Sunday, December 03, 2006

The Japanese militant empire again? I really hope NOT

I was talking with my mom on the phone. She said the Japanese political atmosphere and major public opinions are rapidly moving towards the right wing. She is the generation who experienced the WWII and remembers how the government controlled the public. She worries that the current social/political atmosphere in Japan is somewhat similar to what she experienced back then.

Here is what she told me:
1) Current prime minister Abe wants to amend the 9th constitution emphasizing Japanese pacifism, and denying having military and military activities. The prime minister wants to amend it to upgrade the Japanese defense force (not an official military) to the official military.

2) The government began to restrict the freedom of speech. My mom has been in a long “battle” against the city government that eliminated funds for her poetry reading group. The city government told her, “We cannot provide the funds to your group because your group selected a poem that indicates the Japanese emperor’s responsibility about WWII and what the Japanese military did to other countries back then.” My mom and her group took this as “restriction on free speech” by the government and took some actions against it. It turned out a very long and exhausting battle against the city bureaucracy.

3) These are not just her experiences. She said that she has often seen and heard similar stories that sound like government restrictions of free speech recently.

There are many grass-roots groups trying to protect the 9th constitution, but she thinks, “Prime Minister Abe and his government will push through the amendment no matter we resist. That’s how the government operated back then and it will do the same”. It is really scary to hear what she said.

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