« 2015年6月 | トップページ | 2015年8月 »


2015年7月30日 (木)



夜景を観光資源に!2015年度「日本夜景遺産」新規認定地が発表! 一般社団法人夜景観光コンベンション・ビューロー

| | コメント (0)

(社説)参院選挙改革 大きな汚点を残した

--The Asahi Shimbun, July 29
EDITORIAL: Common sense lacking in Upper House electoral reform
(社説)参院選挙改革 大きな汚点を残した

The revised Public Offices Election Law was enacted on July 28, clearing the way for the implementation of a “plus 10, minus 10” formula to reform the Upper House electoral system. Under this formula for seat redistribution, the Shimane and Tottori constituencies are being merged, as are the Tokushima and Kochi constituencies.

For the first time in the history of Upper House elections, prefectural voting districts are being merged.

Thanks to the legal revision, Japan will at least not commit the folly of going ahead with the Upper House election next summer in disregard of the Supreme Court’s ruling in November 2014 that the 2013 poll in the chamber was held “in a state of unconstitutionality” due to disparity in vote value.

However, the revised law was approved in the Upper House plenary session on July 24 by a narrow margin of 131 to 103. And six Liberal Democratic Party legislators representing the four above-mentioned prefectures walked out before balloting, even though the amendment bill had been under deliberation for nearly two years.

It is fundamental to democratic procedures that the people’s elected representatives deliberate on issues thoroughly, coordinate conflicting opinions and reach a consensus that serves the public interest. And especially when the subject of discussion is the nation’s election system--which forms the basis of representative democracy--whatever decision that is reached must have broad, suprapartisan support.

But what stood out this time was the indolence of the ruling LDP that should have been leading the deliberations. Reacting only haphazardly to developments, the party presented a “plus 6, minus 6” formula that would have resulted in a vote-disparity ratio of more than 4 to 1. The LDP waited until there was only about one year left before the next Upper House election before going along, albeit reluctantly, with the “plus 10, minus 10” formula proposed by four opposition parties, including the Japan Innovation Party.

But even with this formula, the maximum vote-disparity ratio is 2.97 to 1. The grave question remains as to whether this really meets the constitutional requirement that all ballots be equal in value.

Komeito, the LDP’s junior coalition partner, co-sponsored with the opposition Democratic Party of Japan and others a bill calling for the creation of “10 merged constituencies.” With a vote-disparity ratio of 1.95 to 1 at most, this was obviously a better choice than the “plus 10, minus 10” formula in terms of reducing the vote-disparity ratio. But even though the Komeito-DPJ formula should be used at least for the Upper House election next summer, it was hardly discussed in the Diet.

In short, we, the sovereign people, were not even given a chance to get to know and think about this alternative. We were simply forced to accept the Diet’s decision.

The revised Public Offices Election Law comes with this supplementary provision: “Studies shall continue to fundamentally review the election system, and a conclusion shall be reached at all costs.” But except for the expression “at all costs,” this provision is merely a rehash of the supplementary provision that was attached to the election law revised three years ago, when the current election system was adopted under a “plus 4, minus 4” formula.

Whether the merging of constituencies is the best solution is subject to debate. Assuming Japan’s population will continue to shrink and people will keep moving to the big cities, the electoral map will have to be redrawn time and again, necessitating a series of stopgap mergers.

Is that really what this nation needs? To answer this question, we must discuss the fundamental question: What is the role of the Upper House?
 それでいいのか? その答えを探るためにも、「参院の役割とは何か」を根本から議論する必要がある。

But through all these years, Upper House members have failed to answer the question every time, and merely resorted to stopgap measures. When will those legislators ever realize how much they have damaged their own credibility and the image of the Upper House as “the seat of common sense and decency”?

| | コメント (0)

2015年7月29日 (水)


それはいくとぴあ食花サマーイルミネーション です。





| | コメント (0)

香山リカのココロの万華鏡:人間を楽しもう /東京

July 05, 2015 (Mainichi Japan)
Kaleidoscope of the Heart: Living life to its fullest as a human being
香山リカのココロの万華鏡:人間を楽しもう /東京

As an ice-breaker at the beginning of a seminar, I often ask my students to introduce themselves by telling the class what they'd want to be if they could be anything. Without fail, at least a few students say they would choose to be a cat, bird or fish. Some students name other animals and even plants. But the reasons they cite for these choices are all the same: they want to be "free."

From my point of view, students have an abundance of freedom in their college years, but they themselves don't see it that way. They apparently live very hectic lives. They find that receiving instruction and at times reprimands in extracurricular activities and part-time jobs is stressful. Interpersonal relationships require that they be considerate. Many students commute from their parents' homes if possible, which means they may have long trips to and from school. Completely exhausted, it's no wonder that students wish they could simply lie in the sun like a cat, soar through the sky like a bird, or swim deep in the ocean like a fish.

But it feels to me like a waste to go through life as a human being while wishing one were a cat or a bird. That's why I remind my students that the animals they've named can't read or write, or that some animals live in constant fear of being devoured by predators. But the response I get is usually some version of, "That's fine. I wouldn't mind," or "There'd be no point in resisting."

Are they just aloof? Maybe. Regardless, I feel sorry for students who are willing to risk their lives in order to "be free" or take it easy. I had a patient some years ago, a high school student, who told me, "I think I've already experienced all the fun there is to be had in life. Everything from here on out will be boring." I was flabbergasted.

It's true. Not everything in life as a grown-up is fun. Adults usually have little free time but more responsibilities at work and at home. Adults have to deal with making mistakes at work and saying goodbye to more and more loved ones. Some days can be really tough. I, too, wonder at times what it would be like to go back to my junior high school years. But I still have moments where I feel I've achieved something significant in my career, or that I've made an important decision at a turning point in my life.

To all the young people who wish they could be a cat: Your school years -- as well as the years following school -- may be difficult, but we as human beings are able to make decisions in our lives to try and make them into what we choose. So let's enjoy it.

For this message to be convincing, however, we adults must first demonstrate that we are happy in our own lives.

(By Rika Kayama, psychiatrist)
毎日新聞 2015年06月30日 地方版

| | コメント (0)

2015年7月28日 (火)

香山リカのココロの万華鏡:傷つけたら謝る /東京

July 12, 2015 (Mainichi Japan)
Kaleidoscope of the Heart: If you've hurt someone, go ahead and apologize
香山リカのココロの万華鏡:傷つけたら謝る /東京

Recent comments made by lawmakers and a lecturer during a study session of the Liberal Democratic Party have been brought into question, including those demeaning two newspapers in Okinawa and the Okinawan public.

While those who made the comments explained that they had been "joking," and that what they had said "did not constitute suppression of speech," there is no denying the fact that these statements resulted in people feeling hurt.

In my view, there does not exist a single individual who does not end up hurting others in some way or another throughout the course of daily living. Even comments that were made without any malicious intent on the part of the speaker may end up making someone else feel saddened or angered.

For some time after my father had passed away, for example, hearing other people my age say things like, "My father is making efforts to take care of his health, so he is really doing great," would make me wonder, "Does this mean that my own father had been neglecting his health?" which would in turn cause me to feel despondent.

In other words, even if we understand that someone may not have meant a particular statement in a certain way, we may still perceive it in a negative manner.

Naturally, I assume that I too say things from time to time that end up causing painful feelings for others. The people who come to visit my office are particularly vulnerable to being hurt, since they are experiencing mental and physical difficulties. And on those occasions when I do end up saying something insensitive, rather than protesting with something like "Please don't say that!" they normally do nothing beyond managing a weak laugh. On numerous occasions, I have gone pale-faced when years later those same people have come back and told me, "What you said to me back then was really shocking."

How can we address this problem, then? If we put too many restrictions on ourselves in terms of what we are permitted to say, we will end up not being able to say anything at all. At the same time, however, we must always keep in mind the fact that even our innocently expressed speech has the power to inadvertently cause pain for others -- particularly those who are in vulnerable positions or members of marginalized groups.

And if someone then confronts us by saying, "I really wish that you wouldn't have said that," we must immediately apologize for having caused hurt with our words, rather than deflect their criticism by saying something like "I didn't mean anything negative, so what's the harm?" or "You're the one who's in the wrong for getting upset."

Finally, while this is most definitely not an easy thing to do, we must also practice gathering the strength to say "please stop" when others bring up a topic or say something that makes us feel uncomfortable. At such times, we should not worry about disturbing the positive atmosphere. Rather, we should firmly express our own feelings -- even if it is done by speaking quietly.

Of course, the ideal situation is one whereby we never say things that end up hurting others. Realistically speaking, however, this is something that we human beings are unable to avoid.

At such times, then, we must apologize as soon as we realize what has occurred, and we must then make efforts to take better care the next time. This is a fundamental truth, and it is applicable in any and all types of situations.

(By Rika Kayama, psychiatrist)
毎日新聞 2015年07月07日 地方版

| | コメント (0)

2015年7月27日 (月)

香山リカのココロの万華鏡:やらざるをえないもの /東京

July 26, 2015 (Mainichi Japan)
Kaleidoscope of the heart: Things that we feel compelled to do
香山リカのココロの万華鏡:やらざるをえないもの /東京

The Akutagawa Prize, which is awarded twice yearly, is an extremely prestigious honor among writers. The winners of the most recent competition -- the 153rd in its history -- were "Scrap and Build" by Keisuke Hada, and "Hibana" by Naoki Matayoshi.

Matayoshi is one-half of the comedy duo "Peace," and he may often be seen on television. The main character in his novel is similarly a comedian, who undertakes a quest to advance to a full-fledged master of humor under a comedy mentor.

The novel portrays the dedication with which the performer strives to become a star -- efforts that are so extreme, in fact, that what begins as a light story gradually becomes quite intense for the reader.

Author Amy Yamada, an Akutagawa Prize judge, spoke on behalf of the selection committee during a press conference -- and I found her description of Matayoshi's novel striking. "The work seems to be portraying a poignant story that the author felt compelled to tell," she commented. "While the novel does have its faults, it left me with an overall feeling that was quite strong."

This phrase "felt compelled to..." is one that I had not heard for a very long time -- and it represents a feeling that I had long forgotten.

I leave every morning for the university or for my office, where I then give lectures or see patients. When deadlines approach, I write my columns. Although I do attempt to give my best efforts for such pursuits, I find myself feeling very relieved on my days off. And on some days, I find myself thinking, "Truthfully, I would just rather not go in to work today."

In other words, the phrase "compelled to..." represents a strong feeling from which I have become alienated. Without realizing it, I suppose that I have taken on the attitude of simply doing things "because it is my job."

As for my young students at university, they are involved with their studies, club activities, and part-time jobs. While I am sure that these are all activities they enjoy doing, it is my guess that they rarely feel so strongly about something that they are "compelled" to do it.

When handing in reports, my students sometimes include their own opinions, prefaced with something like this: "I know this is not directly related to the subject at hand, but I really felt like I had to write it." It is precisely this type of feeling that I hope these students will continue to cultivate.

Matayoshi works as a comedian, but he additionally penned a novel because he "felt compelled" to do so -- even though it might have been more beneficial for him as a performer to have spent that time appearing on television or doing comedy shows. In order to engage in this novel-writing endeavor, I'm sure that he must have also gained the understanding of his comedy partner and others around him.

I would love to once again engage in something because I felt compelled to do so -- even if it meant pushing myself beyond my own limits in the process. And it is none other than Matayoshi's work that has inspired me with this feeling.

(By Rika Kayama, psychiatrist)
毎日新聞 2015年07月22日 地方版

| | コメント (0)

2015年7月26日 (日)

香山リカのココロの万華鏡:介護マーク、本気で考えて /東京

July 19, 2015 (Mainichi Japan)
Kaleidoscope of the Heart: Giving priority treatment to caregivers
香山リカのココロの万華鏡:介護マーク、本気で考えて /東京

These days, certain considerate gestures have become fairly commonplace: things like giving up a "priority seat" to a pregnant woman or to a cane-wielding elderly person, or pushing the button to keep an elevator door open for someone in a wheelchair who is trying to get off.

But a woman who came to my consultation room said that, "people don't understand the stress of caregivers and won't give you their seat on a train."

This woman is a single person in her 50s. She has a job and lives with her elderly parents, who both need care. During the day she uses the services of home helpers and care facilities, but at night she cares for them herself. While she believes in supporting her parents, she can feel the toll of the stress on her body and mind. When she sought medical help to reduce her stress, she was recommended counseling and came to see me. After talking with her for a while, I saw that she was close to suffering from "caregiver depression."

The woman said that on the train to go home after finishing her day's work, she thinks about what she will need to do when she gets home, and that alone brings a wave of exhaustion upon her. If she could only sit, she could rest before arriving home, but usually it is crowded and she has to stand. She can't very well say to someone, "I'm going to be doing care work, so can you give me your seat?"

I suggested, half-jokingly at the time, "It might be good if there was a charm you could wear that would inform others that you're a caregiver" like the key chains given to pregnant women that encourages other passengers to give up their seats for them, but she nodded and said seriously, "You're right."

There are many workplaces that do not give enough consideration to pregnant and child-raising employees, but the lack of consideration for caregivers is greater still.

Of course, more and more nursing care services have become available, but with the falling birth rate and fewer people getting married, it is thought that there will be more cases of people caring for their parents alone, just like this woman.

Some people, with no other option, leave their jobs to focus on care giving, but that is neither good for them nor society, and if they fall into "caregiver depression," it will take a long time for them to recover.

This is why I hope that someone will seriously think about creating some kind of symbol to identify caregivers so they can receive priority seating on public transport.

(By Rika Kayama, psychiatrist)
毎日新聞 2015年07月14日 地方版

| | コメント (0)

2015年7月25日 (土)

(社説)中国ガス田 不信の連鎖に陥るな

--The Asahi Shimbun, July 24
EDITORIAL: Tokyo, Beijing must avert cycle of mutual distrust in East China Sea
(社説)中国ガス田 不信の連鎖に陥るな

China is developing gas fields in wide areas on the Chinese side of the median line between its shoreline and that of Japan in the East China Sea.

The Japanese government has released aerial photos of 16 offshore gas drilling platforms, including 12 structures that have been detected since June 2013.

In June 2008, the governments of Japan and China agreed to pursue joint development of gas fields in areas around disputed waters. Although bilateral negotiations for joint gas development have been suspended because of a flare-up over the Senkaku Islands, the agreement has not been abrogated.

China’s unilateral moves to change the status quo are totally unacceptable. The Japanese government needs to demand that Beijing call off the development of gas fields and return to the negotiation table for joint gas development.

Japan and China have been locked in a bitter diplomatic row over the extent of their respective exclusive economic zones in the East China Sea.

The two countries were supposed to have agreed to develop gas fields together while avoiding provocative actions until a border demarcation accord is reached.

But China’s activities in the region indicate that it is trying to accumulate fait accomplis for its naval expansion as it is doing in the South China Sea, where it has been reclaiming disputed reefs.

Defense Minister Gen Nakatani pointed out the possibility that the platforms China has built in the East China Sea could be used to install military facilities like radars and heliports. China may use them “for security purposes,” he said.

There may be a political motive behind the Japanese government’s decision to publish information about Beijing’s gas development activities in the region at this time. The move may be aimed at winning greater public support for the security legislation it is seeking to enact by stressing the security threat posed by China.

But Japan should avoid taking actions that could heighten military tension in the East China Sea. The only way to solve the situation is through diplomatic efforts.

It is difficult to understand why the Japanese government has not disclosed the information about the Chinese gas operations until now. Since China has clearly violated the bilateral agreement on gas development, Tokyo should have published the facts to broad audiences at home and abroad as soon as it became aware of them to obtain international understanding of Japan’s concerns.

What the two countries need to do most urgently is to make effective efforts to regain a certain degree of mutual trust.

It is vital for their leaders to discuss the issue from a broad perspective and set basic principles for how the two nations should deal with the situation.

In a bilateral summit held in 2008, the leaders of Japan and China at that time, Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda and President Hu Jintao, signed a joint statement pledging to make the East China Sea “a sea of peace, cooperation and friendship.”

Tokyo and Beijing are now considering a summit between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping when the Japanese leader visits China in early September.

The two governments should make that summit happen to create a diplomatic environment in which it is possible for their leaders to confirm basic principles.

In its statement about Japan’s move to publish photos showing China’s gas development activities, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said it has not changed its policy of putting importance on taking actions in line with “shared recognitions concerning the East China Sea problem.” This passage could be interpreted as a signal that Beijing doesn’t want to close the door on cooperation with Japan.

Allowing the problem to trigger a cycle of mutual distrust would be detrimental to the interests of both countries.

Instead of doing what could cause the bilateral security confrontation to intensify, the two countries should use the situation as an opportunity to start moving toward expanded bilateral cooperation in the future.

| | コメント (0)

2015年7月24日 (金)

中国ガス田開発 実態公開して自制を促したい

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Japan reveals truth to stop China from accelerating maritime advance
中国ガス田開発 実態公開して自制を促したい

China’s self-serving moves to develop marine resources in violation of a bilateral agreement with Japan cannot be allowed. Japan must persistently urge Beijing to refrain from such actions.

The government announced Wednesday that China has been constructing a total of 12 new offshore platforms and related structures since June 2013 for the development of gas fields in the East China Sea, where Japan and China have yet to demarcate the boundaries.

The government also posted aerial photos of the structures and a map showing their locations on the Foreign Ministry’s website.

“It is extremely regrettable that China is unilaterally developing resources,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a press conference Wednesday.

It is appropriate for the government to convey the actual nature of China’s maritime advances to the international community, and try to restrain such actions.

Suga said the government decided to release the map and the photos because the Chinese government has accelerated its development of natural resources in recent years, while refusing to resume negotiations on the implementation of an accord in which Japan and China agreed to cooperate on the development of natural resources in the East China Sea.

Some within the government had called for caution about releasing the photos and the map, saying it would only cause China to take a tougher line. But Japan’s taking an excessively conciliatory stance would only benefit China, which is trying to secure its interests by accumulating a number of faits accomplis.

China’s foreign ministry responded to Japan’s criticism Wednesday by stressing that China’s development of gas fields in the East China Sea is “completely justified and legitimate.”

China’s reasoning flawed

As long as the bilateral boundaries have yet to be demarcated, the development sites are within disputed waters. It is illogical for China to try to justify its actions with the reasoning that the gas fields are on the Chinese side of the Japan-China median line.

Japan and China agreed in 2008 that both countries will jointly develop the Shirakaba gas field located near the median line. Both countries also agreed to designate specific waters stretching over the median line as the joint development area.

In 2010, China postponed treaty negotiations on the implementation of the 2008 accord, and the talks have been suspended ever since.

Japan needs to demand that China stop its unilateral development and call again for China to resume the talks at an early date.

The possibility that China will utilize the offshore facilities for military purposes is worrying.

China has been conducting reclamation work on rock reefs in the South China Sea and moving ahead with making these reclaimed reefs into military strongholds.

Defense Minister Gen Nakatani has pointed out the possibility of Chinese forces also utilizing the offshore facilities in the East China Sea to deploy radar and serve as operational bases for reconnaissance helicopters.

China unilaterally announced in November 2013 the establishment of an air defense identification zone over the East China Sea, a zone that includes the airspace over the Senkaku Islands of Okinawa Prefecture.

Deploying radar near the median line would make it possible for China to cover areas that the radar on its mainland cannot.

Japan must heighten its vigilance by closely cooperating with the United States. It is also urgent to introduce a bilateral maritime liaison mechanism to avoid accidental clashes between aircraft or vessels of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces and the Chinese forces.

It is likewise important for Japan to improve bilateral relations from the viewpoint of a strategically reciprocal relationship with China, while also continuing to assert its position regarding Japan’s sovereignty.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 23, 2015)

| | コメント (0)

2015年7月23日 (木)



小学館発!のコミックアプリ「マンガワン」の100万ダウンロード突破を記念し、「絶対可憐チルドレン」、「GS美神 極楽大作戦!!」など椎名高志先生の名作5作品を全巻公開! 株式会社小学館

| | コメント (0)



小学館発!のコミックアプリ「マンガワン」の100万ダウンロード突破を記念し、「絶対可憐チルドレン」、「GS美神 極楽大作戦!!」など椎名高志先生の名作5作品を全巻公開! 株式会社小学館

| | コメント (0)

(社説)防衛白書 法制を急ぐ必要はない

--The Asahi Shimbun, July 22
EDITORIAL: Defense white paper shows that security legislation can wait
(社説)防衛白書 法制を急ぐ必要はない

Where, really, was the urgency to railroad national security bills through the Lower House in the absence of public support?

This was the question we had to ask anew upon reading the Defense Ministry's 2015 white paper, submitted to the Cabinet on July 21.

The annual report serves to show the direction of Japan's defense policy for both domestic and overseas readerships. Predictably, this year's main topic was Japan's relations with China.

With regard to the activities of Chinese government vessels in waters around the disputed Senkaku Islands, the white paper stated, "There is a trend toward routinization, and it is possible that rules such as guidelines on the operation of the vessels have been set in place." The report also noted that "larger vessels are coming into use."

According to the Defense Ministry, Chinese government vessels are entering Japanese waters at regular intervals of three times a month--early in the month, mid-month and late in the month. The usual pattern is that two or three ships would arrive in the morning, and then leave after about two hours.

This suggests that the ships could be under Beijing's control to some degree.

The Japan Coast Guard is responsible for dealing with Chinese government vessels in Japanese waters. Given that larger vessels are coming into use, discussions of a nonmilitary nature are called for, such as with respect to prioritized allocation of the defense budget to the Japan Coast Guard.

As for clarifying the division of roles between the Japan Coast Guard and the Maritime Self-Defense Force, a package of maritime policing bills, sponsored by opposition parties, warrants discussion. However, there has been little progress on this to date.

What the nation needs most is a crisis management policy to prevent accidental military encounters. It can be appreciated that Tokyo-Beijing talks are advancing on the early opening of a communication mechanism, such as a special hotline, between officials in the naval and air forces of the two nations. In addition, creating an environment where the leaders of the two nations can talk candidly to each other is vital to the establishment of peace and stability in the region.

While China's military expansion and aggressive maritime advancement cannot be overlooked, nothing can be resolved by just harping on about the perceived threat posed by China. Diplomatic efforts to ease the tensions are urgently needed.

Another major security-related challenge concerns extremist Islamic State militants and other international terrorist organizations. The white paper stated: "A situation has arisen that can never be considered irrelevant to Japan."

But it is generally agreed that there are limits to the effectiveness of military action against acts of international terrorism that are not state sponsored. In this sense, there is no denying that the nation's proposed security legislation, which leans heavily toward the use of armed force, comes across as "behind the times."

Japan is in its element when it makes nonmilitary contributions such as measures to combat poverty and contagious diseases and providing education. Japan definitely needs to hold more realistic discussions on how best to make use of its "pacifist nation" brand that has been cultivated over the last 70 years since the end of World War II.

The defense white paper is read closely by China and other neighboring nations. We would like it to become more of a vehicle for conveying constructive messages that will foster greater mutual trust with each nation.

| | コメント (0)

2015年7月22日 (水)

(社説)弁護士拘束 中国国民の権利損なう

--The Asahi Shimbun, July 19
EDITORIAL: 1.3 billion Chinese lose in Xi’s crackdown on human rights lawyers
(社説)弁護士拘束 中国国民の権利損なう

July 10 is now known as “Black Friday” by people concerned about human rights in China.

On that day, police detained human rights lawyers and activists in various parts of the nation in a large-scale concerted crackdown on people working for the cause.

Chinese authorities have continued the roundup in the ensuing days, interrogating more than 200 people so far. This is an outrageous act that cannot be overlooked.
The main target of the crackdown is Fengrui, a law firm in Beijing. People linked to Fengrui are still being held in custody.

Those who were rounded up in other parts of the nation, such as Hunan province, Shanghai and Henan province, are suspected to have links to Fengrui.

These civil-rights lawyers have been acting as defenders of the rights of ordinary people petitioning the authorities in various cases, including forced evictions from their homes.

The lawyers play an important role for improving the human rights situation in China, and such an attack on these lawyers and activists could cause serious damage to the rights of the entire Chinese public.

Beijing has used the state-controlled media to demonize the law firm as “a criminal organization that has disturbed social order.”

The accusation refers to Fengrui’s use of the Internet to draw public attention to cases of civil rights violations concerning disputes between police and local residents.

According to the government’s logic, all protests against the actions of authorities qualify as “anti-government” activities.

The latest move against civil-rights lawyers came just about two months after Pu Zhiqiang, a widely known human rights lawyer, was formally indicted in May.

Nearly 1,000 human rights activists were detained in China last year, according to some reports.

The administration of President Xi Jinping has been suppressing, with unprecedented harshness, people working for the protection of human rights in the country.

Since China started reforming its economy and opening its door to the outside world, two main forces have been fighting each other for dominance.

One is the newfound power of citizens supported by the rising standards of living and education. While they certainly have a conservative side, Chinese citizens have grown increasingly conscious of their life-related rights and have acquired the ability to take action.

Pitted against the power of citizens is the Communist Party’s political power to suppress dissenting voices in order to protect its one-party rule. This political power has been asserted aggressively by the Xi administration.

China’s 2004 constitutional amendments added a provision stipulating, “The state respects and preserves human rights.” The Constitution also guarantees freedom of speech, assembly and association.

But there is no system in place to ensure that these constitutional provisions are enforced. As a result, they are effectively dead provisions.

Meanwhile, a sweeping new national security law that came into force on July 1 could only reinforce the government’s inclination to restrict the rights of citizens under the pretext of national security. In early July, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein expressed concern about the human rights implications of the new security law.

In a key party conference held last autumn, the Xi administration pledged to promote wholeheartedly national governance based on law.

If what is happening in China is any indication, however, the law here actually means a stick to suppress citizens rather than a shield to protect them.

We are deeply concerned about the prospect that China’s 1.3 billion people will remain trapped in a miserable human rights situation that is far from the rule of law.

| | コメント (0)

2015年7月20日 (月)

本社世論調査:内閣支持率急落35% 不支持51%

July 20, 2015 (Mainichi Japan)
Abe Cabinet approval rating plummets to 35% after security bill vote: Mainichi poll
本社世論調査:内閣支持率急落35% 不支持51%

Public support for the Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has plunged to 35 percent, according to a Mainichi Shimbun opinion poll conducted on July 17 and 18, just after the ruling coalition rammed controversial security bills through the House of Representatives.

The figure was down 7 points from the previous survey on July 4 and 5, and was the lowest level seen since Prime Minister Abe returned to power in December 2012. The disapproval rating for the Abe Cabinet rose 8 points to 51 percent. It was also the first time that the disapproval rating for his Cabinet surpassed 50 percent.

Sixty-eight percent of respondents replied that it was a problem that the ruling coalition had forced the security bills -- which would allow Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense -- through the lower house last week, well above the 24 percent who said it was not a problem.

As public criticism of the proposed security legislation is growing, the survey results suggest that the government's steamrolling of the bills pushed down the Abe Cabinet's approval rating.


Of the respondents, 62 percent expressed opposition to the security bills, 4 points more than the previous poll, while 27 percent answered they supported the bills, 2 points less than the previous survey.

Only 28 percent said they believed that enacting the security legislation would increase Japan's deterrence against possible armed attacks. On the other hand, 64 percent expressed fears that Japan would face increased risks of being dragged into war as a result of the expansion of Self-Defense Forces overseas missions.

Nearly 90 percent of the respondents who said they feared that Japan could be dragged into war said they were opposed to the proposed security legislation.

The latest survey has shown that the public was also becoming increasingly critical of the government's aim of making sure that the bill becomes law during the ongoing Diet session, with 63 percent of the respondents voicing opposition, up 2 points from the previous poll, and 25 percent in favor, a 3-point decline.

An overwhelming majority of the pollees, 82 percent, said the government's explanation of the bills was insufficient, despite top government officials' claim that legislators had thorough discussions on the bills in the lower chamber.

Even supporters of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) were split almost evenly over whether the governing bloc's railroading of the security bills were proper, with 43 percent saying it was a problem and 47 percent answering it was not a problem.

Regarding what the respondents wanted opposition parties to do in deliberating the bills in the House of Councillors, 38 percent said opposition parties should demand that the bills be scrapped outright. Thirty-two percent, meanwhile, answered the parties should demand the bills be modified, while 20 percent replied they should cooperate in deliberations on the bills.

Many of those who backed opposition parties called for scrapping the bills, but the largest percentage, or 40 percent, of backers of the Japan Innovation Party (JIP) called for modification of the bills.

The approval rating for the LDP was 28 percent and that for the largest opposition Democratic Party of Japan came to 10 percent. The figures for the JIP and the LDP's junior coalition partner Komeito and the Japanese Communist Party stood at 6 percent, 4 percent and 5 percent, respectively.



 調査の方法 7月17、18日の2日間、コンピューターで無作為に数字を組み合わせて作った電話番号に、調査員が電話をかけるRDS法で調査した。福島第1原発事故で帰還困難区域などに指定されている市町村の電話番号は除いた。有権者のいる1760世帯から、1048人の回答を得た。回答率は60%。

毎日新聞 2015年07月19日 09時00分(最終更新 07月19日 09時33分)

| | コメント (0)

CO2削減目標 省エネを加速させる契機に

The Yomiuri Shimbun
New emission reduction goal should speed up energy-saving measures
CO2削減目標 省エネを加速させる契機に

It will not be easy to achieve the new reduction target for greenhouse gases adopted by the government, though it was made with an emphasis on its feasibility. To accomplish the target, both the public and private sectors will be required to work together for energy saving.

The government officially decided and submitted to the United Nations an emissions-reduction target for greenhouse gases to reduce them by 26 percent by fiscal 2030 in comparison to fiscal 2013 emissions.

The target was made based on Japan’s estimated composition of power sources in 2030.

According to that estimate, Japan will use less thermal power generation that depends on imported fuel and continue nuclear power generation. The ratio of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power will be increased, too. Under such an energy policy, the highest reduction rate possible was calculated.

Use of nuclear power generation, which does not emit carbon dioxide (CO2), has a very significant meaning as a measure against global warming. Reduction of power generation costs and other issues will pose challenges in generating electricity with renewable energy.

Greenhouse gas emissions have sharply increased from business facilities such as department stores, supermarkets and office buildings. According to the new target, their emissions will be cut by 40 percent. To achieve it, energy-saving lighting equipment and office machines must be introduced.

Currently, member countries are working on their own reduction targets toward the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) to be held in Paris at the end of this year.

Some of the members — including the United States, China and the European Union — have already submitted their targets to the United Nations.

Onus to cut emissions

If an agreement is made at COP21 on a new framework of measures against global warming from 2020, the members will start working to achieve the goals they have presented.

It will be significant in the new framework to impose obligations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on every signatory, learning a lesson from the mistake of the Kyoto Protocol that imposed such obligations only on developed countries. We expect Japan to play a leading role in making an equal and fair framework since it has presented a reduction target that stands up to those submitted by the United States and Europe.

Also, a mechanism should be built in the framework to make signatories observe their own goals. Only laying out goals will not stop the progression of global warming.

On the other hand, rigidly obliging the parties to achieve the targets, there would then arise the danger of repeating the failure of the Kyoto Protocol, which was hamstrung because of the non-participation of the United States.

From the standpoint of how to accomplish the aim of slashing the amount of greenhouse gas emissions globally, a framework having actual effectiveness must be formulated. What should be done is, for one thing, to oblige each country to report on the progress of its emission reduction measures at regular intervals. It will also be necessary to make signatories check the emission reduction efforts with each other, while prodding each other to raise the targets if possible. In addition, a ban should be placed on all signatories from allowing their respective targets to be lowered.

China, which has been under no obligation to cut back emissions under the Kyoto Protocol, is the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, accounting for one-fourth of the world’s total. How Beijing addresses the challenge of cutting back on emissions is a key to whether the emission reduction efforts of the world can prove successful.

Japan, in cooperation with the United States, European countries and others, must urge China to proactively make endeavors for reducing its emissions.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 19, 2015)

| | コメント (0)

2015年7月19日 (日)

(社説)新国立競技場問題 強行政治の行き詰まりだ

--The Asahi Shimbun, July 18
EDITORIAL: Stadium snafu shows failure of Abe’s strong-arm politics
(社説)新国立競技場問題 強行政治の行き詰まりだ

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s words sounded hollow when he announced his decision July 17 to scrap the much-criticized design of the new National Stadium, the main venue for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Abe said he made the decision after “giving careful attention to the voices of the people.”
“We want to ensure that the sports events will be praised by the people of the world,” he added.

Just one week ago, Abe, speaking in the Diet, rejected the idea of changing the costly design on grounds that construction would not be completed in time for the Olympics if it was altered.

His sudden reversal coincides with the ruling camp’s move to force controversial security legislation through the Lower House, despite growing objections to the package even as Diet deliberations on the bills progressed.

Abe’s about-face seems to be a ploy to stop the slide in public support for his Cabinet by acting like a leader who is willing to respond to the people’s opinion, at least on the stadium issue.

The foolish construction plan would have forced spending of a recklessly large amount of taxpayer money amid an unprecedented fiscal squeeze that is facing the nation.

The blueprint fell far short of the standards for public works projects, which should be supported by detailed explanations and serious consensus-building efforts, as well as a convincing long-term financing plan for the use of the facility after the completion.

“I have decided to take the current plan back to the drawing board and re-examine (the project) from scratch,” Abe told reporters at the prime minister’s office in Tokyo in announcing his inevitable change of policy.

It goes without saying that the Abe administration, the Tokyo metropolitan government, the Olympic organizing committee and other parties involved should now craft a down-to-earth construction plan for the stadium that contributes to promoting grass-roots sports in the future.
They should also fulfill their international responsibility to organize a successful Olympics and Paralympics in 2020.


However, the key question is why this obvious decision had been delayed for so long. Why was the plan kept unchanged until now, despite being so clearly and seriously flawed?

This prolonged delay in tackling the problem points to one of the deep-rooted problems with the nation’s ailing governing system: a fuzziness about who is responsible for what.

Hakubun Shimomura, the sports minister, tried to avoid taking the blame by saying he did not receive related information in a timely manner, while the Japan Sports Council, the operator of the stadium project, said the sports ministry is responsible for making the decision to change the plan.

Yoshiro Mori, the former prime minister and president of the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, who previously called for the construction of a grand stadium even if it cost 300 billion yen or 400 billion yen ($2.4 billion or $3.2 billion), had the effrontery to say on July 17, “I didn’t like the design of the stadium from the beginning. Nobody is responsible (for the fiasco).”

The government’s explanation about the construction plan raised a raft of questions. One was how it intended to finance the project--estimated construction costs have almost doubled from the original budget to 252 billion yen--and cover the running costs after completion. But the government just kept waffling.

After Abe’s announcement of the change of course, Tokyo Governor Yoichi Masuzoe angrily said, “Who will take the responsibility?”
That’s a reasonable question. But it is still unclear who of all the people involved, including the capital’s governor, is ultimately responsible for the project.

According to an Asahi Shimbun report, one Diet member made surprising remarks about the issue.
“Nobody dares to hang a bell to the cat’s neck as the ultimate responsibility (for the project) has to fall on the two prime ministers of Abe and Mori,” the lawmaker was quoted as saying.

People in power get their own way by using their clout. That’s the reality of the Japanese political community that has been highlighted by this stadium snafu. In this domain, it seems, the prime minister and other political heavyweights act like absolute monarchs, and even members of the same party cannot challenge their opinions and decisions.


Made under growing pressure from public opinion, Abe’s decision to change the stadium design also speaks volumes about how his style of politics has ceased to work.

Even as the stadium project went adrift, the Abe administration consistently refused to pay attention to dissenting voices. It has become the norm for responsible policymakers in the government to ignore public opinion. This is a serious problem.

The stadium’s design, chosen through an international competition, has been roundly criticized by architects and civic organizations from the start. Critics have said the design does not blend with the surrounding landscape. They have also argued it will be too gigantic and construction costs could snowball.

There have been many opportunities for the government to reconsider the plan, including the time when the basic design blueprint was approved in May last year. Shimomura pointed out that the design was determined when the Democratic Party of Japan was in power, in what sounded like an attempt to shuffle off responsibility onto the opposition party.

But the Abe administration should do serious soul-searching about the fact that it has missed out on all the opportunities to rethink the plan.


The Abe administration has shown a troubling tendency to ignore public opinion, avoid its responsibility to explain its actions, and go ahead with policy decisions for the nation’s future that are not based on solid ground.

The stadium issue is not the only example that attests to this tendency of the administration. The same mind-set has also been behind the way the administration has handled the package of security bills and moved to restart offline nuclear reactors, which are issues of grave concern for the public.

During the Diet debate on the security legislation, the prime minister and other members of the Cabinet made many unintelligible remarks while failing to answer people’s doubts and questions.

The administration is forging ahead with plans to bring idle reactors back online without making clear who takes the ultimate responsibility for the safety of the people.

Many Japanese have voiced clear and strong concerns about these two initiatives.

Abe has been trying to push them through by using the ruling camp’s majority in the Diet while paying little respect to dissenting opinions even though these initiatives have a direct bearing on people’s lives and safety.

Since those in power pay no heed to what the people say, it is not surprising that scholars and citizens are becoming increasingly vocal in expressing objections to his policies.

The administration should not alienate people from politics any further.

In explaining the reasons for his sudden decision to rethink the stadium plan, Abe said, “Each Japanese and each athlete has to play a leading role.”

If that is how he truly feels, Abe should realize that each individual member of the public should play a leading role in making decisions on all policy issues, including security and nuclear power issues.

The stadium debacle offers a wide range of important lessons for the administration to glean.

| | コメント (0)

2015年7月18日 (土)



東京には様々な動物園 や水族園があります。
まだ小学生である二人の娘たちには特設展示されている「両生類爬虫類のえさの食べ方 捕え方」展を見せてあげたいですね。


ブログで口コミプロモーションならレビューブログ   レビューブログからの情報です

| | コメント (0)


新鮮で高品質なきのこを生産販売しているホクトという会社がホクト新CM という新しい動画をユーチューブに公開しています。




ブログで口コミプロモーションならレビューブログ   レビューブログからの情報です

| | コメント (0)

(社説)法案、参院へ 怒りと疑問にこたえよ

--The Asahi Shimbun, July 17
EDITORIAL: Upper House should respond to public anger, doubts about security bills
(社説)法案、参院へ 怒りと疑問にこたえよ

Every day, thundering, layered chants by people of all generations and political stripes echo around the Diet building.
“Don’t decide by yourself,” they vociferate in protest against the security legislation now moving through the Diet. “Don’t make light of the people.”

With these cries, they are asking, “Is this really democracy?” and expressing anger about not being respected as “the people with whom sovereign power resides.”

Arrogantly brushing aside the questions and anger raised by the legislation, the ruling coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito on July 16 forced the package of national security bills through the Lower House.

The administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe appears to assume that the people will eventually forget the way the legislation was rammed through the house. But the people who have sovereign power will never forget the Abe administration’s contempt for them.

Now, it is the Upper House’s turn to debate the legislation.

The Upper House has been described, correctly or not, as “the seat of common sense” and “the chamber for reconsideration.”

In contrast to “politics of numbers” practiced at the Lower House, the Upper House is said to be the arena for “politics of reason.”

The Upper House’s original mission is to ensure cautious and thoughtful debate at the Diet.

The Upper House cannot be dissolved for a snap election, and its members don’t lose their seats during their six-year terms, two years longer than those for Lower House lawmakers, who could lose their jobs before completing their terms.
This is because the Upper House is supposed to consider bills and issues from a longer and different perspective than the Lower House and adopt a multifaceted approach to dealing with them.

The system is based on the notion that conclusions and decisions reached through clashes over differing values and opinions are less likely to be misguided ones.

But this important principle of pluralism has been under crushing political pressure from the Abe administration.

The administration has imposed its view about the issue of Japan’s right to collective self-defense on the Cabinet Legislation Bureau, which traditionally said Japan is not allowed to exercise that right, by replacing its chief.

A group of the prime minister’s personal advisers, who are all his friends and allies, issued a report endorsing Japan’s exercise of its right to collective self-defense. The LDP has also made a series of moves to intimidate news media.

Simply playing ball with the Abe administration’s “politics of numbers” would be tantamount to political suicide for the Upper House because one reason for the chamber’s existence is the importance of political pluralism. Playing ball would only reinforce the lingering argument for abolishing the Upper House.

A long list of topics related to the security legislation need to be discussed at the Upper House.

For one, the government has failed to offer any convincing reply to the arguments of most constitutional scholars that the legislation is unconstitutional.

The government has also failed to make clear in what situations Japan can engage in collective self-defense. Abe has only repeated that the decision will be based on a “comprehensive judgment.”
The administration’s attitude has only raised deep concerns among the public, leaving many people wondering whether Abe’s words mean the government should be given carte blanche to make such decisions.

A wave of protests against this legislation has spread to a wide range of people, including academics, students, legal experts and independent citizens, across the nation.
Driving this growing wave of protest is a sense of urgency about the crisis that is threatening to destroy this nation’s democracy and constitutionalism. This concern is shared widely by both proponents and opponents of the legislation.

The members of the Diet who are discussing this legislation are lawmakers chosen through an electoral system that was declared to be in “a state of unconstitutionality” by the Supreme Court and who have been dragging their feet on rectifying the situation.

Whom do they represent? If they want to answer this question, Upper House members should demonstrate their commitment to “politics of reason.”
 あなたたちは何を代表しているのか? この問いに少しでも答えたいなら「理の政治」を打ち立てるしかない。

They should remember that the people who hold the sovereign power will be watching their actions with a watchful and suspicious eye.

| | コメント (0)

2015年7月17日 (金)

(社説)安保法案の採決強行 戦後の歩み覆す暴挙

--The Asahi Shimbun, July 16
EDITORIAL: Japan’s postwar progress outrageously reversed
(社説)安保法案の採決強行 戦後の歩み覆す暴挙

The ruling coalition led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe railroaded a package of controversial security bills through a Lower House special committee on July 15.

For Abe, getting the bills passed by the committee represents a step forward toward in delivering on his promise to enact the legislation by this summer. He made the pledge during his April 29 address to a joint meeting of the U.S. House and Senate.

Even now, however, it cannot be said that the package of bills is widely understood by the Japanese public.

That’s hardly surprising. As the Diet spent more time on debating them, more contradictions in the legislation came to light, raising fresh doubts.

The situation was so miserable that even Abe himself had to admit, shortly before the vote, that public understanding of the legislation has not advanced much.


Yet, the Abe administration plowed on regardless. The ruling camp used its parliamentary majority to get its way, even though the bills have been judged to be “unconstitutional” by many members of the public, constitutional scholars, former chiefs of the Cabinet Legislation Bureau and a wide range of other experts.
This is an outrageous action that takes a majority force’s arrogance and irresponsibility to the extreme.

This move is not just a rebellion against constitutionalism, which in essence means that the government’s power is defined and limited by the Constitution. It is also a serious challenge to the value of the democratic system Japan has been building up during the 70 years since the end of World War II.

Let us keep in our memory a statement Abe repeated in the process of the deliberations on the proposed legislation.

“After mature and exhaustive debate, the decision should be made when the time is ripe for the decision. That is the proper way of parliamentary democracy.”

But we must say that if Diet deliberations are not intended as a serious effort to build a consensus with the public and are evaluated only by the amount of time spent, they cannot qualify as “mature debate.”

Even though it won a parliamentary majority in the last election, the ruling camp has no right to contravene the basic principles of the Constitution like pacifism and challenge the fundamental values of democracy by making such a vital security policy decision on the basis of “a majority vote without mature debate.”

If that is the Abe administration’s approach to democracy, we can never support it.

Let us look back on the Abe administration’s track record to date.

Prior to the Cabinet decision last summer to allow Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense, the administration established its own National Security Council, which makes it possible for a small number of ministers to make security policy decisions. At the same time, the administration went ahead with the controversial state secrets protection law.

If the national security legislation is enacted, the government will be able to make decisions on the use of weapons by the Self-Defense Forces anywhere on the earth, even if Japan is not under attack. And the decisions can be made in a process that is not subject to public or parliamentary scrutiny.

Such decisions will be based merely on a “comprehensive judgment” by the prime minister and a small number of other Cabinet members.

While the government will have broad discretion in making security policy decisions, there will be no legal guarantee of sufficient involvement in the decision-making process even by the Diet.

There have been other episodes that help illustrate the Abe administration’s views about democracy, which clearly put the state before the people and public interest before individual interest.

In one such episode that is still fresh in our memory, the Liberal Democratic Party made a series of intimidating remarks that raised concerns about freedom of expression. One ruling party lawmaker called for “punishing” the news media and said, “advertisers should voluntarily boycott media that are misleading Japan.”


The LDP also called into question the appropriateness of specific programs aired by Japan Broadcasting Corp. (NHK) and TV Asahi, and summoned executives of these broadcasters for questioning. Prior to last year’s Lower House election, the party sent letters to TV broadcasters urging them to ensure “fair and neutral” reporting on the election.

This is not an issue for news organizations alone. Regulating freedom of expression and freedom of speech could lead to restrictions on the people’s right to know. That would be tantamount to trampling on the rights of the people as a whole.

The education minister has urged national universities to make sure that the national flag is hoisted and the anthem sung during ceremonies. The LDP has also turned up the heat on teachers in response to the scheduled lowering of the voting age to 18. The party has put strong pressure on teachers to maintain “political neutrality” with the threat of punishment.

Freedom of expression and academic freedom mean that activities like news reporting, academic research and education can be pursued freely without any restriction or intervention by the government.
These freedoms, which are the foundations of healthy democracy, are now threatened by people who control permit and license rights as well as public funds.

Ruling party heavyweight Shigeru Ishiba, minister in charge of revitalizing local economies, recently stated that the LDP will "face a crisis when people increasingly begin to feel that there is something obnoxious (about the party)."
But it is the people’s freedom and rights that are facing a crisis.

The draft proposal to rewrite the Constitution that the LDP decided on three years ago, when it was in opposition, contains an element that symbolically suggests the party’s basic stance toward these democratic values.

The draft would set certain conditions for freedom of expression that is completely and unconditionally guaranteed by the Constitution. It says, “Activities aimed at harming public interest and public order” shall not be allowed.


As Abe and other top policymakers in the ruling camp say, some significant changes have occurred in the international environment surrounding Japan. This includes China’s rise as a major power.

And, quite rightly, political leaders are responsible for considering new security policy responses to such changes.

If, as a result of such a policy review, policymakers believe Japan needs to be allowed to exercise the right to collective self-defense or to provide logistic support to the forces of other countries as part of its international contribution, political leaders should first explain their views to the public and then seek to amend the Constitution through formal procedures, which would entail holding a national referendum on the issue.
That is how this radical shift in security policy should be carried out in our democracy.

Ignoring this rule seriously undermines the very foundation for Japan’s identity as a country under the rule of law.

We cannot accept the Abe administration’s mistaken views about democracy, which seems to assume that the majority force can do whatever it likes.

The battle is not over yet. We call on the Abe administration to pay serious attention to the voices of the people with whom sovereign power resides instead of paying lip service to the importance of “mature debate.”

| | コメント (0)

2015年7月16日 (木)

ギリシャ合意 危機回避へまだ楽観できない

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Agreement on Greek debt warrants no optimism that crisis has ended
ギリシャ合意 危機回避へまだ楽観できない

At a summit meeting, 19 eurozone countries within the European Union agreed in principle to resume support for Greece.

The key accord is to provide support of up to €86 billion (about ¥11.7 trillion) over a three-year period.

It is laudable that after marathon negotiations lasting 17 hours they avoided a rupture that could have led to Greece’s financial collapse and its exit from the eurozone for the moment.

However, as a condition for extending this support, Greece is required to legislate by Wednesday structural reforms to reduce pensions, raise taxes and other measures. There is no reason to be optimistic.

The administration of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras must make every possible effort for the legislation within the time limit so as not to rekindle the crisis.

The main cause of the tortuous negotiations lies in Tsipras’ insincere and irresponsible attitude toward them.

In addition to continually putting off submission of draft proposals for reforms that the EU sought, Tsipras abruptly decided to hold a national referendum on whether to accept fiscal austerity. He called on the Greek public to vote “no” so he could be in a better position in negotiations.

Although more people voted “no” in the referendum than otherwise, the agreement this time has imposed stricter conditions on Greece, including the sale of state-owned assets worth €50 billion.

It is the price that Greece has to pay for being too clever by half, resulting in increasing distrust from Germany and other countries.

Challenge for Tsipras

The referendum left Tsipras facing a heavy challenge domestically — how to explain an agreement containing austerity measures to people who opposed such measures, and then how to obtain their understanding.

Even within the ruling party, there is a force that opposes the austerity measures. There is concern that Tsipras’ political foundation could be undermined and the government may not be able to implement the agreed fiscal reconstruction measures.

Due to three rounds of financial support from 2010, the debt incurred by Greece will exceed €300 billion. Unless Greece rebuilds its flagging economy, it will not be able to continue to repay its debts. The country must rapidly reform its ineffective industrial structure and achieve economic independence.

The Greek issue again shows in bold relief the contradiction of the euro system.

Eurozone countries have adopted a concerted financial policy under the common euro, but engage in fiscal management independently. Therefore, they suffer from a structural problem — they cannot reduce the economic gap among member nations through fiscal policies, thereby widening the disparity.

Germany and northern European countries, which are healthy economically and fiscally, asked Greece for stern fiscal discipline, while France and southern European countries, such as Italy, which are economically and fiscally uncertain, showed a sympathetic attitude toward Greece.

To maintain eurozone unity, it is important not to exacerbate this “north-south problem.”

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 15, 2015)

| | コメント (0)

2015年7月15日 (水)



チラシ広告のポスティング を予定しているエリアに期間を合わせて配布することにより、例えば 1枚あたり5.0円のポスティング料金が1円引きで4.0円となります。



| | コメント (0)

安保法案公聴会 国際秩序の危機を直視したい

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Look squarely at international threats when debating security legislation
安保法案公聴会 国際秩序の危機を直視したい

Amid the increasing security threats Japan faces, enhancing deterrence and buttressing the Japan-U.S. alliance must be tackled urgently. This insight and the alarm felt by experts on international politics must be taken seriously.

Testifying during a public hearing held Monday at the House of Representatives special committee on security-related legislation, former diplomat Yukio Okamoto, who was recommended for testimony by the ruling parties, said, “It’s impossible for Japan to protect the lives of Japanese people and vessels single-handedly.” Okamoto was commenting on the sea-lanes between the Middle East and Japan. As reasons for his position, he cited destabilization in the Middle East, rampant activities of radical militant organizations and pirates, and China’s expanded maritime presence.

Referring to the significance of the security legislation, Okamoto said it would benefit Japan to “take part in a community to protect itself from the violence of a foreign enemy.”

With the progress of military technology and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, no country can today keep peace single-handedly.

Japan, which relies on trade for its survival, enjoys the benefits of international peace. So it is natural for it to contribute proactively to world stability, which also leads to ensuring security for the country.

Doshisha University President Koji Murata stressed the need for bolstering the Japan-U.S. alliance by referring to a change in the world’s power balance caused by the emergence of China and the decline of U.S. influence.

In connection with the fact that many constitutional scholars have concluded the government-proposed security bills are unconstitutional, Murata said: “Many experts on security issues will affirmatively respond to the bills. Constitutional scholars do not represent all scholars.”

Discretion for government

Given the fluidity of international affairs, Murata said it was unavoidable for the definition of a “survival threatening situation” — a condition allowing for a limited exercise of the right of collective self-defense — to remain ambiguous.

Determination of such situations is something that should be made by a sitting government while making an overall assessment of the circumstances at sites of conflict and the state of international affairs. Self-Defense Forces cannot be mobilized effectively unless a government is granted a certain degree of discretionary power.

Ryuichi Ozawa, professor at the Jikei University School of Medicine, who was recommended by the opposition camp, called for abandoning the bills, saying they are “unconstitutional.” Commenting on the right of collective self-defense, Sota Kimura, associate professor at Tokyo Metropolitan University, said, “Use of military force when an armed attack on Japan has not been launched is by definition unconstitutional.”

But as for the exercise of the right of collective self-defense, strict criteria have been set, including threats that would undermine the people’s rights. Approving the exercise of the right is in line with judicial judgments and government interpretations that approve of self-defense measures to ensure the country’s survival. So it is not correct to assert the use of the right is unconstitutional.

Prof. Jiro Yamaguchi of Hosei University dismissed the security legislation as deviating from what is allowed under the principle of “an exclusively defensive security policy.” But use of military force in situations threatening Japan’s survival is assumed to be in line with the exclusively defensive security policy.

About 110 hours have been spent on deliberations on security legislation. In a wide-ranging debate, it seems that all questionable points have been presented for discussion.

Now that the public hearing, a prerequisite for a vote on the bills, has ended, it can be said that lower house deliberations on the matter are entering a final stage.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 14, 2015)

| | コメント (0)

2015年7月14日 (火)


コヴィアがスマホ、タブレットのターミナルランチャー「Terminal Launcher」 を提供開始しました。

コヴィア、SIMフリースマートフォンを用途特化型の専用端末として利用できる「Terminal Launcher(ターミナルランチャー)」を提供開始


| | コメント (0)


コヴィアのIoTゲートウェイ「UM-120」 の話しなんです。




コヴィア、WiFi IEEE802.11a/b/g/n/acをバックボーンとしたBeacon、屋内GPS(IMES)、Zigbee対応のIoTゲートウェイ「UM-120」を開発


| | コメント (0)



iPhone修理版Uber!「iPhoneを修理したいお客様」と「iPhoneを修理するスタッフ」を繋ぐマッチングサイトリリースのお知らせ Life Support Lab株式会社

| | コメント (0)

核燃料サイクル 政府の責任で軌道に乗せよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Get nuclear fuel cycle program on track for government initiative
核燃料サイクル 政府の責任で軌道に乗せよ

The nuclear fuel cycle project — which aims to reuse spent nuclear fuel to generate power — is undoubtedly an important undertaking for Japan, a country that lacks sufficient energy resources.

A solid framework must be constructed to ensure that the plan is carried out.

An expert panel of the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry is poised to establish a working group that will study the future management structure of Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd. (JNFL), the company at the heart of the project.

One issue of key importance is whether the government should become more deeply involved in the firm’s operations.

Japan’s nuclear energy programs have been implemented on a “government-led, privately operated” basis, whereby utilities address the task of materializing specific projects based on government policy.

The JNFL has been overseeing the planned reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel, in which uranium and plutonium will be recovered to produce a new type of nuclear fuel. In terms of personnel and funding, the company has been fully supported by electric power companies.

But the current situation is serious. Though the construction of the firm’s spent nuclear fuel reprocessing complex in the village of Rokkasho, Aomori Prefecture, is now in its final stages, the project has fallen nearly 20 years behind schedule.

Once the Nuclear Regulation Authority completes its evaluation of the Rokkasho project, the start of the reprocessing plant’s operations will be in sight. Now is a critical time for getting the envisioned nuclear fuel cycle program on track. The government must act responsibly in tackling the funding and managerial challenges facing the JNFL.

Utilities must pull own weight

The idea of converting the JNFL into a government-authorized corporation has been circulating within the government. The proposed transformation, which is aimed mainly at strengthening the government’s supervisory power, would allow the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry to have a say in the appointment of the corporation’s executives and related matters.

However, some believe that the move could deprive its operations of flexibility. Concerns are also being voiced in Aomori Prefecture, which is hosting the facility, that the transformation plan could have an adverse impact on employment and the regional economy by reducing the chances of local residents being hired.

The ministry panel’s working group of experts must hold in-depth discussions on the pros and cons of giving the JNFL the status of a government-authorized entity.

The prolongation of the NRA’s safety screening process has left every utility in difficulty. If the retail electricity market is fully liberalized next spring as scheduled, industry competition is certain to intensify, making the business climate even more stringent. The negative repercussions of liberalization could even affect the JNFL, which has been heavily dependent on power firms for its own revenues.

The estimated total cost of building the reprocessing complex is about ¥11 trillion. To finance its construction, the JNFL plans to have the reprocessing plant operate for 40 years.

Should the business of the JNFL come to a standstill, it would likely become difficult to continue the nuclear fuel cycle program. In such an event, there would be nowhere to dispose of spent nuclear fuel, which would thereby jeopardize the stable operations of nuclear power plants.

To establish a sustainable nuclear fuel cycle, it is imperative that each utility uphold its share of the burden in backing the JNFL, even after the electricity market is fully liberalized.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 12, 2015)

| | コメント (0)

2015年7月13日 (月)

参院選制度改革 「合区」の導入もやむを得ない

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Merged constituencies unavoidable for upper house electoral reform
参院選制度改革 「合区」の導入もやむを得ない

Planned electoral reforms for the House of Councillors represent a major institutional change, as they reexamine the prefecture-based electoral system that the public has been widely familiar with for many years.

The Liberal Democratic Party has decided on a reform plan for the upper house electoral system that centers on merging thinly populated prefectures with neighboring prefectures to create new constituencies. The ruling party plans to submit a bill to the current Diet session to revise the Public Offices Election Law, and aims to apply the new system from an upper house election next summer.

The LDP’s reform plan is exactly what has been called for by the Japan Innovation Party and three other opposition parties, and seeks to create new electoral districts by combining Tottori and Shimane prefectural constituencies and Tokushima and Kochi prefectural constituencies.

It will also change the number of seats allocated to some electoral districts.

As a result, a total of 10 seats will be added to some electoral districts and a total of 10 seats will be cut in other districts, while the total number of seats is maintained at 242 as today.

As a result, the maximum vote-value disparity of 4.77:1 in the 2013 upper house election is expected to be reduced to 2.97:1.

There is a limit to what can be done to correct the gap if that goal is pursued while maintaining the framework of the current electoral system, which combines elections in constituencies and the national proportional representation district. To resolve the vote-value disparity that the Supreme Court ruled to be “in a state of unconstitutionality,” it is unavoidable to merge electoral districts on a limited scale.

Discussions on reform of the electoral system by parliamentary groups in the upper house have been in limbo since they were started in 2013. This is because the LDP, the biggest Diet group, has been persistently passive about pressing for drastic reform.

The opposition parties have vehemently criticized this stance of the LDP. Even its coalition partner, Komeito, reached an agreement with the Democratic Party of Japan to integrate 20 prefectural constituencies into 10.

Long-term perspective vital

The LDP has finally agreed to accept the combination of constituencies, despite opposition from within the party, probably because it could not overcome the pressure from other parties.

Once an accord is reached on combining constituencies as a means of rectifying the vote disparity, it is highly likely that future reforms will also seek to expand the number of merged constituencies. This may make it difficult to return to discussions on introducing a proportional representation bloc election system, as proposed by former upper house President Takeo Nishioka, and a large bloc constituency system.

It is notable that the combined electoral district system has not a few adverse effects.

There are fears that the system creates the possibility that no one from underpopulated prefectures can be represented in the upper house. It will make it unavoidable for the LDP and the DPJ to make such adjustments as fielding candidates alternately from adjacent constituencies, and fielding one of the two candidates in a proportional representation election.

If prefectural administrative units with unique historical and cultural characteristics are shaken up by the adoption of the combined electoral district system, it will weaken the element that lawmakers elected from constituencies represent regional areas.

Amid the growing population gap between urban and rural areas, there are concerns that too much emphasis on securing equality in vote values will make it difficult for regional voices to be reflected in national politics.

Discussions on the electoral system reform must be held from a long-range perspective.

In an effort to promote differentiation of the upper house from the House of Representatives, and on the premise that the Constitution is revised, it is worth studying the introduction of a system in which personnel with professional expertise and experience will be recommended or appointed as upper house members without going through elections.

Discussion should also be deepened on the roles and functions required of the upper house.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 10, 2015)

| | コメント (0)

2015年7月12日 (日)

BRICS会議 中露の国際秩序挑戦が露骨だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun
China, Russia pose blatant challenge to economy, security of world order
BRICS会議 中露の国際秩序挑戦が露骨だ

China and Russia have evidently bolstered their ties to challenge both the economic and security dimensions of the current international order led by the United States and Europe.

The BRICS group — which comprises the five emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — has put forth a policy of strengthened cooperation after holding a summit meeting in the central Russian city of Ufa.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who chaired the meeting, called for the authority of BRICS to be enhanced to boost its influence on the world economy. Chinese President Xi Jinping echoed his view, saying international economic rules must be changed to meet the evolving state of global affairs.

Their remarks can be said to have plainly revealed China and Russia’s ambitions to change the international financial system revolving around the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund and centering on Japan, Europe and the United States.

Launched by the BRICS nations, the New Development Bank is scheduled to start operation as early as December. Along with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, it apparently serves as a means for China and Russia to promote infrastructure development in emerging and developing countries, thereby increasing their influence over them.

It is not acceptable that the joint declaration issued after the summit stated, “We condemn unilateral military interventions and economic sanctions in violation of international law.”

Russia has persistently engaged in military interventions by supporting pro-Russia separatist militants in eastern Ukraine. Such being the case, Russia is hardly qualified to condemn sanctions imposed on it by the United States and Europe.

Conflicting interests

The joint declaration also stated, “We express our commitment to resolutely reject the continued attempts to misrepresent the results of World War II.” This strongly reflected China’s intention to check Japan over the issue of historical perceptions ahead of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s statement to mark the 70th anniversary of the war’s end.

China has been executing a plan to build military facilities on reclaimed land over reefs in the South China Sea, a move bound to destabilize the postwar security order. Unless China and Russia alter such hard-line policies, the international community will not cease its criticism of the two countries.

Following the BRICS meeting, a summit meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) was held in the same Russian city. The group comprises China, Russia and four Central Asian countries, including Kazakhstan.

China is believed to be utilizing the SCO framework to smoothly realize its “Silk Road” initiative, which calls for a huge economic zone to be built along what was once the Silk Road.

But in Central Asia, China’s interests conflict with those of Russia, which leads the Eurasian Economic Union. Putin and Xi affirmed that the two countries would promote cooperation by integrating the two economic-zone plans. But the fact remains that the presence of China, as the world’s No. 2 economic power, overwhelms that of Russia.

Amid mutual distrust, China and Russia have emphasized the importance of working together. In cooperation with the United States and other nations, Japan needs to closely watch the moves of these two countries.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 11, 2015)

| | コメント (0)

2015年7月11日 (土)

中国株乱高下 強引な市場介入が招いた混迷

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Heavy-handed intervention behind turmoil roiling Chinese stock markets
中国株乱高下 強引な市場介入が招いた混迷

Recent events have reinforced just how difficult it is to steer the Chinese economy through the slowdown it is facing.

Chinese stock prices are continuing their wild fluctuations.

The Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index, China’s leading stock index, surged from the latter half of 2014. In June this year, the index reached about 2½ times its level a year earlier. However, after the index peaked, the market was swamped by a mood of selling. The Shanghai index has plunged as much as 30 percent in the past month.

The panic on the Chinese stock market is having repercussions in markets around the globe. The Nikkei Stock Average in Tokyo has dipped below 20,000.

On Thursday, prices on the Shanghai exchange regained some ground as expectations rose regarding steps taken by Chinese authorities to push up share prices. However, doubts linger over the staying power of these measures. Investors will need to exercise caution over volatile share price movements for a while yet.

It should be recognized that the chaos on the Chinese stock market was brought about by failed policies of the authorities.

In an attempt to shore up the economy, which was losing steam due to the deterioration of real estate market conditions and other factors, China launched a string of policies to nudge up share prices and stimulate private consumption. The appetite to invest was whetted as interest rates were lowered several times and state-run media carried predictions that share prices would continue to rise.

The authorities bear a heavy responsibility for creating a “government-manufactured bubble” to prime the economic pump.

Hurt by short-term view

As the downward trend in share prices gathered strength, Chinese authorities rolled out a slew of policies for propping up stock prices, with little regard to how these actions might appear to the public. Major securities companies were even ordered to buy about ¥2.4 trillion of exchange-traded funds.

This spur-of-the-moment market intervention by the authorities has undeniably laid bare the peculiarities of the Chinese stock market.

The immaturity of the Chinese market has also added to the confusion.

Because the participation of overseas investors is restricted in the Chinese markets, about 80 percent of all transactions are conducted by individual domestic investors.

These individual investors have soared in number since the market began rising last year. They strongly tend to make buy and sell decisions based on short-term price movements and other data, and observers have said this is one reason share prices make such sudden, sweeping changes in direction.

One peculiar element of the Chinese market is the system that allows a company to decide to suspend trading of its shares. There are numerous problems with hampering the free purchase and sale of shares due to the circumstances of a given company.

China is seeking to switch from a model of high economic growth centered on development investment, to a “new normal” that will allow a soft landing through stable growth driven by consumption.

However, Beijing has been unable to put the brakes on the slowdown in economic growth. The Chinese government has again started steps to prop up the economy through investment, including its decision to establish a new ¥6 trillion fund to be used for investment in infrastructure development.

Shifting to policies that could generate a new bubble will inhibit China’s mid- and long-term growth. This aberration in the world’s second-largest economic power must not be allowed to develop into a situation that shakes the global economy.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 10, 2015)

| | コメント (0)

2015年7月10日 (金)

産業革命遺産 祝賀に水差す韓国の政治工作

The Yomiuri Shimbun
S. Korea’s political maneuvering rains on Japan’s UNESCO parade
産業革命遺産 祝賀に水差す韓国の政治工作

It was persistent political maneuvering by the South Korean government to pour cold water on Japan’s festive mood for the World Heritage site registration.

The UNESCO World Heritage Committee, meeting in Germany, has officially decided to add Japan’s Meiji era (1868-1912) industrial revolution sites to the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage list.

The sites are mainly bases for iron and steel manufacturing, shipbuilding and coal industries in the mid-19th to early 20th centuries. They comprise 23 assets in eight prefectures, including the state-run Yawata Steel Works in Fukuoka Prefecture and Hashima Coal Mine — better known as Gunkanjima — in Nagasaki Prefecture. They are heritage sites that Japan can boast of to the world.

It was unfortunate that the South Korean government excessively played up the “negative side” of Japan’s heritage sites.

South Korea initially opposed the registration, claiming that Korean workers were requisitioned at some of the facilities during World War II. But it changed its policy at a foreign ministerial meeting in June and agreed to cooperate with Japan on the bid for World Heritage status.

However, after that, it was revealed that South Korea, at a committee meeting, prepared a draft of remarks stating that Japan had admitted the requisitioned workers were “forced labor.” It included wording that likened the facilities to slave export ports. For that reason, Japan protested the draft and the prior coordination between the two countries hit a snag.

South Korea then seemed to shift the emphasis to an international campaign to spread the idea that requisitioned workers were “forced labor.” It was irrational of South Korea to lobby to strengthen its position over issues relating to historical perceptions at a meeting meant to discuss the protection of cultural assets.

Requisition mischaracterized

The requisition that Japan carried out through entire territories at that time, including the Korean Peninsula, was based on a national order and targeted all the people there. It is a fact that many Korean workers were mobilized to Japan, but it was different from “forced labor” that violates international laws.

In the statement made at the committee meeting, Japan pointed out, “There were a large number of Koreans and others who were brought against their will and forced to work under harsh conditions.” By using expressions other than “forced labor” while making concessions to South Korea, Japan intended to have come to terms with South Korea.

However, turning Japan’s statement to its own advantage, South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung Se said, “The Japanese government announced there was ‘forced work,’” and South Korean newspapers covered it extensively. Japan thus wound up letting South Korea cause trouble and have what it wanted, failing to remove the cause of conflicts between Japan and South Korea.

In the 1965 Agreement Between Japan and the Republic of Korea Concerning the Settlement of Problems in Regard to Property and Claims and Economic Cooperation, Japan and South Korea confirmed that all such claims, including those of former requisitioned workers, were legally settled.  1965年の請求権協定で、元徴用工を含めた請求権問題は法的に解決済みだ。

Seoul has told Tokyo that it will not use Japan’s statement on the workers to deal with issues concerning the claims. Is there any possibility that South Korea could bring up the issues again in relation to the statement?

Due to the latest dustup, “anti-South Korean” sentiment in Japan further increased.

It is safe to say that cold water was also poured onto the momentum toward the improvement of relations between the two countries.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 8, 2015)

| | コメント (0)

2015年7月 9日 (木)

中国CO2削減 最大排出国の責任はどこに

The Yomiuri Shimbun
China needs to fulfill its obligation in combating global warming
中国CO2削減 最大排出国の責任はどこに

China should fulfill its responsibility in fighting global warming as the world’s largest carbon dioxide emitter.

The country has submitted to the United Nations its target for cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. Its main goal is to reduce CO2 emissions by 60 percent to 65 percent per unit of gross domestic product by the end of 2030, compared with 2005 levels.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang emphasized his country’s determination in this respect, saying, “[China] will do its utmost to combat climate change.” Given its numerical target, however, China’s CO2 emissions are bound to increase if its GDP continues to grow.

China has said it will ensure the total amount of domestic CO2 emissions decreases after reaching a peak around 2030.

China’s reduction target is far from plausible. Its stance seems to reflect its government’s determination to place priority on achieving economic growth rather than adopting environmental protection measures.

A new framework to replace the Kyoto Protocol on global warming will be worked out at a U.N. climate change conference in Paris — officially titled 21st Session of the Conference of Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) — toward the end of the year. The new framework is expected to take effect in 2020.

In preparation for the COP21 meeting, developed nations have unveiled their respective objectives for reductions in total emissions.

China’s per-GDP reduction target can be viewed as an attempt to emphasize its difference from more industrialized countries in its efforts to fight global warming. The country’s posture is based on its belief that developed nations should do more to address the problem, given that their industrial activities led to global warming.

Large rise in emissions

However, it should be noted that in recent years there has been a remarkable increase in CO2 emissions from newly emerging and developing countries, which are not obliged to curtail their emissions under the Kyoto Protocol. China accounts for about one-fourth of the world’s total CO2 emissions. Its per-capita emissions compare with European Union levels.

It is essential for China to adopt an even more proactive approach toward the problem, a task necessary for reducing CO2 emissions worldwide. Therefore, China needs to improve its energy efficiency while also curbing its thermal power generation, which results in a large amount of CO2 emissions. We believe Japan’s energy-saving technology would help China’s efforts to reduce its emissions.

The list of nations yet to unveil emission reduction targets includes India, the world’s third-largest emitter, as well as Southeast Asian nations, whose emissions are sharply increasing. We are concerned that they may choose to set insufficient reduction goals as a result of China’s influence.

A lesson must be learned from the Kyoto Protocol in making sure the envisaged framework fulfills its purposes. It is important for all nations to steadily carry out emission-reduction measures that are commensurate with their respective amounts of CO2 emissions.

The Japanese government will soon finalize a numerical target requiring this country to reduce its emissions by 26 percent by the end of fiscal 2030 from fiscal 2013 levels. The figure can be regarded as a target that favorably compares with EU and U.S. objectives.

An important task for Japan is to play a leadership role in trying to create a fair framework for cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 8, 2015)

| | コメント (0)

2015年7月 8日 (水)

ギリシャ危機 国民投票は悲劇の幕開けか

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Does Greek national referendum mark beginning of a tragic drama?
ギリシャ危機 国民投票は悲劇の幕開けか

Did the Greek people raise the curtain on a tragic drama?

In the national referendum held in Greece on Sunday on structural reform proposals demanded by the European Union, “no” votes accounted for more than 60 percent of the total, surpassing the affirmative votes by an overwhelming margin.

The rejection of the EU proposals, which were the conditions for resuming financial assistance, has made it more difficult to agree on a bailout package.

Eurozone countries were to discuss how to respond in a meeting of their leaders Tuesday, but an easy compromise would lead to a backlash from their own peoples. Given the deadlock in negotiations, it has become more likely that Greece will fall into a full-scale default and be pressured to decide whether to leave the eurozone.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras characterized the outcome of the plebiscite as a “victory for democracy.” But he was utterly off the mark.

In the first place, it was tremendously problematic that he had asked the people to decide the future course of complicated diplomatic negotiations.

The Tsipras administration abruptly decided to call the national referendum amid negotiations with the EU, allowing for about a week before the plebiscite was held. This was too short a period.

It cannot be overlooked that Tsipras created false expectations among the people that Greece would gain a strong negotiating position to press for concessions from the EU with a “no” vote majority.

Mutual concessions key

Greece has already restricted cash withdrawals from its banks. If the European Central Bank cuts off emergency financial aid, the country will be forced to walk a tightrope as it will face a deadlock in raising cash from banks.

It was irresponsible that Tsipras did not explain sufficiently to the people the possible adverse effects of raising the level of confrontation with the EU.

Greece could seek to survive a fund shortage by issuing a currency of its own, but this would represent the first step toward an exit from the eurozone. It is feared that the value of a currency with less creditworthiness would plunge and drive the country into serious inflation because it relies on imports for many of its daily necessities.

The Greek people should not be driven into a further predicament. Without sticking to an anti-austerity stance, the Tsipras administration should seek to find realistic concessions by July 20, the deadline for redeeming €3.5 billion in government bonds.

For its part, it would be unwise for the EU to shut down the channel for negotiations.

Financial markets continue to feel the adverse effects of the Greek financial crisis, with the Nikkei Stock Average, for example, plummeting more than 500 points momentarily on the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Monday.

There is concern that anti-EU political parties will gain strength in Spain and Italy and shake confidence in the euro. Another concern is whether Greece, which has a strategically important position in terms of security, will strengthen relations with Russia or China, thereby heightening geopolitical risk.

To avoid restoking a Europe-originated financial crisis and to prevent it from seriously affecting economic and political stability, the EU must do whatever it can to break the stalemate.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 7, 2015)

| | コメント (0)

2015年7月 7日 (火)

日メコン会議 良質なインフラ整備を進めよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Japan must do utmost to help Mekong countries build quality infrastructure
日メコン会議 良質なインフラ整備を進めよ

Given the promise and potential of Southeast Asian nations, providing development assistance and boosting mutually beneficial cooperative ties are actions that correspond to Japan’s national interests. The government must adopt a strategic perspective in addressing these tasks.

Japan and five Southeast Asian nations along the Mekong River recently held a summit conference in Tokyo. There Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged fresh assistance to the Mekong countries in the form of ¥750 billion in official development aid over the next three years. He also stressed that Japan earnestly seeks to bring about “high-quality growth” in the region.

Abe’s announcement is part of an investment initiative for the Asian region that the Japanese government unveiled in May. The recent assistance pledge emphasized transportation infrastructure projects, including the construction of an arterial road that will serve as an economic corridor linking the east and west of the Mekong region, and the building and upgrading of ports and airports.

Flanked by the two major powers of China and India, the Mekong region is situated in an area of high strategic importance for land and maritime traffic in the vicinity of the South China Sea.

Japan maintains generally friendly relations with the five countries — Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar — all of which have been logging high rates of growth.

The implementation of the Abe administration’s growth strategy can be accelerated by using ODA as a catalyst for their economic development and expanding private-sector investment by Japanese firms to make the most of their vitality.

In this regard, it is important to build relations on an equal footing — whereby all parties can enjoy mutual benefits — by paying due respect to individual needs.

‘Soft efforts’ for development

In the case of the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the percentage of China’s capital contribution is overwhelmingly large compared to that of other members. This has led to doubts about the impartiality of its management and financing decisions.

It is essential for Japan to work hard to maintain effectiveness and a high degree of transparency in its assistance activities to help build quality infrastructure in the region. Such efforts will distinguish Japan’s assistance from that of China.

A joint statement adopted at the close of the summit meeting stressed the significance of working together with the Asian Development Bank. It also advocated boosting Japan’s “soft efforts” in such fields as research and development or the nurturing of human resources.

It is vital to carry out a form of “Japanese-style development assistance” that is carefully designed to help each country in the Mekong region achieve sustainable growth through autonomous means.

Views on maritime security issues were also exchanged at the summit conference.

The joint statement made explicit reference to “concerns over the recent development in the South China Sea, which ... may undermine regional peace, security and stability.” This alludes to reclamation projects on reefs that are apparently part of a bid for militarization.

The statement also affirmed the importance of freedom of navigation based on international law and the need to resolve conflicts through peaceful means.

Maritime security must be recognized as an “international good” that is indispensable for economic activity to be conducted freely and smoothly, according to the statement. It is highly significant that not only Vietnam, which is at odds with China over territorial issues, but also such countries as Cambodia, which has closer ties with China, agreed on the joint statement’s contents.

In cooperation with the international community, Japan and the five countries must work together at various opportunities to make China refrain from attempting to change the status quo by force.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 5, 2015)

| | コメント (0)

2015年7月 6日 (月)


UNESCO appointed Japanese Meiji Era industry as world heritage.

"ยูเนสโก" ขึ้นทะเบียนเขตอุตสาหกรรมยุคปฏิวัติเมจิให้เป็นมรดกโลก หลังก่อนหน้านี้เกาหลีใต้และจีนไม่เห็นด้วย เพราะเชื่อว่าเป็นสถานที่ทรมานพลเมืองของตัวเองในยุครุ่งเรืองของจักรวรรดิญี่ปุ่น


| | コメント (0)

Awards presented by Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn

ถวายรางวัลสมเด็จพระเทพ เป็นเลิศด้านการสร้างสรรค์ | เดลินิวส์
Awards presented by Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn is excellent invention.|Daily News

ถวายรางวัลสมเด็จพระเทพ เป็นเลิศด้านการสร้างสรรค์องค์การทรัพย์สินทางปัญญาโลก เตรียมทูลเกล้าฯถวายรางวัล"ความเป็นเลิศด้านการสร้างสรรค์" แด่สมเด็จพระเทพฯ วันที่ 27 ส.ค. นี้
Awards presented by Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn is excellent invention in the World Intellectual Property Organization, preparing Awards presented in the Excellence Initiative made by Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn on 27 August 2015.


| | コメント (0)

2015年7月 4日 (土)

拉致再調査1年 対「北」圧力を戦略的に強めよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Intransigent N. Korea must be pressed to advance its probe of abductions
拉致再調査1年 対「北」圧力を戦略的に強めよ

Any further continuation of North Korea’s time-buying tactics would be intolerable. The Japanese government must push North Korea to move forward on resolving the problem of having abducted Japanese citizens, with an eye on the possibility of resurrecting and expanding sanctions against Pyongyang.

On July 4 last year, North Korea embarked on a new round of investigations into the fate of Japanese abductees. Pyongyang set the duration of the probes at about one year and committed to providing information on the progress of the investigations on an as-needed basis.

The Japanese government, in return, lifted parts of its sanctions concerning matters such as restrictions on travel between the two countries and a ban on the entry into Japanese ports of North Korean-registered ships.

However, no information has been presented on the safety and other relevant matters regarding the abduction victims.

Pyongyang’ behavior is extremely dishonest . The behavior tramples brazenly on the feelings of the abduction victims’ families and others concerned, who have long been seeking to have them brought back as quickly as possible.

More than three years have passed since Kim Jong Un began leading North Korea. A streak of purges and ousters of high-ranking officials of his regime and his close associates has continued, indicating Kim has still not succeeded in consolidating his power base. Views have been put forth that Kim has still come up short of creating an environment conducive to making an important political decision on the abduction problem.

What should be done to break the impasse? The government is urged to strategically address the challenge to win concessions from Pyongyang through dialogue while increasing pressure on North Korea.

Should there continue to be no progress with North Korea’s investigations, the resurrection of anti-Pyongyang sanctions would be inevitable.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, for that matter, has stressed the government has been “constantly reviewing whatever measures should be the most effective” in dealing with North Korea.

‘Parallel pursuit’ of 2 aims

In late June, the Liberal Democratic Party proposed to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that anti-Pyongyang sanctions, such as a ban in principle on money remittances to North Korea, be toughened. Such a proposal is one of the options the government will be able to take.

By accurately assessing how North Korea is going to tackle the abduction problem, Japan should take steps commensurate with Pyongyang’s action. Keeping the principle of “action for action” intact is of great importance.

The pro-Pyongyang General Association of Korean Residents in Japan (Chongryon), which was pressed to vacate its Tokyo headquarters after the building was put up for auction, has managed to remain in the building through indirect resales. Suspicion over the mysterious tactics can hardly be eliminated.

In the case involving the allegedly illegal importing of a shipment of matsutake mushrooms from North Korea, the second son of the head of Chongryon has been arrested and indicted on charges of violating the Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Law. The law must be rigorously enforced.

It is also essential to broaden the understanding of the international community regarding Pyongyang’s wide-ranging infringements on human rights, including the abductions.

Toward the end of June, the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees set up its branch in Seoul for the surveillance of human rights records of North Korea. The opening of the UNCHR branch is expected to produce a certain degree of effect to hold North Korea in check.

North Korea has adopted a policy of a “parallel pursuit” of nuclear weapons development and rebuilding its economy. Pyongyang has also been continuing to take actions that amount to military provocation, such as the announcement in May that it was successful in launching a ballistic missile from a submarine.

It is of dire importance that Japan not weaken the international network of containment toward North Korea. This can be achieved by closely cooperating with the United States and South Korea. Japan should firmly maintain its basic policy of comprehensively resolving the abduction problem, the nuclear and missile programs of Pyongyang.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 3, 2015)

| | コメント (0)

2015年7月 3日 (金)


アパリゾート上越妙高イルミネーション は、幸福を呼びこむ、光で創造された双龍です。

Myoko Happiness Illumination (妙高ハピネスイルミネーション)会場が7月1日から3日までの三日間、女性に限り入場無料です。





| | コメント (0)


「sMedio TrueDVD Streamer」  でDVDの楽しみ方が広がりました。



PCドライブのDVDをスマホ/タブレットで視聴できるワイヤレスDVDsMedio、プレーヤーアプリ「sMedio TrueDVD Streamer」7月2日(木)より販売開始


| | コメント (0)

Spectee で女子サッカーW杯決勝が見られます

Spectee の仕組みを知り大変驚きました。

Spectee は、twitterなどのSNS上に発信されている情報をいち早く解析して、それを私たちに届けてくれるのです。
Spectee を利用するにはスマートフォンアプリをダウンロードする必要があります。




| | コメント (0)

2015年7月 2日 (木)


ENSOKU (エンソク ) でウルトラマンのモーションコミックが無料公開されています。
人気声優多数出演のモーションコミック 1巻~3巻までが、期間限定で無料公開されています。これを見逃す手はないです。

大人気コミック「ULTRAMAN ウルトラマン」最新第6巻発売記念 人気声優多数出演のモーションコミック 1巻~3巻まで期間限定 ”無料公開”開始!


| | コメント (0)

(社説)日本の財政再建 やはり先送りは危うい

--The Asahi Shimbun, June 30
EDITORIAL: Japan’s fiscal crunch requires immediate action
(社説)日本の財政再建 やはり先送りは危うい

Japan is submerged in debt. As of March, the government was in hock for 1.053 quadrillion yen, twice as much as the nation’s gross domestic product.
Japan’s public finances are in worse shape than any other industrial nation, even than Greece, which is trapped in a serious debt crisis. Government bonds outstanding account for over 80 percent of the nation’s overall debt load.

During the current fiscal year, which started in April, the Japanese government will have to issue 36 trillion yen worth of new bonds to plug the budget hole. When bonds issued to refinance debt coming due are counted in, the government needs to borrow 170 trillion yen in the year through March 2016.

Can Japan really avoid a fiscal disaster if it is running up so much debt? Won’t the prices of government bonds collapse in the market where government debt securities are traded?

Huge potential risks in the market

Most government bonds are financed by domestic funds, ultimately by the savings of the people. Many experts say there is no need to worry about a full-blown debt crisis in Japan because the government is not dependent on borrowing from fickle foreign investors who rush to the exit at the first hint of trouble.

This common fiscal narrative is correct from the viewpoint of the flow of money. But we should not overlook one worrisome factor behind the money flow structure.

That’s the Bank of Japan’s aggressive monetary easing, which has been described as “different dimension” expansion of money supply.

As the centerpiece of its credit easing program, the central bank is buying tremendous amounts of government bonds. Since it adopted additional monetary easing measures last autumn, the BOJ has been buying up to 90 percent of the bonds the government issues in the market.

The BOJ is legally banned from underwriting government bonds, or buying bonds directly from the government.

This rule was established because the Japanese central bank once caused a virulent bout of inflation by helping the wartime government raise funds to finance the war.

Currently, the BOJ buys government bonds via private-sector financial institutions, just short of underwriting of government bonds.

Anything could happen in a financial market. Nobody can guarantee that Japanese government bonds will never crash.

If the bond market is roiled by a massive selloff by speculators, corporate borrowing costs as well as interest rates on housing loans will soar. When that happens, the government’s tax revenue will fall due to the consequent weakening of the economy while the government’s debt servicing costs will surge. That will be a fiscal nightmare not unlike what Greece is now facing.

In order to prevent this kind of fiscal disaster, the government needs to keep demonstrating its solid commitment to paying back debt and thereby avoid arousing doubts about its creditworthiness.

Currently, the BOJ is nipping market disruptions in the bud with its massive bond purchases. But the potential risk is underscored by the fact that none other than BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda has been preaching the importance of fiscal rehabilitation to the government.

Can’t bank on economic growth

The government’s plan to regain fiscal health, which calls for a primary budget surplus in fiscal 2020, will be an acid test of the government’s will to pay off debt.

But the government’s plan is based on the assumption that its tax revenue will keep growing in line with nominal economic growth at annual rates of over 3 percent, a target that is hard to achieve.

While calling on the government to go ahead with the postponed additional increase in the consumption tax rate to 10 percent, the prescription for curing the nation’s fiscal woes doesn’t propose any further tax hike.

The plan calls for policy efforts to curb budget growth and cut certain expenditures. But it offers no specific measures or a road map to rein in government spending.

The government should seek to increase its tax receipts by stoking economic growth. But banking on revenue growth due to economic expansion is a hope-for-the-best approach to restoring fiscal health that should not be adopted.

A reliable way to cure the budget ills is resorting to a combination of spending cuts and tax hikes. Both will inevitably be painful.

First of all, the government needs to hammer out a realistic and effective plan to restrain budget growth and reduce its outlays. All policy areas need to be reviewed for budget cuts. But the focus should be on social security spending, which accounts for one-third of the general-account budget.

If nothing is done, social security spending will continue growing automatically by nearly 1 trillion yen every year due to the aging of the population.

Japan’s social security system, whose main components include the public health-care, nursing-care and pension programs, is structured along the lines of generations. Basically, the working population supports retired seniors.

Given that disparities in assets and income are growing within the same generations, however, it is vital to restructure the system toward distribution of the burden according to wealth.

Considering the seriousness of the fiscal squeeze, curbing budget growth and trimming expenditures here and there alone will be far from enough. The government should also consider a tax increase.

The pillar of any plan to increase taxes should be a consumption tax hike.

The most appropriate source of revenue to finance social security spending, which grows regardless of economic conditions, is the consumption tax. That’s because consumption tax receipts are less susceptible to economic conditions, and the burden is shared broadly by the entire public.

The plan for integrated tax and social security reform worked out by the government three years ago is based on these ideas.

The administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has ruled out raising the consumption tax rate above 10 percent. But a 10-percent consumption tax will be grossly insufficient to rebuild Japan’s debt-laden public finances.

That’s obvious from the fact that many European countries impose a value-added tax (equivalent to Japan’s consumption tax) of around 20 percent on purchases of goods and services.

As part of an effective tax overhaul, the income and inheritance taxes, which are levied on people’s income and assets, should also be reviewed for making the well-to-do shoulder their fair share of the burden.

Inevitable pains

All these reforms would be painful for taxpayers. But they are inevitable steps to ensure the long-term sustainability of social security and stop shifting the burden to future generations.

If the government shies away from fiscal reform and allows the situation to continue deteriorating, it could eventually face a fiscal collapse.

Such a situation would cause the biggest damage to people’s livelihoods.

Japanese are now facing a crucial choice. Do they accept a radical reform of the system and an increase in their burden to be implemented through revisions to related laws by their elected representatives? Or do they opt to allow market pressure from rising interest rates to force them into necessary reforms?

We should choose burden sharing through the democratic process.

| | コメント (0)

2015年7月 1日 (水)

ギリシャ危機 混乱の拡大防ぐ最善の努力を

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Take all possible measures to prevent Greek crisis from expanding globally
ギリシャ危機 混乱の拡大防ぐ最善の努力を

All countries and organizations concerned must do whatever it takes to solve Greece’s financial crisis, thereby avoiding economic turmoil originating in Europe.

The negotiations on a bailout plan between Greece and the European Union, among others, have broken off.

The EU presented a compromise plan to extend the expiry of its financial support until the end of November from the originally scheduled end of June on condition that Greece accept structural reform proposals such as tax increases and cuts in pension payments.

However, Greece suddenly announced a plan to hold a national referendum on the EU proposals on July 5. Furiously angered by the announcement, the EU has decided to cut off assistance as originally scheduled.

The rupture in talks plunged the world’s stock markets into turmoil Monday, with the key Nikkei Stock Average closing down nearly 600 points Monday compared with Friday’s close.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said, “Japan will analyze the problems, too, and carefully deal with the situation.”

Financial authorities of Japan, the United States and other countries need to prevent the crisis from expanding by cooperating closely with the EU and the International Monetary Fund.

The time limit for Greece’s repayment of about €1.5 billion to the IMF comes Tuesday. There is a strong possibility that Greece will default due to a shortage of funds.

The EU has decided to discontinue the bailout plan probably because it judged that even if Greece defaults on repayment, the adverse effects on markets will be limited since lenders are mostly governments and central banks of other countries.

Avoid underestimation

But the fact remains that the Greek crisis could deal a blow to markets given the complexity of speculation by dealers. Underestimating any possible impact is something to be carefully avoided.

Of course, the best solution is for Greece to accept the EU reform proposals so the time limit for repayment can be extended.

The Greek administration of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced the national referendum plan abruptly in an attempt to draw concessions from the EU on the pretext of “the public’s will.” The Tsipras administration also has likely concluded that acceptance of the EU proposals based on the result of the referendum would provide a good excuse for the administration to alter its anti-austerity policy.

The Greek people have not been well informed about the progress of negotiations with the EU and the possible impact a default would cause. Therefore, it would be irresponsible for the administration to saddle the people with making the final decision.

The Greek government has resorted to capital control measures, including shutting banks and setting a limit on cash withdrawals, leading to long lines of anxious people in front of ATMs.

These steps are merely stopgaps. If Greece’s exit from the eurozone becomes reality, its economy will most certainly fall into a serious predicament.

To help prevent further suffering, the Greek government must sincerely explain to the people the need for concessions and move toward compromising with the EU.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 30, 2015)

| | コメント (0)

« 2015年6月 | トップページ | 2015年8月 »