Letter from Hillary Clinton

Kiyoshi --

 This week, we learned that Donald Trump and the Republicans raised more than $82 million in the month of July.

 This is the same man who mocked a disabled reporter and has called women "fat pigs." The same man who took the stage at the Republican National Convention and told the world that his vision is to build a wall between the United States and Mexico, deport millions of immigrants, and repeal the Affordable Care Act, leaving countless Americans without health care.

 He's unqualified and unfit to lead our country -- but the unfortunate reality we must confront is that he still might be able to win if he spends enough to convince voters otherwise.

 This team has what it takes to defeat him -- I know that. But I need to know you're with me right now. Will you chip in $3 or more to help make sure we win in November and build a future for our country that we can be proud of?

If you've saved your payment information, your donation will go through immediately.

Or donate another amount:





Letter from the Democrats U.S.A.

Kiyoshi --

 I was born in Louisiana at a time when, if you had the wrong skin color and tried to register to vote or cast a ballot, you might be forced to pass a literacy test, pay a poll tax, or even face the threat of physical violence.

 51 years ago today, that changed dramatically when President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law.

 It was a profound victory for families like mine -- and it's why I celebrate this anniversary every year, and why I hope you'll join with me to commit to exercising this hard-won right on Election Day.

 I've made it my life's work to fight alongside the Democratic Party to protect the right to vote against efforts to erect new barriers.

 I wish it was a fight we weren't still fighting in the year 2016 -- but in the three years since the Supreme Court profoundly weakened the protections of the VRA in Shelby County v. Holder, Republican-led state legislatures across the country have set to work making it harder for the folks the law used to protect to vote.

 By rolling back early voting, eliminating same-day registration, implementing new photo ID laws, and more, Republican politicians are systematically targeting women, communities of color, working families, students, first-generation Americans, the elderly -- all people who, it just so happens, tend not to be the ones supporting the GOP on Election Day.

 The good news is, with a string of recent rulings across the nation, our courts are stepping up and striking down these laws one by one by calling them out for what they really are -- partisan ploys to disenfranchise voters inclined to support Democrats.

 Each decision has been a step in the right direction, but we still have our work cut out for us. Democrats believe that we are stronger together, and stronger when every voice can be heard at the ballot box.

Kiyoshi, join me today in committing to vote for leaders who share that belief and will continue fighting alongside us:


 Thanks for being part of this,


 Donna Brazile
 Democratic National Committee


Letter from Amnesty International U.S.A

Cheer on the first-ever refugee Olympic team

Dear kiyoshi,

 Tonight, when millions of people tune into the opening ceremonies of the Olympics, they’ll see a team of ten refugees march into the stadium as a team with no nation and no flag.

 The unprecedented team is a reflection of the global refugee crisis, with more people displaced by violence and persecution than at any time since World War II. It’s also an opportunity to help shape how the public thinks of refugees – and how governments treat them.

 Amnesty International is rallying behind the refugee team. We’re supporting a group of refugees who created a flag and an anthem for the team, and we’re partnering with a coalition of groups, including UNICEF, Sesame Street, and Save the Children, on an initiative called Team Refugees.

 Together, we’re honoring these 10 brave athletes who have overcome tremendous obstacles. We’re showing refugees around the world that they are welcome. We’re galvanizing public support for the safety and dignity of all refugees. And we are demanding that governments do their part to help address the refugee crisis.

 You can help by sharing these Facebook and Twitter posts.

 While we cheer on the refugee Olympians, Amnesty will continue shining a light on human rights abuses in Brazil. We will not allow the human rights of anyone be disregarded—from the refugees struggling to find safety around the world, to the families living in favelas in Rio.

 Join us today to tell the world: human rights have no borders.

 In solidarity,
Eric Ferrero
Deputy Executive Director for Strategic Communications and Digital Initiatives
 Amnesty International USA


Letter from Michelle Obama

Kiyoshi --

 Yesterday was Barack's 55th birthday, his last one as President. And as we celebrated this milestone, I couldn't help but think about how proud I am of who he is and the example he has set as President -- his decency, grace, perseverance, and strength.

 Those are the traits I'm looking for in our next President -- and that's why I'm proud to say: I'm with her.

 Between now and November, we need to get out every vote in order to elect Hillary and Democrats up and down the ballot, Kiyoshi -- and we're counting on your support to help us pull it off.

 So I hope you will step up today by pitching in $3 or whatever you can to help.

If you've saved your payment information, your donation will go through immediately.


 Thank you so, so much.



Emperor likely to issue video message Monday amid reports of desire to abdicate

Japan Times 2016-08-05
Emperor likely to issue video message Monday amid reports of desire to abdicate
Emperor Akihito is likely to express his thoughts on his role in a video message Monday amid growing speculation that he is considering abdication, sources said Thursday.

The Imperial Household Agency is arranging for the 82-year-old Emperor’s message to be made public Monday afternoon, the agency sources said, adding he is expected to read out a statement prepared in consultation with senior agency officials.

It will be only the Emperor’s second video message, following one released five days after the massive earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan on March 11, 2011.

While the Emperor is unlikely to refer directly to abdication, he is expected to share his view about fulfilling his official duties going forward.

The last emperor to abdicate was Emperor Kokaku in 1817.

The Imperial House Law does not contain a provision relating to abdication and the government has set up a special team to study the matter in strict secrecy.

Last month, it was reported that the Emperor wished to hand the throne to his 56-year-old son, Crown Prince Naruhito, due to concerns about his ability to fully perform his duties.

The Emperor has since told close aides that the performance of his duties is inseparable from his status as a symbol of the state, as stipulated in the Constitution, and has expressed his desire to abdicate if he cannot perform them in the future.

Emperor Akihito acceded to the throne at age 55 upon the death of his 87-year-old father, Emperor Hirohito, who is posthumously called Emperor Showa, in 1989.


You're in! Baseball/softball, 4 other sports make Tokyo cut

August 4, 2016 (Mainichi Japan)
You're in! Baseball/softball, 4 other sports make Tokyo cut

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) -- Olympic leaders approved the addition of five sports to the program of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on Wednesday, including the return of baseball-softball and the introduction of youth-oriented events such as skateboarding and surfing.

International Olympic Committee members voted unanimously to accept the five-sport package, which also includes karate and sport climbing.

The five were put forward for inclusion last year by Tokyo organizers, taking advantage of new IOC rules that allow host cities to propose the inclusion of additional sports for their own games. Wednesday's approval was for the Tokyo Games only.

The new sports will add 18 events and 474 athletes to the program. The Tokyo Games will now feature 33 sports and about 11,000 athletes, compared to the usual number of 28 sports and 10,500 athletes.

While baseball and softball -- both highly popular in Japan -- will be returning after a 12-year absence, the other sports will be making their Olympic debuts.

The IOC called it "the most comprehensive evolution of the Olympic program in modern history."

"Taken together, the five sports are an innovative combination of established and emerging, youth-focused events that are popular in Japan and will add to the legacy of the Tokyo Games," IOC President Thomas Bach said.

Baseball and softball have been off the Olympic program since the 2008 Beijing Games. The two were rejected in separate bids to return for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, so they combined forces to put forward a single bid for inclusion in Tokyo.

Baseball was a full part of the Olympic program from 1992 to 2008, with softball joining in 1996. The IOC voted them both out in 2005.

Baseball will have a six-team tournament, short of the eight-team format sought by officials from the sport's international federation. Women's softball will also have six teams. The games will be played at a shared venue In Yokohama.

"Today's historic decision by the IOC is a 'home run' for the Olympics, our sport and the Tokyo 2020 Games," said Riccardo Fraccari, president of the World Baseball Softball Confederation. "It will be the most covered and most exciting international baseball/softball tournaments in history, which will help build our case to be featured in future Olympic Games, as well."

Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred also welcomed the IOC vote.

"Baseball and softball are global sports that belong in the Olympics," he said, adding that their approval "will allow fans throughout the world to again enjoy baseball and softball on the Olympic stage."

Before the vote, several IOC members questioned whether baseball would have the world's top players at the games. While pro leagues in Japan and some other countries have agreed to shut down their seasons to send their players to the Olympics, MLB has declined to do so.

Franco Carraro, who chairs the IOC's program commission, said he hopes the international federation can still reach an agreement with MLB, in line with the deals with the NBA and NHL that brought pro basketball and ice hockey players into the Olympics.

If not, Carraro said, said it will be "difficult for baseball to be included in the future" beyond the Tokyo Games.

Skateboarding will have street and park events, and feature 80 athletes -- 40 men and 40 women. In climbing, 40 competitors will take part in the disciplines of speed, bouldering and lead (also known as sport). Karate will have 80 athletes competing in men's and women's Kumite and Kata events, while surfing will have two shortboard events for 40 competitors.

The surfing competition will be held on natural waves at a beach location in Chiba prefecture.

"Our Olympic dream has now become a reality," International Surfing Association president Fernando Aguerre said. "This is a game-changing moment for surfing. With its unique and modern blend of sport performance, style and youth culture, surfing will help deliver something special to the games."

Skateboarding and sports climbing events will be held in temporary venues in urban settings in Tokyo, while karate will be contested at the Nippon Budokan in the capital.

Organizers hope skateboarding will catch on with worldwide viewers as halfpipe in snowboarding did in the Winter Olympics.

"I've always believed that if skateboarding was properly protected and supported, its appearance on the Olympic stage could change the world," International Skateboarding Federation president Gary Ream said.

Skateboarding's approval came despite tensions between rival federations.

For the Olympics, a special "Tokyo 2020 skateboarding commission" was formed to run the sport. It is a collaboration between the International Roller Sports Federation (FIRS) and the ISF.

A lawsuit was filed last week in California by the World Skateboarding Federation (WSF). It alleged the ISF abruptly canceled scheduled drug testing at an event last year because of fears that several riders would test positive.

The lawsuit also alleged that Ream struck up a friendly relationship with Christophe Dubi, the IOC Olympic Games executive director, and provided Dubi's son with free training at a skateboarding camp he owned.


Letter from Hillary Clinton in the morning

Kiyoshi --

Last week, President Obama gave a beautiful speech at the Democratic Convention. He spoke movingly about the challenges we face, the progress we've made, and the hope he still has for our country and our future.

I am so lucky to call him my friend.

Sign our birthday card for President Obama -- load images.

Today I have a favor to ask you for President Obama -- his birthday is in two days, and I want to do something special for him this year to show him how much he means to me and this whole Democratic family. Will you sign the official birthday card for President Obama so he can see how many people on this team love and appreciate him?

I've often said that President Obama doesn't get the credit he deserves for saving our country from the worst economic crisis in decades. Because of his leadership, we have 15 million new jobs, the Affordable Care Act, marriage equality, and so much more.

It means so much to me that he's a part of this team, and I know he'll be invaluable as we kick off these final 98 days until the election. So on Thursday, let's show him that we're grateful for all he's done for our country, that we're excited to work with him to win this November, and that we're committed to working together to protect and build on his remarkable legacy.

Add your name to sign his card now -- he'll love knowing that you're thinking of him on his special day:


Thank you,



小池新都知事 都民本位の改革実行を

--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 1
EDITORIAL: Koike must keep promise, push policies that help Tokyo citizens
(社説)小池新都知事 都民本位の改革実行を

Former Defense Minister Yuriko Koike was elected Tokyo’s new governor on July 31, becoming the first female chief of the capital’s government. We hope Koike will capitalize on her trademark ability to send out effective messages in her role as the public face of Japan’s capital.

Koike won a landslide victory in the gubernatorial election despite failing to receive the endorsement of her Liberal Democratic Party, which fielded another candidate. The ruling party’s decision, based primarily on its partisan interests, probably provoked a backlash among voters in Tokyo.

The process in which opposition parties led by the Democratic Party chose a unified candidate also confused many voters.

During her campaign, Koike pledged to put priority on the interests of individual citizens. She should be true to her words and push through reforms to shift the focus of Tokyo’s policymaking from the interests of specific organizations to those of the entire population of the capital.

Koike needs to provide leadership to resolve a wide range of tough policy challenges, from the rapidly aging population to disaster preparedness for a huge earthquake that many experts warn could occur directly under Tokyo.

In particular, she must immediately review the financing plan for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, focusing on the capital’s contribution. The total cost for the event, initially estimated at 700 billion yen ($6.8 billion), is now expected to balloon to 2 trillion yen or even 3 trillion yen. The challenge for Koike is to figure out ways to reduce the cost and decide on an appropriate burden for Tokyo.

Both the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games and the LDP members of the metropolitan assembly are calling for an increase in the capital’s share of the cost burden, emphasizing Tokyo’s responsibility due to its bid to host the event.

Discussing the issue, Koike criticized the Tokyo government’s opaque policymaking process as a “black box” and called for greater transparency. The issue of financing the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics will test her commitment to addressing the issue.

In an Asahi Shimbun survey of voters in Tokyo, “education and child-care support” was cited by the largest number of respondents as the policy area that they wanted the new governor to prioritize.

Tokyo’s child-care support for its citizens has national implications. Many young people who moved from rural areas to Tokyo are giving up having children because of an unfavorable environment for rearing children. This problem is accelerating Japan’s demographic decline.

During her campaign, Koike proposed various ideas to solve the problem of the estimated 8,500 children on waiting lists for day-care centers. Her ideas included the use of land owned by the metropolitan government and higher pay for child-care workers. Koike needs to make steady efforts to deal with this challenge.

On the other hand, Koike talked little about education.

She once argued that tragic incidents involving children, such as murders of family members, were a result of Japan’s “self-deprecating education” in the postwar period.

The Japan Society for History Textbook Reform, an organization devoted to helping the nation “overcome masochistic historical views,” backed Koike in the election, saying she was the only major candidate who supported its activities.

The law on regional educational administration was revised in 2014 to enhance the power of local government chiefs over education policy decisions. Instead of using her power as the governor to promote education based on specific values, Koike should serve as a champion of “diversity,” which she pledged to promote, in education.

In announcing her candidacy, Koike emphasized she was ready to confront the LDP in the metropolitan assembly. We welcome her stance if that means true competition for better, citizen-focused policies through serious debate at the assembly.

But we have had enough of the petty political fights over parochial interests.

After the resignation of two Tokyo governors--Naoki Inose and Yoichi Masuzoe--amid scandals, there is no room for further stagnation in the capital’s efforts to tackle its key policy challenges.


大統領選 団結を求めたクリントン候補

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Democratic presidential candidate Clinton calls for national, global unity
米大統領選 団結を求めたクリントン候補

In the U.S. presidential election, the difference in outlook has become clear between Republican nominee Donald Trump, who advocates an “America first” policy, and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, who calls for international cooperation and national reconciliation.

Clinton, a former secretary of state, was nominated as a presidential candidate at the Democratic convention, kicking off the full-fledged election campaign.

In her acceptance speech, Clinton said, “We’ve reached a milestone in our nation’s march toward a more perfect union,” emphasizing the significance of having been nominated as the first female presidential candidate of a major party.

The important thing is that Clinton spelled out her commitment to reinforce alliances, saying, “We are stronger when we work with our allies around the world.”

When Clinton was secretary of state, she promoted the policy of attaching importance to Asia. She was the first within the administration to make clear that the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture are covered by Article 5 of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, which stipulates that the United States is obliged to defend Japan.

It is also reassuring for Japan that there are more than a few people within the Clinton camp who are knowledgeable about Japan, including Kurt Campbell, a former assistant secretary of state.

While making no direct reference to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade accord, Clinton went only so far as to express her opposition to “unfair trade deals” in her speech. We can rate positively that she left some room for the U.S. ratification of the accord, while paying consideration to left-wingers within the party who oppose the TPP.

Japan must help U.S. ratify TPP

It is vital for Japan to move ahead swiftly with procedures for Diet approval so as to create an environment that will make it easier for the United States to ratify the pact.

Clinton criticized Trump, who advocates an exclusionary immigration policy, saying, “He wants to divide us — from the rest of the world, and from each other.” She said, “People are looking for steady leadership,” and promoted her feasible policies.

At the Democratic convention, U.S. President Barack Obama, Sen. Bernie Sanders, who had fiercely vied with Clinton for the Democratic presidential candidacy, and others made speeches in support of Clinton. It can be said that she succeeded in orchestrating a reconciliation within the party.

A challenge for Clinton is her record-low popularity as a presidential candidate, similar to Trump’s. During her tenure as secretary of state, Clinton used her private e-mail address for communication of classified information against the state department’s rules.

Judicial authorities did not bring charges against Clinton over the case but said she was “extremely careless.”

When the scandal was uncovered, she initially refused to explain her case in detail or to apologize. This may have led to a national sentiment that she cannot be trusted.

Clinton, who was a first lady and also served as a senator, has been regarded as “a symbol of the establishment” by young people and others who support Sanders.

During the presidential campaign, she needs not only to make her claim to be the “anti-Trump,” but also to win support of those who are discontented about the present state of things. Otherwise, she may not even be able to unite the whole nation.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 31, 2016)


追加金融緩和 日銀は政権のしもべか

--The Asahi Shimbun, July 30
EDITORIAL: BOJ must free itself from the shackles of state policy
(社説)追加金融緩和 日銀は政権のしもべか

The Bank of Japan has decided to open the monetary spigot further. The central bank said July 29 that it will double its annual purchases of exchange-traded funds (ETF) to 6 trillion yen ($58.8 billion).

The BOJ’s action came as a response to a request for further monetary expansion from the Abe administration, which will soon unveil a huge package of policy measures to stoke economic growth. The program will come in at 28 trillion yen.

The central bank has already taken radical steps to pump money into the economy, by setting negative interest rates and making massive purchases of government bonds. As experts have warned that expanding these measures would be ineffective and even harmful, the BOJ, apparently under pressure to play ball with the government, resorted to one of the few remaining options.

The thinking behind the monetary policy is to ensure that the Japanese economy will continue stable and sustained growth.

It is doubtful whether the central bank’s latest move will serve this purpose.

In the latest of its quarterly “Outlook for Economic Activity and Prices” report, released on July 29, the BOJ said the economy “has continued its moderate recovery trend” and “is likely to be on a moderate expanding trend.”

A clutch of economic indicators confirmed the BOJ’s assessment, indicating the economy is on a stable footing. The ratio of job offers to job seekers has risen above 1 in all the 47 prefectures for the first time since such records started being kept.

Even though there is a degree of uncertainty in European and emerging economies, no compelling case can be made for putting together an outsized package of economic stimulus measures at this moment. The BOJ should have taken exception to the administration’s plan, but the central bank has instead provided support to the administration through the additional monetary easing.

The BOJ deserves to be criticized for following the government’s lead into a questionable move.

Two of the nine members of the BOJ’s Policy Board, which makes the bank’s policy decisions, voiced opposition to the proposal to increase the purchases of ETFs, investment vehicles traded on stock exchanges.

They argued, quite reasonably, that the step would have negative effects on price formation in the market. But such dissenting voices within the central bank’s policy-making body are now more unlikely to be heard than before because the Abe administration has replaced retiring members with supporters of the prime minister's "Abenomics" economic policy. The two members opposed to the latest action are both private-sector economists who joined the Policy Board before Shinzo Abe returned to power in December 2012.

If the Policy Board is dominated by similar-minded members, it will lose its ability to check the aggressive and controversial “different dimension” monetary expansion policy that has been promoted by BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda.

We are concerned that the BOJ might become even more inclined to adopt a monetary policy supportive of the administration’s agenda.

But the Policy Board should be given credit for refraining from an expansion of the negative interest rate policy, which could put an additional strain on the financial health of banks, and also from an increase in the amount of government bonds bought by the BOJ, which could be seen as the central bank’s attempt to finance government spending.

Markets had warned that failing to take these steps would trigger the yen’s upswing as well as a major stock market decline. But this view itself reflects a distorted relationship between monetary policy and financial markets.

The BOJ’s excessive monetary expansion is now doing more harm than good to both companies and households.

The negative interest rate policy has delivered a serious blow not just to banks but also to pension funds whose investment plans have gone awry due to the measure.

To bring its monetary policy back to a normal state, the BOJ should start mapping out an exit strategy for its different dimension monetary easing program as soon as possible.







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