M3M3M3 comments

Posted in: Abe sends ritual offering to Yasukuni Shrine on World War II surrender anniversary See in context

@Strangerland

Your argument seems to be that because maybe everyone wasn't properly tried as a war criminal, it means that those who were tried shouldn't be thought of as guilty

Not at all. I'm simply saying that since war criminals will be present at Yasukuni regardless of whether these few Class-A names are removed, there isn't really a compelling reason to demand that Abe immediately stop making his offering to the other 99.9% of non-war criminals. If we knew for sure that the Class-A's were the only war criminals at Yasukuni, it might make for a more convincing argument.

I actually think Class-B and C war criminals are far more reprehensible. They were the ones actually torturing POWs and raping civilians. Class-A's were working from an office in Tokyo and were only convicted for a crime that was basically invented by the allies after the war; 'crimes against peace'. Many legal scholars find the Tokyo Tribunals dubious.

@MrBum

Critics say it symbolizes Japan's nationalistic revisionist right-wing

And I think the demands on Abe are equally symbolic. After the Class-A's are removed the demand will be that he not go until the B's and the C's are removed and then a whole list of people who were never prosecuted and the ordinary soldiers involved in questionable operations, etc etc.

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Posted in: Abe sends ritual offering to Yasukuni Shrine on World War II surrender anniversary See in context

@Strangerland

It doesn't open up any can of worms. People who were found guilty of being class-A war criminals are war criminals, there isn't doubt on that. The only doubt you've raised is whether or not some other people who would appear have done war-crime level actions are war criminals or not. But that doesn't make the people who were guilty any less of war criminals.

It does open a can of worms, but you've actually missed the issue which is whether the offering should be made by Abe. Nobody is debating whether convicted war criminals are convicted war criminals. That is pretty straightforward.

The complaint about Abe making the offering is that the shrine includes Class-A war criminals. The demand is that he stop making the offering until those specific Class-A war criminals are somehow removed. But if you concede that many possible war criminals enshrined at Yasukuni were never brought to justice, and that it's not just Class-A war criminals that are morally reprehensible, and that thousands of potential war criminals enshrined at Yasukuni were never prosecuted, it raises question of whether the demands for Abe to suspend his offering are reasonable. That is the issue I'm addressing. Since 99.9% of the soldiers enshrined there are ordinary servicemen who are probably deserving of Abe's offering, and removing just a few specific names will not guarantee the removal of the vast majority of potential war criminals, is it reasonable to demand that Abe not make an offering until those few Class-A names are removed? Isn't that disproportionate given the numbers and the fact that Abe has no control over who is removed?

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Posted in: Abe sends ritual offering to Yasukuni Shrine on World War II surrender anniversary See in context

I think people really need to realise that any argument based on the fact someone is a Class-A war criminal simply opens a can of worms. Neither Hitler, Himmler or Goebbels were ever convicted of any war crimes (for obvious reasons). If you think it would be equally inappropriate for Yasukuni to enshrine these 3 men, you need to come up with a different standard than Class-A war criminal (and it's probably going to be a subjective one which many people will disagree with).

@wtfjapan

victors get to dictate who is and isnt a war criminal has been this way since people have fought wars.

I agree, but it still leaves many unresolved moral questions that probably cannot be resolved.

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Posted in: Abe sends ritual offering to Yasukuni Shrine on World War II surrender anniversary See in context

Move the war criminals and pray for the rest.

But who is a war criminal? Only those who were tried and convicted?

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Posted in: Abe sends ritual offering to Yasukuni Shrine on World War II surrender anniversary See in context

@Wallace Fred

Thanks for the reply. My issue is how we find some consistency and equal treatment here, because every country honours war dead who engaged in some fairly shady business. Your standard seems to be that anyone formally convicted of war crimes, plus those who you believe the evidence shows planned to subjugate Asia should not be included at Yusukuni. The first part of this standard is objective and workable, but the second part seems quite subjective and arbitrary since it could extend to almost every Japanese serviceman who was involved in the war. Limiting it to only the most senior commanders while ignoring ordinary soldiers torturing POWs would also seem very arbitrary.

As a practical solution, if every country commemorated every soldier and commander in their war memorials (war criminal or not), it would actually be a very reasonable way to avoid decades of international disputes and hostilities about who should or shouldn't be included, and it would also be a way to ensure that people didn't whitewash the uglier parts of their history. The fact that unsavory people are included at Yasukuni probably does alot more to raise awareness of what happened during the war than if they were to be excluded and forgotten. At least that's my opinion.

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Posted in: Abe sends ritual offering to Yasukuni Shrine on World War II surrender anniversary See in context

@Wallace Fred

I'm really curious about your views on this since you seem to be passionate about the topic. Do you think Yasukuni would be acceptable remembrance shrine if it didn't include Class A war criminals? Do you recognise that there were thousands of soldiers (perhaps tens of thousands) on both sides who committed war crimes but were never prosecuted? Is it only the formal conviction for Class A war crimes at the Tokyo Tribunal that is the deciding factor for you on whether inclusion at Yasukuni is appropriate?

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Posted in: Man suspected of terrorism attack on UK parliament after driving into pedestrians See in context

Do those numbers include other domestic terrorists - far right or dissident Irish Republicans?

No, it only includes Islamist extremists. I left that part out to avoid being too controversial.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/islamist-extremists-uk-highest-number-europe-25000-terror-threat-eu-official-isis-islam-britain-a7923966.html

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Posted in: Man suspected of terrorism attack on UK parliament after driving into pedestrians See in context

The UK's annual counter-terrorism budget for 2018/2019 is £757,000,000 ($968,000,000). The Home Office is thought to be monitoring 3,500 potential terrorists around the clock. A further 20,000 are considered 'person's of interest'. The EU terrorism coordinator estimate that up to 25,000 in the UK could pose a terror threat (the highest number in Europe).

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Posted in: Vienna tops 'world's most liveable city' ranking; Osaka 3rd, Tokyo 7th See in context

Vienna is a well deserved first. Not the most exciting city for young people but perhaps that's what makes it so liveable.

15 ( +18 / -3 )

Posted in: Alex Jones and Boris Johnson – pioneers in the new politics See in context

Where has there been an infringement of free speech?

Well, to be fair kurisupisu hasn't claimed there was.

In Johnson's case, it was a bit chilling to have the metropolitan police commissioner come out and give her unsolicited opinion as whether his letterbox joke might be a crime.

In the case of large private platforms like Facebook and YouTube, it's not strictly a 1st amendment issue but they all benefit from laws which define them as internet intermediaries and were passed to shield them from defamation cases based on user generated content. This protection is fully justified if they are providing a neutral platform, but once they begin curating user content and crafting terms of service which have the effect of banning legal speech which they don't like, I think it's time to consider repealing these special protections and start treating these sites exactly like the New York Times or a TV broadcaster (which are responsible for all the content appearing on their platforms).

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Posted in: UK Labour Party leader Corbyn trades barbs with Netanyahu on Mideast violence See in context

I think the majority of British people agree that that they don’t want unbridled capitalism or the kind of socialism you are implying.

There is no need to run to one or the other.

As a European I fully agree with you. Bits of both systems can certainly compliment each other. But the fact that Corbyn's vision of socialism requires a complete exit from the EU and EU rules (which countries like Denmark and Finland are content to abide by) suggests that Corbyn's plans are on the more extreme end of the socialist spectrum.

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Posted in: UK Labour Party leader Corbyn trades barbs with Netanyahu on Mideast violence See in context

Corban's problem is not that he's an anti-Semite;

It's that he is a threat to capitalists.

By this I assume you mean that the majority of British people, who understand that capitalism has lifted more people out of poverty, cured more diseases, educated more children, increased lifespans, promoted meritocracy, and increased freedom and human flourishing more than any other economic system ever attempted, will not vote for a man who threatens their longterm wellbeing and that of their children?

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Posted in: Would you be in favor of Japan switching to daylight saving time in summer? See in context

Apparently, one of the biggest hurdles to implementing DST in Japan is IT and software. Every critical system from transport to banking will need to be reworked and tested to make an allowance for that extra hour. It would be like a self inflicted Y2K.

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Posted in: Why is anti-Japanese sentiment remaining from the World War II era almost non-existent in countries like Taiwan, the Philippines and Indonesia, unlike in China and South Korea? See in context

Because China and South Korea have completely embraced it as part of their national identity while the others have not.

There are also other examples of this. Compared to the French (who hardly mention the WW2), the British still seem to be enthralled by it, but without so much negative sentiment toward the Germans. When I lived in Britain I found it amazing that everytime I turned on the TV there was a documentary on about either the Blitz, or Churchill, Dunkirk, D-Day, breaking the enigma code, the secret diaries of Hitler, bombers of WW2, engineering marvels of the Spitfire, etc, etc.

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Posted in: Trump still fuels racial divide a year after Charlottesville See in context

If a Caucasian couple adopts a child from India, that child's personality and behaviour will be tied to the societal culture of the adoptive parents depending on where and how they raise them. If a couple from China adopt a child from an African nation, that child will also have a personality based on the how those parents raise them and the environment they live in.

You might also be interested in reading about the various Minnesota twin studies which looked at identical twins separated at birth and raised in different households. These studies consistently found that the twins (who had never met) were just as likely to share personality traits, behavioural traits, personal interests, educational attainment, and general life outcomes as twins who had been raised together in the same household. The point being that genetics play a role (and perhaps a dominant one) along with the environment in determining who we eventually become.

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Posted in: Trump still fuels racial divide a year after Charlottesville See in context

@Silvafan

Thank for the reply. I agree with you entirely, particularly with the problems that can arise. The changing terms do seem to be a bit of an issue when discussing this topic, so thanks for being clear with your definitions.

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Posted in: Trump still fuels racial divide a year after Charlottesville See in context

@Silvafan

I agree with you based on the definitions you've provided. The definition of racism that you've given is basically the classic definition which involves a sense of racial superiority or hate of another race. However, these days that classic definition is rarely applied. I'm using the much broader and modern definition of racism which doesn't rely on a sense of superiority or hate. This looser definition seems to overlap with your definition of tribalism though.

For example, if a white hiring manager is motivated by a love of European people and hires only white job applicants before considering anyone else, most people today would call this racism even if it can be shown that he feels no animosity or sense of superiority to other races and only wants to ensure the well-being of whites. Would you consider this racism or tribalism?

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Posted in: Trump still fuels racial divide a year after Charlottesville See in context

I find this very unlikely, simply because there is no clear way to define racial distinctions.

I use the shorthand of racism for simplicity, some people call it tribalism, others call it in-group preference, and you've described it as social norms, but ultimately I think these are all describing the same phenomenon; how a person perceives and deals with others differently based on real or perceived group differences. So claiming that definitions of race are arbitrary and imprecise (and therefore race is entirely a social construct) doesn't really explain much or discredit the idea that the phenomenon (whatever you call it) might contain a biological element. But I agree with you that much of it will be shaped by social interaction. We seem to see this in the different attitudes to race between rural and urban populations.

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Posted in: Trump still fuels racial divide a year after Charlottesville See in context

If proven, ”an innate biological underpinning” might leave actual perpetrators of racially inspired violence off the hook. “The devil DNA made me do it.” Not good enough.

I don't think anyone would ever advocate for excusing racist violence. I certainly wouldn't. Even if racism is proved to contain an element of biological innateness, the incarceration of people who commit racist violence would still be fully justified on the basis of protecting the community. This is why we still lock up the criminally insane and drunk drivers predisposed to alcoholism. What I foresee changing eventually is the moral condemnation we direct at people who express racist views. Some of these people are completely consumed by racist thoughts to the point that they are terrified to go outside, or get a job, or move to a big city because they feel so uncomfortable with people of other races. This should probably get a bit of sympathy and a clinical diagnosis rather than a punch in the face or a criminal conviction for hate speech in some countries.

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Posted in: Trump still fuels racial divide a year after Charlottesville See in context

@Laguna

Thanks for explaining. I agree with many of your points, but how much time and money is needed to tame human beings to no longer be racist? And what happens with people who choose not to participate in the experiment to tame nature? Should we condemn them morally or accept their choice? The idea that we can (or should) socially engineer people is one that I'm very uncomfortable with. It strikes me as very utopian and eerily close to the idea of the Übermensch, but this time we are trying to breed the Übermensch to be free of unconscious racial bias or racial preference rather than to be blonde and blue eyed.

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Posted in: Japan to raise maximum age for new recruits to boost dwindling military ranks See in context

I was probably in better shape at 32 than at 18. At 18 I was stuck indoors studying for exams and barely had the muscle mass to lift a few heavy textbooks. At 32 I had the time and money to join a gym and go jogging. I suspect the same is true for many young people in Japan.

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Posted in: Trump still fuels racial divide a year after Charlottesville See in context

Humans must eventually get over tribalism if we're going to survive as a species

Then it seems you don't actually believe that racism is innate.

My personal view is that the more we learn about neuroscience and how the brain functions, the more likely it is that we will discover an innate biological underpinning to racism (just like many other human behaviours). At the moment we treat racism as if it's purely an immoral choice that everyone makes (just like drunk driving or being a thief) but I think we will eventually come to see racists as also being victims of their own racist thoughts once we fully understand the science. The same thing is happening with with alcoholism as we understand how different people's brains are predisposed to alcohol addiction.

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Posted in: Trump still fuels racial divide a year after Charlottesville See in context

innate racism towards blacks begins at their birth, and like a game of Jenga

If racism is innate and even a newborn baby in America cannot escape its effects, what do you propose as a solution? If the innateness of racism could ever be proved, it would explain why decades of anti-racist messaging and childhood education campaigns have not had the desired effects. Would you support changing discrimination and housing laws so that black people could establish their own racially homogeneous communities, hospitals and businesses free from the influence of innate white racism?

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Posted in: What is your definition of a war crime? Please give some examples. See in context

The only solid definition is any of the activities found in either the 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th Geneva Conventions. It includes things like the basic treatment of POWs, the prohibition of certain types of weapons, targeting of civilians and hospital ships, what you can and can't do in occupied territories, the requirement to wear uniforms, and so on.

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Posted in: High-tech Tokyo tops list of world's most innovative cities See in context

the index, which judges cities on 162 indicators including... wealth distribution

How can wealth distribution be a metric for innovation? This study sounds like it's ideologically tainted. (Unless the cities with the least distribution are actually ranked higher on the assumption that innovators are more incentivised to innovate if they are able to keep more of what they earn?)

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Posted in: Hong Kong bars Japanese city councillor from entry See in context

@JeffLee

dictatorships are emboldened by globalization, and democracies will soon be on the back foot. Look at Canada's lonely travails with Saudi. Saudi can get away with jailing women demanding rights because of its role in the globalized economic order.

I largely agree with your analysis, but what exactly is Saudi Arabia 'getting away with' here? Who do they have to answer to other than their own citizens? It seems that one blindspot you might have when it comes to globalisation is the assumption that Canadian or western values are universal. Many (I suspect a majority) of people in Saudi Arabia would reject creeping notions of western human rights if put to a vote, and would instead prefer to stick with their traditional ways. Who is Justin Trudeau to tell them they can't? I certainly don't want to live in Saudi Arabia but I think the people there should be free to build their dystopia. Using economic leverage to dictate subjective moral values to a foreign country is probably the most distasteful aspect of globalisation in my opinion. In the case of Hong Kong there is a treaty between China and the UK which sets out basic freedoms to be respected so you could say that China is getting away with not respecting the agreement, but Saudi Arabia is free of these constraints.

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Posted in: Hong Kong bars Japanese city councillor from entry See in context

When Democratic Hong Kong was absorbed by China

People in HK certainly enjoyed many more freedoms, but HK has never actually been a democracy, at least not in the sense of universal suffrage.

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Posted in: Melania Trump's parents get U.S. citizenship under program slammed by Trump See in context

So chain migration is okay for certain groups of people? Which groups?

That's a very difficult and controversial question in my opinion. In Britain, chain migration was being used in conjunction with arranged marriages to facilitate human trafficking until the government decided to clamp down on it. Unfortunately, they had to clamp down in a non-discriminatory manner so rather than outlawing certain types of marriages or applying special conditions to countries with particular cultural practices, they decided that the most neutral approach would be to apply high sponsorship income limits to everyone across the board. I know many Brits in Japan who are stuck here because they wouldn't meet the minimum income threshold to bring their spouse.

On the broader question, I think extended family reunification programs are hard to justify in the 21st century. They were originally a humanitarian gesture at a time when air travel was mostly for the wealthy, international telephone calls were prohibitively expensive, sending money was difficult and in some cases illegal, and the only way to contact cousin Vinnie in the old country was to write a letter and hope it got there. If you were a low wage immigrant coming to North America in the 1960 or 70s, there was a very good chance that you would never see your parents or many relatives alive again.

Fast forward to today and many of these humanitarian issues are not as pressing. We have cheap flights, video chats on your phone, free instant messaging apps. You are basically carrying cousin Vinnie around in your pocket all day long. I'm actually far more connected with relatives half way around the world than I am with my own nieces and nephews who live in the same city.

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Posted in: Melania Trump's parents get U.S. citizenship under program slammed by Trump See in context

Hypocrisy is, say, condemning extra-marital affairs while at the same time cheating on your wife, or saying chain migration is evil while using it to get your in-laws citizenship.

I actually agree with both of your examples, but only because you've misrepresented Trump's words in the second.

He doesn't appear to have ever said that the system itself was evil, only that the system allows some to bring in people who are 'truly evil'. Presumably he believes his own in-laws fall into the majority who are not 'truly evil'.

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Posted in: Do you consider the A-bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to be war crimes? See in context

Sorry, that should read: It was not a war crime to target defended cities with aerial bombardment.

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