Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Chickens Home to Roost

Original image via DDmurasame http://www.deviantart.com/morelikethis/408410858
J Berkshire Miller breaks down how China is trying to use the Senkaku islands to leverage Japan out of the South China Sea issue:
Tokyo has responded forcefully to the Hague decision and has repeatedly indicated that China, along with other parties to the dispute, needs to recognise that the ruling is legally binding and final. This has raised ire in China and drawn a series of public rebukes against any involvement by Japan in the South China Sea. Even more concerning to China are Tokyo’s efforts to boost the maritime capabilities of other states in Southeast Asia – especially Vietnam and the Philippines – through the provision of retrofitted patrol vessels. But what Beijing is most alarmed by is the idea of Japan potentially participating with its US ally, and also Australia, in freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea. This continues to be seen as a “redline” for China, which has warned Japan not to send its Self-Defence Forces to the waterways for such operations. Even more concerning to China are Tokyo’s efforts to boost the maritime capabilities of other states in Southeast Asia – especially Vietnam and the Philippines – through the provision of retrofitted patrol vessels.  
But what Beijing is most alarmed by is the idea of Japan potentially participating with its US ally, and also Australia, in freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea. This continues to be seen as a “redline” for China, which has warned Japan not to send its Self-Defence Forces to the waterways for such operations. 
This divergence of interests in the South China Sea has been a large factor in China’s tactics to tighten the vice on Japan in the East China Sea, specifically with regard to their territorial row over the Senkaku Islands. While there have been some periods of shaky truce in the area, tensions are spiking again. The two sides continue to spar over resource issues in the East China Sea as Beijing continues to inch closer to Japan’s exclusive economic zone for natural gas exploration. Meanwhile, the Abe government has rebuked China’s uptick in maritime and airspace intrusions surrounding the Senkaku Islands. There have also been a number of troubling incidents over the past few months involving Chinese vessels entering Japan’s contiguous zone and territorial waters.


Jamie Tahana on how the Bainimarama regime in Fiji has broken its promises on restoring democracy:
"They said it was a simple meeting. It was only advertised through social media and there would only have been about 30 people there," he said. 
"The panelists talked about their own expertise and experience with the different constitutions that Fiji has had. Rabuka talked about his one and the original one that was set up in 1970, Chaudhry talked about the 1997 constitution, Biman Prasad talked about some of the problems he's had as the leader of a minor party in the current parliament." 
"The men said they were fairly well looked after ... but they were very very relieved to get out" - RNZ International's Alex Perrottet "These are things that have been said on the record and in public around Fiji many times in the past couple of years," said Mr Perrottet. "There's certainly a shock that this sort of crackdown had happened with this particular meeting." 
Attempts to contact police for an interview have so far been unsuccessful. 
It remains unclear who laid a complaint with the police and why they first acted on Saturday - five days after the meeting was held.


Rachel Reyes on how Filipino voters remain in thrall to Rody Duterte's crass and brutal rhetoric:
It is clear that none of his speechwriters, no member of his communications team, or his spokesperson, can rein him in and prevent his incredible tirades, that is, if they are actually trying to. The man will not simply divert and digress from his prepared speeches. He will not only resort to hyperbole and bluster. He does not simply speak what is in his heart and mind. He fumes. 
He uses words that are intended to hurt, offend, abuse and insult. His deplorable attacks against Senator Leila de Lima, one of his harshest critics, accusing her of immorality and conspiring with drug dealers, come from a very dark place. Of similar provenance are the jokes that he cracks which culminate in sickeningly misogynistic punchlines. He insinuates, he maligns. Then back tracks. His words, he says, were not meant to be taken seriously. He shrugs his shoulders and denies that he was being personal. He blames local journalists for misquoting him and scorns the foreign press for making ill informed judgments about the country. Vulgarity and debasing the language of diplomacy and political rhetoric are looking like the Duterte presidential hallmark. 
But just how important is verbal politesse and political eloquence, anyway, when a President is getting things done? Surely, as many argue, a cussing President who thinks nothing of puerile name-calling, is a paltry price to pay if concrete changes for the greater good are being made and promises kept? Moreover, to many, Duterte is coming across as authentic, as being a man of the people, a true outsider, a real anti-imperial Manila figure. Some of the country’s leading feminists have voiced their support for him. Even before he was elected, Luzviminda Ilagan of the leftist pro-women party, GABRIELA, applauded his initiatives in Davao that included a crisis shelter for women and a protection unit for children. In defiance of the Catholic Church, Duterte has promised to curb the country’s exploding population and ensure universal access to contraception. His appointments to the ministries of education, the environment, and agrarian reform, have been praised for their astuteness. He is attempting to end the long running war against communists and Muslim rebels through peaceful negotiation. He is taking a conciliatory stance toward China with regard to the West Philippine Sea. With the latest insult against the President of the United States, he is, as some quarters are now arguing, a genuine anti-colonial nationalist. His popularity ratings continue to surge upward. By harping on about the vulgarization of political discourse, Duterte’s critics seem to be missing the point by a long margin.


Finally Kaori Shoji on how the sad trajectory of AKB48 provides an analogy for the current banal debasement of corporate values in Japan:
Yasushi Akimoto was a Zegen with a vision – having never been popular in high school himself, he recognized the deep sexual frustration and vast need for sexual fantasies festering in the educated and dateless Japanese male. When he came out with “Onyanko Club” in the mid-1980s, people were blinded by the sheer genius of this man. Here he was, peddling quite ordinary high school girls on TV, who all got up on the studio stage to teasingly sing “oh please don’t take my school uniform off, no-no-no!” to an audience who could never hear such titillating pleas when they were 18 so was totally stoked to hear it now, from a gaggle of winking girls all beckoning SIMULTANEOUSLY.

Needless to say, the Onyanko went “viral” long before the Internet came along and deep down, we suspected that if Akimoto wasn’t around to appease the Otaku populace with these girls and their pleated skirts, the nation’s sex crime rate would soar drastically.

Akimoto subsequently married an Onyanko (and he was too smart to pick the prettiest of the lot, but went for a quiet, mediocre type) and settled down in his idol manufacturing kingdom. Then he unleashed AKB 48 to the Japanese public – which basically means 48 Girls in Akihabara. These girls were grass roots level – they had no connections, no prestige, and was willing to work till they dropped. Most telling of all, they were excessively and aggressively, ordinary.
http://www.japansubculture.com/akb48-a-microcosm-of-dark-corporate-japan-child-labor-is-so-cute-book-review/

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