- GLOBAL PETITION "APPEAL FOR FUKUSHIMA"
- 全国の放射能濃度一覧 (radiation levels by prefecture in Japan )
- Japan Geigermap 放射線レベルに注意するためのガイガーマップ
- 気象庁 Japan Meteorological Agency
- Radiation Defense Project
- Christopher Busby Fondation for the Children of Fukushima
- roomdonor.jp 東日本被災者受け入れ情報サイト(Site for matching the victims who is not able to live in their house because of the quake and people intending to offer houses or rooms)
- Google Crisis Response
- CIVIC FORCE
- Urgence Japon Secours polulaire
- FUKUSHIMA UPDATE
- GREEN PEACE JAPAN
- GREEN ACTION
- 小出裕章 Hiroaki Koide (京大助教) 非公式まとめ 京都大学原子炉実験所助教 小出裕章氏による情報
- 放射能防御プロジェクト 木下黄太のブログ 「福島第一原発を考えます」
- Web Iwakami 岩上安身オフィシャルサイト
- EX SKF BLOG
- 上杉隆 Takashi Uesugi
- 自由報道協会 FPA Free Press Association of Japan
- 原子力資料情報室 ( CNIC ) Citizens' Nuclear Information Center
- European Committee on Radiation Risk Comité Européen sur le Risque de l’Irradiation
- Criirad クリラッド
- FAIREWINDS ASSOCIATES
- Genpatsu 福島原発事故に関する海外メディア報道
- Labornet Japan
- KYODO NEWS
- 47 NEWS Japan Press Network
- Ambassade du Japon en France
- FRANCE MEDIA NEWS フランスからのニュース
- NPj News for the Pelople in Japan
- ロイター 特集 東日本大震災
- IRSN INSTITUT DE RADIOPROTECTION ET DE SÛRETÉ NUCLÉAIRE
jeudi 31 mars 2011
Kaminoseki Nuclear Plant - Interference with construction will be fined 700.000 Yen
2011 March 30
The Chugoku Electric Power Company filed indirect enforcement against the regional opposition groups that interfere with the construction of Kaminoseki Nuclear Plant in Prefecture Yamaguchi.
March 25, Yamaguchi District Court decided that interference will be fined 700.000 Yen.
Takashi Yamado, a spokesman of the opposition group said "The construction project was implemented and we had no chance to make our voice heard. The residents' rights or opinions are ignored". The group will appeal against decision.
Last year, The Chugoku Electric Power Company alleged against the opposition group to demand a penalty of 9.35 million Yen per day for interfering with the construction. Iwakuni District Court admit to the allegation, and decided to issue a fine of 5 million Yen per day.
Related News: http://www.panorientnews.com/en/news.php?k=716
Five Japanese in Hunger strike against Kaminoseki
mercredi 30 mars 2011
FRANCE MEDIA NEWS
SOIREE POUR LE JAPON AU PROFIT DE LA CROIX ROUGE JAPONAISE,
LE MERCREDI 6 AVRIL 2011 A 20 HEURES, AU THEATRE DES CHAMPS ELYSEES - PARIS 75008
GALA A L'INITIATIVE DE SYLVIE GUILLEM , DANSEUSE ETOILE
AVEC LA PARTICIPATION EXCEPTIONNELLE DE KENZO
(CONCEPTEUR DE L'AFFICHE)
REMERCIEMENTS : FRANCOISE HA VAN
HOPE JAPAN !
dimanche 27 mars 2011
Interrogé par l'AFP, un porte-parole d'Areva à Paris a indiqué, jeudi, que le groupe"s'en tient" à ce qu'il a dit le 15 mars sur le sujet. Invité à réagir à de premières affirmations de Greenpeace sur un convoi le 4 avril, le directeur de la communication de l'usine Areva de La Hague, Christophe Neugnot, avait répondu :"Il y en avait un de prévu dans les semaines à venir. La décision a été prise en lien avec nos partenaires japonais de le reporter." Le directeur de la communication de l'usine de retraitement des déchets nucléaires, où est en général emballé le MOX fabriqué par Areva à Marcoule avant d'être chargé sur un bateau à Cherbourg, avait justifié ce report par le séisme au Japon.
Jeudi, le porte-parole d'Areva n'a pas souhaité répondre par oui ou par non à la question "démentez-vous qu'il y ait un transport de MOX pour le Japon la semaine du 4 avril ?". "On est sûr à 100 %", a martelé le chargé de campagne sur les questions liées au nucléaire de Greenpeace France à l'AFP après la réaction d'Areva.
Greenpeace accuse ainsi "la France et Areva" de se montrer "totalement irresponsables". "Le point le plus problématique à Fukushima, c'est le réacteur 3 parce qu'il carbure au MOX, un combustible particulièrement nocif car il contient du plutonium", déclare Yannick Rousselet dans le communiqué. Selon lui "un réacteur carburant au MOX pose un double problème : il a un point de fusion beaucoup plus bas et, si une fuite survient, le potentiel de rejets radioactifs est double".
Europe Ecologie-Les Verts appelle aussi, vendredi, le gouvernement français à annuler le transport de combustible. Le mouvement juge ce transport "indécent" au moment où le peuple japonais "panse ses plaies et pleure ses morts dans l'angoisse permanente des rejets, contaminations et risques insupportables que fait peser la centrale de Fukushima".
Le MOX est un combustible fabriqué à partir de plutonium (6 à 7 %) issu de combustibles usés sortant des centrales nucléaires et d'uranium appauvri. Selon Areva il présente l'avantage de "recycler" les matières irradiées. Mais pour les antinucléaires, comme il contient du plutonium, il est plus dangereux que le combustible classique et, selon eux, il augmente les risques de prolifération nucléaire.
Selon Areva, une quarantaine de réacteurs dans le monde sur 440 et 4 des 55 réacteurs nucléaires japonais fonctionnent avec du MOX, dont un à Fukushima.
French state-controlled nuclear group Areva is planning to ship MOX fuel, made from the reprocessing plutonium and uranium, from Cherbourg to Japan. Thursday, March 24, GreenPeace France said in a report that "Contrary to last week's announcement, shipping of MOX to Japan is confirmed in the week starting from April 4, which is the most dangerous type of fuel that is used in Fukushima Plant Unit 3"
Thursday, a spokesman of Areva in Paris said to AFP that the group's plan stayed unchanged from March 15. As for the Greenpeace's claim regarding to the shipping of MOX on April 4, Christopher Neugnot, a communication director of Avera Plant in La Hague responded: 'The shipping was planned in a few weeks. We decided to postpone it with our Japanese partner" . Communication director of Areva's nuclear waste reprocessing factory in Marcoule, which normally manufactures MOX fuel which later be shipped from Cherbourg, explained that the earthquake in Japan caused the delay of shipment.
Thursday, Areva's spokesman refused to answer the question whether Areva is going to ship MOX fuel to Japan or not in the week of April 4. Given the Areva's reaction, "We are 100% sure" - Greenpeace France said to AFP.
Greenpease accuses "France and Areva" for being "totally irresponsible". "The biggest problem of Fukushima is the Unit 3, which reactor fueled by MOX that contains plutonium", said Yannick Rousselet in a statement. According to him, "reactor fueled by MOX has two risks: Its melting point is much lower and if it leaks, it is more dangerous than conventional nuclear fuel"
Friday, Europe Ecology - Les Verts (Green Party) called French government to tell that the shipment of MOX fuel should be cancelled. The both parties consider the shipment of MOX as"indecent" because Japanese people are now suffering from the disaster and frightened with on-going Fukushima Plant accident.
MOX fuel is a mixture of recycled plutonium (6-7%) and uranium. According to Areva, there is an advantage of recycling irradiated fuels, however, antinuclear have been against it because it is more dangerous than conventional nuclear fuels and the use of MOX increases the dangers of nuclear proliferation.
According to Areva, 44 out of 440 nuclear reactors existing in the world, and 4 out of 55 in Japan are burning MOX fuel, including Unit 3 of Fukushima Plant.
AFP通信の質問に対し、パリのアレバ広報担当者は、この件に関するグループの3月15日の決定は"変わっていない"と述べた。 グリーンピースの発表した4月4日のMOX燃料の日本向け輸送の件に対し、ラアーグのアレバ工場広報担当、Christophe Neugnotは以下のように回答した。「数週間内に輸送される予定だった。日本のパートナーとの間で輸送の延期を決定した」
グリーンピースは、"フランスとアレバ"は"完全に無責任"として非難している。 「福島原発で特に重要な問題は、プルトニウムを含む危険な燃料を使った三号機である」と、Yannick Rousseletは声明で述べる。「MOX燃料には二つのリスクがある。まず、通常の核燃料に比べて融点がはるかに低い。次に、放射能漏れした場合は、放射能濃度が通常の2倍になることである」
samedi 26 mars 2011
At the same time, people in the affected area started dying from hunger. This is completely appalling. Please help them by signing up the petition: http://www.change.org/petitions/stop-the-delay-on-donations-to-japan-2#?opt_new=t&opt_fb=t
J'ai parlé avec ma famille et mes amis au Japon hier et ai découvert que les japonais ne sont pas informés que le gouvernement continue de mettre en suspens une partie de l'aide internationale (il a seulement accepté l'aide de 15 pays sur les 102 qui se sont portés volontaires)
Pendant ce temps, les gens dans les zones sinistrées commencent à mourir de faim. C'est complètement consternant.
Kyodo Marcn 24
Cheers rush from developing countries "We never forget your aid, Japan"
Many countries or organizations have offered support to Japan after this time's earthquake and tsunami. Support offers from the developing countries are especially remarkable.
"We never forget that Japan supported us at a difficult time", said Hamid Karzai, Afghanistan President.
According to the Japanese minister of foreign affairs, 132 countries/regions and 34 international organizations have offered support by 24 March. Compared to Great Kobe earthquake in 1995, the number of offer is more than twice.
Such countries as East Timor, Afghanistan, Haiti, Sudan, Rwanda have offered support, which are suffering from civil war or impact of disaster.
Sudan offered donation as much as 8 million Yen, which Japan still hasn't received. However, many countries propose to support Japan, if not financially, by contribution in personnel or supplies.
An official of Japanese minister of foreign affairs pointed out that many countries are willing to repay a favor to Japan for having supported them by sending emergency aid unit or providing financial aid. "Japan has done good", said he.
vendredi 25 mars 2011
> From: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Hi everyone,
> It's Shinji here. Sorry, I wrote a long message again.. Please read
> this if you have time. This is a latest report from my place.
> First of all, thank you so much for sending your donations.
> Currently, $6913.48 in total, (donation through Aska Matsumiya's The
> Rainbow Project is included).
> I am very surprised because my goal was $1000 when I started this
> fund... I am not an organization, or group. I am just a ordinary
> person. Now I can act by obtaining your trust. Again, thank you so
> much. I can't thank you enough...
> I sent 7,000,00 yen = $8,645.18 in total ($3000 from this donation,
> $5645 from donation through musician community in Osaka and my
> personal donation) to Civic Force. I mentioned I will send donations
> to Peace Wind Japan too, but I didn't. Because...Now they built a
> complete cooperative relationship!! Now they are the same team.
> And, today I bought 150,000yen = $1853.54 's worth of goods at
> wholesale market (very close from my house! My closest station name is
> east market, haha) to send to the stricken area, Fukushima, also known
> as the nuclear plant accident district. Today I got a very good
> information from Pika, ex. a drummer of Afrirampo. She found a
> logistic company where headquarters is in Fukushima, and they accept
> the support goods in Osaka and send it immediately direct to the
> stricken area. I brought foods and paper products to their truck
> station by my rock'n roll van, business use very big canned foods x
> 240, pickled vegetables x 320 kilo gram, about 3000 roll of toilet
> paper. I was very glad I could get them at cheaper price, the market
> people cooperated soon gladly after I told them what I am going to do,
> though Osaka is also goods shortage. The truck will get there in a
> day! I think this is the fastest, certain way to bring good to the
> stricken area.
> Now we have $2059.94 still. As I mentioned in last email, I will get
> more information from stricken area Fukushima directly soon from
> brother of Yoshihide Otomo, so I think I will be able to drop the
> rest of donation to right, efficient place as much as possible.
> 12 Days have passed since the earthquake and tsunami destroyed Japan.
> Official death toll is now 9523, 12,909 still missing in total, and
> about 250,000 people are without homes, living in refuge, their cars,
> wherever they can. In Tokyo, although people are trying to return to
> usual life, bad news pull them back to reality. Rotation electricity
> power cut is executed today too. People's uneasiness and stress are
> As for nuclear plant, the situation is a seesaw. There is no report
> more than current maintenance though the work of all-out continues,
> like, fire and black smoke relapsed in the nuclear plant immediately
> after the government announced repression is going well... In the
> issue, the radiation level around the plant has hardly changed, still
> very higher than usual level.
> However, the radiation poisoning has extended surely day by day. IAEA
> detected radiation 1,600 times higher than normal levels in an area
> about 20 kilometers from nuclear plant... Higher level than normal
> continues also in Tokyo. Sea water, soil, farm produce, milk... A
> high density radioactive substance has been detected from all things.
> And shipment restriction and ingestion limitation to some food
> products was begun. The agriculture of north east Japan will become a
> catastrophic situation.
> Moreover, the radioactive substance was detected from the filtration
> plant that Tokyo used. Tokyo and the surrounding area did notification
> to not give tap water to the baby.
> Government announces these level doesn't give influence to our health
> at once, though it exceeds the normal level...Yes, I fear a harmful
> rumor and a meaningless rumor very much, and I think it is true maybe,
> but, at the same time, the truth is---I am very afraid of it. Can you
> say "OK, no problem!" or can you feed such food to your kids without
> hesitation? So, NOW WE NEED accurate information based on a correct
> standard, not an announcement from cold-livered government or opinions
> from crazy hypersensitive people who praise only health food. A calm
> situation assessment is necessary for us.
> As for relief, the most of highway to the north east Japan was open
> yesterday! A lot of overseas media are surprised at this quick
> restore. At last, the preparation for the recovery started little by
> little. However, most of the road to the stricken area remains being
> cut in pieces still. And please don't forget, victims are living in
> refuge, not a house or apartment, without electricity, water service
> or gas, heater. There are a lot of people who die in the refuge though
> they survived with great pains from earthquake, because medical
> treatment is not enough. And, the area where damage is not serious
> also needs big help now. Many people could survive there, however
> there is completely nothing because nobody gives attention to such
> area. The relief is hard to reach there. Plus, influenza begins to
> spread in some refuge now. Medical treatment, hygiene, and
> information, everything is not enough at all.
> However, relief commodities are reaching gradually as I mentioned
> above. I believe it is through your quick cooperation!
> Thank you for your cooperate. I appreciate it very much.
> Keep in touch.
> After I started this project, a lot of cool mails have come to me
> every day. So many sons of the former kings in unknown countries are
> trying to give me a chance to be a billionaire, and suddenly tempted
> by unknown women who call herself young and beautiful. Yesterday I won
> the prize for which I have not applied. Nice, I love this world. I can
> Cc you in secret if you want.
People in North are still isolated without daily supplies, communication and information
Faites parvenir sans délai les donations pour le Japon
Les personnes au nord du Japon sont isolées sans nourriture suffisante, communications inexistantes et aucunes informations ne leur communiquées.
mercredi 23 mars 2011
Expo et Vente Exceptionnelle des dessins pour sauver aux réfugiés et victimes de la catastrophe au Japon avec
• Aki Kuroda
• Ange Leccia
• Antoine Aguilar
• Anzai Hajime
• Asakura Sekaiichi
• Asamï Nishimura
• Aurélien Porte
• Carole Benzaken
• Céline Cléron
• Claude Lévêque
• Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster
• Eden Morfaux
• Felice Varini
• Guillaume Constantin
• Jean-Luc Vilmouth
• Masayuki Ogisu
• Pierre Labat
• Shirley Jaffe
• Jean-Michel Alberola
• François Morellet
• Claude Closky
• Barthélémy Toguo
• Edouard François
• Atsushi Nishijima
• Pierre Mabille
• Philippe Cognée
• Shanta Rao
• Kiyoshi Kuroda
• Gutaï Takesada Matsutani
• Wilson Trouvé
• Jean-Michel Othoniel
for Future of Japan
14 - 21 avril 2011 / vernissage jeudi 14 avril 2011 à partir de 17h
10 rue Humblot 75015 Paris
Pour plus d’information, contacter
Asami Nishimura(+33 (0)6 08 34 07 08 / email@example.com)
Kana Sunayama(+33 (0)6 11 77 90 48 / firstname.lastname@example.org)
Jean-Luc Vilmouth(+33(0)6 11 64 34 01 / email@example.com)
Même si la majeure partie du contenu est en français, certaines informations sont traduites en japonais et en anglais.
Ici, des informations en japonais // Some informations in japanese here :
Synthèse du communiqué criirad du 20/03/2011 sur la contamination des aliments au Japon
コミュニケ 2011 年 3 月20 日 9 時
３月２０ 日（日）に フランスのメディアでも「福島第一原発近辺でとれた農作物に微量の放
Communiqué CRIIRAD contamination radioactive des aliments 20 03 2011 – Traduction 1
クリラッド : 声明文「日本での食品放射能汚染について」2011年3月20日 日本語訳 1
Communiqué CRIIRAD contamination radioactive des aliments 20 03 2011 – Traduction 2
クリラッド : 声明文「日本での食品放射能汚染について」2011年3月20日 日本語訳 2
Également, un lien que donne ce site, avec des informations en japonais sur les mesures de radioactivité :
Nous appelons immédiatement à stopper les réacteurs nucléaires de Hamaoka. La Grande faille de Tokia se trouve directement dessous.
Petition to prevent mixed disaster of earthquake and nuclear power plant
We call upon the immediate stop of Hamaoka nuclear power plants. The Great Tokai Earthquake is coming directly below them!
mardi 22 mars 2011
Mother Earth trembled. Our hearts tremble in aftershocks.
It feels that this is our responsibility as human beings to do as much as we can to help our friends in Japan.
We are not powerless. They are not alone.
As a musician I believe that art has a magical and universal power.
So here is my contribution: the Sailor Song.
La Terre a tremblée. Nos coeurs tremblent en répliques sismiques.
Il semble qu'il est de notre responsabilité, en tant qu'êtres humains, de venir en aide à nos amis au Japon, en faisant un don.
Nous ne sommes pas impuissants. Ils ne sont pas seuls.
En tant que musicienne, je pense que l'art a un pouvoir magique et universel.
Alors voici ma contribution: the Sailor Song.
Sailor song by Adieu Jasso
Adeline Fargier Jasso (OGOD, Antarcticans, Socorro, ...) - Guitar
Sharif Dumani (The Moon Upstairs, Exploding Flowers, ...) - Bass
Bob Mustachio (The Warlocks, ...) - Drums
Live recording by Emma + Mitch Cichocki at ABC Studios.
Thanks so much to Mariko Ogawa & Yu Matsuoka for creating this blog, you rule!
"Hakanai", le livre de dessins que j'ai réalisé avec mon mari vient de paraître.
Ce sont 20 pages édités en urgence par Bartolomé de Kaugummi Books spécialement pour les sinstrés du Japon. Les bénéfices seront intégralement reversés à la Croix Rouge.
Il est disponible sur le site de Kaugummi ainsi qu'à la librairie Yvon Lambert (5 euros).
Hakania signifie en japonais : ce qui est fragile, evanescent, transitoire, entre rêve et réalité
"Hakanai", the book of drawings i just made with my husband has just been released.
These 20 pages were published in a big rush by Bartolomé from Kaugummi Books especially for the victims of the catastrophy in Japan. All of its proceeds will be donated to the Red Cross.
It is available on Kaugummi's website and at the library of Yvon Lambert for 5 euros.
Hakanai means fragile, evanescent, transitional, between dream and reality...
Kaugummi Books のバルトロメ氏が日本の被災者への義援金を集めるために、取り急ぎ、２０ページの本を出版してくれたのです。
Kaugummi Booksのサイト上とYvon Lambertの本屋さんで５ユーロで発売中です。
Hakanai (Kaugummi Books)
lundi 21 mars 2011
some online bulletin boards have been set up to exchange information of housings open for evacuees in West Japan.
samedi 19 mars 2011
Thank You Philippe Gassin to spreading the word and downloading the dj set and directely HELP Japanese situation!!! WE LOVE YOU!
migh-T JAPAN TSUNAMI AID day
26 March · 14:00 - 22:00
A301.2 Biscuit Factory 100 Clements Road, London SE16 4DG
I am very sad about what happened in Japan last week.
To send support to those who lost family, house, work, everything, I would like to raise money for charity from migh-T.
I am making some special items for this.
All sales from these items will go to Red Cross Japan Tsunami Appeal.
Please come and join us.
ps. I will make these items available online too for those who can't attend the event.
vendredi 18 mars 2011
Even Japan’s infamous mafia groups are helping out with the relief efforts and showing a strain of civic duty. Jake Adelstein reports on why the police don’t want you to know about it. For more coverage of Japan’s crisis.
The worst of times sometimes brings out the best in people, even in Japan’s “losers” a.k.a. the Japanese mafia, the yakuza. Hours after the first shock waves hit, two of the largest crime groups went into action, opening their offices to those stranded in Tokyo, and shipping food, water, and blankets to the devastated areas in two-ton trucks and whatever vehicles they could get moving. The day after the earthquake the Inagawa-kai (the third largest organized crime group in Japan which was founded in 1948) sent twenty-five four-ton trucks filled with paper diapers, instant ramen, batteries, flashlights, drinks, and the essentials of daily life to the Tohoku region. An executive in Sumiyoshi-kai, the second-largest crime group, even offered refuge to members of the foreign community—something unheard of in a still slightly xenophobic nation, especially amongst the right-wing yakuza. The Yamaguchi-gumi, Japan’s largest crime group, under the leadership of Tadashi Irie, has also opened its offices across the country to the public and been sending truckloads of supplies, but very quietly and without any fanfare.
Intricate tattoo of a member of the Yakuza, the Japanese mafia. (Michael Rubenstein / Redux)
The Inagawa-kai has been the most active because it has strong roots in the areas hit. It has several "blocks" or regional groups. Between midnight on March 12th and the early morning of March 13th, the Inagawa-kai Tokyo block carried 50 tons of supplies to Hitachinaka City Hall (Hitachinaka City, Ibaraki Prefecture) and dropped them off, careful not to mention their yakuza affiliation so that the donations weren't rejected. This was the beginning of their humanitarian efforts. Supplies included cup ramen, bean sprouts, paper diapers, tea and drinking water. The drive from Tokyo took them twelve hours. They went through back roads to get there. The Kanagawa Block of the Inagawa-kai, has sent 70 trucks to the Ibaraki and Fukushima areas to drop off supplies in areas with high radiations levels. They didn't keep track of how many tons of supplies they moved. The Inagawa-kai as a whole has moved over 100 tons of supplies to the Tohoku region. They have been going into radiated areas without any protection or potassium iodide.
The Yamaguchi-gumi member I spoke with said simply, "Please don't say any more than we are doing our best to help. Right now, no one wants to be associated with us and we'd hate to have our donations rejected out of hand."
To those not familiar with the yakuza, it may come as a shock to hear of their philanthropy, but this is not the first time that they have displayed a humanitarian impulse. In 1995, after the Kobe earthquake, the Yamaguchi-gumi was one of the most responsive forces on the ground, quickly getting supplies to the affected areas and distributing them to the local people. Admittedly, much of those supplies were paid with by money from years of shaking down the people in the area, and they were certainly not unaware of the public relations factor—but no one can deny that they were helpful when people needed aid—as they are this time as well.
It may seem puzzling that the yakuza, which are organized crime groups, deriving their principal revenue streams from illegal activities, such as collecting protection money, blackmail, extortion, and fraud would have any civic nature at all. However, in Japan since the post-war period they have always played a role in keeping the peace. According to Robert Whiting’s Tokyo Underworld and Tim Weiner’s Legacy of Ashes, the US government even bought the services of one infamous yakuza fixer, Yoshio Kodama, to keep Japan from going communist and maintain order. Kodama would later put up the funding to create the Liberal Democrat Party of Japan that ruled the country for over fifty years. When President Obama visited Japan last year, the police contacted the heads of all Tokyo yakuza groups and asked them to behave themselves and make sure there were no problems.
But let’s be clear, the yakuza are criminals, albeit with self-imposed restraints, and in their way may actually keep street crime (muggings, purse-snatching, theft) down. Many Japanese still admire or tolerate them. In fact, a Nara Police Prefectural police study found that amongst adults under 40, one in ten felt that the yakuza should be allowed to exist or were “a necessary evil.”
There is an unwritten agreement amongst the police and the yakuza groups that is acceptable for them to perform volunteer activities during a crisis but not to seek publicity for it. Before the crisis the police were cracking down severely on the yakuza and any activity placing them in a heroic light might make the police look foolish. So they have been very quietly doing their part. It is not that the yakuza are not PR savvy, as is evidenced by their careful control and limited appearances in six fan magazines (three monthly, three weekly) that write of their exploits; it is that right now they care more about getting the job done than getting credit for it. As one members said, “There are no yakuza or katagi (ordinary citizens) or gaijin (foreigners) in Japan right now. We are all Japanese. We all need to help each other.”
As one members said, “There are no yakuza or katagi (ordinary citizens) or gaijin (foreigners) in Japan right now. We are all Japanese. We all need to help each other.”
A bit of background: Japan has 80,000 members belonging to these criminal organizations, which the police label shiteiboryokudan or literally “designated violent groups”; membership is not illegal although the police regulate their activities, much the way the SEC regulates Goldman Sachs. Their income is largely derived from protection money, security services, financial fraud, stock manipulations, gambling, blackmail, prostitution, and loan sharking. They call themselves “yakuza.” The word comes from a losing hand in traditional Japanese gambling: 8 (ya) 9 (ku) 3(za) which adds up to 20, and is a useless hand. Thus to be a yakuza is to be “a loser.” It’s a self-effacing term. They yakuza don’t call themselves “violent groups.” They exist out in the open; they have offices, business cards, fan magazines. The three major groups, the
Yamaguchi-gumi (40,000 members), the Sumiyoshi-kai (12,000) and the Inagawa-kai (10,000) all insist they are chivalrous groups, like the Rotary Club, that they are ninkyo-dantai.
Ninkyo(do), according to yakuza historical scholars is a philosophy that values humanity, justice, and duty and that forbids one from watching others suffer or be troubled without doing anything about it. Believers of “the way” are expected to put their own lives on the line and sacrifice themselves to help the weak and the troubled. The yakuza often simplify it as “to help the weak and fight the strong,” in theory. In practice, the film director Itami Juzo, who was attacked by members of the Yamaguchi-gumi Goto-gumi because of his films depicting them harshly, said “the yakuza are all about exploiting the weak and disadvantaged in society, and run away from anyone strong enough to stand up to them and their exploitive extortion.” He was primarily correct, I think. However, sometimes, like today in Japan, they live up to their original values.
Of course, most yakuza are just tribal sociopaths who merely pay lip service to the words. But in times like this every helping hand is welcome, and maybe, maybe for a few weeks, both the police and the yakuza can declare a peace treaty and work together to save lives and ensure the safety of the people of Japan. To some extent, the police have even given their tacit support to the yakuza aid efforts. That’s the spirit of ninkyodo. It’s also the spirit of many of the Japanese people. It is why I have no doubts that Japan will weather this crisis and come back stronger than ever.
Naoya Kaneko, the deceased Sumiyoshi-kai boss who was a friend and a source, once said, “In times of crisis, you learn the measure of a man.” To understand the real meaning of that you have to understand how the generally male-dominated and sexist yakuza define “a man.” The core of that is giri, a word that can be translated many different ways but which I interpret to mean: reciprocity. Today, the Japanese people and even the yakuza are measuring up very well to that standard of behavior.
Jake Adelstein was a reporter for the Yomiuri Shinbun, Japan’s largest newspaper, from 1993 to 2005. From 2006 to 2007 he was the chief investigator for a U.S. State Department-sponsored study of human trafficking in Japan. Considered one of the foremost experts on organized crime in Japan, he works as a writer and consultant in Japan and the United States. He is also the public relations director for the Washington, D.C.-based Polaris Project Japan, which combats human trafficking and the exploitation of women and children in the sex trade. He is the author of Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan (Vintange).
For inquiries, please contact The Daily Beast at firstname.lastname@example.org.
jeudi 17 mars 2011