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Japanese Pubs Fight Over Name Rights

Japanese Pubs Fight Over Name Rights

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The copycat pub thought a dot on the signage would be different enough


An independent izakaya thought slipping a dot into its name would be enough to keep a big chain's laywers away.

Copyright and trademark laws can seem impossibly difficult to non-lawyers, but one restaurateur mistakenly thought a dot would be enough to differentiate his restaurant from the big chain nearby, and now he’s in a spot of trouble about it.

According to Rocket News 24, the owner of a small, independent izakaya in Hiroshima, Japan, thought “Wara・Wara” would be a successful name for his restaurant. It was a logical assumption, as there is already a popular izakaya chain in Japan operating under the name “WaraWara.” In fact, there was an outpost of the WaraWara chain just 600 meters from Wara・Wara.

Both restaurants have signs out front with the character “wara” or “laugh” written twice, but the newcomer just put a little black dot between the characters. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he was visited by some lawyers last week who told him his restaurant would be needing a new name soon.

“We thought that if we added a dot between the two characters it would be OK,” the proprietor of Wara・Wara explained.

Kapow! The history of fighting games

I t was not an auspicious beginning. The first video game featuring hand-to-hand combat hit arcades in 1976: Sega’s boxing sim Heavyweight Champ, starred two chunky monochrome pugilists in striped underpants. Players controlled the action by putting their hands in plastic boxing gloves and making thrusting movements.

Heavyweight Champ bombed, and so did its rivals. Atari’s 1977 arcade game Boxer would have used two analogue handles as controllers, but it was never released because in-house testers of the prototype cabinet kept wrenching off the handles. In 1979, another arcade machine, Warrior, featured vector-based graphics and two sword-fighting knights viewed from a top-down perspective, but the temperamental technology kept breaking down.

It wasn’t until 1984 that we met the true godfather of the fighting game: Japanese arcade hit Karate Champ, which pitted two fighters against each other in a traditional karate tournament. The twin-joystick controls provided a range of kicks and punches, and the game introduced several familiar conventions including three-round fights and a timer. There were also bonus rounds, including one in which you had to punch a bull in the face. This was acceptable in the 80s.

Arriving a year later, Konami’s Yie Ar Kung-Fu matched players against a diverse series of computer-controlled enemies, who each had their own weapons including throwing stars, chains and nunchucks, thereby introducing the idea of differently skilled competitors. (It was also the first game to employ energy gauges). It was one of the most successful games of the mid-80s.

Traditional ideas of masculinity are poisoning our society. There is another way

W hen I was younger I was almost consumed by anger. My father had abandoned me before I was born, leaving me with powerful feelings of worthlessness. Self-destruction defined my young adulthood. I thought being tough and violent was the only way to be a man, but I was also scared of violence and sought escape in reading and the natural world.

While teaching in North Carolina this April, in the early days of the Trump administration, reading the Buddhist poet, teacher and activist Thich Nhat Hanh got me thinking again about false and true heroes – and the kinds of masculine heroes promoted as models in western culture.

“False heroes find it easier to make war than deal with the emptiness in their own souls,” wrote Thich Nhat Hanh in Fragrant Palm Leaves, a selection of his journals written in the US and Vietnam between 1962 and 1966. Thich Nhat Hanh was exiled from Vietnam from 1966 until 2005 for practising and encouraging what he called “engaged Buddhism” – the idea that the principles of non-violence and compassion must be practised in the community, not just in the monastery – to effect social change.

Clearly there are multiple ways of being masculine – there’s no such thing as a single, fixed essential masculinity. If you’ve ever been peaceful or angry, if you have ever loved and hated, then you know you can choose to be either of these things. We are the result of our thoughts and actions. Individual men contain and express multiple ways of being. We change often during our lifetimes.

If we are lucky, we move in the direction of love and compassion. More recently I have been trying to make that journey. In this I am lucky to be helped by the people who love me, and I am guided and accompanied by others who have travelled the same route and who have told their stories. Recording a moment of enlightenment one winter night in 1962, in Princeton, Thich Nhat Hanh writes: “I saw my mind and heart as flowers . Life is miraculous, even in its suffering. Without suffering, life would not be possible.”

The realisation that you can choose to be peaceful and not angry is a powerful one. It can change individual lives, families and societies for the better – though it takes hard work, of course. I know I will face my anger every day. Thich Naht Hanh writes: “If you’ve seen once, you can see for ever. The question is whether you have the determination and diligence.”

Years ago, I read a book of essays called Finding Freedom by Jarvis Masters – since 1990 a prisoner on death row in San Quentin prison, near San Francisco. By his own admission he was an angry, raging and barely literate young man when he entered the prison as a 19-year-old, with an absent father, drug-addicted mother and a childhood characterised by abandonment and violence – a profoundly representative figure, in other words.

Thich Nhat Hanh, centre, pictured in 2007. Photograph: AP

Masters became a gang member in prison in the early 1980s, and was sentenced to death for his alleged part in the senseless killing of an officer named Sergeant Howell Burchfield. Many people believe in Masters’s innocence and are working to free him. Masters has always said he is innocent of any part in the murder.

Remarkably, Masters has become a Buddhist during his imprisonment, and has taken the bodhisattva vow. This means that he is committed to try to help others – a dangerous practice in a place such as San Quentin, where minding one’s own business is an article of faith to live and survive by. Masters is the bodhisattva who promises to be with those who are in the places of great suffering. The spirit of such beings, Thich Naht Hanh writes in Fragrant Palm Leaves, is irrepressible: “Wherever such persons are found, flowers blossom, even in the depths of hell.”

In one story, called Peace Activist, Masters writes about trying to help a raging young convict called Bosshog who is causing a ruckus. Masters sends him tobacco wrapped in Buddhist texts in exchange for Bosshog’s promise to “stay cool and not go disturbing the peace on the tier again”. When he is finally released, Bosshog – who arrived in the prison screaming, “I’ll kill you all” – stands in front of Masters’s cell and together they recite the peace mantra Bosshog learned to say whenever he was “about to blow his top”.

When I think about true heroes, true male role models, I think about Jarvis Masters – a man who has experienced great suffering and caused great pain to others, but who dared to face the emptiness in his soul. In the most unlikely place imaginable, Masters has found redemption in compassion and helping others, even while he is caged.

In most western settings, including prisons, it’s “traditional” masculinity that is dominant. Aggression, hardness, physical power and emotional reticence – not love and compassion – are the qualities most highly valued. These values are intimately connected to, and manifest in, power and systems of domination – governmental, financial, military and domestic – by which a small number of men secure the natural and economic resources of the planet for themselves, and protect their privilege by any and all means, including imprisonment, slavery and force of arms.

Many men who are raised to believe in these values, but who are denied access to the rewards such values supposedly offer – and who live without encountering alternative narratives – are angry, depressed, violent and destructive.

These are the young men who fill our prisons, who fight in the streets and in pubs, who beat their partners and their children, who fill the internet with misogynistic hate. Historically, they are also the men who are enlisted to fight for other men’s power. When we talk about finding new heroes and new models of masculinity, we have to talk about dismantling these systems of domination.

Power knows this, which is why voices calling for different models – valuing peaceful coexistence, mutual tolerance, caretaking of each other and of the planet – are most often marginalised and ridiculed, and sometimes exiled, imprisoned or killed.

'The light of hope': Japanese same-sex couple overjoyed by marriage ruling

Jenny and Narumi wept for happiness last week when a Japanese court ruled that barring same-sex marriages was unconstitutional, a decision that allowed them to move a step closer to a legal marriage and starting a family.

The ruling by the Sapporo district court, the first in Japan on the legality of same-sex marriages, was a major symbolic victory in Japan, the only country in the Group of Seven major nations to not fully recognise same-sex partnerships.

For Jenny and Narumi, who plan on a life together and have held a non-legally binding marriage ceremony, it was much more personal.

"I felt light, the light of hope," said Narumi, 27. Both she and Jenny declined to give their last names to Reuters due to Japan's still-conservative views on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) couples.

"It was a soft hope that perhaps soon, I don't know when, I might be able to marry Jenny in Japan."

It was love at first sight for Jenny, 28, when she met Narumi in January 2020 via a dating app.

Their romance developed quickly, and by August they were living together and had taken out a partnership certificate, which helps with renting apartments and hospital visits but doesn't provide legal guarantees such as inheritance rights or custody of a partner's children.

"We're really happy," said Jenny, who is half-American and half-Japanese. "But if we could get legally married, for example, we could become parents."

"As it is, the child would be legally registered as having only one of us as its parent."

The two have discussed moving to the United States if nothing changes in Japan, since Jenny is a US citizen.

Last week's ruling was on one of five similar ongoing cases in Japan. The ruling could set a precedent that influences other cases, but for same-sex marriage to be allowed, a new law needs to be put in place, which is likely to take some time.

Public thinking is changing, though. A weekend opinion poll by the Asahi Shimbun found 65 per cent of respondents supported the ruling.

Both women said a big part of their joy was a sense the voices of LGBT Japanese residents had finally been heard in high places.

"I felt something long suppressed within myself come bursting out, that we'd finally been recognised," Narumi said.

Jenny said she realises being able to marry legally could take some time, but she is holding onto her dreams.

"If we could have the same legal guarantees as everyone else, I'd like to have children and live with Naru-chan," she said, using an affectionate nickname.

"I'd like to live in a house full of children, dogs and cats, a warm place full of laughter."

Aging in Japan: Free Glasses, Extra ‘Walk’ Time, Elder Love Stories

by T.R. Reid, AARP Bulletin, May 17, 2018 | Comments: 0

Shortly after I arrived in Tokyo on a visit this spring, I went to a bank to get some money. As I was filling out a withdrawal slip, I noticed a pair of reading glasses left behind on the counter. So I took them up to the window and said, “Somebody forgot their glasses.”

The teller was too polite to laugh in my face, but I saw the amusement in her eyes as she set me straight. “Oh, those glasses aren’t forgotten,” she explained. “We provide reading glasses on the counter because so many of our customers need to use them. We have three different strengths so we can fit everybody.”

Sure enough, at every bank, post office or hotel counter I passed, I saw boxes of reading glasses bearing friendly labels like “Feel free to use these.” And I noticed that many customers routinely did just that.

Readily available reading glasses are one of countless ways that Japan is adapting to the everyday needs of the world’s oldest population. With a higher percentage of older people than any other country — and among the world’s highest life expectancy rates — the nation is taking steps to accommodate the needs of senior citizens, or kōreisha (a word formed from three Chinese characters meaning “upper,” “age” and “person”).

Books, magazines, train schedules and telephone directories are routinely printed in both normal and large-print editions. At major crosswalks, next to the button that pedestrians push to get a walk signal, there’s a second button that can be pushed to get extra time to cross. Virtually every hotel, department store and train station prominently displays bright orange defibrillator machines with instructions for their use in emergencies. In buildings that have a bank of elevators, there is often one priority elevator for people with wheelchairs or walkers. Escalators, too, have been modified to take wheelchairs. As befits a Confucian culture, there’s a national holiday (Sept. 17) called Respect for the Aged Day.

Accessibility: In buildings that have a bank of elevators, there is often one elevator that gives priority to people with wheelchairs or walkers and those with disabilities.

All of which represents Japan’s response to the inescapable fact of a rapidly aging society. For the past several years, the nation of 127 million has recorded more deaths than births. The government this spring reported that some 27.7 percent of Japanese people are over age 65, the highest proportion ever recorded in that country.

As an American kōreisha, I began following with interest the measures Japan is taking to deal with this demographic imperative.

In one way I was disappointed. Since I regularly take advantage of senior discounts back home for movies, sporting events and such, I was surprised that I couldn’t find bargain prices for older people in Japan. A friend explained that, with so many people over 65, businesses couldn’t survive with discounts for older customers.

But other age adjustments radiated with common sense. Like many other countries, Japan requires that new drivers place a marker on their car to tell others that there’s a beginner behind the wheel. But Japan is the only place I’ve found that requires a similar symbol for older drivers. The multicolored patch is displayed on the front and back fenders of the car it is recommended for drivers over 70 and mandatory for those over 75. Older drivers seem to take this requirement in stride. When I asked my 80-something friend Fumiaki Kuraishi (an excellent driver) about it, he replied, “The kōreisha mark makes sense because a lot of people my age have trouble hearing or seeing.”

Walkability: At major crosswalks, next to the button that pedestrians push to get a walk signal is a second button that gives people extra time to cross.

Japanese newsstands are filled with collections of manga, or graphic novels. Stories about young lovers have always been a standard element of this popular genre. In recent years, though, the manga artist Kenshi Hirokane has had explosive success with a series called Tasogare Ryūseigun, or “Shooting Stars at Twilight.” It spins tales of older people finding romance. In one typical story, a 70-year-old widower, bored with retirement, takes a part-time job as a corporate chauffeur. He’s assigned to drive a senior vice president, a woman nearing 60 who has never found room for a man in her busy life. Over time, they develop a warm friendship. One night the VP tells her driver to pull into the driveway of a “love hotel” (a common venue in Japan for indulging in a secret tryst). A wild evening ensues, and the two become ardent lovers. Hirokane has published 56 volumes of these twilight tales so far, and millions of readers buy each new collection. (Including me—I love this series.)

While Japanese culture adjusts to its aging population, its government is struggling to do the same. This year, Japan implemented a cost-cutting formula for the “Nenkin,” its version of our Social Security system. For many seniors the change could lead to a reduction in benefits. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe referred to this change as the “Nenkin System Reform Act.” His opponents labeled it the “Cut-Your-Pension Law.”

Traditionally, Japan’s prime minister sends a letter of congratulations, along with a sterling silver sake cup, to those who turn 100 years old. But in 2016, in a sign of the nation’s challenges affording an aging population, the government switched to a cheaper silver-plated cup. The savings is only $35 per cup, but that adds up in a nation where 30,000 people celebrate their 100th birthday each year. More seriously, the government has steeply hiked health insurance premiums for those over 75, sparking protests from the nearly 18 million people who have to pay the higher fee.

Readability: Readily available reading glasses are one of many ways that Japan is adapting to the needs of the world’s oldest population.

“It’s infuriating,” said my 84-year-old friend Yasuko Maruta. “It feels like I’m being punished because I stayed healthy all these years.” And yet, all over Japan active seniors like Yasuko are enjoying the benefits of long life.

After commuting to work for some 30 years — two jam-packed trains plus a long subway ride every morning and afternoon — she now greatly enjoys the free time to spend with her family, to cook fancy meals, to read and to take up hobbies. When she turned 80, Yasuko dyed her hair purple and started piano lessons. When I teased her about that — “Grandma playing chopsticks” — she had a ready answer. “I’m not the oldest person in the class,” she said. “Just about everybody there is a kōreishalike me.”

Colowide succeeds in hostile takeover bid over Ootoya

Japanese restaurant chain operator Colowide Co. said Tuesday it has succeeded in a takeover bid for Ootoya Holdings Co. in what is perceived as an unfriendly move against the struggling operator of Japanese-style set-menu eatery chain restaurants.

Colowide, which runs a wide range of Japanese-style pubs and restaurants including the grilled beef eatery chain Gyu-Kaku, said it has obtained about a 47 percent stake in Ootoya, above the targeted lower limit of 40 percent.

The hostile takeover bid was launched on July 10, with Colowide offering 3,081 yen per share -- a 46 percent premium on the Ootoya stock price which ended at 2,113 yen the day before the July 9 announcement of the proxy fight.

Colowide had initially planned to accumulate its stake in Ootoya to at least 45 percent in the tender offer through Aug. 25, but it extended the deadline to Tuesday and revised downward the lower limit to 40 percent to increase the possibility of a successful takeover bid.

Colowide plans to reshuffle Ootoya's current management and introduce cost-cutting efforts to improve the latter's performance by sharing its central kitchens and other logistic facilities as well as joint procurement and food distribution.

Colowide has said a 40 percent stake is expected to be enough to reshuffle Ootoya's directors, as less than an 80 percent voting right has been exercised at Ootoya's recent shareholders' meetings.

Before the takeover bid, Colowide held a 19.16 percent stake in Ootoya after obtaining shares last year from Mieko Mitsumori, the widow of Ootoya founder Hisami Mitsumori, who died in 2015, and their eldest son Tomohito.

In June, Colowide proposed a plan to reshuffle Ootoya directors but it was rejected at a general shareholders' meeting.

Ootoya has opposed the hostile takeover by Colowide and requested its shareholders not to sell their shares to the izakaya restaurant operator, while Colowide said Ootoya's menu was too pricey for its customer base.

Ootoya said it takes pride in offering what it calls healthy "mom's food" cooked on site at each restaurant and argued Colowide's method of distributing prepared meals from its central kitchens to its outlets will "clearly lower" the quality of food.

The two companies have both been eager to expand their businesses in overseas markets. As of the end of March, Colowide operated 227 overseas outlets in 12 countries and regions including the United States and Taiwan, while Ootoya ran 116 restaurants in foreign countries including Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia.

But the coronavirus outbreak has hit the restaurant operators hard, with Ootoya posting a net loss of 1.51 billion yen ($14 million) in the April-June quarter on sales of 3.16 billion yen, down 48.1 percent from a year earlier.

Colowide reported a net loss of 5.40 billion yen in the same period on sales of 30.48 billion yen, down 48.4 percent from the previous year.

On Tuesday, Ootoya fell 144 yen to close at 2,810 yen on the Jasdaq market after hovering near 3,000 yen over the past two weeks.


For most of human history, depending on the culture of the victors, enemy combatants on the losing side in a battle who had surrendered and been taken as prisoners of war could expect to be either slaughtered or enslaved. [2] Early Roman gladiators could be prisoners of war, categorised according to their ethnic roots as Samnites, Thracians, and Gauls (Galli). [3] Homer's Iliad describes Greek and Trojan soldiers offering rewards of wealth to opposing forces who have defeated them on the battlefield in exchange for mercy, but their offers are not always accepted see Lycaon for example.

Typically, victors made little distinction between enemy combatants and enemy civilians, although they were more likely to spare women and children. Sometimes the purpose of a battle, if not of a war, was to capture women, a practice known as raptio the Rape of the Sabines involved, according to tradition, a large mass-abduction by the founders of Rome. Typically women had no rights, and were held legally as chattels. [ citation needed ] [4] [ need quotation to verify ]

In the fourth century AD, Bishop Acacius of Amida, touched by the plight of Persian prisoners captured in a recent war with the Roman Empire, who were held in his town under appalling conditions and destined for a life of slavery, took the initiative in ransoming them by selling his church's precious gold and silver vessels and letting them return to their country. For this he was eventually canonized. [5]

According to legend, during Childeric's siege and blockade of Paris in 464 the nun Geneviève (later canonised as the city's patron saint) pleaded with the Frankish king for the welfare of prisoners of war and met with a favourable response. Later, Clovis I ( r . 481–511 ) liberated captives after Genevieve urged him to do so. [6]

King Henry V's English army killed many French prisoners-of-war after the Battle of Agincourt in 1415. [7] This was done in retaliation for the French killing of the boys and other non-combatants handling the baggage and equipment of the army, and because the French were attacking again and Henry was afraid that they would break through and free the prisoners to fight again.

In the later Middle Ages a number of religious wars aimed to not only defeat but also to eliminate enemies. Authorities in Christian Europe often considered the extermination of heretics and heathens desirable. Examples of such wars include the 13th-century Albigensian Crusade in Languedoc and the Northern Crusades in the Baltic region. [8] When asked by a Crusader how to distinguish between the Catholics and Cathars following the projected capture (1209) of the city of Béziers, the Papal Legate Arnaud Amalric allegedly replied, "Kill them all, God will know His own". [b]

Likewise, the inhabitants of conquered cities were frequently massacred during Christians' Crusades against Muslims in the 11th and 12th centuries. Noblemen could hope to be ransomed their families would have to send to their captors large sums of wealth commensurate with the social status of the captive.

Feudal Japan had no custom of ransoming prisoners of war, who could expect for the most part summary execution. [9]

In the 13th century the expanding Mongol Empire famously distinguished between cities or towns that surrendered (where the population was spared but required to support the conquering Mongol army) and those that resisted (in which case the city was ransacked and destroyed, and all the population killed). In Termez, on the Oxus: "all the people, both men and women, were driven out onto the plain, and divided in accordance with their usual custom, then they were all slain". [10]

The Aztecs warred constantly with neighbouring tribes and groups, aiming to collect live prisoners for sacrifice. [11] For the re-consecration of Great Pyramid of Tenochtitlan in 1487, "between 10,000 and 80,400 persons" were sacrificed. [12] [13]

During the early Muslim conquests of 622–750, Muslims routinely captured large numbers of prisoners. Aside from those who converted, most were ransomed or enslaved. [14] [15] Christians captured during the Crusades were usually either killed or sold into slavery if they could not pay a ransom. [16] During his lifetime (c. 570 -632), Muhammad made it the responsibility of the Islamic government to provide food and clothing, on a reasonable basis, to captives, regardless of their religion however if the prisoners were in the custody of a person, then the responsibility was on the individual. [17] The freeing of prisoners was highly recommended [ by whom? ] as a charitable act. [18] On certain occasions where Muhammad felt the enemy had broken a treaty with the Muslims he endorsed the mass execution of male prisoners who participated in battles, as in the case of the Banu Qurayza in 627. The Muslims divided up the females and children of those executed as ghanima (spoils of war). [19] [ date missing ]

In Europe, the treatment of prisoners of war became increasingly centralized, in the time period between the 16th and late 18th century. Whereas prisoners of war had previously been regarded as the private property of the captor, captured enemy soldiers became increasingly regarded as the property of the state. The European states strived to exert increasing control over all stages of captivity, from the question of who would be attributed the status of prisoner of war to their eventual release. The act of surrender was regulated so that it, ideally, should be legitimized by officers, who negotiated the surrender of their whole unit. [20] Soldiers whose style of fighting did not conform to the battle line tactics of regular European armies, such as Cossacks and Croats, were often denied the status of prisoners of war. [21]

In line with this development the treatment of prisoners of war became increasingly regulated in interactional treaties, particularly in the form of the so called cartel system, which regulated how the exchange of prisoners would be carried out between warring states. [22] Another such treaty was the 1648 Peace of Westphalia, which ended the Thirty Years' War. This treaty established the rule that prisoners of war should be released without ransom at the end of hostilities and that they should be allowed to return to their homelands. [23]

There also evolved the right of parole, French for "discourse", in which a captured officer surrendered his sword and gave his word as a gentleman in exchange for privileges. If he swore not to escape, he could gain better accommodations and the freedom of the prison. If he swore to cease hostilities against the nation who held him captive, he could be repatriated or exchanged but could not serve against his former captors in a military capacity.

European settlers captured in North America Edit

Early historical narratives of captured European settlers, including perspectives of literate women captured by the indigenous peoples of North America, exist in some number. The writings of Mary Rowlandson, captured in the chaotic fighting of King Philip's War, are an example. Such narratives enjoyed some popularity, spawning a genre of the captivity narrative, and had lasting influence on the body of early American literature, most notably through the legacy of James Fenimore Cooper's The Last of the Mohicans. Some Native Americans continued to capture Europeans and use them both as labourers and bargaining chips into the 19th century see for example John R. Jewitt, a sailor who wrote a memoir about his years as a captive of the Nootka people on the Pacific Northwest coast from 1802 to 1805.

French Revolutionary wars and Napoleonic wars Edit

The earliest known purposely built prisoner-of-war camp was established at Norman Cross, England in 1797 to house the increasing number of prisoners from the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars. [24] The average prison population was about 5,500 men. The lowest number recorded was 3,300 in October 1804 and 6,272 on 10 April 1810 was the highest number of prisoners recorded in any official document. Norman Cross Prison was intended to be a model depot providing the most humane treatment of prisoners of war. The British government went to great lengths to provide food of a quality at least equal to that available to locals. The senior officer from each quadrangle was permitted to inspect the food as it was delivered to the prison to ensure it was of sufficient quality. Despite the generous supply and quality of food, some prisoners died of starvation after gambling away their rations. Most of the men held in the prison were low-ranking soldiers and sailors, including midshipmen and junior officers, with a small number of privateers. About 100 senior officers and some civilians "of good social standing", mainly passengers on captured ships and the wives of some officers, were given parole d'honneur outside the prison, mainly in Peterborough although some further afield in Northampton, Plymouth, Melrose and Abergavenny. They were afforded the courtesy of their rank within English society. During the Battle of Leipzig both sides used the city's cemetery as a lazaret and prisoner camp for around 6000 POWs who lived in the burial vaults and used the coffins for firewood. Food was scarce and prisoners resorted to eating horses, cats, dogs or even human flesh. The bad conditions inside the graveyard contributed to a city-wide epidemic after the battle. [25] [26]

Prisoner exchanges Edit

The extensive period of conflict during the American Revolutionary War and Napoleonic Wars (1793–1815), followed by the Anglo-American War of 1812, led to the emergence of a cartel system for the exchange of prisoners, even while the belligerents were at war. A cartel was usually arranged by the respective armed service for the exchange of like-ranked personnel. The aim was to achieve a reduction in the number of prisoners held, while at the same time alleviating shortages of skilled personnel in the home country.

American Civil War Edit

At the start of the civil war a system of paroles operated. Captives agreed not to fight until they were officially exchanged. Meanwhile, they were held in camps run by their own army where they were paid but not allowed to perform any military duties. [27] The system of exchanges collapsed in 1863 when the Confederacy refused to exchange black prisoners. In the late summer of 1864, a year after the Dix–Hill Cartel was suspended Confederate officials approached Union General Benjamin Butler, Union Commissioner of Exchange, about resuming the cartel and including the black prisoners. Butler contacted Grant for guidance on the issue, and Grant responded to Butler on 18 August 1864 with his now famous statement. He rejected the offer, stating in essence, that the Union could afford to leave their men in captivity, the Confederacy could not. [28] After that about 56,000 of the 409,000 POWs died in prisons during the American Civil War, accounting for nearly 10% of the conflict's fatalities. [29] Of the 45,000 Union prisoners of war confined in Camp Sumter, located near Andersonville, Georgia, 13,000 (28%) died. [30] At Camp Douglas in Chicago, Illinois, 10% of its Confederate prisoners died during one cold winter month and Elmira Prison in New York state, with a death rate of 25% (2,963), nearly equalled that of Andersonville. [31]

Amelioration Edit

During the 19th century, there were increased efforts to improve the treatment and processing of prisoners. As a result of these emerging conventions, a number of international conferences were held, starting with the Brussels Conference of 1874, with nations agreeing that it was necessary to prevent inhumane treatment of prisoners and the use of weapons causing unnecessary harm. Although no agreements were immediately ratified by the participating nations, work was continued that resulted in new conventions being adopted and becoming recognized as international law that specified that prisoners of war be treated humanely and diplomatically.

Hague and Geneva Conventions Edit

Chapter II of the Annex to the 1907 Hague Convention IV – The Laws and Customs of War on Land covered the treatment of prisoners of war in detail. These provisions were further expanded in the 1929 Geneva Convention on the Prisoners of War and were largely revised in the Third Geneva Convention in 1949.

Article 4 of the Third Geneva Convention protects captured military personnel, some guerrilla fighters, and certain civilians. It applies from the moment a prisoner is captured until he or she is released or repatriated. One of the main provisions of the convention makes it illegal to torture prisoners and states that a prisoner can only be required to give their name, date of birth, rank and service number (if applicable).

The ICRC has a special role to play, with regards to international humanitarian law, in restoring and maintaining family contact in times of war, in particular concerning the right of prisoners of war and internees to send and receive letters and cards (Geneva Convention (GC) III, art.71 and GC IV, art.107).

However, nations vary in their dedication to following these laws, and historically the treatment of POWs has varied greatly. During World War II, Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany (towards Soviet POWs and Western Allied commandos) were notorious for atrocities against prisoners of war. The German military used the Soviet Union's refusal to sign the Geneva Convention as a reason for not providing the necessities of life to Soviet POWs and the Soviets also used Axis prisoners as forced labour. The Germans also routinely executed British and American commandos captured behind German lines per the Commando Order. North Korean and North and South Vietnamese forces [32] routinely killed or mistreated prisoners taken during those conflicts.

Qualifications Edit

To be entitled to prisoner-of-war status, captured persons must be lawful combatants entitled to combatant's privilege—which gives them immunity from punishment for crimes constituting lawful acts of war such as killing enemy combatants. To qualify under the Third Geneva Convention, a combatant must be part of a chain of command, wear a "fixed distinctive marking, visible from a distance", bear arms openly, and have conducted military operations according to the laws and customs of war. (The Convention recognizes a few other groups as well, such as "[i]nhabitants of a non-occupied territory, who on the approach of the enemy spontaneously take up arms to resist the invading forces, without having had time to form themselves into regular armed units".)

Thus, uniforms and badges are important in determining prisoner-of-war status under the Third Geneva Convention. Under Additional Protocol I, the requirement of a distinctive marking is no longer included. francs-tireurs, militias, insurgents, terrorists, saboteurs, mercenaries, and spies generally do not qualify because they do not fulfill the criteria of Additional Protocol 1. Therefore, they fall under the category of unlawful combatants, or more properly they are not combatants. Captured soldiers who do not get prisoner of war status are still protected like civilians under the Fourth Geneva Convention.

The criteria are applied primarily to international armed conflicts. The application of prisoner of war status in non-international armed conflicts like civil wars is guided by Additional Protocol II, but insurgents are often treated as traitors, terrorists or criminals by government forces and are sometimes executed on spot or tortured. However, in the American Civil War, both sides treated captured troops as POWs presumably out of reciprocity, although the Union regarded Confederate personnel as separatist rebels. However, guerrillas and other irregular combatants generally cannot expect to receive benefits from both civilian and military status simultaneously.

Rights Edit

Under the Third Geneva Convention, prisoners of war (POW) must be:

  • Treated humanely with respect for their persons and their honor
  • Able to inform their next of kin and the International Committee of the Red Cross of their capture
  • Allowed to communicate regularly with relatives and receive packages
  • Given adequate food, clothing, housing, and medical attention
  • Paid for work done and not forced to do work that is dangerous, unhealthy, or degrading
  • Released quickly after conflicts end
  • Not compelled to give any information except for name, age, rank, and service number [33]

In addition, if wounded or sick on the battlefield, the prisoner will receive help from the International Committee of the Red Cross. [34]

When a country is responsible for breaches of prisoner of war rights, those accountable will be punished accordingly. An example of this is the Nuremberg and Tokyo Trials. German and Japanese military commanders were prosecuted for preparing and initiating a war of aggression, murder, ill treatment, and deportation of individuals, and genocide during World War II. [35] Most were executed or sentenced to life in prison for their crimes.

U.S. Code of Conduct and terminology Edit

The United States Military Code of Conduct was promulgated in 1955 via Executive Order 10631 under President Dwight D. Eisenhower to serve as a moral code for United States service members who have been taken prisoner. It was created primarily in response to the breakdown of leadership and organization, specifically when U.S. forces were POWs during the Korean War.

When a military member is taken prisoner, the Code of Conduct reminds them that the chain of command is still in effect (the highest ranking service member eligible for command, regardless of service branch, is in command), and requires them to support their leadership. The Code of Conduct also requires service members to resist giving information to the enemy (beyond identifying themselves, that is, "name, rank, serial number"), receiving special favors or parole, or otherwise providing their enemy captors aid and comfort.

Since the Vietnam War, the official U.S. military term for enemy POWs is EPW (Enemy Prisoner of War). This name change was introduced in order to distinguish between enemy and U.S. captives. [36] [37]

In 2000, the U.S. military replaced the designation "Prisoner of War" for captured American personnel with "Missing-Captured". A January 2008 directive states that the reasoning behind this is since "Prisoner of War" is the international legal recognized status for such people there is no need for any individual country to follow suit. This change remains relatively unknown even among experts in the field and "Prisoner of War" remains widely used in the Pentagon which has a "POW/Missing Personnel Office" and awards the Prisoner of War Medal. [38] [39]

During World War I, about eight million men surrendered and were held in POW camps until the war ended. All nations pledged to follow the Hague rules on fair treatment of prisoners of war, and in general the POWs had a much higher survival rate than their peers who were not captured. [40] Individual surrenders were uncommon usually a large unit surrendered all its men. At Tannenberg 92,000 Russians surrendered during the battle. When the besieged garrison of Kaunas surrendered in 1915, 20,000 Russians became prisoners. Over half the Russian losses were prisoners as a proportion of those captured, wounded or killed. About 3.3 million men became prisoners. [41]

The German Empire held 2.5 million prisoners Russia held 2.9 million, and Britain and France held about 720,000, mostly gained in the period just before the Armistice in 1918. The US held 48,000. The most dangerous moment for POWs was the act of surrender, when helpless soldiers were sometimes mistakenly shot down. Once prisoners reached a POW camp conditions were better (and often much better than in World War II), thanks in part to the efforts of the International Red Cross and inspections by neutral nations.

There was however much harsh treatment of POWs in Germany, as recorded by the American ambassador to Germany (prior to America's entry into the war), James W. Gerard, who published his findings in "My Four Years in Germany". Even worse conditions are reported in the book "Escape of a Princess Pat" by the Canadian George Pearson. It was particularly bad in Russia, where starvation was common for prisoners and civilians alike a quarter of the over 2 million POWs held there died. [42] Nearly 375,000 of the 500,000 Austro-Hungarian prisoners of war taken by Russians perished in Siberia from smallpox and typhus. [43] In Germany, food was short, but only 5% died. [44]

The Ottoman Empire often treated prisoners of war poorly. Some 11,800 British soldiers, most of them Indians, became prisoners after the five-month Siege of Kut, in Mesopotamia, in April 1916. Many were weak and starved when they surrendered and 4,250 died in captivity. [45]

During the Sinai and Palestine campaign 217 Australian and unknown numbers of British, New Zealand and Indian soldiers were captured by Ottoman forces. About 50% of the Australian prisoners were light horsemen including 48 missing believed captured on 1 May 1918 in the Jordan Valley. Australian Flying Corps pilots and observers were captured in the Sinai Peninsula, Palestine and the Levant. One third of all Australian prisoners were captured on Gallipoli including the crew of the submarine AE2 which made a passage through the Dardanelles in 1915. Forced marches and crowded railway journeys preceded years in camps where disease, poor diet and inadequate medical facilities prevailed. About 25% of other ranks died, many from malnutrition, while only one officer died. [46] [47]

The most curious case came in Russia where the Czechoslovak Legion of Czechoslovak prisoners (from the Austro-Hungarian army): they were released in 1917, armed themselves, briefly culminating into a military and diplomatic force during the Russian Civil War.

Release of prisoners Edit

At the end of the war in 1918 there were believed to be 140,000 British prisoners of war in Germany, including thousands of internees held in neutral Switzerland. [48] The first British prisoners were released and reached Calais on 15 November. Plans were made for them to be sent via Dunkirk to Dover and a large reception camp was established at Dover capable of housing 40,000 men, which could later be used for demobilisation.

On 13 December 1918, the armistice was extended and the Allies reported that by 9 December 264,000 prisoners had been repatriated. A very large number of these had been released en masse and sent across Allied lines without any food or shelter. This created difficulties for the receiving Allies and many released prisoners died from exhaustion. The released POWs were met by cavalry troops and sent back through the lines in lorries to reception centres where they were refitted with boots and clothing and dispatched to the ports in trains.

Upon arrival at the receiving camp the POWs were registered and "boarded" before being dispatched to their own homes. All commissioned officers had to write a report on the circumstances of their capture and to ensure that they had done all they could to avoid capture. Each returning officer and man was given a message from King George V, written in his own hand and reproduced on a lithograph. It read as follows: [49]

The Queen joins me in welcoming you on your release from the miseries & hardships, which you have endured with so much patience and courage.

During these many months of trial, the early rescue of our gallant Officers & Men from the cruelties of their captivity has been uppermost in our thoughts.

We are thankful that this longed for day has arrived, & that back in the old Country you will be able once more to enjoy the happiness of a home & to see good days among those who anxiously look for your return.

George R.I.

While the Allied prisoners were sent home at the end of the war, the same treatment was not granted to Central Powers prisoners of the Allies and Russia, many of whom had to serve as forced labour, e.g. in France, until 1920. They were released after many approaches by the ICRC to the Allied Supreme Council. [50]

Historian Niall Ferguson, in addition to figures from Keith Lowe, tabulated the total death rate for POWs in World War II as follows: [51] [52]

Percentage of
POWs that Died
USSR POWs held by Germans 57.5%
German POWs held by Yugoslavs 41.2%
German POWs held by USSR 35.8%
American POWs held by Japanese 33.0%
American POWs held by Germans 1.19%
German POWs held by Eastern Europeans 32.9%
British POWs held by Japanese 24.8%
German POWs held by Czechoslovaks 5.0%
British POWs held by Germans 3.5%
German POWs held by French 2.58%
German POWs held by Americans 0.15%
German POWs held by British 0.03%

Treatment of POWs by the Axis Edit

Empire of Japan Edit

The Empire of Japan, which had signed but never ratified the 1929 Geneva Convention on Prisoners of War, [53] did not treat prisoners of war in accordance with international agreements, including provisions of the Hague Conventions, either during the Second Sino-Japanese War or during the Pacific War, because the Japanese viewed surrender as dishonorable. Moreover, according to a directive ratified on 5 August 1937 by Hirohito, the constraints of the Hague Conventions were explicitly removed on Chinese prisoners. [54]

Prisoners of war from China, United States, Australia, Britain, Canada, India, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and the Philippines held by Japanese imperial armed forces were subject to murder, beatings, summary punishment, brutal treatment, forced labour, medical experimentation, starvation rations, poor medical treatment and cannibalism. [55] [56] The most notorious use of forced labour was in the construction of the Burma–Thailand Death Railway. After 20 March 1943, the Imperial Navy was under orders to execute all prisoners taken at sea. [ citation needed ]

After the Armistice of Cassibile, Italian soldiers and civilians in East Asia were taken as prisoners by Japanese armed forces and subject to the same conditions as other POWs. [57]

According to the findings of the Tokyo Tribunal, the death rate of Western prisoners was 27.1%, seven times that of POWs under the Germans and Italians. [58] The death rate of Chinese was much higher. Thus, while 37,583 prisoners from the United Kingdom, Commonwealth, and Dominions, 28,500 from the Netherlands, and 14,473 from the United States were released after the surrender of Japan, the number for the Chinese was only 56. [59] The 27,465 United States Army and United States Army Air Forces POWs in the Pacific Theater had a 40.4% death rate. [60] The War Ministry in Tokyo issued an order at the end of the war to kill all surviving POWs. [61]

No direct access to the POWs was provided to the International Red Cross. Escapes among Caucasian prisoners were almost impossible because of the difficulty of men of Caucasian descent hiding in Asiatic societies. [62]

Allied POW camps and ship-transports were sometimes accidental targets of Allied attacks. The number of deaths which occurred when Japanese "hell ships"—unmarked transport ships in which POWs were transported in harsh conditions—were attacked by U.S. Navy submarines was particularly high. Gavan Daws has calculated that "of all POWs who died in the Pacific War, one in three was killed on the water by friendly fire". [63] Daves states that 10,800 of the 50,000 POWs shipped by the Japanese were killed at sea [64] while Donald L. Miller states that "approximately 21,000 Allied POWs died at sea, about 19,000 of them killed by friendly fire." [65]

Life in the POW camps was recorded at great risk to themselves by artists such as Jack Bridger Chalker, Philip Meninsky, Ashley George Old, and Ronald Searle. Human hair was often used for brushes, plant juices and blood for paint, and toilet paper as the "canvas". Some of their works were used as evidence in the trials of Japanese war criminals.

Female prisoners (detainees) at Changi prisoner of war camp in Singapore, bravely recorded their defiance in seemingly harmless prison quilt embroidery. [66]

Research into the conditions of the camps has been conducted by The Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. [67]

Troops of the Suffolk Regiment surrendering to the Japanese, 1942

Many US and Filipino POWs died as a result of the Bataan Death March, in May 1942

Water colour sketch of "Dusty" Rhodes by Ashley George Old

Australian and Dutch POWs at Tarsau, Thailand in 1943

U.S. Navy nurses rescued from Los Baños Internment Camp, March 1945

Allied prisoners of war at Aomori camp near Yokohama, Japan waving flags of the United States, Great Britain, and the Netherlands in August 1945.

Malnourished Australian POWs forced to work at the Aso mining company, August 1945.

POW art depicting Cabanatuan prison camp, produced in 1946

Australian POW Leonard Siffleet captured at New Guinea moments before his execution with a Japanese shin gunto sword in 1943.

Captured soldiers of the British Indian Army executed by the Japanese.

Germany Edit

French soldiers Edit

After the French armies surrendered in summer 1940, Germany seized two million French prisoners of war and sent them to camps in Germany. About one third were released on various terms. Of the remainder, the officers and non-commissioned officers were kept in camps and did not work. The privates were sent out to work. About half of them worked for German agriculture, where food supplies were adequate and controls were lenient. The others worked in factories or mines, where conditions were much harsher. [68]

Western Allies' POWs Edit

Germany and Italy generally treated prisoners from the British Empire and Commonwealth, France, the U.S., and other western Allies in accordance with the Geneva Convention, which had been signed by these countries. [69] Consequently, western Allied officers were not usually made to work and some personnel of lower rank were usually compensated, or not required to work either. The main complaints of western Allied prisoners of war in German POW camps—especially during the last two years of the war—concerned shortages of food.

Only a small proportion of western Allied POWs who were Jews—or whom the Nazis believed to be Jewish—were killed as part of the Holocaust or were subjected to other antisemitic policies. [ dubious – discuss ] [ citation needed ] For example, Major Yitzhak Ben-Aharon, a Palestinian Jew who had enlisted in the British Army, and who was captured by the Germans in Greece in 1941, experienced four years of captivity under entirely normal conditions for POWs. [70]

However, a small number of Allied personnel were sent to concentration camps, for a variety of reasons including being Jewish. [71] As the US historian Joseph Robert White put it: "An important exception . is the sub-camp for U.S. POWs at Berga an der Elster, officially called Arbeitskommando 625 [also known as Stalag IX-B]. Berga was the deadliest work detachment for American captives in Germany. 73 men who participated, or 21 percent of the detachment, perished in two months. 80 of the 350 POWs were Jews." [ citation needed ] Another well-known example was a group of 168 Australian, British, Canadian, New Zealand and US aviators who were held for two months at Buchenwald concentration camp [72] two of the POWs died at Buchenwald. Two possible reasons have been suggested for this incident: German authorities wanted to make an example of Terrorflieger ("terrorist aviators") or these aircrews were classified as spies, because they had been disguised as civilians or enemy soldiers when they were apprehended.

Information on conditions in the stalags is contradictory depending on the source. Some American POWs claimed the Germans were victims of circumstance and did the best they could, while others accused their captors of brutalities and forced labour. In any case, the prison camps were miserable places where food rations were meager and conditions squalid. One American admitted "The only difference between the stalags and concentration camps was that we weren't gassed or shot in the former. I do not recall a single act of compassion or mercy on the part of the Germans." Typical meals consisted of a bread slice and watery potato soup which, however, was still more substantial than what Soviet POWs or concentration camp inmates received. Another prisoner stated that "The German plan was to keep us alive, yet weakened enough that we wouldn't attempt escape." [73]

As Soviet ground forces approached some POW camps in early 1945, German guards forced western Allied POWs to walk long distances towards central Germany, often in extreme winter weather conditions. [74] It is estimated that, out of 257,000 POWs, about 80,000 were subject to such marches and up to 3,500 of them died as a result. [75]

Italian POWs Edit

In September 1943 after the Armistice, Italian officers and soldiers that in many places waited for clear superior orders were arrested by Germans and Italian fascists and taken to German internment camps in Germany or Eastern Europe, where they were held for the duration of World War II. The International Red Cross could do nothing for them, as they were not regarded as POWs, but the prisoners held the status of "military internees". Treatment of the prisoners was generally poor. The author Giovannino Guareschi was among those interned and wrote about this time in his life. The book was translated and published as My Secret Diary. He wrote about the hungers of semi-starvation, the casual murder of individual prisoners by guards and how, when they were released (now from a German camp), they found a deserted German town filled with foodstuffs that they (with other released prisoners) ate. [ citation needed ] . It is estimated that of the 700,000 Italians taken prisoner by the Germans, around 40,000 died in detention and more than 13,000 lost their lives during the transportation from the Greek islands to the mainland. [76]

Eastern European POWs Edit

Germany did not apply the same standard of treatment to non-western prisoners, especially many Polish and Soviet POWs who suffered harsh conditions and died in large numbers while in captivity.

Between 1941 and 1945 the Axis powers took about 5.7 million Soviet prisoners. About one million of them were released during the war, in that their status changed but they remained under German authority. A little over 500,000 either escaped or were liberated by the Red Army. Some 930,000 more were found alive in camps after the war. The remaining 3.3 million prisoners (57.5% of the total captured) died during their captivity. [78] Between the launching of Operation Barbarossa in the summer of 1941 and the following spring, 2.8 million of the 3.2 million Soviet prisoners taken died while in German hands. [79] According to Russian military historian General Grigoriy Krivosheyev, the Axis powers took 4.6 million Soviet prisoners, of whom 1.8 million were found alive in camps after the war and 318,770 were released by the Axis during the war and were then drafted into the Soviet armed forces again. [80] By comparison, 8,348 Western Allied prisoners died in German camps during 1939–45 (3.5% of the 232,000 total). [81]

The Germans officially justified their policy on the grounds that the Soviet Union had not signed the Geneva Convention. Legally, however, under article 82 of the Geneva Convention, signatory countries had to give POWs of all signatory and non-signatory countries the rights assigned by the convention. [82] Shortly after the German invasion in 1941, the USSR made Berlin an offer of a reciprocal adherence to the Hague Conventions. Third Reich officials left the Soviet "note" unanswered. [83] [84] In contrast, Nikolai Tolstoy recounts that the German Government – as well as the International Red Cross – made several efforts to regulate reciprocal treatment of prisoners until early 1942, but received no answers from the Soviet side. [85] Further, the Soviets took a harsh position towards captured Soviet soldiers, as they expected each soldier to fight to the death, and automatically excluded any prisoner from the "Russian community". [86] [ need quotation to verify ]

Some Soviet POWs and forced labourers whom the Germans had transported to Nazi Germany were, on their return to the USSR, treated as traitors and sent to gulag prison-camps.

Treatment of POWs by the Soviet Union Edit

Germans, Romanians, Italians, Hungarians, Finns Edit

According to some sources, the Soviets captured 3.5 million Axis servicemen (excluding Japanese), of which more than a million died. [87] One specific example is that of the German POWs after the Battle of Stalingrad, where the Soviets captured 91,000 German troops in total (completely exhausted, starving and sick), of whom only 5,000 survived the captivity.

German soldiers were kept as forced labour for many years after the war. The last German POWs like Erich Hartmann, the highest-scoring fighter ace in the history of aerial warfare, who had been declared guilty of war crimes but without due process, were not released by the Soviets until 1955, two years after Stalin died. [88]

Polish Edit

As a result of the Soviet invasion of Poland in 1939, hundreds of thousands of Polish soldiers became prisoners of war in the Soviet Union. Thousands were executed over 20,000 Polish military personnel and civilians perished in the Katyn massacre. [89] Out of Anders' 80,000 evacuees from the Soviet Union in the United Kingdom, only 310 volunteered to return to Poland in 1947. [90]

Of the 230,000 Polish prisoners of war taken by the Soviet army, only 82,000 survived. [91]

Japanese Edit

After the Soviet–Japanese War, 560,000 to 760,000 Japanese prisoners of war were captured by the Soviet Union. The prisoners were captured in Manchuria, Korea, South Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands, then sent to work as forced labour in the Soviet Union and Mongolia. [92] An estimated 60,000 to 347,000 of these Japanese prisoners of war died in captivity. [93] [94] [95] [96]

Americans Edit

Stories that circulated during the Cold War claimed 23,000 Americans held in German POW camps had been seized by the Soviets and never been repatriated. The claims had been perpetuated after the release of people like John H. Noble. Careful scholarly studies demonstrated that this was a myth based on the misinterpretation of a telegram about Soviet prisoners held in Italy. [97]

Treatment of POWs by the Western Allies Edit

Germans Edit

During the war, the armies of Western Allied nations such as Australia, Canada, the UK and the US [98] were given orders to treat Axis prisoners strictly in accordance with the Geneva Convention. [99] Some breaches of the Convention took place, however. According to Stephen E. Ambrose, of the roughly 1,000 US combat veterans he had interviewed, only one admitted to shooting a prisoner, saying he "felt remorse, but would do it again". However, one-third of interviewees told him they had seen fellow US troops kill German prisoners. [100]

In Britain, German prisoners, particularly higher-ranked officers, were housed in luxurious buildings where listening devices were installed. A considerable amount of military intelligence was gained from eavesdropping on what the officers believed were private casual conversations. Much of the listening was carried out by German refugees, in many cases Jews. The work of these refugees in contributing to the Allied victory was declassified over half a century later. [101]

In February 1944, 59.7% of POWs in America were employed. This relatively low percentage was due to problems setting wages that would not compete against those of non-prisoners, to union opposition, as well as concerns about security, sabotage, and escape. Given national manpower shortages, citizens and employers resented the idle prisoners, and efforts were made to decentralize the camps and reduce security enough that more prisoners could work. By the end of May 1944, POW employment was at 72.8%, and by late April 1945 it had risen to 91.3%. The sector that made the most use of POW workers was agriculture. There was more demand than supply of prisoners throughout the war, and 14,000 POW repatriations were delayed in 1946 so prisoners could be used in the spring farming seasons, mostly to thin and block sugar beets in the west. While some in Congress wanted to extend POW labour beyond June 1946, President Truman rejected this, leading to the end of the program. [102]

Towards the end of the war in Europe, as large numbers of Axis soldiers surrendered, the US created the designation of Disarmed Enemy Forces (DEF) so as not to treat prisoners as POWs. A lot of these soldiers were kept in open fields in makeshift camps in the Rhine valley (Rheinwiesenlager). Controversy has arisen about how Eisenhower managed these prisoners. [103] (see Other Losses).

After the surrender of Germany in May 1945, the POW status of the German prisoners was in many cases maintained, and they were for several years used as public labourers in countries such as the UK and France. Many died when forced to clear minefields in countries such as Norway and France. "By September 1945 it was estimated by the French authorities that two thousand prisoners were being maimed and killed each month in accidents". [104] [105]

In 1946, the UK held over 400,000 German POWs, many having been transferred from POW camps in the US and Canada. They were employed as labourers to compensate for the lack of manpower in Britain, as a form of war reparation. [106] [107] A public debate ensued in the U.K. over the treatment of German prisoners of war, with many in Britain comparing the treatment to the POWs to slave labour. [108] In 1947, the Ministry of Agriculture argued against repatriation of working German prisoners, since by then they made up 25 percent of the land workforce, and it wanted to continue having them work in the UK until 1948. [108]

The "London Cage", an MI19 prisoner of war facility in London used during and immediately after the war to interrogate prisoners before sending them to prison camps, was subject to allegations of torture. [109]

After the German surrender, the International Red Cross was prohibited from providing aid, such as food or prisoner visits, to POW camps in Germany. However, after making appeals to the Allies in the autumn of 1945, the Red Cross was allowed to investigate the camps in the British and French occupation zones of Germany, as well as providing relief to the prisoners held there. [110] On 4 February 1946, the Red Cross was also permitted to visit and assist prisoners in the US occupation zone of Germany, although only with very small quantities of food. "During their visits, the delegates observed that German prisoners of war were often detained in appalling conditions. They drew the attention of the authorities to this fact, and gradually succeeded in getting some improvements made". [110]

POWs were also transferred among the Allies, with for example 6,000 German officers transferred from Western Allied camps to the Soviets and subsequently imprisoned in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, at the time one of the NKVD special camps. [111] [112] [113] Although the Soviet Union had not signed the Geneva Convention, the U.S. chose to hand over several hundred thousand German prisoners to the Soviet Union in May 1945 as a "gesture of friendship". [114] U.S. forces also refused to accept the surrender of German troops attempting to surrender to them in Saxony and Bohemia, and handed them over to the Soviet Union instead. [115]

The United States handed over 740,000 German prisoners to France, which was a Geneva Convention signatory but which used them as forced labourers. Newspapers reported that the POWs were being mistreated Judge Robert H. Jackson, chief US prosecutor in the Nuremberg trials, told US President Harry S Truman in October 1945 that the Allies themselves:

have done or are doing some of the very things we are prosecuting the Germans for. The French are so violating the Geneva Convention in the treatment of prisoners of war that our command is taking back prisoners sent to them. We are prosecuting plunder and our Allies are practicing it. [116] [117]

Hungarians Edit

Hungarians became POWs of the Western Allies. Some of these were, like the Germans, used as forced labour in France after the cessation of hostilities. [118] After the war, Hungarian POWs were handed over to the Soviets and transported to the Soviet Union for forced labour. Such forced Hungarian labour by the USSR is often referred to as malenkij robot—little work. András Toma, a Hungarian soldier taken prisoner by the Red Army in 1944, was discovered in a Russian psychiatric hospital in 2000. He was likely the last prisoner of war from World War II to be repatriated. [119]

Japanese Edit

Although thousands of Japanese servicemembers were taken prisoner, most fought until they were killed or committed suicide. Of the 22,000 Japanese soldiers present at the beginning of the Battle of Iwo Jima, over 20,000 were killed and only 216 were taken prisoner. [120] Of the 30,000 Japanese troops that defended Saipan, fewer than 1,000 remained alive at battle's end. [121] Japanese prisoners sent to camps fared well however, some were killed when attempting to surrender or were massacred [122] just after doing so (see Allied war crimes during World War II in the Pacific). In some instances, Japanese prisoners were tortured through a variety of methods. [123] A method of torture used by the Chinese National Revolutionary Army (NRA) included suspending prisoners by the neck in wooden cages until they died. [124] In very rare cases, some were beheaded by sword, and a severed head was once used as a football by Chinese National Revolutionary Army (NRA) soldiers. [125]

After the war, many Japanese POWs were kept on as Japanese Surrendered Personnel until mid-1947 by the Allies. The JSP were used until 1947 for labour purposes, such as road maintenance, recovering corpses for reburial, cleaning, and preparing farmland. Early tasks also included repairing airfields damaged by Allied bombing during the war and maintaining law and order until the arrival of Allied forces in the region. Many of the prisoners were also pressed into combat as extra troops due to a lack of Allied manpower.

Italians Edit

In 1943, Italy overthrew Mussolini and became an Allied co-belligerent. This did not change the status of many Italian POWs, retained in Australia, the UK and US due to labour shortages. [126]

After Italy surrendered to the Allies and declared war on Germany, the United States initially made plans to send Italian POWs back to fight Germany. Ultimately though, the government decided instead to loosen POW work requirements prohibiting Italian prisoners from carrying out war-related work. About 34,000 Italian POWs were active in 1944 and 1945 on 66 US military installations, performing support roles such as quartermaster, repair, and engineering work. [102]

Cossacks Edit

On 11 February 1945, at the conclusion of the Yalta Conference, the United States and United Kingdom signed a Repatriation Agreement with the USSR. [127] The interpretation of this agreement resulted in the forcible repatriation of all Soviets (Operation Keelhaul) regardless of their wishes. The forced repatriation operations took place in 1945–1947. [128]

Post-World War II Edit

During the Korean War, the North Koreans developed a reputation for severely mistreating prisoners of war (see Treatment of POWs by North Korean and Chinese forces). Their POWs were housed in three camps, according to their potential usefulness to the North Korean army. Peace camps and reform camps were for POWs that were either sympathetic to the cause or who had valued skills that could be useful to the North Korean military these enemy soldiers were indoctrinated and sometimes conscripted into the North Korean army. While POWs in peace camps were reportedly treated with more consideration, [129] regular prisoners of war were usually treated very poorly.

The 1952 Inter-Camp POW Olympics were held from 15 to 27 November 1952 in Pyuktong, North Korea. The Chinese hoped to gain worldwide publicity, and while some prisoners refused to participate, some 500 POWs of eleven nationalities took part. [130] They came from all the North Korean prison camps and competed in football, baseball, softball, basketball, volleyball, track and field, soccer, gymnastics, and boxing. [130] For the POWs, this was also an opportunity to meet with friends from other camps. The prisoners had their own photographers, announcers, and even reporters, who after each day's competition published a newspaper, the "Olympic Roundup". [131]

At the end of the First Indochina War, of the 11,721 French soldiers taken prisoner after the Battle of Dien Bien Phu and led by the Viet Minh on death marches to distant POW camps, only 3,290 were repatriated four months later. [132]

During the Vietnam War, the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army took many United States servicemembers as prisoners of war and subjected them to mistreatment and torture. Some American prisoners were held in the prison known to US POWs as the Hanoi Hilton.

Communist Vietnamese held in custody by South Vietnamese and American forces were also tortured and badly treated. [32] After the war, millions of South Vietnamese servicemen and government workers were sent to "re-education" camps, where many perished.

As in previous conflicts, speculation existed, without evidence, that a handful of American pilots captured during the Korean and Vietnam wars were transferred to the Soviet Union and never repatriated. [133] [134] [135]

Regardless of regulations determining treatment of prisoners, violations of their rights continue to be reported. Many cases of POW massacres have been reported in recent times, including 13 October massacre in Lebanon by Syrian forces and June 1990 massacre in Sri Lanka.

Indian intervention in the Bangladesh liberation war in 1971 led to the third Indo-Pakistan war, which ended in Indian victory and over 90,000 Pakistani POWs.

In 1982, during the Falklands War, prisoners were well-treated in general by both sides, with military commanders dispatching enemy prisoners back to their homelands in record time. [136]

In 1991, during the Persian Gulf War, American, British, Italian, and Kuwaiti POWs (mostly crew members of downed aircraft and special forces) were tortured by the Iraqi secret police. An American military doctor, Major Rhonda Cornum, a 37-year-old flight surgeon captured when her Blackhawk UH-60 was shot down, was also subjected to sexual abuse. [137]

During the Yugoslav Wars in the 1990s, Serb paramilitary forces supported by JNA forces killed POWs at Vukovar and Škarbrnja, while Bosnian Serb forces killed POWs at Srebrenica. A large number of surviving Croatian or Bosnian POWs described the conditions in serbian concentration camps as similar to those in Germany in World War 2, including regular beatings, torture and random executions.

In 2001, reports emerged concerning two POWs that India had taken during the Sino-Indian War, Yang Chen and Shih Liang. The two were imprisoned as spies for three years before being interned in a mental asylum in Ranchi, where they spent the following 38 years under a special prisoner status. [138]

The last prisoners of the 1980-1988 Iran–Iraq War were exchanged in 2003. [139]

This section lists nations with the highest number of POWs since the start of World War II and ranked by descending order. These are also the highest numbers in any war since the Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War entered into force on 19 June 1931. The USSR had not signed the Geneva convention. [140]

Why So Many Bars Are Named After Cocks


Famous Londoners once sipped rooster-infused beverages on these premises. Courtesy of Ye Olde Cock Tavern

On February 2, 1663, after a long day of business meetings, the celebrated diarist Samuel Pepys and his colleague and friend John Creed “turned into a house and drank a cup of Cock ale.” If the scenario of two coworkers sharing a drink at the end of the day seems familiar, the beverage Pepys and Creed enjoyed does not. The key ingredient in cock ale, which was popular in 17th- and 18th-century England, was a rooster.

Pepys was a great fan of the stuff and frequented several “cock ale houses” in London, including ones on Fleet Street, Bow Street and Threadneedle Street. Cock ale, like other kinds of ale and beer in this period, was also prepared at home by women, and contemporary cookbooks include numerous recipes. Hannah Woolley’s The Accomplish’d Lady’s Delight (1670) called for placing a boiled cock in eight gallons of ale, along with raisins, dates, nutmeg, mace, and sack (fortified wine).

While people seem to have genuinely liked the taste of cock ale, it was particularly valued for more medicinal qualities. Depending on who made it and where, cock ale was seen as a warm and nourishing elixir that could alleviate tuberculosis, or a “provocative” drink, a kind of early Viagra. The drink was so renowned for these properties that the modern popularity of bar and tavern names such as The Cock Tavern, The Cock and Bottle, and The Famous Cock can be traced back to cock ale.

The perceived healing powers of cock ale are part of a long history of using chicken as medicine. In Ornithology, a massive work published in 1600, the Italian naturalist Ulisse Aldrovandi declared that “there is almost no internal or external disease that is not remedied” by chicken. Many chicken medicines—such as dissolving chicken dung in vinegar or wine for stomach pains, or placing the plucked anus of a live chicken on plague buboes—seem bizarre to modern readers. But one is very familiar: chicken soup. For more than a thousand years, physicians have touted the healing properties of chicken soup. Chicken broth was believed to be easily digestible. It heated and fortified the body.

Roosters rule bar and tavern signage. Jim Linwood/CC BY 2.0

Cock ale that was produced at home by women was lauded for these nourishing and healing qualities. English men and women thought it ideal for invalids, especially those suffering from consumption (tuberculosis), while recipe books described cock ale as a “restorative Drink, which contributes much to the Invigorating of Nature” and “very pleasant.”

But when Samuel Pepys and his peers visited cock ale houses, they were generally not trying to cure tuberculosis. In commercial establishments, the invigorating properties of cock ale took on sexual connotations.

In Richard Ames’s ribald poem The Bacchanalian Sessions (1693), the god Bacchus stages a disputation between drinks—including various wines, beers, and ales, as well as coffee, tea, and chocolate. Each beverage explains why it’s best. Cock Ale’s argument is that it is the drink of choice for lovers. It claims to be:

… belov’d by the Sparks of the Town,

And their Mistresses too, who ‘fore Wine me prefer,

When they meet at a House very near Temple bar

The “House very near Temple bar” was Samuel Pepys’ favorite Cock Ale House on Fleet Street, and according to Ames, it was also a popular site for assignations.

An anonymous satirical pamphlet from 1674, The Women’s Petition Against Coffee, also portrays cock ale as an aphrodisiac. In the petition, “several Thousands of Buxome Good-Women” complain that drinking coffee makes men impotent (they “fall down flat before us”) and call for a return to “Lusty nappy Beer, Cock-Ale, Cordial Canaries, Restoring Malago’s, and Back-recruiting Chocholet.”

Another view of the bar shows the golden rooster above the entrance. MikeStnly/CC BY-SA 4.0

The notion that cock ale was sexually stimulating is linked to its healing reputation, since both relied on cock ale as a “Restorer of decay’d Nature.” But it also comes from cocks’ reputation as hyper-masculine birds. In his Ornithology of 1678, Francis Willughby describes the cock as “a most salacious bird” prone to “the immoderate use of Venery,” and also notes that cocks are “very couragious and high spirited birds, that will rather die than yield.” This latter quality made cock fighting a popular sport, and taverns were common venues. Cocks were renowned for their sexual and fighting prowess the qualities that made drinking their flesh an aphrodisiac also made them great sporting animals.

The Cock Ale House on Fleet Street where Samuel Pepys spent so many happy hours still exists. The current pub, Ye Olde Cock Tavern, is across the street from the original building, and a golden cock hangs over the door. Cock ale is no longer on the menu. Neither is it served at The Cock Tavern, The Cock and Bottle, or The Famous Cock. But the large number of pubs with cock in their names and roosters on their signs demonstrate that this long-forgotten beverage has left its mark on London.

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Over 80% in Japan oppose Olympics this year: poll

More than 80 percent of Japanese polled oppose hosting the virus-postponed Olympics this year, a new survey showed on Monday, underlining public antipathy less than 10 weeks before the Tokyo Games.

The latest downbeat poll comes after Japan expanded a coronavirus state of emergency Friday as the nation battles a fourth wave of infections.

The surge in cases has put pressure on the country's healthcare system, with medical professionals repeatedly warning about shortages and burnout.

The weekend poll by the Asahi Shimbun daily found 43 percent of respondents want the 2020 Games cancelled, with 40 percent wanting a further postponement.

Those figures are up from the 35 percent who backed cancellation in a survey by the paper a month ago and the 34 percent who wanted a further delay.

"I am one of those in the 80 percent. I think the Olympics should be postponed. Is it that difficult to postpone it?" passer-by Sumiko Usui, 74, told AFP in Tokyo.

Takahiro Yoshida, 53, also expressed doubts over the event.

"In my honest opinion, it will be difficult to hold the Games. Athletes from overseas must be worried as well, because Japan's coronavirus situation is bad," he said.

Only 14 percent support holding the Games this summer as scheduled, down from 28 percent, according to the Asahi poll of 1,527 replies from 3,191 telephone calls.

If the Games go ahead, 59 percent of respondents said they want no spectators, with a third backing lower fan numbers and only three percent a regular-capacity Games.

For months, polling has found a majority in Japan oppose holding the Games this summer.

A separate poll by Kyodo News published Sunday showed 59.7 percent back cancellation, though further postponement was not listed as an option.

Olympic organizers say tough anti-virus measures, including regular testing of athletes and a ban on overseas fans, will keep the Games safe.

But the Kyodo poll found 87.7 percent of respondents worry that an influx of athletes and staff members from abroad may spread the virus.

Amid mounting public opposition to the games, several dozen protesters rallied in central Tokyo against the Olympics.

"It's obvious to everyone that we should cancel the Games, but nobody -- the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee, the Tokyo government nor Prime Minister (Yoshihide) Suga -- none of them are making the decision," Toshio Miyazaki, 60, who organized the demonstration, told AFP. "We cannot afford to host the Olympics when we have to defeat the coronavirus."

Another demonstrator slammed government policy as "contradictory".

"If authorities put priority on the economy, I want them to lift the restrictions on restaurants and bars," Yusuke Kawai, a 40-year-old match-making party organizer, said.

"If they prioritize the anti-virus measures, I want them to cancel the Olympics."

Asked about the state of public opinion Monday, government spokesman Katsunobu Kato said the administration would "make efforts so that the Japanese people understand the Tokyo Games will be held in a safe and secure manner".

"We need to give explanations on details of the concrete (coronavirus) measures," he said, insisting that the Games would not put further pressure on medical services.

Japan has seen a smaller COVID-19 outbreak than many countries, with fewer than 11,500 deaths so far. But the government has come under pressure for its vaccine rollout.

The Kyodo poll found 85 percent of respondents considered the rollout slow, with 71.5 percent unhappy with the government's handling of the pandemic.

Thousands of slots were snapped up on Monday as online bookings opened for two mass vaccination centers which will deliver up to 10,000 shots a day in Tokyo and 5,000 in Osaka, initially to the elderly.

All 25,000 available slots were already booked up in Osaka, the centre said, while around 21,000 reservations were made in Tokyo.

105 Comments Login to comment


If this poll is correct, the LDP is committing political suicide.


Another day, Another Survey, another day passes without the Olympics being cancelled. I think we are past the point of no return. The Olympics will be held no matter what anyone says. The Prime Minister/IOC has made this clear.

Simian Lane

Open bars and restaurants, open flights, hold the Olympics. Tired of my fellow human race timidly walking around trying to avoid a virus, and holding everybody else back whilst they do it. I’m well aware it can be a nasty bug for some, so If you don’t like it, stay home! Your choice


In a democracy, people elect politicians to represent them. The LDP doesn't represent the people who elected them. There is a pandemic, people are getting sick and dying. And the LDP wants to hold some games that make money for American TV companies.

About time for a change, I'd say.

Over 80% in Japan oppose Olympics this year: poll

The IOC (International Olympic Committee) has replied to this poll with a clear, and repeated:

We do not care about japanese people’s opinion, we do have more power than the government (LDP) that ALSO couldn’t care less about its people.

LDP would only have listened to its people and cancel the Olympics if they were threatened by another large party that could take them out of power.

Unfortunately they know they will remain in power, and for this reason. no need to even pretend they care about the japanese people.


We all now know Suga kun is not in charge of this country and Japan has no sovereignty.

We must wait for the IOC masters to comment on this.

The cowardice of the Japanese government and total disregard for the Japanese citizens (subjects) is beyond belief.


Wasn't there a headline a week ago, J-Gov saying "Nothing will stop Olympics"? Then why these people are wasting their time and effort?

Hoping for last minute cancellation?

If this poll is correct, the LDP is committing political suicide.

In any other 'normal' place in the world I'd agree with you, but here.

Not enough of these 80% are protesting. Actions speak louder than words. I would even consider more social media protests and bombarding government offices, sponsors and athletes with emails and phone calls as sufficient actions. If the protests get more international exposure, perhaps other governments, sponsors and athletes will support it.

I can't remember anytime I have seen a poll that said 80%. The people in Japan are not divided on this issue.


@backpacking: So you are in favor of a totalitarian dictatorship? Do what the masters say?

80% is an overwhelming mandate to cancel or postpone. If this was an election it would be a landslide of historic proportions.


80% matches my expectation. I don't know anyone who supports the Olympics and lives in Japan. The poll that showed 60% opposed asked the question in a way that made the stance sound extreme. It's not. Postpone if you have to. God knows China can wait. Let's get through this pandemic in one piece first.


Imagine thinking that COVID is "a nasty bug". You can't make this stuff up! People actually belive this!

I’m well aware it can be a nasty bug for some,


Think of new COVID-19 variants Olympic and Paralympic athletes might bring into Japan during the Games.


So what? The people watch on sheepishly here. Even the people of Myanmar have more guts and stand up against its leaders.

You got that right! People are being killed right of front if their Children! They are not taking no for an andwer and are willing to sacrifice themselves for the greater good of their childrens future! In Japan, people just join the herd, put in their Air Pods, wear their mask hiding their face, head down and follow the crowd.

Michael Machida

That's an amazingly high number Japanese Government!


Has Japanese Government ever listen to Japanese public? Plus these protesters might be spreading the virus.

The only way to stop Olympics is Not to think about stopping it but rather isolate yourself from the event during those days.

If 80% are against it, then they should make sure they don't involve at anything related to Olympics. They just have to take care of themselves until 3 weeks after Closing day.

Aly Rustom

The surge in cases has put pressure on the country's healthcare system, with medical professionals repeatedly warning about shortages and burnout.

2 nurses I already know have told me that their hospitals are refusing patients with severe covid symptoms because they don't have the staff or beds to deal with them. 1 is in Osaka 1 is in Saitama. Osaka I can understand since it appears to be the current ground 0, but Saitama really surprised me. This suggests that the situation is FAR worse than the authorities are telling us.

If this poll is correct, the LDP is committing political suicide.

In any other 'normal' place in the world I'd agree with you, but here.

Is NO democracy. The Olympics have proven that.


For once, this is more apparently accurate, even though it's just a poll. I'm sure Bach is going to get a warm welcome in Japan. (Sarcasm)


After all the money spent and plans The show must go on /s


Once again the "Go to campaign" mistakes, instead of effective and safe vaccines that would accelerate very importantly the economic recovery of the country, the government chooses to support something that will do the opposite.


Sorry vast majority of citizens, but the IOC, Suga, Koike and their cronies know best. Now shut up and sit down peasants.


Japan risks its International reputation if cancelled . . . on the other hand, there should be limits on the number of Olympic visitors , , , this should not be a game of Jahn Ken Pon . . . .


Japan risks its International reputation if cancelled

Did Japan always have a reputation of incompetent leadership that they want to preserve?


If this poll is correct, the LDP is committing political suicide.

In a one party state you can do whatever you like.


It's too late to cancel them. Not just Japan but other countries as well are full into the Olympics for them to just turn back. Lots of people protesting but I could be sure seats will be sold out. Even if spectators were allowed to sit right next to each other (zero social distancing efforts) and the stadiums be packed to max capacity, people would still go coz no people are people and they don't care anyways. That's why we're still here on the "fourth wave" with no hopes of getting better. Also, since quasi measures lead to quasi results. yup, still here.


It seems to me Japan is very obsessed by host of Olympics. People know life is the most important of all, at least than Olympics. If many athletes/people died, there is no point of Olympics/any games.


government spokesman Katsunobu Kato said the administration would "make efforts so that the Japanese people understand the Tokyo Games will be held in a safe and secure manner".

Seems you have been "making efforts" for thepast 12 months but everyone knows well, you can,t guarantee "safe and secure " anything.

"We need to give explanations on details of the concrete (coronavirus) measures," he said, insisting that the Games would not put further pressure on medical services.

You have explained million times, its just that people dont believe your bs. No further pressue on medical services? Take a hike Katsu.

Japan has seen a smaller COVID-19 outbreak than many countries, with fewer than 11,500 deaths so far.

Why re-print this propaganda over and over again ? Japan has also seen outbreak bigger than many countries including most of its Asian cousins.

Japan risks its International reputation if cancelled

Did Japan always have a reputation of incompetent leadership that they want to preserve?"

Haha. well said. must be a "tradition". UNESCO anyone?


If many athletes/people died, there is no point of Olympics/any games.

Well it seems the IOC has learned one thing from the major political rallies of last year's presidential elections.

It takes 2 to 3 weeks after the event before seeing the results and the surge in cases cause by the event.

So the IOC will quickly say their "safety measures" were a success the day after the games end just as was done after the marathon in Hokkaido and when the number of covid cases start going up like in Hokkaido 2 weeks later they can say no proof it is connected to the event!

Maybe Suga is smarter than he looks, keep extending the SOE until it's too late for the IOC.

Andy, that could be the comment of the day. Then it becomes the IOC's issue. Brilliant move (if true) on part of Suga and co.

So Bach, how are you planning to counter this? Oh, the drama!

Telling children to wear masks but insisting on holding the Olympics, to me these two policies are inconsistent. Perhaps the public should stop wearing masks.

Sad for the olympians and athletes due to Japanese politician incompetence with multiple delays in the inoculation of covid-19 considering Japan was hosting the Tokyo Olympics games buying time for the 12 months postpone request raised on 2020. Multiple city lock downs (Tokyo, Nagoya, Fukuoka, Sapporo and the list goes on) with little effect and more tax stimulus (said not enough to cover the expenses) to be paid to the shops rather than implement a policy for introducing new process and technology for telework or prioritize vaccination of those key people who should be facing people due to the nature of the job.


It looks like they are just going to ram it down people's throats.

We have the tv on in the morning, and I asked my wife why she had started watching a terrible breakfast show with minor comedians and AKB members talking about themselves, fashion, and other trivia. She agreed the program was boring, and told me it was the new show after the previous one that talked about news stories, with a rakugo guy and Jun from London Boots had been dropped. It was on that show where Jun described why he pulled out of the Olympic torch relay. It was also critical of the government over Covid 19. This suggests to me that opposition to the Olympics is going to be silenced.


11500 deaths I don't believe it. Wait till the release the pneumonia death numbers of elderly that they didn't test, then we will have a better idea of the numbers. I have heard those numbers are in the 20000 + range.


Kyoodo News published Sunday showed 59.7 percent back cancellation, though further postponement was not listed as an option.

So basically they want to postpone it if given the option, but otherwise are OK with it. So saying 80% oppose the Olympics is it bit flawed.


I was in favor of waiting until 2024.

Winter Olympics is already in 2022.

This year is already half over.

I'm tired of the constant bashing I see on here. It's daily!

Move on! If you are correct then the government will pay a price for it's mistake and support for the Olympics.

It hasn't happened yet, and the decision has already been made. Move on!


The only acceptable solution I see is delaying it for another year. Yes, it will narrow the gap to the next olympics, but it is still better than holding it under the current circumstances. Or move it to 2024, and postpone the entire cycle.

And I am among the 80%, I do not agree with 10,000 people or more swamping Tokyo while the pandemic is still in full swing, while my work suffers a lot because highly skilled researchers are not allowed into Japan for more than one year


cancel tokyo olympics right now.


Think of new COVID-19 variants Olympic and Paralympic athletes might bring into Japan during the Games."

And then watch J-politicians and buraucrats covering their bums, blaming everyone else and saying it could not have been imagined & foreseen. As usual , nobody will accept responsibility.


The Kyodo poll found 85 percent of respondents considered the rollout slow

The other 15 percent were either sleeping or living under a rock.

The only acceptable solution I see is delaying it for another year.

I don't see it that way. I think it should be cancelled as punishment. Punishment is usually meted out when a crime has been committed. What the government has done is pure criminal, putting the games above the lives of its people.


This has turned into a total face-saving game at this point.

Those Olympics dudes would dive headfirst off a cliff into a bed of bamboo spears for their cause at this point.


China is waiting in line next year. They do not want Japan to postpone as it would affect their own parade. This is why they are pushing Bach to go ahead with the thing.

So the 40% who are asking for postponement are asking in vain I guess. The 40% suggesting cancellation have a relatively more realistic chance.


I don't see it that way. I think it should be cancelled as punishment. Punishment is usually meted out when a crime has been committed. What the government has done is pure criminal, putting the games above the lives of its people.

In other words, you want the Olympics canceled just in spite. Very grown up of you.


Those Olympics dudes would dive headfirst off a cliff into a bed of bamboo spears for their cause at this point.

They would however toss the entire population headfirst off a cliff to save face in the name of National pride.


Denso PR and the Olympics village apartment owners will kick their dogs tonight.


Pukey, punishment for whom? Not for the politicians, for sure, but for the tax-paying citizens, who would have to support all the spent billions, without any return. Holding it next year, would recover some of the losses


11500 deaths I don't believe it. Wait till the release the pneumonia death numbers of elderly that they didn't test, then we will have a better idea of the numbers. I have heard those numbers are in the 20000 + range.

If the pneumonia deaths are in the 20,000 range, then Japan has pulled of a miracle.

Pneumonia is one of the top 5 causes of death in Japan, with around 100,000 deaths per year. Top 3 if you only include 80+ year old people, I believe.

Here is some data for you, as your sources are obviously suspicious.


If it goes ahead, Tokyo 2021 will be remembered as the worst Olympics since the dreadful 1936 games.

Do the hustle

The Olympics will go ahead regardless of public opinion. Move on people and start worrying about the virus.


The brainwashed masses. These are dangerous times which I hope mankind will overcome.

These 'Olympics are the beacon of hope to the world to show life must go on and hope is always present.

Hearts and minds will be changed once the games begin and the world realises what’s it’s been missing

Let’s enjoy life and normality again

John Noun

The way Japan has behaved throughout this whole process (including the corrupt bidding process), no way should there be a chance to postpone and hold in future.

John Noun

There are no brainwashed masses. There are more virus deniers here, claiming life is going on as normal going out, ignoring rules and putting lives at danger. Osaka proves this.

These people are selfish and causing this virus to linger.


Even pure facts get commented down. Sounds about right!


in other words, you want the Olympics canceled just in spite. Very grown up of you.

Yeap. Out of spite. I've missed a funeral and a wedding and I wasn't able to visit and look after an ailing relative for a year because I couldn't leave this country, while I've been seeing Japanese with no connections to my country go in and out of my country willy-nilly, and come back with no checks. And it's not just me. How about all those people who died because they had no access to vaccines this year and no access to hospital beds? The government is playing with people's lives. Games or no games, tax-payers will still pay, but I'd rather see these people in charge fired and with eggs on their faces. And have an inquiry set up. But it will never happen. The real criminals are never held to account here.

You may want to be walked over like a welcome mat, but I don't.


Holding it next year, would recover some of the losses

You're living on another planet if you think anyone apart from athletes are going to come to Japan. Foreign tourists certain won't or can't. The athletes, as it stands now, aren't even allowed to go out freely. The only people who will be spending money are the Japanese themselves. Great, let's have another GoTo campaign during a pandemic.


Going out and living life whilst taking precautions is normal and does nit mean you are a virus denier. The virus exists yet is far less deadly to healthy people than claimed by many.

Cases are falling nationwide without lockdowns or draconian laws. I live in Osaka and go out daily, wearing a mask and usually travel by foot.

The s,fish ones are the ones who want it’s locked indoors under curfew and want to stop the Olympics and the hope they represent.

Lets make it clear living a normal life with precautions and holding the Olympics with precautions are safe, unselfish and essential for normality and rational thinking.


Someone ought to tell the government. Oh, right. What's the sound of one-party democracy? Crickets.


Yeap. Out of spite. I've missed a funeral and a wedding and I wasn't able to visit and look after an ailing relative for a year because I couldn't leave this country, while I've been seeing Japanese with no connections to my country go in and out of my country willy-nilly, and come back with no checks. And it's not just me. How about all those people who died because they had no access to vaccines this year and no access to hospital beds? The government is playing with people's lives. Games or no games, tax-payers will still pay, but I'd rather see these people in charge fired and with eggs on their faces. And have an inquiry set up. But it will never happen. The real criminals are never held to account here.

You may want to be walked over like a welcome mat, but I don't.

I'm sorry for you. I'm also wondering when my small kids can see their grandparents again.

Still, I don't think the games are to blame here. It's possible the vaccine rollout would be even slower without the Olympics to look forward to. In Japan they always just play the Whac-A-Mole game. If some infections pop up, smack them back down with another SOE. Similar to how many companies deal with security issues, etc. They just don't seem to like making big changes to deal with a problem at once.


expatToday 12:45 pm JST

Someone ought to tell the government. Oh, right. What's the sound of one-party democracy? Crickets.

'one-party democracy'. That's an oxymoron.

The Avenger

The Olympics - an idea whose time has passed.

I could honestly care less. The Olympics have gotten so far away from their original ideals it’s barely recognizable. It’s become an **** of money, media and consumption.


Lets make it clear living a normal life with precautions and holding the Olympics with precautions are safe, unselfish and essential for normality and rational thinking.

If the precautions necessary to keep the pandemic in control (teleworking, refrain from traveling, no eating in crowded spaces, wearing a mask indoors, etc.) are very different from normal life then "living a normal life with precautions" is as true as "fasting with snack breaks".

The experts have repeatedly pointed out an international sports even with tens of thousands of people interacting with each other (including thousands over thousands of volunteers that commute daily and become living vectors of the infection towards and from the Olympic grounds) are not realistically possible to be held safely in a city where spreading is not being controlled. For that full quarantines would be necessary for everybody previously to attending and after any contact with anybody that inevitably gets the infection, this is something that obviously is not even being considered.

This is even before considering the resource bleeding that the games represent for the city, health care professionals and facilities have to be reserved for the athletes without consideration for locals that still need them, not only for COVID-19 but for any other health problem or accident. As long as the people in charge of health care say the system is under stress there is no justification to put an extra pressure on it.

Also, "claimed by many" is useless as an argument because everything can be said to be so, (the virus is much more deadly than claimed by many). If an appeal is to be used as an argument the appeal to popularity has much less importance than an appeal to valid authority. At this point the ones that have said the games can be held safely are politicians and athletes, which obviously have no capacity to judge this. The ones that do have instead heavily criticized the games. That is a much more valid argument.

Election Cake

Recipe courtesy of OWL Bakery. Adapted by Susannah Gebhart for OWL Bakery from Richard Miscovich’s formula.

Prepare Preferment

If using a sourdough starter:
240 milliliters whole milk

70º F (280 grams)
¼ cup active starter, 100% hydrated (75 grams)
2 ¼ cups all-purpose or whole wheat pastry flour (280 grams)

If using instant yeast:
275 milliliters milk

70º F (320 grams)
¼ teaspoon instant yeast (1 gram)
2 ¼ cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose or whole wheat pastry flour (320 grams)

Combine the milk and sourdough starter or yeast and mix thoroughly until the starter or yeast is well dispersed in the milk mixture. Add the flour and mix vigorously until the starter is consistent and smooth. Scrape the sides of your bowl and cover it with a damp towel or plastic wrap. Allow your starter to ferment for 8-12 hours at room temperature. When your preferment has bubbles covering the surface, it’s ready to use.

Soak Dried Fruits

If you plan to use dried fruits in your cake, first soak them overnight or for several hours beforehand. Measure out around a cup and a half of dried fruit (think raisins, chopped dried apricots, or cranberries) and cover with liquor (such as brandy or sherry) or a nonalcoholic liquid of choice (try apple cider, juice, or steeped tea) in a small sauce pot. Warm the pan over a low heat for a few minutes, then remove it from the heat and allow the fruit to soak, covered, overnight or at least for several hours.

Before incorporating the fruit into your cake, strain the liquid off. You can use this liquid to make a simple glaze after the cake is baked.

Prepare Final Dough, Proof, and Bake

1 cup unsalted butter (226 grams)
¾ cup unrefined sugar (155 grams)
2 eggs (100 grams)
1/3 cup whole-milk yogurt (85 grams)
¼ cup sorghum or honey (60 grams)
Preferment (560 / 635 grams)
2 ¼ cups all-purpose or whole wheat pastry flour (280 grams)
2 tablespoons spice blend of warm spices such as ground cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, clove, star anise, or mace (12 grams)
¼ teaspoon ground coriander (1 gram)
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper (1 gram)
2 teaspoons salt (12 grams)
2 tablespoons sherry or another fortified wine, optional (30 grams)
2 cups rehydrated fruit (300 grams)

With a paddle attachment in a stand mixer, cream the butter very well, then add the sugar, mixing until it’s very light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time on medium speed. Mix in the sorghum or honey and yogurt.

Exchange the paddle with a dough hook. Add the preferment (starter or sponge) and mix until just incorporated. Combine all of the dry ingredients before adding them to the liquid ingredients and mix until just incorporated, being careful not to over-mix. Gently fold in the sherry (optional) and rehydrated fruit.

Divide evenly into a bundt pan or cake rounds that have been buttered and lightly floured. OWL Bakery uses mini bundt pans, which yield 8󈝶 cakes. Proof for 2-4 hours, until the cake has risen by about ⅓ of its volume.

Bake at 375° F (190° C) for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350° F (177° C) and continue baking for about 25󈞊 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Cool completely before cutting and eating. You may enjoy this cake plain or topped with a simple glaze.

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