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2008年6月30日 (月)


(Jun. 30, 2008) The Yomiuri Shimbun

Cooperation vital for cutting emissions

都CO2条例 削減率を公平に課せるか(6月30日付・読売社説)

A newly revised ordinance by the Tokyo metropolitan government calls for penalizing owners of buildings failing to meet carbon dioxide emission reduction targets. The ordinance, however, faces many challenges, including whether it can impose a CO2 emissions reduction target on each building in a fair manner.


The revised environment preservation ordinance was unanimously approved Wednesday by the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly. It is a landmark ordinance that obliges large business establishments to reduce CO2 emissions--the first of its kind in this nation.

The Tokyo metropolitan government plans to enforce the ordinance from fiscal 2010.


By fiscal 2005, CO2 emissions from the non-industrial and institutional sector in Tokyo, including office buildings, had increased by 33 percent from the fiscal 1990 level. The Tokyo metropolitan government apparently decided to make CO2 emissions reductions obligatory as there is a limit to what can be achieved through voluntary reduction efforts by the business community.



About 1,300 business establishments consuming more than a given volume of electricity and gas in Tokyo will be required to reduce their CO2 emissions under the ordinance. Included are most of the major office and commercial buildings and hotels, which all together make up 40 percent of the total CO2 emissions in Tokyo.



Setting targets


The metropolitan government will set an emissions reduction target for each business establishment and issue an order to make further efforts if those establishments fail to meet their targets. If they are deemed not to be making sufficient effort to achieve the reductions, they will be subject to a fine of up to 500,000 yen.


There has been both opposition to and doubts about Tokyo's move to oblige establishments to cut CO2 emissions when no such measure has been introduced by the central government. The ordinance may require buildings to introduce energy-efficient office machinery, including computers and air conditioners. Cooperation of tenants occupying those buildings will be essential for meeting reduction targets.


The metropolitan government aims to reduce CO2 emissions by 15 percent to 20 percent by the end of fiscal 2020. This will certainly force business establishments to shoulder a heavy share of the burden to achieve the goal.


In setting a reduction target for each establishment, it will be necessary to consider whether it has already made efforts to conserve energy. There will be an inevitable gap in the scope of possible CO2 emissions reduction in the future between those establishments that have already taken steps to conserve energy and those that have not done so.



Trading scheme


The ordinance also allows emissions trading. Those establishments failing to meet their reduction targets can buy surplus emissions quotas from those having achieved their targets and use the credits toward meeting their reduction targets.



Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda has announced a pilot project for an emissions trading system to start in the autumn as part of efforts to tackle global warming. Tokyo's global warming countermeasures will serve as a guide for the central government.


It may be necessary, however, to deal with possible discrepancies with Tokyo's emissions trading system should the central government decide to introduce its own emissions trading system for the nation in earnest.


(in earnest=本気で)

should the central government decide to introduce its own emissions trading system for the nation in earnest=国が将来、取引制度を本格導入する際は 文法:仮定法過去倒置の用法 もしも~の場合には…)

An increasing number of local governments are considering their own energy-conservation measures, including cuts in the late-night and early-morning operating hours of convenience stores. While it is certainly not a bad idea for local governments to carry out policies appropriate to their areas--particularly when the nation's overall emissions reduction is not progressing as desired--such measures should be implemented only after winning the understanding of local businesses and residents.



(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 30, 2008)

20086300230  読売新聞)

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(Mainichi Japan) June 29, 2008

Protesters clash with police in Tokyo ahead of G-8 summit


TOKYO (AP) -- Protesters clashed with police in central Tokyo on Sunday during demonstrations against the upcoming summit of the Group of Eight industrialized nations.


Over a thousand people joined two rallies and several were arrested, local media reported.



In the Tokyo shopping district of Shibuya, demonstrators pushed into rows of police in riot gear carrying large shields. Members of labor unions and students shouted their opposition to the summit and carried signs that said "G-8 No! Workers Yes!"

東京のショッピング街渋谷で、デモ隊は完全武装した警官隊の列に突っ込み衝突した。労働組合の関係者と学生たちは、G-8 ノー、 労働者 OK のプラカードをかかげて、来るべきG-8サミットへの反対を叫んでいた。

At least one man was dragged away after clashing with police.


Police said they couldn't immediately comment.


The demonstrations took place about one week before the G-8 summit is to be held July 7-9 on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido.

約一週間後に迫ったG-8 先進8ヶ国首脳会議に反対して今回のデモは引き起こされた。

The country has tightened security and deployed extra police at major city centers ahead of the summit, to be attended by leaders from the U.S., Japan, Germany, Britain, France, Russia, Italy and Canada.


Protests, sometimes violent, have been a common occurrence at past G-8 summits.


(日本語への翻訳 by srachai from khonkaen, thailand.)

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2008年6月29日 (日)


(Jun. 28, 2008) The Yomiuri Shimbun

Maintain coalition against North Korea

G8外相会議 対「北」包囲網を緩めるな(6月28日付・読売社説)

It is important to keep pressure on North Korea not only at the six-way talks, but at every other opportunity to make the country abandon all of its nuclear programs and activities.


The chairman's statement, issued at the Group of Eight foreign ministers meeting in Kyoto, states, "We urge North Korea...to abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs as well as ballistic missile programs."


In the statement, the foreign ministers of Japan, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Russia and the United States also urge Pyongyang to "fully cooperate" in verifying the content of its declaration of its nuclear programs and activities, and demand that North Korea take prompt action to resolve the issue of the abduction of Japanese nationals by its agents.


Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura stressed at the meeting that what matters is the content of North Korea's declaration, and that establishment of an effective verification mechanism is urgently needed. He also asked his counterparts to help Japan resolve the abduction issue since it is a humanitarian and human rights issue. Komura's request was quite reasonable.


Japan is directly exposed to threats of North Korea's nuclear weapons and missiles, and the abductions were state crimes committed by Pyongyang against the Japanese people.



Fukuda must adjust opinions


Following Pyongyang's declaration, Washington has started procedures to remove North Korea from its list of states sponsoring terrorism.


Japan should ask European countries and the other members of the international community to understand the nuclear threat that North Korea poses to Japan, and it should try to prevent the international coalition against North Korea from unraveling further.



The next meeting of the six-way talks expected to be held soon, will be an opportunity to demand that North Korea allow inspectors to enter its nuclear facilities and interview relevant people so that the content of its declaration will be thoroughly verified. Tokyo must also urge Pyongyang to reinvestigate the abduction issue as soon as possible.


At the G-8 summit to start in Toyakocho, Hokkaido, on July 7, leaders of the major countries need to transmit a strong message demanding that North Korea resolve the nuclear, abduction and missile issues in a comprehensive manner.

We would like Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda as chairman of the G-8 summit to exert his ability to coordinate the opinions of G-8 leaders in a solid manner.


(in a comprehensive manner=幅広く) (exert=能力を発揮する、指導力を発揮する)


Iran seen as greater threat

Meanwhile, Iran's nuclear development program poses serious proliferation risks.



Negotiations aimed at preventing Iran from possessing nuclear arms have entered an important phase. European countries are concerned more with Iran's nuclear program than North Korea's because of their geographical proximity to the Islamic country.



The five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany proposed that Tehran suspend its uranium enrichment activities in return for the provision of light-water nuclear reactors. But Iran has not yet made a clear response to the proposal.


(permanent members of the U.N. Security Council=国連安保理の常任理事国)

(the provision of light-water nuclear reactors=軽水炉の供与)

Iran is developing ballistic missiles with the assistance of North Korea. Their cooperative relations are suspected of involving nuclear materials and nuclear technology.


The European Union this week decided to impose additional economic sanctions on Iran. Japan, which is diplomatically well connected with Tehran, should work harder to assist with the development of the negotiations.




(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 28, 2008)

20086280151  読売新聞)

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(Mainichi Japan) June 28, 2008

Private prison to launch guide dog training program for inmates

島根・刑務所:受刑者が盲導犬育成へ 子犬と24時間生活

Justice Minister Kunio Hatoyama, left, experiences how it feels to be led by a seeing-eye dog while wearing an eye mask at the Ministry of Justice.


HAMADA, Shimane -- Prison inmates are to help train guide dogs as part of their rehabilitation at a new private prison opening here this fall.

Under the scheme, inmates at the Shimane Asahi Rehabilitation Program Center in Hamada will live with three to five 2-month-old puppies for 10 months, in an attempt to nurture their caring instincts. Prisoners will care for the dogs 24 hours a day, and will be responsible for feeding, walking and discipline.


(nurture=育てる、養成する、はぐくむ) (caring instincts=いたわる心) (discipline=訓練)

The program is also aimed at redressing the dearth of guide dogs in Japan. There are currently only about 1,000 guide dogs nationwide, and over 7,800 visually impaired people waiting to receive one.



(resress=矯正する) dearth=不足、欠乏) (guide dog=盲導犬) 

impair /impir/曠曦《形式》を悪くする;〈能力などを〉減じる,弱める,〈機能などを〉害する,損なう.SPOIL類語hearing-ed  聴覚障害のある 

The center is the nation's fourth prison funded by a private finance initiative. The Justice Ministry has commissioned the construction and operation of the prison to a group of private entities, including general contractor Obayashi Corp. and Sohgo Security Service Co. The facility, which opens in October, will accommodate about 2,000 inmates.


(entity=物、本質、実体) (private entity=民間の法人)

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2008年6月28日 (土)


(Mainichi Japan) June 27, 2008

Gov't ordered to open Isahaya Bay dike over damage to fishing industry

諫早干拓訴訟:国に排水門の開門命じる判決 佐賀地裁

SAGA -- The Saga District Court on Friday ordered the government to open the Isahaya Bay dike for five years, after about 2,500 people, many of them fishermen, filed a lawsuit saying closure of the dike had worsened the fishing environment.

It was the first judicial ruling in a series of lawsuits over land reclamation work in the bay for a court to order the dike to be opened. Plaintiffs are likely to use the ruling as a foothold in pressing the government to find a quick solution to the standoff.

(plaintiff=原告、民事訴訟の原告) (standoff=行き詰まり)

Speaking on the causal relationship between the closing of the dike and environmental changes in Isahaya Bay and the surrounding area, the court accepted that the closure was having an adverse effect on fishing from boats and the collection and cultivation of clams.

(casual relationship=原因結果の因果関係)

The court acknowledged that it would be impossible for people in fishing areas to provide more proof than they already had provided.

"Asking fishing folk and others in the case to give more proof than this is forcing them to do the impossible," the court said.


The court also harshly criticized the government's stance, saying, "It is no longer going too far to say that the government's refusal to carry out useful mid- to long-term investigations to shed light on the causal relationship is interfering with the production of evidence."


(It is no longer going too far to say=~と言っても言い過ぎではない、過言ではない)

( light on...  …を照らす; 〈問題などを〉解明する.  shed=影響を及ぼす)

In addition, the court took the unusual step of making a request to the government, saying, "It is hoped that the government will use this ruling as an opportunity to quickly implement mid- and long-term investigations over the opening of the dike, and that appropriate measures will be implemented."


While the court ordered the government to open the dike for five years (the time deemed necessary for a mid- to long term investigation), it will take time to implement replacement flood-prevention measures. Because of this, the court allowed a grace period of three years from the confirmation of the ruling before the dike must be opened.

(grace period=猶予の期間、猶予期間)

The plaintiffs, from Saga, Fukuoka, Kumamoto and Nagasaki prefectures, had demanded that the dike, which was built in line with land reclamation work, be removed altogether, but the court rejected their claim. It also rejected demands from plaintiffs who were deemed to have no right to make claims in the case.


In an earlier judicial decision over the causal relationship between land reclamation work in Isahaya Bay and the effect on the fishing industry, the Saga District Court issued a provisional injunction in August 2004 ordering construction work to be halted. After this decision, work was temporarily called off, but the Fukuoka High Court scrapped the injunction in a decision in May 2005 that was later (in September) confirmed in the Supreme Court.

(injunction=禁止命令、差止め命令) (halt=休止する、休止させる) (call off=中止する、中断する、先延ばしにする)

The latest lawsuit was filed in November 2002. Initially, the plaintiffs had called for construction work to be halted, but because the work was later completed, they changed their claim to removal or opening of the dike, and applied for a temporary injunction in October 2005 to have the dike opened.

applied for a temporary injunction=(水門の使用を)差し止め命令を求める→開門を求める仮処分も申し立てた

(have something p.p. 過去分詞=~に…をさせる)


諫早干拓訴訟:国に排水門の開門命じる判決 佐賀地裁












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2008年6月27日 (金)


(Jun. 26, 2008) The Yomiuri Shimbun

N-plants need to boost safety and performance

原発定期検査 安全と稼働率を両立させよ(6月26日付・読売社説)

Nuclear power plants in Japan have the lowest operating rates among nuclear plants in developed countries.


At the same time, soaring prices of energy resources and the necessity to arrest global warming are raising expectations for nuclear power generation. Ways of improving both the safety and operation rates of nuclear power plants are urgently needed.



To realize these two goals, the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency has decided to introduce a new inspection system for nuclear plants starting next year.


Under the new system, the agency will require all nuclear plants to draft comprehensive plans to maintain and control all equipment. The agency will then approve these plans after confirming their thoroughness, and see to it that the nuclear plants strictly adhere to these plans.


If nuclear power stations show good operation records, the new system allows intervals for mandatory regular inspections to be extended to every 18 or 24 months from the current every 13 months.


Matching intl standards


Such regulatory relaxation also will apply to equipment disassembly and inspection operations required during every periodic checkup on a nuclear power plant.

The new system will require modern nuclear power stations to conduct such operations as they think proper, instead of periodically.


This revision has been made because the overhaul of equipment that has not yet reached the end of its life expectancy or does not have any abnormality could cause problems.


Similar inspection systems are already in use in many other countries. A similar system in the United States enables nuclear power plants to operate at more than 90 percent of capacity, while other countries with nuclear plants report they can keep them running at about 80 percent of capacity using similar check programs.



Meanwhile, Japanese nuclear plants report rather low operation rates. The average operating rate for plants in the nation sometimes has been below 50 percent since Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power station in Niigata Prefecture suspended operations after it was hit by the Niigata Prefecture Chuetsu Offshore Earthquake in 2007.


Japan will see safe and stable operations of its nuclear plants once the new inspection program starts working smoothly. The nation should establish an inspection program that compares favorably with international standards.


Making plants work better


Japan's inspection system for nuclear plants has been revised several times since the nation's first criticality accident at a nuclear fuel facility in 1999.


In that incident, violations of regulations by workers and imperfect inspections were cited as major problems.

This in turn has driven the past revisions to enhance the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency's surveillance system.


However, basic premises to prevent accidents should be initiated by the electric power companies running nuclear plants. The new system aims to encourage utility companies to awake to this principle.



One element of the new system to achieve that aim is the introduction of a list evaluating safety efforts at nuclear power stations.


The agency will evaluate individual nuclear plants on a five-point scale, considering the occurrences of problems and operating rates.

The evaluation results will then be used to help improve the quality of periodical inspections.


The results will be disclosed to the public.

This will become a burden for people working at the plants, but the public has great expectations for nuclear power stations. Plant employees should work harder on safety so they can receive evaluations with their heads held high.


(with ones head high=胸をはって、大きな顔をして 表現:英語と日本語で同じ意味でもいいまわしがずいぶんちがいますね。 comment by srachai)

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 26, 2008)

2008年6月26日01時28分  読売新聞)

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リンク: クイック投稿 | ブログサービス[ココログ].

(Jun. 27, 2008) The Yomiuri Shimbun

Questions remain over North Korea's N-report

北朝鮮核申告 核廃棄への課題が多々残る(6月27日付・読売社説)

Is this a solid foothold on the course to North Korea's abandonment of its nuclear programs?


Nearly six months after its due date, North Korea submitted a report Thursday that is meant to declare its nuclear development programs, to China, the chair of the six-nation talks on North Korean issues.


The full content of the report has yet to be learned, but from what can be judged from explanations provided by the United States and other sources, the report is unsatisfactory.


First, the declaration reportedly did not include information on nuclear weapons possessed by North Korea, which is one of the major concerns, leaving it unknown how many nuclear weapons North Korea has, their locations and the process of their development.


North Korea had pledged it would abandon all nuclear weapons and programs. It also said it would provide a "complete and accurate" declaration of its nuclear programs.

But if the report has failed to refer to nuclear weapons, which should be included when regarding nuclear abandonment, the report cannot be called "complete and accurate."



Holding out for more?


U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the issue of nuclear weapons would be dealt with in future negotiations.


This means, however, that a heavy load remains for the future. North Korea has many times before used tactics in which it provides information bit by bit and then wins big gains in return.


If it continues resorting to similar tactics, nuclear abandonment negotiations might be prolonged. As long as this goes on, the nuclear threat to Japan will remain unchanged.


(resort=たよる、助けをもとめる) (resort to force=実力に訴える)

Secondly, the report is said to have failed to mention North Korea's alleged uranium enrichment program and its cooperation with Syria on nuclear technology.


The United States and North Korea thus have put off core parts of the deal by making a separate document saying that North Korea acknowledges Washington's expressed concerns over such actions taken by Pyongyang.


Rice said she would seek a detailed account from North Korea, but many questions remain over whether Pyongyang can be cleared of suspicion.



Verification essential


In return for North Korea's submission of the report, the United States has begun the process of removing North Korea from the U.S. list of states sponsoring terrorism. Such a concession would have meaning only if any progress is made toward realizing North Korea's abandonment of its nuclear programs.


To make that happen, it is necessary to first assess whether North Korea's accounts on such matters--such as the amount of its plutonium stockpile--are true.


Japan and other nations concerned should thoroughly proceed with verification work, such as analyzing the operation records of plutonium production facilities that North Korea provided to the United States, on-the-spot inspections and hearings on officials concerned.


In the next round of six-way talks, expected to be held as early as next week, the nations must work hard on details on how to proceed with the verification work.


If North Korea resorts to deceptive tactics or breaks its agreement, the United States should immediately discard its policy of lifting its sanction measures against North Korea.



For Japan, with the abduction issue unresolved, it is a matter of course to shelve a decision to partially ease economic sanctions against North Korea when it has failed to abide by the agreement on matters including the reinvestigation into Japanese abductees.



(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 27, 2008)

20086270144  読売新聞)

続きを読む "北朝鮮核廃棄"

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2008年6月26日 (木)






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(Mainichi Japan) June 25, 2008

Fishing federation plans 'No Fishing Day' across Japan to protest rising oil prices

全漁連:一斉休漁へ…7月中旬に1日 食卓に影響も

Squid trawlers are seen docked at Katsumoto port in Iki, Nagasaki Prefecture, on June 18.

A nationwide federation of fishing cooperatives has decided to hold a country-wide "No Fishing Day" to raise public awareness of the burden shouldered by fishermen in the face of soaring fuel prices.

The National Federation of Japan Fisheries Co-operative Associations (JF Zengyoren), to which about 1,100 fisheries cooperatives belong, will hold the no fishing day on either July 15 or 16.

JF Zengyoren proposed the plan to the Japan Fisheries Association (JFA) on Wednesday afternoon. If the JFA, whose members are mainly engaged in deep sea fishing and offshore fishing, agrees with the plan, most fishing -- including tuna and bonito -- will be subject to the measures.

The unprecedented move is aimed at making the government, relevant industries and consumers aware about the fishermen's plight amid skyrocketing of oil prices.

An increasing number of fishery operators are suffering losses as the price of heavy oil, used by fishing boats as fuel, has increased by about 2.7 times over the past five years, now costing over 100,000 yen per kiloliter.

Since JF Zengyoren also plans to urge the fish culture industry to suspend shipments of sea bream and other fish, fish prices are set to rise, albeit temporarily.

When about 3,000 squid fishing boats held no fishing days on June 18 and 19, some supermarkets did run short of squid, but prices were not largely affected by the shortage.

"We have had no fishing days due to bad weather in the past, and if the measure ends in a day this time, it would have little effect on the prices and arrival of fishes," said a representative of a major supermarket.

Restaurant owners are similarly unworried. The 65-year-old owner of a sushi shop in Tokyo's Chuo-ku said, "Fish are imported from around the world, including South Korea and China, so sushi ingredients won't run out."


(trawler=トロール船) (cooperative=協同組合) (unprecedented=前例のない) (plight=ありさま、状況)

(culture industry=養殖産業 注意:ここでは文化の意ではなく養殖、培養の意味)

(albeit=although=であるけれども 発音注意:アルバイトではなくてオービートと発音される)


全漁連:一斉休漁へ…7月中旬に1日 食卓に影響も







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2008年6月25日 (水)


(Jun. 24, 2008) The Yomiuri Shimbun

Finding the money for social security

骨太方針原案 社会保障財源を明確に示せ(6月24日付・読売社説)

Without indicating how it will secure financial resources to pay for social security, the government's economic reform initiative cannot be said to give a realistic picture of the future prospects of Japan's economy.


The government on Monday presented a draft of this year's Basic Policies for Economic and Fiscal Reform, a guideline for its economic policy, to the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy.


In discussing the increasing burden of social security, which cannot be dealt with through spending cuts, the draft echoed last year's policy statement in alluding to the need to raise the consumption tax rate, saying, "Stable fiscal revenues will be secured so that burdens will not be shifted to future generations."



The draft said that drastic reforms of the tax system, including the consumption tax, will be undertaken at an early date, though it failed to provide specifics.


In rebuilding the state's finances--the worst among the industrialized nations--the government has to retool the system to handle the sharply increasing costs of social security benefit payments.

The government should have more clearly shown the necessity of raising the consumption tax rate in the basic policy.




Spending must be reduced


It is vital to maintain fiscal discipline by cutting spending. Appropriately, the draft stands firm on cutting spending as much as possible. The tendency to squander the budget seem unending and the government should not back off from its efforts to cut spending if it wants to gain public acceptance for the tax boost.



Nonetheless, the government's financial problems cannot be solved by spending cuts alone.



Reforming the basic pension system requires about 5.5 trillion yen under the revised version of the social insurance system, which means it will require new revenues equivalent to more than a two percentage point increase in the consumption tax. To fully fund the system with tax revenues, the consumption tax rate would have to be raised by between 4.5 percentage points and 13 percentage points.


By fiscal 2025, medical benefits payments are expected to increase 1.7 times, while nursing care benefits payments are expected to expand 2.6 times.

During the same period, national income is expected to increase to 1.4 times its current level, indicating that the government will not be able to cover the increase in benefit payments by natural growth in tax revenues.



Demands on tax revenues


In addition, the government is confronted with a slew of issues that will require increased spending, including a serious shortage of doctors, a declining population with a low birthrate and the need to strategically use official development assistance to protect national interests.


(slay=殺す、滅ぼす slay slew slain)

Just as a crash diet is bad for one's health, excessive spending cuts will produce unwanted side-effects.


Those who engage in medical and nursing care are exhausted by harsh working conditions and low wages, but pay increases are minimal.


Social insurance expenses will be reduced by 220 billion yen annually from fiscal 2007 for five years, which totals a 1.1 trillion yen cut. Just as it did last year, the draft said that part of the reduction can be shifted to the following fiscal years, depending on the situation. However, without having any prospect of a revenue increase, putting off these spending cuts is unforgivable.


The public favors spending cuts over tax increases. Using the spending cuts as a shield, the government should not put off reforms or dither over swallowing the bitter medicine of a consumption tax rate hike.



(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 24, 2008)

20086240202  読売新聞)

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(Jun. 23, 2008) The Yomiuri Shimbun

Govts must reinforce schools against quakes

学校耐震化 自治体は補強工事を急げ(6月23日付・読売社説)

Work to reinforce school facilities against earthquakes must be accelerated, given their roles as places for children to study and as emergency shelters for local residents and disaster management bases.


In response to growing unease in the country following the recent powerful earthquake in Sichuan Province, China, which destroyed many school buildings, a special measures law on earthquake disaster prevention was revised earlier this month.


Under the revised law, the government expanded its fiscal measures by raising the portion of costs covered by its subsidies to local governments to reinforce public primary and middle school buildings against earthquakes from half to two-thirds of the total cost. The further expansion of other fiscal measures by the central government reduces the share local governments will have to contribute from 31 percent to 13 percent.


Local governments, which have so far considered seismic retrofitting of school buildings and gymnasiums a low priority, should immediately start carrying out this task.


The current earthquake standards were substantially strengthened after the Building Standards Law was revised in 1981. The percentage of earthquake-resistant school buildings and gymnasiums built after 1981, and those constructed prior to that but reinforced later, serves as a barometer of the safety of school facilities in this nation.



According to the Education, Science and Technology Ministry, the percentage of earthquake-resistant primary and middle school facilities stood at only 60 percent of about 127,000 school buildings as of April, despite a rise in the figure from the previous fiscal year. About 10,000 buildings are at high risk of collapsing if an earthquake measuring upper 6 on the Japanese seismic scale of 7 hits.


Swift action called for


The ministry is calling on each local government to carry out seismic retrofitting within three years, sooner than the initially planned five-year time frame.


It is disturbing to see that there are nearly 5,000 primary and middle school buildings that have not even had their earthquake resistance tested. Twenty-six cities, towns and villages have no plans to conduct such a test within the current fiscal year.


The ministry has asked architectural organizations to cooperate with requests from local governments to perform such tests, as the help of architects is indispensable for conducting earthquake resistance tests and reinforcement work.


A simple earthquake resistance test costs about 200,000 yen per building. Tests should be conducted as soon as possible given that earthquakes are unpredictable and could occur in areas where major earthquakes have rarely hit before.


Local governments have discretion over how to use subsidies raised under the special measures law on earthquake disaster prevention.



Get priorities straight


However, in the initial fiscal 2006 budget, about 10 billion yen, or about a quarter of the total subsidies provided was actually used for projects that were unrelated to seismic retrofitting, including construction of swimming pools. Although it cannot be said that such work is totally irrelevant to disaster management, when deciding between constructing swimming pools or strengthening school facilities against earthquakes it is obvious which should be given priority.


According to the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry's Fire and Disaster Management Agency, school facilities account for about 60 percent of public facilities serving as emergency shelters and disaster management bases. In the wake of the Iwate-Miyagi Inland Earthquake, primary schools are being used as shelters for residents of isolated communities.


For local governments, the financial burden of seismic retrofitting now has been reduced and it has become easier to seek cooperation from experts for earthquake resistance tests. Reinforcing school buildings against earthquakes must not be delayed any longer.



(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 23, 2008)

20086230159  読売新聞)

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(Jun. 22, 2008) The Yomiuri Shimbun

To cut suicides, study why people kill selves

自殺3万人 詳細データを施策に生かせ(6月22日付・読売社説)

The tendency for people to choose to take their own lives shows no sign of abating.


According to statistics released by the National Police Agency, 33,093 people committed suicide last year, marking the 10th consecutive year that the number exceeded 30,000. It is the second-largest such figure since the NPA began tabulating data on suicides 30 years ago, after the 34,427 recorded in 2003.



Last year's suicide rate--the number of those who kill themselves per 100,000 of the population--was 25.9, an increase of 0.7 from 2006.


A correlation has long been evident between suicide and unemployment rates. But last year, the suicide rate increased though the unemployment rate dipped below the 4 percent mark for the first time in 10 years, to 3.9 percent.


Notable in last year's suicide statistics was an increase in suicides among people in their 30s and 40s, which accounted for 30 percent of the total number. Why are those who are supposed to be working as core members of society throwing their lives away?


Central, local govts must act


Some studies have found that many people feel their workplace burdens have increased and are less satisfied with their bosses' evaluations of their work than before. We wonder if the working environment is getting more severe for many.


The government had the basic law on suicide prevention enforced in 2006 to "implement measures that society must tackle because various social factors are behind suicides."


The law's enforcement prompted the government to set outlines for comprehensive measures to prevent suicide as well as a target of reducing the suicide rate by more than 20 percent by 2016.


Japan's suicide rate is far higher than those of the United States and other developed nations in Europe.


The basic law calls on the central and local governments and employers to act to prevent people from taking their own lives. First of all, all parties should cooperate in realizing the target of a 20 percent reduction in the suicide rate.


The outlines call for improving psychiatric care at clinics and hospitals, counseling services in communities for those in need and taking care of employees' mental health at the workplace, in addition to providing support for those burdened with multiple debts and people who have to provide nursing care for their family members. The need to provide psychological care for those with a history of suicide attempts is also stipulated in the outlines.


To rectify this serious situation, the central and local governments as well as employers must steadily implement necessary measures.


この部分の日本語対応部分がないので日本語に翻訳しました。 (by srachai)

Suicide data more detailed

Since the beginning of this year, the number of people committing suicide with hydrogen sulfide has risen steeply. It is a pressing task to come up with effective measures to counter the spread on the Internet of information about how to commit suicide, which partly contributed to the spike in hydrogen sulfide suicides.



The NPA overhauled its method of publishing suicide statistics from this year. It now puts reasons why people committed suicide into 52 categories in comparison with the previous eight. "Work-related reasons" was broken into five, including "human relations at the workplace" and "failure at work." Statistics on the occupations of those who killed themselves were split into more than 50 categories, while the previous data classified them into only seven.


When police officers handle suicide cases, they are now allowed to select up to three motives for suicide so the NPA can examine complex suicidal factors. In the past, police officers were required to narrow down suicide reasons to one.


The NPA plans to provide data for each prefecture upon request. We hope such data will be utilized to determine what specific problems each prefecture has and for devising countermeasures for the problems.



(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 22, 2008)

20086220137  読売新聞)

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(Jun. 25, 2008) The Yomiuri Shimbun

North Korea's N-report will need to be verified

北テロ指定解除 核申告の検証を徹底せよ(6月25日付・読売社説)

Participants in the six-party talks aimed at ending North Korea's nuclear ambitions are reportedly about to receive Pyongyang's declaration of its nuclear development programs. Washington has indicated it will start the process of removing Pyongyang from a U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism in return for the overdue declaration on its nuclear inventory.



(overdue=のびのびになっている、期限を過ぎた、決められた日時を過ぎた) (inventory=目録、詳細内容、項目、目録)

We urge the United States to exercise utmost caution when making this decision after first closely examining whether the content of the declaration warrants delisting North Korea.


(warrnt=正当化する、保証する) (delisting=リストからはずす、削除する、解除する) 

The removal of North Korea from the U.S. list of terrorism sponsors is a precious bargaining chip that can be used as leverage to force Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear development. Delisting North Korea would enable the reclusive state to receive badly needed loans and technical assistance from international financial institutions.



The government has so far resisted any move to delist North Korea until verifiable progress is made on North Korea's past abductions of Japanese in the 1970s and '80s. Removing Pyongyang from the U.S. list should not absolve North Korea from resolving the abduction issue.




The government should be relentless in pushing Pyongyang to solve the abduction issue through the six-party process as well as in bilateral negotiations for normalizing diplomatic ties.




Talks must produce results

By the same token, it is vital that the stalled six-party talks on stopping North Korea's nuclear development start showing tangible results. This will depend on whether North Korea comes clean and honestly declares the nuclear programs it will abolish--including the nuclear weapons it has boasted it possesses.



(token=引き換え券、商品券) (stalled=引き伸ばされている) (tangible=形のある、実体のある、明確な、触れられる)

At six-party talks in October, North Korea promised to provide a "complete and correct" declaration of all its nuclear programs. However, the account, which is expected to be handed over Thursday, likely will include only details such as the amount of plutonium extracted as a raw material for nuclear weapons, and the plutonium-producing facilities at the Yongbyon complex. It is unlikely to lift the lid on the quantity of and production facilities for nuclear weapons and that nation's nuclear test sites.




Just as worryingly, this declaration likely will not give specific details of North Korea's nuclear development with highly enriched uranium or its transfer of nuclear technology to Syria.


As long as the account makes no mention of these elements, it falls far short of the "complete and correct" declaration that North Korea has promised to provide.



Maintain firm line

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the United States would consider its next step in dealing with North Korea's nuclear weapons and nuclear proliferation on the basis of Pyongyang's declaration on extracted plutonium and other matters. But with the term of the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush to run out in January, it is imperative to keep a firm line with North Korea at this time.



North Korea's nuclear and other facilities must be carefully inspected and relevant people should be questioned to determine whether the declaration includes false or insufficient statements. All parties involved need to reach a firm agreement on how to verify Pyongyang's declaration at the six-party talks before North Korea is removed from the U.S. blacklist.


North Korea's nuclear weapons and missiles directly threaten Japan. We hope the government uses every means at its disposal to press the United States to ensure a complete declaration and effective verification of North Korea's nuclear programs.



(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 25, 2008)

20086250123  読売新聞)

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(Mainichi Japan) June 25, 2008

Flood of 'Akihabara-style' murder threats posted on Internet: NPA

秋葉原殺傷:犯行予告の書き込み、事件後に17件 警察庁

Over a dozen threats of murder and other crimes were posted on the Internet following the random street killings in Tokyo's Akihabara earlier this month, police said.

The National Police Agency (NPA) said there were 17 incidents nationwide in which alleged copycat crime threats were posted online between June 8 and 23.

The threatening entries were apparently influenced by the fatal stabbing spree in Tokyo's Akihabara on June 8, which left seven dead and 10 injured.

The messages included: "I will commit historical mass murder at a station in Kyushu" (according to Fukuoka Prefectural Police); "I will blow up a place somewhere around the east exit of Yokohama Station" (according to Kanagawa Prefectural Police); and "I will commit mass murder in Shibuya tomorrow" (according to the Metropolitan Police Department).

Police have arrested those responsible on charges of forcible obstruction of business or violation of the Minor Offenses Law.

On the day following the Akihabara incident, the NPA requested the Telecommunications Carriers Association and other relevant organizations to alert police if they find any threats on the Internet of murder, bombings or other crimes.

"The effect that these entries will exert on society is considerable, and we will strictly punish those responsible," said a representative of the NPA.


(NPA=National Police Agency=警視庁) (copycat=模倣、人の真似をすること) (stabbing=殺傷事件) (stabbing spree=通り魔)

(responsible=容疑者、責任者) (exert=重大な影響を及ぼす)


秋葉原殺傷:犯行予告の書き込み、事件後に17件 警察庁




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2008年6月24日 (火)

白い花 2


白い花 2

leelaa(flat) wa(high) dii(flat)
レー ワッ ディー

私の妻はタイ人です。妻から教えてもらいました。この白い花はタイ語で レー ワッ ディー といいます。

日本語ではプメリア フランスの植物学者のプメリア博士にちなんでこの属名が名付けられました。 学名は Apocynaceae というそうですが、普通の辞書には載っていないようです。
白美人、白泰花、泰白百合 とかこの花にふさわしい和名を与えて欲しいですね。

srachai from khonkaen, thailand

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(Mainichi Japan) June 23, 2008

Fishing boat capsizes east of Chiba; 4 dead 13 missing


A Japanese fishing boat capsized after being hit by a wave in the Pacific Ocean east of Chiba Prefecture on Monday, leaving four crew members dead and 13 missing, Japan Coast Guard officials said.

The No. 58 Suwa Maru, a 135-ton round haul netter, overturned after being hit by a wave about 350 kilometers east of the Inubosaki lighthouse in Chiba Prefecture at about 1:30 p.m. on Monday, a report received by the 2nd Regional Japan Coast Guard Headquarters said.

A sister vessel nearby rescued seven people and confirmed three of them to be alive, but the four others were later confirmed dead. Thirteen others remained missing, and the fishing vessel could no longer be seen.

Coast Guard officials said the fishing boat's home port was Onahama Port in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture. It had sailed to the area to fish for bonito. At the time, a south wind of about 10 meters per second was blowing, and the conditions were stormy, with waves about 2 meters high. To steady the vessel, the crew members of the No. 58 Suwa Maru had let down a parachute anchor.

One coast guard aircraft and five patrol vessels were heading to the area, but the patrol vessels were not expected to arrive until the predawn hours of Tuesday.


(capsize=船が転覆する) (roud haul netter=巻き網漁船、巻き網漁をする漁船) (sister vessel=sister ship=僚船)

(home port=母港) (bonito=鰹、カツオ) (parachute anchor=パラアンカー(パラシュート状のいかり))

(Mainichi Japan) June 23, 2008





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2008年6月23日 (月)



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2008年6月21日 (土)


(Jun. 21, 2008) The Yomiuri Shimbun

Political parties must end tug-of-war

通常国会閉幕 政争ばかりの国会はご免だ(6月21日付・読売社説)


An ordinary Diet session without precedent in the postwar period effectively came to an end Friday.


Under a divided Diet--with the House of Representatives dominated by ruling parties and the House of Councillors controlled by opposition parties--ruling and opposition camps battled fiercely over such issues as road-related tax revenues, the appointment of the Bank of Japan governor and a new health insurance system for people aged 75 and older. Infighting over such issues left the Diet in chaos.



The next Diet session is likely to be convened as early as late August. The question is whether an excessively confrontational Diet can mutate into a policy-focused Diet.



Both ruling and opposition lawmakers were groping for a way to handle the unusual situation when the Diet session opened.



In late January, the ruling and opposition camps accepted a deal brokered by the lower house speaker and the upper house president that stipulated that a conclusion be reached on the budget and a set of tax bills by the end of fiscal 2007. But this agreement was broken when the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan started employing delaying tactics in Diet deliberations.


Regarding the nomination of a new Bank of Japan governor, which requires Diet approval, government proposals were rejected twice by the upper house.


The budget and tax systems, which have a very direct impact on people's daily lives, and the appointment of a position that is key to the nation's international credibility all became subject to a political tug-of-war.


Under the initiative of Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, the government and ruling parties moved to integrate road-related special tax revenues into the general account from fiscal 2009. But they failed to obtain agreement from the opposition camp.



Bills forced through


The ruling parties took to forcing through bills, including one to reinstate the provisionally raised gasoline tax rate, twice resorting to a second vote using their two-thirds majority in the lower house. Including the passage of the law to allow the Maritime Self-Defense Force to resume its refueling operations in the Indian Ocean, which was passed in the previous extraordinary Diet session on a second vote in the lower house, marking the first time this procedure had been used in 57 years, there have thus been three laws passed with a second vote in the lower house under the Fukuda administration.



This way of passing legislation is unproblematic, as it is in line with constitutional provisions. It is the ruling parties' prerogative to exercise the right to such votes whenever necessary.


(unproblematic=問題をはらんでいない、何の問題もない)  (prerogative=特権)


Poor management


But it is undeniable that Fukuda and others in his administration caused confusion to grow by letting the opposition make all the running over the road-related tax bills and the appointment of the Bank of Japan chief.


On June 11, the upper house passed a motion to censure the prime minister for the first time in postwar Diet history. The DPJ had considered submitting such a censure motion several times in the past, but always decided not to for fear that it would draw public criticism for being obstructive. In the end, the censure motion was seen as little more than a ritual gesture at the end of the Diet session.



Even in these circumstances, the ruling and opposition camps made some concessions to pass important bills, such as one on civil service reform and another to allow the use of space for defense purposes. These developments did not result in the formation of a framework of the ruling and opposition camps for policy promotion, but such budding signs of policy cooperation should be encouraged.



A one-on-one debate between Fukuda and DPJ President Ichiro Ozawa was held only once in the Diet session, even though it is the duty of the leaders of the two main parties to frankly exchange views.


There will be general election some time before lower house members see their term expire in September next year. The ruling and opposition camps must show that they are not overly focused on the next election and avoid further tugs-of-war in the Diet.


(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 21, 2008)

20086210128  読売新聞)

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2008年6月20日 (金)


(Jun. 20, 2008) The Yomiuri Shimbun

Continue work toward permanent SDF law

自衛隊海外派遣 恒久法論議を継続すべきだ(6月20日付・読売社説)

It is not an easy job to create permanent legislation on the dispatch of Self-Defense Forces abroad. Nonetheless, strenuous discussions on this must continue, and without shelving contentious points.



An interim report released Thursday by a joint Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito project team tasked with drafting such a law contains many expressions of procrastination, such as "studying" and "continuation of discussions." The ruling coalition parties could agree on only a few points, such as the principle of requiring of Diet approval before sending SDF personnel for missions abroad.



The project team initially planned to compile an outline of such a bill by the end of the current Diet session, but it has failed to keep to the deadline. Many members of the ruling coalition parties even believe it will be difficult for the team to get the bill submitted to an extraordinary Diet session scheduled for the autumn.



Weapons use debated


Opinions of LDP and New Komeito members on the team are most sharply divided on whether to add protective activities to the list of SDF missions overseas. LDP members argued that such activities should be added to the list, which already includes logistical support and humanitarian and reconstruction assistance, but New Komeito members remained cautious about this.



Protective activities are supposed to include protection during the transportation of important persons or supply goods and defending facilities. Activities to maintain security could lead to full-fledged combat, but protective activities are different. SDF troops should be allowed to engage in the latter.


In that case, it is important to revise rules on the use of weapons for SDF troops by reviewing their relation to Article 9 of the Constitution, which renounces the use of force as a means of settling international disputes.



At present, SDF members are permitted to use weapons only for self-defense and other tightly restricted purposes. If an international organization asks them to protect its staff, SDF members have only two choices--stoop to refusing the request or expose themselves intentionally to dangers that could lead to the use of weapons after being dispatched, but under the name of a different mission.


(stoop=品位を落とす、身を屈める、恥を忍ぶ) (stoop to something=恥をしのんで何かをなす)

Under current regulations, even if an SDF vehicle carrying supply goods is obstructed by someone on a road, SDF members are not allowed to fire warning shots--they are only allowed to steer around the obstructor. This would hinder SDF units from being effective abroad.


(Obstruct=妨害する、通行などを阻止する、妨害する) (steer=操縦する、舵をとる、避けて通る、迂回する) (hinder=妨げる、遅らせる)

It is necessary to set clear rules on the use of weapons in accordance with the degree of hostility and to train SDF members based on these in advance. This will better serve as a safeguard to prevent the overuse of weapons.




End cycle of temporary laws


Currently, two special measures laws provide the legal basis for the Maritime Self-Defense Force's refueling mission in the Indian Ocean and the air transportation activities by the Air Self-Defense Force in Iraq. But these will expire in January and July next year, respectively.

Many countries are likely to begin pulling their troops from Iraq after the U.N. Security Council resolution on multinational forces in the war-torn country expires at the end of this year.



Japan, too, must decide what to do with SDF activities related to Afghanistan and Iraq, and must develop necessary laws based on that decision during the extraordinary Diet session this autumn.


The government is already making preparations for that. For instance, it sent a research team to Afghanistan earlier this month. The team is supposed to study the possible airlifting of supplies by SDF planes to Afghanistan from a neighboring country as well as their transportation by SDF helicopters within Afghanistan.


Even if the government decides to deal with this by creating new special measures laws instead of permanent legislation, the necessity to deepen discussions on SDF missions abroad and rules for SDF members on the use of weapons will remain the same.


(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 20, 2008)

20086200151  読売新聞)

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2008年6月19日 (木)





【空丸】格安航空券なのに、最大20%のポイント還元♪ マイレージも貯まる!

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(Jun. 19, 2008) The Yomiuri Shimbun

Gas field agreement helps Japan-China ties

日中ガス田合意 「戦略的互恵」へ具体的一歩だ(6月19日付・読売社説)

Things are finally moving forward for joint development by Japan and China of gas fields in the East China Sea.


After a series of negotiations, the Japanese and Chinese governments have formally agreed on several items, including the joint development of a sea area straddling the Japanese-claimed "median line" of the two nations.



With compromises made by both sides, a first-step settlement has been reached in this long-standing issue. The agreement can be evaluated favorably as a visible step toward the establishment of "a mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interests" aimed at expanding common interests for the two nations.


With regard to the Shirakaba gas field (called Chunxiao in China)--one of the four gas fields located near the median line and over which Japan had sought joint development with China--it has been decided that Japan will make financial contributions and participate in the Chinese development project. Profits will be distributed on favorable terms to China, which has been engaged in the development.


The two nations also agreed to jointly develop an area that straddles the median line near the Asunaro gas field, called Longjing in China.



Strategic, mutual benefits


China previously had not shown any interest in Japan's proposal to jointly develop the four gas fields. With this in mind, the latest agreement can be seen as a reflection of China's stance to place importance on proceeding with a mutually beneficial strategic relationship.


The major stumbling block in negotiations on development of the gas fields has been conflicting arguments over demarcation of the Japan-China border.


(stumbling=つまずく、よろめく) (demarcation=分離、区分、区画、境界、境界線)

Japan has claimed that a median line should be drawn at equal distances from the coastlines of the two nations to delineate exclusive economic zones in which nations have sovereign rights over seabed resources.


(delineate=図で示す、図示する、輪郭を描く) (sovereign=君主、統治者、国王、管轄、管轄権)

China, however, has not accepted this and rather has claimed an EEZ that stretched further east, saying its continental shelf naturally extends to the Okinawa Trough.


Okinawa Trough=沖縄トラフ、沖縄海底溝、沖縄海溝)

The agreement on joint development came as the two nations agreed to shelve such differences for the time being and made it a precondition that joint development would not infringe on the maritime laws of each nation.



But, as the agreement included joint investment in and the development of a gas field that straddles the median line, it can be interpreted that China accepted Japan's proposals based on its median line claim, even if it was in a limited manner.



Border dispute pending


Talks on the demarcation of the Japan-China border will continue. Japan should maintain its stance of the equal-distance principle for a median line, a stance that has been seen in international legal precedents.



The issue over gas field development in the East China Sea surfaced in 2004. The foreign, defense and economy, trade and industry ministries each neglected to take up the issue even though they had been aware for a long time that China was proceeding with development in the sea areas. We hope the officials concerned regret their attitudes--they acted as if they were trying to avoid rocking the boat--as well as the nature of their compartmentalized administrative system.


(compartmentalized administrative system=日本独特の縦割り行政)

Gas fields in the East China Sea are said to matter for China not only for securing energy resources but also for its military strategy to make its naval forces into a "blue water" navy. Japan, as a maritime nation, must further enhance its system for protecting its sovereign rights and national interests.


(maritime nation=海洋国家) (sovereign rights=主権、管轄権)

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 19, 2008)

20086190142  読売新聞)

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2008年6月18日 (水)


EDITORIAL: Bid-rigging scandal

2008/6/18 --The Asahi Shimbun, June 17(IHT/Asahi: June 18,2008)


Prosecutors on Monday arrested a senior land ministry official on suspicion of rigging the bidding process for a public river works project in Hokkaido in 2005. The official is Mamoru Shinagawa, head of the Hokkaido Bureau of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. Surely he realized that the central government faces severe fiscal difficulties and that the public is already being squeezed with a heavy tax burden?

Shinagawa apparently maneuvered behind the scenes to ensure that a local company he had chosen would win the contract. The bidding took place when he was a senior official at the ministry's Hokkaido Regional Development Bureau in Sapporo.


Two construction company executives who were arrested as accomplices also had formerly worked at the bureau. Their jobs in the construction industry were the result of them having landed cushy post-retirement work in a practice known as amakudari. They allegedly coordinated the process of selecting the company to win the contract.



This is another textbook case of bid-rigging conducted under the initiative of government officials. In this kind of bureaucrat-led bid-rigging, or kansei dango, the officials involved try to secure post-retirement jobs for themselves and their colleagues. They award government contracts to companies willing to offer cushy jobs to retiring bureaucrats at their ministries and agencies. These officials apparently had no qualms about the fact that the practice makes competitive bidding a mere formality and keeps the costs of public works high.

Their attempts to make their post-retirement years financially secure at the expense of taxpayers can only be described as unpardonable organizational crimes.



(cushy=仕事などが楽な) (qualm=良心の呵責 発音注意:クワルムではなくてクワームと発音される)

The land ministry handles about 80 percent of all central government public works projects. It is invested with the power to require other ministries and agencies as well as local governments to take steps to prevent bid-rigging.

The ministry has the responsibility of spearheading a campaign to eradicate collusive bidding involving government officials. The latest revelations followed a similar bid-rigging scandal over floodgate construction projects at the ministry that was uncovered last year.


(invest=権限を与える、付与するここではInvestは投資するの意味ではない) (be invested with the power=権限を与えられている)

(Spearheading=先頭にたつ、先鋒、先頭、最前線) (spearhead=先頭に立つ) (eradicate=全滅させる、根絶させる、撲滅させる)


The bid-rigging in Hokkaido occurred after the law was enacted in 2003 to prevent a bid-rigging initiated by government officials. It was a crime that made a mockery of the legislation and the public's expectations of an end to this sort of behavior.


(initiate=〈事業・改革・計画などを〉始める,開始する,創始する) (mockery=あざけり、あざ笑い、嘲笑)

Prior to Shinagawa's arrest, senior and former officials of the Hokkaido Regional Development Bureau were indicted on charges of obstructing public works tenders over waterway projects. The malfeasance has spread from agricultural civil engineering works to river development projects.



Structural economic reforms pushed by former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi halved spending on public works in Hokkaido, where the construction industry accounts for a large portion of economic output. This led to fierce competition among local construction firms for government contracts.

For bureaucrats, reduced public works spending translates into a smaller number of positions available to them when they retire. It appears that the officials were so desperate to secure post-retirement jobs that they orchestrated the bid-rigging.


But this situation is not limited to Hokkaido. As long as the practice of amakudari remains, public works projects will not be cleansed of bid-rigging by government officials. It is important to change the structure of local economies that must rely on public works projects to shore themselves up.

The current system must be also altered because it would give bureaucrats a strong incentive to create projects, even unnecessary ones, so they could land jobs after leaving government employment.


(cleanse=洗浄する、洗う発音注意:クレンズと発音する) (shore=…を支柱で支える,につっかい棒をする;支援する,たて直す;強化する《 up 》)

A human resources body to be created within the government by the year-end will integrate the management of post-retirement employment of bureaucrats. Under the new system, individual ministries and agencies will be banned from helping their employees find new jobs. The government claims the step will eliminate the benefits that accrue to companies which accept retiring officials and thereby stanch a flow of bureaucrats into the industries that they used to regulate. We feel this view is too optimistic.


(accrue=積もる、生じる、利益などを獲得する) (stanch=流出を止める) (regulate=管理する、監督する、管理監督する、規制する、統制する)

The latest bid-rigging scandal is a grim reminder that the only true remedy for this problem is a total ban on amakudari.



--The Asahi Shimbun, June 17(IHT/Asahi: June 18,2008)

朝日新聞 6月17日号 (英語版 2008年6月18日発行)

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2008/6/18 --The Asahi Shimbun, June 17(IHT/Asahi: June 18,2008)

EDITORIAL: Crisis over oil prices


Soaring crude oil prices prompted British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to remark last month that the global economy is now faced with "the third great oil shock of recent decades." Crude futures on the New York market have risen 40 percent since January, and oil prices are nearing $140 per barrel.


Price hikes for oil products triggered riots and street demonstrations in developing nations. Airlines and transportation companies have begun downsizing. In Japan, soaring gasoline prices are squeezing consumers and businesses alike, while fishing industry organizations are considering severe cutbacks in their operations because of high fuel costs.



Purely in terms of supply and demand, crude oil should be valued at around $60 per barrel, according to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. Governments around the world are incensed at the way speculative money has grossly inflated the value of crude oil.


(incense=ひどく怒らせる、憤らさる、いきり立たせる)  (grossly=大いに、ひどく、相当大きく)

Some U.S. financial giants are projecting that crude prices could soon hit $150 a barrel. Thus, there is good reason to believe that prices will continue to rise.

Volatile hedge funds as well as annuity funds, which traditionally operate with long-term objectives in mind, have recently been investing in the crude oil market.


volatile=移り気の、陽気な、快活な、激しやすい) (annuity=年金)

This is causing concern among oil-producing nations. Saudi Arabia, a key member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, will host an emergency summit meeting of the leaders of oil-producing and consumer nations on June 22.


But OPEC's ability to increase output is no longer what it was. On the other hand, there is no question that demand will grow exponentially in the world's newly emerging powers such as China and India. This explains the decision by annuity fund operators, who have turned to the crude oil market because they see a long-term demand trend.



The two oil crises in the 1970s and '80s were triggered by production cuts and price hikes by Mideast oil producers. At the time, the world still had ample crude oil supplies. But the present "third great oil shock" could be seen as a warning by the market of future supply shortages.



However, there may be no need to be overly pessimistic about potential energy shortages. If crude prices remain sky-high, oil-sands exploration and large-scale exploitation of deep-sea oil fields, which were previously viewed as unsound investments, will likely start up.


(exploration=探査、探検、踏査) (exploitation=開発、開拓) (unsound=堅固でない、論拠の乏しい、健康でない)

The challenge, though, is that global warming has to be tackled at the same time.


The International Energy Agency recently released a study on how to slash greenhouse gas emissions by half by 2050.


According to the study, the following must be installed around the world every year: 32 nuclear power plants, 17,500 wind turbines, about 200 million square meters of solar panels, and 55 power stations equipped with carbon capture and storage (CCS) devices that are currently being readied for commercial application. And this list is based on the precondition that 1 billion electric vehicles or fuel cell vehicles will have been in operation by 2050. The study estimates the total investment for this at close to 5,000 trillion yen.


carbon capture and storage (CCS) devices=二酸化炭素の回収・貯留装置)

This is the direction in which long-term investments of annuity funds should be encouraged to go. Initiatives to this end must be worked out at the Group of Eight summit at Lake Toyako in July and other forums before high crude oil prices destroy the global economy.


--The Asahi Shimbun, June 17(IHT/Asahi: June 18,2008)

朝日新聞 6月17日号 (英語版 2008年6月18日発行)

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(Mainichi Japan) June 17, 2008

Convicted murderer of 4 girls executed

連続幼女誘拐殺人:宮崎死刑囚の死刑執行 他の2死刑囚も

Tsutomu Miyazaki, convicted of murdering four girls aged 4 to 7 in Tokyo and Saitama Prefecture in the late 1980s, was executed on Tuesday along with two other death row inmates, Justice Minister Kunio Hatoyama confirmed.



The executions brought to 13 the number of death row inmates to be hanged under Justice Minister Hatoyama who assumed the post in August 2007.



"These are indescribably cruel crimes in which the culprits took the precious lives of their victims. We signed their execution orders after carefully and cautiously considering them," Hatoyama told a press conference Tuesday. "We carry out executions to maintain justice and make sure that the country is ruled by the law."

被告人は被害者の尊い人命を奪った表現のしようのない極悪非道な犯罪をひきおこした。裁判所はじゅうぶん慎重に検討した死刑の執行を決断したと鳩山裁判長は語った。(17日火曜日) 日本が法治国家であることを明確にしめすためにあえて死刑を執行した。


Miyazaki, 45, was hanged at the Tokyo Detention Center two years and four months after his death sentence was confirmed by the Supreme Court and 20 years after he committed the first murder.


The focal point during his court hearings was whether he was mentally stable enough to be held responsible for his crimes.

He repeated incomprehensible statements during his court hearings.

"I feel as if I committed the crimes in my dreams," he said in one of his hearings.

"I was scared because a 'rat person' appeared. My alter ego suddenly appeared and committed the acts," he said on another occasion.


The results of psychiatric evaluations conducted on him during the district court trial were divided.

One psychiatrist said he could be held fully responsible for the crimes, even though he suffered a personality disorder. Another concluded that his ability to be held responsible for his crimes was limited because he suffered a multiple personality disorder. The other deemed that his criminal responsibility was limited because he suffered from schizophrenia.


(psychiatric=精神医学の) (psychiatrist=精神科医、精神科の開業医psy・chi・a・tris 発音注意P黙音)


In dismissing his appeal against the death sentence in February 2006, the Supreme Court ruled that the main motives for his murders were based on his sexual desires and the desire to film his victims' corpses to make videos.

裁判所は宮崎勤被告人の死刑免除請願を却下した (2006年2月)、犯罪の動機は性の欲望を満たすため、および殺害した被害者の死体をビデオフィルムに納めることであった、とうてい許しがたい。

(dismiss=却下する) (corpse=死体、死骸、なきがら)

Miyazaki kidnapped a 4-year-old girl in Iruma, Saitama Prefecture, in August 1988, murdered her in a mountain forest in Akiruno, western Tokyo, and burned her body, according to the ruling.


He also abducted a 7-year-old girl in Hanno, Saitama Prefecture, in October 1988, and murdered her in Akiruno, the court found.


He was convicted of abducting another 4-year-old girl in Kawagoe, Saitama Prefecture, in December of the same year, strangling her and abandoning her body in a forest.



He was also found guilty to abducting a 5-year-old girl in Koto-ku, Tokyo, in June the next year, murdering her and dumping her corpse. Moreover, he molested an elementary school girl in Hachioji, western Tokyo, in July of the same year, according to the ruling.




On Tuesday, Yoshio Yamasaki, 73, and Shinji Mutsuda, 37, were also executed at the Osaka Detention Center and the Tokyo Detention Center, respectively.



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(Jun. 18, 2008) The Yomiuri Shimbun

Taiwan should step back from collision row

尖閣諸島 台湾は冷静に問題処理を(6月18日付・読売社説)

Taiwan's reaction to last week's collision between a Taiwanese fishing boat and a Japan Coast Guard vessel has left a nasty taste in the mouth. We wonder if Taipei's warming ties with Beijing have extended to shared anti-Japanese feelings.


The Taiwanese fishing boat intruded into Japanese territorial waters near the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. The fishing boat sank after colliding with the Japan Coast Guard patrol boat Koshiki.


The Taiwan authorities have been quick to trumpet their territorial claims to the Senkaku Islands. They have been much less forthcoming in trying to levelheadedly handle this unfortunate incident, which has stirred up anti-Japanese feeling in Taiwan.



(levelheadedly=落ち着いて、沈着に、冷静に) (levelheaded=落ち着いている、沈着な、冷静な)

The Senkaku Islands are Japanese territory. Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura spelled out in black and white the government's position on the issue when he said, "There's no question they are Japan's own territory, it's plainly self-evident from the viewpoints of history and international law."


(black and white=白黒はっきりとした、明白な、明瞭な) (plainly=明白に、はっきりと、素直に)(self-evident=自明の、わかりきった、明白な、あきらかな)

On Tuesday, Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou again said Taiwan claimed the islands. However, he also indicated that he wishes to resolve the incident peacefully.


Taiwan should calmly deal with this issue without unnecessarily arousing anti-Japanese feelings.


(arousing=誘発、喚起、引き起こし) (arouse=誘発する、喚起する、引き起こす)


Tokyo keeps its head


The 11th Regional Maritime Safety Headquarters judged that both sides were at fault for the collision, and sent to prosecutors papers on the fishing boat captain and the coast guard vessel captain on suspicion of professional negligence resulting in endangering traffic.


(professional negligence=業務上過失)

An executive of the Taipei office of the Interchange Association, Japan, which serves as Tokyo's channel for contact with Taiwan, visited the fishing boat captain's home in Taipei County and expressed his regret over the incident. The official said compensation would be offered in accordance with the law. We think the measures taken by the Japanese government are cool-headed and appropriate.


Nevertheless, the Taiwan authorities dispatched nine patrol boats and intruded into Japanese territorial waters for 2-1/2 hours Monday under the pretext of protecting a private ship headed for the Senkaku Islands to protest against the incident.



China, which has been keen to improve relations with Japan, has refrained from supporting Taiwan's actions so far. Ordinary Taiwan citizens also seem to be indifferent to the authorities' stance.




Getting tough with intruders


Taiwan's inordinate reaction to the latest incident has its roots in Taiwan's ruling Nationalist Party (Kuomintang, or KMT). Many KMT members are from mainland China. The party is relishing being back in power after an interval of eight years, and these members are amplifying the party's original anti-Japanese position.


(inordinate=過度の、法外な、極端な) (relishing=味わっている、楽しんでいる) (relish=味わう、楽しむ)

Japan-Taiwan ties are said to be at their best since diplomatic relations were severed in 1972. Extreme care must be taken to ensure these ties are not jeopardized.


(sever=切断する、切り取る、国交を断絶する) (jeopardize=危うくする、危険に陥れる)

In Japan, a law on foreign vessels that enter Japan's territorial waters will be enacted on July 1.


Until now, there had been no clear legislation that could be applied to foreign vessels that brazenly entered territorial waters without good cause, such as for rescue operations.



The law's enactment will enable authorities in this country to board such ships for inspection and issue deportation orders when needed. Violators will be subject to criminal punishment.


Foreign vessels that dare to enter Japanese territorial waters should be aware that the government's response will not be as weak-kneed as it once was.


(dare=あえて~する、思い切って~する) (weak-kneed=弱腰の、優柔不断の)

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 18, 2008)

20086180150  読売新聞)

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2008年6月17日 (火)


2008/6/17 --The Asahi Shimbun, June 16(IHT/Asahi: June 17,2008)

EDITORIAL: Law for leprosy patients



The Diet has enacted a law aimed at eliminating discrimination and prejudice against leprosy patients and ensuring that former patients living in national facilities once used for forced quarantine can spend the rest of their lives in peace.

No other disease has been misunderstood for as long as leprosy, also known as Hansen's disease. Although effective medications for the disease became available soon after the end of World War II, the Japanese government in 1953 enacted the Leprosy Prevention Law and continued to force patients to live in isolation. The law was finally annulled only 12 years ago.




(quarantine=隔離) (Annul=廃止する、効力を失わせる)

In 2001, the Kumamoto District Court ruled that the government's policy of forced isolation had become unconstitutional by 1960 at the latest. After the landmark ruling, the government admitted its responsibility for unnecessarily isolating leprosy patients from society and promised to ensure that all former patients will be able to live under conditions similar to those of regular society.


The new law was enacted in response to strong demand from residents of the state-run sanitariums following the ruling.



What is noteworthy about the legislation is a provision that makes the sanitariums and their premises available for use by outside people. It is designed to maintain the facilities over the long term while expanding exchanges between the former patients and local residents.


Against the backdrop lies the harsh reality surrounding these facilities.


The number of people living in the 13 state-run sanitariums for patients of Hansen's disease across the country has declined to about 2,700. At the peak, they housed more than 10,000.


The average age of the residents is now 79.5, and about 200 of them die every year. The number of staff members at these facilities is also diminishing gradually.


It is hardly surprising that concerns have grown among the former patients about the maintenance of the facilities for health-care and nursing services--and about the future of the sanitariums.


(hardly=ほとんど~しない) (hardly surprise=全く驚くことにならない)

Despite their wishes, these people are finding it increasingly difficult to return to society after decades of isolation. The idea of opening the facilities to the outside world has been proposed as a remedy to the situation. It is an attempt to enable the residents to "re-enter society" without actually leaving the facilities.


Under the government's plan for carrying out the idea, the sanitariums will be used to provide treatment for outside patients and serve as welfare facilities for the elderly, hospices or research labs. Increased exchanges with outside society will certainly help eliminate prejudices about the disease.



The plan, however, needs to be implemented with the greatest care and caution. There are wide differences from one sanitarium to the next in terms of geographic conditions and relations with the local communities.


Opening all of these facilities to outside society in a uniform way could make some of the former patients uneasy. The government should proceed with the plan based on the wishes of the people living in the facilities and the situations of the local communities.


The government is obliged to ensure that all those affected by a wrong policy will be able to live in the facilities without anxiety. But that alone will not be enough to prevent them from remaining segregated from society.



The entire society should try harder to avoid their isolation. To that end, greater efforts must be made to deepen understanding of Hansen's disease and remove prejudices against it.


It is impossible to return the time lost during forced segregation. At the very least, we must provide necessary support to allow the former patients to spend their remaining years peacefully.


(at the very least=せめて、最小限、少なくとも)

--The Asahi Shimbun, June 16(IHT/Asahi: June 17,2008)

朝日新聞 6月16日号 (英語版 2008年6月17日発行)

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2008/6/17 --The Asahi Shimbun, June 16(IHT/Asahi: June 17,2008)

EDITORIAL: Japan-Australia ties


Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd began his visit to Japan at an unusual location: Hiroshima, the city on which the world's first atomic bomb was dropped.

"Let the world resolve afresh, from the ashes of this city, to work together for the common mission of peace for this Asia-Pacific century, and for a world where one day nuclear weapons are no more." This was his entry in the visitors' book at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.

Rudd's aim was clear. Despite the passage of many years since the end of the Cold War, the threat of nuclear weapons has not dissipated.



狙いははっきりしていた。 冷戦が終わって久しいのに、核の脅威は減らない。


We have seen the emergence of countries like North Korea and Iran with ambitions to become nuclear powers. And the nightmare scenario of nuclear arms falling into the hands of terrorists is also becoming more realistic.



We must strengthen our efforts to make this world nuclear free. The Australian prime minister must have wanted to send that message.


He also announced the creation of an international commission of experts with Gareth Evans, Australia's former foreign minister and acclaimed expert on national security issues, as a co-head. Rudd called on Japan to participate in the commission.


Rudd intends for the commission to put together a proposal for the disarmament, nonproliferation and elimination of nuclear weapons to be presented at the Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons to be held in two years.


In the current world, perhaps in reaction to the deepening crisis, there are new dynamics that seek to rid the world of nuclear arms.


Last year, former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of Defense William Perry and others issued a joint proposal to realize a world without nuclear weapons.


The proposal listed a number of former protagonists of U.S. nuclear strategy as advocates for a nuclear-free world.



(advocates=(…の)支持者,擁護者,運動家,唱道者,主張者《 of...  an of disarmament  軍縮平和唱道者)

It is probably safe to say that efforts toward the elimination of nuclear weapons-- which was once considered too idealistic-- are now reaching a new level of reality. The Rudd proposal is one example. The Japanese government should support it and actively cooperate.


(Idealistic= 理想主義の、理想主義者の、理想家の)

The Australian prime minister issued yet another proposal worthy of attention during his visit in Japan: the creation of a cooperation framework in the Asia-Pacific region dealing not only with economic issues but also security and other issues.


Along with Japan and Australia, Rudd also called for cooperation from China, countries in Southeast Asia, India, Russia, the United States, Taiwan and others. This proposal seems to be on a similar wavelength with Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda's foreign policy doctrine, which proposes a regional cooperation framework, including the United States.



Rudd, a former diplomat, emphasized the importance of China by giving a lecture in fluent Chinese and offering other initiatives during his visit to that country in spring. This is not surprising given China's rising role in both politics and economics.


The times have changed since Shinzo Abe was prime minister. U.S. President George W. Bush and then-Australian Prime Minister John Howard would talk about cooperating in a way that could be construed as a plan to "encircle China."


(construe=~として解釈する、説明する) (encircle=取り囲む、包囲網)

The relationship between Japan and Australia is not without contention. Japan's research whaling, for example, has been harshly criticized by Australia.



But there are so many issues, such as global warming, natural resources and the food crisis, in which the two countries share a stake.



We hope Japan and Australia can become partners that work and sweat together on numerous issues, including those on a global scale.



--The Asahi Shimbun, June 16(IHT/Asahi: June 17,2008)

朝日新聞 6月16日号 (英語版 2008年6月17日発行)

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(Jun. 17, 2008) The Yomiuri Shimbun

Looming economic crisis needs flexible response

月例経済報告 景気後退への警戒を怠るな(6月17日付・読売社説)


The belated recovery from the bursting of the economic bubble of the 1980s and 1990s, which has been the nation's longest period of sustained growth since the end of World War II, appears to have at last coasted into the start of an economic slowdown.

In its monthly report for June, the government downgraded its assessment of the nation's economy. While maintaining its view that the economic recovery appears to be pausing, it also added that trends indicating weakness have been seen recently.



(belated=遅れた、手遅れの) (coast=海岸沿いを航行する)

The government's analysis indicates that the nation's economic growth has been leveling off, that the economy is unsteady and it is unclear when the situation will improve. The government and the Bank of Japan must be vigilant against an economic slowdown.


In mid-June, finance ministers from the Group of Eight countries, in a joint statement, warned that the future of the global economy is uncertain and elevated commodities prices, especially of crude oil and food, "pose a serious challenge to stable growth worldwide."



The global economy is facing a risk of economic downturn and inflation at the same time.



Rising costs, falling profits


Japan is not an exception. Rising costs for raw materials, such as crude oil, are eating into the profits of corporations that have been leading the Japanese economy. Even if raw material costs rise, they are unable to easily hike retail prices for fear of a possible drop in sales.


(eat into=食い荒らす、食い散らかす)

The monthly report also noted signs of exports weakening. Exports to other Asian countries, which have been rapidly increasing in volume, are hitting a peak. As stocks of electronic components, including semiconductors, increase, moves are afoot to reduce production in Japan.



Due to the influence of rising prices for gasoline and food, personal consumption has begun to decline. Sales at supermarkets and department stores have dropped sharply in the last few months.


Gross domestic product grew at an annual rate of 4 percent in real terms in the three months through March. But many private sector economists predict that GDP growth in the April-June quarter will be around zero or even fall below zero.


Another factor is the growing fear of a simultaneous economic slowdown and rise in prices.



Handcuffed on monetary policy


There is little room for bolstering the economy by relaxing monetary policy given the low-interest-rate policy already in place. In addition, the nation has a huge deficit to deal with, making it difficult to increase public spending on economic pump-priming measures. If inflation spreads further, it will become more difficult for the government to come out with concrete measures against it.


(pump-priming=景気にてこ入れする、景気を高揚させる) (come out with=~に対して対処する、行動する、行動を開始する)

The lack of a unified approach to economic policy among Japan, Europe and the United States also could become a destabilizing factor for the global economy. The European Central Bank is positive about a rise in interest rates in order to avoid inflation. But the United States is not in a position to raise interest rates due to its fear of financial system crash caused by the subprime mortgage crisis.


subprime mortgage crisis=サブプライムローンが引き起こした破壊的局面、状況、サブプライム問題)

If they fail to take concerted action, there is no denying that the disharmony could invite worldwide market trouble.


(concerted=一致団結した、共同による、協力しあった) (disharmony=不調和、不協和、不協調)

Given the unpredictable economic situation, it is important to react flexibly and come out with measures to mitigate the impact of any economic downturn.


(unpredictable=予想できない、予言、予報、予測、予知出来ない) (flexibly=柔軟な、順応性のある)


(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 17, 2008)

20086170148  読売新聞)

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2008年6月16日 (月)


14:16 2008/06/16


北海道大学、クラーク博士の『少年よ大志を抱け』 (Boys, be ambitious!)と同じくらいインパクトのある重い言葉である。

kiyoshi matui from khonkaen, thailand

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13:27 2008/06/16



srachai from khonkaen, thailand

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(Jun. 16, 2008) The Yomiuri Shimbun

New body needed to save semipublic firms

地域力再生機構 早期設立で3セク再建急げ(6月16日付・読売社説)

A bill to establish what is tentatively being called the "local economy revitalization corporation," a body to help rehabilitate ailing semipublic joint venture companies, has almost no chance of being passed into law during the current Diet session.

Currently, many local governments are in dire financial straits due to money-losing semipublic companies. The bill should be passed into law in an extraordinary Diet session likely to be convened this summer at the earliest and the government should establish the new organization as soon as possible.



(ailing=病弱の、病気の、病んでいる、不調の) (dire=恐ろしい、物凄い、悲惨な)(strait=苦境/海峡)

There are about 6,500 semipublic companies jointly capitalized by local governments and private companies. Of those, about one-third are operating in the red. Due to poor business, nearly 400 such entities have a negative net worth. Nineteen semipublic companies went bankrupt in 2007, the second highest number on record.



Faltering semipublic companies increase the financial burden on the local governments supporting them. Local creditor banks also would see their nonperforming loans balloon. Money-losing semipublic companies are obviously a burden for local governments and therefore the current situation should not be left to fester any longer.



The envisaged local economy revitalization corporation would support management reform of semipublic companies, thereby helping to revitalize local economies.




Patterned on previous body


The body is modeled on the Industrial Revitalization Corporation of Japan that bailed out 41 companies, including debt-ridden retailer Daiei Inc., and was disbanded in March 2007.


(bail=委託する、保釈金を払う) (disband=組織を解散する)

The local economy revitalization corporation will select and assist companies, whose rehabilitation is judged viable. In consultation with creditor banks, the body will draw up a rehabilitation plan that includes a partial debt waiver.


(viable=成長しうる、発展しうる) (debt waiver=謝金の棒引き、免除、徳政令)

With part of their credit lost, local governments and banks would be financially damaged. Even so, the damage should be more tolerable than the bankruptcy of a semipublic company in which they are involved. The revitalization, if successful, will save jobs and inflict only minor damage on the local economy.



During its envisioned five-year life span, the local economy revitalization corporation plans to complete the bail-out of up to 200 semipublic companies. Provincial communities have high hopes for the proposed new body, with more than 100 semipublic firms in such areas responding to a recent private survey that they are discussing applying to the planned body for help.




Unexpected conflict


The bill to establish the new organization was not initially considered to be one over which the ruling and opposition parties would confront each other. Once deliberation on the bill began, however, the Democratic Party of Japan opposed it, asking whether it was really necessary for a new public organization to get involved in a reform of semipublic companies for which local governments should be responsible. Time has run out.


To prevent another case similar to that of Yubari, Hokkaido, which declared bankruptcy last year, fiscal reconstruction of local governments is an urgent task. Another reform drive has been launched by making use of a law relating to the early strengthening of local government finance that aims at helping local governments avoid financial collapse.


(fiscal reconstruction=財政の再建) (reform drive=改革の動き)

(a law relating to the early strengthening of local government finance=地方公共財政健全化法)

A delay in efforts to rescue semipublic companies could cause trouble for local governments striving to quickly restore sound finances.



With the economy slowing down, especially in regional areas, surely both the ruling and opposition parties can agree on the need to revitalize local economies. The DPJ should cooperate with the ruling parties in passing the bill into law.


(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 16, 2008)

20086160151  読売新聞)

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2008年6月15日 (日)



http://www.geocities.jp/srachai2000    (家族の記録、編曲したギター曲、など多種) 家族タイ旅行
http://www.geocities.jp/srachai2000_2 (上記と同じ内容) 妻はタイ人
http://www.geocities.jp/srachai2000_3 (北京語)      北京語
http://www.geocities.jp/kiyoshimat2000_4 (タイ日辞書) タイ日辞書
http://geocities.yahoo.co.jp/gl/srachai2000   (家族の肖像-タイ国在住9年目)(2006/09) 1285
http://geocities.yahoo.co.jp/gl/srachai2000_2 (人は何のために生きるのか)(2007/10) 286
http://geocities.yahoo.co.jp/gl/srachai2000_3 (キリスト教とテラワーダ仏教)(2007/10)  56
http://geocities.yahoo.co.jp/gl/kiyoshimat2000_4(新聞社説)(2008/05) 74
http://page.cafe.ocn.ne.jp/profile/srachai (OCA cafe)
http://blog.goo.ne.jp/kiyoshimatforgoo (goo) )
http://kiyoshimatforklog.cocolog-nifty.com/blog/ (cocolog)
http://fanblogs.jp/srachai2000/  (a8)
http://www.khonkaen.com (タイ在住のアメリカ人が経営するサイト

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(Jun. 15, 2008) The Yomiuri Shimbun

Japan, China, S. Korea should expand ties

日中韓外相会談 重層的協力関係を深めたい(6月15日付・読売社説)

We want to see the multilayered cooperative ties among three major Asian nations--Japan, China and South Korea--continue to advance.

The foreign ministers of the three nations met in Tokyo and agreed that a summit meeting of their leaders should be held in Japan in September.

Summit meetings of Japanese, Chinese and South Korean leaders have so far been held on the sidelines of conferences of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. It will be first time that the three leaders have held a summit independently.




Japan's bilateral relationships with China and South Korea, which have been soured by such issues as former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's visits to Yasukuni Shrine, have steadily been improving. Now is an ideal time to expand the scope of cooperation among Japan, China and South Korea.


The Japan-China-South Korea summit was launched in 1999 as an informal breakfast meeting in Manila. Out of consideration for China, which did not want to rub North Korea up the wrong way, the agenda of the summit centered on economic issues.


Since then, it has been made a regular meeting, with political issues added to the agenda. With the framework of cooperation among the three nations expanded, the three-nation forum now has 12 kinds of ministerial meetings on issues related to trade, financial policy, health, energy, environment, and science and technology. If meetings of administrative vice ministers and bureau chiefs are included, the number of such meetings reaches more than 40.



Range of shared challenges


The framework of talks among Japan, South Korea and the United States or Japan, Australia and the United States are based on the alliance relationship with Washington and dedicated to political and security issues.

For Japan, no trilateral relationship has more wide-ranging areas for cooperation than the Japan-China-South Korea relationship.


There are many issues that could better be handled through trilateral cooperative mechanisms rather than bilateral ones, such as dealing with the emergence of new types of influenza, yellow sand carried on winds from China to neighboring nations, sea borne garbage that reaches the shores of the three nations as well as securing fishing resources.


(seaborne=海で発生する、海で生まれる sea+borne=seaborne 合成語)

If the three nations can deepen their relationship of trust, it will certainly have a favorable effect on the respective bilateral relationships.

At Saturday's foreign ministerial talks, Japan, China and South Korea affirmed that they will cooperate closely on North Korean issues, policies toward Africa and disaster countermeasures.


Japan has maintained that it will not endorse a possible move by the United States to remove North Korea from its list of terrorism-sponsoring states unless substantial progress is made over the issue of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korean agents in the 1970s and '80s.


Japan must, therefore, seek deeper understanding and cooperation from both China and South Korea over that issue, in addition to support from the United States.



China's African aid a concern


China's policy of supporting African nations has drawn criticism from the United States and European nations. Beijing is supporting the administrations of some African nations that have poor human rights records, and it has not fully disclosed--unlike developed nations--what kind of aid it is providing and how it is helping them out.


In the coming autumn, the three nations will hold their first meeting on policies toward African nations. They must proceed with talks with the aim of making China's African aid more transparent. It may be advisable for the three nations to cooperate in shouldering the burden of aiding African nations in the future.


In the May 12 earthquake in Sichuan Province, China, Beijing initially refused to accept rescue workers from abroad, hampering speedy rescue operations. Heeding this lesson, Japan, China and South Korea need to be prepared and talk about what form of mutual assistance they should provide in the event of a major disaster.


(hamper=阻止する、妨害する、妨げる、じゃまする) (heed=(…に)気をつける,留意するH~ what I say.  私の言うことをよく聞け)

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 15, 2008)

20086150202  読売新聞)

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2008年6月14日 (土)


(Jun. 14, 2008) The Yomiuri Shimbun

Pyongyang's promises must have substance

日朝実務者協議 再調査の中身が肝心だ(6月14日付・読売社説)

Pyongyang has accepted Japan's demand that it reinvestigate cases involving Japanese nationals abducted by North Korean agents in the 1970s and '80s, and hand over four Japanese radicals who hijacked a Japan Airlines plane to North Korea in 1970 and the wife of one of them and the widow of the group's leader.

But it remains open to question whether the promises Pyongyang has made during working-level talks held in Beijing between Japanese and North Korean envoys will really lead to resolution of the abduction issue. North Korea's actions must be closely watched to see if they live up to the words.



The government sees the promises as a step in the right direction, however, and has decided to lift some of its sanctions against North Korea. These include a ban on travel between Japan and North Korea and the suspension of charter flights to Japan--measures that the government concludes have had only a modest effect.



Content of reinvestigations key


But what really matters is the content of the reinvestigations. Tokyo must demand that Pyongyang conduct thorough reinvestigations that lead to the immediate return of all Japanese abductees, a full account of the abduction issue, and extradition of the abductors to Japan.


(account=(議事・事件などの具体的で詳細な)記述,叙述《 of... 》;談話,記事,報告)


First, the government should urge North Korea to resubmit information on the safety and fate of the abductees. Also, it should again press Pyongyang to allow Japanese officials to interview relevant people and to inspect concerned facilities in North Korea.


During their second summit meeting in 2004, North Korean leader Kim Jong Il promised then Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi that he would order a clean-slate reinvestigation of the abduction cases.


(clean-slate=white paper=blank paper=きれいな石板)(go back to the drawing board=白紙に撤回する=square one(口))

But human remains North Korea submitted to Japan as Megumi Yokota's were found to be from unidentified persons in DNA tests conducted in this country. Pyongyang also said that special agencies responsible for the abductions had burned evidence related to the safety and fate of the Japanese abductees. Tokyo must not allow the North Korean government to get away with such insincere responses this time.


get away with=~の理由などにより責任を逃れる)


Hijackers harbored

North Korea is still harboring four of nine Red Army Faction members who hijacked a Japanese passenger plane to North Korea 38 years ago and the wife of one of them and the widow of the group's leader. Japanese police have issued arrest warrants for three of them for their alleged involvement in the abduction cases.



Those hijackers found political asylum in North Korea before allegedly engaging in various state-sponsored crimes and illicit operations. They should be arrested and grilled about their activities immediately after extradition to Japan.


Of course, extradition of the hijackers has no direct bearing on progress in the abduction issue.



North Korea recently agreed to hold official talks with Japan for the first time in nine months due to heavy pressure from the United States and China.


Some observers claim Pyongyang is just pretending to make progress in Japan-North Korea relations because it wants rewards from the international community, such as removal from the U.S. list of terrorism-sponsoring states and energy assistance, under the six-party talks aimed at denuclearizing North Korea.


The six-party talks have entered a crucial stage in efforts to realize North Korea's full and accurate declaration of its nuclear program.


To move toward denuclearization of North Korea, Japan must enhance its partnership with the United States and the other members of the six-party talks to prevent the international coalition on the reclusive state from weakening.


reclusive=隠遁した、隠れた、弱まった、わびしい、世を捨てた)(reclusive state= ? どなたかこの意味がわかる方いませか?)

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 14, 2008)

20086140146  読売新聞)

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2008年6月13日 (金)




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(Jun. 13, 2008) The Yomiuri Shimbun

Top court made sensible ruling over NHK show

NHK番組訴訟 「期待権」退けた妥当な判決(6月13日付・読売社説)

The Supreme Court ruled Thursday in favor of NHK regarding a TV program the content of which a private group said had been altered. The ruling by the top court was reasonable and based on common sense.


The public broadcaster aired a TV program featuring the private group's mock tribunal regarding the so-called comfort women of World War II. The group filed a lawsuit demanding NHK and two TV production companies pay compensation, saying the content in the aired program differed from what was originally explained to the group members. The group said despite giving NHK and the companies special privileges, it was betrayed.


(mock=模擬、模造品/のふりをする、模擬する) (tribunal=裁判所、法廷、裁定機関) (mock tribunal=模擬法廷)

It is not unusual in the media, including newspapers, that the end result is different from what journalists initially intend. It also is common that superiors or senior editors make decisions that differ from those made by reporters or producers on the front lines.


The editing and reworking processes on a TV program or a news story to better its quality, as well as balanced reporting, are essential for responsible journalism. These processes can sometimes even result in the scrapping of an entire story.


This is a situation recognized by the public, the Supreme Court said in Thursday's ruling, adding that the so-called right of expectations of sources would not be protected by law in this case.


The top court set strict conditions regarding exceptions to this, saying this also includes cases in which interviewees might have to bear great burdens by complying with requests for interviews with the media.



Questions of news ethics


The Constitution guarantees freedom of speech, and the Broadcast Law stipulates freedom in program editing. In the ruling, the top court took into full account the meaning behind such laws and the realities of how news organizations actually operate.


Unlike the Tokyo High Court's decision, which ordered NHK and the production firms to pay compensation to the plaintiff, the court concluded that the defendants did not need to provide explanations to the plaintiff about changes in program editing policy. The top court said such an obligation applies to journalists only under certain circumstances, such as when there is an agreement or pledge made with a source.


If the content of a program or a story later significantly changes from the explanation given by a journalist to a source, it is desirable in some cases that such sources be informed of this. But this concerns only the ethics or good faith of journalists.


If there are legal restraints, it might become difficult for journalists to tell what readers or audiences should know.



Political influence?


Another focus of the lawsuit was whether politicians had pressured NHK to alter the content of the program. While the lawsuit was being heard at the high court, The Asahi Shimbun reported that politicians had pressured the broadcaster. But NHK and two lawmakers cited by the newspaper all denied this, sparking controversy.



The top court acknowledged that one of the lawmakers met with NHK executives, but did not mention whether the lawmaker had any influence in program editing. Above all, it is significant that even the high court ruling in favor of the plaintiff said it could not go so far as to say the politicians had ever referenced the program in detail or made any suggestions for the program.



Meanwhile, a third-party organ set up by broadcasters said Tuesday that NHK lacked fairness and impartiality when it reported the high court decision on one of its news programs. Without being content with the top court ruling, NHK must fulfill its responsibilities as a public broadcaster.


(fairness=公平、公正) (impartiality=公平、公明正大)

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 13, 2008)

20086130134  読売新聞)

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2008年6月12日 (木)

今日の英字新聞社説 (2008/06/12)

今日の英字新聞社説 (2008/06/12)




スラチャイと英語を学習しましょう! 質問受け付けます(私の能力の範囲で)


2008/6/12 --The Asahi Shimbun, June 11(IHT/Asahi: June 12,2008)
EDITORIAL: Speedo swimsuits


2008/6/12 --The Asahi Shimbun, June 11 (IHT/Asahi: June 12,2008)
EDITORIAL: Clinton's withdrawal


(Jun. 12, 2008) The Yomiuri Shimbun
Fukuda censured, but to what end?
首相問責決議 何のために可決したのか(6月12日付・読売社説)

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2008/6/12 --The Asahi Shimbun, June 11(IHT/Asahi: June 12,2008)

EDITORIAL: Speedo swimsuits


After four months of wrangling, the situation is finally where it should be. Japanese swimmers are now free to wear a much-touted high-performance swimsuit from the British sportswear maker Speedo at the Beijing Olympics.


(wrangling=論争、すったもんだ) (touted=宣伝される、褒めちぎられる)

The controversy started in February when Speedo released the new swimsuit. In two months, 18 world records were established, of which 17 were set by swimmers wearing the suit. The "magic swimsuit" spread wonder across the world. But in Japan, swimmers were contractually obliged to wear swimsuits made by three domestic makers in Olympic competition.



(controversy=論争、議論) (contractually=契約上)

Sticking to domestic swimwear, the Japan Swimming Federation requested the Japanese makers, which had already released swimsuits for the Beijing Games, to develop new ones. Meanwhile, a growing number of Japanese swimmers tried the Speedo swimsuit--and broke records one after another.

Given the circumstances, it was time for the federation to recognize the Speedo swimsuit.


The problem concerning sports and equipment is old and new.


Some people voice concern that using advanced technology in swimwear distorts competition. It is the athletes who compete against one another and trying to win with advanced equipment is improper, they argue.



But sports and equipment have always advanced hand-in-hand. New technologies and equipment have brought out new human potential and helped athletes to meet new challenge, and break limits. Equipment makers are also required to constantly come up with new ideas.

In this regard, Japanese companies suffered a crushing defeat.



crushing=圧倒的な)(crushing defeat=完敗)

Japanese makers have traditionally attached importance to comfort to make it easier for swimmers to move and fully demonstrate their ability.


But Speedo was different. It passed over comfort and designed swimwear devoted to minimizing water resistance. It used ultrasonic welding technology to make the swimsuit seamless and tightened it to make the contour of the body as smooth as possible.


(ultrasonic welding technology=超音波加工技術) (contour=輪郭、外郭、外形)

When it comes to radical changes in thinking, the issue of speed skates comes to mind. It was before the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics that a Dutch maker developed speed skates whose heels detached from the blades. The new skates stormed the world in no time.


Japanese makers are good at polishing detailed technology and functions but lack the creativity to boldly move from conventional ideas. Perhaps this trait is common to Japanese manufacturing as a whole.



The federation was also late in responding to new ideas. Even though swimmers wearing a prototype of the new swimsuit did well in last year's world championships, it sat back and did nothing. Apparently, many federation executives were rooted to old ways of thinking and believed there was no way swimsuits could make such difference.



In the Beijing Olympics, there will be no difference between swimmers as far as swimwear is concerned. We hope to see an even higher level of competition among the swimmers themselves.


--The Asahi Shimbun, June 11(IHT/Asahi: June 12,2008)

朝日新聞 6月11日号 (英語版 2008年6月12日発行)

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2008/6/12 --The Asahi Shimbun, June 11 (IHT/Asahi: June 12,2008)

EDITORIAL: Clinton's withdrawal


The term "glass ceiling" first gained currency in the United States to denote invisible barriers in society that limit the advancement of women beyond a certain level in the established hierarchy. The office of the U.S. president lies beyond the ultimate glass ceiling, and Hillary Rodham Clinton sought to reach it. But the quest ended for the New York senator last Saturday, when she conceded defeat in the Democratic primaries and withdrew from the presidential race.



(denote=~を意味する) (hierarchy=階位、上位の位) (quest=探索、探求、追求、冒険) (concede=自分の負けを公式に認める)

"Although we weren't able to shatter the highest, hardest glass ceiling this time, thanks to you, it's got about 18 million cracks in it," Clinton told her supporters in her concession speech.


(shatter=ガラスなどを粉々に粉砕する、砕く) (concession=譲歩、敗北などを認める)

She obviously meant to stress the fact that she had won as many as 18 million popular votes, which was certainly no mean feat. We also presume she wanted to share her triumph as well as her disappointment with her supporters: She had come so close to being elected the first female president of the United States, but that was not to be.


(be no mean feat=~は至難のわざである)

Clinton called the primaries a "turning-point election." Her duel with Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, the first African-American with a realistic chance of winning the presidency, opened a new page in the nation's political history. Regardless of the result, both have successfully challenged society's racist and sexist barriers.


primaries =primary=予備の、米国の大統領予備選挙)

In recalling her campaign, Clinton noted: "I am a woman, and like millions of women, I know there are still barriers and biases out there, often unconscious." She also said that earlier in the primaries, she was repeatedly asked if a woman could serve as commander in chief.



Christine Todd Whitman, a former chief of the Environmental Protection Agency who served as New Jersey governor from 1994 to 2001 and is one of the best-known Republican women politicians, recalled the hurdles she experienced in an Op-Ed piece she contributed to The New York Times last weekend. She said of Clinton: "When Mrs. Clinton made points forcefully, people called her shrill, not bold and determined. When (she) teared up, she was labeled weak."



(recall=振り返る) (shrill=辛らつな、するどい この言葉は悪い意味で使われることが多い) (bold=勇気のある、度胸のいる、挑戦的な)

Obviously, Clinton's defeat cannot be attributed to her gender alone. Her high-profile status and experience as a former first lady worked against her and ultimately cost her the nomination. She was perceived as the "status quo candidate," as opposed to Obama, who stood for "change."


(gender=性、性別) (status quo=現状)

Women and men are supposed to be equal in the United States, but this is not necessarily the case in real life. It was only last year that Nancy Pelosi became the first female speaker of the House--a position that makes her second in succession to the presidency after the vice president. Only 17 percent of House members are women, which places the United States 83rd in the world in such rankings.


Where women in politics are concerned, much of the rest of the world is way ahead of America. In Scandinavia and Asia in particular, women presidents and prime ministers are quite common. In Chancellor Angela Merkel's Germany, which ranks 17th in the world, women account for 32 percent of the Bundestag.



Japan is pathetic. Not only has there never been a woman prime minister, but only 9 percent of Lower House legislators are female. Japan ranks a lowly 135th in the world.



Neighboring South Korea has revised its election system to require that at least half of the candidates in proportional representation districts be women. As a result, South Korea has quickly overtaken Japan. The proportion of female lawmakers in South Korea now stands at 14 percent.



When half the population is female, it makes every sense to consider talented and capable women for public office. We wonder when Japan will get its Hillary Clinton.



--The Asahi Shimbun, June 11 (IHT/Asahi: June 12,2008)

朝日新聞 6月11日号 (英語版 2008年6月12日発行)

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(Jun. 12, 2008) The Yomiuri Shimbun

Fukuda censured, but to what end?

首相問責決議 何のために可決したのか(6月12日付・読売社説)

The Democratic Party of Japan, the Social Democratic Party and the People's New Party jointly submitted and voted for a censure motion against Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda at the House of Councillors on Wednesday.


The motion was passed with a majority vote in the upper house for the first time since the end of World War II.


Why did the three parties submit and support the motion now? Their behavior is irresponsible.

(何故民主、社民、国民新3党はこの時期に門説決議案を提出したのか?あまりにも無責任である。 translated into Japanese by srachai オリジナルの日本語版にはこの部分の文章は見当たらないので翻訳しました。)

Since a censure motion is legally non-binding, it is reasonable that the prime minister refused to have his Cabinet resign en masse or dissolve the House of Representatives for a general election.


(en masse=一段となって、いっしょに、共に、力をあわせて、協力し合って、共同で)

To counter the censure motion, the ruling coalition parties submitted at the lower house a confidence motion backing the Fukuda Cabinet the same day, seeking its passage Thursday. The move is an apparent attempt to show people in Japan and the world that the censure motion would not shake the Fukuda Cabinet in the lead up to the Group of Eight summit meeting scheduled next month in Toyakocho, Hokkaido.

与党は対抗して、衆院で内閣信任決議案を可決する。来月には北海道洞爺湖サミットもある。福田内閣の基盤に影響がないことを内外に示す狙いだろう。(condidence motion=内閣新任決議案 cf. censure motion=内閣不信任決議案、問責決議)

lead=指標,目印,指示、目標)(in the lead=~の目標があるので)


Wrong time, wrong action


The DPJ and its cohort parties said they submitted the censure motion because the government and the ruling coalition refused to abolish the new medical insurance system aimed at those aged 75 or older, as well as having revived the temporary tax levy for gasoline with the support of more than two-thirds of lower house members.



However, the DPJ has failed to propose an alternative plan for the insurance system aimed at senior citizens or come up with financial sources to supplement lower tax revenues.


come up with=to bring forth or discover ものごとを進めたり、新しい対策をとったりする)

The DPJ says it will boycott Diet deliberations following passage of the censure motion until the Fukuda Cabinet resigns en masse or the prime minister dissolves the lower house to hold a general election.

(この法案の可決により民主党は議会をボイコットする方針だ。福田内閣が全会一致で解散されるか、衆議院を解散し選挙が行われるまでこの状態は継続する見込みである。 translated into Japanese by srachai この部分の英文に対する日本語版の文章は見当たらない)

Since the last extraordinary Diet session, the DPJ has studied a plan to submit a censure motion against Fukuda a few times, but postponed it until Wednesday because the party feared public criticism against it if it refused to partake in Diet deliberations for an extended period.



The DPJ submitted the motion Wednesday, however, because the party apparently realized that with the current Diet session ending soon, it would not have to boycott deliberations for long.


DPJ President Ichiro Ozawa said the censure motion is to "draw a line" at the end of the current Diet session.


draw a line=線引きをする、線を引く、けじめをつける、おとしまえをつける)

Ozawa knows the censure motion cannot force the prime minister to dissolve the lower house, and seems to have used the motion only as a tool to heat up the confrontational mood between the ruling and opposition parties, and to help DPJ members steel themselves after the Diet session ends.


(steel=心を堅固にする、結束を硬くする文法:このsteel は動詞です)

It is understandable that the Japanese Communist Party did not join the three other parties in submitting the censure motion, as it said adverse political circumstances would deflate the impact of a censure motion, even if it were passed now.




DPJ's decisions baffling


Some DPJ members are criticizing Ozawa and other top party officials for not holding a debate between DPJ and LDP presidents Wednesday, though they had once agreed to organize one. The DPJ leadership might be afraid it would make it difficult for the party to submit a censure motion if Fukuda proposed to Ozawa during the debate to have policy consultations with each other. But such a notion would be preposterous.




The DPJ's action, which places priority on partisan interests, is creating confusion in the soon-to-end Diet session.



Although it once agreed with the appointment of Kazuhito Ikeo as a Policy Board member of the Bank of Japan, the DPJ changed its mind and demanded to postpone voting for Ikeo's approval at the Diet because the People's New Party, a member of the joint parliamentary group with the DPJ, was strongly opposed to the nomination.


The DPJ boycotted deliberations on a comprehensive economic partnership agreement between Japan and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations at the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee of the upper house, though the party agreed to the Japan-ASEAN EPA at the lower house.


The ruling coalition parties are going to extend the period of the current ordinary session to secure its endorsement by the Diet.


What does the DPJ think of Japan's responsibility to the international community? Boycotting Diet deliberations is not the answer.


(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 12, 2008)

20086120145  読売新聞)

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2008年6月11日 (水)


21:38 2008/06/11


『膝小僧がすりむけるくらいに努力する』 (ビルマ語)
『私も毎日こんなにがんばっている』 とロンジーをまくって、膝小僧を私に見せる。

srachai from khonkaen, thailand


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今日の英字新聞社説 (2008/06/11)

今日の英字新聞社説 (2008/06/11)




スラチャイと英語を学習しましょう! 質問受け付けます(私の能力の範囲で)


2008/6/11 --The Asahi Shimbun, June 10(IHT/Asahi: June 11,2008)
EDITORIAL: Fukuda's emission goal


2008/6/11 --The Asahi Shimbun, June 10(IHT/Asahi: June 11,2008)
EDITORIAL: Akihabara killing spree


(Jun. 11, 2008) The Yomiuri Shimbun
LZR Racer decision good for swimmers
スピード社水着 開発競争で水をあけられた(6月11日付・読売社説)
(LAR=Laser Racer=レーザーレーサー)
(この水着は数年前から時々ニュースで報道されていたが日本でこれほど大々的に取り上げられたのは今回が初めてだろう by srachai)

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2008/6/11 --The Asahi Shimbun, June 10(IHT/Asahi: June 11,2008)

EDITORIAL: Fukuda's emission goal


It's human nature to readily promise to do something if one has a year to carry it out. But it's a different matter if one is talking about a month ahead.

This mentality seems to be lurking behind Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda's blueprint for Japan's actions to help stem global warming.




The centerpiece of the Fukuda initiative, announced Monday with much fanfare, is a goal that must be achieved in about 40 years: Japan will cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 60-80 percent from the current levels by 2050.



Halving global emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases by mid-century is a goal which a majority of countries now believe must be achieved to stop the climb of the Earth's temperature. This is the holy grail in the fight to save the planet from falling into the abyss of harmful climate change. The target emerged from warnings by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a network of scientists around the world, about the consequences of continued increases in greenhouse gas emissions.

As a leading industrial nation, Japan has a duty to pursue a more ambitious goal than the 50-percent reduction by the middle of the century.


(grail=大切なもの、命のもと、グラール) (abyss=深み、深海、深遠、淵)

Regrettably, the scientific approach adopted to set the emission target for the distant future is missing from discussions over the prospects and actions for the near future.


If the goal of halving the world's greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 is to be accepted, it is clear what kind of targets for the near future should be pursued.


The key proposal for midterm commitments by industrial countries is an emissions reduction of between 25 and 40 percent from 1990 levels by 2020--a target based on the IPCC's report and discussed at last year's Conference of Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate



Instead of announcing a clear midterm target, however, Fukuda just referred to an estimate that Japan expects to slash its emissions by 14 percent from 2005 levels by 2020. This reduction will not be enough, given that the amount of greenhouse gases Japan spews into the atmosphere has grown from 1990.



The number for 2020 is based on the sector-specific approach proposed by Japan, which means adding up estimates of possible emissions reductions by various sectors, such as industries and households. The Japanese government is lobbying for the adoption of this method for setting emissions targets for individual countries. But adding up possible cuts by various sectors is not enough to achieve the emissions target. That is clear from the announced figure.



One welcome component of Fukuda's package is the start of a trial emissions trading system this fall. Emissions trading involves allocating credits to companies based on the emissions caps imposed on them. Companies that have reduced their emissions below their caps can sell the surplus credits.



The government should try to make sure that international rules for emissions trading will not be disadvantageous to Japanese industries.

But that alone would not be enough.


The system should incorporate into the Japanese economy a powerful economic incentive for businesses to curtail their CO2 emissions. It must be so designed that efforts to create a low-carbon industrial structure will lead to higher competitiveness of Japanese industries.

The government needs to figure out a system that will promote the transformation of Japanese industry over years while taking steps to ensure that a sudden increase in the burden on companies will not choke their future growth.



The main opposition Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan) has already submitted its own anti-warming bill to the Diet. The bill contains a target of reducing Japan's emissions by over 60 percent from the 1990 levels at an early date by 2050 and by more than 25 percent by 2020.

Under Minshuto's plan, emissions trading will be started in Japan in fiscal 2010. It represents a clearer road map for action than Fukuda's blueprint.


Proposals for tackling the environmental challenge from both the government and the largest opposition party are finally on the table, with little time left until this year's Group of Eight summit, which will be held in the Lake Toyako resort in Hokkaido in July. It is time for both camps to discuss specific measures to achieve necessary goals instead of trying to propose more impressive targets than the other side.



--The Asahi Shimbun, June 10(IHT/Asahi: June 11,2008)

朝日新聞 6月10日号 (英語版 2008年6月11日発行)

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2008/6/11 --The Asahi Shimbun, June 10(IHT/Asahi: June 11,2008)

EDITORIAL: Akihabara killing spree


A busy Tokyo street, closed to vehicular traffic and teeming with shoppers, turned into a scene of horror Sunday when a man went on an indiscriminate rampage, killing seven people and injuring 10 in the middle of Akihabara, the world-famous shopping district for electronic goods.



(vehicular=運搬用の、乗り物用の) (teem=人などで溢れている、満ちている) (rampage=凶暴な行動、激怒)

The victims included teenage university students and a retired dentist in his 70s shopping with his son.


"This feels like the worst nightmare," said a bereaved family member upon being informed of the tragedy.

We cannot begin to fathom the shock and grief of those seven people as their lives flickered out.


(bereaved=家族に先立たれた) (fathom=測る、推し測る、推量する) (flicker=消滅する、無くなる、亡くなる)

This is a truly horrendous crime. The suspect, a 25-year-old man, was quickly subdued and arrested. What could have driven him to commit this act of insanity?


(horrendous=恐ろしい、ものすごい、法外な) (subdued=おとなしくなる、静かになる) (insanity=狂喜、錯乱)

The suspect, a dispatch factory worker in Shizuoka Prefecture, apparently rented a truck and drove it to Akihabara. We wonder if his intent was to "make news" in this well-known shopping district.


The man was quoted by police as saying: "I have become sick of this world and tired of life, so I did it. It didn't matter who I killed."


But that is hardly justification for killing and injuring 17 people. Despairing of one's lot in life is no excuse for indiscriminately killing innocent passers-by.


(despairing=絶望した、やけの、絶望、やけくそ) (lot=運、運命、宿命)

According to police, the man was a no-show at work last Friday. The following day, he arranged to rent the truck. Does this mean the rampage was premeditated? If so, his cold-bloodedness is truly frightening.


premeditate =前もって計画する、準備する)

The murderous intent that must have grown within him reflects a self-centered mind.


Just hours before the man went on his killing spree, he apparently used his cellphone to post the following message on an Internet site: "I'm going to kill people in Akihabara."

We are distressed that nobody caught this as a warning of what was to come.


Over the 10 years through 2007, there have been 67 cases of random killings and attempted attacks. In March this year, a 24-year-old man fatally stabbed one person and injured seven at a JR station in Ibaraki Prefecture. He, too, reportedly told police he didn't care who his victims were. Investigators have yet to establish this man's motive.


The suspect in the Akihabara attack is a native of Aomori Prefecture, where he attended a senior high school for academically motivated students. What could have happened in his seemingly untroubled life that made him so desperate? Was he disillusioned with his job or family or daily life? Was there something about society that made his life unbearably miserable?


(desperate=自暴自棄の、破れかぶれの、やけっぱちの) (disillusioned=~に幻滅した)

For some time now, Japanese society has been perceived as being oppressive. Still, this is emphatically no excuse for attacking fellow members of society.


(perceived=気づく、感づく) (oppressive=制圧的な、圧制的な、不当に厳しい、過酷な、苦しい、辛い)


We certainly hope that authorities' investigations and the criminal justice system will get to the bottom of this man's troubled mind, but that won't be enough. If there is something in our seemingly peaceful society that drives some young people into explosive rage, we must put a name to it and do something about it.


(seemingly=一見すると、外見から判断すると) (explosive rage=暴走) (rage=激怒、憤激、憤慨、怒り、荒れ狂う様、脅威)

Failing to do so, we will never be able to answer the anguished question of the victims and survivors of the Akihabara rampage: "Why me?"



--The Asahi Shimbun, June 10(IHT/Asahi: June 11,2008)

朝日新聞 6月10日号 (英語版 2008年6月11日発行)

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(Jun. 11, 2008) The Yomiuri Shimbun

LZR Racer decision good for swimmers

スピード社水着 開発競争で水をあけられた(6月11日付・読売社説)

LAR=Laser Racer=レーザーレーサー)

(この水着は数年前から時々ニュースで報道されていたが日本でこれほど大々的に取り上げられたのは今回が初めてだろう by srachai)

Speedo's high-tech LZR Racer is no ordinary swimsuit. Its incredible performance is obvious: Swimmers wearing the swimsuit have shattered dozens of records. We think it is only fair to help Japan's swimmers perform at their best at the Beijing Olympics by letting them pick the swimwear they prefer.


(shatter=粉々に粉砕する、破壊する、記録を打ち破る) (help Japans swimmers perform=help+人+動詞の原型、人に~させる)

The Japan Swimming Federation on Tuesday decided to allow Japanese national team swimmers to wear the British-made LZR Racer at the August Games.


Double Olympic champion Kosuke Kitajima smashed the 200-meter breaststroke world record at the Japan Open on Sunday while wearing the LZR Racer. Sixteen of 17 national records established during the same meet were set by swimmers wearing the revolutionary swimwear.


(Smash=shatther=粉々に粉砕する、破壊する、記録を打ち破る) (meet=スポーツの競技会) (revolutionary=革命の;革命的な;大改革の)

The federation has contracts with three domestic sportswear companies--Mizuno Corp., Descente, Ltd. and Asics Corp. Japan's national team swimmers are obliged to wear products made by any of these three companies for the Games.


(be obliged to=する義務を負わせる; 余儀なくさせる) (oblige=義務づける、強いる)

But as the distinct edge offered by the LZR has become clear in recent months, the federation really had little choice but to relent and allow the swimmers to hit the pool wearing the LZR Racer.



hit=好み・目的などに合う,合致する,ぴったりくる いつものhitとはちがった意味ですね by srachai)


A loss for Japan's industry


The three companies look set to accept the federation's decision. This would be a virtual admission that they have been swept aside in the development race to create the world's most optimal swimwear.


(admission=認めること) (sweep aside=脇においやる、追い払う、押し流される) (optimal=最善の、もっとも望ましい)

The material used for the LZR Racer is made from chemical compounds--an industry that has been one of Japan's strongest. It is indeed a shame that Japanese companies have fallen behind Speedo in this contest.


(compounds=複合物) (chemical compounds=化学繊維)


The three companies have certainly supported Japan's swimmers over the years. However, it seems they have fallen into the trap of resting on their laurels after signing contracts with the federation.



Swimsuits started making headlines last year when several non-Japanese swimmers recorded some excellent times while wearing a Speedo suit.


However, the federation does not have a committee tasked with analyzing swimsuit design trends overseas. As such, the federation was almost oblivious to the advantage given by the swimsuit.



The federation finally was jolted from its slumber when the LZR Racer was unveiled this year and swimmers wearing the swimsuit broke many world records at the European swimming championships in March and at other sporting events.


(jolt=揺さぶる、ショックを与える) (slumber=眠り、うたた寝)

The federation's failure to stay abreast of the latest information has led to the current swimsuit squabble in this country.


abreast=横に並んで) (squabble=つまらないけんか、争い)


Don't forget the swimmers


Never before has swimwear been at the center of so much attention. With the swimsuits seemdingly the only topic on swimming fans' lips, the athletes themselves might be forgiven for thinking that the long hours they spend training everyday are getting less credit than they deserve. As the row bubbled away, Kitajima showed up at the Japan Open while wearing a T-shirt that read in English, Japanese and Chinese, "I am the swimmer."



(seemingly=一見したところ、外見から判断すると、うわべはプロでも綴りのミスは時々ある by srachai)

(row=やかましい口論,けんか,騒ぎ,騒動) (bubble away=あわ立つ、湧き出る)

We see nothing wrong with providing swimmers who will take their marks on the biggest stage of all at the Olympics with the equipment that could help them set a record. Allowing national team swimmers to wear the LZR Racer will put them on an equal footing with athletes from other countries.


We hope Japan's swimmers choose the swimwear they felt most comfortable in and give it their best shot in Beijing.


(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 11, 2008)

20086110146  読売新聞)

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2008年6月10日 (火)


21:57 2008/06/10

お母さん、業を煮やして『タムマイ マイ ノーン?』 (どうして今日は寝ないの?)と言う。

srachai from my home in khonkaen, thailand.


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2008/6/10 --The Asahi Shimbun, June 7(IHT/Asahi: June 10,2008)

EDITORIAL: Greedy bureaucrats


The deep-rooted culture of sleaze in Japan's officialdom shows no signs of abating. We recently learned that hundreds of bureaucrats have accepted cash and other gifts from the drivers of taxis they used for returning home late at night. Many of them were officials at the Finance Ministry and the National Tax Agency, guardians of the nation's fiscal rectitude who are responsible for collecting taxes and making sure that the money is allocated to use wisely without waste.



(sleaze=低俗なもの、下品さ) (officialdom=役人の地位、官界) (abating=衰える、減少する、減る、少なくなる) (rectitude=公正、厳正)

One official at the Finance Ministry received cash and gift certificates on hundreds of occasions worth at least 1.5 million yen in total over five years. Eighteen officials accepted gift coupons, while 364 others were given cans of beer, tea and other refreshments.


(新聞社のプロ翻訳家の翻訳でも翻訳ミスはある、上が好例で日本語の意味と少しだけ食い違っている by srachai)

But the Finance Ministry is not alone. The questionable practice of accepting money and gifts from taxi drivers has been uncovered at 12 other ministries and agencies. The government is now investigating the practice. It seems likely that the number of organizations and people involved in the scandal will grow. The inquiry must be conducted rigorously, and the results must be fully published.



These facts came to light because Akira Nagatsuma, a Lower House member of Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan), asked all the ministries and agencies to investigate the suspected practice.


Nagatsuma also helped shed light on the slipshod method of keeping pension records and wasteful spending of tax revenues earmarked for road construction. A decade ago, it would have been unimaginable for government organizations to respond seriously to an opposition lawmaker's request that they look into a potential scandal of their own and report on the findings.


shed=問題を解明する、明かりで照らす) (slipshod=だらしない、みだれた)

This clearly demonstrates the beneficial effects of the current divided control of the Diet, which has greatly bolstered the opposition camp's political power. Minshuto and other opposition parties are in a perfect position to hold the government accountable.


bolster=強める、元気づける) (accountable=責任がある、釈明の義務がある)

It is hard to imagine that these bureaucrats had no qualms about receiving kickbacks of cash and gifts from cabbies for so many years. It seems that many bureaucrats have become regular customers of specific cab drivers and would call them by cellphone to make use of their services. They received favors in return for their patronage. This is a really distressing story. The government must carry out an exhaustive probe to find out whether some bureaucrats, in egregious misconduct, entered larger amounts than the actual fare in taxi tickets and received kickbacks.それにしても、長年にわたりタクシーから金品やキックバックを得ていた神経はどうかしている。多くの者がなじみの運転手をつくり、携帯で呼び出して見返りを得ていたのではないか。なんとも情けない。料金以上の金額をタクシー券に記入して見返りを受ける悪質な例がないかについても、厳しく調べなければならない。

(qualms=良心の呵責) (distressing=苦しめる、悩ます) (exhaustive=完全な、徹底的な) (egregious=とてもひどい、とてつもな)


There is nothing wrong with taxi drivers trying to outdo their rivals in offering better services to customers. Many readers must have been pleasantly surprised to be offered wet hand towels or pocket tissues when taking a taxi.



But taxi tickets used by government employees are funded with taxpayer money, not by their own money. Thus, officials should show more sensitivity to the fact that they can contribute to cuts in government spending by asking for fare discounts when they are offered cash and gifts. The government bodies should have negotiated discount contracts with the operators of taxi services, instead of allowing their employees to enjoy the perks. By accepting money and gifts instead of asking for fare discounts, these officials have crossed the line of bureaucratic ethics. They cannot evade accusations of effectively pocketing taxpayer money.


perks=役人の立場を利用した役得) (cross the line=一線を超える) (ethics=倫理、道徳) (evade=免れる、逃れる、避ける、よける)

One of the biggest challenges facing the government is to regain fiscal health amid growing calls in recent years for spending cuts. Meantime, the culture of corruption within the Japanese bureaucracy remains unchanged. Given many similar sordid stories and the profligate way in which ministries and agencies spend their recreational budgets, bureaucrats appear to regard taxpayer money as their own. These episodes only subject all bureaucrats, including honest and hard-working ones, to public suspicion.


(sordid=きたない、みすぼらしい、むさくるしい) (profligate=不品行な、不道徳な、放蕩な)

How can swelling welfare costs due to the aging population be financed? It will become necessary to cut expenditures in other areas and place an additional tax burden on the public to cover growing social security costs. With the newly introduced health care insurance system for elderly people harshly criticized, time for action is running out.


A social welfare program is unsustainable unless there is public trust in the government. Is this government and its employees up to the challenge? This is a question that has been raised by the taxi scandal.



--The Asahi Shimbun, June 7(IHT/Asahi: June 10,2008)

朝日新聞 6月07日号 (英語版 2008年6月10日発行)

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2008/6/10 --The Asahi Shimbun, June 8(IHT/Asahi: June 10,2008)

EDITORIAL: Tokyo's Olympic bid


As Tokyo has made it on the shortlist for the 2016 Summer Olympics, challenges to its bid are now more clear-cut. Of the seven cities that placed bids, the list has been narrowed to four cities: Tokyo, Madrid, Chicago and Rio de Janeiro.


The International Olympic Committee (IOC) executive board assessed prospective cities by quantifying each city's plans to host the Games.



Tokyo had the highest overall score, but that was mostly due to the city's infrastructure.


This centered on the availability of accommodation to cater to people coming from all over the world to watch the Games, setting up the athletes' village within roughly 9 kilometers of each event venue and having a high level of security and safety precautions. It is only natural for a city with a population of more than 10 million and prior experience of having hosted the Games to have such assets in place.


center=集中させる) (cater=サービスを提供する)

Yet, it is premature to assume that the shortlist means Tokyo is now the frontrunner.


Compared to the other cities, Tokyo leaves the impression that it doesn't boast any special attributes to attract the world's attention. How will Tokyo be able to promote itself as superior in character to the other cities? The Tokyo 2016 Olympic Games Bid Committee, made up of the Tokyo metropolitan government and the Japanese Olympic Committee, needs to revamp the bid proposal.


(boast=自慢する、誇らしいと思う、誇りにする) (attributes=特質、特性、属性) (Olympic Games Bid Committee=オリンピック招致委員会)


So far, the committee has been stressing the "environment" factor. Officials say that a new urban project, in tandem with the Olympic Games, will reclaim Tokyo's standing as a city of water. However, the plan lacks specifics and it is hard to judge the viability of the proposal.


(in tandem with=並んで、並列に、並走する) (specifics=特徴、特質) (viability=実行可能性、生存能力)

On the other hand, it came to light that the Toyosu area, where many of the Olympic venues are planned, has a serious soil contamination problem. The Tokyo government plans to transfer the Tsukiji fish market to Toyosu, and then build a Olympics media center where the Tsukiji market stands. Now, it seems likely that all will not go according to plan.


(venues=行為の行われる場所、事件の現場) (contamination=汚染、汚濁、堕落、汚れ)

The committee also failed to address the problem of expected traffic congestion, which could paralyze Tokyo's functions during the Games.



Early next year, the bid committee is scheduled to submit its finalized proposal to the IOC, and then, based on that proposal, a group of experts will visit to survey the capital. The assessment for the shortlist was based on documents that were submitted; the actual on-the-ground survey would be far more rigorous. Yet, if the bid committee puts together a plan for an unfeasible project that would increase the taxpayers' burden, then neither the Japanese public nor Tokyoites will swallow it.


(on-the-ground survey=現地調査) (rigorous=厳格な、厳重な) (unfeasible=実行可能でない、実現性の低い、作るのが難しい)

(Tokyoistes=東京都民) (swallow=飲み込む、理解して納得する、受け入れる)

Tokyo's major weakness is that the public is not very excited about the Olympic bid. The IOC conducted opinion polls in each candidate city; over 70 percent of the residents of the other three cities each supported hosting the Games--Madrid was highest at 90 percent. As for Tokyo, only 59 percent endorsed the idea.



For previous Olympic bids, the first round of the selection process placed Paris at the top for 2012 Summer Games and Salzburg, Austria, for the 2014 Winter Games. In the end, both lost out to London and Sochi, Russia, respectively.


It will be up to over 100 members of the IOC to select the winning city. The shortlisted cities can now start their campaigns overseas to woo them.


(shortlisted cities=開催予定地、ノミネートされた都市) (woo=支持を得ようと努める、求愛する)

There are 16 months to go before the voting takes place in October 2009. Perhaps, Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara should go to the Beijing Olympics this summer and start by trying to sell Tokyo's bid there.



--The Asahi Shimbun, June 8(IHT/Asahi: June 10,2008)

朝日新聞 6月08日号(英語版 2008年6月10日発行)

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(Jun. 10, 2008) The Yomiuri Shimbun

Society's notion of safety shaken to its core

無差別7人殺害 安全が足元で揺らいでいる(6月10日付・読売社説)


A traffic-free street packed with shoppers and pedestrians on an early Sunday afternoon descended rapidly into a disaster zone.




A 25-year-old male temporary worker plowed into a crowd with a truck before slashing one person after another with a double-edged survival knife. This indiscriminate stabbing frenzy in Tokyo's electronics shopping district of Akihabara left seven people dead and 10 injured.



Among the victims were two male university students who went to Akihabara with two other friends to see a movie, and a former dentist who visited the district with his eldest son to buy personal computer-related items. Who, including the families of the victims, would have predicted that such an attack would occur?


would have predicted=前もって予測できただろう 文法:仮定法過去完了の用法)

Police quoted the attacker, who was arrested on suspicion of murder, as saying: "I visited Akihabara to kill whoever I could," and "I got sick of the world. I'm tired of living."


These words are so mean and selfish.



When did things go wrong?


The attacker, who was born in Aomori, did well at primary and middle school and advanced to a prestigious high school in Aomori Prefecture known for preparing students well for university entrance examinations.



At what point and why did he develop this streak of brutality? We hope that the police will clarify his motives and uncover the details of the background leading up to the attack.



A 24-year-old man, who killed one person and injured seven in a knife attack in March at JR Arakawaoki Station in Tsuchiura, Ibaraki Prefecture, was quoted as saying: "I wanted to kill whoever I could," and "I'll be able to get a death sentence if I kill more than one person."



In another stabbing rampage, a male student of a private high school attacked five people with kitchen knives on a shopping street in Shinagawa Ward, Tokyo, in January. The Tokyo Family Court said in its decision to put him on probation that he had come to the conclusion he had no choice other than to murder someone or kill himself.


put him on probation=彼を保護処分とする)(probation=保護観察、仮釈放)


Growing trend alarming


Is there an increasing number of immature people among our younger generations who are failing to adapt themselves to society while trying to draw other people into their problems to satisfy their own desires for self-destruction?


There is no way to protect ourselves if we are stuck in a crowd and someone suddenly starts wielding a deadly weapon. The Tsuchiura case also took place on a Sunday. In light of these events, some people may now find it difficult to enjoy strolling around busy shopping and entertainment districts.

It is as if the safety rug of society has been pulled away from under our feet.



Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda has directed National Public Safety Commission Chairman Shinya Izumi to look into the social background underlying these kinds of incidents and take any necessary measures. Are there problems in the nation's homes and schools that could be causing these attacks? It is a matter of urgent necessity to probe the possible causes.



About seven hours before his deadly attack, the suspect in the Akihabara case posted a message on a mobile phone Web site that said, "I'm going to kill people in Akihabara."


It would be possible to deal with some of these cases if the sources of messages such as this one could be known beforehand.


deal with=対処する、対策をたてる)

But in reality, police have to get a warrant from a court to allow them to search or seize the records of site operators or ask them to identify the sources of messages.


get a warrant from a court=裁判所の捜索差押許可状を取る)

Discussions should take place with a view to creating a new system that enables police to obtain information quickly and crack down on crimes for which there is advance warning.


crack down=取りしまる、沈静化する)

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 10, 2008)

20086100214  読売新聞)

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เริม rəəm です。このサイトでは正しく表示されるようです。


กอ  ɔɔ  平声 koo(a)(flat)

ก่อ  k̀ɔɔ  低声 koo(a)(low)

ก้อ  ̂ɔɔ  下声 koo(a)(falling)

ก๊อ  ḱɔɔ   高声 koo(a)(high)

ก๋อ  ǩɔɔ  上声 koo(a)(rising)









kiyoshi matsui from khonkaen, thailand

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5:57 2008/06/10


kiyoshi matsui from khonkaen, thailand

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2008年6月 9日 (月)



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9:34 2008/06/09



srachai from khonkaen, thailand

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Mainichi Daily News Online (2008/06/09)


Translated into Japanese by Srachai from Khonkaen, Thailand


5 dead in stabbing spree in Akihabara



Paramedics give aid to a victim of the stabbing rampage in Akihabara in Tokyo's Chiyoda-ku, June 8, 2008. (Mainichi)


paramedics=救急医療隊員[救急救命士])(stabbing rampage=刃物による通り魔)(stab=刺す)(rampage=激怒、興奮状態)

TOKYO -- Japanese public broadcaster NHK says the death toll from a midday stabbing spree in Tokyo has risen to five.

The deadly attack at lunchtime Sunday in the Akihabara district also injured 12 others, paralyzing shoppers with fear.

Police say they arrested a 25-year-old man at the scene.



death toll=死者)(middy=白昼の)(spree=盛んなこと、盛んな状態)(paralyzing=しびれさせる、まひさせる)

Local news reports say the attacker grunted and roared as he slashed and stabbed his victims at random on a street crowded with shoppers.




Akihabara's electronics and video game district, known as Electric Town, is wildly popular with Japan's cyber-wise youth.

(Mainichi Japan) June 8, 2008


日本語への翻訳 by srachai from khonkaen, thailand

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2008年6月 8日 (日)


私はタイフリークでタイ往復格安航空券を購入して一年少なくとも3回はタイ旅行をしました。格安航空券の購入は簡単です。昔は成田タイ往復2weeks fix で四万円以下で購入可能でした。最新情報は下記のサイトで確認してください。


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(Jun. 8, 2008) The Yomiuri Shimbun

Taxpayers' money mustn't be wasted

接待タクシー 税金を使う重さを自覚せよ(6月8日付・読売社説)

Public servants of the Finance Ministry and 12 other government ministries and agencies have been found to have received money or goods from drivers of taxis they used to return home late at night.


We wonder if they had no guilty feelings, or if their ethics are somehow removed from those of the general public.



So far, 520 public officials have been found to have been treated with money and goods by the drivers of taxis on a total of more than 12,000 occasions.


When they return home by taxi, the cost is covered by taxpayers' money. Receiving cash and goods in return for paying taxi fares is tantamount to pocketing a portion of taxpayer-paid taxi fares.


be tantamount to=~とみなされる)(tantamount=同等の、等しい)

If any of the taxi fares were inflated, and government officials received a portion of the fares as kickbacks, such acts would constitute embezzlement of public money. The ministries and agencies should thoroughly investigate the matter.



More than half of the government officials--383--are from the Finance Ministry, which should be strictly checking how taxpayers money is being used. Of them, 19 received cash or gift coupons. One Budget Bureau official received more than 1.8 million yen in cash or Quo prepaid cards in the last five years.


Such an act can be seen as a violation of the ethics rules governing central government officials that stipulate "they shall receive no benefits from others that go beyond what is regarded permissible in conventional wisdom."


It cannot be denied that the Finance Ministry has been less than careful about handling public money as, after all, it did not take any measures against such long-standing practices.



Officials slave into wee hours


Many of the government officials who were treated with beer and snacks reportedly thought it was part of the service offered by the driver and a perk that government officials could enjoy for doing overtime work until late at night.



If officials call a taxi driver they know, they can have a drink and sleep until the driver delivers them home without them having to give directions.


without them having to give directionswithout having them give directions=道順を案内することなしに)

It is understandable, to a certain extent, that they wanted to relax in their taxis, but receiving beer or other treats clearly goes too far.


Behind the frequent usage of taxis by central government officials is their working practices, which prompt them to mockingly describe their ministries as "Zanmusho" (Backlog Ministry) or "Tsujo Zangyosho" (Regular Overtime Ministry).


prompt someone to do=人にうながして~させる)(mockingly=あざけって、ふざけて)(backlog=残務)

It is necessary to review bureaucrats' working conditions, which require them to work into the wee hours preparing statements for cabinet ministers to give at the Diet in answer to questions by lawmakers, or doing some other duties.


(wee hours=朝の早い時間、未明)


Rivalry stiff among cabbies



Taxi drivers have been handing over money and goods to government officials out of their own pockets partly because of the cutthroat competition in the cab industry. Nearly 60,000 taxis crowd Tokyo's streets, and many of the drivers are paid solely on a commission basis.



The salary of taxi drivers can largely depend on how many regular long-distance customers they can get. Central government officials have been wonderful customers for cabbies.



But discounting taxi fares and returning a portion of the fare is a violation of the Road Transportation Law. Providing alcoholic drinks in taxis is also a violation of a rule voluntarily set by the taxi industry.



We hope that taxi drivers will abide by the rules and compete with each other by driving safely and being considerate to customers, rather than handing money and goods to them.


abide by=原理、規則、法規などに従って行動する)(considerate=思いやりのある)

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 8, 2008)

2008680150  読売新聞)

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2008年6月 7日 (土)


06/07/2008 --The Asahi Shimbun, June 6(IHT/Asahi: June 7,2008)

EDITORIAL: Food crisis talks


The world is confronted with an emergency that is worthy of the label "food shock." Skyrocketing prices of wheat, soybeans, rice and other major grains have triggered riots in impoverished countries in Africa and Asia by hungry mobs. Nations increasingly are moving to safeguard their own domestic food supplies.



To address the mounting crisis, the High-Level Conference on World Food Security, sponsored by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, met for three days in Rome during the past week. The heads of 50 countries, including Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, attended to speak out on this pressing global issue. We salute the significance of that gathering.



Grain prices began rising a year or so ago. Drought conditions in major agricultural countries overlapped with increased demand for food in developing regions, further spurring the price hikes from this year. Alarmed by the situation, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon elevated the conference from working level to summit status, and urged top leaders to take part.



The prices of major grains have jumped 1.5 to 3 times in the international market over the past year alone. Such steep increases render it impossible for many poor countries to purchase enough food to feed their people. At the conference, key nations announced food aid policies. For the time being, however, the only safe course would appear to be to keep expanding such assistance so as to prevent conditions from worsening further.


The real problem is that the soaring prices do not appear to be a passing phenomenon. Experts are of the view that even if speculative money flowing in from financial markets abates, grain prices will continue to remain high.




Supporting such assumptions is the rapid expansion of food appetites in China, India and other highly populated nations hand in hand with their economic growth. By 2050, the world will have an additional 2.5 billion people to feed, bringing the global population to 9 billion. It is a foregone conclusion that demand for food will only escalate.



This is precisely why hopes were high that the conference would define an international order to address the emerging era of food shortages. It is regrettable, therefore, that the gathering primarily served to accentuate the points of disagreement on this front.



For example, there are differences in the positions held by food exporters and importers. Some 15 countries have begun to introduce export bans, tariffs or other restrictions on outbound shipments. In the event of an eventual curtailing in food trade due to the inability to rely upon imports, exporting countries would also sustain losses. Yet, even though Japan, the world's greatest net importer of food, used the Rome event to demand self-restraint in the exercising of export controls, exporter nations stuck to their guns, arguing that securing domestic food supplies is their top priority.



There are also clear gaps in thinking between the United States, Brazil and other countries that promote the production of biofuels from farm produce and those that do not. Although this was heavily criticized as a chief cause behind the sharp rise in grain prices, the supporters of that stance made it clear they would not back down.


Can a new order be created to resolve such standoffs? How can a global scheme encouraging increased grain production be put into place? In Japan, a drastic change in current domestic farming policy has become essential.



The long-running food glut is quickly becoming a shortage, generating a critical need for revisions that address the changing times. We look forward to speedy preparations to tackle this issue at next month's Group of Eight summit at Lake Toyako in Hokkaido.



--The Asahi Shimbun, June 6(IHT/Asahi: June 7,2008)

朝日新聞 6月06日号 (英語版 2008年6月07日発行)

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06/07/2008 --The Asahi Shimbun, June 6(IHT/Asahi: June 7,2008)

EDITORIAL: Censure motion


After weeks of empty threats, the main opposition Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan) finally decided to bring forward a motion to censure Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda.


The party will submit the motion to the opposition-controlled Upper House in the coming week, just before the end of the current Diet session.

With expected support from other opposition parties like the Japanese Communist Party and the Social Democratic Party, the motion is likely to be passed. It will be the first time for the prime minister to be censured by the Upper House.


Unlike the passage of a no confidence motion against the Cabinet by the Lower House, which forces the prime minister to resign with all other Cabinet members or dissolve the Lower House for a snap election, the Upper House's censure carries no legal force.


Still, Minshuto says the action will have no less significance, as it will demonstrate a clear expression of the chamber's will.


Fukuda, however, remains unfazed by the move, apparently determined to ignore the motion even if it is passed. The opposition camp's boycott of Diet deliberations as a follow-up punch would put little pressure on the Fukuda administration, as the current session closes on June 15.



Even so, the planned censure motion is certain to have no small political impact as a message to the public.


Fukuda's approval ratings have fallen to below 20 percent amid public resentment of the government's handling of weighty pocketbook issues, such as a newly introduced health-care insurance program for people aged 75 or older and gasoline tax surcharges.


resentment=恨み、憤り 発音注意:sはzと発音される)

The censure motion will certainly be effective in some ways. It will make it clear to the public that the Upper House is giving the Fukuda administration a big thumbs down. It will also demonstrate Minshuto's resolution to wrest power from the ruling coalition led by Fukuda's Liberal


wrest power=権力、力を手に入れる)

Democratic Party.


Another possible factor behind the move is Minshuto's party presidential election in September. Minshuto President Ichiro Ozawa may be trying to build momentum for his re-election by rallying the party around his confrontational posture toward the ruling camp.


build momentum=勢いをつける)(rally=呼び集める、結集させる)

As head of the largest opposition party, however, Ozawa has much work to do before he takes that step. He should confront Fukuda face to face in Diet debate slated for Wednesday.


slate for=予定する)

The previous face-off between the two party chiefs on the Diet floor in April was a spectacle. During the debate, Fukuda, with a great show of indignation, railed at Ozawa, saying his government was "having such a hard time trying to manage the Diet business (because of Minshuto's behavior) so that it deserves some pity." The clash reflected effectively the first-ever "split Diet," with the two houses controlled by different parties.




Two months on, expectations of another heated debate are running high among voters. Many people must be looking forward to the event, wondering what kind of arguments the two veteran lawmakers will make.


The debate should focus on the unpopular new health-care program for elderly people. Should this program be scrapped so that a new system can be created from scratch, as Minshuto argues? Or is the ruling bloc's proposal to reduce the financial burden on low- and middle-income earners a better solution? The public needs to hear the two party leaders' views on a range of issues, including how to strike a balance in the future between benefits and burdens under the social security system.


But if the opposition camp starts boycotting Diet deliberations after the censure motion against Fukuda passes, the scheduled debate will be canceled. Minshuto should make sure that the debate will be held before it submits the censure motion.


Ozawa, who admits that he is not good at public speaking, seems to shy away from one-on-one debates with Fukuda. There has been only one such event during the current Diet session. If he allows next week's debate to be canceled, his caliber as the head of the main opposition party seeking to govern the nation will be called into question.



A Diet face-off with Fukuda offers the best opportunity for Ozawa to stage his attack against the embattled prime minister.



--The Asahi Shimbun, June 6(IHT/Asahi: June 7,2008)

朝日新聞 6月06日号 (英語版 2008年6月07日発行)

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Mainichi Daily News (2008/06/07)

Japan to formally recognize Ainu as indigenous people


The House of Councillors and the House of Representatives voted in favor of the resolution at their respective plenary sessions on Friday.


On behalf of the executive branch of the government, Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura declared that Japan will formally recognize Ainu as indigenous people.



The government is set to establish a panel on Ainu to consider their indigenous rights after it officially recognizes them as indigenous people.


The move will likely represent a drastic change in Japan's policy of not recognizing Ainu's indigenous rights and putting top priority to the development of Hokkaido where a large population of Ainu has been concentrated since the Meiji Era.


The resolution points out that Japan is required to take specific actions following the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in September last year.


"We must take seriously the historical fact that numerous Ainu people were discriminated against and impoverished as Japan underwent modernization," the resolution says.



It then urges the government to officially recognize Ainu as indigenous people and implement specific measures to protect their rights.


Ainu is an ethnic group that has its own culture and language. They mainly lived in Hokkaido and on the Kuril Islands, and earned a living by hunting and picking wild vegetables.


However, their population decreased sharply under the Meiji government's assimilation policy, according to experts.



A Hokkaido Prefectural Government survey shows that 23,782 Ainu people were living in the northernmost prefecture as of 2006.


(Mainichi Japan) June 6, 2008

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(Jun. 7, 2008) The Yomiuri Shimbun

Prudence required over health insurance reform

後期高齢者医療 腰を据え新制度を改善せよ(6月7日付・読売社説)


The nation's health insurance system for the elderly has become embroiled in the current political turmoil.


embroiled=巻き込まれる 文法:過去分詞の形容詞的用法)

A bill submitted by four opposition parties to abolish the new system for people aged 75 and older was passed by the opposition-controlled House of Councillors on Friday. The vote came after little more than one day of deliberations by an upper house panel. Ruling camp lawmakers boycotted the voting.


This is exactly the kind of "forcible passage" that the opposition parties criticized concerning the ruling parties' handling of other bills.


The bill calls for a return to the previous health insurance system for elderly people for the time being. But the opposition camp has yet to present an alternative plan that would replace the current system that was introduced in April. The submission of the bill is irresponsible as the opposition knew it would not pass the House of Representatives, which is dominated by the ruling parties.


The opposition camp apparently is trying to move toward submission of a censure motion against Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, using passage of the bill to increase pressure on the government and ruling parties. The opposition thus is making health insurance for the elderly a political football.


make something a political football=~を政治の駆け引きの手段として使用する football=駆け引きの材料)


Amendments only stopgap


In responding to the offensive by the opposition parties, the ruling parties hastily proposed measures to amend the current system. But these look like little more than a stopgap.



The measures include one to cut premiums for certain groups--mainly those on low incomes. Under the ruling parties' plan, the range of people whose health insurance premiums are not deducted from their pension benefits also would be expanded.


It is necessary to provide relief for elderly people struggling with annual incomes of up to 800,000 yen--the threshold for those covered by the basic pension scheme.


(threshold=基準点、課税分岐点 発音注意: thres-hold ではなく thre-shold と発音される) (basic pension scheme=基礎年金)

But questions arise if the measures allow reductions in premiums even for those on higher incomes. The new system is meant to have the elderly shoulder burdens in accordance with their incomes. If the relief measures accommodate calls to cut premiums in an indiscriminate way, they will pervert the original goal of the system.


Levels of health insurance premiums varied significantly among municipalities under the previous system. But the levels are now uniform in each prefecture. This shift in the system has left some people shouldering higher premiums while others now enjoy lower premiums. If relief measures are freely doled out without grasping in detail the actual situation, people may feel that the system has just become unfair in a different way.


(dole out=何かを少しずつ人に分けてあげる、配分する、提供する)


Survey overdue, inadequate


The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry has at last conducted a nationwide survey on changes that resulted from the new system, with results showing that 69 percent of households affected had their premiums cut after the switchover. This kind of survey should have been conducted much earlier. If such figures had been known prior to introduction of the new system, public opposition might have been much reduced.



should have been conducted=行われるべきだった、行われているべきだった文法:仮定法過去完了)

public opposition=市民の反発)

The ministry's report is only preliminary, and does not cover every aspect of the situation. To introduce relief measures for those in real need, it is necessary to conduct a more thorough survey.


preliminary=事前の、予備の)(thorough=徹底的な、完璧な、綿密な、周到な through と読み間違えないように)

The government should first focus on seriously engaging in implementation of the new system, and then carefully judge what needs correcting. If it were to return to the previous system or become panicked and confused, it would not be able to find a better form of health insurance for the elderly.



If it were=もし~だったら 文法:仮定法過去 現在の事実に反することを表現する三人称単数の主語に対してもbe動詞はwas でなく were を使用する。)

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 7, 2008)

2008670127  読売新聞)

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2008年6月 6日 (金)


20:11 2008/06/06



kiyoshi matsui from khonkaen, thailand

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18:59 2008/06/06



kiyoshi matsui from khonkaen, thailand

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17:20 2008/06/06



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EDITORIAL: President Obama?

06/06/2008 --The Asahi Shimbun, June 5 (IHT/Asahi: June 6,2008)


At long last, the race to name the Democratic candidate for U.S. president has been settled with the emergence of Sen. Barack Obama as the first African-American nominee. His candidacy dashes Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's challenge to be the first woman to win the nomination. Obama, who was born to a Kenyan father and a white American mother, will go up against Republican Sen. John McCain in the Nov. 4 presidential election.



The sensation that Obama stirred from the outset of the primaries must have caught many readers by surprise. Can the United States really change that much and overcome racial prejudice against blacks? This is the question that has been on their minds.



U.S. history tells us that the abolition of slavery was a product of the American Civil War (1861-1865). But actually, harsh discrimination continued after the war and the voting rights of blacks in the South were curtailed for many years. It wasn't until 1965 that all forms of discrimination, including suffrage restrictions, were officially abolished.



More than four decades later, the United States has entered an age in which an African-American will be running for president. Without question, American society has changed.


A speech that Obama delivered at the 2004 Democratic convention brought him instant accolades when, in a call for unity, he said: "There is not a black America and a white America and Latino America and Asian America; there's the United States of America."



Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States leading up to the quagmire of the Iraq war, U.S. society under the Bush administration has become sharply divided. The differences are over traditional values and such matters as religion and the gap between the rich and the poor, not to mention the propriety of the war itself.



Obama's message is a call for unity of American society and "change" from conventional politics. The reason Obama attracted such enthusiastic support from young people and well-educated white Americans is that he tried to get across his message despite the fact he is black, a factor that could have worked against him.


get across=わからせる、理解させる、納得させる)

But the momentum he generated early on started to show signs of waning during the latter part of his campaign. His image was tarnished when it came to light that a pastor of a black church in Chicago that Obama attended had made inflammatory remarks to incite antipathy between races.




While keeping a distance from the grudges of blacks who have been a target of discrimination, Obama called for harmony among people of different ethnic backgrounds. His strategy was apparently based on his belief that he could aggravate division if he emphasized his position as a victim of discrimination.



The decline in support for Obama toward the end of the campaign seems to imply the hesitation in American society to accept a black as a presidential candidate.


Still, the Democrats chose Obama. The public approval rating of President George W. Bush has dropped to an all-time low and American society is seething with discontent. Obama fought a close race against Clinton, who time and again stressed that she was more qualified for the job of president because of her experience. Obama's victory suggests that Americans are ready to embrace change.


seething=内心にえくりかえるような、沸騰している、逆巻いている)(time and again=ことあるごとに)


Debate with McCain has already started over such issues as withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq and rebuilding the economy. How has American society changed and will continue to change? How will it deal with the racial problem? We need to keep an even closer eye on the upcoming presidential election.


--The Asahi Shimbun, June 5 (IHT/Asahi: June 6,2008)

朝日新聞6月05日号 (英語版 2008年6月06日発行)

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06/06/2008 --The Asahi Shimbun, June 5 (IHT/Asahi: June 6,2008)

EDITORIAL: Nationality Law


The Nationality Law stipulates that a child born to a Japanese man or woman is considered a Japanese citizen at birth, regardless of whether the child's parents are legally married.


A child born to a Japanese man and an unmarried foreign woman is granted Japanese nationality if the father acknowledges paternity by the time of the child's birth.


But if the Japanese father acknowledges paternity only after the child's birth, the boy or girl has no rights of Japanese nationality under a controversial provision of the law unless the parents are married.


The constitutionality of this provision was challenged by 10 children who were born out of wedlock to Japanese fathers and Filipina mothers but were acknowledged by their fathers as their own after their births. They filed lawsuits seeking to be recognized as Japanese nationals.


The Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, declaring as unconstitutional the provision of the Nationality Law under which children (born to unmarried foreign mothers and) acknowledged by their Japanese fathers after their birth will be granted Japanese nationality on condition that their parents are married. The ruling granted Japanese nationality to all the plaintiffs, children aged 8 to 14.


In handing down the well-reasoned ruling, the top court argued as follows: In the past, it was thought that a child's close tie with the country of its parent was based on the marital relationship between the parents. But both society's views and realities concerning families and parent-child relations have changed over the years. Many countries have scrapped such legal discrimination in granting nationality to children based on circumstances surrounding their births.



The plaintiffs were all born and raised in Japan and are attending Japanese schools. While they are living as members of Japanese society, the lack of Japanese nationality puts them at a serious disadvantage in various aspects of social life. One of the plaintiffs, 10-year-old Masami, dreams of becoming a police officer, but it will remain beyond her reach unless she is given Japanese nationality. Such discrimination and a violation of individual rights should not be left unaddressed.


One in every 10 children who have Japanese fathers and foreign mothers is born out of wedlock. There can be various circumstances surrounding the births of these illegitimate children. But there must be many cases in which the Japanese father is responsible for the child's illegitimate status.



In any case, there is no fault on the part of the child. There is nothing such children could have done to make sure that their fathers would acknowledge paternity before their births or their parents would get married after they were born. There are tens of thousands of children born to Japanese fathers and foreign mothers who are not recognized as Japanese nationals, according to an estimate.


What was noteworthy about the Supreme Court decision was that it approved of interpreting the law in a way that makes it possible to rescue people subject to discrimination. In granting nationality to the plaintiffs, the court applied the law by ignoring the provision it deemed unconstitutional.


the court applied the law by ignoring the provision it deemed unconstitutional→the court applied the law by ignoring the provision (that is) deemed (to be) unconstitutional


Some of the 15 justices on the grand bench, however, dissented, arguing that the provision that is unconstitutional should be corrected through legislation. However, the Diet and the government have failed to revise the law while the constitutionality of the provision has long been questioned. Waiting for new legislation to fix the problem would further delay relief for the victims.




We support the Supreme Court decision. It exercised its power to determine the constitutionality of a law so as to actually make things better for the children.



--The Asahi Shimbun, June 5 (IHT/Asahi: June 6,2008)

朝日新聞 6月05日号 (英語版 2008年6月06日発行)

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(Jun. 6, 2008) The Yomiuri Shimbun

Education spending plan should be more specific

教育基本計画 予算増に明確な論拠を示せ(6月6日付・読売社説)

Education is a matter on which the nation must have a far-sighted policy. Even under difficult fiscal conditions, it is important to secure necessary education budgets. But numerical targets in the Education, Science and Technology Ministry's draft of the government's basic education promotion plan are too sketchy.



The basic plan is supposed to offer a vision the nation aims for on education for the next 10 years, as well as measures that the nation should take for the next five years.


The ministry said in the draft that the proportion of government spending on education to the nation's gross domestic product should be raised to 5 percent or more in the coming decade. An additional 7.4 trillion yen would be needed to raise the current proportion of 3.5 percent to this 5 percent.

Achieving the ministry's numerical target would require the equivalent of the revenue gained from a 3 percent consumption tax rate.




Ministries at odds


The ministry was criticized over its failure to include numerical targets during the process of hammering out the draft plan. It then hastily brought up the additional budget, referring to the average proportion of 5 percent of public spending on education to GDP that is found among Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development member nations.


hammer out=粘り強い交渉の末に妥協などをひねり出す)

The Finance Ministry for its part has argued that the nation's education expenditures are comparable to other major nations and that there is no close correlation between educational spending and student achievement.



The ministry also has made a counterargument that public spending on education per student is increasing as the ratio of schoolchildren to the nation's overall population is the lowest among OECD members.



The Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry also has shown a negative stance toward the plan, arguing that local governments, which cover 70 percent or more of educational budgets, would have to take up additional burdens.


take up=仕事を始める)

The education ministry thus remains at odds with the Finance Ministry and the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry.



Goals to strive for


Given the current situation that huge budgets are necessary for social security and other areas, the education ministry must present more convincing numerical targets concerning the education budget as well as policy measures.


numerical targets=数値目標)(education budget=教育予算)(policy measures=施策内容)

For the implementation of the new teaching guidelines, under which the volume of subject matter will increase, it surely will be necessary to have a sufficient number of teachers.



Although the new teaching guidelines are to be implemented in full at primary schools from April 2011 and at middle schools the following school year, it will be applied in advance to science and mathematics courses from next April as students' academic performance in these subjects has been found to be significantly declining.


Also under the new guidelines, English will be a compulsory subject for fifth- and sixth-year primary school students from the 2011 academic year.


To carry out these measures, the education ministry wants to increase the number of teachers by 25,000. Even if the increase is aimed at avoiding excessive burdens imposed on teaching staff, is it really necessary to have such an increase?


impose=課する、負わせる、負担させる)(impose 人 on 罰金=人に罰金を課する

The draft plan included a target of restoring students' physical strength to the levels seen around 1985. This seems to be a more specific target than previously expressed. Yet, in terms of specific academic performance goals, there are still a number of vague expressions in the draft plan.


physical strength=体力)(academic performance=学力)(vague=曖昧な)

It is true that achievements in education are hard to measure merely by numerical values. But setting targets on students' academic performances would help schools to make further efforts to improve education quality. We hope the education ministry will further strive to make sure the basic plan will be effective.



(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 6, 2008)

2008660156  読売新聞)

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2008年6月 5日 (木)


16:17 2008/06/05



kiyoshi matsui from khonkaen, thailand

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15:51 2008/06/05

ブーランコッコ ブーランコ

ブーランコッコ ブーランコ ブーランコッコ ブーランコ
これが約10分間。お父さんは腰が痛くなって、シーファーちゃんに家に帰って朝食をとるようにうながすが、返事は『ノーノー』。 お父さんの腰の痛みが限界近くになると、家に帰るそぶりをするシーファーちゃん。

kiyoshi matsui from khonkaen, thailand

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15:33 2008/06/05



kiyoshi matsui from khonkaen, thailand

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taa(*)m(flat) ak(low)soo(a)n(rising) thii(falling) nai(flat) choo(a)ng(falling) waang(falling) lee(a)o(+)(high) hat(low) aan(low)






















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06/05/2008 --The Asahi Shimbun, June 4(IHT/Asahi: June 5,2008)

EDITORIAL:Ainu rights


The Diet is set to adopt this week a resolution calling on the government to recognize the Ainu as an indigenous people this week. We hope the government will act promptly in line with the resolution.


indigenous=その土地に固有の、先住の 発音注意:stressはdiの上に)

Since ancient times, the Ainu people have inhabited extensive areas stretching from northern Honshu, and Hokkaido primarily, to the Kuril Islands and Sakhalin.


It is said that the kanji character "i" that is used in the military title of sei i taishogun (literally generalissimo in charge of conquering barbarian) created during the Heian Period (794-1185) refers to the Ainu.



Many geographical names in Hokkaido as well as common Japanese words such as rakko (sea otter) and tonakai (reindeer) come from the Ainu language.


The Ainu have long demanded that the government recognize their rights as an indigenous people. But it wasn't until the United Nations adopted the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples last September that this campaign started to gain momentum. The U.N. move is based on a new concept of human rights that reflects racial discrimination and colonialism of the past.


indigenous=その土地に固有の、先住の)(momentum=勢い、はずみ)(gain momentum=勢いをつける、はずみをつける)

The Japanese government also supported the declaration. However, in January, Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda told the Diet that "there is no internationally established definition for indigenous people" and avoided clarifying whether the Ainu fall into that category.


Since the Meiji Era (1868-1912), the Japanese government referred to the Ainu people as kyu-dojin (former natives) and kept their family registers separate from the rest of the nation. The prime minister's statement is hard to accept given that the derogatory term itself is tantamount to recognizing the Ainu are in fact an indigenous people.


derogatory=傷つける、軽蔑的な、見くびった、差別的な)(be tantamount to=~に等しい)

In 1986, then Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone made the comment that "Japan is an ethnically homogenous nation." It triggered protests by the Ainu and their supporters and served as a catalyst to abolish the Hokkaido Kyu-dojin Ho (Hokkaido former natives protection law). It was also around that time that the public started to have a better grasp of Ainu issues.



To begin with, the government has not even bothered to survey how many Ainu people live across Japan. There is no doubt that discrimination has continued in the form of neglect and indifference.



The proposed resolution calls on Japan to "solemnly accept the historical fact that (the Ainu people) have been discriminated against and forced to live in poverty even though they are equal Japanese." We agree with this wording.


solemnly=厳粛に、まじめに、重々しく 発音注意:nは発音されない)

The Ainu culture promotion law that took effect in 1997, replacing the former natives protection law, is aimed at preserving ethnic Ainu culture. Ainu language classes sprung up across Japan and a determined effort was made to pass down Ainu songs and dances to the younger generation.



But the law stops short of spelling out their rights as an ethnic minority. This is based on the argument that if it did, it could lead to serious and complex problems of land ownership and the right to racial self-determination.


the right to racial self-determination=民族自決権)

Discrimination and poverty have yet to be eliminated. According to a 2006 survey by the Hokkaido government, the ratio of Ainu living on welfare was more than three times that of the national average. The ratio of Ainu receiving higher education was one-third of the national average.


The government needs to listen to the pleas of the Ainu people and implement policies aimed at improving their standards of living and eliminating discrimination.



Japan will host the Group of Eight summit in Toyako, Hokkaido, in July. Indigenous peoples contribute to the diversity and richness of their countries. Japan should take advantage of the occasion to send such a message to the rest of the world.



--The Asahi Shimbun, June 4(IHT/Asahi: June 5,2008)

朝日新聞 6月04日号 (英語版 2008年6月05日発行)

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06/05/2008 --The Asahi Shimbun, June 4(IHT/Asahi: June 5,2008)

EDITORIAL:Cellphones and kids


Parenting is never a piece of cake in any age, but probably the greatest source of headache for parents today is the ubiquitous cellphone.



piece of cake=something very easy to do=簡単な仕事)(in any age=いつの時代にも)

Today, 96 percent of senior high school students and 58 percent of junior high school students have cellphones. Even among primary school children, 31 percent have them.


By enabling youngsters to stay connected with their parents at all times, these gadgets help to keep children safe. For the kids, they are fun toys, too, that let them text to chat with their pals whenever they want, play Internet games, and enjoy blogging for their own profile and diary purposes. They can even write novels and publish them online.



But terrible dangers lurk beneath all that fun and convenience.



Every year, about 1,000 children become involved in rape and other crimes through dating service sites. Violent and obscene images are only a couple of clicks away. On gakko ura saito, or so-called unofficial school websites where kids can post whatever they want, anyone can fall victim to brutal "verbal mob lynching" by their peers.


obscene=わいせつな、みだらな、卑猥な)(verbal mob lynching=言葉による集団暴力、暴行)

It is in the nature of parents to want to believe their own kids could never do wrong or be wronged, but no parent is 100 percent certain.


wronged=間違った 過去分詞の形容詞的用法)

Amid today's urgent need to address these problems, the government's Meeting on Education Rebuilding has issued a report.


In response to Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda's recent comments--"I can't think of one good reason for (letting youngsters) have a cellphone" and "I would like everyone to discuss whether cellphones are really necessary"--the report recommended that "parents, guardians, schools and all parties concerned should cooperate among themselves, so that elementary school pupils and junior high school students do not have a cellphone unless there is a compelling reason for them to do so."