The 1940 Tokyo Games: The Missing Olympics: Japan, the Asian Olympics and the Olympic Movement
Institute of Historic Research August 2008
The 1940 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games are a non-event, because they never happened. Promoted by Japanese organisations since the early 1930s, decided on by the IOC (International Olympic Committee) in 1936, and given up by the Japanese in 1938, they were soon forgotten, overshadowed by the war with China and the Second World War. When the Tokyo Olympics, the first ones in Asia, finally took place in 1964, few remembered and few cared to mention the unpleasant circumstances under which the previous attempt to hold the games there was conceived and abandoned. Sandra Collins exhumes this fascinating story and brings it back to life. Using a variety of sources, she describes the day-to-day developments which led to the selection of Tokyo for the 1940 Olympic Games, and later to Japan's decision to relinquish them. Although the reader knows how the story will end, the author manages to maintain suspense throughout the book. The main contribution of this monograph is the presentation of the various backgrounds against which this affair evolved. The rise and fall of the 1940 Olympiad project is described in the contexts of the Olympic movement, the political developments in Japan at that time, the international relations in East Asia, the war with China, the press and public opinion in Japan and abroad, and the Japanese and Western personalities that played a role in this episode. There are no villains or heroes in this narration. As the story develops, we see how great ideals, as often happens, become entangled in the web of national, organisational, and personal interests, and how important decisions are made without adequate understanding and with no way of predicting their results.
As Collins shows, the Japanese were eager to host the 1940 Olympic Games for both external and internal reasons. They hoped that staging these games would establish Japan's status as a first-rate modern power, an Asian empire, and leader of the non-Western world. Against growing international criticism of Japan's aggression on the continent, the Olympic Games were considered to be a form of 'people's diplomacy' that would generate foreign good will. The Tokyo Olympiad was to coincide with the 2,600th anniversary of the legendary establishment of the Japanese empire by Emperor Jimmu (kigen) in 660 BC, planned for 1940. The combination of these two splendid celebrations was expected to boost nationalism, enhance the prestige of the emperor, and mobilise the Japanese masses for national causes. Thus, from the beginning, the Tokyo Olympics carried a double message: They were to advance modernisation and internationalisation on the one hand, but also to foster tradition and national pride on the other.
The Olympic Games were, since their inception in 1894, a symbol of universal peace, fair play and global understanding through sport, but in fact they were seen as a white man's affair that was held only in Europe and the United States. The argument that the Japanese used, to promote Tokyo for the 1940 Olympics, was that only by staging the games in Japan, the most modern country of the non-Western world, would the Olympic movement become international. This was a powerful argument that appealed to many members of the Olympic organisation. Therefore, when the IOC voted, in July 1936, on the venue of the 1940 Olympiad, Tokyo's candidacy was supported not only by such Western countries as the United States, Canada, Great Britain, France, Germany, and Italy, but also by China, India, Egypt, and Iran (pp. 74-5).
Japan earned the 1940 games also by the achievements of its athletes. In the 1932 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, the Japanese won 35 medals, including seven gold medals, and Japan was ranked fifth, after the United States, Italy, France, and Sweden, ahead of Great Britain, Germany, and Australia. In the 1936 Berlin Olympiad, which took place shortly after Tokyo had been chosen for the 1940 games, Japanese athletes won 44 medals, including six gold medals (p. 10). These victories and world records won Japan the praise of the whole world. Collins makes the illuminating remark that 32 years after the Japanese novelist Natsume Sōseki referred to himself in London as 'small, ugly and yellow', a Japanese athlete in the 1932 Olympic Games in Los Angeles described himself as 'tall, powerful and seemingly white' (p. 37).
In their efforts to promote Tokyo, the Japanese resorted to unprecedented tactics. Japanese diplomats lobbied foreign governments, especially those of Italy and Great Britain, to persuade their Olympic committees to withdraw the candidacies of their cities from the race. In January 1935, the Japanese ambassador to Rome, Sugimura Yōtarō, who was also Japan's IOC member, met with Mussolini and convinced him to drop the candidacy of Rome for the 1940 Olympics, in exchange for Japan's support of Rome's candidacy for the 1944 games. This enraged the Italian National Olympic Committee, which possessed the right to make such decisions, but the committee had to abide by the will of the Duce (pp. 60-7).
Japan also used monetary incentives to promote its case. In December 1934, the Tokyo City Assembly allocated one million yen (half a million US dollars) to subsidise the travel of athletes and officials to the Tokyo Olympiad (p. 56). The president of the IOC, the Belgian Count Henry Baillet-Latour, was invited to Tokyo, on an all-expense paid trip, to inspect the city's sports facilities. He arrived in March 1936, shortly after the suppression of the attempted coup d'état of February 1936, but despite the troubled times he was wined and dined during the two and a half weeks that he spent in Japan, and was even received by the emperor. Baillet-Latour was greatly impressed by what he saw and heard and returned home as an enthusiastic supporter of the Tokyo games (pp. 67-70).
The IOC claimed that its decisions were based purely on sport considerations and had nothing to do with politics, but the selection of Berlin and Tokyo as the venues of the Olympic Games in 1936 and 1940 enabled Nazi Germany, and almost enabled militarist Japan, to use these games as a propaganda tool of their authoritarian and militaristic regimes. Avery Brundage, the president of the American Olympic Committee in 1936, rejected the demands of Jewish groups in his country to boycott Hitler's Olympiad, on the grounds that 'sports is above politics' (pp. 147, 149).
The choice of Tokyo, in July 1936, as the venue of the 1940 games caused a great sensation in Japan. The streets were decorated with Japanese and Olympic flags, fireworks were lit, congratulatory slogans were displayed, and commemorative stamps were issued to celebrate the occasion (p. 76). But it soon turned out that the Japanese could not make up their minds on important issues concerning the games. The first problem was the location of the Olympic Stadium. When Tokyo submitted its bid, it notified the IOC that the central stadium would be located in the Outer Gardens of the Meiji Shrine. When Baillet-Latour visited Tokyo, he was deeply impressed by the serene beauty of that site. But after Tokyo had been chosen, the Home Ministry and the Shrine Bureau objected to that plan, claiming that the boisterous stadium would disturb the sanctity of the gardens dedicated to the spirits of the Meiji Emperor and his wife. After a long debate, which dragged on for two years, the government decided, contrary to the wishes of the IOC president, to construct the central stadium in the Komazawa district of the capital (pp. 112-123).
Another controversy surrounded the route of the Olympic flame. The custom of bringing the fire from Olympia in Greece to the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games by relay, was started with the Berlin Olympics, at that time to symbolise that Nazi Germany was the successor of ancient Greece. This new tradition struck roots and has continued until today. The planners of the 1936 relay recommended that the 1940 relay, which would span 10,000 km, should be conducted by horse riders and runners and should follow the ancient Silk Road. But the Japanese did not like the idea of the Central Asian route which would cross China, and suggested instead that one of their warships carry the torch from Greece to Japan. Later, the Japanese proposed that the Olympic flame be carried by an airplane (called 'kamikaze') along a South Asian route. Within Japan the fire would be carried by relay from Mount Hyūga in Kyushu (where the legendary Ninigi-no-mikoto descended from heaven to rule Japan), through the Ise Shrines to Tokyo (pp. 124-132). Another problem was the emperor's role in the opening ceremony. According to the Olympic rules, the head of the host state officially opens the games. But the Japanese emperor at that time was considered to be too sacred to have his voice transmitted electronically by microphone, loudspeaker or radio (pp. 132-5).
Collins shows how difficult it was to transplant the Western traditions and practices of the Olympic Games into the political and cultural context of pre-war Japan, and how difficult it was for the Japanese to decide how to present their 'Asian' traditions and values to the Western world through the Olympic Games. Obtaining consensus on these issues in pre-war Japan was almost an impossible goal, with the military, the bureaucracy, the Olympic Committee, and the public pulling in different directions.
Under these circumstances it became questionable whether the 1940 Tokyo Olympic Games would ever take off. But what finally sealed their fate was the expanding war in China, which had broken out in July 1937. At first, the Japanese hoped that the hostilities would end in a short time and they would be able to stage the Olympic Games as scheduled. But as the war situation intensified and required more and more lives and materiel, the prospects of the games started to look dim. The financial allocations for the Olympiad were gradually curtailed, and voices were heard that it was inappropriate to host such a festive event at a time when Japanese young men were dying on the battlefields. In March 1938, Army Minister Sugiyama Hajime declared that the Olympic Games interfered with the 'successful conclusion of the China Incident'. Two months later, Welfare Minister Kido Kōichi, the cabinet minister responsible for the games, informed the Diet that the government had decided to cancel the Tokyo Olympiad (pp. 151, 161-162). Although there had been earlier calls in the United States and Britain to boycott the Tokyo Olympics, in protest of Japan's aggression in China, the cancellation of the games was made by the Japanese themselves. The IOC president Baillet-Latour insisted until the last moment that the games should be held as scheduled, explaining that he opposed the boycott of Tokyo 'with the same arguments I used to fight the Jewish campaign in 1936' (p. 157).
The cancellation of the Tokyo Olympics did not bring about the cancellation of the 2,600th anniversary of the foundation of the empire. On the contrary, relieved from the need to host a multitude of Western athletes and to perform problematic Western ceremonies, the Japanese celebrated the kigen of 1940 on a grand scale in a solemn and traditional way. As part of the celebrations, Tokyo hosted the East Asian Games, in which 700 athletes from Japan, Manchukuo, occupied China, Thailand, the Philippines, and Hawaii participated. A 'sacred fire', brought by relay from Kashihara Shrine (dedicated to Emperor Jimmu) in Nara Prefecture, ignited the flame at the Meiji Shrine Outer Gardens, where the central ceremony took place (pp. 179-180). Meanwhile, the IOC had chosen Helsinki to host the 1940 Olympic Games, but the Second World War, which broke out in September 1939, led to the cancellation of both the 1940 and 1944 Olympiads.
After the war, the Olympic Games were resumed, with London hosting them in 1948, Helsinki in 1952, and Melbourne in 1956. In May 1952, shortly after the end of the Allied Occupation of Japan, the governor of Tokyo submitted the candidacy of his city for the 1960 summer games. But Rome, which had competed with Tokyo for the 1940 Olympics in the past, won. In 1958 Tokyo hosted, with remarkable success, the third Asian Games, proving how well it was prepared to host international sporting events. In 1959, Tokyo's candidacy was submitted again for the 1964 Olympics and this time it won. The bid was supported by the IOC president, Avery Brundage, who had succeeded Baillet-Latour and who had been, like him, an enthusiastic supporter of the 1940 Tokyo games (p. 182). The 1964 Tokyo Olympiad was an astonishing success, showing the whole world how successfully Japan had modernised and democratised. The Olympic flame was carried from Athens to Kagoshima by a Japan Airlines (JAL) plane, which stopped on its way in Istanbul, Beirut, Tehran, Lahore, New Delhi, Calcutta, Rangoon, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Hong Kong, and Taipei. In Kagoshima, the flame was separated into four flames which advanced to Tokyo by relay along four routes, passing the capitals of all prefectures. The flames were reunited in front of the imperial palace into one torch, which was carried from there, to light the Olympic Cauldron at the Olympic Stadium at the Meiji Shrine Outer Gardens, by Sakai Yoshinori, who was born in Hiroshima on the day that the atomic bomb was dropped. The Shōwa Emperor announced the opening of the Olympic Games into a microphone, with no objection from the conservatives (p. 184).
The second time that the Olympic Games were held in Asia was in Seoul in 1988, and the third time will be in Beijing in 2008. Collins thinks that the historical precedent for the Seoul and Beijing Olympics was not the 1964 Olympiad in Tokyo, but rather the aborted 1940 Tokyo Olympiad. She points out that like Japan in 1940, but unlike Japan in 1964, South Korea in 1988 and China in 2008 were authoritarian Asian countries which wished to strengthen their regimes and improve their international standing by demonstrating their modernity (p. 186). Collins alleges that when the mayor of Beijing, Liu Qi, announced that the 2008 Olympic Games would 'promote economic and social progress ... promote the exchange of the Great Chinese culture with other cultures ... [and] mark a major step forward in the spread of Olympic ideals', he was mimicking the rhetoric of the campaign to promote the 1940 Tokyo games (p. 187).
The book is well-written, with charts, cartoons, and black and white photographs. Yet, it is not clear why the author, or the editor, decided to present the chapters as independent essays, with their own lists of references. As a result, there is some overlapping on the one hand and some lacunae on the other. The most important topic which I found missing was the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. The Berlin Olympiad is remembered in Japan and Korea because of the Korean athlete Sohn Kee-Chung (Son Kitei in Japanese), who won the marathon race as a member of the Japanese team. Another Korean, Nam Sung-Yong, won the bronze medal of that marathon, also representing Japan. In 1936 they were regarded as Japanese, today they are regarded as Koreans. At the opening ceremony of the 1988 Seoul Olympics, Sohn Kee-Chung, at the advanced age of 76, carried the Olympic torch into the stadium, as a representative of Korean athletic achievements. This whole story is not mentioned in the book.
Another problem is the haphazard spelling of Japanese names. In transcribing Japanese names into English, one can either ignore the long vowels, as some authors have done, and not use macrons, or one can, as many scholars nowadays do, indicate the long vowels by macrons. This book follows a strange middle way, sometimes using macrons, sometimes attaching them partially, and sometimes avoiding them altogether. Thus, Kido Kōichi and Kōno Ichirō appear throughout the book without the macrons, while Kanō Jigorō appears sometimes with macrons, sometimes without them, sometimes as Senator (?) Kano (p. 52, caption), and sometimes as Kanō Jigarō (p. 92). In addition, Niniginomikoto on p. 127 becomes Nihigi-no-mikoto on the following page, and Kido's Nikki (diary) becomes Nikko in the references on p. 176. A little more editorial attention would have avoided these mistakes and inconsistencies. But these are minor defects. The book is recommended reading to anyone interested in modern Japanese history or the history of the Olympic Games.
Japan-China compromise over East China Sea getting harder
UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA
Kyodo News May 10, 2006
Amid intensifying resource wars with rising nationalism in every corner of the globe, a conflict between Japan and China over the East China Sea, where there are rich oil and natural gas deposits, is heating up.
Behind the conflict, there is 'neglect' by the Japanese government over a long period of time -- a failure to approve applications for the rights to explore for 33 years.
It was the late Tsunehisa Omija, an Okinawa Prefecture businessman, who first predicted rich oil deposits in the sea. On Yaeyama Islands, there are beaches with star-shaped foram corpses also found along the Persian Gulf, leading him to believe that there would be undersea oil fields in the neighborhood of the islands Japan calls the Senkaku.
Since 1948, when the islands were under the administration of the U.S. military, Omija had conducted his own investigations, and in 1969, he successfully applied for the mining right in the sea around the islands.
An investigation report by the U.N. Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East (ECAFE) also pointed to the possibility of oil deposits there.
Omija, who wanted to use oil revenues for Okinawa's development found a congenial spirit in Masao Araki, now 83, who later became vice chairman of now defunct Nissho Iwai Corp., which merged with Nichimen Corp. into Sojitz Holdings Corp.
Uruma Resources Development Co., a subsidiary of Toyo Oil Development Co. affiliated with then Nissho Iwai, succeeded the mining right from Omija and applied to the then Ministry of International Trade and Industry (now the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry) for the right to explore in the sea around the Senkaku Islands in 1973 and received approval.
But for 33 years since, the Japanese government has approved no test drilling. Araki has appealed to about 50 politicians, including former prime ministers, and bureaucrats at the Foreign Ministry and METI for such approval.
In 1990, when China proposed to Japan a joint development plan, Araki appealed to the Foreign Ministry, but the bureau chief in charge said, 'The Soviet Union may propose a joint development plan in resolving the problem of the Northern Territories, and Japan will be placed in a disadvantageous position.'
The Northern Territories is Japan's name for four islands northeast of Hokkaido that the former Soviet Union took control of at the end of World War II.
In 1997, he called on then Prime Minister Noboru Takeshita at his home together with Yoshitaka Yotsumoto, dubbed 'the political community's trend spotter,' and was told, 'It is better to study Japan-China joint development.'
He also met late Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi. Takeshita, Yotsumoto and Obuchi are now dead.
Obuchi visited China in 1999 as prime minister and then Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji proposed that both countries use resources in the East China Sea together. But Obuchi returned home without responding to the proposal, missing a good opportunity to break the deadlock over the development of resources in the sea.
China has since carried out test drilling in more than 20 places near the Japan-demarcated median line between the two countries and begun production at the Pinghu gas field. China does not regard the median line as legitimate.
The now defunct Export-Import Bank of Japan, currently the Japan Bank for International Cooperation, extended $120 million in loans together with the Asian Development Bank to China for helping construct a 375-kilometer-long pipeline to carry the Pinghu gas to the Shanghai-Pudong district in fiscal 1996.
This money was supplied by the governmental finance body without policy coordination with the government, according to the bank's sources.
Two U.S. and European companies, including Unocal Corp. of the United States, which had engaged in joint development near the Japan-drawn median line with a Chinese enterprise, withdrew from the work in 2004 for 'commercial reasons.' It appears there are insufficient natural resource deposits near the line.
According to Selig Harrison, a senior scholar at the U.S. Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the most promising oil field in the East China Sea is in the Okinawa trough.
This is followed by areas around the Senkaku Islands, which themselves are disputed with China and others. China calls them the Diaoyu Islands.
China is proposing joint development with Japan on the Japanese side of the median line and areas near the disputed islands. Resources in these areas are said to be rich.
In July last year, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry finally approved an application for the test drilling right filed by Teikoku Oil Co., a company merged with International Oil Development Co., into Inpex Holdings Co. in 1969.
But if the company carries out test drilling there, 'obstruction by Chinese warships' is expected, and it will not do so until an 'environment is prepared,' said an industry source. So far, four Japanese companies have applied for the test drilling right, but work has yet to begin.
The Japanese government investigated the geological structure from 2004 to 2005, but no exact information about resources deposits can be available until test drilling is done. Japan has no information.
Araki said the 'ostrich policy' of politicians and bureaucrats has invited rough times for Japan. The East China Sea, the gateway to China, is gaining importance as a strategic military area, making it harder year by year for the two countries to compromise, analysts said.
Manabu Takamizawa, a section chief at the research divisions at the Japan-China Economic Association, said Japan's energy-relation loans to China have totaled 1.7 trillion yen since 1979 in addition to the country's huge official development assistance.
'These Japanese financial and technical contributions to China's energy development are little known among Chinese people,' Takamizawa.
Cops plan internal monitors of grillings
Japan Times Nov. 2, 2007
The National Police Agency plans to launch a new system as early as fiscal 2008 to monitor police questioning of suspects in an effort to ensure transparency, NPA officials said Thursday.
The NPA plans to draw up guidelines for the plan by the end of the year, the officials said, as public trust in police questioning tactics has been damaged amid a series of acquittals involving people who were forced to confess to crimes they didn't commit.
The plan calls for officers from noninvestigative divisions to be involved in the questioning process, a move that represents a "major turning point for the police," a senior NPA official said.
Under the NPA plan, prefectural police forces will set up a monitoring body with members other than from the investigative division — possibly from the administration division — to carry out the monitoring, according to the officials.
The NPA will compile guidelines based on four points sought Thursday by the government's National Public Safety Commission.
The commission asked police to strengthen the monitoring of and keep set hours for questioning, adopt measures to ensure questioning is conducted in an appropriate manner and increase the discipline of the people involved in criminal investigations.
Under the plan, police officers will be required to tell the monitoring body the times when a suspect enters and exits a detention room to ensure suspects will not be questioned late at night.
Suspects would be able to submit complaints about questioning procedures to the body. The body could also send staff into the interrogation rooms during questioning.
In October, the Japan Federation of Bar Associations called for a law that requires police to make transparent the entire process of questioning suspects by taping sessions, which would allow courts to deny evidence if such a procedure is not followed.
The Toyama District Court on Oct. 10 acquitted a man in a retrial after he served about two years in prison in a wrongful conviction of rape and attempted rape. The court discredited the man's confessions, noting the crimes were committed by another person.
The man, Hiroshi Yanagihara, was not pleased about the ruling, saying the court had failed to clarify what went wrong in the police investigation that led to the false charges.
In February, the Kagoshima District Court cleared 12 people accused of vote-buying after discrediting the confessions of some of the defendants, who prosecutors said confessed to violating the election law.
Stalker judge Yoshiharu Shimoyama fired
The Mainichi Dialy News December 25, 2008
Judge Yoshiharu Shimoyama has been impeached following his conviction under the Anti-Stalking Law for repeatedly e-mailing to a woman.
The Diet's Judges Impeachment Court stripped 55-year-old Shimoyama, a judge at the Utsunomiya District Court, of his legal license on Wednesday. He is the first judge to be impeached in Japan since a Tokyo High Court judge was dismissed seven years ago after being convicted under the Law for Punishing Acts Related to Child Prostitution and Child Pornography, and the sixth in history.
House of Councillors member Iwao Matsuda, who presided over the trial, said Shimoyama "has no conscience or dignity as a judge."
"It was outrageous that he sent e-mails to the victim while knowing that his actions constituted a crime. He betrayed the public's trust in him," Presiding Judge Matsuda added.
The court added that the incident came as a shock to the public and badly damaged the public's trust in the judicial authorities at a crucial time, as Japan prepares to introduce the lay judge system.
The impeachment court then concluded that his actions fall under immoral conduct that badly damages his dignity as a judge, for which judges can be sacked under the Law for Impeachment of Judges.
Shimoyama was sentenced in an earlier criminal trial to six months in prison, suspended for two years, for sending a subordinate in her 20s anonymous e-mails, including some of a sexual nature, on 16 occasions between February and March this year. He pleaded guilty to the charges.
Under Article 78 of the Constitution, judges cannot be dismissed except by public impeachment unless judicially declared mentally or physically incompetent to perform official duties. They can be impeached only if two-thirds or more of the 14 judges in the Diet's Judges Impeachment Court agree on the decision. The Judges Impeachment Court comprises seven members of the House of Representatives and seven from the House of Councillors. Impeached judges cannot appeal the Judges Impeachment Court's decision, and automatically lose their legal licenses and pensions.
However, judges can ask the Judges Impeachment Court to restore their license five or more years after they are impeached.
Reported stalking cases likely just tip of iceberg
Teacher's murder shines light on ordeal faced by thousands of women in Japan
Japan Times April 10, 2007
The day started like any other. The alarm clock rang at 7 a.m. and Laura Fitch, a Canadian then 28 years old, made her sleepy-eyed way to the shower to freshen up before brewing her first coffee of the day.
About 10 minutes later, as soon as she turned off the water, the phone in her Tokyo apartment started ringing -- a sound that she would soon become all too familiar with.
Fitch had only given her land-line number to family members and close friends overseas, so she quickly dried herself off and rushed to catch the call.
"A whiny male voice asked me in Japanese if I was Laura," Fitch recalls of the morning two years ago. "I was tired, I wasn't thinking about who he could be, and I answered yes.
"Then he said, 'Is this the Laura that lives at such and such an address?' and I said yes again. Then he said, 'You just got out of the shower, right? ' " Fitch explains, adding that she had a small window in her bathroom that looked out to the front of her building. "At that point I clued in and freaked out. I hung up immediately, checked my locks and called my friend who lived next door."
From that day, every day until Fitch left Japan 10 months later, she was bombarded with phone calls. Her privacy was invaded and she feared for her safety. She was being stalked.
Fitch didn't get her normal life back until she left Japan. And hearing two weeks ago about the murder of 22-year-old English teacher Lindsay Ann Hawker -- allegedly by a man who had stalked her -- sent a chill down Fitch's spine and reopened mental scars.
Last year, 12,501 stalking incidents were reported in Japan -- 90.4 percent of the victims were women, with 67.7 percent being between 20 and 39 years old, and the stalker was male in 89.7 of cases, according to Tokyo Metropolitan Police records. The number was a 2.3 percent increase compared with 12,220 reported cases in 2005.
Those numbers likely don't even scratch the surface.
Eighty-three percent of stalking incidents in the U.S. are not reported to the police or other officials, according to a survey conducted in 2000 by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) of 4,446 female students at 223 colleges and universities.
Of the 83 percent of victims who did not make a report, 72 percent didn't think the incident was serious enough to report, 44.6 percent didn't know it was a crime and 33.6 percent didn't believe the police would take it seriously.
After receiving her first freaky phone call, Fitch went straight to the police, who she says were "not too concerned" and told her they couldn't do anything because her stalker was "only phoning" her. She said the police patrolled her area a few times in the beginning, but that was about it.
"There was a definite 'boys' club' feeling about the whole thing," Fitch says. "I was told that he was just a boy having fun, that I should change my number and forget about it. When the calls kept coming, they refused to do anything more to help me and started getting obstinate."
So Fitch, an English teacher at the time, was left to cope on her own in a situation she was powerless to control -- a situation that can leave victims in a state of near-constant paranoia.
Fitch says she was always on the lookout for strange behavior. She carried a Taser with her everywhere, she never listened to music while she was walking, she always tried to take different routes to and from work, and she alerted her colleagues and friends to the situation.
"The first few days I was f---ing terrified," says Fitch. "I was constantly checking my lock and looking over my shoulder."
"He would call all night, all day," she says. "I once took the phone off the hook for a whole two weeks, but it started ringing again within an hour after I replaced it."
Stalking is an extreme symptom of obsessive-compulsive disorder, a recognized mental illness, according to Dr. Chie Okuda, a Tokyo-based clinical psychologist.
"People who are obsessive can't stop what they're doing," says Okuda. "It's also a sexual and hormonal issue that becomes a compulsion -- a driven state -- that affects their reasoning and can't be controlled. It's like a state of hunger.
"Sexual or romantic attachment is a strong force in people's basic needs," says Okuda. "Needs for attachment are very basic. You crave things like food and sex. That's a basic driving force and can become heightened when you don't feel close to anyone.
"People have to balance and inhibit their impulses all the time, but some people don't learn how to deal with frustrations in life," says Okuda. "Once they find something that catches their attention, and then add to that the stress level that they may feel at a particular time, that person may act upon it."
Such may have been the case when 28-year-old Tatsuya Ichihashi, who remains at large, allegedly stalked and killed Hawker, a British Nova teacher, leaving her body in a bathtub of sand on his balcony in Ichikawa, Chiba Prefecture.
In the five years that records of stalking cases have been kept in Japan, 48 of the victims were murdered.
The unpredictable nature of stalkers makes them especially threatening. Victims can never be certain when or how they will next encounter their stalker.
The Journal of Forensic Sciences 2006 found that two-thirds of stalkers in cases across North America used more than one method of approaching or pursuing their victim daily or at least once a week.
Seventy-seven percent of victims in the U.S. are telephoned, 47.9 percent are waited for, 44.6 percent are watched from afar and 42 percent are followed, according to the NIJ/BJS survey of post-secondary students.
A Tokyo police report shows that last year in Japan, 54 percent of stalkers waited for and followed their victims, 53 percent pressured their victims to meet them and get to know them, and 31 percent called their victims on the telephone but did not say anything.
The report states that the motive for 65 percent of stalkers was emotional attachment to the victim and 33 percent did it because of unreciprocated love, which means 98 percent of all reported cases were driven by feelings of desire.
After a case is reported, police judge whether it is serious enough to warrant legal action.
"It's a very sensitive issue," says Yasuo Sato, director of the Victim Support Center of Tokyo. "How much legal action is taken in each situation is left to the discretion of each individual police officer.
"Usually, first police give the stalker a warning," says Sato, who is a former police officer. "In my experience, 90 percent of stalkers stop after a warning."
Japan's Antistalking Law was enacted in 2000.
According to the law, after the stalker carries out one of eight actions, such as following the victim home or calling the victim, the victim should file a report asking for the police to give a warning. After the warning, if the stalking continues, the chief of police at headquarters will give a final warning. If the stalker still doesn't stop, the Public Safety Commission examines the case. The PSC can then order prohibition of the stalker's actions. Finally, if the stalker fails to cease and is arrested, he or she could face up to a year in prison or a 1 million yen fine.
In the early stages of a stalking incident, much of the onus is on the victim to prove the seriousness of the crime.
"In the case of continual phone calls, the victim should record everything," says Sato. "They should tell the stalker that if they keep doing it, they'll call the police."
Fitch did exactly that on the advice of a student who had read what to do on a Japanese antistalking Web site.
"I got an extension to my tape recorder that allowed me to tape the telephone conversations," Fitch says. "Once I had it set up, I talked to him a bit to get something to take to the police.
"I could hear him jacking off on the phone and he asked me if I had ever seen a Japanese penis and then he would proceed to blow his load," says Fitch. "I only stuck on the phone to give the cops more evidence, which they asked for. They said it's not a crime unless it's sexual.
"However, that still wasn't enough for the police and they said that he had to want to date me," she says. "When I pressed them to open my phone records, which according to NTT they could do with a police or judge's warrant, they became less helpful and for some reason were really against doing it."
Sato says if Fitch had gone to another police station, her request might have been granted.
"The police should have taken action and I feel sorry for her because maybe the person in charge didn't do the right thing," says Sato. "Her stalker masturbated on the phone and I think maybe he was a little bit crazy. The police could have traced the call.
"Victims should not hesitate to call our center because there is a lot we can do to help," says Sato. "If someone reports the incident to a police officer who doesn't take action, we can refer the victim to a good officer. We have a strong relationship with the police force and we also have interpretation services."
Fitch was just one thousands in Japan last year who reported the often-faceless crime that can leave its victims feeling helpless and traumatized.
In her case, leaving the country has helped put the painful experience behind her. The Antistalking Law in Japan is still relatively new, and perhaps many remain unaware of how dangerous stalkers can be.
Hawker's murder was a brutal reminder of the seriousness of the issue -- and a wakeup call for the countless victims of stalkers who are suffering in silence.
Judge 'set up' own stalking probe
Daily Yomiuri May 26, 2008
KOFU--The Yamanashi prefectural police made the decision to arrest a judge on suspicion of stalking a woman after concluding he "might have destroyed evidence" once he realized how far a police investigation into the case had proceeded, according to sources.
Yoshiharu Shimoyama, a judge of the Utsunomiya District Court in Tochigi Prefecture, was also responsible for setting up the stalking probe in a bid to throw investigators off the trail, the sources said.
Shimoyama, 55, was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of violating the Antistalking Law for sending anonymous e-mails and making silent phone calls to a female court employee in her 20s.
The police also searched Shimoyama's home in Bunkyo Ward, Tokyo, on Sunday in an attempt to find evidence related to the stalking case.
The woman, who was unsure whether Shimoyama was responsible for the e-mails and phone calls received in February and March, reportedly spoke to him about them, apparently prompting the judge to play innocent and urge the head of the prefectural force, via a senior National Police Agency officer he knew, to launch an investigation.
The woman reportedly stopped receiving the e-mails immediately after the investigation began, leading the prefectural police to determine it was indeed Shimoyama who had sent them. The police, however, failed to issue him a warning based on the Antistalking Law.
Warnings are usually issued by heads of police stations or other senior officers at the request of a victim to prevent recurrences of stalking or demands to meet or go out on dates. Should the perpetrator not comply with the warning, the Public Safety Commission may issue an injunction, which if violated can lead to a maximum prison term of one year or a fine of up to 1 million yen.
According to a source close to the investigation, when the victim spoke with Shimoyama he was her superior as chief of the Tsuru branch of the Kofu District Court's family court. Shimoyama then told a senior NPA officer who was at Tokyo University at the same time as him that a subordinate of his was being pestered by silent phone calls. The officer contacted the head of the prefectural police headquarters in mid-March and requested to speak with the woman.
Furthermore, Shimoyama reportedly authorized the seizure from a telephone company of the call log of his own phone, at which point he became fully aware of how far the investigation had proceeded.
The log helped prefectural police deduce that Shimoyama was the perpetrator of the e-mails and calls, but they did not issue him a warning.
The police are said to be incensed with Shimoyama not only for sending the unsolicited and obscene e-mails and other messages to the woman, but also for trying to "play" them by contacting them over the matter as if he were unconnected to the case. "He somehow believed he wouldn't get arrested," the senior prefectural police officer said. "He tried to make fools out of the police."
Victim wants harsh penalty
The female employee was sent more than a dozen unsolicited e-mails, but the police only revealed those not containing any obscene content.
"If it'd only been that kind of content, I doubt we'd have been able to obtain an arrest warrant," the investigation source said. "The e-mails were of a sufficiently malicious nature and the victim strongly hopes the perpetrator is dealt a harsh punishment."
Another senior police investigator complained of difficulties the investigation had brought to light in dealing with such cases.
"Revealing the content of the e-mails would mean disclosing the private details of the victim," the senior investigator said. "Under the Antistalking Law, the case would've been swept under the carpet if the victim had retracted her complaint. Protecting the victim is our highest priority."
To establish a prosecutable case as a violation of the Antistalking Law, stalking behavior must include an element of amorous intent.
Shimoyama has reportedly admitted sending e-mails to the woman, but has denied the stalking allegations, saying he was not seeking any kind of romantic involvement with her.
Shimoyama was the presiding judge in a trial at the Urawa District Court--now the Saitama District Court--in 1999 over a case in which a female university student was murdered in Okegawa, Saitama Prefecture, by several men who had persistently stalked her.
Hasina warns against intimidating voters
New Age 26th of December, 2008
The Awami League president, Sheikh Hasina, on Thursday called upon the people to vote for her party’s symbol ‘boat’ without fear and remain vigilant against any attempt at vote rigging.
‘Attempts to intimidate voters will not be tolerated. Cast your vote for Awami League to build a prosperous Bangladesh and end all types of repression’, Hasina told a large election rally at Nawabganj Pilot High School ground, 27 kilometres south of the capital, in Dhaka 1 parliamentary constituency in favour of AL candidate Advocate Abdul Mannan.
She also addressed two other campaign rallies, one at Lalbagh of Dhaka 7 in favour of AL-led alliance candidate Mostafa Jalal Mohiuddin, and a wayside rally at Rohitpur in Dhaka 2 constituency.
Sheikh Hasina is scheduled to address an election rally, on the final leg of her electioneering for December 29 polls, Friday afternoon at Paltan Ground.
The AL chief introduced alliance candidates Advocate Kamrul Islam for Dhaka 2 and Nasrul Hamid Bipu for Dhaka 3 at the wayside rally. Thousands of people standing at roadsides in different places welcomed Hasina as her motorcade passed by. They chanted slogans in favour of ‘boat’ and the AL chief.
In Nawabganj, businessman Noor Ali, who had filed an ‘extortion’ case against Hasina during the state of emergency and withdrawn it recently, stood beside her on the dais saying he hoped all misunderstandings had been removed.
‘I offer an apology if you [audience] are hurt by the misunderstanding. I’m here to strengthen the hands of Sheikh Hasina, I’m here to work for victory of the AL candidate in the parliamentary seat’, said Noor Ali, who was the AL candidate for the constituency in 2001 election and was chosen for January 22, 2007 elections as the party candidate.
In her addresses, Hasina compared her 1996-2001 tenure in office with the rule of the BNP-led alliance government in 2001-2006 saying that the BNP-Jamaat rule had pushed the nation to the brink of disaster. ‘Instead of development, they gave the nation corruption, violence and militancy’, she said.
She called upon the voters to stamp the symbol of ‘boat’ on the ballot to ensure peace, development and security and put an end to crimes, corruption and militancy.
Introducing Mostafa Jalal Mohiuddin for Dhaka 7 at a rally organised at Shaheed Abdul Aleem Eidgah ground at Lalbagh, Hasina said her party had nominated a ‘complete gentleman who always takes care of his people.’
In contrast, the BNP has nominated a person who led the killing of seven people in the area after the 1994 elections to the Dhaka City Corporation. ‘You know well about his behaviour in jail’, she said without naming the BNP nominee for the constituency.
‘I leave it to you to choose the best candidate from among the contenders’, she told the locals.
Hasina promised to take appropriate measures, if her party was voted to power, to address the problems facing the locals, including water and electricity shortages.
She accused her political rival Khaleda Zia of not continuing the programmes in education sector saying she [Khaleda] did not want the people to be educated.
‘She [Khaleda] does not want people to get education as she failed in matriculation examinations’, she said adding the AL would take every effort to ensure free education for all if it was voted to power.
Yasukuni in spotlight as Aug. 15 nears
Japan Times Aug. 5, 2008
Low-profile Fukuda not expected to visit contentious Shinto shrine as he tries to keep relations with Asia positive
Aug. 15 marks the 63rd anniversary of the end of World War II. For the people of Japan, including relatives of the war dead, it is a day of remembrance and of peace.
And every year on this day, the spotlight shines on Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo — especially on whether the prime minister and Cabinet ministers will pay a visit to pray for those enshrined there.
Following are some questions and answers regarding the Chiyoda Ward landmark and its political nature:
When was Yasukuni Shrine built?
The shrine dates to the Meiji Restoration. At that time, Japan had been going through dramatic political and social upheaval that culminated in the Boshin War in 1868.
The civil war was fought between the Tokugawa shogunate that had ruled Japan for more than 260 years and the Satsuma-Choshu alliance that sought to restore Imperial rule.
It ended in victory for the Imperial forces in 1869. To honor the memory of those who died fighting for the Imperial forces, Emperor Meiji (1868-1912) ordered the establishment of a shrine in Tokyo's Kudan district. Initially called Shokonsha, the shrine was renamed Yasukuni in 1879.
What does Yasukuni Shrine mean?
The name represents Emperor Meiji's "wishes for preserving peace for the nation." The spirits of the war dead are enshrined and "worshipped as venerable divinities of Yasukuni," according to the shrine.
Who manages it?
Until the end of World War II, Yasukuni was a state-sponsored religious institution, run by the Ministry of War and the Ministry of the Navy. After Japan's defeat in 1945, the General Headquarters of the Allied Occupation Forces ordered a ban on state Shinto.
By law, Yasukuni Shrine today is an independent religious corporation under the jurisdiction of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.
Who is enshrined at Yasukuni?
There are currently about 2.47 million people enshrined there, all of whom "sacrificed their lives to the public duty of protecting their motherland," the shrine's Web site says. Historical figures in the closing days of the Edo Period, including Sakamoto Ryoma and Yoshida Shoin, are among those honored.
Most of those enshrined are soldiers who died in wars, including the Sino-Japanese War, the Russo-Japanese War, and World Wars I and II. Civilians, including women who took part in relief operations on battlefields, are also honored.
Much of the political and diplomatic controversy, however, centers on the 1978 enshrinement of the 14 wartime leaders convicted as Class-A war criminals after World War II, including Prime Minister Gen. Hideki Tojo.
Also, an estimated 27,000 Taiwanese and 21,000 Koreans who died as "Japanese" soldiers during Japan's colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula and Taiwan are enshrined at Yasukuni, according to the shrine.
Lawsuits have been filed by relatives of some of these Koreans and Taiwanese, seeking so far in vain to have the shrine strike the names of their kin.
Why are prime minister visits to Yasukuni contentious?
One reason is that under the postwar Constitution, the government and related organizations must not be involved in religious activities. Article 20 of the Constitution, which was drafted during the Allied Occupation, stipulates the separation of religion and the state.
"Under (the Constitution), the state or related organizations cannot take part in any sort of religious activities, and this leads to the notion that prime minister visits to Yasukuni Shrine are unconstitutional," said Tetsuya Takahashi, a professor of philosophy at the University of Tokyo graduate school of arts and sciences.
Since August 2001, when Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi paid the first of six visits to Yasukuni over his 5 1/2 years in office, several lawsuits have been filed.
The Fukuoka District Court in April 2004 and the Osaka High Court in September 2005 ruled that Koizumi's 2001 visit was unconstitutional, although the Supreme Court has avoided making a constitutional judgment in any of the suits.
Also, visits by the nation's leaders to Yasukuni, which is viewed by many as a symbol of Japan's wartime militarism, is a contentious issue in other parts of Asia where memories of Japanese aggression and colonial rule still haunt relations. The fact that such visits also honor people convicted of war crimes after the war only adds to the contentiousness.
China and South Korea have strongly protested prime minister visits since Yasuhiro Nakasone paid an "official" visit to Yasukuni in 1985.
Relations with China were severely strained during Koizumi's stint over his repeated visits to Yasukuni.
Are there people who want the prime minister to visit the shrine?
Conservative lawmakers and organizations such as the Japan War-Bereaved Families Association have been strong advocates for official visits by the prime minister.
In the 1960s and the 1970s, the Liberal Democratic Party repeatedly tried to pass a bill to return the shrine to state ownership. Since the 1980s, members of a group of lawmakers, including members of the LDP and the opposition camp, have visited the shrine every Aug. 15.
Have many prime ministers have visited Yasukuni since the war?
Shigeru Yoshida, Nobusuke Kishi and Kakuei Tanaka repeatedly visited the shrine during their times in office.
But Takeo Miki in 1975 became the first postwar prime minister to visit Yasukuni on Aug. 15, the most contentious day, followed by Takeo Fukuda, father of current Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda. Both Miki and Takeo Fukuda stressed that they paid the visits in their capacity as private individuals, not as public figures.
Nakasone in 1985 made it clear he was visiting the shrine in his official capacity. The visit stirred domestic scorn and rankled China, which resulted in no prime minister visits to Yasukuni for 11 years until Ryutaro Hashimoto went in 1996.
Koizumi declared his intention to visit Yasukuni on Aug. 15 as a campaign pledge during the LDP's presidential election in 2001. As prime minister, however, he paid the Aug. 15 visit only once — in his final year in office in 2006. On other occasions, he chose other dates to visit in an apparent attempt to ease the diplomatic row with China.
What is Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda's position on Yasukuni visits?
Fukuda is considered relatively conciliatory toward Japan's neighbors.
During his LDP presidential campaign last year, he announced his intention to avoid visiting Yasukuni as prime minister.
"Would you do something your friend doesn't want you to do? I don't think so," Fukuda said at a news conference last September when he declared his candidacy. "That goes for relationships between countries, too. I don't think it is necessary to do something that another (country) doesn't want you to do."
Are there any discussions afoot to resolve the issue?
One idea is to remove the names of the Class-A war criminals — a major source of the anger on the part of China — from those enshrined at Yasukuni and have them honored at a separate body. Their inclusion at the shrine didn't come until the 1970s.
Another idea is to build a nonreligious facility to honor the war dead. A special government panel was formed in 2001 — headed by then Chief Cabinet Secretary Fukuda under Koizumi — to discuss establishment of such a facility. One year later, the panel issued a report saying "a national nonreligious permanent facility to pay tribute to the war dead and pray for peace is necessary," but "a final decision is up to the government."
A nonpartisan group of lawmakers headed by LDP lawmaker Taku Yamasaki was formed in November 2005 to consider building a new national memorial.
To this day, however, no such institution has been established and no active discussion appears to be going on in political circles.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Adopted and proclaimed by General Assembly
resolution 217A (III) of 10 December 1948
Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,
Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,
Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,
Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations,
Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,
Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in cooperation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,
Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge,
The General Assembly,
Proclaims this Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.
Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.
No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.
No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.
All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.
Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.
Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.
Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.
No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.
Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each State.
Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.
Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.
Everyone has the right to a nationality.
No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.
Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.
Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.
The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.
Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.
No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.
Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
No one may be compelled to belong to an association.
Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.
Everyone has the right to equal access to public service in his country.
The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.
Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.
Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.
Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.
Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.
Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.
Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.
Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.
Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.
Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.
Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.
Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.
Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.
Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.
In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.
These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.
Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.
UN climate summit opens in Bali
PRESS TV 03 Dec 2007
Delegates and scientists from around the world have opened a key UN climate summit aiming to build a new pact to combat global warming.
A major climate change conference opened on the Indonesian resort island of Bali Monday, with an aim to breathe new life into the troubled 15-year-old global climate treaty and to reach a deal on what should replace the Kyoto Protocol, which ends in 2012.
Talks will center on whether binding targets are needed to cut emissions. It will also debate how to help poor nations cope in a warming world.
The annual high-level meeting, organized by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), is under pressure to deliver a global agreement on how to cut rising greenhouse gas emissions.
Over the past years, climate change talks have been bogged down by arguments over who's going to pay the bill for cleaner technology and how to share out the burden of emissions curbs between rich and poor nations.
The bottom line is no nation at the Bali talks wants its economy to suffer by implementing strict emissions curbs. But climate scientists say time is running out.
Saiga to be judge on International Criminal Court
Japan Times Dec. 2, 2007
NEW YORK (Kyodo) Fumiko Saiga, Japanese ambassador in charge of human rights and a member of the U.N. Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, was elected Friday to fill one of three vacant judge seats on the International Criminal Court.
Saiga, the first Japanese to take that post, received 82 votes, which is more than the two-thirds majority required from the 105 countries eligible to cast secret ballots.
Saiga is a prominent Japanese diplomat who has extensive experience working with the international body. She has held several key posts, from consul general in Seattle to an ambassador post at the Japanese mission in New York and Japanese ambassador to Norway and Iceland.
The diplomat, nominated by the Japanese national group in the Permanent Court of Arbitration, is recognized as a human rights expert and is particularly well-versed on gender issues.
She is also known for her attempts to bring greater recognition to the plight of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korean agents in the 1970s and 1980s.
The independent and permanent court, which consists of 18 judges, tries persons accused of the most serious crimes of international concern — genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
Saiga qualified for consideration on the basis of her experience in international law, whereas the other two candidates were required to be chosen from a pool of nominees with expertise in international law and procedure.
"We are very pleased. Japan has succeeded in the International Criminal Court and it took several years," said Japanese Ambassador Yukio Takasu, noting that Japan had recently become a member of the ICC.
Bruno Cotte of France received 79 votes, becoming the second judge. However, the other candidates from Uganda, Trinidad and Tobago and Panama failed to pass the minimum vote requirement.
The Hague-based ICC is based on a treaty joined by 105 countries that went into effect in 2002. Japan became a signatory country this year.
The United States, China and Russia have yet to ratify the treaty for fear that their troops, deployed worldwide, could be prosecuted.
Storm leaves 15 dead in S Europe
BBC News 25 January 2009
Hurricane-force winds lashed northern Spain on Saturday, bringing down the roof of a sports hall near Barcelona, killing four children, officials said.
Eleven people died in separate incidents in Spain and south-western France as the fiercest storm in a decade blew in from the Atlantic.
Torrential rains and winds of up to 184km/h (114mph) were reported.
It is now tracking across central Italy, bringing rain and winds of 80-95km/h (50-60mph), forecasters say.
Some 1.3 million homes in France suffered power cuts while road and rail links were blocked and airports closed.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy will visit the region on Sunday.
The impact of the storm was felt from the Channel Isles to Barcelona, but the strongest winds and heaviest rain were concentrated on south-western France.
See map of the storm's path
Although this type of active low pressure system is fairly common in winter, BBC meteorologist Alex Deakin says Saturday's storm has been described as the most damaging since that of December 1999, which killed 88 people and uprooted millions of trees.
The storm tracked south-eastwards and cleared the south-east coast of France during Saturday evening.
The Mediterranean islands of Corsica, Sardinia and Sicily have also been affected.
The sports hall partially collapsed in the town of Sant Boi de Llobregat, Catalonia, with between 20 and 30 youngsters inside, officials said.
The youngsters had gathered to play baseball but the fierce winds drove them to take shelter in a small covered area for spectators, made of concrete, with a corrugated iron roof.
"It seems that the roof shifted and brought down part of the wall," a regional government spokeswoman said.
Local people and fire-fighters helped free the survivors from the rubble but three children aged between nine and 12 died at the scene, and a fourth child died later in hospital. More than a dozen others received treatment for injures.
TEIGIN INCIDENT CONVICT LONG DEAD
Fight to clear mass-killer's name unending
Japan Times Jan. 23, 2008
Takehiko Hirasawa has devoted himself to clearing the name of his adoptive father, who was convicted in the Teigin Incident, the most notorious mass-poisoning case in postwar Japan.
"I cannot leave the erroneous ruling on my father as it is," the 49-year-old Tokyo resident said, showing his readiness to continue the struggle even though the incident took place 60 years ago this month.
His adoptive father, Sadamichi Hirasawa, was sentenced to death in 1950 on charges of fatally poisoning 12 people at a Teikoku Ginko (Imperial Bank) branch in Tokyo on Jan. 26, 1948, and seizing cash and checks. He confessed during interrogation but later retracted his admission and pleaded innocent in court.
Petitions for a retrial were filed with the Tokyo High Court 18 times until he died of natural causes in prison in May 1987 at age 95, but all of them were rejected.
The 19th petition, filed after his death, is now pending at the high court, with Takehiko Hirasawa and a group of lawyers submitting what they claim is new evidence, including a memorandum by an investigator that indicates the investigation team believed someone from a secret unit within the old Imperial Japanese Army was involved in the murder due to the rareness of the poison.
The lawyers plan to submit additional evidence, including expert opinions questioning the credibility of the confession and the police lineup used to identify Hirasawa as the murderer.
"The deposition documents of Mr. Hirasawa show he resigned himself to his fate and tried to play the role of the criminal as investigators demanded when he confessed," said Sumio Hamada, a psychology professor at Nara Women's University. "It is a typical example of a false confession."
Hamada doubts the credibility of the identification of Hirasawa by witnesses in the lineup. "The survivors of the Teigin Incident faced Mr. Hirasawa half a year later, after their initial memories had been distorted by seeing the faces of many suspicious people," he said.
"We also want to conduct a chemical test to prove that the poison was not potassium cyanide as the final ruling determined," Takehiko Hirasawa said.
If the poison had been potassium cyanide, the victims would have been in agony immediately. Instead, the effects were delayed, suggesting they had been given a special poison developed by a secret military unit, such as the infamous Unit 731, the legal team argues.
"I believe there was a hidden intention within the postwar power structure to sweep the Teigin Incident under the rug," Takehiko said. "But I have been driven by a determination to redress the injustice since I met my (adoptive) father for the first time at a contact room in prison 35 years ago."
Takehiko Hirasawa was adopted by the Hirasawa family when he was 22 so he could take over the retrial campaign that was headed by his natural father, Tetsuro Morikawa, a well-known writer.
Currently, five lawyers are working with Takehiko Hirasawa without compensation on behalf of Sadamichi, meeting monthly. One of the lawyers said, laughing, "People often ask me 'Are you still involved in such an old case?' "
The lawyers know that it is a hard road that lies ahead of them.
"It is extremely difficult in Japan to open the door for a retrial, even if a defense team comes up with new evidence," said one of the lawyers, Koichi Kikuta, a professor emeritus at Meiji University. "But we need to break it down" to bring about justice.
Despite the legal difficulties, Takehiko Hirasawa's other challenge, to restore his father's reputation as a painter, has made headway.
Hirasawa had been a highly acclaimed tempera artist, but his reputation was damaged by his arrest. Many of his works were discarded or kept in storehouses.
Some 120 works have been found since his death, enabling Takehiko Hirasawa to hold exhibitions dedicated to his work several times in Tokyo and Hokkaido, where Hirasawa spent his youth.
This April, some of his tempera paintings will be displayed at Hokkaido Museum of Modern Art in Sapporo for a special exhibition, together with some 110 other works.
"Mr. Hirasawa developed a nationwide reputation as a tempera artist, and he is the crucial person in reviewing the history of Japanese paintings," said Naoko Tomana, curator at the museum.
"We have determined that his works are worth display in the special program," she said, suggesting his criminal status has not affected the museum's decision.
The newly found paintings include pornographic works that Hirasawa is believed to have drawn merely for profit, according to Takehiko Hirasawa. "The existence of the obscene paintings indicates he did not have to run the risk of robbing a bank for money."
Looking back on their meetings in prison, he cannot forget the day when his father shed tears after the 17th retrial petition was rejected shortly before his death.
"He was usually high-spirited, but he told me at that time, 'Could you do something for me?' He must have gone through unimaginable suffering when he faced the news of the rejection in his solitary cell."
Hirasawa often said that the Justice Ministry would release him if he could survive to be 100 years old, "but he had five years more to live when he died."
"He lived desperately in prison, showing me the preciousness of life."