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Sunday, February 1, 2015

Japanese Journalist Goto Killed by Extremist Islamic Group in Syria / Abstinence on rise as nearly half of Japanese report no sex



My condolences to the family and loved ones of Kenji Goto who was killed by the Jihadist group ISIL/ISIS. It is terrible, shocking and really sad what happened. And it didn't have to happen. It baffled me, still is baffling me as to why Goto left his wife and children behind to go in a dangerous area. I simply can't understand it. I do admire the work he was doing to highlight the plight of many poor people, refugees and people living with AIDS etc. Really admirable. But to leave your family behind and go to a place crawling with extremists is beyond my understanding. This is definitely a wake up call for Japan and the Japanese people. This didn't have to happen. Again my deep and sincere condolences.

I saw the video of the gruesome killing. There is no way I could show it here.

Abe expresses outrage at IS video purportedly showing Goto being beheaded


Japan Today

Japan condemned with outrage and horror on Sunday an online video that purported to show an Islamic State group militant beheading Japanese journalist Kenji Goto.


The video posted on militant websites late Saturday Middle East time ended days of negotiations to save Goto, a 47-year-old journalist, and heightened fears for the life of a Jordanian fighter pilot also held hostage.


“I feel indignation over this immoral and heinous act of terrorism,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters after convening an emergency Cabinet meeting.
“When I think of the grief of his family, I am left speechless,” he said. “The government has been doing its utmost in responding to win his release, and we are filled with deep regret.”
Abe vowed that Japan will not give in to terrorism and will continue to provide humanitarian aid to countries fighting the Islamic State extremists.
The defense minister, Gen Nakatani, said that a report from the foreign affairs chief of Japan’s police agency deemed the video “highly likely to be authentic.”
The country was mourning a man who according to friends and family braved hardship and peril to convey through his work the plight of refugees, children and other victims of war and poverty.
The White House released a statement in which President Barack Obama also condemned “the heinous murder” and praised Goto’s reporting, saying he “courageously sought to convey the plight of the Syrian people to the outside world.”
The White House said that while it isn’t confirming the authenticity of the video itself, it has confirmed that Goto has been slain.
The militants linked the fates of Goto and the Jordanian pilot, Lt. Muath Kaseasbeh, but Saturday’s video did not mention the airman. Jordan’s government spokesman, Mohammed al-Momani, declined comment. Earlier this week, Jordan offered to free an al-Qaida prisoner for the pilot, but demanded and said it never got proof he was still alive.
Late Saturday night, relatives and supporters of the pilot held a candlelit vigil inside a family home in Karak, al-Kaseasbeh’s hometown in southern Jordan.
We “decided to hold this protest to remind the Jordanian government of the issue of the imprisoned pilot Muath al-Kaseasbeh,” said the pilot’s brother Jawdat al-Kaseasbeh, holding picture of Muath with a caption: “We are all Muath.”
Al-Kaseasbeh’s uncle, Yassin Rawashda, said the family just wants to be kept informed.
“We want to know how the negotiations are going ... in a positive direction or not. And we want the family to be (involved) in the course of negotiations,” he said.
Saturday’s video, highlighted by militant sympathizers on social media sites, bore the symbol of the Islamic State group’s al-Furqan media arm.
Though it could not be immediately independently verified by The Associated Press, it conformed to other beheading videos released by the extremists, who now control about a third of both Syria and neighboring Iraq in a self-declared caliphate.
The video, called “A Message to the Government of Japan,” shows a man who looks and sounds like a militant with a British accent shown in other beheading videos by the Islamic State group. Goto, kneeling in an orange prison jumpsuit, said nothing in the roughly one-minute-long video.

“Abe, because of your reckless decision to take part in an unwinnable war, this knife will not only slaughter Kenji, but will also carry on and cause carnage wherever your people are found. So let the nightmare for Japan begin,” the man says.
Goto was captured after he traveled to Syria in October to try to rescue Yukawa, a 42-year-old adventurer, from the Islamic State group.
The Jordanian pilot was captured after his fighter plane went down in December over an Islamic State-controlled area of Syria.
Earlier this week, Jordan offered to release an al-Qaida prisoner for the pilot. However, in a purported online message earlier this week, the militants threatened to kill the pilot if the prisoner wasn’t released by Thursday. That deadline passed, and the families of the pilot and the journalist were left waiting in agony.
Late Friday, Japan’s deputy foreign minister reported a deadlock in efforts to free Goto. Jordan and Japan had reportedly conducted indirect negotiations with the militants through Iraqi tribal leaders.
The hostage drama began last week when the militants threatened to kill Goto and Yukawa in 72 hours unless Japan paid $200 million.
Later, the militants’ demand shifted to seeking the release of the al-Qaida prisoner, Sajijda al-Rishawi, 44, who faces death by hanging in Jordan for her role in triple hotel bombings in Amman in 2005. Sixty people were killed in those attacks, the worst terror attack in Jordan’s history.
Al-Rishawi has close family ties to the Iraq branch of al-Qaida, a precursor of the Islamic State group.
http://www.japantoday.com/category/crime/view/is-posts-video-purportedly-showing-goto-being-beheaded?utm_campaign=jt_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_source=jt_newsletter_2015-02-01_AM

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Abstinence on rise as nearly half of Japanese report no sex


by the Japan Times



Talk about a low birthrate. Increasing numbers of married couples and others are choosing to go without sex.
A biennial survey conducted last September by the Japan Family Planning Association found that 49.3 percent of all respondents said they had not indulged in bedroom gymnastics in the past month.

There was a disparity in the sexes: 48.3 percent of men and 50.1 percent of women reported going without. Both figures were up about 5 percentage points from two years ago.
Among married people, the disparity was more pronounced: 36.2 percent of men reported having no sex, compared with 50.3 percent of women. Both figures have shown continuous growth since 2004. The combined total for 2014 was 44.6.

Asked why, 21.3 percent of the married men said they were too tired after work, while 15.7 percent reported no particular reason but said they had become sexually inactive after their wives gave birth.

In all, 23.8 percent of married women reported having sex was bothersome, and 17.8 percent cited fatigue from work.

The survey also revealed an increase in young men with reduced sexual interest, a group colloquially referred to in Japan as “herbivores.”

Among male respondents, 17.9 percent reported little or no interest in having sex — or even an extreme dislike of it. The proportion came to 20.3 percent for men between 25 and 29, up 2.5-fold from the level in 2008.
The survey covered 3,000 people aged between 16 and 49. Of them, 1,134 people gave valid responses.
http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/01/19/national/japanese-couples-going-without-sex/#.VMrp5tLLdC0


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Japan asks U.S. publisher to change 'sex slave' reference in textbook 





Japan has asked a major U.S. publisher to “correct” a school textbook that references World War II sex slaves, the foreign ministry said Thursday, as Tokyo’s bid to polish its history moves abroad. Diplomats petitioned McGraw-Hill to change passages of a book used in American schools that refer to “comfort women”, a euphemism for those forced to work in military brothels. 



“The Japanese government, through an overseas diplomatic office, in mid-December asked McGraw-Hill executives to make a correction in the content of their textbook titled ‘Traditions & Encounters: A Global Perspective on the Past’,” a foreign ministry statement published by the Wall Street Journal said. They did this “upon finding grave errors and descriptions that conflict with our nation’s stance on the issue of ‘comfort women.’” The Japanese government under nationalist Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has embarked on a global campaign to right what it sees as the wrongs of global perceptions of its WWII violence. Mainstream historians agree that around 200,000 women, mainly from Korea, but also from China, Taiwan and the Philippines, were forced to provide sex to Japanese soldiers in a formalised system of slavery. 



Right-wingers in Japan dispute this, and insist the women were common prostitutes. They say neither the state nor the military was involved in any coercion. McGraw-Hill Education confirmed they had been approached by “representatives from the Japanese government… asking the company to change the description of ‘comfort women’ in one of our publications,” according to the Journal. “Scholars are aligned behind the historical fact of ‘comfort women’ and we unequivocally stand behind the writing, research and presentation of our authors,” they said. 






The approach to a foreign publisher is unusual, but nationalists at home have pressed hard for a reinterpretation of history. Late last year, Japan’s liberal Asahi Shimbun retracted a series of articles dating from the 1990s centering on the testimony of a former Japanese soldier who said he had been involved in rounding up Korean women to work in brothels. His testimony had long-since been discredited, but the paper had for years resisted pressure to withdraw the articles. Its about-face was greeted with glee by right-wingers, including the prime minister, who demanded the paper apologise for its part in the globally-accepted view of Japan’s wartime record. Tokyo has been angered in recent years over statues honoring “comfort women” erected by Korean communities in the US and elsewhere. And in December the government lodged a complaint with Beijing over a reference to “300,000” people who were killed when imperial troops swept through the Chinese city of Nanjing, in a weeks-long orgy of rape and violence. Chinese President Xi Jinping made the comment in a speech on December 13, calling on Tokyo to acknowledge the gravity of its past crimes. 



Diplomats protested that the figure is “different from Japan’s position” and that it is “difficult to determine the concrete number of victims,” sources told Kyodo News. Since his election in 2012, Abe has pushed what supporters call a less “masochistic” view of Japan’s history. While the approach is popular among core right-wing supporters in Japan, it does not have broad appeal among a Japanese public that largely feels disconnected from events more than seven decades ago. It is also problematic for Tokyo’s chief ally, the U.S., which would far rather Japan could get past the issue and build better relations with its other key regional ally South Korea. 

http://www.japantoday.com/category/politics/view/japan-asks-u-s-publisher-to-change-sex-slave-reference-in-textbook?utm_campaign=jt_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_source=jt_newsletter_2015-01-16_AM


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