Japan Times writers had a bit too much sherry this Christmas!

I had a wee click around the JT web site tonight, and here are a few of the gems I found.

1. Christopher Hobson, Ph.D., a research associate at the United Nations University, Tokyo

(First of all, I didn’t know there was a UN Uni in Tokyo.) It’s the usual "the public have spoken, the bastards!", with some choice quotes like:

This led some hopeful pundits to propose that it might even be the beginnings of a Japanese version of the "Arab Spring," in which large protests and active civil society movements could bring about a major political opening.

I’ve seen this mentioned in a few other articles, and I think it’s an amazing insult to the Arab people who laid their lives on the line to enact change within dictatorships, versus in Japan where all they need to do is to turn up at the ballot box for free and fair elections. We had the Japan Communist Party, Tomorrow Party and the Green Wind Party (or did they merge with the TP?) all promising immediate or early decommissioning, and we all know where they ended up. Why didn’t people like Ryuichi Sakamoto, Kenzaburo Oe and all the rest of the big names stand up and support the formation of a party to exploit this "major political opening"?

2. Editorial – 2012: a year of low points

This is utterly atrociously written.

Mr. Shinzo Abe, who was re-elected again

Nope, he’s only been re-elected Prime Minister once, and he’s never been re-elected as leader of the winning party at a general election. The sentence also starts and finishes with the word "December".

After Americans returned Democratic President Barack Obama to a second four-year term, Japanese voters dumped the Democratic Party of Japan for politicians who expressed conservative and hawkish views.

That’s a bit of a non sequitur.

But the election campaign also saw the rise of a new party, Nihon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party) under the guidance of Mr. Shintaro Ishihara, who had quit the Tokyo governorship to join Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto at the party’s helm.

That’s quite badly written, and it seems to suggest that the JRP is Ishihara’s party.

The new party seemed set on stirring up confrontation with China and South Korea rather than on actually offering serious solutions to Japan’s problems.

I think you need to get out of the FCCJ and start listening to Japanese sources.

Record lows were also reached this year in other social issues such as bullying, with a doubling of the number of cases reported from the year before.

That seems more like a "record high" to me.

The increase from 70,000 cases of bullying reported at schools in 2011 to 140,000 cases in 2012 may signal a more accurate confrontation with this chronic problem.

What does "signal a more accurate confrontation with this chronic problem" mean?

The Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine went to Japanese scientist Dr. Shinya Yamanaka for his work on pluripotent stem cells.

When I was on holiday this month and watching BBC World in the hotel, I was confused for a moment when they mentioned that Sir John B. Gurdon won that Nobel Prize. I would have expected the Japan Times to note that he was a joint winner.

Furthering the sense of hope, Tokyo Skytree opened to great enthusiasm and huge lines last summer, becoming the second-tallest structure in the world.

Despite problematic behavior by some of the visitors to the new tourist site,

I know it’s a bit picky, but surely noting it is the tallest tower would have been better? And what problematic behaviour? Tell me more! Or is it that the author cannot bring himself to write anything positive without a counter-balance?

The Japan Times would like to wish its readers a prosperous, safe and joyful New Year in 2013.

I don’t know about the first two, but to have a joyful 2013 not reading the JT would be a good first step.

3. This year’s highlights and lowlights

Is the whole country, as the foreign media implies, turning "to the right"?

Full marks for pointing out that it’s the foreign media (I would include JT here) making the noise, although I’d replace "implies" with "states", as there is more often than not no ambiguity.

Picking up on conservatism’s rich entertainment potential, critics applied a punning label to the three most prominent figures of this so-called shift — Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto, former Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara and Liberal Democratic Party president Shinzo Abe — dubbing them "Raito Sankyodai,"

Who are these critics? This Google search for "ライト三兄弟" 橋下 石原 安倍 returns only five hits, neither relevant.

Hashimoto was genuinely incensed by a magazine article that tried to explain his psychological evolution as a public figure, but which he interpreted as a concerted attempt to connect him "genetically" to social undesirables.

The author of this article has previously defended the Asahi and their accusation of criminal DNA, but the JT has also printed a more neutral report on the Asahi’s apology.

4. As the new year approaches, Japan still reels from 2011

His Osaka Ishin no Kai (literally Osaka Restoration Society) grew into the Nippon Ishin no To (Japan Restoration Party).

It’s pretty sad that no-one in the editing process noticed that JRP is also a Kai, not a To.

Can Japan be "reset"? Hashimoto’s plans for doing so include abolishing the Diet’s Upper House, giving local governments more power and having the prime minister elected directly instead of, as now, appointed by the leading party.

But, I read in an article above that his plans were:

  1. Invade China and both Koreas
  2. ???
  3. PROFIT!

Furthermore, the Prime Minister is elected by the lower house.

In mid-August seven activists from Hong Kong landed on one of the Senkaku Islands claimed held by Japan, but also claimed by China (the Chinese call them Diaoyu). Five were arrested and deported. Days later, a dozen Japanese nationalists of the rightwing group Gambare Nippon swam ashore from a 20-boat flotilla and raised the Hinomaru flag.

I’ve talked before about the bias here of "activists" versus "nationalists", and there is no mention of the flags the Chinese carried.

Leave a comment ?


  1. And here’s the beginning of JBC:

    Back by popular demand, here is JBC’s roundup of the top 10 human rights events that most affected non-Japanese (NJ) residents of Japan in 2012, in ascending order.

    Bubbling under

    • China’s anti-Japan riots (September) and Senkaku-area maneuvers (October to now).

    • North Korea’s missile test timed for Japan’s elections (December).

    • NJ workers’ right to strike reaffirmed in court defeat of Berlitz (February).

    • NJ on welfare deprived of waiver of public pension payments (August), later reinstated after public outcry (October).

    • Statistics show 2011’s postdisaster exodus of NJ “flyjin” to be a myth (see JBC, Apr. 3).

    10. Keene’s naturalization (March)

    Yep. More important than state-sponsored violence against ethnic minority interests in China, more important the pension rights of foreign residents here, and more important than the right to strike…is that an old man who likes Japan was given a passport.

    And “back by popular demand?” :lol: :lol: :lol: :facepalm: :headdesk: :cool:

  2. @VK:

    >>And “back by popular demand?”

    A long time ago, in a universe far, far way….

  3. @VK: “back by popular demand?” Why the question mark? You clearly love it. You have read it at least once, and are quoting here. If there was ‘no’ demand, then even you wouldn’t have read it, surely? And before you claim that you are discussing it here to expose how false it is, in such a claim it is complicit that others are demanding it, hence your need to ‘save’ them.

  4. After all, if we are all agreed that Debito is full of sh*t, then it’s case closed, and we can shut up shop, can’t we? Or are we just an anti-debito echo-chamber?

  5. ooooh, Dug is trolling.

    Best watch out lest VK cry havoc and let slip the keyboard fingers of war.

  6. Graylandertagger

    Eric C made another anti-Japanese post in Debito’s “Japan now a place to avoid for international labor migration? NHK: Even Burmese refugees refusing GOJ invitations, electing to stay in Thai refugee camp!” claiming(sort of) that the American should have brutalized the Japanese during world war 2. His comment is quoted as followed:

    [Deleted by the management: read it instead here]

    With all the racist comments Eric C has made I think we should try to do to him like we have to Debito from now on. Quote each comment he makes and counter it.

  7. @Dug:

    So you think “we” should close down this website?

  8. Eric C is also trolling.

    Me and him and Dug all share a 3-room flophouse in Tsuruhashi.

    It’s a bit of a knees up but the jig is up. Dug says pondiferous ponces like VK are the most fun. Eric’s a bit more serious and puts more time into it. I’m actually a 16 year old runaway from Ohio who doesn’t pay rent but lets the other two put a finger up from time to time.

  9. @VK: Nah, but I liked reading Japologism in the beginning, when it had more to say than just banging on about debito.

  10. @iLikedolphins: ‘Me and him and Dug all share a 3-room flophouse in Tsuruhashi.’ Do you mean to say; ‘Him and Dug, and I’? Seems to me that you should have paid a little more attention in English class, for all the railing against English teachers that you do. Please do tell me, is illiteracy a pre-requisite of the high class cocktail parties that you frequent?

  11. but I’m just a little girl.

    a used and spent receptacle for 20cc of angry men’s juice.

    please Dug!

    Don’t rape my abandoned mind as well!

    I already hate your stubby angry fingers and how they make me feel inside.

  12. @iLikeDolphins: Man, you got some serious issues.

  13. They’re not really grammar issues though you smalltown ‘eikaiwa’ fuck.

    Do you see me as Thor with a hammer or more as the buzzcut jock who ripped your underwear up so violently that he left a permanent pink line on your little curly haired curry flavored chicken nuggets?

    Either way you still are that guy that me and my man friends laugh at. On the streets, in wine bars, or on site, what are are you gonna front up with?

    “I’m Dug! I’m an anti-apologist! Do you even know what that is? Here’s the address of an obscure website I troll at. Call me!”

    C’mon Dug, what can you even do? What do you bring to a Lord of Japan like me? Perhaps you could start a blog on action figures and rice balls. Your Mum could give you props on Facebook.

    Lord give me strength, the Internet lets me talk to people who would avoid my gaze lest they saw me.

  14. @iLikeDolphins: ‘you still are that guy that me and my man friends laugh at….in wine bars’. Man friends? In wine bars? ROTFLMFAO!

  15. So you either have no chunked up man friends like me or you don’t know much about wine?


  16. @iLikeDolphins: ‘Whither?’? Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! :lol:

  17. Now that you’ve typed yourself hoarse Dug, on behalf of everyone I wonder if you could confirm your occupation for us?

    You know, just to make sure that we are all adults here.

  18. @iLikedolphins: I’m a post-grad engineering student at a university in Osaka.

  19. Well that explains the immaturity.

    Could you also tell us why you came to Japan Dug?

    Bonus points if you don’t bore the shit of me with your hackneyed predictably shithouse answer.

  20. @iLikedolphins: Nah, I’m only joking. I’m a business student. My father met my mother in a wine bar in Islington in the ’80s. I don’t think that I’ve ever seen one IRL. Do they still exist (outside of your homo-erotic fantasies)?

  21. Are you asking me for a job Dug?

    Cos if you are, you’re making a right mess of it.

    Otherwise come back and see me when you’ve bulked up a little and your balls have dropped.

  22. @iLikedolphins: OK, that’s it ILD. I am going to trawl through this whole site, collate all your homo-erotic engineering/construction fantasies, and publish them under the title ‘FIFTY SHEDS OF GREY’.

  23. @ Ken YN; I’m gonna stop now. ILD isn’t making any more sense.

  24. beneaththewheel

    It’s nice that two trolls can egg each other one. It means no one else has to take any bait.

  25. Seriously though, trolling is one of those Internet things like sexting, isn’t it?

    We still use Windows 95 at work.

  26. Stepping over the pile of vomit on the carpet, which I should clean up soon…

    @Graylandertagger: I disagree totally. Eric C posts offensive comments, but he (or even she) is just some anonymous handle, and addressing every single point would just be bringing us back to the bad old (or were they the good old?) days of Tepido.org.

    If you want to do it yourself, please feel free, as VK often does with other articles and I very much appreciate his input.

    At some point I must do some sort of survey and produce numbers to demonstrate that anti-Japanese sentiment does not (or perhaps even does) get as much countering as pro-Japanese sentiment, from either the posters or Mr Arudou himself’s inline comment.

  27. There was one human rights issue missing:

    11. Immigrant to Japan who runs a website helping NJ to naturalise is defamed by notorious Japanese blogger, who questions whether or not the immigrant is properly Japanese.

  28. @VK: Heh, indeed. :lol:


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