Is this Betteridge’s Law of Headlines?

In the Japan Times (sigh), in an article by Jeff Kingston (sigh), we have the headline “Are forces of darkness gathering in Japan?” (sigh).

It’s full of anonymous sources, conspiracies, and other unproveable assertions, so I’ll give analysing it a miss, but I will note that Mr Kingston seems to be the only contributor to the JT spared from the Freedom of the Peanut Gallery.

Hopeless Fookooshimar news articles still exist!

The Independent recently published utter dross about Fukushima, displaying a lack of journalistic integrity along with scientific ignorance.

First there is a set of slides which are full of insinuations, but free from facts such as all food must pass Japanese radiation standards (they make no claim that these checks are being bypassed) that are lower than anywhere else in the world. They mention tea specifically, which as far as I am aware is not produced in any significant quantities anywhere north of Shizuoka.

The alarm is being sounded after Taiwanese investigators uncovered more than 100 radioactive food products which had been produced in Fukushima but falsely packaged to give their origin as Tokyo.

Well, all food products are radioactive, and do they mean 100 items or 100 different brands? Here is a relevant Asahi article, but the implication from that seems to be the false labeling is the issue, not any radioactivity.

They then follow-up with a picture that is from an oil refinery in probably Chiba, but the casual reader will assume it is the radiations burning.

There is no firm evidence that any radioactive food has entered the UK, but experts say there is a risk, and products could already have arrived.

There is also a risk that there might be chemicals in the food!

They also have another strange graphic, giving a fifty mile (80 km) fallout radius, which seems rather high too me. Fortunately the comments for the article mostly restore some sanity.

 

 

Bloody royal sprog!

Why oh why is there wall-to-wall coverage of the British royal sprog on Japanese TV?

Also, on Hiru Obi today, one of the commentators said that the reason mothers leave hospital within a day of the birth is due to their bigger hips.

So that’s a vote for Hokkaido’s Tomari nuclear power plant restart then

I see in today’s Hokkaido Prefectural election, the anti-nuclear candidate Noriyuki Sato lost. A couple of weeks ago I saw him on the television where he said:

「この知事選は、原発か脱原発かの住民投票だ」

So, since he lost, he will accept the voice of the people. Bonus points to anyone who finds him contradicting that stance in post-election interviews.

 

Profound or gibberish – you decide

This month’s Just Be Cause left me scratching my head; I’ll probably have to read it two or three more times to see if I can make sense of it. I did note though that this time the target is (or appears to be) Japanese, not foreigners. The one :facepalm: moment I have found so far is:

This is one reason why even the most scientifically trained among us is ready, for example, to take seriously the comment of a single native-born Japanese (rather than trust qualified Japan experts who unfortunately lack the mystical bloodline) as some kind of evidence in any discussion on Japan.

Who on earth could these non-native-born “qualified Japan experts” be?

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose – early 20th century microaggression

In the San Francisco Call newspaper, 24th September 1910, there was a rather entertaining tale of a gaijin manhandling a “little brown [‘yellow’ surely?] trainboy” for looking funny at his wife. I present the conclusion, but note I might have made a small mistake or two:

But he is going to have his revenge. He is going back to Hawaii, where he will write a Japan Times column advising tourists to stay away from Japan, telling them that they can not place any faith in weeaboos’ alluring descriptions or any reliance on the Japanese brand of civilization.

Further entertainment and a tidied-up transcription may be found on reddit.

Japan Times trailer for Japan Focus

It’s a bit odd that half an interview (and a much shorter than the average Just Be Cause column) ends with:

The full Ziegler interview will be up at The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus website in a few days.

This article is actually pretty good in parts, but I suspect it is because Dr Arudou gets out of the way and lets the professor do the talking. The good part is that Dr Ziegler talks about an area where he is fully qualified to comment, another country’s governmental interference into his editorial freedom, but the bad part is that Dr Ziegler also talks about an area where he is unqualified to comment, Japan:

I didn’t know it was there because the first volume my co-author wrote, not me.

and

I’m not a specialist in East Asian history.

At this point I would expect Professor Bentley to be brought in to fill us in on the parts he wrote and presumably is a specialist on, but no. Will he feature in the Japan Focus version? I’m not holding my breath. No he won’t, he passed on in 2012 according to Wikipedia.

Regarding the meat of the article, as usual the Japanese government seems totally tone deaf to how their actions will be perceived; arguing about Nanking or the Comfort Women is widely regarded as the equivalent of Holocaust denial, despite the 400,000 Nanking death numbers being a figure straight from Party Headquarters, and the East Sea featuring due to (presumably) Korean lobbying.

Abe literally worse than Hitler and other awful articles

There’s been two pretty bad articles recently, one by Jake Adelstein, and another by someone who could easily be his disciple. Let’s skim through and find the :facepalm: First, Jake:

The domestic press hasn’t been controlled by the state to this extent since, arguably, 1937.

Jake Adelstein hasn’t written a worse article since, arguably, 1973.

why the government didn’t seem particularly interested in saving the Japanese hostages in Syria.

That’s an interesting spin – one could claim that the reluctance to hand over $200 million indicated a lack of interest; is that what he wants to say, or is this just criticism for the sake of criticism?

A freelance journalist who attempted to go to Syria last month was even directly threatened with arrest.

That person was a photo-journalist, I believe, and there is an interesting argument about the right of free movement over the duty of the government to protect its citizens, but again, subtlety is abandoned for the sake of criticism.

The Asahi then also retracted important testimony on the disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, perhaps out of fear.

Nope, that is nonsense; it was retracted because it was false. Admittedly, the Asahi could have feared being made a laughing stock again, but that’s not what Jake is trying to falsely convince the reader of.

Kenji Goto, the journalist who was beheaded by jihadis after Abe’s Cairo speech.

:headdesk:

Now, the Huffington Post:

Japan, it seemed, was increasingly uncomfortable with the nationalist alternative that Abe and others were offering. But Hatoyama himself lasted less than a year — in large part because of U.S. pushback against his unorthodox foreign policy positions 

That’s not why the DPJ got elected, and unless you could Okinawa as foreign, Hatoyama’s only unorthodox (is that a polite way of saying “insane”?) foreign policy was his East Asian EU, and he lasted less than a year due to cocking up Okinawa all by himself.

The visit sends […] a message to Japanese that this prime minister will push his constitutional agenda forward regardless of the domestic obstacles.

Really? It’s not like he came back and said that the ghost of Tojo told him to invade China.

Less publicized was his participation in an important Shinto ritual that happens every 20 years — the rebuilding of the Ise Shrine — that effectively blurred the distinction between religion and state.

That’s an, err, interesting way of describing it.

Last July, Abe issued a cabinet decision — the Japanese equivalent of a presidential order — that committed Japan to collective self-defense, which means that Tokyo can fight on behalf of allies even if Japan itself is not under attack.

That’s not the way I understand it, or at least there are sufficient checks and balances that say they can support allies attacked within Japanese territorial waters. (Of course, please correct me if I am wrong here.)

the Abe document would not just remove Article 9

No, the draft doesn’t remove it.

The rest about Okinawa is interesting, but it fails to mention that by delaying the Henoko project, Futenma is left sitting in the middle of the town it is in; that is a significant point, I feel. (Oh, as for the current test boring stuff, the crushing of coral by the concrete anchors needs to be addressed, and Abe’s speech for the opening of the Diet in January (I think it was) where he said something to the effect of Okinawa’s residents will be treated with respect has been shown to be empty words, but I’ve not seen anyone pick him up on it recently, either in English or Japanese.)

Gaijin Gulag: “prison is better”

As is my wont, I went looking at the UK experience, and found that at one of the UK’s “immigration removal centres” (that sounds rather ominous to me!), an inmate reckoned:

She tells me that being in prison was better than staying at Yarl’s Wood [immigration removal centre].

There are tales of being denied medicines, no privacy, sexual abuse, etc. A separate BBC report describes slave labour-like conditions for the inmates, being paid just one pound per hour for working in the centre. The detainees in the UK may have more access to the outside world – mobile phones and the internet are allowed – but the problems do seem rather similar to the ones that Hindpal Singh Bhui from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons described for Japan.

And for a bonus, the right-wing prime minister praises people many consider to be war criminals.

Jeff Kingston beats Martin Fackler with a vengeance

Following up on Martin Fackler’s dodgy translation, the Japan Times allows Jeff Kingston to publish his usual Abe hate, winding up the hate from “pay the price” to “vengeance”, not just once but three times. Here is the evidence he is quoting Fackler:

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe […] vow[ed] retribution and justice by “making the terrorists pay the price.”

Yup, straight from the horse’s arse, and as I mentioned in the comments there, at least Mr Kingston managed to get one word correct, “justice”.