Let’s have a war! The reincarnation of a war criminal, The LDP, and militarising Japan

The current Japanese government put out a comic book encouraging their platform for revising Japan’s “Peace Constitution” but beneath the cuteness is a return to Japanese pre-war fascist ideology. This is a parody version of one scene from the actual manga. 😉

Rich Nation, Strong Army: Japanese Militarism Redux

War clouds threaten northeast Asia. One state within the region continues to raise its military spending to record levels over five consecutive years. It increases solid-fuel rocket testing under the guise of launching satellites into orbit and continues stockpiling vast reserves of plutonium that could potentially nuclear arm the nation. New domestic laws severely limit the media, and active discussion persists on bills that would crack down on socially unacceptable or controversial thinking—i.e., “thoughtcrime.” These ever-belligerent, destabilizing actions are not the actions of a rogue state. No, this isn’t about North Korea, Iran, or Russia for that matter, but the remilitarization of Japan.

The nationalist administration, led by the grandson of a war criminal, Shinzo Abe* (Liberal Democratic Party), uses recent activities in North Korea to its benefit, pounding war drums alongside most established media organizations, both on the left and the right, such as the Asahi, Mainichi, and Yomiuri Shimbun newspapers. This “threat” from its mainland neighbor is forced down the throats of Japanese citizens daily. Tokyo rehashes wartime imperialist ideologies, senior cabinet ministers stating support for using the Imperial Rescript of Education by schools—a text promulgated in 1890 in the name of Emperor Meiji that placed utmost importance in reverence and loyalty to the crown—as a means to foster the administration’s values in today’s youth. (It was also to justify the use of kamikaze, suicide missions in mini-submarines, and the forced suicide of thousands of Okinawans.)

In May 2017, the Abe administration made its position known regarding the ban of wartime imperialist military flags in international soccer matches, expressing that imperial regalia does not necessarily connote imperialism and discriminatory opinions against neighboring nations—something akin to if Angela Merkel condoned the use of the Nazi Hakenkreuz for supporting the German national sports team as completely acceptable and lacking negative effect on spectators.

Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party has produced manga booklets to promote constitutional revisionism—for Japan to become a “normal country” as party members call it. Proponents of wholehearted constitutional revisionism claim that Japan is not a “normal country” due to the postwar U.S. occupation forcing the current national constitution upon the Japan. The Japanese establishment wields this tried-and-true tactic of using pop culture to foster understanding of its agenda among the public across many domains. The civilian nuclear energy programs of the 1950s were promoted through pop culture icons utilized by the then head of the Yomiuri Shimbun—and known CIA operative—Shoriki Matsutaro. This tactic continues to prop up the myth of nuclear safety in Japan, which played a disastrous role leading up to the Fukushima Daiichi disaster in 2011.

The combination of propaganda and the incessant war drumming appears to be working. Recent survey data from late April collected by the nonpartisan Mainichi Shimbun newspaper showed that 48% of respondents agree to the proposed constitutional revisionism, whereas those against it consisted of only 33%. The numbers have steadily risen since the ruling party began openly discussing constitutional revision.

Abe’s party and the Cabinet Legislative Bureau reinterpreted Article 9—the peace clause of Japan’s constitution that renounces war—to allow for collective self-defense in 2015. This move was a sharp reversal from the policy of individual self-defense and the constitutional interpretation that all previous administrations used to justify a reliance on the U.S. military as their defense policy and their relative reluctance toward international military cooperation.

Whereas the aforementioned survey data claimed that 46% of respondents were against amending Article 9, one can but wonder whether the respondents based their responses on the current interpretation of the article, which justifies a self-defense force with tanks, aircraft carriers, and other offensive weaponry along with participating in foreign wars with the United States. The nationalists in the Japanese government had claimed for the last seventy-odd years that they needed to revise the constitution, as it did not allow them to have a full-fledged military. And yet ironically in the last two years, the government and media have promulgated a new claim that the renunciation of war in Article 9 does not prohibit the use of military force by Japan. If political actors can reinterpret long-standing constitutional interpretation on a whim like this, then wouldn’t it affect the perception of formally revising Article 9?

“Rich nation, strong army” (fukoku-kyohei) was the nineteenth-century slogan the ruling elite used to rapidly industrialize in the advent of the Meiji period to protect national interests against Western colonial powers. It was also the slogan that led Japan to bolster its military and eventually steer the nation toward colonial expansion into Korea, China, and other neighboring nations. Fomented by both the international and domestic media, we are too often conditioned to pay attention to the most fashionable international threat of the week and yet are blind to actions occurring right before our eyes. Recent developments led by Abe’s administration eerily echo the prewar slogan, and we as members of the international community should view these events with extreme caution, as for all we know history may repeat itself.

 

*Editor’s note:  Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (2012-) had a grandfather was a war criminal, and served as Minister of Munitions during World War II–Nobusuke Kishi. Kishi raised Abe like his own son, and Abe’s stated desire to fulfil his grandfather’s dreams of dismantling the post-war constitution and restoring a State Shinto controlled Imperial government probably owes much to his childhood. But his childhood dreams could be a nightmare for a democratic Japan.

Douglas Miller is a PhD Candidate at the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington. His primary focuses are political theory and Japanese history.

 

Brand Japan, Brand Abe: A Clash of Narratives

Written by Nancy Snow

Two decades ago I was working at the United States Information Agency (USIA), an independent foreign affairs agency of the U.S. Government. We were separate from the Department of State—the counterpart to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Japan, and our primary task was Public Diplomacy. Some called what we did government propaganda. To be precise, the slogan stamped across the agency façade was “Telling America’s Story to the World.” At State it was all about policymaking; at USIA it was all about policy shaping. As a foreign affairs specialist, my work was more artistic than bookish. USIA didn’t need a dissertation defender but a distiller of ideas who could help win converts to the American cause.

I wasn’t telling friends and neighbors about my work, not because it was covert, but because our billion-dollar annual appropriation had an overseas target audience, not a domestic constituency. We were funded by the American people but not for the American people. We were comprised of mostly American citizens at Agency headquarters in Washington, and predominantly Foreign Nationals (FN) and Foreign Service Officers (FSO) in the field. It was the field that mattered most to Washington. We were interested in climate change: How can we create an overseas climate for U.S. strategic economic interests?

 

TOKYO, Japan (April 5, 2013) U.S. Ambassador to Japan John V. Roos with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the Joint Press Announcement of the Okinawa Consolidation Plan [State Department photo by William Ng/Public Domain]
TOKYO, Japan (April 5, 2013) U.S. Ambassador to Japan John V. Roos with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the Joint Press Announcement of the Okinawa Consolidation Plan [State Department photo by William Ng/Public Domain]

Our way of doing things hadn’t changed much since the founding of USIA in 1953 during the Dwight Eisenhower administration. In his State of the Union message that same year, Eisenhower observed, “A serious and explicit purpose of our foreign policy [is] the encouragement of a hospitable climate for investment in foreign nations.”

A continuity thread extended from Eisenhower to Bill Clinton, my penultimate boss at USIA. The Clinton Doctrine of 1993, coming on the heels of the Cold War “win,” referred to expanding and enlarging market-driven democracies that would work with the United States for mutual benefit. USIA’s principle function was to smooth the path to that goal—to build mutual understanding, that is, to explain why doing business with the United States was more of a win for all than a win just for us. We were challenged when the Agency experienced a lot of pushback from labor unions and workers opposed to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). NAFTA would eventually pass while its much more ambitious successor that few have heard about, Trans Pacific Partnership, languished.

Anthony Lake, President Clinton’s national security advisor, came up with the one word slogan, enlargement, that defined the Clinton Doctrine: “Throughout the Cold War, we contained a global threat to market democracies: now we should seek to enlarge their reach.” The containment to enlargement rhetoric impressed. Economic competitiveness was at the heart of Clinton’s foreign policy vision, not human rights and constitutional democracy for all. As presidential historian Douglas Brinkley observed, Bill Clinton was more interested “in helping Toys ‘R’ Us and Nike to flourish in Central Europe and Asia than in dispatching Marines to quell unrest in economically inconsequential nations.” We saw this preference from Somalia to Bosnia.

My years working for Bill Clinton and the Clinton Doctrine remind me of what the Shinzo Abe administration faces today. Both politicians won elections repeatedly on perceived competence in improving economic conditions for their respective countries. Neither was elected or reelected based on foreign policy prowess but economic promises. As much as Clinton wanted his legacy to be the free trade and market democracy president, his last few months in office coincided with Al-Qaeda’s attack on the USS Cole in Yemen. Seventeen U.S. soldiers were killed. The Clinton pledge for a growing middle class in democratizing countries who wanted to buy U.S. goods and services was halted. He wasn’t thinking about how to market Toys ‘R’ Us but how to contain a new security threat to his hoped for new world order, which Clinton’s Republican predecessor George H.W. Bush had first promulgated in 1991.

 

William J. Clinton at the Parliament in London, United Kingdom, November 29 [1995]. Source: Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States Photographic Portfolio--1995 Vol. II
William J. Clinton at the Parliament in London, United Kingdom, November 29 [1995]. Source: Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States Photographic Portfolio–1995 Vol. II

Long after USIA was abolished as an independent agency and its successor elements were absorbed into the State Department, security and counterterrorism became the resource-rich cornerstones of U.S. foreign policy, not economic competitiveness. Clinton’s marketplace idealism is a nostalgic memory overshadowed today by foreign policy snuff films on YouTube marketed like movie premieres on Twitter feeds. In 1993 we saw the bodies of mutilated U.S. peacekeeping soldiers dragged through the streets of Mogadishu, Somalia, on the nightly news, not on constant Internet feeds. Even then, such images influenced foreign policy behavior, including administration reluctance to militarily intervene in Bosnia.

The lessons for Abe are manifold. President Clinton had a bold vision for the United States that did not match global realities. His optimism about the world embracing U.S.-style market democracies clouded his ability to prepare the American people for the possibility that we weren’t as admired and loved for who we were, what we stood for, or how we acted on the world stage. The end of the Cold War unleashed a lot of pent up frustration that no Starbucks opening would resolve. I can still recall Thomas Friedman presenting his “Golden Arches” theory of conflict resolution (aka McDonald’s theory), an outgrowth of the Clinton Doctrine vision and Friedman’s popular 1999 book, The Lexus and the Olive Tree. “No two countries that both had McDonald’s had fought a war against each other since each got its McDonald’s,” Friedman stated in his book.

In foreign policy today—especially the open-sourced, open-marketed version we now know as modern public diplomacy, small is beautiful, nimble is necessary, and bold can be risky. The Abe Doctrine combines two slogans (a) Beautiful Japan with (b) Bold Japan. One is culture-centric, with Cool Japan pop and flash and refined visions of delicious cuisine, temples, Zen gardens and public service excellence and politeness; the other slogan is security-focused and steeped in postwar history with far darker pictures in our heads. It’s hard to reconcile the two. Beautiful Japan, peaceful Japan, whose Self-Defense Forces have never harmed a soul, needs some quiet contemplation to consider all of the issues on Abe’s plate. The policy plate is overflowing and it confounds, not just the Japanese people, who so far have been politely conciliatory in voice and protest, if not in opinion poll. Overseas and in foreign media, Japan’s global image is a head-scratcher.

For forty years, USIA took the path of less resistance—telling America’s story—as its slogan. Then Clinton upped the ante and said the U.S. was open for business and ready to invest in U.S.-friendly nations around the world. It all seemed so simple then, a McDonald’s restaurant just around the corner.

The Abe administration just announced a trip to Washington this spring where Abe will address a joint session of the U.S. Congress. This is bold. And what will Japan’s slogan be then? I’m only certain of one thing. It will surely be timed to coincide with Washington in cherry blossom splendor.


Dr. Nancy Snow is an Abe Fellow and Visiting Professor at Keio University completing a book on Japan’s global image and reputation since 3/11. She will give a dinner talk, “Promoting Japan’s Global Image and Reputation” this Friday, February 27, at an event sponsored by the Forum for Corporate Communications (http://www.fcctokyo.com).

 

Autumn Equinox (秋分の日): Honor your ancestors, remember the departed

Prayers for the departed at Muenjizobosatsu in Shinjuku, the patron deity (buddha) of those who die without family members, or in obscurity, or with no one to mourn them.
Prayers for the departed at Muenjizobosatsu in Shinjuku, the patron deity (buddha) of those who die without family members, or in obscurity, or with no one to mourn them.

Today is Autumn Equinox (秋分の日), the day of the year when day and evening are of equal length.

The day not only marks the change between the hot summer and the cool fall, but is a national holiday to honor ancestors and grieve for the departed. It’s not a bad thing to do. I sort of wonder if the Abe regime might revise Holiday Laws so that if you don’t worship your ancestors—at Yasukuni Shrine—you get the death penalty. Or as my friend Olga put it so eloquently, “Worship your ancestors or join them.”  But let’s hope that doesn’t happen.

Japan established the Autumn Equinox  as a national holiday in 1948 so that citizens could use the time to visit family graves to pay their respects to deceased family members.

The purpose for this holiday is actually included in this law.

“Holiday Laws” (国民の祝日に関する法律)
秋分の日
祖先をうやまい、なくなつた人々をしのぶ。
Autumn Equinox: Worship ancestors, recall those who are gone

So in the spirit of the day, I’ve reposted some tributes to people I admired and deeply miss.  It’s the law, you know.

The Buddha Of The Yakuza, a gang boss who was also a Buddhist priest.

A lawyer who gave his life fighting injustice

Ray Bradbury, one of my favourite authors and a great inspiration. You can’t act if you don’t know. Knowledge is important.

Michiel Brandt, my BFF and a crusader for the rights of the oppressed and the exploited. She should be here. I still have that red dress stored away. I know she’ll never wear it but I can’t throw it away either. Hope is irrational.

For those who have no one left to mourn them, a few words.

And for people who have no idea what to say to remember those who are gone or what to say to those left behind, a benediction for the bereaved that should do the trick.

The summer is over and the fall is coming. Let’s hope for a gentle winter.

 

 

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plagiarizes himself: If you can recycle nuclear fuel, why not speeches?

If you felt a sense of déjà vu when listening to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe give a speech at the ceremony commemorating the 69th anniversary of the Hiroshima nuclear bombing on August 6th, you’re not alone. Parts of Abe’s speech are nearly identical to the one he gave last year, the most notable different being that he changed “68 years ago” to “69 years ago.” I decided to take a page out of Abe’s book and copy and paste his speeches. Paragraphs that are similar to each other have been made bold below. Both speeches were taken from the Prime Minister’s cabinet website. Although the middle of both speeches differ from each other, the second to last paragraph of this year’s speech, in which Abe gives his condolences to those who suffer from nuclear radiation-related diseases and calls for the abolition of nuclear weapons, in particular is only a rewording of at the same idea conveyed in last year’s speech.

Editor note: There is indeed, as Ecclesiastes once noted,  nothing new under the (land of the rising) sun

Prime Minister Abe has a habit of repeating himself, which isn't great when people are actually paying attention. So much for that "heartfelt" speech.
Prime Minister Abe has a habit of repeating himself, which isn’t great when people are actually paying attention. So much for that “heartfelt” speech.

 

平成25年8月6日

広島市原爆死没者慰霊式並びに平和祈念式あいさつ

広島市原爆死没者慰霊式、平和祈念式に臨み、原子爆弾の犠牲となった方々の御霊に対し、謹んで、哀悼の誠を捧げます。今なお被爆の後遺症に苦しんでおられる皆様に、心から、お見舞いを申し上げます。

 68年前の朝、一発の爆弾が、十数万になんなんとする、貴い命を奪いました。7万戸の建物を壊し、一面を、業火と爆風に浚わせ、廃墟と化しました。生き長らえた人々に、病と障害の、また生活上の、言い知れぬ苦難を強いました。

 犠牲と言うべくして、あまりに夥しい犠牲でありました。しかし、戦後の日本を築いた先人たちは、広島に斃れた人々を忘れてはならじと、心に深く刻めばこそ、我々に、平和と、繁栄の、祖国を作り、与えてくれたのです。蝉しぐれが今もしじまを破る、緑豊かな広島の街路に、私たちは、その最も美しい達成を見出さずにはいられません。

 私たち日本人は、唯一の、戦争被爆国民であります。そのような者として、我々には、確実に、核兵器のない世界を実現していく責務があります。その非道を、後の世に、また世界に、伝え続ける務めがあります。

昨年、我が国が国連総会に提出した核軍縮決議は、米国並びに英国を含む、史上最多の99カ国を共同提案国として巻き込み、圧倒的な賛成多数で採択されました。

本年、若い世代の方々を、核廃絶の特使とする制度を始めました。来年は、我が国が一貫して主導する非核兵器国の集まり、「軍縮・不拡散イニシアティブ」の外相会合を、ここ広島で開きます。

今なお苦痛を忍びつつ、原爆症の認定を待つ方々に、一日でも早くその認定が下りるよう、最善を尽くします。被爆された方々の声に耳を傾け、より良い援護策を進めていくため、有識者や被爆された方々の代表を含む関係者の方々に議論を急いで頂いています。

広島の御霊を悼む朝、私は、これら責務に、旧倍の努力を傾けていくことをお誓いします。

 結びに、いま一度、犠牲になった方々の御冥福を、心よりお祈りします。ご遺族と、ご存命の被爆者の皆様には、幸多からんことを祈念します。核兵器の惨禍が再現されることのないよう、非核三原則を堅持しつつ、核兵器廃絶に、また、恒久平和の実現に、力を惜しまぬことをお誓いし、私のご挨拶といたします。

平成二十五年八月六日 内閣総理大臣・安倍晋三

平成26年8月6日

広島市原爆死没者慰霊式並びに平和祈念式あいさつ

広島市原爆死没者慰霊式、平和祈念式に臨み、原子爆弾の犠牲となった方々の御霊に対し、謹んで、哀悼の誠を捧げます。今なお被爆の後遺症に苦しんでおられる皆様に、心から、お見舞いを申し上げます。

 69年前の朝、一発の爆弾が、十数万になんなんとする、貴い命を奪いました。7万戸の建物を壊し、一面を、業火と爆風に浚わせ、廃墟と化しました。生き長らえた人々に、病と障害の、また生活上の、言い知れぬ苦難を強いました。
 犠牲と言うべくして、あまりに夥しい犠牲でありました。しかし、戦後の日本を築いた先人たちは、広島に斃れた人々を忘れてはならじと、心に深く刻めばこそ、我々に、平和と、繁栄の、祖国を作り、与えてくれたのです。緑豊かな広島の街路に、私たちは、その最も美しい達成を見出さずにはいられません。
 人類史上唯一の戦争被爆国として、核兵器の惨禍を体験した我が国には、確実に、「核兵器のない世界」を実現していく責務があります。その非道を、後の世に、また世界に、伝え続ける務めがあります。
私は、昨年、国連総会の「核軍縮ハイレベル会合」において、「核兵器のない世界」に向けての決意を表明しました。我が国が提出した核軍縮決議は、初めて100を超える共同提案国を得て、圧倒的な賛成多数で採択されました。包括的核実験禁止条約の早期発効に向け、関係国の首脳に直接、条約の批准を働きかけるなど、現実的、実践的な核軍縮を進めています。
本年4月には、「軍縮・不拡散イニシアティブ」の外相会合を、ここ広島で開催し、被爆地から我々の思いを力強く発信いたしました。来年は、被爆から70年目という節目の年であり、5年に一度の核兵器不拡散条約(NPT)運用検討会議が開催されます。「核兵器のない世界」を実現するための取組をさらに前へ進めてまいります。
今なお被爆による苦痛に耐え、原爆症の認定を待つ方々がおられます。昨年末には、3年に及ぶ関係者の方々のご議論を踏まえ、認定基準の見直しを行いました。多くの方々に一日でも早く認定が下りるよう、今後とも誠心誠意努力してまいります。
広島の御霊を悼む朝、私は、これら責務に、倍旧の努力を傾けていくことをお誓いいたします。結びに、いま一度、犠牲になった方々のご冥福を、心よりお祈りします。ご遺族と、ご存命の被爆者の皆様には、幸多からんことを祈念します。核兵器の惨禍が再現されることのないよう、非核三原則を堅持しつつ、核兵器廃絶に、また、世界恒久平和の実現に、力を惜しまぬことをお誓いし、私のご挨拶といたします。

平成二十六年八月六日
内閣総理大臣・安倍晋三

For those who cannot read Japanese, you can take a look at the English translations of the speeches, which are also similar to each other. The italics are parts of his speech that are almost the same as the year before.

Address by Prime Minister Abe at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony

Wednesday August 6, 2014

Here today, on the occasion of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony, I reverently express my sincere condolences to the souls of the atomic bomb victims.  I also extend my heartfelt sympathy to those still suffering from the aftereffects of the atomic bomb.

On this very morning 69 years ago, a single bomb deprived well more than 100,000 people of their precious lives.  It destroyed some 70,000 buildings and swept away the entire area through its hellish fires and its blast, turning the area to ruins.  Those who survived were forced to endure unspeakable hardships of illness and disability and tribulations in their daily lives.

The enormous price that was paid should be regarded as an immense sacrifice.  However, our forebears who built post-World War II Japan had etched deeply upon their hearts that they must never forget the people who perished in Hiroshima.  It was in this spirit that they created, and then bequeathed to us, a homeland of peace and prosperity.  We cannot help but find the most beautiful form of achievement in the streets of Hiroshima, full of greenery, where the continuous chirping of cicadas breaks the silence even now.

As the only country in human history to have experienced the horror of nuclear devastation in war, Japan bears a responsibility to bring about “a world free of nuclear weapons” without fail.  We have a duty to continue to convey to the next generation, and indeed to the world, the inhumanity of nuclear weapons.

Last year at the High-Level Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on Nuclear Disarmament, I declared my determination to achieve “a world free of nuclear weapons.” The draft resolution on nuclear disarmament submitted by the Government of Japan had more than 100 co-sponsor states for the first time and was adopted by an overwhelming majority.  Working towards the early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, Japan is also advancing realistic and practical nuclear disarmament by directly urging the heads of state and government of relevant nations to ratify the Treaty and through other such efforts.

In April this year, the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative Ministerial Meeting among foreign ministers was held here in Hiroshima.  From this site of an atomic bombing, our thoughts were sent out powerfully to the world.  Next year will be the milestone year of the 70th year since the bombing, and the Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, which is held once every five years, will also be convened.  We will advance our efforts to realize “a world free of nuclear weapons” still further.

There are individuals who are still now enduring pain and suffering caused by the atomic bombing and waiting to be recognized as having an atomic bomb disease.  At the end of last year, the Government conducted a review of the criteria for granting recognition, bearing in mind the discussions held by relevant persons over three years.  The Government will continue to make good-faith efforts to enable a large number of people to receive such recognition as soon as possible.

This morning, as we mourn the souls of the victims in Hiroshima, I pledge that I will redouble my efforts to carry out these duties.  I would like to conclude with my heartfelt prayers once more for the repose of the souls of the victims.  I would also like to extend my best wishes to the bereaved families and to the atomic bomb survivors.  I will close my address with a pledge that Japan will firmly uphold the “Three Non-Nuclear Principles” and spare no efforts in working towards the total abolition of nuclear weapons and the realization of eternal world peace, so that the horror and devastation caused by nuclear weapons are not repeated.

Shinzo Abe
Prime Minister of Japan
August 6, 2014

This isn’t the first time Abe has recycled speeches. Users online have remarked that Abe also used the same phrases at a memorial service for dead soldiers in Okinawa two years in a row.

With a long succession of prime ministers who rarely last more than a year, perhaps Abe didn’t expect to be in office for so long and didn’t think of setting the time aside to prepare something more original. More likely, he was being lazy.

****

Editor note 1: Maybe he just hates 1) remembering Japan lost the war 2) Japan might have won the war if they’d built their atomic bomb earlier 3) He thinks this whole Hiroshima thing is a pain in the ass because it really reminds people of how dangerous and destructive nuclear power is and that the Fukushima meltdown mess is an ongoing disaster. This isn’t helping him and his pals at TEPCO or his LDP cronies with a lot of TEPCO and KEPCO stock.

Editor note 2: I’m not entirely unsympathetic to the man. After writing about the yakuza for 20 years, I run out of ways to discuss them without some repetition–but then again, I’m not expressing my ‘heartfelt’ sympathy to them or their victims either.

Abe tells women to “shine,” but, really, he meant “die!”

A post that was meant to to show Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's support for women, due to some bad English usage with a different meaning when read as Japanese, ended up saying, "Hey all you women in Japan, drop dead!"
A post that was meant to to show Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s support for women, due to some bad English usage with a different meaning when read as Japanese, ended up saying, “Hey all you women in Japan, drop dead!”

 

A blog post written by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to show his support for women backfires when people pointed out that the English word “shine” can actually be read as the Japanese word for “drop dead (死ね)!”

The blog was coincidentally released shortly after a scandal in which members of Abe’s political party yelled sexist comments at the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly where Your Party member Ayaka Shiomura was giving a speech on the difficulties of women raising children in Tokyo.

As reported in The Daily Beast, the public is demanding the resignation of the members who called out, “Hey you, should hurry up and get married!” and “Can’t you have babies?”

The heckling and slurs all came from the seats of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) faction, which is the ruling party in the Tokyo Assembly and in the nation. The Cabinet Office declined to comment about the incident, saying that they “are not in a position to do so.” However, Prime Minister Abe is definitely in a position to comment. He is not only the leader of Japan, he is also the Director-General—the sosai —of the LDP. It looks like deeply-rooted misogyny is hard to hide.