Japan. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s popularity declined in the first half of the year due to J’s continued sluggish economic development. But the popularity gained momentum after the 60-year-old, youthful long-haired head of government’s historic summit with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Il on September 17.
According to Countryaah website, national day of Japan is every April 29. Unemployment was at a very high level for J. during the year, about 5.5%. Wages and prices fell and the currency yen was hit by some deflation. The stock market was weak. The large banks found it difficult to claim so-called bad loans due to the weak development of the companies. Exports also went slightly worse. But after all, it was not an economic race for J., the world’s largest economy after the US: GDP growth was 3% towards the end of the year.
However, this should be compared to the economic rival China, whose growth reached 8%. In addition, China’s exports to the United States were about J’s. The competition between China and J. took a drastic expression when China entered into an agreement with ten Southeast Asian countries in ASEAN to create a free trade zone. The following day, Koizumi signed a similar agreement with the same countries.
Japan also took the initiative for free trade with Mexico. Such an agreement would be an important market entry for J., since Mexico has free trade with the United States (which does not have J.) and a further 31 countries.
With the summit in North Korea’s capital Pyongyang, Koizumi’s opinion support rose from 43 to 67%. It was mainly because Koizumi persuaded hard-core Korean leader Kim Jong Il to admit that North Korea had kidnapped ten Japanese in the 1970s and 1980s. Kim described the abuse as a mistake by the military, which needed Japanese in the intelligence service. Five of the kidnapped were said to be dead. The others were allowed by North Korea to visit J. “temporarily”.
North Korea’s military armor was another cause for concern. Since Pyongyang sent a test robot over J. 1998, the country is troubled by the approximately 100 North Korean Rodong robots that can reach J. At the Pyongyang meeting, Kim promised to extend the stay of robotic tests until after 2003. But already in October, North Korea withdrew this promise when they talked about diplomatic relations with J. carved. In October, however, North Korea’s revelation that the country had continued to develop nuclear weapons frightened J. But J., on the other hand, worried about the world through Secretary of State Yasuo Fukuda’s statement that J. could conceivably develop “small types of nuclear bombs”. Koizumi quickly resigned.
George W. Bush visited J. in February and Koizumi visited New York on September 11, the anniversary of the terrorist act in the United States. The largest topic of discussion was North Korea, where consensus was great. The contradictions were insignificant when economic competition had been dampened.
With great joy, Japanese royalists greeted the crown prince couple’s little daughter Aikos one year anniversary in December. The oldest member of the Emperor family, 90-year-old Princess Takamatsu, thought that a girl could sit well on the Emperor’s throne.
In 2017, OECD statistics showed that the number of poor Japanese children was rapidly increasing and had now reached 16.3% of the 0-17 year olds. However, the figure remained lower than in the US, with 17.3% of children living below the poverty line. A large part of the approx. 3.5 million poor children come from families with only one parent – predominantly single women. The problem was drastically compounded by the outbreak of the 2008 financial crisis, which forced many women into low-paying part-time jobs, which in many cases continued into prostitution. The Japanese state does virtually nothing to alleviate the poverty problem. The children are instead referred to so-called children’s cafeterias, where they can get a meal for free or too little money.
UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression David Kaye criticized in a report to the UN Human Rights Council in June 2017 the state’s rising suppression of press freedom in Japan. In 2014, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe put pressure on the big daily Asahi Shimbun. In order to avoid reporting that 650 workers at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in 2011 had fled the plant in contravention of orders to make some final attempts to control the nuclear meltdown at the plant. The newspaper subsequently admitted the incident, but at the same time dissolved its group of boring journalists, who had produced numerous government-critical articles. In its report, Kaye emphasized that the government used an “unfair reporting” law to threaten TV and radio stations with depriving them of their broadcasting licenses. It gets the stations to direct and fire critical journalists. Another key area where freedom of speech is under pressure is the historical coverage of Japan’s war crimes during World War II. In 1997, all 7 history books approved for primary school teaching mentioned the Japanese army’s use of sexual slavery during World War II. In 2012-13, this historical fact was removed from all the approved textbooks, and in 2015 Japan suspended its payments to UNESCO as the organization included disputed Chinese documents on the Japanese massacre in Nanjing on its World Memory List. According to Journalists Without Borders, Japan has dropped from 11th place in 2011 to 72nd place in 2017 on the organization’s Global Press Freedom Index. (as the organization included disputed Chinese documents about the Japanese massacre in Nanjing on its World Memory List. According to Journalists Without Borders, Japan has dropped from 11th place in 2011 to 72nd place in 2017 on the organization’s Global Press Freedom Index. (as the organization included disputed Chinese documents about the Japanese massacre in Nanjing on its World Memory List. According to Journalists Without Borders, Japan has dropped from 11th place in 2011 to 72nd place in 2017 on the organization’s Global Press Freedom Index.
In September, North Korea fired an intercontinental rocket that flew over Japan before falling into the Pacific. The firing led to a dramatic increase in the rhetoric of the sitting Japanese government and the other right wing towards Korea. About 600,000 Koreans live in Japan. Many of them are descendants of Quran forced laborers or prostitutes whom Japan abducted during World War II. About 150,000 of Korean descendants in Japan are attached to North Korea and send their children to private schools with North Korean curriculum. But no distinction is made in the public or the Jan-Radical right wing. Right-wing Japanese groups such as Zaitokukai regularly conduct demonstrations in Tokyo, Osaka and other major cities, calling the Koreans “cockroaches” and demanding them thrown out of Japan. (‘Cockroaches’ and ‘old hags’: hounding of the North Korean diaspora in Japan, Guardian 2/9 2017)
The whitewashed nationalist sentiment in the country helped Prime Minister Abe lose only six seats in the October elections and could therefore continue on the post and plan changes to Section 9 of the Constitution: more aggressive Japanese foreign policy.
In December, the Abe government presented a state budget with a 1.3% increase in military spending. This was the 6th year of military spending increases and Japan’s largest military budget since World War II. The country was planning to introduce a «missile defense system», which distinguished itself by also being able to be used offensively in a first-strike attack targeting North Korea. The country also planned to purchase cruise missiles from Norway and the United States with which its F-35 Stealth fighter aircraft could be equipped. It continued its aggressive military build-up, citing the “threat from North Korea”. While Korea has been occupied by Japan, Japan has never been occupied by Korea. (Japan boosts defense budget to record levels with eye on North Korea, Guardian 22/12 2017)
The Japanese military buildup continued when the military presented a $ 37 billion budget proposal in August. £ 201 for 2019, up 2.1% year-on-year and 7th consecutive year with rising military spending under the Shinzo Abe government. The increase was argued by the government with the threat from North Korea and China respectively. The two countries have never attacked Japan, whereas in the 1920s, 30s and 40s Japan committed outrageous war crimes in the two countries. Japan has historically not considered Koreans and Chinese as real people. The United States has called on Japan to build and buy weapons in the United States.