Tag Archive for: japan

Today we commemorate the 73rd year since the bombing of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. The death toll in the first hours after the bomb was dropped is estimated at 75,000 to 80,000. Many of those who survived the immediate blast died shortly afterwards from fatal burns and other serious complications caused by radiation. This increased the death toll to 140,000 by December 1945, and to more than 200,000 by the end of 1950. These deaths overwhelmingly belong to the civilian population which largely inhabit the city, which is a residential and business center. A few days later, US dropped another bombed in Nagasaki, killing an estimated 80,000.

The necessity of the Hiroshima bombing to the Japanese surrender is still persistently argued by the US Government. But investigation of all the facts, supported by testimonies from both camps belies this claim and reveals that by the time the bomb was ready for use, Japan was already planning to surrender. General Dwight Eisenhower said in 1963, “Japan was at that very moment seeking some way to surrender with minimum loss of face. It was not necessary to hit them with that awful thing.” While Admiral William Leahy, Pres. Harry Truman’s chief military advisor during the bombing, wrote: “It is my opinion that the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender because of the effective sea blockade and the successful bombing with conventional weapons.”

To this day the United States government and its allies continue their abhorrent practice of bombing civilians in its endless “war on terror” in West Asia and elsewhere. Monitoring group Airwars says at least 5,961 civilians have been killed by bombings since the war against ISIS started in 2014. The US-led military coalition in the region puts their estimate in more conservtive levels reporting only 1,790 potential civilian casualties that resulted from the more than 28,000 air strikes that it launched.

On July 9th, the Japanese ruling Party, the Liberal Democratic Party posted on their official website, a form asking people to send in cases where school teachers have deviated from political neutrality, citing among others an example where a teacher expressed strong concerns over “sending children to war” or strong opposition over a controversial and unconstitutional law passed by the LDP in 2015. It is a grave threat to democracy, if the ruling party truly thinks these opinions constitute a deviation from neutrality.

In 2013, Vice Prime Minister Taro Aso has mentioned in public that “we should be learning from the Nazis”. Currently, it seems the party is not just learning from the Nazis, they are aggressively using strategies from their playbook. This absurdity must be stopped.

The online form read as follows:
“The Party commission on Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology is in pursuit of unbiased education, but it is a fact that there are teachers who argue in the field of education that  ‘a politically neutral education is impossible’ or that ‘we should not be sending our children to war’ and conduct teachings that deviate from neutrality. While education for the purpose of building sovereign citizenry is important, there is a concern that a biased education will make students lose a diverse perspective, and the party is deeply concerned that politically biased education being conducted purposefully for mock voting classes in high school education will bring students to conclusions tainted in certain ideologies. Hence we conduct this survey on the actual situation of political neutrality in school education. We ask all for your cooperation.”

And the form continues below to ask the cooperator to say specific when a certain teacher has deviated from political neutrality. Asking for the informants name and contact as a mandatory information to complete the form.

This is apparently a system with many similarities with the Nazi regime asking people to turn in Jews in the community. There is no logical argument which says teachers telling students not to send children to war is beyond political neutrality. It is just basic human decency.

What is more, the online statement has been altered a couple of times after criticisms mounted on the internet, and the changes give us a glimpse of what the LDP is really looking for.

The second version of the statement listed as examples of not neutral education where a teacher may say the “securities laws should be abolished”. This sites a highly controversial law passed in 2015 that allows changes to the security protocol of Japan. A majority of professors in Law had condemned the law as unconstitutional, but the LDP decided to railroad the law in spite of public opposition. Many people still consider this law unconstitutional and that the law must be abolished or at the least be changed to follow the constitution.

There have been multiple polls showing that.

So essentially what the LDP is asking is to turn in teachers, including those from public schools overseen by the government, who have expressed opposition to their own policies.

This is not what a matured democracy is supposed to look like. This is fascism, and it comes from the Nazi playbook.


The current version of the online form can be seen here.

* The current version of the statement on the online form takes out one of the examples and says “but it is also a fact that there are
teachers who argue in the field of education that ‘a politically neutral education is impossible’ and conduct teachings that deviated
from neutrality.”

* The translations from the original text have been provided by the author of this release and is not the official translation provided by the LDP

For further information please contact:
Shigeru Tanaka
Pacific Asia Resource Center


APRN Statement on Protests vs US Military Troops in Japan
June 24, 2016

The Asia Pacific Research Network (APRN) vehemently opposes the continued presence of US military troops in Okinawa Prefecture, Japan and condemns the Abe Administration’s continued negligence to the voices of the Okinawan people that led to the recent murder and rape of a 20-year-old Okinawan woman by a former US Marine.

Last May 19, Kenneth Franklin Shinzato was arrested by Okinawan authorities over the death of Rina Shumabukuro whose body was found beside a road in central Okinawa after being reported missing last April 28. The former US Marine confessed to raping Shimabukuro before strangling and stabbing her to death after which he transported her body in a suitcase. This is not the first time this happened in Okinawa – in 1995, three US Marines gang-raped a 12-year old Okinawan schoolgirl which marked the groundswell of peoples opposition against military bases in Japan[1]. Massive demonstrations in 1995 prompted the US to publicly ‘pledge’ in reducing its military footprint in Okinawa which ironically until now still serves as a linchpin to US’ security relations with Japan and a strategic location for the US to pursue its pivot to East Asia.

The recent killing and rape of a local Okinawan woman sparked yet again simultaneous mass protests across the country that gathered tens of thousands of people in Japan calling for the ouster of US military bases in the country.

The heavy US military presence in Okinawa operates under the US-Japan Security Treaty first signed in 1952 which allows the US to take unfettered military actions in Japan in the interest of ‘maintaining peace’ in East Asia. The security treaty was further amended in 1960 to include a separate pact called the SOFA (Status of Forces Agreement) agreement which unduly protects US military personnel, servicemen, base employees and certain civilian workers who commit crimes in the country by giving the US jurisdiction over such cases[2]. It must be noted that in this case of violence against Rina, the former US Marine was arrested by the Okinawan authorities, and is expected to face criminal court under the local authority. However, that may not have been possible had he fled into the US bases, or if the violence had occurred while on duty.

The continued US military presence this treaty perpetuates puts the Japanese peoples at risk as it allows free reign for US soldiers and service people to commit crimes with impunity, and provides the US with unrestricted access to Japan’s resources to secure its geopolitical interests in the region. For seven decades now since the end of World War II, the people continue to bear the weight of vast US military bases in Okinawa along with the numerous human rights violations associated with them.

In addition, Okinawa’s land mass is less than 1 percent of Japan’s but it is home to 74% of exclusive-use US military facilities in the country[3]. Okinawa currently hosts 26,000 US military personnel, 32 US military installations, 20 air spaces and 28 water areas that serve as training zones exclusive for US military use[4].

This over burden is, in part, due to the ignorance by the Japanese Government to let this go on. As an island on the peripheries of the Japanese Archipelago, the Okinawan people have historically been subject to discrimination by Tokyo. Nearly 80 percent of people in Okinawa have always demanded that the burden be at least matched by other prefecture’s share of US bases. However, the voices only fell into deaf ears of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, especially under the current Abe Administration, who himself is aggressively leading the militarization of the Far East.

APRN stands in solidarity with the Okinawan people demanding justice for the death of Rina and the immediate pullout of US military troops from their land. We likewise urge our members, partners and the international community at large to continue opposing the presence of US military bases across the Asia Pacific region.





[1] http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/06/19/world/protesters-gather-for-massive-rally-against-u-s-military-on-okinawa/#.V2pO7bh97IU

[2] http://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2008/02/26/community/u-s-military-crime-sofa-so-good/#.V2pnfrh97IU

[3] http://www.pref.okinawa.jp/site/chijiko/kichitai/documents/us%20military%20base%20issues%20in%20okinawa.pdf

[4] http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/34694-in-pivot-to-asia-us-military-reinforces-its-foothold-in-the-pacific