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2015年8月31日 (月)

休眠預金法案 公正性の確保へ審議を尽くせ


The Yomiuri Shimbun
Bill on using dormant accounts must be deliberated to ensure fairness
休眠預金法案 公正性の確保へ審議を尽くせ

A nonpartisan group of lawmakers has compiled a bill to use money in dormant bank accounts — accounts that have had no deposit or withdrawal activity for more than 10 years — for social welfare and other purposes.

The group said that it would submit the bill for passage during the current Diet session.

Every year, about ¥50 billion worth of deposits are categorized as dormant and recorded as profits of financial institutions. Britain and South Korea have a system to use such funds to support welfare and other activities. The nonpartisan group drafted the bill based on those and other examples.

The bill stipulates that the money would be used for various welfare activities, including assistance for children, youth and impoverished people. But if depositors subsequently claim their money, it would be repaid, according to the bill.

We think the bill’s aim to use such funds to improve welfare while paying due consideration to protecting depositors is reasonable.

Private-sector organizations would be entrusted to distribute the funds to foster activities beyond the reach of the support from the government and other public-sector organizations. To coordinate the distribution, a general incorporated foundation called a “designated utilization organization” would be created.

This organization would choose several fund distribution organizations from among incorporated foundations around the country. Through the fund distribution organizations, aid funds would be given or loaned to nonprofit and volunteer organizations working on welfare projects.

With the wisdom of private-sector organizations involved, we expect the money to be used for assistance in a way that suits situations on the ground.

Legal compliance important

However, it is worrying to see that there are not a few who doubt if the bill guarantees fair and transparent distribution of the funds.

They particularly find problems concerning good governance and legal compliance of the envisaged utilization and distribution organizations. Many of them point out that measures to prevent corrupt conduct such as payoffs from fund recipients are obscure.

Both organizations, which would broker a huge amount of funds, would require strict management.

New Cabinet Office ordinances would be made to set up details of the system to use the deposits, according to the bill. However, we think that a law should include more details concerning regulation to secure fair distribution of aid funds, such as an auditing method.

A measure to prevent people involved in the distribution of funds from providing “peer support” to organizations they belong or are related to is essential.

After all, money in dormant accounts belongs to the account holders. As much of this money as possible should be returned to the original depositors. Britain and South Korea have an online system enabling the public to check easily whether they have dormant accounts. Japan, too, should consider efforts to reduce the amount of dormant deposits.

It is important to win the public’s understanding of the system to utilize dormant deposits by eliminating various suspicions about it. The Diet should thoroughly deliberate the bill to improve the envisaged system.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 30, 2015)

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2015年8月30日 (日)

自民党総裁選 無投票再選も前向きな選択肢


The Yomiuri Shimbun
Unopposed reelection of Abe as LDP leader a positive course
自民党総裁選 無投票再選も前向きな選択肢

We think it appropriate that the schedule for election of the Liberal Democratic Party president has been decided from the standpoint of lessening its effects on Diet deliberations of the security-related bills, which are the most important business in the current session.

Since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s term as LDP president expires at the end of September, the main ruling party decided to hold its presidential election on Sept. 20, with the official campaign period to begin on Sept. 8.

An LDP presidential race at the expiration of a presidential term is normally held before an extraordinary session of the Diet in autumn. However, since the current ordinary Diet session has been significantly extended, the upcoming election is held during the session — an exceptional situation.

The LDP considered other schedules, such as holding the vote on Sept. 27 with a campaign period starting on Sept. 15. However, since deliberations on the security-related bills are a little stagnant at the House of Councillors, the party has decided to hold the election as early as its election regulations permit after examining its effects on deliberations of and voting on the bills at the Diet, as well as a scheduled trip abroad by the prime minister.

In the presidential race, Abe is highly likely to be elected again without a contest.

All seven factions of the LDP, including the Hiroyuki Hosoda faction of which Abe was originally a member, have decided to support the prime minister. With such moves, the factions apparently aim to win posts for their members in the Cabinet reshuffle and the changes of LDP executives expected in October after the current Diet session adjourns.

Shigeru Ishiba, minister in charge of vitalizing local economies, competed with Abe in the LDP leadership race in September 2012, but he does not intend to run for the presidency this time because he is currently a member of the Abe Cabinet. Former LDP General Council head Seiko Noda is trying hard to run for the election but is said to be having difficulty collecting the support from 20 LDP lawmakers required for candidacy.

No rival candidate

Considering the prime minister’s achievements in the last three years, it is certainly not easy to field a rival candidate. Abe has built a strong political foundation by scoring crushing victories in two House of Representatives elections and one upper house election. Even after a drop, his Cabinet still has a public approval rate above 40 percent.

In September last year, Abe reshuffled his Cabinet but retained ministers necessary to keep its basic frame, such as Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga and Finance Minster Taro Aso. At the same time, he appointed Sadakazu Tanigaki as LDP secretary general and Toshihiro Nikai as LDP General Council head, both executive posts of his party. The Abe regime has been made stable with his strategy of placing political heavyweights in important posts in anticipation of a long-term government.

If several candidates run for the presidential race, it is likely to create an opportunity for policy discussions on the course of Japan for the next three years. However, can the LDP afford that now?

The global economy is destabilized, and the recovery of the Japanese economy is at a standstill. Is it really productive to spend energy on making counterproposals to Abenomics, the prime minister’s economic policy package, and fighting among members of the same party?

The security-related bills are extremely significant in terms of securing the peace and safety of Japan and the surrounding region, but the understanding of the bills is not necessarily spreading among the public.

With Diet deliberations on the bills entering a crucial phase, it is also difficult to secure the environment necessary to hold a full-scale presidential election, including arrangements for a stumping tour of candidates around the country and voting by party members.

It may be a positive course for LDP members to unite under Abe to overcome difficult challenges.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 29, 2015)

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2015年8月29日 (土)

橋下氏維新離党 何とも分かりづらい内紛だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Hashimoto’s departure from JIP caps baffling intraparty squabble
橋下氏維新離党 何とも分かりづらい内紛だ

Conflict within the Japan Innovation Party has spiraled into the departure of two members who founded the party. Many people must be baffled at the events that led to this.

Toru Hashimoto, supreme adviser of the JIP and also Osaka mayor, and adviser Ichiro Matsui, who is also Osaka governor, have both announced they will leave the party.

Hashimoto said he “plans to shift his focus from a national political party to Osaka’s regional politics” for Osaka gubernatorial and mayoral elections, which will be held in November. In the background to his decision was a lack of confidence in JIP leader Yorihisa Matsuno and other party executives, and there is a possibility that this intraparty friction could lead to a split.

The origin of the squabble was JIP Secretary General Mito Kakizawa’s support for an expected candidate in next month’s Yamagata mayoral election who also was backed by the Democratic Party of Japan and other parties. Matsui regarded this as problematic and demanded Kakizawa resign from his party post. Kakizawa refused to step down. Consequently, Matsui lashed out at Kakizawa and some other members, saying, “They’re addicted to what’s going on in Nagatacho,” referring to the Tokyo area that is considered the nation’s political nerve center.

As the JIP’s local organization in Yamagata had been maneuvering to support another expected candidate, party headquarters had refrained from supporting any specific contender. Although it is undeniable that Kakizawa’s actions, which disregarded the party situation, were indeed careless, the general consensus is that he had not done anything that warranted his resignation.

The decision by Hashimoto and Matsui to step away from the party was overly abrupt and shows a lack of responsible attitude.

Questions must be raised about the behavior of two politicians who wield tremendous influence over the running of the second-largest opposition party. In particular, it is difficult to understand why Hashimoto left the party while he accepted Kakizawa staying in his post.

Keep security talks on track

Matsuno’s inability to bring this fracas under control also displayed a lack of leadership.

Hashimoto and others are close to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and have taken stances toward the administration on an issue-by-issue basis. In contrast, Matsuno and Kakizawa have placed great emphasis on working with the DPJ and other parties, so a policy conflict continued within the JIP.

The party is scheduled to hold a leadership election in November. It is possible that many of the party’s Osaka-affiliated lawmakers in the Diet and local assembly members might follow Hashimoto, who is skilled at conveying messages to the public, and leave the party en masse. Such repeated splits and political realignments, which have been done so easily, will make it harder for the JIP to gain the support of the public.

This is a crucial moment for the JIP.

We also are concerned about the impact of the party’s ructions on discussions regarding security-related bills.

The JIP has submitted five counterproposals to the House of Councillors and planned to hold negotiations with the ruling coalition parties about possible amendments to the bills. It also is considering the joint submission — with the DPJ — of a territorial security bill and other bills.

Wide gaps remain between the government-sponsored bills and the JIP counterproposals, so the negotiations were expected to be anything but smooth. Even so, it was hugely significant that constructive discussions were to be held on a range of key points.

Hashimoto stressed, “When the security bills reach an important phase, it is not the time for internal dissension.”

We hope Matsuno and other JIP bigwigs will sincerely engage in talks on possible amendments to the bills. The JIP’s ability to remain a “responsible opposition party” is on the line.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 28, 2015)Speech

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2015年8月28日 (金)

企業年金改革 多くの人が活用できる制度に

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Make corporate pension programs accessible for more employees
企業年金改革 多くの人が活用できる制度に

It is important to make many people eligible to participate in corporate pension programs, as a means of supplementing public pensions.

A bill to reform the corporate pension system is under deliberation at the House of Representatives. The government aims to get the bill passed into law during the current Diet session.

The central pillar of the bill is to review the defined contribution pension system, in which subscribers choose how their pension premiums should be managed, with the amount of their pension benefits to be determined by the results.

The bill calls for establishing “simplified defined contribution pension plans,” with the establishment procedures to be simplified so as to make it easier for even small and midsize corporations to introduce them for their employees.

The bill also envisages creating a system to support the subscription of more people, by creating “individual-type defined contribution pension plans” for employees of companies unable to have such plans on their own and for self-employed people. Under this system, corporations, if only small and midsized firms, can add their contributions to their employees’ pension premiums.

A corporate pension plan is a program to be established by each corporation voluntarily in addition to the kosei nenkin corporate employees pension scheme, part of the nation’s public pension system.

As the level of benefits paid under the public pension system declines against the backdrop of a low birthrate and a graying population, the role of corporate pension plans is growing.

It is appropriate for the corporate pension plan to be utilized by workers other than only those at big companies.

At present, among subscribers to the kosei nenkin scheme, fewer than 40 percent also participate in corporate pension programs. And the ratio of companies that have introduced corporate pension programs is declining. Among smaller firms, with 30 to 99 employees, only 18.6 percent have introduced such programs.

Major programs dissolving

On top of this, kosei nenkin kikin (corporate employees’ pension funds), which once were the leading corporate pension programs, are to be dissolved, with certain exceptions, by March 2019. Faced with management difficulty following the collapse of the bubble economy, one corporate employees’ pension fund after another became unable to stay afloat. As leading companies have pulled out of their schemes swiftly, most of the pension funds still operating are ones formed by smaller firms.

It is an open question whether the reform will be sufficient to help those who will no longer be covered by corporate employees’ pension funds after they are dissolved. It is necessary to try one way after another to promote the spread of the corporate pension plans envisaged by the bill, while assessing the status of the introduction of schemes such as “simplified defined contribution pension plans.”

Also incorporated in the bill is an expansion of the scope of people eligible to participate in “individual-type defined contribution pension plans,” by making full-time homemakers and public-service workers also eligible. In effect, anyone will be able to participate in defined contribution pension schemes.

As working styles have diversified, voluntary resignations and job-switching have become common. The number of nonregular workers who are not eligible to participate in corporate pension plans has also increased.

We can understand the course of action to encourage people’s self-help efforts for their post-retirement years, by providing everyone with a means of supplementing the roles of public pensions.

Open to question is the idea of making even homemakers eligible to participate in “individual-type defined contribution pension plans,” which offer preferential tax treatment, while keeping in place the system of “Category III insured,” under which a dependent spouse of a company or government employee is eligible for basic pension benefits without paying pension premiums themselves. Will the envisaged plan give them excessive preferential treatment?

Regarding nonregular workers, it is also vital to attempt to increase pension benefits for them, by expanding the scope of nonregular workers eligible to participate in the kosei nenkin scheme.

It is important to discuss income security for people in their old age within the framework of the whole pension system.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 27, 2015)Speech

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2015年8月27日 (木)

世界同時株安 市場不安の沈静化を急ぎたい

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Prompt efforts should be made to soothe concerns of markets
世界同時株安 市場不安の沈静化を急ぎたい

With China’s economy the focus of concern, turmoil continues to roil global markets.

The Nikkei Stock Average plunged 733 points from Monday’s close to end at 17,806 on the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Tuesday. This was the sixth straight trading day the market has declined, with the plunge totaling more than 2,800 points.

The accelerated appreciation of the yen on the foreign currency market also helped send stocks plummeting.

The plunge in stock prices, which started on the Chinese market, has had a knock-on effect on other major markets — the United States, European and Asian countries — taking on an aspect of stock prices simultaneously falling the world over.

We should not let our guard down, but a feature of the wild fluctuations of stock prices seems to be due to speculative moves.

Economic revitalization minister Akira Amari said it is necessary to deal with the issue calmly. In fact, the economies of Japan, the United States and European countries are still on a firm footing. We should not become too pessimistic about the current situation.

It is vital to assuage the uneasiness in the market and prevent it from adversely affecting the real economy.

Japan, the United States, European countries and China have to strengthen policy coordination to calm the market.

The stock plunge was triggered by China’s devaluation of its currency, the yuan, on Aug. 11. This led to the view that China’s economy had deteriorated to such a degree that measures were needed to prop up its exports, leading to prices on the Shanghai Stock Exchange to nosedive.

China is maintaining its economic growth at 7 percent. But many of the country’s key economic indicators, such as consumption and exports, have shown signs of an economic slowdown. There is a deep-seated belief that the real state of the economy is even more serious.

China slowdown worse?

By pursuing a “new normal” policy, which allows the country’s economic growth to slow down, can the Chinese government lead its economy to a soft landing through structural reforms? A sense of distrust in the Chinese government’s economic management has exacerbated market uneasiness.

The administration under Chinese President Xi Jinping needs to face up squarely to the reality that China has become the cause of the global market turmoil.

Although China decided to further ease monetary policy on Tuesday, it needs to do much more to stabilize its economy.

Another major point of issue is whether the United States will raise interest rates in the near future. It has been pointed out that if the United States forcibly raises interest rates while markets are still in tumult, funds would immediately flow out of emerging markets, possibly resulting in currency and financial crises.

The United States has to end its monetary relaxation policy eventually, but it should not send the world economy into disorder by hastily exiting from that policy. The Federal Reserve Board should keep a close eye on market trends and look for the proper time to increase rates.

Following the stock price decline, there are calls, including those within the Liberal Democratic Party, for a supplementary budget to initiate economic stimulus measures.

But as the performance of Japanese companies is at a record high level, the government should refrain from taking fiscal action too quickly.

It is most important to steadily implement Abenomics, the economic policy pursued by the administration under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and realize a full-fledged economic growth led by private-sector demand. The government should promote a comprehensive growth strategy to induce vitality into the private sector by easing regulations to encourage the fostering of new businesses.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 26, 2015)

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2015年8月26日 (水)

南北高官協議 衝突の回避へ冷静に歩み寄れ

The Yomiuri Shimbun
North, South Koreas must work toward concessions to avert armed conflict
南北高官協議 衝突の回避へ冷静に歩み寄れ

Escalating tensions through military provocations while seeking to win concessions through dialogue — North Korea should avoid this dangerous brinkmanship and practice self-restraint.

Given the heightening of military tensions between South and North Korea, representatives from the two countries entered into negotiations Saturday at the Panmunjom.

The South was lead by chief of the National Security Office of South Korea, and the North was lead by Hwang Pyong So, director of the General Political Bureau of the North Korean People’s Army. The exceptionally high-level bilateral talks were held on and off for three consecutive days. But the two sides are having difficultly reaching any kind of compromise.

To avoid the worst-case scenario of an armed conflict, we want the two sides to make an earnest effort to reach mutual concessions and find concrete measures to ease tensions.

Tensions were triggered after two South Korean soldiers were seriously injured when land mines, believed to have been laid by North Korea, exploded on Aug. 4 near the military demarcation line.

Seoul criticized Pyongyang for violating the Korean Armistice Agreement, and in response resumed anti-North Korea loudspeaker broadcasts for the first time in 11 years.

The North demanded a halt to the broadcasts and fired artillery shells into South Korean territory. Pyongyang proposed negotiations with Seoul while at the same time threatening to take further military action. North Korea has been alternating between a hard-line or moderate attitude to rattle the Park Guen-hye administration, which took retaliatory measures.

North Korea’s international isolation is regarded as a factor behind its latest provocative action. Its relations with China, historically the most friendly nation to the North, soured after Pyongyang carried out nuclear tests in defiance of international protests. Exchanges of leaders between the two communist countries have been suspended.

Cool heads vital

The North’s artillery fire came immediately after Park announced she would attend a Chinese ceremony to mark the “victory in its war against Japan.” We wonder whether this action was aimed at cooling the relationship between Seoul and Beijing, which has become closer.

Kim Jong Un issued a decree declaring a “quasi-state of war” to the country’s frontline troops. Can Kim, who lacks leadership experience, deal adequately with such an explosive situation while the country's political situation is so unstable? This fear will be difficult to eliminate.

Park, on the other hand, declared that her country “will cope with the provocation resolutely.” She cannot make concessions easily due to a domestic situation in which popular support for her administration has declined and media organizations are insisting on a hard-line stance.

It is essential, however, for the two Koreas to consider the risk of a military conflict and deal with the situation with cool heads.

The North Korean leadership is reportedly trying to tighten its grip on the military and the Workers’ Party of Korea, among others, by emphasizing the “threat” posed by South Korea. There is speculation that North Korea will test-launch an intermediate-range or a long-range missile to enhance its national prestige and time it to the 70th anniversary of the founding of the party on Oct. 10.

Japan, South Korea and the United States must cooperate closely and bolster information-sharing on North Korean affairs. Preparing all possible deterrent measures is also essential to deal with the North’s new military provocation.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 25, 2015)

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2015年8月25日 (火)


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(社説)自民と教科書 政治は採択に関わるな

--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 23
EDITORIAL: LDP should not meddle in school textbook selection process
(社説)自民と教科書 政治は採択に関わるな

The process is under way for local governments to select textbooks that will be used in junior high schools from next spring.

Given that, a league of lawmakers of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party has compiled a brochure that compares social studies textbooks issued by various publishers, and has distributed it to local LDP assembly members across the country.

The action is purportedly aimed at encouraging boards of education, through questions by local assemblies and other means, to select textbooks with a strong conservative slant.

Selections, after all, belong to the authority of education boards, which are supposed to make them on the basis of discussions from educational viewpoints on which textbooks are the most suitable for the children and schools of their communities.

Political parties are free to have their own perceptions of the textbooks issued by different publishers. But they should refrain from encouraging the selection of textbooks that are more in line with their philosophies.

Local assembly members are there to approve the appointments of education board members. They should exercise self-restraint so that their actions will not be perceived as applying pressure. What they should do is to serve as a monitor to ensure that education boards can fulfill their primary functions.

The brochure, certainly, contains no text that explicitly recommends any particular publisher.

But the issues being taken up in the brochure include the national flag and the national anthem, the right to collective self-defense and constitutional amendment--pet issues of the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe--as well as the Nanking Incident and "comfort women," which the LDP has argued some textbooks contain “self-deprecating” statements about.

Concerning the national flag and the national anthem, for example, the brochure presents strongly conservative textbooks in a favorable light, saying that one contains “detailed descriptions on a feature page.” Some other textbooks are portrayed in a negative light, as seen in a statement that “some textbooks contain no reference in the index” to the issue of the abduction of Japanese citizens by North Korea.

School textbooks are not tools for inculcating arguments of a political party.

Education board members should ensure they are making independent judgments and, even if they are asked questions at local assemblies, they should only regard these queries as the opinions of individuals.

The education board system was reformed so that, starting this spring, the heads of local governments should set up a “general education council,” a forum for exchanging views with education boards.

The education ministry has said the selection of school textbooks should not be a subject of discussions in the council, because it is believed that political neutrality is de rigueur in the textbook selection process.

The LDP has proposed--and has realized--a revision in textbook screening rules so that textbooks must mention the government’s official position, wherever available. As 18-year-olds will be given suffrage from next year, the party has also proposed to Abe that law could be revised to punish senior high school teachers who have deviated from political neutrality.

We cannot accept the sequence of these moves, whereby the political sector is meddling in public education.

The selection process throughout the nation will continue through the end of August.

The LDP brochure is titled, “To deliver better textbooks to our children.”

Thought should be given again to what should be done and not be done by a political party and assembly members if that goal is to be achieved.

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2015年8月24日 (月)

露首相択捉訪問 領土交渉に背向ける軽挙妄動

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Through rash actions, Russia turning its back on territorial talks with Japan
露首相択捉訪問 領土交渉に背向ける軽挙妄動

It is an action that will greatly set back the momentum toward improving bilateral ties between Japan and Russia and settling territorial disputes. By no means can we tolerate this.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev visited Etorofu Island in the northern territories on Saturday.

After inspecting the status of the development of harbor and airport facilities on the island, he announced, at a political forum for local youths, a policy of designating the islands of Etorofu and Kunashiri as “advanced development territories.”

The visit is apparently aimed at demonstrating that Russia’s effective control of the northern territories is entrenched, as this month marks the 70th year since the then Soviet Union occupied the islands.

By ignoring Japan’s request to cancel the visit, Medvedev’s arrival on the island constitutes a serious infringement of sovereignty.

It was reasonable that Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida told Russian Ambassador to Japan Evgeny Afanasiev on Saturday, “The visit hurt the feelings of the Japanese people and was extremely regrettable.”

Lately, Russia’s hard-line stance on Japan has been intolerable. At the end of June, Russia decided to impose a ban, starting next year, on drift-net fishing for salmon and trout within Russia’s exclusive economic zone, where Japanese fishing vessels also operate. There are fears the Japanese fishing industry will be affected.

Since July, the Russian health minister and the deputy prime minister have successively visited the northern territories. Russia has also announced a “development program,” injecting about ¥120 billion over 10 years for the development of social infrastructure for the whole of the Kuril Islands.

Moscow makes threats

We can discern Russia’s intention of shaking the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and causing disarray in Japan’s cooperation with the United States and European countries, which are imposing sanctions on Russia over the Ukrainian crisis.

Japan has attached importance to dialogue with Russia to hold in check China’s military rise and to prevent China from forming a united front with Russia against Japan.

By using the personal relationship between Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin, Japan is seeking a possible visit to Japan by Putin sometime this year to advance bilateral negotiations over territorial issues. We can understand Abe’s strategic course of action.

But Russia’s recent moves vividly demonstrate that the Putin administration has no intention of earnestly dealing with the territorial issues with Japan.

Even if Putin’s visit to Japan is realized, it is hard to expect any substantial dialogue between Abe and Putin, nor any tangible results.

Kishida said he would freeze for the time being the coordination for his planned visit to Russia, in preparation for Putin’s visit to Japan. Japan’s strategy is coming to an impasse.

Behind Russia’s recent moves is the reality that Putin is utilizing as a unifying force for his administration his adoption of hostile views, particularly toward the United States, and inflaming patriotism in the Russian people.

Putin has also referred to the possibility of using nuclear weapons, having repeatedly made threatening remarks to the United States and European countries.

By undergoing a rapid military buildup, Russia also continues its military provocations toward the United States and European nations. Russia’s changing of the status quo by force, such as its annexation of the Crimean Peninsula, can never be permitted.

A Russia that abides by international rules and assumes a constructive role would benefit Russia. Japan, in cooperation with the United States, has to continue urging Putin to understand this point, on such occasions as the U.N. General Assembly and the summit talks of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, both scheduled for this autumn.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 23, 2015)

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2015年8月23日 (日)

年金情報流出 危機感の欠如が被害を広げた

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Low security consciousness at JPS exacerbated pension data breach
年金情報流出 危機感の欠如が被害を広げた

The Japan Pension Service can hardly be regarded as an organization properly handling a massive amount of personal information. Its sloppy information management must be corrected urgently.

An in-house investigation committee at the JPS and a third-party panel at the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry have released, separately, reports on the findings of each of their investigations into an incident in which 1.25 million cases of personal information, including the basic pension numbers of pension recipients, were compromised at the JPS.

According to the JPS report, the organization received a total of 124 targeted e-mails carrying a virus from May 8 to 20. File attachments of five of the e-mails were opened, causing 31 personal computers to be infected with the virus and information to be compromised within three days from May 21.

There were several opportunities during that period for the JPS to prevent the damage from spreading.

However, the organization failed to block further e-mails from the address used for the first problematic e-mail following its receipt. It did not confirm properly from mail recipients whether they had opened attachments, and delayed action to cut off Internet connections for the entire JPS computer system.

JPS President Toichiro Mizushima said during a news conference Thursday, “I thought we had confirmed whether the attachment had been opened.” The comment is one indication of the lenient attitude within JPS of leaving everything to those in charge. It was natural for the report to say that “a sense of crisis was lacking.”

It is also problematic that sloppy information management has become everyday practice at the JPS.

Personal information was permitted to be stored in an Internet-connected shared file server when deemed necessary. It can thus be said that the JPS faced a constant danger of the unauthorized exposure of information.

Absence of systematic checks

Rules such as setting passwords were not observed and the JPS did not have a system in place to check what was going on.

The report identified that long-standing problems — carried over from the era of the JPS’s predecessor, the Social Insurance Agency — including a lack of unity as an organization, underlie the data breach. At the now defunct SIA, a lack of control was caused by a three-tier structure for employees, including those recruited by the SIA’s central and local offices. This led to a number of scandals, including a huge blunder with pension record-keeping.

Such an organizational culture likely remains pervasive within the JPS. A sweeping organizational reform is called for, in addition to the bolstering of information management systems.

The welfare ministry’s responsibility is also grave in this regard.

According to the report released by the ministry’s third-party investigation panel, adequate supervision could not be provided because it was not clear which department at the ministry was in charge of the JPS’s information systems.

Despite the fact that the JPS had suffered a similar cyber-attack in April, before it received the targeted e-mail in May, the ministry provided no information on the incident nor did it issue an alert.

It was natural for welfare minister Yasuhisa Shiozaki to say, “Both the JPS and the ministry must take responsibility [for the incident].” It is necessary to ensure that a recurrence of similar incidents is robustly prevented, and that work proceeds toward restoring confidence in the pension system.

Joint efforts by private and public sectors are sought to deal with cyber-attacks, which are becoming more ingenious and shrewd.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 22, 2015)

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2015年8月22日 (土)

社説:武藤議員離党 公認した自民の責任は

August 21, 2015 (Mainichi Japan)
Editorial: LDP's responsibility for money scandal involving legislator questioned
社説:武藤議員離党 公認した自民の責任は

House of Representatives member Takaya Muto has left the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) over a money scandal. The scandal has raised questions as for what purposes he became a legislator.
It is still fresh in people's memory that Muto, 36, came under fire for criticizing a group of students and other youths as "selfish" after they urged the public to participate in demonstrations against security bills. He just cannot draw a curtain on his own problem simply by leaving the LDP. The party's responsibility for endorsing him in elections is also serious.

According to the Shukan Bunshun weekly magazine, Muto recommended last year that acquaintances and others buy pre-listed shares of a software company, telling them that they could buy shares specially set aside for Diet members. He then collected approximately 40 million yen from 23 people as funds to buy shares. However, shares of the company were never purchased for these people, and some investors have not got back the money they paid. Some have pointed to the possibility that Muto communicated with others over share transactions, using a communication application, while he was attending a session of the lower chamber's Committee on Foreign Affairs.

It is necessary to conduct a further probe to get to the bottom of the scandal because those involved have made conflicting statements.

The latest scandal involving pre-listed shares apparently has reminded numerous members of the general public of the Recruit stock-for-favors scandal that came to light in 1988 and rocked the political world. In the Recruit case, pre-listed shares of a company, whose prices were certain to rise significantly after the stock was listed, were donated to prominent figures in the political and business worlds as well as bureaucrats, and a few of those involved were convicted of giving and accepting bribes.

In the latest case, it remains unclear whether some shares of the software company were actually set aside for legislators. Still, it is common sense for politicians not to be involved in transactions in pre-listed shares. It is only natural that some legislators from opposition parties are demanding that Muto step down as a lawmaker.

In 2007, Muto reportedly joined the policy staff for an alliance of political parties within the Shiga Prefectural Assembly and individual assembly members that backed then Shiga Gov. Yukiko Kada, who was calling for suspension of dam construction projects. However, Muto did an about-face, and applied to run for the lower house on the ticket of the LDP that was critical of Gov. Kada after the party publicly sought candidates. He is currently in his second term as a member of the lower chamber. One cannot help but wonder how the LDP has evaluated and officially endorsed Muto, who appears to lack qualifications as a representative of the people, judging from his policies.

Muto was also present at a study session in June among junior LDP legislators supporting Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, in which some attendees called for pressure on the news media. Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso, leader of an LDP intraparty faction of which Muto was a member, has been quoted as warning Muto to "express your personal views after the security bills are passed into law" over Muto's criticism of the youth group opposing the proposed legislation. This suggests that Aso viewed the timing of Muto's remarks, and not their content, as a problem.

The LDP's responsibility for the money scandal and other scandals involving Muto is grave and the party's half-baked response is also inappropriate. Nevertheless, LDP Secretary-General Sadakazu Tanigaki and other top-ranking members of the governing party failed to question Muto in person over the details of the latest case. After Muto notified the party leadership that he would leave the party, Tanigaki said, "The legislator needs to fulfill his accountability," as if to regard the money scandal as someone else's problem, and not a problem involving the party.

The LDP also has accountability for the money scandal.

毎日新聞 2015年08月21日 東京朝刊

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2015年8月21日 (金)



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香山リカのココロの万華鏡:利己的なおとなたちへ /東京

August 16, 2015 (Mainichi Japan)
Kaleidoscope of the Heart: Learning not to jump to generalizations
香山リカのココロの万華鏡:利己的なおとなたちへ /東京

Twitter has become a tool even among politicians to express their opinions. A tweet recently posted by a House of Representatives lawmaker from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party has stirred controversy. He wrote that claims made by students protesting against the government-sponsored security-related bills are "based on their self-centered and extremely egoistic thinking that they don't want to go to war," and he went on to say that it was "very regrettable."

After learning about this incident, I thought to myself that this politician could only understand war as a general, abstract concept. A war in reality is not "a battle between right and wrong." Those who fight in the front are young people with different personalities and dreams. Behind those youths, furthermore, are their families and lovers. If a young man dies in a battle, people around him will also face drastic changes in their lives.

Though it is different from the topic of war, I always think about the effects of generalizations. It is easy to say, "depression is on the rise because people have become weaker," and speak in generalities, but each patient is in a different situation, faced with different problems.

Suppose there is a man who is a breadwinner in a family and he goes to see a doctor after developing depression. The doctor tells him, "Generally speaking, if the cause of depression is work-related stress, a person would not feel better unless the burden placed on them is released." What if he quits his job after seeing the doctor? There will be a significant impact on his family -- they may have to sell their house, the children may have to transfer to different schools, the daughter's wedding may be called off, and ultimately this could lead to the parents' divorce. People's lives may be ruined by a casual suggestion by a doctor.

I can't always pay attention to the details of every single patient I see, but I tell myself at my clinic, "I should not just give out general opinions. I have to pay attention to individual situations."

At Rikkyo University in Tokyo, where I currently work as a professor, a committee of faculty and staff members of the university released a statement against the controversial security-related bills with nearly 1,000 people signing to support the movement. In the statement, there is the following passage:

"War is not an abstract idea. It means young people with names face each other on the battlefield and kill each other."

Today, teens and people in their 20s are not seeing war as something in the past or some generalities, but rather as something real, which they themselves may be dragged into.

For adults who can only consider young people's desire of not wanting to go to war as "selfish" and "egoistical," I recommend reading diaries, or even one memo, written by student soldiers who perished in the Pacific War and think about the lives of those who died.

(By Rika Kayama, psychiatrist)
毎日新聞 2015年08月11日 地方版

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2015年8月20日 (木)

GDPマイナス 景気の停滞を長引かせるな

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Govt must take all possible steps to end lull in economic recovery
GDPマイナス 景気の停滞を長引かせるな

The national economy has been on a path of mild recovery, but its prospects have turned uncertain.

The real-term gross domestic product for the April-June quarter declined 0.4 percent from the previous quarter for an annualized fall of 1.6 percent, according to preliminary figures released by the Cabinet Office, representing the first negative growth in three quarters.

The slump in personal consumption and exports is a major reason behind the poor economic performance. Plant and equipment investment, which holds the key to full-scale growth, also declined, albeit slightly, for the first time in three quarters. Some analysts have pointed out that Japan has entered a lull in its business recovery.

The important thing is not to let the lull drag on. The government and the Bank of Japan must closely examine possible risky factors and do what it takes to prevent business from losing its steam.

Private consumption — the pillar of domestic demand — dropped by 0.8 percent in the April-June period, compared with the previous quarter, marking the first quarterly fall since the April-June quarter of last year, when personal consumption plunged due to the impact of the consumption tax hike to 8 percent.

Economic revitalization minister Akira Amari cited the light vehicle tax hike and unseasonable weather as reasons for the shrinkage of consumption, indicating that the decline was “caused largely by temporary factors.”

But it must be noted that the benefits of wage hikes have been offset by the continued rise in prices of food and other products, a consequence of high raw material prices amid the yen’s weakening. It is certain that households have become more budget-minded. Perhaps consumers have yet to break away from the bearish mind-set ingrained during long years of deflation.

Excessive pessimism is unwarranted, but the government must analyze factors behind slack consumption from a multifaceted viewpoint and work out improvement measures.

Alarming overseas factors

A more alarming factor is the slowdown of overseas economies. It is necessary to keep a close watch especially on the volatile Chinese economy.

China has posted a conspicuous slowdown of such economic indicators as industrial production and construction investment. Affected by this, the growth in emerging Asian countries has begun to slacken. The dull overseas demand, centering on China, has been dampening Japan’s exports.

Given that the People’s Bank of China devalued the yuan on three consecutive days last week, many market dealers concluded that the Chinese economy has been worsening more seriously than expected. A loss of steam in China’s growth would have a big impact on the world economy.

Some point out that an increase of interest rates in the United States, which can be expected within this year, will trigger outflows of a huge amount of funds from emerging economies. Thus, the uncertainties in economic prospects have been increasing.

To survive economic disturbances that originate overseas, the Japanese economy’s fundamental power of growth must be urgently augmented.

It is also essential to enhance the motivation and vigor of the private sector. We suggest that the government expedite the implementation of growth strategies, including promotion of plant and equipment investment that will improve productivity and deregulation that can help expand growth industries.

It is right for the government to aim for a virtuous circle in which corporate profits are passed on to workers in the form of wage hikes and this leads to expanded consumption. To ensure this is realized, the government should steadily carry out measures that can deepen this dimension of the Abenomics economic policy package.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 18, 2015)

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2015年8月19日 (水)

(社説)マイナス成長 危うい政策目標と想定

--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 18
EDITORIAL: Dismal GDP data highlights need to review policy targets
(社説)マイナス成長 危うい政策目標と想定

Japan’s economy shrank during the three months from April through June, its first decline in three quarters. The nation’s real gross domestic product--the value of total economic output adjusted for price changes--fell 0.4 percent during the quarter from the previous three months, according to preliminary data released Aug. 17 by the Cabinet Office. At this rate, the size of economic contraction will reach 1.6 percent on an annualized basis.

Consumer spending dropped in spite expectations of continued recovery. That is because a weaker yen triggered increases in the prices of food and other daily products while wage growth was weaker than expected. This only added to the financial burden on households.

Exports declined for the first time in six quarters, even though they were expected to grow due to the effects of a weaker yen that makes Japanese products cheaper in overseas markets.

The consensus view was that the economy had been recovering gradually since the consumption tax rate increase in April last year, which depressed consumer spending.

The fall in GDP was not caused by any specific factor that delivered a body blow to the economy.

Rather, overall economic conditions were relatively good during the period.

Corporate earnings improved further and the stock market rebounded.

Job growth was strong.

A surge of foreign visitors to Japan was a big boon to related businesses.

The Bank of Japan continued its aggressive monetary easing, while public works spending remained at a high level.

The contraction in the April-June quarter offers some important clues to what's going on in the Japanese economy.
Despite this favorable environment, the economy failed to expand.

And yes, there was some destabilizing factors in the world economy.

In Europe, the debt crisis in Greece caused serious confusion. China’s economic slowdown became more pronounced.

But these external factors are not temporary in nature. We should probably assume that instability in the global economy will continue for a while.

If so, it is hard to expect a dramatic rise in exports or a further sharp increase in spending in Japan by foreign tourists in the coming months. In short, we should not place too much hope on growth in external demand.

In its policy efforts to restore fiscal sanity, the government is pursuing a target of a primary surplus--a situation where government tax revenue exceeds all its spending other than net interest--in fiscal 2020.

In setting the target, however, the government assumed that the economy would pull off a strong real growth of 2 percent and expand by 3 percent in nominal terms.

A tough-minded analysis of Japan’s economic reality behind its negative growth during the April-June period, however, makes clear that it is risky to bet on any significant economic expansion in planning and executing policy measures to dig the nation out of a budget hole that is driving accumulated debt to dangerous levels.

The latest GDP data also offers valuable reference information for the Bank of Japan, which has continued to provide huge monetary stimulus to the economy with an eye to achieving an inflation target of 2 percent.

The central bank started the radical monetary expansion campaign on the assumption that consumers will ramp up their spending when they expect prices to rise. Increased consumer spending then should bolster economic growth by pushing up overall domestic demand, according to the BOJ’s scenario.

But Japanese consumers have not behaved as the BOJ expected. It has become increasingly clear that the central bank’s monetary policy is not working.

The latest economic data points to the need for both the government and the BOJ to revise their growth and inflation projections so they are more in line with the reality and then readjust their economic strategy and monetary policy accordingly.

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2015年8月18日 (火)

戦没者追悼式 「深い反省」を世界の平和に

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Emperor’s ‘feelings of deep remorse’ must be taken to heart for world peace
戦没者追悼式 「深い反省」を世界の平和に

We must not forget that Japan’s peace and prosperity after World War II have been built on the enormous sacrifices of the people who lost their lives in the war.

Events were held throughout the country on Aug. 15, the 70th anniversary of the war’s end, to honor the souls of the war dead, who number an estimated 3.1 million. In the Nippon Budokan hall in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward, the National Memorial Service for the War Dead was held that day under the sponsorship of the government and in the presence of the Emperor and the Empress.

In his address at the commemorative ceremony, the Emperor said, “Reflecting on our past and bearing in mind the feelings of deep remorse over the last war, I earnestly hope that the ravages of war will never be repeated.”
“[I] pray for world peace and for the continuing development of our country,” he said.

The words “deep remorse” were newly incorporated into the Emperor’s address for this year’s national commemoration ceremony. This can be said to reflect the Emperor’s feelings toward the last war.

In his New Year’s address this January, the Emperor emphasized, “It is most important for us to take this opportunity to study and learn from the history of this war, starting with the Manchurian Incident of 1931, as we consider the future direction of our country.”

This can be taken as an expression of his Imperial Majesty’s desire to link the lessons of the war to Japan’s peace by reflecting upon the past.

The Emperor saw the war’s end at the age of 11 in Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture, where he was evacuated. He has been quoted as saying that when he returned to Tokyo, the capital had been reduced to “completely burnt-out ruins, which stand out especially clearly in my memory.”

As a member of the generation that experienced the war first-hand, the Emperor likely has special feelings for the bereaved families of the war dead.

Preserve historic shelter

In April this year, the Emperor and the Empress made an official visit to the island of Peleliu in the Republic of Palau, which was one of the fiercest battlefields in the war. The Imperial couple laid flowers at both the Japanese and U.S. memorials.

The way the Imperial couple are squarely and sincerely facing the scars left by the war this year, the 70th anniversary of the war’s end, has made strong impressions both at home and abroad.

The Imperial Household Agency recently made public the master record and audio of the Imperial Rescript on the Termination of the War that then Emperor Hirohito, posthumously called Emperor Showa, announced via radio broadcast to the public. They were made public at the Emperor and Empress’ suggestion that the advisability of replaying the recording of the rescript be considered, according to the agency.

Also made public were photos and video footage of an underground air-raid shelter in the Imperial Palace, which was referred to as “Obunko fuzoku shitsu” (Room attached to the Imperial shelter), where Emperor Showa made a “sacred” Imperial decision to bring the war to an end. Its current state, with crumbled floors and fallen wall coverings, conveys the passage of a great deal of time.

In accordance with Emperor Showa’s personal desire that the shelter be not maintained, the room has reportedly never been repaired. But considering that the shelter was an important historical setting, the government may be better advised to study the wisdom of preserving it.

Of the about 5,000 bereaved relatives who attended the national memorial ceremony this year, about 60 percent were children of the war dead. Many children of the war dead are now older than 80.

Spouses of the war dead accounted for no more than 15 of the attendees.

The generation that personally experienced the war is aging rapidly. Steps must be taken to ensure that the memories of the miseries of the war are handed down to the next generation.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 16, 2015)

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2015年8月17日 (月)

終戦70年 平和の堅持へ国際協調貫こう

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Enhance international cooperation to guard peace
終戦70年 平和の堅持へ国際協調貫こう


Aug. 15 this year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.

We should take this occasion to offer silent, sincere prayers for the repose of the souls of more than 3 million people who perished against their will in that terrible conflict, while renewing our resolve for peace.

Mayor Tomihisa Taue of Nagasaki, in a Peace Declaration he issued on Aug. 9, made reference to the security-related bills, stating, “There is widespread unease and concern that ... the peaceful ideology of the Constitution of Japan [is] now wavering.” He went on to say, “I urge the government and the Diet to listen to these voices of unease and concern ... and conduct careful and sincere deliberations.”

Bills misunderstood

The set of security-related bills centering around endorsement of the exercise of Japan’s right of collective self-defense is aimed at ensuring Japan’s peace and security through strengthening defense cooperation between the Self-Defense Forces and U.S. forces and others.

It is regrettable that the bills’ aim has been taken as meaning the exact opposite.

Japan in the past 70 years has never been involved in any war, including the period of Cold War between East and West and the post-Cold War days. This record was not achieved simply by the grace of the pacifism based on the Constitution.

Of greater significance are efforts to found the SDF in 1954 to upgrade the country’s defense capabilities in a way better suited to the changing times, and to revise in 1960 the Japan-U.S. security treaty to steadily strengthen the bilateral alliance.

The Japan-U.S. alliance has now been broadly recognized as an international public good conducive to stabilizing the Asian region as a whole.

Examples illustrating the crucial importance of military might and deterrent power for the sake of defending a country’s territory and its populace are innumerable indeed, including the Korean War, the incursion by the former Soviet Union into Afghanistan, the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq and Russia’s invasion of Georgia.

A belief that peace can be secured merely by desiring “peace for all time” and “trusting in the justice and faith of the peace-loving peoples of the world” as stipulated in the preamble of the Constitution is no better than an idealistic theory that disregards the harsh realities of international relations.

Before the war, Japan withdrew from the the League of Nations, which was groping for ways of materializing the ideal of collective security, deliberately shattering the world order at that time.

After the war, this county, because of soul-searching about that wartime past, placed excessively strict constraints on the activities of the SDF.

There can be no denying that many Japanese, dependent on the United States for the nation’s security policy while blessed with peace and prosperity under the U.S.-led international order, have been apt to drift into a state of being unable to think about what should be done to secure the country’s peace and security.

Record of trust

The turning point came with the 1991 Gulf War. The SDF was dispatched after the fighting ended to conduct minesweeping operations and has since been involved in U.N. peacekeeping operations. The SDF built up a solid track record and steadily earned the trust of other nations.

The new security-related legislation, which will expand the international activities of the SDF, is an extension of this. As well as rectifying the previously overcautious interpretation of the Constitution, Japan must play its part as a nation willing to support the new international order and fulfill an appropriate level of responsibility.

The United Nations, which will mark the 70th anniversary of its founding in October, is prone to dysfunction for reasons including the veto power held by the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council. It is often a stretch to say the United Nations is effectively playing a role in resolving international disputes.

At present, China is trumpeting its self-righteous logic in the East China and South China seas, where it is attempting to change the status quo through force. Russia is doing the same in Ukraine. Both of these nations, backed up by their massive military might, ignore international criticism of their behavior.

For Japan, China’s military buildup and maritime expansion are serious problems. If China’s defense budget continues to grow at its current pace, in five years it will be more than four times the size of Japan’s defense budget; a decade from now, it will be almost seven times the size.

North Korea possesses several hundred ballistic missiles that can reach Japan. The threat of terrorism is spreading, as exemplified by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant extremist group.

To ensure Japan remains safe from these threats, it is essential to pass the security bills into law and strengthen multilayered cooperation with the United States, Australia and nations in Europe and Southeast Asia.

Diplomacy and military affairs are closely connected with each other and form a complementary pair. Making it possible for the SDF to provide a seamless response to any situation will help prevent conflict from erupting and provide backing to support peaceful diplomacy that stabilizes the region.

Critics in some quarters have claimed the security-related bills will “make Japan a nation that can once again wage war” and “return the nation to the prewar days.” These assertions can only be described as twisted interpretations.

Japan firmly pacifist

Modern-day Japan is decisively different from prewar Japan in several ways. Now, Japan stands staunchly by the pacifism enshrined in the Constitution, rejects aggression and territorial expansion, and attaches great weight to international cooperation. Civilian control of the SDF remains firmly in place.

Allowing the exercise of the right of collective self-defense, as stipulated in the new security-related bills, and expanding the SDF’s humanitarian and reconstruction support activities overseas and the logistic support it can provide to military forces of other nations, will all help reinforce international solidarity.

This is precisely why the overwhelming majority of nations — with the notable exceptions of China and South Korea, which have rifts with Japan over perceptions of history — highly regard and support the content of the legislation.

Nations have extremely high expectations for the “proactive contribution to peace based on the principle of international cooperation” put forward by the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The prime minister should redouble his efforts to explain the significance and necessity of the security-related bills to the public and gain greater understanding of the legislation.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 14, 2015)

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2015年8月16日 (日)

戦後70年談話 歴史の教訓胸に未来を拓こう


The Yomiuri Shimbun
Let’s take to our hearts the lessons of history
戦後70年談話 歴史の教訓胸に未来を拓こう


We positively evaluate Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s statement to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II for clearly showing the new course Japan will take based on its remorse for the war.

The statement was approved by the Cabinet on Friday.

The statement is significant to convey to the world what Japan is doing. Explaining Japan’s perception of history properly in discussing its future will increase the trust and expectations of the international community in this country.

In the prime minister’s statement, “aggression,” which is considered one of the keywords, was clearly specified.

Using ‘aggression’

“Incident, aggression, war — we shall never again resort to any form of the threat or use of force as a means of settling international disputes,” the statement said. “With deep repentance for the war, Japan made that pledge.”

It is significant that the prime minister has clearly admitted “aggression.” This means he has adhered to the views expressed in past statements made by Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the war’s end and by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi on the 60th anniversary.

Actions by the defunct Imperial Japanese Army after the 1931 Manchurian Incident were nothing but aggression. They also violated the 1928 General Treaty for Renunciation of War as an Instrument of National Policy, an international pact that prohibited any war except one for self-defense.

Particularly, attacks on Jinzhou, a city in northeastern China, by Japan’s Kwantung Army in October 1931 were indiscriminate bombings of civilians without prior warning and constituted violations of the Hague Convention with respect to the Laws and Customs of War on Land. Targets of Japan’s air raids were expanded to Shanghai, Nanjing and Chongqing, significantly increasing the death toll of noncombatants.

We must never forget that the then Japanese government allowed part of the military to act on its own and ignited the disastrous war.

“Politics must be humble to history,” the prime minister said at a press conference after reading the statement. “History must not be distorted with political or diplomatic intentions.”

This remark was pertinent.

Admitting the objective fact of “aggression” is not a masochistic view of history nor will it disgrace Japan. Rather, it will increase the trust of the international community in Japan and overcome the doubts of some countries that Japan is engaged in “historical revisionism.”

Also, the statement said, “We shall abandon colonial rule forever and respect the right of self-determination of all peoples throughout the world.”

As for people victimized in Japan or other countries by the war, the statement said, “I bow my head deeply before the souls of all those who perished at home and abroad. I express my feelings of profound grief and my eternal, sincere condolences.”

This wording, which partially follows that made by a German leader, amounts to an expression equivalent to an “apology” in the Murayama statement and others. Abe’s sincere feelings were fully conveyed.

Abe referred to the views of the Murayama statement and others by saying that “Japan has repeatedly expressed the feelings of deep remorse and heartfelt apology for its actions during the war,” adding, “Such a position articulated by the previous cabinets will remain unshakable into the future.”

Women’s rights

Some neighboring countries may not be satisfied with the wording of the statement. Even so, this does not mean that the statement should avoid references to remorse and apology.

It is important to convey the current thinking of Japan to the international community, including Europe and the United States, thereby expanding world understanding of Japan’s position.

In this sense, it was reasonable for the Abe statement to express heartfelt gratitude toward the help extended by Europe, the United States and China, among others, in the postwar period.

The expression that “we will engrave in our hearts the past, when the dignity and honor of many women were severely injured during wars in the 20th century” is a reference to the so-called comfort women that was made out of consideration to South Korea.

As expressed in the statement, Japan is required to “lead the world in making the 21st century an era in which women’s human rights are not infringed upon.”

It also emphasized that those generations who have no connection with the war must not be “predestined to apologize.”

It is essential to draw the line on this issue so that Japan will not be called upon to apologize generation after generation. Understanding and self-restraint are called for on the part of China and South Korea in this regard.

Draw line on issue

During the news conference afterward, Abe said efforts were made to compile the statement that “can share the views of as many people as possible.” It can be said that various thoughts about historical perceptions have been aligned and condensed considerably by the statement.

Concerning the future course of Japan, the statement said, the country “will firmly uphold basic values such as freedom, democracy and human rights as unyielding values” while reflecting on the past “when Japan ended up becoming the challenger to the international order.”

Hoisting the flag of “Proactive Contribution to Peace,” Japan must contribute to the peace and prosperity of the world more than ever before. This Japanese stance has been supported widely by Europe, the United States and Southeast Asian countries.

While listening to the “voices of history,” Japan must open itself to the future.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 15, 2015)

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クローズアップ2015:首相70年談話 歴史認識決着図る 随所に対中配慮


August 15, 2015 (Mainichi Japan)
Abe makes few references to South Korea in war anniversary statement
クローズアップ2015:首相70年談話 歴史認識決着図る 随所に対中配慮


Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called for summit meetings with South Korean and Chinese leaders on Aug. 14 as his statement marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II is aimed at resolving the long-running standoff with China, South Korea and other countries over perceptions of wartime history.

Nevertheless, while incorporating his consideration for China into many parts of the statement, Abe made only a few references to South Korea. The Japanese government is poised to carefully see how the two Asian neighbors will respond to the statement.

"Because South Korea is a neighboring country, we have various issues with them. But we must not shut the door for dialogue. Because there are issues, we should hold a summit meeting," Abe said on an NHK news program on the evening of Aug. 14.

On Japan's relations with South Korea, Abe emphasized that he had also given consideration to South Korea in the statement, saying, "I said in the statement that 'the dignity and honor of many women were severely injured.'" Abe incorporated his consideration for China in the statement with such passages as "the Chinese people who underwent all the sufferings of the war." But he made direct mention of South Korea only once in the statement along with other countries and regions such as Taiwan and China. Abe apparently tried to explain the "gap" in reference to China and South Korea in the statement.

The government is exploring the possibility of Abe visiting China in September and holding his first summit meeting with South Korean President Park Geun-hye. Abe said in a news conference after releasing the war anniversary statement, "I want the people of China to accept our country's frank feelings 70 years after the end of the war as they stand. If there is an opportunity of a summit, I would like to take advantage of it."

Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida called his South Korean, British, French and Australian counterparts to explain the content of the statement. Administrative Vice Foreign Minister Akitaka Saiki met U.S., Chinese and South Korean ambassadors to Japan to convey the content of the statement. South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se was quoted as telling Kishida, "We will share the statement within the government of the Republic of Korea." Chinese Ambassador to Japan Cheng Yonghua was quoted as telling Saiki that he would convey it to the Chinese government.

A senior government official expressed confidence that China and South Korea would take the statement positively, saying, "It was thoroughly thought out." Another high-ranking government official said, "The word 'deep repentance' goes further than the expressions used in previous statements. If the Chinese and South Korean governments say something, they will be isolated."

On the evening of Aug. 14, Natsuo Yamaguchi, head of Komeito, the junior partner in the ruling coalition, told reporters, "There is a highly significant meaning in that a Cabinet decision was made to the effect that the position taken by the previous governments will be taken over and remain unshakable into the future while using such key words as aggression and colonial rule." On the fact that the key words used in the statement represent indirect expressions rather than those of Abe's own, Yamaguchi said, "It is clear that he pledged that Japan will never use force or threaten again."

Hidetsugu Yagi, a conservative polemicist and professor at Reitaku University who is close to Abe, said on a BS NTV program on the evening of Aug. 14, "I want to rate it extremely high." He went on to say, "It relativized the statements by (then Prime Minister Tomiichi) Murayama and (then Prime Minister Junichiro) Koizumi and overwrote them. The Murayama statement has become just one of the statements issued by previous Cabinets and recovered by the Abe statement."

Those comments show that Komeito, which called for Abe to stick to the Murayama statement, and conservatives who called on Abe to relativize the Murayama statement, are both giving high marks for the Abe statement. A senior Komeito official said, "It is significant that conservative Prime Minister Abe said the statements by the previous Cabinets were 'unshakable into the future'." It is based on the view that particularly because Abe is seen as a conservative hardliner, he could rein in the backlash from conservatives even if he take a flexible stance.

However, the government of Prime Minister Abe will have no option but to deal with difficult issues such as efforts to enact security-related bills, intensive negotiations over the relocation of the U.S. Marines' Air Station Futenma in Okinawa Prefecture and negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact. Prime Minister Abe will also need to clear many other hurdles as the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is to hold a leadership election in September, followed by a Cabinet reshuffle and the formation of a new lineup of LDP executives.

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クローズアップ2015:首相70年談話 安倍カラーを抑制 安保審議が誤算


August 15, 2015 (Mainichi Japan)
Abe refrains from showing political stripe in anniversary statement
クローズアップ2015:首相70年談話 安倍カラーを抑制 安保審議が誤算

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe refrained from explicitly exhibiting his political stripe in his statement on the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II due to a shaky political base as exemplified by declining approval ratings.

Abe had initially planned to play up a future-oriented message but opted instead to devote the bulk of his statement to perceptions of history in consideration of the potential effects on Diet deliberations on security bills as well as ties with junior coalition partner Komeito. But he did not mention as his own historical perceptions ''aggression,'' ''colonial rule,'' ''apology'' and other key words and phrases, which appeared in then Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama's 50th anniversary statement in 1995.

Many people had closely followed if Abe in his statement would mention four key words and phrases -- ''aggression,'' ''colonial rule,'' ''deep remorse'' and ''heartfelt apology.''

Abe's statement did not quote a portion of the Murayama statement that says ''through its (Japan's) colonial rule and aggression, caused tremendous damage and suffering to the people of many countries, particularly to those of Asian nations.'' Instead, Abe said, ''Incident, aggression, war -- we shall never again resort to any form of the threat or use of force as a means of settling international disputes'' without elaborating on how he recognizes aggression. He also stated, ''We shall abandon colonial rule forever'' without making any reference to Japan's colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.

As for ''remorse'' and ''apology,'' the prime minister declared that ''Such a position articulated by the previous Cabinets will remain unshakable into the future.'' But he did not issue an apology in his statement. He went on to say ''We must not let our children, grandchildren, and even further generations to come, who have nothing to do with that war, be predestined to apologize.'' This position appears to reflect the view of Abe and his aides and advisers, including Tomomi Inada, chairwoman of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)'s Policy Research Council who said Aug. 11 that she senses that something is not right for Japan to keep apologizing forever.

The Abe statement was a product of hard work as it contained essential words and phrases and took into consideration Komeito and neighboring countries as well as the right-wing element, Abe's main support base.

Abe is understood to have had no intention to mention ''aggression.'' Abe said during a meeting of the House of Councillors Budget Committee in April 2013 that his Cabinet would not inherit the Murayama statement per se. However, he said later that he would inherit the Murayama statement as a whole. He also said he sees no need to write another anniversary statement, suggesting he would prepare a statement to focus on the path Japan has taken over the past 70 years since the end of World War II and Japan's future.

Abe had considered issuing a statement in a quiet atmosphere after winning passage of security legislation by early August. At one point, Abe had contemplated issuing a statement without a Cabinet decision to clearly mirror his own perception of history.

But parliamentary deliberations on the security bills have protracted. Three constitutional scholars told the House of Representatives Commission on the Constitution on June 4 that the security bills violate the postwar Constitution. Then, young LDP lawmakers, during a study session, made remarks about suppressing the media, causing the Cabinet's support rate to plunge.

The Abe government was forced to extend the Diet session through Sept. 27. In a Mainichi poll in July, the Abe Cabinet's disapproval rating topped the approval rating by a margin of 43 percent to 42 percent for the first time since the inauguration of the current Abe Cabinet in December 2012. The approval rating fell to 32 percent in a Mainichi survey in August.

For the Abe government and the LDP, Komeito's full-scale backing is essential amid dwindling support as they prepare for the upper house election next summer. The Abe government went along with Komeito's request for Cabinet approval because of the possibility that Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Minister Akihiro Ota, a Komeito lawmaker, may be questioned in the Diet about perceptions of the Abe statement. There were also conservative LDP lawmakers loyal to Abe who demanded a 70th anniversary statement to be adopted by the Cabinet, like the Murayama statement.

When Abe briefed Komeito leader Natsuo Yamaguchi during a meeting on Aug. 7 about a draft statement without referring to an apology, Yamaguchi asked Abe to issue a statement which conveys the inheritance of the previous prime ministerial statements to domestic and international audiences. Abe later telephoned Yamaguchi to say he will change the draft to include an apology. Abe also met U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy on Aug. 10 and appeared to have sought her understanding.

The prime minister had initially thought of issuing a future-oriented statement to demonstrate his leadership in foreign policy vis-a-vis China and South Korea and at home. But the fact of the matter is that he was forced to refrain himself in preparing the statement due to the aggravating climate surrounding his government.

An LDP lawmaker said Prime Minister Abe's top priority is the enactment of the security legislation. If his statement were a radical one to irritate Komeito and China and South Korea, it would have affected Diet debate, the lawmaker said, adding Abe subsequently compromised because his administration is almost up against the wall.

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(社説)戦後70年の安倍談話 何のために出したのか

--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 15
EDITORIAL: Abe’s war anniversary statement falls way short of the mark
(社説)戦後70年の安倍談話 何のために出したのか

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s statement to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II has left us wondering for what purpose and for whom it was written.

Issued Aug. 14, the statement falls grossly short as an accounting to sum up Japan’s modern history on the occasion of this landmark anniversary.

The statement includes all of the terms that had been singled out as crucial elements and were the main focus of international attention: aggression, colonial rule, remorse and apology.

But the statement somewhat obscures the fact that Japan was the country that committed the aggression and carried out colonial rule.

The document referred to remorse and apology for the war only indirectly by mentioning the fact that past Cabinets expressed these sentiments.

We feel strongly that the Abe administration did not have to issue, or rather, should not have issued this flawed statement.


The Abe statement struck us as an awkward compromise between the views about history held by him and his supporters and the hard and weighty historical facts.

The statement issued in 1995 by Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama to mark the 50th anniversary of the end of the war has been internationally recognized as a document describing the Japanese government’s views about the nation’s wartime past. Its most important feature is that it clearly acknowledged Japan’s act of aggression and candidly expressed remorse for the nation’s past and apologies to peoples of Asian countries.

In contrast, the Abe statement referred to Japan’s aggression in the following passage.

“Incident, aggression, war--we shall never again resort to any form of the threat or use of force as a means of settling international disputes.”

This declaration, in itself, is not wrong, of course. But this clearly represents a back down from the position set by the Murayama statement, which Abe himself had pledged to uphold.

Even a report drawn up by a panel of personal advisers to Abe appointed to offer advice over the war commemorative statement made a clear reference to Japan’s aggression on the Asian continent.

The new statement is also a back down from how past prime ministers of the Liberal Democratic Party who held office before the Murayama statement described Japan’s wartime behavior. These leaders said to the effect that there was no denying Japan’s aggressive acts, even if they didn’t use the word “aggression.”

Much the same is true with the issue of apology.

Abe’s statement says, “We must not let our children, grandchildren and even further generations to come, who have nothing to do with that war, be predestined to apologize.”

Many Japanese certainly have the feeling of how long Japan has had to keep apologizing. On the other hand, China and South Korea have their reasons to keep demanding that Japan apologize.

Although the Japanese government has expressed remorse and apology, ministers and other top government officials repeatedly made remarks that cast doubt over the government’s statements. Prime ministers and other politicians paid many visits to Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine, which honors Japan’s war criminals along with general war dead. Japan itself has done things that undermine the credibility of its own words.


If he wants to relieve Japan from the burden of having to keep apologizing, Abe, who is suspected by the international community to have biased views about history, should have gracefully offered his own apologies to end the cycle of negative sentiment that has been straining the relationship between Japanese and the peoples of other Asian nations. It is a pity that he failed to make that decision.

Aside from the content of the statement, the political process leading to the release of the document was a depressingly sad spectacle of flip-flopping by the administration.

Immediately after returning to power, Abe began expressing his desire to issue a “future-oriented statement fit for the 21st century.” His remarks indicated his intention to replace the history perceptions displayed by the Murayama statement with his own.

As this move caused serious concern to not only China and South Korea, but also the United States, Abe tilted toward issuing only his personal statement without official Cabinet endorsement.

But some close aides to Abe and Komeito, the LDP’s junior coalition partner, voiced an objection to the idea, saying that such a statement would not represent the government’s official position.
Abe then decided to have the statement approved by the Cabinet after all. It was distressing to see the administration change its mind repeatedly on the milestone statement.

Meanwhile, Western scholars as well as Japanese researchers called for Japan’s “unbiased” accounting of past wrongs. In opinion polls, a majority of Japanese also said the statement should acknowledge Japan’s “aggression” and other past wrongdoings.

In the first place, whether it is approved by the Cabinet or not, the prime minister’s statement cannot be cast merely as his “personal view.”

The statement is inevitably taken by the international community as Japan’s official view about its past based on the people’s collective will.

After making a wrongheaded and miserably failed move to turn the statement into his personal credo, Abe pathetically ended up issuing a statement that is fuzzy about the responsibility for aggression and his intention to offer an apology.


It is simply impossible for Abe to push through a major revision to the standard history perceptions that have been accepted by many Japanese and the international community by taking advantage of the ruling camp’s majority control of the Diet.

Abe has been stressing the need to adopt a future-oriented attitude toward history. But making the present and the future better than the past requires coming to terms with the past.
From this point of view, there are still many problems concerning Japan’s past that have been left unsolved, despite the urgent need to settle them.

The biggest of these problems concerns Yasukuni Shrine and the issue of how the government should mourn the war dead.

Diplomatic friction over Yasukuni has eased somewhat recently because Abe has not visited the Shinto shrine since the end of 2013.
But the issue will flare up immediately if he pays it another visit.

Even so, there has been no notable political move toward finding a solution to this problem.

No political consensus has been reached on any possible solution to the issue of “comfort women.” There has also been no progress either on the problem of the past abductions of Japanese citizens by North Korea, with which Japan has no formal diplomatic relationship. Tokyo’s negotiations with Moscow for a settlement of the territorial dispute over the Northern Territories, a group of islands off Hokkaido controlled by Russia, have become bogged down.

While it has spent so much time and energy on a statement that did not have to be issued, the administration has done little to tackle these history related problems, which are crying out for effective political actions for solutions amid the aging of the Japanese and peoples of neighboring countries who experienced firsthand the ravages of war.

We cannot help but wonder for what purpose and for whom the administration is making its policy efforts. Its priorities are totally wrong.

The blame for this wretched situation should be borne by Abe himself.

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2015年8月15日 (土)

Statement by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe 内閣総理大臣談話

Statement by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

Friday, August 14, 2015

On the 70th anniversary of the end of the war, we must calmly reflect upon the road to war, the path we have taken since it ended, and the era of the 20th century. We must learn from the lessons of history the wisdom for our future.

More than one hundred years ago, vast colonies possessed mainly by the Western powers stretched out across the world. With their overwhelming supremacy in technology, waves of colonial rule surged toward Asia in the 19th century. There is no doubt that the resultant sense of crisis drove Japan forward to achieve modernization. Japan built a constitutional government earlier than any other nation in Asia. The country preserved its independence throughout. The Japan-Russia War gave encouragement to many people under colonial rule from Asia to Africa.

After World War I, which embroiled the world, the movement for self-determination gained momentum and put brakes on colonization that had been underway. It was a horrible war that claimed as many as ten million lives. With a strong desire for peace stirred in them, people founded the League of Nations and brought forth the General Treaty for Renunciation of War. There emerged in the international community a new tide of outlawing war itself.

At the beginning, Japan, too, kept steps with other nations. However, with the Great Depression setting in and the Western countries launching economic blocs by involving colonial economies, Japan's economy suffered a major blow. In such circumstances, Japan's sense of isolation deepened and it attempted to overcome its diplomatic and economic deadlock through the use of force. Its domestic political system could not serve as a brake to stop such attempts. In this way, Japan lost sight of the overall trends in the world.

With the Manchurian Incident, followed by the withdrawal from the League of Nations, Japan gradually transformed itself into a challenger to the new international order that the international community sought to establish after tremendous sacrifices. Japan took the wrong course and advanced along the road to war.

And, seventy years ago, Japan was defeated.

On the 70th anniversary of the end of the war, I bow my head deeply before the souls of all those who perished both at home and abroad. I express my feelings of profound grief and my eternal, sincere condolences.

More than three million of our compatriots lost their lives during the war: on the battlefields worrying about the future of their homeland and wishing for the happiness of their families; in remote foreign countries after the war, in extreme cold or heat, suffering from starvation and disease. The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the air raids on Tokyo and other cities, and the ground battles in Okinawa, among others, took a heavy toll among ordinary citizens without mercy.

Also in countries that fought against Japan, countless lives were lost among young people with promising futures. In China, Southeast Asia, the Pacific islands and elsewhere that became the battlefields, numerous innocent citizens suffered and fell victim to battles as well as hardships such as severe deprivation of food. We must never forget that there were women behind the battlefields whose honour and dignity were severely injured.

Upon the innocent people did our country inflict immeasurable damage and suffering. History is harsh. What is done cannot be undone. Each and every one of them had his or her life, dream, and beloved family. When I squarely contemplate this obvious fact, even now, I find myself speechless and my heart is rent with the utmost grief.

The peace we enjoy today exists only upon such precious sacrifices. And therein lies the origin of postwar Japan.

We must never again repeat the devastation of war.

Incident, aggression, war -- we shall never again resort to any form of the threat or use of force as a means of settling international disputes. We shall abandon colonial rule forever and respect the right of self-determination of all peoples throughout the world.

With deep repentance for the war, Japan made that pledge. Upon it, we have created a free and democratic country, abided by the rule of law, and consistently upheld that pledge never to wage a war again. While taking silent pride in the path we have walked as a peace-loving nation for as long as seventy years, we remain determined never to deviate from this steadfast course.

Japan has repeatedly expressed the feelings of deep remorse and heartfelt apology for its actions during the war. In order to manifest such feelings through concrete actions, we have engraved in our hearts the histories of suffering of the people in Asia as our neighbours: those in Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia and the Philippines, and Taiwan, the Republic of Korea and China, among others; and we have consistently devoted ourselves to the peace and prosperity of the region since the end of the war.

Such position articulated by the previous cabinets will remain unshakable into the future.

However, no matter what kind of efforts we may make, the sorrows of those who lost their family members and the painful memories of those who underwent immense sufferings by the destruction of war will never be healed.

Thus, we must take to heart the following.

The fact that more than six million Japanese repatriates managed to come home safely after the war from various parts of the Asia-Pacific and became the driving force behind Japan’s postwar reconstruction; the fact that nearly three thousand Japanese children left behind in China were able to grow up there and set foot on the soil of their homeland again; and the fact that former POWs of the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Australia and other nations have visited Japan for many years to continue praying for the souls of the war dead on both sides.

How much emotional struggle must have existed and what great efforts must have been necessary for the Chinese people who underwent all the sufferings of the war and for the former POWs who experienced unbearable sufferings caused by the Japanese military in order for them to be so tolerant nevertheless?

That is what we must turn our thoughts to reflect upon.

Thanks to such manifestation of tolerance, Japan was able to return to the international community in the postwar era. Taking this opportunity of the 70th anniversary of the end of the war, Japan would like to express its heartfelt gratitude to all the nations and all the people who made every effort for reconciliation.

In Japan, the postwar generations now exceed eighty per cent of its population. We must not let our children, grandchildren, and even further generations to come, who have nothing to do with that war, be predestined to apologize. Still, even so, we Japanese, across generations, must squarely face the history of the past. We have the responsibility to inherit the past, in all humbleness, and pass it on to the future.

Our parents’ and grandparents’ generations were able to survive in a devastated land in sheer poverty after the war. The future they brought about is the one our current generation inherited and the one we will hand down to the next generation. Together with the tireless efforts of our predecessors, this has only been possible through the goodwill and assistance extended to us that transcended hatred by a truly large number of countries, such as the United States, Australia, and European nations, which Japan had fiercely fought against as enemies.

We must pass this down from generation to generation into the future. We have the great responsibility to take the lessons of history deeply into our hearts, to carve out a better future, and to make all possible efforts for the peace and prosperity of Asia and the world.

We will engrave in our hearts the past, when Japan attempted to break its deadlock with force. Upon this reflection, Japan will continue to firmly uphold the principle that any disputes must be settled peacefully and diplomatically based on the respect for the rule of law and not through the use of force, and to reach out to other countries in the world to do the same. As the only country to have ever suffered the devastation of atomic bombings during war, Japan will fulfil its responsibility in the international community, aiming at the non-proliferation and ultimate abolition of nuclear weapons.

We will engrave in our hearts the past, when the dignity and honour of many women were severely injured during wars in the 20th century. Upon this reflection, Japan wishes to be a country always at the side of such women’s injured hearts. Japan will lead the world in making the 21st century an era in which women’s human rights are not infringed upon.

We will engrave in our hearts the past, when forming economic blocs made the seeds of conflict thrive. Upon this reflection, Japan will continue to develop a free, fair and open international economic system that will not be influenced by the arbitrary intentions of any nation. We will strengthen assistance for developing countries, and lead the world toward further prosperity. Prosperity is the very foundation for peace. Japan will make even greater efforts to fight against poverty, which also serves as a hotbed of violence, and to provide opportunities for medical services, education, and self-reliance to all the people in the world.

We will engrave in our hearts the past, when Japan ended up becoming a challenger to the international order. Upon this reflection, Japan will firmly uphold basic values such as freedom, democracy, and human rights as unyielding values and, by working hand in hand with countries that share such values, hoist the flag of “Proactive Contribution to Peace,” and contribute to the peace and prosperity of the world more than ever before.

Heading toward the 80th, the 90th and the centennial anniversary of the end of the war, we are determined to create such a Japan together with the Japanese people.

August 14, 2015

Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan
内閣総理大臣  安倍 晋三

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2015年8月14日 (金)

(社説)難民受け入れ 手を差しのべる姿勢を

--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 13
EDITORIAL: Japan should open doors wider to welcome refugees
(社説)難民受け入れ 手を差しのべる姿勢を

One big humanitarian issue facing Japan is how it should deal with people who cannot remain in their own countries because of fears of possible persecution for race, religion or political opinions.

The Justice Ministry will shortly decide on a basic five-year plan on Japan’s stance on accepting foreign nationals.

In the past three years, Japan has granted refugee status to only 35 people. Critics have long pointed out that Japan’s figure has been tiny in comparison with other industrialized countries, which accept 100 to 1,000 refugees for every one recognized by Japan.

Worldwide, the number of people seeking asylum last year jumped 54 percent over the previous year to reach an all-time high, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

This rapid growth in refugees is one of the most pressing humanitarian challenges confronting the world. The Justice Ministry’s new plan for accepting foreign nationals should be designed to ensure Japan will fulfill its international responsibility to tackle the challenge.

The ministry published a draft of its plan in June. It stressed Japan’s willingness to only accept people from other nations that it needs, such as those with particular skills and others who can work in the construction sector to help alleviate an expected shortage of workers in the lead-up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. However, the draft blueprint has created the impression that Japan is reluctant to accept more refugees.

In analyzing the situation of asylum seekers in Japan, the document points out there are many foreign nationals who try to abuse the asylum system by applying for refugee status despite having no good reason for fearing persecution in their homeland.

The draft plan contains measures to deal with this problem. One measure would allow the ministry to reject asylum claims without full-scale screening in cases where the intention to abuse the program is clear. In such cases, the applicants would not be able to file a fresh application for refugee status until new relevant circumstances emerge.

In the meantime, an advisory panel of experts for the ministry called for the creation of a system to provide relief to people who don’t qualify as refugees under the international treaty but who nevertheless need protection. Yet, the draft plan offers no specific road map toward the goal.

In an unusual move, the UNHCR has officially voiced concerns about the content of the draft plan. The U.N. refugee agency has pointed out the risk that some people who really need protection could be rejected as fake refugees under the plan.

The Justice Ministry should pay serious attention to the UNHCR’s warning as a candid opinion expressed by a legitimate, experienced international organization working in the area.

Asylum seekers are allowed to work in Japan if they are residing legally in the country.

As there is a limit on the number of ordinary foreign nationals allowed to work in Japan, some people may apply for refugee status purely to be qualified to work here. But that does not justify being too eager to raise the bar for all asylum seekers.

It is not easy even for people who clearly qualify as refugees to prove that they deserve refugee status.

Generally, people become refugees under various situations of confusion. It is not unusual that even legitimate asylum seekers are unable to produce documents to support their asylum claims.

If the ministry intends to review the refugee screening process, the focus should be on why Japan has recognized only a far smaller number of refugees than other industrial nations and whether the screening is simply too rigorous.

Given the situation in such regions as the Middle East and Africa, an overwhelming majority of people who really need protection cannot reach Japan to seek asylum.

It is time for Japan to consider how it can provide effective relief to such people.

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2015年8月13日 (木)

日航機墜落30年 安全運航への誓いを新たに

The Yomiuri Shimbun
JAL must pledge anew safe flights on 30th anniversary of fatal accident
日航機墜落30年 安全運航への誓いを新たに

Wednesday marks the 30th anniversary of a JAL jumbo jet crash into Mt. Osutaka in Gunma Prefecture that claimed the lives of 520 passengers and crew members.

It was the worst single-airplane accident in the history of world aviation. Time has passed, but it cannot erase the grief of families who lost loved ones. We want to see the anniversary day serve as an opportunity to pledge anew to ensuring the safety of air travel without letting the memory of the accident fade.

The jumbo jet was involved in a tailstrike accident during a landing in 1978, seven years before the fatal 1985 crash. Due to subsequent inadequate repairs by Boeing Co. of the United States, the aircraft’s rear pressure bulkhead broke up in flight and this resulted in the crash, according to a conclusion by the then Aircraft Accident Investigation Commission.

The commission told Japan Air Lines (currently Japan Airlines) that “its inspection methods were not adequate.”

After the 1985 disaster, the airline carried out improvement measures, including an overhaul of its maintenance system. Despite this, it received a business improvement order from the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry in 2005 in the aftermath of the revelation of multiple instances of inadequate maintenance.

As one countermeasure, JAL established the Safety Promotion Center in 2006 at Haneda Airport. The center has played a major role as the hub for safety education for its employees. Looking at the wreckage of the pressure bulkhead, as well as articles and notes left by the victims, helps to impress upon employees the importance of safe flight operations.

All 35,000 JAL employees, including those from its group companies, had taken part in seminars at the center as of last March. More than 90 percent of JAL’s current employees joined the airline after the accident. This makes the importance of inheriting lessons from the disaster even greater.

Cultivate safety-first mindset

At the time of its financial management crisis in 2010, JAL put forth “safe flight operations” as the primary goal of its management as it worked toward revitalization. We want JAL to establish corporate culture that gives top priority to safety.

Since the 1985 JAL accident, there have been no passenger fatalities due to domestic airline accidents. However, “serious incidents” that might very well have led to great disasters have not ceased to happen. In June at Naha Airport, for example, an All Nippon Airways jetliner ready to take off was interrupted by an Air Self-Defense Force helicopter flying across its path.

The total number of landings at domestic airports has nearly doubled from 30 years ago. Given the market participation of low-cost carriers and other factors, domestic airline companies face harsh competition. But they can never be allowed to neglect efforts to ensure safety in flight operations.

Well known in this regard is Heinrich’s Law, which states, “For every accident that causes a major injury, there are 29 accidents that cause minor injuries and 300 accidents that cause no injuries.” It is essential to share information among those involved in the civil aviation industry and to prevent accidents by nipping them in the bud while they are still at the stage of small mistakes.

The transport ministry last year launched a system under which airlines are asked to voluntarily report even small operational mistakes, for which reporting is not mandatory, and information that should be made known is then published. The system must be used to prevent further accidents.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 11, 2015)

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2015年8月12日 (水)

(社説)「違憲」法案 限定なき兵站の中身

--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 9
EDITORIAL: ‘Unconstitutional’ security bills set no limit on military logistical support
(社説)「違憲」法案 限定なき兵站の中身

Discussions on the content of military logistics (or “rear-echelon support” in the parlance of current politics) to be provided overseas by Japan’s Self-Defense Forces have emerged as a focus of attention during deliberations in the Upper House over a controversial package of new security-related bills.

We simply cannot believe our ears at the sheer extent of the limitlessness and the breadth of discretion to be given to the government.

During the last several days of debate, the government has explained that it would be legally allowed to provide the following services to foreign troops:

[Transport of weaponry and ammunition] Missiles and tanks of the U.S. military forces, chemical weapons, toxic gas weapons and nuclear weapons

[Supply of ammunition] Grenades, rocket bombs, tank ammunition, nuclear weapons, depleted uranium munitions, cluster bombs

[Refueling] Airborne and seaborne refueling of U.S. fighter jets and combat helicopters that are embarking on bombing missions, and refueling of fighter jets and bombers that carry nuclear missiles or nuclear bombs

There is no doubt that the bills would significantly expand the leeway for discretion to be used by the administration of the time when compared with the existing legislation, which does not allow Japan to supply ammunition or provide other services to foreign troops. At the very least, virtually no restriction is expected to be set by the text of the legislation.

For example, Defense Minister Gen Nakatani made a nuanced remark in regard to the transport of cluster bombs, which scatter bomblets over broad areas and create serious threats from unexploded bomblets. He said the transport of cluster bombs “will not be ruled out legally, but decisions will be made carefully, because Japan is signatory to an international convention that totally bans their use and manufacture.”

Nakatani also remained noncommittal on the transport of depleted uranium munitions, which contain radioactive substances, when he said, “I cannot say definitively if it will be allowed to transport depleted uranium munitions of other countries.”

The government takes the stance that Japan will consider all factors at hand in making policy decisions on whether to actually put into practice something that is legally allowed. It is certainly true that Japan has no way to supply nuclear weapons, depleted uranium munitions or cluster bombs, none of which it possesses, to foreign troops.

But speaking in general terms, it appears unlikely for Tokyo to refuse Washington’s strong request for transport operations, except in extremely improbable cases, such as the transport of nuclear weapons.

It has so far been believed that unconstitutionality of operations that are construed as constituting “integrated use of force with foreign troops” would apply the brakes of sorts on similar operations. It has been learned, however, that Japan’s SDF transported armed U.S. soldiers during its airlift operations in Iraq. Given that, there could be a situation where anything goes if the security bills become law.

The bills do not limit the beneficiary of logistical support to U.S. troops. They would allow logistical support to be provided anywhere except in areas of “ongoing combat.” They would allow Japan to supply ammunition to foreign troops, transport weaponry and ammunition for foreign troops, and refuel aircraft of foreign troops being prepared for takeoff. They would allow Japan to do so anywhere in the world.

And they allow leeway for policy decisions to be made and discretion to be used by the administration of the time to provide this much military logistical support, which could constitute “integrated use of force with foreign troops.”

We are only led to suspect ever more strongly that the security bills are unconstitutional, not only because they are based on a controversial decision to lift the country’s self-imposed ban on exercising the right to collective self-defense, but also because they are expected to allow logistical support to this extent to be provided.

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2015年8月11日 (火)

(社説)川内再稼働を前に 避難の不安が置き去りだ

--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 8
EDITORIAL: Concerns about evacuations in nuclear emergencies continue unabated
(社説)川内再稼働を前に 避難の不安が置き去りだ

The 2011 nuclear disaster resulted in a horrifying scenario in which nuclear fuel inside reactors melted down, triggering a massive release of radioactive materials into the environment outside the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has proposed a system of five layers of safety measures for nuclear power plants. The nuclear watchdog urges each country operating nuclear power plants to adopt this approach, known as “defense-in-depth,” to ensure the facilities operate safely.

The final barrier in this system is prevention of radiation exposure to people living in areas around nuclear power plants.

Specifically, this fifth and final stage of defense-in-depth should be implemented in the form of plans developed by the central and local governments to mitigate the consequences of nuclear accidents and evacuate local residents.

When the Fukushima disaster occurred, however, no effective plan existed for the mass evacuation of local residents in Japan. This is because the possibility of a severe nuclear accident had been ruled out.

As a result, the accident triggered utter chaos in local communities around the Fukushima plant.

Now, more than four years since the disaster unfolded, Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Sendai nuclear power plant in Kagoshima Prefecture is expected to restart its No. 1 reactor as early as Aug. 11.

But the mitigation and evacuation plans currently in place are far from reassuring to local residents. The responsibility to establish the “final barrier” and ensure the safety of residents rests with the local government. There should be no headlong rush toward restarting the reactor when serious safety concerns persist.


After the Fukushima accident, the central government made it mandatory for all local governments within 30 kilometers of a nuclear power plant to develop disaster mitigation and evacuation plans.

All the nine municipalities within 30 km of the Sendai plant have drawn up such plans. The total population of the areas covered is about 210,000.

Takuro Eto, 58, who operates a daytime care service for the elderly in Ichikikushikino, a city located about 17 km from the Sendai plant, is deeply skeptical about the evacuation plan crafted by the municipal government.

“Are they really serious about protecting the lives of people?” he said.

Many of the 10 or so elderly people who regularly come to Eto’s facility are suffering from dementia. If a serious nuclear accident occurs, they are required to return to their homes before being evacuated, according to the city’s evacuation plan.

One of these patients lives alone in a house located within 10 km of the plant.

“Are we supposed to have this patient return home, which is located closer to the plant?” Eto said indignantly. “How can we ask our staffers to escort the patient home (in such an emergency)?”

How to evacuate people who cannot move on their own, such as the residents of nursing homes and hospital inpatients, also poses a challenge.

The Kagoshima prefectural government has secured evacuation destinations for the 17 nursing homes and hospitals within 10 km of the Sendai plant. As for the 227 facilities located between 10 and 30 km from the plant, however, the local government has decided to do computer searches after an accident happens to find facilities that can accommodate those evacuees.

An employee at a home for elderly people requiring special care located within a 30-km radius of the nuclear plant voices anxiety about the plan.
“We have only one staff member on night duty," the employee said. "How can the staffer deal with evacuating the residents to an unfamiliar place in an emergency?”

Despite such concerns, the prefectural government has no plan to carry out an evacuation drill involving local residents to test the effectiveness of the evacuation plan before the reactor is brought back online.

“Kyushu Electric Power currently has no time (for such a drill) as it is busy with inspections prior to the reactor restart,” Kagoshima Governor Yuichi Ito said.

An Asahi Shimbun survey revealed that 66 percent of medical institutions and 49 percent of social welfare facilities within 30 km of nuclear power plants across Japan have not compiled mandatory evacuation plans specifying evacuation destinations, routes and transportation means to be used in the event of an accident.


The fifth level of the IAEA’s defense-in-depth safety approach--the final barrier--should be designed to work effectively to protect public health even in cases in which all the other four layers of defense have failed.

In Japan, this stage of defense is the local government’s responsibility. Evacuation plans are not covered by the Nuclear Regulation Authority’s safety assessments. Such plans are to be simply approved by the nuclear disaster prevention council, headed by the prime minister.

It should be assumed that the responsibility for protecting local residents from nuclear accidents lies with the local government, which is abreast of special regional circumstances.

According to experts, in the disaster at the Fukushima No.1 plant, even the nuclear fuel pool of the No. 4 reactor, which was offline at that time, was at risk of a severe accident.

One vital lesson from the catastrophe is that the mere existence of a nuclear reactor poses serious safety risks.

Evacuation plans are indispensable, whether the reactors are restarted or not.

To be sure, it is almost impossible to create a perfect evacuation plan. But it is possible to clarify what can be done, ascertain problems to be solved and explain them to local residents.

To do so, the local governments of areas where nuclear plants are located need to conduct drills to test the effectiveness of their mitigation and evacuation plans and hold the necessary dialogue with local residents.

It is said that a two-stage evacuation approach is effective during nuclear emergencies. Under this approach, residents within 5 km of the plant should be evacuated first. People living between 5 and 30 km from the plant should first take refuge indoors to wait for their own evacuation.

It is obvious that this approach does not work without the understanding and cooperation of the local residents.

If local governments are responsible for the safety of their residents, they should also be involved in the process of deciding on whether to restart reactors.

Currently, however, under agreements with electric utilities, only the prefectures and municipalities that host nuclear power plants have the right to agree to reactor restarts. But this right should also be given at least to all the local governments in the 30-km zone that are obliged to map out evacuation plans.

Nuclear reactors should be considered to be too dangerous if the local governments of areas that can be affected by accidents involving the reactors refuse to support their operations. These reactors should be decommissioned as soon as possible.


The Diet’s investigative committee that looked into the Fukushima accident has pointed out that little serious effort has been made in Japan to establish even the fourth level of the IAEA’s defense-in-depth strategy for nuclear safety, or control of severe plant conditions, the stage before the final barrier.

In 2006, the Nuclear Safety Commission tried to make a sweeping review based on the IAEA standards of the priority areas designated under the government’s nuclear disaster prevention policy. But the plan was dropped in the face of opposition from the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, which feared such a review would provoke anxiety among local residents, according to the findings of the investigation.

The radiation exposure that afflicted many residents around the Fukushima plant could have been avoided. Many patients in hospitals who were not evacuated quickly enough died due to deteriorating health conditions. More than 1,900 people in Fukushima Prefecture have died due to causes related to the nuclear accident.

Have all the relevant lessons from the calamity been gleaned and absorbed to prevent any further casualties of administrative nonfeasance?

This is the question local governments should ask first in examining and evaluating their abilities to protect residents from nuclear accidents.

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2015年8月10日 (月)

「イスラム国」 弱体化へ国際社会は結束せよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Intl community must unite in resolve to undermine ISIL’s strength
「イスラム国」 弱体化へ国際社会は結束せよ

To weaken and eventually eliminate a brutal extremist organization, the international community must work together to tighten its noose around it.

One year has passed since U.S. forces launched airstrikes against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

As a result of about 6,000 air raids carried out by the United States and an international “coalition of the willing” in Iraq and Syria so far, more than 15,000 ISIL fighters, including some of its leaders, have been killed. Some crude oil facilities, a major source of revenue for the ISIL, and its military installations have been destroyed.

Although the air raids have achieved some military gains, prospects for a complete victory over the ISIL remain questionable.

The recruitment of fighters by the ISIL continues, and there is no sign the strength of the extremist group — believed to be between 20,000 and 30,000 fighters — is weakening. Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city captured by the ISIL last year, remains under its rule. Its fighting methods, such as suicide assaults, are reportedly getting more extreme.

The menace of extremist groups aligned with the ISIL has spread alarmingly not only throughout the Middle East and Africa but also South Asia and Russia.

Multifaceted, tenacious endeavors are imperative to stamp out the ISIL. United efforts to address this challenge by the countries concerned must be strengthened even more.

The airstrike operations are fraught with many difficulties, such as how to distinguish targets that are hiding among civilians. To make the operations effective, deployment of ground troops is a prerequisite, and the United States has been exerting efforts toward this end by training local forces.

Turkish role key factor

Prospective local troops trained by the U.S. forces, however, number no more than 11,000 or so in Iraq and a few dozen in Syria. Training more local troops is urgently needed.

The United States has been looking for ways to restructure its strategy, as exemplified by an agreement with Turkey, a country bordering Syria, to expand air raids against the ISIL.

Earlier, it was noted that Turkey, after placing top priority on ousting the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, has assumed a lukewarm attitude in responding to the ISIL. Recently, however, Turkey allowed U.S. bombers to use an air base located in Turkey, and that base has been used by U.S. drones to make sorties for the first time.

With the aim of beefing up pressure on Raqqa, the key ISIL stronghold in northern Syria, U.S. forces are poised to conduct intensive air raids targeting ISIL fighters near the Turkish border. Attention should be focused on whether the planned air raids will prove to be the first step to turning around the course of the war.

To stem the inflow of fighters and weapons for the ISIL across the Turkish border, bolstering surveillance at the border, which stretches more than 900 kilometers, is important.

A problem in this connection is that Turkey has begun attacking minority ethnic Kurds in Iraq and Syria. This campaign is aimed at the possibility of those Kurds collaborating with Kurdish antigovernment armed groups operating in Turkey.

Weakening the influence of the Kurds that have been playing a part in the fight to eradicate the ISIL will undermine the effort to contain it. Turkey should exercise self-restraint in this respect.

In addition, improvement of the human rights situation in the conflict-racked region is a matter of urgency. In July, the Japanese government decided to provide about ¥1.2 billion in emergency assistance to Iraq — about 3.1 million Iraqis are internally displaced people. Japan must fulfill its responsibility in fields other than military affairs.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 9, 2015)

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2015年8月 9日 (日)

日朝外相会談 拉致問題解決を粘り強く迫れ

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Japan should patiently press issue of abductions with North Korea
日朝外相会談 拉致問題解決を粘り強く迫れ

The government is expected to move the issue of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korean agents forward by using the fact that a high-level meeting has been held between Tokyo and Pyongyang as leverage.

Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida met his North Korean counterpart, Ri Su Yong, on the sidelines of meetings held by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Malaysia.

Kishida protested to Ri during their talks that although Pyongyang has conducted reinvestigations on the abduction of Japanese nationals by its agents for more than a year, it has not reported any results. Kishida called it “regrettable” and asked the North Korean government again to send all the abduction victims home as soon as possible.

Ri told him that his government has been reinvestigating the incidents sincerely based on the agreement made between Tokyo and Pyongyang.

Only North Korean leader Kim Jong Un can make a political decision to clarify the whole picture of the abductions, which are a state crime, and allow the victims to come home quickly.

In that sense, it is meaningful that Kishida could directly tell Ri, a powerful figure allegedly close to Kim, the importance of solving the abduction issue.

It is important not to make the foreign ministerial meeting between Japan and North Korea a one-time event but to connect it to the progress of the reinvestigation.

Instead of only a brief contact, Ri agreed this time to 30-minute-long talks with his Japanese counterpart.

Pyongyang intends to force Japan to relax sanctions and extend food aid to North Korea in return for the reinvestigation. It apparently wants to avoid international isolation by maintaining talks with Japan.

Strategic move necessary

The government must make a strategic move that no longer allows North Korea to play for time or maneuver cleverly.

Pyongyang claims that it has been conducting a comprehensive reinvestigation of the abductions, including issues related to remains of Japanese victims. However, the priority of the reinvestigation should be on the abduction victims who cannot come home yet.

If the North Koreans remain unable to report even information about the fate of the abductees, resumption of sanctions, which were lifted last year, and introduction of new measures such as prohibition of money transfers to North Korea cannot be avoided.

The government should strongly urge North Korea to report on the progress of the reinvestigation. One option might be setting a new deadline for progress.

In Malaysia, Kishida also held separate talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung Se, both of whom also attended the ASEAN meetings.

In reference to a statement Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is going to issue to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, Wan said that he expected Abe to “face history with a responsible attitude.” Yun said he expects Abe to “reconfirm the perception of history held by past cabinets.” Kishida replied to them that the Abe Cabinet will “succeed the positions of the past cabinets in general.”

The Advisory Panel on the History of the 20th Century and on Japan’s Role and World Order in the 21st Century submitted a report to the prime minister that it compiled after discussing the planned statement. “Japan expanded its aggression” after the 1931 Manchurian Incident, the panel said in the report. “Based on the deep remorse [for the war], Japan has been reborn as a country that is completely different from what it was … ”

In the planned statement, the prime minister should review Japan’s past based on the perception of history presented in the report and clearly announce his will to build future-oriented relations with both China and South Korea.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 8, 2015)

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2015年8月 8日 (土)

70年談話懇報告 首相も「侵略」を明確に認めよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Abe must clearly admit ‘aggression’ in anniversary statement on WWII
70年談話懇報告 首相も「侵略」を明確に認めよ


Prime Minister Shinzo Abe must send a clear message that Japan made a fresh start in the postwar period based on its reflection on the past misguided war.

The Advisory Panel on the History of the 20th Century and on Japan’s Role and World Order in the 21st Century has submitted to Abe a report compiled after its discussions on the statement he will release next week to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.

The report evaluated the postwar international contribution Japan made after learning lessons from its prewar failures and pointed out the need to make greater efforts to realize its proactive contribution to world peace.

The report determined that Japan expanded its “aggression” against the continent after the Manchurian Incident of 1931. This historical perspective can be regarded as hitting the nail on the head.

A turning point

However, the report contained a footnote that there were some dissenting views among panel members concerning the use of the word “aggression.” According to the report, the reasons for this included that the definition of “aggression” has not been established under international law and there is an objection from a historical perspective to stating that the series of events from the Manchurian Incident onward constituted “aggression.”

But acts of sending troops into territories of a foreign country and infringing on its sovereignty have been defined by historians as “aggression.”

In this sense, the series of acts from the Manchurian Incident onward obviously constituted “aggression.” It is irrational to refute that it was for the purpose of defense. The events also constituted a violation of the antiwar treaty signed in 1928 that banned wars except for defensive purposes.

It is not acceptable to argue defiantly that the United States and European countries also committed aggression. It is also wrong to assert that Japan waged the war for the liberation of Asia.

The report also said: “Japan acted counter to the tide of self-determination. Colonial rule became particularly harsh from the second half of the 1930s on.”

It added that “Japan’s postwar trajectory is based on a thorough reflection of its actions in the 1930s and the first half of the 1940s.” The report also pointed out the need to work toward achieving reconciliation with China and South Korea. Both points are significant.

The report expresses no opinion on whether Abe should offer an apology. “Whether or not to make an apology is the prime minister’s decision,” Shinichi Kitaoka, the panel’s deputy chairman and president of International University of Japan, said at a press conference. Even so, we think it would have been good if the panel had considered how such an apology might be offered.

National interests at stake

The report’s introduction states, “The Panel hopes that this Report serves as a reference for the statement to be issued on the 70th anniversary of the end of the war.”

One closely watched element of Abe’s statement will be his handling of key words that were contained in the statement issued by then Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama to mark the 50th anniversary of the end of the war, and the statement by then Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to mark the 60th anniversary. Both of these statements explicitly expressed “deep remorse” for Japan’s “colonial rule and aggression” and stated a “heartfelt apology.”

We don’t think the political meaning of Abe’s statement should be judged automatically by its use — or omission — of key words from the earlier statements. Be that as it may, the international community will be carefully observing what kind of historical perception is displayed by the Japanese prime minister.

Abe previously stirred up controversy when he said the word “aggression” has no established definition in the international community.

In an article contributed to The Yomiuri Shimbun, former Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone asserted, “From the viewpoint of those peoples, the Japanese military stepped into their countries with their boots on, and this was unmistakably an act of aggression.”

Sense of apology

If Abe omits the word “aggression” from his statement, he will inevitably be viewed as not wanting to accept the fact that Japan committed aggression. If suspicions are harbored over Japan’s actions and trust in Japan is shaken because of this, it will damage the national interest.

There are strong concerns that not offering any gesture at all to the many people who were forced to endure tremendous suffering and sacrifice because of Japan’s actions before the end of the war could generate the misunderstanding that “Japan does not feel remorse for what happened.”

We can understand why many Japanese people feel uncomfortable about continuing to apologize generation after generation.

We suppose it is time to draw a line, and make this the final apology, for once and for all.

Even if Abe’s statement uses expressions that indirectly touch on the views of previous cabinets, such as quotes from the Murayama statement, it should also include words that convey sincere feelings of apology regarding Japan’s “aggression” and “colonial rule.”

Or it should incorporate words of apology from the prime minister himself that will resonate in the hearts of people who suffered during the war.

Leaders of Germany, a nation that has squarely reflected on its Nazi-era past, have gained the confidence of France and other nearby countries by using heartfelt expressions, even if they did not use direct words of apology.

This could be an example from which Japan can learn.

Abe has spoken of his desire to issue a future-oriented statement. However, he should keep in mind that properly reviewing the past is precisely the way to ensure that Japan’s international contributions and policy of proactive contribution to peace are positively evaluated.

Opinions within the government and ruling parties are split over whether the 70th anniversary statement should be issued after a decision by the Cabinet to support it. Considering that this is a statement for which the Cabinet should take responsibility, we think the Cabinet needs to make such a decision.

The statement should confidently tell the world about the path Japan has taken in the 70 years since the war ended.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 7, 2015)Speech

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2015年8月 7日 (金)

原爆忌 被爆地訪問で核軍縮に弾みを

The Yomiuri Shimbun
For sake of peace, world leaders should visit Hiroshima in person
原爆忌 被爆地訪問で核軍縮に弾みを

Thursday marks the passage of 70 years since an atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. On Sunday, Nagasaki will also mark the 70th anniversary of becoming a victim of an atomic bomb during the war.

Many years have passed since the day when a nuclear weapon was used for the first time in human history. The average age of atomic bomb survivors is now above 80.

About 70 percent of Japanese people do not know the dates when atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This finding came through a public poll taken by NHK. The importance of handing down the memory of the atomic bombings from generation to generation has grown greater than ever.

Rose Gottemoeller, U.S. undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, will attend this year’s peace memorial ceremonies in Hiroshima and Nagasaki — the first time for a senior U.S. government official to be sent from Washington to attend an annual ceremony.

In a peace declaration to be announced at the peace ceremony, Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui will call on U.S. President Barack Obama and other leaders from across the world to visit the sites of the atomic bombings.

Next spring, a summit meeting of the Group of Seven major nations (the Ise-Shima summit) will be held in Japan, and Hiroshima is slated to host a related meeting of foreign ministers. It will be a good occasion for them to encounter the reality of a place where an atomic bomb was dropped.

Presently, an atomic bomb exhibition, sponsored by the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and other entities, is being held in Washington, the first such exhibition there in 20 years. Included on display are a watch whose hands stopped at the time when the atomic bomb was dropped on the city, and the Hiroshima Panels, joint works by the artists Iri Maruki, a Hiroshima native, and his wife Toshi Maruki.

Fraught topic in U.S.

When a similar exhibition was held in the United States 20 years ago, there was controversy over what was to be displayed. The organizers planned to display some mementos of the atomic bomb victims, together with Enola Gay, the plane that dropped the first atomic bomb. But war veterans and others in the United States strongly opposed the proposed exhibit, calling it “an insult” to all U.S. soldiers.

The proposed plan fell through, and the mementos were put on display at another event.

In the United States, there is a deep-rooted historical perspective that the atomic bombing brought the war to a quick end, thus saving the lives of many American soldiers.

In recent years, however, changes in that perception appear to be occurring.

The U.S. government plans to turn facilities related to the Manhattan Project — a program that led to the development of atomic weapons in the United States — into a national historical park. Emerging as part of the establishment of the park is a proposal to put some materials related to the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on display within the park.

The idea came as the U.S. government has taken into consideration the wishes of the two cities for the park to convey correctly the realities of the damage wrought by the bombings.

There are still more than 15,000 nuclear warheads in the world. President Vladimir Putin of Russia, which annexed the Crimean Peninsula of Ukraine last year, said later that Russia was ready to put its nuclear forces on alert over the crisis there.

China is building up its nuclear capability. During the process of working to compile final documents of agreement at the Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons in May, China had some of the original wording deleted from the draft. The wording, based on a Japanese request, called on leaders and young people of the world to visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

China criticized Japan, saying it was trying to depict itself as a victim. But issues related to historical perceptions should not be linked with nuclear disarmament.

Teaching the world about the misery wrought by nuclear weapons, and linking the appeal to nuclear disarmament and nuclear nonproliferation. This is a mission Japan, the sole country where atomic bombs were dropped, is obliged to assume.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 6, 2015)

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2015年8月 6日 (木)



それはデーツシロップ です。


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

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(社説)政権と沖縄 「休戦」で終わらせるな

--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 5
EDITORIAL: Tokyo-Okinawa 'temporary truce' too good an opportunity to waste
(社説)政権と沖縄 「休戦」で終わらせるな

Since a window of dialogue between the Abe administration and Okinawa prefectural government seems to have finally opened, every effort must be made to keep it open for continued talks.

Tokyo and Naha agreed Aug. 4 that all work related to the planned relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to the Henoko district in Nago will be suspended for one month, starting Aug. 10. The parties also agreed to use this period for intensive talks until Sept. 9.

Without this agreement, the situation inevitably would have deteriorated into a quagmire, with both sides resorting to measures to outdo one another. Tokyo was poised to start shortly reclamation work for the construction of the new air base, and Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga was about to void the land reclamation permit issued by his predecessor.

The one-month moratorium came just in time to avert a showdown. For the first time since Onaga became governor eight months ago, Tokyo and Naha, which could never agree on anything, are finally sitting down together at the negotiating table. We welcome this development.

However, it will certainly not be easy for them to narrow their distance.

The duration of the talks is limited to only one month, and there is nothing to indicate that the Abe administration will deviate during this period from its set policy, which is that the relocation to Henoko is the only solution.

The administration's decision to suspend work for one month was probably motivated by the following events scheduled during that period: The Upper House will be deliberating highly contentious bills on national security and the administration grapples with another divisive issue of restarting a nuclear reactor. Should the administration go ahead with the Henoko reclamation in disregard of the vehement resistance put up by the people of Okinawa, its already declining approval rating could go further south.

We cannot help suspect that the administration sees the period until Sept. 9 as nothing more than "temporary truce" until the national security bills become law.

Onaga is sticking to his position that construction of a new facility in Henoko is absolutely unacceptable. He has all the popular backing he needs from the results of last year's Nago mayoral election, the gubernatorial election and the Lower House election, each of which represented a triumph of the people's will to oppose the relocation plan.

Both Tokyo and Naha obviously have their own interests to consider, but we strongly hope they will let this precious opportunity for dialogue become the first step toward breaking the impasse.

The first thing they need to confirm is that the either/or argument of "Henoko or Futenma" has got to end.

Rather, the questions that should be asked include the following: What sort of foreign policy strategy does Japan need to establish a stable, long-term relationship with China? Where should U.S. forces and Japan's Self-Defense Forces be positioned in that strategy? What is the significance of concentrating U.S. bases in Okinawa? And are U.S. Marine Corps bases really necessary in Okinawa?

All these issues must be reworked from scratch against the big picture, and the task requires more than just the Abe administration and the Okinawa prefectural government.

Specifically, the central government must hold serious talks with the U.S. government. The Abe administration cannot be considered to be taking Okinawa seriously so long as it continues to avoid such talks with Washington.

The coming month must be used to get the ball rolling in the right direction.

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企業の英語研修 あたりでも、こちらの方式が採用されれば、大幅に経費の削減が可能となります。





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2015年8月 5日 (水)

(社説)礒崎氏の発言 首相の任命責任を問う

--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 4
EDITORIAL: Isozaki’s views reflect the cowboy mind-set of Abe & Co.
(社説)礒崎氏の発言 首相の任命責任を問う

Yosuke Isozaki’s controversial remarks about security legislation have become a major political issue, not simply because they were mouthed by a special adviser on national security to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Isozaki’s comments, which belittled the importance of legal stability, have raised questions about Abe’s responsibility for appointing this individual to the key security policy post and also about the administration’s overarching tendency to make light of the Constitution.

Talking about the package of government-drafted security bills now before the Upper House, Isozaki, in a July 26 speech, said: "What we have to think about is whether the measures are necessary to protect Japan. Legal stability has nothing to do with it."
Isozaki on Aug. 3 testified before an Upper House special committee on the security legislation as an unsworn witness.

He acknowledged that his remarks had been “inappropriate” and apologized, but refused to resign as adviser to the prime minister.

The unacceptable part of his testimony is his claim that his remarks produced a “big misunderstanding.” In a posting on his website dated July 19, before the speech in question, Isozaki said the following:

"It doesn’t serve the national interest to become preoccupied with making the formalist argument that (the security legislation) lacks legal stability with the traditional government interpretation of the Constitution when there have been significant changes in the international situation surrounding Japan.”

In this positing, too, Isozaki dismissed the argument for legal stability as a “formalist” view.
So there was no misunderstanding. This is what he truly thinks.

While he was an elite bureaucrat at the former home affairs ministry (now the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications), Isozaki, as a Cabinet counselor, was involved in the drafting of legislation to deal with security emergencies.
Then he entered politics by running successfully in an Upper House election as a candidate of the Liberal Democratic Party.

Since he was appointed as an adviser to Abe, Isozaki has been working as a coordinator for the prime minister’s office to push the series of security policy initiatives.
Among security policy moves in which he has been involved are the establishment of the state secrets protection law, the change in the government’s interpretation of the Constitution to allow Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense under certain conditions and the drafting of the security legislation that recently cleared the Lower House.

In February, Isozaki, speaking as the secretary-general of the LDP’s headquarters for promoting constitutional amendments, said, “We are going to give the people a taste of constitutional amendments.” That comment also triggered public criticism.

Isozaki has been acting as a flag waver for Abe’s constitutional amendment agenda, so to speak.

Abe has cautioned members of his administration to “refrain from making remarks that arouse doubt.”
Given the depth of the relationship between Abe and Isozaki, however, what this adviser said cannot be dismissed simply as a gaffe by a close aide to the prime minister.

Senior LDP lawmakers have made remarks that indicate they are putting greater importance on security policy than on the Constitution. “The nation could fall into ruin while protecting the Constitution” is a typical refrain.

Remarks such as this, which is similar in essence to what Isozaki said, reflect a mind-set of treating the Constitution and legal stability lightly.

Isozaki’s words have underscored afresh an inherent lack of legal stability in the security legislation.

The administration has made a 180-degree change in the official interpretation of the Constitution with regard to whether Japan can exercise the right to collective self-defense, from “no” to “yes,” while stressing the qualifier “under certain circumstances.”

The administration has also exhibited a propensity to secure the government as much leeway as possible to make its own security policy decisions.

It is obvious that the security legislation lacks legal stability.

The blame for this serious flaw with the legislation should be borne by the prime minister himself and the entire ruling camp, including Komeito, the LDP’s junior coalition partner.

Isozaki’s testimony as an unsworn witness before the Diet alone cannot put an end to this serious political problem.

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携帯通信端末で有名なコヴィアがSIMフリーのスマートフォン「FLEAZ POP」 を新発売しました。



Covia SIMフリースマートフォンFLEAZシリーズにLTE対応製品が登場!Android 5.1(Lolipop)、4インチIPS液晶を搭載した「FLEAZ POP(ポップ)」を発売開始!


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2015年8月 4日 (火)

南シナ海情勢 中国は規範から逃れられない

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Beijing must honor code of conduct in S. China Sea to prevent conflicts
南シナ海情勢 中国は規範から逃れられない

Making its control over the South China Sea a fait accompli by buying time on the pretext of continuing dialogue, China’s posture has now become crystal clear with Beijing turning its back on efforts to formulate international rules pertaining to the disputed waters.

To lay down a “code of conduct” to prevent conflicts in the South China Sea, senior officials from China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations held talks last week in Tianjin, China.

Regarding the issue of creating the code of conduct, both sides stressed what they called the positive fruits of the talks, declaring, each participant county had agreed that we would enter a new phase of consultations to discuss highly important and complex issues. No time frame or related steps for drawing up the envisioned code of conduct were spelled out, however, meaning that the China-ASEAN talks failed to make any substantive progress.

The proposed code of conduct is to be a set of legally binding rules that would regulate behavior of such countries as China, the Philippines and Vietnam that are disputing territory in the South China Sea. Studies are being made to incorporate in the code of conduct such rules contained in the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea and creation of a framework to oversee the behavior of the respective countries concerned.

It appears that China, while showing that it is prepared to sit at the negotiating table with ASEAN, wants to prevent the United States from having any say in the region, in a bid to claim the South China Sea as “China’s own waters.”

If a code of conduct was actually drawn up, Beijing probably would try to make its binding power as weak as possible, with the aim of emasculating the content of the pact.

Bid to divide ASEAN members

The main reason for the failure to make progress in the talks, which began in September 2013, is China’s efforts to stymie progress, as Beijing is averse to any attempt to put constraints on its endeavor to change the status quo.

Meanwhile, China is going all-out to reclaim reefs of the Spratly Islands one after another, by building such installations as a 3,000-meter-class runway and military facilities. Should a surveillance network with radar be installed there, there would be fears that a huge area of the South China Sea would come under the influence of China.

It goes without saying that China, a major power that should fulfill its responsibility to ensure the region’s peace and stability, is responsible for the strained situation in the South China Sea.

In the middle of this week, foreign ministers and other officials from Japan, the United States, China, ASEAN members and others will hold the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in Kuala Lumpur to discuss security issues. The discussion will focus on such issues as “freedom of navigation” in the South China Sea.

China presumably used the senior officials’ talks last week ahead of the ARF meeting to cause internal divisions within ASEAN, probably aimed at isolating the Philippines, as problems between the two countries have intensified.

Problematic in this connection is that on the eve of the talks, Chinese forces carried out military exercises in the vicinity of Hainan Island in the South China Sea that were one of the largest in scale ever carried out by the Chinese military, with more than 100 vessels, scores of aircraft and strategic missile troops mobilized. The war games were apparently designed to keep the U.S. forces, which have been beefing up surveillance activities in the South China Sea, in check.

Japan, in cooperation with such countries as the United States and the Philippines, must press China repeatedly to help draw up an effective code of conduct as early as possible and suspend the projects to militarize the reefs in the South China Sea.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 3, 2015)

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「sMedio TV Suite for Android」 なんですが、アンドロイドタブレットさえ持っていれば、 Google Playからダウンロードできます。


Android版 DTCP-IP/DLNAプレーヤー「sMedio TV Suite for Android」8月3日(月)よりGoogle Playにて提供開始 期間限定で初回特価キャンペーンも実施


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2015年8月 3日 (月)

最低賃金上げ 中小企業の体力強化が重要だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Small, midsize companies must be helped amid minimum wage hikes
最低賃金上げ 中小企業の体力強化が重要だ

Increasing minimum wages is of key importance to shoring up consumer spending and materializing stable economic growth.

A Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry panel — the Central Minimum Wages Council — has decided on a bellwether for minimum hourly wages for fiscal 2015, calling for minimum wages to be raised by a national average of ¥18. This is the steepest increase since fiscal 2002, when the government started indicating a bellwether minimum hourly wage.

Using the bellwether as a reference, respective prefectural government councils will set increases in minimum wages based on the circumstances of their regional economies.

Minimum wages are applied to all workers in all fields of businesses in each prefecture, and it is illegal to pay less than the minimum.

If minimum wages are raised in line with the bellwether, the national average will stand at ¥798 per hour. Full-time employees working for the minimum wage would take home about ¥130,000, up around ¥3,000 from the previous year.

Mainly because of an increasing number of nonregular workers, approximately 1.9 million people now work for minimum wage. If materialized, the recommended minimum wage hike would directly improve such people’s working conditions. This is of considerable significance.

In this spring’s annual shunto pay raise negotiations between labor unions and employers, many companies — especially big ones that saw their business results improve — granted large pay hikes. But such pay raises have yet to spread to small and midsize enterprises and nonregular workers.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has expressed a strong intention to realize a sharp increase in minimum wages, instructing his Cabinet members in charge of economic affairs to proactively press the issue. It was apparently aimed at spreading the trend toward higher wages to a wide spectrum of employees to ensure the effects of his Abenomics economic policy permeate.

Regional gaps must be fixed

But it remains a question whether small and midsize companies, the business environment of which has remained stringent, can afford large pay raises. Many such companies have been plagued with ballooning raw-material costs and related expenditures because of the yen’s weakening.

Will some companies find themselves unable to afford rises in personnel costs due to higher minimum wages and therefore cut their payrolls? The government should be vigilant in this respect.

It is important to craft an environment in which businesses feel comfortable about raising wages.

To this end, it is essential to strengthen the management of small and midsize enterprises. Government assistance for such projects as investment in plants and equipment that would enhance productivity should be further expanded.

It is also important to extend support for job skills training for employees to enable them to find jobs with more favorable working conditions. In this connection, job training programs should be enhanced.

One problem is that regional disparities in minimum wages have been widening.

According to the council’s bellwether for minimum hourly wages, Tokyo tops the list of minimum wages with ¥907. But in seven prefectures, including Okinawa and Tottori, the minimum wage is ¥693. The difference between the highest and lowest minimum wages stands at ¥214, an increase by ¥3 from fiscal 2014. The gap is more than twice that in fiscal 2002.

A continuation in the outflow of workers from regions with low pay into major urban areas could jeopardize the government’s goal of vitalizing regional economies.

Efforts in both the private and public sectors must be redoubled to rectify the regional minimum wage disparities by creating jobs attractive to people in nonmetropolitan regions.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 2, 2015)

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徳川の天下取りなるか?名古屋・徳川美術館キャラクター「トクさん」がミュージアム キャラクター アワード 2015に緊急参戦。愛知県民や日本史ファンならずとも注目の戦いです。9/11まで投票受付中! 株式会社simpleshow Japan

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2015年8月 2日 (日)

東電「強制起訴」 高度な注意義務求めた検察審

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Judicial review panel condemns ex-TEPCO execs for negligence
東電「強制起訴」 高度な注意義務求めた検察審

Executives must face criminal charges for their failure to take sufficient measures to prevent a disaster even though it was caused by an unprecedented natural disaster. This appears to be the judgment of a citizens prosecution inquest panel.

Concerning the nuclear disaster that occurred at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, the judicial review panel voted for a second time Friday that three of the then top executives of the utility, including chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata, should be indicted on charges of professional negligence resulting in death and injury. Prosecutors have twice previously decided not to indict them.

As a result, the three former executives will have to stand trial after being forcibly indicted.

The panel condemned Katsumata and two other executives, charging that they continued to operate the nuclear plant without taking necessary safety steps and that this led to the disaster caused by the tsunami, which resulted in reactor core damage.

True, TEPCO had operated under a safety myth. The utility cannot be allowed to evade responsibility for having caused such social and economic damage as a result of dispersing radioactive substances.

But under the criminal code, individuals are charged with criminal responsibility, not businesses. To file a charge for professional negligence resulting in death and injury, it is necessary to prove that the accused was guilty of negligence evidently while recognizing concrete dangers, not just having a vague sense of alarm.

Duty to ensure safety

The panel said: “Those in responsible positions in nuclear power generation are responsible for preparing measures by taking into consideration every possibility of a serious accident being caused by tsunami.”

This reflects the panel’s view that executives of power companies have a higher obligation of diligence than usual.

Based on the analysis of a government institution, TEPCO estimated in 2008 that the highest conceivable tsunami could be more than 15 meters high. The panel cited this estimate to argue that the former TEPCO executives could have foreseen the damage.

But according to interviews with experts, the prosecutors had recognized that the data of the government institution had a low degree of reliability and concluded that it was difficult at the time to recognize the actual possibility of such a gigantic tsunami.

In judging whether there was negligence, the key point is whether the former top executives committed professional negligence by leaving an apparent danger unaddressed based on the state of scientific knowledge before the nuclear disaster. We wonder whether the panel held sufficient discussions in this connection.

We want the court to hold prudent hearings in light of evidence.

Most important of all is to use lessons from the Fukushima nuclear disaster to prevent a recurrence of a similar crisis.

Nuclear regulation standards were made stricter in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster. Based on new regulation standards, the Nuclear Regulation Authority has been conducting safety screenings of nuclear power plants in various places around the country based on new regulation criteria, a process that is necessary to restart nuclear power plants. It is imperative for utilities to conduct risk management thoroughly, thereby enhancing the safety of nuclear plants.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 1, 2015)

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siifaa math 2015-08-02

siifaa math 2015-08-02

พี่สูง 172 เซนติเมตร พี่สูงกว่าน้อง 64 เซนติเมตร
1. โจทย์ถามอะไร
ตอบ น้องสูงกี่เซนติเมตร
2. โจทย์กำหนดอะไรให้บ้าง
ตอบ พี่สูง172เซนติเมตรพี่สูงกว่าน้อง64เซนติเมตร
3. จะหาความสูงของน้องได้อย่างไร
ตอบ วิธีลบ 172-64=108 เซนติเมตร
4. ได้คำตอบเท่าไร
ตอบ ๑๐๘ เซนติเมตร
5. สรุปคำตอบได้อย่างไร
ตอบ น้องสูง 108 เซนติเมตร

เมื่อวานนี้ร้านค้ารับขนมมาขาย 95 ถุง วันนี่รับมาอีก 112 ถุง รวมสองวันร้านค้า
เมื่อวานนี้ร้านค้ารับขนมมาขาย           95  ถุง
วันนี่รับมาอีก                                112  ถุง
รวมสองวันร้านค้ารับขนมมาขายกี่ถุง   207  ถุง
รวมสองวันร้านค้ารับขนมมาขาย ๒๐๗ ถุง

วารีซื้อเป็ด 165 ตัว ซื้อไก่ 80 ตัว วารีซื้อไก่
วารีซื้อเป็ด                        165 ตัว
ซื้อไก่                                80 ตัว
วารีซื้อไก่น้อยกว่าเป็ดกี่ตัว       85 ตัว
วารีซื้อไก่น้อยกว่าเป็ด ๘๕ ตัว

ชั้น ป.2 มีนักเรียน 125 คน ชั้น ป.3 มีนักเรียน 173 คน ชั้น ป.2 มีนักเรียน
น้อยกว่าชั้น ป.3 กี่คน
ชั้น ป.3 มีนักเรียน                         173 คน
ชั้น ป.2 มีนักเรียน                         125 คน
ป.2 มีนักเรียนน้อยกว่าชั้น ป.3 กี่คน     48 คน
ป.2 มีนักเรียนน้อยกว่าชั้น ป.3 ๔๘ คน

สัปดาห์แรกชาวสวนปลูกมะพร้าว 324 ต้น
สัปดาห์ที่สองปลูกได้มากกว่าสัปดาห์แรก 128 ต้น
สัปดาห์แรกชาวสวนปลูกมะพร้าว                     324 ต้น
สัปดาห์ที่สองปลูกได้มากกว่าสัปดาห์แรก          128 ต้น
สัปดาห์ที่สองปลูกมะพร้าวได้กี่ต้น                   452 ต้น
สัปดาห์ที่สองปลูกมะพร้าวได้ ๔๕๒ ต้น

วิชามีดินสอ 320 แท่ง ต้องการบริจาคให้โรงเรียน 400 แท่ง วิชาต้องซื้อดินสอมา
วิชาต้องการบริจาคให้โรงเรียน        400 แท่ง
วิชามีดินสอ                               320 แท่ง
วิชาต้องซื้อดินสอมาเพิ่มอีกกี่แท่ง      80 แท่ง
วิชาต้องซื้อดินสอมาเพิ่มอีก ๘๐ แท่ง
พี่มีรูปลอก 172 รูป น้องมีน้อยกว่าพี่ 64 รูป น้องมีรูปลอกกี่รูป
พี่มีรูปลอก                       172 รูป
น้องมีน้อยกว่าพี่                  64 รูป
น้องมีรูปลอกกี่รูป               108 รูป
น้องมีรูปลอก ๑๐๘ รูป

เทศบาลจะสร้างถนนยาว 803 เมตร สร้างไปแล้ว 210 เมตร จะต้องสร้างต่ออีก
เทศบาลจะสร้างถนนยาว                     803 เมตร
สร้างไปแล้ว                                    210 เมตร
จะต้องสร้างต่ออีกกี่เมตรจึงจะเสร็จ         593 เมตร
จะต้องสร้างต่ออีก ๕๙๓ เมตร

ปรีดามียางรัด 757 เส้น ปรีดามียางรัดมากกว่าปรานี 94 เส้น ปรานีมียางรัดกี่เส้น
ปรีดามียางรัด                          757 เส้น
ปรีดามียางรัดมากกว่าปรานี           94 เส้น
ปรานีมียางรัดกี่เส้น                   663 เส้น
ปรานีมียางรัด ๖๖๓ เส้น

สวนสัตว์มีเต่า 38 ตัว มีเต่าน้อยกว่านก 144 ตัว
สวนสัตว์มีเต่า               38 ตัว
มีเต่าน้อยกว่านก          144 ตัว
ส่วนสัตว์มีนกกี่ตัว         182 ตัว
ส่วนสัตว์มีนก ๑๘๒ ตัว

มีนักท่องเที่ยวหญิงมากกว่าชาย 45 คน ถ้ามีนักท่องเที่ยวหญิง 382 คน จะมี
มีนักท่องเที่ยวหญิง                         382 คน
มีนักท่องเที่ยวหญิงมากกว่าชาย           45 คน
มีนักท่องเที่ยวชายกี่คน                    337 คน
มีนักท่องเที่ยวชาย ๓๓๗ คน

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2015年8月 1日 (土)

北京冬季五輪 雪不足の地では不安が大きい

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Great anxiety as un-snowy Beijing picked to host ’22 Winter Olympics
北京冬季五輪 雪不足の地では不安が大きい

The International Olympic Committee has chosen Beijing as the host city for the 2022 Winter Olympics.

It will be the first city in Olympic history to host both summer and winter Games since Beijing already hosted the 2008 Summer Games. We hope Beijing will expend all possible efforts in making perfect preparations.

Beijing won a one-to-one duel with Kazakhstan’s Almaty by stressing the stability of its financial resources supported by the Chinese government and a wealth of experience in organizing international athletic events.

Hosting the Winter Olympics has a public approval rating of 92 percent in China. Chinese President Xi Jinping apparently intends to maintain his government’s leadership and boost the nation’s prestige by hosting an Olympiad again.

Meanwhile, there are many worries about Beijing’s plan to host the Olympics. First, Beijing receives only light snow each winter. Competitions to be held within the city will mainly be skating events. Skiing and other events are planned to be held in Zhangjiakou, Hebei Province, located next to Beijing. However, Zhangjiakou has to rely on artificial snow that is inferior in quality to natural snow.

To make a huge amount of artificial snow, water from a reservoir will be used. Though the delegation from Beijing stressed at the IOC plenary meeting that it will hardly have an impact on the environment, some experts pointed out the possibility of negative effects on water resources.

Many problems ahead

Also, deep concerns are expressed over Beijing’s air pollution.

When it hosted the 2008 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the city decided to enforce heavy-handed traffic controls and to suspend operations of factories to show the world a blue sky.

Beijing Mayor Wang Anshun told IOC members this time that the city is working hard to be a clean-energy city. But, it remains a question how much the air pollution will be reduced in the next seven years.

Though the city has various problems, the right to host the 2022 Games has rolled into Beijing because other promising cities, such as Oslo, pulled out of the bidding race one after another.

A huge financial burden is the main reason why more and more cities are becoming hesitant to bid to host a Winter Olympics. Russia spent a huge amount of money, said to be ¥5 trillion, on the 2014 Sochi Olympics. This no doubt has made more cities back away from bidding to host a Winter Games.

The costs of building a ski jump and courses for sledding events such as bobsledding for a Winter Games are huge. They are likely to be a negative legacy because fewer users are expected at them after the Olympics compared to venues for a Summer Games.

But the Summer Games are also growing expensive. For instance, Boston decided to exit the bidding to host the 2024 Summer Olympics.

The IOC has naturally become concerned over the situation and launched an Olympic reform urging utilization of existing facilities to reduce financial burdens on host cities.

Asian cities are now set to host two Winter Olympic Games in a row, with Pyeongchang, South Korea, in 2018 and Beijing in 2022. Sapporo has already announced its bid to host the 2026 Winter Olympics. If it is named an official candidate of Japan, Sapporo will need to make strategic bidding efforts.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 1, 2015)

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