Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Fukushima Daiichi; photo

by tuasfait Wed May 11th, 2011 at 11:47:05 PM EST

An electric engineer recently worked at the plant, and posted a short diary at a Japanese site. One photo caught my attention.

This message is posted at the plant's shelter room, where some 1,000 workers take rest. It is from children of a Fukushima kindergarten. The message says, "Thank you for your work. Take care!!" (paraphrasing)

Workers do not have enough space to rest; they sit on corridors and staircases, stand up, view this message, and set to work, I think.

This binder contains all messages from all over the world.

Whatever collective shortcomings we are suffering, the workers are doing their best, I am sure.

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Japanese PM resigns

by tuasfait Tue Jun 1st, 2010 at 10:45:15 PM EST

After only 8 months, Hatoyama's popularity dipped for multiple reasons to 19 to 20 percent from over 70 percent initially. His attempt to move the US marine base off Okinawa cost him badly too. I will give you some background FWIW:

1. Corruption charges
Never-ending corruption charges were thrown at Hatoyama and the party strongman Ozawa. The charges were originally brought up by the opposition, but the prosecution took particular interest in Ozawa and worked very hard to find slush funds, which did not exist. In Hatoyama's case, the money was a gift from his mother, a very wealthy woman. The mass media, both conservative and progressive (?) kept bringing up the issue for the past 8 months and the public bought into it, somewhat.

2. Okinawa
There is a 2006 agreement under which we are supposed to give Americans more air strips in exchange for closing of an unsafe air strip in Okinawa. Hatoyama tried, a bit half-heartedly, to re-negotiate the deal to relocate the base to the mainland. The only problem is that marines do not want to move out of Okinawa, where they feel more "comfortable" (i.e., like Cuba before the revolution), at the expense of Okinawa feeling more "uncomfortable". Obama and Gates seem to hate Hatoyama's decision to withdraw from the Afghan operation, and showed muscle with us over the relocation.

We Japanese are simply unable to spend any meaningful amount of time confronting Americans.  Mainstream media who believe in the alliance were appalled, and even rejoiced, at watching Hatoyama denied a tete-a-tete with Obama at the non-proliferation summit in Washington. (What was the point of refusing to meet with the representative from the only country which suffered the blast, not once but twice at the "non-proliferation" stunt anyway?) Hatoyama finally gave in and accepted the 2006 agreement. This led to withdrawal from the coalition of leftish Social Democrats.

Once again, Okinawa was left behind, and America-loving commentators laughed hard at Hatoyama, who "gave Okinawa too much hope". Or was it too much a change?

3. Way forward
Democrats will do better in the up-coming election anyway now that Hatoyama and Ozawa left.  But I am not sure about how much longer Democrats can hold on to power.  

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Japan's general election: end of one-party rule

by tuasfait Sun Aug 30th, 2009 at 03:35:55 AM EST

As you may have read in the NYT, we are headed for a general election of the lower house on Sunday. If polls are to be believed, the 50-year old one-party rule by conservative Liberal Democrats (LDP) is likely to end tomorrow. Instead the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) will gain a super majority. Here are a few projections by Japanese mass media of likely distribution of 480 seats:

Asahi Daily (liberal): DPJ 320: LDP 100
Yomiuri (about as informative as Pravda was): DPJ >300: LDP 100?
Sankei (conservative propaganda): DPJ >300: LDP 130

This is more than a change. This will be abrogation of whatever LDP stood for. So, I am lucky enough to see the day when Japan finally withdraws from one-party rule coalition in this part of the world of PRC, North Korea, Japan and Singapore. What are we smoking?

from the diaries - Nomad

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Japan "proudly" withdraws from Iraq

by tuasfait Mon Jun 19th, 2006 at 10:33:08 PM EST

First, the good news. Koizumi is about to announce (Tuesday is a cabinet meeting day) that he will withdraw all ground troops from Iraq soon. It is great to know they did not kill any Iraqi, as far as I know.

Now the bad news:

  1. This sets a precedent for Japanese hearts and minds that they have successfully(?) sent and managed armed troops for foreign occupation. In the Japanese history, we were always beaten out of foreign land previously. According to the choreographed government noise machine, the official story is that Koizumi now finds the "conditions for withdrawal" have been met as the Iraqi government takes over the security responsibilities in the region. (Or Bush gave consent, more precisely.)

  2. The government's claim of "success" that Japan, for the first time in the post-WWII history, took part in armed occupation, and showed its resolve not to "surrender to terror" is reverberating among the people who are obsessed with North Korea, and media who continuously fed us with good news of welcome from friendly Iraqi people.

(More)

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Do you want to know where Japan is headed?

by tuasfait Tue May 2nd, 2006 at 01:32:57 AM EST

I found another proof that I am not a doomsayer. According to the Asahi newspaper (supposed to be liberal at the level of WaPo or NYT) released a sobering survey among Japanese today.

Q1. Do you know anything about the Far East International Military Tribunal (Tokyo Tribunal)?

Very well: 4%
A little: 23%
Heard of it but not sure what it was about: 53%
Never heard of it: 17%

Clearly, the rightwing's attempt to erase the history is working.
(more on the flip)

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Let's talk about Doomsday..

by tuasfait Thu Apr 13th, 2006 at 04:31:08 AM EST

movies, for fun, while we can. I hope this will be a good introduction to the nuclear scare for youngsters here too.

1. On the Beach (1959)
One of the most frightening movies I ever saw as a kid; in fact, it ranked second only to Godzilla. I remember my mother wept (although I don't know if she liked the Ava Gardner/Gregory Peck melodrama or the story). The most horrifying scene to me was the empty SF street seen from the periscope of the nuclear sub. Also shocking was the scene of the empty plaza at Melbourne with the sign "There Is Still Time."  Yes, there was, back in 1959. This movie will live on, with the tune of Waltzing Matilda.

2. Sekai Daisenso (World War) (1961)
I saw this Japanese movie on television. Some of the storyline was freely copied from On the Beach. But the scene of the main character (a tax driver) shouting from his home that his kid would go to college no matter what happens tomorrow is moving. (I think the actor really meant it.)

3. Dr. Strangelove (1964)
A knock-out masterpiece, as most of you would agree. I wasn't old enough to see this movie real time. We were only 2 years out of the Cuban missile crisis and this was too vivid. For trivia lovers, watch carefully the nuclear blast scenes at the ending. There are a few footages of the Bikini experiments. You can see a few navy vessels under the mushroom cloud. They are former Japanese navy vessels to guage the impact, and one battleship Nagato was reputed to have withstood a blast, to the pride of a young Japanese military fan (who grew up to be an anti-war teenager, and later to a pro-America realist, and then...).

4. Planet of the Apes (1968)
The ending of the remake follows the original story, while this one knocks you out. Unfortunately, a classmate of mine spoiled my pleasure telling the ending to everyone.

OK, it's your turn.

Comments >> (25 comments)

Japan's Election: Landslide for Koizumi

by tuasfait Sun Sep 11th, 2005 at 04:29:14 PM EST

From the diaries ~ whataboutbob

Judging from the exit poll, Koizumi is set on a landslide victory, his party Liberal Democrats (LDP) winning about 300 out of 480 seats, while the opposition Democrats (DPJ) is suffering a serious setback with only 100 seats projected to win.

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