Saturday, May 19, 2007

Not that BBC Will Get the Real Story Out on Education and Patriotism

Japan schools to teach patriotism, reads the headline for the BBC story on the revision of the School Education Law. (Not a "new law" or a revision of the Basic Education Law, as the article seems confusingly to imply. You need a copy editor, BBC.) This would be unexceptional in any nation, except those wooly-headed internationalists, China and South Korea.

Seriously, what's really wrong with this picture is this:

"Opposition members of parliament protested against the bill, warning that it could spread nationalism."

The opposition did indeed vote against it, and the Socialists and Communists were dead set against it on principle. But they don't count, unless the ruling coalition loses a majority in the July Upper House elections. And on this issue, the Democratic Party of Japan, the main opposition party, was if anything to the right of the Komeito, the dovish junior partner to Prime Minister Abe's more catholic but overall more hawkish LDP. The DPJ's objection focused on the relationship between the central authorities and the local education boards (DPJ favored the boards), and more importantly, was taken in anticipation of the upcoming elections, as they deliberately chose a more confrontational posture on all the issues.

BBC could have given you this back story. Instead, it tacks on the constitutional amendment issue and regurgitates the conventional wisdom of resurgent Japanese nationalism and Chinese and South Korean suspicions. It isn't much to ask for if they can do a little extra digging on the whale story.


Anonymous said... there's some convoluted back information about some of the political players. The story wasn't about that. Also, it didn't seem like a revision of basic education law either. And your post makes you seem like kind of a self-righteous prick.

Jun Okumura said...

One anonymous comment, and one angry email: not a bad day's work, if you ask me.

Garrett said...

Thanks for saying what a lot of us were thinking, Mr. Okumura. If you're a self-righteous prick, then I aspire to be one.

Good to see you back and blogging again.

Steve Schapiro said...

Anonymous, as I see it, Jun's absolutely right.

Go back and read the article - it is greatly misleading, even sensationalist.

The background is far from convoluted and, even if it is, it's important info - without it, the story just doesn't make much sense. Who's a self-righteous prick?

Jun Okumura said...

Thanks guys. I'll go even further than Mr. Shapiro and say picking nits is important, because that's sometimes the only way you can be have any confidence a story you don't have first hand knowledge about is likely to be true.