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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Abductors talking abductions - Revisionists talking revisions

Will Shinzo Abe and Kim Jong-un meet some day? Last year, the project seemed a quick fix for both to pose as diplomacy-friendly leaders following impressive streaks of provocations (see "ABE forced to back down a bit. For the moment. Next PR stunt: KIM Jong-un").

It resurfaced a couple of weeks ago, under the perfect alibi: the case of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea, which Pyongyang agreed to discuss in exchange for lifted sanctions. A welcomed bribe for a regime that can't raise its human rights record anyway, and a welcomed 'evidence' that Abe is a man of peace even as he tries to sell the return to militarism in Japan.

As a sad remainder of the true nature of both leaders, the talks were overshadowed by the news that North Korea decided to detain yet another US citizen, and that yet another survivor of Imperial Japan's sexual slavery system (Halmoni Bae Chun-hee) passed away without receiving any official apology from the Japanese government. Of course, Shinzo Abe is right to demand answers for the fate of tens of citizens abducted by North Korea, but wrong to deny the abduction of tens of thousands of girls and women for the Japanese military.

The tiny hopes raised by Barack Obama's remarks on 'Comfort Women' in Seoul (see "So, did Obama visit his own Yeswecan Shrine?") proved short-lived: soon after issuing the embryo of the beginning of the erzatz of proto-pseudo contrite remarks the next day, Japan's 'Prime Sinister' confirmed that apologies were not on his agenda - in yet another outrageous historical reference of his and of all places, in Germany! -, before exposing, as scheduled, his latest sales pitch for the highly controversial 'Collective Self Defense'.

Shinzo Abe: to compensate wrongs of WWII, Germany chose apologies, Japan "set its own standards"!

All that matters now to Shinzo Abe is not the 'third arrow' of Abenomics, but the two pilars of "ABEIGNomics": historic and constitutional revisionism. Significantly, his government is spending most of its energy during the last sessions of the Diet to present the findings of its controversial 'probe' on the Kono Statement, and to negotiate with New Komeito an agreement a minima on CSD.

In case you missed the previous episodes*, a few useful reminders:
  • "Abenomics" are only a short-term illusion to bribe voters at their own expense, a sleight of hand the time to pass "ABEIGNomics", that in turn shall change Japan forever. 
  • "ABEIGNomics" covers historical revisionism, the end of Japan's post-war pacifism and democracy,  anything that could contribute to a sick Imperial Japan revival (if not geographically, at least politically)... A lifetime obsession for Shinzo Abe, who has the most consistent record to prove it.
  • Shinzo Abe is not an enemy of Korea or China, but the worst enemy of Japan. Provoking Japan's neighbors is only a means for him to reach his ultimate goal: undermining Japan's democracy.
  • Beyond the Article 9 of the Constitution and the 'Collective Self-Defense' fallacy (the concept revives the specter of the 1876 Ganghwa-do Treaty and these days resonates in the most Putinesque way), this man targets the Article 96 that protects the Constitution by setting high requirements for any modification***. 
  • Promulgated in 1946, this Constitution has - mercifully - never been amended ever since: one can only guess how far these extremists would go if they were given free rein, but be certain that they wouldn't stop at Article 9 (even if the said article was recently nominated for Nobel Peace Prize!).
    • As Katsumasa Suzuku (Tomorrow Party of Japan / Japan Future Party) put it****, "Lifting the limits on the right for self-defense will bring us right back to the concept before the last war that led us to destruction".
    • And in a May 8 editorial, The New York Times clearly confirmed the threat: "Japan is facing a genuine test of its democracy".
On Shinzo Abe's constitution push: "Japan is facing a genuine test of its democracy" (NY Times)
  • At home, popular support for Abe would not survive a failure of Abenomics:
    • The core supporters of Abe are fellow fans of Imperial Japan willing to make sure that the darkest sides of Japan's history remains hidden, and sometimes the darkest sides of their own family's history, like Shinzo Abe's with his own grandfather Nobusuke Kishi, a former PM who at least honored more discretely his fellow war criminals. The minority of ultra-conservative bureaucrats who control Japanese politics support him because they share the same concern.
    • Japan Inc. keeps supporting Shinzo Abe for his illusory Abenomics in spite of their worries about ABEIGNomics, and many 'true' nationalists, who despise this disgraceful impostor, still prefer him to liberals. Some even make a parallel between 2014 Japan and 1933 Germany: we know this Hitler is crazy, but don't worry, we have him under control... 
  • But the Japanese people who want to save Japan and to say no to "ABEIGNomics" (Japan's worst enemies, the ones from within) cannot reform national politics from the outside, and the international community must not only oppose Abe's pseudo-nationalist imposture, but support them. 
  • Again, the US must at long last act as a responsible leader and take a moral stand (bonus: they'll save the trilateral alliance, and counterbalance the growing influence of China in Korea and across the region). Of course, the US should under no circumstance consider outsourcing security in Asia to such a bad cop, and Japan shouldn't be allowed to return to militarism without unequivocally and irrevocably denouncing Imperial Japan's wrongdoings and renouncing revisionism. The US can no longer swallow bitter pills from this provoking extremist just because they'd like Japan to invest more in the alliance's defense spending in the region; that's this very same old "he is a S.O.B., but he is our S.O.B." mantra that led post-war Japan to this moral dead-end**. And you don't want Shinzo Abe to inspire his pal Narendra Modi...
  • Tomorrow, Abe will probably paint the Kono Statement as null and void, because he knows that the cause of the victims of sexual slavery for the Japanese military (known under the 'Comfort women' euphemism) is of the utmost importance and emergency. Not only for the last surviving victims, but for the very soul of Japan and its future. Again, it's about universal human rights and justice, and it's not about Japan vs Korea, but about Imperial Japan vs post-war, peaceful Japan. Here too, the US must lead. Not only at the local level (e.g. memorials in NJ, VA, CA, US, Korean and Japanese American lawyers defending Glendale memorial) or in Congress (e.g. Resolution 121, congress members like Mike Honda or, more recently, Loretta Sanchez - see "U.S. Lawmaker Urges Resolution of Sex Slavery Issue"), but also and foremost from the White House.
Last month, a group of Japanese women came up with an original way of exposing Shinzo Abe and his friends: a sex strike by women who refuse to sleep with warmongers (i.e. men supporting attacks on the constitution and its Article 9).

Women who refuse to sleep with warmongering men, a sex strike movement denouncing Abe's attacks on Article 9
So the old 'make love, not war' slogan became a safer 'don't have sex with warniks'.

In an ideal world: Make Love And Democracy, Not War And Fascism.

Seoul Village 2014
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* see all posts related to Shinzo Abe on Seoul Village, for instance "Saving Japan - Let's fall the Indecision Tree", "The Elusive Independence Day - When will Japan officially proclaim its Independence from Imperial Japan?", "Dear Japan, Please Say No To Abeignomics"... 
** see "To better bridge the gap between Japan, Korea, and China, let's measure the gap within Japan"
*** more reminders:
  • To change the Constitution, you need not only a vote by two-thirds of each House of the National Diet, but also a popular vote / referendum. 
  • Shinzo Abe doesn't even have a full support from his own extremist base regarding the Article 9. Typically, within his coalition, the New Komeito party remains to be convinced, most notably within Soka Gakkai, a 'fascist buddhist' movement. 
  • For the moment, Abe is forced to play "three-cushion billiards" (as we Frogs put it) and indirect attacks, most notably by trying to reinterpret the Constitution as it is, or by lowering the age for voters for the referendum.
      • 3 conditional requirements: "a close ally of Japan is under attack / a grave threat to the nation’s security exists if force is not used / another country under attack clearly asks Japan to counterattack"
      • 3 procedural requirements are: "the Prime Minister decides to use force / the Diet approves the PM's decision / the government obtains permission from a third country if Japanese troops must pass through its territory en route to the conflict zone"
    • A couple of days earlier, the lower house of the Diet, the House of Representatives, had passed a bill that changed the rules for Act on Procedures for Amendment of the Constitution of Japan (see "Lower House OKs referendum bill"). 
    • Abe wants to change Japan for good, starting from education, at the root of democracy. He has long been pushing for revisionist textbooks and the teaching of more nationalistic values for the younger generations, always multiplying the provocations to fuel anger and extreme reactions from China and Korea to pose as a victim and boost nationalism (territorial disputes an ideal playground). He is also pushing reforms that shall make illegal the criticism of nationalism or revisionism.
**** "Japan's Abe Takes Step to Enhance Military's Role" (WSJ 20140514)

On Shinzo Abe's constitution push: "Japan is facing a genuine test of its democracy"

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