Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Election Fatigue

I’m suffering from it and I can’t even vote. Yes, it is polling day again, for what, the 3rd time in a year?
The BBC is trying to seem interested. I guess it will be like a referendum on Abe’s post-Koizumi reign.

UPDATE (July 30):
Well the people have spoken. It was a Bloody Sunday for the ruling Liberal Democrats (LDP), with the opposition Democrats (DPJ) winning a majority in the Upper House for the first time in its history. The one-party system in Japan seems to finally have come to an end.

Breaking News – DUCK

It appears that Kim is throwing his toys out of the pram again.

Kenpou Kinenbi … Constitution Day

What is the future of Japan? There are many things that Japan has to deal in order to compete and maintain its status in Asia and the world in the next decades. Such issue as how Japan is going to cooperate with the States is a big key. Moreover, as China and India are growing dramatically especially for the past decade, what Japan has to do in the greater Asia region? Yesterday was one of the Golden Week’s national holidays, the day of Constitution. Do we need to alter the current constitutions or should we maintain? There are many issues on the constitution that were discussed on the Asahi News paper yesterday such as below.

-The use of soft power instead of hard power to compete in Asia?
-Is Japan going to apologize for what it had done in the past?
-The environmental issues in Asia… Japan can be the key to reduce or tolerate the damage that growing China is creating? Will it lead to new business chance for Japan?
-The constitution 9… Is Japan going to alter it or will it remain; knowing the terrible usage of nuclear power, is Japan going to have a new constitution to fight war?
-Who can have nuclear power and who cannot?

It is a very delicate debate that Japan is facing. Personally I am against war and Japan has to say to the world that we should never let a single victim to be hurt or lost life by nuclear power. However at the same time, can Japan say NO to America to send troops to Iraq? Isn’t it quite odd considering the Constitution 9 which Japan and the U.S. made after the WWII that Japan should not have power to fight war or self-protect, but U.S. asks Japan whenever they need to send troops to the fields? Can Japan never really stand up for itself to be considered a real State?

Vote Vote Vote !!!!

In Japan, adults over 20 for both males and females have rights to vote. For the past two weeks, almost all prefectures of Japan had voting days for a gubernatorial election and an election to choose the representative from each town/city. For me, April 8th was the day for voting, for some April 22nd was the day for voting. As I had been out of country for many years, it was my second time to vote. Like many countries, the proportion of young people aged between 20~30 have very low percentage of voting rates in Japan. However, I asked five friends that are ages either 23 or 24, finding out that only one person did not vote. Overall, the News says that although only about 37% of people voted by Tokyo it was an increase over 4% since last time.

I though have to admit that it was rather annoying for the past weeks for the applicants’ cars goring all over my town, asking for everyone to vote since 8.00a.m. ~ 8.00p.m.every single day. It was even 8.00a.m.on Saturday morning the cars going around. It is because unlike the U.S., the time for Champaign is very limited. I mean how can I choose the one to vote if I know the person only from the Newspaper and TV during the Champaign that was less than two weeks? I live in the Prefecture next to Tokyo, so if you watch TV or even Newspaper, there are only the topics for Tokyo, but not much for the Prefecture that I live in. The only helpful information for the candidates was on the Newspaper two days before the voting day. If I had rights to vote for Tokyo governor, (which I could not) it was very easy. The candidates have been on TV a lot, discussing what their manifests are and what they are emphasizing on their Champaign. I wish I had rights to vote for Tokyo governor, because it is the center of Japan; I work there and so my brother.

On the day of voting, my father who usually goes to bed at 9.30p.m.stayed passed find out who won from my area. I found it rather funny, but he was very excited to find out who won from my town. It was who he voted and also all my family members voted. It was very tight election, but I was glad that our town representative is someone new who is willing to make change, unlike the former representative who did nothing.

Two days later, I found out that my town’s voting rate was one of the highest voting rates in the Prefecture. The attachment is the post card that was sent before the election, which was used as identification for the day of voting.


The Nationalists

My office is near Yasukuni Shrine, so these guys turn up every now and then, blaring their loadspeakers and complaining about foreigners.
Their vans look pretty cool though, covered in Kanji and flags. People seemed to find it funny when I took photos of them…
The Nationalists The Nationalists

Machines: Do your best!

“Because the number of birth-giving machines and devices is fixed, all we can ask for is for them to do their best per head.”

Shimane Prefecture Health minister Hakuo Yanagisawa looks at the problem of declining birth-rate in Japan in a rather dispassionate way(!).

Quote from his speech to LDP members over the weekend.
The Japan Times and the BBC picked up on his comments.


Equal Time.

Okay, I took a ride on the Seibu line the other day. You know what stood out? That’s right, I did not hear a single female voice from the rear of the train announcing stations. Not only that, I didn’t see any female drivers. I guess the Chuo line is a bit more progressive than the Seibu line. For what it is worth, I have seen female announcers on the Keio line. This new phenomena of women driving is not a new one.

I am seeing more and more girls doing the pedaling and the guys riding on the back of bikes. I am sorry, but this is just wrong. Call me old-fashioned.

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Yasukuni Shrine August 15

Yasukuni Shrine

Yasukuni was packed today with people visiting to pay their respects, on the anniversary of Japan’s surrender in WWII. Of course the main talking point will be Prime Minister Koizumi’s visit. He beat the queues by coming at 7:45 this morning. However, I was interested to see so many people of all ages there, wanting to commemorate the ordinary soldiers who had died for their country. This group of old soldiers was popular, marching in time to their bugler up to the shrine.
There was a huge queue of people waiting to get to the front of the shrine. It looked like about an hour wait.


Insert New Dictator and Try Again.

It looks as if North Korea’s missile technology is not ready for prime time. The score is: Tin-pot dictator and his faulty toys 0 – 6 (10) Modern Missile/Rocket Technology. Granted, Lil’ Kim & Co. will probably get it right eventually.

Oh, joy.

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Kozuimi’s at it again

Prime Minister Koizumi popped down to the Yasakuni Shrine in Tokyo this morning, according to Kyodo News.
He goes once a year “to mourn the war dead and to pledge that Japan shall never wage war again” (and to annoy China and South Korea, of course).
South Korea won the race to compain first, lodging an official protest within two hours of his visit.

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