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Archives : No.6

June–July 2011

No.6
No.6 ,Discussions  Jul 31, 2011

CHANGING THE STRUCTURE OF OUR NATION WITH EYES TOWARD HUMAN SECURITY

Photo : Funabashi Yoichi

The earthquake’s position in history Humans often see natural disasters of their time as a “divide” or “crossroads” in history. And history at times changes because we take such a view. Examples are the Ansei Edo earthquake and the arrival of the American fleet (1853, ’54) and the Great Kanto Earthquake and termination of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance (decided in 1921, terminated in 1923). The recent Great East Japan Earthquake will likely become another crossroads in history. It should cause a major change in the Japanese people’s sense of history. I think Japan is currently in a state where the fear of falling into a bottomless pit mixes with an almost desperate hope for recovery. Each citizen has fed off this... [Read more]

No.6 ,Others
Jul 30, 2011

AN APPEAL FOR DUPLEX POWER TRANSMISSION AND DISTRIBUTION NETWORKS FOR STEADY SUPPLY OF ELECTRIC POWER

The recovery operations of the crippled The Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant of the Tokyo Electric Power Company, Inc. (TEPCO) are proceeding with difficulty. Meanwhile, debates over TEPCO’s future emerged together with those on reconsideration of nuclear power plants. Without question, it is necessary to seriously examine if nuclear energy is really suitable as the energy that fuels our lifestyles and our economy. However, the deliberations on power supply must distinguish between power sources, what is used to generate power, and the systems for delivering power to users. Following this unprecedented accident, the author will push further ahead with the emerging argument on separation between power generation and power transmission to propose constructing duplex power transmission and distribution networks that are radically different from conventional power systems in Japan.... [Read more]

No.6 ,Science
Jul 29, 2011

THE FUKUSHIMA GENPATSU SHINSAI (EARTHQUAKE-NUCLEAR COMBINED DISASTER)

A failure resulting from reckless disregard Our positions on the issue of earthquakes and nuclear power plants in the Japanese archipelago differ significantly, depending on how we see the present “Fukushima genpatsu shinsai.” Here, the “Fukushima genpatsu shinsai” refers to a catastrophe unprecedented in human history, a combination of almost the Japan’s worst earthquake and tsunami disaster caused by the great off-Tohoku earthquake of March 11, 2011 with a magnitude (M) of 9.0 on the Richter scale, and a large-scale radioactive leak accident at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant operated by the Tokyo Electric Power Co., Inc. (TEPCO). It is not the worst picture that the author had in mind when he proposed the term and concept of gempatsu shinsai (referring to an earthquake-nuclear combined disaster) [1. For English reference of gempatsu shinsai, see... [Read more]

No.6 ,Economy
Jul 28, 2011

PROPOSAL OF THREE PRINCIPLES FOR RECOVERY

The topic of revitalizing the areas affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake has been much debated, particularly in the government’s Reconstruction Design Council. Unlike the Great Hanshin Earthquake, there appears to be a consensus that this time we should not simply “restore” the original townscape, but instead aim for “reconstruction” a new type of urban development with a long-term vision. However, when it comes to specific ideas about what this should look like, there are all kinds of conflicting opinions and there is not necessarily a clear sense of direction. Should the reconstruction be led by local municipal governments that have a good knowledge of their local areas? Or should we be thinking about reconstruction strategies for a wide area, without being bound by the framework of municipal governments? How should we deal with the problem of striking a balance between the rights ... ... [Read more]

No.6 ,Science
Jul 27, 2011

PLANETARY EXPLORATION IN DEEP SPACE IS A FIELD IN WHICH JAPAN CAN MAKE AN INTERNATIONAL CONTRIBUTION.

Developing & producing national rockets becoming more difficult Japan may have adopted science and technology as an area of national interest after WWII, but in the field of space development, its future hardly looks bright. In fact, unless we fundamentally revise our space strategy, Japan may eventually become a second-rate nation in this area. Employment in the national space science industry, which encompasses rockets and satellites, has consistently declined since peaking in 1995, and about fifty companies have withdrawn from the market in the last several years. This has made it more difficult to supply the parts necessary to develop and manufacture the H-IIA rocket. Japan is rapidly losing what we call “The ability to travel space on our own” or “The ability to operate in space”–meaning the national capacity to launch rockets and satellites with fully national parts and under national... [Read more]

No.6 ,Culture
Jul 26, 2011

THE FUTURE OF MANGA

It was nothing like any catastrophe you would see in a manga — the March 11 Great East Japan Earthquake caused calamitous damage, primarily in the Tohoku region. In the disaster-struck areas, filled with tension and anxiety, a growing number of people, primarily children, were still wanting to read manga. A store in Sendai was reportedly circulating a single volume of the latest Weekly Shonen Jump (“Jump”) among 100 people. It was under these circumstances that the magazine’s publisher, Shueisha announced that it would offer a special Internet release of all titles on its March 14 release of Jump Vol. 15 for free. The company also decided to release Vol. 16 for cell phones free of charge. Behind these decisions was the fact that some regions were unable to receive deliveries of Jump because bookstores and convenience stores had become inoperable due to... [Read more]

No.6 ,Culture
Jun 05, 2011

JAPAN EXPO AND JAPANESE POP CULTURE: CIBOT SAE

The 16th Association of Media in Digital (AMD) Awards for the Digital Contents of the Year 2010 gave the Life Achievement Award to the Paris Japan Expo’s co-founding trio plus International Relations Director for their contributions in promoting Japanese digital content in Europe. As one of the Life Achievement Awardees, International Relations Director of Goma Communication, Mlle. CIBOT, was interviewed by Prof. HAMANO, as below: Prof. HAMANO Yasuki: I think Japan Expo is part of the fourth post-war “Japan Boom” in Europe, having a focus on the youth culture. According to my perspective, the current boom follows in the footsteps of the movie boom of the fifties, as exemplified by the Kurosawa genre; the Kabuki as well as other stage activities boom... [Read more]

No.6 ,Culture
Jun 04, 2011

THE “LAWS OF NATURE” AND THE JAPANESE–IT IS TIME TO THINK, NOT WITH YOUR HEAD BUT WITH YOUR BODY. AND LIVE WITH WHAT YOU HAVE.

Rebuild new, yet rebuild “as it was before “First, I offer my sympathy to those who have suffered as a result of the Great East Japan Earthquake, and my condolences to the families of those who lost their lives. The idea that nature is a good thing, as implied in words such as “nature conservation” and “natural food” only shows one face of nature. Nature, as we saw in the latest disaster, also has another face: that of fear. It was a “once in a thousand years” massive earthquake and tsunami. Although under the current circumstances we have little data on damage resulting from causes other than the tsunami, the earthquake itself caused up to several hundred aftershocks. While some disasters come once in a thousand years, some greater disasters come once in ten thousand years. There is even a theory of an extinction ... ... [Read more]

No.6 ,Economy
Jun 03, 2011

VIEWING THE ECONOMIC IMPACT OF THE GREAT EAST JAPAN EARTHQUAKE

The massive earthquake and tsunami that struck the coast of Eastern Japan this past March 11 is significantly impacting the nation’s economy as a whole. This is the largest economic shock to hit Japan’s economy since World War II. The full picture is not yet clear, but I will present what is visible at this stage, including the courses and order through which the disaster’s effects will ripple, and the responses that will become necessary given our experiences in events such as the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake in 1995. I will not, however, refer to loss of human life, injuries or harm, to people themselves. This is not because it is not economically important but because it is a huge challenge that extends beyond the economic impact. When considering the effects of a catastrophe such as what we are facing here, it is important to ... ... [Read more]

No.6 ,Politics
Jun 02, 2011

3/11 AND 9/11–THOUGHTS OF DISCONTINUITY AND A DESIRE FOR PERMANENCE

Major incidents named after a date The day that the Great East Japan Earthquake struck has come to be called 3/11. I don’t know who first started referring to the incident in this way. Is it an association with 9/11? If so, what is the association? I can still see the cover of the September 13 issue of The Economist, published in London, which was issued immediately after the September 11 attacks. The phrase “The day the world changed” appears on a photo of The World Trade Center in New York, which is issuing columns of smoke. That definition of September 11 by the magazine, which is widely read by intellectuals around the world, has entered into common use. Influenced by the discussion of those who read The Economist, people have come to share an awareness that the world did indeed change on that ... ... [Read more]

No.6 ,Politics
Jun 01, 2011

THE GRAND COALITION AND QUALIFICATIONS OF A PRIME MINISTER

SHINOHARA Fumiya: I volunteered to distribute meals in areas affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake in mid-April. I saw devastation in areas including Ishinomaki and Onagawa and understood that a tragedy beyond imagining had occurred. FUKUDA Yasuo: The tsunami reached further inland than expected in those areas. The unexpected will happen. We must understand that. I recalled the Iwate-Miyagi Nairiku Earthquake on June 14, 2008, when you were prime minister. The earthquake was designated as a major disaster, although the scale is different from that of the Great East Japan Earthquake. What did you think then? I thought only about minimizing the number of casualties. I had... [Read more]

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