Japanese News: May week 5

There are 5 weeks in May… 😲

Let’s start with a very interesting survey by Mainichi: 次期自民総裁石破氏20%、小泉氏17%、安倍氏16%.

To be honest, I don’t quite understand the article, but what interests me is the survey in itself. At the end of the article, the results are given in details.

We see at once that 48% of the people surveyed do not support Abe and that 31% do. But what is really interesting is to see the main reason why people do not support him: “安倍さんを評価していない” (58%). Even more revealing is the reason given by people who support him: “他に良い人や政党がない” (46%).

People also massively (72%) wish that the opposition’s view should be taken into account when working on reforms.

In my last Friday post, I talked about a document clearly linking Abe to the Kake Gakuen scandal. The survey asked people if they believe Abe’s denial and 70% answered “no”: “信用できない”.

Nonetheless, when asked who should be the next head of the LDP (elections are in September this year), Abe was in the top three. The question was: “次の自民党総裁に誰がふさわしいと思いますか”

And the answers:

  • 安倍晋三: 16%
  • 石破茂: 20%
  • 小泉進次郎: 17%

I think that I should start remembering these names as they will certainly be very present in the news until September (one might even be the next Prime Minister!).

Shigeru ISHIBA (石破茂・いしばしげる) lost the election in 2012, narrowly defeated by Abe. I read on Wikipedia (English version) that he is affiliated to a revisionist organisation and wishes that Japan could build nuclear weapons.😧

Shinjiro KOIZUMI (小泉 進次郎・こいずみ しんじろう) is a very young politician (born in 1981)! He is the son of former Prime Minister Junichiro KOIZUMI.

For the time being, I will just try to remember these names and be attentive if I see articles about them!

Kake Gakuen scandal

It is very hard to understand what is going on.

We know that the prefecture produced a document mentioning a meeting between Abe and the head of Kake Gakuen in 2015. In this document, it is said that Abe knew about the project and encouraged it.

Now it seems that Kake Gakuen claims they reported false information when they said (to the prefecture I guess) that such a meeting took place:

当時の担当者が実際にはなかった総理と理事長の面会を引き合いに出し、県と(同県今治)市に誤った情報を与えてしまった (source)

  • 理事長・りじちょう: the chief director
  • 引き合いに出す・ひきあいにだす: to refer to (a matter or somebody’s name)

and they add: “理事長が15年2月に総理とお会いしたことはございません”.

But, as the Mainichi editorial underlines, why didn’t they come with this earlier, avoiding the fuss about Abe encouraging favouritism? なぜ最初から発表しなかったのか、不自然な対応である(from Mainichi editorial: 加計学園「虚偽の面会報告」首相が怒らない不可解さ).

Later, we learnt that the mayor of Imabari (今治市・いまばりし) in the prefecture in question, took the defence of Kake Gakuen by saying:

(新設の)モチベーションを上げるつもりがあったのではないか (source)

With this statement, he acknowledges that Kake Gakuen reported a false meeting and, in other words, that the meeting did not take place. Moreover, he finds excuses for this lie, saying that it came out of good intentions.

The editorial also states that, if Kake Gakuen falsely reported that Abe encouraged the project, it was to push things forward by showing that Abe supported it:

仮にこれが (Kake Gakuen’s false report) 事実だとすれば、架空の面会を報告することにより首相の後押しがあると見せかけ、県と市を動かそうとしたことになる。

  • 架空・かくう: fictitious, fabricated
  • 後押し・あとおし: support, backing

Later, someone from Kake Gakuen apologised to the prefecture for having reported false information.

So complicated…

Moritomo Gakuen

To say a word about the falsification of the documents relative to the Moritomo Gakuen scandal, we now know that Sagawa, who was the chief of the Finance Bureau at the time, is involved in the falsification: 佐川前局長部下とともに改ざん部分決めていた週明けにも処分へ (this is an NHK article). I remember Sagawa saying at the Diet, when the whole thing came out, that he didn’t know who ordered the falsification.

Now the Finance Ministry concluded that Sagawa gave instructions to falsify the official documents: “財務省は、佐川氏が改ざんを指示していたと判断し、週明けにも処分を行う方針です。”

It seems that it is Sagawa’s subordinate who falsified the documents. But he consulted with Sagawa beforehand and together, they decided which parts to change: “佐川氏は原案をもとに部下とともに改ざんする部分を具体的に決めていったということです”.

Women in the Lower House

I don’t know how long it will stay available, but I found this useful article on NHK: 日本は158位変わるか国会の「男社会」.

On the 16th, new legislation (法律・ほうりつ) was passed (成立する・せいりつする), it is called “政治分野における男女共同参画の推進に関する法律”.

  • における: I think that it is a formal way of saying “in”.
  • 参画・さんかく: participation (in planning)
  • 推進・すいしん: promotion

When it comes to women participation rate in parliaments, the article says that Japan is ranked 158 (of 193) according to IPU (Inter-Parliamentary Union) and is ranked last of the 35 member nations of the OCDE! 😮


  • 加盟国・かめいこく:  a member nation

優生保護法 😦

This is something that I didn’t know existed (I still have so much to learn about Japan history and society!)

source: kotobank

The 優生保護法・ゆうせいほごほうor  “Eugenic Protection law” (I think this is the right translation in English) was established in 1948 and lasted until 1996 (!) when it was amended into the Maternity Protection law 母体保護法・ぼたいほごほう.

In 1948, the 優生保護法 authorised sterilisation to prevent:

  • 遺伝性疾患・いでんししっかん: genetic disorder
  • ハンセン病・はんせんびょう: leprosy
  • 精神障害・せいしんしょうがい: mental disorder

Around 84000 operations were conducted during the period the law was active. Among these 84000 sterilisations, around 16500 were “同意なく不妊手術” conducted without the person’s consent, or to say it plainly, were forced sterilisations 強制不妊手術. I can’t believe that the other 70000 gave their consent, can we rely on these numbers?

  • 不妊手術・ふにんしゅじゅつ: sterilisation

I found an article in English on Reuters that gives completely different numbers. It says: “Of the estimated 25,000 people sterilised during this time, at least 16,500 did not give consent”. The article also states that the victims were in their teens when they were sterilised so they may not have been aware of what was done to them. Also, the article says that the consent was “unneeded if a eugenics board signed off on it after an often cursory review”.

I recommend reading the Reuters article if you are interested in this question.

I am so under shock right now… 😧

To come back to Mainichi, on Wednesday disabled persons and association of support demonstrated to ask for apologies under the slogan “国は強制不妊手術の被害者に謝罪しろ!” (source).

We also learn that:


  • 国家賠償請求訴訟・こっかばいしょうせいきゅうそしょう: a suit seeking redress from the state.
  • 義姉・ぎし elder sister in law (elder brother’s wife)

The sister in law of the woman who sued for an apology for the first time and received compensation was also present during the demonstration (this case of this woman is also cited in the Reuters article).

Another demonstrator regrets that the government keeps an ambiguous attitude on the matter: “裁判が始まっても、国の態度はあいまいなまま。同じ障害者として何とかしてほしいと強く願う”.


This last news really shocked me, I should read a History book in English or French on Japan, at least to cover the 20th century. I realise that if I have some knowledge about Japanese History when it comes to international relations before and after the war, I don’t know much about Japan internal politics.

So many things to do…🙂