NHK Reports on Trump’s 2nd visit to Texas Disaster Areas

#TrumpsJapan

If it’s one thing Japanese people know, it’s natural disasters. Aside from the big ticket items like erupting volcanoes, earthquakes, and tsunami, every year Japan gets hit by both a “rainy season” (the unofficial 5th season!) and late summer tropical storms, both of which cause severe flooding and mass damage throughout the country. Even just a few weeks ago in Akita (where I am) heavy amounts of rain caused flooding that resulted in closure of major roads, home damage, and land slides.

On her 2nd trip down, Mel-T swapped her “FLOTUS” lid for a fly “TEXAS” one. Is that Baylor Green?!
With that in mind, reports of Trump visiting flood victims probably made a good impression in the minds of Japanese citizens.

NHK News web posted an article with video to their website on 3 September 2017 reporting on President Trump’s second visit to Texas’s flood ravaged  areas. The article is basically the video’s script.

The article is titled, “President Trumps makes return visit to disaster area–with attitude of strong support.”

The first paragraph reports that this is Trump’s 2nd visit in a week to the hurricane disaster zone and that he’s there to encourage the victims as well as show strong support for aid sent to the area.

After some basic information about the disaster caused by Hurricane Harvey, the 4th paragraph goes into detail about Trump’s activities during the trip saying that he met in person with a large number of people at a Houston shelter, was seen holding children, served lunches, and cheered up victims. He also visited an aid station where he met with hundreds of volunteers and showed them his gratitude.

The final paragraph reveals WHY this was his 2nd trip in a week: on his first trip on August 28 he did not directly meet with any victims, which drew strong criticism from the media. This time his goal seems to have been to garner appeal by meeting with victims and by showing his support.

This article is a ‘safe’ article and pretty unbiased. No doubt it’s good to see the-man-who-happens-to-be-president at disaster relief centers passing large aid containers into driver’s seat windows of emergency vehicles (WT-?), mingling with people in shelters, and smiling in selfies.

It’s a fairly balanced article as well because at the end, NHK tacks on the note about the criticism Trump received from media on his first trip to the region. I guess the coverage of him avoiding flood damaged areas and not meeting with victims on his first trip wasn’t #fakenews.

 

 

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/html/20170903/k10011124041000.html

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Nikkansports.com Reports on the Shooting attack on RepublicaCongress Members

#TrumpsJapan

There was a variety of news related to President Trump in the Japanese media this last week. Headlines ranged from Attorney General Jeff Sessions‘ refusal to testify (or to comment even) on his conversations with Trump (Asahi Shimbun Digital, “U.S. Attorney General: I can’t say what was spoken in conversations with the President“), to the breaking news that Trump blocked author Stephen King from his Twitter account (Cinemacafe.net, “Stephen King gets blocked from Trump’s Twitter Account“). (But he did NOT block J.K. Rowling! What will the neighbors think?)

The Japanese headlines are doing a great job at keeping up with all the scatterbrained, haphazard news coming from the Trump White House.

 

IMG_0464.jpg
Being interviewed at the scene–I knew him before he was famous.

Blood Diamond

The article that I’ll write about today (“Trump’s a Traitor’–says the Suspect of a Shooting targeting Congressmen) is about the shooting incident in Del Ray, VA. The shooting took place in public during some congress members’ baseball practice.

The article makes it clear that the gunman targeted Republican congress members, it was a politically motivated shooting (he was shouting “Trump’s a traitor”), and his hostility appears to have trickled over from online to real life.

The article also says that the gunman was moved to take such action out of disgust for the Republican party and Trump.

Not the Land of the Free

No one in the free, civilized world (especially Japan!) understands American’s disgusting gun culture and the violence that gushes forth from it. I’ve been lucky to have met and worked closely with people from all corners from the world. The people whom I’ve met from other countries (excluding those from war torn countries, like from places in Africa & the Middle East) can not fathom how in the world AMERICA–the Land of the FREE– allows people to carry guns in public, much less own them privately. How it is justifiable to own military-grade weapons even further baffles them.

Was this gunman a legal gun owner? That’s beside the point. Was it a rifle or an automatic weapon? That too is beside the point. The fact of the matter is that it’s another mass shooting in public in the “Land of the Free.”

Public Diplomacy

Life in Japan and the US is like night and day. Articles like this cause an even bigger rift between our cultures. Any “professional” diplomat will tell you the importance of public diplomacy–the everyday interactions between common people of different nations. These are the interactions that often times instigate diplomatic relations at the larger scale, so for example between universities, companies, or nations.

Reading about violence in America does not inspire Japanese people to want to come to America to study abroad, sight see, or what have you. Furthermore, it makes Japanese people cautious of excepting Americans into Japan! (Remember this May incident of the American getting in a fight departing Tokyo?)

Let’s Hope Violence isn’t Contagious

Recently I stayed in an APA hotel outside Nagoya. The megalomaniac owner of APA Hotels is a radical lunatic. He stocks the magazine racks of his hotels with his self-published propaganda in the form of books and newspapers.

He and the other nationalist loonies in Japan are trying to change Japan’s constitution in order to grant offensive capabilities to the military. (As opposed to it’s strictly defensive charter now). In one of his books, the APA Hotel chain owner calls for violence against any Japanese parliament member who attempts to block such constitutional changes. He does not just call for violence, but murder. In his books, which are readily available in APA lobbies and hotel rooms, he calls for the out-right assassination of Japanese parliament members!

Let’s hope the latest violence in America does not give disgruntled Japanese people any ideas.