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2015年10月31日 (土)

1億総活躍会議 スローガン倒れにならぬよう

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Plan for dynamic society must create more than just slogans
1億総活躍会議 スローガン倒れにならぬよう

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has put forth a policy of achieving what he calls “promoting the dynamic engagement of all citizens,” but isn’t it difficult for the people to have a specific image of such a society?

The national council to discuss concrete measures for the realization of the policy held its first meeting Thursday. After compiling urgent measures before the end of November, the panel plans to put together mid- and long-term steps as early as next spring.

Chairing the meeting, Abe said, “I hope to create a society where everyone can play an active role, by eliminating all policies that stand in the way of us achieving this.”

The government defines “a society that allows the dynamic engagement of its all citizens” as one in which “a population of 100 million [or more] can be maintained even 50 years from now” and “all citizens will be able to lead a fruitful life in their households, workplaces and communities.”

To realize these goals, Abe has put forth the new three arrows of his policy agenda: boosting the gross domestic product to ¥600 trillion, raising the birthrate hoped for by the people to 1.8 children per woman and reducing the number of workers who quit their jobs to provide nursing care to zero.

To prevent these policies from ending up as mere slogans, it is essential for the national council to serve as an engine to promote the integration of concrete targets and road maps.

Regarding the urgent measures, priority will most likely be placed on enhancing the birthrate and tackling the issue of workers quitting jobs to provide nursing care. Many aspects of these policy goals overlap with the government’s conventional policy initiatives of supporting women’s roles in society, vitalizing local economy to help deal with population decline and the overall growth strategy.

New ideas needed

All these issues have also been discussed by such government panels as the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy, the Council for Industrial Competitiveness and the Council on Overcoming Population Decline and Vitalizing Local Economy in Japan.

It is conspicuous that some of the people who are members of these panels are also part of the new national council. This most likely indicates that cooperation with the existing panels was deemed important. To prevent the national council from ending up as an unnecessary addition, it is necessary to define its position clearly.

In line with the government’s policies, local governments have worked out overall strategies for local economy vitalization while businesses have begun to formulate action programs for promoting the appointment of women. It is approaching a critical stage.

We want the council to conduct its discussions while considering whether possible measures in this area are consistent with the conventional policy agendas.

The measures that should be taken in each area have almost all been tabled. The council is expected to support their implementation by clarifying the order of priority and the sectors to be strengthened.

We urge the council to come up with new ideas, such as lending state-owned land cheaply to build additional special nursing care homes.

Government ministries and agencies are taking steps — action that was anticipated — to obtain higher budgets for the next fiscal year by linking their measures with the government’s policy to promote “dynamic engagement.” However, the government should not resort to adopting a casual handout policy that tries to fulfill the ruling parties’ desire to please voters ahead of the House of Councillors election set for next summer.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 30, 2015)Speech

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2015年10月30日 (金)


環境ビジネス の先駆けであるRAUL株式会社が運営するグリーンサイトライセンスの導入企業が10000社を達成しました。






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生の牡蠣は、食べるのに多少の勇気がいりますが、スチーム処理されているスチーム牡蠣 は、お刺身感覚でそのまま召し上がることもできます。



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作りたいゲームと音楽をこの手で!Creative your dream!いろんなゲームが楽しめる新感覚のSNS音楽ゲームをリリース! ダブリュジーパブリシング株式会社

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クラウドカメラという仕組みを使うのですが、具体的には、ビデオログサービス「VLOG(ブイログ)サービス」 が、この11月1日(日)に正式スタートいたします。



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米艦南シナ海に 中国の軍事拠点化を許さない

The Yomiuri Shimbun
U.S. vessel patrol shows Beijing cannot militarize South China Sea
米艦南シナ海に 中国の軍事拠点化を許さない

The latest U.S. action serves as a stern warning to China, a country that is attempting to change the status quo by the use of force and making the change a fait accompli in the South China Sea.

A U.S. Navy Aegis-equipped destroyer sailed within 12 nautical miles (about 22 kilometers) of artificial islands built by China in the Spratly archipelago in the South China Sea.

U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter calls the operations as “routine activities” and made clear that Washington would continue the operations.

The U.S. operations embody, for all the world to see, the “freedom of navigation” in the South China Sea by conducting patrols, as on any other part of the open sea, in what China claims as its “territorial waters.”

Washington gets high marks for making clear its stance of not tolerating any act that would threaten sea-lanes, which are maritime interests of the international community.

China is promoting the establishment of military strongholds in the sea by building artificial islands through reef reclamation and by constructing a 3,000-meter-class runway, in an attempt to change the South China Sea into a “Chinese sea.”

This is part of China’s “anti-access and area denial (A2/AD)” strategy to prevent the intervention of U.S. forces in the event of a contingency.

Subi Reef, near which the U.S. destroyer sailed, was previously a sunken rock that was submerged at high tide.

The U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea stipulates that sunken reefs, artificial islands and facilities off shore are not entitled to the 12-mile territorial waters.

It is unjustifiable for China to claim that “China’s sovereign rights [over the South China Sea] were formed in the course of history,” while establishing the so-called nine-dash line, which has no legal basis under international law, in the sea.

Refrain from rash moves

It is absurd for Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to oppose the U.S. naval action by saying, “We urge the U.S. side to think twice, not to take rash moves and stir up trouble.” Isn’t it China itself that should refrain from rash moves?

China has reportedly taken such actions as having its vessels, including a guided-missile destroyer, monitor, shadow and give warnings to the U.S. warship. We strongly urge China to exercise self-restraint so that its military units do not take any dangerous, provocative acts.

The U.S. Defense Department had earlier proposed that the U.S. military vessels should conduct patrols, but U.S. President Barack Obama had put off making his final decision.

During his talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Washington last month, Obama urged China to suspend reef reclamation activities and facility construction in the South China Sea. But Xi refused to comply, saying they are China’s territory, prompting Obama to give the go-ahead to the naval action at last.

Obama may have had too much confidence in his ability to persuade Xi.

The United States is cooperating with China in dealing with climate change and antiterrorism measures. But this is no reason for the United States to overlook China’s self-righteous actions.

Washington needs to rethink its strategy toward China, while taking measures to prevent any accidental military clash.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said, “It is extremely important for the international community to cooperate so as to protect open, free and peaceful seas,” supporting the U.S. dispatch of the naval vessel to the area. The Philippines and Australia have also hailed the latest U.S. action.

While cooperating closely with the United States and other countries concerned, Japan should keep a watch on China’s moves in the South China Sea.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 29, 2015)Speech

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今年見るべきイルミネーションはどこ?『第三回イルミネーションアワード』結果発表! 一般社団法人夜景観光コンベンション・ビューロー

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2015年10月29日 (木)

(社説)南シナ海 各国共通の利益を守れ

--The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 28
EDITORIAL: China triply unreasonable in vital waterway for world’s trading vessels
(社説)南シナ海 各国共通の利益を守れ

The South China Sea must remain open for vessels of all flags to navigate freely.

This is the basic premise of any argument related to complex territorial issues concerning these waters.

On Oct. 27, a guided-missile destroyer of the U.S. Navy sailed near Subi Reef in the Spratly archipelago.

Under China’s de facto control, Subi is part of Beijing’s massive reclamation project to build artificial islands, and an airstrip is being built there.

The destroyer sailed within 12 nautical miles (about 22 kilometers) of the artificial island that Beijing claims is in Chinese waters. The Pentagon explained that the vessel was sent there to assert “freedom of navigation.”

Under international laws, warships are allowed within territorial waters if their passage is “innocent.” If the U.S. destroyer did nothing to aggravate the situation and was where it was for the exact reason given by the United States, we support the latter’s assertion.

Right after China unilaterally declared an air defense identification zone (ADIZ) in the East China Sea in November 2013, the U.S. Air Force flew a pair of B-52 bombers over the ADIZ without prior warning. We believe the dispatch of the destroyer this time was for the same intent as in 2013--namely, to make the U.S. intention known by action.

Sending warships or warplanes can hardly be called an amicable gesture. It could invite unintended consequences. But fortunately, there was no confrontation between U.S. and Chinese vessels this time. Both countries must continue to exercise self-restraint.

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has reacted vehemently, denouncing the U.S. action as a threat to China’s sovereignty and security and damaging to regional peace and stability.

However, this assertion does not stand to reason.

The situation today is the result of China’s own actions in the South China Sea.

Subi Reef was originally a small rocky outcrop that became submerged at high tide. As such, it was not deemed an island under international maritime laws. But China not only reclaimed the waters around it to build a man-made island, it also claimed territory within 12 nautical miles of the island, and then refused to acknowledge the U.S. destroyer’s right to innocent passage. In other words, Beijing is being triply unreasonable.

Although China asserts its historical rights in most of the South China Sea, its reclamation project at seven locations can only be seen by other countries as a blatant case of expansionism.

The South China Sea is a vital waterway for the world’s trading vessels.

Free and safe navigation in these waters is of common interest not only to the United States, China and countries of Southeast Asia, but also to all countries, including Japan.

After economic reforms, China sought trading partners around the world and achieved phenomenal economic development. Now that its economy is slowing down, China needs those partners more than ever.

Inviting tensions with other countries cannot possibly be in China’s best interest.

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2015年10月28日 (水)

U.S. Navy sailing near Spratly Islands jacks up tensions with China

October 27, 2015 (Mainichi Japan)
U.S. Navy sailing near Spratly Islands jacks up tensions with China

WASHINGTON -- Military tensions spiked in the South China Sea on Oct. 27 as the United States sailed an Aegis-class destroyer within the 12-nautical-mile (about 22-kilometer) "territorial limit" of artificial isles China is building in the Spratly Islands.

The U.S. move looks like a strategic gambit to head off any further measures by Beijing to strengthen its territorial claim to the area. However, with a U.S. Navy ship prowling these contested waters, there is now the real possibility of an incident unforeseen in either China or the U.S.

During summit talks in late September, U.S. President Barack Obama directly requested that his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping halt the militarization of the South China Sea, but Xi rebuffed Obama by saying China was acting within its sovereign domain. The Oct. 27 cruise of the U.S. destroyer constitutes strong-armed action by the United States to back its "freedom of navigation" policy, and was obviously ordered in the expectation that it would trigger countermeasures by the People's Liberation Army Navy.

The U.S. has maintained its insistence on the freedom of navigation of the world's oceans since the end of World War II and, with this latest gambit, the Obama administration intends to continue pushing that policy vigorously. The U.S. explained the move to its Asia-Pacific allies including Japan before the destroyer passed into the seas claimed by China, and this, too was an attempt to build regional support for freedom of navigation.

Since March this year, U.S. military aircraft approaching the artificial islands have been warned off numerous times by Chinese fighter jets that often come unusually close to the U.S. aircraft. Beijing, however, has insisted it is merely conducting normal aircraft identification operations.

According to the U.S. Department of Defense, in September this year a Chinese fighter jet passed an "unsafe" 150 meters in front of a U.S. RC-135 reconnaissance plane flying in international airspace above the Yellow Sea. In another incident in August 2014, a Chinese fighter came just 6 meters from a U.S. P-8 patrol aircraft on a reconnaissance mission in international airspace over the South China Sea, flying in front of the patrol plane to show the U.S. crew its load of missiles in what a U.S. government official called obviously provocative behavior.

Even in September this year, just before President Xi went to Washington, a Chinese military vessel cut through U.S. territorial waters off the coast of Alaska. In sum, China looks to be engaged in activities aimed squarely at countering the U.S.'s freedom of navigation strategies.

With all the past close encounters in mind, Obama and Xi agreed at their September summit to implement measures for preventing accidental clashes between the two nations' military planes. The leaders also agreed to such a mechanism, plus mutual confidence-building measures, at a meeting in Beijing in November 2014. The effectiveness of this mechanism, however, will depend entirely on how it works when close encounters or other incidents related to the freedom of navigation actually happen.

A crisis was precipitated just before the Taiwanese presidential election in 1996, when China conducted a missile exercise in the Taiwan Strait and surrounding areas and the U.S. dispatched a carrier group to the area in response. In 2001, a Chinese fighter jet touched a U.S. reconnaissance plane flying in international airspace near the southern Chinese island of Hainan. The fighter lost control and crashed, killing the pilot, while the U.S. plane was forced to make an emergency landing in China. The American crew was held temporarily by Chinese authorities, while the two governments engaged in a war of words over the incident.

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インフォコーパス、BIGLOBEの小型IoT端末「BL-01」向けに、IoTサービスプラットフォームSensorCorpusを対応 株式会社インフォコーパス

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2015年10月27日 (火)



【アフリカTV】MLB2015頂上決戦!!ワールドチャンピオン決定の瞬間もリアルタイムで無料視聴~ スマートフォン、PCでどこでも視聴可能 ~


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温暖化適応計画 洪水や熱中症の対策が急務だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Climate change adaptation measures vital to counter flooding, heatstroke
温暖化適応計画 洪水や熱中症の対策が急務だ

The government has decided on a climate change adaptation plan that incorporates the potential effect of global warming by the end of this century and the measures it plans to take over the next 10 years.

Advance in global warming will have far-reaching consequences on our daily lives. To reduce the damage as much as possible, it is important to work out effective countermeasures and steadily carry them out.

The global average temperature has risen by about 1 C compared to the period prior to the Industrial Revolution, which began in the mid-18th century.

The international community has taken measures against global warming, mainly by reducing emissions of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide.

Countries have set targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Even if these targets are met, however, global warming will not be curbed sufficiently, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development says in a projection.

Adjusting our society to global warming will become more important.

In the adaptation plan, three ministries — the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry, the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry and the Environment Ministry — assessed the seriousness of the environmental impact on various sectors and the urgency of measures, and proposed how to deal with it from this point onward.

In regard to natural disasters, measures deemed most urgent are those needed to deal with flooding. Torrential rain similar to one which caused the banks of the Kinugawa river to collapse in Ibaraki Prefecture last month is expected to occur more frequently.

The adaptation plan cites the reinforcement of river embankments to prolong the time before a bank is breached. This can be taken as a measure to mitigate damage.

It is vital for local governments to prepare evacuation plans on the basis of the projected extent of damage in their areas so that residents can evacuate safely while an embankment holds.

Health care steps needed

Health care measures are also important. The risk of heatstroke in the middle of this century will almost double compared to the end of the 20th century. As the adaptation plan stresses, such means as using robots to reduce human labor in sweltering heat will be needed.

As the habitats of mosquitoes and other organisms transmitting infectious diseases spread, it is also necessary to take countermeasures to eradicate the larvae of these species at their source.

Adverse effects of global warming have been seen in the farming sector with paddy field rice and fruit-bearing trees showing poor growth, and the taste of the food is less palatable. Developing more heat-tolerant varieties such as those the adaptation plan advocates should be accelerated.

With the rise in temperature, there will be areas where such new crops as oranges and mangoes can be grown. It may be necessary for the government to adopt unconventional ideas to deal with the impact of global warming and promote local economies.

It should be noted that proceeding with these measures must be carried out by making good use of a limited budget. They should be advanced by assessing their priority on the basis of scientific evidence.

The government will present its adaptation plan at the meeting of the 21st round of the Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework on Climate Change (COP21), to be held in Paris from the end of next month. Japan should proactively transmit information which can be helpful to developing countries that frequently suffer from extensive flood damage.

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

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2015年10月26日 (月)




(1) PCやノートブックでFacebookのゴチトモ サイトにアクセスして、参加する。
(2) App Store【ゴチトモ】 からアプリをダウンロードして、参加する。
(3) Google play【ゴチトモ】 からアプリをダウンロードして、参加する。



(1) 毎日正午、ゴチトモが自動的に、ランダムにグループ3組を紹介します。
(2) 「おごります!」表示機能でタダ飯が食べられるかもしれません。
(3) 旅先でのマッチングはゴチトモが一番得意とする分野です。旅先での心配がなくなります。


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

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香山リカのココロの万華鏡:「妄想デート」に癒やされ /東京

October 25, 2015 (Mainichi Japan)
Kaleidoscope of the Heart: Finding comfort in imagination
香山リカのココロの万華鏡:「妄想デート」に癒やされ /東京

With many celebrity couples recently tying the knot, it's become a hot topic during conversations with patients at my clinic. Female patients especially talk about how they are shocked to learn the news of their favorite stars getting married.

"It helped me emotionally to fantasize about going on a date with that singer," one of my patients told me. As a medical term, "delusion," is a serious psychiatric illness where a person believes in something that is not real, but "fantasy" is used to refer to innocent daydreaming. The patient didn't really think that she was going out on a date with the singer but, rather, she imagined it would be nice.


"If it's just a fantasy, you might as well go see a movie or travel together with the singer in your dreams. I do it all the time," I told her. It would be problematic if a psychiatrist recommended patients have delusions, but there is nothing more uplifting than dreaming about what could happen. It requires no money or tools. When I am daydreaming about something, my age or appearance doesn't matter.

Sometimes I'm asked, "All of that is not real. Don't you feel kind of empty after waking up to reality?" But I try to forget about my fantasy while facing reality and focus on what's standing before me. And sometimes I tell myself, "I'll go off daydreaming while having a cup of tea after I'm done with this work."

Most women would get excited when I told them about my daydreaming activities. "I'm in my 40s and I thought it was embarrassing to have fantasies, but doctor, you're much older than me. It's good to know that we are never too old to have fantasies." That's right. There is no age limit on imagination.

We should not be embarrassed to imagine how it would be like to travel to Hawaii with our favorite stars even though in reality they are married or have five kids.

"But even when I'm having fun daydreaming (about my favorite celebrity), the fun is all gone once I realize that he is married to that actress," someone once said to me. It sounds sad, but stars only appear on TV programs and on stage, and it'll do no harm for us to imagine that they are our lovers or best friends.

Those who talk about their fantasies at the clinic of course know the difference between their imagination and reality. They can dream whatever they like, and face reality when their hearts are warmed up, and then go back to daydreaming to get emotional comfort. It's OK to have that kind of night.

(Rika Kayama, psychiatrist)
毎日新聞 2015年10月20日 00時41分

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2015年10月25日 (日)

(社説)臨時国会 召集の求めに応じよ

--The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 20
EDITORIAL: Abe, take note: There is a pressing need for fall Diet session
(社説)臨時国会 召集の求めに応じよ

The Abe administration is set to forgo an autumn extraordinary Diet session.

In response, the Democratic Party of Japan and other opposition parties called Oct. 19 on the Abe Cabinet to convoke a Diet session quickly. Abe should immediately grant this totally legitimate demand.

It is customary to convene an extraordinary Diet session in autumn to resume work that was not finished during the regular Diet session, such as incomplete deliberations on important bills.

It would be the first time since 2005 for an autumnal session not to be convened.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga explained that the government “has no choice but to give a higher priority to the prime minister’s diplomatic agenda” rather than to calling a new Diet session now.

It is true that Abe’s diplomatic schedule through November is tight with a series of important international conferences, including a trilateral meeting with the leaders of China and South Korea and a summit of the Group of 20 industrialized nations.

But there is a heap of policy issues that demand Diet debate.

Abe reshuffled his Cabinet earlier this month and announced a new policy agenda, which includes “three new arrows” of "Abenomics" to achieve ambitious goals like increasing Japan’s gross domestic product to 600 trillion yen as well as a plan to build a society where 100 million people will all play active roles.

But many Japanese question the achievability of these policy goals and are unsure about what Prime Minister Shinzo Abe meant by “active roles.”

Abe needs to outline his vision in a policy speech at the Diet and then respond to people’s doubts by answering questions about his speech from other Diet members.

As for recently enacted national security legislation, Abe promised to “continue efforts to offer detailed explanations in order to gain more public understanding.”

He should fulfill his promise by offering more explanations about related questions, such as what steps he intends to take in the future under the new security laws.

Other topics that need to be discussed at the Diet include the content of the agreement recently reached in the negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact; the controversial plan to relocate the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Okinawa Prefecture, which has led to bitter confrontation between the Abe administration and the prefectural government; the challenge of mending Japan’s strained relations with its neighbors; and the question of how Japan should respond to the unfolding refugee crisis.

It would be outrageously selfish of the government to demand that the Diet deal with all these issues in the ordinary Diet session to be called early next year. The government should be criticized for belittling the importance of Diet debate on policy issues.

There are also questions that some of the new members of the Cabinet should answer.

It has been revealed that the local branch of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party headed by farm minister Hiroshi Moriyama received political donations from construction companies that had been barred from bidding for public works contracts with the Kagoshima prefectural government.

There are also other ministers who are caught up in scandals.

It is not in Abe’s best interest to allow people to suspect that the government is reluctant to convene a Diet session because it wants to delay the opposition camp’s attacks on its policies as much as possible.

The opposition parties are considering invoking Article 53 of the Constitution to force the Cabinet to call a Diet session.

It stipulates that the Cabinet must convoke an extraordinary session when a quarter or more of all the members of either House demands it.

But the article doesn’t state when the Cabinet must do so. That means the Cabinet can postpone taking action.

Refusing to convene a session at an early date, however, would run counter to the constitutional principle of respecting the intentions of minority groups.

The Abe Cabinet should decide to call an extraordinary Diet session on its own without waiting for the opposition camp to make the demand.

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2015年10月24日 (土)

(社説)南シナ海問題 中国は航行の自由守れ

--The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 23
EDITORIAL: China must not hinder freedom of navigation in South China Sea
(社説)南シナ海問題 中国は航行の自由守れ

Tensions are mounting between the United States and China in the South China Sea, where several countries are locked in bitter disputes concerning their territorial claims.

The United States is poised to send naval ships or aircraft to areas near artificial islands China has been building through land reclamation. The Obama administration has decided to take the action to challenge Beijing’s territorial claims to these islands.

Under international law, a country’s territorial waters are defined as a belt of coastal waters extending up to 12 nautical miles from the shores of the country. But U.S. forces will enter what China claims to be its territorial waters around the man-made islands to make clear Washington’s rejection of Beijing’s unilateral claims.

China has no right to protest Washington’s decision. There are no legal grounds for China’s territorial claims to the islands it has built or the waters around them.

Even if these were Chinese waters, international rules require China to allow foreign military ships to sail through them freely as long as they are only exercising the right of “innocent passage,” or peaceful transit not harmful to the good order or security of the coastal state.

No country should undermine the maritime principle of freedom of navigation based on international norms.

Any country’s attempt to change these basic maritime rules at its own discretion is unacceptable, especially in the South China Sea, through which one of the world’s most important sea routes passes.

What is worrisome is how China will react to the U.S. military’s move. A direct confrontation between the forces of the two countries could create a dangerously tense and volatile situation in the Western Pacific region.

A military clash between the United States and China must be averted at any cost. The U.S. military obviously should refrain from any unnecessary provocation while operating in the areas.

The blame for the rise in tension in the South China Sea rests with China. The Chinese government should comply with international rules and restrain itself to prevent any unexpected security emergency from occurring.

China’s arguments for its territorial claims concerning the disputed areas are unreasonable in the first place. China asserts it has jurisdiction over most of the South China Sea, but there is no solid legal foundation for this claim.

China’s demand that military ships obtain its permission before they pass through its territorial waters, which is based on its 1992 territorial sea law, is also unacceptable.

The current situation requires China to make a crucial choice between developing as a country that complies with international rules or going down the dangerous path of changing the status quo by force, ignoring international rules.

The Chinese government, however, is showing some signs of softening its attitude. It has said the artificial islands will be used mainly for “private-sector services” and proposed to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to work together to develop a “code of conduct” to avoid clashes in the South China Sea.

This is the time for China to demonstrate that it has good sense as a responsible major country.

The situation will also test the international community’s approach to dealing with the assertive China.

The coming weeks will offer some good opportunities for the leaders of the countries concerned to discuss the issue, such as a summit of the Group of 20 industrial nations and a meeting of the leaders of members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, both slated for November. These opportunities should be used to explore ways to secure stability in the South China Sea.

The situation also has huge implications for Japan, where new national security legislation was recently enacted. Japan must not forget that its principal role is not military involvement but diplomatic work to help build unity among countries.

Japan needs to use its close relations with ASEAN for tenacious efforts to ease tensions in the South China Sea.

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2015年10月23日 (金)

社説:設備投資の拡大 政府の干渉は筋違いだ

October 23, 2015 (Mainichi Japan)
Editorial: Gov't pressure on private firms to boost investment unreasonable
社説:設備投資の拡大 政府の干渉は筋違いだ

With its establishment of a public-private consultative body aimed at encouraging companies to increase capital investment, the government looks to be shoving a meddling hand into the management machinery of private businesses, all to prop up the economy.

The government is desperate as a virtuous economic cycle buoying growth and wages has failed to materialize nearly three years after the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe launched its "Abenomics" policy mix to kick-start the economy.

However, whether to expand capital investments is something that private companies should decide on at their own discretion, and it is unreasonable for the government to intervene in business management.

The government believes that companies have chosen to save their profits rather than invest in plants and equipment.

Numerous major companies have posted record-breaking profits thanks to the devaluation of the yen and other factors.

Companies' internal cash reserves reached 354 trillion yen in fiscal 2014, an increase of 50 trillion yen from fiscal 2012, before Abenomics shifted into high gear.

In contrast, Finance Ministry statistics shows that corporate capital investment in Japan in fiscal 2014 came to 40 trillion yen, up only 5 trillion yen from fiscal 2012.

At the first meeting of the public-private consultative body, Prime Minister Abe urged representatives of companies to "specifically present their prospects for expanding their investments in plants and equipment."

Akira Amari, state minister in charge of economic revitalization, also said, "If companies' commitment to capital investment is weak, we'll further urge them to increase these investments."

Corporate investment in plants and equipment is a key to economic growth.

Capital investment in areas covered by the term "the fourth industrial revolution," including artificial intelligence and big data, are of growing importance.

Efforts to make effective use of funds for these sectors are indispensable.

Still, a decision on whether to make capital investments should be left to the discretion of individual companies, as the failure of projects in which companies have invested massive amounts of money could deal a serious blow to their management.

It is not true that companies have failed to proactively make capital investments.

They are increasing their capital investment overseas, particularly in emerging countries.

They do not appear inclined to invest in Japan because the domestic market is contracting due to the low birthrate and depopulation.

The value of mergers and acquisitions of foreign businesses by Japanese firms hit a record high total of 8 trillion yen in fiscal 2014.

Yoshimitsu Kobayashi, chairman of the Japan Association of Corporate Executives, said, "Corporate executives are making investments in the most appropriate manner in the global economy."

The government has also urged companies to raise wages for their employees.

The government's request that companies make more capital investments on top of salary hikes has made it look like Japan's economy is managed at the initiative of the government.

Such a practice could distort companies' business strategies and dampen private sector dynamism.

The government's role in expanding corporate capital investment should be limited to creating an environment that will facilitate such growth.

At the public-private consultative body meeting, an attendee representing the business community pointed out that "reform of regulations that hinder investment should be prioritized."

The government should promote regulatory reform and introduce tax breaks to encourage businesses to invest in growth fields such as environmental protection and energy.

It is also necessary for the government to step up countermeasures against population decline.

The current economic stagnation is attributable largely to slumping consumer spending.

The yen has become weaker due to credit easing -- one of the pillars of Abenomics -- and subsequent rises in the prices of foodstuffs and other goods have increased the financial burden on households.

The prime minister has declared that Abenomics has entered its second stage, and set a goal of expanding Japan's gross domestic product to 600 trillion yen.

However, the government cannot see a clear road map for propping up the economy even if it encourages companies to increase capital investment without reviewing its past economic policy measures.

毎日新聞 2015年10月23日 東京朝刊

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2015年10月22日 (木)

社説:辺野古環境委 公正に監視できるのか

October 21, 2015 (Mainichi Japan)
Editorial: Company donations put fairness of Okinawa environmental watchdog in doubt
社説:辺野古環境委 公正に監視できるのか

Three members of an expert panel tasked with monitoring the environmental impact of construction work off the Henoko district of Nago for the planned relocation of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma received donations from contractors involved in the project.
Of the 13 members on the panel, Yokohama National University graduate school professor and panel chair Yoshiyuki Nakamura, along with two others, were found to have accepted donations between 500,000 yen and 8 million yen each following their appointments to the body.

The donations were given by contractors for the relocation project and an environmental consulting firm, the latter of which now runs the day-to-day office functions of the panel.

The previous Okinawa governor, Hirokazu Nakaima, requested the formation of the expert panel in December 2013 as a condition for approving landfill work off Henoko. The Defense Ministry then established the environmental oversight committee in April the following year. The panel is tasked with providing scientific and technical advice to the Defense Ministry on environmental protection, and is responsible for environmental reviews of a drilling survey at the Henoko site -- a preliminary step to the land reclamation work -- all the way through a post-construction survey.

When the Okinawa Prefectural Government pointed to the possibility that large concrete blocks that the Defense Ministry sank into the waters off the Henoko coast for a seabed survey had destroyed coral reefs, and demanded a halt to the work this past spring, the expert panel stated that the impact of the seabed survey on the reefs was "minimal." The committee played an important role as a source of expert opinion.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga has said that the government sees no problem in the three panel members receiving donations from companies involved in the base relocation work, insisting, "The panel is being managed in a fair and just manner." The panel members also claim that the donations have not affected the body's discussions and judgment.

Even if the truth is as Suga and the committee members have claimed, however, the situation has unfolded in the midst of the controversial U.S. base relocation plan, which has developed into a very public clash between the central and Okinawa governments. Members of the expert panel should not have accepted money that could have been seen as suspicious in any way. As an old Chinese proverb says, "If you don't want to be mistaken as stealing a plum, you should not adjust your crown under a plum tree," i.e. don't leave any room for scandal or doubt.

University of the Ryukyus professor emeritus Seiji Azuma, vice chairman of the expert committee, told the Mainichi Shimbun that most of the panel members from mainland Japan have no experience in environmental research in Okinawa.

"I'm dubious of their ability to conduct environmental monitoring in Okinawa. The central government is probably looking to go ahead and build the new base with a green light from the panel," Azuma added, casting doubt on the purpose of the committee itself.

Okinawa Gov. Takeshi Onaga revoked his predecessor's approval for the land reclamation work off Henoko last week. However, the central government is trying high-handedly to push ahead with the landfill work, and the conflict between the two sides has heightened. If the committee remains a group tailor-made to endorse the central government's plans, it will fail to fulfill its stated role as an environmental watchdog.

The Defense Ministry should disclose all minutes from the panel meetings.

Not accepting money or goods from interested parties is the least that can be expected, morally speaking, from members of an expert panel like the environmental monitoring committee in question. The Nuclear Regulation Authority, for example, checks whether outside experts have received remuneration of 500,000 yen a year or more from nuclear business-related organizations in the previous three years when asking their opinions.

The Defense Ministry should consider introducing such a system for the environmental monitoring committee in Okinawa.

毎日新聞 2015年10月21日 東京朝刊

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2015年10月21日 (水)

アフガン情勢 米軍駐留延長で治安取り戻せ

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Afghanistan’s security must be regained with extension of U.S. troop presence
アフガン情勢 米軍駐留延長で治安取り戻せ

The international community has sacrificed a lot and spent a vast amount of money and time to bring stability to Afghanistan. We must not let the country slide back into a hotbed of terrorism.

U.S. President Barack Obama has dropped the goal of completing the withdrawal of about 9,800 U.S. troops from Afghanistan by the end of next year. Instead, he will keep about 5,500 American troops in that country in 2017 and later. This is an appropriate decision.

Following the simultaneous terrorist attacks on the United States in September 2001, the U.S. forces toppled the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, and established its presence in the country. At its peak, as many as 100,000 U.S. troops were sent to the country, mainly engaged in maintaining security, in cooperation with forces from other members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

In recent years, however, U.S. troops have mainly focused on training Afghanistan’s security forces.

U.S. troops have fought in Afghanistan for 14 years — it is the United States’ longest war — because the importance Washington places on its antiterrorism strategy remains.

Since the U.S. presidential election in 2008, Obama has consistently advocated, in campaign pledges, that he would end the wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan and withdraw troops from both countries. The war-weariness of Americans was seen behind these pledges.

Since the U.S. and other troops ended combat missions in 2014, however, Afghanistan’s security situation has deteriorated.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani had strongly called for an extended presence of U.S. troops, while U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said, “The narrative that we’re leaving Afghanistan is self-defeating.”

Obama was forced to go back on his official pledges, apparently because his reading of the Afghan situation was too optimistic.

Some lawmakers in the U.S. Republican Party say the presence of 5,500 U.S. troops is insufficient.

Avoid same mistakes

Following the withdrawal of U.S. troops in Iraq, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant extremist group gained power. To avoid making the same mistake, the United States has to expedite efforts to rebuild its strategy.

For the first time in Afghanistan’s history, power was transferred in September last year through an election with the support of the international community. In July, the first official peace talks were held between the Ghani administration and the Taliban leadership.

However, the Taliban’s leadership later fell into disarray following the government’s disclosure that Mullah Omar, the supreme leader of the Taliban movement, had died, leaving no prospect for peace talks to resume anytime soon.

Also worrisome is Taliban’s recent increase in its attacks. Late last month, Taliban rebels briefly captured most of the northern town of Kunduz. Terrorist attacks by the ISIL, which is hostile to the Taliban, are becoming more serious.

Self-help efforts by Afghanistan are essential. The present state of affairs, where governing functions are declining due to rivalry between Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, should not be left to fester. The solidarity of the country’s leadership will serve as the first step toward stability.

Reinforcement of security forces is an urgent task. It is important that U.S. and other NATO forces, in cooperation with the Afghan government, secure sufficient military strength and equipment, and at the same time continue to train Afghan forces systematically.

Since 2001, Japan has extended assistance worth about ¥700 billion in such areas as disarmament, infrastructure development, police training, education and medicine. Japan should continue doing all it can to make nonmilitary contributions to the country in the days ahead.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 20, 2015)

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2015年10月20日 (火)

マレー機撃墜 ロシアは事件捜査に協力せよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Russia must cooperate in investigating downing of Malaysian jet over Ukraine
マレー機撃墜 ロシアは事件捜査に協力せよ

Even though more than one year has passed since the tragic event that killed nearly 300 people, there has been no prospect of prosecuting the perpetrators of the crime. This is an extremely grave situation.

The safety board of the Netherlands has released its final report on the shooting down of the Malaysia Airlines Flight over eastern Ukraine in July last year. The largest number of victims were Dutch.

After a detailed analysis of the downing of the plane as fighting continued between Ukrainian government forces and the pro-Russian armed separatists group, the report concluded that the plane was shot down by a Buk surface-to-air missile.

The report said the missile was probably launched somewhere in an area covering about 320 square kilometers in eastern Ukraine. This suggests the involvement of the armed rebels that controlled most of the area.

The United States, European countries and the Ukrainian government say that, after analyzing records of communications and radar reports, the armed separatist group fired a missile on the Malaysian aircraft, mistakenly believing it was a Ukrainian Air Force plane.

Yet the final report did not go so far as to identify the perpetrator. Although the safety board does not have the authority to apportion blame, we can understand the growing anger among bereaved families of the victims.

A criminal investigation, aimed at identifying the perpetrators, will be put into the hands of a joint team comprising officials from such countries as the Netherlands, Malaysia, Ukraine, the United States and Russia.

A number of suspected perpetrators have apparently already emerged. Making full use of the findings of the safety board, the joint team has to apportion blame for the barbaric action.

Obstacle to probe

An obstacle to the criminal investigation is that both Russia and the armed separatist group have consistently denied involvement. Both have asserted that there is a possibility the Ukrainian forces, which possess Buk missiles, shot down the plane. We think neither of them is cooperative with the investigation.

Shortly after the crash, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s administration tacitly agreed that the pro-Russian separatists should block access of an international investigation team to the crash site.

In July, Russia vetoed a U.N. Security Council draft resolution that would have set up an international tribunal to prosecute those suspected of downing the airliner, leading to the draft resolution being rejected.

The actions taken by Russia will only increase distrust toward that country.

To identify the site where the missile was launched from and to prosecute those suspected of downing the airliner, the provision of relevant information from Russia is essential. It is important for the international community to support the joint investigation team and press Russia to cooperate.

In determining what happened, it is urgently needed to stabilize the local situation in eastern Ukraine.

Although the fighting has been in a lull since last month, the withdrawal of heavy weapons of both the Ukrainian government forces and the separatists has made little progress, delaying the implementation of a ceasefire accord.

To avoid the conflict from continuing for a protracted period, the United States, European countries and Japan should cooperate with each other and continue urging the parties involved to abide by the ceasefire accord.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 19, 2015)

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2015年10月19日 (月)



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米韓首脳会談 対中傾斜で同盟を揺るがすな

The Yomiuri Shimbun
South Korea should not shake alliance with U.S. by favoring China too much
米韓首脳会談 対中傾斜で同盟を揺るがすな

It is vital that the United States and South Korea maintain their solid alliance, for the deterrence of North Korea’s military provocations and the regional stability of Asia. South Korea should not weaken these ties by getting too close to China.

U.S. President Barack Obama held talks with his South Korean counterpart Park Geun-hye in Washington and they adopted a joint statement focusing on their cooperation to get Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear and missile programs.

The statement warns that additional sanctions will be imposed on Pyongyang should the country push through with launching a ballistic missile or conducting a nuclear test in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

Since this summer, North Korea has heightened military tensions between South and North Korea, while also hinting at the possibility of its conducting nuclear tests.

It is significant that Obama confirmed the need to strengthen the U.S.-South Korea alliance during a joint press conference, saying, “The commitment of the United States to the defense and security of the Republic of Korea will never waver.”

Yet it cannot be denied that the “close alliance” between the United States and South Korea has been in large part choreographed, because the heightened distrust within the United States regarding South Korea’s inclination toward China needed to be denied.

Park decided on South Korea’s participation in the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, and attended the military parade China held to mark the anniversary of its “victory over Japan” in World War II.

‘Natural partner’

“I believe that we [South Korea and the United States] make natural partners,” Park said at the press conference regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade negotiations, in which member countries such as Japan and the United States recently reached a broad agreement. This statement indicated Seoul’s intention to join the TPP, and was probably aimed at mitigating U.S. concern.

Obama said at the press conference that if China fails to abide by international rules, “We expect the Republic of Korea to speak out on that,” driving home the point.

Obama’s remark was apparently made in consideration of China’s self-serving maritime advances in the East and South China seas. But Park made no reference to this.

It remains unclear whether South Korea will modify its diplomatic stance toward China.

The amount of bilateral trade between China and South Korea exceeds the sum of its trade with the United States and Japan. We can understand Seoul attaching importance to China in the economic field, but shifting its priorities from Washington to Beijing in the realm of security could destabilize the region.

During a speech made earlier in Washington, Park said she intends to hold her first full-fledged talks with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the occasion of the trilateral summit among Japan, China and South Korea in early November.

Since she took office, Park made it a condition that she would hold summit talks with Japan if progress was made on the issue of so-called comfort women.

Park appears to have agreed at last to Washington’s repeated urging to improve the bilateral relations between Japan and South Korea.

However, Park emphasized, “The summit can have substantial meaning if we see some progress on the issue of comfort women.”

Unless Park changes her diplomatic posture of giving too much weight to issues related to historical perception, it will be difficult for Japan and South Korea to effectively deal with the mountain of pending issues. It will be impossible to realize the close trilateral cooperation among Japan, the United States and South Korea that Washington hopes to see.

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

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2015年10月18日 (日)

非常任理事国 国際平和協力に弾みつけたい

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Japan should boost contribution to peace as UNSC nonpermanent member
非常任理事国 国際平和協力に弾みつけたい

Becoming a member of the U.N. Security Council is a significant step forward to enhance Japan’s engagement in the peace and stability of the international community and secure its national interests. The government should take full advantage of this opportunity.

Japan was elected a nonpermanent member of the Security Council, gaining a seat for the 11th time, the most among the 193 member countries of the United Nations. Its term will last for two years beginning next January.

U.N. diplomacy is a major pillar of Japan’s foreign policy, along with the Japan-U.S. alliance. Coordination with the United Nations is also essential to embody the “proactive contribution to peace” advocated by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration. It is the right time for Japan to return to the Security Council after its last service as a nonpermanent member, which ended in 2010.

How can the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria be resolved? How should the threat of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant militant group be dealt with? Security Council members can adopt resolutions that bind all the U.N. member nations, and take other actions after holding unofficial talks among them.

The five permanent members of the Security Council with veto power are strong, but so are the power of information and the voices held by the 10 nonpermanent members. Nonpermanent members can quickly ascertain changing international situations and exercise influence over discussions on resolutions.

For instance, when Pyongyang carried out a nuclear-weapon test in 2009, Japan led the adoption of resolutions, including sanctions, against North Korea in cooperation with the United States and other countries. Japan was a nonpermament member of the Security Council at that time.

To protect own safety

Japan should proactively engage in discussions and the decision-making process at the Security Council to protect its own safety.

It must also actively tackle human rights issues, in a bid to resolve the abduction of Japanese nationals by North Korean agents.

Since the end of World War II, Japan has helped developing countries overcome various problems such as poverty and disease. It has consistently participated in U.N. peacekeeping operations. We expect the nation to propose its own ideas and solutions for peace building, and broaden understanding of these ideas among concerned countries.

Discussions on the Security Council reform have shifted into high gear this year, which marks the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII.

The Group of Four countries — Japan, Germany, India and Brazil — aim to implement a reform plan to increase the permanent members of the Security Council to 11, and the nonpermanent members to 14 or 15.

A nonpermanent member of the Security Council cannot be reelected consecutively, and a country has to win support from more than two-thirds of all U.N. member countries each time it is elected.

Japan pays the largest contributions to the world body following the United States, equivalent to over 10 percent of the U.N. budget. To secure influence matching that amount, Japan should keep trying to become a permanent member of the Security Council.

The G-4 submitted a Security Council reform plan to the United Nations in 2005, but it was not adopted due to opposition from both the United States and China, and unsuccessful coordination with African countries.

U.N. reform is difficult, because it represents an historic attempt to change the international order based on the outcome of WWII.

Learning from the failed attempt in 2005, the G-4 must consolidate forces that are positive about Security Council reform while rebuilding its cooperative relations with the United States and African countries.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 17, 2015)

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2015年10月17日 (土)

多国籍企業 課税逃れ防止ルールの徹底を

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Rules on tax-dodging multinationals must be thoroughly implemented
多国籍企業 課税逃れ防止ルールの徹底を

International cooperation must be bolstered to close tax loopholes that can be exploited by multinational business corporations.

The Group of 20 major economies and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development have worked out new international taxation rules to clamp down on the excessive tax avoidance tactics by multinational firms.

The pillar of the new rules is to make it mandatory for multinationals with annual sales of €750 million (about ¥100 billion) or more to report to the tax authorities of their home countries the value of taxes they pay and their lines of business in foreign countries where they operate. The information thus collected is shared by member nations.

A tax penalty will be levied on multinationals if they are found to be involved in the practice of reducing their tax burdens considerably by curbing their profits, through such tactics as exploiting transactions with their subsidiaries operating in other countries.

Tax revenues lost worldwide due to such tax dodges amount to as much as ¥30 trillion a year, according to an OECD estimate.

There has been a series of cases of tax avoidance in recent years committed by multinationals of Europe and the United States that exploited the differences in taxation systems among the countries where they conduct business. Although their practices are not illegal in terms of tax law, a situation cannot be overlooked in which firms posting a huge amount of profits are allowed to pay less than an appropriate amount of taxes.

In the case of U.S. firms Google Inc. and Starbucks Corp., they are said to have employed such tactics as having their subsidiaries in low-tax countries hold patents and trademarks, with their parent companies paying high royalties to them.

Regarding other tactics, they are said to have inflated expenses by paying excessive interest and material procurement costs to related companies in other countries where their subsidiaries operate.

Fairness and justice

Tax avoidance through deals that are considerably removed from authentic corporate activity should not be left unchecked. Such practices shake the fundamental principle of fairness and justice in the taxation system and increase discontent among businesses that pay due taxes.

It is reasonable for the tax authorities of countries concerned to try to comprehend the actual financial conditions of multinationals and aim to prevent them from resorting to excessive tax avoidance tactics.

Many tax dodging cases involve three or more countries, making it difficult to deal with them under conventional bilateral treaties. New rules are likely to be introduced by more than 40 countries, including Japan, the United States, European nations and China.

It is of no small significance that many industrialized countries and emerging economies, whose tax systems are greatly different from each other, have cooperated to devise the common rules.

But the new rules are nothing but an agreement by the G-20, and have no binding force. The challenge is how to enhance their practical effectiveness.

Revision of relevant domestic laws and establishment of a multinational agreement in line with the rules must be done promptly.

If the level of legal compliance differs from country to country, there is concern that it will be exploited by multinationals with the intention of tax avoidance. It is important to establish a system aimed at monitoring each other, to observe such things as how strictly each member nation asks multinationals to submit their business information.

Efforts are also necessary to increase the number of countries introducing the new international taxation rules.

As a check on multinationals that try to devise new ways of tax avoidance, it is essential for the countries concerned to cooperate more closely by exchanging information and revising the rules expeditiously if needed.

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

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2015年10月16日 (金)



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(社説)外務省HP 外交が内向きすぎる

--The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 5
EDITORIAL: Abe government's 'inward-looking' diplomacy serves no purpose
(社説)外務省HP 外交が内向きすぎる

The Foreign Ministry on Sept. 18 updated the “History Issues Q&A” section on its Japanese website. The timing suggests that the ministry intentionally held off the update to coincide with the passage of new national security legislation that allows Japan to exercise its right to collective self-defense.

Gone from the updated Q&A is any mention of Japan’s “colonial rule and aggression” against its Asian neighbors. And the streamlined content only provides URL links to the (Tomiichi) Murayama statement and the (Junichiro) Koizumi statement that acknowledged Japan’s colonialism and aggression.

On Aug. 14, the day Prime Minister Shinzo Abe issued his statement for the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, the Q&A section was abruptly deleted from the ministry’s website. After questions were raised in the Diet about the deletion, the website ran a notice to the effect that the content was being revised to reflect the Abe statement.

But why did the revision take more than a month? It is only natural to assume that the ministry decided to delay the revision to avoid any negative impact on Diet deliberations on the contentious security legislation.

“Japan has repeatedly expressed the feelings of deep remorse and heartfelt apology for its actions during the war,” Abe’s 70th anniversary statement said, even though Abe never made it clear if he himself felt such remorse. And he went on, “Such a position articulated by the previous Cabinets will remain unshakable into the future.”

But the fact that the Foreign Ministry immediately deleted the symbolic expression “colonial rule and aggression” from its website would only suggest that the Abe administration’s perception of history is not what it was made to appear in the prime minister’s 70th anniversary statement.

Something similar occurred on the Foreign Ministry website last year.

At that time, the ministry abruptly deleted a document calling for contributions to the Asian Women’s Fund that was set up to represent Japan’s national effort to compensate Asia’s wartime “comfort women.”

The Japanese government always used to bring up the Asian Women’s Fund as proof of its sincerity in dealing with the comfort women issue. By deleting the document, the Foreign Ministry effectively undermined the government’s position, instead of playing it up.

The national security legislation, which Abe insists is “necessary for protecting Japanese peoples’ lives and the peaceful life of Japanese citizens,” was promulgated on Sept. 30. But the fears of this law’s opponents have not gone away at all. They are deeply apprehensive, not only of the law itself, but also of the likelihood of a substantive change in Japan’s postwar pacifism because the prime minister did not use the “I” in expressing the nation’s deep remorse for and heartfelt apology for its past history of aggression.

Defensive capabilities alone cannot protect the nation’s security. Constant diplomatic efforts to ease tensions in the international community, of which Japan is a member, are indispensable. So long as Japanese diplomacy remains thoroughly inward-looking, it will serve no purpose.

Before Abe, the Japanese government always reassured the Japanese people and neighboring nations by trying to face the past squarely and admitting mistakes made in the past.

Humility about history is what is obviously lacking in the Abe administration that overstresses recent changes in Japan’s security environment.

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2015年10月15日 (木)



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社説:辺野古取り消し やむを得ない知事判断

October 14, 2015 (Mainichi Japan)
Editorial: Okinawa Gov. Onaga compelled to revoke landfill work approval
社説:辺野古取り消し やむを得ない知事判断

Okinawa Gov. Takeshi Onaga has revoked the approval of land reclamation work off the Henoko district of Nago for the planned relocation of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma. With the move, the conflict between the national government and the Okinawa Prefectural Government has heightened, and it's likely that the matter will ultimately be brought to a court of law. It's unfortunate to see how the issue has developed into such an abnormal state of affairs.

Okinawa claims that the approval for landfill work given by former Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima has "flaws," while the central government argues no such errors exist. While the two parties strongly disagree with one another, it is difficult to judge which one makes a viable legal point.

However, isn't the latest development the result of the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's move to force the relocation of the U.S. air station within the island prefecture without hearing the voices of Okinawa? We believe that the situation required Okinawa to cancel the landfill work approval.

Looking back at the month-long "intensive consultation" with the national government this past summer, Gov. Onaga expressed dissatisfaction with the central government during an Oct. 13 news conference, saying, "The (Abe) Cabinet has little interest in solving problems while caring about the people of Okinawa."

Meanwhile, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga criticized Onaga's decision, telling an Oct. 13 morning news conference that the Okinawa governor's move ignores a series of efforts taken by parties involved with Okinawa and the central government since Japan and the U.S. reached an agreement toward removing the risk of hosting the Futenma base. Suga's comment underscored the wide gap between the national government and Okinawa.

The Okinawa government's decision to revoke the landfill work approval has deprived the central government of the legal ground for the work and drilling survey, a preliminary step toward the land reclamation project.

As a countermeasure against Okinawa's move, the national government has filed an appeal to the land, infrastructure, transport and tourism minister for an administrative review based on the Administrative Appeal Act and also requested for a stay of execution against the Okinawa governor's revocation. Once the request is granted, the central government will restart the drilling survey off Henoko and embark on full-fledged construction as early as next month.

However, the Administrative Appeal Act is originally intended to protect the rights of the people from administrative operations. It's strange when a central government appeals to itself and the same government makes a judgment on the matter.

It's expected to take several months to see the result of the administrative review, after which either the national government or the prefectural government will likely take legal action against the land ministry's decision. Even if the central government built an alternative facility for the Air Station Futenma in Henoko after going through such a complicated procedure, the stable operation of the new base is unlikely.

In the 10 months since Onaga assumed office, the Abe administration lacked the willingness to acknowledge Okinawa's claim in terms of the U.S. base relocation plan. Top government officials at one point refused to meet with Onaga.

Along with a notice of withdrawal of the approval, the Okinawa Prefectural Government submitted a 15-page report as to why Okinawa has decided to revoke the authorization for landfill work. In the long list of questions regarding the plan to relocate the U.S. base to the Henoko district, Okinawa argues that Japan will not lose its defense deterrence factor to a level that is intolerable even if the air station in Ginowan moves out of Okinawa to another prefecture.

The central government should not force the base relocation to Henoko, but rather halt the drilling survey and other work related to the relocation plan and face Okinawa sincerely to provide answers to these questions.

毎日新聞 2015年10月14日 東京朝刊

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2015年10月14日 (水)




東関東馬事高等学院の馬業界求人依頼 サイトから応募することができます。

馬の学校 東関東馬事専門学院では乗馬クラブや育成牧場での職場体験インターンシップを10月14日から開始。競走馬の育成牧場や乗馬クラブの人材不足に貢献、乗馬クラブや育成牧場などの馬専門の求人受付を開始


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あなたも、馬と過ごし乗馬で学べる全寮制の高校、東関東馬事高等学院 で本気で勉強してみませんか。



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マイナンバー 国民の理解と信頼が不可欠だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun
People’s understanding, confidence indispensable to My Number system
マイナンバー 国民の理解と信頼が不可欠だ

The My Number system, under which 12-digit identification numbers are assigned to everyone in the nation, has started. Everyone should be notified of his or her identification number through November. The numbers will be used to handle administrative and other procedures beginning next January.

The system is key to realizing fair and efficient systems for taxation and social security. The people’s understanding and confidence are indispensable to the implementation of the system because it is closely linked with their lives. The government must provide meticulous explanations and make sufficient arrangements.

Under the My Number system, personal information that has until now been managed separately to handle such things as income, taxation and pensions will be integrated under one number. My Number identification cards will be distributed to those who request them.

Administrative organizations will collate the personal information on these matters and use them to impose proper taxation and provide welfare benefits. This can contribute greatly to enhancing the efficiency of clerical work. Application procedures can be made easier by merely producing identification numbers in such situations as applying for child allowances.

The use of the integrated identification numbers will be limited for the time being to taxation, social security and relief at the time of disaster. It is reasonable to start the operation of the My Number system discreetly while attaching importance to protection of personal information.

To make the system function effectively, however, it is necessary to widen the scope of its use in phases.

Beginning in 2018, the identification numbers will be linked to the savings accounts if the account holders approve. This is aimed at determining personal assets accurately, thereby preventing such things as tax evasion and illegal receipt of livelihood protection. The government is looking into the possibility of making it mandatory to integrate the savings accounts under the My Number system in 2021.

Firm info management vital

Amid ballooning social security costs, it is imperative to call on the elderly to share the burden according to their economic capabilities and to switch over to a system under which benefits are provided for those in need. To this end, correctly grasping personal information on income and assets is indeed important.

Utilization of the My Number system in the medical field is also a task to be tackled. Integration of information on medical care and checkups into the system would help prevent duplication of examinations and medication, thereby enhancing the efficiency of medical treatment and reining in medical costs.

Given the personal data breach of the Japan Pension Service, the people have deep concerns about the divulging and abuse of personal information. The government must expedite efforts to strengthen information management systems with the involvement of municipalities and businesses that handle identification numbers.

In connection with the new system, the Finance Ministry abruptly proposed a plan to use My Number cards ostensibly to lessen the burden on consumers when the consumption tax is raised from the current 8 percent to 10 percent. Under the plan, price data for food and drinks would be collected after My Number identification cards are swiped in terminal devices at store counters, and money equivalent to the tax payments of two percentage points would be paid back for qualified purchases.
Caution must also be taken against fraud and other crimes whose perpetrators may try to exploit the introduction of the My Number system.

The proposed system would force consumers to follow complicated procedures and increase the dangers of card losses and thefts. This may increase the people’s anxiety about the consequences of implementing the My Number system. The ministry must withdraw the plan immediately.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 12, 2015)

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2015年10月13日 (火)


日本新三大夜景 というのをサイトで偶然発見しました。






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香山リカのココロの万華鏡:おとなを拒否する少女 /東京

October 11, 2015 (Mainichi Japan)
Kaleidoscope of the Heart: Girls who reject the prospect of life as adults
香山リカのココロの万華鏡:おとなを拒否する少女 /東京

Yet another sad crime occurred in Japan recently, as a third-year female high school student in Mie Prefecture was fatally stabbed in the chest by a male student attending the same school. The student who stabbed the girl was quoted as telling investigators that she had asked him to kill her, and her friends had said that she was suicidal.

Many details of this crime remain unclear, so from here on I would like to comment from a general perspective.

It's not uncommon for teenage girls to say that they don't want to become adult women. Girls undergo major physical developments on their path to adulthood, and it's not uncommon for them to be repulsed by the changes. Young girls with anorexia commonly say that thin bodies, like those of boys, are "clean," while the curvy figures of women are "dirty." Such girls sometimes project that "dirtiness" onto their mothers. There are accordingly many girls who rebel, saying that they don't want to grow up to be like their mothers.

Sometimes, these girls think, "If I'm going to become an adult woman in mind and body, then it would be better for me to die as an unsullied young girl." But it's quite often the case that death for these girls is an event from the world of stories and illusions; they don't have a real grasp of its actual meaning.

One girl I encountered remarked, "I wonder how much my parents would suffer if I disappeared. I'd like to see that." I replied, "But if you died, you couldn't see it," to which she expressed shock. She had apparently read a novel portraying people as being able to see the world after dying, and had swallowed the whole story.

Young girls who think that adult women are "dirty," and reject maturity often talk about "things that only cool adults can do." Well, people forge their own paths in life, so these girls can choose to live as women they themselves would respect. I've often had conversations that go something like this:

"Surely you don't hate all adults?"

"No, I saw a woman on TV working as a doctor in Africa or somewhere like that and I was impressed."

"Well then let's aim for that."

Once I became an adult, I realized that my heart wasn't that much different from when I was a teenager; in fact, I've had more opportunities to venture out and do whatever I want.

As an adult I might have gained a few pounds and acquired a few extra wrinkles, but have realized that it's wrong to think that adults are "dirty."

Paths of life that can be considered clean or pure aren't determined by age or looks.

I hope that girls who don't want to become adults now go on to do so without fear, allowing their unique selves to blossom freely.

(By Rika Kayama, psychiatrist)
毎日新聞 2015年10月06日 地方版

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2015年10月12日 (月)

世界記憶遺産 容認できない南京事件の登録

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Unacceptable for UNESCO to add Nanjing Incident to memory list
世界記憶遺産 容認できない南京事件の登録

Could the latest UNESCO registration be misunderstood as a stamp of approval given by an international organization to China’s one-sided claim concerning historical perception? This is a serious situation.

“Documents of Nanjing Massacre,” which China recommended to UNESCO, were added to its Memory of the World list.

After the selection by UNESCO’s International Advisory Committee, the U.N. organization’s director general, Irina Bokova, made the final decision. Another item recommended by China — materials related to so-called comfort women — was not registered in the list.

The Memory of the World list was originally meant to preserve or utilize historically important documents and other materials.

We cannot accept China’s stance of using a system for protecting cultural assets for political purposes in a campaign against Japan and trying to fix its self-righteous historical perception in the international community.

“Documents of Nanjing Massacre” include written rulings on Japanese war criminals at the Nanjing Incident tribunal after the end of World War II. The written rulings put the number of victims in the incident at “more than 300,000.”

However, in Japan, the dominant view is that, based on demographic statistics for Nanjing at that time and other factors, a death toll of “more than 300,000” is far removed from reality. In a report released by a joint research team of Japanese and Chinese historians, Japanese scholars pointed out that “there are varying estimates on the number of victims in the incident, ranging from 20,000 to 40,000 to up to 200,000.”

Concerning the registration on the list, the Japanese Foreign Ministry questioned the “integrity and authenticity” of the documents and said their registration was problematic for “an international body that should be neutral and fair.” The ministry’s stance is quite natural.

Selection process opaque

This time, other items recommended by Japan, such as “Return to Maizuru Port” records including diaries and letters of Japanese detainees in Siberia, were added to the list. They reflect historical facts, and there were no objections to the registration from Russia.

This contrasts with the “Nanjing” case in which Japan repeatedly conveyed its concern about the registration to the UNESCO secretariat.

UNESCO’s International Advisory Committee comprises 14 experts — mainly researchers of library science and those involved in archives. The selection process, which is not open to the public, is too opaque.

Japan’s annual financial contribution to UNESCO is ¥3.7 billion, about 10 percent of its yearly budget, and Japan substantially supports the activities of the world body. It is indispensable to urge UNESCO to improve the registration system for the Memory of the World list.

There is a possibility that China could again recommend materials related to “comfort women.” South Korea also is preparing for a registration of testimonies by comfort women in two years.

When Japan’s Meiji era (1868-1912) industrial revolution sites were added to the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage list in July this year, South Korea opposed the registration, claiming that Korean workers were requisitioned during the war. After negotiations with South Korea over the issue, Japan finally was able to realize registration. However, Japan was swayed by Seoul’s political maneuvering.

Japan needs to quickly reconsider its strategy for UNESCO.

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

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2015年10月11日 (日)

TPP総合対策 農業以外への目配りも大切だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun
TPP task force should not limit itself to agricultural protection
TPP総合対策 農業以外への目配りも大切だ

We hope the government’s newly established TPP task force will not disappoint by coming up with measures focusing only on agricultural protection. It is essential that it consider how to utilize the vast, envisioned free-trade area to develop our economy.

The government recently established the task force, which includes all Cabinet ministers, following a broad agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade deal. It plans to compile a policy outline by year-end that includes measures to reinforce agriculture.

When the TPP takes effect, more than 400 tariffs on agricultural, forestry and fishery products will gradually be abolished or reduced. On the one hand, consumers will benefit from increased imports of cheaper foreign products; but on the other, it is unavoidable that domestic farmers will be dealt a blow.

Thus, it is understandable for the government to take certain measures to support agriculture and mitigate any negative impacts on farmers.

However, the key to agricultural protection does not lie in a surging agricultural budget. What is important is to enhance the productivity of farmers and create an environment that helps them survive international competition.

In this sense, a recent remark by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was appropriate. “We’ll make the TPP deal a chance for [Japan’s] agriculture to shift to the offensive,” he said.

The government has spent ¥6 trillion to cope with the partial opening of its rice market following the 1993 Uruguay Round trade agreement. However, experts believe the measure had little effect because most of the money was used for measures such as agriculture public works.

Some members of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party insist the government spend more than ¥6 trillion on measures to support agriculture. Such demands for the government to raise its expenditure are expected to increase because next summer’s House of Councillors election is looming. We must remain vigilant.

Avoid excessive support

A point of concern is the government’s move to overly support farmers.

Japan will establish tariff-free import quotas for rice from the United States and Australia totaling nearly 80,000 tons. This is not a big amount — it is equivalent to about 1 percent of the rice produced in Japan — but the government said it will increase the volume of domestic rice it buys up as emergency stock, citing the possibility of those quotas causing the price of the nation’s rice to drop.

We want to remind the government that bullish measures aimed at maintaining the price of domestic rice will not only increase its financial burden but also diminish the consumer benefits of the free trade agreement.

After the deal takes effect, the United States will expand its tariff-free import quotas for Japanese beef. There are measures that could help promote domestic beef, such as utilizing information technology to improve the quality of the meat, as well as enlarging foreign markets.

It is also essential to pay attention to areas other than agriculture.

The task force has set a policy of using the TPP as a catalyst for promoting technological innovation and creating new industries. We urge the government to increase its efforts for product development based on the needs of importing countries, and also utilize advanced technologies to enhance the competitiveness of Japanese products.

The TPP agreement encompasses deals such as the removal of tariffs on most industrial goods and deregulation of trade and investment, as well as establishing rules for settling disputes. We hope this helps reduce the risks for small and medium-sized companies advancing into emerging nations.

The government should back up ambitious small and medium-sized companies by helping them establish regional supply chains and providing information on foreign markets.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 10, 2015)

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2015年10月10日 (土)


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MOREMALL 公式サイト には盛りだくさんの魅力的なお買い物情報であふれています。


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露のシリア空爆 「イスラム国」掃討は名目か

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Are Russian airstrikes in Syria targeting ISIL in name only?
露のシリア空爆 「イスラム国」掃討は名目か

Russia’s full-scale use of military force in Syria has heightened tensions between Moscow and Washington, and the standoff is becoming increasingly entrenched.

Russia has started expanding its military operations against armed antigovernment forces opposed to the administration of Syrian President Bashar Assad. The Russian attacks were conducted based on a request from Assad’s government.

Since the end of September, in addition to conducting airstrikes for more than one week, Moscow also has fired cruise missiles from vessels stationed about 1,500 kilometers away in the Caspian Sea.

More than 90 percent of the Russian targets have reportedly been moderate, pro-U.S. and Europe rebel groups. These attacks have apparently killed and injured many civilians, including children.

Russia has concentrated its airstrikes in western Syria near Tartus, home to Russia’s only naval port in the Middle East and a stronghold of the Assad government.

Russia claims the objective of its attacks is to wipe out the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant(ISIL) extremist group. However, it is obvious that this offensive aims to support the weakened Assad government and protect Russia’s own national interests. It is a self-serving action.

There have also been reports that Russia will send “volunteer soldiers” to Syria. Russia appears poised to fight against Syrian antigovernment forces by working closely with units from Iran — a sworn friend of Syria and Shiite groups from Iraq and other nations.

This Shiite-oriented strategy will do nothing but whip up a backlash from Sunni groups and their backers, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, and inflame the sectarian conflict. The risk that this civil war could develop into a proxy war between Russia and Syria’s neighboring nations cannot be overlooked.

Friction with U.S.

Russia’s predecessor, the Soviet Union, intervened in the nearby nation of Afghanistan. About nine years of fighting there battered Russia’s economy and was a factor in the Soviet Union’s collapse.

The United States and Europe have imposed sanctions on Russia in response to the problem concerning Ukraine, and Russia’s economy is on the decline. Russia’s strategy in the Middle East is certain to further sap its strength. We think this is a foolish move that disregards the lessons of its operations in Afghanistan.

U.S. President Barack Obama warned Russia that its offensive in Syria will suck Moscow into a “quagmire.”

The United States has stepped up its airstrikes against ISIL positions and is supplying weapons to moderate rebel forces as it seeks to retain leadership over the situation in Syria. However, the impact of these steps is unknown.

The United States has been reluctant to get more involved in Syria and is flatly refusing to cooperate with Russia on this issue.

Nevertheless, their interests coincide on the point of seeking to deplete the strength of ISIL. It would be significant if the United States and Russia could coordinate their strategies to prevent accidental clashes and narrow down the targets of their attacks.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s stance of easily resorting to military means is becoming an element of instability in the international community.

Hostility between Washington and Moscow is escalating and the world is sliding toward a situation that could be called a new kind of Cold War. This will unavoidably have implications for Japan’s diplomacy.

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

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2015年10月 9日 (金)


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高速鉄道戦略 中国との受注競争に備えよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Japan must prepare strategically to beat China for overseas orders
高速鉄道戦略 中国との受注競争に備えよ

Japan must strategically prepare to compete for overseas orders with China, a country that mounts an export offensive even by offering virtually bargain prices.

In a fiercely contested race between Japan and China to build a high-speed railway in Indonesia, Japan lost. The project in question is to build a railway system connecting Jakarta and Bandung, a distance of 140 kilometers, with trains running at speeds over 300 kph.

The project proposed by Japan would have financed most of the estimated total project cost of about ¥540 billion with the use of yen loans, requiring a loan guarantee from the Indonesian government.

Japan had initially led China in bidding for the project by, for instance, conducting a feasibility study starting as early as around 2008.

The actions taken by the Indonesian government were problematic. In early September, Jakarta announced it would review its railway project, and would not adopt either the Japanese or Chinese proposals.

Yet, less than a month later, the government reversed its policy and adopted the Chinese proposal.

The Indonesian government chose the Chinese proposal as Beijing accepted Jakarta’s conditions that the government be free from any fiscal spending or loan guarantee for the project.

It was understandable for Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga to strongly express the Japanese government’s dissatisfaction, saying, “It’s important for a large-scale infrastructure project to be implemented in a transparent and fair manner.” It is vital to examine the decision-making process taken by the Indonesian government.

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson engaged in self-praise by saying China enjoys great superiority over Japan in regard to loan conditions and work periods.

China may have hinted at extending financial assistance to the project through the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the Silk Road Fund, a state-owned investment fund of the Chinese government.

Fierce export drive

Many people are skeptical about the feasibility of the Chinese proposal, which promises to complete the construction of the railway system in three years. It is a matter of concern that the Indonesian government’s lax judgment over its adoption of the Chinese proposal may come into question again.

Behind China’s fierce export drive is the excessive production capacity of its high-speed railway industry. The country has built a 16,000-kilometer high-speed railway network in a matter of 10 years, more than six times longer than Japan’s Shinkansen bullet train network. A surplus of rolling stock, railway facilities and workers is likely to continue for some time.

Japan should keep an eye on China in the days ahead, as it is a country that has to enter overseas markets regardless of whether it profits or not.

The administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe considers the export of infrastructure development as one of the central pillars of its growth strategy and has focused on marketing such projects through cooperation between the public and private sector.

In particular, railway projects are considered promising in this respect, with demand expected to grow worldwide. Japan hopes to win orders from such countries as Malaysia and the United States in the days ahead. On the basis of its defeat in its bidding for the Indonesian project, Japan will need to rebuild its export strategy urgently.

Japan has conventionally promoted the safety and the technological prowess of its high-speed railway system, Japan’s strongpoints in this sector. In addition, it will also become important for Japan to understand, more precisely than before, what its trading partner needs.

If Japan wants to win orders, it will be necessary to put more effort into presenting proposals as a package that includes traffic control systems and maintenance and checkups, rather than merely undertaking the design and construction of projects. Extending cooperation in the fostering of technical personnel will also prove effective.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 7, 2015)

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2015年10月 8日 (木)

ノーベル科学賞 地道な探究心が実を結んだ

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Steady scientific exploration has earned 2 Japanese Nobel prizes
ノーベル科学賞 地道な探究心が実を結んだ

For a second consecutive day, an outstanding feat was achieved.

Takaaki Kajita, director of the University of Tokyo’s Institute for Cosmic Ray Research, was announced as a corecipient of this year’s Nobel Prize in Physics.

The announcement came a day after Satoshi Omura, a distinguished professor emeritus of Kitasato University, was selected as a cowinner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. We would like to heartily hail a string of honors awarded to these Japanese researchers as Nobel Prize-winners.

The award honors Kajita for his success in discovering that neutrinos have mass. Many mysteries remain about the neutrino as an elementary particle, an ultimate constituent of matter.

With a group of researchers he headed, Kajita measured neutrinos flying around by using observation equipment set up at the now unused Kamioka Mine in Hida, Gifu Prefecture. Findings from his group’s research provided epoch-making data that made it essential to reconsider basic theories regarding the universe, including the origin of the universe and matter.

His corecipient, Arthur McDonald, a professor emeritus at Queen’s University, Canada, observed a similar phenomenon by using observation equipment built on the opposite side of the Earth. The awarding of the prize to the two scientists shows that their efforts have come to fruition.

The theme of their studies has been explored since the 1960s. “It was good that I have properly continued [to carry out observations],” Kajita said with joy.

In Japan, the study of elementary particles has been continuously passed on since the late Dr. Hideki Yukawa was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1949, making him the first Japanese to win a Nobel Prize. Kajita’s glory shows that Japan’s tradition in this respect has proved its worth.

Fighting diseases

The Nobel Prize given to Omura honors his successful efforts to develop surefire medicines for such diseases as onchocerciasis, also known as river blindness, a parasitic disease prevalent in African and South American nations.

Omura was selected as a recipient along with William Campbell of Drew University in the United States, who cooperated in the development efforts. They were praised for having “revolutionized therapy for patients.”

Their achievements can be described as a feat signifying what medical science essentially stands for — that is, saving life.

“I’m glad to have been useful to people,” Omura said. Many people may have remembered the late Hideyo Noguchi, a bacteriologist who worked hard to cure and investigate tropical diseases.

Microbes living underground or elsewhere create such natural compounds as antibiotics. Omura steadily collected a large number of microbes. He discovered a compound from which Avermectin, a surefire remedy cited in the Nobel award, is derived. And then he finally made his discovery into a marketable product through an industry-academia partnership

Tu Youyou, a scientist at the China Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine, was also announced as a winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for her development of a remedy for malaria.

The fight against Ebola hemorrhagic fever and other infectious diseases is an important challenge facing the human race. The prizes given to these scientists will provide strong support in the fight against pathogens.

In recent years, Japan’s scientific research has been experiencing a conspicuous decline. This is because of a failure to nurture the next generation of scientists. The number of research papers published by Japanese scientists has been slow to grow.

The awarding of the prizes to the two Japanese researchers is bound to stimulate many scientists in this country. We hope young researchers will pursue even higher goals.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 7, 2015)

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2015年10月 7日 (水)

TPP大筋合意 巨大貿易圏で成長底上げ図れ

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Boost economic growth in giant TPP free trade zone
TPP大筋合意 巨大貿易圏で成長底上げ図れ


A new trade and investment framework that will drive the global economy will be born in the Asia-Pacific region.

A broad agreement has been reached during ministerial talks on the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact.

The creation of a giant free trade zone, which accounts for about 40 percent of the world’s gross domestic product today, is expected to vitalize the flow of people, goods and funds and propel economic growth.

The TPP negotiations, which have continued for 5½ years, experienced rough going until the end, but we welcome that the 12 participating countries — industrialized countries and emerging economies — have overcome many conflicts of interest despite their varying circumstances.

Sense of urgency

The negotiations were finally concluded after extending the schedule by four days. This is because talks over issues such as the data protection period for newly developed drugs remained intractable to the last.

The United States insisted the data protection period should be 12 years, while Australia and other countries advocated a period of five years. Japan’s proposal to set it at effectively eight years was reportedly adopted.

It is significant that Japan played a role as a go-between to a certain extent.

Differences were also resolved in opinions over the “rule of origin,” or the percentage of the parts of a car made within the TPP region that should be used for the vehicles to be eligible for favorable treatment such as a tariff cut.

Japan insisted on 40 percent, while countries including Mexico called for more than 60 percent, but a compromise was reportedly reached at around 50 percent.

Agreement was also reached on an issue in which New Zealand pressed the United States, Japan and other countries to increase their imports of dairy products.

It is commendable that countries fiercely at odds with each other reached compromises from a broader perspective.

The participating countries turned to concessions on many outstanding issues probably because they were able to share a sense of urgency that the negotiations could drift if the talks broke down again this time.

In the United States, it has been pointed out that momentum toward an agreement on the TPP talks could fade away as the Democrats and Republicans may become increasingly confrontational as their focus shifts toward the presidential election in autumn next year.

U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, who chaired the TPP talks, stressed the achievements of the negotiations, saying at a press conference that it is an “ambitious” and “high standard” agreement.

The TPP free trade pact promises, among other things, to abolish tariffs or carry out regulatory reforms in 31 areas. If it becomes effective, tariffs on many agricultural and industrial products will be lowered, and fair, highly transparent and comprehensive rules on trade and investment will be created.

This will raise the degree of freedom in economic activities and TPP member countries will likely receive various benefits, including expansion of production and job creation.

It is important for each participating country to win its legislature’s approval of a final agreement promptly, leading to effectuation of the accord.

The government needs to explain to the public in detail the possible benefits to be gained and the pains to bear through the participation in the TPP.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration considers Japan’s participation in the TPP scheme as one of the central pillars of its growth strategy.

The TPP is a framework deemed vital for the Japanese economy to take in a growing market of Asia as its domestic market is expected to shrink due to a population decline.

Checking China

With the member countries abiding by the rules set within the TPP accord, risks such as unexpected changes to trade rules will be lowered, facilitating the expansion of companies into the markets of other countries.

Participation will also provide a nice tailwind for Japan to promote exports of infrastructure development such as roads and railways. Should a large number of import duties, including those on beef and pork, be reduced, the benefits for Japanese consumers will be substantial.

Abe welcomed the broad agreement as “a farsighted state policy to build a free and fair economic zone among countries that share the same values.”

We should not allow to pass unnoted the possible effect of both Japan and the United States, which lead the TPP talks, banding together and deepening the alliance. Such an effect will restrain China, a country that has been escalating its hegemonic activities lately.

The principles of TPP, the world’s largest economic accord, will become “international standards.” It is desirable to urge China to reform itself, to abide by fair and transparent rules and to have the world’s second largest economic power contribute to the prosperity of the global community.

Measures to tackle possible side effects of the TPP deal are also essential. There are many who are worried that domestic farmers, in particular, will be hit hard as they will face fierce competition from foreign products on which import duties will be lowered. There may be no time to waste in strengthening the mold for the country’s farming sector.

End handout policy

It could be a good idea for Japan to seize the TPP deal as a chance for it to build an agriculture sector of the future, rather than considering the pact as bringing only negative effects.

The government should focus on projects such as enhancing productivity by adopting information technology and by promoting large-scale farming, and raising the earning power of the farming sector by promoting exports strategically.

Following the Uruguay Round agreement reached in 1993, under which Japan partially opened its market to rice imports, the government injected funding worth ¥6 trillion over eight years to assist farmers. But this ended up being mostly spent on public works such as land improvement, and were said to have little effect on enhancing international competitiveness. The same mistake should not be made.

With the House of Councillors election, scheduled for next summer, in mind, there are some within the Liberal Democratic Party calling for a large increase in agriculture-related budgets, under the pretext of measures to deal with the TPP accord.

The government will be tested on whether it can allocate budgets by prioritizing those projects that will help reinvigorate the nation’s farming sector, while eliminating the policy of handouts for farmers.

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

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2015年10月 5日 (月)

香山リカのココロの万華鏡:矛盾した情報に惑うな /東京


October 04, 2015 (Mainichi Japan)
Kaleidoscope of the Heart: Don't be bewildered by contradictory information
香山リカのココロの万華鏡:矛盾した情報に惑うな /東京

At a news conference on Sept. 24, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stressed the benefits of his administration's economic policy mix dubbed "Abenomics," stating, "We're at the point of saying we're no longer in deflation. A breakaway from deflation is right in front of us." The very next day, however, newspapers reported that the consumer price index for August had fallen. "The path to achieve the target of 2 percent inflation will be a rocky one," one paper wrote. The reports were virtually the opposite of what Abe was saying.

Seeing the prime minister full of confidence at the news conference, some people were no doubt put at ease, thinking, "This has got to be true. The Japanese economy is all right." But after reading in the newspaper that "The Bank of Japan appears to be going back to square one on monetary easing," they would become anxious again.

In psychiatry, the term "double bind" refers to a predicament in which someone receives verbal and nonverbal messages (also called "metamessages") that contradict each other. For example, a mother could say to a child, "You can play as much as you want," while flashing an angry face and holding a school study guide in one hand.

That's a double bind. We hear that nothing confuses a person so much or makes them so anxious as a double bind.

Come to think of it, the security legislation put forward this summer falls into the same category. The government described the legislation as "peace bills to prevent war," while the opposition parties used the term "war bills." On the one hand, the government said, "This will make the lives of members of the public ever safer," while on the other hand, opponents said, "It will bring us closer to war and conscription."

This is just the type of situation that produces a double bind. In the midst of it, I think we were probably confused, thinking, "What should we do?" and were left wavering.

Of course, I don't think it's good to have a situation in which the message is unified, leaving no opposition or contradictory views. But surely it is problematic for the prime minister and the administration that forms the nerve center of the country to stress one thing while the numbers and data reported in the media, and the opinions of scholars say the complete opposite.

The biggest concern, however, is that we stop looking at information to protect ourselves from this double bind. Contradictory information confuses us, but still we can adopt a stance of taking a hard look at the situation, thinking for ourselves, and making our own decisions. And that's a stance we should stick to.

(By Rika Kayama, psychiatrist)

毎日新聞 2015年09月29日 地方版

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防衛装備庁発足 調達と輸出を戦略的に進めよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Implement procurement, export of defense equipment strategically
防衛装備庁発足 調達と輸出を戦略的に進めよ

A framework has been put into place for Japan to efficiently procure defense equipment and expand its technological cooperation with countries with which it has friendly ties. The nation should advance its equipment policy strategically.

The Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Agency of the Defense Ministry was recently created as an external bureau of the ministry. It is in charge of defense equipment-related tasks ranging from research and development to procurement and export. It has a staff of 1,800 and will manage a yearly budget of about ¥2 trillion.

Previously, the ministry’s Technical Research and Development Institute handled research and development involving defense equipment, while the ministry’s internal bureaus and the ground, maritime and air wings of the Self-Defense Forces separately carried out procurement.

It is quite significant that an organization capable of implementing equipment administration in an integrated manner has been created by doing away with administrative functions that was to be used vertically divided.

Defense Minister Gen Nakatani, in instructions to the agency’s staff, said the ministry will attach importance to this country’s ability to maintain technological capabilities that will be one step ahead of others, indicating his intention to expand R&D and technical cooperation with other countries.

With the three principles on the transfer of defense equipment and technology that were approved and adopted by the Cabinet in April last year, export restrictions on defense equipment have been greatly eased, creating an environment for this country to expand equipment cooperation with other countries.

Based on the principles, Japan has started joint research on missile technology with Britain. It is also studying the possibility of implementing the joint development of submarines with Australia, and discussing with India Japan’s export of amphibious search-and-rescue planes to that country.

Enhanced deterrence

Japan’s security cooperation with other countries is part of its strategy touted as “proactive contribution to peace,” and will lead to enhancement of the nation’s deterrent power. It will also contribute to the maintenance and fostering of defense technology and the nation’s production base.

With the passage of security-related legislation, the SDF’s international activities will be expanded. It is important to pursue equipment procurement that accords with defense policy. Budget allocations among the three SDF arms should also be reviewed.

The new agency is also tasked with an important role of making weapons procurement more efficient.

Procurement of equipment separately by the three SDF arms had been an obstacle to the joint operation of the SDF. They were even unable to share ammunition.

In the days ahead, the designs of Maritime Self-Defense Force’s transport vessels will be changed so that the vessels, which were capable of hosting only MSDF helicopters, will be able to carry Osprey transport aircraft, which the GSDF plans to adopt.

Equipment such as interceptor missiles and surface-to-air guided missiles will also be standardized among the three SDF branches.

Under the severe fiscal circumstances, the ministry, in its Mid-Term Defense Program (fiscal 2014-fiscal 2018), has set a target of securing ¥700 billion by making equipment procurement more efficient.

In April this year, special legislation was enacted to save procurement costs through lump-sum purchases of equipment under long-term contracts.

From fiscal 2016 onward, the ministry plans to use this policy to reduce procurement costs by ¥153 billion in the purchase of Ospreys and other equipment. By also cooperating with defense-related industries, the ministry should also make use of this method in the introduction of large equipment in the days ahead.

High-tech equipment such as fighter planes tends to become exorbitantly expensive. Thorough cost-reducing efforts are vital.

Defense equipment procurement has seen spates of corruption and bid-rigging scandals for many years. To prevent the ministry from forming cozy ties with the defense industry that may lead to corruption, comprehensive monitoring of equipment procurement must not be neglected.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 4, 2015)

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2015年10月 4日 (日)

中国2邦人拘束 「法治」による統制が目に余る

The Yomiuri Shimbun
By arresting Japanese citizens, Xi displays high-handed rule by ‘law’
中国2邦人拘束 「法治」による統制が目に余る

The recent arrests of two Japanese nationals apparently symbolize efforts by Chinese President Xi Jinping’s government to defend its one-party dictatorship at all costs by bolstering its domestic control even further.

The Japanese government announced that Chinese authorities detained one Japanese in Liaoning Province and another in Zhejian Province in May this year. The two are male civilians who traveled to China from Japan.

China’s Foreign Ministry said the two were arrested on suspicion of spying, and stressed they will be tried and punished under the law. However, the ministry has not disclosed any details of its suspicions.

China probably detained the two under its counterespionage law enforced in November. The law can be applied to the theft of national secrets, inciting public officials to sedition or bribing them, and activities deemed harmful to the safety of the country. It can also be applied to “any other spying activity.”

At a press conference, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said, “Our country has done no such thing.” He urged Beijing to release the two as soon as possible.

It is a matter of concern that Chinese authorities may arbitrarily interpret and apply ambiguous stipulations in the law. Japan, the United States and Europe must exercise caution against any attempt by China to use the “rule of law” as a tool for single-party control.

The man arrested in Liaoning Province is said to have visited Dandong, a major city at China’s border with North Korea. Meanwhile, Zhejian Province is a significant area hosting facilities of the Chinese navy. Japan cannot remain completely aloof of an espionage war by China or North Korea.

Law for one-party regime

It is feared that the detention period for the two, already four months long, will be extended further. Pre-indictment procedures in China take more time than those in the United States and Europe. In addition, opacity is expected to increase in a case related to national security.

In March, an American woman who visited China on a business tour reportedly was detained and investigated on suspicion of harming national security.

When Chinese authorities arrested four Japanese employees of midsize general contractor Fujita Corp. in 2010, some observers saw their arrests as revenge by Beijing for Japan’s actions after a Chinese fishing boat rammed a Japan Coast Guard vessel in seas off the Senkaku Islands.

Beijing may have intended to rattle Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government by using the arrests of the two Japanese citizens this time as a tool to put diplomatic pressure on Japan.

In addition to the anti-spying law, the Xi government put a new national security law into effect in July to enhance domestic security measures. Beijing must be seriously concerned about the stability of Chinese society amid its slowing economy.

The Chinese government also submitted a bill to put foreign nongovernmental organizations working in the country under government surveillance, fearing that values such as democracy and human rights from the United States and Europe would infiltrate into China.

If the Xi government turns its back to international criticism and continues its coercive rule of the country, it will only further show that China is an “aberrant superpower.”

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

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2015年10月 3日 (土)

新日鉄技術流出 巨額和解金が戒めた不正行為

The Yomiuri Shimbun
POSCO ends up paying high price over alleged theft of technology info
新日鉄技術流出 巨額和解金が戒めた不正行為

How to prevent leaks of trade secrets, including proprietary technology information, to maintain international competitiveness is a major challenge for businesses.

A settlement has been reached over the damages lawsuits that Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. filed in Japan and overseas against major South Korean steelmaker POSCO and its subsidiaries over the alleged illicit acquisition of steel sheet production technology. The settlement called for POSCO to pay ¥30 billion.

According to the leading Japanese steelmaker, POSCO approached a former employee of Nippon Steel Corp., one of the two predecessors of Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal, and got him to leak the technology information illicitly in return for an enormous amount of money.

The theft allegedly targeted cutting-edge technology for producing electrical steel sheets. Steel sheets of this kind are used for manufacturing parts of such familiar products as transformers and mobile phones.

POSCO had insisted that it manufactured the products with its own technology, but finally agreed to pay a huge settlement, exceeding half its annual profits. This can be regarded as a de facto victory for Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal.

It is highly significant that the practice of illegally acquiring and exploiting the secret information of rival companies to earn profits has created the feeling both at home and abroad that those who do so end up paying a high price eventually.

The alleged theft came to light following the testimony of a former POSCO researcher arrested by South Korean investigative authorities on suspicion of leaking information to a Chinese steelmaker. The former researcher also revealed the information leak from Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal.

Behind-the-scenes industrial espionage targeted at Japanese firms has been increasing. According to the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry, there were 540 cases of corporate information leaks in fiscal 2013, five times the figure for fiscal 2009.

Concern about brain drain

In a conspicuous trend, businesses of emerging economies are said to offer favorable terms of employment for Japanese engineers who have retired due to corporate restructuring or a mandatory age limit, and talk them into leaking information. Given the continued suspension of all nuclear power plants in Japan, concern has been increasing about a brain drain of nuclear-related engineers to China, South Korea and other countries.

Many Japanese companies are passive about taking legal action, as they view the leakage of trade secrets as their own shame. The revised Unfair Competition Prevention Law, which was enacted in July, makes it mandatory for accused companies to prove that the technology information in question was not acquired illicitly for production, a legal step to lessen the burden on plaintiff companies.

The maximum possible fine against businesses or individuals for illicit utilization of trade secrets has been raised to ¥1 billion.

To prevent leaks, it is essential to make the revised law function effectively. Businesses must also pay more attention to managing information.

Companies must conclude non-disclosure agreements with their employees and retirees requiring them not to leak trade secrets to rival firms. The number of employees with access to secret information must be limited as much as possible.

We hope information leakage will be prevented through such measures.

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

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2015年10月 2日 (金)





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米露首脳会談 シリア内戦収拾へ妥協を探れ

The Yomiuri Shimbun
U.S., Russia must find common ground to bring an end to Syria’s civil war
米露首脳会談 シリア内戦収拾へ妥協を探れ

The United States and Russia must try to find common ground to help bring an end to the civil war in Syria, which has killed more than 220,000 people and forced a massive number of people to flee as refugees.

On the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly meeting, U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin held their first talks in about two years. On the Syrian issue, Obama expressed his view to call for President Bashar Assad to step down, stressing that stability in Syria would be impossible as long as the Assad administration stays in power.

Putin took a different tack and clearly expressed support for the Assad administration, describing it as a “bulwark” against extremist groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which has expanded its control over parts of Syria and Iraq.

The leaders of the United States and Russia have been at loggerheads over issues including the situation in Ukraine, but they did jointly recognize the importance of quickly wiping out ISIL. However, they remain far apart in their views on whether the Assad administration should be allowed any involvement in Syria’s future.

A chaotic civil war including the military forces under the control of the Assad administration and several antigovernment organizations continues for more than four years. The vacuum of power in parts of Syria has helped promote the growth of extremist groups, including ISIL. Assad’s army is at a disadvantage against its enemies, and the government now controls only about one-quarter of Syria, mainly in the west of that nation.

Dealing with the Syrian issue, from where the threat of terrorism is proliferating, is an urgent task.

Tricky diplomatic path

At a press conference after his talks with Obama, Putin criticized airstrikes conducted by nations such as the United States and France against ISIL targets to weaken that group, saying they were “illegal” because they had not been requested by Syria.

Russia has started airstrikes of its own to support the Assad administration. Moscow has set up an air base inside Syria and deployed fighter jets and tanks there. It has dispatched military advisers to Syria and will exchange strategic information with Iran and Iraq, which are close to the Assad government.

Russia is attempting to prop up the Assad government under the name of building an “antiterrorism coalition” that adds Syria and Iran to the U.S.-led “coalition of the willing.”

If the Russian military intervenes under the banner of trying to prolong the Assad government for as long as possible, while disregarding the numerous atrocities committed by the administration, the fighting in Syria could actually escalate. There are fears an accidental clash could occur with the United States and France.

Obama was quite right to strongly oppose this step by Moscow. It is obvious that the Assad administration lacks legitimacy.

The United States has been providing military training to moderate Syrian antigovernment groups as it seeks to topple the Assad government and defeat ISIL. However, these efforts have not produced tangible results. Obama’s strategy has reached a deadlock.

The United States also cannot resolve this problem just by demanding that Assad step down. In Europe, which is being directly affected by the flood of arriving refugees, there is an emerging opinion that negotiations with Assad also might be unavoidable.

Pressing ahead with diplomacy that curbs any increase in the strength of ISIL while also anticipating a transition to a new regime — this will be a difficult process, but unless the United States and Russia, the two major powers, act in concert, the situation in Syria will not improve.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 1, 2015)Speech

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2015年10月 1日 (木)


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日露首脳会談 領土交渉は腰を据えて進めよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Steadily conduct territorial talks with Russia to work out solution
日露首脳会談 領土交渉は腰を据えて進めよ

Negotiations for signing a bilateral peace treaty and the resolution of the northern territorial issue are inseparable.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held summit talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in New York, their first meeting in about 10 months.

On the northern territorial issue, Abe and Putin confirmed that the two governments will proceed with negotiations on the peace treaty based on a 2013 bilateral agreement that the two countries will “work out measures to resolve the issue acceptable to both sides.” They also agreed to continue holding top-level dialogues on the sidelines of international conferences.

It is highly significant for both countries to put the territorial negotiations back on track.

With regard to Putin’s visit to Japan, Abe said, “I want to realize it [the visit] when the timing is best,” indicating that he does not feel bound to the plan for Putin to visit by the year-end.

Now that there is no prospect for any tangible result on the territorial issue, it will not be necessary for Abe to adhere to the idea of realizing Putin’s visit to Japan this year, even at the cost of being out of step with the Group of Seven industrialized countries, which have imposed sanctions on Russia in light of the situation in Ukraine. Abe’s decision was appropriate.

Saying that he has recently been reelected president of the Liberal Democratic Party, Abe indicated his willingness to proceed with bilateral talks by saying he would deal with the negotiations more steadily than ever before. Abe will serve three more years as president of the ruling party, while Putin will remain in office for the same length of time.

The administrations of both Abe and Putin have solid foundations, and the two leaders enjoy a certain level of trust. It can be said that the environments needed for them to resolve such a politically difficult problem as the territorial issue have been put into place to a certain extent, such as the political leadership keeping the domestic opposition at arm’s length and there is sufficient time to deal with it.

Hard-line stance intolerable

Putin, however, refrained from going deeply into the territorial issue this time. At the onset of the talks, Putin called for Japan’s economic cooperation, by saying, “Regrettably, the value of trade [between Japan and Russia] has been falling.”

Probably underlying his remarks is the serious decline in the state of Russian economy, which has been affected by the economic sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union and falling crude oil prices.

Abe said, “I hope preparations for economic cooperation will be made in a constructive and calm atmosphere,” implicitly warning that visits to the northern territories by Russian government officials, including Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, would impede any improvement in the bilateral relations. It is a reasonable acknowledgment on Abe’s part.

The recent hard-line stance of the Russian Foreign Ministry on the territorial issue is intolerable.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said last week that Japan should recognize the reality of postwar history. Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov even said that the northern territories were lawfully transferred to his country as a result of World War II.

Russia, in diplomatic documents exchanged with Japan, has recognized the existence of the dispute concerning the possession of the four northern islands. As Russian officials, including Lavrov, have adopted stances that apparently ignore past bilateral negotiations, it will be important for Japan to directly approach Putin, who has tremendous political power.

On Oct. 8, vice ministerial-level talks on the peace treaty will resume. Japan needs to work out a comprehensive diplomatic strategy toward Russia by thoroughly considering what things will be like two to three years from now.

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

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