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2010年9月30日 (木)






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Depend on China at your peril

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Sep. 30, 2010)
Depend on China at your peril
対日経済圧力 中国リスク回避へ分散化図れ(9月29日付・読売社説)

China is piling economic pressure on Japan following the collision this month between a Chinese fishing boat and two Japan Coast Guard patrol vessels in Japanese waters near the Senkaku Islands.

China effectively has limited exports of rare earth minerals, which are vital for manufacturing hybrid cars, energy-efficient electrical appliances and other products. Some Chinese customhouses have reportedly cranked up inspections of other goods exported to and imported from Japan, resulting in delayed shipments between the two countries.

Officially, the Chinese government has denied ordering this crackdown. However, China is clearly attempting to unsettle Japan. China's actions make a mockery of international economic rules. We think China should immediately retract its retaliatory measures.

Japan imports 90 percent of its rare earths from China. Industries that depend on these minerals are increasingly anxious about the slowdown in customs clearance procedures.

Actions trump words

China has claimed that it has not banned exports of rare earths. However, officials at several Japanese trading houses said the issuance of customs documents needed to approve exports has been halted.

A China ban on exports of rare earths only to Japan would violate World Trade Organization rules. The Japanese government must immediately investigate this worrying situation and demand an explanation from China on why customs clearance procedures have been held up.

At the same time, the government must do more to secure other rare earths production centers to ensure this nation has a stable supply of the minerals, promote research and development of rare earths substitutes and find ways to recycle the minerals.

Many Japanese companies, mainly those in the textile, auto and electrical appliance industries, have shifted their manufacturing bases to China, where labor costs are a fraction of what they are in Japan.

China's 1.3 billion population has increasingly strong purchasing power; it is certainly an attractive market for Japanese companies suffering from lethargic domestic demand due to the declining birthrate and graying population.

Reconsider business model

Nevertheless, Beijing's hard-nosed response to the latest dispute has made it painfully obvious to many Japanese firms that they should not rely too much on China to protect their business and interests.

It is disturbing that allowing Japan's economy to become a "hostage" to China's whims could sway government decisions on foreign and security policies.

Japanese companies should take this opportunity to reconsider their business strategy of concentrating production centers and investment in China, and instead start exploring new markets as the first step to reducing business risks.

Japanese companies have helped China develop technologies in such fields as energy and the environment. Some Japanese supermarkets and convenience stores have opened their doors in China, bringing jobs and a wide range of goods to the Chinese public.

We hope the Chinese government will not overlook the contributions Japanese companies have made to that country.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 29, 2010)
(2010年9月29日01時52分  読売新聞)

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2010年9月29日 (水)

Falling rice prices

--The Asahi Shimbun, Sept. 27
EDITORIAL: Falling rice prices

Lower rice prices may spell serious trouble for farmers but are welcome news for consumers.

The government's first response to the prospect of a sharp decline, compared with usual years, in the prices of rice to be harvested this year should be based on the viewpoint and interest of consumers.

The decline in rice prices is a product of an oversupply of the staple food in this nation. In addition to a massive carry-over of unsold rice from last year, when rice prices also dropped, an expected bountiful crop this year is likely to result in a sizable glut.

Even if depressed rice prices cause losses for rice growers, the income support program for farming households introduced this year by the government led by the Democratic Party of Japan will guarantee them a minimum level of income.

But the Central Union of Agricultural Cooperatives (Zenchu), the national organization of local agricultural cooperatives, is lobbying the government to take steps to prevent rice prices from sinking.

Specifically, the organization is demanding that the government buy surplus rice by using, ahead of schedule, the new rice stockpiling system that the farm ministry plans to introduce next fiscal year.

But we find it difficult to support Zenchu's lobbying campaign.

The biggest factor behind declining rice consumption is the shrinking and aging of the nation's population. It is glaringly obvious that the government's policy to maintain rice prices by purchasing surplus rice will reach its limits sooner or later. This approach will not solve any of the structural problems within the Japanese agricultural sector that cause an oversupply of rice.

It should be remembered that the income support program for farming households was created on the assumption that rice prices would be allowed to decline.

For decades after the end of World War II, the government maintained rice prices through the so-called acreage-reduction policy to adjust supply. This system was designed to support the income of rice farmers by forcing consumers to buy rice at prices kept artificially high.

However well intended, this policy has had many undesirable side effects for the agricultural sector. Although the government spent a total of 7 trillion yen ($83 billion) over the years to finance the acreage-reduction policy, Japanese agriculture has remained in a steady decline.
The present serious shortage of young farmers who can become the future backbone of agriculture in this nation and the vast amount of abandoned farmland can be said to be a result of this policy.

Now the government should move in the direction of integrating efforts to aid the agricultural sector through a taxpayer-financed system that will allow rice prices to fall in the domestic market.

Such a move would enhance the international price competitiveness of Japanese rice and thereby make it easier to open Japan's farm market to imports.

This policy shift could bring huge benefits to the Japanese people as a whole by eliminating the biggest obstacle in Japan's trade negotiations with other countries for free trade agreements.

Lower rice prices at home would improve the prospects for Japanese rice exports. Reputed for its safety and taste, Japanese rice has the potential to gain popularity in markets in China and other rice-eating Asian nations.

The current system of propping up the income of farming households is seriously flawed, as it is still married to policies that trim rice production to maintain artificially high prices.

Since the program covers all farmers selling rice, including very small-scale growers, it is hampering consolidation of farmland into the hands of large-scale farmers.

The time has come for new policy efforts to solve these challenges and improve the competitive environment for domestic farmers, so that Japanese agriculture can develop, even if rice prices fall.

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Plaid_Hu Pictures speak a thousand words
http://is.gd/fxuYz about 5 hours ago webから
(胡錦濤国家主席) 百聞は一見にしかず

photo by srachai from OCNフォトフレンド

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2010年9月28日 (火)


米国の失業者の増大も中国のこうした政策が原因である(これはちょっと違うのでは。自分の失策を他国に押し付けるのは間違っている by srachai)

cite from washington post,

The makings of a trade war with China
By Robert J. Samuelson
Monday, September 27, 2010

No one familiar with the Smoot-Hawley tariff of 1930 should relish the prospect of a trade war with China -- but that seems to be where we're headed and probably should be where we are headed. Although the Smoot-Hawley tariff did not cause the Great Depression, it contributed to its severity by provoking widespread retaliation. Confronting China's export subsidies risks a similar tit-for-tat cycle at a time when the global economic recovery is weak. This is a risk, unfortunately, we need to take.

In a decade, China has gone from a huge, poor nation to an economic colossus. Although its per capita income ($6,600 in 2009) is only one-seventh that of the United States ($46,400), the sheer size of its economy gives it a growing global influence. China passed Japan this year as the second-largest national economy. In 2009, it displaced Germany as the biggest exporter and also became the world's largest energy user.

The trouble is that China has never genuinely accepted the basic rules governing the world economy. China follows those rules when they suit its interests and rejects, modifies or ignores them when they don't. Every nation, including the United States, would like to do the same, and most have tried. What's different is that most other countries support the legitimacy of the rules -- often requiring the sacrifice of immediate economic self-interest -- and none is as big as China. Their departures from norms don't threaten the entire system.

China's worst abuse involves its undervalued currency and its promotion of export-led economic growth. The United States isn't the only victim. China's underpricing of exports and overpricing of imports hurt most trading nations, from Brazil to India. From 2006 to 2010, China's share of world exports jumped from 7 to 10 percent.

One remedy would be for China to revalue its currency, reducing the competitiveness of its exports. American presidents have urged this for years. The Chinese acknowledge that they need stronger domestic spending but seem willing to let the renminbi (RMB) appreciate only if it doesn't really hurt their exports. Thus, the appreciation of about 20 percent permitted from mid-2005 to mid-2008 was largely offset by higher productivity (a.k.a. more efficiency) that lowered costs. China halted even this when the global economy crashed and has only recently permitted the currency to rise. In practice, however, the renminbi has barely budged.

How much China's currency is undervalued and how many U.S. jobs have been lost are unclear. The Peterson Institute for International Economics, a research group, says a revaluation of 20 percent would create 300,000 to 700,000 U.S. jobs over two to three years. Economist Robert Scott of the liberal Economic Policy Institute estimates that trade with China has cost 3.5 million jobs. This may be high, because it assumes that imports from China displace U.S. production when many may displace imports from other countries. But all estimates are large, though well short of the recession's total employment decline of 8.4 million.

If China won't revalue, the alternative is retaliation. This might start a trade war, because China might respond in kind, perhaps buying fewer Boeings and more Airbuses and substituting Brazilian soybeans for American. One proposal by Reps. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) and Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) would classify currency manipulation -- which China clearly practices -- as an export subsidy eligible for "countervailing duties" (tariffs offsetting the subsidy). This makes economic sense but might be ruled illegal by the World Trade Organization. A House committee approved this approach last week; the full House could pass it this week. Ideally, congressional action would persuade China to negotiate a significant currency revaluation.

Less ideal and more realistic would be a replay of Smoot-Hawley, just when the wobbly world economy doesn't need a fight between its two largest members. Economic nationalism, once unleashed here and there, might prove hard to control. But there's a big difference between then and now. Smoot-Hawley was blatantly protectionist. Dozens of tariffs increased; many countries retaliated. By contrast, American action today would aim at curbing Chinese protectionism.

The post-World War II trading system was built on the principle of mutual advantage, and that principle -- though often compromised -- has endured. China wants a trading system subordinated to its needs: ample export markets to support the jobs necessary to keep the Communist Party in power; captive sources for oil, foodstuffs and other essential raw materials; and technological superiority. Other countries win or lose depending on how well they serve China's interests.

The collision is between two concepts of the world order. As the old order's main architect and guardian, the United States faces a dreadful choice: resist Chinese ambitions and risk a trade war in which everyone loses; or do nothing and let China remake the trading system. The first would be dangerous; the second, potentially disastrous.

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Don't overlook violence by younger students

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Sep. 28, 2010)
Don't overlook violence by younger students
「キレる」子ども 暴力の低年齢化にブレーキを(9月27日付・読売社説)

There seems to be no end to the violence being committed by younger students. This serious situation at school is clear from a fiscal 2009 survey conducted by the education ministry.

The number of violent acts by students both at and away from school jumped to a record 61,000 cases, marking an increase for the fourth straight year, according to the survey of primary, middle and high schools across the nation.

Violence by high school students is declining, but that by primary and middle school students has continued to rise. Primary school students in particular racked up a total of 7,100 violent incidents, nearly double the figure recorded three years before. The number of cases in which primary school teachers were treated at hospitals after suffering student violence topped 100.

In the past, specific groups tended to commit violence regularly. But in recent years, there have been conspicuous instances of usually calm students who are suddenly triggered by something to commit violence.


New measures necessary

The situation has thus worsened to the extent that the problem of student violence cannot be solved merely by giving corrective guidance to the leaders of violent student groups. New countermeasures need to be taken after analyzing the current situation.

A common characteristic of children who burst into fits of rage is limited ability to control their emotions and express their feelings in words.

To help such students develop better emotional awareness, one primary school, for example, gives lessons in first- and second-grade classes in which photos of an angry child's face are shown and students are asked, "How does this student feel?"

Many experts say the problem lies with student's families. They say that in some cases students are not well disciplined because their parents tend to neglect them. In other families, overly controlling and education-obsessed parents subject their children to too much stress.

School authorities must make efforts to improve the situation by learning about the family environments of individual students and using that knowledge as the basis for serious dialogue with parents.


Bullying persists

The number of bullying cases recognized by primary, middle and high schools came to 73,000 in fiscal 2009, a decrease of 12,000 from a year before. Compared with 125,000 cases registered in fiscal 2006, the figure for fiscal 2009 shows a drop of more than 40 percent.

But it is premature to conclude that bullying at school is in fact declining. This is because some schools answered there was "no bullying" at their schools without asking students in questionnaires or individual interviews about whether that was actually the case.

A third-year middle school student in Kawasaki who had been bullied by classmates killed himself in June. Such tragedies happen repeatedly. The "decrease in bullying" shown by statistics should not lull those in charge of education into relaxing their efforts.

Bullying could happen to any child. Schools must recognize this anew and take care not to overlook even the small signs of bullying.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 27, 2010)
(2010年9月27日01時12分  読売新聞)

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2010年9月27日 (月)

Ichiro's 200-hit milestone due to technique, training

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Sep. 27, 2010)
Ichiro's 200-hit milestone due to technique, training
イチロー 技と鍛錬が生んだ200安打(9月26日付・読売社説)

The Seattle Mariners' Ichiro Suzuki has reached yet another milestone in Major League Baseball history.

On Thursday, Suzuki notched 200 hits for an unprecedented 10th consecutive season, breaking his own major league record of nine straight 200-hit seasons. We'd like to extend our warmest congratulations on this remarkable feat.

Ten years have passed since Suzuki joined the Seattle Mariners after a nine-year stint with the Orix BlueWave (now the Orix Buffaloes) of Japan's Pacific League.

Suzuki has exceeded 200 hits every year since moving to the United States, using his masterful bat control and natural speed on the base paths.

Commenting on his achievement, Suzuki said, "I know better than anyone that it's not easy."

His feat is a great record that can only be achieved through continuous training and good physical conditioning.

The Seattle Mariners have performed poorly in recent seasons, and the team is in last place in the American League West this year. With his team running in low gear, it must be difficult for Suzuki to maintain his concentration.


Pete Rose mark within reach

Former Major League player Pete Rose, who also is widely known in Japan, also had at least 200 hits in 10 seasons but not consecutively.

If Suzuki reaches 200 hits for the 11th consecutive season next year, he also would top Rose for the most 200-hit seasons. We hope he will break this record, too.

On Sept. 18, Suzuki collected his 3,500th hit in his major league and Japanese careers combined. However, since this statistic includes the hits he had during his Japan playing days, it does not necessarily garner much praise in the United States.

For that reason, the significance of the 10 consecutive 200-hit seasons he achieved only in the United States stands out.

Major league players praised Suzuki's achievement as a record that will be unbreakable for the next 100 years. Despite reaching the mark while his team was on the road in Toronto, the fans in attendance gave him a standing ovation.

Suzuki will turn 37 next month. When he is in a slump, some people say his abilities have declined due to age.

However, Suzuki's extraordinary speed has hardly diminished, as this season he reached the 40-steal mark for the first time in two years.


NPB knock-on effect

Suzuki's marquee performances also stimulate Nippon Professional Baseball. Norichika Aoki of the Yakult Swallows and other players who admire Suzuki are studying his technique and banging out the hits.

Japan won the World Baseball Classic championship both times the tournament has been staged, in 2006 and 2009. Japanese baseball will rise to an even higher level if more players follow Suzuki's example and achieve excellence in all three facets of the game--running, hitting and fielding.

Above all, the growing number of children who pick up bats dreaming of becoming baseball players like Suzuki will help spread the game even further.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 26, 2010)
(2010年9月26日01時11分  読売新聞)

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2010年9月26日 (日)




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Chinese skipper's release a political decision

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Sep. 26, 2010)
Chinese skipper's release a political decision
中国人船長釈放 関係修復を優先した政治決着(9月25日付・読売社説)

Prosecutors decided Friday to release a Chinese trawler captain, who was arrested following collisions between his ship and two Japan Coast Guard patrol vessels off the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, without taking further legal action against him for now.

The Naha District Public Prosecutors Office in Okinawa Prefecture, which was investigating the captain, said, "The impact on the people of this nation and the future of Japan-China relations were taken into consideration."

The decision came soon after it was learned that four Japanese nationals had been taken into custody by Chinese authorities for allegedly filming "military targets" in Hebei Province.

"The impact on the people" was mentioned apparently out of concern over the possibility that the detention of the Japanese might be prolonged.

Beijing ties given priority

The prosecutors office explained that authorities were unable to prove the captain's action had been deliberately planned and that the collisions did not result in injury or serious damage.

But this is inconsistent, as investigative authorities cited the malign nature of the incident to explain the arrest and detention of the skipper.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshito Sengoku insisted that the prosecutors office made the decision on its own. But there is no doubt that the issue was settled in a political decision by Prime Minister Naoto Kan and other senior members of the government and the Democratic Party of Japan. It also is said that the decision came because the U.S. government called for an early settlement of the issue.

Since the Japanese government repeatedly said the incident would be handled in line with domestic laws, the decision gave the impression that the Japanese government had given in and failed to stick to its original stance. Many people in this nation likely share this critical view. The government needs to provide the public with a thorough and convincing explanation.

Needless to say, the Senkaku Islands are an inherent part of Japan. The government must assert this point repeatedly both at home and abroad.

Long-term effects

We also cannot disregard the repercussions the latest decision will likely bring about in the future.

It is possible that JCG patrols will no longer have a strong deterrent effect on Chinese trawlers that illegally fish in Japan's territorial waters off the Senkaku Islands. The organizational functions of the JCG and its cooperation with the Maritime Self-Defense Force should be strengthened.

Amid the dispute over the skipper's detention, China blocked exports to Japan of rare earths vital for the production of hybrid car parts and other items. This development serves as a strong reminder that China is a trade partner of unpredictable risk.

Regarding materials that are largely sourced from inside China, it is crucial to secure other sources of such materials.

China acted high-handedly apparently with anti-Japan hard-liners at home in mind. But the series of countermeasures successively taken by China over a short period of time--such as the suspension of youth exchange events and negotiations over a bilateral treaty on joint development of natural gas fields in the East China Sea--were obviously going too far.

Japan should not be simply lured to a "friendship" approach toward China. From the standpoint of seeking "strategic and mutually beneficial relations," Japan must pursue its national interests calmly and realistically regarding China.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 25, 2010)
(2010年9月25日01時24分  読売新聞)

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2010年9月25日 (土)



photo by srachai from OCNフォトフレンド

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cite from xinhua net by srachai


新華網福州9月25日電 25日4時,被日方非法抓扣的中國漁船船長詹其雄乘中國政府包機安全返抵福州。外交部部長助理胡正躍、福建省副省長洪捷序等到機場迎接。

感謝祖國和人民 抗議日方非法抓扣--中國漁船船長詹其雄安全返抵福州



photo by srachai from OCNフォトフレンド

photo by srachai from OCNフォトフレンド


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Strict action needed to reform prosecutors

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Sep. 25, 2010)
Strict action needed to reform prosecutors
大阪地検特捜部 組織的隠蔽の批判は免れない(9月24日付・読売社説)

The latest revelation concerning the alleged tampering of evidence by a prosecutor from the Osaka District Public Prosecutors Office may imply an organizationwide attempt to cover up a surefire scandal.

The case in question involves a head prosecutor from the Osaka office's special investigation squad who has been accused of altering potential evidence seized during investigations into a case of alleged postal fraud. It has become known that the investigative unit was informed that its lead prosecutor had possibly falsified data, and that this finding was reported to top officials at the district prosecutors office.

A task force from the Supreme Public Prosecutors Office set up to investigate this scandal has questioned two key figures who supervised the prosecutor in question: a high-ranking prosecutor who headed the investigation unit at the time, and another senior prosecutor who was the team's deputy chief.

It must be clarified why senior officials from the district prosecutors office failed to act when they received information about what may constitute the crime of destruction of evidence. The task force must thoroughly investigate the case to get to the bottom of the scandal, while determining who should take the blame if there was indeed a cover-up.

Sketchy conduct high to low

In February, some officials of the district prosecutors office, including the head of the investigation squad, received reports that the team's lead prosecutor might have rewritten data on a floppy disk confiscated from the home of a former section chief at the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry.

At the time, the prosecutor in question reportedly told a colleague he had planted a "time bomb" on the disk.

However, after the prosecutor told the head of the investigation unit and other senior officials that his alteration of the data "was not deliberate," they seem to have done little to uncover the truth behind his conduct.

Questions also must be raised about how the head of the investigative team described the prosecutor's action when he reported on the alleged data alteration to the Osaka office's chief prosecutor. He reportedly said the prosecutor's conduct would pose "no problem."

We feel the prosecutor's description of his action as a "time bomb" should have been sufficient to arouse suspicion that the falsification was deliberate. If the investigative team leader swallowed the explanation that the alteration "was not deliberate," he should be brought to task for being too lenient with his subordinates and for his lack of skill in dealing with the matter.

It is also questionable why the Osaka office's chief prosecutor had no reservations about the investigation team's report on the affair. It seems to us that as the head of the prosecutors office, his actions lacked urgency. He should have instructed the special investigative unit to further look into the prosecutor's conduct.

Act firmly to restore trust

The Supreme Public Prosecutors Office should investigate the depth to which senior officials at the district prosecutors office were aware of the alleged data tampering. If their action--or inaction, for that matter--is found to violate any laws, the top prosecutors office should deal sternly with them, possibly even pursuing criminal charges.

The latest scandal has prompted some Democratic Party of Japan members to say the prosecutor general--the person in charge of all prosecutors in the country--should step down. They are also seeking to have all interrogations during criminal investigations videotaped.

The scandal could arouse questions about related matters, including the credibility of depositions taken from suspects in other cases handled by the Osaka special investigation squad.

Prosecutors must uncover the truth behind the data-tampering scandal, and fully present their findings to the public. They also must reexamine every aspect of their probe into the alleged abuse of the postal discount system.

Prosecutors must demonstrate they have what it takes to root out corruption among themselves to restore the trust they have lost. Doing so is the only way to resurrect the prosecution as an investigative organization.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 24, 2010)
(2010年9月24日03時01分  読売新聞)

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2010年9月24日 (金)

胡錦濤国家主席のtwitter NOW



Whereas the 4 entered and violated rules in this military zone. Our captain was fishing in International waters, NOT JAPANESE waters.
8分前 webから

返信 リツイート .   It is confirmed we have arrested 4 Japanese nationals in China for illegally entering and videotaping in a restricted military zone.
9分前 webから

返信 リツイート .   To @plaid_kan, your release of the captain was long overdue. We expect that you will return him to us safe and sound
11分前 webから

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cite from washington post (日本の報道が遅れているのでスラチャイが一足先に)

Japan to release Chinese boat captain amid tension

The Associated Press
Friday, September 24, 2010; 2:02 AM

TOKYO -- Japanese prosecutors said Friday they will release the captain of a Chinese fishing vessel involved in a collision near disputed islands.

The incident had raised tensions with China, which has angrily demanded Tokyo release the captain, and cut off ministerial-level talks with Japan.

Prosecutors on Ishigaki island in southern Japan, where the captain has been in custody for more than two weeks, said they would free him though it was unclear when that would occur.

The captain was arrested on Sept. 8 after his fishing trawler collided with Japanese coast guard vessels near a string of islands in the East China Sea called Diaoyu or Diaoyutai in Chinese and Senkaku in Japanese.

The islands are controlled by Japan, but are also claimed by China. They are surrounded by rich fishing grounds and are regularly occupied by nationalists from both sides.
(翻訳は意訳ですby srachai)

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【中国で邦人拘束】4人はフジタ社員か メールで「助けてくれ」



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Govt should help push up land prices

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Sep. 24, 2010)
Govt should help push up land prices
基準地価 下げ止まりの兆しはあるが(9月23日付・読売社説)

At long last signs have emerged of an end to the fall in land prices that began with the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. two years ago, but it remains uncertain whether the recovery trend will continue.

Changes in land prices lead to fluctuations in people's assets, which can greatly affect personal consumption. Therefore, we think the government should indirectly support land prices through measures such as an extension of the economic stimulus eco-point program for houses.

The government needs to help boost the economy further by expanding tax cuts and tax exemptions for housing and real estate.

According to a survey of land prices in all 47 prefectures released recently by the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry, the average price of residential land fell 3.4 percent in the year to July 1, while that of commercial land dropped 4.6 percent. In the previous year's survey, the average price of residential land fell 4 percent and that of commercial land decreased 5.9 percent. The latest survey shows the pace of decline has slowed in both categories.

The ministry believes the slower decline has been partly due to factors such as rising demand for land on which to build condominiums in urban areas. Recently, condominiums have become more affordable as prices have fallen sharply. Condominium sales in major cities have been recovering rapidly, bringing a bit of brightness to future land price forecasts.

Metro areas doing better

Trends in land prices in metropolitan areas--a leading indicator of land prices throughout the nation--are worth noting: In the Tokyo metropolitan area, average residential land prices fell 3 percent, while commercial land prices decreased 4.1 percent. The drops in both categories are almost half the figures from a year earlier.

If we look at the trends in more detail, signs of an end to the fall in land prices become more apparent. Take, for instance, land price trends in the first half of the year that ended on July 1 and those in the second half of the year at 15 residential locations in eight wards in central Tokyo.

During the first half of the year, land prices in all locations dropped, but prices rose in two locations, were about the same at four spots and the rate of decline slowed at eight places in the second half of the year. It is apparent that land prices began to turn around this year. A similar development can be seen in major cities such as Osaka and Nagoya.

Land prices in major cities rose markedly about three years ago, during a "mini bubble" caused by factors that included competition for prime locations among brand-name stores. However, in the wake of the so-called Lehman shock, things took a sudden turn for the worse. The latest survey may indicate the tide is about to change for land prices.

Other regions still struggling

However, land price trends in other regions are still poor. The average price of residential land in these regions dropped at a greater rate than during the previous year, while commercial land declined at about the same rate. This was the 18th straight year of decline in residential land prices in these areas, while commercial land values fell for the 19th consecutive year.

Are there any ways to prop up land prices in these regions, which have seen the value of their land fall for so long?

In Hokkaido and Mie Prefecture, some districts have increased land prices by improving their appeal as tourist destinations. Needless to say, we believe it is essential to promote local redevelopment and to encourage businesses to expand into the less urbanized regions.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 23, 2010)
(2010年9月23日01時02分  読売新聞)

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2010年9月23日 (木)

agressive China



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Prosecutors' reputation totally ruined

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Sep. 23, 2010)
Prosecutors' reputation totally ruined
押収資料改ざん 地に落ちた特捜検察の威信(9月22日付・読売社説)

The alleged falsification of data by a senior prosecutor is a grave scandal that is shaking the very foundations of Japan's criminal justice system.

The Supreme Public Prosecutors Office arrested the lead prosecutor at the Osaka District Public Prosecutors Office's special investigation squad on suspicion of tampering with evidence in the postal abuse case involving Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry officials. The ministry's former bureau chief, Atsuko Muraki, was arrested and indicted for her alleged involvement in the case but was cleared by the Osaka District Court.

The chief prosecutor is suspected to have altered data on a floppy disk seized as possible evidence from one of Muraki's former subordinates, who was then a unit chief at the ministry's policy planning division, to make it better match the special investigation team's arguments.


Unprecedented scandal

If the allegation is true, it would be an unprecedented instance of a prosecutor, who holds supreme authority in investigations and indictments, being found to have illegally fabricated evidence against a defendant. The Supreme Public Prosecutors Office must bring to light the case's entire picture and strictly punish those involved.

The special investigation squad's probe was based on the scenario that Muraki had instructed the unit chief in early June 2004 to fabricate an official document to allow a group that falsely claimed itself as a body supporting the handicapped to abuse the postal discount system for the handicapped.

However, the supposedly false document, which was found on the seized floppy disk, was last updated at 1:20 a.m. on June 1, 2004.

The chief prosecutor allegedly changed the data to show that the document was last updated at 9:10 p.m. on June 8, 2004. The Supreme Public Prosecutors Office suspects that the prosecutor altered the data because it did not fit the special investigation squad's suppositions.

A lead prosecutor, who takes charge of investigations in a criminal case, is supposed to change the course of the investigation or give up on establishing a case altogether if investigators have found evidence contrary to their case.

Altering a seized document is an inexcusable act that ruins confidence in prosecutors' investigations and makes a mockery of the justice of criminal trials.


Terrifying abuse of power

The chief prosecutor eventually returned the floppy disk in question to the former unit chief without submitting it to the court as evidence. If it had been submitted to the court, it might have been used as material evidence to establish Muraki's guilt. We are terrified at the thought of such supreme authority spinning out of control.

In addition, the prosecutors had drawn up an investigation report with the correct update time on the floppy disk but did not submit it to the court. They disclosed the report upon the request of Muraki's attorneys before her trial started.

Prosecutors must uncover what had been discussed within the special investigation squad and the district public prosecutors office over the handling of evidence and whether any other individuals were involved in altering the data. The Osaka High Public Prosecutors Office and the Supreme Public Prosecutors Office must also be blamed for having failed to fulfill their responsibility to appropriately supervise the district public prosecutors office.

In the postal abuse case, the court refused to accept many depositions by Muraki's alleged accomplices and witnesses submitted by the prosecutors, saying that the prosecutors could have coerced them into making such statements. Given that, we must say that the quality of public prosecutors has seriously deteriorated.

The Supreme Public Prosecutors Office has the responsibility to drive out corruption within the organization by thoroughly investigating the case without being lenient on its colleagues.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 22, 2010)
(2010年9月22日01時26分  読売新聞)

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2010年9月22日 (水)



And @plaid_obama, please tell @plaid_hilaryclinton to stay out of this captain dispute. This is between @plaid_kan, @plaid_wen and myself!
約4時間前 webから
(胡錦濤国家主席) オバマ大統領、ヒラリークリントンに漁船問題で口出しさせないようにしてください。この問題は菅首相と温家宝、私(胡錦濤国家主席)との間の問題であるから。

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Plaid_Hu    Get the picture @plaid_kan, @plaid_wen will not speak to you in New York. Release the captain immediately NOW!
約3時間前 webから
(胡錦濤国家主席) 菅首相ビデオは受け取った。ニューヨークではお前と話ししない。漁船の船長を即刻解放しろ!

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Japan-India accord should lead to more EPAs

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Sep. 22, 2010)
Japan-India accord should lead to more EPAs
日印EPA 出遅れ挽回の確かな一歩に(9月21日付・読売社説)

An economic partnership agreement with India likely will give Japanese businesses a boost in such industries as automobiles and home electronic appliances in the huge Indian market, which has been growing rapidly.

Japan and India broadly agreed earlier this month to sign an EPA. A formal agreement is expected to be made when Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visits Japan in October.

The agreement is the first of its kind to be made under the Democratic Party of Japan-led government and will make India the 12th nation or region with which this country has an EPA. Coming as it did after four years of difficult negotiations, the broad agreement is of particular significance.

The key point in the agreement is that the two nations will gradually lower tariffs on goods that account for 94 percent of the value of their exports, and eliminate the tariffs in 10 years.

The tariffs imposed by India on Japan's major export items, such as auto parts and steel, range from 7.5 percent to 10 percent. Japan would benefit greatly from their elimination.

Japanese manufacturers with production bases in India also could reduce the procurement costs of parts from Japan and other items.

The EPA also includes an agreement to ease restrictions on investment in India. We hope Japanese companies seize this chance by carefully crafting strategies for the construction of local factories and expanded investment in plants and equipment.

Highly attractive market

The Indian market is particularly appealing. The nation has a population of 1.2 billion people and its economy continues to register 9 percent annual growth. The number of middle-income households who purchase such products as automobiles and home electronic appliances is rapidly growing, and there has been strong demand for social infrastructure such as railroads and electric power.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan's administration has expressed its intention to incorporate the vigor of Asia and other regions in its new growth strategy. In line with this policy, the EPA between Japan and India is expected to strengthen Japanese companies' competitiveness and expand infrastructure exports.

But South Korea, which has been aggressively promoting EPAs, already put one with India into effect in January. Under this bilateral agreement, tariffs on many items are set to be abolished in five to eight years, a faster pace for opening up the Indian market than the one established in the Japan-India pact.

The Japan-India EPA will alleviate some of the disadvantages Japanese companies face against their South Korean rivals. But we must keep an eye on the competitiveness of South Korean companies.

Compromise needed

India has asked Japan to accept Indian nurses and other workers, but Japan has resisted making a specific decision on this matter. To deepen economic partnerships between this country and India, Japan should make concessions.

Japan has fallen behind other nations in its EPA strategy. Negotiations with South Korea have been suspended, and talks with Australia have run into difficulty as Japan is resisting opening its agricultural market.

There are no prospects even for the start of negotiations with the United States and the European Union.

To help Japan catch up, the government aims to devise basic guidelines on the EPA by November. We urge the government to include measures to open the agriculture sector, which has always been the bottleneck in negotiations. Without this, there will be no progress.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 21, 2010)
(2010年9月21日01時14分  読売新聞)

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2010年9月21日 (火)

cite from twitter with Paramount Leader Hu Jintao


cite from twitter with Plaid_Hu

Plaid_Hu    Extending our fisherman's detention was the biggest mistake you've made, @plaid_kan.
約12時間前 webから
(胡錦濤国家主席) 逮捕拘留されている中国人船長の拘留期間を延長したのは菅首相の下した大きな間違いである。(スラチャイ訳)

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Japan must map out its own GPS strategy

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Sep. 21, 2010)
Japan must map out its own GPS strategy
衛星みちびき 日本版GPSの戦略作り急げ(9月20日付・読売社説)

Japan's first navigation satellite, Michibiki, aimed at improving the global positioning system's coverage of Japan, has been launched by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

The project--undertaken jointly by the industrial, public and academic sectors--calls for technology verification tests and is aimed at reducing the margin of error of GPS devices used in car navigation and other services from the current 10 meters or so to less than one meter.

The market for satellite-based GPS products and services has been expanding globally. We hope that the Michibiki project will bring about results that make Japan more competitive in this area.

Fifty-eight different tests are planned. The success or failure of the project depends on how its high positioning accuracy can be utilized.

One example is a proposed guidance system for unmanned snow removers and farm machinery. Neither snow removal from roads nor soil cultivation in fields can be done if the machines are allowed to drift as much as 10 meters off course. Both can be done only when the margin of error is held to less than one meter.


Diverse applications

GPS has been widely used in a diverse range of fields from rescue operations in alpine accidents to consumer products such as digital cameras. Such cameras are popular because locations where photos are shot are automatically stored for use as travel records.

Improvement of GPS accuracy will stimulate further growth in such existing fields.

A hallmark of Michibiki lies in the orbit it takes. Michibiki flies in an asymmetrical figure-eight course above the western Pacific, including Japan, every 24 hours.

Michibiki's flight above Japan accounts for about eight hours of each orbit. If three satellites like Michibiki were put into orbit, at least one would be above Japan at all times. Because GPS satellites rely on line-of-sight radio wave transmission, this would nearly eliminate the problem of signals being blocked by obstacles such as buildings and mountains.

The GPS currently uses about 30 U.S. satellites to cover the entire globe. Accurate results depend on devices on or near the Earth's surface being able to compare signals from four satellites in the visible sky. The system can fail in urban and mountainous areas where the lower portions of the sky are blocked by mountains or buildings.

Additional transmissions from Michibiki, which will often be nearly overhead in Japan, will enhance positioning accuracy.

The problem is how to secure funding for the satellites that are meant to follow Michibiki. It cost 40 billion yen to build Michibiki. The cost for similar following satellites is estimated at a hefty 35 billion yen each. At least three satellites are necessary to commercialize the enhanced Japanese version of the GPS system. Discussions have begun about how to divide costs between the public and private sectors.


A project team planned

The government says it will establish a project team comprising officials from the ministries and agencies concerned to study how to pay for the satellites that will follow Michibiki by the end of the current fiscal year. In that instance, the government must give due consideration to international trends and Japan's security interests.

The GPS was developed by the United States, originally for military purposes. It remains to be seen whether its use may be restricted in the future. Out of such concern, China, India and European countries are building their own positioning systems. Russia operates its own system for the purpose of ensuring security and defense.

The United States, China and Europe are moving toward cooperation with each other on positioning technology.

Against such a background, Japan must work out a GPS strategy that will take advantage of its technology while maintaining its international voice.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 20, 2010)
(2010年9月20日01時20分  読売新聞)

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2010年9月20日 (月)




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What's wrong with visiting the Northern Territories on a visa?

News Navigator: What's wrong with visiting the Northern Territories on a visa?

The Mainichi answers common questions readers may have about why the Japanese government does not want its citizens to travel on a tourist visa to the Northern Territories.

Question: I've heard there has been a problem with Japanese tourists traveling to the Northern Territories on Russian-granted visas. What happened, and what's the background on the issue?
 ◇露の管轄権、容認懸念 政府は国民に自粛を要請中
 なるほドリ 日本人の観光ツアー客らがロシアの査証(ビザ)を取って北方領土に行ったことが問題になっているけど?

Answer: The Northern Territories is part of Japan, but it is presently under Russian control. Because sovereignty of the islands is being disputed by the two countries, in 1989, Japan's Cabinet members reached an official agreement to urge citizens not to visit the Northern Territories until the issue was settled. This year, however, two employees of a Hokkaido machinery maker acquired travel visas from the Russian government and visited the islands in July, and in August, a group of nine tourists did the same. In response, the Cabinet on Sept. 3 decided to make more thorough efforts to make sure all citizens know that they should not travel to the Northern Territories on Russian-granted visas.
 記者 北方領土は日本固有の領土です。しかし、ロシアによる実効支配が続いており、領土をめぐる交渉が日露間で継続中です。このため日本政府は89年、北方領土問題解決までの間、北方領土への訪問を自粛するよう国民に求めることを閣議了解しています。しかし、7月に北海道の機械メーカー社員ら2人が、8月には観光ツアー客ら9人がロシアのビザを取得して北方領土に入ったことが分かりました。このため、政府は9月3日の閣議で、ロシアの出入国手続きに従って北方領土を訪問しないよう国民に周知徹底することを決めました。

Q: If the territories are the original property of Japan, what's wrong with Japanese citizens going there?
 Q 日本固有の領土なのになぜ行ってはいけないの。

A: The main problem in the eyes of the Japanese government is the act of obtaining a visa from Russia to visit the territories. Doing this pre-supposes that it is Russia who holds territorial rights over the islands. It could lead to recognition of the territory as belonging to Russia.
 A ロシアのビザを取得して北方領土を訪れることは、ロシアが北方領土の管轄権を持っていることが前提の行為になります。つまり、北方領土はロシアの領土であると認めることにつながりかねないからです。

Q: Is it really such a problem just for regular citizens to travel there?
 Q 民間人が行くだけでそんなに大きな問題になるの。

A: Although it is governments who negotiate over the islands, not regular citizens, if Japanese citizens repeatedly show behavior that implicitly recognizes Russia as owner of the territories, Japan as a country may be seen to be recognizing that ownership.
 A 確かに領土問題の交渉は政府がやっていますが、一方で日本の民間人がロシアの管轄権を前提にした行動を繰り返していれば、国としてロシアの管轄権を認めているとみなされかねません。

Q: Has this issue never come up in the past?
 Q これまではなかったの。

A: In 2009, the same issue came up when the head of a Japanese broadcaster's Moscow branch went through Russian immigration procedures to visit the Northern Territories. There is the opinion in Japan that in order to more easily allow Japan to participate in development and business in the territories, the 1989 Cabinet decision should be reconsidered, but the government's current policy is to leave the Cabinet decision untouched.
 A 09年にも民放のモスクワ支局長がロシアの入国手続きに従って北方領土に入り、問題になりました。北方領土の開発やビジネスに、日本がより参加しやすいように閣議了解を見直すべきだという意見もありますが、政府は閣議了解を見直さない方針です。

Q: Sometimes you hear about "visa-free travel" in the Northern Territories, but is that unrelated to this issue?
 Q 北方領土というと「ビザなし交流」というのも聞くけど、今回のとは違うんだね。

A: "Visa-free travel" refers to a framework in place that allows Russian residents of the islands and former Japanese islanders to travel back and forth without the need for a passport or visa. The framework was suggested by former USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev on his visit to Japan in 1991, and was put into place in 1992. It continues even today. This framework is a special agreement based on a mutual understanding that neither country may claim the arrangement infringes on their rights. (Answers by Shinichiro Nishida, Political News Department)
 A ビザなし交流は北方領土四島のロシア人島民と日本人の元島民らが旅券、ビザなしで行き来する枠組みです。91年に旧ソ連のゴルバチョフ大統領が来日した際に提案し、92年から始まり、今も続いています。これは、日露の「いずれの一方の側の法的立場をも害するものとみなしてはならないとの共通の理解」を前提に作られた特別なものです。(政治部)

(Mainichi Japan) September 19, 2010
毎日新聞 2010年9月14日 東京朝刊

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Consumption tax debate must proceed

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Sep. 20, 2010)
Consumption tax debate must proceed
消費税論議 新体制で与野党協議進めよ(9月19日付・読売社説)

Fiscal reconstruction and economic recovery are the main themes that Prime Minister Naoto Kan's newly reshuffled Cabinet must address. It should prop up the economy and rehabilitate the nation's fiscal condition, which is the worst among advanced nations.

To that end, the Cabinet must put its back into tackling the consumption tax issue, which the prime minister began to treat cautiously after the Democratic Party of Japan's setback in the House of Councillors election in July.

The battle lines on this issue were drawn in the run-up to last week's DPJ presidential election. While Kan said he would consider drastic tax reforms, including of the consumption tax, his opponent, former DPJ leader Ichiro Ozawa, stressed the government should cut waste before raising taxes.


Increase is inevitable

It is a foregone conclusion that reducing waste, no matter how seriously the government tackles the problem, will not generate much in the way of financial resources.

Also, we cannot say that replacing central government subsidies to local governments with lump-sum grants to them with fewer strings attached, or securitizing state-owned assets, constitutes the kiss of life for an anemic economy.

It is likely that Kan's victory in the DPJ leadership race was due in part to the many DPJ lawmakers, party members and supporters who judged as unreasonable Ozawa's vow to fully implement the promises contained in the party's manifesto without clearly indicating the financial resources to fund them.

It is impermissible for the issue of financial resources to be left on the shelf any longer in this country, which is saddled with massive budget deficits. And it is clear that raising the consumption tax rate is unavoidable to secure funds to cover the nation's ballooning social security costs.

A Yomiuri Shimbun opinion survey conducted during the DPJ presidential election race found that 52 percent of respondents supported Kan's stance toward the consumption tax, greatly surpassing the 38 percent supporting Ozawa, who took a negative view toward a tax hike. The people apparently want thorough debate over the issue.

However, although Kan called for drastic tax reforms during the DPJ presidential election, he has yet to go further into their vital contents.


Start discussing details

Some DPJ members, such as Ozawa, are stubbornly cautious toward the consumption tax issue. Kan should lead intraparty debate in various settings, including a tax panel that the DPJ has resurrected, while again calling on opposition parties to join a wider discussion.

It is also urgent to lower the nation's corporate tax rate, which is relatively high by world standards. To rejuvenate the Japanese economy, it is essential to enhance corporate vitality and improve competitiveness. Lowering the corporate tax rate is indispensable for that.

With the Finance Ministry concerned about a possible decline in tax revenues, the government's Tax Commission is expected to face tough going. Kan should not simply leave matters to the commission but must exercise leadership and achieve the objective of lowering the corporate tax rate as part of tax system revision for fiscal 2011.

Kan's touchstone for the time being is the fiscal 2011 budget compilation. Budget requests hit record highs, but Japan is mired in an extraordinary fiscal situation in which the government is taking in less through taxes than it borrows through bonds. Therefore, the government can no longer afford to continue handout policies.

The government should compile a finely tuned budget in which, for example, such policies as the child-rearing allowance are boldly reviewed while spending that would help underpin the country's economy is increased.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 19, 2010)
(2010年9月19日01時15分  読売新聞)

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2010年9月19日 (日)


金正日総書記のtwitterをフォローしていますが、そこから引用しました。 我々は中国とこんなにも親密だ、どうだまいったか! ↓ http://pollack.armscontrolwonk.com/archive/3203/kji-and-the-grim-reaper

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Fierce battle on the fishing boat collision at Senkaku islets


Plaid_kan    China thinks they can get away w/ colliding a fishing boat into my coast guard? We'll deal in "a fair manner," but China better do the same.
8:03 AM Sep 8th via web

Plaid_Hu    The captain has nothing to do with the Tiaoyutai islands @plaid_kan, and you know it.
5:07 AM Sep 16th via web

Plaid_Hu    We will keep asking @plaid_kan to release the Chinese captain fisherman they have in custody. Maybe the 6th time is the charm.
5:06 AM Sep 16th via web
船長の釈放を菅首相に求めつづけている。もう6回も警告している。(在中国日本大使を頻繁に呼び出した件だと思いますby srachai)

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New Cabinet must tackle economy first

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Sep. 19, 2010)
New Cabinet must tackle economy first
菅改造内閣 まず景気回復に全力を挙げよ(9月18日付・読売社説)

Prime Minister Naoto Kan's reshuffled Cabinet was launched Friday.

Kan retained five Cabinet members, including Yoshito Sengoku in the central post of chief cabinet secretary and Yoshihiko Noda, who emphasizes fiscal reconstruction, as finance minister. However, the prime minister made new appointments for the 12 other posts, including those of health, labor and welfare minister and economy, trade and industry minister.

With this major shift in its lineup, the new Cabinet must boldly tackle a number of domestic and diplomatic issues.  内閣の陣容を大幅に入れ替えたのを機に、内政・外交の諸課題の解決に、果断に取り組まなければならない。

First and foremost should be measures to address the rising yen and the flagging economy.

As a result of monetary authorities recently making their first market intervention in 6-1/2 years, the sharp appreciation of the yen has been stemmed for the time being. But there should be no optimism about what is to come.

Finance Minister Noda must make the utmost effort, in close cooperation with the Bank of Japan, to prevent appreciation in the yen's value.


Put growth strategy on track

Kan intends to craft a supplementary budget for this fiscal year that includes additional stimulus measures. Given the uncertain economic outlook, this is a reasonable decision.

It also is essential to have a growth strategy to invigorate private companies and increase their international competitiveness. Cabinet ministers in charge of economic affairs must exercise leadership so the government-launched Council on the Realization of the New Growth Strategy can fully function.

Budget requests made by ministries for the next fiscal year total more than 96 trillion yen, far exceeding this fiscal year's budget. The state's finances are tight, so the budget requests must be reduced. But if that causes the economy to cool down further, the loss to the nation would be even greater.

Regional economies are in dire straits. Funding should be increased for projects that could stimulate the economy and create new jobs. It is important to employ a selective, focused strategy in budget compilation.

It is the handout policy measures included in the Democratic Party of Japan's manifesto for last year's House of Representatives election that must be drastically revised. Little economic benefit can be expected from such measures as child-rearing allowances and toll-free expressways.

To improve fiscal conditions and secure a stable revenue source for social security spending, raising the consumption tax rate is inevitable.

Kan has called for suprapartisan discussions on the consumption tax and social security. He needs to urge opposition parties to start such discussions soon.

In the extraordinary Diet session that is expected to be convened in October, it is vital to obtain cooperation from the Liberal Democratic Party and other opposition parties under the divided Diet, where the ruling camp has a majority in the lower house while the opposition camp controls the House of Councillors.

LDP Secretary General Nobuteru Ishihara has been receptive to the idea of suprapartisan talks. But he maintains they will not take place as long as the DPJ continues its handout measures, and has set revision or withdrawal of these pledges as a condition for beginning suprapartisan talks. This is only natural.

Kan should bring about suprapartisan talks by drastically reviewing the policy pledges. Doing so also would pave the way for the formation of policy-based partial alliances between ruling and opposition parties.

The post of foreign minister was given to Seiji Maehara, who previously served as land, infrastructure, transport and tourism minister. The previous foreign minister, Katsuya Okada, is now DPJ secretary general.


National interests key

Maehara, who is well versed in security affairs, has many personal connections with pro-Japan experts in the United States. He apparently was seen as a good choice to heal the bilateral relations damaged under the administration of former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama.

We expect Maehara to make every possible effort, together with Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa, to realize the relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station within Okinawa Prefecture as agreed by the two governments in May.

China has acted in a high-handed manner following an incident in which a Chinese trawler collided with Japan Coast Guard patrol vessels in waters off the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea earlier this month. Maehara has taken a tough stance on China's military buildup ever since his days as head of the DPJ, and we hope that in relations with China he will assert what needs to be asserted, based on careful consideration of this country's interests.

Furthermore, the relationship between the government and political parties must be rebuilt, as must that between politicians and bureaucrats.

The former Hatoyama Cabinet did not have sufficient communications with key members of the ruling party, and its decision-making process was chaotic as policies were approved and then reversed a number of times.

Koichiro Gemba, who doubles as state minister in charge of national policy and chairman of the DPJ's Policy Research Committee, must act as a bridge between the DPJ and the Cabinet.

Non-lawmaker Yoshihiro Katayama was appointed internal affairs and communications minister. Katayama, a former Home Affairs Ministry bureaucrat, worked to increase administrative transparency when he served as governor of Tottori Prefecture, and as a private-sector member of the Government Revitalization Unit, he has actively called for reform of the civil service.

Relations between politicians and bureaucrats under the DPJ-led government always have been awkward. If politicians fail to listen to bureaucrats' opinions and advice and discourage their enthusiasm by misconstruing the true meaning of politician-led government affairs, they will end up with a stagnant administration.

All the Cabinet members must be firmly committed to utilizing bureaucrats in ways that bring out the best of the bureaucrats' capabilities.


Intraparty struggle remains

The reshuffled Cabinet and DPJ leadership do not include anyone from the intraparty group led by former DPJ leader Ichiro Ozawa, who lost to Kan in the recent party presidential election.

Many in the Ozawa group are junior lawmakers. Kan intends to appoint a number of Ozawa group members as senior vice ministers and parliamentary secretaries to establish party unity.

But Ozawa refused to take the post of DPJ acting president offered by Kan. Ozawa apparently is determined to act as an intraparty opposition force, expecting Kan's administration to get bogged down soon or later.

As the seeds of intraparty conflict remain, Kan will have difficulty steering the administration.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 18, 2010)
(2010年9月18日01時33分  読売新聞)

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2010年9月18日 (土)


Recently, I’m making comments on the postings of President Obama in facebook. I’ve realized reaction on my comments is quicker than that one in Japan. (It is slower in Japan.) I’m satisfied with the reaction, as I think my posting in English is accepted. Around two years ago, my posting for an American discussion forum was hated and rejected, because of lack of vocabulary in English as well as lack of American and European thinking way. Now it seems to me that I’ve already got rid of the difficulty. It is only concerning about English, but English! I’ve got impressed with the reaction made by foreigners. Thank you very much.
(srachai from khonkaen, thailand)


photo by srachai from OCNフォトフレンド

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Coexistence means fighting cultural frictions

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Sep. 18, 2010)
Coexistence means fighting cultural frictions
排外主義の台頭 異文化とどう共生していくか(9月17日付・読売社説)

The burqa, an enveloping outer garment, and the niqab, a veil covering the face, are worn by devout Muslim women.

The French legislature has passed a bill banning women from wearing this type of clothing in public places.

The law, prepared by the French government, will take effect in six months unless objections are raised by the Constitutional Council, an organ tasked with examining the constitutionality of laws.

Protagonists of the burqa-niqab ban have said wearing these garments runs counter to the principle of separation of church and state, and to the emancipation of women.

President Nicolas Sarkozy's government has continued to send Roma back to such countries as Romania since summer. His administration is also considering revoking French nationality for immigrants found guilty of committing major crimes.

Sarkozy's strong measures, including his crackdown on Roma communities, are a response to street disturbances by groups of young Roma and immigrants. However, the president continues to be accused of trying to resurrect his slumping popularity through these harsh measures, with a view to being reelected president in 2012.

Violation of EU rules

France's expulsion of Roma, also known as Gypsies, has drawn fire from other European Union nations on the grounds that it violates the rule of freedom of movement within the bloc. However, a majority of French people support the Roma expulsion and burqa ban.

If Sarkozy is merely trying to please the public through his antiforeigner policy, it is a sad commentary on France's national motto of liberty, equality and fraternity.

France is not the only country that apparently has become intolerant of immigrants and other minorities.

The Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States have led many Americans and Europeans to view Muslims with fear and suspicion.

Recent fiscal crises gripping some European countries, combined with a rise in unemployment, have triggered an even stronger antipathy toward immigrants. This is exemplified by ultrarightist parties making major gains in Dutch and Hungarian elections earlier this year after calling for restrictions on Muslim immigrants and a crackdown on Roma.

Rise in xenophobia

The anti-burqa movement is also gathering momentum in Belgium and Spain. Italy has also has set its sights on expelling Roma.

In early September, a board member of Germany's federal bank was dismissed for repeating racist remarks about Muslim immigrants and Jews. According to a survey, only about 30 percent of Germans thought the banker should be fired.

The rise in xenophobic sentiment also is noticeable in the United States, a melting pot for immigrants. Divisions have deepened among Americans over a plan to build a mosque and Islamic center near New York's Ground Zero. Several days ago, a Florida pastor opposing the mosque construction plan stirred up an international furor when he vowed to burn copies of the Koran.

The ongoing process of globalization obliges people to live with those who adhere to different religious faiths, manners and customs. Japan is no exception.

The coexistence of different cultures also requires efforts by immigrants and other minorities to assimilate into the communities they live in. A society that accepts such minorities must fight cultural frictions that give rise to antiforeigner sentiments.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 17, 2010)
(2010年9月17日01時34分  読売新聞)

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2010年9月17日 (金)

China shouldn't stir up anti-Japanese sentiment

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Sep. 17, 2010)
China shouldn't stir up anti-Japanese sentiment
尖閣沖漁船衝突 中国は「反日」沈静化に努めよ(9月16日付・読売社説)

China has taken a strikingly hard line over Japan's handling of the recent collisions of a Chinese fishing trawler with two Japan Coast Guard patrol vessels off the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.

China has protested five times to Japanese Ambassador to China Uichiro Niwa over the arrest of the trawler's captain. China also unilaterally canceled talks on a pact covering joint gas field development in the East China Sea and a scheduled visit to Japan by Li Jianguo, vice chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.

In particular, the summons of Niwa by Chinese State Councillor Dai Bingguo, a deputy prime minister-level official, in the middle of the night on a holiday flies in the face of diplomatic protocol.

China's postponement of the gas field talks, which has no direct link with the ship collisions, is an overreaction. We strongly urge China to exercise self-restraint.

Japan in the right

The collisions occurred in Japanese waters off the Senkaku Islands, which are inherently Japanese. It is quite reasonable for Japan to deal with illegal activities in these waters in accordance with domestic law.

China is mistaken if it thinks Japan will buckle to China's demands if it plays hardball.

Since the 1970s, China has claimed the Senkaku Islands belong to China. It has instilled this belief among its people through "anti-Japanese patriotism" education since the 1990s.

If Chinese people get the impression that their government is "weak-kneed," it could ignite simmering public discontent over the country's economic disparities and other ills, which could escalate into anger directed at the Chinese Communist Party leadership.

This fear has apparently driven the Chinese government to take a high-handed stance toward Japan over the collisions. But we think Beijing is barking up the wrong tree.

Online bulletin boards in China have been increasingly used to post extreme messages encouraging retaliatory attacks on Japan. Japanese living in China have been harassed, and small metallic balls were fired at a Japanese school building in Tianjin.

Level heads needed

The Japanese government on Monday sent members of the fishing boat crew, except for the captain, back to China, together with the vessel.

We hoped China would applaud this attempt by the Japanese government to take some of the sting out of the situation. However, China has proclaimed the crew and vessel were returned "due to the united action taken by the Chinese government and its people." Beijing has used Japan's gesture to earn brownie points with the public.

This will only inflame "anti-Japanese" sentiment among Chinese people. We urge the Chinese government to defuse such sentiment and prevent a recurrence of the 2005 "anti-Japanese riots."

We also hope the Japanese side will continue to keep a level head. That being said, the government must not hesitate to refute inaccurate Chinese media reports, such as the claim that JCG patrol vessels "crashed into the fishing boat from behind."

The JCG videotaped the fishing boat intentionally colliding with two patrol vessels. However, the JCG has not released the tapes because it might need to submit them as evidence in court should the incident become a criminal case.

If it becomes apparent that the captain was at fault, it may soothe public anger in China. Perhaps making the videotape public would be one way to achieve this.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 16, 2010)
(2010年9月16日01時27分  読売新聞)

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2010年9月16日 (木)

unwelcoming fx intervention

<A href="http://photofriend.jp/photo/choice/53856/1462032/" target=_blank><IMG src="http://photofriend.jp/u/53856/d8dc1a12c7e3e1d731ec32257dda60cc90000000000001462032.jpg" width=197 height=251></A><BR>photo by <A href="http://photofriend.jp/photo/list/53856/" target=_blank>srachai</A> from <A href="http://photofriend.jp/" target=_blank>OCNフォトフレンド</A>

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jpy/usd fx prospect


cite from fx street.com

Japanese FX Intervention
Wed, Sep 15 2010, 08:53 GMT
by Mitul Kotecha

The Bank of Japan acting on the behest of the Ministry of Finance intervened to weaken the JPY, the first such action since 2004. The intervention came as the USD was under broad based pressure, with the USD index dropping below its 200-day moving average. USD/JPY dropped to a low of around 82.88 before Japan intervened to weaken the JPY. The move follows weeks of verbal intervention by the Japanese authorities and came on the heels of the DPJ leadership election in which Prime Minister Kan retained his leadership.

One thing is for certain that Japanese exporters had become increasingly concerned, pained and vocal about JPY strength at a time when export momentum was waning. However, the move in USD/JPY may simply provide many local corporates with better levels to hedge their exposures.

Time will tell whether the intervention succeeds in engineering a sustainable weakening in the JPY but more likely it will only result in smoothing the drop in USD/JPY over coming months along the lines of what has happened with the SNB interventions in EUR/CHF. As many central banks have seen in the past successful intervention is usually helped if the market is turning and in this case USD/JPY remains on a downward trajectory.

Although the BoJ Governor Shirakawa said that the action should “contribute to a stable foreign exchange-rate formation” it is far from clear that the BoJ favoured FX intervention. Indeed, the view from the BoJ is that the move in USD/JPY is related less to Japanese fundamentals but more to US problems.

Now that the door is open, further intervention is likely over coming days and weeks but for it to be effective it will require 1) doubts about US growth to recede, 2) speculation of Fed QE 2 to dissipate, 3) and consequently interest rate differentials, in particular bond yields between the US and Japan to widen in favour of the USD. This is unlikely to happen quickly, especially given continued speculation of further US quantitative easing. A final prerequisite to a higher USD/JPY which is related to the easing of some of the above concerns is for there to be an improvement in risk appetite as any increase in risk aversion continues to result in JPY buying.

When viewed from the perspective of Asian currencies the Japanese intervention has put Japan in line with other Asian central banks which have been intervening to weaken their currencies. However, Asian central bank intervention has merely slowed the appreciation in regional currencies, and Japan may have to be satisfied with a similar result. Japan’s intervention may however, give impetus to Asian central banks to intervene more aggressively but the result will be the same, i.e. slowing rather then stemming appreciation.

As for the JPY a further strengthening, with a move to around 80.00 is likely by year end despite the more aggressive intervention stance. Over the short term there will at least be much greater two-way risk, which will keep market nervous, especially if as is likely Japan follows up with further interventions. USD/JPY could test resistance around 85.23, and then 85.92 soon but eventually markets may call Japan’s bluff and the intervention may just end up putting a red flag in front of currency markets to challenge.

Published on  Wed, Sep 15 2010, 08:54 GMT

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After a bruising battle, Kan faces tough tasks

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Sep. 16, 2010)
After a bruising battle, Kan faces tough tasks
菅代表再選 円高と景気対策に挙党態勢を(9月15日付・読売社説)

Prime Minister Naoto Kan defeated Ichiro Ozawa, former secretary general of the Democratic Party of Japan, by a significant margin in the party presidential election Tuesday following a hard-fought battle that has opened a rift in the party.

The confusion in the party, which followed the major defeat it suffered in the House of Councillors election in July, has effectively created a political vacuum in the nation. It cannot be denied that the situation has caused national policies to stagnate and has smothered the nation's politics in a sense of helplessness.

During the intraparty struggle, the government fell one step behind in dealing with the yen's rapid appreciation and the flagging economy. This was widely noticed.

Kan should immediately form his new Cabinet, appoint new party executives and exert leadership in implementing economic stimulus measures and drafting the fiscal 2011 budget.

Scandal held Ozawa back

Kan's victory, however, owes a lot to the "weak points" of his opponent, Ozawa.

In connection with scandals involving his political funds management organization, his former secretaries were arrested and indicted. He resigned as party secretary general right before the upper house election.

In the party leadership race, former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, who was also involved in a politics-and-money scandal and had resigned as prime minister, threw his support behind the DPJ heavyweight. It was a renewed challenge by the Ozawa-Hatoyama duo toward the party leadership, a move that most observers found hard to understand. It was natural that many non-lawmaker party members and registered supporters did not accept them.

In connection with the scandal, an inquest of prosecution committee is scheduled to decide in October--for the second time--whether Ozawa should be indicted in connection with a suspicious land purchase by his political funds management group.

When Ozawa was asked what he would do if the independent panel decides that he merits the indictment and he is prosecuted, he clearly stated he would neither leave the party nor resign as Diet member, indicating that he planned to fight the charges in court.

However, Ozawa has failed to fulfill his responsibility to explain his politics-and-money problems. His remarks undoubtedly aroused opposition and doubt among many party members.

In the end, one factor behind Ozawa's defeat in the presidential election was the possibility that the country might have ended up with a prime minister who was on trial in a criminal case.

Passive support to Kan

However, much of the support Kan received in the presidential election was passive. In other words, many of his supporters apparently did not want to have yet another prime minister barely three months after Kan assumed the post, or the third prime minister within a year.

Kan and Ozawa staged a neck and neck battle for votes by Diet members, suggesting that there are deep-rooted frustrations over the prime minister's management of his administration.

How does Kan intend to handle the divided Diet, in which the ruling bloc controls the House of Representatives while the opposition camp holds a majority in the upper house? And how will he reunite his party, which was split in the presidential election?

During the presidential election campaign, Kan failed to present clear strategies on how to overcome such problems, simply insisting that it would be possible to form a consensus through "careful" and "modest" discussions in the divided Diet.

In a speech after his reelection as party leader, he sought cooperation from party members. "To form a united party in which all party members will be able to fully exert their power now that the game is over and there are no sides, I ask for your support," he said.

If Kan opts for a troika system by appointing Ozawa and Hatoyama to key Cabinet or party posts, it may end up creating a dual power structure, just as in the Hatoyama administration. We urge the prime minister not to repeat that mistake. He must appoint the right people to the right positions to decisively implement policies.

Now that the party leadership race is over, it is anticipated that Ozawa's supporters will intensify moves to shake the administration not only in personnel affairs but also in budget compilation and other policy matters. Some may even try to break away from the party.

The prime minister is highly likely to face difficult political situations, in which he has to confront the Liberal Democratic Party and other opposition parties on one hand while dealing with the "intraparty opposition group" formed by Ozawa's supporters on the other.

In addition, Kan has to deal with a full political agenda.

As for the consumption tax rate hike, the prime minister has toned down his recent stance on the issue compared with what he said in the upper house election campaign. "We'll discuss the future of social security services together with fiscal resources. It'll be important to discuss the consumption tax in that process," he said during the presidential election campaign.

However, if he adopts the "once bitten, twice shy" approach, he will unlikely be able to restore this country's public finances, which is one of his key policies.

The prime minister should expedite efforts to call on the LDP and other parties for suprapartisan negotiations to lay the groundwork for a consumption tax hike in the near future.

Reevaluate election pledges

In the presidential election campaign, Ozawa called for sticking to the pledges the party made for the lower house election last year. However, his defeat indicates that his argument had been rejected.

Japan's fiscal condition is the worst among the major industrialized countries. To meet the fiscal 2010 budget, the government has been forced to issue bonds in an amount greater than its tax revenues. Given the situation, we believe there is no room for the government to continue the handout policies outlined in its manifesto, especially since no economic effects can be expected from such measures.

The government therefore must drastically review the child-rearing allowance program and the plan to make expressways toll-free in the fiscal 2011 budget compilation.

In the middle of the presidential election campaign, the prime minister ordered the relevant government offices to consider lowering effective corporate tax rates, which are high by international standards. The step is necessary to boost Japanese companies' potential power and raise their international competitiveness. The government must put this measure into practice in the tax system reform for the next fiscal year.

As for the relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station in Okinawa Prefecture, Ozawa suggested reviewing the Japan-U.S. agreement reached in May under the Hatoyama administration, exposing the fact that the DPJ is significantly divided over security policies.

As soon as possible, Kan should dispel U.S. concerns that may have been generated by Ozawa's remarks and start full-fledged coordination with Okinawa Prefecture and the United States in line with the Japan-U.S. agreement.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 15, 2010)
(2010年9月15日01時53分  読売新聞)

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2010年9月15日 (水)

To be the first lady in Japan



cite from lovedoor news



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Japanese banks must bolster core capital ratios

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Sep. 15, 2010)
Japanese banks must bolster core capital ratios
銀行新規制 邦銀は自己資本の充実を急げ(9月14日付・読売社説)

The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, comprised of central bankers and supervisors from major countries, agreed Sunday on a new framework for calculating minimum core capital requirements for leading financial institutions.

The new regulations decided on by the Switzerland-based committee are meant to compel banks to ensure sounder management, to prevent any repeat of the international financial crisis.

Based on the new rules known as Basel III, Japan's three megabanks will have to increase their core capital as soon as possible.

A bank's capital adequacy ratio indicates the amount of core capital it has to cushion potential losses, as a percentage of loans and other assets. A higher capital adequacy ratio means a bank has a greater capability to deal with risk.

The new rules require banks to increase the core tier 1 capital, such as common stock and retained earnings, that they must hold in reserve, to at least 4.5 percent of assets, from the current 2 percent.
They also have to build a separate capital conservation buffer equivalent to 2.5 percent of assets. This makes the total top-quality capital requirement even higher--at least 7 percent of assets.

The new rules will be phased in from 2013 and take full effect in January 2019.


Early proposals too strict

Proposals were initially floated in the committee that the minimum core tier 1 capital ratio be set between 6 and 8 percent and introduced in 2012 because the United States and Britain, which have suffered greatly from the credit crisis, demanded stricter requirements.

However, Japan, Germany and some other countries opposed this, saying that tightening regulations too quickly would cause a credit squeeze and negatively affect the real economy.

Although the worst of the financial crisis is over, the future of the global economy is still uncertain. The U.S. economy is quickly slowing down and Europe is still suffering from the financial crisis.

If regulations on bank capitalization had been tightened quickly as the United States and Britain demanded, banks might have started forcibly calling in loans and lowering loan assets to improve their capital adequacy ratios.

We think it an appropriate conclusion that the tighter requirements initially proposed were relaxed and that banks were given longer-than-expected transition periods before the new rules will be implemented.

It was a bitter lesson when banks in the United States and some European countries fell on tough times due to the credit crisis and were bailed out with taxpayers' money. With the introduction of the more stringent rules, banks must improve their own strength to weather business crises, and not casually depend on taxpayer bailouts.


Tough road ahead

Attention is now focused on how Japanese banks, including the three megabanks, will deal with the new rules.

The core tier 1 capital ratios of Mizuho Financial Group, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group are said to be between 5 and 7 percent. The Financial Services Agency said Japanese banks will be able to meet the new international rules before the requirements are tightened.

However, there is no easy way for Japanese banks to meet the requirements while competing fiercely with gigantic foreign rivals. They must increase their core capital ratios by reviewing management strategies and steadily making profits.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 14, 2010)
(2010年9月14日01時25分  読売新聞)

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2010年9月14日 (火)

防衛白書 中国軍増強は国際社会の懸念

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Sep. 14, 2010)
China's military buildup worries intl community
防衛白書 中国軍増強は国際社会の懸念(9月12日付・読売社説)

China's military buildup, as well as the activities of its navy and air force, are a common concern among many countries in the region. Japan must repeatedly hold constructive talks with China, and strongly and tenaciously call on that country to dispel such concerns.

The 2010 white paper on defense explicitly says that the opaqueness of China's defense policy and military power is a matter of concern to Japan and other countries in this part of the world and in the larger international community. It also states the need to meticulously analyze China's activities.

China's military might has been an important theme in defense white papers in recent years, but the level of concern expressed in this year's report is greater than before. This is very natural in view of the rapid modernization of China's military forces and the expansion of the range of its military activities.

In the South China Sea, friction between China and Southeast Asian countries has been increasing. There were a number of threatening moves this spring: A fleet of 10 Chinese warships, including destroyers, entered an area west of Japan's southernmost island, Okinotorishima, and a ship-based helicopter flew extremely close to a Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer on two occasions.

The Chinese Navy's activities are considered to be part of its "anti-access strategy" to hamper the engagement of the U.S. military in regional conflicts, such as an emergency involving China and Taiwan. The United States, as a result, is increasingly vigilant toward Chinese naval moves.


China's expanding 'core'

China has begun to apply the expression "core interests," which it has used regarding its sovereignty and territorial integrity concerning Taiwan, to the South China Sea as well. A similar phrase is certain to be used in the future to describe China's efforts to secure its maritime interests in the East China Sea.

How should Japan deal with such Chinese moves?

First and foremost, Japan must reconstruct a system in which the Japan-U.S. alliance can function properly. It is essential to restore the relationship of trust with Washington, which has been damaged by the immature diplomacy of the Democratic Party of Japan-led government.

The peacetime warning and surveillance activities of the Self-Defense Forces must be bolstered. Such efforts are intended to strengthen "active deterrence" through troop operations, as opposed to "passive deterrence" through only the possession of military units and equipment.

For this reason, it is problematic that Japan's defense spending has declined 5 percent in the past decade. China's military expenditures approximately quadrupled during the same period, and those of the United States and South Korea more than doubled.

It is also important to make efforts--through defense exchange programs and security dialogue--to have Beijing enhance the transparency of its military spending and activities, and comply with international rules.


No concrete results

Recent years saw progress in exchanging visits by defense ministers, officers and warships between Japan and China. But those activities did not bring about such concrete results as the establishment of a mechanism for maritime communications to prevent accidents and joint training for search and rescue operations.

The defense white paper was supposed to be released in late July, as usual. But publication was postponed until last week on the pretext of adding the moves of the United Nations concerning the sinking of a South Korean warship.

But the additional portion accounts for a mere one paragraph in the main text and a sidebar. The real reason for the postponement was obviously excessive consideration to South Korea ahead of the 100th anniversary of Japan's annexation of the Korean Peninsula in August.

The government should avoid such a poor approach based on a principle of peace at any price.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 12, 2010)
(2010年9月12日01時08分  読売新聞)

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2010年9月13日 (月)


北京飯店はタイフリークの間ではかなり有名な店です。 小さな決して清潔とは言えない店ですが、スワニーさんがいつもいつも笑顔で対応してくれるのが救いでした。 バンコクはヨーロッパや西アジア、インドなどを旅行するバックパッカーの中継地点でした。 インドやパキスタンを旅行してヘトヘトになった旅行者たちが帰国の途中でここに立ち寄り久しぶりの日本食を味わったのです。味噌汁、焼き魚、冷奴、納豆、豚肉の生姜焼き、トンカツ、チャーハン、等々は長旅で疲れ果てた旅人たちの心を休めてくれました。場末でもこれだけ美味しく感じるというのが実感です。 狭い店の中には小さなテーブルが三つほどしかありませんが、テーブルの上に小さな本棚があり旅人が残していった週刊誌や漫画、文庫本等々が置かれてあります。旅人はこれらの雑誌を懐かしそうに眺めながら、ビールを飲んだり、食事をしたり、雑談したり…、当時は日本人貧乏旅行者の溜まり場だったのです。 スワニーさんは日本人のくだらない話を真面目に聞いてくれる数少ない人でした。 タイフリークでスワニーさんのお世話になった人は結構多いのではないでしょうか。 私もその末席を汚しています。 昨年の6月スワニーさんを久しぶりに訪ねましたが、もはやあの厚化粧もされていなくて別人かと思いました。 時の流れっていうものは本当に非情なものですね。 (スラチャイ記) 北京飯店(店の左側の鉄製スライド式扉をくぐり2Fの楽宮ホテル受付へ)
photo by srachai from OCNフォトフレンド スワニーさん(20年くらい前の写真)
photo by srachai from OCNフォトフレンド

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--The Asahi Shimbun, Sept. 10
EDITORIAL: Koran-burning in U.S..

A small Christian church in Florida called for the burning of the Koran, the sacred book of Muslims, on Sept. 11, the ninth anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks against the United States.

According to the church, the plan is aimed at alerting the world to the dangers of Islam, which it says "is of the Devil."

Anyone can imagine how much antipathy such an act would incur among people who believe in the Koran.

News about the plan made headlines around the world. In Afghanistan, where U.S. and European troops are stationed, residents staged protests. The commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan warned that the book burning could put his troops in further danger. Such reactions are natural.

The building of a free and tolerant society is the foundation of the United States. First U.S. President George Washington wrote that the United States "gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance." It is clear the church's plan would run counter to this philosophy.

Everything must be done to prevent the rift between the United States and the Islamic world from widening. We urge the church to immediately cancel its plans.

The image of passenger planes hijacked by terrorists crashing into the World Trade Center towers in New York nine years ago is still fresh in our minds. In the background of that attack was Muslim extremists' antagonism and distrust against the United States, which holds much of the world's wealth and power.

The George W. Bush administration, which plunged into war in Afghanistan and Iraq, could not alleviate such anti-U.S. sentiments.

Signs of change appeared after President Barack Obama, who advocates reconciliation with the Islamic world, took over. He embarked on mediating Middle East peace and reached a decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq.

What has become clear now is the bitter conflict and agony within the United States over peaceful coexistence with Islam.

A plan to build a mosque near the site where the World Trade Center stood has reached a deadlock in the face of opposition by residents. While the plan is aimed at promoting understanding toward different cultures, some families of victims of 9/11 say it is an affront to the memories of their loved ones.

The number of Muslims around the world centering on the Middle East and West Asia is estimated at between 1 billion and 2 billion. The United States, a society of immigrants, is also home to millions of Muslims, and many mosques exist across the country. People of different religious faiths live in the same society.

In Europe, moves to exclude Islamic immigrants and ban women from wearing veils are emerging. Growing anxiety over the increase in jobless people and other issues is apparently behind the rising trend to cast a wary eye against social minorities.

But now, security and prosperity of not only the United States but also the entire world cannot be maintained without coexistence with Islam.

Last year, in a speech at Cairo University, President Obama quoted the Koran, the Talmud, the compendium of Jewish law, and the Bible, saying, "The people of the world can live together in peace."

We want U.S. society to eliminate narrow-minded thinking and recover its tradition of showing tolerance and magnanimity to accept different cultures.

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2010年9月12日 (日)

振興銀ペイオフ 乱脈許した金融庁の重い責任

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Sep. 12, 2010)
FSA partly to blame for Incubator Bank failure
振興銀ペイオフ 乱脈許した金融庁の重い責任(9月11日付・読売社説)

The scandal-ridden Incubator Bank of Japan, which had come under fire for its lax lending practices and arrests of its executives, finally collapsed as it filed for bankruptcy protection Friday.

The Financial Services Agency this time opted not to implement rescue measures with public funds as it has done in the past for other failed banks. It instead invoked for the first time ever the limited deposit protection system, which covers up to 10 million yen in deposits plus interest.

Most of the deposits at the bank are below that cap, and so will be refunded in full. We urge the bank's depositors to remain calm. Financial authorities should exercise proper oversight so that refunding will proceed smoothly. They also should address corporate borrowers' funding problems with utmost care.

The Incubator Bank was established in 2004, led by Takeshi Kimura, a former Bank of Japan official who was the brains behind the policies of Heizo Takenaka, former state minister in charge of financial policy.

Risky business

The bank tried to raise profits by attracting deposits with high interest rates and extending loans to promising small and medium-sized companies. But it was only a matter of time before such a management model broke down.

Megabanks and other financial institutions began to enter the field of financing for smaller companies that the Incubator Bank relied on. The high interest rates that the bank set to lure clients weighed down the bottom line. The bank desperately took an expansionary course through such measures as buying up loans from nonbanks and extending big loans in a reckless manner. Such slipshod management, which widely diverged from the bank's official business philosophy, proliferated.

As such, it was no surprise that Kimura, who had been the bank's chairman, and other executives were arrested and indicted over alleged obstruction of FSA inspections.

What must not be forgotten is that Takenaka, who approved the establishment of the bank with few future prospects, and the financial authorities, which neglected to expose the bank's lax management for a long time, bear grave responsibilities. Takenaka should explain what developments led to the bank's problems.

The government and the Bank of Japan have stressed that the invoking of the 10 million yen deposit protection system is unlikely to affect Japan's financial system.

Contagion unlikely

The Incubator Bank is different from ordinary banks in that the bank handles only time deposits for the purpose of fund management. The bank does not handle bank transfers or other financial settlement services that are closely related to people's daily lives. It had few fund transactions with other financial institutions. So the possibility that its collapse will set off a negative chain reaction is extremely low.

Even with the enforcement of the 10 million yen deposit protection system, only 3 percent of the bank's depositors face getting less than full refunds on their accounts.

Public funds were injected into Ashikaga Bank, which failed in 2003, because the extent of the possible impact on regional economies was taken into consideration. If the Incubator Bank, whose failure is attributed to its lax management, were rescued with the use of public funds, the authorities would not have obtained the understanding of the public. With these circumstances taken into account, we believe invoking the deposit protection system was appropriate.

The deposit protection system, which had long been treated as off-limits despite its creation in 1971, has now become a reality. Depositors must have a keener sense of self-responsibility. They also must strictly assess the management of each financial institution.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 11, 2010)
(2010年9月11日01時43分  読売新聞)

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2010年9月11日 (土)



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成長実現会議 経済再生に民間の知恵生かせ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Sep. 11, 2010)
Govt growth panel must draw on private expertise
成長実現会議 経済再生に民間の知恵生かせ(9月10日付・読売社説)

The vast wisdom accumulated by private-sector experts should be fully utilized to help restore the growth potential of the Japanese economy.

On Thursday, a key government panel on new growth strategies held its inaugural meeting.

During the meeting, Prime Minister Naoto Kan instructed Cabinet members to study ways to realize his administration's new growth strategy.
One issue on the table is a cut in the effective rate of corporate taxation--the ratio of the corporate sector's national and local tax payments to its taxable income. This nation's effective corporate tax rate is much higher than those in many other countries.
The prime minister also told his Cabinet to consider tax reductions aimed at helping create more corporate jobs.

Chaired by the prime minister, the growth strategy council includes Cabinet ministers involved with the economy and top academics and experts, as well as the Bank of Japan governor and the chiefs of the nation's three main business organizations. The blue-ribbon panel will spearhead government efforts to devise and implement specific policies in line with the growth strategy adopted in June.

Go beyond growth strategy

The council--a mix of talented figures from various sectors--should not be limited just to addressing topics related to the growth strategy.

The defunct Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy may be illuminating in this respect. This panel took the lead in crafting and implementing government polices under the then ruling coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito.
The growth strategy council needs to serve as a forum for discussions on a wide range of issues, including the urgent matter of how to rectify the recent upsurge in the value of the yen. Other topics include such fiscal and financial policies as medium- and long-term reform of the fiscal and social security systems.

The government's new growth strategy seeks a swift resolution to the ongoing deflationary crisis while also ensuring that the nation's average annual growth rate in the next decade reaches a hefty 3 percent in nominal terms and 2 percent in real terms.

The Kan administration also has said it will strive to generate new demand worth more than 120 trillion yen and create about 5 million jobs through government support for environmental protection, health care and other growth fields, combined with efforts to encourage investment in other Asian markets.

High hurdles must be cleared to achieve these targets.

The growth strategy council will work to smooth differences among the various policies formulated by different ministries, while also issuing instructions to each office concerning specific measures to be implemented.

We hope the new panel will work to end the bureaucratic turf battle among government offices seeking greater authority, and remedy the lack of coordination among them in implementing government policies.
These hurdles only serve to undercut workable policies.

Also, the respective roles of the growth strategy panel and the National Policy Unit must be clearly defined.

The important thing is to marshal conflicting positions among the ministries, and facilitate a consensus on each divisive issue.

Lend ear to business world

Divided opinions can be seen, for example, on the issue of lowering the corporate tax rate. The Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry and the Finance Ministry are sharply divided over this matter--the former wants to reduce the rate, but the latter fears doing so could lessen tax revenue. Kan will be tested as to whether his administration can lead the way to reducing the tax rate as soon as possible.

Indications are the growth strategy panel will make its presence strongly felt as a vehicle for reflecting the opinions of the business community in government policy.

The government of former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama alienated itself from financial circles, hammering out various policies that could dampen the economy.

The economy is still suffering from the aftereffects of the unsatisfactory relationship between the Hatoyama administration and the business community.

The Kan administration must listen to financial circles' and experts' opinions about the debatable policies adopted by his predecessor, including a ban on temporary workers being dispatched to manufacturing companies and a self-imposed goal for a large cut in greenhouse gas emissions. If necessary, the government must reconsider such policies.

The market is experiencing a rapid rise in the yen's value and a sharp fall in stock prices.

There has been no government forum that included both the prime minister and the central bank governor, because of the Hatoyama administration's decision to abolish the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy.

We hope the launch of the growth strategy council will smooth policy coordination between the government and the central bank.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 10, 2010)
(2010年9月10日01時21分  読売新聞)

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2010年9月10日 (金)

尖閣沖衝突事件 中国人船長の逮捕は当然だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Sep. 10, 2010)
Chinese fishing boat captain's arrest reasonable
尖閣沖衝突事件 中国人船長の逮捕は当然だ(9月9日付・読売社説)

There is no question that the Senkaku Islands belong to Japan both historically and under international law.

On Wednesday, the Japan Coast Guard arrested the captain of a Chinese trawler allegedly fishing illegally in Japanese waters off the islands for trying to prevent JCG officers from conducting an inspection.

The arrest is reasonable. The government should take criminal procedures strictly in accordance with domestic laws.

The Chinese boat on Tuesday allegedly ignored orders by JCG patrol vessels to halt and in an attempt to flee collided with two of the JCG vessels. Believing that the fishing boat's actions were deliberate, the JCG took the captain into custody on suspicion of obstructing official duties of marine safety officers.

We hope the JCG will clarify the circumstances surrounding the trawler's collision with the two patrol vessels as well as illegal fishing by Chinese vessels.

Senkaku claims made in '70s

The Chinese government asserts that the Senkakus belong to China and that, therefore, the trawler was not fishing illegally in Japanese waters. It also protested the captain's arrest through diplomatic channels.

However, no country protested when the Meiji government incorporated the islands into Japanese territory in 1895. Under the San Francisco Peace Treaty signed in 1951, the islands were not included among those territories abandoned by Japan.

China and Taiwan did not claim the islands until the early 1970s, when petroleum and natural gas reserves were found under the ocean floor around the islands in the East China Sea. It is obvious that China's claim is unreasonable.

On the Internet in China, anti-Japan sentiment and patriotism are growing, with Japan being denounced and the trawler's captain held up as a hero.

Calm approach needed

We should avoid a recurrence of the massive anti-Japan protests that took place five years ago in China, with public opinion on the Internet keeping the pot boiling. We hope China will take a level-headed approach on the latest development.

Japan-China negotiations on an agreement to jointly develop gas fields in the East China Sea began at the end of July. It is important not to upset bilateral relations, and that negotiations proceed calmly.

At the time of the collisions, about 160 Chinese vessels were illegally operating off the Senkaku Islands.

The Chinese Navy is dispatching warships on the pretext of protecting Chinese fishing vessels in the South China Sea, increasing tensions with Southeast Asian nations.

If China is trying to increase its influence in the East China Sea by sending fishing vessels as an "advance guard," it will affect the national security of Japan.

While the JCG will continue to monitor the illegal operations of Chinese fishing boats in the area, the Maritime Self-Defense Force should cooperate closely with the JCG by collecting and sharing relevant information.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 9, 2010)
(2010年9月9日01時22分  読売新聞)

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2010年9月 9日 (木)







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13Hello Gift
30カードでお金 ベストクレジット

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banner bridge 2010-09-09

10【現金化 EXPRESS】
16☆Smile Cash☆
18Hello Gift

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自衛官武器使用 国際活動強化へ権限拡大を

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Sep. 9, 2010)
Better rules needed for SDF weapons use
自衛官武器使用 国際活動強化へ権限拡大を(9月8日付・読売社説)

The use of weapons by Self-Defense Forces personnel is an issue that needs to be discussed for Japan to more actively participate in international peacekeeping activities and fulfill roles commensurate with its national power.

The government recently decided not to dispatch a Ground Self-Defense Force unit to Sudan for a U.N. peacekeeping mission in the southern part of the country.

The government cited the difficulty of overland travel and transportation in Africa as grounds for the decision. But it actually was made against a backdrop of the Defense Ministry's increasing wariness of sending SDF members to the area out of security concerns in light of the significant restrictions on the use of weapons by SDF personnel.

Working with hands tied

Under current law, SDF personnel are allowed to use weapons during overseas missions, including peacekeeping activities, solely for self-defense when their own lives or the lives of other SDF personnel are threatened.

SDF members are thus prohibited even from firing a warning shot if hostile local forces should obstruct them when they are traveling by car, leaving them no choice but to make detours. When troops of other countries are attacked and seek help from SDF personnel, they will not even be allowed to provide covering fire.

As it stands, the SDF will not be able to sufficiently carry out many activities or build relationships of trust with units from other countries. In addition, SDF members' lives may be put at risk because of the legal restriction that prevents them from using weapons unless their lives come under immediate threat.

The government must review SDF personnel's rights on the use of weapons in line with international standards so as to enable them to use weapons for the purpose of fulfilling their duties.

Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada raised the issue in Diet deliberations and at a press conference in mid-March, saying that it may be acceptable to change the conditions under which SDF personnel may use weapons in U.N.-authorized peacekeeping activities.

Despite his proposal, the government led by the Democratic Party of Japan stopped short of reviewing the SDF members' right to use weapons in consideration of its now former junior coalition partner, the Social Democratic Party, which is cautious about sending SDF members overseas.

Consider new rules

In October last year, Okada called for reviewing the government's five conditions on SDF participation in peacekeeping operations under the U.N. Peacekeeping Activities Cooperation Law. The five conditions include the right to use weapons, the existence of a truce agreed to by all parties in a conflict and the agreement by the parties in a conflict to the SDF's participation in the peacekeeping mission.

In recent years, however, it has become difficult to identify the parties involved in a conflict in an increasing number of cases. Given this, it can be said that the five principles are out of touch with current realities.

In its election pledges for the House of Councillors election in July, the DPJ proposed considering what forms international contributions by the SDF and Japanese civilians should take to enable Japan to play a greater role in building international peace. The pledge was made with an eye toward reviewing the five principles on peacekeeping activities.

An expert panel on the National Defense Program Guidelines also proposed at the end of August expanding the SDF's right to use weapons and reviewing the five conditions on peacekeeping missions.

Because the SDP has left the coalition, the government has been freed from one problem. In the divided Diet, in which the ruling bloc controls the House of Representatives while the opposition camp holds a majority in the upper house, the DPJ should seriously consider joining hands with the main opposition Liberal Democratic Party, which is positive about reviewing the SDF personnel's right to use of weapons.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 8, 2010)
(2010年9月8日00時46分  読売新聞)

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2010年9月 8日 (水)

today's headline


cite from washington post,

●Obama Calls for $50 Billion in Infrastructure Spending

The president is using a Labor Day appearance to unveil a new six-year plan to improve the country's roads, railways, and runways. It's meant to stimulate the economy and create jobs.

●French Unions Strike Over Plan to Raise Retirement Age

Unions are hoping to bring two million protestors out as parliament begins a debate over plans to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62 in an effort to balance the money-losing pension system.

●U.S. Soldiers Help Iraqi Troops Fight Insurgent Attack

Five days after President Obama declared the end of American combat operations, the U.S. military helped local troops battle insurgents.

●Should Government Let the Housing Market Crash?

It's what some economists are advocating, arguing that the government intervention in the market hasn't worked and it's time to let prices drop to lure new buyers.

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Hull note (ハルノート)


cite from wikkipedia (日本語翻訳 by srachai)

Hull note

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Hull note or officially Outline of Proposed Basis for Agreement Between the United States and Japan was the final proposal delivered to the Empire of Japan by the United States before the attack on Pearl Harbor and the declaration of war between the two nations. The note was delivered on November 26, 1941; it is named for Secretary of State Cordell Hull.


The United States objected to the Second Sino-Japanese War and the occupation of part of China by Japanese troops. In protest, the United States sent support to the Nationalist government of Chiang Kai-shek. In July 1941, Japanese military units occupied southern French Indochina, violating a gentlemens' agreement. Japanese bombers quickly moved into bases in Saigon and Cambodia, from where they could attack British Malaya. As a result, immediately after the Japanese military occupation, the US government imposed trade sanctions on Japan, including the freezing of Japanese assets in the United States, and an embargo of oil exports to Japan.

On 5 November 1941, Emperor Hirohito approved, in Imperial Conference, the plan for the attack on Pearl Harbor. At the same time, his government made a last effort to arrive at a diplomatic solution of their differences with the United States. Ambassador Kichisabur? Nomura presented two proposals to the American government.
当時の米国駐在大使kitchisaburo nomuraが米国との和解に向けて米国議会に二種類の和解案を提示していた。

The first, proposal A, he presented on November 6, 1941. It proposed making a final settlement of the Sino-Japanese War with a partial withdrawal of Japanese troops. United States military intelligence had deciphered some of Japan's diplomatic codes, so they knew that there was a second, follow-up proposal in case proposal A failed. The United States government stalled and then rejected proposal A on November 14, 1941.

On November 20, 1941, Nomura presented proposal B, which proposed that Japan stop further military action in return for one million gallons (3,800 m3) of aviation fuel from the United States. The United States was about to make a counteroffer to this plan which included a monthly supply of fuel for civilian use. However, President Franklin D. Roosevelt received a leak of Japan's war plan and news that Japanese troopships were on their way to Indochina. He decided the Japanese were not being sincere in their negotiations and instructed Secretary Hull to drop the counter-proposal.
1941年11月20日、nomura大使は和解案Bを提出した。和解案Bには米国からの飛行機の燃料100万ガロン (3,800 m3) 相当の日本への輸出を条件としてさらなる軍事活動を停止する旨が記されていた。
そのとき米国では和解案Bに対する返答をしたためているところであった。この返答には民間使用を目的とする化石燃料の日本への輸出月間スケジュールが記載されていた。ところが、当時の米国大統領フランクリンルーズベルトは別ルートで日本政府の戦争の計画とインドネシアに向けて日本軍が侵攻している情報を得てしまった。大統領は日本との一連の和解交渉の過程で日本が誠実でないことを見破って、秘書官のHull氏に和解案Bに対する回答をしたためるように以来した。こうして出来上がったのがHull Noteである。

The note:

On November 25 Henry L. Stimson, United States Secretary of War noted in his diary that he had discussed with US President Franklin D. Roosevelt the severe likelihood that Japan was about to launch a surprise attack, and that the question had been "how we should maneuver them [the Japanese] into the position of firing the first shot without allowing too much danger to ourselves.'"

On the following day, November 26, 1941, Hull presented the Japanese ambassador with the Hull note, which as one of its conditions demanded the complete withdrawal of all Japanese troops from French Indochina and China. It did not refer to Manchukuo, in which hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians were already living. Japanese Prime Minister Tojo Hideki said to his cabinet, "this is an ultimatum."

The strike force which attacked Pearl Harbor had set sail the day before, on the morning of November 26, 1941, Japan time. It could have been recalled along the way, but no further diplomatic progress was made and on 1 December, Emperor Hirohito approved, in Imperial Conference, the war against United States, Britain, and the Netherlands, which began by the attack on Pearl Harbor, Malaya, and the Philippines.

Jonathan Daniels, President Roosevelt's administrative assistant at the time, noted Roosevelt's subsequent reaction to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor - "The blow was heavier than he had hoped it would necessarily be. ... But the risks paid off; even the loss was worth the price. ..."

Some modern Japanese commentators say the note was designed to draw Japan into war and thus claim Japan was not the aggressor nation in the Pacific War. Toshio Tamogami, who was the Japan Air Self-Defense Force chief of staff, was sacked by the Japanese government in 2008 for taking this position.
航空自衛隊の士官Toshio Tamogamiは2008年に日本政府によりこの問題で罷免されている。

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外国人看護師 試験の見直しはまだ不十分だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Sep. 8, 2010)
National nursing exam needs more revision
外国人看護師 試験の見直しはまだ不十分だ(9月7日付・読売社説)

Having accepted foreign nurses through agreements with other countries, this nation's government has a responsibility to rectify the current situation in which their inability to understand difficult kanji prevents them from passing Japan's licensing exam for nurses.

The government should do more to resolve the problem.

An expert panel of the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry last month drew up a guideline to revise the national exam so foreign applicants can better understand its questions, which are written in Japanese.

The government decided to review the annual exam because its pass rate was extremely low among the would-be nurses Japan has accepted from Indonesia and the Philippines based on economic partnership agreements with those countries.

None of the trainees passed the exam in the first year of the program, and only 1 percent were successful in the second year.

The extremely low pass rate has led to criticism that it is unfair to reject examinees based on their ability to read kanji. The ministry has taken this under consideration and has been reviewing the exam system since March.

Help needed with jargon

The new guideline calls for disease names to be written in both Japanese and English on the exam, and for some technical terms to be expressed with internationally recognized abbreviations, such as Ca for karushiumu (calcium). The foreign applicants who come to Japan under the EPA program are licensed nurses in their own countries, and it will be a great help to them if terms are also written in English and with abbreviations.

The guideline also allows kana to be printed beside or above difficult kanji to aid reading. But it has not applied this measure to medical and nursing jargon, such as jokuso and gyogai, which mean bedsores and lying on one's back, respectively. Those terms cannot be replaced with easier words, either.

The Japan Nursing Association has said foreign nurses must be able to understand technical terms written in kanji and communicate accurately with their Japanese counterparts to prevent serious medical errors. The ministry's expert panel apparently compiled the guideline based on this opinion.

Of course safety in medical treatments must be ensured. But can't kana readings be printed next to difficult kanji that even native Japanese could not immediately read?

The new guideline will be reflected in the nursing exam beginning with the test scheduled for February. Under the rules of the program, however, nearly 100 foreign nurses will have to return home if they fail it.

The guideline should have been applied to the actual test only after it had been proven to be sufficiently effective in alleviating the problem. We believe preferential measures for foreign applicants, such as allowing them to take another test the year after next, should be considered.

Boost to medical tourism

The shortage of nurses and nursing care workers is still very serious in Japan. We do not think the kanji barrier should block motivated and capable people from these professions.

The government is working hard to attract more foreigners wishing to receive examinations for cancer and other medical conditions at Japanese hospitals. Filipino nurses with good English will be able to help Japanese medical staff communicate more smoothly with such foreign patients.

Vietnam and Thailand also have been asking Japan to accept nurses and nursing care workers from their countries. These countries will eventually propose revisions of their EPAs with Tokyo over the issue.

We do not want to see this program fail at the outset. The government should try to improve the environment for accepting caregivers from other countries.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 7, 2010)
(2010年9月7日01時20分  読売新聞)

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2010年9月 7日 (火)


09カードでお金 ベストクレジット
16【現金化 EXPRESS】
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21☆Smile Cash☆
24Hello Gift

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trend 3-2010-09-07

21☆Smile Cash☆
24Hello Gift

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trend 2-2010-09-07

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新卒就職対策 成長戦略こそ最大の支援策だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Sep. 7, 2010)
Growth strategy key to creating jobs
新卒就職対策 成長戦略こそ最大の支援策だ(9月6日付・読売社説)

The economic package the government compiled recently includes measures to help new university graduates find jobs.

Just 91.8 percent of this spring's university graduates received tentative job offers, the lowest figure in a decade. With deflation and the stronger yen dimming economic prospects, businesses expect to hire fewer new recruits next spring, further worsening the employment situation.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan has been bringing up employment at every opportunity, saying, "Employment comes first, second and third [in the government's priorities]." But the public wants to see results. Regardless of who wins the upcoming Democratic Party of Japan presidential race, the government must urgently ensure stable employment for young people, especially new university graduates.

The core of the government's support policy for new university grads is to promote employment at small and midsize companies willing to recruit staff.


Incentives needed

The government initially plans to increase the number of job counselors at universities and HelloWork job placement offices, and generate job offers from small and midsize firms through close coordination among these counselors. The plan also calls for raising awareness among new university graduates of the advantages of working at small and midsize companies, thereby expanding employment at such firms.

If many fresh university graduates land jobs at small and midsize firms possessing significant growth potential, it will revitalize the nation's industries.

Another plan will provide financial incentives to businesses that take on, as trial recruits and trainees, people who fail to find jobs after graduation or repeat a year at university. Money also will be paid to companies that hire people who graduated within the past three years as part of their intake of new graduates.

The employment situation remains grim. Providing these financial incentives could be necessary to encourage corporate recruitment. By the same token, it is essential to correct the situation in which people's chances for employment evaporate if a year or more passes after their graduation from university.


No time to waste

In the meantime, an increasing number of firms have been transferring their production overseas to deal with falling domestic demand caused by the stronger yen and the declining birthrate and aging population. This structural change cannot be solved fundamentally simply by increasing the number of job counselors and offering companies cash incentives.

The "new growth strategy," which the government decided on in June, calls for quickly ending deflation and putting the national economy on the road to full-scale recovery.

Undoubtedly, a strategy to heighten corporate desire for recruitment is indispensable, but the government has been slow to take action to achieve this goal.

In the economic package compiled recently, the government called for assisting technological development by small and midsize companies, regulatory and institutional reforms and tax incentives aimed at stimulating domestic investment.

Recent surveys have shown many university students lack professionalism and have poor communication skills. When hiring staff, however, more and more companies prize attributes such as specialized skills and expertise that could enable their employees to work globally.

We urge the government, universities and students themselves to face up to--and adapt to--this reality.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 6, 2010)
(2010年9月6日01時02分  読売新聞)

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2010年9月 6日 (月)


車の屋根の上にTAXI METERの表示が大きくなされています。

cite from 在タイ日本国大使館メールマガジン





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代表選の投票権 外国人にも認めるのは問題だ


The Yomiuri Shimbun (Sep. 6, 2010)
Foreigner suffrage in DPJ poll a problem
代表選の投票権 外国人にも認めるのは問題だ(9月5日付・読売社説)

The Democratic Party of Japan presidential election will choose the head of a Japanese political party. Extending voting rights in this poll to non-Japanese residents obviously goes too far.

The DPJ allows lawmakers, local assembly members, rank-and-file party members and supporters to vote in its presidential election. Among the 1,224 points up for grabs, rank-and-file party members and supporters together account for 300 points, about a quarter of the total.

Some people say the votes of the about 50,000 party members and 290,000 supporters could be decisive if the election campaign heats up.

However, it is problematic that the DPJ's internal regulations explicitly state that those qualified to be party members and supporters "include foreigners living in Japan."


Embrace spirit, letter of law

The Constitution grants the right to select and dismiss civil servants only to Japanese nationals, and the Public Offices Election Law gives voting rights only to Japanese nationals. Meanwhile, the Political Funds Control Law bans political parties and organizations from receiving donations from foreign individuals and corporations.

All these legal principles are intended to prevent foreign interference in Japan's political and electoral processes. Given the regulations' intent, it is extremely questionable for a political party, regardless of whether it is a ruling or opposition party, to grant foreigners the right to vote for its leader.

Political parties determine their own requirements for party membership and presidential elections. The DPJ says it opens doors to non-Japanese living in Japan under the philosophy of being an "open party."

However, political parties assume a public character because they receive taxpayer money in the form of subsidies. The parties must not, of course, deviate from the letter of the Constitution and other laws, but likewise they should never distort their spirit and intent.

The DPJ does not even know how many foreigners living in Japan are included among its rank-and-file party members and supporters. The party's election administration is far too sloppy.

DPJ Secretary General Yukio Edano said at a press conference last month: "We must discuss many things in the future. The requirements to participate in national politics should be based on nationality." The direct connection between the DPJ presidential election and the selection of the nation's prime minister seems to have finally opened Edano's eyes to the seriousness of the matter.


Nationality should come 1st

The Liberal Democratic Party and the Japanese Communist Party require party members to have Japanese nationality. Likewise, the DPJ should limit its rank-and-file party members and supporters to those with Japanese nationality.

Among the DPJ's rank-and-file party members and supporters, there appear to be many South Korean residents in Japan who want to see foreigners with permanent residence status given local suffrage.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan and former DPJ Secretary General Ichiro Ozawa are staging a battle in the presidential election that could split the party. The nation's foundations will be damaged if they and the lawmakers supporting them compete with promises to pass a pending foreign suffrage bill, with the aim of garnering votes of DPJ members and supporters in the party's presidential election.

The DPJ should promptly take measures to correct the situation.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 5, 2010)
(2010年9月5日01時11分  読売新聞)

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2010年9月 4日 (土)


今から3年ほど前、2007年12月にカイちゃんの幼稚園で学芸会があった。 このときカイちゃんは3年保育の1年生だった。 私は12名ほど招待できる食事付きのテーブルを奮発していた。 団地のお隣さんは警察官、7年前この団地に住み始めたとき以来のお友達だ。 ご主人はあいにくお仕事、奥さんと二人の子供たちが出席してくれた。 このときに私の心の奥に、なんだかいやな予感がふっと湧いていたのを思い出す。 この奥さん、急に装いが派手になってきていた。この直後に私はこの奥さんが浮気をしているのを発見し大きなショックを受けた。それからの3年間はこの家族にとって地獄の日々であったと思う。夜中に銃声を聞いて飛び起き外に飛び出しあたりをうかがったのは私だけではない。幸いご主人は自分の気持ちを完全に押さえることのできる人であった。もしも私がこのご主人の立場であったなら私は間違いなく不倫の妻を射殺していたはずだ。このご主人は本当によく出来た人物であった。頻繁に繰り返す奥さんの借金と家出、ご主人はだまって娘と息子の学校の送り迎えをしていた。まるで映画のクレイマークレイマーを見ているようだった。何度も男を変えて遊び歩く奥さんに私はうんざりしていて、たまに奥さんが帰宅していても私は全く挨拶をしなかった。ただ毎月一度くらいご主人を励ますためにウイスキーを持参して話し込むのが日課となっていた。つい先日ご主人から招待されてウイスキーを飲みにいったが、何とそこには新しい奥さんがいた。何度も再婚話を持ちかけたのは私のほうだが、ご主人は全く受け付けなかった。浮気性の奥さんを心の底から愛していたのだ。 私は新しい奥さんにショックを受けてろくに挨拶もできなかった。なんとか取り繕おうとする新しい奥さんと、なつかない子供達。私はやがて訪れる悲劇を予感できて胸がいっぱいとなり、トイレに入って一人で声をころして泣いた。 ご主人に別れの挨拶をしているときに私の目が真っ赤になっているのを発見されてしまった。 それだけで十分に心は通じ合っていた。 余分の言葉なんてまったくいらない。心に愛があれば相手の胸に響くのを実感させらてしまった。 このご主人とは7年来のお付き合い、よき友人を得ることが出来ました。 (チャイヤプームの実家にて一息に書き下ろしました)

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2010年9月 2日 (木)

鳩山調停失敗 投票で決着を図るのは当然だ

(srachai from Chulaporn Dam, Chiyaphum)

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Sep. 2, 2010)
DPJ on right course with open showdown
鳩山調停失敗 投票で決着を図るのは当然だ(9月1日付・読売社説)

Prime Minister Naoto Kan and former Democratic Party of Japan Secretary General Ichiro Ozawa on Tuesday formally announced they would run in the upcoming DPJ presidential race. The race is set to be a head-to-head battle between the two.

Importantly, it will be an open battle. It is more reasonable to settle things squarely in a party race rather than behind closed doors in the name of so-called party unity. Openness must be what many people want.

Few conditions set

Prior to their separate announcements of their candidacies, Kan and Ozawa held talks and basically agreed that they would cooperate regardless of who wins the race and try to prevent the party from splitting up after the election.

The talks were held with the mediation of former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and several others who were concerned that a head-on battle between Kan and Ozawa would seriously divide the party.

But apparently no concessions were made over whether Ozawa would be granted a post if he were to give up running in the race, or whether anti-Ozawa figures Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshito Sengoku and DPJ Secretary General Yukio Edano would retain their posts.

During talks a day earlier with Hatoyama, Kan accepted that a so-called troika of Kan, Hatoyama and Ozawa would steer the DPJ-led administration.

But if Kan had offered Ozawa inducements to withdraw from the race, which would have allowed Kan to be reelected without a vote, he certainly would have faced criticism that such a process was no different from the old faction-based closed-door politics of the Liberal Democratic Party.

Ozawa, for his part, must not have wanted to drop out of the race because doing so would make it look as if he had backed down due to the lack of public support for him as shown in various opinion polls.

Hatoyama, who mediated between the two, bears grave responsibility.

He resigned as prime minister only a few months ago after causing confusion over a number of domestic and foreign policy issues. Such a person should have been kept well away from the center of the political stage.

To make matters worse, Hatoyama had initially expressed support for Kan to remain in the top post but later shifted his backing to Ozawa. It is strange that Hatoyama backed Ozawa, who has yet to clear up the "politics and money" suspicions swirling around him, as the former prime minister called for a "clean party" when he stepped down from the post.

We consider Hatoyama unqualified to act as go-between, as his words and actions have been full of contradictions.

A chance to air issues

If the DPJ did not hold a party presidential race, it would have lost a chance to deepen discussions on the responsibility for the party's humiliating defeat in July's House of Councillors election. The intraparty election is an opportunity to review the party manifesto for last year's House of Representatives election, an envisaged increase in the consumption tax rate and basic state policies.

During the official campaigning over the next two weeks, Kan and Ozawa must frankly speak about their visions of the nation's future and how government affairs should be handled.

As the DPJ is no longer an opposition party, the race for its presidency also is a race for the prime ministership. DPJ lawmakers as well as registered party members and supporters must take this to heart when they cast their ballots in the election.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 1, 2010)
(2010年9月1日01時17分  読売新聞)

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2010年9月 1日 (水)




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政府・日銀協調 「次の一手」も視野に入れよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Sep. 1, 2010)
BOJ should consider next step to curb high yen
政府・日銀協調 「次の一手」も視野に入れよ(8月31日付・読売社説)

The government and the Bank of Japan have finally begun working in a coordinated manner to stop the sharp appreciation of the yen.

The central bank decided at an extraordinary Policy Board meeting Monday to take new steps for further quantitative monetary easing. It will increase lending to the market by 10 trillion yen, to a total of 30 trillion yen, at an extremely low interest rate of 0.1 percent a year.

Also Monday, Bank of Japan Gov. Masaaki Shirakawa met Prime Minister Naoto Kan in person to discuss the current state of the economy. Later in the day, the government decided on an outline of additional measures to create jobs and stimulate consumption. Kan stressed that the government will flexibly implement both economic and financial measures to deal with the slowdown in the economy.

In the meantime, we would like to praise the government and the Bank of Japan for working on economic policy in a coordinated manner.


Nothing unexpected

However, the content of the further monetary easing and other measures they announced did not go further than what might have been expected, and left more to be desired. We also have to say the government and the Bank of Japan took action rather late. They should implement policy management with a stronger sense of urgency.

Even after the central bank announced further monetary easing in the early afternoon, the yen's appreciation continued. The Nikkei Stock Average recovered to the 9,000 mark in the morning, on expectations for new financial steps, but trimmed earlier gains in afternoon trading.

Many market players apparently doubt the central bank's commitment to further monetary easing. Certainly, there is a strong impression that the central bank has unwillingly implemented measures piecemeal under pressure from the government and the market.

The central bank's measures also lost some of their impact because U.S. Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke took the preemptive action last week of announcing that the U.S. central bank was ready for further monetary easing steps.

The market is now becoming more and more interested in what steps the Bank of Japan will take next. The central bank should consider the outright purchase of more long-term government bonds and other new monetary easing steps so that speculators will never again capitalize on its delay in taking action and the yen's appreciation will not accelerate as a result.

The strong yen eats into the profits of exporters and their subcontractors, such as parts manufacturers, dampening their enthusiasm for capital spending.

About 40 percent of manufacturing companies reportedly said they will move factories, and research and development centers from Japan to other countries if the yen stays at its current level of 85 yen to the dollar. We must not allow domestic industry to be hollowed out, thereby weakening the Japanese economy.

The government and the Bank of Japan must demonstrate their firm resolve not to allow the current level of the yen's appreciation by considering the option of yen-selling intervention in the exchange market.


Watch political moves

The government also must pay attention to the influence of political developments on the market. Long-term interest rates last week temporarily rose sharply, caused by the market's concern that handout measures might increase in the near future, depending on the outcome of the Democratic Party of Japan's presidential election in September.

The market is greatly influenced by a variety of factors. We expect the DPJ, as the major party in the ruling coalition, to listen carefully to voices of the market.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 31, 2010)
(2010年8月31日01時27分  読売新聞)

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