I am 1/4th Vulcan and 3/4 of me mourns the passing of Mr. Spock. Travel safely through that final frontier.

“The miracle is this: the more we share the more we have.”
Leonard Nimoy
RIP. March 26, 1931-February 28th 2015

Leonard Nimoy passed away today. He was known for his iconic role as half-Vulcan (stoic)  and half-human first officer Spock on the USS Enterprise, in the science-fiction television series, Star Trek. And while usually the deaths of celebrities interests me little, for Mr. Nimoy and Mr. Spock, I have quite some admiration. Almost as much as I admired Ray Bradbury or Nellie Bly.

Star Trek was my introduction to science fiction as a child and to the idea of a world beyond Columbia, Missouri. It was the television show that made me think about life beyond earth, about different cultures, different races. Star Trek made me want to explore the world, discover new things, go places that I had never been before.

I also have one ear that’s naturally pointed. Kids would make fun of me for it. But when I saw Mr. Spock on the show, I felt, “I’m a quarter Vulcan. Cool.”

That right pointed ear is the only trace of my Vulcan ancestry.

That right pointed ear is the only trace of my Vulcan ancestry.

Back in the days when we only had four TV channels to choose from,  I used to stay up every Saturday until 10:30 pm just to watch the show. It’s why I started drinking coffee at the age of ten. 

Death is the final frontier. Perhaps it is a voyage from which we return.

I wanted to be cool, calm, and brave like Mr. Spock. To explore new civilisations, to mind-meld, and use the Vulcan nerve pinch–but only when absolutely necessary, of course. We see ourselves in fictional characters sometimes. I always felt like I was a person struggling with a very angry human self and a logical rational Vulcan self. In affairs of the heart, Vulcan Madness sums it up for me too.

Vulcan madness. Pon Farr sucks.

Vulcan madness. Pon Farr sucks.

I read both of Leonard Nimoy’s books. I AM NOT SPOCK (1975) and I AM SPOCK (1995). He’s actually very funny. And in the way he embraced the character he played, it made him transcend it.— “I am not Spock. But given the choice (of any TV character) I would choose Spock. I like him. I admire him. I respect him.”–Leonard Nimoy. So did I. I respected both of them. And man, I would love to have had Nimoy’s voice. Maybe in a few years. I learned today that the Vulcan salute was actually taken from Jewish mysticism—it was a stolen secret. It seems to explain its magic appeal.

Death is the final frontier but maybe it’s a voyage from which we return. One can hope.
Goodbye first officer Spock. Goodbye Mr. Nimoy. You lived long and prospered and so did we.

“The miracle is this: the more we share the more we have.”
Leonard Nimoy

This is the Jewish-Japanese-Two-Handed Vulcan Salute: "Live long in peace and prosper."

This is the Jewish-Japanese-Two-Handed Vulcan Salute:
“Live long in peace and prosper.”

Love In A Time Before Words: A Poem & A Musing

On one of those nights that I couldn’t sleep, and was thinking about loves past, I wrote a poem. Something I do once every few years. I dreamed about someone long since gone. I thought about romantic loves and platonic loves past. I reflected on those that I’d screwed up and those that had ended because of things I couldn’t control: time, distance, illness and death. And also about women that I still love, even if it’s unilateral. I thought “Love” in the romantic sense which includes passion and all the other wonderful aspects of love but is a narrower, more fragile thing than love itself.

Elizabeth Kubler Ross, the noted author of Death and Dying, who did much to contribute to the science of understanding death and the grieving process, isn’t usually considered to be much of a romantic. But something she wrote once struck me about mourning struck me as very poignant.

“The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same nor would you want to.”
― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

Some loves feel like that. You could simply take out the word “grieve” and put in “love” and it would still work.  If there was ever a moment when you so deeply loved the other that their happiness was more important to you than your own–and they felt the same way–then maybe that was ‘true love’? For that moment. And how what was once true, ever become a lie?

It made me think a little on what was love before we even could talk about it. Would it exist any less if it could not be voiced? And here you have my poem. Another one coming in another ten years.

 

Love In A Time Before Words

How did we love each other in the time before words?

Did we profess our feeling in our eyes or in the movements of our hands?

How did we swear our faith to our lovers? What made us laugh in the dark, in the night, in the morning hours?

What did we fight over without verbal provocations?

Did we quarrel over the time spent stroking the backs of our beloved, by grunts or cold shoulders? Interpretive signage?

What did the romantic suppers taste like with no dinner table conversation?

What are we without the means of expressing our opinions and

How could we lie to each other without any words to do so?

–And would the absence of lies really make for true love?

If we loved each other in the time before words,

Would we even know that it was “love” at all?

Would our romantic poems be a hot cup of tea?

an extra blanket, a lingering touch, cold water brought on a hot day…

Would we still love each other in the time before words,

And would love unspoken, be any less real for being so?

You only have to ask the question,

If you already know the answer.

Before we had ever spoken,

You already knew there was no need to ask.

And that was love in a time before words

And that is our time now.

As it has been before, as it will be again.

In this warm silence together, there is nothing left unsaid.

love in a time before words

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Japan’s Whacky National Police Commissioner Contributes To Racist Newsletter (among other things)

NOTE: This article has been corrected in several places as we try to figure out what Ms. Yamatani really wrote. Recently appointed head of Japan’s Public Safety Commission, Eriko Yamatani 山谷えり子, who oversees all of Japan’s  police forces, may be inappropriate to deal with Japan’s domestic violence issues—among other things. She has been in the news recently for her alleged ties to the Zaitokukai, a hate speech group that the UN, the United States, and even Japan’s National Police Agency have condemned. Prime Minister Abe has had his photo taken with one of the members as well, but that’s probably just a coincidence. Ahem. Today at JSRC, we came across this newsletter,  run by a member of the Zaitokukai (that Ms. Yamatani can’t remember meeting), to which she “seemingly” contributed an essay.*

Eriko Yamatani, the head of Japan's Public Safety Commission, posing with a member of the hate group, Zaitokukai. She contributed an essay to his newsletter in which she derides Japan's democratic constitutions and suggests women should not be allowed to divorce.

Eriko Yamatani, the head of Japan’s Public Safety Commission, posing with a member of the hate group, Zaitokukai. She allegedly contributed to his newsletter in which he derides Japan’s “US imposed” democratic constitution and suggests women should not be allowed to divorce.

Ms. Yamatani has her own corner in the newsletter.

Her right wing supporter explains in witty prose that women in Japan should have their right to divorce taken away from them as part of promoting gender equality. And of course, let’s do something about those tax dollars stolen by capricious single mothers. It’s as if to say, “once you’re married, a woman should have no rights.”

Not only is this newsletter one more link to Yamatani and the racist she says that she doesn’t know, it makes us think she isn’t a person who will really want to ensure the police crack down on domestic violence or stalkers—if she works with this guy.Maybe her suggestion to women being stalked would be, “Why don’t you marry the guy?” Prime Minister Abe has tried to make a name for himself as a man pushing for the equal rights of women in Japan.

It’s also not encouraging to read something that suggests the de facto top dog in the police force works with an extremist who wants to get rid of Japan’s democratic constitution and roll back women’s rights. Abe keeps talking about “shining women”—Ms. Yamatani, practically glows—like the nuclear radiation at Fukushima. (But hey, that’s under control).

Here is some of the text of the essay. You can download the full PDF here, which also has a nice picture of her with the Zaitokukai right wing racist she claims not to know. Perhaps, it’s all a mistake. An elaborate hoax. Somehow, we fear not.

男女共同参画で生じた諸問題は、一発で解決が付く。「離婚禁止法」を設ければいい。戦後、米国が押し付けた「民主憲法」の三大悪条項は「9条」と「普通選挙」、それに「婚姻の自由」ではなかろう” か。「9条」は論じるまでもなく、税金をまともに払わない人にまで選挙権を与えたり、「男女共同参画」なるもののルーツとな”る結婚と離婚の自由。子供が生まれて成人するまで、親は絶対離婚できない。個々の事情は色々ある。それはそうとしながら、子供にも「両親の元でスクスク育つ」権利があるのだ。少なくとも親の身勝手な権利より子供の権利を重要視すべきではないか。勝手に結婚し、子供を作り、勝手に離婚。そして母子手当て等が20万円。そんな者のため税金払ってい”るんじゃない。「離婚禁”止法」はオーバーにしても安易な離婚だけは絶対に認めるな。” *We were unable to get a comment from Ms. Yamatani on the contents of this essay at present.

Tumblr is now for toddlers? No sex, no latex, no fucking around. Don’t even look for it

A curious thing has happened with the blogging network and digital scrapbook for the younger generation known as Tumblr: it’s now squeaky clean. (Unless you know the magic trick) Tumblr has quietly, stealthily altered it’s search engine so that by default if there is any racy content, you won’t be able to find it. Maybe they have their reasons but for we adults that sometimes use it—it smacks of censorship, cowardliness, and puritan bullshit. Here’s what happened today when I tried a few terms at random, after reading the post of Ancilla Tilia, a friend, fetish fashion model, writer, troublemaker, censorship critic, citizen privacy advocate, and activist for Holland’s Pirate Party. I don’t know why it happened or what Tumblr has to say about it but it pissed me off enough to write this long scrawl. Because if there is one thing the world doesn’t need more of, it’s stupid censorship and priggish morality. (Oops, that’s two things, but they usually go together—like a Happy Meal set.) Let’s show how the new and improved search (censor) function works.

"Latex" Yes, fetish models wear it, so it must be obscene. Goodbye Latex!

“Latex”
Yes, fetish models wear it, so it must be obscene. Goodbye Latex!

    So clearly latex is bad because it might lead to deviant sex. But what about sex?

Screenshot 2014-09-04 14.22.58

Sex. What could be more obscene! Let’s get rid of that as well. Hmm…should we leave “gender”. Ask Tumblr!

Maybe “sex” is too crude. How about some discourse on “sexual intercourse?”

Sexual intercourse--the process from which we are born, including the corporate shills who run Tumblr. Nope, that's gone too. Could we have a discussion about it? Somehow, I think "sexual discourse" would probably be banned as well. No more sex for you Tumblr kids.

Sexual intercourse–the process from which we are born, including the corporate shills who run Tumblr. Nope, that’s gone too. Could we have a discussion about it? Somehow, I think “sexual discourse” would probably be banned as well. No more sex for you Tumblr kids.

By now, you’d guess “The F Word” would not show any results, and you know what–you’re right.

Who gives a fuck?  Apparently, Tumblr does. No more fucking around. WTF?

Who gives a fuck?
Apparently, Tumblr does. No more fucking around. WTF?

Yes, a new dim day has dawned on one of the last free blogging sites. But it doesn’t mean we still can’t have some good clean fun on the platform.

Tumblr's search function has been castrated and now it's like a blogging platform for toddlers. Forgive me for being childish about this wave of censorship, but seriously Tumblr, f@ck you.

Tumblr’s search function has been castrated and now it’s like a blogging platform for toddlers. Forgive me for being childish about this wave of censorship, but seriously Tumblr, f@ck you.

Thanks Ms.Tilia for bringing this to our attention.

On a pirate expedition, internet activist Ancilla Tilia discovered that Tumblr has had it's balls stolen.

On a pirate expedition, internet activist Ancilla Tilia discovered that Tumblr has had it’s balls stolen. *image from retecool.com

If you successfully take over the good ship Tumblr, please release the search terms back into the wild. Ahoy Matey!  And Tumblr, f@ck you. PS. As a gentle reader kindly informed me after posting this, when you search and don’t find the “adult” stuff, look for a tiny lock in the upper right corner of the page. Press it and buried treasure will be found.  Arghh.

“Defriended”–a musical ode to discreet civility on Facebook

Facebook is a wonderful social networking tool even if Mark Zuckerberg and the company are ruthlessly exploiting all of us, and trampling over our privacy, because we were dumb enough to sign our lives over to the company. All that aside, sometimes it’s a great way to keep in touch.

Sometimes, it's time to give our virtual friends a virtual kick in the ass and just say "Sayonara".

Sometimes, it’s time to give our virtual friends a virtual kick in the ass and just say “Sayonara”.

However, sometimes, it’s a great way to be annoyed by people we absolutely don’t get along with or people who are just simply assholes. (Of course, I’m exempting myself from ‘asshole’ because I’m capricious.) I rarely de-friend anyone because I believe in tolerance. I believe that when are friends are wrong that positive discourse can help them see things from a more enlightened angle. And also I’m just really lazy.

But now and then, de-friending does feel like a good detox. And because I had nothing better to do this afternoon, here is my ode to cutting off bad ties.

“Defriended”

An ode to Facebook civility by @jakeadelstein

*Please sing to the tune of “Reunited” by Peaches and Herb

♪I was a fool to ever take your side
Me minus you is such a wonderful ride
The breakup we had has made me peaceful and glad
I realise I dislike you
‘Cause your taste is bad hey hey♪

I spent the evening posting from Politico
I am so happy that I let you go
Our quarrel was such a way of learning a lot
I know now I don’t like you
No more rants about the 9/11 plot hey hey

Defriended you and it feels so great
Defriended cause I understand
That some friends are the pits
And my pal, you’re full of shit
Your whiny posts have ended
‘Cause you are defriended hey hey

I sat here reading your crap on my wall
Got offended when you insulted us all
I wish you could learn to be fair
About others opinions—
I like public health care hey hey

I can’t keep quiet, man, you must not stay
I hope you keep far away
As I reminisce about your “like my page” blitz
I’m glad we’re defriended
Cause I don’t miss your shit hey hey

(Chorus)

Old pal, I won’t miss your derision
And I absolutely won’t regret this decision
All of your scrawling
And all your name calling
There’s so much to dislike
sexist screeds are appalling hey hey

Defriended and it feels so great
I won’t see your posts full of hate
Finally it’s ended
‘Cause you’ve been defriended hey hey!

AKB48: A Microcosm Of Dark Corporate Japan. Sexual exploitation of child labor is sooo cute. (A book review and polemic)

by Kaori Shoji
One of the first things you’ll notice about the Japanese – men AND women – is the apparent lack of awareness regarding issues like gender and racial discrimination, worker exploitation, social injustice and other stuff that have western observers of our culture taking one look and scratching their heads. That stuff about a member of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly yelling out harassment remarks to a female politician while the Assembly was actually in session? I regret to have to tell you that such incidents are way too familiar to the average Japanese to sink in below sea level. It’s only when someone else (i.e., a westerner) is looking at us that we come to our senses and profess to be shocked. Otherwise, well, we’re too busy working and being exploited and having our Constitution rewritten to suit the hawkish inclinations of the current Prime Minister. But I digress.

The girls of AKB48 are the vestal virgins of Japan, forbidden to have sex until they "graduate" aka become too old to attract geeky men. But unlike the vestal virgins who served the Roman Gods, they serve a fat weasel named Yasushi Akimoto, who's only God is money. And while contractually obligated to be virgins, these young and often underpaid girls (sometimes as young as 12) often pose in adult magazines, such as Shukan Playboy. If this doesn't strike you as sexual exploitation, then there's really no problem. Maybe.

The girls of AKB48 are the vestal virgins of Japan, forbidden to have sex until they “graduate” aka become too old to attract geeky men. But unlike the vestal virgins who served the Roman Gods, they serve a fat weasel named Yasushi Akimoto, who’s only God is money. And while contractually obligated to be virgins, these young and often underpaid girls (sometimes as young as 12) often pose in adult magazines, such as Shukan Playboy. If this doesn’t strike you as sexual exploitation, then there’s really no problem. Maybe.

Meet The New Zegen 女衒 (Sex merchants) Same As The Old Zegen

AKB48 aren’t just a band of teenage girls creepily sexually exploited by a money-grubbing management team that includes an ex-yakuza associate, they’re also symbols of how badly workers in Japan get screwed over–in every way.

Shohei Sakakura, author of “AKB 48 and the Black Companies (AKB48と日本のブラック企業)” – is one of those rare Japanese with the mindset of a western intellectual. As editor-in-chief of Posse magazine, Sakakura first alerted the public to the presensce and prevalance, of black companies. Until then, most of us thought it was kind of normal in a Japanese way, to put in “service overtime (サービス残業)” hours, meaning we accepted the fact of working in the office until dawn without getting paid it. We also accepted getting laid off without notice, no maternity or paternity leaves, discrimination against women, sexual and moral harassment in the workplace, poor wages and did I mention no overtime pay?

To the Japanese, work proffers its own reward and justification and with news of the unraveling global economy we were grateful to be able to work at all. Of course the majority of the Japanese KNOW exploitation exists, and that this was one of things that was wrong with the country and the rest of the world. This is why we have so many “izakaya (pubs)” around – where else to drown our sorrows but in beer stains?

And now AKB 48, in case you didn’t know, is the brain child of Yasushi Akimoto, aka the King Midas of the Japanese entertainment industry. Everything he touches has turned to gold – unfortunately, the gold stays firmly tucked in his pocket without benefitting the girls he ruthlessly expolits. But there it is – the man certainly knows how to make a yen from peddling idoru fantasies to love-starved males with glasses and bad skin.

Who IS Akimoto anyway? Sakakura’s book doesn’t do much digging about the man – he just assumes that the Japanese know who Akimoto is (we do) and leaves it at that. Suffice to say, Yasushi Akimoto is what 50 years ago many older Japanese would describe as a “Zegen 女衒”or merchant who dealt exclusively in young women. A Zegen was the middleman who bought and sold girls (often with the express consent of the parents) to the sex trade and entertainment industry and too bad for the Japanese that no one bothered to distinguish between the two until the GHQ came along to tell us Nooooo, they were different. (Okay, we got that now.) The GHQ also did much to stomp out the Zegen operating in and around Tokyo but the middlemen simply went on doing what they did, and took on another name: “entertainment producer.” From sex shows and strip houses to brothels and the euphemistically called “bars,” the Zegen had their fingers in all the right pies (yuck), and kept the best for entertainment industry, which had direct pipeline to the yakuza.

Girls from the country, whose parents couldn’t afford to send them to school or arrange good marriages, came to Tokyo in droves and were snapped up by a Zegen producer or another. The lucky ones made it to the TV screen and when that no longer worked, were taken down a few notches to serve as bar hostesses or cabaret dancers, and eventually wound up in a brothel. It was the oldest story in the book, repeated ad nauseum.

Yasushi Akimoto was a Zegen with a vision – having never been popular in high school himself, he recognized the deep sexual frustration and vast need for sexual fantasies festering in the educated and dateless Japanese male. When he came out with “Onyanko Club” in the mid-1980s, people were blinded by the sheer genius of this man. Here he was, peddling quite ordinary high school girls on TV, who all got up on the studio stage to teasingly sing “oh please don’t take my school uniform off, no-no-no!” to an audience who could never hear such titillating pleas when they were 18 so was totally stoked to hear it now, from a gaggle of winking girls all beckoning SIMULTANEOUSLY.

Needless to say, the Onyanko went “viral” long before the Internet came along and deep down, we suspected that if Akimoto wasn’t around to appease the Otaku populace with these girls and their pleated skirts, the nation’s sex crime rate would soar drastically.

Akimoto subsequently married an Onyanko (and he was too smart to pick the prettiest of the lot, but went for a quiet, mediocre type) and settled down in his idol manufacturing kingdom. Then he unleashed AKB 48 to the Japanese public – which basically means 48 Girls in Akihabara. These girls were grass roots level – they had no connections, no prestige, and was willing to work till they dropped. Most telling of all, they were excessively and agressively, ordinary.

In his book Sakakura lays bare disturbing but familiar facts: Akimoto treats the girls like fast food workers – hiring and firing in bulk, with hourly wages to match. The ones in the coveted “center position” are the prettiest, and supposedly the best dancers with the best paychecks but the vast crowd of girls behind the stars — they’re mired in obscurity. And once the girls “graduate” (i.e., fired) from the group, they’re left with no skills or abilities and their detour into the sex trade is a lot swifter than the days of Onyanko.

Yasushi Akimoto is a Zegen through and through – he’s found a way to cash in on the criticisms and problems within the AKB, by having the girls sing songs (written by him of course) about revolution, sacrifice and worker exploitation. For Akimoto, even capitalist irony works in his favor. Karl Marx is puking in his grave.

Sakakura writes that though he’s not an AKB fan per se, he does sympathize with the plight of the girls and sees them as a micro reflection of the huge labor problems that continue to erode Japan’s supposedly peaceful and egalitarian society. And let’s not forget that the PM is a HUGE fan – but then Japan’s highest political leader seems to love it when young people are put in situations where they have to fight and bleed and claw their way to survival. To him, “that’s the true Japanese spirit.” Yeah, right.

*Jake Adelstein contributed to this article. He seriously dislikes Akimoto. Almost as much as he dislikes one former yakuza gang boss, who has a liver he really shouldn’t have.

Detectives and Investigative Journalists

Detective

“Now I pass up about twenty-five or thirty thousand of honest gain because I like being a detective, like the work. And liking work makes you want to do it as well as you can. Otherwise there’d be no sense to it. That’s the fix I am in. I don’t know anything else, don’t enjoy anything else, don’t want to know or enjoy anything else. You can’t weight that against any sum of money. Money’s good stuff. I haven’t anything against it.” 
― Dashiell HammettThe Big Knockover: Selected Stories and Short Novels

It took me a while to like hard-boiled detective novels. I think I started with The Shadow (the pulp novels) and worked my way up. I still prefer Raymond Chandler to Dashiell Hammett, but Hammett worked for Pinkerton, so he really knew the business. The Continental Op series, which may include Red Harvest are some of the finest detective stories in the business. What Hammett has his character say in The Big Knockover, I think that’s the author also speaking. And that’s what it feels like to be an investigative journalist. The detective and the investigative journo–they both want to do one thing: get past the lies and find the truth. It’s a bonus if you get paid for doing the work. Sometimes, it’s nice to get half up front.

 

Japan’s Ominous Secrecy Law is passed; Journalists and Whistleblowers Are Now “Terrorists”

This was originally posted on Japan Subculture Research Center

The Prime Minister Abe Shinzo (LDP) led ruling coalition passed the ominous new Designated Secrets Bill December 7th (Friday) in the middle of the night apparently fearing that the light of another day, or the harsh radiation of the truth, would cause the legislation to shrivel up and die. The ruling government cut off debate and forced a vote in the upper house of Japan’s parliament, The Diet, just before the witching hour. 130 were in favor, 82 were opposed.
The law will punish journalists and whistleblowers who divulge government secrets with up to ten years in prison, and up to five years for those who “instigate leaks” (ask questions about state secrets). There is no independent third-party organization set in place to monitor how the law is applied and it gives every ministry and the smallest government agency or related committee carte blanche to declare any inconvenient information “top secret.”
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the LDP, Komeito, and “Your Party” relentlessly pushed the bill forward, despite a sudden dip in cabinet support rates to below 50% and increasing opposition within Japan and the world. Earlier this week, the LDP Secretary General, Shigeru Ishiba, labeled the growing protests “tantamount to terrorism” which prompted more public outcry. There were estimated to be 15,000 people outside Japan’s parliament (The Diet) chanting in protest when the bill was passed.
Every major news organization, publishing group, human rights group, in Japan opposed the bill. Even the Doctor’s and Dentist’s Association voiced disapproval of the draconian legislation. According to opinion polls, only 25% of the public supported it, and 50% opposed it.

According to Kyodo News service, over 82% of the Japanese public feels the law should be significantly revised or abolished. It is unlikely that this will happen anytime soon.

The Committee to Protect Journalists, in a post, Japan: State Security Does Not Justify Restricting Information succinctly summarizes the major problems with law as follows:

The (law) will effectively allow the government to proclaim any potentially embarrassing information a “state secret” and to keep it from the public for 10 years with the opportunity to extend that period.  Under the new law, a whistleblower could face up to 10 years in jail for publishing what the government deems a “state secret.” That level of punishment for what is arguably not a crime is not protective. It’s repressive.

Over 80% of the Japanese population fears that the new laws will be used to cover up scandals and hide the truth from the public.
Over 80% of the Japanese population fears that the new laws will be used to cover up scandals and hide the truth from the public.
One individual who shares that fear is Michael Woodford, the former CEO of Olympus, Japan’s mega optical maker. Mr. Woodford courageously exposed a 1.7 billion dollar accounting fraud at the company while he was still the CEO, at great personal risk, because he believed the truth had to be known. The mainstream Japanese media and associated parties went to great lengths to ignore his whistle blowing. Even the Financial Services Agency, which is supposed to ensure the transparency of Japan’s financial markets, made efforts to bury the story and leaked information which suggested that no criminal activity had been committed. It was the persistent investigative reporting of Japanese magazines like FACTA (which broke the story), ZAITEN, and follow-ups by the foreign press that made the case impossible for law enforcement to ignore.

Michael Woodford uncovered a 1.7 Billion dollar accounting fraud at Japan's Olympus Corporation. He blew the whistle and repercussions were swift.

Michael Woodford uncovered a 1.7 Billion dollar accounting fraud at Japan’s Olympus Corporation. He blew the whistle and repercussions were swift.

Mr. Woodford expresses his views on Japan’s new secrecy law quite eloquently below.

“As someone who during the Olympus scandal experienced first-hand the
deferential and self-censoring nature of much of the Japanese media, I’m
profoundly concerned by the new state secrecy law. I remember a
discussion with a leading Japanese financial journalist in January 2012,
(held in front of Jonathan Soble of the Financial Times who broke the story)
as to what would have happened if I had given them the file supporting my
allegations, as opposed to a Western media outlet. The journalist was
extremely honest in stating that they would have loved to have run the story
but the editor would never have allowed this. The message was clear; you do
not challenge a large Nikkei listed company of wrongdoing, regardless of the
strength of evidence. I found this at the time profoundly depressing, as in
developed democracies it’s the media which is the most effective mechanism
for holding the powerful to account. We have seen this in practice from
everything from Watergate to British parliamentarians being exposed for
abusing their expenses.
Of course, every country has a fundamental right to protect its citizens’
interests and there is an obvious need for some issues relating to national
security to be secret. However, it is the vague definition in the new bill
of what actually constitutes a state secret which potentially gives
officials carte blanche to block the release of information on a vast range
of subjects. Whenever I’m asked to comment on the disputed islands in the
East China Sea and ongoing tensions with China, I always emphasise that
Japan is a peace-loving democracy, but this loosely worded bill, in my
opinion, is more characteristic of the state controls of the world’s
autocratic regimes. In essence, anything which makes a journalist in Japan
even more uncomfortable with exposing wrongdoing, wherever it may exist, is
a worrying development when transparency and openness should be the way
forward.”

So it goes in the land of the setting sun….