Saturday, April 09, 2005

Deadly Bird Flu Could Spread Beyond Asia

"The potential for the disease to spread to other
continents is real and the international scientific
community cannot remain insensitive to the challenge of
preventing this happening," OIE Director-General Bernard
Vallat told a conference in Paris.

The H5N1 influenza virus, which has killed people in
Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia since it hit Asia in
2003, has also devastated trade and led to the
destruction of tens of millions of chickens and other
birds across the region.

A strain of the disease has recently surfaced in North
Korea, causing a cull of hundreds of thousands of

Experts fear that if the H5N1 virus mutated into a more
contagious form, it might unleash a global flu pandemic
that could kill millions of people.

Vallat said the best way to control the disease was to
tackle it at source, with a combination of culling and

end of quotes

China and Japan : rivalry for a millennium ?

Time to talk! East Asian nations never stop talking
about the necessity to build and East Asia community,
based on European common market (Ceca) foundations.

A summit is adequately planned in December 2005. Less
than 8 months of fights, aggressions and verbal attacks
before to reach a so called " soft diplomatic approach"?

Knock knock: Someone here to stop procrastination?


"Japan's prime ministers and its emperor have apologized
to China for the brutal conduct of the occupying
Japanese army in the 1930s-1940s on no fewer than 17
occasions since the two countries restored diplomatic
relations in 1972.

Seven years ago, Japan also made a written apology for
its harsh colonial rule of the Korean peninsula, in
1910-45. But its expressions of regret have never been
seen as quite sufficient, especially by China. So,
though relations between the East Asian powers have
improved greatly since the end of the second world war,
Japan’s big neighbors remain acutely sensitive to any
words or deeds on its part that suggest a lack of
genuine contrition."

Click the title to read the article

"Asia rises against 'whitewashing' of Japan's atrocities"

Chinese demonstrations hastily manipulated by Beijing
central hard liners. Media adore it... without
carefully looking at PRC humanitarian poor records,

A euphemism is a word or phrase used in place of a term
that originally could not be spoken aloud or, by
extension, terms which the speaker considers to be
disagreeable or offensive. "Euphemism" derives from
Greek words "well" + "speaking," words that in an
ancient Greek context enjoined the "right silence" that
suited some religious topics. Examples of the original
religious taboo embodied in a eupheme are unspeakable
names for a deity, such as Persephone, Hecate, Nemesis
or Yahweh. Rumpole of the Bailey speaks of his wife
only as "She Who Must Be Obeyed".

When a phrase is used as a euphemism, it becomes a
metaphor whose literal meaning is often dropped.
Euphemisms are also used to hide unpleasant ideas, even
when the literal term for them is not necessarily
offensive. This type of euphemism is used in public
relations and politics, where it is known as

The converse of a euphemism is a dyslogism, literally a

Back to our story.
Quotes :

The Telegraph: "The cherry blossom is reaching the peak
of its splendour in Tokyo, and the gardens of the
Yasukuni shrine have been turned into cheerful festival
ground, with a pink stage for musicians and rows of
stalls selling anything from food to potted plants.

But for millions of people across Asia, Yasukuni stands
for something more sinister than love of botany: it is
the supreme symbol of Japan's former love of war.

Sixty years after the Second World War, the wounds may
have healed in Europe, but they remain all too raw in

In recent days China and South Korea have been in uproar
over the publication of new Japanese textbooks which,
they say, justify the militarism of the Japanese empire
and its aggression during the Second World War. The
books are accused of glossing over atrocities committed
by Japanese troops in the region.

Amid calls in China for a boycott of Japanese imports,
and sporadic mob attacks on Japanese stores, diplomats
in Tokyo warned Chinese citizens to stay away from large
anti-Japanese protests planned in Beijing today.

China has accused Tokyo of spreading "poison for Japan's
future generations", while South Korea has warned Tokyo
that "our people are greatly enraged".

The refurbished military museum at Yasukuni does nothing
to dispel the impression that Japan has not fully atoned
for the past.

The main hall displays an Ohka or "Cherry Blossom", the
rocket-powered glider-bombs that kamikaze pilots flew
into American warships and a "Kaiten" suicide torpedo.

Display cabinets show letters written by the suicide
pilots vowing to "meet again at Yasukuni", a flag with
the Rising Sun painted in the blood of Japanese
schoolgirls, and a section of wall with a message
written in the blood of suicide motorboat crews
declaring: "Even though we were defeated in war, in our
spirit we have not been defeated."

Historical panels describe how Japan sought peace and
had "no choice" but to go to war to avoid being
strangled by an American-inspired economic embargo.

Although Japan lost, the display explains that Japan
kindled the spirit of independence among other Asian
people who later cast off their European colonial

There is little recognition that Japan colonised Asian
lands, often brutally; no acknowledgement of massacres
carried out by Japanese troops and the enslavement of
"comfort women" as prostitutes.

The spirits of 2.46 million people who died in Japan's
wars in the service of the Chrysanthemum Throne since
1853 are enshrined at Yasukuni. In 1978, the spirits of
14 "Class A" war criminals, including the wartime prime
minister Hideki Tojo, were among those "called" to the
shrine. Yasukuni's website bemoans the fact that more
than 1,000 martyrs "were cruelly and unjustly tried as
war criminals by a sham-like tribunal of the Allied

This unabashed nationalism has been given respectability
by Japan's prime minister Junichiro Koizumi, who has
pointedly made annual visits to Yasukuni since his
election in 2001 despite denunciations from China and
South Korea.

Taiwan, which was also colonised by Japan, has
traditionally made less fuss. But this week there were
protests against a visit by a Taiwanese member of
parliament to Yasukuni, ostensibly to honour 28,0000
Taiwanese enshrined there.

The outcry over Japanese school textbooks is only the
latest issue to plague Japan's relations with its
neighbours. Territorial disputes over far-flung islands
are a constant source of tension with Russia, China and
South Korea.

Officials in Tokyo maintain that Japan has repeatedly
apologised for its past misdeeds, and has offered
generous development aid and investments in lieu of
"reparations". For them the problem is not Japanese
militarism or lack of repentance, but "nationalism" and
bigotry that is being deliberately stoked by
neighbouring leaders to shore up their popular support.

"Japanese people are getting tired of 'apology
diplomacy'. If China puts pressure on Japan, the
Japanese just get angry," said Prof Ryosei Kokubun, an
expert on China at Tokyo's Keio University.

Alarmed by China's rapid re-armament, and a North Korean
missile test over Japan in 1998, Japan is shedding
another legacy of the Second World War, its doctrine of

It has stretched the war-renouncing Article Nine of its
constitution to the limit by sending Japanese forces to
help with humanitarian reconstruction in Iraq, where
British and Australian troops now provide security for
their former Japanese enemies.

The Japanese parliament is debating constitutional
amendments that would allow Japanese troops to take part
in United Nations-sponsored operations.

At Yasukuni's museum, visitors seemed ready for Japan to
resume a more "normal" military role.

Taguchi Ito, 31, said: "Japan should have nuclear
weapons because our neighbouring countries have them. We
need to be strong so that other countries do not attack

In today's Japan, the only country to have been attacked
with atomic weapons, even the nuclear taboo has started
to break down.

end of quotes.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Showa day : Japan's amnesia for WW2 crimes?

The issue is far from being resolved. The conclusion of
this editorial is not too risky. Compensation of WW2
victims remains an embarrassment for Japanese
government. The WW2 amnesia also is sources of concerns
for ex Axis powers' allies or de facto (French
Petainists included). Where is the debate among
Japanese intellectuals on Showa Day "incident" ?


Showa Day


It should not be used to drum up reactionary sentiment.

April 29, the national holiday known as Midori no Hi, or
Greenery Day, is likely to be renamed as Showa Day in
2007. A Lower House plenary session has already
approved a bill for the name change. If it is enacted,
Greenery Day will be moved to May 4, now part of the
Golden Week national holidays...

... LDP and Komeito lawmakers who proposed the change
stress their hope that Showa Day will become a day for
people to recall the lessons learned during the Showa
Era. They seem to be trying to say that this is not a
reactionary move to recall the Showa Era and Emperor
Showa with nostalgia.

If so, it is all the more necessary for them to respond
sincerely to the voices of people in Japan and its
neighbors and make serious efforts to allay their
concerns. IHT/Asahi: April 7,2005)

end of quotes

Japan's problem with history

"Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi wants to
visit South Korea possibly in June for a summit with
South Korean President Roh Moo Hyun.

Earlier Thursday in Islamabad, the Japanese and South
Korean foreign ministers agreed to try to arrange the
summit talks "in June or July." Koizumi and Roh agreed
last year to meet biannually through reciprocal visits,
but bilateral relations have since soured due to
territorial and school textbook disputes."

Flying above Takeshima islands on his way to a hot date
in Seoul?

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Kazuo Ishiguro new novel : Never Let Me Go

Kazuo Ishiguro 6th novel Never Let Me Go, from the
author of The Remains of the Day. Fascinating!

.... So what is Never Let Me Go really about? It's
about the steady erosion of hope. It's about repressing
what you know, which is that in this life people fail
one another, grow old and fall to pieces. It's about
knowing that while you must keep calm, keeping calm
won't change a thing. Beneath Kathy's flattened and
lukewarm emotional landscape lies the pure volcanic
turmoil, the unexpressed yet perfectly articulated,
perfectly molten rage of the orphan. This extraordinary
and, in the end, rather frighteningly clever novel isn't
about cloning, or being a clone, at all. It's about why
we don't explode, why we don't just wake up one day and
go sobbing and crying down the street, kicking
everything to pieces out of the raw, infuriating,
completely personal sense of our lives never having been
what they could have been.

Also the review from the Guardian (UK)

(Click the URL for reviews from New Yorker,
Sunday Times, Guardian and a dozen other reviews)

Or copy this URL :


Japan coming carriers : what Japanese press does not want to print!

The Asahi Shimbun, April 5(IHT/Asahi: April 6,2005)
wrote :


"As for the the role of the SDF, we cannot support the
LDP's call for labeling them a self-defense military.
It is a fact that the SDF are among the world's most
powerful forces in terms of equipment and capability.
People overseas also regard the SDF as a military force.
Also, it is a fact that the SDF have taken root as a
constitutional entity in the minds of the Japanese

The public accepted the SDF and holds its members in
high esteem because the members are distinct from
ordinary military forces in that they are not allowed to
use force overseas. It can be argued that the Japanese
people accepted the SDF simply because they are
self-defensive in nature. And this factor, combined
with limitations on their military cooperation with U.S.
forces, surely contributed to Japan's stable relations
with other Asian nations.

Given those facts, it is unlikely the public would
support transforming the role of the SDF."

end of quotes

Rhetorical... the author of this editorial is a genuine
idiot or a real manipulator. Japan Navy will acquire 2
carriers in 2008 and 4 others in 2012. The shift from
helicopters to jets is easy and consist into redesigning
the deck infrastructures. In addition to refueling
planes for the JASDF. The projection force of Japanese
Army is on the right track, nothing bad with this
sovereign decision but why does this so called serious
newspaper added to a kisha club at JDA lie or pretend?


Re : Was ITER linked to the Iraq debt by France?

Update March 31, 2006

The person who disclosed this information could be closed
to or could be Mr. Michael Green, according to our
deep-throat source in Japan. Michael Green is senior
adviser and Japan Chair at CSIS, as well as an associate
professor of international relations at Georgetown
University. He served as special assistant to the
president for national security affairs and senior
director for Asian affairs at the National Security
Council (NSC) from January 2004 to December 2005. He
joined the NSC in April 2001 as director of Asian affairs
with responsibility for Japan, Korea, and Australia/New
Zealand. From 1997 to 2000, he was senior fellow for
Asian security at the Council on Foreign Relations, where
he directed the Independent Task Force on Korea and study
groups on Japan and security policy in Asia. He served
as senior adviser to the Office of Asia Pacific Affairs
at the Department of Defense in 1997 and as consultant to
the same office until 2000.


Update :

French authorities answered our question :

"This allegation is pure US propaganda conveyed by
Japanese US intelligence (or low level bureaucratic
small pies).

Paris never mentioned such a deal. "No need for it..."


Nov 23, 2004 Was ITER linked to the Iraq debt by France?

Manipulation or not? Was ITER linked by Paris to the
Iraq debt in a bargain proposed to Washington earlier
this year?

Here is what we were told by an official in Tokyo:

Paris is said to have proposed a deal to the US Bush
administration early this year to win Iter in France in
exchange of a major cancellation of the Iraqi debt that
was talked these last days at the Club de Paris.

Here is what I received last week from one source
(source linked to security and anti proliferation)
quoting a US official.


"The original american source of this information about
ITER and Iraqi debt reduction is a senior official of
the NSC of the Bush administration who has been involved
in this issue.

I am terribly sorry but I cannot give you the name. I
heard about this story first in late March 2004, and
then, in late August 2004.

From what I heard from this official, the French
government made a proposal to the Bush administration
(sometime earlier this year, I think) that the French
government would help Iraq debt reduction if the US
supported the position of France, instead of Japan, to
locate the experiment facility in France.

As you may recall, the US government was desperate, from
last year end through the former part of this year to
get other countries' support for Iraq debt reduction,
while France government was very much eager to push ITER
location in France."

End of quotes.

Later on, a Japanese official I asked his reaction
commented: "I have no information neither confirming it
or denying it. As far as I know, Japan's stance on ITER
has not changed."

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Europe Pressures Japan to End Closed-Door Press Practices

by Japan Media review - Online Journalism Review :
Annenberg School for Communication at the University of
Southern California.

Click on the title to access the report by OJR.

Reporters have fought for decades to end the kisha club
system, which prevents foreign and non-mainstream
reporters from attending many press briefings and
getting official press releases. Now opponents of the
system have a powerful new ally: The European Union by
Bryan Shih:

In 1998, David Butts made press freedom history by doing
something reporters around the word do every day: He
went to a press conference.

Butts, the former Tokyo bureau chief for Bloomberg
Business News, knew very well he wasn't invited to the
press conference, held by then Prime Minister Ryutaro

In Japan, many press conferences aren't open to just
anybody who wants to attend: Instead, every official
agency has a press club, and only reporters who are
members of each press club can attend press conferences
held by each agency.

Generally, only journalists from one of 20 or so major
domestic media outlets are admitted to most of Japan's
press clubs. If you're foreign or work for a magazine
that falls outside the mainstream, you can find yourself
cut off from official sources because they often won't
talk to non-club reporters.

Butts -- a serial gatecrasher -- often refused to play
by club rules.

In 1998, Butts walked in to the prime minister's
conference, took a seat, and soon was surrounded by
"beefy security guards ... debating whether to pick me
up." Finally, the prime minister walked in and the
guards backed away, not wanting to create a scene.

"By denying foreign correspondents first-hand access to
briefings, the (press club) system ... unfairly makes
them slower to bring information to their audience ...
the system works as a restraint on free trade in
information." -- October 2002 EU report

Butts' protest against the kisha club system was just
one battle in a years-long war -- waged by foreign
journalists, smaller domestic media outlets, press clubs
and press freedom organizations -- to bring down the
members-only system.

Recently, the kisha club opponents acquired a powerful
new ally: The European Union.

In their annual wish list of regulatory reforms, the EU
asked Japan last year to abolish the kisha club system,
saying that it is an unfair barrier to free trade of

"By denying foreign correspondents first-hand access to
briefings, the system acts as a de facto competitive
hindrance to foreign media organizations," states the
October 2002 EU report "Priority Proposals for
Regulatory Reform in Japan."

"It unfairly makes them slower to bring information to
their audience than domestic organizations, and, unable
to put questions on the spot, forces them to rely on
second hand information. In effect, the system works as
a restraint on free trade in information."

Japanese government officials replied that they actually
don't control the kisha clubs -- they come under the
authority of The Japanese Newspaper Publishers & Editors
Association -- known also as Nihon Shinbun Kyokai, or

The NSK writes the recommendations for kisha club
behavior, but says it doesn't actually control the
system -- the individual kisha clubs are responsible for
membership selection.

For now, the EU is giving Japan time respond officially,
which it has not done yet. But eventually the issue
could be brought before the World Trade Organization
where it could be judged a trade barrier.

The kisha system, which has staunchly withstood
criticism and complaint for over 50 years, has never
faced such powerful opposition.

How the System Works

The kisha system has been foiling foreign and small
domestic press for decades.

"I personally will never forget going to the police
station at which the suspect accused of stabbing
Ambassador Edwin O. Reischauer in the right leg was
being questioned," veteran correspondent Sam Jameson
wrote in an essay on the press in Japan. "I was banned
from attending a press conference at which police
officers announced the results of their interrogations."

Though the few dozen press clubs that generate most of
the major economic and political news now allow foreign
correspondents -- including the prime minister's press
club -- the rest of Japan's 500 to 1,000 press clubs
still do not admit foreign journalists, which sometimes
makes it impossible to get important stories.

"Foreign media organizations, feisty weekly magazines
and freelancers can be shut out completely," Tokyo-based
journalist Jonathan Watts wrote in an article for the
UK's Guardian last year.

"In the wake of the Tokaimura nuclear accident in 1999,
I was told I could not ask questions at a kisha-club
press conference inside the science and technology
agency," Watts wrote. "When the British hostess Lucie
Blackman went missing in 2000, it was not possible to
attend briefings by detectives given at the kisha club
of the Tokyo metropolitan police. Last year, foreign
media were completely excluded from a kisha-club press
conference about the massacre at a primary school in
Ikeda, Osaka."

Watts is the vice president of the Foreign
Correspondents Club of Japan, one of the main
organizations that has been battling for improved press
access here.

The NSK updated the kisha guidelines in January 2002 to
answer criticisms; the guidelines say that "kisha clubs
should be 'open entities.' ? Kisha clubs are also open
to foreign media organizations, and in fact the number
of clubs with foreign journalists as members is

While the clubs are nominally open to any reporter who
meets the individual club standards, in practice, few
foreign reporters have been allowed full membership

Many foreign correspondents say being cut out of the
club system hasn't mattered much to them: Most of the
time, they say, they're able to get the stories they?re
after anyway. (See sidebar)

"I have not had a lot of direct experience or run-ins
with the kisha club system because our coverage is less
oriented toward the split second/breaking news genre
required by, say, a Bloomberg or other wire services,"
said Mark Magnier of the Los Angeles Times. "Instead,
we tend to look more toward what any particular
development means or the broader implications. Often
sources, or alternate sources, will give us an interview
for this sort of information."

"Most good journalism doesn't get done in kisha clubs.
They're inimical to everything that good journalism is,"
said Howard French, who has covered Japan for the New
York Times for four years. "They allow the source to
set the agenda and control the details of what gets

Even so, many journalists working in Japan are
determined to change the system.

"What we would like from Japan is very simple -- free
access to press conferences," said Hans van der Lugt,
president of the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan,
which held a symposium on the kisha system in March.

How Kisha Clubs Change Journalism

"The broad goal of the nation's key media players, like
that of its government leaders, is to limit access to
the central halls of power to a carefully chosen few,"
researcher Laurie Freeman, a political science professor
at UC Santa Barbara, wrote in her book "Closing the
Shop: Information Cartels and Japans Mass Media."

Freeman writes that the press clubs in Japan control the
flow of information -- often preventing the members from
publishing important details. The clubs set rules on
what can and cannot be published, and those who disobey
the rules can be kicked out of the system.

And the close relationships with sources encouraged by
the system make press club reporters less inclined to
publish negative reports. In her essay "Japan's Press
Clubs as Information Cartels," Freeman describes a day
in the life of a press club reporter:

"With the exception of a category of journalists known
as yugun, or roving reporters, the press clubs serve as
'home base' for the majority of Japanese journalists.
Typically arriving at their respective clubs early to
mid-morning, Japanese journalists begin their day by
reviewing the morning editions of rival newspapers,
checking for any missed information. This may be
followed by attendance at a regularly scheduled news
conference, a post-conference kondan or informal
briefing, a lecture on a related topic, or other
activities having to do with the reporting of current

"Most good journalism doesn't get done in kisha clubs.
They're inimical to everything that good journalism is."
--Howard French, the New York Times

"Journalists also leave the clubs to pursue stories and
conduct interviews, but even these activities are
carried out in an institutionalized fashion, and
frequently as a group. Younger journalists covering the
major political parties or the police and prosecutors'
offices, for example, often spend a considerable portion
of their day conducting morning and nightly rounds known
as asamawari and yomawari. ? From early morning until
quite late at night groups of (often neophyte)
journalists follow powerful individuals with whom they
ultimately develop very close (and at times quite
deferential) relationships.

"Promising young political journalists, for example, are
often assigned to cover LDP faction bosses. These
journalists, known as ban journalists (ban kisha)
frequently start their day by going straight to the
politician's home, arriving at about 7:30 in the
morning. Together with journalists from other news
organizations they greet the politician and then follow
him or her around for most of the day, waiting for any
tidbit of news that might be offered. In addition to
gathering information, a good deal of time and effort is
spent developing friendly relations with the politician
they cover."

The only way to repair what's wrong with journalism in
Japan is to abolish the press club system, Freeman

Some defenders of the system say it makes Japan the most
competitive country in the world when it comes to
domestic news, and that members are willing to run the
risk of club censure if the story is big enough.

"The kisha club system ? facilitates access to
information possessed by public institutions and other
sources," the NSK kisha guidelines say. "As a result,
fast and accurate reporting becomes possible, allowing
more in-depth news gathering and reporting.

"Kisha clubs are organizations where the 'joint force of
journalists' is demonstrated, while being based on the
individual activity of journalists," the guidelines
continue. "No kisha club should constrain the
individual activity of journalists."

The first press club was formed in 1890 to pressure the
secretive Imperial Diet to open up the corridors of
power to journalists and public scrutiny. The NSK says
they have been keeping these corridors open ever since
by having the kisha club housed in the same buildings as
their sources, whether it be the prime minister's
office, the parliamentary Diet building or even local
police agencies.

There is a risk that without the press club system,
access to officials and information would diminish, NSK
officials said.

"By losing the press club, whose strength is observing
the government, there arises a fear of it becoming more
difficult to reach the citizens with information the
government considers inconvenient. ... Shouldn't we
take advantage of the kisha clubs as a pressure group to
urge more freedom of information?"

But even insiders sometimes chafe at the price of
membership: The NSK recently agreed to limit their
coverage of the kidnapping and recent return of Japanese
nationals by North Korea out of respect for the abducted
and their families, "assigning only a limited number of
pre-selected reporters to ask questions at joint news

But according to the group's latest newsletter,
"reporters are losing their patience. Some say they
can't ask the questions they want and therefore lack the
information they need. Others say that acquiescing to
the current restraints sets a bad precedent."

The newsletter adds, "The restrictions on coverage leave
the media with little other than bland, uniform reports,
ruling out any competitive search for the truth."

A Crack in the Wall?

The arguments for and against the kisha system have been
repeated for decades to no effect, but the fight may be
different this time for several reasons.

For one thing, this is the first time that Japan has
been put on formal notice by a major trade partner that
the clubs could be judged a trade barrier by the World
Trade Organization. If that happens, Japanese reporters
overseas could theoretically be barred from their beats
or could suffer some other sort of sanctioned
retaliatory action.

Another difference is that the foreign press has
recently gained some other new cage-rattling Japanese
allies that also want to see the clubs disappear.

A case awaiting attention from the Supreme Court could
challenge the government's right to chose to release
official information to just kisha members: After being
denied access to court materials during a case he was
covering -- materials only provided to club members --
Japanese freelance magazine journalist Terasawa Yu has
sued, lost and appealed his way to the Supreme Court.

The court has not yet decided if it will take the case,
which it has been sitting on for two years. But if it
does and finds in Yu's favor, there will be legal
pressure from Japan's highest court to at least
refashion, and possibly eliminate, the kisha club

Politicians are getting into the act too: In 2001, as
one of his first acts in office, Yasuo Tanaka, the
governor of Nagano Prefecture, kicked out the three
press clubs that covered the Nagano government, and
created one press center that was open to any journalist
from any publication.

"It is the individual journalist who must stand at the
center of all kinds of reporting activities," said
Tanaka at the time. "This is the foundation of a
society with a responsible approach to information and
the press."

Similarly, Ken Takeuchi -- the former mayor of Kamakura
City and now editor of an independent online newspaper
called JanJan -- broke up the municipal press club and
created an open media center in its place.

"Outside of Kamakura and Nagano, Japan's press club
system remains almost unchanged today," he said.

Takeuchi was the keynote speaker at the Foreign
Correspondents Club of Japan's March 15 symposium (pdf)
on the kisha system. A former reporter, Takeuchi
compared kisha club reporters to a kind of farm fed

"They don't taste as good because they don't go upriver
under their own force," he said. "They can't find their
own food.

End of quotes

NB : Until this day, no major changes, the Japanese
press remain closed and selective. An other mystery
added to Japan whose society, more and more, is lied,
betrayed and deceived by its own media. The NHK
scandals being a latest example. The Nihon shimbun
Kyokai tried in the 90's to amend but this was a short
course attempt. Its hypocritical invitations to
gatherings with foreign press, according to foreign
medias representative are nothing else than added insult
to media ethics.


US Intelligence reports : unfounded data ?

Quotes :

"An independent nonpartisan commission established by
U.S. President George W. Bush to examine that issue
reported last Thursday, after a year-long probe, that
the country's intelligence agencies did a terrible job.
In fact, they passed on unfounded data to the top levels
of the U.S. government.

Whether or not many nations agreed with the idea of
invading Iraq, they believed the United States had based
its momentous decision to go to war on reliable,
credible information. It is simply astounding to hear
that the country's intelligence agencies failed so
completely in their duty.

The allies who followed the U.S. lead and sent their
troops to Iraq must be shocked at the report's

There is now serious question about U.S. intelligence
capabilities, and the resulting analyses and judgments
that were made based on that wrong information"

end of quotes

Click on the title to access the article

Monday, April 04, 2005

ITER: Chirac seeks deal with Japan to break deadlock on nuclear project

Iter in France, and Japan sub-contractor? Question is :
where will the next generation nuclear project be
geographically mostly needed : Asia or Europe?

Agencies quotes :

French President Jacques Chirac said that the European
Union hoped for an agreement soon to let Japan take part
in a revolutionary nuclear project as both parties
agreed to step up dialogue.

Talks have been deadlocked for months on where to build
the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor
(ITER), with the European Union threatening to go it
alone if Japan does not drop its bid.

"France along with Europe hope for Japan's participation
as part of the international cooperation on ITER,"
Chirac said on a visit to Tokyo.

"I have no doubt that an agreement on this issue can be
found quickly between the European Union and Japan," he
told a seminar on sustainable development organized by
the Nikkei financial press group.

Speaking at the same event, Taizo Nishimuro, chairman of
electronics giant Toshiba, said he heard a deal could be
reached in April.

"I understand that Japan and France will work together
to come to a conclusion in a meeting next month,"
Nishimuro said.

"I know Japanese engineers who can speak the best French
are those in the field of nuclear science. They have
full understanding of the goings on in France," he said.

ITER, which would emulate the sun's nuclear fusion, is
designed to one day generate inexhaustible supplies of
electricity, but is not expected to be operational
before 2050.

The United States and South Korea support Japan's offer
to build ITER in Rokkasho-mura, a northern Japanese
village near the Pacific Ocean, while China and Russia
back the EU bid for the southern French town of

European Union leaders at a March 23 meeting in Brussels
said they would go ahead with construction in Cadarache
and gave Japan until July to agree.

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, after talks Sunday
with Chirac, said Japan "has no intention to withdraw
its bid to invite ITER."

A Japanese foreign ministry official said Koizumi and
Chirac agreed in principle for an EU delegation to visit
Japan before April 18, when the Europeans will hold a
new crucial meeting on ITER in Brussels.

"Japan and France have had fruitful cooperation for more
than a quarter century on the peaceful use of nuclear
energy. We want this cooperation to continue, including
through the ITER program," Chirac said in an interview
with the Tokyo Shimbun newspaper published Monday.

Chirac said without further detail that Tokyo had made
"constructive proposals" which would designate a sharing
of responsibilities between the country which hosts the
ITER reactor and the other.

Satoru Ohtake, chief of the Office of Fusion Energy,
which handles the ITER issue at the Japanese science and
technology ministry, said he did not believe Koizumi and
Chirac came "to a new, fresh conclusion per se."

"They have agreed to continue our discussions in search
for an answer. They reiterated that they will take the
path that we have been taking."

"We are still negotiating the issue and we want to come
to a conclusion that is mutually beneficial."

"What the summit did was to reconfirm the method that we
have been taking and to continue the ongoing dialogue."

end of quotes

Also :

Click on the title to access the document on future
strategical F/J partnership on world peace and


Japanese defense agency official suspected to leak submarine plans to China

Japanese police have raided the home of a former
technical official with the Defense Agency on suspicion
of stealing submarine documents for possible passage to
China, reports said Sunday.

The former official allegedly took out copies of
technical documents on Japanese submarines several times
without permission until he retired in March 2002, the
Yomiuri and other dailies said without naming sources.

Police declined to comment on the reports.

The former official, now 63, gave the copies to a
long-time acquaintance who ran a food import company
dealing with China, the reports said, adding police had
also searched the home of the acquaintance.

"As the acquaintance was known to have travelled to
China frequently, the public safety division (of police)
is cautiously investigating whether the documents have
been leaked to China," the Yomiuri said.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

China : Vatican denounces the arrest of 18 Bishops including 86 years old James Lin Xili.

China: the Vatican denounces the arrest of bishop,
priest and layperson. Meanwhile in China, news on the
Pope's condition disappear from Internet.

quotes :

The Director of the Vatican Press Office, Joaquin
Navarro Valls, denounced today the arrest of several
Catholics in China. The Bishop of Wenzhou, Msgr James
Lin Xili, age 86, was arrested last March 20 on Palm
Sunday. He was taken away by security forces, but the
reason for his arrest is unknown. A priest, Fr Thomas
Zhao Kexiun, of the Diocese of Xuanhua in Hebei, was
arrested last March 30 while returning home from a
funeral. The reason for the arrest in his case as well
is unknown, as is his place of detention.

The Vatican points out that the Bishop of Xuanhua
Diocese, Msgr Phillip Peter Zhao Zhendong, was also
arrested January 3rd of this year and is being held in
the city of Jiangjiakou. Then, on March 22 in the
Diocese of Wenzhou, police arrested Gao Xinyou, a
collaborator in the pastoral for the laity in the
Longgang area.

The news of Fr. Zhao Kexiun's arrest had already been
reported by AsiaNews; Bishop Lin Xili is among those
named on the list published by AsiaNews of 18 bishops
and 19 priests in prison or in isolation in China. He
is one of the bishops of the underground Church who are
periodically arrested and subjected to brainwashing
sessions to force them to register with the the
Patriotic Association, the entity through which the
Chinese Communist Party controls Catholics: among its
aims is to create a Church independent from the pope.

The Vatican statement comes just as various media are
speculating on the attention being given by China to the
dying Pope. Yesterday, the spokesperson for the Chinese
Foreign Ministry, Liu Jianchao, said in a press
conference that he wished the Pope a "speedy recovery".
Yesterday, the Xinhua agency and the People's Daily also
gave ample summaries on the health of Pope Jean Paul II.
Internet sites and chat groups were full of news and
forums on the figure of the Pope. But, AsiaNews sources
in Beijing say that today news on the Pope disappeared
from all Internet sites; neither a picture nor a line
was to be found on television or in newspapers.

For some observers, such Internet censorship stems from
a specific government concern: overly free discussion on
the figure of John Paul II, known by all as a champion
of human rights and human dignity, risks generating
strong criticisms against the Chinese government, which
has always been hostile to him as the Pope who "brought
down Communism."

Another serious concern faced by the government of
Beijing is that, in case of the Pope's funeral,
Taiwanese President Chen Shuibian could participate in
the ceremony as head of state (the Vatican has
diplomatic relations with Taiwan), while People's China
would not be represented. Beijing broke relations with
the Holy See in 1951, expelling the then nuncio, Msgr
Antonio Riberi. China has always set two conditions for
the re-establishment of relations: namely, that the
Vatican not interfere in religious matters in China (by
not being involved in the naming of bishops) and that it
break ties with Taiwan.

end of quotes