Japan has actually done remarkably well in averting terror attacks and has never been the victim of lethal jihadist violence. Some have praised Japan’s effectiveness in forestalling Islamic violence, proposing it as a model for other nations.
“The most interesting thing in Japan’s approach to Islam is the fact that the Japanese do not feel the need to apologize to Muslims for the negative way in which they relate to Islam.”
In 2010, over a hundred Japanese police files were leaked to the public, which revealed widespread monitoring of Muslims across Japan. The files reportedly showed that the Japanese government was keeping tabs on some 72,000 Japanese residents who hailed from member countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
Tokyo police had also been monitoring places of worship, halal restaurants, and “Islam-related” organizations, according to the documents.
“Along with surveillance, Japanese authorities also apply tight immigration standards. Muslims seeking a working visa or immigration permit, for instance, are subject to detailed scrutiny, which is credited with preventing the sort of terrorist activity that has plagued Europe. “
Soon after, 17 plaintiffs filed a lawsuit saying that their privacy had been violated, and challenging the extensive monitoring of followers of Islam in Japan.
After two appeals, the case made it to Japan’s Supreme Court, which on May 31 concurred with a lower court that awarded the plaintiffs a total of ¥90 million ($880,000) in compensation because the leak violated their privacy.
Nonetheless, the high court dismissed the more general charges of police profiling and invasive surveillance practices, which a lower court had upheld as “necessary and inevitable” to guard against the threat of Islamic terrorism. Read the rest of this entry »
The Finance Ministry plans to increase the number of ¥10,000 bills in circulation, amid signs that more people are hoarding cash.
It will print 1.23 billion such notes in fiscal 2016, 180 million more than a year earlier. The number of ¥10,000 bills issued annually leveled off at around 1.05 billion in the fiscal years from 2011 to 2015.
Some financial market sources believe it is because more people are keeping their money at home rather than in banks, because interest rates on deposits have fallen to almost zero after the Bank of Japan introduced a negative interest rate in February.
The total amount of cash stashed at home is estimated to have surged by nearly ¥5 trillion to some ¥40 trillion in the past year, Hideo Kumano, chief economist at Dai-ichi Life Research Institute, said. Read the rest of this entry »
Announcement by Foreign Ministers of Japan and the Republic of Korea at the Joint Press Occasion.
Here is the full text of the announcement between Japan and South Korea on women who were forced to serve Japanese soldiers sexually in World War II, as released by Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The announcement consists of statements by Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se. For The Wall Street Journal’s coverage of the two countries’ agreement, follow this link.
- Foreign Minister Kishida
The Government of Japan and the Government of the Republic of Korea (ROK) have intensively discussed the issue of comfort women between Japan and the ROK at bilateral meetings including the Director-General consultations. Based on the result of such discussions, I, on behalf of the Government of Japan, state the following:
(1) The issue of comfort women, with an involvement of the Japanese military authorities at that time, was a grave affront to the honor and dignity of large numbers of women, and the Government of Japan is painfully aware of responsibilities from this perspective.
As Prime Minister of Japan, Prime Minister Abe expresses anew his most sincere apologies and remorse to all the women who underwent immeasurable and painful experiences and suffered incurable physical and psychological wounds as comfort women.
(2) The Government of Japan has been sincerely dealing with this issue. Building on such experience, the Government of Japan will now take measures to heal psychological wounds of all former comfort women through its budget. To be more specific, it has been decided that the Government of the ROK establish a foundation for the purpose of providing support for the former comfort women, that its funds be contributed by the Government of Japan as a one-time contribution through its budget, and that projects for recovering the honor and dignity and healing the psychological wounds of all former comfort women be carried out under the cooperation between the Government of Japan and the Government of the ROK.
(3) While stating the above, the Government of Japan confirms that this issue is resolved finally and irreversibly with this announcement, on the premise that the Government will steadily implement the measures specified in (2) above.
In addition, together with the Government of the ROK, the Government of Japan will refrain from accusing or criticizing each other regarding this issue in the international community, including at the United Nations.
- Foreign Minister Yun
The Government of the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the Government of Japan have intensively discussed the issue of comfort women between the ROK and Japan at bilateral meetings including the Director-General consultations. Based on the result of such discussions, I, on behalf of the Government of the ROK, state the following:
(1) The Government of the ROK values the GOJ’s announcement and efforts made by the Government of Japan in the lead-up to the issuance of the announcement and confirms, together with the GOJ, that the issue is resolved finally and irreversibly with this announcement, on the premise that the Government of Japan will steadily implement the measures specified in 1. (2) above. The Government of the ROK will cooperate in the implementation of the Government of Japan’s measures. Read the rest of this entry »
The Japanese government is seeking information after reports a Japanese freelance journalist is being held hostage in Syria and has been threatened with execution, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said on Thursday.
“Given the nature of the matter, I would like to refrain from commenting on details.”
Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said this week it had received information that an armed group holding journalist Yasuda Jumpei hostage had started a countdown for an unspecified ransom to be paid and had threatened to execute or sell him to another group if their demands were not met.
“The safety of our citizens is an important responsibility of the government, so we are making every effort and making full use of various information networks.”
— Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga
RSF said in a statement on its website that Yasuda was kidnapped in July by an armed group in an area controlled by the militant Nusra Front, al Qaeda’s Syria wing, shortly after entering Syria earlier that month.
It urged the Japanese government to do what was needed to save Yasuda. Suga said the Japanese government knew of the case but was not aware of any fresh developments.
“Given the nature of the matter, I would like to refrain from commenting on details,” he told a regular news conference. Read the rest of this entry »
Source: The Japan Times
Rolling Sushi Art: Osaka’s Dōtonbori Canal Turned into a Gigantic Conveyor Belt Carrying Plates of Sushi the Size of Compact CarsPosted: September 11, 2015
The world’s first conveyor belt sushi restaurant opened in Osaka, Japan in 1958. Now Osaka’s Dōtonbori canal has been turned into a gigantic conveyor belt carrying plates of sushi the size of compact cars. This enormous floating piscine parade is an art project called Rolling Sushi.
These photos and the video are from a recent test run to make sure all the sushi successfully floats. The colossal conveyor belt will be on display in Osaka for the first couple weeks of October.
Source: vintage everyday
A scene at a Tokyo courthouse last month showed why Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has had to work all year on a statement marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. As WSJ’s Henry Hoenig reports:
Dozens of people stood in the heat, hoping to win a lottery for a seat to hear two of Japan’s most renowned historians debate, as part of a libel suit, whether the term “sex slaves” accurately described the women in Japan’s World War II military brothels.
On your knees, descendant of Imperialist dogs!
That the subject still draws a crowd after seven decades shows how divided the country still is—and helps to explain why Japan’s statements about the war have swung back and forth over the years, to the annoyance of its neighbors. Read the rest of this entry »
Government opens another front in public relations battle with China, South Korea
TOKYO— Peter Landers writes: Japan’s government is paying to have Japanese-language nonfiction books translated into English, with the first works to be produced under the program arriving in American libraries this month.
“Japan is among the top nations in the world in terms of books published, but unfortunately, they’re just published in Japanese. If they were known around the world, there are a lot of books that people would find really interesting.”
The move is one of several nontraditional public-relations steps by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration, which is trying to enhance Japan’s profile among U.S. opinion leaders and the general public as it engages in a public relations battle with China and South Korea.
“Some efforts have been overtly political. South Korea has created a website in seven languages to make its case that two islets claimed by both Tokyo and Seoul rightly belong to South Korea, and last year sponsored an exhibit in France on forced prostitution by the Japanese military during World War II.”
Japan’s foreign ministry has boosted its public diplomacy budget. Measures include spending $5 million to fund a professorship in Japanese politics and foreign policy at Columbia University. Another program, begun last year, sends Japanese people from various walks of life to places like Lawrence, Kan., and Lexington, Ky., to talk about life in Japan.
The books translated into English with Japanese government funds will carry the imprint “Japan Library” and be published by the government itself—a different approach from that of some other nations that subsidize private translations. Read the rest of this entry »
Japan successfully completed the launch of a radar reconnaissance satellite on Sunday morning, the Kyodo news agency reports. The launch was performed from the Tanegashima Space Center in the Kagoshima Prefecture in the south of Japan at 10:21 local time (01:30 GMT). The satellite was taken into orbit by the H-2A (H-IIA) carrier rocket.
This is the fifth spy satellite that Japan has launched into the Earth’s orbit. It will allow to capture objects on the surface of the Earth at high resolution during nighttime and through clouds. The other four Japanese satellites that are orbiting the Earth include two optical imaging spacecraft and two radar imagers.
Japan plans to launch another reconnaissance satellite in March, as part of the Information Gathering Satellite (IGS) series. The IGS program was initiated after North Korea attempted to launch a satellite in August 1998. The rocket carrying the satellite overflew Japan and fell into the Pacific Ocean.
Source: Sputnik News
The country’s ISIS hostage crisis is a tragedy—one that its government helped to create. Is the Abe administration more concerned with saving face than saving lives?
Tsuneoka, who was held hostage in 2010 in Afghanistan and is one of the few Japanese journalists with a pipeline to ISIS, told The Daily Beast last year that the group invited him and Japanese Muslim scholar Hassan Ko Nakata to follow the trial as an Arabic translator.
“There has been some speculation in Japan that the government’s inaction leading up to the release of the hostage video was an attempt to deepen the country’s involvement in the fight against ISIS and justify its remilitarization. Since last year, Abe and his Cabinet have been pushing for a reinterpretation of Japan’s pacifist constitution under the guise of ‘collective self-defense’ that would allow Japan to go to war with its allies…”
But Tsuneoka said he and Nakata were not allowed to travel to Syria to try to negotiate Yukawa’s release after the police raided their homes on October 6, a day before their planned departure, and seized their passports. Tsuneoka was detained for questioning for 24 hours but was not arrested.
“…They also have announced intentions to abolish Article 9, the Japanese constitutional clause that forsakes warfare. These moves have met with widespread opposition among the Japanese but have been downplayed in Japan’s increasingly compliant media.”
Police sources said the raid stemmed from an ongoing police investigation into Tsuneoka’s involvement with a student who may have been attempting to join ISIS. Tsuneoka and the student are under suspicion of violating the rarely enforced Article 93 of Japan’s criminal code, which prohibits “preparing or plotting to wage war privately upon a foreign state”; if arrested, tried, and convicted, the two could face up to five years in prison. Tsuneoka has denied the allegations, though he acknowledges buying an airplane ticket for the student, who had no credit card.
“Now a backlash against the government’s handling of the crisis is growing, with thousands of people tweeting, with some sarcasm, that the prime minister should give himself up to ISIS in exchange for Goto.”
The day after the raid, Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters that Japan would take measures to “curb extremists.” Japanese nationals would be barred from traveling to Syria, Iraq, or other countries in pursuit of terrorist acts and from offering financial resources to terrorists and extremist groups, in line with domestic law. Read the rest of this entry »
TOKYO/BEIJING (Reuters) – China said it would not tolerate provocation after Japan’s top government spokesman said on Tuesday Japan might station government workers on disputed islands in the East China Sea to defend its sovereignty. Read the rest of this entry »