Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Hiroshima 70 ans après la Bombe... sur RTL

広島 RTLフランス放送 RTL Soir du 06 août 2015, mon reportage et commentaire sur Hiroshima 70 ans après dans Question d’actualité de Françoise Cohen RTL Soir (August 6, 2015 My report and commentary on RTL Evening News "Question d’actualité" of Françoise Cohen, 14e minute.

http://www.rtl.fr/actu/societe-faits-divers/rtl-soir-du-06-aout-2015-7779325101

Satsumasendai sur RTL Le Japon redémarre la première centrale nucléaire à avoir passé les test de vérifications

L’événement aujourd'hui au Japon: Le Japon redémarre la première centrale nucléaire ("Premier réacteur d’une centrale nucléaire à avoir passé les test de vérifications et adopté des normes de sûreté plus sévères...") depuis l'accident de Fukushima, mes reportages sur RTL Fr (JP 06:30 et 08:00) BFMTV (en boucle sur BFMTV matinale) et sur MEDI 1 Radio Internationale et Radio Canada ~ “Satsumasendai" Japan restarts the first nuclear power plant (The Sendai Nuclear Power Plant reactor is set to become the first nuclear reactor restarting under new, strengthened safety procedures incorporating lessons from the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant disaster since Fukushima accident, my news-reports today August 11th.)


Sunday, August 16, 2015

Le Japon de Shinzo Abe 70 ans après la Seconde Guerre mondiale

L’empereur Akihito et l’impératrice Michiko devant le gouvernement Abe 
Nippon Budokan 15 Août 2015 (photo Joel Legendre-Koizumi)

Impressions 

N’aurait-il pas été “historique” 70 ans après la Seconde Guerre mondiale pour Shinzo Abe de dire simplement pardon, de dire les excuses du Japon, “Sincere apologies”, “謝罪”? Et de réunir 3 dirigeants, japonais, coréen et chinois lors d’un sommet historique du “septantenaire”? 



L’Asie de l’Est a raté son virage historique. Le texte d’Abe est-il écrit en anglais ou en japonais? Il est trop long. Trop imparfait, trop ambigu, un lessivage, un zig zag politico-diplomatique à force de ne pas dire les choses clairement et de ne pas admettre les horreurs de la colonisation et des guerres sino japonaises. L’Empereur du Japon (comme toujours serait-on tenté de dire) a réparé l’erreur de son Premier ministre, avec les mots qui lui sont impartis: "profonds remords” dans un texte court (photo) par rapport au texte d’Abe.

Sur la photo que j’ai faite de lui et de l’impératrice je lis toute sa fatigue et sa lassitude de voir ces politiciens excités, Hiranuma, Abe assis devant lui, en contrebas. L’impératrice, pourtant malade du coeur, fait de grands efforts pour l’assister. Il lui rend en fin de cérémonie lorsqu’il lui prend le bras pour l’aider à descendre de l’estrade. Ou bien est-ce l’impératrice qui soutient l’empereur qui a fait quelques manquements au protocole durant la longue cérémonie?

Discours de l’Empereur Akihito 

J’aime assez Japan Focus, mais c’est souvent à charge. On pourrait parler davantage d’auteurs japonais, russes, chinois et francophones. On cite toujours Dower. Et beaucoup d’autres de ces universitaires américains “liberals”. Leur terrain de prédilection qu’est l’examen de la réécriture de l’histoire en Asie par les révisionnistes n’a pas toujours sa contrepartie en Occident. Pourtant ce serait intéressant. Mais il décrit en détail pourquoi l’Asie est encore à batailler sur la Seconde Guerre mondiale: http://www.japanfocus.org/-John_W_-Dower/4079/article.html

Dower est né en 38. Il avait 7 ans donc lors d’Hiroshima. Je préfère les témoins directs, il en reste beaucoup en Asie. Japon, Chine, Corée. Dower a eu l’occasion de parler de ce que beaucoup nomment l’hypocrisie des américains dans l’après guerre. Le cas d’Iriye Akira est symptomatique du "lavage de cerveaux" effectués par les américains sur les étudiants japonais, devenus professeurs et auteurs. Mais il a beaucoup écrit sur la subite transformation intellectuelle des japonais, passant de la dictature militaire à la démocratie.

URSS, Chine, Corée(s) absents du traité, ce traité de San Francisco de “paix séparée" est une des causes des multiples problèmes que les peuples asiatiques subissent aujourd’hui, je le répète depuis 20 ans. L’absence d'études des années de guerre par les écoliers et étudiants japonais y compris ceux et celles passés par l’université et de leur propre histoire (Tribunal de Tokyo ou de Nuremberg) est souvent affligeante. Un grand silence mais pas un drame de conscience pour eux, 70 ans après?

Hier proche du Nippon Budokan ce 15 Août 2015, une foule au Yasukuni, parmi les trolls qui paradaient sur le site du sanctuaire, un type en uniforme de la Wehrmacht qui criait “Japon, Allemagne, Italie” au point d’irriter un photo-journaliste d’une agence de presse en langue anglaise qui lui a balancé "un F***  you, et a choqué un autre d’Italie avec lequel je filmais. Il y avait d'autres uniformes datant de... l’Ere Meiji. Les japonais ont une passion pour le cosplay. Chacun se côtoie sur le sanctuaire, c’est tragi-comique dans un tel site. Mais c’est vrai qu'on y trouve aussi des yakuza. Il serait temps de souffler les bougies de ces 14 criminels de guerre, non? Abe ne laissera pas son nom dans l’histoire, Murayama si. Ce colonialisme qui porte un autre nom est attristant. Dans le secret des corridors nombreux sont les japonais qui me disent leur mépris pour les dirigeants américains, les bombardements sur les civils, des centaines de milliers de morts, adultes, enfants. Oui mais le Japon aussi a tué tant et tant de millions de civils. Peu de gens osent le dire car les pays Alliés ont aussi offert la démocratie aux japonais. Mais les japonais ont-ils offert de sincères excuses et de suffisantes compensations pour les victimes et pour les traumatismes ineffaçables depuis 70 ans? En ont-ils la compréhension et la liberté de le faire?

Dower citation sur le Traité de San Francisco : “... Equally significant but less well remembered, the San Francisco settlement was a “separate peace.” The omissions from the list of nations that signed the peace treaty were striking. Neither Communist China nor the Chinese Nationalist regime that had fled to Taiwan were invited to the peace conference, despite the fact that China had borne the brunt of Japanese aggression and occupation beginning a full decade before Pearl Harbor and the U.S. entry into the war. Both South and North Korea were excluded, although the Korean people had suffered grievously under Japanese colonial rule and oppressive wartime recruitment policies between 1910 and 1945. The Soviet Union attended the peace conference but refused to sign the treaty on several grounds, including the exclusion of the PRC and Washington’s transparent plans to integrate Japan militarily into its Cold War policies. Viewed from the perspective of the separate peace, the San Francisco settlement thus laid the groundwork for an exclusionary system that detached Japan from its closest neighbors...


Sunday, May 17, 2015

35,000 demonstrate against US military bases in Japan and Okinawa Island


Thousands of people, 30.000 demonstrated today in Okinawa and across Japan in protest against the planned relocation of a US military base in Okinawa. The protesters criticised the Japanese government, who appear to be turning a deaf ear to the locals.

The question is asked by many commentators : "... are these US bases extended on the territory of Okinawa militarily really useful knowing how today’s war is being conducted? Shouldn't’t they be reduced and turned to the Japanese forces, proceeding with decolonization of some bases to Guam or other countries? In case of major strike, it is nuclear or submarines, drones, jets, cyber, and other technological refined weaponry paralyzing the enemy. Same goes with Tokyo, Yokosuka is understandable but is a base like Yokota air base really useful or is it for the comfort of some US forces high ranking officials and their families?" EoQ  Etc etc...

There is a long history of incidents and alleged crimes committed by US soldiers in Okinawa. The current wave of anti-base sentiment on the island was sparked by a 1995 case, when three US marines were reported to have kidnapped and brutally raped a 12-year-old schoolgirl.

The US Marine Corps’ Futenma Air Station in heavily populated Ginowan city has been a cause of tension between American troops and local residents for years. Okinawa, home to about 1 percent of Japan’s population, hosts nearly half of the 47,000 US troops based in Japan.

Tokyo authorities want to shut the base down and open a new one in the more remote town of Henoko, in the center of the southern Japanese island. But the majority of the locals, as well as Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga, want the construction of the replacement base to be scrapped.

We met Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga in Naha recently and I am happy to see that Mr Onaga confirmed he is to answer to the foreign media invitation that was extended to him.

Governor Onaga before to go to Washington, will be at Fccj PAC event Wednesday May 20th 1300 - 1400.

The day before May 19, 2015 15:00 - 16:00, Fccj PAC will invite Jun Shimabukuro the Deputy Secretary-General of "All Okinwa-Council" to speak about Henoko. Jun Shimabukuro is Professor of Ryukyu University and Deputy Secretary-General of the All-Okinawa Council

Now in case of a major conflict, with China, with DPRK, with Russia, with x, in coming years after provocations and serious offensive recorded cases, Japanese will be delighted to have Uncle Sam near by...



http://www.okinawatimes.co.jp/article.php?id=115838

https://fr.news.yahoo.com/japon-30-000-manifestants-contre-présence-militaire-américaine-083931875.html

http://www.fccj.or.jp/events-calendar/press-events/icalrepeat.detail/2015/05/20/2938/30/press-conference-takeshi-onaga-governor-of-okinawa.html

http://www.fccj.or.jp/events-calendar/press-events/icalrepeat.detail/2015/05/19/2948/30/press-conference-jun-shimabukuro-professor-of-ryukyu-university.html

Saturday, February 14, 2015

In Japan, poverty strikes first of all the children...




Fighting against inequality and poverty in Japan is said to be part of the Abe's reform since war’s end if I read the pro government newspaper Yomiuri shimbun after the PM speech this week at Diet.
"Abe said the government will take steps to promote women’s active participation in society and support employment of the elderly and young people. As part of measures to deal with poverty among children, he said the government also plans to eventually make preschool education free of charge and expand interest-free student loans." http://bit.ly/1zaM8lI

My comment, first of all politicians finally admit that their system did not work and they are not able nor prepared to cope with problems since the 1980's. "According to the OECD, inequalities are deeply rooted in Japanese society since the mid-1980s." Poverty exists in Japan and it is worth lots of news stories and I do one about it following Abe's speech at Parliament. Of course the Yomiuri is doing nothing else than propaganda for the government and it becomes a source of real concern. Asahi or especially the Mainichi reported earlier that it's the same Abe who's started to destroy the social aid measures and payment when he came to power late 2012, and isn't it the same who wanted to increase the indirect taxes on Japanese?

As sociology professor at Tokyo University Mr. Yuji Genda analysed: "Japanese economic prosperity hides a worrying phenomenon that continues to worsen for the elderly, the unemployed, and now the poor children."

This poor performance of Japan about social justice and equity (l'équité en Français) reflects real problems in the distribution of income, equal opportunities and social autonomy. To combat economic inequality, Japan prime minister says he is now thinking about the status of employment, public assistance, pensions and the minimum wage. A battle is engaged, it is time and urgent...

(From my news-report : Au Japon, la pauvreté frappe d'abord les enfants)

Japan. Street orphans, at Ueno. Tokyo, 1946 by Hayashi Tadahiko


Sunday, January 18, 2015

Kobe's Earthquake, 20 years ago what I saw was ruins, fear and abandon


 Kobe 20 years after

I reached Kobe January 17th 1995 in the evening. I caught the first Shinkansen opened from Tokyo to Nagoya, reached Kyoto, left my stuff at Gimmond hotel then I caught a car to Osaka and simply walked to Kobe following the elevated highway crashed on the road along the sea. I stayed 1 week reporting about the catastrophe for France Info, France Inter and RFI at that time. I stayed at the sailors hostel who welcome me and 7 other "refugees" including one company chairman and his 2 staff who were prisoners of the fire and the 15 or 20 aftershocks. What I saw when entering the devastated area was ruins, fear and abandon.

Devastation, abandon and misery, death. I ll never forget the firemen, hopeless like paralyzed, near by city hall and station with their red trucks screaming and their hose without water while people were dying in their houses and buildings, crashed or in fire. So many pictures of horrors. I also saw how the authorities, totally unprepared, were incapable to save lives in the early hours and first 2 days. There were no journalists on the land or so little until Thursday Friday, fear of an other huge quake kept them and also authorities to come and rescue in the first 3 days.

In memory of those who passed because of lack of security and crisis management, and simply say because of incompetence, shock or greed, we must watch authorities (and this goes beyond Japan) because it was to happen again and it did happen again in 2011 and people lost their lives again because of lack of preparation and it will happen again and for other reasons. Never surrender our journalistic power of observers and criticism if it is to save lives even so many try to silence us.

I wrote an account of event at that time that was conveyed to the German ambassador then (not the French whose Kobe and Osaka offices were basically closed, same as the big luxury hotels in Kobe who did not give any help to refugees and kept their doors closed…) The German ambassador has shown a lot of interest for my observations in time of crisis management thanks to our EU Press councilors and staff and German TV connections. He was the only one (I forgot his name in 1995) who had a decent and proper attitude among his foreign colleagues based in Japan diplomatic post in front of such catastrophe and he felt very fast what was to improve.

At that time the whole world was shocked to discover that Japan was “A giant with feet of clay”. Any help provided then was from individuals or some local associations, even the Kobe Yakuza provided us with fruits and water. They saved a lot of people and children, there were 120.000 refugees while in the same time, on Wednesday 18th, for instance, black officials cars were running away from Kobe and Rokko island as the gas emanation represented a major risk of explosion. There were leaks in the 20.000-ton liquid petroleum gas storage tanks, and 60.000 residents had to leave their homes.

I was there and reported live for France radio in front of Sumiyoshi. I told live to my colleague at Paris studio while describing the scene same as a “bombing” that it smells gas and it looks like we risk to have a massive explosion… It went on and on for days of fear and despair. People looking for water, food, blankets. At a point I met on the road from Nishinomiya to Kobe many refugees and especially I was amazed with a touching detail.

A Japanese young mother with her daughter walked on the same road as I and she was asking me where my house was. I told her, no I am reporting about Kobe’s people for France Radio. She started crying and said “so you come here to report about us”? She was in kind of shock and relief in the same time. I was exhausted going and walking all days from Nishinomiya to Kobe (there were no cars available) and I started to catch a bad cold with high fever. This young mother in tears absolutely forced me to take some of her cookies to feed myself. She had nothing I think her husband was missing, she had nowhere to go but she shared the little she had with a foreigner.

People of this country have so much dignity. So much more than their politicians or some of their elite (for instance the Kyoto Medical university who came to "assist" but who refused at first to repatriate anyone wounded or sick outside of Kobe in their university buses...) It’s time for the politicians to reach the level of morality of their citizens! Kobe 1995 earthquake showed the way.

15 years after Kobe and one year and 9 days (March 2nd 2010) before 2011 Tohoku earthquake - tsunami and Fukushima, I organised an event "Security and Crisis Management in the Megalopolis" about crisis management, terrorism, pandemics, catastrophes in megalopolis and whatsoever at the Fccj press club, as a director of the board. I invited several specialists such as the metropolitan government security boss Toshiyuki Shikata (ex JGSDFgeneral) of Teikyo University & Security Counselor to the Governor Ishihara of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and others such as commentator Minoru Morita. Shikata san and Morita san warned us of major accidents to come and the lack of measures to be able to handle major crisis. Facts proved General Shikata was right. Here is the link http://minorumorita.blogspot.jp/2010/02/morita-to-speak-on-fccjs-urban-security.html

I reported about Kobe's earthquake for my Francophone media partners, Saturday.


Monday, January 12, 2015

Paris "freedom march": L'Asie pas vraiment Charlie

This extraordinary photo by Martin Argyroglo created a real buzz in Internet, and looks like the Eugène Delacroix's "La liberté guidant le peuple." There is a resemblance between the two artworks. The photo is "The Triumph of the Republic", Place de la Nation, Paris where we can see many people perched on the statue...


La République (Martin Argyroglo)

No need to hide it any longer, in Asian countries, it was "cheap Charlie." They did not really understand the historical day of Sunday, January 11th 2015, for the "Republican March". Its purpose flew well above the brain and the heart. Blame the mentality of local political regimes. Very little or no demonstration of solidarity. Only local French waved the flag, even though in Tokyo, less than 5% of Japan's French met on January 11 in front of the IFJ in a beautiful ceremony.

Marche Républicaine: L'Asie pas vraiment Charlie... et pas vraiment à l'aise sur la liberté d'expression. Inutile de le cacher plus longtemps, dans les pays asiatiques, la journée historique du dimanche 11 Janvier 2015, la "Marche Républicaine" leur est passé bien au dessus du cerveau, et du coeur, faute aux mentalités des régimes politiques locaux. Peu ou pas de manifestation de solidarité. Seuls les francais locaux ont agité le moulinet. Sur Tokyo, moins de 5 % des français du Japon se sont retrouvés le 11 Janvier devant l'IFJ pour une très belle cérémonie. 

C'est aussi l'analyse de mes confrères des Echos:

"Les médias de la région se sont intéressés au phénomène mais sans mobiliser les opinions publiques locales qui ont une culture de la revendication et une appréhension de la liberté d’expression très différentes de celles pratiquées en France. A Tokyo, plus de 200 personnes, essentiellement des ressortissants français, se sont retrouvées dans le centre de la ville, à l’Institut français, à l’appel des différentes associations représentant la communauté expatriée dans le pays. Ils ont déposé des fleurs et laissé des messages d’hommages à la mémoire des victimes des différentes attaques perpétrées à Paris. Dans la journée, le ministre japonais des Affaires étrangères, Fumio Kishida, était allé présenter ses condoléances à l’ambassadeur de France au Japon, expliquant qu’il “était inadmissible de s’attaquer à la liberté d’expression”. Les grands journaux japonais, qui avaient suivi les attaques et la traque des terroristes en fin de semaine dernière, ont toutefois réduit ce matin leur couverture des évènements français. Les marches organisées en France n’étaient ainsi pas évoquées en une des sites en anglais des principaux quotidiens généralistes du pays, le Yomiuri Shimbun et l’Asahi Shimbun... Dans plusieurs nations d’Asie, notamment celles abritant une importante communauté musulmane, (Indonésie, Malaisie, Brunei) la liberté de ton de Charlie Hebdo a pourtant été régulièrement critiquée, ces derniers jours, par des analystes ou des éditorialistes."


Analyse et revue de presse d'Europe destinée aux collègues francophones asiatiques... Par exemple la NHK qui n'a rien compris si l'on s'en tient aux commentaires très rares et bien tardifs car ses journalistes n'ont rien entendu des thèmes de la marche contre le terrorisme. 

"De nombreux chefs d'États et de gouvernements européens, ainsi que les dirigeants des institutions de l'Union européenne, étaient présents à Paris, hier, pour la marche républicaine. Aux côtés de la France, ils ont montré leur unité face au terrorisme après les attaques meurtrières de la semaine dernière.

Pour Euractiv, il s'agit d'"une journée historique où les politiques ont fait fi de leurs dissensions pour afficher une unité inédite". C'est le cas d'Angela Merkel, qui "a même incliné la tête sur l’épaule de François Hollande", et de "David Cameron qui s’oppose fermement aux positions plus fédéralistes de la France en matière européenne, et qui avait été le premier à annoncer sa venue aux côtés du Président français, et fait montre de fraternité", affirme le site Internet. Euractiv souligne qu'il y avait également "des invités plus gênants, tels que le chef de la diplomatie russe, Sergueï Lavrov ou encore Viktor Orban, le Premier ministre hongrois, régulièrement critiqué pour ses attaques envers la presse et l’indépendance des médias". Libération rappelle qu'en décembre dernier en Turquie, lors d'interpellations d'opposants au président Recep Tayyip Erdogan, "un patron d’une chaîne de télévision avait même été inculpé pour terrorisme".

Organisée de toute urgence par le ministre de l'Intérieur, une réunion internationale antiterroriste s'est tenue dimanche matin en présence notamment du ministre américain de la Justice Eric Holder, du commissaire européen aux Affaires intérieures et à la citoyenneté Dimitris Avramopoulos, du coordinateur de l'UE pour la lutte contre le terrorisme Gilles de Kerchove et de onze ministres européens de l'Intérieur. Bernard Cazeneuve a annoncé qu'ils souhaitaient "un renforcement des contrôles aux frontières extérieures de l’Union européenne et préconis[ai]ent une adaptation du système Schengen. Ils sont ainsi prêts à se confronter au Parlement européen qui bloque l’adoption d’un fichier européen des données des passagers aériens (PNR) pour des questions de protection de la vie privée", rapportent Les Échos. A la fin du mois, le Conseil des ministres "Justice et Affaires intérieures"  se focalisera sur ces questions, avant le prochain Conseil européen du 12 février consacré à la lutte contre le terrorisme.

Le ministre français de l'Intérieur a indiqué qu'ils avaient identifié deux champs sur lesquels ils souhaitaient renforcer leur coopération, "les moyens destinés à contrecarrer les déplacements de combattants étrangers et de toutes les filières ; la lutte contre les facteurs et les vecteurs de radicalisation notamment sur Internet", rapporte Ouest France. "Nous avons donc marqué avec force le besoin d’une plus grande coopération avec les entreprises de l’internet, pour garantir le signalement et le retrait, quand il est possible, des contenus illicites, notamment des contenus faisant l’apologie du terrorisme, ou appelant à la violence ou à la haine", a affirmé le ministre.

Selon le journal allemand Bild, "le massacre perpétré à Charlie Hebdo pourrait annoncer une vague d'attaques en Europe par des terroristes djihadistes", rapporte La Tribune. Le site de l'hebdomadaire rappelle que "le Hamburger Morgenpost, un quotidien allemand de Hambourg qui avait publié des caricatures de Mahomet provenant du magazine Charlie Hebdo a été dimanche matin la cible d'une attaque avec un engin incendiaire". "La situation n'est pas très différente d'un pays à l'autre", estime Slate. En Europe, "des centaines voire des milliers de jeunes [partent] pour faire le djihad (…) nombre d'entre eux reviennent pour porter la terreur en Europe" et "en face se développent des mouvements racistes ou xénophobes que les partis établis n’arrivent ni à comprendre ni à combattre". Pour le site Internet, "les racines et les conséquences sont analogues. Elles exigent un traitement européen, sur les deux fronts, intérieur et extérieur". Fin de citation. 

A quand un prix "Charlie" de la liberté d'expression ?



Tokyo était Charlie 


Thursday, December 25, 2014

Have you tried Christmas in Tokyo?



Christmas Eve 2014 in Tokyo... People rush, strictly marshalled by police and security staff this time nearby Tokyo station, pale lighting for the on going station 100th anniversary. Thousands of folks are packing to see a few LED lights and enjoying the view. More because everyone's here happy to be together and queue and wait than because of the show, poor in fact. But what shines catches crowds and on my right and my left everyone clicks and clicks. I like the pic of this young couple all of a sudden illuminated on the spot, the photo is showing their simple happiness to share together this moment. Oh boy that’s what counts after all.

I wonder though if, 3 years after Fukushima, people really understand what energy savings and life sustainability mean. I'm afraid not. Of course it's a pretty-like postcard. Does this really reflect Japan's reality what’s shown here in the heart of Tokyo? Other folks are glued windows watching on Ginza near by. Amazing enough, I did not see lots of people carrying many packets in hands in Tokyo streets. I did not see many children either. But I saw lots of Japanese young girls running after their Xmas date. With not fancy smiles or no exorbitant clothes on top. Wise on the surface. Some parts of Toyo are empty, except the usual Nihonbashi, Shibuya, Omote Sando, Shinjuku. Not much shopping, of course with the 8% tax… except Chinese Hong-Kongese and Indonesians (or were they Malaysians?) tourists with their hands full of bags, ギフトパッケージしてください and expensive watches, rings, bracelets bought at Tiffany, plus Mikimoto pearls necklaces.

Not far from Ginza, in Yurakucho, near my press club, on Xmas eve, the anti nuclear are there and demonstrate massively just after "Abe chan" was "theoretically re-elected prime minister until the next Lower House election up to four years away" as one paper puts it. These (numerous) anti-nuke folks choose to scream their anger for the victims of nuclear accidents and against the company managing the turmoil, against Abe etc. While other Japanese suddenly caught by loud megaphones are rushing home in the cold, heading back to their suburbs to breathe at least from the city lights rush, stress and exhaustion and cheers quietly in front of a good bottle of French wine for "Kurisumasu-クリスマス!"


As I had to catch the time mood, I could not end up my stroll around Tokyo centre watching how Japanese feel tonight, prior to write my news report for my Francophone news channels partners, without being captured by a radically different view: a huge Santa Claus, blue painted (LED influence again?) standing at a shop near the Tokyo International Forum and not so far a lonely Winnie the Pooh who grabbed the eyes of tons of (again) Chinese and Hong Kongese tourists!

Today is 25th, back to work in Japan, slow motion anyway until New Year 2015 celebrations. Oh Oh Oh that will be really nice and really Japanese festival with a sparkling mood. It will be much better than the local Japanese TV's pre-agitated "happy Xmas anyway" in Tokyo centre, lacking more and more total imagination and creativity, on a 24th of December, actually lacking to give a national atmosphere perspective and celebration of what the archipelago is and that should be reflected in the capital, methinks...  Anaesthesia syndrome?



Thursday, November 27, 2014

Emmanuel Macron's arrow in Tokyo: "Innovative mindset"


Emmanuel Macron on Japanese television 

"Japan-France economic relations opportunities emphasise how strategic are these two mature countries, facing (having) similar challenges", the Nikkei writes about French minister of Economy Emmanuel Macron: "日仏の経済関係がいかに戦略的かを強調する機会にしたい。この2つの成熟した国は、改革や成長などの面で同様の課題を抱えている"

The minister accompanied by Senator EELV Jean-Vincent Place, met his South Korean counterpart in Seoul and his Japanese counterpart in Tokyo.

To the three arrows of Prime Minister Abe’s policy stimulus (monetary, fiscal, reformer), Macron responded with "three pillars". First, "financial restructuring". "Our mission is to reduce public spending," said the minister during a speech in Paris Europlace financial forum. "This is the first time that we have such an offensive program.”

Emmanuel Macron highlighted France “offensive" reforms to Japanese investors in Tokyo. Boost growth he repeated. Guest on Japanese TV, Macron answered in English to questions of the Japanese reporters. Macron is very ambitious about the future of the French economy. "Clearing and structural reforms" are required he said at a news gathering with French and Japanese media at the French embassy later in the day, prior to fly back to Paris with his cabinet team.

A significant visit for the Minister. "Bercy" (French ministry of economy Paris quarters) reminded that France is the 3rd largest investor in Japan behind the United States and the Netherlands while Japan is the first Asian investor in France. Praised last week by Francois Hollande, the dynamic Emmanuel Macron could see himself targeting several points with his French archer's bow: growth, structural reforms and “move frontiers” thanks to innovative mindset.

Innovation, that's the point, and it requires a spiritual revolution, as seen in the start-up firms blooming in France with new partnerships created now in Japan.

Macron also lectured students of the well known Waseda university:
マクロン氏は今年8月に史上2番目の若さで経済大臣に就任し、現在36歳。
過去には銀行幹部、大統領経済顧問も務めていた、まさにフランス政界切っての”エリート”です。
そんな若きリーダーの講演を生で聞く又とない機会ですので、奮ってご参加ください。

【講演者】フランス共和国 エマニュエル・マクロン経済・産業・デジタル大臣
【講演テーマ】 ”Facing reforms: What does it take for France”
【講演言語】英語(日本語の同時通訳無し)
【日時】2014年11月25日(火)12:30開場、13:10開演(13:00に会場締め切ります。余裕をもってお越しください)
【場所】早稲田大学 11号館5階502教室
【対象】本学学生、教職員、その他一般

【主催】早稲田大学 現代政治経済研究所
【協力】EUIJ早稲田

Macron is different and the Japanese liked his visit, and praised him. Rare case in the archipelago where emotions are normally buried deep down. Now is time to consolidate.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

"Banzai, banzai, banzai" The Abenomics in turmoil! Abe falls to 39% in opinion polls

Abe and his LDP friends Banzai for... the dissolution!

"Banzai, banzai, banzai"... After the Parliament dissolution, I reported last night and the whole week about the obsession of Abe for reigning in Nagatacho following Friday Lower House dissolution. I commented for my Francophone television and radio partners in France and overseas. Main talk is focussing on institutions, daily reality and analyse them, describing real people life. Not just jawing on the beautiful rich and happy and major firms rising profits.

A Kyodo News agency survey on Friday found that about 63% of people did not understand Mr Abe's reasons for going to the polls early. A separate survey by the Asahi Shimbun newspaper found that only 39% supported Mr Abe. Interesting to see if the right wing conservative who use Shinzo Abe will attack the Asahi methodology about opinion polls* for their extremist "ethno nationalism" (nationalisme ethnique ou nationalisme ethno-culturel en Français)" as Louis Schweitzer (Louis Schweitzer, Special Representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Japan and former boss of Renault-Nissan) once said at a journalist breakfast at the French embassy.

What do the foreign media write? Here is the New York Times: “... However, many political experts said they also detected deep pessimism in Mr. Abe’s decision: He was essentially admitting that he did not see the economy regaining energy any time soon, they said, and that he would rather face the voters now than after they have become unhappier.

Abenomics are losing steam

“There is only one reason to call an election now, and that is the fear that things will be only worse if he waits,” said Gerald L. Curtis, a specialist on Japanese politics at Columbia University. “The expectation of political stability and an Abe administration unchallenged for six years, that so many thought just two weeks ago was the most likely scenario, is now history.” Even so, Mr. Abe was betting that his party was still more appealing to voters than the main opposition party, the Democrats, who have fallen into disarray since their defeat two years ago.

In fact, experts said, one reason to call an early election is to deny the Democrats and other opposition parties the chance to enlist a full slate of candidates and mount a serious challenge. Mr. Abe called Tuesday for early elections, raising fears not only that his vaunted program for economic revival was faltering, but that his popularity might fade with it" the New York Times writes.

 Abe's economy adviser Hamada at FPCJ: "taxes should be lower, consumption and corporate"

The Abenomics are described with a three "arrows" symbole. It is an economic policy made of three "arrows“ A reference to Japanese lord Mori Motonari of the sixteenth century. Mori gave to each of his three sons one arrow asking them to break it. This was done. Then he gave them each three arrows, asking them again. But the three arrows together could not be broken. Japan likes history symbols, or to play theatre in politics such as in the Kabuki theatre where comedians are actually controlled and readjusted by men dressed in black behind them, guiding their clothing or their position. Abenomics are an expansive fiscal policy, monetary policy designed to get Japan's deflation and structural reforms, in particular the consolidation of public finances. But Japan falling into recession in the third quarter has raised doubts about the effectiveness of these measures

Under Abe's get richer, poor get poorer Abenomics’ policy administration short comings and policy making, his failure to convince the Japanese of the necessity of the sudden snap election, his refusal to acknowledge that his "Abenomics" do not work for people, and the result is that the popularity of the Prime Minister is at the lowest, 39% good opinions. That's the reality picture at this time today in Japan.

I commented the gap coming between Japanese and their political leaders, the anaesthesia of the Japanese audiences hammered by increasing pressure of the nationalists policies of Abe and his right wingers and the fear for social liberties, as stated by unions and opposition political parties.

Some of my comments to Kyodo news agency for Japanese newspapers

I reported in French about things my Japanese people surveys reveal and about things Japanese journalists friends and commentators tell me about. Some ask me to talk on TV or in the media for that purpose because they simply cannot themselves voice or report in details or too directly about it, except about the calendar of Abe's events ahead provided by the "Kantei Abe machine" the army of communicators some being ex scholars, some ex advertising agencies, even ex media, including representatives of the right wing organisations having a seat at Kantei. Well the point is that this Abenomics serial movie show the incompetence of these communicators unable to avoid the falling popularity trends. They should be changed. They might already having been changed or "reinforced" actually. Nothing good for the media. I already talked about the subject in this 20 years old blog, please research here.

The self censorship of Japanese journalist including those working in the centre or centre-left press has a strange flavour describing a lack of press freedom. Is Japan democracy things getting sour? Japan went from 22nd to 53rd in the world rankings on press freedom by RSF "Reporters Without Borders" in 2013.


Asahi shimbun, 8 million copies, Japanese version of New York Times/Le Monde 
Asahi officials kowtow to the right wing.

An example with the torments suffered by the daily Press: The Asahi Shimbun, violently attacked in the Abe administration... * Do read on this point the report of my colleague Philippe Pons of Le Monde. "Asahi dans la tourmente." I talked about the Asahi several times, I reported and mentioned about it last night too on French TV.

Growing sense of frustration or blank arrogance?

Even among foreign journalists, there is a growing sense of frustration as seen at the press conference of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe November 18th. Several foreign correspondents, usually invited to the Kantei for Abe's media appearance, were turned down. They were not even informed of it although it was the rule (see the email screen-shot). No reasons were given, no apologies were offered. Just a sudden (so Japanese) change of rule by people unfamiliar with procedures and respect of rules even with foreigners. The kind of thing that the US and EU fight with their Japanese counterparts in international negotiations, "structural impediments on trade, FTA, TPP etc... We discovered later that day there were still free seats (5 free seats according to a colleague) for the foreign press at Abe's press conference. But the press service of the Kantei (global communication something they say) did not invite members of the foreign press, they just did not invite them to attend. They just did not respect their words of informing them if they are in or not in. One German, French and Italian journalist were among those waiting. Is it a bureaucratic incompetence? Is it related to the fear of prime minister Abe for everything "foreign" or is it just a blank arrogance under the less popular Abe regime? As a foreign media "baron" commented, hearing it from foreign ambassadors in Japan: "Japan does not have any respect for the press... and control their moves, spooks on them, bug their phones, their emails..."


Analysts say it is perhaps the best timing for Abe to get a fresh mandate to try to eliminate any possibility of the mounting scandals sending his government into a downward spiral. The opposition parties are in disarray, the public's focus is on the economy and few voters would oppose delaying a tax increase. In the first half of next year, 2015, Abe plans to tackle contentious issues that could erode support for his government, namely legislation to expand Japan's military role and restart nuclear power plants.

"The Democratic Party has unfortunately not restored to the point that we can ask voters to entrust us with the government," admitted Yukio Edano, the secretary general of the DPJ, at the foreign correspondents press club.

To be followed...


* "Asahi dans la tourmente" http://bit.ly/1r6UDKC

[This blog story is originally written in French, translated into English, the appropriate version is the French version]