There is certainly quite a lot to unpack here. Yoon's public statements are remarkable, considering how learning about Japan in a very negative manner is completely baked in to social studies and history education in South Korea (one can only assume). How people in Arab League countries are taught about Israel is a comparison that comes to my mind.
The ball is now in the government of Japan's court to manage this change in volatile South Korean politics carefully. If the pro-imperialist, unrepentant, unreconstructed types in Japan get their way and pile on with a demand that South Korea give up control of Dokdo/Takeshima or officially state that Korean girls and women were not coerced into sexual slavery by Japanese authorities in the 1930s and 1940s, that will backfire badly and in all likelihood the South Korean president by 2027 will make Moon Jae-in look moderate by comparison in his or her zeal to cooperate with North Korea while demonizing Japan.
What's going on in Yoon's thinking? Maybe he concluded that South Korea reached the logical limits of its confrontation with Japan during the Moon years. It's not like South Korea can take the next step and sever diplomatic relations with Japan, close down its embassy in Tokyo, and treat Japan like a rogue pariah state the way most Arab countries still treat Israel. Doing that would destroy South Korea's relations with the United States as well. But Japanese also need to realize this doesn't mean South Korea will or should give in on Dokdo/Takeshima or the sex slaves issue.
0 ( +0 / -0 )
This is great news for everybody in Japan except those corrupt officials hoping to pocket money from this boondoggle. In this case "defeat" will truly be victory. People in Boston in the USA all but rejoiced when that city's bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics was dropped due to strong opposition. People there knew that a disaster had been avoided.
9 ( +11 / -2 )
"Imagine couples spending their whole lifes together without a HINT about how life really works, just adrift on the surface forever."
One can always count on rabidly pro-natalist people to write and say stuff that offends. So married adults who are child-free don't understand how life really works and are going through their lives adrift on the surface? Why do some parents feel the need to pass judgement on others in this way?
For the first time in the long history of Japan or any other nation on earth for that matter, child-free women can live without being viciously stigmatized, ostracized, discriminated against, etc. I realize some people find this development disturbing and unsettling. But being born as a human on earth does not require you to reproduce in order to understand how life really works. What a ridiculous statement.
7 ( +11 / -4 )
"The determination of key American newspapers to tell the world that the United Kingdom is both deservedly doomed shortly to splinter into bits and has yet to get over its shady and positively inglorious imperial past where painting a quarter of the globe pink was all done in the monarch's name is way over the top."
OK, so this "article" is a barely veiled rant against American views of the British monarchy. OK, fair enough. But why the obsession on the part of some guy presumably living in Japan with American views of the British monarchy? Honestly just very weird.
0 ( +1 / -1 )
Even if you are cynical, it's hard not to be floored by what the revelations about Abe's connection to the UC may mean. If the UC despite its declared anti-communism was nevertheless also trying to cultivate ties with the North Korean regime, I suppose one can conclude the following:
When North Korean agents began kidnapping Japanese citizens from the shores of their own country in the 1970s, either the LDP leaders who governed Japan then (and this at the time meant people like Abe's father and grandfather--the latter was a member of the House of Representatives until his retirement in 1979) were too stupid and incompetent to realize what was happening, or they knew exactly what was happening but chose not to publicly raise the issue so as to avoid potentially offending the Unification Church leaders whose political support they needed.
I've long viewed the LDP as a non-ideological party whose members really care about only one thing--staying in power no matter what. Anti-communist? Give me a break. Look at how quickly Japan under LDP rule moved to establish ties with mainland China in 1972 after Nixon's visit. Total capitulation to the demands of Japanese business interests then and in the half-century since. Those Japanese abducted by North Koreans and their relatives never, ever should have come to view Abe as their champion. It turns out the whole basis of Abe's meteoric political rise after 2002 was basically a sham.
0 ( +1 / -1 )
The uncomfortable truth is that hardliners feed off of other hardliners. Especially in the case of authoritarian hardliners who don't govern with the consent of the people. Xi Jinping, if he's being honest, will tell people that he actually enjoyed having Abe around as Japanese prime minister. Abe's reputation enabled Xi Jinping gleefully to deflect the attention of the Chinese public away from their own government's shortcomings towards an external adversary.
Look at what happened when a more conciliatory Japanese government under the DPJ, emphasizing "fraternity" with Asia, was in charge from 2009 to 2012. Total disaster for China-Japan relations. The East China Sea dispute really intensified from 2010. The Chinese Communists actually hated having a government in Tokyo that wasn't into downplaying the atrocities of the 1930s. None of this bodes well for the future of the region.
-1 ( +4 / -5 )
"Wonder if Japan has the phenomenon of sympathy wave."
No need to wonder, it happened during the double election (for both houses of the Diet) held on 22 June 1980. Incumbent LDP prime minister Ohira Masayoshi died of natural causes at age 70 just 10 days before election day. LDP gained a significant number of seats in both the upper and lower houses. Ohira's death played a role in causing that to happen.
2 ( +3 / -1 )
"Of the 17, five including Soga were repatriated in 2002 following Koizumi's visit to North Korea. While Japan continues to seek the return of the remaining 12, North Korea maintains that eight have died and the other four never entered the country.
Maybe NK is telling the truth."
Yes, good point. Indeed, it would have been bizarre and irrational for the North Korean leaders back in 2002 to have told the truth about 5 of the abductees while outright lying about the remaining 12. What purpose is served by telling a "71 percent lie" (12 out of 17) about the abductees for nearly 20 years? The knee-jerk response to this question is to insist the North Koreans are irrational and lie about everything. But if they lie about everything, why at the very least did they tell the truth about five of the abductees in September 2002? This is where the "North Koreans are irrational and lie all the time" line falls apart.
1 ( +1 / -0 )
"Except for Osaka, all these top 10 cities are Caucasian cities. Does that influence the evaluation criteria? Easy for whites to live there?"
Good question. I'd say it mostly reflects the ongoing impact of European and Japanese imperialism, i.e. over a period of decades or centuries extracting (or stealing) wealth from the colonies in the form of forced/slave labor and bringing it back to the metropole. Liverpool in England is a livable city today not because it's a paradise for Beatles fans but because it was the financial center and beneficiary of the trans-Atlantic slave trade for over a century. It's not like slavery and imperialism's effects just ceased the moment they ended.
-1 ( +2 / -3 )
Absolutely worth reading is this Twitter thread about racial profiling in Tokyo. Written by Jolyon Thomas, an African-American man and now tenured professor at the University of Pennsylvania. Clearly not one of the many, many times this man was stopped in Tokyo by cops was ever justified: https://twitter.com/jolyonbt/status/1261268535562711040
"62.9% of people with foreign roots in Japan questioned by police: survey"
Confusing headline, since ALL people in mainland Japan except for the Ainu have foreign roots. So that would mean virtually all police officers as well. Significant migration to Japan from China and Korea continued well into the middle part of the Heian Period (794-1185).
-1 ( +0 / -1 )
All foreigners know about the dark side of Japan’s working sector and the joke of a legal system already, yet are so desperate to get Jobs at various Japan Inc.
I don't know how you got this impression, but I don't get the sense that foreigners (at least ones who are native English speakers) are "desperate" to work for Japan Inc, i.e. domestic Japanese companies in Japan. In terms of office environment and salary, outside of Japan the reputations of such companies are frankly terrible. Pretty much synonymous now with workplace bullying and low pay. The average person with a degree in finance or economics from a top university in Britain, Australia, Canada, or the United States isn't going to be "desperate" to work for Mizuho or MUFG in Tokyo. Similarly, I don't get the impression that engineering and other hard science graduates from countries outside of Japan are desperate to work for Nissan or Toyota in the Tokyo or Nagoya areas.
5 ( +9 / -4 )
Vis-a-vis Russia, Japan's government simply does not care about democratic principles. The singular driving force in Japan's foreign policy vis-a-vis Russia is the endless nursing of bitter grievances over what happened in the three weeks after the USSR declared war on Japan on 8 August 1945. That's all it's been for 77 years now. Some years ago, I believe it was Aso Taro who in his typically arrogant and conceited manner stated that Japan should simply buy the disputed islands in the Kuril chain from Russia. Yes, just put more money into Vladimir Putin's vast coffers. Nobody in the LDP who supported Aso's stance then cared about democracy in Russia.
1 ( +5 / -4 )
I bet a million dollars if you polled Japanese people, the only ones would say they miss foreigners are those who directly make money off of them. Yesterday I had breakfast outside and there were 3 Americans talking loudly, with one of them putting his feet up with shoes on a chair. Believe me, no Japanese people miss this kind of behavior.
Why equate foreigners in Japan with Americans? The overwhelming majority of foreigners in Japan are citizens of other Asian countries.
6 ( +10 / -4 )
"Japan overturns decision to cancel U.S. drone acquisition"
Gosh, the use of the present tense in the title here really confused me. I was under the impression initially that the Japanese government just in this new year of 2022 had overturned its decision to cancel the acquisition out of consideration to now disgraced, twice-impeached, former U.S. President Donald Trump. But in fact the decision to overturn was made in the summer of 2020 when Trump was already disgraced and once-impeached but in fact still U.S president. How crazy would it be if the Japanese government now was making decisions so as not to offend the Loser of Mar-a-Lago?
0 ( +10 / -10 )
Here is a great comment from Irish commentator Patrick Freyne about the British royal family:
Having a monarchy next door is a little like having a neighbour who’s really into clowns and has daubed their house with clown murals, displays clown dolls in each window and has an insatiable desire to hear about and discuss clown-related news stories. More specifically, for the Irish, it’s like having a neighbour who’s really into clowns and, also, your grandfather was murdered by a clown.
With the Japanese tabloids having gone into overdrive over Mako & Kei, I wonder if Koreans are starting to think the same thing about their proximity to Japan.
-7 ( +1 / -8 )
"It is totally possible to get these islands back. In 2004 Putin gave to China one and a half Russian owned islands."
Didn't know this. Not to state the obvious, but China is not Japan. For an ex-KGB guy like Putin in 2004 to agree to return disputed territories to a country under Communist Party rule (and that had been aligned with the USSR during World War II before it went communist) probably wasn't hard for him. But for Russia to give back control of even 2 of the 4 disputed Kuril Islands to non-communist, US-aligned Japan would be to acknowledge that the Soviet declaration of war on imperial, quasi-fascist Japan in August 1945 was illegitimate. Returning any territory to Japan for Russia would be like returning any part of Kaliningrad (formerly East Prussia) to present-day, US-aligned Germany. And the disputed Kuril Islands aren't as small as you may think. If returned to Japan, Iturup (or Etorofu) would become Japan's fifth largest island after the four main Japanese islands.
1 ( +2 / -1 )
"Japan marks 76th anniversary of World War II defeat"
Curious headline, considering that people in Japan do as much as they can to avoid even acknowledging defeat in that war. The date of 15 August in the Japanese language is known as "終戦の日," simply "End of War Day." Japanese aren't alone in being reluctant to acknowledge defeat in war. Many Americans will tell you that the U.S. wasn't militarily defeated in Vietnam.
0 ( +4 / -4 )
Overall, I have to say that it will be a relief to see an Olympics host not plagued by assorted insecurities or a desire to display one's newfound hard and/or soft power to the world. Beijing 2008 was about the latter (so was Pyeongchang 2018), and Tokyo 2021 was impacted by the former (i.e. relatively speaking a declining power vis-a-vis growing regional rivals like China and South Korea). France went through the whole "insecure due to a rising regional power (namely Germany)" phase more than 100 years ago. It's not hosting in 2024 to display its newfound power to the world. It has none. France is a second-tier power happy to play junior partner in the EU to Germany. In other words, I hope it will be a restoration of the Olympics as a largely non-political event. Well, after Beijing 2022. For the CCP, everything is political.
-2 ( +3 / -5 )
The crown prince, the emperor's younger brother, has said he approves of the couple's marriage but suggested it has to be welcomed by a so-far skeptical public.
Wait, so the Japanese public has veto power over marriages in the royal family? Doesn't seem that way to me. I wonder when or if the wall of taboos surrounding the Japanese royal family will ever crumble as they have in the case of the royal family in Britain. Queen Elizabeth's entire life story has been turned into a (planned) 60-episode Netflix series (The Crown) and it's been hugely entertaining to watch. Imagine if some production company in Japan was able to do that and depict people like Hirohito, Akihito, Naruhito, Masako, and the others in a drama carried by Netflix. It would be amazing and irresistible entertainment, perhaps enough to rival the countless Korean dramas currently available there.
7 ( +7 / -0 )
I hope Japan does not go down the same endless hole of blame that tries to define the whole of a person by 1 thing that happened a long time ago.
Japanese society does react this way to any person caught just once with a tiny amount of marijuana. What Oyamada did sounds a lot worse than just smoking a joint, especially if (like me) you don't consider smoking marijuana to be a bad thing at all. FYI Oyamada is the second cousin of Joi Ito, the onetime golden boy of the venture capital world before his association with Jeffrey Epstein was revealed.
6 ( +7 / -1 )
"Turkmenistan's capital Ashgabat topped the list"
And who doesn't dream of working for Barclays or Morgan Stanley in Ashgabat? It is interesting that you can drive into Iran from Ashgabat in about an hour. You'll never be able to drive to another country from Tokyo in one hour.
11 ( +13 / -2 )
"Why not believe NK for the last 12 Japanese who had been abducted."
Yes, good question. In 2002, the North Korean regime said the following to the Japanese: 5 of the 17 abductees asked about were alive and well and living in North Korea (which was true), 8 (including Yokota Megumi) had died, and 4 had never entered North Korea. Why would the North Koreans tell the truth about 5 people but then lie about the other 12?
This is a question that needs to be credibly answered. Dismissing the question with a wave of the hand and just saying that North Koreans lie like other human beings breathe is not a credible answer. Because they obviously did not lie about the 5 abductees who were taken back to Japan.
0 ( +1 / -1 )
"Let me tell you this. It’s not because of the Japanese people that the royal family was spared from execution, it’s not because of the Japanese people that the whole nation wasn’t nuked, it’s not because of the Japanese people that Japan wasn't divided between north and south, it’s not because of the Japanese people that the island wasn't completely colonized, and it's not because of the Japanese that the Americans helped Japan grow economically. Just because Japan got away scot-free from the war, doesn’t mean that others were as lucky after the war, and just like Japan, things were not always under their control. Grow some empathy."
This is quite a rant, and goes to the heart of the disputes playing out today: The increasingly prevalent view among people in South Korea as well as diaspora Koreans that Japan and its people were never sufficiently punished for the crimes against humanity they committed against Koreans during the period of colonial rule. People who espouse this view can be called rejectionists. They reject the postwar settlement which they saw as far too favourable to Japan, and it appears they are determined to undo it somehow.
The implications of this are huge. Since 1945, former imperial powers (led by the U.S., with countries like Japan, Britain, France, etc. happily going along) have prioritised fighting communism and upholding the "liberal order" rather than frankly addressing their crimes against humanity committed against colonised peoples. Japan has hardly been alone in strongly desiring to sweep colonial-era crimes against humanity under the rug.
-3 ( +0 / -3 )
"2021 for god sake! When is Japan going to get over this racist BS???"
Good question. Maybe not for a long time. Certainly one of the more frustrating things one notices in Japan is how much a large number of people apparently subscribe to garbage pseudoscience. Why? If you're an educated and literate person who readily accepts that the earth revolves around the sun and that humans are descended from non-human primates who first evolved in Africa, why believe in other stuff that's utter nonsense? For example, thinking that blood type plays some role in determining personality traits. I never heard about or came across this ridiculous idea about blood type until I became familiar with things that many people in Japan believe with all their heart.
Pseudoscience connecting ethnic Japanese to X and other people to Y (and the latter group most certainly includes naturalised Japanese citizens who are of non-Japanese ethnic background) will likely never die out completely in the country.
8 ( +10 / -2 )
Interesting and informative. No human beings ever heard the sound of their own voices on a recording until the late 19th century. I guess our ancestors were lucky in that way. Now, of course, we're in the age of Zoom so endless hours of your recorded voice (and face) are available if you work in education in particular. Fun times!
0 ( +1 / -1 )
It's been quite an eye-opener to realise that the IOC functions like a wealth-draining, parasitic private equity firm. They're taking Tokyo down, its inhabitants be damned. That huge, amazing city might as well just be another struggling U.S. retail outlet like Sears at this point, being eaten alive by the vulture funds.
31 ( +31 / -0 )
"Nothing can stop Tokyo Olympics from going ahead"
What an incredibly stupid thing to say. You don't have to be a seismologist with a doctorate from Caltech to know that there is definitely something that could stop the Tokyo Olympics from going ahead. It's a sporting event, not a general election to the National Diet.
17 ( +17 / -0 )
Well, Suga does have a history of overpromising. Back in 2007, when he was Minister for Internal Affairs and Communication, Suga apparently declared that Japan would develop new technology to replace the internet by the year 2020: https://www.techrepublic.com/index.php/blog/it-news-digest/japan-seeks-to-replace-the-internet/
The internet is still here in 2021.
24 ( +24 / -0 )
Some Koreans who are now feeling betrayed by President Moon appear convinced that he rigged the outcome of this lawsuit to please President Biden before meeting him next month. What happened to bragging about how South Korea, unlike Japan, is a genuine democracy with separation of powers between the judicial and executive branches? Is it really so easy for the South Korean president to just snap his fingers and make a court rule a certain way? If so, I guess South Korea like Japan has problems with a judiciary that is not fully independent.
-2 ( +0 / -2 )
I read that some executives and other employees at social media companies based in Silicon Valley and who have underage children do not allow those children to use electronic devices AT ALL. When I read this anecdote, I immediately think of the smart drug dealer who never consumes his own product. Social media is a drug, the most powerful ever invented because it appeals to the vanity and narcissism that lurks within all human beings.
0 ( +1 / -1 )