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One good thing about doing a difficult topic like this is that there are not so many comments, so it makes giving feedback much easier!

I understand why a lot of Japanese people don’t even want to think about politics, but as someone once said (I can’t remember who) “The only thing needed for evil men to succeed is for good men to do nothing.”

So many things are changing in Japan now that I worry what the bad people are doing while the good people are not looking. I think Fukushima was a good example of that, and if circumstances had been a bit different, it could have been a lot worse than it was.

Some of you mentioned the situation in other countries, but as you may be aware, there is a lot of debate going on about this at the moment. Can we really trust people in government to spy on us and then decide that anything that makes them look bad is a “state secret”? One of the most dangerous phrases in the English language is “national security.” After the 9/11 terror attacks, this was used as a justification for all kinds of very undemocratic legislation, the worst of which was the Patriot Act in the U.S.

I understand that all countries need to keep certain things secret, but we also need a mechanism to ensure that secrecy is not abused. I worry that this will not be the case in Japan. The danger is that Japan will end up like China, with government ministers and bureaucrats deciding what the public need to know and what is good for us. It’s a very scary thought.

Anyway, here is some feedback on your comments.

Yes, I do worry a lot about this 特定秘密保護法案
Thanks for telling me the proper name!

Coincidentally, my elder son was talking about this a few days ago since his history teacher mentioned it during class.
I am very encouraged to hear that teachers are talking to their students about this.

It began to be used to suppress any anti-government acts or speeches, and as everyone knows, it has lead to the WW2.
Really nice sentence, but the end should be “it led to WW2.”

We can’t believe what they said any more.
We can’t believe what they say anymore.

according to my dictionary, you can also use it like “I had to pay the full whack(the full amount).”
You can, but I think it is only used like this in British English.

my son was diagnosed pneumonia
my son was diagnosed with pneumonia

I read this blog for the first time.
This is the first time I have read this blog.

I am glad to be of your help
Glad to be of help.

It’s really frustrating when you (in general) find out you can’t explain what you want to say.
Nice sentence.

That’s it for today. Have a great weekend, and I’ll post a new entry on Monday.

13 Comments

  1. YU on Friday November 1st, 2013 at 01:57 PM

    Sorry for my late comment on this topic, but can I still share my ideas?

    Hi Biwa, Anne and everyone,

    > I don’t think centralizing the information means “leading this country back to the country it was before WWII.
    > I guess lots of people worry that once the cabinet ministers decide that something should be secret, there is no way to stop them when they make wrong/bad decisions.

    I don’t think centralizing information to prevent it leaking itself is a bad idea, but as Biwa says, one of the biggest problems in this bill is that once the government has started run the wrong way, no one will be able to stop them, so “leading this country back to the country it was before WWII” might sound a bit exaggerated, but we should always be prepared for the worst senario.

    Besides, I can’t help thinking that the new law is violating our three fundamental human rights stated in the Constitution of Japan.
    For me, suppressing journalists or public who speak to the governtment and harshly punishing them sounds to be no different from what North Korea or China do.

    Hi everyone,

    Thank you for your warm messages.
    My son is quickly getting better.
    The doctor told us that he would be able to go to kindergarten after three straight holidays.



  2. YU on Friday November 1st, 2013 at 02:18 PM

    Hi David,

    Thank you always for your feedback!
    I was very surprised that part of your comment in feedback and my comment closely resembled each other in several points!
    How did you know what I was thinking? LOL!

    And thank you for your correction to my speech draft. I changed it from “for” to “of” again!

    Have a nice weekend!



  3. Anne on Saturday November 2nd, 2013 at 05:20 AM

    Hi David,

    Thank you for your feedback.

    > we also need a mechanism to ensure that secrecy is not abused.—Yes, I agree with you.

    Hi Biwa and YU,
    >It seems that the DPJ is suggesting the law court to be the “check function”, but I don’t really know if that is going to work.
    >we should always be prepared for the worst scenario
    —I understand what you guys mean. The point is that you need to keep eye on what the government do and voice. Former US president Bush made the wrong decision concerning Iraq war and we hear lots of incidents concerning leaks these days including Edward Snowden. understand the number of people who are opposing for enacting the law is bigger than people who are supporting for this, but still I think the situation in Japan is vulnerable and Japan should prepare for the worst.

    I’m going to Karuizawa from Sunday. I just want to relax.

    Have a lovely weekend, everyone.



  4. YU on Saturday November 2nd, 2013 at 10:48 AM

    Hi Anne,

    > The point is that you need to keep eye on what the government do and voice

    You’re right, but how could we accuse the government if the new law was in force in the future? The government will be able to make a “national secret” by themselves and prevent it being revealed for at least five years. This means, we can’t even know if the secret is dangerous or harmless for us. Even if the press discovered the government’s wrongdoing and tried to reveal the facts to the public, they would end up becoming criminals like Mr.Snowden and undergoing heavy punishments.

    Do you really think this is what a democratic country should be?

    Of course, there’s still a very little hope that our government always will do only something good for us, but I don’t really think it will be the case.

    > I’m going to Karuizawa from Sunday. I just want to relax.

    That’s good!
    I hope you’ll have a great time there! 🙂



  5. Biwa on Saturday November 2nd, 2013 at 08:20 PM

    Hi David,

    Thank you always for the feedback.

    >I am very encouraged to hear that teachers are talking to their students about this.

    I am, too. I hope he(my son’s teacher) is not the rare type.

    Hi YU and Anne,

    When the terror attack happened in Tiananmen Square(天安門広場) last week, a Japanese TV reporter was talking from Beijing that the photo of the burning car was deleted from the official HP of the Chinese government soon after the incident. It means that the photo was released to the Chinese public at first, but they decided that they should conceal it. I got convinced that the Chinese government is always controling people’s minds like that. It really scared me. I couldn’t help thinking the same thing might happen in Japan if the new secrecy law is passed without enough argument. Mr. Abe has said that he’s going to say okay to shoot any drones that enter Japanese airspace. I worry that if the people(both Chinese and Japanese) in the very front-line make even very little mistakes, it would cause a serious confrontation. And it all might happen without being noticed to us. Isn’t that scary? Or am I worrying too much?



  6. Fumie on Saturday November 2nd, 2013 at 10:00 PM

    Hi David, Biwa, YU and Anne,

    Thank you for your feedback.

    >The danger is that Japan will end up like China, with government ministers and bureaucrats deciding what the public need to know and what is good for us.
    > I couldn’t help thinking the same thing might happen in Japan if the new secrecy law is passed without enough argument.
    -That’s really scary. We might be controlled by the government like we were done during war time.



  7. Anne on Sunday November 3rd, 2013 at 05:01 AM

    Hi Biwa, YU and Fumie,

    I understand your worries, and I also worry about that. Having said that, in the secret law, as you know, journalists and officials are in jail when the break the confidentiality (or leak the confidentiality). Do you know another point? Also, people who get the secret information are punished. At the moment, there is not such a rule in Japan. To prepare for the future threat from foreign countries, I think this law should be adopted even though the Japanese people need to keep watching what the government do. By the way, I read an interesting article that mentions from a different point of view how China spread its power.

    Here’s the link:
    http://www.post-gazette.com/Op-Ed/2013/10/13/The-case-for-CanAmerica-Here-s-how-a-U-S-Canada-merger-could-work/stories/201310130066



  8. Biwa on Sunday November 3rd, 2013 at 09:40 AM

    Hi Anne,

    Thanks for the link.
    I guess, that is the way how powerful countries spread their power, and that is why countries try to unite or make agreements(economically and defensively) with each other. As you say, I definitely think that Japan needs to strengthen its relationship with allied countries, and therefore, need to pass the secrecy law. I just think that we need to consider well.(and also quickly!)

    >Do you know another point? Also, people who get the secret information are punished.

    I think that is the scary part of laws. If it is used properly, there is nothing to worry about. However, it’s too easy to be misused.



  9. YU on Sunday November 3rd, 2013 at 10:58 AM

    Hi Anne and everyone,

    > Having said that, in the secret law, as you know, journalists and officials are in jail when the break the confidentiality (or leak the confidentiality). Do you know another point? Also, people who get the secret information are punished

    I’m not really sure what you mean, but as Biwa says, that is exactly the points we should worry about, isn’t it? What you wrote above means that no one in the government or in the press would be able to speak to the governmental authorities because they’re scared to be jailed, am I wrong?

    I just hope this is not the beginning of Japan’s dictatorship.

    Hi Biwa,

    > I got convinced that the Chinese government is always controling people’s minds like that. It really scared me.

    I know exactly what you mean. This morning I’ve just watched a TV report saying that Uyghrian people are unjustly oppressed because the facts are always manipulated and reported convenient to the Chinese government. China just doesn’t want them to be independent from China because they know that a lot of natural resources lie in the Xinjiang-Uygur Autonomous Region, so they encourage the Han race(the major race of Chinese people) to oppose Uyghrian people by controlling information.

    Some specialists say that the Chinese govenment might collapse like Russia in the near future.



  10. Biwa on Monday November 4th, 2013 at 09:37 AM

    Hi YU,

    >China just doesn’t want them to be independent from China because they know that a lot of natural resources lie in the Xinjiang-Uygur Autonomous Region

    Yes, “natural resources” is one of the major reasons why people fight with each other from long ago. It is also said that there may be a big offshore oilfield around the Senkaku-islands, and I guess that is why China fusses so much about it.
    Anyway, the Chinese government seems to oppress the Uighur people by ignoring their religion, language, traditional Islamic houses, etc. It’s too natural that it only causes hatred. They should know that they are causing terror attacks by themselves.



  11. YU on Monday November 4th, 2013 at 12:04 PM

    Hi Biwa,

    > Anyway, the Chinese government seems to oppress the Uighur people by ignoring their religion, language, traditional Islamic houses, etc.

    You’re right.
    The report said that now their language or history are totally ignored even at schools in the Xinjiang-Uygur Autonomous Region. On their history textbooks, it is written that their region has been part of China since before Christ(lol)!! Children learn all subjects in Chinese language.
    Most Uygurians over 35 can’t read or write Chinese language, but their region is rapidly changing to the Chinese society. Now most signs on the streets, papers, etc are all written in Chinese language, therefore they can get only low paid jobs which is not required to read or write Chinese language. Besides, the Chinese government seems to keep on encouraging the Han race to move to the region to conquer(!?) them…. It sounds like there’s a colony in China, doesn’t it?

    The report also said that China simply didn’t want to lose the land because actually the Xinjiang-Uygur Autonomous Region occupies one sixth of the whole land area in China.
    Some Uyghrian man who graduated from university was complaing that he couldn’t get a highly paid job even though he had a degree and he could speak, read and write perfect Chinese language while Han graduates can easily get good jobs.
    Some Uyghrians sell “shish kebabs” in Shanghai and they make a lot of money there. They are not poor, but landloards never lend them comfortable apartments even though they have enough money to borrow them just because they are Uyghrians, so they’re obliged to share an old small ramshackle appartment with their friends of 12 people!

    If the whole reports were all truth, no wonder why there was a terror attack by Uhygrian people at Tiananmen Square the other day. The way the Chinese government treats them is very inhuman. Of course, I’m not for terrorism, though.

    As you say, the Chinese government is just producing more problems by themselves. I don’t think oppressing anti-government acts and concealing inconvenient facts solve the problems.



  12. YU on Monday November 4th, 2013 at 08:18 PM

    Hi David,

    May I ask you a question?

    Monica is the tallest girl in her class although her feet are the smallest ________.

    model answer :

    of theirs / of all / in her class

    my student’s answer :

    of them

    1. Is my student’s answer wrong?
    If so, why?

    2. “Of theirs” = “of their feet”?



  13. David on Monday November 4th, 2013 at 08:22 PM

    Hi YU,

    What is the correct answer supposed to be? Is it “in her class”?

    “Them” cannot be used because if you put it in this sentence, it would be referring to her classmates, not the feet. You could say “She has the smallest feet among them,” though.

    More to the point, why on earth is anybody asking pointless questions like this to children who need to learn English for communication??