Normitsu Onishi’s articles about Japan are disturbing and misleading. My first run in with Onishi’s articles were with his misleading review of Kenkanryu, comic that he had obviously never read. Now Onishi tries to paint concern about people that were kidnapped on from Japan, and taken to North Korea as a “right wing” issue, as if people would not be concerned about the safety of their countrymen, or indeed their own safety.

In Onishi’s version of Japan, the “right wing” is a powerful group either running the country or secretly running the country from behind the scenes. The reality is that the “right wing” in Japan is a marginalized group that is unable to get the media to present its positions. The “right wing” use black vans equipped with loudspeakers to get their message across because they have virtually no voice in politics or the media.

Here is an article from Times Watch about Onishi’s reporting of the abduction issue. I hope they continue to keep an eye on this very biased reporter.

Dangerous Japanese “Right Wingers” vs. North Korean “Leader” Kim Jong-il

“Right-wing” Japanese critics of North Korea insist on making a big deal about that little abduction-of-its-citizens thing. Scary!

Posted by:
Clay Waters

12/21/2006 12:09:34 PM

Asia-based correspondent Norimitsu Onishi doesn’t seem to appreciate criticism of the unhinged dictatorship of North Korea, whether it’s coming from Christian conservatives or even North Korea defectors.

 

This weekend it was Japanese “rightists” singled out for oblique criticism in Onishi’s “Japan Rightists Fan Fury Over North Korea Abductions.”

 

“The Japanese government’s posters show the map of a blood-red North Korea blotting out the eyes of a Japanese teenager. They hint darkly that this country’s youth are at risk and urge Japanese to open their eyes to the threat from North Korea.”

“The posters were on prominent display at a rally this week to call attention to Japanese abducted by North Korea three decades ago and who, Japan says, are still held there.”

Where else would they be held — if they’re still alive?

“The people who usually show up at such events — family members, their supporters, members of right-wing organizations — waited for a special first-time guest: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. ‘We can never compromise on the abduction issue,’ Mr. Abe told the crowd. ‘I swear that my administration will tackle this as its top priority.’

Onishi seems puzzled as to why Japan can’t just forgive and forget: “Outside Japan, the abductions may have played out long ago, after North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-il, admitted four years ago that the crimes had occurred and returned five survivors. But here, they are still a burning issue, kept alive in the news media every day by nationalist politicians and groups that pound at the topic as firmly as their cherished goals, such as jettisoning the pacifist Constitution and instilling patriotism and moral values in schools.

Those “rightists” sure seem scary in Onishi’s over-dramatic telling (although one does seem to have taken things way too far).

“The highly emotional issue has contributed to silencing more moderate voices who expose themselves to physical harm or verbal threats from the right wing….The issue has silenced Japanese moderates critical of the government’s overall hawkish domestic and foreign policies.

“One exception, Koichi Kato, a senior lawmaker in Mr. Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party, has been an outspoken critic of hard-line policies toward Asia and of the resurgent nationalism in Japan. In August, a right-wing official angered by Mr. Kato’s comments burned down his family home before trying unsuccessfully to commit hara-kiri.”

Notice that after all these unflattering labels for Japanese critics of the North Korean dictatorship, the only label he offers up for North Korea’s tyrant Kim Jong-il is “leader.”

Posted by Matt, filed under diplomacy, Racist Industrial Complex. Date: December 26, 2006, 6:17 pm | 16 Comments »

16 Responses

  1. void Says:

    Interesting thing is, NYT Tokyo office is reside in Asahi shinbun building.
    When Onishi writes these kind of articles, then Asahi shinbun always quote it as “Voice from U.S.”. Intersting.

  2. ponta Says:

    Notice that after all these unflattering labels for Japanese critics of the North Korean dictatorship, the only label he offers up for North Korea’s tyrant Kim Jong-il is “leader.”

    Yes I noticed. Kim Jong-il is as a million times as dangerous as the Japanese extreme rightists.
    All they can do at best is to ride on the van and shout “Japan Mansei” with a loudspeaker. People, even rightists do not like it. The thug in the article, if I remember correctly, set a fire to become famous. Anyway he was blamed from all the sides.

    It might be that Kim is the leader…..for Onishi after all.

  3. Errol Says:

    All they can do at best is to ride on the van and shout “Japan Mansei” with a loudspeaker.

    And then only in Osaka and if a Japanese grandmother with an umbrella stands up to them they run away.

    If only Noh Mu-hyeon had such courage.

  4. GarlicBreath Says:

    Normitsu Onishi is a piece of garbage. He is clearly a Korean nationalist. I would call him rightwing, but I hear that term thrown around so often, about so many Jap/Yankee, I am not really sure what it means anymore.

    Almost in anything he writes you will find praise for Korea and will try and insult Japan in anyway he can.

    I somehow doubt he will write a story about Gerry Beavers like the stories he writes about Japanese/Koreans like this:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/16/international/asia/16tokyo.html?ex=1260853200&en=49b0ec363f1f9334&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland

    or this

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/11/world/asia/11tokyo.html?ex=1307678400en=3401cf889b27382bei=5088partner=rssnytemc=rss

  5. GarlicBreath Says:

    to Norimitsu Onishi, japan is not a ‘true democracy’.

    http://www.iht.com/articles/2005/09/07/news/japan.php

    But Korea is the “world most wired country’ (-false ) where science fiction is everyday life.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/02/world/asia/02robot.html?ex=1301634000&en=7d5fcaf014309078&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

  6. hls Says:

    Onishi is likely to be an ethnic Korean born in Chiba, then raised in Canada, now living in Japan.

  7. Kaneganese Says:

    Kyoko Nakayama, Tokyo Special adviser to the Japanese prime minister on abduction, offered a counterargument against Ohnishi’s article to International Herald Tribune. It’s a good start.
    It seems that Japanese government decided not to ignore those anti-Japanese propaganda anymore even if it came from North Korean eccentric media. (It’s in Japanese. But very interesting stories)

  8. ponta Says:

    Wow Kanegase, that’s great!

    Rough translatoin of the counterargument by Nakayama

    ! There is no fact that this issue of abduction was used for political purpose.:This issue is the matter of rescuing our own nationals.

    Most of Japanese abductees are imprisoned for more than 30 years.
    It is only natural that they receive every support available to restore the freedom and dignity.

    It is Japan’s mission to rescue abductees.

    2 This issue is pressing.

    Only five people were returned. And North Korea has not given any convincing evidence that there is no other abductees.
    The international community is begging to recognize the need to settle this issue. The resolution at the UN general assembly is a sign that this issue is getting recognized globally.
    .

  9. eli Says:

    Onishi’s articles always make me cringe. I used to send the bad ones to Matt but there were so many that I gave up. Sadly, his reporting is pretty typical for the New York Times these days.

  10. shadkt Says:

    I’m glad non-Japanese are getting aware of how strange Oonishi is.
    Because he has Japanese last name, I fear that alot of U.S. folks might believe what he says as the unspeakable (in Japan) truth or something.

    As with Asahi and the like, there are really weird leftist folks in Japan and they truly believe that what they believe is what the silent majority thinks, while they are actually a real minority.
    To them, Japan is not democratic because leftist politicians with the agenda they sympathize are not getting elected (“so there must be something rigged!” riiight).

  11. tomato Says:

    To them, Japan is not democratic because leftist politicians with the agenda they sympathize are not getting elected (”so there must be something rigged!” riiight).

    It’s really strange…the Japanese leftists thought USSR and the People’s Republic of China (before any introduction of capitalism) were ideal states. Their belief in the socialist system still lingers on…they don’t understand a bit of real economy- nor real democracy.

  12. Aki Says:

    The following is a lecture (in Japanese) in foreign correspondents’ club of Japan by a former director of National Public Safety Commission.
    http://vision.ameba.jp/watch.do?movie=56957

    He mentioned in the lecture that most of the so-called Japanese right-wingers are yakuza (at about 31:50 in the video). From about 7 minutes in the video, he talked that many yakuza started the business of right-wingers to earn money in early 1990′s. From 38 minutes, he talked how yakuza make profit from the right-winger business. He also mentioned at about 5 minutes that about 30% of yakuza are Koreans, one third of whom are DPRK-related.

    Of course, the organizations that Norimitsu Onishi called “right-wing organizations” are not the above mentioned right-wing organizations consisting of yakuza but organizations of citizens who support the families of abductees. Most of the so-called Japanese right wingers are indifferent to the abduction issue, since they cannot make profit from that issue.

    BTW, I thought that NYT was a prestigious newspaper. But it seems that NYT is like Tokyo Sports, an entertainment newspaper published in Tokyo. It is said that the only accurate description in Tokyo Sports is just the date of issue. Tokyo Sports was once sued for libel. But judicial decision was that they were guiltless since no one believe what is written in Tokyo Sports.

  13. sqz Says:

    日本政府が、ヘラルド紙上にて反論したそうです。
    The Japanese Government argued on International Herald Tribune.

    International Herald Tribune – OPINIONS

    Abductions in Japan

    Regarding the article “Abductions energize Japan right” (Dec. 18): Abduction of Japanese citizens by North Korea is not a pretext for political manipulation. This is about rescuing our citizens.

    Many Japanese abductees have been incarcerated in North Korea for nearly 30 years and deprived of all freedom. They deserve all possible support to regain their freedom and dignity. It is our duty to retrieve them.

    And abduction is very much an ongoing problem. Only 5 abductees were repatriated in 2002, and North Korea has failed to provide any convincing evidence to support its claim that the remaining Japanese abductees have died or never entered their country.

    The recent UN General Assembly resolution on the human-rights situation in North Korea is testimony to increasing international awareness of the need to resolve this issue.

    Kyoko Nakayama, Tokyo Special adviser to the Japanese prime minister on abduction

  14. sdgzz Says:

    ok, everyone.
    dont you think it is sad?
    according to many japanese bloggers, he is a korean, born in chiba, japan, in 1969. and as a typical anti-japanese korean (born in japan) he took an advantage of using japanese name, and being a japan-basher.
    saddest part for me is he has not done so with his korean name.
    just like a sad korean who did something bad in other part of the world saying “i am zapanese”…
    sorry for NYT that recruite a person like him.

  15. Matt Says:

    according to many japanese bloggers, he is a korean, born in chiba, japan, in 1969. and as a typical anti-japanese korean (born in japan) he took an advantage of using japanese name, and being a japan-basher.
    saddest part for me is he has not done so with his korean name.

    No one knows the truth of whether he is ‘really’ Korean or not. Onishi is not commenting on it, anyway, although he is almost certainly aware of the speculation about his ethnicity. I think it is possible he is an ethnic Japanese that for whatever reason developed a sense of shame and self hatred in Canada.

    Of course if it was ever shown that he was an ethnic Korean with a Japanese name writing all those negative articles about Japan, the angry reaction on Japanese blogs would be immense.

  16. simauma Says:

    I feel relieved to know that some americans notice that Onishi is crazy. It depresses me that there is almost no western media which shows a view point of Japanese conservatives.
    I think his ethnicity is not important because one doesn’t always love his own ethnicity and it is just one of his personal backgrounds.