Tag Archives: Japan

Japan Still Ignores Its WWII Sexual Misbehavior

Among the most brutal experiences in Japan’s history was its abuse of women in conquered nations during World War II. Hundreds of thousands of women were forced into sexual slavery by the invading Japanese forces and still to this day most of neither received an apology or financial compensation for their mistreatment. Azuma Konno, of Japan’s Democratic Party, said, his “government has kept its eyes shut and ignored the issue.” He spoke at the ninth Solidarity Conference for the Issue of Military Sexual Slavery by Japan which met in the continual effort to awaken Japan’s conscience for past misdeeds. “To build our future,” said Konno, “we cannot remain blind to the past.”

The conference brought together both victims of the mistreatment and concerned Japanese who want their nation to atone for past behavior. They want an official government apology and rewriting of school history books to teach children about the past. In so doing, Japan restores its dignity.

No Dogs Or Foreigners Allowed Say Japanese Landlords

Japan’s population is decreasing and there is tremendous need for immigrants to assume roles not being provided by native born Japanese, but the new problem is not so much in attracting foreigners to Japan, but where exactly will they be able to live once in the nation. Japanese landlords require a deposit(shiikin) and key m oney(reikin) which usually means several months up front and a potential tenant must obtain a guarantor who attests to honesty and being trustworthy. Even after meeting those challenges, they often encounter prejudice from landlords whose famous expression is “no dogs or foreigners allowed in this building.”

It is common for landlords to demand their tenants speak Japanese and for a newcomer attempting to learn the language this is an insurmountable barrier. John Clark, a Canadian who has been in Japan for several years and is fluent in Japanese was told by a landlord in Hiroshima he did not take foreigners because he heard of a Peruvian Japanese man who killed a child. Many landlords have prejudice against white people who they believe like to party and have wild times, and they fear Asian tenants would bring other family members into the apartment and create problems.

If Japan is to enter the 21st century, it might have to adjust to the realities that foreigners who make the trip to live in Japan are serious and they need time to learn and adjust to a new society.

Japanese General Defends WWII Violence

Japan is a prosperous nation which has made a remarkable recovery from the effects of World War II, but many of its military leaders still refuse to acknowledge the horror its forces committed during fighting in that global conflict. They reside in a world of denial ignoring the killing of millions of innocent people and the rape of thousands of women. Air Self Defense Force Chief of Staff, General Toshio Tamogami, was dismissed for writing an essay, “Was Japan an Aggressor Nation?” which won a contest sponsored by a businessman. Naturally, General Tamogami denies there was any aggression on the part of Japan and blames other Asian nations for compelling Japanese forces to invade their lands. According to the Japanese general, his innocent nation was “a victim” which was drawn into the Sino-Japanese War by China’s leader, Chiang Kai-shek.

General Tamogami also challenges the Japanese Constitution provisions which require his nation to restrict itself to a self defense force and wants Japan to be allowed to engage in military action and be able to use “offensive weaponry.” In his version of events, Korea somehow invited Japan to station troops in their country by willingly being occupied.

Japan must confront the horror of its actions during World War II if it is ever to find a way to end anger on the part of millions of Asians who were brutalized during the conflict. No one wanted to be invaded by Japanese troops. Perhaps, General Tamogami believes the United States invited Japanese planes to bomb installations at Pearl Harbor.

Japan Needs Immigrants Urge Business Leaders

Japan historically has closed itself off from allowing immigrants to enter their nation, but as society ages and the number of young people declines there is little option other than making changes in immigration policy. The Japanese Business Federation urged their nation’s leaders to make dramatic changes in policy in order to draw upon immigrant labor in fields ranging from welfare to manufacturing, construction and agriculture. The Federation argued there was need both for unskilled workers as well as recruiting more foreigners in high skill occupations. It is now clear Japan requires an influx of both talented foreigners with skills that are vital in an information society and these people must be integrated within society by learning Japanese and making their homes in their new country.

The Japanese population which currently numbers about 128 million is expected to drop by about 30 percent to roughly 90 million in the coming fifty years. By that time there will be 1.3 persons in the 15-64 age bracket for leach person aged 65 or older compared to today’s 3.3. There is great fear in the business community about success in an aged society. There are some Japanese political leaders who urge bringing into their country about ten million over the coming decades. There is no doubt, Japan in 2050 will be a multicultural society.

Changing Face Of Japan’s Work Force

The Japanese work force is in the process of becoming different from any other in the island’s history. Statistics released by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, reveal the number of foreign workers employed in Japanese companies took a dramatic leap from 2007 and rose by nearly one-third to hit a total of 330,000. The rise in the number of foreign workers indicates the beginning of quantitative and qualitative changes in the working environment. If the attitude of young Japanese workers is changing, the presence of thousands of workers from other societies will accelerate this process of change. Earlier this year, the Japanese government suggested a dramatic new approach to immigration that seeks to attain a level of having ten percent of the population in 2050 consist of non-Japanese born people.

The numbers of foreigners reported are also due to new procedures on the part of the Japanese government which for the first time is gathering data on birth places of workers. There is some evidence a high percentage of foreign workers received some education in Japanese educational institutions. More and more graduates are electing to remain in Japan and make it their home.

Japanese society now must confront the need to integrate foreign workers into social schemes such as old age retirement and education and health benefits. The Japan of tomorrow will be a more culturally diverse society.

Japanese Women Fight For Equal Rights At Work

The Working Women’s Network, a civic group formed by women in 1995 who were residing in Osaka, is putting together a report on sexual discrimination in the workplace that will be given to the UN Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). The CEDAW group is comprised of 23 experts on women issues who are drawn from all parts of the world. Although working conditions for Japanese women have improved since passage in 1986 of the Equal Employment Opportunity Law, there is still wide spread inequality in the workplace. Shizuko Koedo, chairwman of the Japanese group notes, “we will point out that Japan needs to create a law to guarantee equal jobs and establish a system to evaluate employees without gender bias.”

According to recent figures released by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry of Japan, full-time female employees in 2007 earned on average 66,9 percent of what men earned. Part of the wage gap stems from lack of women in top level managerial positions in the Japanese corporate structure. There is evidence males more often are on the fast track to becoming a manager while women are on the other track which leads to clerical positions.

Bush-America Sends Nuclear War Ships To Japan!

The dispatch of an American naval vessel to Japan is not in itself any major item which should be reported by the media, but one can never be surprised by President Bush’s incompetent foreign policy decisions. The USS George Washington arrived at its new home in the Japanese seaport of Yokosuka where it was met by hundreds of shouting protestors. The aircraft carrier is nuclear-powered and is the first such vessel to be harbored in Japan. American Ambassador Thomas Schieffer, said it was “altogether fitting that a ship bearing the name of one of the greatest Americans” should be protecting the Japanese people. Of course, the fact it is nuclear powered does not strike the American government as somewhat insensitive to the people of Japan who are the only nation in the world to be subjected to an atomic bomb attack.

American and Japanese diplomats can pontificate about the importance of having a naval presence in Japan, but surely there were non-nuclear powered ships that could serve the function of affording protection.

Will Immigration Hopes Die In Japan?

Japan historically has been among the most negative minded nations in the world regarding allowing foreigners to enter and become citizens. Over the past few years, the government of Prime Minister Fukuda encouraged lawmakers to explore possibilities of developing a long range program of encouraging immigration. Hirohiko Nakamura, who helped draft a bill that would dramatically alter the ethnic composition of his nation by allowing foreign immigrants to enter over a fifty year time period until they constituted about 10 percent of the population said “we got this far because it was Fukuda” who was the first Japanese leader to support such ideas.

Nakamura’s report, “Proposal for a Japanese-Style Immigration Policy” argues, “the only effective treatment to save Japan from a population crisis is to accept people from abroad. For Japan to survive it needs to open its doors as an international state” and “shift toward establish an ‘immigrant nation’ by accepting immigrants and revitalizing Japan.” Most population forecasts indicate without an immigration influx, the Japanese population will undergo a dramatic drop which would leave its society with a much smaller economic base to generate new ideas.

Legacy Of World War II– Mixed Race Japanese Babies

The American occupation of Japan left a legacy of democracy and a pacifist Constitution, but it also left thousands of mixed race children born to Japanese mothers and American fathers. Unfortunately, for the babies, most of the Americans headed home and left the child with a woman dealing with the postwar poverty which devastated her nation. Miki Sawada, in 1963 opened an orphanage for these children, many of whom were not only deserted by their fathers, but abandoned by their mothers. She encountered few, if any, American soldiers who wanted to assume any responsibility for the child they had fathered. In race conscious Japan, a child with western features invariably encountered prejudice at school or work.

One can only wonder if sixty years later, Japanese people continue to display such prejudice against children who are of Asian and Western parents? Hopefully, a Japan which is linked economically and politically with the world has become socially more democratic in being able to accept children who represent the best of two worlds.

Afghanistan Charges Pakistan Intelligence Aids Taliban

About twenty years ago, Pakistan’s notorious Inter-Services Intelligence agency(ISI) created what later became known as the Taliban. It has long been suspected there still remain close ties between the ISI and Taliban leaders. Sayed Ansari, a spokesperson for Afghan’s Intelligence service, charged ISI played a role in the recent kidnapping and killing of a Japanese Aid worker. “Such groups are organized by ISI, funded by IS< and sent by IDI to Afghanistan.. They(ISI) don’t want the rehabilitation projects in Afghanistan, that’s why they want to stop them.”There have been numerous reports that ISI agents work with the Taliban to sidelines projects aimed at restoring economic health to Afghanistan that are being headed by foreign nations. In particular, the ISI doesn’t want Indian road and factory development projects to succeed because Pakistan fears an Indian influence in the nation.

Kazuya Ito was sent to Afghanistan to assist in construction projects and his death undoubtedly is not the most significant in the war. But, if he was killed by orders issued from the ISI, it becomes an important concern. Pakistan supposedly is an ally of Afghanistan in the fight to deal with the Taliban, but if the ISI allows its national concerns about preventing foreign influence in a country it regards as being in the Pakistan sphere of influence, then the entire world must be concerned. It raises the question as to who is fighting who in Afghanistan?