politics

Abe vows to rewrite constitution, instill patriotism in schools

307 Comments

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© 2014 AFP

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

307 Comments
Login to comment

"Abe vows to rewrite constitution, whitewash history in schools."

35 ( +44 / -11 )

From abenomics to abegedon, if you failed once try try again, with the same tactics that is, and expecting a different outcome... wait a minute... now we are going to be more patriotic, because turning inward has always worked so well (totally ironic now).

26 ( +28 / -2 )

" a skeptical public"

Skeptical, jaded and apathetic. 52% turnout? Half of the eligible voters couldn't be bothered to cast their votes. They have zero say in how their government is run.

18 ( +18 / -0 )

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday vowed he would try to persuade a skeptical public of the need to revise Japan’s pacifist constitution. And if he can't "persuade" the public, he will just do it anyway.

30 ( +30 / -1 )

Does he have the votes to do any of this? Would the Komeito roll over on this? Or is it merely rhetoric to appease the uyoku wingnuts.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday vowed he would try to persuade a skeptical public of the need to revise Japan’s pacifist constitution. The conservative leader has also said he wants reforms to education that would instill patriotism in schoolchildren and urges a more sympathetic retelling of Japan’s wartime misdeeds.>

It's been increasing looking like Abe basically wants to take this country back to what it was like before the war.

27 ( +29 / -3 )

Ahh, the chicken hawk is squawking now. If schools don't teach his patriotism agenda I'm sure he'll find or make a law dictating that they have to. He's already tampering with history books so now he'll enforce the schools to teach it. Does any of this sound familiar?

14 ( +18 / -4 )

I hope Abe falls just as he rose.

12 ( +16 / -4 )

@Yoshimi He isn't even accomplishing that, as at least Japan had compulsory military service and a growing population then. Ugh, "patriotism in schools" is not a recipe for success on any planet. SMH

5 ( +6 / -1 )

vowed he would try to persuade a skeptical public of the need to revise Japan’s pacifist constitution, the day after scoring a thumping election victory., Yeah like this was a big secret. Working on the economic outlook should be priority not his personal goals with revising the constitution. Abe and the old shadow bosses behind him are really pushing for old prewar style Japan. Encourage patriotism to the kids, sorry that doesn't cut it, the kid's know full well they are Japanese, what they need is a modern style education system and get rid of the outdated system in existence. Let teachers be educators not pawns of the government.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

His first step will most likely be his long desired wish to change the pesky bits of the constitution that guarantees such 'evil' concepts as individual freedom and human rights. Suddenly the government would have all the power to decide what is best for 'the group' and he won't have to listen to those who dare question the supreme lea---oops typo----the brilliance of his leadership.

The funny thing to me, I haven't met many 'unpatriotic' Japanese at all. Even if they complain about 'this' or admire 'that' in another country, overall their love for country is strong and unfaltering.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

"...and urges a more sympathetic retelling of Japan’s wartime misdeeds."

How much more sympathetic can it get? In Abe's version, do the comfort women actually pay Japanese soldiers to be raped? Or will the Nanjing Massacre be turned into an international friendship, hanami event?

Scary stuff is afoot in these times. This is the end of the Weimar Republic 2.

18 ( +19 / -2 )

Look out. It may not be pleasant to live here anymore. For anyone.

20 ( +21 / -1 )

Abe vows to rewrite constitution, instill patriotism in schools

Hmm, this is a bit of a worry. Changes to the constitution are supposed to be done via a public referendum, but he changed that law last year, so he and his cronies can do whatever they like and because of the secrecy bill they don't have to disclose any reasons why.

His dream of instilling patriotism into the school system just sounds like a brainwashing activity to me. The majority of young people in Japan are totally disillusioned and see a very bleak future for themselves in Japan. They all fear the pension (or lack there of), they do not like the way the japanese government treats its citizens with secrets and ignoring public opinion. The topic of how the people of Tohoku and Fukushima have been treated by the government also comes up regularly with a very negative attitude. I work in two colleges and these are the opinions of the students. Many of them want to leave Japan for good. If Abe wants to instill patriotism into the community he has to give them a reason to be patriotic.

12 ( +15 / -3 )

So he is going to retire ? After the new Constitution has reinstated the Emperor as a living god, giving him back all powers and the new generation gets the brainwashing and become obedient robots, elected people like him will be useless.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

...wait, wait, wait.... Didn't you just say that the economy is number one priority? So what is this then a side project or your real motive? You can't have it both ways.

14 ( +16 / -2 )

If any change will be done, it will happen with the US approval. A stronger Japanese army is in the US political agenda in Asia, Washington said it's okay with it, so I don't understand why some Americans are afraid when Japanese government is just pushing for something that the US wants from it.

-9 ( +5 / -13 )

"The conservative leader has also said he wants reforms to education that would instill patriotism in schoolchildren and urges a more sympathetic retelling of Japan’s wartime misdeeds."

So, kids will learn even less of what was going on then? Like I said before: back to the future. Loving your country is fine with me ... but he will over-do it. I assume that there will be an "honor-the-flag" meeting every morning before lesson starts and a "lower-the-flag" one at the end of the day. Singing the national anthem will be mandatory, praising the great leader(s) of course, too. Uniforms we don't have to worry about, they already exist, maybe they should change the color to a more "brownish" one? Oh, and lets not forget to organize everyone in cells, blocks and so on. Did I forget something. I mean, all this was so long ago in a land far away.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

If any change will be done, it will happen with the US approval. A stronger Japanese army is in the US political agenda in Asia, Washington said it's okay with it, so I don't understand why some Americans are afraid when Japanese government is just pushing for something that the US wants from it.

Funny thing you know, not all of us 'Americans' support the wants of our government. I am sure you know lots of us have plenty of complaints about what our country does. But this is a site about Japan, and this comment will most likely be deleted as off topic.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

Abe : Megalomaniac

He hopes to follow in his grand-pappy's footsteps. Nutjob!

10 ( +12 / -2 )

Funny thing you know, not all of us 'Americans' support the wants of our government. I am sure you know lots of us have plenty of complaints about what our country does. But this is a site about Japan, and this comment will most likely be deleted as off topic.

Since this change is basically imposed by the US, it's not off-topic, even though it could be censored anyway.

-8 ( +4 / -11 )

There is a fine line between patriotism and nationalism, I hope that whatever MEXT through Abe proposes does not cross the line.

There is nothing wrong with having pride in one's country and Japanese kids could use some.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

"The White House backs the Abe government in its move to reinterpret the U.S.-imposed postwar Pacifist Constitution for Japan's larger military role in the region," Jo said.

http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2014/12/120_169948.html

Is this off-topic? I don't think like that. The US is the one that is pushing Japan this way, no matter which is the prime minister, let's be honest, please. They need a more nationalistic Japan against China. Poor Japanese people, I know that the ordinary Japanese dislike this change.

1 ( +8 / -6 )

Awesome. Even in this digital age, when information is available freely to anyone who wants to find it, Abe wants put Japan's future in the dark on historical events, furthering propaganda and ignorant beliefs.

I can't wait to read his version of Japan's wartime past: The Chinese and Korean barbarians were miraculously rescued by our noble occupying forces and we tried to cleanse them of their wickedness, but they resisted. And that's why they are the enemies of state you see today. And the Attack on Pearl Harbor will always be remembered as the day our heroic pilots helped us win World War II over the aggressor, America. We, Japan, were the victims. Let us never forget the horrible things others have done to us and let's build a massive military so they'll never happen again.

15 ( +17 / -2 )

Article states: "The conservative leader has also said he wants reforms to education that would instill patriotism in schoolchildren and urges a more sympathetic retelling of Japan’s wartime misdeeds."

This article writer is confused a bit. They are correct about nationalism, it is a belief that ones nation and way of life is superior or exceptional in the world. Nationalism is one of the pillars of fascism by the way. Along with conservative-traditional social values, superiority of ones culture and or race, and a corporate alliance or dominance of government.

Patriotism, however, is the love of one’s culture, history and customs, as well as a love of the principle of sovereignty, the right of a people to make their own decisions for themselves.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Ishihara has a bit more free time on his hands these days. A nutty, nationalist writer who's dabbled in laughable fiction could be just the man to write new history textbooks.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

wakawaka225Dec. 16, 2014 - 07:42AM JST ...wait, wait, wait....Didn't you just say that the economy is number one priority?

He did. This is a low level journalism in an attempt to make Japan and Abe look militaristic. China and SK are taking the same methods. Americans are becoming more and more like them.

-12 ( +4 / -16 )

And, as usual, I get thumbs down, even when you know like the things are. And I didn't want to say all the Americans support their government. I know many of you dislike what your government does.

2 ( +8 / -5 )

he would try to persuade a skeptical public of the need to revise Japan's pacifist constitution

Who does he think he is? He's a public servant, his job is to carry out the will of the people, not tell them what to think.

he wants reforms to education that would instill patriotism in schoolchildren

The way to make children proud of their country is to build them a country worth being proud of. Not by making it the correct answer on a mark-sheet and forcing kids to worship a flag and sing a rather dismal-sounding song every morning.

Schools should have nothing to do with 'patriotism'.

30 ( +33 / -3 )

We're on a bullet train to the Weimar Republic.

11 ( +14 / -3 )

I like sfjp330 reminder. Japanese should stand and vote. Oups, too late.

Abe is doing what he has been elected for, and there are also some good points for the general economy: yen should be falling at its intrinsic value and TPP talks.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@tinawatanabe: Abe is militaristic, but he is acting according to Washington political agenda. It's a known fact, but apparently some people don't want to hear the truth.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Well that didn't take long.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

The conservative leader has also said he wants reforms to education that would instill patriotism in schoolchildren and urges a more sympathetic retelling of Japan’s wartime misdeeds.

That is the part that scares me most.

Already, Japanese school children spend a lot of time learning about how Japanese people suffered during the war at the hands of others, particularly with respect to the Atomic bombings. The purpose is presumably to teach them the horrors of war, but it also creates in the Japanese population a type of 'patriotism' fueled by a persecution complex that makes them resentful and fearful of outsiders. They are largely taught a 'Barefoot Gen' version of the war, where almost the entire population of Japan played the role of good-natured, hapless, well-intentioned victims (not perpetrators) led blindly down the path of war.

It is important that they learn how Japanese people suffered (as they now learn), but they also need to learn how Japanese people caused suffering, both to other Japanese people and to those of other nations. For instance, I chaperoned a group of Japanese jhs/hs-aged students to listen to a woman talk about her experience as a child in wartime Japan. She told them of her memories of the wartime Kempeitai (the equivalent of Japan's Gestapo) whose inhumane tactics instilled terror into the Japanese people and ensured their fearful obedience — and not a single student in the group had ever heard of the Kempeitai.

16 ( +18 / -2 )

President Nabe is steering the pot again. Why not return the Diaoyu Tai back to Taiwan or China to ease the frictions so there will be not need for patriotism or more military spending.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

With his well-documented stomach problems, there is actually a good chance that he will

follow through

. All joking aside, though, the man is a lunatic, and he will be instrumental in Japan's ultimate destruction.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Patriotism? Is there an app for that?

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Working on the economic outlook should be priority not his personal goals with revising the constitution.

THIS. He is trying to fix something that isn't broken. Leave the friggin constitution alone and do the job you are suppose to do, fix the economy and help the people in Tohoku....but noooo this is much easier right?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Here it the problem with Patriotism

Human beings so love to categorize, and thus racism was born

http://atheism.about.com/od/politicspoliticalissues/a/problempride.htm

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This is all the more reason that those of us who teach English and other foreign languages should encourage our students to read the news from outside Japan. At the same time, for those of us who have the time and ability, we need to learn Japanese well enough to be able to discuss important events with people we meet on a daily basis. Most people I know are quite willing to hear different opinions and even change how they think, a lot easier than people where I come from.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

Whats the next step?

Photos of Abe in public places and classrooms.

Statues of Abe in town squares.

People having to greet each other with "Heil Abe!"

11 ( +17 / -6 )

Here we are.

Calling this bogus election it seems clear that Abe had a plan and his nationalistic agenda seems crucial to implementing it.

It is problematic to compare the LDP/Abe political agenda to Fascism and Nazism at the beginning of the 20th Century, but there are a number of parallels that are disturbing:

... rewriting history against commonly accepted knowledge

... making patriotism a central topic in education

... implementing laws that can be used to arbitrarily intimidate citizens

... printing and spending huge amounts of money to pump up the economy

... and last but not least the plan to change the constitution towards a more authoritarian construction

and it seems as if there's still a lot to come in the next four years....

I don't believe that Japan is heading towards the same kind of fascism or dictatorship that triggered WWII, as times are different and the Global environment has changed, but it seems clear that Abe and the LDP are leading Japan towards an even more authoritarian state.

Time and again we can observe flares of how Abe and his fellows pay little heed to the independent and critical thinking citizen and disregard some of the basic values of democracy.

May be no reason to panic, but a stitch in time saves nine!

8 ( +11 / -3 )

This is all the more reason that those of us who teach English and other foreign languages should encourage our students to read the news from outside Japan.

Do you know which is the general condition of freedom of speech and press in the world, today? It's a disaster. A complete disaster. And no matter what we, the ordinary people, wish...if the US government decided that Japan must become like my country (Italy) that already sends his army in American wars around the world, it will happen, no matter what Japanese people want. It's not like we Italians can choose about these things. And also you, American people, can't choose, and your young boys are sent to kill and to be killed even though many of you don't want. If in the US political agenda Japan must play a larger military role in Asia, how do you think the government can do to change the mindset of a country that, for 70 years (unlike my country) never sent any of his boys in war? A nationalist education is the only - terrible - way to do it.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

“Revising the constitution… has always been an objective since the Liberal Democratic Party was launched,” Abe told reporters. “I will work hard to deepen people’s understanding and receive wider support from the public.”

What a deceitful sleazeball. Abe has proven he's not a leader but a fascist dictator! Although I disagree with Takeo Hiranuma, Shintaro Ishihara and Toru Hashimoto, they at-least announce their intentions with conviction and campaign accordingly, and if given the chance would attempt to follow through. Hironuma made it his campaign pledge to revise the constitution but Abe kept his ambitions to himself and ran on Abenomics and revising the economy.

But the very next day after his victory he announces his social agenda and why did he wait till the very next day, because he knew that would scare the socks off the Japanese electorate and cost him the election. This is nothing less than pure deceitfulness and the act of a coward and the media and critics don't have the gumption or balls to take him to task over it.

Well, some of us predicted he would take this path but I stated it would be further down the road after getting the economy on track, guess I was wrong! But he has one big hurdle to overcome and that is getting the 2/3 threshold down to a simple majority to pass constitutional referendums. And don't expect the pacifists in Komeito to put up a fight because they locked all their eggs in Juminto's basket and the only way for these soul-selling losers to have any political influence is to jump on Abe's snowplow and help him pave the way.

The only hope now is that the elderly get enraged by Abe's attempts to fulfill his personal ambitions and bring back Japan to it's former glory. They are the only one's who went through war or lived through the cleanup and rebuilding and can imagine the bleak and dangerous path Abe is attempting to take us on. MAYBE they will feel a sense of responsibility and duty to safeguard their children's and grandchildren's futures because they must surely understand they themselves are completely incapable and can't be bothered to do so.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Japan needs an American written constitution to protect it from itself. Sorry to say this, but Abe and company don't fully understand what healthy democracy is.

8 ( +17 / -9 )

forcing kids to worship a flag and sing a rather dismal-sounding song every morning.

Are you talking about USA? In Japan, no school is "forcing kids to worship a flag and sing a rather dismal-sounding song every morning."

In Japan's schools, they raise a flag only at ceremonies and events, not every day. And Kimigayo is not dismal-sounding song for Japanese. Ask any Japanese.

Schools should have nothing to do with 'patriotism'.

Cleo, Have you ever compaired which country is the least patriotism in the world before making such a remark?Japanese do not have patriotism and you don't even know that. So when Abe says "patriotism" in a country where no patriotism at all, it carries a different meanings. Which coutry in the world have trouble rasing a national flag and sing national song at only entrance and graduation ceremonies? It is painful situation.

You should not criticize a nation raising a flag only a couple times a year as "forcing kids to worship a flag and sing a rather dismal-sounding song every morning." You sound like Chinese or Koreans.

-23 ( +7 / -30 )

Japan needs an American written constitution to protect it from itself. Sorry to say this, but Abe and company don't fully understand what healthy democracy is.

This is the funniest comment ever. Japanese constitution was written by the Americans, and now the Americans want it is changed for the sake of their politcal agenda in Asia. This kind of comments let me shocked, and I wonder where and what some (not all) Americans read.

8 ( +10 / -3 )

What even is the point? All this tedious waffle about the constitution and "patriotism" makes no real difference to peoples' lives whatsoever. It's not going to do anything for wages, jobs or the birthrate situation if Japan decides to call its army an army and start sending it places. The time spent teaching children to love Japan more could be spent teaching things that are actually useful - but then again perhaps a new generation of ignorant, misled, xenophobic peasants is considered ideal for keeping the LDP oligarchy in place.

10 ( +13 / -3 )

Why should anyone love a country controlled by corporate and political elites who show by their self-serving actions and policies they despise the people?

10 ( +14 / -4 )

Why should anyone love a country controlled by corporate and political elites who show by their self-serving actions and policies they despise the people?

Your comment fits basically any country in the western world, you know.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

My fellow readers. As a German I grew up with the guilt and victor led tales of my countries and Japan's during the war. Of course any and all misconduct by allied forces was conveniently overlooked. As Germany has learned to accept its past and move forward so just Japan, but on her terms, not those dictated by others. Step One is a "Japanese" Constitution, not the American model thrust upon her after the war. That means defining the wishes of the Japanese people through a Japanese lens, not those of others. The LDP was solidly re-elected so therefore they represent the people. It is time for the Japanese to stand up. Why is the US dictating policy on troop presences in Okinawa and making Japan pay for them to leave. We might note of interest the reduction of US troop levels in Germany following the fall of the Berlin Wall from over 300,000 to 70,000 or so. Why has no such occurrence taken place here? We might say apples and oranges but was it not the same Cold War? Let us be less judgmental and let the Japanese decide their own path. We might be surprised at well they succeed.

-6 ( +9 / -14 )

Strangerland: Well that didn't take long.

Kimigayo wa, chiyo ni yachiyo ni ...

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Bankers are behind patriotism, as stated by major general Smedley D Butler, USMC, in his speech "war is a racket".

4 ( +5 / -1 )

@Steppenwolf323 I will begin by telling you how much respect I have for Germany and her people's strength in facing up to Germany's past. I often cite Germany as an example of how Japan should approach dealing with her own past.

And yes, allied misconduct was overlooked. I would never deny that.

But I feel it necessary to point out some important differences between Japan and Germany. One is that where Germany has been contrite, Japan has been in denial all these years. I don't know exactly why, but I suspect that with Germany, (no offense) getting their teeth kicked in twice in 27 years really had a profound effect. Japan only got their teeth kicked in once and that was a long time ago.

And just so you don't take that wrong, I am American and I think America needs its teeth kicked in right about now. I am sick of everyone's war mongering ways, including the way of just keeping their head down while people like Abe seek to change the constitution so that their current constitutional violations of it will be legitimized.

And while I too feel the constitution does need altering, the trouble is that there is no one in Japan capable of doing it correctly, or if there is, they have no power and don't belong to the ruling parties.

The constitution might have been imposed, but its still better than anything these shifty chuckle heads could come up with.

11 ( +14 / -4 )

Abe should focus on Economy and towards helping the middle class and the poor. Changing the history text books and constitution shouldn't be a priority at the moment.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

It's time. Good for you Abe.

-14 ( +4 / -18 )

I look forward to an increasing amount of inane conversations with Japanese folk about how 'special' they are and how they have four seasons. Brilliant....

9 ( +10 / -2 )

Alex80Dec. 16, 2014 - 08:38AM JST @tinawatanabe: Abe is militaristic

Alex, Abe simply hopes to make Japan any other country, that is a country who has a military to defend itself. It is different from militaristic. By merely chanting "peace" like what Japanese are doing right now does not bring peace at a time when China is flexing it muscle.

but he is acting according to Washington political agenda. It's a known fact,

That's what LDP has been doing for seven decades.

but apparently some people don't want to hear the truth

As I said, Chinese, SKoreans, and Americans.

-15 ( +4 / -19 )

trust me, American schools have done the same thing and all it causes is problems especially if the student tries going to school or getting a job even in just another town or state here, and the pacifist thing means that you put money into your country not spend it on war, Americas definitely not pacifist and to get wanted funds for war making, the warmongers here stole money from the Americans SSI/Disability trustfunds to the tune of 2.6 trillion and counting, all of it going to war efforts

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Have you ever compaired which country is the least patriotism in the world before making such a remark?

Have you? I'd like to read about the comparisons you have made...

Which coutry in the world have trouble rasing a national flag and sing national song at only entrance and graduation ceremonies?

Plenty of European countries have a (not historically unfounded) phobia of nationalist regalia (flags, anthems and the like). I never saw a flag at school once when I was growing up - perhaps this might affect your worldwide patriotism ranking system (?!)

It is painful situation.

It's only painful if you confuse petty acts of tokenism as patriotic. Plenty of people are working hard every day to make Japan a better place - that's where you'll find patriotism.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Politics bedfellow: money. The Abe government does not exist to protect the people, it exists to protect itself from the people.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

The irony here is that the very people who want a powerful military and a proud Japan are undermining the one thing most necessary for that - a robust economy. They dream of glory while their flagship sinks beneath their feet. Or maybe it's all just a smokescreen to distract the public while they line their pockets as much as they can before things hit bottom.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Seems like a waste of effort. Focus on the economy, stupid.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

tinawatanabeDEC. 16, 2014 - 09:53AM JST Alex, Abe simply hopes to make Japan any other country, that is a country who has a military to defend itself.

Hahah, what ministry do you work at, Tina? if you want to normalise Japan and not become like China, then why do you follow the same ways like them dealing with your violent history? Double Standard. Your arguments for Nabes San pot stirring look like swiss cheese and this is why Japan is becoming the laughing stock of the world.

Wouldn't it be for the big corporations that still hold a competitive edge, you would be selling mochi to russian sailors and not be sitting in you comfy gov worker chair

8 ( +11 / -3 )

Patriotism? Hmm... what was it Samuel Johnson said about Patriotism? "The last refuge of a...".

3 ( +6 / -3 )

So what does he want written in the books? Japan's unit 731 (also known as the Peace Unit) was sent to China to work on alleviation of the common cold, but some Chinese caught a cold and there was a bit of sneezing, but that's all. The railways of Burma were built by Japanese soldiers to help the local population, and all the local people did was watch and marvel at the extraordinary efficiency of the Japanese. Some Burmese watched for too long though, and unfortunately got a bit hungry because they forget their bentos. The Chinese needed Japan to help out with an efficiency project in Nanjing, so after a series of meetings the Japanese sent a delegation there. However, some Chinese dressed up as Japanese soldiers and slaughtered about 40,000-200,000 people to give the Japanese delegation a bad name. The Manchuria campaign happened because Chinese discovered Japanese rice was much better than theirs and requested Japan take over an area of fertile land in China so that they could eat really nice properly with proper chopsticks, not with those awful round-ended Chinese chopsticks, but with proper Japanese ones.

If he sticks to crap about sticky rice, intestine length and 4 seasons, that would be okay, but he won't. Happily the people are too apathetic and too lethargic to be any more nationalistic and the Emperor is no longer interested in being a living God. Abe has 4 years, but now the DPJ is rid of dismally ineffective Banri Kaieda it can regroup and challenge more effectively in 4 years from now, by which time Abe's ratings will be pathetic. The LDP/Komeito super majority will not be repeated after 4 more years of Abe.

9 ( +13 / -4 )

We must go ahead with Abenomics swiftly, this is exactly what has been shown in the vote. We have to respond to that,” Abe said

The vote showed nothing of the sort Abe. Wasn't exactly a high turnout. And this is what the sleeping electorate of Jaoan has allowed to happen. Abe is returning to the agenda of his first stint in 2007. The grandson of a war criminal is building quite a nest for himself

4 ( +7 / -3 )

It seems to me that senor tummyache is confusing "patriotism" with "nationalisim". They aren't the same things.

"Nationalism is the worst enemy of peace" -George Orwell

Nationalism of course, being that one's nation and way of life, culture, everything is SUPERIOR to any other nation. Patriotism in the most basic sense of the word is simply an admiration of a way of life and is passive whereas nationalism is aggressive and forceful.

A sense of patriotism is based on reflection and nostalgia. A way of life that is passively enjoyed and nurtured without the intent to force these feelings outside of yourself.

Nationalism is militant in nature and based on rivalry and even resentment. Nationalists CANNOT tolerate any criticism and in fact, consider any such criticism to be an insult and thus become reactionary and abrasive towards the "threat" of critique.

A Nationalist will try to find or force justification for mistakes made in the past:

“Revising the constitution has always been an objective since the Liberal Democratic Party was launched. I will work hard to deepen peoples understanding and receive wider support from the public.

Patriotism enables people to understand both the shortcomings and improvements made.

Summary:

Patriot: Expresses the emotion of love towards his country in a passive way

Nationalist: Strives for independence and the interests and domination of a nation and expresses love or concern for the country in an active political way.

Which is Abe trying to implement then? "Patriotism" or "Nationalisim"? He is purposefully hiding a nationalist agenda under the guise of patriotism. Be very very clear of the difference and how the words are being manipulated.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

tinawatanabe, I would like to tell you that I am British and in the UK we never raise the flag in the morning and sing silly songs about a probably mythical being saving an unelected figurehead. The exclusion of this practice from the British education system does not stop me being British and does me no harm, just as the daily exclusion of this is not harmful for the Japanese, who are among the most nationalistic people I have ever encountered. I have been to numerous ceremonies here where the flag is raised and a mournful rendition of Kimigayo is forced whilst some aging spinster continually barks the command "lei" at the adults present. It's already quite enough and we don't need forced flag worship here. Once you force someone to worship a flag, that flag represents nothing.

Abe is a revisionist, but the population are mainly not that way. The constitution is out of date and was forced on Japan by a victorious power 70 years ago. It probably is time to give this issue some thought, but it is better for Japan to make amendments in a non-nationalistic way, which Abe is probably incapable of doing. There is no need at all to whitewash Japanese history, just because the grandfather of the current PM was a member of the wartime cabinet and therefore has some responsibility for the atrocities the country committed.

10 ( +14 / -4 )

Very good post crustpunker - would be nice if Orwell's "Notes on Nationalism" was read in schools. The line between healthy patriotism and ugly nationalism or fascism is a fine one.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Alex, Abe simply hopes to make Japan any other country, that is a country who has a military to defend itself.

Japan has a military to defend itself and it doesn't need to be sent overseas to do that.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

Blame it on the voting public!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Steppenwolf323 Dec. 16, 2014 - 09:20AM JST

As Germany has learned to accept its past and move forward so just Japan, but on her terms, not those dictated by others. Step One is a "Japanese" Constitution, not the American model thrust upon her after the war. That means defining the wishes of the Japanese people through a Japanese lens, not those of others.

But Japan has not learned to accept its past but has move forward anyway! Would it matter that there will be a constitution dictated, thrust onto the people... by Abe? Abe has no intentions of forming a constitution in a public forum with it being drafted with legal experts, citizen input and others wishing to produce a document that reflects the best interests of the citizenry of Japan! Oh sure, Abe will have plenty of hearings but it will all be for show to convince everyone that they took part and their views were represented. It has ALREADY been drafted by Abe and his cronies and it's been released and it's so un-democratic and congers up changes that one would expect from say China or Hong Kong.

And that is just the starting point. Then will come ALL the legislation that will need to be scrapped, re-written or completely done away with as it conflicts with the new constitution. And can we expect public debate on any of these changes, Abe has certainly proved the answer is clearly NO.

I don't disagree with your idea that every people have a right to create a constitution that reflects the ideals, values and protects the rights and freedoms of it's people but what you don't understand I think is Douglas MacArthur didn't do such a bad job and the fact was that the Japanese could never at the time have done anything that resembles the freedoms that Douglas MacArthur approved of. The main difference is the Japanese had never had a democracy and even to this day don't truly understand the fruits and responsibilities that come with it.

Steppenwolf323 Dec. 16, 2014 - 09:20AM JST

The LDP was solidly re-elected so therefore they represent the people.

Well, all lot of Japanese don't quite see it that way with only 24% of registered voters casting ballots for Juminto. And besides, it wasn't an issue that voters were aware of or voted on because Abe thought it was in HIS best interest not to bring it up until the day after his victory. Being German and since you seem to understand your history well, may we kindly ask you what Taro Aso was referring to in the next line?

"Germany's Weimar Constitution was changed into the Nazi Constitution before anyone knew, It was changed before anyone else noticed. Why don't we learn from that method?"

Taro Aso, Deputy prime minister, August, 2013

Are you starting to see the vast differences between German democracy and what exists here. Until someone persuades the Japanese how the present constitution ISN'T serving them, or can't be corrected to do so, maybe who authored it isn't of importance. If people have issue with Article 9 then lets debate it. But it is inherently wrong that constitutional changes begin at the prime minister desk and NOT at the grass roots level. As a German you must be well aware of this important fact since it was exactly that that led your country down a dark path not so long ago.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Hampton..you got it in spades. Japan suffered victomisation from every country it invaded they just didn't understand how better off they were with beheadings and mass rapes. Educating the youth to believe a version of history singular to Nippon can only end well. Psst it also absolves the ruling class of their complicity in shameful crimes.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

oh very nice, Mr. Perfect! I would love to hear Mrs.TinaWatanabe thoughts on lovely Aso San and all the interesting things this gentleman has to say.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Are you talking about USA? In Japan, no school is "forcing kids to worship a flag and sing a rather dismal-sounding song every morning."

No, I'm not talking abut the USA, I'm talking about Japan. As things stand the schools only do the raising the flag and singing the song thing at ceremonies, but obviously that isn't enough for Abe.

Kimigayo is not dismal-sounding song for Japanese. Ask any Japanese.

The greater part of my family is Japanese. I didn't need to ask them, they comment themselves (while watching the Olympics, etc.) that it sounds dismal.

when Abe says "patriotism" in a country where no patriotism at all, it carries a different meanings

A lot of people are very concerned that the meaning it carries is 'nationalism'.

You should not criticize a nation raising a flag only a couple times a year as "forcing kids to worship a flag and sing a rather dismal-sounding song every morning."

I'm not criticising a nation. I'm criticising the let's-go-back-to-the-glory-days-of-the-war dinosaurs who think forcing kids to be 'patriotic' by shoving mangled history down their throats as part of the school curriculum is in any way a good idea. It isn't.

In addition, your suggestion that criticism of the ideas of one man (Abe) and/or his followers/keepers is in any way criticism of Japan as a whole (a country I happen to love very much) quite aptly illustrates how easy it is for some to take a nationalist stand and think they're being patriotic. You are very much mistaken, on all counts.

It is painful situation.

It's only painful if you confuse petty acts of tokenism as patriotic. Plenty of people are working hard every day to make Japan a better place - that's where you'll find patriotism.

What zorken said.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

@Alex80

Your comment fits basically any country in the western world, you know.

Sadly, that's the case. All the nationalist and ethno-nationalist rhetoric is just a diversion for the few to amass greater power and wealth. Were it not for our desire to belong and fear of difference. Politicians play on these emotional needs as a virtuoso her violin.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Well, within (and outside) their iron walls, should they be virtual or not, pro-fascist govt always name their "nationalism" acts as being "patriotism" of course...but it is very easy to spot the difference, one is the love of their own kind while the other one is the hate of the others.... so what article(s) of the constitution will you plan to amend, this time, Mr Prime Minister?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Ask 100 students in Japan what the best country in the world is, where the best food is found, the most generous/hospitable people are found, etc, etc and 99 will tell you Japan (the other 1 will be confused by the question since the answer is obvious). How does Abe propose they could fit any more patriotism into the education system?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Ah, I see how Abe feels Japanese are unpatriotic. More and more are starting to think their individual family's financial situation and personal life and health are more important to them than the GDP. People are realising his plans to help boost the economy might include things they don't agree with (taxes, higher prices, nuclear to name a few)

2 ( +2 / -0 )

"By patriotism I mean devotion to a particular place and way of life, which one believes to be the best in the world but has no wish to force on other people. Patriotism is of its nature defensive, both militarily and culturally. Nationalism, on the otherhand, is inseparable from the desire for power. The abiding purpose of every nationalist is to secure more power andmmore prestige, not for himself but for the nation or other unit in which he has chosen to sink his own individuality."

Orwell "Notes on Nationalism
3 ( +4 / -1 )

BuBuBu ..you made me laugh, I'm not Japanese so I will listen/accept negative comments about my nationalalty/ Country Japanese people do not do that, it's personal for them the group is paramount and anything negative applies to the Hive.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

You know, I can't help thinking that the youth of Japan would be better off learning skills which will help them to compete in a globalised business climate, rather than yet more navel-gazing about how everything Japanese is ipso facto wonderful.

Kids don't seem to have enough time in the school week to get through the curriculum as it is - how does Abe propose to fit State Indoctrination - oops, I mean "patriotism" classes - into the schedule? Oh, don't tell me - more hours of juku, to eradicate any last traces of individuality or critical thought the exam-exhausted youth might be able to cling to?

3 ( +7 / -4 )

@yokohamarides-Cheers and thank you. This quote is exactly what I was trying to express in my previous post.

"By patriotism I mean devotion to a particular place and way of life, which one believes to be the best in the world but has no wish to force on other people. Patriotism is of its nature defensive, both militarily and culturally. Nationalism, on the otherhand, is inseparable from the desire for power. The abiding purpose of every nationalist is to secure more power andmmore prestige, not for himself but for the nation or other unit in which he has chosen to sink his own individuality." - Orwell "Notes on Nationalism

0 ( +1 / -1 )

“Patriotism is, fundamentally, a conviction that a particular country is the best in the world because you were born in it....”

GBS

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Cleo

The problem with you "on all counts" is you ignore the fact that Abe represents J public. He won the majority, but you think only Abe is bad, not the public. You say "J public is just not informed" or " They need to be taught" You ignore J public sentiments that way "on all counts", and try to change the way Abe does, which is very insulting for J public.

About Kimigayo, your family obviously does not represent the average Japanese sentiments toward Kimigayo. In my entire life I have never heard Japanese describe Kimigayo so negatively.

-17 ( +1 / -18 )

His attempt earlier this year was abandoned, with the bar of a two-thirds parliamentary majority and victory in a referendum thought too high.

Article 96 provides that amendments can be made to any part of the constitution. However, a proposed amendment must first be approved by both houses of the Diet, by at least a super majority of two-thirds of each house (rather than just a simple majority). It must then be submitted to a referendum in which it is sufficient for it to be endorsed by a simple majority of votes cast. A successful amendment is finally promulgated by the Emperor, but the monarch cannot veto an amendment.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constitution_of_Japan

Abe, you sneaky little devil.....well, really nothings stands in your way now as you can most likely deceive a sleepy simple majority in a referendum to support your grand constitutional, or Abe-Con! Beautiful Japan! It's all starting to come together although for your countrymen, a shy too late.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

'In my entire life I have never heard Japanese describe Kimigayo so negatively.'

You should broaden your circle of acquaintances. I know plenty.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

tinawatanabe Dec. 16, 2014 - 11:49AM JST

Come on Abe or is it Aso-san, fess up and just stop using the pseudonym, tinawatanabe

We can read or hear these comments on NHK so stop with the trickery, which I do admit seems to be your most astute quality.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

As my man Pynchon would put it: "My God what imbecile Fascist rot..."

"Seems like a waste of effort. Focus on the economy, stupid."

That would offer little consolation.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

He won the majority

I am not sure how one can talk about "majority" when the vote system is biased with disparities up to 1 vote = 2.4 votes based on which district you do vote, call it constitutional if you want (even some courts ruled the opposite) but certainly not representative of the population.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

tinawatanabe, what's your take on Aso San? Should J-Schools take him as role model and stop teaching Kanji?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

You say "J public is just not informed" or " They need to be taught"

No, I never wrote that.

You ignore J public sentiments that way "on all counts", and try to change the way Abe does, which is very insulting for J public.

How do you imagine I am trying to change 'the way Abe does'? I'm merely giving my opinion in a public forum. No doubt you and Abe both think that is abominable.

your family obviously does not represent the average Japanese sentiments toward Kimigayo. In my entire life I have never heard Japanese describe Kimigayo so negatively.

As Jimizo says, you must move in very limited circles.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

and only one of the many reason my wife and I are on the way of this country and tests and/or money first education system.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The low voter turnout is very unfortunate, especially considering that - and I guarantee you - those black-van driving, hate-speech spewing, racist scumbags ALL showed up at the polls...

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Why should anyone love a country controlled by corporate and political elites who show by their self-serving actions and policies they despise the people?

I imagine "Following Ethical principle" is not longer the norm in a society where shortcut for success is shown as model.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

And probably omit much of wartime history from the school curriculum in the process... Not that there was much there to begin with! The truth must be told!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

In Japan, no school is "forcing kids to worship a flag and sing a rather dismal-sounding song every morning."

Hi Tina. Let me tell you a story. My Japanese wife and I were looking for private kindergartens for my kid and she found a good one so she went in for an orientation / explanation. Everything was great until the principal starting talking about how in order to be "global," kids have to first understand what it means to be Japanese. He went on to say he makes the kids stand at attention in front of the Japanese flag and makes them sing the kimigayo every morning. Needless to say, my wife was horrified. Let's just say the principal was lucky I couldn't attend on that day. Don't get me wrong, I love this country, but recently I'm starting to get REALLY worried about which direction it's headed.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

1) Abe's desire to rewrite the Constitution is well known. It is not wrong for a national leader to feel the need to implement some changes, and just because he has to care about the economy does not mean he should not make pushes in this direction.

Having said that, I don't like all the directions he is taking in his proposed New Constitution. I like the changes in Defense - they are long overdue. I don't like how he packages it in with more suspicious stuff about the "public interest". Fortunately, unlike the rest of politics, at least the text of the Constitution is an area where the Japanese people hold a direct veto, and they should veto it down. No matter what romantic visions you have of a Constitution, a utilitarian view of it says it is where the people (Sovereign) give power to the State. It is never in their interest to give it more power over them than necessary.

2) As for more "patriotism" in education, it is a fine line between nationalism and patriotism - both are essentially pride in your country, but the former is considered bad and overblown while patriotism is considered good and proper. It is certainly true that Japan's youth faith and pride in the country is an area that can use improvement.

One thing that would happen is that Japanese will know more about history, not less. Japan's general tactic on that part of history is to move past it as quickly as possible. China and Korea complain not because anything wrong is in the textbook, but because it is not "appropriately" fierce, lengthy and / or apologetic. You won't, for example, find a history textbook that actually says "The Nanking Incident categorically does not exist." A "bad" textbook just says something like "The Nanking Incident is supposed to be ..." - still a true statement, but criticized for not being affirmative enough. And they generallly get over it in a paragraph.

If Abe gets his way, there will be substantially more talk. It will likely include sections on how sucky China and Korea really were back then. It will include stories of victories and valor of Japanese troops - stuff that are also flown over currently. LIke it or not, the Japanese will learn more about history than before.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

No different from China. The Japanese people have time and again shown how proud they are of the pacifist constitution and there was even talk of a nomination for Nobel Peace Prize at one point, and still could be, and yet Abe insists he is serving the will of the people to 'convince a skeptical public of the need to change'?? Sorry, that's what dictators do -- and we all know that Abe, having had this idea shot down before, is going to push it through anyway, same as with the Secrets Law. Again, the people have spoken on this, but Abe won't listen.

THIS is why he wanted the election now, with the chances of a majority. THIS is one reason among many why he and his supporters are NO better than the Communist China they constantly deride and say they need to defend themselves against (and this is why). Everyone knows this is truly what he wanted, and everyone pointed out this kind of thing shortly before the elections, with Abe not bringing up the subjects or deflecting questions (except to say, which he is not following now, that it's up to historians and not politicians to say what history was) on this and similar topics.

Fascist scum.

tinawatanabe: "About Kimigayo, your family obviously does not represent the average Japanese sentiments toward Kimigayo. In my entire life I have never heard Japanese describe Kimigayo so negatively."

Ah, the victim again. Most Japanese I know do not like the Kimigayo, Tina, so cleo's view MORE than represent the average Japanese. You have not heard it because your ears are closed and you don't want to admit the truth, just like Abe. You want to force children and parents and teachers to stand up, and like Abe, you want to FORCE what he calls 'patriotism' on said people. You are just like the Chinese government in that regard. Sorry, but EXACTLY like them -- forcing 'patriotism' and telling them the MUST stand up and like something they do not like.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

"and only one of the many reason my wife and I are on the way of this country and tests and/or money first education system."

As a father of a 5 yr. old, I hear you. But my home country's system has it's own issues. I figure it's my job as a parent to counterbalance the jingoistic tripe and hopefully prepare her for HS or uni abroad, if this place remains liveable that long.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

That's what LDP has been doing for seven decades.

@tinawatanabe: I know it. It's only some people are in denial.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

If you only take the proportion vote: The LDP has 17,6 million vote out of 53,3 million, which is ~1/3 of the seats, that still makes it the strongest one. And with the Komeito they would have round ~47% of the seats.

Only in Abe's circle, strongest one does mean "majority", elsewhere the majority is 50+ some alpha %.

Now numbers could even change again since there are already 130 confirmed election law violation reported, now who got the benefit of those paid votes, is not yet disclosed :

http://www.japantoday.com/category/crime/view/130-arrested-for-election-law-violations

2 ( +2 / -0 )

About Kimigayo, your family obviously does not represent the average Japanese sentiments toward Kimigayo. In my entire life I have never heard Japanese describe Kimigayo so negatively.

Well, both my wife and her family (all Japanese) say the song sounds dismal. I (an American), on the other hand, love the sound of the song. So go figure.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

“Revising the constitution… has always been an objective since the Liberal Democratic Party was launched,” Abe told reporters.

You see you stupid Japan population where your apathy is driving you. The LDP has governed Japan for more than 50 years and now suddenly "Abe fascist" says us now that the LDP has always wanted to revise the constitution. And he tells us this just after organizing a masquerade of election where media have been ordered to talk about anything but Abe's nationalism and where half of the population didn't bother to vote giving the LDP only 24% of support. This guys really deserves someone to spit on his face.

People making the difference between nationalism and patriotism, please stop the hypocrisy. In Abe's mouth, they are the same, Japanese politicians often use euphemisms to call uncomfortable things, a typical Japan thing which allows people here to lie to each other on a regular basis. For Abe, patriotism = nationalism, there is no doubt about it, what do you expect them to teach about as patriotism to children at school, about sushis?

And even if patriotism wouldn't be nationalism, school is not the place to teach patriotism, makes no sense. School is a place to receive education and knowledge that build an intellectually free individual. Patriotism has nothing to do in schools.

I won't put my child who is now 1 year old in a school that teach government propaganda, Japan schools are already good enough at producing robots. He will better deserved to be back to Europe and get a real education there.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Patriotism, is love for one's culture, language, people, the pride felt when our country succeeds in the global sport arena. It's is also appreciating diversity and inner calm that fuses every aspect of life, Wabi-sabi, Miyabi, Shibui, Iki, Jo-ha-kyu, Yugen, Geido, Ensou, and my favourite Kawaii. Patriotism is within the family, is understood naturally without the need to be part of a classroom syllabus.

Nationalism and it partner in crime jingoism will always remain a lesson of passed misdeeds to be challenged and banished at every turn, along with its aggressors. Japan will never return to an imperialist, colonialist past. Any revision or review of the constitution will require a special referendum, the will of the people is to reject outright any rewrite. The only weapons Abe san and the LDP need to be focused on is that 3rd arrow and locating the bow to launch it on it course.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@kickboard

He went on to say he makes the kids stand at attention in front of the Japanese flag and makes them sing the kimigayo every morning. Needless to say, my wife was horrified.

I would agree with your wife to the extent of this not being a positive feature of the school. But if she's horrified, I actually sympathize with the opposition. The only probable way to instill such a strong negative reaction to a un-necessary but harmless practice (as for the compulsion part, teachers "make" kids do things every day) is indoctrination.

@Smith

he is serving the will of the people to 'convince a skeptical public of the need to change'??

Did he say "will" or did he say "interest"? You do know the two are different, and sometimes a leader has to do things in the "interest" of the people that are nevertheless against their myopic will - raising taxes, reducing public spending and providing a strong national defense being examples.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

I think the election results don't tell the whole story! Juminto and Komeito worked together and did not field ANY candidates against one another. However, on Sunday night I noticed an alarming occurrence of opposition candidates all fighting over the same seats splitting the vote and giving the seat to Juminto. You have to wonder if some of these candidates were placed in various districts per collusion between party leaders from Juminto and the other parties who's conservative leaders once belonged to Juminto or had run as independents with support from both Juminto and Komeito. Abe probably said hey guys, "if you really want to see substantial social changes, which we are all in agreement on, field as many candidates as possible to split the vote and give the seat to us instead of Minshuto. Then we can work together and push our conservative agenda and get stuff done! Nothing to for you to lose and I will reward you later."

Kenji Eda, Liberal Democratic Party until 2002

Takeo Hiranuma, Liberal Democratic Party until 2002

Yoshimi Watanabe, Liberal Democratic Party until 2009

Shitaro Ishihara, formerly Liberal Democratic Party (but more conservative than Abe, Aso and the rest combined)

Toru Hashimoto had received pledges of support from the local Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito.

I should include Ichiro Ozawa as he was once a prominent figure in the LDP, tapped for the party's presidency at one point, but who knows where his allegiance lays.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

There is nothing wrong with having pride in one's country and Japanese kids could use some.

That would be all well and good - if the grandson of a convicted war criminal wasn't advocating it.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Abe's patriotism = blind allegiance.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

kickboard: ... The principal ... went on to say he makes the kids stand at attention in front of the Japanese flag and makes them sing the kimigayo every morning. ...

My kids in California public elementary school line up and face the US flag and say the Pledge of Allegiance every Friday unless it's raining, but I think they don't have to say anything if they get conscientious objector status, maybe you can try for that.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Those who voted for dishonest-Abe should be subjected to these 'reforms' those who didn't, not. Nationalism is a terrifying beast that finally revealed its horrors in the last century, it needs putting to bed.

Patriotism also includes standing against what is wrong with your nation, the Japanese seem to be lacking in its substance. Dishonest-Abe will send your sons and daughters to war, will instil in them a sense of being better than everyone else and protect them from questioning the government's actions through laws that restrict freedom of speech and thus thought.

It's history repeating itself.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

I'm disappointed that so few citizens seem concerned that Abe's bluster about implementing his revanchist agenda of "patriotism" is conveniently obscuring the fact that his "snatch" election was "unconstitutional". The brazen "illegality" of Japan's election system riddled with gerrymandering makes a mockery of the concept of democracy. Any decent person with a sense of justice must surely see through Abe's "mandate": a mere fig leaf hiding the brass cojones of an "Emperor without Clothes".

4 ( +6 / -2 )

My kids in California public elementary school line up and face the US flag and say the Pledge of Allegiance every Friday unless it's raining

That's all well and good, but singing and facing the flag in Japan has more negative connotations. Especially as Abe - with his skewed, "beautiful Japan" history, is the one advocating it. Again, as it happens, he did the same thing in 2007 before mother nature temporarily saved us. And this is what the sheeple have allowed to transpire

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Kazuaki: "Did he say "will" or did he say "interest"? You do know the two are different, and sometimes a leader has to do things in the "interest" of the people that are nevertheless against their myopic will - "

He vowed to do it, and then said he's going to try and 'change the thinking of the skeptical public'. The latter, and your comments about the 'myopic will' of the public and a leader who doesn't share their ideals doing something for 'their better good' is a page directly out of the dictator's manifesto, and precisely why that kind of thinking is no better than the pre-war thinking that led Japan to commit atrocities (and Japanese leaders to deny them) and lose the war. People were forced to jump off the Itoman cliffs to their deaths in Okinawa because it was 'for the nation', same as Abe wants to make things 'for the nation', or how you claim it's in their best interests even if they can't see it. Talk about fascist!

You simply DON'T say you're representing the people's will when you state in the same breath that you are 'going to try and convince a skeptical public' that they are wrong and should follow what YOU want.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Here's the thing, Smith. Abe can have an aspiration like all of us. He is aware that the public is not with him, thus they are "skeptical".

"Their better good" is indeed something out of the page of a dictator, but it is also one reason we use representative rather than direct democracy. The average layman lacks the education or information to appreciate realities of life. If laymen had their way, we will see a massive increase of social services, zero taxes and zero defense.

If all a leader can do is follow the will of the people, the US Army would be at 100,000 men, or even less when Pearl Harbor started, because the atmosphere then was hardly pro-war. Fortunately, the US had elected representatives that are more aware of the situation, and did what they could to prepare, which brought them up to partial readiness when the bombs started falling.

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

Christopher Glen: That's all well and good, but singing and facing the flag in Japan has more negative connotations.

Uh, maybe you missed the part where I wrote "California".

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

My kids in California public elementary school line up and face the US flag and say the Pledge of Allegiance every Friday unless it's raining, but I think they don't have to say anything if they get conscientious objector status, maybe you can try for that.

actually, nobody is forced to at all. Kids can and do have the right to sit in their seats, do nothing, or say nothing during a school pledge. Teachers and administrators can as well, without the fear of getting fired like they could in Japan.

Yes, there is a lot of of students going along and doing it with everyone else, but if a school even tried to force a child, they would and have had their butts sued in court.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Have all the Abe naysayers booked their flights home yet?

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

I have spent many years in Japan now, plenty of taxes and "social security".. I genuinely thought I might be based here permanently but things look like could seriously change..

I don't understand the need for the revisionism.. the topics are brushed over enough as they are, I actually agree there needs to be more focus on the future however these nationalists seem just as obsessed with the past as they accuse the surrounding countries of being.

It is absolutely bizarre that he is even in power in the first place, and even more worrying there is no competition and sadly general apathy from the voting public.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

This is out home

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

we just have no rights

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Moles! Get out out the hammer!

Mr. Perfect:

I think the election results don't tell the whole story! Juminto and Komeito worked together and did not field ANY candidates against one another. However, on Sunday night I noticed an alarming occurrence of opposition candidates all fighting over the same seats splitting the vote and giving the seat to Juminto. You have to wonder if some of these candidates were placed in various districts per collusion between party leaders from Juminto and the other parties who's conservative leaders once belonged to Juminto or had run as independents with support from both Juminto and Komeito. ...

Kenji Eda, Liberal Democratic Party until 2002

Takeo Hiranuma, Liberal Democratic Party until 2002

Yoshimi Watanabe, Liberal Democratic Party until 2009

Shitaro Ishihara, formerly Liberal Democratic Party (but more conservative than Abe, Aso and the rest combined) ...

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

The conservative leader has also said he wants reforms to education that would instill patriotism in schoolchildren and urges a more sympathetic retelling of Japan’s wartime misdeeds.

The arrogance, stubbornness, and hard-headedness know no bounds. But what can you expect from the sort of people that required two, not one but two, nukes to wave the white flag. Unfortunately, it seems that another disasterous journey will also be required befor these people get the picture. Abe can revise the constitution all he wants, Japan had neither the resources nor the population to sustain any war in the future. If it weren't for her big brothers keeping watch, N.Korea and China would've already nuked Japan to smithereens.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

@turbotsat

Uh, maybe you missed the part where I wrote "California".

Uh, maybe you missed the part where he wrote, "but" ! And he's right, all that 'these colors don't run / die for the flag' chest thumping nonsense might work in America, but it's not something you really want to encourage in Japan. And without wanting to seem too patronising, a more developed culture such as Japan's shouldn't really need to resort to that. A sense of national pride should automatically be present through a balanced teaching of history.

-2 ( +2 / -5 )

a more developed culture such as Japan.

Please stop perpetuating this nonsense!

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Too late, already "too patronising", Japan does have schoolchildren singing the national anthem, just like USA and probably lots of other places, get over it. It's like telling other countries they're not civilized because they don't abolish the death penalty. They could just as easily level the same charge back.

Japan's passivity was OK as long as China had a weak navy but China's working on that so Japan needs to step up.

As far as national anthem, doesn't seem to have encouraged Japan to spill over it's national borders any time recently.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

So almost half the voting populion didn't vote, and Abe claims a mandate anyway and is moving forward at full speed. Who would have guessed?

@sfjp330, I'll agree that patriotism, love of your country and countrymen, etc., is a good thing. But I don't think it includes the "right of a people to make their own decisions for themselves." By that logic, North Koreans are not patriots. In fact, people who let the government think for them are often lauded as great patriots.

In politics, the word patriotism is used like a bludgeon. Anyone who questions the country vis-a-vis the government is accused of being anti-patriotism. I'm afraid that's what will happen if you try to artificially raise patriotism.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

turbotsat Dec. 16, 2014 - 03:12PM JST

As far as national anthem, doesn't seem to have encouraged Japan to spill over it's national borders any time recently.

thanks to Douglas MacArthur but Abe and his ilk will allow that to all change but you needs the kids to get in the right spirit and frame of mind! As it now stands the kids just won't perform banzai charges on demand but give em time!

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Cleo

You say "J public is just not informed" or " They need to be taught"

No, I never wrote that.

That's what you are saying on whales, dolphin, or any thing you don't like what Japan is doing. It is not only you, most posters here think that way, "We are well informed, but Japanese are not, so we have to teach them".

I'm merely giving my opinion in a public forum.

Yes, your opinion is based on "J public is not well informed" . So, I'm telling J public is well informed. I hope you read more J articles and what J posters are saying.

Alex80

@tinawatanabe: I know it. It's only some people are in denial.

Yes, I know you know it.

-11 ( +2 / -13 )

So almost half the voting populion didn't vote, and Abe claims a mandate anyway and is moving forward at full speed. Who would have guessed?

Sorry, but the LDP were elected. Thus they have a mandate.

A lot of people here seem to be operating under the illusion that someone can be elected but not receive a mandate based on some arbitrary percentage as yet to be defined. That isn't how it works.

If you don't want to believe that, fine. What is the alternative?

Shall we have another election?

-7 ( +3 / -11 )

@Mr Noidall

a more developed culture such as Japan.

Please stop perpetuating this nonsense!

I probably should have said mature culture instead. What I was trying to say that Japan has nothing to prove to the world. The perception of Japan abroad is in generally very positive. Modest, humble and fair. They don't need to be more ostensibly patriotic. It will just make them seem weaker & more annoying to the rest of us. Basically, like America I guess. Not sure how I got to that point but it seems about right.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Still waiting for your thoughts about Aso San, TinaWatanabe.

As you seem to be an educated woman working for the government, it is very interesting to learn how you think about his various statement about Japan, Nazi Germany and Women.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

hokkaidoguy Dec. 16, 2014 - 03:39PM JST

If you don't want to believe that, fine. What is the alternative?

Be humble, respect the will of the people, act in THEIR best interest put country first and legislate on behalf of the people and not for your own ambitions. No matter how you dice it, he won 24% of the vote and that my friend is not a majority and a mandate to push ahead with a social agenda that doesn't have majority support. But hell, that hasn't stopped him pursuing unpopular programs and ideas or passing unpopular legislation which you surely must acknowledge.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

@mr.perfect

So politicians should be forced to temper the application of policy based on the number of votes cast?

Is there a formula we can apply here? 60% of voters or less go to the polls, politicians agree to assume a lame-duck posture for the duration? 70% to 80% means they can negotiate trade and defence agreements, but not raise taxes?

That's absurd, and you know it. The LDP won the election. There was no opposition, popular or political. Deal with it.

The way people here are carrying on I'm expecting to start seeing demands for the Long Form Birth Certificate.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

hokkaidoguy Dec. 16, 2014 - 04:32PM JST

So politicians should be forced to temper the application of policy based on the number of votes cast?

I think you might be posting on the wrong thread, this thread is about;

Abe vows to rewrite constitution, instill patriotism in schools

Not raising taxes or Abenomics which is the platform Abe ran on:

2 ( +3 / -1 )

warau, I don't know why you are intersted in Aso. I think much of English articles about his remarks were misleading, especially about Nazi (maybe intentionally) . I suggest you read Japanese originals if you can. Japanese language is vague and has lots of leeway to be translated into different meanings.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

How long will it last, this Abeism? Will it have to proove its worth some time? Or just linger on and not move any neighhour.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

All I know Aso San likes fedoras and despite his own age isn't fond of the older generations. And of course he happens to be the Vice Prime Minister, thus he is the one to be in charge in case Abe San has sudden stomach cramps. It seems Abe San and the well informed Japanese Public trust this professional to do a fine job.

Where do you think these English articles are misleading? Can you point me to some Japanese articles you think are great to explain the unskewed greatness of the Japanese Vice Prime Minister?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

oh damn

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Abe is the death of Japan

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Mr perfect:

Abe ran on the LDP party platform, which had included constitutional reform for generations (to say nothing of the last couple of years). Likewise, the patriotism idea has been part of the LDP plan since Abe came to power.

These are not new ideas. There is no bombshell, no surprise, nothing that hasn't been covered before (and nothing you haven't weighed in on here).

Would you like to see the Long Form now?

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

@Tina

Agreed many Japanese lack patriotism, but how to resolve this? To the outsider, it seems to be a confused mess of opinions and solutions by nationalist, communist, facist and other confusion, and the usual blaming of outside influences, some of which cannot be denied. It would seem you want to go backwards, introvert or offer a new version of past events to promote a new unique Japan agenda, instead of a more adaptable or modern approach. Is this correct, or am I missing something? A progressive country like Sweden is not applicable to Japan? To hate ones country is not acceptable or sustainable, very much agreed, but neither is unchecked nationalism. If you could explain what position you take, in order for us non japanese to make sense of your direction, perhaps it would clear up the confusion.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

"We are well informed, but Japanese are not, so we have to teach them"

Isn't it Abe who is saying that? Otherwise why would he need to try to persuade a skeptical public?

So, I'm telling J public is well informed.

Yes they are. And they are skeptical about Abe's intentions.

your opinion is based on "J public is not well informed"

No, my opinion is based on Like many Japanese people, I love Japan; and like them, I am very wary of stark nationalism.

The Japanese population is not one body with but one thought; just because you have a certain opinion, it does not mean that every other Japanese person, or even most Japanese people, shares that opinion with you. I think it's rather insulting to the people of Japan for you to suggest that they do.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

It seems that Abe strongly wants all Japanese sing national anthem and salute the flag more often a day just like America and he may order all citizens raise flags at houses on every national holiday.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Japan lacks patriotism? Is that why they bash their neighbours to defend their "pride" on a regular basis? No matter what I'm reading here, there is always a Japanese poster who will drag those two countries into any topic, and use them as a scapegoat to justify that Japan is somehow better than them. And in a shameless manner. its often along the lines of ' Japan is so advanced etc etc. Just compare to "backward" countries korea and China (i.e. non japanese asian countries)   etc etc, '

And this is even when no comparison is made between the two in the original article.

From my observations, I would say Japan is full of patriotism, of the worst kind. One which believes loving their country means tarnishing others. Particularly their closest Asian neighbours due to their economic insecurity

So sick of it. Grow up already

4 ( +5 / -1 )

warau,

Aso was once PM, and woundn't have a second chance, not so much significant as the title might suggest. Vice PM is not like Vice President of USA, not the person to take charge in case PM cannot function.

There is no evidence that Aso does not like the old generation. He is old himself, so I assume he likes them.

The English articles were very misleading. You can easily go to the Japanese links by entering his name in Japanese.

5petals

What confusion? The election is over in an orderly fashion, Abe is re-elected as expected. The public goes back to the ordinary live today.

cleo

My point is Abe won the majority and a mandate. Most lawmakers elected support his stance on Constitution. So, it is the public stance too. You cannot criticize Abe on this, you should criticize the public.

-12 ( +1 / -13 )

Christopher GlenDec. 16, 2014 - 01:35PM JST

There is nothing wrong with having pride in one's country and Japanese kids could use some.

That would be all well and good - if the grandson of a convicted war criminal wasn't advocating it.

You should at least get the facts straight. Kishi Nobusuke, who is a grandfather of Abe, was arrested for war crime charges because he had been the Minister of Commerce when WW2 started, but was not indicted nor convicted.

My cordial advice to you is that you should verify what you hear from people with certain agenda. Otherwise, you will keep making a fool of yourself by publicly displaying your lack of knowledge on the subject matter.

I used to believe in what Koreans say about Japanese rule of Korea between 1910 and 1945, only to find most of what I believed was just untrue. It is age of internet. Verifying facts is so easy.

How many people here have read the LDP draft of proposed constitution? For those of you who are interested, I attach their link here. https://www.jimin.jp/activity/colum/116667.html

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

Sera, sera, so how to be just normal...

Out of about 200 counties.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It seems that Abe strongly wants all Japanese sing national anthem and salute the flag more often a day

Wanting and getting are two different things. But now he and his cronies control the diet, and now they have the secrecy law, they can pretty much make any law that they want. Laws making it punishable for teachers not to sing the kimigayo at school ceremonies. At this point the "shoganai" mentality will come in, and lo and behold everyone will be jumping to his tune

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Just googled a bit about Aso San and the Japanese articles claim pretty much the same things as the English ones. He wished the old from Tohoku would die for example. Crazy that Abe San wants somebody like Aso San to be part of the reform of Japan. Aso San doesn't respect women all so much either... hm. makes me wonder if Abe San is sincere about the third arrow of reforms. Tina,it also makes me wonder how serious I can take you. You seem to take things concerning Japanese national policy very lightly

6 ( +8 / -2 )

So, let's see. The Education Minister was spouting the usual twaddle about improving the standard of English and enabling students to engage in debates in that language. How about this for a topic to warm Shinzo's heart:

Unit 731/comfort women/the Nanking Massacre - filthy lies or malevolent propaganda?

4 ( +5 / -0 )

Christopher GlenDec. 16, 2014 - 06:55PM JST

But now he and his cronies control the diet, and now they have the secrecy law, they can pretty much make any law that they want. Laws making it punishable for teachers not to sing the kimigayo at school ceremonies.

Are you criticizing certain people for a law that no one proposed?

At this point the "shoganai" mentality will come in, and lo and behold everyone will be jumping to his tune

Now, you are criticizing "everyone" for your imagination based on your racial stereotype.

What is your point? Do you think your stereotype would be warmly accepted here?

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

But now he and his cronies control the diet, and now they have the secrecy law, they can pretty much make any law that they want. Laws making it punishable for teachers not to sing the kimigayo at school ceremonies.

Let's not link every bad thing to the secrecy law without rationale.

Abe will have to be very careful. In essence, the courts just allowed the present state, which in effect says that it is insufficiently detrimental to freedom of religion and conscience to put it out of the right of the principal to give work-related orders. Which probably is right because let's face it if you say a superior has no right to order teachers to sing a song in a school event, what authority does he have left?

Escalating things to a law with a punishment will put it on the other side of the fence entirely.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

@Tina Watanabe, You have a very distorted view of history and of other places in the world. We all need to learn more (myself included) so you should start cracking the books. Try to get a variety of sources for your news too. Sadly many people don"t.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

@That Guy

"...getting their teeth kicked in twice in 27 years really had a profound effect."

They didn't "get their teeth kicked in". Casualities on both sides were quite even. The war ended by armjustice and many Germany soldiers felt cheated, since they were occupying enemy soil when told to demobilize.

What's more, Germany suffered very little physical damage, since so few of the battles were actually in Germany. France and Belgium got their teeth kicked in, but Germany not so much.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@ CH3CHO

How many people here have read the LDP draft of proposed constitution?

I have read enough of it to understand why it is so important to Abe and the LDP.

To put it short, it uses vague language to blur individual rights and give the state unprecedented power to force its agenda on citizens.

I strongly recommend everybody with basic knowledge of written Japanese to have a first hand view of how the LDP want's to change the constitution. There are a number of japanese sites that provide direct side by side comparisons of the current constitutions and LDP proposed revisions.

The following page is a good place to start with (though it's japanese only) http://c3plamo.slyip.com/blog/archives/2012/12/post_2519.html

It is stunning how boldfaced the LDP proposals are and I believe it is only possible to make such proposals in society where the vast majority has never learned to critically analyze texts on social and political issues.

CH3CHO, maybe you have a different interpretation of what Abe and the LDP is aiming at with their constitution draft?

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Are you criticizing certain people for a law that no one proposed?

The law I speak of is just a matter of time. Abe has the powers of a dictator now with his control of both houses of the Diet. When was the last time he listened to what the public thought?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Christopher GlenDec. 16, 2014 - 08:24PM JST

Abe has the powers of a dictator now with his control of both houses of the Diet.

Sigh. In parliamentary system, the ruling coalition usually has the majority of both houses. You do not need to call a prime minister a dictator just for controlling both houses.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Which coutry in the world have trouble rasing a national flag and sing national song at only entrance and graduation ceremonies? It is painful situation.

Nonsense. I only ever had to sing God Save the Queen once at my school and that's when we had a royal visit. There's none of this flag and anthem nonsense at British schools, and just watch the Last Night of the Proms to see if British people are less patriotic because of it.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

A gem of an article on how history is taught in Japan's schools, courtesy of the BBC... http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-21226068

0 ( +1 / -1 )

You cannot criticize Abe on this

Cannot?? Has he already started passing laws to ban dissent?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

@tinawatanabe,

Japanese do not have patriotism and you don't even know that

So the ear-splitting trucks and the neanderthals inside them are promoting Disneyland?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

carpboyDec. 16, 2014 - 08:42PM JST

A gem of an article on how history is taught in Japan's schools, courtesy of the BBC... http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-21226068

I am afraid the BBC article is far from a gem. First of all, what do you think is the first photo of Japanese boys carrying ancient rifles? It has nothing to do with history or school but a local festival in Kyoto. That would tell the quality of the story.

From Homo erectus to the present day - more than a million years of history in just one year of lessons. That is how, at the age of 14, I first learned of Japan's relations with the outside world.

The writer is writing about junior high school history class. The often debated is that of senior high school. The author is comparing apples with oranges.

For three hours a week - 105 hours over the year - we edged towards the 20th Century.

It's hardly surprising that some classes, in some schools, never get there, and are told by teachers to finish the book in their spare time.

Substandard journalism. Almost all classes finish the textbook.

My friends had a chance to choose world history as a subject in Year 11. But by that stage I had left the Japanese schooling system, and was living in Australia.

Again, what is often debated is the world history class taught in Year 11. She just keeps on her story of what she does not know.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

'Nonsense. I only ever had to sing God Save the Queen once at my school and that's when we had a royal visit. There's none of this flag and anthem nonsense at British schools, and just watch the Last Night of the Proms to see if British people are less patriotic because of it.'

I never sang it at school or outside if it. The opening line alone contains two things I don't believe in. Thankfully, I come from a country which doesn't accuse me of being a 'UK hater/basher' for this belief. A mature country shouldn't need silly flags, anthems, patriotic education or whitewashed history. It's a sign of deep insecurity.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

The problem with history in the Japanese education system is not so much about what is taught, but how.

Stunning to me is the almost absolut absence of critical thinking.

Students don't learn how to

... critically analyze texts

... controversially discuss a topic

... develop individual arguments for a cause

... and seriously take an individual stance towards a given theme

Abe's anxiety about not enough patriotism in the school curricula is symptomatic. Instead of worrying about how students can develop the tools to independently judge themselves, he is mainly concerned with imposing his values and worldview onto them.

Democracy does not work as a mere system of government, but only in connection with active and critical citizens that are able to speak out, an education towards equality and individual critical thinking and a strong and independent media.

Abe and the LDP are trying to intimidate critical citizens, they fear critical thinking in the classroom more than the devil fears holy water and I don't think there's anybody who claims that Abe is a friend of a strong, critical and independent media.

For Abe and his LDP cronies rewriting the constitution and instilling patriotism in schools has only one goal: to be able to rule clear of obstacles.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Japanese are already the most patriotic and nationalistic people.....more patriotic for what???

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I am afraid the BBC article is far from a gem. First of all, what do you think is the first photo of Japanese boys carrying ancient rifles? It has nothing to do with history or school but a local festival in Kyoto. That would tell the quality of the story.

Nowhere it is mentioned in that article that this picture is ancient or historical, of course it is a modern picture taken in the digital sdcard age, what is the point ? Dismiss the all article because there is no ancient bw picture as a featured image ?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

hokkaidoguy Dec. 16, 2014 - 05:25PM JST

Abe ran on the LDP party platform, which had included constitutional reform for generations (to say nothing of the last couple of years). Likewise, the patriotism idea has been part of the LDP plan since Abe came to power.

These are not new ideas. There is no bombshell, no surprise, nothing that hasn't been covered before (and nothing you haven't weighed in on here).

So that's how it works. We can tell people during the election one thing, go on tv and unilaterally define what the election is all about and what you plan to do then the very next day when you celebrate your victory claim to have a mandate for things that your party has stated for more than a half century but kept mum about during the election. How convenient but we all know hokkaidoguy whose kidding who here don't we.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

People like tinawatanabe and other Abe fans who want the constitution changed simply want war with their neighbours, and will demand US support (when they otherwise want the US to go away) in the hopes that they can appear strong like in the "good old days". Don't believe it? Let's look at another person in favor of changing and even creating a new constitution, good old Ishihara! Now, he's decided to step down, and after almost a SPLIT-second in which he could have gotten a little respect for saying he wanted to support the arts after stepping down, he had to stuff both feet in his mouth again, pouting and saying "People interested in the constitution are a dying breed" and that he hates Chinese people and the one thing he wants in life more than anything is "to fight a war with China an win". THIS is the kind of thing people who want to make Japan more 'patriotic' are striving for -- war that will annihilate the nation, and Abe and his supporters want this too. If Abe and co have their way and start a war, they'll of course blame it on everyone else.

Alex80: "Since this change is basically imposed by the US, it's not off-topic, even though it could be censored anyway."

Yeah... ummm... the US 'is imposing' a change to the constitution of Japan because, in Abe's words and yours, it is a constitution 'forced on them by the US'... soooo.... ummmm... where is this not a complete contradiction, Alex?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

CH3CHO Dec. 16, 2014 - 06:50PM JST

My cordial advice to you is that you should verify what you hear from people with certain agenda. Otherwise, you will keep making a fool of yourself by publicly displaying your lack of knowledge on the subject matter.

I used to believe in what Koreans say about Japanese rule of Korea between 1910 and 1945, only to find most of what I believed was just untrue. It is age of internet. Verifying facts is so easy.

How many people here have read the LDP draft of proposed constitution? For those of you who are interested, I attach their link here. https://www.jimin.jp/activity/colum/116667.html

CH3CHO, if you revisit the link to the LDP homepage and read just a bit more carefully, you might notice the constitution you are referring to is actually the LDP (political party) constitution and not a draft for a Japanese constitution. But I could be wrong because I was viewing the English site and you know how badly Japanese is translated into English.

But as you stated, "It is age of internet. Verifying facts is so easy." isn't it!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

To all of you who commented on my post I thank you. You made some very astute points. I especially like the comment concerning Japan and Democracy. I agree, Japan doesn't totally comprehend democracy, nor am I sure they want to. Please remember it was basically forced onto them. They, like Germans, prefer an orderly life where every knows their place in society and abides by it. There is no shame in the saying that the nail that stands up is hammered down. It seems to me that America is fast moving that way with political correctness, aren't they?

As to the Constitution, Abe won't be writing it. The very capable folks in Kasumigaseki will be. Many of them are my friends and they want. To do what's right. Honestly Japan is concerned with Chnias rising military power, which by the way I see no one here commenting on and their need to be self reliant. Yes the past was bad, but those days are gone and won't return, just as they wont return in Germany.

Is Japan contrite enough, perhaps not but different cultures approach problems in different ways. As we all know Japanese prefer to keep shame and problems within. While they might outwardly deny Japanese feel. Uct more contrite then you give them credit for, it just appears that her Asian neighbors continue to stir the stinkpot to make up for their own shame that Japan has passed them in both human rights and technology.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

I only ever had to sing God Save the Queen once at my school and that's when we had a royal visit.

But no teacher in UK would refuse to stand up to sing and teach the kids not to, I think. In Japan there are many such teachers.

Cannot?? Has he already started passing laws to ban dissent?

My point is you should listen to J public or read J article more instead of dismissing they are not well informed and criticizing Abe because it is the public that chose him.

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

@mr perfect

so that's how it works.

Yes.

Sorry, is this the first election you've witnessed as an adult or something?

Pick a democracy, any democracy. Any election. You have the party platform and the election issues. Usually there is overlap, but you very rarely find that every part of a platform is covered as an election issue unless the opposition brings it to the fore.

that's how it works.

That's Japan, England, France, America, everywhere.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

The far right parties all lost most of their seats. Ishihara lost his seat. Japan will not turn to the far right. These rightist politicians are elected from far right country bumbkin districts, where the political positions are inherited from father to son. Even Abe is like that. And there has been no re-apportionment in Japan since the war to reflect the great migration of the population to the cities. Japan is not a democracy. Or it is "democracy light".

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japan has passed them in both human rights and technology.

I do not understand, please explain?!?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

hokkaidoguy Dec. 16, 2014 - 10:56PM JST

Usually there is overlap, but you very rarely find that every part of a platform is covered as an election issue unless the opposition brings it to the fore.

It's just impossible for you to find ANYTHING Abe does disturbing to you, isn't it? He can do no wrong in your eyes so continue to defend him from all us liberal hating Japan bashers.

Ignorance is bliss for those who dare not see!

5 ( +5 / -0 )

But no teacher in UK would refuse to stand up to sing and teach the kids not to, I think.

I think you'd be wrong.

The difference is that they would not be required to in the first place.

There are some right-wingers in the UK who think God Save the Queen should be sung in schools, but the most they can do is 'ask' schools to do so; they cannot insist, and not singing is no offence.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

He can do no wrong in your eyes so continue to defend him from all us liberal hating Japan bashers.

J public will watch how Abe will do, if he does something wrong, then he will be pull down. But the main reason he is popular is because of people like you really Chinese, South Koean, or other Japan bashers who do not even know how democracy election system work, and instead of feeling shame, intensifying Japan bashing.

Ignorance is bliss for those who dare not see!

Learn the democratic election and political systems. Its common sense.

-11 ( +1 / -12 )

'But no teacher in UK would refuse to stand up to sing and teach the kids not to, I think. In Japan there are many such teachers.'

Sorry, Tina. You are now in the territory of stunning ignorance if you believe that teachers in the UK wouldn't refuse to stand for the national anthem. The government would not dare to impose such a ludicrous idea on them in the first place. I'm far from a patriot or nationalist but I do respect my country of birth in the sense that we are open enough, mature enough and respectful enough of personal opinion to accept differences of opinion without throwing silly tantrums about being bashers or haters or to use idiotic expressions with 'anti'. I'm far more critical of my own country and its faults than I am of Japan's or any other country. Nobody has the right to tell me to sing a song or salute a flag or debauch the education of children. How dare they? Differences of opinion are healthy - attempting to enforce a nationalist one-fits-all ideology on anybody is an outrage.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Mr prefect

Sorry, but when the best people can come up with is accusations of Nazism, grandiose conspiracy theories and other histrionics I naturally assume an opposing position.

The LDP won the election, and for good or ill we have them.

Want to do something about it? Here's some suggestions for you:

get involved with a local business association. Get yourself known and your voice heard. get involved with the local of whatever party you support and volunteer your time. Get yourself known and your voice heard. naturalize and Vote.

Want to be completely ineffectual? I suppose I could make a list, but you seem to have it down pat.

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

Sorry, but the LDP were elected. Thus they have a mandate.

elected like 1/3 of the voters for 61% of the seat vs 39% of the seats for all the 2/3 of the voters, one should love how the Japanese democracy is representative of the population.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@citizen2000

What do you propose to do about it?

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Made-in-USA constitution may turn Made-in-Japan soon.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

carpboy It's hardly surprising that some classes, in some schools, never get there, and are told by teachers to finish the book in their spare time.

CH3CHO: Substandard journalism. Almost all classes finish the textbook.

Hardly significant. Can't remember any classes I took that finished the textbook. Maybe a few in college, less, maybe one, in high school.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The conservative leader has also said he wants reforms to education that would instill patriotism in schoolchildren and urges a more sympathetic retelling of Japan’s wartime misdeeds.

Except he didn't even mention such a thing during the opening speech and the Q&A that followed. AFP did the same thing with Noda's inaugural speech mentioning "China's threat" when no such word was uttered.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjVlQMxxW4Y

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Abe is doing the right thing!

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

I keep saying, patriotism should never be taught (and really can't be taught) by a country. It has to be earned because when a country's government earns the respect of it's citizens by what it does for it's citizens the citizens will be truly patriotic.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

elected like 1/3 of the voters for 61% of the seat vs 39% of the seats for all the 2/3 of the voters, one should love how the Japanese democracy is representative of the population.

To be precise, 49% of the votes in single‐seat constituencies which resulted in 75% of the seats and 33% of votes in proportional representation which resulted in 38% of the seats.

This is what happens when the opposition (there are many) don't form a coalition during the election. It's really that simple yet some people don't understand the results.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Here he comes!!

You deserve what you get as he received a majority vote. Don't you respect a rule of democracy?

Too bad.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Right, because blind patriotism has worked so well in America, from invading Iraq to waterbaording. Many Japanese people should realize that Patriotism is the reason America dropped the bomb on Hiroshima and won't apologize for it.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

This will totally make students more aware of their beautiful peaceful history and improve relations with China and Korea. Good Job, Abe!

....said no one, ever.**

2 ( +3 / -1 )

So many of the school history books are Whitewashed and now how much more whitewashing does Abe want? I'm really interested to see where this is all going to go.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

bass4funk

Japan is not whitewashing anything. It is China/SK's propaganda. If you live in Japan, you can see textbooks at major bookstores. You can check SK textbook in net. In Japan, unlike China/SK, no censorship, so impossible to whitewash.

-9 ( +2 / -10 )

Abe San is flip flopping his way to power all the way. remember what he said a few years ago? he won't restart nuclear?

hokkaido san and watanabe san can kiss my ass. you guys are the worst, as you guys understand what is going on but all you do is to play the good old "when in rome..." tune.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Japan is not whitewashing anything.

If you believe that, they've already whitewashed you.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

@drakedogma And patriotism is what prevents the Japanese people from realizing why they needed two nukes. So ya know, every country has its problems.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

In Japan, unlike China/SK, no censorship, so impossible to whitewash.

So presumably the next time NHK make a documentary that shows the emperor or the WW2 government in a bad light, neither Abe nor anyone else in the LDP will put pressure on them to edit out the bits they don't like?

4 ( +6 / -2 )

hokkaidoguy Dec. 17, 2014 - 12:29AM JST

Mr prefect

Sorry, but when the best people can come up with is accusations of Nazism, grandiose conspiracy theories and other histrionics I naturally assume an opposing position.

Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso is the one who brought up Nazism (quietly slipping a new constitution past the noses of the citizenry) and since you haven't condemn him for doing so I'm assuming you support his remarks!

hokkaidoguy Dec. 17, 2014 - 12:29AM JST

Want to do something about it? Here's some suggestions for you: - get involved with a local business association. Get yourself known and your voice heard. - get involved with the local of whatever party you support and volunteer your time. Get yourself known and your voice heard. - naturalize and Vote.

That is excellent advice and I commend you but I chose not to naturalize and have the right to vote. Is this what is expected of us who choose to live, work (pay taxes, pension and health care), settle down and raise a family to have a right to speak. I'm am not Japanese nor would I ever be looked at or accepted as one and although I find this completely unacceptable, I put up and live with it. But I will not tolerate being told the only time I may express myself or have an opinion is if my passport is issued by Tokyo by people who use that as a cop-out as they can't logically defending their own positions.

hokkaidoguy Dec. 17, 2014 - 12:29AM JST

Want to be completely ineffectual? I suppose I could make a list, but you seem to have it down pat.

I notice condescending and personal attacks are frequently used by some but I choose to be informed and seek the facts and the truth and refrain from taking cheap shots, as best I can, and that my friend is far more important and a lot more than others can say!

3 ( +7 / -4 )

@ tinawatanabe

Do you really try to deny that there is an ongoing controversy regarding Japanese history textbooks? If so you must be either rather naive, ignorant or paid by the Japanese government.

In most cases its not about outright censorship, but rather the typical mix of carrot-and-stick approach with pressuring critical minds and rewarding the publishers and education boards that dance after the pipe of the Ministry of Education.

The textbook controversy between liberal historians, publishing houses and the governmental Textbook Authorization and Research Council is ongoing since decades and Saburo Ienaga is a famous example of an individual standing up against this quasi censorship. He won several trials agains the Japanese Government and it is only due to his endurance that there are Japanese textbooks that contain outspoken references to Unit 731 and the Nanking Massacre. The Ministry of Education would have loved to omit such clear references to Japanese "negative" wartime issues.

Just very recently the textbook quasi censorship became a big issue again in Okinawas Taketomi cho where the local education board refused to use a government sanctioned textbook, because it omits important facts about the Okinawan WWII battle. Only because the strong minded individuals in the education board stud up agains the pressuring and intimidation from the Ministry of Education did they succeed, at least for the time being.

With Abe in for another 4 years we will surely be able to witness some enhanced textbook controversies, as he will try to impose his view on history and Japaneseness as much as possible.

And please tinawatanabe, don't point fingers at China and South Korea again, that's a different topic and not part of the Abe discussion.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

that's a different topic and not part of the Abe discussion.

None of What you said in your long post are part of the Abe discussion.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

Of course it is! You might have noticed the instill patriotism in schools in the title, tinawatanabe? How do you think this going to happen? Not only by singing the kimigayo up and down, but through the textbook "authorization" process I was describing above.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I saw Abe's speech, he did not say anything " patriotism in schoolchildren and urges a more sympathetic retelling of Japan's wartime misdeeds."

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Shimazaki,Patriotic is a love of one's country. Nationalistic is a hate of others.

Watanabe,This thread is for opinions,If you consider them "bashing"then I have to say that I have been listening to "America bashing "for 25 years and I am not American.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I saw Abe's speech, he did not say anything " patriotism in schoolchildren and urges a more sympathetic retelling of Japan's wartime misdeeds."

That's not what the article said. It merely noted that he had in fact expressed those views, not when he expressed them. Or do you dispute that he ever said anything like that?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Following his recent landslide election victory, some political pundits perceive Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as a strong leader. If a bully is perceived as strong, then Abe is certainly strong. More realistically Abe comes closer to being a 21st Century version of Adolf Hitler. This man, who's passion it is to restore the glory of Japanese militarism to pre-World War Two standards while denying the atrocities committed by Japan during WWII, ie. rape, torture, enslavement, murder and forced prostitution (comfort women) must be perceived as a security threat to not only southeast Asia, but also as an international security threat to the world. We live in the nuclear age where the weapons of choice are nuclear weapons possessed by the world's most powerful industrial nations. For Abe to compete on the illusory world stage as a "normal" power, he must develop nuclear weapons inside Japan, otherwise he will be seen as a paper tiger. To develop nuclear weapons at the current destructive level is to play a form of nuclear roulette with his own people. Can Mr. Abe afford that legacy?

1 ( +4 / -3 )

David3DEC. 17, 2014 - 12:15PM JST We live in the nuclear age where the weapons of choice are nuclear weapons possessed by the world's most powerful industrial nations. For Abe to compete on the illusory world stage as a "normal" power, he must develop nuclear weapons inside Japan, otherwise he will be seen as a paper tiger. To develop nuclear weapons at the current destructive level is to play a form of nuclear roulette with his own people. Can Mr. Abe afford that legacy?

The start of the Rokkasho Nuclear Waste Recycling Plant certainly makes you statements kind of plausible. It will produce Plutonium and thereby add to the already huge stockpile of 44tons located in Japan.

http://www.publicintegrity.org/2014/04/11/14582/japan-reaffirms-its-plan-produce-plutonium

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

That's not what the article said. It merely noted that he had in fact expressed those views, not when he expressed them. Or do you dispute that he ever said anything like that?

What we are seeing is an example of biased reporting. We are clearly meant to think it is actually in the speech, but with jjust enough maneuvering room when it gets busted like this, one can retreat and say something like you said.

Surely, you can't be supportive of such dishonest tactics.

Shimazaki,Patriotic is a love of one's country. Nationalistic is a hate of others.

In which case, Abe is on safe territory. Tell me, even if every mention of Nanking and comfort women is excised from a Japanese history textbok, what would be in it to make them hate other countries. If anything, America would seem to be in the most disadvantageous position (it nuked Japan after all).

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

What we are seeing is an example of biased reporting. We are clearly meant to think it is actually in the speech, but with jjust enough maneuvering room when it gets busted like this, one can retreat and say something like you said.

I think anyone who wants to interpret a sentence containing "has also said" as referring to that specific speech is being deliberately stupid. I see nothing wrong with providing context for his remarks.

Surely, you can't be supportive of such dishonest tactics.

I didn't think at any point that what he'd said before was in the speech, and I suspect that the only people that would are looking for excuses to bash leftist bias in the media. If people can't or won't read an article properly it's not the newspaper's fault how they misinterpret it.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

do you dispute that he ever said anything like that?

Yes, he did not say any such thing as "patriotism" or "textbook" or "rewrite Constitution". He only answered to some woman reporter's question about the Constitution, he only briefly refered to the things written in the campaign promise,

Maybe the woman is from AFP for this article?

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

I think anyone who wants to interpret a sentence containing "has also said" as referring to that specific speech is being deliberately stupid. I see nothing wrong with providing context for his remarks.

Then they could have said something like "In the past" or "In another speech". When your subject is on a speech, and you say "also", most people read it as "another part of the same speech".

By the way, providing context is in itself politically biased. You can give a neutral statement a negative connotation just by providing your choice of reference. Further, as the number of things referenced increase, verifiability decreases. Abe's speech today can be scanned for whether the part is there at all, and if yes, whether it was taken out of context or given a more negative connotation than it deserves. Such checks obviously become impractical when the newspaper tries to make a vague reference. It becomes a game of proving the negative through countless speeches.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

do you dispute that he ever said anything like that?

Yes, he did not say any such thing as "patriotism" or "textbook" or "rewrite Constitution". He only answered to some woman reporter's question about the Constitution, he only briefly refered to the things written in the campaign promise,

Tina, the word 'ever' means at anytime in his career/time as PM. Has Abe never said he would like the Constitution rewritten? Has he never said Japanese schools need to teach patriotism? A politician is accountable for his words, and until he said he changed his position it is public record.

Then they could have said something like "In the past" or "In another speech". When your subject is on a speech, and you say "also", most people read it as "another part of the same speech"

Kauaki. Please compare. 1. Abe also said... 2. Abe has also said..... The word has clearly indicates that it is a time in the past.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

tinawatanabe and Kazuaki Shimazaki

interesting enough both of you are using formalities to try to divert from the main discussion about the content of Abe's political agenda.

It is perfectly ok to point out any ambiguities in the media coverage, but if you then don't get back to the main discussion about political contents you become pettifoggers.

There's absolutely no doubt that Abe talked about rewriting the constitution and that he has repeatedly stated he want's patriotism playing a more prominent role in the school curriculum. If you want to deny that please provide us with references.

The main question is will Abe focus on economic reforms and really manage to improve the situation (something almost everybody is suspicious about), as promised before the Dec. 14th bogus election, or will he get back to his pet agenda and try to again force his system of authoritarian and nationalistic values onto everybody.

I bet that we will witness the latter, as Abe won't be able to get through with real reforms and then try to cover up his failure with a murky discussion about patriotism and Japaneseness,

but we will see.

I'm looking forward to continuing this discussion in two or three years, with a certain uneasiness though.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

justbecuz and bamboo

What's the point of asking about ever?This AFP article's title is,

"Abe vows to rewrite constitution, instill patriotism in schools"

which is not correct. He did not say anything about them in the Monday vows. As I wrote in my first post in this thread, this is AFP's effort to make Abe look militalistic or whatever the posters here are saying about him.

Another point of mine above is,

Abe won the majority, and high approval ratings. Whatever he chooses, it is what J public chooses. Japan faces national security risk now. You should watch China, SK, NK etc. Japan is the last country you should worry about becoming war monger. If you can not see that, you are done brainwashed by China/SK propaganda.

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

think anyone who wants to interpret a sentence containing "has also said" as referring to that specific speech is being deliberately stupid. I see nothing wrong with providing context for his remarks.

interesting enough both of you are using formalities to try to divert from the main discussion about the content of Abe's political agenda.

Mind boggling excuses. Please read the headline. Please read the first sentence of the article.

Abe did not mention ANYTHING remotely close to "instill patriotism in schools". If so, please point out to me at which point of the linked video.

This is simply another 'biased' reporting from Western sources targeted to people who have no comprehension of the Japanese language. Stop with the excuses.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

This is simply another 'biased' reporting from Western sources targeted to people who have no comprehension of the Japanese language. Stop with the excuses.

Yes, because all of western media is tainted and only the Japanese know the real truth.

It has been written about it numerous places. Find it yourself if you are too lazy.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Yes, because all of western media is tainted and only the Japanese know the real truth.

Better yet, point out to me where he vows to "instill patriotism in schools" in his Monday speech and the Q&A that followed.

Bottom line. You can't.

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

Was going to go googling yesterday for a transcript of link nigelboy posted of Abe's speech to see if Abe really did "instill patriotism in schools", but then noticed the article said "Abe has also said", so probably nigelboy would be right.

Leading with Abe's speech but putting other stuff in the headline does seem misleading.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

In his speech Abe clearly referred to rewriting the constitution and he also mentioned Kyouikusaisei. It is true that he didn't directly mention "instill patriotism in schools" in the dec. 15th press conference, but I and most of the posters here didn't claim so.

I suppose for some funny reason quite a lot of people think about "instilling patriotism in schools" when they hear Abe say Kyouikusaisei... Could it be because that this is what he stresses most if he talks about education?

Abe won the majority, and high approval ratings. Whatever he chooses, it is what J public chooses.

Very odd way to put it. If you replace the J with NK it sounds a bit like a support group for Kim Jong-un.

In a democracy the public is not destined to choose what the elected leader chooses. The people are delegating power through elections, but they are not becoming subject to what ever the elected leaders choose.

Abe's approval ratings are around 40% (is that high in Japan?) and he was elected by a majority of the electorate which translates to 40 something percent of 53% of the eligible voters. According to my math this is roughly 25% of the eligible voting population of Japan. That doesn't sound like a very strong mandate of the Japanese people.

But of course who doesn't vote gives his/her vote away to the minority that votes for Abe and thus becomes a majority.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

In his speech Abe clearly referred to rewriting the constitution and he also mentioned Kyouikusaisei

Tell me at what point?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjVlQMxxW4Y

This is getting ridiculous.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

@ nigelboy

at around 5:00 when he states Keizai dake deha arimasen...

1 ( +3 / -2 )

"instill patriotism in schools" gets "about 6,780" hits on google ...

notably from a 2007 NY Times article by Norimitsu Onishi that was reprinted by various papers from the NYT news service, about Abe's defeat in the elections then.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/30/world/asia/30japan.html

Governing Party in Japan Suffers Election Defeat

Japan’s governing Liberal Democratic Party suffered a crushing defeat Sunday in the election for the upper house of Parliament, but Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vowed that he would not step down. ...

... In a devastating rebuke to Mr. Abe, angry voters punished him for his mishandling of bread-and-butter issues and for a series of scandals in a government seemingly in disarray. Past prime ministers have resigned in the face of similar losses, but Mr. Abe, even before all the votes were counted, tried to head off inevitable questions about his leadership. ...

... Using parliamentary majorities he had inherited from his popular predecessor, Junichiro Koizumi, Mr. Abe rammed through laws to instill patriotism in schools, elevate the status of Japan’s military and prepare for a referendum on revising the pacifist Constitution.

The drubbing was not a rejection of Mr. Abe’s nationalist goals but a notice that they came after the economy and competent leadership in importance. ...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"経済だけではありません。東日本大震災からの復興も、また教育の再生についても、あるいは外交・安全保障の立て直しも、まだ道半ばであります。"

That's it? Kyouiku no saisei ni tsuitemo?

And to continue, where on earth does this translates to "instill patriotrism in schools" when LDP manifesto, under the <教育再生の実行とスポーツの振興を> pg 21 lists NO SUCH THING?

http://jimin.ncss.nifty.com/pdf/news/policy/126585_1.pdf

How on earth can you come up with the conclusion that "Could it be because that this is what he stresses most if he talks about education?"

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

No more bickering please.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

as the article turbotsat cites calls to mind in 2007 Abes patriotic agenda became a central focus and one of the main reasons for Abe's failure then. Especially his murky ideas about how patriotism should be dealt with in schools was a point of discussion and created some uneasiness.

Since then Abe is very careful with clear wording about his ideas on patriotism in general and education in particular, but I don't see that he has changed his beliefs and if you look into the constitution draft of the LDP patriotism in one or another form is the central topic.

To me there is no doubt that Abe and his fellows will again try to instill this into the school curricula in one or another way and if you look at what is already happening in schools the wind has changed a lot since Abe took power. Educators already feel a growing pressure to at least appear patriotic and only the strong minded withstand such latent pressure.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

as the article turbotsat cites calls to mind in 2007 Abes patriotic agenda became a central focus and one of the main reasons for Abe's failure then. Especially his murky ideas about how patriotism should be dealt with in schools was a point of discussion and created some uneasiness.

And as a result, this was added on to the Basic Act on Education

"...to foster an attitude to respect our traditions and culture, love the country and region that nurtured them, together with respect for other countries and a desire to contribute to world peace and the development of the international community..."

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Let hope that all these (re-writting of constitution, instilling of patriotism in schools) are only jokes. After all, politicians here are quite keen in telling jokes, especially when it comes to issues like forced sex labour during WWII which they called it comfort women or the general destruction of the asia-pacific, and others.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

nigelboy Dec. 18, 2014 - 08:48AM JST

And as a result, this was added on to the Basic Act on Education

"...to foster an attitude to respect our traditions and culture, love the country and region that nurtured them,..."

I'm curious, how does one teach others to foster an attitude to respect traditions, culture and to love the country and region that nurtured them. How does one asses and grade a student's ability in these categories? Would it be through testing, ability to recite by memory various information etc.... What do you do if a child or their parents want to opt-out for say, religious reasons or that they perceive this so-called education to be in contrast to their political views. Do they get booted from school or do they fail or are the students reprimanded or punished for failure to abide by the acts that are presented by the Ministry of Education?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@ Mr Perfect

The same or very similar questions have been asked by worried parents and educators when Abe embarked on his first mission to instill more patriotism in schools in 2007 and his inconsistent answers apparently didn't help ease the worries.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"...to foster an attitude to respect our traditions and culture, love the country and region that nurtured them, together with respect for other countries and a desire to contribute to world peace and the development of the international community..."

Nigel, you often talk about needing to read original sources, which I believe is partially true. But In order to help develop the international community, perhaps Abe can start here at home and care a little more about the foreigners here who you seem to believe 'could never fully understand Japanese' and provide more detailed information about what he means about 'revising textbooks' and 'installing moral education' (both mention in the link about his policies you provided) and also more about the proposed constitutional reforms his party is pushing.

More heavily mentioned in his education plan is English education, which will require a large amount of foreigners to reside in Japan. If there is fear about limitations on freedom of speech and human or individual rights, it will effect his plan. As a member of the international community, and needing the support of foreigners (who work, pay taxes, spend money in Japan, contribute to business and education, not to mention many have children who will help the population and be enrolled in schools) SOME (not absolute) responsibility to properly convey the information in English falls on the Japanese government.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

justbcuzisay Dec. 18, 2014 - 09:59AM JST

As a member of the international community, and needing the support of foreigners (who work, pay taxes, spend money in Japan, contribute to business and education, not to mention many have children who will help the population and be enrolled in schools) SOME (not absolute) responsibility to properly convey the information in English falls on the Japanese government.

The answer you WILL get from him is it's YOUR responsibility to learn Japanese if you wish to live here and you should make an earnest effort to foster an attitude of respect for Japanese language, traditions and culture, love this country with all your heart and the region that is now nurturing you! And by chance you fail to do any of the above, well...., shut up and go home gaijin.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

But In order to help develop the international community, perhaps Abe can start here at home and care a little more about the foreigners here who you seem to believe 'could never fully understand Japanese' and provide more detailed information about what he means about 'revising textbooks' and 'installing moral education' (both mention in the link about his policies you provided) and also more about the proposed constitutional reforms his party is pushing.

I don't even think there's a whole lot of information about it in Japanese. Everything about Abe's plans seems to be vague and ambiguous, especially the so-called "third arrow" stuff which I seriously doubt he has any real intention of going through with.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

justbcuz

The Constitution and education are internal affairs, and interefering in the matters is violation of International Law. If you are interfering Japan's business, fine. But not the Constitution and education.

If there is fear about limitations on freedom of speech and human or individual rights, it will effect his plan.

There is no such limitations in Japan. Show evidence.

responsibility to properly convey the information in English falls on the Japanese government.

It is very difficult when non-Japanese are so easily fooled by western journalism like AFP, and wouldn't listen to and trust Japanese public and govt.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Tina-I did not say we want to change or influence anything. I said we want to be informed of information that affects out daily lives.

And, yes I came to a country with no restrictions on those rights, but if the LDP drafted constitution intends to change that, I would like to be informed so I can make decisions for my life accordingly.

Lastly, I was giving suggestions for improving international relations, the attitude 'that would never understand' is not a good start to strive for peace and mutual understanding

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@citizen2000 What do you propose to do about it?

@hokkaidoguy , A representative election system where 1 vote = 1 vote everywhere in Japan and the seats to be distributed proportionally, I am still puzzled why this is not the case. Equality of all during the vote is even more important since Japanese people do not elect directly their Prime Minister and, so far, this is a not representative part of the population which is electing PM in Japan.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

justbcuz

I read both language papers every day. I understand both cultures of Japan and west. And I say, west journalism toward Japan is not accurate at all to say the least. Even NYT Tokyo branch is writing eccentrically about Japan for decades. Dire situation. So, you have to read Japanese information for the balanced view about Japan.

Changing the Constitution would takes time if ever happens, so you'll have plenty of time to make your life plan. LDP alone doesn't have 2/3 seats in either houses, and also has to go thru national referendum. Even Abe admits its hurdle is high.

But if you ask me, with constant bashing from China/SK and west who are brainwashed by those two propaganda, and China's intention to grab Okinawa and onward to the west pacific and SE, Japan would be in a dangerous situation if stays the same.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Thank you for telling us what you really think, Tina.

Much more appreciated than beating around the bush. Because I think this is what most people suspect the current government to be doing.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@tina

I read both language papers every day. I understand both cultures of Japan and west.

i think it fair to say that there are also alot of foreigners who read both papers (or watch tv) and understand both cultures as well. i mean if u try to consider speaking from other's lenses.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Tina-I understand you know English and Japanese. I find it a little rude that you acuse westerners of being incapable of understanding Japanese feelings, but claim you are capable of understanding 'western culture' which is a ridiculous statement Considering how that is multiple countries, which have very different cultures and a higher emphasis on individual thought, so various types of thinking within one country ( which for the record I beleive Japan also has a wide range of thinking) I want to improve relations and mutual understanding. How about you? Is your goal 鎖国?

5 ( +5 / -1 )

LDP alone doesn't have 2/3 seats in either houses, and also has to go thru national referendum. Even Abe admits its hurdle is high.

Yes, because hardly anyone cares. The LDP can win general elections by getting their over-represented rural base out to vote while everyone else remains apathetic, but a referendum on a topic that doesn't really make much of a difference to anyone, when a majority of people polled by Kyodo disagree with Abe's national security ideas? Any talk of revising the constitution when the government should be focused entirely on the economy is a massive waste of time.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I want to improve relations and mutual understanding. How about you? Is your goal 鎖国?

At least Japan does not interfere and criticize other countries' affairs. How about you? Is your goal changing Japan? I think Japan already has good relation with other countries except a few.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

At least Japan does not interfere and criticize other countries' affairs.

If that is the case, it's Japan has in common with China - the very country the right-wingers revile. If Abe has his way in changing the constitution this is going to change however. As for good relations - Japan could enjoy good relations with all countries if it did the following: sincerely teach the true facts of WW2 to its youth, apologise unequivocally to the sex slaves - and admit the government's role in their coercion - and cease whaling in Antarctica. As for Abe, he is turning more dictator-like day by day

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

I would really like to have more Japanese nationals to participate in this discussion. Now it is fuelled by the opinion of mainly one person, who gets a lot of people upset by claiming to speak for the whole of the Japanese people.

2 ( +4 / -3 )

Tinawatanabe--"But if you ask me, with constant bashing from China/SK and west who are brainwashed by those two propaganda, and China's intention to grab Okinawa and onward to the west pacific and SE, Japan would be in a dangerous situation if stays the same."

This way of thinking is whats leading Japan down the same road it took in the 30's prior to WW2. I think you must be a paid poster from the LDP.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

The school thing really bothers me having a young child, who I was intending to put through the state school system. A child can acquire patriotism through being nurtured in a good society and taught good, useful things in life. Patriotic brainwashing really sucks and is not any different to what happens in countries like China and North Korea, a slippery slope. Abe has clearly shown he wants a chest thumping nation, walking around with their noses in the air because they 'believe' they are the best, as opposed to stating that he wants to address the social issues. I am becoming more and more dismayed with the political situation here.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Yep, Abe wants a "beautiful" Japan. (Ironic)

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Christopher GlenDEC. 18, 2014 - 01:14PM JST

If that is the case, it's Japan has in common with China - the very country the right-wingers revile. If Abe has his way in changing the constitution this is going to change however. As for good relations - Japan could enjoy good relations with all countries if it did the following: sincerely teach the true facts of WW2 to its youth, apologise unequivocally to the sex slaves - and admit the government's role in their coercion - and cease whaling in Antarctica. As for Abe, he is turning more dictator-like day by day

You are aware, Glen, of the difference between good relations and unconditional surrender. And I'm skeptical it'd happen even if such a case happens. Frankly, Germany was lucky to be surrounded by countries that needed it. In a sense, Germany should thank the Soviet Union for its rapid reacceptance. Facing that perceived threat, all the West needed a fast conciliation. Germany saw that and kowtowed. The West in its rush for a quick "settlement" settled and began sending out propaganda waves. 40 years later everything is mostly sealed.

The same conditions simply don't exist in East Asia. Korea simply doesn't need to reconciliate with Japan, because of Japan's minimal defense policy. Ironically, Korean-Japanese relationships might be better if Japan has a few divisions under CFC command.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Korea simply doesn't need to reconciliate with Japan

I argue the opposite. Japan doesn't want to do what is necessary to be reconciled with South Korea.

and began sending out propaganda waves

What propaganda waves? Oh you mean that German school actually teach their kids about what the Nazis did.

In a sense, Germany should thank the Soviet Union for its rapid reacceptance What rapid reacceptance? Khruschev put up the wall in 1961 which was responsible for keeping the country "divided" for a further 28 years. The Soviet Union had no interest in seeing a united Germany.

And if Abe has anything to do with it, his bid to "instill patriotism in schools" means that Japanese kids will be learning a "sunshine and roses" version of history in the near future

-1 ( +2 / -4 )

To equate criticism of a political position or the conduct of a politician with misunderstanding a whole nation is a big mistake, tinawatanabe.

Though there might be some "Japan bashers" around (like there are for any nation), the majority of posters here, including me, are fond of Japan and express their opinion because they care about Japan, not because they hate Japan or are indifferent.

Being critical is a basic condition of democracy and only if there are enough critical thinking citizens can a democracy survive. Unfortunately a lesson that the LDP political establishment still has to learn.

Abe is not equal Japan and in my surroundings there are plenty of Japanese who are very critical of Abe and his politics... now, tinawatanabe, are they anti-Japanese?

My criticism towards Abe is not at all about his "Japaneseness", but about what he says and how he acts. In my eyes, and in the eyes of many of my dear Japanese friends, his stance is often undermining basic democratic values and if the LDP revision of the constitution should ever get through Japan will be a much less free and democratic country then now.

The way people like tinawatanabe try to divide a political argument along the borders of nationality and culture (e.g. west vers. east, Japan vers. China and South Korea, etc.) is very convenient, but it fosters a culture of tensions, mutual accusations and often hate.

Unfortunately this dividing way of thinking seems to be gaining ground in Japan, as it is in China and Korea.

2 ( +4 / -3 )

(me) I did not say we want to change or influence anything. I said we want to be informed of information that affects out daily lives.

(tina)It is very difficult when non-Japanese are so easily fooled by western journalism like AFP, and wouldn't listen to and trust Japanese public and govt.

(me)I want to improve relations and mutual understanding. How about you? Is your goal 鎖国?

(tina)At least Japan does not interfere and criticize other countries' affairs. How about you? Is your goal changing Japan? I think Japan already has good relation with other countries except a few.

I told you my goals, clearly stating I do not want to change Japan. It is such a shame with your high level of writing skills, you are once again completely misunderstanding every word I say. No one here is trying to hurt your country.... I hope you find peace one day in your life. I won't reply again out of respect for other readers and the moderators.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Christopher GlenDEC. 18, 2014 - 04:42PM JST

I argue the opposite. Japan doesn't want to do what is necessary to be reconciled with South Korea.

Well, I won't argue there's also a grain of truth in this argument. The more salient point is whether South Korea actually can be realistically "bought".

What propaganda waves? Oh you mean that German school actually teach their kids about what the Nazis did.

No, that's not the propaganda wave. To put it simply, Glen, why do we even accept apologies? Because at some point, it is to our detriment to not do so. We have to work with our neighbors and co-workers again. Society needs you to do it too, so the pressure is on for one side to apologize, but at least as important, for the other side to accept the apology. You hold out for too long, even if you were the one initially wronged, now you are wrong.

The need to do that was very high in Cold War Europe. The West needed Germany reasonably strong again, economically of course, but also to put up 12 divisions against the "Soviet threat". Of course, it doesn't mean Germany did not apologize quite deeply, but once that happened, everyone is willing to settle.

There are always choices. For example, when a German does apologize, how do you react? Praise for the "brave, courageous act" or something more muted and a "We Expect More!" Germany raises another division or upgrades equipment - is it acting as a "reliable ally in NATO" or is it the reignition of Germany's imperialist ambitions? Oh no, a NeoNazi - an individual case unworthy of report (which will only be free advertisment) or a time for a hysteric explosion? In the regular programming in between incidents, do you portray Germany as a country that has apologized, or as one that can do more apologizing?

For 40 years, choices were made in one direction in the interests of solidarity versus the Soviet threat. The result is clear. Not only is Germany famous for being "the country that apologized", but the Wehrmacht or even Waffen-SS can be adulated without touching their uh ... darker sides.

That's the "propaganda wave".

Khruschev put up the wall in 1961 which was responsible for keeping the country "divided" for a further 28 years. The Soviet Union had no interest in seeing a united Germany.

Oh, the East German officials had no interest in keeping their posts? But that's not what I'm on anyway. In a hypothetical world where the Cold War does not happen, Germany's (especially if United) acceptance won't have come as easily. It is potentially the strongest country in Europe except for the Soviet Union. It is in the UK, France, Poland ... almost everybody's interest to keep it weak and fragmented, or at least indecisive, unable to use its weight. Call me a cynic, but I believe in such a circumstance, no matter how low the Germans bow, you'll be seeing something much more similar to Japan today. Suspicion and demands at every turn, trying to probe out the highest price the Germans are willing to pay for the fiction of good relations. No one will accept apologies because acceptance means giving up the right to demand more - where there's no hurry, what's the rush?

As it is, it was not only the Soviet Union that got concerned when the two Germanies re-united. Even in 1990. If it happened in 1960, the results are not hard to imagine.

And if Abe has anything to do with it, his bid to "instill patriotism in schools" means that Japanese kids will be learning a "sunshine and roses" version of history in the near future

Which may turn out to not be all that harmful. Because let's face it, suppose tomorrow some evidence shows up that shows Nanking, sex-slaves and all that to be completely a Sino-Western conspiracy, with evidence so strong it breaks through the current resistance - with the West and even the Chinese accepting the new history. In such a world, would Japan necessarily grow aggressive? I don't think so. In fact, it might feel even less need to grow aggressive. That Nanking and sex slaves don't exist does not mean such an act becomes right, after all.

@bam_booDEC. 18, 2014 - 04:47PM JST

To equate criticism of a political position or the conduct of a politician with misunderstanding a whole nation is a big mistake, tinawatanabe.

The criticism of a singular position or politician is not necessarily anti-Japan or failure to understand it. However, if you criticize a large number of positions at once, it is hard not to come to that conclusion.

At least as important, your attempts to portray yourself as just critical, not anti-Japan might be helped if you respond to a message telling you that Western media has misled you on an issue with something other than trying to minimize it or considering it off-topic.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

The more salient point is whether South Korea actually can be realistically "bought".

Are you referring to bribery, or the idea that the Japanese government admits to its role in the coercion of sex slaves in WW2. That might do the trick. That and dropping claim to Dokdo / Takeshima

As it is, it was not only the Soviet Union that got concerned when the two Germanies re-united

Supporting links please. By that time few people were concerned because the West German government at least - had gone out of its way to make amends for WW2. On the other hand can Japan say that what happened in Nanking, Unit 731, POWs, sex slaves - is being taught to today's anime-obsessed youth?

Praise for the "brave, courageous act" or something more muted and a "We Expect More!"

Do you see French, Polish, Belgian, Dutch, Czech people etc, getting angry over Germany's interpretation of history? No. That is because what the Germans are teaching is what truly happened. So again, if Abe has anything to do with it, Japanese people will be goose-stepping to the kimigayo in the near future

1 ( +3 / -2 )

related to the post above by Shimazaki: Touchy subject about the German past can be discussed without touching "darker sides", because the darker sides where processed and discussed, researched and dissected time over time again by national and foreign historians SINCE 1945.

But first and foremost the Germans ACCEPTED the unlawful acts of the Nazi Regime. This was the initial step to become the strongest economic power in Europe despite its past. So, the tensions inside and outside could slowly disappear.

So, what is Japan fearing from doing the same academic work in cooperation with its Asian/Global peers about its past?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

So, what is Japan fearing from doing the same academic work in cooperation with its Asian/Global peers about its past?

Um, apparently Japan deleted many of its own "records" in the closing days of the war - as well as handing over all their Unit 731 research to the Americans with appreciation. But never fear Japan, all of East and South East Asia has records of their own - as well as every country that fought against the IJA. Of course Abe would have you believe your rampage through Asia was a well meant "business venture". Don't believe him

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Glen: I don't want to encourage blame games or conspiracy theories any further, because reading Shimazaki/Watanabes Post I see them having deep rooted fear of diffuse powers "against Japan". First only China,SK and US. Now as we are 250 posts deep in this thread it seems they believe, that all of Asia and the "West" is trying to blame Japan into a position, so Japan has to give a apology Shimazaki is not even sure will be accepted... whatever this means.

So, I guess the best way to end the "dark ages" Japan seems to be in (the opinion of most other non J National posters in this thread) lies in the long and painful way of academic, diplomatic and (maybe morst important) personal relationship building.

From my short experience with Japanese academics I know that there are a lot of connection to SE Asia, China and Korea. Knowing this, I am really wondering why there is still so much friction/distrust on fundamental levels. Where lies the disconnect between politics, academics and people's life?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I told you my goals, clearly stating I do not want to change Japan.

justbcuz, You said

I want to improve relations and mutual understanding. How about you? Is your goal 鎖国?

sounds you want Japan to change. As a matter of fact, I don't know what you are talking about. You said you want information about Japan, so I said read Japanese papers too for balanced view.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

so I said read Japanese papers too for balanced view.

Balanced view, with the secrecy law now in effect? Please........ Abe's hinomaru swathed vision of Japan marches on...

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@ Kazuaki Shimazaki

The criticism of a singular position or politician is not necessarily anti-Japan or failure to understand it. However, if you criticize a large number of positions at once, it is hard not to come to that conclusion.

If one feels something is wrong does it matter whether it is against a small number or a large number. Also a majority or a large number of people can do the wrong thing as history teaches us. In my eyes the main question is if the criticism is reasonable or not.

if you respond to a message telling you that Western media has misled you on an issue with something other than trying to minimize it or considering it off-topic.

Yes, I do admit that the title of this article is misleading,

though please note that my criticism of Abe is not based on this article.

About the how to deal with ones past discussion...

In my eyes the main reason that Germany has managed to re-establish such good relations with its neighbors is because it was able to empathize with the suffering it had created.

Furthermore as a nation it was able to express this empathy with the victims of its rage in a convincing way, not once or twice, but manifold until the intention of the German people got through.

To say sorry and pay money is one thing, to make oneself fully understood by the other who was suffering massively as a result of your action is another. At times I believe it was frustrating for Germans too, not to be heard right away, but it seems Germans really wanted to be understood without doubts and finally managed to.

There definitely were Japanese politicians who have managed to express empathy with the victims of its war rage in a convincing way, but can we say that for the political establishment, in particular the LDP and Abe? I don't feel so.

Even though the situation seems to be deteriorating at the moment, I do believe it is not too late and Japan has the power to establish a much better relation with its neighbors... if it really wants.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Even though the situation seems to be deteriorating at the moment, I do believe it is not too late

Bamboo, No, I think it's too late. I'm sure the situation will detereioate further.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

I'm curious, how does one teach others to foster an attitude to respect traditions, culture and to love the country and region that nurtured them. How does one asses and grade a student's ability in these categories? Would it be through testing, ability to recite by memory various information etc.... What do you do if a child or their parents want to opt-out for say, religious reasons or that they perceive this so-called education to be in contrast to their political views. Do they get booted from school or do they fail or are the students reprimanded or punished for failure to abide by the acts that are presented by the Ministry of Education?

It's simply one of five 'Objectives of Education' added to the law which includes

' to foster an attitude to acquire wide-ranging knowledge and culture, and to seek the truth, cultivate a rich sensibility and sense of morality, while developing a healthy body.'

' to develop the abilities of individuals while respecting their value; cultivate their creativity; foster a spirit of autonomy and independence; and foster an attitude to value labor while emphasizing the connections with career and practical life.'

'to foster an attitude to value justice, responsibility, equality between men and women, mutual respect and cooperation, and actively contribute, in the public spirit, to the building and development of society.'

'to foster an attitude to respect life, care for nature, and contribute to the protection of the environment.'

Don't know of any 'political views' that are contrast to this.

Nigel, you often talk about needing to read original sources, which I believe is partially true. But In order to help develop the international community, perhaps Abe can start here at home and care a little more about the foreigners here who you seem to believe 'could never fully understand Japanese' and provide more detailed information about what he means about 'revising textbooks' and 'installing moral education' (both mention in the link about his policies you provided) and also more about the proposed constitutional reforms his party is pushing.

Why is there such a need? I may sound rude but have you made any efforts to comprehend the 'actual' debates within Japan about the education system instead of believing word for word like this article states? You stated 'revising textbooks'. Where did you come up with this? Let me guess. From another Western media sources who comes up with this boiler plate BS that's repeated on and on, right? Is it indicated in the latest LDP manifest? Was it even indicated in the 2012 Manifest? If not, ask yourself WHY you keeping repeating this 'revising textbooks' stuff?

So to sum it up, there is no need for Abe and the government of Japan to engage in a 'straw man' debate with this type of journalism.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Nigelboy, Good or Bad, it is the default international language and thus English-speaking natives are in Japan. My point was if the government feels that they are misrepresented in the English press, they have the OPTION to make the information available in English. I can read Japanee articles all day long, but guess what? I know full well my opinion means nothing. I don't know why you even care what I say.

'Textbook revisions' are mentioned in your provided link, under education reform, but not in detail.

http://jimin.ncss.nifty.com/pdf/news/policy/126585_1.pdf

日本の領土に関する記述を充実させるとともに、新しい教科書検定基準に基づく教科書検定を進めます。

1 ( +2 / -1 )

日本の領土に関する記述を充実させるとともに、新しい教科書検定基準に基づく教科書検定を進めます。

Good. Where does it say kyoukasho kijyutsu shuusei? It doesn't.

You are merely projecting your bias with a touch of magical leap to come up with the conclusion that the above is 'textbook revision'.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Fine, you 'win', The new textbooks are obviously going to be exactly the same as the old ones. It is just a ploy by the publishing industry to make some money. I don't care what the textbooks say, for the record. As I originally stated, if there is confusion or miscommunication the best way to stop the problem is to clarify.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Fine, you 'win', The new textbooks are obviously going to be exactly the same as the old ones. It is just a ploy by the publishing industry to make some money. I don't care what the textbooks say, for the record. As I originally stated, if there is confusion or miscommunication the best way to stop the problem is to clarify.

Monkasho approved textbooks are 'updated' every four years. But by all means use your projection to interpret that as 'revision'.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

justbcuzisay, if you want to know more about the textbook topic I would recommend the following links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_history_textbook_controversies

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saburo_Ienaga

The wiki articles, you might have read them already, give a good overview of the post war history of textbook screening and authorization and tell the story of Saburo Ienaga who challenged the Ministry of Education on the quasi censorship of textbooks.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2013/10/27/editorials/taketomi-towns-prerogative/#.VJNiy8ACA

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/29/world/asia/japan-fights-a-political-battle-using-history-texts.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Two articles about the textbook controversy in southern Okinawa that describe quite accurately how the Ministry of Education interferes with the local education boards and tries to pressurize them towards a more nationalistic stance.

@ nigelboy

I'm surprised that some with such a good knowledge of japanese language and culture doesn't seem to understand the difference between tatemae 建て前 (what is written or stated publicly) and the Honne 本音 ( what one realy thinks, believes and actually does). The texts you cite about education policy sound nice, but are pure tatemae. You have to judge according to the real action and the result, not the florid statements.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Christopher GlenDec. 18, 2014 - 04:42PM JST

Korea simply doesn't need to reconciliate with Japan

I argue the opposite. Japan doesn't want to do what is necessary to be reconciled with South Korea.

You may not realize yourself, but you think history is part of politics, whereas it actually is a field of studies in social science. Since it is a field of studies, it is best left to the historians to research in a scholastic manner, where argument should be based on evidence, a critical view of orthodox or devil's advocate is welcome, and theories should be re-written based on new findings. You once said that revisionism should be criminalized, but that would mean death of history as a social science.

I would say most Japanese see history as social studies and unfavor attempts by politicians to use it as playthings. Abe once said he wanted historians to study ianfu, which was unfairly translated by Western media as his attempt to "rewrite history". If Koreans have disagreement to the findings of some of the Japanese historians, the criticism should be discussed in academia, rather than in politics.

It is just pathetic that what should be discussed in academia spills all over politics and diplomacy. The blame is on those who tie history with politics.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

go ahead then and bring your people to WAR, let's see who will suffer...

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I don't think it is a far leap from 'approving new books' to 'revision' based on Abe's history, but again my point was instead of playing linguistics games or just calling the west biased, the best way to 'fight' biased reporting is to clearly make the information available in government approved statements in the default international communication language. I am talking about solutions here. I am all ears, I read the Japanese and found questions left unanswered

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Since it is a field of studies, it is best left to the historians to research in a scholastic manner, where argument should be based on evidence,

I've studied history since I was 8, including study at university. Historians the world over - except for media-censored Japan - have concluded the following. Around 200,000 women from a dozen countries were coerced as sex slaves for the IJA. Roughly the same number of people were raped and murdered in Nanking. A much smaller number of people were killed by the biological agents that Japan floated over the US in hot air balloons - a legacy of Unit 731 where dissections were conducted on live human subjects. And then of course there's the topic of POWs (and cannibalism among IJA troops) Of course if Abe has his way with his vision of a "beautiful" Japan all of this will be glossed over

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

I am talking about solutions here. I am all ears, I read the Japanese and found questions left unanswered

Solutions for what? I don't see any problem in Abe vow in the speech. Only Koreans are whinning for more apology and compensation as usual.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Christopher GlenDec. 19, 2014 - 12:37PM JST

I've studied history since I was 8, including study at university. Historians the world over - except for media-censored Japan - have concluded the following. Around 200,000 women from a dozen countries were coerced as sex slaves for the IJA.

What are the bases of that conclusion? "Because everyone says so" is not a scholarly attitude. Can you cite any evidence of that number? You once cited news articles that say "historians estimate the number at 200,000." Such kind of reference is hardly acceptable in academia.

Here is a link to a comparative study of estimated number of ianfu. http://www.awf.or.jp/e1/facts-07.html The study does not support your argument.

Scholastic criticism is welcome.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

@ noypikantoku

go ahead then and bring your people to WAR, let's see who will suffer...

I am always curious...but do you really think Japan is going to WAR? Against who? Against the world? It's interesting that so many JT posters here believe things like , "under Abe, Japan will go to WAR!!" Overheated nationalism? You can talk about that with majority of countries on this planet who are CURRENTLY at war.

You can dislike Japan and its government all you want, but don't let that cloud your eye...

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Long and interesting thread

@Ch3ch0

Scholastic criticism is welcome.

The correct name of comfort station should be sex-slave stations/brothels, comfort women is better called in its right name forced sex slaves. the article is purely Japanese point of view, very bias.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

patriotism should never be taught (and really can't be taught) by a country

Patriotism is taught every day by the actions of a country's people and leaders. Those actions determine the nature of that patriotism.

0 ( +1 / -2 )

@ warausalesman

I would really like to have more Japanese nationals to participate in this discussion.

At least, I do see how majority of Japanese are by looking at this forum. There are many anti-Japan comments here and JT is pretty well-known among what some people call "neto uyo." But then, we barely see a group of Japanese netizens come here and post. For instance, Koreans have VANKs and they patrol all over the Internet trying to spread good image of Korea. Japanese don't care to come here and argue. Why? I don't know. But I say if they are nationalists or patriots, we would see more Japanese posters here. Abe isn't working hard enough, maybe. And no, I have nothing against VANKs.

@ souka

And you are aware that the U.S army had what you call sex-slave stations.

http://rt.com/news/169232-military-comfort%20women-korea/

Why did the Korean government encourage sex-slave stations after what happened to its women in WW2?

Sad...

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@NYToday,

you must be right, but that is not causing a big outcry for that one country alone because if u discuss these in the US, there are many who will also admit the existence of those, u will hardly find that here. the US itself was freeing Korea, it was not claiming land, i think that why koreans are more and quite fond of the US, that the fact. ur source as well is RT which is also quite critical about the US and the only source cited in that article is Asahi shimbum, not quite diverse i think.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@ souka

Japanese government has admitted, apologized, and compensated. And many, many Japanese still do believe what Korean government claims. Look at how Asahi or Yomiuri talk about this issue and all the intelligentsia of Japan... Yes, there is a disagreement on numbers but it is up to historians and scholars. And yes, any false/inconsistent testimonies should be excluded or reinvestigated.

And once again, if, really, 200,000 of poor Korean women were forced by the Japanese as they claim, why did they allow their own government to do the same in Korean War?

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

i think comparing countries is not very good here, this is japan today and no mention of the US or S/K or other countries in the article b.t.w.

i am not sure why some like u just always want other countries to be dragged to this discussion. are u now comparing what the US and Japan did in S/K? and what is with that comparison. i'm done here, good luck!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Japanese government has admitted, apologized, and compensated

Nope, because some dimwit like Hashimoto, Ishihara, Abe etc, turns around the next day and denies whatever was apologised for. So China and South Korea can be forgiven for being skeptical about Japan's "apologies".

You once cited news articles that say "historians estimate the number at 200,000."

I never said the figure was exact, just approximate. Nonetheless abduction and coercion of sex slaves did occur.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

@ souka

I was replying to your comfort women post, I did not bring it up in the first place. In case you are wondering, though,

Apologies and Compensation: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comfort_women#Apologies_and_compensation

And you are right, this is getting off topic! Good luck to you, too.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Christopher GlenDec. 19, 2014 - 05:02PM JST

I never said the figure was exact, just approximate.

I know. But I challenged this assertion of yours.

CH3CHODec. 19, 2014 - 02:27PM JST

Christopher GlenDec. 19, 2014 - 12:37PM JST

I've studied history since I was 8, including study at university. Historians the world over - except for media-censored Japan - have concluded the following. Around 200,000 women from a dozen countries were coerced as sex slaves for the IJA.

What are the bases of that conclusion? "Because everyone says so" is not a scholarly attitude.

How do you justify "around 200,000," when another study shows considerable disagreements on the number among historians? This question is on condition that we can have civil and intellectual discussion here.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Apologies and Compensation: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comfort_women#Apologies_and_compensation

Yes, the Kono statement of 1993 DID make amends to the sex slaves. Stop dignifying what happened with "comfort women". A private fund was set up, that is fact. However as the money did not come directly from the Japanese government the victims rejected it. And recently you've had Hashimoto, and Abe both downplaying what happened. So in that light has the Japanese government properly apologised? No. Of course if Abe has his way, the Japanese people will remain in ignorance about their past, all in the name of "patriotism"

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

A private fund was set up, that is fact.

Yes, to respond to SK demand.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Two articles about the textbook controversy in southern Okinawa that describe quite accurately how the Ministry of Education interferes with the local education boards and tries to pressurize them towards a more nationalistic stance

Nice twist. The articles in question revolves around 教科書無償措置法 which establishes a system where the textbook is chosen by the local education board and is then distributed to the schools for FREE. In this case, one municipality went against the decision of the board and decided to select on their own. Monkasho basically urged that city to abide by the decision made the board (i.e. abide by the 教科書無償措置法). And this ain't about pressuring the 'nationalistic stance' for the local education board selected the other (Tokyo Shoseki), and one municipality went against it and decided to select another, it would of encountered the same problem. And for the record, both are approved by Monkasho. And for the punchline, this incident happened during the DPJ lead era. Seriously.

I'm surprised that some with such a good knowledge of japanese language and culture doesn't seem to understand the difference between tatemae 建て前 (what is written or stated publicly) and the Honne 本音 ( what one realy thinks, believes and actually does). The texts you cite about education policy sound nice, but are pure tatemae. You have to judge according to the real action and the result, not the florid statements.

Yeah. You've done so well giving clear evidence of the Honne (sarcasm).

I don't think it is a far leap from 'approving new books' to 'revision' based on Abe's history, but again my point was instead of playing linguistics games or just calling the west biased, the best way to 'fight' biased reporting is to clearly make the information available in government approved statements in the default international communication language. I am talking about solutions here. I am all ears, I read the Japanese and found questions left unanswered

You don't 'think its a far leap' because you have shown that you are incapable from escaping from the rhetoric that the Western media has fed you. But then, convincing an English speaking public in Japan who rely solely on garbage article like this is not a concern for the Japanese government. If you're all ears, at least have the will to denounce this garbage sensationalistic BS article for one. And in addition, if you are fluent, I suggest you read more because the 'unanswered' are already 'answered'.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

I do believe this article is sensationalistic, as I believe ALL media is. I do not know why you insist that I am believing all of this, but that is your prerogative. I don't believe everything I read, but I guess you won't be happy to hear I believe there is often A GRAIN of truth worth exploring further. I like this site because there are people like you who actually provide some insight into the alternative views.

The other reason I read this site is just to read English and have an idea of what is going on in Japan, then I discuss them with my (very conservative and patriotic Japanese) husband or politically minded friends/students who give me a better balanced view on the topic.

Like I have said, I am not really concerned about textbooks, so I haven't discussed it with them. I decided to look at the link you provided since it seemed like a good source of information. I actually am most concerned about any proposed changes to the constitution since I would be subject to adhere to any laws that would be changed, so I will read more about that. I heard I got a few years to get my self all caught up ;)

3 ( +3 / -0 )

nigelboy,

your account of the textbook controversy in Okinawa omits some important details and your punchline is not correct. While the incident started during the DPJ lead era, the overreaction of the Ministry of Education happened after the LDP regained power.

The main point is not the "free textbook measure" this is only the tatemae, it is about who has the power to decide the educational contents. The right wing mayor of Ishigaki wanted to change the history textbook to a more nationalistic one that whitewashes what happened in Okinawa during the war and gives a more favorable or "patriotic" account of the Japanese military. The Taketomi education board disagreed for very understandable reasons and wanted to keep using the quite well excepted textbook.

That the Ministry of Education took up this very local and minor disagreement shows that they wanted to use the case as a warning and a display of a paradigm change in regard to patriotism in education. I happen to know about the case from first hand accounts and believe the articles I have linked above provide a good and balanced view. Of course they're not in line with the official tatemae version.

Yeah. You've done so well giving clear evidence of the Honne (sarcasm).

Actually dealing with education in Japan on a daily basis I'm always wondering about the Honne of some of the leading elite bureaucrats in the Ministry of Education, as they never ever reveal it.

Could it be something like:

don't worry, we know what is right for your education... we will provide you with everything we think you need,

but please,

...don't ask too much (except for answers that are written in the textbooks)

...never question your superior

...don't stick out (unless you want to be nailed in)

...don't be critical (except to yourself)

...don't be too creative (as who knows what could happen then)

...don't become too enthusiastic as you should save your energy for later (when we need you to become a small cogwheel in our big machine)

justbcuzisay,

your critical questioning is perfectly reasonable so don't let yourself be pushed in corner for that.

It is interesting how some posters here seem to play the role of guardians of official Government/LDP communiques. In the thread they only react to criticism of official Government/LDP positions negatively and try to put up a smokescreen to cover obvious inconsistencies, but never disclose any kind of individual positive vision of things. Like incognito spin doctors for the LDP international propaganda section.

That you are concerned about the proposed changes to the constitution holds water. To revise the constitution as such is not a bad thing to do, and the proposed changes seem minor and gradual, but it actually is about very crucial points and can change politics quite drastically if implemented the way the LDP has drafted it. The individual citizen will be much less protected by the LDP constitution and a lot of vague and obscure wording will leave it to the people in power to interpret it to their convenience.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Hopefully Japanese people will take Gandhi's passive resistance to these things to heart. If enough people do...

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@Glen

Are you referring to bribery, or the idea that the Japanese government admits to its role in the coercion of sex slaves in WW2. That might do the trick. That and dropping claim to Dokdo / Takeshima

As you, with your stereotypical Western mentality to this problem, admit it is a might. That by itself is sufficient for a reasonable government to refuse.

And frankly, you are optimistic. I know you are using the "German model" to make your prediction, but I find it poorly relevant because not even the same countries (and thus the same mentalities and geopolitics) are involved. I find the "Kono model", which at least involved Japan and Korea more relevant, and one can only conclude that the "might" is only of a very low order of probability.

Supporting links please.

It is on Wiki. Look up German reunification. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_reunification#Foreign_support_and_opposition

By that time few people were concerned because the West German government at least - had gone out of its way to make amends for WW2.

Since i have already conceded Germany made a larger effort, to reintroduce the point seems pointless. You are ignoring my point, which is that the other countries have historically also been more accepting, and have a need to be more accepting. Which simply makes it a very good idea fo Germany to kowtow and a poor one for Japan. How about at least trying to think up a response to such factors?

On the other hand can Japan say that what happened in Nanking, Unit 731, POWs, sex slaves - is being taught to today's anime-obsessed youth?

Instead, in leaving things mostly blank, they give you the advantage of the first shot.

Do you see French, Polish, Belgian, Dutch, Czech people etc, getting angry over Germany's interpretation of history?

It is difficult to complain if someone completely agrees with you. That does not necessarily mean it is correct or appropriate.

Um, apparently Japan deleted many of its own "records" in the closing days of the war

In oither words, Glen, you can't actuallly prove what is in there. You just assume and wish the incriminating evidence is there.

Historians the world over - except for media-censored Japan - have concluded the following. Around 200,000 women from a dozen countries were coerced as sex slaves for the IJA.

Is it Japan that's media-censored, or the rest of the world? If anything, Japan is about the final place you can even propose something other than the 200,000 women theory and not be "dead on arrival". Now, I'd like to believe it is because the evidence is strong. However, even the strongest evidence should not be reason to irrationally pronounce things dead on arrival. Further, I must have doubt on the strength of the evidence when to prove organized sex slave activity in Korea (where most of the victims supposedly are), we have to go to what was it ... Dutch East Indies (something like that) to find that one Lieutenant (wow) organized a small forced-sex brothel (less than 10 women), and even that only after their daddies made the idiotic decision to attack the local Japanese (say what you want of the Hague, but human nature does exist). If these are the "prime" examples that get brought up, I can really sympathize with the skeptics in Japan.

I have no doubt the 200,000 women count is very popular in any place but Japan (not that it doesn't have its running there). This is what I call the Echo Effect. You are Fairly Famous Western Historian D. Your book will "pass through" the comfort women thing, but it is not your focus, so you will just use secondary sources. You have 3 books on this, A (200000), B (10000) and C (they exist?). Well, guess what, if you will commit yourself to a position at all, you will probably quote A! Because if you quote B or C, you run a very high risk of being slammed on that alone, and you want readers to focus on the meat of your book. Only if you are in Japan, with pressure the other way, will you seriously consider B or C.

Now you are Western Historian E facing the same dilemma. Now, in addition to A, B and C, you have D. You don't want to be different now that even D has committed himself, so you resonate. F finds it even harder to choose B or C, and so on. Soon "most historians say 200,000 people are coerced" - most of whom had not really done substantive research into the field. And if they did, do they want to be the supporter of such an unpopular theory? Best to turn your interests elsewhere.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

He went on to say he makes the kids stand at attention in front of the Japanese flag and makes them sing the kimigayo every morning.

Kickboard, I was talking about public schools. At most public schools, they sing the kimigayo only entrance and graduation ceremonies, only twice a year.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

@tinawatanabe

At most public schools, they sing the kimigayo only entrance and graduation ceremonies, only twice a year.

Really?

That's kind of surprising, but then I've never been in a school here.

In Canada, I stood for the anthem every day (before morning announcements) from kindergarten to the end of high school. I always figured that was normal.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@hokkaidoguy

That's when I was a kid. I don't even remember ever singing the kimigayo at schools. They never taught us the lyrics. I have a feeling it is still the same more or less.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

At my school we sang the national anthem only once a year, on "Founders' Day". Nobody did it with "respect". I remember our PE teacher was chewing gum. So-called patriotism is based entirely on pretense; nobody really believes in it.

I love the country I was born in (England) and I love the country I've spent most of my life in (Japan), but I'm not going to fight anybody to prove that makes me superior....

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Lucabrasi

At my school we sang the national anthem only once a year, on "Founders' Day". Nobody did it with "respect". I remember our PE teacher was chewing gum. So-called patriotism is based entirely on pretense; nobody really believes in it.

I'm genuinely surprised by that. Every classroom I was in up to high school had a flag, portrait of the Queen, portrait of the sitting Canadian PM, and a world map with the empi... sorry ... Commonwealth in pink. Anthem and Lord's Prayer (catholic school) started every day I can remember.

A teacher being that disrespectful would have been reprimanded pdq.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@hokkaidoguy

I guess Canada and England are different....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@hokkaidoboy

I posted this in the other thread but, many school in Japan is dominated by teachers' group like Nikkyoso (日教組), which is a tasty mix of radical leftists, socialists, Maoists, communists and such. They make sure their little kids learn what the evil Japan has done to poor innocent civilians with a detailed description of rape, torture, and murder. They make students cover up the kimigayo page with a piece of paper in a music class so kids can't see it. You can google this in Japanese and you will see many people talk about their own experience of anti-kimigayo teachers.

And if you are from Hokkaido, Hokkaido has a nickname—"赤い大地" and the land is the lost paradise for radical commies and lefties.

Some posters here have much less "real life experience" in Japan other than learning from the Internet or other media outlets. I wish there were more Japanese native here to share their opinion.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Supporting links for your assertions please. If Japanese people knew their history better they wouldn't have such an unfavourable image of South Korea and China. Abe seems to want to keep it that way

3 ( +4 / -2 )

I posted this in the other thread but, many school in Japan is dominated by teachers' group like Nikkyoso (日教組), which is a tasty mix of radical leftists, socialists... (cont. p94)

Yeah, whatever. I consider myself left-wing, but to be honest as a teacher I wouldn't have a problem with having a picture of the Queen in my classroom or standing for and singing to God Save the Queen. Maybe I'm a bit paradoxical that way. Maybe a lot of other leftists and socialists are as well, which makes me wonder what's so bad about Japan that causes some Japanese people to hate their flag and anthem so much.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@Christpher Glen

Supporting links for your assertions please.

My original post was a response to your comment in other thread and I suggested to google Japan Teachers Union in that post so you will find a book or two about them written in English. Please look again.

And what I said is not an assertion but a well-known fact. Your Japanese friend or family can help you with additional research if you can't read Japanese.

But then again, you disregarded my original post with English source suggestion to refer to, so maybe you juste wanted to say;

If Japanese people knew their history better they wouldn't have such an unfavourable image of South Korea and China. Abe seems to want to keep it that way

Which is quite a leap in logic.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

My original post was a response to your comment in other thread and I suggested to google Japan Teachers Union in that post so you will find a book or two about them written in English. Please look again.

I found an interesting reference to how in The Enigma of Japanese Power, it refers to union members getting harassed or beaten up by thugs on the instructions of education ministers who had been in the wartime Home Ministry. As I don't have a copy handy perhaps you might care to elaborate on that?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@ Simon Foston

I am by no means a specialist on 日教組 and I just stated some well-known facts in my posts, which all can be backed up with a quick google search.

I never read "The Enigma of Japanese Power" so I can't help you. But the incident you mentioned was far back in 1930's, or so the Wikipedia says.

I can tell you though, the Japanese wiki below lists a history of troubles Nikkyoso has been involved with;

http://ja.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/日本教職員組合#.E5.8C.97.E6.B5.B7.E9.81.93.E3.81.AE.E4.BA.8B.E4.BE.8B

Their firm tie with North Korea, yakuza families (to my surprise,) bribery, criminal charges, coverup of a bullying case in a school in Hokkaido, and etc. If you don't read and write in Japanese, have someone around you translate for you, I mean, if you are really interested.

As you can see, I am not an English native. It is not easy for me to read and write in English. But let me tell you, being able to understand the source without a translation, no doubt, is the best thing. If my major was Chinese history, I'd learn a Chinese.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I never read "The Enigma of Japanese Power" so I can't help you. But the incident you mentioned was far back in 1930's, or so the Wikipedia says.

No, that's not actually what it says. It refers to the ministers having been in the Naimusho in the 1930s, a long time prior to arranging the harassment. Anyway, Nikkyoso wasn't even around in the 30s, was it?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@Simon Foston

Thanks for correcting, you are right. The union was established by GHQ in 1945.

Let me also correct my comment below;

Their firm tie with ... yakuza families

No yakuzas! Just North Korea. I was skimming the page so quick and I misread a paragraph.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

"' to foster an attitude to acquire wide-ranging knowledge and culture, and to seek the truth, cultivate a rich sensibility and sense of morality, while developing a healthy body.'"

Translated: "To force an attitude towards rote-learning of incredibly limited knowledge and culture, and to seek the truth we tell you and none other, to cultivate a rich sensibility and sense of morality in regards to Japanese people and the nation, as told by us, and of no other, while developing a healthy body on a diet of what we decide is best for you"

' to develop the abilities of individuals while respecting their value; cultivate their creativity; foster a spirit of autonomy and independence; and foster an attitude to value labor while emphasizing the connections with career and practical life.'

"to develop the abilities of individuals while respecting their value so long as both contribute only to the group as a whole, and directly contribute to the leaders; to foster a spirit of autonomy and independence of the nation as a whole, and never to question those in charge and to do what one is asked in sacrifice to said group; and foster an attitude of slave labor emphasizing the connections with career and practical life,"

'to foster an attitude to value justice, responsibility, equality between men and women, mutual respect and cooperation, and actively contribute, in the public spirit, to the building and development of society.'

"to foster an attitude to value justice for those of value, responsibility to the government, equality between men and between the women who serve them tea, respect of and cooperation with superiors, active contribution to your group/company/nation, and the building and development of highways, roads, unused community centers, and other public works projects"

'to foster an attitude to respect life, care for nature, and contribute to the protection of the environment.'

"...as long as all those things are Japanese, and in regards to the environment unless it gets in the way of the aforementioned development of public works".

"Don't know of any 'political views' that are contrast to this."

Every one espoused by the politicians in office, and especially the removal of sexual slavery from the textbooks, and failure to mention this and other atrocities (including against Japanese nationals in Okinawa and elsewhere!) that go against the equality of men and women, and humanity in general you quote the goals of the education system to be. So long as Abe is in office and seeks to 'instill patriotism' by forcing lies on future generations, they will fail in every single thing they purport to be seeking to do and will be more and more like China brainwashing its people. So, congrats, I guess.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Like other countries, Japan has its share of slogans that don't make it to reality. However, that's not the same as arguing blindly that they meant the inverse of what they said.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

BEST COMMENT SO FAR... BY: papigiulioDEC. 16, 2014 - 08:46AM JST Working on the economic outlook should be priority not his personal goals with revising the constitution. THIS. He is trying to fix something that isn't broken. Leave the friggin constitution alone and do the job you are suppose to do, fix the economy and help the people in Tohoku....but noooo this is much easier right?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

your account of the textbook controversy in Okinawa omits some important details and your punchline is not correct. While the incident started during the DPJ lead era, the overreaction of the Ministry of Education happened after the LDP regained power.

The request by the Monkashou to abide by the decision was relayed to city of Taketomi was done in October 18th, 2011.

The main point is not the "free textbook measure" this is only the tatemae, it is about who has the power to decide the educational contents. The right wing mayor of Ishigaki wanted to change the history textbook to a more nationalistic one that whitewashes what happened in Okinawa during the war and gives a more favorable or "patriotic" account of the Japanese military. The Taketomi education board disagreed for very understandable reasons and wanted to keep using the quite well excepted textbook.

Like I stated, this has nothing to do with right or let wing textbook materials. If the local board selected the left wing source and if one of the city went against the decision to incorporate a more right leaning, Monkashou would of stepped in with the same request to abide by the board's decision. The key point here is that both textbooks are Monkashou approved. It's you who is twisting this to make it a right/left issue when it's simply abiding by the steps of 教科書無償措置法 and nothing more.

Translated

Smith

As Kazuaki Shimazaki alluded to what you are essentially doing is a classic straw man based on your own skewed view.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The request by the Monkashou to abide by the decision was relayed to city of Taketomi was done in October 18th, 2011.

While the request is a formal act that is decided on a lower bureaucratic level the decision to go after this case (what I refer to as "overreaction") is surely something that won't be taken without consulting with the higher "political" level of the Monkashou bureaucracy and this happened much later.

As long as you only stick to official announcements of the Japanese authorities, nigelboy, you won't be able to understand anything that happens politically in Japan... but then maybe you're not even interested in understanding what is happening behind the curtain of the Japanese bureaucracy and Japanese government politics?

If the local board selected the left wing source and if one of the city went against the decision to incorporate a more right leaning, Monkashou would of stepped in with the same request to abide by the board's decision.

So then please show me an example where the Monkashou did step in with the same verve (not only sending a request, but threatening a trial) towards a liberal textbook. I haven't heard of any, but I might just lack the information.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites