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No.30
Society, No.30  Mar. 31, 2016

Internationalization at Universities – True or FalseThe Emptiness of “Global HR Development”

YOSHIDA Aya, Professor at the Faculty of Education and Integrated Arts and Sciences, Waseda University

The Advancing “All Japan” Initiative “Global human resources”—It’s now become a household phrase, but it wasn’t until the latter half of the 2000s that this term started to circulate frequently in society. Amidst the advancing flow of Japanese companies relocating their operations abroad, it was originally a phrase that pointed to employees who could work in locations overseas. But gradually, the “development” of these human resources came to be an issue, and attention focused on the “universities” as the place for that to happen. Then, in the blink of an eye, many Japanese universities started to raise the development of these global human resources as their mission. The role played by the Japanese government in this process cannot be overlooked. What started it all off was the Industry-Academia Partnership for Human Resource Development, initiated by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) in ... ... [Read more]

No.31
Society, No.31  Mar. 24, 2016

New Plan for Reforming the Japanese ArchipelagoPlan for Remodeling a Shuttered Shopping Street

YAMAMOTO Kazumune, chief producer of News Division at Yomiuri Telecasting Corporation

Shuttered shopping streets have become known as a symbol of a declining regional economy. During the period of high growth, these shopping districts were regarded as the centers of the respective cities or towns, where a plethora of lively activities took place. Now, they are seeing customer and visitor numbers gradually fall due to the trends of the times such as the opening of large-scale commercial malls, changes in lifestyles and business customs, and the aging population along with the low birthrate, as well as the burst of the bubble economy. It is not just a local phenomenon that is occurring in some shopping streets, but an ongoing issue that may result in the real decline of municipalities. According to a survey on the actual situations of shopping streets conducted nationwide by the Small and Medium Enterprise Agency in 2012, shopping districts that responded ... ... [Read more]

No.31
Society, No.31  Mar. 23, 2016

Symbolic Phenomenon of a Declining Regional Economy of JapanThe Issue of “Shuttered Shopping Streets”

YOSHIZAKI Tatsuhiko, Chief Economist, Sojitz Research Institute, Ltd.

The issue of “shuttered shopping streets” is a symbolic phenomenon of a declining regional economy, one of the greatest challenges for Japan, which is suffering from a shrinking population. It refers to a situation in which a shopping district that had previously been prospering changes into a depopulated area where the shutters are kept pulled down even during the daytime, as the number of closing shops increases due to customer situations or aging shop owners. These towns will become desolate if nothing is done. However, people have started to take on efforts to revitalize them in many parts of Japan. In this volume, No. 30, the significant achievements of such efforts are featured in “New Plan for Reforming the Japanese Archipelago/Plan for Remodeling a Shuttered Shopping Street” by Yamamoto Kazumune, chief producer at Yomiuri Telecasting Corporation. Translated from an original article in Japanese written ... ... [Read more]

No.31
Discussions, Society, No.31  Mar. 22, 2016

Is Relocation to Regional Cities the Equivalent of Abandoning Old People in the Mountains to Die?Governor Masuzoe, is it possible to come to grips with the increase in the elderly population?

Masuda: In June, the Japan Policy Council published a strategy for avoiding a crisis in the elderly population in the Tokyo area. In the future, the elderly population in the Tokyo metropolitan area (Tokyo, and Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa Prefectures) is expected to increase rapidly. I must apologize for repeating things that the governor is already well aware of, but the population aged 75 and older is expected to increase by 1.75 million in the next ten years up to 2025. This would hammer the medical and nursing care field. The shortage of facilities for medical and nursing care would assume more serious proportions, but this problem is actually not limited to the Tokyo metropolitan area because any strengthening of the medical ]]> ... [Read more]

No.30
Society, No.30  Mar. 18, 2016

Japan as a Society Dependent on Convenience StoresIs Survival without Convenience Stores Impossible in the Era of Super-Aging?

TAKEMOTO Ryota, Vice Senior Researcher, Investment Research Department II, Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Research Institute Co., Ltd.

Buying goods from foodstuffs to daily necessities at a convenience store close to our home seems a matter of course when we get used to living in an urban area. In reality, however, “people with a shopping handicap” who experience inconveniences in day-to-day shopping are growing in population segments centered on elderly persons. According to the Report by the Study Group on the Role of Distribution Systems in Community Infrastructure put together in 2010 by a research team at the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry, there were about 6 million people with a shopping handicap aged 60 or older across Japan. These persons lived primarily in two areas – rural districts where depopulation has advanced and the outskirts of urban communities where former “new towns” and the like are located. According to Chokorei shakai-niokeru shokuryohin akusesu mondai (The Access Problem in the Super-Aging ... ... [Read more]

No.30
Society, No.30  Mar. 17, 2016

Internationalization at Universities – True or FalseIf All Lessons at Japanese Universities Were Conducted in English…– Globalization Viewed Skeptically

SHIMIZU Maki, Professor at Meiji University

The Illusion of Global Human Resources There is currently an atmosphere in and around Japanese universities of innocently agreeing to what is termed the “globalization” of universities. Since even someone as obtuse as myself can manage to sense it, I think that this atmosphere must be totally pervasive. Certainly, if you pay a little attention and take a look around you can see that, in the spaces where discourse on the role of universities takes place, the problem of globalization is being raised repeatedly. Unfortunately, however, you rarely come across an opinion that’s worth listening to. On one hand, when views on globalization are communicated from within a university, in most cases it is either by the people that represent that university, or by those responsible for its globalization. Naturally, there is no way that messages issued by people in these kinds of positions ... ... [Read more]

No.29
Society, No.29  Jan. 16, 2016

Thinking about Terminal Care for the ElderlyChapter 3: Thinking from the perspective of onsite home medical operations

Yamazaki Fumio, Care Town Kodaira Clinic Director

The era of multiple deaths is coming in Japan. There were around 1.2 million deaths in 2014, but 2025 is projected to see annual deaths of 1.6 million. Cancer, which comes at the top of the rankings of causes of death, is said to be a national disease, and 50% of Japanese nationals suffer from it. Currently, one in three people die of cancer, but the percentage is anticipated to reach 50% going forward. 1. What I learned through working as a hospice doctor in the palliative care ward After working as a surgeon for 16 years, I learned many important things by working as a hospice doctor. First of all, it is crucial to palliate painful symptoms to help patients live human lives. It is basically important to set patients free from pain, even if their diseases are incurable. Currently, it is said ... ... [Read more]

No.29
Society, No.29  Jan. 16, 2016

Thinking about End-of-life Care for the ElderlyChapter 2: From the perspective of medical ethics

1. Landscape of end-of-life care for the elderly One of major issues concerning end-of-life care for severely frail elderly is what to do when they can no longer eat even with assistance. The major trend in Japan in the 1990s was the use of feeding tubes when severely frail elderly could no longer eat. For example, there was a hospital that created a policy of “choosing natural death when severely frail, bed-bound elderly with advanced dementia can no longer eat.” The hospital came in for some harsh criticism, saying that the hospital was practicing a policy of“passive euthanasia” by withholding tube-feeding that could enable elderly people to continue to live. Today, nearly twenty years later, there have been an increasing number of media reports in recent years claiming quite the opposite of what newspapers argued in the 1990s. These reports present skeptical views about ... ... [Read more]

No.29
Society, No.29  Jan. 15, 2016

Thinking about Terminal Care for the ElderlyChapter 1: Medicine in the age of longevity

OHSHIMA Shinichi, President Emeritus, National Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology

1. The change in the population structure and medicine for the elderly With the world’s highest average life expectancy, Japan is facing population aging. In this situation, the entire society is bewildered by this rapid change. Population aging inevitably leads to changes in medical care. The issue of death just ahead of that is considered to be a sacred cow, and if people attempt to discuss the issue, they face a barrage of different views and are unable to make progress with their arguments. If this issue is left unsolved, however, things will get even worse. Japan is the world’s largest population-aging country. The major indexes for aging society are the percentage of population aging, the average life expectancy and the rapidity of population aging, and Japan is number one in the world in all these indexes. Japan has reached over 25% in terms ... ... [Read more]

No.29
Society, No.29  Jan. 15, 2016

Thinking about Terminal Care for the Elderly – What it means to attend the deathbeds of the elderly in the age of longevity

MASUDA Hiroya, Chairman of Japan Policy Council, Visiting Professor at the University of Tokyo Graduate School

Introduction Now that Japan has become a major country of longevity in the world, social security system reform has long been one of the most important national administrative issues. The Council for the Promotion of Social Security System Reform is currently holding a broad range of discussions from a cross-disciplinary perspective with a focus on 2025, when the baby boomers will reach the age of more than 75 years. However, it is the issue of terminal care that is still left behind when medical and nursing care issues are being considered. Japan’s average life expectancy is the highest in the world, and the percentage of population aging (the ratio of the population aged 65 or over to the entire national population) is over 25%. The number of deaths is also increasing along with this trend, with about 1.2 million people dying in 2014. The ... ... [Read more]