Friday, September 11, 2009

Japan "Rendez-Vous" with the Moon

No need to be captured by UFOs or journey to Venus! There is
no Dr. Strangelove at JAXA. Japan simply has a space
policy. Call it scientific and commercial. Today's H-2B
launch was good news for the industry and beyond. And it has
nothing to do with a future Japan plan for building an ICBM.

"The Japanese rocket blasted off at 02:01 AM "propelling an
unmanned cargo vehicle containing supplies for the crew of
the International Space Station (ISS). The vehicle called
HTV separated from the H-2B rocket 15 minutes after launching
from the Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture,
Kyushu, according to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency

It is loaded with 4.5 tons of supplies, including food,
clothes, personal hygiene products and an equipment for
Japan's Kibo laboratory module on the ISS.

The 33-foot HTV will be the first of seven that Japan will
send to the ISS every year. It will support supply delivery
to the ISS that will be done by Russian and European
space-crafts after the decommissioning of the U.S. space
shuttle in 2011."

Naturally the international scientific cooperation is
delighted and it should be regarded as an achievement.
According to Japanese peaceful minded people it would be wise
not to go beyond. Beyond? Yes, here you are, there are the
nervous type who say: A rocket? Easy to fix a nuke payload?
Is Japan on its way to gain its own nuclear capabilities?

Oh boy! Not again! I heard such comments so often and from
so serious diplomats, salesmen, or journalists, hi-tech,
finance. "Foutaises"! Not with this one, mate!

Japan rather thinks in term of securing future technologies
and markets. If the week ahead shows the HTV is locked to
ISS, then its a miracle the project worked successfully in
spite of such chaotic period.

This H-2B is the difficulty type you know. The rocket is not
made to react fast (in case of nuke attack on Japan it wont
work at all) as we know it takes lot of time to get fueled.
Jaxa: "The H-IIB launch vehicle is a two-stage rocket using
liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen as propellant and has four
strap-on solid rocket boosters (SRB-A) powered by

"... the engine fuel--liquid hydrogen and oxygen cannot be
kept in the tank for many hours. Before launching, about
hours are needed to go through the procedure of gas
replacement, preliminary cooling, and early fueling to fill
up... before launching."


Still, what about nuclear weapons people asked me? Some
say it does not mean that Japan won't have one day the
capabilities to gain nuke weapons and this is interesting in
current debate on the Japan US secret nuclear pact.

NHK, the Japanese national broadcaster, had this debate just
before August 30th election, and surveyed viewers and public.
Surprisingly, a majority of people, mid-aged and young, said
they considered as inevitable that Japan would arm itself
with the nuclear defense capabilities.

Looks like not everyone in the archipelago listened to
President Obama's initiative for a nuclear nonproliferation
and nuclear disarmament in his speech April 5 in the Czech
Republic, in which he pledged to "eventually" eliminate
nuclear weapons.

In Japan there are people who disagree: military and
politicians. Take the former Air Self-Defense Force Chief of
Staff Toshio Tamogami who called upon Japan to arm itself
with nuclear weapons to avoid a third nuclear attack. He was
sacked. Mixed up ideas. But such concerns grows, fueled by
"alarmed" speakers and self-promoted experts. Such as
Nisohachi Hyodo's four-year plan toward Japan's nuclear
armament with "12 warheads 30 missiles, including those for
experiment and for reserve, and 12 SLBM" on alert on a
24-hour basis as described with this (long) report published
by FAS a few years ago and advocated to begin with a Japanese
nuclear deterrent system with M-3SII rockets (around Yen 5
billion each)

Politically, take the man being seen as one of the potential
next LDP leader, Shigeru Ishiba. He has on the record
advocated that Japan should get the capabilities to defend
its territory. " Mr. Koizumi's defense minister, Shigeru
Ishiba, told a parliamentary committee that if North Korea
started fueling its missiles, "then it is time to strike."

Some have studied carefully the program:

"Japan's Potential Nuclearization: Exploring Tokyo's Nuclear

Terumasa Nakanishi, a professor at Kyoto University, argues
explicitly that “U.S. nuclear weapons will be deployed in
Japan as arms exclusively for the defense of Japan, and Tokyo
and Washington will share the buttons to fire them...

Maybe in the end, this report, of the New York Times
published in 2003 sets the clock right in time.

"Advocates of continued pacifism complain that the government
has carefully exploited the tensions with North Korea to
heighten fear among voters. The Japanese public, some of
them warn, is being dragged unawares into a revival of

"I cannot conceive of a war in which North Korea, a far
smaller, far poorer country, attacks Japan first," said
Ryuichi Ozawa, a professor of constitutional studies at
Shizuoka University. "The point here is that there is no
confidence that the people of Japan and their government can
control a military," he said. "This is a contemporary
concern, and not just an issue of our past history." But
public opinion is turning against such sentiments.

"Whenever there is any talk about the security
needs of Japan, people say we are reverting to
militarism," said Tetsu Takahashi, 20, a university
student. "I don't necessarily support nuclear
weapons, even if we can't rule them out.
Whatever the case, our policies have been too

✍ See what I mean. The symbol of power is to own a
nuclear armament and to get the bomb on the top of
a giant rocket.

Hmm... and what about a suitcase-bomb?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Enigmatic coalition on a Socratic path

Wax and smiles... for how long? Yukio Hatoyama, center,
leader of Japan's new ruling party Democratic Party of Japan,
People's New Party chief Shizuka Kamei, left, and Social
Democrat leader Mizuho Fukushima shake hands.

"A system of morality which is based on relative emotional
values is a mere illusion, a thoroughly vulgar conception
which has nothing sound in it and nothing true."

Socrates *

Well, this was nearly 2500 years ago...

Emotion and excitement appeared on every faces at the
Japanese Diet last night. Not only about the coalition that
is to be in charge from September 16th if approved by Diet.

A coalition, why? DPJ doesn't need a coalition to control
Japan's lower house of parliament as they have total majority
(308 seats)

"It will work until 2010 election" I am told by sources. So,
a lot of checkmate games until next Upper House election.

Mission is to gather the citizens middle and middle poor
class' support to win Upper House election in 2010. Then
tough realignment. With professionalization of political
forces within DPJ, which means integration of minor parties
and forced exclusion of opponents (the Ozawa hard line
style) in worst cases.

Prior to this, the final kill is now coming, Ozawa is
preparing a new study of constituencies and this also is the
reason why he allied with the JSP. Target? All LDP areas
with no DPJ "solid" candidate will be ejected by an
experienced socialists or one assassin Godfathered by a DPJ's


-One unknown fact is the bureaucracy.

-One other is what Mrs. Fukushima will do. Fukushima will
ask a lot and it will come with a cabinet work and she won't
give up her hard people's support commitments. But what
about Kamei, what is he doing here? He, the friend of Peru
jailed ex president Alberto Fujimori.

-Also unknown but predictable, how is DPJ going to deal with
the newcomers on Japanese political stage, the so called
Ozawa young forces, mostly good minded women politicians?

In the meantime... at the LDP and Komeito... "ZZZZZ...."

They were attacking each other, wondering, moaning, de-
ambulating in the Diet Corridors and offices trying to woo
contributors and sponsors asking if they still have a future
in current political configuration. First problem is
political subsidies. The answer is "no". Hard days ahead.
Conservatives, and whatever Komeito political line remains,
might have to work on themselves and re-invent their
political platform, ingeniously. Get back to work!

Of course, the coalition is trumpeting satisfaction in spite
of abyssal political divergences. But how Hatoyama's
Democratic Party will function after forming a coalition
government with the two smaller groups, despite differences
on foreign policy and on the presence of U.S. Marines on
Okinawa for instance? Petulance or firm politics?

It is said that "the United States wants Japan to continue the
Indian Ocean mission in the refueling of foreign navies' war
vessels, which has been in place since 2001 in support of
military US led operations in and around Afghanistan." I was
recently told Hatoyama could freeze this refueling mission
and could pay cash to the international force. Checkbook

But Yukio Hatoyama, suggested today there is no change in his
policy to end the Maritime Self-Defense Force’s refueling
mission in the Indian Ocean, and commenting on Washington’s
calls for its continuation, he told us: ‘‘We haven’t been asked!’’

Oh... really?

* Socrates (469–399 bc), ancient Athenian philosopher, as
represented in the writings of his disciple Plato, engaged in
dialogue with others in an attempt to reach understanding and
ethical concepts by exposing and dispelling errors (the
Socratic method). He was not the proponent of a philosophy
but an individual with a method of undermining the fabric of
Athenian society. He openly objected to the democracy that
ran Athens during his adult life. It was not only Athenian
democracy : Socrates objected to any form of government that
did not conform to his ideal of a perfect republic led by
philosophers. Charged with introducing strange gods and
corrupting the young, he committed suicide as required.

✍ Nota Bene : Kamei listed Fujimori, who is claimed as having a
Japanese citizenship background, in the 2007 Upper House
election (and lost it all of course). Bad choice. Fujimori
is linked to Vladimiro Montesinos, who served as his
intelligence chief. Bad bad choice : Alberto Fujimori had
received his second prison sentence of the year mid July 2009
in Lima, Peru, after admitting he gave his former spy chief
$15 million. Fujimori was sentenced to seven and a half
years in prison for paying this bonus out of the government
treasury. After Fujimori admitted paying the money to
Vladimiro Montesinos, his attorneys argued since the money
was paid back, no crime was committed. However, the Peruvian
supreme court ordered Fujimori to pay the equivalent of $1
million restitution to the state. Prior to this, in April,
Fujimori was sentenced to 25 years in prison for authorizing
a death squad that killed civilians. Fujimori was president
of Peru from 1990 to 2000. Improper enough was to associate
with a man like Fujimori who is in jail for crimes, when one
knows Kamei's campaign to put an end to death penalty in

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Is China "frustrated" with Pyongyang?

NHK World web-page

In an article on its website and TV channel news at 1900,
Japanese public channel NHK reported on tuesday night about
an alleged debate held within China powerful leadership based
on a column published in People's Daily and re-published into
English in its People's Daily' group Global Times. Needless
to say it will fuel polemical talks in the P.R. of China and
Japan. But it seems in the natural order of things and

✍ I as always felt that the world would be a better place the
day when we will be able to travel from Fukuoka to Paris and
London via Beijing and the Korean peninsula by High Speed
train such as the T.G.V. and it would require the most
fabulous infrastructures ever built since the... building of
the Chinese Great Wall and the Roman empire? If it is
confirmed that some, at the top level in China, are ready to
dump North Korea stalinian regime, today was an other
historic day in Asia!


"Party paper says China reviews N. Korean policy

A Chinese newspaper says discussion is taking place within
the Chinese leadership to review their North Korean policy. A
senior reporter of the Communist Party newspaper, People's
Daily, wrote that the nuclear test by North Korea in May
prompted the move. An affiliated newspaper, Global Times,
ran the signed editorial on Tuesday. The editorial says the
view that North Korea is a strategic buffer zone for China is
outdated. It also says the two countries' bilateral
friendship treaty, which stipulates a mutual defense
obligation, should be reviewed to fit the situation. It
urges a change from the unbalanced relationship in which
China unilaterally provides economic aid to North Korea. It
is unusual for a party paper to question China's traditional
relationship with North Korea. It apparently shows the
frustration of the Chinese leadership toward North Korea,
which left the six-party talks on its nuclear program and
conducted the nuclear test in May. North Korea still refuses
to return to the talks, of which China is the host." End of

2009/09/08 20:51(JST) from NHK

Monday, September 07, 2009

Japanese hell for exams... it's the Yakuza, stupid!

I read that the most of the (in)famous Yakuza groups are
forcing members to take "gangster exam". From the Mainichi
online. First I was surprised because I thought that most of
the leaders of gangs already graduated from top universities
prior to join top firms.

But here I can feel a fresh wind of reform that is blessing
the whole archipelago. Fresh and professional.

After all this is Japan, there is only one way to do serious
career (in crime) and it is to be a well groomed educated
(bandit) careerist.

(Young ladies modeling with excessive make up)

"Japan's largest and most notorious organized crime group,
the Yamaguchi-gumi, is forcing members to take a "gangster
exam" in order to reduce costly damages suits, police have
discovered. An affiliate based in Shiga Prefecture is
distributing written tests on the revised Anti-Organized
Crime Law, which allows higher-ranking gang members to be
sued for the actions of their subordinates, as a preventative
measure against future lawsuits. Police believe the test has
been introduced by Yamaguchi-gumi groups across the country.
Police first discovered the test during an investigation of a
member of the affiliate."

It is now the time of kids getting back to school and it
influences massively the Yakuza, apparently.

"A 12-question exam paper, complete with model answers, was
among the items confiscated. Questions included "What kind
of activities are banned?" with "dumping industrial waste;
bootlegging fuel; theft of construction vehicles and other
expensive items; phone fraud scams" etc. listed as the
correct answers. The model answer to the final question,
"What are you required to do in all your activities?" was:
"report and consult with my bosses."

Very organized people. I would not like to appear ironic but
was there any question about more lethal "activities"? Hang
a politician in the bathroom, push a businessman into ordeal
after kidnapping his family, take commissions from the real
estate business industry that impair national budget,
extorting kids at school with the heavy hands of young thugs,
etc. etc. etc.

Mainichi report
Images of body painting

Sunday, September 06, 2009

China: When nostalgia defeats revolution

"A bunch of eunuchs?"

"To observe September 1, the national back-to-school day,
Hangzhou's Ziyang Elementary School held a special ceremony
in which teachers and students wore Qing costumes. According
to principal Lu Aiping, this was intended to honor the
school's long history, which extends back to 1703 and the
reign of the Kangxi Emperor.

Chinese Internet users saw it quite a bit differently. In a
thread on Tiexue net, someone commented : they look like a
bunch of eunuchs.

Another netizen said, Qing costumes are the ugliest. History
was evoked to make the argument more compelling : At the
beginning of Kangxi's rule, Southern Ming minister Zhang
Huangyan was captured and sent to Hangzhou to be

When the people saw Zhang in Ming style clothes, everyone
shed tears. Now, 98 years after the Han drove out the aliens
and recovered the country, how can these barbarian clothes
still be the fashion? When they students wear barbarian
clothes, do they even think of Zhang, who was buried by West
Lake? The newspaper report said that principal Lu has
received scores of angry letters protesting the ceremony.
One outraged citizen was afraid that his complaints would be
ignored if he posted on the school BBS, so instead he hacked
the school's website and posted an open letter decrying the
ceremony." End of quotes.

✍ In Yokohama Chinatown I'd understand but I am quite not
sure to see what is behind this sudden wind of nostalgia.

Quotes here of this interesting blog regularly updated