TOKYO (Jiji Press) — A special exhibition commemorating the 70th anniversary on Wednesday of the enforcement of the Constitution is under way at the National Archives of Japan in Tokyo, featuring the original copy of the nation’s supreme charter.
The original document has a signature of Emperor Showa, who died in 1989, and his official seal.
About 60 items related to the establishment of the pacifist Constitution are on display, also including the New Year’s statement by Emperor Showa in 1946 declaring the concept that he was divine to be false.
The admission-free exhibition will run through May 7.
The exhibition also highlights Tokujiro Kanamori, who served as state minister in charge of the Constitution under the government of Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida after World War II. He headed the legislation bureau before the war.
The exhibited items related to Kanamori include the English dictionary he used to look up the definition of the term “symbol” and a list of anticipated questions and answers drawn up with senior officials of the legislation bureau regarding a draft of the Constitution… (read more)
Source: The Japan News
“The worrisome thing here is the outside partner. This is not just a three sided game, North Korea, South Korea, and the U.S. — it’s the Chinese reaction. The Chinese are watching the United States after eight years of withdrawal, accommodation, and essentially no response to Chinese expansion — they’re seeing the United States now asserting itself. The U.S.S. Carl Vinson an aircraft carrier is now in the South China Sea. Trump has just sent B-52’s into South Korea as a way to threaten the North Koreans, and everyone knows what they carry, they carry nuclear weapons. But the worst thing from the Chinese point of view is the THAAD: This is the antimissile system. The Chinese react to that the way the Russians did to the anti-missile system we wanted to put in Eastern Europe. They get very upset because it can be applied against them. Yes, our reason for doing it is to defend the South Koreans against the North. But the overall effect is to put up a missile shield that could degrade and weaken the Chinese arsenal. They know that. They are very worried about that. And they’re getting semi-hysterical. Global Times which is a government-friendly publication just this week said that the government of China will no longer rule out a first nuclear strike. That’s a big deal. That’s not an official statement, but it tells you how much the Chinese are upset, which is why we are now rushing to install the THAAD by the end of April before the election so at least it’s a fait accompli — but this is a tinderbox.”
Source: National Review
In an aggressive move, a Chinese naval reconnaissance vessel enters waters near Kuchinoerabu Island off Kagoshima Prefecture.
Ayako Mie reports: A Chinese navy reconnaissance vessel entered Japanese territorial waters near Kuchinoerabu Island off Kagoshima Prefecture early Wednesday morning — the first time since 2004 that a Chinese military ship has done so.
Wednesday’s incursion comes just under a week after a Chinese naval frigate entered the contiguous zone just outside Japan’s territorial waters near the disputed Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.
The ministry said it warned the Chinese ship to exit the territorial waters — generally defined under international law as within 12 nautical miles (22 km) of a nation’s land border — prompting it to leave the waters south of Yakushima Island, sailing southeast, at around 5 a.m.
Wednesday’s incursion was the second time since the end of World War II that a Chinese military ship entered Japanese waters. The last time was in 2004, when a Chinese submarine was detected in the territorial waters near Ishigaki Island in Okinawa Prefecture. In response, Yoshinori Ono, the Defense Agency’s director general at the time, ordered the MSDF to boost its maritime security measures.
Such an order was not issued this time as the Chinese ship left before the Defense Ministry could determine if the passage involved any malicious intent, the ministry said.
International law allows all ships, regardless of their country of registration, to pass through another country’s territorial waters so long as they do not endanger the peace and security of the coastal state.
While Beijing’s intentions remain unclear, Defense Minister Gen Nakatani said that the Chinese ship entered the waters after following two Indian ships participating in the trilateral Malabar drills. Japan, the U.S. and India have been conducting those exercises in the waters east of Okinawa, near the Senkakus, since last Friday.
The Chinese ship also shadowed the U.S. aircraft carrier John C. Stennis, which was participating in the joint exercise, Reuters reported, citing a Japanese official.
The intrusion by the Chinese navy comes just six days after a Chinese Navy frigate entered the contiguous waters near the Japanese-administered Senkakus, which are also claimed by China and Taiwan, where they are known as the Diaoyu and Tiaoyutai, respectively.
While the Senkakus are uninhabited, Kuchinoerabu Island has a population of 123 as of the end of last month. It is a popular tourist destination and a part of Yakushima National Park. Read the rest of this entry »
Visiting U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis clearly said during talks with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday afternoon that the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture are within the scope of Article 5 of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, which obliges the United States to defend Japan, according to a senior government official who attended the meeting.
At the opening of the meeting, Abe said he hopes and is certain the two countries “can demonstrate in our country and abroad that the Japan-U.S. alliance is unshakable.” In response, Mattis said that he intended to make clear during the meeting that Article 5 of the security treaty will be important five years or 10 years from now, just as it was a year ago or five years ago.
Mattis arrived in Tokyo on the day to hold talks with the prime minister, Defense Minister Tomomi Inada and other members of Abe’s Cabinet to exchange views on the security environment in East Asia and to address mutual security concerns. The new U.S. defense chief’s visit to Japan marks the first by a U.S. Cabinet member under the administration of President Donald Trump. The ministerial meeting with Inada is scheduled for Saturday, after which they will hold a joint press conference.
During these talks, the two sides are also expected to confirm that the United States will firmly uphold the “nuclear umbrella” (see below) over Japan in its defense.
During his presidential election campaign last year, Trump was ambiguous about defending the Senkakus and also suggested that if Japan doesn’t contribute its due share to shouldering the burden of stationing U.S. forces in Japan, it would be acceptable for Japan to possess its own nuclear weapons to confront North Korea’s nuclear threat. These remarks caused apprehension on the Japanese side.
Imagine consuming nitrous oxide, helium, and cocaine, then explaining Japanese history. What’s not to like? A funny video that compresses a lot of information into an entertaining, easy-to-unpack container.
Junko Horiuchi reports: Even though Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed their recent agreement on joint economic activities on four disputed islands off Hokkaido is a step toward resolving the territorial row, the islands’ strategic importance for Russia is likely to continue complicating the decades-old issue.
Even if the agreed economic cooperation chiefly in the Russian Far East makes headway, the strategic importance of the Russian-held islands, claimed by Japan, bodes ill for Tokyo in its efforts to regain them, especially given the advance of China in the Arctic region and Russia’s need to maintain its nuclear deterrence, according to some analysts.
Japan claims that Etorofu, Kunashiri, Shikotan and the Habomai islet group are an integral part of its territory and were illegally seized by the Soviet Union after Japan’s surrender in World War II in August 1945. Russia maintains the Soviet Union took the islands legitimately as the spoils of war.
Officials in Japan have announced a plan to build the world’s fastest supercomputer in a bid to reaffirm the country’s place as a leader in technological advancement.
If all goes according to plan, the processing monster will cost 19.5 billion yen ($173 million) and will be cable of 130 quadrillion calculations per second, Reuters reports.
It is a rare thing to be able to use the word “quadrillion” in a manner that isn’t an exaggeration. Phrased another way, the planned supercomputer clocks in at 130 petaflops, which would decidedly surpass the current fastest in the world—China’s Sunway Taihulight which maxes out at 93 petaflops.
Satoshi Sekiguchi, a director general at Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, had an intriguingly humble way of saying that it will blow the competition out of the water: “As far as we know, there is nothing out there that is as fast.” Which leaves the imagination to wonder about secret hidden supercomputers plowing through data in hollowed-out mountains.
The move comes at a time when Japan hopes to return to its glory days as top dog in technology. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has recently pushed for his government to work more closely with private industry to assure that Japan leads the way in robotics, batteries, artificial intelligence and other key areas of growth. Read the rest of this entry »
Novelist Natsume Soseki (1867-1916) is back in Tokyo — as an android.
Nishogakusha University in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, and Osaka University Prof. Hiroshi Ishiguro unveiled the final product of their joint project at a press conference on Thursday, a day before the 100th anniversary of the writer’s death.
The Japanese city of Beppu is known for its countless hot springs and spas that pop up around them. So much so, that the city’s mayor, Yasuhiro Nagano, pledged to build an entire spa-themed amusement park—although it might not be quite as awesome as the one featured in this promotional video.
The “spamusement” park’s development hinged on this promo video hitting a million views, which it did just a few days after hitting YouTube. The city’s mayor has since announced plans to begin planning and development of the park, and we’re really hoping that bathtub roller coaster makes the cut…(more)
The boy complained to the teacher in charge of his class that he felt bad because classmates treated him like a germ, according to the board of education. He also reported to the teacher last month that he was bullied.
Jiji Press NIIGATA (Jiji Press) — A teacher at an elementary school in the city of Niigata added “kin,” or “germ” in Japanese, when he called the name of a male pupil evacuated from the prefecture of Fukushima following the country’s worst nuclear accident in March 2011, it was learned Friday.
“The board expressed deep apologies to the pupil and his parents. The boy evacuated to Niigata with his family from Fukushima after the unprecedented triple reactor meltdown accident at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, which was knocked out by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.”
Due to the remark by the teacher, in his 40s, the fourth grader became unable to go to the school, according to Niigata’s board of education.
“The boy reportedly said that he cannot go to the school and does not want to see the teacher.”
The board expressed deep apologies to the pupil and his parents. The boy evacuated to Niigata with his family from Fukushima after the unprecedented triple reactor meltdown accident at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, which was knocked out by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Read the rest of this entry »
China: Shinzo Abe Statue with Hitler Mustache Removed by Shenyang Mall After Japanese Consulate ComplainsPosted: November 27, 2016
The Abe wax figure was first unveiled last week along with likenesses of Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin.
Alex Linder writes: Unfortunately, customers visiting one Shenyang shopping mall will no longer be greeted by a bowing Shinzo Abe with a Hitler mustache after the mall received complaints from the Japanese consulate in the city.
The Abe wax figure was first unveiled last week along with likenesses of Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin. Behind the kowtowing Japanese Prime Minister were Chinese characters reading: “Commemorating the September 18th Incident.”
“Confusingly, the worker added that the Hitler mustache was added intentionally to ‘make sure it didn’t entirely resemble Abe,’ and that the backdrop had nothing to do with the statues, as they had just been placed there temporarily.”
In English, this is known as the Mukden or Manchurian Incident, when a staged explosion in Shenyang (then called Mukden) provided Japan with the pretext for its invasion of Manchuria in 1931. This year was the 85th anniversary of that incident, causing some “patriotic” Chinese companies to ban their employees from buying the new iPhone 7.
“The figures were all made by a craftsman from Dandong, Liaoning province, and displayed in order to ‘enrich the shopping experience of customers.'”
Those bans were largely ridiculed across China, as was this wax figure. Chinese netizens called the Abe-Hitler figure a “disgrace.” Read the rest of this entry »
Tokyo (AFP) – Tokyo woke up Thursday to its first November snowfall in more than half a century, leaving commuters to grapple with train disruptions and slick streets.
Snow began falling before dawn with the mercury approaching zero as a cold weather system moved south.
The Japan Meterological Agency said it was the first time snow had fallen in November in central Tokyo since 1962.
Amounts were greater in suburban areas closer to mountains but even central Tokyo saw brief accumulations, which the agency forecast to be as high as two centimetres (one inch).
That was the first November accumulation since records began in 1875, the agency said.
“I was surprised to see snow at such an early stage of the season,” said Hiroko Tanaka, a Tokyo resident.
“I felt this may be a sign of something abnormal in terms of natural phenomena,” she told AFP.
But experts say the situation is nothing to worry about.
“Today’s snowfall and accumulation occurred because several elements came together at once by chance,” said Sakiko Nishioka, an agency official in charge of weather forecasting.
“It does not mean this can signal any unusual weather conditions this season such as a super cold winter,” Nishioka told AFP, adding that it was also unclear if it was related to climate change or events such as El Nino.
Tokyo, which extends over a wide area and includes many suburbs, enjoys relatively mild winters compared to some other parts of the country where snowfall is more frequent. Read the rest of this entry »
Tsunami reached wide areas of the Tohoku and Kanto regions. At Sendai Port in Sendai, a tsunami of 1.4 meters was observed, the highest since the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake.
The agency also issued a tsunami advisory for the Pacific coast from Aomori Prefecture to Chiba Prefecture, as well as for the Izu Islands chain.
The agency said a tsunami of 90 centimeters high was observed in Soma, Fukushima Prefecture; 80 centimeters high in Kuji, Iwate Prefecture, and Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture; and 50 centimeters high in Oarai, Ibaraki Prefecture.
The agency downgraded the tsunami warning issued for Fukushima and Miyagi prefectures to a tsunami advisory at 9:46 a.m.
All the tsunami advisories were lifted by 12:50 p.m.
The tsunami warning issued Tuesday was the first since one was issued for Miyagi Prefecture after an earthquake with its epicenter off the Sanriku coast occurred on Dec. 7, 2012.
At a press conference held Tuesday morning, Koji Nakamura, the agency’s official in charge of earthquake information, called on people in areas where a strong jolt was felt to be alert against earthquakes of the same scale for the next week or so. Read the rest of this entry »
The Japan Meteorological Agency says the quake struck around 6 a.m at a depth of 10 kilometers (6 miles). It warned people along the coast to move to higher ground.
The U.S. Geological Survey measured the magnitude at 6.9. The earthquake shook buildings in Tokyo, 240 kilometers (150 miles) southwest of the epicenter.
From our Japan Bureau comes this exclusive series of commemorative noodle-cup Trump portraits. Created at the Cup of Noodle Museum in Yokohama (yes, it’s a real thing) these hand-decorated cups were then sent through a robotic shrink-wrap machine, ready for delivery to our USA Headquarters, for tasting.
MAGA stands for “Make America Great Again“. Another cup, I’m told, is emblazoned with MJGA, or “Make Japan Great Again”. When you travel to see our allies in Japan don’t forget to visit the Cupnoodles Museum – not to be confused with Yokohama’s famous Ramen Museum – but visit there too, you’ll be glad you did! In the meantime, enjoy the Japanese Donald Trump Commercialトランプ2016.
The hole gradually became bigger. It measures up to about 15 meters deep, about 27 meters wide and about 30 meters long.
As water outflow and other phenomena were seen shortly before the occurrence of the sinkhole, construction workers had evacuated from the site. No one was injured. Read the rest of this entry »
The Yomiuri Shimbun reports: The government has begun talks with Russia over a possible collaboration in outer space-related fields, sources said.
The main areas of cooperation are expected to take place at a base in the Russian Far East to launch satellites and joint space-related technology projects.
Hiroshige Seko, minister for economic cooperation with Russia, is scheduled to visit Moscow in November, and a working group is expected to be formed to make specific proposals.
The Japanese and Russian governments have been discussing ways to expand economic and other forms of cooperation in preparation for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s planned visit to Japan in December.
The Russian side brought up the possibility of cooperation in space-related fields in early September, the sources said. Since then, the Japanese government has been studying the matter internally, according to the sources.
Russia is seeking to expand the use of its Vostochny Cosmodrome in the Amur region in its Far East. It has mainly been relying on the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, but embarked on building a domestic base due to reasons including the hefty fees for using the site.
However, Russia has already spent 300 billion rubles (about ¥500 billion) on Vostochny, and further costs are expected. Launching Japanese satellites from this base could help recover the construction costs, the sources said, adding that Russia has shown interest in inviting companies involved in related fields.
For Japan, launching satellites from low-cost Russian rockets could expand the use of outer space by the private sector, such as through communications and observation satellites.
The government is also trying to expand the use of domestically produced satellites for launching commercial satellites. Read the rest of this entry »
Tetsuo Arima Professor, Faculty of Social Sciences, Waseda University
Tetsuo Arima writes: In Washington D.C., the capital of the United States, there is an attraction called the “Duck Tour.” It takes tourists on an amphibious vehicle to tourist spots on both sides of the Potomac River. As the vehicle nears the State Department building, the tour guide gives tourists a quiz. “Over there is the Voice of America, a network which broadcasts around the world. What is the only country that is not covered by this network?” When I participated in this tour, I was the first to raise my hand and answer, “America.” The tour guide made a sour face.
The U.S. government does not engage in propaganda toward Americans. Since the people choose representatives to form a government by democratic elections, the government should not lead its people to make wrong decisions by spreading propaganda. This is a basic principle of democracy. Countries such as China and North Korea, which do not practice democracy, control their populations with propaganda.
However, the U.S., which is a democracy, does engage in propaganda toward other countries. Even its allies are no exception. America, with huge “soft” power, has great influence on other countries, mainly through movies, TV programs, music and fashion, and also utilizes propaganda to the maximum extent. The tour guide must have been displeased because he realized I knew that.
Propaganda in the Information Age
We live in a highly digitized world today. The amount of information is growing exponentially, and many people believe unconditionally that more information is better. This is true if such information is true, unbiased and helps its recipients make sound judgments. But as the amount of information grows, so does the amount that is biased and false. In particular, in the borderless world of the Internet, if one continues to pursue related information, one can easily stray into propaganda sites established by various countries without knowing it.
Readers believe that such information is interesting and useful, but its creators take the trouble to translate and present it in an effort to plant certain ideas and images in the reader’s mind. They expend great time and money to do so. Even smallish businesses spend huge amounts of money on public relations and commercials, so it is natural that major countries bring together elite propagandists, organize powerful state agencies, and give them enormous budgets in order to spread propaganda.
— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) September 29, 2016
VOA, mentioned above, is one of those propaganda agencies. In fact, it is modeled after the British Broadcasting Corporation. The BBC has a strong image as a reputable public broadcaster, but it is also known to spread propaganda, especially during wartime. Nonetheless, it did not spread rumors, praise its country unreservedly, or slander enemy countries, unlike state-owned media in non-democratic countries. The BBC reported news strictly based on facts, but achieved enormous impact by broadcasting only the facts that were convenient to its country and inconvenient to hostile ones.
Responsibility of the mass media
In China, a non-democratic country which controls its people with propaganda, news presented by China Central Television (CCTV), a broadcaster run by the Communist Party, should be regarded as propaganda whether it targets domestic or foreign audiences. Of course CCTV also uses language which makes its content really sound like propaganda. The problem in Japan is that the mass media frequently repeat such propaganda as part of their news. Read the rest of this entry »
It was the first time Beijing is known to have sent fighter jets through the area, and comes days after Japan’s defense minister announced plans to step up engagement in the disputed South China Sea.
Jesse Johnson reports: The Air Self-Defense Force scrambled aircraft on Sunday as at least eight Chinese fighters and bombers — and possibly more than 40 — passed through a critical international entryway into the Western Pacific.
They used a legal but politically sensitive passage through Okinawa, apparently to send a message to Tokyo.
“This is a response to what Beijing will allege is a provocation by Japan in joining the U.S. in South China Sea drills despite Beijing warning Tokyo against participating.”
— University of Miami political science professor June Teufel Dreyer
The Chinese aircraft, which also included refueling tankers, flew over the Miyako Strait in Okinawa Prefecture but did not infringe Japanese airspace, the Defense Ministry said in Tokyo.
China said more than 40 aircraft were involved. They flew between Miyako Island near Taiwan and Okinawa’s main island on the way to “regular” patrols and drills in the Western Pacific, the Chinese Defense Ministry said in a statement posted to its website.
People’s Liberation Army Air Force spokesman Shen Jinke said the massive show of force, which included H-6K bombers, Su-30 fighters and tanker aircraft, conducted reconnaissance and early warning exercises, attacks on sea surface targets, and in-flight refueling “to test the air force’s fighting capacity on the high seas.”
Chinese bombers and fighters also conducted what Shen called a “regular patrol” in the East China Sea air defense identification zone (ADIZ) that China unilaterally declared in 2013.
“The regular Western Pacific drills and ADIZ patrols are necessary to safeguard national sovereignty, the country’s security and maintain peaceful development,” Shen said.
The air force will continue patrolling the East China Sea ADIZ and conduct training to improve its combat capacity in order to “uphold the legitimate rights and interests of China,” Shen added.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, the government’s top spokesman, told a news conference Monday that although the aircraft never violated Japanese airspace, Tokyo “will continue to devote every effort to vigilance and surveillance and rigorously enforce steps against intrusions into our airspace based on international law and the Self-Defense Forces law.”
While it was apparently the first time for Beijing to send fighter jets on the route, its air force first flew other types of jets over the strait in May 2015, China’s Defense Ministry said.
Defense Minister Tomomi Inada angered Beijing with a speech last week, in which she said Tokyo would “increase its engagement in the South China Sea through … Maritime Self-Defense Force joint training cruises with the U.S. Navy.”
There was a fiery reaction in Chinese state media, but experts said she had not broken new ground in Japan’s approach to the South China Sea.
Still, according to University of Miami political science professor June Teufel Dreyer, the Chinese flights were meant to send a message to Japan not to meddle in the South China Sea issue. Read the rest of this entry »
Loose Money Party Peaks, Hangover Anticipation Looms.
“Central banks get most of the credit for the calm and upward-moving market over the summer, but I don’t think we can depend on that going forward.”
— Jeff Layman, chief investment officer at BKD Wealth Advisors
Markets in Europe and Asia retreated Monday amid signs the world’s central banks will be less accommodative than previously expected.
“Bourses in Asia closed with steep declines, with shares in Hong Kong off around 3.3%, Shanghai down 1.9%, Japan down 1.7% and Australia down 2.2%.”
“Central banks get most of the credit for the calm and upward-moving market over the summer, but I don’t think we can depend on that going forward,” said Jeff Layman, chief investment officer at BKD Wealth Advisors.
The Stoxx Europe 600 shed 1.9% early in the session, while futures pointed to a 0.6% opening loss for the S&P 500 after its biggest daily drop since the U.K.’s EU referendum.
Bourses in Asia closed with steep declines, with shares in Hong Kong off around 3.3%, Shanghai down 1.9%, Japan down 1.7% and Australia down 2.2%.
Stocks and long-dated government bonds sold off on Friday after comments from Federal Reserve Bank of Boston President Eric Rosengren heightened expectations for an interest rate rise later this year. Read the rest of this entry »
A Soviet Air Force pilot lands his MIG fighter jet in Japan and asks for asylum in the United States. The incident was a serious embarrassment for the Soviets, and also provided a bit of a surprise for U.S. officials.
When the Soviets first put the MIG-25 (known as the Foxbat) into production in the 1960s, U.S. officials became nearly hysterical. The new plane, they claimed, was the fastest, most advanced, and most destructive interceptor jet ever built. Its debut, they argued, meant that the United States was falling dangerously behind in the race to control the skies. On September 6, 1976, those officials got a close-up look at the aircraft.
Soviet Air Force Lt. Viktor Belenko took his MIG-25 out of Soviet airspace and landed it at a Japanese airfield at Hakodate on the island of Hokkaido. Japanese police took the pilot into custody, where he immediately asked for asylum in the United States. Experts from the U.S. quickly arrived on the scene to get a firsthand look at the aircraft. After being questioned extensively by both Japanese and U.S. officials, Belenko was flown to the United States and granted political asylum.
For the Soviets, the MIG-25 incident was a major diplomatic and military embarrassment. To have one of their most advanced planes delivered into the hands of their enemy was mortifying and was viewed as a serious setback to the Soviet weapons program. Read the rest of this entry »
The Japanese robotics manufacturer Kawasaki has created a bot that can prepare nigiri sushi in under a minute.
As robots get more advanced, they will likely take over many jobs in the future — including those of sushi chefs.
For a sneak peak at this impending automation, look no further than a new creation from robotics manufacturer Kawasaki. The robot can make sushi in under a minute.
First spotted by Gizmodo, the video shows a miraculous bot that assembles nigiri, the traditional type of sushi in which a piece of raw fish sits on a little ball of rice.
Emperor Akihito, 82, spoke publicly for the first time about retiring, saying he feared it would become ‘more difficult’ to fulfill his duties.
Jonathan Noble reports: It has been something of an open secret in Japan that Emperor Akihito would like a privilege most people take for granted: At 82, he wants to retire. The question is whether the Japanese and their elected leaders will let him.
In an extraordinary televised address on Monday, the popular emperor spoke publicly about the issue for the first time. Though his words were characteristically vague — he discussed his age, his rigorous daily schedule and what he called his increasing physical limitations — the message was unmistakable.
“I am concerned that it will become more and more difficult for me to fulfill my duties as a symbolic emperor,” he said in a prerecorded address that lasted about 10 minutes and was broadcast on multiple Japanese television networks.
If Akihito steps down, the move could redefine Japan’s royal family, the world’s oldest hereditary monarchy. While the emperor now has only symbolic power, an abdication could also resurrect a contentious issue in Japan: the debate over allowing a woman to occupy the throne.
First reported in banner headlines by the Japanese news media in July, Akihito, who has been treated for cancer and heart problems, was said to want to retire and pass the title to his son Crown Prince Naruhito, 56. Prince Naruhito appears to share his father’s quiet temperament and wish to keep the monarchy apolitical.
But abdication is complicated because of Japanese law, which says an emperor serves until death. Parliament would have to change the law for Akihito to step down. Read the rest of this entry »
Japan’s Emperor Akihito is set to deliver his second ever televised address to the nation, after reports he wants to step down in coming years.
Japan’s Emperor Akihito is set to deliver his second ever televised address to the public.
Last month, Japanese media reported that the emperor wanted to step down in coming years, which would be unprecedented in modern Japan.
He is not expected to use the word “abdicate” because he is barred from political involvement.
The palace said on Friday he would be speaking about his “feelings regarding his duties as a symbol of the nation”.
Five things about Japan’s emperor
People in Tokyo sum up Japan’s Emperor in one word
- Has adopted a more modern style, making efforts to draw the imperial family closer to the people.
- He married a commoner in 1959 – their love story captured the nation and was dubbed the “tennis court romance” as they met over the nets. Together he and Empress Michiko have three children.
- Has sought to heal the scars of World War Two, saying last year: “Looking back at the past, together with deep remorse over the war, I pray that this tragedy of war will not be repeated and together with the people express my deep condolences for those who fell in battle and in the ravages of war.”
- Acknowledged his Korean ancestry in the run-up to the 2002 World Cup, which Japan and South Korea jointly hosted. This surprised many in Japan given the country’s bitter colonial legacy on the Korean peninsula.
- His passion is marine biology and he is an expert on the goby fish.
There is no legal provision for abdication in Japanese law, which would mean a law change would be required.
Under the constitution the emperor is not allowed to have political powers so a wish to abdicate could be seen as him interfering in politics.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to issue a statement after the emperor’s speech.
A pre-recorded message from the 82-year-old emperor, who is revered in Japan, will be made public at 15:00 local time (06:00 GMT).
Public broadcaster NHK reported the emperor, who has had heart surgery and was treated for prostate cancer, would ask Crown Prince Naruhito and his wife to take over many of his public duties. Read the rest of this entry »
TOKYO, Japan (WCMH) — At least 19 people are dead and 20 others injured following a stabbing rampage at a facility for handicapped people outside of Tokyo, Japan.
Japanese media NHK reports the attack happened in the city of Sagamihara which is west of Tokyo.
Police say the knife-wielding man entered the facility and began attacking just after 2:30am Tokyo time. Read the rest of this entry »
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 »
“Look, the fact that the President goes way out of his way, for seven and a half years, to avoid the phrase that is obviously the most descriptive of the enemy, radical Islam, means he’s doing it for a purpose.”
“He pretends and says well, it’s a magical phrase. … I think the President said, calling it a threat by a different name doesn’t make it go away. Of course it doesn’t! Nobody implies it does.”
“But deliberately calling it something meaningless: ‘violent extremism’ is a completely empty phrase. No one has ever strapped on a suicide vest in the name of extremism; nobody dies in the name of extremism.”
“Obama is deliberately trying to deny, or to hide, or to disguise, the connection between all of these disparate acts and groups, and if you want to mobilize a country behind you, you need to tell them who the enemy is and why it’s doing what it is.” Read the rest of this entry »
Christopher Jobson reports: Every spring, photographer Danilo Dungo spends time at Inokashira Park in Tokyo, famous for its abundance of blooming cherry trees. The photographer has become a master at capturing the event from all angles, especially with aerial shots that show the pink flowers covering the nearby lake…(read more)
Narcissist-in-Chief Honors Himself in Hiroshima, Japan
John Bolton writes: An American president’s highest moral, constitutional and political duty is protecting his fellow citizens from foreign threats. Presidents should adhere to our values and the Constitution, and not treat America’s enemies as morally equivalent to us.
If they do, they need not apologize to anyone.
The White House says that President Obama won’t apologize as he visits Hiroshima Friday. But who believes his press flacks?
“Obama’s narcissism, his zeal for photo opportunities with him at the center, whether in Havana or Hiroshima, too often overcomes lesser concerns — like the best interests of the country.”
His penchant for apologizing is central to his legacy. He may not often say “I apologize” explicitly, but his meaning is always clear, especially since he often bends his knee overseas, where he knows the foreign audiences will get his meaning. It is, in fact, Obama’s subtlety that makes his effort to reduce America’s influence in the world so dangerous.
He started in Cairo in 2009, referring to the “fear and anger” that the 9/11 attacks provoked in Americans, saying that, “in some cases, it led us to act contrary to our traditions and our ideals.” He later said, “Unfortunately, faced with an uncertain threat, our government made a series of hasty decisions . . . based on fear rather than foresight” — a characterization Americans overwhelmingly reject.
In Europe, saved three times by America in the last century, Obama apologized because “there have been times where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive.” And in this hemisphere, Obama said, “We have at times been disengaged, and at times we sought to dictate our terms,” culminating in his recent fawning visits with the Castros in Cuba.
The list goes on and on.
Then there’s his penchant for bowing to foreign leaders. He has bowed to the king of Saudi Arabia. He bowed to the emperor of Japan on a previous visit. He has bowed to China’s leader, Xi Jinping. And these are not casual nods of the head, but unmistakable gestures of obeisance. Read the rest of this entry »