The Yomiuri Shimbun made its displeasure at this state of affairs clear in a short piece on Friday, saying that a delay in the passage of the bill (which was originally intended to pass the House of Representatives on the 22nd and the House of Councillors on the 25th) would have a negative effect on other legislation before the House, delaying the introduction of such legislation during the 53 days available to the current temporary Diet session (J). That would come as a surprise to the Reformation Party, which approved of the bill in its current form on the 22nd but objected to the prospect of the LDP/New Komeito Coalition trying to rush the legislation through on the 26th (which is the earliest date upon which the bill could receive the Lower House’s approval) (J).
Domestic angst at the implications of the bill have been growing over the week as well, with demonstrations held throughout Japan on the 21st voicing concern over whether the bill violates the citizenry’s right to freedom of expression and limits freedom of the press (J). The Asahi Shimbun carried out a survey of attitudes towards the bill, with most respondents saying that they were concerned that anything and everything could be designated as secret, and that there needed to be a system of public access to information in place before introducing a bill to restrict such access (J). With most conservative parties in the Lower House in favour of the bill (with slight modifications related to the scope of information targeted by the bill), it is certainly likely to pass through the House of Representatives by early next week, with the Senate following shortly thereafter.
With this issue fermenting away under the surface, I wanted to turn my attention to something completely different for the remainder of this post. As may be known to some readers, on Thursday of this week the Asia Baseball Championship Series was decided in Taiwan with the Canberra Cavalry emerging as victors with a 14-4 win over the Uni President Lions of Taipei. While this might not appear to be significant news for anyone outside of either Canberra or Australia, for those who reside in Canberra (like myself), this has been, as they say in the vernacular, a ‘massive deal’.
For example, it is often thought and is quite accurate to say that baseball has yet to grip the national imagination of Australia as it has the nations of East Asia. By having to compete against a range of ball sports including tennis, golf, cricket, and hockey (among others), baseball has always struggled to be recognised in Australia as a sport in which Australia excels and could build a successful future from. Past national champions in Australia (who play for the Claxton Shield, the prize of the ABL) have trekked for the past decade to the Asian Series, only to be knocked out in the early rounds by much larger, much wealthier teams coming from Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan.
Only this time around, things did not work out that way. The Cavalry team is comprised from MLB prospects who have been on season contracts in the US, minor league players, and part-timers who otherwise hold down other jobs during the off-season. For such a team to beat the pinnacle of Asia’s baseball teams gives a huge boost to domestic Australian efforts to spread the gospel on baseball, and to encourage Australians to adopt baseball as another national sport equivalent to cricket. Hell, this might happen sooner than expected if the Australian cricket team keep playing as they are at present (less said on that the better).
So, when all is said and done, a team of guys whose total budget amounts to less than $100,000 managed to beat teams whose general income runs in excess of AUS$1 million. If it’s one thing that Australians do love, it’s an underdog, or more accurately, a successful underdog. Well done Cavs.