Monday, August 29, 2016

Rio Olympic's 4x100m Japanese silver medalists: They are heroes of Japan today

They are heroes of Japan today I've asked the Rio Olympic's 4x100m Japanese silver medalists Aska Cambridge, Shota Iizuka, Yoshihide Kiryu & Ryota Yamagata to demonstrate their famous baton handover at the press club's conference today! Watch!


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Emperor Akihito Greeted by Crowds at Budokan Tokyo 15 August 2016

As the War Memorial ceremony was ending, the Emperor was escorted by master of Ceremony Shiozaki around 12:50 August 15th, slowly the imperial couple walking to the exit of Budokan, and as Emperor Akihito walks we suddenly hear a Banzai coming from the giant hall, then thunders of hand clapping with people gathering in the same act of respect to Akihito (and love as Kuniko Inoguchi san - ex Minister of State for Gender Equality and Social Affairs - told me after the event).

It happened once, and it is the first time I see it, especially after the address of the Emperor related to his message to the people August 8th, what media called his "abdication" message.

Suddenly again, for a second time, a row of applause while the imperial couple walks to the door, a second Banzai comes from the seats, and never ending clapping again. The Emperor stopped a second time, watch to the people and bowed as respect for the crowds this time. Then he left the Budokan with Empress Michiko greeted by crowds. My video jumps a bit as we all were astonished to see such a well wishing expression all of a sudden from the 5,000 thousands people attending the event.

Politicians of the government were impressed, surprised, kind of feared this wave of calm and genuine devotion for the Emperor after his life spent for helping with his status and the people living here.


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Live Reportage BFMTV - Japon: la tuerie de Sagamihara - Mass killing at a Home Center for the Disabled in Sagamihara Japan

La tuerie de Sagamihara

Mass killing 19 at a home for the disabled in Sagamihara Japan

My report on France BFMTV Live. Click

19 people were killed and 26 were severely or slightly injured over the deadly knife rampage at a care facility for people with mental disabilities in Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture, south of Tokyo. The attack occurred in the early hours of Tuesday July 26,2016. 

The man, Satoshi Uematsu, was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and illegal entry into a building. Kanagawa prefectural police department set up an investigation headquarters at Tsukui Police Station in Sagamihara examining his motives and how he started to have murderous intent for severely disabled people.

Uematsu, who was an employee at the facility, Tsukui Yamayurien, in February, told a facility worker that he would kill severely disabled people, according to officials of the Sagamihara city government's mental health welfare department.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Emperor of Japan Akihito might abdicate before the Tokyo 2020 Olympics

L'Empereur du Japon ‎Akihito envisage d'abdiquer dans quelques années. Une première. Pour l'instant, il ne s'agit que d'intentions. En outre le code impérial n'a pas de précédent d'abdication. Depuis 200 ans. L'Empereur pourra faire part de son intention et il réfléchit comment l'annoncer dans l'avenir. Il pourrait abdiquer avant les JO d'Eté de 2020 de Tokyo selon un commentaire d'un reporter de Nhk. 

Japan's Emperor Akihito plans to resign in a few years. For now, it is only intentions. Moreover the imperial code has no precedent of abdication since 200 years. The Emperor will make his intention known and he ponders how to announce it in the future. The Emperor of ‎Japan Akihito could abdicate before the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 hinted by an Nhk reporter. 
Info from Nhk.

Books about Japan and abdication : "Medieval Japan: Essays in Institutional History, by John Whitney Hall, Jeffrey P. Mass

"Media, Propaganda and Politics in 20th-Century Japan"
By The Asahi Shimbun Company.

"The succession to the Chrysanthemum Throne has always passed to descendants in male line from the imperial lineage. Abdication was used very often, and in fact occurred more often than death on the throne. In those days, the Emperor's chief task was priestly (or godly), containing so many repetitive rituals that it was deemed that after a service of around ten years, the incumbent deserved pampered retirement as an honored former Emperor. Daijō Tennō or Dajō Tennō (both accepted readings of 太上天皇) was the title for a Japanese Emperor who abdicated in favor of a successor. The term is often shortened to Jōkō. As defined in the Taihō Code, although retired, a Daijō Tennō could still exert power. The first such example is the Empress Jitō in the 7th century. A retired emperor sometimes entered the Buddhist monastic community, becoming a cloistered emperor. This practice was rather common during the Heian period. The last emperor to rule as a Jōkō was Emperor Kōkaku (1779–1817) EoQ Wikipedia.

(As stated on the Nhk and mentioned on online pages such as Wikipedia)

Japan needs to get prepared for this recent historic announcement. NHK announced the news. LDP talks about it. Kunaicho denied it of course. Time is now used to prepare population and avoid crisis or stress...

Sokuirei-Seiden-no-Gi Ceremony 1990

La cérémonie d’intronisation (Sokui-no-Rei) a eu lieu le 12 Novembre 1990 et les festivités du "Daijosai" (dont l'objet est de solliciter d'abondante récolte) le 23 novembre 1990. J'ai réalisé en 1990 la production en langue française de cette cérémonie impériale pour la NHK et l'Agence de la Maison Impériale.

I carried out in 1990 the production translation in French and narration of this imperial ceremony for NHK and the Imperial Household Agency during my first stay in Japan.

+ Update: One of my reportages about Japan Imperial family on TV5MONDE

Monday, June 20, 2016

"Corée du Nord, un État-guérilla en mutation" "North Korea, a state-guerrilla changing" by Philippe Pons - Gallimard

Philippe Pons kindly offered me his latest book "Corée du Nord, un État-guérilla en mutation" 
"North Korea, a state-guerrilla changing"

I started to read the book, 720 pages. I am very thankful to my "Senpai 先輩" Ponsさん. The very first contact I had with DPRK was during my assignment years ago in Peking, observing delegations visiting China and sharing international cultural exchanges programmes in China.

Other reports drove me to meet north Koreans in Thailand, Burma and Japan. DPRK is a totalitarian regime which does not invite journalists to report freely. Pons testimony is all the most precious and I do acknowledge the many years of observation and attraction for this unknown country on a peninsula whose history of division and atrocities require more than assassins statements but patience and research, which is exactly what my honorable and esteemed colleague Philippe Pons devoted for decades.

Here is what Gallimard publisher has to say about the book:
La Corée du Nord est le pays le plus haï, mais aussi le plus mal connu de la planète.
Comprendre les ressorts d’un système totalitaire sans équivalent par son monolithisme idéologique, l’inscrire dans son espace et dans son temps pour en saisir l’ancrage et décrypter le fonctionnement d’une économie émergente, de facto de marché : tel est l’objet de ce livre.
La Corée du Nord est le fruit d'une histoire disputée : colonisée par le Japon (1910-1945) puis divisée par les États-Unis et l'URSS en 1945, partition entérinée trois ans plus tard et contestée par une guerre fratricide (1950-1953), et restée depuis sans traité de paix.
Kim Il Sung au pouvoir a élevé la lutte de libération au rang de récit fondateur et organisé le pays sur le modèle d'une unité de guérilla, entretenant la population dans une mentalité d'assiégé permanent. La résilience de cet «État-guérilla» est sans doute à chercher moins dans son caractère stalinien que dans un nationalisme invétéré.
La Corée du Nord évolue néanmoins vers une économie hybride, où la frontière entre secteur public et initiative privée est de plus en plus floue et qui génère de profondes mutations sociales.
Cette évolution interne a pour toile de fond des enjeux géostratégiques : les risques entraînés par les ambitions nucléaires de Pyongyang, les visées hégémoniques du puissant voisin chinois et le retour de la Russie dans le Grand Jeu diplomatique.
720 pages, sous couverture illustrée, 152 x 240 mm
Collection La Suite des temps, Gallimard
Parution : 22-04-2016
ISBN : 9782070142491 - Gencode : 9782070142491 - Code distributeur : A14249

Upper House July 10 2016 election ahead - My comments on TBS Sunday Morning 06/19/2016

June 19th, 2016 aired on "TBS Sunday Morning" political show about all suspicions linked to the resignation of Tokyo Governor Yoichi Masuzoe and coming election.


En Français: "fondamentalement, je veux dire, il y a un scandale olympique et maintenant un scandale Masuzoe et puis maintenant un rideau, un écran de fumée pour essayer de dire oh, nous allons nettoyer la société..." J'ai parlé durant l'interview de ~12 minutes sur TBS de ce qui intéressait particulièrement les japonais dans cette élection ouverte aux jeunes de 18 ans, éducation, job, retraite, santé, problème de logement et ce qui concerne les jeunes couples, les enfants et les personnes âgées, remettant en cause les focus d'Abe et les obsessions qu'il a pour la constitution, la défaite, pour la guerre et l'histoire et pour la sécurité et les menaces chinoises en disant qu'il y avait des dizaines de milliers de chinois en ballade au Japon en concluant sur la nécessité de tourner une autre page de l'histoire contemporaine du Japon en écoutant davantage les gens, les scientifiques, les intellectuels, la rue, les jeunes... évidemment c'est l'enfumage par Abe qui l'a emporté auprès de l'éditeur du programme. 06/19/2016 on TBS Sunday Morning

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Charles Aznavour in Tokyo "We must continue to talk about it" (Fukushima)

Dinner of solidarity 06/17/2016 at Embassy of France in Tokyo for Fukushima with cooking of local Fukushima food by French Chefs to deter the rumours of radioactivity. Star singer Charles Aznavour attended. But he had a message, he loves Japanese people, his public.

About Fukushima catastrophe Charles Aznavour had this to say answering to a Japanese young reporter: "...things mustn't disappear like that. We must continue to talk about it (Fukushima) precisely so that everyone is concerned" Fr: "Il ne faut pas que les choses disparaissent comme cela, il faut continuer à en parler, justement pour que tout le monde soit préoccupé".

Actually I was the first to jump into the Aznavour interview. I asked, and filmed the question as everyone watched silently the entrance of the star-singer in the embassy lobby, Aznavour about he reason of his presence to this dinner (promoting Fukushima food). But the singer said he had problems to hear as he had not his hearing improvement equipment.

During the first part of the event attended by Fukushima governor Uchibori and minister of reconstruction Takagi and Ambassador Dana, much has been said by all three about the "rumours" affecting Fukushima agricultural products. Rumours of radioactivity. Rumours denied by ambassador Dana and Governor Uchibori in a brief Q & A session in answer to one Q of a French freelance journalist. "Much remains to be done obviously to deny these rumours (of radioactivity) said Ambassador Dana.

Needless to say that there was a moment of crisis as diplomats and officials were not prepared to such question-criticism-comment about Fukushima food. Obviously too not all journalists were willing to grill officials about the alleged harmfulness of Fukushima agricultural and fishery products.
This being said Aznavour saved their day. He actually told me he had sent a letter to Japanese of the region concerned after the earthquake March 11 2011.

Aznavour Dinner ©Joel Legendre-Koizumi 2016Tokyo
Aznavour Dinner ©Joel Legendre-Koizumi 2016Tokyo
©Joel Legendre-Koizumi 2016Tokyo

Aznavour gave three concerts in Japan this year 2016, he came several time here. In 1998, Aznavour was named Entertainer of the Century by CNN and users of Time Online from around the globe. He was recognised as the century's outstanding performer edging out Elvis Presley and Bob Dylan..."

Some of the 703 songs of Charles Aznavour I noticed this one "The Earth dies" this recent song by Charles Aznavour sums up well all the adverse consequences caused by man and his activities on the Earth and its inhabitants. "La Terre meurt" chanson récente de Charles Aznavour nous résume bien toutes les conséquences néfastes engendrées par l'homme et ses activités sur la Terre et ses habitants.

Other famous Aznavour songs


Sunday, June 05, 2016

"I don't think Xi Jinping is a reformist but Deng Xiaoping was" Wang Dan - Tiananmen

Wang Dan 27 years after June 1989-Tiananmen

1989 Tiananmen activist on China leader Xi. Wang was 20 in 1989, he was our invited guest at the press club June 4th 2016.

I asked 2 questions to Wang Dan: The first about China under Xi Jinping today and a second about statesman Deng Xiaoping era. On this point about Deng Xiaoping I testified of my experience in Peking (my 1st work assignment for France Inter and RFI before "Tiananmen"). China at that time I said to Wang Dan, then 20, lived an amazing freedom, liberalisation and reforms set by Deng followed by the early challenges to the CCP. I also talked with Wang Dan after-while and quoted examples with some of my first meetings, dinners, Beijing opera, lectures, with Chinese top leaders in late 80's in Peking.

Fccj, Tokyo, June 4 conference by Wang Dan on the 27th anniversary of Tiananmen democracy movement.


Xi Jinping is General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, the President of the People's Republic of China, and the Chairman of China's Central Military Commission.

Pic 1 Wuer Kaixi (center) delivers a speech. With him is Chai Ling (left) and Wang Dan (right).
Pic 2 Xi and larger Mao Zedong
Pic 1989: Students Meeting at Tiananmen
Pic 3 at the press club, Tokyo.
Pic Tiananmen王丹%29

 Deng Xiaoping walking with his grandson 

I always was interested in the life of Deng Xiaoping. Deng early life drove him to France and in my family ふるさと homeland, Normandie, Bayeux exactly, on October 21st 1920. The young Chinese man who was to become the leader of the People's Republic of China confronted his life to a modern and powerful France, and so were France's politics and unions.

Deng Xiaoping should have never left Normandie, and it would have changed the world history. Instead he opted, penniless, for the industrial nightmarish life of a labourer in "Le Creusot" France, then to the Hutchinson-Montargis and finally at Renault-Billancourt! Eventually, Deng Xiaoping went on with his political career while building cars and making an extra Franc in a Tofu restaurant, and gathered with his friends, one being Zhou Enlai. They created in 1922 the Chinese Youth Communist party in Europe for Chinese and gathered in a Paris café near Place d'Italie while editing the "Red Light" party paper. Deng joined and took more importance in the group, became close to Zhou Enlai and as their group caught French police attention, Deng left France January 7th 1926, just one day before to be arrested by French police.

My blog reader might wonder why I mention all of these details... It is because I was assigned during my job at the Chinese ministry of Television and Radio in the late 1980's in Peking to study all documents related to this period of life of Deng Xiaoping in the 1920's. My job was to study, explain, describe, put into context the offical documents that were in the hands of some Chinese officials, a small group that might have been called upon by the top leader himself, well that's what I was told, and also to keep my mouth shut. I was a very young and straight reporter announcer, quite inexperienced with Chinese leadership methods of power and ruling but I guess they trusted me to describe things. Later on I was invited to attend some international youth parties at the Great Hall of the People 人民大會堂 escorted by my colleague as interpreter (she couldn't believe she was to meet top leaders) where I met Hu Yaobang, Zhao Ziyang and others such as Li Peng in banquets. There  we were allowed to spend time and chat. It was maybe the beginning of a new history.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Il y a 71 ans, la mort est tombée du ciel - Barack Obama - Hiroshima 27 Mai 2016 reportage

Le Président américain Barack Obama s'est rendu vendredi à Hiroshima au Japon afin de rendre hommage de la bombe américaine larguée le 6 aout 1945.  Il est le premier Président américain en exercice à se rendre dans cette ville japonaise. Comme prévu, Barack Obama n'a pas présenté des excuses au Japon au nom de l'Amérique. Après avoir déposé une couronne de fleurs devant le cénotaphe du mémorial de la paix d’Hiroshima et s’être recueilli, les yeux fermés, au côté du Premier ministre japonais, Shinzo Abe, Barack Obama s'est adressé aux « hibakusha », les survivants de la bombe atomique qui a fait plus de 210 000 morts au Japon, en août 1945. « Il y a 71 ans, la mort est tombée du ciel », a déclaré le locataire de la Maison-Blanche. 

« Pourquoi sommes-nous venus ici, à Hiroshima ? Nous sommes venus réfléchir à cette force terrible libérée dans un passé pas si lointain. Nous sommes venus pour rendre hommage aux morts. « Leurs âmes nous parlent, elles nous demandent de nous interroger sur nous-mêmes »  a ajouté Barack Obama. La visite historique de Barack Obama au Japon est un signe pour les pays asiatiques qui disposent de l'arsenal nucléaire. La Chine et la Corée du Nord sont dans le viseur.

"A flash of light and a wall of fire destroyed a city, and demonstrated that mankind possessed the means to destroy itself." "Un éclair de lumière et un mur de feu a détruit une ville, et a démontré que l'humanité avait les moyens de se détruire elle-même."
Barack Obama, Hiroshima Mai 27, 2016

I reported in French on this historical day for RTL and for TV5Monde, TV Canada, Radio Canada, MEDI1 Internationale. Extraits de mes reportages sur RTL et MEDI 1 Int’l

RTL JP 18:00 27 Mai 2016 (à la 11ème minute) 

MEDI1 Int'l (pseudo Noel Clercq)

Update: 📝

I received this letter from one very active volunteer of the Hibakusha association. It answers many questions on the motives of Barack Obama visit to Hiroshima, quote:

Dear Joel
Thank you for coming to Hiroshima and conveying our messages to France. I wish I could understand French!!
I was able to catch Mr ... 's voice. I've send the URL of your report to him.
I've been thinking of your question "what's Hibakusha?" It's a difficult question. I can't answer now. Experiences of Hibakusha are beyond of my imagination.
But I can tell one thing, this historic day have come because of their tireless efforts. An US president and Hibakusha hugged each other in the place where an atomic bomb was dropped!! Who could have imagined ?
I'll never forget this day.
Whenever you come to Hiroshima, please let me know.
R. I.


Sunday, May 15, 2016

Quand un mystérieux parfum de soufre balaie Tokyo

"When a mysterious scent of sulfur sweeps Tokyo"

Ukiyo-e "images of the floating world" Ota Museum-Tokyo

Décidément ces jours-ci Tokyo sent le soufre. 1) La candidature de la cité aux jeux Olympiques d'été de 2020 entachée par les enquêtes de la justice sur des cas de corruptions pour "faciliter" l'attribution des J.O. à Tokyo par des pots de vins à des personnages influents du CIO... Merci l'agence de publicité Dentsu semble dire les réseaux sociaux. Accusations et enquêtes par la justice française montrent des personnages indélicats particulièrement actifs dans le monde de l'athlétisme international et du mouvement Olympique. 2) Et maintenant on apprend que le gouverneur de la mégalopole de Tokyo a utilisé (il l'a confessé) l'argent de ses contribuables pour arroser ses contacts influents avant l'élection du Gouverneur - Maire de Tokyo, la mégalopole au plus riche budget municipal au monde. Monsieur Masuzoe, francophile et francophone, ancienne pousse de bambou née sous le premier ministre Takeshita est aussi accusé de dépenses somptuaires lors de ses déplacements outre-mer, explosant les règles et usages lors de ces déplacements professionnels. 3) En fin de course de ce triste palmarès mais pas moins étonnant, choquant, scandaleux, une autre affaire qui scandalise aussi les journalistes japonais qui n'ont pas tous le droit de l'écrire : le Japon accueille le G7, alors que le pays est en récession.

Le Premier Ministre Abe va se servir du G7 d'Isé-Shima pour forcer la main aux pays du G7 pour engager la redistribution d'argent facile sur le marché (l'Allemagne n'est pas contente de cela du tout). Puis monsieur Abe va habilement (sauf catastrophe naturelle, ou acte de terrorisme international) récupérer le G7 (argent frais endettant plus encore le pays) et la visite historique du président américain Obama à Hiroshima pour organiser des élections parlementaires dont il espère naturellement être le principal bénéficiaire. Cela alors que son programme économique des 3 flèches se met à battre de l'aile et que les difficultés et la pauvreté s'accumulent dans de plus en plus d'entreprises, et de foyers de japonais surtout les plus faibles, dans les régions, dans les banlieues de Tokyo. Vainqueurs les puissants politiciens. Perdants, les mauvais politiciens voués aux gémonies (pas habiles et trop bavards sur Twitter comme Masuzoe se vantant d'utiliser avec bonheur l'argent  des "tax payers").

Entubés dans tous les cas de figure: les contribuables japonais. Particulièrement bernés, les habitants du Nord-Est du Japon et de Fukushima (ajoutons les victimes de Kumamoto le mois dernier) régions détruites par le tsunami de 2011 et qui n’ont toujours pas repris leur vie comme avant la catastrophe malgré les obligations morales auxquelles s'engagent les fonctionnaires et les élus lors de leur entrée dans la carrière ou mandat au Japon. Dans ce cas les promesses des politiciens locaux et du gouvernement Abe n'ont pas été bien loin semblent dire des journalistes japonais que je rencontre fréquemment, un peu trop craintifs pour l'écrire ou le dire. Ici, les manipulations, techniques de surveillance et contrôle des individus en tous genres et les sommes dépensées par vanité, avarice, égoïsme nous transportent dans un monde dans lequel Huxley et son brillant élève Orwell auraient des places de choix de conseillers en communication.

(Edited, mise à jour)