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No.37

Post-TPP Trade Vision
―Ordeal of multilateral trade without the U.S.

“The TPP will take jobs away.” The issues of trade policy held lead to the presidency of Donald J. Trump. Will the U.S. become protectionist? If so, how should we handle disputes? We will look at the future of world trade after the collapse of the TPP.   The inauguration of the new Trump administration in the U.S. is increasing fears that the international economic order will become destabilized. By the time this paper has been published, President Trump will have ended his inauguration speech and I hope that the specific policies of the internal order will be made clear. However, his arguments at his first press conference as the president-elect held in January did not vary significantly from his arguments during the election campaign and did not reveal his specific policies for the U.S. on international trade. As a result, a sense of ... ... [Read more]

No.37

Japan and the United States Confront the Past

We must never repeat the horrors of war again,” said Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo at Pearl Harbor, echoing U.S. President Barack Obama several months earlier at his historic visit to Hiroshima. These visits were celebrated on both sides, and mark a noticeable change in Japan-US relations. Indeed, for decades after World War II, the United States and Japan forged a remarkable reconciliation but avoided discussing the war. But in these recent bilateral visits, the two governments have begun to address the past. The visits provide a model of historical reconciliation for former enemies that are committed to cooperation. The needs of the present above the needs of the past Remembering war is a fraught enterprise because former enemies often have a vast gap in their perceptions. Countries do not see themselves as an aggressor in the war, but rather view their own actions ... ... [Read more]

No.37

North Korea’s Ballistic Missile Launch Test:
Kim Jong-un Deploys Nuclear Missile ―
Development is proceeding in an extremely rationalized way, and the target is the US mainland

  Nine” is an auspicious number favored by North Korean leaders. It is also the highest number in Oicho-Kabu, a game played with hanafuda floral playing cards that is also popular on the Korean peninsula. Kim Jong-Il’s birthday fell on February 16, and the constituent numbers, 2 + 1 + 6, also add up to nine. February 7, when a long-range ballistic missile was launched, April 23rd when a submarine-based ballistic missile was launched and May 31 when the Musudan intermediate-range ballistic missile was launched were all dates that add up to nine. Then, at 9:00 a.m. on September 9 (9:30 a.m. Japan time), North Korea conducted its fifth nuclear test at the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site in Kilju County, North Hamgyong Province. Generating a magnitude 5.0 seismic shock, the size of the explosion was the equivalent of 12-13 kilotons of TNT. This was ... ... [Read more]

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No.38

PKO Cooperation Act with Serious Flaws Finally Improved after a Quarter Century
Issues Left for Kaketsuke-Keigo in UN Peacekeeping Operations

A task known in Japan as kaketsuke-keigo (coming to the aid of a geographically distant unit or personnel under attack) will be added to assignments for the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) unit to be sent to South Sudan in November 2016, at the earliest. Armed forces dispatched by emerging nations will perform the role of guarding the United Nations (UN) peacekeeping operations in the country. The SDF unit will be mobilized in a limited way. However, changing the procedural standard is necessary for the SDF unit to properly perform the newly assigned task of kaketsuke-keigo.   Located in the center of the African continent, South Sudan, which gained independence in 2011, is the youngest nation in the world. Japan is involved in the UN peacekeeping operations (PKOs) aimed at helping the country build and stabilize itself. In July 2016, a large-scale armed conflict broke out ... ... [Read more]

No.38

Passing Down The Significance of President Obama’s Visit to The Future

I thought that it would be the last chance. In May 2016, then U.S. President Barack Obama visited Hiroshima. Because I was convinced that a visit to Hiroshima from the president of the United States would be a historic event and the chance for such a visit would be strong while President Obama was in office, we continued to work for several years to realize the presidential visit. When it was decided that the Summit would be held in Japan in the year that President Obama leaves office, I thought that it would be the last chance for him to visit Hiroshima. Looking back, the first step was taken when former U.S. Ambassador to Japan John Roos, who took office in 2009, participated in the Peace Memorial Ceremony on August 6, 2010. We had also been advised that it would be better if a ... ... [Read more]

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]

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No.39

Views on the Chinese economy:
Dynamism Holds the Key in the Private Sector
―China is Using Incomplete Intellectual Property Protection and Insufficient Laws to its own Advantage

< Key Points > The electronics industry in Shenzhen is a perfect example of active technological innovations There are cases in which pioneering companies changed the system by disregarding regulations Vitality may be lost if the Chinese government strengthens interventions The Chinese economy can be said to have maintained generally favorable conditions since the second half of 2016, under the positive effects of the expansive macroeconomic policies underpinned by the flexible foreign exchange policies. To cite an example, the Produce Price Index (PPI) moved back into the positive range after staying in the negative range for a long time. Under such good conditions, problems on the supply side, which China should address in the mid- and long-terms, tend to attract interest. In this article, I would like to consider the sustainability of the technological innovations on which the future growth of the Chinese economy ... ... [Read more]

No.39

A New Perspective on Measures for the Declining Birthrate:
Expected fertility rate of 1.8 can be realized
Put all necessary measures into action in eight years

< Key Points > Shortening working hours and reducing university tuition fees are effective. Initiatives to eliminate waiting lists for nursery school enrollment and provide free preschool education should also be pursued. Improvements in labor productivity and childhood poverty rates could also be at-tained. If increasing the fertility rate and birthrate are set as policy goals, a society might be created in which people that do not have children feel pressured. The policy goal of taking measures to address the declining birthrate should be to create an environment in which people who want to give birth to children can do so. The government has set the goal of realizing the expected fertility rate of 1.8 by 2025. This numerical target is based on an estimate of the number of children desired by the child-rearing generations gauged from nationwide surveys in 2010. Because the fertility ... ... [Read more]

No.39

Trade: New Partners

Prime Minister Abe continues to stress his commitment to a range of key Free Trade Agreements despite the recent setback of US withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership.   As globalization has accelerated, the importance of the liberalization of trade, not only in goods but also services, has become widely recognized in international society. Discussions about the benefits and risks of globalization are held around the world. Everyone understands that trade negotiations may be difficult, but the expectation in international society is that free trade will inevitably spread as the various difficulties are overcome to form a better trade scheme for the coming era. Nevertheless, on January 23, the United States decided to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations and agreement. The decision startled not only the countries party to the TPP but also promoters of free trade around the world. Soon after the ... ... [Read more]

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No.39

Haiku: “Sharing Makes Peace”

On 26 January 2017, the representatives of four haiku organizations and local governments held a press conference at the Japan National Press Club in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, and announced that they would launch a Promotion Council on April 24 targeting the designation of haiku on UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Among the presenters were Arima Akito (president of the Haiku International Association), Takaha Shugyo (president of the Association of Haiku Poets), Inahata Teiko (president of the Association of Japanese Classical Haiku), Miyasaka Shizuo (president of the Gendai Haiku Association) and Mayor Okamoto Sakae of Iga, Mie Prefecture, the birthplace of Matsuo Basho. The group has been working on the project since July 2016.   “Haiku is the world’s shortest fixed form of poetry composed of syllables arranged in a five-seven-five pattern. Haiku is a form of literature that expresses human beings ... ... [Read more]

No.39

David Bowie & Arts:
Bowie and Japan

Bowie first became interested in the culture of the East after he encountered Tibetan Buddhism in the mid-1960s. Even though this was during the peak of the hippie movement, Bowie’s interest in Tibet was not transitory and he continued charity work for Tibet for the rest of his life. Before long, Bowie’s interest in Tibet broadened to Asia in general, and in Japan he was attracted first to stage arts such as kabuki and noh. This was probably not unconnected to Bowie’s involvement with Lindsey Kemp’s mime troupe at the time. Bowie’s interests broadened to clothing, accessories and Japanese culture through chance encounters with Sukita Masayoshi and Yamamoto Kansai. Just three days after arriving on his first trip to Japan in April 1973, Bowie went to the Kabuki-za theater and talked with the actor Bando Tamasaburo. During his US tour that February, he had ... ... [Read more]

No.39

David Bowie and his love of Japan:
A Man Who Saw the Future

  I believe that the first time I met David Bowie was in April 1973, when he came to Japan for his first tour here. Bowie was 26, and I had just turned 23. The memory is a little indistinct, but I think he told me that he wanted to see me putting on make-up. He came to my dressing room, sat behind me, and watched me intently as I did my face. The red shading off around my eyes must have seemed unusual to someone from abroad. Actually, around that time other artists from England, including Emerson, Lake & Palmer, also came to see me on stage. And at the time I did wonder why. They came from Britain, a country which places importance on forms and appearances. But, thinking back, as well as recognizing kabuki as a classical form, they must have ... ... [Read more]

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No.39

Visiting the Offices of Large Companies Where the Retirement Age Has Been Extended
― Will the New Way of Working Bring Happiness to Companies and Employees?

It is about a 10-minute drive north from the center of Shizuoka City to the Chiyoda branch of the Gusto chain of family restaurants. The branch faces a main road, but its location is not particularly good. This restaurant has achieved top results among some 3,000 Gusto, Jonathan’s, Aiya and other chain restaurants operated by Skylark Co., Ltd. nationwide, and it has received awards from the company again and again. Mochizuki Isuzu, 63, began working at this family restaurant as a part-timer 36 years ago. Mochizuki has been the manager of this Gusto branch since 2009, when she became a permanent employee of Skylark. “I tell our young staff members to phone me day or night if anything happens, because our store is open around the clock,” says Mochizuki. “They actually call me quite often. I don’t get angry, even if the reason for ... ... [Read more]

No.39

The Men Supporting the Paralympians
―The struggle of the engineers behind the evolution of prosthetics

In June of this year, the 26th Japan Para Athletics Championships took place at Denka Big Swan Stadium in Niigata. Due in part to this being the last major event in qualifying for the Rio Paralympics, the press area was full of media teams wearing photographers bibs. The jumbled rows of camera lenses were pointing at the likes of Yamamoto Atsushi (34), who set a world record of 6.56 m in the men’s long jump in the T-42 class (single above-knee amputation or equivalent), Nakanishi Maya (31), who holds the Japanese and Asian records in the women’s long jump in the T-44 class (single below-knee amputation or equivalent), and Takakuwa Saki (24), who finished seventh in both the women’s T-44 100 and 200 meters at the 2012 London Paralympics. The championships featured a steady stream of athletes with prosthetic limbs who have become well-known ... ... [Read more]

No.37

Time to Think About the Emperor System
How to Apply the Traditions of the Imperial Household to Modern Japan ― Analyzing the Implications of the “Emperor as Symbol” Statement

On August 8 last year, the Imperial Household Agency published a video and text on its website titled (in Japanese) “A message from His Majesty the Emperor on the Serving as a Symbol.” In his message, the Emperor implicitly expressed a desire to abdicate and, judging by polls conducted by various media afterwards, he already has the strong support of the majority of the Japanese people to do so. In response to this statement, the Cabinet Office set up a panel of experts to discuss how to reduce the burden of duties on the Emperor and other issues. Its members were decided on September 23 and it commenced work. The origin of calls to pass a one-off special law This current panel of experts has been tasked with freely discussing how the system might deal with a future abdication. At the time of writing, ... ... [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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