Life on the side in Tokyo

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Angel Plan?

"A 70-year-old subway security guard was crushed to death at Nagatacho station on Tuesday morning when a ticket vending machine that he and four other station staff were carrying tipped over and fell down the stairs near the exit." reports crisscross news agency.
So the question comes to mind, what the hell is a 70 year old guy doing hoisting a heavy ticket machine? I suppose we will see more of these types of news reports in the coming years as Japan's aging population starts to decline. The Angel Plan and the New Angel Plan from 10 and 5 years ago have done little to increase the birthrate and the ruling party refuses to consider immigration as a solution. Instead it hopes to entice more couples to have "Plus One" children, to get more women into the workforce and to have the elderly work until know.

Aso chews more shoe leather?

Aso just can't get enough of himself. Of February 4th at a forum in Fukaoka, he claimed that "Taiwan's present high educational standards resulted from compulsory education implemented by Japan during its colonization of the island and that he believed Japan "did a good thing." (日本が植民地統治下に台湾の義務教育向上に貢献した.) This angered China because he referred to Taiwan as a country several times and also because it is an effort to rewrite that brutal occupation.

Japan's Pauline Hanson?

If you don't live in Japan, you probably won't have heard the name Taro Aso, but he could be considered Japan's equivalent of Pauline Hanson, the founder of the One Nation party in Australia, know for her racist world-view. Aso in now the Japanese foreign minister! and here are a few of his more notable statements.

1) At a meeting of the LDP Kono study group in 2001, Aso said "those burakumin can't become prime minister," in reference to a burakumin legislator. Burakumin are considered Japan's 'untouchables'.

2) In a speech given at the new Kyushu National Museum in Dazaifu, Fukuoka Prefecture, Then Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Aso said, "There is not other country like Japan with one culture, one civilization, one ethnic group, and one language." 「一文化、一文明、一民族、一言語の国は日本のほかにはない」He went on to say that unlike in Europe, where the cultures have been altered by migration, in the history of the Japanese nation, that has almost never occurred.He went on to say that unlike in Europe, where the cultures have been altered by migration, in the history of the Japanese nation such change has almost never occurred.
For his erudite observations, he was given the post of foreign minister and has continued to chew on his own leather.

3) On January 29th, he urged the Emperor to visit the Yasukuni Shrine, where Japan's war dead are enshrined. Visits by PM Koizumi in the past several years have sparked a strong reaction from South Korea and China. The last visit by an Emperor was in 1975, according to the Mainichi news site.

4) Yesterday, Feb 3rd, he and a fellow conservative, Sadakazu Tanigaki have called for "caution" on that passing of a bill that would revise the Imperial House Law to allow a female to ascend to the throne.

Aso has his eye on the Prime Minister's job with Koizumi set to steps aside within a year. I can only hope that the Japanese public know who they might be getting.