What is up with the Japan Times?

All I can conclude is that they have decided that there is not enough hits/money in being mildly anti-nuke, so they are going down the Russia Today route of printing any old bollocks to get controversy and traffic. Two more examples from today’s web site front page were:

Additives: Let’s hope we are not what we eat

This is a promising article, but instead it leaves me hanging, perhaps because the truth might not be as sensational as the article implies. For example:

Do consumers know what such external flawlessness requires in terms of chemical soil disinfectants and special fertilizers?

What is actually required? We are not told.

The point is, of course, that it’s not real pork broth. What is it? Only your friendly neighborhood food chemist knows for sure. Would he feed it to his family?

Yes, what is it? The guy doing the experiment knows too, so why doesn’t he tell us? Did you ask him if he would feed it to your family?

One of the village children had a question for him: "While you’re here doing research, who’s looking after your rice field in Japan?" The researcher’s answer, unfortunately, is not recorded.

No answer, and no obvious point to this anecdote, or am I just being thick?

Let’s finish off with a Fookooshimar:

Another is a study on child obesity released on Christmas Day by the education and science ministry. The problem was found to be most aggravated in Fukushima Prefecture. A probable cause, the study suggests, is that radioactive air is keeping kids indoors and preventing them from getting enough exercise.

What radioactive air? The JT also reprinted a reasonably neutral Kyodo article that says schools in Fukushima still have restrictions on outdoor activity based on "local atmospheric radioactive fallout readings", whatever these may be. However, under 10% of the schools in Fukushima still have restrictions, yet the rates for first- and third-graders were up about 5 percentage points, which would suggest that these 10% of the schools had about half their pupils overweight (on second thoughts, that’s a gross over-simplification of the numbers). Over-worried parents, increased family stress, temporary housing with no play facilities, breaking up of local friendships, moving from the countryside to the city, etc, etc, are just as probable contributory factors in my opinion.

Abe returns to ‘retrieve’ Japan from its history — or will he just repeat it?

It’s yet another rant about Shinzo Abe, although it is well-written:

Way back in the heady 1960s, Japan was one big Cathedral of Optimism

But then…

By 2000, the cathedral was emptied of Japanese optimists, and most of the foreign ones were climbing out of its windows, too. I found myself, inveterate optimist that I am, pretty much alone in that gaping space.

And finally:

I, for one, am leaving that new Cathedral of Optimism. It’s getting too crowded with people whose shouts deafen the nation with chauvinistic sloganeering.

Expect a reprint of this on Debito.org…

Leave a comment ?


  1. 1960s – lots of optimism (or at least we tell ourselves we remember there being lots)

    2000s – optimism gone (or at least we tell ourselves there’s less than there used to be)

    Today – crowded with shouts of chauvinistic sloganeering

    Maybe I’m the one being thick, but are we talking about Japan or every single 20th-century first-world nation here?

  2. I should have added to the ‘Today’ line:

    (or at least we tell ourselves it never used to be this way)

  3. You left off the worst part:

    “This new year is already coming to resemble the 1930s, when Japan gave up on peace as it opted for belligerency, and liberty at home was extinguished.”

    Really? 2013 Japan has NOTHING to do with 1930’s Japan. Absolutely nothing.

    Some people get so bitter as they get older and completely lose perspective.

  4. On the subject of research… Someone forgot to edit out the Wikipedia footnote references from their cut ‘n’ paste…

    But according to postmodernists such as Guy Debord, revolution in western countries or Japan is impossible due to the mass hypnosis of the media spectacle.

    The only way, according to him, to overcome this, is to fight fire with fire; Debord’s aim and proposal is “to wake up the spectator who has been drugged by spectacular images,” “through radical action in the form of the construction of situations,” “situations that bring a revolutionary reordering of life, politics, and art”. In the situationist view, situations are actively created moments characterized by “a sense of self-consciousness of existence within a particular environment or ambience”.[11]

    And I like this quote: “In a world which really is topsy-turvy, the true is a moment of the false.”[14]


  5. More from JT — This isn’t one of our regular players by any chance, is it?


    “This is an invitation to a new game,” the daily Sankei Shimbun quoted the message as saying.

    It is not yet clear what the aim of the messages is, but commentators have speculated the cyberharasser may enjoy toying with investigators and media.

  6. Aaaaaaaaaaand Debito’s war on people who are successful(*) in Japan continues:

    (*) i.e. living here happily without bitching about everything

    :headdesk: :headdesk: :headdesk: :headdesk: :headdesk: :headdesk: :headdesk: :headdesk: :headdesk: :headdesk: :headdesk: :headdesk: :headdesk: :headdesk: :headdesk:

  7. I don’t know if I’d call Tsurunen successful – IIRC before he finally managed to get elected he and his wife were basically living on handouts one step from homeless.

    But by your definition then yes. But that could be pretty much anyone not named David Aldwinckle. :lol:

  8. @Jerry:

    I’m naturally skeptical of that; one of the few requirements for naturalization is to show via extensive paperwork that you’re not, and probably never will be — due to your language skills, education, and/or steady vocation — a literal welfare case. You don’t have to be rich or even well off though.

    It’s very believable that he may have led a very modest and frugal life in Japan, though. But handouts?

  9. From his Wikipedia page – he gained his citizenship in 1979

    A lot can happen in 20 years…

  10. @Sixth Sense:

    Where to begin on this? Let’s start with this paragraph, about FDR, J-As and the 442nd of WW2:

    Now this is important. Even as least AS FAR BACK AS FDR (the better part of a century ago), we had the United States at the highest levels of public office attempting to disentangle race/national or social origin from nationality.

    First of all, my math still measures that in decades, not a century. But let’s talk about history:

    Perhaps Debito means “segregated” when he uses the word “disentangle”. The U.S. forces in WW2 were segregated; most notably the Black/African-American and Japanese-American units. Secondly, many of the Japanese-Americans were COERCED into fighting and sacrificing their lives. It was that or imprisonment, internment, or deportation. Thirdly, American generals used their J-A troops as “cannon fodder” in Europe. Despite the 442nd’s valiant and brave and amazing service to their country in WW2, Japanese-Americans would continue to be discriminated against openly for decades (“No Japs Allowed” / “No Japs Wanted”). Don’t forget that it was illegal for Asians/Chinese/Japanese to naturalize to the U.S. back then, even prior to WW2. And in many states it was illegal for them to own property and marry Americans.

    It’s outrageous that Debito would attempt to claim that the U.S. government was attempting to “disentangle race/national or social origin from nationality” with respect to Japanese-Americans during/before WWII. Ask any Japanese-American what comes to mind when they think about Japanese-Americans during World War 2, and I guarantee that “internment” is the word they’ll use, not “disentangle”.

    What a “East-West Scholar”. :roll:

    … continuing … here’s another eye-roller:

    Japan’s Nationality Law still requires blood for citizenship, and from that derives the entanglement of race and legal status

    Funny to hear Debito, a naturalized citizen, saying that.

    Most countries of the world have natural-born citizen laws † that are a combination of jus sanguinis (right by blood ‡) rules and jus soli rules (birth by soil). Some countries, like the United States, make it easy to acquire via jus soli. Even in Japan, it is possible to be natural-born Japanese by jus soli, though it is rare (the case where a child is born in Japan and the nationality of both parents cannot be determined) — so pedantically speaking, Debito’s clumsy claim that “Japan … requires blood for citizenship” is not an accurate statement. What Debito was inarticulately trying to say was that Japan, like the majority of the countries of the world, prefer jus sanguinis rules and have more restrictive jus soli conditions.

    The opinion Debito is actually expressing is that the U.S.-style 14th Amendment concept of unconditional jus soli should not a sovereign right to be decided by each country … but should rather be a universal right/law for all countries. There is far from universal agreement on it (even in the United States), but it’s worthy of debate. Of course, Debito doesn’t say it this way because he doesn’t want to be seen as saying “Japan should be more like the U.S.”

    † It’s more accurate, with modern naturalization laws, to translate jus sanguinis as “right by descent/lineage” rather than “right by blood”; i.e. if a naturalized non-Asian Japanese citizen has a child, that child acquires Japanese citizenship automatically at birth, even if the other parent is not Japanese by citizenship or blood.

    ‡ “natural-born”, despite the misunderstandings of “birthers” and other American conspiracy theorists, does not mean “born on the territory [of the United States]”. It is simply the opposite word for “naturalized” (acquiring citizenship non naturally); it means “automatically acquired (citizenship) at birth”. For example, if you are born in Japan to an U.S. parent, you automatically become a U.S. citizen and yes, you can one day be President … even if you weren’t born on a base or embassy — neither of which are not considered to be foreign soil, btw, but that’s a different wives tale to debunk.

  11. @havill: Great rebuttal. But goes to show the effort required to satisfactorily counter one small throw away claim compared with the effort making it. Thank you for your efforts and hope some of them do visit here to read and understand your points

    Another old chestnut in the other old place.
    The Japanese call go traffic lights blue – duh! Denying reality. They must be special idiots to think that. http://www.debito.org/?p=11013#comments

    It’s not even like Japan is the only language that has the same word covering blues and green.
    The logic seems to go – color boundaries are arbitrarily defined by language due to historic and cultural reasons. We Englishers say this is the blue/green boundary and we must be right, therefore other countries (including the original Americans) must be wrong are stupid not to use the same words as us. Let’s hope they never speak to people from much of Europe, who might think them equally stoopid for lumping all those blue wavelengths into one word. It is sad, but not surprising, that all these anti-racism activists seem to ooze with prejudice and naive ignorance. The west is best!

    Oh and someone should really report all this racism to the Olympic committee, because I reckon what a couple of ex-english teacher snitches think is going to make a massive difference to them. Glad the activist-in-chief has cultured such lofty contacts. The level of bitterness is amazing: I’ve failed at something, it can’t be my problem, it must be evil racist Japan’s fault, let’s try to get petty revenge. Anyway, maybe Japanese will get confused between Gold and Bronze, so certainly no Olympics for them. They’ll probably want to give out plutonium medals instead.

  12. @René Artois: Heh, yeah, and I (watashi, boku, ore) didn’t realise that Japanese language was also without personal pronouns…

    Witness the lack of usage of the personal pronoun in Japanese and compare it to the lack of personal assertion/accountability…

    Gold, Silver, Bronze, Plutonium — Japan is the only Olympics with four distinct medals.

  13. @iago: Heh, I giggled at the four distinct medals! :lol:


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