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Archive for Politics

John Hersey’s Hiroshima

During a browse around Borders, I noticed a newly minted edition of John Hersey’s Hiroshima featuring a colour-enhanced photo of the skeletal, eerily beautiful Peace Memorial Dome that survived the bomb. Finding this 2009 edition was a matter of days after Barack Obama accepted the invitation from the Mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to be the first US President to visit the two cities hit by atomic bombs. The date has yet to be fixed, as his recent Asia tour wouldn’t allow sufficient time to do such a historic visit justice.

Back to the book: I found my own copy at a vintage bookshop in Chichester, with the iconic original 1940s Penguin cover (orange bands top and bottom). I was surprised to see a fresh edition on the bookshelves, and a quick check of the publishing dates explained why. The two most recent ed’s were in 2002 – when I emigrated to the UK – and 2004 – the year I was married. I wasn’t likely to be scouring the bookshelves as I normally like to do during those years. This being my first experience with a copy yet to be coffee-stained or have its spine broken, it was like fresh hope for a whole set of new readers from 2009 onwards. Read the rest of this entry »

X-Post from MutantFrog

For anyone who else whose head has been spinning with the ever-increasing mountain of hot topics regarding President Obama’s Japan visit tomorrow, MutantFrog has a great back story to one of the longest-standing issues: the US military presence. This piece regards the Futenma Marine Airbase and it’s particular soreness with the residents and local government of Okinawa. To pull a section from MF’s post as an example of the degree of confusion in this game of push-me-pull-you:

…all twelve mayors of northern Okinawa have publicly accepted the new relocation plan. The DPJ’s waffling has been so unsettling to the locals that the mayor of Kadena is teaming up with the US forces to oppose relocating the relocation to Kadena, promoted by some members of the Hatoyama cabinet as the best alternative, and where one US facility complex already exists.

Exactly. Go check out the full post to get a better handle on the situation.

And if you’re sitting comfortably with a nice warm beverage and a cheerful ray of light coming in through the nearest window, this cri de coeur from the Shisaku blog is an intense initiation into aforementioned mountain of issues for those (like me) who haven’t quite comprehended the enormity.

I won’t be surprised at this point if Hatoyama and Obama just flee to Roppongi for some cosplay and throw Pocky at members of the press.