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No.36

National Borders in an Uproar (I): Three-Four-Two Formula Engineered by Chinese Government Vessels
Issues in the South China Sea Explain the Disturbance around the Senkaku Islands

Leadership in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is trying to direct domestic criticism toward Japan ahead of the Party Congress scheduled for this year. Japan must prepare legal grounds in addition to defense equipment to protect its territories. Kotani Tetsuo, Senior Research Fellow, the Japan Institute of International Affairs (JIIA) Fishing boats and one public vessel from China entered Japanese territorial waters around the Senkaku Islands on August 5, 2016. The number of Chinese public vessels that subsequently navigated the contiguous zone reached 15 at one point. A total of 26 public ships from China entered Japanese territorial waters on this occasion. The incident raised concerns in Japan. It was within the scope of reason for about 200 fishing boats from China to flood Japan’s territorial waters around the Senkaku Islands because the ban on fishing in the East China Sea had lifted on ... ... [Read more]

No.36

Chinese Ships Swarm the Senkaku Islands

Chinese fishing boats and one public vessel (a vessel belonging to the government of the People’s Republic of China) entered Japanese territorial waters around the Senkaku Islands on August 5, 2016. In the subsequent period through August 18, a total of 32 Chinese public vessels entered Japan’s territorial waters, with a maximum of 15 such ships simultaneously spotted in a zone contiguous to the territorial waters. As many as 15 Chinese public vessels gathered in the contiguous zone around the Senkaku Islands where approximately 200 to 300 fishing boats from China continued their operations. Those public vessels from China repeatedly intruded in Japanese territorial waters while following the fishing boats. It was the first case of such an event. It is obvious from this incident that China increased the pressure on the Senkaku Islands. However, we must consider the causes of this event from ... ... [Read more]

No.36

Three-Man Discussion: New Frontier of Japanese Diplomacy
― Diplomacy forward Africa and Expectations for the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) VI

TICAD VI marks the first time the event has been held in Africa. The event seeks to explore the possibilities of Japan’s proprietary international cooperation and business with consideration for both the political and economic conditions, which are undergoing rapid changes at dizzying speeds, and the international conditions which can have an impact on these trends. Discussion among Shirato Keiichi (Chief Analyst of the Middle East and Africa Office, International Information Department, Mitsui Global Strategic Studies Institute), Endo Mitsugi (Professor, Tokyo University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences) and Fujita Junzo (Ambassador for TICAD, Ministry of Foreign Affairs) Nakamura Kiichiro, Editor in Chief, Gaiko (Diplomacy): What is your opinion on the current political conditions in Africa? Endo Mitsugi: Considering the post-Cold War context, the time immediately after the Cold War ended in the 1990s was a major turning point for African politics. Many countries ... ... [Read more]

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No.34

Interpreting the Upper House Elections: Two concerns about maintaining the status quo
― Sustaining social security and Japan’s policy towards China

Tanaka Naoki, President, Center for International Public Policy StudiesThe Upper House elections saw a fourth consecutive national election victory for Prime Minister Abe Shinzo. On the domestic front, one of the reasons behind voters’ decision was down to expectations of the Japanese market broadening its horizons, as a result of current economic policy and progress with the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. In particular, domestic restrictions standing in the way of the TPP would have remained unresolved under any administration other than Abe. Another reason why voters chose to retain the current administration was down to fundamental concerns regarding Japan’s involvement in the international community. Amidst growing friction with the likes of China and South Korea, there has inevitably been a degree of reluctance to criticize the government at home. ... [Read more]

No.34

Interpreting the Upper House Elections: Please don’t squander your political capital, Prime Minister!
―Putting growth strategies and fiscal health ahead of constitutional reform

Both the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and Komeito emerged victorious from the Upper House elections. In addition to the decision to delay an increase in consumption tax, voters sided with the Abe administration’s diplomatic and security policies, including related legislation, as well as the government’s economic and social policies. In this article, I would like to take a look at future political issues from the point of view of domestic affairs. By way of a conclusion, I would like to see Prime Minister Abe Shinzo prioritize growth strategies, including deregulation, and fiscal health ahead of constitutional reform. The LDP has restored a single-party majority in both houses for the first time in twenty-seven years. Prime Minister Abe has now won four national elections in succession, thereby establishing an even stronger power base for his administration. Komeito appears to have lost some of its say within the administration. Nonetheless, the LDP... [Read more]

No.28

Evaluating the Statement made by Prime Minister Abe Shinzo

KAMIYA Matake, Professor, National Defense Academy of JapanI read the statement made by Prime Minister Abe Shinzo on August 14 (http://japan.kantei.go.jp/97_abe/statement/201508/0814statement.html) with a lot of sympathy. That is because Abe was successful in making a renewed appeal to the international community that Japan has adopted a completely different approach after World War II from that which it pursued before and during the war, and in taking the opportunity to establish future-oriented policies while making it clear that Japan is not turning its back on the past. To fully understand the Statement, it helps to know that it is based on the three speeches Prime Minister Abe has made since the summer of 2014; namely, the speech he made at the Australian Parliament on July 8, 2014 ... [Read more]

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No.36

Significance of Free Trade: Continued Trade Negotiations will Allow for New Progress
―Distinguish between internationalization and people, goods, and money

< Key Points > Avoid discussions about the internationalization of people, goods, and money in the same light. The stronger the movement towards trade liberalization becomes, the larger the backlash grows. History shows that protectionism does not provide desirable results. “We looked for an overseas labor source, but those who arrived were people,” said a Swiss writer commenting on the effects of the foreign work force. When considering labor power only as a production factor, it appears logical to seek cheap overseas labor. But this will involve a variety of human factors, such as families, religions, cultures, and crimes, creating a number of difficult issues.  With statements made by U.S. Presidential candidate Donald Trump and the United Kingdom’s referendum decision to leave the European Union (EU), voices that oppose the development of globalization have been growing louder. However, close examinations of these trends show ... ... [Read more]

No.35

What is needed to counter the falling birthrate? The short cut is to rectify the long working hours
―A solution in the style of the United States/Northern Europe is difficult

< Key Points > Countries that have brought the falling birthrate under control have transformed the male breadwinner model The cost of childcare presents a challenge to promoting support for work-life balance Active women and improved ways of working for men are one and the same In 2015, the total fertility rate (an estimate of the number of children born to a woman during her lifetime) was 1.46, a recovery of 0.2 points from the lowest ever rate of 1.26 recorded in 2005. Since the birthrate for women aged 25 to 29 is also on the upswing, these trends are likely the result of the recent improvements in the economy and in the work-life balance. However, these numbers fall far short of the figure of 1.8 that the Abe administration has set as the target for 2025. There is also a wide gap with ... ... [Read more]

No.35

What is needed to counter the falling birthrate?  Bold funding investments are urgent
―Salaries for nursery school teachers and tuition fee support

komamura Kohei, Professor, Keio University< Key Points > Increasing the birthrate is not likely to substantially increase the number of births. The stagnation in the 1990s and 2000s is a failure of historical proportions. Improve student loan payments and the income-pegged repayment model The Population Section at the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare have started to discuss the new population projections. The new population projections will likely be announced in the first half of next year. Population projections are based on the census and carried out at intervals of roughly five years to estimate the population over the next fifty years (one hundred years in case of consultation projections). The results form the basis for pension financing and social security policies, including medical and nursing care, but the socio-economic impact is also significant as the data are consulted for local government policy and for future planning at ... ... [Read more]

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No.36

Interview with Architect Ito Toyo: Architecture for the Future

Interview with the Architect Ito Toyo by Moronaga Yuji, Editorial Department of Asahi Shimbun Digital We must turn away from modern thinking that separates human beings and nature. So says world-renowned architect, Ito Toyo. Ito was involved in reconstruction following the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, but he lost the competition to design the new National Olympic Stadium. Today, he is working on wooden temporary housing in Kumamoto. From someone who builds, he has become someone who connects. We asked Ito about the image of the architect in an age of shrinking population and few expectations for economic growth. Moronaga Yuji: What sort of temporary housing are you creating in areas hit by the Kumamoto earthquake? Ito Toyo: I want to provide temporary housing that is warm, not dreary and dull prefabs. The governor of Kumamoto, Kabashima Ikuo, feels the same way; of around ... ... [Read more]

No.35

Q&A The Origins of Shinto Shrines

Geijutsu Shincho: How and when did the history of Shinto shrines begin? Okada Shoji: Apart from the clay figures used during rituals in the Jomon period and the bronze bells used in rituals during the Yayoi period, the first definite evidence we have for rituals (kami worship) linked to present day Shrine Shinto is from the latter half of the fourth century, i.e. from the mid Kofun period on. Although we have found various traces of rituals, essentially there is nothing like a sacred building (shrine building). It is thought that there was a long period during which the kami were worshipped at iwakura (sacred rocks) and himorogi (branches set up temporarily to receive the kami). The location for these rituals was the boundary between mountain and village, which was also the boundary between the world of kami and the world of men. People ... ... [Read more]

No.35

The Chief Priest of Ise Jingu talks at length about subjects such as the Shikinen Sengu, the Summit, and the succession of the legacies

Why do Japanese people visit Ise? Knowledge created as a result of the Sengu that has been carried out for 1,300 years. We at Ise Jingu recently had the honor of welcoming the leaders of the G7 countries who visited Japan to attend the Ise-Shima Summit. Standing with Prime Minister Abe at the foot of the Ujibashi Bridge at the entrance of Naiku (main sanctuary), I shook hands with each of the leaders and delivered a short speech in English to welcome them. Predictably, when it comes to heads of state, they understand the advantages of showing courtesy based on the concept of “when in Rome, do as the Romans do.” In the main sacred place, the guests proceeded to the Mikakiuchi zone, the inside of the outer Tonotamagaki fence, and paid their respects according to Japanese custom. Prime Minister Abe led the leaders ... ... [Read more]

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No.36

2016 Kumamoto Earthquake
Interview: Tomorrow’s Temporary Housing

Ban Shigeru, Architect, Representative for the VAN (Voluntary Architects’ Network) NPO, a group of architects engaged in disaster relief activities with an Editorial staff of Kagaku Extending Readiness to All Japan. Repeated Problems. Kagaku: You donated paper tube partition systems to evacuation centers for the Kumamoto earthquake. That was an extension of similar things you have done in the past, wasn’t it? Ban Shigeru: Our work on the paper tube partition system (figure 1) started after the 2004 Chuestu earthquake in Niigata. A large number of systems were installed in North East Japan after the Great East Japan Earthquake, and we also donated systems after the recent Kumamoto earthquake. But our journey to this point was very hard; specifically, officials did not accept our ideas. They said it was because these things had not been done before. In the end, we built 1,800 units ... ... [Read more]

No.35

“Abdication” Is Not Easy

HARA Takeshi (HT): I was literally astonished at the news “Emperor Intends to Abdicate.” When the news was aired on NHK at 7pm on July 13, I happened to have the TV on and, as I was watching it dumbfounded, I started receiving phone call after phone call from the press asking for comments.
KAWANISHI Hideya (KH): I can no longer stand to watch TV. (Laughing)
HT: That’s just not possible any more. The reason I was surprised is that Article 2 of the Japanese Constitution states that “The Imperial Throne shall be dynastic,” and Article 4 of the Imperial House Law, which prescribes matters such as the method of succession, states that “Upon the demise of the Emperor, the Imperial Heir shall immediately accede to the Throne.” I have construed this to mean that the government cannot allow abdication. So if abdication is realized, this is a huge change in policy. ... [Read more]

No.35

The Tenno Emperor—A Constant and Time-Honored Symbol

Yamazaki Masakazu, playwright, criticIt seems absurd, but where do you think the largest monarchy in the world is found today? It is in China. Of course, there is no individual monarch or royal family in China today, but the Chinese Communist Party organization has become a monarchy. The Communist Party in China is one in a repeated line of rising and falling dynasties that can be traced back to ancient times. The party is an extremely ancient form of dynasty with power and authority rolled into one. The monarchies in Europe and Japan do not have any powers, only authority grounded in the respect and affection of the people. The Chinese Communist Party, on the other hand, rules and governs the people by means of both military and financial power. Today, the party also rules in its capacity as an authority, but is this not quite a difficult balancing act for a regime ... [Read more]

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No.

Opinion Poll: Is Japan Tilting to Right?

Intellectuals Concerned About “Tilt to the Right” The survey, to which 282 people including intellectuals and experts responded, asked people in Japan for their opinions on whether Japan is “tilting to the right” as some foreign media have suggested. The ratio of respondents who “feel Japan is ’tilting to the right”‘ as foreign media claim was 23.4%. However, when combining an answer that they do not think so as of now but it is possible later, which was given by 13.1%, nearly 40% of the respondents are concerned about Japan’s drift to the right. Also, 28.4% said Japan is “not tilting to the right but reactions of overseas media over Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s comments and actions are understandable,” suggesting that they think it is inevitable that foreign media look the current situation like... [Read more]

No.9

INFORMATION SECURITY MEASURES UNDER PRESSURE OF REVISION

Photo : Takakura HirokiWhat on earth is happening? Is Japan taking information security measures seriously?” This year, one after another of the networks of public organizations and corporations, including major heavy industries, have been at the receiving end of cyber attacks, resulting in disclosure of important information in some instances. The damage is gradually becoming clear as the investigations move forward, but in most cases, we cannot expect to understand the full particulars. In many of the attacks, the attackers penetrated protected computers that were only accessible to a limited number of people at the companies to steal information. A great variety of information was targeted including... [Read more]

No.8

GREENERY CHANGES CITIES… AND CHANGES HOW WE LIVE

Moderator: This summer, with calls to save energy and reduce electricity consumption, we are seeing the emergence of a movement to use greenery as a way to beat the heat, with “green curtains” becoming the focus of a great deal of attention, for example. Today we are going to hear from two experts about the future of the relationship between cities and greenery. We’ll start by asking your opinions on the current state of the kind of greenery that everyone is familiar with, such as roadside trees. FUJII Eijiro: Unfortunately for the last twenty years or so in Japan, there are more and more trees that have been terribly over-pruned. Even in parks there are a lot of trees that have been pruned unnecessarily. For trees such as Platanus Orientalis (plane trees), for example, if they are in parks then there is no need ... ... [Read more]

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