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2012年12月30日 (日)

2012回顧・日本 再生への希望が芽生えた年

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 30, 2012)
Positive events in 2012 set stage for nation's recovery
2012回顧・日本 再生への希望が芽生えた年(12月29日付・読売社説)

Many readers must have gained hope and courage from the bright news stories of 2012.

Among this year's top 10 domestic news stories selected by Yomiuri Shimbun readers, the awarding of the 2012 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine to Kyoto University Prof. Shinya Yamanaka headed the list. The opening of Tokyo Skytree ranked second, followed by the winning of a record number of medals by Japanese athletes at the London Olympics.

Induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells developed by Yamanaka have contributed greatly to medical progress toward realizing the regeneration of damaged organs.

However, after it was announced he had won the award, Yamanaka said, "I haven't saved even one patient yet [with my iPS technology]." The professor's humble and sincere attitude favorably impressed many people.

Tokyo Skytree has attracted 28 million visitors in the six months since it opened to the public in May. The 634-meter Skytree is the world's tallest free-standing broadcast tower.

If Tokyo Tower, the second-tallest tower in Japan, is a symbol of Japan's past rapid economic growth, what will the popular Tokyo Skytree come to symbolize?


Good news in sports

Japanese athletes won a record 38 medals--including seven gold medals--at the Summer Olympic Games held in London. In women's wrestling, Saori Yoshida and Kaori Icho grabbed their third consecutive Olympic golds. And many female athletes such as members of the Nadeshiko Japan women's soccer team and volleyball and table tennis players performed superbly.

In eighth place on the list of top 10 domestic stories was the Yomiuri Giants' winning of the Japan Series, marking the team's first championship in three years and its 22nd overall.

Meanwhile, Hideki Matsui, who had been a Giants slugger for many years, announced his retirement Thursday. Matsui hit a total of 507 home runs while playing for the Giants, the New York Yankees and other major league teams, and won the World Series MVP award with the Yankees in 2009. Fans will take his dynamic batting style deep into their hearts.

The general election held in December, which resulted in the inauguration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Cabinet, ranked fourth on the list of top 10 stories. Former Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda promised the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito he would dissolve the House of Representatives "sometime soon" in return for their cooperation in passing bills related to the comprehensive reform of social security and taxation systems, which ranked 16th in the list of top domestic news stories. Noda kept his promise and dissolved the lower house, but his Democratic Party of Japan suffered a crushing defeat in the general election.


Change in government

The defeat ended the DPJ-led government's rule, which had lasted three years and three months.

The DPJ-led administration caused confusion in management of such national issues as the relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station in Okinawa Prefecture, and its election pledges fell through. Many voters must have concluded the DPJ was not qualified to run the country. Prime Minister Abe is expected to draft and carry out realistic polices, and to stably run the government.

In fifth place on the list was the deterioration of Japan-China relations resulting from Japan's nationalization of some of the Senkaku Islands. For instance, anti-Japanese demonstrators rioted and stormed Japanese firms in China. Improvement of the bilateral ties is a priority issue for the Abe Cabinet.

The collapse of ceiling panels in the Chuo Expressway's Sasago Tunnel in December, which killed nine people, ranked 7th. Aging infrastructure in the nation should be revamped as soon as possible.

We would like to see 2013 become the turning point in the nation's steady recovery.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 29, 2012)
(2012年12月29日01時20分  読売新聞)


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