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Sunday, September 20, 2015

Historian Jeff Kingston: "The Japanese people who are proud of their pacifist constitution see Abe trampling on their values."

Video by Richard Grehan of last week's protests in Tokyo

Brilliant analysis on the security-related legislation ("Abe war bills") by Temple University historian Jeff Kingston in this September 20 CNN interview:
People are outraged...People think it's unconstitutional, that he's trampling rule of law...Even though he has passed the legislation, it lacks legitimacy...Abe has delivered on all of the US wish list...

But the Japanese people don't buy Abe's argument that this is going to increase deterrence. Sure they think they live in a dangerous neighborhood, but they don't think this is the way to promote peace.

So the Japanese people who are proud of their pacifist constitution see Abe trampling on their values...Japanese people are concerned...they will be dragged into conflict by Washington..

Saturday, September 19, 2015

"Militarization & Human Rights Violations in Okinawa, Japan" • Sept. 21, 2015 • U.N., Geneva



Today Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga left for Geneva to address the U.N. Human Rights Council to inform the international community of Okinawa’s opposition to the plan by the US and Japanese governments to landfill, thereby destroy, Okinawa's most important natural cultural heritage site, the coral reef and dugong ecosystem at Henoko, to make way for a U.S. military port and offshore air strip.

Gov. Onaga is expected to cancel his predecessor's landfill permit when he returns to Okinawa the following Thursday.

While at the U.N. on September 21, he will also speak at a symposium organized by a civic group in Okinawa:
Upcoming events related to Governor Onaga's September 21 speech at UN on human rights violations by the US and Jp governments in Okinawa.

OBJECTIVES: The vision of the parallel event is to provide a clear picture of situation of human rights violations due to the heavy US military burden in Okinawa, Japan. It will provide information on the violations of environmental rights, freedom of expression and speech, and the right to self-determination caused by the expansion of US military base. The governor of Okinawa, Takeshi Onaga will also identify the historical discrimination against Ryukyuan/ Okinawan people by the Japanese and US governments. It will highlight the role of international community to take measures to support the right to self- determination of Ryukyuan/ Okinawan people.

STAKEHOLDERS: The parallel event will aim to reach a broad range of stakeholders, all of whom will benefit from the outputs of the parallel event. The event expects to engage with approximately 200-250 participants.

Key stakeholders include; · Indigenous leaders/ organisations ·Human rights defenders from/ engaging with Okinawa, Japan and the United States · Environmental activists ·NGOs and INGOs ·Diplomats and government officials engaging · Academics and others interested ·National and international media representatives

CONTENT AND PROGRAMME: This parallel event will address the human rights violations in Okinawa in the format of a special report by Okinawan governor, Takeshi Onaga followed by a key note speech from Ms. Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples. There will also be testimonies from human rights expert, journalist and environmental activist. It will also screen the short video addressing the islands’ history and on-going human rights violations including the rights to environment, freedom of speech and self-determination.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Japanese citizens protesting as LDP/Komeito postpone Abe war bills until 8:50 a.m.; former Supreme Court justice warns the unpopular government that it is unlikely that the "unconstitutional" legislation would survive a legal challenge.


 (Photographer: Shinta Yabe)

Update: Sept. 18 - A citizens’ group is preparing a lawsuit to challenge the constitutionality of the national security laws that were enacted on Saturday to the Japanese government to send soldiers to fight in foreign wars. The suit now has 1,000 plaintiffs, according to Jiji via JT.

Update: Sept. 17 - The opposition parties submitted a no-confidence motion to the committee chair Yoshitada Konoike. Then Masahide ("Moustache") Sato took over the chairman's seat, after which opposition members made very long speeches to defend the motion. However, following the script, the committee voted against the motion.

Then as Konoike returned to his chairman's seat, dozens of opposition members rushed towards Konoike, appearing as if they were trying to stop the voting on the bills. The "scuffle" made worldwide newspaper headlines.

Some analysts are asking why the opposition parties stopped blocking the entrance, and allowed the September 17 committee meeting to take place, knowing their no-confidence motion was going to, of course, be defeated.

In the meantime, over 200 lawyers in Japan have issued a statement calling the "voting" among the wild scuffling at the special committee illegal and invalid.

Many are asking why opposition party members allowed this final assembly to happen after they said they would do everything to stop the bills.

Update: 5:10 a.m. - After opposition party members physically blocked the entrance to the special committee room on September 16, the special committee was delayed until 8:50 a.m.  The protest is still ongoing: http://iwj.co.jp/channels/main/channel.php?CN=4

The not-so-young politicians inside the building must be exhausted.

Update 2:05 a.m. - The Upper House Special Committee on the Abe war bills has not started yet as of 2 AM in Japan. LDP/Komeito is planning to get the committee to vote for the war bills tonight.

If it begins, it will be livestreamed here: http://www.webtv.sangiin.go.jp/webtv/index.php.

The protest outside of the Parliament is being livestreamed now at Iwakami Yasumi journal:
http://iwj.co.jp/channels/main/ .

Along with the majority of the Japanese mainstream citizenry, cultural figures such as Nobel Laureate Kenzaburo Oe and filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki, former prime ministers, the majority of Japanese lawyers, including former Supreme Court justices are protesting the bill as unconstitutional.

Former Japanese Supreme Court Justice Kunio Hamada on Abe War Bills called the bills "unconstitutional and "illegitimate."  Hamada warned that it is “extremely optimistic” for the Abe government to think that Supreme Court will not rule against the legislation if its constitutionality is challenged in court.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

"Never Again." Japanese & Okinawan war refusal will be streamed online, if not televised, or covered by all newspapers

Left, from top: Asahi, Mainichi, and Tokyo newspapers.
 Right, from top: Yomiuri, Sankei, and Nikkei.

Via Kimberly Hughes: Notice the top three right-leaning Japanese daily newspapers, lined up in the right-hand column did not cover the sea of 120,000+ Japanese citizens at the Diet building on Sunday, August 30, protesting  PM Abe's war bills that would allow him to send Japanese soldiers to fight in US regime change wars in contravention of the Japanese Peace Constitution which outlaws war as a means of international conflict resolution. In contrast, politically centrist Japanese newspapers put coverage of the historic protests on their front pages.

 View from the streets: "NO WAR! NO ABE! We hope for peace! We love peace! 
Don't kill anyone! Save Okinawa from Shinzo Abe."

Despite (or because of spotty coverage in Japanese newspapers and broadcast news), the historic Japanese and Okinawan multigenerational antiwar protests have dominated youth social media as Philip Brasor points out in "The revolution will be streamed online," published on Aug. 29 at The Japan Times.  

More analysis via public scholar Jeff Kingston, again at JT, on Sept. 5, "Students oppose Abe’s assault on the Constitution":
SEALDs was launched on May 3, Constitution Day, highlighting the group’s concern that Abe’s security legislation is tantamount to a stealth revision that fails to follow proper constitutional procedures...Professor Akihiko Kimijima at Ritsumeikan University says that SEALDs wants Japan to be a nation based on the rule of law, and the group believes Abe is flouting the Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land. Apparently, there is no shortage of Japanese citizens who agree with them. In mid-June, three eminent constitutional scholars dismissed Abe’s security legislation as unconstitutional in Diet hearings, putting wind in SEALDs’ sails.