Japan: “Forced to Work” Isn’t “Forced Labor”

Added by Michael Penn on July 7, 2015. · 1 Comment · Share this Post

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July 7, 2015Japan: “Forced to Work” Isn’t “Forced Labor”

The Japanese government engaged in some fast talking meant to soothe several different constituencies today, but ended up making a highly unconvincing argument. The issue was about the agreement with South Korea that paved the way toward recognition of some Meiji Era industrial sites as UNESCO World Heritage. Japanese diplomats agreed to a document acknowledging that during the Pacific War some Koreans were “forced to work under harsh conditions” at these sites. However, some conservatives back home were angry about this concession, arguing, among other things, that it might open the door to renewed calls for financial reparations. Government spokesmen including Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga and Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida countered that there was “no change” in the administration’s position—or rather, that Koreans being “forced to work under harsh conditions” is not equivalent in meaning to using them for “forced labor.”

Practical Step toward Nuclear Restarts

The loading of fuel rods began at Sendai No. 1 nuclear reactor in Kagoshima Prefecture. This process is expected to take several more days to complete. After another round of inspections, the Abe government seems on pace to restart some of the nation’s nuclear reactors, beginning with this one, from around mid-August.

Opposition Parties Fall into Renewed Dispute

The two leading opposition parties, the Democratic Party of Japan and the Japan Innovation Party had hardly even announced their intention to jointly submit a bill on “grey zone” security situations when the plan went bust. It would appear that the source of their dispute related to how to best confront the Abe administration’s legislative agenda on security policies.

Oldest Man in the World Dies

Sakari Momoi, the oldest male in the world, died of natural causes at age 112 in Saitama Prefecture. However, the new oldest man in the world, Yasutaro Koide, is also a 112-year-old Japanese.

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Source: Shingetsu News Agency

One Response to Japan: “Forced to Work” Isn’t “Forced Labor”

  1. Monkey Hideyoshi July 17, 2015 at 2:26 am

    An experts panel of the International Labor Organization called Japan’s conscription of Korean and other workers during World War II a violation of a convention banning forced labor, a report published in 1993 .

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The Shingetsu News Agency (SNA) was established in December 2010 by Michael Penn, a former university lecturer and journalist specialized in West Asian and Japanese history and politics.

The SNA aims to help fill the gap between the mainstream Japanese-language media, which is often well-resourced but burdened with a tendency to avoid investigative journalism and an unwillingness to communicate effectively with the outside world; and the foreign international media, whose presence in Tokyo is far weaker than most people realize, especially when it comes to video journalism. The net result is that Japan becomes a poorly understood nation both in its positive aspects as well as its negative dimensions.

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