Tag Archives: Walter Hamilton

Walter Hamilton. Japanese election.

Four more years of… Oh, by the way, Japan is having a national election on Sunday. Has anyone told the Japanese? Some are calling it the “Seinfeld election”––the election about nothing. Which probably suits Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who called … Continue reading

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Walter Hamilton. The ABC and its competitors

When the British conducted atomic tests at Maralinga in South Australia in the 1950s Australia’s newspaper proprietors tried to prevent the ABC bringing along its recording equipment to capture the event. They wanted the ABC locked out of the story … Continue reading

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Walter Hamilton. Japan: when in doubt, call an election

Japan, Australia’s second biggest export market, has fallen back into recession. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has reacted by calling a snap election for mid-December, a year ahead of schedule, claiming he needs a new mandate to tackle the nation’s economic … Continue reading

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Walter Hamilton. Japan and China: agreeing to disagree

In diplomacy, sometimes a nod is as good as a wink. You can argue later over the question of who nodded first (if at all). The leaders of Japan and China are maneuvering towards their first face-to-face meeting after two … Continue reading

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Walter Hamilton. Calling up the reserves.

Japan’s central bank, 18 months into a monetary stimulus strategy of unprecedented scale, has decided to dramatically raise the bet. Since an extra 60 trillion yen annually fed into the economy failed to do the trick, perhaps 80 trillion (A$800 … Continue reading

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Walter Hamilton. A Chandelier in the barracks.

In July 1940, five months before the attack on Pearl Harbor, Emperor Hirohito met with his military planners to discuss the details of Japan’s new “southward advance” policy. An apparently skeptical Hirohito asked them a series of questions, including whether … Continue reading

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Walter Hamilton. A paranoid state?

The same question might be asked of many places on earth in these security-conscious times. On this occasion, however, the subject is Japan: a state several times removed, one would have thought, from legitimate concerns about an imminent threat from … Continue reading

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Walter Hamilton. Copy and Paste

The Japanese have coined a new word, kopipe, from the English phrase ‘copy and paste’. It featured, for instance, in recent reporting of the discredited stem-cell researcher caught out copying images and data from one research paper to another. But … Continue reading

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Walter Hamilton. One Man’s War.

Japan both treasures and abhors its status as the only nation to have suffered a nuclear attack. The bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are perceived, because of their unique and extraordinary destructiveness, as moral markers: warnings to the world and … Continue reading

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Walter Hamilton. When Local Becomes Global

Why is Vladimir Putin calling down upon himself the ire of the world by failing to help secure the crash site of MH-17 for international investigators? The answer, I think, is pretty obvious. He does not want to demonstrate how … Continue reading

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Walter Hamilton. Abe Over Australia.

In the six years since Kevin Rudd’s speech, in Mandarin, to students at Beijing University appeared to signal a sudden shift in Australia’s foreign policy focus towards China, and away from Japan, much has happened. Some even believe that the … Continue reading

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Walter Hamilton. A Death in Tokyo

A bespectacled, middle-aged man wearing a suit and tie climbed onto the steel rafters above a footbridge in Tokyo’s busy Shinjuku district and, using a megaphone, began to address passers-by below. According to witnesses, he spoke out against the Japanese … Continue reading

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Walter Hamilton. Fractured News from Fukushima.

It’s raining in Fukushima. Since radioactive contamination from the crippled nuclear power plant is spread mainly by introduced water, even a routine weather bulletin has more-than-usual significance. The annual tsuyu, or rainy season, is in full swing in Japan. Fukushima … Continue reading

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Walter Hamilton. Yasukuni Shrine and why it matters.

Yasukuni–Japan’s Patriotic Lightning Rod The Shinto shrine known as Yasukuni sprawls over ten hectares in the centre of Tokyo near the northern edge of the Imperial Palace grounds. Here are enshrined 2.47 million ‘deities’––the spirits of Japanese military personnel and … Continue reading

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Walter Hamilton. Anti-climax in Tokyo

Three words for Shinzo Abe––and for history. Three words: ‘…including Senkaku islands’ (was Obama’s omission of the definite article ‘the’, one wonders, part of a subconscious hesitation?). Thus a US president for the first time explicitly committed his country to … Continue reading

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Walter Hamilton. The guts of a Free Trade Agreement with Japan.

Dolphin-culling and free trade agreements represent opposite sides of the coin of the relationship between Australia and Japan. Both are currently in the news, with Sea Shepherd activists hounding the fishermen of Taiji (where the documentary ‘The Cove’ was filmed) … Continue reading

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Walter Hamilton. Credulity and formalism: Abbott’s twin challenges in Japan.

A prominent Japanese historian once likened the psychology of wartime Japan to a ‘madhouse’ in which the public became capable of believing anything. Another who lived through those years noted how formalism––keeping up appearances long after a cause has ceased … Continue reading

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Walter Hamilton. Calling a spade a spade in Ukraine.

Ukraine, the U.N., the European Union and the U.S. have nine days in which to influence the tide of events in Crimea or witness the second (after the excision from Georgia of South Ossetia and Abkhazia in 2008) expansion of … Continue reading

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Japan’s war memory. Guest blogger: Walter Hamilton

Japan’s struggle with the issue of war memory has been brought into sharp relief again amid a controversy over what children should be taught about the past. Last week the Matsue city board of education confirmed a ban placed on … Continue reading

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Foxing with the News, Japan style. Guest blogger: Walter Hamilton

  On Wednesday 7 August 2013, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe acknowledged that the clean up of the devastated Fukushima nuclear power reactors was beyond the capacity of the operator Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO). It followed the revelation that … Continue reading

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One Minus One Equals Nothing – Also True in Journalism. Guest blogger: Walter Hamilton

  As an executive journalist at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation I was concerned on a daily basis with balance and fairness in news and current affairs coverage. I often heard it said, ‘if both sides of politics are criticising us, … Continue reading

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Japan’s Deputy PM: ‘Let’s learn from the Nazis’. Guest blogger: Walter Hamilton

Taro Aso, Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of Japan, has a clumsy tongue; it’s always getting him into trouble. He’s so malapropic (remember the one about people becoming so affluent ‘even the homeless are getting diabetes’), we can only … Continue reading

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Galahs and princes. Guest blogger: Walter Hamilton

What was that about Australia and the Asian Century? The umbilical cords still tie us to the past. John Menadue  From Walter Hamilton: I had a choice today on the ABC Online News website of reading a story about a … Continue reading

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Japan: Where to now? Guest blogger: Walter Hamilton

 Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) won a resounding victory in last weekend’s Upper House election. It now has sufficient seats in both houses of parliament to dominate the important Diet committees and ensure passage of key legislation. The LDP, … Continue reading

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Japan: Renaissance? Guest blogger: Walter Hamilton

After two decades mired in largely self-made problems (post-bubble depreciation; political instability; aging population; nuclear meltdown), Japan is suddenly feeling much better about itself. Anyone observing events could not fail to register the shift in the national mood. Are we … Continue reading

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