Friday, November 30 2007 @ 02:28 AM CST
Contributed by: Y.Yamamoto
The Kirishima, JMSDF's Aegis-equipped destroyer
Since October, the government, legislature and media have been
so preoccupied with bullying small-time con men such as former Administrative Vice Defense Minister, his wife, former defense chief and executives from a local defense broker, as if these bribery cases weren't "the tip of the tip of the iceberg," that Diet deliberations on the
"new" anti-terror bill which would enable the resumption of the
refueling mission in the Indian Ocean have yet to commence in the upper house.
Most probably Ichiro Ozawa's Democratic Party of Japan will ultimately give way because
it's by now proved totally unable to come up with a workable counterproposal.
But this will happen only when the Kitty Hawk, the conventional aircraft
carrier, is about to retire somewhere in 2008, as has been planned, and be replaced by a nuclear-powered
carrier such as the USS George Washington which needs a refill only once
every 25 years. Actually that doesn't matter at all because from Prime
Minister Yasuo Fukuda's point of view, any defense issue has nothing more than a symbolic
Fukuda's predecessor Shinzo Abe mentally collapsed days after he assured
George W. Bush of an uninterrupted extension of the anti-terror statute
which was to expire on November 1. Then Fukuda took over and visited Bush
on November 15 to tell he would try his best to minimize the suspension
period during which the free gas station is out of service. Now that the
two consecutive leaders of this country have failed to deliver on their
pledge, it's already alarming enough a sign that the bilateral alliance
is increasingly in jeopardy. · read more (139 words)
In October, the story about Takemasa Moriya, former Administrative Vice
Defense Minister, surfaced from out of nowhere. It went like this: The
63-year-old bandit had been entertained in 200 golf junkets by then-senior
managing director of Yamada Corporation, a trading firm that intermediates
between the Defense Ministry and American defense contractors such as Lockheed
At that time an independent defense analyst said the revelation must be
"the tip of the tip of the iceberg" of the structural corruption.
Of course he refrained from elaborating on his remark but he must be damned
right. This sort of allegation always comes out when an unsuccessful bidder who
thinks his money didn't pay off starts to whistleblow. So it's inevitable
that the revelation comes in bits and pieces.
If there were some investigative journalists in this country, however, they would
soon uncover the total picture taking a cue from the firsthand accounts
by the resentful briber. Unfortunately, though, Japanese news media, themselves,
are an integral part of the structural corruption. So, they have
used their same old modus operandi and doled out little by little the charges
against the small-time ex-vice ringleader and his pet contractor. They
certainly know that this way they can immunize their audiences and readerships
for an abyss we are destined to see sooner or later.
Yet, it's not that they are poised to ultimately confess to what's really
going on in this kleptocracy. Their M.O. No. 2 says, "Once the truth
has started gushing out, try hard to localize and marginalize its implication."
They look like an egregious criminal willingly admitting to the smallest
part of his guilt to camouflage the main part. · read more (948 words)
Friday, November 09 2007 @ 03:10 AM CST
Contributed by: Y.Yamamoto
Ichiro Ozawa offered tearful apologies on Wednesday
When former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stepped down as he had mentally collapsed
in the face of the defeat in the July 29 upper house election, "opposition"
leader Ichiro Ozawa momentarily looked triumphant and upbeat. But as TokyoFreePress
predicted, Ozawa now followed suit, if not hospitalized. Instead the pouty
Ozawa just holed up in a hotel suite so he remained reachable to other
party cadres, who felt they couldn't afford to lose him. If and when the
Japanese voters once again prove stupid enough to effectively pick him
as the nation's leader, it's inevitable for the Democratic Party of Japan
to reveal itself to be nothing but a spinoff of former intra-party factions
of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. The consensus, therefore, was that
Ozawa will best represent the true color of the DPJ when it takes power.
Actually what has rattled this nation in the last several days is nothing
new to the nation which still remains mysterious to Westerners. On November 2, the DPJ
head met with Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda to talk about a grand coalition,
so specifically as to agree on the appointment of Ozawa to deputy premiership of the new administration, as if the two parties weren't already kin since
the birth of Ozawa's party. He brought back his feat to the headquarters
of the party to have it approved by party's Secretary General Yukio Hatoyama
and other senior members. To his dismay DPJ cadres turned a cold shoulder
On November 4, Ozawa tendered his resignation. Then Hatoyama and other party members realized the party couldn't afford to lose him and started begging him on their knees to retract his letter of resignation. After dignifying himself for some 72 hours, Ozawa agreed to take back his intention to leave the party's top post. As if to prove the DPJ doesn't even have intra-party democracy in place, the lawmakers of the party unanimously decided to forgive Ozawa for his second about-face in less than one week. On November 7, he offered sincere apologies to his men, and then to the press corps. · read more (478 words)
It's not that the Japanese have been disabled to communicate since the
beginning of their existence. But as a matter of fact, my fellow countrymen
today are totally disabled to communicate among themselves, and with foreigners
for that matter.
In my definition of the word, communication is an activity intrinsic to any species of creatures in which they juggle thoughts and feelings back and forth between them. Desire to communicate, therefore, is just like craving for air, food and flesh. But if there is anything particular to communication among human beings, it's that a certain amount of
value is added each time the information changes hands, from its original sender
to the first receiver, and then to the next. This is exactly what the Japanese people are unable to
do. They just pass around one and the same idea which was given from
out of nowhere.
One good example is what they call dibeto, Japanese transliteration of a debate. The most important thing to note
about dibeto is the fact that the issue is always given beforehand. At a glance it's the media that seem to pick the topic they think is debate-worthy.
But in fact, it comes down from further up above. The media are just mediating the whole process. At any rate nobody is allowed to question the validness and relevance of the
The problem here lies with the fact that there is no living human being sitting high up above, as has always been the case with this nation whenever it faced a crisis. Worse, only this nobody knows the right solution for the problem although the mediating media sometimes know it like an examiner does. Without the correct answer tacitly established in advance, the issue isn't considered debatable in the first place. Hence, dibeto always looks like a ritual in which to authenticate the predetermined
answer with the moderator acting like a priest and the debaters toying with the given idea all along . · read more (1,174 words)
Sunday, October 21 2007 @ 04:35 AM CDT
Contributed by: Y.Yamamoto
Say good-bye to the U.N. and these sociable gentlemen
This coming Wednesday marks the 62nd anniversary of the birth of the United
Nations. It was officially founded by 50 nations in San Francisco on October 24, 1945. Ever since its charter, organization, ways
of financing its activities, administrative rules, etc. have remained essentially unchanged
although the number of its member countries has grown to 192 and the 1971
hijacking of the Republic of China's privileged seat by the People's Republic
of China marked a stigmatic milestone. While the U.N. has been at a standstill,
the world has undergone a sea change through the two "Cold Wars." and 9-11.
Small wonder that nobody but China and Russia thinks it's still functioning,
and reparable if things go wrong at times.
Against this backdrop we have heard a myriad of empty words about reforming
the organization from the likes of Kofi Annan and Ban Ki-moon. Unfortunately,
though, they are the kind of people who have to reform themselves before
reforming someone else.
John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the U.N., is practically the only
exception who knows what he is talking about when addressing this issue.
Back in 2005, he said: "The Secretariat building in New York has 38
stories. If it lost ten stories, it wouldn't make a bit of difference."
But his tenure as the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. didn't last long, essentially
because the outspoken U.S. envoy knew exactly what to do to make a big difference.
When I was in business, we called this the resistance to change. Every
time we were set to implement a reform program, people who had vested interests
in the status quo would desperately try to defend them and make believe
it was still reformable despite defects inherent to the "legacy system"
showing all over the place. Given this human nature, we thought that was really unavoidable.
The only thing we can expect is that a resolute person comes forward to
revolutionize things all on his own. He has learned from the history textbook that any revolution
in history started with destruction of the ancient regime. But he is also
to learn a lesson the hard way that trying to fix an unreformable body is a sheer waste
of time. · read more (749 words)
Big rally staged on June 18, 1960 (Left) Nobusuke Kishi, alias the Specter of the Showa Era (Right)
All of these [self-deceptive] people believe it would be better for them to leave the relationship, but when it comes to doing so they are paralyzed. In order to remain in relationship, knowing it is against their own best interests, they frequently try to trick themselves by distorting the situation. - How to Break Your Addiction to A Person by Howard M. Halpern, Ph.D.
To be genuinely loving and committed one must FREELY choose another person. [On the other hand] one of the hallmarks of an addiction is that it is a COMPULSIVE drive which, by definition, means that it limits this freedom. - ditto
No other sovereign nation in history has been more dependent on another
country than Japan. It's almost as though Japan is addicted to the United
States through the incongruously parental arrangment called Nichibei Anzen Hosho Joyaku, or the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan. You can see a close parallel
between this nation and a junkie hooked on the substance.
Nichibei Anzen Hosho Joyaku, or Anpo for short, was first countersigned by Shigeru
Yoshida, grandfather of former foreign minister Taro Aso, in San Francisco
on September 8, 1951. Article 10 of the pact read: "After the Treaty
has been in force for ten years, either Party may give notice to the other
Party of its intention to terminate the Treaty, in which case the Treaty
shall terminate one year after such notice has been given."
Given this clause, the Japanese people were facing the first critical juncture
in 1960, when I was in my early-20s. Hundreds of thousands of people took
to the streets to oppose a proposed renewal. (To be more precise, it was
a revision rather than an automatic extension.) Despite the nation-wide
uproar, however, then Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi, former Class-A war crimes suspect and grandfather of former
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, could elbow his way into signing the revised
treaty with U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower, and having it ratified in a turbulent Diet session, thanks to the powerful backing from rightwing fanatics and yakuza. Some
even suspect that the CIA may have played a pivotal role, too, in facilitating the entire process. · read more (935 words)
Monday, September 24 2007 @ 05:34 AM CDT
Contributed by: Y.Yamamoto
Abe offered apologies to the nation at Keio Hospital on September 24 (Left) Osama bin Laden in love with Japan (Center) Fukuda soon to succeed Abe (Right)
Without doubt, Japan is the worst-prepared nation for a terrorist attack.
The duck has been sitting there at least since the late-1970s when North
Korean operatives started entering the country to kidnap
its citizens at will. Even today the Japanese people think they are surrounded
by friendly peoples. To them, it only takes patience, perhaps coupled with an utter inaction, to
build a sense of camaraderie with Kim Jong-Il or Hu Jintao. Why not believe
in the good faith Osama bin Laden must harbor toward them deep inside?
Despite the total absence of preparedness, al-Qaida hasn't hit us in a
major way as it did the U.S., the U.K., Spain, or the like. The
likelihood of a major terrorist attack on Japan looks extremely remote
even in the future. I think there are two reasons Muslim fundamentalists
have whitelisted this nation.
Firstly, they respect us, or at least, they have an irresistible sense
of affinity toward the Japanese people. Actually Japan's religious salad
(Shintoism is only an ingredient of it) has nothing in common with the faith of Muslim.
But we share a "death cult" of the same flavor with Muslims.
There's no denying that terrorists owe their insatiable lust for martyrdom
to kamikaze suicide attacks more than to the Qu'ran.
Even today, the Japanese have an unmistakable desire for self-destruction
as is apparent from the international comparison of suicide rate. I don't know what's really going
on in much less populated countries such as South Korea and Hungary. But in absolute terms, Japan has by far topped the list at least since 1998. · read more (371 words)
You can vividly visualize certain things, while there are some other things
you can hardly envisage.
My blog has repeatedly taken up the issue with the likelihood of Japan's
collapse on the possibly wrong assumption that the country has yet to perish. But indications thus far are that I have failed to convince my audience.
I predicted from the beginning that with my fellow countrymen, my words would all fall on deaf ears. They are the world's most credulous
people. But that only means once convinced of a phony idea, they turn into the
world's hardest folks to counter-brainwash. On the other hand, it was a total disappointment for me to know that among the big crowd who has hit
my website more than 550,000 times in the last three years, there are very few Westerners, either, who would explicitly agree to my
dismal perspective about Japan's future.
Wednesday, August 01 2007 @ 03:06 AM CDT
Contributed by: Y.Yamamoto
On August 1 the agriculture minister was sacked because his adhesives caused LDP's defeat
Almost for the first time since the landslide victory of the ruling Liberal
Democratic Party in the September 11, 2005 snap election of the House of
Representatives, the outcome of the July 29 Upper House poll seemed to have
reminded professional Japan watchers in the West, species now on the brink of extinction,
that there once was a high-flying nation named Japan.
Associated Press headlined its wire report like this: "Stunning election
victory in Japan boosts opposition aspiration for two-party system." And an AFP's caption read: "Japan's ruling party suffers historic defeat." As usual their Tokyo correspondents were just parroting what the local media wanted them to. In fact, though, what happened here wasn't such a big deal. On the surface, the
post-election landscape might be likened to the situation facing the Bush
administration after the midterm elections. But in reality, there's no
parallel whatsoever between the two administrations.
To begin with, senkyo isn't synonymous with an election, contrary to the standard way of translating the word. For one thing, an "election" has never been fought
over real issues here. Hence, no alternatives have been presented before
the voters despite the hollow notion about the "modern two-party system."
As a result, voter turnout has remained extremely low - too low to make the nation deserve to be called a mature democracy. The 67% turnout
marked in the September 11, 2005 "election" was an exception.
This time around, the final turnout stood at 58.6%. This is a far cry
from 85% recorded in the April runoff between Nicolas Sarkozy and Segolene
Royal. Even the Iraqis eclipse us. In the first postwar election in the budding democracy,
72% of eligible voters cast ballots, braving terrorists' attacks on polling
stations that killed at least 36 voters. · read more (878 words)
Tuesday, July 24 2007 @ 05:30 AM CDT
Contributed by: Y.Yamamoto
Minxin Pei, Senior Associate and Director of the China Program at the Carnegie
Endowment for International Peace, titles his recent essay "Execution
may not curb venality in China." (Use of italics is mine.) In the piece that
deals with the execution of the country's former chief food and drug regulator
on the charge of bribery, Pei concludes:
"Short-term fixes, such as making examples of a few corrupt officials,
cannot solve China's food safety problem. To regain the confidence of the
consumers of Chinese products, [the Beijing government] must demonstrate
sustained political commitment and undertake many of the institutional
reforms it has resisted for years."
If you have read an accounting primer, you know that in the Assets part
of the Balance Sheet, there is an item called Deferred Charges, or Deferred
Costs. (Minxin Pei also refers to them as "huge delayed costs.")
What is tricky about the rules of accounting is that some costs incurred in the past are classified in assets, not liabilities, in a special treatment accountants term "capitalization." Since in general, the more assets you have, the more likely it is the B/S of your company whets a good
appetite of investors, people are sometimes misled by your B/S when it is bloated with the fake assets.
This is especially true when investors are not used to looking at the other side of the B/S. Professional analysts, on the other hand, will never be misled where unsettled liabilities associated with the deferred charges are still there. But they are sometimes deceived, too, when the liabilities aren't there anymore. You may have already
paid them up somehow. But when you can hardly afford to repay your debts, it's more likely that you have duped a benevolent person into shouldering the burden on your behalf. Or you may even have put them off the B/S arbitrarily. (Accountants call such an off-the-B/S indebtedness a "Contingent Liability".) When your company is on the verge
of bankruptcy, you, therefore, have a good reason to resort to one or two of these financial gimmicks so the B/S still looks in good shape to you creditors. More often than not this works - unless the auditor you retain is an honest man. · read more (422 words)