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Tag Archives: Michael Penn

Uniformed Officers Gaining Control of Defense Ministry

Uniformed Self-Defense Forces officers are currently demanding a larger role in setting military policies, which will for the first time utilize the security legislation forced through the Diet by the ruling coalition last September. Civilian defense bureaucrats have so far rejected the demands of the uniformed officers, fearing that acquiescing will decisively tilt the power balance between the two sides within the ministry.

Shioya Resists Role as Fukushima Radiation Dump

As the Japanese nation approaches the fifth anniversary of the March 11 tragedy, the burden of dealing with the widespread radioactive contamination from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster continues to expand. Now this issue is seriously impacting even a small community in Tochigi Prefecture called Shioya.

Trump, Cruz, and Shinzo Abe’s Constitutionalism

Leading Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has been making waves with radical policy notions from the day he announced his run for his party’s nomination. He took this to a whole new level on August 16 when he released a five-page report entitled, “Immigration Reform That Will Make America Great Again.” Briefly noted within a subsection called—ironically enough—“Defend The Laws And Constitution Of The United States,” Trump called for “ending birthright citizenship.”

Burying the Lessons of the Iraq War

There is probably no better method of predicting what people and institutions might do in the future than to have an accurate understanding of their behavior in the past. So much of what is popularly taken as surprising and “unpredictable” might easily have been foreseen by a better knowledge of the contexts, experiences, and the previous actions of the players involved in the construction of an event. When powerholders attempt to suppress the records of official behavior, it is therefore not simply the concern of a handful of cloistered intellectuals, but a matter that can be expected to have real-world impact on future policymaking and the fate of ordinary citizens.

Raid on the Diet Press Hall

Freelance journalists raid the Diet kisha club building in order to properly report the massive protests against the Abe government’s unilateral dismissal of the Japanese Constitution.

The Wrong Man for the Job

We still don’t know exactly why Prime Minister Naoto Kan tapped former Environment Minister Ryu Matsumoto for the high-profile post of Minister in Charge of Reconstructing Areas Ravaged by the March 11 Earthquake and Tsunami, but we did discover today that he is certainly the wrong man for the job. Matsumoto was handed his important new responsibilities only a week ago, but clearly his sense of self-importance has inflated even more rapidly than his authority.