The other day I was at a hotel watching a news report on NHK over breakfast on Japanese anti-war activists in the U.S. NHK is the quasi state broadcaster which has moved alarmingly to the right as super nationalist PM Abe has appointed revionists and outright fascist apopogists to the broadcaster’s governing board.
The report in question was about the effots of anti-nuclear weapons protestors to bring their concerns to the streets of New York where the disastrous NPT Review Conference was in progress. To their dismany, few people seemed interested, the American media especially so, as there was litle coverage of their efforts.
How duplicitous, I thought. NHK covering the efforts of the Japanese peace movemnt outside Japan. NHK, infamous for its attempts to censor and manipulate the news, highlighting how the U.S. media is not interested in what peace activists have to say. If I had not known I was watching an NHK report, I would have been somewhat impressed by this coverage of a Japanese citizens movement.
Yet, this is the same NHK which ignores demonstrations by the very same sort of people in Japan, people who protest Japan’s complicity with the U.S, in maintaining the nuclear weapons status quo and who, with the help of leftwing politicians, helped bring to light secret agreements with the U.S. that allowed America to station nuclear weapons in Okinawa and likely, at many other U.S. bases in Japan.
These same people, who NHK would have you believe represent a moral battle between Japanese values and that of the World War II victor, in fact condemn not only the U.S. nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki but the Japanese colonial war machine which eventually was coaxed into being a willing lieutenant of U.S. led anti-communism. Then, as now, the party in power was the Liberal Democratic Party, a reconstructed collection of unrepentant fascists. Support for U.S. policy took the form of repression at home and helping the U.S. wage the Korean and Vietnamese wars. One of the rehabilitated fascists went on to become Japanese Prime Minister, Nobusuke Kishi. His grandson, eager to remilitarize Japan (this time in concert with the U.S.) is Shinzo Abe, the current P.M who has worked to sanitize and hide the issue of Japan employing sex slaves, actually going so far as to to intimidate the producers of an NHK documentary on the issue. See this analysis by Norma Field for more information.
So that morning at my hotel I was watching an NHK report on an important social movement getting precious little U.S.media coverage, a “safe” issue no doubt since it could be framed in the context of women from a once-vanquished country working to abolish the same weapons that demolished two of Japan’s cities. No mention of the likelihood that many of the demonstrators are particpants in related democratic movements that are the target of Abe’s government, be it military bases in Okinawa, which is seeing a surge in violence against protestors, or nuclear power, or, indeed, historical revisionism in school textbooks. Perhaps the most chilling of all is a new secrets law that could be used against citizens and journalists and bring us back to the glory day’s of Abe’s grandfather. All issues on which NHK has been silent. In fact, a popular and relatively non-controversial news anchor was recently replaced because of comments considered to be anti-nuclear.
Dear, dedicated hypocritical NHK. And a Prime Minister out to santize Japanese fascism. Yet at least one journalist says this foaming at the mouth ultra-nationalist is actually a puppet of the U.S. No wonder NHK, like its U.S. counterparts, does its best to stay above the fray and avoid giving time to controversial issues and a microphone to opponents of war, corporate greed and inequality: