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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2016 1:04 pm 
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Japan's democracy continues to be a victim of Abe's mayhem, the damage accumulates and maybe accelerates.

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Quote:
Rallying to stop Abe from gutting Japan’s democracy
TheJapanTimes, by Jiro Yamaguchi, 2016-01-27

...The constitutional amendment sought by Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party is raising alarm bells that it could ruin the basic principles of constitutionalism and liberal democracy, and not just because of the content of the security laws enacted last year or the way they were drafted and legislated. Recent attempts by the Abe administration and private organizations close to the prime minister to step up pressure on the mass media also indicate that those currently in power do not understand the importance of freedom and diversity of ideas and opinions.

These days TV broadcasters increasingly tend to refrain from taking critical positions on political and social issues. It has surfaced that three journalists who have notably defied such trends and tried to discuss various issues from independent positions will be quitting their roles as newscasters or anchorpersons on their programs at the end of March...
(full article) http://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2016/01/27/commentary/japan-commentary/rallying-stop-abe-gutting-japans-democracy/

Meanwhile, how is democracy doing in South Korea under the 'daughter of a dictator'?

Quote:
In South Korea, a Dictator’s Daughter Cracks Down on Labor
2015-12-01, by Tim Shorrock, thenation.com

Following in the footsteps of her dictator father, South Korea’s President, Park Geun-hye, is cracking down on labor and citizens groups opposed to the increasingly authoritarian policies of her ruling “New Frontier” party known as Saenuri...
(full article) http://www.thenation.com/article/in-south-korea-a-dictators-daughter-cracks-down-on-labor/

Quote:
A time of regression: S. Korea’s democratic rankings slide
2015-12-16, the hankyoreh (hani.co.kr)
It's a time of regression. Basic rights are being trampled; institutions are backsliding. Political freedoms are shrinking while young people shiver in deprivation, their dreams dashed. The despairing lamentations of today‘s “Hell Joseon” - a new coinage meaning “Hell Korea” - brim with hate and hostility, while the political system that is supposed to resolve conflicts has long since fallen into a state of suspended animation. A crisis of democracy - there seems to be no other way to describe the reality today. It’s the grim landscape wrought in South Korean society today by two years and ten months of a brute force administration under President Park Geun-hye.

On Nov. 5, the United Nations committee for the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) rated South Korea as warranting “concerns” ... for improvement in 25 of 27 categories in .. the general civil and political situation. ... The assessment is that South Korea has only the basic frameworks of liberal democracy in terms of regular elections and party competition, while the political lives of its people are no different from what they were during the authoritarian era - a democracy solely in term of elections, in other words.

Youngsan University political science professor Chang Eun-joo uses the term “illiberal democracy” to describe the system in South Korea today. This means that while the country has achieved democracy in procedural terms, the institutional foundation in terms of separation of powers, fair reporting, and a mature civil society remains weak, resulting in even such fundamental aspects of a liberal democracy as freedom of assembly, association, and expression being threatened according to the leanings of those in power.
(full article) http://english.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_national/722173.html

Why is this not being scrutinized and agonized by US press and political candidates alike? These are some of our closest allies in Asia. Is it all part of the same ill wind that moves among us here in the US today?


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2016 3:37 pm 
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Abe`s party was worried local elections would bring down the party but they prevailed. Voters must like what he is doing. Fascism`s siren song appeals when North Korea is firing rockets nearby.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2016 4:10 pm 
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MR556 wrote:
Voters must like what he is doing.

Maybe, in the same way some of ours like Trump. Maybe...

Quote:
On March 25 2013 the Hiroshima High Court ruled the election unconstitutional and the results void due to "the disparity in the value of one vote", which was up to 2.43 time the maximum constitutionally allowed disparity in some districts. The decision is expected to be appealed to the Supreme Court,and, if it's upheld, new elections must be held. The Supreme Court had previously ruled that the electoral system was unconstitutional without invalidating election results. Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said that government would give electoral reform new thought and examine the situation carefully in order to respond in the appropriate manner.
(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_general_election,_2012#Voiding_of_election) (see also: http://blogs.wsj.com/japanrealtime/2013/03/25/hiroshima-court-rules-election-invalid/)

His administration's position on a range of issues seems to move against majority popular sentiment today regardless of the legitimacy of the outcome of the last general election in Japan.

DPRK knows that nuclear powers aren't trifled with or invaded quite so casually. Maybe it is they who are the fearful ones. I would be, if I were them... I'd also be fearful if I lived in South Korea or Japan, because of the direction politics are shifting suddenly. Nasty things are happening to the domestic politics of some of the US's closest allies.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2016 7:39 am 
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Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrives at the White House during a visit last month.

Quote:
How Japan came to rank worse than Tanzania on press freedom
The Los Angeles Times, Jake Adelstein, April 20 2016

The state of press freedom in Japan is now worse than that in Tanzania, according to a new ranking from the non-profit group Reporters Without Borders. Japan came in 72nd of the 180 countries ranked in the group’s 2016 press freedom index... For Japan's journalists, things have taken a turn for the worse relatively recently. Just six years ago, the country ranked 11th in the world.

Japan's poor performance on press freedom is particularly surprising given its standing as one of the world’s leading developed countries. The island nation of 125 million people has the world's third-largest economy and a vibrant democracy whose postwar constitution guarantees freedoms of speech, press and assembly.

When Prime Minister Shinzo Abe returned for a second term in 2012, five years after he resigned abruptly amid growing unpopularity in 2007, his administration began cracking down on perceived bias in the nation’s media.

At first, the media didn’t hold back in criticizing his administration. The press lambasted Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso for saying that Japan should learn from the way the Nazi party stealthily changed Germany’s constitution before World War II. But critics say Aso’s suggestion foreshadowed things to come. Two years ago, the Abe administration pushed through a state secrets bill ostensibly designed to prevent classified information from leaking to China or Russia. But the measure allows for journalists and bloggers to be jailed for up to five years for asking about something that is a state secret, even if they aren’t aware it is one. Thousands protested the law when it was passed on Dec. 6, 2013...
(full article) http://www.latimes.com/world/asia/la-fg-japan-press-freedom-20160420-story.html

It is extraordinarily sad to hear of this from afar, that must have a very chilling impact on the freedom of speech in the press.


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PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 10:37 am 
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Next to be filed under Japanese fascism is a more subtle aspect of fascism: top-down cultural/social elitism and control endemic to most fascist forms of government, resulting in many wrongs... including misogyny.

Quote:
Japan court draws the artistic line at vagina data
CBSnews/AP, May 9, 2016, 8:51 AM

TOKYO -- A Tokyo court ruled Monday that vagina-shaped objects created by a Japanese artist qualify as art, but found her guilty of obscenity for distributing digital data that could be used to make a realistic three-dimensional recreation of her genitalia.

Tokyo District Court ordered Megumi Igarashi, who also uses the name Rokudenashiko, or good-for-nothing girl, to pay a 400,000 yen ($3,700) fine for distributing the data, her lawyers said... The judges said the data, from a scan of her own vagina, could be used with a three-dimensional printer to create a realistic shape that could sexually arouse viewers...

Despite Japan's lucrative pornography industry and tolerance of displays of scantily dressed women in ads and in magazines, its obscenity laws prohibit public displays of genitalia.
(full article) http://www.cbsnews.com/news/japan-court-megumi-igarashi-vagina-art-data-scan-genitalia-rokudenashiko/

I find this somewhat fascinating because there is a cultural white elephant filling the room here, which I'll get to momentarily. To recap the above, the Japanese court said that an artist distributing data from a 3D scan of her anatomy is "obscene." Not even 'displaying' that data, but distributing it. Let's consider then a traditional Japanese celebration that is just fine, apparently, with that court:

Image
Hundreds of thousands cum from all over to celebrate wang at the Steel Phallus Festival in Kawasaki.

This goes beyond a double-standard, this is sheer and outright patronizing hypocrisy. They can parade dicks down the street, but heaven forbid an artist make her own statements? Who do they think they are kidding. This is a subtle form of fascist oppression. While it may not seem as alarming to us gaijin as the Abe administration's anti-democratic militarization and defiance of their pacifist constitution, it's no less an invasion and oppression for the freedom of expression and equality generally, in Japan, and it is no less deserving of being called out for what it is: an expression of fascism.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2016 11:01 am 
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Quote:
The Religious Cult Secretly Running Japan
thedailybeast.com, by Jake Adelstein and Mari Yamamoto, 7.10.2016

TOKYO — In the Land of the Rising Sun, a conservative Shinto cult dating back to the 1970s, which includes Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and many of his cabinet among its adherents, finally has been dragged out of the shadows. The group is called Nippon Kaigi (Japan Conference) and is ostensibly run by Tadae Takubo, a former journalist turned political scientist. It only has 38,000 members, but like many an exclusive club, or sect, it wields tremendous political influence.

Broadly speaking, Shinto is a polytheistic and animist religion native to Japan. The state-sponsored Shintoism promulgated here before and during World War II also elevated the Emperor to the status of a God and insisted that the Japanese were a divine race –– the Yamato; with all other races considered inferior. Nippon Kaigi originally began in the early 1970s from a liberal Shinto group known as Seicho No Ie. In 1974, a splinter section of the group joined forces with Nippon o Mamoru Kai, a State-Shinto revival organization that espoused patriotism and a return to imperial worship. The group in its current state was officially formed in May of 1997, when Nippon o Mamoru Kai and a group of right-leaning intellectuals joined forces.

The current cult’s goals: gut Japan’s post-war pacifist constitution, end sexual equality, get rid of foreigners, void pesky “human rights” laws, and return Japan to its Imperial Glory. With Japan’s parliamentary elections to be held on July 10, the cult may now have its chance to dominate policity completely. If the ruling coalition wins enough seats, the door will open to amending Japan’s modern democratic constitution, something that has remained sacred and inviolate since 1947.

Indeed, for Japan, these elections may be a constitutional Brexit—deciding whether this country moves forward as a democracy or literally takes a step back to the Meiji era that ended more than a century ago. Then, the Emperor was supreme and freedom of expression was subservient to the interests of the state... The influence of Nippon Kaigi may be hard for an American to understand on a gut level. But try this: Imagine if “future World President” Donald Trump belonged to a right-wing evangelical group, let’s call it “USA Conference,” that advocated a return to monarchy, the expulsion of immigrants, the revoking of equal rights for women, restrictions on freedom of speech—and most of his pre-selected political appointees were from the same group.

Sounds incredible … In any case, this would worry people. That is the American equivalent of what has already taken place in Japan with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his cabinet...
(full article) http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/07/10/does-this-religious-cult-run-japan.html


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2016 5:48 pm 
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Quote:
South Korea’s March Toward a Strike-First Nuclear Policy
Wall Street Journal, by Donald Kirk, Oct 25 2016

After years of hesitation, South Korean defense officials and members of President Park Geun-hye’s ruling Saenuri Party are openly discussing the possibility of pre-emptive strikes on North Korean missile and nuclear facilities... Nor is “strike first” the only demand gaining common currency among conservative Koreans. While North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, orders missile and nuclear tests, voices are rising within the Saenuri for South Korea to develop its own nuclear deterrent.

Korean scientists under a deal reached last year with the U.S. are on a course to being able to reprocess uranium for nuclear energy—and hope eventually to engage in pyro-processing. That would enable them to reprocess spent fuel at considerably higher temperatures than needed simply for nuclear reactors. Although far below the level needed to produce weapons-grade material, critics believe pyro-processing would be a prelude to South Korea eventually building its own warheads.

Political pressure for South Korea to do just that has spiked as Donald Trump has said that South Korea, along with Japan, Germany and Saudi Arabia, should pay a much larger portion of the cost of their own defenses. Mr. Trump’s view that perhaps Japan and South Korea should have nuclear weapons has done little to assuage concerns among Korean conservatives. Against that background, a forum of Saenuri members of the National Assembly called for the U.S. and South Korea “to come up with detailed and effective deterrent measures”—including a decision to attack North Korea with nuclear weapons “if it makes another nuclear weapons-related provocation.”

U.S. and South Korean officials are talking openly about “decapitation” of the North Korean leadership in a quick strike at Pyongyang. If the word seems hyperbolic to Americans, North and South Koreans alike take it seriously. North Korea has said the term clearly shows why the North has to have a nuclear program “for self-defense” while many South Korean officials see “decapitation” as the ultimate solution—with or without nuclear weapons... “Korea Massive Punishment and Retaliation” was the name the Koreans gave a massive exercise this month in the Yellow Sea in which the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan led a joint U.S.-South Korean strike force. Their mission was more sharply defined than in previous war games. This time, said a Korean defense official, ships and planes focused specifically on imaginary North Korean nuclear and missile facilities, command headquarters—and Kim Jong Un.
(full article) http://www.wsj.com/articles/south-koreas-march-toward-a-strike-first-nuclear-policy-1477414963

This sort of jingoism risks war rather than prevents it. Any drunk dude at the bar or nation-state that strikes another first is the aggressor and a criminal and owns all the harm that follows. In any event, South Korea had better not violate or withdraw from the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. War may only be a defensive reaction to attack, and they had also better not attempt an Operation Himmler* on North Korea, either. Short of an actual real North Korean attack, the only people who can legally authorize war on the Korean Peninsula are the UN Security Council**.

* (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Himmler)
** (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Declaration_of_war#Legality_of_any_declaration_of_War_since_1945)


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2016 6:17 pm 
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ChromaKey wrote:
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Hundreds of thousands cum from all over to celebrate wang at the Steel Phallus Festival in Kawasaki.




LOL

Sorry that was pretty funny. rofllol


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 26, 2016 5:56 am 
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ChromaKey wrote:
Quote:
South Korea’s March Toward a Strike-First Nuclear Policy
Wall Street Journal, by Donald Kirk, Oct 25 2016

After years of hesitation, South Korean defense officials and members of President Park Geun-hye’s ruling Saenuri Party are openly discussing the possibility of pre-emptive strikes on North Korean missile and nuclear facilities... Nor is “strike first” the only demand gaining common currency among conservative Koreans. While North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, orders missile and nuclear tests, voices are rising within the Saenuri for South Korea to develop its own nuclear deterrent.

Korean scientists under a deal reached last year with the U.S. are on a course to being able to reprocess uranium for nuclear energy—and hope eventually to engage in pyro-processing. That would enable them to reprocess spent fuel at considerably higher temperatures than needed simply for nuclear reactors. Although far below the level needed to produce weapons-grade material, critics believe pyro-processing would be a prelude to South Korea eventually building its own warheads.

Political pressure for South Korea to do just that has spiked as Donald Trump has said that South Korea, along with Japan, Germany and Saudi Arabia, should pay a much larger portion of the cost of their own defenses. Mr. Trump’s view that perhaps Japan and South Korea should have nuclear weapons has done little to assuage concerns among Korean conservatives. Against that background, a forum of Saenuri members of the National Assembly called for the U.S. and South Korea “to come up with detailed and effective deterrent measures”—including a decision to attack North Korea with nuclear weapons “if it makes another nuclear weapons-related provocation.”

U.S. and South Korean officials are talking openly about “decapitation” of the North Korean leadership in a quick strike at Pyongyang. If the word seems hyperbolic to Americans, North and South Koreans alike take it seriously. North Korea has said the term clearly shows why the North has to have a nuclear program “for self-defense” while many South Korean officials see “decapitation” as the ultimate solution—with or without nuclear weapons... “Korea Massive Punishment and Retaliation” was the name the Koreans gave a massive exercise this month in the Yellow Sea in which the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan led a joint U.S.-South Korean strike force. Their mission was more sharply defined than in previous war games. This time, said a Korean defense official, ships and planes focused specifically on imaginary North Korean nuclear and missile facilities, command headquarters—and Kim Jong Un.
(full article) http://www.wsj.com/articles/south-koreas-march-toward-a-strike-first-nuclear-policy-1477414963

This sort of jingoism risks war rather than prevents it. Any drunk dude at the bar or nation-state that strikes another first is the aggressor and a criminal and owns all the harm that follows. In any event, South Korea had better not violate or withdraw from the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. War may only be a defensive reaction to attack, and they had also better not attempt an Operation Himmler* on North Korea, either. Short of an actual real North Korean attack, the only people who can legally authorize war on the Korean Peninsula are the UN Security Council**.

* (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Himmler)
** (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Declaration_of_war#Legality_of_any_declaration_of_War_since_1945)


So, they should sit back.and wait to be hit first? IMO, that would be suicidal. I would be looking very intently at a non-nuclear first strike intended only to cripple NK's nuclear capability. We've seen how appeasement works with a totalitarian regime in 1930's Germany. Now, before you excoriiiate me for my opinion, let me say that I believe war should be the last resort. I also believe that once nuclear weapons are invoked, the last resort quickly becomes the only one.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 26, 2016 7:40 am 
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I understand your position, it's a familiar one from the madness of our past. If we apply pre-emptive war doctrines to a nuclear world, then we would have snuffed ourselves out in the 1950s or 1960s, or even the 1980s. That is still every bit as much the outcome of that doctrine, today, and we cannot be complicit with a policy that, when in place, will ratchet up tensions and sooner or later light the world afire and lead to so much death, loss, and misery.

Yes, they should sit back and wait to be hit first, just like we did, and just like the USSR did. The result? Nobody was hit, and the world lived on another day. First strike doctrine is monstrous civilization- and world-destroying behavior and becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy of destruction.

Just the other day, I watched the documentary film "The Man Who Saved the World" (2015), after former Secretary of Defense William J. Perry recommended it while recently giving a speech* against the dangers of a nuclear war. Of course, this is just one small part of the reason to oppose all nuclear war, jingoistic and militaristic culture, and first-strike doctrines.



* (http://www.wjperryproject.org/)


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