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Japan as an al-Qaeda target
Posted by:Dan Darling

#8  HHHHmmmm, North Korea beats the anti-Nippon/Japan war drums. China's PLAAF and PLAN do the buzzin, ergo the Spetzies do the actual domestic destabilizing.
Posted by: JosephMendiola   2006-03-13 23:15  

#7  Few comments, as a westerner who has been to Japan multiple times.

The police are quite good actually, but you hardly see them. Not to say they are not there, but Japanese society is more about harmony and not disturbing the group. Police being around tend to remind one that crime is around.

However, each time I go to Japan (over many years now) I have noticed many things, a couple to the discussion:

1) Increased numbers of Westerners. First time I went, I saw only one in three months! This last time, I was in a smaller city, but still saw many westerners every day.

2) Increased Police, same deal as 1

It is interesting to note, as Japan opens up more, their unique society becomes more at risk to many things we don't even blink an eye.

For example crime, there is far more crime now than my first visit. This is not to say that western influence is causing crime, not at all, but that Japanese society of the past frowns so heavily on disturbing the harmony that crime is just something most cannot fathom and don't ever.

That is why it is still such a shock to most Japanese that a domestic terror strike has already occured (subway gassing), many don't even want to talk about it. Or that there are major crimes, with increasing frequency.

Anyway, the point is, in the past the average Japanese has sort of been immune to crime and as the country opens up, this immunity decreases.

Another interesting note, like most westerners, you are in total shock when you first arrive. My first time, thank god I had a Tokyo local to meet me at the airport and set me on the bullet train to Osaka. Back then, hardly anything had an English sign. As he took me from Airport to Shinkansen station, he told me I'd see something really strange. Sure enough, we passed a street as we were walking that housed most of the Arab population of Japan. He told me nobody trusted them (nothing against Arabs, back then and now, being a Gaijin - Foreigner - is hard, doesn't matter where you are from). I remember thinking, no way this would fly in the US, somebody would complain about equality or something.

Now, as the country opens up more, and that Gaijin trust barrier starts to dissolve, I would say that the Japanese will become more at risk for foreign terrorist strikes! That kind of natrual immunity to crime and shame and rocking the boat will slowly errode from the younger (already is) generation.

Plus with more foreigners you don't stick out like a sore thumb as much now. More and more Japanese are accepting there will be Gaijin in Japan, so I'm thinking it is easier and easier each day to pull an attack off.

Finally, I'm not sure they (terrorists) really want to unleash Japan again. They assume a complete western stance from Japan, but they were pretty creative with martyr attacks a few years back too (kamikaze).
Posted by: bombay   2006-03-13 19:14  

#6  Story happened to a colleague of Mr. Wife's, a good ol' Pennsylvania country boy who played football for Princeton U. So, big, blond, bearded and happy to bang heads. You know the type. At any rate, it seems there is a tradition amongst Japanese youths (this may be a Kyoto thing) to mug foreigners for some local holiday or other. A bunch of the lads jumped our boyo at the train station, so of course he laid them all out. Within moments he was hustled away by multiple policemen, full of apologies, "Are you all right, sir?", and help getting on his train, but who somehow didn't take any kind of statement. When he managed to turn around, there was no sign of his lads. ;-)
Posted by: trailing wife   2006-03-13 14:32  

#5  The police can be very efficient if it is a "face" isssue. Story later -- gotta run to an appointment (no I should not be here right now, but I had a few minutes and I couldn't stand it!).
Posted by: trailing wife   2006-03-13 10:46  

#4  On the other hand, Japanese police are about as competent as the Keystone Kops. They couldn't catch a cold.

Un, not really. It's not a matter of competence. It's a matter of initiative. From personal experience, the neighborhood police offices (1-3 cops) are very tuned into what's going on in their areas.

But if you do insist on being a problem, they will accomodate you.
Posted by: Pappy   2006-03-13 10:31  

#3  As I understand it, there are native Muslims in Japan.
Posted by: Robert Crawford   2006-03-13 09:28  

#2  Japan has (something like) ACLU?
Posted by: gromgoru   2006-03-13 08:26  

#1  I don't worry about the Japanese. In Japan, anyone who's not Japanese sticks out like a dick on a pumpkin. Any foreigner without blonde hair and blue eyes is automatically suspect in any crime that occurs nearby. The Japanese authorities have no problem with deporting troublesome foreigners, unlike some other countries I could mention.

On the other hand, Japanese police are about as competent as the Keystone Kops. They couldn't catch a cold.
Posted by: gromky   2006-03-13 01:55