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Shinzo Abe Assassinated
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subego
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Jul 8, 2022, 06:34 AM
 
Interested in commentary from Oreo and Spheric.
     
OreoCookie
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Jul 9, 2022, 07:45 AM
 
It is really important to set the context: in Japan in most years less than 10 people die per gunshot wounds. The number is so low that the number-per-capita is almost useless. I think up until now this year there has been a single death due to a firearm. 1. And four more were shot.

Many common crimes essentially do not exist the way they do in other countries. If you go to a café and want to reserve your seat, you leave your iPhone on the table. In the beginning I was overly eager and handed it to the staff, thinking it had been forgotten.

There is crime, also violent crime, especially against women (molestation, rape, etc.), but overall, it is a much safer country. I said this to give you an idea why security is handled very differently: there is literally no need. There have been some successful and attempted assassinations of politicians, the last seems to have occurred in 2007 when the then-mayor of my wife‘s hometown Nagasaki was shot. Nevertheless, it is rare.

The victim, Shinzo Abe, was the most powerful politician up until his death. Even after losing his prime ministership, he was still the head of the most powerful faction. He was an archconservative and part of a political family. His grandfather was not just a post-war prime minister himself, he was literally a convicted war criminal. So the assassination is very confusing: the shooter is ex military (so likely conservative in Japan*) and there seems to be no obvious political motive. There has been an earlier attempt on Abe by Yakuza, but the Yakuza have lost a lot of their strength. (Also the 2007 assassination of Nagasaki‘s then-mayor was carried our by organized crime.)

As far as the shooter is concerned, he built the weapon himself it seems. Police also found other firearms and explosives in his apartment. The news I have read have mentioned a few contradictory reasons the shooter gave. The latest one, I kid you not, has to do with the Mun sect, a weird, anti-communist religious movement that originated in Korea. I have no idea.

Society is stunned. “This doesn‘t happen here.” It is a serious disturbance of peace. Especially since people do not understand the logic so far behind the assassination.


* Japan has a “peace constitution” that America gave to it. Article 9 prohibits Japan to possess an army, a navy and an airforce. It has been a long-term dream and effort by the conservatives at large and Abe in particular to abolish or modify Article 9. People who join the Self-Defense Forces (see, it is not a military!) usually tend to be on the conservative side.
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Thorzdad
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Jul 9, 2022, 08:02 AM
 
Oreo, has there been any thinking along the lines that the shooter represents a far more conservative/right wing movement in Japan? Similar to how the right has moved further and further to the right here in the US and other countries?
     
subego  (op)
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Jul 9, 2022, 12:14 PM
 
@Oreo, thank you!

Questions likely to follow.
     
subego  (op)
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Jul 9, 2022, 04:46 PM
 
Originally Posted by Thorzdad View Post
Oreo, has there been any thinking along the lines that the shooter represents a far more conservative/right wing movement in Japan? Similar to how the right has moved further and further to the right here in the US and other countries?
This was one of my initial assumptions, based in part on the circumstances of Ariel Sharon’s assassination.
     
reader50
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Jul 9, 2022, 05:55 PM
 
This will be easier to comment on if they can get a coherent explanation out of the shooter. He may be concocting lies, very confused, or on weird drugs.

I don't see the point of shooting a retired politician. And the motives I've heard so far aren't helping. Maybe he's just plain crazy.
     
subego  (op)
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Jul 9, 2022, 09:18 PM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
This will be easier to comment on if they can get a coherent explanation out of the shooter.
I’m bracing for serious cultural and linguistic issues with the English version of whatever that is.
     
subego  (op)
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Jul 9, 2022, 09:24 PM
 
@Oreo

I’m wondering what the reaction is to the phenomenon of so many people recording it, and the attendant deluge of video.
     
OreoCookie
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Jul 9, 2022, 09:31 PM
 
Originally Posted by Thorzdad View Post
Oreo, has there been any thinking along the lines that the shooter represents a far more conservative/right wing movement in Japan? Similar to how the right has moved further and further to the right here in the US and other countries?
So far no coherent story has emerged.
The other thing is that Abe was a member of the far right and in league with quite a few unsavory people. Just to give you an idea of the caliber of “gaffes”: his former vice prime minister wanted to model the aforementioned constitutional reform after Germany — of the 1930s. He was also close to many far-right groups such as Nippon Kaigi (Japan conference). Hence, it doesn‘t seem very likely to me that Abe not being conservative enough was a motive for the shooter. But of course, I could be proven wrong.

Japan has a very “healthy” right-wing online bubble, including on Twitter, the so-called netto-uyoku who are very active and ready to shit storm anyone who they perceive as an enemy. This could hit academics like Paula Curtis or politicians.

Japan‘s population seems very apathetic when it comes to politics. The opposition is usually in shambles, opposition parties divide, re-unite and just keeping track of them is hard. And similarly to Bavaria, “democracy” happens within the party by factions who vie for power and influence.
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
This will be easier to comment on if they can get a coherent explanation out of the shooter. He may be concocting lies, very confused, or on weird drugs.

I don't see the point of shooting a retired politician. And the motives I've heard so far aren't helping. Maybe he's just plain crazy.
One plausible explanation is that this guy is simply suffering from the “usual” factors: being lonely, unemployed, feeling useless and then coming up with hair brane ideas. He could also suffer from some mental illness, but I am not sure. Japanese society has well-defined expectations of people, and they can feel like a straightjacket. But if you agree with these ideals and you are so far from coming close to them (being unemployed is a big one), then that has a major impact on your psyche.

It could be that he was unhappy with his personal situation and Abe was unable to steer the ship in a new, better direction. To my knowledge, none of his big initiatives such as Abenomics (financial easement, big government spending programs coupled to cheap capital) and womenomics have failed. E. g. in the equality index, Japan is still fighting with South Korea for being the worst industrialized nation to work. But for the past few years, it did beat Korea at something, it dropped to 121st in the world (!!) in 2020 and improved to 120th in 2021. Japan also dropped in the press freedom index to 71st. At the same time, Korea is set to overtake Japan in GDP-per-capita in 2030 even though it is struggling with many of the same issues (rampant sexism, impending labor shortage, etc.). Overall that has left a lot of Japanese depressed — they perceive their nation is on the decline. Rather than the economic powerhouse everyone looked to, they are now trying to reinvent themselves as a tourism designation. Think of the US coming to grips with the fact that they are becoming Mexico. Or that Germany is slowly becoming like Italy.
Originally Posted by subego View Post
I’m wondering what the reaction is to the phenomenon of so many people recording it, and the attendant deluge of video.
I think what is more spectacular for me is the video about what happened afterwards: regular people rushed in to help and security wasn‘t concerned in the least. Just imagine what would have happened in the US (or look at past assassination attempts e. g. on President Reagan), that would have been unthinkable.

I think a lot of people are afraid of losing this as their normal, the sense of safety that they can expect in this respect. That‘s what I am concerned about, too.
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OreoCookie
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Jul 16, 2022, 10:16 PM
 
I wanted to give an update: it seems that the story regarding the Moon sect checks out. The backstory is super interesting as this assassination was three generations in the making and it started with Abe’s aforementioned grandfather! (Of course, it goes without saying that I’m not justifying the actions of the shooter.)

One good summary can be found in this article by Shingetsu News Agency. (The site is openly left-leaning, so take that for what you will. The facts seem to check out, though, although much of the news media in Japan avoided naming the Moon cult by name for a long while.)

Nobusuke Kishi, Abe’s grandfather, was not only a prime minister in the late 1950s, he was also high up in the government during the war and was convicted as a war criminal. I’m mentioning this because Japan’s colonial government up until the end of WW2 was fervently anti-communist. (If anyone tells you about the horseshoe theory of political theory, show them the example of the Japanese Imperial government and it becomes immediately clear that this is horsesh*t theory.) So Kishi was not just very much right-wing, but also anticommunist. This is something he had in common with Sun Myung Moon, the founder of the Moon Sect or Unification Church. The two formed a bond over their common anti-communist cause. As a consequence, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP, the conservative party of Japan) which Kishi helped found after the War formed a bond with the Unification Church where e. g. members would help campaign for the LDP or donate. In exchange, the LDP helped and protected the Unification Church in Japan, e. g. when it came prosecutions for fraudulent behavior.

Abe inherited those good relations with the Moon Sect in more than one way.

The shooter’s mother was a member of the Moon Sect and apparently gave away most of her money to the Unification Church. That caused a lot of tensions within the family, not least, I reckon, because the son felt he deserved help more financial help from the mother than what she gave. (He has been without a job.) Initially, the shooter wanted to kill Unification Church officials, but decided it was easier to kill Abe instead.

It seems very interesting that the Japanese media was afraid of naming the Unification Church in much of their initial reporting. Japan’s press has gotten significantly less free over the last 10 years (it plummeted from 11th place in 2010 to 71st place in 2021), and this is one of the indirect ways in which this shows.
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subego  (op)
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Jul 17, 2022, 01:25 AM
 
Excellent info!

     
reader50
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Jul 17, 2022, 03:38 AM
 
To give all your money to a church, or give it to your nutcase son.

We need better choices. Send the money to me. I wouldn't kill anyone.
     
OreoCookie
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Jul 17, 2022, 09:27 AM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
To give all your money to a church, or give it to your nutcase son.

We need better choices. Send the money to me. I wouldn't kill anyone.
Hehe, good point.
Yeah, although I reckon this hits close to home for a lot of us. One of my grandmothers was a life long (at least my-life-long) member of Christian Science. Not that I ever felt like killing a politician, though. Exiling them onto a far flung island? Perhaps!

The fallout of Abe's death will be quite interesting: his faction was very strong and much more conservative than the current Prime Minister. Abe's faction lost their leader with no obvious heir in sight.
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OreoCookie
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Sep 9, 2022, 01:43 AM
 
Quick update: overall, in a perverse way, the assassination was a complete success. The links between the Unification Church and its despicable practices with the LDP (the conservative party in Japan) have been exposed, and many politicians and factions are now cutting ties. Interestingly, the sources of pressure is varied: you have people objecting to the unethical practices of the Unification Church. But arch conservatives don't like it that a Korean organization is having that much power in Japanese politics (racism is leading to something good now?!??).

Morally, of course, this is all uncomfortable territory, and we should be wary of right things happening for the wrong reasons.
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
   
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