Plunge Pontificates

A place for my thoughts.

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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Government gives textbooks to private firms

This will be interesting to follow.

Private school textbooks will be introduced from 2010, the ministry said. At present, most school textbooks are made by the state.

“The plan is designed to give schools a greater right to choose and increase the quality of school textbooks. Private textbooks will improve variety in education,” a ministry official said.

I wonder if it has come about because of the controversy over Japanese history books?

First Drugs, then currency, now Marlboros

Wow, I would never have thought of counterfeiting cigarettes. Those in the North have, and seem to be making a tidy sum doing it.
North Korea is the world’s leading counterfeiter of brand-name cigarettes, circulating more than 2 billion packs a year, the Wall Street Journal has reported.

Wow, 2 billion packs, that's a "B" not an "M". Amazing.

Hines Ward to Visit Korea, Thanks Mom!

With all the bad news, it's awesome to read something like this every once in a while. What a great son, what a great mom, an example to all of us on how to raise children and how to respect our parents.

To raise Hines, Kim Young-hee often worked three jobs nearly around the clock, taking breaks only to sleep for a few hours and to go home to get her son up in the morning and make sure he had dinner.

She washed dishes, cleaned hotel rooms, worked as a cashier. Nothing was for her - her only concern was making sure her son had clean clothes, food and the best home life she could provide, even if it wasn't a high-income lifestyle.

Ward didn't have a father to lean on - he says he has no communication with him today - but he did have direction. Even as his football career took off at Forest Park High near Atlanta, his mother made him concentrate on academics, and Ward received excellent grades.

His mother also taught him about the importance of a work ethic - lessons he took to the football field where, out of necessity, he played wide receiver, quarterback and running back in college. (A long-forgotten stat: As a quarterback, Ward passed for 413 yards and ran for 56 yards in the Peach Bowl.)

A big thanks to all the moms that have sacrificed everything for their children.

Japan's Attempt at Blurring History...

Again! This time it is Oranckay that sniffs it out and blasts it. Really, it wasn't me this time, it wasn't! Although, I think my post on this subject is superb if I do say so myself.

Excellent reasoning and post by the ever diligent Oranckay.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Frog on Whale on Jellyfish...

Sure, I get beaten up over my whaling post... guess it takes a frog to get away with writing the ultimate post on Japan's whaling situation. This is a MUST read.

Korean TV Reporter Beaten

Okay, I missed this, so did Kushibo. A Korean TV reporter was seriously beaten in France. I won't say anything more.

Read about it here.

Breathtaking China

Sometimes we forget the beauty of a country when discussing its politics.

Here is a reminder.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Happy New Year!

Here's hoping your new year is the best ever!

In appreciation of the Year of the Dog, Slinky, the wonder puppy!



This is our 4 year old dachshund. She definitely runs the house.

Again, have a happy new year. Keep safe. Keep happy. God bless all of you. Especially, God bless those brave soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, bringing freedom to the downtrodden.

God Bless America and her allies!

Friday, January 27, 2006

US politics

I don't write much about US politics here although I'm just as opinionated about them as I am about anything else.

This blogger wrote what I think
, just did it about 1000 times better and more articulately than I could.

Give it a gander.

Will the schemes never end?

Oranckay has an amazing/disturbing story of Koreans paying/convincing retired US couples to adopt their children.

Read it here. Truly disturbing.

Koizumi wouldn't know the truth if it bit him on the butt...

So, the other day, hopped up on a nice cocktail of morphine and other goodies, I was reading the lastest news from Asia and saw this tidbit.

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said on Wednesday that China and South Korea overreacted to his controversial visits to Yasukuni Shrine, where Japan's war dead, including Class-A war criminals, are enshrined.

"Apart from China and South Korea, no other countries in Asia have criticized my visits (to the shrine)," Koizumi said during a House of Councilors session.

I was annoyed by this. Again, we have Koizumi trying to downplay his visits to a shrine for, amongst others, class A war criminals. You know, the guys responsible for millions upon millions of deaths as well as torture, rape and unimaginable cruelty. But hey, who cares about that, right? I mean, it's ONLY Korea and China, right?

WRONG.

Again, numnuts is wrong.

Indeed, virtually everyone knows that Koizumi's visits to Yasukuni cause friction with neighbouring countries. What is less well-understood in Japan is that "neighbouring countries" does not only mean China and South Korea. This is because Koizumi and other prominent government figures -- such as Foreign Minister Aso Taro -- have been able, at least until recently, to get away with pretending that only China and Korea oppose the Yasukuni visits. They seek to exploit discontent with China and Korea as well as to suggest that the political and economic costs of the Yasukuni visits are minimal.

But Koizumi's Yasukuni pilgrimages continue to be opposed by plenty of governments and groups outside of China and Korea. The criticism goes back to Koizumi's first visit on August 13 2001. Not only China and South Korea reacted. The Vietnamese and Filipino governments also issued statements expressing concern and regret. There was also criticism from Filipino comfort women, Australian veterans and others. And major newspapers throughout Asia, the US and Europe have openly criticized each visit.
In Koizumi's addled mind, Vietnam, the Philippines, comfort women, Australians and a plethera of newspapers are beneath his notice. China and Korea are mearly pimples on his butt, these others are truly beneath notice or mention.

I'll be so glad when this 'leader' is gone. Please, please, please Japan, pick someone decent this time!

Kidney Stone update

It finally left the kidney and is residing in my bladder. The little bastard is still there, I'm hoping it goes soon. If not, they'll probably go in with a long skinny probe (I'm sure you can guess the entry point) and pull it out. Gah...

Update: No, it's not gone yet. I have been offered a lot of advice on preventing kidney stones. I appreciate all the advice, unfortunately, mine are not calcium based stones, they are uric acid stones. Those make up about 10% of kidney stones and are genetic in nature as well as there being some evidence that eating a lot of meat will cause this type of stone. Basically, my body releases too much acid in my urine. Probably too much info for all of you.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

What a Day...

My day started at 3:30 AM this morning. Mind you, that is a bit unusual, my normal day starts at 5:45 AM. This day began so early because of excruciating pain radiating from the lower left part of my back, around the front and into crotch. This is a pain that I haven't felt in a long time, nearly 7 years. Yet, it is a pain that once you have had it, you never forget. It's the pain of a kidney stone.

My last major attack came on an airplane from the US to Korea, at least this time I was at home. I was hoping I could just pass the stone but that was not to be. My urinary tract shutdown and all that was coming out was watery blood. So, off to the hospital I went.

There, I was given a lovely cocktail including morphine. They did a CT scan showing a 3mm stone on the verge of entering my bladder. The doc gave me a prescription of percocet and sent me home. So, here I am at work, feeling not too bad on my meds, hoping the stone will pass soon.

Because of this, don't expect much from me today. I'll just link to Marmot's gochu story which made me smile and leave it at that.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Where's the Beef

So, after only a month, the ban on US beef is back on. Seems that some spinal cord material showed up in a meat shipment to Japan, a big no no. Still, isn't this a wee bit ridiculous? The ONE case of Mad Cow Disease in the US traces back to a Canadian cow for goodness sake. This is nothing more than protectionism for Japanese beef producers. Time for the US to take a harder line.

Following is a pretty good article on the situation sans my thoughts on protectionism.

Japan looks unlikely to soon lift a ban on U.S. beef reimposed after just
one month following the discovery in a shipment from New York of animal parts
that experts consider to be most at risk of spreading mad cow disease.

A U.S. delegation led by Agriculture Undersecretary J.B. Penn discussed
the ban with Japanese authorities in Tokyo on Tuesday and Wednesday but failed
to allay concerns about the reliability of the U.S. food safety system, Japanese
officials said.

U.S. officials have said the shipment by a New York packer of veal with
spinal material, barred under the Japan-U.S. beef trade agreement, was human
error and an isolated case.

That explanation has not satisfied Japanese officials, who note that a
U.S. government inspector at the packing plant, one of about 40 facilities
certified by the U.S. government as eligible beef suppliers to Japan, was
unaware of the violation.

"We want them to reconstruct the inspection system from the beginning,"
Agriculture Minister Shoichi Nakagawa said this week.

Japan could not resume imports until Washington found the cause of the
violation and took measures to prevent a reoccurance, he said.


Now, let's remember, there was no mad cow disease discovered. Yes, the US made a mistake, but the reaction is over the top.

Japan was also annoyed by U.S. remarks that played down the risk of mad
cow disease, which came at a time when the government was under criticism for
appearing to be more concerned about the relationship with Washington than
protecting public health.


"In fact, probably getting out of your automobile and walking into
the store to buy beef, has a higher probability that you'll be hit by an
automobile than ... the probability of any harm coming to you from eating beef,"
Penn had told reporters.



Penn pretty much nailed it on the head.

Again, time for the US to get tougher and end this ridiculous ban.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Pathetic...

Woke up this AM and was perusing my referral links, some of those can be interesting. However, I was a little distressed to find out I'm the seventh link on MSN if you search for, "How to plunge a toilet." *sigh*

And no, I'm not allowing comments. :-P

Monday, January 23, 2006

Subway Display

I'm sure you all remember the display in the subway station of pictures drawn by grade school children showing Korea destroying Japan and other equally disturbing themes. Kushibo has revised his already excellent post on this incident.

This is a must read for everyone as it goes far in explaining what happened and what the response to it was.

Korean Netizens Facing Justice

We all know how out of control Korean netizens can get. Now it looks like some might pay for their over the top comments.

Under the criminal code, prosecutions for defamation are only possible when victims files a complaint against offenders, in which case they can be sentenced to up to one year in prison or fines of up to W2 million (US$2,000).

Lim filed complaints against 30 Internet users who posted malicious replies to online articles about the accidental drowning death of her son in the Philippines last July.

Good for her! Maybe if more started to do this, it would stem the tide of rude netizens.

Hilarious

Can I just say this is one of the most entertaining websites I've visited in a long time?

Thank goodness I've never had the urge to get a tattoo, let alone one with hanja.

Korean Nationalism...

Not much here yet, this is probably going to be my next indepth post and I delve into the hyper-nationalism that we see at times in Korea.

Reason I want to write about this is that while it has caused problems of late, I'm wondering if 1987 would have ever happened without the strong emotions that Koreans seem to have.

Anyway, just a little advance on what I'm looking into.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Whaling...again...couple other thoughts...

In the comment section of my last post on whaling I was taken to task for not condemning the other whaling nations. So, I'm asking for article on Korea and their whaling industry.

As far as condeming other, European nations for whaling, I just don't deal with Europe here much. this blog is 95% about Asia, 95% of that about Korea, Japan and China with most of that about the relations between the three.

Still and all, I would love some articles on Korean whaling.

Oh, a couple of other things. If you look at my blogroll, if blogrolling is up today and you can see the blog roll, most of them are about Korea. I read these sites daily if not more. They do an EXCELLENT job of nailing Korea on just about every stupid thing that happens there. I really don't want to regurgitate the same material here. Normally, I'll make a comment on their site. Just because I don't constantly condemn Korea here doesn't mean I think they are somehow holy and untouchable. Others are just doing a better job (without the ridiculous crap you get on some of the anti-Korea sites) of commenting on the ludicrous, stupid and asinine things that happen there. Oranckay and Marmot are just two examples of sites that seem to miss nothing. I really don't want to try and compete with them. Hell, I was probably one of Marmots first readers and back in the day, with access to a blog that had about 10K readers a day, did my best to pump up his readership. Besides constanting sending stuff to the professor for instalaunches on his site.

Back in the day of undergraduate studies, I studied the history of Korea, China and Japan, focus on Korea. I considered continuing to study Asian History until marriage and children meant a need to earn money. So, my study focus changed. Before changing my studies though, I spent a serious amount of time studying the colonial period. I interviewed literally hundreds who lived through part of that period, WWII and the Korean War. Hearing their stories and rememberances has certainly given shaped my attitude on Asian affairs and how certain things should be handled. Probably the main reasons why I can't shrug off the past like so many would like.

So, you get the focus I have hear. People have called it anti-Japan. I call it anti-hypocracy. People say I'm anti-Japanese. I disagree. Again, I just get tired of the hypocracy. I get tired of an apology and then a visit to yasukuni. People say the Japanese remember their past and don't agree with the 'fringe' right-wing elements and then an incredibly racist comic book sells hundreds of thousands of copies.

Those are the things I'm pointing out, the lies, the under current, the blatant hypocracy. With the whaling issue, as far as I understand it, the other nations that whale don't make any bones about it. While again, I disagree with whaling from any nation, they make no bones about it. Japan tries to do it under the guise of "research." Stop the hypocracy. If you are going to whale just come out and do it and don't try to hide your actions behind some lame excuse.

Finally, I'm trying to bring some balance to this little corner of the blog world. From the fervor and vitriolic responses from some, I seem to have struck a chord.

Oh, if you want to disagree with me, great. If you want to disagree and have a dialogue, just be polite. Curzon and I seem to rarely agree, but I always learn from his replies and his posts and I appreciate his politeness.

Anyway... I'll probably make posts like this every once in a while so folks can understand, and, if they like disagree...just be polite.

Japan's Courts get it right again, sort of...

First the death penalty case, which they nailed exactly, and now this, which they sort of get!

The Japanese government is set to compensate former leprosy patients from foreign countries who were incarcerated in isolation centres during Japanese colonial rule, media said on Thursday.

A Tokyo court late last year rejected the government's claim that a law mandating compensation to all former leprosy patients confined in special centres under a draconian long-term policy did not apply to former colonies, such as Taiwan and South Korea.

The same court, in a controversial decision, said former Taiwanese patients were entitled to compensation, but that South Koreans were not.

On Thursday, however, officials in the ruling coalition agreed that all one-time leprosy patients from Japan's former colonies would be entitled to receive 8 million yen ($69,430) in compensation, Kyodo news agency said.

According to a compensation law, Japanese patients are entitled to receive from 8 million to 14 million yen.

They got the payoff part right, but what's the deal with the part I bolded. Yes for the Taiwanese but screw the Koreans?

This is something I'll have to look further into. I hadn't heard about those with Hansen's disease being incarcerated before.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

"Dr." Hwang Woo Suk, May You Burn in Hell

A perfect example of why I hope this man burns for what he did.

Lee Wan-hee who has a 7-year-old son suffering from a rare disease cannot forget the night in July when his son's doctor excitedly telephoned him.

The doctor said his son may have a chance to take part in clinical trials of custom-made stem cells then believed to have been created by Hwang Woo-suk's research team, Lee said.

At the time Hwang was a national hero and said his team could cure intractable diseases with the stem cells. On television news broadcasts, the charismatic scientist held the hands of wheelchair bound patients saying, "I will make you stand up."

"We were more excited than the doctor. I still cannot forget the feeling that night," said Lee, a professor at the department of physical therapy at Sahmyook University.

This bastard gave hope to thousands and now it is crushed.


This is the little boy who the article is about. The caption reads: Lee Chae-myeong, a seven-year-old suffering from spinal muscular atrophy, still believes Hwang Woo-suk will cure his rare disease. [The Korea Herald]

Sadly, Whaling Season Begins

I've been reading a lot lately about whaling and Japan's supposed "research" whaling.

Japan will continue its whale-hunting program despite mounting international protest, a fisheries official says.

The Fisheries Agency has received a note protesting at Japan's whaling activities, signed by 17 countries including Australia, said agency spokesman Hideki Moronoki.

But this would not change Japan's stance on the issue - that it is entitled to catch whales under international whaling regulations - according to Moronoki.

"We plan to continue with the research hunting," he said.

What a joke. Research hunting? The meat ends up in restaraunts, there is no "research" about it.

I've never been one to say much about what people want to eat, but I have a hard time with the hunting of these majestic creatures. Whales are a slow breeding animal with many if not most varieties endangered. I personally find whaling to be barbaric.

Now, having said that, I have absolutely no sympathy for one of the groups opposing the whaling, Sea Shepherd. Their propensity towards violence is appalling.

To find out more about this situation, read here, here, here, here, here, and here.

This whole situation again points to the arrogance of Japan. Basically a screw you attitude. Again, and they wonder why they have problems when it comes to international relations. *sigh*

5 men apply for Playboy shoot

Heh, I found this rather humorous.

A Playboy model search for pretty boys? No, but even so, five men applied for the "Playboy 2006 Korea Model Contest" sponsored by the Cable channel, Spice TV, the local network of Playmodel Media Group. These male applicants, 6 feet (180cm) or taller with movie star-good looks, are in their early 20s and judging by their attempts to apply for the contest, courageous too.

The reason behind their endeavor to enter a women-only model search event? Reportedly they had never heard of the world-famous nude magazine, Playboy. While pretty much any male who grew up in the 70's or 80's had seen the magazine at least once, the younger generation is, in reality, not familiar with the publication as they have little interest in sex-related magazines due in no small part to more easily accessible internet sites of that nature.

The sponsor said that they have returned the applications of the five men, speculating that they may have interpreted the word "playboy" literally and thought it would be a contest for "playful men."

The joys of a foreign language.

Blogger in Need

I know this has nothing to do with Korea or myself, but a fellow blogger has been struck down in his prime, 38 years old. He had a massive stroke and is in the hospital. He has a family and they are devistated.

You can read about it here.

Anyone wishing to help defray medical costs may make a donation here.

FYI - I never ask for donations without having done so myself. Thanks everyone.

Robocop coming to a street corner near you

Thought this was interesting, and a little disturbing. I guess as long as there is a human along it will be fine.
By the 2010s, Korea expects to see robots assisting police and the military, patrolling neighborhoods and going on recon missions on the battlefield.

The outdoor security robots will be able to make their night watch rounds and even chase criminals, directed by a remote control system via an Internet connection or moving autonomously via their own artificial intelligence systems.

The government also seeks to build combat robots. They will take the shape of a dog or a horse, with six or eight legs or wheels.
It's the bolded part that is a bit disturbing. I think of the automated robots fromRobocop just blasting away at everything...

Found via Dean Esmay
.

My morning...

So, I commute about 45 miles to work every morning. Normally this isn't a big deal, but 8 inches of snow and incompetent snowplow drivers made it 'interesting' to say the least.

How were they incompetent you ask? I'll tell you.

They knew this storm was coming, they knew it was going to be big and they failed to get I-15 plowed for the morning rush!

On top of this, my windshield wipers decided to go nutso 20 miles into my commute. Luckily, I have a mechanic friend (guys who owes me sooooo much) on the way. Stopped by his shop and he fixed them lickity split.

Still and all, was about an hour late for work after leaving 30 minutes earlier than I usually do.

Ah, fine start to the day...

Shallow, shallow, shallow...

How shallow can you get?!? From the Lost Nomad, this *itch divorces a guy she met through a matchmaking service because he graduated from Tufts Dental School instead of Harvards like he said?!? (btw, I had no idea Harvard had a dental school)

Not only that, she sues the agency for false information.

What is this world coming to?!?

Read all about it at Lost Nomad.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Getting back into things

As I've been getting back into things, remind me to update my blogroll, I passed by The Lost Nomad and saw that he has some great stuff up.

Start with his post here, then on to China and finally eye-candy.

It's good to be back!

Whitewashing the Past and Present

What a good time to decide to start blogging again. While perusing this mornings news and blogs, I ran upon this particularly repugnant posting at Japundit. Now, I'm normally a big fan of Japundit that is, unless Ampontan is posting. Ampontan seems to be the complete shill for the current regime in Japan and rightwing extremists. He most certainly buys into the party line of Japan good, anyone who disagrees with anything they do bad.

Today's posting of a interview he gave is the perfect case in point.

Let's have a look, shall we?

Q: Why do Koizumi’s visits to Yasukuni Shrine provoke such strong reactions among Chinese people, Koreans and other people in Asia?

A: It allows people to indulge their emotions. The Chinese public certainly has no other outlet for political expression. Also, it’s more satisfying than watching cheap television dramas because the element of nationalism gives them a sense of belonging to something greater than their everyday lives. So much of what passes for public opinion everywhere in the world is just emotionalism in disguise.

It has nothing to do with today’s reality. Imperial Japan no longer exists. It was annihilated, and everyone in Japan knows it. With the exception of a miniscule minority, no one in Japan is interested in reviving it. The idea held by some Koreans and Chinese that Japan is ready to do it again is fatuous.

Oh yes. Let's completely forget the past and what that abomination of a "shrine" stands for. No, let's not, let's take a look at the reality of what Yasukuni is and what it stands for!

We'll crib from Wikipedia.

The shrine honors as kami the spirits of those who have fought on behalf of the emperor. This includes about 1,000 POWs executed for war crimes during World War II. The main criterion for enshrinement is that a person should be listed as having died while on duty (including death from illness or disease) in the war dead registry of the Japanese government. The Japanese government lists all executed A, B, and C class war criminals as such for technical reasons to ensure that the remaining family members can receive a pension. On October 17, 1978, 14 Class A war criminals (according to the judgement of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East), including Hideki Tojo, were quietly enshrined as "Martyrs of Shōwa" (昭和殉難者 Shōwa junnansha), ostensibly on the technicality that they were on the registry. They are listed below, according to their sentences:

* Death by hanging:

Hideki Tojo, Itagaki Seishiro, Heitaro Kimura, Kenji Doihara, Iwane Matsui, Akira Muto, Koki Hirota

* Lifetime imprisonment:

Yoshijiro Umezu, Kuniaki Koiso, Kiichiro Hiranuma, Toshio Shiratori

* 20-year imprisonment:

Shigenori Togo

* Died before a judicial decision was reached (due to illness or disease):

Osami Nagano, Yosuke Matsuoka
So, we are visiting a shrine that honors scum responsible for MILLIONS of deaths. Nice. But wait, there's more!

More importantly, Yasukuni Shrine operates a museum on the history of Japan (the Yūshūkan, 遊就館) which outside observers have criticized as presenting a revisionist interpretation. A documentary-style video shown to museum visitors portrays Japan's conquest of East Asia during the pre-World War II period as an effort to save the region from the imperial advances of Western powers. Displays deny that events such as the Nanking Massacre took place and systematically portray Japan as a victim of foreign influence, especially Western pressure.

A pamphlet published by the shrine says: "War is a really tragic thing to happen, but it was necessary in order for us to protect the independence of Japan and to prosper together with our Asian neighbors." It also says that Japanese POWs executed for war crimes were "cruelly and unjustly tried" by a "sham-like tribunal of the Allied forces".

The shrine's English language website defends Japanese occupation and aggression prior to and during World War II, by stating the following: "War is truly sorrowful. Yet to maintain the independence and peace of the nation and for the prosperity of all of Asia, Japan was forced into conflict."
Do I need to say more here? This abomination is where Koizumi goes. The government has had the chance to build a secular shrine honoring their dead but, for some reason, they can't seem to get it funded. Seems that Yasukuni is perfectly all right for the majority of the Japanese government. That certainly sounds like a government that is working for peaceful and harmonious relations with the nations it raped and plundered not so long ago.

Let's keep going, okay?

Q: What is the significance of Shimane Prefecture declaring sovereignty over the “Takeshima/Dokto” islands?

A: For the people of Shimane Prefecture, it has an economic rather than a political significance. Fishing is very important for the livelihood of the prefecture’s citizens.

The prefectural government took the step because they were outraged at what they consider to be flagrant South Koreans violations of an agreement reached by the fishing industries of both countries regarding fishing in the area around the islands. This agreement addresses both the access of Japanese fishermen to the Korean-held islands, as well as Korean fishing practices. Though the Korean press (or at least the English language press in South Korea) has mentioned this aspect of the dispute, much of the Korean public seems disposed to ignore it. Perhaps that’s because it deprives them of an opportunity to indulge their emotions.

Q: Is this merely posturing, or could the situation continue to escalate?

A: The government of Shimane Prefecture thought this was the only way to publicize what they consider to be Korean violations of the fishing agreement. It is posturing only to the extent that any symbolic act by a government is posturing.

The situation has deescalated over the past year. Tempers occasionally flare over the years, usually on the Korean side, and then simmer down. The periods when nothing much happens last a lot longer.

Oh please. Yes, the rational Japanese just did it for fishing purposes. Excuse me, did you miss the boats they then tried to send to the island and the hoopla in the press about it? While the Koreans might have been the ones demonstrating in the streets, yes they get very emotional, trying to say this was all about a fishing dispute it completely disingenuous.

Q: Why do Koizumi’s visits to Yasukuni Shrine provoke such strong reactions among Chinese people, Koreans and other people in Asia?

A: It allows people to indulge in their emotions. The Chinese public certainly has no other outlet for political expression. Also, it’s more satisfying than watching cheap television dramas because the element of nationalism gives them a sense of belonging to something greater than their everyday lives. So much of what passes for public opinion everywhere in the world is just emotionalism in disguise.

It has nothing to do with today’s reality. Imperial Japan no longer exists. It was annihilated, and everyone in Japan knows it. With the exception of a miniscule minority, no one in Japan is interested in reviving it. The idea held by some Koreans and Chinese that Japan is ready to do it again is fatuous.

See my answer above. Am's responses are truly laughable.

Q: Do you think Koizumi’s visits may indicate that the current Japanese government fundamentally rejects the authority of the Tokyo Trials to pass judgment on war criminals?

A: I don’t know that there is a causal connection, but the visits may be one manifestation of that belief. There are Japanese who think that way. They are also well aware that the only judge on the tribunal who was an expert on international law thought there was no legal basis for the trials. The British, by the way, were not keen on that trial or the one at Nuremburg, either. They wanted to line the ringleaders up against the wall and shoot them. I sometimes think the Japanese might have preferred that solution themselves.

Yes, the British not only wanted to line war criminals up against a wall, but Churchill wanted to destroy certain towns and cities in retribution.

I also agree the war trials in Japan were not fair. Far too many war criminals got off easy with little or no punishment. An abomination in my mind.

Q: It is often said that Japan has made amends for wartime atrocities committed in China, Korea and other Asian nations during the Second World War. Furthermore, Japan has contributed a significant amount of ODA aid to China. What is at issue here?

A: Money and power. Japan’s ODA to China, including loans, totaled 3.3 trillion yen from 1979 to 2004. Some of this was considered to be a de facto war reparations payment. China was the largest recipient of Japanese ODA.

But the Chinese economy took off, and the Japanese decided to start reducing ODA when Prime Minister Koizumi took office. ODA reductions have continued, and China has fallen to third place in the amount of Japanese ODA received.

Prime Minister Nakasone paid an official visit to Yasukuni in the 1980s. The Japanese revise their textbooks periodically. Yet the Chinese displeasure with Japan’s actions grew more pronounced only after they started to receive smaller amounts of ODA and internal Chinese dissent grew. Perhaps this was not a coincidence.

Also, the Chinese and Korean pressure on Japan regarding events that ended more than 60 years ago is partly an effort to keep the Japanese in a position of continuously apologizing. This provides them with a means to try to gain the upper hand in bilateral relations.

Incidentally, the Japanese government reached an agreement with South Korea about reparations in 1965. Seoul wanted US$364 million as compensation for the conscripted laborers and comfort women during the period of the Japanese colonization. The agreement instead gave South Korea $800 million in grants and low-interest loans as reparations. President Park agreed as part of the deal that South Koreans would relinquish the right to make individual claims against the Japanese government. However, Park paid out only about $251 million to families killed by the Japanese and some more to owners of destroyed property. None of the South Koreans conscripted into the Japanese military or workforce, or the comfort women, received anything. Park spent the rest of the money on the Korean infrastructure. The South Korean public just found out about this deal and Park’s use of the money in January last year, by the way.

Naturally, the Japanese think a deal’s a deal. Some Koreans don’t see it that way, however. There was a meeting last year between academics of both countries to try to resolve the textbook issue, and the Korean side insisted that the Japanese also pay individual reparations. Of course the talks went nowhere, and will go nowhere as long as the South Koreans keep asking for money.

Doesn’t the South Korean approach to negotiations remind you more than a little of the attitude of their brethren to the north?

Also, there are reports that after the normalization of relations with South Korea, Japan tended to back down and give in during bilateral negotiations whenever South Koreans played the colonization card. Prime Minister Koizumi put a stop to that after he assumed office. I have to think that is one factor behind the behavior of the Roh administration toward Japan. They’ve lost their trump card and have to deal with Japan on more equal terms.

You know, foreigners sometimes like to misquote Douglas MacArthur and say that the Japanese act like a nation of 12-year-olds. (MacArthur was talking about international politics only.) But I sometimes wonder who the 12-year-olds really are.

Wow! What a mischaracterization of the treaty of 1965! If you read the treaty, not only was there no indication of remorse from Japan for the rape and pillage of Korea, but, the payments made were specfically for economic cooperation and NOT reparations. Japan felt it had nothing to apologize for and therefore reparations were not necessary.

Furthermore, Japan didn't even recognize the illegality of its occupation of Korea saying that while we consider the treaty of 1910 null and void now, we don't consider it illegal when it was made. Nice twisting of things there.

Also, let's consider the state of Korea when this agreement was signed. Korea was poor, dirt poor. Japan took total advantage of a horrible situation and now want to preen about it? That's just low and sick.

Q: The Tsukurukai history textbook downplays Japanese atrocities during the War, and also argues that Japan was responsible for the industrialization of Korea during the first half of the twentieth century. However, don’t all countries tend to produce textbooks that portray the nation’s history in a positive light? Or is that beside the point?

A: Reading this gives rise to a question of my own: Why focus solely on the Japanese? As I’ve noted before in Japundit, Chinese textbooks spend less than a paragraph discussing their military involvement in the Korean War, and ignore their military conflict with India in the 1960 and their invasion of Vietnam in the 70s. What do you think a Chinese textbook would say about the Tiananmen Square massacres, if it mentioned them at all? And there is no alternative to officially approved Chinese textbooks.

One poster to Japundit tried to dismiss this by saying that everyone knew the Chinese were terrible, but that’s just hypocrisy. Why hold the Japanese to different standards of behavior than the Chinese? It’s either a form of elitism on the one hand—asserting that the Chinese cannot be held responsible for their actions—or an excuse for Japan bashing on the other.

Also, I doubt that South Korean textbooks mention Japan’s role in their industrialization, though Korean historians are well aware of it. Nor are they likely to mention Korean collaboration with the Japanese, though Koreans know that former President Park served in the Japanese Imperial Army. There are photos of him in uniform. And now President Roh has decided the time has come for Koreans to discuss this collaboration more openly—after President Park’s daughter became head of the leading Korean opposition party.

Is it also a coincidence that South Korean complaints about Japan rose in conjunction with President Roh’s decline in domestic popularity? In politics, neutralizing domestic opposition by demonizing the foreigner is a very old strategy.

Speaking of the South Korean educational system, I’ll refresh your memory with this post from Japundit via Conbinibento:

These are photos taken in a South Korean subway station displaying school artwork. Children drew pictures in school of: the Japanese flag as a roll of burning toilet paper, a large pile of Korean excrement on Japan, Korea stabbing Japan, Korea stomping on Japan, a funeral service with the Japanese flag as the memorial photograph for the deceased, and Korea bombing, shooting, and stabbing Japan.

It is inconceivable that this would be tolerated in the Japanese school system, and the Japanese certainly wouldn’t display these pictures in public. And if they were displayed in public in Japan, everyone around the world would have known by now. It is interesting that few people outside of South Korea know about this. Perhaps the rest of the world expects more of the Japanese than the Koreans.

Really, the South Koreans have no basis to complain about the Japanese educational system.

Wow, where to begin. Let's start with Japan's textbook and his assertion that everyone should be held to the same standard.

Do you really want Japan's government compared to Chinas? Japan has a democracy, and elected government. They want to be the leader of Asia, hell I want them to be the leader of Asia. But when they allow this kind of crap to be used in their public schools, no matter how small the percentage, they show themselves to not be ready for such a lofty position. If Japan wants to continue to say China is no better, they are equating themselves with that repressive regime and deserve the belittling they receive for their actions. It certainly is not a form of elitism or an excuse to bash Japan, it is expecting a democracy to have higher standards than the dictatorial regime in China.

Oh, and there is great debate over whether or not Japan had a significant impact on Korea's industrialization, but recognizing that is difficult for someone trying to whitewash the past. It is imperative to try and find some good in the unimaginable suffering caused by Japan's past actions.

Next, the student display at a subway station. It was despicable and should never have been allowed. But it was just one class from one school. Isn't that the same excuse Japan is trying to use about the textbook? I soundly condemn the teachers and administration for allowing such pictures to not only be drawn, but shown in public, just as I soundly condemn Japan for allowing the abomination of a textbook to not only be used but approved in the first place.

Q: Or, has Japan acted in a way that can be considered outside the bounds of how normal, responsible nations should act? I’m thinking here of the argument that Japan was merely acting as though it were a European colonizer.

A: Well, the Japanese did behave as badly as the Europeans, but that’s no excuse for Japanese behavior. The Europeans don’t like to talk about it, but their colonization of part of Asia and intention to colonize the rest of it was to a degree responsible for giving rise to Imperial Japanese behavior. Then again, Japan paid a much harsher price for its efforts at colonization than did the Europeans.

Perhaps those people who want the Japanese to modify the few textbooks that whitewash Japanese actions in the 20th century could show us some positive examples of coming to terms with an imperial past from the textbooks used in England, France, Spain, and Portugal. Perhaps we could even see some Russian textbooks dealing with their colonization of states in the Baltic and Central Asia during the days of the Soviet Union. And the Chinese textbooks dealing with Tibet and their other ethnic minorities.

My hell man. Japan was one of the parties responsible for the largest war the world has seen. It was responsible for the deaths of untold MILLIONS of people. During the last months of the war people in Asia were dying at a rate of more than 250,000 a month. I think Japan got off easy for the crimes committed.

As far as textbooks go, I've never read a history book produced in England, France, Spain or Portugal. Anyone know how they treat their colonial past?

Q: Only three school boards throughout Japan (Tochigi, Tokyo Metropolitan, Ehime) have sanctioned the use of the Tsukurukai history textbook; the Asahi Shimbun reports that “0.04%” of Japanese students are using it. Even so, what sort of message is the Japanese government sending by approving these textbooks?

A: “The Japanese government will be the final authority in determining the content of the textbooks used in Japanese schools. It is not the business of the governments of China and South Korea.”

Yeah, the nations that were raped, murdered and plundered by Japan really shouldn't be concerned about a whitewash... *sigh*

It goes beyond that as well. Pop culture in Japan has a distinct anti-Korea / anti-China bent. We've discussed books and comics in the past that were racist in Japan, now there is a new one.

Yeah, it's a couple months old, but I wasn't blogging then. At that time, 360,000 sold, I wonder what the number is now?

Trying to portray Japan in the light of the gentile, calm arbator of the East is ludicrious. Racism runs as deep there as in any country in Asia. As well as the fact that there is a distinct lack of remorse for the horrific actions of the past.

Until Japan recognizes its past actions and corrects its current ones, it will never be the leader it wants to be, and that is truly sad.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Show me the money!

Kushibo has an interesting piece on the new money in Korea.

Foreign Aid, Help from the heart? Yeah, right...

Japan is second to only the US in foreign aid. Is this aid from the heart only meant to help those in need without expectation of return? Yeah, right...
Japan is forming a committee to oversee foreign aid, and make it more of a strategic tool in achieving its foreign policy goals, the Japan Times reports.

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party made the decision Sunday, giving it the working name of "the external economic cooperation strategic council."

The committee will be expected to devise ways to use aid effectively in accomplishing such objectives as attaining permanent membership in the U.N. Security Council.

The report said it will also seek leverage in aid when dealing with China, North Korea and other "highly political" relationships.
I guess when you have done your best to piss off all your neighbors, your last resort is cold, hard cash.

Yasukuni, the eternal problem

Oh yeah, can a week go by without this being an issue or the whiney right-wing thugazens in Japan crying about how it is a 'religious' 'personal' matter that shouldn't be an issue. What a bunch of hooey.

The latest.
South Korea's president would find it hard to visit Japan if Japan's prime minister kept visiting the controversial Yasukuni shrine, a Korean official said.

"Unless the problem related to the understanding of past history is resolved, I believe a visit by the president to Japan will be difficult," South Korean Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Ban Ki-moon said Monday while meeting Japanese reporters, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported Tuesday.

When asked if a declaration by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi or the next prime minister of an intention to visit the shrine would make it difficult for President Roh Moo-hyun to visit Japan, Ban answered, "That's right."

Gee, you think? This abomination is a slap in the face to those that sacrificed everything to stop the imperialistic agression of Japan during first half of the 20th century.

South Korea has objected to Koizumi's visits to the Tokyo Shinto shrine, because the thousands of Japanese war dead honored at the shrine include several known war criminals.
That and the wonderful museum attached showing just how abused Japan was and how they had 'no choice but to defend themselves against the evil America.'

The Japanese government did not allocate money in the 2006 budget to build an alternative state-run memorial to the war dead.

"(An alternative) facility could be a way to resolve the Yasukuni problem, but I'm not in a position to say anything about that, because it's a domestic issue for Japan," Ban said.
Of course not! Why in the world would Japan take the sensible approach that would resolve this issue nearly once and for all? Why? Because it would upset the whiney right-wing thugazens in Japan.

Duh!

Japan Courts Uphold Death Sentence

I was surprised actually, I've considered the Japan courts to be a bunch of pussies. They did the right thing today though.

Japan's top court on Tuesday upheld a death penalty on Tsutomu Miyazaki, who was convicted of abducting and murdering four girls in 1988 and 1989.

The Supreme Court confirmed the June 2001 ruling by the Tokyo High Court and rejected the defendant lawyer's argument that Miyazaki, 43, was mentally incompetent at the time of the crimes.

Miyazaki killed the four girls "to satisfy his own sexual desire and appetite to own video tapes that record corpses," said presiding Justice Tokiyasu Fujita. He said there is no room to consider commuting the death penalty on Miyazaki.

Arrested in July 1989 for a case of obscene acts, Miyazaki later admitted to abducting and killing of four girls, aged between 4 and 7, in Tokyo and nearby Saitama prefecture.

That they upheld this really did shock me, pleasantly so. Such a heinous act would not be treated nearly so severely in much of the world.

My lack of confidence in the Japanese court system comes from a series of abismal decisions. Here is an example of one in an article about a man who should be considered a hero for truth.

A funeral was held Friday for a Japanese World War II veteran who admitted to taking part in the 1937 "Rape of Nanking" in China and was among the few who spoke out publicly against the massacre.

Shiro Azuma, who died of colon cancer on Monday at age 93, admitted to taking part in the orgy of mass killings and rape in the southern Chinese city, now called Nanjing.

Azuma was one of few Japanese war veterans who publicly admitted to the Rape of Nanking, describing the massacre in a diary he published in 1987 entitled "My Nanking Platoon."

A soldier identified in the diary sued Azuma for libel in 1993 and the case went all the way to Japan's top court, which upheld lower court rulings ordering Azuma to pay damages.

The supreme court said Azuma's statement about another soldier's wartime deeds was based on opinion.
Anyway, the courts did the right thing this time!

Monday, January 16, 2006

It has been a while...

Well folks, it has been quite a while since my last post. Kushibo called me out on that and I hope to be posting again regularly.

Life has been quite hectic, for a while, I was working 16-18 hour days on a new venture as well as trying to help my wife who, finally, has been diagnosed with the non-diagnosis of Fibromyalgia. I truly hate that diagnosis but some doctors whom I greatly respect have all come to the same conclusion. We are currently trying to figure out what is the best treatment for her.

Myself, I'm a pretty strict science guy. I don't go in for holistic medicine and the like. I like good, double blind studies. My wife is far more liberal than I when it comes to these things.

So, any suggestions are appreciated.

Again, I hope to blog more often, at least a few times a week.

Thanks!

Oh, yeah. With my wife, if this is the right diagnosis, I'm of the opinion, for her at least, it is a sleep disorder. She has a horrific time sleeping, our doctor feels the same. One of the big things they discuss is that fibromyalgia patients can not enter 'phase 4' sleep and because of that, certain necessary hormones are not released into the body. Her doctor said there was a study in Europe where they used GHB to force the patients into this phase of sleep. Supposedly, it was 99% successful, meaning that 99% of the patients some at least some improvement. Now, as we all know, GHB is illegal in the US. Just PISSES THE HELL OFF OUT OF ME! Gahhhhh!!!! I can not understand this, just as I can NOT understand how we can deny those in need of medical marajuana. It is CRIMINAL in my opinion to withhold treatments that can help.

Currently, my wife is signed up to try a new sleep medication, supposedly it will also help a patient enter phase 4 sleep, although not nearly as well as GHB. It is a royal pain in the ass to use as you must take one dose before sleep, then another in 2 hours, so you have to set an alarm. Still, this seems to be our only option at this time.

Venting over for now.