Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Travel Insurance - Earthquake & Radiation risk

I have problem with insurance claims after the trip in Japan. The claim for additional travel expenses due to earthquake and radiation leak seems strange for many insurance personnel. Some of them are not prepared for the claims, and have no knowledge on that. Other just trying to reject your claim upright, hoping that you did not claim due to the trouble in claiming. That is the problem with the insurance company. The same is with the credit card company, there is no help either from them. But insurance companies from New Zealand, and some countries are very proactive to provide with advises and list of what to do for their customers. Other country,where their insurance companies are like their embassies, do not know what to do during crisis, but hiding the problem inside the carpet like an ostrich.

The lesson learn is choose your travel insurance policy wisely; and buy only from reliable company.

Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is insurance that is intended to cover medical expenses, financial default of travel suppliers, and other losses incurred while traveling, either within one's own country, or internationally. Temporary travel insurance can usually be arranged at the time of the booking of a trip to cover exactly the duration of that trip, or a more extensive, continuous insurance can be purchased from travel insurance companies, travel agents or directly from travel suppliers, such as cruiselines or tour operators. However, travel insurance purchased from travel suppliers tends to be less inclusive than insurance offered by insurance companies. Travel insurance often offers coverage for a variety of travelers. Student travel, business travel, leisure travel, adventure travel, cruise travel, and international travel are all various options that can be insured.

Insurance package by credit card companies

Many people deeply regret not taking out travel insurance. They think their credit card accident cover, home insurance, or private health cover is sufficient. Here are the exclusion clause of the insurance package policy provide by a global reputable credit card company, the protection for a platinum credit card members disclosed that :

This Section does not cover any claim directly or indirectly caused by, resulting from or in connection with :
a. war, invasion, acts of foreign enemies, hostilities or warlike operations (whether war be declared or not), civil war, mutiny, rebellion, revolution, insurrection, military or usurped power,
b. nuclear reaction, nuclear radiation or radioactive contamination,
c. riot,
d. any act of terrorism,
For this purpose, an act of terrorism means an act, including but not limited to the use of force or violence and/or the threat thereof, of any person or group(s) of persons, whether acting alone or on behalf of or in connection with any organization(s) or government(s), committed for political, religious, ideological or similar purposes including the intention to influence any government and/or to put the public, or any section of the public, in fear.
This exclusion also excludes loss, damage, death, injury, illness, cost or expense of whatsoever nature directly or indirectly caused by, resulting from or in connection with any action taken in controlling, preventing, suppressing or in any way relating to any act of terrorism.
e. the Insured Person :
i. engaging in air / water / land / travel except as a passenger
ii. engaging in a criminal act,
iii. committing suicide or intentional self-injury (whether felonious or not) or any attempt thereat while sane or insane

It was clearly stated that terrorism,riot,nuclear reaction, nuclear radiation or radioactive contamination and others are excluded from your credit card insurance.

T & C of typical Travel Insurance Policy
The most common risks that are covered by travel insurance are:

* Medical/dental expenses
* Emergency evacuation/repatriation of remains
* Return of a minor child
* Trip cancellation/interruption
* Accidental death, injury or disablement benefit
* Overseas funeral expenses
* Curtailment
* Delayed departure, missed connection
* Lost, stolen or damaged baggage, personal effects or travel documents
* Delayed baggage (and emergency replacement of essential items)
* Legal assistance
* Trip Cancellation
* Flight Connection was missed due to airline schedule
* Travel Delays due to weather
* Medical Emergency and hospital care (Accident or Sickness)

Common Exclusion

* Pre-existing medical conditions
* War or terrorism - but some plans may cover this risk, and some do cover for acts of terrorism[1]
* Injury or illness caused by alcohol or drug use
* nuclear reaction, nuclear radiation or radioactive contamination,

You need to check the exclusion terms in your insurance policy.

Cancelling or cutting a trip short coverage

A good insurance policy will cover you for cancelling or cutting a trip short. Check carefully to see exactly what you’re covered for:

* accident
* illness
* pregnancy (unknown when you buy the policy)
* jury service or witness summons
* home emergency: fire, storm or flood, burglary
* redundancy
* strikes
* bad weather – affects the departure of flights and ships.

Ensure your policy:

* will refund the full cost of your holiday
* pays out if you need to cancel or cut short a trip because you fall ill for example
* covers pre-paid expenses such as excursions
* covers extra costs incurred to get home.

Try to book with a travel company that holds a licence issued by travel authority e.g. an ATOL (Air Travel Organiser’s Licence)in UK, or is a member of an association that can offer financial protection for your travel arrangements, e.g. ABTA or AITO. Always ask your travel company if protection applies to your travel arrangements. If it doesn’t, the insurance company may be able to offer suitable insurance to cover you.

Travel insurance and natural disaster e.g. recent Japan earthquake

Earthquake is Acts of God, which is unpredictable events that can impact your travel and holiday plans. You'll find cancellation, curtailment and trip interruption clauses in most travel policies, but did the policy cover Acts of God events like earthquake?.

Earthquake and tsunami are excluded although they are not mentioning in the policy T&C. Earthquakes were not excluded explicitly(or in writing in black and white) by the policy, but they did not need to be – they were not covered in the first place. There was no cover for curtailment following a natural disaster in the holiday destination.

The nearest section of the policy to the circumstances was curtailment. This provided that the insurer would pay if the holiday was curtailed by a policyholder’s returning home before the end of the holiday because of specified reasons such as death, illness, etc. But it did not include curtailment following a natural disaster in the holiday destination. I believe we always can get the professional lawsuit to argue with them since it was not written in black and white. But many will stop at that due to time taken and trouble involved in the court. Is it fair there are no clear clauses in the policy that clearly stated that the policy cover natural disaster like earthquake?.

So before travel, make sure you are covered under the catastrophe cover section of your policy

Catastrophe cover is designed to provide cover for additional, irrecoverable travel or accommodation costs if you are forced to move from your pre-paid, pre-booked holiday accommodation (outside of your home country) as a result of unforeseen events such as flood, fire, earthquake, hurricane and medical epidemic. The cover is intended to enable you to continue your holiday in alternative accommodation, or if that’s not possible, return to the UK. Check your travel insurance policy before you travel for full details.

There is provision to curtail your journey and return to your home country

1. Please contact your travel agent, airline or tour company in the first
instance as they may be able to alter your travel arrangements at no
additional cost.
2. Claim any actual and reasonable additional costs incurred by you where they are not recoverable by any other source.
3. submit all receipts for any additional expenses for consideration. If you are claiming for curtailment or additional expenses, you will need to submit all documents showing your original planned pre-paid arrangements, as well as receipts and documents showing your changed itineraries. You will also need to submit
documentation from your travel agent or airline stating what they were able to offer you by way of compensation and refunds; we will only cover additional expenses irrecoverable from any other source.
4. All claims will be subject to the relevant policy excess

If you are currently traveling:

1. Your policy includes cover for overseas emergency medical expenses.
2. Your policy also includes cover for additional accommodation and travel expenses if transport services have been cancelled, delayed or rescheduled as a result of the earthquake, or if your usual place of residence in the affected country has been rendered uninhabitable by the earthquake.

What next steps should you take?

* You should take all reasonable steps to minimise your expenses and this includes rearranging your journey where possible.
* Please submit your travel insurance claim .The insurance company will assess your claim under the terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy. If you have a Cancellation Only policy, your policy does not include cover for additional expenses or overseas medical expenses. If you have a Budget policy, please refer to your Policy Wording / Product Disclosure Statement for the precise benefits covered.
* You will need to submit all receipts for any additional expenses. If you are claiming cancellation or additional expenses, you will need to submit all documents showing your original planned pre-paid arrangements, as well as receipts and documents showing your new arrangements.

Travel insurance and radiation

With some of Japan’s nuclear reactors emitting radiation after damage from devastating earthquake and tsunami, travelers may wonder: Will their travel insurance policy cover them if they cancel trips because of radiation contamination in the region?

Insurers are already grappling with this question, with different outcomes. But agreed on one point: Unless you had added a so-called cancel-for-any-reason rider to your policy, you won’t be reimbursed for your trip deposits and other costs if you cancel your Japan trip solely because you worry that you might encounter radiation—or any other problem, for that matter.

if your plan doesn’t have the ‘cancel for any reason’ coverage. Fear of radiation is not a valid claim.‘Cancel for any reason’ coverage, however lets travelers cancel their insured travel plans for any reason – including fears over radiation poisoning.This coverage provides up to 100% of your total trip costs if you have to cancel your trip for any reason not listed in the standard coverage.

If the travel insurance policy issued by insurance companies still did not cover the risk of Acts of God event, will the travelers stop taking travel insurance, as travel medical insurance and other normal travel coverage are covered by their credit card insurance package if they use credit card to pay for their holiday.

Is that necessary to take up travel insurance? or should consumer boycott the insurance companies without coverage of Acts of God events.... the authority need to ponder over the issue to protect global travelers.

So be very careful when you travel; earthquake and natural disaster is frequent now; radiation risk is now a reality, an actual risk for travelers. It is wise to take up a travel insurance when you travel out of your home country; it is smarter to look at your travel policy to ensure that the terms and conditions meet your needs.
Travel without travel insurance is high risk; buying insurance policy without knowing your risk coverage is wasting your premium......but now.....

Whether you buy the travel insurance or not; the risk is still with you; you may not be protected when disaster strike.....

So buy or not? or take your own risk......

Recommended articles/websites
1.Medical Insurance, http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1470.html
2. ‘Cancel for any reason’ Coverage, http://www.travelinsurancereview.net/travel-insurance-coverage/cancel-for-any-reason-coverage/
3. http://www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk/publications/ombudsman-news/1/travel-insurance-case-studies.htm
4. Example of a proactive insurance company announcement, http://www.directtravelinsurance.co.nz/i/page_images/TID_NZ_Japan_Earthquake_&_Tsunami_28_Mar_2011.pdf

Thursday, April 21, 2011

South Sanriku -- Tsunami seen from Shizugawa High School

Minamisanriku (南三陸町)

Minami Sanriku or South Sanriku(みなみさんりくちょう), Miyagi, northern Japan. The full name is Minamisanriku (南三陸町, Minamisanriku-chō), which means "South three land". It is part of The Sanriku coast (三陸海岸 Sanriku kaigan) is a descriptive term referring to Mutsu in Aomori, Rikuchū in Aomori and Rikuzen in Miyagi. It was a charming resort town on a coastline of wooded islands and mountainous inlets. The town is in Motoyoshi District(本吉郡, Motoyoshi-gun), Miyagi Prefecture(宮城県, Miyagi-ken),located in the Tōhoku Region on Honshu island, Japan. The capital is Sendai(仙台市, Sendai-shi), which also suffered from catastrophic damage from a magnitude 9.0 offshore earthquake and the tsunami that it caused. It has an area of 163.74 square kilometres (63.22 sq mi), and as of October 1, 2004 the population of the area was 19,170. The town was formed through a merger on October 1, 2005, when the towns of Shizugawa(志津川町)and Utatsu(歌津町), both from Motoyoshi District, merged to form the new town of Minamisanriku. The town was destroyed by the Japanese 2011 tsunami on 11-3-2011.

Shizugawa (志津川町)
Shizugawa (志津川町, Shizugawa-chō) was a town located in Motoyoshi District, Miyagi, Japan. Shizugawa contained a junior high and a high school. The town was immersed in water by the 2011 great tsunami leading to its near total destruction and the death of many of its people. Although its people had prepared for the risk of a tsunami by preparing a tall sea wall, the wave was so large that it easily topped the wall. Buildings as tall as four stories were then totally immersed.

Map of Shizugawa, Minamisanriku (日本宮城県本吉郡南三陸町志津川町村)

View Larger Map

The coming of Tsunami
The video was taken from the Shizugawa High school(宮城県志津川高等学校)

This clip is the most horrifying as commented by yahoo. Entitled "South Sanriku -- Tsunami seen from Shizugawa High School," it's shot from high ground, but toward the end of the video you can see panicked residents running for their lives. Almost as dramatic as the video is its audio track, where even if you don't speak Japanese, you can tell the people are expressing concern at the beginning, but by the end, their voices have reached a high level of panic and horror as they watch their homes washing away. Shortly after the tsunami, one survivor called the oncoming deluge "a gigantic pile of garbage coming down the street." That's an apt description, as you can see an entire town reduced to a huge pile of watery debris in a matter of minutes. Shocking.(source: yahoo)

The 2011 Tōhoku earthquake
The 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami (東日本大震災, Higashi Nihon Daishinsai, literally "Eastern Japan Great Earthquake Disaster", officially named the Great East Japan Earthquake, was a 9.0-magnitude undersea megathrust earthquake off the coast of Japan that occurred at 14:46 JST (05:46 UTC) on Friday, 11 March 2011. The epicenter was approximately 72 km (45 mi) east of the Oshika Peninsula of Tōhoku, with the hypocenter at an underwater depth of approximately 32 km (19.9 mi). On 1 April 2011, the Japanese government named the disaster resulting from the earthquake and tsunami the "Great Eastern Japan Earthquake" (東日本大震災, Higashi Nihon Daishinsai). The earthquake triggered extremely destructive tsunami waves of up to 37.9 meters (124 ft) that struck Japan minutes after the quake, in some cases traveling up to 10 km (6 mi) inland, with smaller waves reaching many other countries after several hours. Tsunami warnings were issued and evacuations ordered along Japan's Pacific coast and at least 20 other countries, including the entire Pacific coast of the Americas

Sanriku Tsunami 2011
The north-eastern coast of Japan’s main island of Honshu, the hauntingly beautiful area called Sanriku, has experienced four destructive tsunamis in the last 115 years, and with more loss of life than any tsunami-prone region in Japan or perhaps the world. The most devastating one, in 1896 (known as the Meiji Sanriku Tsunami) was, until 2011, the worst in modern Japanese history.

It killed over 27,000 people in many of the same towns and villages suffering through the current disaster. Another powerful wave in 1933 took fewer lives, about 3000, but so shook local sensibilities that it led to the massive building of dikes and other defences, which helped to keep casualties to a minimum when a third tsunami struck in 1968. Half a century's worth of concrete walls, breakwaters, and other fortifications could not hold back the most recent wave, however, whose ultimate toll in human suffering may exceed that of 1896.

For generations, the sea was the life-blood of the picturesque fishing town of Minami Sanriku, but in one fateful moment it turned destroyer.

Minami Sanriku didn't stand a chance. Caught in the path of the giant tsunami generated by Friday's earthquake, the town is now no more, wiped from the map by a towering wall of water, buried under a mountain of thick debris-strewn mud, drowned by an angry, merciless sea that could not be stopped.

Of the 17,000 residents that call this tourism magnet home, more than 10,000 remain missing, feared dead.

They were the first to feel the force of the tsunami, given their homes sit just 80km west of the 8.9-magnitude quake's epicentre. It was a direct hit, as quick as it was devastating.

"10,000 ppl missing. horrible, whole town is gone. highway broken into bits, in mud, all mud, all gone. Incredible devastation, all buildings except hospital are gone, highway in pieces, only 3 buildings standing, hospital, some wedding place and one more building. rest are gone."

(source: http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/minami-sanriku-the-town-that-disappeared-in-the-japan-earthquake/story-e6freuy9-1226020730156)

The impact of earthquake and tsunami 2011

After tsunami at Shizugawa(南三陸志津川町の様子)

Report after tsunami at South Sanriku (宮城県南三陸町より被災状況報告)

Evacuation Centre at Shizugawa Primary School(宮城県南三陸町・志津川小学校避難所より)

The 1933 Sanriku earthquake (1933 昭和三陸地震)
The 1933 Sanriku earthquake (昭和三陸地震, Shōwa Sanriku Jishin) was a major earthquake whose associated tsunami caused widespread damage to towns on the Sanriku coast of the Tōhoku region of Honshū, Japan in 1933.The epicenter of the 1933 Sanriku earthquake was located offshore, 290 kilometres (180 mi) east of the city of Kamaishi, Iwate. The initial shock occurred on at 0230 AM on March 2, 1933. The earthquake measured 8.4 on the moment magnitude scale and was in approximately the same location as the 1896 Meiji-Sanriku earthquake.

1896 Meiji-Sanriku earthquake(1896 明治三陸大津波)
The 1896 Meiji-Sanriku earthquake was highly destructive, generating one of the most devastating tsunamis in Japanese history, destroying about 9,000 homes and causing at least 22,000 deaths. This magnitude 7.2 event occurred at 19:32 (local time) on June 15, 1896. The magnitude of the tsunami (Mt = 8.2) was much greater than expected for the estimated seismic magnitude and this earthquake has been regarded as being part of a distinct class of events, a tsunami earthquake

The 869 Sanriku earthquake(869年貞観地震)
The 869 Sanriku earthquake and tsunami (869年三陸地震, 869-nen Sanriku jishin?) struck the area around Sendai in the northern part of Honshu on 9 July 869 (May 26, Jōgan 11). The earthquake had an estimated magnitude of 8.6 on the surface wave magnitude scale. The tsunami caused widespread flooding of the Sendai plain, with sand deposits being found up to 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) from the coast.

(extract from wikipedia)

Recommended articles/websites:

1. Minami Sanriku - the town that disappeared in the Japan earthquake;The Daily Telegraph dated # March 14, 2011 12:00AM, http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/minami-sanriku-the-town-that-disappeared-in-the-japan-earthquake/story-e6freuy9-1226020730156
2. 1933 Sanriku earthquake,http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1933_Sanriku_earthquake
3.Seismicity of the Sanriku coast, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seismicity_of_the_Sanriku_coast
4.Sanriku: Japan's 'Tsunami Coast', The Telegraph, 21-4-2011, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/japan/8380614/Sanriku-Japans-Tsunami-Coast.html

Friday, April 8, 2011

Japan after Great Kantō earthquake(関東大震災) 1923

September 1, 1923 8.3 ML 1923 Great Kantō earthquake(関東大震災, Kantō Daishinsai Izu Ōshima). An earthquake which struck the Kantō plain on the Japanese main island of Honshū at 11:58 on the morning of September 1, 1923.

It may not be appropriate time to write about sad political/military history of Japan; but Japan cannot escaped from its history, just like British (refer to the statement of British Prime Minister on his comments on British responsible for today's world problem ). History remind us to learn from the mistakes and look forward for better future, avoiding the same mistakes, or helping others to avoid the same mistake, which will made the world much better......

Varied accounts hold that the duration of the earthquake was between 4 and 10 minutes. The quake had an epicenter deep beneath Izu Ōshima Island in Sagami Bay. It devastated Tokyo, the port city of Yokohama, surrounding prefectures of Chiba, Kanagawa, and Shizuoka, and caused widespread damage throughout the Kantō region.1] The power and intensity of the earthquake is easy to underestimate, but the 1923 earthquake managed to move the 93-ton Great Buddha statue at Kamakura. The statue slid forward almost two feet. Casualty estimates range from about 100,000 to 142,000 deaths, the latter figure including approximately 40,000 who went missing and were presumed dead.

The Korean Massacre

In what came to be known as the Korean Massacre, 6,000 Koreans living in Japan and several hundred Chinese and Japanese mistaken for Koreans, were indiscriminately murdered by the Japanese. The massacres were due at least in part to false rumors that the Koreans were planning an uprising. False rumors that the Koreans were: setting fires, poisoning wells, raping and looting, and mobilizing an army first emerged in the Yokohama and Kawasaki areas. When and why did such rumors begin to circulate? It is said that the rumors started mid-afternoon of September 1, spreading across the nation by September 4, reaching even the northernmost island of Hokkaido. The people's panic manifested itself through gradual belief in these false rumors. Psychiatrists have suggested that the minority Koreans became the target for feelings of anger the Japanese felt against the injustice of fate and being victims of the earthquake and fires. Moreover, prejudice and hostility the Japanese populace had toward Koreans, especially since Japan's colonization of Korea in 1910, could only explain such extreme measures taken during the massacre though the Japanese government did not want to admit it. In order to guard against "possible attack," local vigilante groups, jikeidan, with the support of the government, police, and military stationed themselves in neighborhoods and refugee camps, killing "lawless Koreans" on the spot with Japanese swords and bamboo poles. The frenzy subsided September 4, when the police distributed 30,000 leaflets that told vigilante groups that due to "vigorous vigilance" there was no longer any need to "oppress them (the Koreans) unlawfully or to inflict any violence upon them." Only two days earlier, however, the same police headed by, Goto Fumio, Chief of the Bureau of Police affairs, sent a note to every Prefectural Governor to "take firm measures in dealing with the activities of Koreans." Thus the police indirectly allowed vigilante groups to kill the Koreans giving jikeidan groups the justification that they were protecting the rest of the community.

The Japanese government felt that it needed to take additional actions to somehow minimize the damage the Korean Massacre would have on Japan's image. The reality was this: extreme measures taken by the Japanese population, most likely due to anti-Korean sentiments, resulted in the murder of thousands of Koreans. The state hoped to limit domestic and international criticism, and needed to prevent the harboring of anti-Japanese sentiment in its own colonized country Korea as a result of the Korean Massacre. These concerns were addressed in a meeting held at the Police Department of the Emergency Earthquake Relief Bureau on September 5. Representatives of the Army, Navy, Home Ministry, Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department, and the Martial Law Command, discussed possible solutions. For instance, the Japanese officials in both Japan and Korea prohibited Korean refugees from returning to Korea to prevent them from spreading rumors there about the massacre. Even newspapers were censored and articles related to the massacre of Koreans were prohibited. Underlying messages within the Taisho shinsai giseki reflect the Japanese government's solutions to these concerns by "re-writing history" in a subtle manner through its distribution of narratives reflecting the government's own version of history.

(source: http://dl.lib.brown.edu/kanto/denewa.html)

All of those charged with murder were civilians, despite the fact that some military and police units are now known to have taken part in the crimes, prompting accusations of a cover-up. On top of this violence, socialists like Hirasawa Keishichi, anarchists like Sakae Osugi and Noe Ito, and the Chinese communal leader, Ou Kiten, were abducted and killed by members of the police, who took advantage of the turmoil to liquidate perceived enemies of the state amidst claims that radicals intended to use the crisis as an opportunity to overthrow the Japanese government.

The importance of obtaining and providing accurate information following natural disasters has been emphasized in Japan ever since. Earthquake preparation literature in modern Japan almost always directs citizens to carry a portable radio and use it to listen to reliable information, and not to be misled by rumors in the event of a large earthquake.
(source: Wikipedia)

Tokyo in 1926~27(3 years after 1923 Great Kanto earthquake)

The Great Depression 1929(6 years after Great Kanto Earthquake)

The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s. It was the longest, most widespread, and deepest depression of the 20th century. In the 21st century, the Great Depression is commonly used as an example of how far the world's economy can decline. The depression originated in the U.S., starting with the fall in stock prices that began around September 4, 1929 and became worldwide news with the stock market crash of October 29, 1929 (known as Black Tuesday). From there, it quickly spread to almost every country in the world.

Japan, as a new industrial country still heavily dependent on export earnings for financing its imports of essential fuel and raw materials, was hit hard too. The Japanese silk industry, an export staple, was already suffering from the advent of artificial silk-like fibers produced by Western chemical giants. Now luxury purchases collapsed, leading to severe unemployment and, again, a crucial political crisis. Between 1929 and 1931, the value of Japanese exports plummeted by 50 percent. Workers' real income dropped by almost one-third, and there were over
three million unemployed. Depression was compounded by bad harvests in several regions, leading to rural begging and near-starvation.(source: One-Half Century Of Crisis, 1914-1945(1992), by Adas, Michael; http://history-world.org/great_depression.htm)

The Great Depression did not strongly affect Japan. The Japanese economy shrank by 8% during 1929–31. However, Japan's Finance Minister Takahashi Korekiyo was the first to implement what have come to be identified as Keynesian economic policies: first, by large fiscal stimulus involving deficit spending; and second, by devaluing the currency. Takahashi used the Bank of Japan to sterilize the deficit spending and minimize resulting inflationary pressures. Econometric studies have identified the fiscal stimulus as especially effective. The devaluation of the currency had an immediate effect. Japanese textiles began to displace British textiles in export markets. The deficit spending, however proved to be most profound. The deficit spending went into the purchase of munitions for the armed forces. By 1933, Japan was already out of the depression.

By 1934, Takahashi realized that the economy was in danger of overheating, and to avoid inflation, moved to reduce the deficit spending that went towards armaments and munitions. This resulted in a strong and swift negative reaction from nationalists, especially those in the Army, culminating in his assassination in the course of the February 26 Incident. This had a chilling effect on all civilian bureaucrats in the Japanese government. From 1934, the military's dominance of the government continued to grow. Instead of reducing deficit spending, the government introduced price controls and rationing schemes that reduced, but did not eliminate inflation, which would remain a problem until the end of World War II.

The deficit spending had a transformative effect on Japan. Japan's industrial production doubled during the 1930s. Further, in 1929 the list of the largest firms in Japan was dominated by light industries, especially textile companies (many of Japan's automakers, like Toyota, have their roots in the textile industry). By 1940 light industry had been displaced by heavy industry as the largest firms inside the Japanese economy.
(source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Depression)

1931 Invasion of Manchuria(eight years after 1923 Great Kanto earthquake)

The Japanese invasion of Manchuria by the Kwantung Army(関東軍) of the Empire of Japan, beginning on September 19, 1931, immediately followed the Mukden Incident.

The Mukden Incident, also known as the Manchurian Incident, was a staged event that was engineered by Japanese military personnel as a pretext for invading the northern part of China known as Manchuria in 1931. The event is known in Japan as the Manchurian Incident (Kyūjitai: 滿洲事變, Manshujihen:まんしゅうじへん 満州事変) and in China as the September 18 Incident (Chinese: 九•一八事变/九•一八事變 or 瀋陽事變) or the Liutiaohu Incident (Chinese: 柳条湖事变/柳條湖事變).

On 18 September 1931 a small quantity of dynamite was detonated by Lt. Kawamoto Suemori close to a railroad owned by Japan's South Manchuria Railway near Mukden (now Shenyang). Although the explosion was so weak that it failed to destroy the lines and a train passed minutes later, the Imperial Japanese Army, accusing Chinese dissidents of the act, responded with a full invasion that led to the occupation of Manchuria, in which Japan established its puppet state of Manchukuo six months later.

The ruse was soon exposed to the international community, leading Japan to diplomatic isolation and its withdrawal from the League of Nations.

The Japanese occupation of Manchuria lasted until the end of World War II.

1931 September 18, Japanese expansion in East Asia began in 1931 with the invasion of Manchuria.

1937 The Second Sino-Japanese War (July 7, 1937 – September 9, 1945)

1937 July 7–9, Japan launched the full scale invasion of China. The Second Sino-Japanese War (July 7, 1937 – September 9, 1945) was a military conflict fought primarily between the Republic of China and the Empire of Japan. To the Chinese, the war is most commonly known as the War of Resistance Against Japan (抗日战争/抗日戰爭), and also known as the Eight Years' War of Resistance(八年抗战/八年抗戰), simply War of Resistance (抗战/抗戰), or Second Sino-Japanese War (第二次中日战争/第二次中日戰爭).In Japan, the name "Japan–China War" (日中戰爭, Nitchū Sensō) is most commonly used because of its perceived objectivity. In Japan today, it is written as 日中戦争 in shinjitai. When the invasion of China proper began in earnest in July 1937 near Beijing, the government of Japan used "The North China Incident" (華北事變, Kahoku Jihen?), and with the outbreak of the Battle of Shanghai the following month, it was changed to "The China Incident" (支那事變, Shina Jihen).

The word "incident" (事變, jihen) was used by Japan, as neither country had made a formal declaration of war. Japan wanted to avoid intervention by other countries, particularly the United Kingdom and the United States, which were her primary source of petroleum; the United States was also her biggest supplier of steel. US President Franklin D. Roosevelt would have been legally obliged to impose an embargo on Japan in observance of the US Neutrality Acts had the fighting been formally escalated to "general war". When both sides formally declared war in December 1941, the name was replaced by "Greater East Asia War" (大東亞戰爭, Daitōa Sensō).

Most historians place the beginning of the Second Sino-Japanese War on July 7, 1937 at the Marco Polo Bridge Incident, when a crucial access point to Beijing was assaulted by the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA). Because the Chinese defenders were the poorly equipped infantry divisions of the former Northwest Army(西北軍), the Japanese easily captured Beiping and Tianjin.

From 1937 to 1941, China fought Japan with some economic help from Germany (see Sino-German cooperation (1911–1941)), the Soviet Union (1937–1940) and the United States (see American Volunteer Group). After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor (1941), the war merged into the greater conflict of World War II as a major front of what is broadly known as the Pacific War. The Second Sino-Japanese War was the largest Asian war in the 20th century. It also made up more than 50% of the casualties in the Pacific War if the 1937–1941 period is taken into account.

Although the two countries had fought intermittently since 1931, total war started in earnest in 1937 and ended only with the surrender of Japan in 1945. The war was the result of a decades-long Japanese imperialist policy aiming to dominate China politically and militarily and to secure its vast raw material reserves and other economic resources, particularly food and labour. Before 1937, China and Japan fought in small, localized engagements, so-called "incidents". Yet the two sides, for a variety of reasons, refrained from fighting a total war. In 1931, the Japanese invasion of Manchuria by Japan's Kwantung Army followed the Mukden Incident. The last of these incidents was the Marco Polo Bridge Incident of 1937, marking the beginning of total war between the two countries.

1938 Battle of Lake Khasan(July 29, 1938 – August 11, 1938)

1938 July 29 , Battle of Lake Khasan: The armed forces of Japanese Manchukuo attacked the Soviet military at Lake Khasan. The Battle of Lake Khasan (July 29, 1938 – August 11, 1938) and also known as the Changkufeng Incident (張鼓峰事件) in China and Japan, was an attempted military incursion of Manchukuo (Japanese) into the territory claimed by the Soviet Union. This incursion was founded in the beliefs of the Japanese side that the Soviet Union misinterpreted the demarcation of the boundary based on the Treaty of Peking between Imperial Russia and the Manchu Empire (and subsequent supplementary agreements on demarcation), and furthermore, that the demarcation markers were tampered with.

For most of the first half of the twentieth century there was considerable tension between Moscow, Tokyo and Peking along their common borders in what is now North East China. The Chinese Eastern Railway or (CER) was a railway in northeastern China (Manchuria). It connected China and the Russian Far East. The southern branch of the CER, known in the West as the South Manchuria Railway, became the locus and partial casus belli for the Russo-Japanese War and subsequent incidents leading to the Second Sino-Japanese War, and a series of Soviet-Japanese Border Wars. Larger incidents included the Sino-Soviet conflict of 1929 and the Mukden Incident between Japan and China in 1931. The battle of Lake Khasan was fought between two powers which had long distrusted each other. August 31 1938, Battle of Lake Khasan ended in a Japanese defeat.

1939 The Battles of Khalkhyn Gol(11 May – 16 September 1939)

The Battles of Khalkhyn Gol(Mongolian: Халхын голын байлдаан; Russian: бой на реке Халхин-Гол) was the decisive engagement of the undeclared Soviet–Japanese Border Wars fought among the Soviet Union, Mongolia and the Empire of Japan in 1939. The conflict was named after the river Khalkhyn Gol, which passes through the battlefield. In Japan, the decisive battle of the conflict is known as the Nomonhan Incident (ノモンハン事件, Nomonhan jiken) after a nearby village on the border between Mongolia and Manchuria. The battles resulted in total defeat for the Japanese Sixth Army.

Casualty estimates vary widely: Some sources say the Japanese suffered 45,000 or more soldiers killed with Soviet casualties of at least 17,000. The Japanese officially reported 8,440 killed and 8,766 wounded, while the Soviets initially claimed 9,284 total casualties. It is likely that figures published at the time were reduced for propaganda purposes. In recent years, with the opening of the Soviet archives, a more accurate assessment of Soviet casualties has emerged from the work of Grigoriy Krivosheev, citing 7,974 killed and 15,251 wounded. Similar research into Japanese casualties has yet to take place.

(source: wikipedia)

1941 Attack on Pearl Harbor

1941 December 7, Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor and thrust the United States into World War II. The military action led to USA entered the Pacific War, or World War II.

The historical events after Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, where international humanitarian aids were flowing in, and China was reported as the first to provide the relief aid, despite the internal financial and political problems in their own country.

After the Kanto Earthquake, and later Great Depression in 1929; Japan was greatly affected economically, but was able to recover by 1933, which also encourage the rise of political power of Japanese Militarism. In 1931, Japan manifested her military expansionary plan into action in Manchuria(China), and by 1937 a full scale military action in 2nd Sino-Japanese War started the war of no coming back, the nation was controlled by militarism, politically and economically, even psychologically the militarism brainwashed the whole nation of its success in East Asia ....

Despite the humanitarian aids to relief of Great Kanto Earthquake, when China was still under humiliation and suffering of political powers during the Manchu and early modern China era. The oil live leaves given did not provide meaning to relationship of two neighboring countries. The relationship between China and Japan was damaged in 1931, and further damage in 1937(2nd Sino-Japanese War), which was part of Pacific War, and World War 2; a great humiliation and suffering for China and her people. The scar still remain until today.

Did Great Kanto Earthquake 1923 sparked off the Japanese Militarism in full scale? or is The Great Depression 1929 that helped to facilitate their military expansionary plan?.....

Will the 2011 Tōhoku Earthquake facilitate the resurface of the Japanese Militarism, like 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake? Perhap it is not the time to ponder on political issue, when Japan is still suffered from the impact of earthquake and radiation risk.

Just pray that Japan will recover soon, and will not repeat the path of their historical past..... but will play a positive role in global peace....a new history will begin for Japan.....

Recommended articles/websites/books:-
1. Battles of Khalkhin Gol, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Khalkhin_Gol
2. Soviet–Japanese Border Wars, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet%E2%80%93Japanese_Border_Wars
3. Japanese invasion of Manchuria, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_invasion_of_Manchuria
4. Soviet invasion of Manchuria, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_invasion_of_Manchuria
5. The Manchurian crisis and Japanese society, 1931-33(2002); by Sandra Wilson, Routledge
6. Japanese Invasion of Manchuria and the League of Nations' Response, http://www.bbc.co.uk/learningzone/clips/japanese-invasion-of-manchuria-and-the-league-of-nations-response/2448.html(The clip describes the problems facing Japan during the Depression. It uses a reconstruction of a speech given by Lt Col Hashimoto Kingoro arguing that the only answer to Japan's problems of surplus population was expansion of territory. Using the excuse of anarchy in the Chinese region of Manchuria, where Japan had economic interests, the Japanese invaded in 1931 and set up the puppet government of Manchukuo. The League took a year to respond, but did order Japan to withdraw, leading to a Japanese walkout).
7. Second Sino-Japanese War, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Sino-Japanese_War

Thursday, April 7, 2011

British responsible for today's world problems?

An article from Mirror, a UK's newspaper; a admission by a Prime Minister from Britain that Britain was responsible for “so many of the world’s problems”. He is David Cameron, the youngest Prime Minister in Britain. Congratulation to the courage that he has to speak the truth.

He insisted that it was not his place to intervene in the dispute, saying: “I don’t want to try to insert Britain in some leading role where, as with so many of the world’s problems, we are responsible for the issue in the first place.”

If you read the history of colonies under Britain; the best strategy that Britain used was to divided and ruled, based mainly on racial classification or religion classification. You see the problems left for the new nation with multiracial background, or even multi-religion background. Look at Burma, North East India, Malaya, Pakistan, India, Ceylon, and some African and Middle East countries; where the problems still exists....

British was worry of China become another America in Asia, which will adversely affected their political and trade interest. The corruption of the Japan’s leadership, from the Emperor down, by the British. It began with the British manipulation of Japan into the Sino-Japanese War of 1894, followed by the Anglo-Japanese Alliance(日英同盟 Nichi-Ei Dōmei, にちえいどうめい ) of 1902, the Russo-Japanese War, and then Japan’s entry into the First World War as an ally of the British Empire. The first Anglo-Japanese Alliance (日英同盟, Nichi-Ei Dōmei) was signed in London at what is now the Lansdowne Club, on January 30, 1902, by Lord Lansdowne (British foreign secretary) and Hayashi Tadasu (Japanese minister in London). It was a military alliance between the two countries, which boost the militarism in Japan and encourage its expansionary agenda in China. A diplomatic milestone for its ending of Britain's splendid isolation, the alliance was renewed and extended in scope twice, in 1905 and 1911, before its demise in 1921. It officially terminated in 1923. British played a positive role in development of Japanese militarism, just like today's Libya dictatorship.

Look at Tibet, the problem start from Britain....which was eying Tibet from India, taking strategic advantage of weakness in the Manchu, and the newly formed Chinese Republic of China by Dr Sun Yat-sen and its power struggle in the new nation.

and their human right abuse records in the colonies all over the world; typical example was the The Batang Kali massacre, an incident that took place in Malaya on December 12, 1948 during British military operations against native and Chinese[1] communists in the post-World War II Malayan Emergency. The 7th Platoon, G Company, 2nd Scots Guard surrounded a rubber estate at Sungai Rimoh, Batang Kali, Selangor in Malaya and shot 24 villagers before setting fire to the village....

Lately, the role Britain played to develop and finance a dictator in Libya...

These are the truth, and reality....

Is Britain really responsible for the world's problems?
by Tristram Hunt, Daily Mirror 7/04/2011

Yet that is what David Cameron was up to when he suggested in Pakistan this week that Britain was responsible for “so many of the world’s problems” – and, as such, had no right to ¬intervene in conflicts like Kashmir.

The UK is certainly not the cause of Pakistan’s current instability.

But in the week which saw four elderly Kenyans take the Government to court over their treatment in British detention camps in the 50s, David Cameron was right to highlight the unpleasant edges of Empire.

What is true is that Britain’s rapid retreat from former colonies exposed historic fault-lines which now cause wars and unrest across the world.

The expansion of the British Empire brought many advantages.

Hong Kong island might have remained a barren rock had it not been for the Royal Navy in the 1840s.

Their desire to trade – mostly opium – with the Chinese mainland turned this “fragrant harbour” into the “pearl of the orient” – the booming free-trade emporium we know today. In West Bengal, in north-east India, the ¬foundations of Calcutta were laid by the East India Company.

Exports to the West turned this settlement on the banks of the Hooghly into a ¬commercial metropolis and cultural powerhouse.

The British presence in India led to the development of legal systems, transport infrastructure and, of course, the English language – which is a vital part of India’s competitive advantage today.

Across the world, we might point to the laying of railways, digging of canals, the rule of law, and the spread of Christianity as the fruits of Empire.

However, the ledger on the debt side weighs equally heavy. In India, the British built up the great cities of Bombay (Mumbai), New Delhi, and Madras (Chennai), but stood idly by as millions died in famines.

In India, as well as Africa, human rights were abused and attempts at independence brutally snuffed out.

The suffering of the Mau Mau in British camps was an echo of concentration camps in which the British had imprisoned the South African Boers in the 1900s.

The wealth from Empire was also drawn from ugly sources. The traffic in humans from Africa to the ¬Americas ensured the ¬prosperity of sugar-cane planters in Barbados and Jamaica. Yet it left millions dead from the “middle passage” across the Atlantic or, if they survived, enduring untold suffering as slaves.

Few Empires – from the Romans to the Ottomans – end well. And the decline and fall of the British Empire was no exception.

Of course, the so-called “White Commonwealth” countries of Australia, Canada and New Zealand enjoyed stable paths to independence from the late 1800s, as dominions and then free nations.

However, colonies without a history of mass European migration – in Africa, India and South-East Asia – were not granted liberty so easily.

Despite the activities of parties such as the Pan African Conference and the Indian Congress Party, the British were reluctant to give up control.

The Second World War and American demands for an end to imperialism meant colonial liberation was soon a necessity. Britain could no longer afford its Empire and the Americans did not want to subsidize it.

So the floodgates opened and, in the space of barely 30 years, our imperial possessions were off-loaded.

What Harold Macmillan called “the winds of change” were sweeping across the British, Portuguese and French Empires as India, the multiple nations of Africa, the islands of the West Indies, the colonies of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and Malaya (Malaysia) all tasted freedom.

Some left with careful planning, others like a fire-sale. In many post-colonial nations, British civil servants helped to write constitutions and British troops train up armies.

But there was also an absence of forethought. Arrogant administrators with little feel for culture and history drew lines on maps and conjured up new nations with disastrous ¬consequences. Religious affiliations, tribal ¬loyalties and language barriers were ignored. Nations were cobbled together. And many former colonies battled with the ¬consequences.

But it is no longer good enough to blame Britain. It is an easy get-out-of-jail card for failing and corrupt leaders to blame the last Empire.

Yes, mistakes were made, but that is no excuse for bad government.

The British Empire has a mixed legacy, but the challenge for nations like Pakistan to rise above history.

That should be David Cameron’s message.

Dr Tristram Hunt is MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central and lecturer in history at the ¬University of London.

(source: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/top-stories/2011/04/07/is-britain-really-responsible-for-the-world-s-problems-115875-23043124/#ixzz1InAQuABl)

But there are still countries which prosper with British administration, like Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Australia and Hong Kong. They inherited the legal and administration legacies from their colonial master, and the parliamentary democracy of free election.... that is the legacies of British empire.

There were good and ugly.....but many was hurt by the past action of British empire, especially the Opium wars.. the slave trade....

Sean Gabb, of the campaign group Libertarian Alliance, said Mr Cameron should not apologise for Britain’s past. He said: “It’s a valid historical point that some problems stem from British foreign policy in the 19th and 20th centuries, but should we feel guilty about that? I fail to see why we should.“Some of these problems came about because these countries decided they did not want to be part of the British Empire. They wanted independence. They got it. They should sort out their problems instead of looking to us.” Wah, great quote, washing the dirty hands....in the first place is the taking away the land and country of other people, forcing people to take opium, a human right violation?.....it is not only human right violation but a crime under British common law, against Christian Church of England's teaching; but why the law did not apply?.....

So David Cameron does not need to be too sorry for what Britain empire had done; the most important is to admit the mistakes, and let historian decided on the history. The people cannot forgot the painful history, but they can forgive and look forward that this will not happen again. Britain can only revert back to his gentleman days, continue fighting for the justice and right of the former colonies, and the world. Britain with its knowledge resources, still can help the former colonies in the platform of Commonwealth countries.

Looking forward, British can played a positive role in the modern world; a real champion....and gain back the reputation she once has......

Suggested articles/websites/books:
1. David Cameron: Britain caused many of the world's problems; http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/david-cameron/8430899/David-Cameron-Britain-caused-many-of-the-worlds-problems.html
2. Cameron admits Mideast policy mistakes; by Alex Barker in Kuwait City, http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/7899626e-3e6b-11e0-9e8f-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1Injikr3U
3. David Cameron calls for 'fresh start' with Pakistan; http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/david-cameron/8428435/David-Cameron-calls-for-fresh-start-with-Pakistan.html
4. Sharia law will undermine British society,' warns Cameron in attack on multiculturalism; http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-519090/Sharia-law-undermine-British-society-warns-Cameron-attack-multiculturalism.html
5. How London, Wall Street Backed Japan's War Against China and Sun Yat Sen; by Mike Billington, http://www.larouchepub.com/other/2004/3123morgan_v_dr_sun.html
6. http://larouchejapan.com/japanese/drupal-6.14/sites/default/files/text/SYS-Japan-PanAsia-Revolution-FINAL.pdf
7. New documents reveal cover-up of 1948 British 'massacre' of villagers in Malaya,http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/apr/09/malaya-massacre-villagers-coverup
8. UK rejects massacre inquiry call,http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7860287.stm
9. Massacre victims’ families to take matter to British court, http://batangkalimassacre.wordpress.com/
10. British war crimes, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_war_crimes
11. Mau Mau Uprising, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mau_Mau_uprising
12. HISTORY: THE MAU-MAU AND THE END OF THE COLONY (1947-1963); http://www.kenyalogy.com/eng/info/histo13.html

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Dr Sun Yat-sen & Japan

Dr Sun Yat-sen's activities in Japan where he stayed for a total of 11 years between 1895 and 1924( He went to Japan 15 times). Dr Sun was active in the cities of Tokyo, Nagasaki, Kobe and Yokohama, where his experiences are thought to have shaped his ideas of revolution. He led the historic revolution of 1911 that overthrew the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), ending China's autocratic monarchical system that had been in place for more than 2,000 years. Sun died in Beijing on March 12, 1925. His body was temporarily kept in the then Central Park, which was renamed Zhongshan (Sun Yat-sen) Park in 1928.

“The relationship between China and Japan is one of common existence or extinction. Without Japan, there would be no China; without China, there would be no Japan. … Under the principle of Pan-Asianism, Japan and China can together develop the natural resources in the West of the Pacific, while under the Monroe Doctrine the United States can unify authority in the East of that ocean. ... By a concerted effort of these three Powers disarmament might some day be affected, and, going one step further, permanent peace of the world secured.”
- Sun Yat-sen, The Vital Problem of China (1917)

Despite Dr Sun was a Christian and pro-American, British, USA and the west, did not support Dr Sun and his effort in building the republic, and the later unification. Dr Sun was educated and trained in Hawaii and Hong Kong, influenced by the western ideology and culture. British and USA however supported Yuan Shi-kai(袁世凯), a former Qing general who was the second (right after Sun Yatsen) President of the Republic of China, and his short-lived attempt to revive the Chinese monarchy, with himself as the "Great Emperor of China.". China was divided. British and USA also did not support the Republic of China under Dr Sun or his government.

(Note: In mid-1941, the United States government financed the creation of the American Volunteer Group (AVG), or Flying Tigers, to replace the withdrawal of Soviet volunteers and aircraft, was the initiative during 2nd Sino-Japanese War. But when China was divided after 1949, USA whole heatedly supported Chiang Kai-shek in Taiwan and his government, despite it was a non democratic one party state. I wonder is it the charm of Song May Ling or the remain effect of pre war divided China foreign policy, that continue to cold war?......another question is without the attack of Pearl Harbor, will USA entered the Pacific war or WW2 solely to help China?....)

Dr Sun and Japan

British and USA, have their own agenda....Dr Sun had to seek help from Japan, China's closest neighbor, and later when Japanese government failed to support, he request help from Russia communist. Dr Sun was desperate for financial help. Japan was very close to Dr Sun's heart, he lived in Japan for nearly 10 years, some said 15 years; he had many friends from Japan who whole heatedly support him in revolution; he even reported to have Japanese wife and daughter; he married in Tokyo with Song Ching Ling. In short, he had fond memory of Japan, and until his death, he is always dreaming that Japan will be a great friend of Modern China....but the reality was different....

Initially Dr Sun was having rivalry with Kang U Wei in his effort to obtain support from Japan. But Japan,and their politician; and The Black Dragon Society (こくりゅうかい, Kyūjitai; 黑龍會; Shinjitai: 黒龍会, kokuryūkai). All these had their agenda to divide China. Many progressive Japanese individuals also supported Dr Sun, and he was able to beat the Chinese reformists, and won the support of Japan. Japan government however withdrawn their support due to change in their foreign policy. After the confidence of their military victory over Russia in Russo-Japanese War, it become a power in east Asia that was able to beat the west; they perceived that they are equal with the west and higher level than fellow Asian countries ; they changed their foreign policy toward China,a long hidden agenda to divide China began to manifest. Dr Sun lost the Japanese government's support, despite some individual Japanese friends still remained close to him....Kokuryukai was one of the force that inserting influence on Japanese militarism, and Dr Sun's political road for China, their hidden agenda was to take Manchuria and Mongolia..... some historian wonder why Dr Sun can alliance with them, and did not see the danger, what was in Dr Sun's mind?.

Kokuryukai(黒竜会) or The Black Dragon Society(黑龙会, こくりゅうかい)

The Kokuryūkai was founded in 1901 by Uchida Ryohei, and was descended from the Genyōsha(玄洋社). Uchida Ryōhei(内田良平),b 11 February 1873 – d 26 July 1937, was a follower of Genyōsha founder Mitsuru Toyama(頭山満). Kokuryūkai's name is derived from the Amur River, called Heilongjiang or "Black Dragon River" in Chinese (黑龍江), read as Kokuryū-kō in Japanese. Heilongjiang is the river in Manchuria. Heilongjiang contains China's northernmost point (in Mohe County along the Amur) and easternmost point (at the junction of the Amur and Ussuri Rivers). Its public goal was to support efforts to drive the Russian Empire out of east Asia, south of the Amur River, which also means to conquer the Manchulia, China. Not only Manchulia, they are also eyeing for Siberia, Mongolia. It is a prominent paramilitary, ultra nationalist right-wing group in Japan, which later developed into Japanese militarism(日本軍国主義, Nihon gunkoku shugi).

The Kokuryūkai initially made strenuous efforts to distance itself from the criminal elements of its predecessor, the Genyōsha. As a result, its membership included Cabinet Ministers and high-ranking military officers as well as professional secret agents. However, as time passed, it found the use of criminal activities to be a convenient 'means to an end' for many of its operations.

The Society published a journal, and operated an espionage training school, from which it dispatched agents to gather intelligence on Russian activities in Russia, Manchuria, Korea and China. It also pressured Japanese politicians to adopt a strong foreign policy. The Kokuryukai also supported Pan-Asianism, and lent financial support to revolutionaries such as Sun Yat-sen, and Emilio Aguinaldo.

During the Russo-Japanese War, annexation of Korea and Siberian Intervention, the Imperial Japanese Army made use of the Kokuryūkai network for espionage, sabotage and assassination. They organized Manchurian guerrillas against the Russians from the Chinese warlords and bandit chieftains in the region, the most important being Marshal Chang Tso-lin. The Black Dragons waged a very successful psychological warfare campaign in conjunction with the Japanese military, spreading disinformation and propaganda throughout the region. They also acted as interpreters for the Japanese army.

The Kokuryūkai assisted the Japanese spy, Colonel Motojiro Akashi. Akashi, who was not directly a member of the Black Dragons, ran successful operations in China, Manchuria, Siberia and established contacts throughout the Muslim world. These contacts in Central Asia were maintained through World War II. The Black Dragons also formed close contact and even alliances with Buddhist sects throughout Asia.

During the 1920s and 1930s, the Kokuryūkai evolved into more of a mainstream political organization, and publicly attacked liberal and leftist thought. Although it never had more than several dozen members at any one time during this period, the close ties of its membership to leading members of the government, military and powerful business leaders gave it a power and influence far greater than most other ultranationalist groups.

Initially directed only against Russia, in the 1930s, the Kokuryūkai expanded its activities around the world, and stationed agents in such diverse places as Ethiopia, Turkey, Morocco, throughout southeast Asia and South America, as well as Europe and the United States.

(source: extract from wikipedia)

The Kokuryukai also supported Pan-Asianism, and lent financial support to revolutionaries such as Sun Yat-sen, and Emilio Aguinaldo. Dr Sun was very close to Kokuryūkai initially, and fell into the traps on his eagerness to obtain foreign fund, and his support for ideology of Pan Asian....and perceived Japan as the leader of the Pan Asia bloc, which will help him and modern China. Remember Dr Sun know no Japanese when he went to Japan, to understand the actual goal of Kokuryukai. Otherwise he will not involve with them, that was the initial mistake; and he was forced to accept the symbiotic relationship initially to achieve his dream of overthrowing Manchu, this objective was incidentally also the goal of Kokuryukai. Both had the same objective, to overthrow the Manchu. The dangerous path Dr Sun took....like riding at the back of tiger....Kokuryukai actually had wider agenda which directly conflict with the interest of new modern China.

The support of the west was lacking

Dr Sun was educated in the West; nourished in Japan politic and nationalism. He had high hope that the west and Japan will help him in his revolution and the new modern China. By 1921 Sun had become president of the southern government. His efforts to obtain aids from the Western democracies were ignored and in 1921 he turned to the Soviet Union, which had recently achieved its own revolution. Sun Yat Sen liked the Russians very much, as they were the only country to offer China assistance, and treated China as equal. Some said Sun Yat Sen felt that a lot of the Soviet ideas were much like his own. He believed in a form of Chinese Socialism which would stem from reform, but not through class conflict as in the Russian model. Dr Sun may had changed from pro western democracy to pro socialism?. Russia was not a genuine supporter either, they support both Dr Sun and Chinese Communist Party, hidden agenda like USA, Japan for a divided China; China was too large for them that they have phobia for a strong China. The fear persist until today........the political perception of the global powers.

When the west and Japan failed him. He was helpless and in dilemma, the last resort was to Russian communist, which was another power eying for divided China....

It was a difficult struggle for Dr Sun and his supporters without the support of foreign western aids on his dream of a western republic in China. Sun was later convinced that the only hope for a unified China lay in a military conquest from his base in the south, followed by a period of political tutelage that would culminate in the transition to democracy. He established the Whampoa Military Academy (黃埔軍校) near Guangzhou for the purpose. The military academy was officially opened on June 16, 1924. Dr Sun Yat-sen delivered a speech that was later to become the lyrics of the national anthem of the Republic of China. The song is sometimes known as "San Min Chu-i" or "Three Principles of the People".

Consequently, until his death in 1925, Sun prepared for the later Northern Expedition. Dr Sun Yat-sen died without achievement of building a Chinese republican country, until today.....and the democracy champion did not help him when he need their help at the most urgent moment. He had to obtain help from a communist, Russia; who had similar hidden agenda to divide China, like Japan, British and other countries from the west. Where is the democracy advocate who talk about human right and democracy?.....shit...they talk about hidden agenda of political benefit for dividing China....

The history is like the situation of Libya today.....behind all democracy and human right advocates, is the hidden agenda of political benefits,especially petrol politic. Divided China is still the hidden agenda of many global politician....

Some said Dr Sun had changed since his failure to build a western republic; when the west failed to support him; he had changed to use force to build his dream, when his main source of support come from secret societies from Japan and overseas; some even said he was a dictator like Mao and Chiang .... especially the pro-independence Taiwan "Chinese", belittled his image, said that he was not fit to be father of China. Some said he gave concession to Japan and foreign countries on the issue of Manchuria, Mongolia to achieve his political goal; they said he seems to support the Japanese agenda of dividing China....some foreign political opportunists even took advantage of his speeches and hand writing to justify their agenda.....

He may fall into political traps of foreign countries; for his eagerness to form a new China. He may make some conception mistakes on his political knowledge initially, but he make effort to rectify the mistakes or his wrong perceptions. He missed some, he make mistakes, but his dream for new modern China is sincere and clear. He may not known China well initially(as he was from the south and most of time not in China). But his goal was clear. As a human being, with complicated political situation in China during the era; it was not easy....he did changed at different stages of his life. It was tough, for him; and for the new China. China is not a simple country, but with long history of tradition and civilization. Old China was an empire and kingdom, not modern national identity; with his unique way of administration system,foreign policy, and political structure; which was difficult for the west to understand, even until today. He went through the agony of role conflict, ideology conflict, and nationalism conflict....

I wonder he ever thinking of returning to medical practice and give up during his tough journey to built a strong nation....he got nothing in his life but had given his life for his dream, a dream for a strong China.....

One fact remained, China was still divided until today......

Dr Sun’s only support were from oversea Chinese and some Japanese friends from Pan Asian activists; and Miyazaki Tōten, and Homer Lea.....That is why he once said " Oversea Chinese is the mother of Chinese revolution"......

He was not a successful politician in political history.....even as Father of Modern China. Today China is still divided, and many global politician still hoping for a more divided China..... there was tears and disappointment when he died, died of fatigue(resulted in liver damage) from his effort for a united China...and the betrayal from his belief in western democracy.....

The only comfort for him is that, many Chinese in the country,and many oversea Chinese were still behind him; Miyazaki Tōten and Homer Lea, his faithful friends were still behind him, and his individual Japanese friends were still faithful behind him ....they are all individuals who believed in betterment of human race, regardless of races and nationality, without hidden agenda.....

.....and there are many Chinese all over the world today, still dreaming of unification of China, like path taken by Germany, in their individual dream ...for them Dr Sun is a unification factor. Dr Sun become an international figure not for Chinese, but for many in the global world today....

The moral of the story, from political history; we can understand who had divided the world; who had created the war; and who had advocated democracy and human right; who had developed and nourished extremists and dictators?.......

Let us ponder, who was real champion of democracy, who was he demon of democracy.......

Suggested articles/websites:
1. Amur Annexation, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amur_Annexation( This article deals with the annexation of the southeast corner of Siberia by Russia from China in 1858-60. The two areas involved are the Priamurye between the Amur River and the Stanovoy Range to the north and the Primorye which runs down the coast from the Amur mouth to the Korean border. Russians gained 350,000 square miles (910,000 km2) of territory. With the exception of Muravyov's rather ceremonial cannonade at Aigun, they had apparently not fired a single shot.)
2. Manchuria, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manchuria(To the north, the boundary with Russian Siberia was fixed by the Treaty of Nerchinsk (1689) as running along the watershed of the Stanovoy Mountains. South of the Stanovoy Mountains, the basin of the Amur and its tributaries belonged to the Qing Empire. North of the Stanovoy Mountains, the Uda Valley and Siberia belonged to the Russian Empire. In 1858, a weakening Qing Empire was forced to cede Manchuria north of the Amur to Russia under the Treaty of Aigun)
3. Heilongjiang, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heilongjiang

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Japanese toilets & other toilet cultures

Toilet culture and Toilet talks

Toilet and culture, what the two incomparable words. Toilet, is a plumbing fixture primarily intended for the disposal of human excreta: urine and fecal matter. Toilet is the word involving the excretion from the human body, either urine or feces. The waste product from digestive system discharge from anus during defecation. It is something involves with something dirty, unhygienic matter or smell bad. Culture, is the word which means the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution, organization or group; in short the social practices. Culture is relating to something of high esteem, positive and good , or smell better. The two words combined together is “Toilet Culture”, the social practices of discharging of urine or feces, what a smelly words……..

The name of Toilets
There are many names for toilet, the word toilet actually describes the fixture. But in British English, it is the room which included the fixture, so it is commonly called toilet in commonwealth countries where British English is used. The American English called it rest room . Lavatory, Loo, WC(Water Closet), CR ( Comfort Room, used commonly in the Philippines), The Dunny is an Australian expression for an outside toilet or outhouse, The Privy is an old fashioned term used more in the North of England and in Scotland; "privy" is an old alternative for "private", as in Privy council, The netty is the most common word used in the North East England, and Latrine is a term common in the military, specifically for the Army and Air Force for any point of entry facility where human waste is disposed of, which a civilian might call a bathroom or toilet, regardless of how modern or primitive it is.

Types of Toilets
Prior to the introduction of modern flush toilets, most human waste disposal took place outdoors in outhouses or latrines . The simplest toilet is Pit toilets, or pit latrines, are the cheapest type, minimally defined as a hole in the ground. Normally two wooden planks will be added on the hole for squatting. A flush toilet is a toilet that disposes of human waste by using water to flush it through a drainpipe to another location. Flushing mechanisms are found more often on western toilets (used in the sitting position or sitting toilet), but many squat toilets also are made for automated flushing. A squat toilet is a toilet used by squatting, rather than sitting. There are several types of squat toilets, but they all consist essentially of a hole in the ground.

In modern days, toilets are divided in gender line, man and woman.

Japanese Toilets & Technology toilets

I always think that western toilet is the most advance and clean, and Asian toilets are dirty; until I saw Japanese toilets or Technology toilets of Japan. When you see the toilets in Japan, you will amaze at the effort Japanese put on the technology to do their toilet business....

Japanese toilets are very advance, sometime you really need to learn how to use it. There are two types of toilets in Japan: "Japanese style" and "Western style".

"Japanese style"(和式, washiki) toilet is a squat toilet—also known as the Asian toilet. A shallow trough collects the waste.. All other fixtures, such as the water tank, piping, and flushing mechanism, may be identical to those of a Western toilet. Flushing causes water to push the waste matter from the trough into a collecting reservoir which is then emptied, with the waste carried off into the sewer system. The flush is often operated in the same manner as a Western toilet, though some have pull handles or pedals instead.

Japanese toilets have two kinds of flush: "small" (小) and "large" (大). The difference is in the amount of water used. The former is for urine (in Japanese, literally "small excretion") and the latter for feces ("large excretion"). The lever is often pushed to the "small" setting to provide a continuous covering noise for privacy

Two variations are common: one where the toilet is level with the ground, and the other where it is raised on a platform approximately 30 cm (1 ft). The latter is easier to use for men to urinate while standing, but both types can be used for this purpose. There is also no difference for defecation or squatting urination. The user stands over the squat toilet facing the hood and pulls down (up in the case of skirts) their trousers and underwear to the knees. The user then squats over the hole, as close to the front as possible, as excrement tends to fall onto the rear edge of the in-floor receptacle if the user squats too far back; for this reason many public squat toilets have signs reminding the user to "Please take one step closer."

The standard flush toilet used worldwide is known in Japan as a Western-style (洋式 yōshiki) toilet. Western-style toilets, including high tech toilets, are now more common in Japanese homes than the traditional squat toilets, though some older apartments retain stickers on the toilet or in its room illustrating the proper way to use it for urination and defecation. While most public facilities such as schools, temples, and train stations are often equipped with only squat toilets, in their own homes, Japanese people prefer being able to sit, especially older or physically disabled individuals for whom prolonged squatting is physically demanding or uncomfortable.
Western-style flush toilets in Japan commonly include water-saving features such as the ability to choose between a "big" flush and a "little" flush. Many toilets also route the water to fill the tank through a faucet over the tank allowing users to rinse their hands.

The modern toilet in Japan, in English sometimes called Super Toilet, and commonly known in Japanese as Washlet (ウォシュレット Woshuretto) or as warm-water cleaning toilet seat (温水洗浄便座 onsui senjō benza) is one of the most advanced types of toilet worldwide, showing a dazzling array of features. The Toto product Washlet Zoe is listed in Guinness World Records as the world's most sophisticated toilet with seven functions. However, as the model was introduced in 1997, it is now likely to be inferior to the latest model by Toto Neorest. The idea for the washlet came from abroad, and the first toilet seat with integrated bidet was produced in the United States in 1964. The age of the high-tech toilet in Japan started in 1980[6] with the introduction of the Washlet G Series by Toto, and since then the product name washlet has been used to refer to all types of Japanese high-tech toilets. As of 2002, almost half of all private homes in Japan have such a toilet, exceeding the number of households with a personal computer. While the toilet looks like a Western-style toilet at first glance, there are numerous additional features—such as blow dryer, seat heating, massage options, water jet adjustments, automatic lid opening, automatic flushing, wireless control panel, room heating and air conditioning for the room—included either as part of the toilet or in the seat. These features can be accessed by an (often wireless) control panel attached to the seat or mounted on a nearby wall

(sources: wikipedia & http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2003.html)

Commune toilets in China
Toilets in China vary, from pristine Western porcelain bowls made fresh with the addition of rose petals in the water to something not very much different from a flower bed itself. In cities, you will likely encounter almost clean, flushing in-the-ground units, and in the country, you might be forced to relieve yourself above a trough--privacy, if any, made by low, flimsy walls--maintained with regular gushes of water from a source at one end. Wherever you are, it is a near guarantee that the facilities will be smelly.
In rural places, privacy is often a luxury, even in the toilets. Some toilets are nothing but a row of holes and women take care of business together, sometimes with children, unabashedly. Don't be alarmed if curiosity in you is openly expressed, especially if you are a blonde or ginger. While stares might be upsetting or annoying, they are not at all harmful.
In the eighties, or earlier; most of the household under commune system has no luxury of private toilets, even in Beijing where I was once visiting a flat unit, their public toilet was a row of drainage or trough, where residents were squatting in a row, some reading newspapers, some smoking, and some are holding umbrella. The business is as usual day to day, there is no toilet paper, some used newspaper to clean their business, or some with water only, where the water will be pour into the drain, and washer the feces away. It was reported that the feces water will be collected to use in the vegetable farm nearby. The public toilet was the place to share news and information, like market place.
With the economic success of China, their public toilets have been improving, but you can still find the old habit died hard, the old toilet culture still exist; and in rural areas, some old toilets and commune public toilets are still available.

That is time where we were in Yunan, near Sichuan border, we have to do our business, at a rural wooden toilet with open door, and the black pigs were around the toilet, and at time the pigs will come in for surprise visit. Imagine what happen to the business still going on......

The cleanest modern Chinese public toilet I ever visited was the one in Lijiang, they even have a small TV unit for each toilet user. The toilet are inside the heritage type building, very beautiful architecture.

Wet Malaysian toilets
The most basic toilet I once used in the sixty, was at the village house in the hill of Paya Terubong, they called Cheng Gee Chang in Penang. A big hole was dug on the ground, with two wooden trunks placed on the hole for squatting. Below the wooden trunks where you squat to do business, you can see the white organism(maggots) moving among the feces floating on the pool of dirty water. The style of doing your business, is close your nose to avoid the smell, and do the business quickly, and walk out. But you must also remember to wash your anus with the water from the pails, there is no toilet paper. You need to be very careful when squatting on the wooden trunks, there was danger of falling anytime, if you did not balance well. If you are a child it is possible to drown in the feces water, or you are force to climb up from the artificial pool. The basic toilet will be closed and filled with earth after the hole is completely filled, and the land will be fertile ground for planting vegetables or fruits trees…. They practiced toilet shifting culture…..
In old Georgetown, Penang, bucket toilet system was used for the shophouses in the old city. It was before 60s, most of the shophouses in Georgetown will have a room at the rear part of the shop house used as toilet. There will be a hole with legs rest, the hole is oval shape, and under it is a bucket use to contain the feces discharged. The bucket will be collected in the morning and replaced with cleaned buckets, by City Council man, normally a vehicle that carried many buckets. The bucket system encouraged smoking in those days, people who cannot stand the smell will smoke inside the toilet, and the bucket will be filled not only human feces but also cigarettes butt s. Some even use the toilet time to read morning newspaper. There is no water, no toilet paper, most use used newspaper to clean the anus. The most interesting part of bucket system is, when you are doing business, the city council man come, it is time to change the bucket, when his hand is taking the bucket, your feces just releasing from you, at the right timing and the right place, there will be droppings on the wrong place…….. Just imagine…….

The most common toilet was the squatting toilet, when cement was used to make a oval shape , the hole then become smaller, for the washing water which may lead to river or vegetable farm or a reserve pool. Sometime there are foot rest beside the oval shape toilet unit.

Then there is a flushing system developed like the western toilet, a squatting toilet with a tank on top. And later the sitting toilet with modern flushing system was introduced. Sitting toilet was the talk of town in the country……..

The public toilet in Malaysia are mainly having combination of three types of toilets; urinal toilet, squatting toilets, and sitting toilets. In rural areas, mainly squatting toilets. The Malaysian public toilets are mainly very wet on the floor, pipes are available for washing , and dirty with uncivil minded manner of feces still remain in the bowls and not flushed; toilet papers may be on the floor; jammed and water filled toilet bowl with feces floating; damaged toilet not repair; flush system not functional, graffiti, often of a transgressive, gossippy, or low-brow humorous nature ( toilet humour) on the toilet wall, and heavily stained toilet bowl.

The worst toilet is the shop toilet, especially the shophouse restaurants or coffee shops, where the toilets are near to the kitchen they prepared for food…….

Recently I visited the toilets in Penang General Hospital, as I had bad experience in the hospital previously, my expectation was not too high for their cleanliness. To my surprise, despite being in old colonial building, the toilets are clean. The cleanliness was a total surprise for a public building...this revealed that we can changed our dirty toilet culture in the country. Not only public places, but restaurants, and coffee shops......

WTO(World Toilet Organization)

World Toilet Organization (WTO) is a global non-profit organization committed to improving toilet and sanitation conditions worldwide. WTO is also one of the few organizations to focus on toilets instead of water, which receives more attention and resources under the common subject of sanitation. Founded in 2001 with 15 members, it now has 235 member organizations in 58 countries working towards eliminating the toilet taboo and delivering sustainable sanitation.

WTO was created as a global network and service platform wherein all toilet and sanitation organizations can learn from one another and leverage on media and global support that in turn can influence governments to promote sound sanitation and public health policies.

WTO is the organizer of the very successful series of World Toilet Summits and World Toilet Expo and Forum. To-date, 9 World Toilet Summits and 2 World Toilet Expo & Forum have been hosted in 10 different cities around the world. Each summit addresses the critical issues of toilet and sanitation from technologies, development, funding, to design, maintenance, social entrepreneurship, capacity building, research and various other related topics, creating massive media coverage and momentum.

WTO also declared its founding day of November 19 as "World Toilet Day" and this is now being celebrated by members all over the world. Thus increasing awareness and generating local action for better sanitation.

In 2005, WTO started the world's first World Toilet College (WTC) providing training in toilet design, maintenance, School Sanitation and Disaster Sanitation and implementation of Sustainable Sanitation systems. WTO is also one of the founding members of the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSana), a coalition of 50 prominent organizations to promote sustainable sanitation systems.

(source: http://www.worldtoilet.org/)

After all, toilet culture is not all dirty work; it is clean cultural experience.....