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No.41
Society ,No.41  Sep 19, 2017

Kagaku-Tsushin
Island Signs: The Sign Language of Miyakubo in Ehime Prefecture

    Yano Uiko Matsuoka Kazumi Yano Uiko, one of this article’s two authors, comes from Miyakubo Town, which is a part of Imabari City in Ehime Prefecture. The town is located on the island of Oshima, which is part of the Shimanami Kaido, a sea route connecting several Seto Inland Sea Islands. This area was notable during the Warring States period, and features the remains of a base that belonged to the Murakami Pirates. It has a thriving fishing industry, and there are many places where you can see rows of boats at their docks. Seafood is also a mainstay of the region’s economy and cuisine. According to the 2010 national census some 2292 people lived in Miyakubo, and of those 18 were deaf. About 30 years ago more than 30 deaf people lived in the town, where Yano is from. All of ... ... [Read more]

Society ,Discussions ,No.41
Sep 19, 2017

Dialogue: Is Artificial Intelligence Versus Humans Reflected in Shogi as Well as Everyday Life?
AI Raises Again the Question of How Humans Should Live

    Sakai Kuniyoshi Habu Yoshiharu AI Cuts a Path for New Shogi Moves Habu Yoshiharu: AI (artificial intelligence) has been a popular conversation topic over the last few years. I think the long-awaited appearance of AI in visible forms, such as humanoid robots and automated driving, has been a large turning point for this trend. AI has also achieved developments in the world of board games, including chess, shogi and go. Recently, the fields which implement AI have expanded. What was once a fantasy has begun to show potential for successful real world application. People are pinning their hope on such potential for AI. However, they also seem to fear the possibility that AI will surpass them, otherwise known as the singularity. Sakai Kuniyoshi: I’m a scientist who specializes in the language function of the brain. Thinking about AI leads to thoughts about ... ... [Read more]

Society ,No.41
Sep 11, 2017

Vacant Houses are Undermining Tokyo
Reconsider the Relaxation of City Planning Regulations

Distortions in a “Society with Excessive Residential Supply” Created by the Industry, Government and Private Sector

New Real Estate Loans Are Exceeding Those During the Bubble Economy, Reaching New Record Highs As an city planning researcher hoping to share with as many people as possible the future risk of sustained uncontrolled housing construction in spite of the realities of the decreasing population and rapid growth in the number of vacant houses, the author published a book titled Oiru Ie Kuzureru Machi: Jutaku Kajo Shakai-no Matsuro (Aging Houses and Deteriorating Cities: the fate of a Society with Excessive Residential Supply) as part of Kodansha Ltd.’s Gendai Shinsho series of pocket-size paperbacks in November 2016. In February 2017, the Bank of Japan (BOJ) released data in a timely manner that supported my perspective on the problem that led to the publication of this book. According to the data published by the BOJ, new real estate loans extended by financial institutions in 2016 ... ... [Read more]

Diplomacy ,No.41
Sep 11, 2017

Japan and the European migrant crisis: Not “someone else’s problem”

The difference between the tone of Japan’s internal debate and the global debate The controversy surrounding President Trump’s anti-immigrant and anti-refugee policies has died down. However, with Trump’s plans to build a wall along the border with Mexico and his ban on travel from seven Muslim countries currently on hold, this does not mean that these policies have gone away. The migrant and refugee crisis is being hotly debated at the international level. Why is Japan’s reaction to the crisis so lacking in momentum?           Whether refugees or economic migrants, both want to live somewhere with a better environment outside their own country because the social and economic conditions in their own country are difficult. People’s “freedom of movement” is a principle of democracy.  If you call this idealism, then that is the end of it, but any country which professes to be an advanced ... ... [Read more]

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