Japan’s Vote For Abe Could Worsen Prospects For Peace With North Korea, China

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By Nicole L Freiner for The Conversation – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe gambled by calling a snap election – and he has won big. Voters handed Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party a sweeping victory in the Oct. 22 balloting for Japan’s House of Representatives. The call for the election came in late September after North Korea had just fired another test missile, with its longest delivery system yet. Over the past months, North Korea has tested six missiles, with each test either falling into the Japan Sea or passing over Japan to land in the Pacific. This latest missile flew over Japan’s northernmost island of Hokkaido before falling into the Pacific Ocean. North Korea’s leader, Kim Jung Un, used strong threats after this missile test, saying that he hoped to see Japan sink into the sea. Abe and his hawkish, conservative coalition have been attempting to rebuild Japan’s military capabilities and to scrap its WWII-era constitution that prohibits aggression. Based on my research in Japanese politics, I believe the party’s electoral victory spells trouble for peace in Asia.

Japan’s Tepco Gets Slapped With New U.S. Lawsuit Over Fukushima

FILE PHOTO: Logo of the Tokyo Electric Power Co Holdings (TEPCO) is seen on helmets at TEPCO's South Yokohama Thermal Power Station in Yokohama, Japan July 18, 2017.
Issei Kato/File Photo

By Aaron Sheldrick for Reuters – TOKYO (Reuters) – Tokyo Electric Power Co Holdings said on Thursday it has been hit with another lawsuit filed in a U.S. court seeking $5 billion for compensation over the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, the second filed against the utility in a U.S. court. The suit filed by 157 individuals is seeking that amount to set up a compensation fund for the costs of medical tests and treatment they say they need after efforts to support the recovery from the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986. The utility, known as Tepco, is being sued regarding improper design, construction and maintenance, claiming compensation for physical, mental and economic damages, the company said in a statement. A multi-plaintiff lawsuit was filed on Aug. 18, 2017, against Tokyo Electric Power Co and other parties in the Southern District Court in California, the legal information group Justia said on its website. Tepco has been hit with more lawsuits than in any previous Japanese contamination suit over the meltdowns of three reactors at its Fukushima Daiichi plant north of Tokyo after a massive earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.

Resistance At Tule Lake: A Hidden History Of Japanese American Incarceration And Defiance

“Tule Lake was the crucible where the Japanese Americans who were willing to protest and refuse to cooperate with the U.S. mass incarceration regime were segregated into one militarized, overcrowded camp,” Aderer explained. | Photo: Tule Lake Committee

By Elliott Gabriel for Tele Sur – Filmmaker Konrad Aderer’s grandparents were among those incarcerated in the camps. In his latest documentary, “Resistance at Tule Lake,” viewers are presented with a long-stifled aspect of the tragedy of Japanese American detention, with the organized mass resistance bravely waged by the 12,000 residents branded as “disloyal” to the U.S. government taking center stage. Detained under color of law at the Tule Lake Segregation Center along California’s northern border, the protagonists of “Resistance” defy attempts to marginalize their suffering or their defiance. The documentary, which is being screened at select venues, gives audiences a rarely-heard opportunity to listen the voices of those who were unexpectedly plunged into “a hell,” as one survivor recounts, but maintained the strength not only to survive, but also to fight back. “The resistance that arose in the incarcerated Japanese American community is a story that has been largely hidden until now,” Aderer told teleSUR. “And it holds so much more much more meaning now, can be better understood in this post-post-9/11 era when, absent any new major attack in the United States, Islamophobia and anti-immigrant hatred has managed to become even more vicious and influential.”

Full Text Of Hiroshima Peace Declaration On 72nd A-bomb Anniversary

Aug. 5, 2017, photo, organizers of a peace prayer event light up torches on floats on the Motoyasu River next to the Atomic Bomb Dome in Hiroshima, western Japan, on the eve of the 72nd anniversary of the first U.S. atomic attack that killed 140,000 people in the city. (AP Photo/Mari Yamaguchi)

By Kazumi Matsui for The Mainichi. Friends, 72 years ago today, on August 6, at 8:15 a.m., absolute evil was unleashed in the sky over Hiroshima. Let’s imagine for a moment what happened under that roiling mushroom cloud. Pika — the penetrating flash, extreme radiation and heat. Don — the earth-shattering roar and blast. As the blackness lifts, the scenes emerging into view reveal countless scattered corpses charred beyond recognition even as man or woman. Stepping between the corpses, badly burned, nearly naked figures with blackened faces, singed hair, and tattered, dangling skin wander through spreading flames, looking for water. The rivers in front of you are filled with bodies; the riverbanks so crowded with burnt, half-naked victims you have no place to step. This is truly hell. Under that mushroom cloud, the absolutely evil atomic bomb brought gruesome death to vast numbers of innocent civilians . . .

Sovereign Debt Jubilee, Japanese-Style

Joanna Pianko protests with Occupy Chicago outside the Federal Reserve Bank October 3, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The demonstrators are protesting what they believe is greed and corruption among banking and business leaders who corrupt democracy.  (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

By Ellen Brown for Web Of Debt Blog – If the Federal Reserve raises the fed funds rate to 3.5% and sells its federal securities into the market, as it is proposing to do, by 2026 the projected tab will be $830 billion annually. That’s nearly $1 trillion owed by the taxpayers every year, just for interest. Personal income taxes are at record highs, ringing in at $550 billion in the first four months of fiscal year 2017, or $1.6 trillion annually. But even at those high levels, handing over $830 billion to bondholders will wipe out over half the annual personal income tax take. Yet what is the alternative? Japan seems to have found one. While the US government is busy driving up its “sovereign” debt and the interest owed on it, Japan has been canceling its debt at the rate of $720 billion (¥80tn) per year. How? By selling the debt to its own central bank, which returns the interest to the government. While most central banks have ended their quantitative easing programs and are planning to sell their federal securities, the Bank of Japan continues to aggressively buy its government’s debt. An interest-free debt owed to oneself that is rolled over from year to year is effectively void – a debt “jubilee.” As noted by fund manager Eric Lonergan in a February 2017 article: The Bank of Japan is in the process of owning most of the outstanding government debt of Japan (it currently owns around 40%).

Nationwide Protests Oppose ‘Anti-Conspiracy’ Bill, As Japan Moves To Remilitarize

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By Lisa Torio for Waging Nonviolence – Since Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s “anti-conspiracy” bill entered the upper house of parliament in early April, thousands of people across the country have taken to the streets in protest. Demonstrations against the bill actually started in December, when Abe’s plan became known to the public, but their intensity has grown in recent weeks. As the ruling coalition is pushing to pass the bill before the end of the legislative session on June 18, hundreds of people are staging daily demonstrations in front of the government offices to demand lawmakers scrap the bill, which lies at the intersection of Japan’s struggles. “This bill cuts across all issues because our lives depend on our right to resist,” said Keiko Makimoto, a retired elementary school teacher, who has been participating in the anti-nuclear demonstrations in front of the government offices nearly every week since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. “I’m here today so that I can keep fighting everyday.” While Abe says the bill is tailored to combat terrorism and organized crime ahead of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics in 2020, the scope of the proposed legislation is so broadly defined that it could give law enforcement agencies the ability to target activists and ordinary citizens they suspect of “preparing to commit a crime.”

Time For Peace Negotiations In Korea, Not Escalation

Thaad Protest in South Korea

By staff for Center for Peace and Disarmament at People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy. The state of affairs on the Korean Peninsula is more volatile than ever, now that President Park has been impeached and new government is to be constituted through an early presidential election in South Korea. The Trump administration, in the meantime, is fueling the escalating tension even further with messages that it will not rule out a preemptive strike on North Korea, and that it will redeploy strategic nuclear warheads to South Korea if necessary. The situation is further destabilized by the Trump administration’s decision to send an aircraft carrier to waters near the Korean Peninsula. The latest military stance and strategy of Washington, however, completely overlooks the desire of Koreans for peace. The Kim Jong-un government in Pyongyang meanwhile has warned of another upcoming nuclear test it intends to conduct, poised as it is to show off its growing nuclear capabilities. An existing crisis is already escalating in Northeast Asia over the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system that the South Korean and U.S. governments have decided to deploy in South Korea. All these acts of military bravado, taking hostage the lives and peace of Koreans, must cease now. It is time for policymakers to be responsible and return to dialogue and negotiations and stop fueling the growing tensions.

Japanese Government’s Liable For Negligence Over Fukushma

Relatives visit a family grave in Iwate prefecture on the sixth anniversary of the Fukushima meltdown this month. Photograph: Jiji Press/AFP/Getty

By Justin McCurry for The Guardian – A court in Japan has ruled that negligence by the state contributed to the triple meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in March 2011 and awarded significant damages to evacuees. Although courts have awarded damages arising from the disaster in other cases, Friday’s ruling is the first time the government has been held liable. The Maebashi district court near Tokyo awarded ¥38.55m (£270,000) to 137 people who were forced to evacuate their homes in the days after three of Fukushima Daiichi’s six reactors suffered a catastrophic meltdown, the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.

Japan Detains Movement Leader To Silence Struggle Against U.S. Military Bases

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By Michael Caster for Waging Nonviolence – On October 17, Hiroji Yamashiro was arrested for cutting a wire fence at a protest against a U.S. military base in Okinawa. He has been held in detention ever since. Yamashiro, the chairman of the Okinawa Peace Movement Center, has been a fixture of the nonviolent opposition to military base expansion on the island for years. The 64-year-old Yamashiro had undergone cancer treatment in 2015, and medical tests two months into his detention revealed a decline in his health. Nevertheless, since his arrest almost five months ago, he has been held in pre-trial detention — mostly in solitary confinement, denied bail and any contact with his family.

Robots Dying Rapidly When They Try To Clean Up Fukushima

The scarred landscape inside the exclusion zone close to the Fukushima nuclear reactor in Japan Getty

By Niamh McIntyre For Independent – A Japanese company tasked with cleaning up Fukushima, the site of the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl, has admitted that its attempts to probe the site are failing repeatedly due to incredibly high levels of radiation. The nuclear meltdown at Fukushima in 2011 was triggered by an earthquake and tsunami which left around 18,000 people dead and more than a million buildings destroyed. At least 100,000 people living near the plant were forced to leave their homes. High rates of mental health problems and post-traumatic stress disorder have been observed within the displaced population.

Friends Of Earth Calls For Resistance To Trump & Abe Trade Talks

Flickr/Tim & Selena Middleton

By Erich Pica for The Huffington Post – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe met with Donald Trump for a two-day summit in Washington, D.C. on February 10 and at Mar-a-lago, Trump’s golf resort in Florida, on February 11. They met to iron out the trade and economic relationship between the world’s first and third largest economies. The backdrop was the Trump plan for a bilateral U.S.-Japan trade agreement that would cement the two countries’ economic relationship now that the U.S. has withdrawn from negotiations for a multilateral Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal with Japan and eleven other countries. The two right-wing and nationalistic heads of state announced after the conclusion of Friday’s formal talks that they had agreed to establish a formal “bilateral dialogue framework” on trade and related economic and security issues. The “dialogue” negotiations will be co-chaired by U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence and Japanese Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso.

75th Anniversary Of Imprisonment Of Japanese: Anti-Immigrants Long Roots

Oakland, Calif., Mar. 1942. A large sign reading "I am an American" placed in the window of a store on December 8, the day after Pearl Harbor. The store was eventually closed after the issuance of E.O. 9066. (Photo: Dorothea Lange)

By Dorothy M. Ehrlich for ACLU – Seventy-five years ago, in one of the darkest moments in American history, President Franklin Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066. Immediately, the federal government began forcing 110,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry into concentration camps for fear they posed a threat to national security. For many years, we have recognized the infamous date of the order, February 19, 1942, with a “Day of Remembrance” at ceremonies throughout the nation designed to ensure that this indelible stain on our democracy is never forgotten. It is ordinarily a solemn occasion and a day of reflection. But on this day, the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9066, our current anti-Muslim crisis sounds a chilling echo of that earlier injustice, which must not be ignored. This year we are called to transform our quiet reflection into a fierce resistance.

Okinawan Peacemaker Needs Help From Peace Community

Okinawa Hiroji Yamashiro speaks to sit-in and blockade protesters. Source The Japan Times

By Lawrence Repeta for the Japan Times. There, a 64-year-old antiwar activist has been held in detention on trivial charges for more than 70 days. Over the past two years of peaceful protests against U.S. military base expansion in northern Okinawa, Hiroji Yamashiro emerged as the face of Okinawan resistance, the man with a megaphone in hand who urged crowds of protesters to speak out. Arrested on Oct. 17 and denied visits by anyone other than his attorneys since then, he has been silenced.

Challenge To Prime Minister Abe’s Militarism Makes Big News Outside U.S. Media

A huge cloud above Hiroshima, a few hours after the initial explosion on Aug. 6, 1945. (Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum/U.S. Army via AP)

By Staff of World Beyond War – You recently announced plans to visit Pearl Harbor in Hawai’i at the end of December 2016 to “mourn the victims” of the Japanese Navy’s attack on the U.S. naval base on December 8, 1941 (Tokyo Time). In fact, Pearl Harbor was not the only place Japan attacked that day. The Japanese Army had attacked the northeastern shore of the Malay Peninsula one hour earlier and would go on to attack several other British and U.S. colonies and bases in the Asia-Pacific region later that day. Japan launched these attacks in order to secure the oil and other resources of Southeast Asia essential to extend its war of aggression against China. Since this will be your first official visit to the place where Japan’s war against the United States began

Sea Shepherd To Obstruct Japanese

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By Staff of Sea Shepherd – After final preparations in Australia, two Sea Shepherd vessels are now on their way to the Southern Ocean to intercept the Japanese whaling fleet in a bid stop their slaughter of Minke whales. The marine conservation organization’s flagship vessel the Steve Irwin departed Saturday from Seaworks, Williamstown in Melbourne, followed by its fast new patrol vessel the Ocean Warrior, which departed from Hobart, Tasmania on Sunday. They’re now on their way to the vast Southern Ocean in an effort to prevent the Japanese whaling fleet, which left Japan on November 18th, from killing its self-allocated quota of 333 Minke whales.