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Kagoshima Basic (Education)
Kagoshima Prefecture


Muku Hatoju is a famous writer in Kagoshima. He was from Nagano and came to Kagoshima in 1930. He became a Japanese teacher in Kagoshima. After he retired the job, he wrote many books for children. In his books, he said,"The friendship between animals and people is very important." He always said,"Mothers, let's enjoy reading for twenty minutes with your children every day." His books became very popular all over Japan. Many people say, "His works are still great." In 1987 he finished his life in Kagoshima.

Volcanic SABO of SAKURAJIMA
Sakurajima International Volcanic Sabo Center


Taisho Eruption of 1914

This eruption was preceded by volcanic earthquakes for several days prior to the actual eruption. In the early morning of January 11th, residents became alarmed by the increasing frequency of these earthquakes, and around 10:00 AM on 12th the eruption finally began. Volcanic smoke was seen rising from the western slope, and shortly thereafter an eruption began on the eastern slope. The smoke rose to more than 8,000 m and was present for more than a day. That evening at 6:29 PM an earthquake of magnitude 7.1 struck Kagoshima City, killing 35 people. By the afternoon of the following day the eruption had weakened, but that evening at 8:14 PM there was another major eruption at the western crater, accompanied by pyroclastic flow in the hydrosphere. Minor eruptions in the western crater lasted until January 26th.

As the eastern crater was in the lee, no information could be obtained about its activity except that a lava flow was recognized to have occurred on the morning of the 14th. The lava flowed across a strait and hardened after about two weeks, with the result that by February 1st Sakurajima and Ohsumi Peninsula were linked. Sakurajima continued to flow lava for more than a year afterward, and in March-April 1915, a secondary lava flow from a primary lava bed formed a lava delta. Since the amount of magma erupted was estimated to be as much as 1.5km3, it settled quite concentrically around the Aira Caldera. Lava deposition 30-50 cm deep was also observed around Kagoshima City.

Although the Taisho Eruption was reported to have caused 58 deaths, 35 of them died in the earthquake on the 12th, which can be considered relatively few in light of the scale of the eruption. This was partly because residents had begun voluntarily evacuating due to the preceding earthquakes.

Fukuda's coalition finds itself trapped
Japan Times March 20, 2008


Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda is stuck.

Trapped by the Diet's stalemate over the next Bank of Japan governor, the ruling bloc has been unable to address a pile of government issues on its plate, leaving the political center of Nagata-cho in disarray.

Twice he tried, and twice he failed before BOJ Gov. Toshihiko Fukui's five-year term ended Wednesday. Now the top banking post in the world's second-largest economy is vacant.

Perhaps it's Fukuda's fault. Despite the Democratic Party of Japan-led opposition camp's vocal opposition to former Finance Ministry bureaucrats, he first nominated BOJ Deputy Gov. Toshiro Muto, a former vice finance minister who was summarily rejected by the opposition-controlled Upper House.

Yasunori Sone, a political science professor at Keio University, said he did not understand why Fukuda was so persistent about Muto's nomination. "I think the LDP and DPJ were waging psychological warfare, playing chicken," Sone said.

Then Fukuda stunned Nagata-cho on Tuesday by nominating Koji Tanami, another former vice finance minister.

"I am disappointed by (Fukuda's choice) and that the Finance Ministry is defeating him," DPJ Secretary General Yukio Hatoyama told reporters. "We must create a nation in which the public plays the key role, not the Finance Ministry. It is dangerous that the prime minister's office has fallen under the leadership of the Finance Ministry."

The DPJ, the largest opposition force, has repeatedly stressed that the central bank should not be run by former finance bureaucrats to avoid jeopardizing the BOJ's independence from the government.

Despite the Finance Ministry's influence on BOJ personnel picks, however, Fukuda said Tuesday evening that he firmly believes the opposition will approve Tanami, who currently heads the Japan Bank for International Cooperation.

When asked why, he simply said: "Good sense."

But even lawmakers in the Liberal Democratic Party-New Komeito ruling bloc have questioned his choice.

"I think (Fukuda or his close aide) read (the opposition) wrong," an executive member of the coalition said last week when Fukuda's first choice, Muto, was rejected. "Fukuda should have covered his steps more thoroughly. . . . I wonder who he is consulting?"

"I don't think (the LDP) did a good job of sounding out the DPJ," Sone said. "I think there was a problem in information-gathering as well as (Fukuda's) decision-making capabilities.

Now the BOJ governor's seat is technically vacant. But Fukuda has other issues to deal with — beginning with the passage of the state budget for fiscal 2008, and related bills before the end of fiscal 2007, which comes in just over a week. Considering the deadlock in the Diet, however, the chances of Fukuda getting government business done look bleak.

In the least, the government can breathe a small sigh of relief knowing that the budget, which the ruling bloc rammed through the Lower House amid strong protest on Feb. 29, will clear the Diet just in time due to its 30-day activation clause, which starts after it is sent to the Upper House. But in order to activate key parts of the budget, related bills also must be approved.

Among them is the tax reform bill, which contains a controversial clause that preserves "provisionally added" auto and road tax rates that have been in place for decades, including a tax on gasoline, for another 10 years.

The special tax rates expire March 31. The revenue is solely used to finance nationwide road construction.

On Wednesday, Fukuda told the ruling bloc to draft a revision of the tax reform bill to eventually allow the revenue to be used for other means, in an apparent compromise with the opposition camp.

But the DPJ, led by Ichiro Ozawa, argues that the special rates should be abolished. If the extra rates are removed, gasoline prices would be expected to go down by ¥25 per liter.

"The public will surely be happy if gasoline prices go down ¥25," Sone said. "But the government will have a difficult time trying to secure a source of revenue."

Political analyst Eiken Itagaki said, "When considering the lives of the public, both the DPJ and LDP are going to have to compromise at some point."

In January, Lower House Speaker Yohei Kono mediated an agreement in which the two sides would seek "a conclusion" on the tax reform bill by the end of March.

Fukuda took this as meaning the Upper House will vote on the bill by March 31. But Hatoyama argued that the ruling bloc broke the deal by ignoring opposition legislators and ramming the budget and bills through the Lower House.

The agreement made "with mediation by Kono . . . has now been broken because (the ruling bloc) rammed" through the budget and related bills, Hatoyama said, adding that the party would continue urging Fukuda to dissolve the Lower House and call an election.

Unless the prime minister dissolves the House of Representatives at some point, legislators will keep their seats until September 2009.

Itagaki said Fukuda's difficult situation will not immediately lead to the Diet's dissolution but the LDP may need to choose a new leader.

"People are also already saying Fukuda's situation is hopeless," Itagaki said. "Who knows? Fukuda's Cabinet might not last till the (July) G8 summit."

New BOJ governor case scenarios Kyodo News

Following are likely case scenarios over the selection of a new Bank of Japan governor after the Upper House rejected a government nominee Wednesday for the second time:

Masaaki Shirakawa, already endorsed by the Diet as deputy governor, becomes acting BOJ chief, heads the central bank's day-to-day operations and participates in international meetings such as the Group of Seven gathering of financial chiefs from industrialized economies in April.

The government of Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda proposes a third nominee for Diet deliberations and voting while Shirakawa is serving as acting BOJ chief.

The government may revise the Bank of Japan Law to put priority on a voting result in the Lower House, where Fukuda's ruling coalition maintains its majority, with an eye to renominating BOJ Deputy Gov. Toshiro Muto, the government's initial nominee who was voted down by the opposition-controlled Upper House.

Odor Fells Train Riders in Japan
The New York Times April 19, 1995


YOKOHAMA, Japan, Wednesday, April 19 — At least 51 people were taken to hospitals today after complaining of stinging eyes and bad odors in train and subway stations in Yokohama, a crowded commercial port city adjacent to Tokyo.

Japan has been jittery since a poison gas attack on Tokyo's subways last month killed 12 people and sickened 5,500.

Police and firefighters said other people also were complaining of dizziness and nausea. Defense Agency officials said a military poison-gas warfare unit was being sent to the area.

NHK, Japan's public television network, said there were no reports of people losing consciousness, and those hospitalized appeared lucid.

At Yokohama Chuo Hospital, where 12 people were being examined, all of the victims complained of eye irritation and coughing, but no one was in serious condition, an official said.

The cause of the symptoms was not yet known, she said.

"It does not appear that sarin is involved," a police spokesman said. A train where some passengers complained of illness was being inspected, but otherwise train service had resumed, train officials said.

The silk weavers of Kyoto: family and work in a changing traditional industry
Tamara K. Hareven


Whenever there is a war, Nishijin collapses. During the war (World War II) they issued shichi kinrei in Nishijin. That was an order prohibiting the use of gold or silver thread in Nishijin weaving. Suddenly we had no sales (laugh). The Great Asian War (Dai-Toa Senso) started in 1941. At that time, more than before, Nishijin silk production came under heavy restrictions because it was a peace industry. You had to do this and couldn't do that, or you couldn't use gold or silver thread. The government's restrictions were very severe. Because the restrictions became gradually tighter, we couldn't make enough products for a living. The government recruited us to work as civilian war-industry employees (gunzoku) in the factories it established. I felt that Nishijin's future was gloomy. I received offers from the army to work for them. I went into the army during Showa 15 (1940), and the war broke out the following year. They offered us higher wages than what we were earning in Nishijin, because of our declining industry. They used more and more of the people for the war purposes. For example, you couldn't make even five hundred yen from your own work as a weaver, but if you accepted the government's offer, you could make money in industries for war supplies (gunju-sangyo), when you could hardly make any money on your own job, you wondered if you might be better off in the war-supply industry than as a lower-class worker.

Opening Ceremonies Are Canceled
Wikipedia Kyushu Shinkansen


The Kyūshū Shinkansen is a high-speed railway line between the Japanese cities of Fukuoka and Kagoshima, on Kyushu Island, running parallel to the existing Kagoshima Main Line and operated by the Kyushu Railway Company (JR Kyushu). The southern 127 km is already opened on 13 March 2004. The northern 130 km section is opened on 12 March 2011, however opening ceremonies are canceled due to 2011 Sendai earthquake and tsunami. The construction of a spur from Shin-Tosu to Nagasaki, approximately 118 km in length, began in 2008.


Kiwis in Japan shaken by quake
TVNZ


(a comment of a New Zealander teacher)

I live in the southern part of Japan in the city of Kagoshima, Kyushu. Kagoshima is located quite some distance from the earthquake epicenter but we have not been spared the effects of this horrific natural disaster that is unfolding. The first I knew that a major earthquake had occurred this afternoon was when an announcement was made on the school PA system at the high school I work at, informing students who commute to school by ferry that all ferry services had been cancelled. From the window of my home overlooking the bay I can, at present, see the lights of many ships and ferries that have left port and anchored in the harbor as a precaution against further possible tsunami. As I write, the TV news is reporting that residents within 3kms of a nuclear power station located in northern Japan are presently been urged to evacuate the area. A week ago students at my school who had visited Christchurch and Darfield were in tears when they saw the images of the destruction that Christchurch suffered. Now we are just all stunned as those images are now being repeated here in Japan.

Retired teacher convicted, fined for opposing anthem
Japan Times May 31, 2006


The Tokyo District Court fined a retired high school teacher Tuesday but ruled out a prison term after convicting him of trying to disrupt a 2004 high school graduation ceremony by telling parents to ignore the "Kimigayo" national anthem during the event.

The court ordered Katsuhisa Fujita, 65, to pay 200,000 yen for forcibly obstructing official duties because he urged parents at Itabashi High School, which is run by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, to remain seated while the anthem was played at the March 2004 ceremony. Prosecutors, however, had also demanded an eight-month prison term.

According to the court, about 20 minutes before the ceremony started, Fujita handed out copies of a magazine article on the Hinomaru national flag and "Kimigayo" to parents in the gymnasium.

He asked them to remain seated while the song was played, saying he thought the graduation ceremony was "abnormal because teachers are punished when they refuse to stand and sing the national anthem."

Fujita took the action after the Tokyo metropolitan board of education issued an order in October 2003 requiring schools in the capital to display the Hinomaru and sing "Kimigayo" at graduation and enrollment ceremonies.

When the principal and other school officials asked him to leave the venue, Fujita shouted, "Do not touch me. I am an ordinary citizen," and "I am a teacher at Itabashi High," the court said.

Fujita left about 10 minutes before the ceremony started at 10:02 a.m. on March 11, 2004. He had taught social studies at the school for seven years and retired in March 2002. He was invited back by the principal to attend the ceremony.

The high school and board of education filed a complaint with police following the incident and Fujita's case was handed to prosecutors in October 2004.

That December, Tokyo prosecutors, without arresting Fujita, charged him with obstructing official duties by force. They demanded an eight-month prison term.

The main point in the trial was whether Fujita's acts constituted forcible obstruction and disrupted the event.

Presiding Judge Hitoshi Murase said Fujita protested the principal's demand to leave, caused a disturbance and delayed the start of the ceremony by two minutes.

"His (asking parents to remain seated) can be judged as a forcible act and it is not an appropriate means (of expressing an opinion)," he said. "In fact, it obstructed the event."

But the judge said Fujita did not intend to obstruct the ceremony itself by his actions and added that the event afterward proceeded smoothly.

Fujita said his guilty verdict reflect how Japanese society can easily fall into fascism and totalitarianism.

"I believe the judge made a political ruling and issued a guilty verdict as a matter of form. If the media ask all the teachers, students and parents at the ceremony about what happened, you would understand this ruling is wrong," he said.

Judge Murase said he assessed Fujita's actions in the gym by listening to a recording of conversations between him and other teachers.

Bunya Kato, one of Fujita's lawyers, said the ruling was unfair and would have a major impact on teachers, preventing them from opposing authorities' policies.

"He talked to parents calmly 20 minutes before the ceremony started. If this act is considered coercive, it will greatly affect teachers," Kato said.

Hiroshi Nishihara, a professor of law at Waseda University, said the ruling may deprive teachers of their freedom of expression and limit their freedom to talk with parents.

"The ruling comes from the idea that (all teachers) have to turn in the same direction in order. If (authorities) suppress everything (opposing their policies), it will be a serious problem for education," Nishihara said.

Since issuing the order on the flag and anthem, the board of education has suspended or cut the pay of more than 300 teachers at public schools who have refused to sing.

Fujita immediately appealed the ruling.

Translating in the spirit of samurai
Japan Times Nov. 8, 2008


Iehiro Tokugawa arrives at the publishing house Kobunsha, for which he works on occasion as a translator, accompanied by his Vietnamese wife. He is all in black; she is in blue jeans with a waterfall of shining hair down her back, and very lovely too. Speaking in fluent English, he extends his hand to introduce himself as potentially the 19th shogun in the Tokugawa family line — should Japan ever have use again for a new-style feudal lord with an American accent and an international marriage, that is. "You will remember that Ieyasu Tokugawa established his power base in Edo in 1603," he begins, clearing his throat nervously. "My family then ruled until the Meiji Reformation towards the end of the 19th century."

He explains that the last and 15th shogun, Yoshinobu Tokugawa tried hard to reform the outdated shogunate regime but proved unsuccessful. After offering his resignation to the emperor in 1867, he went into retirement and lived until 1913 out of the public eye, taking photographs and fishing.

"Yoshinobu was a very interesting man. Bright. Sensitive. But unpredictable, as intelligent people often are. He had a tendency to flip flop. Do I flip flop?" After a smile chases across his face he replies dead pan: "No, I'm more on the dim side." To which everyone in the room falls about laughing.

He explains that Yoshinobu opted out of the Tokugawa family — something many people fail to realize — leaving a gap in terms of inheritance. Which is where history could be said to get just a little bit complicated.

"A deal was struck between Tokugawa family members — of whom I have to say there are many — and a 6-year-old was appointed. This was my great-great grandfather, Iesato. He was sent to the U.K. at age 16, and stayed 10 years. He returned in 1903, thoroughly Anglophiled, entered the Diet when both houses had power, and five years later was appointed president of the House of Peers."

Under the prewar (Meiji) constitution, the only fixed post was that of the emperor. Iesato had to be elected to his post, which after his initial appointment he managed to do five consecutive times over 30 years. He died in 1940.

"My father's background is rather more complicated," Tokugawa continues, "coming as he did from the Matsudaira clan of Aizu, today located in Fukushima Prefecture."

The Dominion of Aizu was loyal to both the Bafuku and the Imperial Court. This was quite logical at the time because the Bafuku was loyal to the emperor and the emperor was pro-Bafuku. When Aizu swore allegiance to the new government, many of those in control had axes to grind.

Stripped of their lands, the Matsudaira clan was exiled to Aomori, "close to where the plutonium recycling facility is now." The family lived in great poverty until eventually forgiven, and the clan chief — former daimyo — made a viscount in the newly established aristocracy.

Tokugawa finds such matters, and the fact that the son of this Matsudaira — his patriarchal great-grandfather — became a diplomat and married a Nagashima (one of Japan's four great daimyo houses) enormously interesting. "There were all sorts of arrangements going on. It seems to me that the old and new regimes were not that different when all is said and done."

This great-grandfather rose diplomatically through the ranks to become ambassador to Great Britain and the United States, as well as vice-minister in the Foreign Ministry. As such he was a very important figure in Anglo-U.S. relations, serving with Shigeru Yoshida, one of the four prime ministers of the immediate postwar period.

"It was his son who married a grand-daughter of Iesato Tokugawa. She was my grandmother."

Yes, he agrees, it would be a good idea to get it all down on paper. Especially since there are diaries (kept by both Iesato and a chief retainer of the Tokugawa household) that detail the daily goings on of all the important figures of the Restoration Period. "From what I have read, it seems to me they were all behaving like a bunch of frat kids, out to create mischief. Of course, when you look at the political scene now, especially with Bush and his cronies, it's not so different."

Such observations are not surprising considering his international upbringing. At age 6, he moved from Shibuya, where he was born ("growing up in a large gloomy house feeling like a rat running around trying to survive") to New York — "Hence my American accent!" His father, who was in shipping, was transferred to Long Island, where the family stayed three years.

"How was it in America? Wonderful. Fun. I went to a public school just across the road from our house. Quite a change from Gakushuin, which is as posh as you can get in Japan."

Re-entry was a nightmare. Aged 9, he hardly spoke Japanese. Nor could he write kanji. Back in Gakushuin, he might have sunk, but for his mother's efforts to help him catch up, so consolidating a love of telling stories, a talent for writing.

Why then would he choose to study economics at university? (Keio, of course, which he nonetheless describes as going from posh to even posher.) Because money is what makes the world go around, of course. After graduating ("remarkable, because I couldn't understand economics at all"), he went to the University of Michigan to do a master's in the same subject. "It was still incomprehensible, but I never questioned any other direction."

He entered the United Nations as a trainee economist (amazing how helpful a name can be) and after starting work in the agriculture and trade division, found his perspective changing. He spent time in Hanoi, which is where he met his wife; there was also a happy period in Rome. Then after five years he went back to school to study political science, a time he describes as "also very happy. Who would not be at Columbia (University) in Manhattan?" Again his return to Japan was a let down. "My parents weren't pleased to have this strange element roaming around the house. They sent me to a mountain hideout in Gotemba."

At this point his wife interjects, defending her in-laws and saying he is being unfair. But he says, no, that is how it was.

Living in isolation, he translated a book published in the U.K. for the young adult market. But no sooner had he finished it than the project was canceled. "I cried. I did. It had been pretty boring to do too — the first time I have ever read a book and fallen asleep."

So he struggled on, frugally, reading, reading, reading, until in desperation — missing his girlfriend — he moved to Thailand, where she joined him. "It was cheap to live. I could have first pick of new titles for possible translation in Bangkok's wonderful Kinokuniya bookstore. Most important, we could get married, live in peace." His wife has been a strong influence, he admits with a wry grin. "For one thing I used to be so unkempt. She encourages a cool image, insisting I wear black to make me look thinner."

Now they are back in Shibuya, living next door to his parents, but never talking to them. It's a pity, because their No. 1 son is one of the sweetest, most self-deprecating men imaginable. And his wife is bright, charming and 100 percent supportive. Iehiro would make a great professor, making complex economic issues easy to understand; as for students, they'd surely blossom in the light of his enthusiasm and droll sense of humor. "The only problem would be in having to grade them!"

As for saving Japan from its current state of dispirited stagnancy, he has ideas. (Such a pity that most are "off the record.") In the meantime he is readying for a trip to New York to do some research, look for books as possible projects.

Titles that match the quality and importance of Tokugawa translations to date are: "New Paradigm for the Financial Markets" by George Soros, "China — A Fragile Superpower" by Suzan Shirk, and Ian Johnson's "Wild Grass: Three Portraits of Change in Modern China" ("a truly wonderful book").

The Skull and Bones Society
Educate-Yourself


A Death Cult at the Heart of the United States Establishment?

The Skull and Bones fraternity at Yale University: President George W. Bush, past president Bush senior and his father are all three proven initiates of this occult lodge based at a windowless mausoleum - I kid you not - The Tomb on the Yale campus. New York Observer investigation ( http://www.observer.com/pages/story.asp?ID=2511 ) A death cult at the heart of the United States establishment?

Impossible surely? But look a little closer and you'll see that seems to be exactly what George W Bush's family club, the order of Skull and Bones, is. Known variously as 'Bonesmen', 'The Order' and 'The Russell Trust Association', George W.Bush's father and grandfather were both initiated into this 'society' who's badge is a skull and cross bones with the lodge number 322 below it. Lodge 322 is believed to have been founded on June 28th 1832.

And the Skull and Bones are believed to have a commemoration ceremony on 28th June every year
. This year (2002) on this date George W. Bush was relieved of his presidency for several hours, Dick Cheyne took over running the world's only superpower while Bush was 'undergoing hospital tests'. If the Nazis' occult Thule Society had been exposed in the twenties millions might not have died - I would like to see the 'Bonesmen' and any other secret groups hungry for power fully exposed as unfit to hold positions of public responsibility.

Author and researcher Antony Sutton died earlier this year on June 17th 2002. He was a British born émigré to the USA and spent much of his academic time researching links from the US establishment and business world to fascism and communism. Particularly enlightening is his research on the financing of the Nazi party which he attributed to Wall street bankers - see his book 'Wall Street and the Rise of Hitler'.

Sutton was a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, from 1968 to 1973. He was a former economics professor at California State University, Los Angeles. He was born in London in 1925 and educated at the universities of London, Gottingen and California. In September 1977 an article appeared in the US magazine Esquire. Sutton explains it detailed much of the mumbo-jumbo associated with the Bonesmen. When a new member is initiated into the order "Tonight", he is told, "he will die to the world and be born again into The Order as he will thenceforth refer to it.

The Order is a world unto itself in which he will have a new name and fourteen new blood brothers, also with new names." When Rosenbaum starts to enquire about The Order he is told: "They don't like people tampering and prying. The power of Bones is incredible. They've got their hands on every lever of power in the country. You'll see - it's like trying to look into the Mafia. Remember, they're secret society too."

The Washington Post broached the subject on 25th February 2000 - 'Shred This After Reading!' Lloyd Grove called the article: "Before George W. Bush was a good ol' boy, he was a member of Skull and Bones. Author Ron Rosenbaum calls this club "the most powerful of all secret societies in the strange Yale secret-society system." Its roster includes Averell Harriman, Henry Stimson, Henry Luce, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Dubya's dad, former president George Bush.

They all engaged in "certain occult rituals of the ruling class," as Rosenbaum writes, in a windowless mausoleum on Yale's New Haven, Conn., campus." "Although the club dates back to the mid-19th century, Hollywood has just discovered it. "The Skulls," written and produced by D.C. native and Yale grad John Pogue, premieres next month. The movie portrays a sinister conspiracy, a la John Grisham's "The Firm," in which sons of the power elite have their flesh branded with a skull and crossbones, and keep the society's secrets on pain of death.

The real Skull and Bones has a similar mania for secrecy, but that didn't stop us from casting a wide net for the reactions of "Bonesmen" to this crass vulgarization of their sacred brotherhood. Dubya and Kerry didn't return our calls, but we managed to talk to a few." "Washington writer Christopher Buckley told us: "Don't quote me, or I shall have to come and kill you, burn down your house and rape your dog!" Former Yale chaplain William Sloane Coffin said the real thing was bad enough without resorting to Hollywood spin: "It strikes me that if anybody wants to make fun of it in such a gross way, that lets Skull and Bones off the hook."

And Oklahoma University President and former senator David Boren cautioned: "Make sure you say that when you asked me about this, I gasped and threw the telephone on the floor. There was never any branding. I'm much too chicken to belong to anything that requires your flesh to be burned. Officially, my response is silence."" Finally here's a two year old interview from Time magazine with Bush happily admitting his family are in the cult.

The Order of Skull and Bones
Crystalinks


Skull and Bones is the most well known of the secret societies based at Yale University. It was founded in 1832 by William Huntington Russell and Alphonso Taft, two students who were not admitted into Phi Beta Kappa at Yale University, in New Haven, Connecticut.

The first Skull and Bones class, or "cohort", was in 1833. Skull and Bones is known by many names, including The Order of Death, The Order, The Eulogian Club, and Lodge 322. Initiates are most commonly known as Bonesmen, Knights of Eulogia, and Boodle Boys.

The females who have recently been permitted to become members would be known as Boneswomen, Ladies of Eulogia, and Boodle Girls.In public, its corporate name is the Russell Trust Association. In 1999 it had assets of $4,133,246.

Skull and Bones is the only secret society known to have a summer home and its own private island. This private island, one of the Thousand Islands lying in gray territorial area between the United States and Canada, was given to the Order by one of its early mysterious benefactor families who was associated with the secret society.

Differences between Skull and Bones and other fraternities

Skull and Bones is different from other semi-secretive fraternities and sororities on several points. First, its current membership rosters are a secret to the public, as well as its activities. Second, it is what is called a "senior society," in that only upcoming seniors are inducted into the secret society only for one year prior to graduation. Third, members have a history of committing crimes to further The Order. Whether these crimes are part of the initiation or simply as a mutual encouragement of peer pressure, is unknown. For instance, grave-robbing has been committed on several occasions.

The Skull and Bones Tomb was rumored to hold Geronimo's skull, which inspired Native American activist and Apache chief Ned Anderson to try to force a search and a DNA test. He would face many obstacles. As a Yale student in 1918, Prescott Bush, former Connecticut Senator, father of President George H. W. Bush and grandfather to President George W. Bush, had dug up the skull himself with two other students from its federal burial ground at Fort Sill, Oklahoma and presented it as a gift to the fraternity.

The FBI refused to enter the fray unless Anderson removed himself from the investigation and turned over any evidence he had, an offer Anderson refused. Anderson then claimed, with several pieces of evidence, that he had met with Jonathan Bush, the brother of then-Vice-President George H. W. Bush, who presented the infamous skull.

The skull was impossibly small, and is assumed to be of a child. Anderson then publicized the meeting, adding that the skull was not the one of Skull and Bones fame. A bonesman was quoted as saying about the incident, "We still call it Geronimo".

The New Haven Tomb is rumored in Yale's own magazine to hold the skulls of Pancho Villa and Che Guevara as well. Fourth, The Order inspires occasionally a fanatical loyalty. Members have been known to stab the Bones insignia into their flesh to keep it on them while showering or swimming.

Both John Kerry and George W. Bush are members of Skull and Bones. Bush refused to talk about their common membership in the Order of Death during his February 9, 2004 appearance on NBC's Meet The Press.

In another interview, when Kerry was in turn asked what could he reveal about Skull and Bones, Kerry said: "Well not much, because it's a secret... Sorry, I wish there was something I could manifest..." and then quickly changed the subject. Bush appointed 11 Skull and Bones members to his Administration in his first term.

Ishihara in Tokyo Election Race After All
JAPANREALTIME THE WALL STREET JOURNAL March 11, 2011


After months of unanswered speculation replete with public pleas from his son, the secretary general of the Liberal Democratic Party, Mr. Ishihara has finally confirmed he will seek a fourth term as the head of Japan’s capital. And while others have already tossed their hats in the ring, with just two weeks to go before official campaigning for the April 10 election begins, previous experience has shown that the later Mr. Ishihara declares, the greater his chance of staying in the minds of voters.

“I have decided to run in the Tokyo gubernatorial election,” said Mr. Ishihara to much applause during the Tokyo metropolitan assembly meeting Friday afternoon. “The reason is because of the people’s sense of impending crisis that the country is faltering. I believe that Japan’s fate will be determined over the next several years.”

Mr. Ishihara, a conservative independent, has played the same game in past Tokyo gubernatorial elections: locally it’s known as “atodashi janken,” when a player delays his or her hand in the rock-paper-scissors game just long enough to see the other guy’s hand and produce a winning ploy. He beat back 18 other candidates to his first win as Tokyo governor in 1999 and kept his throne in two subsequent landslide victories. A report shown to him by the Liberal Democratic Party that indicated he could easily clear the challengers again this time is believed to have persuaded him to get off the rocking horse, according to Japanese news agency Kyodo on Friday morning.

Saudis protest amid heavy security in Riyadh
globalpost March 20, 2011


A group of Saudis protested outside the Interior Ministry in Riyadh on Sunday to demand the release of jailed relatives, amid a heavy police presence.

The protest, involving dozens of men in traditional white robes and red headdresses, was the third such gathering in a week. The men were demanding the release of imprisoned relatives.

Saudi Arabia, which practices the puritanical Wahhabi school of Islam and has no elected parliament, has warned that protests will not be tolerated, as they violate the Koran's teachings, Reuters reports.

Saudi King Abdullah last week promised billions in handouts for Saudi citizens, new hospitals and medical centers and more jobs, and he pledged to set up an anti-corruption agency.

But reform activists responded with disappointment Friday.

"I feel disappointed, to say the least," one Saudi activist told CNN. "I do believe after these decrees, instead of sweeping reforms, they'll start sweeping up the activists. I'm afraid there will be a crackdown on activists here."

A "Day of Rage" organized online last week by Saudi activists hoping to emulate the uprisings in other parts of the Arab world, did not go ahead due to increased security.

On Sunday, at least 50 police cars surrounded the Interior Ministry.

"We have seen at least three or four police vehicles taking people away," an activist told Reuters. "Security have arrested around 15 people. They tried to go into the ministry to go and ask for the freedom of their loved ones."
Saudi policemen stand guard in front of Al-rajhi mosque in central Riyadh on March 11, 2011 as Saudi Arabia launched a massive security operation in a menacing show of force to deter protesters from a planned "Day of Rage" to press for democratic reform in the kingdom.

Caracas

Today, Caracas is the capital of Venezuela. But the city is decribed as follows in the Wikipedia.
Foundation: July 25, 1567

At the time of its founding, more than four hundred years ago, the valley of Caracas was populated by indigenous peoples. Francisco Fajardo, the son of a Spanish captain and a Guaiqueri cacica, attempted to establish a plantation in the valley in 1562 after founding a series of coastal towns. Fajardo's settlement did not last long. It was destroyed by natives of the region led by Terepaima and Guaicaipuro. This was the last rebellion on the part of the natives. On 25 July 1567, Captain Diego de Losada laid the foundations of the city of Santiago de León de Caracas.

Caracas is spelled in the Japanese as "karakasu". And the word "karakasu" means "to try hard" or "to accomplish" in the Nagoya dialect or Mino dialect in Japan. Those regions are the place where Tokugawa Ieyasu originally ruled.
But the date of foundation strongly indictaes the Japanese samurai shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu.

July 25 , 1563
★Tokugawa Ieyasu changes his first name from Motoyasu
to Ieyasu.
February 8, 1567
★Tokugawa Ieyasu changes his family name from
Matsudaira to Tokugawa.
July 25 , 1567
★Don Diego de Losada founds the city of Santiago de Leon
de Caracas, modern-day Caracas, the capital city of
Venezuela.

Third Session of the 10th National People's Congress
People's Daily Online


Wu Bangguo, chairman of China's National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee chairs the Third Session of the 10th National People's Congress (NPC) opened at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing March 5, 2005.

The truth about Thatcher Thatcher milk snatcher
BBC 1 January, 2001


The one political decision that cemented the left's view of Margaret Thatcher nine years before she entered Number 10 as prime minister was the one that left her dubbed "Thatcher, Thatcher Milk Snatcher". But documents published today reveal that she was considering cuts elsewhere at the same time... As Sir Edward Heath's Conservatives took power from Harold Wilson in June 1970, the economic outlook was looking bleak.

Wilson's government appeared to have postponed some key economic decisions because of the General Election - and the Conservatives were looking for cuts to meet election pledges on tax.

The most infamous cut of all was the Department of Education's decision to end universal free school milk- taken by Secretary of State Margaret Thatcher.

But documents released under the 30-Year-Rule paint a more complicated picture of what the future prime minister was prepared to sign up to.

Shortly after election, Prime Minister Heath wrote to his cabinet, telling them: "We shall need determination and a willingness among spending ministers to accept reductions in programmes which, from a departmental stand point, they would be reluctant to make."

And in August 1970, the new Secretary of State for Education responded to a Treasury demand for education cuts in four areas:

•Further Education fees
•Library book borrowing charges
•School meal charges
•Free school milk
In principle, the minister who became known for her public-spending cutting zeal once she took power in 1979, appeared concerned at what the public perception of the cuts would be.

Responding to the demands to end free school milk, Mrs Thatcher said: "I think that the complete withdrawal of free milk for our school children would be too drastic a step and would arouse more widespread public antagonism than the saving justifies."

She proposed the compromise, later accepted, that milk would only be available to pupils in nursery and primary schools.

She told the Treasury that this would reduce the proposed cuts by 」20m over the four-year life of the government and would free up cash for a new primary school building programme.

Museum charges

On library book charges, Mrs Thatcher's response appeared to be set harder against their introduction.

Margaret Thatcher: Baulked at library charges

"I foresee real difficulties here," she wrote tot he Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Maurice Macmillan. "It would be a serious step to abandon the time-honoured principle of free borrowing from public libraries and I think that the issue should be put before the collective judgement of our colleagues."

Crucially though, she added a new proposal which may have proved just as controversial had it gone ahead.

"To compensate for this, I am willing to include in my review the imposition of entrance charges to the national museums..."

School meals

Despite these reservations, the minister did support increasing charges for school meals - but in a carefully managed way to avoid public protest.

"I think that we should proceed by fewer and larger steps so as to reduce the occasions for the inevitable recurrence of criticism whenever an increase is made in school meal charges," she wrote.

"On this footing, I propose raising the charge to 12p next April and to 14p in April 1973; over the four year period 1971-74 this will produce 」16m more in savings then (sic) would your own proposals."

Cabinet offers

By the Cabinet meeting of September 15, Mrs Thatcher appeared to be more enthusiastic about cuts to her department's bill.

"The Secretary of State for Education and Science said that she had been able to offer the Chief Secretary, Treasury, rather larger savings than he had sought on school meals, school milk, further education and library charges," the minutes reveal.

Those cuts would be worth some 」200m to the government - though some would go back into primary schools.

Despite concerns about the proposals for school meal charges, the Cabinet supported the package, excepting library fees, two weeks later.

Crown Prince Rudolph--controversies, affairs & his death
Alexander Palace Time Machine Discussion Forum


"In March 1983 , the academic world was startled by a series of interviews with her appearing in the Vienna tabloid paper, the 'Kronenzeitung', on the imperishable romantic drama, the double death at the Mayerling shooting-lodge on 30 January 1889, of the Austrian Crown Prince and Maria Vestera. Romance, the Empress declared, had nothing to do with it. Rudolf had been murdered by foreign agents because he had uncovered an international conspiracy to overthrow his father, Emperor Francis Joseph. That the dead man had penned half a dozen convincing suicide notes, including one to his plain, long suffering wife Stephanie; that foreign agents would have needed to have been Houdinis to get in and out of a bedroom whose door and windows were locked from inside; that Rudolf already stricken with venereal disease, was killing himself anyway with drugs and general disipation; that Francis Joseph was doing nothing in 1889 (by which time he was already passive politically) which would have driven any foreign power to entertain the lunatic notion of trying to dethrone him - all this, together with the detailed medical and police documentation extant on the tragedy was overriden by one argument. This was that a Christian burial for the dead man would have been impossible had he really been a suicide and a murderer. (There was, in fact, away around this obstacle, namely that the prince had been insane when committing the act. This, in all probability, was the theological escape route taken, though the urgent exchange of messages between the emperor and the Pope on the tragedy has been missing for more than a century. That was not the only thing missing.

To a friend who wrote asking for the historical basis of her statement, she sent a dictated reply, (her eyesight was now very poor):

"Alas, all proofs, that is documentary proofs, have either disappeared or cannot be found .... But the surest proof is that it would have been out of the question in those days for a suicide to be given a Christian burial, and the Vatican at first immediately forbade this. Only after a detailed telegram had been sent to the Vatican by the Emperor Francis Joseph explaining the situation was permission for the funeral given."

No serious historian has ever accepted this foreign murder scenario which, indeed, caused some private embarrassment amongst the empress's family at the time. But her motive in putting it forward seems plain. The Mayerling affair was the darkest of all religious blots on the Habsburg family escutscheon. To wipe it clean might in some way help the last Habsburg ruler to make that escutscheon shine with sainthood.

Historically convincing or not, the mere fact that she had given those interviews the most rewarding happening of her final years, the reunion at long last with her Austran homeland."
The interview took place on March 11, 1983, according to the Japanese Wikipedia.

China Reports High Growth in Fourth Quarter
NationalJournal January 20, 2011


It surpasses Japan as second-largest economy.

China’s economy expanded by a staggering 9.8 percent in the fourth quarter and 10.3 percent for all of 2010, data released today indicate. The news that China has apparently surpassed Japan as the world’s second-largest economy came in the middle of Chinese President Hu Jintao’s state visit to Washington.

The growth was higher than expected, given the tightening measures adopted recently by Beijing. The acceleration will likely add to the pressure on policymakers to head off inflation and contribute to market concerns over China’s ability to manage growth.

China reportedly eclipsed Japan’s GDP in the second quarter of 2010, but the numbers had to be confirmed with full-year figures. The director of China’s National Bureau of Statistics, Ma Jiantang, said in Beijing today that the comparison relies in part on purchasing-power-parity adjustments that can boost the GDP figures of developing countries, according to Dow Jones Newswires.

Japan, which had been the second-largest economy since 1968, will report year-end economic data in February. Ma said that China’s GDP per capita falls significantly behind Japan’s.

The 10.3 percent yearly growth for China put its GDP at $5.88 trillion. The International Monetary Fund projected in October that U.S. GDP will top 14.62 trillion for the year, though the United States is struggling to boost growth in the midst of a glacially slow economic recovery.

Hu will speak today to the U.S.-China Business Council, where he will likely be well received.

Nearly 125 Arrested in Sweeping Mob Roundup
New York Times January 20, 2011


The criminal accusations spanned several states and several decades, encompassing figures from seven mob families, and led to the arrest of nearly 125 people on federal charges on Thursday.

There were murders, including a double homicide over a spilled drink in a Queens bar. There were the more run-of-the-mill activities associated with organized crime: racketeering, extortion, loan-sharking, money laundering, gambling and the like.

There were even some names from mob lore, including Luigi Manocchio, 83, the former boss of New England’s Patriarca crime family, who was said to have dressed in women’s clothing to avoid capture decades ago. He was arrested in Florida, accused of another mob standby: shaking down strip clubs, in Providence, R.I.

The charges were included in 16 indictments handed up in federal courts in four jurisdictions. Taken together, they amounted to what federal officials called the “largest mob roundup in F.B.I. history.”

Ishihara “Won’t Stand” for 4th Term as Tokyo Governor
Sankaku Complex February 23, 2011


Tokyo’s 78-year-old governor Shintaro Ishihara has said he will not stand for election to a fourth term as Tokyo governor.

Previously he had apparently indicated he would stand, but his son, who in the best traditions of Japan’s cronyistic hereditary democracy is also the secretary general of the LDP, recently told party supporters his father did not intend to stand for re-election.

Whether he could actually win another election is not clear, but optimism about the prospects for repealing his manga ban may yet be misplaced – the LDP, with which he is most closely associated, fiercely supported the ban and is packed with pro-censorship authoritarian conservatives, whilst the main opposition party, the supposedly liberal DPJ, went along with the ban after it was reworded to be even more draconian.

Tokyo gubernatorial election
Kyodo News


Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara speaks during a news conference in Tokyo on March 14, 2011. He said recently he would seek a fourth term in April's election, even though he had earlier suggested he would not run. (Kyodo)

U.S. Helos Assist with Japan Quake Relief
AINonline March 28, 2011


The U.S. military expeditiously moved in helicopters to assist with Japan’s earthquake and tsunami relief efforts following the March 11 disaster. Over the weekend of March 12, the Pentagon quickly mobilized “Operation Tomodachi” (friendship in Japanese). The carrier USS Ronald Reagan was positioned off the island of Honshu to act as a floating fuel station for Japanese rescue helicopters, and its escort ships are assisting in SAR efforts.

Helicopter carrier USS Tortuga, with its complement of USMC MH-53 heavy-lift helicopters, has been dispatched to the area. U.S. helicopters at bases in Okinawa have been forward-based to Honshu and quickly began flying food relief missions around the Sendai impact area. Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 265 deployed its CH-46E tandem-rotor helicopters to the Japanese mainland.

Japanese defense chief thanks U.S. military for humanitarian efforts
Mainichi Daily News April 5, 2011


Japanese Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa expressed his gratitude to members of the U.S. military aboard the U.S. carrier Ronald Reagan on Monday for their involvement in search and other relief efforts in the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

Kitazawa said to about 2,000 U.S. personnel in the ship's hanger, relaying Prime Minister Naoto Kan's message, "All of the disaster-struck people and Japanese people were touched by the hard work exhibited by U.S. troops in rescue efforts."

"We will make an all-out effort to overcome this hardship, while obtaining cooperation from you," Kitazawa also said aboard the carrier off tsunami-ravaged northeastern Japan.

Separately from Kan's message, a tearful Kitazawa also said, "I have never been more encouraged by and proud of the fact that the United States is our ally."

U.S. Ambassador to Japan John Roos, who accompanied Kitazawa on the tour, pledged that the United States will lend its hand to Japan anytime, anywhere.

The U.S. military has mounted a large-scale disaster relief activity called "Operation Tomodachi (friends)" since the massive tsunami decimated the coastlines in the country's northeast and east on March 11, following a magnitude 9.0 quake.

Russell Not First President of Watchtower
EX Jehovah's Witnesses


However, another one of Charles Taze Russell's many "former friends and associates", John H. Paton, did publish notice of Conley's death in his own competing "The World's Hope" magazine. Paton also mentioned that he had stayed at the Conley home numerous times "over the past 20 years". (John H. Paton authored many of the Watch Tower Magazine's articles during its first couple years.) Evidently, Conley had remained closer to the "trinitarian" John H. Paton (who lived in Michigan) than Conley did with Russell, who lived right there in Allegheny. This fact, along with the report that William Conley eventually joined a local Presbyterian Church, might also indicate that William Conley's problems with Charles Taze Russell started when Russell rejected the Trinity Doctrine in 1882. There is also evidence that Conley may have chosen Paton's chronological interpretations over Russell's after 1882.

Japan that Commodore Perry observed
Perry’s negotiations with Japan
Detailed preparation and advance research


During the eight months between the order on March 24, 1852, to appoint him the Commander, U.S. East India Squadron and the departure from Norfolk on November 24 aboard the Mississippi, he collected information on Japan as much as possible. He obtained detailed information from the U.S. whaling ships which had done fishing in the North Pacific, as well as obtained almost all books on Japan published in Western nations, while he studied about Japan in detail before and during the navigation. With respect to the Netherlands, he purchased Japan’s maps that had been collected by Philipp Franz von Siebold, at a cost of as much as 30,000 dollars (Cf. Perry’s annual income was 4,000 dollars) and moreover he bought a great book titled “Nippon” written by Siebold, at a cost of 503 dollars. Furthermore, he studied in detail the report by ex-Commander U.S. East India Squadron Commodore J. Biddle, who had come to Uraga in Japan seven years earlier than Perry in a bid to request Japan for mutual commerce and trading, as well as the report by Commander J. Glyn, Commanding Officer of the Preble of the U.S. East India Squadron, who had come to Nagasaki four years earlier than Perry in a bid to negotiate for the handover of sailors of a U.S. whaler who had drifted to Japan. Thus, Perry grasped well the weak points of the Japanese. In addition, in order to take advantage of the negotiations, he selected and collected carefully those gifts to Shogun and Shogunate high-ranking officials by himself.

'Voting' begins in North Korea
Pyongyang desk July 29, 2007


The election of deputies to North Korea's 'People's Assemblies' has begun but there will be no surprise results.

The deputies are pre-selected by the ruling Workers Party, so there is only one candidate in each ballot, but a vote is seen as approval for the candidate, while it is also possible to register disapproval on the ballot paper. "I feel the benefit of our socialist system" - Ri Myong-hi Portraits of former leader Kim Sung-il and his son, the current North Korean leader Kim Jong-il are on display in the streets and posters bear slogans including "Let's vote in agreement".
In the dictatorship, voting does not take place in private and defectors say participation in the elections is compulsory.
Voter Ri Myong-hi, from Pyongyang, said: "I feel the benefit of our socialist system and the people's power through my life experience, and so, I cast a ballot of approval before anybody else this morning." The election also acts as a census, allowing a thorough registration of the population.

April 19th
Today in History


Shigeki Tanaka, who survived the atomic blast in Hiroshima, Japan in World War II, won the Boston Marathon. With the participation of thousands of runners, the Boston Marathon is one of the most important long-distance races in the world.

City rejects man's request for allowance for 554 adopted children
JAPANTODAY 30th April, 2010


A city government in Hyogo Prefecture has rejected a resident’s application to obtain newly instituted benefits designed to aid families with children after the man, a South Korean national, attempted to apply for 554 children who he said were adopted in Thailand, a city official said Saturday.

The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry issued earlier this month a notice detailing some conditions for children residing abroad and others to be eligible for the benefit such as being in the same household and individually approved by the local municipal government.

In it, the ministry cites a case of a foreign national who has adopted 50 orphans in their home country as an example of being ineligible.

The monthly allowance, to be disbursed from June, is set at 13,000 yen per child, which would come to just over 86 million yen per year for the 554 children.

The ministry said this is the first time that someone has tried to file an application for several hundred children at one time. The child benefit law enacted in March does not require residency in Japan for eligible children, generating concerns in some quarters about abuse.

According to the Amagasaki municipal government, the man, who appeared to be in his 50s, visited the city office on Thursday and applied for the child benefit by showing documents that he said were certified by Thai authorities, along with translations, that showed the names of the children and their birth dates.

The man said the children he adopted include those in a monastery in Thailand, where his wife comes from, according to the city.

Aware of the ministry’s earlier notice, the city immediately consulted the ministry and decided not to accept the application.

The applicant also carried records showing that he has been sending money to the children, the necessary documents by a foreign resident to make an application, and his passport to prove that he visited the children. The ministry requires at least two child visits per year, supported by passport records, for foreigners who have children abroad.

The city official said they do not know if all the documents were authentic as they did not accept the application.

After being briefed and rejected by staff, the man requested the name of the division at the ministry in charge of the allowance and its phone number before leaving the office, the city official said.

On March 26, the Democratic Party of Japan-led ruling bloc enacted the child benefit law, one of the party’s key campaign pledges for last year’s general election.

The law applies to children until they finish lower secondary school. The DPJ aims to provide 26,000 yen a month from fiscal 2011 per child.

Statement on Acquittal in the Retrial of the Ashikaga Case
Japan Federation of Bar Associations March 26, 2010


Today, the Utsunomiya District Court acquitted Mr. Toshikazu Sugaya in his retrial.

The decision pointed out the inaccurate result of the original DNA test and the illegality of the interrogations conducted by public prosecutors after Mr. Sugaya’s indictment. It also stated that the confession of Mr. Sugaya was not credible at all and apparently false. Presiding Judge Masaharu Sato apologized to Mr. Sugaya saying “the courts did not adequately listen to Mr. Sugaya’s voice of the truth and deprived him of his freedom for the long period of seventeen and a half years. As a judge heard this case, I deeply apologize to him.” The Presiding Judge also promised that he would keep Mr. Sugaya’s thoughts deeply in his mind.

The Ashikaga case revealed multiple integral problems such as the fact that investigating authorities and the courts could not examine the case properly because they placed too much confidence in the result of the original DNA test and over-depended on Mr. Sugaya’s confessions. The courts’ unscientific attitude to reject retesting DNA for a long time was also problematic.

In order to correct these problems:
The transparency of interrogations, i.e., visual recording of the entire process of interrogations, is indispensable in order to prevent involuntary or false confessions. It is regrettable, however, that we are still far from its realization. Today’s ruling taught that visual recording of interrogations should be immediately implemented.

For those who are claiming their innocence, the right to have an immediate and appropriate DNA test conducted on evidential materials which have been properly stored should be guaranteed.

Prior to rendering the decision, the Presiding Judge stated that, “Recognizing the unrepairable miscarriage of justice in this case, I reaffirmed my commitment not to repeat the same error.” Based on this regret of the court, a third-party body should be immediately set up in order to thoroughly investigate the cause behind the miscarriage of justice.
In response to today’s decision, the Japan Federation of Bar Associations (JFBA), as an organization with a pivotal role in the administration of justice, also feels keenly its responsibility for this miscarriage of justice. Contemplating the physical and mental hardships experienced by Mr. Sugaya as he proclaimed his innocence during his unjust detention lasting more than 17 years, we reiterate our commitment to provide the utmost support for those who are suffering from miscarriages of justice.

The JFBA sincerely hopes that Mr. Sugaya who struggled with painful and bitter experiences will lead a peaceful and happy life in the future.

The United States and Japan in 2002
The Edwin O. Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies


AN UNDISTPUTABLE SIGN OF CHANGE:

THE BLUE EYED PARLAMENTARIAN

In the background of Koizumi’s reform efforts, a truly revolutionary event took place in Japanese politics with absolutely zero effort by the premier.

On January 29, 2002, TV personality Kyosen Ohashi of the DPJ resigned from his House of Councilors seat due to his dissatisfaction with DPJ management and the public’s lack of trust in politics. In his place, Marutei Tsurunen became Japan’s first non-ethnic Japanese lawmaker in the Diet. While minorities have long served in the U.S. Congress, the ascension of a person of foreign descent to the all-Japanese legislature stood as a major symbol of change in Japan.

Structure of a precipitation system around Aichi Prefecture, Japan on August 28-29, 2008
Laboratory of Meteorology in the Nagoya University


A precipitation system brought heavy rainfall around Aichi Prefecture on August 28-29, 2008. Total rainfall amounts on these two days were 304.5 mm at Okazaki, 240.0 mm at Ichinomiya, and 202.0 mm at Nagoya. Hourly rainfall amounted to 146.5 mm at Okazaki from 01 to 02 Japan Standard Time (JST) on August 29. In this study, we examine the structure of the precipitation system using a new X-band polarimetric radar situated at Nagoya University and the Cloud Resolving Storm Simulator (CReSS).

EDITORIAL: Flash flood in Kobe
World News
Japanese Wikipedia

A flash flood turned a summer holiday outing into a tragedy. On Monday, the waters of the Togagawa river in Kobe rose suddenly and swallowed more than 10 people, killing a woman and three children who were playing on the riverbank. The sun was shining around noon that day, and there were families enjoying barbecues by the river, which originates in Mount Rokkosan.

Blame for collision lies mainly with MSDF destroyer Atago
japan Press January 23, 2009


In a verdict on January 22 over a collision between the Maritime Self-Defense Force Aegis Destroyer Atago and a small fishing boat, the Yokohama Marine Accident Tribunal concluded that the Atago was mainly at fault.

In the collision that took place in February last year off the coast of Chiba Prefecture, the fishing boat Seitoku Maru was sunk and the father-son crew went missing and were later confirmed dead.

The government inquiry panel, a special organ under the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, acknowledged that the Atago failed to maintain a proper watch, resulting in the collision.

The MSDF side has contended that the fishing boat was the primary cause of the collision, alleging the boat made a right turn and accelerated onto the warship's path just before the accident.

However, this argument was rejected by the panel, which determined that it was the Atago that should have taken evasive action as required by the Law for the Prevention of Collision at Sea.

Also, the panel recommended that the 3rd Escort Flotilla, to which the Aegis-equipped destroyer belongs, take comprehensive and preventive measures for safe navigation, apparently asking the unit to take the responsibility on its own as part of the MSDF organization.

No recommendation for penalties or punishment, however, was issued against individual crewmembers of the Atago, including the captain and duty officer.

The MSDF Aegis destroyer Atago collided with the fishing boat Seitoku Maru in the Pacific Ocean off Chiba Prefecture on February 19, 2008.

Despite the fact that the then chief navigator, who as duty officer knew on radar that the Seitoku Maru and two other fishing boats had been approaching 27 minutes before the collision, the Atago failed to take evasive action as required.

It is unusual that the tribunal avoided making recommendations directly to the crewmembers regarding their responsibility for the collision.

Following the tribunal's decision, the Atago's former captain at a press conference insisted that the Seitoku Maru was responsible for the collision.

Regardless of whether censure is issued against individual MSDF members or not, the former captain and the whole of the MSDF should seriously accept the determination.

Meiji 1868: Revolution and Counter-revolution in Japan
Google Books


Finally, on July 3, 1841, the shogun Ieyoshi officially proclaimed reform. Thenceforth, Tadakuni appeared in public in cotton suits and reinforced the sumptuary laws. The extreme character f his reforms was immediately apparent. His edict on the crafts was on traditional lines and obliged peasants and cho-nin to remain loyal to their allotted state. By forbidding popular celebrations and travelling theatres in the countryside, he brought the villagers' discontent upon his head. And when he forbade handicrafts, did he take into account the fact that he was creating unemployment? Furthermore, the Bakufu officials who supervised the application of these edicts thrashed transgressors mercilessly, rendering the reforms odious from the outset.

Ex-North Korea spy to help solve Japan's abduction mystery
guardian.co.uk 20 July 2010


A former North Korean spy who carried out one of the deadliest plane bombings of the cold war has arrived in Tokyo to help solve the mystery surrounding Japanese nationals abducted by Pyongyang.

Kim Hyon-hui was sentenced to death after being convicted of bombing a South Korean airliner in 1987, killing all 115 people on board, but was later pardoned and went on to write a bestselling autobiography about her life as a secret agent.

She flew in to Tokyo after the Japanese authorities waived strict immigration controls to allow her to meet the relatives of two Japanese citizens snatched by North Korean agents in the late 1970s.

Hyon-hui says she was tutored by a woman who is among several Japanese abducted by North Korean spies at the height of the cold war. She may also have information about Megumi Yokota, who was taken from near her home, aged 13, in the late 1970s.

Kim's visit comes at a time of heightened tensions on the Korean peninsula, coinciding with reports that a North Korean cabinet official who led talks with the South, has been executed, and as Seoul and Washington announced a joint naval exercise designed to remind Pyongyang of the formidable military forces it would confront should a conflict break out.

Kwon Ho-ung, who headed the North's negotiating team from 2004-07, was executed by firing squad, according to the Dong-a Ilbo, a South Korean newspaper. His death appears to be part of a purge of "impure" officials connected with policy failures. In March, the regime executed two officials responsible for a botched currency revaluation.

Next week's naval exercise will send a "clear message" to the North following the sinking in March of a South Korean naval vessel, the US defence secretary, Robert Gates, told reporters in Seoul .

"These defensive, combined exercises are designed to send a clear message to North Korea that its aggressive behaviour must stop, and that we are committed to together enhancing our combined defensive capabilities," he said.

Gates and the US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, will tomorrow visit the demilitarised zone, the heavily fortified border separating the two Koreas, in a show of support for Washington's ally.

Hyon-hui, who arrived in Japan before dawn under tight security, was due to meet the parents of Yokota, who was snatched as she walked home from badminton practice near her home on the Japan Sea coast in 1977. Her parents refuse to believe North Korean claims that she suffered from a mental illness and committed suicide in 1994.

Kim was also due to meet the relatives of Yaeko Taguchi, who was abducted in 1978, aged 22. Hyon-hui claims that Taguchi subsequently became her live-in Japanese teacher for more than a year-and-a-half in the early 1980s.

Critics denounced this week's visit as a stunt designed to deflect attention from Japan's failure to establish the fates of Yokota and other abductees. Hyon-hui has already spoken to some of the victims' families and is not expected to offer any new information.

During a 2002 summit with Japan's then prime minister, Junichiro Koizumi, the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-il, admitted that the regime had abducted 13 people and used them to teach spies how to pass themselves off as Japanese. It allowed five of them to return home later that year, but insisted the remaining eight had died.

Hyon-hui quickly gained notoriety for the attack on the Korean Air jet, which came as Seoul was preparing to host the 1988 summer Olympics. She and Kim Seung-il, a male spy, posed as a Japanese father and daughter and boarded KAL flight 858 from Baghdad to Seoul, planting a time bomb in a luggage rack before getting off at Abu Dhabi. The plane later exploded over the Andaman Sea near Burma.

They were arrested two days later in Bahrain, where they tried to kill themselves by swallowing cyanide capsules hidden in cigarettes. Kim Seung-il died, but Kim's cigarette was snatched from her before she could ingest a lethal dose.

Kim was extradited to Seoul, where she was sentenced to death in March 1989. She was pardoned the following year after the then South Korean president, Roh Tae-woo, accepted she had been brainwashed into carrying out the bombing on the orders of communist North Korea's founder, Kim Il-sung.

Kim, 48, married one of the South Korean intelligence officers who investigated her and donated the proceeds from her autobiography to the families of the bombing's victims.

Last year, she told Taguchi's relatives in a meeting in South Korea that the abducted woman may still be alive, contradicting Pyongyang's claim that she died in a traffic accident in 1986.

The former spy, who is due to return to South Korea on Friday, is reportedly staying at the mountain retreat of the former prime minister, Yukio Hatoyama, who resigned last month.


Fifty years of Amnesty International

The first international meeting
1 Jul 1961


In order to ensure democratic accountability, the first international meeting is held with delegates from Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Switzerland, UK and the USA and they decide to establish “a permanent international movement in defence of freedom of opinion and religion”.
An office and library staffed by volunteers opens in Mitre Court, London. The “Threes Network” is established: each Amnesty International group adopts three prisoners from contrasting geographical and political areas, thus emphasizing the impartiality of the group’s work.
The first Amnesty International groups are founded in the UK, West Germany, Holland, France, Italy and Switzerland. Sections founded in UK and Germany.

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