Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Japan Times
Behead parents of boy suspect, minister says

Yoshitada Konoike, state minister in charge of deregulation zones and disaster management, said Friday the parents of the 12-year-old youth suspected of slaying a 4-year-old boy in Nagasaki should be dragged through the streets and beheaded.

"It is better to have the parents decapitated for punishment after dragging them around town," said Konoike...

Konoike's remarks drew a barrage of criticism, but he refused to apologize.

"You better not do that, or we'll drag your parents around town and chop of their heads..." Sheesh.


Yet another dumb comment from those old-fashioned politicians. I'm still peeved about comments from a few other politicians bagatellizing the rape charges of some students at a prominent university. Something like "gangrape shows that those students are still virile".

I think that some of these comments belie the deeply historical role that severe violence has played in Japanese culture.

You can see it in Anime, art, literature... Why should you not see it surface at times in politics? Of course these remarks were over the top, but I just like to step back and think about these things sometimes, and this time, I see the culture where thinking about samurai beheading people isn't really so disconcerting, but rather familiar history.

I always remember when I first read JoJo in shonen jump at about 10 years of age. I was sickened by the violence -- not just fighting, but severed limbs and splattering blood in every issue. I got used to it and a lot of other things, and that's just part of growing up in Japan.... food for thought. :)

At the very least, he should wait until the charges against the boy are proven in court before demanding the decapitation of the parents. I mean, there is such a thing as propriety.

I must confess I find the idea of punishing -- or executing in serious cases -- ministers and bureaucrats for irresponsibility, stupidity or "economic crimes", like they do in China, quite interesting.

I also like the idea of fining -- e.g. by withholding central government money -- the districts which elect corrupt politicians to Parliament.
The fine amount should be dissuasive enough -- say, about US$1000 per registered voter -- to make people think twice before casting their vote for a politician who's more interested in lining his own pockets and dispensing pork barrel than in the nation's future.

A good start would be to punish the Hokkaido district which elected LDP parliamentarian Suzuki Muneo, whose time in custody on corruption and embezzlement charges is now approaching 400 days. It's surreal that the emprisoned Suzuki is still getting his nearly JPY 20 million (about US$ 170,000) annual parliamentarian salary. I somehow doubt that his work as a law-maker -- cough cough -- from behind bars is deserving of such a liberal compensation...