Saturday, January 31, 2015

"事態は膠着状態になっている" Hostage situation stalemate

Dark side of a rising sun.

[UPDATE: An hour later, news arrives of Kenji Goto's brutal murder at the hands of ISIS. As we Jews say, may God avenge his blood.]

tonight's soundtrack Roy Davis Jr ft Peven Everett - Gabriel (Live Garage Version)
(This is slightly trance-inducing music tweeted as "today's soundtrack" by a stressed Japanese reporter who is taking the graveyard shift, on standby, awaiting any developments in the deadlocked hostages situation between Japan, Jordan and the Islamic State group. The Japanese reporters are enduring a hugely emotional situation, exacerbated by the death of one killed in a car accident on the way to the Turkish border where they all had gathered to prepare to report on and greet their colleague Kenji Goto upon his hoped-for release. Tragically, he did not appear, of course, the situation devolved into a dark silence of waiting, and the reporters were later warned away from the border area by their own goverment in fear of more kidnapping. How these journos survive emotionally, I don't know.)

膠着 (kouchakuDeadlock, stuck, stalemate

The next day, a Japanese government official announced that the negotiations were deadlocked.

How had this sad story happened? Here we have an elite Japanese (in this case Abe) who postured with a $200 million humanitarian gift to support the countries battling with ISIS, forgetting about, or disregarding, the risk to the lives of the two hostages, and leading to the death of one and possibly both.

This grand gesture at the probable cost of men's lives echoes those of Messrs. Toyoda and Uchiyamada in the 2010 Congressional hearings; their apologies, their public posturing about how they care so deeply for the tragedies and for the safety of their customers, their denials of deliberate wrongdoing. All the while, as has been widely alleged, they and their employees knew full well about the risk to their customers' lives.

Now we have a deadlock with Toyota and the peoples' lives. The company is forever blocked from admitting the truth of the killer defects in their vehicle electronics, or admitting their own lies, because of the self-destruction that would bring. In a crazy absurdity of modern corporate life, their fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders has prevented them from admitting the truth. They are stuck. And as long as they are stuck, both the Japanese and US governments are just as stuck.
Until they admit it, lives remain at risk.

Jake Adelstein writes in a Japan Times column: The Dark Side of the Rising Sun
There is another crime in Japanese law we have also been hearing about in the midst of the hostage crisis: professional negligence resulting in death or injury. The Tokyo Prosecutor’s District Public Office last week said it would not hold Tepco responsible for the triple nuclear meltdowns in March 2011 and, therefore, would not press charges. The story was buried in the news cycle amidst all the hostage updates.
Imagine if we started holding people responsible for the deaths of people because they failed to pay attention to the risks of what they did? Tepco might go bankrupt or its executives might be jailed. On the other hand, Shukan Post paid attention and killed its story. Abe decided for himself there was no risk or, simply, that he didn’t care.
That’s not a crime, right?

Well, Jake, this all sounds so familiar to us who noticed that US prosecutors also did not go after Toyota execs when they had evidence of professional negligence (at best; more likely executive willful blindness) resulting in both death and injury.  The professional negligence seems contagious. Prosecutors catch it from executives and politicians.  Somehow Toyota made the US goverment behave just like the Japanese government behaves towards it most sacred sources of funding and support.