nathalieandkyoko

We post stories about the the Great 3.11 Disaster that occurred in Northern Japan in 2011.

Archive for the ‘Humanitarian’ Category

Tokyo – Exiled Billionaire and Former Thai Prime Minister, Thaksin Sinawatra Plans to Rebuilt International Reputation by Visiting Japan’s Tsunami Victims this Week

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Tokyo – 23 August 2011 – This week, Thaksin Sinawatra plans to visit the Japan’s tsunami victims as part of a controversial attempt to rebuilt his international reputation. Japan’s Justice Minister Satsuki Eda said on August 15 that his Ministry would approve Thaksin’s visit as a special case under the immigration control law, which normally bans entry of convicted criminals. After the 2004 tsunami disaster, Thaksin received global sympathy and his party won a disputed election which his opposition parties boycotted.

Thaksin obviously wants to use the Japan trip to help facilitate a possible push for his amnesty later,” Tulsathit Taptim, Editor-in-Chief of The Nation newspaper in Bangkok, told the Washington Times. “His Japan trip, however, is being viewed internationally as an unwise step that would weaken his sister (new Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra) politically.

Many criticism has been made over the fact that the newly elected Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Sinawatra, Thaksin’s youngest sister who is eighteen years younger than himself, is too closely related to him. Thaksin confessed at a press conference in Tokyo that he is “really close” to his sister, who he sees like his “elder daughter”, because he partly raised her after his parents passed away when Mrs Yingluck Sinawatra was eight. Thaksin said that after Mrs Yingluck took her Masters Degree in an university in the US, she joined his mobile phone company in Thailand. He said he “trained her” to become the president of his owned company. His sister and himself are in constant contact as family members. “I act like an encyclopedia, whenever she wants to open the book, she can feel free to open and close it”. Thaksin also told the journalists in Tokyo that he would go back to Thailand if he is not be part of the problems. And that he is willing to “urgently go back” if he could be part of the ruleship. Nathalie and Kyoko (unedited version)

Written by Nathalie Stucky

August 23, 2011 at 17:53

Posted in Humanitarian

Wikileaks News: Masaki Kondo, Jiji Press 2010, Geneva

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時事通信Jijipress exclusiv
日本・中国関連情報も公表へ=スイス移住検討−ウィキリークス創設者
【ジュネーブ時事】民間の内部告発サイト「ウィキリークス」の創設者ジュリアン・アサンジ氏は5日、時事通信に対し、近く公表する多数の機密文書について、日本や中国に関するものも含まれることを明らかにした。具体的な内容については言及しなかったが、早ければ年内にもウェブ上などで公開する方針という。
同サイトは、アフガニスタンやイラク駐留米軍に関する米政府の機密文書をインターネット上で公開。近く米国やロシア、レバノンに関係した数千の文書を新たに開示する見通しだ。
一方、オーストラリア出身の同氏は、ウィキリークスを運営する上で安全な場所が必要だと強調。「スイスは歴史的に独立した国だ」と述べ、スイスに移住することを検討していると明言した。
同氏は国連人権理事会で5日行われた米国を対象とする定期審査に合わせ、ジュネーブを訪れた。(了)

Written by Nathalie Stucky

August 5, 2011 at 01:39

Posted in Humanitarian

Madame Butterfly : une version Japonaise moins controversée

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Pour la première fois, un metteur en scène Japonais a l’audace de réviser le contenu d’un chef d’œuvre de l’opéra italien.

Takao Okamura, directeur artistique à Tokyo met en scène une nouvelle version du célèbre opéra de Giacomo Puccini (1904) en corrigeant les erreurs de représentations culturelles qu’il avait commises, il y a plus d’un siècle, lorsqu’il a créé l’un de ses plus fameux opéras  qui ait mis en scène la Nagasaki du 19ème siècle, en commettant des énormités culturelles jusqu’ici intouchées.

La toute première version retouchée du célèbre opéra italien avait en effet été présentée au public Japonais en 2003 et 2004, à Tokyo. « Jusqu’alors, même à l’Opéra National du Japon, les mêmes erreurs culturelles se perpétraient sur scène ».

« Au temps de Puccini, il était difficile de se rendre au Japon, c’est pourquoi Puccini avait mené ses recherches auprès de la femme de l’ambassadeur du Japon à Rome. Les sources et l’expérience Japonaise que Puccini avaient vécue n’ont pas toujours été extrêmement fiables ».

L’idée était donc de corriger toutes les mauvaises interprétations que contient la représentation originale.

C’est « Madame Crysanthème » de l’auteur Français Pierre Loti qui avait été le premier roman à introduire la culture Japonaise et le Japon à l’Occident après l’ouverture du pays avec l’arrivée du Commodore Américain Matthew Perry, en 1854.

Les erreurs que nous pouvons retrouver dans la représentation sont par exemple, Suzuki, la servante de Madame Butterfly entonnant un air Bouddhique en se prosternant devant un temple Shinto. Ou par exemple le suicide final de Cio Cio san (Madame Butterfly) sans l’aide de sa servante. Le suicide pour l’honneur étant un acte qui se pratique toujours en compagnie d’un assistant. « Je suis très heureux de pouvoir effectuer ce travail dans la langue maternelle de Puccini. Mais dans ma version révisée de l’opéra, les erreurs culturelles susceptibles d’irriter les Japonais et les Japonophiles n’existent pas”.

Written by Nathalie Stucky

July 22, 2011 at 23:08

Posted in Humanitarian

Food Chain: this map shows where contaminated fishes were found around Japan

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Written by Nathalie Stucky

July 22, 2011 at 14:24

Posted in Humanitarian

Radioactive water leak at Japan plant, other sources of information

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1) Path of radioactive water leak at Japan plant unclear
“Radioactivity is quickly diluted in the ocean, and Edano said the
dump should not affect the safety of seafood in the area.”
http://ind.pn/e3Xsst

2) The Greenpeace research plan: http://bit.ly/k9suc2

MOFA’s limited approval of the research application, which was
presented through diplomatic channels by the Dutch authorities:
http://www.greenpeace.org//japan/Global/japan/pdf/MOFA_response.pdf

3) Samples were analysed by:
ACRO – France
Certified by the French Nuclear Authority ASN

SCK CEN – Belgium
Nuclear Research Centre of Belgium, equivalent to JAEA

4) Raw data from detailed analysis of samples is available here:
http://www.greenpeace.org/fukushima-data

5) Greenpeace condemns move to raise radiation exposure levels for
Japanese children: http://t.co/00o8I7A
Greenpeace has criticised this controversial revision of regulatory
standards, which only accounts for sources of external exposure –
radioactive materials can also be ingested, inhaled or absorbed
through the skin. Any increased exposure consequently also increases
the risk of developing cancer and other radiation-related illnesses.

6) TEPCO discovers radiation levels 100 to 1,000 times higher than
normal in sediment from the Fukushima coast: http://bit.ly/lzbYvG

7) For example eating one kilo of highly contaminated seaweed sampled
by Greenpeace could increase the radiation dose by 2.8 milliSievert –
almost three times the internationally recommended annual maximum.

Written by Nathalie Stucky

July 22, 2011 at 14:19

Posted in Humanitarian

Greenpeace Fukushima radiation research reveals serious marine contamination (source: Greenpeace and Bloomberg News)

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Press Release Greenpeace

Tokyo, Japan, 26 May 2011 – Greenpeace today slammed the Japanese
authorities’ continued inadequate response to the Fukushima nuclear
crisis, after new data from its radiation monitoring showed seaweed
radiation levels 50 times higher than official limits, raising serious
concerns about continued long-term risks to people and the environment
from contaminated seawater. In contrast, Japanese authorities claim
that radioactivity is being dispersed or diluted and are
undertaking only limited marine radiation monitoring.

Earlier this month, Greenpeace radiation monitoring teams on shore,
and on board the international environmental organisation’s flagship
Rainbow Warrior, collected samples of marine life including fish,
shellfish and seaweed outside Japan’s 12-mile territorial waters
and along the Fukushima coast. Detailed analysis by accredited
laboratories in France and Belgium found high levels of
radioactive iodine contamination and significantly high levels of
radioactive caesium in the samples.

“Our data show that significant amounts of contamination continue to
spread over great distances from the Fukushima nuclear plant”, said
Jan Vande Putte, Greenpeace Radiation Expert. “Despite what the
authorities are claiming, radioactive hazards are not decreasing
through dilution or dispersion of materials, but the radioactivity is
instead accumulating in marine life. The concentration of radioactive
iodine we found in seaweed is particularly concerning, as it tells us
how far contamination is spreading along the coast, and because
several species of seaweed are widely eaten in Japan.

“Japan’s government is mistaken in assuming that an absence of data
means there is no problem. This complacency must end now, and instead
mount a comprehensive and continuous monitoring program of the marine
environment along the Fukushima coast, along with full disclosure of
all information about both past and ongoing releases of contaminated
water.”

Most fish and shellfish sampled by Greenpeace were found to contain
levels of radioactivity above legal limits for food contamination.
This is just one of the multiple, chronic sources of radiation
exposure to people living in the greater Fukushima area. In April, the
authorities raised regulatory limits for levels of radiation exposure
twentyfold to 20 milliSievert per year for all people – including
children.

“Ongoing contamination from the Fukushima crisis means fishermen could
be at additional risk from handling fishing nets that have come in
contact with radioactive sediment, hemp materials such as rope,
which absorb radioactive materials, and as our research shows,
radioactivity in fish and seaweed collected along Fukushima’s coast,” said Wakao Hanaoka, Greenpeace Japan Oceans Campaigner.
“Fishermen, their communities and consumers desperately need
information on how radioactivity affects their lives, livelihoods and
the ecosystems they rely on, and especially how they can protect
themselves and their families from further contamination.”

“Even if all the leaks caused by the Fukushima nuclear crisis were to
stop today, the radiation problem is not going to go away. A
long-term, comprehensive monitoring programme must be put in place,
decisive action taken to protect the health of fisherman, farmers and
consumers, and compensation given to all whose lives have been
destroyed by this disaster,” said Hanaoka.

ENDS

(picked up from Bloomberg News)

CONTACTS:
Greg McNevin, Greenpeace International Communications, +81 80 3930 3341

Written by Nathalie Stucky

July 21, 2011 at 16:18

Posted in Humanitarian

Fukushima Plant: step one of the recovery plan has ended sucessfully, however new challenges in the Food Chain hits the Japanese authorities

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Nuclear plant accident recovery plan: the cooling water now circulates and contaminated water is removed with success

Tokyo – 19.07.11 – Mister Goshi Hosono, Japanese Minister of State for Consumer Affairs and Food Safety, Minister of Power and Saving Promotion and Minister of Restoration and Prevention of Nuclear Accident said at a press conference in Tokyo on Wednesday, that the first step of the road map established after the crisis in handling the situation at the Fukushima plant has ended today with success. “We have reached our target to reduce the amount of radioactive exposure from the Fukushima plant”. “One of the major reasons to this was due to the fact that the cooling water injection system has started to move”. The next target, set in the road map will be to bring the radioactive material down to less than one millisievert per year, which is the legal amount of radioactivity according to the international standards.

An underground shield wall to ensure no contaminated water leaks underground

Hosono also said that the plan in the next step is also to start building by the fall this year an underground shield wall in order to stop the leaking of radioactive water to contaminate the soil: “Right now the water filtration problem has been solved, Therefore, there is no risks that the water will flow up the reactor, however both domestic and international society is pointing out that the reactor water might be leaking from underground, and in order to ensure that there will be no such situation as to a major leak form the underground flowing into the sea, although we cannot say it is a zero situation, as it is physically impossible to examine to that level, we have decided to shield the underground so that we can have 100% assurance that there is no risk of underground contamination. We are currently evaluating the dept of the wall, the material that will be used. By the fall this year, we would like to be able to assess the issue and start constructing the shield wall.”

Mister Zengo Aizawa, Executive Vice President of Tepco added at the same press conference that the step one of the road map being completed, that meant more precisely that they have achieved to circulate the cooling water and remove the contaminated water from the reactors. “As a result of taking these initiatives, we have been able to remove a great amount of radioactivity, the actual density of the radioactive material is now down to one over two millions”, he said. “As of today, by entering into step two of the road map, we would like to enable the evacuees to go back to their homes as soon as possible.”

“It will take years to come out with a final report”

Whether the earthquake was the cause of the reactor’s meltdown, Hosono said that so far, the two analysis conducted by Tepco and the national government reported that the major damage at the Fukushima plant was caused by the tsunami rather than the earthquake. However, he said, as the international community has also been pointing out the question, the Japanese government is conducting further investigation on the issue. Assessing the real cause of the accident, and decommissioning the reactors will take more than ten years of investigations. Hosono added that the Japanese authorities will make regular announcements of new discoveries during the investigations: “finding out the details of what occurred as to the internal system of the plant will require a large scale of years, to come out with a final analysis”. In Germany, the nuclear stress tests are conducted by 3 different parties. The third party is an independent evaluation party. But in Japan, the law requires two parties in the review of a plant’s safety issues: the power company and the government.

Contaminated Fukushima beef cattle: “The guidelines were not fully applied”

Hosono said, when it comes to the food contamination issue, the government of Japan has guidelines, “however the rule itself was not fully taken into account, the cause of the recent incident is obvious, the straw that fed the cattle was contaminated from the fields, and the fields were not meticulously examined”. This animal contamination raises the question whether the whole food chain might be contaminated. In Chernobyl the major victims of cancer were not exposed to the external radiation but were affected by internal radiation through the food chain. Although the government will reinforce the examination of radiation rate of the fields in Fukushima and although some food supplies have already been restricted to be distributed, the issue of the ocean fish contamination raises anew. Some scientists reported radioactivity in other parts of the Pacific Ocean, which suggests the contaminated fish do travel and do expand radioactivity through the water. The Fukushima nuclear plant accident is the first onshore nuclear accident ever. Other nuclear accidents that occurred until now were inland accident. The beef cattle contamination raises a new challenge for the Japanese government willingness of transparency of information and communication with the public.

As for the Japanese government’s plans regarding the future use of nuclear energy, Hosono said the guidelines in case of nuclear accidents will be reinforced and the early timing would be the next fiscal year: “Through the various testing the government will impose, if some new problems arise, then the Japanese will have to reconsider their reliance on nuclear energy and to fulfil the part of the power source, the Japanese people will have to rely on alternative renewable energy ”, Hosono said.

Nathalie & Kyoko

Written by Nathalie Stucky

July 21, 2011 at 14:11

Posted in Humanitarian

Saia Lee: In search of a Colour of a Sound that touches hearts

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Strong, wise, beautiful.

The Asian Song Princess, Saia Lee is waiting for her debut as a vocal artist in France, singing a wide range of classical to modern songs with a strong and clear voice, Saia Lee just recorded an album in Paris.

“Strong, wise, beautiful”. In my attempt to describe Saia Lee as a person, these are the concepts that came up to my mind at first. All at once, she conceals graceful looks and powerful strength. She has her own strong belief and does not get bothered by other people’s evaluations. She is not afraid to speak her thoughts openly. By searching into her personality and objectively assessing her skills, Saia Lee sets herself a high objective in the field in which she wants to perform the maximum of her skills and walk straight towards the realization of her goal.

“Some may say I lack a sense of cooperation, however I would like to remain faithful to my personal beliefs.”

Having encountered the Japanese society in Japan, which values the overall harmony more than the individuality, being herself required a lot of strength. There was also a reason why she became strong. It can happen anywhere in the world, but cultural frictions occur more often in countries that are geographically close: Japan and Korea are no exceptions. Although both countries culturally influenced one another very strongly, the indigestible war history is still deeply rooted in people’s minds. Living in Japan as a Korean did not mean that Saia had no worries and no trouble at all. Searching for her identity, holding her values highly, she had to fight in order to get accepted by the society in which she was living.

The environment in which she was brought up must also have helped her original character to develop her strength.

Saia’s particularity as being part of a minority group has actually become her advantage. She recorded her album in Paris in January this year, and has engaged her debut in France. Saia considers that performing in Europe as an Asian woman is all the same to her past experience. She is not trying to sing a French song and pronounce its lyrics as perfectly as a native French would do. Even though she has a slightly Japanese accent while singing a French song, this might produce a charming sound and become the form of her unique expression. As the recording of the album went on, Saia started singing the words of the French songs in the Japanese language. “That is the amazing point” the French staffs at the recording company all commented.

Saia does not limit her expectations in just releasing an album and start a carrear in France, but as she goes on with this project, she is determined in developing this new genre more thoroughly and make it a real success. Until now she has performed essentially as a classic music vocalist. However, she is determined to bring out and express her personality to the maximum, and therefore she wants to reach a musical zone in between the classic genre and the modern music, and perform the best of her skills.

Saia Lee’s dream is to reach both the fans of classical music and the people who only listen to pop music. She wants to sing her Asian identity to her audience. Using the techniques of classical music as a basis, she thinks it could be fun to also feel the so-called Japanese kawaii culture (“cute”) in her songs. To those who listen to her album, she would like to express the charms of Asia. As an Asian woman, singing in Europe has a real meaning.

“It is not about singing a song in technically perfect manner, it is more about expressing my personality. It is through the power of communication that I would like to touch the heart of my audience”. That’s why she is searching for a “sound colour” to reach the hearts of those like her who value their individual expression.

Having the well known vocalist, Matsuko Lee, as a mother, it is from her that Saia has learned the most important things about singing. Saia was raised in an environment in which her mother’s pupils visited their house every day, so music was really her home.

She has started taking music lessons through her mother’s influence at the age of four. She always admired her mother, believing her voice had a strong power to communicate a feeling. Even now, the goal she is aiming for is to reach the same sound colour as her mother. It might seem that Saia was easily introduced to the way of a vocalist, but to get to where is stands now, there have been some twist and turns.

Having difficulties in learning from her parent, she rejected her mother especially during adolescence. She objected her mother’s opinion, which was to choose to follow the way of classical music. Instead, she chose to become a fashion model. Even now, with her beauty and her sophisticated looks, she attracts the attention of many sorts of media, but in recent days she has discovered expressing herself as a fashion model was not part of her expectations and her aims in life.

The evaluation her fans made of her person was too subjective. Most of the time she felt she was being evaluated through people’s standards and that she had to fit in to their taste, instead of being evaluated through her actual efforts. She was too often hurt by the fact of being evaluated only on the outside when her receptivity was sensitive. By taking some distance she thought she wanted to express her personality through music. It is when she became an adult that she finally entered a Music University. But she didn’t do it only to become a vocalist. After she graduated from Music University, she regularly gave concerts and continued working in the field of music. But at the same time she was gaining experience herself by travelling all over the world. This is how she created a luxury travel agency. Until then, there was almost no such service that would organize luxurious trips for wealthy tourists who travelled abroad on private jets. She built up a new business model and experiencing errors and successes, she became what could be considered as the number one knowledgeable person in that field in Japan. For those who are ready to pay any amount of money to get the best product and experience a very special moment, and to things that seemed impossible to realise, she made it all happen. The more challenging the request was, the more satisfaction it brought her to realize it. She feels she fits in a business where she can be judged through the result of her work. If she made a mistake, the responsibility would be all hers, and on the contrary, if she worked hard, the reward was all hers. That logical sense made her comfortable.

She was a fashion model, and then she went through the world of business, and now she finally feels she wants to focus on her songs. She foresees her life on the scale of ten years. Ten years until now, she has used her skills in business. Nowadays, she created and managed a situation where she has left business in orbit, so she doesn’t need to commit to it full time. The next ten years as of now, she would like to concentrate on reaching the best of herself in the field of music and songs.

The fact that she manages a company and sings at the same time also enables her to cast a business-like focus point to her activity. She can understand the point of view of the producer, she is able to think and react to her own production. Also, the fact of being able to deal with both fields gives her a clear-cut idea to her activity and she is able to concentrate on either one field or the other. Especially in Japan, there is a system in which everything other than your own field has to be sacrificed in order to get the sort of permission to penetrate the world of your business. Doing « both business and music » could be mostly seen as you are an amateur, making a side business. Most of the time you can be considered as doing a side job if you do not concentrate on either one or the other.

However, it is because she has knowledge of all these different worlds that she can understand different business issues very deeply and at the same time concentrate on her work.

She is a vocalist, who has a lot of other skills, and she can mention “Director Manager” on her business card. But she also has a title of Associate Professor among the famous Urasenkei Sadô Group, the Japanese Tea Ceremony Ancestral School. With Sadô (the Way of the Tea), the deeper you learn, the more you get into the world of the Zen philosophy. That spirit is something interesting Saia would like to uncover. Saia feels there is a lot in common with vocal music and Sadô. With both fields, it is when you think you have acquired the technique that you feel you have reached only the beginning of the depth, and you find out there is no goal to your pursuit. In other words, she thinks that a never-ending world fits her very well.

The discord she felt inside her when she was an adolescent has slowly passed its way, and she came back to follow her mother’s teaching. Nowadays, her mother could be seen as her biggest partner in the field of music. To Saia and her mother, there is a clear image of what is the “sound colour” that touches the heart of people. Saia believes there is only one specific “sound colour” that can penetrate people’s heart. The Sound Colour could be the quality of the voice for example, and it might differ for each and every people, however Saia knows exactly how to use her body and where she has to search to reach the “colour of the sound” she wants to express. How does she do to bring together the “physical” and the “mental” aspects of the search in order to reach the “colour of the sound”? It is the daily partnership with her mother that brings up the beat of the ideal sound. This “mother and daughter” vocal collaboration is a very rare example to find in the world. When they stand on the scene together, Saia can feel the huge presence of her mother’s power to grab the audience’s attention. In order to be able to sing like her mother, Saia feels she should be learning from her at this time as much as possible. For Saia, there is one particular song that holds a special place in her heart. There are many Korean folk songs that used to be sung when the Korean peninsula was not yet separated into current North Korea and Korea. These songs could reach the sounds and sensitivities of Puccini’s melodies. After the peninsula broke up in two, both countries stopped singing these songs anymore, however leaving these melodies forever in oblivion would be too big of a loss. Saia wants to express and present these rare melodies to the world. Songs that include Japanese-Korean power and the “Asian beauty”, business and music, Saia wants to search for the right balance in all those different fields, and pursue the activities she wants to concentrate upon in the time she decides.

Interview by Excellence International

Nathalie and Kyoko

Written by Nathalie Stucky

July 21, 2011 at 00:42

Posted in Humanitarian

『私の経験では戦後以来、国民が初めてこんなに政治が間違っていると言うことに同意している』

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コロンビア大学教授、ジェラルドカーチスが日本現実政治問題について、7月20東京日国際記者クラブで言った:『私はいまから40/45年間日本の政治を追っているが、私の経験では戦後以来、国民が初めてこんなに政治が間違っていると言うことに同意している。何かが今に爆発する数膳である』 1960年代半ばからカーチスは日本の政治と懸命だけでなく、政府や外向性左右上の多数の作品の蝶者である。現在は東京とコロンビア大学で時間を割いている。 管総理は、外国から賞賛の多くを取得し、彼は原子力発電のためにされていないための信用に値するはない。『しかし、リーダーは公に伝達する方法を知る必要がある。問題は彼が物事をおこらせることができないことである。』 カーチスが観察した、それはこの巨大な日本の政治的に危機に固定的である影響を受ける地元の政治指導者の出現である:『東北では、宮城県の指示は、彼らその新鮮な空気のそよ風のような戦略を持っている』。東北では、人々は中央政府が決定をとることを待つことができないからである。 カーチスは言った、東京で中央政府はそれらが直ちに行動を起こすのをたすけるために地方自治会に現金を転送すべきだと述べた:『非常にローカルな変更や動きを見て、記者は東京ではなく、地域レヴェルで何がおきているのかを見学に行くことを進める。記者は地元の政治家の報告に耳を固めるべきだ』。

Nathalie & Kyoko

Written by Nathalie Stucky

July 20, 2011 at 17:33

Posted in Humanitarian

“I have been following Japanese politics for 40-45 years now. Never in my experience, since the post war period, the public has been so united to agree the political system is wrong. Something is going to blow up.” (Gerald L. Curtis, Burgess Professor of Political Science, Columbia University) 

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Tokyo – 20.07.11

From the mid-1960s, Gerald L. Curtis has been one of the most widely quoted foreign observers of Japanese politics and the author of numerous works on the subject as well as on government and foreign policy. He currently divides his time between Columbia University and Tokyo.

Kan gets a lot of praise from foreigners, and he does deserve credit for not being for nuclear power. “But a leader has to know how to communicate to the public. The problem is he cannot make things happen”. He said on Wednesday, at a press conference in Tokyo.

What Curtis has observed and that is positive in this enormous Japanese political crisis is an emergence of affected local political leaders. “In Tohoku, governor of Miyagi, they have a strategy its like a breeze of fresh air.” Because in Tohoku, people cannot wait that the central government takes decisions.

Curtis said the Japanese central government in Tokyo should transfer money to local governments in order to help them take immediate action. “We’re seeing very local changes and movements, I encourage reporters to spend less time in Tokyo and go visit what is happening at the local level. Listen to the reports of these local politicians.”

In April this year, Kan told Curtis that his plan was to collect ideas and concepts from the Japanese people itself:  “kokumin no ironna concept o mochiagete kuru”. According to Mister Curtis, it is the leader who has to come up with the concepts. At this point, what the central government should do is to transfer more power to local governments. “This tragedy in Tohoku is a real opportunity to change the current bureaucratic system”, Curtis said.

Curtis also said that another consequence of the mess in Tokyo is that we never had the private sector to play a big role in humanitarian assistance. The private companies are filling a vacuum left by the authorities’ lack of action: “There is a new emerging sort of activism from the side of the private sector.”

The third positive element is the level of volunteer work. From Tokyo and elsewhere, there have been many young people taking a night bus from Shinjuku on Friday evenings after work and helping the victims in Tohoku region to clear up the debris and the mud, sleeping in tents, and coming back on Sunday evening before starting to work on Monday.

“These are new types of development that are taking place in this country to encounter the central government’s mess.”

Curtis said there is a new type of pride and values emerging from the young people. Nadeshiko Japan has also helped reinforce this view.

Curtis also said, after Prime Minister Kan’s departure, it will be hard to see the next PM getting things done. Too many people in the rival parties want to get their opposition down, the LDP wants to get rid of the DPJ. Cooperation between them seems unlikely to be possible.

 “I think the problem is the way the Japanese media cover the politics. They are too rough, and tend to cover “seikyoku” politics, meaning peddy politics. This coverage is all about stirring public emotions, that’s what the Japanese media has done to politics. The media should help the people understand the essential issues.”

“The next PM will have trouble with the energy issue. It’s not a reason to keep Kan in office. I think Japan cannot give up nuke tomorrow! The adjustment will be very huge. A lot of the companies will move to other countries, but it is not a reason to keep Kan in Office.”

“Some ambitious politicians, will need to move beyond nuclear energy. The infected beef cattle is only the beginning of the numerous things we will start to discover. But in terms of nuclear energy policy, there is no going back to before 3.11. Something will have to change in energy policy.”

“The difference with the previous political mess in Japan is that this time there is a disaster. Tohoku cannot wait. But Tohoku is not that important for the Japanese economy. The biggest danger about Tohoku is that people forget them.”

Nathalie & Kyoko

Written by Nathalie Stucky

July 20, 2011 at 17:29

Posted in Humanitarian