Saturday, November 13, 2010

Freedom for Aung San Suu Kyi!

The terms of her most recent house arrest expired today, November 13.
Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi is free.
Released after years of house arrest by the military junta. Voices of Burmese are to be heard loudly today as AASK finally came to the end of her house arrest and gets back to liberty. But a liberty controlled by the junta's sponsored new "civilian" government.

Appearing outside her home in Rangoon where Aung San Suu Kyi and Nobel Peace Prize winner has been detained, all detention included, for nearly 15 years, she told thousands of her supporters they had to "work in unison" to achieve their goals. The decision to free the 65-year-old comes six days after the political party supported by the military government won the country's first election in 20 years.

Here is the report of the BBC correspondent in Burma: "The ecstatic crowd swelled to three or four thousand before Ms Suu Kyi, in a traditional lilac dress, finally appeared, about 30 minutes later, on a platform behind the gate of her compound. She took a flower from someone in the crowd and placed it in her hair. Ms Suu Kyi then tried to speak, but was drowned out by the noise of the crowd, many singing the national anthem and chanting her name repeatedly. "I have to give you the first political lesson since my release. We haven't seen each other for so long, so we have many things to talk about. If you have any words for me, please come to the headquarters tomorrow and we can talk then and I'll use a loud speaker," she joked. "There is a time to be quiet and a time to talk," she added. "People must work in unison. Only then can we achieve our goal." She then went back inside her home for the first meeting with NLD leaders in seven years. She also spoke to her youngest son, Kim Aris, who was awaiting her release in neighbouring Thailand. Ms Suu Kyi had two sons with late husband, British scholar Michael Aris. International leaders were quick to welcome Ms Suu Kyi's release."

How Ms Suu Kyi plans her future career as a politician for which she has sacrificed so much is now the question everyone asks but she already answered partially to this question in her first comment made from her house-gate. One can remember the fate of of Nelson Mandela, who also spent decades in jail, during the Apartheid of South Africa and became the first president of a new democratic South Africa.

Also quoted here is the RTL Report:

Sources: RTL, BBC, Agencies, Reporter's Notes.

Friday, November 12, 2010

From the Media Center of Yokohama APEC

Yokohama Apec, the International media center

I was caught by Japanese TV cute lady reporters crews patrolling the Yokohama International Media Center for the summit of APEC. They're catching foreign journalists they have on their radar screen not with the usual "do you like Japan?". No, they come with their smile and their guts and start with tough questions such as: "do you support or not the TPP, what's about this China Japan naval fights, what about prime minister Kan, do you think president Hu is too tough, do you think the currency crisis will affect your life? I enjoyed especially the very good professional of TV Asahi Yajiuma infotainment who asked me for an interview for their program. I swear I tried to make it short! Then, I asked them the same questions... slower!

I also tried the 3D smart grid project of Yokohama
and Nissan, the "energetic" city of the XXIst Century?

So far, except lots of security deployment (21,000 police and affiliates) less smiling than the Japanese TV reporters, regarding the summit, it can be summarized into 2 items: a) a failure of Mr Maehara to let his partners talk at the join-press conference yesterday, and b) the hope that APEC Ministers could resist protectionism, and so far only advocated creation of free trade area. Neighboring Seoul hosted G20 did nothing about currency wars, who could do better... On this I liked reading Martin Wolf comments in the FT special reports Nov 11.

Met great people at the Japan Chamber of Commerce seminar, Jessica from Peru showed how Small Growing Business enterprises like hers can do to get funding for building their dreamed factory. She now sells her textile in France, UK and USA. Also a great chat with the Ambassadors of Global Vision Junior Team of Canada Jackie, Marianne and Philip. French, Chinese, Japanese and English were our 4 languages used into a 10 minutes fun and exploring exchanges. This is the Asia of today.

Now time to see what the Keidanren is doing about this Pacific Rim that Mr Hu Jintao does not really feel like entering. Wasn't he the coldest and maybe the coolest leader at Seoul hand-shaking ceremony? He is much expected in Tokyo by a Mr Kan desperate to have his summit with the Forbes man of the Year!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

"Seeming ineptitude of the incumbent Kan administration"

Chiura Obata "Setting Sun, Sacramento Valley", 1925

Here is what I wrote today November 11th, on NBR'S JAPAN FORUM on the subject:
"Seeming ineptitude of the incumbent Kan administration"

"Watching Japan for quite some years now, nearly 2
decades, including with the experience of working with
Japanese salary-men and interacting with Japanese,
Chinese, Korean firms of my sector of activity, the
international broadcasting news production, I cannot
see any real effort made by this current Japanese
administration to build consensus with the people who
elected or not Mr. Naoto Kan's party to this high
office and I would like to explain why.

Months ago, numerous reports in the foreign and
national media, especially in the US, were alarmed of
the difficulties of Japan after weeks of DPJ ruling.
Based on this observation, we decided to know more
about it and we spent a lot of time conducting
meetings and interviews, including hosting foreign
press events in Tokyo with rulers and entrepreneurs,
but also journeyed on the roads of this nation,
visited towns, harbors, fields and mountainous
villages of the archipelago where we tried to evaluate
the in-depth perception after the historical shift of
power following 50 years of LDP ruling.

An unfortunate conclusion was the answer. In the
majority of opinions, the impression of a betrayal
prevailed, the DPJ failed in its pledge to make the
people of this country happier or at least less
unhappy. A trend by the way acknowledged in very
recent surveys. Too often, unanimous answers were
provided by Japanese people who had the good will and
kindness to spare time with foreign reporters. No
major change, Japanese interviewees said, came in
their life after the very first months of power of the
Minshuto and even less today. On this forum, as an
echo to our facts finding work, we have had several
specialists able to analyze and to offer several
explanations of what went wrong here and why.

I certainly do not deny that "building consensus" is
indeed a natural trend and a sort of genuine
authenticity of the Japanese society included in
working practices especially if, in the subtext, we
are talking in a context of a traditional environment
of small and medium enterprises, farming communities
for instance. But for what is related to this
administration, following the constant embarrassment
it did to itself, as an NHK anchorman surprisingly
stated on air recently, people from all fields,
complained of the government's attitude and of its
bureaucracies and in particular pointed at the
Japanese ministry of Finance who, they said, rules and
destroys people and their lives, firms and
organizations, private or public. They always did
comment with calm and moderation.

As politicians Masuzoe and Watanabe often highlighted,
the bureaucracy of the MOF is "omnipotent" and
"abusive", using Diet members for accumulation of
unpopular governance with the result of instability
ruining the lives of many Japanese and foreign settled
workers, Asian et all [something Europeans have
endured for years with equally Brussels EU mammoth
bureaucracy]. And indeed during our months of down to
earth work, people always complained that the MOF
excels with the arrogance of bureaucrats turned
"feudal lords alike" killing smoothly what this
country was proud of and known for: "A certain art of
building trust, effort and harmony and being able to
face adversity," as one mayor of a famous city told me
a few days ago. I take his words for wise words as he
proved in the past decades that he could handle the
fate of an LDP ex-king maker involved in very serious

From the regions of Japan, as we emphasized, a
disillusioned anger, simple, basic, towards Kan's
administration is becoming more palpable while in the
same time the security of this country and of its
territory and waters is deserted into the hands of
"amateurs", as a major Japanese newspaper recently
commented. Is this anger, this whole context known and
heard from the operators of Nagatacho and Kasumigaseki
ministerial offices and the Kan administration and
will they shift methods? Apparently not.

Original here

"NBR, with full support and funding from the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission (JUSFC), launched in December 2000 an electronic discussion forum for those interested in issues surrounding Japan-U.S. relations, Japanese politics, economics, social issues, history, and security. The Japan Forum provides an opportunity for in-depth discussion among individuals who seek to further their understanding of contemporary Japanese affairs."

Sources: NBR, Reporter's Notes

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Google Japan informed Police: A Japanese Coast-Guard official admits he leaked the video on YouTube!

Anger and great divide between Japanese
Armed Forces and Tokyo current government?

This is maybe one of the first series of events where we see that the police and the IT firms are entering into new forms of "cooperation" and there is nothing to be very happy about it. The issue of confidentiality of sources and protection of information do not appear to belong to these people's book.

We were used to such things in non democratic nations, Burma, North Korea etc. But this link between investigations and Google leaves consumers with the knowledge that from now on these IT firms are not as free as one can think they really are. Maintaining business operations in nations that play with individual freedom seems to be the only motive and priority 1. Users are number 2 or eventually unaccounted for.

Internet users and tweeters are now warned after a Japan Coast Guard official confessed to have posted video footage of the September collisions between Japanese patrol boats and a Chinese trawler in waters near the disputed Senkaku Islands. This film was posted on the YouTube video-sharing website, investigative sources said today and are quoted by the official TV channel NHK and news agency Kyodo.

The investigation has found so far that the leaked video footage was posted from a personal computer at an Internet cafe in Kobe, according to the sources. Tokyo police and the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office will question the official at the 5th regional coast guard headquarters in Kobe, who is currently aboard a coast guard patrol boat, after the vessel returns to the port later in the day, according to the sources.

Beijing last week expressed concern to Japan about the video, which appears to show the Chinese boat being steered into the patrol vessels and could therefore harden Japanese public opinion against China. We remember that the Chinese skipper was detained over the incident, but later released, a move for which Prime Minister Naoto Kan has been harshly criticized.

Google YouTube Japan said they had cooperated with the Japanese police "We follow the law like any other company and comply with valid legal process. When we receive a subpoena or court order, we check to see if it meets both the letter and spirit of the law before complying."

Politically, China is playing high touch in this territorial poker game and nothing guarantees that Beijing will save the pot, although we should always pay attentions to details, following a succession of animosity and aggressive tones vis a vis Japan and neighboring nations added to in other issues such as Peace Nobel Prize, trade and currency, TPP, democratization desired by Prime Minister Wen Jiabao.

Japan's Kan's administration appears weakened as the apparent anonymous leak follows the illicit publication online only days ago of classified anti-terrorism documents that sparked immediate criticism as Japan prepares to host the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit.

Google, auxiliary of police forces?

Tokyo prosecutors on Tuesday had seized records from the operator of the YouTube video-sharing website after the YouTube videos came as Asia's two biggest economies are seeking to repair ties after their prime ministers, Kan and Wen Jiabao, failed at two recent summits, in Brussels and Hanoi, to hold formal bilateral talks. So far, President Hu Jintao is attending the APEC but is reported as not planning to meet in bilateral session the Japanese Prime Minister Kan at the Summit 13 and 14th of November held at Yokohama.

In Yokohama, intense climate of suspicions fly high above the harbor city since the detachment of 21,000 police, secret units, and anti riots forces present here to protect the VIPs in session in the Minato Mirai 21 complex, and, in expectation of Saturday and Sunday (November 13 and 14) demonstrations to be held by Japanese activists, from the extreme left to the extreme right and by opponents to Free trade and TPP such as Japanese farmers unions and cooperatives.

* The JCG are under the authority of the Ministry of Land and Infrastructure, formerly led by current Foreign Affairs minister, the hawkish DPJ Maehara Seiji

Sources: Agencies, NHK, Reporter's Notes