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2013年9月30日 (月)


September 30, 2013
home work for siifaa chan


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กากบาท ทับ จำนวน ที่ มากกว่า
gaa-gà-bàat táp jam-nuan têe mâak gwàa   


กากบาท gaa-gà-bàat cross ; plus sign

ทับ táp overlays ; put on the top ; place on top of

จำนวน jam-nuan amount ; quantity ; sum

ที่ têe to ; at
that ; which ; who

มากกว่า mâak gwàa more than

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日韓外相会談 関係改善への道筋が見えない

The Yomiuri Shimbun September 30, 2013
Tokyo, Seoul must find ways to move ties forward despite pending problems
日韓外相会談 関係改善への道筋が見えない(9月29日付・読売社説)

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has not had summit talks with South Korean President Park Geun Hye, who took office in February, and there is no plan for such talks in the near future. How can the two countries solve this abnormal situation? The attitudes and capabilities of the Japanese and South Korean leaders as well as of their nations’ foreign ministries are being put to the test.

Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and his South Korean counterpart, Yun Byung Se, held a meeting in New York and agreed that their countries will continue dialogue on different levels.

However, Yun stressed that South Korea expects the Japanese leadership to have the courage to heal the wounds of the past. Kishida responded that the Abe Cabinet has followed the views of past governments on historical issues and urged South Korea to understand this position.

The two could not make any tangible progress toward realization of a bilateral summit meeting, the most important issue. We think the result was truly regrettable.

It is noteworthy that the two countries failed to agree on various other issues.

For instance, Kishida asked Yun to lift South Korea’s import ban on fishery products from Fukushima Prefecture and surrounding areas. “Japan will thoroughly deal with water contaminated with radioactive substances at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant and continue providing relevant information,” Kishida said. However, Yun only explained the background of the import ban.

The Japanese government imposes limits on radioactive substances in food that are stricter than international standards. Though the leakage of contaminated water at the plant has affected sales of South Korean fishery products, the South Korean government’s reaction is excessive and has little scientific basis. We hope it will prudently move toward lifting the import ban.

Settled by 1965 accord

Recently, a high court in Seoul approved damage claims by South Koreans who had been forced to work for Japanese companies during wartime and ordered the descendant company to pay compensation to the plaintiffs. Kishida told Yun that South Korea should act on the basis of the bilateral agreement on property claims and economic cooperation that was reached when the two countries concluded a treaty to normalize relations in 1965. However, the South Korean foreign minister only replied that the trial was still in progress.

The 1965 accord stipulates that the issue of damage claims for individual South Koreans was “resolved completely and finally.” If this issue is left unresolved, similar rulings will be repeatedly made, worsening the situation.

This problem may cast doubt on South Korea’s status as a nation ruled by law. The South Korean government should take forward-looking action to settle this issue.

Meanwhile, Yun again urged Japan to solve the issue of the so-called comfort women.

However, this issue, too, has already been settled by the 1965 accord. We do not think the government should easily make concessions on this matter.

It is disturbing to see that the momentum and willingness to improve bilateral ties are diminishing within the Japanese and South Korean governments.

Today, Japan and South Korea have many significant issues to tackle jointly, such as the nuclear ambitions of North Korea, where preparations to restart a graphite-moderated reactor are becoming evident, as well as negotiations on free trade pacts between Japan and South Korea, and among the two countries and China.

It is important for Tokyo and Seoul to continue dialogue patiently from a broader perspective and try seriously to find common ground, even though the two countries have complicated bilateral problems that cannot be solved immediately.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 29, 2013)
(2013年9月29日01時47分  読売新聞)

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原発汚染水処理 モグラ叩きから脱する戦略を

The Yomiuri Shimbun September 30, 2013
Effective strategy must be worked out to deal with radioactive water leakage
原発汚染水処理 モグラ叩きから脱する戦略を(9月29日付・読売社説)

A truly effective strategy is essential in resolving the ongoing problems concerning radioactive water leaking at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. A question-and-answer session at the Diet has again brought this to our attention.

Despite the legislature’s recess, the House of Representatives Economy, Trade and Industry Committee held a meeting Friday on the contaminated water leaking at the TEPCO plant.

TEPCO President Naomi Hirose, who attended the meeting as an unsworn witness, said the situation remained unchanged, likening the problem to a game of “whack-a-mole,” and he apologized for delays in dealing with it.

He stressed his determination to carry out countermeasures to contain contaminated water leaking from the nuclear plant’s storage tanks. TEPCO plans to seek the cooperation of experts both at home and abroad to develop new technologies for resolving the situation, such as the proposed construction of an artificial underground frozen soil wall to block underground water flowing into the damaged reactor buildings.

At the committee meeting, Hirose referred to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s statement, made during Tokyo’s final presentation in its bid for the 2020 Summer Olympics and Paralymic Games at the International Olympic Committee meeting in Buenos Aires, that contaminated water leaking at the nuclear plant “is under control.”
The TEPCO head said he shared the prime minister’s view that the contaminated water was being contained within the bay adjacent to the plant, and was not flowing into the Pacific Ocean.

However, the current state of affairs involving the nuclear complex and the massive amount of contaminated water leaves a big question mark.

The government, having concluded that the matter cannot be left up to TEPCO alone, at long last has decided to earmark about ¥47 billion to help the utility fight the water leakage. To ensure public understanding on this fund, the government and TEPCO must do their utmost to further their cooperation in dealing with the leaking water.

Operate ALPS quickly

To determine how to end the whack-a-mole situation, it is essential to forecast potential risks and take steps to prevent problems from arising.

The government’s Committee on Countermeasures for Contaminated Water Treatment embarked Friday on the task of carrying out an in-depth study of potential risks.

A huge number of challenges exist in this respect. One of them, for instance, is the risk of contaminated water leaking from the network of large pipes snaking around the reactor buildings and other structures at the plant. TEPCO, for that matter, has cited steps to compact the earth around the reactor buildings to prevent leaks of water from occurring, while laying auxiliary pipes.

Paving the compound of the plant to prevent the water from seeping underground is also an urgent matter. Another major earthquake and tsunami in the region where the nuclear plant is located cannot be ruled out. Full preparedness is imperative.

The most urgent task is to realize full operation of an advanced liquid processing system (ALPS), a device for removing radioactive substances, which could significantly reduce the risk of storing contaminated water. The Nuclear Regulation Authority spent nearly a year screening the performance of ALPS, a factor behind the delay in causing the leakage problems to take on grave proportions.

Arrangements should be accelerated to ensure ALPS can stably dispose of large quantities of contaminated water.

During the question-and-answer session, Hirose said he was “mostly worried” about a possible drop in a sense of responsibility among TEPCO employees in charge of such tasks as compensation negotiations with local residents affected by the nuclear crisis, decontamination and decommissioning of the reactors.

The importance of securing personnel and the maintenance and enhancement of technological capabilities is certain to increase. This should never be ignored.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 29, 2013)
(2013年9月29日01時47分  読売新聞)

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2013年9月29日 (日)

柏崎刈羽原発 再稼働への険しい道は続く

The Yomiuri Shimbun September 29, 2013
Bumpy road ahead for restarting nuclear power plant in Niigata Pref.
柏崎刈羽原発 再稼働への険しい道は続く(9月28日付・読売社説)

One hurdle has been cleared for restarting operations at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant, which is indispensable to ensuring a stable power supply for the Tokyo metropolitan area. But a bumpy road lies ahead.

TEPCO filed a request Friday with the Nuclear Regulation Authority for safety checks on the Nos. 6 and 7 reactors at the plant in Niigata Prefecture, which is a mandatory procedure for restarting the reactors.

The application was made possible by Niigata Gov. Hirohiko Izumida changing his position from opposing to conditionally approving the application, including the requirement that talks continue on safety measures for residents.

It will be beneficial to confirm the safety of nuclear power plants under new regulation standards that are said to be the strictest in the world. Izumida’s decision on TEPCO’s application can be considered an inevitable choice, although it came belatedly.

But it is problematic that the Niigata prefectural government can withdraw its approval unilaterally.

Concerning the installation of filter-equipped ventilation equipment that discharges gases from within a reactor to prevent the reactor from being destroyed in an accident, a condition was also attached that the approval will become null and void if talks between TEPCO and the prefectural government based on the safety agreement end in failure.

It can be considered excessive for the prefectural government to ask the NRA to stop safety checks based on a safety agreement that is not legally binding.

Undue meddling problematic

It is understandable that a local government of an area where a nuclear power plant is located asks the central government and others to take countermeasures in consideration of the safety of local residents.

Under the relevant rules, however, the safety of facilities in a nuclear power plant, including exhaust gas ventilation equipment, is supposed to be confirmed by the NRA. If a local government with no legal authority excessively intervenes in safety checks, it will cause unnecessary turmoil.

TEPCO’s business performance has been deteriorating as its reliance on thermal power generation, which involves high fuel costs, has increased due to its inability to restart its Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant. It is considered extremely difficult for the utility to achieve its goal of moving back into the black in its recurring profits in the fiscal year ending in March.

If the situation is left as it is, it may hamper efforts to end the crisis at TEPCO’s crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant and secure stable power supplies.

The utility has the option of once again raising utility rates by a large margin to improve its earnings, but this would deliver a great blow to households and businesses in its service areas. To revitalize Japan as a whole, restarting the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant after definitely confirming its safety is the best course of action to take.

After the plant’s safety is approved by the NRA, attention will shift to whether the Niigata prefectural government and the municipal governments of Kashiwazaki and Kariwamura will approve restarting the plant.

Denouncing inspections of the crisis at the Fukushima nuclear plant by the government and the Diet accident investigation panel as insufficient, Izumida has been calling for a thorough and comprehensive probe to be conducted before restarting the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant.

It will require a considerable number of years to clarify the entire picture of the crisis. Does Izumida intend not to approve a restart until then? He needs to explain his real intentions in plain words.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 28, 2013)
(2013年9月28日01時30分  読売新聞)

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首相スピーチ 「日本は買い」を確かなものに

The Yomiuri Shimbun September 29, 2013
Abe must make sure to implement economic growth policies effectively
首相スピーチ 「日本は買い」を確かなものに(9月28日付・読売社説)

The determination of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is trying to advertise Japan overseas to give an additional push to his economic rejuvenation policies, has become very clear. What he must do now is demonstrate his ability to implement policy measures to realize his goal.

Abe, who is visiting the United States, delivered a speech at the New York Stock Exchange and explained his Abenomics economic policies. “Buy my Abenomics,” he said during the speech. The three words symbolize the prime minister’s aim.
 米国訪問中の安倍首相がニューヨーク証券取引所で講演し、経済政策「アベノミクス」を説明した。「Buy my Abenomics(アベノミクスは買いだ)」――。この言葉に、首相の狙いが象徴的に表れている。

Specifically, he emphasized that the government would do its best to create an environment to facilitate investment.

As part of his growth strategy, he said he would push through a “bold tax reduction” to promote proactive investment by companies. He also made clear that he would push regulatory reform to realize economic revitalization.

Corporate tax cuts and deregulation can also be expected to help lure foreign investment to Japan.

Abe must now demonstrate his leadership in implementing his growth strategy, which is now an “international pledge,” and in reviewing various regulations.

During the speech at the NYSE, Abe also publicized Japan’s state-of-the-art technologies.

He emphasized the high levels of safety technology in the nation’s nuclear reactors and said that Japan will “continue to make contributions to the world” with the technology. He also stated that Japan will not abandon its nuclear power generation technology.

He thus clarified his stance of actively utilizing nuclear power plants. For resource-poor Japan, this is an appropriate choice.

He explained that introduction of a high-speed railway system using Japan’s superconducting magnetic levitation technology could connect New York and Washington “in less than an hour.”

Supporting women

Infrastructure exports such as nuclear reactors and railway systems are considered a major pillar of Japan’s growth strategy. Cooperation between the public and private sectors must be reinforced to promote such exports.

During his speech at the U.N. General Assembly, Abe said Japan would positively contribute to the peace and stability of the international community from the standpoint of a “proactive pacifism” based on the recovery of its economic might.

Gaining a greater voice and influence in the international community will likely positively affect the Japanese economy. It is important to generate such a virtuous circle.

It is noteworthy that Abe positioned support of women as one of Japan’s important international contributions and declared Japan would implement official development assistance in excess of $3 billion to that end over the next three years.

Abe also said clearly that he would bring about “a society where women shine.”

Through ODA, Abe explained, Japan will tackle the promotion of women’s active participation in society, improvement of health and medical care for women, and securing the safety of women in times of conflict.

Utilizing the potential of women would also result in economic growth. “Womenomics,” in Abe-speak, should be concretely realized.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 28, 2013)
(2013年9月28日01時30分  読売新聞)

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2013年9月28日 (土)

集団的自衛権 「積極的平和主義」を追求せよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun September 28, 2013
Realize right to collective defense in pursuit of ‘proactive pacifism’
集団的自衛権 「積極的平和主義」を追求せよ(9月27日付・読売社説)

This country must make a more proactive contribution to peace and stability in Asia and the world.

A review of the government interpretation of the Constitution concerning the right to collective self-defense is a prerequisite to realizing the new ideal of “proactive pacifism” declared by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Delivering a speech Wednesday in New York on the subject of Japan’s right to collective self-defense, Abe expressed his strong desire to change the Japanese government’s interpretation of the Constitution, in which the government has adopted the view that this country has the right to collective self-defense but is banned from exercising it.

Abe cited two cases in which this constitutional constraint could pose problems. In one scenario, the Self-Defense Forces would not be able to help foreign troops working with the SDF in a U.N. peacekeeping operation even if the foreign troops came under attack. In the other, Japan would not be able to help a U.S. warship operating around Japan if the ship were attacked by an airplane in international waters.

The prime minister rightly pointed out in the speech that “threats see no borders” in the world today. Such menaces as ballistic missiles, the spread of weapons of mass destruction and international terrorist activities, as well as cyber-attacks, have undeniably been increasing.

In addition to enhancing its own defense capabilities, it is essential for this country to enhance the Japan-U.S. alliance, while also expanding cooperation with other countries concerned.

To this end, the task of enabling this country to exercise its right to collective self-defense must urgently be addressed.

In the years immediately after World War II, it was somewhat worthwhile to interpret as strictly as possible the security-related stipulations of the Constitution, restricting the role of the SDF. Today, however, the nation must squarely face up to the reality that rigid interpretation of the supreme law is hobbling efforts to ensure the nation’s security.

Requirements of the times

Over the period from the war’s end to this day, the security environment surrounding the country and the public’s evaluation of the SDF have changed dramatically. A review of the interpretation of the Constitution is definitely in line with the requirements of the times.

In a meeting with reporters later Wednesday, Abe said he was not in favor of a “geographical philosophy of [ruling out action on] the other side of the world.” He also said he weighs “what is closely linked with the people’s life, property and national interests.”

His remarks apparently alluded to concerns being expressed by some regarding constitutional interpretation that Abe may want SDF troops to be dispatched to far-flung locales to fight alongside U.S. forces.

The intention not to impose geographical constraints on the SDF, while deciding flexibly on SDF activities in accordance with developments in events, is quite reasonable.

For instance, it is conceivable that SDF troops could be in charge of removing mines in the Persian Gulf to ensure the safety of sea lanes in the Gulf used by Japan. Should an event occur in which Japanese nationals are once again taken hostage in Africa, SDF troops could be sent to their rescue.

Obviously, there should be some curbs on SDF activities, but it should be noted that accurately foreseeing the possibility of a grave emergency is a near impossibility. To enable this country to cope effectively with a diverse range of emergencies, endeavors to secure a wide range of legal alternatives are the core of national security.

As a matter of practical thinking, whether to have SDF troops actually take part in international operations, and what activities they should engage in, should be the subject of a comprehensive judgment by the government in place when a crisis arises, while appropriate limitations on SDF activities should be ensured through such means as requiring approval by the Diet.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 27, 2013)
(2013年9月27日01時03分  読売新聞)

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桜宮高体罰事件 有罪判決を教師暴力の抑止に

The Yomiuri Shimbun September 28, 2013
Guilty sentence must serve to deter violence by teachers
桜宮高体罰事件 有罪判決を教師暴力の抑止に(9月27日付・読売社説)

Thursday’s guilty ruling against a former teacher at an Osaka high school condemned the violence he committed under the pretext of giving guidance. The ruling must be used as an opportunity to stamp out corporal punishment in schools.

Ruling on the case in which a student at Osaka’s municipal Sakuranomiya High School killed himself after being physically punished by the former teacher who coached the school basketball club the student belonged to, the Osaka District Court sentenced the defendant to one year in prison, suspended for three years. The defendant was fired by the school after his violence against the student came to light.

The former teacher was indicted for inflicting injury by slapping the student in the face many times at a practice game because he did not like the attitude of the student, who was the club’s captain. It is very unusual that criminal charges were brought against a teacher who used corporal punishment.

The incident was witnessed by many other club members and spectators at the game. Video images shown in court showed the defendant’s violence was fierce and persistent as the sound of slapping could be heard echoing in the gymnasium.

It is natural that the ruling denounced the defendant’s acts as “nothing short of outrageous.”

The student committed suicide the day after the practice game. The court said that the victim “suffered considerable mental and physical pain, which is clear from the fact that he killed himself.” The court is believed to have judged that the physical punishment triggered the victim’s suicide.

After the ruling, the student’s mother said she had expected a non-suspended sentence. Her feelings are completely understandable.

Victory-first mindset

The ruling criticized the former teacher, saying he used corporal punishment and violence in the blind belief that such practices were “effective instruction methods.” There may be many other coaches of school clubs who are preoccupied with the same idea and believe in the victory-is-everything doctrine.

Violence did not cease in connection with school club activities even after the Sakuranomiya High School case brought this serious social problem to light. Concern remains about whether this ruling will prevent recurrences of such violence.

In the case of the volleyball club at Hamamatsu Nittai High School in Shizuoka Prefecture, the teacher managing the club was shown slapping a club member in the face more than 10 times in video posted on the Internet this month. The teacher said that he had done it “to fire him up.”

In its instruction guidelines on club activities compiled in May, the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry clearly denounces use of violence, saying, “It is incorrect to think that violence can be permitted if there is a relationship of trust between teachers and students.” It is necessary to make the guidelines well known.

It is also essential to correct the erroneous social tendency to think that corporal punishment is necessary if students’ skills are to be improved. Some of the parents of the students at Sakuranomiya High School were reportedly tolerant of physical punishment. To stamp out corporal punishment, it is necessary for parents to eliminate this attitude and keep a close eye on club coaches.

It is also essential to end the chain of violence in which students who received physical punishment repeat it after becoming club coaches.

Efforts must be made not only by those involved in school education but also by the sports world as a whole to work toward improving the quality of club coaches.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 27, 2013)
(2013年9月27日01時03分  読売新聞)

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2013年9月27日 (金)

軽減税率 消費税8%時に導入を目指せ

The Yomiuri Shimbun September 27, 2013
Introduce reduced tax rate when consumption tax is raised to 8%
軽減税率 消費税8%時に導入を目指せ(9月26日付・読売社説)

If the government would like to soften the public’s feeling of shouldering a burden when it raises the consumption tax rate, it is essential to introduce a reduced tax rate to keep the tax on daily necessities at the current level.

The government and ruling parties must start taking concrete steps toward introducing the reduced tax rate simultaneously with the increase of the consumption tax rate to 8 percent.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has reportedly decided to increase the consumption tax rate from 5 percent to 8 percent in April next year. He is now trying to compile a ¥5 trillion-level economic stimulus package to keep the economy from a possible slowdown after the tax rate is raised.

Although the economy has started to pick up, the recovery is not full-fledged. The road to overcoming deflation, for instance, is still unclear. It would be best for the government to shelve the tax rate increase to 8 percent. However, we understand that aiming at introducing an economic package is the second-best option.

That said, we think the measures contained in the package currently being studied by the government to curb a possible downturn in personal spending are insufficient.

The consumption tax has a regressive character, meaning the burden it places on low-income earners is relatively heavy. For this reason, the government is now studying a “simplified benefit plan,” under which it will provide ¥10,000 to ¥15,000 per head in benefits to low-income households, such as those earning too little to have to pay resident taxes.

However, the effects of such a temporary cash provision plan in supporting household finances after the tax hike will be short-lived. It is only reasonable to introduce a reduced tax rate that a wide range of people, including low-income earners, can expect to benefit from.

As part of the economic stimulus package, the government and ruling parties are studying an option of moving ahead the abolition of a special corporate tax for reconstruction by one year. The tax was added to the regular corporate tax to provide a revenue source for reconstruction from the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake.

Reduce rate for basics

With the investment tax credit, a main pillar of the stimulus package, the government aims at establishing a virtuous cycle by prompting corporate earnings growth, which could in turn result in a pay hike.

Consumers have strongly criticized the measures as preferential treatment of corporations. Also, we are worried that it will take time for the effects of the prop-up measure for companies to reach households.

On the other hand, a reduced tax rate has the advantage of making consumers feel that they are shouldering less of a financial burden in their daily purchases.

The government and ruling parties have been pressing their aim to introduce the reduced tax rates when the consumption tax rate is raised to 10 percent, not when it is raised to 8 percent.

However, a 3 percentage point rise all at once would have a significant impact on household finances. It is important to introduce the reduced rate when the government raises the tax rate to 8 percent and to keep it at the current 5 percent for selected items.

Items subject to the reduced tax rate should be narrowed down to basic food products that are indispensable for daily life, such as rice and miso bean paste, as well as newspapers, which support democracy and print culture, among other things.

European countries have adopted reduced tax rates. Many nations set their value-added tax, the counterpart of Japan’s consumption tax, at about 20 percent. As reduced tax rates have already taken root in these countries, people are more likely to accept high tax rates.

As it is commonly recognized that a tax should not be levied on knowledge, most of these countries made newspapers subject to the reduced tax rate system. Japan must learn from such examples.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 26, 2013)
(2013年9月26日02時28分  読売新聞)

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全国学力テスト 静岡の校長名公表は不可解だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun September 27, 2013
Shizuoka gov.’s partial disclosure of school test results raises questions
全国学力テスト 静岡の校長名公表は不可解だ(9月26日付・読売社説)

It is hard to understand what Shizuoka Gov. Heita Kawakatsu hopes to achieve by disclosing, on the website of the prefectural government, the names of school principals whose students performed well on a national achievement test earlier this year.

Disclosed were the names of the principals of the 86 public primary schools whose sixth-graders scored higher than the national average on Japanese A, a test designed to measure basic understanding.

Overall, though, the prefecture ranked lowest among the 47 prefectures in Japanese A. Harshly criticizing teachers, Kawakatsu said the disclosure was meant “to make clear where the responsibility for school education lies” in his prefecture.

So, rather than paying homage to the good showing of well-performing schools, is the disclosure intended to prod principals of poorly performing schools into serious reflection?

The governor initially said he would “disclose the names of the principals of the poor-performing schools.” When the education ministry and the prefectural board of education both objected to the governor’s initial intention, he instead disclosed the names of the principals of the well-performing schools. He did not secure prior consent for the disclosure from those principals.

The governor’s action must be criticized as erratic.

More problematic is the governor’s way of disclosing the names of those principals—in the order of the Japanese syllabary—before detailed analysis of the test results had been made. By doing so, is the governor able to share his sense of alarm with the teachers in the classroom?

The purpose of the test

The national achievement test is, after all, aimed at grasping weak points of children and at making use of those findings for the improvement of teaching methods in the classroom.

If it is worried about the current state of academic ability among students at schools in the prefecture, the prefecture should, first and foremost, fully verify any problems that came to light with the test.

What is expected from the governor is not to oscillate between optimism and pessimism over the ranking of his prefecture among all the prefectures, but to have the verification results reflected in the steadfast implementation of educational measures.

The issue of how far the results of the achievement tests should be disclosed has already been discussed. To keep schools from engaging in excessive competition, guidelines from the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry forbid prefectural boards of education from disclosing the test results by municipality or by school, and bans municipal boards of education from disclosing the results by school.

On the other hand, many parents wish to know the academic level of the schools their children attend and the districts they live in. Some local governments also want the test results disclosed, so that they can fulfill the responsibility of keeping local people informed.

Taking into account the fact that state funds totaling ¥5.5 billion have been used for carrying out the tests, local governments should show to the local people their willingness to disclose the information related to the fruits of educational measures as much as possible.

Within this year, the education ministry will decide on how the test results should be publicly disclosed next year and later.

While Shizuoka’s case has drawn fresh attention to the issue of how the test results should be disclosed, the education ministry should work to find an appropriate way of making them public.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 26, 2013)
(2013年9月26日02時28分  読売新聞)

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2013年9月26日 (木)




オリエントコンピュータの評判グッズ の一押しは、このHDのデータ完全消去処理ができる機械です。


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その道のプロである金太郎ホーム にお願いしましょう。(運営を含めて)



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JR北海道 安全軽視の企業風土を改めよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun September 26, 2013
JR Hokkaido must immediately get safety awareness back on track
JR北海道 安全軽視の企業風土を改めよ(9月25日付・読売社説)

The latest revelation of Hokkaido Railway Co.’s gross negligence of duty has dealt a crushing blow to public trust in the firm as a public transportation service provider. JR Hokkaido must reflect seriously on its lack of discipline, a task that should be followed by quick efforts to ensure safety comes first in its train services.

Track defects have been found at more than 200 spots along some JR Hokkaido lines. These flaws have been left unrectified despite the railway firm’s awareness that these tracks deviate in width and some other respects from standards set by the company.

The Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry is currently conducting a special inspection of JR Hokkaido’s safety preservation system under the Railway Business Law. The investigation was initially scheduled to close on Monday. Alarmed by the discovery of numerous track defects, however, the ministry has extended its inspection period.

Thorough measures must be taken to determine why the large number of defects have developed, and to ensure such negligence is not repeated.

The track defects came to light after a freight train derailed on the JR Hakodate Line last Thursday, which prompted the company to conduct an emergency inspection of tracks in its service areas. JR Hokkaido discovered a large number of defects on side tracks used to park standby trains and main ones on which passenger trains run. The defects include many flaws even on the main tracks.

JR Hokkaido’s in-house regulations state that if a track is found to deviate in width from the firm’s standards to an impermissible level, such a defect must be repaired within 15 days. Despite this rule, defects discovered at some locations went uncorrected for close to one year.

The latest scandal indicates that JR Hokkaido has taken no steps to repair track defects despite being aware of such flaws. Where is the railway firm’s sense of duty to transport people in safety? Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga had good reason to decry JR Hokkaido’s conduct as “despicable.”

Latest in long line

Initially, the chief of JR Hokkaido’s construction department said no defect on main tracks would ever be left unrectified because of inspections by workers assigned to such a duty in each of the firm’s service areas and inspectors from the company’s headquarters. His remark revealed that even the JR official responsible for detecting and correcting track defects lacked proper awareness about how safety-control measures were being implemented at his corporation.

Top management at JR Hokkaido should be sternly brought to task for failing to discover their company’s outrageous negligence for a long time.

In 2011, JR Hokkaido put together an action plan for improving the safety of its train services, shortly after a limited express train derailed and was destroyed by fire along one of its lines. One of the plan’s pillars centered on correcting the firm’s tendency to slight the safety of its train services.

However, there seems to be no end to serious incidents involving JR Hokkaido trains, including train fires. On Tuesday, smoke was emitted from a carriage on the Nemuro Line.

Several days earlier, it came to light that a train driver had damaged a switch on his train’s automatic train stop system after causing the system to improperly function. He did so in an attempt to conceal his mistake.

Anyone would be disgusted by all these incidents.

A pressing task facing JR Hokkaido is to reform its organization, given its disgracefully lax discipline.

The company must fundamentally reexamine its methods for educating employees and hiring new workers. This is essential to make sure safety awareness is instilled in all JR Hokkaido employees. It is also worth considering hiring personnel from outside—for example, from other member companies of the JR Group.

It is feared that widespread safety concerns about JR Hokkaido’s train services could lead to fewer visitors to the firm’s service areas, thus adversely affecting the regional economy.

A high level of safety must be demanded for the new Shinkansen route that will open between Shin-Aomori and Shin-Hakodate stations in fiscal 2015. There is serious cause for worry about JR Hokkaido’s status quo.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 25, 2013)
(2013年9月25日01時41分  読売新聞)

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薄被告無期判決 共産党政権の危機感の表れだ

The Yomiuri Shimbun September 26, 2013
Chinese court’s ruling on Bo indication of Communist Party’s fears for future
薄被告無期判決 共産党政権の危機感の表れだ(9月25日付・読売社説)

The Chinese court ruling on former senior politician Bo Xilai was politically motivated and placed top priority on stabilizing Chinese Communist Party rule. However, public discontent is simmering and there is uncertainty over the country’s future.

The court handed down a life sentence to Bo, a former Politburo member and Chongqing city party leader, who was charged with taking bribes, embezzlement and abuse of power. It is unusual for a former party leader to receive such a severe sentence.

Although China is supposedly ruled by law despite being a one-party state, rulings on important trials are basically decided by the Chinese Communist Party. China has a two-tiered justice system, but it is highly unlikely Bo’s sentence will be overturned, even if he appeals.

The administration of Chinese President Xi Jinping decided to sentence Bo to life in prison apparently to show ordinary Chinese that it would never forgive corruption, even if senior party officials are involved. It also must have been intended to condemn Bo’s demagogic style, which could cause the party’s rule to disintegrate.

When he was party chief in Chongqing, Bo placed priority on the ideal of equality, which the party must have originally touted, and implemented policies to correct disparities, such as constructing affordable housing for the poor.

Bo aimed to join China’s supreme leadership. He had people sing revolutionary songs from the Mao Zedong era to show how much the people supported him.

The Xi administration probably feared that Bo’s style could ignite the people’s frustration against the current situation and lead to a flurry of criticism against the party.

Popularity still high

However, the court only examined the abuse of power charge in connection with Bo’s career as Chongqing party chief. His political style itself was not considered problematic in the ruling.

Bo still has strong public support, particularly among the poor. The Xi administration must have feared that the ruling, if it referred negatively to Bo’s political style, might have unnecessarily riled the public.

The fact that messages posted on the Internet, sympathetic to Bo and opposed to the ruling, were deleted indicates how alert the Chinese authorities were on the matter.

Bo categorically denied the charges and adopted a confrontational attitude. The life sentence apparently was intended to silence Bo and prevent the emergence of “another Bo Xilai,” who would stir up the people.

At around the same time as the trial, the Xi administration launched a corruption probe into senior officials of an oil company linked to former Politburo Standing Committee member Zhou Yongkang, who was said to support Bo. This is aimed at dealing a blow to people linked to Bo and solidifying Xi’s power base.

Xi plans to hammer out economic structural reform measures at the general meeting of the party’s Central Committee scheduled for November.

Corruption and disparity problems will remain even if Bo is out of the picture. How Xi overcomes public discontent will hold the key to the party’s future.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 25, 2013)
(2013年9月25日01時43分  読売新聞)

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香山リカのココロの万華鏡:「きょうだい」の義務とは /東京

September 15, 2013(Mainichi Japan)
Kaleidoscope of the Heart: Considering our responsibility to our siblings
香山リカのココロの万華鏡:「きょうだい」の義務とは /東京

I have recently been seeing an increasing number of patients in my office for consultations regarding their siblings who are suffering from social withdrawal, or 'hikikomori.'

Here is one concrete case to consider.

A woman in her 40s came to see me regarding her brother, three years older than her, who had long been living in social isolation at their childhood home. Their parents had been taking care of him, but their father had passed away two years prior, and their mother was due to be institutionalized after being diagnosed with dementia.

"My mother's pension payments are going toward her institutionalization fees, and I myself have absolutely no spare time or money, since I am already taking care of both my own children and my husband's parents," the woman explained. "I am going to bring my brother here to see you, so please give him medication if he is ill, and do something so that he is able to work again."

While this is actually a hypothetical case, I do in fact see numerous clients who come to me with this sort of dilemma. Sometimes, my patients have fallen into depression after a sibling came to them and announced, "Now, it's your turn to take care of me."

Legally speaking, there does exist an obligation to provide support to one's family members. Consequently, it is not possible to simply turn a blind eye when one's parents or siblings have fallen on hard times.

That said, however, such obligations are more lax in the case of siblings. The law states that one is "required to provide support (to one's siblings) to the extent that it does not require making sacrifices within your own life."

Rather than giving assistance at any cost, then, the law states that such support is to be provided to siblings only to the extent that one is able to do so comfortably.

In the hypothetical case above, then, the woman would not be legally required to take care of her 'hikikomori' elder brother.

The situation, however, is more complicated than this.

We can imagine, for example, that, if the woman's brother in the above case made an inquiry to social welfare representatives about receiving assistance, they would ask him whether he had any family members who could support him. We can imagine, moreover, that the brother himself would also contact his sister numerous times to ask for help, and that their institutionalized mother would say something like, "I'm really sorry to ask you this, but please take care of him."

Whether it's legally or emotionally speaking, then, breaking one's family ties is not so easily accomplished.

The question then remains: Should one endeavor to help out one's siblings, even if it requires inviting hardship into one's own life? This would likely result in feelings of resentment toward one's siblings for being unable to support themselves -- and also toward one's parents for leaving one in this situation following their deaths. Such a situation, in fact, would mean that one's remaining years would be so difficult as to actually say that the person in question was not even living life at all.

Although it is certainly not impossible for people in their 40s or 50s who have been living in social isolation while depending upon their parents to go to a clinic or other consultation-type facility, and work to achieve independence -- thereby making a comeback -- this would unfortunately be the exception rather than the rule.

The issue of who will take care of one's 'hikikomori' siblings following the death of their parents, therefore, constitutes a serious social problem that must be addressed.

(By Rika Kayama, psychiatrist)
毎日新聞 2013年09月10日 地方版

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香山リカのココロの万華鏡:7年後のオリンピック /東京

September 22, 2013(Mainichi Japan)
Kaleidoscope of the Heart: 'It's the Olympics...'
香山リカのココロの万華鏡:7年後のオリンピック /東京

In the wake of the excitement of the decision to hold the Olympics in Tokyo, I have seen many unenthusiastic faces in my consultation room.

"What's wrong? Have your depression symptoms worsened?" I ask. "It's the Olympics..." comes the reply.
「どうしました? うつの症状がひどくなりました?」と聞くと「オリンピックが……」という答えが。

When I asked, "Don't you like the Olympics?" one patient was quick to reply, "Oh, it's great that Tokyo was selected." However, hearing that the Olympics will take place "seven years from now," these people feel down when they think about what will happen to themselves in that time.

One of them said, "When I think that seven years from now I'll be in my 50s, I feel dizzy. I worry: Will I still be single? What will happen with my job?

Another said, "What should I do if there is a big disaster before then? Where should I run?" Yet another said, "I feel down when I think: What if my depression still isn't cured, and I'm here talking to you?"

I replied, "It will be fine. You'll be better and cheering on the Olympics," while at the same time wondering about my own future. Seven years from now I will be 60, near retirement age at both my university and hospital. Have I prepared for retirement? Have I gotten past things like comics and games and achieved a calmer, more age-appropriate personality? I worry about all kinds of things.

The television directors and editors I encounter in my media-related work have all been unreservedly happy about the coming of the Olympics. Some are in their 60s, but they still look forward to it, saying, "I definitely want to still be working at that time," or, "My grandchild will be a university student around that time. I get excited thinking that we might be able to go and see an event together."

A friend of mine who works at an advertising agency is already busy for the Olympics, saying, "Seven years flies by in an instant. I don't know if we'll be ready in time."

Can we look forward to the Olympics like it is something that is going to happen tomorrow? Or do we feel taken aback by the length of time until then, and think of bad things happening to ourselves and society? I have the feeling that whatever we do shows our current emotional health. That said, it is pointless if we get overly pumped up and burn out.

There is no need to think negatively about the future, but we should keep calm and do the things that need doing, like restoration of the disaster-hit areas. That is what I say to others and myself.

(By Rika Kayama, psychiatrist)
毎日新聞 2013年09月17日 地方版

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2013年9月25日 (水)

農地管理機構 生産性向上をどう実現するか

The Yomiuri Shimbun September 25, 2013
Government must reform farm sector to improve agricultural productivity
農地管理機構 生産性向上をどう実現するか(9月24日付・読売社説)

The government’s new scheme to enhance agricultural productivity will not boost the international competitiveness of Japan’s farming sector if it turns into yet another handout policy. For the scheme to be effective, the government must aim at realizing effective agricultural reform by going so far as to review current regulations and subsidies.

The government is planning to establish an entity tentatively called the farmland intermediate management organization in each prefecture, which will lease small plots of farmland and uncultivated farmland and rent them out to large-scale farming households and agricultural business organizations. It plans to submit related bills to the extraordinary Diet session this autumn.

The new organization also will be tasked with readjusting and merging farmland and overhauling irrigation channels so the users can utilize their leased land in the best possible way.

The Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry has submitted a budgetary request of more than ¥100 billion for expenses related to the new entity for fiscal 2014. The ministry plans to allocate 60 percent of the money to pay rent for farmland and improve related infrastructure.

The average farmland area per farming household in Japan is only about two hectares, while, the area of dormant farmland has doubled over the past 20 years to about 400,000 hectares, due chiefly to a dearth of successors to farmers. This is a serious situation.

If Japan is asked to further liberalize its agricultural sector in the multilateral Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade talks, it will be forced to engage in a tough battle with agricultural export powers. We can understand the government’s desire to boost the productivity of the nation’s farming sector by merging unused farmland to be run by highly motivated, large-scale farming households.

Program faces risks of waste

But if the demand for farmland falls short, leaving much of the rented farmland on the entity’s hands, the organization will end up wastefully paying rent to the landowners. It is also feared that the government may become extraordinarily lavish in carrying out public works projects, for instance, in the name of farmland readjustment.

The government’s Regulatory Reform Council has pointed out that there has been little progress in the merging of idle farmland to the benefit of farming households, primarily due to difficulty in leasing the land, which is often caused by the agricultural committee.

To expand the number of potential lessees, it is essential to review the current restrictions that limit leases to those approved by the agricultural committee. It may also become necessary to secure fairness in the leasing of farmland by introducing a system to invite applications from the public.

To prevent waste in the related budget, it will also be necessary to enhance the transparency in the management of the new entity by having it publicize such costs as rent and spending on the scheme.

It is also problematic that there has been little progress made in reviewing the income compensation program for individual farming households, which was started by the previous administration led by the Democratic Party of Japan. Under the program, the government’s subsidies are given uniformly to rice farmers.

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party criticized the program as a handout policy when the party was in the opposition camp. But a similar program is being maintained under the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. In its budget request for fiscal 2014, the farm ministry is asking for a budget of almost the same size as that for the current fiscal year.

It is feared that if this program is kept in place, small-scale farmers hoping to receive the subsidies may not give up their farmland when the mediating body tries to gather idle farmland.

We hope the government will abolish the across-the-board provision of the subsidies in accordance with the purpose of the new organization and come up with a system to intensively support highly motivated farmers.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 24, 2013)
(2013年9月24日01時31分  読売新聞)

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メルケル氏続投 強い経済へ期待示す独総選挙

The Yomiuri Shimbun September 25, 2013
Merkel’s stunning election victory reflects hopes for strong economy
メルケル氏続投 強い経済へ期待示す独総選挙(9月24日付・読売社説)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative bloc, consisting of the Christian Democratic Union and the Christian Social Union, scored a stunning victory in the country’s general election Sunday, virtually guaranteeing her a third term.

If she serves out her third term, she will have been in office for 12 years, surpassing the 11 years served by former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, the first woman to hold that office. Merkel’s tenure would also be the longest ever in Germany.

The bloc’s victory can be attributed to the fact that German voters appreciated her achievements in keeping the German economy on a stable road while the leaders of other European countries were replaced one after another due to fiscal and monetary crises. Her continued term of office will be hailed by the international community, which hopes for a stable business recovery.

Merkel has steered her country, the strongest economic power in Europe, by displaying strong leadership.

The jobless rate, which once topped 10 percent, has been halved under her administration. Exports set a new record in terms of value last year. Merkel has promoted structural reform and deregulation, the agenda she inherited from the previous administration, and reduced the corporate tax rate. These efforts, it may be said, enhanced the international competitiveness of German companies.

Some German voters were deeply unhappy that the country’s financial burden ballooned as a result of its pivotal role in providing financial assistance from the European Union to southern European countries, including financially strapped Greece. However, Merkel’s bloc maintained its top spot during the campaign.

She made tenacious efforts to win over the public by asserting that aiding other European countries to defend the euro was indispensable for the development of the European economy and would serve the national interest of Germany. She was successful in these efforts.

Challenges in 3rd term

Ending the financial crisis in Europe remains the primary agenda to be tackled in Merkel’s third term.

Some southern European countries have complained that Germany’s demand for excessive fiscal austerity as a condition for financial assistance delayed their business recovery.

The eurozone’s structural problems, represented by the fact that it has one currency but fiscal management is conducted separately in each country, remain unsettled. More cooperation will be called for between Germany and other major European countries, including France.

Attention is now focused on how negotiations to establish a stable coalition government will turn out.

The Free Democratic Party, which was the union bloc’s coalition partner before the election, lost its parliamentary seats, making it impossible by a small margin of seats for the bloc to form a government single-handedly. In view of this, the bloc will negotiate with other parties regarding a possible coalition, centering on a grand coalition plan with the Social Democratic Party, which is the second-largest party after the bloc.

To form a grand coalition with the center-left Social Democrats, who support assistance to southern European nations and fiscal union in the eurozone, it will be necessary to iron out policy differences.

Of concern to Japan is that Merkel has not visited this nation since 2008, while she has been keen on bolstering economic relations with China.

In her third term, we hope she will promote an exchange of visits by the prime ministers of the two countries. There must be many subjects to be discussed by the two leaders, including an economic partnership agreement between Japan and the EU and environmental issues.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 24, 2013)
(2013年9月24日01時31分  読売新聞)

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2013年9月24日 (火)


shopstyleサイト掲載のNew Balance 製品を閲覧してみました。

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北原産業の寒天 をおすすめします。

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ราชสีห์กับหนู 3 ライオンとねずみ3(イソップ物語より)

ราชสีห์กับหนู 3




มาบัดนี้ ข้าพเจ้าก็ได้แทนคุณ




หนู nŏo rat ; mouse
she ; her
I ; me (used by young children, and by women when speaking to their elders)

จึง jeung then ; therefore ; consequently

ร้อง róng sing
cry ; cry out ; complain

ไป bpai to ; off ; away ; into ; in (The translation of ไป in this context depends on the primary verb, but it frequently has no direct

equivalent in English and so may be untranslatable.)

แก่ gàe to ; for
[to be] old ; elderly

ราชสีห์ râat-chá-sĕe lion

ว่า wâa says ; tells
blames ; criticise

แต่เดิม dtàe derm at first ; formerly ; from the beginning

ท่าน tâan you (when talking to someone respected or of high status)
he ; him ; she ; her (when referring to someone respected or of high status)
(a title used to show respect to someone of high status, or by businesses to their customers)

ก็ gôr also ; likewise
then ; so ; therefore
well ; umm ; err (often used when trying to think what to say)
(a marker used when joining clauses of a sentence together)

หัวร่อ hŭa-rôr laugh

เยาะ yór to laugh at ; to mock ; to ridicule

ข้าพเจ้า kâa-pá-jâo I

ว่า wâa say ; tell
blame ; criticise

เอ็ง eng you

ตัวเล็ก dtua lék [to be] small (in shape or build)

เพียง เท่านี้ · จะ แทนคุณ ท่าน อย่างไร ได้ · มา บัดนี้ · ข้าพเจ้า ก็ได้ แทนคุณ
piang tâo née · jà taen kun tâan yàang rai dâai · maa bàt-née · kâa-pá-jâo gôr dâai taen kun   

เพียง piang only

เท่านี้ tâo née  as much as this ; just this

จะ jà will ; shall

แทนคุณ taen kun pay back (a favour)

ท่าน tâan you (when talking to someone respected or of high status)
he ; him ; she ; her (when referring to someone respected or of high status)
(a title used to show respect to someone of high status, or by businesses to their customers)

อย่างไร yàang rai how ; what

ได้ dâai can ; be able to

มา maa come ; arrive

บัดนี้ bàt-née now ; at this moment

ข้าพเจ้า kâa-pá-jâo I

ก็ได้ gôr dâai all right ; OK ; fine (often used to show somewhat half-hearted or unenthusiastic approval)

แทนคุณ taen kun pay back (a favour)

ของ ท่าน ซึ่ง เป็น สัตว์ใหญ่ และ มี กำลัง มาก · ให้ เห็นประจักษ์ แก่ ตา ท่าน อยู่ เอง แล้ว "
kŏng tâan sêung bpen sàt yài láe mee gam-lang mâak · hâi hĕn bprà-jàk gàe dtaa tâan yòo ayng láew "   

ของ kŏng of

ท่าน tâan you (when talking to someone respected or of high status)
he ; him ; she ; her (when referring to someone respected or of high status)
(a title used to show respect to someone of high status, or by businesses to their customers)

ซึ่ง sêung which ; that ; where ; what

เป็น bpen be

สัตว์ใหญ่ sàt yài  big animal

และ láe and

มี mee have ; there is

กำลัง gam-lang power ; energy ; strength

มาก mâak very much ; a lot ; very

ให้ hâi give ; offer
let ; have (someone to do something)

เห็นประจักษ์ hĕn bprà-jàk to be evident ; to be certain ; to be convinced

แก่ gàe to ; for
[to be] old ; elderly

ท่าน tâan your

ตา dtaa maternal grandfather ; grandfather
mesh ; pattern
turn ; time ; move (e.g. in a game)

อยู่ yòo be at ; live at ; stay

เอง ayng only ; alone ; just

แล้ว láew and ; and then ; and after that
already (used a general marker that indicates a specified action has happened or state has been attained)

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新金融検査方針 成長重視で新規融資に弾みを

The Yomiuri Shimbun September 24, 2013
New FSA inspection method must help boost lending to growing firms
新金融検査方針 成長重視で新規融資に弾みを(9月23日付・読売社説)

If the Financial Services Agency limits its activities to pressuring commercial banks to dispose of bad loans, there is little possibility new loans will be extended to firms with growth potential.

The FSA has therefore found it necessary to revise its method of inspecting financial institutions to keep abreast of the times.

The FSA, the government watchdog of banks, brokerages and other financial businesses, recently made major changes in how it inspects and supervises financial institutions.

The focus of the changes lies in amending the conventional approach of examining the financial health of banks with a fine tooth comb to see whether they have nonperforming loans. Instead, it will leave the risk assessment of small-lot loans to small and midsize borrowers to the discretion of the banks.

The way the FSA inspected banks at the time of the financial unrest in the wake of the bursting of the bubble economy could be referred to as a “crisis response method” with priority placed on bad loan disposal. In those days, there were a number of cases such as those depicted in TV dramas in which grim-looking inspectors relentlessly took bank executives to task.

Even now, many banks, fearing FSA’s inspections, remain reluctant to provide loans to small and midsized companies and business ventures.

It is reasonable for the FSA, with a view to improving the current state of affairs which has seen financial services impeded, to shift its inspection method in favor of encouraging growth.

The greater latitude for discretionary judgment on the part of banks means that their management responsibility is heavier.

If banks turn down loan requests from small and midsize companies from now on, they may not be able to use the excuse of not being able to obtain permission from the FSA.

Banks must sharpen their “discerning eyes” to find small businesses with promising futures and competent managers.

Strengthen regional banks

It is essential for banks to adopt lending policies to sectors with high growth potential to make a major contribution to the Abenomics economic growth strategy led by the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Regarding inspections of the three megabank groups, including Mitsubishi-UFJ Financial Group, the FSA has decided not to check individual banks on a bank-by-bank basis but to inspect them in a cross-sectional way by setting up expert teams in accordance with key inspection categories such as lending risks and quality of corporate governance.

The new method is aimed at clarifying problems and challenges common to the megabanks to help them improve their management. The megabanks, for their part, should accept suggestions offered through the new inspection method to enhance their international competitiveness.

There is no doubt that the rigorous inspections the FSA put into place in the past contributed to helping stabilize the nation’s financial system by pressing banks to quickly liquidate bad loans that ballooned as a result of the collapse of the bubble economy.

While it is reasonable for the FSA to respect banks’ self-assessment of their assets, the agency must remain vigilant concerning large-lot loans to keep a damper on nonperforming loans.

In this connection, it is noteworthy that the FSA has called on regional banks and similar financial institutions to study the advisability of working out medium- and long-term business strategies over five- or 10-year periods.

As there are too many regional banks—three or four in a single prefecture—there are cases in which some have become financially strapped because of excessive competition.

The Abe administration places great hopes on the financing functions of regional banks and similar local financial institutions remaining robust to reinvigorate local economies.

Regional banks must waste no time in revising their management strategies, including business realignment through mergers or other means with other banks.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 23, 2013)
(2013年9月23日01時35分  読売新聞)

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選挙制度改革 衆参の役割踏まえて検討急げ

The Yomiuri Shimbun September 24, 2013
Parties must accelerate study of upper house election reform
選挙制度改革 衆参の役割踏まえて検討急げ(9月23日付・読売社説)

Reform of the electoral system for the House of Councillors needs to be studied by taking into consideration what roles the upper chamber should play under the current bicameral system.

Parties with seats in the upper house have resumed talks on electoral reform, which were suspended due to the upper house election in July. They aim to switch to a new election system starting with the next upper house poll set for 2016. Reform of the upper house’s electoral system must be promoted in sync with that of the House of Representatives.

Importance must be attached to the fact that under a divided Diet in which the upper chamber is controlled by the opposition, bills cannot be enacted if the opposition blocks them, even after the lower house has passed the bills. In recent years, the opposition camp has abused the divided Diet, causing stagnation and turmoil in national politics.

Lower house polls are defined as those that determine the governing party. It is necessary to prevent the winning party in a lower house poll from regularly becoming a minority party in the upper house.

To this end, it is desirable to reform the upper house election system into one that consolidates the will of the people and prevent the creation of a situation in there are a great many parties.

The Supreme Court ruled in October last year that the 2010 upper house poll, which had a maximum vote-value disparity of fivefold, “was in a state of unconstitutionality.” The top court also pointed out that it would be difficult to correct the disparity as long as the current system of allocating at least two seats to each prefecture was maintained.

Former upper house President Takeo Nishioka once proposed a proportional representation election system that would divide the country into nine regional blocs and later modified it to a nine-bloc multiple-seat constituency system.

Steps to deal with disparity

The bloc constituency system has the merit of making it easier to reduce the vote-value disparity than the prefecture-based constituency system. The bloc constituency system also meets the purpose of promoting administrative service beyond prefectural borders.

New Komeito is calling for the introduction of a multi-seat constituency system with about 11 regional blocs.

Taking these proposals into consideration, the Liberal Democratic Party, the Democratic Party of Japan and other parties need to work out drastic proposals to accelerate talks on reform of the upper house election system among the parties. In this instance, consensus building will be hampered if the parties stick to reducing the number of seats. Cuts in the number of seats should be discussed separately from electoral system reform.

Constitutional revision will be necessary if options are to be widened for the upper house election system. Article 43 of the Constitution defines members of both houses of the Diet as “elected members, representatives of all the people.”

A review of this clause will make it possible to adopt a system that allows highly knowledgeable, expert personnel and regional leaders to be recommended and appointed to the upper house without the hassle of elections.

Reform of the lower house electoral system must also be accelerated. Secretaries general of the LDP, Komeito and the DPJ have confirmed that they would continue talks on the matter. But why have they not held them yet?

Opinions differ widely from party to party, so it will be difficult to reach a consensus through talks among the parties.

They must sort out points of contention on electoral system reform as soon as possible and leave the task of coming up with reform measures in the hands of a third-party organization.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 23, 2013)
(2013年9月23日01時35分  読売新聞)

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2013年9月23日 (月)

ราชสีห์กับหนู 2 ライオンとねずみ2(イソップ物語より)

ราชสีห์กับหนู 2

ราชสีห์หัวร่อแล้วว่า "ตัวเอ็งเล็กเท่านี้ เอ็งจะ

มาตอบแทนคุณเราอย่างไรได้" ว่าแล้วก็ปล่อยหนูไป
どうして恩返しをするのですか?” そういった後でねずみを放しました。

อยู่มามิช้ามินาน ราชสีห์ตัวนั้นไปติดบ่วงแร้ว ที่นายพรานเขาดักไว้


ราชสีห์สิ้นปัญญา ลงร้องครวญครางก้องไปทั้งป่า


จึงวิ่งมาปีนขึ้นไปบนคันแร้ว เอาฟันแทะเชือกขาด



ราชสีห์ หัวร่อ แล้ว ว่า " ตัว เอ็ง เล็ก เท่านี้ · เอ็ง จะ
râat-chá-sĕe hŭa-rôr láew wâa " dtua eng lék tâo née · eng jà   

ราชสีห์ râat-chá-sĕe lion

หัวร่อ hŭa-rôr laughs

แล้ว láew and ; and then ; and after that

ว่า wâa say ; tell
blame ; criticise

ตัว dtua self ; oneself
(prefix for an actor or character)
character ; letter ; entity
(prefix meaning "someone or something that does/is...")
body ; physique (ตัว is a classifier every type of animal, all pieces of clothing (except ones that come in pairs, but including trousers), chairs,

tables and other pieces of furniture, letters and numbers of the alphabet, and also functions as a general purpose classifier for things and


เอ็ง eng you

เล็ก lék [to be] small ; little

เท่านี้ tâo née  as much as this ; just this

เอ็ง eng you

จะ jà will ; shall

มา ตอบ แทนคุณ เรา อย่างไร ได้ " ว่า แล้วก็ ปล่อย หนู ไป
maa dtòp taen kun rao yàang rai dâai " wâa láew gôr bplòi nŏo bpai   

มา maa to ; in ; into ; towards (The translation of มา in this context depends on the primary verb, but it frequently has no direct equivalent

in English and so may be untranslatable.)

ตอบ dtòp answer ; respond ; reply

แทนคุณ taen kun to pay back (a favour)

เรา rao we ; us

อย่างไร yàang rai how ; what

ได้ dâai can ; be able to

ว่า wâa say ; tell
blame ; criticise

แล้วก็ láew gôr and then ; and after that

ปล่อย bplòi release ; let go ; set free

หนู nŏo rat ; mouse
she ; her
me (used by young children, and by women when speaking to their elders)

ไป bpai goes ; leaves ; departs

อยู่ มา มิ ช้า มิ นาน · ราชสีห์ตัวนั้น ไป ติดบ่วง แร้ว
yòo maa mí cháa mí naan · râat-chá-sĕe dtua nán bpai dtìt bùang ráew   

อยู่ yòo be at ; live at ; stay

มา maa (a marker that puts the main verb in the present perfect tense)

มิ mí not ; no

ช้า cháa be slow ; be sluggish

มิ mí not ; no

นาน naan long ; for a long time

ราชสีห์ตัวนั้น râat-chá-sĕe dtua nán  that lion

ไป bpai goes ; leaves ; departs

ติดบ่วง dtìt bùang adjoin ; be contiguous ; close to ; connect

แร้ว ráew spring-trap ; snare

ที่ นายพราน เขา ดัก ไว้ · จะ ดิ้นรน เท่าไร ก็ ไม่ หลุด
têe naai praan kăo dàk wái · jà dîn ron tâo rai gôr mâi lùt   

ที่ têe to ; at
that ; which ; who

เขา kăo his ; her

นายพราน naai praan hunter ; huntsman

ดัก dàk traps ; snares ; hold back

ไว้ wái to keep ; to save ; to store

จะ jà will ; shall

เท่าไร tâo rai how much ; how many

ดิ้นรน dîn ron  struggle ; fight

ก็ gôr also ; likewise
then ; so ; therefore
well ; umm ; err (often used when trying to think what to say)
(a marker used when joining clauses of a sentence together)

ไม่ mâi no ; not

หลุด lùt slip out ; fall off ; become detached

ราชสีห์ สิ้น ปัญญา · ลง ร้องครวญ คราง ก้อง ไป ทั้ง ป่า
râat-chá-sĕe sîn bpan-yaa · long róng kruan kraang gông bpai táng bpàa   

ราชสีห์ râat-chá-sĕe lion

สิ้น sîn ends ; finishes ; stops

ปัญญา bpan-yaa knowledge ; intellect ; wisdom

ลง long write down ; note down ; register
go down ; reduce ; descend
get out off ; get off (e.g. a vehicle)
enter (into ; down into)
apply ; use ; put down

ร้องครวญ róng kruan to groan ; to lament ; to moan

คราง kraang to groan ; to moan

ก้อง gông to echo ; to resound ; to reverberate

ไป bpai to ; off ; away ; into ; in (The translation of ไป in this context depends on the primary verb, but it frequently has no direct

equivalent in English and so may be untranslatable.)

ทั้ง táng all over

ป่า bpàa forest ; jungle

ฝ่าย หนูตัวนั้น ได้ยิน เสียง ราชสีห์ ร้อง จำได้ · จึง วิ่ง
fàai nŏo dtua nán dâai yin sĭang râat-chá-sĕe róng jam dâai · jeung wîng   

ฝ่าย fàai side ; party ; sector

หนูตัวนั้น nŏo dtua nán  that rat

ได้ยิน dâai yin hears

เสียง sĭang sound ; voice ; opinion

ราชสีห์ râat-chá-sĕe lion

ร้อง róng sings
cries ; cry out ; complains

จำได้ jam dâai remember ; recollect ; recall

จึง jeung then ; therefore ; consequently

วิ่ง wîng run

มา ปีน ขึ้นไป บน คัน แร้ว · เอา ฟัน แทะ เชือกขาด · ให้ ราชสีห์ หลุด รอดพ้น จาก ความตาย ไป ได้
maa bpeen kêun bpai bon kan ráew · ao fan táe chêuak kàat · hâi râat-chá-sĕe lùt rôt pón jàak kwaam dtaai bpai dâai   

มา maa to ; in ; into ; towards (The translation of มา in this context depends on the primary verb, but it frequently has no direct equivalent

in English and so may be untranslatable.)

ปีน bpeen climb ; clamber

ขึ้นไป kêun bpai to go upward ; to up

บน bon on ; upon ; above

คัน kan itch ; scratch ; tickle

แร้ว ráew spring-trap ; snare

เอา ao want ; desire
take ; bring

ฟัน fan tooth ; teeth

แทะ táe nibbles ; gnaws ; bites

เชือกขาด chêuak kàat  lacking rope

ให้ hâi let ; have (someone to do something)

ราชสีห์ râat-chá-sĕe lion

หลุด lùt slip out ; fall off ; become detached

รอดพ้น rôt pón to escape ; to reach safety

จาก jàak from ; depart ; leave ; go away from

ความตาย kwaam dtaai death

ไป bpai go ; leave ; depart

ได้ dâai can ; be able to

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FRB金融緩和 「出口戦略」への難しい舵取り

The Yomiuri Shimbun September 23, 2013
U.S. Federal Reserve Board faces long, difficult road to QE3 exit
FRB金融緩和 「出口戦略」への難しい舵取り(9月22日付・読売社説)

The U.S. Federal Reserve Board has decided not to scale down its monetary “QE3” quantitative easing policy implemented to deal with the financial crisis.

It was a surprise decision for the market as many observers expected the Fed to take the first step of its exit strategy for ending QE3.

However, the path to the exit is not clear. The markets speculate the Fed would scale down its economic stimulus program in December. The central bank will face some difficult maneuvering from here on.

The Fed held a two-day policy meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee and decided to maintain the central bank’s $85 billion (¥8.4 trillion) monthly purchases of the U.S. government bonds, an unusual way to supply funds to the market.

The Fed said it would like to await conclusive evidence on improvement of the economy and employment before deciding to reduce its stimulus.

It has apparently chosen the safer option of ensuring lasting economic recovery rather than rushing for the exit. The U.S. economy has been showing signs of recovery since the annualized growth rate of its gross domestic product increased by 2.5 percent in April-June quarter compared to the previous quarter.

But the employment situation remains a concern. Though the jobless rate dropped to 7.3 percent in August, the number of workers in the nonagricultural sector is still increasing very slowly.

Meanwhile, the central bank is wary of negative effects from the recent hike of long-term borrowing rates. Stymied negotiations between the ruling and opposition parties over the U.S. debt ceiling, which will be exceeded in mid-October, might cast a shadow over economic prospects.

Dialogue with market

New York stock prices soared right after the Fed’s decision to maintain the pace of its QE3 as many investors took heart from the development.

In light of expectations that the Fed would implement its exit strategy, speculative funds were flowing out of emerging economies but have been returning since the Fed’s decision, and fears of an economic slowdown have been alleviated.

If the Fed had acted hastily, it would have had a great impact on the global economy and market, including Japan. The Fed’s wise decision to avoid confusion is praiseworthy.

Nevertheless, it cannot continue the large-scale quantitative easing for good because of such negative effects as excessive funds circulating around the globe, causing asset-inflated bubbles.

The central bank’s stated policy was to start scaling back QE3 by year-end and to terminate it around the middle of next year. Even if it follows this plan, the exit route remains long. The Fed needs to hold dialogues with the market to avoid causing confusion.

Now, attention is focused on who will succeed the current Fed chairman, Ben Bernanke, whose term expires at the end of January. U.S. President Barack Obama has given up replacing Bernanke with former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, who had been considered the front-runner for the job.

The field has been narrowed to only a few candidates, including Fed Vice Chairman Janet Yellen, now considered the favorite. We hope Obama will decide as soon as possible on a successor to Bernanke and try to stabilize U.S. financial policy.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 22, 2013)
(2013年9月22日01時13分  読売新聞)

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オスプレイ導入 自衛隊の機動力向上を進めよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun September 23, 2013
Purchase of Osprey fleet for SDF will boost defense, maneuverability
オスプレイ導入 自衛隊の機動力向上を進めよ(9月22日付・読売社説)

A plan has been drawn up to improve the maneuverability of the Self-Defense Forces, especially in helping to defend remote islands.

In its budgetary appropriations requests for fiscal 2014, the Defense Ministry has called for ¥100 million in funds to study the feasibility of acquiring MV-22 Osprey vertical takeoff and landing transport aircraft.

The ministry is considering incorporating budgetary requests for purchasing Ospreys in its budget estimates for fiscal 2015, with a view to deploying about 20 of the tilt-rotor aircraft with the Ground Self-Defense Force in the next few years.

Ospreys have the combined advantage of taking off and landing like a helicopter and switching to the high-speed performance of fixed-wing aircraft in the air.

Their maximum speed is 520 kph, about twice the speed of CH-46 Sea Knight transport helicopters. The Osprey has an optimum cargo load of 9.1 tons, about four times that of the CH-46, and a range of 3,900 kilometers, more than five times the Sea Knight’s distance. In addition, the VTOL tilt-rotor aircraft is capable of being refueled in midair, so it can fly even longer distances.

An Osprey with 24 GSDF members aboard, for instance, would be able to reach the Senkaku Islands in about a couple of hours from Nagasaki Prefecture, where elite troops for the defense of remote islands are stationed that would bolster the defense of the Nansei Islands chain significantly.

The GSDF also plans to introduce amphibious vehicles to create a unit similar to the U.S. Marine Corps that would be able to carry out amphibious landings. Besides defending remote islands, such a unit would be highly effective in helping victims of massive disasters and transportation of relief goods.

Deep misunderstanding

The GSDF should strengthen cooperation with the U.S. Marine Corps’ Futenma Air Station in Okinawa Prefecture, where 23 Ospreys have been deployed, to ensure a mutually beneficial relationship between the two forces.

Following the nationalization of some of the Senkaku Islands in September last year, Chinese ships have intruded into Japanese territorial waters with alarming frequency. In January, a Chinese naval vessel locked weapons-guided radar on a Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer in the vicinity of the Nansei Islands. The need to beef up warning and surveillance activities in this region has increased significantly.

Regrettably, however, there remains a deep-rooted misunderstanding about the safety of the Ospreys in Okinawa Prefecture and elsewhere. This is due mainly to a number of Osprey crashes that occurred abroad during the first half of last year.

The actual rate of accidents involving Ospreys, however, cannot be said to be high when considering all the other aircraft operated by the U.S. Marine Corps. In addition, the reliability of the Ospreys has improved to such an extent that they even transport high-ranking White House officials.

The GSDF’s planned introduction of Ospreys will boost opportunities to enhance their safety. The Defense Ministry, for its part, should continue to tenaciously explain that the Osprey is safe to local entities and others concerned.

In October, joint Japan-U.S. exercises to take place in Shiga and Okinawa prefectures will include the U.S. military’s Ospreys for the first time in this country.

The joint exercises will act as a front-runner to smoothly introduce Ospreys to the SDF.

Furthermore, conducting exercises outside Okinawa Prefecture will share the prefecture’s excessively heavy burden in hosting U.S. military bases.

It is of great importance to steadily diversify venues for joint Japan-U.S. exercises.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 22, 2013)
(2013年9月22日01時13分  読売新聞)

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コミッショナー 辞任機にNPBの組織改革を

The Yomiuri Shimbun September 22, 2013
Kato’s resignation must lead to NPB’s organizational reform
コミッショナー 辞任機にNPBの組織改革を(9月21日付・読売社説)

The resignation of Nippon Professional Baseball Commissioner Ryozo Kato can be considered inevitable given his responsibility for causing turmoil and losing the trust of baseball fans over the unified ball introduced at his initiative.

Kato’s announcement he would resign in the middle of his term came Thursday. As one reason for his departure, Kato said, “I caused trouble to fans and those concerned” for delaying the announcement that the unified ball’s coefficient of restitution—a fractional value representing the relative speed of an object after a collision divided by its relative speed before an impact—had been increased this season compared to the ball used in the previous season. He said he would leave his post in the latter half of October, before the Japan Series starts.

The pennant race is heading into its final stage. It is regrettable that Kato’s resignation is attracting public attention at a time when professional baseball is entering the season’s most exciting period.

After serving in such diplomatic posts as ambassador to the United States, Kato became NPB commissioner in July 2008. He was expected to utilize the international perspective he cultivated as a Foreign Ministry bureaucrat to develop pro baseball.

Kato strongly pushed for introduction of a unified ball for NPB. The World Baseball Classic and other international baseball championships use balls different from those in Japan.

The introduction of the unified ball, which has specifications close to those used overseas, was intended to enable Japan’s national team players to fully display their abilities in overseas games. The intention behind the move can be considered good.

However, the number of home runs dropped sharply in the 2011 season when the unified ball was introduced. Home runs are a major attraction of baseball, and some fans may have been deprived of their enjoyment.

As a countermeasure, NPB adopted a unified ball with an increased coefficient of restitution this season. But NPB did not disclose the change and asked the manufacturer to keep it secret.

Faulty governance

Why did the change in the specifications of the ball have to be covered up? NPB’s intentions were highly questionable. The change in ball specifications is believed to have had a large impact on players’ batting and pitching techniques. It is no wonder that many players expressed distrust in NPB when the change came to light in June.

Kato said he was not informed of the change in the unified ball’s coefficient of restitution.

If that is the case, it means NPB has a major problem in its governance as an organization, with important information not reaching the top. This was underscored by the fact that NPB’s secretary general, who is supposed to support the commissioner, did not report the change to Kato.

A third-party committee established by NPB is scheduled to compile a report on the unified ball this month. Based on the report, NPB must carry out measures to prevent recurrence and promote organizational reform.

Attention is now focused on who will succeed Kato. We urge the 12 baseball clubs to work together to select the next commissioner, who will assume a heavy responsibility for regaining confidence in NPB and developing professional baseball.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 21, 2013)
(2013年9月21日02時20分  読売新聞)

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政労使協議 成長の好循環へ議論深めたい

The Yomiuri Shimbun September 22, 2013
3 sides urged to discuss ways to achieve virtuous cycle of growth
政労使協議 成長の好循環へ議論深めたい(9月21日付・読売社説)

Pulling the country out of deflation is a goal shared by the government and the labor and business communities. We urge these three sides to deepen discussions and draw up a feasible strategy to establish a virtuous cycle in which wages will rise along with economic growth.

The government proposed launching such three-way talks in its growth strategy unveiled in June, and the three sides held their first meeting on Friday.

The government has taken the rare action of establishing a forum in which it will discuss wages and other labor issues with representatives of workers and employers. This appears to signal that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is determined to lift the Japanese economy from deflation by any means.

During Friday’s meeting, Abe stressed that the government intends to strengthen cooperation with businesses and other sides concerned. “Whether we can establish a virtuous cycle that will boost corporate earnings, increase wages and expand employment is key,” he said.

Meanwhile, Hiromasa Yonekura, chairman of the Japan Business Federation (Keidanren), called on the government to implement support measures for companies. “If conditions are improved so companies can demonstrate their abilities, both employment and wages will grow,” Yonekura said.

The nation’s consumption and manufacturing are recovering, apparently backed by the current administration’s Abenomics economic measures. The Abe administration is expected to face a crucial test as to whether it will be able to help companies’ brisk earnings spill over to households and achieve self-sustaining economic growth driven by the private sector.

End vicious cycle

If inflation rises to 2 percent, the target set by the Bank of Japan, and the consumption tax rate is raised in April as planned, households have to bear a heavier financial burden. Unless wages go up, consumption could slump, possibly leading to an economic downturn.

The issue of individual companies’ wage levels is not on the agenda of the three-way talks, but the development of the talks could affect future labor-management wage negotiations.

In recent years, many labor unions refrained from seeking a rise in overall pay scales during annual spring labor offensives, as they put higher priority on job security. Thus, the Abe administration’s positive stance on wage hikes could become a strong tailwind for labor unions.

After seeing an upturn in their earnings, companies tend to raise bonuses but try to leave basic pay scales unchanged as much as possible, because basic wage hikes are likely to result in fixed cost increases.

This can be regarded as a rational management decision for an individual company. However, lower wages could dent consumers’ appetite for spending, eventually reducing sales of products and services. In the past, such sales slumps have spurred price falls and contributed to worsening deflation.

Japanese companies are estimated to hold about ¥220 trillion in cash and deposits. The firms’ massive reserves are met with criticism, as they appear to make them reluctant to share profits with workers.

The government plans to soon devise its second growth strategy, centering on support measures for companies, such as tax cuts for investments. Public attention will likely be focused on whether employers raise overall wage scales with support from government measures.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 21, 2013)
(2013年9月21日02時20分  読売新聞)

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2013年9月22日 (日)

ราชสีห์กับหนู ライオンとねずみ(イソップ物語より)




ราชสีห์ตัวหนึ่ง râat-chá-sĕe dtua nèung  a lion

นอนหลับ non làp sleeps

อยู่ yòo (an auxiliary used to put the verb in the present continuous tense, that shows the action of the verb is currently taking place)

ใต้ dtâi south
under ; beneath ; below

ต้นไม้ dtôn máai tree ; plant

ในเวลานั้น nai way-laa nán at that time

หนูตัวหนึ่ง nŏo dtua nèung  a rat

ขึ้น kêun enters ; get on ; get in
develops ; progresses
go up ; rises ; increases

ไต่ dtài to climb ; to clamber ; to scale

ข้าม kâam to cross over ; to pass over ; to overlook

ตัว dtua self ; oneself
(prefix for an actor or character)
character ; letter ; entity
(prefix meaning "someone or something that does/is...")
body ; physique (ตัว is a classifier every type of animal, all pieces of clothing (except ones that come in pairs, but including trousers),

chairs, tables and other pieces of furniture, letters and numbers of the alphabet, and also functions as a general purpose classifier for

things and objects.)

ราชสีห์ râat-chá-sĕe lion

ราชสีห์ râat-chá-sĕe lion

นึก néuk considers ; thinks ; bring to mind

โกรธ gròht angry

จะ jà will ; shall

ข ข khor khai (ข - the second letter of the Thai alphabet)

ย้ำ yám repeats ; reiterates ; restates

หนูตัวนั้นเสีย nŏo dtua nán sĭa  bad that rat

ราชสีห์ râat-chá-sĕe lion

รู้สึกตัว róo sèuk dtua be conscious of ; be aware of

ตื่นขึ้น dtèun kêun to wake up ; to be awake

กระโดด grà dòht  to plunge in/into ; to jump over ; to leap
to skip ; to pass over ; to leave out

ตะครุบ dtà-krúp to catch ; to pounce ; to seize

เอา ao to want ; to desire
to take ; to bring

หนูตัวนั้น nŏo dtua nán  that rat

ไว้ wái keep ; save ; store

ได้ dâai can ; be able to

หนู nŏo rat ; mouse
she ; her
I ; me (used by young children, and by women when speaking to their elders)

จึง jeung then ; therefore ; consequently

ร้อง róng sing
cry ; cry out ; complain

วิงวอน wing won to implore ; to plead

ว่า wâa that

to devour,to mouth,to mangle

ข้าพเจ้า kâa-pá-jâo I

ขอ kŏr ask for ; request for ; ask

ชีวิต chee-wít life ; existence ; living

ไว้ wái keeps ; saves ; stores

สักครั้ง sàk kráng  once

หนึ่ง nèung one

เถิด tèrt (a particle adding a sense of mild urging or emphasis to the sentence)

อย่า yàa do not ; don't ; never (A phrase using อย่า often also includes the particle นะ, which softens the meaning and makes more like a

polite request rather than an order.)

เพ่อ pêr phoe (transliteration)

ฆ่า kâa assassinates ; kills ; murders


ข้าพเจ้า kâa-pá-jâo I

เสีย sĭa lose ; waste ; spoil
discard ; give up
pay (implying an imposed fee that must be paid, even if it has little direct benefit to the payer)

เลย loie (เลย is very commonly used as an intensifier in Thai, but an be difficult to translate directly into English. If it appears in

combinations with abverbs such as มาก or จัง, which themselves serve to add emphasis to the sentence, then there's little need for a

direct translation. If not, then a translation of "completely" or "totally" can work, or it might evade a direct translation and require a re-

wording in English. In a negative sense, a ไม่....เลย combination can be translated as "not....at all" into English.)

ถ้า tâa if

ท่าน tâan you (when talking to someone respected or of high status)
he ; him ; she ; her (when referring to someone respected or of high status)
(a title used to show respect to someone of high status, or by businesses to their customers)

ปล่อย bplòi release ; let go ; set free

ข้าพเจ้า kâa-pá-jâo I

ไป bpai go ; leave ; depart

ข้าพเจ้า kâa-pá-jâo I

จะ jà will ; shall

มิ mí not ; no

ลืม leum forget

คุณ kun you

ของ kŏng of

ท่าน tâan you (when talking to someone respected or of high status)
he ; him ; she ; her (when referring to someone respected or of high status)
(a title used to show respect to someone of high status, or by businesses to their customers)

เลย loie (เลย is very commonly used as an intensifier in Thai, but an be difficult to translate directly into English. If it appears in

combinations with abverbs such as มาก or จัง, which themselves serve to add emphasis to the sentence, then there's little need for a

direct translation. If not, then a translation of "completely" or "totally" can work, or it might evade a direct translation and require a re-

wording in English. In a negative sense, a ไม่....เลย combination can be translated as "not....at all" into English.)


n. (ความเกื้อกูล, อุปการะ) kindness, favour, grace, gratitude
n. (อาถรรพณ์ คือ พิธีทำร้ายต่ออมิตร โดยเสกสิ่งใดสิ่งหนึ่งเข้าในตัวหรือฝังรูปฝังรอย เรียกกันว่า กระทำคุณ, ผู้ถูกกระทำ เรียกว่า ถูกคุณ) black magic,

witchcraft, sorcery
n. (ท่าน) Miss, Mister, Missis, Ms, Mr, Mrs
n. (คำที่ใช้เรียกนำหน้าบุคคลเพื่อแสดงความยกย่อง) Khun
n. (ประโยชน์, ความดี, ข้อดี) advantage, virtue, merit, goodness, value, benefit
pron. (ท่าน) you
related. ท่าน, ลื้อ, เจ้า, เธอ

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2013年9月21日 (土)

基準地価 経済再生で底入れを確実に

The Yomiuri Shimbun September 21, 2013
Ensure land prices bottom out through economic revitalization
基準地価 経済再生で底入れを確実に(9月20日付・読売社説)

The trend toward the bottoming out of land prices has become conspicuous due to expectations of an economic recovery. Efforts must be accelerated to promote revitalization of the national economy and bring land prices back to normal levels.

Benchmark prices had declined for land in residential areas for 22 consecutive years as of July 1, and had dropped for land in commercial areas for six consecutive years, according to the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry. However, the most recent decline was smaller than the drop the year before.

In the three major urban areas of Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya, residential land prices almost leveled off as they edged down just 0.1 percent from a year before, while commercial land prices rose 0.6 percent to post the first growth in five years.

Residential land prices leveled off possibly due to the effects of such policies as low interest rates and tax incentives for housing loans. Another factor may be the rush to buy houses in anticipation of a consumption tax hike next spring.

The rise in commercial land prices can be attributed to the fact that the demand for switching to building structures with high earthquake resistance has increased in line with the economic recovery.

Another factor may be that prices for Japan’s real estate have been considered relatively low as the yen weakened due to the bold monetary easing promoted under the Abenomics economic policies of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration. Investment funds from overseas are believed to have flowed into the Japanese real estate market.

There is concern that land prices in urban areas will slump around 2016 due to an oversupply of office buildings in the Tokyo metropolitan area. But given Tokyo’s winning bid to host the 2020 Summer Olympics and Paralympics, land prices in the waterfront areas of Tokyo may climb sharply.

Keep close watch

Trends in land prices will affect personal consumption and corporate capital investment due to their asset effect. It is necessary to keep a close watch on land-price trends, especially in the Tokyo metropolitan area, because they serve as a barometer to determine business trends.

To lift land prices away from the bottom and reinvigorate the real estate market, it will be indispensable to carry out a growth strategy steadily.

It is necessary to heed the fact that land prices remain sluggish in regional areas. Land prices soared in 37 percent of the spots surveyed in the three major urban areas, but the comparative percentage for regional areas was only about 6 percent.

Even in regional areas, however, there have been many cases in which land prices rose due to the attraction of commercial facilities and tourism development. We urge local municipalities and companies to use such endeavors as a reference to devise ways to make their towns more attractive to live in.

In the areas devastated by the Great East Japan Earthquake and ensuing tsunami, land prices have soared sharply. Of the locations that recorded the 10 highest growth rates in land prices, nine were in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures, which were hit hard by the March 11, 2011, disaster.

The spot surveyed in the town of Otsuchi, Iwate Prefecture, which is located on higher ground, marked the highest increase rate of about 30 percent, as the demand to move there has heightened.

Speculative land transactions aimed at reselling at higher prices for profit-taking should not be allowed to lead to sharp rises in land prices, thereby hampering house rebuilding projects. The central government and local municipalities must keep a closer watch to prevent such moves.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 20, 2013)
(2013年9月20日01時30分  読売新聞)

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原発汚染水対策 政府は廃炉まで積極関与せよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun September 21, 2013
Govt must take more active role in handling N-contaminated water
原発汚染水対策 政府は廃炉まで積極関与せよ(9月20日付・読売社説)

Resolving the problems at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s ruined Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant is a process requiring as many as 30 to 40 years before plant’s reactors can be dismantled.

During that time, the government must retain the ability to involve itself responsibly in resolving problems at the complex.

Visiting the plant on Thursday, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe inspected items such as tanks that leaked water contaminated with radioactive substance. He also gave workers words of encouragement.

Abe urged TEPCO management to push forward with cleaning up the tainted water by instituting deadlines for the task. He also called for the decommissioning of the Nos. 5 and 6 reactors, which have remained idle even though they did not suffer meltdowns or hydrogen explosions after the March 11, 2011, Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.

It seems Abe has taken the bull by the horns and resolved to beef up countermeasures against the vast amounts of tainted water. It is only natural and reasonable that, after the on-site inspections, he reiterated that the government “must take the lead and fulfill its responsibility” in tackling the crisis.

The government has decided to allocate about ¥47 billion to try to address the contaminated water problem. Its steady budgetary implementation is imperative.

Until now, the government has left the task of handling the crisis, including tainted water disposal, in TEPCO’s hands.

There can be no denying that the government’s inaction slowed efforts to deal with the accident and ensuing turmoil.

The Liberal Democratic Party, for that matter, has begun considering enacting a special law to share responsibility for the clean up between the government and TEPCO and clarify a chain of command. Passage of such a law will provide the government with the mandate to extend fiscal support to end the crisis.

Just beginning of resolution

What is of high importance in this matter is that the special law should not be limited to countermeasures against contaminated water, but should cover the entire process of resolving the crisis.

The task of containing the tainted water is nothing more than the beginning of resolving the crisis.

Given the colossal expenses and manpower needed for reactor decommissioning, decontamination and related challenges, it would be unrealistic to leave everything to TEPCO. The system of extending assistance to the utility must be drastically revamped.

At the International Olympic Committee general meeting earlier this month in Buenos Aires, Abe said the tainted water problem at the plant “is under control.”

In a bid to win the right to host the 2020 Summer Olympics and Paralympics, the prime minister’s remark was based on the idea that contaminated water is limited to the port adjacent to the plant. After Thursday’s inspection, he said the message was intended to “assure the world that the situation is safe and secure and poses no risk to human health.”

The Democratic Party of Japan, for its part, has criticized the prime minister’s message, saying the current situation at the plant “is far from being under control.” However, the public will surely take such remarks as little more than frivolous objections.

First of all, it was the DPJ administration that set the pattern of leaving crisis resolution to TEPCO.

It has been brought to light that DPJ leader Banri Kaieda, while serving as economy, trade and industry minister two years ago, acknowledged TEPCO’s decision to postpone plans to install protective walls to prevent tainted water leaks at the Fukushima plant.

The top priority for both the ruling and opposition camps should be to come up with better ways to resolve the issue.

Discussions should be deepened between the ruling and opposition blocs about such issues as how the crisis should be addressed and how the burden should be shared between the government and TEPCO, through such venues as meetings during the Diet recess and deliberations in the extraordinary Diet session, which will be convened in mid-October.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 20, 2013)
(2013年9月20日01時30分  読売新聞)

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2013年9月20日 (金)

医療・介護費 5兆円抑制を「画餅」とするな

The Yomiuri Shimbun September 20, 2013
Ministry must make ¥5 tril. cut in medical costs real to save social security
医療・介護費 5兆円抑制を「画餅」とするな(9月19日付・読売社説)

The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry has set a new goal of curbing the expected increase in the nation’s medical and nursing care expenses.

Medical and nursing care costs of Japanese are estimated to rise by ¥35 trillion in fiscal 2025 from the current ¥48 trillion due to the rapidly aging population. The ministry plans to reduce the estimated increase by ¥5 trillion.

The envisaged restriction of medical and nursing care expenditures must become real if the nation’s social security system is to be maintained.

Health insurance societies, to which corporate employees belong, have been in the red for five straight years due to the massive amount of contributions to the medical care system necessary for elderly people. As a result, the finances of health insurance societies have been driven to the verge of bankruptcy.

Bringing medical expenses under control is an urgent task for the government. As part of its effort to achieve this goal, the health ministry has set up a task force to promote public health. In the past, however, the ministry came up with measures to restrict medical and nursing care expenses but failed to produce sufficient results. We expect the ministry to reflect on past mistakes and to carry out effective measures this time around.

As a pillar of the cost-cutting plan, the ministry is focusing on the prevention of lifestyle-related diseases among adults by improving the percentage of people actually taking metabolic syndrome exams. The ministry expects this measure to have the effect of reducing medical expenses by ¥2.4 trillion. However, it is unclear how much can actually be reduced. We wonder if the reduction will be as high as projected.

Practical cost-cutting

Meanwhile, the prevention of pneumonia is expected to be a more practical measure. Pneumonia is the third-leading cause of death among elderly people, following cancer and heart disease. It can also cause elderly people to become bedridden.

It is believed that pneumonia vaccinations can lower the incidence of the condition by about two-thirds. By promoting the vaccinations, the ministry estimates that costs for treatment of the disease could be reduced by about ¥600 billion.

Expenses for pneumonia vaccinations are currently paid out of pocket. However, if it is covered by public funds, prevention of the disease could be more effective.

An increase in the number of people with diabetes is also a problem. Preventive measures should be considered to reduce the number of patients that require dialysis, an expensive treatment, due to kidney failure caused by severe diabetes.

Wasteful spending on medical services must be investigated as well. Japanese see doctors more often than people in other developed countries. Senior citizens with more than one condition tend to go from one doctor to another.

The municipal government of Kure, Hiroshima Prefecture, scrutinized statements of medical expense claims by hospitals and clinics, and identified senior citizens who saw doctors 15 times or more in a month. Public health workers then visited them to offer advice. As a result, duplicate visits to multiple doctors and an overlap in drug administration were curbed, leading to a decrease in medical care costs.

The health ministry should introduce such initiatives to other local governments around the country.

The use of information technology such as digitizing statements of medical expenses will be essential to improving the efficiency of medical services. Taking advantage of the My Number system to be introduced in 2016, it is also important to make use of patients’ medical information to reduce the number of redundant visits to doctors.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 19, 2013)
(2013年9月19日01時32分  読売新聞)

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南シナ海情勢 日米ASEANで対中連携を

The Yomiuri Shimbun September 20, 2013
Japan, U.S. and ASEAN must team up to counter China’s maritime advance
南シナ海情勢 日米ASEANで対中連携を(9月19日付・読売社説)

It is becoming apparent that China intends to strengthen its hegemony in the South China Sea while stalling for time in drawing up a code of conduct to avoid hostilities.

China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations held the first official talks among senior officials to move toward deciding on a code of conduct to regulate the activities of countries concerned in the South China Sea.

Yet China remained halfhearted over the issue throughout the talks, with the meeting only deciding on the establishment of a meeting of experts.

In the South China Sea, China is in conflict with such ASEAN countries as the Philippines and Vietnam regarding sovereignty over the Spratly Islands and other islands and reefs.

China asserts a claim of exclusive sovereignty over not only the Spratly Islands but nearly all of the South China Sea. Yet it has not brought the international community around to its point of view.

For over a decade, the ASEAN countries have been trying to secure agreement from China on the establishment of rules of conduct to prevent overt hostilities in the South China Sea. Yet, with its overwhelming military and economic power, China refused to hold such a meeting until recently.

It is regrettable that even when China finally did come to the negotiating table, it proposed discussing other issues instead and would not go into a detailed discussion on the code of conduct.

Scarborough stare-down

In the South China Sea, with no code of conduct for concerned countries, the crisis is only deepening. The current focal point lies in the conflict between the Philippines and China.

Around the disputed Scarborough Shoal, over which both countries claim sovereignty, naval vessels from the two sides faced each other for two months. The government of the Philippines said that after it moved its vessels away, China placed concrete blocks on the shoal.

Earlier this year, the Philippines filed a request for arbitration under the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, asserting that China’s claim of sovereignty over the shoal is unlawful. This month, China held an exhibition inviting heads of ASEAN member countries. But the president of the Philippines was not invited.

The snub must be interpreted as an attempt by China to rebuke the Philippines over the country’s having taken legal action against China.

It is understandable that the Philippines, pressured physically by China, has been intensifying relations with the United States and Japan.

While having expanded a joint military exercise with the United States, the Philippines is moving ahead in talks with the United States that are likely to lead, in effect, to the stationing of U.S. forces in the Philippines again. There is a possibility that the Subic naval base, once a strategic foothold for the United States, will again be used for the deployment of U.S. forces.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, since he took office last December, has intensively visited ASEAN countries and presented his plan of providing 10 patrol vessels to the Philippines.

For both Japan and the United States, which face the expanding presence of China in the East China Sea and the western Pacific, the significance of cooperating with ASEAN member countries by taking concerted actions with them is not limited to the South China Sea. It will help their efforts to check China from expanding its maritime activities elsewhere as well.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 19, 2013)
(2013年9月19日01時32分  読売新聞)

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2013年9月19日 (木)

園児犠牲訴訟 津波への予見と情報があれば

The Yomiuri Shimbun September 19, 2013
Kindergartens must ensure safety of children when disasters occur
園児犠牲訴訟 津波への予見と情報があれば(9月18日付・読売社説)

A private kindergarten in Miyagi Prefecture has been taken to task in a court ruling on a lawsuit filed by parents whose kindergarten children died in the March 2011 disaster. The ruling blamed the kindergarten for failing to protect its pupils from the tsunami triggered by the catastrophic Great East Japan Earthquake, and the facility’s operator was ordered to pay compensation. This may serve as a wake-up call for facilities taking care of small children.

On Tuesday, the Sendai District Court ordered the kindergarten’s operator to pay about ¥177 million in compensation to the parents of four children who died along with a kindergarten employee when the tsunami engulfed their school bus immediately after the earthquake.

The lawsuit had been filed by the parents, who argued that the deaths were caused by the kindergarten’s failure to take appropriate action to protect their children’s lives. In supporting the plaintiffs, the district court concluded that the kindergarten had neglected to gather information about the likelihood of a tsunami following the quake.

Kindergarten pupils are far less competent in avoiding danger than grown-ups. It is difficult for them to escape to safety at their own discretion in an emergency.

The court ruling was quite reasonable in stating that there was no way for kindergarten children to ensure their safety other than to trust the school’s director and teachers and follow their instructions.

Kindergartens are duty-bound to protect the safety of their pupils. In fact, the court ruling stated that kindergartens are obliged to anticipate possible danger and do their utmost to avert any threat.

Based on this, the court placed the blame on the kindergarten in Ishinomaki, arguing that the facility should have expected the arrival of a tsunami considering that an earthquake with a maximum seismic intensity of lower 6 on the Japanese scale of 7 had continued for about three minutes. The ruling said the kindergarten should have listened closely to the radio and the community public address system to gather information about a possible tsunami.

No preparations made

During the trial, the kindergarten insisted that the tragedy was an unavoidable accident caused by a devastating tsunami that could not have been foreseen.

It should be noted, however, that the bus taking the children home was headed toward the sea after leaving the kindergarten, which was on elevated ground. It was reasonable for the four children’s parents to argue that the loss of life should be attributed to the kindergarten’s thoughtless conduct, especially as the facility itself was not affected by the tsunami.

A manual prepared by the kindergarten to protect its pupils whenever a major earthquake occurs requires its employees to ensure the children take refuge in the facility’s play area at first, and then allow them to return home with their parents when they arrive to pick them up. However, most of the kindergarten’s staff had not known of the manual. No disaster drills had been carried out in accordance with the manual, either.

Evidently, the kindergarten lacked preparations regarding a massive earthquake and possible tsunami.

If the kindergarten appeals to a higher court, a new round of hearings will start. It remains to be seen whether the kindergarten will be able to pay the massive amount of court-ordered compensation.

If a feared massive Nankai Trough earthquake actually strikes, a tsunami is predicted to follow that would cause damage in excess of that incurred by the Great East Japan Earthquake.

Kindergartens must secure evacuation sites and routes in preparation for such a disaster, while also conducting periodic disaster drills to make sure their teaching staff and pupils know how to use them. This task should be tackled immediately by all facilities that take care of children, including day-care centers and primary schools.

At municipally run kindergartens in Kushimoto, Wakayama Prefecture, children, teachers and all other staff conduct drills in which they evacuate to higher ground almost every day. This is the kind of effort that should be made in other parts of the country.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 18, 2013)
(2013年9月18日01時28分  読売新聞)

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北朝鮮人権侵害 国連調査委が問う拉致の大罪

The Yomiuri Shimbun September 19, 2013
Govt should resume negotiations with N. Korea to resolve abductions
北朝鮮人権侵害 国連調査委が問う拉致の大罪(9月18日付・読売社説)

We hope an interim report released by the U.N. Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in North Korea will help make progress toward resolving the abduction issue.

The commission on Tuesday announced the report concerning involuntary disappearances, including the abductions of foreign nationals, which said the U.N. body had obtained testimonies and information that indicate systematic human rights violations by North Korea.

Such violations continue to take place in the reclusive country and the report’s content equates these human rights transgressions to state crimes. It strictly holds North Korea’s leadership responsible for them.

The establishment of the commission was unanimously decided at the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva in March.

Three experts, including Chairman Michael Kirby, a former Australian High Court judge, are investigating North Korea’s alleged “systematic, widespread and grave violations of human rights.”

In August, the commission members visited South Korea and Japan to interview families of abductees, North Korean defectors and officials of the South Korean and Japanese governments. In public hearings held in Tokyo, these families, including parents of Megumi Yokota, who was abducted 36 years ago when she was 13 years old, provided testimony.

A video of the public hearings is posted on the commission’s website. The testimonies by Yokota’s parents and others will no doubt help deepen the awareness of people around the world of the enormity of North Korea’s acts.

To live up to expectations of those who provided testimonies, the chairman stressed that the international community needs to take action to resolve the abduction issue and that North Korea needs to provide a full explanation.

The commission will disclose its final report, which will incorporate recommendations for possible actions against Pyongyang, in March.

North Korea stonewalling

North Korea refused the commission’s request to visit and rejected any cooperation. It also responded to the testimonies by families of abductees and others with malicious slander. Pyongyang cannot refute the facts pointed out and probably finds itself with no recourse but to repeat illogical assertions.

North Korea has recently switched to a conciliatory mood with South Korea, for instance by resuming the operation of the joint Kaesong Industrial Complex and accepting South Korea’s proposal to resume reunions of families separated by the Korean War. Such moves, however, will never cancel out its human rights violations.

Eleven years have passed since North Korean leader Kim Jong Il admitted North Korean agents had abducted Japanese citizens and apologized when he met then Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. Due to North Korea’s uncooperative attitude, even the safety of 12 out of 17 people officially recognized by the Japanese government as having been abducted has yet to be confirmed.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe repeatedly stressed that “my mission will never be finished” until all the abductees return to this country. Japan’s position is that a comprehensive resolution of various pending matters, such as the abductions, as well as Pyongyang’s nuclear activities and missile development program, is a precondition for normalizing diplomatic relations.

The international community must step up pressure on North Korea to take action toward resolving the abduction and nuclear issues.

We urge the Japanese government to resume negotiations with Pyongyang and do its utmost to finally resolve the abduction issue while cooperating with the commission.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 18, 2013)
(2013年9月18日01時23分  読売新聞)

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2013年9月18日 (水)



当社連結子会社が運営するスマートフォンをメインデバイスとした求人サイト「Jobee(ジョビー)」がスマートフォン及びPC向けウェブサイトのリニューアルオープンのお知らせ 株式会社ピーエイ

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再び原発ゼロ 着実な再稼働で電力安定図れ

The Yomiuri Shimbun September 18, 2013
Restart nuclear reactors steadily to ensure stable power supplies
再び原発ゼロ 着実な再稼働で電力安定図れ(9月17日付・読売社説)

The No. 4 reactor at Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Oi nuclear power plant has been suspended for regular safety checkups. The reactor had been the only one in operation.

This is the first time in about 14 months that the operations of all 50 nuclear reactors in Japan have been suspended.

Hokkaido Electric Power Co., Shikoku Electric Power Co., Kyushu Electric Power Co. and KEPCO have filed applications with the Nuclear Regulation Authority to restart 12 reactors. But safety checkups make the prospects for restarting these reactors uncertain.

Of particular concern is what will happen if Japan experiences a severe winter, when demand for power will rise due to the need for heating and other factors, and there are no nuclear reactors to rely on. The NRA should proceed with safety inspections without delay.

To restart the reactors smoothly after their safety has been confirmed, it will be necessary to win the understanding of local municipalities where the power plants are located. The central government must provide detailed explanations to local governments and residents concerned about the safety and necessity of nuclear power stations.

Despite a record-breaking heat wave this summer, such problems as a massive power outage were avoided. This can be attributed to the power-saving efforts of businesses and households as well as the strenuous efforts of utilities to supply power.

However, the utilities walked a tightrope in meeting power demand. On Aug. 22, KEPCO was forced to make up for the shortfall of power supplies, caused by a sharp rise in demand due to soaring temperatures in its service area and trouble at its thermal power plant, by receiving surplus power from other utilities as an emergency measure.

KEPCO’s excess supply capacity on this day dropped temporarily to 4 percent, only one percentage point above the 3 percent regarded as the threshold for causing a blackout.

It is far too optimistic to believe that adequate power supplies can be secured without the help of nuclear reactors, merely because there were no blackouts in summer.

Thermal power costly

All available thermal power plants have been mobilized to make up for the power shortfall caused by the suspension of nuclear reactors. As a result, thermal power generation now provides 90 percent of the total power supply, up sharply from about 60 percent recorded before Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami disaster of March 2011.

The proportion of power generated by imported fuels, including liquefied natural gas, exceeded 74 percent of total power output, equaling the record set during the first oil shock in 1973. This is a worrisome factor in terms of ensuring energy security.

The impact on the national economy is also serious. The additional cost for fuel imports amounted to about ¥4 trillion, resulting in a continued exodus of a huge amount of national wealth.

Given the increased reliance on relatively expensive thermal power generation, Tokyo Electric Power Co. and five other utilities have raised rates for households by 6 percent to 10 percent.

But consumers were forced to bear additional financial burdens as portions of the increased fuel costs were automatically added to the rates.

For example, TEPCO raised the rate by about 8.5 percent, but the monthly bill paid by the standard family went up by about 30 percent compared with the outset of the crisis at the utility’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in the aftermath of the 2011 disaster.

The margin of utility hike rates for businesses was larger than that for households. Unless reliance on thermal power generation is reduced, midsize and small companies in financial difficulties will find it hard to survive, and the hollowing out of industry may accelerate.

It is essential to establish a stable system that can provide power cheaply. The government should clearly come up with a policy stating that nuclear power generation would continue to be a principal power source.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 17, 2013)
(2013年9月17日02時11分  読売新聞)

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法科大学院 優秀な人材をどう集めるか

The Yomiuri Shimbun September 18, 2013
Nation’s law schools must improve for the good of the profession, society
法科大学院 優秀な人材をどう集めるか(9月17日付・読売社説)

If things are left as they are, talented young people may no longer be attracted to careers in law. The nation’s law schools, meant to be the core of efforts to foster legal professionals, have fallen into a critical situation.

The number of people who passed this year’s national bar exam after graduating from law school stood at 1,929. The pass rate remains low. Hovering around 26 percent, it is a far cry from the 70-80 percent rate originally assumed.

In light of such a reality, students are becoming less interested in going to law school. The number of applicants for law school enrollment this spring has fallen to one-fifth of what it was at its peak.

The popularity of law departments at universities is also declining. At national and other public universities, the number of students applying to law departments has fallen by about 10 percent over the past two years.

As one of the three branches of government depends on a strong pool of legal talent, the foundation of a state under the rule of law may be shaken if the number of young people who aspire to enter legal circles declines.

The first law schools opened in 2004 to further judicial system reform by “fostering an ample source of legal professionals both in terms of quality and quantity.” The schools were initially expected to produce work-ready law practitioners equipped with specialized knowledge and legal analytical abilities.

Yet as the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry broadly allowed many academic institutions to open law schools, as many as 74 law schools with varying levels of quality have opened. As a result, a number of schools had only single-digit numbers of their students pass the national exam for the year.

Weed out subpar schools

Next fiscal year, the education ministry is set to cut its subsidies to 18 law schools that have failed to produce strong results, as the pass rate of their students remains low. The cut is designed to urge these schools to integrate with other schools or leave the field altogether. Law schools that fail in fostering legal professionals must inevitably be weeded out.

Meanwhile, the number of people who passed the bar exam without graduating from law school has been increasing sharply. Such people become eligible to take the bar exam after passing a preliminary qualification test. This year, the number who succeeded surged to 120, nearly double last year’s figure.

The preliminary test system was introduced to open the way for people unable to enroll in law school for economic reasons to tackle the bar exam. Despite this purpose, many law school students used the preliminary exam to take and pass the bar exam without graduating from law school.

If an increasing number of people use the preliminary test as a shortcut to pass the bar exam without completing their law school studies, the hollowing out of law schools will only accelerate.

If the law school system is to be maintained, it is necessary to review it, such as by allowing law school graduates to take the bar exam more often, so that students will become more willing to go on to law school.

Needless to say, law schools, for their part, are asked to strive to improve their quality of education.

Furthermore, the current situation in which many of those who have passed the bar exam and become lawyers are unable to find jobs is serious.

It is naturally expected that students will tend to shy away from entering the legal profession as long as there is little prospect of employment.

The government and legal circles must discuss ways to expand the range of activities for lawyers by, for instance, expanding their job opportunities in local governments and private businesses as soon as possible.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 17, 2013)
(2013年9月17日02時11分  読売新聞)

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2013年9月17日 (火)



ZETA Cloud というのをご紹介いたします。
ZETA Cloud Private (ゼタクラウド・プライベート)というのが企業向けでは有名です。


ZETA Cloud Private なら、その夢を簡単に実現してくれます。


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米露外相合意 シリアに時間稼ぎを許すな

The Yomiuri Shimbun September 17, 2013
U.S.-Russia agreement should not permit Syrian regime to buy time
米露外相合意 シリアに時間稼ぎを許すな(9月16日付・読売社説)

Military strikes against Syria have been averted, at least for now, apparently in a move aimed at achieving a political settlement to that country’s civil war. However, quite a few problems must be overcome.

The foreign ministerial talks between the United States and Russia that were held in Geneva for three days until Saturday produced an agreement designed to formulate a framework to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons.

Under the Washington-Moscow accord, Syria must hand over a complete list of its chemical weapons arsenal within a week, and the U.N.-backed Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is scheduled to embark on inspections of Syria’s chemical weapons sites by November. Complete destruction of the arsenal is planned for the first half of 2014.

The accord, however, leaves one major question after another unanswered.
Is there any guarantee Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime, which did not acknowledge until recently the existence of chemical weapons in the country, will unequivocally declare a list of its chemical weapons and live up to its promise to do away with them?
Will it be possible for OPCW inspectors to carry out effective inspections in the midst of a civil war?

In regard to North Korea’s nuclear weapons development program, we recall that Pyongyang, after committing to abandoning the program, maneuvered to have it delayed and eventually refused to accept inspections.

The Assad government must never be allowed to buy time to prolong the life of the regime by deliberately delaying the implementation of the inspection accord.

UNSC resolution essential

The latest agreement came after Russia, the patron of the Assad administration, embarked on diplomatic arbitration in the wake of U.S. President Barack Obama’s announcement of plans to launch punitive military action against Syria following the Assad regime’s alleged use of chemical weapons.

After striking the deal with Moscow, Washington agreed to delay military operations against Damascus. The question over whether the Assad regime used chemical weapons has been shelved.

The agreement stipulates that if the Assad administration fails to comply with the terms of the accord, including a ban on the use of chemical weapons and their transportation without prior permission, the U.N. Security Council would take measures based on Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter, which will pave the way for military sanctions.

This means that strong pressure, including the threat of military strikes, is essential to ensure the Assad regime abides by the agreement to eliminate chemical weapons.

In a statement released after the agreement, Obama said, “If diplomacy fails, the United States remains prepared to act,” implying that the United States retains the option of carrying out military strikes.

The U.N. Security Council, for its part, is set to draw up a resolution in response to the U.S.-Russia accord. The resolution must be adopted promptly, as it is indispensable for the international community as a whole to continue to exert pressure on the Assad regime to honor the accord.

The civil war has already claimed the lives of 100,000 people, and refugees total 2 million. It is imperative to end the war as soon as possible.

The U.S. and Russian foreign ministers are scheduled to meet again in New York soon to discuss the feasibility of holding an international conference with both Assad regime officials and rebels taking part.

The rebels are far from united, as they comprise a multitude of forces, such as Islamist groups and secular organizations. Diplomatic negotiations to resolve these differences face many difficulties.

Japan, for that matter, should not stand idly by. It should expand its humanitarian aid, including refugee relief, to the Syrian people.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 16, 2013)
(2013年9月16日01時41分  読売新聞)

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敬老の日 高齢世代の支え合いが大切だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun September 17, 2013
Mutual support among the elderly crucial as nation continues to age
敬老の日 高齢世代の支え合いが大切だ(9月16日付・読売社説)

It is Respect-for-the-Aged Day today, and it is worth noting that there are now more than 54,000 centenarians in the nation, 11 times more than 20 years ago.

It is delightful that Japan has become the world leader in longevity. However, we need to think—as a whole society—about how we can make the lives of the elderly fruitful.

A study panel of the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry said in a report it compiled in March that elderly people require “mutual support and self-help,” together with “mutual aid and public assistance” to live in their communities.

“Mutual aid” means reciprocal aid provided by the social insurance system, including nursing care insurance, through premiums. “Public assistance” includes public livelihood assistance paid for with tax money.

“Mutual support” refers to a private framework of support provided by neighbors or local volunteers.

Such support is spreading in various parts of the country.

For instance, in Sasacho, Nagasaki Prefecture, volunteers regularly check on elderly people to ensure their condition does not deteriorate to the point that they require nursing care.

Volunteers, who are mainly in their 60s, attend training lectures held by the town government. At a class held at a local meeting hall, would-be volunteers receive instruction on physical exercise and recreational activities designed to prevent elderly people from becoming bedridden or developing dementia.

The volunteers also visit houses of elderly people to help them with laundry and house cleaning.

Need for nursing care declining

Thanks to these efforts, the ratio of elderly people certified as requiring long-term nursing care has declined in the town, reducing nursing care costs.

An outstanding point of this program is that local people can easily take part in it through their community ties.

According to one study, older people who engage in such voluntary activities are less likely themselves to develop dementia or require nursing care. Such activities by volunteers can also give their lives more meaning, and their expansion should be encouraged.

It has been said for some time that social ties in local communities have weakened. Local governments hold the key to promoting mutual support for the elderly. For example, the governments should explore ways such as helping secure venues for volunteer activities to back up mutual support.

Elderly people aged 65 or older account for one in every four people in Japan. Due to the nation’s rapidly aging society and low birthrate, the burden of supporting the social security system on the working generation will become heavier than ever. It is apparent that supporting the livelihoods of the elderly with public services alone is difficult.

The elderly should make use of self-help so they can live on their own. To this end, it is important for them to realize that they can become supporters in society, in accordance with their will and ability.

Enabling people even in their advanced age to continue doing productive work is an extremely important task. We should realize a society of “active longevity” in which elderly people can make use of their abilities nurtured over many years.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 16, 2013)
(2013年9月16日01時41分  読売新聞)

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2013年9月16日 (月)



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FX初心者におすすめしたいこと の御一読をおすすめします。

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イプシロン成功 日本の宇宙開発に新時代を

The Yomiuri Shimbun September 16, 2013
Successful Epsilon launch opens door to new leap into space for Japan
イプシロン成功 日本の宇宙開発に新時代を(9月15日付・読売社説)

This may be a quantum leap for Japan’s space exploration.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) successfully launched its new solid-fuel rocket Epsilon on Saturday from the agency’s space center in Kagoshima Prefecture. Epsilon sent a planet observation satellite into orbit as scheduled.

The first launch scheduled in late August was canceled because of an inspection computer glitch just before liftoff. We are pleased the rocket was successfully launched.

The Epsilon is the first new Japanese rocket to be launched in 12 years since the H-2A rocket lifted off in 2001. The development of the new rocket, distinctive because of its low cost and simplified launch, is aimed at lowering the threshold to space.

The new rocket is expected to give Japan’s space business a significant boost as both the public and private sectors are trying to win orders from other countries to launch satellites. The successful launch of the first Epsilon is considered an important step toward that aim.

In the past, Japan placed priority on developing the world’s most advanced technology for rockets, rather that lowering costs, even from the development stage.

For instance, engines and many other parts of the H-2A rocket were highly evaluated by other countries. But launching costs were prohibitive—as much as ¥10 billion each time. The H-2A lost a lot of business because it took years from the beginning of production to the actual liftoff.

Since a number of countries recently have produced satellites that are much smaller and lighter, the demand for heavy rockets like the H-2A to launch them has dwindled.

The Epsilon hopes to tap the market for launching small satellites. According to JAXA, the cost for launching the new rocket is currently ¥3.8 billion, but further efforts will be made to lower the cost to ¥3 billion. The future price tag makes the Epsilon competitive with similar rockets in other countries, the agency said.

Reliability essential

Of course, the rocket not only needs a competitive price but also a good performance to compete in the global market.

The Epsilon utilizes conventional rather than new technology to reduce development costs and improve technological reliability. For instance, the Epsilon uses a solid-fuel adapter rocket that was attached to the sides of the lower section of the H-2A as its first booster.

However, JAXA is also using world-beating technology in the Epsilon. The rocket is equipped with a computer that automatically carries out some of the inspections to detect mechanical abnormalities. It also can be controlled by only two personal computers. These two technologies make it possible to shorten the launch preparation period and reduce the necessary manpower for a launch.

The government is considering exporting Japanese satellites in addition to infrastructure such as nuclear power plants and the Shinkansen system. The government is planning to sell small Japanese-made satellites to other countries and launch them with Epsilon rockets.

However, this means the Epsilon must be consistently regarded as a rocket that never fails to take off as scheduled. We hope the Epsilon will be successfully launched time and time again.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 15, 2013)
(2013年9月15日01時31分  読売新聞)

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原発事故不起訴 東電と政府の責任は免れない

The Yomiuri Shimbun September 16, 2013
Govt, TEPCO still bear responsibility for roles in Fukushima catastrophe
原発事故不起訴 東電と政府の責任は免れない(9月15日付・読売社説)

A decision by prosecutors has brought to light how difficult it is to establish criminal responsibility for the consequences of an unprecedentedly massive disaster.

The Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office announced Thursday it would not indict any of the 42 people against whom complaints had been filed seeking indictment on charges of professional negligence resulting in deaths and injuries in connection with the nuclear crisis at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. Among them were top executives of TEPCO and government leaders at the time of the outbreak of the nuclear crisis.

The prosecutors office said the gigantic tsunami triggered by the March 11, 2011, earthquake should be considered unpredictable and the failure of TEPCO management and nuclear regulatory authorities to take sufficient precautionary measures in advance did not constitute criminal negligence.

The office also said an on-the-spot inspection that then Prime Minister Naoto Kan conducted at the crippled nuclear plant immediately after the disaster could not be deemed to have hindered the venting of steam to lower pressure inside the reactors.

Given that the prosecution could not produce enough clear evidence to establish a case for criminal negligence, the decision not to indict should be considered inevitable.

In the nuclear crisis, the power sources for the backup generators for the plant’s reactors were disabled, rendering them unable to pump cooling water and eventually leading to reactor core meltdowns and hydrogen explosions in reactors Nos. 1, 3 and 4. The result was that radioactive substances were spewed from the tsunami-wrecked plant, exposing a large number of residents in the vicinity to radiation.

After determining the loss of power supply was caused by the tsunami, the prosecutors office, after hearing the opinions of seismologists, concluded the colossal scale of the tsunami was unforeseeable even by experts.

Be ready for the unforeseen

To establish a case for professional negligence in such a situation, there must be evidence to prove failure to take necessary steps despite being aware of the potential danger of the tsunami, instead of merely a nebulous feeling that a crisis could occur.

The fact that the tsunami was an unpredictable natural disaster posed a high hurdle for the prosecutors.

It is noteworthy that probes into professional negligence focus on individuals, which was another hurdle in this case. The extremely chaotic nature of the crisis made it very hard for prosecutors to charge a particular individual with criminal responsibility for the accident.

In the United States, courts sometimes award huge punitive damages for unscrupulous corporate behavior to prevent similar harmful actions. In Japan, however, there is no such system even in civil litigation.

In light of the grave impact the nuclear crisis has had on society and the nation’s economy, both TEPCO and the government still bear heavy responsibility for the disaster, even though they are exempt from criminal responsibility.

The government panel tasked with investigating the accident has pointed out that TEPCO had been complacent about safety. It also noted that the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry’s former Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency and other nuclear power generation regulators had left the task of implementing safety measures up to TEPCO. Both the government and regulators left the studies of risk factors on a back burner. The Diet commission that investigated the accident declared in its report that the disaster was “man-made.”

Bearing the lessons of the crisis deeply in mind, both the government and TEPCO must urgently address the task of creating effective safety procedures to cope with unforeseen situations.

The Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant is struggling to contain highly radioactive water flowing out of the wrecked reactors.

Countermeasures as well as operations to decommission the reactors must steadily be implemented.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 15, 2013)
(2013年9月15日01時31分  読売新聞)

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2013年9月15日 (日)

これで企業秘密の流出は確実に防ぐことが出来ます オリエントコンピュータのデータ消去



オリエントコンピュータ のハードディスククラッシャーを使ってなされるデータ消去だったら安心です。

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金太郎ホーム では賃貸用のマンションでは重量鉄骨造に特化して規格を揃えています。

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宮崎監督引退 アニメ芸術の志引き継ぎたい

The Yomiuri Shimbun September 15, 2013
Filmmakers must inherit Miyazaki’s aspirations for artistic animation
宮崎監督引退 アニメ芸術の志引き継ぎたい(9月14日付・読売社説)

Fans of Hayao Miyazaki’s animation undoubtedly want him to continue making movies. He will be greatly missed after his retirement.

Miyazaki, who has enchanted people around the world with a variety of spectacular masterpieces, has decided to retire from the production of full-length anime movies. The currently showing “Kaze Tachinu” (The Wind Rises) will be his last film.

Miyazaki said, “No matter how much I get in shape, the number of hours I can concentrate has been decreasing year by year.” He has probably recognized that at 72, he has reached his limit physically.

Sticking to hand drawing, he has taken extra care in drawing even the effects of wind, the motion of water and the play of light. Drawing requires long hours of work with great strain on the eyes and hands. Miyazaki has also thought about story lines while proceeding with production, without deciding on the conclusion at the outset. Hence anime production was extremely hard work for him.

Miyazaki also said, “I’m free and there are many things I want to do and try.”

We hope he will display his talents again in other fields besides production of animated feature films, which require long hours of work and impose a heavy physical burden.

Insightful messages

Miyazaki’s greatest achievement was his contribution to raising the production of entertainment anime, initially designed for children, to the level of art backed by deep insightful messages and creating a new Japanese anime culture that is preeminent in the world.

His productions have also proved successful in terms of box office returns. This could be attributed to the fact that he was extremely fortunate in his producers, many staff members and investors.

“Kaze no Tani no Naushika” (Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind), released in 1984, depicted a world after the collapse of a great civilization and contained philosophical insights into nature and civilization. It also criticized Japanese society, which tends to be preoccupied with economic wealth.

Miyazaki depicted a poetic world in “Tonari no Totoro” (My Neighbor Totoro, 1988), which featured the rich natural environment of the countryside. He broke new ground with “Mononoke Hime” (Princess Mononoke), released in 1997, which featured battles between malevolent gods and humans in medieval Japan.

“Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi” (Spirited Away, 2001) achieved the highest box office returns in Japanese movie history and won the Golden Bear at the 2002 Berlin International Film Festival and the 2003 Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. The film was highly acclaimed as a refined and powerful fantasy.

Influenced by children’s literature, Miyazaki has provided a dreamy beautiful world for children. He is said to have wanted to tell them “this world is worth living for.” This desire underlies his anime movie production.

As a message to the next generation of anime producers, he said, “Never stop trying to achieve more universal and profound expressions of humanity.”

We hope to see the emergence of filmmakers who will inherit this aspiration and grow to receive international acclaim.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 14, 2013)
(2013年9月14日01時35分  読売新聞)

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ガス市場改革 全面自由化で料金値下げを

The Yomiuri Shimbun September 15, 2013
Full liberalization of gas market should be realized to lower rates
ガス市場改革 全面自由化で料金値下げを(9月14日付・読売社説)

The day when every household can choose its own gas supplier may no longer be a mere dream. An environment should be created to facilitate new entries into the market and boost competition.

The Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry has embarked on gas market reform.

It will implement stricter rules on rate calculations by utilities after reviewing the so-called total cost formula in deciding rates, in which a certain profit margin is added to personnel and other expenses. From next fiscal year, the ministry plans to introduce a new system for applications for rate hikes.

The total cost formula has been used for electricity rates, for which standards have been scrutinized, given that costs unrelated to power generation have been included. It is praiseworthy that the ministry intends to similarly scrutinize gas rate assessments to curb rate hikes.

After the rate reform, the next drastic reform plan will be for the full liberalization of the gas market. The ministry is expected to soon start working out the details.

The liberalization of gas sales to large-scale factories and certain other customers started in 1995. The scope of the process has been expanded in stages. Currently, the system covers customers with an annual contract volume of 100,000 cubic meters or more. Even small-scale factories, hotels and hospitals can freely choose their gas suppliers.

With this process of deregulation, companies in such industries as electricity, oil and trading have launched gas businesses one after another. New entrants accounted for 17 percent of the overall gas supplies for large-lot customers in fiscal 2011.

Compared to the power industry, in which the market share held by newcomers stood at only about 4 percent in the same fiscal year, a certain level of progress can be seen in the gas industry.

All customers should benefit

Looking forward, the focal point is the timing of full liberalization of the gas supply for customers with a contract volume of less than 100,000 cubic meters, including general households. The market has been monopolized by major utilities such as Tokyo Gas Co. and Osaka Gas Co.

In the reform of the electricity industry, which began earlier, it has been proposed that the retail market be liberalized from 2016.

Some believe the liberalization of the gas retail market should take place concurrently in 2016, so as to destroy regional monopolies and encourage new entries in both markets. We think this idea is worth considering in terms of facilitating competition on equal footing.

At some point in the future, comprehensive energy suppliers may emerge, such as an electricity company selling both electricity and gas and a gas company selling gas and electricity among other products. As a result of competition with new entrants from other industries, it is expected that the battle for customers, including the lowering of rates, would be accelerated.

Of course, it is essential that a stable supply system be ensured. Securing the safety and convenience of users must be the highest priority.

New entrants likely will develop their businesses by borrowing tanks and pipelines owned by existing gas companies. Consideration should be given in the quickest possible manner to the creation of systems to allow easier entry, such as rules on pipeline usage charges and measures for more than one company to use such equipment in a fair manner.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 14, 2013)
(2013年9月14日01時36分  読売新聞)

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2013年9月14日 (土)




FX投資で一番大切なことは、特にFX初心者 の心得(こころえ)として、必ず信頼できるFX投資会社と契約するということにつきます。

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オリエントコンピュータ という会社なんですが、スキミング防止対策も得意らしいですね。


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北原産業の寒天 は本当においしいですね。

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ゼロ金利時代到来、生き残りは土地活用で 金太郎ホーム





金太郎カンパニー というのをみつけました。

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国家安保戦略 日本の将来へ包括的指針示せ

The Yomiuri Shimbun September 14, 2013
Comprehensive security strategy must be drawan up
国家安保戦略 日本の将来へ包括的指針示せ(9月13日付・読売社説)

It is imperative for this country to clearly designate the national interests and goals of its diplomatic and security policies for the medium- and long-term, and create a comprehensive set of policy guidelines for their realization.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has instructed relevant Cabinet members to draw up a national security strategy as the basis for the nation’s security policy. A panel of diplomacy and security policy experts met for the first time Thursday at the Prime Minister’s Office to discuss specifics of the envisioned strategy.

The government plans to submit a bill to create a Japanese version of the U.S. National Security Council to an extraordinary Diet session this autumn. The newly established body is scheduled to make its national security strategy public around the end of the year.

A new version of the Defense Program Guidelines, an outline of the nation’s long-term defense policy, which the government will also present at year’s end, will be compiled to translate the strategy into reality.

The government worked out the first Defense Program Guidelines in 1976, having revised the key security document three times so far.

The main purpose of the guidelines concerns the buildup of the nation’s defense capabilities. The envisaged comprehensive national security strategy encompassing diplomatic and economic issues as well as defense will be the first of its kind. Along with the planned NSC, a control tower to address national security tasks, the forthcoming national security strategy will surely be extremely significant.

The United States has been formulating its national defense strategy since 1987. The government of President George W. Bush, the predecessor of the administration of President Barack Obama, had a strategy of preemptive strikes against terrorism-sponsoring countries. However, the Obama administration follows a goal of international collaboration. Other countries, such as Britain, Russia, South Korea and Australia, have set similar strategies.

More ‘active’ pacifism

Given the rapidly deteriorating security environment surrounding Japan in recent years, this country should have drawn up its own national security strategy sooner.

China, aiming to become a major maritime power, has been ramping up its military, conducting menacing and provocative activities in the East China Sea and elsewhere. In addition to North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile development programs, the threat of terrorist activities and cyber-attacks have also increased.

To ensure the peace and prosperity of Japan and the Asian region, what goals should be set up and what approach should be taken to that end?

The chief cabinet secretary, foreign and defense ministers, other relevant Cabinet members and members of the expert panel are strongly urged to have deep discussions in crafting a national strategy.

Of high importance to the ministries and agencies involved will certainly be the ability to share priority tasks and awareness of problems among themselves, in a feasible manner to be reflected adequately in policies.

To be able to address the many security challenges facing this country, what must be tackled first is the bolstering of the Self-Defense Forces and the Japan Coast Guard’s capabilities to defend the integrity of Japan’s territory. Beefing up the SDF’s cooperation with U.S. forces to strengthen that bilateral alliance is also a must.

Based on Abe’s initiative for a more “active” pacifist stance, Japan should play more roles than it has so far for such causes as international peacekeeping operations and actions to fight pirate activities, by boosting cooperation with the international community. International cooperation on economic and energy issues should also be steadily consolidated.

These must be systematically incorporated into the planned national security strategy.

Making Japan’s goals and key policies as clear as as possible is vital, at it will ensure their transparency both at home and abroad.

By doing so, it will become possible to deepen public understanding of the national security strategy, while making it clear that the claim of Japan’s “drift to the right” is far off the mark. It will also differentiate Japan from China, which has been under criticism for the lack of transparency of its military.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 13, 2013)
(2013年9月13日01時52分  読売新聞)

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天理大柔道部 「暴力の連鎖」断つ意識改革を

The Yomiuri Shimbun September 14, 2013
Reform student awareness to end chain of judo violence
天理大柔道部 「暴力の連鎖」断つ意識改革を(9月13日付・読売社説)

It is appalling to see how deeply violence is seated in judo world.

We recognize this as we look at the violence that has been revealed within the judo club of Tenri University, which is known for its distinguished record in competition. The senior club members involved in the violence included former club captain Shohei Ono, who won a gold medal at the recent World Judo Championships in Rio de Janeiro. He was suspended from the university for slapping freshman members in the face.

Those involved in the violence must reflect seriously on their actions.

The All Japan Judo Federation, which has recently gotten a fresh start under the leadership of new President Shoji Muneoka, will hold a disciplinary committee meeting to study punitive measures against those involved and their supervisors.

How the federation deals with the scandal and what measures it takes to prevent the recurrence of vio-lence will prove a touchstone for the renewed organization with Muneoka at the helm.

From May to July, seniors of the university’s judo club committed acts of violence on junior members who drank water during practice, such as slapping their faces and kicking them. One freshman suffered a ruptured eardrum.

The incidents occurred as the federation was struggling to elimi-nate violence, as it was rocked by physical and verbal abuse involving the head coach of the women’s national judo team. This shows that a sense of urgency did not prevail among those at the forefront of the organization.

What was most outrageous was the response undertaken by the club’s then chief supervisor Shozo Fujii and Tenri University. Despite being fully aware of the spate of violence in July, Fujii assumed the di-rectorship of the judo federation the following month. Fujii and the university did not report the violence to the federation.

Cover-up disgusting act

Their manner of attempting to cover up the scandal was truly disgusting. Fujii resigned as the federation’s director this month after the scandal came to light.

The university’s perfunctory probe into the incident cannot be overlooked. The school merely conducted a one-day interview of only those club members who had been present at the scene of violence and suspended club activities indefinitely based on the interview results. The university is suspected of having tried to bring the inquiry to a close as soon as possible.

It is natural that the judo federation ordered the university to conduct a probe again after denouncing its investigation report as “sloppy.” Through interviews with most of the about 100 club members, it was revealed that the violence was inflicted by Ono and other senior members.

It was significant that in the case of Tenri University’s judo club, the violence was committed not by a coach but by students against other students.

Senior members give strict training to their juniors, and juniors respect them—this sound hierarchi-cal relationship seems fundamental to enhancing the sense of unity at any university club.

But the violence that the seniors committed, which forced the juniors into submission, must be denounced as an outrageous act. Those juniors who were victims of violence will go on to commit violence themselves when they become senior members. Reforming student awareness is necessary to bring the chain of violence to an end.

The issue of violence has come to light in university sport clubs as a whole, and is not solely limited to the judo club in question. All sports organizations must conduct thorough fact-finding surveys in a strenuous effort to stamp out violence.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 13, 2013)
(2013年9月13日01時51分  読売新聞)

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2013年9月13日 (金)

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コヴィア、タブレットを利用したクラウド型勤怠管理システム「CraReco(クラレコ)」を10月より提供開始。 (http://www.covia.jp/net/)


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福島の除染計画 「1ミリ・シーベルト」への拘りを捨てたい

The Yomiuri Shimbun September 13, 2013
Don’t stick to ‘1 millisievert’ in decontamination work
福島の除染計画 「1ミリ・シーベルト」への拘りを捨てたい(9月12日付・読売社説)

We want the government to advance its decontamination work in Fukushima Prefecture swiftly and efficiently, looking ahead to the early return of residents who are still forced to live as evacuees.

As decontamination work has not been going as planned in municipalities around the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co., the Environment Ministry has announced it will revise its decontamination program.

This is because the ministry cannot finish decontamination in seven out of 11 cities, towns and villages where decontamination has been conducted under its direct jurisdiction by the end of March next year, the date it initially scheduled to end the work. The ministry will formulate new programs for each of the seven municipalities within this year at the earliest.

Many owners of land lots that are subject to decontamination have evacuated to different areas, making it difficult to obtain their consent for the work. The ministry has also had trouble gaining residents’ understanding for the establishment of temporary storage sites for removed surface soil. As a result, the ministry does not have clear prospects for constructing interim facilities to store contaminated soil at temporary storage sites in an integrated manner.

Given these circumstances, reviewing the decontamination project is inevitable. The Environment Ministry must tenaciously explain the situation to residents to get their cooperation.

It is also vital to make the decontamination work more efficient. The ministry needs to employ cutting-edge equipment in such efforts as removing surface soil and cleaning road surfaces to speed up the process in general.

In its review of the decontamination project, the ministry has expanded the range of decontamination in forests, in response to residents who asked for a greater area to be cleaned. However, if the residents’ early return is taken into consideration, the decontamination of forests should be limited to areas where people live and surrounding areas.

If forests are decontaminated on a large scale, it will be quite difficult to determine when such work will end and costs will swell out of control. It will also be hard to secure places to store the huge amount of contaminated soil. Removing plants and trees over a wide area brings a danger of sediment disasters such as landslides.

Understanding numbers

Among the 11 municipalities, meanwhile, decontamination work has finished in Tamura. In Naraha, Okuma and Kawauchi, decontamination is expected to be finished within the current fiscal year, which runs through March next year. These municipalities are required to promote such steps as improving infrastructure aimed at rebuilding residents’ lives.

The government has set a maximum annual dose of 20 millisieverts as a guideline for realizing residents’ return to the 11 municipalities, based on a recommendation by the International Commission on Radiological Protection.

In keeping with this recommendation, the government’s policy is to lower the guideline over the long term to 1 millisievert or less a year. However, many residents are demanding the standard for returning be set at 1 millisievert or less immediately.

Human beings are exposed to radiation from outer space and the ground every day. A CT scan at a hospital may expose a person to about 8 millisieverts in one test. Also, experts point out that no causal relationship has been established between the development of cancer and accumulated doses of radiation of 100 millisieverts or less in a follow-up study on atomic bomb victims in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

It is important for the government to make people well aware of accurate information about radiation.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 12, 2013)
(2013年9月12日01時31分  読売新聞)

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アイフォーン ドコモ参入が招く競争新時代

The Yomiuri Shimbun September 13, 2013
Entry of NTT Docomo in iPhone sales brings in new era of competition
アイフォーン ドコモ参入が招く競争新時代(9月12日付・読売社説)

In a growing smartphone market, a new era of ever-intensifying competition has come.

Major domestic cell phone carriers will be urged to rethink their strategies, for instance, by lowering fees and improving service.

Apple Inc. said Tuesday that it will launch two new models of its popular iPhone in nine countries, including Japan, on Sept. 20. The U.S. firm also said NTT Docomo Inc. will begin selling iPhones in Japan for the first time.

Docomo has been locked in an uphill battle with its two rivals SoftBank Mobile Corp. and KDDI Corp., which already offer the iPhone, as Docomo has been unable to stem the outflow of subscribers switching to other carriers under the mobile phone portability system.

By finally launching the long-sought sale of iPhones and reaching parity with its two rivals in the handset lineup, Docomo is apparently trying to regain lost ground.

On the other hand, cooperation with Docomo, the leading mobile phone carrier, is significant for Apple, whose sales have become somewhat sluggish lately. Apple is also thought to be ready to allow China’s largest carrier to sell the iPhone, making clear its intention of expanding its customer base both in Japan and China.

Also noteworthy is Apple’s plan to start marketing two new models simultaneously: a high-end, multifeatured model with fingerprint authentication and a lower-priced model.

It can be seen as Apple’s strategy to catch up with South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co., the world leader in the smartphone market, by aiming to boost sales in emerging economies, which are expected to see rapid growth.

Apple’s iPhone, which made its debut in 2007, has led the popularity of smartphones with its novel design and innovative features.

Equal footing with rivals

The focal point in the days ahead will be how the three mobile phone carriers, including Docomo, will compete, as they will soon all sell the iPhone.

If they are unable to differentiate their product lineups, they will need to devise ways to meet customers’ needs by reducing the prices of handsets and service fees.

It is also important for them to expand telecommunication services, such as connectivity and speed, through technological development to make watching video easier, for instance.

Meanwhile, the iPhone sales by Docomo will be an adverse wind for Japanese mobile phone makers, which have fallen behind foreign rivals in the smartphone field and allowed them to penetrate the domestic market.

NEC Corp. will withdraw from the smartphone business, while Panasonic Corp. has lowered its smartphone sales targets. It is vital for domestic mobile phone makers to seriously assess their business potential.

In the smartphone market, there is already fierce competition underway to develop wearable cell phones, such as wristwatch phones and eyeglass phones.

Domestic cell phone makers are urged to tackle the development of attractive products by exploring new fields where they can make the best use of their technological strength.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 12, 2013)
(2013年9月12日01時31分  読売新聞)

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2013年9月12日 (木)

尖閣国有化1年 毅然たる態度を貫くしかない

The Yomiuri Shimbun September 12, 2013
Remain resolute on Senkakus in face of China’s provocations
尖閣国有化1年 毅然たる態度を貫くしかない(9月11日付・読売社説)

Japan should remain undaunt-ed by China’s persistent menacing conduct and adhere to its resolute stance in dealing with that country.

Wednesday marks one year since the government placed the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture under state control. On 63 days during the past year, Chinese government ships have entered Japanese waters around the group of islands. Chinese aircraft also have intruded into Japan’s airspace during that time.

On Sunday and Monday, two Chinese bombers and warships passed between Okinawa Island and Miyakojima—an island about 290 kilometers southwest of the former island. On Monday, an unmanned Chinese aircraft flew over waters off the Senkaku Islands, an incident that prompted an Air Self-Defense Force fighter to scramble. Such incidents could trigger an accidental conflict between the two countries.

One of the most important tasks facing Japan and China today is to rebuild bilateral relations. The two nations have close economic ties. They also need to promote cooperation in addressing such issues as North Korea’s nuclear weapons development and China’s environmental problems.

If the hostile situation facing Japan and China continues, it is bound to adversely affect both nations.

However, Tokyo cannot yield to Beijing over issues related to this nation’s sovereignty. The Senkaku Islands—which China calls Diaoyu and Taiwan Tiaoyutai—inherently belong to Japan from the standpoint of both international law and historical facts. Therefore, no territorial dispute exists between Japan and China over the islands. By the same token, there is no need to leave the Senkaku issue to gather dust on the shelf, either.

Given this, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had good reason to reject China’s offer to hold a Japan-China summit meeting “if [Tokyo] acknowledges there is a territorial dis-pute [over the Senkakus] and agrees to shelve the problem.”

Better policing needed

The government is currently stepping up efforts by the Japan Coast Guard to better police waters surrounding the Senkaku archipelago. It is essential that Japan continue to do all it can to defend its territorial integrity, including improving its defense capability.

The government’s recent signing of a fisheries agreement with Taiwan can be regarded as a certain measure of success in stopping Beijing and Taipei forming cooperative ties in dealing with the Senkaku issue. This is significant because Taipei also claims sovereignty over the Senkakus.

The Senkaku Islands are covered by the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, which serves as the greatest deterrence to China. The Japan-U.S. relationship was unstable when the then Democratic Party of Japan-led government placed the Senkakus under state control. However, immediately after taking office as prime minister, Abe made an appropriate decision to try to bring the shaky bilateral alliance back on track.

During talks in St. Petersburg last week, U.S. President Barack Obama urged Chinese leader Xi Jinping to resolve the Senkaku issue through diplomacy and dialogue rather than force. The U.S. president’s direct call for the top Chinese leader to exercise restraint in this respect is significant.

Japan and the United States must closely cooperate in dealing with China and refrain from making concessions to that country. By doing this, Beijing may be encouraged to change its strong-arm diplomatic tactics.

During a brief meeting with Abe in St. Petersburg, the Chinese president said he wanted to see progress in promoting what has been repeatedly called “strategically reciprocal relations” by the two countries’ top leaders in recent years. It was the first time the two leaders had spoken to each other.

What was the true motive behind the Chinese leader’s remark?

Xi’s administration has sought to stir nationalistic sentiment among the Chinese in trying to unite his people and gain popular support. This means he cannot adopt what his people may perceive as “a weak-kneed approach” in dealing with Japan. With this in mind, the Japanese government must be prepared to see China’s threatening and provocative conduct in waters around the Senkaku Islands continue for some time to come.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 11, 2013)
(2013年9月11日01時34分  読売新聞)

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GDP改定値 肝心なのは成長の持続力だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun September 12, 2013
Amid positive economic growth, sustained recovery still vital
GDP改定値 肝心なのは成長の持続力だ(9月11日付・読売社説)

The relatively high growth rate announced recently is indeed encouraging. However, concerns remain over the sustainability of the economic recovery. Overcoming deflation is still a work in progress.

The nation’s real gross domestic product growth for the April-June quarter was revised upward to an annualized 3.8 percent increase from last year, up from the preliminary figure of 2.6 percent.

The revision came because capital investment growth, which was negative at the time of the preliminary report, turned positive for the first time in six quarters. A greater rate of increase in public investment also contributed.

The GDP growth rate remained high, at about 4 percent, following 4.1 percent in the January-March quarter. It appears that Abenomics, the economic policy of the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, including the Bank of Japan’s quantitative and qualitative monetary-easing steps and the government’s emergency economic measures, has borne fruit.

Govt must stay vigilant

The GDP in the April-June quarter will be a key factor in Abe’s decision over whether to raise the consumption tax rate from 5 percent to 8 percent in spring.

Akira Amari, state minister for economic and fiscal policy, said “another positive factor has been added” for the consumption tax hike. However, the government must not let its guard down.

Capital investment rose, but only modestly. The current high economic growth is sustained by the government’s economic measures and other factors. But if they lose their effectiveness, the nation’s economy could lurch to a halt.

It is important to realize dynamic, private-sector led growth.

Abe will reportedly decide on Oct. 1 whether to raise the consumption tax rate. It remains unclear whether the nation’s economy has regained enough strength to endure the tax increase. We believe the government should place priority on conquering deflation and postpone the consumption tax hike in spring.

When the consumption tax rate was raised from 3 percent to 5 percent in 1997, the subsequent economic slowdown resulted in a significant drop in corporate and other tax revenues. Fiscal reconstruction is essential, but vigilance must be kept over a risk that the tax increase may have the opposite effect on the economy.

It is also important to keep an eye on the international situation. Clouds have started to gather over growth in emerging economies. Also, oil prices have risen due to heightened tensions over the Syria situation.

The reactivation of idled nuclear reactors has been delayed in Japan, and currently about 90 percent of electricity relies on thermal power generation. It is feared that electricity rates could further rise if prices of imported fuel surge.

Because of an increase in prices of imported raw materials, a growing number of food companies and other firms have raised the prices of their products. Consumer spending, which has been robust recently, is starting to run out of steam.

The “unfavorable price hikes,” mainly caused by rising costs, and a consumption tax hike, if combined, would deal a heavy blow to household finances. It is important to create a “virtuous cycle” in which household income increases along with price hikes.

Although the average wage of workers has turned around and increased, this is primarily due to an increase in bonuses and overtime pay. In fact, the basic salary has fallen for 14 months in a row. Efforts must be made quickly to drastically improve workers’ wages.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 11, 2013)
(2013年9月11日01時34分  読売新聞)

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株式会社ピアノプラザより鍵盤楽器、管楽器、弦楽器、その他楽器演奏の防音対策に防音室の商品情報と設置、送料無料キャンペーンのお知らせです。 株式会社ピアノプラザ

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2013年9月11日 (水)

再生エネ発電 買い取り制の不備を見直せ

The Yomiuri Shimbun September 10, 2013
Government should pull the plug on laggards in feed-in tariff system
再生エネ発電 買い取り制の不備を見直せ(9月8日付・読売社説)

Among business operators awarded licenses to generate electricity through solar power or other renewable energy sources and to sell it to power companies under the so-called feed-in tariff system, a surprisingly large number have yet to flick the “on” switch.

Do these operators, who obtained the right to sell electricity at high, fixed rates, intend to start generating electricity only after solar panel prices fall further? The cost of purchasing renewable energy from these operators will be added to electricity charges set by power utilities. Consumers will not accept that they will eventually have to bear this additional financial burden.

The government must firmly deal with this situation by, for instance, canceling licenses issued to operators who are needlessly delaying their generation of electricity.

The feed-in tariff system started in July 2012. According to the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry, renewable power-generating facilities approved by the end of May this year had a total capacity of 22.4 million kilowatts. However, these facilities were only generating about 3 million kilowatts.

Particularly conspicuous is the fact that more than 90 percent of mega solar plants, which account for the lion’s share of facilities approved under the system, have not yet started generating power.

Solar power generation should have the advantage of requiring less time to get from the planning stage to actual generation, compared with the time needed for wind power or geothermal power generation. Even after taking into account such circumstances as the supply shortage of solar panels and the difficulty some operators have in obtaining them, solar power projects have been lagging.

The purchase price for electricity generated by solar energy was lowered in April to about ¥38 per kilowatt-hour from the initially set ¥42. Nonetheless, it remains nearly double the rate for wind power.

Tighter screening needed

Shortly before this purchase price was lowered, there was a rush of applications to establish solar power generation facilities. Some applicants, in a bid to acquire a license to sell electricity at high rates, apparently submitted documents despite having no clear plan for acquiring land or purchasing equipment needed for their facility.

To reduce “fake applications” that are devoid of substance, the government should set the purchase price not at the time when the license is given, as is currently done, but at the time when power generation actually starts.

There are fears that even some of these shoddy projects could be approved under the present screening of application documents. We think it is essential to more strictly check applications by, for instance, making unannounced inspections of the construction sites and equipment suppliers.

The ministry has indicated it plans to inspect solar power generation projects that have been certified but whose construction has not yet started. There are reportedly some despicable cases in which licensed operators have sold their renewable energy generation projects to others as “rights.” We hope the ministry gets to the bottom of this matter.

Setting the purchase price of electricity generated by solar power too high in the first place has caused various problems.

Costs for installing solar panels have fallen by as much as 40 percent since 2009. To prevent electricity charges from soaring, the government needs to flexibly lower the purchase prices of renewable energy, in line with the costs for generating such energy.

Although expectations for renewable energy are high, the current feed-in tariff system is riddled with flaws. The system should be changed into a more reasonable one that gives greater consideration to the burdens it places on consumers.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 8, 2013)
(2013年9月8日01時49分  読売新聞)

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2020年東京五輪 復興と経済成長の起爆剤に

The Yomiuri Shimbun September 11, 2013
Tokyo Olympics sporting tonic to spur recovery, economic growth
2020年東京五輪 復興と経済成長の起爆剤に(9月10日付・読売社説)


We are delighted that the Olympic flame will be lit again in Tokyo.

Tokyo has been chosen to host the 2020 Summer Olympic Games and Paralympics after comfortably defeating Istanbul in the decisive vote at the International Olympic Committee’s general meeting in Buenos Aires.

Fifty-six years after it hosted the Olympics in 1964, Tokyo will be home to the sports extravaganza for a second time. Together with the Winter Games in Sapporo in 1972 and Nagano in 1998, the 2020 Games will be the fourth time Japan has hosted the Olympics.

Athletes from around the world will converge on Tokyo. The news that Tokyo has been selected to host the Games has probably given hope to many Japanese people. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he wants the Games to be “a spark to end deflation.”

All-out efforts got job done

Seven years remain before the Tokyo Olympics begin. The nation must make unbridled efforts to ensure the international sports event is a success.

Tokyo was said to be locked in a tight struggle with Istanbul and Madrid in the bidding race, but the final result was a solid victory by Tokyo.

Final presentations by Paralympic athlete Mami Sato and other speakers at the IOC general meeting were all excellent and brimming with enthusiasm.

Princess Hisako of Takamado expressed gratitude for the international support given after the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami disaster in 2011. Her remarks apparently struck a chord with IOC members who cast votes.

One factor behind Tokyo’s victory was the all-out campaigning made by the wide spectrum of sectors behind the bid. The political and business worlds offered their full support. The public support rate for hosting the Games was significantly higher than it was during the unsuccessful bid for the 2016 Olympics.

Ardent lobbying of IOC members by the Tokyo bidding committee, which consisted of Olympic medalists and others, also achieved the desired result.

Tokyo’s blueprint and vision for the Games were rated highly from the very beginning. The main event venues will be within an eight-kilometer radius of the Olympic Village to minimize travel times for athletes as much as possible. The plans give utmost consideration to the athletes.

In light of its high public safety, well-prepared transport networks and accommodation facilities, and stable financial backing including funds of ¥400 billion, some IOC members likely voted for Tokyo because they recognized the capi-tal’s excellent ability to host such a major event. Tokyo fared well in these aspects, compared with the two other candidate cities, which are fraught with such problems as political instability and a fiscal crisis.

A primary concern that threatened to derail Tokyo’s bid—and an issue widely reported overseas—was the leaks of contaminated water at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

On Friday, South Korea announced it would ban imports of marine products from Fukushima and seven other prefectures. This step, devoid of any scientific backing, is seen by some as an attempt by Seoul to tarnish Tokyo’s image.

Toxic leak issue festering

In response to a question by an IOC member, Abe said: “The impact [of the leak] has been completely blocked within the port facilities of the nuclear plant...In numerical terms, the level [of contaminants] monitored in waters off Fukushima Prefecture is one-500th of the standards set under the World Health Organization guidelines for drinking-water quality.”

By using hard facts that ruled out the possibility that contaminated water might have an adverse impact on the Olympics, Abe’s explanation helped dispel concerns held by some IOC members.

The government must steadily bring an end to these toxic water leaks.

The 1964 Tokyo Olympics showed the international com-munity that Japan was back on its feet after the end of World War II. In step with the holding of the Games, the Tokaido Shinkansen bullet train line went into operation between Tokyo and Osaka, and the Shuto Expressway network was built in the capital. Tokyo’s infrastructure was upgraded by leaps and bounds.

What legacy will the 2020 Olympics leave for future generations?

The expectations for the Games are massive. Abe even went as far as describing them as the “fourth arrow” of Abenomics, his economic policies comprising the “three arrows” of bold monetary easing, fiscal stimulus and a growth strategy.

The economic effects of the Games are estimated at ¥3 trillion, and 150,000 jobs will be created.

The Olympics will certainly generate a ripple effect that reaches various sectors, including the construction industry, which will build Games-related facilities, and tourism and real estate. The share prices of “Olympics-related” companies have shown signs of rising since the IOC’s decision.

We hope hosting the Games will reinvigorate not only Tokyo, but also areas affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake and the nation as a whole.

It is also necessary to steadily promote environmentally conscious construction projects, including the use of renewable energy to power facilities for major events and large greenery projects in the Tokyo Bay area.

As Tokyo prepares to hold the Paralympics, it is important to promote efforts to make the city barrier-free and easier to get around for people with disabilities.

Strategic athlete development

Excellent performances by Japanese athletes will be crucial for making the Games sizzle.

The leading athletes in seven years are more than likely now middle or high school students. An increasing number of children will undoubtedly put their heart into their favorite sports as they dream of participating in the Games in their home country.

The Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry and the Japanese Olympic Committee need to strategically development athletes, with the focus on today’s middle and high school students.

The program at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will feature 28 sports, including wrestling, whose return as an Olympic sport was decided Sunday.

We can hardly wait for the Games to start seven years from now.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 10, 2013)
(2013年9月10日01時22分  読売新聞)

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2013年9月10日 (火)

ブラック企業 若者の使い捨ては許されない

The Yomiuri Shimbun September 10, 2013
Exploitation of young workers should never be tolerated
ブラック企業 若者の使い捨ては許されない(9月8日付・読売社説)

Businesses referred to as “black companies”—firms that compel young employees to work under brutal conditions—have become a social problem.

The Health, Welfare and Labor Ministry has embarked on on-site investigations of about 4,000 companies, which have markedly high attrition rates and where unpaid overtime and nonpayment of regular wages are common occurrences.

The ministry says it will make public the names of firms whose labor practices are deemed especially vicious. It should solidly grasp the prevailing situation and resolutely exercise its leadership in issuing corrective instructions to black companies.

There is no clear-cut definition of a “black company,” but such firms generally give their workers little choice but to work excessively long hours and treat them inhumanly as if they are worthless. There are many cases in which superiors intimidate younger workers through verbal abuse.

In some cases, employees receive no overtime pay even though they work more than 100 hours of overtime per month. Some workers are criticized repeatedly after completing their normal shift, and forced to practice how to serve customers. One young male worker was so depressed he quit his job and had no choice but to support himself on welfare payments.

A situation in which a young worker who, under ordinary circumstances, would play a role in helping to support the nation’s social welfare system through payment of taxes and publicly run insurance premiums, conversely becomes a welfare recipient is a true loss for society.

Unscrupulous companies that profit by passing social welfare costs on to society should be criticized as irredeemably selfish.

The recent increase in black companies is the result of a stagnation of job offers due to the business slump, and the labor market becoming a buyer’s market for employers.

Relief steps urgent

These exploitative companies hire young workers en masse, assuming that most of them would be unable to endure the harsh working conditions and eventually quit.

After hiring young workers, some firms assign abnormally heavy work burdens on them, permitting only those who fulfill their quotas to continue on the payroll to “fight” for the companies.

Ordinary companies provide new recruits with in-house job training to help them become fully fledged members of the firms.

Judging from what they are doing, however, black companies have no intention of tapping the abilities of new recruits or enhancing their job skills.

To prevent young workers from being compelled to accept unreasonable treatment because of their weak positions vis-a-vis management, a mechanism should be established so young employees’ voices of protest against harsh working conditions can be heard.

The ministry, for that matter, plans to create a telephone counseling service for young employees. Some lawyers’ organizations as well as the ministry’s “Hello Work” job placement offices also plan to expand counseling services for young workers. These programs should be effective in functioning as “shelters” for exploited young workers.

A European Union regulation makes it obligatory for companies to have workers rest for 11 straight hours or more every 24 hours.

In Japan, the Labor Standards Law stipulates the upper ceilings of working hours, but under special labor-management agreements, employees can be forced to work as long as the companies want.

It is a key task for the government to establish a system to restrict excessive overtime similar to that of the EU.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 8, 2013)
(2013年9月8日01時46分  読売新聞)

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2013年9月 9日 (月)

香山リカのココロの万華鏡:FBの書き込みに嫉妬 /東京

September 01, 2013(Mainichi Japan)
Kaleidoscope of the Heart: Jealousy on Facebook
香山リカのココロの万華鏡:FBの書き込みに嫉妬 /東京

A new University of Michigan study on Facebook users has shown an interesting result. According to the research, the longer people spend on Facebook, the sadder and less satisfied they feel.

Since only 82 Facebook users were studied for two weeks, some people may think it's difficult to conclude that the social site makes us depressed, but I suspect quite a lot of people went, "Just as I thought!" and are convinced by the research finding. Meanwhile, separate research has found that the most common feeling among Facebook users is "jealousy."
 研究対象となったユーザーは82人、調査期間も2週間なので「これだけで結論づけるのは難しい」と思う人もいるかもしれないが、「やっぱり! 私も交流サイトを見ると何だか落ち込んでしまう」と感じた人も少なくないのではないだろうか。また、別の研究者たちは「FBを利用することによって生じる最も一般的な感情は、嫉妬である」という調査結果を発表している。

Many Facebook users choose pictures and stories as cheerful as possible to post on the Internet. They think that viewers would surely prefer posts with pictures of a nice dinner at a restaurant than reading a post where one whines about work. Thinking like this, users feel like they have to post better stories than the previous post and nicer looking meals than other people. Gradually, posting on social media sites becomes a competition with other users and even against one's own previous posts.

This may be the reason why we don't just envy someone when they say something like, "I spent a relaxing time at my vacation house in Hawaii" on social media, but we feel like we lost in a competition.

This online service, which is supposed to let people connect with others and share their lives as well as interests, has become a source of frustration and ruined relationships.

I am reminded everyday when I'm at my clinic that comparing oneself to others is really pointless. Everyone has their own problems, but they usually hide them inside. We see only the surface of others and feel like we're not leading a life as full or rich compared to them.

Of course, I know that we can't always feel happy for someone when they talk about their fantastic trip when we feel tired, or express delight over their expensive dinner when we're having financial problems. However, we shouldn't feel, "Why am I the only unhappy person?"

When you feel like you don't have energy to go online and engage in social media, have the courage to stay away from such sites for a while. Messages and photos on social media neither show all about the people who posted them nor are they tools you use to compare yourselves with others.

(By Rika Kayama, psychiatrist)
毎日新聞 2013年08月27日 地方版

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香山リカのココロの万華鏡:心の嵐、年とともに治まる /東京


September 08, 2013(Mainichi Japan)
Kaleidoscope of the Heart: Storms of instability calm with age
香山リカのココロの万華鏡:心の嵐、年とともに治まる /東京

Singer Keiko Fuji, a face of the Showa era and the mother of singer Hikaru Utada, recently took her own life. Based on comments released by her family, it appears that she had long suffered from a mental illness involving extreme emotional shifts.

The singer displayed dizzying swings, yet there was a time when she was cheerful and was able to perform stably as a singer. The name of her illness was not given, but judging from these traits, it's possible that she had a personality disorder -- a malady marked by a lack of stability.

A significant number of people suffer from frequent waves of emotion due to illnesses such as borderline personality disorders, while their families are left at their mercy. The recent turn of events no doubt shocked them.

But not everybody faces endless instability and a tragic ending. Recently I had the opportunity to sit in on a lecture by psychiatrist Kenichiro Okano at a meeting of a certain academic society. Okano introduced a U.S. study which found that 70 percent of patients who were diagnosed as having a borderline personality disorder didn't meet the requirements to be diagnosed with that disorder six years down the track. He surmised, "It's possible that the conventional perceptions of personality disorders being hard to treat and continuing for life are wrong."

In his own experience, Okano found that traits such as aggressiveness and impulsiveness would settle as patients got older. Conversely, loneliness and other such feelings sometimes continued for a long time. Unstable personalities tend to "wither" with age -- something that goes for ordinary people, too.

Personally, I've found that when people who are highly creative have unstable personalities like those symbolic of "borderline" disorders, the speed of the withering process ironically slows down. One artist in their 60s, who continued to paint pictures with vivid colors, would curse other family members and go out on the town at night, just like someone going through puberty.

However -- and this is a fortunate thing -- many people don't have that much energy, and when instability comes, they somehow make it through without shouting at other people or running amok. Even if a feeling of loneliness lingers in someone's heart, they should be able to fit in with the people around them.

I want people who are now struggling with a storm of instability inside to tell themselves: "This storm will certainly pass with age."

It's heartbreaking that that didn't happen for Keiko Fuji. I want to pray that we can at least listen to her music, and by doing so, soothe her soul.

(By Rika Kayama, psychiatrist)
毎日新聞 2013年09月03日 地方版

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2013年9月 8日 (日)



名刺印刷 は印刷業者を比較してから、賢い選択をいたしましょう。

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金太郎ホーム は坪あたり最低26.8万円からのローコストでマンション施工をしてくれます。

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リーマン5年 新たなリスクに問われる結束

The Yomiuri Shimbun September 8, 2013
G-20 unity needed to tackle new economic challenges
リーマン5年 新たなリスクに問われる結束(9月7日付・読売社説)

The worst is in the past for the world economy, but the recovery lacks vigor. Industrialized and newly emerging economies alike must strengthen cooperation to make economic growth compatible with fiscal reconstruction.

The declaration adopted after the G-20 Leaders’ Summit in Russia stated, “Strengthening growth and creating jobs is our top priority and we are fully committed to taking decisive actions to return to a job-rich, strong, sustainable and balanced growth path.”

It has been almost exactly five years since the so-called Lehman Shock, triggered by the bankruptcy of major U.S. securities house Lehman Brothers, brought the world to the brink of depression.

At the G-20 summit held in November 2008 in the immediate aftermath of the Lehman Shock, Japan, the United States and Europe joined hands with China and other emerging economies and agreed to take all possible measures, such as large-scale stimulus programs and ultraloose monetary policy, to overcome the unprecedented shock.

Now, however, the G-20 is suffering the aftereffects of those exceptional measures. It should be assumed that difficulties will continue.

Attention will be focused for the moment on the U.S. Federal Reserve Board, which is expected to soon launch an “exit strategy” of scaling back quantitative monetary easing.

Investment funds have begun to flow back from emerging economies, including Brazil and India, into the U.S. market in anticipation of hikes in U.S. interest rates.

Inflationary trends have appeared in emerging economies, as their currencies have been rapidly weakening, which causes import prices to rise. Discontent has mounted due to the continued business slowdown. It is feared that deterioration of the business climate in emerging economies will adversely affect industrialized countries.

Ripple effects feared

The latest G-20 declaration stated that member nations would take note of negative knock-on effects. Behind this could be their stronger caution toward risks and consideration to emerging economies.

To prevent the world market from falling into chaos, countries must cooperate with each other and pay attention to excessive fund movements.

The European financial crisis, which became more serious following the Lehman Shock, has begun to show signs of coming to a close. But a full-scale recovery is far from expected yet, and close watch still must be kept.

Ballooning of fiscal deficits in the G-20 nations is another challenge to tackle. It is natural that the Leaders’ Declaration and the Action Plan emphasized the need to achieve economic growth and fiscal soundness in a balanced manner.

Attention was focused on Japan, which has the biggest fiscal deficit.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stressed his determination to end deflation and revitalize the Japanese economy by implementing his Abenomics economic policies and explained about the country’s medium-term fiscal program.

Other G-20 nations did not make any special requests of Japan, but the country is being tested as to whether it can put words into action.

Abe will decide in early October whether to raise the consumption tax next spring as scheduled. Japan’s economic revival is largely expected to stimulate the global economy. He is urged to make a judgment while also taking into account the recently intensified Syrian situation.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 7, 2013)
(2013年9月7日02時02分  読売新聞)

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G20シリア問題 攻撃巡る米露対立が際立った

The Yomiuri Shimbun September 8, 2013
U.S.-Russia differences over Syria overshadow G-20 summit meeting
G20シリア問題 攻撃巡る米露対立が際立った(9月7日付・読売社説)

If no military action is taken against Syria, the use of chemical weapons against people—a grave crime—will go unaddressed. However, carrying out military strikes could make the Syrian situation even more chaotic.

During a summit meeting of the Group of 20 developed and developing economies in St. Petersburg, the United States and Russia, which have expressed conflicting views over a possible response to Syria’s use of chemical weapons, tried various ways to obtain backing for their stances from other countries.

U.S. President Barack Obama, who has expressed his determination to carry out limited military strikes against the administration of Syrian President Bashar Assad, called the use of chemical weapons “a tragedy” and a violation of international law.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who acts as Syria’s protector, countered that there is no evidence that Damascus used chemical weapons.

The use of chemical arms is clearly unacceptable on humanitarian grounds. Syria’s civil war has taken more than 100,000 lives, and Assad bears the blame for worsening the strife. The international community should not idly stand by.

However, Obama has struggled to expand support for his position. France is the only major country that has backed a military response to Syria’s behavior. A joint statement adopted by G-20 leaders did not refer to Syria, and even the prospects of a resolution by the U.S. Congress to authorize the strikes remain uncertain.

Concerns over extremists

This is probably due to the uncertainty about future developments in Syria if military action is taken. A limited military operation could punish Syria for the use of chemical weapons, but it is unlikely to deal a significant blow to the Assad regime. Some are concerned that the military intervention could destabilize the country further if Assad and his loyalists fight back.

The goal of ousting Assad, which Japan, the United States and European countries have sought, is nowhere in sight. As rebels fighting the Assad government remain divided, anti-U.S. Islamist extremists could increase their influence amid the confusion.

How should the international community deal with Syria to solve the problem? The United States has been urged to implement a comprehensive strategy based on both political and military perspectives.

Russia and China have used their vetoes to block U.N. Security Council resolutions condemning the Assad government. But in the meantime, the countries have failed to propose effective measures to end the Syrian civil war. They should fulfill their international responsibility.

On the sidelines of the G-20 summit, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held a meeting with Obama, during which Abe reportedly said, “The use of chemical weapons is far from acceptable.” Abe also told Obama he fully understands the U.S. president’s position on the Syria issue.

Abe’s stance that he would not overlook the use of weapons of mass destruction stands to reason.

Japan faces a threat of nuclear and chemical weapons possessed by North Korea, which has military ties with Syria. A failure by the international community to warn the Assad government against using chemical weapons again could send the wrong message to Pyongyang.

It is vital for Japan to work together with the United States, its only major security ally, and assess changes in the Syrian situation.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 7, 2013)
(2013年9月7日02時02分  読売新聞)

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秘密保護法案 報道の自由への配慮が必要だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun September 7, 2013
Govt info protection legislation must not hamper media freedom
秘密保護法案 報道の自由への配慮が必要だ(9月6日付・読売社説)

If the nation’s management of highly confidential national security information is sloppy, the country will lose the confidence of its allies and face difficulty sharing information with them.

It is important to forge a new legal framework for information protection.

The government has announced the outline of a bill legislating the protection of government “special secrets” that is scheduled to be submitted to an extraordinary Diet session this autumn.

The planned bill, if passed, will designate national security-related secrets requiring an especially high level of confidentiality as special secrets. The proposed bill stipulates harsh punishment, including imprisonment of up to 10 years, for officials found to have leaked such secrets. The officials subject to the law will include certain government officials and politicians in the three highest ministerial ranks—minister, senior vice minister and parliamentary secretary.

The administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe considers the legislation indispensable to establish an institution similar to the U.S. National Security Council.

The planned Japanese version of the NSC is supposed to act as a control tower in running the nation’s diplomatic and security policies. It will be in charge of managing key information from relevant ministries and agencies in an integrated manner, while receiving confidential information related to terrorism and military affairs from such countries as the United States.

Military threats from North Korea, which has been pushing ahead with nuclear weapons development programs, and China’s rapid arms buildup have become increasingly alarming.

To ensure Japan’s peace and security under such circumstances, it is of vital significance to beef up the nation’s information protection, while boosting exchanges of information with such allies as the United States.

According to the bill’s outline, the concept of “special secrets” will comprise information relevant to four fields: national defense, diplomacy, prevention of spying activities and prevention of terrorist activities. Relevant members of the Cabinet will designate special secrets.

Fears of restrictions

A special secret designation will remain for a maximum of five years. Designation renewal will be possible, but will be lifted when deemed unnecessary, according to the outline. The proposed information protection can be considered reasonable to guarantee strict and adequate control of sensitive information.

Under the planned law, central government officials, officers of prefectural police headquarters and employees of private-sector businesses under contract with government ministries and agencies will be subject to background checks if and when handling special secrets. These checks will cover such things as overseas travel history and drinking habits. Such “aptitude evaluation” of people handling special secrets will be necessary to alleviate the risk of information leaks.

The punishment of up to 10 years in prison for leaking of special secrets is considerably tougher than the maximum one-year sentence for central government officials and the maximum five-year sentence for members of the Self-Defense Forces who leak classified data.

What is feared in connection with the government-proposed legislation is whether the heavy penalties against divulging secrets might lead to restrictions on the freedom of the media. There could be such adverse impacts as making government officials, out of fear of possible punishment, hesitant to extend cooperation to news coverage.

In addition, anybody who attempts to get government employees to leak information to obtain special secrets will also penalized under the planned legislation.

The government has explained that there would be “no problems concerning the reasonable freedom of the media.” Depending on how the planned law will actually be put into practice, however, there can be no denying that there could arise the possibility of even ordinary news gathering efforts leading to punishment for legitimate and earnest attempts to gather information from government officials.

Should the freedom of the media fail to be secured, the public’s right to information could not be protected.

The government says a stipulation will be incorporated into the bill to the effect that the people’s fundamental rights “shall not be infringed upon unreasonably.” We wonder, however, if such a stipulation is sufficient.

Further, in-depth studies should be made in the process of making preparations for the legislation.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 6, 2013)
(2013年9月6日01時33分  読売新聞)

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2013年9月 7日 (土)

高校無償化 所得制限を有効に活用したい

The Yomiuri Shimbun September 7, 2013
Income limit for free high school education must be used effectively
高校無償化 所得制限を有効に活用したい(9月6日付・読売社説)

It is vital to enrich educational support measures by using limited fiscal resources effectively.

The Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner New Komeito have agreed to set an annual income limit for a tuition-free program for high school education. They aim to revise related laws during an extraordinary Diet session in autumn to introduce the income ceiling next spring.

The tuition-free program was introduced in fiscal 2010 as a centerpiece of the Democratic Party of Japan-led administration. It was strongly criticized as a handout because it was designed to cover all households, including wealthy families.

The planned revision is aimed at saving fiscal resources to provide greater assistance to low-income households by setting an income limit on families eligible for the program. It is not desirable for a gap to occur in learning environments as a result of household finances. The move toward revision is understandable.

Under the accord reached by the LDP and Komeito, households with a pretax annual income of at least ¥9.1 million will not be eligible for the tuition-free program. This accounts for 22 percent of all households. According to an estimate by the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry, this will save about ¥49 billion out of ¥395 billion in operational costs.

Aid to low-income families

One expected support measure is the establishment of a scholarship for households with an annual income of less than ¥2.5 million.

High school education requires various costs on top of tuition fees, including textbooks and other school supplies. If scholarships to cover these costs can be established, it will help lessen the financial burdens on needy households.

Assistance to families with children in private schools is also being considered. The measure is aimed at shrinking the gap in tuition fees between private and public high schools, with the former currently about three times the latter.

The current system provides ¥118,800, equivalent to the annual tuition for a public high school, as assistance for students in private high schools. Additional financial aid is given to students from families with an annual income of less than ¥3.5 million.

The upcoming revision calls for increasing this additional assistance and expanding its scope to middle-income households with an annual income of less than ¥5.9 million.

However, the nation’s finances are in dire straits, and it is proper to avoid spending more than necessary. Further discussions must be held on the size and scope of additional assistance measures.

In introducing the income limit, it is necessary for prefectural governments and others to ascertain the annual income of each household and collect tuition from high-income households. The clerical system to process this must also be improved.

More than 98 percent of middle school graduates go on to high school, but experts have noted a decline in the number of hours high school students study and in their motivation to learn.

The scholastic ability of high school students must be raised as a whole while providing financial assistance to low-income households. The government and ruling parties must also work to enhance the quality of high school education.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 6, 2013)
(2013年9月6日01時33分  読売新聞)

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2013年9月 6日 (金)

婚外子相続差別 家族観の変化に沿う違憲判断

The Yomiuri Shimbun September 6, 2013
Top court prioritizes protection of children born out of wedlock
婚外子相続差別 家族観の変化に沿う違憲判断(9月5日付・読売社説)

The latest decision by the Supreme Court is a historic judgement of unconstitutionality that took changes in Japanese family values into consideration.

The top court’s Grand Bench reached the decision Wednesday, finding that a provision in the Civil Code stipulating that the inheritance share for a child born to unmarried parents shall be one half of that of a child born in wedlock violates the Constitution, which guarantees “equality under law.”

The decision said that reasonable grounds to make such a distinction have been lost.

In 1995 the Supreme Court judged the same Civil Code provision to be constitutional. We think the top court reversed the decision because it seriously considered changes in circumstances surrounding children born out-side of marriage.

According to the decision, the Supreme Court listed conditions to be taken into consideration, including national traditions, social circumstances and public sentiment, in deciding the nation’s inheritance system. On that basis, the Grand Bench said these conditions change with the times, so the rationality of the system should be constantly reviewed.

What the Supreme Court said is quite natural if we consider the point that the Civil Code is a law closely connected to the daily lives of the people.

In recent years, the number of children born out of wedlock has been increasing. The term “shinguru maza” (single mother) has taken root in society. So-called de facto marriages are not uncommon now and the social view to perceive children born out of wedlock as different has probably withered considerably.

In residence certificate and family register notations describing relationships to the head of the household or parents, the distinction of a child born out of wedlock has already been abolished.

In major Western countries such as the United States and Europe, the abolition of inequalities in inheri-tance has progressed considerably. Japan is the only major advanced nation that still has discriminatory regulation.

The Supreme Court’s unconstitutionality judgment was made in line with the current international legal climate.

Equality for all children

The distinguishing point of the latest decision is that it strongly reflects the belief that protection of the rights of children born out of wedlock should be considered a top priority.

A Cabinet Office opinion poll taken last year revealed that 61 percent of Japanese think children born out of wedlock should not be treated disadvantageously under the law.

The Supreme Court said in the judgment that children born out of wedlock should not be at a disadvantage as a result of their parents not being married, a situation the children had no control over. We think many people will accept the decision without dis-comfort.

The provision of inheritance inequalities was made during the Meiji period and passed down to the current Civil Code, which was revised after World War II. The underlying reason was the traditional view attaching great importance to statutory marriages.

It is undeniable that the provision to set the share in inheritance of children born out of wedlock at one half of that of children born in wedlock has consequently helped to create a discriminatory environment for children born out of wedlock.

Given the Supreme Court’s decision, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said, “It’s a matter of course to make legal arrangements.” The government plans to submit a bill to revise the Civil Code to an extraordinary Diet session at the earliest.

We urge that the law should be swiftly revised.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 5, 2013)
(2013年9月5日01時32分  読売新聞)

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民主参院選総括 解党的出直しもいばらの道だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun September 6, 2013
DPJ must tread thorny path to get party back on its feet
民主参院選総括 解党的出直しもいばらの道だ(9月5日付・読売社説)

Can the Democratic Party of Japan start over from scratch based on such a lax reflection on its defeat in the latest national election? It will face a thorny path in putting the party back on its feet.

The DPJ recently held a general meeting of the party’s Diet members to reflect on its crushing defeat in the House of Councillors election. Banri Kaieda, the party president, made clear his determination to take the lead in revitalizing the party. The new party leadership, including Secretary General Akihiro Ohata, was also approved at the meeting.

Yet it is highly doubtful that the party can regain its strength under the guidance of Kaieda, who has not taken responsibility for the party’s defeat in the July election and lacks leadership.

In the document in which the party leadership summed up the result of the upper house election, the DPJ said it had become “a party rejected” by the people, and stressed the need “to start over from scratch.”

The public’s distrust and its desire to punish the party for its poor management of the administration still run deep, even after the DPJ fell from power late last year. The self-assessment of being a rejected party is late but accurate.

The summary also said the party’s assertions on such issues as social security, the consumption tax, nuclear power generation and the Constitution must have been “hard [for voters] to understand.” It stated that “both the party leader and the secretary general lacked the ability to convey their messages” to respond to criticism of the party.

This line of logic, however, appears to be reasoning used to evade the party’s responsibility by saying there was nothing wrong with its policies themselves but that the party failed to make voters understand the policies.

Voters rejected policy content

But what the voters reject is not the fact that the policies are hard to understand, or the leaders’ lack of ability to transmit their ideas, but the content of the policies and the party’s lack of unity.

For instance, the creation of a system to guarantee minimum pension benefits, as the party advocates, requires sizable funding and is not feasible. While touting the idea of reducing the number of operating nuclear power plants to zero by the 2030s, the party has failed to present any steps to secure alternative sources of energy, and thus lacks the solution to a possible power shortage.

The party will reportedly proceed by having all its Diet members thoroughly discuss such issues as social security and economic policies. Yet unless the party first openly admits its policy errors and hammers out a new course of action, it will be difficult to regain the voters’ trust.

As the first step, the party must reverse its departure from talks with the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito on implementing the integrated reform of the social security and tax systems that was agreed upon under the DPJ-led administration.

It has a duty as a responsible political party to compile a realistic social security reform plan and return to the three-party talks.

Regarding such issues as the Constitution and national security policy, the DPJ has put off any substantial discussion and reached only ambiguous conclusions on the issues, due chiefly to diverse opinions among party members. Unless the DPJ overcomes intraparty conflict and uni-fies its opinions on these issues, it will not be able to foster a sense of togetherness within the party.

As of the end of May, there were just over 210,000 DPJ party members and supporters, marking a decline of more than 30 percent from a year earlier. The decline in the party’s strength shows no signs of having reached bottom.

Unless the DPJ acknowledges the current situation seriously, reworks its policies and changes its entire character, it will cease to be one of the two major parties and a rival to the ruling LDP.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 5, 2013)
(2013年9月5日01時32分  読売新聞)

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2013年9月 5日 (木)

福島原発汚染水 政府の責任で着実に収束を

The Yomiuri Shimbun September 5, 2013
Govt entities face serious work cleaning up Fukushima nuclear mess
福島原発汚染水 政府の責任で着実に収束を(9月4日付・読売社説)

The government’s nuclear disaster headquarters has put together a set of fundamental plans for stopping contaminated water leaks at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

TEPCO’s own response to the problem has been too late, as indicated by the fact that radiation-contaminated water leaks still continue at one of the storage tanks at the crippled facility. The government’s decision to directly combat the problem, though itself belated, is a proper course to take.

It will cost the government about ¥47 billion to tackle the problem. The government is set to appropriate ¥21 billion from a discretionary reserve fund in the current fiscal budget for the time being, hoping to quickly carry out the project to halt tainted water leaks from the tank in question. The government has no choice but to carry out the project at its own expense, given TEPCO’s dire financial circumstances.

A major facet of the basic plan is the creation of what can be called an underground dam at the nuclear facility. As circumstances stand now, about 400 tons of radiation-tainted water is generated every day, due to underground water flowing into wrecked reactor buildings at the nuclear compound. The project will seek to cool the soil around the reactor buildings to create frozen soil walls underground, thus stopping the flow of groundwater into these buildings.

Another part of the plan is pumping up underground water before it reaches the reactor buildings and then releasing the water into the sea after confirming its safety.

All these plans must be steadily carried out.

Another important task is to store contaminated water in tanks in a safer manner. To achieve this, it is indispensable to start operations of a purifier that is being developed by TEPCO. Purifying tainted water in the storage tanks means success in greatly reducing the risks involved in the storage of such water. It is also important to install more contaminated water disposal apparatuses at the facility, a task that is also part of the basic plans.

Other essential tasks are to implement such measures as increasing the strength of the storage tanks and conducting soil improvement work at the facility. Efforts to better deal with contaminated water must be redoubled.

Tasks should be divided

Making progress in carrying out the project requires all government bodies—and not only the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry—to join hands in the endeavor. For instance, the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry should play an active role in tackling the water and soil contamination problem. Meanwhile, large-scale civil engineering projects related to the fundamental plans should be proactively undertaken by the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry and other relevant government entities.

An essential task facing members of a ministerial meeting to be set up in connection with the basic plan is to clearly define what role each ministry and agency should play.

The latest contaminated water leak problem has stirred concern among local residents and others due to a lack of information about the problem. Radioactive substances have been detected only in a harbor adjacent to the nuclear power plant. No contamination has been confirmed in waters outside the harbor. Radiation from the tainted water leaks is largely beta radiation, which is easily defended against.

Through officials such as the foreign minister and the reconstruction minister, both members of the ministerial meeting, the government must swiftly release appropriate information to both the public and the international community.

Questions must be raised about the stance adopted by the Nuclear Regulation Authority in connection with the tainted water problem. The NRA has distanced itself from the government’s efforts in this respect, citing its status as an entity highly independent from the government.

The commission was unaware of what method TEPCO had used to inspect the storage tanks. The NRA did not realize the power utility’s inspection method was slipshod until the tainted water leaks problem had worsened to an urgent level. In developing a new purifier, TEPCO also demanded that overly strict standards be met regarding materials to be used in building the system. This has only caused delay in starting operations of the new purifying apparatus.

We hope the nuclear regulatory authorities will realize their crucial role is to ensure the safety of nuclear power generation. With this in mind, the NRA should do all it can to deal with the ongoing problem.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 4, 2013)
(2013年9月4日01時36分  読売新聞)

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概算要求 財政規律の緩みにメス入れよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun September 5, 2013
With debt over ¥1 quadrillion, govt must tighten fiscal discipline
概算要求 財政規律の緩みにメス入れよ(9月4日付・読売社説)

The government’s fiscal discipline is far too lax considering that the country’s outstanding debt exceeds ¥1 quadrillion.

The Finance Ministry must strictly assess the budget appropriation requests submitted by other ministries, including the Cabinet Office, and cull any spending deemed neither essential nor urgent.

Total budget requests for fiscal 2014 are expected to reach a record ¥99.2 trillion, far larger than the initial budget of about ¥92.6 trillion for the current fiscal year.

The primary reason for the expected expansion in budget requests is the government’s failure to place ceilings on expenditures because it has been unable to come up with tax revenue projections, as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has yet to decide whether the consumption tax rate should be raised next spring.

The government earlier set a policy of reducing by 10 percent the allocations for discretionary spending, such as for public works projects.

However, the government established what it called a “priority framework for a new Japan.” This allowed the ministries to submit requests, separately from ordinary budget requests, for public works spending in such areas as growth strategy and disaster management. This has turned out to be a loophole.

Under the circumstances—and with the backing of the ruling parties—the ministries have increased their requests by a large margin.

Symbolic of this is that the ministries hurriedly put in requests totaling about ¥3.5 trillion, the framework’s upper limit.

Yet it is doubtful whether these requests are in line with the framework, as many concern conventional public works such as road construction and farmland improvement.

Also, several ministries and agencies made separate requests that appear similar, such as the promotion of the use of so-called big data.

Use funds wisely

It is problematic that public works spending requests, when added to requests under the priority framework, have increased significantly.

Public works spending requested by the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry totals ¥5.2 trillion, up about 17 percent from the fiscal 2013 initial budget. The ministry included requests for the construction of roads and dams and for extending Shinkansen lines, under the overall theme of “promoting projects to enhance national land resilience.”

The Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry has increased its requests for public works projects by about 19 percent to ¥770 billion, due to an increase in spending on land improvement projects, which was reduced markedly under the previous government led by the Democratic Party of Japan.

Measures to deal with decrepit infrastructure and the rejuvenation of the farming sector are important. But the government should not allocate large sums of money for road construction or to subsidize the farming sector, both of which are not considered essential.

The government must rack its brains to ensure effective use of a limited amount of funds and employ the principle of “selection and concentration” in implementing projects.

If the ministries merely inflated their budgetary requests in anticipation of tax revenue increases following the economic recovery and the consumption tax hike, they are completely devoid of a sense of crisis regarding the deterioration of the nation’s fiscal situation.

Even if the consumption tax hike is implemented as planned, the expected increase in tax revenue is principally intended to finance ballooning social security programs, leaving no room for the government to throw money around.

If the government fails to compile a carefully thought out budget, the government’s efforts to achieve fiscal reconstruction will be more difficult.

The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry’s budget request is an estimated record ¥31 trillion, sending the social security budget spiraling upward. The government must waste no time in wielding the ax to slash some of the highest expenditures in this request.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 4, 2013)
(2013年9月4日01時39分  読売新聞)

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2013年9月 4日 (水)

クロマグロ規制 資源回復へ主体的に取り組め

The Yomiuri Shimbun September 4, 2013
Time for Japan to step up and lead recovery of bluefin stocks
クロマグロ規制 資源回復へ主体的に取り組め(9月3日付・読売社説)

Stocks of bluefin tuna, a fish highly prized as sushi and sashimi, have been declining.

Being the world’s largest consumer of this tuna, Japan must be deeply involved in efforts to replenish their stocks.

An international conference of a subcommittee of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission started Monday in Fukuoka. The conference, held to discuss fishing controls on bluefin tuna, is being attended by representatives from eight countries, including the United States and South Korea, as well as Taiwan.

The breeding stock of tuna in the Pacific, which was estimated at 130,000 tons around 1960, dropped to 23,000 tons as of 2010. The commission last month compiled a report that warned this figure could fall below 18,000 tons in the near future.

About 40,000 tons of bluefin tuna, also known in Japan as hon maguro, is supplied annually to the Japanese market from around the world, including the Pacific. Japan consumes 80 percent of the world’s yearly catch of the species, so it is indeed heavily responsible for managing its stocks.

In 2010, the commission decided on fishing controls for young tuna aged up to 3 years old, and cut the catch to below the levels logged from 2002 to 2004. The focus of the ongoing conference is whether this restriction should be tightened further.

The primary reason for the declining stocks is said to be the overfishing of young tuna that have yet to breed. More than 90 percent of bluefin tuna caught in the Pacific Ocean are young fish.

Not in tune on tuna

On the opening day of the conference, Japan proposed that the catch of young tuna be reduced by more than 15 percent from the mean value for the 2002-04 period. The United States, however, called for a 25 percent cut, leaving a wide gap in the two countries’ positions.

Other fishing countries such as South Korea oppose an across-the-board fishing limit. Negotiations are likely to face tough going until Thursday, the final day of the conference.

If tuna fishing restrictions go too far, the overall supply will drop and the market price will soar. This would make it quite difficult for ordinary people to afford bluefin tuna.

Japan must make a clear position, based on objective data, concerning a catch that is appropriate for keeping tuna stocks stable, and lead discussions at the conference.

At the 2010 meeting of the signatory states of the Washington Convention, an agreement that restricts cross-border trade in species threatened with extinction, a trade ban in bluefin tuna from the Atlantic Ocean was proposed. The proposal was turned down following objections from fishing countries.

Japan should remain vigilant in the future against possible calls from other nations seeking stricter measures, including a trade ban, for bluefin tuna from the Pacific Ocean.

To avoid such a situation, Japan must take the lead in drawing up effective steps to preserve tuna resources. We also hope the government boosts its cooperation with other nations to crack down on violators of current regulations.

It is also important to increase the supply of farmed tuna. However, the conventional method of culturing young tuna caught in the wild in a growing pen may only end up reducing their stocks.

Both the public and private sectors need to expedite their joint efforts in developing technology to expand the scale of “comprehensive culturing,” in which tuna eggs are artificially hatched and raised until they become adult fish.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 3, 2013)
(2013年9月3日01時16分  読売新聞)

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シリア攻撃決断 米は十分な情報開示と説明を

The Yomiuri Shimbun September 4, 2013
U.S. must disclose adequate info to obtain approval on Syria attack
シリア攻撃決断 米は十分な情報開示と説明を(9月3日付・読売社説)

U.S. President Barack Obama has decided to take military action against Syria, as he is firmly determined not to let the use of chemical weapons go unchallenged.

In a statement, Obama harshly criticized the Syrian government of President Bashar Assad for allegedly launching a chemical weapons attack that killed hundreds of civilians. In expressing his outrage, Obama said the attack “also presents a serious danger to our national security” and “could lead to proliferation of chemical weapons to terrorist groups.”

Although Syria is not a signatory to the Chemical Weapons Convention, Damascus is strongly suspected of violating international rules on the use, possession and proliferation of chemical weapons.

The White House has released a report in which it concluded that, based on wiretapped communications between leaders of the Assad administration, there could be “no doubt” the Syrian government used chemical weapons.

But the U.S. government has not revealed any details of its claims under the pretext of protecting classified information. It should disclose sufficient information and give detailed explanations.

A U.S. president is authorized to take military action without a declaration of war. However, Obama opted to seek congressional approval on military action against Syria, as he probably wants to show domestically and internationally that the United States is unified on this matter. He is taking a gamble that could deal him a political blow if congressional approval is not obtained.

U.S. public opinion is divided over military action on Syria. The U.S. administration of former President George W. Bush cited weapons of mass destruction as a reason for attacking Iraq but no such weapons were discovered. This was a bitter lesson for the United States.

Focus on Congress

World attention is focused on deliberations in the U.S. Congress, which will resume its full session Monday.

Britain has decided not to join in a military attack on Syria. France is the only major nation willing to take part. If the U.S. Congress gives the green light on the attack, it may result in winning greater international approval.

Obama said an attack on Syria would involve “no boots on the ground” and would be “limited and narrow” in terms of duration and scale. But there is concern in the U.S. Congress that a limited attack would not lead to the toppling of the Assad administration.

Attention is also focused on whether Obama’s decision will help end Syria’s civil war.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe showed understanding of Obama’s announcement of possible military action against Syria, saying it represents a “weighty political decision.” Regarding the worsening situation in Syria, Abe criticized the Assad government by saying it is “responsible for depriving innocent people of their lives and ignoring the deteriorating human rights situation.”

Abe’s assessment of the situation is appropriate. If the Assad administration is proved beyond doubt to have used chemical weapons as alleged by Washington, Japan would not be able to remain aloof as it faces the threat of weapons of mass destruction from North Korea.

In an effort to determine the reasoning and conditions behind the statement he will make on Japan’s position in the event of military action against Syria, Abe should call on Washington to describe the evidence it has collected on the use of chemical weapons, while collecting information on U.S. congressional moves.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 3, 2013)
(2013年9月3日01時16分  読売新聞)

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TPP交渉 年内妥結へのハードルは高い

The Yomiuri Shimbun September 3, 2013
High hurdles must be overcome to reach TPP accord before year's end
TPP交渉 年内妥結へのハードルは高い(9月2日付・読売社説)

There are high hurdles that must be cleared for the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations to end within the year, as sought by the United States.

What should be done to achieve a breakthrough in the conflicting views in the multilateral talks?

Given the circumstances, Japan must seek cooperation with other nations through sector-by-sector tariff reduction talks, while making redoubled efforts to craft its own strategy.

The TPP talks held in Brunei, in which Japan took part as a full-fledged member for the first time, have ended. Twelve Pacific Rim countries participated, including the United States and Australia.

The United States played a key role in the nine-day Brunei round, which began Aug. 22, but it seems to have failed to produce any major progress in key fields. Rather, it appears that the very complex situation surrounding the free trade negotiations has become all the more conspicuous, as exemplified by wide gaps between emerging and industrially developed countries concerning intellectual property rights.

The 12 countries participating in the TPP talks said in a joint statement released at the end of the Brunei round that their summit talks at a conference in October of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Bali, Indonesia, “will be an important milestone” regarding whether the 12 countries can conclude the talks before the end of the year.

The next TPP negotiations are scheduled for mid-September in Washington. It is uncertain, however, whether the Washington talks will lead to a broad agreement in October as envisioned by the United States to help conclude the talks by year’s end.

One area where opinions have differed sharply among participating nations is the duration of patents on pharmaceutical products. The United States, home to giant pharmaceutical companies, wants the length of patents extended to make it easier for them to develop new pharmaceuticals.

Newly emerging economies such as Malaysia, however, have reacted harshly to the U.S. stand. They insist that the U.S.-proposed extension would hamper production of low-priced pharmaceuticals whose patents have expired.

Avoid solely defensive stance

Developed countries such as the United States, trying to help their companies enter Asian markets, want to have preferential treatment of state-owned firms in Asian countries abandoned for competition on an equal footing with the rest of the countries. However, the Brunei round could not end the impasse on this subject, with Malaysia and Vietnam adamantly opposed to the U.S. views.

More difficulties are anticipated in negotiations on eliminating tariffs, on which the interests of the respective countries have been split in a complicated way.

In the Brunei round, Japan proposed eliminating tariffs on about 80 percent of imported products. It avoided in-depth talks on tariffs concerning five sensitive farm products such as rice, wheat and dairy products, stating Japan’s position on these products “has yet to be finalized.” The Liberal Democratic Party has called for retaining the tariffs on the five products.

The focus of the oncoming negotiations lies in what actions Japan will take in last-ditch talks for trade liberalization from September on.

Given that the TPP talks are designed to realize the “principle of elimination of tariffs,” this country will inevitably face strong pressure from the other participating countries to raise its percentage of tarifffree items. However, it would not be in keeping with this country’s national interests to take a flatly defensive stance regarding the domestic farm industry.

While there are said to be five categories of highly sensitive farm products, the total number of items within these categories that are subject to tariffs is 586.

Of these, which items should there be concessions on and which must be defended by all means? There must be accelerated discussions to make domestic arrangements on the matter.

Every country in the TPP talks has its own highly sensitive items: sugar for the United States and dairy products for Canada, for example.

Japan will be tested as to whether it can truly be hard-nosed in negotiations, using other participants’ weak points and seeking out participants that will act in step with Japan.

Japan must harness the vigor of other Asian countries to fuel its own economic growth.

Instead of being swayed by U.S. intentions to play the pace-setter in the negotiations, this country should take a leading role in formulating TPP rules in such fields as intellectual property, investment and environment.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 2, 2013)
(2013年9月2日01時03分  読売新聞)

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防衛省改革 まずは混合組織化が現実的だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun September 3, 2013
Promote personnel amalgamation in Defense Ministry as 1st priority
防衛省改革 まずは混合組織化が現実的だ(9月2日付・読売社説)

It is important for civilian officials of the Defense Ministry and uniformed officers of the Self-Defense Forces to cooperate closely as an inseparable combination and build a system to support the defense minister.

The ministry has announced a plan to restructure its organization. The main change is to expand the joint deployment of civilian officials and uniformed officers to the ministry’s internal bureaus and units of the Self-Defense Forces, while abolishing the Operational Policy Bureau and integrating its functions into the Joint Staff, so as to centralize the operation of the SDF units.

Civilian bureaucrats at the ministry’s bureaus will be tasked with drawing up laws and ordinances, formulating policies and coordinating views with political parties and other government ministries, while uniformed officers will be expected to keep their military expertise current by maintaining their connections with their counterparts abroad. Naturally, it is desirable for both to give full play to their natural abilities and cooperate with each other.

Currently, personnel exchanges between the ministry’s internal bureaus and SDF units are limited. Only 32 majors or lieutenant colonels of the Air or Ground Self-Defense Forces and lieutenant commanders or commanders of the Maritime Self-Defense Force have been assigned to ministry’s internal bureaus, while five young civilian officials are working in units of the Ground Self-Defense Force.

From next fiscal year, the number of SDF officers assigned to the ministry’s internal bureaus will be increased to 56, with the number to be formally fixed, while the number of civilian officials assigned to SDF units will be increased to 22. This course of action, which is aimed at promoting the intermingling of civilian officials and uniformed officers, is reasonable.

We can also expect positive effects in the field of manpower development if civilian officials who may one day become senior ministry officials and uniformed officers who may become senior SDF officers learn about the administrative organization and the real state of the SDF units and broaden their vision.

The organizational amalgamation should be expanded, including the manpower exchange of even higher-ranking officials, in the middle and long term.

Merger may not by practical

On the other hand, it is questionable whether the idea of integrating the Operational Policy Bureau into the Joint Staff is practical.

When a major disaster occurs or when North Korea launches a ballistic missile, both cilivian officials and SDF officers gather at the central command center in the basement of the Defense Ministry building and respond promptly. In ordinary times, the Operational Policy Bureau and the Joint Staff cooperate with each other, and there is no particular problem with this.

In the operation of the SDF units, not only wise military decisions must be made but the government must make policy decisions and situation assessments, making the presence of civilian officials all the more meaningful.

For the prime minister and the defense minister to properly maintain civilian control, it is necessary to maintain those internal bureaus, which would gather information and assist the defense minister and other officials, separately from the Joint Staff.

As medium- and long-term challenges, the reorganizational plan includes the idea of integrating the procurement of defense equipment under a tentatively named “defense equipment agency.”

The ratio of the defense equipment budget allocated to the three SDF branches has remained fixed for a long time, which some have said encourages bureaucratic sectionalism.

It is important to promote an organizational restructuring that would increase the equipment budget for maritime and air defense units, which should be given a higher priority.

Any large-scale organizational reform would entail the risk of causing organizational disarray and lowering morale. Now that the ministry is beset with many important issues, including a revision of the National Defense Program Guidelines, there is little need to press the ministry’s reform plan now, which may only bring about a leadership struggle between civilian officials and SDF officers.

A realistic approach would be to first promote the integration of civilian bureaucrats and uniformed officers, and, while examining its merits and demerits, the ministry should prudently move ahead with its organizational restructuring.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 2, 2013)
(2013年9月2日01時03分  読売新聞)

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2013年9月 2日 (月)


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防災の日 被災地の声を対策に生かそう

The Yomiuri Shimbun September 2, 2013
Better national strategy needed to prepare for major disasters
防災の日 被災地の声を対策に生かそう(9月1日付・読売社説)


Sept. 1 is Disaster Prevention Day. Disaster drills and related events are scheduled around the country. On this occasion, the government should conduct a full review of its antidisaster measures.

Reconstruction work from the damage caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake has only been half completed. Torrential rain caused extensive damage in various parts of the country this summer. The government must conduct simulations of various kinds of disasters such as earthquakes, tsunami, torrential rain and volcanic eruptions, and work on measures to minimize damage.


Today is the 90th anniversary of Great Kanto Earthquake, which killed 100,000 people.

The earthquake occurred shortly before lunchtime, when many families used fire for cooking. The collapse of houses and strong winds spread the flames. Many administrative offices and bridges were razed, obstructing evacuation and rescue efforts. Water supplies were cut, hampering firefighting crews. Fire reportedly killed 90 percent of the victims. This shows the importance of making buildings earthquake-resistant and developing towns where fire cannot spread easily.

Nonetheless, urban areas still have many districts where wooden houses are clustered together. The alleys in some areas are too narrow for fire trucks to enter.

Japan needs resilience

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet has established an office under the Cabinet Secretariat tasked with making the nation more resilient through planning and coordinating measures to prevent or reduce damage from disasters. The Cabinet wants to have a bill passed through the next Diet session on a basic law to make Japan more resilient against disasters.

The Cabinet is also scheduled to draw up a bill on special measures to deal with a possible huge quake with a focus directly under the Tokyo metropolitan area and a massive Nankai Trough earthquake that could affect a very wide area ranging from Shizuoka Prefecture to Kyushu. We expect the Diet to enact them as soon as possible.

What would make local communities more resilient against disasters? It is important to plan countermeasures to help people unable to return home from work or school if a disaster paralyzes public transportation systems. As many as 5 million people were stranded in the metropolitan area when the Great East Japan Earthquake struck in March 2011.

The government must work on effective countermeasures, rather than throw a lot of money around on public works projects. In this regard, it is essential for the central government to coordinate actions with local governments and private companies.

Bigger role for govt

The Disaster Countermeasures Basic Law, the basis for other laws on natural disasters, stipulates that municipal governments are primarily responsible for disaster preparedness in areas under their jurisdiction. Municipal governments are assisted by prefectural governments that are supported by the central government, according to the basic law. However, this system failed to function after the Great East Japan Earthquake devastated municipalities over a wide area.

After the March 2011 earthquake, the government revised the basic law twice, mainly to enhance the central government’s role. According to the revisions, the central government would take emergency measures instead of municipal governments if the local governments were unable to function after a major disaster. The central and prefectural governments also would be able to supply relief materials to victims in disaster-hit municipalities without waiting for requests from municipal governments.

The revisions have also enhanced evacuation measures in case of a disaster. Municipal governments are obliged to make lists of residents needing assistance when forced to evacuate by collecting personal information on the aged, disabled and other people considered vulnerable in a disaster.

Even though such lists have been drawn up, their effectiveness has been questioned because the ratio of those disaster-susceptible people who have been listed compared with the total is often low.

This is due mainly to the tendency of local entities to overemphasize the Personal Information Protection Law, under which listing the names of individuals is supposed to require their consent. Instead of sticking rigidly to the law’s provisions, local governments should place priority on drawing up lists that are useful at times of emergency.

The Disaster Relief Law, meanwhile, calls for prefectural governments to abide by the “principle of in-kind benefits,” under which disaster victims are to be provided with such facilities as evacuation centers and temporary housing.

In disaster-struck regions, however, this principle has been criticized because it is a major impediment to local governments in their efforts to make use of housing units rented from the private sector as “equivalent temporary housing.”

Since this includes houses or apartments rented by the victims, administrative procedures concerning their eligibility under the in-kind benefit principle are cumbersome and complex, as they include the need to have the rental agreements concluded afresh in the name of the local governments concerned. This principle should be flexibly implemented.

Studies should also be made in response to wishes from disaster-hit areas to make it easier to obtain certification of disaster victims and approve government cash assistance to rehabilitate their livelihoods.

Are these arrangements under existing laws sufficient for the government to cope promptly and effectively when an immense disaster occurs?

Compiling its final report in July last year, the government council for the promotion of antidisaster measures said additional steps must be worked out “to ensure the country’s existence as a state.”

The antidisaster basic law allows the prime minister to declare a state of emergency after a disaster. The issuance of this declaration is limited to when the Diet is in recess, while issuance of emergency ordinances following the declaration is restricted to such things as the rationing of daily necessities and controlling commodity prices.

The council’s report also referred to the need to expand emergency measures for such purposes as protecting commuters unable to return home and ensure public order in the aftermath of a massive earthquake. In addition, the panel urged the government to make preparations in case the Diet was unable to function after a powerful earthquake beneath the capital.

The revisions of the law, however, failed to change its provisions in these respects. It is possible that Diet debate may have been avoided because such attempts may infringe the Constitution.

Prepare for crises

By placing top priority on human lives, it goes without saying a bare minimum of restrictions should be placed on the freedom of habitation and movement as well as on other fundamental human rights, such as owning property.

Most foreign countries have “emergency situation articles” in their constitutions that lay down what a government should do in response to an emergency.

The Constitution must be revised in this respect. If amending the Constitution is considered impractical because it is time-consuming, legislation of an “emergency situation basic law,” which was once discussed by the Liberal Democratic Party, New Komeito and the Democratic Party of Japan, should be taken up again.

The situation in which government is slow to respond in taking necessary measures every time a disaster occurs must end.

It is essential to thoroughly review the nation’s antidisaster legal system as an integral part of the country’s national strategy.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 1, 2013)
(2013年9月1日01時56分  読売新聞)

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2013年9月 1日 (日)

消費税率 「来春の8%」は見送るべきだ

The Yomiuri Shimbun September 1, 2013
Govt should shelve sales tax hike to 8% in April to guard recovery
消費税率 「来春の8%」は見送るべきだ(8月31日付・読売社説)


The most imperative issue for the Japanese economy is to overcome deflation. If an increase in the consumption tax rate dampens the economy, which has finally begun to recover, it will ruin the whole situation.

The government should shelve the planned hike in the consumption tax rate to 8 percent in April next year. Rather, it would be a realistic choice to raise the tax rate from the current 5 percent to 10 percent in October 2015 after achieving a full economic recovery.

The government has been holding intensive discussion sessions to hear a wide range of opinions from experts and others over the advisibility of the planned increase in the consumption tax rate.

Achieve growth, fiscal health

It was a matter of course for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is expected to make a decision on the tax hike this autumn, to say: “I’ll ultimately decide on my own responsibility. After getting the results of the discussions, I’ll try to make a proper judgment taking into account a variety of economic indicators.”

Japan has been suffering from deflation for 15 years and running huge fiscal deficits. If economic stagnation continues for a prolonged period, Japan’s strength might be further weakened.

How can the nation defeat deflation and achieve both economic growth and fiscal reconstruction? What is required for Japan are concrete measures to tackle these difficult problems.

The Yomiuri Shimbun has insisted on the necessity of raising the consumption tax from the standpoint that the nation needs to secure fiscal resources for social security expenditures, which are growing year by year, and get its fiscal condition in sound shape in the medium term. We maintain this stance.

Many of the experts and others participating in the discussions have argued in favor of raising the tax rate next spring as planned, but the question is whether that is the right time to raise the tax.

The nation’s real gross domestic product for April-June rose only 2.6 percent on an annualized basis. Although the effects of the Abe administration’s Abenomics economic policies have begun to be seen, it is far from what we could call a self-sustaining recovery led by private-sector demand.

It is a cause for concern that the nation has not yet achieved a virtuous cycle of Abenomics in which growth results in higher wages and more employment.

Next April will be a crucial time, particularly as companies may decide to increase wages after the annual spring labor offensive and may decide to expand their recruitment of new graduates for 2015. Cold water must not be thrown on progress leading toward a virtuous cycle.

Surely, a consumption tax rate hike alone will not help the nation achieve fiscal reconstruction. There are fears that if the economy loses steam with the tax hike, it could mean that tax revenues from such sources as corporate and income taxes will not increase as much as expected. Such a scenario would rather push fiscal reconstruction further into the distance.

Although the government this autumn plans to hammer out additional economic measures, including a tax cut to stimulate investment, as part of its growth strategy, it will take time for these policy measures to produce tangible results.

Aim for 10% in ’15

If the consumption tax rate cannot be raised to 10 percent in 2015 as a result of adhering to the plan to increase it to 8 percent next April, that will be an inversion of Japan’s priorities.

Some people, on the other hand, have expressed concern that if the tax hike is postponed, confidence in Japanese government bonds will drop, leading to a rise in long-term interest rates.

What matters is whether the government can send a strong message that will dispel such fears. The government is urged to seek understanding both at home and abroad by announcing that postponing the rate increase to 8 percent is the result of its giving top priority to ending deflation and that its committ-ment to fiscal reconstruction will not falter in the least.

A matter to be tackled in this connection is how to secure fiscal funds to make up for tax revenue that will be lost by putting off the tax hike. It will be necessary to curtail nonurgent spending while considering all possible measures.

One policy could be to make effective use of untapped household assets by issuing government bonds that do not bear interest but are exempt from inheritance tax on their face value. The funds to be collected widely could be used on a priority basis for social security programs and measures to prevent and reduce disasters.

Steps to reduce burdens

When the rate is raised to 10 percent in October 2015, it will be indispensable to consider measures to lessen the burden on the public. We suggest the government introduce reduced tax rates on certain items and that the current tax rate of 5 percent be maintained for foodstuffs such as rice and miso paste as well as newspapers, which are public goods necessary to sustain democracy.

We cannot agree with increasing the consumption tax in increments of one percentage point because it will vastly increase the administrative work for small and midsize businesses and make it difficult for them to reflect the tax increase in their product prices.

When deciding on a tax increase, it is necessary to keep a close watch on the world economy.

As tensions have risen in Syria, U.S. military action is looming as a possibility. Crude oil prices have already been soaring, while the strong yen and low stock prices have continued. With no prospect in sight of restarting of nuclear reactors, further rises in utility rates can be anticipated due to escalating fuel costs.

The U.S. “exit strategy” of phasing out its unconventional monetary easing measures and China’s financial risks can be regarded as destabilizing factors.

When the consumption tax was raised from 3 percent to 5 percent in April 1997, business suddenly slowed down due to the double blow of serious financial uncertainty and the Asian monetary crisis. This was a bitter lesson to learn.

The government is urged to closely examine domestic and foreign affairs, and make an appropriate decision so as not to miss the chance to revitalize Japan.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 31, 2013)
(2013年8月31日01時31分  読売新聞)

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地方分権改革 堅実な事務権限移譲が肝心だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun August 31, 2013
Power transfers to local govts must be undertaken steadily
地方分権改革 堅実な事務権限移譲が肝心だ(8月30日付・読売社説)

Instead of being swayed by temporary moods, it is of high importance to soundly move forward with the challenge of transfering administrative functions and authority from the central government to local governments in ways well suited to reality.

The government recently presented a set of draft proposals on a handover of power to local governments, to a panel of intellectuals on decentralization reform issues.

Among other things, the draft calls for delegating the central government’s administrative authorization and supervision of 44 types of entities, such as barber and beautician training facilities, to prefectural governments on a uniform basis across the country. The decentralization of authority over 24 other items currently under the direct control of the central government, including the improvement and maintenance of major rivers and national highways, should be studied with some conditions attached.

These are major pillars of the government’s draft proposals.

If the panel’s studies of some items are completed by the end of the year, the govenment is set to submit bills relevant to those items to an ordinary Diet session next year for the legislation and implementation of the power transfers.

When the Democratic Party of Japan was in power, such reckless and irresponsible slogans as “local sovereignty” and “abolition in principle of all regional branches of the central government” were yelled out emptily. The result was that discussions about decentralization were long left stagnant.

A major factor behind the latest development may be the fact that the importance of the leading roles played by the central government and its regional branches has widely been recognized anew in connection with the recovery and reconstruction projects in the areas stricken by the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011.

Taking advantage of the shift to a Liberal Democtratic Party-New Komeito administration, it is of key significance to calmly reconsider the roles of the central government and local entities, striving to advance decentralization by eliminating the overlap between the two to improve administrative efficiency and reinvigorate local economies.

Online employment services

The transfer of authority to local governments in the currently central government-controlled administration of rivers and national highways is a long-pending issue. Adressing this problem must be preceded, first of all, by achieving a major transfer of the fiscal resources and personnel involved.

Detailed studies should also be undertaken on adequate involvement of the central government in the event of emergencies such as a massive disaster. An appropriate point of contact between the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry and local governments must be considered.

The panel of intellectuals has formed proposals calling for the ministry to provide local governments with information on job offers at the ministry-run “Hello Work” employment agencies, and transfer to municipalities its authority over the registration and supervision of paid passenger transport businesses in depopulated regions and for welfare purposes.

Both of these ideas should be put into practice promptly.

The proposed service of online listings of job openings, of which about 9 million appear each year throughout the country, could be used effectively by local governments for such purposes as providing people on welfare with job placement services.

The online job information would also be provided to private staffing service companies. More fully employing women and young people through cooperation between the public and private sectors would definitely be in accordance with the government’s economic growth strategy.

It is urgent to secure transportation in underpopulated regions where bus and taxi businesses are not profitable, as well as for disabled people and those requiring nursing care.

Currently, a combined total of about 26 million people in such categories are receiving paid transportation services annually from about 3,000 corporations run by such organizations as municipalities and nonprofit groups.

It is quite reasonable to delegate registration and supervision from the land and infrastructure ministry to the municipalities, which are well versed in their own local situations. Endeavors to realize this would lead to more opportunities for the transfer of powers to coincide with the respective regions’ comprehensive projects for reinvigorating their communities.

To ensure the smooth transfer of power, it is imperative for the land and infrastructure ministry and prefectural governments to extend sufficient support to municipal governments.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 30, 2013)
(2013年8月30日01時28分  読売新聞)

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