安倍政権の課題 国力の向上へ経済に集中せよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun July 24, 2013
Abe administration must focus on economy to enhance nation’s power
安倍政権の課題 国力の向上へ経済に集中せよ(7月23日付・読売社説)


The administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe must make all-out efforts to revitalize the national economy and concentrate on enhancing national power.

The administration has made a new start after the Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner New Komeito scored an overwhelming victory in Sunday’s House of Councillors election.

Abe met with Komeito leader Natsuo Yamaguchi Monday to confirm their policy of strengthening cooperation. It will be necessary for the two parties, which failed to put forth common campaign platforms for the upper house poll, to steadily promote coordination on various policies.


In a news conference on Monday, Abe stressed he would put utmost priority on economic policy, saying, “Ending 15 years of deflation will be a historic undertaking.”

The foundation for social security, diplomacy and security cannot be bolstered unless the country can regain a strong economy and national power. Revitalizing the national economy is a way of meeting the expectations the people expressed in the upper house election.

Sales tax hike key issue

The biggest focal point for the moment is whether the government will decide to raise the consumption tax from 5 percent to 8 percent in April as scheduled.

Abe said he would make a prudent decision by autumn after analyzing such economic data as the real-term gross domestic product for the April-June quarter, which will be released on Aug. 12.

The economy has been picking up steadily due to the effect of Abenomics. But raising the consumption tax before a full-scale business recovery may affect the economy adversely. Some of the prime minister’s economic advisers have come out in favor of postponing a tax increase.

On the other hand, the nation’s fiscal condition is the worst among industrialized countries. Japan has made an international pledge to implement midterm fiscal reconstruction. The adverse effect of postponing a consumption tax increase on the government bond market is also a matter of concern.

In a recent Moscow meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors from the Group of 20 economies, Finance Miniser Taro Aso said the tax increase would be carried out as scheduled. Abe faces a hard policy decision on how to reach a balance between economic growth and fiscal reconstruction.

Discussions on the consumption tax hike will be also unavoidable from the standpoint of promoting reforms of the social security system. Based on conclusions of the national conference on social security reform to be announced in August, the government needs to set forth policies to curb medical bills and pension benefits, which have been burgeoning due to the graying of society, as well as concrete measures to deal with the declining birthrate.

The government is being put to the test over how to implement a growth strategy, the “third arrow” of Abenomics after bold monetary easing and fiscal stimulation.

Abe regards the autumn extraordinary Diet session as an opportunity to realize his administration’s growth strategy and is aiming for early passage of a bill to boost the competitiveness of the Japanese industry, including an investment tax cut to encourage businesses to make capital investment.

Boosting the vitality of Japanese companies could help realize a virtuous circle of wage hikes and an expansion of job opportunities.

In promoting the growth strategy, however, it is essential to secure a stable supply of electricity.

TPP talks in full swing

The Nuclear Regulation Authority has launched safety checks of nuclear power plants seeking to restart their idled reactors in line with new safety standards. To efficiently implement various kinds of safety checks, the safety examination system of the NRA should be reinforced.

Abe’s leadership is also needed to win the understanding of local governments and communities to resume the operations of nuclear plants.

The government should promote a realistic energy policy, while considering its impact on the economy, employment and the global environment.

Also important are the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations, which Japan will join for the first time on Tuesday. Japan should seize the opportunity to promote free trade and bring out the vitality of Asia.

Efforts must also be made to boost the international competitiveness of our agricultural sector in preparation for market liberalization.

On the diplomatic front, the biggest issue is how to improve bilateral relations with China.

Abe said, “The important thing is to have heart-to-heart talks with each other,” emphasizing the importance of dialogue. Also needed are persistent diplomatic efforts by both Japan and China to solve their differences.

China is still behaving provocatively by having its marine surveillance vessels sail around the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture. It was also recently learned that China is developing a new gas field near the median line between Japan and China in the East China Sea, which is escalating bilateral friction.

With China’s recent aggressive and intimidating actions and its military buildup, and North Korea’s nuclear and missile development threats, Japan’s security environment has been deteriorating.

Review collective self-defense

It is only reasonable for the government to review its interpretation of the Constitution with regard to the use of the right to the collective self-defense, a pending issue for many years. Such a review would strengthen the Japan-U.S. alliance.

An expert panel of the government will compile a new report on the issue by mid-October and is expected to propose that Japan should exercise its right to collective self-defense. Based on the proposal, the government should proceed to change its interpretation of the supreme law.

The nation’s security system needs to be strengthened by establishing the Japanese version of the U.S. National Security Council, promoting the relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps’ Futenma Air Station to the Henoko district in Nago and compiling new National Defense Program Outlines.

The next national election is not scheduled for three years. It is crucial for Abe to proceed with diplomatic and security issues step by step, together with his economic policy.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 23, 2013)
(2013年7月23日01時31分  読売新聞)

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参院選自公圧勝 数に傲らず着実に政策実現を

The Yomiuri Shimbun July 23, 2013
Coalition must not be arrogant but should firmly pursue policy goals
参院選自公圧勝 数に傲らず着実に政策実現を(7月22日付・読売社説)


The ruling coalition parties have scored a resounding electoral victory following their landslide in the December 2012 House of Representatives election.

In Sunday’s House of Councillors election, the Liberal Democratic Party and its junior coalition partner, New Komeito, garnered a majority in the 242-seat upper chamber, including seats that were uncontested this time.

It is of great significance that the divided Diet, in which the upper house was controlled by opposition parties, has been brought to an end.

There is no national election scheduled for up to three years.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration has now acquired an environment that will allow it to buckle down to various policy tasks. Among them are making the nation’s economic recovery compatible with fiscal reconstruction, strengthening the country’s security arrangements and considering the wisdom of revising the Constitution.

However, neither the LDP nor Komeito should be complacent or arrogant about their newly won political power but instead should engage in managing the Diet considerately and respectfully.

Voters favor stability

The divided state of the legislature developed six years ago as a result of the first Abe Cabinet’s suffering a crushing defeat in the 2007 upper house contest. Abe’s triumph this time has avenged that defeat.

When the outcome of the latest upper house race began emerging late Sunday night, Abe said on a TV program his administration was given a “great voice of encouragement from the public, which wants a political process capable of making decisions, achieving a stable government and moving ahead with our economic policies.”

The stagnation and political turmoil caused by the divided Diet were major factors behind the anomaly of a new prime minister every year. Many voters this time favored political stability as pointed out by the prime minister.

The prime minister’s package of economic policies, dubbed Abenomics, was the focus of contention in the upper house election and can be said to have won the public’s confidence, at least for now.

However, Abenomics has not yet produced any conspicuous improvements in the income of ordinary citizens or employment. It remains unclear whether the national economy can really break away from deflation.

To meet the public’s expectations for economic revival, the prime minister must do his utmost to produce tangible results by mobilizing all available resources of the government and the ruling coalition parties.

The resounding win of the LDP, the only party in the latest upper house election that did not call for “reducing nuclear power generation to zero,” can be considered proof that voters favorably evaluated the party’s down-to-earth approach to energy problems.

Moves for realignment

The LDP was strong enough in the upper house race to score 29 wins versus two losses in single-seat prefectural constituencies, while also garnering seats in all multiple-seat constituencies. Komeito also performed well in securing upper house seats.

The LDP’s victory in prefectural constituency contests owed partly to the poor performance of opposition parties, just as in last year’s lower house election, and to the circumstances under which they found themselves scrambling among themselves for upper house seats.

Voter turnout, meanwhile, fell well below the level in the previous upper house election. It seems some voters averse to the LDP might have chosen to abstain from voting.

The DPJ suffered a crushing defeat, the worst since its inauguration, in the upper house election. In many cases, the party was defeated by other opposition parties even in multiple-seat prefectural electoral districts.

There can be no denying that the desire to “punish” the DPJ for a pile of policy blunders while in power remains deeply ingrained among the public.

The election result shows the DPJ, as in the past, lacked solidarity as a party. One such example is that former Prime Minister Naoto Kan openly backed a candidate in the Tokyo constituency who had to run as an independent after the party dropped her from its ticket.

Taking into consideration the DPJ’s dogmatic “out-and-out opposition” in the Diet and its ambiguous stance on such key issues as the Constitution, the DPJ failed to attract the votes of those critical of the Abe administration.

DPJ leader Banri Kaieda expressed his intention to stay on as head of the party. The party leadership has no option but to clarify responsibility and start afresh after reflecting on its crushing defeat in the latest election. If it fails to do so, it may cease to be one of the two major parties in the next lower house election.

Those who bolted from the DPJ also failed miserably in the latest election. People’s Life Party failed to win a seat even in the Iwate constituency, the home base of its leader, Ichiro Ozawa, symbolizing his declining political clout. Green Wind lost its seat in the upper house.

While Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party) and Your Party saw gains in their upper house seats, the parties cannot be considered to have solidified their foothold as the “third major force” in the upper house.

During the election campaign, Ishin no Kai coleader Toru Hashimoto criticized the DPJ for being supported by labor unions of public servants and asserted the need of forming a “new opposition party” that has no affiliation with business organizations and “can rival the LDP.”

The opposition camp is certain to reorganize in a bid to explore a way to create a force that can fight the ruling coalition.

The JCP, which advocated “confrontation with the LDP,” made major gains in the election, as it did in the recent Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly election. The low voter turnout must have served as a spur to the highly organized party.

Focus on growth strategy

For the time being, the Abe administration will deal with the tasks of implementing its growth strategy plans, deciding whether to raise the consumption tax rate as planned and reviewing the government’s interpretation of the Constitution with regard to the right to collective self-defense. It also intends to proceed with the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations and the establishment of the Japanese version of the U.S. National Security Council.


All of these are important issues that affect the nation’s future.

We hope the administration will realize them by strategically setting priorities.

Abe said, “Now that the divided Diet has come to an end, we can no longer lay the onus on the opposition parties” if the ruling camp fails to handle these tasks adequately. How well the government and the ruling parties can deal with these issues will be tested in the days ahead.

Another focus will be on Komeito’s future actions. During the campaign, the party said it would act as a brake on some of the LDP’s policies.

Komeito leader Natsuo Yamaguchi has even said the party would “adamantly oppose” a review of the government’s interpretation of the Constitution to allow Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense, as Abe advocates.

Abe needs to consult with Yamaguchi afresh over the tasks facing the ruling coalition. It is vital for both to cooperate by communicating with each other well so they can properly manage the powerful ruling parties.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 22, 2013)
(2013年7月22日03時38分  読売新聞)

性犯罪の起訴状 被害者匿名が必要な時もある

The Yomiuri Shimbun July 20, 2013
Crime victims’ names should be kept anonymous in some cases
性犯罪の起訴状 被害者匿名が必要な時もある(7月19日付・読売社説)

Should the real names of victims of crimes be mentioned in an indictment? In a rare development, the court and prosecutors involved in a case are locking horns on the matter.

In a bill of indictment for an indecent assault charge, the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office left out the name of the victim, who was a minor. The Tokyo District Court disputed the omission and called for the name to be given.

If prosecutors refuse to comply with the court’s request, it is feared that hearings for the case will be canceled following the dismissal of the prosecution.

The minor in the case was assaulted in an indecent manner in a park restroom. In response to a complaint filed by the child’s parents, the prosecutors indicted a man in his 20s. The parents told the prosecutors up front they would “withdraw the complaint if the child’s name were revealed.”

This is probably because they feared the accused might harbor a potentially dangerous grudge against their child, among other concerns.

Law murky on issue

Indecent assault is an offense that can only be prosecuted after a complaint is filed. Therefore, indictment is not possible without a complaint. The prosecutors, it may be said, had no choice but to withhold the victim’s name in the indictment to prevent the family from having to bear the burden of the offense on their own.

The child was presumably selected at random by the accused. Even before the assault, the alleged offender was not aware of the name of his victim. Disclosing the name in the prosecution process could become problematic from the standpoint of protecting victims of crimes.

The district court took issue with the prosecution’s omission out of concern that withholding the victim’s name would undermine the criminal trial system, which is based on the use of real names. Though there is no such specific requirement in the Criminal Procedure Code, in principle the victim’s name is usually mentioned in addition to other information such as the time and date of the crime committed against that person.

Behind this practice is the idea that if the victim’s name, which is an indispensable element in establishing a crime, is not identified, it could disadvantage the accused when the defense is making a rebuttal.

In fact, in trials over molestation and other crimes, lawyers have proved the accused’s innocence by constructing an effective defense based on information gathered through acquaintances of people claiming to be victims.

Still, it should not be assumed that the names of sex crime victims should always be withheld in indictments.

Overly strict stance

In the case in question, the accused has not disputed the facts presented. If the child’s name remains hidden, it should not negatively affect the court hearings. The district court’s request for disclosure of the name seems to be an excessively rigid stance.

The need to protect victims in judicial procedures was highlighted in connection with a stalking and murder case that occurred last autumn in Zushi, Kanagawa Prefecture.

When police read the victim’s address aloud as written on the arrest warrant, the offender was made aware of the victim’s whereabouts and found the new address after being released from jail. This provoked the final tragedy in which the victim was murdered.

In a trial at the Kobe District Court’s Himeji branch, a victim’s name was written in katakana on an indictment. This is one example showing that trial and error continue on this issue on the judicial front.

The Supreme Court’s Training and Research Institute for Court Officials will soon investigate the issue of anonymity by reviewing cases that have set precedents on the matter. It is essential for the results of such research to be utilized to help judges facing these kinds of decisions.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 19, 2013)
(2013年7月19日01時49分  読売新聞)

エジプト情勢 民政復帰への道のりは険しい

The Yomiuri Shimbun July 21, 2013
After military coup d'etat, Egypt faces bumpy road to civilian rule
エジプト情勢 民政復帰への道のりは険しい(7月20日付・読売社説)

Egypt’s provisional government has been inaugurated, led by interim President Adly Mansour. Mansour replaced former President Mohammed Morsi, who was dismissed in a de facto military coup d’etat.

In fact, it is a military-led government. Defense Minister Abidel Fattah el-Sissi retains his post and doubles as the first vice premier. Many economic experts have been appointed as Cabinet ministers in light of the people’s discontent over the worsening economic situation and to make a show of the government’s emphasis on economic policy.

Mohamed ElBaradei, a former director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and other leaders of secular groups have been given key government posts.

But the Muslim Brotherhood, Morsi’s support base, refused to join the interim government.

Stability cannot be expected

Given that the Islamist elements are not taking part in the government, it is hardly possible to expect the political situation to stabilize.

Since the military took the extralegal step of detaining Morsi, who was elected by popular vote, Brotherhood supporters have continued protests in the streets, demanding Morsi’s reinstatement. Increasingly bloody consequences are feared in the wake of clashes between Brotherhood supporters and government security forces and other incidents.

Mansour has announced a political road map for return to a civilian government, probably with the aim of stabilizing national sentiment.

The road map calls for a committee of experts from legal and other fields to draft a proposal on constitutional revision by October. The proposal will be put to a national referendum by November. A parliamentary election is scheduled to be held by January, and a procedure to elect a president will start after a new parliament is convened.

But will things turn out as planned? A bumpy road lies ahead.

If Islamist forces are eliminated, the process will lack legitimacy. The interim government and the Brotherhood should sit down at a negotiating table as early as possible. Naturally, Morsi’s release is a prerequisite for this.

In addition to restoring public safety and achieving a return to civilian rule, the interim government must strive to overcome an economic crisis. In particular, it is essential to bring back foreign tourists and investments.

Gulf monarchies vow aid

Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf monarchies, which are wary of the growing influence of Brotherhood elements in their own countries, have pledged to provide a huge amount of economic assistance for the Egyptian provisional government.

Using such aid as leverage, the interim government must work toward resolving a shortage of foreign exchange reserves and achieving a full-scale economic recovery.

Protracted chaos in Egypt would inevitably destabilize the Middle East as a whole, and spikes in crude oil prices and other destabilizing factors would adversely affect the world economy.

Japan, the United States and European countries have not suspended economic assistance to Egypt despite the coup. This is because they put priority on the stabilization of Egypt. They should cooperate in urging the military and interim government to realize national reconciliation and a return to civilian rule as early as possible.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 20, 2013)
(2013年7月20日01時02分  読売新聞)

13参院選 対中国外交 歴史的事実を浸透させたい

The Yomiuri Shimbun July 20, 2013
Let facts tell more in diplomacy toward China
13参院選 対中国外交 歴史的事実を浸透させたい(7月19日付・読売社説)

How to face up to our neighbor China, which persists with its aggressive behavior over the Senkaku Islands, is the biggest diplomatic challenge facing Japan.

In their pledges for the House of Councillors election, most major parties, bearing the Senkakus issue in mind, have made commitments to “act in defense of the nation’s territory.” All of them, however, have fallen short of providing specific steps that should be taken--and how--to ensure the nation’s territorial sovereignty.

The Chinese government has been lashing out at Japan, asserting that the latter’s decision in September to place the Senkakus under state ownership altered the status quo of the Senkaku situation, which Beijing argues had been “shelved” for many years.

China’s claim contradictory

There can be no room, however, to doubt that the Senkaku Islands are part of Japan’s intrinsic territory, both historically and in the eyes of international law. It is never a territorial problem to be “shelved.”

In fact, while arguing for “shelving” the issue, it is China that attempted to change the status quo, by enacting the Law on the Territorial Sea and the Contiguous Zone of the Republic of China in 1992, which explicitly stipulates China’s sovereignty over the islands.

In addition, it was recently brought to light that China has plans to develop many new gas fields in waters in the vicinity of the Japan-China median line in the East China Sea. These moves are in blatant violation of the Japan-China agreement in 2008 that the two countries will refrain from unilaterally engaging in any developmental projects in the East China Sea.

It is only natural that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has criticized China for continuing to act with only itself in mind.

That said, if the current state of relations between Japan and China goes unchanged, it would certainly be detrimental to both countries. Strenuous diplomatic efforts aimed at improving bilateral relations must be made.

The Democratic Party of Japan, which nationalized the Senkaku Islands in its then capacity as the ruling party, has said little in its election platform on the issue except to call for “making the East China Sea an area of peace, friendship and cooperation,” a reference that makes the Senkakus issue sound like someone else’s problem.

New Komeito and Your Party, in connection with the Senkaku row, have called for the creation of a Japan-China “maritime liaison mechanism” for emergencies that would comprise working-level officials from the two countries. This idea should be realized swiftly to prevent an accidental clash that could lead to a conflict.

The Japanese Communist Party and the Social Democratic Party, meanwhile, have been insisting that the Senkakus should be dealt with as a territorial problem for both Japan and China. Does their insistence not run contrary to this country’s national interest? If Japan were to acknowledge the existence of a territorial dispute over the Senkaku Islands, China would certainly ratchet up its demands, such as pushing for a scheme for placing the islets under joint management by the two countries.

Intertwining histories

We should never ignore the fact that China has mixed the Senkakus problem up with differing perceptions of history and the countries’ wartime past.

The Chinese administration of President Xi Jinping has criticized Japan for “posing a grave challenge to the international order after World War II.”

Which one of the two countries should be blamed for trying to disrupt the international order? Japan must deal with this matter on the basis of international law.

The Liberal Democratic Party has been stressing the need to establish a new study institute regarding territory and problems of perceptions of history to compile an effective rebuttal and disproof against unsound arguments regarding historical facts. Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party) also advocates the nation’s dignity must be secured through such a method.

What approach should be considered the best for conveying historical facts throughout the international community in an appropriate manner?

The ruling and opposition parties must cooperate, using their combined ingenuity, to resolve the problem.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 19, 2013)
(2013年7月19日01時49分  読売新聞)

13参院選 規制改革 成長促す緩和策を見極めよう

The Yomiuri Shimbun July 19, 2013
We should clearly comprehend parties’ deregulatory proposals
13参院選 規制改革 成長促す緩和策を見極めよう(7月18日付・読売社説)

To foster new industries and put the economy on a growth track, it is necessary to remove excessive regulations. We should form a clear view of which political parties advocate realistic and effective regulatory reforms.

The administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been leading his Liberal Democratic Party’s campaign for the House of Councillors election by making regulatory reforms the top priority in the administration’s growth strategy.

One of the most important points of contention is a review of employment regulations.

Many experts have pointed out that many businesses have redundant staff in loss-making divisions. Such surplus workforce strains companies’ business performance, causing the overall economy to stagnate.

As a way to deal with such problems, the government is studying the idea of institutionalizing “limited regular workers,” whose job descriptions, job locations and working hours are limited as stipulated in their job contracts, while easing regulations on the ability of employers to dismiss such workers. Abe has also shown an interest in introducing this system.

For companies, it would become easier to close down unnecessary operations and eliminate obsolete job categories. For the limited regular workers themselves, there would be the merit of greater job stability, compared with the status of nonregular workers, although job insecurity would not be fully eliminated.

Workforce redeployment

Regarding employment issues, the LDP, Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party) and Your Party advocate in their respective election platforms that workers should be shifted from declining industries to sectors with higher productivity. New Komeito advocates the expansion of the system concerning “regular workers with shorter work hours,” showing common ground with these three parties when it comes to increasing the diversity of employment patterns.

The Democratic Party of Japan, meanwhile, opposes the idea of easing employment regulations, such as institutionalizing limited regular workers. People’s Life Party, the Japanese Communist Party and the Social Democratic Party take similar stances.

If low-paid nonregular workers are the only category in which numbers increase, the average income of workers will decline, which will not lead to sustainable economic growth.

How can the smooth transition of workers from one sector to another be realized while protecting employment security? We should listen carefully to what these parties are saying about related issues, including assistance such as vocational training for those who want to change jobs or rejoin the workforce.

Mixed treatment

Regarding the relaxation of regulations in the medical field, the main issue is so-called mixed treatment, meaning the combination of medical treatments that are covered by public health insurance with those that are not. Such combinations are currently allowed only in exceptional cases.

The LDP advocates the expanded application of mixed treatment so that the most advanced drugs and medical equipment can be used promptly. If renegerative medicine or other cutting-edge techniques that are not covered by public health insurance were approved as part of mixed treatment, it would help patients in terms of their other medical expenses that would remain covered by the insurance.

Your Party and Ishin no Kai call for complete approval of mixed treatment, while PLP and the SDP oppose expanding it.

Implementing regulatory reforms would mean addressing a thorny tangle of interests among organizations concerned. Although the political parties make differing assertions on reform, and tend to focus on different aspects, important issues having to do with the future of this nation have been presented.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 18, 2013)
(2013年7月18日01時18分  読売新聞)


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燃料電池車競争 低価格実現が普及のカギ握る

The Yomiuri Shimbun July 18, 2013
Developing budget fuel cell cars is a key task for automakers
燃料電池車競争 低価格実現が普及のカギ握る(7月17日付・読売社説)

The race among carmakers to develop vehicles powered by fuel cells is heating up. With no direct carbon dioxide emissions, electric automobiles with fuel cells are envisioned as the preeminent next-generation eco-car.

When will the world’s major automakers be able to reduce the price of such a vehicle through mass production? Drivers around the world are keenly watching to see which carmaker will be the first to achieve an affordable fuel cell car.

Honda Motor Co. and General Motors Co. have agreed to jointly develop a fuel cell-powered vehicle. The Japanese and U.S. carmakers hope technical cooperation in such fields as developing the basic system for a fuel cell car will result in a jointly devised system fit for practical use as early as 2020.

Sharing the burden

The Honda-GM tie-up marks a change in their respective strategies for developing fuel cell electric vehicles. The two corporations have been separately working to develop such automobiles in recent years. Their alliance can be seen as an attempt to reduce the otherwise massive financial burden of developing fuel cell cars, while also completing the development project in a shorter period.

The motive behind their decision is a desire not to fall behind alliances formed by their rivals in developing fuel cell vehicles.

Toyota Motor Corp. and BMW AG have signed an accord on joint development. Nissan Motor Co. has also said it will carry out a similar project with Renault SA, Daimler AG and Ford Motor Co. The Toyota-BMW tie-up aims at mass production in 2020, while the latter group hopes to reach a similar goal in 2017.

All this means the development race will be bitterly fought by carmakers around the world, including South Korean and Chinese competitors and other corporations unrelated to the Japanese, U.S. and European manufacturers.

The fuel cell vehicle is powered by a motor run by electricity generated through a hydrogen-oxygen reaction. It is comparable to an electric vehicle (EV) in that neither automobile emits carbon dioxide.

Another advantage the fuel cell car offers is mileage. A hydrogen refill for a fuel cell vehicle enables a 500-kilometer drive, nearly twice the range of an EV car. Moreover, refueling takes only three minutes.

About 10 years ago, fuel cell cars were priced at a hefty 100 million yen per unit. Although prices have fallen sharply, a fuel cell vehicle still carries a price tag of about 10 million yen today.

Toyota and Honda are seeking to lower the price to 5 million yen or so. An important challenge facing each car manufacturer is reducing the price through technical innovation. This task also must be complemented by efforts to ensure the safety of such vehicles.

Another key task is to expedite efforts to build more hydrogen stations. Companies in the oil and other industries are planning to set up 100 stations nationwide by the end of 2015. However, that would be too few to encourage the spread of fuel cell car use.

Infrastructure needed

The government’s growth strategy includes a plan to reconsider regulations with regard to the installation of hydrogen stations. It is essential for the government to further support the efforts of related businesses to spread such facilities.

As circumstances stand today, hybrid vehicles (HVs) have become a common choice for ecologically friendly vehicles. The race to develop hybrid cars, which combine an internal combustion engine and an electric motor, has been led by Toyota and Honda. The situation contrasts with the slow progress in the spread of EVs, partly due to the short distance covered by such automobiles for each recharge.

We hope Japanese automakers will strive to improve the performance of HVs and EVs while at the same time stepping up efforts to develop fuel cell vehicles, a move that will provide consumers with more choices for an eco-car purchase. If they can lead the development race, it would do much to shore up Japan’s industrial competitiveness in the global market.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 17, 2013)
(2013年7月17日01時19分  読売新聞)







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