5/21/2015

Chizuko Ueno’s Blog No. 86: Fukui District Court gives provisional disposition banning restart of nuclear power plant

Some happy news, which we haven’t had in a long time. Fukui District Court has given a provisional disposition banning the restart of the Takahama Nuclear Power Plant. Fellow WAN members and Suruga-shi City Councillor Harumi Kondaichi broke into smiles on news footage. The representative and deputy representative for the plaintiffs were both women. Attorneys Hiroyuki Kawai and Yuichi Kaido were seen among members of the defense. I actually participated as a plaintiff, but since I was not residing within a 100-kilometre radius of the power plant, I was seen as not at risk of suffering harm and determined ineligible as a plaintiff. As a result, nine members remained on the plaintiffs’ side.

The ruling was made by Justice Hideaki Higuchi, the same judge who acknowledged the request to block the restart of the Oi Nuclear Power Plant. This ruling was a bolder step up from the previous one. He most likely studied intensively on nuclear reactors during this time. This will likely be a ruling that will go down in history.

I feel that judges must feel isolated. They probably cannot debate over topics with colleagues or persons related to the field, or ask them for advice. If they did, they would likely be immediately subjected to influences and pressure from all sides. As a judge, he would probably be wary of the situation in the judicial sector as well. Mr. Hideaki Higuchi has apparently just been transferred to Nagoya Family Court starting this April.  Prior to that, a petition to challenge the judge, made by Kansai Electric, was rejected. Mr. Higuchi’s simultaneous post at Fukui Regional Court had been acknowledged despite his transfer. If the petition to challenge had gotten through, or if he had been taken off the case as a result of his transfer… it would have been adequate reason to be suspicious of political pressure coming from somewhere. At the ruling to stop the restart of the Oi Nuclear Power Plant, Mr. Higuchi said, “The safety of human lives cannot be measured on the same scale as business profits”. Again, when making the provisional disposition to stop the restart of the Takahama Nuclear Power Plant, Mr. Higuchi clearly declared that “the standards of the Nuclear Regulation Authority are not reasonable.” Justice Higuchi, your name will be marked in history.

The head of the committee, Tanaka, has himself acknowledged that the new standards set out by the Nuclear Regulation Authority are not absolutely safe – that a reactor cannot be declared safe just because it has met the standard. The Nuclear Regulation Authority may be the one to decide if a reactor meets the standard or not, but politics is what decides whether or not the reactor will be restarted based on those results. And we voters are the ones who decide whether or not to accept that decision.

Here is an example of the standards of the Nuclear Regulation Authority being “not reasonable”, as pointed out by the judge: the standards stipulate that an earthquake-proof building should be constructed in preparation for disasters; however – perhaps in consideration of the wallets of electric power companies – there is a grace period for the construction. (I didn’t know that! This must be why these standards are said to be “lenient.”) The Nuclear Regulation Authority sets standards in place, but still gives approval ratings even if reactors do not meet those standards. As Justice Higuchi said, “Nature does not wait for the grace period to pass,” and that is the truth.

I am sure there are many people involved in the judicial sector who are deeply disappointed that the courts were accomplices in the policy to promote nuclear power. The involvement of the courts is also pointed out in Joachim Radkau’s “A Short History of the Anti-Nuclear Movement in Germany”.

“The persistence and success of Germany’s anti-nuclear movement can be explained not only by the internal structure of the protest demonstrations, but also by interactions between citizens’ protests, the media, politics, government administration, the courts, and science.” (Joachim Radkau, “A Short History of the Anti-Nuclear Movement in Germany.” Misuzu Shobo, 2012.)

He claims that what Germany has and Japan doesn’t is this interaction between the various actors.

Eiji Oguma’s book, “Those Who Stop the Nuclear Plants” (Bungeishunju, 2013) points out the following: “In Japan, ‘going nuclear-power-free’ has already been realized.” Not only that – “Japan has done what no other movement in the world has been able to do before, which was to dominate the government district over a long-term period through the use of non-violent direct action. As a result, the people changed the energy policy of the party in power [at the time].

“The people are still too unaccustomed to their own accomplishment to acknowledge this miracle as a miracle. They do not yet realize the depth of possibility hidden within it.”


Indeed, all fifty-four reactors currently in Japan have been stopped, and the reason why it is taking so long to restart the reactors is because the citizens, using all manner of methods, including judicial means, are putting a “hold” on the process, and the administration cannot ignore this.

Lately I feel that the courts are more sensitive to changes of the times than the legislature and administration. If this is one of the results of judicial reform, then I welcome it. The legislature has finally begun to take action regarding discrimination against extramarital children following a ruling that it was unconstitutional. It would probably turn out the same way for the lawsuit for married couples to have different surnames. The judicature is more closely aligned with the perceptions of the citizens in terms of going nuclear-power-free. Until now, the judicature has always been thought of as the “hound” of the government. It seems as if the time has come for the judicature to emphasize its independence.


Original article in Japanese

Translated by Rieko Shimizu and adapted by Naoko Hirose

4/30/2015

"Anshin (security) pouch" for disaster-preventing produced by women's group "Ami∞Amu"

Recommended by Chizuko Ueno

"Ami∞Amu", a woman's group at Setagaya-ku that tries to create "local disaster-preventing network" has produced "Anshin (security) pouch."

Scissor, portable flashlight, garbage bag, safety pin...14 items in total are included.
It is hard to prepare each of those items by yourself!
The pouch is designed by a woman's group "nui nui" that embraces women's handmade work. 
It is lightweight, compact and easy to carry around. For yourself and for someone as a gift!
Wishing you an Anshin (security)!
By Chizuko Ueno

http://wan.or.jp/market/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/d6b15ed430e15063928948e7a8ccb4db.jpg
inside; "Anshin pouch"

http://wan.or.jp/market/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/8fc148da2f1a8d1789114801a8e0975c.jpg

compact and space-saving

◆Included items◆ 
The wisdom of disaster-preventing is packed in this compact pouch.
Not just for the time of disaster, it is also useful for everyday life.
14 items as follows are included;
whistle, mini flashlight, scissor, big plastic bag, safety pin.
pill's bag, adhesive bandages, wet tissue, candies, memo pad,
permanent marker, bag for change, urine removal pad, information card

◆Price◆
Retail price; 2200yen
Items only; 600yen
Pouch only; 1600yen 
 http://wan.or.jp/market/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/po-chiroiro.jpg
various designs of "Anshin pouch"

For more information, please make a contact with "Ami∞Amu" as listed below.

◆Woman's group "Ami∞Amu"◆
"Ami∞Amu" is a group that aims at dealing with local disaster prevention based on respect for human rights, and established by a group pf woman living at Setagaya-ku.
In 2012, after the Great East Japan Earthquake, during the process of making a proposal to Setagaya-ku for disaster contingency planning, they tried find a way to do something direct to local disaster prevention.
Since 2013, "Ami∞Amu" has been doing various activities as study meeting, workshop which produced the "Anshin pouchi", research the status of children commuted by train on the day of the Earthquake.
From now on "Ami∞Amu" will organize "disaster prevention cafe" on a regular basis and continue to seek a way of disaster prevention cares the human rights from a various aspects with local community.


Number of members; 8 
HP http://amiamuamiamu.blog.FC2.com 
Contact;  
Email; amiamu_amiamu@yahoo.co.jp 
Mobile; 080-5086-6141(Sunada)


Original article written by Chizuko Ueno
Translated by T. Muramatsu 

The Widening Gap between Increasing Criticism and Growing Ignorance (2)

Absurdity in the Sankei’s Campaign and the Asahi-Bashing

Urgent Symposium for the Final Solution of the Comfort Women Issue Held in Tokyo



On April 23, 2015, the South Korean and Japanese organizations who have been working to resolve the comfort women issue jointly held an “urgent” symposium and press conference at the House of Councillors assembly hall in Tokyo, in order to reiterate a new proposal before Prime Minister ABE Shintaro visited America.

In her speech at the symposium, Kim Bok-dong (90 years old), a former comfort woman, asked Abe to “change his mind and acknowledge the past mistakes” as it is “the only way for South Korea and Japan to live together in harmony.”




Based on a great many materials discovered after the 1993 Statement, which will be described later, the two groups had proposed that the Japanese government should admit the imperial army’s involvement in building, administering and controlling the rape centers, euphemistically called “the comfort stations,” as military facilities. On the basis of these admissions, the government was urged to make an irreversible apology, to compensate the former comfort women to prove the sincerity of the apology. 


This new proposal was submitted to the government in June, 2014, but Abe administration has not taken note of it.


The representatives of the two groups, Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan and Japan Action for Resolution of the “Comfort Women” Issue, also stressed at the symposium that the new and modest proposal would be achievable as it incorporated the wishes of the former comfort women themselves. On the other hand, the proposal replaced the term “legal responsibility” - a term that the Japanese government had rejected - with the concrete measures that Japan would have to take.
Now the ball is in the hands of Abe, who is visiting the United States.


Most of the Japanese TV news feature his speech at the joint session of US Congress as he was apparently welcome by the American political and military leaders as a reliable and obedient partner. But it should not be neglected that his emotive speech expressed sympathy or regret in general but, as one of the English media described, it  “gave little sense that any part of Japan’s wartime history required a special reckoning” and “offered no direct apology” when his “conservative nationalism causes unease in northeast Asia and occasionally in Washington.”



Kono Statement in 1993 and its Bashing in 2014



In the first part of this essay (posted on March 31) , I mentioned about Prime Minister ABE Shinzo’s various approaches to control the mass media under his “departure from the post-war regime” policy. In the second part, I would like to focus on the Sankei and the Asahi in terms of the reviews and verifications about the comfort women issue and their consequences .

As Prime Minister Abe intended to “verify” the Kono Statement, which was announced by the former Chief Cabinet Secretary KONO Yohei in 1993, the statement has been harshly criticized by the conservative medeia as well as online based right-wingers since it admitted the Japanese military’s involvement in operating the military brothels during the war time and expressed apologies to the former comfort women. 
In the wake of such Kono-bashing, the Sankei staged its own campaign by launching the two series of articles, “History War 1: the Crime of the Kono Statement” (April 1-5, 2014) and “History War 2: the Beginning of the Comfort Women Issue” (May 20-25, 2014).


Before reviewing the articles in question, let me list up the events after a South Korean professor YOON Jung-ok initiated her research on, and interview of, the former comfort women around 1990:

In August, 1991, Ms. KIM Hak-sun came out to tell her experience as a comfort woman by using her real name;
In January, 1992, Professor YOSHIMI Yoshiaki of Chuo University discovered a relevant document that suggested the Japanese military’s involvement in the comfort women system in the library of the National Institute for Defense Studies;
Before Yoshimi’s finding was exposed by the Asahi, the Japanese government had conducted its research and announced its report in July, 1992, acknowledging the Japanese military’s involvement;
On August 10 and 11, 1992, the first Asian Solidarity Conference was held in Seoul Korea;
In August, 1993, the Kono Statement was released.


Serious Errors in the Sankei’s Campaign against the Kono Statement



On May 25, 2014, in the last articles of the above-mentioned comfort women series, the Sankei went too far in its attempt to create a story about the first Asian Solidarity Conference, a predecessor of the present Asian Solidarity Conference for the Issue of Military Sexual Slavery by Japan. Judging from the headlines, the readers would be led to believe that during this particular conference held in Seoul in 1992, the former comfort women were directed by some Japanese instigators to single out Japan as the responsible for their sufferings, thus paving the way to the Kono Statement. 



The article quoted Ms.TACHI Masako (87 years old) as a direct participant of the 1992 conference as follows: the former comfort women dressed in chima jeogori, a traditional Korean costume, were instructed beforehand by some Japanese participants to parrot the suggested phrases during the conference. Allegedly, Thai and Taiwanese women were even told to be quiet as they spoke stories sympathetic to Japan. Ms. Tachi was also quoted to say “The conference was the starting point for spreading a bad reputation of Japan.”



And yet, the photograph which appeared on the newspaper to endorse her arguments turned out to be wrong. The error was  obvious as the letters on the photo showed that it was taken at a different meeting of the surviving families of the Pacific War victims in South Korea. It was not difficult at all to find the right picture of the first Asian Solidarity Conference which clearly showed all the women plainly dressed in Western summer wear as well as a big banner on which there was the title, venue and period of the conference.





It was clear that the story the Sankei attempted to frame was totally failed. Two of the relevant groups, the executive committee of the 12th Asian Solidarity Conference and Japan Action for Resolution of the “Comfort Women” Issue, sent a written request to the Sankei on August 6, 2014 to urge it to correct the five errors in the articles of May 25 .




As of September 19, the Sankei responded by notifying two corrections in a small frame on the paper failing to deliver any apologies. And in its reply to the correction request dated September 18, the Sankei explained that it recognized Ms. Tachi’s arguments as facts since they were based on her own experiences.

If so, such rule should be adapted to the narratives of the former comfort women. It is widely acknowledged that the stigmatized experience is hard to be narrated and what is spoken out in spite of all the difficulties and pressures has a very good reason to be believed in its mainstay.

In contrast, the Sankei’s blunder was assumingly caused by its ill-advised attempt to take advantage of an individual’s memory and her subjective meaning she attached to it for the purpose of a political “verification,” rather than for understanding her experience in its individuality.

Nonetheless, the misleading story was in turn consumed and reproduced by those who took advantages by doing that. The individual experience regarded by the Sankei as facts was also quoted by a magazine called Weekly Shincho of July 3, 2014, for framing another story to name FUKUSHIMA Mizuho, the former leader of the Social Democratic Party, as an instigator.





Asahi’s Verification and Its Significance


It took some 3 months until the two groups prepared the correction request. They instantly noticed the errors, but as they were extremely busy before and after the 12th Asian Solidarity Conference, they were unable to send the request to the Sankei before August 6.

Incidentally, on August 5 and 6, 2014, the Asahi spared the special section to verify how the comfort women issue was taken  and developed. They included the Asahi’s responses to a number of questions that would be asked by its readers as well as the Japanese leading paper’s stance toward the controversial issue.

The Asahi was repeatedly criticized since the Prime Minister Abe stated in the end of November, 
2012, that because of the Asahi’s misinformation, a fraudulent man named YOSHIDA Seiji wrote a book and it was distributed  throughout Japan, becoming a big issue as if it were a true story. And while the Abe administration “verified” the production process of the 1993 Kono statement and issued a report in June, 2014, the Asahi was groundlessly blamed by not a few commentators and online right-wingers for inventing the comfort women issue. 
Personal attacks to its staff writer Mr.UEMURA Takashi, who happened to report about Ms. KIM Hak-sun for the first time in Japan, escalated to a terroristic level.


A single most justifiable reason, if there is any, for the Asahi to become a target of the revisionists seems to be its unchanged commitment to historical issues as was found in the following statements in the article: “The point in question is that the women were deprived of freedom and had their dignity violated in comfort stations which could never be established without the military’s involvement,” and “the Asahi has been reporting about the comfort women issue and our awareness of the issue still remain unchanged.”

Cool-headed readers of the feature pages would find just few problems that are serious enough to be attacked or blamed. The Asahi re-examined their news gathering and belatedly withdrew some incorrect writings concerning Mr. Yoshida’s story. But as a matter of fact the story had been discredited long before as a result of both academic and nonacademic researches. Neither his testimony nor the Asahi’s reports of it made the comfort women issue unfavorable to Japan, causing bilateral or international problems.



In a symposium held on April 5, 2015, to consider the comfort women issue as well as the Japanese society and media through the Asahi issue, Professor HAYASHI Kaori of the University of Tokyo reported the result of the contents analysis of the overseas media.  She conducted it as the only female member of the Asahi Third-party Panel. According to her findings, “comfort women” were most frequently referred to in relation with the Prime Minister Abe’s own comments, not with the Yoshida testimony or the Asahi’s report. Abe has turned out to be the one who keeps attracting the overseas media in a negative way, adversely affecting his government’s efforts.





Written by FUKUOKA A. A.


4/22/2015

What’s New! on WAN as of April 22, 2015


Continued Screenings of “What Are You Afraid of?”


A documentary film about the Japanese post-war feminism which was directed by MATSUI Hisako and supported by WAN, has been screened in various cities on different occasions since it was introduced at the Aichi International Women's Film Festival (AIWFF) in Nagoya on September 6, 2014.
A recent screening was held in Kyoto on April 9, which was followed by a talk between UENO Chizuko and NAKANISHI Toyoko. The upcoming screenings include the one to be held at the Gender Equal center of Takarazuka City, Hyogo Prefecture, from 10:00 am on April 25.



Visit the following site for the film information:
This year’s AIWFF 2015 is scheduled to be held in Naogya from September 1 to 6, 2015.



Active Report about “Nuclear and Earthquake Disasters and We” 


On Sunday, April 5, Mako & Ken, who belong to Yoshimoto Creative Agency as a stand-up comedian duo named Oshidori, appeared in a talk show in Toyohashi, Aichi Prefecture.
Mako has been continuously attending the press conferences of Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) and disseminating the first-hand information on the internet, because she became suspicious about the news provided by the government or the mainstream media since 3.11 Fukushima nuclear accident.
At the press conferences, Mako, who had once majored in life science in the medical department of Tottori University, often asked questions which got to the point. Her remarks were so highly regarded overseas that she was invited to speak about what she learned after 3.11 by a German anti-nuke organization last year and by an international conference of the religion scholars this year.
On the 4.5 talk in Toyohashi, Mako & Ken kept talking for two hours about how the radio activity in the air and contamination of the water is far from under control, while showing relevant pictures.
Their talk was so informative that more people who can’t trust what is announced by the government and yet don’t know how to get access to the right information should go and listen to their talks.

Reported by TAKEMOTO Yurie



Summary Translated by FUKUOKA A. A.

4/09/2015

New Release of the Voices from Japan

FEATURE: Hate Speech toward Women A Discussion from the View Point of
Gender





Introduction

Special Report
Deliberately Incited Discrimination against Women:
Gender-discriminatory remarks of public officials
By Nobuko Kamenaga

Fighting Hate Speech around the Comfort Women Issue
By Ban Chongja

Japanese Government on Discrimination: Issues of Discrimination against
Korean Schools and Japanese Military “Comfort Women”
By Wooki Kim

Anti-Imperial System and Anti-Hate Speech 25
By Daiko Sakurai

So Much Hatred of Women:
The Link between the Homosocial Internet and Current Anti-Korean
Sentiment
By Rie Kaiwa


Posted by FUKUOKA A. A.

3/31/2015

"This is how I avoided being killed by stoker" by Yoko Haruka

Based on my personal experience, I thought about the reason why stalking incidents never die and what we can do about it  

I wrote this book only for "preventing the worst."

That means " not to be killed."
In fact the entertainment industry is pearls of wisdom about fighting against stalker.

Watching the news of victims almost every month, I thought the time has come to make them publicly known and decided to get off my backsides.

I hope this will reach to someone with fear.





“This is how I avoided being killed by stoker”
Written by Yoko Haruka
(Chikuma Shobo, 2/5/2015)



Original article written by Yoko Haruka
Translated by T. Muramatsu


The Widening Gap between Increasing Criticism and Growing Ignorance (1)

Prime Minister Abe’s Unsuccessful Efforts to Whitewash Japanese Wartime Atrocities


For the past several weeks, I have had some English articles sent, forwarded, or referred to by my friends or via SNS.  
All of them were about atrocities the Japanese Imperial Army committed. I would like to review them to express my particular concerns about the widening gap between rising criticism about Japanese government’s attitude toward the comfort women issues  in the English media and growing ignorance of those global concerns in the Japanese media.

This situation was triggered by the Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s comment at the budget committee meeting in the Diet on January 29, 2015. The Japan Times, the oldest English newspaper in Japan, immediately reported about his pledge to increase efforts to alter views abroad on Japan’s actions in World War II by disseminating the “correct” view.
The New York Times followed the very next day: “He (Abe) singled out a high school history textbook published by McGraw-Hill Education that he said contained the sort of negative portrayals that Japan must do more combat.” Quoting the Japan Times, the article illustrated how Abe “was shocked” and regrettable that “we did not protest the things we should have, or we failed to correct the things we should have.”

In fact, as Kyodo reported in November 2014, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Japan requested the publisher to correct the depiction of “comfort women” in the book. More recent articles have revealed that McGraw-Hill rejected the Ministry’s request and defended its writers. For instance, according to the Bloomberg news on January 30, 2015 JST, the publisher replied to Bloomberg’s question in an e-mail, “Scholars are aligned behind the historical fact of ‘comfort women’ ” and “we unequivocally stand behind the writing, research and presentation of our authors,” as was quoted in other English media.


On February 9, 2015, the Japan Times referred to Abe’s comment again, in its article about U.S. based historians’ protest against his attempt to suppress statements in U.S. and Japanese history textbooks about the comfort women. It quoted their letter to the editor in the March edition of “Perspectives on History,” the American Historical Association’s journal:
…… the careful research in Japan, especially by (Chuo University professor) Yoshiaki Yoshimi, of Japanese government archives and the testimonials throughout Asia have rendered beyond dispute the essential features of a system that amounted to state-sponsored slavery.”

The group even warns that Abe and his allies are on a quest to eliminate references to the issue in textbooks. The fact is that in Japan the high school textbooks referred to the comfort women in 1995 mostly had such references eliminated by 2005. This kind of changes are likely to prevail in Japan as a result of active efforts of Abe and his allies to promote a peaceful image of post-war Japan by whitewashing the brutal history during the war.


As part of such efforts, Abe has been expanding his contacts with the mass media since his second inauguration in December, 2012. He spent more time on meeting with the leaders of the press and sent more people of his preferred choice to the influential posts in the related organizations and committees. One of the most notorious examples is the Chairman Katsuto Momii of NHK, Japan’s major public broadcaster. In his response to a question about the comfort women at his first press conference, Momii said that such an institution existed in “every country” and that it is only considered wrong by “today’s morality.”

“Everyone else was doing it,” or “it belongs to the past you cannot judge by today’s morality” is a typical way to evade responsibility for what was done and cannot be undone. “Let bygones be bygones” has been a widely accepted sentiment or even a virtue for the Japanese to maintain a harmony in an isolated society. We should realize that they are far from acceptable in the international community.

Rather than contributing to raising an awareness of or knowledge building for that matter, some Japanese and South Korean media have been provoking nationalistic fervor against each other. On both sides of the national boarders, more and more hatred have been voiced, making decent people sick of the fanatical and negative acceleration.



As a positive result, however, alternative media are highly motivated now to reach out to those people, providing them new perspectives while conservatives are reproducing typical denying narratives. The Japan Times’ article of March 4, 2015 showed a reflection of one of those new and valuable perspectives yet to be a mainstream in Japan. The article written by a freelance journalist KIMURA Kayoko raises a question, “Why do so few people in Japan make the link between the wider issue of sexual violence in conflict and the comfort women?” One explanation she provided was that the issue was depicted as a purely diplomatic matter between Japan and South Korea.

As she reiterated, it was when three Korean women filed a suit in Japan in December 1991 when the comfort women issue became public. They, not only charged the Japanese government with the wartime crime, but also channeled the shame they experienced for a half a century into a fundamental human rights. In the 1990s, the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda recognized rape and other forms of sexual violence as breaches of international law. And in the 2000s, “preventing sexual violence in conflict became a global human-rights and security concern.”


Prime Minister Abe stressed in his policy speech to the 189th Session of the Diet in February, 2015: “we will work to ensure that the 21st century is one in which there will be no human rights violations against women.” But those nice words, as well as “a world in which all women shine,” or “Japan will never give in to terrorism,” merely sound evasive and meaningless if he never listens to the specific women who have been appealing to the Japanese government or if his government has no effective means for dialogue with other countries concerned. In this regard, he represents the Japanese majority who neglect to make the link between the wider issue of sexual violence in conflict and the comfort women.

In contrast, it is the most significant that the former comfort women and their supporters have been developing global and contemporary perspectives. In part two of this essay, I would like to illustrate how they are linked with the women currently suffering violence in conflict and how these significant perspectives are lost in the comfort women discourse in Japan, taking examples of the misleading descriptions of the Asahi and the Sankei, Japanese newspapers representing the liberal and the conservative respectively.   

Written by FUKUOKA A. A.