Mitsubishi apologizes, offers $56 million for Chinese forced labour in WW2 — 71 years after war’s end!

Click to enlargeXinhua/Wang Haofei
Sun Yuanxin, 1 of 20 survivors, views remains of hundreds who died at this mine

A Japanese company that used Chinese forced labour in its coalmines during the second world war has agreed to compensate and apologise to thousands of victims and their families.

Mitsubishi Materials, one of dozens of Japanese companies that used such labourers from China and the Korean peninsula, said it would pay US$15,000 to each of the surviving victims and the families of those who have died.

If all 3,765 people entitled to compensation come forward, the total payout could reach US$56m, making it the biggest deal of its kind so far – From Imperial Japan.

“We have come to the conclusion that we will extend an apology [to the victims] and offer the money as a proof of that apology,” a Mitsubishi Materials spokesman said…

The victims hailed the decision a victory in their long quest for Japanese companies to take responsibility for bringing an estimated 40,000 Chinese to Japan between 1943 and 1945 to work in factories and mines amid a wartime labour shortage.

Almost 7,000 of them died due to the harsh working conditions and malnutrition…

Some of the relatives of former labourers, however, were concerned the settlement was in lieu of official compensation from the Japanese government, which insists that all reparation claims were covered by postwar treaties with former victims of Japanese militarism.

I’m surprised they didn’t wait for a nice round number — like 100 years, eh? Just continue the official Japanese policy of doing little or nothing to compensate anyone for the war crimes committed in the name of that militarist nation. Might only be a dozen or so survivors left by then.

They know they will be backed up all the way by Uncle Sugar – who gets to use Japan’s territory as their own private aircraft carrier and military barracks to “interact” with Asia.

And, now, a gluten-free moment or two…

Reporter Vivien Williams discusses gluten with Dr. Joseph Murray

The Celiac Disease Foundation wants to make the process of going gluten-free easier for people with celiac disease, an autoimmune disease. Mayo Clinic experts agree that people with celiac disease should not consume gluten. But, many people who don’t have celiac disease also go gluten-free, because it makes them feel better. Dr. Joseph Murray says for that group, gluten may not be the issue.

In addition:

…Most of the people who reach for gluten-free products don’t have celiac disease and or even a sensitivity to wheat, Peter H.R. Green, MD, director of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University, told WebMD. “The market for gluten-free products is exploding. Why exactly we don’t know. Many people may just perceive that a gluten-free diet is healthier.”

In fact, it isn’t. For people with celiac disease, a gluten-free diet is essential. But for others, “unless people are very careful, a gluten-free diet can lack vitamins, minerals, and fiber,” says Green.

Experts estimate that about 1% of Americans have celiac disease. The condition, caused by an abnormal immune response to gluten, can damage the lining of the small intestine. That, in turn, can prevent important nutrients from being absorbed…

How can you know if you have celiac disease? The only way is to be tested. The first test is typically a blood test that detects antibodies related to an abnormal immune response. If the blood test is positive, a biopsy is performed to confirm inflammation in the lining of the small intestines…

So what’s wrong with the rest of us trying a gluten-free diet a try to see how we feel?

For starters, going gluten-free means saying no to many common and nutritious foods. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. Gluten also shows up in many whole grain foods related to wheat, including bulgur, farro, kamut, spelt, and triticale (a hybrid of wheat and rye). Some celiac disease experts warn patients to steer clear of oats, as well…

Gluten itself doesn’t offer special nutritional benefits. But the many whole grains that contain gluten do. They’re rich in an array of vitamins and minerals, such as B vitamins and iron, as well as fiber…

If there’s anything lacking in what the average American consumes it is fiber. Eat lots of processed food? You eat damned little fiber.

Many folks who impulsively decide on going gluten-free gain weight, To make new foods palatable, producers add sugar and fat. Two food groups Americans already love. You also may be losing beaucoup minerals and trace elements from whole fiber foods.

Go talk to your doctor, find a nutritionist who has the reputation of being professional – not plugged into this year’s favorite magic bullet. Make certain you’re not wasting money on food that produces nothing more than increased profits for the corporations that specialize in hustling Americans with the latest fad diet.

Federal consumer watchdog tries to regulate our nation’s legal loan sharks


The government’s consumer watchdog on Thursday proposed a set of new rules designed to rein in the practices of American payday lenders, taking aim at a profit-making model that involves staggeringly high fees and often leaves serial borrowers with spiraling debt.

The proposal from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau marks the first attempt by the federal government to regulate shorter-term loans, which also include auto title and installment lending.

The rules still face months of review — and potential court challenges — but if they take hold they could dramatically transform and shrink an industry that provides cash to borrowers in a pinch. Some lenders say that under the new rules fewer loans will get made; they’ll have no choice but to close up shop. Yet consumer advocates see this as an opportunity for borrowers to turn to safer options — without having to pay triple-digit annualized interest rates…

Yes, Congress and your friendly neighborhood state legislators could have sorted this out long ago. Protecting citizens against loan sharks used to be a priority. We had laws against usury. They were dropped at the request of credit card companies.

Small differences count with politicians. Along with timely campaign donations.

The CFPB was created in the aftermath of the Great Recession, in part to address potential areas of financial abuse. But the agency is controversial [among political hacks], and some lawmakers have recently introduced bills that could weaken or undercut the payday rules. Currently 14 states, as well as the District of Columbia, place tight caps on interest rates; in practice, that amounts to an unofficial ban on payday lending. But the CFPB is not allowed to limit interest rates and has looked at other ways to take aim at the industry.

While it’s red meat to socially indict Republicans as responsible for the attacks on the CFPB, Democrats are as likely to take million$ in campaign contributions and magically find themselves in opposition to the premise of defending consumers in a principled fashion.

Starting with Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, chair of the Democratic National Committee.

The perfect example of Mexico’s corruption

Here is the roadmap. Here is the method. Here is the tested formula for carrying out the looting. Veracruz is the model for what happens in the rest of Mexico, state after state, governor after governor. The looting carried out weekly, monthly, every six-year term. Javier Duarte is the archetype of the greed of many who govern a rich country peopled by millions of poor. Javier Duarte is the stinking example that shows how an administration can become a plunderer. An omnipotent governor becomes an unpunished looter. He is accused, criticized, exposed and still untouched.

He remains immune from the magnificent report published in the Animal Politico website with Mexicans Against Corruption, detailing what he did, how he did it, when he did it. The corruption is described step by step. The government of Veracruz delivered US$35 million to a network of 21 companies allegedly to buy blankets, school supplies and shoes. These supplies did not reached their destination. The money was allegedly paid to “partners” who are residents of shantytowns who signed [incorporation] documents in exchange for promises of support. The scheme was created with made-up tenders for bids and direct contract awards, with corrupt officials and manipulated people, with a governor who promoted corruption and benefited from it. It was a network of shell companies and apocryphal partners, thanks to which Duarte and his people pocketed millions from the public treasury. It’s the Veracruz model.

It’s the Mexican model. RTFA for details, examples, a tale that goes back through decades of official corruption.