Daily Archives: 2 February 2004

Samoan Slavery Sentencing Stalls

The end of the biggest human trafficking case in U.S. history seemed imminent, with Attorney General John Ashcroft calling a news conference to proclaim victory over “an assault on the nation’s core beliefs.”

Ashcroft announced Thursday that the South Korean owner of an American Samoa factory engaged in modern-day slavery would learn his fate in hours — and the sentence of seven Texas men who repeatedly raped women smuggled into the country had already been decided.

“Today, Kil Soo Lee faces the laws — and the justice — of the United States,” Ashcroft said of the former owner of the Daewoosa Samoa Ltd. Factory in American Samoa.

Yet in federal court in Honolulu, some 4,800 miles away from Washington, Lee’s sentencing, already delayed seven months, was put off for nearly four more months.

The U.S. Dept. of Justice press release from February 2003 reports the convictions, and The Guardian spells out more of the appalling details.

Leave a comment

Filed under Polynesia, slavery

A Female Empress in Japan? Why Not?

The Japanese Diet appears to be moving ahead at its normal, glacial pace to provide for the possibility of a female empress. The Guardian reported the story soon after Princess Aiko’s second birthday in December.

Japan is preparing to revise its succession law to allow women to ascend the 2,600-year-old Chrysanthemum Throne for the first time in more than two centuries.

The change could see Princess Aiko, the two-year-old daughter of the heir to the throne, Crown Prince Naruhito, become only the ninth female to head the world’s oldest monarchy.

“We are planning to accept a reigning empress in our final report,” Taro Nakayama, who chairs a parliamentary committee on constitutional issues, said in an interview published yesterday in the Sankei Shimbun newspaper.

Mr Nakayama said the revision could be made as early as next year. “Since Japan had eight reigning empresses in history, succession by a new empress would not be strange,” he said.

Now the Associated Press has gotten around to reporting the same story. Perhaps we’re just seeing a slow release of trial balloons.

Leave a comment

Filed under Japan