Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Renounce Thy Loons Now!

Very much an aside, but does anyone know the backstory to The Washington Post's publication of an editorial denouncing Fujita Yukihisa, an uninfluential and decidedly quirky DPJ member of the House of Councillors whom most Japanese have never heard about? In a blog post, Fujita calls himself the victim of a bait-and-switch interview arranged by the Foreign Press Center (deliciously, he chooses to name names).

From the scale of the conniption fit the Washpo throws, one would think that Fujita was a person of extraordinary significance.

Does this brouhaha have anything to do with Fujita's being a bête noire of the fantabulist right wing over the war reconciliation issues? And if so, what is The Washington Post's interest in all this?

Because the story about the story is becoming a story here.


Anonymous said...

He was recently in DC, and represents all that the Wapo neocon freakos detest. I guess they decided they didn't like him, and decided to do something about it. DC is not a happy place for the DPJ.

Anonymous said...


I have no idea what your views on the 9/11 tragedy are. One can only hope that you are not a conspiracy theorist.

That said, Fujita Yukihisa is an elected member of the Upper House and Director-General of the DPJ's International Department (Kokusai kyoku chou), thus making his views on this and other subjects of public interest.

To be consistent, I recall many bloggers and journalists loving to report on, and excoriate for, public gaffes and outspoken views of Japan's wartime history and reconciliation measures (to name one of many controversial subjects) made by an LDP member of either house, not to mention the Cabinet and JSDF.

The question to ask is not what motivates the Washington Post to ask an elected official in Japan what his views on political subjects are and then -- gasp! -- publish the findings.

The question one *should* ask is: why would anyone question the practice under a DPJ regime, but welcome it during an LDP regime?

Just my two yen.

MTC said...

Anonymous #2 -

The statement in the editorial "(Fujita) is a Brahmin in the foreign policy establishment of Washington's most important East Asian ally" is false - at least as far as the common usage of the word "brahmin" goes. The extraordinary linkage --"his views, rooted as they are in profound distrust of the United States, seem to reflect a strain of anti-American thought that runs through the DPJ and the government of Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama" -- is purest calumny.

Your assertion of an equivalence would be meaningful if there was a precedent. However, try as you might, you will not find a single instance of a major U.S. paper of record demanding in an unsigned editorial that the prime minister of a major ally denounce a minor figure in his or her own party. Denounce one of his or her cabinet ministers, maybe. A commanding general, certainly. But a rank-and-file party member?

It did not happen during the LDP's reign. It has no ostensible reason to happen now.

Anonymous #3 said...

"Director-General of the DPJ's International Department (Kokusai kyoku chou)"

You do know that that body exists to keep particular people who see foreign policy as a hobby away from the foreign ministry, right?

Anonymous #3 said...

The headline in the print version was more sensational, by the way:

"Poisonous Thinking in Japan: Has a conspiratorial view of 9/11 taken hold in the ruling party?"

Anonymous said...

I disagree with an earlier Anonymous poster who said that LDP politicians with unpleasant views on WWII used to get the same treatment. My memory - though there may well be exceptions - is that you usually had to become prime minister or head of the Self-Defense Agency before WWII apologism, Nanjing Massacre denial, etc, was regarded as newsworthy (Mori would be an example of someone who made it to the top before it was regarded as worthy of comment). There are simply too many WWII "deniers" in both the LDP (and there are plenty in the DPJ too in fact) for all of the junior ones to be named and shamed. And belief of conspiracy theories surrounding the Tokyo War Trials is so common as to be the mainstream.

PaxAmericana said...

I, too, disagree with the anonymous poster about past treatment of LDP figures. The LDP has been about as pro-US as could have been hoped for, and many or most of the attacks in the US media have been against those who were for an independent policy vis-a-vis the US. It's just that there was no DPJ back then.