Japan suspends Vietnam aid, Vietnamese grateful? by mattsteinglass
December 6, 2008, 8:27 am
Filed under: Development, Foreign Policy, Japan, Vietnam

So Japan, impressively, has gone ahead and suspended all new aid to Vietnam due to the massive Pacific Consultants International corruption scandal, which has led to jail terms for several Japanese executives, but where the Vietnamese have been stonewalling their investigation of the officials who took or demanded the bribes. (Which amounted to millions of dollars, on some of Ho Chi Minh City’s biggest infrastructure projects.)

What interests me is that, as you can see in my article here, not all Vietnamese are entirely upset. Which I find revealing, and typical. East Asians resent outsiders tub-thumping about human rights. But they are often grateful when outsiders attack the corruption, industrial and environmental poisoning, etc. in their countries which their own governments are incapable of taking on. I still think this is a missed opportunity for public diplomacy.


Meanwhile, Here in East Asia… by mattsteinglass
April 18, 2007, 10:28 am
Filed under: Japan, Terrorism, United States

…the Mayor of Nagasaki was shot and killed last night. See? It’s not just in America! Obviously, gun control doesn’t work — especially since in Japan, almost all the gun owners are yakuza:

Organized-crime groups are behind most shootings in Japan, with two-thirds of the country’s 53 known shootings last year being gang-related, according to the National Police Agency.

Further proof that if you make guns illegal, only criminals will have guns. Why, in the US, of our roughly 8,000 gun homicides in 2004…Huh. Actually, over 90% were gang-related, according to the Department of Justice. Even after you include the roughly 600 justifiable homicides, mostly by police.

Hm. Clearly, we need to loosen our gun control laws, to enable more law-abiding citizens to carry guns and shoot people.

The Manchurian Quagmire by mattsteinglass
February 1, 2007, 10:57 pm
Filed under: China, Iraq, Japan, United States

This is from, of all things, an extremely right-wing Japanese history textbook, describing the 2nd Sino-Japanese War, which had begun in 1937 as an effort to prop up Japan’s failing colonial puppet state in Manchuria.

Caught in the Mire of a War with No Clear Objectives
In 1938, with no end of the war with China in sight, the Japanese Diet enacted the National General Mobilization Act to facilitate the mobilization of all national resources for the war effort. This law gave the government the right to appropriate resources and labor without the approval of the Diet. Moreover, freedom of speech was sharply curtailed and censorship became increasingly strict. The war was lasting longer than expected, and there was no end in sight. Peacemaking attempts were made, but they were disregarded in favor of the military’s hard-line policy that favored prolonging the hostilities. In 1940, Diet representative Saito Takao (Minseito) posed the following question to the Imperial Diet: “What is the objective of this war?” The government, however, was unable to offer a precise answer to his question.

You draw the parallels…