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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Tian vs. Cosmopolitan

And the winner is... Tian!

Who is Tian? He's the blogger who runs Hanzi Smatter, one of the most hilarious blogs around. I've mentioned it before, but bring it up again because of his post taking on the magazine Cosmopolitan. For those that don't know, hanzi smatter is a blog devoted to translating the Chinese character tattoos that many morons have. If you think engrish.com is funny, its got NOTHING on hanzi smatter.

Cosmo writes:

This stud craves mystery in his life, so expect surprises, whether it's a last-minute getaway or an out-of-the-box erotic move. “Since few will know the translation of his chosen character, he relishes the opportunity to explain the hidden meaning behind it," says Green. "He uses the symbol to give people insight into his personality and what he's all about."
I'll let you read Tian's reply on your own.

Warning, his language is a bit harsh.

Trolls

I've lately been getting comments from some known trolls. I'll slowly be going through and deleting their comments and banning their IPs. If you've had a comment deleted or your IP is banned and you think this is in error, please email me.

Dokdo / Dokto / Tokdo / Tokto / or Takeshima

I know I post a must read here and a should read there, but if you really want to understand the Dokdo situation, I mean REALLY understand it; then you MUST read the posts by the Yangban. I admit that my knowledge on the subject is limited at best. I figure it's Koreas, they are controlling it and they aren't going to give it up. The issue is moot. But, to truly understand the situation, then read the fair and unbiased writings at the Flying Yangban. His evaluation is detailed, well written and entertaining to read.

I'm amazed sometimes at the quality of writing on the Korean blogs, it is truly outstanding. The Flying Yangban is a good example of the quality out there.

Protesting via the Internet in China

Fascinating post on the ever entertaining Mutant Frog website.

In February 2002, the company started a pilot project with the U.S. government not described on its Web site. The following month, it unveiled a tool that disguises Web sites so they can slip past China’s firewall filters.

Each day, the company sends out e-mail to millions of Chinese Internet users with links to the Web pages of Human Rights in China and the United States-sponsored Voice of America and Radio Free Asia. Visits to the sites jump whenever Chinese citizens perceive a government cover-up, as during the initial outbreak of a deadly respiratory virus in 2003 or the reported shooting of protesting villagers in December.

Over the past three years, the U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees Voice of America and Radio Free Asia, has directed about $2 million to Xia’s company for the e-mail service. The spending also supports technology that continuously changes Web addresses to escape Chinese government shutdowns.
Gotta love just about anything that pokes the Chinese government censors in the eye!

Visit the Frog to read the rest.

A-bomb film gains Oscar nomination

Film director Steven Okazaki's documentary "The Mushroom Club" tells the story of survivors of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and people who were irradiated in the womb, and has been nominated for the 78th Academy Awards in the short documentary category.
Oh joy. I wouldn't mind something like this except, at least from the article, you get the feeling that this entire movie is how evil the US was to drop the bomb and they are responsible for the suffering of the people afterwards.

Okazaki said he felt it was still considered taboo in the United States to talk about the effects of dropping the A-bomb.
Ummm...no it isn't. It's just nice when it is in context of the entire war and what was going on at the time.

Okazaki said school textbooks in the United States do not give a detailed history of atomic bombs, and even the Japanese-American people he met as he grew up did not talk much about the devastation an A-bomb can cause. Okazaki hopes his film can help bridge the gap between the United States and Japan on this issue.

While filming, Okazaki found that many young Japanese do not know much about what happened in Hiroshima in August 1945, and realized there was a critical need for more information about the bomb and its aftereffects.
Oh please. I had it shoved in my head continuously how horrible we were for dropping the bomb and textbooks showed the devastation. The world goes into a hissy fit every time nuclear weapons are mentioned. How much more 'education' or should I say, 'indoctrination' does he think we need? What is needed is for people to study the context of the time. They need to realize that the bomb was a godsend that saved millions of lives and ended a tragic war. They need to understand that a fanatical military leadership in Japan is solely responsible for millions upon millions of people dying, some quickly others horrifically. Aftereffects of the bomb? Yes, they were devastating and shame on the Japanese military for causing the situation forcing such a drastic measure.

You can read more about what REALLY happened here.

Memories of a Kamakazi Pilot

Fascinating article about a former pilot in the Japanese air force who lived through the war.

According to Taro Aso, the Japanese foreign minister, they did so for the emperor. Mr Aso, an arch conservative, longs for the day when Japan's symbolic head - not its political leaders - pays his respects at Yasukuni, a controversial Shinto shrine in Tokyo where Japan's war dead (including 14 class A war criminals) are honoured.

In truth, Mr Aso and other modern-day nationalists have no more idea than the rest of us about what went through the minds of the men and women who died in battle during Japan's wars of the 19th and 20th centuries.
Amen on that.

The entire article is fascinating and a brief glimpse into the mind of a survivor of that chaotic time.

Today's suicide bombers may invoke the name of their god before they self-destruct, but what of the kamikaze?

Mr Hamazono is certain that, had he been able to see his mission through to its conclusion, his final words would have had little to do with Japan's wartime state Shintoism or its spiritual figurehead.

"Mother ... that's the only word. You have only seconds left," he said. "The idea that we laughed in the face of death is a myth."

Monday, February 27, 2006

North Korea Counterfeiting

I've been following this issue, reading the various articles in the various newspapers. South Korea's reaction to this has been less than stelar, first denying it was happening, then when showed proof, accepting that it happened, but insisted it was ancient history. Now we have ongoing proof of it happening. I wonder what the reaction will be now?

For more on this, including a massive freezing of funds in a bank in China, read the posting over at Korea Liberator.

Of course, you should be reading The Korea Liberator daily if you care at all about the atrocities happening in North Korea and how the rest of the world is reacting or not reacting to it. Continued kudos for their hard work and reporting efforts!

Chinese Chic

I received an email from a reader and blog writer. First I wish to thank her for the kind email and for introducing me to her blog.

I haven't had time to go through her postings carefully yet, I'm working for goodness sake, but I plan to over the next couple of days. From my first quick look, it seems to be interesting. She's a Chinese student in Australia who has an interest in all things Korean.

I hope all of you will give her site a visit and leave a comment or two. I know I will over the next few days.

Blog Name: Chinese Chic

Japanese Catholic Remembers War

Curzon had the opportunity to dine with and interview a Japanese woman who lived through World War II. An integral part of this was that she was and is Catholic. The post is interesting, if entirely too short. Curzon, please write more about your dinner and conversation! What is there is fascinating, I just wish there was more.

Lost Seouls bidding us farewell

Lost Seouls, a blog I read more for the fun photographs than anything else, is leaving us. In about two weeks, the blogs author is leaving Korea, never to return. He also plans to stop blogging, cold turkey.

If you haven't visited the site, you truly should. There are fun photographs and a guy that can drink just about anyone under the table.

So, so long James, and thanks for all the fish! You'll be missed.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Japanese Teaching History How it SHOULD be Taught

Kudos to this group of Japanese teachers and administrators at a private school for Japanese students in Singapore. This is exactly how it should be taught in Japan; not glossed over.

Teaching the history of World War II and the role played by Japan can be a "difficult and delicate" undertaking, say principals of Japanese schools in Singapore. They, as well as the Japanese Association here, are concerned that their young students understand the impact of the Japanese occupation from 1942 to 1945.

In addition to the official history textbooks brought in from Japan, the schools have developed two different supplements - one for the two primary schools and another for the secondary school.

...

"With the supplements, we can set ourselves apart from other international Japanese schools and provide our students with a better understanding of Singapore. They must know what happened here in the past."

The history chapters do not shy away from the brutal realities of the war. Primary school students learn about the bloody massacres and the hardships experienced by Singaporeans under the Japanese administration.

...

There are also pictures of Japanese soldiers presiding over lines of men squatting in rows and, more graphically, of the grisly remains of victims unearthed after the war.

On top of these lessons, students have also been taken on relevant excursions to historical sites where lessons of the war are retold in a non-classroom setting. The Changi Chapel and Museum, for instance, is one site all Japanese primary six students visit.
As I've argued all along, these kids are old enough to learn what actually happened. It doesn't need to be couched in gentle terms. These kids see and understand, giving them knowledge and allowing them to realize why their neighbors have a hard time with the current PM and his visits to Yasukuni. It is kids like these that will finally bring understanding and goodwill to this part of Asia.

Yet, in Japan proper, a jaded version of history is still being taught.

The Japanese community's efforts to educate its young about the realities of the occupation is a stark contrast to the tone struck by the official textbooks used in Japan.

In Tokyo Shoseki, the official history textbook used in the Japanese secondary school here, the war and subsequent occupation in China, Korea and South-east Asia take up a modest five out of 200 pages. The tone is careful, with wartime events parsed into coolly objective facts.

Visuals are limited to shots of impoverished Japanese children and marching contingents of the Imperial Army. Apart from a small picture of Singapore's World War II Memorial, there are practically no visuals of the impact of the war on countries outside Japan.

It is little wonder then that the typical Japanese youth might be puzzled at the testy state of relations between his country and China or South Korea.

In the classroom, he or she would learn about the hardships endured by their Japanese grandparents during the war but much less about the atrocities committed by the Imperial Army outside Japan.

He or she would also find out about the horrors of the atomic bomb detonations at Nagasaki and Hiroshima but without understanding why the Americans were pressured to do so.

What is more worrying is that Tokyo Shoseki, considered the least controversial of the approved textbooks, is used by over half of the junior high schools in Japan.
Wow, and this is the book used by half the junior high schools in Japan. How pathetic.

Again, the school boards in Japan should look at how history is taught in this private school in Singapore and use it as an example for their own schools. Their students deserve the truth, they deserve better than they are getting.

Burn my eyes out...

Before I see this on TV.



Proof that the universe has a warped sense of humor.

(Hat tip Japundit)

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Gah, How Could I Forget Jeff?!?

I can't believe I've left him off my blogroll. I'm fixing that now. Ruminations in Korea is a wonderful site written by a veteran expat. Jeff is one of those that misses nothing and isn't afraid to mention it. I love his thoughts and writing, he's blunt and usually dead on accurate. For a view of Korea that you will get few places, don't miss his blog.

Toby Dawson's win lost in a myriad of parental claims

I'm truly disgusted by this. Toby is a champion, his parents are American and they raised him well. It disgusts me to see all of these people come out of the woodwork claiming to be his biological parents or relatives. Leave him alone already. He was abandoned for goodness sake, don't these people have any shame? Thank goodness for the Holt adoption agency letting everyone know that if his biological parents had wanted to find him it wouldn't have been hard, showing the lie of those claiming to have searched for him so long ago.

If Toby wants to find his biological parents, that's his business, otherwise, people should just shut the hell up.


However, a Holt Children’s Services official who helped Dawson get adopted said, “After Dawson was found as a missing child in Beomi-dong (currently, Beomil-dong), Dong-gu, Busan, on September 23, 1981, he stayed at the temporary home for children, which was the only home for missing children in Busan. If his parents had wanted to find him, they could not have failed.”

Other parental claims are coming out of the woodwork. A Mrs. Cho, who claims that she is Dawson’s aunt, says that Dawson’s real name is Cho Chang-hun and that he was abandoned in January 1981 after being born at a hospital in Gupo-dong, Busan, and that he has a big spot on his chest.

Currently, Holt Children’s Services and media outlets have received around 10 claims from people who say that they are his biological parents or relatives.

Dawson is scheduled to visit Korea on February 26 in order to participate in the International Ski Federation World Cup that will be held in Yongin-city, Gyeonggi Province on March 1.

Seol Eun-hui (33), a social worker at Holt Children’s Services said, “In case many people turn up insisting that they are his parents and relatives and turn out not to be the ones in the end, he will be greatly shocked and disappointed. Before meeting him, they should take paternity DNA test.”

They shouldn't meet him at all unless he shows interest and requests it to happen. Otherwise, again, leave him alone, let him compete and be proud of what he has done.

UPDATE: According to Lost Nomad, Toby Dawson has cancelled his planned trip to Korea. Read his post for the disgusting details.

Korea, the Suicide Kingdom

A sad story on the number of suicides in Korea and the aftermath, families torn apart.

One person dies of suicide every 48 minutes, and one person attempts suicide every 90 seconds. From young children to the elderly, 30 people kill themselves and 960 attempt suicide every day, according to the National Statistical Office. But the tragedy does not end with their death: Families have to live with the loss. On the occasion of the first anniversary of the actress Lee Eun-ju’s suicide on Wednesday, the Chosun Ilbo looks at the pain of relatives.

“I keep thinking she’ll come through that door. I can’t lock the door because she could run in any second and ask for dinner,” Kim Sun-ja (54) says of her daughter Hye-seon, who killed herself last October. Three days after being beaten up by bullies at school, the girl from Cheongju City in North Chungcheong Province left a letter for her parents and jumped off the roof of the apartment building. Now Kim says she can’t lock the door. Hye-seon’s father Lee Gil-sun (62) was a truck driver but had to quit because he was in danger of a stroke and was too busy trying to uncover the truth of his daughter’s death. The couple’s debt soon snowballed to W20 million (US$20,000).

Packets of blood-pressure pills cover the floor of their home, and Hye-seon’s mother has not been sleeping well since her daughter died. Every morning at 3 a.m., the time Hye-seon killed herself, she wakes up in the belief that her daughter will come back. The couple read the last letter from their daughter again and again. “Mom and dad, I’m sorry. I hate school. I’m scared. I had a tough day today. If I’m born again as your daughter I’ll be good. I’m sorry and I love you.” It breaks their hearts every time. “Poor thing. How could she think of jumping down from so high? If she had only come to me for help,” Kim agonizes.
Something has to be done about the pressures of life in Korea, especially on students. The blame can be spread far and wide but it is far past the time for reform. The school system needs to be completely revamped. Teachers need to be held accountable for their actions and the actions of their students. Parents need to be held accountable for the bullying their children do. There is no simple answer to the entire equation, but there are simple things that could be done to drastically reduce the number of suicides. It is time to stop accepting bad behavior, period. Is this the entire solution? Of course not, but it would be a huge start.

I've written before about a family that I've been helping to immigrate to the US. They are just about finished, their paperwork having been accepted by the US. It has been a long three years. The reason I've taking such an interest is that they have one daughter who has downs syndrome. It is NOT severe, but she has been abused beyond in school, both by teachers and other students. Here situation makes you want to cry and I could easily see her committing suicide if it didn't change. Her mother has pulled her out of school, waiting to come to the US where she won't be beat up, shoved in the mud and forced to eat dirt, her teachers refusing to intervene.

Korea has got to change and change soon.

Long Live Sexism in Japan!

Excellent article showing the difficulties in Japan and the recent attempt to allow a woman to sit on the royal throne.

Just when it seemed gender equality in Japan was poised to make a significant leap forward, legislation that would have permitted an empress to reign has been shelved, while a new poll shows public support for the measure dropping.

The recent surprise announcement that 39-year-old Princess Kiko, the emperor's daughter-in-law, is pregnant has forced Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to abandon his reform plans, handing victory to ultraconservatives who bitterly oppose the idea of a woman on the throne. Whether Japan changes its male-only imperial succession law now appears to depend on the gender of

Princess Kiko's unborn child.
Here's hoping the child is a girl so the debate can continue! It is just ridiculous in this modern age, in a modern country that there would be opposition to having a woman on the throne.

The episode reveals the formidable power of Japan's diehard male chauvinists and exposes the deep-seated anti-female bias at the heart of the Japanese establishment. Recent events are also a concrete example of why gender advances in Japan are always so painfully slowly, halfhearted or fail to materialize at all.

Unlike its European counterparts, Japan's brand of constitutional monarchy does not allow a woman to sit upon the Chrysanthemum Throne, a glaring anomaly that contradicts the government's stated goal of creating a gender-equal society. Despite the emperor being a potent national symbol, the 1947 Imperial House Law stipulates that only males can ascend the throne, and no woman has reigned in more than 200 years.

...

A hardline group of male lawmakers gathered in Tokyo, where their leader, former trade minister Takeo Hiranuma, expressed the fears of many conservatives, "If Princess Aiko becomes the reigning empress and gets involved with a blue-eyed foreigner while studying abroad and marries him, their child may be the emperor."
I'm amazed at the power of the ultra-conservatives in Japan. I'm also amazed that they would make such sexist / racist remarks.

The traditionalists' victory has also had an effect on public opinion, with an Asahi Shimbun poll released on Tuesday showing support for the empress succession law down to 66%. The same polled had registered 86% in January 2005. The new poll also showed that the traditionalist camp potentially holds the upper hand in the debate as 60% supported delaying the legislation.

Still, the battle is not yet lost; if Princess Kiko's baby is a girl, which many hope, then the whole debate will be back to Square 1. However, the ultraconservatives have demonstrated that they are a formidable force, and even with public support and a powerful prime minister, the fight for gender equality in Japan will be an uphill struggle.
Again, here's hoping the child is a girl! One of the few times I've appreciated Koizumi as he supported allowing an empress to sit on the throne against massive pressure from the opposition. Too bad he doesn't do this with other issues.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

South Korea, the Land of Protests

Having lived in Korea during the turbulent 80s, I find the current demonstrations to be almost laughable. Still, they continue.

South Korea has a long tradition of passionate protest, yet even by this volatile country's standards Tuesday was something special.

Six protests unfolded in less than an hour, all within about one km (half a mile) of each other. Scores of demonstrators targeted three countries, two companies and one economy.

...

It's all a far cry from the 1980s when unpopular generals ruled the country, and campus anger overflowed on to the streets. Cities regularly saw pitched battles between thousands of students hurling rocks and petrol bombs at huge forces of riot police firing clouds of choking tear gas.
I remember that time vividly. Not knowing Korean well at the time, I got caught in one of the largest demonstrations ever in Seoul. It was total madness. By the time I got out of the main part, I was white from head to toe, covered in tear gas powder, the pain, exquisite.

South Korea is now a vibrant democracy but staging protests remains an art form, and Tuesday was no exception.

Protesters often wear colour-coordinated clothes, vests and headbands for maximum visual impact for the cameras. They arrange flags, banners and pictures with careful consideration. Protest chants are scripted and rehearsed.

Some protests take place with such regularity that they can be used to mark the days of the week.
Too true, too true. A choreographed art form.

Korean Youth a Bunch of Morons!

GAH!!!!!!!

Almost half of juniors surveyed, who will get their first voting rights in the 2007 presidential election, said in a recent poll that South Korea should side with North Korea if Washington attacks nuclear facilities in the North without Seoul's consent.
But wait, there's more!

In the survey of 1,000 youngsters aged between 18 and 23, conducted by The Korea Times and its sister paper the Hankook Ilbo on Feb. 16-19, nearly 48 percent of respondents said that if the U.S. attacked nuclear facilities in North Korea, Seoul should act on Pyongyang's behalf and demand Washington stop the attack.

But 40.7 percent of them said Seoul should keep a neutral stance in the event of such attacks, while 11.6 percent said South Korea needs to act in concert with the United States.



Only 11% would back the US?

Now, I can understand part of this. It would piss me off if I was in Seoul and the US attacked the North. There is a good chance my home would be nailed in that case. Still, backing the North in that kind of a situation galls me to no end.

And more...

Peaceful unification was the most preferred method of reintegrating the two Koreas, receiving the approval of 54.1 percent of respondents. But 35.5 percent said they have no problem in maintaining the status quo if the two sides can coexist peacefully.

Nearly 40 percent of respondents chose China as the partner most important for South Korea to keep friendly relations with. The United States came next with 18.4 percent and North Korea came third with 18 percent.

Oh yes, lets maintain the status quo and forget all those who are in prison or starving to death. The apathy of Koreans has always annoyed me.

Half of the respondents considered themselves ``progressive'' (50.1 percent), while 21.1 percent of them said they are ``conservative.''
Progressive, right. Can we say ultraliberal? It will be fascinating to see what happens in the next election.

The Lost Nomad a MUST READ blog

I've been meaning to do this for a while. Folks, if you haven't read Lost Nomad, you are really missing something. This blog ranks right up there with the blog formerly known as Marmot's Hole.

The Nomad has a way of finding out of the ordinary yet interesting articles to blog about and his insight is dead on.

Again, if you haven't been reading it, Go there NOW.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Residents Return to Dokdo

Some former residents of Dokdo are returning. Having left after their home blew away in a storm, the Korean Government and private groups have rebuilt the home and purchased a new fishing net for them. Congratulations to the residents of Dokdo island, permanent population, 3.

(hat tip to The Korea Liberator)

UPDATE: An article on 'Takeshima Day' here. Another article on Korea's response here. Finally, Nomad posts about 5 students leaving on motorcycles to promote Dokdo here.

Must read at Gypsy Scholar

Don't miss this post on events in the Middle East. It is a MUST READ.

China upset by war criminal remarks

You knew that China would have something to say on the subject, I have a had time disagreeing with their assessment. Most of it covers things already said, but we'll go with it again.

Unlike Germany, which employed intensive de-Nazification procedures to prevent former Nazis entering parliament and the bureaucracy, Japanese war criminals were allowed to enter parliament and find employment in the government bureaucracy.

A striking example of this different approach between Japan and Germany is the case of convicted war criminal Nobusuke Kishi, who was able to rise to the office of prime minister of Japan in 1957.

Shigemitsu Mamoru, who was sentenced to seven years' imprisonment as a Class-A war criminal, became a deputy prime minister and foreign minister under the administration of then prime minister Ichiro Hatoyama in 1954.

Kaya Okinori, who was given a life term as a Class-A war criminal, served as justice minister under the administration of prime minister Ikeda Hayato. A criminal became a guardian of the Japanese law.

Fourteen Class-A war criminals were enshrined in 1978 at Yasukuni Shrine, which Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi visited every year in his office term.

This is the way Japanese politicians have addressed their country's war atrocities. The open defence from Aso and Abe for the Class-A war criminals is the continuing refusal by the country to acknowledge it.

Superfood Kimchi...

At least as touted in the Washington Post.
Long the star of Korean cuisine, kimchi is gaining traction as a food trend in America, says Hi Soo Shin Hepinstall. But bird flu fears more than culinary cravings may account for the recent spikes in kimchi sales at Asian markets. A minor study by a South Korean academic last spring apparently sparked new interest in the pungent mix of pickled vegetables.

The 2005 Seoul National University study found that 11 of 13 chickens recovered from avian flu after being fed kimchi juice. But, as scientists noted, more research is needed.

Kimchi has long been touted as health superfood that can cut cancer risk, lower cholesterol, improve skin, aid digestion and fight infection. The dish does contain ingredients widely believed to strengthen immunity and fight disease. For example, kimchi's fermentation process produces beneficial bacteria that destroys harmful microbes. Crushed garlic yields compounds linked to reducing blood pressure and infections. (Stanford University's Web site recommends garlic nose drops to kill cold-causing viruses.) Hot peppers contain capsaicin, believed to kill certain bacteria. Ginger's medicinal uses range from preventing motion sickness to fighting colds. Cabbage and green onions are packed with health-boosting phytonutrients. Many South Koreans even credited kimchi consumption with sparing the nation from the SARS outbreak that swept Asia in 2003. R.T.


Interesting article considering the publication.

Friday, February 17, 2006

English is a Wonderful Language...

Saw this on Darin's Blog and had to share it as well. Makes me think of some hilarious conversations I've had in Korea both in English and Korean.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Korean School Uniforms Cause Protest

Parents aren't protesting the fact that the students have to wear uniforms, they are protesting the high cost, and who can blame them!

Personally, I like the idea of uniforms and don't feel they are a bad thing. But, they should certainly not be this expensive! Shame on the schools and the industry for charging such outrageous prices.

A 43 year-old housewife, who wanted to be identified by only her last name, Kang, got a shock when she was going through a pamphlet about school uniforms in order to buy one for her daughter, who enters middle school next month.

``I was so surprised at how expensive school uniforms are. Winter uniforms cost around 300,000 won ($306) and summer ones are 200,000 won. That's more expensive than a suit I bought for my husband in December,'' said Kang, who lives in the affluent Kangnam area, southern Seoul.

...

A 15 year-old middle school student, who wanted to be known only by his family name, Choi, goes to school in a uniform he was given by a senior student for free a year ago.

He lives with just his grandmother in northern Seoul, and the family lives on a small monthly allowance from the government.

``I cannot ask my grandma to buy me a new school uniform that costs as much as 400,000 won. I have received used uniforms from senior students over the past two years, but I am okay with it,'' Choi said with a grin.
Read the entire article to get the full impact of the problem.

Toby Dawson wins bronze!

Congratulations to Toby Dawson, a Korean born who was adopted by an American family. He kicked butt in the moguls to win a bronze medal. I watched the competition on tv, was very entertaining. I kept thinking of the knee problems these guys must have later in life after absorbing the kind of punishment that they do.

Unfortunately, some of the media has decided to focus on his birth and abandonment instead of his life and accomplishments.

Again, a heartfelt congratulations to Toby!

Japan Has No War Criminals

It's comforting to know that Japan's foreign minister and the person in line to succeed Koizumi believe that Japan's war criminals really aren't criminals at all. That should sooth the souls of the millions killed on their orders.

Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe, one of the strongest candidates for the next Japanese Prime Minister, and Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso have claimed that Japanese Class-A war criminals are not actually criminals according to Japanese civil law.

According to Mainichi Shimbun, Abe and Aso stated the above in response to a question raised by former Japanese Democratic Party leader Katsuya Okada at a Lower House budget committee meeting on February 14.

...

Abe developed his own logic, saying that the trial for war criminals in Tokyo was held by the Allied Nations, not by the Japanese government, and that Japan’s Class-A criminals are not criminals by Japanese standards.
Are these really the people Japan wants leading their nation and being seen by the other nations of the world?

Korea Liberator

You might notice I've removed DPRK Studies and One Free Korea from the blogroll. Considering they are the latest additions, some might be shocked. Don't be! These blogs have combined to create The Korea Liberator.

This is a MUST read for those concerned about North Korea and the people there.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Vice President Cheney Shoots Attorney... Punchlines Left to You

I wouldn't even bring this up except for a question actually asked by a reporter to White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan.

One reporter actually asks (and we're not making this one up), "Would this be much more serious if the man had died?"

For the record, Mr. McClellan replied, "Of course it would." We hope the 78-year-old Mr. Whittington recovers promptly after his heart attack yesterday. As for the Beltway press corps, it has once again earned the esteem in which it is held by the American public.
Ah, the intellectual acumen of our nations reporters is staggering.

Japanese Schools Start Feeding Students Whale Meat

Having halted the practice in the 80s, now under pressure from the whaling industry, schools in Japan have started to serve whale meat again.

An increasing number of elementary and junior high schools in Japan have resumed the use of whale meat in lunch dishes as the Wakayama prefectural board of education promotes it, board of education officials said Tuesday.

The Wakayama board of education, which resumed the regular use of whale meat in school lunches in January 2005, has organized tasting events of whale meat in Tokyo and has asked school lunch panels of nationwide education boards to use the meat, the officials said.

The prefecture is famous for whaling, with its town of Taiji known as the birthplace of organized whaling in Japan.

...

Some 1,657 kilograms of whale meat were provided via the school lunch panel of Wakayama's board of education for more than 100 elementary and junior high schools in Kyoto, Osaka and Nara prefectures and Tokyo in January of this year alone, the officials said. The amount for January is about double the amount for the whole last year.
They just aren't going to let this go, are they? Keep killing those whales!

POWs Have Higher Good Cholesterol

Okay, I read this article as was prepared to say, "What in the hell are you talking about." Especially after reading the first I was still ready to be angry.


The terrible conditions suffered by former Japanese prisoners-of-war may, perversely, have contributed in later life to higher-than-average rates of "good cholesterol," according to research recently presented to a medical conference in London.
I read that and I couldn't believe it. I get so sick of people trying to find a smidgen of 'good' out of a horrific thing like this.

Reading the rest of the article soothed the anger.


Gill says the findings may be due to the conditions the former POWs endured. Equally the results may just be representative of the fact that they were a physically strong group which survived the camps.
Gee, you think?

There is a bunch more, then it finally ends with...


Although POWs may have a lower risk of heart disease, their overall life expectancy has been reduced as a result of their wartime experiences.

They have suffered higher-than-average rates of liver disease, duodenal ulcers, chronic lung disease and neurological diseases caused by malnutrition. In addition, a third of Japanese POWs have suffered post traumatic stress. Around 15 percent of survivors are also still suffering from tropical worm infections they picked up in the Far East.

But thank goodness for that 'good' cholesterol!

Proof the squeaky wheel...

A Korean academic says a leading British history textbook only uses "East Sea” for the body of water separating Korea and Japan. The scholar says the book, titled "Complete History of the World,” is the first one to use the name alone. Korea and Japan have long disputed over the sea's international name.
And this non-issue continues...

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy Valentine's Day

I'm taking the day off. Happy Valentine's Day everyone! Hope you have someone special to spend it with.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Time to Make a Push on Rice

You know, it is statements like the following the just get the blood boiling and make you want to push the issue.
"Rice should be excluded. We don't need to discuss this any more. This is the principle of the government," Park Hong-soo said in a news briefing.

"Not only rice, but also fruit and livestock should be considered as highly sensitive items," he added.

See? It's like Park just wanted to piss off the US negotiators. Probably a good thing I'm not one of them because rice, fruit and livestock would have just become my main issues after hearing that. So, what is all this about?
Seoul will not be swayed by U.S. demands that rice should be part of a bilateral free trade pact, South Korea's agriculture minister said on Monday, adding that fruit and livestock should also be given special consideration.

Seoul and Washington appear to be heading for a showdown on the sensitive issue of rice even before the opening of formal negotiations on a free trade agreement, which are expected in May.

I get soooo tired of this crap. You want free trade, but only on your terms and definitely excluding certain items. So, if that's the way the game is played, it is time to reconsider tarriffs on Hyndai cars and Samsung electronic items.

Here's hoping the US negotiator has some nads and tells Park to go to hell.
South Korea has agreed with nine rice-exporting countries to increase its quota of imported rice incrementally to 8 percent of its total consumption by 2014 from 4 percent in 2004.

In return for that deal, reached in 2004 under the auspices of the World Trade Organization, South Korea won an additional 10-year delay on implementing more extensive liberalization measures for its rice market.

Whoever negotiated that deal should be kicked in the nads, of course, that probably wouldn't bother him because I can see he certain doesn't have any, at least any of any size or density.

Aso a real...well you get the drift...

Scathing editorial in the New York Times.
People everywhere wish they could be proud of every bit of their countries' histories. But honest people understand that's impossible, and wise people appreciate the positive value of acknowledging and learning from painful truths about past misdeeds. Then there is Japan's new foreign minister, Taro Aso, who has been neither honest nor wise in the inflammatory statements he has been making about Japan's disastrous era of militarism, colonialism and war crimes that culminated in the Second World War.

Ouch. Read the rest on your own. I just want to share the last line.
Mr. Aso's sense of diplomacy is as odd as his sense of history.

The editorial in some ways is a bit over the top, but the assessment of Aso is dead on.

Singapore Remembers WWII

Fearing that younger generations will forget what their parents, grandparents and great grandparents endured, Singapore is designating certain sites as historical monuments.

More than six decades after World War II, Singapore is preserving sites that marked key events of Japan's invasion of the country as national monuments, including a building where Gen. Tomoyuki Yamashita, the "Tiger of Malaya," and his British counterpart met to negotiate the surrender of British forces in 1942.

...

Also on the list are three beaches, which were the sites of Japanese massacres of civilians.

Singapore was occupied by Japanese forces between 1942 and 1945 and up to 100,000 people, mainly ethnic Chinese, were believed to have been massacred under Japanese military aggression.

Singapore is also adding their voice to the growing number of nations and groups upset at the Prime Minister of Japan's visits to Yasukuni.

As the generation that fought and suffered during World War II and the Japanese occupation continue to grow older and pass away, those remaining realize the importance of remembering what occurred. While they were alive and healthy, their own memories seemed to suffice, now they realize that younger generations have no idea of the suffering they endured. They want to ensure that it never happens again; remembering is important to keep people from ever becoming complacent.
But the majority ethnic-Chinese island state has been less vocal than China or South Korea on controversial issues of the war. Such issues include the whitewashing of Japanese military aggression in Japanese school history textbooks, and Japanese leaders' continued visits to Tokyo's Yasukuni shrine, which enshrines 14 Class-A war criminals along with 2.47 million war dead.

However, recently Singapore government leaders have also joined the growing chorus of Asian nations calling on Japanese leaders to stop visiting Yasukuni Shrine.

The hypocracy that is Japan's "whaling research"

The more that comes out, the more ridiculous it becomes. That Japan continues to hide behind the "research" label is dispicable. Of couse, when it comes to whaling and certain other issues, honesty is not high of the government of Japan's list of important items.
The government wants the public to eat more whale meat to reduce the bloated stockpile and to prevent a rise in international criticism against Japan's "research whaling" program.
Dammit people, eat more whale!

This is getting unbelievable. The people don't even want the friggin meat! Are they doing this just to keep some fishermen in business?

So, just how much meat are we talking about?

According to a survey compiled by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the whale meat stock was between 600 tons and 700 tons in 1998. But due to several factors, particularly the increase in the number of whales Japan catches for research purposes in the northwestern area of the Pacific Ocean, the meat stockpile soared to 4,800 tons by the end of August 2005.

It stood at 3,511 tons at the end of 2005.


4,800 tons, damn...wonder how many wasted whales that equals?

Friday, February 10, 2006

2006 Winter Olympics -- Go Korean Biathlon Team!!!

Yeah, that's a weird title for the post, I know. But there is a story behind it. In 2002, with the olympics beginning in Salt Lake City, a frantic phone call came to my wife. The Korean Olympic Biathlon team had no where to stay.

During competition, most teams arranged to live near their venue. From the Olympic Village to the slopes was a long drive. Besides that, the village was loud and crazy, a 24 hour a day party. That is fine if your competition is over, but if you haven't competed yet, it was difficult. So, the Korean team arranged for a private residence near where they would compete.

Upon arriving in Salt Lake City, there were difficulties. Someone had made a mistake and the reservation was for the wrong days. It looked as if the team would be stuck at the village; that is until someone called my wife. They asked us if we would mind hosting the team at our home. Considering the team only consisted of one man, one woman and their coach, my wife agreed.

The team arrived at our home and my wife greated them. At first, it was a bit strained, they didn't know what to expect. I think they assumed we were going to charge them as well. We were just excited to have them there. My wife and the coach talked for a bit and worked things out. We let them know that we were there for them, we wanted them to be as comfortable as possible so they could do their best in the competition.

We weren't unrealistic, Korea isn't a powerhouse when it comes to the biathlon, hence, the small team. Still, we wanted them to do their best and we wanted them to feel welcome. We gave the master bedroom to the coach and the male athlete, the female biathlete took my daughter's room.

We also arranged their meals. This was unexpected for them as well, but my wife is a master, master Korean cook. The coach informed us that they would not eat red meat and a few other things during the competition and my wife took this to heart. She cooked nearly nonstop, dedicated to feeding them like kings and queens and giving them whatever they wanted. Each meal was a true feast, letting them eat as much or as little as they liked. They were flabergasted and expressed their gratitude over and over again. Not only would they not go hungry, they became the envy of other Korean teams, bragging about how well they were being treated. We just enjoyed being able to help them. My wife was like the kind aunt, being older than either biathlete and the coach as well.


Dessert -- Strawberries, Apples, Korean Pears

It was a sad day when their competition was over and they headed back to the village, they placed somewhere in the 70s, definitely not a powerhouse. Still, they had a grand time and we just loved being a small part of it. They had been perfect guests and had treated our daughter wonderfully. It was an experience none of us will ever forget, nor will we probably ever be able to repeat it.

So, with that, let the Olympics begin! While I'll be rooting hard for the US team, a piece of my heart will be with the Korean Biathlon Team. Fighting!

Below are a couple of pictures from when they stayed with us. Here is a link to more.


Sitting around the fire in the living room on the first evening.


Last day as they left, was truly sad.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Bastard FIRED! May he burn in hell...

Via the ever diligent Kushibo...
News agencies are quoting a Yonhap News report that Seoul National University has fired (AP says "suspended") disgraced cloning scientist Dr. Hwang Woo-suk and six other professors on his team today, for their involvement in fabricated stem cell research.
I hope we never hear another word from this abomination and embarrrassment to Korea and humanity as a whole. The hopes and dreams he crushed in untold thousands of ill and injured should haunt him for the rest of his days. INHO, his only hope at redemption is work in complete obscurity and humility until and if he actually discovers the breakthroughs he so readily claimed. Until that time, let him be the pariah he so deservedly created for himself.

Japan's Colonialism in Taiwan

I've always heard that the colonial period in Taiwan was far more accepted and enjoyed by the people of Taiwan than other areas colonized. Japanese colonial leaders in Korea would constantly compare the ease of life and colonization in Taiwan compared to the difficulties in Korea. This article seems to show a similar feeling among those in Taiwan that lived through that time.

Frank Lin, a Taipei insurance company representative whose parents went to an elite teacher training school set up by the Japanese, says there is no denying the colonialists created a “very good” educational foundation for Taiwan.

...

Evidence of enthusiasm for things Japanese is easy to find in Taiwan. Many elderly Taiwanese express nostalgia for the more orderly days of the colonial period. Japanese imports and food are highly popular with consumers of all ages.

China’s Tsingtao Brewery has even used kimono-clad actors singing Japanese songs to promote its beer in Taiwan – a strategy that would be seen as arrant treachery on the mainland, where memories remain fresh of the death and destruction caused by Japan’s brutal 1931-45 invasion.

...

But Beijing’s line also aims to paper over a key reason why many Taiwanese feel relatively positive towards Japanese colonial control: their belief that rule by Chinese from the mainland was worse.

Many older Taiwanese contrast the discipline and order of Japanese colonialists with the arrogance and unpredictability of the troops and officials of the Chinese Kuomintang government that took control of the island following Tokyo’s 1945 surrender.

Bloody suppression of dissent followed the resumption of Chinese rule and, when KMT leaders fled to Taiwan in 1949, they brought a whole ruling class of mainlanders who often looked down on the locals.

“You can say that Taiwanese saw the Japanese as dogs; but at least a dog will protect your property . . . a pig just makes a mess,” says one Taipei resident. “Many older people have good feelings towards the Japanese but not towards mainlanders.”

Fascinating article, I'm going to have to read more about this period of time in Taiwan.

Former PM Nakasone wants Emperor to Visit Yasukuni

Actually, his request, isn't bad, it's just impossible.

Former Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone proposed Thursday that the emperor, not the prime minister, should visit Yasukuni Shrine when the proper conditions for such a visit have been established.

Nakasone said at a seminar in Kyoto that the souls of those who were drafted into the military and are honored at the shrine "have been waiting for the emperor, not the prime minister, to visit there."

He said Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi should play a leading role in helping to establish an environment in which the emperor can visit the shrine. "It's the prime minister's job to create a situation in which the emperor can visit (Yasukuni)," he claimed.

Japan's relations with China and South Korea have deteriorated due to Koizumi's repeated visits to the war-related shrine, which honors Class-A war criminals together with Japan's war dead.

To help create an environment for the emperor to visit the shrine, Nakasone proposed that the Class-A war criminals be separated from the war dead enshrined there. (important parts bolded)

I'm sure you see the problem... there is no way in hell that those in charge of Yasukuni are going to separate out the Class_A war criminals. It's been proposed time and time again with no effect. It's easy to see why when you visit the museum there. Japan is shown to be a complete vicitim forced into the war, the criminals treated as heros.

I'm curious about Nakasone's statement later on in the article.

Nakasone said he does not accept the rulings of the 1946-1948 Tokyo war crimes trials against political and military leaders of the prewar and wartime Japanese governments, including those enshrined at Yasukuni Shrine.
I'm curious as to why he doesn't accept the rulings and what he feels would have been just. Unfortunately, the article doesn't elaborate on this point.

It will be interesting to see if a solution is ever found to this ongoing thorn in the side of foreign relations.

45 Cows Suspected of Having Mad Cow Disease

That's 45 cows in Japan.

But yeah, let's continue to ban US beef.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Japnopologist on the Loose

Hey folks. I had to read the following a few times to even understand what was being discussed. With that, let’s take a look at Ampontan’s latest rant over at Japundit. He entitles it “Batty in Beijing” suggesting that the Chinese government is having mental problems.

He starts:

If we were to see someone in public frothing at the mouth and displaying obvious signs of insanity, we’d quickly call an ambulance or the police. That’s not an option, however, when the lunatic under observation is the Chinese government.

Think I’m exaggerating? Then try this Reuters article from the Courier-Mail in Australia reporting on an editorial in the People’s Daily:

China has an old saying: “One pellet of rat s..it spoils a bowl of soup,” said the commentary, signed by Wu Ming, probably a pseudonym. “Using this sentence with the Yasukuni Shrine is perhaps not correct because the shrine is not good soup, but it is notorious regardless of whether it has rat faeces.”

Okay. So, we are talking about an editorial in the People’s Daily, a communist shill of a newspaper, that is reported on by reuters in the Courier-Mail, an Australian paper. I think I’ve got that so far. He quotes the article as above. So, what is the article about? Going to the link he provides, the article says:

TENSION between China and Japan escalated yesterday with a major newspaper here describing Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's visits to a Tokyo war shrine as the actions of a person who knowingly eats "rat s..t".

Mr Koizumi's visits to the Yasukuni Shrine, which honours war criminals along with Japan's 2.5 million war dead, is a huge irritant in China-Japan relations, which are strained thanks to a range of disputes, some from Japan's occupation of parts of China during WW II.

Okay, now we can see where this is coming from. First, you have Koizumi’s continued visits to Yasukuni. Then you have Foreign Minster Aso’s comments from the other day. Combine these together and you have an angry Chinese government. If Ampontan had taken the time to describe the entire situation, there wouldn’t be the confusion. Instead, he decides to try and make this look like China’s government has gone off the deep-end of the mental pool.

This isn’t the case of a frothing mouthed lunatic, this is a government angry at actions and words of the governemnt officials of it's neighbor, Japan. While the imagery used isn’t pleasant, it conveys a strong depth of feeling, not lunacy. This imagery is supposedly taken from an ancient Chinese proverb, I couldn’t locate that though. As I’ve recently shown, it isn’t just China and Korea angry at the actions of Koizumi, there is anger through-out Asia and other parts of the world. Unfortunately, people like Ampontan would like to suggest that it is only China beating up on poor Japan.

Let’s continue, he next writes:

It’s not online, but the Japan Times included more direct quotes from Reuters and the People’s Daily than did the Courier-Mail, as well as the letter of the alphabet the Queensland daily removed:

”A sane man knowing the soup contains rat shit drinks it anyway. Other people try politely to stop him and he blames them. People can only think he has a special interest in rat shit.”

Any flicker of sanity in those sentences, much less a passing acquaintance with reality, is purely coincidental. I have to wonder if the pollution in China is now so bad that the drinking water has been contaminated by mercury.

It’s no surprise the Chinese public loses all sense of control when the issue is Japan. If all I had to read was the People’s Daily, I’d have to be fitted for a straitjacket, too.

Again, more harsh imagery by the People’s Daily. Koizumi, time and time again and by countless sources, has been criticized and castigated for his continued visits to Yasukuni. He knows how his visits angers other Asians and upsets governments from all over. Yet, he persists in these visits, to the detriment of Japan and its reputation internationally. Therefore, the imagery given in the article. Koziumi, knowing the soup (see Yasukuni) is poisoned, continues to drink it (visit the shrine). People (other nations, leaders and publications) try to stop him, but he gets angry at them for interfering while he is trying to drink, astonishing those who are only trying to act in his best interest (insinuating Koizumi has some special interest in Yasukuni).

It isn’t a lack of sanity, it is imagery; and while harsh, has a great deal to do with reality. While I’m not going to argue the pollution in China, I am wondering if Ampontan has eaten some bad raw fish lately. I do think we can leave out the talk of straightjackets though, talk about your over the top imagery.

Next…

The Courier-Mail did include one sentence that was puzzling in a different way. I can’t decide whether it more closely resembles Stalinism as depicted by Orwell or the Big Lie as propounded by Goebbels:

“The Yasukuni Shrine has long been regarded as a symbol of the revival of militarism,” the commentary said.

Any revival of militarism in Japan is a figment of the imagination of the propaganda arm of the Communist Party in China, deliberately used by the Chinese leadership to deflect the nation’s attention from the problems at home by focusing them on a bogeyman abroad. If the Chinese actually think they see any militaristic revival–other than their own–it’s evidence they’re hallucinating.

YES! How could we go through a rant without invoking the evil specter of Nazism! Let’s be clever though and not actually mention Hitler, we’ll just throw in his right hand man Goebbels. That aside, let’s look at the statement Ampontan is in a tizzy about; Yasukuni and the revival of a militarized Japan. He goes on as to how this is completely unjustified and a ‘figment of the imagination of the propaganda arm of the Communist Party in China…’

While painting Japan as a current militarily antagonistic nation would be wrong, it is easy to see how others might not have this view. Japan has the second highest military budget in the world, second only to the United States.

The world's top five spenders are the US, Japan, the United Kingdom, France and China.

The US-led "war on terrorism" - after attacks on New York and the Pentagon in September 2001 - has triggered a dramatic increase in US military spending, boosting overall global figures. US spending alone has risen from $296 billion in 1997 to $336 billion in 2002 and $379 billion in 2003. In contrast, Japan spends an average of about $44 billion annually on its military, France about $40 billion, the United Kingdom about $35 billion and China about $26 billion.

Beyond this are the current attempts to alter the constitution in Japan to allow for a more aggressive military. Personally, I’m all in favor of this considering the current conflicts in the world and the need for nations other than the US to handle them all. But in saying this, it is also easy to see how it would make other nations in the region extremely nervous. Remember that it is less than a century since Japan began the deadliest military campaign in history responsible for the deaths of untold millions and a monthly death rate of hundreds of thousands. Given that, we might want to excuse the jitters of those that suffered under Japan’s militaristic past.

Moving on…

But that’s not the only symptom of illness. Here’s how Reuters describes the strategy of the government and the People’s Daily:

The People’s Daily has been stepping up its rhetoric against Japan even as the Government tries to keep public sentiment from boiling over.

Yes, turning up the heat on the stove is an excellent way to prevent the soup from spilling over the side of the pot.

Does this not suggest a split personality? See if this definition doesn’t fit the Chinese behavior as snugly as a hospital gown:

Schizophrenia is the most severe of the major mental illnesses. Symptoms of schizophrenia are divided into two categories – positive and negative. Positive symptoms are characterized by paranoia, delusions, hallucination and thought disorder.

Well, at least they get full marks for something.

Oh please. Give it a rest here. We are now saying the entire government of China is schizophrenic? First, this is the OPINION of Reuters on what the Chinese government is doing. So, based on the opinion of one reporter, Ampontan is going to declare the government of China insane. It is only with the recent visit of Koizumi to Yasukuni AND the comments of Japan’s foreign minister that the latest article in the People’s Daily was written. What is more accurate, in my opinion, is that the Chinese government is continuing to keep attitudes in China anti-Japan. There is no call for demonstrations or the like. It is just another jab at the ‘evil’ Japanese. It is an ongoing campaign, seemingly well orchestrated, aimed at keeping the people annoyed, but not enough to explode.

Onward…

But, as with all lunatics, even the Chinese have the occasional interlude of lucidity:

Last month, a paper’s columnist said China should prepare for enduring conflict with Japan and embrace nationalism as a source of unity, adding that tensions were likely to deepen as the two compete for export markets and energy supplies.

When most countries start barging down the militarist path to empire, they usually fabricate some excuse based on an affront to national pride to hide the real reasons for their aggression. Prime Minister Koizumi’s visits to Yasukuni provide them with the excuse. But the Chinese want to have their cake and eat it, too. Not only are they trying to whip up their natural nationalist arrogance—which they seldom try to disguise in Asia—to an even greater level of insufferability, they suggest a conflict is in the cards because they’re going to try to grab the region’s energy supplies on the way to establishing a hegemony.

While China is the big bully on the block, the current situation seems no more extreme than at any other time, in fact, it seems less volital if anything. The people of China are not marching in the streets shouting anti-Japan slogans. It seems pretty much business as usual. In fact, if Koizumi would STOP visiting Yasukuni and if Aso could keep his mouth shut, the situation would calm even further. Instead, they spoon feed the Chinese government exactly what it needs to keep the animosity levels at high but controllable. What China really seems to be doing is using Japan and the conflicts there to focus its population’s mind on an external enemy instead of the economic woes faced by the vast majority of the Chinese people. But, the economy of China is another story altogether. As far as arrogance goes, Koizumi is second to none.

And then…

Now that I think of it, the “enduring conflict” expression has more of an Orwellian ring.

Meanwhile, the village idiots of the Western press are burying these stories on the inside of the paper without comment, or trying to maintain an air of neutrality (while subtly tilting against free market and democratic Japan) even as they wipe the Chinese faeces off their faces. Or spoon it out of their soup along with the rat s..t.

Oh please. Poor Japan, poor, poor Japan. Nobody in the west is ignoring China. China is recognized for the proper threat that it is. This attitude of victimization is sickening and saying that China is preferred over Japan is a desperate cry and attempt to deflect proper scrutiny of recent actions by Japan. There is not a ‘subtle tilt’ against Japan towards China anywhere except in Ampontan’s vivid imagination.

Finally…

Why do these self-proclaimed defenders of truth and justice refrain from calling a spade a spade just because the spade is made in China? Perhaps this article answers the question—self-preservation.

A newspaper editor who was severely beaten by police about three months ago has died from multiple injuries, his wife and former colleagues said on Monday.

…Mr Wu’s wife, who did not want to give her first name but is also surnamed Wu, confirmed his death, although she declined to elaborate exactly what he had died of.

“I am not able to say,” she said. “It is not convenient for me to say over the phone… in the end, it was due to his liver problems.”

Up to 50 police raided the newspaper’s office on October 20, a day after it published an article criticising traffic police over charging arbitrary fees for electrical bicycle licenses. Up to eight police beat and kicked Mr Wu, before hurling him out of his office and bundling him into a police car, Xinhua reported the next day. The Xinhua report said Mr Wu had a liver transplant two years earlier and the beating caused severe damage to his liver, as well as other injuries.

Another journalist at Taizhou Wanbao, who also declined to be named, said Mr Wu had remained in hospital following the beatings on October 20. He added that newspaper staff had been warned against discussing the incident with outsiders.

“All the news that’s fit to print,” they tell us. What they really mean is, “All the news that keeps us fit, we’ll print.”

Yes, yes, China is evil. Nobody is denying this except in your imagination once again. You say that the western news refrains from calling China what it is and then you quote an article, from a western news source, whose headline is, “Chinese editor dies after police beating.” How more explicit can you be?!? What in the hell else do you want the article to say? It described exactly what happened and placed the death exactly where it belonged, at the feet of the Chinese police. Where is the cover-up? Where is the attempt at not reporting this? Unless you are talking about Chinese reporters and then, who can blame them for not reporting everything? Hell, they face death if they do and the western press is getting the word out. For the life of me, I’m not sure what you are trying to say in this last part. In fact, in a just published poll, people in the US consider China to be the #2 threat to the US after Iran!

Instead of creating this vast tinfoil hat scenario, just say it like it is. The Chinese Government is evil. It focuses attention on outside enemies to control its population. Japan makes an easy target for this because of the arrogance and actions of Koizumi and those around him. Japan could do a hell of a lot to ease this situation, but once again, the arrogance level is too high. But instead of laying blame where it belongs, it is easier to try and heap it all on to the evil communist neighbor and play the victim. Each side has added to the current conflict. Seeing as how Japan wants to be the leader in the region and a leader in the world, it’s time for them to step forward and take the lead in calming the current situation.

Hangul Tattoo

We all know the site, Hanzi Matters, that deals with tattoos of Chinese characters.

Well, here is one in hangul. Found via Marmot, I almost spewed Mt. Dew on my screen when I saw it.



For those who don't read hangul, it says "left leg" and "right leg."

Classic.

Riding Sun hits the sidebar

My latest addition to the blogroll is Riding Sun. A well written blog covering a variety of subject. It first came to my attention via The Frog Zone. I've been reading it ever since.

Sadly, it looks as if June Cho is no longer blogging, so she got the axe.

Riding Sun is a worthwhile effort, give it chance, I'm sure it will become a daily read.

Japan, between a rock and a hard place

Japan just seems to have a knack at getting themselves in the middle of impossible situations. It has done so again, this time between the US and Iran.

What?!? How did they do this you ask? They did it by ignoring the advice of the US and offering billions of dollars to open up oil fields in Iran to insure their oil supply.

Two years ago, against strong American urging, Inpex agreed to develop the southern section of the Azadegan field, with 75 per cent equity. The northern contract is yet to be let, though Tehran is said to favour China's state oil company Sinopec.

Japan imports about 4.2 million barrels of oil daily, of which Japanese companies control only 450,000 bpd. Azadegan and other possible large-scale investment in Iran offer significant relief for Japan's acute external energy dependency.

Whatever its position in the vanguard of anti-nuclear proliferation efforts, Japan is loathe to drop Azadegan or, as a Foreign Ministry official put it, "punch Iran in the face".

More than 13 per cent of Japan's oil already comes from Iran, but supply isn't the pressing issue in the looming sanctions campaign. There's no panic among Japanese and other Asian refiners, according to Petroleum Intelligence Weekly, because heavy crude supplies are currently abundant. Plus, Iran is telling customers not to worry about oil being caught up in any sanctions campaign.

Oil investment, on the other hand, would be a sanctions target and Japan's particular problem is that any economic blockade would almost certainly be run, not by the UN, but by its Washington friends.
Okay, so Japan hasn't actually spent the money yet. So what is the problem, besides the fact that Japan gets 13% of its oil from Iran?

All five UN Security Council permanent members voted last week in the International Atomic Energy Agency to refer Iran to the UN. So did Japan.

But even if Tehran remains unbending, China and Russia will be unwilling to join any economic sanctions motion. So will India, which has recently secured a foothold in another big Iranian oil project, Yadavaran, and is a growing presence in the international jostling to secure energy supplies.

So the US is likely to come away from the Security Council with some kind of non-binding condemnatory motion that it will use to demand its allies and friends join a sanctions campaign against Iran.

For Japan, this is the worst of all likely scenarios. Harry Harding, research director at Eurasia Group, an international political risk consultancy, says it constitutes the most immediate risk of stress in the US-Japan alliance.

If everyone else were involved in an investment embargo, the Japanese might be quite happy. All foreign investors in Iranian oil struggle with Tehran's tough investment regime and might hope a blanket ban would force an easing of conditions in future.

But only Japan is directly vulnerable to US government-to-government pressure. The Japanese Government still controls Inpex which, though publicly listed, remains 36 per cent state-owned and its strategic decisions are subject to government veto.

Ouch! Japan is definitely finding itself in a tough spot. Cutting of 13% of your oil supply could be disasterous to the economy. But, how can Japan not go along with sanctions against Iran? We are talking nuclear weapons here. It would be hypocritical of Japan to try and ignore it. Japan's best hope is that continued negotions will end with a break through easing concerns and solving the nuclear armaments issue.

Personally, I think Japan has some tough decisions to make soon.

Medical Malpractice on the Rise

Medical malpractice suits are on the rise in Korea. That's fine, but that isn't, in my opinion, the most important part of the article. To me, the most important part is the unsettled law in Korea. They really just don't know what to do about this issue. Is the onus on the patient or the doctor and to what degree? What kind of compensation is just and what is unfair?

Some 885 medical malpractice cases were filed in 2004, up 34 percent from 661 in 2003, according to the Consumer Protection Board.

However, civic groups claim the real number of medical malpractices is 10 times higher than the figure given by the board.

The board says the cause of 552 of the 885 cases have been established, with 62.6 percent of them resulting from negligence by medical staff.

It says 21.1 percent were caused by insufficient explanation of the treatment process to patients and 0.1 percent by excessive or inappropriate treatment.

According to the board, medical professionals or hospitals were forced to pay 2.25 billion won to settle 284 of the cases. That works out to an average of 7.93 million won per case.

Many victims of medical malpractice complain that they are not properly compensated for the shock, pain and after-effects of the mistakes.

Bereaved families of victims continue to suffer from losing loved ones. Some become locked into uphill and never-ending legal battles in their struggle for compensation from doctors and hospitals.

The country has no viable system to settle the growing number of medical malpractice cases. This is a tragic situation.

Lawmakers have presented a bill on medical malpractice prevention and the relief of malpractice victims to the National Assembly six times since 1989. But the bills were blocked every time due to conflicting interests of the government, medical professionals and civic groups.

Under the current law, medical malpractice victims must prove fault by doctors to get compensation. The reality is that victims find it difficult or impossible to prove fault or negligence.

In a move to better protect victims, some civil right activists and progressive politicians have called for the passage of a medical malpractice settlement bill.

However, medical professionals and hospitals strongly oppose the bill, claiming it might discourage doctors in the diagnosis and treatment of patients because they will be more concerned about the risks of medical malpractice.

Last September, the Uri Party announced a plan to work out a medical malpractice bill that would put the onus on medical professionals to prove they were not negligent if a dispute occurs. If they could not prove their innocence, they would be held responsible for malpractice.

But, because of strong opposition from the medical sector and the government’s lukewarm attitude toward it, no legislative progress on the bill has been made.

Wow, what is the answer. I'm asking those in the legal community in Korea to comment if they would. You guys know who you are. Your comments would be greatly appreciated, as long as I don't have to pay your hourly rate. ;-)

Thanks!