--The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 29
EDITORIAL: Nonregular workers' pay

The Japanese Trade Union Confederation (Rengo) has decided to demand bigger wage hikes for part-time, temporary and other nonregular workers than the pay raises for full-time employees during next year's spring wage offensive. We welcome the decision.

The nation's largest labor organization says it will try to narrow the income gap by demanding larger increases in terms of hourly wages for nonregular workers than those for regular employees. Officials at labor unions belonging to Rengo will start discussions Nov. 1 on how to achieve the goal.

This is a groundbreaking policy shift for Rengo, which has traditionally focused on the interests of full-time employees who make up 90 percent of its members.

The move was prompted by a decline in the average wage level of Japan's work force due to a sharp rise in nonregular workers.

Over 15 years since 1995, the number of permanent employees has decreased by about 4 million, while the ranks of nonregular workers have grown by about 7 million to account for more than a third of the overall work force. As a result, the rate of unionized workers has fallen below 20 percent, eroding labor unions' bargaining power.

Despite the longest postwar economic expansion between 2002 and 2007, the average gross pay for Japanese workers has sunk 12 percent from its peak in 1997.

Shrinking paychecks have choked growth in consumer spending.

In addition, companies shed a huge number of nonpermanent workers during the economic crisis that began in fall 2008.
Union members on the regular payroll realized that their positions are being saved at the expense of the jobs of their nonpermanent colleagues, according to union leaders.

In a bid to stem the trend, Rengo has pledged to place greater importance on the interests of nonregular workers, showing its commitment to redressing the disparities between the two groups over the long term.

But it remains unclear how Rengo's new goal can be achieved.

The yen's sharp rise has aroused strong anxiety about the outlook for corporate earnings, and concerns remain about the trend among companies toward shifting operations overseas.

What Rengo has decided to demand is a higher share of nonregular workers in the pay increase for next year that doesn't involve a cut in the salaries of full-time employees. Still, it could spark howls of discontent among regular employees.

What is needed is a serious joint effort by the unions and the management of individual companies to share income in a fair manner. Such efforts should be based on a clear understanding of the effects of economic inequality on society and businesses.

Last year, Hiroshima Electric Railway Co., in response to a demand by its labor union, gave full-time positions to all contract workers by increasing its funds to pay wages.

In the United States in the late 1990s, a transport industry union staged a prolonged strike at United Parcel Service Inc., a major package delivery company, demanding better working conditions for part-time workers who were paid only about half the hourly wages of full-time employees. The company eventually agreed to a 3-percent pay raise for full-time employees and a 7-percent wage hike for part-timers to narrow the gap.

In both cases, the union succeeded in getting its demands granted by preventing a division among members. It provided detailed information to members about the issue while enlightening management on the serious effects of income disparities, such as weakened morale and declining quality of services.

It is also important to support such efforts by establishing a system to ensure fair work conditions based on the principle of equal pay for work of equal value.

Another key step is to increase the responsibility of companies that use temporary workers placed by staffing agencies. This is crucial for supporting such workers' labor talks with businesses that use them. Unfortunately, this measure has been dropped from the revision to the worker dispatch law.

Bolstering the foundation for economic growth requires ensuring that hard work, either by regular or nonregular workers, is rewarded accordingly.


--The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 28
EDITORIAL: Kansai federation

A Kansai regional federation to cover the affairs of seven prefectures, including Osaka and Hyogo, is expected to be established before the end of the year. Shiga, Kyoto, Wakayama, Tokushima and Tottori prefectures will also take part in the federation, which will be set up as a special organization under the local autonomy law.

Most administrative affairs, such as education and road maintenance, will continue to be under the jurisdiction of each prefecture. However, the seven prefectures will fund joint work in seven areas that they feel are better dealt with collectively, including disaster prevention, promotion of tourism and culture, industrial development, medical provision and environmental conservation. The federation will be run by an assembly of 20 members chosen from prefectural assembly members and a committee of the seven governors.

This is Japan's first attempt to establish a regional federation that transcends prefectural borders. There are pressing needs that the new body can help address, such as getting seriously ill patients to hospitals in neighboring prefectures when no hospitals in the local community will accept them.

As a next step, the organization will consider expanding its remit to improving infrastructure for transportation and goods distribution, and plans to eventually take over functions from central government.

Long-held discontent in the local business community is behind the move. Business people question why the Kansai area is lagging behind Tokyo despite its advanced technology and economic strength. There is also an expectation that the new structure will allow the streamlining of administration and some local business leaders, including members of the Kansai Economic Federation, hope the move will advance decentralization.

However, Nara, Fukui and Mie prefectures, which took part in advance consultations about the new federation, decided not to join. Skeptics say that the federation is redundant within the existing structure of government, which is made up of municipalities, prefectures and the central government, and that cooperation is enough in the seven areas the federation will deal with. Another criticism is that the new body will complicate government and obscure where responsibility for lies.

The federation agreement asserts that it will not directly lead to a doshusei regional system of government and the abolition of prefectures. While the Kansai Economic Federation and Osaka Governor Toru Hashimoto are positive about the doshusei concept, quite a few other governors are either opposed or cautious about the idea. The federation will start with different views as such.

Some people have voiced concerns that once the federation is established, funding will be concentrated on densely populated areas, causing surrounding areas to decline. This has been seen to happen in some municipal mergers. Thought is needed to avoid concentration on central areas.

The Kansai region has many historic and cultural sites. It would be more effective for prefectures to work jointly to attract tourists. When natural disaster strikes, prefectures should help each other, not only during the initial emergency response but all the way down the path to full recovery. Will residents actually see results? This could decide whether the federation is successful.

The new federation was forged on the initiative of business people and governors, not ordinary residents. The impetus has come from above, rather than the grass roots. It must ensure that it does more than just increasing the government payroll, and actually present residents with achievements.

While opinion is divided on this novel experiment, we believe it is worth giving a go and will carefully watch its progress.

Nagai dies for Burmese Democracy


cite from wikkipedia,


Nagai, with a camera still in his hands, after he was fatally shot by a Burmese soldier. Taken by Adrees Latif, this photo won Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography in 2008. Nagai had been in Burma covering the anti-government protests since Tuesday, September 25. On Thursday, September 27, Nagai was photographing the protests near the Traders Hotel, a few blocks away from the Sule Pagoda in downtown Yangon, when soldiers opened fire on demonstrators, killing Nagai and reportedly injuring another foreign journalist.

Reports initially stated that Nagai was hit by stray bullets fired by soldiers or possibly shot from the front. The "stray bullet" explanation was proposed by the government of Burma as an explanation for Nagai's death. However, video footage obtained by Japanese television appears to show a Burmese soldier shoving Nagai to the ground and shooting him at point-blank range.

A still image photographed by Adrees Latif showed the soldier standing over Nagai, who was sprawled on the ground and still clutching his camera.

 This photograph appeared on the front page of The New York Times on September 28, 2007.

A subsequent shot showed Nagai's body sprawled in the street as the soldier walked away.

Judging from the patch, the soldier responsible is believed to be from one of the Light Infantry Divisions (possibly LID 66) in charge of crowd control in Yangon at the time of protests.

At the Japanese embassy in Burma, a physician established the trajectory of the fatal bullet that killed Nagai, determining that the bullet entered Nagai's chest from the lower right side and pierced his heart before exiting from his back.
在ビルマ日本大使館によると、ドクターの所見では銃弾は背後から撃たれたもので右胸低部から心臓を突き抜けていた。(日本語版と齟齬がありますが、英語版の翻訳です by srachai)

On October 8, new footage showing how a Burmese soldier apparently confiscated fallen Nagai's video camera was revealed on a Japanese news show.

Adrees Latif's photo, depicting Nagai sprawling on the pavement before his death, won the Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography in 2008.


Reporters Without Borders condemned the killing of Nagai, noting that Nagai was carrying a camera in his hand when he was shot, identifying him as a journalist. The director of the RWB's Washington, D.C. branch, Lucie Morillon, said that Nagai was "left to die in the street."

Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda bemoaned Nagai's death as "extremely unfortunate" and Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura offered his prayers and condolences.

Machimura said: "We strongly protest the Myanmar government and demand an investigation (into the death). We demand (Myanmar) take appropriate steps to ensure the safety of the Japanese citizens in that country."

Japan's Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura stated that Japan holds Burma accountable for the death of Kenji Nagai.

According to Komura, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told him that the "international community cannot allow peaceful protesters to be killed and injured".

On September 28, Masahiko Komura lodged a protest over the killing of Nagai when he met with Burma's Foreign Minister Nyan Win at the United Nations Headquarters. In the meeting, Nyan Win apologized for Nagai's death. 9月28日、高村正彦外務大臣はニューヨークの国連本部でミャンマーのニャン・ウィン(Nyan Win)外相と会談。「平和的デモに強圧的な実力行使が行われ、日本人が死亡した。大変遺憾であり強く抗議する」と述べ、ウィン外相が謝罪した。また「報道の映像で見る限り、至近距離から射殺されており決して流れ弾のようなものではない。真相解明を強く求める」と発言した。

Yabunaka Mitoji, Deputy Minister for Japanese Foreign Affairs, left for Burma on September 30.

Although Nyan Win officially apologized, an October 13 article locally published in the government-owned Mirror newspaper offered a different view of the events. It claimed that Nagai had entered the country using a tourist visa instead of proper journalist visa and faulted the cameraman for failing to get a permit to cover the news inside Burma. It emphasized that the event occurred at the time of martial law being imposed and the soldiers could not differentiate between a Burmese citizen and a Japanese because of the resemblance in Asian looks.
事件は戒厳令下に発生した。同じ東洋人でビルマ人と見分けがつかなかった。(嘘です、一目瞭然です by srachai)

Nagai's father, Hideo, told the media: "I don't want Myanmar authorities and the government to resort to such measures. I want them to prevent something like this from happening again." According to Japan's Foreign minister Masahiko Komura, Japan is considering curbing development aid for Burma.

"The Group Protesting the Murder of Mr. Nagai by the Army of Myanmar" was founded by Japanese journalists, intellectuals and celebrities in order to protest Nagai's killing and petition for the return of his camera and tape.
By November 2007 the group collected 20,000 signatures, primarily in Japan. On November 26, 2007, the group posted an English version of the letter on their website and started collecting signatures internationally.

(翻訳は意訳です by srachai)

太平洋経済連携 首相は交渉参加に指導力を

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 28, 2010)
Kan must take initiative to join TPP negotiations
太平洋経済連携 首相は交渉参加に指導力を(10月27日付・読売社説)

Members of the government and the Democratic Party of Japan are split over whether Japan should join an economic partnership framework to liberalize trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region.

It is extremely important for Japan's economic growth that this nation harnesses the economic vitality of nations in Asia and elsewhere.

We urge Prime Minister Naoto Kan to exercise leadership to quickly form a consensus within his party on this matter, and make sure Japan is actively involved in the partnership framework.

The framework is called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, whose original agreement came into force in 2006 with four members--Brunei, Chile, New Zealand and Singapore. Five more nations including the United States and Australia later started negotiations to join the partnership. The nine nations have been negotiating with the target of concluding a final agreement next autumn.

Canada, China and South Korea are reportedly keen to join the TPP. It is highly likely that this grouping will eventually expand into a huge strategic economic partnership agreement.


Chance to grow at stake

If Japan does not join the TPP, it would be excluded from a framework indispensable for the country's economic development. We think the government would be wise to join the negotiations as early as possible to boost trade and give economic growth a shot in the arm.

Discussions for and against participation in the TPP came to life after Kan told the Diet he would consider joining the negotiations.

Japan's strategy on economic partnership agreements has fallen behind those of South Korea and other countries. The government will at long last formulate a basic policy on EPAs in early November. It seems Kan wants to include Japan's participation in the TPP in this basic policy.

The timing of these developments suggests Kan would like to lead discussions on promoting free trade at a series of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meetings to be held in Yokohama next month. Kan will be chairman of the APEC summit.

Japan urgently needs to regain lost ground in its trade policy. We welcome Kan's zeal for joining the TPP.

However, difficulties lie ahead. The TPP defines rules to abolish tariffs of commodities in principle. If Japan signed on to the agreement, it would be required to abolish tariffs on agricultural products such as rice, which have been protected by high customs duties. Therefore, the framework will pose some vexing problems for Japan.


Conflicts of interest

Agricultural organizations and the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry fiercely oppose joining the TPP. Former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, former Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Masahiko Yamada and many other DPJ members participated in a recent study meeting for DPJ members who oppose the TPP. They are at odds with the Foreign Ministry, the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry and the business community, which are all for participation in the TPP.

We think Hatoyama and other TPP opponents are more concerned with trying to rattle the Kan administration than actually objecting to the trade partnership.

Admittedly, diametrically differing estimates of the effects of Japan's participation in the TPP have created confusion. METI and others say joining the TPP would help Japan's economy by about 7 trillion yen to 10 trillion yen in 2020. However, the farm ministry says participation would result in a loss of nearly 16 trillion yen, if the decline in agricultural production and effects on other industries are factored into the equation.

The government needs to settle on one final figure and show it to the people. Failure to do so will leave the public unable to judge whether joining the TPP would be to Japan's advantage or not.

The DPJ-led government has introduced income support for individual agricultural households, but it has done nothing to improve the international competitiveness of Japan's agricultural products. It should review this dole-out policy and quickly formulate measures to revamp the nation's agriculture sector to prepare for liberalization of the market.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 27, 2010)
(2010年10月27日01時46分  読売新聞)

インド首相来日 経済・安保両面で連携深めよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 27, 2010)
Japan, India must deepen security, economic ties
インド首相来日 経済・安保両面で連携深めよ(10月26日付・読売社説)

India, a major power in South Asia, is not only a promising market with a fast-developing economy but also a country that shares concerns with Japan over China's military expansion.

Tokyo should strategically enhance its partnership with India in both economic and security fields.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited Japan this week and agreed with Prime Minister Naoto Kan to establish a ministerial-level economic dialogue between the two countries.

Japan has been holding similar ministerial talks with China. But the aftermath of a Chinese fishing vessel's collision with Japan Coast Guard patrol boats off the Senkaku Islands in September has revealed that China, under the single-party regime of the Chinese Communist Party, does not hesitate to use high-handed diplomatic measures over economic and personnel exchanges to push its political demands.

By contrast, India is a democratic country and shares similar values with Japan, such as the rule of law. It does not present the political risks that China does. Besides, India has a population of 1.2 billion, the second largest after China, and maintains a high economic growth rate of 9 percent annually.


Economic enhancement

Enhancement of Japan's economic partnership with India will alleviate the nation's economic dependence on China.

In their summit talks, Kan and Singh also agreed that Japan will help India increase production of rare earths, which are indispensable in manufacturing many high-tech products. India's output of rare earths is far behind China's but is still the second largest in the world.

We think Japan's cooperation agreement with India in this field is very timely because it is an urgent task for Japan to redress the current situation, in which the nation is totally dependent on China for its imports of rare earths.

The two leaders also officially endorsed an economic partnership agreement and promised each other to put it into effect as soon as possible.

With the agreement, India's tariffs on imports of Japanese auto parts and steel would be abolished within 10 years. This would enable Japanese companies manufacturing products in India to drastically reduce the costs of procuring parts from Japan.

The agreement also will simplify procedures for Japanese businesspeople to obtain visas for brief visits or longer stays in India. It will surely help expand business opportunities for Japan in the country.


Security cooperation

Security cooperation between the two countries is significant, too. Japan faces a direct threat from China's maritime expansion in the East China Sea, while India is exposed to a similar threat in the Indian Ocean.

Japan and India should actively utilize vice-ministerial talks between their foreign and defense ministries, which were established at the end of last year, to discuss common strategy regarding China, such as measures to ensure the safety of sea lanes.

The two countries also need to seek partnerships with the United States, and then with the Southeast Asian countries that stand at the forefront of friction with China. To realize this goal, Japan and India, regional powers in Asia, must further deepen bilateral relations.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 26, 2010)
(2010年10月26日01時52分  読売新聞)


Burma's highest court has agreed to hear my final appeal for release from house arrest. I want to be out before the election.
9:01 AM Oct 22nd via Seesmic Desktop

@Plaid_Hu I'm tricky like that! Guess the Junta never noticed the satelite dish I had installed on the roof.
9:00 AM Oct 22nd via Seesmic Desktop in reply to Plaid_Hu
(これは軍事政権が容認しているものと考えられます。民主化の流れは中国でもそうですし、ビルマ軍事政権も考えているということです。ビルマ軍は国防上大切な役目を担っています。そのうちきっとわかってくれると確信します by srachai)
Great story. "How can we expect change when there are still 2,200 political prisoners on election day?” http://bit.ly/b3O0Ds
10:23 AM Oct 20th via Seesmic Desktop

I agree. "Election will be credible only if the junta allows opposition leaders & ethnic minorities to participate" -UN rights investigator
1:40 PM Oct 19th via Seesmic Desktop

学研究予算 戦略なき削減は禍根を残す

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 26, 2010)
Reckless budget cuts create future problems
科学研究予算 戦略なき削減は禍根を残す(10月25日付・読売社説)

For Japan to survive intense international competition, there is no alternative but to build a nation driven by science and technological development. But it seems to us that the government is making light of this premise.

Many science-related budgetary allocations, including subsidies to sustain a wide range of basic research, are subject to "policy contests" in which budgetary requests by government ministries and agencies in the fiscal 2011 budget will be screened publicly.

State-run universities, which are instrumental in promoting research and fostering human resources, are included in the list of entities to be publicly screened. Operational subsidies, which are the universities' major financial lifeline, will be cut by about 56 billion yen--or nearly 5 percent--if all of their requests are rejected during the public screening.
The 56 billion yen corresponds to the entire amount of subsidies provided to Kyoto University, the second-biggest amount among national universities.

Protect university subsidies

Since state-run universities were turned into incorporated bodies in 2004, state subsidies to them have been trimmed by about 1 percent annually--a total cut of just over 80 billion yen. This might exacerbate the current severe situation under which it is difficult to maintain research and education levels.

About 210 billion yen, or 15 percent, of the budgetary requests for promoting science and technology projects--direct investments in this important field--will be subject to public screening. Also subject to scrutiny is the budget for a space probe to succeed Hayabusa, which earlier this year returned to Earth after completing its mission to the Itokawa asteroid.

The important thing is to promote research and development in both basic and practical fields while fostering capable personnel. Government investment should be decided from comprehensive and strategic viewpoints.

Screening science budgets, in which participants vie for superiority from a short-term perspective against other government policies, will open the door to serious problems in the future.

Final decisions on whether the projects will go ahead will be made by an evaluation panel comprising government leaders. We hope the panel will at least scrutinize individual projects closely so as not to nip promising programs in the bud.

Many people in the science and technology field are concerned that there could be a repeat of last autumn's open budget screening to eliminate waste in government spending.

Investments in future vital

The advisability of the government's project to develop a world-class supercomputer was questioned at a screening panel last year. One panel member even asked why Japan should try to develop the world's fastest computer. It is foolhardy to cut a budget without understanding how importance the project is.

The policy contests--and the opportunity to divide up more than 1 trillion yen set aside by the government--were introduced in return for a uniform 10 percent cut from the previous fiscal year in budgetary requests by all government ministries and agencies.

Most science-related budgets are compiled by the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry. Due to constraints such as the 10 percent cut in budgetary requests and the 400 billion yen required for free high school education--an important policy of the ruling parties--subsidies for state-run universities will be screened.

We think high school tuition should only be made free if there is an income ceiling on recipients, so that only families who cannot afford to pay are entitled to the financial aid.

Investments in the future should not be trimmed because money has to be set aside for government hand-out policies.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 25, 2010)
(2010年10月25日01時01分  読売新聞)


Plaid_SuuKyi    The new flag has a white star in the middle with 3 columns of color - yellow, green and red. http://bit.ly/d3BQfl
1,287,763,699,000.00 via Seesmic Desktop
Reply Retweet .

Plaid_SuuKyi    Yesterday the junta reveiled our new national flag, its suppose to stand for solidarity, peace & tranquility, & courage & decisiveness.
1,287,763,611,000.00 via Seesmic Desktop
Reply Retweet .

Plaid_SuuKyi    My house arrest is due to expire on Nov 13 a week after the election.
1,287,763,334,000.00 via Seesmic Desktop
Reply Retweet .

Plaid_SuuKyi    Burma's highest court has agreed to hear my final appeal for release from house arrest. I want to be out before the election.
9:01 AM Oct 22nd via Seesmic Desktop
Plaid_Hu    Surprised the Myanmar Government allows @plaid_suukyi to use Twitter and have access to the Internet #imjustsayin
11:24 PM Oct 21st via web
(今までジャンタにより制限されていたのは間違いないと思う byスラチャイ)

反日デモ拡大 中国指導部は沈静化を急げ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 19, 2010)
Chinese leaders must calm anti-Japan rallies
反日デモ拡大 中国指導部は沈静化を急げ(10月19日付・読売社説)

Even as official Japan-China relations have been improving, a string of large anti-Japan demonstrations have been taking place in inland Chinese cities such as Chengdu, Xian and Wuhan.

Involving thousands to tens of thousands of people, the demonstrations began at the end of last week over the September incident involving the collision of a Chinese fishing boat and Japan Coast Guard patrol vessels off the Senkaku Islands.

University students joined the demonstrations, responding to cell-phone text messages urging them to protest, and some ordinary citizens followed them.

Some demonstrators became violent and attacked Japanese supermarkets and restaurants, breaking their windows. Rioters also burned Japanese national flags, turned over Japanese automobiles and left streets in shambles.

Similar demonstrations seem to be spreading to other cities in China. They are a serious concern for Japan-China relations.

Chinese authorities must use every means at their disposal to stop demonstrations from turning into riots, protect the safety of Japanese residents and avoid any disruption to the operations of Japanese companies in the country.


Chinese youth frustrated

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said, "It is understandable that some people expressed their outrage against the recent erroneous words and deeds on the Japanese side." This stance sounds as if Beijing is encouraging illegal acts.

University students living in inland regions of China have been suffering from a serious hiring slump. Economic disparities are also spreading between urban and rural regions of the country.

In addition to these factors of social instability, young people born from 1980 on have been taught anti-Japanese propaganda to stir their patriotic and nationalistic sentiment, education that was strengthened under the government of former Chinese President Jiang Zemin.
Any little catalyst can prompt them to anti-Japan action.

The international community is paying even more attention to the democratization of China, especially since imprisoned activist Liu Xiaobo was awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize. Leaders of the Chinese Communist Party are apparently most afraid that young people's frustrations, which are now taking the form of anti-Japan protests, could transform into antigovernment movements demanding democracy.

That is why some observers suspect Chinese security authorities are maneuvering anti-Japan demonstrations to alleviate young people's discontent.


Chinese leaders tested

The latest demonstrations happened during the plenary meeting of the party's Central Committee. Some observers have even said that it is difficult to rule out the possibility that the military and the conservative wing of the party, which are profoundly wary of Japan, have staged the demonstrations to pressure party leaders so they will not readily make concessions to Tokyo over the Senkaku incident.

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping was elected vice chairman of the party's Central Military Commission at the committee's plenary meeting. This makes Xi certain to succeed party General Secretary Hu Jintao at the party's congress in autumn of 2012. We believe Xi needs to realize the significance of China's relations with Japan.

Early this month, Prime Minister Naoto Kan and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao confirmed in Brussels that they would promote a strategic, mutually beneficial relationship between their countries. However, if anti-Japan demonstrations continue to happen frequently in China, efforts to mend bilateral relations might fail. Chinese leaders' stance on the matter is being tested.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 19, 2010)
(2010年10月19日01時30分  読売新聞)

格安航空参入 本格化する「空」の価格競争

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 19, 2010)
Low-cost carriers will ignite airfare war
格安航空参入 本格化する「空」の価格競争(10月18日付・読売社説)

Foreign low-cost carriers (LCCs) are lining up to enter the Japanese market. They are catching the eyes of customers by offering ultralow fares--for example, 5,000 yen for Haneda-Kuala Lumpur flights and 4,000 yen on the Ibaraki-Shanghai route.

Airfares in Japan are said to be the highest in the world. Intensified price competition will be ringing alarm bells at major domestic airlines, which have provided service to passengers calculated on the premise of charging high airfares.

The advance into Japan by these carriers is expected to stimulate demand for air travel among passengers--especially young people--who are sensitive to fares, thereby attracting visitors from Asia and elsewhere. We hope these carriers' full entry into the Japanese market will help revitalize the national economy.

LCCs now fly about 40 percent of all passengers in the United States and Europe and nearly 20 percent in Asia. Their trademark management strategy is to offer rock-bottom airfares by slashing operating costs.


Cost-cutting efforts

These airlines keep a lid on maintenance costs by using a limited number of aircraft models and maximizing flight numbers by shuttling between destinations with a short turnaround time. They crimp on personnel costs by making cabin crew clean the aircraft. Seats are squeezed close together and passengers must pay for in-flight meals and movies.

Australia's Jetstar Airways, South Korea's Jeju Air and China's Spring Airlines are already here, and Malaysia's AirAsia--the largest low-cost carrier in Asia--will start operating in Japan in December. This is expected to crank up competition among LCCs.

Regular international flights will resume at Haneda Airport late this month for the first time in 32 years with the completion of a new runway. The number of departure and arrival slots at Haneda and Narita airports will expand to 750,000 a year--1.5 times the current figure--in three to four years.

The planned increase in slots will have the LCCs rubbing their hands with glee. Their entry into Japan had been hampered by the restricted number of available slots.

To counter the arrival of foreign LCCs, All Nippon Airways will establish Japan's first full-scale LCC this year and start service next fiscal year. Japan Airlines, which is struggling to reconstruct itself after filing for court-administered bankruptcy early this year, also is contemplating launching an LCC.


Change concept

Some observers have suggested the Japanese LCCs will steal passengers away from their parent airlines. But domestic airlines will fall behind foreign LCCs in attracting Asian passengers and also lose Japanese passengers to them if they sit idly by. ANA and JAL must overhaul their deep-seated, high-cost management mind-set and promote their low-cost business in earnest.

LLCs have not found a foothold in the Japanese market because this nation's civil aviation policy paid more heed to the intentions of domestic airlines sticking with high fares than to passengers.

We think the government should reinforce its policy support of LCCs as this will enhance the international competitiveness of domestic airlines and promote Japan as a tourism-oriented country.

The government must consider lowering the expensive landing fees that have rankled foreign airlines, build terminals exclusively for LCCs and deregulate the fare system so fares can be set flexibly. Needless to say, the industry must be closely supervised to ensure that passenger safety is never compromised.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 18, 2010)
(2010年10月18日01時28分  読売新聞)









[ はじめに ]

[ 名前 ]
松井 清 (スラチャイ)

[ 略歴 ]
・99/10 タイ全土を旅行
・00/10 タイに移住
・03/07 カイちゃん誕生
・07/06 シーファーちゃん誕生

[ 座右の銘 ]
Slow and steady wins the race.

[ 学習の手引き ]
・Think in English.

seesaa100 英字新聞s HPs





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
23 日時・場所・天候を尋ねるとき
24 その他

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
23 日時・場所・天候を尋ねるとき
24 その他

01 雨の日にも傘をささないタイ人
02 勉強熱心なタイ人女性たち
03 タイ人は敬謙な仏教徒
04 タイの市場
05 タイの食堂
06 タイ人は外食が大好き
07 果物王国タイランド
08 タイ人の誕生日
09 タイの電話代は高い
10 微笑みの国タイランド



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