No.68 - Discuss Japan

Archives : No.68

Nov-Dec 2021

No.68, Society  Dec. 3, 2021

What Tokyo 2020 Was Really For: Host Town Exchanges and “Promoting a Peaceful Society”

Sasao Shinta, Associate Professor, Tokyo Women’s College of Physical Education & Tokyo Women’s Junior College of Physical Education   The Olympic Charter lists “promoting a peaceful society” as its goal. The Host Town Initiative works to achieve that goal by encouraging mutually beneficial exchanges between participant countries and regions and local municipalities. I would like to detail those ideas and their actual implementation, then end by discussing my hopes for the future. Why We Even Have the Olympics This article will review the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games (hereinafter, “Tokyo 2020”) with a focus on host towns, one initiative enacted during Tokyo 2020. What is the purpose of the Olympics? In 2021, with Tokyo 2020 right around the corner, many people in Japan—especially those in Tokyo—undoubtedly thought hard upon this question. I doubt many people knew this before Tokyo 2020, but the goal ... ... [Read more]

No.68, Economy
Dec. 2, 2021

The Japan Fair Trade Commission’s Challenges with Apple

  Sugimoto Kazuyuki, former Chairman of the Japan Fair Trade Commission   The Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC)’s investigations into Apple Inc. effectively came to a close on September 1, 2021 when Apple announced it would make changes to some global regulations in 2022. Apple submitted an application for changes to regulations that would let users avoid the 15–30% delivery commission for “reader apps” that offer subscriptions for content like books, music, videos, etc., which some media outlets have called an “unusual conciliation.” Currently, all applications (hereinafter “apps”) used by iPhones and other Apple products must be downloaded from the App Store. Until now, application developers had to pay a commission to sell their apps, the so-called “Apple Tax.” In other words, they paid a “protection price” to a “bookmaker.” With the new decision by Apple, developers won’t have to pay the “Apple Tax” ... ... [Read more]

No.68, Culture
Dec. 1, 2021

Shake off “COVID self-restraint”! How about a healing stroll around a museum?—With the Scrolls of Frolicking Animals and Humans now on display, here’s our guide to viewing art followed by an enjoyable garden stroll.

  Editor’s note: This article was written in March, before an increase in COVID-19 infections. However, we have obtained permission from the author and the publisher to reproduce this article unchanged now, when the COVID-19 pandemic has subsided again.   Kageyama Yumiko, antique art dealer and writer    In any age, works of art enrich the hearts of those who see them. Right now, as we are worn out by living with COVID self-restraint, a single painting can provide energy and help us forget time spent in sadness. Although some museums and galleries are currently closed due to COVID-19, others have carefully put in place infection control measures such as pre-booking and temperature checks, and are welcoming art fans. What’s more, as long as visitors wear masks and avoid crowded places, they can view art works in freedom. As a collector of paintings by ... ... [Read more]

No.68, Discussions, Diplomacy
Nov. 25, 2021

Witnessing a Turning Point for Japanese Diplomacy: The War Against Terror and Japan-US Relations as Seen from the Heart of Political Power

Fukuda Yasuo, former Prime Minister of Japan Interviewed by Tanaka Akihiko, President of the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS)   Tanaka Akihiko: On September 11, 2001, a series of terror attacks occurred in the United States. Subsequently, the world entered the age of “fight against terrors.” It was six months after the Koizumi Administration had been launched. As the then Chief Cabinet Secretary, you were at the heart of that administration, so how did you interpret these events at the time?   Fukuda Yasuo: It was around ten at night when the first report of the terror attacks reached me, amidst a meeting with media representatives. The report was that a plane had hit one of the New York World Trade Center buildings. At first, I thought it was an accident, but just as I left for home, I received news that ... ... [Read more]

No.68, Diplomacy
Nov. 24, 2021

The Southeast Asian Countries’ Strategy for China and New Expectations for Japan

Takagi Yusuke, Associate Professor, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies   The basic goal of the Southeast Asian countries’ strategy for China is to maintain strategic autonomy and aim for economic prosperity amid the US-China conflict. They cannot ignore the US-China conflict in terms of either supply chains or the security environment. Cooperation with countries outside of Southeast Asia is also essential for both budget and technology reasons if they wish to strengthen their defensive capabilities. In this article, I first give an overview of China’s presence based on a survey [The State of Southeast Asia: 2021 Survey Report] conducted by the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS) in Singapore. Next, I examine how the South China Sea situation, which is one of the reasons for concern about China, was discussed by the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) ... ... [Read more]

No.68, Society
Nov. 23, 2021

Weaknesses Exposed by COVID-19: Can Japan Recover from the “Digital Defeat”?

Miyata Hiroaki, Professor, Keio University Confusion caused by digitalization delays ―Can you name some issues caused by digitalization delays in COVID-19 measures? Firstly, the operation of COVID-19 measures involves a variety of intertwining elements, so it’s not possible to explain all of it with just digitalization delays. I’d like to talk only about what’s based on facts. I think the first thing many Japanese people felt was strange was the shortage of the face masks. Even with the same volumes in stock, it’s possible that digital management could have kept track of how much is where and distribute it to avoid a situation where those who need it don’t get it. As an example, if they had clearly communicated that “there’s at least one month’s worth for “essential workers and high-risk people with chronic illness and two weeks’ worth for others,” then people would ... ... [Read more]