No.56 - Discuss Japan

Archives : No.56

Feb-Mar 2020

No.56, Discussions, Science  Mar. 16, 2020

What We Understood through the “Holistic Reenactment Project of the Voyage 30,000 Years Ago” (2016–2019) —A New Frontier of Anthropology and Science from Japan—

The diverse staff that made possible the “reenactment” Kawabata Hiroto The logboat (dug-out canoe) carrying five persons that set out from eastern Taiwan on July 7, 2019 reached Yonaguni Island in Okinawa after 45 hours. I’m so happy everyone in the crew made it there safely. Kaifu Yousuke Thank you. Kawabata I have previously written Wareware wa naze wareware-dake nanoka―Ajia kara kieta tayona ‘Jinrui’ tachi (Lost in Evolution: Exploring Humanity’s Path in Asia) under Dr. Kaifu’s supervision, and am well aware of the general outline of the Holistic Reenactment Project of the Voyage 30,000 Years Ago since I’ve supported the crowdfunding, but could you please explain it briefly to our readers? Kaifu Certainly. First of all, we believe that Homo sapiens, who emerged in Africa, came to the Japanese islands via three routes. That’s the route from Sakhalin to Hokkaido, the route from the Korean peninsula via Tsushima ... ... [Read more]

No.56, Society
Mar. 16, 2020

Typhoon Hagibis strikes the Japanese Archipelago: What happened behind the scenes as Japan’s capital narrowly escaped becoming submerged

  Although Typhoon Hagibis (Typhoon 19) caused enormous damage to many parts of Japan in 2019, Tokyo saw no dikes collapse and escaped serious flood damage. We investigated the truth of what occurred behind the scenes during the Japanese capital’s escape from submersion, based on the reports of local government officials and flood control facilities.   In October 2019, Typhoon Hagibis brought record rainfall, mainly to Shizuoka Prefecture, the Kanto and Koshinetsu regions and the Tohoku region. Special heavy rain warnings were issued for a total of 13 prefectures, including Tokyo, with dikes breaking at 140 locations along 71 rivers (as of 6:00 AM on November 8), and many parts of the country were seriously damaged, including flooding. Even in this situation, although the levels of many rivers in Tokyo rose higher than usual, the dikes escaped damage. We investigated the truth of what ... ... [Read more]

No.56, Society
Mar. 16, 2020

Tokyo sunk: The day when Weathering with You becomes a reality

The Arakawa River overflows its banks, leaving 2.5 million people submerged in water: The residents of the five Koto, or east-of-the-river, cities have no other choice but to evacuate.   Typhoon Hagibis made landfall on Japan’s mainland on October 12, 2019, causing enormous damage for two days. The typhoon left 88 people dead and seven missing nationwide (as of October 26), and a total of 281 rivers overflowed their dikes. More than other events, the overflow of the Tama River shocked many people, who then realized that even the center of Tokyo cannot ignore the danger of floods. The water level of the Tama River began to rise after 6:00 AM on October 12 and overflowed at 10:00 PM. The water level reached waist-deep in a residential area of the Denen-chofu district of Tokyo’s Ota City. From its southwest side, water infiltrated Futako-Tamagawa Station ... ... [Read more]

No.56, Politics
Mar. 10, 2020

Democracy Is Not Forever: The Eventual Destruction of Democracy by the Fears of the Masses

Japan Is a Global “Sub-leader” In December 2019, Japan Akademeia, of which I am the co-president, hosted the First Tokyo Conference. Japan Akademeia is an organization founded in 2012 for the purpose of being a hub through which politicians, business leaders and bureaucrats can network and the different spheres become interconnected. 2019 was a critical juncture commemorating the thirtieth anniversary of the end of the Cold War. In connection with this, we held a discussion on the theme “Changes in the Global Power Structure and the Future of Global Governance,” with the participation of Dr. Jacques Attali, a French economic scholar and thinker, and Dr. Graham Allison, an American political scientist and professor at Harvard University. It was extremely edifying to meet these intellectual giants of Europe and North America. Dr. Allison’s analysis was that newly emerging states would attempt to become the new ... ... [Read more]

No.56, Science
Mar. 9, 2020

Leading the World with a Next Generation Model: Why Innovation is Essential to Science and Technology Policies

Reconsidering the question: “What is Scientific Research?” More than thirty years ago, as a scholar interested in science and technology policy, I read a large number of articles and publications.  At that time, I believe, a particular assumption underlay this discourse on science; namely, that science stood aloof as if it were a completely independent kingdom within academia. It seems that this naive perception existed naturally both among scientists engrossed in actual science in the laboratory and among the general public, who we can expect to enjoy the fruits of science. Among those who debate science and technology policies, this assumption fell apart a long time ago. Yet, for ordinary people, “science” is still a far off thing. It continues to be an object of worship, criticized with warnings against excessive expectations, and something special and separate. Whether it is celebratory news such as ... ... [Read more]

No.56, Diplomacy
Feb. 22, 2020

Research on Water by His Majesty the Emperor and International Society

  His vision and action have advanced from researching “water transportation systems during the Middle Ages” to globally addressing “water for happiness, peace, and prosperity.” What are the thoughts of His Majesty the Emperor of Japan, who has served as honorary president of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation, on water?     It was the first summer vacation period of the Reiwa era and the Emperor had navigated a busy schedule before attending to his research. Three months after his enthronement, he had restarted his study of water. I was invited to the Imperial Palace in order to present an academic lecture to the Emperor. And as usual, I was greeted with a gentle smile. The topics of discussion that day were varied: water supply, hygiene, climate change, water and food, energy, even culture and belief. It took well ... ... [Read more]

No.56, Economy
Feb. 19, 2020

Japan-US Trade Agreement is a “First-Stage” Deal

  While this agreement can be assessed as “a deal where both sides gained benefits,” Japan has already used up the beef and pork card, which means that the “second stage” of the negotiations would likely be more severe.   The Japan-US trade negotiations that started in April 2019 reached an agreement at the Japan-US summit on September 25 and the Japanese and US governments signed the Japan-US Trade Agreement and the Japan-US Digital Trade Agreement on October 7. Because the agreements needed no approval from the Congress of the United States, they went into force on January 1, 2020, after they were approved at the 200th Extraordinary Session of the Diet underway in Japan. Because no new legislative or budgetary measures were needed for the implementation of the agreements in Japan, there are no related bills. The Japan-US Digital Trade Agreement is “TPP-plus” ... ... [Read more]