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Welcome to TokyoFreePress Thursday, November 27 2014 @ 05:47 AM CST
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Ozawa Has Got the Japanese in between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea


The Shinto priest always
prays for an immutable world
As always, you didn't take me seriously.

You thought that there was no reason to believe in the heretical argument made by the humble blogger, especially when any reputable analyst wouldn't subscribe to it.

But obviously, it was my fault if you couldn't predict that Ichiro Ozawa and Yukio Hatoyama would re-emerge from behind the curtain, where they had been sitting out since early June. Ozawa now seeks the leadership of the Democratic Party of Japan and possibly of the country - the positions Naoto Kan has miraculously held in the last three months.

Presumably, the hardest part for you to understand was the implication of the symbolic double-suicide committed by Hatoyama and Ozawa. Actually it was just part of the political kabuki.

But my English writing skills were too poor to convince you that misogi can't make any difference to the trajectory of this nation because avoidance, not promotion, of change is what misogi is all about. No matter how many times the same ritual is repeated, that won't bring about any fundamental change.

To make it worse, that was something you were fully determined to ignore, for an obvious reason.

As a result, you thought the exit of the two had paved the way to a new Japan. That is why you assured your friends, clients and audiences that with the revolving-door situation dissolved by the 8th Prime Minister since the turn of the century, Japan had finally become a reliable partner to do business with.

I'm afraid you may have found it really embarrassing, or even shocking, when you found out the two co-founders of the DPJ had not been dead yet. So let me apologize if you lost face over Ozawa's move in one way or the other. · read more (570 words)
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[FEATURE] Japan Trivia 11: A Nation of Living Buddhas

As I always point out in relation to the annual rituals staged in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan is a surreal country where the dead and the living are "living" together. Believe it or not, I am not exaggerating or analogizing the situation.

Especially at this time of the year, the threshold between life and death almost melts away like asphalt in the sweltering heat of midsummer particular to this monsoon climate.

On July 28 in Tokyo's Adachi Ward, a mummified body was discovered lying in bed when an old woman stepped into the room to celebrate her father's 111th birthday. According to the ward office, the remains were identified as those of the "111-year-old" who had holed up in his room since 1978. The last words the mummy's family heard from him 32 years ago were:

"俺は今から即身成仏する (Leave me alone; now I'm becoming a living Buddha.)"

This prompted municipalities across the nation to carry out onsite investigations into the actual conditions of all those who are supposedly aged 100 or older. As a result, it was learned that at least hundreds of Japanese "centenarians" are actually missing for many years, most of them presumably dead.

POSTSCRIPT September 10: According to the data released today, 234,354 "centenarians" were found to be missing. The oldest one among them came into being around the time Polish composer Frederic Chopin was born.

If you have commonsense, you can tell for sure that the missing centenarians must be the tip of the iceberg. Yet, the Japanese have since singled out "centenarians" to avoid questioning the actual situation for all other age brackets, from 0 to 99. They know that otherwise they would certainly have to gaze into the abyss lying before them - if they haven't hit its bottom themselves yet, that is.

In this respect, let me add something below:

■ "Living Buddha" here is the Shamanistic way to refer to a zombie, and has nothing to do with Gautama Buddha.

■ According to the official statistics, roughly one-million people die every year, including more than 30 thousand who kill themselves. On the other hand, as Newsweek's Japan edition once reported in its cover story, there is no coroner system in place here. The reason is because more often than not the bereaved are superstitious enough to believe a corpse is the place where a deity dwells. That's why it's widely considered blasphemous to have the body of the deceased autopsied. As a result, 15% of dead bodies are cremated leaving the cause of death undetermined. Another fallout from this is the fact that a good part of those who die mysterious deaths remain unidentified.
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Akihito Mourns for Dead Cows and Pigs on the 65th Anniversary of Hiroshima



Two new dolts, Ban
Ki-moon and John
Roos, made 55,000
mourners' prayer
ring even more
hollow
There was nothing particularly new in the way the 65th anniversary of the A-bombing on Hiroshima was marked yesterday.

Any sane person could tell that two important things were still missing: attendance of Emperor Akihito (Hirohito's son) and sanity on the part of his poor subjects.

On the same day in his nicely air-conditioned palace, the bastard opted to see the governor of Miyazaki Prefecture where the emergency situation with the foot-and-mouth epidemic had just subsided after killing 289,000 livestock.

Do I have to explain why he felt like having a chat with the governor over the dead cows and pigs while U.S. Ambassador and U.N. Secretary General, both in mourning attire, were being baked under the scorching sun at ground zero?

Although the blank and sulky faces were betraying their indifference to what happened in the city sixty-five years ago, both Roos and Ban were dutifully offering a silent prayer for the 140,000 human beings incinerated for the cause of preserving the imperial institution.

As usual, not a single news reporter or commentator mentioned Akihito's absenteeism. (Postscript: On the contrary, when Roos skipped the ceremony in Nagasaki three days later giving an implausible excuse, Japanese media did not conceal displeasure.)

Now that the number of the participating countries has reached a record 74, it's increasingly obvious that none other than this mass-stupidity has hindered the progress of nonproliferation, instead of expediting it. I wouldn't be surprised if the 66th anniversary is attended by some new faces such as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Below here I'm going to re-post the body text of the essay I wrote one year ago under the title of Obamitis Virus Hits Its Cradle - Japan's Ground Zero.



Japan is a country which is inhabited by innumerable gods. We used to be talking about yaorozuno-kami, or 8 million gods. But with Japan's living population steadily shrinking in recent years, I am sure the nether world here is having a population explosion by now because every Japanese is believed to be given the citizenship out there as soon as he dies. They also believe that these gods make a homecoming trip during obon yasumi, or the bon holidays which fall on mid-August.

Things are quite confusing at this time of the year with family reunions between the deceased and their living descendants taking place across the nation. It's next to impossible to tell who are dead and who are still alive. For my part, I'm reasonably sure that I'm still awaiting my turn at Grim Reaper's waiting room. Yet, I may be wrong. Who knows?

To avoid misidentifying the dead as the living, or vice versa, Tokyo-based conspiracy theorist Benjamin Fulford generically named the Japanese zombies, before he became extremely popular among none other than these zombies, that is.

Heralding the bon holidays every year are the annual ceremonies solemnly held at ground zero of the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The people have not found it particularly necessary to make August 6 and 9 national holidays because the two events are only part of their activity for the month solely devoted to the dead at large in this land of shamanism.

Past several decades have seen the same proceedings repeated at ground zero of the two cities according to a long-established agenda and format with the successive mayors reciting their empty and bland "Peace Declarations" as the priests presiding over the rituals. Watching my fellow countrymen going through these formalities, I always get a surreal sense of attending my own deathwatch.

If there was anything new in their Peace Declarations 2009, it's the citations from Obama's speech in Prague. Both mayors must have found the April 5 speech by the U.S. President irresistibly sexy. That's why they couldn't help parroting Obama's most famous line at the 64th anniversaries of the bombings. It goes:

As the only nuclear power to have used a nuclear weapon (sic), the United States has a moral responsibility to act.

Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba felt that it was not enough just to repeat after Obama. When concluding his declaration, he suddenly switched to what he thought was English to read out the following sentences:

We have the power. We have the responsibility. We are the Obamajority(!?). Together, we can abolish nuclear weapons. Yes, we can. (The exclamation mark and question mark are mine.)

You may be inclined to call the Mayor a moron. But I suspect that is not the case with him. Actually he completed his doctorate in mathematics at MIT some 40 years ago. How can a Ph.D. from the prestigious school be an idiot? And more importantly, he and his counterpart in Nagasaki are not alone.

So, I want you to look at the following fact sheet about a deadly mental illness to be named something like Obamitis before jumping to a conclusion about their pathological problem.

1 Name of Disease Obamitis - so named after the U.S. president who has disseminated the newest strain of the virus all over the world.
2 First Outbreak Observed in Japan a long time ago.
3 Symptoms Sufferers lose their ability to internalize things using their own brains. As a result they always talk about their own problem in vague generality as if it were someone else's. The inability to address problems specifically and systematically always leads the patients to utter inaction in the face of a complicated situation. They often develop echolalia in complication.
4 Worst Possible Consequence Brain-death.
5 Etiology The Obamitis virus causes the disease.
6 Diathesis People with shamanism background are far more likely to become infected with the Obamitis virus than Christians and Muslims. For example, the Japanese traditionally think politics are like weather. When Mongolians attempted to invade Japan in 1274, kamikaze, or Divine Wind from a ferocious typhoon, blew their fleet against the rocks while Japanese had been freezing in total inaction. Ever since they have become susceptible to the idea that the only thing their leader has to do in the face of a crisis is to pray, as a priest, for a change of the weather. When the incantation doesn't work, they leave things adrift until the problem solves itself. The apocalypse in the two cities is an excellent example that shows how effectively a problem can solve itself.
7 Transmission The main pathway for the viral transmission is through excessive intake of ill-defined, bland and empty words such as peace, democracy, nonproliferation, dialog to promote mutual understanding, common values, etc.
8 Environmental Factors There is a good reason to believe the monsoon climate provides the optimum for the virus. Especially, the steamy weather of August in East Asia is considered to be the most favorable condition for the growth and reproduction of the virus. However, the recent pandemic situation in the U.S. indicates that the newest strain of the virus is viable in other regions, as well.
9 Cure None.
10 Statistics TokyoFreePress estimates that there are more than 100 million patients in Japan right now. In the United States, there were at least 69,456,897 adults suffering from Obamitis as of November 4, 2008. The numbers are still growing on both sides of the Pacific.
11 Japan Trivia The Japanese people all believe their fortunes have been predetermined by astrology, Zodiac signs or blood types. Given their extremely superstitious and suggestible trait, every TV station with nationwide network thinks it's essential to spare at least 5 minutes every morning to provide its viewers with the forecasts for the day. This is the secret behind Akiba's Obamajority stuff.
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It Takes a Retarded Journalist to Juxtapose Elizabeth Bishop to the War Criminal


Elizabeth Bishop,
American poet
(1911-79)
Hirohito, the worst
war criminal in
man's history (1901-89)

In his recent article on The Times, Matthew Parris quoted some passages from Elizabeth Bishop's poetic work and Emperor Hirohito's declaration of war defeat.

Apparently the piece titled "Like Hirohito, we need to find the right word for losing" was written to tell British Prime Minister David Cameron how to expostulate with Obama about the impasse of the Afghan War.

Parris wrote: "We are losing Afghanistan. Losing, all losing, gets harder, then it gets easier. Losing in Afghanistan will get easier after we pass that point when the truth, just saying it, first sticks in the throat and then is finally acknowledged. As our Prime Minister headed for Washington to see Barack Obama, we were nearing that point."

What a nonsense.

I was not interested in discussing such a journalistic crap from the gay pundit. Neither was I concerned about the outcome of the talks between the two leaders.

And yet, I wanted to set the record straight for the American poet because she is one of my favorite literary figures. At the same time I wanted to point out that it's about time the Brits dropped all the silly jokes about the Japanese counterpart of Queen Elizabeth II. The bastard didn't have the foggiest idea about the art of losing in the face of Japan's moment of truth.

Parris's citation of Bishop's poem titled One Art was so incomplete and inaccurate, I'll show you its original text here:

The art of losing isn't hard to master,
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster;
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three beloved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Some more stanzas follow but as you can already see, One Art sounds a little like Buddha's tenet about impermanence. A helplessly shallow journalist as he is, Parris didn't know he should not have expected the equally superficial guys in Downing Street and the White House to apprehend such a profound concept as the art of losing.

Alongside of Bishop, Parris also quoted the Japanese Emperor.

I can't afford the time to double-check, but according to Parris, the concession speech Japan's principal war criminal mumbled out on the radio on August 15, 1945 went like this:

"To our good and loyal subjects, the war situation has developed not necessarily to Japan's advantage. *snip* The thought of those officers and men who died at their posts of duty, or those who met with untimely death and all their bereaved families, pains our heart day and night. The welfare of the wounded and the war sufferers are the objects of our profound solicitude. However, it is according to the dictate of time and fate that we have resolved to pave the way for a grand peace for all the generations to come by enduring the unendurable and suffering what is insufferable."

Parris concluded his article with a ridiculous remark that "the Emperor was right."
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Fish Bones Stuck Deep in Their Throats Are Now Killing Americans and Their Asian Minions

America does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy - John Quincy Adams


On July 9 Dr. Lee Seung-hun, physics professor at the University of Virginia,
spoke at a conference sponsored by Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan.

Truth always hurts. And since nobody wants to get hurt, it never sells even when it's a giveaway like mine.

That is why I came up with the trivia format several month ago. I thought facts can sometimes be substituted for truth because, after all, truth is the summation of internalized facts. I also thought by trivializing things, I would be able to make my blog pieces a little more entertaining to my predominantly American audience, and better yet, this way I would be able to help immunizing them against the pains inherent to truth.

Obviously I underestimated the brainpower of these highly-educated Americans. They instantly detected the trap I had set up on them.

Another thing I underestimated is their resolve to bury in oblivion the dark side of the history of their country.

By now I have learned from this experiment that these people have already had one or more small fish bones stuck deep in their throats and to them that is more than enough.

This is why these guys are so allergic to truth or any clue to it. They always put the reality of Pax Americana before truth.

And this also explains why conspiracy theorists in North America have found a lucrative niche market so easily.

They peddle truth that does not hurt.

If you don't want to become hooked on the addictive substance truth-seekers are markeing, you resort to cynicism, the attitude toward truth typical of highly-educated Americans today. You just keep saying, "Who can tell where to find this thing called truth?" The all-too-familiar line always leaves me wondering whether there is any difference between a prestigious higher-learning institute in the U.S., such as Obama's alma mater, and yet another vocational school or Berufsschule in Europe.

In the past they, their parents and grandparents have gulped down so many fish, including the one from the Gulf of Tonkin where sea battles were fought between the USS Maddox and North Vietnamese torpedo boats in August 1964. But among other things, the mysterious sinking of the USS Maine in Havana Harbor in February 1898 is still weighing heavily on their minds, if only subliminally.

As anyone who has studied the history of the United States knows, the particular incident prompted William McKinley to rush into the Spanish-American War, which the President had previously wanted to avoid. As a result, the United States could capture Cuba, instead of liberating it. Equally important, America could also colonize Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines.

Despite the fact that these prizes were officially awarded to the victor in the Treaty of Paris, the cause of the sinking of the Maine that triggered the war has remained mysterious to date. Most recently, in 1998, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the war, National Geographic Magazine had Advanced Marine Enterprises conduct an investigation into the explosion that sank the vessel.

The investigators of the institution could avail themselves for the first time of computer modeling and simulation, the technique which had previously been unavailable. Yet, they had to conclude: "The sum of [our] findings is not definitive in proving that a mine was the cause of sinking of the Maine, but it does strengthen the case in favor of a mine as the cause."

Before they could feel fully vindicated, the Americans went on an expedition to Vietnam. Afghanistan and Iraq followed decades later. And most recently, they started to ascribe the March 26 incident in the Yellow Sea to a North Korean torpedo.

Obama's response to the sinking of the Cheonan, a South Korean patrol ship, was irresolute and subdued even more than ever. He has been exercising self-restraint by reducing the sinking that claimed 46 lives to a matter of empty rhetoric in part because he thought the causeless and endless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are more than enough.

Obviously there must have been another reason. Most probably he couldn't be sure that the evidence produced by the Joint Investigation Group (JIG) on May 20 was genuine. The guy must have thought, "This can be yet another 'intelligence failure'."

That is the only way to explain why Obama, Clinton and most other educated Americans have refused so frantically, sometimes even hysterically, the idea of reexamining evidence shown in JIG's report, which was released just in time for the June 5 local elections in South Korea, and amid the nation-dividing controversy over the relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps' air station in Japan.

Don't take me wrong, however. I don't care a bit about who was behind the Cheonan sinking. Neither do I care about whether the "provocative act" was actually a conspiracy.

What concerns me most is people's attitudes toward truth.

■ Does one always try to recompose truth by himself from given facts, instead of just swallowing someone else's ideology or theory?
■ Does he have commonsense to weed out fishy elements from given facts before deriving his own truth from them?

These are the questions I ask myself when I interact with anyone I do. Unfortunately, I can seldom answer my own questions in the affirmative.

Especially when it comes to those political racketeers based in the U.S., I don't know what to say.

These politicians and pundits don't normally swallow truth given by others because they have to differentiate themselves from each other for business purposes. But their supposedly proprietary theories or ideologies are all fake because they always take it for granted that any secondhand information that fits comfortably into their intellectual merchandise is genuine.

All I could tell them is that I was not born in the twilight years of the American Century either to warn these mainstream ideologues active and vocal there to adhere to the founding principles of their country, or to make a fortune myself doing conspiracy-mongering business such as antimainstream truth-seekers'.

At any rate I just can't wait until 2110 to know whether or not JIG's theory is substantiated by facts.

By now I have hypothesized that the habitual self-deception of the American people since 1898 has taken a devastating toll on their fate. So I just want to make sure, before I go, that the progress of America's decline is already irreversible.
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Further to the Election Report


Left: In this rare session sponsored by the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan on July 9, a professor of physics at the University of Virginia and an associate professor in international politics at Johns Hopkins University argued that the official report on the Cheonan sinking was fake. But usually members of the FCCJ keep scratching the surface of things happening here to cater to largely biased editorial positions of their head-offices.
Center: Ichiro Ozawa still remains the Shadow Shogun and is getting prepared for a comeback
Right: Yoshimi Watanabe is up and coming now

This is to follow up the flash report I posted when the election returns were being finalized.

Western Media's Take

Once again they are responding to the results of the Sunday poll in a breathtakingly stupid way.

They say in concert that the outcome of the election will once again destabilize the situation here. It's as though they think Hatoyama's resignation early last month had once stabilized it.

Stabilized for 5 weeks? Don't be silly.

These guys also attribute DPJ's defeat to the fact that amid the election campaign, Kan started to say the consumption tax (Japan's VAT) might have to be raised from 5% to 10% to prevent Japan from treading the path similar to Greece's.

Reportedly Japan's prime minister had hinted at a consumer tax hike in the G20 meeting in Canada to prevent budget deficits from further ballooning. At the same time he seems to have promised the leaders from other countries that he would lower corporate tax rates so as to ensure economic growth. It's appalling to know the former finance minister didn't know the value-added taxes in Greece were already in the range of 8-19% when the crisis broke out there.

It is true that Kan himself attributed DPJ's defeat, in retrospect, to the fact that he had once again broke his previous campaign pledge by carelessly mentioning the tax hike. But this doesn't explain why then the major opposition LDP, which also made it clear that doubling the tax rate would be necessary, could regain part of lost ground.

The fact remains that the real cause of the setback suffered by his party is that he didn't really address, let alone propose any solution to, the key issues ranging from corruption that persists, to the U.S.-Japanese security treaty that increasingly proves irrelevant in the post-Cold War era, to the dole-out policy that has gone over the top by now.

The consumption tax was just a decoy.

Needless to say Tokyo correspondents of foreign media are at a loss what to make of the sudden rise of the fledgling Your Party.

When will the media in the West ever learn they are largely misguided by their empty-headed Tokyo correspondents?

Committee for Inquest of Prosecution

At this moment Ozawa's fate all hinges on the Committee's second verdict due at the end of this month and Prosecutors Office's response to it.

The Committee consists of eleven members who are periodically picked "randomly" from among "ordinary citizens." For an obvious reason, occupations, genders and ages of those who are picked at random remain undisclosed on the pretext of protection of privacy.

Of course "at random" can mean anything. At best it's a roulette, Russian or not. And at worst, it can mean that the committee is totally fictitious and nonexistent in the first place.

It still remains to be seen whether or not Ozawa can make a comeback in style at the plenary convention of the party scheduled for September. But I am reasonably sure there is no chance for Kan to get reelected at the convention and that although Ozawa can't even run if he is indicted, that's not the end of his political career.

As some have already started speculating, it's fairly likely that the most powerful intra-party faction headed by Ozawa seeks to spin off from the DPJ to form yet another new party. Time and again has he come out of similar crises by resorting to this tactic.

Not a single one can outmaneuver the Shadow Shogun.

Rapid Rise of the Your Party

Admittedly the strong showing of the Your Party was really phenomenal. Head of the newborn party Yoshimi Watanabe has been able to convince millions of voters that it can serve as the real alternative to the old parties all bound by strings of particular interest groups. He kept saying the only way out of the deepening crisis is to drastically downsize the legislature and restructure the bureaucracy. Only by these measures, he said, the Japanese can bring their nation back on the right track.

Yet it is important to note Watanabe's prescription for sustainable growth still falls way short of reinvigorating the failing nation.

His father, Michio Watanabe, was the Minister of Agriculture and Fishery (1978-79,) the Minister of Finance (1980-82,) the Minister of International Trade and Industry (1985-86) and the Foreign Minister (1991-93.) In those days, his ministries were solely mandated to protect the private sector, especially major financial institutions and other key industries, from foreign competitors.
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Is This Anything New?

Party Pre-election
Seats
Gain/Loss on
Contested Seats
New Seats
Democratic Party of Japan 116 -10 106
People's New Party 6 -3 3
Liberal Democratic Party 71 +13 84
Komeito 21 -2 19
Japan Communist Party 7 -1 6
Social Democratic Party 5 -1 4
Your Party 1 +10 11
Other 15 -6 9
Total 242 0 242

NOTE 1: The two parties shown in red font have formed the ruling coalition.
NOTE 2: Komeito is a legitimized cult which was a minor coalition partner of
the Liberal Democratic Party until August last year.

I was not really interested in knowing the results of the Upper House election. Neither did I think the outcome would be report-worthy at all

On second thought, however, I felt an urge to post a flash report because so many self-styled Japan experts in the West have been misleading their audiences to believe the resignations of the former prime minister Hatoyama and the "former" Shadow Shogun Ozawa have paved the way to the rebirth of Japan as a sound and viable country. For an obvious reason these guys are determined to defy the fact that the misogi ritual can't have changed anything about the corrupt and disoriented regime.

Let me repeat one last time that no matter how often the Japanese replace their leader, their nation remains unchanged as long as they refuse to change themselves as they have done in the last 13 centuries.

As of writing this piece, yet another allnight dibeto ritual is going on on TV Asahi with media mogul Soichiro Tahara acting as the priest. As usual the debaters go in circles around the "issues" with the U.S.-Japanese alliance, widespread corruption, impediments to sustainable economic growth, ballooning sovereign debt and the bankrupt welfare programs. It's as though they are addressing different issues than those facing them before the election. They are getting nowhere before the daybreak because the priest is skillful enough at getting around the real issues.
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Where Okinawa is Headed

There can be no greater error than to expect or calculate upon real favors from nation to nation.
- George Washington



So many people talk about the Okinawa issue these days. But very few of them really care about the suffering of the 1.4 million Okinawans, which actually constitutes the gut issue with the alliance between the U.S. and Japan.

Based on the false premise that Okinawa is just the forty-seventh prefecture of Japan, politicians and political analysts on both sides of the Pacific keep scratching the surface of what's really going on out there.

These political racketeers make every possible effort to get around the real issue simply because they know very well that delving into the heartache of the Okinawans as second-class citizens will jeopardize, in one way or the other, their ideological cause on which they make their own living.

In my view, you can't really understand the predicament the Okinawans have been going through in the last 65 years under the partial occupation of their lands by the U.S. armed forces without further tracking it back to the early-17th century when Satsuma clan annexed the Ryukyu Kingdom on behalf of the Tokugawa Shogunate based in Edo, the city named Tokyo today.

Sixty-five years have passed since the Tokyo government yielded its rule over the islands to Washington. The "return" of Okinawa thirty-eight years ago has made little difference to the situation; the people are still suffering under a two-tiered oppression - something really unprecedented in modern history.

But for now, let me focus on the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between U.S. and Japan and SOFA (Status of Forces Agreement) signed on January 19, 1960 between U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower and Nobusuke Kishi, a CIA agent.

Delusion on Delusion

The single most important question the Japanese must ask themselves is what the U.S. Marine Corps are deployed there for.

The rubberstamp answer they hear from policymakers and political pundits of the two countries is that they are stationed there to protect Japan against its enemies or deter them from launching an attack on the country.

Give me a break.

It's too touching to be true that the USMC units based in Okinawa are poised to risk their own lives to protect the Japanese living more than 5,000 miles away from their own home country. This is a fairytale especially when the Americans have increasingly proved incapable of even taking care of themselves.

The USMC's missions defined by the National Security Act of 1947 do not include defense or deterrence in the first place. And in reality, the marines deployed in Okinawa are spearheading amphibious and expeditionary warfare in and around Afghanistan and Iraq.

NOTE: Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force has "bought" six AEGIS-equipped destroyers to defend the Japanese archipelago from possible missile attacks. But since this is a different issue from the USMC deployed in Okinawa, I don't touch on it in this post. These vessels are said to be filled with state-of-the-art technologies all sealed off in a black box. But actually it's a Pandora's Box which is the subject I'm addressing here.

Aside from the definition of their roles, what enemies are they supposed to defend Japan against?

Maybe the People's Republic of China is at the top of their list of potential enemies.

What a delusion.

Just for one thing, a record 481,696 Chinese tourists flocked to Japan in 2009, up 20% from 2007. Each of them spent an average 110K yen ($1.2K) for shopping a wide range of consumer goods from appliances, to cosmetics, to high-end nailclippers. The Japan National Tourism Organization is now expecting the influx of cash from the continent to accelerate in the years to come.

Another example of Japan's dependency on China is imports of raw materials. Although Japan at present has to depend more on Chile than China for the supply of lithium, the country's morbid culture centered around the keitai (handset) technology will fall apart if China further lowers its export quota on the rare metal mainly excavated in Tibet.

So, make no mistake - automakers are not alone in increasingly getting addicted to the world's most populous and prosperous marketplace. It's not China's problem, but Japan's.

In the wake of the deepening economic doldrums, Japan couldn't withstand a single day without China. China, too, has to count on Japan to sustain its growth path, but only to a far lesser degree.

Amid the campaign for the upcoming Upper House election, Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara, as the "cheerleader" of the Rise-Up Japan Party, has been repeatedly warning the voters that if they don't support the newborn party he roots for, Japan will be demoted to the 24th province or 6th autonomous region of the People's Republic of China from the 51st star on the national flag of the United States. The old cretin at the helm of the metropolitan government should know this won't make any difference to Okinawa's status as Japan's 47th prefecture.

In short, you've got to be totally out of your mind, or out of touch with reality, to foresee a military conflict between the two countries in the first half of this century.

Maybe China's ambition to capture Taiwan is a little more real, but there is no reason the Okinawans have to suffer the consequence from the possible conflict in the Taiwan Strait.

What about North Korea, then? It's another baloney that the tiny republic whose defense budget is estimated at the vicinity of $6 billion poses a threat to Japan whose military spending always tops $40 billion. The American fortress in Okinawa is nothing but superfluous.

True, you can't rule out Ryu Murakami's scenario in which North Korea successfully subverts the ailing Japanese regime, but there will never be a nuclear warfare as the novelist expressly stresses.

I don't care a bit about the reason why on earth the U.S. has had to turn down so frantically North Korean U.N. Ambassador Sin Son Ho's request to reopen the probe into the Cheonan sinking. Neither do I care exactly why the U.S., notwithstanding, has stopped short of calling it an act of international terrorism.

But one thing is for sure; the incident in the Yellow Sea has nothing to do with Okinawa.

NOTE: According to the recently declassified documents, even Nobusuke Kishi, the traitor, confided to some officials in the Foreign Ministry his fear that Japan would possibly get embroiled in a military confrontation between the U.S. and a communist regime in the Far East.

Red Herrings

To gloss over all this hocus-pocus, politicians and pundits on both sides of the Pacific have invented a lot of red herrings about SOFA.

Their modus operandi is to single out isolated incidents such as sexual crimes committed by U.S. servicemen stationed there, or the 1959 crash of the U.S. jet fighter (F-100) into an elementary school that left 17 dead and other 210 injured. It's as though Japanese men have seldom raped their female compatriots, or car accidents caused by locals haven't killed much more civilians in the last 51 years.

To that end they make believe that the single most important issue involved in Japan's part of SOFA is which party should have civil and criminal jurisdiction. Even the anti-U.S. leftists here have never failed to raise their voices to demand the transfer of jurisdiction every time a U.S. serviceman raped a Japanese girl.

Actually the media-salient topic of how to handle criminal cases around the military bases is yet another red herring because it has nothing to do with the core issue with the islands of Okinawa.

Regime for Dual Oppression of Japan's Tibet

It seems to me that self-styled American experts in the Okinawa issue, and their Japanese minions as well, feel mandated to perpetuate the dual oppression regime for another half century. To that end they keep pontificating on the necessity for the Tokyo government to remain under the wing of America.

I don't know any other word than a colony to describe what Japan is to the U.S. and what Okinawa is to Japan.

In general terms, a colony is defined like below:

■ A colony is a territory which is politically controlled by people living in a geographically separate land.
■ The natives who inhabit the region have ethnic, cultural and historical background which differs from that of the ruling group. Despite the inevitable progress of assimilation over time, their distinctive identity is retained for many centuries.
■ A local governing body may or may not exist. Wherever there is one, it looks like yet another local government on the surface. But essentially, it is totally subordinated to the government of the mainland. Its autonomy is largely a nominal thing.
■ A minority group among the natives willingly collaborates with the government of the suzerain power solely because of the financial interests they are vested there, while the vast majority of the people have nothing but to suffer from the subservience.

No sane person can deny both Japan and Okinawa meet these descriptions, though to varying degrees.

The beauty of this regime is that the U.S. government doesn't have to deal directly with the Okinawans who have been going through all this predicament in the last sixty-five years. So the Obama administration seems fully determined to preserve the mechanism of exploitation without running counter to the nation's founding principle. In this respect the incumbent president is no different from his predecessor.

And that is where American pundits who claim to be well-versed in Japan's sociopolitical landscape kick in. Now they have rallied behind Washington's absurd foreign policy both from liberal and conservative camps. This is a real bipartisan effort.

The primary mandate these bastards are given by Washington is to constantly mix up legality with legitimacy by always putting laws and legal documents before people. In fact, though, we all know it's men that sign them - not the other way around.

To that end, these Japan experts try hard to prove that America's Far Eastern ally is a sovereign and viable nation with a legally competent government. It takes a special set of skills to defy all the evidence indicating that the successive Tokyo governments have always acted like a dupe.

To be more specific, skills required from them can be summarized as below:

■ They have to have a good enough memory to name 7 prime ministers of Japan who came in and went out of office through its revolving door since the turn of the century.
■ They ought to have a nerve to look back at the 14 remarks each of them made one week after and six months after each transition of power without blushing for a split second.
■ They should be able to ignore the fact that these prime ministers have invariably left in the air the gut issues with the convoluted trilateral relations between Washington, Tokyo and Okinawa islands. In other words, they should be able to skate over people issues because it's next to impossible to mold living people in an ideological context even with their special skills to falsify the truth.
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Japan Trivia 10: An ESS (英語同好会)


The sparrow language he
tweets at the Starbucks
terrace is more compre-
hensible than Jangrish.
Here's why.
ESS stands for English Speaking Society.

Some 50-60 years ago, every high school or college had an ESS or two primarily because it was considered trendy or highbrow to speak what they thought was English even among Japanese students.

If they had any other reason to learn colloquial English that way, it was because they wanted to befriend gaijin (foreigners, especially those with blue eyes) and socialize nicely with them.

In those days the Japanese people fantasized about mixing with gaijin even more than their children and grandchildren do today. They joined an ESS in the expectation that they might be introduced to a gaijin by a group member.

It's also noteworthy that their burning desire for crosscultural interaction had nothing to do with the way WWII ended. Even Germans would serve their purposes.

There may have been a handful of exceptions. They had more down-to-earth reasons such as using the language on actual business scenes after graduation. Even so they were practicing English in the wrong way because fluency in small talk wouldn't help a bit in real business.

In general the Japanese have never understood that English, or any other language for that matter, is nothing but a tool of communication. When you don't have your own thoughts or feelings really worth sharing with others, the tool is totally useless.

Don't misunderstand me, however; I am not subscribing to ESP, or English (learning) for Specific Purposes, the "proprietary" method some professors and researchers at Tokyo's Aoyama Gakuin University have been advocating in the last ten years.

From my first-hand experience working with retarded faculty members of the AGU and its Business School, I can tell for sure that the education system does not make any difference to Japan's disastrous showings in English proficiency.

Take education on information technology, for example. What will happen if you cram your student's empty brain with English IT jargon? Absolutely nothing, because IT is not a goal in itself, either, but a tool with which to pursue it. The same can be said of literacy in any other area of expertise.

Despite the claim by the AGU professors that ESP is an innovative methodology, it actually dates back to Japan's catch-up era which started in the 1860s. But as everyone knows, the nationwide drive for fukoku kyohei and wakon yosai all proved an unworkable prescription by 1945.

150 years have passed since the seclusion policy was lifted, and it's been 65 years since the war defeat. Now the entire nation has grown into a huge ESS, as if thousands of English Speaking Societies have all been converged there.

So I was really surprised when I saw a bill on a bulletin board in this neighborhood that read: "Why don't you join our ESS where you can discuss various topics with Japanese citizens and foreigners every Sunday? You can attend our meeting at the minimal cost of 1,000 yen ($11) per session."

Momentarily I developed an illusion that my clock had been turned back to the 1950s.

Wondering what's going on there, I called the organizer to ask if I would be allowed to bring up any topic in his ESS. He was a Japanese and about my age. He affably answered my question in Japanese: "Basically yes - but we don't take up political or religious issues. We have had a bitter experience in the past when someone raised touchy issues."

I said: "So you are just chitchatting there, right?" He quickly modified what he had said seconds earlier so I wouldn't hang up. "But it really depends," he said, "We just want to keep a harmonious atmosphere among group members."

That's why I have made it a rule to join in only when I have nothing particular to do, feel physically strong enough to take a ten-minute walk to the place and the weather is not so lousy.

The first time I joined them, I learned the basics of their code of conduct and practical rules associated with it.

The man I had talked with over the phone turned out to be the organizer as I had assumed him to be. He also looked like one of the founding members of the group since its launch twenty years ago.

The self-appointed organizer seems to have authority to decide who to take the chair in the next session. Small wonder he has never told (and will never tell) me to take my turn, although I have already handed the Internet-illiterate guy some printouts of my blog pieces carefully excluding poisonous ones.

The person who is arbitrarily selected by him is, in turn, given the right to determine the next topic(s). He or she is supposed to prepare photocopies of an article picked from a newspaper (e.g. The Japan Times) or a magazine (e.g. Newsweek.) It's out of the question to bring in his or her own writing.

A guy from California and a woman from the U.K. whose husband is Japanese show up alternately as the moderator and English teacher.

Other members are predominantly Japanese citizens living in the city of Yokohama. Their age and background vary on the surface, but they have one thing in common: they all suffer from a psychogenic illness which I have named Post-Black-Ship Stress Disorder. Unlike other types of PTSD, it's infectious and hereditary.

No wonder they do because the port city is the place where the unequal treaty called Convention of Kanagawa was signed 152 years ago.

They are only sitting there, wearing a mysterious smile all the time. They feel at ease because all they are supposed to do is to read out in turns a paragraph or two of the given material.

I can't but accept all this stupid arrangement. But in the first session I attended, I suggested that at least the chairperson should give us photocopies of the material a week before it is discussed so that we can save time to be spent for reading out these sentences in awful accents and intonations as if we are schoolchildren.

I muted out the last ten words of my suggestion because I thought it would be counterproductive to insult them unnecessarily. Yet, the moment I said this, I got caught in a crossfire not only from the organizer and the moderator, but from all other attendees. The change-resistant folks turned down my request for a farfetched reason: it's impracticable for the chairman to do so because he never knows how many people will come back and how many of those who aren't present this week will come in the next week.

Especially I can't stand the British woman who is much more of a Japanese than I am. She says she has been in Japan for more than two decades. The only thing where she differs from the Japanese is her arrogance. On the surface she sounds like a caring person, but essentially, she is one of those benevolent colonialists.

She is too used to servile locals, perhaps including her husband, who constantly snuggle up to her just because she has blue eyes. She has been spoiled so much that she believes deep inside Caucasians are superior to Mongoloids.

It seems as though she thinks: "Even though the Japanese sometimes outdo us, we always reserve the right to determine whether to say: 'You did a good job,' or 'There are many things we should learn from the Japanese.'"

The broad once warned me that it was impermissibly rude to point my finger at the person who I was speaking to. I swallowed my objection to her lecture on good manners because at that point I recalled their code of conduct: harmony should be put before anything else, just as Shotoku Prince said 14 centuries ago. A beat-up Japanese broad sitting next to me had already started glaring menacingly at me as if to say: "Just one more verbal attack on the British lady, I'll kill you, dirty dotard."

Actually I wanted to say: "We are all grownups. We did not congregate here to listen to your lecture on how to behave. Gestures vary from country to country. For instance, a Japanese tends to feel insulted when someone motions him over with a beckoning sign particular to Westerners. But that's something we should learn to tolerate."

Another thing where I find her attitude utterly abhorrent is the fact that she always interrupts me when I speak out too much, or too often - by Japanese standards, that is. I am a person who thinks it's a total waste of time to discuss nonissues, and to keep quiet whenever he finds the topic more or less relevant and worth discussing.

The reason she stops me so frequently is because her role there is to encourage, or force, to be more precise, other people to speak up as often as I do whereas deep inside she knows they don't have their own opinions to share with the rest of the group - which is evident from the reaction of these supposedly shy and modest people. They keep fidgeting for 15-30 seconds before mumbling out an incomplete sentence or two.

Most typically, they say: "Oh, yes, ... but ..." Sometimes they use the conjunction "so" in place of "but." Either way, the rest of the sentence is always left unsaid because most probably they have nothing to add to begin with, or at best, they think they are understood by the perceptive gaijin listener without spelling out their unorganized "thought."

It is true that there are a few people who seem to have a lot of experience dealing with gaijin. They certainly know how to complete a sentence. Yet it is obvious that they are just parroting, strictly on an ear-to-mouth basis, what they have heard from their gaijin bosses in the past. A rally of words never keeps going any longer than five seconds because gaijin's answer always settles the problem instantly like Vox Dei.

But from the Japanized Briton's point of view, that is enough presumably because that's exactly what's going on in Japanese gradeschools, or even Japanese companies doing business internationally.

The guy from California is a little better. He has a certain amount of intelligence.

When introducing myself for the first time, I said that one of my favorite pastimes is to play devil's advocate. In response, the Californian said he shares the same pastime, but other people did not have the slightest idea about what a devil's advocate should mean. Some of them quickly produced their handsets to consult an online dictionary.

The last Sunday, the chairperson of the week gave us yet another bland story from Newsweek titled something like "Love is a battlefield." It's about the "tragedies" American soldiers and generals returned from Iraq and Afghanistan are going through back home. According to the article, not a few returnees are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and some of them have ended up in divorce as a result, and so on and so forth.

While other group members kept saying, "What a pity," "I sympathize with them," etc. as they were supposed to say, I raised a question: "Don't you guys think they deserve all these consequences? The draft system is no longer in place in the U.S., or does it? They all volunteered to do what they did in Iraq and Afghanistan."

A couple of weeks earlier, the British woman had asked us how each of us would describe business practices and ethics of the Chinese. I said: "I was really impressed when I heard the president of a Chinese manufacturer of 'ePad' telling a Japanese TV reporter that Apple Computer has pirated his proprietary tablet computer technology. He said if and when Apple started selling its iPad in China, he would certainly file a lawsuit against the American company. When compared to Japanese businesspeople, I can't but respect such a guy."

Actually I just wanted to say it's sickening to see the Japanese people always act so weakkneed and compliant with their Western counterparts. But the moderator looked really stunned at my comment because she didn't understand I was just playing devil's advocate at that time. She just said, "Mr. Yamamoto's view is very interesting." (Thank you for taking my joke so seriously.)

But this time I really meant what I said about U.S. soldiers who have returned from Iraq. Just the same they all raised eyebrows.
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The Only Lesson Americans Can Learn from Japanese: How to Sink

The art of losing isn't hard to master; so many things seem filled with the intent to be lost that their loss is no disaster. Lose something every day. Accept the fluster of lost door keys, the hour badly spent. The art of losing isn't hard to master.
- from One Art by American poet Elizabeth Bishop


You don't have to be a good physiognomist to tell the Japanese can expect absolutely nothing from the new State Minister in charge of national strategy (国家戦略担当大臣) or the prime minister who has appointed the bastard to fill the key cabinet position

At first their arrogance made them learning-disabled. Then, as a result, they grew helplessly ignorant. Or it may have happened the other way around - I'm not sure. But that doesn't really matter.

Time and again the Americans have failed to learn their lessons given everywhere they have been.

In 1945 they attempted to transform Japan into a sound and viable nation just by hanging seven Class-A war criminals - if you don't subscribe to the conspiracy theory, that is. They virtually acquitted the Emperor of his responsibility for driving more than three million people to death, while in fact the bastard in the palace was the first one to have climbed the thirteen steps to the gallows. They thought it was enough to time the seven executions to the 15th birthday of the heir to the throne.

Sixty five years later they still refuse to admit that what their parents and grandparents did to Japan hasn't brought about any change at all. They certify Japan as a democracy.

Then they applied more or less the same method to Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq, sometimes decapitating the regime, some other times showering defenseless peasants with defoliant. But they invariably ended up in equally disastrous results.

Still defying the obvious fact that their assumption is fundamentally wrong, they cling to the delusive idea that they have magical power to change foreign countries either by removing the upper layer of the existing regime or incinerating civilians.

If they have learned something from past failures, they have understood it in the wrong way.

In 2008 they thought that at least they should be able to change their own country by ousting Bush from power. Based on the same invalid assumption, they sent a man with a permanent sun tan, as the outspoken Italian prime minister named Obama, to the White House for the first time in U.S. history.

To their dismay they saw the same outcome when the black messiah proved unable to walk on the water, especially when it was covered with spilled oil.

The only thing they can do today is to look away from it all.

On the other side of the Pacific, Japan keeps struggling as if it still deserves a viable statehood.

After the four consecutive prime ministers left office through its revolving door in less than four years, Naoto Kan was automatically promoted from the deputy premiership in the Hatoyama administration.

As usual, initial indications are that Kan will serve out his term with the media fully determined to manipulate public opinion in favor of him.

Small wonder that self-styled Japan experts in the U.S. insist in concert that the country is quickly getting back on the right track with its health miraculously turning around overnight. To them the chaotic political situation before and after the transition of power from the Liberal Democratic Party to the Democratic Party of Japan was nothing but a spell of hiccups.

Breathtakingly stupid.

True, Kan will most probably withstand longer than his predecessor's. In fact, though, the longevity of an administration does not serve as an indication of the stability of a regime or the viability of a nation.

The overall quality of people does.

American pundits, who have quickly jumped at Kan on the pretext of his soaring approval rating, should explain why then they don't praise Mao Zedong, Joseph Stalin and Fidel Castro as great leaders.

To that end they are determined to downplay the fact that in a matter of a week since its launch, the new administration was faced with formidable problems cropping up one after another.

For one thing Shizuka Kamei resigned as Minister in Charge of Banking and Postal Services in Day 4 of the Kan government, because of the feud between his People's New Party and Kan's Democratic Party of Japan. Kamei complained that Kan had made him lose face over the re-nationalization of what used to be the Japan Post.

Aside from Kamei's departure, a couple other scandals have surfaced in the meantime.

One of the small-time thieves involved there is Satoshi Arai, State Minister in Charge of Civil Service Reform and Declining Birthrate (photo on the top,) whose expense statement was found filled with the vouchers for purchases of "NANA," manga (a cartoon) said to be popular among girls in grade schools, lingerie items such as a sexy camisole and many other filthy and/or kiddie stuff.

As usual the media are trying to trivialize the revelation by asking their favorite legal "experts" and morons from law schools a false question: whether or not these expenditures are legally reimbursable with taxpayers' money in the light of Political Funds Control Law.

But actually nothing like that is really at issue. The real issue with Japanese policymakers lies in the fact that not a single one of them has integrity.

Kan's inaugural address of June 4 was an unmistakable sign that Arai's case is just the tip of the tip of the iceberg. It lacked integrity and was filled with empty and wornout words. If there was something not so banal there, it's a weird phrase with which he described his goal; he said he will bring about 最小不幸社会, or "a least unhappy society."

Needless to say, American pundits have shrugged off the series of revelations as something for my Japan Trivia series on the pretext that these irregularities pale before the unscrupulous crime committed by former Secretary General Ichiro Ozawa.

Incidentally, Ozawa's resignation as Secretary General of the DPJ means nothing. The "Shadow Shogun" is just sitting out until the dust settles.

Despite all these fallacies we hear on both sides of the Pacific, I see yet another evidence that the terminally ill nation is further sinking into the bottomless abyss.

The Japanese should know that they can't do anything about that anymore.

But at the same time they should ask themselves why on earth the American people cling so desperately to the same old delusion that the U.S.-Japanese strategic alliance is still functioning.

My answer:

You have to sink yourself to keep pace with a sinking partner.

Even though pundits have difficulty agreeing to the law of physics, a kindergarten kid can easily understand it.

The progress of the decline of the U.S. is also irreversible now. And the Japanese should feel responsible for that.

Ironically enough there's something the brain-dead Japanese still can do for the Americans in that respect: the United States can find an important lesson in its failing ally.

Whether or not the Americans feel like learning something there is a different story. I'm just tipping them off because I owe them so many things I've learned in my lifetime. Maybe I'm only talking about their parents or grandparents. They were people who had high self-esteem, and yet were open-minded toward new ideas. Among other things, I admired their inventiveness.

The lesson I am talking about is how to sink, certainly not how to avoid sinking deeper.

There is a universal truth about the beginning of an era and its end which can be summarized like this:

You can do it in your way when you are on the rise, but you can't when you are on the decline.

Another way to say the same thing is that you know when to rise, and how, but you can't tell when to sink, and how. As a matter of fact, though, the Americans have grown too arrogant to admit they are no longer entitled to tell when and how the final curtain should fall on them.

These days not a few Americans admit they are living in the twilight years of the American century. But nobody is ready to accept the idea that their nation's collapse is at their doorstep.

Take a look at the GDP race between the U.S. and China. If you apply rules of thumb and assume nominal GDP of the two nations to grow at an annual rate of 3.5% and 9.5%, respectively, you will know China will catch up with the U.S. by 2030. The American people think they still have twenty years to pull away from China.

In fact, though, you never know from statistics whether China rises while America stands still or America sinks while China stands still. That's basically why I wrote we should forget the showings in the Economic Olympics when talking about the real standing and fate of a nation.

And who knows if America's downslide will not accelerate as was the case with Japan? All we can tell for sure is that it is very unlikely that the progress will decelerate. This is another law of physics.

If there is a little more comprehensive and relevant measure to quantitatively gauge nations' vigor, it's the showing in International Competitiveness.

There seem to be two or more different ways to indexize a nation's competitive edge. But apparently the method employed by IMD World Competitive Center based in Lausanne, Switzerland is considered the most reliable one.

Take a look at the following ranking table based on the IMD Yearbooks:

1990 2009 2010
United States Not Available 1 3
China Not Available 20 18
Japan 1 17 27

NOTE: I could not locate on the web the 1990 data for the U.S. and China.

Japan was an indisputable No. 1 back in 1990, just on the eve of the burst of the bubble economy in the country. But by 2009 it had fallen to No. 17 and the latest IMD Yearbook further downgraded it to No. 27.

Some savvy economists here have termed what has happened in the lost 20 years "Japan's Galapagosization."

Actually, Japan's dramatic decline shown here holds two important lessons for the Americans.

Lesson 1:.All along the Japanese didn't realize that their relative position to other countries was plummeting so rapidly. It's as recently as a couple of months ago that they became aware even the Thais had outperformed them.
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