Tag Archives: Japan

Japanese Aid Groups Leaving Afghanistan

The continuing deterioration in being able to provide individuals protection in war-torn Afghanistan has resulted in some Japanese organizations suspending their relief activities in order to protect personnel. The Basic Human Needs Association which has been active in developing telecommunications systems in that nation have pulled out its personnel after the death of a Japanese man. Kazuya Ito was first kidnapped and then killed by Taliban militants. The Basic Human Needs Association has already told its employees not to go out to eat and has imposed travel restrictions. “If the situation(in Afghanistan) becomes more dangerous, we will have to stop all dispatches of our members” said Masaharu Nonaka.

Many Japanese organizations are now re-evaluating whether they actually can remain involved in aid efforts in Afghanistan. Until, there is a new program in place which deals with issues diplomatically and economically as well as militarily, the situation will continue getting worse in terms of safety.

Japan Will Not Oppose US-India Nuclear Pact

Sixty three years ago this month, atomic bombs were dropped on Japan in the final act to end World War II. However, despite the nation’s dislike of any aspect of nuclear weapons, the Japanese government will not express any opposition to the recent United States nuclear agreement with India which transfers nuclear technology expertise even though India has refused to be a signatory to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. A government source said, “japan will not stand in the way of revising the guidelines at the upcoming NSG extraordinary plenary meeting.” Up to this point in history, Japan has opposed any revisions of guidelines that provide assistance to nations who refuse to sign the treaty.

Some experts believe economic factors played a role in the switch of Japanese policy. Japan is interested in making inroads into the Indian market and does not wish to come across as a foe of the Indian government. There are reports tiny Switzerland will oppose revisions which require unanimous agreement. One can only wonder how survivors of the atomic blasts feel about their nation’s actions.

Day Of Infamy– Day Of Peace In Japan

August 15, 1945 was a beautiful sunny day in Japan as its government announced the surrender to Allied forces and brought to a close World War II. At noon that day, a recording of Emperor Hirohito was aired that told the Japanese people the war was over. Many were shocked and cried as the Emperor whom they regarded as virtually a living god uttered the fateful words of surrender. For some who still harbored crazy notions their nation could some how win, the words were devastating revelation of reality it took time to grasp, to others, the nightmare was over. Cartoonist Osamu Tezuka said he cried out: “The war has ended, ended, and I have survived!”

Actually, the Japanese government had informed Allied forces of its intention to surrender on August 14. Japanese leaders were apparently confused since they never informed the Soviet Union whose forces were attacking in Manchuria that the war was over. Fighting continued in that area for days. Most Western people still do not understand that even as the Emperor was informing the nation of the surrender, a group of hot headed young Japanese officers attempted to get the surrender recording and destroy it. They actually reached the recording studio but as they broke in the Emperor’s words were being broadcast. Several killed themselves.

After the defeat, Japan became a modern democracy and its younger generation undoubtedly does not look backward to what was since it only focuses on what is and what will become.

Japan To Study Hiroshima Hibakusha Effect

Hiroshima marked the 63rd anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on the city, but the impact of that event continues to impact the lives of many Japanese citizens. Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba has initiated a two year study aimed at preparing a complete picture of the psychological damage caused by the bombing which he said he said has not yet been revealed because the effects on survivors have for years been underestimated. At a ceremony attended by over 45,000 people, the Hiroshima mayor uttered the three pledges about nuclear weapons–don’t produce them, don’t possess them and don’s allow nuclear weapons on the soil of a nation. He called on the new American president to vote in favor of Japan’s U.N. resolution calling for the abolition of all nuclear weapons.

The mayor’s proposal to study the psychological and physical effects of those who survived the atomic bomb blast is an important step in assisting the world to better grasp what happens when nuclear weapons are used against a civilian population. The study intends to speak with anyone who survived the blast and conduct in-depth interviews.

More Japanese Children Have Foreign Parents

Globalization increasingly is impacting nations that previously in history had not witnessed the presence of foreigners in their land. One out of 30 babies born in Japan in 2006 had at least one parent who originated from overseas. A survey by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry, found that either one or both parents of 35,651 babies was born in another nation other than J Japan. This is further evidence an increasing number of foreign nationals are coming to Japan for employment or study and then deciding to settle in the land and become citizens. However, there are many legal barriers that still must be addressed in Japan regarding the rights of foreigners who live in their land. Around 19,000 of the babies had non-Japanese fathers, 26,000 had non-Japanese mothers, and 9,000 had parents who both were born abroad.

North and South Korean nationals formed the largest group among non-Japanese fathers, followed by Chinese and Brazilians. Among the non-Japanese mothers, Chinese were the largest group followed by women from the Philippines and North and South Korea. Of the newly registered marriages in 2006, 6.6% involved at least one foreign national.

A newly emerging education issue revolves around language concerns for children whose parents are of foreign birth. There are now thousands of children in Japanese schools who need language assistance.

Textbook Wars Rage Between South Korea And Japan

Japan is among the world’s leading economic powers in the world and its people rank among the top in education, but failure on the part of Japan’s Education Ministry has held the nation up to ridicule. The people of China and Korea are particularly concerned over the refusal of Japanese educators to present the brutality of the Japanese armed forces in their nations during World War II. The latest episode of South Korean anger emerged with publication of a new Japanese textbook which describes the islets of Dokdo as being part of the Japanese nation.

The anger stems not in itself about the islands, but arises from a consistent inability on the part of Japanese educators to present an objective picture of what happened during World War II. Many South Koreans urged their government to take a tough stance on the issue of the islands. South Korean Song Jae-wook said: “It is the right thing to be ‘future oriented’ and leave behind the past, but in reality, looking back n what we and or parent’s generation have gone through with Japan, the government should know what should be done in reality.”

The Japanese Ministry of Education might well spend time in Germany and learn how that nation has done an outstanding job of confronting evil and ensuring contemporary youth learn the truth about the past.

Rape Of Chinese Women Depicted In Tokyo Exhibit

The history of Japan’s confrontation with its brutality during World War II has hardly been a shining moment of honesty in that nation’s reaction to its actions. Japanese school books rarely deal with issues such as the rape of women or brutality toward prisoners of war. Unlike Germany, which has created museums and ongoing education programs concerning the Holocaust, Japan prefers slumbering in the sleep of denial. Fortunately, in 2005, the Women’s Active Museum on War was created in order to present to Japanese people the true story of what happened. It currently is holding an exhibit in Tokyo that deals with exploitation of Chinese women by members of the Imperial Japanese army.

According to the exhibits director, Eriko Ikeda, “in China, many women were abducted and raped by Japanese soldiers as a warning against anti-japanese movements there.” The Imperial Army established ‘comfort stations’ “which we should rather call rape stations.. after Japanese forces advanced into each region.” The exhibit offers visual materials as well as individual stories of what happened to women both during the time they were being raped and the aftermath of the experience. It also presents stories written by Japanese soldiers who admit they raped women. One panel depicts the story of a Chinese woman who was raped, escaped and then gave birth to a child. Her husband was furious at her and the boy experienced problems in school and from an abusive father who never acknowledged him as a son.

Comfort Women are still fighting to obtain compensation for their wartime brutality and it is a difficult and onerous task to obtain financial compensation.

Tale Of Lonely Japanese Worker Who Murdered

He was an individual who people passed by while they were engaged in discussions with friends, a man who sat next to someone on the metro who was focusing on the day’s news, or the man who walked by you as you entered the apartment building. Tomohiro Kato, wrote online, “the clicking sound of my cell phone echoes emptily in my room. If only I had a girl friend, I wouldn’t have to live so miserably….” Kato posted thousands of such messages online most probably of hoping someone might respond and he would have a friend with whom to talk, but nothing happened other than his constant posting of messages. He was trapped in what Japanese people term, “seken”(society of people with whom one deals with) an emotion that is so important in life for a society in which the word “individual” never appeared until the 1880s.

In his postings June 3-8, he used the word “hiton”(alone) 39 times, “kanojo(girlfriend) 42 times, “tomadach”(friend) 26 times. He wrote, “I don’t have a girl friend. Just because of this my life has fallen apart.” Finally, he rented a truck and drove it into a crowd of people in Tokyo’s Akihaara district and killed seven while leaving others seriously injured.

After the attack, there were 360,000 postings in which writers expressed their understanding of why this lonely man had become a killer. Professor Naoki Soto notes: “In Japan, individuals are created by their relationship to the people around them.” Kato, who was an outstanding student in school but wound up painting carts, invested heavily in trying to become a member of Japanese society, but never received a return investment in him.

US Intends To Strike N. Korea From Terrorist Nation List

The United States government has informed Japan it intends to strike the name of North Korea from its list of nations that support terrorism provided North Koreans file a statement describing its nuclear facilities and activities. The government of Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda is pleased and not pleased with the American decision. Japan has been insisting that North Korea must provide information concerning Japanese citizens who were abducted and brought to North Korea, but there has not been adequate response to Japanese requests for information.

Prime Minister Fukuda is in a difficult position, as he noted to the press, “if the nuclear problem will be resolved, isn’t that something desirable also for our country? It’s something we should welcome.” But, accepting the North Koreans without obtaining information about the kidnapped Japanese citizens is a political hot potato.

The decision by America to go it alone on this issue simply makes it more likely Japan will find its own foreign policy for Asia and cease always trailing behind that of America.

In 2001, upon assuming office, President Bush made it clear he would not follow the ideas of Bill Clinton who negotiated with North Korea. Early this year, Bush told the Israel parliament, it was appeasement to negotiate with terrorist nations. How times have changed.

Japan Moves To New Immigration Policy

A new proposal by 80 members of the Liberal Democratic Party will move Japan onto new roads in fostering the immigration of foreigners to their nation. The plan which is being submitted to Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda would witness the arrival of 10,000,000 foreigners over the coming fifty years which would result in a Japan containing 1.6% people of foreign heritage into one in which one out of ten is of foreign background. Hidenao Nakagawa, says immigration is “the most effective way to counter the labor shortage.” Japan’s low birth rate is resulting in a declining population which increasingly will impact the industrial base of life. The Japanese Immigration Policy Institute emphasized “we will train immigrants and make sure they get jobs and their families have decent lives.”

The plan also involves focusing on foreign students who now constitute 130,000 people and increasing that total within the coming years to 300,000 and to a million by 2025. The emphasis in accepting immigrants will shift from one in which only those with high skills could enter to a more comprehensive approach that welcomes unskilled labor as well.

The Meiji Restoration in the 1860s opened Japan to foreign influence. Perhaps, we are witnessing a second Meiji Restoration which opens Japan to foreign citizens.