Thursday, December 27, 2007

Quest for common value: Japan and China utopia

What value do Japan and China share in common except images of two nations infatuated by contempt and short sighted stubbornness of past leaders? Prior to Japanese prime minister Fukuda's visit to the country of Confucius, there is not much constructive talks that is murmured about what could be sketched on the way to achieve major progress in their bilateral relations and Asia house building. I mean in the non - sino - american condominium way. But is this timidity a pre-requisite as a first step into the right direction? They finally decided to talk to each other and call at each other's.

Raising the banner of progress and happiness is not enough. The question for China and Japan remains: how to re discover the limit, the sense of proportion and avoid theatrical stances and at what realistic price? "This form of paranoia and unprecedented social dementia reactions will occur again, unpredictable. One has never played the impunity road-map of the "de-civilisation." (Historian Pierre Legendre in "Dominium Mundi". "La theatralisation est inherente a l'espece douee de parole." (Click the title to access to the article)

Light output so far. Yielding on environmental empty pledges, doing nothing on hot talks such as China Sea territorial struggle, achieving nothing on massive reduction of defense spending, not reviewing historical, political, technological and cultural program drive to the expected fate: Utopia! As if Japan and China had never succeeded in getting out of the post colonialism values system dictated by bigger powers, far away nations. Japan remains unable to wake up and move on reform on the spiritual scale of what was achieved in the Meiji revolution (yes a revolution, not a mere "renovation", which means that there were people who lost their lives). Tokyo neither assumes its sovereignty on foreign affairs nor boost its defense on his own feet while China is too eager to show off building its condominium world-stage. Tokyo sneezes when Beijing shouts and the world is bored, so is my editor when he watches Japan news wires.

Not an easy task. How could decades of suspicion, confrontations, trade - only would shift into a paradigm of harmoniously built relation, a perception of common destiny? First, there is no shortcut to playing a greater role internationally than in deleting misconceptions. Second, building common shared values, integrate, assimilate. The "metissage we say in French." And to achieve this pyramidal-size political objective, as Alexis de Tocqueville wrote: "There is one necessity that is to dissipate history in a society that claims herself as equalitarian". Probably up to the next - next generation.

In the twenty-first century especially, wouldn't it be in the interest of national power to follow Tocqueville advises as power depends more on the accuracy of the validated domestic institutions and on country’s openness to flow goods, people, money, and ideas? Therefore favoring integration is not the utopia. Without fundamental reform in the Asian village, how Japan and China will educate their children, train their youth, provide ease for its elderly, interact with the global village, culturally, economically, and contribute to the world peace and safe-environment... How will neighbors use workforce and conduct politics in the fair way. Behind the myth of enrichment, a huge populations remains in need and is not in total anesthesia, unsatisfied with their leaders lack of imagination and policies ' diversity.

Hu and Fukuda have not yet reached the variable that might boost confidence outside. Tokyo and Beijing governments need to be more concerned about these aspects of life than about the outward robot-alike manifestations of strength.

"Architects of the modern Japanese state have to understand that national power depends on the quality of domestic institutions. It will determine where Japan will go from 2007." The question is not to reinvigorate Japan and China's muscles but to create a new code of behavior in international relations, a model's role of harmonious values, not an easy task as Professor Amako of Waseda told foreign correspondents and diplomats at a Foreign Press Center (FPCJ) briefing: "These values still have to be created." "Maybe harmony" is a sound road-map.

"Opera mundi" and show-off only politics, is it ?

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Commercial whaling: Has it ever stopped ?

Isn't it a gorgeous image of what nature is if kept free ?

It would have been too nice gift for a Xmas day... and Japan once again might have fallen after taking its feet in the carpet? Really? Well, technically not. Commercial whaling never stopped so it can't re-start! Oh, boys!

Facts: Japan's plan to hunt whales in the Antarctic for the purpose of "scientific study" was temporarily suspended on December 21, 2007. Although they still plan on hunting whales in other areas, Japan's Antarctic mission was especially controversial because they had planned on killing not only 935 minke whales and 50 fin whales, but also up to 50 humpbacks. A global moratorium on hunting humpbacks was put in place in the mid-1960s, when it was discovered that humpbacks were on the verge of extinction.

Japan, which says whaling is part of its culture, is carrying out the hunt in the Antarctic Ocean using a loophole in a 1986 global moratorium on commercial whaling that allows "lethal research" on the giant mammals.

The Japan Fisheries Agency argues for ages that whales are just another type of marine resource and should be treated like fish. Many countries, including USA, Scandinavia, Japan and Britain, engaged in over-whaling in the history, especially in the early decades of the 20th century, leading to a sharp decrease in stocks. But "now some species have increased to the point that limited catches will not put them at risk of extinction," according to Tokyo.

Japan in fiscal 2006, produced some 4,154 tons of whale meat as a byproduct of the research, down from 5,560 tons in fiscal 2005. Recently as Australia and other countries and conservation groups heated up their outcry against Japan's whaling program, Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura announced that Japan would not go after humpbacks while talks on reforming the IWC are under way.

So it stopped? No! Puzzled...? Why should Japan stop a whaling campaign as it looks to some observers that Japan never stopped the commercial whaling and did it with a catch of about 182 pieces a year! How come? Some of this explanation were aired last night on the BBC by an astute commentator (waiting for the "Père Noël" gifts). I am told by a precious source, quote:" that Japan coastal whaling industry has a quota of 62 Baird's Beaked Whales (tsuchi), 100 Short Finned Pilot Whales (gondō) and 20 Risso's Dolphins (hanagondō)". So to speak. (Click the title to access the MP3 of BBC to listen to the BBC program.)

Final point: Why is it that Japan carry on with killing whales? "One big reason is that it evokes a sense of nationalism and that Japan does not want to stop whaling simply because it is told to do so by Western countries, including those that encouraged Japanese to eat whale meat after the war, when other food sources were scarce," according to some critics expressed in the local press.

Question: The "Japan's barbaric whale slaughter" as some organizations said is indeed bad sight, but isn't it the same regarding all hunting forms, including barbaric slaughter of turtle, elephant, gorilla, tiger, shark, fox and deer, not really basic food, er?