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DISPATCHES

 

A regular up-date featuring articles written for publications

all over the world by FCCJ Correspondents

Artist Jailed Again over "Obscene" Kayak

In the Irish Times, David McNeill follows Megumi Igarashi's arrest and confinement

When Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi began to make plaster casts of her genitalia and show them in exhibitions, she accepted some people might be upset. But she could not have imagined she would end up in prison. Ms. Igarashi has spent 10 days in a Tokyo women's prison. Her crime, police say, was sending an email to a "large number of people" with a link showing them a plan for how to create a boat using an "obscene" 3D image of her vagina.  Read the article

More on LDP and the Media

In the Neue Zurcher Zeitung, Patrick Zoll says the ruling party is bullying the media

Eine Wahl wird zu Hause gewonnen. Darum treten Politiker im Wahlkampf in erster Linie dort auf, wo sie ihre Wählerschaft erreichen können. Trotzdem statten die Vertreter japanischer Parteien üblicherweise auch dem Klub der Auslandskorrespondenten (FCCJ) einen Besuch ab. Read the article

Is LDP Dodging the FCCJ?

A report by AFP on the ruling party's avoidance of tough election questions at the Club

The ruling party of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will not send anyone to speak at a foreign journalists' club before the general election, a spokesman admitted Friday, sparking accusations it is shying away from tough questions. Read the article

Attack on Asahi Emboldens Revisionists

Martin Fackler covers the rightist assaults on the Asahi, on a retired journalist and the comfort womens' history, in the New York Times

Takashi Uemura was 33 when he wrote the article that would make his career. Then an investigative reporter for the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's second largest newspaper, he examined whether  the Imperial Army forced women to work in military brothels during World War II. His report, under the headline, "Remembering Still Brings Tears," was one of the first to tell the story of a former "comfort woman" from Korea. Read the article

Is Banning Whaling Akin to Banning the Kimono?

In the Guardian, Justin McCurry reports that Tokyo's chief negotiator at the IWC attacked "eco-imperialist" countries who want a "stupid" ban on hunting

Australia's "imperialist" campaign against whaling is akin to restricting the right of Japanese women to wear the kimono, the country's chief negotiator at the International Whaling Commision has said. Joji Morishita, the head of Tokyo's delegation, said Japan woud defy "eco-imperialist" anti-whaling countryies -- led by Australia and New Zealand -- and resume the slaughter of whales in the Southern Ocean in late 2015. Read the article

Japan Needs Action, Not Elections

Bloomberg columnist William Pesek argues that PM Abe's call for elections is a distraction rather than a move forward

For a leader who's displayed no shortage of tough-guy tendencies, why does Shinzo Abe act so timidly when it comes to Japan's economy? That might sound like a strange question to ask today, when the prime minister appears ready to call a dramatic snap election to win support for his economic policies. AFter an annualized 1.6 percent plunge in third-quarter growth, which has technically pushed Japan back into recession, Abe is hoping for a mandate to postpone a proposed sales-tax increase due next year. Read the article

Okinawan Election Results in Headache for Abe

In the Guardian, Justin McCurry reports on the election of Takeshi Onaga, who is an opponent of new base construction on the island

Plans to relocate a U.S. marine corps airbase on Okinawa in southern Japan have been thrown into doubt after an anti-base candidate won the race to become the island's governor. Onaga's victory poses a headache for Japan's prime minister, Shinzo Abe, who supports the transfer of Futenma base from the middle of a densely populated city to a remote site off Okinawa's northeast coast.  Read the article

Car Safety and the Japanese Media

In the Japan Times, Philip Brasor says the media fails to adequately cover issues that reflect negatively on auto makers

Last month, the MInistry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism released the results of tests to evaluate automatic braking functions that some automobile manufacturers now offer. The purpose of the tests, according to a report in the Asahi Shimbun, was to "provide consumers with a set of references when they choose a new car." Read the article

Japan's Economic Campaign at Make-or-Break Phase

In the New York Times, Jonathan Soble looks at the state of the economy after two years of stimulus

Hiroyuki Hara has increased prices at his flower shop in recent months, part of a broad reversal of the deflation that has long plagued Japan's economy. Getting prices rising is a national goal, but Mr. Hara isn't sure the new landscape is any more vibrant. "We used to get a lot of office workers in here, but now it's mostly just older people, the ones with savings," he says. Sales are down this year. He blames the shrinking buying power of his customers' paychecks.  Read the article

Osaka Mayor and anti-Korean Rightwinger Trade Insults in Debate

In the Guardian, Justin McCurry counts the blows between Osaka mayor Toru Hashimoto and Zaitokukai leader Makoto Sakurai


A debate on hate speech between a charismatic politician and a prominent rightwing extremist was never going to be a polite exchange of views. But few expected the much anticipated showdown between the mayor of Osaka, Toru Hashimoto, and Makoto Sakurai, the leader of an anti-Korean group, to last just a few minutes after it quickly descended into a slanging match, with the two men at one point appearing on the verge of physical violence. Read the article

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