Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Recently in the Japanese Politics Category

Japan braces for UFO attack »

I was going to write about this earlier, but I let it slip and now it's old new... but I still find it funny/sad. First the Chief Cabinet Secretary and now the Minister of Defense of Japan announce that they believe in UFOs. The Minister of Defense is trying to figure out how to prepare for an alien invasion under the current Japanese pacifist constitution... *sigh* Don't they have better things to do? Bloomberg and Yahoo both covered it....

In Japan, Stagnation Wins Again - My Op Ed in the New York Times »

A few days ago the New York Times contacted me and asked me to write an Op Ed about Prime Minister Abe. I pondered a bit about it, but wiser minds advised me to do it. I wrote: In Japan, Stagnation Wins Again which is running in today's paper. Thanks to Toby of the New York Times for thinking of me for this, to Jun for getting me started, to Toshi for helping make sure it makes sense in a Japanese context and to Gen and Mimi for the final review. Also, good news for CC. The new contract that...

Dialog - Ryu Murakami X Joichi Ito »

Ryu Murakami (WP) and I spent the last nine months or so meeting occasionally to chat about Japanese culture, politics, media and the economy. Creative Garage and Diamond Shuppan transcribed our conversation and published it as a book. (You can buy it on Amazon.co.jp.) The book came out last week and climbed to #6 on the Amazon.co.jp book rankings and is slowly settling back down. (It's #14 at the time of this posting.) That was pretty exhilarating. Having said that, Ryu Murakami is "the name" on the book. Anyway, thanks to everyone who helped on the book and especially to...

Japan's "Free Press" »

I heard an interesting theory that I'd love for any Japan experts to confirm or debunk. Apparently, during the drafting of the Japanese constitution, the phrase "freedom of the press" was proposed by the US team. This was a big problem for Japan which had never really allowed any free speech. Instead of translating it as "freedom of the press" in terms of free speech they changed the meaning to freedom of "printing press" sort of press. Later, there was a movement to prevent consolidation of power in press, but instead of making meaningful unbundling, the then Minister of Communications,...

Aizu does not forgive »

I'm sitting in an airport lounge remembering a story I should have blogged earlier. A few weeks ago when I was in the city of Aizu in Fukushima, Japan, there was a panel discussion which included the mayor of Aizu. Aizu is famous for being one of the places of the final resistance against the anti-samurai Meji government after Admiral Perry triggered the opening of Japan. It's a famous story involving young solders watching their castle fall after a long siege and committing ritual suicide. It also involves betrayal by their former allies, the Satsuma clan. The story also involves...

Live Door raided last night »

Copyright Jiji Live Door, one of the large Internet portal/verticals run by the now well-known maverick Horiemon, was raided last night the Tokyo District Public Prosecutor's office on suspicion of illegal securities trading. (Japan Times artice) Apparently they raided around 6PM last night and were there until this morning. One person who was visiting for a meeting reported that he was not allowed to leave for a long time and had to leave his papers there. Unlike the US, Japanese courts do not have a "discovery" process and often have to rely on these surprise raids to get necessary documents....

More on Yasukuni »

Per a request in the comments of my previous post, let me post a few more of my notes about Yasukuni Shrine. First of all, it is an independent religions organization not directly affiliated with the government. Over 2 million soldiers are memorialized in Yasukuni. The votes of these relatives have value, but it isn't since the Koizumi days that the media have started picking it up as a big deal. Koizumi ran for office three times before he was successful. The first two times, visits to Yasukuni were never part of Koizumi's campaign, but starting with the third try...

Will the Next Elections Save Japanese Democracy - by Karel van Wolferen »

Karel just sent me an article he wrote for the Asahi about the recent election. I've posted it on my wiki.Karel van Wolferen via emailDear Joi, The widespread -- and I mean truly widespread -- misconception that Japan has been pushed by Koizumi in a market-capitalism direction should teach us something about the function of the world's media as agents of ignorance. Like with subjects such as Iraq or Russia those who ought to know do not have a clue of what is actually going on. Herewith my article as it appears this morning in the Asahi Shimbun. best wishes...

The LDP's landslide victory and Karel's distress »

I'm attending the STS Forum in Kyoto again this year and it turns out that the election date for the Japanese parliament ended up on the same day as the first day of the event. Prime Minister Koizumi was still able to make it to the meeting which is the brainchild of Koji Omi. I'm a great fan of Koji Omi. He's one of the only politicians I know who studies and actually reads everything people send him to read. He's a former bureaucrat who became powerful for his intelligence and analysis among other things. Last night, we were having...

Damn "Cool Biz" »

In an effort to cut down on energy consumption, Japan has implemented "Cool Biz". Cool biz facilities keep the temperature at around 28 degrees Celsius (approx 82.4 Fahrenheit) in the summer. It often feels hotter than that. In these offices, people don't wear suits. Most government buildings and many public facilities are now cool biz. First of all, 28 degrees is hot, even with a t-shirt. Second, when you travel around buildings requiring various dress codes, this system doesn't really work. This isn't a new thing, but it appears that it is being implemented with renewed vigor this year. I...

Postal privatization, a dead politican and Yasukuni Shrine »

"LDP lawmaker Nagaoka found hanged" read the Japan Times front page headline today. "Nagaoka who was serving his second term representing Ibaraki Prefecture's No. 7 district, was one of several lawmakers criticized by a magazine for changing positions on postal privatization, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's priority policy initiative. The magazine called Nagaoka a traitor for his actions... Nagaoka opposed the the bills in the ruling party's decision-making General Council but later voted for them in a crucial Lower House vote on July 5. The bills passed by a razor-thin margin of five votes." He left no suicide note and his...

Rising Japanese nationalism? »

There was an article in the Wall Street Journal about the rise of more aggressive nationalist Japanese politicians. The article gives the example of the recent decision to willingness to challenge China, for instance, in the dispute over natural gas drilling in the East China Sea. These politicians, according to the article, are taking leadership away from the bureaucrats who traditionally ran most of the foreign policy. I haven't read much about this and have been away from Japanese politics for awhile, but if this article is accurate, it's a disturbing trend. I think the move for Japan to become...

Japanese government bans Ejovi's talk »

Ejovi was prevented from giving his talk by the Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications. Ejovi did the security audit on the local government system connected to the Japanese National ID system (Jyukinet) for the prefecture of Nagano. I audited his audit and wrote an opinion for Governor of Nagano last December. It does suck that they blocked is talk, which I think would have been fair and balanced as Ejovi says. However, I can easily imagine the government taking a hard stance on this considering all of the trouble they are having controlling the spin. Anyway, welcome to...

One more rotten Japanese politician goes to jail »

Kyodo NewsEx-lawmaker Suzuki jailed for 2 years, fined Y11 mil Friday, November 5, 2004 at 10:41 JST TOKYO — The Tokyo District Court on Friday sentenced former Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker Muneo Suzuki to two years in prison and fined him 11 million yen for taking bribes, not reporting political donations, and perjury. Suzuki, 56, had pleaded not guilty to all the charges in the trial that began in November 2002. Suzuki was a member of the House of Representatives belonging to the LDP but left the governing party in March 2002 before his arrest in June that year.We might...

www.georgewbush.com »

Speaking of unreachable sites... George Bush's official site used to time out when you tried to access it from Japan, Australia, New Zealand and a few other places I think. I blogged this back in August. Now it tells you formally: www.georgewbush.comAccess Denied You don't have permission to access "http://www.georgewbush.com/" on this server.Much more formal than just timing out on us. But it's more clear now that it is intentional. Why would the Bush campaign want to block access from Japan? via Jim...

Followup on the Japanese hostages »

I blogged earlier about the very negative reaction that the Japanese taken hostage in Iraq received in Japan. The main reason was that when the parents asked for their release, they didn't apologize to the Japanese government and even denounced the war. I believe it was a rather unfortunately, but understandable reaction in the context of Japanese culture for the Japanese to say, "we told you to stay away from there, and how dare you cause such shame on Japan without even apologizing." I recently talked to someone involved in the Arab press and learned that if the parents had...

ACLU and EFF strike down part of PATRIOT Act »

Cory @ Boing BoingACLU and EFF strike down part of PATRIOT Act EFF has helped the ACLU overturn one of the worst elements of the USA PATRIOT Act, the "National Security Letters," which were secret warrants that the Justice Department could write for itself without judicial oversight and then bind the recipients to indefinite silence. That's right: secret, no-oversight warrants with perpetual gag-orders. The ACLU brought suit against the DoJ on this one, and we filed briefs on their side, and today, a federal court struck down this part of PATRIOT as unconstitutional. BooYAH."Today's ruling is an important victory for...

Feeling like a cog with a rubber stamp »

Two years ago I marched in protest against the Japan National ID. Last year, after we failed, a few cities and prefectures resisted. Yokohama took the position that the bill was illegal because it required privacy protection and the privacy bill had not passed. They allowed citizens to opt out and an whopping 24% of their citizens opted out. Now that the privacy bill of the central government is in place, Yokohama is being forced to "normalize" with the central government. Last year, I accepted an appoint to the Yokoyama personal information protection committee which would oversee their integration of...

Japan: Schoolkids to be tagged with RFID chips »

CNETAsiaJapan: Schoolkids to be tagged with RFID chips Japanese authorities decide tracking is best way to protect kids The rights and wrongs of RFID-chipping human beings have been debated since the tracking tags reached the technological mainstream. Now, school authorities in the Japanese city of Osaka have decided the benefits outweigh the disadvantages and will now be chipping children in one primary school. This reminds me of the lyrics to the Suicidal Tendencies song Institutionalized, "Wait, what do you mean, what are you talking about, we decided!? My best interest?! How can you know what's my best interest is? How...

Moore hopes 'Fahrenheit' will bring about regime change in Japan »

Japan TodayMoore hopes 'Fahrenheit' will bring about regime change in Japan NEW YORK — Controversial American filmmaker Michael Moore said Tuesday he hopes the global release of his documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11" will usher in "regime changes" in countries like Japan and Australia. In a press conference with foreign journalists in New York, Moore said his polemical movie should encourage people in all democratic countries that have supported the U.S.-led war in Iraq to vote their leaders out of office. There is definitely less news and information in Japanese about the theories about why the US went to war. A lot...

Lying all over the place »

Better late then never. The State Department announced Tuesday that their report that terror has been decreasing was in fact incorrect. Terror actually ROSE in 2003. However, they are still arguing that they are "winning the war on terror." (AP/NY Times - Amended Report Shows Terror Rose in 2003) On our home front, the Japanese diet passed the controversial pension bill (the pension that 1/3 of the cabinet members have been shown to have evaded at some point). It is shown that an inflated fertility rate was used for the bill to show rosier numbers and lower, more accurate numbers...

Rebecca blogging about Japan on WEF blog »

Rebecca is blogging from about the Japan sessions at the World Economic Forum meeting going on right now in Seoul. The theme seems to be about recovery. This year at Davos, I was in the audience and Rebecca was moderating a similar panel. Unfortunately, I'm not there this time to heckle. ;-) Rebecca blogs: World Economic Forum Blog... However he [Takenaka] also said that further agressive reforms are necessary if Japan is to pull itself fully and completely out of its decade-long economic slump. He said that Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi is fully committed to such aggressive reform. [...] Takenaka...

Government trying to use hostage crisis to squash NGO's in Japan »

The Japan TimesKidnap crisis poses a new risk In Japan's case, laws are being proposed to punish those entering designated "danger zones" without an official reason. Victims -- or their families -- will foot the bill for their rescue, which will amount to airfare, if not more. "This is standard practice for mountain rescues," one line of reasoning goes. But consider two things: One is that an aid mission to a danger zone is not a forest stroll gone astray. The very comparison indicates a misunderstanding of what aid missions do. The second is policy overstretch and political abuse. This...

Damn you Japanese politicians! »

AP, Reuters, NYTScandal drives out Koizumi aide Fukuda, 67, the son of a prime minister, had been widely regarded as a conservative pillar in a government dominated by Koizumi's freewheeling style. His resignation highlighted the damaging disclosure over the past two weeks that a third of the cabinet members have failed to pay their pension premiums - just as the government is trying to pass a bill that would increase most citizens' premiums and reduce retirees' benefits.I rarely say "fuck" on my blog, but "Fuck you Japanese politicians!" (Lucky the FCC doesn't control my blog... yet.) I've paid about 1/2...

N Korea's Kim criticized at home for apology to Japan »

Japan TodayN Korea's Kim criticized at home for apology to Japan Friday, May 7, 2004 at 04:00 JST WASHINGTON — North Korean military hardliners have been critical of leader Kim Jong Il for apologizing to Japan for the abduction of Japanese nationals, a U.S. expert who visited North Korea in April said. This makes it difficult for the North Korean leader to make a decision to break the impasse over the abduction issue with Japan, said Selig Harrison, Asian project director at the Washington-based Center for International Policy. He said the hardliners were angry because they think North Korea should...

Iraqi man claims Japanese hostages will be executed one by one from later tonight »

Australian Broadcasting CorporationAn Iraqi man claiming to have spoken to the kidnappers says the hostages will be executed one by one from later tonight if the demands are not met. Via The Command Post...

Abe wants to revise Constitution to use SDF in hostage crisis »

Japan TodayAbe wants to revise Constitution to use SDF in hostage crisis Monday, April 12, 2004 at 06:47 JST TOKYO — Shinzo Abe, secretary general of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, called Sunday for amending the Constitution to enable the government to mobilize the Self-Defense Forces in such eventualities as the current hostage crisis in Iraq.Obviously the US doesn't have a monopoly on using tragedies and fear to push their political agenda. I personally am not against revising the constitution and I can see how it makes "political sense" to do it now, but it still bugs me. People make...

Hostages Update »

The Command PostHostages Released? Fox TV is reporting that at least eight hostages have been released and the three Japanese hostages are “safe.” No confirmation on this yet, will follow up.AljazeeraFate of Japanese hostages uncertain Monday 12 April 2004, 4:44 Makka Time, 1:44 GMT The lives of three Japanese hostages in Iraq are still in jeopardy, with their captors apparently threatening to start killing them unless Japan withdraws its forcesAljazeeraEight foreign hostages freed Sunday 11 April 2004, 21:39 Makka Time, 18:39 GMT An Iraqi group says it has released eight foreign hostages following the intervention of Muslim scholars on their...

Japanese hostages 'to be freed' »

Japanese hostages 'to be freed' - BBCi Iraqi group to free Japanese hostages - Aljazeera The Japanese hostages in Iraq are supposed to be freed in a few hours. I'm watching the TV news for more information now. UPDATE: Japan awaits news about hostages - BBC...

Japanese hostages threatened with cannibalism in Iraq »

The Japanese news has been suppressing the more vivid videos of the hostage situation in Iraq and continue the "we are not pulling out" line. One piece of news that even the West seems to be suppressing is that the Japanese hostages are being threatened with cannibalism.Reuters"We tell you that three of your children have fallen prisoner in our hands and we give you two options -- withdraw your forces from our country and go home or we will burn them alive and feed them to the fighters," the group said.Most reports are saying "killed" or "burned alive". via The...

Fixed in translation »

My current friend and former nemesis, Hiroo Yamagata and I were on a panel with Larry Lessig last week. He casually mentioned that he had decided to translate Das Kapital into Japanese. He is one of the best translators in Japan and has translated Lessig, Leary, Krugman and many others. Anyway, he said that all of the existing translations were related to the Japanese communist party in some way and were edited and filtered. For instance, violence and other things were omitted. He remembered someone in college who argued Marx with him based on a faulty translation and in retrospect,...

Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force Ad »

I think this is old news on the Net, but the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force has produced an ad that is has begun to show on big screens at major intersections now and will soon be on TV. It's a bit embarrassing as a Japanese, but I guess it makes us look less threatening... via Wirefarm See the JMSDF site for the movie....

Busted in Tokyo for riding Segway »

Japan TodayFriday, February 6, 2004 at 14:00 JST TOKYO - Tokyo police sent papers to prosecutors Thursday on a businessman over use of the U.S.-made Segway scooter vehicle on a public road, an unusually strict move that marks the first time in Japan that police have taken action over people riding the two-wheeled novelty. The police allege that the 42-year-old president of an import company in the capital's Setagaya Ward violated the Road Traffic Law by having a person drive a Segway on a public road in July last year for advertising purposes.Last year I tried to get the government...

Rebecca moderates the Japan panel »

Rebecca MacKinnon is moderating a Japan panel this year. Last year, when I was on a Japan panel and MC'ing the Japan dinner, Japan was still looking dismal and my role as risk taking agitator was a good card for the Japanese to play to try to show that they were trying to change. This year, the economy is "recovering" and the panel is populated by more of the old-school participants who are cautiously trying to explain the "turn-around" and how the "recovery" will continue. I think the consensus is that the engine of the recovery is the restructuring of...

Yet more public racism by Japanese politicians »

Domo Domo WeblogShigefumi Matsuzawa, Govenor of Kangawa during a speech campaigning for the Nov. 9 House of Representatives electionForeigners are a bunch of sneaky thieves. As Ishihara has cracked down on them, they've all flowed into Kanagawa.If anyone has any grand unified theories as to why Japanese politicians often say such dumbass things in public, I'd love to hear.Because they can get away with it and the media doesn't call them on it. Blog blog blog......

Japanese troops in Iraq »

It's likely that Japan will send troops to Iraq. 60% of the people are against it, yet 60% of the people support Koizumi who has vowed to send the troops. It's likely that some of the soldiers will die. The question that is on everyone's mind is how many dead Japanese soldiers will it take before Koizumi's cabinet unwinds.

Urging people to vote »

Getting ready to give speech. The guy next to my is Jun Maki who played the producer of the photo shoot in Lost in TranslationTomorrow is the general election for the Japanese parliament's Lower House. Mizuka and I joined the Governor of Nagano, Yasuo Tanaka, Shigeaki Saegusa (the conductor), Jun Maki (the copywriter who appears in Lost in Translation as the producer of the photo shoot), Yoichiro Kawaguchi (computer graphics professor), Hajime Takano (journalist) and many others in a two hour march through Ginza urging people go and vote tomorrow. It was called the senkyo ni ikouzei! movement. Our march was a nonpartisan effort to get people to vote regardless of their politics. We handed out leaflets, waved flags and made speeches on street corners. I made a speech about how most Japanese believe something needs to change yet do not feel they have any impact. I argued that Yasuo Tanaka showed that politicians can cause change and that voters can elect such officials. I stressed that you get the politicians you deserve and that if we wanted a democracy in Japan, people were going to have to vote.It was a hot day, but people were very receptive. It was clear they were happy to see Yasuo Tanaka and unlike the time we were handing out leaflets protesting the National ID, the percentage of people willing to take them from you was much higher.Also, the opposition party of Japan, the Democratic Party of Japan has announced a "shadow cabinet" appointing Yasuo Tanaka the minister in charge of decentralization. Ishihara, the mayor of Tokyo has spoken out against this.Here is a 11.3MB Quicktime Movie of Mizuka and I trying to hand out flyers.

Notes from second day of Japan Society roundtable »

The session on the second day of the Japan Society roundtable was amazing. It was so full of interesting opinions by so many experts that I really had very little to add. I uncharacteristically just sat there and took notes.Here are some of the notes.

Japan Society Roundtable - New Currents in Japanese National Identity »

Participated in an interesting roundtable discussion this morning organized by the Japan Society. I was told I could write about it but I couldn't attribute quotes without permission.There were representatives from the US, China, Taiwan and Korea.

Ishihara says the Koreans ASKED the Japanese to rule them... »

The Japan TimesIshihara unrepentant over slurKoreans asked to be ruled by Japan, governor insistsAn unrepentant Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara on Friday reiterated claims that Koreans had chosen Japanese rule rather than face Chinese or Russian governance when Japan annexed the Korean Peninsula in 1910.Speaking at a regular news conference, Ishihara again claimed that political leaders on the Korean Peninsula had made the decision to accept Japanese rule, which lasted until Japan's defeat in World War II in 1945.According to Ishihara, Japan ruled its colony in a better fashion than Western nations, such as France, the Netherlands and the United States.Ugh.

Cops to crack down on illegal foreigners in Tokyo »

The Japan Time'REGAINING PUBLIC SAFETY' - Cops to sniff out illegal foreigners in Tokyo By HIROSHI MATSUBARA, Staff writer Immigration authorities, police and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government said Friday they will take joint action to halve the number of foreigners without visas in the capital within five years. The Justice Ministry's Immigration Bureau, the bureau's Tokyo branch, the metropolitan government and the Metropolitan Police Department issued a joint statement saying they would cooperate more closely toward this goal. They believe that half of the estimated 250,000 undocumented foreigners in Japan live or work in Tokyo. "An increasing number of visaless foreigners engage in serious crimes, and it is pointed out that the problem is closely linked to organized crime by foreigners," Justice Minister Daizo Nozawa asserted during Friday's news conference.This is all part of Governor Ishihara's ethnic cleansing of Tokyo thing. He's blaming all of the horrible crimes on "foreigners" and using that to ramp up police force and will probably lead to increased intrusions of privacy.I do know that there have been increased activity of foreign organized crime groups in Japan, but his talking about "criminal DNA" in foreigners is horrible and will just help justify people in looking away when heavy handed police tactics are used on foreigners in Japan. Bad bad bad...

Yoichi Funabashi »

Right on Gen. Rock on Funabashi-san. I met Yoichi Funabashi back in May 2000. He was getting started on the "make English Japan's second language" thing, which I was obviously extremely supportive of. ;-)Yoichi Funabashi's a smart, balanced guy we should listen to who can speak/write in English. We should get this man a blog...

Governor Masuda of Iwate »

Today I went to see Governor Masuda of Iwate. Iwate is physically the largest prefecture in Japan. Iwate is also my "home town" where my mother's side of the family is buried. Our family house is there, the schools that my great grandmother and grandmother built, and our grave. I *think* we've been at the same grave for 14 generations. (I have to fact check this. I know it is between 14-17 generations.) The last time I visited my grave was to pour my mother's ashes into the grave. We pour the ashes on top of the ashes of our ancestors. You can see the hundreds of years of ashes when you move the stone. The generations of people buried under the stone are etched in the stone side by side. Looking at all of the names on the stones sort of puts my life into perspective. A blip in a lineage of rather interesting people.After our family property was parceled out to the locals during the Meiji Restoration, our money poured into the war effort in WWII and our heirlooms "confiscated" by the occupation, our family became a "normal" family and the city erected a little stone plaque in front of our house saying, "the former Ito residence." As an Ito who still owns the house, that's a bit disturbing. All that remains are the schools that my feminist great grandmother started building. She build one of the first trade schools for women during the war and my grandmother built a nurse school. My uncle reminded me that I must some day take over the school. I decided it was time to meet the Governor.Luckily, we have many mutual friends and Professor Takemura made an introduction. I visited the Governor today. I talked about Creative Commons, the Internet Archives and the Bookmobile. I explained that Professor Takemura and I have been trying to get support from some local governments and libraries to try to sponsor an effort in Japan. We talked a lot about the future of local governments.Governor Masuda was sharp, motivated and obviously on top of things. He is also a good friend of Governor Domoto of Chiba, who I know well. After meeting Governor Domoto of Chiba, Governor Tanaka of Nagano and Governor Masuda of Iwate, I think that the Governors of the strong provinces in Japan should start taking more control from the central government. I realize there is still a lot of reform required to allow the local governments to take more control. They need to become more financially self-sufficient. From a political perspective, the Governors are so much more accountable and representative of the people that it's a pity they don't have more resources...PS 6 hours in the train to go to a 45 minute meeting scheduled 3 months ago is UBER M-Time... ;-)

Ishihara says Chinese have "criminal DNA" »

I met Tony Laszlo today who pointed out an analysis on Isshoof an article by Governor Ishihara which appeared on the front page of the Sankei Shimbun (one of Japan's biggest newspapers) back in May. I didn't see it covered in any English media so I thought I'd point it out.Ishihara has done some great things for Tokyo, but he is still publicly anti-foreigner in case you had any doubts. Can you imagine Mayor Bloomberg getting away with saying this on the front page of the New York Times? And the Sankei has more circulation than the NYT...Like Don Park, this makes me want to apologize on behalf of my country.Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara"Japan - Defend your Internal Flank!" (Nihon yo - Uchinaru Bouei wo), a column by Tokyo Governor ISHIHARA Shintaro which appeared on the front page of the May 8, 2001 Sankei ShimbunIn due course, the perpetrators were captured, and, just as had been suspected, the crime was one of revenge among Chinese criminals. There is fear--and not without cause--that it will not be long before the entire nature of Japanese society itself will be altered by the spread of this type of crime that is indicative of the ethnic DNA [of the Chinese].

Behead parents of boy suspect, minister says »

Japan TimesBehead parents of boy suspect, minister saysYoshitada 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.

Breakfast with Keiko Higuchi who is running for Governor of Tokyo »

I was invited to a breakfast with Keiko Higuchi by Merle Okawara. Ms. Higuchi is an outspoken anti-war feminist who was one of the first people to try to deal with the aging population issue in ernest. She is running for the office of the Governor of Tokyo as an independent against Shintaro Ishihara, the current Governor of Tokyo. She is characterized as a anti-war liberal and Ishihara is a well known nationalist.

The elusive Mr. Fujimori »

Photo from CNN.comSo Interpol has issued a "Red Notice" asking countries to extradite former Peruvian President Mr. Fujimori.

Dinner on the tax agency »

This evening was yet another surprising evening for me. After writing this morning about suing the tax office, this evening was my first day on the board of the National Tax Bureau's study group on IT and taxation. They served a yummy dinner which I mentally subtracted from the tax money they owed me... The irony of being threatened by some folks in the local tax office and being treated like an important expert by the head of the Tax Bureau was... ironic.

Anti-corruption legislator slain in front of his house »

Murder of politician known for anti-corruption reminds me of the corruption in Japan.

The Impact of Koizumi's Cabinet Reshuffle on Me »

I was a bit suprised when I read the morning paper and found that Koji Omi was replaced by Hiroyuki Hosoda as minister for Okinawa, Northern Territories and science and technology policy. I had been working closely with Mr. Omi on high tech ventures. I hope Hosoda-san turns out to be good. I don't know him personally. The head of science and technology policy is quite important in my view. Mr. Katayama, the minister of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications who I had been battling with on the National ID issue suprised me and retained his position....
Whiplash by Joi Ito and Jeff Howe
Freesouls by Joi Ito

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