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Abe Support Falling — 6-Way Talks

December 17th, 2006 . by Darin

Abe Cabinet support sinks to 47%

He started with upper 70’s when elected/confirmed. TV news reports two reasons for the lack of support being: “unclear understanding of what his plan is” and “don’t sense leadership ability”.

To be honest, I don’t fully understand Abe’s plans all that well either. I bought his book and have read half-way through it looking for answers, but didn’t find what I was looking for before being overcome with school work (which is keeping me from posting amongst many other things). As for his leadership abilities, it’s hard to say.

Abe’s biggest selling point was solving the kidnapping problems with North Korea. He was very much involved in the original ground breaking exchange that got our friend Jenkins out of the Slave’s Worker’s Paradise — expectations were high. However with North Korea demanding Japan not even participate in the 6-party talks, it’s very difficult for Japan to push the issue without worrying about actually being excluded from the discussion, if not officially excluded from the talks all together.

Sadly, as Japanese delegate to the 6-Party talks Kenichiro Sasae puts it, “pretty much the only countries [in the world(?)] that care about human rights issues such as kidnapping are America and Japan.” (Can’t find online source, quote taken from TV news.) We all know the South Korean government has consistently turned a blind eye for the last 50 years.

For his part, Aso said to the North Koreans, “even if we clean up this nuclear mess, don’t be looking to Japan to carry any of your financial burden until we get this kidnapping issue dealt with.” That a boy.

20 Responses to “Abe Support Falling — 6-Way Talks”

  1. comment number 1 by: kyopou.s.

    he should go to Yasukuni Shrine.

  2. comment number 2 by: Toshiharu Honda

    If he goes to Yasukini Shrine, his approval rating will further sink by
    ten percentage points.

  3. comment number 3 by: Travolta

    Yeah I don’t want to see him go to Yasukuni. Whether you agree with visiting it or not, if he does it will only continue to piss off Korea and China. Better to build a strong relationship and make more money for Japan in the long run. Plus if it helps stop the crazy anti-Japanese racism in Korea it would be worth it not to visit Yasukuni.

  4. comment number 4 by: tomato

    The Yasukuni shrine joke is really not funny if you have relatives and friends who died in the war. Calling Yasukuni shrine a symbol of the denial of past Japanese war crimes is over-simplification and crude. Let the souls of the dead soldiers rest in peace.

    For Koreans, what they say about Yasukuni is just blasphemous.

  5. comment number 5 by: Fantasy

    Tomato said:

    The Yasukuni shrine joke is really not funny if you have relatives and friends who died in the war.

    Hello Tomato:

    Everybody here on this blog knows that, generally, I am closer to the Japanese than the Korean point of view. But I cannot refrain from stating my opinion that, considering the mayhem the Japanese military have wrecked upon large parts of Asia (though not necassarily Korea) the Japanese of 2006 should refrain from commemorating their war dead in a military setting. They can, of course, continue honouring them as private individuals. That is how it is held in Germany, in any event.

    Japanese, or German, soldiers may have been personally faultless individuals, but they still served a cause which was fundamentally flawed. It is therefore impossible to pretend the Yasukuni visits are entirely innocent.

    And BTW, the remains of war criminals should be removed from the shrine, altogether. They simply do not belong there and disgrace the entire monument.

  6. comment number 6 by: Darin

    BTW, “the remains of war criminals”, there are none. There is nothing physical of anyone at the shrine to see, only symbolic. The closest thing one could find to remains would be a piece of paper with a name written on it that symbolizes one being enshrined.

    Some actual remains can be found at kou-a kann-nonn temple.

  7. comment number 7 by: shadkt

    I also have my doubts about him, but then again, he got the ministry and education reform through, so I’m reserving my judgement.
    I really think he should stop using “Beautiful Japan” because it sounds so retarded. 😛

    Aso said to the North Koreans, “even if we clean up this nuclear mess, don’t be looking to Japan to carry any of your financial burden until we get this kidnapping issue dealt with.” That a boy.

    Agreed 100%.
    But then again, I really fear that there is a good (or rather, terrible) reason that N. Korea can’t come around with the kidnapping issue.
    I just hope it’s only pride, but… >_

  8. comment number 8 by: tomato


    What’s regretful about the Yasukuni/WWII issue, is that since it is so idealized in the West, that not-so-nice regimes like Communisit China seem to be succeedding in exploiting the ideal and winning the hearts of many people in their quest of incriminating Japan. Which, if you look at it carefully, the hypocrisy is overwhelming and the whole idea behind it seems to be their will to dominate. So I’m rather relieved by the fact that at least some British and American press and intellectuals recognize this. I have worries about the continental Europeans like the Germans and French- they seem to like being on the Chinese/Korean side of things, as far as I can tell from the press…how is it really like in Germany? I guess the prime minister going to the Yasukuni shrine generally doesn’t help Japan in winning favors.

    Now the Koreans- their role in WWII and the invasion of China was like the Austrians, or maybe more like Hungarians and the Romanians who cooperated? Too bad that the present S Korean regime claims itself to be descended from anti-Japanese cells that fancies theirselves to have fought on the allied side, and educate their children that they were resistance freedom fighters.

  9. comment number 9 by: Fantasy

    Hello Tomato,

    yes, you are absolutely right with your analysis of the situation – I totally agree with your description. Korea and China are, indeed, trying to exploit their status of victimhood by persistently incriminating Japan, a country which is nowadays much more peaceful than themselves.

    But it cannot entirely be denied that, regardless of the present situation (China as the big fat bully of the North-East Asian region), the Chinese (and other Asian nations, as well) were victims of serious Japanese agression from 1931-45.

    Here in Europe there is the perception of a certain arrogant unwillingness on the part of the average Japanese, rather based on cultural taboos than on a lack of knowledge, to face up to the wrongdoings of the past. And the Yasukuni vists fit well into this picture…

    You see, the Germans are trying to expel the evil spirits of the past by constantly talking about them. It is believed here that this is the best method to prevent their re-appearance. Asians (not only Japanese) think opposite, believe in things better to be left unmentioned. For Europeans, much more than even for Americans, this is absolutely unbearable. It is impossible to find any German quality paper not mentioning WWII and/or the Holocaust on a regular basis. They are not proud of it, but they feel they would be seriously failing in their duties if they didn’t. A typical case of a cultural difference…

    Now the Koreans- their role in WWII and the invasion of China was like the Austrians, or maybe more like Hungarians and the Romanians who cooperated?

    The Austrians have, for many years after the war tried to pass themselves off as the victims of a Nazi invasion. By now, they have come to admit, more or less, that they were fully devoted participants in the war, as well as in the atrocities committed, indistuinguishable from Germans between March 1938 and May 1945.

    The Korean role in Asia may be a little bit between that of Austria and that of Hungary and Romania, These two countries were willing allies of the axis powers, and the whole of South-Eastern Europe was full of collaborators. But there were also some resistance movements, though these were not very successful until the German troops had left the region. Only then they started attacking those of their countrymen whom they, rightly or wrongly, perceived to be fascists.

    Too bad that the present S Korean regime claims itself to be descended from anti-Japanese cells that fancies theirselves to have fought on the allied side, and educate their children that they were resistance freedom fighters.

    Yes, you are right, that is very annoying, indeed.

  10. comment number 10 by: Two Cents

    I agree with you that Abe should stop using the “Beautiful Japan” slogan so often. It makes him look like an idiot.

    Michio Watanabe, the late LDP politician, once said that you only need 30 truly dedicated men to change a country. In other words, he was saying that Japan lacked that 30 needed to make its people swallow the bitter pill and change the constitution, and that most politicians simply placed more weight on their own power and wealth instead of the country’s. The snugness provided under the wings of the US also helped keep the average Japanese free from worrying about international affairs. I guess times are changing, and the Okinawa governor election proved that you can no longer win elections by preaching pacifism. Abe, Aso, Koizumi, Ishiba are probably among the 30 that will change Japan. It’s aggravating to see how he has to cater to the dimwit politicians who can’t see that Japan is at its turning point. My husband thinks that he is catering too much, but I tend to think it may be just pragmatically necessary. I guess Abe is faced with a very difficult task of balancing the support from the people (who don’t want to see him bending to the old LDP ways) and the support from the LDP politicians with outdated mindsets. It would have helped if he even half the charisma of Koizumi.

    As for the abduction issue, if NK can’t return Megumi for reasons you fear, it can sincerely return a plane-full of others whose abductions Japan may not even be aware of. However, I think it can’t do that, because then it would prove what defectors like Ahn Myon-Jing (安 明進; a graduate of Kim’s secret training institution for special task force) has written in his book, North Korean Abduction Agents (北朝鮮工作員) that the true scale of the abductions are far larger than perceived by the outside world.


    For example, large number of foreigners were needed to man the 10-km-long underground facility, which imitate the environment of target cities like Seoul (and most likely Tokyo) so that agents can be trained to act naturally without raising suspicion during their missions. He recalls that in the drug store, the pharmacist had actually been a real pharmacist working in SK before his abduction. One of Ahn’s SK teachers, although never revealing exactly how he had come to NK, gave a hint when he once asked his students “please, do not abduct a mere boy taking a walk along the beach.” I can’t understand why South Koreans are so silent about the abduction issue – there are far more South Korean abductees than the Japanese. Instead of holding candlelight demonstrations for their safe return, they elect to pump money to the dear leader up north to keep the regime going. The really heartbreaking thing about the abductees are that they must watch videotapes of SK or Japanese TV programs to keep their language skills up to date. Imagine having to watch dramas of the world you can never return to, unless by some miraculous turn of events like the Jenkins, Hasuikes, and the Chimuras.

  11. comment number 11 by: tomato

    Two Cents:

    Underground cities…training terrorist agents…producing narcotics and counterfitting…abduction…nukes…N Korea reminds me of the bad guys in Batman or some other cartoons. Or the bad guys in Kamen-rider in Japan. What retarded mind can create such out-of-the worldly state?

  12. comment number 12 by: Errol

    Two Cents Said:

    December 19, 2006 at 4:04 pm

    Ahn Myon-Jing (安 明進; a graduate of Kim’s secret training institution for special task force) has written in his book, North Korean Abduction Agents (北朝鮮工作員) that the true scale of the abductions are far larger than perceived by the outside world.

    Thousands of kids go missing every year in Korea.

    In some parts of the non-occident the burden of female childrenis easily shed and to paraphrase George Orwell, “All children are equal but some children are more equal than others.”

    In 1971, the sex ratio for third-born children (in Korea) was 109.7 males per 100 females; by 1993 it was 202.6. For fourth-born, and over, the 1971 sex ratio was 110.1 males per 100 females; by 1993 it had shot up to 237.9 males per 100 females. Although lower, the 1997 figures were still severely eskewed towards males (133.6 for third-born children, and 155.4 for fourth-born ones).

    Like here. Truly a paradise for Vietnamese women and others who enjoy life at the bottom of the Confucian totem pole.

    Perhaps South Korean gangs are selling them to King Kim Jong-il in exchange for the fast life.

  13. comment number 13 by: ponta

    the Germans are trying to expel the evil spirits of the past by constantly talking about them

    I agree with Fantasy that Japan should try to expel the evil spirits of the past by constantly talking about them. Yes we should.

    At the same time, Yasukukuni for the believer is the attempt to expel the evil spirits of the past by enshrining the war dead.
    I think the concept of the sacred is different. It is not like Church honoring the past saints. The dead are sacred for them because they are dead whether it was an ordinary person, hero, enemy , animals
    (I commented on it at Japan probe—and another interesting issue is discussed out there)

    I am not sure if China will meddle with this issue in the future.
    Abe said he would not make it clear whether he visit Yasukuni or not.
    (Even if he visits, he does not make it public)
    China seemed content with it so far.

  14. comment number 14 by: Darin

    KJI is a well known film buff. Perhaps he actually did get the idea from Batman 😀

  15. comment number 15 by: Fantasy

    Hello Ponta,

    I was not trying to give an advice to the Japanese how they should deal with their past – I was merely describing the way things are handled over here. And, to be honest, the constant dwelling on the past here in Germany tends to get on my nerves at times. So, no need for the Japanese to emulate that…

    On the other hand, I disagree with those few who try to label the nuking of Hiroshima as a war crime. Sure, innocent people were affected in the most serious way. But who is to be blamed for that ? The right adressees are in Tokyo, not in Washington. In analogy to the British and American firebombing raids on German cities from May 1942 thru February 1945.

    On the other hand, I find that the nuking of Nagasaki was excessive. But, even there, the disaster could have been prevented, if the Japanese leaders had sent out signals of their willingness to surrender. Instead, they sent out Kamikaze planes. Not a sensible course of action, at all…

  16. comment number 16 by: ponta

    Any advice is welcome, and I know you are the kind of a person who can discuss calmly and reasonbaly.
    I think Japan should make it clear to themselves and to the world that Japanese troop committed horrible war crimes, only then is it much easier to talk about WWⅡ objectively.
    put this issue nicely.

    As for atomic bombs, this is a sensitive issue for both Japanese and Americans.

    You are absolutely right that Japanese leaders were damn not surrendering earlier. A historian convincingly argues that that the leaders were so stupid that even three or four or more atomic bombs would not have made them surrender.(see the reference below)
    And it is true that if Japan had surrendered earlier, then innocent women and children, Koreans included, would not have been killed. In this regard, Japanese leaders are to be blamed.

    But in my opinion, it is another story whether Truman’s decision was correct or not.
    For the discussion about the atomic bombs at Hiroshima and nagasaki, you might want to read, for instance, the followings.

    on line
    Plunge Pontificates
    The View from Taiwan


    Atomic Bombs
    The Myth of Hiroshima

    Prompt and Utter Destruction: President Truman and the Use of Atomic Bombs Against Japan
    Racing the Enemy

    But if you know site or books that argue convincinglly that it is solely Japan’s fault that innocent civilians were killed, let me know.

    Anyway I think it is wrong to use history politically.


  17. comment number 17 by: Fantasy

    Anyway I think it is wrong to use history politically.

    Yes, I fully agree that this is what Korea and China are presently doing.

    While I like Chinese culture due to my upbringing in HK and S’pore I do not like the aggressiveness of the PRC and would like to quote myself:

    “The PRC is the big fat bully of the entire North-East Asian region”.

    And, as for Korea, they have no real strategy at all, but devote all their energy to a weakening of Japan’s position, thus ignoring the mutually shared interests the two countries have in common.

  18. comment number 18 by: tomato


    Hey, just want to take note that many Japanese are against any war, and are not denying war time atrocities committed by the Japanese military…Japan aplogized countless times in Asia, and you gotta know the extent of the economic and technological aid Japan provided to Asian countries, especially China, and although not an ex-enemy, Korea. It’s just humoungous! Of course, I understand that the Yasukuni issue is hard to apprehend for most Europeans, and it’s not helping Japan’s image.

    The bombardment of Japan and Germany was, in my opinion, excessive, deliberately targeted civilians, and the loss on both sides is unbelievable- I heard that over 20,000 airmen perished on the allied side in the European air campaign (and the German casualty much, much more)- such operation is unsustainable and unacceptable in modern standards. And it was never repeated, as I recall, as all post-WWII bombardments by the US are pin-point with no deliberate attack on civilians. Also, the allies believed WWII to be the last of all wars (which they proved wrong), and insisted on unconditional surrender in order to extingush warlike regimes from the face of the earth and bring eternal peace. I don’t believe this helped bringing quick peace- rather it helped justify the autocratic German and Japanese regimes to keep on fighting and they did so brutally- look at the battle of the Bulge and Iwo Jima, to give a few examples. These were powerful countries nothing like Iraq or Afghanistan- which made the casualties much, much worse.

    So, in the end, what we learned is that war is not a good idea and we should endeavor to understand each other rather than trying to dominate over the other- I don’t think it’s wise to bring up the old ideologies of the war and re-think & re-experience it again- can’t avoid resentment on both sides, so that’s why the US and Japan never have any offcial dialougue about this issue- a wise choice.

  19. comment number 19 by: tomato

    BTW, don’t get me wrong, I love America. Good country. Good people. Sure, lots of kinds of people, but there is always a counterview. Now that is really hard to find in Asian countries these days.

    Boy, if the Asians really think the Japanese Empire was terrible (to put it nicely)- I’m sure it was-, why don’t they try to create a country that is free from autocracy, oppression, censorship, hate…just too sad the way it is now.

  20. comment number 20 by: Two Cents

    Japan made many, many crucial errors pre- and during war.
    It should have:
    1) shared interests in Manchuria with the US after the Japan-Russo War instead of refusing to let US entrepreneurs from investing
    (although the stupid public opinion would not allow it – the average Japanese believed that they had been deprived of the rightful prizes of the Japan-Sino and Japan-Russo Wars through collaborated efforts of western countries),
    2) should have nullified the alliance with the Nazis the moment Germany tied a nonagression treaty with the Soviets instead of tying an unreliable nonagression treaty with the Soviets, since the purpose of the alliance was to form a front against the Soviets from both sides (Many politiicans and the emperor were against the alliance with the Nazis since it would put Japan irreversibly against the Allies),
    3) exploited SE Asia’s wish to become independent of their colonial masters and hold the Great East Asia Conference early on in the war, not when it had become certain Japan was going to lose,
    and 4) tried to negotiate conditions for surrender through a more reliable country than the Soviet Union.

    I don’t think Japan can put the blame of Hiroshima and Nagasaki entirely on the US. However, I think it is extremely hippocrate of the Allies to claim that Hiroshima and Nagasaki (or the bombing of Japanese cities) were actions not equivalent to war crimes when they had executed Gen. Matsui for failing to take satisfactory measures to prevent crimes against civilians in the Chinese front.

    I think the Japanese should discuss the history on WWII more openly and extensively. But sadly, in the current situation, we are forced to accept the propaganda coming out of China and Korea in its entirety in order to be regarded as having “accepted past wrongdoings.” When researches and debates can be made on the subject without ensuing “rightist” “leftist” namecalling, maybe then, we will be ready to sit down and pick out the facts and remove the propaganda from all the stories, without raising resentment. I guess we will have to wait for a Chinese glasnost in order to get the full picture, and I highly doubt I will live to see that day.