Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Japan to 'review' wartime history statements

Japanese Education Minister Hakubun Shimomura has said that Abe''s government will review statements made by previous administrations about wartime history. 'According to a published article written by Sir Hugh Cortazzi, it is "unwise" for Japan to rewrite its wartime history. The Economist reported in an article titled 'Japan's new cabinet: Back to the future' (5 Jan 2013) that minister Hakubun Shimomura "'wants to rescind not just the landmark 1995 Murayama (Japan's former PM) statement, 'expressing remorse to Asia for Japan’'s atrocities", "'but even annul the verdicts of the war-crimes trials in Tokyo in 1946-48".

Monday, January 28, 2013

Auschwitz's liberation remembered in Europe

27 January 2013 marked the 68th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in Poland by the Red Army of the Soviet Union which repelled the invasion of Nazi Germany earlier. After 'the fall of Berlin 'and final defeat of Nazi Germany in May 1945, the Red Army joined forces with the Chinese resistance to battle and expel imperial Japan's forces and its mercenaries from the Northeast. After the war, no politician or official in Germany has ever made any gesture to 'honour' the memory of Hitler, Gobbels, Himmler or Hoess.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Japan hits back over controversial yen policy

Japan reportedly hit back at critics of'its new currency and monentary policy. It is feared that the policy, which has been designed to revive Japan's own economy,'could weaken other countries' competitiveness. It seems that the fear of Japan's new measure is widespread not only in Germany,'but also in the United States, Britain as well as Australia.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Warm Thaipusam greeting from James' family

James and his family would like to wish all 'our relatives, 'neighbours, teachers as well as friends who celebrate Thaipusam Happy Festival !

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Newspaper in Japan reveals Aso's background

According to a report in the Japan Times, Taro Aso is "also a force in the LDP ( government ) to be reckoned with". The report also reveals that Taro Aso's family business once used British, Australian and also Dutch prisoners of war (POW) as labourers. Aso has always been very infamous for his outrageous gaffes but he stays on in Japan's politics that has become increasingly right'-wing nationalistic in recent years. An observation published recently in'The Economist describes Japan's Cabinet, which, of course, includes Aso, as being "scarily right-wing".

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Aso retracts old-folk-better-die-quickly gaffe

Japan's Finance Minister Taro Aso has reportedly retracted his latest gaffe. Will his next gaffe be about Americans with African ancestry ? Taro Aso is also the Deputy PM in PM Abe's 'scarily' rightwing cabinet.

Aso's 'idea' to solve Japan's financial problem

Japan's Finance Minister Taro Aso was reported as saying that elderly Japanese should be allowed to "'hurry up and die'" to save public fund. The former prime minister has long been known to be graffes'-prone. Abe's government has reportedly decided to increase defence budget. There are now also calls in Japan to develop its own nuclear weapons.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Japan & Russia yet to sign treaty to end WWII

As a matter of fact, 'Japan still has not concluded a peace accord with Russia to end WWII.'There is an observation in Russia that signing of such treaty is not likely in the 'near future'. Russia, like other nations in Northeast Asia, 'is watching Japan''s policies and strategies closely. Russia is a major non-Middle Eastern supplier of oil and gas to Japan. Russia has planned to strengthen its military positions in its Far East. Russia 'has no more territorial, ideological or history rows with China.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Japan's currency policy irks carmakers in USA

American automobile manufacturers are reportedly very unhappy with Japan''s currency policy which is implemented by Abe''s government to revive Japan's economy. An Obama-Abe summit is going to be held in February in Washington to strengthen U.S.A-Japan bilateral relations. Chapter 3 of British professor Duncan McCargo's Contemporary Japan ( London, Palgrave MacMillan, 3rd Editon ) outlines Japan''s 'Changing Political Economy' 'from 1945 to 2012, and provides observers as well as analysts with some pertinent 'and critical questions to think about.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Shinzo Abe now invited to meet Obama in US

Japan''s PM Shinzo Abe has now been officially invited to visit the US. According to a report in the Japan Times, there are several issues in the bilateral relations between the two countries which are'also allies.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

British views on rewriting of history in Japan

Hugh Cortazzi, a former British ambassador to Japan, reasons that it is "unwise" for Japan to rewrite its wartime history.'Furthermore, the student of Japanese history remarks that imperial Japan''s attacks on (Western colonies in) Southeast Asia were not an anti'-colonial cause. Japan's wartime propaganda suggested that its invasion of Southeast Asia was to'"free" the indigenous peoples from their colonial masters. Lawrence Rees' Horror in the East (London, BBC, 2001), that exposes cannibalism among Japan's imperial troops in the Pacific War ('pp.92-96'),' remains a good record authored from a journalistic perspective.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Moscow again says no to Japan's island claims

Russia has officially said it again that Japan's claim over the southern Kuril Islands is "unacceptable". In the final weeks of WWII, the Soviet Red Army moved east and accelerated the downfall of imperial Japan, which also attacked America, Britain and Australia in the Pacific War.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Japan's new prime minister visits Meiji shrine

Japan''s PM Shinzo Abe reportedly visited the Meiji Shrine. Before the surrender of Japan to the USA-led Allies after two atomic bombs were dropped at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945,'Japanese emperors were worshipped as sun-gods and wars,'including unconventional types like suicide bombing against Allies' ships, were made in emperors' names. Immediately after the end of the 'Pacific War, 'there were public calls in Allied countries and liberated areas for Japan's then emperor to be hanged as a war criminal, but he was allowed to rule as a human and constitutional ruler. There were -'and probably still are'-'superstitious or mythological elements in Japan''s ultra-nationalism and militarism. One concise account of the ('human-) making of the emperor-centric state ideology in Japan can be found in Professor W.G. Beasley's'The Rise Of Modern Japan : 'Political, 'Economic and Social Change Since 1850 (London, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2000'; revised ed., pp.'80-83).

Monday, January 14, 2013

"Strategic PR" campaign for Japanese PM Abe

Reportedly, Japan''s "scarily rightwing" PM Shinzo Abe has decided to engage profesionals to conduct a "strategic PR" campaign. President Obama has not fixed a date for him to pay an official visit to the US. Major issues which confront Abe include'(1) economic stagnation,'(2) territorial disputes with China, Russia and South Korea, (3) WW'II or pre-WWII history rows with China and South Korea,'(4) accession ('or not') to TPP and (5) management of USA's military bases in Okinawa.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Britain's scholar outlines contemporary Japan

Surely, Japan will continue to be a focus of observations and analyses in 2013 for its shift to the right, economic challenges and many other major issues. Britain's Asian specialist Duncan McCargo's revived and updated book Contemprary Japan (London, Palgrave MacMillan,'2013) can serve as a general introduction to many aspects of the state and society in the country whose twists and turns always impact on other. It is fairly useful for editors, reporters and students of Japan studies as it includes an excellent index, bibliography and list of other books.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

America's president not free to meet Abe yet

According to an Ashahi Shimbun news report, the Obama-Abe Summit is unlikely to be held in January. America is said to be concerned over Japan's positions on the Trans-Pacific Partnership and issue of bases. Abe is now reportedly considering making visits to Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia first before the U.S president is certain that he is free.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Abe's government said to be scarily rightwing

According to a news analysis in The Economist, 'PM Shinzo Abe''s new cabinet is scary as many of the members are affiliated with hardcore nationalist organisations. Also, 'there are open calls now in Japan for amendments of its post-WWII pacifist constitution, very big increase in military spending as well as development of its own nuclear bombs. As philosopher, essayist, poet and novelist (George) Santayana said': "...'those who do not remember the past are condemned to relive'it'".

Sunday, January 06, 2013

American drafter of Japan's Constitution dies

One of the American writers of Japan''s post-WWII constitution Beate Sirota Gordon died recently at 89. The US dropped two atomic bombs to force the surrender of Japan in 1945 'and end the Pacific War that caused extreme sufferings of many people in Asia, especially women. The historical issue of Japan''s sex slavery still stirs Japan-unfriendly sentiment and emotion in, 'for example, 'South Korea and also China. Before launching the surprise attack on Pearl Harbour in 1941, Japan had already conquered the Korean Peninsula in 1910, set up a puppet regime in Northeast China in 1932 and also begun its all-out invasion on the remaining parts of mainland China in 1937. In 2 naval wars in 1894-95'and'1904-05, it prevailed over China and Russia respectively and established itself as the militarily strongest country in East Asia.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Sovereign debt level in Japan causes concern

Japan''s sovereign debt 'has reportedly reached a potentially explosive level. It is already widely known that Abe's rightwing government also faces many other accumulated and pretty messy economic challenges. Japan's economy has been in a state of stagnation for some 20 years, although it is still the third single largest ('in term of G.D.P) on earth. From 1960 to 1990, Japan''s economic model inspired admiration and emulation in many other countries, 'especially South Korea and China. In the 1980s, Japan's economic triumphalism also caused some panic reactions or not-so-pleasant feelings in the United States and Europe. What are the lessons to be learned now from the downturn of Japan ?

13 space probing missions scheduled for 2013

13 new 'space probe missions' have reportedly been scheduled for this year. Last year, 'China successfully sent its first female astronaut Liu Yang for a space exploration with the manned spacecraft Shenzhou-9. Mandarin has been proven to be useable for space exploration 'as the Shenzhou'-'9 astronauts communicated with one another in space and also with support and operational personnel 'on earth in the language.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Human probe of universe to continue in 2013

Last year, pretty well-known and truly great astronauts Sally Ride and Neil Alden Armstrong passed away in the United States. Space probes will, 'however, continue in 2013 and beyond to deepen understanding. China has planned to launch Shenzhou'-'10 manned spacecraft in June. Last year, Liu Yang ('pix') became the first Chinese female astronaut.