Donald Seekins comments

Posted in: Japan warns citizens of possible attack in 6 Southeast Asian nations See in context

Singapore? Singapore (and perhaps Switzerland) are about the only countries in the world that are "safer" than Japan.

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

Posted in: Takaichi joins race to be next PM; outlines 'Sanaenomics' policy See in context

Let's look a little more closely at the notion that Takaichi Sanae is a "nationalist." Often, a nearly equivalent word is "patriot," meaning one who loves his/her country. A true nationalist or patriot wants to make their country better: a good standard of living and quality of life for the people; improvement of education not only to make the country competitive technologically but because students' minds need to be broadened, so they can live life to the fullest; protection of the environment to be able to live more harmoniously with nature; basic freedoms so that people can choose the life they wish to live without harming other people; honest politicians who take public service seriously, not thinking they are exempt from the rule of law; and peaceful relations with other countries, resorting to armed force only when necessary for self-defense.

If Takaichi became prime minister, would she pursue these sort of goals to make Japan better for its people? I doubt it. She seems - in the manner of many shallow-minded Japanese people - nostalgic for Japan's wartime totalitarian society, which caused great suffering for Japan's neighbors. She wants to amend the constitution, perhaps to make it a replica of the Meiji Constitution. She's in there in a big way with the Liberal Democratic Party's plutocracy. Don't expect "clean" politics. Remember Abe and the Moritomo scandal.

Will she make Japan better? I doubt it. She's a woman. Who cares? So was Eva Braun, the companion of someone in modern history Takaichi greatly admires.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Posted in: Abe supports conservative ally Takaichi as Suga's successor See in context

The ironical thing (deeply ironic) is that the United States has supported and cultivated the rise of politicians like Abe and Takachi whose political ideas are streamlined replicas of 1930s Japanese ultra-nationalism. If Japan was not backed up by American military bases and nukes, the Japanese political caste couldn't afford to sprinkle sugar on its World War II atrocities, deeply offending Chinese, Koreans and other Asians.

-3 ( +9 / -12 )

Posted in: Japan urges Myanmar to prevent repeat of raids on embassy, aid staff See in context

So, what is Japan going to do about these incursions? Cut off all Japanese ODA and private investment in the country?

Doubt it.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

Posted in: JOC to watch for hateful online posts during Tokyo Olympics See in context

Big Brother is watching! Remember what comrade Seiko Hashimoto told us: "your happy smiles will make the Olympics a success!"

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: Why are Olympics going on despite public opposition, medical warnings? See in context

I may be cynical, but I have a feeling that if the Olympics turns into a super-spreader event, Suga & Co. will blame all those "undisciplined" foreigners.

When everything else fails, the pols will reach for "Ware Ware Nihonjin" ("We Japanese").

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Posted in: Biden says he supports Suga's plan to hold safe Tokyo Olympics See in context

Biden needs Japan's support for his crusade against Big, Bad China! So sure, he supports Suga's obsession with the Olympics. No skin off his nose.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Posted in: Bored Games: Aussie softball team finds Olympic bubble challenging See in context

Let's face it. From top to bottom, the Olympics ARE...JUST...NOT...FUN!

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Posted in: Olympics chief says cancelation unlikely with 50 days to go See in context

Suga and Hashimoto have inspired me to think of a new way of describing this tragic farce:

オリンピク 玉砕 .

the "Crushed Jewels" of the Olympics. Gyokusai referring to the Japanese soldiers and civilians sacrificed during the Pacific War.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Naomi Osaka pulls out of French Open, citing mental health issues See in context

Naomi had better steer clear of social media in any form. Especially in Japan, it will be full of poisonous statements from people with undeveloped, reptile brains that will get after her for being "weak."

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Posted in: Naomi Osaka pulls out of French Open, citing mental health issues See in context

As a long-term foreign resident in Japan who has suffered depression while living here, I hope that Naomi doesn't have to suffer the attacks of thick-headed, self-centered Japanese who think that saying gambatte kudasai is the only way of giving a person who is suffering mental issues support. The ideology of gaman (passive endurance) is a backward, antiquated bit of Neo-Confucianism that shows a total lack of respect for the value of the individual.

Remember Hana Kimura? I hope Naomi doesn't face the same pressure from her "fans" as she did.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Posted in: Japan should not follow Western policy on Myanmar: Diplomat op-ed See in context

As a Burma specialist who has written articles on Burma-Japan relations, I think this a complex issue which cannot be resolved either through the moral stance of most supporters of the Burmese democracy movement outside the country ("Japan, quit Burma!") or the pragmatism (opportunism) of Japan's bureaucrats who think they can act as a "bridge" between the Burmese military and the democratic West. Their opinion is pure bullish*t. It hasn't worked at all in the past. The top brass in the military regime are going to do what they want, and nothing else, as long as they have the approval of China and other neighboring countries. China gives them a blank check, so no matter what Japan does, they will continue shooting unarmed protesters, clearing people off their ancestral lands, spoiling the environment and wrecking the livelihoods of millions of people.

During 1988-2011, when the State Peace and Development/State Law and Order Restoration Council junta was in power, Western countries imposed strict sanctions which harmed ordinary working people, not the China-funded generals. The 2003 Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act, passed by the US Congress after pro-regime thugs attacked Aung San Suu Kyi in Upper Burma, is reported to have cost thousands of jobs for women working in textile factories; many of these women had no other alternative but to work in the sex industry to support their families.

Sanctions don't work in Burma because there are so many ways the regime can get around them. But Japan should improve the quality of aid, giving more grants than loans and concentrating on humanitarian, environmental and human capital projects rather than huge infrastructure projects (which Japanese construction companies adore). There is no clear cut moral answer to how to respond to the latest political crisis in Burma, but Japanese aid could be useful in helping people on the ground.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Threatening letter sent to immigration center over Sri Lankan's death See in context

No, I am NOT shocked by the fact that somebody sent a letter to the Nagoya Immigration facility threatening to "harm" its director. I hope people won't start calling this incident "terrorism."

What I would like is that the government investigates this person, and if he/she is responsible for the horrible way the young woman was treated, he/she should be punished under the law. Criminal negligence leading to death, I would suppose.

How can Japan be a democracy if its bureaucrats act like a state within a state, with total impunity?

8 ( +13 / -5 )

Posted in: As Olympics loom, Japan's health care in turmoil See in context

Most Japanese people seem angry with the Suga regime for insisting on holding the Olympics, under pressure from the robber barons in the IOC. But they just shrug their shoulders and say shikata ga nai ("nothing can be done about it"). The deep and depressing political apathy of most Japanese people allows the LDP to literally get away with murder. So, in a very real sense the people share responsibility for the coronavirus disaster.

Contrast this situation with the people's protest for democracy in Myanmar, where people are risking their lives for democracy and over 800 people have already been killed by military thugs.

It's sad.

13 ( +15 / -2 )

Posted in: Coates: Tokyo Olympics to go ahead even in state of emergency See in context

This Olympic business is beginning to look like Tokyo gyokusai, the "shattered jewels of Tokyo." No matter what the cost to innocent people, full speed ahead on the Games!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Myanmar junta fires 2 diplomats in Tokyo for opposing coup, violence See in context

The junta has applied for diplomatic visas for military-appointed replacements for Aung Soe Moe, 51, a first secretary, and a 27-year-old second secretary, who wishes to remain anonymous, according to the sources.

The Japanese government should refuse visas for the two military-appointed diplomats. That would be a very effective way of expressing this country's opposition to the martial law regime, which came to power in an illegitimate coup d'etat.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Posted in: Organizers unveil Tokyo Paralympic symbol to mark 100 days to go See in context

Japan has created a lot of really cute characters, such as Kumamon (representing Kumamoto Prefecture) and even the little guy symbolizing Nara who has deer's horns growing out of his head but otherwise looks like a Buddhist monk. But the Olympic mascots are truly ugly. They looked like they were conceived in the cigarette-smoke drenched and slightly tipsy, alcoholic daze of some bureaucratic office:

Kacho (department head): "Omae! Create mascots for the Games before you go home today. I don't care if you have to stay up all night to make it!"

Yakunin (functionary): "Yessir!"

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Posted in: Sri Lankan's death in detention in spotlight as Japan debates immigration bill See in context

In the words of one critic, Japan "likes to eat its cake and have it, too." This country is proud of being part of the exclusive club of developed, democratic nations, but treats unwanted foreigners (especially Asians and Africans with dark skins) as less than human.

6 ( +12 / -6 )

Posted in: 42-year-old mayor gets COVID shot ahead of elderly See in context

A 42-year-old mayor in eastern Japan came under scrutiny Thursday as he was inoculated against COVID-19 ahead of the elderly, in the latest case that could raise suspicion about fair distribution amid the country's sluggish vaccine rollout.

Ample evidence that in Japan's bureaucratic state, George Orwell's maxim in Animal Farm is true:

"All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Posted in: Suga says he has never put Olympics first and that IOC has final say See in context

He (Suga) repeated that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has the final say on the fate of the Games and that the government's role is to take steps so they can be held safely.

Isn't Japan a sovereign country? Doesn't the popularly-elected government of Japan have the authority to cancel the games, which are clearly a threat to public health and welfare?

Or does the International Olympic Committee exercise extraterritorial power in this country, like the old British East India Company? Otherwise, the IOC would not be able to order Japan to do what it wants.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Biden expected to nominate Rahm Emanuel as ambassador to Japan See in context

Rahm Emanuel:

TOKYO: Who?

CHICAGO: Grrrr! Glad he's gone.

15 ( +16 / -1 )

Posted in: Opposition leader Edano says Olympics cannot be held safely See in context

I am glad that Yukio Edano is telling Japanese people the truth: that holding the Olympics this summer would be a public health disaster.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Two different Olympic scenes: Inside and outside the National Stadium See in context

"I don't think athletes should be treated specially," she said. "I think all lives matter and I don't think it's a matter of priority. Athletes and the general public are all the same and should be treated fairly."

Runner Hitomi Niiya has the right attitude. Giving a special allocation of vaccines to Olympic athletes just isn't fair when so many people around Japan are suffering because hospitals have so many Covid cases. Holding the Olympics poses an unreasonable risk for local people, and the benefits of holding the games (e.g., "national pride") just aren't worth it.

I was looking forward to participating in an academic conference in Kyoto to be convened one month after the Olympics in late August; but it was put exclusively on-line because of the pandemic, which means my participation will be confined to sitting in my apartment in Nara, staring into a small screen. But that's OK. Coronavirus has caused big inconvenience for most of us, and tragedy for many.

The government tells us: "if the Olympics is cancelled, the athletes will be disappointed." But why should they be different from the rest of us? This pandemic hasn't been a picnic.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

Posted in: Nothing can stop Tokyo Olympics from going ahead: IOC's Coates See in context

Are Prime Minister Suga and his bureaucratic-political cronies traitors to Japan? This question needs to be asked. Henpecked by the super arrogant officials of the International Olympic Committee, Bach and Coates, they have descended to the low road of holding the big event in the middle of a pandemic. And holding it no matter what the impact is on Japan's 126 million people. How can the reception of as many as 80,000 people from overseas (athletes, officials, trainers, doctors, nurses, et al.) NOT endanger the local population with vaccination rates so slow and new variants of coronavirus popping up all the time?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Tokyo Olympic head says Bach visit to Japan now unlikely See in context

Back in 2011, the Japanese government should have taken a long, hard look at how best money could be spent. It should have declined to hold the 2020 games and diverted the funds to helping the Tohoku region after the 3/11 disasters. For many people living there, the situation is still desperate.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Posted in: Anti-Olympic petition tops 200,000 signatures in just 2 days See in context

Where can I sign up? In my case, I am over 75 years old, but can't get a vaccine in the prefecture where I live, Nara, until July. It seems they have supply problems or, more likely, the vaccines got lost in the typically Japanese bureaucratic black hole.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Posted in: Action star Steven Seagal gives samurai sword to Venezuela's Maduro See in context

I don't think I've ever heard of Steven Seagal, but I have a suggestion for him. He could replace the katana he gave to Maduro with a "fighting Dah" (sword) given to him by the top commander of Myanmar's military, Sr. Gen. Min Aung Hlaing. Yes, the guy who has been killing unarmed protesters in his own country, including many children.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Nurses say they are needed elsewhere, not at Tokyo Olympics See in context

Suga apparently thinks that nurses, who have bravely and selflessly endured the worst possible working conditions during the pandemic, are like water from a faucet. When you need them, you just turn on the faucet and they come out. I can't believe that this sort of bureaucratic robot is leader of a country that claims to be "developed."

16 ( +17 / -1 )

Posted in: Kyoto police investigating cream puff attack on Bentley See in context

Cream puffs? Comrades, the Revolution is coming to Japan!

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Posted in: Tokyo Olympic organizers defend request for 500 nurses as virus spikes See in context

Every day, more and more headlines come out that in any normal country would be embarrassing to the government. But they just keep coming in Japan. LDP gerontocrats: "the Olympics at any price!"

14 ( +15 / -1 )

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