Friday, March 06, 2015

First Read - 6 March 2015

- The knife attack yesterday on U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Mark Lippert (Link) immediately brought to mind the much more serious stabbing of U.S. Ambassador Edwin Reischauer in Tokyo on 24 March 1964 (Link). However, seemingly only to my mind, as a Google News search of "Reischauer" in katakana returns nothing more recent than reports of the visit of Dr. Kent Calder of the Reischauer Center.

For those historically minded, Dr. George R. Packard, the author of book in the above link and Ambassador Reischauer's special assistant, is still with us. Someone should try to contact him for historical perspective -- especially because he wrote his Ph.D. thesis on the Ampo disturbances.

- For those of us who were wondering, "When only about 33% of those in their twenties vote in national elections, what is the point of lowering the voting age from 20 to 18 years-of-age for national referendums on constitution revisions?" the Liberal Democratic Party let the other shoe drop yesterday. The LDP unveiled plans to have all definitions of adulthood lowered to 18 years of age -- in particular the right to charge (and presumably, in the case of murder, execute) youths 18 and 19 years-of-age as adults. "With rights must come responsibilities (gimu)" intoned LDP policy research chief Inada Tomomi, repeating the conservatives' mantra regarding the Constitution.

That this proposition comes amidst then nation's horror at the murder of 13 year old Uemura Ryota by a gang of youths led by an 18 year old is a mere coincidence.

The Komeito and opposition parties are deeply skeptical about the LDP's plans, saying that changing the legal definition of childhood goes far beyond discussions the parties have had on the subject of altering the franchise. (Link - J)

Just what the LDP has been thinking on the issue of lowering the voting age, aside from a bizarre, "if we can lower the voting age AND change the education system to inculcate hyperpatriotism, making younger voters more ready to vote for us AND we can hang the killer of Uemura Ryota, we will be invincible!" is a mystery.

Then again, what the other parties cooperating on the bill lowering the voting age are thinking is equally mysterious.

As for Inada, a wild, wild guess: though no hint of this has escaped Abe Shinzo's lips, he wants her or Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications Taka'ichi Sanae to succeed him as prime minister.

1 comment:

Robert Dujarric said...

Edwin O. Reischauer and the American Discovery of Japan by
George R. Packard

is a must-read for those interested in Reischauer and in the history of Japan and Asian studies in America. It also covers the stabbing and its aftermath in detail