石炭火力発電 技術開発テコに活用続けたい

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 21, 2013)
Govt must continue pushing coal thermal power generation
石炭火力発電 技術開発テコに活用続けたい(2月20日付・読売社説)

As a nation that relies on foreign energy resources, Japan needs to secure a stable supply of cheap electricity.

In the wake of the disaster at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, almost all nuclear reactors in the nation have been idled. Thermal power generation using coal, which is cheaper and more readily available than oil and other fossil fuels, is worth taking another look at.

As part of its management reconstruction, TEPCO aims to procure electricity from new coal-fired thermal power plants to be built by other companies.

Within the government, however, opinion on whether to promote the plan is divided. The Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry is in favor of the plan, while Environment Minister Nobuteru Ishihara appears to be against it. Under such circumstances, private businesses will be unable to freely undertake construction projects for coal-fired thermal plants without worry.

Considering how difficult it will be to build new nuclear power plants given the current situation, the government must put forth a policy to push forward with the continued use of coal-fired thermal power.


Ways to overcome drawbacks

The biggest advantage of coal-fired thermal power generation is its low cost. According to estimations by a government expert panel, thermal power generation using coal costs 9.5 yen per kilowatt-hour, lower than the 10.7 yen per kWh for liquefied natural gas and 22.1 yen for oil.

However, one major drawback of relying on coal is that it creates a relatively large amount of greenhouse gases. Carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired plants are about twice that from LNG-fired plants.

Technological progress has been made in curbing CO2 emissions at coal-fired plants, but more ways to make up for such drawbacks must be found.

The Environment Ministry has put the brakes on constructing new coal-fired thermal plants based on its environmental assessment, a measure it considers necessary to deal with global warming.

Orix Corp. and Toshiba Corp. were forced to reexamine and scrap their coal-fired thermal plant projects in 2006, as coal was deemed to create too much carbon dioxide. The same happened to Nippon Kasei Chemical Co. in 2010. In fact, no new coal-fired thermal plant construction project has been approved in the past decade.

There are no definite standards set on permissible CO2 emission levels. Some observers have noted it is problematic that the Environment Ministry has arbitrarily discouraged the construction of new coal-fired plants.


Regulatory reform needed

Last week, the government's advisory panel on regulatory reform announced it would study easing and clarifying the requirements for constructing new coal-fired plants. This is a reasonable step. Regulations that have effectively hampered construction must be urgently reexamined.

Japan faces the task of securing a stable power supply while simultaneously implementing measures against global warming. Achieving this became more difficult after the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima plant. It is important to maintain diversified electricity sources, including coal firing, in addition to restarting nuclear reactors once their safety has been confirmed.

Many coal-fired plants in emerging countries, such as China and India, are inefficient. If these nations are to utilize Japan's high-performance equipment, however, it can act as a favorable contribution toward dealing with a global environmental issue.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 20, 2013)
(2013年2月20日01時38分  読売新聞)

米航空大手合併 世界の空を競う新時代の到来

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 20, 2013)
American-US Airways merger marks new era of global rivalry
米航空大手合併 世界の空を競う新時代の到来(2月19日付・読売社説)

The U.S. airline industry has reached the end of more than 10 years of mergers and acquisitions among major carriers. This indicates the dawn of a new era in which the three big U.S. carriers will take the lead in the global airline industry, as well as in Asia.

American Airlines and US Airways, the world's fourth and 11th-largest carriers, respectively, have agreed to merge this autumn. Under the deal, the new airline will surpass United Airlines and Delta Air Lines, the current No. 1 and No. 2 carriers, as the largest in the world.

It can be said that the latest development is the result of American and US Airways' shared intention to survive global competition by streamlining operations and expanding their customer base.

Following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, major U.S. carriers fell like dominoes due to economic slowdowns, soaring fuel prices and aggressive sales drives by low-cost carriers.

Later, these collapsed carriers consolidated after restructuring under bankruptcy protection. For instance, Delta merged with Northwest, while United absorbed Continental.


U.S. carriers to take leading role

The latest merger is also a move for airlines to find ways to survive through the same formula for recovery.

American entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection proceedings in autumn 2011 following delays in cost-cutting efforts and other factors. The airline still faces many challenges, as it has been unable to single-handedly put itself back on the corporate reconstruction track.

On the other hand, US Airways, which first entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2002 and again in 2004, is smaller than American in terms of passenger traffic, but has recently been performing relatively steadily.

The carrier is apparently aiming to shed its excessive dependence on domestic flight services and hoped to mutually complement each other with the merger with American, which has a solid network of international flights.

The focal point in the months ahead will be how quickly the two airlines can demonstrate the cost-reducing effect of the merger.

The new company plans to capture fast-growing markets, including those in Asia. It is certain that global competition in the airline industry will intensify further, with the three major U.S. carriers taking a pivotal role.

Currently, there are three global airline alliance networks that allow partner carriers to have codeshare flights and share mileage reward systems.


ANA, JAL must act quickly

The American-US Airways merger, in which both carriers belong to different alliances, may trigger a global realignment that goes beyond existing alliance networks.

The two major Japanese airlines--All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines, both of which run relatively small-scale operations--must raise their sense of urgency. We hope the two carriers will enhance their competitiveness by making further cost-cutting efforts and improving their services.

Yet the Boeing 787, which both consider their leading, next-generation aircraft, has been forced to suspend operations due to mechanical troubles. This negative effect is a matter of concern.

Hindered by its complicated electronic system and joint development through Japanese, U.S. and European manufacturers, there has been little progress in investigating the cause of recent incidents involving Boeing 787s, leaving no prospect for resuming operations even though a month has already passed since the planes were suspended.

If the suspension is extended, both Japanese airlines must review their business management plans centering on the 787s.

We hope both Japanese and U.S. authorities expedite their cooperative efforts to shed light on the cause of the incidents.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 19, 2013)
(2013年2月19日01時22分  読売新聞)

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通貨安競争 対立の火種を残したG20声明

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 19, 2013)
G-20 meeting failed to resolve cause of conflict
通貨安競争 対立の火種を残したG20声明(2月18日付・読売社説)

Industrialized nations--including Japan, the United States and European countries--and China and other emerging nations have agreed to avoid "currency competition" in which currencies are guided lower.

It is laudable that the Group of 20 meeting in Moscow avoided naming Japan in connection with recent weakening of the yen, but it did not quench the underlying fire that could blaze up again into a new confrontation.

The meeting was attended by finance ministers and central bank chiefs from 20 principal economies.

Since its inauguration in December, the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has adopted an economic policy dubbed "Abenomics" that combines drastic monetary easing with flexible fiscal measures, but which has led to the rapid weakening of the yen. This was a focus of G-20 discussions because emerging and some other member countries suspect Japan intentionally induced a weakening of the yen.

The joint statement adopted by the G-20 economies stated they would refrain from "competitive devaluation" and "will not target our exchange rates for competitive purposes." No reference was made to Japan in this regard although it was a matter of concern.

Finance Minister Taro Aso, who also serves as deputy prime minister, denied Japan intentionally weakened the yen and explained that the government's aim was to lift Japan out of deflation. It seems his explanation won a certain degree of understanding.


Oblique warning to Japan

Concerning monetary policy, the statement said it should be "directed only at price stability and economic recovery" and adverse impacts would be monitored closely and minimized. This could be interpreted as a warning to Japan that its economic policy should not adversely affect exchange and other markets.

Brazil, Mexico and other emerging economies are vigilantly watching excessive capital inflows and the strengthening of their currencies, which could follow the monetary easing measures of Japan, European countries and the United States. Their vexation may strengthen if the yen depreciates further.

For this reason, the government and the Bank of Japan need to exercise care as they carry out Abenomics to lead Japan out of deflation.


Promote growth strategy

The government should not rely only on the yen's weakness. Instead, it must step up efforts to put together concrete measures for the growth strategy that it lists as one of its "three arrows." The other "arrows" are monetary easing and fiscal stimulation.

There is a growing belief in industrial circles that the recent weakening of the yen represents nothing more than a slight correction of its exchange rates that rose to historically high levels and that the currency remains relatively strong.

It is essential for the government and the central bank to call on other countries to understand Japan's situation. But at the same time, Cabinet ministers and special advisers to the Cabinet must refrain from making comments on exchange rates that could affect the markets.

Bright signs have emerged for the world economy as the worst of the protracted European financial crisis appears to be over and the United States has avoided falling off its so-called fiscal cliff.

But the G-20 statement acknowledges that global economic growth is still too weak. This observation is quite natural. The G-20 economies face the heavy challenges of achieving growth and fiscal reconstruction at the same time.

Japan will have to expedite efforts to break away from deflation and achieve economic revitalization, thereby contributing further to the stabilization of the world economy.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 18, 2013)
(2013年2月18日01時26分  読売新聞)

自賠責保険 合理化努力を値上げの前提に

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 18, 2013)
Streamline car insurance program before price hikes
自賠責保険 合理化努力を値上げの前提に(2月17日付・読売社説)

If drivers are going to be required to shoulder a greater financial burden, the government must shed light on every problem in the compulsory automobile liability insurance program and reform it into a more transparent, rational system.

Premiums for the compulsory auto insurance that every car owner must take out will be increased by an average of 13.5 percent from April. This is the second significant increase following the 11.7 percent hike in fiscal 2011.

The planned increase is attributed to the deteriorating financial condition of the insurance program. Its accumulated deficits will exceed 500 billion yen at the end of fiscal 2012.

Revenues decreased after premiums for the insurance were drastically lowered in fiscal 2008, while insurance payouts for deaths and injuries caused by traffic accidents have increased.

The purpose of the compulsory auto insurance program is to help victims of traffic accidents. Since the program cannot be sustained unless its financial conditions are improved, we think premium hikes cannot be avoided.

However, we are concerned that insurance payouts have remained high even though the number of traffic accidents and the number of people killed or injured in them have been declining.

Behind it may be an increase in claims made for mild injuries, which are not included in traffic accident statistics, and assessments of damage by nonlife insurance companies, which tend to be more lenient than those for voluntary auto liability insurance.


Check payments

Private nonlife insurance companies manage the compulsory insurance program. The Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry, the Financial Services Agency and other government offices should work together to develop a system to check whether insurance money is paid appropriately.

Returns from the insurance premiums are accumulated in reserve funds to use for various projects, including one to help people who suffered permanent damage in traffic accidents. But how the reserve funds are used is problematic, too.

The ministry manages the funds in its special account. To alleviate fiscal difficulties, however, about 1 trillion yen from the reserve funds was transferred to the general accounts in fiscal 1994 and fiscal 1995.

The repayment deadline has been extended repeatedly, so about 600 billion yen has not been returned yet.

With the account balance down to 200 billion yen, the principal of the reserve funds has been used and shrunk because returns from the funds alone no longer cover the costs of running the projects.

Diverting the reserve funds to help traffic accident victims is not the purpose of the compulsory auto insurance. We expect the Finance Ministry and the transport ministry to swiftly carry out their pledge to restore the full amount by fiscal 2018.


In line with the times

Projects to help traffic accident victims and prevent accidents, which are run by the government, nonlife insurance companies and JA Kyosai (Zenkyoren or National Mutual Insurance Federation of Agricultural Cooperatives) with returns from the funds, should also be checked.

Projects to help victims of traffic accidents are important, but it is worth noting that the three organizations' activities often overlap, as with a project to distribute helicopters carrying doctors. Many should be financed by the government's general account or be conducted by nonlife insurance firms as their contribution to society. It is important to scrutinize the necessity and efficiency of the projects.

The government will need to plan a new insurance program in line with the times, such as one with discount premiums for highly safe vehicles equipped with automatic braking systems to prevent accidents.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 17, 2013)
(2013年2月17日01時26分  読売新聞)

日本版NSC 「外交安保」強化へ縦割り排せ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 17, 2013)
Abe's envisioned security council must be strong, well organized
日本版NSC 「外交安保」強化へ縦割り排せ(2月16日付・読売社説)

Setting up a government command and control body is significant for dealing with various national security issues.

A government panel of experts considering the creation of a Japanese version of the U.S. National Security Council held its first meeting Friday. With the panel planning to compile a report this spring, the government aims to submit related legislation during the current ordinary Diet session.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has long sought the establishment of a Japanese NSC. This is a second chance for him to take up the challenge.

In April 2007, the first Abe Cabinet submitted a bill to set up such a body to the Diet, but it was scrapped after deliberations on the issue saw little progress due to reasons such as the Liberal Democratic Party's loss in the House of Councillors election in July that year.

Recently, Japan saw a series of incidents that threatened its security, such as North Korea's nuclear test and a Chinese warship directing weapons-targeting radar at a Japanese vessel.

The government's existing security council has lost substance, merely serving as a forum in which the prime minister and other ministers confirm reports from bureaucrats. It is an urgent task to create a real decision-making body in which the prime minister and Cabinet members, including the chief cabinet secretary and foreign and defense ministers, will have substantial discussions on important diplomatic and security matters.


2 key tasks for Japanese NSC

A Japanese NSC would face two crucial tasks.

One is that it will make appropriate political decisions swiftly and give specific orders to better respond to ongoing emergencies. Another is that it will draw up medium- and long-term security strategies and set the direction of the nation's policy and actions to prepare for a crisis.

To that end, it is vital to eliminate the divided administrative functions of the status quo, under which government bodies such as the Foreign and Defense ministries and the police handle security issues separately, and create a new system that will enable all government entities to work together to support the Prime Minister's Office.

The government already has a body, part of the Cabinet Secretariat, that comprehensively coordinates government policies. It is led by assistant chief cabinet secretaries who deal with security, crisis management and diplomatic issues.

It is unrealistic to think the envisaged Japanese NSC will handle every security issue, and if its functions overlap with the existing entity's, the NSC could create inefficiency in government functions. The secretariat of the Japanese NSC basically should be small and staffed with capable personnel while being designed to take full control of relevant ministries and agencies.


Enhance intelligence capability

It is important to enhance the ability of the whole government in gathering and analyzing information, a precondition for making policies.

The recent hostage crisis in Algeria highlighted the difficulty in obtaining information on terrorism and military affairs in developing countries. It is essential for the government to increase the number of intelligence experts and train such personnel in the medium- and long-term.

We also call for reforms of the Cabinet Intelligence and Research Office, which supervises information handled by the whole government. Regarded as an "outpost of the National Policy Agency," the office's current role is far from its original task of allowing government bodies to share and best utilize key information.

The government also needs to develop a legal basis for counterintelligence to prevent sensitive information provided by the United States and other countries from being leaked.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 16, 2013)
(2013年2月16日01時50分  読売新聞)

iPS研究 実用化を進める法制度が要る

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 16, 2013)
Legal system needed to spur treatment with iPS cells
iPS研究 実用化を進める法制度が要る(2月15日付・読売社説)

What could be a significant first step has been made toward practical medical treatment using induced pluripotent stem cells.

Clinical research by the Riken Kobe Institute on the treatment of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), an intractable eye disease, has been approved by the Institute of Biomedical Research and Innovation Hospital, where the research will be conducted.

A Riken team will file an application with the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry for the implementation of its clinical research. If approved, clinical research will start in fiscal 2013 at the earliest to confirm the efficacy and safety by conducting iPS cell treatment on patients.

AMD is a disease that advances with age and leads to reduced vision or blindness due to a disorder in some retinal cells. No fundamental clinical treatment has been established. There are reportedly about 700,000 patients in Japan.

The planned treatment calls for applying a cell sheet generated from a patient's stem cells to the damaged retina, thereby restoring the patient's vision.

As for iPS cells, the risk of them becoming cancerous has been pointed out. But eye tissue, including the retina, has little possibility of doing so. It also shows almost no cellular rejection. For these reasons, the treatment of AMD was chosen for the first clinical application of iPS cell treatment.


Approval system defective

A matter of concern is that even if sufficient results are obtained through clinical research, it may take some time before approval is obtained from the health ministry for practical application.

First of all, there is no legal system in place for that type of procedure.

In order for drugs to be approved for use, procedures must be taken in line with the Pharmaceutical Affairs Law. Clinical treatment using iPS cells--generated from patients' own cells--will require screening criteria different from that applied to manufactured drugs, which are foreign to humans.

So the approval system must be revised.

Even in cases of regenerative medicine not using iPS cells, it takes time to obtain approval. Regenerative medicines, such as those using skin and cartilage, have been put into commercial use one after another in South Korea and the United States. In Japan, there are only two such products.

In South Korea, provisional approval is given on regenerative medicines after their safety is confirmed to a certain degree, thereby encouraging the development of such products.

Japan must study a plan to establish a system under which regenerative medical products can be swiftly put into practical use by adopting a temporary approval system similar to South Korea's and giving full endorsement by accumulating safety data after sales begin.


Fiscal assistance vital

It is essential to provide funds to help expand this planned clinical research to the treatment of other diseases, such as heart disease and diseases of the blood. The government will provide 110 billion yen over 10 years to help finance regenerative medicine using iPS cells and the development of new drugs. Research centers must be continuously expanded.

It must be noted, however, that hopes regarding regenerative medicine have led to the emergence of treatment methods whose safety is questionable. The health ministry plans to regulate such practices with a new law. Safety is important but legitimate research should not be constrained.

As symbolized by the fact that Prof. Shinya Yamanaka of Kyoto University received a Nobel Prize for production of iPS cells, Japan's basic research on regenerative medicine is among the world's best. The country should not fall behind in practical applications, either.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 15, 2013)
(2013年2月15日01時20分  読売新聞)

オバマ演説 「北の核」対処へ行動が肝心だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 15, 2013)
Obama to face global challenges over the next 4 years
オバマ演説 「北の核」対処へ行動が肝心だ(2月14日付・読売社説)

U.S. President Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize by declaring it was time to seek "a world without nuclear weapons."
However, the president has been hit by a harsh reality from North Korea that is contradictory to this ideal.

Obama laid out Tuesday his priorities for the year ahead in his first State of the Union address for his second term in office.

The president issued a warning to North Korea, which went ahead with a nuclear test before the speech, making it clear that the United States will take "firm action" against Pyongyang.

Obama said "provocations" like the test "will only isolate [North Korea] further." The United States will "lead the world in taking firm action in response to these threats," he added.

Obama also pledged his country will work to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, while engaging Russia to seek further reductions in nuclear warheads.

The United States should eliminate nuclear threats by putting pressure on North Korea through sanctions, while at the same time working closely with other countries concerned through various diplomatic channels. We hope that the president will take concrete action.


U.S. determined to take lead

In addition to nuclear issues, Obama emphasized that the United States will take steps against cyberterrorism, champion freedom and democracy, and provide support to Middle Eastern and African countries in their fight against extremists.

The speech conveyed Obama's strong determination that the United States should play the leading role in maintaining global security as the world's sole superpower, by working closely with other countries at a time when the country plans to withdraw more troops from Afghanistan.

The question is how he will achieve results.

Tuesday's speech did not discuss what a strategy placing importance on Asia actually means or how the United States should regard China. These issues, however, are also among key issues in the diplomatic and security fields for Obama's second term.

The speech also focused on fiscal reconstruction and reviving the U.S. economy as priority challenges for domestic affairs.

Early last month, the United States avoided the fiscal cliff--the expiration of large-scale tax cuts and the automatic imposition of mandatory spending cuts--after the president and Congress reached a deal.

However, the U.S. fiscal administration remains on a tightrope as the two sides have been divided over implementation of drastic fiscal reconstruction measures. There are just weeks left until March 1, the date to which the automatic spending cuts were delayed under the deal.


Looming clash with Republicans

In the speech, Obama said it is important to "reignite the true engine of America's economic growth--a rising, thriving middle class." He showed his focus on middle-income earners and called for Republicans to make major concessions to achieve fiscal reconstruction mainly through overhauling the medical insurance and social security systems, which face ballooning costs.

As Obama took a clearly confrontational approach to Republicans, the two sides are expected to go through a still fiercer tug-of-war.

However, mandatory spending cuts would have a negative impact on the U.S. economy, which is just getting onto a recovery path. Major cuts in defense expenditures also might jeopardize U.S. security systems in Asia and other parts of the world.

Obama also expressed his determination to complete negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade framework as part of efforts to expand employment in his country. Japan should accelerate efforts to take part in it.

With piles of issues at home and abroad, Obama's leadership will be called into question. He will surely face a series of challenges.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 14, 2013)
(2013年2月14日01時05分  読売新聞)



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北朝鮮核実験 国際連携で制裁を強化せよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 14, 2013)
World must unite to halt Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions
北朝鮮核実験 国際連携で制裁を強化せよ(2月13日付・読売社説)

North Korea's nuclear weapons development has entered a more dangerous stage. In light of the deteriorating security environment, Japan should strengthen its deterrence against Pyongyang in cooperation with the United States and other countries.

On Tuesday, North Korea went ahead with its third underground nuclear test. It was the first nuclear test under the regime of Kim Jong Un.

Pyongyang boasted that it successfully conducted a "high-level" nuclear test using "a miniaturized and lighter" nuclear device with greater explosive force than those used in the previous tests in 2006 and 2009. North Korea apparently aims to develop a nuclear warhead.

Given that North Korea also tested a long-range ballistic missile in the guise of a satellite launch in December, marking a dramatic extension of its missile range, there is no doubt that the country has moved a step closer to bringing nuclear missiles to the stage of practical use.


Serious threat to Japan

It was only natural for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to make a statement strongly condemning North Korea's nuclear test, saying it is "totally unacceptable" as it "constitutes a grave threat to Japan's security."

Japan will come under the most serious threat due to deployment of nuclear missiles by North Korea. This is because Japan is within striking distance of North Korea's medium-range Rodong missiles, about 200 of which are believed to have already been deployed.

It is essential to improve Japan's missile defense capability based on cooperation between the Self-Defense Forces and the U.S. military as well as to guarantee the reliability of the U.S. "nuclear umbrella," which Japan, a nonnuclear nation, relies on as a deterrent.

We commend Abe for immediately tightening Japan's unilateral sanctions against North Korea by banning the reentry of vice chairmen and other senior officials of the pro-Pyongyang General Association of Korean Residents in Japan (Chongryon) if they leave for North Korea. The prime minister should discuss additional measures.

Although it suspended production of plutonium for nuclear weapons, North Korea has resumed its enrichment of uranium. Therefore, it could begin mass production of nuclear weapons using enriched uranium. The international community must make all-out efforts to stop North Korea's further nuclear and missile development.

The latest nuclear test by North Korea is a major test also for South Korean President-elect Park Geun Hye, who will officially take office on Feb. 25. The Japan-U.S. alliance must be strengthened as a matter of course and it is also crucial to establish a crisis management system between Japan, the United States and South Korea.


Stronger U.N. sanctions needed

The U.N. Security Council must adopt a new resolution calling for stronger sanctions against North Korea.

On Jan. 22, the Security Council adopted a resolution to expand sanctions against North Korea after it fired a missile in December and warned of "significant action" if North Korea went ahead with a nuclear test.

But North Korea has conducted missile and nuclear tests repeatedly in defiance of Security Council resolutions because the adopted sanctions lacked practical effect.

To break this vicious circle, the Security Council should adopt comprehensive and practical sanctions and implement them thoroughly.

In connection with nuclear and missile development, North Korea has deep relations with Iran and Pakistan. With Iran, North Korea concluded an agreement on science and technology cooperation last autumn. The international community must strictly restrict and monitor the movement of goods, money and personnel to prevent North Korea promoting nuclear and missile development.

It is necessary to study comprehensive financial sanctions while bringing into perspective a plan to include financial institutions that do business with North Korea on the sanctions list. It is also important to impose mandatory inspections of cargoes suspected to be banned trade items such as weapons of mass destruction and related materials.

North Korea said it will regard ship inspections as a blockade at sea and retaliate with a "military strike." Its moves must be constantly watched.

The role of China, a permanent Security Council member, is crucial.

China accounts for 70 percent of North Korea's trade. The country has transshipment ports for many vessels from North Korea. It holds the power of life or death over North Korea as the biggest supplier of energy and food aid.

Ostensibly, Beijing expressed its "absolute objection" to North Korea's nuclear test. But it hesitated to impose sanctions for fear of the Korean Peninsula being destabilized, thereby tacitly encouraging North Korea's nuclear development.

The Global News, a Chinese newspaper affiliated with the People's Daily, the organ of the Chinese Communist Party, has insisted on not hesitating to cut assistance if North Korea conducted a nuclear test. The Chinese government led by Xi Jinping must deal with North Korea sternly and put strong pressure on it to give up its nuclear ambitions.


Economic recovery unlikely

Kim Jong Un's slogan of "improving the people's livelihoods" shows no sign of being achieved. It seems he has no means of winning over the military and public sentiment other than boasting of nuclear and missile tests.

Fear of being targeted by a North Korean missile attack is growing even in the United States. With this as leverage, the Kim regime intends to open the possibility of dialogue with Washington. It probably aims to have economic sanctions lifted and to gain U.S. assurances of the safety of the current regime, all while keeping its nuclear arms.

But negotiations with Pyongyang should not be conducted easily. The international community should not lift sanctions on North Korea as long as it does not take concrete action to relinquish its nuclear ambitions.

Pyongyang must be aware that its own behavior will ultimately undermine its regime.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 13, 2013)
(2013年2月13日01時17分  読売新聞)







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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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