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Welcome to TokyoFreePress Wednesday, November 25 2015 @ 03:13 PM EST
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Japan is Proving an Unviable Nation for the Fourth Time

At the beginning of the year, a stupid Harvard professor named Joseph Nye told the Yomiuri Shimbun daily that he was sure that the Japanese people will overcome the current economic doldrums and political imbroglio. He assured the Yomiuri editor that with their proven track record of innovativeness, resilience and diligence, the Japanese people will reinvent their nation as they did twice in the past. I found his flattery not only sickening but also insulting.

In a matter of two-plus months, the M-9.0 quake and 33-foot seismic tidal waves hit the country as if to test Nye's intellect. Indications thus far is that the professor is flunking.

But just in case, let's take a look at how some salient political figures are trying to lead the country out of the ongoing crisis. If you find them way too incompetent to do their job, then the rest of the Japanese are unviable too, because after all, they have chosen these guys to represent them. In other words, the nation is done for - totally and for good.

Yukio Edano, Chief Cabinet Secretary

The nuclear power plant
located in Fukushima
Prefecture, 124 miles north-
east of Tokyo, is possibly
turning into another
Chernobyl now.
Prime Minister Naoto Kan has assigned his right-hand man to head his makeshift crisis management team. Edano is a wrong choice primarily because he is a licensed shyster. Not that, though, equally incompetent Prime Minister could have handpicked any other person who is qualified for the task from among his cronies.
You can never expect anyone with legal background to go extralegal whereas there is no such thing as an emergency measure that can be implemented within the existing legal framework. Worse, he knows absolutely nothing about the basics of risk management, such as:

■ strictly avoid wishful thinking,
■ always be prepared for the worst case scenario,
■ never distort facts or cover up what went wrong,
■ act a little faster than a snail,
■ be professional,
■ be systematic.

With the help extended by 官邸記者クラブ (Kantei Kisha Kurabu, or press club collusively attached to the Prime Minister's office), he has intended to manipulate people's hearts and minds, exactly in the same way 大本営 (Daihon-ei or Imperial Army Headquarters) did in the mid-1940s. For one thing, Edano and his friends in Kisha Kurabu have completely hushed up over the worst case scenario in which the trouble-stricken nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture is buried in a "sarcophagus" made of sand and concrete as the entire facility of Chernobyl was 25 years ago.

Presumably in this connection, they have also buttoned their lips over the fate of the 50 employees of Tokyo Electric Power Company who are still staying in the premises, according to the information reimported from Western media.

Because of his complete ignorance about the methodologies of professional crisis management, he had let things drift, while keep saying, "Don't panic because there's no immediate threat at this moment." In the meantime, TEPCO engineers indulged in fabricating data about radioactive contamination.

No wonder the natural calamity has quickly turned into a manmade catastrophe which is way beyond control. Now the "Chernobyl solution" seems to be the most likely scenario as many foreign experts have suggested.

Yet, very few Japanese are aware of the severity of the situation in part because they have learned too much about irrelevant things such as the lengths of half-life of cesium or iodine from self-proclaimed experts in nuclear engineering and atomic physics. These guys have never uttered the word "bury" because they have too much vested interests in the nuclear industry.

It is true that even in the U.S., there are some who dare to say the situation in Fukushima is even more benign than that of Three Mile Island. William Tucker, for one, says, "The containment structures appear to be working [in Fukushima]." But has he visited the site himself? Obviously, he is one of those guys who have sold their souls to the nuclear industry.

As I always argue, the single most important issue when talking about technologies is the human element entailed in them. Given Edano's utter ignorance of the basics of crisis management, the March 11 natural calamity has quickly turned into a manmade catastrophe which is far beyond control now.

Renho (Murata)

Renho was a bikini model
In the wake of the acute power shortage, the Taiwan-born member of Kan's Cabinet came up with an absurd countermeasure called 計画停電 (Keikaku Teiden or cuts in power supply scheduled in rotation among arbitrarily determined 5 blocks within TEPCO's service area.)

Previously she was spearheading the program called 事業仕分け (Jigyo Shiwake or budget cutback exercise as the Minister in Charge of Administrative Reforms.

Already at that time, the former model for cheesecake magazines thought she could squeeze trillions of yen out of her targets, mostly quasi-governmental organizations. She had been misled by Kan and Edano to believe that would be a piece of cake because all she would have to do is to shriek. And shrieking is her only forte. But of course, the single most important thing she should have to do was to prioritize things. And to prioritize, she should have had a clear vision of how things are organized at present and how they should be reorganized in the future.

As you have already known, she failed to bring about the expected result. Needless to say, it didn't cross her mind to strip the Imperial Family and its servants of US$213 million appropriated to them every year despite her initial pledge for a reform leaving no sacred cow.

Renho didn't staggered at all because the idiot thought Jigyo Shiwake was a success. Now she went on to implement a rationing system for power supply.

Once again, the single most important thing she doesn't have the slightest idea about is how people are interconnected among each other in an industrialized country such as Japan. For one thing she doesn't have the foggiest idea about what we businesspeople call "supply chain management system." She hasn't even heard the words often abbreviated as SCM.

I think you know what SCM is all about, but just in case, I will briefly explain it here.

A simplified illustration of
Supply Chain workflow
Your company is headquartered in Tokyo. The main application servers are installed in the headquarters building. Stationed in Osaka Branch, you get an inquiry for a product from a customer in Kyoto. He wants to know how soon it is delivered to his place. (We call it an event.)Then you make your inquiry at your PC or on a mobile device to find out the availability of the product for an immediate delivery.

The database on the server is always brought up-to-the-minute as to the stock information at the several distribution centers. Unfortunately, you learn that none is available for an immediate shipment. Now you have to know how soon your Fukushima Plant can manufacture the product, again from the database on the server. Then someone in the Production Planning Department has to ask his friend working at the Parts Storage Department for the availability of necessary parts. And finally, if some parts and components are found not in stock, he has to place orders with subcontractors located in Chiba and Miyagi Prefectures - and so on.

It should be noted that all these event-driven exchanges of information have to be done in a matter of minutes through the Internet and the "Intranet."

With her empty head, Renho thought her Keikaku Teiden program will somehow work out. But actually it will never. The broad might as well have thought about implementing total blackouts for the entire service area of TEPCO at a time.

At any rate, one thing is for sure: the Japanese industries which were allegedly in the recuperation stage before March 11 will screech to a halt once again. This is what the Kan administration is empowering the bikini model to do.

Postscript 1: Mitsumaru Kumagai, the Chief Economist at Daiwa Institute of Research, estimates the effect of the cuts in power supply on the Japanese economy at 15 trillion yen, or $185 billion, per year which translates into 2.8% of GDP. This means nothing because Kumagai has based his estimate on an absurd assumption that the supply cuts by rotation is the only possible way to counter the situation.
Postscript 2: One of my sons, who is a little more electricity-literate, told me that he doubts scheduled blackouts for the entire service area of TEPCO, at a time rather than by rotation, would help minimize the loss of industrial outputs because electricity is not practically retrievable like gas or water. Yet, he agrees there must be a much smarter way to optimize the use of available resources. More importantly, it's Renho's responsibility and TEPCO's - not ours - to try hard to come up with a workable solution. The former bikini model, however, just keeps saying, "You guys should just tolerate. It's an emergency." They might tolerate on certain conditions: 1) she should give them specific plans to bring the power supply back to normalcy, and 2) she should tell the Imperial Family that they are no longer exempt.

Shintaro Ishihara, Tokyo Governor

With his face frowning,
Shintaro Ishihara could barely
empty the glass to secure
another term for the cushy

Another case in point is Tokyo Governor Ishihara who is now seeking his third term as if the annual income of 50 million yen for 8 years and "retirement" allowances of 500 million yen he has received twice were not enough. Amazingly enough, the bum is still one of the most popular political figures in Japan, especially in the capital.

On March 24, it was learned that water in the metropolitan reservoirs was contaminated with radioactive materials from the Fukushima power plant. Although he has been critical about the DPJ government, Ishihara thought he had to assure extremely gullible Tokyoite that they are still OK despite the alarming revelation.

Yesterday, he dared to drink a glass of water before the press corps, saying, "Tokyo no mizu wa anzen dakara kodomo ni nomasete mo daijoubu dayo - imanotokoro wa ne (Water in Tokyo is not so contaminated. You can let your children drink it - for the time being, that is.)"

Then, it somehow occurred to the brainless governor that he had to translate his message into English to make his water-drinking show more convincing. (This is a typical way of thinking here in this "docile satellite" of the American Empire.) He is an alumnus of the privileged Hitotsubashi University who always brags about having many influential friends in Washington. But unfortunately for him, he was unable to express his idea in a simple English sentence. So he tried to translate the last phrase of his message which was identical to Edano's favorite qualifier. (The Cabinet spokesman uses it a dozen times everyday.)

Ishihara said: "To put my words in English, we are basically OK 'so far as being time.'" Nobody present there blushed at Ishihara's English lecture. Small wonder the Japanese people have always respected him as an exceptionally highbrow person.

I hope you can imagine what it is like to get pushed around all the time by these idiots, at the expense of we taxpayers.

Political Truce

Thanks to the natural calamity aggravated by a manmade disaster, a political truce has been implemented here. Now this country is a real monolith where there is no place for a small number of sane people who have long been forgotten. We used to call this climate 大政翼賛会的風土 (Taisei Yokusankai teki Fudo) which has already proved the surest way to ruin.

Under the circumstances, we are now fed around the clock with an endless stream of supposedly touching stories about people coming together with the spirit of mutual aid. According to the March 25 edition of Tribune de Geneva, even yakuza criminals sent a fleet of trucks to the afflicted areas to provide food and other daily necessities to the survivors of the disaster, while some of the 100,000 soldiers from the Self-Defense Forces were just looking on.

In reality, though, quite a few swindlers are actively collecting monetary "donations" while supermarkets are running out of food, beverages, and other essential merchandises because of the panic buying.

The same thing is happening to Japan's international relations. With all the diplomatic rifts shelved, temporarily or not, millions of good folks around the world are extending a helping hand to the Japanese. Jacky Cheung and Vladimir Putin are not alone.

But hold on a second. Do you still think that Kan, Edano, Renho, Ishihara, et al. were not as incompetent before March 11? Actually, our suffering had started decades before the quake and tsunami came along, with tens of thousands of Japanese killing each other and selves every year. If you look at the following figures, you will understand the ongoing disaster is not a big deal. It just revealed something that had already been there.

Identified as Dead as of March 27 10,418 ---
Identified as Missing as of March 27 10,072 ---
Total Fatality Toll from the Quake and Tsunami as of March 27 20,490 See NOTE 1
Homicides in 2010 1,067 See NOTE 2
Traffic Fatality in 2010 4,863 ---
Suicides in 2010 31,690 ---
Total Death Toll from Homicides, Traffic Accidents and Suicides in 2010 37,620 ---

NOTE 1: The final death toll can top 30,000 because sometimes nobody could have filed a missing-person report with the authority when an entire family was swallowed by the tsunami.
NOTE 2: Roughly 1 million people die every year, but because of the lack of a coroner system here, 15% of the corpses are buried without going through an autopsy. On an educated guess basis, most of them are victims of murder. That would mean the number of homicide cases here is a gross understatement. My estimate is that there are at least several thousand victims of homicide.
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[FEATURE] For Whom Kamikaze Blows

Now Cabinet spokesman Yukio
Edano is a household name. But
the former shyster is a crisis
management novice who only can
say, "Calm down, we are basically
OK." No wonder the natural
calamity turned into a man-made
catastrophe in a matter of 48 hours.
Now he has reduced himself to a
Shinto priest who conducts press
conferences as if they are a series
of rituals.
Most educated Westerners think they are familiar with the etymology of the Japanese word 神風, kamikaze or divine wind. But actually they aren't; they have never looked at the other side of the half-factual, half-fictitious events that supposedly took place in 1274 and 1281. Each time Mongol invaders attempted to land in Kyushu island of Japan, a ferocious typhoon blew their fleet against the rocks. Ever since kamikaze has been considered a savior by Shoguns and Emperors.

But of course, that does not mean their subjects have always viewed it in the same way. As is true with any other country, perhaps to a lesser degree, Japan is a nation where a handful of people have always prospered at the cost of all others.

In the last days of the Pacific War, kamikaze failed to deal a blow to the warships or bombers of the Allied Powers. So the Imperial Army headquarters had to resort to the idea of substituting young men for typhoons. That's how thousands of kamikaze pilots lost their lives for the absurd cause of protecting Emperor Hirohito from ruin which none other than the bastard had invited himself. Your history teacher have taught you that the ingenious tactic ended up in failure when the A-bombs were detonated over the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But once again, you surface-scratching Westerners have overlooked the other side of the coin.

On March 15, the son of the super-
Class-A war criminal made a rare
TV appearance in an attempt to help
Edano bring calm to his subjects.
Many appreciated it because the
bastard has been known for his
absenteeism from the anniversaries
of the apocalypses of Hiroshima and
Thanks in part to MacArthur's generosity, but more importantly to the blind loyalty of the Japanese who wanted to save the demigod at the cost of their lives, it was a piece of cake for Hirohito to survive the war defeat and subsequently duck the responsibility to have started the unwinnable war. Sixty-five years later his son is still enjoying an easy life at his extensive estate located in central Tokyo without being affected by 計画停電 (keikaku teiden or scheduled cuts in power supply.)

Then came the M-9.0 quake late last week which was followed by a series of 33-foot seismic tidal waves. Who was it intended to save this time around?

Without a doubt, it's Prime Minister Naoto Kan who benefited most from the deadly windfall. The initial jolt of the March 11 earthquake rocked the Diet Building just when he was being grilled by the opposition lawmakers over the illegal donations he had received from a Korean resident in Japan. Actually, the particular irregularity that had just surfaced was not making a big difference to the suffering already inflicted on the people because by then Kan had proved much too incompetent to turn around the serious situation facing them. His approval rating had already sunk below 20%.

Despite all this adversity, Kan was still poised to stay in power as of March 11 primarily because the opposition camp led by the Liberal Democratic Party had thought it's not the right time to oust him. The LDP wanted him to carry through with the unpopular plan to relocate the U.S. Marine Corps' "helicopter" unit from Futenma to Henoko against the will of the Okinawans. As I pointed out in my previous post, Robert Gates hinted on February 16, Washington, too, was expecting Kan to do this dirty job while he is in office. Match-fixing is not confined to Sumo wrestling in this rotten nation.

Even so, the Prime Minister had been on the verge of nervous breakdown when the quake of an unprecedented magnitude hit his nation. No wonder that Kan thought the divine wind had started to blow to save him from the cul-de-sac he was in. He took a French leave from the Diet floor to hurriedly set up a crisis control center.

Needless to say, his team had to be staffed so poorly that the only thing it has done so far is to exacerbate the situation.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano, now concurrently serving as the spokesman of the crisis management team, is a former shyster. In junior high, he must have learned that 1 milli-Sievert equals 1,000 micro-Sieverts. Also he knows Hydrogen explodes when it is mixed with Oxygen under a certain condition. But it is evident that he knows absolutely nothing about the basics of risk management.

If I were Kan, I would never have dreamed of picking Edano as the virtual head of the team, because you can never expect anyone with legal background to go extralegal. And there is no such thing as an effective emergency plan that is laid out within the existing legal framework.

To make it worse, the unqualified head of a crisis management team as he is, Edano allows his men to ignore the basic rules such as:
■ Strictly avoid wishful thinking,
■ Always be prepared for the worst case scenario,
■ Never distort facts or cover up what went wrong,
■ Act a little faster than a snail,
■ Be professional,
■ Be systematic,

Traditionally, a Japanese who is put in charge of crisis management tends to think his primary responsibility is to calm down people who are extremely prone to panic. To prevent them from panicking, he always tries to immunize them for an inevitable eventuality by feeding critical information only little by little. He admits to the whole truth only when it is too late.

That is exactly what Edano is doing right now. Yesterday he assured Japanese people that they were basically OK for the time being and today he says they still remain OK for the time being, though to a lesser degree, and so on.

Obviously, the fact that Edano uses this qualifier "for the time being" (差し当たって or sashiatatte) so frequently indicates that he has learned the wrong idea from Confucianism. Some 2,500 years ago, the Chinese philosopher said to this effect: "Make the people rely on you, and to that end, never let them know what underlies your decision."

While Edano kept telling people not to be swayed by groundless rumors about the series of explosions at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant located 124 miles away from the capital, the natural disaster quickly turned into a man-made crisis.

Aside from the lessons to be learned from the consequences of his mishandling of the situation, this is also yet another confirmation that the human element is the single most important factor when addressing nuclear, seismological, meteorological, or medical issues. In other words, Japan's technological/scientific superiority is nothing but a myth.

In the last couple of days I have discussed the matter with Mr. Gordon G. Chang. He asked me if I thought the relief for Kan is only temporary. To my regret, I had to answer in the negative.

It is true that as things have worsened, a growing number of political analysts and laypeople, who are not affiliated with the mainstream media, have been calling for a "national salvation government" to immediately replace the Kan administration. They say nobody can expect the leader who has proved totally incompetent even under the normal situation to lead the way out of the unprecedented emergency. But as a matter of fact there are very few candidates for the next Prime Minister and Chief Cabinet Secretary who would outdo Kan and Edano. More importantly, the people here are so used to seeing their leaders become paralyzed, like a spider in thanatosis, in the face of a crisis, that they do not think it would make any difference whoever is at the helm.

During the wartime NHK served as
the mouthpiece of the Imperial Army
The way Edano conducts those press conferences is more than just reminiscent of 大本営発表 (Daihon-ei Happyo or press releases by the headquarters of Japan's Imperial Army broadcast by NHK.) Good news was always exaggerated while bad news was always hushed up until the very last day of the Pacific War.

I remember listening to the NHK announcer in the last week of the Pacific War. He was saying something like this: "Calm down and never be swayed by groundless rumors about the new weapon our enemy used in Hiroshima. As long as you remain fully determined to use your 大和魂 (yamato damashii or dauntless Japanese spirit) to exterminate our enemy, we will still be OK. Thus, our Divine Empire is invincible."

NHK was telling the truth, as it does today; in August 1945, the Japanese people found out that the imperial family was really imperishable.
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Did You Notice the Second Double-Suicide in 8 Months?

Several years ago
Kan took a secular
pilgrimage to get
purified of his
political sin -
apparently to
no avail
Of course not, because what I foresaw here happened on February 15 in an anticlimactic way when head of Democratic Party of Japan Naoto Kan decided, after months of hesitation, to suspend Ichiro Ozawa's party membership. Kan had been fully prepared for a devastating counterattack, but his go-for-broke decision instantly triggered an avalanche within his party. Just for one thing, 16 Diet members declared independence from the party leadership although these rebels stopped short of leaving the DPJ because Ozawa still intends to subvert it from within.

Then came Seiji Maehara's resignation as Foreign Minister late last week when illegal donations he had received from a South Korean resident in Japan somehow surfaced. The fact that Hillary Clinton's pet decided to step down so quickly is an unmistakable evidence that the small amount of money from the owner of a Korean barbecue restaurant in Kyoto was just the tip of the iceberg. He is a small-time thief when compared to Ozawa, but as every big thief readily admits to the smallest part of his crime to save the rest of his loot, Maehara said when announcing his resignation that he would return the money in question to the Korean woman. Without a doubt, he must have received millions of dollars from organizations affiliated with yakuza syndicates that often front the CIA.

At any rate all this dealt a fatal blow to Kan whose approval rating had already plummeted to 18%. So it's a miracle that he still stands on his feet. Actually it's a foot that is still supported by the major opposition Liberal Democratic Party which is, for obvious reasons (see Note below,) not enthusiastic about toppling the administration by a gentle touch with a fingertip.

NOTE: The most important among other reasons is the Futenma relocation plan. The LDP knows it wouldn't be able to implement the plan, either, if it could get back in power tomorrow. Match-fixing is not confined to sumo in this rotten nation.

Another crutch is being offered by the CIA.

On February 16 in Okinawa, Robert Gates said: "My hope is that we will get resolution, particularly on the configuration of the airfield or the runways perhaps later this spring. And that would then allow us to go forward with our planning [to realign military forces in the region based on the agreement reached in 2006.]"

When in business I was working on risk management for many years. Especially through my first-hand experience with credit checking of prospective business partners, I learned a lot about corporate behaviors. In general, recidivism rate is in the neighborhood of 50%, but it is much higher when it comes to special types of crime such as drug abuse or rape. But now as a blogger who has delved into the history of modern Japan since retirement, I have a conviction that it's even harder to prevent a CIA type of crime from being recidivated. It's almost an unbreakable addiction.

Gates is currently in a position to kiss the dirty ass of Obama as Defense Secretary, but he was a Director of the CIA from 1991 through 1993. If you look at his Feb. 16 statement with this in mind, you can decipher his coded directive meant for Kan's government. If I should fully spell out my interpretation of Gates's remark, here it is:

Kishi vowed, as an
undercover agent of
the CIA, Japan
would remain
America's loyal
partner until
its demise
Koizumi was
frolicking before
George W. Bush,
singing Rub Me

"As the Japanese Prime Minister, you should bulldoze our plan to relocate the U.S. Marine Corps' Air Station from Futenma to Henoko no later than April so we can replace the conventional gunships with Ospreys no matter how the Okinawans protest against the deployment of the widow-making machines. It must be a piece of cake to neutralize the Okinawa governor because he is an unprincipled opportunist. As for Ozawa, you have done a good job, but you have yet to put the final nail in his coffin. In November Hu Jintao invited him to a Yokohama hotel where he was staying during the APEC summit 2010 to have a clandestine meeting. We won't tolerate it if this happens once again. In order to carry through with our plan at any cost, you may also have to sack some more people even within your own camp. For example, our Secretary of State is in love with that punk named Maehara, but don't hesitate to kick him out if it is really necessary for our cause. To make your life easier, my old buddies in the CIA will take care of the Japanese media and public prosecutors capitalizing on our cozy relationship with yakuza.

"Eventually, you will have to step down prematurely but that's only after you accomplished something that really gladdens Obama. Remember none of your predecessors who did what our presidents wanted them to do were labeled traitors afterward.

"In 1955, American taxpayers had the CIA fund the launch of your alma mater Liberal Democratic Party through Yoshio Kodama who had reigned over Japanese underworld since wartime. To reciprocate our generosity, Nobusuke Kishi, Kodama's cell mate as Class-A war criminal, signed the revision of the security treaty in 1960, weeks before he was forced to step down. But his exit was not too disgraceful. In 2005 Junichiro Koizumi bulldozed the postal privatization bill in compliance with Bush's demand based on the U.S.-Japan Regulatory Reform and Competition Policy Initiative and he has even been remembered as a reformer since he fled political world to avoid his responsibility for the disastrous consequence of the privatization. I hope that at least your name, too, will be on our list of patriots."

Given my theory about recidivism, which is nothing more than a commonsense matter, there is no other way to decode Gates's statement.

When the symbolic double-suicide took place, I was fully tied up with other things which were much more rewarding than talking to brain-dead Americans who claim to be Japan experts, but it wouldn't have made any difference to their stupidity and arrogance if I had had some time to spare for them. U.S. scholars and pundits are much too shallow to figure out what is really going on in this "docile satellite" of the American Empire.

Since these bastards have, by now, completely lost the thread of the kabuki play which was all started by the CIA, they will remain ignorant, forever, about how the recidivists in the CIA are manipulating the hearts and minds of the Japanese macaques. Now in the face of the increasingly intricate plot of Act 5 of the kabuki farce, they give an implausible excuse that goes like this: "After all, we are too preoccupied with other areas of the globe such as the Mideast to be really concerned about Japan."

But be concerned, because Japan is, in fact, the 51st state of the U.S. whereas Arab countries such as Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, Jordan and Saudi Arabia are not the part of America. Self-respecting people in these countries are now waking up to the reality that unless they stand up against the dying Empire right now, they will be taken along to the bottom of hell. They don't really care whether or not they should seek for a first-ever homegrown "democracy" in the East.

Stupid ideologues in the U.S. are untiringly disseminating the same old fallacies about "digital wildfires" and "Twitter revolutions." But these are NOT what's going on in the Middle East, let alone in the People's Republic of China. People outside of the U.S. are simply fed up with America. To them even al-Qaeda is better than America.

As a 75-year-old Asian citizen I also think I have had more than enough from the Americans.

Up until weeks ago, I had a longtime American friend of Egyptian origin. When I wrote on this website that Obama should not meddle in the Egyptian Revolution because it's none of America's business whether or not the Muslim Brotherhood will win the internationally-"monitored" (i.e. tampered) elections, I carelessly mentioned her name because she is the only ethnic Egyptian I know in person.

The woman uncharacteristically exploded. She wrote: "I think Obama is one of the greatest presidents of the United States. History will prove it. The U.S. did not really meddle in the revolution except it may have pressured Mubarak to leave sooner than he was going to. (snip) I don't want to be part of your anti-Obama campaign." So I deleted my post.
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[FEATURE] Who Will be the Next Suicide Partner for the Japanese Prime Minister, Obama or Ozawa?

A famous scene from
the 18th century Kabuki
classic, The Love
Suicides at Amijima

In June last year, then-Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama committed double suicide with his party's Secretary-General Ichiro Ozawa. It was a symbolic one, but in this morbid culture of inaction, a symbolic act sometimes has more real implication than does the real action it's supposed to be substituted for.

At that time self-styled Japan experts in the U.S. thought that Naoto Kan, the incoming Prime Minister, would be able to pull this nation out of the economic doldrums and political imbroglio.

Presumably these highly-educated American scholars and pundits had seen too many Hollywood films backstage to comprehend the intricacy and subtlety involved in Japanese dramas. That is why they invariably failed to understand that the double resignation was just part of the traditional misogi ritual.

Now the Japanese are going to see another double suicide in a matter of months, or even weeks.

Last month at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Kan announced that Japan will decide by June on whether it will join talks for Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) on free trade. He had to blow his horn because he was so desperate to stop Obama from pulling the plug on his already precarious government. Even though Kan is an extremely dull-witted person, it's now dawning on him that without the support from Washington, his administration wouldn't last a single day.

It's small wonder that right after Kan's muddled pledge in Davos, Obama announced he would postpone the talks with Kan previously scheduled for early May. Obviously the U.S. President wanted to wait until after June to see if his Japanese subordinate would uncharacteristically keep his word.

Unlike an FTA or EPA which is basically a bilateral and reciprocal arrangement, TPP is a multilateral trade framework dominated by the U.S. Once you get involved in it, you will be forced to do whatever Washington tells you to do, be it the reduction of import duties, or the removal of non-tariff barriers, in 24 sectors and sub-sectors of your economy. That is why sound countries in this region, such as Canada and South Korea, have decided not to participate. That has left nine economies, most of them small developing countries such as Vietnam and Brunei.

As usual the Japanese media extended a helping hand to the drowning Kan by oversimplifying the TPP issue. They say it's just a matter of tradeoff between benefits some non-agricultural sectors can expect from the TPP membership and prohibitive costs to be incurred to the agricultural sector. All they want to say is that the issue is worth serious discussion anyway. But the fact of the matter remains that it's simply suicidal to sign up for it because the U.S. is a doomed country now.

Given the fact that both countries are in the same sinking boat now, you may think the Japanese Prime Minister will pick Obama as the partner of double suicide. But I think that is unlikely.

In that respect, I previously quoted Doyle McManus of Los Angeles Times. In his January 23 op-ed titled Did Tweeting Topple Tunisia?, McManus argued that "'digital wildfire' spreading across the repressive wasteland of the Arab world" is an illusion. He went on to say: "[Social media can sometimes be an accelerant for incipient revolutionary movements.] In the end, though, the most important steps in promoting democracy and securing human rights will continue to be low tech."

By stark contrast with "low-tech" citizens in Tunis or Cairo, the American people have gone too hi-tech - relative to the quality of life they seek leveraging these web-based technologies.

It is said that in the U.S., more than 65 million tweets are posted every day on the Twittering website. And as you know, these brainless and spineless birdies are chirping, day in, day out, about the faded American Fairy Tale. In short, they are too chicken-hearted and self-complacent to kill their leader, either politically or physically.

As a result, the bastard in the White House can rest assured that nobody will force him out until the next time his country goes through the absurd ritual called Presidential Elections.

It is true that the Japanese are even more inert. And yet, it looks as though Kan is digging his own grave now. That's why I don't think he will last long enough to take along Obama on his journey to hell.

This leaves the Prime Minister only with one eligible candidate for his suicide partner.
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Japan Update: Pathological Obsession with Blood Types, Star Signs and Chinese Zodiac System

1. Sagittarian at the top
2. Piscean at the bottom
3. The end screen

Source: Nippon Telegraph
& Telephone Corporation
Without a doubt, the Japanese are the world's most superstitious people. Especially in the face of a crisis, they go over the top.

Now that they feel extremely insecure about their future, they are inclined more than ever to believe that their fates are predetermined by a combination of the 4 blood types, 12 star signs and 12 animals. That is why - or perhaps because - all the TV stations affiliated with the Big-5 newspaper publishers think it is an integral part of their services as news media to provide audiences with their daily horoscopes, along with sanitized news stories and weather forecasts accompanied by many superfluous information such as laundry tips and dressing recommendations.

Normally their daily forecasts vary very little among these TV stations with nationwide network. I think there are two logical deductions to explain the uniformity; 1) these forecasts are sourced from a single fortune-telling individual or organization, or 2) Kisha Kurabu, Japan's notoriously exclusive association of press clubs, has a unit specifically devoted to rigging people's destinies.

I am a Capricorn born in the Year of the Wild Boar, although the original version of the Chinese Zodiac System says it's the Year of the Pig. And my blood type is B. Most Japanese people believe a Capricorn tends to be intellectual, a Wild Boar tends to rush headlong toward his goal and one whose blood group is B tends to be a freak or genius. At times, I think these descriptions are very true with me, but usually they don't really click.

When I walked by a local NTT branch on Monday afternoon, I noticed that in the last couple of days, a big liquid crystal display had been installed outside the building on which to update pedestrians on their daily horoscopes, coupled with weather reports. (See photos above). Believe it or not, the fortune-telling services are primarily meant for adults despite their anime-like quality of screen designs.

Sagittarius was at the top of the list as the luckiest person of the day. The tips for Sagittarians read: "You will have your day especially if you bother to go to a nearby park." Capricorn was almost at the bottom of the NTT list. As usual some tips were given ex gratia to minimize the effect of the hard luck.

Yet, there was something to be desired. If I had learned of my misfortune on one of those TV waido-sho (wide shows,) a cute presenter would never have failed to give me kind words. She would have said with a syrupy voice: "Gomennasaaai (I'm a-w-fully sorry.) But don't be so depressed because your day will come very soon." That is true because these constellations are rotating at a pace even faster than that of the revolving door of Japan's Prime Minister's Office. So I would have thought, "It's not a big deal, after all; it's highly unlikely that the number of days I have to write off is bigger than 12. All I have to do in the meantime is just to keep a low profile."

I don't really believe in these things, but to the Japanese this is the real beauty of living in the cult-like social milieu where people think they can throw themselves upon God's mercy on the assumption that God is egalitarian.

Exactly what God they have in mind is a different issue, though, because in Japan there are 8-million of them. Given this pathological trait, reporters and editors in Japan's newsroom have long thought they are all shamans whose calling is to hand down vox dei to these brain-dead people

This really makes Japan an Assange-proof nation as I argued in December. Just for instance, WikiLeaks revealed that on February 22, 2010, Kurt M. Campbell, U.S. Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, sent his boss in Washington a confidential cable from the U.S. Embassy in Seoul. In his dispatch, Campbell reported that his South Korean counterpart Kim Sung-hwan had concurred to his assessment that it was imperative for both countries to "reach out directly to [Japan's] key DPJ officials like Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada and Finance Minister Naoto Kan."

If you take into account that at that time the "key DPJ officials" were Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, who looked sabotaging the 2006 accord about the relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps' Air Station, and party's Secretary General Ichiro Ozawa, who had just taken more than 140 lawmakers to Beijing to pay respect for Hu Jintao. I don't know their blood types or constellations, but certainly Hatoyama and Ozawa were having their day when they were subtly steering Japan away from the vassal relationship with American imperialists, though too timidly, with their delusive initiative for an East Asian Community.

In June, yet another pair of idiots Naoto Kan and Katsuya Okada took over their respective posts. Obviously they couldn't have seized the leadership of the DPJ administration without the unholy alliance quickly formed with mythomaniacs in the media and corrupt prosecutors and judges. Yet, it's quite unlikely that these bastards in the third and fourth estates could have rallied behind Kan and Okada so quickly had it not been for a covert interference by someone else.

Now it's quite evident that the swindler in the White House has bought into Campbell's malicious plot. Actually you can see an unmistakable finger print of the CIA in Japan's political landscape since June.

There is a striking resemblance between the ways the current DPJ administration is going to solidify its power base and the old LDP administration was brought into existence by former war criminals and yakuza recruited by the CIA. Now that it has belatedly written off the old edifice centered around the LDP, Washington is trying to covertly "reinvent" this country for the second time.

Unfortunately for the learning-disabled Obama, though, anyone with commonsense knows you can't expect a different outcome from the same, old trick. For one thing, the cradle of Washington's new picks, Kan and Okada, is none other than the 55-year-old LDP.

Independent daily Nikkan Gendai, alone, has reported on the confidential cable. It has suggested, practically everyday, that Kan's premiership wouldn't last a single day without the help of the CIA. The same daily has also got a scoop on the clandestine meeting between Ozawa and Hu Jintao that took place at a Yokohama hotel in November. For better or for worse, Ozawa's career will not have really ended as long as the Chinese leader can outclass U.S. President, as Hu did Obama in many ways in late January.

I know very little about what's going on in Egypt and Tunisia. But I do know one important thing that Obama and his stupid people do not; these proud and self-reliant people are not risking their lives for the cause of "American democracy."

In his Jan. 23 op-ed piece titled Did Tweeting Topple Tunisia?, Doyle McManus of Los Angeles Times quotes Jared Cohen of Google Ideas as saying that a "Twitter Revolution" is not what is happening in Tunisia or Egypt. According to McManus, although Cohen admits that social media may sometimes serve as an accelerant of the ongoing wave of revolutions, he concludes that in the end, "a successful revolution still requires people to go into the streets and risk their lives."

These days busybodies in the U.S. think it's trendy to talk about "digital wildfire spreading across the repressive wasteland of the Arab world." That's why they still keep tweeting about the faded dream of American primacy. Until the demise of their evil empire, they will never accept the idea that days are numbered for the American imperialism, also known as the American democracy.

Obama, for one, wasted no time in meddling in, saying Mubarak should do this and shouldn't do that. The guy will never learn America's interference with foreign affairs creates more problems than it solves.

On the other hand, these protesters in Cairo and Tunis are neither anti- nor pro-American. They have just sailed out on uncharted waters looking for a new world without the ubiquitous presence of the United States. They don't know themselves yet exactly what they are getting at. How can they afford the time to discuss the fate of the doomed country?

By stark contrast with Egyptians and Tunisians, the horoscope-obsessed Japanese are still on the same astrological chart drawn by Washington. They will remain there until the final curtain falls on the Americans.

The good news is that they don't have to wait so long for the coming collapse of the United States. And then? God knows what's next.


A couple of days ago, the Foreign Ministry announced that Kan's visit to Washington planned for early May had been postponed. The face-saving story released by the ministry had it that talks between Kan and his black boss were canceled because the schedule on Kan's part is too tight to manage the visit. This can't be true, of course, because the Japanese calendar says people will have the holiday-studded Golden Week from late April through early May.
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America's Japanization in Its Final Stage - PART 2: The Prevailing Fear of Being Different

Yesterday I received this mail from Facebook. Its title read like this: Reminder - John Reid Greco invited you to join Facebook.

John is one of my American buddies currently living in Tokyo. Over the yearend he has been saying, "Why don't you sign up to Facebook? It's fun." I was just temporizing.

When I was going to delete the mail, I gave it a final glance and realized six pictures were embedded there under the text that went: "Other people you may know on Facebook:"

And yes, I know five faces out of the six. They included Jack, my close American friend living in Montana, Benjamin Fulford, not-too-close Canadian friend living in Tokyo, and the wife of my estranged brother living in Chicago. This made me feel uneasy because none of them can have mentioned my name, let alone my mail address, on their Facebook pages.

I asked Jack where he thought Facebook got the idea that I "may know" these faces. In response, the Montanan told me that Facebook is doing "a large-scale analysis of e-mail traffic" all over the world and around the clock. He added that I should not worry too much because this is an "automatic process." He wanted to say although there have been technologies enabling web traffic analysis for quite some time now, no one in Facebook is abusing them. Despite his valuable tips, I couldn't totally wipe out my sense of uneasiness. There's something which is fundamentally wrong with the reminder of John's casual invitation.

Not that I'm eager to make sure my privacy is fully secured.

By now I have become so used to living a life like East Germans' before the Berlin Wall was torn down, that I don't give a damn about the idea that someone at a Stasi-like organization in the U.S. such as CIA, a vendor of firewall products or a social networking service provider may put my web behavior under 24-hour surveillance. As a poverty-stricken pensioner on the brink of going homeless, I have nothing to lose by being subjected to their analysis unless someone skims my credit card numbers and passwords associated with them. Besides, my intellectual property has proved worthless in the communist country named the United States of America because it's nothing more than an undistorted truth that the American people do not want to know.

What really worries me about the mail from "the Facebook Team" is the fact that Mark Zuckerberg, TIME's Person of the Year 2010, who was just one of those empty-headed punks at the Harvard campus, has now successfully mesmerized more than 100 million American adults into accepting the absurd idea that there should always be a common denominator among the people in the U.S. and its "docile satellites" such as Japan.

Based on this false assumption, Facebook, Inc. thought I might want to reestablish contact on its website with my estranged brother and sister-in-law or my Canadian friend with whom I've been divided over his fraudulent conspiracy theories.

Facebook is not alone in assuming anyone can share his idea with anyone else only by joining the network. Twitter, Inc. also thinks it is facilitating communication among different groups of people. This holds true only where ideas to be shared among millions of participants are something that can be expressed in insipid and shallow ideological notions. But what if you want to communicate more intricate thoughts with others?

The Twitter website always reminds me of the Haiku mentality that dominates the Japanese culture in every nook and cranny. Once again, the basic premise on which the Japanese interact with each other is that there always is a homogenized and standardized understanding of things between the sender and the receiver of a message. If that assumption is false, you can never share an idea or feeling in a 17-syllable format. By the same token, the twitterers have to assume that from the beginning, they share the identical frame of mind with the readers of their "microblogs" so they can tweet within the limit of 140 characters.
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America's Japanization in Its Final Stage - PART 1: Arizona Shooting

Anyone can become angry - that is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way - this is not easy.
- Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics

Fully Japanized?
I am a belligerent person who firmly believes every one of us has the right to resort to homicide, including suicide, when all other means have been exhausted to eliminate someone who stands in our way. This is what the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution is (or was, at least) all about.
It's true what Jared Lee Loughner did in Tucson, Arizona, on January 8 constituted a first-degree crime, and yet, that does not necessarily mean it was morally unjustifiable. Actually the first thing that popped up in my mind when I heard the news was that the gunman had just targeted the wrong person.

As a result, Loughner unwittingly made a heroine out of a harmless "Green Dog Democrat." On the surface, he can be likened to Lee Harvey Oswald who made the mediocre President an instant hero in November 1963. In fact, though, he is a far cry from Oswald because Mrs. Gabrielle Giffords is not that important political figure, after all.

To me, the real implication of the assassination attempt is that the process of America's Japanization is in its final stage now and cannot be reversed anymore.

Japan's Swords and Firearms Control Law has its origin in the Meiji Era when samurais were prohibited from carrying around their swords, but the fullfledged ban on portable weaponry was implemented for the first time when General Douglas MacArthur issued a directive in 1946.

It is noteworthy, however, that in reality the comprehensive ban ordered by MacArthur has not made any difference to public safety in this country. Throughout the Japanese history, practically no leaders, be it the Emperors, Prime Ministers or Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers, have faced a serious attempt of assassination.

The way a dissident Japanese assaults a VIP is typified by the WWII veteran named Kenzo Okuzaki who had narrowly survived the bloody battle in New Guinea for the absurd cause of preserving the polity centered around the imperial institution. In 1969, he "assaulted" the Emperor with a kiddie's slingshot. Although the two small pachinko balls (pinballs) fell short of hitting the bastard, Okuzaki had to serve a 13-year prison term. He could have used a firearm if he had really wanted to kill Hirohito, but it was only in 1983 that he used one. At that time he seriously injured a son of his former boss and got a shorter prison term.

From this, you can safely conclude that in no event do the Japanese show the guts to kill their leaders. This is where lies a fundamental difference between the Japanese and other peoples. Even Adolf Hitler narrowly escaped assassination attempts on several occasions. That is why he chose to kill himself in the face of the siege of Berlin by the allied forces. On the other hand, it did not cross Hirohito's mind that he might as well disembowel himself in the last days of the war.

Not that Japan is an assassination-free society - far from it. Quite a few people have been murdered, either covertly or in broad daylight. Maverick lawmaker Koki Ishii, for one, was stabbed to death in October 2002 when he was digging into the dubious process of the "cleanup" of bad loans at failed megabanks. Most probably, this wouldn't have happened if he had been the Prime Minister at that time.

These are basically why Japan's imperial lineage has never been disrupted in the last 2,670 years since the son of the Sun Goddess allegedly founded this country.

A Wikipedia entry about the concept of Japanization also refers to it as Tennoization (literally translated as Emperorization.) This is very correct because in Japan, the Emperor, and the Prime Minister to a lesser degree, are fully guaranteed the safety of life no matter how they have caused their subjects to suffer an intolerable plight.

Now that the Americans have developed a tendency to direct their anger to the wrong ones, as the Japanese always do, the Black Dog at the White House should rest assured that he will never be targeted.

With their nation increasingly mirroring Japan, the American people will soon start killing each other, and sometimes their own selves.
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Come on, Joe, Mammals of the Order Primates Never Progress or Retrogress That Way

The dictionary definition of the intransitive verb "progress" normally goes like this: "To advance toward a higher or better stage, as in technologies." This is too ambiguous to answer the question about how exactly mankind evolves - or devolves for that matter.
I would define the word this way: "To improve quality of life in a way which is measurable against one's specific sense of values." Who said, for instance, the amount of industrial rubbish churned out by hundred million apes can serve as a primary indicator of the progress they have made?

No matter how you define the word, you can't deny Kan Tsutagawa, Managing Editor of the Yomiuri Shimbun, is in the same developmental stage as Japanese monkey's. Defamation is not my favorite pastime in particular, but I think I would be able to defend myself if the ape dared to sue me for libel.

American vultures flocking around Japan's carcass

To mark the turn of the year "amid a political imbroglio and diplomatic rifts," Tsutagawa placed an interview piece atop the front page of the year's first edition of the daily. The interviewee, James L. Huffman, professor emeritus at Wittenberg University, said, as he was supposed to say, that the Japanese still show "innovativeness" and "entrepreneurial spirit" because of, not despite, the fact that their leaders are so inept and incompetent. Just in order to cajole the braindead folks in this country, the shameless guy went as far as to do a stunt of logical acrobatism.

The Managing Editor certainly knows that the only way to assure the world's most gullible Japanese, including himself, that this country is not really done yet is to seek advice from Westerners, especially American scholars and pundits. To follow up Huffman's gibberish, Tsutagawa has now started running a series of interview pieces under the title of "Reformation of Japan."

For its first instalment, he picked Joseph Nye. The Harvard professor gave a sickening flattery about Japan's future. At the beginning of the interview, Nye said: "Japan is an amazing society that reinvented itself in the Meiji Restoration, and became the first Asian power to deal with globalization. After 1945, it did it again and became the second largest economy in the world. I remember [International Court of Justice President Hisashi Owada] saying [around 2000] that it was time for the third reinvention."

As usual nobody wondered if the self-proclaimed Japan "expert" is suffering senile dementia. But I am quite sure that is the case.

"Reinvention" Cycle

I have quickly prepared the following chronology to help you refresh your knowledge about the modern history of Japan.

Year Event Note
1853 Centralized feudal system collapses Triggered by Commodore Perry's surprise visit
1868 Meiji Restoration - 1st year of Reinvention 1 --
1945 Imperial Japan collapses Emperor survives the collapse
1952 Japan regains its nominal sovereignty - 1st year of Reinvention 2 Through the San Francisco Treaty of 1951
1968 Japan becomes world's 2nd largest economy --
1990 Bubble economy collapses --
2010 China overtakes Japan as No. 2 --
2013 Japan to overtake China once again - 1st year of Reinvention 3 Predictions by Gordon G. Chang, et al.

NOTE: The word "Reinvention" is Nye's, not mine.

What do you make of this?

The fatal outcome of the first Reinvention

Nye's first Reinvention started with Japan's aspiration for 富国強兵 (Wealthy Nation and Strong Army.) To that end the Meiji Emperor and his government instilled in their subjects an idea that this goal could only be achieved by the 和魂洋才 (Japanese Spirit and Western Learning) mindset.

Toward the early-1940s, these slogans were supplanted by a more belligerent one that went: 一億火の玉となって ([Let's beat America and Britain with] one hundred million hearts beating as one.) This way the grandson of the Meiji Emperor drove tens of millions of his subjects into the unwinnable war - until it proved the spectacular headway attained that way wouldn't last long.

For an obvious reason, however, nobody has ever asked why the recipe for modernization since the Meiji Restoration could not secure an sustainable progress. Actually the reason is quite simple.

As I have said many times before, technological development follows a linear path whereas nontechnological aspects of life advance along nonlinear paths. But to be more precise, the human element of technologies, which I call humanware, does not always go in tandem with the other two elements of technologies - hardware and software. And that is precisely why the "Japanese spirit and Western learning" mentality eventually aborted Japan's progress.

For one thing, user feedback is something technologists can't live without for long. My father, for one, found himself totally useless in the last days of the Pacific War. In those days, aeronautical engineers were told to concentrate on the suicide machines which did not have to fly high, fast or long.

So the bottomline of the first round of the Reinvention of Japan is that the purpose of life and the tools to pursue it were fatally cut off from each other.

Double-edged sword reinvented in the postwar period

From 1945 through 1951, Douglas MacArthur reigned as the "Second Emperor" although he looked more like the first Emperor himself. At the same time he also played the role of the Second Perry. As a result, we saw the country being rebuilt essentially on the same concept of the Meiji Restoration. Although the old prescription had already been tested unworkable, the Japanese made believe it would succeed this time around because the new Constitution categorically renounces war as means of settling international disputes, and the Emperor had been demoted to a mere symbol of national unity.

Against this backdrop, you can easily imagine what happened to Japan's value-creating chain when the country was granted a nominal sovereign power by the San Francisco Peace Treaty of 1951.

The ends and the means still remained cut off from each other. But now in the absence of the purpose of life, the Japanese have started substituting growth-enabling technologies for the values which they should be living for. It is none other than this inversion of the ends and the means that made this country the world's second largest economy in a matter of 23 years after the war defeat.

But exactly for the same reason, Japan failed once again in a matter of two decades since the American idiot named Herman Kahn announced the opening of the Japanese Century.

Yet, nobody has learned the lesson that the progress made by thinking-disabled people such as the Japanese can never be sustainable. At the height of the bubble economy of the '80s, Japan's media kept saying 一億総白痴化 ([the country can keep growing only when] one hundred million are ready to become idiots.) The new slogan tells all the truth about the second round of Japan's Reinvention.

Now the cute robot developed by Toyota can play the violin for you and tens of millions of Japanese from 2 to 92 are burogu-ing and tsuittar-ing on the Web, but nobody can tell what for. Japan's Self-Defense Forces are equipped with pricey, state-of-the-art weapons made in the U.S.A, but nobody can tell where to use them without killing their enemy, either.

Third Time Lucky?

With an eye clouded with an obsolete ideology and vested interests he has in Japan, Nye keeps disseminating the funny idea that the country has magical power with which to defy the Newton Dynamics. According to the dementia-suffering Harvard professor, the unique way the Japanese progress is to take two steps forward, then one step backward, and repeat this spasm-like pattern over and over. Fortunately for Tsutagawa and his fellow editors, Nye is not alone. He is a mainstreamer; there are quite a few like-minded scholars and pundits on both sides of the Pacific.

To me it's a matter of commonsense that you can't do the same thing for the third time and expect a different outcome. The fact of the matter remains that Japan has sunk and will never come back to the surface to stay there for years.

On September 9 last year, Mr. Gordon G. Chang, influential China expert, wrote on that China's will be the shortest-ever century because Japan will overtake China by 2013. When published the Japanese translation of Chang's post, his prophecy really ecstasized the Japanese.

They must have thought, "In Japan the one hundred million hearts of the world's most docile people can beat as one when it is necessary, whereas in China the 1.3 billion hearts of these unruly people can never." This unrealistic way of thinking is exactly what made their parents and grandparents underestimate American power in 1942. They thought that the nation of individualism was a sitting duck and it would be a surefire to win the war against it.
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[NEW YEAR's FEATURE] THINK, or Sink Like the Japanese

I was in business in this country from 1959 through 2005. In the first thirty years of my 46-year career, I learned a lot about business from management experts such as Peter F. Drucker and industrialists such as Frederick W. Taylor.

When I joined the Japanese subsidiary of Big Blue almost half-a-century ago, I was impressed to see the one-word signs that read "THINK" all over the workplace. I was told Thomas J. Watson, Sr., de facto founder of IBM, had made it the company credo.

For many years that ensued, America was, to me, a "thinking nation" more than anything else.

Today I still have great difficulty getting used to an America that does not think anymore. Its people "think" they are still thinking as their parents and grandparents did, but that is far from true. As has been the case with the Japanese, they now use their retrogressing brains only to find ways to economize on mental effort. As a result, they are processing information just on an ear-to-mouth basis. That's why they keep tweeting all the time these days.

On December 10, Bill Clinton visited Barack Hussein Obama at the White House to express his support for the tax cut compromise reached between the President and Congressional Republicans. When the former President emerged from the briefing room, he told reporters that the two men had had a "terrific meeting." At the end of his ad hoc speech, Clinton reportedly said:

"The United States has suffered a severe financial collapse. These things take longer to get over than normal recessions. We must first make sure we keep getting over it. We don't want to slip back down as Japan did."

Apparently, the American people think this was a clear manifestation of deep concern and firm resolve of the former and current Presidents about the problems facing the U.S.

But hold on a second.

From their empty, ill-defined and worn-out words, you can tell for sure that Clinton and Obama have never really thought, or will never really think about the root cause of the problems, let alone how to fix them. All they can do is to scratch the surface of these issues.

In his 1992 book titled The Bubble Economy, Christopher Wood, economic analyst at CLSA, wrote:

"America certainly suffers from an overdose of financial rot and empty buildings, [but not to the extent that Japan did in the 1980s.] America is an extraordinarily open society where the dirty linen is hung out for all to see [whereas] Japan is devilishly opaque."

Wood's observation about Japan was right because it is true its people have unrivaled skills to sweep unpleasant truths under the carpet. But he was wrong about America. Despite the widespread myth about its openness, America isn't a "brutally transparent" nation anymore. Its leader needs to have good insight to find the "dirty linen" hung out in the backyard.

On the same false assumption as Wood's, the American voters have constantly lowered the hurdle for presidential candidates to clear. That is why they have settled for one thinking-disabled President after another in the last two decades.

To put it bluntly, most Americans can't think today.

You may ask what exactly I mean by the 5-letter word.

Once again, let's take the Japanese bubble economy for example.

To borrow Wood's words, "Isaac Newton arrived in Japan in 1990." Ever since so many analysts and lay observers have talked about why, and how, the bubble burst as if there is such a thing as a bubble that never bursts. But not a single person, that I know of, has discussed why and how the bubble was formed in the first place.

The typical passenger view often has it that the burst was nothing but a spell of hiccups. That is why the Japanese have remained essentially unchanged all along. As anyone with a certain amount of commonsense can tell, it can't be true the people whose "diligence" and "innovativeness" made the postwar miracle possible and the people who look helplessly inept and purposeless today are two different species.

On the other hand professional analysts argue that the burst was one of those cyclic things just aggravated by some missteps by the monetary authorities. Wood argued in 1992 that as a result of the burst, Japan would have to change, as it did many times in the past, in order to "converge substantially with the West." He went on to say, "The country should emerge from its current distress a fully signed-up member of the international community, heart, head and maybe even soul."

But unfortunately for the CLSA chief strategist, that has not happened in the last 18 years simply because people's "heart, head and soul" are something you can't buy on the market.

Instead, Isaac Newton went across the Pacific Ocean in the fall of 2008.

When Clinton said he doesn't want to see his country slip back down like Japan did, with Obama standing alongside him, he didn't know what exactly he was talking about. The American people should not assume the thinking-disabled former President has learned lessons from Japan's failure any more than Obama has.

Actually you can track back Japan's misfortune well beyond the early-1980s. At least it dates back to 1945 when another brainless President thought he was paving the way for the reconstruction of Japan.

It's quite OK if Harry S. Truman intended to build an unviable nation here on the flattened archipelago because, then, the third vivisection next to the ones conducted in Hiroshima and Nagasaki was also a success. It's the world's most gullible Japanese who should take all the blame for the outcome of Truman's experiment. But what if Washington was well-intended? Then, it's a different story; now it's Americans' turn to suffer all the consequences of their leaders' inability to think.

I am not alone in seeing unmistakable signs that the entire nation of America is quickly getting Japanized in recent years. Presumably that is, at least in part, because of the obscene alliance between the two countries. In fact, it's very easy to become a white, black or brown Japanese; you just stop thinking. Then you start suffering just like the Japanese have in the last fifty years.

Yet, I don't know if the American people will wake up to show their resilience before it is too late. It now all hinges on their willingness to resume thinking, instead of just swallowing all the hogwash they hear from policymakers of both camps, or mainstream pundits and scholars covertly retained by them.

If you are ready to start your thinking-exercise right away, here's my tip:
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James Huffman is One of Those American Vultures Flocking around the Carcass of Japan

With Japan's "lost 20 years" being extended into another decade, the Japanese are dying for assurances and reassurances from America that their country is not really done yet. And that's where self-proclaimed Japan experts in the U.S. swoop down one after another like a flock of starved vultures.

It takes a firstrate chutzpah to rope people into believing Japan still shows vital signs without the help of a life-support system, but actually not a few American pundits and scholars have that impudence.

James L. Huffman, professor emeritus at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio (photo) is one of them. Like many others, the professor is ready to do whatever it takes to feed on the dead meat.

The Commentary page of the January 1 edition of the Daily Yomiuri features a breathtakingly ridiculous interview piece under the title of "Incompetent leaders no hindrance to progress." The caption summarizes the comments Huffman made in response to the phony questions raised by Cameron McLauchlan, DY staff writer, on behalf of Japanese suckers.

At the beginning, McLauchlan asked: "Japanese governments over the years have often been described as weak and leaderless. So where has the energy that developed Japan into a major power come from?" So the entire interview was conducted based on the false assumption that this country still remains a major power after all these lost 20 years.

They made believe Japan's international competitiveness has not fallen from No. 1 in 1990 to No. 27 in 2010, and that the accelerated exodus of top-notch scientists and engineers to China is an imaginary thing. This was only to allow the fraudulent professor to resort to his special skills in acrobatic logic to make absurd argumentation such as this:

"The Japanese people have always had an entrepreneurial spirit. They have always been highly innovative. That spirit may spring partly from the fact that government control has been lacking, or at least highly ineffective, in some periods."

But at the end of the interview, the interviewer and interviewee betrayed their transparent sophism. McLauchlan asked: "As a historian, what advice would you give to Japanese leaders today?"

Huffman should have answered, "As I said, the ineffectiveness on the part of the government fosters, rather than hinders, the innovativeness on the part of the people. In that sense, Naoto Kan is an ideal prime minister and needs no advice from me." Instead, however, the American historian had the nerve to say matter-of-factly that Kan should learn from the early-Meiji politicians such as Hirobumi Ito or Aritomo Yamagata who were driven by national prosperity and strength.

This indicates that the old Japan expert has lost touch with the subject country. Actually, Kan has learned too much from the early days of Japan's aspiration for a modern nation-state to learn how it ended up in failure in 1945.
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