海洋ごみ汚染 国際連携で拡散を防止したい

The Yomiuri Shimbun
International cooperation needed to prevent spread of marine garbage
海洋ごみ汚染 国際連携で拡散を防止したい

We hope the circle of international cooperation will widen to reduce the volume of plastic trash that is threatening the marine environment.

In fiscal 2013, about 45,000 tons of trash that had drifted ashore was retrieved along Japan’s coastline. The Environment Ministry estimates the total volume of trash washed ashore, including rubbish that was not collected, was from 310,000 tons to 580,000 tons.

Beach clean-ups conducted before and after the summer swimming season are becoming more expensive each year. In fiscal 2013, cleaning beaches around the nation cost ¥4.3 billion.

The majority of this trash is plastic, such as PET bottles and detergent containers. Some was thrown away inland but swept to the sea by rivers, while much of the trash found along the Sea of Japan coast of Kyushu and Honshu drifted ashore from overseas from countries such as China and South Korea.

A wide spectrum of steps, such as reducing the use of plastic products, recycling and campaigns to discourage people from littering, will be indispensable for curbing the overall volume of marine trash.

As global plastic production continues to increase, some estimates suggest at least 8 million tons of plastic ends up in the ocean each year. Some calculations say China and countries in Southeast Asia are among the main sources of this garbage.

At the meeting of environment ministers from the Group of Seven advanced nations held in Toyama city in May, the ministers confirmed the G-7 would lead and promote international cooperation to combat marine litter.

Japan is already engaged in efforts to address this issue with South Korea and China, and with Russia. These include sharing information on policies related to plastic litter, training on fact-finding surveys regarding marine pollution, and jointly conducting coastline clean-ups. These countermeasures will need to be expanded further with the countries concerned.

Microplastics a bugbear

Marine trash not only spoils the natural scenery of the coastline; it also damages fishing nets and becomes mixed in with marine products, lowering their commercial value. Fish and birds that accidentally swallow this trash often die.

In recent years, the increase in microplastics — plastic particles 5 millimeters in size or smaller — has become a serious problem. They are created when PET bottles and other plastic are broken into small fragments due to ultraviolet rays from sunlight or abrasive wave action. Microplastics have spread across oceans around the world, and are said to be almost impossible to remove from the environment.

The impact of microplastics even reaches smaller living creatures. Last year, a survey that Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology conducted in Tokyo Bay found microplastics were present in almost 80 percent of 64 Japanese anchovy. Microplastics were even detected in shellfish living on the seabed.

We should also be wary of microplastics’ tendency to adsorb toxic substances such as polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB). This can accumulate in the food chain, and there are also concerns it could affect humans and the breeding of marine life.

Japan, the United States and Europe are at the forefront of research into microplastics. However, there are still only a few researchers, and methods for measuring microplastics and assessing their impact have not been standardized. Japan should use its experience and take the lead in creating a base for measures to combat microplastics.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 26, 2016)


日中韓会談 協力の重み自覚して

--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 25
EDITORIAL: Despite tussles, Japan, S. Korea, China must learn to cooperate
(社説)日中韓会談 協力の重み自覚して

Although the current mood among Japan, China and South Korea is not totally positive, the foreign ministers of the three countries held talks in Tokyo on Aug. 24.

Such meetings among the top diplomats of the three countries should play a vital role in stability and development in Northeast Asia.
We welcome the fact that this important meeting took place again this year following the one held last year.

Disputes tend to immediately strain relations between two countries. But the two countries locked in a diplomatic row may feel comfortable attending a meeting involving a third nation.
This smart formula should be used effectively for three-way relationships. A meeting among the leaders of the three countries should also be held by the end of the year.

Unlike last year, when perceptions about history took center stage, tensions this year have grown over national security issues.

One security issue straining relations between Japan and China are the disputes over islands in the East China Sea and the South China Sea.

The number of Chinese government vessels entering areas around the Senkaku Islands has increased sharply this month. China has continued sending ships into Japanese waters around the islands despite Tokyo’s repeated protests.
China’s actions run counter to a bilateral agreement struck in 2014 to “prevent the deterioration of the situation through dialogue.”

Another security issue creating tensions in the region lies between China and South Korea.

In response to the decision by Seoul and U.S. forces stationed in South Korea to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense anti-missile system in the country, China has taken steps that appear to be reprisals, such as canceling some cultural exchange events.

Behind all these issues are internal political factors that make it hard for the countries to make concessions. The tussles also reflect the intensifying tug of war between the United States and China in the Asia-Pacific region.

The factors creating friction among Japan, China and South Korea will continue rocking their diplomatic relations. That makes it all the more important for the three countries to hold regular meetings of their leaders and ministers.

Despite their disagreements over certain issues, the three countries face a raft of challenges they should tackle in a cooperative manner.

The biggest challenge is the security threat posed by North Korea. The country fired a missile from a submarine on Aug. 24 that reached Japan’s air defense identification zone.

In a natural response to the missile firing, the foreign ministers of the three countries agreed to demand that North Korea stop such provocative acts.

In particular, China, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council with close ties to North Korea, should use its influence to put pressure on Pyongyang.

It is also a pity there has been little progress in creating a framework for economic cooperation among the three countries, such as a trilateral free trade agreement.

Given the combined economic weight of the three countries, which together account for 20 percent of the world economy, they should do more to find a formula to expand their economic cooperation.

Earlier this month, a Japan Coast Guard patrol vessel rescued crew members of a Chinese fishing boat that sank after a collision with a Greek freighter off the Senkaku Islands.

The episode drove home the reality that situations requiring cooperation from the two neighboring countries facing the same sea can arise at any time.

The three countries are bound by the undeniable need for cooperation over not only rescue operations at sea but also environmental problems and disaster responses.
They should continue steady efforts to expand and enhance their cooperative relationships.


露トルコ急接近 米欧の安保秩序に影を落とす

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Rapid Russia-Turkey rapprochement casts shadow on West’s security order
露トルコ急接近 米欧の安保秩序に影を落とす

If Turkey, a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, becomes excessively close to Russia, it would affect the security order led by the United States and Europe. The current situation is serious.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has held talks in Russia with Russian President Vladimir Putin, in which they agreed to mend the bilateral relations strained after the shooting down of a Russian military jet by Turkey in November.

Stating that Erdogan apologized for the downing of the plane in June, Russia is set to gradually lift economic sanctions on Turkey, including restrictions on sightseeing trips to the country and an import ban on Turkish livestock and agricultural products. During his latest visit to Russia, Erdogan even described Putin as his “dear friend.”

The easing of tensions between the two nations can be a positive move conducive to preventing the regional situation from becoming complicated. What is worrying is that the rapid formation of a closer relationship between the two countries noticeably points to their ulterior motive of restraining the United States and European nations.

Erdogan escalated a purge of opponents after an abortive coup took place in July. The president has demanded Washington extradite a religious leader living in the United States whom Erdogan regards as the mastermind of the coup attempt. He is also considering reinstating the death penalty, a move the European Union opposes.

Erdogan’s efforts to forge a highly amicable relationship with Russia without listening to U.S. and European criticism directed at him may indicate his determination to adhere to an iron-fisted regime, even by abandoning his country’s long-cherished aim of gaining accession to the EU.

Maintain dialogue with EU

Turkey has also hinted at suspending a measure to accept Syrian refugees remaining in Greece. If Turkey’s accord reached with the EU in March is scrapped, there would inevitably be a renewed rise in the number of refugees who are smuggled into European countries.

It is important for Turkey and the EU to maintain their dialogue so common ground can be found in their positions, a task necessary to steadily implement the agreement.

Russia has been at odds with the United States and European nations over the Ukraine situation and other issues. Russia’s acceptance of Turkey’s calls for improving their ties at this juncture may signify an attempt to shake NATO and take the initiative in dealing with the Syrian situation.

Russia joins Iran in supporting the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad. In mid-August, Russian forces for the first time used an air base in Iran to conduct air strikes in Syria.

Given that Turkey, as a member of the U.S. and European camp, is supporting Syria’s antigovernment forces, the mending of ties between Moscow and Ankara seems to have been intended to keep the Assad administration in place by drawing Turkey closer to the Russian side.

The U.S. military is conducting air strikes on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant militant group in Syria using an air base in Turkey from which to send planes. If Turkey continues to cozy up to Russia, it would adversely affect the U.S. operations. That could also hinder peace talks over Syria.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will soon visit Turkey. His visit must serve as an opportunity to find out about Erdogan’s true motives while also rebuilding relations between their nations.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 21, 2016)


核先制不使用 首相はオバマ氏に力を

--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 19
EDITORIAL: Abe should be backing Obama’s ‘no first use’ nuclear proposal
(社説)核先制不使用 首相はオバマ氏に力を

The nuclear “no first use” principle means a country will not use nuclear weapons unless it is first attacked by an enemy using nuclear arms.

U.S. President Barack Obama is said to be considering adopting this policy. But Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has conveyed his opposition to such a move to Adm. Harry Harris Jr., head of the U.S. Pacific Command, according to a recent report by The Washington Post.

The report said Abe expressed concerns that if Obama declares a “no first use” policy, deterrence against North Korea will suffer and the risks of conflict will rise.

The Japanese government has made no official comment on the report, and it is not clear if Abe really made these remarks.

The Japanese government’s traditional position has been that it cannot support the “no first use” policy because it would undermine deterrence of the nuclear umbrella.

Talking to The Asahi Shimbun about the report, a senior Foreign Ministry official said: “If the U.S. administration declares no first use of nuclear weapons, there can be no extended deterrence provided by the United States to protect Japan. That’s not going to happen.”

For Japan, which once suffered nuclear devastation, this stance is too backward-looking to take.

There can be no winner or loser in a nuclear war.

And the risk of nuclear warfare cannot be eliminated as long as nations depend on nuclear deterrence for their security.

A major nuclear power’s attempt to reduce the role of nuclear arms in national security is a boost to efforts to prevent nuclear proliferation.

A harsh assessment of the security environment is necessary. But many experts argue that conventional weapons of the U.S. military offer sufficient deterrence against North Korea and other countries.

In his speech in Hiroshima three months ago, Obama said, “We must have the courage to escape the logic of fear and pursue a world without them (nuclear weapons).”

Abe, who stood beside Obama in Hiroshima, should cooperate actively with the president in his bid to promote the policy of “no first use.”

In addition to Japan, South Korea, which is also protected by the U.S. nuclear umbrella, and two nuclear powers--Britain and France--have communicated their concerns about the change in the U.S. nuclear-weapons policy, according to The Washington Post.

On the other hand, a group of former government officials of Asia-Pacific countries, including former Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi and former Australian Foreign Minister Gareth Evans, recently released a joint statement calling on the Obama administration to pledge never to be the first to use nuclear weapons and urging Japan and other U.S. allies to support the policy.

Japan, which has first-hand experiences of the ravages of nuclear attacks, should never take action that hinders any global trend toward a world without nuclear weapons.

Japan’s foreign policy should be focused on efforts to realize a security system not dependent on the nuclear umbrella. Tokyo should declare its will to pursue that goal and hold serious negotiations with Washington to achieve it.

Such efforts would enhance Japan’s moral position and contribute to stability and peace in the region.

In Hiroshima, Abe pledged to “continue to make efforts” to realize a world without nuclear weapons.

Abe needs to offer a clear vision and take concrete actions to deliver on his promise.


中国と南シナ海 行動規範を骨抜きにするな

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Beijing mustn’t undermine code of conduct for South China Sea
中国と南シナ海 行動規範を骨抜きにするな

To rein in backlash from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, China has agreed to hold negotiations on international rules. But it seems to be making a self-centered effort to render any agreement toothless.

In a bid to work out a code of conduct to prevent any conflict in the South China Sea, China has agreed with ASEAN to hold formal negotiations among high-ranking officials with the aim of reaching a framework agreement by the middle of next year.

China had been cautious about the establishment of such a code. But Beijing has likely changed its tack based on the belief that international criticism would be directed toward it during a meeting of Group of 20 major economies to be chaired by China early next month.

However, it cannot be overlooked that China has expressed its intention of not taking up the South China Sea issue during the G-20 meeting. It has become all the more important for leaders of participating countries to discuss the matter.

A code of conduct would legally restrict the actions of China, the Philippines and other countries involved in territorial disputes in the South China Sea. Such a code is supposed to incorporate respect for the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea and the establishment of a system to oversee the behaviour of the countries concerned.

But the administration of Chinese President Xi Jinping seems to have the intention of weakening the binding power of a code of conduct as much as possible in the process of forthcoming negotiations with ASEAN countries so that its moves to militarize man-made islands will not be restricted.

Intl pressure vital

China has not accepted an international court ruling in July that wholly denied China’s sovereignty claims in the South China Sea, dismissing the ruling as a “piece of wastepaper.” It is impossible to think that China, which disregards international law, can fulfill its responsibilities in working out international rules.

Japan and the United States, in cooperation with the likes of ASEAN member countries and Australia, must ramp up pressure on Beijing as much as possible to make the planned code of conduct practically effective.

Problematic in this respect is that China has emphasized “the need to prevent outside intervention” in South China Sea affairs, thus clarifying its stance of excluding Japan and the United States.

China has recently been accelerating moves to strengthen its effective control in the Spratly Islands and elsewhere.

Analysis released by a U.S. policy research institute this month says that China has been pushing ahead with the construction of hangars capable of accommodating such aircraft as fighter jets and airborne early warning and control systems (AWACS) planes on artificial islands it has built.

The Chinese military has also been conducting patrol flights of its new bomber over areas near the Scarborough Shoal close to the Philippines.

These moves represent nothing but China’s expansionist attempt to bring under control by large military power almost all of the South China Sea, while turning its back on the principle of the rule of law.

To ensure stability in the South China Sea, it is indispensable that the United States continues seaborne and airborne surveillance activities to secure “freedom of navigation and flight,” as well as to establish a monitoring system with other countries concerned.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 19, 2016)


香山リカのココロの万華鏡 子どもがいなくても

July 31, 2016 (Mainichi Japan)
Kaleidoscope of the Heart: Stand tall, women without children
香山リカのココロの万華鏡 子どもがいなくても

Japan's decreasing birthrate has reached grave levels. Meanwhile, mothers face a whole range of serious problems, from "maternity harassment" while they're pregnant to postpartum depression and the many stresses of raising children. There is no question that building a society where people can feel confident and at ease about having and bringing up kids is one of the most urgent tasks facing Japan today.

However, there are women in every era who don't have children. There are those who want to have kids but, for various reasons, can't. And then there are those who chose not to have children for reasons of their own. These women may not insist that they are having a tough time, but they do indeed have their own specific problems and worries. I have written a book called "Non-mama to iu ikikata" (A non-mother's way of life) aimed at these very people, based not just on my experiences as a practicing psychiatrist but also on my personal life as a woman without children.

Patients seeing me about their child-reading worries will often ask me, "Do you have children, doctor?" I answer honestly and directly, "No, I don't." On many occasions, the patient has replied, "Oh, well then you can't understand my problems." A senior doctor once told me, "Psychiatrists only truly come to understand people's feelings when they have kids of their own." In all honesty, it hurt to hear that, and it made me wonder if I was doomed to remain forever incomplete as a psychiatrist.

I admit I have sometimes been a little envious when listening to an old school friend talk happily about their kids. However, as I've built up various kinds of experience, I have come to think that the fact I don't have children gives me the ability to consider people's feelings and the problems of child rearing from a perspective not available to parents. And I think that's a good thing about me.

Women without kids who come to my office often feel guilty somewhere in their hearts, and it saps their confidence. Some of them end up burning out from overwork after taking on the responsibilities of other women at their workplaces who have taken parental leave. To these tired women I always say, "You are always you, whether you have kids or not. Give what you can do your utmost effort, and don't be shy about refusing things you can't do."

Having kids and raising them to adulthood is a wonderful thing, but that does not mean that not having kids is somehow less wonderful.

Women who choose not to have children face various circumstances and many worries, but there are also things that only they can do and be proud of. I believe in my heart that everyone should be able to stand tall and say, "I am me."

(By Rika Kayama, psychiatrist) (精神科医)


タイ新憲法 国民和解につなげられるのか

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Can Thailand’s new constitution lead to national reconciliation?
タイ新憲法 国民和解につなげられるのか

One would have to conclude that Thailand has opted for prolonging the life of the junta. Is it possible to pave the way for national reconciliation, which is Thailand’s biggest challenge?

To obtain the trust of the international community, the junta must put all its efforts into realizing a full transition to civilian rule.

A draft of a new constitution compiled under the military rule was endorsed by a majority of votes in a referendum. As the constitution was designed to ensure the military’s political influence, the content of the new basic law is far from democratic.

Under the new constitution, the prime minister is not required to be a lower house member, making it possible for military personnel to assume the post. As a provisional measure in the initial five years, the junta can appoint anyone it wants to the upper house. The referendum also approved granting the upper house the right to nominate a prime minister.

An electoral system that makes it difficult for any single party to win a majority will be introduced in the lower house. Behind this move is the junta’s aim to block the reinstatement of the political force led by former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, which is strong in elections with its support base of farmers in rural areas and low-income earners in urban areas. A general election will be held by the end of next year.

There has been a fierce confrontation in Thailand for more than 10 years between the Thaksin forces and anti-Thaksin forces. The anti-Thaksin forces mainly comprise groups with vested interests, including military personnel and bureaucrats.

Behind the approval of the new constitution is the public’s hopes for a stable society even under the military rule amid expectations that the new constitution will be a step forward toward a return to civilian rule.

No legitimacy

However, for whatever reason, it is clear that the junta, which ignored democratic procedures and took power in a coup, has no legitimacy.

It is worrisome that the junta is clamping down on free speech and stifling opposing opinions with an iron fist.

The junta has repeatedly temporarily detained students opposing the new constitution, and politicians and reporters who have criticized the junta. It also totally prohibited systematic campaigns seeking discussions of the pros and cons of the new constitution.

National reconciliation cannot be realized with such a governing method. After the referendum, there was a series of explosions in the central part of the country, where Thai royal family palaces are located, and in resorts in the south. The junta suspects that opponents of the new constitution were involved in the incidents.

It is feared that continued uncertainty in the political situation will affect the economy, curbing foreign investment and profits from tourism. Thailand is an important production base for Japanese companies, such as automobile manufacturers.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations is shaken by the issue of the South China Sea. The stability of Thailand — one of the association’s main member countries — is also important for ASEAN unity.

In response to the referendum, interim Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha issued a statement that said he would employ every possible means to eliminate public concern. It is indispensable for him to sincerely make efforts to overcome the nation’s divided society as mentioned in the statement.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 17, 2016)


Olympics: Japan rebounds to take bronze in women's team table tennis

Olympics: Japan rebounds to take bronze in women's team table tennis

Japan's Ai Fukuhara, left, Kasumi Ishikawa, and Mima Ito wave after receiving the Bronze medal in women's team gold medal team table tennis at the Summer Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Aug. 16, 2016. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

RIO DE JANEIRO (Kyodo) -- Japan did not take its semifinal defeat to Germany very well. So the Japanese let it all out against Singapore on Tuesday, when they won 3-1 to finish Rio 2016 with a bronze medal in the women's team event.

"I wanted to finish the competition with a smile on my face," said 15-year-old Mima Ito, who beat world No. 4 Feng Tianwei 3-0 in the decisive fourth match.

"There was nothing we could do about the loss to Germany. Our only option was to let out all our frustrations in today's third-place match."

"I've cried after winning in the past, but today was the first time I couldn't control myself," Ai Fukuhara said. "It's been the toughest four years I've had, and the toughest Olympics I've had."

"As the oldest player and captain of the team, I couldn't allow myself to be rattled. I swore to myself that I wouldn't cry afterward, but I couldn't hold on."

Mika Ito, right, , Kasumi Ishikawa, center, and Ai Fukuhara of Japan celebrate after their win against Singapore during their women's team table tennis bronze medal match at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Aug. 16, 2016. Japan won Singapore 3-1.(AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

Fukuhara dropped the first match 3-2, but Kasumi Ishikawa righted the ship for Japan with a 3-0 victory over Feng behind a come-from-behind 12-10 win in the first game.

Fukuhara and Ito went on to beat Zhou Yihan and Yu Mengyu 3-1 in the doubles before Ito secured Japan's place on the podium with a cogent win against Feng, who could not capture a single game on the afternoon.

Coach Yasukazu Murakami said trying to move on from Sunday's crippling 3-2 loss against Germany was not easy, a result that denied Japan a second successive trip to the Olympic final.

Four of the five matches went to five games, including the first, which Ito lost despite being ahead 9-3 in the final game.

"It was difficult getting ready for this match," Murakami said. "This team hasn't lost much and we lost a match that was there for the taking against Germany."

"If we didn't have the one day in between, I don't think we would have been able to win today. We used yesterday to regroup mentally, and practiced a little."

"Gold, silver would have been better but if we didn't win this bronze, it was going to haunt us for the next four years."

Four-time Olympian Fukuhara was bawling after the match, saying she let down the team with her performance in the first match against Yu.

The 27-year-old veteran also wanted to win a medal for Ito, a fellow prodigy who Fukuhara has taken under her wing and has been mentoring throughout the Games.

"This is my third Olympics (team event), but I know all too well that there is a huge difference between going home with a medal and going home without one," Fukuhara said. "I'm relieved and gratified to have won this medal."

"If we missed out on a medal, I know it would have eaten Mima up for the next four years, more than it would have me or Kasumi. So I was determined to win a medal today."

Ito, however, might be maturing faster than Fukuhara thinks. Ito kept her composure in both matches and was never in danger of relinquishing control against Feng.

"She continues to surprise me," Murakami said. "She wasn't even focused at the start. She only switched on from the second game. She's not your average player."

With Ishikawa -- the bedrock of the women's team who on this day underlined her quality in beating Feng -- and Ito, Japan appears to be in good hands at home for 2020.

"Laugh or cry, this was it so I gave it everything I had," Ito said. "We wanted to win a silver here at the least, but were reminded just how difficult it is to win an Olympic medal. You never know what can happen. But we won a medal of some kind so I'm happy."


終戦の日 確かな「平和と繁栄」を築こう

The Yomiuri Shimbun
War-end anniversary start for constructive peace, prosperity
終戦の日 確かな「平和と繁栄」を築こう


Today marks the 71st anniversary of the end of World War II. This day offers an opportunity to mourn the 3.1 million people who died in the war and renew our vow for peace.

A government-sponsored memorial service for the war dead will be held at the Nippon Budokan hall in Tokyo’s Kitanomaru Park.

Aug. 15 has long been established as the anniversary of the war’s end, marking the same day in 1945 when Emperor Showa told the people of the war’s termination.

Strictly speaking, however, the end of all combative activities was formalized on Sept. 2 that year. Aboard the USS Missouri, which was anchored in Tokyo Bay, representatives of Japan and the Allied Powers signed an instrument of surrender on that day.

Pearl Harbor, Hiroshima

The Battleship Missouri, preserved at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, is open for public viewing. Located at the bottom of the sea nearby, the USS Arizona, the battleship that was sunk during the Japanese surprise attack on the harbor, is the resting place of more than 1,100 officers and sailors.

The cry of “No more Hiroshimas” can be answered with “Remember Pearl Harbor!” The atomic bombings and the Pearl Harbor attack are thorns in an unfortunate piece of Japan-U.S. history.

During a visit to Pearl Harbor in 1997, then Chinese President Jiang Zemin made a speech in which he said the Chinese and the Americans had “stood side by side in the fight against the fascist invasion.” His speech was intended to emphasize cooperation between the United States and China, and thereby drive a wedge into the Japan-U.S. alliance.

However, both Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima are being transformed into a theater of reconciliation.

Since 2013, a tiny folded paper crane has been displayed in a corner of the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor. The origami crane, produced by the late Sadako Sasaki, a survivor of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, was donated by her bereaved family to the memorial. The Children’s Peace Monument in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park is modeled on Sasaki.

The city government in Nagaoka, Niigata Prefecture — birthplace of Isoroku Yamamoto, commander in chief of the prewar Combined Fleet, who led the Pearl Harbor raid — has conducted exchange activities with Honolulu since the two cities established a sister-city relationship in 2012.

In a memorial ceremony held in August 2015, the 70th year of the postwar period, fireworks from Nagaoka were set off in Pearl Harbor’s night sky, accompanied by a prayer for peace.

A visit to Hiroshima by U.S. President Barack Obama in May was the result of a wise decision made despite persistent opinion in the United States that the atomic bombings were justified. His 17-minute remarks went right to the hearts of many people. Although the Japanese side has not accepted this inhumane action, it has not demanded an apology from the United States.

Obama’s historic visit symbolized the mature nature of Japan-U.S. relations. This has been founded on a relationship of trust built over the years by the two allies, which share such values as freedom, democracy and human rights.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s statement last August expressing anew “remorse and apology” for Japan’s wartime actions has been taken positively by the United States and many other countries.

The current stable bilateral relations between Japan and the United States should be developed further.

In contrast to the United States, China continues to use the historical perception issue as a diplomatic card. When Obama visited Hiroshima, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said bluntly that “Nanjing should not be forgotten and deserves even more attention.”

China against intl order

China has unilaterally asserted that 300,000 people were killed during the Nanjing Incident and has had “Documents of the Nanjing Massacre” added to the UNESCO’s Memory of the World list.

On the anniversary of the country’s “victory” in the “War of Resistance Against Japan” last September, China held a military parade in front of about 30 heads of state and leaders of the world, emphasizing China as a “victorious nation” in World War II.

Yet China’s foreign policies as a “victor country,” in which it proclaims that it backed the international order, while trying to change the international maritime order in the East and South China seas through force, has not won empathy from the international community.

South Korea, which had attempted to join hands with China in addressing issues related to historical perception, has shifted its stance to improve its relationship with Japan, following the bilateral deal Japan and South Korea reached late last year on the issue of the so-called comfort women. Japan will contribute ¥1 billion to a foundation set up by South Korea to support former comfort women as early as this month.

Yet a support group for former comfort women and others have not relaxed their stance of opposing the foundation. Also, a comfort woman statue was unveiled at a ceremony in Australia early this month, following similar ceremonies in the United States. The misperception that these women were forcibly taken by the now-defunct Imperial Japanese Army prevails in the world even today.

Refute distortions

The Japanese government must continue to appropriately refute distortions of various historical facts related to the war. It is also important to urge China and other countries to abide by the rules of the international community.

Efforts must also be made to resolve the issue of the northern territories with Russia.

A more strategic approach is required for Japan to resolve pending postwar issues with Russia, which remain unsettled even after the passage of 71 years since the end of the war, and conclude a peace treaty.

After Russia’s annexation of Crimea in March 2014, European countries and the United States continue to impose sanctions against that country. In the meantime, Abe has been exploring ways to resolve the territorial issues through repeated talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Abe will visit Russia’s Far East early next month at the soonest.

By pursuing constructive relations with other countries, the peace and prosperity that Japan has been building since the end of the war should be made more solid. Such efforts will also contribute to responding to hopes of those who lost their lives during the war.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 15, 2016)


Olympics: Nishikori beats Nadal for Japan's 1st tennis medal in 96 yrs

Olympics: Nishikori beats Nadal for Japan's 1st tennis medal in 96 yrs

Kei Nishikori, of Japan, smiles as he holds up his bronze medal in men's singles at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Aug. 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

RIO DE JANEIRO (Kyodo) -- Kei Nishikori defeated Rafael Nadal 6-2, 6-7(1), 6-3 to win bronze at the Rio Olympics on Sunday for Japan's first tennis medal in almost a century.

World No. 7 Nishikori, as he's been known to do, did it the hard way in becoming the first Japanese tennis medalist since Ichiya Kumagai (silver) at the 1920 Games in Antwerp. The victory was only Nishikori's second against Beijing 2008 champion Nadal in 11 career meetings.

Nishikori cruised through the first set and was well on his way to making quick work of Nadal. But from 5-2 down, Nadal showed the heart of a champion, winning five of the next six games to trigger a third set.

Yet Nishikori, who lost in the quarterfinals four years ago in London, did well to regroup from the forgettable second set to win an exhausting 2 hour, 49 minute affair.

"I'm exhausted but I pushed myself today," Nishikori said. "I lost the second set in a bad way, but I managed to come back in the final set. Rafa had beaten me a couple of times this season and I managed to shake that off."

Japan's Kei Nishikori returns to Spain's Rafael Nadal during the bronze medal match of the men's tennis competition at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Aug. 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

"I'm very happy to get a medal today. Even though it's third place, it means a lot to me to beat Rafa. I knew if I played good, solid tennis I had a chance to get a medal."

"I was playing for my country and this is something different from the tour. For sure, this experience will help with my confidence and future."

Nadal tipped his hat to Nishikori.

"He played great during the whole match. During the whole match I was a little bit too tired," the Spaniard said. "If you don't play 100 percent tennis against a player like Kei, it's almost impossible. I want to congratulate Kei. I tried my best, I fought to the end."

A day after being taken to school by Briton Andy Murray, Nishikori was far more competitive against a tired Nadal, who, counting the men's doubles he won with Marc Lopez, was playing in his 11th match at Rio.

Fifth-ranked Nadal lost to Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro in a three-set semifinal on Saturday.

Nishikori pounced on the second break-point opportunity he saw of the match to go up 3-2 in the first set. In Nadal's next service game, he shot himself in the foot with a double fault that set up another break point, which Nishikori promptly capitalized on.

Nishikori aced his first set point to win 6-2.

The resilient legs Nadal has used to build a distinguished career were nowhere to be found early in the second set, Nishikori winning his third break point in the third game.

At 4-2 with Nadal serving, Nishikori converted a fourth break point to win the game. In the following game, Nadal finally broke his opponent on the fourth chance and converted another to even the score 5-5, thanks to a Nishikori double fault.

With Nadal appearing to have found his second wind, the 14-time Grand Slam champion held serve after deuce to move in front. Nishikori won the next game, but the Japanese continued to self-destruct, managing just one point in the tiebreak as Nadal captured the set.

Nishikori admitted he felt pressed being on the brink of winning the match.

"I was uptight. He was starting to play better and that was half the reason. But I started to think about the medal, and was rushing my serves and shots," he said.

Nadal got the crowd behind him with the comeback, and Nishikori drew the jeers after a lengthy bathroom break that seemed to irritate Nadal ahead of the final set.

Nishikori won his fifth break point to lead 3-1, a critical game that Nadal could not find a way back from. Nishikori, determined not to suffer another meltdown, held on for Japan's 15th bronze medal of these Games.

"I'm just glad I won today," he said. "I broke him first (in the last set) and that gave me a bit of breathing room. I went back to playing the aggressive tennis I played in the first set."

"He was coming at me from the very first game. I had to work hard to keep my serve and I couldn't let him keep doing what he was doing. He made a few mistakes, I defended well and managed to break him. Remembering what he did to me in the previous set from 5-2, I tried to stay as focused as possible."

"I feel like I've improved (from 2012), not only the result, but the performance, too. I'm playing with a lot more confidence compared to four years ago, when I was pretty happy just to have reached the quarterfinals. I don't know where I'll be in four years, but I hope to be better and stronger."







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01 あいさつ
02 別れのあいさつ
03 声をかけるとき
04 感謝の言葉と答え方
05 謝罪の言葉と答え方
06 聞き直すとき
07 相手の言うことがわからないとき
08 うまく言えないとき
09 一般的なあいづち
10 よくわからないときの返事
11 強めのあいづち
12 自分について述べるとき
13 相手のことを尋ねるとき
14 頼みごとをするとき
15 申し出・依頼を断るとき
16 許可を求めるとき
17 説明してもらうとき
18 確認を求めるとき
19 状況を知りたいとき
20 値段の尋ね方と断り方
21 急いでもらいたいとき
22 待ってもらいたいとき
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