July 7, 2003
Dear colleagues and friends,
I am now back to work as a professor of journalism at Doshisha University in Kyoto after Sabbatical leave from my university for academic research abroad from April, 2002 to June, 2003.
I had stayed eight months in London as a visiting scholar at the University of Westminster. I managed to achieve enjoyable and productive research at the Center for Communication and Information Studies in the School of Communication and Creative Industries thanks to the kind help of all colleagues such as Professor Colin Sparks and Dr. Peter Goodwin, throughout my stay there.
I visited 21 countries in order to see media accountability systems. I will publish a book to compare press councils in the world.
I went to China and traveled 21 countries from last December to May.
I spent five weeks in California and New York during US-UK invasion on Iraq. I was very sad to see US started a war which is totally against UN Charter and other international laws. I am also disappointed and frustrated to see mainstream US media reporting ﾒOperation Iraqi Freedom.ﾓ Few mass-media in the States pay attention to children, women and the weak are dying from US invasion by ﾒgreat soldiers.ﾓ I am afraid to say that reporters embedded (in bed ) with US troops are very similar to those Japanese reporters who worked for Hirohitoﾕs Imperial army in 1931-1945.
However I am pleased to know many Americans are protesting in the streets and in other avenues in order to stop the war. I am also encouraged to know some journalists and academics are criticizing this war coverage.
In Finland my friend asked me how long UN armed forces occupied Japan after the war. ﾒUS troops are still in Japan. 46000 US military members are in Japan. We donﾕt know when it will end at all.ﾓ US military presence does not necessarily democratize the country. Japan is not very democratic although it has been occupied by US troops for 58 years.
After I returned to Japan early June, I was surprised to see most Japanese have very emotional anti-North Korea feelings because of the kidnapping case of Japanese citizens in late 1970ﾕs. They are influenced by mainstream media which report bad things about it. Japanese media have ignored the facts that Imperial Japan had invaded Korea for 35 years and regarded North Korea as an enemy after the war ended.
I am very much disappointed to see Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi is now going to send its Self Defense Forces to Iraq in this autumn. It is so silly to do so.
My book titled ﾒAragai Chomsky-Asano Talkﾓ was published on March 23 in Japan. The title is ﾒTo resistﾑChomsky & Asano Talkﾓ if translated into English.
The book is ISBN4-87798-151-9 C0036.
Publisher is Gendai Jinbun sha, 20 Shinanomachi, Shinjuku-ku Tokyo 160-0016, JAPAN. The price is 1200 yen .
Phone is +81-3-5379-0307 ＦＡＸ 3-5379-5388 E-mail email@example.com
Kyoto Journal, Kyoto based quarterly magazine, is going to print the summary of our talk as a very major article in issue #54 of their magazine in about 6000 words. They also put Prof. Chomsky answer to an additional question regarding Iraq & N. Korea.
[KJ provides thought-provoking cultural perspectives on Asia. A non-profit, all-volunteer production now in its 17th year, KJ was nominated in '97, '98, '99, 2000, and 2001 by the Utne Reader for its Alternative Press Awards ﾑfor Excellence in Art and Design (awarded '98), Local/Regional Coverage, and Writing Excellence. KJ was nominated for two 2002 Utne Independent Press
Awards: General Excellence and Design.]
ﾔProject Censoredﾕ edited by Dr. Peter Phillips, Sociology Department/Project Censored at Sonoma State University will publish a part of my piece "Why Japan Remains a Threat to pace and Democracy in Asia" in their Censored 2004 book. They will print pages 5-15 titled ﾔWhy Japan is so undemocratic-Japan Lapdog Press.ﾕ
I will visit NY again early September and attend AIPCE conference in Stockholm 11-12 Sep.
During my stay in the United States, I was once a guest for KHSU-FM 90.5 at Humboldt State University, Arcata, California, on Thursday, 20 March 2003. ﾑ 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Host: Mark Sommer, Co-producer: Brian Covert. It was "Thursday Night Talk" show program. I have a transcript of the program if you want to read.
Mr. Brian Ohkubo Covert, a long time friend of mine and an independent journalist living in California, kindly made the transcript of "Thursday Night Talk" that I appeared on. Let me put it this HP.
Ms. Kazumi Ohkubo Covert、Brianﾕs translated it into Japanese. You can read the Japanese version in this HP.
I will do my best to democratize Japan and create healthy journalism in this country.
ﾒTHURSDAY NIGHT TALKﾓ (excerpts)
Thursday, 20 March 2003 ﾑ 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
KHSU-FM 90.5, Humboldt State University,
Arcata, California, USA
Guest: Kenichi Asano
Host: Mark Sommer
Co-producer: Brian Covert
Engineer: Paula Chernoff
MARK SOMMER: Welcome to ﾒThursday Night Talk.ﾓ My name is Mark Sommer, and Iﾕm sitting in this evening for Jamie Flower. I direct the Mainstream Media Project in Arcata, and I have with me this evening Kenichi Asano, who is a journalist and media critic from Tokyo. He actually was for many years ﾑ for 22 years ﾑ a correspondent for the Kyodo News Service, which is like the AP of Japan.
Initially, we were going to speak this evening about the role of media in both this country and the rest of the world, and weﾕll probably touch on that tonight. But itﾕs a very special evening, this evening; I think everyone feels it all over the world. A war has begun that a great many people had hoped would never happen, and thereﾕs a deep sense of dread, disappointment, anxiety, anger and grief. Concern for the people who are being bombed and concern for the troops who have gone into war, perhaps many of them quite reluctantly, never imagining they would be sent into this kind of situation.
Wherever one stands on the wisdom of going into war at this point, this seems to be an important moment for us to reflect on whether war is in fact the way we need to go. And most of all, I would like to use this evening as a kind of ﾒtown meetingﾓ for this community to come together ﾑ not in anger, but acknowledging our grief. And then thinking together about how we might take this moment of tragedy and carnage and turn it into a transformative moment ﾑ a situation where we can take the dross and the damage thatﾕs being done to the soul and substance of the world, and turn it into something that will prevent things like this from happening again.
....Now, I would like to open from this point to Kenichi Asano, who is, as I said, a journalist who has been in both the mainstream but has also had alternative points of view within the mainstream in Japan. And Iﾕd like to ask you, Kenichi, to describe to us the response to the buildup to war in Japan ﾑ first, among the general public and then in the leadership. What did the general public feel about the onset or, at least, the threat of war over the last several months?
KENICHI ASANO: Good evening. In Japan, generally speaking, there are more than 40,000 US troops based in Japan. And we have a very strong kind of military relation, [between] both countries. So Japanese people, generally speaking, are very pro-America. But concerning this war, I think more than 80 percent of Japanese people are opposing it. Itﾕs not usual for Japanese people to go on demonstrations, or protest to the American embassy. But the last few days, a lot of people are protesting, although the numbers are not so big, as London. Still, I think Japanese people, including me, have been praying that the United States would not start this war, and that the United States government will remain in the framework of the United Nations and use the UN as a place to make a negotiation with those governments which the US government doesnﾕt like.
I think most people are really disappointed and, personally, I think of those like children or women. Always when you have a war, the ﾒweakﾓ people suffer a lot. Rich people, majority people ﾑ they donﾕt suffer much. So I really feel very unpleasant and uneasy about thinking of those people who are dying now because of this war for so-called ﾒjustice.ﾓ I donﾕt think thereﾕs any war for justice. So in the 21st century, human beings cannot have any war ﾑ that was my thinking. So Iﾕm very much sad at this moment.
MS: The Japanese government has announced its support for the United States. Itﾕs one of the few governments in the world that has given its support, along with the Philippines. You were saying in a conversation with me yesterday that Japan is not really the democracy that the Americans point to as a success and as an example of what they might be able to do in Iraq. You said that it [Japan] was more of a colony of the United States. Can you explain that?
KA: Yeah. There was a public debate in the United Nations Security Council ﾑ I think it was in February ﾑ and the Japanese government was the only outspoken supporter for the US new resolution, as well as Australia, where more than 80 percent of the Australians are against this war. But the government [differed]. So itﾕs the same in Japan.
Japanese Prime Minister [Junichiro] Koizumi and Foreign Minister [Yoriko] Kawaguchi were always supporting what America has been saying. So I wonder why the Japanese government is always following the United States policy. And as I said before, more than 40,000 US troops are in Japan ﾑ and they are still in Japan after Aug. 15, 1945. For more than  years the US troops [have] remained in Japan. So politically, our ruling party, the Liberal-Democratic Party (LDP), most of the leaders of this LDP are always thinking that the Japanese interest is, you know, just to help American policy in world politics. And most Japanese think that they could make good economic development thanks to American help after the war. So, I might say Japan is still kind of a colony, you know, mentally. Itﾕs not independent.
South Korea and Japan are the only two Asian countries which have permanent US bases. Itﾕs very unusual for an Asian country. Japan is economically very big. Still, there are so many American troops and lots of crimes committed by some [US] soldiers inside Japan, and it is very difficult for police to arrest them. So I think Japan is not so democratic. And I think the American government is saying now the Iraqi government is not democratic. Maybe Japan is not democratic either.
MS: Weﾕre seeing an interesting phenomenon in recent weeks and months where ordinary citizens around the world ﾑ even in the countries that are supposedly part of the ﾒcoalition of the willing,ﾓ that is to say, Britain, Spain, Italy, Japan, Australia ﾑ huge majorities oppose this war while their leaders support it. Why do you think there is this sort of discontinuity or disjunction between leaders and people?....These are supposedly democratic countries. And yet, they donﾕt seem to be following what their people are saying. Why are they not following what their people are saying?
KA: Maybe thatﾕs because this is an international matter. So, I think most of the leaders think of economical ties with America. And people know about it too. If itﾕs a domestic issue, maybe they [would] lose their legitimacy. Like in Japan, too. But see, the Japanese people will not go to war....Itﾕs all Americans going to war. So maybe if the Japanese SDF [Self-Defense Forces] members join the war, maybe there will be more discussions in Japan.
But I think the reason why people all over the world are against this war is because thereﾕs no justice for this war ﾑ [just] because you donﾕt like the president, Saddam Hussein. But there are lots of governments in the world which are not democratic. And President Bush says, ﾒSaddam Hussein and his sons ﾑ out of Iraq,ﾓ you know. But how can other countriesﾕ leaders say you have to make a regime change in your country? The people of Iraq will decide. Maybe we can help. Through the United Nations or through NGOs or media, we can do it. Like East Timor got its independence, because lots of people all over the world supported it although Indonesia, the US and Japan supported the Suharto regime in Indonesia.
I understand the Iraqi government is not so democratic. So, they need to transform the society, politics. But thereﾕs no country which is so democratic, you know. Thereﾕs no 100-percent democratic society in the world. Thereﾕs always inequality and unfairness, and the people in power will be corrupted. So, why can the United States do this war? Middle school students can understand this. Itﾕs not so difficult.
MS: Letﾕs open this conversation up to the community. And let me ask the question first...of where we go from here and how we can turn this into a more positive moment and movement. We have something, as I said earlier, that I think has the opportunity to be transformative. But what is that thing that is emerging right now, and how can we make it into something that has a long-range, positive effect?
First, letﾕs go to Jim in Eureka. Jim, youﾕre on the air.
CALLER #1: OK. Thank you. I have a question for your guest, and this revolves around the issue of North Korea and China. And certainly, as a journalist I think he might have some insights as to why we have 45,000 troops stationed [in Japan] and the [US] Seventh Fleet in the vicinity, and the imminent threat ﾑ probably more so than even Iraq to the US and to Japan and neighboring Asian countries ﾑ that North Korea presents. And Iﾕd like him to at least address that briefly, so we have some perspective.
Weﾕre not in Japan as an occupying force or as a police force. Weﾕre there, really, to provide a certain level of protection to that country and to the region. And I think he avoided, in my mind, a very critical threat to his nation and to us, indirectly, too. If he could respond to that, Iﾕd appreciate it.
MS: Kenichi, would you like to respond to that?
KA: I think North Korea also has a problem in democracy and parliamentary systems. But you have to think of the history ﾑ why there are two Koreas in the Korean Peninsula. That is because of the Japanese 35-year very crude, unjustified occupation.
And so, Soviet Russia or the Communist bloc kept the north side of the Korean Peninsula and the United States got the south part of Korea. Thereﾕs no diplomatic relation with North Korea, [by] the US and Japan. Most of the countries in the world already normalized relations with North Korea, including the UK and most of the European countries and most of the Asian-Pacific countries. So we have to think about why North Korea is kind of threatening to the world [since] two years ago.
I think the US and Japan have not kept their promise about their energy plans and so on, because after the United States had a new president [Bush], they didnﾕt follow the former presidentﾕs policy toward North Korea. So we have to think about our side too. Of course, I donﾕt respect the leader of that [North Korean] government. But theyﾕre also a member of the United Nations, so we have to find a way to talk, have a negotiation on the table in the United Nations and other places. And I think North Korea is kind of making propaganda, trying to have equal status through talks with the United States and other countries like Japan and South Korea. I think their economy is very bad, so I think they need help from other [countries]; they know that. So we have to be very rational. And to try to talk with them. Thatﾕs my opinion.
C-1: Right. And I agree with everything you said. I think my greater point was: I donﾕt want the impression to be given that weﾕre having US troops occupying or not welcome in certain countries. In fact, Japan is very happy, very pleased to not have to fund a standing army ﾑ that we are doing it, and weﾕre putting ourselves at risk in doing so. And like you said, there are issues that we certainly are remiss in, certain things that we havenﾕt followed through. But I think itﾕs clear that they may pose a greater threat than the Iraqis to both Japan and the United States.
KA: I stayed one year in Springfield, Missouri in 1966-67, and I learned a lot of the values of democracy and free press. I learned a lot from the United States, the people of the United States. So, Iﾕm not saying that the United States is occupying Japan. What I mean is, the Japanese people and government should reconsider why we still have that many American soldiers ﾑ still, in 2003. So, thatﾕs my point. Of course, the United States has contributed to the stability and peace and prosperity of Japan.
I donﾕt deny it at all. I have lots of friends in America. And concerning this war, as a friend of the United States of America, I would rather say: This war is wrong.
C-1: Well, everybodyﾕs entitled to their opinion. And I think we enjoy the First Amendment and clearly, you know, thatﾕs what this show is about too. And I support what weﾕre doing [in Iraq]. Itﾕs unfortunate but I think itﾕs something that we [have to do].
MS: Jim, let me ask you something....Many of us feel that this warﾕs not being done by ﾒwe,ﾓ by ﾒusﾓ ﾑ itﾕs being done in our name, with our money, and against all of our own principles and against what we believe is the best interests of this country. Where is there room for ﾒusﾓ ﾑ and we represent at least half of the United States ﾑ to be able to express our feelings about having all of our resources, our children, our husbands, our wives, sent off to a war we believe is unjust?
C-1: Well, I think it starts right off with who we elect to represent us, and the local, state and federal offices. And we did elect this presidentﾑ
MS: Many of us feel he was not elected.
C-1: Well, itﾕs possible that thatﾕs the case. But he was validated somehow, Iﾕm gonna give you that....
MS: ...I think one of the problems many of us are having with this...[is] many, many of us ﾑ the great majority around the world, I think one would have to say, of ordinary people, if not leaders ﾑ feel that while Saddam Hussein is a truly repugnant character, we really cannot afford to engage in totally repugnant and illegal and violent means to deal with it. In other words, fighting evil with evil, or fire with fire, in the view of many people, only deepens the problem. And at the same time, it seems to be ﾑ in the view of many Americans as well as many people in the rest of the world ﾑ destroying the very democracy that we claim to be seeking to export.
C-1: Well, I think, you know, one intention ﾑ and Iﾕm not gonna defend the total [Bush government] policy because I think there are deep flaws ﾑ but one intention here is to remove this particular entity [Saddam Hussein] and his government and to try and permit a democratic government to be functional in that country, which has not enjoyed that for many decades....But I trust that we will at least provide the opportunity for some type of election process [in Iraq] when this is finalized and those people will have the opportunity, just like Japan had the opportunity in 1946, to have free elections and to elect a parliament and to establish ﾑ when MacArthur was the occupying force there ﾑ a democracy.
MS: OK. Jim, letﾕs give ourselves a chance to take a short break and others a chance to speak. But let me also ask a question to all listeners....The question is: Can we engage in ﾒregime changeﾓ within our world and within our own countries that is nonviolent? Many of us feel that there needs to be a ﾒregime changeﾓ in our own country ﾑ a ﾒregime changeﾓ from top to bottom that brings democracy back to something that has atropied, that money has taken over.
MS: Weﾕre back on KHSUﾕs ﾒThursday Night Talk.ﾓ My name is Mark Sommer. I am substituting for Jamie Flower. And we have with us this evening in the studio Kenichi Asano, who is a journalist and professor of journalism and mass communications in Tokyo. Kenichi, you were saying just before the break?
KA: Yeah. The citizen who called, Jim, explained about Japan being kind of liberated by American troops in 1945. It is partly true. But you have to know that Japan was an imperial, fascist military regime and it collapsed by itself. Its emperor fell on Aug. 15 . After that, Allied forces came to Japan and mainly the United States occupation forces, under General MacArthur, ruled the country, and introduced a very, very good Constitution. Iﾕm proud of this Constitution. This Constitution was brought at the cost of peoplesﾕ [lives] ﾑ more than 23 million people died because of the Japanese invasions all over Asia-Pacific, and Australia and New Zealand. Many Americans [died too], of course.
We [Japanese] have a military force. But Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution doesnﾕt allow [Japan] to have any air force, navy or army. So what Japan is doing now is contradictory to the Constitution, which the United States brought for the Japanese people. And the Japanese people welcomed it. So the situation in Iraq is totally different from Japan and Germany half a century ago. President Bush also mentioned about it, without naming countries: ﾒWe brought parliamentary democracy in World War II.ﾓ But it is a very bad analogy, I think.
MS: All right, thanks. We have James from Freshwater. James, youﾕre on the air.
CALLER #2: Yes. I think transformation has to start with people being better, more critical listeners. I teach some of the basic speech classes at HSU [Humboldt State University] and CR [College of the Redwoods], and Iﾕm always very surprised, astonished, how willing we are to believe anything we hear. Anything we hear. We want to believe it; we just accept it as true. And the way the network news frames the war that weﾕre in shapes reality. I think change really needs to come from people being more critical listeners: If an assertion is made, how is it backed up?
MS: ....Could it be, let me ask you, from your work, that not only do we need to learn how to express ourselves better, but we need to learn how to listen to one another better? In other words, to listen deeply. I wonder if thatﾕs a part of making peace in the world: to learn how to listen deeply to one another.
C-2: I think so. But I think far more important is that the media shapes reality. And we have to be far more critical of messages that we get, with a constant barrage of messages from television and radio and all around us. And the word choices that shape our sense of reality, our sense of the war, our sense of weapons of mass destruction. Evidence, please, evidence!
MS: ....All right, well, thank you very much, James, for your comments. Peter in Ferndale.
CALLER #3: Hi...I like your show. James brought up a good point about being a critical listener and listening to whatﾕs being told. But you do have to be critical about the sources of information that you get. And for sure, you can get relevant information on the Wall Street Journal, from NBC and ABC, and so forth. But for the most part, it is a fact that large media giants own, quote, ﾒthe media.ﾓ Large corporations. That is to say that ABC and CBS and NBC and Fox News Network and CNN are owned by large corporations. And they have a vested interest in a certain perspective to be perpetuated.
So therefore, one can pretty quickly assume that they want to be in good standing with the government. They want their, quote, ﾒjournalistsﾓ to be asked questions, or to be able to ask questions of the president, and so forth. And also, because of the bias amongst corporate leaders that this war is good, then it stands to reason that if these are commercially driven, profit-driven enterprises, that they would be very bad to focus and exploit other points of view regarding this war ﾑ on the front page, in other words, the lead-in stories or the main stories that are talked about in the network. Because if they did, they probably would experience the advertisers pulling their advertisements off of their network or out of their newspaper, and so forth.
And so they respectfully understand that fact. So theyﾕre not going to get into the face of their advertisers and say, ﾒWait a second, this war is bogus. This is propaganda-driven.ﾓ Theyﾕre going to have to stand away from that. As a matter of fact, they canﾕt even begin to interview people such as Ralph Nader or Noam Chomsky or other people who really do stand in contrast to the party-line coming from Washington.
MS: ....At the same time, very large majorities of people all over the world outside the United States oppose this war, despite what theyﾕre getting. Does that indicate that there is actually more discernment than we realize?
C-3: Yeah. In other words, consumers arenﾕt as stupid as these marketing people imagine, regarding trying to lay a case for invading Iraq....That these stories that theyﾕve read, whether it be on large newspapers or networks, they donﾕt buy it.
KA: Iﾕve been in the United States for two weeks. Before coming to the US, I was in New Zealand and Australia. And I was really surprised to see CNN and NBC and Fox television, and they are using [the words] ﾒour troopsﾓ and ﾒour government,ﾓ or something like that. ﾒOur president.ﾓ And lots of people all over the world are watching CNN, for example, Japanese and Vietnamese. If they say ﾒour troops,ﾓ what does it mean? [laughs]
Itﾕs not journalistic. Journalists should be international. What I learned from US journalism school is journalists should be international. National interests ﾑ government interests ﾑ and the peoplesﾕ interests are different. And even [though] Iﾕm Japanese, I have to think about the war as a world citizen. Not a Japanese journalist. So what the US media ﾑ mainstream journalism ﾑ are doing now is very similar to what Japanese journalists did in the 1930s: just following the emperor.
C-3: Right, right. And this is what the major media are doing right now for Emperor Bush. Itﾕs the same sort of a thing. And in many cases, this police state that Iﾕm seeing coming on, this military/police state ﾑ the militarization of our society and the attack on the Constitution ﾑ is being aided and abetted by the commercial, corporate-driven media. Theyﾕre actually helping this to take root.
KA: When I was in the United States in the 1960s, there were lots of local newspapers, several newspapers in one town. Lots of diversity. But now, concentration of media ownership is an international trend.
So, I think we have to do two things. One is try to have alternate media, like the Internet. But besides that, we have to try to change mass media and we have to criticize mainstream journalists to go back to your [roots] ﾑ why you became a journalist. You want to just speak on behalf of the president? You have to work for the peopleﾕs interests.
C-3: Yes. But you see, as it stands right now, for the most part itﾕs large multinational corporations that get the legislation and the benefit from the government.
KA: But if you stop criticizing or if you just give up, you know, this mainstream journalism will go in the wrong direction, getting worse and worse....Before starting the war, I think that most people can criticize it. But what is important is now, after the war started, we have to stop it.
C-3: Well, you see, you have to understand that so far as I can perceive, these people in Washington are not stopping in Iraq ﾑ as a matter of fact, theyﾕre bombing Afghanistan as we speak. Theyﾕre going to go on to Iran next, and then I donﾕt know, maybe Libya. I think that their agenda is far more expansive than just finishing a war with Iraq. But theyﾕre not going to tell us about it until they choose to tell us about it, until they have enough, you know, spin or public relations to start saying why they must invade Iran.
KA: So I think journalists should find out what the Washington people are trying to do. I remember former vice president [Al] Gore was saying that ﾒwe have been talking about how to [deal] with terrorists; now the world is talking about how to [deal] with the United States.ﾓ
C-3: Right. The rogue nation.
KA: Yeah. I think itﾕs very bad for the future of the United States.
C-3: Well, for the world.
KA: For the world, too. Yeah, of course.
C-3: Certainly. Iﾕm not the greatest history afficionado, but I remember when Hitler first when into, I think it was Austria, and he gave a reason to Chamberlain in England why he had to go to Austria ﾑ that it really belonged to Germany. And then they went to Czechoslovakia, and then they went to Poland, until somebody said, ﾒWait a second. This guy has a whole agenda going on here.ﾓ They thought it was just going to be Austria. Then they thought it was just going to be Czechoslovakia. I think we have a similar situation, where itﾕs not just Iraq.
KA: And I want to add that the Japanese present prime minister is a follower of the Japanese militarist government. And he has been to Yasukuni Shinto shrine, where the [Class-A] war criminals are enshrined as gods. And lots of Koreans and Chinese are protesting. But [he] went there, and he respects the spirits of the kamikaze. And he is [supporting] President Bush....
C-3: Yeah. See, our leader [Bush] is setting a tone, setting a kind of an agenda. Even our media is setting what kind of discourse is being discussed. And this is what weﾕre up against. And itﾕs very, very serious.
MS: It is serious, but let me throw forth a challenge to you that I made at the beginning of the hour. We all know itﾕs a very serious moment, we all know that we face some threats that are in some ways unprecedented. How does one turn this into a moment of change, a positive transformation?
C-3: ....Wherever people can make their point with their loved ones and so forth, they should. I perhaps feel that since itﾕs all profit-driven anyway, itﾕs corporate profit-driven, that the real vulnerability for these people is money. That perhaps if all of us participated in one day not buying gasoline and one day not moving, or finding those particular corporations that we feel are warmongers, that they really like the war because they can profit from the war ﾑ finding those products or writing to those corporations, and telling them that youﾕre no longer going to consume their products and youﾕre going to tell your friends about that.
MS: You know, that brings up a very interesting point....And that is simply that in South Africa, when South Africa was under an apartheid regime, the rest of the world gathered a consensus to disinvest in South Africa ﾑ not as an assault on all South Africans, but to try to put pressure on the South African regime to change. It may be that something similar has to happen in relation to the Bush administration and the global elites that are now in power. Not something aimed at America as a whole, but something very decisively aimed at bad policies and at nonviolent regime change. Nothing that will involve any form of military action or of violence or conspiracy, but simply voting, as Peter said, with our pocketbooks, which we do a lot more often than we vote in the ballot box.
Kenichi, some final words from you. We have just a minute or so left, and then Iﾕll speak.
KA: I think that the citizens should try to make alternative media. And I think American journalists are also feeling uneasy about what they are doing, because they are journalists. So we have to ﾑ the citizens have to ﾑ try to send e-mails and letters [to news companies] on what you think about the reports every day. Donﾕt give up. And I think the role of journalist unions or journalist groups or, in the universities, the journalism departments ﾑ we should all think about the media and what to do.
MS: Thank you very much, Kenichi Asano, professor of journalism and mass communications.
KA: Thank you. Itﾕs a pleasure for me.
MS: Thanks. And my name is Mark Sommer. Iﾕve been your guest host this evening....And I guess I would say in closing: Take care of one another; do things that nourish your soul through this difficult time. Reach out to others, to treat them both with kindness and also to help recover your country and your world. Reach out to the rest of the world in order to make a peace that overcomes this nightmare of a war. Thanks for listening.
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Copyright (c) 2002, Prof.Asano Ken'ichi's Seminar Last updated 2003.07.8