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Japanese News: May week 2

Here are some articles that caught my eye in the news this week!

Tokyo Rainbow Pride 2018

Around 7000 persons participated in Tokyo Rainbow Parade 2018 on Sunday (6th): 「愛に平等を」 7000人行進. The Tokyo Rainbow Pride took place for the first time in 2012, so it was the seventh edition this year. At first, I didn’t understand the number given by Mainichi, it seemed underestimated. But I guess that only 7000 persons took part in the Parade itself, while the event as a whole drew much more participants. It is at least what suggests the Wikipedia page.

The slogans were:

  • 「すべての愛に平等を」
  • 「同性婚法制化」
  • 「誰も排除しない社会を」

The parade was only a part of the whole Tokyo Rainbow Pride that included concerts, discussions and seminars.

Members of the Diet also participated, both from the party in power and from the opposition: パレードには与野党の国会議員や自治体の議員も多数参加した.

  • 国会議員・こっかいぎいん: member of the Diet
  • 自治体・じちたい: local government

One politician said that in 2000 when he participated for the first time to the parade, which took place, I guess, unofficially, they marched in a “撮影禁止ゾーン”:

「2000年に初めてパレードに参加した時は撮影禁止ゾーンで歩いたのに、今日はたくさんの仲間と歩けてうれしい。お祭りの盛り上がりに、法整備も追い付かなければ」

  • 法整備・ほうせいび: I think that this is just another word for “law”.
  • 追い付く・おいつく: catch up with

japanese news - may week 2-1

Sexual harassment and politics

Once again, a very interesting editorial by Mainichi: 「セクハラ罪はない」発言 麻生氏の非常識いつまで.

While referring to the Fukuda case, Minister of Finance Aso said: 「セクハラ罪という罪はない」「殺人とか強制わいせつとは違う」. As the editorial says, Aso is still protecting Fukuda: 依然として福田氏を擁護する姿勢を見せた.

  • 擁護・ようご: protection, defence, support

Aso’s position is hard to grasp. On the one hand, he is responsible for Fukuda’s resignation and on the other hand, he goes on supporting Fukuda by such statements:

“遅きに失したとはいえ、財務省は福田氏の行為をセクハラと認定して処分した。ところが処分の最高責任者である麻生氏が、なぜこうした発言を続けるのだろうか。”

First, the ministry acknowledged that Fukuda’s behaviour was sexual harassment and took punishment actions (Fukuda resigned and his pension was lightly cut off). Afterwards, however, the minister minimises the whole thing, saying that harassment is not a crime.

As the editorial points out, the problem here is not to define in which category “sexual harassment” should fall, regarding the law, but to chose how the society positions itself concerning it. The article draws a parallel with いじめ, saying: “セクハラは重大な人権問題だ。いじめと同様、セクハラをなくそうとするのが政治家の務めのはずだ”.

Instead of which, some politicians stand up for harasser by making insensitive statements: “常識外れの発言”.

  • 常識外れ・じょうしきはずれ: a lack of common sense, insensitivity

And we cannot overlook the fact that Abe didn’t criticise Aso:

こうした持論を繰り返す麻生氏に安倍晋三首相が何ら注意をしない点も見逃せない

  • 見逃す・みのがす: overlook, miss, pass over

The article suggests that Abe does not want to lose Aso’s support for the election of the LPD:

“3選を目指す秋の自民党総裁選を控え、麻生氏の支持が得られなくなる事態を避けたいと考えているのか。政局的な思惑ばかりが優先している。”

  • 総裁選・そうさいせん: presidential election (here, inside the party).
  • 控える・ひかえる: be imminent
  • 政局・せいきょく: politics

Politics concerns seem to be the priority for Abe…

No lift in the future new castle of Nagoya?

Last year, the city of Nagoya announced a reconstruction project for the castle 名古屋城・なごやじょう. The idea is to rebuild the castle in wood and gives it the appearance it had during Edo period. There are concerns that the actual castle would not resist a strong earthquake and the mayor decided to restore historical authenticity by adopting a wood structure.

The problem is that the project did not include a lift. Of course, disabled citizen groups protested, and discussions were to take place.

This week, local officials made public the result of these discussions: 天守閣は「エレベーターなし」に 市が方針.

“名古屋城天守閣の木造復元で、名古屋市は復元後の新天守閣にエレベーターを設置しない方針を固めた”.

  • 天守閣・てんしゅかく: a castle tower
  • 復元・ふくげん: restoration (to the original state), reconstruction

This means that when choosing between access for everyone (バリアフリー) and historical authenticity, they chose the last one: “市は「史実に忠実な復元」を優先するとの結論を選んだ”.

  • 史実・しじつ: historical fact, historical authenticity
  • 忠実・ちゅうじつ: faithfulness

The final decision will be given at the end of May, but the city is not likely to change the project, they say:

「戦時中に空襲で燃える前の、江戸時代の姿に戻すという本来の目的に向けて進めたい」

  • 空襲・くうしゅう: air raid

Disabled citizen groups and other organisations that ask for barrier-free access have the feeling that no real discussion took place and that the city had decided against lifts from the beginning:

「形式的に話を聞いただけで、もともと決まっていたと思う。もっと話を聞いてほしかった」

japanese news - may week 2-2

Kake Gakuen scandal

To summarise the issue briefly, let’s say that Abe always said that he has nothing to do with the Kake Gakuen scandal and that he didn’t give any instruction to favour his friend’s institution. However, a document was found which stated that Yanase, Abe’s executive secretary at the time, said that the Kake Gakuen problem was Abe’s business. He said that during a meeting with the main actors, including people from the Kake Gakuen.

Asked about this, Yanase said that he could not remember that such a meeting took place.

Later, however, other documents were found that strongly suggest that the meeting did take place.

Yakase was heard again on Thursday (10th) and admitted that the meeting took place. Everything is in the title: 柳瀬氏「加計学園関係者と面会した」.

  • 柳瀬 唯夫・やなせ ただお: Tadao YANASE, at the time, executive secretary to the Prime Minister

It becomes more and more difficult to believe that Abe didn’t know about the Kake Gakuen problem:

“また県文書は、柳瀬氏が面会時に獣医学部新設計画を「首相案件」と語ったとしている。安倍晋三首相は計画を知った時期に関し、学園が学部新設の事業者に決定した17年1月20日だったと答弁。首相秘書官だった柳瀬氏が知っていて首相は知らなかった、という説明も疑問視されそうだ。” (source)

First, the documents found in the prefecture state that during the meeting in question that took place in 2015, Yanase said that the project to open a department of veterinary medicine is 「首相案件」. This in itself tends to show that Abe knew about the project, even though Yanase still denies having said such a thing.

  • 獣医学部・じゅういがくぶ: department of veterinary science
  • 新設・しんせつ: founding, establishment

When asked about the date when the project was brought to Abe’s knowledge, Yanase answered that it was in 2017, when all was already settled.

  • 答弁・とうべん: reply, answer

At the time Yanase was Executive Secretary for the Prime Minister (首相秘書官). As the article says (underlined part), it is strange that the Prime Minister didn’t know something that his Executive Secretary knew.

  • 首相秘書官・しゅしょうひしょかん: Executive Secretary to the Prime Minister
  • 疑問視する・ぎもんしする: look on with suspicion

Friday’s editorial by Mainichi reiterates this doubt:

ところが柳瀬氏は「加計」に限らず業者とは積極的に会っていたと強調し、面会について首相にいっさい報告もしなかったという。にわかに信じがたい説明である

  • いっさい: not at all, not a bit, absolutely not
  • にわかに信じがたい: it is hard to believe it right away

When Yanase said, during his questioning at the Diet, that he does not report everything to Abe, sarcasm flew from the opposition seats.

「面会内容をいちいち、総理に報告しない」と述べて安倍首相の不関与を強調する姿に、野党席から「秘書官失格だ」とヤジが飛んだ。(source)

  • 失格・しっかく: incapacity, disqualification
  • やじ or 野次: heckling, catcalling, jeering, hooting. (I didn’t know any of those words 🙄, it seems that catcall is used street harassment and hoot is for owls)

japanese news - may week 2-4

Conclusion

That’s it for this week, just 4 themes but I think that Yanase’s coming out was of significance because it can further damage Abe’s popularity and, as I understood last week, push away the referendum for changing the Constitution. I realise that my post does not really reflect what was important in the news in Japan (it would be the summit Korea-Japan-China, along with Yanase’s hearing), but what struck me or interests me.

 

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