Plunge Pontificates

A place for my thoughts.

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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

History Book a Top-Seller in China, Japan and Korea

Written to counter the anemic history books being used in various schools in Japan, this history book has become a huge seller on the open market as well. Publishers are shocked, considering it is a history book, at the numbers sold.

An academic history book of the Japanese invasion of a number of Asian countries during WWII has become a best seller in China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK).

More than 110,000 copies have been sold in China, 70,000 copieswere sold in Japan and 50,000 in the ROK.

Rong Weimu, a Chinese editor on the non-governmental trilateraleditorial board, said here Tuesday in an interview with Xinhua, the sales in both Japan and the ROK were quite impressive considering the book is a historical publication.

"Many local education authorities in Japan and the ROK have listed the book as supplementary reading to textbooks," said Rong,who is also a senior researcher at the Institute of Contemporary History of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) .

The book, titled The Contemporary and Modern History of Three East Asian Countries, details the atrocities committed by Japaneseinvaders in China and Korea.

The book is aimed at countering the holocaust-denying textbookspublished by ultra-nationalistic press in Japan.

"In editing the history book," Rong said, "scholars from the three countries shared the same basic historical views although they have some minor differences relating to their cultural backgrounds and research methodologies."
I find this very impressive. Kudos to the historians for being able to set aside minor differences and produce a book covering these difficult subjects. An English version is rumored to be in the works, I'd love to read it.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Koizumi Tries to Avoid Yasukuni Controversy

So, Henry Hyde rips Koizumi a new one and tells him to stop visiting the shrine. Basically says he wouldn't be welcome speaking in front of congress without his promise that he wouldn't visit anymore. So, how does the PM respond?

"Not only are there no plans for a Congressional speech, we've expressed no desire for one,'' Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe said today at a regular press conference. "If there's a misunderstanding over the Prime Minister's Yasukuni visits, we must work to gain understanding.''
What a cop out.

Still, I'm glad to see this gaining more and more attention. Here's hoping this becomes a major issue during his visit, enough so that he is forced to respond. Also, here's hoping the President doesn't try and smooth this over or avoid the issue altogether as he seems want to do when it comes to Japan. As more of the world takes notice the leaders of Japan are going to have to respond or find themselves becoming the pariah of Asia.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Moonbats Run For Office

GAHHHHHH!!!!! Just when I thought I wouldn't hear much more until the trial, we get this:

Hwang Woo-suk and his team of embryonic stem cell researchers may be internationally disgraced and under indictment for research fraud and embezzlement. However, Hwang's supporters are taking his cause to the ballot box and are fielding candidates for public office.

Hwang backers plan to run candidates in the upcoming local elections in South Korea and the lead agenda item on their platform is a move to press the Asian nation to allow Hwang to resume his controversial cloning and stem cell research.

The Korea Herald reports that, yesterday, they launched the "HwangWoo National Solidarity" to nominate candidates for gubernatorial and mayoral positions throughout the nation.

Elections will be held on May 31 in the nation's 16 provinces and cities across the country.

"Candidates will promote the resumption of his research and the protection of his patent rights (for stem-cell technology)," the new party said in a statement. "They will also repeat our assertion that those with vested interests are responsible for the scandal."

The Herald reports that the group plans to field 101 candidates, a symbolic representation of the 101 human embryos they say Hwang successfully cloned. The candidates will have no party affiliation other than their link to the pro-Hwang group.
What are these morons thinking?!? Hwang is a joke, an embarrassment, a crook, a fiend and on and on. How in the bloody hell could anyone, ANYONE, still support this worthless pile of bones and skin?

Makoto Koga says GET RID OF EM!

Awesome! Of course, it will never happen but it is nice to dream.

Hoping to sway the Liberal Democratic Party presidential race, an LDP veteran lawmaker is set to suggest that Yasukuni Shrine separate its 14 Class-A war criminals from the rest of the war dead enshrined there.

Makoto Koga, the influential faction leader, former LDP secretary-general and head of Nippon Izokukai, an association for bereaved families of the nation's war dead, will announce the proposal this week, sources said.
It's nice to see someone in a position of power make this kind of suggestion. It seems to be rare given the current mood in Japan, especially among those in government.

A Yasukuni Shrine official said separating the Class-A war dead is out of the question, as it would be incompatible with the shrine's ritual principles.
Ah, the standard reply. *sigh*

Sunday, May 14, 2006

What's Going Good in Iraq

Let's take a break from my normal routine of trying to save Japan from itself and make it the leader of Asia that it should be, and focus a bit on Iraq.

As some of you know, I used to run a website for Chief Wiggles and was one of the founders of Operation Give an ongoing charity. Because of both of these and other things, I've been a huge supporter of the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan as well a believer in the cause. I believe that Iraq will be a great nation one day. There are some incredible people there, working tirelessly to make Iraq and its people free and prosperous. Given support and time, they will win.

With that, let's look at some of the good stuff going on there thanks to Winds of Change.

First, Bill Roggio has some interesting stuff on the Iraq Army.

Nearly one year ago, the media questioned the "readiness" of the Iraqi Army and declared "few Iraqi battalions are operational." This stemmed from Multinational-Forces Iraq's attempts to establish metrics for the readiness of the Iraq military, and the media's lack of understanding of the meaning of these metrics.

The media focused on "Level 1" battalions, units which could operate with complete independence from Coalition forces, and ignored the significance of Level 2 & 3 Iraqi Army units. Level 2 & 3 battalions lack the organic logistical capabilities (Level 2) or required Coalition forces to operate alongside in combat (Level 3). Level 2 units gather their own intelligence, conduct their own planning and are deemed "in the lead" during combat operations. Both Level 2 & 3 units are in the fight against the insurgency.

Late last summer, 36 Iraqi Army combat battalions were rated as Level 2. Less than one year later, 75 battalions are rated as in the lead, according to Major General Rick Lynch. About 30% of the company-sized operations and above are independent Iraqi Army operations, and about 50% are conducted by combined Iraqi and Coalition units. During combined operations, the Iraqi Army conducts the search, while Coalition forces provide the outer security cordon.
Folks, this is some amazing stuff. They are organizing and rebuilding the army at an amazing rate. It's also important because we can't leave until that army is strong and sound. Bill has a lot more to say as well, just keep reading here.

The Army released parts of some documents found showing the terrorists are trying to start a civil war in Iraq. Needless to say, the US Army is doing its best to let every Iraqi know just what scum the terrorists are and what they are trying to do to their country.

The U.S. military on Thursday revealed parts of a memo attributed to Al Qaeda in Iraq that outlines plans to ignite sectarian war by targeting Shiite Muslims and to shift the battle toward the capital and religiously mixed parts of the country.

The memo, which the military said was seized during a raid last month, ordered followers to "make the struggle entirely between Shiites and the mujahedin," as the militants refer to themselves, and lambasted moderate Sunni groups. It included a call for insurgents to "displace the Shiites and displace their shops and businesses from our areas. Expel those black market sellers of gas, bread or meat or anyone that is suspected of spying against us."

The memo, if authentic, provides some of the strongest evidence to date to support an accusation U.S. officials repeatedly have made — that Abu Musab Zarqawi, the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq, has been deliberately trying to exploit the country's simmering sectarian and ethnic tensions to spark a full-blown civil war.
You know, completely off the topic but still, I'm sick of them being called insurgents. They are terrorists, scum, toejam, etc. But giving them the neutral term of 'insurgent' is just annoying.

USAid is planning on turning over its projects to the Iraqi government in 2007.

USAid, one of the biggest development agencies operating in Iraq, plans to turn over the running of its reconstruction projects, funded to the tune of $5.1bn (€4bn, £2.7bn) since 2003, to the Iraqi government by the end of 2007, Dawn Liberi, the outgoing mission director, told the FT on Monday.
Way to go guys! The Iraqi government is starting to show its competence.

Iraq's oil exports hit a post war high!

Iraq's oil exports hit a postwar high of an average 1.619 million barrels per day (bpd) in April, Oil Minister Hashem Al Hashemi said.

Ah, the good news abounds!

I'm worried though. I'm worried at the loss of support the war has in the public. It shows what people around the world have been thinking of Americans. We are wishy washy. We lose our resolve when things get tough. This isn't the time to act like that. This is the time when I support should be growing. It doesn't matter whether you wanted the war or not, we have it, and with our troops there and in harms way, showing any weakness is just wrong. Yes, I know all the arguments from the other side. I've heard them time and time again. To me though, it comes down to what I just mentioned, troops are on the ground in harms way. Do I agree with everything we've done over there? Hell no. In fact, I probably disagree with more than I agree with. But overall, I support the war.

God Bless our Soldiers!

President Al Gore

Even being the hard core conservative that I am, I nearly busted a gut laughing while watching this.

Well, it was funny until they pulled it for copyright issues.

Taro Aso castigated by former British POWs

This moron is finally getting his due. He is being ripped up one side and down the other from people and nations around the world. I wonder what it will take for him to come around and realize there is a problem?

This is one of the harshest articles I've read outside of Korea and China towards Aso and Japan in general for their failure to face the past. Hopefully Japan will start to realize that it isn't only China and Korea that are appalled by this lack of contrition.

Japan's embattled Foreign Minister, Taro Aso, has been denounced by British former PoWs for his connection to Allied prisoners forced to work in slave-like conditions in his family's coalmines during the Second World War.

Aso, under harsh criticism from Washington to Beijing for what the New York Times called his 'offensive and inflammatory' attitudes, has never admitted or apologised for his firm's use of slave labour. Nor has the Japanese government paid compensation to the hundreds of thousands of enslaved workers, or to the families of the many who died.


Arthur Titherington, 84, chairman of the Japanese Labour Camps Survivors' Association, said: 'It's quite disgraceful, but it's absolutely typical of Japanese politicians from the Prime Minister down. Taro Aso is obviously as two-faced as it's possible to get. This is quite normal with the Japanese. They refuse flatly to admit to anything. I've been attempting to get a meaningful apology since 1946. Over the years they've been killing the story with silence.'

Yet, to Japan's surprise and irritation, its silence and indifference over this and other unresolved war crimes have now become its main obstacle to good relations with Asian neighbours. They suffered the most from its atrocities, which began even before the 1931 invasion of northern China, and caused the deaths of millions across the Far East.

Aso's coal mines exploited an estimated 12,000 Korean slave labourers as well as 101 British prisoners at its Yoshikuma pit in the southern island of Kyushu. Enslaved workers there - and in other firms' pits - were kept in appalling and dangerous conditions. They were starved and beaten. Many died.

Authorities in Tokyo ordered records destroyed in 1945, but three amateur historians in Kyushu have documented what happened from local sources. They found the workers were underground for 15 hours a day seven days a week.


'The Japanese didn't care because they knew the men were replaceable,' Cairns said. 'They were callous and indifferent and we've always been horrified that these people were able to get away with not just murder, but sadistic murder, and have never had to say sorry.'

Neither Aso nor the Foreign Ministry answered Observer inquiries about the forced labour issue.
And they wonder why people have a problem with how they have dealt with the past?

Oxygen for Sale

I think this is kind of a cool idea.

Japanese convenience store operator Seven-Eleven Japan has breathed fresh air into its product lineup by announcing it will add cans of oxygen to its shelves.

The firm said it would make an entry into the rapidly expanding oxygen market and begin selling cans of oxygen on May 24.


A drop in the amount of oxygen in the body can make people start to yawn and sigh. Normal air contains only about 21 percent oxygen, but the oxygen concentration in the cans is 95 percent, and breathing it in can reportedly bring on a feeling of invigoration.

Each can contains enough oxygen for 35 two-second inhalations, meaning each can lasts for roughly a week if it is used five or six times a day. At first the canned oxygen will be sold in Tokyo, Kanagawa and Chiba prefectures, then at all 11,000 of Seven-Eleven Japan's nationwide stores from June 14.
I wouldn't mind getting a blast of O2 every now and then when I'm feeling worn out.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Japan Calls Korea's Claim "Illegal"

Japan has now decided to call Korea's claim on Tokdo and their 'occupation' of the islands illegal. This is just gonna create warm fuzzys.

The Japanese government repeated its claim over the South Korean-controlled islets of Takeshima, saying Seoul has illegally occupied the islets since 1954.
The Japanese government has previously claimed that the islets of Takeshima, known as Dokdo in Korean, belong to Japan. However, this is apaprently the first time that it has called the South Korean claim to the area illegal.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Blow to Airbus

Being a person who has flown his whole life on just about every commercial jet known, I have become a huge fan of Boeing. Boeing's jets are amazingly well thought out. Now, I've never been on a jet that is comfortable in the cattle car section (coach), but every other part of the plane just seems so well done. I can't stand Airbus. I avoid them like the plague and will go out of my way to not fly on a plane built by Airbus. So, I was pleased to read the following.

Japan Airlines wants smaller aircraft and is not interested in the new superjumbo Airbus 380, the carrier's incoming chief said.

Asia's largest airline wants medium-sized planes so it can prioritize shorter-distance flights, particularly to China, chief executive-designate Haruka Nishimatsu said.

He ruled out for now buying the double-decker Airbus 380, the world's largest passenger airliner which debuts later this year with Singapore Airlines.

'As we are in a time where the aviation business has become more volatile due to geo-political factors, it is an iron rule for us to move to smaller aircraft to minimize risk,' he said, referring to the drop in air travel after the September 11, 2001 attacks and Asia's SARS epidemic in 2003.

'Also considering high oil prices, fuel consumption increases dramatically in long-distance flights,' he told reporters. 'If large planes fill up, it would be alright but otherwise the fuel cost becomes a risk.'

Both Japan Airlines (JAL) and domestic rival All Nippon Airways (ANA) buy nearly exclusively from US giant Boeing Co, the main rival of Europe's Airbus.

Now I Can be an Astronaut

You know, there was only one thing, one teeny little thing that has kept me from becoming an Astronaut. Now, that one little thing has been fixed, so space, HERE I COME!

What is that one little thing you ask?

Read here to find out.

Hwang Going to the Pokey

Well, it isn't being hung by the testicles while being slowly dipped into boiling rat urine like we had hoped, but it is better than nothing!

Hwang Woo Suk, the disgraced cloning expert, was indicted on fraud and embezzlement charges today, months after an investigative panel determined that he had fabricated evidence to prove that he had cloned human cells.

Prosecutors blamed the scandal, one of the most notorious cases of science fraud in recent years, on a combination of elements: a junior scientist who fabricated lab tests to please his boss, and Mr. Hwang himself, a charismatic head researcher who was blind to the scam but also ordered more fabrications to speed up the publication of his papers....
Reconfirming the earlier findings by Hwang's school, Seoul National University, Mr. Lee said that Hwang had never cloned embryonic stem cells from patients. Mr. Hwang's now-discredited claim had raised hopes that doctors one day would grow genetically matching tissues from embryonic stem cells to repair damaged organs or treat diseases like Alzheimer's.
Not bad I guess and they certainly are pulling no punches about what he did.

Of course, you still have those moonbats out there.

Blows me away that this pig still has supporters.

Japan's Regional Strategy Criticized

Like I've mentioned time and time again. Japan seems to want to be a world player, but has problems just trying to be the big boy on the block in its own region. Japan has got to start focusing more on its regional relations if it ever hopes to gain support on a larger scale.
Most of the Southeast Asian intellectuals and lawmakers I met with recently while visiting the region made remarks critical of Japan's regional strategies. Some said Japan was unenthusiastic about negotiations on economic cooperation with Southeast Asian countries and instead was giving priority to solving domestic agricultural problems and securing foreign labor for nursing. Others said that, diplomatically, Japan was falling far behind China, which, with its deployment of aggressive maneuvers, has emerged as a major international player.

To be sure, Japan's diplomacy in Asia leaves much to be desired. Concern is growing that with China continuing its fast economic expansion, Japan could become a minor international player caught in a niche between the United States and China.
I'll be the first to admit I don't know what the solution is. Japan has never been stingy, so it isn't a monetary issue.

Perhaps Japan's reluctance to liberalize farm trade and introduce foreign labor for domestic reasons gives the impression to negotiating partners that it is unwilling to open its market -- in stark contrast to China, which is pushing a diplomatic offensive in Asia through quick decision-making under the single-party rule of the Communists. A more serious problem is that Japan has not clarified its regional vision.
Whatever the cause, Japan needs to get it fixed and soon. China is too large of a threat/presence to ignore. Its domination of the region all but guaranteed if Japan doesn't step up to the plate soon and hit a homerun with its neighbors.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Japanese Ignorant of Their Sordid Past

Despite how often we are told that Japanese are very knowledgeable of their past and the crimes that were committed, it makes you wonder how true it is when so many are completely ignorant of the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal.

Fifty-three percent of the respondents were aware the International Military Tribunal for the Far East took place after World War II, but they did not know any further details. And 17 percent said they didn't even know the Tokyo tribunal was held. Ignorance of the trial was greater among younger respondents.

Among those in their 20s, 90 percent have little or no knowledge of the Tokyo tribunal, which started 60 years ago to punish Class-A war criminals for their roles in the war. Of them, 37 percent did not know the tribunal was held. The rate of total ignorance concerning the trial was 20 percent among respondents in their 30s and 40s. Respondents with scant or no knowledge about the tribunal were more inclined to accept the fact that Yasukuni Shrine honors Class-A war criminals along with the nation's war dead. They also expressed less opposition to visits to Yasukuni Shrine by Japanese prime ministers.
This is extremely disturbing. How can something so important in their past be so looked over? The final sentence is telling as well. Those that are ignorant of the tribunals have little problem with Yasukuni. How nice, a direct correlation of ignorance of the past leads to asinine opinions in the future. Another disturbing factor is the correlation between age and ignorance. The younger generations know less and less of their history. With this, we are seeing a rise in nationalism, a disturbing trend.

Please take the time to read the rest of this disturbing article on your own.

Movie to Help Japanese Accept Their Past?

I never thought of a movie as being able to help the Japanese accept their wartime past, but actor Ken Watanabe seems to think it might be the case.

The movie is about the bloody World War II battle for Iwo Jima, in which Watanabe plays a main role.

"As we went through this film we realised that, until now, we haven't really looked at Japan's past. We kind of looked away from it," Watanabe said. "But we have to look at it and accept the fact that this is what our fathers and grandfathers have actually done."

"Accepting the reality is the first step," he said at a news conference at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan.

In the film Red Sun, Black Sand to be released in the US in December, Watanabe plays the general who loses the battle, causing the deaths of many young Japanese soldiers who followed his orders.
Even without that, it should be an interesting movie. There have been some exceptionally well done war movies lately with Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers. Let's hope this keeps up the string.

email received...

I got an email that I decided to respond to here. I won't use the author's name. His writing in blue, my responses in red.

You write a small book on the topic of why it was necessary to drop nuclear weapons on civilians and kill hundreds of thousands. At the same time you devote the vast majority of your writing efforts to showing why the Japanese occupation of Korea was a terrible thing.

The Japanese occupation of Korea was a terrible thing. So were the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But in your mind one was a clear example of human brutality and moral depravity while the other was necessary and indeed morally justified.

This doesn't strike you -- in your haze of preconceptions -- as being the slightest bit contradictory, hypocritical, self-serving or in fact, wrong?

Not at all. Beside the fact that they are unrelated in any way, shape or form, I consider one of them evil and the other as salvation for the world.

Your book-length attempt to provide excuses for the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is an exercise in conjecture: how many US troops may have died had there been a land invasion of Japan, how many of the Imperial Japanese Army troops would have actually fought to the death, etc. Your entire book-length work is a just a string of subjunctives: probably would have, were thought to have, it would have been, others thought there would be, etc etc etc.

The bomb was dropped. So, discussing what might have happened is all we can do. Your problem is that you act like what I wrote was a big guess, wishful thinking on my part. That couldn't be further from the truth. What I wrote is based on events that happened prior to the bombing. It was based on writings of Japanese people from all walks of life that lived at that time. It was based on journals, statistics as well as estimates made immediately following the surrender of Japan. Most of what I wrote about isn't even close to be considered controversial except for casualty estimates which I wrote indepth on so people could understand why results were so different from what many have written.

Let us remember that a great deal of writing was done in Japan on the positive effects of the occupation of Korea. Indeed, book length works were produced showing the number and length of roads paved, the number of schools and other buildings built, the education of farmers who previously had none, the protection of the Korean people from Western invasion, etc. Anyone can write a book and choose to employ only those pieces of information that support his or her argument. The Japanese military did it, and so have you. Political debates make strange bedfellows, eh?

Of course what I wrote had an agenda, a bias. I never said that it didn't. ANYTIME someone writes something there is a bias to it. One of the main reasons I wrote about the occupation of Korea was because of the amount of misinformation that exists, especially on the net. I feel my writing is one of the more accurate pieces out there which I think is backed up by subsequent pieces that have been written. When a person writes with an agenda, deliberately leaving out information that would counter his argument, it is pretty easy to counter what he wrote. Unlike that, my writing has brought out others with information that supports what I wrote, not contradicting it.

And here are just two clear examples of mistakes you wrote.

1. "But, at the time, their [atomic bombs] destructive power was truly unknown. They were just a new weapon with no inherent evilness or goodness. It was only later, after their use, after the effects of radiation became known, the massive devastation they can cause became known that the bombs became the demons they are today."

>The so-called "Trinity Test" of the world's first atomic weapon (July 16, 1945) produced a vast amount of data. The destructive power of the new weapon was well known before it was used on civilians in Japan. Many on the team that developed the weapon had deep moral doubts about using the weapon on people and some suggested to the president that it be first used on an uninhabited area to demonstrate its power while giving the Japanese leadership time to decide to surrender without suffering the overwhelming loss of human life they knew would result.
(see, also see various references listed near the bottom)

Sorry, that is where you are mistaken. It was unknown what would happen when the bombs were dropped. All they had was one test, from a platform, under ideal circumstances. A great amount of time was spent just getting the bomb into position and making sure it would go off, again, something that couldn't be controlled with the actual bomb drop. Next is the radiation. That was a great unknown. Even years after the bombings radiation poisoning and exposure wasn't understood well. This is easy to show when you consider the amount of above ground nuclear testing that continued in the US near populated areas.

Next, you mention a test on an unpopulated area. If you had read my entire piece, you would see where I discussed this and why it was rejected. It was rejected by the scientist themselves as well as others. There were many reasons for rejecting the test option. I suggest you go back and read what I wrote about it.

So, no, this wasn't a mistake. I covered it quite completely.

2. "Albert Einstein said:
It should not be forgotten that the atomic bomb was made in this country as a preventive measure; it was to head off its use by the Germans, if they discovered it. The bombing of civilian centers was initiated by the Germans and adopted by the Japanese. To it the Allies responded in kind—as it turned out, with greater effectiveness—and they were morally justified in doing so."

>Alber Einstein spent most of his post-1945 life talking and working AGAINST atomic and nuclear weapons. He was one of the most zealous opponents of the military use of nuclear technology. Posting a single quote, without a reference no less, that mis-represents the man's overall thinking is clearly self-serving and disingenuous. Or perhaps you didn't know that Einstein was one of the most outspoken "peaceniks" of the 20th century? See for further information. I could quote Einstein as well:

"I believe Gandhi's views were the most enlightened of all the political men of our time. We should strive to do things in his spirit: not to use violence for fighting for our cause...."

Ummm... what I posted was Einstein's quote. Yes, I understand that he devoted himself to peace, that makes his quote even more important. He understood to situation the Allies were in at the time. While he was devoted to peace, he understood what was necessary to end the war. What would posting more of his quotes have proven? Nothing. What was important was his thoughts at that time, the time of the bombing and when the decision to bomb was being made as well as what he said about that afterwards. Think about it, if Einstein was that devoted to peace, what does it say about the bombing of Japan to know that he supported it being done?

I've read much on the topics of the Japanese occupation of Korea and the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I've given much thought to the topics you write about and I've spoken with people in both Korea and Japan who hold a wide range of beliefs and opinions on these subjects.

That's wonderful, so have I. Although most of my discussions have been with Koreans.

Modern Japanese society has many problems. Some of them are serious, others are blown all out of proportion by observers both in and out of Japan. Reasoned analysis and discussion of events and policies is always a good thing.

Yep, that is important. People need to discuss subjects they feel are important and you are right, some subjects are blown out of proportion.

But the clearly lopsided, self-serving statements you post on your blog and elsewhere are doing more to sustain hatred, mistrust and prurient interest in "catfights" than they are contributing to mutual understanding and respect.

Another who doesn't understand. *sigh* Japan is the one nation in this part of the world that can lead the other nations around it and counter the influence of China. To do so though, Japan needs to atone for its past actions, make true apologies and gain the trust of its neighbors. Again, I've posted about this indepth. Japan also needs to clean up the social problems it is having. It needs to clean up the moral problems which have appeared and work to make a socially sound nation. Covering up these things and not discussing them only adds to the problem. Open, honest discussion leads to solutions. The problems come when insignificant things are blown out of proportion like a few individuals chopping off fingers and hands and the like.

The relationship between Japan and its neighbors isn't a bed of roses. It needs to be discussed. Whitewashing of atrocities and other issues of the past, important to discuss. The social problems in Japan are growing worse. Another situation to be discussed. Moral problems, suicide, generational respect and the lack thereof, all problems to be discussed.

Finger chopping. Stupid. Hand chopping, Stupid. Flag biters. Dumb. Yes, the occasional strange story can be humorous, but most of these are just divisive.

Thanks for reading.

No problem, I just wish you had understood what I had written better.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Japan's Morals Continue to Decay at the Expense of Women

This disgusts me. Track em all down, the ones that do it, the ones that film it, the ones that sell it, the ones that buy it... all of them. Put them in pit and leave them there.

Large numbers of Japanese women are falling victim to teams of sneaky men who run up behind them, rip down their undies and then send footage of the attack throughout the world via the Internet, according to Shukan Jitsuwa (5/25).

"These movies of guys lifting up women's skirts and even tearing down their panties are spreading everywhere. At first, I thought they were all set-ups, but the footage with the women shocked at what they've just been put through is actually all real," a writer on Japan's underground DVD market tells Shukan Jitsuwa. "They're all underground movies, so the faces and other parts you see are all real. And it's the horrified reaction of these women that's apparently the biggest turn-on for the perverts who are into this kind of thing. They're really popular."

Naturally, the women being targeted for these heinous productions are outraged. And, with about 30 women being targeted for every DVD filled with footage of the attacks on sale, there are many people being victimized.

"There are currently five DVDs on the market that specialize in Panty Dropping. Simple math suggests that at least 150 women have been targeted indiscriminately if each movie has 30 victims," the writer says.

The method the filmmakers are using is simple. Film crews are made up of at least two people -- one who operates the camera, and the other who actually does the shedding. Crews pick a target and follow her until they find what they consider to be the right spot, then one of the men races up behind her, whips up her dress, rips down her underwear and speeds off into the distance, with the whole episode over in a matter of seconds.

There has got to be a way to track these guys down. I mean, they are selling this crap. They are filming it. There has got to be a way!!!

UPDATE: Wow, twice in a week. Japundit and I report on the same thing, except that I get castigated for reporting it and he doesn't....hmmm...

UPDATE II: JP at Japundit has concluded that the article is wrong, that the women are actresses getting paid.

Babe Ruth vs. Barry Bonds

Picture says it all. Babe was the man.

Paris Isn't the Only Slut in Her Family...

Her father, or whatever family member is control the Hilton Hotel chain is giving her a run for her money. Those bastards ended a tradition of feeding and offering moral and emotional support to injured soldiers at Bethesda Medical Center. I hope that the bastard responsible for this burns in hell.

Read all about it here.

God bless the soldiers and help those injured heal, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

2nd Term Presidents in the US Suck

Interesting discussion at Dean Esmay's site, something I had never considered but intriguing enough I wanted to pass it on.

Since Harry Truman, every President who has had two terms of office (including Truman) has had a terrible second term.

I had never thought of that before, but the more I think of it, the more I think Dean's right.

Read his post here and discuss.

Analysis of the Dokdo (Takeshima) Dispute

This article gives a wonderful review of the situation, but even more, goes into why this dispute is so important to the stability of the region.

The conclusion of this lengthy article gives one reason to pause and think about what is happening in the region.

I would call this a MUST READ for anyone concerned about the region.

The escalation of the Dokdo/Takeshima dispute reveals the erosion of U.S. influence in Northeast Asia. Washington's basic policy in the region is to collaborate with South Korea and Japan to balance China's rising power and to roll back or at least contain North Korea's nuclear ambitions. Faced with deepening tensions between its two allies, both of those aims are in jeopardy.

During the ongoing crisis, Washington has remained neutral, urging both sides to reach an amicable resolution to their dispute. That position is thrust upon Washington because a tilt toward Tokyo would drive Seoul closer to the arms of Beijing and Pyongyang, and a tilt toward Seoul would impel Tokyo to assert its independence more forthrightly.

Washington's impotence results from the simple fact that it is over-extended globally and is no longer perceived as a credible protector. In Northeast Asia, more than in any other region, the fraying of the U.S. "security blanket" heightens instability; the major regional powers have not forged a cooperative combine and there is no institutional structure to mediate conflicts. In similar situations in modern history, economic interdependence has not always been sufficient to prevent violent conflict, in which clashing interests are inflamed by nationalist sentiment.

The danger of hegemony is that when it weakens, suppressed interests are left to confront one another and achieve a balance of power on their own, often through a painful and sometimes violent process. That is not to say that a Northeast Asian war is imminent, but only that the seeds for one have been sown and that there are signs that they are germinating.

Analysts have noted that if Tokyo backs off from Dokdo/Takeshima, it will lose traction in its disputes with Beijing and Moscow, jeopardizing its overall regional position and its military ambitions. At present, with the nationalist genie out of the bottle and caught among the Chinese and Japanese behemoths, Seoul is in no position to compromise. North Korea and China welcome the conflict between Japan and South Korea, which can only work to erode U.S. influence further and to advance their respective regional interests by splitting the (former) allies.

As would-be U.S. hegemony cedes to regionalism and nationalism, underlying conflicts surface and the pattern of interdependent and competitive relations becomes more complex and fraught with instability. "Contingency management" -- as the Japanese call it -- becomes an overriding imperative, but it is ever more difficult to achieve.

North Korea Jamming Messages to Abuductees

The only thing I have to say is, "Duh!" You really think they would do otherwise?
Shortwave radio broadcasts directed toward North Korea by a private group investigating suspected North Korean abductions of missing Japanese are being jammed by Pyongyang, Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe said Tuesday.

The Investigation Commission on Missing Japanese Probably Related to North Korea began the broadcasts, called Shiokaze, in October in the hope that any missing Japanese in North Korea would hear the messages.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Japan Forms Company to INCREASE Sales of Whale Meat

Bastards. Why do they keep pushing this? Just let the industry die already.

The body conducting Japan's research whaling said Tuesday it will seek to expand the market for whale meat by consigning sales to a recently established company.

The company, set up on May 1 with investment from a private consultant, will start selling in late June the meat of whales caught for scientific purposes, the Institute of Cetacean Research said. The company aims to sell 1,000 tons of meat over the coming year.
Yep, Japanese consumers don't want it. Schools don't want it. It has caused worldwide criticism. So, what do they do? Well, instead of slowly letting the industry die of its own dead weight, they decide to look for other avenues to sell the meat. GAH!!!

The sales company plans to explore new customers such as hospitals by highlighting the meat's high protein and low calories, institute officials said. The company will also sell the meat on the Internet.
That's sure to help relations!

While the domestic distribution channels for the meat have been shrinking since the moratorium, supply of whale meat is expected to grow.

During whaling between November and March in the Antarctic Ocean, the institute caught 853 minke whales, more than twice the quota in the previous whaling.

Supply of whale meat for the current business year through next March is estimated at 5,500 tons, up from 4,000 tons a year earlier.

Any attempt to sell more whale meat could draw fierce criticism from anti-whaling countries and groups around the world. Possibly reflecting such concerns, the new company's corporate charter says it will exist only for five years.
Let's hope that it dies a quiet death at the end of five years.

Japan Allows South Korea Illegal Immigrant to Return

A Korean woman who was living illegally in Japan was deported and then allowed to return to raise her children.

A South Korean woman was allowed to reenter Japan on Tuesday, after being deported in April last year, so that she can live together with her two Japanese-born children who stayed behind Osaka.

The Osaka Regional Immigration Bureau designated Ko Un Yol, 40, as "a fixed domicile resident" after she arrived at Kansai airport from South Korea.

Ko initially came to Japan in 1991 with a temporary visitor's visa and gave birth to the children, aged 13 and 9, fathered by a South Korean man who had permanent residency status in Japan. The couple later separated due to opposition from the man's relatives.

While the two children are recognized as fixed domicile residents, Ko left Japan for South Korea last year after she overstayed her visa.
Chalk one up for compassion.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Blogroll update

It was time to update the blogroll. I deleted three who either have quit blogging, aren't blogging very often or have shutdown at least temporarily. So we say goodbye to Darin's Blog, Nora Knows Nada and Those Who Dare.

I added Captain's Quarters. I've mentioned Captain's Quarters before, it is a must read.

The current post is a great example as he goes over captured documents from Iraq showing how the terrorists are getting their asses handed to them. Now if the MSM would just pick up on it...

Dance, Dance, Dance!

These photos are from the dance recital last night. The kids are really good and it was a ton of fun!

My daughter doesn't usually dance in this one.
The girl that is usually in the dance was sick and she stepped in to take her place.

This dance won various competitions throughout the year. Full of twirls, lifts and throws.

That's the daughter in the front.

Strike a pose.

And another.

Here is the dance with the 70s costume.

It was the final dance of the night, the finale.

The dance is coming to an end, the year is over.

Ta da!

The entire company of dancers from Timpview High School!

The Seventies Live Today!

As many of you know, my daughter is on the high school ballroom team. The season is ending and they had their final recital for the parents and supporters. My daughter is in three different dances, one of which she has to dress 70s. I loved her costume, here are some shots below. As I get it all digitized, I'll have video as well.

Modeling her 70s clothing.

Front view. Looking to the side.

Hey, I wasn't ready for that shot!

Front view, staring vacantly forward.

Side view. The smile slips through.

Front view with smile.

Yeah baby!

고들빼기 kimchi making time!

Last night it was time to make 고들빼기 kimchi! What is 고들빼기 kimchi you ask? I have no freakin idea. All I know is some Korean lady went to the mountains, picked all these herbs (weeds imho), brought them back and my wife and her friend made kimchi.

This kimchi is a little different. There is a three day preprocess. This includes soaking in salt water, rinsing and other stuff. Supposedly, this removes the bitterness, although some remains as that is important to the taste.

So, have any of you ever had 고들빼기?

Below are some photos of the process.

Yummy looking, eh?

Mixing it all up.

Gotta have plenty of garlic!

First Morals and Now Character

First, a post on the downfall of the morals of Japan, now the character as theft and crime are on the rise.

Crime and criminal activities in Japan are relatively low compared to most of the industrial societies in the world. Writing in the late 1970s the eminent Harvard sociologist Ezra Vogel in his book Japan as Number One showered praise on Japan for its low crime rates and the orderly society of Japan that the Americans could only envy.

Crime rates in Japan remain low even today and Japan is considered a fairly 'safe' society. It is not unusual for people of all ages and gender even in metropolitan Tokyo to walk home late at night from train stations without the fear of being mugged or physically assaulted.

However, crime and criminal activities are increasing steadily and some kinds of crime that are being committed in Japan today were unthinkable when Ezra Vogel was writing about Japan or even a decade ago. The total number of reported crimes has more than doubled in the last two decades. Homicides, robberies, rapes, internet and computer-related crimes are on the rise.
Another disturbing trend in Japan. Japan has always been unique in the fact that you had a first world country without the underlying crime you have always found in other countries. It is unfortunate to find Japan catching up with the rest of the world in this regard.

Experts are of the opinion that as the number of retired people rises in Japan so will geriatric crime. According to Takeshi Kitashiba, a former psychologist with the Metropolitan Police Department in Tokyo, "2006 is the first year of the Neo-Geriatric", as many baby boomers retire this year. Talking to the Japanese weekly Shukan Gendai, he commented that "Neo-Geriatrics are those over 65 who are still fit, healthy and want to get more out of their lives. Without work, they'll be filled with anxiety and there's a likelihood they may turn to crime. Make no mistake, there will be a significant rise in crimes committed by Neo-Geriatrics."
Crime because of boredom? Or is it because they are forced out of a job and still need money?

While the motives behind elderly crime are not clearly known as it has barely registered as a social problem with researchers and government policy makers, there are some obvious possible reasons for the rising crime among the retirees in Japan.

First and foremost, Japan's traditional family structure where the elderly people were cared by their offspring has broken down. While they themselves looked after their parents, their children do not look after them, leaving these people with a sense of isolation and dejection.

Furthermore, most of these retirees are from the baby boomer generation who worked hard and tirelessly and spent most of their time at the workplace all of a sudden have enormous 'free time' and they don't know what to do with it. Thus they do something silly perhaps to seek attention of their family members or even government.

Moreover, although Japan is a rich country and one would expect that most of these retirees will have a good income stream through their pension funds, surveys have found that about two-thirds of the retirees in Japan are unable to live on their pensions alone. Some of them even feel that by committing crimes they will go to prison where they can live comfortably and safely. Japan's prisons are relatively safe and offer good living conditions making some criminal psychologists think that for a lonely and struggling person the prison atmosphere could be simply tempting.

As Japanese society is greying faster than any other industrial societies, it is not just the pensions system, the family structure and aged care facilities that are in need of fixing...
Japan really seems to be pulling itself apart at the seems. Traditions are breaking down and the things that held the nation together are being forgotten. These things seem to be happening world wide. The world is pulling itself apart and Japan is caught up in the trend

This ol world could become a pretty scary place in a few years.

Fascinating Take on China's Problem With Yasukuni

Here is a perspective that I've never heard before, giving reason as to why the Chinese government has reacted so strongly to Koizumi's visits to Yasukuni. If this is true, it just adds to my disgust of Koizumi and my belief that he is the worst thing to happen to relations in that region since normalization of relations.

The Japanese right likes to insist that since Beijing's anti-Yasukuni angst is fairly recent it must be politically inspired. (They also used to say the same thing about recent anti-Japan demonstrations in China, until it became clear that the Beijing authorities were opposed and had even arrested some of the leaders.)

Beijing has its reasons for its recent angst, since it is only recently that Tokyo's more strongly anti-China policies -- the Senkaku Islands question, quasi support for Taiwan independence, promises to cooperate with the U.S. militarily over Taiwan, for example -- have become obvious. Beijing till recently has tried to put all the war blame on the 14 Japanese wartime leaders convicted of A-class war crimes and whose souls are said to be enshrined at Yasukuni. (It tried to argue that the peace-loving Japanese people were led astray by these leaders.) Koizumi's homage to the souls of those 14 leaders in effect pulls the rug out from under Beijing's feet, and rather rudely.
So basically, China tried to maintain good relations with Japan by putting all the war atrocity claims on the heads of the 14 Class "A" criminals. Then Koizumi effectively wipes out that policy by his continued visits to the shrine. Brilliant, just brilliant.

Japan Unreasonable When it Comes to Territorial Disputes

A rather scathing look at Japan's stands when it comes to territorial disputes.

Tokyo's propensity for getting into territorial and maritime boundary disputes with its neighbors seems large. And if the disputes with China escalate any further, they could make the recent confrontation with South Korea over the Takeshima islets (Dokdo in Korean) look tame.
The article then goes on to show how Japan basically takes whatever position is in its own best interests, even it is completely contradictory to positions it has taken earlier or with other territorial disputes. Here is a small sample:

An even stronger precedent was created by Tokyo itself in its 1974 maritime border agreement with South Korea. Both sides used to have rival equidistance and continental shelf claims for their maritime border south of Cheju island, with Seoul's continental shelf claim extending close to Japanese territory. Then in 1974 both sides agreed to disagree, and to decide the matter some time in the future -- the year 2028 was mentioned. In the meantime they agreed to joint development in the area between the two claimed lines, just as China has sought in the East China Sea.

That 1974 agreement was confirmed as late as August 2002, with an agreement for an oil co-exploration project on the continental shelf between the two nations. This was in accord with the 1982 UNCLOS, which says specifically that in cases of disagreement "the States concerned shall make every effort to enter into provisional arrangements of a practical nature." Tokyo's hardline approach today toward China would seem to contradict that principle.

Ironically, as late as 1994, Tokyo agreed to joint fisheries exploitation with China and South Korea in the East China Sea pending what it then agreed was the need for final EEZ delimitations. But today it insists that the Japan-China EEZ boundary has indeed been delimited -- not by negotiation but by unilateral fiat.

Tokyo takes an equally hard line in its Senkaku Islands dispute with Beijing -- a dispute in which both Beijing's and Taiwan's claims are not without validity. They would have even more validity under Beijing's continental shelf approach.

In its insistence that it is entitled to a 200 nautical-mile EEZ in every direction from a minuscule and remote Pacific rock it calls Okinotori Island, Tokyo's EEZ preoccupation gets out of control. Apart from anything else, it flies in the face of Article 121 (3) of UNCLOS, which states clearly that small rocks and even uninhabited islands cannot have an EEZ.
Japan's audacity would be humorous if it wasn't for the potential for serious international disputes, even military confrontation.

The next part seems to cover those right-wing-nutcase-japan-is-perfect netizens that we see so often.

As we have seen in the commentary following the Takeshima confrontation, Japanese public opinion seems unable to comprehend that there can be two sides to a dispute, especially when territory is involved. The media and the commentators take it for granted that Japan's claims are totally correct and the other side is being quite unreasonable. Even the supposedly impartial NHK forgets to use the word "claimed" when it reports these disputes. The potential for more ugly confrontations continues.
Japan is perfect. Every claim Japan makes is the truth. How dare anyone disagree with anything Japan does. Yes master...

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Why are Japan's morals collapsing?

"For the Japanese," says Seishin Women's College sociologist Kensuke Sugawara, "the center of moral authority was always the neighborhood. Neighbors got together for the ceremonial occasions of life, supported each other, helped each other out. And people were aware of their neighbors' eyes on them, and of the need to take the judgment of others into consideration.

"But neighborhood society broke down" -- a victim of urbanization and the blind rush to economic superpower status. New moral imperatives arose, mandating impersonal conformity and self-sacrifice to the corporate interest. When the corporate interest itself foundered with the bursting of the economic bubble, the new challenge became to live simultaneously as individuals and as responsible members of society. This challenge, in Shukan Post's view, is not being successfully met.

It gets worse.

"The other day," says gynecologist Tsuneo Akaeda, who offers free weekly nighttime health consultations in Tokyo's Roppongi, "a third-year junior high school girl came to me; she wanted an abortion. 'It's my third one,' she said, bold as brass. Then there was another girl, a senior high school girl. She too wanted an abortion. 'I can't do it,' I told her, 'without your boyfriend's consent.' 'Oh!' she said. 'But . . . I have a lot of boyfriends. I don't know which is the father.' 'Well,' I said, 'you know roughly when you became pregnant. Doesn't that narrow it down?' 'Not really -- around then I was making it with two guys at the same time . . . ' "

It's no surprise any more that kids are shedding their virginity younger and younger, though the actual numbers are rather surprising: According to one survey Shukan Post cites, 35.7 percent of third-year senior high school boys, and 44.3 percent of girls, have already crossed that milestone.

Their parents, meanwhile -- roughly half, say the experts -- are increasingly sexless, either stewing in varying blends of exhaustion and frustration, or else -- the numbers here too are rising -- taking their frustration to the streets and discos in search of extra-marital partners.

I'm a true believer in the importance of morals and the disaster of the lack thereof. Moral decadence will be the downfall of Japan if they don't take this problem seriously. It's not just Japan, it's happening worldwide, Japan just seems to be the poster-child of moral decay.

UPDATE: Reading Japundit today, there is a post and discussion about the latest poster girl, she's 9 years old. Something, something has got to give!

Expectant Mothers in Japan Need Doctors

An interesting article, disturbing though as birth rates decline in Japan.

If childbirth could be conveniently timed, then Erika Yamauchi, a ruddy 22-year-old housewife eight months pregnant with her second child, would make a note in her planner to go into labor on a Monday. Preferably around 10 a.m.

In a nation where a chronically low fertility rate is causing the bottom to fall out of the baby-birthing business, this fishing community of 17,000 was forced to mothball its only maternity ward last month after losing its last local obstetrician. Now Yamauchi and 57 other expectant mothers here have to make do with temporary obstetricians flown in from another island on Mondays -- when they attend from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. before boarding evening flights back home.
That's got to be scary. They are also told if they go into labor early, before they can reach a regional hospital with a maternity ward, they can expect a 40 minute helicopter ride.

The expectant mothers of Oki Island have joined thousands of others across Japan facing a major complication: a national shortage of obstetricians. In a rapidly aging nation with one of the world's lowest birthrates, the number of doctors entering child-related specialties is plummeting -- stretching those who are left so thin that they can no longer manage existing caseloads.

Analysts attribute the shortage partly to a declining interest in obstetrics among medical students, who are wary of the long hours, high malpractice risk, and relatively average pay. But whatever the cause, the shortage is turning the miracle of birth into a logistical nightmare.
Another place where the government is going to have to step in and give incentives for doctors to become OBs.

Not only are there a lack of doctors, there is a lack of babies.

The obstetrics crisis, health officials say, has emerged as one of the biggest obstacles in the struggle to avoid Japan's date with depopulation. Japan's fertility rate, the average number of children born to a woman over a lifetime, is at a record low of 1.29 -- compared with 2.1 in the United States. As more Japanese die than are born, the population fell by nearly 20,000 to 127,776,000 in 2005 -- the first decline since the census started in 1920. If nothing is done to reverse that trend, the population is projected to fall to about 100 million by 2050, according to government statistics.

With Japan opposed to large-scale immigration that could alleviate the problem, the obstetrics crisis has raised serious questions about how this country can continue to operate the world's second-largest economy and cover the costs of its huge elderly population. One in 5 Japanese are 65 or older.
This is serious. Japan has a major crisis coming with an aging population and nobody to take care of them.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Other Blogs

Time to look and see what is cooking on other blogs that I read. Most of the do NOT deal with Asia.

I usually hit Captain's Quarters a few times a week.

Top post there right now is about France heading towards collapse, something that wouldn't bring a tear to my eye at all.

Captain Ed says:

It goes beyond credibility, especially with De Villepin. The PM ordered the new youth employment contract that led to the student strikes and caused France to almost shut down a few weeks ago. Earlier, De Villepin's lack of movement on minority employment created some of the force behind the immigrant demonstrations, protests which quickly escalated into riots and terrorist attacks by the burgeoning number of Islamists in France. On both occasions, the French looked towards the PM's political opponent, Nicolas Sarkozy, as the solution to the mess that De Villepin could not resolve.


These days, however, the French have become more and more irrelevant. Thanks to their participation in the Oil-For-Food scandal, the US and UK do not trust them on foreign policy any longer, and their own people don't trust them to maintain order and the economy. Their nanny state is headed for collapse now that they have cut off the flow of cheap labor from North Africa and the Middle East. Only their nuclear arsenal and their veto on the Security Council gives them any global relevance at all any more, and the former becomes more of a worry as their economically depressed and socially isolated Muslim population continues to grow.

In the end, the Washington Post is correct: no one will recall who smeared whom. If we acre enough to remember anything, it will be that the French slowly strangled themselves into insignificance, both economically and politically.
Amen! Captain has some good posts. He's a bit fiery, but that is to be expected from a political blogger.

Powerline is next on the list. It is a daily read, always has something good to say.

Up right now:

Ray McGovern is the former CIA employee who heckled Don Rumsfeld in Atlanta last week. This led to his being hailed as a "truth-teller" by the mainstream media. Gateway Pundit was all over the case, pointing out that McGovern has a long record as a far-left nutjob. Now Tom Joscelyn has written us to say:
The media has lionized this guy already, despite a long record of nutty beliefs and statements. I was watching CNN tonight (while at the gym) and they did a thoroughly dishonest segment in which they tried to paint Gateway Pundit and other right-wing blogs as just out to vilify McGovern because he went after Rumsfeld. There was no mention of his nutty comments.

The segment was so completely disingenuous it was ridiculous. But, the same thing is going on all throughout the press.

Anyway, this is the media at its would take them five seconds to figure out that McGovern is a moonbat.
Tom cites chapter and verse in the post linked to above. McGovern is Cindy Sheehan with a beard, with the same distressing tendency to start babbling about Israel at the wrong moment. He's worse, actually: unlike Sheehan, McGovern has endorsed the idea that the Bush administration knew in advance about the September 11 attacks but "deliberately allowed 9/11 to happen."
These guys seem to be spot on most of the time. A must read if you are in to US politics.

After this, it is VodkaPundit. If you've never read Stephen's site, you are missing something. Stephen is 007 without a gun. Smooth, sophisticated, knows how to cook and mix the perfect drink. On top of this, has a keen insight to everything political. He has the annoying tendency to take a week or month off blogging every now and then.

His latest:

Got a lot on my plate right now, including two essays I can't seem to complete and starting a new business. Yikes. So tonight, just this:
RIYADH, 2 May 2006 — Authorities have opened an investigation into a case of a severed penis belonging to an alleged rapist, the Okaz daily reported. A man arrived at an emergency room in the capital with his severed penis, which was reattached after speedy surgery. According to the report, the man allegedly snuck into his maid’s quarters after his wife had gone to sleep and attempted to rape her. The Filipina managed to escape his advances, rushed into the kitchen and got a knife. Despite her weapon, the man attempted to assault the maid, who, in return, pulled a “Lorena Bobbit” defense and cut off the man’s penis.

Usually, VodkaPundit is your go-to blog for funny severed penis stories. There's nothing funny here, unfortunately. This woman acted in obvious self-defense - a concept which doesn't exist for women in Saudi Arabia. She'll probably go to jail, or even be executed.
Next, it's time to see what the experts at Oxblog are saying. Named Oxblog because the bloggers have all attended or are attending Oxford University on scholarship.

Currently, Immigration is the topic of choice:

A COUNTERINTUITIVE APPROACH TO IMMIGRATION: Picking up on Patrick's post below, I thought I'd post some quotations from a recent article on immigration in TNR [subscription required]:
The universally held--but virtually unquestioned--assumption is that illegal immigrants make up a discrete and problematic group, whereas legal immigrants are a benign or even beneficial presence. But this sharp dichotomy is fundamentally misleading...That's because the problems facing us do not stem exclusively from illegal immigration, but from immigration itself...

Immigration restrictionists learned to reduce their array of objections to immigration generally to the problem of illegals specifically--a tactic that also enabled them to avoid the charge of racism. The legal-illegal dichotomy thus became a relatively safe framework within which to debate a complicated and volatile issue--and it has stayed that way until today.

When Americans denounce illegal immigrants, they complain about lost jobs, overcrowded schools and emergency rooms, and noisy, dirty neighborhoods where nobody speaks English...Yet, whatever their specific merits, not one of these complaints pertains uniquely to illegal immigrants. If Congress were to grant a general amnesty or augment legal immigration tomorrow, the same concerns would be voiced by Americans. This suggests that something else is bothering the public: the transience and disorder that inevitably accompany mass migration...

Americans want to believe that immigrants come here to stay. It is part of the national mythology that the United States is a beacon, attracting foreigners who long to become part of our noble experiment. That's what President Bush is getting at when he says, "It says something about our country that people around the world are willing to leave their homes and leave their families and risk everything to come to America."

But this is, at best, a half-truth that ignores the fact that immigrants do not typically arrive here intending to settle down..."Left to their own devices, most Mexican immigrants would work in the United States only sporadically and for limited periods of time." [Princeton sociologist Douglas] Massey emphasizes that even those with legal documents don't necessarily intend to stay.

What is bothering Americans most about immigration, legal or illegal, is that it frays--and threatens to rip--the social fabric; it makes them feel that things are out of control...As with old debates over crime, liberal elites condescendingly dismiss such concerns as racist or foolishly reduce them to economic fears. Even sympathetic conservatives are not very responsive, in great part because they, too, have bought into the prevailing legal-illegal dichotomy. Without such elite support, mass discontent remains submerged until it erupts in an angry and inarticulate populist outburst, which of course sends the politicians scurrying for the safety of the entrenched legal-illegal framework.
The editors at TNR love nothing more than an argument that's both counterinuitive and that makes a hash of the usual left-right partisan politics. This article delivers on all front.

Although I don't know much about immigration beyond what I read in the papers, I still wonder whether the article's authors are too quick to erase the distinction between legal and illegal immigrants. For example, a police officer in my neighboorhood told me a few months ago that illegal immigrants are often the targets of street crime, since muggers assume that they tend to carry a lot of cash.

That sort of evidence is entirely anecdotal, but it's the kind of thing I'd like to hear more about before accepting that legal-illegal distinction isn't as useful as we think.
I have my own strong opinion on immigration. Maybe I should post about that next.

Finally, let's look at Michelle Malkin. I LOVE Michelle. She pulls no punches, normally gets it right and is just as honest when she gets it wrong.

Here is her top post right now.

I understand the Rangers wanted to do something innocuous to recognize a holiday celebrating historical and cultural pride. But the politically correct selectivity here is telling. While it's considered a celebration of "diversity" to acknowledge the military sacrifices of another nation's heroes, it's considered racist to acknowledge the military sacrifices of one's own.

Case in point: Can you imagine if someone proposed changing the Rangers' jerseys to "Confederate Rangers" to celebrate Confederate Heroes' Day?

Oh, and I'm sure I'll be labeled a racist for pointing out the double standard.

Like that's anything new...
We'll end here. I probably look at 100 blogs a week, most just a glance to see what is there. This is a sample of those that I read religiously. I'll do some more later.

Arrest Warrants Issued for Protestors

I hope they get serious about this, I'm tired of the demonstrations already.

South Korean prosecutors sought arrest warrants for dozens of anti-U.S. activists Saturday following violent protests against plans to relocate American military bases, as thousands of riot police braced for a potential fresh clash, officials said.

More than 520 demonstrators, mostly student and labor activists, have been detained in two days of bloody clashes with police at a new U.S. military base site in Pyeongtaek, about 65 kilometers (40 miles) south of Seoul. Over 200 protesters and police were injured, some of them seriously.
These protests have become far too violent to allow to continue.

...TV footage showed stick-brandishing demonstrators cutting wire fences and beating unarmed troops guarding the site.
That is just wrong. Time to round them up.

Funny that I found this perusing a Japanese news site.

Friday, May 05, 2006

US Congressman Calls For Japan to Make Amends

Wow, this is good and encouraging!

U.S. Rep. Lane Evans (D-Illinois) has urged Japan to take responsibility for Korean women it forced into prostitution during World War II and asked others in the U.S. Congress to support a resolution to send this message.

Speaking before the House Tuesday, Evans called Japan's mobilization of comfort women ``one of the most extensive cases of human trafficking in the 20th century.’’

``While the facts of these crimes are incontrovertible, the government of Japan has not officially accepted responsibility for this atrocity,’’ Evans said.
Way to go congressman! Now, if a few more would join in and start putting pressure on them...

Foreigner Has a Bad Day in Japan

This guy picked the wrong place at the wrong time to play out his sexual fantasies.

A Vietnamese national who thrust his private parts up against a female police officer as they rode a packed commuter train has been arrested, police said.

Kyoto resident Van Linh Tue, 29, a part-time clerk at an architectural office, was arrested for breaking an Osaka Prefectural Government ordinance outlawing public nuisances.
Here's hoping he spends some long nights in a cold cell thinking about his problems.

Is China Playing Dirty When it Comes to North Korean Nukes?

Fascinating editorial by a UCLA prof.

China is acting in bad faith on the Korean nuclear issue. That's the provocative suggestion now coming from some Western intelligence circles. It's a scary, foul and ultimately upsetting thought. It may also be wrong.
It's true, we are hearing this more and more. China is playing dirty, not being forthright in negotiating this issue. It also doesn't surprise anyone because, well because we all know that China is evil. Still, even evil people have brains.

And so if Hu is some day unveiled as a secret double-dealer on the vital North Korean nuclear question, then the Chinese president would be playing right into the hands of those factions in Japan that would wish his country the most harm.

No one has ever said that Hu is dumb. Therefore, the conspiracy theory by which China is playing Asia and the West for suckers on the Korean question makes no sense at all. It makes more sense to believe that China means what it said and did when it helped formulate the statement of principles last year and then, to great fanfare, put its signature to the document. Any other scenario for China would be just plain dumb.
So, I guess it just goes back to North Korea being duplicitous.

Dokdo (Tokdo), Your Tourist Destination

South Korea is doing now what it should have done 20 years ago, they are planning to improve the Dokdo Island chain. It's theirs, they own it, they control it and now they are doing something with it. It might not be the tourist destination Jamaica is, but the more they do the quicker this 'issue' will go away.

According to the South Korean news agency Yonhap, the budget includes:
* $10.6m to improve facilities on the islands, where a small police detachment of some 30 men is stationed
* $8.3m to research ecological systems on the islands and surrounding waters
* $7.3m to research marine resources, beginning this year, and to start exploring for mineral resources, in 2008.
Not a bad start.

Until them, the police force will stay ever vigilant.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Korea Wave Alive and Well in Japan

Despite some nationalists efforts to stem the tide, the Korean Wave seems to be going strong.

From the article:

South Korean superstar Lee Byung Hun and a host of special guests enchanted some 42,000 fans during a special fan event at Tokyo Dome on Wednesday.

As part of the event, Lee chatted with actress Choi Ji Woo, singer Zero, who sang the theme song of Lee's hit drama, "Utsukushiki Hibi" (Beautiful Days), and a few other guests.
42,000 show up for this guy? Okay, then, good thing they had a play about his life. (picture me rolling my eyes)

I'll never understand 'fans' like this. The guys an actor. You have no idea what he is like in real life. He could be a complete misogynistic ass. He could be a moron that graduated on his looks alone. He could be just one of the guys, a great person to hang with. Who knows? I get tired of this superficial crap that is 'fandom'.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Hangul Gibberish

Found on Hanzismatter.

Can anyone make out any meaning to this?

Gotta love the mix with the Hangul and the Japanese flag.

Anyway, if you figure out what this is supposed to mean, post it below and on the Hanzismatter site.

I tell you, Tian never fails to entertain.

China vs. Japan in Africa...

China is winning.

Japan has been there giving aid, hoping to drum up support for their bid to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council. China is there giving aid trying to show itself as the model for under developed nations to follow.Not only are they bringing economic aid, they are bringing military aid, something many of those nations are welcoming with open arms.

In fact, even as Koizumi arrived in Ethiopia on Saturday, Chinese President Hu Jintao had just left.

Hu's three-nation tour of the continent was his second there so far.

In Nigeria, Hu unveiled a plan to invest $4 billion in, among other things, railways and oil refinery facilities, receiving preferential oil development rights in return. In Morocco and Kenya, Hu proposed to help their manufacturing industries and promised that Chinese companies would build factories there.

Beijing's involvement in the continent extends to military aid as well: both to Sudan, which is currently in the midst of an internal struggle over Darfur, and to Zimbabwe, a country that has come under fire from Washington for tyranny.

Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo told the visiting Chinese president that China would lead the world in this century, and that Nigeria wanted to be right behind.

Nigeria was one of the nations that Tokyo was counting on in last year's bid for the permanent UNSC seat.

China's aid strategy is in sharp contrast to how Koizumi describes Japan's. Japanese aid, he said, should be something "that will be appreciated even if Japan does not spend too much money," such as developing subterranean water resources.

But African nations, which continue to suffer from sluggish economies, see China as a guide for their own economic development.

One political scientist in Kenya said that China will increase its influence in the region because it does not try to shape political systems, and only lends support to top African leaders.
Come on Japan! What are you doing? You seem to be going about this half-assed allowing China to clean your clock. The last thing we need is China's continued expansion around the world. Japan seems to be one of the few nations that has a reason to be in Africa as well as the ability to thwart China's aggressive policies in that part of the world. Time to pony up and open up that check book. I'll even ignore your trying to buy your way on to the Security Council for a bit.

Marine Ripped-Off?

I only title it like that because, after reading the story, you wonder what a guy has to do to get the Medal of Honor?

Way to go Marine! With men like you serving, we can't lose!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Apple and iTunes users 1 Music Industry 0

Way to go Apple! Being an iTunes user and music purchaser I'm pleased at Apple's negotiations. The music industry wanted variable pricing with more expensive hits and cheaper older tunes. Apple wanted to keep the basic 99¢ pricing. Apple won! I would have been pissed off if they had increased prices!

In recent months, executives at EMI, Sony, and other companies have been pushing Apple to adopt a variable-price model. Under that plan, new releases from popular artists would be priced at higher levels than older releases.

"Music labels would much rather have variable price, so they can charge more for hits and perhaps less for older tracks," said Ted Schadler, an analyst at Forrester. "Apple likes the $0.99 price because it is simple, uniform, not too high to discourage buyers, and very easy to administer and merchandise."

The differences of opinion about pricing led Steve Jobs, Apple's chief executive, to call the music industry "greedy" during a press conference last September. Jobs said that if the record labels want to raise prices, doing so would be motivated by greed rather than any interest in consumer benefit.

Jobs also indicated at the time that pricing needs to be low enough for legitimate music sites to compete with illegal file-sharing networks that allow users to download songs for no cost whatsoever.
Way to go Stevey baby!!!!

Bruce Believes in Nukes

Found this interesting.

A U.S. expert on inter-Korean relations says there is a high possibility that Pyongyang already has six to seven nuclear bombs. The remarks by Prof. Bruce Cummings of the University of Chicago came in a Seoul-Washington Forum that opened in the U.S. capital on Monday.

New Japanese Spy Satellites to Target Korea

From the short article, it looks like they are spying on the entire peninsula, not just the North.

The Japanese government announced that it will launch additional data-collecting satellites aimed at watching the Korean peninsula in July. On May 1, the daily Yomiuri reported that the Japanese government will launch an optimal satellite in July and a radar satellite around next January or February.

The data-collecting satellite system consists of an optimal satellite and a radar satellite.
Just waiting on the Korean reaction...

Aso's Family History Coming Back to Bite Him

The Aso family history is looking to cause problems for the foreign minister. No longer is it isolated to Asia, new reports show the family mines used POWs as slave labor.

The Aso family's mining company used thousands of Koreans as forced laborers during World War II. This legacy of Koreans, Chinese and other Asians being coerced into slave-like working conditions across the region more than six decades ago has become an issue in Tokyo's maintenance of normal diplomatic relations in East Asia. Reports that 300 Allied prisoners of war (POWs) also performed forced labor at an Aso coal mine are now spreading in Western countries. Aso's family background and his personal refusal to engage the issue have led some to suggest that his position as foreign minister is untenable.
With that last sentence, I fully agree. Aso is the embodiment of those that glorify the military past, white-wash history and seemingly enjoy pissing off their neighbors. Now, it goes past the region, it affects western nations that were involved in the war.

It seems that he certainly wouldn't meet the standards necessary to be foreign minister in Germany.

According to one German Embassy official in Tokyo, speaking on the understanding of anonymity, while family lineage on its own would not be held against an individual in his nation, Aso's actions here make him an unsuitable foreign minister by German standards.

"Because Aso's family connection gave him the opportunity to address wrongs in the firm, and he did not do so," as well as comments that "seem to defend criminal policies of the past", Aso would "not be acceptable" for a post such as foreign minister, said the official. "He might get into parliament but not into government."
The article is excellent as well as damning expose on Aso and his family history.

I hope people in Japan realize what kind of person Aso is. The thought of him becoming PM after Koizumi is stomach turning. I'd gladly welcome Koizumi back over Aso; that is saying a lot.

Japan is Headed For War!

At least that is what 45% of Japanese surveyed think is possible. Interesting survey which shows a definite increase in nationalistic feelings as more and more citizens hold their armed forces in higher esteem.

The survey found that 84.9 percent of the respondents held a positive image of the SDF--the highest figure recorded in such surveys.

In the 1972 survey, 58.9 percent had a positive image of the SDF.

The percentage of respondents with a negative image of the SDF was a record-low 10 percent in the latest survey.

Forty-five percent of the respondents said "there was a danger" of Japan becoming involved in war. In the 2003 survey, 43.2 percent of the respondents gave a similar response.
Most of those thinking they could go to war blame world tensions but more specifically, the problems with Korea. Interestingly, China is way down the list. Ah, Japan it is a changin...

Minamata Disease

This is a truly disturbing case of corporate negligence. Not just negligence, but pure contempt for human life. Profits mean all.
On May 1, 1956 in Minamata, Kumamoto Prefecture, four people suffering an unusual disease showed up at the hospital run by Chisso Corp., which at the time employed nearly 60 percent of the town's workforce.

The hospital's head, Hajime Hosokawa, had seen similar symptoms in a patient who died in 1954. But as early as 1946, locals were speaking of the "dancing cat" disease, a malady that caused cats to convulse wildly before they died.

Fearing an epidemic, Hosokawa notified local health officials of this strange new illness. It was the first official announcement of what would become known as Minamata disease.

And a horrible disease it was. A Kumamoto University report from summer 1956 described just how quick it could kill.

In one case documented by researchers, a 28-year-old woman began complaining of numbness of fingers and impaired hearing and speech. Three days later, the numbness spread to her mouth. One week later, she was barely able to walk.

Three weeks after her initial complaints, she was hospitalized with muscle spasms and was occasionally howling. Six weeks later, she was semicomatose and could no longer feed herself -- her face and mouth had become paralyzed. Her body temperature rose, her pupils dilated and she howled nonstop.

Seven weeks after her initial complaint of numbness, she was dead.

In January 1957, Kumamoto University researchers announced that effluent containing heavy metals being dumped by Chisso Corp. into Minamata Bay was responsible for the disease. Two years later, they issued a more specific conclusion citing organic mercury in the effluent.
At this point, it might, might have been a mistake. The company could have taken care of the mess, cleaned it all up and compensated the victims. Well, after many more years and court battles, the company did end up compensating those that were injured or killed. End of the story though? No.
Six months after the agreement, Chisso resumed dumping mercury-tainted effluent into the bay.

The matter appeared to have been swept under the rug until 1965, when Niigata Prefecture suffered an outbreak of the disease.

The Niigata victims immediately filed a lawsuit against Showa Denko, the chemical company responsible, and emboldened the Minamata victims to take Chisso to court.

Twenty families in Kumamoto, representing 112 patients, filed suit against Chisso in the Kumamoto District Court. In 1973, the Kumamoto plaintiffs were victorious, and signed a compensation agreement with the polluter that gave each patient between 16 million yen and 18 million yen, plus medical expenses.

Six years later, Chisso's former president and Minamata factory manager were found guilty of negligent homicide and, after the Supreme Court rejected their appeal in 1988, were given suspended two-year sentences.
Can you believe that? Not only do they go back to dumping their toxic waste, they slapped the wrists of those responsible. What a travesty and a miscarriage of justice. 10s of thousands permanently injured or dead and these guys get a suspended sentence.

What a depressing story to return to after my trip. My heart goes out to the victims.