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Afghanistan and Syria: Even funeral processions are attacked by FSA and the Taliban

Afghanistan and Syria: Even funeral processions are attacked by FSA and the Taliban

Joachim de Villiers and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

 

The Taliban and Free Syrian Army (FSA) have much in common when it comes to car bombs, attacking funeral processions and beheading people. In recent times the brutal nature of the Taliban and FSA can be seen by scores of people being killed during funeral processions by both terrorist forces. Neither the Taliban nor the FSA respect the living or the dead instead they both spread their hatred to every fabric of society which is deemed permissible to attack.

Organizations and wealthy individuals in Saudi Arabia and Qatar who sponsor terrorism will share much in common with both the FSA and the Taliban. After all, these terrorist organizations are deemed to be “the soldiers of Sunni Islamic jihad” within the stark militancy of the countries where funding is easily obtained.

Of course, with the vast majority of individuals who did September 11 coming from Saudi Arabia alongside the largest forces of international Islamists fighting in Iraq coming from the same country; then the Saudi connection to international terrorism is more than obvious. At the same time both Saudi Arabia and Qatar are spreading the dangerous Salafi ideology whereby other Muslims are deemed to be infidels like non-Muslims. This means that other Muslims and non-Muslims are deemed to be subhuman and worthy of slaughter providing Islamist clerics sanction this murder.

The mass contradiction of spreading hatred to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Mali, Somalia and a host of other nations, doesn’t apply to the policies of individuals and organizations which fund Salafi indoctrination and terrorism. On the contrary, the mass contradiction applies to nations like America, France and the United Kingdom which deem the same terrorist forces to be either friends or foes depending on the given situation.

Therefore, while the nation of Syria is on the frontline of protecting secularism, the rights of women and protecting all religious minorities against the forces of terrorism and Islamist ideology. The hypocrites in Washington, London and Paris are on the same side of the brutal forces of Islamist terrorism, car bombing, sectarianism and other evil deeds against the government of Syria. Yet in Afghanistan, the very same nations which supported Islamist terrorism in the 1980s and early 1990s are now fighting the same forces they once supported. It is this schizophrenic policy which is most alarming because these Western powers clearly have no morals.

Given this reality, it is now open season against the government of Syria. This means that car bombings, killing minorities, attacking funeral processions, killing journalists and other brutal deeds by the FSA and Islamist factions like al-Qaeda; are all glossed over and manipulated by language and a compliant media which is also inciting hatred. However, for the people of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria (and other nations) it is clear that all terrorist attacks are evil and should be condemned. Not only this, all ratlines which are maintaining the flow of funding brutal terrorist organizations like the FSA, al-Qaeda and the Taliban should be eradicated where it is possible. However, when it comes to Syria it is clear that nations like America, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, the United Kingdom and France are enabling these Islamist and terrorist ratlines to spread their sectarian hatred to the people of Syria.

The latest Islamist terrorist attacks against funeral processions and ceremonies in Nangarhar (Afghanistan) and Jaramana (Syria) which is a suburb which is mainly Druze and Christian; highlights the brutal reality of Islamist terrorism whereby nothing is sacred. The FSA in Syria and its Islamist cohorts were behind the brutal attack in Damascus in the suburb of Jaramana. Meanwhile, the Taliban was behind the brutal carnage in Nangarhar whereby at least 25 civilians have perished. However, for policy makers in Washington, London and Paris then clearly they are in a flux and rely on the mass media to manipulate reality.

After all, how can world leaders in America, France and the United Kingdom condemn the brutal terrorist attack in Afghanistan but remain silent about the same crime in Syria because it was done by FSA forces they support? Islamists clearly have no principles when it comes to killing innocents but sadly the same can be said for political leaders who govern in Washington, London and Paris. After all, nobody expects morality to come out of Saudi Arabia under its brutal monarchy which supports killing all apostates and child marriage to old men. Yet why are democratic nations being dragged down to the same depravity which is spreading so much evil far and wide?

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

 

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Remembering the fashion sector after the tragic tsunami which killed over 19,000 people

Remembering the fashion sector after the tragic tsunami which killed over 19,000 people 

Michel Lebon, Sarah Deschamps and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The events of March 11, 2011, in Japan will forever be etched into the memory of this nation because of the utter devastation that followed. Over 19,000 people perished because of the tsunami which followed the 9.0 magnitude earthquake. Therefore, this event is now embedded within the psyche of Japan and this applies to both the trauma and the response to such devastation.

Internationally, countless nations supported Japan and likewise individuals, charities, organizations and various sectors gave generously to help the people who were hit the hardest. The fashion industry within Japan and outside of this country also supported the people of Tohoku. Likewise, the nuclear shadow meant that many people in the surrounding areas were also worried about this aspect. Given this reality, local fashion companies in Tokyo and other cities provided not only material support but also emotional support.

In Tokyo for example you had the Mighty Harajuku Project which was the brainchild of Sebastian Masuda (6% DOKIDOKI). While internationally powerful fashion houses responded to the tsunami in many different ways in order to support the people of Japan.

Often the fashion industry is portrayed to be “one dimensional” but clearly this sector is far from “one dimensional.” On the contrary, many within the fashion sector responded with care and sincerity. Giorgio Armani, and many other famous people within the fashion sector, showed the “heart of fashion” to the people of Japan.

Indeed, the deep shock of the tsunami and the enormous loss of life encouraged Giorgio Armani to show his deep respect of Japan. He did this during the Paris Fashion Week show in July of last year. During this major fashion event Giorgio Armani incorporated aspects of Japanese culture within his adorable designs.

In an earlier article by Modern Tokyo Times it was stated that “Funds being donated by Armani are much appreciated and the same applies to other famous fashion designers who have done so much to support the people of Japan. Often people only see a single dimension towards fashion and this applies to enhancing beauty.”

“Armani’s exclusive haute couture collection (Fall/Winter 2011-2012) during the Paris Fashion Week highlighted the rich heritage of Japan.  His amazing designs focused on dresses being based on the kimono-style, elegant floral prints on exquisite silk, kanzashi, elements of geisha, and other unique images of Japanese symbols were fused within the stunning Armani collection.”

It may appear that fashion and the tsunami are a million miles apart and in terms of what happened on this tragic day, then this is true. However, in other areas both events came together because fashion helped many people during the psychological stress process and lack of confidence related to the nuclear crisis. Therefore, fashion for many people was “therapeutic” and a way of fighting back against so much trauma and despondency.

Financially, then all economic support was welcomed because many communities were devastated by the brutal tsunami. Alongside the financial aspect was a feeling that other people all over the world truly cared about the plight of people who had been hit the hardest. Once more this helped in the area of psychology.

In the past Japan had been a place for famous international brands to “make hay” and since this tragic event the fashion sector is once more buzzing in this country. In this sense, many international fashion companies and individuals were highlighting their deep appreciation related to past and current connections which remain strong. Giorgio Armani commented that he had been “profoundly moved by the tragic events” related to March 11, 2011.

Giorgio Armani’s fashion show titled the Hommage au Japon meant that his entire fashion collection highlighted the natural beauty of Japanese culture within amazing styles. This genuine warmth was appreciated deeply within the fashion sector in Japan and among lay people who adore the fashion sector. Like usual, the collection highlighted the panache of the individual who created such a stunning fashion display.

Overall, many within the international fashion sector showed their love of Japan by providing many different types of support. This applies to economic support, psychological factors, a collective feeling of humanity, showing the people of Japan that they weren’t alone during this tragic period and in other vital areas.

 

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

 

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South Korea, Japan and US fashion styles by Kpopsicle: Stunning international fashion

South Korea, Japan and US fashion styles by Kpopsicle: Stunning international fashion

Kanako Itamae and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times 

Kpopsicle (http://kpopsicle.com) is an amazing online fashion store which caters for stylish ladies who want to connect with the vibes of South Korea, America and Japan. Of course, the styles of these buzzing nations appeal internationally and this is the beauty of Kpopsicle. Therefore, this online fashion company provides stunning female fashion products all year round.

The Kpopsicle website is user-friendly and is updated regularly in order to connect with their client base and to highlight the latest trends hitting the streets of Seoul, Tokyo, New York and other vibrant cities. Also, images of items are extremely clear and taken from different angles in order that viewers can get a real feel about the product being viewed.

On the Kpopsicle website this company states that “We focus on stylish and trendy designs” and this is clearly true. Immediately on entering the website ladies will find an abundance of images and products to search. True to the words of Kpopsicle it is clear that this adorable online fashion company does focus on stylish and trendy designs which will appeal to ladies all over the world.

The models at Kpopsicle are extremely stylish and always highlight the lovely fabrics being used. Also, the color schemes and care of each product is more than noticeable. This means that not only is the Kpopsicle website user-friendly but more important everything seems so natural because the styles appeal greatly. Therefore, you have a lovely online fashion store whereby individuals can buy stunning products at the click of a button once studying the products from different angles on the Kpopsicle website.

International fashion styles hitting the streets of South Korea, Japan and the United States can be felt within the fashion on show. Of course Kpopsicle appeals to trendy female fashion lovers all over the world irrespective of nation. This is the beauty of Kpopsicle because they understand the latest trends and how to relate to fashion lovers.

In recent years the K-pop music angle keeps on growing therefore South Korean culture is in vogue and gaining more international headlines. This is rightly so because Korean culture is blessed with an amazing history. True to the nature of this country you have a culture which is rich in history but which is also ultra modern. Therefore, South Korean culture is ultra modern, vibrant, sophisticated and is connecting internationally. Not surprisingly, the fashion angle of South Korean fashion is also growing in strength because of all the above factors.

Kpopsicle fashion focuses on many different styles which relate to the modern fashion scene. This means that you can feel the latest trends running throughout the K-pop music scene through the fashion products that they sell. Kpopsicle fashion also focuses on elegance, sophisticated looks, streetwise fashion and a plethora of styles which are hitting the streets of major cities throughout South Korea, Japan and the United States.

Indeed, in Tokyo you can envisage the Kpopsicle fashion angle easily when you walk around fashionable districts like Harajuku, Ikebukuro, Shinjuku, Shibuya and other amazing places in Tokyo. This is the beauty of Kpopsicle and this applies to the “instant connection” which can be felt when viewing their website.

 

The vibrant nature of K-pop with amazing groups and soloists like Girls’ Generation, BoA, Kan Mi Youn, T-ara, Kara, Orange Caramel, Sistar, G.Na, After School, A-Pink and a plethora of others can be felt within the fashion angle of Kpopsicle. Therefore, if you adore female fashion and the “Korean Cool” angle then Kpopsicle fashion will appeal to you.

Kpopsicle simply means style and vibrancy which connects easily within the complexity of international fashion. The reason Kpopsicle can connect easily with international fashion is because this online company understands the current trends hitting major international cities. Therefore, with a click of a button on your computer you have an adorable fashion company to view and then buy amazing and beautiful products.

 

http://kpopsicle.com Kpopsicle

ALL IMAGES BELONG TO KPOPSICLE

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

 
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Posted by on August 8, 2012 in ASIA, Japan, NORTH AMERICA

 

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Paying Homage to the Spirit of Japan seen in the Fukushima 50

Paying Homage to the Spirit of Japan seen in the “Fukushima 50”

James Jomo and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The March 11 earthquake which triggered the brutal and devastating tsunami which in turn created the nuclear crisis in Fukushima remains vivid in the memory. This tragic day will never be forgotten in Japan and the same applies to the international community which witnessed the tragic events which followed.

Sadly, despite enormous reconstruction and redevelopment taking place in the worse effected areas you still have many ongoing problems. This applies to the nuclear facility in Fukushima and radiation issues which remain, to more natural daily issues of people living in temporary accommodation and trying to find employment.

Any government in the world hit by this tragic event would be challenged to the full and in fairness to Japan, a lot of support mechanisms have been put into place but of course for people hit by this tragic event then so much more is needed.

In the midst of the nuclear crisis you had the “Fukushima 50” who did everything in their power to prevent a nuclear meltdown. These brave souls should never be forgotten because during the height of the crisis they worked day and night and at any time they could have been killed. Also, the reality of radiation means that we still don’t know if many of these brave souls will die from cancer in the future caused by radiation.

Irrespective if you are anti-nuclear, pro-nuclear or you believe that nuclear energy is a practical choice, it is clear that the “Fukushima 50” deserve the support of everybody. While alarming comments were being made and very natural dangers could have killed all members of the “Fukushima 50,” they merely got on with everything and worked around the clock in order to protect local citizens and to prevent a complete nuclear meltdown.

In an earlier article by Modern Tokyo Times which was published on March 18 it was commented that “Images of Fukushima have spread all over the world but the people who are trying to prevent a nuclear meltdown remain faceless and out of sight.  Therefore, they have been named the “Fukushima 50” in honor of their valor and loyalty to the cause.”

“All members of the “Fukushima 50” understand that death awaits them if the internal conditions become uncontrollable.  However, for the “Fukushima 50” they are thinking about the people of Japan and they understand that they are in the frontline and that if they perish, then countless others will follow from the worst case scenario.”

“Of course you will have tens of thousands of other “faceless individuals” who are giving everything in order to help people and many are working in dangerous and terrible conditions.  In this sense, but not from the personal danger that the “Fukushima 50” face; the “Fukushima 50” represent all individuals who are working against the clock in order to help the people of Japan.”

The article was written within 7 days of the March 11 tragedy and being based in Tokyo then Modern Tokyo Times tried its best to support Japan. After all, many embassies were closed and many people left Tokyo in panic. However, at all times the core of Modern Tokyo Times remained in the heart of Tokyo and visits were also made to Fukushima and other areas hit.

However, unlike the “Fukushima 50,” we had the luxury of being based far away and the admiration of these brave souls can’t be overstated. After all, how many people would risk their-own-skin in the face of so much carnage? This collectively applies to the knowledge that the high radiation may give you cancer in the future or that at any time the plant could have just blown up completely.

In the “valley of death” the “Fukushima 50” walked tall and showed the beauty of humanity. 

It matters not if you are pro-nuclear or anti-nuclear; the real issue is their bravery, dedication and giving everything in order to protect the people who reside in Japan.

They must never be forgotten because unlike the “heroes on television” who are actors and actresses, the “Fukushima 50” are real heroes and in the “valley of death” they never flinched. 

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com  

http://moderntokyotimes.com/2011/03/18/spirit-of-japan-seen-in-the-%e2%80%9cfukushima-50%e2%80%9d/

 
 

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The witness of two suicides in Tokyo remains within my psyche

The witness of two suicides in Tokyo remains within my psyche

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Tokyo is an amazing city and the environment is buzzing with fashion and from every corner of this vibrant city you can feel the energy of each new day.  However, being from a distant land I prefer to remain in the shadows and my inner-city upbringing in Manchester stays with me. 

I have wandered around many parts of Tokyo and places of interest apply to Edogawabashi, Komagome, Nippori and Seijo. I also like more popular places like Harajuku, Ebisu, Omotesando and Yurakucho. 

However, my local area is none of the above and I will remain tight lipped about where I like to hang out because I have had many death threats related to writing about terrorism.

Like all individuals who have moved to a new nation each person will see things differently.  I have no time for Japanese Buddhism because it is clear that many Buddhist clerics reside in an ivory tower. 

Also, more people kill themselves every year in Japan than people who have just died because of the March 11 earthquake which unleashed the devastating tsunami.  The annual figure in recent times is more than 30,000 suicides a year but little is being done to change the mindset or prevent suicide in Japan.

The only trade that Buddhists seem to care about is death because they can make a bomb from this business providing you have enough money.

Hikikomori is also a huge social problem alongside suicide and while Tokyo is rich in culture and a fantastic place to reside.  The negative side is the loneliness of many individuals or the stress of working life because companies expect too much from their workers.

I love the fashion of Tokyo and the modern landscape alongside the low crime rate.  It is factual that Tokyo is one of the great cities of this world and the infrastructure shames London and Paris.

This not only applies to the sprawling no-go areas of inner-city London and Paris but clearly gang related violence and everyday crime in both London and Paris are destroying too many areas.

My beloved Manchester which is rich in culture and history is also blighted by gang violence and drug related issues.  Yes, drug issues also apply in Tokyo but not to the same level of the cities that I have just mentioned in Europe. 

Turning back to suicide then I have witnessed two individuals kill themselves and clearly both events have stayed within my thinking.  The first suicide was a young man who jumped to his death in Tobu Nerima from a flat that he resided in. 

The second suicide was a young lady who just jumped in front of a train at Harajuku train station.  This suicide really had long term effects because it was like watching a vacuum cleaner sucking up dust.

Everything seemed so natural and she just vanished within the blinking of an eyelid and it was like the train had beckoned her to her death. 

Both suicides happened within one year and despite seeing blood all over and hearing the crack of bones hitting the street in Tobu Nerima; it was not the death of the man which stayed with me but the ghost of the young lady who killed herself in Harajuku.

Of course, some people will snigger and deny that ghosts exist and how can I deny these claims?  However, something stayed with me for over a year and sometimes I could feel her spirit close to me.

Irrespective if this was my mind playing a trick or it was reality; it seemed natural to me and sometimes I felt the passion of her spirit strongly but in time it faded and now I rarely feel anything unless I am in Harajuku.

It seems strange how I view both suicides because I saw the last few seconds of a dying man in front of my eyes in Tobu Nerima.  The blood was visible and the noise stays with me and I always cross myself in the sign of the Orthodox cross when I walk past the same building.

However, when I first saw the naked body I was unsure if the person was male or female because it was late at night. Yet when I was close up it was obvious that the body was male and somehow this calmed me and maybe this is a natural instinct or a safety mechanism?

I don’t really know why this soothed my pain but the behavior and coldness of people nearby shocked me because I immediately asked for help but some people seemed disinterested.  It is true that only about 6 or 7 people were near at the time but words like “baka” (stupid) from a person who was drunk was too much.

I also remember that when the young girl just gave up on this world that some people were just complaining because of train delays.  Not everybody, of course; but a few people was clearly annoyed because it was relatively early in the morning (just before 10am) and I presume the stress of work got the better of them.

I have seen this coldness before when an old man collapsed in Asaka (Saitama) and was bleeding and several times I have seen young ladies faint or were visibly distressed. Apart from two occasions when people helped quickly the norm was to ignore or to turn a blind eye.

I have resided in Japan on and off for ten years and like most Tokyoites several trains have been cancelled because of suicide. However, to visually see two people kill themselves then it isn’t easy when I have to re-visit both places.

Four strange events took place after seeing the young lady kill herself.

Firstly, this applies to sitting in a coffee shop and talking with my friend who was trying to console me in Ikebukuro on the same day of the suicide in Harajuku.  Then all of a sudden I saw a normal lady and the next minute I could only see a stone white face with no distinctive features. 

This really spooked me out!

The second major event happened a few weeks later I was leaving Shinjuku around 6am in the morning and travelling via Odakyu Line to Seijo.  I often like to walk to the final two carriages before entering the train. 

All of a sudden I could see the back of a beautiful lady and then when I got on the same quiet carriage she had disappeared.  Again, I can’t say if this was wishful thinking or if I was still in a daze because of past events.  However, it seemed real at the time and still seems real today but having little sleep during the night then I try to think rationally.

The third major event is more deep rooted because watching her succumb to the train it all seemed so natural because she showed no fear and it was like it was meant to be.  Therefore, I sometimes feel the force of the train beckoning people to jump and when I hear trains making a sudden noise in train stations this brings back flashbacks.

The fourth event was more pleasing because while I was on the Saikyo Line and passing through Harajuku I just felt that I was forced to gaze outside.  Then all of a sudden I could see a beautiful lady but this time she was serene and everything appeared to be ok and it was like I was being told that her pain is over.

Again, it is clear that you have many images of ladies on advertizing boards and I had worked long hours the day before.  Therefore, just like other times I have tried to view this rationally but it seemed real at the time and maybe I found an answer I wanted or maybe it was a flash that was meant to be implanted in my brain.

Today I am writing this because the hot summer is about to start in earnest and both suicides happened during the long hot summer.

Clearly the ghosts of the past or the images of the past remain within my psyche even if these events are more distant with each passing new day.

http://moderntokyotimes.com (Please visit)

 
 
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Posted by on June 11, 2011 in Japan

 

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Child abduction in Japan: divorced Japanese wife fined heavily by US court

Child abduction in Japan: divorced Japanese wife fined heavily by US court

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

 

Christopher Savoie and his family members in America have been going through hell because of the blatant violation of international law in Japan.  This applies to allowing Japanese parents to violate the laws of all other nations during child custody cases. 

In other words, Japan is allowing child abduction by the policy of inaction and reducing international legal orders to nothing.  Therefore, Christopher Savoie, and countless other left behind parents, continually hit both “a wall of silence” in Japan and “a wall of ignorance and deceit.”

According to legal documents Christopher Savoie had legal rights to see his children on a regular basis and because of this a court in Tennessee fined his former wife heavily.  His ex-partner was fined $6.1 million dollars and this applies to damages.

At the moment this is just “a moral victory” but until Japan takes child abduction seriously then it is “a hollow victory.”

After all, with each passing day his children face cultural alienation and parental alienation.  Also, it is possible that his children are being manipulated by his divorced wife but this is speculation; however, given the fact that he is being denied access to his children then it a possible scenario to say the least.

The monetary factor is not a concern for Christopher Savoie because it is all about his children whom he loves and cherishes dearly.

All he wants, like all responsible parents, is to see his children, care for them, watch them grow up, help to educate them, and enjoy many special moments. 

However, the legal system does not concern itself with the rights or wrongs of child abduction in Japan.  Therefore, Japanese parents know full well that Japan will protect them because international child abduction is a fact of life in Japan and little changes apart from greater international pressure.

Takeaki Matsumoto, Foreign Minister, stated that “The ruling (of the U.S. court) was made from a different legal background from Japan’s,” Matsumoto said at a press conference Tuesday. “Ultimately, I think Japan should abide by international rules on jurisdiction (over child custody disputes) when so many people cross borders, get married and then their marriages fail.”

In my article called Japan and the Hague Convention: but will foreign parents really see their kids? I state that newspapers in Japan keep on commenting that Critics have raised concerns over joining the pact, saying it could endanger Japanese parents and kids who have fled abusive relationships.”

Randy Collins, father of Keisuke Christian Collins, stated in his article called The Façade of Honor and Respect that “Another façade by the Japanese is that when confronted with these staggering numbers, the same mantra is said over and over again: ‘We are protecting our women and children from abuse of the Americans’.”

Randy Collins is spot on because in the same article I comment that “….when did Japan take child abuse seriously?  In 2008 you had 42,664 cases of child abuse and in 2009 you had 44,210 cases of child abuse.  New laws passed were meant to give welfare workers more power to apply for warrants in child abuse cases.”

“However, in 2008 only two warrants were asked for and astonishingly in 2009 only one warrant was asked for.  This fact paints a different picture to the one being painted by Akiko Oshima and her statement should have been backed up by facts.”

“Therefore, basically, out of over 86,000 reports of child abuse only three child warrants were asked for.  Given this, then clearly the rights of the child in Japan is not being taken seriously and Akiko Oshima should focus on reforming the Japanese legal system and systematic thinking; rather than making “sweeping comments” and implying that Japan is a haven for child rights who are being protected by abusive foreign fathers.”

My reference to Akiko Oshima who is a marriage counselor applies to her stating that “These women, who come back, do not do it because they want to.” 

“They feel this is the only way out. They want their child to be brought up in Japan, and not in the host country where the father is abusive and she has no control over her children’s education, and so forth. Not even, say, getting a job to support herself. This is the problem.”

If only Akiko Oshima would open her eyes to child abuse in Japan and the fact that many women also abuse children.  Also, is Akiko Oshima implying that all foreign fathers are abusive?

Given the fact that no mixed Japanese children have been sent back to the international parent then it would appear that Akiko Oshima is involved in racial stereotyping. In other words she appears to be playing the racial card alongside blatant sexism and can her statement be backed by open evidence in every case?

Every court case must be judged on merit and sometimes the father may be the best parent and sometimes the mother; but in an ideal situation both parents would continue to play a role in the upbringing of the child or children.

No parent, irrespective if Japanese or non-Japanese, or if male or female; should face parental alienation because it is against all norms of humanity.

Also, spare a thought for grandparents, other family members and friends because child abduction effects many people and while the emphasis is obviously put on the parent; it is clear that grandparents suffer greatly because time is not on their side and they have to watch their children suffer so much.

Why should parents who love their children be treated like criminals and disregarded?

Japan should be ashamed for allowing this reality to exist and doing nothing is not an excuse. 

Christopher Savoie stated that “Anything about this just reopens a lot of wounds. It’s bittersweet…….At the end of the day, I’d much rather have one afternoon in the park with my kids than one penny of this judgment.”

http://bachome.org/wordpress/  Bring abducted children home (Children abducted in Japan)

(please visit for information about the rights of children in Japan)

http://www.crcjapan.com/ Please visit Children’s Rights Council of Japan

http://moderntokyotimes.com (please visit)

 
 
 

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Nuclear crisis in Japan is a legacy of political meddling because of the Amakudari system

Nuclear crisis in Japan is a legacy of political meddling because of the Amakudari system

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

 

In Japan the current crisis within the nuclear sector and other areas of the economy can squarely be pinned on the relationship between the political bureaucracy and its love-in relationship with electricity suppliers. 

The Amakudari system enables senior bureaucrats to find important executive posts after leaving the government and it is reported that 68 high ranking bureaucrats went on and resumed senior positions with the energy sector. 

Therefore, given the relationship between government and electricity suppliers it appears that this all inclusive policy means that when serious issues arise, then it may be pushed under the carpet? 

It is important to state that not all “amakudari” bureaucrats will be inefficient and each former high ranking bureaucrat will respond differently.  Also, many will be highly skilled and it is over simplistic to believe that all will either have ulterior motives or seek to cover up major problems.

However, it is also clear that the relationship between the political bureaucracy and electricity suppliers; could lead to complacency and for the general public it may appear to be both inefficient, corrupt, and about preserving a comfortable relationship.

The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) is new to the power process of the amakudari system but former high ranking political leaders in the DPJ who were former LDP politicians, will know all too well about this system. 

Obviously the DPJ knows about this system because for 50 years and more, the LDP have followed the same procedure in various sectors of the economy.  Democracy and “open business” is rather flawed because you have so much inter linkages and not all the blame can be pinned on politicians because the keiretsu system is embedded within the business community.

Conformity and continuity alongside strong inter-relationships is all too powerful within the Japanese system and inter-linkages and connections is the bottom line for the business and political model in Japan.  Of course, not all companies follow this system but in general it is part and parcel of the business environment in Japan and in South Korea they have a similar system called chaebol.

Turning back to the current crisis in Fukushima then the relationship between industry and government regulators would tend to point in the direction of complacency.  This applies to data by TEPCO not being scrutinized to the full when questions were raised about the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant being vulnerable to a possible tsunami.

Government hands run throughout the system and this applies to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.  After all, this ministry is involved in expressing the importance of nuclear energy, helping Japanese companies to find major business contracts in the international arena, and regulating the safety of the nuclear sector in Japan.

The promoter and regulator conflict within the system was separated in France because of the fear of complacency several years ago.  In America the government understood this weak point in the system; therefore, changes were made over 30 years ago in order to safeguard the nuclear sector from conflicting interests.

The government and TEPCO merry-go-round can be summed up by Tokio Kano.  He joined TEPCO and became a leader within the nuclear unit in 1989 and in 1998 he entered parliament.  Once he was elected to parliament then Tokio Kano helped to rewrite Japan’s national policy related to energy and not surprisingly the conclusion was that nuclear energy was the way forward. 

After being involved within the political system for more than 10 years he then returned to TEPCO.  Therefore, Tokio Kano is an extreme example of the system in Japan.

The amakudari system is defended by some because you will not have many high quality candidates who have powerful knowledge of this complex sector.  Therefore, it is argued that it may appear to be inefficient and based on complacency; however, the system does enable utilities to get high quality candidates who not only bring their expertise but also their strong contacts within an important sector of the economy.

http://moderntokyotimes.com (please visit)

 
 
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Posted by on May 4, 2011 in Japan

 

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China is to increase its maritime surveillance and alarm bells will be ringing in Japan

China is to increase its maritime surveillance and alarm bells will be ringing in Japan

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Senkaku-Diaoyu tensions

The government of China is intent on spreading its power projection and installing more clout over disputed islands and islets with several regional nations.  China announced major plans which are to be implemented over the next five years. The government of China is clearly not aiming this new change at any one regional nation however part of this plan is aimed at the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu islands with Japan.

The modernization of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and all divisions within the armed forces of China is an ongoing reality.  China clearly views the situation to be self-defensive but tensions over these disputed islands alongside the Spratlys, and other sensitive areas, with other regional nations, is hindering China’s future sphere of influence.

China also believes that time is on the side of China because America’s spiraling debt and Japan’s lack of leadership and internal demographic and economic issues; means that powers in Beijing believe that only an energetic China can expand its zone of interest.

Also, China which owes a huge amount of America’s debt is also spreading its power over Taiwan because of the ever increasing volume of trade.  China is hoping that Taiwan will be sucked into China’s orbit and that a careful nationalist policy under central control will further eradicate and zap the energy of Taiwan.

Japan’s policy over the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu islands is seen to be in a flux because the political merry-go-round means that you don’t have any long-term binding policies.

More important, China is fully aware that Japan is involved with territorial disputes with all regional powers and the Russian Federation and South Korea are also weary of Japan’s intentions.

The Russian Federation clearly is increasing its stranglehold over the disputed territories.  Also, the Russian Federation understands that Japan over relies on Middle East oil therefore leaders in Moscow believe that they hold all the aces.

Sun Shuxian, China Marine Surveillance, commented that the frequency of sea patrols would be more frequent in order “to strengthen law enforcement in Chinese-related waters.”

Sun Shuxian also gave information about another 36 inspection ships being added to China’s Marine Surveillance and another 1,000 personnel would be recruited in order to monitor important and sensitive areas.  He reported that these measures would be implemented over the next five years.

China also believes that America’s containment of Japan will continue and this will restrict Japan’s hand because America would not desire to become embroiled in a major dispute between China and Japan.

It must be added that these tensions are nothing new but China in the past was hindered by an outdated military and limited economic and political leverages.

However, the new China since Deng Xiaoping is based on economic expansion and now this is being backed by greater political power.  At the same time the modernization of the armed forces of China continues to grow and the military budget is able to meet this military modernization.

China does not desire an open conflict with any regional nation and they hope that natural power projections based on trade and energy links will increase China’s influence.

China also understands that Japan’s dispute with the Russian Federation is hindering Japan’s energy policy and this applies to being over reliant on oil from the Middle East.

Japanese politicians may bluster but unlike the one-party-state in China which can implement genuine long-term policies. It appears that the political leadership in Japan is unable to do the same and because of major structural problems within the economic and political system; then China believes that power projection in these disputed areas belongs to Beijing and not Tokyo.

http://moderntokyotimes.com  (please visit)

 
 

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The graceful Miki Ando wins Gold at the Figure Skating World Championships

The graceful Miki Ando wins Gold at the Figure Skating World Championships

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Miki Ando won Gold for Japan and this graceful figure skater once more was extremely artistic. The favorite in many eyes was Kim Yu-Na from South Korea but with both being far from their impervious best then artistry was going to count. Therefore, not surprisingly the elegant and stylish Miki Ando came out on top.

Last year Kim Yu-Na was beaten by Mao Asada but this year she had to come second best to Miki Ando. Also, with the young Kanako Murakami from Japan also arriving on the scene, then this young lady may emerge to also become a potent force in figure skating.

Japan had three ladies in the top eight in the world and this bodes well for the future of Japanese figure skating. Therefore, it was great to see Miki Ando claim top place and despite not being at her very best it was more than good enough to claim first place.

Kim Yu-Na who looked so strong when she won the coveted Olympic gold medal in 2010 was given another reminder of the strength of Japanese figure skating. Last year she was second best to Mao Asada during the world championship and this year she had to play second fiddle to Miki Ando.

Another delighted lady was the composed Carolina Kostner from Italy because she moved up from sixth after the short program and finished third. Her bronze was well deserved and Alena Leonova from Russia and Alissa Czisny from America also performed with great credit with Alena Leonova coming fourth and Alissa Czisny was one place further back in fifth.

Mao Asada did improve from the short program and she moved up to sixth place overall but she clearly was never at the races after the short program because it appeared that her usual zest and majesty was missing.

Neither Miki Ando or Kim Yu-Na were at their best and Kim Yu-Na will have better days in the future whereby she will remind the world of her Olympic performance but for now she needs to regain the explosive passion that was missing in this world championship.

Therefore, with much emphasis being put on gracefulness, artistry, and poise; then this played to the strength of Miki Ando.

Overall, it was a fascinating event because no figure skater was head and shoulders above the others and the finishing points tally is evidence of this.

Carolina Kostner will clearly go home happy and Kanako Murakami also will gain tremendously from her performance.

The gold medal in the end was decided by style and panache therefore the writing was on the wall because you will not find a more exquisite and artistic figure skater than Miki Ando.

Well done to Miki Ando and congratulations to Japan for having three skaters in the top eight in the world.

http://moderntokyotimes.com  (please visit)

 
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Posted by on April 30, 2011 in Japan

 

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Golden Week in Japan: holiday, fashion, and helping in tsunami hit areas

Golden Week in Japan: holiday, fashion, and helping in tsunami hit areas

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Shopping in Ginza

Golden Week is to begin in Japan but this year it will be different for many people.  The earthquake, tsunami, and radiation crisis continues because thousands of dead bodies have still not been found and radiation problems persist at the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

It is worth pointing out that much of Japan remains unchanged and if you visit the trendy and vibrant Namba area in Osaka then it is hard to comprehend that you have a major crisis in northeastern Japan. 

The same could be said about other major cities and everything is ticking in Hiroshima, Kobe, Nagoya, and other major cities.  Tokyo is a little different because the aftershock was strong on March 11 and power shortages to scaremongering about the radiation crisis in Fukushima did hit many people.  This in turn led to many embassies running for cover and leaving Tokyo but now nearly all have returned and Tokyo is returning to normal.

Northeastern Japan was devastated by the earthquake which then unleashed the tsunami and the radiation crisis continues.  Therefore, things are very much different in northeastern Japan and the Kanto plains which felt the power of the 9.0-magnitude earthquake.

Therefore, regional variations will be very different and the city of Kobe will also be unique because the people of this city understand the tremendous loss of life from natural disasters. 

Usually Golden Week is about holidays, meeting the family, visiting friends, and enjoying luxury time by doing what people enjoy the most.  This year will be different for many people because tens of thousands will volunteer and help out in Fukushima, Iwate, Miyagi, and in other coastal areas which were hit by the earthquake and tsunami.

Many volunteers will be reluctant to visit Fukushima because of the ongoing radiation cloud and many areas are out of bound because of the exclusion zone.  However, Iwate and Miyagi will witness tens of thousands of people from northeast Japan, the Kanto plains, and from all over Japan; who will volunteer and spend their precious time by helping to rebuild areas which have been devastated.

Miyagi after the earthquake and tsunami

Of course, for other people it will be time for a long holiday in either stunning parts of Japan or visiting Europe or other distant places.  Also, for other individuals it will be a time to relax with family and friends or to venture alone by yourself and go shopping, hiking, putting your feet up at home or whatever the individual desires.

Individuals will reflect on recent events differently and for the government of Japan and the economy; then it is essential that shoppers and tourists spend their money otherwise the recovery is going to be too slow and more people will suffer in the long term.

Therefore, Golden Week will be a stark reminder to reflect on current events in Japan but for others it will be breathing space from the stress of life.

One thing for sure is that this Golden Week will be a mixed bag and this applies to regional differences and how people respond to current events.

For people who have lost family members, friends, and had their homes destroyed by the earthquake and tsunami; then clearly this Golden Week in 2011 will be about sadness, getting down to rebuilding, and trying to overcome the many difficult obstacles that so many individuals face.

However, for others it will be about drinking a beer and watching sport or buying exquisite clothes in trendy areas. 

People are complex and you have no true mechanism on how to respond to tragic events but in the back of the mind will remain the ongoing crisis in northeastern Japan.

http://moderntokyotimes.com (please visit)

 
 
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Posted by on April 28, 2011 in Japan

 

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