Plunge Pontificates

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Friday, March 31, 2006


Back went out. Thank goodness for muscle relaxers and percocet. BBL.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Japan Continues to Skew History

I've been told before that the government of Japan only approves or disapproves textbooks for use. ummmm.... NOT. Not only are they making changes, their changes are likely to anger China and Korea even further. Lord I hate the current regime in Japan.

The Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry

approved all 306 draft textbooks, mostly for first-year high school students, submitted in the latest screening. They will be available for use from next spring, ministry officials said.

In the screening of history, geography and civics textbooks, the ministry sought changes to 26 of the 40 references to the islands disputed with South Korea and China, the officials said.

On the islands disputed with South Korea, called Takeshima in Japanese and Dokdo in Korean, one draft textbook said ownership is being negotiated with South Korea, but it was changed at the ministry's request to say the territory belongs to Shimane Prefecture and that South Korea also claims it.

The original reference in the draft was included in a textbook that was previously approved, but the officials said the ministry asked for revisions this time so that the matter will be presented more "accurately" as there were more references to the territorial rows in textbooks screened this year.

Most of the history, geography and civics textbooks, excluding those on world history and ethics, included passages about the disputed islands.

On another set of islands claimed by Japan, China and Taiwan, the ministry similarly sought clarification in the textbooks that they are Japanese territory because "there is a need to explain that our country possesses them in accordance with the government's view," a ministry official said.

The inhabited archipelago, called the Senkaku Islands in Japan, is administered by the Japanese government as part of Okinawa Prefecture but claimed also by China and Taiwan. They are known the Diaoyu Islands in China and Tiaoyutai in Taiwan.

On the Nanjing Massacre, the ministry asked that references on the number of victims be made to present all possible views to "make it balanced."

A draft world history textbook said, "The number of victims are said to be 200,000 or more, but China has the figure as 300,000 or more," but it was changed to, "The number of victims is said to be 200,000 or more, but there are other theories as to the figure. China has the figure as 300,000 or more."

On Koizumi's controversial visits to the war-related Yasukuni Shrine, a draft textbook on modern society had a photo of the prime minister paying homage at the Shinto shrine in Tokyo with a caption saying he was making an "official" visit.

But the word "official" was dropped in response to the ministry's request that it be removed as it is not clear whether Koizumi's visits there were official or private and court decisions have been divided on the matter.

UPDATE: ComingAnarchy has what they say are the changes that were ordered by the government, courtesy of Curzon.

And, as predicted, Korea and China are not pleased. Word from Korea:

The South Korean government on Thursday sharply denounced Japan for "whitewashing, distorting and glorifying" its militarist past after Japanese officials ordered a series of controversial new changes to high school textbooks.

The unusually harsh protest centered on the disclosure this week that Japan's Education Ministry requested new revisions to 55 textbooks in an effort to avoid student "misunderstandings." The revised books clearly label disputed territories-- including a small island chain under South Korean control but claimed by Japan -- as Japanese territory. Also, references to the 1937 Nanjing Massacre were changed to indicate the number of people killed by the Japanese may have been less than the 300,000 victims claimed by China.
This goes along with the argument that I've offered before. Japan has been condemned in the past for allowing revisionist textbooks to pass muster. This anger has always been countered by saying the books are only used by less than 1% of schools. The problem though is that allowing these books has signaled and allowed a subtle change in ALL the textbooks. Now I need to go find the study, but it showed how all of Japan's textbooks are becoming more and more nationalistic.

No good can come of this and all it will do is continue to raise tension between neighbors. Japan has screwed up again.

Courts Reject Chinese Slaves Their Due

The BASTARDS rejected the claim against Japan and Mitsubuishi. Why? Too much time had elapsed supposedly. What a JOKE! Everytime I think Japan gets something right, they go and do this. Japan will become the pariah of Asia if this keeps up.

A court on Wednesday rejected demands for compensation by 45 Chinese men forced to perform slave labor at Japanese coal mines during World War II, saying the current government is not responsible for actions during that era, officials said.

The Fukuoka District Court turned down the suit seeking $9 million from Mitsui Mining Co., Mitsubishi Materials Corp. and the Japanese government, court official Masayuki Morita said.

The court also dismissed the plaintiffs' demand for a published apology, he said, refusing to provide further details of the ruling.

The laborers were brought to Fukuoka, 560 miles southwest of Tokyo, from China and worked without getting paid at Mitsui Miike mine and Mitusbishi Iizuka mine between 1943 and 1945, according to Hajime Matsuoka, one of lawyers representing the group.

The court acknowledged that the government and companies had committed an illegal act by bringing the Chinese to Japan against their will and forcing them to work, said Taizo Morita, another lawyer representing the plaintiffs.

However, the court denied the plaintiffs' claim by saying that the deadline for filing compensation claims - usually 20 years under Japanese law - had expired, he said.

The ruling also said that Tokyo doesn't have to compensate the victims because it isn't responsible for the wrongdoing of its wartime leaders, who were following a prewar constitution, Taizo Morita added.
This makes me want to puke.

More Proof of Nuclear Weapons Program in Japan?

Stratfor offers some interesting insight into this issue.

Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd. (JNFL), operator of the $18.6 billion Rokkasho nuclear fuel reprocessing plant, said March 29 that it has reached an agreement with the government of Aomori prefecture to begin extraction of plutonium waste from spent nuclear fuel. This extraction will be the first step of an experimental program allowing JNFL to manufacture plutonium-uranium mixed-oxide fuel (MOX). The firm plans to begin supplying this MOX to a mix of Japanese nuclear reactors, probably numbering 18, beginning in April 2012.


The MOX facilities, however, would allow a more stealthy approach to a nuclear weapons program. By establishing a steady supply of plutonium, Japan could likely launch a large-scale plutonium-based weapons program in a matter of days, attracting only minimal scrutiny. Japan is not about to slam broadside into the international community by pursuing such a weapons program, much less cause mushroom clouds to sprout overnight here and there, but the MOX program will allow it to do so should Tokyo's politics change. And with Japan steadily whittling away at the constitutional restrictions requiring its foreign policy to proceed along pacifist lines, this ability is bound to make Japan's Asian neighbors more than a little nervous.
They are creeping closer and closer...

Religious Freedom Non-Existant in North Korea

I'm sure this comes as no surprise to anyone.

The personal accounts of interviewees suggest that organised religious life outside state control does not exist in North Korea. None of the interviewees had "experienced, seen, or known" of any authorised religious activity by North Koreans. Those who professed some awareness of religious activities, especially those of the three Christian churches in the North Korean capital Pyongyang, asserted that they involved only foreigners. Others who knew of the existence of other religious buildings, such as Buddhist temples, said they were perceived as cultural relics.
Just another example of life in NK.

Korean War Medal of Honor Winner Passes Away

David Bleak
A Korean War medic who received the Medal of Honor for rescuing a comrade amid hand-to-hand combat in 1952, has died. David Bleak was 74.

According to Army records, Bleak was a 20-year-old sergeant in a medical company when he volunteered to go with a reconnaissance patrol.
The Army's description of his actions said Bleak killed two of the enemy with his bare hands and a third with his trench knife, and then shielded a comrade from the impact of a grenade.
Another hero gone. God rest his soul.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Gusts of Popular Feeling Does it Again

Damn he's good. This article on the efforts of Japan to influence western powers over their invasion of Korea is EXCELLENT. Another must read.

Japan going Nuclear?

I'm not talking power generation.

This is the thought of Tetsuya Kataoka, a Senior Research Fellow, retired, of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

His words:

Vice-President Dick Cheney addressed the problem on NBC`s 'Meet the Press' in 2003: 'It is also more important that our friends in the region deal effectively with (North Korea) ... Japan, for example, may be forced to consider whether or not they want to readdress the nuclear question.' Cheney was referring to President Nixon`s nuclear proposal to Japan back in 1972, which was rejected by Prime Minister Eisaku Sato.

A review of circumstantial evidence since Kyoto leads me to suspect that Bush opened a second front of his own against China by means of a secret proposal while in Kyoto, a proposal that reiterated Cheney`s demarche. A month after the Kyoto meeting, Koizumi`s Foreign Minister Taro Aso declared to his host Dick Cheney, no less, 'Japan must also be nuclear armed.' He could not have made the remark, let alone leak it to the media, idly.

Come to think of it, Koizumi was incredibly jovial after his talk with Bush in Kyoto, too jovial for a man asked merely to make amends with China. With a broad smile, he turned to Bush in the Temple of the Golden Pavilion and quipped, 'Look, the sun is rising.'
That is NOT what is needed right now! I hope he is dead wrong.

Dubious Honor

Okay, I've had some of my writing pull up in the top 10 results of various search engines but having pull you up number 1 for the search of, "atomic bomb essay cheat" is a dubious honor at best.

Hope whatever student cribs my work realizes his teacher will probably find it in 10 seconds flat as well.

Cuban Journalist Dying for Internet Freedom

Cuba is definitely not my area of expertise, but when certain people ask, I will do my part.

Please go read what is happening and do your part by writing an email, letter, phone call or linking to the article if you have a blog.

And now for something, completely different

I just got a real good chuckle out of this. Hope you do as well.

Japan Needs to Rethink Military

Interesting article by James Holmes, a senior research associate at the University of Georgia's Center for International Trade and Security and a former visiting fellow at National Chengchi University in Taipei. He offers, what he thinks, is what Japan needs to focus on in the near future for its military forces.

The defeat and downfall of Imperial Japan in World War II discredited aggressive foreign and military policy, including the naval strategy that helped impel the nation into war.

Indeed, a pacifist Japan banished strategic thought altogether, in effect throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

Japanese officers today seemingly can't conceive of operating without their US partners. Asked how they plan strategy and forces, they shrug and call for strengthening the alliance.

Tokyo needs to do several things. First, it needs to realize that Japan might need to act without US help. Second, and perhaps most importantly, it needs to resurrect its tradition of analyzing naval affairs. Sea-power theory needn't give rise to aggression at sea. And third, it needs to focus its resurgent intellectual energies on crafting a strategy and a fleet able to compete on an equal footing with China's navy. Taiwan -- as well as the other Asian powers -- would benefit from a Japan able to appraise its interests thoughtfully and craft a prudent, predictable strategy to uphold them.
Japan has disputes over islands with just about every nation close to it. I can't see the US ever getting involved in these disputes, especially militarily. I'm not saying that Japan should put an aggressive plan together to take these islands, but, if another nation, say China, decides to intervene militarily, Japan needs to be able to respond, or at least have forces enough to act as a deterrent to keep other nations from acting militarily.

Koizumi and the Media

Fascinating article on how Koizumi has changed the way media gains access since he became PM. I had no idea of the role of media in Japanese politics until reading this.

When Tsuneo Watanabe spoke, Japan's political movers and shakers used to listen. But these days, the editor-in-chief of the conservative Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper has a hard time tweaking the ear of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.

With control of a daily estimated to have circulation of over 10 million, it might appear that Mr. Koizumi ignores the 80-year-old Japanese equivalent to William Randolph Hearst at his peril. But it was precisely the overbearing presence of such media barons, along with a perceived lack of neutrality in reporting, that prompted Koizumi to overhaul the tight ties between the press and the prime minister's office.

Since Koizumi took power in 2001, there has been a quiet revolution in press relations that has significantly reduced the political influence of people like Mr. Watanabe. His voice is now almost lost among the cacophony of new media that Koizumi has welcomed into the halls of power, and now the esteemed Yomiuri has to fight with run-of-the-mill TV stations, weekly magazines, and tabloids.
Basically, he has decided to give equal access to all sorts of news, something that, according to the article, had not been the norm. As this is the norm in the US, I never thought about the press access being restricted in Japan. Interesting stuff.

North Korean Refugee Arrives in the South

Normally I wouldn't post on something like this except that I found his description interesting.

A North Korean businessman and his family who sought refuge at the South Korean Embassy in Hungary have arrived in South Korea, a news report said Tuesday.
Wonder what kind of business he did in North Korea?

The following numbers are interesting as well.

Nearly 7,700 North Koreans have defected to the South since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War _ with more than 5,700 of those arriving since 2002. A total of 1,387 defectors arrived in the South last year, down from a record 1,894 in 2004.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

S. Korean, Japanese cartoonists splash around in sewer of hate

Fascinating article.

Let's take a look.

"No need for more apologies or compensation to South Korea!" screamed the cover of the comic book Manga Hate South Korea.

"Japan! Learn half of a half of a half of what Germany learned [from World War II]!" retorted the South Korean Manga Hate Japan.

Back and forth goes the comic book name-calling.

"South Korea is an unbelievably rotten country!"

"On Japanese TV cooking programs the women are naked under their aprons."

"South Koreans fouled soccer World Cup history . . . "
Pretty sophomoric stuff we have here.

The backlash began, says Asahi Geino, with the release last July of Manga Hate South Korea by manga artist Sharin Yamano.

The South Korean counter-attack came in January. Manga Hate Japan author Yang Byong Sol, pulling no punches, hits mainly below the belt. "Mothers take their clothes off to keep their sons from watching Internet porn when they should be studying," says one character, who adds coyly, "I can say no more."

Yep, pretty bad and puerile stuff. But the interesting part is next.

Manga Hate South Korea has sold 450,000 copies. As for Manga Hate Japan, "I couldn't find a publisher, so I started a company and printed up 3,000 copies at my own expense," Yang reportedly told an unidentified journalist Asahi Geino speaks to. "It sells not too badly. I myself took it around to the major book shops, who agreed to stock it."

That's a very modest success by manga publishing standards. But Yang's venom evidently stirred Yamano's creative juices. His Manga Hate South Korea 2 came out in February -- more of the same, but the Japanese appetite for it could prove inexhaustible. If the puerile level of discourse didn't repel readers the first time around (as perhaps it did in South Korea), it may not the second, especially if the more pessimistic social analysts are right about the conservative tide they see engulfing the country.

"I see in youngsters today a sort of radical conservatism alongside plenty of naivete," Hokkaido University media and communications lecturer Makoto Watanabe commented to Al-Jazeera in January, "and that's where conservative political parties are targeting their message and publishers aiming their books."
3,000, self-published books compared to 450,000 sold? Give me a freakin break. How asinine do you have to be to even discuss a book that has less that 3,000 copies out there, who knows the number sold. The most disgusting books of hate and vitriol in the US sell more copies than that. Yet, someone felt it important enough to write about it in an article?

And we have a 'book' in Japan, a book that, from the sounds of it, deserves a place along side the "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" and yet sells 450,000 copies? Nope, nothing wrong there.

And of course, listening to those 'other' voices in the blogosphere, the Japanese Manga isn't one of hate, it just teaches 'proper' history.

Excuse me while I laugh hysterically at the article that tries to compare these two disgusting pieces of trash and that anyone could defend such garbage.

Japan's Ambassador To Korea Gives Speech of Friendship

Much more circumspect than the last ambassador.

Japanese Ambassador Shintaro Oshima has said that Japan will never make a rightward turn for militarization and imperialism.
He made the remarks during a lecture tiled ``Korea-Japan Relations and East Asia’’ at Kongju University in South Chungchong Province on March 22.

Oshima said the existing misunderstanding of Japan does not match with the reality of it following the road of 60 years of peace and prosperity.

``International crimes of terrorism and drugs, as well as the energy and nuclear crises are global issues we must confront together and our common values of liberal democracy, market economy and the rule of law are what is important,’’ he said.

As compared with the even the robust Korea-Japan exchanges in the ancient Paekche Kingdom, the two countries are now building a foundation of mutual understanding, he said.

He added, ``Henceforth the two countries can realize a Free Trade Agreement that would bring into the world an extraordinary common market.’’

While recognizing Japan caused East Asia ``suffering,’’ he said the Yasukuni Shrine visits by Japanese leaders are only to pay respects to those who died in Japan’s wars.

In response to a question on what he thought about the Yasukuni Shrine problem, he replied ``as Japan’s ambassador it is difficult to give my individual opinion.’’
Oh, come on, give us your opinion...

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Japanophile, current term, derogatory term?

I've been censored by a wonderful blogger for my use of this term. To be blunt, I never started using it until those at Japundit were using it and never felt it to be derogatory. Your thoughts?

When Dr. Lankov Speaks, You Damn Well Better Listen

There are few people that I won't argue with vehemently if I believe my position to be the correct one. Dr. Lankov is one that could probabably shut me up pretty fast, as well as Dr. Peterson and a few others.

That is why I'm so impressed with his writing that is quoted at the Marmot's site and then his further comments in the comment area. Some amazing work and opinion.

I'm sure most of you have read it by now, if not, please go and do so, you won't be disappointed.

Asia: Furies Unleashed

Interesting article in Newsweek discussing the current China/Japan situation. There are parts that I agree with completely, others I just shake my head at. Still and all, a good primer on the current situation.

For China's top leaders, the unrest seemed like a recurring bad dream. Last Saturday 20,000 furious Chinese protesters shouting "Japanese pigs, come out!" rampaged through Shanghai, tossing stones and tomatoes at the Japanese Consulate, trashing shops and flipping over a Nissan van. Two Japanese were reported injured by an angry mob; smaller demonstrations broke out in Hangzhou and Tianjin. The previous week, thousands of unruly Chinese in Beijing had broken windows at the Japanese Embassy. Just hours afterward, China's powerful Politburo Standing Committee called an emergency damage-control meeting. President Hu Jintao warned against letting the unrest spread, to avoid giving protesters "a pretext to vent their dissatisfaction" over other issues, according to a high-level Chinese source. The mood of alarm evoked the Politburo strategy sessions back in 1989, added the source, when massive protests paralyzed Tiananmen Square for weeks. "They don't want to lose control."

The immediate cause of the protests—which seemed to receive some official encouragement—was the publication in Japan of revised junior-high-school textbooks that, the Chinese claim, whitewash Tokyo's World War II record. But the simmering Japan-China dispute is not really about the war. Japan insists that it has apologized for its wartime atrocities, and has given China some $34 billion in development aid that is war reparation in all but name—a fact seldom mentioned in the Chinese media. Rather, the two rivals are engaged in an increasingly vitriolic struggle to dominate the economic, diplomatic and military future of Asia. China, flush with pride and power after 20 years of pell-mell economic growth, is spending heavily on its military and flexing its newfound diplomatic muscle. Japan, nervous about China's rise, is shedding the pacifism that has anchored its foreign policy since the end of World War II.

Friday, March 24, 2006

China is South Korea's greatest Threat

While people may spout anti-American rhetoric, they understand who their greatest threat it.

Polling Data

Which of these do you consider the biggest threat to South Korea?

China 37.7%

Japan 23.6%

North Korea 20.7%

United States 14.8%

Tourists enjoy stay in Korea

Korea seems to be doing better than it used to.

The most popular shopping place was duty free shops at the airport for 57.6 percent, followed by department stores (41.9 percent) and Dongdaemun Market (30.6 percent). Itaewon Market was chosen by only 12.5 percent of respondents. Food and beverages topped the shopping list for 51.6 percent, followed by clothes (34.9 percent) and -- a special category -- kimchi (34.1 percent).

Asked what most impressed them in Korea, 65.4 percent answered Korean people and 45.9 percent said food. However, 70.1 percent said they had difficulty communicating, indicating that the nation has a long way to go in providing quality translation services for foreign tourists.

Still, the overall satisfaction level was 4.05 points out of five, suggesting the vast majority were happy with their travel experience. More than 63 percent of respondents said they hoped to visit Korea again within three years.

Not bad, not bad at all.

Japanese Media Tycoon Call For Japan To Apologize and Atone!

Even those in Japan realize the truth. Japan hasn't apologized and hasn't atoned for atrocities committed!

A Japanese media baron has said Japan owes sincere apologies for its past military aggression and urged the next prime minister to stop visiting a controversial war shrine. Tsuneo Watanabe, chairman of Japan's Yomiuri Shimbun, on Thursday said Japan must take the blame for its atrocities during World War II and the deaths of tens of millions of people.

The chairman of the world's largest newspaper by circulation said that it is important for Japan to investigate and name individuals responsible for the atrocities.
Damn straight, couldn't have said it better myself!

China / Japan ties worsening

This according to the outgoing Japanese ambassador to China.

Japan's outgoing ambassador to China said on Friday that he saw worrying signs of a worsening in the way people in Japan and China regarded each other.

Ties have been frayed since Junichiro Koizumi became Japanese prime minister in 2001 and began annual visits to a Tokyo war shrine that critics say symbolizes Japan's past militarism.
Thank you. Way to go Japan and Koizumi! Let's go out of our way to make enemies!

Ambassador Koreshige Anami said in Beijing on Friday that, while the history issue was a serious matter in bilateral ties, he was more concerned about the way ordinary Chinese and Japanese felt about each other.

"I think what is an even more serious issue is that the thoughts of the people of both countries are growing distant," Anami told a news conference in Beijing, part of which was aired by the NHK network
That is interesting. We'll see if a new PM brings about changes, either better or worse.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

If you haven't read this yet, why not?

Go, now, read, leave comment. Now I said, NOW!

Organs R Us

Need a new liver? Kidney? Stuck in Japan where getting one is next to impossible?


Hundreds of well-off Japanese and other nationals are turning to China's burgeoning human organ transplant industry, paying tens of thousands of pounds for livers and kidneys, which in some cases have been harvested from executed prisoners and sold to hospitals.

When Kenichiro Hokamura's kidneys failed, he faced a choice: wait for a transplant or go online to check out rumours of organs for sale. As a native of Japan, where just 40 human organs for transplant have been donated since 1997, the businessman, 62, says it was no contest. "There are 100 people waiting in this prefecture alone. I would have died before getting a donor." Still, he was astonished by just how easy it was.

Ten days after contacting a Japanese broker in China two months ago, he was lying on an operating table in a Shanghai hospital receiving a new kidney. "It was so fast, I was scared," he says. The "e-donor" was an executed man; the price: 6.8m yen (about £33,000).
This is just wrong.

Latest Poll, Don't Go!

Don't go to Yasukuni that is. Even the people of Japan agree!

ABOUT 52.6 percent of Japanese citizens said the next Prime Minister should not worship the Yasukuni Shrine. Only 36.2 percent support such move, Xinhua news agency reported today, citing Sankei Shinbun.
But, hey, who cares what they think, right?

Monday, March 20, 2006

Excellent Post on Colonial Period in Korea

Not just because it quotes me positively, although that does enhance my opinion of it, here is an EXCELLENT post that reviews my own posting of that period and the trash that was posted at that other site to supposedly 'counter' what I had written.

If you have never read my post, it was one of the first things I wrote for this blog basically showing how Japan's colonial period in Korea was nearly worthless in helping Korea develop. You can read it here.

I will have to read more of the posts at Gusts of Popular Feeling. It is looking to be a fun blog, I wondering how I missed it before now.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Japanese Corporations Turn Blind Eye to History


Excellent article by: By William Underwood

Mr. Underwood, a faculty member at Fukuoka Jo Gakuin University, is completing his doctoral dissertation at Kyushu University on the topic of Chinese forced labor redress.
Let's begin.

Just as Nazi Germany did in Europe during World War II, Imperial Japan made extensive use of forced labor across the vast area of the Asia Pacific it once occupied. Today, however, Japan’s government and corporations are dealing with the legacy of wartime forced labor very differently than their German counterparts.
By golly, I think I've mentioned that before, haven't I? But we always get those, "you can't compare the two!" bullcrap comments.

This article examines the corporate counter-offensive to reparations claims for Chinese forced labor in Japan, as presented by defense lawyers for Mitsubishi Materials Corp. in a compensation lawsuit to be decided by the Fukuoka District Court on March 29. In startling closing arguments last September, Mitsubishi issued a blanket denial of historical facts routinely recognized by other Japanese courts, while heaping criticism on the Tokyo Trials and openly questioning whether Japan ever “invaded” China at all. Mitsubishi has ominously warned that a redress award for the elderly Chinese plaintiffs, or even a court finding that forced labor occurred, would saddle Japan with a “mistaken burden of the soul” for hundreds of years.
I want you all to read that paragraph again. Look at what this company is saying and compare it to what the leaders of Japan are saying today. They are in full denial mode! "We never did it!" is the cry. We are told that Japanese understand better than anyone else what they did. I say, bullcrap! With arguments like this going on, how can you say that. They are trying to re-write history and trying to make it a legal precident, at least in Japan.

First, a look at the German approach. The “Remembrance, Responsibility and the Future” Foundation was established in 2000, with $6 billion from the federal government and more than 6,500 industrial enterprises. As redress payments drew to a close last fall, about 1.6 million forced labor victims or their heirs, residing in more than 100 countries, had received individual apologies and symbolic compensation of up to $10,000 each. Altogether, 12 million people are believed to have worked for the Nazi regime involuntarily.[1]
Yes, all you Japanophiles, look at what Germany has done and when they did it. They have gone out of their way to redress the crimes against humanity they committed. We aren't talking about things Japan didn't do either, we are discussing the same issues of FORCED LABOR, or in clearer terms, SLAVERY. But hey, we aren't Germany, right? Screw our neighbors!

...The Berlin state government has purchased an eight-acre former forced labor camp and is turning it into a memorial museum set to open in summer 2006...

“In a political and in a moral sense, this chapter will never be closed,” the redress foundation’s chairman observed last October. “What is at stake here—and this is the responsibility of our generation and future generations—is to keep these very tragic events, these human rights violations firmly in the national memory.”[2]
THANK YOU! Someone understands! It's important to always remember and have physical ways of remembering! Remembering doesn't mean those of today are blamed, it is a way of a nation saying they will never forgot the atrocities their nation committed against others. What do we have in Japan, a shrine that honors the war criminals!

Japan's track record, by contrast, reveals a fundamentally different approach to coming to terms with the past. An intractable “civil war” over national memory of the colonization of Korea, aggressive warfare in China, and the military occupation of large areas of East Asia has left Japanese history textbooks the subject of continued passionate contestation today, both domestically and within the region. Commemorative prime ministerial visits to Yasukuni Shrine, which honors convicted war criminals and is symbolically linked to Japan’s Greater East Asian War, together with official support for a revisionist narrative of Japan’s past, are so bitterly opposed by Chinese and Koreans that summit meetings of top leaders have become impossible. The return of cultural and private assets looted from across Asia by Japan remains far off the agenda.
Yep, Japan is so far behind Germany in rectifying the situation that heaven forbid we even talk about giving back the historical pieces looted over the years. Hold a conference with leaders of the countries? Yeah, right.

Victims of Japanese war crimes have virtually never received apologies or compensation, as Tokyo contends that peace treaties and other state-level agreements extinguished all legal claims decades ago. The 1995 Asian Women’s Fund for military sexual slavery represented a partial exception. Yet most of the so-called comfort women indignantly refused the condolence money from private sources because it was decoupled from a full admission of state responsibility. State apologies, debatably, are the lone area in which Japan has sincerely attempted to atone for its war misconduct.[5] But because these have repeatedly been negated by contrary government actions, such as the Yasukuni visits and revisionist “gaffes” by senior politicians, and because they have never been accompanied by appropriate reparations to victims, the issues continue to fester.
I would argue that state apologies have NEVER happened and that they are the personal opinions of the current PM or other individual making the statement considering they have NEVER had the backing of the Diet.

Whereas Germany continued to investigate its own citizens for war crimes well into the current century, Japan never held any war crimes trials, opting instead to grant early release and amnesty to Japanese convicted of such charges during the Allied Occupation. Kishi Nobusuke spent three years in Sugamo Prison as a Class A war crimes suspect before going on to occupy the prime minister’s office from 1957-60, vividly illustrating the continuity between wartime and postwar Japan.[6] Kishi was the founding father of the long-dominant Liberal Democratic Party and his grandson, Abe Shinzo, is considered the front runner to replace Koizumi Junichiro as prime minister later this year.
Oh yes, time to forget anything bad ever happened. Let's let those war criminals hold the highest offices in the land. Digusting, pure and simply disgusting.
In her book Unjust Enrichment, in a chapter called “Mitsubishi: Empire of Exploitation,” leading researcher Linda Goetz Holmes writes: “Mitsubishi occupies a unique place in the history of corporate Japan’s use of POW slave labor during World War II. This company built, owned, and operated at least seventeen of the merchant ‘hellships’ that transported prisoners to their assigned destinations; and this company profited from prisoner labor over a larger range of territory than any other.”[8] Mitsubishi also supplied 225 miles worth of wooden crossties for the infamous Burma-Siam Railway. Regarding a large Allied POW camp near the Unit 731 site in Manchuria, Holmes says “the impression remains that the Mitsubishi facility at Mukden was the site of the most frequent and systematic incidents of medical experimentation on American prisoners of war.”[9]
Here is another re-read paragraph. Now go back to the beginning and see what the lawyers for Mitsubishi are spouting, "We did nothing wrong!" Bastards.

I'm skipping over 3/4 of the article which is a must read. It continues to talk of the actions of Mitsubishi corporation and the ways in which it has tried to cover up its actions. It worked its forced labor to death with rates as high as 25% dying in some mines, higher at the Katsuta mine. Yet, they continue to say they did nothing wrong. Again, READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE to understand what those who were victims of Japan have faced over the years trying to receive justice.

The worst-case scenario may have been glimpsed last October, a few days after closing arguments in the CFL lawsuit, at a Fukuoka junior high school very near the Katsuta mine. During a history lesson on the Asia Pacific War, a teacher distributed copies of a 60-year-old draft card to 200 students. The students were instructed to state their willingness to fight in a war by circling “yes” or “no” on the back of the copies, which the teacher collected. The draft cards were returned to several students who circled “no,” with the word “unpatriotic” written on them.[36]
This is the kind of education students in Japan are now receiving and people dare to try and say the education teaches them a proper history?

A more constructive alternative was offered by Fukuoka lawyers for the Chinese victims. “History cannot be erased,” they said. “The Japanese state and the Japanese people must admit the mistakes we committed and continue to bear that responsibility. In the case before this court, the Chinese plaintiffs are offering Japan and the Japanese people the chance to take a historic step forward, to be once more warmly welcomed among the peoples of Asia.”

Japan Running out of Workers

There just aren't enough of the right kinds of people to fit the jobs that need them.

When a fairly staid weekly business magazine uses the word "panic" in its headline, readers are prompted to take notice.

Shukan Diamond (March 11) insists businesses are definitely facing one: There simply aren't enough workers to go around.

We're not just talking about executives or programmers or accountants; even McDonald's Japan is hard-pressed to find workers to serve burgers for its usual 900-950 yen hourly wage, and has already offered higher rates in some areas.

"One cause is the economic recovery," explains a manager at the Golden Arches.

"Businesses in the retail and service sectors have all expanded hiring, and we have to compete with them."

The current labor shortfall, Diamond asserts, is unrelated to the large number of post-World War II baby boomers who, due to their reaching age 60, will be retiring from 2007. That's because it's not so much a "labor" shortage as a mismatch between worker skills and employer needs.

"Society's changing faster than companies can anticipate," says a personnel management consultant employed by the publishing organization Recruit. "In highly specialized job fields, the rate of depletion is especially high."

Take the IT sector. While the number of trained programmers remains insufficient to meet demand, what the industry desperately needs, the consultant says, "are junior managers in their early 30s who can oversee personnel, delivery and budget, and who have communication skills -- including foreign language skills -- that enable them to understand what customers want."

Unfortunately, he tells Shukan Diamond, efforts to train more people with such advanced skills are lagging far behind demand.
Students should take a look at this and start training in areas that need them.

Along with a dearth of skilled workers, Japanese corporations are facing serious morale problems of their own making. Japan Inc., warns the headline in Shukan Economist (March 14), may be on the verge of collapse.

Take Toyota Motor Corp. Its year-on increase in worldwide production, 640,000 units in 2005, exceeded the entire annual output by rival automaker Mazda. This spectacular success, however, has left Toyota and its Aichi-based suppliers gasping for breath, and scrambling for competent workers.

The stresses are already starting to show. From 934,225 units recalled by Japan's largest automaker in 2003, the figure leaped to 1,887,471 in 2004. Toyota attributes the rise to "greater component standardization." But other factors may be involved.
Corporate Japan needs to look at their practices as well. This could become a major concern very swiftly.

Fake Degrees All the Rage in Korean Music Industry

It's big business too.

Prosecutors have caught some 120 Koreans buying fake Russian degrees in collusion with a Russian professor.

The Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office Sunday said that they arrested a 51-year-old Korean woman, identified as Do, on charges of selling fake Russian music degrees to 21 Korean professors and musicians and fake master's degrees and to about 100 other Koreans.

Prosecutors said that Do, who operated a private institute in Seoul, is believed to have colluded with a Russian professor, who now serves as the dean of a Russian music college.

Investigators are considering asking the Russian law-enforcement authorities to investigate and extradite the Russian professor to Korea.

Do was also accused of pocketing about 2.5 billion won ($2.4 million) from Koreans and issuing the counterfeit Russian master's and doctorate degrees to them after offering brief lessons and one-week-long tours to Russian universities.
Damn, hope they have the names of all that purchased the fake degrees.

Korea, Change or Stagnate

Interesting article by an economic analysis who has lived in Korea for the past eight years.

"Korea has a lot potential to shine but it needs a final cut to change, just like a diamond ... the final cut takes a lot of work but it's absolutely necessary," said Husaain who joined the Seoul office of Booz Allen Hamilton at the end of 1997 and worked for the global management consulting firm for more than 7 years as a consultant.

He now is Seoul representative of Maxmakers, a Swiss-based management service firm, which develops world-class leisure destinations globally.

The latter part of his book title underlines the daunting task of changing a deep-seated mindset of the public and a rigid hierarchical corporate culture in Korea, he said. "Dilemma means difficult choices. None of them are easy." said Hussain. The economy has no alternative but to pursue drastic change. Maintaining the status quo would leave Korea as a stagnant economy like Japan or Germany, he said.

But aren't many Koreans already familiar with such arguments? Hussain nodded in agreement but argued: "I don't think Koreans understand how much change they will need."
I think he nailed that one on the head. Korea has got to change, has got to make international business and investment easier. With China on the move and growing swiftly, Korea will be left behind if it doesn't make some changes soon.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Down With War! Down With Mercedes!

What is it with so many anti-war / peace / pro-communist / etc. protesters that they have decided to protest Mercedes at the same time? Is there some sinister connection between the Mercedes car company and current military actions? As far as I know, Mercedes doesn't have any current involvement in the defense industry, but I could be wrong.

Or, the current batch of peace activists could be a bunch of morons.

Heh... Found at Michelle's blog.

Here is a proper peace symbol.

Here is the Mercede's symbol.

Here is the juxtaposition that happens far more often than you would think. Personally, I think it shows the intelligence of many of the protesters.

Ecto, the ONLY blogging tool for the serious blogger!

Folks, I need to give this company a huge plug. Using a Mac, sometimes it is hard to blog as most online tools are made to be used with a PC. I tried just about every blogging tool out there for the Mac until I came upon Ecto. I've fallen in love. Ecto is the PERFECT blogging tool. It allows you to tweak your text however you want it, insert links, pictures, whatever. Melds perfectly with iPhoto and iTunes. Keeps a back up of EVERY post you've ever made and will go in and pull all your old ones out so they are saved as well. We all know how important that is! Next, it is SIMPLE to use. Ever used a word processor? You can use Ecto.

I know there is a PC version as well, but I've never used it. I'm sure it is just as wonderful.

Anyway, there is my plug. If you blog, you NEED Ecto. Go get it NOW!

Japan Better Get a Moooooove on...

Or it just might trigger a trade war with the US.

U.S. Ambassador to Japan Thomas Schieffer Friday called on Japan to resume imports of his country's beef as early as possible, warning that a prolonged import ban "could set off a trade war," The Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported in its Saturday morning edition.

In a lecture in Tokyo, Schieffer also argued that no system is mistakeproof, referring to the cases in Japan and Hong Kong in which banned cattle parts were found in U.S. beef. The meat in question didn't reach consumers because "elements of the system worked," he said, aiming to dispel public concerns about the safety of U.S. beef.

Schieffer also stressed that both parties resolve the issue through "rational discussions based on science."

With no signs of Japan resuming imports of U.S. beef anytime soon, he said that "if we are not able to resolve this issue very soon, I'm very concerned that the United States Congress will lose its patience and we could set off a trade war" as a result.
It's time for the Japanese public to get over its irrational fears of Mad Cow disease. I just can not understand it, no matter how Darin tries to tell me how logical it is. There are so many things that are far more likely to kill you than Mad Cow disease. This is a nation that eats Fugu for crying out loud!

I said it earlier, the US is getting real tired of this and congress will do something soon. Lift the ban and get on with life.


Korea's national baseball team has been caught cheating! Well, not the entire team, but one of the pitchers has tested positive for a banned substance!

Korean pitcher Myung Hwan Park is the first player who tested positive for drug use and was thus ejected from the World Baseball Classic, the tournament directors announced on Friday night.

Park, who made one relief appearance for the 6-0 Koreans, pitching two innings of scoreless, hitless ball, while hitting a batter, walking two and striking out three.

By virtue of the rules governing the tournament, Park is banned from international competition for the next two years. If he tests positively a second time, Park is banned for life.
Put an asterisk by that win now. It was probably because Hwang Woo-suk brewed up something he assured them couldn't be detected and we now know how reliable he is!

Gah, this just puts a taint on their entire winning streak now. Way to go moron! Way to put a cloud over the entire team. Of course, I'm sure we'll see a Park Myung-hwan fan club out there saying he was framed.

4 teens Burn Homeless Man to Death

This is just gruesome, but there is a reason I'm posting it. I'm tired of all the "look how violent Koreans are" bit. Violence happens everywhere in every culture. What you have though is a government in Japan trying to portray Koreans as an exception. Trying to say they are too emotionally unstable to deal with. It's a ploy of, if we say it enough, others will come to accept it as true. Well, I'm tired of it. Are Korean's emotional? Sure they are, maybe more than others. But it isn't so extreme that calm discussion can't take place. There are exceptions to every situation and the leaders of Japan are quick to point those out. But that is what they are, exceptions! Let's try to remember that in our discussions.

Four boys arrested in the grisly torching death of a disabled homeless man said they did it because he had reacted angrily to their earlier acts of rock-throwing and verbal abuse, police said.

Makoto Amazutsumi, 60, suffered an agonizing death last October when a group of four teenage boys surrounded him and tossed Molotov cocktails at him.

Amazutsumi had lived for years in the same spot, under a bridge over the Yumesakigawa river in Himeji, police said.

Two boys, an 18-year-old third-grade senior high school student who was the apparent leader of the gang, and a 15-year-old third-year junior high school student in the city, were arrested Thursday on suspicion of murder and in connection with violations of a law on firebombs.

Two other boys, both 16, who are in custody in a separate extortion case, were rearrested Friday for their alleged role in the slaying.

Police said the boys had admitted killing the homeless man.

The 18-year-old instructed the other boys to prepare firebombs to teach Amazutsumi a lesson for having had the cheek to answer back when they abused him earlier, police said.
So now, should we assume that all Japanese teens are going to violently explode at us for chastising them? Here it is, in the news. Look how emotionally unstable and how violent these Japanese kids are! They must all be like that!

Of course that isn't true, and it isn't true of Koreans either. It's time to stop the stereotyping and have some full, productive discussions.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Imperial Japan's legacy Lives on in Japan's Diet

A rather disturbing article from Australia discusses the ties between the Diet of today and the rulers, movers and shakers of Imperial Japan of the past.

Aso is Japan's Foreign Minister, and this August he may well become its prime minister, if the ruling Liberal Democratic Party stays with a rotation of leadership despite the incumbent Junichiro Koizumi's huge election win last year.

But whether Aso or his main rival, Shinzo Abe, represents new blood is another thing.

Both men have lineage back to the darker side of the LDP and prewar Japan.

Aso's family company ran coalmines in Kyushu where thousands of Korean men worked in slave-like conditions during the war years. Abe's father, Shintaro Abe, later a senior LDP figure, was training as a kamikaze pilot when the war ended.

Aso is a grandson of Shigeru Yoshida, Abe of Nobusuke Kishi - two of the early postwar LDP prime ministers who forged a new role for Japan as the US's forward base off the Asian mainland, despite the limits on military activity set by its postwar constitution's article nine.

Acceptance of figures like Kishi - wartime Japan's munitions minister and arrested by the Allies as a war crimes suspect - must have been eased for many Americans by the expectation that generational change would clean out the wartime taint in the LDP.

Yet, partly thanks to hereditary succession in the party's Diet seats, a perverse mindset lives on. Koizumi,
Abe and Aso have been out to stir Japanese nationalism by invoking wartime symbols and stirring bitter memories in China and Korea through offensive remarks.
I would be the first to say who cares who someone's father or grandfather was, except for the fact that these two seem determined that their ancestors and other Imperial Japanese leaders be praised instead of properly vilified.

These two are right-wing extremist in the worst way and the thought of them leading Japan is extremely worrisome. It will certainly cause an uproar among Japan's neighbors.

In less than a year as Foreign Minister, Aso has shown a particular bent for stirring up the neighbours: Taiwanese are better educated than Chinese mainlanders thanks to the Japanese occupation. Koreans liked to adopt Japanese names and abandon their Hangul script. A visit by Emperor Akihito to the Yasukuni shrine would be the best.

How deep this runs is anyone's guess. Aso and Abe are intelligent men. They went to American universities. They show no sign of ultimately wanting to break free of the American embrace.

According to some reported private soul-baring by LDP leaders, twisting the dragon's tail is consciously aimed at creating a threat psychology about China in the Japanese population, to let the LDP put through a revision of article nine.
Please read that carefully. Japan's leaders consistently remark on how China is twisting the news and the truth to anger their citizens against Japan. Looks like the shoe is on the other foot now and it is the leaders of Japan doing their own poetic pontificating in order to become a military power once again. For those that don't know, it takes a revision of article nine for Japan to be able to have a true military and not just a defensive force. Some might say article nine has become a joke already with the size and sophistication of Japan's military.

With leaders like Aso and Abe gaining in power and public favor, the discord and distress in Asia can only continue to rise. More and more, countries will be choosing sides and strong lines of division will begin to form. I can think of nothing better for China and their leaders must be chortling as nations who should oppose them, continue to support them as they remember the days of Imperial Japan and vow never to let something like that happen again.

I personally wonder how Japan could be so stupid as to support leaders like Koizumi, Aso and Abe. They are destroying their ability to positively affect actions in their region let alone the world in general.

Taro Aso

24th Case of Mad Cow Disease Detected in Japan -- 1st Case of Cow for Consumption

Oh, you just gotta love it. How many cases of Mad Cow disease in the US? 1 from a Candian Cow (frickin Canada, thanks a hell of a lot!), cases in Japan, 24 and rising! Yet, whose beef are they eating? I just wonder how many cases their inspectors have missed. How many of you in Japan now, sucking down a little shabu shabu, are eating meat from a tainted cow? I guess we'll just never know. But, yeah, this ban on US beef makes soooo much sense. I'll say it again, time to ban every Japanese car the next time a single defect is found that could, possibly, no matter how remote, cause the death of a human being.

Officials in Japan have confirmed the country's first case of mad cow disease in cattle raised to provide meat, an official of the Health Ministry said Friday.

A 14-year-old cow in the southern prefecture of Nagasaki was confirmed to have been infected with the disease, said the official, who declined to be named citing ministry policy.

Japan had previously confirmed 23 cases of the disease, but they all involved cattle bred to produce milk. People can get a variant form of the disease by eating contaminated meat products, but milk poses no known risk.

Of course, this is just what the government is admitting to. Who knows how many cases there REALLY has been. Yep, all things considered, I'll have my beef tartar with US bred beef thank you.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

New Must Read Site -- Reconciliation between China and Japan: A Search for Solutions

While Coming Anarchy was poking fun, they turned me on to a great new site. One about relations between China and Japan. I wish they would add Korea to this.

An example is this excellent post about the Yasukuni visits.

"A global public relations disaster for Japan"

In his Financial Times piece "A bargain that could end Japan-China bickering" Gerald Curtis sounds the tocsin for both China and Japan in their continuing slide towards serious conflict.

Moving away from confrontation requires China and Japan to forge a grand bargain. The problem is that the Japanese have chosen the wrong issue on which to take a stand. What country is going to defend Japan's leaders' insistence on making pilgrimages to a shrine dedicated to glorifying Japan's militarist past? This is becoming more than a China or Korea problem for Japan. It is on its way to becoming a global public relations disaster.

While Curtis argues that China also has a great deal to lose by playing a one-note orchestra, his key target is the Koizumi administration's choice of self-inflicted diplomatic weakness.

Japan’s relations with China are at a lower point than at any time since the two countries normalised relations in 1972 and they are getting worse. Leaders in Japan who argue otherwise are trying to fool the public, or they are fooling themselves.

Not only is this a problem of global significance for Japan, it is a threatening situation for the rest of the world, and demands more than the sighs of resignations audible in the chanceries of almost every advanced country. Rather than throwing up their hands, US and other countries need to impress on
Japanese leaders the importance of seeking accommodation. If the will to strike a grand bargain is there, the modalities will not be difficult to identify. They would include joint scholarly committees to review textbooks, encouragement of so-called second-track dialogues on contentious territorial issues, more extensive cultural exchange programmes, high-level meetings that emphasise positive measures to improve relations and the like. If the political will does not exist, all countries in the region will pay a high price for Chinese and Japanese intransigence, none more so than China and Japan themselves.

The wider politics of Japan's impending "global public relations disaster" were spelled out by former Bush NSC senior director Michael Green in an interview in the Taipei Times in the context of President Chen Shui-ban's decision to "cease" the National Unification Council. Green's key argument concerned Taiwan's strategy vis-a- China:

The more Taipei emphasizes democracy, its common values with the US and Japan and its status as a "stakeholder" in international society in terms of good work -- then the stronger Taiwan's separate identity and strategic position become.
All I can say is, "WOW!" This is a site I will definitely be watching!

Koizumi's Yasukuni Visits Purely Political

After he has spoken of the deep spiritual reasons for his Yasukuni visits, it looks like it was pure poppycock.

Former Japanese Prime Minister Tsutomu Hata once said, while he was heading the "association of parliament members visiting the Yasukuni Shrine", Koizumi never visited the shrine. But why did he suddenly become the 'fan' of the shrine after he became the Prime Minister?

Former Chief Cabinet Secretary and Secretary-General of the Liberal Democratic Party hit the mark with a single comment ¨C promising to visit the Yasukuni Shrine on August 15 each year was a 'tactic' used by Koizumi to compete with Hashimoto for votes to become the President of the Liberal Democratic Party.
This guy just keeps getting better and better.

Koizumi, lewd and crude

It has been said that former President Clinton has a propensity for telling lewd and crude stories. There was an article soon after he left office in, I think it was the Village Voice, describing just how disgusted a female reporter who was reporting on him after his presidency was at his language and the way he talked about women. Well, it seems like he's got NOTHING on Koizumi.

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's meeting in November last year with Greek counterpart Kostas Karamanlis raised barely a ripple in the media, but Asahi Geino (3/23) says their talks bordered on the filthy as Japan's premier let loose with the lechery those close to him say he is known for.

"Their roughly 40-minute meeting was filled with dirty talk. Someone on the prime minister's side has issued a strict order that what went on never be made public," an insider from Nagatacho, the Tokyo district that forms the Japanese political heart, tells Asahi Geino. "Koizumi started off with the usual, polite greetings. You know, 'I'm pleased to meet you' and 'welcome.' Then he turned to Prime Minister Karamanlis and said, 'You Greeks are pretty amazing.' The prime minister didn't have a clue what he was talking about, so Koizumi turned to him and said, 'Sex. It looks like the Greeks are pretty good at sex.'"
Yes, another wonderful side of Koizumi. Of course, so many people think character isn't important so most of you can just ignore this post.

"Their conversation was carried out through interpreters. The interpreter was worried about how much they should translate and was at a loss. Koizumi's excitement persisted through the meeting and the interpreter duly passed on just about all the dirty things the premier was talking about, including when he said to Karamanlis, 'Frankly, I'm jealous of you guys.' Karamanlis then got in on the act, saying, 'Well, when I was younger...but now I have a wife.' And things went on like that for a while. They laughed about how when they were young, the moment they finished having sex once, they were ready straight away to have it again."

Karamanlis had come to Japan to talk about things like the economy, but instead had a schoolboys' session with Koizumi, the lowbrow men's weekly says. Koizumi, meanwhile, seems to have been acting in what is for him fairly regular behavior.

"On his days off, Koizumi likes walking around the garden of the New Prime Minister's Official Residence, which is located beside the old residence. He sings opera songs at the top of his voice while on these strolls. But, apparently, he also romps around wearing only his undies," a source from Koizumi's ruling Liberal Democratic Party tells Asahi Geino. "The prime minister is under enormous stress and I guess that's the way he relieves it."

Koizumi is supposedly quick with quips that make others queasy, especially when it comes to talking about racy topics. Those at a monthly lunch the prime minister holds at his residence for the heads of the country's top bureaucracies ended up getting a serving of sauciness from Koizumi, which definitely wasn't the type of topping they wanted when they were tucking into raw fish.

"He'll pick up something from a boxed lunch and remark how it resembles female genitalia, or how it can improve your libido," a political beat desk editor says. "He'll see some meat and start talking about his meat, telling stories that are too rude to even repeat."
Did this guy ever get past the 6th grade? Sounds like a 12 year old with his buddies and dad's playboy. A leader to truly be proud of... disgusting.

Group Suicide on the Rise in Japan

We've discussed suicide on this site before, but never this aspect of it.

THIRTEEN people, dead in group suicides in the past week, have reawakened fears in Japan of a new epidemic of internet death pacts.

Four in their 30s were found suffocated to death in a car on Wednesday. Six in their 20s were found last Friday and three others, also in their 20s and 30s, earlier last week.

Their deaths fit a pattern now disturbing and familiar for Japan: depressed young people getting in contact on so-called suicide matchmaker websites and arranging a catastrophic rendezvous.
This is just wrong, but what can be done about it? Are their parents not seeing signs of depression? What is it with group suicide too? I just don't understand it. Is it easier for them to do it if others go with them? To me, suicide seems to be a personal battle with deep, dark depression so the thought of group suicide is difficult to understand.

Almost 90 people per day commit suicide in Japan, the highest rate in the developed world.
I had no idea the numbers were so high. I knew they were high, just like they are high in Korea, just not how high.

The police say that men and women in their 20s account for about 40 per cent of the group deaths but that eight cases last year involved children and teenagers aged between 10 and 19.

Internet matchmakers, including the webmaster of Suicide Circle who was interviewed by The Age last year, regard what they do as a community service that allows the desperate and isolated to communicate. They do not incite suicide, they say.

"Depressed young people and the internet, it's a very dangerous mix," according to Professor Mafumi Usui, of Niigata Seiryo University.

The websites were "the dangerous dynamic behind the recent group suicides", the professor said.

Though suicide is not a crime in Japan and there are no laws against the websites, as there are in Australia, police guidelines have existed since late last year. These rely on internet providers voluntarily disclosing information if they become concerned about the type of chat being exchanged on their sites. The National Institute of Mental Health is attempting to counteract the mood in cyberspace with its own website called To Live.
Looks like it is time to change some laws. While this won't solve the problem, it could go a long ways towards slowing down these incredibly high numbers of suicides.

Hwang Woo-suk loses license!

Yes! Hopefully this is just the beginning of the punishment this disgusting piece of offal receives.

Disgraced cloning scientist Hwang Woo-suk no longer has his government's permission to conduct research on human embryos, South Korea's Health Ministry announced Thursday.

The licence was revoked on the grounds he failed to meet a condition for publishing a paper in an important scientific journal within three years.

The U.S. journal Science retracted two papers by this team after investigators at Seoul National University concluded the research was based on fake data.
In the articles, Hwang's team reported they had cloned custom-made embryonic stem cells from 11 patients, raising hopes for tailored therapies for diseases such as diabetes and Parkinson's.

"With the withdrawal of the paper by Science, a legal deficiency arose, and the revocation of the research licence was inevitable," the ministry said in a statement.

What Dell computers are REALLY used for

After so much seriousness, some levity is needed.

So, here is a video showing you what your Dell computer is really used for.

The Unknown Soldier of 9/11 -- Remembering the Past

An image we'll never forget and should never forget.
(hattip Babalu Blog)

Why today? Why not. I'll always have a place in my soul that never forgets that day. It is permanently burned in my memory. I remember exactly where I was and pretty much everything I did over the next hours. I remembers fighter jets flying in and out non-stop. I remembers rumors of other attacks, panic. I remember the humane gestures and the greed. I remember it all.

But back to the picture...Michelle says it best.

His identity has not been confirmed, though many have speculated over the last 4 1/2 years. Tom Junod wrote an extraordinary piece for Eqsuire in September 2003 on "The Falling Man," offering several possibilities. His piece ended with this one:
Jonathan Briley worked at Windows on the World. Some of his coworkers, when they saw Richard Drew's photographs, thought he might be the Falling Man. He was a light-skinned black man. He was over six five. He was forty-three. He had a mustache and a goatee and close-cropped hair. He had a wife named Hillary.

Jonathan Briley's father is a preacher, a man who has devoted his whole life to serving the Lord. After September 11, he gathered his family together to ask God to tell him where his son was. No: He demanded it. He used these words: "Lord, I demand to know where my son is." For three hours straight, he prayed in his deep voice, until he spent the grace he had accumulated over a lifetime in the insistence of his appeal.

The next day, the FBI called. They'd found his son's body. It was, miraculously, intact.

The preacher's youngest son, Timothy, went to identify his brother. He recognized him by his shoes: He was wearing black high-tops. Timothy removed one of them and took it home and put it in his garage, as a kind of memorial.

Timothy knew all about the Falling Man. He is a cop in Mount Vernon, New York, and in the week after his brother died, someone had left a September 12 newspaper open in the locker room. He saw the photograph of the Falling Man and, in anger, he refused to look at it again. But he couldn't throw it away. Instead, he stuffed it in the bottom of his locker, where—like the black shoe in his garage—it became permanent.

Jonathan's sister Gwendolyn knew about the Falling Man, too. She saw the picture the day it was published. She knew that Jonathan had asthma, and in the smoke and the heat would have done anything just to breathe. . . .

The both of them, Timothy and Gwendolyn, knew what Jonathan wore to work on most days. He wore a white shirt and black pants, along with the high-top black shoes. Timothy also knew what Jonathan sometimes wore under his shirt: an orange T-shirt. Jonathan wore that orange T-shirt everywhere. He wore that shirt all the time. He wore it so often that Timothy used to make fun of him: When are you gonna get rid of that orange T-shirt, Slim?

But when Timothy identified his brother's body, none of his clothes were recognizable except the black shoes. And when Jonathan went to work on the morning of September 11, 2001, he'd left early and kissed his wife goodbye while she was still sleeping. She never saw the clothes he was wearing. After she learned that he was dead, she packed his clothes away and never inventoried what specific articles of clothing might be missing.

Is Jonathan Briley the Falling Man? He might be. But maybe he didn't jump from the window as a betrayal of love or because he lost hope. Maybe he jumped to fulfill the terms of a miracle. Maybe he jumped to come home to his family. Maybe he didn't jump at all, because no one can jump into the arms of God.

Oh, no. You have to fall.

Yes, Jonathan Briley might be the Falling Man. But the only certainty we have is the certainty we had at the start: At fifteen seconds after 9:41 a.m., on September 11, 2001, a photographer named Richard Drew took a picture of a man falling through the sky—falling through time as well as through space. The picture went all around the world, and then disappeared, as if we willed it away. One of the most famous photographs in human history became an unmarked grave, and the man buried inside its frame—the Falling Man—became the Unknown Soldier in a war whose end we have not yet seen. Richard Drew's photograph is all we know of him, and yet all we know of him becomes a measure of what we know of ourselves. The picture is his cenotaph, and like the monuments dedicated to the memory of unknown soldiers everywhere, it asks that we look at it, and make one simple acknowledgment.

That we have known who the Falling Man is all along.
Maybe it is because I've been writing and arguing so much lately about what happened in Korea. I keep being told it's time to forget. It's never time to forget, especially when there is so much still waiting to be atoned for. When that is done, when all the guilty are punished and all the victims comforted, when it is assured that future generations will be given what is needed to understand and insure it never happens again; only then can we, well, not forget, but remember minus the anger and angst. We can remember with a level of comfort knowing that all that can be done has been done.

I hope that day comes for remembering 9/11 and the same when contemplating Japan's imperialistic past.

Extremist Nationalism Continues its Ugly Rise in Japan

And the right-wing nationalists in Japan continue to slowly gain more and more control.

Tokyo's education authorities have ordered head teachers to make sure students stand to attention and sing the national anthem. The move follows a rash of protests by students and teachers since Japan made standing for the anthem compulsory in 1999 in an attempt to encourage patriotism.
Patriotism or nationalism? While I am personally proud of being an American and will recite the Pledge or sing the National Anthem when the opportunity presents itself, I certainly can not condone forcing others to do so. As long as disrespect is not shown, what is being done here is nationalistic brainwashing.

Hundreds of teachers across Japan have been disciplined in the past six years for refusing to obey the law by remaining seated, wearing peace ribbons or feigning sickness to avoid school ceremonies. Many teachers in this still strongly pacifist country bitterly resent being forced to stand to attention for symbols they associate with Japan's militarist past.

More than 300 public schoolteachers in the capital are suing the Tokyo educational board to reverse the directive, which they say is unconstitutional.
"If Germany did this they would call it what it is: Nazism," said one of the teachers, Eishun Nagai.
How long will they be able to hold out though? Or will the right-wing nationalist extremists use this as a way to weed out those teachers they consider...undesirable? Are we looking at the beginnings of an entire shift in the education system in Japan?

Ministry of Education guidelines specify that teachers who ignore orders to stand and sing will be punished. Officials in Tokyo, which has taken the hardest line on the issue under the nationalist governor, Shintaro Ishihara, have been dispatched to school ceremonies to ensure the flag is displayed prominently and the anthem sung with sufficient gusto.

In one case, a music teacher, Sato Miwako, sued the government after she was suspended for refusing to play the anthem on her piano. The teacher, a committed Christian, called the 1999 directive "unbelievable" and said when she heard she had to play the song "it was as if my life was being crushed". In 2004, a retired teacher, Katsuhisa Fujita, was arrested after he ignored staff protests to stop hectoring parents to stay seated for the anthem during a graduation ceremony.

Tokyo alone has handed out warnings, suspensions, pay cuts and sackings to more than 300 education staff for anthem-related offences since 2003.
300 teachers disciplined or fired? This is scary, scary stuff, but not as scary as the next part.

The number of protesters has plummeted in the wake of the tougher measures; just 50 people were disciplined last year and the figure is expected to fall further this year.

Parents are also increasingly inclined to stand. Two pacifists, Yoshihisa and Midori Yoshida, were the only parents to stay seated during their son Yu's primary school graduation ceremony last month.

"None of the teachers and pupils, except us, refused to stand up," said Yoshihisa Midori. "But we are very satisfied and proud of my son."
It seems the nationalistic extremists are winning. What did the one teacher say again? "If Germany did this they would call it what it is: Nazism,"

What is so scary about this is we are talking about the children. We are forcing a mindset, literally brainwashing them before they have the chance to study and make the decision on their own. It's such a small thing though, but that is where it begins, with the small things. These small things keep adding up more and more. National anthem, whitewashed history, comic books... it adds, a little and a little there...

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Japan Slaps Korea & China

Oh lord, I can't stand Aso, but I agree with him, if probably not for the same reasons.

Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso has expressed his dissatisfaction with South Korean and Chinese policies toward North Korea, according to Japanese media on Thursday.

Speaking to the budget committee at the House of Councilors on Wednesday, Japan's top diplomat was quoted as saying, "South Korea and China are helping North Korea. I can't understand why they do so?"
I have the unfortunate suspicion that if North Korea would come clean on ALL the abductions of Japanese citizens that have occurred over the years that Japan would be much more accomodating towards North Korea as well.

Still, even if our reasons for wanting it are different, I agree with his statement on South Korea and China. It is time to stop all this aid to the North.

Korea Does it Again

I'm not the biggest baseball fan in the world. Love basketball, love football but baseball is just okay. Still, this run of Korea's is AMAZING! They did it again tonight beating Japan for the second time in the tournament, 2-1.

Still and all, the website for the World Baseball Classic is pretty cool.

Congratulations to Korea! Oh, and I have no idea who the guy in the photo is.

Teaching English in Japan a Nightmare

I've heard the stories from those teaching English in Korea and thought they were bad, but they have NOTHING on Japan.

DAVID Dormon, a former department store salesman from Sydney, signed up to teach English in Japan and look where it got him: fighting a lawsuit against a powerful company, in a battle of wills with a supervisor who kept a shame file and grasping at an insecure visa. The lawsuit - over demotion, a pay cut and intimidation - concluded with a win and compensation for Dormon.

But he resigned anyway, ending the humiliation of dealing with Japan's leviathan language school, Nova, the country's biggest employer of foreigners. "I felt very stressed, alone and unappreciated and I was very happy to get out because I was hating every moment," he says.

His was an experience that is becoming increasingly representative for Australian teachers in Japan. "Australians are being exploited as English teachers in Japan, especially by Nova," he says.
Maybe it is because I'm American who talks mostly with folks from Korea, but I had never heard horror stories out of Japan. So what is it like there?

Jim Richards, 34, a former information technology worker from Wahroonga, has spent three years teaching English in Japan and says there are many traps. "A lot of people see the advertisements … and think it will be like schoolroom teaching and lots of fun, but when you get here it is more like doing factory line work," he says. "The whole teaching-English-in-Japan thing is a complete fraud and the experience can be quite bitter."

Recruits expecting excitement find monotony. The welcome mat is in reality a stopwatch-driven classroom that allots about six minutes of "free time" between lessons, a couple of minutes "warm-up" with students and a 40-minute class that must be done word-for-word from company textbooks.

Richards's advice to new hands is to think about going to China, South Korea or elsewhere in Asia. But for anyone set on working in Japan, the Nova language school should be the last option, he says. "If you come over with Nova then stay for six or seven months and start looking for another job." Once you find one, resign, and leave before the visa expires.

New teachers should also bring at least $2000 in savings because it is almost impossible to settle in and survive on the 200,000 yen ($2200) monthly starting wage, Richards said.

Richards resigned from Nova after getting fed up and now works at FCC in Fukuoka, which he says is better.
Wow! That sucks!

A final word from some foreign English teachers in Japan.

Kara Harris, 28, an American, also had a sour experience. She says she was in negotiations with Nova over her sixth consecutive contract when she asked to be made permanent. In reply the company offered her a 12-month extension. When Harris went to the union, Nova responded with a list of accusations including that she was unco-operative, hostile to other staff, had fallen asleep during work and was a poor dresser.

Successive courts have since found that Harris was unfairly treated by Nova, and she has negotiated a financial settlement. She is returning to the US where she will study labour law.

Farley denies that Nova objects to unions or singles out union members. Very few employees were affiliated with a union, he said, but "if there are problems people should come and talk to me about it".

For teachers including David Dormon, the end can be especially drawn-out. Two years ago, when he was 30, Dormon was penalised financially and demoted for going out with a 21-year-old student at the school. He was also transferred to another branch.

Even though he says he worked hard to redeem himself, more complaints about him piled up in a shame file kept on him by a supervisor and there were new rebukes. The end came in an Osaka court-supervised settlement that gave Dormon compensation and a reference letter outlining his commendable record.

"The court case was nothing more than me fighting against something wrongly done to me," Dormon says. "I was disgusted by their actions. I felt very wronged. I realised very quickly that all the assumptions that I had about my rights as an employee and as a person did not exist in Japan."

Korean War Hero Passes On

Sir Anthony went to Korea in 1950 as adjutant of the 1st Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment during its epic stand on Hill 235, when the 29 Infantry Brigade was attacked by 10,000 Chinese troops and the 1st Gloucesters were surrounded.
He was 81.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


This is just disturbing on too many levels.

The governor of Saipan has made a morbidly cynical offer to the Japanese families of those who died in the bloody Battle of Saipan:
Banzai Cliff as cemetery for Japanese war dead?
Senior Frog has the entire story. I agree with his assessment 100%.

Series of posts on Islam

Gypsy Scholar has some fascinating posts on Islam.

I wish I had the writing skills contained in his pinky finger.

It behooves us all to try and understand what is happening in the Middle East and to understand "Islam." I have spent a lot of time working with people from Iraq, Jordan, Afghanistan and other Middle Eastern countries and I fully admit that I do not understand their culture or religion. Some of the things they say and do just blow me away and seem to defy logic. Yet, it is perfectly logical / acceptable to them. The posts at Gypsy Scholar are a wonderful help towards understanding what is Islam. I hope these posts are only a beginning.


The search engine we all need at times.

(Warning, some harsh language)

What happened to Ruminations in Korea?

I noticed the other day when i checked out Ruminations in Korea it had changed to a site about Blues. That's fine. I checked the archives and those are gone as well. I'm just wondering what happened, has Jeff decided to write only about Blues and did he wipe out his old posts?

If anyone knows what is going on, leave a comment.


Gay / Homosexual Rights and Issues in Korea

This isn't a subject you would find me writing on, but Chinese Chic has a series of posts on the subject. This is a must read as it brings up issues that so many seem to want to ignore or ridicule.

The few posts below are part of my continuing series on 'Homosexuality in Asia' and part of the 'Gay Korea' series which is to inform the greater public on the gay side of South Korea given that i have interest in both South Korea and gay issues, i thought of matching the two up and given the dire lack of info on gay korea (as opposed to gay china and gay japan) out there in english...hope u find it interesting!.

New Law to Help AIDS patients

This is good to see.

The government is seeking to set legal guidelines preventing discrimination against people with AIDS and HIV. The Health and Welfare Ministry said Tuesday it plans to submit a bill that bans unfair treatment of AIDS and HIV patients in the workplace. It would guarantee them equal rights to promotion, leave of absence and the like.
For far too long, Korea seemed to have its head in the sand when it came to the AIDS issue.

Monday, March 13, 2006

My Name is Darin, and my rant needs fisking

Darin, blogger and frequent commenter on my site wrote an opinion piece just BEGGING to be fisked. I decided to be the one to do just that. Before beginning, let me assure you that I have nothing but respect for Darin, I enjoy his blog and his comments, no matter how misguided they might be. With that, let's begin.

Warning, this is a long and random rant that touches on so many many things, that I’m sure I will have offended about every idiot out there, but it needed to be done, someone needed to say it. The parties offended by the truth can proclaim their inability to see the truth by spouting the usual random stupid comments about how the Japanese race is a problem in the comment section.
Darin, just because you spout it doesn't make it the truth and while you might have many commentors that make stupid comments (I know because of email I got after putting your site on my blogroll), you have others with good insight.

Japan, China in new shrine row

“A German official told me that German people cannot understand how Japanese leaders can do this,” he said.

“This kind of stupid thing is not moral in nature this is what Germans are saying. They said that after World War II, not one German leader ever worshipped Hitler or the Nazis.”

For one, the opinion of German nationals really has no bearing what-so-ever on matters between China and Japan, but that’s besides the point.

Actually, they do have bearing and you know that. Germany and Japan were allies in WWII and each has handled their after war efforts to apologies and make amends if very different ways. Most feel Germany has done an admirable job apologizing and working to right the wrongs it committed. This is contrary to Japan where, to those who are affected, feel that Japan has done the bare minimum it could get away with in apologizing and making amends.

There is a common misunderstanding amongst many people, actually I don’t think it’s a misunderstanding, it’s an intentional lie. Imperial Japan was NOT Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan was Imperial England. Imperial Japan was Imperial Spain. Imperial Japan was America. At no point was the goal to exterminate a race of people. As much as your leaders would like to tell you otherwise, it is a lie, it’s rather pathetic that news services feel no obligation to point that out when they quote a lying communist pig dog who’s sole purpose is to create hate for the entire Japanese race so he can continue to commit genocide in Mongolia, Tibet, and the area’s around North Korea.
During a time when imperialism was waning, Japan was an aggressor nation of particular intensity. It would be more appropriate to equate them to ancient Rome and the barbarous ways they treated those who conquered. Remember, it was at this time that Woodrow Wilson made his famous "14 points" speech to congress declaring the importance or respecting all nations and allowing them their self rule. He was basically declaring the end of the era of imperialism.

You are correct when you say that they were not out to exterminate a race of people. Instead, they were out to create a race of people subservient to their needs, people educated in what was necessary to make Japan a major power and the lives of the people of Japan comfortable no matter what the wishes or needs of those conquered. They tried to commit cultural genocide, erasing the history and cultures of those they oppressed replacing it with a culture of subservience to Japan.

I have no problem with your criticism of China and their leaders. Their oppression of other nations and peoples is nauseating and the worlds continued acceptance of it galling. But trying to minimize Japan's actions in the name of condemning China is wrong and one of the biggest mistakes that Japnophiles continue to make.

What happened during the war, is what happens during war, people die in war, and that is why war is wrong. That is why there is a shrine to the 2.5 million that have died. Yasukuni is not a war shrine, it is a peace shrine. It is not a shrine to go and pray for wars, it is a shrine to pay for those lost to war, and to remind everyone that the only thing that comes from war is death.
What happened during WWII were some of the worst war crimes seen in modern day. Japan had no regard for those conqured and their treatment of POWs was despicable. Yes, war is hell, but war is not always wrong. Just think if the US had decided to stay out of WWII or only fought in the Pacific what a different, horrible place this world might be. Japan's actions during the war added to the misery of it and their leaders bear what I consider the unforgivable guilt for the millions that died needlessly and/or horrifically because of their decisions.

People will criticize the Japanese and say that they only have memorials for their own dead, and not the dead of others. One, that’s not true and two, it’s easier for someone to relate to someone like themselves. I challenge you to find a war memorial for the Vietnamese or the Korean, or even the Native Americans that died at the hand of America. I challenge you to find a memorial to the millions of her own people China has killed. That’s not the war the world works, why should Japan be held to different standards? I’m sure you’ll say, “oh well Germany does this and that”, but you missed the part where Germany and Japan aren’t the same country.
In Vietnam, the US took over for the ineffective French in a misguided war. In Korea, the US was saving the South from Northern aggression, and actually, it was a UN action, not a US action. Myself, living in southwestern US has seen plenty of shrines to the Native Americans, they are all over this area of the US.

This kind of reminds me of a recent comment on my site where a person tried to forgive the abysmal teaching of WWII history in Japan to Korea not teaching about alleged atrocities it committed during the Vietnam War. Equating the two is ridiculous, the scale of the two is incomparable. Lets try and keep things in perspective. WWII was a conflict of unimaginable scale and magnitude. Comparing it with other conflicts is completely disingenuous.

People will criticize Yasukuni and say that it makes excuses and tries to justify the war because it says Japan went to war because it felt it was pressured and had otherwise it was going to be attacked and colonized by the west. Hey, idiots, that’s what the people at the time thought. Just because you don’t like the truth doesn’t mean you can change it. After watching all of Asia be colonized by the west, the Japanese naturally feared they were next. The goal of the leaders of the time was to create a massive empire that would not be colonized. Is that an attempt to justify the war? Yes, it is. That is why Japan went to war/started colonizing. You can say that the leaders of the time’s interpretation of the world was wrong, but that doesn’t change the fact that that is how they interpreted the situation. It doesn’t change the fact that that was their reason for going to war. You need to get this lie out of your head that Japan was committing genocide.
The goal of Japan was to rule the East and to make themselves the super power of that area of the world. It wasn't done out of fear, it was done out of greed. The rest of the world was embroiled in Europe and what was happening there, Asia was a side note and Japan knew this. Japan was taking advantage of the situation to try and expand and rule that part of the world, something they had tried in the past, it was nothing new. Japan saw China as weak, Korea as weak, the Philippines as weak and Russia as being far to weak to oppose what they wanted to do. They knew France, Great Britain and others were having their own problems and the only western nation that might cause problems was the United States. Japan gambled that they could attack the US and force a quick truce or treaty granting them all the lands they currently held as well as others. They lost this gamble. But trying to blame it on fear is wrong and is Japan's current right-wing nationalists way of trying to justify their actions. It is the current nationalistic nuts in Japan that are trying to re-write history here.

If you study the periods before the war and the negotiations as well as communications between the great nations, you realize that they were trying to appease Japan. Nobody wanted war with them, especially after they saw the ease with which Japan took care of Russia in various battles. Japan's biggest problem was they wanted it all and wasn't willing to recognize the influence of other nations in the region or even the concept of sovereignty as it pertained to nations that Japan felt it could conquer. Again, fear had little or nothing to do with Japan's actions at the time.

You people also need to realize that Japan 60 years ago is not Japan today. Japan is a democracy that has never once wagged war. Imperial Japan was a military run dictatorship. Once that government was conquered, Japan has been infinitely more peaceful then China, China which current government has invaded Vietnam, Korea, Tibet, Mongolia and continues to commit genocide inside it’s own borders. The problem is not Japan or the Japanese race as you want ever so to believe, the problem is corrupt governments. The people of Asia and the World should all come together to realize that. Unfortunately, these are some of the worlds most corrupt governments and they need to create this false enemy so they can continue to go on being corrupt.
You are right, Japan isn't the same country that it was 60 year ago. If it was, it would have ceased to exist as there isn't a nation willing to allow it to happen again. Unfortunately, there are those in leadership in Japan that want to glorify its past actions instead of condemning them. There has been a recent push to justify Japan's past actions and to vilify Korea and China. This can been seen in best selling books and cartoon books, that instead of disgusting the average person seems to resonate somewhere inside of them. It is these, as well as other, actions, words and deeds that keep Japan from being the leader in Asia that it should be.

I don't think there is anyone that feels China's government is favorable to Japan's and if push comes to shove, the majority of Japan's neighbors would support Japan in a conflict with China. The problem, again, is these stupid actions that certain leaders of Japan continue to make that causes mistrust and unease.

Another problem is Japnophiles continued comparison of the governments of Japan and China. They seem to think that if China does something, Japan is justified in its actions. For example, if China doesn't teach its history correctly, well then Japan can be forgiven for its lack of historical accuracy in its textbooks. This is patently wrong! WRONG WRONG WRONG. Does Japan, a democracy of peaceful people want to compare itself with communist dictatorship? Does it really want to use that as its scale of good and bad? Comparing the actions of the two governments is absurd. Japan should always hold itself to a much higher standard than China. Is it appropriate for Japan to point out the inconsistencies of what China teaches in its schools? Certainly. But using that to justify their own inaccuracies is just wrong. Again, Japan is a peaceful that should have higher standards. How hard is this to understand?

China has the worlds most military personal at 2.25 million, and it calls Japan, with a self-defense force of 250,000 a threat. Are you kidding me with that? Oh wait, Japan spends more then China does on defense, therefor it’s a threat. Huh? Chinese money is worth nothing. You can get a lot for nothing, that is why everything in the world is made in China, because it’s dirt poor. Japan spends 1% of it’s money on defense, that number comes out to $50 billion USD/year. China spends 1.4% at $30 billion USD/year. USD $30 billion will go a lot farther in China then it will in Japan. Also take into consideration that 40% of Japan’s spending goes to paying it’s ‘troops’ while something like 5% of China’s budget goes to pay. Now we look at equipment. Japan is forced to buy American stuff, while China buys Russian stuff. Russian equipment is about one-third the price of the equivalent American equipment.
The biggest problem with Japan's military spending is Japans insistence that it is only being spent on a defensive force. Let's face it, Japan has a small, but kickass military. It should recognize that and let it go. Yes, some neighbors will be upset at this but if Japan would take care of its relations with countries like Korea, it would be less of a concern. Also, who would you rather buy from, the US or Russia?

Face it, China is creating a false enemy in Japan so it can justify such a huge military which it will use to invade Taiwan, North Korea, South Korea, Okinawa and then Mainland Japan in that order. After-all, China’s constitution defines China as whatever it wants it to be. The policy of “Taiwan, you’re China and we’ll kill every last one of you until you realize it” will be applied to all lands that China believes are really it’s for the taking. All countries that had relations with China under the


system are considered by China to be Chinese territory. Guess what, every country in Asia had international relations with China under the


. Japan, Okinawa, Korea, Vietnam, Mongolia, Burma and Thailand are all countries that had relations with China, and as China does not understand the concept of international relations but only imperialism (interesting how it criticizes Japanese history of Imperialism) and are countries that will be invaded in due time if the world does not wake up and see through the lies that Japan is a force that needs to be balanced (with 10x the troops, you call that balance??) which is only a cover for China’s own plan to enslave all of Asia.
As long as the US continues to defend the free countries of Asia, the have little to fear from China. Creating a force that can do naval invasions is far more difficult than most realize. Creating Aircraft Carrier task forces are far more difficult than people realize. The US continues to modernize its military. This is where I get tired of those that complain. They say that we are so far ahead of other nations that there is no need to continue to improve and spend so much money on our military and military research. What they are missing is that this huge discrepancy is what helps keep peace in the world. No matter how you feel about the current conflict in Iraq, one thing it did was make many nations, China especially, realize just how big of an advantage the US has when it comes to the military. People seem to forget that Iraq had the latest and greatest from Russia, all of which was decimated in 48 hours. The only difference with China would magnitude. The destruction would be the same.

China will always have a large land force but, in my opinion, will never be able to catch up to the US and its allies when it comes to modernization. China is spending a ton of money trying to upgrade but it will all come crashing down, they just don't have the infrastructure to continue this kind of spending. Of course, all nations need to be diligent and watchful when it comes to China, but I feel it is far more likely that internal conflicts will rip China apart rather than China being able to invade its neighbors. Reacting to China's bellicose statements is just about as fruitless as reacting to the pronouncements that come from North Korea.

As far as poor, misunderstood Japan goes, give me a break. Japan needs, like I've said a million times already, to own up to its past, take full and complete responsibility for its actions, give reparations to any currently living victims of its past actions, have a full and complete apology that comes from the Diet and voted on by the citizens of Japan, and teach a full and proper history of its past actions in its schools. I could list more, but I've done it before. If you are interested in what I feel Japan needs to do, read it here.

Oh, Darin, l love the new look to your blog. Much more user friendly than it used to be.