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Thursday, December 24, 2015

Peace for 70 years and infinity: MESSAGE FROM JAPAN to ASIAN COUNTRIES AND THE WORLD, 2015.



Via  SEALDs (Students Emergency Action for Liberal Democracy) Japan:
Published on Dec 24, 2015

《Peace for 70 years and infinity: MESSAGE FROM JAPAN to ASIAN COUNTRIES AND THE WORLD, 2015.》

Happy X'mas そして、そろそろ今年も終わりですね。SEALDsで今年を締めくくる動画をつくりま­した。思えば激動の一年でした。法案は可決されましたが、今年得られたものはたくさん­あるはずです。戦後から70年。そして71年を迎え、戦後から100年たっても戦争し­ない国であることを願います。困難な時代にこそ希望があると信じて。そして一歩踏み出­す勇気を。
・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・­・・
終戦から70年が経ちました。戦後日本の平和と繁栄は、先の大戦の大きな犠牲と引き換­えにもたらされたものです。私たちはいまこそ、この国の平和憲法の理念を支持し、それ­を北東アジア、そして世界の平和構築に役立てるべきだと考えます。自由、民主主義、普­遍的人権。それらの価値は、けっして紙に書かれた絵空事ではありません。人びとの自由­を護り、平和を築くために、過去から私たちに手渡された大切な種です。私たちがあきら­めてしまわない限り、日本国憲法の理念はその力を失うことはありません。知性と理性と­ともに、私たちは平和と、アジア諸国家の自由と民主主義の尊重を求め続けます。

Seventy years have passed since the end of war. The peace and prospect of post-war Japan were led by profound sacrifice of the war. We support the pacifist constitution of this country and use it for peacebuilding in north-east Asia and the world. Liberty, democracy, and universal human rights; these values are not just imagination. They are the important seeds that we were given by the past for defending liberty of people and constructing sustainable peace. The ideal of Japanese Constitution never loses its power unless we give it up. With intelligence and reason, we continue to claim for peace and respect for liberty and democracy in Asian Countries.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

10,000 sing Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" — Japan's Beloved Anthem of Peace


This is a video of the Osaka "Number Nine Chorus"—10,000 singers who perform "Ode to Joy" (originally named "Ode to Freedom") every December. The soloists and orchestra are professionals; however the rest are singers from the community.

The Japanese love of "Ode to Joy," the final movement of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, began during the First World War, when German prisoners of war performed the Ninth Symphony for the first time in Japan in 1918.

The Japanese nickname for the uplifting movement — "Daiku" ("Number 9") — alludes to Article 9, the Japanese Constitution's Peace Clause which outlaws war as a means of conflict resolution.  Beethoven's  lyrics are from a poem celebrating human unity by Frederick Schiller.  The 19th-century century German philosopher was preoccupied by the quest for freedom and human rights. Like many of his era (which spanned the American Revolution), he championed political ideals based not on coercion and tyrannical brute force, but instead by reason, goodwill, dialogue, and democratic process.

Worldwide, "Ode to Joy" has long been considered a peace anthem, a song of resistance to not just war, but also state repression. Chilean democracy demonstrators sang the song during PInochet's dictatorship. Chinese protesters sang it during the march on Tiananmen Square. This year, the music and lyrics are even more meaningful to the Japanese and Okinawan supporters of democracy and Article 9, the Japanese Constitution's Peace Clause.

...Brother love binds man to man
Ever singing march we onward
Victors in the midst of strife
Joyful music lifts us onward
In the triumph song of life...

Human rights attorney Scott Horton tells us that Beethoven was drawn to Schiller's writings because the composer longed for liberty, however omitted the "deeper, more political charge" of the final stanzas of "Ode to Joy" to veil his challenge to the repressive Hapsburg regime from which he received patronage.
...the work is radical and blatantly political in its orientation...It imagines a world whose nations live in peace with one another, embracing the dignity of their species as a fundamental principle, and democracy as the central chord of their organization. Its long appeal to Beethoven lay in just this intensely subversive, revolutionary core. To start with, as Leonard Bernstein reminded his audiences, the poem was originally an “Ode to Freedom” and the word “Joy” (Freude instead of Freiheit, added to the third pillar, Freundschaft [Friendship] came as a substitute for the more overtly political theme...

Beethoven reckoned, of course, that his audience knew the whole text, just as he knew it, by heart. He was by then a crotchety old man, Beethoven, but he knew the power of a dream, and he inspired millions with it, to the chagrin of his Hapsburg sponsors.

Schiller’s words are perfectly fused with Beethoven’s music. It may indeed be the most successful marriage in the whole shared space of poetry and music. It is a message of striking universality which transcends the boundaries of time and culture. It is well measured in fact to certain turningpoints in the human experience.
Some of the lines from Schiller's poem omitted from "Ode to Joy":

...Persist with courage, millions!
Stand firm for a better world!
...Deliver us from tyrants’ chains...


(-JD, originally posted Dec. 25, 2014, reposted because the themes are even more important for Japan, Okinawa, and the entire world given heightened popular activism for freedom, liberty, human rights, democracy, and peace, in the face of growing global state authoritarianism and militarized repression of nonviolent citizen movements.) 

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Historian Jeff Kingston: "The Japanese people who are proud of their pacifist constitution see Abe trampling on their values."

Video by Richard Grehan of last week's protests in Tokyo

Brilliant analysis on the security-related legislation ("Abe war bills") by Temple University historian Jeff Kingston in this September 20 CNN interview:
People are outraged...People think it's unconstitutional, that he's trampling rule of law...Even though he has passed the legislation, it lacks legitimacy...Abe has delivered on all of the US wish list...

But the Japanese people don't buy Abe's argument that this is going to increase deterrence. Sure they think they live in a dangerous neighborhood, but they don't think this is the way to promote peace.

So the Japanese people who are proud of their pacifist constitution see Abe trampling on their values...Japanese people are concerned...they will be dragged into conflict by Washington..

Saturday, September 19, 2015

"Militarization & Human Rights Violations in Okinawa, Japan" • Sept. 21, 2015 • U.N., Geneva



Today Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga left for Geneva to address the U.N. Human Rights Council to inform the international community of Okinawa’s opposition to the plan by the US and Japanese governments to landfill, thereby destroy, Okinawa's most important natural cultural heritage site, the coral reef and dugong ecosystem at Henoko, to make way for a U.S. military port and offshore air strip.

Gov. Onaga is expected to cancel his predecessor's landfill permit when he returns to Okinawa the following Thursday.

While at the U.N. on September 21, he will also speak at a symposium organized by a civic group in Okinawa:
Upcoming events related to Governor Onaga's September 21 speech at UN on human rights violations by the US and Jp governments in Okinawa.

OBJECTIVES: The vision of the parallel event is to provide a clear picture of situation of human rights violations due to the heavy US military burden in Okinawa, Japan. It will provide information on the violations of environmental rights, freedom of expression and speech, and the right to self-determination caused by the expansion of US military base. The governor of Okinawa, Takeshi Onaga will also identify the historical discrimination against Ryukyuan/ Okinawan people by the Japanese and US governments. It will highlight the role of international community to take measures to support the right to self- determination of Ryukyuan/ Okinawan people.

STAKEHOLDERS: The parallel event will aim to reach a broad range of stakeholders, all of whom will benefit from the outputs of the parallel event. The event expects to engage with approximately 200-250 participants.

Key stakeholders include; · Indigenous leaders/ organisations ·Human rights defenders from/ engaging with Okinawa, Japan and the United States · Environmental activists ·NGOs and INGOs ·Diplomats and government officials engaging · Academics and others interested ·National and international media representatives

CONTENT AND PROGRAMME: This parallel event will address the human rights violations in Okinawa in the format of a special report by Okinawan governor, Takeshi Onaga followed by a key note speech from Ms. Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples. There will also be testimonies from human rights expert, journalist and environmental activist. It will also screen the short video addressing the islands’ history and on-going human rights violations including the rights to environment, freedom of speech and self-determination.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Japanese citizens protesting as LDP/Komeito postpone Abe war bills until 8:50 a.m.; former Supreme Court justice warns the unpopular government that it is unlikely that the "unconstitutional" legislation would survive a legal challenge.


 (Photographer: Shinta Yabe)

Update: Sept. 18 - A citizens’ group is preparing a lawsuit to challenge the constitutionality of the national security laws that were enacted on Saturday to the Japanese government to send soldiers to fight in foreign wars. The suit now has 1,000 plaintiffs, according to Jiji via JT.

Update: Sept. 17 - The opposition parties submitted a no-confidence motion to the committee chair Yoshitada Konoike. Then Masahide ("Moustache") Sato took over the chairman's seat, after which opposition members made very long speeches to defend the motion. However, following the script, the committee voted against the motion.

Then as Konoike returned to his chairman's seat, dozens of opposition members rushed towards Konoike, appearing as if they were trying to stop the voting on the bills. The "scuffle" made worldwide newspaper headlines.

Some analysts are asking why the opposition parties stopped blocking the entrance, and allowed the September 17 committee meeting to take place, knowing their no-confidence motion was going to, of course, be defeated.

In the meantime, over 200 lawyers in Japan have issued a statement calling the "voting" among the wild scuffling at the special committee illegal and invalid.

Many are asking why opposition party members allowed this final assembly to happen after they said they would do everything to stop the bills.

Update: 5:10 a.m. - After opposition party members physically blocked the entrance to the special committee room on September 16, the special committee was delayed until 8:50 a.m.  The protest is still ongoing: http://iwj.co.jp/channels/main/channel.php?CN=4

The not-so-young politicians inside the building must be exhausted.

Update 2:05 a.m. - The Upper House Special Committee on the Abe war bills has not started yet as of 2 AM in Japan. LDP/Komeito is planning to get the committee to vote for the war bills tonight.

If it begins, it will be livestreamed here: http://www.webtv.sangiin.go.jp/webtv/index.php.

The protest outside of the Parliament is being livestreamed now at Iwakami Yasumi journal:
http://iwj.co.jp/channels/main/ .

Along with the majority of the Japanese mainstream citizenry, cultural figures such as Nobel Laureate Kenzaburo Oe and filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki, former prime ministers, the majority of Japanese lawyers, including former Supreme Court justices are protesting the bill as unconstitutional.

Former Japanese Supreme Court Justice Kunio Hamada on Abe War Bills called the bills "unconstitutional and "illegitimate."  Hamada warned that it is “extremely optimistic” for the Abe government to think that Supreme Court will not rule against the legislation if its constitutionality is challenged in court.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

"Never Again." Japanese & Okinawan war refusal will be streamed online, if not televised, or covered by all newspapers

Left, from top: Asahi, Mainichi, and Tokyo newspapers.
 Right, from top: Yomiuri, Sankei, and Nikkei.

Via Kimberly Hughes: Notice the top three right-leaning Japanese daily newspapers, lined up in the right-hand column did not cover the sea of 120,000+ Japanese citizens at the Diet building on Sunday, August 30, protesting  PM Abe's war bills that would allow him to send Japanese soldiers to fight in US regime change wars in contravention of the Japanese Peace Constitution which outlaws war as a means of international conflict resolution. In contrast, politically centrist Japanese newspapers put coverage of the historic protests on their front pages.

 View from the streets: "NO WAR! NO ABE! We hope for peace! We love peace! 
Don't kill anyone! Save Okinawa from Shinzo Abe."

Despite (or because of spotty coverage in Japanese newspapers and broadcast news), the historic Japanese and Okinawan multigenerational antiwar protests have dominated youth social media as Philip Brasor points out in "The revolution will be streamed online," published on Aug. 29 at The Japan Times.  

More analysis via public scholar Jeff Kingston, again at JT, on Sept. 5, "Students oppose Abe’s assault on the Constitution":
SEALDs was launched on May 3, Constitution Day, highlighting the group’s concern that Abe’s security legislation is tantamount to a stealth revision that fails to follow proper constitutional procedures...Professor Akihiko Kimijima at Ritsumeikan University says that SEALDs wants Japan to be a nation based on the rule of law, and the group believes Abe is flouting the Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land. Apparently, there is no shortage of Japanese citizens who agree with them. In mid-June, three eminent constitutional scholars dismissed Abe’s security legislation as unconstitutional in Diet hearings, putting wind in SEALDs’ sails.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Iranian filmmaker & dissident Jafar Panahar (#SupportIranDeal): "War & sanctions bring about crises & crisis is the death of democracy, peace, and human rights...Let people choose their own destiny by ratifying the Iran Deal."



In 1995, Iranian filmmaker and dissident Jafar Panahi achieved international recognition with his film debut, The White Balloon, a 1995 film about a 7-year old Iranian girl on a quest to buy a goldfish for her family's New Year's Day celebration.  Depicted from a child's unique view of place, the city of Tehran itself plays a central role, supported by a cast of Dickensian characters who range from the kindly to the villainous.

Panahi's films reflect his deeply humanistic perspective on life in Iran, often focusing on children, girls, women, and the poor. His widely disributed 2006 Offside features a group of young Iranian girls who disguise themselves as boys (women are not allowed to watch soccer in Iran) to sneak into Azadi Stadium to watch the World Cup qualifying football playoff game between Iran and Bahrain.

In March 2010, the Iranian government arrested Panahi, his wife, daughter, and 15 friends, charging them with anti-government propaganda. Despite global support from filmmakers and human rights organizations, in December, Panahi was sentenced to a six-year jail sentence and a 20-year ban on directing any movies, writing screenplays, giving any form of interview with Iranian or foreign media, or from leaving the country.

While appealing the judgment, Panahi made This Is Not a Film, a documentary feature in the form of a video diary of his house arrest.  It was smuggled out of Iran and shown at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, and released on DVD, introducing Panahi, as a person as well as filmmaker, to people around the world.  In February 2013 the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival showed Closed Curtain (Pardé) by Panahi and Kambuzia Partovi, for which Panahi won the Silver Bear for Best Script.

As in the The White Balloon, Panahi casts the city of Tehran as a star of his newest film Taxi, which premiered  at the 65th Berlin International Film Festival in February 2015, and was awarded the Golden Bear. Berlin Jury president Darren Aronofsky described the heart-warming film as "a love letter to cinema...filled with love for his art, his community, his country and his audience."

Jafar Panahar supports the Iran Deal:
I work with imagination, but not imagination alone. Imagination immersed in reality.

At present, I sense that what is happening in the US congress is imagination with no sense of reality. They think or they imagine that with sanctions and war, things can be accomplished. This is not so, this is not the reality of my country.

War and sanctions bring about crises and crisis is the death of democracy, the death of peace, and the death of human rights and civil rights. I ask the US congress to open their eyes to the reality on the ground and let people choose their own destiny by ratifying the Iran Deal."
More on the grassroots Iranian campaign for peace at "Prominent Iranians launch campaign calling on Congress not to kill Iran deal: Scores of high-profile Iranians, many of them sentenced to lengthy prison terms or enduring solitary confinement, express their support for the nuclear deal."via The Guardian:
Dozens of high-profile Iranians, many of whom have been jailed for their political views, launched a video campaign calling on the American people to lobby Congress not to jeopardise the landmark nuclear agreement.

The campaign includes messages from celebrated film-maker Jafar Panahi, Nobel peace prize laureate Shirin Ebadi, human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, and British-Iranian activist Ghoncheh Ghavami.

Many of the campaign’s participants have been persecuted in Iran for their beliefs or activism, sentenced to lengthy prison terms or even solitary confinement. But they have expressed support for the Vienna nuclear agreement struck in July between Iran and the world’s six major powers, calling it a good deal which could avert threats of war.

Mohammadreza Jalaeipour, one of the organisers of the campaign, said the video was intended to show “that those who have paid the highest prices for the cause of democracy and human rights in Iran are supporting the deal”.

The video messages were gathered, to show to the world “that not only the overwhelming majority of Iranians, but also almost all the leading human rights and pro-democracy activists, prominent political prisoners and the independent voices of Iran’s society are wholeheartedly supporting the Iran deal,” the activist, who spent five months in solitary confinement in Iran, said...

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Kya Kim: "Conflict is no longer synonymous with war. It is, rather, an opportunity for growth, an opportunity for peace...Everyone of us has a role to play in determining the outcome of our shared conflicts...Which future will we choose?"

Myong Hee Kim, Founding Artist of Peace Mask Project at the
History+Art = Peace Festival, organized by Alpha Education, Toronto, Canada, 
August 15-21, 2015

In "The Art of Symbolism in Peace Building," an Autumn 2014 presentation about the Peace Mask Project at TEDxKyoto, team member Kya Kim emphasizes that we are all co-creators of our shared world, and can choose to think and work for a peaceful present and future:
A divided world creates more insecurity and fear. And fear, too often results in violence. Trust is the courageous act of being the first to break through that fear and reach out to "the other." Peace Mask Project is itself an act of trust, from the idealism that inspires the effort to the individual act of being a Peace Mask Model to the support and participation of hundreds of individuals in a collective effort to advance into a sane and healthy future.

Today tensions are rising in East Asia and many regions around the world. Fear and insecurity are also on the rise. This tension we are seeing does not guarantee violence, but, instead, could be seen as a great opportunity.

Conflict is natural and always present. It is neither negative nor positive in itself. Violence and repression are only one possible response to a conflict and one our societies turn to far too often.

There are many reasons for this: the profitability of militarization for a handful of corporations and individuals; the control and manipulation of a population through fear. But mostly I think it's due to a lack of creativity and cooperation. We are stuck in old habits and old ways of thinking.

Today young people have an unprecedented understanding of the greater world. We are becoming increasingly aware of how we are interconnected and interdependent. We find beauty in other cultures. And by reflecting on our own, we are open to growth and to change. This is the reality of our future, and one that needs to be reflected in our societies. Conflict is no longer synonymous with war. It is, rather, an opportunity for growth, an opportunity for peace...

We hope that Peace Mask Project will provide a platform for their shared vision of peace, to build trust by building lasting relationships, and to help them become leaders of a better world...

We do not need for the conflicts of our time to erupt in violence or be resolved through aggression. Everyone of us has a role to play in determining the outcome of our shared conflicts.

How will we participate?

What opportunities will we present through our actions?

Which future will we choose?

Friday, August 21, 2015

Tim Shorrock: "WAR in Korea is unthinkable despite what @CNN is telling you. This too shall pass."

Turned to Asia analyst Tim Shorrock for insight into the annual US media proclamations of imminent war following the annual mutual provocation between the Koreas. (This year, the S. Korean government refused to respond to the N. Korean government's calls to stop blasting propaganda from loudspeakers over the border; so the N. Korean military lobbed a rocket into S. Korea, and the S. Korean military returned the same.).
Tim Shorrock ‏@TimothyS 2h2 hours ago
WAR in Korea is unthinkable despite what @CNN is telling you. This too shall pass.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Koshichi Taira: Thinking about True Peace during the 70th Anniversary of the End of WWII • Nago Museum Gallery • Aug. 14-30, 2015



Koshichi Taira Photography Exhibition
Thinking about True Peace during the 70th Anniversary of the End of WWII,
focusing on the aftermath of the Himeyuri Student Nurses Corp.

8/14 (Friday)-8/30 (Sunday)
Nago Museum Gallery
Nago City, Okinawa 
Admission: free

Okinawan photographer Koshichi Taira's photography is as unblinking, empathetic, and profound as that of Japanese photographer Shomei Tomatsu.  But where Tomatsu is known (albeit not well known), there is almost nothing about Taira's brilliant work translated into English.

The Nago Museum's exhibition of Taira's photography, which opens today, invites viewers to think about the nature of true peace during the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII.

222 Okinawan female high school students, aged 15 to 19, were mobilized as the Himeyuri Student Nurse Corps in March, 1945 as the US-Jp battle in Okinawa began on the ground. (US bombing of Okinawa began in October 1944). During the battle, about 200,000 lives were lost, including 120,000 Okinawan civilians, one-third of the population. Among the Himeyuri nurses, 123 students and 13 teachers were killed.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Kenzaburo Oe: "Hiroshima must be engraved in our memories: It’s a catastrophe even more dramatic than natural disasters, because it’s man-made. To repeat it, by showing the same disregard for human life in nuclear power stations, is the worst betrayal of the memory of the victims..."



"Japanese Nobel Laureate Kenzaburo Oe on the 70th Anniversary of US Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki," via Democracy Now!:
...KENZABURO OE: [translated] So, three years ago, the day after the disaster, the weeks after the disaster, I believe that all Japanese people were feeling a great regret. And the atmosphere in Japan here was almost the same as following the bombing of Hiroshima at the end of the war. And at that time, because of this atmosphere, the government at the time, which is the Democratic Party of Japan, with the agreement of the Japanese people, pledged to totally get rid of or decommission the more than 50 nuclear power plants here in Japan. However, the situation following the disaster, particularly in Fukushima, where so many people are suffering from this, has not changed at all.

And the current atmosphere or attitude of the government now in Japan has totally changed...the Liberal Democratic Party...led by Prime Minister Abe, is...completely having no regret and no looking back on ...what happened to Japan, and is instead actually actively pushing this forward. And I’m very fearful now that actually all throughout Japan and through the Japanese people, the atmosphere which is now growing and increasing is a spreading of this Prime Minister Abe’s ideology and worldview.

AMY GOODMAN: Yet he was elected as prime minister.

KENZABURO OE: [translated] Yes, he has won in two elections until now. But, however, now, because he has the majority in both of the houses of the Japanese Parliament, it means he is, in essence, able to do anything, go forward anything. And the first thing he is also trying to do now is to revise the constitution, which was created democratically by the Japanese people following the loss in World War II and Hiroshima and Nagasaki experience....

And now, under the current Prime Minister Abe administration, Japan is moving toward actively participating in United States wars. And what I am now most fearful about is the unfortunately likely possibility under Prime Minister Abe that this second pillar of Article 9 will be in danger, but not only this, that even the first pillar, that Japan may actually, within the next year or two or three or four years, actually directly participate in war...

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

300,000 Japanese: "Protect the Constitution! Protect Okinawa from Shinzo Abe! Don't Start a War!"



Great video via Michael Penn of Shingetsu News Agency (SNA): Students Emergency Action for Liberal Democracy (SEALDs) protest against the Abe War Bill, forced U.S. military base construction in Okinawa, and in favor of the Peace Constitution, rule of law, and democratic society.

Michael Hoffman's "A political turning point for Japan’s youth," published at The Japan Times on August 1, 2015, explores the mass student movement for democracy and peace for Japan and Okinawa:
Somebody needed to make the point that Abe’s primary accountability is not to U.S. lawmakers but to the people of Japan. Cynical calculations that the people of Japan wouldn’t bother were not unreasonable...

Years pass and nothing happens — then, suddenly, something does, and nothing is the same. What is the catalyst that turns passivity into activism? It’s like asking why this particular straw and not that one broke the camel’s back...

On July 1, 2014, the Abe Cabinet adopted a resolution sharply reinterpreting the Constitution as permitting what for decades had been regarded as forbidden: a global military role for the “pacifist” nation under the name “collective self-defense.”...On July 15, after a debate whose striking features were the vagueness of the government’s explanations and its hamfisted bullying of opposition lawmakers posing awkward questions, the Lower House voted, brushing aside the doubts of Constitutional scholars and of the public...

That was it. The camel sank to its knees...Sunday Mainichi magazine ventured a bold headline: “It’s begun — 300,000 people surrounding the Diet!”

That figure — 300,000 — is deeply significant. It takes us back to May 1960. The prime minister of the day, soon to be ousted, was Nobusuke Kishi, whose administration forced through the Diet a revised Japan-U.S. security pact in a manner strikingly similar to Abe’s handling of the current security legislation. Three hundred thousand is the prevailing estimate of the size of the enraged crowd that massed in front of the prime minister’s official residence, shouting for Kishi’s head. They got it. He resigned a month later.
The 1960 protests against PM Kishi's ramming through of the US-Japan Security Treaty (ANPO)
drew millions of protestors from all walks of life in multiple protests over months. 
 Demonstrators at the Japanese parliament building, Tokyo, June 18, 1960. 
(Photo © Asahi Shimbun Photoarchives)

Monday, August 3, 2015

Will Japanese just be American mercenaries? Tim Shorrock & Christopher W. Hughes on the Abe revision of the postwar Yoshida Doctrine

Japanese Imperial Army soldiers in Tokyo, 1936

Robert Whiting's Tokyo Underworld: The Fast Times and Hard Life of an American Gangster in Japan paints a disturbing account of the corrupt, checkered reality of the American Occupation, which was instituted ostensibly to "democratize" Japan. Whiting explains that at the end of 1947, the real rulers of Japan were not elected political representatives, but “bosses, hoodlums, and racketeers  in league with the political fixers, the ex-militarists, and the industrialists as well as legal authorities from judges and police chiefs on down." While some Occupation officials honestly tried to reform Japan's political culture, the intelligence section of the American Occupation, instead, collaborated with the "real rulers" to reverse the course of the Occupation from democratization to restoration of the prewar system, including the remilitarization of Japan, to achieve U.S. postwar expansionist aims in the Asia-Pacific.

Long before the end of Pacific War, American Cold Warriors had decided Japan and Okinawa would serve as the launchpads for new wars in Asia that would begin in Korea and Vietnam. However, they were up against the Japanese and Okinawan people who wanted to rebuild their lives in peace. The vast majority of citizens, including liberal political leaders who had opposed Japan's wars in the Asia-Pacific, supported the postwar Peace Constitution, which outlawed war as a means of conflict resolution between nations.

General Douglas MacArthur attributed Article 9, the Peace Clause, to Kijuro Shidehara, who was Japan's prime minister during the drafting of the new constitution. During the 1920s, Shidehara was known for his attempts to counter the rise of militarists, promote disarmament and enact the 1928 General Treaty for Renunciation of War as an Instrument of National Policy (Kellogg Briand Pact) that required member nations to renounce war as an instrument of national policy. The statesman was finally able to achieve his aim in the postwar Japanese constitution.

However, under the terms of the 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty and Security Treaty, PM Shigeru Yoshida acquiesced to some U.S. military bases on the mainland and the division of Japan and Okinawa in exchange for the end of the U.S. Occupation. Thereafter the U.S. instituted a brutal military regime in Okinawa: soldiers seized tens of thousands of acres of private property and bulldozed entire villages, to build the military complexes throughout Okinawa; residents were afforded no property or human rights protections. The Japanese government sacrifice of Okinawa to US military aims allowed Yoshida and subsequent prime ministers, from Ichiro Hatoyama to Ishibashi Tanzan, for over a decade, for the most part, to resist US pressure to violate Article 9 and remilitarize Japan.

This changed in February 1957, when Nobusuke Kishi, wartime minister of commerce and industry under General Tojo, became prime minister, with support from the U.S. Government. Classified as a Class-A war crime (participation in a joint conspiracy to wage aggressive war) suspect, Kishi had been detained at Sugamo prison only 9 years prior to becoming the head of the Japanese state. However, on the same day in 1948 that the U.S. executed Tojo and six other convicted war criminals, the U.S. released Kishi and the other remaining Class-A suspects.  All, with the CIA backing, resumed positions of power, after promising to support US military aims in Japan, Okinawa, and East Asia.

In 1960, as millions of Japanese citizens protested, Kishi repaid the U.S. government for his release: he sacrificed his political career by ramming through a new US-Japan Security Treaty (AMPO) through the Diet. The treaty allowed for continued US military bases in Japan and military occupation of Okinawa. However, Kishi was unable to achieve his wish to amend Article 9, to allow Japanese remilitarization in service of US wars abroad. His grandson, PM Shinzo Abe, modeling  Kishi's method, is now trying to achieve this goal by ramming through a unilateral radical"reinterpretation" of the constitution, instead of following legal methods of constitutional revision. Almost all Japanese constitutional law scholars say this violates constitutional rule of law.

Before his November 25, 1970 ritual suicide in protest of the Japanese Peace Constitution, Yukio Mishima barricaded himself at the Ichigaya Japanese Self Defense Force camp in Ichigaya, Tokyo. Speaking to the soldiers from a balcony, Mishima cried out, "Where is the national spirit today? You will just be American mercenaries! American troops!" What would the Japanese ultranationalist author think today, as the constitution he despised is under threat of "reinterpretation," precisely for that aim?

Parliamentarians protest forced passage of the US-Japan Security Treaty in 1960

Tim Shorrock's "Could Japan Become America’s New Proxy Army? Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants to alter a key provision of Japan’s constitution to lift the country’s 70-year ban on foreign deployments," published at The Nation on July 27, analyzes  the Abe administration's  radical move to "reinterpret" the Japanese Peace Constitution within the context of postwar US-Japanese history:
Over the last month, Japan has been shaken by the largest anti-war demonstrations since the late 1960s, when millions of students, workers, and ordinary citizens turned out to try to block their govt’s collaboration with the US war in Vietnam. The issue this time is the plan by PM Shinzo Abe to alter a key provision of Japan’s peace constitution to allow Japan’s “Self Defense Forces” to take part in overseas military operations for the first time since WW II...

Abe’s victory will transform Japan—with its surprisingly large, tech-driven military-industrial complex—into America’s new proxy army...

So who is this prime minister who has won the trust of the Obama administration while earning the enmity of the growing majority of its own citizens? Here’s everything you need to know about “our guy” in Tokyo:

• ABE’S LIBERAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY WAS PUT IN POWER WITH THE HELP OF THE CIA AND BECAME ONE OF THE MOST SUBSERVIENT POLITICAL ALLIES THE US HAS EVER HAD.

...This was an easy shift for the corporate and financial conglomerates who backed Japan’s cruel war, according to Muto Ichiyo, a Japanese writer and activist who worked closely with the US anti-war movement in the 1960s and 1970s.

“The part of Japanese imperialism which was made powerless after the defeat in the war wanted, of course, to revive itself,” Muto once explained to me in Tokyo. “But they knew perfectly well that the situation had changed. They knew also that fighting against America again would be both impossible and purposeless. So they adopted a very clear-cut strategy: Japan will concentrate on the buildup of the economic base structure of imperialism, while America will practically rule Asia through its military forces.”

• ABE, WHO WAS PREVIOUSLY PM FROM 2006 TO 2007, REPRESENTS THE MOST RIGHT-WING FACTION OF THE PRO-AMERICAN LDP, AND SPEAKS FOR A VIRULENT MINORITY OF POLITICIANS AND CIVIL SOCIETY GROUPS WHO IDEALIZE JAPAN’S WW II EMPIRE IN EAST ASIA AND WANT TO RESTORE ITS GREATNESS IN A MILITARY ALLIANCE WITH THE UNITED STATES...

• THE “UNFINISHED BUSINESS” OF AN EXPANDED US-JAPAN MILITARY ALLIANCE HAS BEEN PUSHED HEAVILY BY US NATIONAL SECURITY OFFICIALS FROM BOTH THE DEMOCRATIC AND REPUBLICAN PARTIES FOR DECADES...
Parliamentarians protest forced passage of Abe's War Bill.
Photo: KYODO via The Japan Times

Christopher W. Hughes' "An ‘Abe Doctrine’ as Japan’s Grand Strategy: New Dynamism or Dead-End?", published at The Asia-Pacific Journal on July 21, 2015, describes the loss of Japanese sovereignty under the radical Abe doctrine.  The current administration signals the end of relative peace and prosperity that Japan enjoyed [albeit at the expense of Okinawan suffering] in the conservative postwar period:
Abe’s diplomatic agenda...might be labeled as a doctrine capable...displacing, the doctrine of PM Yoshida Shigeru that has famously charted Japan’s entire post-war international trajectory. In contrast to Abe’s more muscular international agenda, the Yoshida Doctrine’...has long emphasized for Japan the need for a pragmatic and low-profile foreign policy, a highly constrained defense posture, reliance but not over-dependence on the US-Japan security treaty, and the expedient rebuilding of economic and diplomatic ties with East Asian neighbors...

Abe has only served two and half years as PM in this stint and may enjoy several more years...to continue to pursue his radical agenda. But the probability is that the Abe Doctrine, whilst making substantive differences to Japan’s foreign and security policy, will continue to fall short of its ambitions, and perhaps ultimately run into the sand. This is because of three fundamental inherent and irreconcilable contradictions. Essentially, these result from the fixation of the Abe Doctrine on attempting to escape the post-war order and the humiliations to national pride and sovereignty imposed during that period, and the fact that this in many ways only leads to Japan becoming further entrapped in the past with resultant tensions for the implementation of current policies and relations....

Abe’s hopes for more equal ties with the US cannot by definition materalize as long as Japan continues to lock itself into dependency on the US in a range of political, economic and security affairs. Abe’s attempts to strengthen Japan’s great power profile through deepening integration into the military alliance can only really spell dependency...the reality is that the Abe Doctrine is in many ways reducing Japan’s autonomy in international affairs, and this will only be compounded as its revisionism leaves it more isolated in East Asia with a limited range of other feasible regional partners.
One of many July rallies against the Abe war bill & forced military base construction in Okinawa. 
(Photo: Anti-war Committee of 1,000)

Sunday, August 2, 2015

"Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream" performed by Alicia Bay Laurel • Upcoming concerts in Tokyo on Aug. 4 & Hiroshima on Aug. 8




Via our friend—artist, writer, and musician Alicia Bay Laurel—who has 2 more concerts upcoming (in Tokyo and Hiroshima) in this year's tour of Okinawa and Japan:

What it looks and sounds like when we all sing the great peace visionary song, "Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream," together in English and Nihongo. Thank you Hikaru Hamada for making this video last July 11th at Art Cafe Nafsha in Awajishima! Akiko Itagaki is translating for me.

Alicia on video:
This song was written at the end of World War II by an American peace activist. His name was Ed McCurty. He wrote this song as he was reacting in horror to the bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Even though I was very active against the war in Vietnam, I only became aware this year that there was  a huge antiwar movement in the US during World War II. The people who were for peace had a hard time getting heard because the government and corporations were all wanting the war.

So they started a whole group of radio stations across the United States: Peace Radio. All of those radio stations are still broadcasting now...They're called Pacifica Radio...When I was growing up in the 1950s, that was the radio being played by my parents. That's where I heard this song the first time...

When I came to Japan, I realized I needed to sing this song, not just play it. I needed to sing it in Nihon-go and I needed to sing it in Nihon-go at Hiroshima because Hiroshima's tragedy is what inspired this song...Please join us in HIroshima if you can."

"Last Night I Had The Strangest Dream" by Ed McCurty

Last night I had the strangest dream
I ever dreamed before
I dreamed the world had all agreed
To put an end to war
I dreamed I saw a mighty room
The room was filled with men
And the paper they were signing said
They'd never fight again
And when the papers all were signed
And a million copies made
They all joined hands end bowed their heeds
And grateful prayers were prayed
And the people in the streets below
Were dancing round and round
And guns and swords and uniforms
Were scattered on the ground
Last night I had the strangest dream
I ever dreamed before
I dreamed the world had all agreed
To put an end to war
This coming Sunday, August 8,  Alicia will perform at a Peace Concert that begins at 2:30 p.m. at Hiroshima Nagaregawa Church. (Reverend Kiyoshi Tanimoto, an alumni of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, and a central figure in John Hersey's book, Hiroshima, led the rebuilding of this historic church after it was completely destroyed by the August 6, 1945 nuclear bombing of Hiroshima.)

(Directions and details at Alicia's website: http://www.aliciabaylaurel.com/2015JapanTour)

"Peace Girl" by Alicia Bay Laurel

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Karel Van Wolferen on regime change in Japan & Ukraine, the resurrection of the Cold War (without communism), the 'pivot,' Okinawa, the 'reinterpretation' of Article 9, & 'Full Spectrum Dominance'

Karel van Wolferen's September 2014 analysis of the US-Japan relationship within the context of US neocon geopolitical aims,"The Havoc and Fantasy of ‘Full Spectrum Dominance’." sheds light on why the Abe administration is violating of rule of law to rush its "reinterpretation" of the Japanese Peace Constitution,  and using military force against Okinawan civilians to build a US miitary port and training base at Okinawa's most important natural cultural heritage site.

This rare analysis of Abe policies within global context is especially relevant now as the LDP regime pits itself against the majority of citizens in Okinawa and mainland Japan, on behalf  of the interwoven US-Jp military-industrial complex, which depends on war and the threat of war to justify ever-increasing military expansion and expenditures:
     The American-triggered regime change in Ukraine at the Western end of the Eurasian continent has been widely discussed. Less noticed, if at all, has been the American-triggered change of government in Japan four years ago as part of the so-called ‘pivot’ aimed at holding back China on the Eastern end. The two ought to be considered together, since they share a purpose known as ‘Full Spectrum Dominance’.

     A military ambition and agenda, this provides much activist energy among America’s neoconservatives and their fellow travelers, which include sundry financial and commercial interests. Made up of many parts, like the recently established “Africom” (U.S. Africa Command), the comparable effort to contain-isolate-denigrate the two former communist enemy giants, China and Russia, may be considered a central aim.

     It does not add up to a feasible strategy for long-term American interests, but few American initiatives have done in the recent past. Since neoconservatives, ‘liberal hawks’ and neoliberals appear to have captured the State Department and White House, and their activism has already produced significant geopolitical instability, it would be no luxury to dig deeper in developments on the rather neglected Asian side of the globe.

     The protracted overthrow in the course of 2010 of the first cabinet formed by the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) does not at first glance resemble what happened in Kiev on January 22nd 2014 – when Victoria Nuland and Co triggered, aided, and abetted an anti–Russian coup d’état...No civil war against Japanese citizens who had supported a reformist program. It was a gentle overthrow. But an overthrow it was even so. And, importantly, while the Ukraine case served the elevation by consensus of Russia to being the new number one enemy of ‘the West’, the abrupt end to a new Japanese policy of rapprochement was the start of a fairly successful drive to create common imagery of China as a threat to its neighbors.

     Back in September of 2009, Japan underwent a politically momentous change when a new ruling party came to power, thereby ending half a century of what had been in fact a ‘one-party democracy’. As the first serious opposition contender for government, the DPJ had won an overwhelming electoral victory with a strongly reformist manifesto...

     One of this new government’s first moves was to initiate a new China policy. Its main architect, Ichiro Ozawa, had filled several planes with writers, artists, and politicians to visit China for the specified purpose of improving “people to people and party to party” relations. At the same time, the prime minister of this first cabinet, Yukio Hatoyama, was openly declaring his intention to join other East Asian leaders in the formation of an Asean+3 community, consisting of the existing Asean grouping plus Korea, China and Japan. It is highly unlikely that the now diplomatically ruinous and possibly dangerous Sino-Japanese conflict over the Senkaku/Diyaou islands would have come into being if his cabinet had lasted.

     As could have been expected, these unexpected Japanese initiatives created collective heartburn among Washington’s ‘Japan handlers’...

     Throughout the Cold War, Washington’s determination to rely on having an obedient outpost close to the shores of the two huge Communist powers did not require much pleading or pushing, because Tokyo had, as a matter of course, decided that it shared this same Communist enemy with Washington...

     The regime change drama can be said to have been prefigured shortly before the August 2009 elections that brought the DPJ to power. In January of that year Hillary Clinton came to Tokyo on her first mission as Obama’s Secretary of State to sign an agreement with the outgoing LDP administration (which knew it was stumbling on its last legs), reiterating what had been agreed on in October 2005 about a highly controversial planned new base for US Marines on Okinawa – a plan hatched by Donald Rumsfeld – which had earlier been forced down the throat of the LDP. The ruling party of the one-party democracy had applied a preferred method of Japanese politics when something embarrassingly awkward comes up: do nothing, and hope everyone will forget it. Clinton made clear that no matter what kind of government the Japanese electorate would choose, there could be no deviation from earlier arrangements...

     Much of the international Japan coverage at that time was done out of Washington with journalists interviewing the Japan handlers, since the body of regular American correspondents in Tokyo had dwindled to a very few who permanently resided there. Like we have just seen happen with the coverage of the Ukraine crisis in European media, Japan’s newspapers were beginning to reflect the reality as created by American editors...By these means the story about a politically new Japan led to the propaganda line that Prime Minister Hatoyama was mishandling the crucial US-Japan relationship...

     ...Hatoyama did not have to flee like the elected president in Kiev almost 4 years later. He eventually simply stepped down. He did so in line with a custom whereby politicians who wish to accomplish something that is generally understood to be controversial and difficult will stake their political future on the outcome. In this case Hatoyama had walked into a trap. He was given to believe that an acceptable compromise solution was being arranged for the problem of the new Marine basis in Okinawa. As he told me himself about half a year later, with that he made the biggest mistake in his political life.

     This is not how the newspapers have reported on it...but let this sink in: Washington managed, without the use of violence, to manipulate the Japanese political system into discarding a reformist cabinet. The party that had intended to begin clearing up dysfunctional political habits that had evolved over half a century of one-party rule lost its balance and bearings, and never recovered...Where earlier a China policy of friendly relations was being forged was suddenly nothing...

     The resulting anti–Chinese predisposition in the region perfectly suited the ‘pivot’, which has been Hillary Clinton’s program to develop greater muscle to curtail China’s influence. The American military, which maintains bases all over China’s neighboring soil, is not prepared to share power in the the Western Pacific, and Japan plays an important part in all this, even extending to current Prime Minister Abe’s reinterpretation of the famous pacifist clause in Japan’ constitution.

    ...Global diplomacy has gone out of the window in the meantime. Neither European countries nor Japan can, under current circumstances, engage properly with their gigantic neighbors. For a variety of reasons the powers that make a difference in the United States have demonstrated that they are comfortable with a reignited Cold War, this time without communism...

     ...full spectrum dominance does not constitute a feasible strategy; it is a dangerous fantasy among institutions that are not supervised by a politically effective coordinating center, hence are not on any leash...When we cheer NATO and its new initiatives for a rapid deployment force to be used potentially against the renewed enemy in Moscow, and when we cheer the supposedly great achievement of the European Union unanimously to endorse sanctions against that same new enemy, when we join the choir denouncing an imagined inherently aggressive China, we are encouraging a bunch of incompetent, politically immature zealots as they trigger chains of events whose likely dire consequences we could not possibly desire.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

70th anniversary of the official (not actual) end of the US-Japan Battle of Okinawa

"Map of the Battle of Okinawa," by Iri Maruki and Toshi Maruki. 
Survivors of the US-Jp ground war in Okinawa, are depicted in the panels.
The painting is exhibited in the Sakima Art Museum in Ginowan City, Okinawa. 
Via Hiroshima Peace Media's Peace Museums of the World website
The story of Okinawa proves nothing is crueler, nothing is less honorable than war.

Those who know what happened here cannot, in good conscience, support or glorify killing.

And while it's true that people start wars, it is equally true that people can try not to start them.

Since the battle, we have hated all war and have known that we must nurture the spirit of peace without any arms in Okinawa.

So this is our belief, gained at great expense, and we will not yield, whatever the personal cost.

- Final words found in the exhibits of the Okinawan Prefectural Peace Museum.
Background: 

"The war is still going on for the people of Okinawa," Masahide Ota, Magazine 9:
In Okinawa, many people who went through extreme conditions under the war are even now experiencing extreme anxiety and depression.

The remains of 4000-5000 dead Okinawans have yet to be collected.

Unexploded bombs are all over, without being treated. Some experts says that it will take 50-60 more years to complete the treatment of unexploded bombs of the battles in Okinawa.

Not only that, even after the war, at least 5,200 Okinawans have been the victims of crimes committed by American soldiers.

Thus the war is still going on for the people in Okinawa.

Why shall we start preparing for a new war, while the old war is not over yet?

I truly don’t understand.

((OTA Masahide was governor of Okinawa prefecture from 1990 to 1998 and is Chairman of Ota Peace Research Institute. He has written 60 Books about Battle of Okinawa.)
"Harsh truth of blood and tears eludes many when they think of Okinawa," Atsushi Matsukawa (interview with Kazuhiko Taketomi, editor in chief of The Okinawa Times), The Asahi Shimbun, June 24, 2015:
Referring to World War II, Emperor Akihito spoke of four specific days that he must always “remember.”

Those days are: Aug. 15, when Japan announced its surrender; Aug. 6, when the world’s first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima; Aug. 9, when Nagasaki was flattened by a second atomic bomb; and June 23, when the collective fighting by the Japanese defenders in the Battle of Okinawa ended after the suicide of the supreme commander.

Although the first three days are renowned, the last is not...

 I would like the people in the Japanese mainland to realize that the U.S. base issue in Okinawa is effectively an extension of the three-month Battle of Okinawa.

That fighting involved the island’s civilians, and Okinawans have been trapped in absurd situations ever since.

The land of the people was seized to build many U.S. bases.

While U.S. military aircraft freely fly in the air space of Okinawa, the prefecture has been plagued by accidents and incidents involving American servicemen.

When Okinawans request that a new base to take over the functions of the Futenma airfield should not be constructed in the prefecture, the authorities insist, “You should come up with an alternative if you don’t like the central government project.”

This is unjust.
"Irei no hi 2015," John Potter, The Power of Okinawa: Roots Music for the Ryukyus, June 23, 2015:
As usual, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attended the ceremony and made a familiar speech full of platitudes while not really addressing the current situation in Okinawa at all. His speech, delivered in a monotone, was met with lukewarm applause and some heckling along the way. In contrast, Okinawa’s Governor Takeshi Onaga made an impassioned speech which included the following:
“To begin with, regarding Futenma Air Station whose land was forcibly expropriated from us against our will and which is said to be the most dangerous base in the world, the indefinite use of MCAS Futenma must not be endured. To the people of Okinawa, the notion that ‘Futenma will be relocated to Henoko to eliminate the danger posed by Futenma’, and that ‘if Okinawa does not like the Henoko plan, Okinawa should come up with an alternative plan’ is totally unacceptable.”

“We cannot establish a foundation of peace unless the central government impartially guarantees freedom, equality, human rights and democracy to the people.”

Monday, June 15, 2015

Japanese Scholars: "Now, 70 years after the war, Japan stands at a critical juncture. One path is that of a nation that does not wage war. The other, a nation that wages war."

Appeal by the Association of Scholars Opposed to the Security-related Bills:
Today, 70 years after the war, Japan stands at a critical juncture. One path is that of a nation that does not wage war. The other, a nation that wages war. The Abe administration has submitted an International Peace Support Bill and an omnibus Peace and Security Legislation Consolidation Bill amending 10 war-related laws for the worse to the Diet, where they are currently being deliberated. Violating Article 9 of the Constitution, these bills would provide for Japan’s Self-Defense Forces to cooperate actively with U.S. and other foreign military operations overseas. We very strongly appeal for the Diet to consider them most carefully and to defeat them in keeping with the Constitution.

If adopted, the legislation would allow (1) using military force, even if Japan is not attacked, if another nation is attacked and the administration deems this situation a threat to Japan’s survival, (2) sending SDF units anywhere in the world where the U.S. or other militaries are waging war and having them provide support in close proximity to combat zones, and (3) deploying the SDF alongside U.S. and other allied forces and authorizing them to fire their weapons ostensibly in defense of their military and other supplies.

Although Prime Minister Abe contends the use of military force would be limited, the legislation opens the way for unbridled use of force by the SDF and violates the principle of exclusively self-defense. Anywhere the SDF uses military force will automatically become a combat zone. As such, the bills are in clear violation of Article 9 paragraph 1’s prohibition against the use of force in combat. For over 60 years, successive administrations have understood that the exercise of collective self-defense violates the Constitution, yet the Abe administration seeks to overturn this and pave the way for Japan’s SDF to take part in American wars of aggression. Should this legislation pass, there is a very real danger that Japan could become a party to hostilities and the SDF an army of aggression in violation of international law.

We bear a special historical burden in that universities collaborated with Japan’s war of aggression and sent numerous students off to battle. Profoundly repentant of this history, we have adopted Article 9 as our own, have engaged in research and education as the bedrock for world peace, and have worked so as to never again be visited by the horrors of war. We cannot allow a situation to arise anew in which our young people are sent off to war to kill and be killed.

In the name of scholarship and conscience, we most strongly protest this unconstitutional legislation’s having been submitted to the Diet and are appalled it is even being deliberated by the Diet. We stand in resolute opposition to this legislation.


June 15, 2015
Association of Scholars Opposed to the Security-related Bills


Aoi Miho (Gakushuin University, law)
Asakura Mutsuko (Waseda University, law)
Awaji Takehisa (Rikkyo University, civil law lawyer)
Chiba Shin (International Christian University, political thought)
Hama Noriko (Doshisha University, international economics)
Higuchi Yoichi (constitutional law, Japan Academy member)
Hirota Teruyuki (Nihon University, education)
Hirowatari Seigo (Senshu University, law, former President of Science Council of Japan)
Horio Teruhisa (University of Tokyo, education)
Ichinokawa Yasutaka (University of Tokyo, sociology)
Ikeuchi Satoru (Nagoya University, astrophysics)
Ishida Hidetaka (University of Tokyo, semiology and media)
Ito Makoto (University of Tokyo, economics)
Kaifu Norio (National Astronomical Observatory, astronomy)
Kaino Michiatsu (Waseda University, law)
Kaneko Masaru (Keio University, fiscal policy)
Katoo Takashi (Seikei University, political philosophy)
Kawamoto Takashi (International Christian University, social logic)
Kimishima Akihiko (Ritsumeikan University, constitutional law and peace studies)
Kobayashi Setsu (Keio University, constitutional law)
Komori Yoichi (University of Tokyo, modern Japanese literature)
Kubo Toru (Shinshu University, history)
Kurihara Akira (Rikkyo University, political sociology)
Mamiya Yosuke (Aoyama Gakuin University, economics)
Masukawa Toshihide (Kyoto University, physics, Nobel laureate)
Mishima Ken’ichi (Osaka University, philosophy & history of thought)
Miyamoto Hisao (University of Tokyo, philosophy)
Miyamoto Ken’ichi (Osaka City University, economics)
Mizuno Kazuo (Nihon University, economics)
Mizushima Asaho (Waseda University, constitutional law)
Nagata Kazuhiro (Kyoto Sangyo University, cellular biology)
Nakatsuka Akira (Nara Women’s University, modern Japanese history)
Nishikawa Jun (Waseda University, international economics)
Nishitani Osamu (Rikkyo University, philosophy & history of thought)
Nishizaki Fumiko (University of Tokyo, history)
Noda Masaaki (psychopathologist)
Oguma Eiji (Keio University, historical sociology)
Okano Yayo (Doshisha University, history of Western political thought)
Osawa Mari (University of Tokyo, social policy)
Saito Jun’ichi (Waseda University, political science)
Sakai Keiko (Chiba University, Iraqi politics)
Sato Manabu (Gakushuin University, education)
Shimazono Susumu (Sophia University, religion)
Sugita Atsushi (Hosei University, political science)
Takahashi Tetsuya (University of Tokyo, philosophy)
Takayama Kanako (Kyoto University, law)
Uchida Tatsuru (Kobe College, philosophy)
Ueno Chizuko (University of Tokyo, sociology)
Ueno Kenji (Kyoto University, mathematics)
Ukai Satoshi (Hitotsubashi University, French literature and thought)
Uno Shigeki (University of Tokyo, history of political thought)
Utsumi Aiko (Keisen University, Japan-Asia relations)
Uyeda Seiya (University of Tokyo, geophysics, Japan Academy member)
Wada Haruki (University of Tokyo, history)
Washitani Izumi (Chuo University, conservation ecology)
Watanabe Osamu (Hitotsubashi University, political science & constitutional law)
Yamaguchi Jiro (Hosei University, political science)
Yamamuro Shin’ichi (Kyoto University, political science)
Yokoyu Sonoko (ex-Chuo University, clinical psychologist)
Yoshida Yutaka (Hitotsubashi University, Japanese history)
Yoshioka Hitoshi (Kyushu University, history of science)

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Greenpeace: Okinawa, Henoko Bay, Save the Dugongs 2015


Via Greenpeace:
Time is running out for Henoko Bay and the last surviving Dugongs of Japan. Please help by adding your name: 


Petition: www.greenpeace.org/henoko
---------
H.E Ms Caroline Kennedy U.S. Ambassador to Japan,

Henoko Bay is the home of the last remaining Dugongs in Japanese waters. It is estimated that there are as few as a dozen left in existence.

We understand that the concrete slabs have already started being dumped into the dugongs primary habitat. We urge you to intervene and halt further construction until a sustainable solution is found which guarantees the survival of this last group of IUCN red-listed Dugongs and protects coral reef and Dugong’s seagrass food supply.

We stand with the local Okinawan people who have voted to elect a prefectural government which is opposed to building a U.S Marine base on this environmentally critical site in Japan.

You have stood up for environmental protection before. We know you can do it again.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

The Sense of Sacred: Mauna Kea, Hawai'i and Oura Bay, Okinawa


The Okinawan movement to save Henoko and the Yambaru subtropical rainforest is one aspect of a global indigenous movement calling for respect of indigenous cultural heritage, especially natural sacred sites under ongoing threat of destruction.

Indigenous peoples know that sacred sites are centers of collective spiritual and psychological power that go into the past and into the future, connecting generations. Maybe this is why sacred and cultural heritage sites have been targeted for destruction by invading powers for millennia.

In "The Sense of Sacred: Mauna Kea and Oura Bay," published at The Asia-Pacific Journal earlier this month,  Katherine Muzik  compares the similarities between the struggles to save Mauna Kea in Hawai'i and Henoko in Okinawa to introduce William B.C. Chang's analysis of the foreign settler pattern of violating indigenous religious and cultural heritage rights as well as land rights and indigenous human rights:
“Sacred is not necessarily a place. It is a relationship, a deep visceral relationship: beyond reason, beyond law, beyond rationality.”

These words were recently spoken by William B.C. Chang, a University of Hawaii Law Professor, in his impassioned testimony to the UH Board of Regents, about the current conflict on Mauna Kea here in Hawaii.

To the Hawaiians, the Mountain known as Mauna Kea, or Mauna a Wākea, on the Island of Hawaii, is a sacred place. Thus, the proposed construction of the northern hemisphere’s biggest telescope, thirty meters tall (TMT), 18 stories high, on eight acres of the mountain top, costing $1.4 billion, has recently sparked peaceful but ardent protests and occupations by Native Hawaiians, environmentalists and allies across the Pacific. With 13 telescopes already blighting the landscape, the protesters seek to prevent further desecration.

To the Okinawans, the Sea known as Oura Bay, on the Island of Okinawa, is also a sacred place. For nearly two decades, Okinawans have protested its destruction by US/Japan military expansion.

Besides being sacred and beautiful, what else do these two very distant places share? They share history, of illegal takeovers by a foreign power and the subsequent, on-going outrage among the local populations. Locals in Hawaii and Okinawa are deeply angered by the heinous and reckless environmental destruction their islands have suffered. They are frustrated by the destruction that continues, despite prolonged protests. In both cases, illegal land-grabs by the US have resulted in the waste of their natural resources and the disintegration of their cultural identities. However, being sacred, both places continue to inspire passionate and courageous struggles against foreign dominance.

The Hawaiian Islands were once a kingdom, a sovereign nation. In a series of events, the Hawaiian monarchy was overthrown in 1893 by a group of US and European businessmen, ending in annexation as a “Territory of the United States” in 1900. And so too, were the Ryukyu Islands, sovereign. Invaded by Satsuma forces in 1609, they were formally annexed by Japan in 1879 as “Okinawa Prefecture”. After World War 2, the US “acquired” Okinawa from Japan, establishing military bases which have remained and proliferated, destructively, for the last seventy years.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Guardian details how much US senators were paid to fast-track the TPP corporate investor rights bill • Naked Capitalism explains why President Obama defends slavery in Malaysia • How close is the USTR with Wall Street?


Children at the Lenggeng detention center, south of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia,
 face the possibility of being sold into slavery.

The Guardian: "Here’s how much corporations paid US senators to fast-track the TPP bill: Critics of the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership are unlikely to be silenced by an analysis of the flood of money it took to push the pact over its latest hurdle":
“It’s a rare thing for members of Congress to go against the money these days,” said Mansur Gidfar, spokesman for the anti-corruption group Represent.Us. “They know exactly which special interests they need to keep happy if they want to fund their reelection campaigns or secure a future job as a lobbyist.

“How can we expect politicians who routinely receive campaign money, lucrative job offers, and lavish gifts from special interests to make impartial decisions that directly affect those same special interests?” Gidfar said. “As long as this kind of transparently corrupt behavior remains legal, we won’t have a government that truly represents the people.”
Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism provides a comprehensive overview of why the Obama administration and neocon Republican political leaders are ignoring Malaysia's notorious record on human kidnapping, trafficking and slavery (including infants and children) as well as foreign migrant workers: "America’s First Black President Throwing Slaves Under the Bus on TPP":
Huffington Post has reconfirmed its reporting from over the past weekend, namely, that the Administration has a hairball to untangle to get Malaysia to sign the TransPacific Partnership. Basically, Malaysia needs to have an anti-slavery provision that was inserted in the bill in committee watered down. And the reason that that has to happen, as our reader Antifa pointed out in comments, is that Malaysia controls the Straits of Malacca, a critical shipping choke point. One of the major objectives of the pact is to strengthen America’s position in the region relative to China. Thus Malaysia’s location makes it a critically important signatory to the pact...

Of course, one might ask why we are now working so hard against China after having made the US dependent on her by allowing, even encouraging, US multinationals to outsource and offshore manufacturing in China...

Since Obama has had the embarrassing spectacle of having set a ministerial meeting for the TPP this week at which the other intended signatories were to give their final offers, based on the assumption that Obama would have Fast Track authority in hand. the negotiators increasingly doubt that Obama can get the bill passed this year, and the general assumption is that Congresscritters won’t touch this issue in 2016, an election year.

I strongly urge you to keep calling your Senators and Representatives. Concentrate on the slavery issue, since there is opposition on the right and left, and the folks on the Hill are likely not well prepared for voter pressure on this aspect of the sausage-making, since the MSM has pointedly ignored it.
Meanwhile American public interest organizations want the USTR Michael Froman to disclose the nature of his relationship with Wall Street by releasing his emails with bank reps:
“Michael Froman is not just President Obama’s trade representative, he is also a former senior executive of Citigroup,” said Justin Krebs, Campaign Director of MoveOn.org Civic Action. “He raised money from Citigroup for Obama’s Senate and presidential campaigns and remained on the Citigroup payroll late into 2008 while helping select Obama’s policy staff as a senior member of President Obama’s transition team – all while Citigroup was making history as the biggest bailout recipient ever.”

...“Citigroup snuck a lobbyist-written Dodd-Frank rollback into last December’s CRomnibus, so we already know they’re willing to hijack unrelated bills to weaken regulations on Wall Street,” said Kurt Walters of Rootstrikers. “Wall Street has been lobbying to include financial regulation in ongoing trade negotiations, and Americans deserve to know what Froman has been privately saying to these big banks.”

“It’s no surprise that the TPP – an unprecedented corporate giveaway – is being negotiated by someone as cozy with Wall Street banks as Michael Froman,” said Murshed Zaheed, Deputy Political Director at CREDO Action. Zaheed continued, “The American people deserve transparency. The Administration must make public all communications between Froman and the massive financial institutions that stand to benefit from proposed trade deals.” Zaheed added “the American people and Congress need to see what kinds of commitments Froman is making to his Wall Street cronies behind closed doors.

Furthermore, stated Michelle Chan, director of Economic Policy at Friends of the Earth: "If the Obama administration gets Fast Track, it would delegate Congress’s constitutional authority to a U.S. Trade Representative who, by background and mindset, responds to Wall Street rather than ordinary people."

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

May 23, 2015 - Kodansha release of I am Catherine Jane: "50 years ago, a US serviceman raped me too...I want to live my life again from today...With tears in her eyes & in mine, we embraced each other. I did not know her name. But to me, her name was Okinawa."

On May 23, Kodansha released the Japanese translation of "I am Catherine Jane" 
Fifty years ago, a US serviceman raped me too. For 50 years, I have lived in sorrow.

I am now over 70-years-old...I want to live my life again from today...

With tears in her eyes and tears in mine, we embraced each other. I did not know her name. But to me, her name was Okinawa.
This passage from I am Catherine Jane describes a meeting between a woman sharing her story of rape for the first time after hearing Fisher's shared story of rape and her quest for survival, healing and justice in the face of U.S. and Japanese government indifference to the assault.

Earlier this month, after giving speeches outside Camp Schwab, rape survivor Catherine Jane Fisher and over 30 supporters tied 100 meters of white ribbon in remembrance of the survivors raped by United States servicemen stationed in Okinawa since 1945, to promote awareness of violence against women.  The day before, 35,000-50,000 protestors attended the mass rally for Henoko in Naha.

A longtime supporter of Okinawa, Fisher clearly sees the interconnections between the 70-year history of US military rapes of Okinawan women and US military rape of the land and sea to build military bases. While the media is covering the ongoing Okinawan governent effort to save the coral reef and dugong habitat at Henoko from landfill and military base construction by the US and Japanese governments, background history starts in 1996 or 2006 or 1996, the dates of recent agreements between the two governments.

Australian rape survivor begins White Ribbon Violence Against Women" campaign 
outside U.S. military training base Camp Schwab
(Photo: courtesy of Catherine Jane Fisher)

This framing omits earlier history crucial for understanding the depth of the Okinawan movement: the  US military forcibly seized and demolished a vibrant farming and fishing community to build Camp Schwab during the 1950's period of "Bayonets and Bulldozers. This followed earlier seizures of Okinawan private property during and immediately after the Battle of Okinawa, when 400,000 Okinawans were detained in POW camps.

Fisher explains that many elder women protesters at Henoko and in those crowds are survivors of US military rape during this period.

The 1950s seizures throughout the prefecture were brutal, accompanied by assaults, including sexual assaults, against resisters. US military crimes against Okinawans, especially rapes, took place on a daily basis at this time, according to scholar Miyumi Tanji, in her 2006 book, Myth, protest, and struggle in Okinawa:
Victimization of Okinawan farmers and forceful acquisition of their land was combined with the physical violence inflicted on the locals personally...Violence directed towards the local populace by US military staff, especially rape, revealed the crudest and most brutal aspect of the power relations between the occupiers and the occupied...

'US land acquisition in Isahama and Ie-jima and the rape [and murder of 6-year-old Yumiko Nagayama] resulted the humiliation of all Okinawans, leading to what Arasaki calls the first wave of the "Okinawa Struggle.' ...These rallies became models for mass demonstrations in the community of protest of the future.
 Okinawan women protesting the forced US military seizures 
 of their homes and farms in July 1955.

On May 23, Kodansha released the Japanese translation of I am Catherine Jane in which Fisher relates the story of her uphill climb for justice after being raped by a U.S. sailor in Japan.  Vivid published the English-language version last year.

Damon Coulter's review at The Japan Times details Fisher's suffering and challenge to the indifference of the US and Japanese governments:
Fisher was physically raped in 2002 by Bloke Deans, a U.S. serviceman stationed at Yokosuka. Immediately afterward, she faced a psychological ordeal at the hands of the Kanagawa police force, who subjected her to 12 hours of questioning without food, drink or medical attention when she reported the crime. Finally, the United States government violated Fisher twice — first by giving Dean an honorable discharge, allowing him to leave Japan and flee charges, and then by later disdaining their own “zero tolerance” rape policy by refusing to acknowledge or take responsibility for their own corruption...

David McNeill's tells the even fuller story of Fisher's indomitable struggle in "From Yokosuka rape to U.S. court victory, ‘Jane’ commits her 12-year ordeal to print":
"I could have returned to Australia and closed my eyes, but somebody had to stand up.”

...Fisher won a civil suit against him in a Tokyo court in 2004 but the ruling had no jurisdictional authority in the U.S. Last year, after tracking Deans in America for several years, Fisher finally persuaded a circuit court in the U.S. to enforce that judgment for rape against him.

Fisher’s insistence that the U.S. military had helped Deans evade justice and that the Japanese government did little to help her pursue him was strengthened in the Milwaukee County Circuit Court by a statement submitted by Deans in which he claims a U.S. Navy lawyer told him to leave the country. The U.S. court’s decision was a victory for Fisher, but one that left her physically, mentally and financially exhausted, she says.
Fisher is now an advocate for rape survivors, campaigning for 24-hour rape crisis centers, and for making rape kits mandatory in police stations and hospitals. (The US government might consider funding these much-needed centers, as a matter of restitution and atonementl.)

Fisher is an esteemed member of the Okinawan movement for democracy, human rights, justice and healing which is characterized by intermutual respect and support, hallmarks of authentic community.  A visual artist and and author, Fisher created a FB page, Save Henoko, which focuses on inspirational images and thoughts to support the supporters of Henoko.


Born in Australia, Fisher has lived in Japan since the 1980s and has three sons.