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Deep pessimism in Japan about future and state of democracy

Just one in five Japanese is optimistic about the country’s future and less than half the population believes that Japan is a functioning democracy, according to a survey that canvassed views on these issues in India and Indonesia as well.

The figure of 20 percent of Japanese who are optimistic about the future contrasted with more than 60 percent in India and Indonesia who felt the same.

The survey was carried out by private institutions in the three countries and the results were released Aug. 19.

Many respondents in Japan cited an aging population and a sluggish economy as reasons for being pessimistic. The survey results also highlighted a general distrust of the current state of party politics.

Genron NPO of Japan, the Center for Strategic and International Studies of Indonesia and the Observer Research Foundation of India contacted 1,000 people each in the three respective countries in June or later for the survey.

Only 20.7 percent of the respondents in Japan said they were either “optimistic” or “slightly optimistic” about the future of their country, whereas the corresponding ratios stood at 65.3 percent in Indonesia and 75.9 percent in India.

Among the various reasons for being pessimistic about the future, the commonest in Japan, cited by 84.7 percent of the respondents, was a lack of effective measures being presented to cope with the rapidly aging and shrinking population.

In Japan, 46.7 percent of the respondents answered in the affirmative when they were asked if they believe democracy is functioning. The corresponding figures for Indonesia and India were 47.1 percent and 65 percent, respectively.

When asked their reasons for believing that democracy is dysfunctional, the largest portion of the respondents who said so in Japan, at 60.2 percent, said that politicians are not confronting the challenges facing society because they are more intent on winning elections.

Only 15.5 percent of the Japanese respondents answered in the affirmative when they were asked if they had positive expectations for political parties, a figure that indicated a deep distrust of party politics.

August 28, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment



Remarkable report from our friend Laurent Mabesoone (青眼 マブソン) in Japan explaining to us what took place today at the Diet (Parlement) of Japan.
Translated by Hervé Courtois (D’un Renard)

Abe’s law, which should allow Japan to conduct an offensive war abroad at the side of an allied country – in fact, the USA (a law judged unconstitutional by all serious experts) would pass in front of the Senate, after being passed thanks to an expeditious procedure last July 15th before the Diet.

On this occasion, the senators of the opposition parties (Fukuyama for the Democratic Party Minshuto, Koike for the CCP, Taro Yamamoto, etc …) wanted to do everything possible to make the debates last long. This is because the character very confused and very risk of this law (which challenges the constitutional basis of the country since World War II).

But also because the Abe government would be required to revote the law in plenary session of the Diet, if the ratification by the Senate would take place 60 days after July 15th. In this case, as Abe would not get 2/3 of the votes in plenary session in the Diet, the law could fall in the water …

The limit for the vote in the Senate was this week. So the opposition parties have done everything to delay, with an unpublished heroism – they felt lifted by the huge crowd that rallies everyday and night in front of the Diet and elsewhere in Japan (youth movement “SEALDs”, among others, who have finally expanded our movement, which was antinuclear at its foundation …).

Yesterday evening, the few women senators from the opposition parties have worn pink headbands and form a women’s wall (a “no kabe onna”, to prevent the President of the Special Committee of the Senate to go to the hall of parliament. They had the clever idea to shout “Sekku hara” (sexual harrassment) every time the police touched them to clear the way. This held until 0:30, and the session had to be postponed to this morning 9:00.

This morning, surprise: the government announces that the law will not be voted in plenary session of the Senate, but in a special commission expeditious manner (as it was done in the Diet in July, that is by just asking members of that commission sho support the law to stand up … an incredibly expeditious procedure for a law of this importance, and an unreliable procedure).

So the opposition had the idea to file a censure motion against the President of the Committee (Mr. Konoike), which would delay one day. They intended afterwards to file a motion against the government, which would help to exceed this week time limit, and to maybe drop the law.

Each opposition MP was brilliant, taking his/her time (since this morning until 5:00 p.m. It was broadcasted live on NHK). Taro passing last (15: 30-17: 00: a full speech, taking the whole American policy since the Pacific War until the Iraq war and the problems with China, etc …).
All speeches were broadcasted live (well, NHK is trying to show that it was doing its job for a change!), It was watched live throughout Japan.

Yamamoto Taro was particularly appreciated on all social networks – having his way to “buy time” while marking strong points…. As examples:
“the Iraq war was declared illegal by the International Court of The Hague, at that time, Japan was on the side of the US, in a passive way – for constitutional reasons, but the Iraqis have already been disappointed by Japan during that time”
or” To follow a country that sustains its economy with illegal wars, is to also transform Japan in an economy that depends only of war ”
or” the Japanese military are not things that one moves for the economic interests of the US or Japan. They are human beings. If you want to participate in an offensive war with the US, Abe, go yourself to the front line, please. It is you who has promised this Constitutional reform to the American military last year! ”
(Abe was away until the last moment …).

At 17:00 the Vice President of the Committee (Mr. Sato, former commander of PKO troops in Iraq in 2003! …) forced Yamamoto Taro to end his speech. And immediately, the sameVice-President requested the vote on the censure motion against the President of the Commission.

Without surprise, the motion was rejected, but all of a sudden, the NHK mutes the sound ( 5:50 in the video), posting subtitles claiming that “the exchanges that follow are not transcribed” (???).

We saw then the president of the commission, the PM Abe and his Minister of Defence finally entering into the room, escorted by policemen, the President announcing that the vote on the law would take place immediately in reduced session!

Opposition senators, revolted (they counted immediately file a further motion against the government) have rushed to the desk of the president. YamamotoTaro was the first in line, naturally, asking for time to file another motion. They were ignored,

In an incredible noise and turmoil, the president of the commission, invisible and inaudible, probably stammered that the law was passed! Indeed, the LPD senators stood up more or less two or three times. Just after they are already stood up a first time, Abe came out !! (He fled?) …

There it is, it has been done … Japan is not a pacifist country anymore. It can make war again!
The trial record of the meeting (published on twitter by Koike of the PCF) specifies that the law was fully read, there was 5 questions and a regulatory vote: gross lie perfectly verifiable on the video).

In short, Taro has been the last Japanese MP (Senator) to express himself in a democratic framework. Now we know that Abe is ready to to do ANYTHING!

September 17, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , | 1 Comment