Saturday, 17 November 2012
As we count down to the publication of "3/11: The Fallout" at the end of this month, Excalibur Books has been trying to keep up with events in a rapidly changing political landscape.
On Friday 16th, Prime Minister Noda dissolved the Lower House, paving the way for an election he has called on Dec 16th. An election he has a good chance of losing, because the opposition wolves have smelled blood and the media vultures are circling overhead.
This means that for one month, Japan has effectively NO GOVERNMENT. Do you really think anyone can tell the difference?
Japan's administration has given us a 20-year recession and government debts of 240% of the GDP - which is TWICE that of Greece. Flagship companies like Sony and Panasonic are posting record losses and Sharp is facing bankruptcy. It's getting increasingly hard to hide the fact that this is not a recession any more; this is a permanent decline.
The fights between politicians have been getting ever more bitter, vindictive and petty. The opposition were able to prevent PM Noda from making his customary policy address in November through legal technicalities. Yesterday, Sat 17th, aging right-winger Shintaro Ishihara merged his new Sunshine Party with the Japan Restoration Party, led by rising young opportunist Toru Hashimoto. They have almost nothing in common regarding policies; this is purely a gambit for power, to drive out the current rulers and put themselves in government as quickly as possible.
Ishihara was responsible for the recent conflict with China regarding ownership of the uninhabited Senkaku Islands. At a time when Japan should be expanding its diplomatic power and attracting international investors, why is it actively trying to drive non-Japanese people away? Why, 65 years after the end of World War Two, does it want to make Asia angry again?
Perhaps the old bastards who run this country are committing a kind of slow-motion suicide. They will do anything to stay in power and keep their 'honor'; if that means destroying their own country, so be it. Japan might be a miserable, decrepit, geriatric third world country in the future - but it's THEIR country. Japan for the Japanese!
This has been going on at the same time as the 'Occupy Tokyo' movement has been growing. Every Friday, protesters gather at the entrances to the government Diet buildings and the Prime Minister's residence in Chiyoda-ku. They campaign peacefully, with speeches, songs and placards, for an end to political corruption in general and nuclear power specifically. Across the street, they face hundreds of police officers wearing helmets and riot shields, and carrying riot equipment such as water cannons and pepper spray. Those weapons have not been used ... yet.
Has this been reported on Japanese television? No.
They're too busy hypnotizing the masses with celebrity gossip, gourmet food guides and crappy comedians. THEY LIVE: WE SLEEP.
It doesn't have to be this way. Please, please share this post. Pass the word on. Switch off your TV, put down your iPhone, turn to your loved one and say ...
No, we are not going to put up with this.
Saturday, 3 November 2012
For the second time in two years, we have seen images of disaster arising from the sea, ships and tankers washed inland, families evacuated from their homes, cities in darkness. In the forthcoming "3/11:The Fallout", writer Patrick Fox asks what lessons have we learned from Japan's earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown (or in the case of the Japanese government, what lessons have they refused to learn, and what responsibilities have they tried to avoid). The book also examines how you and your family can prepare for natural disasters and what economic forecasters call "Black Swan" events that could disrupt power, transport, communication and food supplies.
Before the book is published, let me ask you these questions, and leave you wondering how they relate to the contents of the book.
1. What do you do when you find yourself without electricity or gasoline?
2. Why are Venice and Catalonia suddenly campaigning for independence?
3. Why is a global media blackout concealing recent political developments in Iceland?
4. Who is Rebecca Solnit, and what is "A Paradise Built in Hell"?
5. Who is Hakim Bey, and what are Temporary Autonomous Zones?