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03 May 2012

Book "Memoir of a Trustbuster: A Lifelong Adventure with Japan

A story of an American economist named Eleanor M. Hadley who contributed to Japan's post-war democratization, especially in the field of redistribution of wealth of the nation.

She visited Japan before the war between the two nations started. She was an exchange student and studied Japanese. During the war, she studied economics in Harvard. After the war she was hired by US Occupational force, so called G.H.Q.

The book described her life experience in Japan. She toured Japan and witnessed severe poverty in rural areas. In those days poor peasant families had to sell their children to prostitutes, Geisha or servant house to earn living.

After second world war, what she was involved in was dismantling of Zaibatsu (Corporate conglamour) such as Mitsubishi, Sumitomo, Mitsui, and Yasuda. She, her colleagues and her superiors thought that was best way to rebuild Japan's economy. Pre-war time Japan was much like Plutonomy. Small portion of the population dominated most of the wealth. Dismantling of Zaibatsu was to hike tax on the rich and dissolve their share-holding companies to re-allocate the wealth to number of people in the country.

The below is photo of former residence of Mitsubishi Zaibatsu family.


It was like "Gone with the wind" for the family. Actually their residence was even occupied by the Yankees. They lost huge part of their asset by post-war economic reform. They did protest that but G.H.Q. actually did it with her advice.

Interesting thing is that kind of reform was even objected within G.H.Q. because this type of reform was more like communism. Forcibly taking away wealth from the rich, did not match with US free market economy ideology.

She and her colleagues were later dismissed from public office on suspicion of communist activity and treason. Her name was cleared 20 years later.

Thanks to G.H.Q's reform, Japan has become relatively egalitarian society among advanced nations. Ironically the U.S. at present has become plutonomy society. That is why "Occupy Wall Street" movement occurred. Only top 5% of the population dominates 60% of the nation's total wealth. Top 400 richest households wealth is equivalent to that of bottom half of the population.

The rich can do anything they want in the world's most democratic nation because they finance President, Senators, and Congressmen. They can even control media to shut down unfavourable information for them to manipulate mass-population. 

Recent Micheal Moore's film described how plutonomic American society is and in contrast the film showed President Roosevelt's proposal of Second Bill of Rights during second world war.

The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the Nation;

The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;

The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;

The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;

The right of every family to a decent home;

The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;

The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;

The right to a good education.


All of these rights spell security. And after this war is won we must be prepared to move forward, in the implementation of these rights, to new goals of human happiness and well-being.

Micheal Moore said it did not come to realization in the U.S. because Roosevelt died before the war ended. In fact Japan acquired the above rights. They are written in Japan's post war constitution.

Article 25. All people shall have the right to maintain the minimum standards of wholesome and cultured living.
In all spheres of life, the State shall use its endeavors for the promotion and extension of social welfare and security, and of public health.

Article 26. All people shall have the right to receive an equal education correspondent to their ability, as provided by law.
All people shall be obligated to have all boys and girls under their protection receive ordinary education as provided for by law. Such compulsory education shall be free.

Is it because of G.H. Q. people including Ms. Hadley?

If so, we should be thankful to her and the U.S.

I recently come up with the idea of my new novel. The title would be "Second Bill of Rights." The main character is a son of Japan's notable Zaibatsu family. Before the war he met a brilliant young American woman who was an exchange student like Ms. Hadley in Tokyo. He and she became good friends discussing arts, culture, politics and economical system of Japan, U.S. and rest of the world.

After the war, his family ruined. They saw each other again in Tokyo, this time she was a G.H.Q's economist. But the two got deeper relationship than pre-war time.

Doesn't it sound interesting?

27 January 2012

Dear Japanese Government regarding Fukushima nuke crisis

Due to the nonconformities at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station caused by Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami on March 11, 2011,  Soil of Fukushima Prefecture was covered with a mass of radioactive substances which the effects on human body are not clarified completely yet..


Fukushima prefectural government and the Central Government took countermeasures quickly, including the designation of the areas within 20 km and 30 km respectively as a nationally specified evacuation area and a scheduled evacuation area, as well as a series of designations for evacuation according to the actual situation.


However, the standard for the scheduled evacuation area, as a basis of protection against radiation in Fukushima Prefecture, was set to 20 mSv/year, and the standard values specified so far for the evacuation areas were set to levels not always safe and very high for the children and the people who were to give birth to, and bring up children.


In the matter of radiation, the effects on human body are not clarified. In the event of accident that has occurred at the nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, former Soviet Union, people were evacuated by force from areas exceeding the radiation level of annual 5 mSv. Causal relationship was not demonstrated at the results of investigations by a research institute consigned by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. It is said, however, that there are significant differences, in the incidence rates of cancers and leukemia, over the border line of 10 mSv/year between the people who were exposed to low doses of radiation continuously and those not exposed to such radiation.


It is requested that "Crisis management capability" at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station controlled by Tokyo Electric Power Co., Inc. (TEPCO) be investigated thoroughly. We are persuaded by neither the TEPCO's instructions to enforce things nor the explanations by Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency. Standard values for foods are also higher in Japan than the "Standard values" ruled under the influence of radioactivity after the accident at Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. What will become of Japanese diet several years later if no corrective action is taken? What is wanted now is "Safe foods." It is essential, before anything, to install the standard values even severer than the temporary standard values ruled in the event of Chernobyl Accident.  

Standards values must be tightened as soon as possible to protect the safety of children. For 1 month or more, at least, in summer vacation, winter vacation and spring vacation, "children, pregnant women, etc. must be evacuated to areas of low environmental radioactivity to recover their health." Please note children are indispensable to support future.


Therefore, we hope the Central Government learns cases in the past, and implements the following measures quickly to ensure the safety of the children living in Fukushima Prefecture and the ease-of-mind of their parents.


Create the environment quickly for the Children to easily evacuate by setting up standards for young people whose 4 times ( 2 times for Elementary school kids) more sensitive than adult for current radioactive standards, 20mSv/Year, set up in planned evacuation area.

Provide more support for self-evacuee who resides outside of 30Km areas, for the purpose of maintaining children’s safety from the risk of radioactive threat. 

There is a necessity to spread the word to residents of Fukushima that radioactive exists certain risks to their life. To do so, possible demand dismissal of current advisor, Mr. Shunichi Yamashita and select highly knowledgeable advisor to remind residents of Fukushima to give necessary awareness of crisis management.

For further conducted health monitoring, Country will overall support based on the premise of protecting all residents of Fukushima. This monitoring will conduct thyroid gland echo to contribute early detection of thyroid cancer, most threatening disease influenced by radioactivity, urine testing, and blood testing to all ages of residents of Fukushima. For monitoring, setup checkup organization by third party.

To set standards and to disclose information swiftly regarding radioactive protection, Set up unified decision making organization beyond the border of existed government agency. System should be able to adopt international standards, as well as Japanese standards  .

Influences of massive radioactive not only for Japan but also for the world from Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear plant which under the supervision of Tokyo Electric Power Company(TEPCO) is way beyond immeasurable. TEPCO must pay compensation for damages to all workers (not only in Fukushima) who are engaged in farming/breeding/fisheries.

 It’s beyond imaginable to think that current situations are stable enough for policy to lift the evacuation area. There is massive radiation fell to the ground, contaminate the land and no place for kids to play outside. We have to replace all of contaminated soil.

Government and TEPCO must buy up lands within the range of 30km radius areas from Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, set up restricted area, build interim storage facilities, and disclose all information to citizens and residents of Fukushima. At the same time, set up an independent panel to discuss regarding the way of communications for disabilities. 


Simulate the nuclear power plant again, think about the way how to make sufficient disclosure of information so as to prevent the similar accidents from happening again, and make efforts to avoid that citizens and residents struggle for decontamination on the streets.

Fukushima governor neglected accurate and adequate information dissemination for Fukushima residents including even disabled people, resulting in exposition to radiation of many people.  He also neglects the measure for voluntary evacuation.  He and Fukushima government are required to pay the burden charge which is used by citizens for evacuation purpose

We urge Fukushima government to apologize to all Fukushima citizens through TV and newspapers for the following reasons:

 / Not to disclose any information on SPEEDI simulation although it already come on March 11 from the national government.

/Not to disclose any information on stable iodine although written instructions are obtained before that.     Fukushima citizens, not knowing anything, only waited for water-supply wagon and gasoline.

After governor Satoh declared the safety of Fukushima rice, many people bought rice made in Fukushima prefecture.  However, radioactive material exceeding the national standard was found later, driving many farmers into the plight.  In order to support their livelihoods, we urge Fukushima government, TEPCO and national government to carry out reparations based on the revenue of each farmhouse in the last fiscal year.

In the caution zone, many animals are left behind and are not rescued yet.  It is plausible that they be rescued by volunteer organization.  Animals have also rights to live, to become happy and to eat as we humans have.Should their rescue efforts end on 27th?  The notion that it is unavoidable in a watch zone will be 'unconstitutional'.Only the governor can give the permit.  In order to save their lives, 'please give us the permit to save them.

19 November 2011

Film "Mississippi Burning" and President Obama

The story is one Afro-American civil activist disappeared somewhere in Missippi 1964 and FBI men searched for them. Then they faced brutality of local people. The film described how uncivilized and scary deep South like Mississippi was.

I remember when I was in America, Afro-American professor of Black Studies criticized the film because the main characters were two good white men saving poor Afro-Americans. In fact, the film was made from white people's perspective.

When we, Japanese hear about Mississippi, first thing to come up is "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" by Mark Twain. But reality is racist conservative deep South. Now things have changed a little bit better, I guess.

America has changed since that time, which was proven by the fact that Obama was elected as President. However, it seemed he dissappointed those who voted for him. His supporters believed Obama can understand pain of the poor people because he shared the same experience. After he was elected, what appears to be was he was after all, American President just like other Presidents, who had different skin color. He had to serve for rich white men who dominate the country's wealth. He had to keep sending troops to the battle fields to save America's pride and military industry.

The consequence is "Occupy Wall Street." Now new type of seggregation emerged in a country of democracy and freedom. The rich and the poor.

Agony goes on as life goes on.

30 April 2011

Dear Tomodachi, Thanks but No Thanks!

Tomodachi means "friend(s)" in Japanese. The U.S. military in Japan is undergoing "Operation Tomodach" after the earthquake of magnitude 9.0, tsunami and nuclear power plant explosion occurred in our country.

Yes, the U.S. has been our greatest and closest friend, especially in a turmoil caused by the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear power plant disaster.

The U.S. government and military helped us a lot by sending air craft carrier, Ronald Reagan to the disastor area coast to transport commodities and equipments in order to rescue refugees in the disaster areas. The U.S. goverment provided expertise and machines to crippled nuclear power plants.

We do appreciate that. But the U.S. is not only country that provides assistance to us. China, Russia, France, Israel and a lot of other nations do so. We do appreciate those nations as well.

I do know for the U.S. Japan is not just a friend, rather very important ally in terms of politics and economics. Japan is 2nd largest owner of U.S. treasury bonds next to China. Japan is one of the biggest trading partner for the U.S.

As for crippled nuclear plants, the U.S. should be very much concerned about this issue because the U.S. is heavily dependent on nuclear power generation having more than 100 plants in the nation. In fact crippled nuclear plants in Fukushima-Daiichi contains U.S. made reactors, designed by General Electronics. The same type of reactors are used in 23 plants in the U.S.

Like the U.S. France is very concerned as CEO of France's biggest nuclear power plant corporation came to Japan to fix the problem. France is much more heavily dependent on nuclear power generation, 80% of its electriciy comes from nuclear power, while 20% in the U.S. and 35% in Japan.

Just recently the U.S. and Japanese government agreed to relocate U.S. Marine in Okinawa. The plan is relocate around 8000 marines to Guam and newly building base inside Okinawa island. That plan has been disapproved by local Okinawans. Even the Okinawa governor demanded the change of plan.

But the both governments seem to go ahead despite the protest movement there because the "Operation Tomodachi" can ease the tension there. But it seems not.

We feel the U.S. is taking advantage of this turmoil to get what they want. In our country such act is called "stealing things from burning house." Later you will be demised.

Don't do that, please if you want to continue to be good friend to us.

Under this plan, Japanese government not only provides the area for the new base but the budget to build the new base. This is huge money.

You know we are now in a big crisis. We need so much money to rebuild the disaster areas and fix and safely abandon nuclear plants. How come you can receive such benefits from troubled nation?

In Yokosuka, USS George Washington evacuated from Yokosuka, home port for the ship right after the earthquake and nuclear power plant explosion happened. Now he returned.

Funny, that ship was deployed for the purpose of defending Japan. This time he did not. Ironically, the nuclear powered ship which contains so much of radioactive materials got away from radioactive.

After he returned, they say the ship is safe. But localies in Yokosuka cannot agree. People have been so concerned about radioactive since its home porting in 2008. Now we've got one from our own.

My advice as your Tomodachi is to rethink the whole package of US-Japan defense treaty and its operation.

We do appreciate great friendship so in order to stregthen such friendship why not just rethink about this issue?  

Especially after the earthquake disastor, our nation's financial and mental situation has greatly changed. We do not want to suffer any more.

So be nice TOMODACHI!