Wikileaks on Japan

Nothing is going to happen for a while:

The deputy editor of The Guardian, Ian Katz, summed up that newspaper’s decision thus: “We didn’t see much of international interest in them, which is why we haven’t run anything — or anything much. WikiLeaks is beginning to make regional packages of cables available to media partners in different countries now.”

Rather oddly:

One unsubstantiated rumor circulating among Tokyo journalists is that the organization reached out to Japan’s most popular newspaper, the Yomiuri, perhaps unaware that its strictly hierarchical editorial structure and conservative politics might not make it the best launching pad for an anarchist-inspired project to topple power. Given the Yomiuri’s close ties with the Liberal Democratic Party, journalists there may anyway have been privy to many of the “secrets” buried inside the WikiLeaks cables.

Yomiuri… it’d be amusing to see them attempt report this stuff, no doubt it would have to be almost entirely redacted to not contradict their editorial madness. Asahi, although far from perfect, would probably be a better bet – they at least claim to be in some way ‘progressive’.

My guess is that whoever does take on the task of publishing this stuff (in Japan) is going to be subject to some fairly extreme pressure, both legal and extra-legal. What we really need is for the press outside Japan to take an interest. Given the current lack of interest in all things Japanese around the world, it’s likely to be quite a wait…

6 thoughts on “Wikileaks on Japan

    • Would imagine that there are huge amounts of scandal in those cables… not just related to the Okinawa situation (although, frankly, that would be enough!) but going back to the bubble period, with trade tensions, economic liberalisation (a nasty code word if ever there was one).

      And, we shouldn’t ignore that possibility that there are communications about the policy of bring nuclear material into Japan against it’s wishes…

  1. I don’t need any more fuel for my “japan sucks” fire, so I don’t even care whats in the leaks.
    Perfect example of the worlds rose tinted view of Jaapn too, I mean seriously!!! contacting ‘journalists’ (and i use the word in its loosest possible sense) at the Yomiuri! LMAO.
    As you yourself said, Japan is becoming increasingly globally irrelevant, 100% their own fault if you ask me.
    Besides in a few short months neither you nor I have to worry about this parochial little island off the coast of China anymore.
    Good ridance.

    • you’re a little blinded by your rage here.

      Jim’s point, and i tend to agree with him, was that the US has done whatever it can to undermine the DPJs attempts to normalise japan’s stunted relationship with the world, specifically the rest of asia.

      As for “rose tinted”, it’s pretty clear that from the article that wikileaks was just ignorant of the state of the newspaper market in japan, and chose to contact yomiuri based on it’s position as the largest print circulation.

      I’m not planning on cutting all my connections to Japan. I’m leaving because there is more to see and do elsewhere, and my options are currently limited in the Japanese job market. Hate doesn’t come anywhere defining my relationship with Japan.

  2. ‘blinded by my rage’ is a phrase I’ve heard from you before recently about my feelings on Japan.
    Fair comment from your point of view I guess.
    I don’t really agree with that assesment but, heh…..

    I’m interested in what attempts the DPJ has made to normalise it’s relations with the rest of the world.(I genuinely don’t know)
    And my comment about wikileaks was specifically about the fact that if you were a whistle blowing organisation and went to one of the top circulation newspapers in England, The Sun or the Daily Mail for example, you would get a similar response. But that no right thinking whistle blower in the world would look at the UK and say “oh, I know I’ll talk to ‘the sun'”

    I know you don’t hate it.
    But I think characterising my position as ‘blind’ is not really fair given the opposite ‘rose tinted’ view is banded about by all kinds of media organisiations and indeed by people we know
    on a daily basis and I’ve never heard you describe them as ‘blind’
    Yes , I do hate it but I like to think my intellectual position on the country transends that, besides which the best conversations/arguments need 2 opposing points of view, do they not?

    • On the DPJ, they’ve been making efforts to balance their local relationships (specifically with Korea, and to some extent with China) against the reliance on the US. As Van Wolferen noted, Japanese foreign policy was really defined in Washington D.C. It was always Ozawa’s contention that this had to change.

      Having Hatoyama make a point of visiting Seoul and Beijing before going to Washington was probably an attempt to set the tone. Pushing back on the Okinawa realignment agreement that the LDP had signed (but probably had not intention of implementing), despite the inevitable backlash, was another indication that the tone was changing.

      Early on Hatoyama also attempted to improve relationships with Russia and India.

      Whether this has amounted to very much in terms of real change is certainly open to debate, but that there was an attempt to move away from the status quo is pretty obvious.

      On blindness. Japan is a polarising issue. For a multitude of reasons i think it’s a complicated subject for us to discuss (i don’t mean you or i specifically, but anglo-saxons in general… i’m not broadening that to ‘westerners’ because i don’t know how they view things). From my p.o.v. Japanese society is a complex, disturbing, enlightening, and above all, interesting, system. The views that the likes of Van Wolferen and Werner, give behind the curtain makes it harder to hold black and white / good and evil views. For me things have become far more murky as i’ve learned more.

      So, yes, the conversation does need *at least* 2 points of view. Having them in opposition doesn’t seem necessary. However, we do need to agree that there are very few simple and absolute answers.

Wise words...

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