No.36 - Discuss Japan

Archives : No.36

Oct-Nov 2016

Diplomacy, No.36  Mar. 23, 2017

National Borders in an Uproar (I): Three-Four-Two Formula Engineered by Chinese Government VesselsIssues 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.   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 August 1, 2016. However, it was the first time for as ... ... [Read more]

Diplomacy, No.36
Mar. 23, 2017

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]

Society, No.36
Feb. 28, 2017

2016 Kumamoto EarthquakeInterview: 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]

Culture, No.36
Feb. 22, 2017

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]

Diplomacy, No.36
Jan. 27, 2017

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]

Discussions, Science, No.36
Dec. 26, 2016

Interview: Artificial Intelligence

Professor Sakura Osamu (left) had an interview with Professor Nishigaki Toru about the artificial intelligence (AI) on September 2, 2016, at the Office of the Dean of the University of Tokyo Interfaculty Initiative in Information Studies. Professor Sakura (hereinafter “Sakura”): First, I would like you to give a brief self-introduction. I have just read your book entitled Big Data and Artificial Intelligence: Gain Insights into Their Possibilities and Traps, which you published in July 2016 through Chuokoron-Shinsha Inc. In this book, you discuss the cultural and social background behind artificial intelligence (AI), with relation to recent big data and singularity. I found it very interesting. I am remembering the excellent impression I got from reading your book for general readers entitled AI: The Concepts Behind Artificial Intelligence, which you first published in 1988 through Kodansha Ltd. Big Data and Artificial Intelligence came out this ... ... [Read more]

Economy, No.36
Nov. 11, 2016

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]

Culture, No.36
Oct. 31, 2016

How the Thousand-Year Capital Created Genius Painter  Ito Jakuchu and the City of Kyoto*

  Tree, Flowers, Birds and Animals, pair of six-panel folding screens, color on paper, H137.5×W355.6cm (pair of right, above in this page), 137.5×366.2cm (left, below in this page), now in the collection of Shizuoka Prefectural Museum of Art Note: Special Exhibition “NO KYOTO, NO JAKUCHU,” November 22 to December 4, 2016 at the Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art   The remarkable painter Ito Jakuchu was born in Shotoku 6 (1716), and was the eldest son of a Kyoto greengrocery wholesale store. The house in which he was born was located in the present-day Nishiki food market, where a line of shops now runs along the main street. “When we consider Jakuchu’s work as a painter, the fact that he was born in eighteenth-century Kyoto has a special significance,” says art historian Kano Hiroyuki, the leading expert on Ito Jakuchu. When Jakuchu lived, over 100 ... ... [Read more]