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TOKYO —

The Tokyo metropolitan assembly decided Wednesday to summon former Gov Shintaro Ishihara and his close aide to appear as sworn witnesses before a powerful committee looking into the controversial relocation plan for the Tsukiji fish market.

The assembly passed a proposal submitted by four major parties to establish the committee, which can compel individuals to testify and submit relevant records. Witnesses who give false testimony could face prosecution for perjury.

It is the first time for the assembly to set up such a committee since 2005.

Ishihara was governor when the metropolitan government decided to buy land in the Toyosu area to relocate the famous but aging fish market. A hearing with Ishihara and Takeo Hamauzu, a former deputy governor, is likely to be held in late March.

Gov Yuriko Koike has put the move on hold due to contamination at the new location, the site of a former gas production plant, and has publicly called for Ishihara to clarify his role in the purchase.

Koike emphasized in her policy speech Wednesday that her administration will investigate the decision-making process for the relocation of the market and clarify who was responsible for the land purchase.

Ishihara and Hamauzu were previously scheduled to appear between March 18 and 20 before a separate special assembly committee on the relocation issue. But the assembly decided to hold a hearing with the more powerful committee empowered to investigate the issue under the local autonomy law.

© KYODO

https://www.japantoday.com/category/politics/view/tokyo-assembly-to-summon-ishihara-to-testify-over-tsukiji-market-relocation

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South Korea’s military began loudspeaker broadcasts over the weekend to inform ordinary North Koreans of the murder of the communist state’s leader Kim Jong-un’s half brother, military officials said Wednesday.

The move aims to underscore the brutality of the dictatorial ruler in Pyongyang, whom Seoul believes masterminded the assassination of Kim Jong-nam at an airport in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur on Feb. 13.

 

“We have made broadcasts through 34 loudspeakers along the inter-Korean border to inform North Korean soldiers and civilians that their leader Kim Jong-un was behind the killing of his elder half brother Kim Jong-nam,” a military official told Yonhap News Agency.

Kim Jong-nam, the eldest son of the late North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, was allegedly assassinated by two women under directions from North Korean agents. He had spoken out publicly against his family’s dynastic control of the reclusive North.

The propaganda broadcasts using loudspeakers installed near the heavily fortified border have been Seoul’s crucial means of psychological warfare.

Past broadcasts highlighted the South’s economic achievements and the benefits of liberal democracy, and brought attention to the importance of human rights — a reason why Pyongyang called them a “threat” to its communist system. (Yonhap)

http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20170222000279

 

 

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http://thinkaboutnow.com/2016/03/3-wayscorporationsprofitoffbaby-foreskin14/

 

Presently in the US, a baby is circumcised every 25 seconds. The surgery involves cutting the foreskin off a part of a penis, generally without anesthesia, for absolutely no medical benefit in the hopes that a baby will look like their dad. Is this over exaggeration? Not exactly.

The foreskin is the most sensitive part of a male’s body – other than the head of the penis itself – with more nerve endings per square inch than any other body part. Surgical removal of the foreskin  involves immobilizing the baby by strapping him face-up onto a molded plastic board. In one common method, the doctor then inserts a metal instrument under the foreskin to forcibly separate it from the glans, slits the foreskin, and inserts a circumcision device. The foreskin is crushed and then cut off. The amount of skin removed in a typical infant circumcision is the equivalent of 15 square inches in an adult male.

As journalist Sara Burrows puts it, “Circumcision has been likened to having a sharp metal instrument jammed under one’s finger nail, down to the base, and shoved around, back and forth, until the entire nail is separated from the nail bed, and then sliced off.”

So what does removing one of the most sensitive organs from a man due to his sexual ability?

Circumcising men takes away 75 percent of their capacity for sexual sensation and. They are 4.5 times (450%) more likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction, according to the British Journal of Urology International.

But, there’s a medical benefit to robbing men of sexual sensation, right? No. There are no professional medical associations in the United States or anywhere else in the world which recommend routine circumcision as medically necessary. In fact, leaving boys intact is becoming the norm in the U.S., as parents realize the risks and harms of circumcision.

Still, circumcision is readily done within the United States, and just as corporations make money off war, they also make money off the suffering of babies.

There exists a Holy Grail in the cosmetic industry to create a cream that sheds years off your skin. Scientists have discovered such a ingredient, fibroblast cells. Fibroblasts cause the skin to regrow the elasticity and elegance of youth for whoever uses a fibroblast-based cream. What is the best source for these wonder cells? Baby foreskins.

Infant’s foreskin has special cell properties , similar to those found in stem cells. Their versatility means that they can be used to cultivate skin cells.

Because of this, they’re not tossed out with the rest of the medical waste after a birth. Instead, hospitals sell them to companies and institutions for a wide variety of uses. Companies will pay thousands of dollars for a single foreskin.

Some of the strangest purposes they’re put to:

  • Cosmetics: Foreskins are used to make high-end skin creams. The skin products contain fibroblasts grown on the foreskin and harvested from it. One foreskin can be used for decades to produce fancy face cream like the SkinMedica products hawked on Oprah.
  • Skin grafts: In addition to making products for skin, a baby’s foreskin can be turned into a skin graft for a burn victim. Because the cells are extremely flexible, they’re less likely to be rejected. Currently, this technology can be lifesaving in providing a real skin “band aid” to cover an open wound while a burn victim heals. Researchers at Harvard and Tufts are working on advanced skin replacements that use human foreskins.
  • Cosmetic testing: All those cruelty-free cosmetics you buy? Some of them are tested on foreskins. This yields better results, since they’re human skin. And it saves the lives of the rodents your shampoo would otherwise be tested on.


It is estimated that a single male foreskin can retail for around $100,000, which means that companies like SkinMedica  – who use baby foreskin to create their skin care product – sell their foreskin facial creams for $150 an ounce.

Now, you also have companies like Pfizer—the creator of Viagra— making money off of Erectile Dysfunction that is directly linked to circumcision. So if you’re wondering why various institutions are backing such a barbaric practice, think about the amount of money being made. Is it really ethical to rob a male of their sexual pleasure in the name of religion or profit?

Now that we live in the age of information—and we have the evidence that conclusively shows that routine circumcision is heinous— there is no reason to continue this horrendous practice. We must remove the idea that babies need to be primed like domesticated dogs as soon as they come out of a woman. We must remove the blade from the birthing process, and stop mutilating children for no justifiable reason.

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https://www.japantoday.com/category/politics/view/political-parties-divided-over-emperor-abdication-legislation

TOKYO —

Japan’s political parties showed differing positions Monday over possible legislation to enable Emperor Akihito to abdicate in separate hearings with the heads of both chambers of parliament, participants said.

Although the sessions were held as part of the parliamentary leaders’ efforts to iron out differing opinions among ruling and opposition parties, the results suggest more discussions are needed before a bill is submitted for legislation.

Representatives from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party said the party supports a one-off legal mechanism enabling the 83-year-old emperor to abdicate and make way for Crown Prince Naruhito, 56.

The LDP’s junior coalition partner Komeito party, along with two other conservative parties, said during their hearings that they hold a similar view.

Abe’s government is seeking to materialize the aging emperor’s wish to abdicate, which was hinted at in a video message released last August, by means of enacting one-off legislation.

In contrast, the main opposition Democratic Party has advocated a permanent system through a revision to the Imperial House Law, which lacks an abdication provision.

Yoshihiko Noda, the party’s secretary general, said he called for the parliament heads to create an opportunity for all the parties to discuss the issue, instead of separate hearings.

In response, House of Representatives Speaker Tadamori Oshima indicated a willingness to do so after taking part in sessions with a total of 10 parties and groups.

The Japanese Communist Party, together with two other small parties and two groups, also demanded that the imperial law be amended.

Some legal experts and the Democratic Party argue that the planned LDP-led special legislation may violate the Constitution as the supreme law stipulates the imperial throne shall be “succeeded to in accordance with the Imperial House Law.”

In light of that, Masahiko Komura, vice president of the LDP, said after the party’s hearing he believes it is necessary to take measures to clarify the relationship between the envisioned special law and the imperial law.

Komeito deputy chief Kazuo Kitagawa said Oshima asked the party about the idea of adding a supplementary clause to the imperial law and putting the special law’s legal base in it. The ruling coalition has been studying the idea to bridge the gap with opposition parties as it could pave the way for future emperors to step down.

Kitagawa told reporters that he replied, “There is room to study.”

The Diet heads are hoping for early enactment of legislation and are making a rare attempt to reconcile parties’ opinions before the bill’s formulation, lawmakers said.

Taking into consideration each party’s opinion, Oshima and others will compile the Diet’s opinion possibly by mid-March.

Oshima said at a press conference that the Diet heads will meet later this week to discuss how to proceed with debate in the Diet afterward.

In January, a government advisory panel studying the abdication issue released an interim report emphasizing the merits of legislation applying only to Emperor Akihito but not to future emperors.

Considering the Diet’s view and the upcoming advisory council’s final proposal, the government plans to submit the bill to the Diet sometime between late April and early May, political sources said.

© KYODO

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