Japan

A photo exhibition in Tokyo on January 23–26 celebrated the life and advocacy of Song Sin-do, who campaigned for an apology from the Japanese government for coercing her into sexual slavery during World War II, writes Melanie Barnes.

With the release of the full text of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) on February 21, activists in the 11 signatory countries finally got to see if their worst fears of a corporate power grab would be confirmed.

Unfortunately, they mostly were.

In Tokyo on January 24, 11 Pacific Rim countries including Australia reached an agreement to sign a revived Trans-Pacific Partnership (rebranded the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, CPTPP).

The huge free trade deal almost fell into oblivion last year when US President Donald Trump pulled his country out, citing concerns for the loss of US jobs.

US President Donald Trump made the unprecedented threat to “totally destroy” North Korea, not in a tweet or off the cuff remark, but in a written speech before the United Nations General Assembly on September 20. No other leader of a country has ever stood before the UN and openly stated its intention to destroy another country. 

Coupled with Trump’s earlier threat to rain down “fire and fury” on North Korea, this threat must be seen as one that at least includes the possibility of a nuclear attack.

Hiroji Yamashiro was arrested for cutting a wire fence at a protest against a US military base in Okinawa in October. He has been detained ever since.

Yamashiro, the chairman of the Okinawa Peace Movement Centre, has been a fixture of the non-violent opposition to US military base expansion on the island.

My heart breaks over Category 4 Hurricane Matthew’s slamming of Haiti, Jamaica and Cuba.

When Hurricane Sandy struck New York City where I live, our entire neighbourhood was destroyed — every single house was uninhabitable.

Refugees in Jordan. The six richest countries in the world, who make up almost 60% of the world’s economy, are hosting less than 9% of the total number of refugees in the world, a July 18 report by British charity Oxfam found. The analysis showed that the United States, Germany, France, China, Japan and Britain, which together make up 56.6% of the global gross national product, host just 2.1 million refugees combined.
Every year, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) sends a group of economists to Australia to survey the domestic economy, comment on the effects of government policy and make some suggestions as to what might best be done in the coming year. It is known as an “article IV consultation”. The IMF executive board’s latest report was publicly released in early October. After commending Australia’s economic performance during the past two decades, the report noted some challenges ahead. Chief among them is the prospect of “slow growth” in the coming year.
Big protest against Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's security bill outside parliament in Tokyo, August 30. About 120,000 people rallied outside Japan’s parliament on August 30 opposing what they call the “voluntary war law”.
The 70th anniversary of the United States' atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is a reminder that when the United States' enemies commit crimes, they are crimes. But when the United States commits crimes, they did not happen. In 1928, Arthur Ponsonby, a British politician, said: “When war is declared, the first casualty is the truth”. But he never specified what the distorted “truth” might be. If one were to examine all wars the US has engaged in, however, one might conclude the casualty to be civilian death counts.
Japan is the world’s third largest economy, Australia’s second largest export market, and third largest import market. It is also a country whose economy has been stagnant since the land market crash of 1990. This stagnation, accompanied by a rise from 30% to 40% in the number of workers without permanent full-time jobs since 2002, validates the “stagnation thesis” that Keynes advanced in his 1836 book General Theory.
Thirty-nine months after multiple explosions at the nuclear plant in Fukushima, thyroid cancer rates among nearby children have skyrocketed to more than forty times the normal rate.
“Forgetting Fukushima makes it more likely that such a nuclear disaster could happen elsewhere,” said Tatsuko Okawara, one of the hundreds of thousands of victims of the Fukushima accident that began on March 11, 2011. The nuclear industry, however, is trying its hardest to make us forget. It is downplaying the impacts of the accident, ignoring the fact that the Fukushima reactors are still not under control and claiming that lessons have been learned. Nothing is further from the truth.
Events were held around the country on March 11 to mark three years since an earthquake and subsequent tsunami laid waste to the north-east coast of Japan. The earthquake and tsunami disasters killed 18,600 people and about 2700 bodies have never been recovered. The disaster damaged the Fukushima nuclear power plant, whose cooling systems failed, leading to a series of explosions and catastrophic meltdowns in three reactor cores. More than 150,000 people who were forced to evacuate the area are still unable to return to their homes in the Fukushima region.
“Forgetting Fukushima makes it more likely that such a nuclear disaster could happen elsewhere,” said Tatsuko Okawara, one of the hundreds of thousands of victims of the Fukushima accident that began on March 11, 2011. The nuclear industry, however, is trying its hardest to make us forget. It is downplaying the impacts of the accident, ignoring the fact that the Fukushima reactors are still not under control and claiming that lessons have been learned. Nothing is further from the truth.
A second storage pool was leaking highly radioactive water at the crisis-stricken Fukushima Dai-chi nuclear plant on April 7, operator Tepco said. About 120 tonnes of radioactive water breached the inner lining of one underground storage pool on April 5, with concerns that some may have leaked into the soil. Tepco is moving the remaining 13,000 tonnes of water in that tank to other pools, but said the April 7 leak was not large enough to warrant doing the same.

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