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post #31 of 32 (permalink) Old 12-08-2006, 05:19 AM
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Keep your wits about you guys!!!

Friday 8 December 2006 7.35pm


Unreported World travels to Japan to reveal the rise of an increasingly influential extreme right-wing nationalist movement; a movement which - faced with a rising China and belligerent North Korea - is trying to persuade the government to rewrite Japan’s pacifist constitution and become a nuclear power.

Reporter Evan Williams and director Edward Watts meet hardcore nationalist groups, allegedly funded and controlled by an alliance of mafia bosses and nationalist politicians, who have been accused of using intimidation, arson and physical violence to enforce their vision of a patriotic Japan.

They’re calling for Japan to become a military as well as economic superpower; with an army freed from the constraints imposed by the Allies after World War Two and armed with nuclear weapons. And they want atrocities committed by the army written out of the history taught in the country’s schools.

In other countries they might be dismissed as a lunatic fringe. But their ideas are becoming increasingly influential. Japan’s new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has declared his intention to adopt some of their ideas as policy, including discussing the idea of nuclear weapons and rewriting the constitution, which threatens to further destabilise the entire region.

The nationalists are stepping up their campaigns - and the use of violence. The team travel with right wingers on their campaigns in the huge sound trucks they use to harangue opponents and travel out to a secret martial arts centre deep in the Japanese countryside where right wingers train with samurai swords. They tell Williams about their willingness to use force to keep Japan on the “correct” path.

The team meet those who have been on the receiving end of this treatment: a newspaper editor whose writers have been attacked, a senior politician whose mother’s house was burnt down by a nationalist in August and a young woman whose politician father was murdered by a knife-wielding right winger.

The victims claim that the right wing’s apparent freedom to organise and carry out attacks is terrifying people into silence – and severely threatening freedom of speech in Japan. Some also claim that right wing groups are just the foot soldiers of nationalist politicians who use them to promote their agenda and scare opponents into silence. Many of the right wing groups are bankrolled and supported by the Yakuza, the Japanese mafia. Unreported World interviews a senior boss who claims that the allegations are true - politicians often pull the strings of right wingers on the streets.

Ordinary Japanese tell Williams that in their view there is no doubt that a ruthless new nationalist line is being pursued by the government and senior politicians. The team meet Japanese teachers rising in protest against new laws ordering students to salute Japan’s wartime flag and sing the wartime national anthem. They meet one of the teachers who have been sacked for teaching students the true history of Japan’s wartime past.

They also talk to a leader of the North Korean community in Japan which has been the target of violent attacks by right wing groups. They claim that the government has barely lifted a finger to protect them.

On the last step of their journey the team gain access to manoeuvres by the Japanese self-defence forces. No-one can tell where this new nationalism will take Japan - and what the implications will be for the world.
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post #32 of 32 (permalink) Old 12-08-2006, 06:24 PM
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The report is very true and it is not something new - teachers have been sacked in the past, liberals intimidated and harassed, the right wing militia have indeed been supressing opponent activities with their huge trucks equipped with bullhorns capable of drowning the loudest of The Who concerts.

The difference today is that the mainstream politicians are buying into their views.
It's one of the reasons I do not wish to go back to Japan to live, although I am proud of my heritage - I detest their nationalism and xenophobia.

Less than a century from their outright defeat, those who have not learned their lesson is about to lead the Country into the same path of destruction - in a stagnant economy, what better to agitate national pride and place the blame of its internal failure to external influences - just as they did 70 years ago.

As a side note, during World Cup 98 in France was the first time I noticed the rise of this blind confidence arising from hollow nationalism - the Japanese public was led to believe that their team was capable of making it into the second round. They finished dead last in their group.

That was just football, but this time around, I don't know - if they decide to attack the US again, I will lobby for internment camp to be set up in the island of Molokai (one of the Hawaiian Island and former leper colony) or the Big Island, as California is too crowded now and I will be too old to enlist to be a part of another 442nd Regiment. There, I will toil at the coffee plantation and strive to grow the best Hawaiian Kona.



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