Monday, 3 October 2005

Court in the act

Ok, so have remebered to write this out using Bill Gates’ finest word processing software first so I won’t have the frustration of blogger eating my post again. Or so the theory goes.

Anyway last week’s post wasn’t that interesting anyway as it described a thre day weekend upon which nothing much happened as typhoon #17 decided to dump its load all over kanto, precluding the karting tripwe had planned. This will happen sometime in the future as I am still sore at my boss (who is organising this trip) as a few years ago we were up in Tochigi prefecture around Nikko one holiday and discovered, quite by accident, that we were quite near the Twin Ring Motegi circuit. So, quick detour and low and behold, there was a karting track attached. Wasn’t too expensive to race so we had a couple of goes and it came down to the last race. I shot to the front and, through skill and daring, stayed in front of James (who admittedly is a quick driver) until about mid race. Then, going into a sharpish right, he totally over cooks it and smacks into the back of me. I go careering off the circuit, he sort of bounces back onto the racing line. Now, of course, I am last of six, but, bit between my teeth and anger in my veins, I launch an assault on the leader much the same as Mansell did in ’87 at Silverstone. Fastest lap after fastest lap until, the final corner, I’m in second, I try a dart down the inside, the door closes, James takes the chequered flag, I the runner’s up position.

It. Still. Pisses. Me. Off.

But good job I’m not in the slightest bit competitive, eh?

Anyway this week has been quiet as well, most probably as work is all focused on budgeting for next year and...yawn... How exciting can it be...?

However some interesting rulings from Japanese judicial service the report this week. First up was a ruling from the High Court in Osaka that the Kool Kid’s trips to Yasukuni shrine in Tokyo were in fact illegal as he was making them as PM, something the ropey old Constitution forbids in its attempts to keep separate the ‘church’ and the state. Now I am sure I have mentioned this whole Yasukuni shrine thing before, several times perhaps, but to briefly recap for those not paying attention, a number of people, mainly heads of state of other Asian nations such as China and both Koreas, dislike the Japanese PM paying his respects to the dead at Yasukuni as enshrined there are the souls of 14 (I think) class A war criminals, specifically ones who did unpleasant things during the occupations of Korea and China. The Kool Kid’s argument is that he does it as a private citizen therefore he should be able to do what he wants, but a court last year in Fukuoka decreed that no, he wasn’t doing it a private citizen as he was using his official govt car to get there and, amusingly, signed the book of condolence as Kool Kid Koizumi, That’s Mr Prime Minister to You, or something very like it. Now the Kid pops along on his pushbike just like the rest of us, probably.

Anyway this ruling wouldn’t be particularly newsworthy, people, it seems are always suing the govt for the mental anguish this issue is causing them in the hope of a few yen in compensation. No, but what makes it all a bit weird is that on Thursday, the day before the Osaka ruling, the Tokyo High Court decided that the Kids’ visit are not illegal as they are made as a private citizen! The Tokyo court based on their decision on the fact that the Kid did not visit the shrine on August 15, 2001, the anniversary of the end of the war, but two days earlier, which obviously makes it all right then. Even better is that we are awaiting the ruling of the Takamatsu High Court as they are about to make a decision on this very issue on Wednesday this week.

So, Tokyo says he’s OK; Osaka says he is in the wrong; are Takamatsu going to straight down the middle and just say that the PM is a private citizen and is allowed to do what he wants? Personally I can’t quite get my head around the fact that there are at least 3 High Courts, all giving seemingly binding judgements that the Kid should be adhering to. Weirder still is the fact that Fukuoka ruled that the visits were illegal and, I guess, that the Kid should stop, but because he didn’t agree with the ruling he ignored it, seemingly with impunity.

All very odd, if you ask me.

The second ruling which caught my eye was this. A Tokyo District Court ruled on Thursday that a baby girl who was born using frozen sperm from a man who died could not be recognised as the man’s daughter. The reason behind it seems to be that the dead man cannot be considered to have given his consent to have his sperm used in the ivf process, even though it was the third attempt by his common law wife and the man had been alive when the first two attempts had been made. By my reckoning that makes the baby girl his daughter, but not in Japan, it would seem.

Half the problem here is recognition. If a man makes a woman pregnant and they are not married, the man can refuse to recognise the child as his own and therefore abrogate any responsibilities for supporting the mother or child during the pregnancy and beyond. So all the kind of paternity issues that go on in places like the US just do not seem to happen here as all the man has to do is say ‘nope, not mine’, even when the baby biologically is, and he can wander off. This is bad enough if the mother happens to be Japanese as at least the baby will have Japanese nationality, but when a mother is from, say the Philippines or Korea, the baby might well end up having no status in Japan but growing up Japanese and then being forced to leave and return to their ‘home’ country when they reach 18 or 20. Anyway going back to the court ruling, it seems a bit rum to say that the dead chap didn’t give his consent when the couple had already tried twice before and where using the same batch of frozen effluent.

Again all seems a bit odd to me, but then most things about this country are.

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