By Alex Kerr
A impressive review of the disasters and successes of contemporary Japan.
In Dogs and Demons, Alex Kerr chronicles the various aspects of Japan's contemporary, and persistent, crises -- from the failure of its banks and pension cash to the decline of its as soon as superb glossy cinema. he's the 1st to provide a whole record at the nation's endangered setting -- its beaches covered with concrete, its roads resulting in nowhere within the mountains -- in addition to its "monument frenzy," the destruction of previous towns similar to Kyoto and development of drab new ones, and the attendant cave in of its vacationer undefined. Kerr writes with humor and fervour, for "passion," he says, "is a part of the tale. thousands of jap consider as heartbroken at what's going as I do. My jap buddies inform me, 'Please write this -- for us.'"
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Extra resources for Dogs_and_Demons_Tales_From_the_Dark_Side_of_Japan
The cars disgorged blue-suited men carrying briefcases who disappeared inside, sometimes not to emerge until two or three the next morning. Nui operated a successful restaurant, and it appeared that she had expanded her dinner business into earlier daylight hours. Only later did the neighbors learn that Madame Nui's visitors were not coming for the good food. The men in blue suits were coming to pay homage to a shadowy resident of Nui's house, a figure later revealed to be the single most important player in the Japanese stock market at the time.
Asks Ohta Hajime, the director of the industrial affairs bureau of Keidanren, the Japanese Federation of Economic Organizations. «Japan's economy is supported by illegal dumping,» the operator of one disposal facility concludes. And it is true that central and local governments consistently support industrial polluters by means of cover-ups and lies. A typical example is the town of Nasu, near Utsunomiya (the site of ninety-four landfills for supposedly nontoxic waste). When animals started dying in Nasu, the villagers requested a survey, and the government insisted there was no problem with the water.
Only in 1995 did the main group of Minamata sufferers, representing two thousand plaintiffs, accept a mediated settlement with the government – almost forty years after doctors detected the first poisonings. In two separate cases, in October 1994 and December 1996, courts resolved air-pollution suits that were more than ten years old by stipulating that damages should be paid to nearby residents, while rejecting demands that the responsible companies be required to halt toxic discharges. In other words, according to Japanese law, you may – after a lapse of decades – have to pay for the pollution you are causing, but the courts rarely require you to stop.