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Pokemon Banzai!

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kamikazeCOMMENT: With Pokemon Go taking the world by storm, some in Japan are asking if super popular app is the first big success of Abe’s “Cool Japan” national strategy for exporting Japanese culture around the world. We’ll have to wait and see. But for Tomomi Inada, Japan’s Minister of the “Cool Japan” Strategy (that’s a real cabinet post), she’s not going to have much time to promote more Japanese cultural coolness. Why? Because she just became Japan’s new Defense Minister. She has previously been photographed with the leader of a Japanese Nazi Party and endorsed a book advocating Nazi political strategy–a doctrine also endorsed by Taro Aso, Japan’s Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister. Like other members of Abe’s cabinet, Inada associates with Zaikokutai, a virulent anti-Korean hate group.

Not surprisingly, Inada shares Shinzo Abe’s goal of stripping out Japan’s pacifism from the constitution. So will she become the first Defense Minister of a remilitarized Japan? Inada’s Nazi orientation is worth recalling–having promoted an a book on Hiter’s Election Strategies, at a minimum, Inada is probably pretty familiar with strategies for overhauling a constitution:

“Japan’s PM Picks Hawkish Defense Minister for New Cabinet, Vows Economic Recovery” by Elaine Lies and Kiyoshi TakenakaReuters; 8/3/2016.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe appointed a conservative ally as defense minister in a cabinet reshuffle on Wednesday that left most key posts unchanged, and he promised to hasten the economy’s escape from deflation and boost regional ties.

New defense minister Tomomi Inada, previously the ruling party policy chief, shares Abe’s goal of revising the post-war, pacifist constitution, which some conservatives consider a humiliating symbol of Japan’s World War Two defeat.

She also regularly visits Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine for war dead, which China and South Korea see as a symbol of Japan’s past militarism. Japan’s ties with China and South Korea have been frayed by the legacy of its military aggression before and during World War Two.

Asked if she would visit Yasukuni on August 15, the emotive anniversary of Japan’s surrender in World War Two, Inada sidestepped the query.

“It’s a matter of conscience, and I don’t think I should comment on whether I will go or not,” she told a news conference.

Inada, a 57-year-old lawyer, is the second woman to hold the defense post. The first, Yuriko Koike, who held the job briefly in 2007, was recently elected Tokyo governor.

The foreign ministries of China and South Korea had no immediate comment on the appointment.

She also echoed Abe in emphasizing the danger posed by North Korea’s missile launch, and the need for close regional ties.

“We will steadily strengthen ties with neighboring countries such as China and South Korea, and proceed with talks with Russia for a peace treaty,” Abe told an earlier news conference.

Japan and Russia never signed a formal treaty after World War Two because of a territorial dispute.

GOING FOR GROWTH

Abe, who is trying to rekindle growth as he ponders the possibility of staying in office after his term as president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) ends in 2018, said on Wednesday that his top priority was the economy.

On Tuesday, his outgoing cabinet approved 13.5 trillion yen ($133.58 billion) in fiscal steps to try to revive the economy.

Abe, who took office in December 2012, will retain his righthand man, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, along with Finance Minister Taro Aso and Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida.

Economics Minister Nobuteru Ishihara will also be kept on, along with Health, Welfare and Labour Minister Yasuhisa Shiozaki. Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroshige Seko will become trade and industry minister.

Tamayo Marukawa, the environment minister in the previous cabinet, was appointed minister to oversee preparations for Tokyo’s 2020 Summer Olympic Games.

Abe also appointed a new LDP executive line-up.

The appointment of Toshihiro Nikai, 77, as LDP secretary general was seen as signaling Abe’s hopes for a third term.

“For Top Pols In Japan Crime Doesn’t Pay, But Hate Crime Does”  by Jake Adelstein and Angela Erika Kubo; The Daily Beast; 9/25/2014.

As Japan’s prime minister addresses the United Nations on Friday his reputation at home is tainted by links to avowed racists.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will be speaking to the United Nations this Friday, but he may not be very welcome. In late July, the United Nations’ Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination urged Japan to crack down on the growing cases of “hate speech” targeting foreign residents. The U.N. committee urged Prime Minister Abe’s administration to “firmly address manifestations of hate and racism as well as incitement to racist violence and hatred during rallies,” and create laws to rectify the situation.

Recent events make it appear that the prime minister and his cabinet are not paying attention; several members of the cabinet not only appear oblivious to racism and hate speech issues, they associate with those who promote them.

Last week photographs of Japan’s newly appointed National Public Safety Commissioner socializing with members of the country’s most virulent racist group, Zaitokukai, were brought to light in an expose by Japan’s leading weekly magazine, Shukan Bunshun. In U.S. terms, it would be the equivalent of the attorney general getting caught chumming around with a Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan. This week it was reported that another cabinet member received donations from them, and that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe himself may have ties to the staunchly anti-Korean organization.

All of this isn’t good for Japan and Korea relations, since much of the racism is directed at people of Korean descent, nor is it good for U.S.-Japan relations. In February, the U.S. State Department in its annual report on human rights, criticized the hate speech towards Korean residents in Japan, specifically naming the Zaitokukai. The group is well known for its anti-social actions, but The Daily Beast has learned that it also has had ties to Japan’s mafia—including the Sumiyoshi-kai, which is blacklisted by the United States.

The latest news of links between the Japanese ruling coalition and unsavory characters comes just after another scandal involving neo-nazi links to two other cabinet members made headlines worldwide.

The standard line of defense offered by the cabinet members embroiled in controversy over their connections to racist groups, “We just happened to get photographed with these people. We don’t know who they are,” is getting harder to swallow. And it has raised some disturbing issues.

The Zaitokukai, founded in 2006, has a name best translated as “Citizens Against the Special Privileges of Ethnic Koreans.” They are an ultra-nationalist, right-wing group that argues for the elimination of privileges extended to foreigners who had been granted Special Foreign Resident status—mostly Korean-Japanese.

The Zaitokukai also collect a lot of money in donations from like-minded citizens.

The group, which is led by Makoto Sakurai, whose real name is Makoto Takada, claims that ethnic Koreans abuse the social and welfare system in Japan. Zaitokukai claims to have over 14,000 members. It organizes protests and demonstrations across Japan, even in front of Korean elementary schools, yelling such slogans as “Go back to Korea,” “You’re the children of spies”—making numerous veiled and overt threats. The group asserts that all foreigners are criminals who should be chased out of Japan, especially the Koreans.

In a recent book, Sakurai states, “The Japanese understand what the Koreans are up to. If you think about it, there’s no way we can get along with these people. Even though Japanese people don’t do anything, Koreans just cause one incident (crime) after another. Every time a Korean commits another crime, our support goes up.”
And when support goes up, so do the earnings of the Zaitokukai—earnings that are poorly accounted for and go untaxed. It’s a great racket and it’s completely legal.

However, the group does have associations with the Japanese mafia, aka the yakuza, and those may not be legal. They are very closely tied to the political arm of the Sumiyoshikai, known as Nihonseinsha..

Eriko Yamatani, as chairman of the National Public Safety Commission, oversees Japan’s police forces. It makes her association with Zaitokukai and their criminally inclined members highly problematic. One picture that dates back to 2009 shows Yamatani standing next to Yasuhiko Aramaki, who was arrested a year later for terrorizing a Korean elementary school in Kyoto, found guilty and then later arrested again in 2012 on charges of intimidation..

Another of the people photographed with Yamatani is Shigeo Masuki, a former Zaitokukai leader. Masuki was arrested at least three times after the photograph was shot, once for threatening an elementary school principal and later for insurance fraud. Yamatani initially denied that she knew of the Zaitokukai affiliation of the people in the pictures. This is slightly strange since she has reportedly been friends with Masuki and his wife for over a decade. When replying to questions from TBS radio about the recent scandal, she explained the Zaitokukai exactly in the terminology of a true believer, inadvertently using the words “Zainichi Tokken (Special rights of the Korean Residents In Japan)” herself. At a press conference held today (September 25th), she was questioned about her use of the term and stated uncomfortably, “In my reply (to TBS) I might have just copy and pasted from the Zaitokukai homepage.” She refused to criticize the group by name or clarify whether she believed that ethnic Koreans had special privileges.

Yamatani, in her current position, oversees the National Police Agency—the very same agency that noted in its 2013 white paper that the Zaitokukai were committing hate speech, promoting racism, and posed a threat to the social order. If hate-speech becomes a crime, she may be in charge of overseeing the police that enforce the law.

She isn’t the only one close to the Zaitokukai in the current cabinet. According to the magazine Sunday Mainichi, Ms. Tomomi Inada, Minister Of The “Cool Japan” Strategy, also received donations from Masaki and other Zaitokukai associates.

Apparently, racism is cool in Japan.

Inada made news earlier this month after photos circulated of her and another female in the new cabinet posing with a neo-Nazi party leader. Both denied knowing the neo-Nazi well but later were revealed to have contributed blurbs for an advertisement praising the out-of-print book Hitler’s Election Strategy. Coincidentally, Vice-Prime Minister,Taro As, is also a long-time admirer of Nazi political strategy, and has suggested Japan follow the Nazi Party template to sneak constitutional change past the public.

Even Japan’s Prime Minister Abe has been photographed with members of Zaitokukai. Masuki, who snapped a photo with Abe on August 17h 2009, while he was still a member of the group, bragged that Abe “kindly remembered him.”

Discussion

2 comments for “Pokemon Banzai!”

  1. Very bizarre phenomenon with tendrils everywhere… When I first started hearing “Pokemon=INqtel”, I was skeptical because “what more can the feds and megacorps get out of people’s phones, what more do they want?” Well, this is a nice explanation as to why this is so useful to intel. Yes, it is Debka, so caveats apply, but there is one passage that explains it in plain language that most Pokemon stories don’t use.

    http://www.debka.com/article/25562/Pokemon-Go-%E2%80%93-super-spy-potential-terror-tool

    “It was developed by the San Francisco, California-based Nantic which was founded in 2010 as a Google startup by the person who established the mapping firm Keyhole.
    Keyhole, which was set up in 2001, was funded by venture capital firm In-Q-Tel that was controlled by the US National Security Agency and acquired several years later by Google.
    The linkage of these companies to each other, to Google and to the American intelligence agency, leaves little doubt about the real purpose of the game and how the vast amounts of collected data may be used – primarily as a quintessential operational spy tool.
    Controllers of the game’s data collection network are also provided with GPS to pinpoint the exact location of millions of users at any given time together with access to their video cameras.
    Thus, users of the app will be unknowingly engaging in intelligence gathering with the help of photography from every angle of nearly every location on earth in the course of chasing the pokemons that were released as their prey.
    At least one of the features of the game was apparently created under the direction of an intelligence service.
    Niantic has given various companies permission to publicize the presence of pokemons around shopping centers, restaurants, museums and other sites. It then becomes a simple matter to spread the word on social networks that a rare breed of pokemons has appeared on the wall of a nuclear power plant in a targeted city. Hundreds, if not thousands, of addicts would head for the new location, clicking their video cameras and GPS systems as they go. This data would be beamed instantly to the monitors of the game’s clandestine controllers.
    Nintendo Go and its potential for luring players to high-security and off-limits military facilities also makes it a major hazard in the hands of criminal organizations and terrorists.
    A situation in which large numbers of people innocently searching for pokemons with their eyes glued to their smartphones are led into a trap by terrorists can no longer be dismissed as a fantastic scenario. ”

    I had also wondered what intel would get out of Google Earth. You don’t need to make a publicly available satellite view of Earth to be able to view things from space. Pokemon Go helped me understand Google Earth, which came from the same folks. It’s the pictures that users can attach to the Google Earth interface! Crowd-sourced intelligence.

    For a more mainstream view than Debka, here is Network World, which is NOT a conspiracy site.

    http://www.networkworld.com/article/3099092/mobile-wireless/the-cia-nsa-and-pokmon-go.html

    “Way back in 2001, Keyhole, Inc. was founded by John Hanke (who previously worked in a “foreign affairs” position within the U.S. government). The company was named after the old “eye-in-the-sky” military satellites. One of the key, early backers of Keyhole was a firm called In-Q-Tel.

    In-Q-Tel is the venture capital firm of the CIA. Yes, the Central Intelligence Agency. Much of the funding purportedly came from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). The NGA handles combat support for the U.S. Department of Defense and provides intelligence to the NSA and CIA, among others.

    Keyhole’s noteworthy public product was “Earth.” Renamed to “Google Earth” after Google acquired Keyhole in 2004.

    In 2010, Niantic Labs was founded (inside Google) by Keyhole’s founder, John Hanke.”

    (continuing)

    “Over the next few years, Niantic created two location-based apps/games. The first was Field Trip, a smartphone application where users walk around and find things. The second was Ingress, a sci-fi-themed game where players walk around and between locations in the real world.

    In 2015, Niantic was spun off from Google and became its own company. Then Pokémon Go was developed and launched by Niantic. It’s a game where you walk around in the real world (between locations suggested by the service) while holding your smartphone.”

    Next up, let’s look at this concept in practice. For example, there is South Korea. Note: while the main goal would be to watch North Korea, South Korea is also kept under watch as they routinely try to steal American nuclear secrets so they can keep up with their neighbors.

    http://www.cnn.com/2016/07/22/asia/south-korea-pokemon-sokcho/index.html

    “This is a scene replicated across the seaside city of Sokcho in South Korea, 35 kilometers or 20 miles away from the DMZ or demilitarized zone which splits North and South Korea.
    Smartphones raised, brows furrowed, Pokemon Go zombies in a world of their own have taken over the streets of Sokcho — and the game isn’t even available in this country yet.
    This is the only area in South Korea you can play the augmented reality game that has swept the world, largely thanks to a technical loophole.
    This northeastern tip of South Korea lies just outside the index grids the game’s developers use to geographically block the country.”

    (continuing)

    “Some local media have suggested the fact Google Maps is restricted here due to security concerns may complicate the matter. The South Korean government denies that.
    Google is requesting full map data from South Korea, a request that has to be cleared by seven ministries, including the defense and foreign ministries and the National Intelligence Service.
    Under South Korean law, any map has to have certain security installations blurred or blacked out. The government says it will give Google an answer before August 25.
    But for now, restrictions and geographical blocking aside, one city in South Korea is enjoying its special status as the country’s holy grail for Pokemon fans. ”

    And surprise, surprise, somebody placed Pokemon in the DMZ!

    https://www.inverse.com/article/18121-north-korea-pokemon-go-gym-dmz-south-korea

    ” Reddit user posted an unusual message he received from a military buddy of his stationed in South Korea pertaining to the augmented reality Pokémon app. Apparently, there is a Pokémon gym located in the demilitarized zone (DMZ) between the North and South Korean border.

    The DMZ is the border between communist North Korea and democratic South Korea. Since the two countries are technically still at war — they signed an armistice in 1953 — the DMZ works as a de facto border between them. Aside from a central point where the two countries occasionally meet, the DMZ is littered with armed guards, land mines, and snipers. So yeah, since Panmunjom is officially on the North Korean side of the DMZ, reaching it might pose a little bit of a challenge.

    While the likelihood of someone in North Korea claiming that gym are fairly slim, anybody from the South foolish enough to venture close to the border for the chance to claim, possibly the safest gym leader position available in the world, would risk being perceived as an invader and triggering an international conflict (or at least a landmine).

    After news reports of finding dead bodies, armed robberies, angry rants, and now this, Pokémon GO is pretty much tapping into the entirety of the human experience. It would be a surprise if everyone makes it out of this collective obsession alive.”

    And it ain’t just Korea that noticed…

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/21/world/asia/pokemon-go-saudi-arabia-russia-egypt.html

    “In Saudi Arabia, clerics renewed an existing fatwa against Pokémon, calling it “un-Islamic.”

    Bosnia has warned players to avoid chasing the creatures onto land mines left over from the 1990s.

    An Egyptian communications official said the game should be banned because sharing photos or videos of security sites could put the sites at risk.

    Russian officials sounded similar warnings, saying that “the consequences would be irreversible” if Pokémon players continued unchecked.”

    “The game is notable for causing people to range out into the world, walking into places where they might not normally have a reason to be, pointing their smartphone cameras at buildings and historical sites.

    The game overlays a digital world of creatures, PokéStops and other features on the real world. Players capture the many types of Pokémon and then use them to battle on teams for control of locations known as gyms.

    “Pokémon can be found in every corner of the earth,” the app tells users when they download the game.

    And that is precisely the problem.

    “Pokémon Go is the latest tool used by spy agencies in the Intel war, a cunning despicable app that tries to infiltrate our communities in the most innocent way under the pretext of entertainment,” said Hamdi Bakheet, a member of Egypt’s defense and national security committee in Parliament, according to a report on Al Jazeera.

    Russian websites also published articles claiming the game is a C.I.A. plot, while religious figures denounced it.

    “It smacks of Satanism,” a Cossack leader told local media. The Kremlin’s press secretary warned users not to visit the Kremlin looking for Pokémon, and there was talk of prison time for anyone found looking for them in a church.

    Kuwait banned the app’s use at government sites, and officials warned it could put users’ personal data at risk or be used by criminals to lure victims to isolated places.

    Indonesian officials also called it a national security threat that could allow its enemies to penetrate military sites and gain access to top-secret data. On Monday night, a French citizen working in Indonesia was temporarily detained after stumbling onto the grounds of a military base in West Java Province while searching, he said, for Pokémon figures.

    Israeli officials warned soldiers not to use it on bases as it could reveal their location.

    South Korea’s government already restricts Google Maps for security reasons, so Pokémon Go — which uses the data to populate its own maps — wouldn’t work anyway. But the app happens to be working in one small seaside town near the North Korean border — and busloads of people are showing up to play.

    The app uses geolocation features and enables the phone’s camera. Users typically sign in with a Google account. An early version appeared to give the game full access to some users’ Google accounts, but the company said that was a mistake that was reversed in an update.

    Since the game was released on July 6, it has gained millions of users around the world, including some who had already made headlines with questionable decisions to play at Auschwitz, Arlington cemetery and the 9/11 memorial in New York City.

    A spokeswoman for Niantic denied the allegations that the game is a tool of espionage, and said the company asks all users “to abide by local laws, and respect the locations you visit and people you meet during your exploration.””

    Posted by CarobSteviaMatte | August 12, 2016, 1:10 pm
  2. Trump and Abe sittin’ in a tree…

    “Trump had a private meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Thursday. Abe in brief remarks to reporters said the atmosphere or the meeting was “cordial” and said “I am convinced that Mr. Trump is a leader with whom I can have great confidence.” He did not go into details about what they discussed, because Trump has not yet taken office.”

    http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/romney-may-be-gringrich-out-trump-cabinet-n685541

    Posted by Sampson | November 18, 2016, 6:18 am

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