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DISPATCHES

 

A regular up-date featuring articles written for publications

all over the world by FCCJ Correspondents

U.S. military spokesman: Injuries to Okinawa anti-base protesters "laughable"

In the Japan Times, Jon Mitchell reports on the U.S. Marine Corps response to the crackdown on local demonstrators

As the Japanese government intensifies its crackdown against demonstrators blocking construction of a new Pentagon base in the Henoko district of Nago city, Okinawa, a senior U.S. Marine Corps spokesman has weighed into the fray by accusing peaceful protesters there of faking their injuries. On Jan. 22, Capt. Caleb D. Eames, deputy public affairs officer for the Marine Corps Installations Pacific, likened demonstrators to play-acting professional soccer players. "The attempt to appear injured is laughable when you see it in person," he said. Read the article

Two very different hostages

In the New York Times, Martin Fackler looks at the two Japanese men, linked by their being taken hostage by Islamic State

In the public's mind, the two Japanese hostages held by Islamic State militants have become inexticably linked: a pair of grim-faced figures who appeared last week in a video kneeling in orange jumpsuits next to a masked militant demanding a ransom for their lives. The fats of the two men became even more tightly bound ove the weekend, when an image was released showing one holding what appeared to be a photograph of the other's decapitated body Read the article

Haruki Murakami Turns Agony Uncle

Novelist begins responding to readers' questions online, reports Justin McCurry in the Guardian

Haruki Murakami concedes he could improve on one of his most famous novels, says he has learned to live with the barbs of his critics, and admits feeling slightly awkward about sharing a birthday with Adolf Hitler's right-hand man. The novelist's long-awaited reincarnation as an agony uncle began on Friday when he started responding to fans' online questions about, among other topics, bringing up children and hate speech, although he predictably steered away from offering any insights into his private life.  Read the article.

Doubt Instead of Apologies

In the Wiener Zeitung, Sonja Blaschke focuses on the avoidance of responsibilty for the "comfort women" system

Gute PR sieht anders aus. "Nichts schadet Japans Image in der Welt mehr als der Versuch, das Thema der ‚Trostfrauen‘ wegzudiskutieren", sagte Professor Gerald Curtis von der amerikanischen Columbia-Universität kürzlich. Der renommierte Japanexperte beschäftigt sich seit 50 Jahren mit Japan. Er beobachtet seit langem, wie die ostasiatische Nation versucht, mit einem der dunkelsten Kapitel ihrer Geschichte umzugehen: dem Menschenhandel und der systematischen Versklavung von Frauen für Soldatenbordelle in den Jahren vor und im Zweiten Weltkrieg. Read the article

Will Farming Tuna Solve the Overfishing Issue?

In the Guardian, Justin McCurry reports on the New Year bluefin tuna auction results and some efforts by researchers to slow the fish's demise

In the end, the price was a little underwhelming. The prized fish, weighing in at 180kg, was worth just 4.51 million yen, and its new owner was left puzzled. Kiyoshi Kimura, who runs a chain of sushi restaurants, said he was surprised after securing the giant Pacific bluefin tuna for such a low price at the first auction of the year at Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo. Read the article

An Interview with Author of Book about Honda Motors

In the Japan Times, Ayako Mie interviews journalist Jeffrey Rothfeder, author of definitive book on the automaker

When it comes to business, no one wants to settle for second best. Companies, almost by definition, are always trying to ensure that they are in front of their rivals in terms of market share, sales and brand recognition. Despite often leading the pack in terms of technological innovations in the industry, Honda Motor Co., a 66-year-old automaker founded by Soichiro Honda, has always been overshadowed by its Japanese archrival, Toyota Motor Corp. Read the article

North Korea's Seductive Female Agents

In the Telegraph, Julian Ryall reveals a North Korean program to send female agents to have children with foreign politicians, businessmen and journalists

North Korea has blackmailed dozens, if not hundreds, of politicians, journalists and businessmen after seducing them with female agents, a former elite North Korean politician has revealed. In a scheme called "the seed-bearing programme," high-level visitors to Pyongyang would be sent an attactive consort, only to find out several months later that they have a child in North Korea. Read the article

Godzilla vs Godzilla

In the Guardian, Justin McCurry reports that Toho is going to resurrect the Japanese monster despite sinking him 10 years ago

A decade after a Japanese film studio sent Godzilla on his "final" journey of destruction, the irradiated monster is set to stomp ashore and trample across Tokyo again as the country attempts to reclaim its creation from Hollywood. The new film, the 29th in the studios series that began as Japan embarked on its postwar economic miracle, will appear two years before Hollywood's version of the saurian tormenter returns in the sequel to this year's hit Godzilla, which grossed more than $500 million worldwide.  Read the article

No Ringing Endorsement

The Guardian's editorial view of Shinzo Abe's re-election: a big majority but little enthusiasm

The results of the Japanese general election are, in one word, strange. The coalition led by the incumbent prime minister, Shinzo Abe, won a commanding two-thirds of the seats, and secured its hold on government for the next four years. But it did so on a dismally low turnout, the worst since the end of the second world war, and in spite of a widespread loss of confidence in Mr Abe's flagship economic program . . . Read the article

LDP Wins Big in Election

Ken Moritsugu of AP reports on the big victory by the ruling party and what it means for Japan

Japan's ruling coalition won a resounding victory in lower house elections Sunday, firming up Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's hold on power as he prepares to push forward on several poltically difficult fronts. The conservative LDP, which has ruled for most of the post-World War II era, locked up a solid majority, and appeared headed to winning at least two thirds of the House of Reporesentatives together with its coalition partner. Read the article

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