Thursday, December 20, 2007

Is this Japan?

Pictured: a temple in Japan

by Robert Upland

Mariko Suzuki shivers as she teaches at a local Japanese
junior high school. She isn`t allowed to turn on the heater.
That costs money. The students bundle up as best they can
and try to concentrate on the lesson. It is difficult
to write kanji when your fingers are blue.

At a junior high school in Odawara, the children shiver.
The small stove heater in the room is not strong enough to
heat it. Several children will go to hospital that day
suffering from frostbite.

Mariko gazes out the window at the expanse of dirt where
the children play. A grass
field too, costs money it should be assumed.
Yet this spartan existence is touted by the government
as building strength and sacrifice in Japanese youth.
I see it as short changing the people who will be the
future of this country.

It is interesting that in one of the richest nations
of the world, the conditions
one finds at times for students and teachers, smacks
of less advantaged nations like
North Korea.

Further, it is notable what our politicians choose
to spend our tax money on. Routinely it would seem,
the banks of rivers are cemented. Police are paid to
stop motorists for seatbelt violations, but not to stop
the motor cycle gangs known as the bosozoku, who routinely
terrorize and endanger the populous by their
actions. (Note: See our other article about bosozoku,
"The Tribes of Midnight," also at Japan Living)

Japan routinely places in the top ten in military
spending amongst nations. She is often in the top 6
and a large exporter of weapons as well. Again, what
this says to us is arms are more important than our youth.
Of course you will never hear a Japanese politician
actually say this,...
but actions do speak louder than words.

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