Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Korea, Japan state compensation agreement on the "comfort women"

Japanese invasion of Indochina (Sept 1940)

It is a show in Seoul and Tokyo but isn't only a communication trick pushed and followed very seriously by the US? But I can see the Uyoku 右翼団体 (Japanese right wingers) still angry and noisy, same as their South Koreans counterparts disagreeing on this "deal". The battle won't stop, as I said on Twitter there is nothing about the legal aspect, it's just an other apology with a reasonable amount of money in the package. State money. Yes. Again. ("There has long been resistance in South Korea to past Japanese apologies because many here wanted Japan to acknowledge that it has a legal responsibility for the women. Japan had long argued that the issue was settled by a 1965 treaty that restored diplomatic ties and was accompanied by more than $800 million in economic aid and loans from Tokyo to Seoul. JP Today http://bit.ly/1ZwNYvZ) The responsibility of why, who and how this crime could happen and is again settled by government with cash. "Both sides have agreed to refrain from criticising each other on this issue in the international community" Exactly similar to the post war deal of 1965 . Koreans are sceptical and did not agree to remove the statue symbolising the comfort women built in 2011 outside the Japanese embassy in Seoul. Seoul and Tokyo will nevertheless be able to use the deal for their flocks and interpret the deal the way they want. What about historical judgement and legal follow up? What about the new teaching on comfort women in text books? 46 former "comfort women" are still alive in South Korea.

Japan will now have to face the scrutiny of other comfort women elsewhere, in China for example. And in the rest of Asia, and... what about ex Indochina countries? Vietnam, Laos Cambodia and France during the 1941-1945 period? Not sure the US will be there to help if Japan and its revisionists continues on the mode of "we saved Asia from the white colonialists". By the way, why havent't the Japanese de-colonized the Asian countries in the early 1940's? Here we are and remain in a situation of a total hysteria spread by Japanese revisionists. The current prime minister Abe Shinzo has not whitewashed all ambiguities on this historical myth!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Submission or departure, China based foreign correspondent's dilemma

The job of a foreign correspondent is to ask questions, file a report and do the follow up. Therefore to feel the air of the time and act consequently, the rest is of no importance.

1987: 2 years before "Tiananmen 1989" an AFP correspondent was expelled from China for reporting on students demonstrations... 2015 Ursula Gauthier, from L’Obs magazine, attacked in state media for article criticising Beijing government’s approach to Muslim minority in Xinjiang, she will be expelled from China December 31st.

I have seen late 80’s the first demonstrations of students walking to Tiananmen, it was before 1989. The students, foreign, many from Africa and Arabic countries, were complaining about the harsh conditions of living in their universities and dormitories. They felt discriminated. At a time when Peking was “opening” cash was pouring in China from abroad, from Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Europe, U.S. Students from China, ordinary Chinese started to live with a sense of freedom, more happily, free to start their business in free markets. The call of cash for work finally liberated in free markets allowed the Chinese business ancestral energy to do what they do best too: commerce. They expected freedom too.

Expulsion of journalists from China... An old story. Le Monde's correspondent in China 1976 -1982 Alain Jacob wrote in 1984 in his book "Un balcon à Pékin, le nouveau pouvoir en Chine" (A balcony in Beijing, the new power in China ISBN-10: 2246278813) that there are 2 ways to be a correspondent in Peking: you write everything you want to the point to irritate the Chinese authorities and you risk to be obliged to close your Peking office, end your work of information for your office, and/or be expelled, or, you choose astutely how to report about events in a historically very self reliant country such as China and let the office opened.

In China, being there and watching is the rule. (In Japan too) Those are societies were information is power and everything will be made to conceal information. So you need a guy to organise how to watch what’s happening. If you close the office, your media is dead and cannot say legitimately that it knows what is happening. Diplomats won’t help much, lie a lot, play with you, enjoy their no tax privileges. Journalists must be there.

Alain Jacob lived and worked in China 1976 -1982 at a crucial and dangerous time after the death of Mao Zedong and the arrival of Deng Xiaoping. Writing astutely means that you will assess the situation and have opportunities to meet VIPs, government, party members, militaries, influential people, heirs of power makers etc. When China's political laboratory decides to turn pages of its history quicker or slower, it is up to reporters to smell the wind of political campaigns and to decide what's best for the media headquarters. Stay or close or be expelled. Never, absolutely never a foreign correspondent will dictate to Peking what to write or what to think. In addition to read stories that are fake, cheating reality, working for other interest than plain reporting. Unfortunately, Chinese authorities use the hard way to deal with foreign media.

During the cultural revolution, during Tibetans demonstrations, during countless farmers' unrests and nowadays Chinese workers and salarymen protests and demonstrations in China’s kingdom for bankers giving serious headaches to the government of China, we witness such violence from police or army or gangsters against the "people." But it is not always the case, so what is the magic filter?

I reported in China about Uyghurs anti nuclear demonstrations for France-Inter during Deng Xiaoping, I visited Tibet during heavy tension, emergency period, crime and murders. I stayed at some Chinese people house in spite of the risk to be arrested by compound guards. Never arrested  but on the contrary many interesting things happened.

I have seen foreign reporters who were in China under foreign orders of kicking the Chinese backs, I have seen while in Peking the people who were true foreign correspondents who had knowledge, recognition and contacts with Chinese authorities, with eventually private visits by Chinese generals, officials, or invitations, some inviting at their official villa, or visiting the correspondents’ homes at night in their limousines... Not even 10% of the foreign media can say with honesty that they have "contacts" with Chinese leaders. I don't mean sharing from time to time the same restaurants. Today, it looks much easier than before to meet leaders and people of importance, but it could be said that this is where the "entrapment" starts.

So I feel really sorry for Mrs Gauthier, especially she lived so long in China. She must have known. And she won’t bow. So she will leave. Something is tragic and remains obscure in this story. China's mood remains, as she knows well, quite complicated to perceive, quite frustrating. She fell and Paris Quai d'Orsay did not show for her more help than Paris ever did for others, or for Tibetans or opponents behind the usual "langue de bois diplomatique" stale language from the government officials...

But the job of a foreign correspondent is to watch, ask questions and to know. Therefore to be there, smell the air of the time and act consequently, the rest is of no importance.


Articles also quoted:

China Expels Reporter for French Wire Service
January 27, 1987 By JIM MANN | Times Staff Writer
“…Lawrence MacDonald, 32, a reporter for Agence France-Presse and a U.S. citizen from San Luis Obispo, Calif., was the first journalist to cover the series of student demonstrations that began last month in the city of Hefei. He was the second foreign correspondent to be expelled by China in the last six months and the third since 1984….”

China expels French journalist who questioned treatment of Uighurs
"...Shortly after publishing a story that suggested China was using the Paris attacks to justify crackdowns on Uighur people, Gauthier was the subject of editorials in state-controlled media and even death threats, L’Obs said...."

French Libération daily: "La correspondante à Pékin de l’Obs, Ursula Gauthier, a annoncé avoir été informée vendredi par les autorités chinoises qu’elle serait de facto expulsée le 31 décembre... En poste dans la capitale chinoise depuis six ans, la journaliste est l’objet depuis un mois de virulentes attaques de la part de médias d’Etat et d’officiels à la suite d’un article "Après les attentats, la solidarité de la Chine n'est pas sans arrière-pensées" http://bit.ly/1OxjUuJ sur la politique décrite comme répressive suivie au Xinjiang, vaste région en majorité musulmane de l’ouest de la Chine. http://www.liberation.fr/planete/2015/12/25/la-chine-expulse-une-journaliste-francaise-en-poste-a-pekin_1422876

(Translated from French)

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Caroline Kennedy in Tokyo "Democracies cannot function without a strong relationship between a free and independent press, and a transparent and accountable government."

 U.S. ambassador in Japan Caroline Kennedy

I went today to the press event at JNPC in Tokyo to listen to the U.S. ambassador in Japan Caroline Kennedy: "Democracies cannot function without a strong relationship between a free and independent press, and a transparent and accountable government" said the daughter of John Kennedy. She reassured Japanese through the media that the U.S. and Japan share the same priorities when it comes to dealing with these problems. The U.S. Ambassador added that the two countries, Japan and the U.S. will work together even more closely in 2016. Kennedy was speaking at the Japan National Press Club, a little more than two years after first taking up the post.

"America is grateful to the people of Okinawa for their support and is working hard to reduce the impact of its military bases on the island", she said. She also expressed her confidence that the U.S. Congress would ratify the TPP pact with the 12 nations of the Pacific. She also signed the golden book of the Japanese press club in mentioning the importance of the freedom of the press. All smiled and immediately thought about Japanese prime minister's team criticisms about Japanese and foreign journalists working in Japan.

She was fragile and committed, she trained for this exercice. "She had to rehearse" one American media journalist told me. It is said that she does not like the exercice of public communication so much. I found her convincing less for Okinawa and the future of our security but for her words for women at work and for families, for children to raise and for the responsibility of education.

She also talked about various education initiatives between Japan and the US, she also quoted "Operation Tomodachi" that her predecessor handled in the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear accident and the tsunami of March 2011. I hope she will come to the Fccj as a guest speaker sometimes soon around the G7-2016 preparations. People were impressed after she left the room under the applause of the audience. Good work!

VDO http://bit.ly/1ZeUszb

Monday, December 14, 2015

忠臣蔵 "The 47 Ronin" : Always the most popular tale in Japan

Every year, December 14th at Sengakuji Temple 泉岳寺 in Tokyo, thousands of Japanese and foreign tourists visit the resting place of the 47 Ronin and pay homage to their dedication to Bushido... Under the fallen leaves, I too go for a stroll to the historical place. Around me, Bushido fans, pilgrims, tourists, families coming with their new born babies, all taking a rest in a Yatai 屋台 (mobile food stall). It's Monday but Japanese will skip the office eventually to pay respect as shown on this video: 

The story of the 47 Ronin 元禄赤穂事件, known as Chushingura 忠臣蔵 (tale of the loyal retainers) is one of the most popular Samurai tales in Japan, it is said to be the ultimate expression of the samurai code of honour. It is also one of the most successful Kabuki play.

The plot: The story began on april 21st 1701, when lord Asano Naganori, the Daimyo of the Ako Domain (Today's Hyogo prefecture) was forced to commit ritual suicide for attacking Kira Yoshinaka in Edo Castle (Today's Tokyo) a rude and arrogant Master of Ceremony under the Tokugawa Shogun.

The loyal 47 Ronin took over a year to planned their surprise raid on Kira's mansion. On a snowy December night, they strike on Kira’s home, taking everyone by surprise.

After killing Kira, they went to their Master's Grave, and turned themselves in to the authorities. For committing such a vendetta, the 47 Ronin were requested by the Shogun to commit seppuku 切腹, the ritual self-disembowelment.

Today in Japan, the 47 Ronin and samurai like Musashi Miyamoto are regarded by the Japanese people as Cultural Heroes and they are honored in traditional holidays and a in countless kabuki plays, movies, novels and manga.

Every year, the Gishisai Festival takes place on December 14th in Ako city in Hyogo prefecture, in memory of the 47 Ronin. On that day, schools and business are close and the streets are decorated with banners and colored lanterns. In Tokyo, also on December 14, Sengakuji Temple holds a festival commemorating the event.

While I filmed the Sengakuji, the temple was protected by police and guards, I could hear not far from there, loudspeakers of the nationalists' trucks with Enka music, the Japanese sentimental ballades music. Some say Enka song is a postwar expression of modern Japanese nationalism.

The location where the Ronin committed seppuku is not in Sengakuji but just on top of the Takanawa hill, up the temple, in an isolated and sober garden on the other side of the ex-property of Prince Takamatsu 高松宮宣仁親王.

Japanese strategists always need time to prepare, plan, adjust, and strike with the utmost precision and success. This scenario was repeated uncountable times in ancient and in modern Japan.

"... The Samurai were knights who defended and fought for their lords at a time when useful farming land was scarce and in need of protection. They believed in duty, and gave themselves completely to their masters. The Samurai believed that only after transcending all fear could they obtain peace of mind and yield the power to serve their masters faithfully and loyally even in the face of death..." Hagakure 葉隱 The Book of the Samurai.


Friday, December 11, 2015

"Anonymous" battle Japan's prime minister Abe's whaling

On Thursday, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s official website was hacked to protest Japan’s plans to hunt whales. The Anonymous hacker group has posted a Twitter message claiming responsibility…" 

Hackers linked to Anonymous have targeted websites related to whale and dolphin hunting before, New York Times say. The group claimed responsibility last month for the shutdown of several government sites in Iceland, another nation that practices whaling. Indeed two Japanese whaling ships and 2 escort vessels departed for the Antarctic last week, "drawing condemnation from anti-whaling groups" as well as governments that oppose the practice, including those of Australia, New Zealand and the United States.

The Anonymous attack all happened after Japan launched a new counterterrorism unit "in an air of secrecy" the Mainichi quoting AP said on Tuesday, with "journalists only allowed to photograph its 24 members from behind."

Tokyo is expanding its international espionage work after the deaths of five Japanese citizens at the hands of Islamic militants this year. The recent Paris attacks have also raised fears ahead of a Group of Seven summit in Japan next year and the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020.

"Motonobu Abekawa, a former official at the Public Security Intelligence Agency and a terrorism studies expert at Nihon University said the new Counterterrorism Unit-Japan includes staff from the foreign and defence ministries, the National Police Agency and the Cabinet Intelligence and Research Office, Japan's version of the CIA. Initially made up of four leaders and 20 Tokyo-based experts focusing on Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and north and western Africa, it eventually is to also include 20 intelligence officers assigned to overseas posts, possibly in Amman, Cairo, Jakarta and New Delhi."

Japan has no institute to train intelligence agents, so they will have to learn on the job. In its annual security report published Monday, the National Police Agency stressed the need to raise alert levels for next year's G-7 summit in western Japan because it could be "a perfect target" amid escalating extremist attacks in Europe and the Middle East. Japan plans to obtain passenger information from airlines, install body scanners at major airports and step up identification of foreign visitors at hotels. A new police unit will search for Internet content related to extremist groups.

Some experts raised caution over the security measures, saying they could help the government exercise undue power over citizens and interfere with their freedom of information. "There is a risk that the terrorist attacks in Europe will be used as an excuse by Japan's authoritarian lawmakers and police bureaucrats to expand their powers," said Jiro Yamaguchi, a political science professor at Hosei University. In an article he wrote in The Japan Times, he cited a 2010 leak of internal police documents showing false accusations against Muslim residents in Japan treated as terrorism suspects. EoQ.

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Tibet Butter Lamp Memories

Dalai-Lama: “A strong action on climate change is a human responsibility”

I am very touched to see a small delegation of Tibetans joining the COP 21 in Paris. "Tibet Third Pole team making Tibet climate crisis heard in Paris" http://bit.ly/1Ix1Xxd For years the Dalai-Lama urged nations to do something against Tibet excessive mining, deforestation and river diversion and recently again the Dalai-Lama asked for "strong global action to limit global warming and to protect fragile environments, including the Himalayan glaciers and Tibetan" plateau http://bit.ly/1hQ55ro  

Tibetans at COP 21 in Paris December 2015

Impressive crowds in Tibet Lhasa are seen on these photos: "Butter lamps are seen at the Jokhang Temple Lhasa, on the Butter Lamp Day, a festival to commemorates Tsong Khapa, a master of Tibetan Buddhism Dec. 5, 2015" Xinhua China news reported. 

Barkhor Bazaar-Lhasa-Tibet

Chinese media choose their words cautiously such as using the word "tradition" and not religion or faith but at least they talk about Tibetan rituals. "Tibetan pilgrims adhere to the tradition to light butter lamps and pray for a good fortune on the annual Buddhist event."


Watching the Potala and Jokhang images in December, I feel like needles in my heart. It was that very same place where I reported in Tibet and during Tibetans unrests, at the end of the 80's. Tibetans and monks demonstrations started in autumn 1987. Especially September, October and November 1987. 2 years of tension ended savagely in March 1989. I remember the Tibetans who took to the streets in Lhasa and elsewhere as the anniversary of the "1959 Uprising" approached. A martial law was imposed. I was in Lhasa just before.

I could walk everywhere I wanted, alone, without being followed too obviously, say. Most fascinating certainly, I managed to enter and stay inside the Potala. I spent time with the monks in the 1000 rooms, 10 000 shrines and 200 000 statues, and it was not always easy to access some chapels, I had to climb red painted ladders. Walking all alone among divinities only encouraged by dozens of Monks staying at each shrine. In a place where not a foreign person even not a Tibetan could enter was extraordinary. Beijing had just opened the access to Tibet in 1985. Few tried the journey. Less tried to enter when riots started. A rare moment of intensity that certainly impressed my life for years. In the middle of rampant violence, from Chinese and Tibetans, I was there, high on the top of the red mountain, talking with monks about Tibet, Tibetans, Buddhism, war, watching the valley from the terrace of the private apartments of the Dalai-Lama. I also met some high ranking priests. Things were then said, at low voice not to be heard from spies within Potala. It opened my eyes on matters of  life and eventually on international politics. Things are not what they seem, naturally.

Later on I told the Dalai Lama how I could stay in his apartment. He acknowledged the effort with sympathy and with some embarrassment too. Or was he just a bit emotional when I described where he received his people in his private appartement facing the amazing view of the Lhasa valley through thin yellow curtains flying in the cool wind of winter?

Barkhor Bazaar-Jokhang Temple-Lhasa-Tibet

I talked to many different people while I was in Tibet. I never really understood how I could stay free as a bird, first of all buying a CAAC plane ticket Beijing Chengdu and Chengdu Lhasa, allowed to sleep at Chengdu airport and then free to embark for Gonggar Lhasa airport and then walking entirely free during days of reporting in Lhasa and monasteries around Lhasa. There, I saw Chinese military and police everywhere, they paraded, unarmed, every afternoon at 3 pm in front of the Jokhang precisely. I could sense tension both side, mostly racial prejudice, reciprocal between Chinese Hans and Tibetans. I witnessed a lot during biking several dozens of kilometres every day, at an altitude of 3600 meters. At night I could meet Chinese and Tibetans. I remember a terrifying full moon festival. Murder behind the Barkhor bazaar streets...There was no car available except military trucks and police jeeps. I often saw military cars fell into the low side of the road when I was going to Sera monastery where one monk has been killed by police. 2 months before Lhasa demonstrators had stoned the police offices in front of the Jokhang. Confusing youth, active militants, spooks? Who were these people working in the hotels who had packets and letters to be brought outside Tibet and posted not from Lhasa but from abroad...?

A few weeks after my reporting, I went to Thai-Cambodia jungles to report about sinister Khmers Rouges and then returned to Paris early spring and broadcasted my exclusive reports on France Info and RFI. I had met Chinese diplomats in Paris and we talked. I guess my balanced reporting allowed to meet both sides concerned and to voice my stories to the world audience without being hurt, attacked or threatened at that time.

One thing amazed me during my stay in China "opening and modernisation" policy under Deng Xiaoping ruling was the enormous energy developed by all to open their doors to the foreign world whom they trusted, until a certain point. Though I remember I was warned by people in Lhasa that it "would become difficult for me to stay longer" and that I had to think of leaving, while still safe. But who were these people and did they really fit the authorities opinion? Or were they simply zealous spooks, local bureaucrats? I had been told by one of my source in Lhassa that my hotel room has been visited and that they found my recording equipment and microphone, press card etc. They let me free. Some were arrested for simply taking photos of some areas near police offices.

Everything was made for me to enter and to leave peacefully Tibet with an infinite sympathy for the people I had to leave. At no time I have felt in danger. Although I knew that behind their religious fervour, Tibetans were actually opposing a strong sense of nationalism, struggling for their freedom, refusing to submit to the Chinese. On the other side the Chinese, sure to bring modernism to Tibetans and secure the streets, wished that Tibetans would devote in return a form of patriotism for China and appreciation for the modernisation of Tibet. Tibet seen from Beijing as an old feudalistic system. Extraordinary was to witness how a democratic Buddhism was actually the engine to a fervour political riot against China central government system. Chinese officials said that their system was most appropriate for the present time in Tibet.

Months passed. The Dalai Lama was awarded the Peace Nobel Prize in 1989. Then, arrests and repression with military tanks facing the Jokhang became daily scene in the streets of Lhasa prior to a  succession of new waves of modernisation of Lhasa by Chinese central government. Fight continues. Priests demonstrate, police arrest them, some for years in jail. Tibetan traditional homes disappear more and more. People self-immolated. A people is in danger to disappear. "Lhasa is being destroyed by excessive commercial development. Lhasa doesn’t exist for only tourists, there are real people who live here and it’s also a religious place" critics say.

Today the Potala is located 35 Beijing Middle Rd, Chengguan, Lhasa, Tibet. Tel: 86 891 683 4362...

From the terrace of Jokhang Temple-Lhasa-Tibet

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

FTA: The tough words on Europe by Akira Amari, Japanese minister Economic Revitalisation

Why EU and Japan stays far apart on a Free Trade Agreement? Because of the TPP…  

Mr. Akira Amari, Minister in charge of Economic Revitalization - FPC Japan Nov 30 2015

On FTA Japan Europe,  Japan and the European Union, which agreed to launch FTA talks in March 2013, started this week their negotiations in Tokyo. One of the areas where we definitely need to see liberalisation on the Japanese side is the agriculture sector, especially food and drinks, EU negotiators said. The answer of Japan came very abruptly on Monday by Mr. Akira Amari, Minister in charge of Economic Revitalization. Amari had hard words on Europe scarcely heard from a Japanese official, I asked Mr Amari a question about EU-Japan FTA negotiations versus TPP at a fascinating briefing at FPC Japan, in Tokyo, November 30th opened to foreign press and embassies.

Amari was tough. Proof that Japanese politicians of this magnitude know exactly what they do and say, no-one here writes it for them. Proof too that there is a malaise in the construction of TPP versus Europe. I do not recall any statement of this magnitude in recent months between Japan and Europe, interesting enough.

SOUNDCLOUD 3min 33 sec


The Trans-Pacific Partnership is the most important trade agreement in world history, in both economic and geopolitical terms. It incorporates 40% of the global economy, including its largest and third-largest countries. It will increase the income of the participating countries by almost $300 billions. It sets the stage for eventual expansion into a comprehensive Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific that will include virtually every country in the region, perhaps including China and India. This is if you are optimistic. Integration mechanism also show huge imbalance between Asian and Pacific nations and the U.S. in matters of development and political systems.

The European Union, over 50 years of existence, its original Common Market was created of six countries, it was much smaller than the TPP. But today the European Union is a politico-economic union of 28 member states that are located "primarily" in Europe, North to South West to East, it included ex Soviet Union nations and incorporated the new comers into its integrated political and economical system. Europe covers an area of 4,324,782 km², with a population of over 508 million Europeans.

The European Union (EU) is a politico-economic union of 28 member states. EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and the European Economic Community (EEC), formed by the Inner Six countries in 1951 and 1958, respectively. Then the community and its successors have grown in size by the accession of new member states, and, in power by the addition of policy areas. The Maastricht Treaty established the European Union under its current name in 1993 and introduced European citizenship. The latest major amendment to the constitutional basis of the EU, the Treaty of Lisbon, came into force in 2009.

By comparison, the TPP includes only 12 countries and is only a free trade agreement between the U.S. and Japan. These two countries together account for about 60% of its economic relations. Some models show that, by 2025, its exports and imports will each grow by $140 billion annually and its national income could reach more than $100 billion.

By comparison, the economy of the European Union generates a GDP (nominal) of about €14.303 trillion (US$18.451 trillion in 2014) and a GDP (PPP) of about €12.710 trillion (US$16.773 trillion in 2014) according to International Monetary Fund

The geopolitics of the new TPP agreement wishes to be more important than its economics. After Europe, the TPP will provide the first binding institutional ties between the U.S. and East Asia. But there is a major geopolitical risk that the Asia-Pacific region could divide into two broad economic zones if China does not join the TPP. In matters of integration, Europeans have the know-how, TPP is still at the beginning of its not yet decided structural path.

On November 25, 2015, Japan adopted the General Policy Framework of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Still unclear on issues such as food among other items.

For Europeans, a free trade agreement between the European Union and Japan, should not replicate the Trans-Pacific Partnership concluded by the United States, Japan and the 10 other Pacific Rim countries. In this context, Japan and the European Union, which agreed to launch FTA talks in March 2013, started this week their negotiations in Tokyo, which will be the last round for this year 2015.

Positions are still far apart in many areas. The negotiations will move well into next year according to Bruxelles’negotiators. “The EU is ready to eliminate its tariffs on automobiles provided that concessions received in return will be sufficient.

NB: After the interview, I asked Mr Amari if he would drink Chili wine or Bordeaux when he is going to the restaurant with his guests and friends, he looked at me with a big smile and gave me a gentle tap on the arm with un "air entendu"...!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Gouverneur de Tokyo Yoichi Masuzoe à l'ambassade de France "Solidarité Tokyo Paris"

Le Gouverneur de Tokyo Yoichi Masuzoe sur les attaques terroristes de Paris, aujourd'hui dimanche 15 novembre 2015 il s'est rendu à l'ambassade de France à Tokyo pour porter le message de solidarité de Tokyo et du Japon en présence des autorités françaises et japonaises devant 3000 français et japonais.  

The Governor of Tokyo Yoichi Masuzoe on the terrorist attacks in Paris. Today Sunday, November 15, 2015 Yoichi Masuzoe came to the Embassy of France in Tokyo to carry the message of solidarity of Tokyo and Japan with a crowd of 3000 French and Japanese citizens united.

VIDEO : https://youtu.be/IvbxtNZet7I

Monday, November 09, 2015

Tokyo and Kyoto festivals: "Le cinéma japonais hier et aujourd’hui"

Le Cinéma Japonais hier et aujourd’hui avec le festival international du film 2015 de Tokyo et le festival de Kyoto.

Dans l'émission "Bain de Culture" sur Medi 1 Internationale . Mon reportage-magazine, à la 37e minute.

(Japanese Cinema today and yesterday: Our correspondent updates following the 2015 international movie Tokyo and Kyoto festivals. Programme "Bain de Culture" on Medi 1 Internationale.)


Sunday, November 01, 2015

Arrested 2 weeks to try to land on the Senkaku Diaoyu islands!

One of my Japanese journalist's friend tells me: "One of our colleagues, a "fixer" was arrested and detained at the headquarters of the Japanese police on the island of Ishigaki for 2 weeks for leading a crew of an American TV channel beyond the limit near Senkaku Diaoyu islands. Freed thereafter she has known her hour of fame for being the first woman arrested for questions of navigation and maritime safety. Arrest she considers to be unfounded."

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Le Japon montre les muscles "Japan Fleet Review 2015" Tokyo shows its military power

Sur MEDI1‬ Internationale, mon reportage sur la Fleet Review du Japon et la Chine dans Planétoscope‬ : "Le Japon montre les muscles. Dans un contexte régional tendu et après des années de pacifisme, Tokyo affirme sa puissance militaire..." On parle dans Planétoscope de l'Allemagne puis du Japon et de la Chine (reportage et Q&A) et de la Syrie. (On MEDI 1 International my report about Japan navy and the China Japan tension) (Mon nom de plume sur MEDI1: Noel Clercq) 


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Japan's war with emotion and history: Unesco, Nanking, Siberia, Kuril islands, Senkaku-Diaoyu


"CCS Suga said Monday Oct 12th 2015 that the Japanese government will consider stopping financial contributions to UNESCO or reducing the amount, given the U.N. body’s decision to add Chinese documents on the Nanjing Massacre to the “Memory of the World” program." 


I read interesting comments about this issue and I begin with the Japan Today owned by Sankei media nationalist group : "Immature nationalism from a government [Abe Suga] that wants to take Japan back to the 1930's because they look back at those militaristic times fondly."

Indeed, one can nourish doubts about Japan's versatile behaviour as Japan did not complain then in 2014 for the inclusion of the return of POW from Siberia for Unesco listing. 

"The Nanjing Massacre (or in the whitewashers’ language – “incident”) documents deserve to be archived and studied. The reaction from this government is petulant and childish to put it politely. It’s funny how the Japanese government has attacked UNESCO as being “political” – yet when one of their own nominations are approved, it’s accepted as apparently well-deserved!" 

"Japan is by no means the only country that likes to sidestep its dark history, but the veracity in which the Abe administration perpetuates the notion that it was somehow a victim in the second World War is contemptible." 

To read also: The Beautifully Dressed Skeletons in Japan’s Closet whose picture is quoted

"... The most disturbing Omiyamairi image is based on a news photo of General Matsui Iwane entering the gates of Nanking on December 12, 1937, shortly before he ordered his troops to massacre everyone who survived the bombing and sacking of the city. Iwane is shown seated on a horse, a righteous conqueror. One cannot imagine that the boy’s parents knew what was actually going on when the naming ceremony took place. Although men and boys wore most of the propaganda kimonos, there were a few in the exhibition that were worn by women...."


Nanking Omiyamairi (1937/38)

Japanese I talked to whose family did not return form Siberia POWs' camps generally keep a low profile on the WW2 massacres and brutality committed by Japan imperial armies. These people, well established in Japan, are in the 70's or 80's generations and are vocal critics of the current Abe administration and its "war monger tone." On history, Japan shows its immaturity for the unique reason that Japanese government will do nothing on its own without the agreement first of the U.S. government. Same goes with the territorial interpretation of history by Japan about... say... the northern territories or on the Senkaku, Diaoyu. On the Kurile, has Tokyo forgotten that it agreed to the following in the San Francisco Treaty? "Japan renounces all right, title and claim to the Kurile Islands". 

On the Senkaku Diaoyu islands and on the territorial dispute, it is not a loss of time to quote this story to better understand what is at stake and why.  “Cairo Treaty: China’s Moral Claim to the Diaoyu Islands” by Greg Austin, a Professorial Fellow at the EastWest Institute. Dec 06, 2013

Quotes: "The 70th anniversary of the Cairo Declaration signed on December 1, 1943 by the leaders of China, the United States and the United Kingdom in the heat of war against Japan has revealed the depths of the emotions felt by China over its claims to the Diaoyu Islands. The anniversary has been used to aggravate the deep emotions associated with the war. The sense of crisis and outrage in China is not only palpable. It is driving China’s policy. 

The 1943 document was intended to “punish the aggression of Japan”, to “strip” it of “all the islands in the Pacific which she has seized or occupied since the beginning of the first World War in 1914”, and to restore to China “all the territories Japan has stolen from the Chinese, such as Manchuria, Formosa [Taiwan], and The Pescadores”.

This is the moral departure point of the majority of Chinese (including Taiwanese) in their view on the dispute over the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands. They believe with every ounce of their being that the islands were covered by the communique and subsequent Allied agreements and Treaties premised on the Cairo Declaration. This is one of the most dangerous aspects of the dispute over these otherwise insignificant rocky island currently administered by Japan. If it were just a matter of law and not an issue of end of war justice, the dispute might be easier to settle. The danger has been heightened by the unequivocal commitment of the United States that an attack on the islands by China would be covered by the Mutual Defense Treaty with Japan."


1) 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty even if this Treaty was not discussed with parties involved such as P.R.C. and refused in signature by USSR and PRC. https://treaties.un.org/doc/Publication/UNTS/Volume%20136/volume-136-I-1832-English.pdf

2) 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty - Traité de San Francisco

Le 8 septembre 1951, les représentants du Japon signent le traité de San Francisco avec ceux des États-Unis et de 47 nations alliées de la Seconde Guerre mondiale. L'Inde, la Birmanie et la Chine nationaliste, absentes ce jour, signeront à leur tour un traité de paix avec le Japon dans les mois suivants. L'URSS et la Chine populaire s'abstiennent de toute signature.

Par ce traité de paix, qui est l'aboutissement de la capitulation signée 6 ans plus tôt, le Japon reconnaît l'indépendance de la Corée et renonce à toute revendication sur ses ancienns possessions des îles Kouriles et Sakhaline, devenues soviétiques, ainsi que sur Taiwan (Formose) et ses archipels du Pacifique, passés sous tutelle étasunienne. Il renonce à toute intervention militaire extérieure et se voit seulement autorisé à constituer une « force d'auto-défense » non-nucléaire.

Soucieux de transformer l'archipel en base avancée face aux pays communistes, URSS et Chine populaire, les États-Unis conservent sur place d'importantes bases militaires, notamment à Okinawa. In http://www.herodote.net/almanach-ID-1683.php

Saturday, September 05, 2015

China's military build-up in North-East Asia

Tiananmen, Peking

Very nationalistic and militaristic. Isn't it what China says about Japan? It is not on a parade day even on Tiananmen that we can judge of the ability and strength of an army, navy, airforce on a war theatre zone. The military build-up in North-East Asia isn't new, China already was engaged in wars in the XXth century, Korean war, WW2 though in disorganised bands and not actually part of the offensive against Nazis or Japanese military. (La Chine donne cette étrange impression de s'inviter hâtivement parmi les nations ayant fourni le plus impressionnant effort de guerre) So, is China today worrisome or to be understood as an act of rebalancing? Will China settle its problems thanks to international mediation? How do the Chinese project their own image? Chinese TV reported in English. Images are sometimes terrible. The narrators and reporters could anchor better, methinks, looks too close to the "ideological script" and sometimes appear "gauche, inelegant, inexact." Anchors of Chinese broadcasters need better training to match other international foreign stations. The anchor who tries to put all vileness about Japan in his guest' mouth at the 50th minute is absolutely unprofessional. Could do better, will do better fort sure next parade... Here is the link of the TV report, 3 hours.


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Hiroshima 70 ans après la Bombe... sur RTL

広島 RTLフランス放送 RTL Soir du 06 août 2015, mon reportage et commentaire sur Hiroshima 70 ans après dans Question d’actualité de Françoise Cohen RTL Soir (August 6, 2015 My report and commentary on RTL Evening News "Question d’actualité" of Françoise Cohen, 14e minute.


Satsumasendai sur RTL Le Japon redémarre la première centrale nucléaire à avoir passé les test de vérifications

L’événement aujourd'hui au Japon: Le Japon redémarre la première centrale nucléaire ("Premier réacteur d’une centrale nucléaire à avoir passé les test de vérifications et adopté des normes de sûreté plus sévères...") depuis l'accident de Fukushima, mes reportages sur RTL Fr (JP 06:30 et 08:00) BFMTV (en boucle sur BFMTV matinale) et sur MEDI 1 Radio Internationale et Radio Canada ~ “Satsumasendai" Japan restarts the first nuclear power plant (The Sendai Nuclear Power Plant reactor is set to become the first nuclear reactor restarting under new, strengthened safety procedures incorporating lessons from the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant disaster since Fukushima accident, my news-reports today August 11th.)

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Le Japon de Shinzo Abe 70 ans après la Seconde Guerre mondiale

L’empereur Akihito et l’impératrice Michiko devant le gouvernement Abe 
Nippon Budokan 15 Août 2015 (photo Joel Legendre-Koizumi)


N’aurait-il pas été “historique” 70 ans après la Seconde Guerre mondiale pour Shinzo Abe de dire simplement pardon, de dire les excuses du Japon, “Sincere apologies”, “謝罪”? Et de réunir 3 dirigeants, japonais, coréen et chinois lors d’un sommet historique du “septantenaire”? 

L’Asie de l’Est a raté son virage historique. Le texte d’Abe est-il écrit en anglais ou en japonais? Il est trop long. Trop imparfait, trop ambigu, un lessivage, un zig zag politico-diplomatique à force de ne pas dire les choses clairement et de ne pas admettre les horreurs de la colonisation et des guerres sino japonaises. L’Empereur du Japon (comme toujours serait-on tenté de dire) a réparé l’erreur de son Premier ministre, avec les mots qui lui sont impartis: "profonds remords” dans un texte court (photo) par rapport au texte d’Abe.

Sur la photo que j’ai faite de lui et de l’impératrice je lis toute sa fatigue et sa lassitude de voir ces politiciens excités, Hiranuma, Abe assis devant lui, en contrebas. L’impératrice, pourtant malade du coeur, fait de grands efforts pour l’assister. Il lui rend en fin de cérémonie lorsqu’il lui prend le bras pour l’aider à descendre de l’estrade. Ou bien est-ce l’impératrice qui soutient l’empereur qui a fait quelques manquements au protocole durant la longue cérémonie?

Discours de l’Empereur Akihito 

J’aime assez Japan Focus, mais c’est souvent à charge. On pourrait parler davantage d’auteurs japonais, russes, chinois et francophones. On cite toujours Dower. Et beaucoup d’autres de ces universitaires américains “liberals”. Leur terrain de prédilection qu’est l’examen de la réécriture de l’histoire en Asie par les révisionnistes n’a pas toujours sa contrepartie en Occident. Pourtant ce serait intéressant. Mais il décrit en détail pourquoi l’Asie est encore à batailler sur la Seconde Guerre mondiale: http://www.japanfocus.org/-John_W_-Dower/4079/article.html

Dower est né en 38. Il avait 7 ans donc lors d’Hiroshima. Je préfère les témoins directs, il en reste beaucoup en Asie. Japon, Chine, Corée. Dower a eu l’occasion de parler de ce que beaucoup nomment l’hypocrisie des américains dans l’après guerre. Le cas d’Iriye Akira est symptomatique du "lavage de cerveaux" effectués par les américains sur les étudiants japonais, devenus professeurs et auteurs. Mais il a beaucoup écrit sur la subite transformation intellectuelle des japonais, passant de la dictature militaire à la démocratie.

URSS, Chine, Corée(s) absents du traité, ce traité de San Francisco de “paix séparée" est une des causes des multiples problèmes que les peuples asiatiques subissent aujourd’hui, je le répète depuis 20 ans. L’absence d'études des années de guerre par les écoliers et étudiants japonais y compris ceux et celles passés par l’université et de leur propre histoire (Tribunal de Tokyo ou de Nuremberg) est souvent affligeante. Un grand silence mais pas un drame de conscience pour eux, 70 ans après?

Hier proche du Nippon Budokan ce 15 Août 2015, une foule au Yasukuni, parmi les trolls qui paradaient sur le site du sanctuaire, un type en uniforme de la Wehrmacht qui criait “Japon, Allemagne, Italie” au point d’irriter un photo-journaliste d’une agence de presse en langue anglaise qui lui a balancé "un F***  you, et a choqué un autre d’Italie avec lequel je filmais. Il y avait d'autres uniformes datant de... l’Ere Meiji. Les japonais ont une passion pour le cosplay. Chacun se côtoie sur le sanctuaire, c’est tragi-comique dans un tel site. Mais c’est vrai qu'on y trouve aussi des yakuza. Il serait temps de souffler les bougies de ces 14 criminels de guerre, non? Abe ne laissera pas son nom dans l’histoire, Murayama si. Ce colonialisme qui porte un autre nom est attristant. Dans le secret des corridors nombreux sont les japonais qui me disent leur mépris pour les dirigeants américains, les bombardements sur les civils, des centaines de milliers de morts, adultes, enfants. Oui mais le Japon aussi a tué tant et tant de millions de civils. Peu de gens osent le dire car les pays Alliés ont aussi offert la démocratie aux japonais. Mais les japonais ont-ils offert de sincères excuses et de suffisantes compensations pour les victimes et pour les traumatismes ineffaçables depuis 70 ans? En ont-ils la compréhension et la liberté de le faire?

Dower citation sur le Traité de San Francisco : “... Equally significant but less well remembered, the San Francisco settlement was a “separate peace.” The omissions from the list of nations that signed the peace treaty were striking. Neither Communist China nor the Chinese Nationalist regime that had fled to Taiwan were invited to the peace conference, despite the fact that China had borne the brunt of Japanese aggression and occupation beginning a full decade before Pearl Harbor and the U.S. entry into the war. Both South and North Korea were excluded, although the Korean people had suffered grievously under Japanese colonial rule and oppressive wartime recruitment policies between 1910 and 1945. The Soviet Union attended the peace conference but refused to sign the treaty on several grounds, including the exclusion of the PRC and Washington’s transparent plans to integrate Japan militarily into its Cold War policies. Viewed from the perspective of the separate peace, the San Francisco settlement thus laid the groundwork for an exclusionary system that detached Japan from its closest neighbors...

Sunday, May 17, 2015

35,000 demonstrate against US military bases in Japan and Okinawa Island

Thousands of people, 30.000 demonstrated today in Okinawa and across Japan in protest against the planned relocation of a US military base in Okinawa. The protesters criticised the Japanese government, who appear to be turning a deaf ear to the locals.

The question is asked by many commentators : "... are these US bases extended on the territory of Okinawa militarily really useful knowing how today’s war is being conducted? Shouldn't’t they be reduced and turned to the Japanese forces, proceeding with decolonization of some bases to Guam or other countries? In case of major strike, it is nuclear or submarines, drones, jets, cyber, and other technological refined weaponry paralyzing the enemy. Same goes with Tokyo, Yokosuka is understandable but is a base like Yokota air base really useful or is it for the comfort of some US forces high ranking officials and their families?" EoQ  Etc etc...

There is a long history of incidents and alleged crimes committed by US soldiers in Okinawa. The current wave of anti-base sentiment on the island was sparked by a 1995 case, when three US marines were reported to have kidnapped and brutally raped a 12-year-old schoolgirl.

The US Marine Corps’ Futenma Air Station in heavily populated Ginowan city has been a cause of tension between American troops and local residents for years. Okinawa, home to about 1 percent of Japan’s population, hosts nearly half of the 47,000 US troops based in Japan.

Tokyo authorities want to shut the base down and open a new one in the more remote town of Henoko, in the center of the southern Japanese island. But the majority of the locals, as well as Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga, want the construction of the replacement base to be scrapped.

We met Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga in Naha recently and I am happy to see that Mr Onaga confirmed he is to answer to the foreign media invitation that was extended to him.

Governor Onaga before to go to Washington, will be at Fccj PAC event Wednesday May 20th 1300 - 1400.

The day before May 19, 2015 15:00 - 16:00, Fccj PAC will invite Jun Shimabukuro the Deputy Secretary-General of "All Okinwa-Council" to speak about Henoko. Jun Shimabukuro is Professor of Ryukyu University and Deputy Secretary-General of the All-Okinawa Council

Now in case of a major conflict, with China, with DPRK, with Russia, with x, in coming years after provocations and serious offensive recorded cases, Japanese will be delighted to have Uncle Sam near by...





Saturday, February 14, 2015

In Japan, poverty strikes first of all the children...

Fighting against inequality and poverty in Japan is said to be part of the Abe's reform since war’s end if I read the pro government newspaper Yomiuri shimbun after the PM speech this week at Diet.
"Abe said the government will take steps to promote women’s active participation in society and support employment of the elderly and young people. As part of measures to deal with poverty among children, he said the government also plans to eventually make preschool education free of charge and expand interest-free student loans." http://bit.ly/1zaM8lI

My comment, first of all politicians finally admit that their system did not work and they are not able nor prepared to cope with problems since the 1980's. "According to the OECD, inequalities are deeply rooted in Japanese society since the mid-1980s." Poverty exists in Japan and it is worth lots of news stories and I do one about it following Abe's speech at Parliament. Of course the Yomiuri is doing nothing else than propaganda for the government and it becomes a source of real concern. Asahi or especially the Mainichi reported earlier that it's the same Abe who's started to destroy the social aid measures and payment when he came to power late 2012, and isn't it the same who wanted to increase the indirect taxes on Japanese?

As sociology professor at Tokyo University Mr. Yuji Genda analysed: "Japanese economic prosperity hides a worrying phenomenon that continues to worsen for the elderly, the unemployed, and now the poor children."

This poor performance of Japan about social justice and equity (l'équité en Français) reflects real problems in the distribution of income, equal opportunities and social autonomy. To combat economic inequality, Japan prime minister says he is now thinking about the status of employment, public assistance, pensions and the minimum wage. A battle is engaged, it is time and urgent...

(From my news-report : Au Japon, la pauvreté frappe d'abord les enfants)

Japan. Street orphans, at Ueno. Tokyo, 1946 by Hayashi Tadahiko

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Kobe's Earthquake, 20 years ago what I saw was ruins, fear and abandon

 Kobe 20 years after

I reached Kobe January 17th 1995 in the evening. I caught the first Shinkansen opened from Tokyo to Nagoya, reached Kyoto, left my stuff at Gimmond hotel then I caught a car to Osaka and simply walked to Kobe following the elevated highway crashed on the road along the sea. I stayed 1 week reporting about the catastrophe for France Info, France Inter and RFI at that time. I stayed at the sailors hostel who welcome me and 7 other "refugees" including one company chairman and his 2 staff who were prisoners of the fire and the 15 or 20 aftershocks. What I saw when entering the devastated area was ruins, fear and abandon.

Devastation, abandon and misery, death. I ll never forget the firemen, hopeless like paralyzed, near by city hall and station with their red trucks screaming and their hose without water while people were dying in their houses and buildings, crashed or in fire. So many pictures of horrors. I also saw how the authorities, totally unprepared, were incapable to save lives in the early hours and first 2 days. There were no journalists on the land or so little until Thursday Friday, fear of an other huge quake kept them and also authorities to come and rescue in the first 3 days.

In memory of those who passed because of lack of security and crisis management, and simply say because of incompetence, shock or greed, we must watch authorities (and this goes beyond Japan) because it was to happen again and it did happen again in 2011 and people lost their lives again because of lack of preparation and it will happen again and for other reasons. Never surrender our journalistic power of observers and criticism if it is to save lives even so many try to silence us.

I wrote an account of event at that time that was conveyed to the German ambassador then (not the French whose Kobe and Osaka offices were basically closed, same as the big luxury hotels in Kobe who did not give any help to refugees and kept their doors closed…) The German ambassador has shown a lot of interest for my observations in time of crisis management thanks to our EU Press councilors and staff and German TV connections. He was the only one (I forgot his name in 1995) who had a decent and proper attitude among his foreign colleagues based in Japan diplomatic post in front of such catastrophe and he felt very fast what was to improve.

At that time the whole world was shocked to discover that Japan was “A giant with feet of clay”. Any help provided then was from individuals or some local associations, even the Kobe Yakuza provided us with fruits and water. They saved a lot of people and children, there were 120.000 refugees while in the same time, on Wednesday 18th, for instance, black officials cars were running away from Kobe and Rokko island as the gas emanation represented a major risk of explosion. There were leaks in the 20.000-ton liquid petroleum gas storage tanks, and 60.000 residents had to leave their homes.

I was there and reported live for France radio in front of Sumiyoshi. I told live to my colleague at Paris studio while describing the scene same as a “bombing” that it smells gas and it looks like we risk to have a massive explosion… It went on and on for days of fear and despair. People looking for water, food, blankets. At a point I met on the road from Nishinomiya to Kobe many refugees and especially I was amazed with a touching detail.

A Japanese young mother with her daughter walked on the same road as I and she was asking me where my house was. I told her, no I am reporting about Kobe’s people for France Radio. She started crying and said “so you come here to report about us”? She was in kind of shock and relief in the same time. I was exhausted going and walking all days from Nishinomiya to Kobe (there were no cars available) and I started to catch a bad cold with high fever. This young mother in tears absolutely forced me to take some of her cookies to feed myself. She had nothing I think her husband was missing, she had nowhere to go but she shared the little she had with a foreigner.

People of this country have so much dignity. So much more than their politicians or some of their elite (for instance the Kyoto Medical university who came to "assist" but who refused at first to repatriate anyone wounded or sick outside of Kobe in their university buses...) It’s time for the politicians to reach the level of morality of their citizens! Kobe 1995 earthquake showed the way.

15 years after Kobe and one year and 9 days (March 2nd 2010) before 2011 Tohoku earthquake - tsunami and Fukushima, I organised an event "Security and Crisis Management in the Megalopolis" about crisis management, terrorism, pandemics, catastrophes in megalopolis and whatsoever at the Fccj press club, as a director of the board. I invited several specialists such as the metropolitan government security boss Toshiyuki Shikata (ex JGSDFgeneral) of Teikyo University & Security Counselor to the Governor Ishihara of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and others such as commentator Minoru Morita. Shikata san and Morita san warned us of major accidents to come and the lack of measures to be able to handle major crisis. Facts proved General Shikata was right. Here is the link http://minorumorita.blogspot.jp/2010/02/morita-to-speak-on-fccjs-urban-security.html

I reported about Kobe's earthquake for my Francophone media partners, Saturday.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Paris "freedom march": L'Asie pas vraiment Charlie

This extraordinary photo by Martin Argyroglo created a real buzz in Internet, and looks like the Eugène Delacroix's "La liberté guidant le peuple." There is a resemblance between the two artworks. The photo is "The Triumph of the Republic", Place de la Nation, Paris where we can see many people perched on the statue...

La République (Martin Argyroglo)

No need to hide it any longer, in Asian countries, it was "cheap Charlie." They did not really understand the historical day of Sunday, January 11th 2015, for the "Republican March". Its purpose flew well above the brain and the heart. Blame the mentality of local political regimes. Very little or no demonstration of solidarity. Only local French waved the flag, even though in Tokyo, less than 5% of Japan's French met on January 11 in front of the IFJ in a beautiful ceremony.

Marche Républicaine: L'Asie pas vraiment Charlie... et pas vraiment à l'aise sur la liberté d'expression. Inutile de le cacher plus longtemps, dans les pays asiatiques, la journée historique du dimanche 11 Janvier 2015, la "Marche Républicaine" leur est passé bien au dessus du cerveau, et du coeur, faute aux mentalités des régimes politiques locaux. Peu ou pas de manifestation de solidarité. Seuls les francais locaux ont agité le moulinet. Sur Tokyo, moins de 5 % des français du Japon se sont retrouvés le 11 Janvier devant l'IFJ pour une très belle cérémonie. 

C'est aussi l'analyse de mes confrères des Echos:

"Les médias de la région se sont intéressés au phénomène mais sans mobiliser les opinions publiques locales qui ont une culture de la revendication et une appréhension de la liberté d’expression très différentes de celles pratiquées en France. A Tokyo, plus de 200 personnes, essentiellement des ressortissants français, se sont retrouvées dans le centre de la ville, à l’Institut français, à l’appel des différentes associations représentant la communauté expatriée dans le pays. Ils ont déposé des fleurs et laissé des messages d’hommages à la mémoire des victimes des différentes attaques perpétrées à Paris. Dans la journée, le ministre japonais des Affaires étrangères, Fumio Kishida, était allé présenter ses condoléances à l’ambassadeur de France au Japon, expliquant qu’il “était inadmissible de s’attaquer à la liberté d’expression”. Les grands journaux japonais, qui avaient suivi les attaques et la traque des terroristes en fin de semaine dernière, ont toutefois réduit ce matin leur couverture des évènements français. Les marches organisées en France n’étaient ainsi pas évoquées en une des sites en anglais des principaux quotidiens généralistes du pays, le Yomiuri Shimbun et l’Asahi Shimbun... Dans plusieurs nations d’Asie, notamment celles abritant une importante communauté musulmane, (Indonésie, Malaisie, Brunei) la liberté de ton de Charlie Hebdo a pourtant été régulièrement critiquée, ces derniers jours, par des analystes ou des éditorialistes."

Analyse et revue de presse d'Europe destinée aux collègues francophones asiatiques... Par exemple la NHK qui n'a rien compris si l'on s'en tient aux commentaires très rares et bien tardifs car ses journalistes n'ont rien entendu des thèmes de la marche contre le terrorisme. 

"De nombreux chefs d'États et de gouvernements européens, ainsi que les dirigeants des institutions de l'Union européenne, étaient présents à Paris, hier, pour la marche républicaine. Aux côtés de la France, ils ont montré leur unité face au terrorisme après les attaques meurtrières de la semaine dernière.

Pour Euractiv, il s'agit d'"une journée historique où les politiques ont fait fi de leurs dissensions pour afficher une unité inédite". C'est le cas d'Angela Merkel, qui "a même incliné la tête sur l’épaule de François Hollande", et de "David Cameron qui s’oppose fermement aux positions plus fédéralistes de la France en matière européenne, et qui avait été le premier à annoncer sa venue aux côtés du Président français, et fait montre de fraternité", affirme le site Internet. Euractiv souligne qu'il y avait également "des invités plus gênants, tels que le chef de la diplomatie russe, Sergueï Lavrov ou encore Viktor Orban, le Premier ministre hongrois, régulièrement critiqué pour ses attaques envers la presse et l’indépendance des médias". Libération rappelle qu'en décembre dernier en Turquie, lors d'interpellations d'opposants au président Recep Tayyip Erdogan, "un patron d’une chaîne de télévision avait même été inculpé pour terrorisme".

Organisée de toute urgence par le ministre de l'Intérieur, une réunion internationale antiterroriste s'est tenue dimanche matin en présence notamment du ministre américain de la Justice Eric Holder, du commissaire européen aux Affaires intérieures et à la citoyenneté Dimitris Avramopoulos, du coordinateur de l'UE pour la lutte contre le terrorisme Gilles de Kerchove et de onze ministres européens de l'Intérieur. Bernard Cazeneuve a annoncé qu'ils souhaitaient "un renforcement des contrôles aux frontières extérieures de l’Union européenne et préconis[ai]ent une adaptation du système Schengen. Ils sont ainsi prêts à se confronter au Parlement européen qui bloque l’adoption d’un fichier européen des données des passagers aériens (PNR) pour des questions de protection de la vie privée", rapportent Les Échos. A la fin du mois, le Conseil des ministres "Justice et Affaires intérieures"  se focalisera sur ces questions, avant le prochain Conseil européen du 12 février consacré à la lutte contre le terrorisme.

Le ministre français de l'Intérieur a indiqué qu'ils avaient identifié deux champs sur lesquels ils souhaitaient renforcer leur coopération, "les moyens destinés à contrecarrer les déplacements de combattants étrangers et de toutes les filières ; la lutte contre les facteurs et les vecteurs de radicalisation notamment sur Internet", rapporte Ouest France. "Nous avons donc marqué avec force le besoin d’une plus grande coopération avec les entreprises de l’internet, pour garantir le signalement et le retrait, quand il est possible, des contenus illicites, notamment des contenus faisant l’apologie du terrorisme, ou appelant à la violence ou à la haine", a affirmé le ministre.

Selon le journal allemand Bild, "le massacre perpétré à Charlie Hebdo pourrait annoncer une vague d'attaques en Europe par des terroristes djihadistes", rapporte La Tribune. Le site de l'hebdomadaire rappelle que "le Hamburger Morgenpost, un quotidien allemand de Hambourg qui avait publié des caricatures de Mahomet provenant du magazine Charlie Hebdo a été dimanche matin la cible d'une attaque avec un engin incendiaire". "La situation n'est pas très différente d'un pays à l'autre", estime Slate. En Europe, "des centaines voire des milliers de jeunes [partent] pour faire le djihad (…) nombre d'entre eux reviennent pour porter la terreur en Europe" et "en face se développent des mouvements racistes ou xénophobes que les partis établis n’arrivent ni à comprendre ni à combattre". Pour le site Internet, "les racines et les conséquences sont analogues. Elles exigent un traitement européen, sur les deux fronts, intérieur et extérieur". Fin de citation. 

A quand un prix "Charlie" de la liberté d'expression ?

Tokyo était Charlie