The article then goes on to talk a bit about the finances of the temple which are kept close to the chest. The names of those that financially support this abomination are kept secret. The amounts given rumored to be quite large.

Five million people visit the shrine each year, according to the public relations man, though Yasukuni's official website says "some 8million". But there's no dispute the numbers are substantial, or that many younger Japanese – for and against it – care deeply about the shrine's meaning.

5 million! 5million! Yes, I understand that they might be there because their ancestors are enshrined there, but for myself, I could never do that.

"What other former Axis country would maintain such a memorial?" demanded an exasperated South Korean diplomat recently. "None that I can think of!"

Exactly! Who else would honor their war criminals like this?

But Yasukuni devotees have a good case when they say how Japan honours its war dead is essentially a matter for the Japanese. Where the case falls apart is the history purveyed by the Yushukan, because Japan shares those painful experiences with countries from Russia to Australia, India to the US.

This year, on the way to celebrating the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II's Pacific conflict, those whose compatriots fought the Japanese shuffle awkwardly around other remembrances: the incendiary bombing of Tokyo, the civilian slaughter on Okinawa, the nuclear devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The Allies' popular war accounts emphasise less morally problematic events. But there is no equivalent of the Yushukan.

What are those excesses, those distortions you might ask. You might think that they really aren't that bad. Well, let's take a look, shall we?

The Chinese see the theatricality of Koizumi's annual visits, the enshrined war criminals and revisionist high-school histories. But the Yushukan gallery devoted to "the China Incident" seems a much worse affront.

The history text that helped ignite anti-Japanese riots in Chinese cities in April glosses the nature of the occupation of Manchuria and the Second Sino-Japanese war of 1937-45.

The Yushukan history denies shamelessly. This is its account of events after Japanese troops surrounded China's then imperial capital, Nanking, in December 1937:

"General Matsui Iwane distributed maps to his men with foreign settlements and safety zones marked in red ink. Matsui told them to observe military rules and anyone that committed unlawful acts would be severely punished.

"He also warned the Chinese troops to surrender but commander-in-chief Tang Shengzhi ignored the warning. Instead, he ordered his men to defend Nanking to the death and then abandoned them. The Chinese were soundly defeated, suffering heavy casualties. Inside the city, residents were once again able to live their lives in peace."

Nearby is a replica of Emergency Order No400 of July 8, 1937, issued the evening after the "Marco Polo Bridge incident" gave Japan its pretext for full-scale war on the Chinese. Japanese officers are advised "to prevent this incident from escalating, refrain from further use of military force".

The foreigners whose safety was guaranteed when the scrupulous General Matsui's troops stormed Nanking later told an international military tribunal of the six weeks of massacre, rape and pillage that followed. Between 100,000 and 300,000 Chinese, including many women and children, were killed.

The tribunal ordered General Matsui to hang. He was one of the 14 that the Yasukuni account describes as "those who gave up their lives after the end of the Greater East Asian War, taking upon themselves the responsibility for the war.

"There were also 1068 'Martyrs of Showa' who were cruelly and unjustly tried as war criminals by a sham-like tribunal of the Allied forces. These martyrs are also the kami (deities) of Yasukuni."

This has got to be a joke, right? For a far more accurate account of Nanking, please go here. Anyone believing the above should have their head examined.

But wait, there's more!

Australians, Britons and Southeast Asian visitors might mutter darkly at reminders of the Burma-Thailand railroad as a marvellous engineering feat under severe difficulty. That it was, but what's missing is the deaths of 13,000 prisoners of war and more than 90,000 "coolies" from Burma, Malaya and the Dutch East Indies from brutality, disease and overwork.

Among other problems, recounting the use of Asian slave labourers would detract from one of the museum's didactic themes: that Japanese militarism from the Russo-Japanese War of 1905 to 1945 was the engine of Asian liberation from European imperialism.

This is illustrated by displays at the start and finish of the museum tour: from Western incursions into Asia from the battle of Plassey in 1757, when a British force defeated a French and Indian army in Bengal, to the menacing return to Japan of Commodore Matthew Perry's "black ships" in 1854.

The end display shows 11 Asian countries occupied by the Japanese gaining independence between 1945 and 1960. Interestingly, Red China is noted, but liberated Korea – which was annexed to Japan for 35 years – is ignored.

I hope former POWs stay far away, the outright lies might be too much for their old hearts to handle. These are our allies? These are folks that learned from WWII? They've done a great job of hiding this outside of Asia.

Former emperor Hirohito stopped coming after the head priest of the time surreptitiously enshrined the 14 war criminals in 1978. Akihito is widely said to have no enthusiasm, hidden or otherwise, for Yasukuni.

I've always felt that allowing Hirohito to live after WWII was a mistake, I still do. Yet, the royal family shows far more sensitivity than others, far more so than those who should be the examples.

Again this year a proposal has been resurrected to take the political sting out of Yasukuni, especially where the Chinese are concerned, by "de-shrining" the 14.

Yuko Tojo, a granddaughter of the late general, last week broke the family's long silence to object and to recall why, 20 years ago, her uncle refused to sign a petition supporting the same measure.

"Japan didn't fight wars of aggression, only now China says so," she told a Tokyo television program. Japan only invaded China to protect its existing interests, she explained.

"If he had signed (the letter), it would have meant that we admitted it was a war of aggression. It was a matter for the whole nation, not a matter of individuals, so he didn't sign it." (emphasis added)


Back in the news again, despite how some would shrug off her words.

Some wonder why I keep harping on this and a few other things. It's because of these relatively few things that Japan cannot become the nation it should be. It is the reason that Japan cannot be the leader in Asia that it should be.

Pride cometh before the fall... Japan seems to have plenty of that.

Teach, your children well...

And futher the diplomatic problems between Korea and Japan...
Education minister Nariaki Nakayama called Saturday for teaching schoolchildren that Japan has sovereignty over the South Korean-held pair of islets in the Sea of Japan known as Takeshima in Japan and as Tokto in South Korea.

"It is the most fundamental among basics to teach to what location a country's territory stretches," Nakayama, minister of education, culture, sports, science and technology, said in reference to the sovereignty row over the 230,000-square-meter islets.

Thank you soooooo much Mister Education Minister, or should we just call him, "Numnut!"? Let's make Koizumi and the other diplomats jobs just that much harder.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Joint History Project Report Completed and Released

What a glorious day! Scholars from Japan and Korea, united to bring understanding to the history between both nations. This august group, each committed to utter and complete neutrality, worked tirelessly so that we can finally put difficult issues to rest.

Let's see how it went...

Japanese and South Korean historians presented differing views on key historical events involving the two countries in a report released Friday as part of a bilateral project aimed at promoting mutual understanding on history perceptions.

The nearly 2,000-page document comprising reports by scholars from the two countries showed conflicting interpretations, particularly on modern and contemporary issues.

In the reports, South Korean historians say Japan forced Korea to accept the Second Japan-Korea Agreement in 1905, which made Korea a Japanese protectorate, and the 1910 Annexation Treaty. TheSouth Koreans say these pacts were invalid because procedures for their signing and ratification were lacking.

A Japanese scholar asserts, however, that there were no conditions that would make the treaties invalid under international law.

...

A group of scholars started work on the joint study the following year and took until May this year to complete their reports, one year behind schedule, apparently due to differences on interpretations and theories on many issues.


hmmm... Maybe next time.

You can view the full report in Korean or Japanese here.

Korean Woman killed by US Military Vehicle

A South Korean woman was killed Friday after being struck by a US military truck in Dongducheon, some 40 kilometers north to Seoul, reported South Korean Yonhap News Agency.

The woman, whose surname is Kim, was pulling her cart on a street in Dongducheon when a 2.5-ton US military vehicle hit her. The driver of truck is a US soldier whose first name is Brian, said the report.

The 51-year-old yogurt delivery worker was dead on the spot.


Sad situation. They are trying to determine if he was on duty at the time. If so, the US heads the investigation, if not, South Korea does.

Let's hope it was just a horrible accident. All condolences to the family.

UPDATE: Kushibo adds much more to this.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

How Yasukuni Could Alter Future Elections in Japan

Fascinating article showing those that oppose visits to Yasukuni and those that condone it as well as how their parties will react to this in the future. It could end up being a central issue in the next elections.

Meanwhile, LDP Acting Secretary General Shinzo Abe, who is seen as a prospective candidate to take over from Koizumi, has strongly supported continued visits by the prime minister to the shrine, demonstrating that support for Yasukuni visits is a precondition for the next prime minister.

Abe has repeatedly claimed that China holds a grip on Japanese diplomacy over historical issues and that Chinese pressure over Yasukuni is a test for Japan's foreign policy. Junior LDP lawmakers are supportive of Abe's assertive foreign policy position.

New Komeito, however, has urged the prime minister to stop visiting the shrine. Party leader Takenori Kanzaki said the issue was damaging the foundations of the coalition.

An LDP member who is a former Cabinet member said it was difficult for the party to hold on to power without New Komeito's cooperation on elections and Diet affairs, and as a result Abe's position on Yasukuni may jeopardize his bid for the prime minister's post.

The LDP member went on to say that statements made by Koga and other LDP heavyweights were intended to make Yasukuni a key issue for the party presidency.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Babble-on

Okay, the guy is rude and crude, but I just couldn't stop laughing.

Sleep sound tonight...

I could not believe this after I read it! The photo alone is enough to give children nightmares.

On April 25, Gregory Despres arrived at the U.S.-Canadian border crossing at Calais, Maine, carrying a homemade sword, a hatchet, a knife, brass knuckles and a chain saw stained with what appeared to be blood. U.S. customs agents confiscated the weapons and fingerprinted Despres. Then they let him into the United States.

Come on in! Everyone's welcome! Just check your bloody freakin chainsaw at the door!!!!

The following day, a gruesome scene was discovered in Despres' hometown of Minto, New Brunswick: The decapitated body of a 74-year-old country musician named Frederick Fulton was found on Fulton's kitchen floor. His head was in a pillowcase under a kitchen table. His common-law wife was discovered stabbed to death in a bedroom.

Ya think? Did that surprise anyone? So, why wasn't he detained at the border?

At a time when the United States is tightening its borders, how could a man toting what appeared to be a bloody chain saw be allowed into the country?

Bill Anthony, a spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, said the Canada-born Despres could not be detained because he is a naturalized U.S. citizen and was not wanted on any criminal charges on the day in question.

Anthony said Despres was questioned for two hours before he was released. During that time, he said, customs agents employed "every conceivable method" to check for warrants or see if Despres had broken any laws in trying to re-enter the country.

"Nobody asked us to detain him," Anthony said. "Being bizarre is not a reason to keep somebody out of this country or lock them up. ... We are governed by laws and regulations, and he did not violate any regulations."

Anthony conceded it "sounds stupid" that a man wielding what appeared to be a bloody chain saw could not be detained. But he added: "Our people don't have a crime lab up there. They can't look at a chain saw and decide if it's blood or rust or red paint."

Don't they have one of those little kits we see on CSI to check for blood or anything? Hell, someone taste it or something!

I understand we are ruled by laws, but you would have thought they could have come up with something!!!

Oh, here is a photo of this 'fine' fellow.

US / Korea relationship beyond the point of return?

A U.S. academic on Wednesday warned if the estrangement between Seoul and Washington deepens it may become impossible to heal.

Johns Hopkins University academic Don Oberdorfer was discussing the upcoming Korea-U.S. summit during a debate entitled, "North Korean Nuclear Issue and the Future of Six-Party Talks," hosted by the Korea Press Foundation at the Seoul Press Center. He said he hoped the summit would become an opportunity for the two sides to carefully listen to one another.


This is what I'm afraid of. Has Korea gone to far to recover? It seems that everytime Roh opens his mouth, the relationship between Korea and the US gets worse. I just wonder if it can last Roh's term until someone else takes the helm, hopefully someone who is a bit more politically saavy.

Parliament speaker calls on Koizumi to show caution

A top lawmaker urged Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi on Tuesday to reconsider his annual visit to a controversial war shrine, warning it could damage Japan's already strained relations with China, officials said.

Yohei Kono, the speaker of Parliament's powerful lower house, told Koizumi he should "use extremely careful judgment" when considering whether to make a visit this year to the Yasukuni Shrine, the house speaker's secretary said on condition of anonymity.

And the list grows and grows...

Japan's bid for seat on the UNSC on hold?

Probably with the US now gently opposing it:

Japan will probably postpone submitting a resolution to expand the U.N. Security Council in light of an objection aired last week by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Foreign Ministry sources said Tuesday.

In a telephone conversation Friday with Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura, Rice urged Tokyo to refrain from submitting the resolution this month, the sources said.

"If the resolution is submitted in haste, we would have to oppose to it," a senior ministry official quoted Rice as telling Machimura. "There would be confusion if it is submitted too early."


Personally, I think all this bid was doing was flaming futher anger and agression in Asia. Better to let it sit for a while.

A Good Start, Tokyo & Seoul to look at history

Japan is set to propose to South Korea that experts from both countries review their history textbooks used at schools as part of a joint history research program, officials said.

Tokyo is consulting Seoul over the proposal before Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi presents it when he meets with South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun in a summit meeting in Seoul on June 20.


Okay, yes they've tried this in the past. But it is something that needs to be done, they just need to work better at working together. Hat's off to them!

Monday, June 06, 2005

What's it all about?

I was asked what this blog is all about.

We'll, I'll try and respond. It is a place to put my thoughts on subjects, that is number one. In between that time, it is finding things that interest me.

I've long been interested in Asia, China, Japan and Korea to be specific. I did my undergrad studies in Asian history and Korean linguistics. My senior paper was on the second period of the Japanese occupation of Korea. For a time, I considered continuing to study Asian history and maybe even get a doctorate and teach Korean history.

The summer after finishing my undergrad studies, my wife and I spent many months in Korea. I spent a great deal of that time interviewing elderly Koreans about the time they spent under Japanese subjegation as well as the Korean war. I had thought this might be an interesting subject to study as I was still seriously considering continuing my Asia directed studies. I must have interviewed 80-100 Koreans, some individually, some in groups, all at least 70 years old. This was back in 93. It was fascinating to me and the stories I heard warmed my heart at times and turned it to ice at others. It was there that I learned what hell on earth truly was as I listened to stories of brutalities committed by Japanese, by sympathizers, by North Korea soldiers and by South Korean soldiers. By far, the greatest brutality can from the Japanese and the North Korean soldiers.

It was also at this time that I had the unfortunate experience of passing a kidney stone. During that time of morphine induced euphoria, my mother-in-law told me her story of life and especially the brutality of the Korean War. I was a captive audience and she spent hours telling me of hiding in the mountains, watching friends raped and tortured, seeing family members dismembered.

Alas, I didn't continue my studies of Asian history. So, these interviews went for naught. My tapes and notes were boxed away. Yet, my attitudes were in place and that has carried over to today.

I have a very strong vision of Asia, how I think it should be. Dammit though, people aren't doing things the way I want them to and that just pisses me off.

First off, I don't see reunification anytime soon, especially a peaceful reunification. South Korea just can't afford it, it is too expensive and they aren't willing to make the sacrifices necessary. Korea would have to swallow its pride and accept massive help from the rest of the world. Japan would have to be a huge part as well as the US.

Next, in my vision of 'How Asia Should Be', I see Japan as the leader of 'Free Asia' countering China. I see South Korea and Japan strongly allied together and with the US. I see people standing on principle, condemning China for its human rights abuses and supporting Taiwan in its bid for freedom. I see Japan and Korea openly, strongly, recognizing Taiwan as a free and independent nation, able to do so because of their combined economic and military might as a result of their cooperation with each other and the US. I see these two nations giving massive aid to other struggling, smaller Asian nations, thereby keeping them out of China's grasping maw. In the final scenes of this vision, I see the people of China rising up and overthrowing their dictatorial leaders and the combined might of a free China, South Korea and Japan forcing reforms in North Korea, bringing the long struggle to an end. Not bad eh?

Unfortunately, the first part of this vision isn't coming to pass. I can't see any of this happening without Japan coming to grips with its past. It is a theme I have harped on over and over. It is the reason I continue to point out the hypocrisy I see in Japan and those that 'defend' her. For my vision to happen, Japan is the keystone and my damn keystone is crumbling. Korea will never be able to trust Japan and work closely with her until her past is an open book. Japan has to stop making excuses. Japnophiles have to stop making excuses for her.

Let's look at some pretty irrefutable facts.

1. Japan annexed Korea for the purpose of strengthening Japan. It was not to help Korea, it was not a humanitarian mission. During this time, atrocities were committed on the people of Korea.

2. Japan began a war of aggression invading other Asian countries and commiting further atrocities on their indigenous peoples.

3. Japan attacked the US and began a massive conflaguration that cost the lives of many and ignored the rules of decency in its treatement of POWs.

4. Japan's adventures cost the lives of 10s of millions of people.

5. Japan forced hundreds of thousands if not millions into slave labor and forced girls as young as 12 to be the sexual slaves of its soldiers.

Can we agree on these basic facts?

Now comes the hard part, having had these things happen, what next? No rational person can expect people to just forgive and forget. One of the interesting things I have come to learn from studying this period of time is how easy the Japanese had it after WWII. Some might shake their heads and scream of the burned out cities and the atomic weapons, but for a defeated nation, Japan had it easy. I've read various news reports from the time at how reporters from the west visiting Japan did not see a defeated nation. Definitely not like what they witnessed in Germany. That is where I think the problem lies. Japan never felt like it lost and there really isn't anything you can do about that now.

For one, Japan kept its emperor. A huge mistake if you ask me. Yes, I understand the ramifications of not allowing Japan to keep its emperor, but a few more atomic weapons would have cured that surrender stickler. He should have hung and it should have been done publicly. He was the leader of the nation whether he controlled it or not. Anyway, that is neither here nor there.

The situation we have now is one where some of the most powerful nations in Asia don't see Japan as having done what was necessary to atone for its crimes. This has helped to push Korea into a closer relationship with China. Another blow to my vision of a 'proper' Asia.

The Japan apologists try and say Japan has apologized and that nothing they do now will be enough. They point to the 1965 agreement between Japan and Korea to show that no more monies need be paid. They cry and cry that they can do no more. 28 apologies, or some such number have been made, what more do they want? What more can they ask of us?!?

Now, put that in relation to the above facts. 10s of millions dead, countries and lives destroyed, slavery, both physical and sexual. Torture, rape, mutilation, biological experimentation, death and destruction. Billions of dollars worth of materials, art and labor stolen. Compared to a few hung, some money given and LOANED and 28 or so apologies. On top of this, lets not forget the vocal and accepted deniers of it all, whitewashed textbooks, books glorifying the military past and a shrine visited by government officials deifying war criminals. THIS IS TOTALLY SCREWED UP.

This is what upsets me! This is what angers me! Not only do those that deny and honor anger me, but bloggers and their commenters that want to accept this as not a problem annoy me to no end. This isn't ancient history. This is modern history. This affects EVERY DAY LIFE. This affects the relationship between Japan and Korea. Yet, we have bloggers and commenters saying Korea, the vicitim in this whole thing, should just get over it! They shouldn't just get over it, JAPAN SHOULD FIX THE DAMN PROBLEM.

For example, lets look at my post on the granddaughter of Tojo. She goes on a news program and, representing her family, says that her grandfather's name should never be removed from Yasukuni. Why? We'll that would be like admitting that Japan had done something wrong, evil, like starting a war! Ummm...yeah, that's just what they FREAKIN DID. Again, she isn't speaking for herself. She isn't some old, demented dingbat as Curzon might want us to think, she is there representing the entire family on a national news show. Where is the outrage?

Curzon then goes on to mention a poll, one which I already blogged about I might add, saying 55% of the people don't want Koizumi to visit Yasukuni and that this shows the people understand the past. I would agree, if there was some consistancy. THERE IS NOT. It seems that everytime something like this happens, a contridiction occurs. Not to mention that this is a first for a majority to want him to stay away from the shrine. Let's see what the poll numbers look like next time.

If there was true understanding of the past through out Japan, these types of things would not continue to happen. If there was a true understanding of the past in Japan, the Diet would have overwhelmingly passed a complete and meaningful apology and no leader, as well as no decent minded citizen, would consider visiting Yasukuni.

If there was true understanding of the past through out Japan, in 1995, 4.5 million Japanese would not have signed a petition against apologizing for the crimes committed.

If there was true understanding of the past through out, the comfort women's ordeal would be addressed head on and arrangement made to help them in the few years of life they have remaining. Instead, we get the obligatory, "This was covered in 1965."

If there was true understanding of the past through out Japan, we would not have best selling manja that glorified the military past and called the rape of Nanking a figment of Chinese imagination.

If there was true understanding of the past thorugh out Japan, Yasukuni would be a minor shrine where only the neo right wing fascist numnuts went to pay their respects to their honored war criminal dead. Another shrine would have already been erected for those who shunned the ignoble and it would be attended by the vast majority.

If there was true understanding of the past through out Japan, true history would be taught in the schools and crimes would not be white washed.

This whole situation could be fixed.

So, what is this blog about? It's about me and what I like and what annoys me. It lets me put up some long, drawn out thoughts as well as the daily annoyances, most of which come from Japan because these people won't do what I, the one who knows best, wants! I would probably blog about the things that annoy me in Korea but those blogging about Korea normally seem to find those way before I do.

That's it.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Tojo's Grandaughter Opposes Removal of Name From List

A granddaughter of Hideki Tojo, Japan's wartime prime minister who was hanged as a Class-A war criminal after the war, reiterated on Sunday her opposition to removing her grandfather and other Class-A war criminals from the list of those enshrined at Yasukuni Shrine.

According to Yuko Tojo, an official of the association of bereaved families of Japanese soldiers who died in World War II sought consent in 1985 from Tojo's kin about a proposal to separate the war criminals from the war dead honored at the Shinto shrine.

She said on a Fuji Television news program that the Tojo family rejected the idea, however, and still hold the same view at this stage.

That would be fine, I guess, for a family to be upset. Personally, if my grandfather was a convicted Class A war criminal, I might feel a bit of shame, but that's just me.

Still, here is the quote that says it all!

"It's an issue of state and not a problem of a private individual. It's also not an issue of whether to withdraw enshrinement after a foreign country made a claim," she said. "It will be tantamount to admitting that the last war was a war of aggression."

That says it all. That is why I have such a hard time with all of this "we've apologized" crap and "we've paid our debt" crap. This attitude that many Japanese have of, it wasn't our fault! Excuse me?!? Excuse me?!? Your DAMN WAR OF AGGRESSION CAUSED THE DEATH AND SUFFERING OF UNTOLD MILLIONS!

While holocaust deniers are considered fringe whack jobs, people like the granddaughter of Tojo are appearing on national TV and are taken seriously. It makes me want to puke. Don't give me this crap that most Japanese understand their history. Horsehockey! If that was the case, opinions like hers would only appear on fringe websites and if they were nationally broadcast, they would be condemned like Pat Buchanan.

I'll say it again, it is time for Japan to apologize. REALLY apologize, not the half-hearted crap they have done so far. A REAL apology.

Whale Meat Eaters Want More!

"I think it's nonsense," said 61-year-old Kohei Uchiyama. "Eating a whale is the same thing as killing and eating a cow."

Okay, I don't know much about this subject. From the article, Japan wants to greatly increase the amount of whales it catches every year. Others are furious about it.

Personally, whales are animals and there is nothing wrong with using them for our benefit. But, if they are endangered, or if whaling will cause other great harm, then it should be halted.

So, can anyone enlighten me on this subject? Are whales still greatly endangered? I'm sure some are, but the ones that Japan wants to catch?

20th case of mad cow disease found in Japan

Not particularly noteworthy except for the fact that they STILL won't allow the import of US beef. Oh the hypocrisy of it all...

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Former PM ask Koizumi to NOT visit Yasukuni

The list continues to grow and grow. High ranking, important Japanese feel the visits should end.

Former prime minister Yasuhiro Nakasone said Koizumi should consider what benefits the nation most, rather than sticking to his personal belief, the Kyodo News agency said.

"A decision to stop making a visit would be a respectable decision," the agency quoted Nakasone as saying Friday during a speech in Tokyo.

That isn't all, in fact, that is just the beginning.

On Wednesday, eight former Japanese prime ministers and the speaker of Parliament's powerful lower house met and decided Koizumi should stop the visits in light of the troubles with China, which erupted in April in violent anti-Japan protests in several Chinese cities.

"It cannot be denied that the cause of the sudden chill in relations between Japan with China and South Korea are Prime Minister Koizumi's visits to Yasukuni Shrine," House speaker Yohei Kono said, according to an aide in his office speaking on condition of anonymity.

The aide said the leaders agreed that "Prime Minister Koizumi should stop his visits to Yasukuni Shrine," and that Kono was awaiting an opening in Koizumi's schedule to convey the group's concerns.

The extraordinary statement steps up pressure on Koizumi to halt his pilgrimages _ and reflects growing consternation about them from within Koizumi's ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its smaller coalition partner, the New Komeito Party.

At his official residence, Kono told ex-prime ministers Yoshiro Mori, Ryutaro Hashimoto, Tomiichi Murayama, Kiichi Miyazawa and Toshiki Kaifu that, as a former foreign minister, he believed the group had an obligation to try and steer Tokyo from policy missteps, the aide said. Murayama was the only non-LDP member.

Former prime ministers Yasuhiro Nakasone, Morihiro Hosokawa and Tsutomu Hata spoke separately with Kono earlier in the day and said they were also "very worried" about the fallout over Koizumi's Yasukuni visits, the aide said.

Also Wednesday, New Komeito Party leader Takenori Kanzaki warned Koizumi that future trips would hurt their parties' ties.

This isn't a small group of unknowns, this is the elite of Japan's government. 8 former PMs. Maybe he should listen?

Thursday, June 02, 2005

I'm in total shock...

From the unequaled Coming Anarchy, Young Husband favors us with this piece of news that has boggled my mind. I seriously have no comment as I'm afraid to what I would say.

Despite having labeled a man as “worse than a pervert” for performing indecent acts on his 7-year-old daughter and then e-mailing images of his deeds to friends, a judge allowed him to walk free.

The Yokosuka Branch of the Yokohama Family Court handed down a three-year sentence for breaking the Child Welfare Law on the 39-year-old Mie Prefecture man.

“Your words and acts while sexually abusing your own daughter caused her severe mental damage,” the presiding judge in the case said while handing down the ruling, but then he suspended the sentence for five years. “It’s a matter of course that your should go to jail. But then it’s hard on the girl if her father is in prison. Don’t ever do something like this again.”

The trial showed the man had molested his 7-year-old daughter on at least 10 occasions from August last year to February, using his mobile phone camera to film his deeds. He then sent the photos to a friend he had met through a pedophile website.

On the opening day of the trial on May 25, the judge lambasted the man.

“You’ve gone past mere perversion. You’re worse than a pervert. You’ve done something a normal father couldn’t even imagine doing. It was not the act of a human being. What are you going to do about the future of the daughter you’ve hurt so badly?” the judge told the man.

Like I said before, I'm at a loss. Comments are closed on this, please head over to Coming Anarchy to discuss it.

In the comments are one on the death penalty in Japan. A visitor left this link for a post on that subject. Somehow I think death is too easy a punishment for something this vulgar.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

South Korean fishermen kidnap Japanese!!!!

Yes, now the South Korean's are kidnapping Japanese citizens!
A South Korean fishing boat suspected of operating illegally in Japan's economic waters fled into South Korean economic waters around Tuesday midnight with two Japan Coast Guard officers aboard, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda said Wednesday.

The fishing boat, suspected of fishing illegally in Japan's exclusive economic zone around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday, was boarded by two coast guard officers. But the boat fled with the Japanese officers on board until it was stopped in South Korea's EEZ by its coast guard ship shortly before 2 a.m. Wednesday, he said.

At the present time, this is the only information we have. Will they be set free? Will the be kept and used to teach future Korean fishermen the arcane secrets of the Japanese Coast Guard? Only time will tell...

UPDATE: On a more serious note, Oranckay has an excellent post on this issue and on 'kidnapping' and 'detaining' as it relates to culture. Don't miss it.

Tough Times for US / Japan alliance?

Recently, lets be honest, for quite a few years now, the ties between the US and Korea have been strained at best. Some in Japan see them headed in a similar direction, unthinkable by many because of just how tight the ties have been lately.

As if Japan-South Korea ties were not troubled enough, Vice Foreign Minister Shotaro Yachi made matters worse on May 11 with an astonishing gaffe during a meeting with a delegation of South Korean National Assembly members visiting Tokyo. Yachi told the delegation that although the United States shares a wide range of intelligence information with Japan, Tokyo cannot relay that intelligence to South Korea because Washington does not fully trust Seoul.

The remark was careless not only because it played into South Korean President Roh Moo Hyun's self-fulfilling prophecy of a "diplomatic war" with Japan. It was also careless because it revealed an overconfidence in some circles of Japanese officialdom regarding their close partnership with the United States. However pervasive this sentiment is, it is foolish to assume that the good times in Japan-U.S. alliance relations will last forever or can be flaunted in front of other allies. It may only be a matter of time when Japan is no longer the apple of Washington's eye.

These remarks seem to be causing more problems than I ever thought they would. At first, it seemed like so much tit-for-tat in the recent verbal battles.

It is not just Washington that has unrealistic expectations of the alliance. Statements by some Diet members and other Japanese decision-makers suggest an implicit expectation that Washington now owes Japan for its contributions to Iraq and the war on terrorism. In other words, there is a view in some Tokyo circles that there is an unwritten quid pro quo, and that it is now Washington's turn to concede to Japan on the Status of Forces Agreement, to be more sympathetic toward constitutional restrictions on future SDF deployments, and to provide unequivocal support for Japan's bid for a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council.

While many Japanese may see this as a natural conclusion, it is certainly not shared by the United States. Washington has never seen Japan's assistance in Iraq or elsewhere as anything but the responsibility of an ally in a time of need. On the contrary, Japan's contributions have only created the impression in Washington that Japan is no longer taking a "free ride" on its security obligations. The United States therefore seems destined to disappoint those Japanese who regard their nation's recent military contributions as a reciprocal arrangement and expect U.S. acquiescence on a range of alliance issues.

Unrealistically high expectations are a concern for the long-term health of the Japan-U.S alliance, but they are also a sign of the success the alliance has enjoyed over the past several years. Officials on both sides of the Pacific must take a cautious approach not to overestimate the recent momentum in cooperation and take the alliance for granted. Much work--perhaps the hardest and most complex yet--is left to be done in order to advance bilateral cooperation to the next level. A dose of modesty will help officials on both sides navigate the alliance through rough seas rather than just the calm ones.

This is the part that I found interesting. Is Japan and the US headed for problems? Does Japan have an unrealistic expectation of the future of the alliance? It will be interesting to watch it play out.

German Calls for Japan Apology

German experts slam recent claims by Japan officials.

After the Second World War, war criminals no longer enjoy immunity under international law, Professor Rudolf Dolzer, Director of the Institute for International Law of the University of Bonn, told Xinhua in a telephone interview.

"In our time, individuals who commit war crimes, crimes against peace and crimes against humanity are no longer shielded by the sovereignty of their state," he said.

Last week, Masahiro Morioka, Japan's parliamentary secretary for health, labor and welfare, claimed that Class-A war criminals convicted for crimes by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East following World War II are not criminals because the tribunal was "one-sided."

"The Tribunal was comprised of renowned lawyers from eleven countries, the trial procedure was lawful and the Tribunal had thetask to render a fair decision," Dolzer said.

The Tribunal had very high ranking and order and its ruling "is considered a milestone in international law, together with thatof the Nuremberg Tribunal," he added.

In a meeting of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) House of Representatives members on May 26, Morioka called the Tokyo war crimes tribunal "a unilateral tribunal."

"There are no grounds to say winners are right and losers are wrong. There is no need to apologize," the Japanese official said.

However, Dolzer, who served as director general of Germany's chancellor office in 1992-1996, noted that it is not surprising Japan should be reminded of the war crimes the Japanese militarists committed during the war.

Some of these Japanese officials are just a laugh a minute.