Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has visited a shrine honouring Japan’s war dead in a move that led to China warning that already poor relations would worsen.
Thursday’s visit to the shrine, which honours 2.5 million war dead including convicted Japanse war criminals, prompted Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to summon Japanese Ambassador to China Masato Kitera. [Read the full article]
After the end of World War II, the Japanese constitution, written in part by the United States for the defeated Japanese nation, rejected war as a solution for conflict. The Preamble to the Japanese constitution recognized the Japanese government’s brutal actions in Asia during World War II.
It stated, “we resolve that never again shall we be visited with the horrors of war through the action of government,” and continues “We, the Japanese people, desire peace for all time and are deeply conscious of the high ideals controlling human relationship, and we have determined to preserve our security and existence, trusting in the justice and faith of the peace-loving peoples of the world. We desire to occupy an honored place in an international society striving for the preservation of peace, and the banishment of tyranny and slavery, oppression and intolerance for all time from the earth. We recognize that all people of the world have the right to live in peace, free from fear and want.” [Read the full article]
More than two and a half years have passed since the massive 2011 earthquake and tsunami struck northeastern Japan, wrecking the Fukushima nuclear plant and claiming nearly 16,000 lives. When it became clear that nuclear contamination was widespread, the government evacuated about 160,000 people living near the plant and established a 20-km compulsory exclusion zone, which remains in place today. Today, Tokyo Electric Power Company is still struggling to contain contaminated water at the destroyed plant. Former residents are allowed to return up to once a month, but they’re forbidden to stay overnight. Reuters photographer Damir Sagolj recently joined one of these trips, capturing images of a haunting landscape and lives torn apart by disaster. [See all pictures]
The Tokyo Electric Power Co.—which has been an abject failure at trying to stop leaks of radioactive water from the tsunami-ravaged Fukushima nuclear reactors—now wants to revive operations at another nuclear plant it owns.
The utility is leaking money almost as fast as Fukushima is leaking water, and says it wants to restart the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant to avoid having to raise consumer rates by 8.5 percent or more. But in the aftermath of the Fukushima meltdown in March 2011, it’s unclear how much of an appetite Japan has for nuclear power. As of September, all of the nation’s 50 nuclear plants were idle, though Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said restarting the plants is crucial to the nation’s power grid, according to the BBC: [Read the full article]
Facing criticism that a proposed bill aimed at protecting state secrets that the government deems vital to national security would strongly limit people’s access to relevant information, the Abe administration now says it will insert a phrase in the bill emphasizing the inviolable principles of freedom of the press and people’s right to know.
Such a phrase will be a mere declaration that will not have any effective power to guarantee those rights. Given the government’s explanation so far, the bill is clearly antidemocratic in nature. The Abe administration should not submit the bill to the Diet. [Read the full article]
News media continue to report on the disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, but it’s important to remember that people across the Tohoku region are still recovering from the Great East Japan Earthquake that happened there two years ago.
One way of remembering comes to us from students at Tama University in Tokyo. The Washi Candle Garden will feature more than 3,000 candles decorated with washi (Japanese paper). When lit, the candles will illuminate messages written by Tohoku residents and around 350 Tokyoites. [Read the full article]
EAST CHINA SEA – Boats carrying about 20 members of a Japanese nationalist group headed back to port on Sunday after sailing near tiny islands in the East China Sea that are at the center of a dispute between Japan and China.
Members of the Ganbare Nippon (“Stand Firm, Japan”) group did not attempt to land on the uninhabited islands, which are known as the Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, but had said they wanted to send a message to China. [Read the full article]
Japan’s prime minister has promised “firm measures” to combat leaks of radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant after its operator, Tepco, was criticised for a lack of action.
“There is heightened concern among the public, particularly about the contaminated water problem,” Shinzo Abe said during a government nuclear disaster response meeting at his office. “This is an urgent matter that needs to be addressed. The government will step in to take firm measures.” Such measures might include funding a costly containment project. [Read the full article]