Avoiding a catastrophic military situation with respect to North Korea

  • 2017.09.26

Avoiding a catastrophic military situation with respect to North Korea Circumstances in East Asia are tense: Repeated North Korean nuclear weapon and missile tests, U.S. and South Korean joint military exercises aimed at curbing such tests, and ongoing diplomatic activities between the U.S. and China, the U.S. and Japan, and among the region’s nations, Russia included. All the while, the countries involved engage in a war of words while displaying their latest military might. Some people take the view that it is all just posturing so nothing major will happen. We sincerely hope this is the case. However, North Korea has a singular dictatorship system. Furthermore, among the various other countries involved, there are those where no one person wields supreme power as well as those where the person with supreme power makes all the decisions and many positions in the cabinet and below remain empty. In addition, even in countries with both levels of leadership in place, there are countries where internal debate is almost nonexistent as well as countries that have lapsed into rigid thinking after frantic efforts to put out political-scandal fires erupting one after another. We all live under the governments of such countries. Current circumstances […]

Japan P.E.N. Club Statement “We oppose the anti-conspiracy bill”

  • 2017.09.26

As a result of the anti-conspiracy bill, your life will be monitored; as a result of the anti-conspiracy bill, you could be branded a terrorist. We oppose the passage of the new anti-conspiracy bill. We, the Japan P.E.N. Club, are strongly opposed to the passing of the new anti-conspiracy bill (concerning conspiracy to commit organized crimes such as terror) currently being debated in the Diet. We have opposed such bills in the past because, in addition to being totally unnecessary, they damage the foundation on which society is built. The substance of the current bill is totally unchanged from past bills so there has not been the slightest change in our opposition. As in the cases of the bills that have been put before the Diet and scrapped three times in the past, the anti-conspiracy bill currently being prepared would punish someone if they are merely deemed to have engaged in advance discussion. This is the government thrusting its hand into a person’s heart, and it is nothing other than an infringement on the freedom of heart and mind (freedom of thought and belief) absolutely guaranteed by the constitution. The result will be to, at a fundamental level, deprive people […]

Japan P.E.N. Club Statement A call for the humane treatment of Liu Xiaobo

  • 2017.09.26

Japan P.E.N. Club Statement A call for the humane treatment of Liu Xiaobo There are reports that Liu Xiaobo’s medical condition has deteriorated. Liu Xiaobo worked to improve the human rights situation in China as vice-chairman of the Independent Chinese PEN Center, and he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Since 2008, however, he has been detained by the Chinese government. According to news reports, due to the worsening of his liver cancer he has been transferred from prison to a hospital, where he is being confined while receiving medical care. The Japan P.E.N. Club has repeatedly called upon the Chinese government to release Mr. Liu and improve the human rights situation in China. Contending that “There are very good liver cancer treatment specialists in Japan,” Mr. Liu’s relatives have expressed the desire for him to receive treatment abroad in Japan or elsewhere. We, the Japan P.E.N. Club, strongly urge the Chinese government to fully guarantee Mr. Liu’s freedom of action (overseas travel included) so that he can receive medical treatment in accordance with his own and his wife’s wishes, and we also ask the Japanese government to endeavor to exert influence on the Chinese government from a humanitarian perspective. […]