海兵隊移転合意 米軍基地返還を着実に進めよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Apr. 29, 2012)
Ensure steady progress on return of Okinawa bases
海兵隊移転合意 米軍基地返還を着実に進めよ(4月28日付・読売社説)

An agreement has been reached between Japan and the United States that has made it possible to balance the maintenance of deterrence capabilities with lessening Okinawa Prefecture's burden in hosting U.S. forces, while also mitigating Japan's share of the costs involved.

This is definitely a satisfactory accord for Japan.

It is highly important to ensure steady progress on the transfer overseas of U.S. Marine Corps forces from the prefecture and the return of land occupied by U.S. military installations there on the basis of the latest agreement.

The Japan-U.S. Security Consultative Committee, comprising the foreign and defense ministers of the two countries, on Friday announced a joint statement on a review of the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan.

Under the agreement reached in the committee, also known as the "two-plus-two" meeting, about 9,000 marines will be moved from Okinawa Prefecture to locations outside Japan. About 4,000 will be transferred to Guam, and the rest to Hawaii, Australia and the U.S. mainland. As a result, the number of marines remaining in the prefecture will be reduced to approximately 10,000.


Effective drop in costs

Dispersing marine forces over a broad area of the Western Pacific region with the aim of developing Guam as a strategic hub: This is the primary aim of U.S. forces' new strategy to cope effectively with China's growing military power. It will be conducive to boosting peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region as a whole.

Such marine forces as the Third Marine Expeditionary Headquarters and the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, the Marine Corps' main fighting force, will remain in Okinawa. That the deterrence capabilities of U.S. forces in Japan will be maintained in this fashion is valuable from the viewpoint of beefing up Japan's defense of the Nansei Islands.

The accord reached in the consultative meeting to develop training areas in Guam and parts of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, such as Tinian, as shared facilities for U.S. forces and the Self-Defense Forces is highly significant for deepening defense cooperation between the two countries.

In a review of the costs Japan and the United States will share in implementing the realignment, Japan's fiscal disbursement has been set at 3.1 billion dollars (about 251 billion yen), equivalent to a figure established in a 2006 agreement on the matter, adjusted for inflation.
On the other hand, Japan's monetary contribution and loans in connection with the relocation of U.S. forces, which was initially planned to be about 3.3 billion dollars, has been reduced to zero. This means Japan's fiscal burden linked to the relocation has in effect been reduced.

It is truly a welcome development that the issue of sharing expenses related to having U.S. forces stationed in Japan and related matters have been settled in a way satisfactory to both countries. It was always a subject of fierce discussions in past Japan-U.S. negotiations.

The accord divides five U.S. facilities in the southern part of Okinawa Prefecture, including Camp Zukeran, into 13 areas. They are either "eligible for immediate return upon completion of necessary procedures"; "eligible for return once the replacement facilities in Okinawa are provided"; or "eligible for return as U.S. Marine Corps forces relocate from Okinawa to locations outside of Japan."


Henoko the only viable solution

The agreement to have U.S. facilities returned to Japan step by step, according to their degree of eligibility for return, can lead to tangible results in alleviating the burden on local areas where the facilities are located. We place a high value on this.

It is important to work out steps to effectively utilize the land after the return of the facilities to promote the economy of Okinawa Prefecture. Local entities concerned should actively devise plans to use the facilities' sites, and the central government should throw its support behind their initiatives.

What must not be forgotten in this connection is the issue of relocating the functions of the Futenma Air Station within the prefecture.

To avoid indefinite use of the Futenma facility by the marines, there can be no alternative to relocation to the Henoko district of Nago in the prefecture, which the joint statement has reconfirmed "remains the only viable solution that has been identified to date." The central government and the government of Okinawa Prefecture must consult more seriously about the issue of relocating Futenma to Henoko.

Regrettably, because of the U.S. government's insufficient groundwork, the U.S. Senate's Armed Services Committee made an objection, causing the announcement of the joint statement to be delayed two days. Both Japan and the United States have had problems on security matters.

Endeavors on both sides to overcome these problems one by one will fortify the bilateral alliance.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, April 28, 2012)
(2012年4月28日01時02分  読売新聞)

香山リカのココロの万華鏡:演技でも感謝の一言を /東京

April 22, 2012(Mainichi Japan)
Kaleidoscope of the Heart: Give a word of thanks, even if it's not heartfelt
香山リカのココロの万華鏡:演技でも感謝の一言を /東京

A busy April has begun, and I feel that in my consultation room I am seeing more people complaining of being frustrated or unable to calm down.

Some people say they have become more likely to break out in anger at home or in the office.

They all think that things mustn't remain as they are, but they can't seem to calm down their feelings.

At those times, if someone close to them gave some kind words like "things are always tough, aren't they?" or "take it easy sometimes," they would surely feel better.

Their wound up feelings would loosen, and just from that they might feel like half their exhaustion was gone.

However, busy people are usually surrounded by people who are "busier," who can't stop to talk.

In my consultation room, one woman told me that when she returned from her busy workplace, she hurried to make dinner.

When her husband would get home at night, he would say things like, "What, today's another vegetable stirfry? Let me eat something more refreshing once in a while."

The woman would find herself snapping back with things like, "This morning you didn't throw out the garbage, did you!? Even though I asked several times."
すると女性も思わず、「今朝、ごみ出ししてくれなかったでしょ! あんなに頼んだのに」ととがめてしまう。

"Actually, I want to say, 'you must be tired from your late work,' and I want to have the same said to me.

But I can't say it.

Instead we criticize each other's mistakes," she told me.

When we're tired, instead of words like "thank you," we tend to want to say things like, "Why don't you do such-and-such?" or "Do more of such-and-such," complaining or demanding.

This is the same for anybody, no matter how high their position or how clever they are.

However, during these times, I expect that anyone can stop themselves and ask whether that is what the other person wants to hear.

As soon as we see each other, rather than criticizing or complaining, we should first smile and say something nice.

Some people may say, "I can't say something I don't feel," but isn't it OK even if it's an act?

When we give kind words, we start to feel true feelings of thanks.

If there is something we want to complain about, the other person will later listen to us.

First, we should look in the mirror and practice saying "thank you." It's OK to start by putting on an act.

(By Rika Kayama, psychiatrist)
毎日新聞 2012年04月17日 地方版

まずは口コミ情報で体験談を 電話占いユアーズ

今朝は電話占いユアーズ の公式サイトを訪問しましたが、全国の有名な占い師や霊能者がたくさん登録されています。ユアーズ経由で電話をかけるとお好みの占い師や霊能者から電話による相談を受け付けてくれるサービスなのです。登録されている占い師や霊能者は圧倒的に女性が多いようなので安心ですね。



観光推進計画 日本の魅力を世界に売り込め

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Apr. 27, 2012)
Brainstorm to attract more tourists to Japan
観光推進計画 日本の魅力を世界に売り込め(4月26日付・読売社説)

We hope the government and the private sector will make concerted efforts to convey to the world the appeal of Japan as a tourist destination.

For the first time in five years, the government has developed a new master plan to boost the nation's tourism. The new Tourism Nation Promotion Basic Plan contains various policy targets to be achieved over five years from fiscal 2012.

The number of foreign visitors to Japan--both tourists and businesspeople--reached a record 8.61 million in 2010, but the number plummeted to 6.22 million in 2011 due to the Great East Japan Earthquake and the subsequent nuclear crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

The numbers are alarming--the 2010 figure only ranked 30th in the world. In Asia, Japan lags far behind China, which recorded 55.66 million tourists in 2010, the third-largest number in the world. Japan also trails such countries as Singapore and South Korea.

We believe attracting more tourists from Asia and other developing areas would contribute to reinvigorating local cities, towns and villages and help the nation rebuild from the March 11, 2011, disaster.

The new plan sets a goal of increasing the number of foreign visitors to Japan to 18 million by 2016, more than twice the number seen in 2010. It also expects peoples' annual spending while traveling within the country--including Japanese travelers--to grow from 25 trillion yen to 30 trillion yen. However, both goals are not easy to achieve.


Tell the world Japan is safe to visit

First of all, the government and the public sector need to actively convey information to the world to dispel the false idea that travel to Japan is dangerous.

Last week, the World Travel & Tourism Council held a summit meeting of industry leaders for the first time in Japan. More than 1,000 people, including officials of major U.S. and European companies and media figures, participated in the event.

We urge the government to proactively campaign to hold more international meetings in Japan--which would bring together many foreigners with strong influence in their home countries--and thoroughly promote the safety of Japan at those gatherings.

A blog written by a Swiss man who reported on his recent walk across Japan has gained worldwide popularity. Such grassroots activities to introduce Japan have a major effect in publicizing the nation. It may be worthwhile for the government to encourage foreign students in Japan to convey the attractiveness and safety of the nation to people in their home countries.

About 3-1/2 years have passed since the Tourism Agency celebrated its inauguration. However, it is difficult to say that the agency has fulfilled its role as the leader of the nation's tourism policies due to budget constraints and human resource shortages. It needs to clarify the division of roles between itself and the Japan National Tourism Organization, an independent administrative institution whose tourism promotion operations overlap those of the agency.


Prepare unique tourism plans

Of course, tourist destinations also need to rack their brains to find ways to make themselves more appealing. Measures to boost local tourism led by prefectural and municipal governments often end up creating duplicate facilities or hosting events similar to those already available elsewhere in the nation.

If neighboring local governments could work hand in hand to create tourism areas that stretch beyond borders, it could increase the number of tourists who prefer to travel to a variety of tourism spots as well as increase the number of overnight tourists. Other efforts, such as selling special tickets allowing unlimited travel in certain areas and valid on different transportation systems, could also increase the number of tourists.

The Golden Week holiday period begins this weekend. We urge the tourism industry to make efforts to respond to the diversifying needs of tourists, such as developing the information infrastructure that would enable people to receive sightseeing information easily on their mobile phones and prepare experience-oriented tours combining various fields such as medical tourism, agriculture and sports.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, April 26, 2012)
(2012年4月26日01時45分  読売新聞)

仏大統領選 欧州危機の行方を占う決戦へ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Apr. 25, 2012)
French presidential race to decide European crisis
仏大統領選 欧州危機の行方を占う決戦へ(4月24日付・読売社説)

No winner was chosen in the first round of voting in the French presidential election. Incumbent President Nicolas Sarkozy and Francois Hollande, former first secretary of the French Socialist Party, will now battle it out in a runoff election on May 6.

In Sunday's election, 10 candidates ran for the presidency. Hollande led with about 29 percent of the vote, while conservative Sarkozy settled for second place with about 27 percent.

According to the latest opinion polls, Hollande will defeat his rival in the runoff by about 10 percentage points. Sarkozy's reelection is in danger.

The biggest campaign issue is economic policy. Since the jobless rate has reached 10 percent in France, voters are focusing their attention on an economic growth policy to expand job opportunities, rather than fiscal rehabilitation.

Results of the runoff election could strongly influence the future of the sovereign debt crisis in Europe, which is still unresolved. The judgment French voters hand down will have a very grave import on whether the eurozone crisis can be contained.


Criticism against austerity

Member countries of the European Union last year agreed to support a new treaty that obliges them to balance their budgets.

Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel played central roles in securing the agreements.

However, Hollande wants the treaty to be renegotiated, reflecting growing criticism within the country over austerity measures.

In the first round of the French election, Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right National Front, came in third place. Le Pen believes France should leave the eurozone. In the election campaign she expressed opposition to the EU treaty, which calls on member countries to enhance fiscal discipline.

Hollande will move closer to victory in the runoff if he succeeds in attracting the votes of people who supported Le Pen.

If he wins, Hollande will not be able to avoid friction with the German government, and the main pillars of the countermeasures taken against the fiscal crisis, which have been led by Germany and France, will be shaken.

The debt crisis in Greece has been contained for the time being, but uneasiness over Spain's credit is smoldering and business is experiencing a downturn in Europe. Austerity measures are unpopular in any country because they lead to a reduction of civil servants and an increase in the age of pension eligibility.


Future of nuclear power

We are concerned the fiscal crisis might reignite and the global economy may be negatively affected if France, the second-largest economy in the eurozone, changes course.

Japan also is interested in the future of France's energy policy.

Nuclear power was expected to be a campaign issue after Hollande initially pledged to reduce nuclear power generation, which accounts for nearly 80 percent of electricity production in France, to 50 percent by 2025.

However, after criticism that this policy would lead to a decrease in job opportunities, Hollande stopped voicing this pledge loudly.

We wonder if the basic policy of France, a country powered mainly by nuclear plants, will remain unchanged.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, April 24, 2012)
(2012年4月24日01時26分  読売新聞)

G20共同声明 IMF増強は前進だが課題も

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Apr. 23, 2012)
Boost of IMF's lending power significant, but stay vigilant
G20共同声明 IMF増強は前進だが課題も(4月22日付・読売社説)

The world has moved a step closer to containing the European debt crisis, as the Group of 20 major economic powers worked harmoniously to reinforce the financial foundations of the International Monetary Fund.

The G-20 meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors has concluded in Washington after adopting a joint statement. Traditional economic powers such as Japan, the United States and Germany participated in the meeting along with China and other emerging countries.

The statement referred to global commitments to increase the IMF's lending resources--the meeting's focus of discussion--by over 430 billion dollars (about 35 trillion yen), achieved through international cooperation including efforts by Japan.

The increase will double the amount the IMF can loan to countries in financial crisis. The
G-20 economic powers have finally succeeded in forming a united front against the eurozone debt crisis after being urged by markets to do so for a long time.

Apart from the IMF, Europe also has prepared its own funds to provide loans to such countries. Altogether, the safety net to prevent the debt crisis from spreading will top 110 trillion yen. We hope the reinforcement of the safety net will help stabilize markets.


Japan took lead role

It is worthy to note that Japan led discussions at the G-20 meeting. At the beginning of this year, Europe announced it would provide 200 billion dollars to the IMF, but other nations had been reluctant to follow suit. However, just days ahead of the G-20 meeting, Japan announced it would provide 60 billion dollars to the IMF, ahead of other nations.

The announcement primed the pump and a number of nations, including Nordic countries and Britain, promised to provide money to the IMF. In the end, Brazil, China, India and Russia--nations that had taken a cautious stance--promised to cooperate, without disclosing the amounts they would provide.

It is regrettable that the United States, the IMF's largest contributor, declined to provide money to the institution, noting an increase in its budget deficit. However, it was significant for the IMF to increase its lending resources to 430 billion dollars, almost accomplishing the goal it set in January of securing 500 billion dollars.

However, the European debt crisis has yet to be resolved and is still a threat to the global economy.

The IMF statement said the possibility of the world economy plunging into a severe crisis has begun to recede after peaking a few months ago, but warned that "downside risks still persist." We share this concern.


Worries on Spain

Credit uncertainty is still smoldering in Spain, raising the nation's bond yields. If Spain's financial crisis worsens, it may reignite crises in Italy and Greece, and the whole region could flare up once again.

The French presidential election and Greek general election will soon take place. The results may endanger the framework of measures established to combat the region's debt crisis.

The European economy is expected to contract this year. If eurozone nations become keen to implement austerity measures, this could further slow down the economy. The economic slowdown would curb tax revenues, resulting in deterioration of fiscal conditions. Such a vicious cycle has become a real possibility.

The G-20 economies should warn eurozone economies not to lower their guard, and demand they steadily implement fiscal reforms and revive their economies.

In addition to the European debt crisis, the world economy also faces the difficult problem of surging oil prices. The G-20 economies should not forget they are being tested on whether they can unite further to contain the crisis.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, April 22, 2012)
(2012年4月22日01時50分  読売新聞)

原発再稼働問題 自民党は傍観すべきではない

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Apr. 24, 2012)
LDP mustn't be bystander in talks on restarting reactors
原発再稼働問題 自民党は傍観すべきではない(4月23日付・読売社説)

Both the ruling and opposition parties share the same agenda on energy--avoiding a power crisis.

The main opposition Liberal Democratic Party promoted the country's nuclear power policy for many years, so it is extremely hard to understand why the party has placed all the responsibility on the current government, as if it is someone else's problem. We believe the opposition should proactively help the government restart the country's nuclear reactors.

In a recent speech, LDP President Sadakazu Tanigaki called for public understanding on the need to restart nuclear reactors. "Unless we reactivate the suspended nuclear reactors, it will lead to a number of problems, including disruption of the Japanese economy," he said.

The LDP's special committee on comprehensive energy policy clearly stated in an interim report the party would promote the resumption of the nuclear reactors "on the precondition that their safety is fully ensured and local residents' understanding and approval are obtained."

Nevertheless, the party is slow in helping reactivate the reactors.


Foundation of energy system

Past LDP-led governments insisted nuclear power is essential for Japan, a country with scarce natural resources. In 1974, under the Cabinet of then Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka, three laws were enacted, primarily aimed at promoting the construction of nuclear power plants by extending financial assistance to local governments hosting the plants, thereby laying the foundation of the country's energy system.

Fukui Prefecture is home to a number of nuclear power plants, including the Oi nuclear power plant operated by Kansai Electric Power Co., which has two reactors the central government wants to restart soon. The LDP maintains a strong influence in the prefecture as it holds all three of its seats in the House of Representatives' single-seat constituencies.

The largest opposition party has made a number of proposals to the government regarding measures to reconstruct the country from the Great East Japan Earthquake. The party should in a similar manner present constructive opinions to help the government restart nuclear reactors. It is essential for the party to show consistency in its policies.

The LDP's stance also is unsatisfactory with regard to both mid- and long-term nuclear power policies.

In its draft pledges for the next lower house election, the party effectively put off a decision on nuclear power by saying nationwide discussions should be held over a 10-year period. The party was unable to present a clear direction on the issue because some party members are critical of nuclear power.


Realistic policies needed

Although we would like expanded use of renewable energy resources, such as solar and wind power, there are no clear prospects of this. As LDP Secretary General Nobuteru Ishihara has pointed out, it will be necessary not only to decommission aging nuclear reactors but also to replace them with more reliable models.

Tanigaki should exert his leadership in drawing up realistic energy policies, including how to utilize nuclear power.

On the other hand, the Democratic Party of Japan, working in unison with the government, should proceed with the reactivation of nuclear reactors.

At the same time as the government is seeking Fukui Prefecture's cooperation in restarting the Oi plant's reactors, Yoshito Sengoku, acting chairman of the DPJ Policy Research Committee, met with local Diet members and assembly members of the party.

He stated in no uncertain terms that a political decision would be unavoidable regarding resumption of the nuclear reactors given the expected impact on companies' production and people's livelihood if they remained idle.

To obtain understanding from local governments and residents concerned, the DPJ should abandon its irresponsible policy of ending the country's dependence on nuclear power.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, April 23, 2012)
(2012年4月23日01時14分  読売新聞)

ミャンマー支援 民主化と市場経済に生かせ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Apr. 23, 2012)
Back Myanmar's democracy, economic reforms
ミャンマー支援 民主化と市場経済に生かせ(4月22日付・読売社説)

In throwing its support behind Myanmar's democratic transition, Japan deserves high marks for embarking on full-fledged development assistance to the Southeast Asian country ahead of the United States and European nations.

We hope this will be the start of stronger relations between Japan and Myanmar, which is in its democratic infancy.

President Thein Sein of Myanmar met Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda in Tokyo on Saturday during a visit that included participation in a six-way meeting with the leaders of four other Mekong Basin countries--Cambodia, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam.

In his meeting with Thein Sein, Noda said Japan would resume low-interest, long-term yen loans that have been suspended since the 1988 military crackdown on Myanmar's pro-democracy demonstrations. Resumption of Japan's development loans to Myanmar will add impetus to upgrading the country's large-scale infrastructure, such as roads and ports.

Myanmar's nascent democracy is on the threshold of being put to the test.

In parliamentary by-elections on April 1, Myanmar's opposition party, the National League for Democracy, led by democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, won a landslide victory.


Watch out for conservatives

In spite of their crushing defeat, the ruling party and the country's military still hold 80 percent of the seats in the legislature.

Can the parliament play its role in fully pressing ahead with political and economic reforms? A popular verdict on this question will be handed down in the general election scheduled for 2015.

What is of utmost concern is that those with vested interests, centering around conservatives in Myanmar's armed forces who are unhappy with the democratic reforms, might maneuver to oust Thein Sein.

Another cause of concern is that Suu Kyi and other NLD members may be prevented from taking their seats in the parliament. This is because the NLD, which wants the country's pro-military Constitution revised, opposes having its members sworn in as parliamentarians by taking an oath to "safeguard the Constitution."

Meanwhile, the United States and European Union have been moving toward easing their sanctions on Myanmar.

The U.S. administration of President Barack Obama has announced its plans to gradually ease some of its sanctions. Last week, Washington relaxed financial restrictions on nongovernmental organizations' humanitarian and developmental assistance for Myanmar. The EU also will soon discuss the suspension of some Myanmar sanctions.

During military rule, Myanmar's diplomacy was dependent almost completely on China. Now the country is set to improve relations with Japan as well as the United States and European nations.


Cooperation with Thailand

For Japan, the United States and European countries, consolidating relations with a nation of strategic pivotal importance that links Southeast Asia and South Asia is essential to counter China's growing influence.

Human resources needed to carry out Myanmar's democratic reforms and organize the market economy are seriously lacking.

Japan should extend a helping hand to Myanmar in a wide range of fields. Among them are development of younger-generation bureaucratic personnel, cooperation in creating a securities exchange, improving the livelihood of minority ethnic groups and enhancing agricultural skills.

From the viewpoint of tapping Asia's growth potential to assist Japan's economic resuscitation, it also is extremely important to deepen relations with such Mekong Basin countries as Thailand and Vietnam.

One idea might be for Japanese businesses to cooperate with Thailand in investing in Myanmar, as Thailand has a strong influence over the new democracy.

It is worth noting that Japan, in the six-way summit, proposed a three-year cooperation plan for such purposes as improving infrastructure in the Mekong Basin.

Japan's public and private sectors must use all means possible to ensure the envisioned cooperation can be achieved effectively.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, April 22, 2012)
(2012年4月22日01時50分  読売新聞)

2閣僚問責可決 自民の審議拒否は無理がある

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Apr. 22, 2012)
LDP's boycott of Diet deliberations unreasonable
2閣僚問責可決 自民の審議拒否は無理がある(4月21日付・読売社説)

The House of Councillors passed censure motions against Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Minister Takeshi Maeda and Defense Minister Naoki Tanaka by majority votes at its plenary session on Friday.

This raised to six the total number of Cabinet ministers censured in the 2-1/2 years since the Democratic Party of Japan took power.

Even if adopted, a censure motion in the upper house has no legally binding power, unlike no-confidence motions in the House of Representatives. Under the banner of the nonbinding censure motions, however, the opposition parties are demanding Maeda and Tanaka be replaced.

Such a malady, which is possible only in a divided Diet, should be rooted out.

The attitude of the Liberal Democratic Party is particularly problematic. The main opposition party has said it will boycott all deliberations until Maeda and Tanaka resign.

The LDP apparently expects Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda to agree to Maeda and Tanaka's dismissal, since he seeks the party's cooperation in enacting the bill to raise the consumption tax rate.

While in power, however, the LDP criticized opposition parties that boycotted Diet deliberations as "walking out on lawmakers' jobs." Has the LDP forgotten what it said?


Futile conflict

It would not be so serious if the LDP boycotted deliberations at the final stage of the Diet session. However, the session is still only halfway completed and has a mountain of important bills to deliberate. Even some members of the party, including former LDP Secretary General Makoto Koga, have voiced doubt over the decision to boycott deliberations.

New Komeito said it would boycott deliberations only at committees that Maeda and Tanaka have jurisdiction over. The opposition parties' failure to move in step with one another shows the LDP's decision to boycott all Diet deliberations is unreasonable.

In the past, the DPJ took advantage of censure motions many times. Even if the LDP returns to power in the next lower house election, it and Komeito still will not have a majority of seats at the upper house. The DPJ will likely take revenge in the same fashion. Such a futile conflict should not be repeated.

The prime minister has expressed his intention to keep Maeda and Tanaka at their posts. Noda apparently believes the LDP will have no choice but to return to deliberations if public criticism mounts against their boycott. It is like an endurance contest.


Maeda, Tanaka problematic

However, it is undeniable there are serious problems with Maeda and Tanaka.

Maeda signed a document calling for support of a particular candidate in the mayoral election in Gero, Gifu Prefecture, and sent it in an official envelope to a senior member of a local association of construction companies.

The censure motion against him claimed Maeda should not stay at his post because his action violated the Public Offices Election Law, which prohibits preelection campaigning as well as using the influence of one's official position in an election.

Meanwhile, the censure motion against Tanaka referred to turmoil caused by the government's response to North Korea's ballistic missile launch as "a fiasco that cannot be overlooked."

It also said Tanaka is "not nearly qualified" to be defense minster because he has made many mistakes, including his unprofessional responses to questions at the Diet.

It is imperative to hold Noda responsible for appointing Tanaka to the post.

Tanaka is the second censured defense minister in the Noda Cabinet, following Yasuo Ichikawa. Noda has been too naive in his choice of ministers in charge of national security.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, April 21, 2012)
(2012年4月21日01時41分  読売新聞)

地震想定見直し 首都の減災対策強化を急げ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Apr. 21, 2012)
Tokyo's disaster management plans need urgent upgrade
地震想定見直し 首都の減災対策強化を急げ(4月20日付・読売社説)

The current disaster management system for Tokyo, which experts say is at risk of being struck by a major earthquake, needs to be drastically reviewed.

In the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake, the Tokyo metropolitan government updated its estimates of the damage a major quake would cause for the first time in six years.

If a quake with its focus in northern Tokyo Bay strikes the metropolitan area, the estimated damage could cause a great number of deaths and injuries. New damage estimates show that 300,000 buildings--about 10 percent of all buildings in Tokyo--could be destroyed by the quake or resulting fires, and about 9,700 people could be killed in the disaster.

The newly estimated death toll is about 1.5 times higher than the previous estimate of about 6,400. The predicted casualties are expected to be enormous.

Such alarming figures have come to light as the latest seismology research predicts strong quakes could occur in an area about 1.5 times greater than previously thought. If the predicted quake occurs in this area, about 70 percent of Tokyo's 23 wards could be struck by tremors registering upper 6 or higher on the Japanese seismic intensity scale. As some areas could be hit by tremors of the highest intensity level of 7, even reinforced concrete buildings could be destroyed or damaged.

Although the quake- and fire-resistance of buildings has improved, many buildings are expected to collapse and fires are predicted to break out particularly in areas of the 23 wards with high concentrations of wooden houses.

Earlier this fiscal year, the metropolitan government introduced a program that will require residents of certain areas to make their houses fire-resistant. It intends to designate areas subject to the program as early as this summer.

The metropolitan government must steadily make preparations to reduce damage from the predicted quake.


Steps for those stranded urged

In the event of such a quake, about 3.39 million people could be forced to take shelter, mainly because their houses or apartments are badly damaged. The figure is about 10 times higher than the number of evacuees in the Great East Japan Earthquake. The new estimates also predict about 5.17 million people, such as workers in Tokyo, may be unable to return home.

To help people unable to return home, the metropolitan government last month enacted an ordinance calling on companies to store three days' worth of food and water that can be used in the event of a disaster. We hope companies will reliably comply with the ordinance. The metropolitan government should also increase cooperation with other entities, such as public transportation companies, lodging facilities and convenience stores.

We also urge the metropolitan government to consider measures to assist shoppers and tourists who are in central Tokyo at the time of a disaster.

The metropolitan government intends to work out new local disaster management plans--on which specific measures will be based--by September. With the aim of dependably minimizing damage from the quake, it must compile adequate plans.


Specific preparations are vital

Many factors are difficult to predict when estimating quake damage for a major city.

In the latest review, the metropolitan government simply listed the possible intensity of tremors in different areas. But it needs to be ready for more contingencies such as preparing for rescue and relief efforts in case community halls and other facilities, where many people gather, collapse. If a tsunami occurs in Tokyo Bay, ships could cause serious fires after being washed ashore.

High-rise buildings in central Tokyo may suffer damage from long-period ground motion, which would cause them to sway slowly and severely.

The central government also plans to draw up damage estimates for the entire Tokyo metropolitan area this winter. How can the nation maintain the operation of key government bodies, companies' headquarters and freight centers?

We hope the government will take all possible measures, including coordinated steps with Osaka and other major cities, to prevent Japan's political system and economy from being paralyzed.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, April 20, 2012)
(2012年4月20日01時26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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