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Number 1 Shimbun

Yeas and Neighs: Bold predictions for the Year of the Horse


If our esteemed forecasters’ crystal balls have any say about it, relations between Japan and China will dominate the news over the next 12 months . . . if, that is, the secrecy bill doesn’t completely muzzle the press. Given the feisty attitude that pervades these predictions, however, we see little chance of that happening.
So here’s what’s going down over the next 365 days:


The year 2014 will mark the end of the old world order and the beginning of a new golden age but, not a new world order.       --Benjamin Fulford


The defending Japan champion Rakuten Golden Eagles will fail to repeat their success of 2013. They will struggle in the early going and manager Senichi Hoshino will lose his famous temper and start slugging players, including his own, again. No one will complain. . . . A scandal involving yakuza groups, gambling and baseball players will emerge.    --Robert Whiting


Japan and Iran’s secret ties revealed as Japan’s “nuclear mafia” exports refined plutonium to Iran via its controversial spent nuclear fuel recycling plant of Monju and Rokkasho Village.  -- Nathalie-Kyoko Stucky


In the major leagues, Tanaka wins 20 games and Yu Darvish wins Cy Young.   -- Teddy Jimbo, Video News Network


Underwater volcano creates new island near the Senkaku islets: China, Japan and Taiwan agree to share it.  -- Sonja Blasche


Concerned that fewer people are paying attention to him, Osaka mayor and Japan Restoration Party co-leader Toru Hashimoto announces Japan’s prewar system of military government was necessary at the time. He will challenge “revisionist’’ historians and foreign journalists to disprove him.   -- Eric Johnston, the Japan Times


Someone paying attention to Toru Hashimoto.


In April, the Chinese government declares the entire known universe as an Air Defense Identification Zone in which foreign planes, spacecraft and dirigibles must file flight plans with Beijing. A Japanese gov’t spokesperson calls the move “highly regrettable” but does not provide details, citing the Secrecy Law.   -- Steve McClure


A galaxy in China's soon-to-be-announced Air Defense Identification Zone.


Apple’s unveiling yesterday of its iTV,  a smart television that can be controlled by Siri voice command technology, left analysts yawning.  “We were expecting it to at least have a hologram feature like in Star Wars, if not a function to teleport you directly into a Hollywood studio, as in Star Trek” says Jake Nolitle, an analyst with DupeU Inc.    -- John Boyd


A reporter will be questioned but not arrested for violations of the Special Secrets Bill. The story will be deliberately leaked, reporting will be low-key and fear will spread amongst the already timid Japanese journalist population.  -- Jake Adelstein, the Atlantic Wire



PM Abe writes a letter to the Chinese president thanking Beijing for the conflict in the East China Sea. Abe writes: “Now I can change the Japanese Constitution, arm the SDF, dream about Japan becoming No. 1 again, and forget all this Abenomics stuff that really never interested me in the first place.”  -- Carsten Germis, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung


Prime Minister Shinzo Abe forgets what he learned in his class, Japanese politics 101: “No Japanese politician is guaranteed a golden term.” His government gets shaky as the public loses faith following the state secrecy law and his lackluster third arrow.    -- Ayako Mie, the Japan Times


Prime Minister Shinzo Abe names NHK the Ministry of Truth, introduces the new offense of “Thoughtcrime” for media references to comfort women and moves out of the home he shares with his pro-Korea, anti-nuclear wife . . . though this will remain a secret until 2074.    -- David McNeill, the Independent


mole.jpgJapan and China come close to resolving their territorial dispute, when a joint expedition of scientists discover a single surviving specimen of the endangered Senkaku (or Diaoyu) mole. But the discovery leads to more acrimony after it emerges that the Abe government has adopted the creature as a yuru kyara (cute mascot) named Aikoku-chan – and that the Chinese team have, in any case, eaten it.   -- Richard Lloyd Parry, the Times


The Abe government will take advantage of its control of the Diet to push through what amounts to a virtual rightwing revolution. This, in turn, will provoke larger protests than we are currently witnessing. 2014 will end with the Japanese nation more divided.   -- Michael Penn, Shingetsu News Agency


After a tumultuous but secret affair, Japan’s Abe and South Korea’s Park elope.   -- Bob Neff



Prime Minister Assures Nation
Everything is Just Fine. Honest.
Julian Ryall, the Daily Telegraph


Car Showrooms Eerily Quiet on
First Day of Higher Sales Tax
                  -- Weng Kin Kwan, The Straits Times Press


Abe Administration Announces Totally Kawaii ‘Cool Secret Japan’ Mascot
                  --  Matt Alt


Tensions in Sino-Japan Relations Ease Dramatically
Yosuke Watanabe, Kyodo News, Beijing


Japan Admits Foreign Robot Caregivers:
Must Leave in Six Months and Not Marry Japanese Robots
Suvendrini Kakuchi


Japanese Music Industry Shocked as Producer
Creates Female Band with Less Than 48 Members
Fred Varcoe


Premier’s Resignation
Leaves Japan in Disarray

                   -- Martin Fackler, the New York Times




Published in: January

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