Saturday, January 08, 2011

Tokyo Police Sulphuric Leaks of Personal Information

Lawsuit against Dai-San Shokan publisher and its president Akira Kitagawa

According to the Shingetsu Institute, "leaked police documents reveal that Japan is increasingly manipulated by US anti-terrorism policy. The SNA’s initial survey of the materials leaked from the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department’s Public Security Bureau concludes that many of these documents were written for the purpose of cooperating with the FBI and other US intelligence agencies.

Some of the documents, in fact, are written in English with the notification: “SECRET, Not to be discussed with third countries.” Other documents include the English-language warning, "The information in this document is sensitive and meant for intelligence purposes of your government only."

These Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department documents were originally leaked onto the internet in October 2010, and the Japanese government finally admitted their authenticity in late December.

An article in yesterday's Sankei Shinbun indicates that Japanese investigators are now requesting international assistance—including from the United States—in tracking down the source of the leak. The documents themselves show that the FBI asked the Japanese police to interrogate resident Muslims about possible terrorist plots against the United States, and the American side even provided a list of questions that the Japanese police should ask.

The Metropolitan Police Department noted in its own Japanese-language assessment that the threat of terrorism from Muslims in Japan “should not be underestimated” because of their possible antagonism toward the SDF deployment to Iraq and support for the United States." Unquote.

In December a group of 13 Muslims in Japan has filed a suit against a publisher that released a book containing police documents on anti-terrorism activities that were leaked online, demanding the company halt the publication of the book and pay 42.9 million yen in damages.

The group filed the suit against Dai-San Shokan, a Tokyo-based publisher, and its president Akira Kitagawa with the Tokyo District Court on Dec. 24, claiming that the book contains information that infringes on their privacy.

According to the plaintiffs' lawyers, even though a provisional injunction against the publication and sale of the book has been ordered three times, the publisher continues to sell the book by blacking out part of the contents. The book carries Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) documents on counter-terrorism activities that were leaked onto the Internet.

The plaintiffs also filed a request with Tomiko Okazaki, chairman of the National Commission on Public Safety, for the protection of their safety now that their private information was publicized in the book, according to their lawyers. (Mainichi December 25th 2010)

Sources: Shingetsu News Agency, Reporter's notes.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Stealth and the City: The Chinese Top-Guns the US did not see coming...

J-20 5th Generation Stealth Fighter

The fact is that it's largely leaked on the Internet and to the media before Defense Secretary Robert Gates visit to Beijing. It's therefore a minor slap or a "reverse" to the official, as in a tennis play, and the effect is largely worked out. With this news of a newly arrived Chinese stealth fighter, early year 2011, it is enough to sustain a clear signal to those who did not get it yet: China has ambitions! It's been years I write and voice it since I'm based in Asia, China and Japan included. But there is a method to engage China which of course I shall not elaborate here as a too lengthy exercise.

I demonstrated this clearly when I asked to China ambassador Wang Yi, 2005, November 29th, in front of 200 people at the press club in Tokyo about "China modernization of its defense and specifically about China's acquisitions of long range bombers from Russia, the TU-22 Backfire". Ambassador Wang Yi had not dismissed the contract and the effort of China's modernization of its economy and capacity.

His answer, in Japanese language, was a great thrill to Tokyo correspondents who lack contacts with Chinese leaders. With my Chinese diplomats friends based in Tokyo, I helped to organize an event because to my great surprise not any Chinese (PRC) ambassador had ever accepted to come to a press conference of the FCCJ in Tokyo since its creation after WWII. (Only Taiwanese used to rush to talk to the int'l media). I recall very well ambassador Wang Yi comments: "China has intention to defend its own country, our priority is to build our economy first."

MP3 of the event is here

So, as a logical suite, this week, China launched a test run for its first J-20 stealth fighter plane. China is said it still lags in certain key technologies. Beijing hasn't been able to produce its own fighter jet engines and for example still buys them from Russia. The leak on Wednesday of photos of what appears to be a prototype of China’s first stealth fighter jet attracted immediate attention worldwide, but many note that China is years away from moving that jet into service. True or wishful thinking...?

Pictures of the jet and accompanying articles appeared on the front page of the Chinese daily Global Times on Wednesday. The release reflects the growing confidence of the usually secretive China's People's Liberation Army, which is pushing for greater influence and bigger budgets. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates heads to China this weekend. Michael Schiffer confirmed China military industry is also embarked on a modernization program of its military aircrafts.

Here is a VDO Youtube version, with the classical Chinese melody version of the J-20

Also here are 2 worth-to-read articles of the China's "Global Times" on the stealth fighter J-20 and the modernization of China military program:

1) "Rumored stealth jet undergoes tests" by Yu Miao

"The rumored prototype of China's "J-20 stealth fighter jet" has created a stir over the nation's defensive advancements, but analysts suggest that any such program would simply reflect the country's industrial military progress. Pictures of the alleged fourth-generation jet fighter, equivalent to a fifth-generation craft under Western classifications, have been circulating on the Internet since mid-December."

2) "Military enterprises to face the market" by Deng Jingyin.

"China is set to complete shareholding reforms of its military industries within three to five years in a bid to accelerate the process of bringing them in line with civilian businesses and to raise more funds from capital markets. Stimulated by the news, stocks of military and other related industries saw a marked jump Thursday, indicating the market's confidence in the reform.

The scheme is one of seven major tasks for defense-related science, technology and industry under the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-15). Sources from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology revealed that an inter-ministerial coordination mechanism would be established in 2011 to ensure the improvement of the reforms, the Shanghai Securities News (SCN)reported.

The completion of the reforms is also one of five targets set by the State Council and the Central Military Commission under a guideline for the improvement of a research and production system for weapons and equipment. "The guideline has upgraded military and civilian integration to a national strategy. This is a way to revitalize those companies through actively participating in market competition," Liu Jiangping, a Chinese military expert, told the Global Times."

Well, well well, what's the hell? Why do the media suddenly pretend no to know? Here is what I wrote about the modernization of China military jets on this blog... in December 2007:

Asian Gazette Saturday December 8th, 2007:
"China has already unveiled its new fighter, which is believed to be one of the most advanced used by any air force in the world today. Beijing is believed to be developing upgraded models with stealth capabilities, a J-XX..."

in: Title "Japan got his gun! A new stealth fighter!"
Here is the URL:

The only serious man, here, of course a military man, admitted that "the United States miscalculated the speed with which China is capable of developing its defense technology, Vice Adm. David "Jack" Dorsett, head of Navy intelligence, told reporters (Wednesday) that accounts China has been hard at work building a stealth fighter are "not a surprise."

After the news was released, this week, I got a few chats with some military experts in Tokyo town and later had a few talks at the Kasumigaseki "Press Center". Later on I dropped by the Fccj for a coffee, you should have seen the dark face of some of my colleagues of our "Gaijin" press club in Tokyo. Some Asian reporters I saw were broken-heads. One advise a friend told me is to advise the Taiwanese: "what about buying a French rafale of Dassault? It's not a 'rolls-royce' engine". So... scramble!

J-20 stealth fighter. The J-20 is believed to be "more technologically advanced than the Lockheed Martin’s F-22 Raptor, which is produced on a limited scale due to its exorbitant cost and whose more sophisticated functions have never been put in operation."

Sources & Reporters notes

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Japan's fear of chaos and for its own purse in West Africa!

Laurent and Simone Gbagbo could not imagine they would live outside of the "Palais de Cocody"

Is Africa desk at the Japanese ministry of foreign affairs in turmoil? Yes. A division who involved veteran top diplomats such as Tanabe san or Kono san (this one recently ousted from a Moscow embassy) completely lives and works in the blues under the Kan's government. Nothing new. But what does West Africa based Japanese ambassador Okamura Yoshifumi has to hide from (French 2 TV) reporters in troubled Ivory Coast as seen on France 2 evening news January 5th 2010?

Today the blocade in Ivory Coast stirs concerns for Japan of added instability in a region of the world that became rather crucial to Japanese economic interests. Those Japanese leaders, for years, have shared common policies or development and exploitation of resources, human and nature, with the French government. They are today more and more in cooperation with secrets policies undertaken with the Washington focus on West Africa, in a move attempted to compete with French influences and economical gains. France as usual sees or says nothing and shakes the head with a pathetic admission. "But what can we do?" I'm told...

A courageous and responsive policy has been handled on the contrary by JICA teams in Africa, JICA too often being obliged to go far beyond its initial mission... though.

Since a few days, the loss and departure of Gbagbo sent a lightening charge to the top of Japan's Gaimusho. After the elections result in Ivory Coast "as soon as Japanese Ambassador Yoshifumi Okamura heard the results, he rushed to see Gbagbo to encourage him to cede power. The two are friends and Okamura was in the waiting room about to be ushered in when state TV showed the head of the constitutional council announcing he was handing victory to Gbagbo. So I say, ‘OK Mr. President, this might be my last chance to persuade you to avoid the violence, Okamura said. "I tried to persuade him to behave in a statesman manner ... I tried my best. ... but I was not successful."

Japanese ambassador Okamura Yoshifumi

Japan's strategy in Africa is based on acquisition of raw material crucial for Japan's economy, industry, pharmaceutical, minerals, food etc... bought and disguised in Japan's assistance to the poor nations. In this regard, Japan studied very well the lessons of Alain Juppé and Jacques Chirac when both, at the top of power in France, asked Japan's financial help to develop Africa in the 90's for the benefit of "their respected policies" known in France as the Francafrique policy. Japan has since established a fruitful industry between the black continent and the Tokyo economical machine. But it is not alone, China has for decades built a slow cooperation with north Africa and the black continent.

The way Japan and China deal with Africa is nothing more than an added list of corruption's schemes and we are told that it's the way business has always been conducted. Just journalists were not aware nor asked to mention it.

I remember from the Ticad how Japan welcomed ex-president Omar Bongo, his imperial cape could not really match the Japanese Court etiquette. I could quote dozen examples of how the Japanese authorities complained about corruption directly asked by some African leaders and families. Talking about a cultural shock would be inappropriate as Japan is too well known for its cosy greasing of the machines to obtain contracts or political decisions. On this I remember a remarkable conversation I had with 3 presidents of Africa following one of the earlier Ticad press conference. The theme was about Japanese and Korean fishing boats who were known to harvest the seas to the point of exhaustion right in front of the African coasts of Mozambique, South Africa or Senegal.

Well then I guess you now who my top of the top sources might be... The "top"!

But Japan became a better student years after years. Japan's role in offering economical, technical (water) and medical assistance to Africa has also been pursued for a decade. Not for a benevolent humanitarian policy only. Today, Japan's discreet diplomatic moves in Africa appear less aggressive than the Chinese with lack of "control management" of Japanese "interests" in the west or east, south of Africa.

Regarding inner situation in Ivory Coast, quote: "After a decade of havoc, the election was supposed to set the country’s broken bones after a draining civil war. Once one of the most prosperous on the continent, this balmy, tropical country halfway down Africa’s western coast is now a shell of its former self. Women sell single eggs on the side of four-lane freeways designed to mirror those in Europe. University graduates unable to find work sell boxes of tissues while standing in the shadows of skyscrapers that are still the highest buildings in the region.

The risk of a return to war is real, and diplomats compare the standoff to a room whose floor is covered in gasoline where everyone is walking around with lighters. Coils of smoke rose from the skyline for days as angry protesters burned tires. The U.N. raised the security threat level, requiring the immediate evacuation of several hundred civilian employees."

It remains to be seen if Japan will send some assistance (PKO) as it did in regions in turmoil, Mozambique, Cambodia, Middle East.

Also and to end this interesting report in French about the Gbagbo couple, quote:

"Un couple fanatisé

Quand le vendredi 03 décembre, le président du Conseil constitutionnel rétablit les résultats en faveur de Gbagbo, peu après 15 heures, Simone Gbagbo, debout au milieu de la salle des pas perdus du palais de Cocody, reçoit les partisans en liesse par cette exhortation ? : " ?allez en joie. Entrez en action de grâce pour le seigneur ?". Le couple Simone-Laurent Gbagbo, sans doute convaincu par des pasteurs illuminés, se sont pénétrés d’une mission divine pour la Côte d’Ivoire. Toujours en rapport avec Houphouët, qui est le seul modèle à leurs yeux, le couple Gbagbo est convaincu d’être le " ?Moise ?" de la Côte d’Ivoire, venu réparer les "torts" d’Houphouët, représenter sous les traits de pharaon et de conduire les Ivoiriens à la terre promise de la souveraineté "authentiquement africaine" et à la démocratie. C’est pourquoi, il pense qu’il faut faire comme Napoléon, en France, " ?prendre la couronne et se la placer sur sa tête, pour éviter que le pape (la France en l’occurrence) ne le fasse plus désormais".

Sur un autre plan, les psychanalystes diront de Simone qu’elle est une névrosée. Militante syndicaliste et politique comme Laurent, elle n’aurait pas bien traversé la période de la lutte pour la démocratie du début des années 1990. Arrêtée et vraiment maltraitée dans son intimité pendant sa détention, elle s’est abandonnée à la prière, coachée par des évangélistes. Quand, par les circonstances que l’on sait, le pouvoir leur tombe entre les mains, en octobre 2000, elle est convaincue que Dieu a entendu sa prière et leur assigne une mission de sauver la Côte d’Ivoire. Deux ans après, une deuxième épreuve, le coup d’Etat manqué de septembre 2002, surmontée miraculeusement finit par la convaincre qu’ils ont une mission divine. Dieu ne peut pas montrer autant de sollicitude pour rien.

Une source proche du dossier ivoirien est convaincue qu’elle est pour quelque chose dans l’autisme actuel de son époux de président. Le jeudi 2 décembre, elle réunit une assemblée de prière de femmes exclusivement, filmée complaisamment par la RTI, instrument de la propagande des Gbagbo pour ?annoncer la dernière parole divine ? : "la souffrance des Ivoiriens va prendre fin ?bientôt". Le lendemain 3 décembre, Paul Yao Ndré, que Laurent Gbagbo appelle familièrement " ?Pablo ?", instrument de cette volonté divine, prononce la sentence de Dieu. Laurent Gbagbo reste président. Les votes de toute la région nord, sous contrôle des Forces nouvelles, sont annulés..."

Par Newton Ahmed Barry in L’Evénement

Sources & Reporter's notes

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Cartes du Nouvel An au Japon: le Lapin en 2011 et la loterie en plus!

Le Japon adore les cartes de Noël pour garder le contact mais ce sont les cartes du Nouvel An dont il raffole surtout. Et ces jours-ci, chacun y va de sa carte car la surprise est pour dans quelques jours. Rapidité d'action avant tout on achète les cartes par 5 ou 10, pour 50 yens pièce, (0,5 euro). Ce sont des cartes pré-formatées et pré-affranchies et on y trouve l'animal du zodiaque chinois de l'année. 2011 c'est l'année du Lapin!

Un lapin ou le mont Fuji

Les parents et copains y vont de leur proverbes, blagues, et souhaits multiples avec des dessins et aussi des images de leur progéniture.

Mais il faut rester utile et quoi de mieux qu'une loterie en prime?

En effet au recto de ces cartes de nouvel an sont imprimés des numéros pour la loterie monstre du Nouvel An, la "Jumbo". Les postes japonaises émettent des timbres avec numéro sur la carte de vœu. A la mi-janvier, la poste tire au sort et répartit des lots entre les possesseurs de ces timbres qu'ils soient acheteurs des timbres ou qu'ils l'aient reçu avec une carte de vœu.

Timbre avec le numéro de loterie et la catégorie

Coté organisation, c'est carré et typique du Japon. Le bureau de poste embauche des travailleurs à temps partiel, souvent des étudiants, afin de délivrer le premier janvier, tôt le matin, des dizaines de millions de cartes par adresse. Rappel: l'archipel japonais compte 127 millions d'habitants. Une aubaine pour les postiers nippons car les cartes du Nouvel An représentent près de 20% de tous les revenus annuels des postes japonaises.

La tradition date de l'époque de Heian (794-1192) et a été institutionnalisée après la révolution de l'ère Meiji avec les premières impressions de cartes en 1873. Quant à la loterie, les premières cartes ont été émises en 1949.

J'en écrivais une bonne centaine chaque année, et je continue d'en expédier mais moins. Car l'email, les réseaux sociaux, le twitt ont maintenant totalement modifié la tendance. Donc, les cartes ont évolué.

Aujourd'hui des modèles de cartes numériques "en ligne" existent, et on les expédie en photo par sms, i-mode ou "smart-phone". La poste a perdu des clients au fil des ans, encore que l'habitude reste bien enracinée, mais ce sont les opérateurs télécom qui y ont vu une source de nouveaux profits, sans offrir de loterie, du moins pour l'instant...

Reporter's notes