No.54 - Discuss Japan

Archives : No.54

No.54, Discussions, Society  Nov. 13, 2019

Creating a “Future” Society: Iwate Prefecture’s Yahaba Town: creating a revitalization strategy with residents from forty years in the future

Residential participation: benefits and problems ——Please tell us how future design came to be introduced to Yahaba Town in Iwate Prefecture. Yoshioka Ritsuji: In recent years, how to maintain worn out water supply infrastructure has become a significant issue for the whole of Japan. Yahaba Town is no different, so we started a residents participation workshop to first learn about residents’ needs and also to communicate that the town office is aware of the issue. As a result of this, we learned that most residents take safe water for granted and want water charges to be as low as possible. But going into the future, we do not know if today’s water rates can keep providing safe water. So that they’d understand the actual situation we thought we’d expand the scope of the workshop. By the end of that, some residents said they thought ... ... [Read more]

No.54, Discussions, Diplomacy
Nov. 12, 2019

The United Nations and the Constitution of Japan: How Will Japan Support International Peace Cooperation?

Akashi Yasushi, former Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations vs. Hosoya Yuichi, Professor, Keio University Akashi entered the field of power politics after studying at an American university Hosoya Yuichi: I would like to ask Akashi-san [Mr. Akashi], who served as Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General to the former Yugoslavia and SRSG of the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC), about the UN and the Constitution of Japan. I think that you’ve made only a few definite remarks about the Constitution in the past, and I suppose that you’ve avoided making such remarks because of your previous positions in public service. Akashi Yasushi: You may be right. I think that when it comes to the preamble of the Constitution and Article 9, up to now, many Japanese have treated them as if they were something that must not be touched or have spoken ... ... [Read more]

No.54, Society
Nov. 5, 2019

IT Changes in the Employment Environment for Seniors

Cloud system supports the employment environment for seniors Japan is likely to see the arrival of the 100-year life era. If a person retires at the age of 65, the pension revenue for the remaining thirty-five years would be insufficient. Securing living expenses until the end of life and the employment of seniors are huge issues. In addition, if the experience, knowledge and skills of active and healthy seniors can be put to good use, they can be used as a new driving force in society. Based on this idea, projects for developing and manufacturing self-driving vehicles and robots have been implemented since 2011 with support from the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST). One of those projects is Senior Cloud, our focus. Senior Cloud is a joint project between the University of Tokyo and IBM Japan Ltd, based on information technology for the ... ... [Read more]

No.54, Economy
Nov. 5, 2019

A warning to the Republic of Korea (ROK), which betrayed Japan’s trust: What is the main factor causing the Japan-ROK export control issue to get complicated?

Political calculation and media resonance Japan-ROK relations have become more complicated than necessary over the export control issue. First of all, let me get into the background of this issue. It started from a press release from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) on July 1, titled “Update of METI’s licensing policies and procedures on exports of controlled items to the Republic of Korea (ROK).” The title actually just said, “[the Ministry] will apply updated licensing policies and procedures.” But media reports immediately after the press release gave sensational and stirring headlines saying “Embargo,” “Implementation of export restrictions” and “Countermeasure.” Media reports have just recently changed their language to “Strict implementation of export controls” and “Removal of the ROK from ‘White List.’” But how much time did it take? Some media reports have continued to persistently use the word export restriction, though. What do ... ... [Read more]

No.54, Culture
Oct. 25, 2019

What is a Japan House?―Strategies and techniques for cultural communication

Japan House was established in Sao Paulo, London and Los Angeles as a cultural hub to promote Japanese attractiveness towards the world. We [Gaiko editorial team] have asked Hara Kenya, the Chief Creative Director of Japan House, its significance and strategy. — On August 24, 2018, Japan Houses in Los Angeles celebrated its grand opening. Following Japan House in Sao Paolo (April 2017) and London (June 2018). Hara Kenya: Although we had partial openings in December 2017, now all are fully opened and we had an exciting opening ceremony too. But rather than focusing on initial success, we should see how many people visit over the course of a year, and how interested in Japan those visitors become. It is vital for us to continue with sustainable and compelling communication, making use of the special characteristics of all three sites, not just Los Angeles. Concept is “introducing ... ... [Read more]

No.54, Culture
Sept. 30, 2019

A basic guide to the greatest Matsukata Collection in the world—The unusual life of the businessman who produced the National Museum of Western Art

Ueno Park is now a major cultural base. I think you already know that its center is the modern National Museum of Western Art (NMWA) designed by Le Corbusier. Many people have enjoyed seeing Water Lilies by Claude Monet at the NMWA. Great paintings by Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Paul Gauguin are on display throughout the museum, and a collection of Rodin’s sculptures, such as The Thinker and The Gates of Hell, are precious works from a global perspective. However, I assume that few people today are aware that these artworks used to be a collection owned by a Japanese businessman, and that the NMWA was originally built to house that man’s collection in response to a request from the French government. The name of this businessman is Matsukata Kojiro. He was born as the third son of Matsukata Masayoshi, Prime Minister in the Meiji ... ... [Read more]