Category Archives: japan

SHINTARO ISHIHARA IS THE GREATEST MAN ALIVE

Counter Culture,” by Gaijinbiker, Riding Sun, 14 July 2005, http://ridingsun.blogspot.com/2005/07/counter-culture.html (from apostropher).

Tokyo Mayor Shintaro Ishihara is the greatest man alive.

He’s not just the man who responds to North Korean aggression by daring them to attack. Now he insults the French.

A group of teachers and translators in Japan on Wednesday sued Tokyo’s outspoken nationalist governor for allegedly calling French a “failed international language,” a news report said.

Twenty-one people filed the lawsuit at the Tokyo District Court, demanding that Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara pay a total of 10.5 million yen (US$94,600) compensation for insulting the French language in remarks last October, national broadcaster NHK said. In their suit, the plaintiffs accused Ishihara of saying: “French is a failed international language because it cannot be used to count numbers.”

Shintaro Ishihara rocks. I’ve long criticized froglandish myself.

No Ko in Koku

High court rejects registering babies by surrogate mother,” Japan Times, 24 May 2005, http://www.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/getarticle.pl5?nn20050524a5.htm (from Japundit).

Case Could Freeze Sperm Donation,” by Wendy McElroy, Foxnews.com, 26 May 2005, http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,157553,00.html.

A typically Japanese story from increasingly childless Nihonkoku.

Every major nation struggles with the birthrate. Too few children are being born in Japan, Europe, America — anywhere where people are rich, they are not having enough children. So how does Nihonkoku Japan respond to new technologies that allow more citizens to have children?

Typically:

The Osaka High Court has turned down a couple’s request that the twin babies they had via an American surrogate mother be registered in Japan as their children, court officials said Monday.

A surrogate mother gave birth to the twins in October 2002 in California after doctors conducted in vitro fertilization using eggs from an American woman of Japanese ancestry and the Japanese husband’s sperm.

In rejecting the couple’s appeal against a decision last August by the Kobe Family Court, presiding Judge Sota Tanaka of the Osaka High Court said, “Surrogate birth poses a serious humanitarian concern as it treats a person as a reproductive tool and causes danger to a third person through pregnancy and giving birth.

The contract for such surrogate births violates public order and morals and is invalid, as it could cause a serious feud over the child,” Tanaka said.

A typically American story from increasingly childless Beikoku

Every major nation struggles with the birthrate. Too few children are being born in Japan, Europe, America — anywhere where people are rich, they are not having enough children. So how does America Beikoku respond to new technologies that allow more citizens to have children?

Typically:

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court (search) is currently considering a legal appeal that could set a wide-reaching precedent for both child support policy and fertility clinics in the United States.

As one report states, “sperm donors who thought they were getting $50 for their genetic material” — a standard clinic fee — and nothing more may be in for a real shock.

The case involves sperm donor Joel L. McKiernan (search) and his former lover Ivonne V. Ferguson (search). Ten years ago, they entered a verbal contract that a three-judge panel of the Superior Court said was valid “on its face.” In exchange for McKiernan donating sperm that led to the birth of twins through in vitro fertilization, Ferguson released him from any obligation toward the offspring.

Both the trial court and the Superior Court called Ferguson’s actions “despicable” and expressed sympathy toward McKiernan. Yet both found him liable to pay over $1,500 a month in child support plus arrearages to the now-divorced Ferguson. (McKiernan has married, moved, and now has two other children he is raising.)

Why was McKiernan considered liable? The original contract was deemed unenforceable due to “legal, equitable and moral principles.” The main abrogating principle: Biological parents cannot waive the interests of a child — a third party — who has an independent “right” to support from each one of them.

Anti-Virtue Puritans

Hector,” Wikipedia, 12 May 2005, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hector.

Communists, feminists oppose naked sushi,” by Gaijinbiker, Riding Sun, 22 May 2005, http://ridingsun.blogspot.com/2005/05/communists-feminists-oppose-naked.html.

The words we translate as “virtue” — the Latin virtu and the Greek arete — are better translated as “Rightness” or even “Rightful Manliness.” It is a state of inner superiority. A virtuous man follows a morally right internal rule set against a wrong external rule set. His implicit controls are stronger than his explicit controls.

Eagles are seen as virtuous animals. They soar into the clouds. An eagle’s desire for loftiness overpowers his mass’s attraction to the Earth. The earliest written example of virtue — Manly Rightness — is the character of Hector, the Trojan Prince who fought against an overwhelming foe

Hector provides a stark contrast for Achilles, who was from first to last a man of war. Hector represents Troy and what it stood for. Some modern scholars have even suggested that he, not Achilles, is the true hero of the Iliad. Hector was fighting, not for personal glory, but in defense of his homeland. His rebuke to Poludamas, “Fight for your country – that is the first and only omen” became a proverb to patriotic Greeks. Through him we can see glimpses of what life in Troy and elsewhere in the Bronze Age Mediterranean civilization depicted by Homer might have been like in more peaceful times. The scene where he bids farewell to his wife Andromache and his infant son is one of the more moving scenes in the Iliad.

In the Middle Ages Hector’s legend was held so highly that Jean de Longuyon included him as one of the Nine Worthies. In the Divine Comedy Dante sees the shade of Hector with the other noble Roman and Trojan personages in the portion of Limbo reserved for the most virtuous pagans.

The point is that virtue is an internal quality. Virtue cannot be imposed. If hector was an unwilling conscript and performed the same actions he would not have been virtuous, because the acts would not be an expression of his Rightness. Likewise, eagles are symbols of virtue, and balloons are not, because the eagle chooses the fly while the balloon is lifted up.

The point of all this? To condemn the latest plan of enforced pseudo-virtue from Chinese Communists and American Feminists

China’s State Administration of Industry and Commerce issued a notice this weekend banning meals served on naked bodies, officially canceling the service offered by a Japanese restaurant in southwestern China that served sushi on unclothed female university students, a Beijing newspaper reported Sunday.

The Saturday pronouncement forbids the service because it “insults people’s moral quality,” according to the Beijing Times. Serving food on women’s bodies also “spreads commercial activity with poor culture,” the paper said, citing the administration’s notice.

Chinese media reported that the Hefeng Village Huaishi Cuisine Restaurant in Kunming, capital of Yunnan Province, was serving sushi and other Japanese food on two naked university students as they lay on their backs.

and

Promoters insist it’s performance art. Detractors say women are getting a raw deal.

Whatever the case, the controversy over the Bonzai nightclub serving sushi on nearly naked women isn’t about to fade anytime soon.

“It’s dehumanizing, the manner in which people are buying and selling sushi to be eaten off a woman’s body. It’s dehumanizing to be treated as a plate,” said Cherry Cayabyab, president of the local chapter of National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum.

If the club persists, she and other activists plan to launch a media campaign — apparently the first organized opposition to naked sushi in the United States.

…”It provides a forum to see a human being as an object — and when women are viewed as objects, they are more likely to be violated,” said Norma Timbang, executive director of the Asian and Pacific Islander Women and Family Safety Center.

Post-Script: At least with the Communist/Feminist fellow travelers, it is ironic that the same people who would use police powers against a woman and her body here are the same people who do not lift a finger to stop pre-birth infanticide.

The puritan monsters.

Asian Geopolitics Roundup

Korean troubles, Chinese scheming, Perisan bloggers, and more! May 3rd, 2005:

Korea: Josh at OFK Fisks the New York TimesNick Kristoff’s criticism of Bush’s Korea policy. Not that the Souks are helping. Between media lynching American servicemen and curtailing the free press, Seoul has other dreams than being a liberal democracy.

Willl South Korea lose face if its soldiers liberate Nork concentration camps? And if that day does not come soon, who will be the next Pyongyang despot?

China: DU notes that Chinese military jets are flying closer to Japan. If Beijing isn’t careful, Tokyo could do something drastic like ditching Pacifism. Or even a revolution at home.

Other Chinese endevours are smarter. Beijing is trying hard to woo the Taiwanese, but apparently not the Maoists. Simon reports that scary Philippine rebels are upset that China abandoned Maoism. I imagine Beijing’s reaction would be the same as when the Nepalese crazies said the same thing: You guys are violent, but Mao was never violent.

Iran: From South West Asia, Younghusband at Coming Anarchy looks at Iranian bloggers.

On the lighter side, Mutant Frog offers tips for killing a hooker and getting away with it… eek!

Asian Geopolitical Review

Korean Appeasement, Chinese Energy, Taiwanese Politics, Nepalese Democracy, Canadian Demographics, and more!

Korea: Josh at OFK notes the ruling Appeasement Uri Party lost big in the bi-elections. But as the government could not have changed, was it just a protest vote?

Curzon at CA argues we should nuke Pyongyang. That might make their South Korean allies angry.

Maybe it would be better just to tell other countries we are mad at the Norks? That’s the Japanese plan.

China: Danwei has more of the Nationalist Party of China-Chinese Communist Party meeting. Meanwhile, China snags a pipeline from Russia, meaning Beijing gets oil before Tokyo. Not quite as geogreen as earlier Chinese energy decisions, but sprining from the same needs. Maybe Peking’s new Russophiles should read the new blog that Zen Pundit discovered today?

Taiwan: On my computer, the website for the pro-Taiwan Independence Democratic Progressive Party says “Democratic Progressive Party”… in English. Geolocation? Or do the Taiwanese just like the look of our words? They certainly don’t like the look of pro-Chinese politicians. In “one-country two-systems” news, the Communists deny delay direct elections for Hong Kong yet again.

Nepal: Bill at Dawn’s Early Light seems more good news from Nepal. Things in the mountain kingdom have been looking up.

Canada (?!?): Will British Columbia’s Asian population make it closer to Seoul and Beijing than Ottawa?

Blogosphere: Simon has new Daily Linklets.

May Day Blog Asia

Indian corruption, Japanese billionaire-murderers, Korean soccer shenanigans, and angry Chinese…

Bill at Dawn’s Early Light blogs on Indo-Japanese Connectivity and corruption in New Delhi’s arm purchases. Hopefully nothing like that is going on in Bollywood.

North of India, are good times returning to Nepal?

Is Japanese Billionaire Nobutada a serial killer?

The ever-friendly Norks fire a missile at the Sea of Japan, and are fined by FIFA for the Pyongyang Soccer Riot. Curzon at Coming Anarchy notes that South Kotea is stepping up to held its old “friend.”

Perhaps the Indo-Japanese deal isn’t for nothing.. Japan’s drilling very close to Chinese oil waters under the name Imperial Oil

Quizas notes that Taiwanese anti-KMT protestors were more violent than Chinese anti-Japanese protestors. And what to regular Chinese think of Koizumi?

Riding Sun takes a photo

Hu What Happened (Textbook Controversy in Perspective)

China, Hu’s your daddy?,” by Thomas Barnett, Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog, 21 September 2004, http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com/weblog/archives2/000863.html.

While researching my Asia by Barnett article for Simon World, I came across this half-year-old post by Tom Barnett

Good news finally on the Chinese leadership front. When Jiang Zemin gave up his control over the military yesterday, the 3rd generation of leadership truly left the stage. Now, Hu Jintao has more control at an earlier age than any leader since Mao, which suggests that the 4th generation’s run of leadership will be a vigorous one.

But don’t see danger for the U.S. necessarily rising in this pathway, because remember that it’s Hu who is pushing the theory of the “peacefully rising China.” Indeed, most experts expect Hu to now be able to chart a more flexible course with Taiwan and Hong Kong since Jiang won’t be around any more to trump him with calls of being a soft nationalist. You want a sense of who Hu is? Remember his response on SARS. China did the usual cover-up until Hu stepped forward and forced a level of transparency unseen before in Chinese history. Doesn’t make him a perfect guy, but it means his instincts are good, such as his focus on the rural poor in China.

Overall, this is a very good sign for the future of the Core.

So how can we combine China’s childish hypocrisy response to the Japanese textbook controversy, especially with combined with Japan’s political genius?

One explanation would be: China wants closer ties to Japan, and establishing a “hard line” now gives Hu the flexibility to do it later. Hu may figure that, just as only Nixon could go to China, only an anti-Japanese Populist can cement long-term security between Nihon and China.

Bad News for Japan (No UNSC Seat this Year?)

Japan’s Bid for UN Council Seat This Year Frustrated,” Digital Chosunilbo, 12 April 2005, http://english.chosun.com/w21data/html/news/200504/200504120024.html.

If this is accurate, it’s frustrating

Representatives of 116 nations including Korea, Italy and Pakistan met in New York on Monday and agreed to oppose hasty reform of the U.N. Security Council, which could dash the hopes of the so-called G-4 — Japan, Germany, India and Brazil — of a permanent seat on the council.

The U.S. and China joined the meeting under the slogan “Uniting for Consensus” saying, “Security Council reform must be pursued by agreement without set deadlines.” Both are veto-wielding members of the council.

That in effect scuppers Japanese plans to enter the permanent council this November after getting it expanded by six members through a resolution in the General Assembly in June.

The group’s chairman, Italian Foreign Minister Gianfranco Fini, said, “Each national representative expressed the opinion that consensus was important for Security Council reform, and they presented the opinion that it was illogical to set a deadline for such reform.”

At the meeting, nicknamed the “Coffee Club, Beijing’s U.N. Ambassador Wang Guangya and Washington’s U.N. delegation minister Howard Stoffer also voiced opposition to a vote before consensus is reached.

This is disturbing. The United Nations Security Council, as it is today, is bizarre. It does not reflect geopolitical realities or contributions to global stability. Expanding the Security Council to include India, Japan, Germany, and Brazil is a sensible first step towards reorganization. America’s stalling slows down our friends and appeases pseudo-allies like Korea.

I first heard the news over at The Acorn, but I was hoping it wasn’t true.

Even Vietnam was on board! And France!

Frustrating!

Pondering a Cash Tax for Japan

Getting Japan’s Measure,” The Economist, 31 March 2005, http://www.economist.com/printedition/displayStory.cfm?story_id=3819934.

Near the end of an article dealing with statistical oddities of ‘s economy, a startling reminder:

The other sure sign of [economic] change would be a rise in confidence among Japanese households. Since the government’s household surveys shed little light on this, most economists look elsewhere for signs. The ratio of available jobs for every applicant is one closely watched measure, and it has improved sharply since early 2002. Yet Paul Sheard, Lehman Brothers’ Tokyo-based chief Asia economist, worries that this could be yet another “false signal”. For years, a rise in the job-offer ratio could be counted on to predict employment growth. But in recent years the link has broken down (see chart). Mr Sheard reckons that there is now a big mismatch in the Japanese labour market, because workers with outdated skills cannot handle the new kinds of jobs that employers want to fill these days.

The best indicator of all, however, may be the one that never seems to change. Although foreign investors began pouring money into Japanese equities nearly two years ago, Japan’s own savers continue to keep more than 55% of their financial assets in cash and bank deposits, despite zero interest rates. This, says Mr Sheard, is a sure sign that Japanese workers and consumers lack confidence in their economy. Until that attitude changes, deflation will continue to be a menace.

Japan’s financial system is pre-Modern. Japan is vital for the world — it is the second largest economy and has one of the largest navies — so tt must be fixed. But how?

In The Lexus and the Olive Tree, Tom Friedman emphasized that a nation’s finances rest on a three-legged stool: stock markets, bond markets, and banks. A nation without these three is much more likely to face slow growth or economic collapse. Japan has bloated banks and starved stock and bond markets. For example, a recent Riding Sun post mentioned high-profile criticism of a Japanese executive for using stocks to buy a company. The above Economist article about the high liquidity preference of Japanese savers is another example.

Japan needs to move away from banks towards stocks and bonds. One way to do this would be a tax on cash kept in very-low-interest bank accounts. This would force money out of no-growth, bloated banks and into stocks and bonds.

Thoughts?