Saturday, November 14, 2009

"Croisière Impériale": relations américaines tumultueuses en Asie

En France je ne sais pas trop, en revanche dans le reste
du monde on parle beaucoup du nouveau président américain
Barack Obama qui est en tournée en Extrême Orient pour y
faire des affaires.

Un de ses prédécesseurs, un Républicain celui-là, Théodore
Roosevelt - "I did not usurp power but I did greatly
broaden the use of executive power." - en a
fait autant, en 1905, avec son ministre de la guerre
William Taft.

Que n'a t on pas écrit sur ces 2 oiseaux. La réalité
serait elle bien autre? Un livre sur l'histoire des
relations entre l'Amérique et l'Asie sort le 24 novembre.
Titre: "Imperial Cruise" par James Bradley. James Bradley
est le fils de l'un des 6 "Marines" qui ont hissé le
drapeau américain (la deuxième fois...) sur le mont
Suribachi a Iwojima en 1945, c'est cet acte qui a été
immortalisé par Joe Rosenthal photographe de AP. Dans son
livre, Bradley évoque ce qui s'est passé pendant, après et
depuis entre les Etats Unis et l'Asie, Japon, Chine,
Corée, Asie du sud-est.

L'histoire va-t-elle se répéter interroge l'auteur? Un
livre dur et troublant, excessif parfois. Fondé sur des
notes inédites du célèbre père de James Bradley. Ecrit par
l'auteur de "Flags of our Fathers" dont Clint Eastwood a
fait un film produit par lui-même et par Spielberg,
récompensé d'un Golden Globe a Hollywood pour la
réalisation. Bradley est également l'auteur de "Fly Boys".

"Imperial Cruise" par James Bradley, chez Little, Brown
and Company, Hachette Book Group, New York

Friday, November 13, 2009

Obama's mystery tour in Asia !

The "Obamug" is a top sales in Tokyo

I agree with Tobias Harris when he writes: "Hatoyama government is able to show that its foreign policy is not dominated by its alliance with the world's strongest military power the Unites States." But then this came in: "U.S. President Barack Obama expressed hope Friday to reach a conclusion 'expeditiously' on the disputed relocation of a major U.S. military airfield in Okinawa Prefecture through a new ministerial- level bilateral working group. Obama made the remarks at a joint news conference after a summit with Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama at the Japanese leader's office".

Okada recently told media a new group is to discuss the relocation of U.S. Marine Corps airfield in Japan's Okinawa Prefecture and that he plans this working group to seek "swift" settlement of the issue, but he did not refer to a specific timeframe within which the working group should reach a conclusion. Kyodo wrote that "the latest agreement is a sign that the two governments feel the need to continue making adjustments on the issue involving Futemma Air Station, further dampening prospects for a settlement of the matter by the end of the year as urged by Washington."

Maybe too quick on this Kyodo news...

When Okinawa reverted to Japanese control, one-fifth of the land was given over to US military bases, and remains off limits zone to Okinawaians. Kadena is constantly watched by NGO NPO and demonstrations are daily routine. A museum I visited in Okinawa city tells decades of tumultuous history, accident, rapes, crimes, disturbances, bad memories etc that shattered the islanders and fueled their anger against the "ally". The people there are not happy and do NOT behave as the Japanese islanders 700 km further north-east in their schizophrenic relationship with the "elder US Brother" .

So question is will a Democrat president, Afro American, have some different consideration for the Okinawa islanders whose island was once part of an independent island oceanic rich cultural nation who regarded their suzerain as China, not Zipango?

A few friends of mine just wonder how long time will be before Obama shows the red card to Hatoyama or call for the end of the game?

Obama's mystery tour in Asia will certainly be informative on one thing:
Asia is now getting more and more independent!

Just before to close the shop for today, one last issue. Who can tell me what happened to Ozawa Ichiro, the "eminence grise" of the DPJ? "Ichiro Ozawa, secretary general of the Democratic Party of Japan, criticized Christianity on Tuesday, saying the religion is "exclusive and self-righteous" and that Western society is "stuck in a dead end." Ozawa also said "Islamism is also exclusive, although it's somewhat better than Christianity" regarding exclusiveness. Is it the new Ozawa "stanza" to use some Satanic type verses?

Holly Smoke!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Japan Emperor: "Learn from history and prepare for the future".

For the 20th anniversary of the coronation of Japan's Emperor Akihito, I was invited recently with 6 other colleagues of the foreign press to attend a press conference at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo at an audience of the imperial couple. The Emperor spoke to us, the media, last week, but his comments were embargoed for publication until the anniversary today of his accession to the Chrysanthemum throne, in line with usual imperial household practice. The 75-year-old monarch and the Empress, always very kind to each other and to the audience, said he was in good health, although he has been treated for cancer and other ailments and appeared frail.

Akihito, who under the post-war constitution serves a largely ceremonial function and is barred from commenting on politics, made quite some comments to our team of reporters that I can now release to the public.

When asked if he had any concerns for the country's future, he said he was worried young people are forgetting their history. Akihito said Japan must not forget its past and especially the difficult years his father was on the throne that included the country's invasion of Asia and the occupation of several of its neighbors.

In a rare defence of his father's wartime record, the Emperor said that Japanese aggression had been contrary to his wishes. "The reign of my father began at a very difficult time." Japan invaded Manchuria six years after Emperor Hirohito (called Emperor Showa after his death) ascended the Chrysanthemum Throne. "There are many lessons that we can learn from the 60-some years of his (Hirohito) reign." "He viscerally knew the importance of peace," Akihito added: "What worries me most is that the history of the past will gradually be forgotten".

An unusual comment of the emperor who at the time was considered divine by his people but seen as an aggressor by the Allied powers.

Akihito said that his father, posthumously called Emperor Showa in Japan after the name of his 1926-89 era, had as crown prince visited France and in particular the site of the World War I battlefield of Verdun.

"He had taken to heart the importance of maintaining peace," Emperor Akihito added: "It is my perception that the events that led to war must have been contrary to what he would have wished."

Quite a strong statement.

Historians are divided on whether the emperor was responsible for Japan's aggression before and during WWII or whether he was the puppet of military and political leaders. Akihito assumed the throne after the death of his father on Jan. 7, 1989, but was not crowned until later that year because the country was officially in mourning.

"I believe it is essential for us to learn from the historical facts and prepare ourselves for the future," Emperor Akihito answered to us.

Hope to sweeten bitter memories

Many Asian countries still have nightmares of Japan's colonization and past aggression and have complained that Japan has white-washed its past in school textbooks. Japan's centre-left Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, who recently took power in September, ending 50 years of conservative domination on the Japanese political scene, has pledged stronger ties with Asia and said he and his cabinet ministers will not visit Tokyo's controversial Yasukuni war shrine.

Akihito, who turns 76 next month, also said that "he worried that Japan's society was rapidly aging and its economy weakening, but said he hoped Japanese people would cooperate to overcome the difficulties." Empress Michiko, 75, at the same press conference, said she felt it was "a little disappointing that an aging society is considered only as a problem. I hope we will not lose our habit of congratulating together those who reach the venerable ages of 90, 100, or more."

Some 50,000 people were expected to gather on Thursday for private commemorative events near the palace, central Tokyo, for traditional and modern music performances. Prior to this, a ceremony was organized at the National theatre of Tokyo, in Hanzomon. Akihito's coronation ceremony was held on November 12, 1990, after the end of the mourning period for Hirohito. (with pool reports)