Friday, December 12, 2014

Should I leave Japan again? (2)

SAPPORO, Japan — Takashi Uemura was 33 when he wrote the article that would make his career. Then an investigative reporter for The Asahi Shimbun, Japan’s second-largest newspaper, he examined whether the Imperial Army had forced women to work in military brothels during World War II. His report, under the headline “Remembering Still Brings Tears,” was one of the first to tell the story of a former “comfort woman” from Korea.
Fast-forward a quarter century, and that article has made Mr. Uemura, now 56 and retired from journalism, a target of Japan’s political right. Tabloids brand him a traitor for disseminating “Korean lies” that they say were part of a smear campaign aimed at settling old scores with Japan. Threats of violence, Mr. Uemura says, have cost him one university teaching job and could soon rob him of a second. Ultranationalists have even gone after his children, posting Internet messages urging people to drive his teenage daughter to suicide.
--Martin Fackler, Rewriting the War, Japanese Right Attacks a Newspaper, the New York Times, Dec. 2, 2014

Should I leave Japan again?

What can I say? Some, especially those Japanese who only see the mainstream Japanese media may call this article simplistic. But, I think it is fair--fair in a way it depicts how Japan looks like now, and I must say appearance is more important than, for instance, the ambiguity the secret laws pose. I mean, law scholars can discuss how the laws actually work, but their interpretations do not really matter for those in power as long as the laws silence people (as a threat, whatever). The article also describes how much of a control freak Abe is, which I agree fully. People like him a decade or so ago were marginal, are now mainstream. He is still a Neo-Nazi-ish people's hero. But, my concern is that there appears to be a tacit agreement between relatively moderate conservative voters not to question his agenda.

History tells that whatever (a war, a nuclear disaster, etc.) happens, people can quickly get used to it, and that makes me pessimistic.