Kjeld Duits, Tuesday, August 30, 2005 Posted: 08:46 PM JST
The main political parties in Japan have finished their manifestos for the general election of September 11. Here follows a list of their platforms:
Kjeld Duits, Tuesday, August 30, 2005 Posted: 09:16 AM JST
(by David McNeill) - The watchdog role of journalists in Japan is on trial in several cases with enormous implications for freedom of the press here
In a summer laden with portentous anniversaries, several important skirmishes between journalists and the people they keep tabs on passed by almost unnoticed.
Kjeld Duits, Monday, August 29, 2005 Posted: 11:22 AM JST
Japan's opposition party Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan) took points from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) an Asahi Shimbun poll showed yesterday. The results showed that 24 percent of respondents would vote for the LDP under the proportional representation system. Two weeks ago a similar poll showed that 31 percent supported the LDP.
Kjeld Duits, Monday, August 29, 2005 Posted: 11:01 AM JST
On September 11 Japan will vote for a new lower house. The election could possibly radically change the Japanese political landscape. It will at the very least decide if Japan will reform or protect the status quo. These are some of the main political parties competing in this election:
In August 2005 Nagano Governor Yasuo Tanaka (1956) and four other politicians founded the Shinto Nippon party in response to Prime Minister's Koizumi dissolution of the Lower House. (JPN)
Jiyuminshuto, Liberal Democratic Party. Formed from several parties in 1955. With strong support among busineses and farmers, the LDP played a major role in the post war Japanese economic revival. (ENG JPN)
Democratic Party of Japan. Formed in 1998 from dissidents of Jiminto and socialists in order to create a counterweight to Jiminto (LDP) and to establish a two party system like in the USA. (ENG JPN)
New Clean Government Party. Komeito was formed in 1964 as the political wing of Soka Gakkai. It officially severed the link in the 1970's. It joined several coalitions with the LDP. (ENG JPN)
Nihon Kyosanto (JCP)
Japan Communist Party. Formed in 1922, the JCP was mostly a secretive and underground movement until it was legalized after the Second World War. (ENG JPN)
Shakaiminshuto, Shakaito, Democratic Socialist Party, Socialist Party. Founded in 1945, split, merged again in 1955. In 1996 name changed to Shaminto. In 1998 many members joined Minshuto. (JPN)
Find more sites related to Japan at Japan Links. Special section for Japanese Political Parties.
Kjeld Duits, Monday, August 29, 2005 Posted: 10:47 AM JST
The ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has asked the media not to use the term "shikaku" (assassins) when referring to some of their candidates, Kyodo reports today. The Japanese media started using the term for LDP candidates in the September 11 general election who have been fielded to fight or replace rebel LDP lawmakers who voted against postal privatization bills.
Kjeld Duits, Saturday, August 27, 2005 Posted: 03:07 PM JST
Exactly 60 years ago the Japanese nation was anxiously awaiting what the allied occupation would bring them. All the large cities were in ruins. Their inhabitants were homeless and often rudderless. Japan had lost the war. On August 15th the Japanese had heard the emperor speak on the radio. He used incomprehensible court language that turned out to be Japan's surrender. Many were confused. Now, 60 years later, I feel that many Japanese are still confused.
Kjeld Duits, Thursday, August 25, 2005 Posted: 10:06 AM JST
Another step closer to human-like robots. A team of Japanese researchers lead by Takao Someya have developed a flexible, electronic skin capable of detecting both pressure and temperature. This advance could provide robots with a human-like sense of touch.
Kjeld Duits, Thursday, August 25, 2005 Posted: 09:46 AM JST
University of Michigan researchers have discovered that Asians literally see the world differently from North Americans of European background.
Kjeld Duits, Wednesday, August 24, 2005 Posted: 08:51 PM JST
US democratic blogger Oliver Willis is hawking Democratic Party t-shirts with the phrase "Truman Dropped The Bomb" (see sample here). It is truly sick. People complain about Japan being unaware of its history...
Those bombs killed 210,000 people in the most horrendous manner. Many of them women and children. Regardless of the controversial discussion of them shortening the war or not, these bombs are just as bad as chemical weapons. One should not be proud of using them.
The moment you glorify violence deliberately aimed at civilian populations, you loose all moral authority.
Leave a message at the Willis site to protest.
Kjeld Duits, Wednesday, August 24, 2005 Posted: 09:18 AM JST
The number of employees suffering from mental health disorders is on the rise in the majority of Japanese companies, with a striking increase among workers in their thirties, according to a survey published in April 2005 by the Institute of Labor Administration, a private research institution in Japan.
Kjeld Duits, Wednesday, August 24, 2005 Posted: 08:16 AM JST
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has commissioned a private company to translate parts of its junior high school history textbooks. It concerns sections about Japan and neighboring countries in 8 books that deal with Japan's modern history. Chinese and Korean translations will be posted on the company's website today, according to te ministry. The MOFA website will link to the translations of the Japanese history textbooks. English translations will be posted on the site later.
Kjeld Duits, Tuesday, August 23, 2005 Posted: 12:08 PM JST
Asahi Shimbun's Edan Corkill beautifully reviews Miwa Yanagi's exposition "The Incredible Tale of the Innocent Old Lady and the Heartless Young Girl" which runs at Tokyo's Hara Museum of Contemporary Art through November 6:
Kjeld Duits, Tuesday, August 23, 2005 Posted: 10:12 AM JST
Better workplaces would encouage women to have children a survey on motherhood in Japan has found. This corresponds with findings of a white paper recently released by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry.
Kjeld Duits, Monday, August 22, 2005 Posted: 09:08 PM JST
Within a week three brand new parties have seen the light in Japan. Former heavyweights of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party last Wednesday announced the formation of the Kokumin Shinto party (People's New Party). Yesterday the Shinto Nippon (New Party Japan) was born. Convicted bribe-taker and former LDP deputy chief cabinet secretary Muneo Suzuki has formed Hokkaido-based Shinto Daichi (New Party Mother Earth).
Kjeld Duits, Friday, August 19, 2005 Posted: 06:03 PM JST
Yesterday I finally got to see "Black Rain" by Shohei Imamura, starring Yoshiko Tanaka, Kazuo Kitamura, Etsuko Ichihara and Shoichi Ozawa. The title refers to the radioactive fallout which fell upon Hiroshima after the dropping of the first atomic bomb on August 6, 1945. The story follows Yasuko and her uncle and aunt five years after the blast, with flash-backs to the day itself.
Kjeld Duits, Friday, August 19, 2005 Posted: 09:01 AM JST
History and civics tomes put out by the rightist Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform are expected to account for only 1 percent of all texts used in junior high schools nationwide from next spring, reports Asahi Shimbun today. The group had targeted a figure of 10 percent.
Kjeld Duits, Friday, August 19, 2005 Posted: 08:33 AM JST
(by Tessa Morris-Suzuki) - In the last week of January and the first weeks of February 2005, the words which leapt out at commuters' eyes from the advertisements were "lies", "witch hunt", "political pressure" and everywhere, the names of two of Japan's largest and most influential media institutions: the national broadcasting company NHK and the daily newspaper Asahi. The two organizations were embroiled in an intense battle over problem of media ethics and freedom, and their rival media organizations were observing the struggle with considerable glee.
Kjeld Duits, Thursday, August 18, 2005 Posted: 09:04 PM JST
At around 10:15 this morning, the total number of visitors to EXPO 2005 reached 15 million. This is the target number of visitors the Japan Association for the 2005 World Exposition had set for the entire duration of the Expo. In an official statement Shoichiro Toyoda, Chairman of the Association, attributed the success to the "attractive and distinctive exhibits and events" and "ongoing improvements".
Reaching the target does not mean it is time to rest, he explained. "We will continue to do our utmost until the very last visitor leaves the site on the closing date of September 25 to make this first World Exposition of the twenty-first century a place of hope, wonderment, and excitement for all visitors."
Kjeld Duits, Thursday, August 18, 2005 Posted: 05:28 PM JST
(by Chris Bunting) - There was a fascinating account on Japan's Kyodo newswire at the end of last week of a visit by a group of British school children to Japan to commemorate the end of the war. The children laid wreaths at the memorial of the Mitsushima camp in Nagano Prefecture, where 60 allied POWs died, and commemorated the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Japanese people in the atomic bombings.
Kjeld Duits, Wednesday, August 17, 2005 Posted: 07:04 PM JST
The Japanese government will set up a web site later this month about suicide The Asahi Shimbun reports today. It will be named "Ikiru" (To live). The site's aim is to "coordinate preventive efforts on a nationwide basis" and is targeted at local government officials and private-sector people involved in suicide prevention.
The site will be operated by the National Institute of Mental Health at the National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry. Besides basic data and the latest trends, it will provide preventive guidelines as well as reports submitted by experts. The Japanese health ministry began researching suicide prevention measures in earnest in fiscal 2001. Some 30,227 people killed themselves in 2004. It was the second consecutive year for suicides to exceed 30,000.
Kjeld Duits, Tuesday, August 16, 2005 Posted: 08:58 PM JST
A Mainichi survey over the weekend showed a lack of consensus on WWII. Some 43 percent of respondents consider Japan's wars against the Allies and China in the middle of the 20th century a mistake. However, 26 percent of respondents said they were unable to provide an opinion on Japan's role in World War II. Some 29 percent felt the wars were unavoidable.
Kjeld Duits, Tuesday, August 16, 2005 Posted: 07:08 AM JST
(by Greg Mitchell) - NEW YORK In the weeks following the atomic attacks on Japan almost 60 years ago, and then for decades afterward, the United States engaged in airtight suppression of all film shot in Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the bombings. This included footage shot by U.S. military crews and Japanese newsreel teams. In addition, for many years all but a handful of newspaper photographs were seized or prohibited.
The public did not see any of the newsreel footage for 25 years, and the U.S. military film remained hidden for nearly four decades.
Kjeld Duits, Monday, August 15, 2005 Posted: 09:27 PM JST
Spanish born Tokyo based photographer Dave Coll Blanco covered the 60th anniversary of the end of WWII at Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, Japan on August 15, 2005. Dave works freelance for Spanish News Agency EFE and publications like GEO Magazine. These images are available for purchase. Contact Dave directly at
iKjeld.com welcomes contributions. Please contact us if you are interested in contributing.
Keywords: national_news photo_essay
Kjeld Duits, Monday, August 15, 2005 Posted: 04:25 PM JST
"On the 60th anniversary of the end of the war, I reaffirm my determination that Japan must never again take the path to war, reflecting that the peace and prosperity we enjoy today are founded on the ultimate sacrifices of those who lost their lives for the war against their will.
Kjeld Duits, Monday, August 15, 2005 Posted: 01:23 PM JST
Exactly 60 years ago, on August 15, Japan capitulated. Some 3 million Japanese had lost their lives. An estimated 15 million people lost their lives in the countries that Japan attacked. Do Japanese talk about this?
Kjeld Duits, Monday, August 15, 2005 Posted: 12:21 AM JST
On August 8, Dutch public broadcaster De Evangelische Omroep (EO) aired a radio documentary about Japan sixty years after the end of WWII. I created this program together with Dutch reporter Matthea Vrij. We interviewed a former kamikaze pilot, a former soldier who had killed a Chinese POW, a survivor of the US firebombing attacks on Japan, several journalists, the director of Osaka Peace Center and visited Osaka Central Library where we saw many thousands of books about WWII, including reports about Japanese atrocities.
The recordings of these WWII interviews are now online. Click on the links in the right column. The one on top is in Dutch, the others are the original Japanese interviews.
Kjeld Duits, Sunday, August 14, 2005 Posted: 10:36 PM JST
With Japan and its neighbors still at odds over history, German freelance journalist Gebhard Hielscher says Tokyo should take bold measures to clarify that it has atoned for its wartime aggression.
The former Far East correspondent for the daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung proposes that Japan follow Germany's lead and come up with legislation that offers compensation to individuals that suffered under its wartime policies, even if only a token sum. Hielscher says Japan must also conduct joint historical research with its neighbors, as Germany did, so that all sides can at least learn to accept one another's different perceptions. Karasaki Taro interviewed Hielscher about Japanese war apologies.
Charles Burress of the San Fransisco Chronicle however argues it is useless to compare Japan with Germany.
Kjeld Duits, Sunday, August 14, 2005 Posted: 09:59 AM JST
I found this little gem in the newsletter of the Japanese Network of Museums for Peace. The discoveries made by MaryAnn Hansen completely reflect what I have found during my past 23 years in Japan.
Kjeld Duits, Sunday, August 14, 2005 Posted: 08:35 AM JST
Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi stunned his political adversaries when he dissolved the House of Representatives and called for snap elections last Monday. He had promised them that he would do so if the House of Councilors voted down a government bill for the privatization of postal services. But they didn't believe that he had the guts. So they went ahead and voted against reforms that Koizumi hopes will liven up an economy that is only now recovering from more than 10 years of stagnation. It already looks like Koizumi's bold gamble may be paying off.
Kjeld Duits, Sunday, August 14, 2005 Posted: 07:57 AM JST
Does parenthood attract you? Are you looking forward to hugging that little bundle of joy? Better get your wallet ready. The Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has calculated it will cost you a minimum of 13 million yen (USD 119,000) to raise your offspring to the age of 21. It could go as high as 60 million yen (USD 549,000).
Kjeld Duits, Saturday, August 13, 2005 Posted: 01:17 PM JST
The two atomic bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 eventually claimed the lives of some 300,000 people. For the survivors live was hell for many years, especially the first months. There are surprisingly few photographs of the situation on the ground, but here is a small selection.
Keywords: national_news photo_essay
Kjeld Duits, Friday, August 12, 2005 Posted: 09:10 PM JST
Japan and Germany were both mortal enemies of the United States during WWII. Yet these two nations were viewed completely differently in the US. The fight against Germany became a fight against Hitler and Nazism. It was not a fight against the Germans, but against a corrupt party and regime. The fight against the Japanese however bore a strong color of racism.
Kjeld Duits, Wednesday, August 10, 2005 Posted: 12:30 PM JST
iKjeld.com offers bi-monthly (subscribe in box in left column) and daily newsletters. Not yet subscribed to our free Daily Newsletter? Unfamiliar with the contents? Have a look at this sample:
Kjeld Duits, Wednesday, August 10, 2005 Posted: 11:19 AM JST
In the 40s Big Band was huge in the States. Think of Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Duke Ellington, Artie Shaw, Count Basie and countless others. After the end of the war their tunes were introduced to Japan and became immensely popular here. But almost always in their original English versions. Now 60 years after the end of WWII, Jazz and Big Band are once again big in Japan. Japan swings again!
Kjeld Duits, Friday, August 5, 2005 Posted: 09:48 AM JST
The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, shocked by Chinese and Korean anti-Japan protests earlier this year, and international campaigns against Japan's ambition for a seat on the UN Security Council, has gone on the offensive. This week it published a new pamphlet, showing a stronger focus on Japan as a peace loving country. 60 Years: The Path of a Nation Striving for Global Peace (PDF Pamphlet) shows a timeline since 1945 highlighting Japanese contributions to world peace.
Japan is one of the few countries in the world whose soldiers have not killed another country's citizen during the past sixty years. It is about time that Japanese diplomats more effectively spread this message.
Kjeld Duits, Friday, August 5, 2005 Posted: 09:38 AM JST
"I don't enjoy giving lectures to university or high school students in Japan," writes naturalist C. W. Nicol in his latest Japan Times article, "and my being cajoled or bullied into laying on such a performance usually ends up with me being at best grumpy, and at worst downright depressed."
The guardian of Japan's nature describes his experiences with kids, nature and officials in Japan. His article is both inspiring and depressing, and a must-read. "What on earth are schools doing to kids in Japan?" he asks.
Kjeld Duits, Tuesday, August 2, 2005 Posted: 05:48 PM JST
Somehow this little bit of interesting news escaped my roving eyes. In June, USA Today published an excellent article on female CEOs in Japan. Some of the numbers mentioned in this article are really depressing:
Kjeld Duits, Tuesday, August 2, 2005 Posted: 03:53 PM JST
Japan's first resource center on sexual slavery during WWII was opened in Tokyo yesterday. Women's Active Museum on War and Peace (WAM) was established by public donations and aims to keep sexual violence against women from being ignored and forgotten. The center offers visual and textual materials, including testimonials by former "comfort women" for the Imperial Japanese Army. Some 200,000 women were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese government during the Pacific War.
The now legendary Sir Ernest Mason Satow (1843-1929) was a member of the British legation in Tokyo for twenty-one years. This classic book is based on the author's detailed diary, personal encounters, and keen memory. In it, Satow records the history of the critical years of social and political upheaval that accompanied Japan's first encounters with the West around the time of the Meiji Restoration. Fascinating.
Stone Bridge Press