Saturday, May 14, 2005

"Past anti-Japanese rallies provide good lesson"

Past anti-Japanese rallies provide good lesson according
to Tokyo press. Still, Japanese press seldom
demonstrates fruitful insight but only clear signs of
"hedonistic indulgence".


"The recent wave of anti-Japanese demonstrations in
China came as a shock to many Japanese. But it probably
prompted few Japanese people to recall the rash of
similar anti-Japanese demonstrations that raged in
Southeast Asia some three decades ago. We should recall
what we learned from that experience.

Violent outbursts of anti-Japanese sentiment started in
Thailand in 1972 and spread quickly to other parts of
Southeast Asia. The tension over the protests against
Japan peaked in January 1974, when then Prime Minister
Kakuei Tanaka visited Jakarta. Demonstrators surrounded
the Japanese Embassy in the Indonesian capital, threw
rocks at it, and attacked a number of Japanese cars in
the city.

Although the analogy can be overdrawn, there are
similarities between the Southeast Asia of 30 years ago
and modern-day China. Japan was making rapid economic
inroads in Southeast Asia back then, just like China
today, and Japanese products flooded those markets. Most
Southeast Asian countries at that time were ruled by
authoritarian governments. Massive flows of foreign
investment powered industrialization in the capitals and
other major cities of those countries, leading to the
emergence of an urban middle class."

Hum, any idea regarding the flop of the Miyazawa
financial initiative that fed south east Asia mob's bank

Click the title to access the commentary.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Anger in Japan-China "Imperial relations"

Japan's nationalist "New History Textbook" is fueling
anger in Japan-China relations, it certainly is a thorn
in the heart of hundreds of millions of people in Asia.
But, this textbook is not deeply popular as we can read:


"Though given away for free, the text is used by only 18
junior high schools -- out of 11,102 junior highs in all
of Japan. It has been denounced by the nation's leading
teacher's union, and is well right of mainstream public
opinion. Outside of Japan's classrooms, however, the
textbook is anything but obscure. Since it was first
approved by a government screening panel four years ago,
the text has been singled out by Japan's neighbors as
evidence that the country is trying to whitewash its
militarist past.

And its unrepentant tone and omission of Japan's wartime
atrocities, including germ warfare and the forcing of
tens if not hundreds of thousands of women into
prostitution -- have outraged many Japanese educators
and liberals. It is now at the center of yet another
regional rift. The approval of its newest edition
earlier this month fueled street protests in several
Chinese cities, threats of a boycott of Japanese
products and violence against at least two Japanese
students, plunging relations between the two Asian
giants to their lowest level in years.

Even North Korea has piped up, saying the Education
Ministry's approval of the text and Japan's recent push
to get a permanent seat on the United Nations Security
Council demonstrate how this nation's leaders are
"political dwarfs." The text's publishers claim surprise
at the outcry. "We only hope more schools choose our
book," said Fusosha spokeswoman Yoko Ishimaru,
acknowledging that the textbook could have been more

Only 10 public and eight private junior high schools use
the textbook, meaning it reaches only 0.1 percent of the
1.2 million seventh graders in Japan. The text's
limited usage reflects many teachers' concerns over its
content. The book covers all of Japan's history, from
ancient times to modern. The current edition has 236
pages, of which only about 20 cover the 1920-1945
period, the height of Japanese expansionism. But those
20 pages are highly inflammatory, with passages
defending Japan's militarism as an attempt to liberate
Asia from western colonialism and claiming that
resource-poor Japan was pushed into a corner and used
aggression as a last resort. Similar logic was used by
Japan's wartime leaders."

end of quotes

Still some argue about the past & history, for instance
on the circumstances of the Nanking massacre. A veil on
the facts that trouble consciences :

Quote of these exchanges of emails between activists,
academics of NBR (unfortunate censors ), and media :

Ignatius Y. Ding, Cupertino, California, U.S.A. has a
long record of actions to combat historical amnesia in
Asia, he is the Spokesperson and member of the Executive
Committee of the Global Alliance for Preserving the
History of World War II in Asia (1994-present).


"The alleged culprit was not Matsui Iwane, but Prince
Yasuhiko Asaka -- Commander in Chief Shanghai
Expeditionary Army and one of the uncles of Japanese
Emperor Hirohito (Showa). This was just simply imperial
family business during the war.

Another dark imperial page of Japanese history was the
direct link of the imperial family to the notorious Unit
731 which was an extension of the biological and
chemical warfare center pioneered by Emperor Hirohito's
father-in-law Chujo (Lt-Gen) Koshaku (Prince) Kuniyoshi
Kuni in early 1930's. It was documented by Daniel
Barenblatt of New York in his book published last year."

Ignatius Ding *

end of quotes

This rare and astonishing statement follows a question
set in a message posted by myself to a forum, NBR, and
never posted by the moderator-censor Griffin, awfully
frightened by its contents.


"Date: Tue, 19 Apr 2005 07:59:33 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Joel J. Legendre"
Subject: Re: NBR'S JAPAN FORUM (POL) Honda Katsuichi
To: "Japan-U.S. Discussion Forum"

Peter Ennis wrote:
But: at the same time, there was murder on a mass scale
on the part of Japanese army units that were set loose
by a criminally negligent leadership. How high up did
the decisions go? Debate goes on and on.

Regarding Nanking, Mr. Peter Ennis, could you, and/or,
the other honorable members of this forum, elaborate
about this or eventually introduce the debate that goes
on and on about the "criminally negligent leadership in
Japan"? Are you referring to Matsui Iwane or to higher
ranks and officials of the government and institutions
of Japan at that time? In addition, it would be a
fruitful debate if ever vis a vis the Japanese textbooks
issues and what some perceive as the rising nationalism
of a segment of the society, including young generation
of Japanese ? "

end of quotes

"Si vis pacem, para bellum"

* Who is Ignatius Ding?

Ignatius Y. Ding, Cupertino, California, U.S.A.

- Spokesperson and member of the Executive Committee of
the Global Alliance for Preserving the History of World
War II in Asia (1994-present).

- Spokesperson, legislative and media liaison of the San
Francisco Alliance for Preserving the Truth of
Sino-Japanese War (APTSJW) (1992-present).

- Spokesperson and Secretary of the Silicon Valley for
Democracy in China (SVDC) (1989-present).

- Former member of the Board of Directors, American Red
Cross, Santa Clara Valley Chapter (1993-1997).

- Member of the Instructional Materials Advisory Panel
for the California State Board of Education (1998).

- Member of the Advisory Council to the Board of
Directors of the Bay Area Air Quality Management
District (BAAQMD), a California state agency

- Member of the West Valley Citizens' Air Watch (WVCAW)

- Knowledge engineering architect for Hewlett-Packard
Co. and a 28-year veteran in the computer industry.

- Freelance writer and lecturer on WW II history and
litigation and legislation processes.

Click on title to access ALPHA-LA.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Are Japanese moderate political forces lost (and enshrined) ?

An interesting insight from professor Thomas Berger from
the Boston University who happened to reach my mailbox,
about the perception of China rise from a Japanese
conservative perspective. I noticed that in the
gargantuesque writings of some Anglo Saxons school and
university teachers, it is acceptable for an American
fascist to be just described as a conservative while a
Japanese conservative would be described as an extremist
of the right.

Move the center... this is the solution.

Quotes :

"The rise of a China threat may well lead to a revival
of some of the same ideological cleavages that we saw in
the LDP in the 1960s and 1970s. We seem to be seeing
the reemergence of a pro-Taiwan faction (although for a
rather different point of view see Greg Noble in the
January 2005 issue of the Journal of East Asian Studies)
led in some cases by the descendants of the LDP right
wing-leaders who helped found or support the Seirankai.
Nakagawa Shoichi is indeed the son of Nakagawa Ichiro.
Abe Shinzo is not only the son of former Foreign
Minister Abe Shintaro, but the grandson on his mother's
side of Kishi Nobusuke. Interestingly, I was told that
young Abe was largely raised in his grandfather's house,
as his father was away on business most of the time, and
thus was imbued from an early age in the ideology of
Japanese conservatism.

What is important to note, however, in all of this is
not just the links between the old Japanese right and
the new Japanese right today, but also the right wing's
historical volatility. We should not view the rise of
the right as an inexorable trend in Japanese politics,
but as a recurring feature that is spurred by domestic
as well as international political developments.
Japanese political leaders on the right are maneuvering
for factional as well as cross factional support for the
coming battle to succeed Koizumi. How solidly committed
these figures are to pursuing a genuinely right-wing
agenda, however, is open to question. Fukuda, after
all, is remembered for completing the normalization of
relations with the PRC. And we have seen how solidly
pro-defense, nationalists can stab each other in the
back when they see it as being in their short-term
political interest to do so (witness the role Fukuda
played in undermining Nakasone on breaching the 1% of
GDP limit on defense spending in 1985). We should
expect right-wing leaders like Abe and Nakagawa to be
equally fickle today.

There are two critical factors that may make for a more
sustained right wing revival today. First, where are
the more moderate, anti-military forces in Japanese
politics, and inside the LDP, today? Obviously the old
JSP and JCP have evaporated, and the CGP and Democratic
Party are far more moderate than they were. Yet, the
non-LDP parties do seem to lean in more leftish
direction, and they may be more inclined to seek
accomodation rather than confrontation with China than
is the right-wing inside the LDP. While Kato Koichi and
the pro-China left wing of the LDP seems to be dead, I
would not be at all surprised if new LDP left-of-center
forces emerge again - looking to develop strong links
with the opposition parties in order to strengthen their
position inside of the LDP, as well as in response to
incentives emanating from the business community as well
as from the left-wing media (especially the Asahi and
Mainichi). If such moderate political forces inside the
LDP do not emerge, however, a more resolutely
anti-Chinese Japan is a real possibility.

The other, to my mind even more critical factor, is US
policy. The United States forced the sinophilic Yoshida
Shigeru to sever ties with mainland China in 1951.
Twenty years later, the United States famously undercut
the firmly anti-PRC Sato Eisaku in 1971, leading to a
significant reordering of Japanese domestic politics and
a near complete turn about in Japanese foreign policy.
Given Japan's intensified dependence on the alliance
with the US today, Japanese policy towards China is
likewise likely to continue to follow the US lead. IF
the US confronts China, Japanese leaders probably can be
found who were willing to cleave to the pro-US line,
despite considerable domestic political cooperation. If
the US instead reaffirms its strategy of engagement
towards China , Japanese leaders again can be found who
will see it as being in Japan's national interest to
pursue closer relations with China. Of course, they
would be embarassed to admit that they are primarily
following in the US' footsteps. But the fact will
remain, that they will be.

In other words, rather than see Sino-Japanese tensions
as being an immutable feature of their geo-political
environment, I think it may be more correct to
understand them as a function of Sino-American
relations. If China steers down a confrontational
course vis-a-vis the US - which its foolish rejection of
a Beijing-hot line, its belligerent stance on Taiwan,
and its non-supportive role in the North Korean crisis
suggests that it might - Sino-Japanese tensions will
escalate and once peripheral issues such as the Senkaku
islands and Yasukuni will become more serious. If China
chooses to adopt a non-confrontational and even
cooperative stance towards the US - which I believe its
current leaders are correctly inclined to do, out of
respect for their overwhelming interest in maintaining
China's steady economic growth - these problems will
prove manageable. If I had to guess, the Hu Jintao
leadership will try to avoid confrontation with the US,
and the Bush administration for its part would prefer to
let Beijing back itself out of the corner it has
maneuvered itself into."

End of quotes

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

History school textbooks denies Japan's wartime atrocities : Unjustifiable!

Confusion, nationalism, and revisionism still have good
days ahead in Japan?

Quotes : "Leaders of a group that edited a controversial
history textbook denied Tuesday the book whitewashes
Japan's wartime atrocities.

Speaking at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan,
Hidetsugu Yagi, president of the Japanese Society for
History Textbook Reform, said foreign experts and
political leaders appear to have criticized the junior
high school textbook without having read it. So more
non-Japanese can read it, the society has translated
part of the book into English, Chinese and Korean, said
Yagi, an assistant professor at Takasaki City University
of Economics.

The textbook makes no reference to women, mostly Asian,
who were forced into sexual slavery at frontline
brothels for the Japanese military.

Nobukatsu Fujioka, an author of the textbook who also
spoke Tuesday, said the society did not include that
topic in the book because it had not found evidence that
the women had been forced into the sex work.

It created a history textbook for junior high school
students, initially approved for use in schools by the
Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology
Ministry in 2001.

A revised edition, published by Fusosha Publishing Inc.,
was approved by the ministry last month."

End of quotes.

What a pathetic attempt to justify the crimes of war and
colonization of Asia by the Japanese Imperial Army. What
pride exists in justifying the unjustifiable and what
are the answers to these revisionists? Here is the
document written after a conference organized by the
participants of "The Asian Solidarity Conference on
Textbook Issues in Japan - No! to the Distorted History


"Nationalism, which attempts to justify past war
atrocities and colonialist rule, is on the rise in
Japan. The influence aims to make Japan into a nation
which can go to war. Those who are deeply concerned
about this grave situation as well as concerned about
the history and civics textbooks published for this
purpose, by the Society for New History Textbook
(Tsukurukai), held "The Asian Solidarity Conference on
Textbook Issues in Japan. - No! to the Distorted
History Textbook." on June 10th and 11th 2001, in Tokyo.

Included were the total of 250 participants from ROK
(South Korea), DPRK (North Korea: due to the refusal of
entry into Japan, participated by submitting their
papers), China, Taiwan, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia
and Japan (including Ainu, Okinawa, and Koreans in

During the two-day conference, valuable testimonies were
shared from the stand point of the "comfort women" who
were forced to become sex slaves of the Japanese
military, survivors of village massacres who experienced
unimaginable suffering during the war with Japan, Ainu
people, Okinawan and Koreans in Japan. We exchanged our
ideas and opinions on how we can take joint action to
prevent the adoption of the Tsukurukai textbooks and to
establish new visions of history education for the
future. We declare that we strengthen solidarity among
Asian people in order to achieve these two aims.

The criticism has been on the rise about the Tsukurukai
textbook in Japan and more than 300 nationwide meetings
on the textbook issue have been held this year. The
Korean and Chinese Governments have already made demands
to the Japanese Government to make corrections on the
Tsukurukai textbook that passed official screening. In
addition a member of the Korean Parliament, and former
"comfort women" did a sit-in in front of the Diet
building to protest against the Japanese Government. And
there have been other protests voiced from various
countries around Asia. This simply and clearly implies
that how dangerous the Tsukurukai textbooks are for
people in Asia.

The first problem with the Tsukurukai history textbook
is its attempts to justify Japan's aggression and
invasion as a war of liberation, liberating Asia from
Western colonialist rule. It legitimates its own
colonialist rule by pointing out that other Asian
countries benefited by their rule. Second, , it is
written by Emperor's historical view (kokokushikan);
instead of pursuing the responsibility of the emperor
for the war, it in fact glorifies the emperor. Third,
it questions the actuality of the Massacre of Nanjing,
and erases from its records any mention of the Japanese
military sexual slavery system, which was largest war
violence in the 20th century (the Comfort Women System),
(the editor stated that writing about the "Comfort
Women" was like writing about the history of the toilet
- adding insult to insult). Fourth, the subject of
history is portrayed as the nation-state and the people
and minorities are absent and not represented. Fifth,
it defends the family system, and emphasizes the "good
wife, wise mother" mold of traditional gender role-based
division of labor, thereby revealing a discriminatory
attitude toward women. In other words, it is a
self-race centered, nation state centered, power
politics centered, male chauvinistic view of history
that pervades its pages.

Such a view of history can also be seen in the
Tsukurukai civics textbook. First it unabashedly calls
for the need to build a nation that can go to war, by
revising the constitution, glorifying the Self-Defense
Force, encouraging overseas dispatchment of forces,
insisting on the right to " collective self-defense ",
emphasizing the threat of DPRK (North Korea) and China,
teaching respect for the national anthem and flag and
national interest and national order, insisting on the
obligation to protect ones own nation from outside
aggression, and affirmation of the need for nuclear
armament. Second, in order to create a militaristic
nation, it plays down the rights and freedoms of
individual citizens, lifting up the priorities of public
welfare. It sees family unity as more important than
the individual. It discriminates and looks down on
foreigners and minorities. And it takes a hostile
position toward citizen's movements, placing national
interest over human rights. They proclaim a nation
centered, anti-foreign, and racist philosophy. Third,
there is no sensitivity to the violence done toward
women, or honoring human rights and male-female equality
education, thereby revealing its discrimination toward

End of quotes.

More contact:


NB: The Media group Fujisankei is the publisher of the
revisionist Fusosha Publishing Inc.