Saturday, May 28, 2005

The Signs of the Times

Let me begin with Hillary Rodham Clinton.

She wrote in her book: “… She told me about a woman who had been arrested for disturbing the peace by preaching the gospel on the streets of Bentonville…When I learned that she was from California, I persuaded the judge to buy her a bus ticket home instead of ordering her to be committed to the state hospital, and I convinced her that California needed her more than Arkansas.”

Without this intervention, the poor preacher from California should have been sent to a state mental hospital.

There are three levels of humanity in this context. At the lowest level, complete negligence or violence on a person concerned. At the second level, sending to a jail or a mental hospital a person concerned. At the third level, try to grasp a hidden massage or a hidden will of the God who sent a person concerned. But at the second-and-a-half level, a person concerned might be bought a bus ticket home.

In religious interpretation of Mrs. Clinton’s turbulent period, the God overlooking every event around her must take this episode into His account when He decided how her soul should be preserved.

I remember when Gorge W. Bush and Al Gore were debating, in the fall of 2000, in front of TV cameras and also being surrounded by some ordinary but chosen citizens. Mr. Gore was very harsh to Mr. Bush. Mr. Bush showed an apprehensive look.

On that moment, Mrs. Bush looked not only attentive but also alerted sharply. Anyway, after a long campaign, Mr. Bush was elected president.

Now, it might feel stupid and may be considered to be a negligible number of casualties if Japan protested to terrorists, pointing out that more than twenty Japanese were killed by their attacks on September 11, 2001, in or around the World Trade Center or on the crash of a hijacked plane near Pittsburgh.

If more than twenty nationals of a nation were killed on a single day by a group or an organization with a specific ideology or policy, its government should take a decisive measure to engage with them so as to avoid further casualties, even if it is to be done without military forces.

The best defense of any nation is to have the best ally. So, it is important to see who its best ally’s ally is and, if it is the first lady, what person she is. She might be a person who can somehow save herself or her husband. But there are well-known tragic cases.

The U.S. and China has one thing common, among many, especially I mind. That is a big honorary portrait of the winner of its Civil War: a big picture of Mao Tse-tung (or Mao Ze-dong) and a big sculpture of Abraham Lincoln in each capital.

However, their wives, each, are said to have very unhappy ending of their lives.

But, now I wonder if the heaven had issued an early warning to Japan prior to September 11, 2001, giving a chance to prevent the attacks and save many lives.

One thing I can remember is the movie “Pearl Harbor” released in the summer of 2001. It showed an excellent film-making technology. But, though it is just an entertainment movie and couldn’t be an authentic work to conduct verification of things in 1941, it is very unpleasant to see it, like other various Pearl Harbor movies. (It is even recently that Japanese scholars found that where Japanese ambassadors were before going to State Department for war declaration. They attended a funeral in a church.)

Another thing is the Ehime-Maru, a training fish boat owned by a Japanese fisheries high school, and a US submarine collision which occurred near Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, in the spring of 2001. The accident killed nine Japanese crews including high-school students. United State Navy expressed an apology with sincerity.

We had seen them and been given reports on them in the spring and the summer of 2001. Probably we missed a sign. Or we might not practice humanity enough. Besides, the incumbent Prime Minister of Japan presiding since 2001 has no wife over a long period, which even Russian President got worried about.


$702bn Scale of Defense and Proof

This is strictly for responsible US bureaucrats regardless of their religions and origins.

Ranking of overseas purchasers of US Treasury bonds as of February 2005: No.1 - Japan (US$702 billion), No.2 - China (US$196.5 billion), No.3 - the UK (US$171 billion).

In 2002 and 2003, Japanese government exercised dollar-buying operation in the scale of $300 billion. With these dollars, the government purchased $300 billion worth of US Treasury bonds. Consequently, US economy and stock markets were well bolstered. In addition, China got ripple effect. In return, it is said that major exporting companies in Japan secured earning stability as well as some growth.

This is data, information, knowledge, and understanding common to Japanese elites and ordinary people concerned in business and politics.

However, there is some doubt that some high-ranking bureaucrats in US government might not like to accept its meaning and implications. The root of their bias seems to be very deep, maybe tracking back to WWII.

Indeed, it is as if there were still some politically influential people in the US who hated Nazis so much that they found an enemy in Japan even today. The Nazis were gone but the Empire of Japan has survived in the form of contemporary Japan. They might think this way. Especially in terms of Jews rather than Koreans, Chinese, and other Asians. To judge this sort of thinking, it needs to study the existence value of the Empire of Japan. But, here, I’d like to focus on one issue religiously critical: Jews.

On the contrary to a conventional view, it is said that the government of the Empire of Japan, which existed till August 1945, had adopted a policy not to drive out Jews and recommended its diplomats to help Jews, despite its special treaty with Nazi Germany. The Empire of Japan in WWII had never conspired with, supported for, and taken an initiative over Nazis specifically for denying the existence of Jews.

Now, the ranking again: The amounts of US Treasury bonds purchased, as of February 2005, were $702 billion by Japan, $196.5 billion by China, $171 billion by the UK, etc.

Bonds were bought, but not by those such as Usama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, North Korea, or Iran. Basically America is safe. But, it is very dangerous that they try to make an enemy out of Japan for any personal reasons or by relying on an assumption that they can retain China and the UK as allies, like the ones during WWII.

And, this is for responsible US bureaucrats. Why? Because the US is at war now. And if they are outflanked by another enemy, say Japan or Cuba, too, it will be a big problem. So, highly-security-oriented US bureaucrats might fantasize about it. But, of course, you have to take it granted that Japan will not allow anybody that might try to make an enemy out of the US to take a position of leadership in its government.

Rather, Japan is afraid that over and over again, if the War on Terror is finished, some influential people with anti-Japanism might damage the national interest of Japan by mobilizing US bureaucrats. And no matter how absurd it sounds to think that such anti-Japanism might be generated from memory of past tragedy of Jews and some Europeans, it is worth considering.

The Cold War had been over, Japanese economy grew stagnant, China has been trying to be friendly to America, and the War on Terror will be won. But then what will come next?

I hope America will wipe out its anti-Japanism as well as anti-Cuban sentiments as soon as practically possible, at least in the sphere of US bureaucrats.


Thursday, May 26, 2005

Under the Gaze of Who’s God

In the history of human beings, urban civilization began in Mesopotamia through development of agriculture but not based on practice of hunting. Pride you might feel when growing and harvesting plants might be very different from that you feel when killing game.

Yes, it began in the place now called Iraq, so this is for Iraqis and those who are humbly concerned with Iraq.

Now a spotlight is on a widow whose husband, a journalist well known by people concerned in Japan, was slain while driving back to Baghdad from Samawah after gathering information in the town and a base of humanitarian relief operations of Self-Defense Force of Japan. Both her husband and her nephew working together with his uncle were shot and killed. An Iraqi driver was spared with some injury.

They were two of five Japanese, so far reported officially, slain in Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein’s Baghdad. As the two journalists were not a big supporter of the Japanese government sending self-defense force to Iraq, the government didn’t show big sorrow for them though it might take some special care for the widow.

Her husband was a seasoned journalist whose career seems to have been characterized and destined since his assignment to Vietnam in 1972. In these last days, he was based in Bangkok.

He was such an old journalist that actually said that he was not a samurai when he was somehow poked fun at by Iraqis who shouted at him, “Aren’t you a samurai?”, while they were caught by, and staying down in the middle of, shooting between US soldiers and Iraqi fighters on a corner of Baghdad.

After the death of her husband on a road back to Baghdad, she invited an Iraqi boy to Japan. Her husband had planned to do so to cure the boy’s eye that had been hurt by some accident in the war. She might simply carry out the intention of her late husband, but it was well televised in Japan, and the boy was welcomed and successfully operated on his eye.

She became very famous since then. And, to my astonishment, she appeared as a reporter in a TV documentary where she was dispatched to the U.S. and interviewed a mother of a US soldier killed in the Iraq war as well as a veteran soldier who had lost his leg and sight in the war. She also visited a camp of the third infantry division in a certain state to interview soldiers. It was all broadcast in Japan.

At the last scene of the TV program, veterans who had served various wars marched in a small town of a certain state. She watched their marching and said, “Oh, America has been making war all the time.” Of course, she must know it as knowledge before visiting the US for the program. But, she said so explicitly to a TV cameraman or to audience at home in Japan.

It is said that her husband had planned to retire from his job as a free journalist traveling all over the world and collecting news materials at war fronts, and that fatal coverage tour to Samawah would have been the last one for him in a different way.

She might take consolation enough by helping an injured Iraqi boy and interviewing Americans involved in the Iraq war.

Now, if you are arrogant, you won’t think about the God and mind your neighbors. You only use your brain hard to get what you want. Not what the God wants and your neighbors want. That’s why arrogance is one of the significant sins.

However, to my astonishment, when I first observed the journalist working in Iraq on TV, I didn’t realize he was an experienced journalist. He looked like a very ordinary, old Japanese who by some chance came to Iraq while U.S. forces were advancing to Baghdad. It is partly because I didn’t know him by his outlook and he looked very plain without a trace of arrogance sometimes found in others in the same trade.

I also remembered a scene televised. As the old journalist was not admitted to the base of Japanese-Self-Defense Force in Samawah, he showed his book with his picture on to a Japanese guard to prove who he was without arrogance.

It is almost 4,000 years since Abram left a city of Mesopotamia according to the will of his God. He even changed his name to Abraham. Yes, even today, for man to leave those holy places might be reasonable expression of awe to Abraham’s God.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit

This is for philosophers. They may be able to grasp a complicated thing in their easy thinking.

A Japanese philosopher, the author of an article of a newspaper now focused on in this Report, graduated from Harvard University in 1942.

But unfortunately a war erupted between two countries facing each other over the Pacific Ocean. On an occasion of war-prisoner exchange, he decided to return to the Empire of Japan from the U.S. where he had been living and studying since he was 15. He decided so, because he thought he should live as a "stranger in Japan" rather than in America.

After WWII, he had worked mainly in universities in Japan until he terminated his career in Japan’s universities. His resignation was an expression of his will against management of a private university, of which he was then on faculty staff, having introduced police into its campus to suppress student political activities such as an anti-Vietnam War rally. But by the time, he had already become one of famous liberal philosophers in Japan.

Yes, he was against militarism of the Empire of Japan, Japan-U.S. Security Arrangements, and the Vietnam War. If any philosopher supports these national movements, it would be a surprise to people of sound judgment on a street. If you accept violence, there shall be no room for philosophy.

The old philosopher wrote that America has changed since September 11, 2001. America is changing in the similar way that Imperial Japan was turning into an authoritarian military regime during the Sino-Japanese Incident in 1930’s.

In my view, America changed drastically or profoundly third times in the history. The related keywords are the Civil War, Pearl Harbor, and JFK. On each related occasion, people’s good old ways were abandoned. But people never forgot where they had been when they heard a news heralding emergence of a new era or the coming of a great war.

As for September 11, 2001, it also seems that everybody will never forget where he or she first heard and grasped the news. And a smart philosopher might start to wait for America to begin changing. Then, he may find his intellect and instinct still working well. His finding might be that America has again changed abandoning whatever people’s good old ways left until the day.

The old philosopher is a son of a family, very rich and powerful in Japan before World War II. It is said when he first came to America in 1937 at age 15, he visited a famous historian A. Schlesinger at Harvard while staying at an official residence of Japanese ambassador to the U.S.

In the article of a newspaper, he never hid his despise to some professors of Japan’s reputable universities of today, saying that they lack true intellect even ordinary people could exercise. In this context, the philosopher praised one ordinary person who had once placed his hope in Marxism in the era of the Empire of Japan, accordingly had been in danger of attack from police authority, but had successfully avoided showdown relying on his wisdom and intellect of which merit had been thus proven.

Having considered the philosopher himself and his opinions, still I trust more such ordinary people, for example, as a Japanese woman who wanted to help the society by responding to the call for blood on a street but was rejected for her regularly taking prescribed drug, and subsequently wrote about her chagrin in a letter to the editor of a newspaper.

Or I would like to hear news such as the one about an American swimmer who has sold his Olympic Gold Medal in order to send money through UNICEF to Tsunami and flood victims in other countries including Japan, probably as water is a keyword both for those victims and for his sports career.

Would a philosopher make a blood donation or sell his Nobel Prize medal, in a spirit of saving the world no matter if it is based on an innocent sense of expectation?

Nonetheless, there is no denying significance of roles of their profession. And their role might be, as with the article in a newspaper, just telling the world that the U.S. is changing the way it once felt antipathy to.

(Source of Information: The Tokyo Shimbun newspaper and The Mainichi Shimbun newspaper, etc.)

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Sunday, May 22, 2005

To Sudan, to Help Them

This is for Sudanese. Eligible or expected viewers are Sudanese living all over the world as well as those who are sincerely concerned with Sudan, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

According to a corner in a newspaper for introducing noteworthy people, a Japanese diplomat quit his lucrative job so as to work for poor Sudanese. This guy is also a medical doctor who graduated from the medical department of the same university that the famous Afghanistan-stationed humanitarian NGO’s doctor T. Nakamura had graduated from.

There is, of course, context which supposedly affected his decision. Two Japanese diplomats were killed on a road side north of Baghdad after American military took over the capital of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. They were two of five Japanese killed in Iraq, so far reported, since the Shock and Awe Operation had started. The two slain diplomats received honorable official funeral at home.

But it is not all. It is related to his internal quest. This ex-diplomat and medical doctor thought Africans still keep good nature modern Japanese people seem to have lost. He seems to believe that he will be able to find something valuable there in the difficult country of North Africa, such as good human conducts according to genuine humanity the nature or the God should implant in a human mind and soul.

He is asking his friends and private companies in Japan for help. Probably he could get support enough to provide some quality and quantity of help for poor people and refugees in Sudan.

It is well known that once Usama bin Laden took up residency and stationed his group in Sudan. Recently its oil resources were highly focused on with China successfully having concluded a contract with the Sudanese government for oil-production right.

This guy doesn’t seem to have any support from or linkage with the Japanese government or its Ministry of Foreign Affairs, so far. But, as the Ministry was recently severely criticized by the public for its bureaucrats’ misconduct of illegally managing its budget, they might well have to give, at least, cheer for its former colleague’s adventure.

I hope that there will be no Japanese victims in Sudan no matter how the situation develops.

In addition, it is said Sudanese dancers were popular in ancient Egypt. Probably, they could dance better than ancient Egyptians. So, perhaps, no Japanese girls even today could match them in this art. But, this does not seem to be the guy’s motive. His wife is reportedly determined to support her husband’s adventure by earning money through teaching profession, which might be almost nil in comparison with profits the couple should get if her husband continued his former career in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.

(Source of Information: The Mainichi Shimbun newspaper)