Japanese government, friends of neo-nazi fuehrer


Pictures from Japanese neo-Nazi Kazunari Yamada’s website show him posing with Shinzo Abe’s internal affairs minister, Sanae Takaichi, and his party’s policy chief, Tomomi Inada. Photograph: Guardian

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Neo-Nazi photos pose headache for Shinzo Abe

Two newly promoted political allies of Japanese PM shown smiling alongside far-right figure Kazunari Yamada

Justin McCurry in Tokyo

Tuesday 9 September 2014 05.18 BST

Barely a week after Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, overhauled his administration amid flagging popularity, two of his senior colleagues have been forced to distance themselves from rightwing extremism after photographs emerged of them posing with the country’s leading neo-Nazi.

Sanae Takaichi, the internal affairs minister, was among a record-equalling five women selected by Abe as he attempts to make his cabinet more female voter-friendly and to increase women’s presence in the workplace.

Takaichi, an Abe ally on the right of the governing Liberal Democratic party (LDP), was pictured posing alongside Kazunari Yamada, the 52-year-old leader of the National Socialist Japanese Workers party, on the neo-Nazi party’s website.

A smiling Takaichi and Yamada appear together standing in front of a Japanese flag.

Yamada has voiced praise for Adolf Hitler and the September 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre. In a YouTube video Yamada’s supporters are seen wearing swastika armbands, while he denies the Holocaust took place and criticises postwar Germany’s ban on the Nazi salute, accusing the country of being “no different from North Korea”.

This video about Yamada is called 密着24時!日本のネオナチ – A Japanese Neo-Nazi.

Takaichi met Yamada “for talks” at her office in the summer of 2011, according to her office. Confirming the photographs were genuine, a spokesman for Takaichi claimed her office had been unaware of Yamada’s extremist views at the time.

Media coverage prompted her office to request that the photographs be removed but by then they had already been widely circulated on social media.

A second photograph shows Yamada standing alongside Tomomi Inada, another close Abe ally who was given the powerful job of LDP policy chief. Inada’s office was quick to distance the MP from Yamada, whose website celebrates the “samurai spirit” and proclaims that the “sun shall rise again”, saying it would be disappointed if the photograph led people to “misunderstand what she does”.

While there is no evidence that either politician shares Yamada’s neo-Nazi ideology their appointment has fuelled accusations that Abe is taking his administration even further to the right.

Takaichi and Inada have both visited Yasukuni shrine, which honours Japan’s war dead, including 14 class-A war criminals; last week, Takaichi said she would visit Yasukuni again, this time in her role as minister. “I’ve been visiting Yasukuni as one Japanese individual, to offer my sincere appreciation to the spirits of war dead,” she told reporters. “I intend to continue offering my sincere appreciation as an individual Japanese.”

China and South Korea view politicians’ pilgrimages to the shrine as evidence that Japan has yet to atone for atrocities committed on the Asian mainland before and during the second world war.

Fukushima young people have thyroid cancer


This March 2014 video is called The Thyroid Cancer Hotspot Devastating Fukushima’s Child Survivors.

From the Asahi Shimbun in Japan:

Thyroid cancer diagnosed in 104 young people in Fukushima

August 24, 2014

By YURI OIWA/ Staff Writer

The number of young people in Fukushima Prefecture who have been diagnosed with definitive or suspected thyroid gland cancer, a disease often caused by radiation exposure, now totals 104, according to prefectural officials.

The 104 are among 300,000 young people who were aged 18 or under at the time of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster and whose results of thyroid gland tests have been made available as of June 30. They were eligible for the tests administered by the prefectural government.

Of these 104, including 68 women, the number of definitive cases is 57, and one has been diagnosed with a benign tumor. The size of the tumors varies from 5 to 41 millimeters and averages 14 mm.

The average age of those diagnosed was 14.8 when the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami triggered the meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in March 2011.

However, government officials in Fukushima say they do not believe the cases of thyroid gland cancer diagnosed or suspected in the 104 young people are linked to the 2011 nuclear accident.

The figure can be extrapolated for comparison purposes to an average of more than 30 people per population of 100,000 having definitive or suspected thyroid gland cancer.

The figure is much higher than, for example, the development rate of thyroid cancer of 1.7 people per 100,000 among late teens based on the cancer patients’ registration in Miyagi Prefecture.

But experts say the figures cannot be compared because the test in Fukushima Prefecture covers a large number of people who have no symptoms.

Experts are divided over whether the cases of thyroid gland cancer diagnosed or suspected in the 104 young people should be linked to the 2011 nuclear accident.

In connection with the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, the number of young people diagnosed with thyroid cancer rose only after four years. The cancer is also known to develop slowly.

But some researchers say that the occurrence of thyroid gland cancer is likely to be increased by the Fukushima nuclear accident.

“Many people are being diagnosed with cancer at this time, thanks to the high-precision tests,” said Yoshio Hosoi, professor of radiation biology at Tohoku University. “We must continue closely examining the people’s health in order to determine the impact of radiation exposure on causing thyroid tumors.”

By regions, 27.7 people per 100,000 people have been diagnosed with definitive or suspected thyroid cancer in the Aizu region, located 80 kilometers or farther from the crippled nuclear plant. The number could increase after thorough examinations are completed for people in the region

Around 35 people per 100,000 have been diagnosed with definitive or suspected cancer in the Nakadori region, which includes Fukushima city and several municipalities designated as mandatory evacuation zones, and the coastal Hamadori region.

Hokuto Hoshi, who chairs a panel that discusses matters related to the prefectural survey on the health impact from radiation on Fukushima’s residents, said the panel’s subcommittee will soon analyze the test results to determine the impact of the accident on the thyroid tumor rate.

“In order to scientifically compare the results of the development rates of each region, we must take into account age and other characteristics (of the 104 people),” he said.

The prefecture also plans to continue medical checkups on residents in the prefecture and use the test results as a basis for comparison in the future, prefectural officials said.

Japanese government honours war criminals again


This video from Australia says about itself:

Australian comfort woman Jan Ruff-O’Herne

02/04/2007

Jan Ruff-O’Herne told her shocking story on Australian Story in 2001 – a secret that took her 50 years to come to terms with before finally, she revealed it in a letter to her two daughters.

An idyllic childhood in Java was brought to an abrupt end by the Japanese occupation during Word War Two. Aged 21, she was taken from her family and repeatedly abused, beaten and raped – forced to be a sex slave for the Japanese military.

The term coined for this brutal sex slavery was ‘comfort woman‘.

But since revealing her ‘uncomfortable truth’ Jan Ruff-O’Herne’s suffering has been transformed into something affirmative.

In February this year, this 84-year-old Adelaide grandmother made the long journey to testify before Congress in Washington DC. The Congressional hearing was the pinnacle in her 15-year global campaign to seek justice for ‘comfort women’.

Now six years since Australian Story first aired her story, Jan Ruff-O’Herne feels she is one step closer to finally achieving her ultimate goal.

By Ben McGrath:

Japanese lawmakers visit notorious Yasukuni war shrine

19 August 2014

A large group of 80 Japanese lawmakers and three cabinet ministers visited the infamous Yasukuni Shrine to the war dead last Friday—the 69th anniversary of the end of World War II. The visit was part and parcel of the revival of Japanese militarism being pursued by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his government, which includes whitewashing the war crimes of the Japanese military during the 1930s and 1940s.

While the government claims that the Yasukuni Shrine is like other war memorials around the world, it symbolically inters 14 convicted, class-A war criminals and its associated museum denies or minimises atrocities such as the 1937 Nanjing massacre. The three cabinet members were National Public Safety Commission chairman Keiji Furuya, Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Yoshitaka Shindo and Administrative Reform Minister Tomomi Inada.

Last December, Abe became the first sitting prime minister to visit the shrine since Junichiro Koizumi in 2006. He did not join his ministers this time, but sent a cash offering with one of his aides, signing as head of the ruling Liberal Democrat Party and not as prime minister. Abe appeared at a government ceremony and claimed that Japan “will contribute to a lasting peace in the world with all our might.”

Abe’s decision not to visit the shrine was apparently a conciliatory gesture to China and President Xi Jinping, whom Abe is attempting to meet later this year. Since coming to office in December 2012, Abe has not met with Xi or South Korean President Park Geun-hye, both of whom came to office around the same time.

Abe’s claim to be seeking “lasting peace” is belied by his government’s actions. Over the past year and a half, the government has increased the military budget, established a US-style National Security Council and revised the interpretation of the country’s constitution to allow for “collective self-defence”—that is, Japanese participation in US-led wars of aggression.

The Abe government, with Washington’s backing, has ramped up tensions with China over the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu islands in the East China Sea in order to justify Japan’s remilitarisation. Abe has closely aligned Japan with the Obama administration’s “pivot to Asia” and military build-up against China.

Abe’s visit to the Yasukuni Shrine last year signaled an intensification of the ideological campaign to cover up past war crimes. The government is seeking to overcome deep-seated antiwar sentiment, particularly in the Japanese working class, which suffered police-state repression and deprivation in the 1930s and 1940s.

That sentiment was reflected in the critical remarks of some of those who fought in World War II. Tokuro Inokuma, a soldier in the Japanese Imperial Army, now 85, drew parallels between the current political atmosphere and that before World War II. “I find it quite dangerous … This is the path we once took,” he warned. “We have neither killed nor been killed [in war] for almost 70 years. That’s unprecedented. It’s important that we think hard about that.”

Former Kamikaze pilot Yutaka Kanbe, 91, who was saved from a suicide mission by Japan’s surrender, said he was worried about the rightward shift under Abe and the recent glorification of kamikaze pilots. “Japan could go to war again if our leaders are all like Abe. I’m going to die soon, but I worry about Japan’s future,” he said.

The Chinese and South Korean governments condemned the latest visits to the Yasukuni Shrine. The two countries were both subject to Japan’s brutal colonial rule in the 1930s and 1940s, leaving a legacy of resentment and anger. However, Beijing and Seoul exploit these memories to whip up anti-Japanese chauvinism to divert attention from the worsening economic and social crisis at home.

China’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying declared: “Sino-Japanese relations can develop in a healthy and stable way only if Japan can face up to and reflect on the history of invasion and make a clear break with militarism.” A Xinhua news agency article went further, denouncing Japan’s militarization and warning: “By doing this, Japan is sowing the seeds of another war.”

South Korea’s foreign ministry spokesman No Gwang-il said: “Only when Japanese politicians abandon their historical revisionism and repent for Japan’s wartime atrocities sincerely, the relations between Seoul and Japan could be developed in a stable manner, as people in both nations hope.”

The Abe government’s visits to the Yasukuni Shrine and efforts to revive Japanese militarism reflect a broader shift within the Japanese media and political establishment. The previous Democratic Party-led government deliberately stirred up tensions with China by “nationalizing” the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu islands, which are under Japanese administration.

Another sign of this rightward lurch was the decision of Japan’s main liberal newspaper, the Asahi Shimbun, to retract a series of articles dealing with one of Japan’s most notorious wartime abuses—the kidnapping and coercion of as many as 200,000 women in Asia, mostly from Korea, to be used as sex slaves for the Japanese Imperial Army.

On August 5, the Asahi Shimbun published a formal retraction of more than a dozen articles dating back to 1982 dealing with the abduction of women in South Korea during World War II. Japanese right-wing leaders welcomed the decision as proof of their allegation that these “comfort women,” the euphemistic term for those forced into sexual slavery, were not coerced. Abe has previously made similar claims.

The articles concerned the accounts of Seiji Yoshida, a soldier in the Japanese army who was stationed in South Korea during the war. After the war, Yoshida, a member of the Stalinist Communist Party, authored a 1983 memoir recounting how he participated in rounding up as many as 200 women on South Korea’s Jeju Island to be forced into military brothels. The Asahi Shimbun now claims that Yoshida’s account was false.

Yoshida, who died in 2000, admitted to making some changes in his description of what took place, but did not retract his account. His work played a role in bringing the issue to light in the 1980s and encouraged others to step forward with their own experiences. Japan issued a limited apology in 1993, known as the Kono Statement. For this reason, Yoshida has long been the subject of attacks from the Japanese right.

The timing of the Asahi Shimbun’s retraction is not coincidental. Just a few weeks ago, the Japanese government released a report by supposed experts, questioning the validity of the testimonies of Korean comfort women and claiming that there was no definitive evidence of coercion. This falsification of history is part of the ideological preparations for Japanese imperialism’s involvement in new wars.