The once-mighty nations of China and Japan have been sabre-rattling for over a decade now on everything from sins of the father to barren rocks in the middle of the ocean. One of the more recent arguments involves air pollution from one country invading the other. Japan is accusing China of letting their dirty air fly over the water to colour our skies and China claims the exact opposite, that industrial pollution from Japan is the reason for much of the smog in Beijing as of late. Regardless of which side is more accurate in their statements, I believe the incessant pissing match between Japan's impotent elite and China's duplicitous ruling class is the wrong one. Both nations ultimately need each other in order to maintain their economic vitality, and bickering about things neither side wants to admit will create the proper atmosphere required for open and honest discourse. What these two proud nations need is a common enemy, and they have one in the form of pollution.
What is the difference between a rocket and a missile? Is it the payload it carries, the direction it travels, or the ultimate purpose of the device? Wikipedia defines a rocket as "a missile, spacecraft, aircraft or other vehicle that obtains thrust from a rocket engine", whereas a missile is "a self-propelled guided weapon system". So a rocket is a missile, and a missile is a weapon. That must mean that all rockets are weapons … right? This is what the Japanese media would have us believe about North Korea's recent attempts to put objects into orbit around our planet, yet Japan's own satellite launches are on rockets … even when those satellites are openly known to be for the sole purpose of intelligence gathering.
America is very good at creating their own problems. First they armed, funded, and trained militant groups to keep various governments around the world busy, then they get called in a few decades later to eradicate the militants. Along the way an innumerable number of civilians are caught in the crossfire who lose the only things that matter to them to American munitions and, having nothing left to lose, join the militant groups in a bid to try and exact some sort of revenge on the blood-thirsty Americans who invaded their land in the first place.
Japan held it's second federal election in the last five years today with the previously ejected party winning the lion's share of parliament for the next half-decade1. Not being a citizen of the country, I couldn't cast my vote. Not that it would have made much of a difference, either, as the party that I feel had the most rational and thought-out platform to carry Japan into the future is far too small to have a representative in my district. Perhaps in the future there will be some better representation, and hopefully they will start to gain some traction. One area where I don't see a lot of traction, though, is with the nation's youth taking an active role in representative democracy.
There is an awful lot of censorship in the Japanese news, particularly when it comes to matters such as civil disobedience. When thousands of people get together to protest an action such as free trade, news stations cover the topic with vigor and try their hardest to get panelists in the know on the program to share their opinions. When much larger groups of people band together to protest something like nuclear power, however, there is hardly any mention of it at all on most TV news stations. Today's protests in Fukui attracted more than four thousand people ... none of which seemed to be part of the media.