They were called “comfort women”, words invented by those who exploited and crushed them in the vilest ways, the words of the men who reduced them to sexual slavery, who made war spoils of them. Up to 200,000 women, many of them Korean, spent the second world war as captives in brothels run for Japanese troops. The plight of these women has been the subject of endless political and diplomatic dispute, with some even attempting to deny the reality of their ordeal. Among the many horrors of the war in the Pacific and of the Japanese occupation of many countries and territories, the story of these women has long needed to be acknowledged, and those responsible for their enslavement held to account. Certainly, an unequivocal apology from Japan has been long overdue. Now, more than 70 years after the end of the war, Japan and Korea have decided to “finally and irreversibly resolve” the issue. Japan has declared it is “painfully aware of its … [Read more...] about The Guardian view on Japan, South Korea and ‘comfort women’: one step towards healing the wounds of the past
Fears are rising that stray cats are being deliberately poisoned on Japan’s famed “cat island” after an unusually sharp decline in the feline population. The number of cats on the remote Umashima island, some six miles from the southern city of Kitakyushu, has mysteriously fallen from 90 in 2014 to around 30 this year. The cause of their disappearance is unknown but eyewitness reports pointed to suspicious-looking food that was left out for the animals, including cuts of fish laced with a blue-coloured substance, reported the Mainichi Shimbun. In October 2018 and in May 2019, fish covered with what appeared to be a pharmaceutical product was found scattered in multiple locations on the island, reported the paper. It said that formerly healthy cats had been spotted foaming at the mouth and collapsing. In September 2017, five cats were discovered dead or dying at the same time within a 30-metre radius near the harbour. … [Read more...] about Poisoning fears as population of Japan’s ‘cat island’ suffers drastic decline
Japan releases world’s longest serving death row inmate because evidence that put him behind bars for 45 YEARS was probably made up Iwao Hakamada, 78, was convicted of the murder of a family in 1966He has spent the last 45 years behind bars on death row, a Guinness World Record - including 30 years in solitary confinement waiting to dieHe was sentenced to death in 1968, but was not executed because of a lengthy appeals processA Japanese court has now ordered for his release and retrial, although the prosecution has four days to decide whether it will appeal the decisionBy William Turvill Published: 06:35 GMT, 27 March 2014 | Updated: 14:11 GMT, 27 March 2014 e-mail A Japanese court has ordered the release of the world’s longest serving death row inmate because the evidence used against him was likely made up.Iwao Hakamada, 78, a former professional boxer convicted of the 1966 murder of a family, has spent the last 45 years behind bars on death row, a … [Read more...] about Japan releases world’s longest serving death row inmate because evidence that put him behind bars for 45 YEARS was probably made up
Sir Mark Rylance has suggested that the Japanese should not be viewed as the “cruel” side in the Second World War because the Allies committed their own atrocities. The Oscar-winning star of Wolf Hall and Dunkirk has delved into history for a television documentary about his grandfather, Osmond Skinner, who was a prisoner-of-war after being captured in Hong Kong. Skinner survived the Christmas Day massacre at St Stephen’s College in 1941, when Japanese soldiers stormed a temporary hospital, shooting or bayoneting doctors, nurses, and the wounded who lay helpless in their beds. He spent the rest of the war as a prisoner before returning to his career as a banker, bearing scars from a bullet wound. He died in 1980, having never forgiven the Japanese. But Rylance, a supporter of the Stop the War coalition, believes there is no “right and wrong behaviour in war”. For the Channel 4 programme, My Grandparents’ War, he sought out a Japanese historian. … [Read more...] about Mark Rylance: why did we demand that Japan apologise for Second World War cruelty?
'Twas the week before Christmas, and all through the news not a creature was stirring, not even Brexit. So when some prawn decided to shut down an airport, destroying 350,000 festive getaways for reasons mental, political, or related to the end of school term, the whole world lost its mind and failed to do the one thing that would fix it. Shoot it down, people said. Can't do that, elf'n safety, they were told. Jam it, block it, sod it all to hell, said despairing parents with three screaming children and 84 Christmas presents, stuck in departures. No, no, no, said the authorities. That's all ILLEGAL. And above the city, planes on decreasing amounts of fuel were stuck in holding patterns, diverted to airports they did not wish to be at, and were sent so loopy they thought claiming to be terrorists would get them off the plane and back home quicker. Thank heavens, then, for Gatwick police commander Superintendent Justin Burtenshaw who, appearing on BBC News to declare this was an act … [Read more...] about How Bruce Willis would have solved the Gatwick drone disaster, in GIFs