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Concerning two images of Abe's political methods: dirty tricks and war horses

Stolen Bride blinkers - Courtesy:

Picture by Chabata_k (Japan). Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 license

The political methods adopted by Abe Shinzo and his LDP make me think of two images. One is a sort of dirty magic where they trick the Japanese people into a horrible life situation (e.g., poverty, without much livelihood protection, more and more taxes or burdens for the ordinary people, neoliberal pro-corporate policies, the TPP, strengthening the existing secrecy regime, the Japanese version of NSC, tons of US bases, collective self-defense, etc). This reminds me of the second image: war horses. Reasonably, horses must wear blinders if they are taken to a war, otherwise they may sense and question if there is something wrong. If we see “war horses” as Japanese people, the new secrecy law serves as a “blinder” so that people would not know that a war may be approaching and people would not ask if there is no reason to go to a war (e.g., tanaage agreement Senkaku).

Since some foreign newspapers use the relevant terms in their articles, I guess I am not the only person who thinks of these images.

(For example, “his reinterpretation sleight of hand”)


Stolen Bride blinkers - Courtesy:









1898年1月13日、文豪エミール・ゾラがスパイ容疑で逮捕されたドレフュスを弁護する手紙を、L'Aurore紙の一面に「J'Accuse...! 我は弾劾する!」という見出しで発表しました。フォール大統領に宛てたその手紙が世論を喚起し、冤罪事件解決への大きな一歩となりました。

Quand on enferme la vérité sous terre, elle s’y amasse, elle y prend une force telle d’explosion, que, le jour où elle éclate, elle fait tout sauter avec elle. On verra bien si l’on ne vient pas de préparer, pour plus tard, le plus retentissant des désastres.


  • 。。。下につづく

Japan's secrecy law

"Quand on enferme la vérité sous terre, elle s’y amasse, elle y prend une force telle d’explosion, que, le jour où elle éclate, elle fait tout sauter avec elle. On verra bien si l’on ne vient pas de préparer, pour plus tard, le plus retentissant des désastres."

Émile Zola (1840-1902)

(Extrait de la lettre "J'Accuse... ! Lettre au Président de la République, M. Félix FAURE")

(When truth is buried underground, it grows and it builds up so much force that the day it explodes it blasts everything with it. We shall see whether we have been setting ourselves up for the most resounding of disasters, yet to come.)

(Excerpt of the letter "I accuse... ! Letter to the President of the Republic, M. Félix FAURE")

[Translation and notes © Shelley Temchin and Jean-Max Guieu, Georgetown University, 2001]

The hasty passage of the secrecy law has made me think that some leaders have urgent issues to desperately hide. In other words, they are afraid that the truth will hurt them soon. I can think of two of them.






PIAAC Results for Japan

This blog is about the OECD's PIAAC results, focusing on Japan: best in literacy and numeracy, but poorly applying them at work.

応用力におとる日本人 *** 「OECD国際成人力調査」






Taxes, taxes, taxes

There’s no half a day when I don’t encounter newspaper articles, radio reports, TV documentaries and talks about taxes. Every tax payer I come across sounds unhappy with how much they contribute to Government services.

Late last year, in France, there was the famous (or infamous) decision of one of its film stars, Gerard Depardieu, to take a Russian citizenship for tax reason, i.e. in response to the Socialist Government’s introduction of 75% tax on earnings above 1M Euros. Paying taxes is an act of duty and solidarity, but …

When we think of taxes, we often have ‘personal income tax’ in mind; but there are many other national, regional and local taxes, such as those imposed on capital gains, land and residential properties, corporations and specific situations (e.g. inheritance and lodging taxes in France). It’s true though that we mostly pay taxes on our personal income and purchases (VAT - Value Added Tax).

There are national similarities and differences when it comes to taxes and how these are spent. In France, its citizen-residents have to pay taxes on their world-wide income; whereas non-residents must complete a return only if they receive income from letting properties in the country. Similarly, in Australia, non-residents are taxed only on their Australian-sourced income.

TPP as Star Wars’ Trade Federation!?

I find trading is like a war. When I wrote a blog on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement in Japanese a few months ago, I drew an analogy between the TPP and Star Wars’ Trade Federation. I did not mean to be funny at all. Rather, I think my analogy was not bad at all. Senator Palpatine (who seemed to be a good guy in the beginning) said:

"Supreme Chancellor, delegates of the Senate, a tragedy has occurred, which started right here with the taxation of trade routes, and has now engulfed our entire planet in the oppression of the Trade Federation!" (from Star Wars wikia)

Now I see Mr. Obama is like Senator Palpatine who is eager to conclude the TPP, “corporate power tool of the 1%.”

Remember? In his August 31 statement on Syria, President Obama said:

"I’m also mindful that I’m the President of the world’s oldest constitutional democracy. I’ve long believed that our power is rooted not just in our military might, but in our example as a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

Find more references here...






Three frontiers (Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands)


突然、義弟が再婚するという知らせがあった。彼は、やんちゃでプレイボーイなので、来夏の結婚まで持つかは分からない。いや、彼は本気か? <神妙にお縄を受けて共暮らし> (時実新子)。「とにかく婚約はメデタイ。楽しもう」と、彼らの住むベルギーにむかった。






source: France Info (June 29, 2013)



source: Der Spiegel (June 28, 2013)

source: The Guardian (June 30, 2013)














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