Wednesday, 4 October 2006

Bit of an overreaction

OK, I know we’re all a bit unhappy that the Kool Kid has gone and been replaced by [think of nickname] Shinzo Abe, but I do feel that Krazy Kim is taking it just a little bit too far, don’t you? I mean OK, you’re upset, maybe the Kid didn’t pop over to Pyongyang to say goodbye, but that doesn’t really seem to be much of a reason to start letting off nuclear devices, now does it?

As I say, I think Krazy Kim is just smarting because no one told him that the Kid had gone, not even the Kid himself, probably, so he’s just a little pissed by this so decided to throw some of his toys out of his pram. Hope he doesn’t through them quite as far as Tokyo, or indeed anywhere else in Japan, as that could cause one or two tensions. Of course the fact the eyes of the world have been drawn away from North Korea to the Middle East (most bits of it) probably doesn’t help [aside, hey, here’s a really annoying thing – I’m using Japanese Word to type this, which is fine, but every time I highlight something, or use the spell checker, it works but then decides that I am indeed stupid to be using Japanese Word to type in English so decides to go back to a much more useful script like Japanese. If anyone knows how to stop it doing that in xp, I’d be most grateful].

Otherwise it has been quite quiet in Japan, considering we have a new PM. Although he has said that he’s not going to do anything about the ropey old constitution, especially with regard to the imperial succession (note – I had a bit of a dig about the whole female succession thing last post and suggested that Japan was a bit behind. Whilst this is still true I then found out that Spain has a similar policy, so just goes to show that people are dumb all over the world) which caused a bit of a stir. He also said, though I haven’t seen it in the papers, that the plan to make English a compulsory primary school lesson was going to be axed as Japanese kids need to learn Japanese. I can see some sense in the second bit of that, but don’t understand what it has to do with the first bit – I mean, if that were true, best get rid of all subjects except for Japanese history, language, literature and patriotic citizenship lessons for kindergarten kids and upwards. Dimwits, the lot of ‘em.

Talking of dimwits, Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara was in the news this week (Ishihara is great if you like racist, misogynist and other ~ist politicians, but he is also great if you want stuff to write about in a blog). In past Ishihara has come up with such gems as ‘watch out, if the big one hits Tokyo the rioting and looting will only be done by foreigners, so kick them out [nb he used the term ‘sangokujin’, rather than ‘gaikokujin’, which is to ‘foreigner’ what n**ger is to those of African-American descent i.e. rather insulting]; on the rape of Nanking by Japanese soldiers “They say we made a holocaust there, but that is not true. It is a lie made up by the Chinese”; and I have a strong suspicion he was the infamous one who said that birthrate would go up if the footy world cup came to Japan because the foreign fans would rape all the Japanese women they found (but I might be wrong in attributing that one to him, though someone did say it).

Anyway a year or two ago he passed a resolution that stated that all teachers at public (i.e. state run) schools, from primary through to high school, must stand and face the hinomaru, otherwise known as the flag of Japan, and sing Kimigayo, the national anthem, during school ceremonies. If the teachers failed to do this they could be reprimanded and sacked. This was, it appears, to make them better citizens, more patriotic and something else as well. So this was passed and not surprisingly a bunch of teachers didn’t do what they were told and were then reprimanded and/or sacked. But in an unusually un-Japanese move the teachers complained about it and took the Tokyo Government to court. Even more unusually, they won. Last week the Tokyo District court of somethingorother found that the rule passed by Ishihara was unconstitutional and that people cannot be forced to sing the national anthem if they don’t want to. Naturally this first of all really surprised Ishihara as I suspect he had paid awful lot of mon...[snip: we would prefer not to publish libelous comments on this blog – rude, yes; libelous, no] and secondly he was really pissed off about it, naturally, so has decided to appeal the ruling (at least I think he has, he was certainly mulling it). But for heaven’s sakes you shouldn’t be forcing people to do this – you can create a just and civilized society so that its citizens might be proud and want to sing the national anthem, but as soon as you start telling people they have to, well, best call Krazy Kim for some advice.

Oh, and found this link over at Ippoippo – if you haven’t seen it it is the interview Bill Clinton did on Fox News where he gets a little angry. So nice to a) hear an intelligent American (ex)president speak and b) for said intelligent American to have a right go at Fox. Enjoy.

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