Yamiko Otokawa comments

Posted in: Japan-South Korea rift weighs on U.S. push in Asia See in context

We Japanese need to face up to the atrocities and the injustice commited by the Japanese military in the name of Emperor Hirohito during World War 2. The miltary tried to kill the Emperor when he attempted to contact the Allied military to make peace and to spare Japanese citizens from the horrors of atomic bombs.

PM Abe should stick to the apologies given in the past because they are acceptable to Korea and China. All the neighbors, Japan, the 2 Koreas, China and Russia need to have good relations with each other. This will make the role of US and China as ally unnecessary and irrelevant.

Japanese can learn a lot from the British tactic of "divide and conquer" in building its empires. Foreign countries want the East Asian neighbors to antagonize each other so they can manipulate them to further their own national interests.

We need to have the old wounds from World War 2 heal and be forgotten, just as Germany has done with its neighbors. There are millions of government and non-government documents, videos, and photographs, etc. in museums, archives, and so on which prove the atrocities, etc.. The press can do their duty by publishing some of these evidence, because the Japanese government probably will not.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Posted in: China says it would welcome U.S. role in infrastructure bank See in context

If the IMF reforms agreed to by the USA are blocked by USA because of failure of the US Republican Party to ratify the agreement, then many countries should just empty out their money at IMF and give it to the new AIIB. These countries can modify the AIIB to better reflect the current world economic positions of each country. No country should be allowed to block changes to the AIIB by itself, like the USA in the IMF.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Posted in: France, Germany, Italy to join China-led infrastructure bank See in context

To dcog9065 : The present continuing quantitative easing by Japan and European Union have caused the value of the yen and euro to drop against the US dollar. The US has stopped quantitative easing many months ago. That is why its value is going up against yen and euro. You need to do your homework before you write.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Posted in: France, Germany, Italy to join China-led infrastructure bank See in context

The quantitative easing by the US has irked many US allies. It keeps the value of the dollar low. This benefits US exporters at the expense of Japanese and European exporters. Now Japan and European Union are both doing quantitative easing, much to the embarassment of the US government which has stopped quantitative easing. I am not surprised that the European Union has decided that US did things in its own best national interests without regard to the national interests of its allies.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Posted in: How come Japan has never demanded an official apology from any U.S. government for the dropping of atomic bombs on two of its cities? In fact, why don't Japanese hate America for dropping the bombs? See in context

Face reality, Japan is an "occupied country", the US troops are in Japan NOT just to keep an eye on nearby Russia and China, but ALSO to ensure Japan stays within US's sphere of influence. This is similar to the presence of Russian troops in East Germany. The West German government very skillfully persuaded the Russian government to remove the troops using different incentives. Previous Japanese government have requested an apology from the US in the past but have received no reply. This situation is similar to the South Koreans requesting an apology from Japan for the "comfort women". The best option is to leave things as they are. Let the wounds from World War II heal and be forgotten, just like Germany has done. This is what PM Abe should be doing, instead of "revising previous apologies" and angering the Asian neighbors.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Posted in: Japan, U.S. delay update to defense cooperation See in context

Thank you, all the voters who took the time and trouble to vote out the members of the extremist The Party of Future Generations, which went from 19 members to 2 in the Lower House. Quoting from Article 96 of the Constitution of Japan :

ARTICLE 96. Amendments to this Constitution shall be initiated by the Diet, through a concurring vote of two-thirds or more of all the members of each House and shall thereupon be submitted to the people for ratification, which shall require the affirmative vote of a majority of all votes cast thereon, at a special referendum or at such election as the Diet shall specify.

(2) Amendments when so ratified shall immediately be promulgated by the Emperor in the name of the people, as an integral part of this Constitution. The LDP and Komeito have more than the two-thirds majority in the Lower House, also called the House of Representatives, but NOT in the Upper House (134 out of 242, needs 162).

Amendments must also be approved by a majority of voters in the referendum, probably in the next election, 2016.

The Constitution of Japan is the supreme laws of Japan. No laws can be passed which violate the Constitution. The Constitution protects your rights to sue the government, your freedom of thought, expression, assembly, your right to a fair trial, your rights against searches and seizures without a warrant from a judge, etc. Let US work together to make all attempts to amend the Constitution a failure.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: Unenthusiastic voters ready to say yes to Abe See in context

To all Japanese voters who do not vote

Go out there and vote, the candidate that gets the most votes wins the election. A candidate can win by just 1 vote more than the others. As long as the LDP, Komeito and the Party for Future Generations "do not have a majority", they can not force their authoritarian ways and "BAD" policies on you. If you want to : (1) revoke the state secrets laws which allows the government to cover up corruption, wasteful spending, and illegal activities, etc. and suppress the press, the reporters, protesters, etc. (2) stop or abolish the sales tax increase which can make your life more miserable and lower your standard of living. (3) annul the reinterpretation of the Constitution to stop the government from engaging in "expensive" foreign military adventures, etc.. The USA spent more than $2000 billion US dollars or roughly 238 000 billion yen on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Most of this is money "borrowed" from foreigners. Is PM Abe going to borrow this money for his foreign military adventures ? (4) stop more weakening of the yen which makes imported food, oil, gas, goods, etc. more expensive for you. This makes your life more miserable if you are not rich enough. (5) stop PM Abe from violating the Constitution, taking away or violating your human rights and freedom. (6) etc. Go out there and vote for any opposition party. Not LDP. Not Komeito. Not Party for Future Generations. You only have to spend a few hours one time every 4 years. Your candidate can win by only 1 vote ahead. Go vote for the Democratic Party of Japan, Japan Innovation Party, Your Party, etc.. Your vote counts !

17 ( +18 / -2 )

Posted in: Abe pivots away from painful reforms See in context

The LDP was elected the majority because most of you "do not vote". Only 53% of the voters voted in the 2013 election for the Upper House, 59.3% for the last Lower House.

Go out there and vote on Sunday December 14, 2014. Do not protest after the election. The elected members are going to stay in the Lower House for the next 4 years. There is "very little you can do" after the election.

You can cancel the state secrets laws, reverse or stop the sales tax increase, void the reinterpretation of the Constitution to send troops to fight overseas, stop the government spending "your tax money" to wage foreign wars, fight government corruption, etc.. The weak yen benefits the big exporting companies, but causes miseries for many of you and many businesses because the costs of imported food, oil, gas, goods, etc. are much higher.

Do not vote for Liberal Democratic Party of Japan, Komeito or the Party for Future Generations. They all share the similar policies above and "do not care about your constitutional rights and freedom". You can vote for the Democratic Party of Japan, Japan Innovation Party, Your Party, etc.. You can stop the rebirth of "Hideki Tojo" and "Adolf Hitler". Your vote counts.

28 ( +29 / -3 )

Posted in: Market bears bet on Abe victory, then a yen disaster See in context

The most valuable right a Japanese voter has is the right to vote, to choose the leader that will protect his or her freedom , way of life, health, etc.. If you do not vote, or if you vote for Liberal Democratic Party of Japan, Komeito or Party for Future Generations. Do not complain when : (1) The government hides illegal activities, radioactive contamination, missing pension fund records, illegal military operations outside Japan, corruption, bribing of officials, etc. from you and the press using the state secrets laws. The government under LDP has hidden from the public things like allowing US ships to bring atomic weapons to Japanese waters, missing many people's pension records, corruption, etc. (2) The government has "reinterpreted" the Constitution to give it the right to send Japanese military to fight outside Japan. The Constitution requires any amendment "must be approved by at least two-thirds of the members of both Houses and be approved by a majority of voters in a referendum. PM Abe has violated the Constitution. This reminds me of Hideki Tojo. The government sends your sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, grandchildren, etc. to fight wars in foreign countries. They may be killed, permanently disabled without arm, legs, etc. The government raises taxes on "you", forcing "you" to help pay the these military adventures.

(3) Nuclear power plants are badly damaged by earthquakes, typhoons, etc. leaking radioactive substances into the air, water, soil, the food you eat, etc. Big areas around the damaged power plants are evacuated and no people can live there for thousands of years, like in Chernobyl of Ukraine or Three Mile Island of the USA. The Chernobyl exclusion zone covers 2600 sq km or 1,004 sq mi. People die slowly from thyroid cancer, cancer, etc. and animals, plants and human babies develop deformities.

(4)The consumption tax, also called "sales tax" will be increased to 10% after the election, by Liberal Democratic Party of Japan and its ally Komeito. If your income is 40000 yen a month, you will have 36000 yen after tax to spend. Your standard of living will drop. Other political parties like the Democratic Party of Japan want to decrease or stop the increase in the "sales tax"

Only 53% of the voters voted in the 2013 election for the House of Councillors or Upper House. Go out there and vote. Do not protest after the election. The elected members of the coming election are going to stay in the Lower House for the next 4 years. There is "very little you can do" after the election.

Do not vote for Liberal Democratic Party of Japan. Do not vote for Komeito. Do not vote for Party for Future Generations. They all share the same policies above.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Posted in: Japan's war on deflation faces its toughest battle See in context

Do not waste your time complaining and protesting about the policies of PM Abe and his party Liberal Democratic Party of Japan and ally Komeito. They will be in charge for the next 4 years after they are elected. There is little you can do after election. Go out there and vote for the candidates of the other party, not LDP, not Komeito.

(1) PM Abe has abused his powers. He wants to force passage of the "state secrets laws" to hide information like military adventures, actual estimates of damages caused by disasters like Fukushima, bad news, etc. from the public and the press. The problem lies in the definition of "state secrets".

(2) He has violated the laws by "revising" or "amending" the Constitution without at least two-third of the votes in both houses as required by the Constitution. He calls it "reinterpreting" the Constitution.

(3) He wants the Japanese military to fight outside Japan in conflicts, wars, etc. which do not affect the national security of Japan, in violation of the Constitution.

(4) He wants to restart many of the nuclear power plants despite the risks of catastrophic damages that can result from major earthquakes like the one which caused Fukushima nuclear meltdown. Areas around the reactor meltdown are evacuated and too dangerous for people to live for thousands of years due to radiation, just like Chernobyl. newscientist(.)com/special/fukushima-crisis naturalsociety(.)com/ca-fukushima-fission-products-release-1000x-times-worse-originally-projected-can/

(5) He wants to revise past apologies to neighboring countries and reopen old wounds caused by World War 2, worsening Japan's relations with its neighbors. The issues related to World War 2 like comfort women, atrocities, etc. are best left alone just like Germany has done. Part of Japan's economic problems is caused by its biggest customer, China, buying a lot less from Japan.

(6) He raised the consumption tax from 5% to 8%. This lowers the standard of living for many poor and middle class Japanese. If you make 100 000 yen a month, you end up with 92000 yen after tax to spend. He could have raised the taxes on the rich people and big corporations for revenue.

Do not complain and protest. Go out there and vote for the other party. Not LDP. Not Komeito.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Posted in: Low voter turnout could erode Abe's call for fresh mandate See in context

Voters should NOT shun the December 14 2014 election. They can instead vote for candidate from any party except Liberal Democratic Party of Japan and Komeito. It is important that the LDP does not get a big majority in the Lower House so that it CAN NOT force through unpopular policies that you may oppose. These include : (1) State secrets protection bill that will allow the government to hide information like nuclear disasters, military adventures, etc. from Japanese citizens and restrict the freedom of the press. The problem lies in the "definition" of state secrets. (2) Under Article 96, amendments to the Constitution "shall be initiated by the Diet, through a concurring vote of two-thirds or more of all the members of each House and shall thereupon be submitted to the people for ratification, which shall require the affirmative vote of a majority of all votes cast thereon, at a special referendum or at such election as the Diet shall specify." PM Abe does not have the two thirds majority in both houses to revise the Constitution. He tries to get around the supreme laws of Japan, that is, the Constitution by "reinterpreting" the Constitution. (3) PM Abe's policy of raising the consumption tax is the same policy advocated by DPJ. This policy cost the DPJ the last election. DPJ has since said it will not increased the tax for a very long time. (4) Restarting the nuclear power plants. The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster shows the power company and the government are very poorly equipped to deal with the disaster. Germany is getting only 18% of its energy from nuclear power and has pledged to shut down all nuclear power plants by the end of 2022. Major earthquakes can cause serious damages to nuclear reactors, leaking highly radioactive substances, contaminating water, air, soil and food. Radiation can kill people quickly in high doses, cause cancer, deformities in babies, etc.. If you DO NOT want PM Abe and the LDP to continue the policies you oppose, then go out and vote for the other party. Do not complain or protest his policies after the election. You can protest with your VOTE.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: Low voter turnout could erode Abe's call for fresh mandate See in context

PM Abe wants the LDP members of lower house to have another extra 2 more years, that is 4 years, before voting to pass very "unpopular bills". So they can not be voted out after 2 years. According to the polls, many Japanese voters : (1) Do not want the nuclear reactors restarted. Radiation from radioactive wastes and from nuclear accidents takes hundreds to thousands of years to decay to safe levels. Radiation has been proven to cause radiation sickness, cancer, etc. (2)Do not want the consumption tax raised because it reduces their amount they can spend on buying goods. It lowers their living standard. (3)Do not want the Japanese military to fight outside Japan in conflicts, wars, etc. which do not affect the security of Japan. PM Abe does not have the votes to "revise" the Constitution, so he tries to get around it by "reinterpreting" the Constitution. This is very dangerous for the Japanese citizens. Imagine the government can take away your rights and freedom simply by "reinterpreting" the Constitution. (4) Do not want to reopen the wounds with neighboring countries caused by World War 2. They do not want to revise past apologies and do not want to reopen old historical issues, just like Germany and Italy. I urge all eligible Japanese voters to exercise the most important right they have, that is, to vote for leaders they can trust that will protect their rights, freedom, health, and way of life. I believe a Lower House with no party having a "big" majority is best to prevent the one party from abusing its powers, taking away the rights and freedom of citizens.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Posted in: Election is all about political timing See in context

Japan’s 8% consumption tax alone does not cause the recession. It contributes to it. When PM Abe devalues the yen, imports like gas, oil, fuel, raw materials, foreign goods, food, etc. cost more. Many goods sold in Japan cost more because of higher transportation costs, higher electricity costs, etc.. Higher prices, less consumption. Businesses that are barely profitable go out of business because of higher costs, etc. The DPJ lost the last elections over the raising of the consumption tax, failure to honor its promise to Okinawans, etc. Does PM Abe expects to win the elections in December 2014 after raising the consumption tax ?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Abe adviser calls for stimulus after 'shocking' GDP See in context

PM Abe's motto is "When Japan grows up, it wants to be just like USA. " Quantitative easing, free cash, middle class tax cuts, etc., all tried under US Pres. Obama. The result ? The USA has the world's biggest external debt, US$ 17900 billion, and growing bigger at around US$500 billion to US$ 1000 billion a year. The US debt ceiling has to be raised and approved by the US Congress every year, or most of the US government will shut down. It has already happened at least once. PM Abe needs to resign and let someone else takes charge.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Abe appears to have decided on poll, LDP official tells media See in context

Looks to me PM Abe wants to make SURE voters can not vote him out of office before he does all the UNPOPULAR things : (1) Reinterpret the Constitution because he does not have the votes to revise the Constitution. So he can send Japanese military to fight wars outside Japan started by USA. (2) Restart the nuclear reactors despite opposition by most Japanese. (3) Raise the sales tax to 10% from 8%, which can lead to a recession.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Posted in: Asia-Pacific ministers endorse trade, graft pacts See in context

The US pivot to Asia has motivated China to take many steps to reduce US influence and power : (1) Direct trading in local currencies with major countries including Japan to bypass the use of US dollar. The share of US dollar as a reserve currency is on a long-term decline, while share of Chinese yuan and euro have been increasing. (2) Currency swap agreements with major countries including Japan. (3) Closer military, economic and other cooperation with Russia. (4) Shutting out US IT products from Microsoft ( Windows 8), Cisco, etc. from government use on national security grounds. Same reasons used by US to shut out Huawei, Lenovo, etc. from government use. (5) Start Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, talks on the Free-Trade Area of the Asia Pacific, etc. to challenge the USA. (6) Economic, military or / and other cooperation with countries not friendly to the USA, such as Iran, Venezuela, Argentina, Sri Lanka, etc. (7) Etc. Do the governments of China and USA think about the long-term consequences of what they do ?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Xinhua pours cold water on idea of Xi-Abe talks See in context

Japan has its biggest trade deficits in its history in its last 2 years. Its balance of international payments and credits, called "current account", has shrunk to a negative deficit or a tiny surplus, instead of a big surplus in the past.

The 2 biggest debtors in the world by the size of the debt, the USA and Japan, owe US$17000 billion and US$10500 billion. Their debts are growing BIGGER, not smaller. This is a good example of "The blind leading the blind". The USA has decided to stop its "quantitative easing" which helps to keep the interest rates on its loans from foreigners "low", while Japan is coming out with a bigger one.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Posted in: Xinhua pours cold water on idea of Xi-Abe talks See in context

There will be NO "formal" meeting or discussion between Chinese Pres. Xi and Japanese PM Abe because : (1) S Korea's Pres. Park does not want to "formally meet" PM Abe. Since China cooperates with S Korea in dealing with Japan, it will not undercut S Korea. (2) Japan's economy is getting WORSE. Its trade deficits remain high. PM Abe's popularity is dropping. China gains by waiting for both to get worse. (3) A "formal" meeting will provide a good "publicity stunt" for PM Abe, but has little to offer in settling the disputes. (4) PM Abe has done little to settle the disputes. He could have removed the names of the "convicted" war criminals from the Yasukuni Shrine permanently, but he has not. Or designate a national cemetery. He could have offered to shelve the island dispute as in the past, but he has not. He could have publicly announced there will be NO REVISIONS to past apologies on comfort women, atrocities, etc, but he has not. The Chinese government believes PM Abe is NOT sincere about settling the disputes. That is the problem.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Posted in: China says it will be good host to Japan during APEC See in context

My guess is PM Abe will not meet Pres. Xi at the APEC in November 2014 for the following reasons : ......................................................................................................................................................... (1) China and S. Korea cooperate in dealing with PM Abe. No meeting with Pres. Park means no meeting with Pres. Xi. (2) Japan's economy is deteriorating and PM Abe's popularity is declining. China has more leverage in dealing with PM Abe and gains by waiting. (3) Meeting PM Abe can help his sagging popularity but has little to offer in settling the disputes with China and S Korea.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: China, 21 other countries initiate new Asian bank See in context

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank is established because the US, etc. fail to change the quota and voting shares of the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and Asian Development Bank. The changes sought by US Pres. Obama have not been approved by the US Congress, especially the Republican politicians. ......................................................................................................................................................................................... This change will give countries like China, India, etc. more voting shares to reflect their larger economies. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank is established as the result of the failure of the above changes, and will compete with the Asian Development Bank. The statement "Absent are U.S. allies Japan, South Korea and Australia, whose membership was sought by China." has factual errors. ........................................................................................................................................................ The membership of US and Japan are NOT sought by China and the A.I.D. Bank. They are excluded and are NOT invited.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Posted in: Abe meets Chinese PM amid furor over lawmakers' Yasukuni Shrine visits See in context

Even though PM Abe can not solve the problem about Yasukuni Shrine, about an alternate national cemetery to honor the war's dead, and other issues, he wants to get a permanent seat on the UN Security Council to help other countries solve their problems. PM Abe can not solve Japan's own problems with its four neighbors (China, Russia, South Korea, Taiwan ) and he wants to help other countries solve their international problems. What a joke ! PM Abe should trying to revise stories on historical issues like comfort women, war time atrocities, etc.. He should stop opening up old World War II wounds. The apologies are best left the way they are. .... He can learn a lot from Germany. The German government apologized for past atrocities, paid compensation, etc. As far as the German government is concerned, World War II is history, all the old issues are history. They do not want to talk or debate about it.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Posted in: Japanese journalist indicted in S Korea for defaming president See in context

Journalists who wrote lies or unproven facts about any person including PM Abe should be prosecuted, fined, or sued. In the USA, journalists from CBS, CNN, etc. have been jailed, fined, fired or sued for defamation.

-28 ( +7 / -33 )

Posted in: Abe makes fresh call for Japan-China summit See in context

China is/was Japan's biggest export market. Declining Chinese imports from Japan is hurting Japan bad. Japan has been running a trade deficit for 2 to 3 years, instead of trade surplus in the past. The international balance of payments, also called current account, is increasingly in the RED, or NEGATIVE. How can PM Abe expects better relations with China when he is trying to get other Asian countries to line up against China militarily ? How can he expects better relations by OPENING UP OLD WOUNDS, by bringing up the issues of comfort women, World War Two atrocities, etc. ? He needs to fire the people who advise him on foreign policy .

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Posted in: Japan considers building its own fighter jets See in context

Japan is much better off to invest the roughly US$1000 billion (100 000 billion yen) it has in US government debts called US Treasury bonds in building up Japanese defense industries to produce fighters, warships, etc. for export. Holding the US debts make Japanese lose billions of US dollars ( 1 US dollar=101 yen) a year and also is the return on interest (about 1%) is much worse than the returns Japan can gain from investing.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan considers building its own fighter jets See in context

Looking back in history, the only time Japan was invaded by China was when the Mongols conquered China. The Mongols built a great fleet only to be mostly destroyed by typhoon. The typhoon was called "kamikaze". If Japan builds its own fighter aircraft, it will be mostly for export. Japanese cars made by Toyota, Nissan, etc. outlast, outperform other countries' cars except "may be" German cars. I expect Japanese fighter aircraft to be superior to those from many countries once the necessary resources are invested. So, I say, go build the fighters. It is good for jobs, good for exports.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Posted in: Japan considers building its own fighter jets See in context

Japanese can not trust their lives and depend their national security on foreigners. The foreigners always put their national interests ahead of Japanese interests. Building Japan's own fighter jets with Japan's own technologies can provide hundreds of thousands of jobs for Japanese, allow Japan's foreign policy to be less dependent on, less subservient to other country like USA, etc. History has many examples of friends today becoming adversaries tomorrow. Japan must keep its options open.

2 ( +9 / -7 )

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