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08 April 2008

Boycott American goods to protest permanent deployment of USS “George Washington” in Yokosuka base

The American aircraft carrier USS George Washington, which is scheduled to enter and set anchor in Yokosuka base near Tokyo this year in August, uses highly concentrated uranium fuel and is, in a manner of speaking, “a nuclear reactor floating on the sea”. A nuclear power plant generates electricity by creating steam which turns turbines, whereas a nuclear aircraft carrier uses this power to navigate.

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While the aircraft carrier is anchored the nuclear reactor is not generating power; during that time however the nuclear reactor must be continuously cooled and if an accident or a disaster such as an earthquake were to render the cooling process impossible, a catastrophe caused by the core melting down is capable of occurring. In such a case, the damage caused would cover the entire national capital region. In addition to a large number of people losing their lives, the region would also likely be transformed into an area similar to Chernobyl , where people will not be able to live for centuries to come. For the people living in the capital region, this cannot be allowed.

 

The American Navy insists that the aircraft carrier is “safe”, in spite of the fact it won’t release information regarding the structure of the nuclear reactor due to military secrecy. This kind of talk makes complete fools of the Japanese people.

  

While I was thinking about this, I was casually watching an American movie one day when something occurred to me. The movie was a good one, but I couldn’t help getting irritated by the fact that the country where it was produced was trying to bring a “third atomic bomb” into our country’s capital city. Probably because of this, I stopped enjoying the movie and turned it off halfway through. In addition, I can’t help but detest all things that project the image of America . I once studied in the United States , but even so, when I think of the “American military superpower” insensitively bringing in a nuclear aircraft carrier for its own national interests, I just become disgusted. Of course, the Japanese government who “nobly” accepted this situation is also cowardly and irritating.

 

I thought about whether there was anything I could do. In Yokosuka signatures are being collected to hold a local referendum. In addition, a lawsuit has been filed requesting the suspension of the dredging work which is being done in the harbor in order for the aircraft carrier to anchor. However, these measures are surely not suitable to overcome what has already been decided between the two countries’ respective governments. However I think there is something that can be done at an individual level, and moreover, which involves a greater number of people: the act of not buying American goods.

  

Naturally our everyday lives are filled with American goods including computer softwares I am using, yet we must try as hard as we can to not buy them. I have immediately stopped watching American movies. I am going to withdraw my funds from an American capital bank (Shinsei bank owned by Ripplewood), cancel my insurance (Aflac), naturally I’m going to stop eating at fast food restaurants (McDonald’s) and family restaurants (Denny’s), stop going to amusement parks (Disney Land) and do as much as possible from what’s available.

 

There are some companies who simply borrow American copyrights while conducting their business through Japanese capital; however since they invoke the image of America , they must also become subjects of the boycott. By making this kind of proposal, there will likely be a lot of criticism stating that political and military affairs are being confused with commerce. However if citizens do not display their will through these kinds of means, then there is little chance that they will be able to alter this urgent situation. This is the same as the boycott movement that occurred on Japanese goods amongst Americans who were opposed to the Japanese invasion of China in the lead-up to the Second World War.

 

As is well known, individuals are free to decide which goods to buy and which goods not to buy. From America’s point of view, economic relations with Japan are more significant than military ones. You could even say that America is quite reliant on good economic relations with Japan . In addition, the Japanese government is paying expenses for the American troops stationed in Japan in what it designates an “omoiyari yosan (Simpathy budget)”, or which the U.S. calls “host nation support”.

 

I would also like to suggest the following. Since the anxiety caused by the upcoming permanent deployment of the nuclear aircraft carrier is going to lead to emotional distress and pain, citizens should sue the American navy and its affiliates. It’s not a matter of winning the lawsuit or not. This kind of action would be done to show that citizens are making a stand. If it is recognized that a large number of citizens approve of the boycott on American goods, then they will be forced to deal with the issue. A boycott circle should be symbolically created. If the government doesn’t work, individual citizens will likely be able to provide in its stead.

 

The Cold War is already over, and I do not believe the presence of American troops has the same significance on security that it once did. Recently, troops are only being used for the American militaristic strategy including invasion of Iraq . There is considerable room for negotiation. We individuals, as well as the government, must work on cooling off the “Simpathy budget”.

 

Nevertheless, many Japanese have remained uninterested even though the thought of their country’s capital city facing the threat of radioactivity should leave them restless. A military ally which is supposed to protect Japan could cause it massive destruction. It’s truly humiliating. In reality, it’s being said that the American government also fears the problem of the Japanese people’s sentiments towards the upcoming deployment of the nuclear aircraft carrier. It’s also being said that the names given to other aircraft carriers could bring back images of the atomic bomb, which is why the USS “George Washington” was chosen.

 

While I was studying in the United States however, I was told the following by a Afro-American: “Washington was a hypocrite who was advocating liberty while at the same time owning slaves”. This kind of view also exists. The USS George Washington, as well as the soon-to-be decommissioned standard warship USS Kitty Hawk have both borrowed the name of liberty while being used in a hypocritical aggressive war. Let’s stop lending our land out with such ease to the United States . Isn’t it time that we establish the trend of starting to take a greater responsibility for the defense of our own country? Before saying that the government is unreliable, it’s time that individuals think of how their actions are able to change the principles of politics and diplomacy.

The above is translation of this Japanese article posted on Japan's most famous independent citizen media.

The below is related post. Please also read this.

Do not bring third atomic bomb to our capital.

P.S. I urge American people to boycott Toshiba products because the company received orders to build several nuclear power plants on the U.S. soil.

03 February 2008

Surprising Heavy Snow in Tokyo

I am showing you some great photos of Tokyo's snowing views.

I took some photos and video clips in Tokyo's most famous park "Shinjuku Gyoen (Shinjuku Garden)."

Heavy snow covered big turf field.

It was very cold but very amazing views.

The below photo is Chinese house in the park.

 

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Next is Japanese garden and the skyscraper.

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You can see the video clips on You Tube site, Tokyo Heavy Snowing. The first scene is the view of the city from balcony on the 11th floor of the building.

Compare with Tokyo's most beautiful Park, which is normal view of the park.

18:12 Posted in Tokyo Life | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tags: Snow, Tokyo

22 June 2007

What is good about living in Tokyo?

I have been living in Tokyo, Japan's capital, world's biggest urban area, for more than 7 years.

 I feel like I was born and grew up here.  Actually I was not born and did not grow up in Tokyo.

Where I was born and grew up was a devastated city, where no culture exists. I hate my hometown.

I used to live in some other cities. One of them is San Francisco. I went to the university there.

It was a pretty city but small and not so exciting.

Tokyo is much bigger. There are some advantages of living in Tokyo, which I like to mention.

 1. Very big, varous towns, beautiful places, facilities, and exciting events in one city. You never get bored. If you are alone and bored, you can easily find some places to go to have fun even if you don't have so much money. Just walking on the street is fun.

2. For me, English speaking person, there are a lot of opportunities. Tokyo always needs English speaking workers like me because it has many, many international firms.

3. Very, very sophisticated people, such as journalists, artists, and other intellectuals. I could come to a concert of big artist like Billy Joel. As you know, this is capital of Japan, you can meet influential politicians, too.

4. Many, many foreigners, every day, actually every hour I can easily pass by foreigners. I can encounter different cultures. As I recall, I've met or worked with Koreans, Chinese, Thais, Indians, Brazilians, Russians, Turkeys, Iraqi, Arabs, French, Canadians, Britons, and of course Americans. Some are good but some are not. But I like them.  

I love Tokyo. I've decided to live here for the rest of my life. I will die here.

 Come visit Tokyo! You can meet wonderful people and see beautiful places.

23:30 Posted in Tokyo Life | Permalink | Comments (1) | Tags: Tokyo, Japan

01 April 2007

Waiting to see the cherry blossoms

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The above photo was taken this afternoon. Many people are making line to buy a ticket to enter the Shinjuku Garden. One of the famous "Cherry blossoms to see" spots in Tokyo. This is also one of the imperial gardens and well maintained. The admission fee is 200 yen. Around 1.5 US$.

I wanted to enter but there were too many people trying to enter. I just gave up. Then I left there.

Last year I remember I could enter without waiting and enjoyed cherry blossoms in the park. You can see the photos taken in the album. 

18:50 Posted in Tokyo Life | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tags: Cherryblossoms, Park, Japan