Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Two Swords Technique

Why, the homeless are left on their own with out help from the government or the public at large. Few are those that volunteer to help those in need and organize soup kitchens for them or closing. We have about 20 NGO working with the Homeless and the unemployed here in Tokyo and surrounding areas, trying to provide meals and shelters. Those NGO's receive about 90 per cent of their revenue in form of donations from abroad. The aid given by the NGO's is often undermined by the “Guardian Angels”, a paramilitary group of sorts, that is closed in combat pants, boots and military like beret. They are patrolling the streets to keep order and cleanliness on behalf of the "good" citizens and businesses that support them. Those “Guardians” give the NGO’s much grief at times, for they do not want to see those NGO's setting up in their part of town to help the homeless. Ironically, the NGO’s best ally against the "Guardians" are the Yakuza’s also known as gokudō (極道), they do provide a social function along their better know other activities. Of course one does try to stay away from the Yakuza, still every now and then they are the only thing that stands between being able to help the homeless or being hindered by the "Guardians" to do so. 
Alarmed at the prospect of the last Japanese pensioner switching out the lights, probably sometime in the 22nd century, the government – made up mostly of older males -- has swung into action, with sometimes comical results. In a gaffe-strewn foray into the marriage and fertility debate, Welfare Minister Yanagisawa Hakuo recently said Japan had a “fixed number” of “baby-making machines” aged 15-50 and recommended “healthy” youngsters should have at least two children. The political message – that women and not government policies are responsible for the lack of babies – infuriated opposition Social Democratic Party leader Fukushima Mizuho and many others. “Yanagisawa’s remarks were tantamount to telling women to give birth for the nation,” said Fukushima. “The [ruling] Liberal Democratic Party is to blame for this problem itself for not creating the environment where women want to have children.”

"I see a serious problem," says lawmaker Takuya Tasso of the opposition Democratic Party of Japan. "Japanese society is dividing into winners and losers, rich people and poor people. The middle class is being destroyed." The trend is troubling in a country where just about everyone considers themselves middle class and where no one is supposed to get left behind. 
"There is an expression in Japanese, ichioku-sohchu-ryu, which literally means, '100 million completely middle class' (or) more naturally, 'a nation of middle-class people," says Shigeru Miyagawa, a professor of Japanese at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "Newspapers are now asking, 'What happened to ichioku-sohchu-ryu?' "

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