社説:日本海側の津波 避難と減災に本腰を

August 28, 2014(Mainichi Japan)
Editorial: Step up efforts to take countermeasures against Sea of Japan tsunami
社説:日本海側の津波 避難と減災に本腰を

A panel of experts set up by the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry has announced estimates on the height of tsunami generated by major earthquakes that could occur in faults below the Sea of Japan.

Up to 23-meter-high tsunami are expected to hit Setana, Hokkaido, while five- to 12-meter-high tsunami are estimated in areas along the eastern to northeastern Sea of Japan coast from Hokkaido to Fukui Prefecture. Some three- to four-meter-high tsunami could hit areas along the western Sea of Japan coast from Kyoto Prefecture to Kyushu.

Although experts do not think there is a seismic source in the Sea of Japan that could trigger a huge temblor, like the Nankai Trough in the Pacific Ocean south of the Japanese archipelago, earthquakes whose focal points are situated on the bottom of the Sea of Japan are estimated to cause higher tsunami despite their smaller seismic scales.

National and local governments are slow to work out countermeasures against Sea of Japan earthquakes as compared with responses to possible temblors in the Pacific Ocean. This is the first time that the national government has estimated the height of tsunami in each municipality along the Sea of Japan coast. By fully utilizing the estimates, the national government and local bodies concerned should take all possible measures to protect residents and their neighborhoods along the Sea of Japan coast from tsunami.

Massive tsunami that caused casualties have hit areas along the Sea of Japan coast in the past. The magnitude-7.7 central Sea of Japan earthquake in 1983 caused a tsunami that killed about 100 people, while a tsunami generated by a temblor with a magnitude of 7.8 in the southwest off Hokkaido in 1993 left 230 people dead or missing.

However, there are far fewer records of earthquakes in the Sea of Japan than those in the Pacific Ocean and little progress has been made on a geological survey on the seabed of the Sea of Japan. Legislation aimed at encouraging local bodies to step up countermeasures against tsunami, which came into effect following the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, requires prefectural governments to estimate the areas that are likely to be submerged by tsunami. However, prefectural governments have previously struggled to make estimates due to a lack of specific assessments of earthquake and tsunami on the Sea of Japan coast. As such, the panel of experts recently conducted analyses.

Based on data on past earthquakes and the crustal structure, the panel reportedly examined 60 underwater faults from Hokkaido to Nagasaki, assumed that these faults could trigger magnitude-6.8 to 7.9 temblors and then estimated the height of tsunami that could be generated by such quakes.

Experts say such relatively small earthquakes could trigger higher tsunami because these faults below the seabed of the Sea of Japan are relatively shallow. Since the faults are close to the archipelago, tsunami generated by earthquakes occurring in these faults could reach the archipelago in a short period of time. The panel estimates that tsunami waves could hit some areas within a minute after a quake, and that at least 30-centimeter-high waves, which could sweep away people, might hit 82 municipalities within 10 minutes.

Based on these estimates, prefectural and municipal governments in areas along the Sea of Japan coast are required to review their disaster-prevention plans. Top priority should be placed on safely evacuating local residents.

A panel of experts within the government's Central Disaster Management Council recommended in September 2011 that all regions be rebuilt to make sure that residents can walk to safe locations within about five minutes after tsunami hit.

The panel made the recommendation on the assumption that a huge earthquake could hit areas along the Pacific coast. However, similar countermeasures should be taken in areas along the Sea of Japan coast. Both national and local governments along the Sea of Japan coast should designate evacuation routes and regularly conduct evacuation drills in preparation for deadly tsunami, while implementing all possible measures to lessen damage caused by such disasters.

The panel also announced its estimates of the height of tsunami that could hit 11 nuclear power stations along the Sea of Japan coast, but the estimated figures were below those by the plant operators.

Still, there is a possibility that the estimates could change as seismological research progresses. As such, it is only natural that authorities should strictly examine the safety of each nuclear plant.

毎日新聞 2014年08月28日 02時40分


「イスラム国」 凶暴な武装集団の跳梁許すな

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Barbaric Islamic State militant group must be stamped out
「イスラム国」 凶暴な武装集団の跳梁許すな

The international community should take every possible action to eradicate the barbaric Islamic State militant group.

There seems to be no end in sight to the Sunni Islamist group’s increasing influence in Iraq and Syria. The Islamic State is reported to have forced Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces to withdraw from an air force base in the north of the country, setting its sights on capturing Aleppo, the largest city in that area.

The Islamic State has been increasing its combat potential with funds obtained through such nefarious means as the seizure of oil fields and kidnapping for ransom. On the other hand, the militant group has been carrying out a skillful campaign to attract combatants from around the world who hold radical beliefs. The number of Islamic State militants total about 15,000, according to some observers.

The group is guilty of mass slaughter and sexual assault in areas under its control. It recently beheaded an American who had not been heard of since he was kidnapped in Syria about two years ago, and released a chilling video on the Internet showing the execution. A Japanese man has also been captured by the group, arousing concern for his safety.

The international community faces the pressing task of eliminating this barbaric group.

In early August, the United States launched air strikes on the Islamic State in some areas of Iraq. This achieved a certain measure of success in hurting the group. However, the Islamic State, which is trying to expand its influence through cross-border activities, has shifted its main area of operations to Syria, a move leading to the American’s execution.

The United States has said the purpose of its air attacks is to protect its own people, indicating that it is prepared to conduct a similar military campaign in Syria as one of its options.

U.S. faces dilemma

Assad’s government is poised to permit U.S. air strikes on the militant group in Syria if Washington agrees to hold consultations to reach a bilateral consensus prior to military operations.

However, launching air strikes puts the United States in a quandary. Doing so will help Assad remain in power at a time when the United States is at odds with his country. This will force President Barack Obama to make a difficult decision on how to deal with the situation.

The United States and European nations intend to supply weapons to Iraq’s Kurdish troops and the Free Syrian Army, an armed Syrian dissident group opposed to the Islamic State. The move is intended to deal a blow to the Islamic State by supporting its enemies.

However, there is concern the Islamic State may gain the upper hand in its fight with its opponents, a development that could result in the Islamist group acquiring a large number of weapons that have been supplied to the troubled region.

The great increase in the Islamic State’s power is believed to be attributable to massive funding from wealthy supporters in oil-producing countries. The international community needs to uncover the whole truth behind this and shut off the militant group’s source of funds.

Immediate measures must also be taken to stop the group from recruiting members from around the world. One of the tasks in this respect is to remove video footage promoting the Islamic State on the Internet, a task necessary to prevent the further spread of radicalization.

There is an increasing number of cases in which figures involved in terrorist activities in the Middle East and elsewhere return to the United States, European and other nations. It is extremely important to keep a close eye on them and track their movements.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 27, 2014)


社説:サッカーとバナナ 人種差別を根絶しよう

August 26, 2014(Mainichi Japan)
Editorial: J.League should adopt zero tolerance toward racism
社説:サッカーとバナナ 人種差別を根絶しよう

It's not their fault but bananas have become a symbolic sign of racism. We must eradicate all sorts of discrimination from soccer stadiums and society.
During a J.League game between Yokohama F. Marinos and Kawasaki Frontale at a stadium in Yokohama on Aug. 23, a teenage Marinos fan sitting behind the Marinos goal waved a banana toward the pitch. It was just after a Brazilian player with Frontale failed to score a goal and was about to turn back.

During questioning by Marinos' officials, the teenager explained that he was aware of his act of provocation but that it wasn't aimed at any particular player. His explanation underscores a lack of awareness against discrimination, which the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) and the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), as well as soccer leagues across the globe, have been trying so hard to eliminate from stadiums.

Throwing bananas onto the pitch carries the connotation of calling someone a monkey and is a well-known means of racial discrimination. Since African footballers started to play in the European leagues in the 1970s, there has been a spate of discriminatory incidents involving bananas. Those incidents represent the dark side of racial and ethnic diversity.

During a Spanish league game in April, a banana was thrown onto the pitch at the feet of FC Barcelona player Dani Alves as he was about to take a corner. The Brazilian national team player picked up the banana, peeled it and ate it, and then kicked the ball as if nothing had happened.

Such a humorous reaction to an act of discrimination sparked worldwide compassion, prompting not only fellow soccer players but also the Italian prime minister to be photographed peeling a banana and then post it on Facebook and other social media. Unfortunately, however, there is an endless stream of similar acts of discrimination in Europe.

In the J.League, the Urawa Reds were penalized with an unprecedented game behind closed doors after its supporters displayed a racist banner reading "Japanese Only" at Saitama Stadium in March. Urawa's management was criticized for leaving the banner unaddressed until after the game while some spectators had raised questions about it.
Jリーグでは3月、浦和のサポーターによって人種差別横断幕「JAPANESE ONLY(日本人以外お断り)」が埼玉スタジアムに掲げられ、浦和に史上初の無観客試合が科された。観客から指摘を受けながら、クラブ側が試合終了まで放置したことも問題だった。

Lessons and reflections from that incident may have led to the Marinos' quick reaction to the latest incident. The club decided to impose an indefinite ban on the teenager later the same day, and the Marinos' president reported the incident as an "act of discriminatory provocation" to J.League Chairman Mitsuru Murai on Aug. 25. The J.League is poised to impose sanctions on the Marinos at an early date.

What takes place at soccer stadiums represents the realities of society. The J.League should take this incident as an opportunity to send out a message to society that discrimination is totally intolerable and demonstrate its spirit of "zero tolerance" to racism and discrimination, following the footsteps of FIFA and other organizations.

毎日新聞 2014年08月26日 02時30分


香山リカのココロの万華鏡:招きたくない監視社会 /東京

August 24, 2014(Mainichi Japan)
Kaleidoscope of the Heart: Publically shaming criminals online is going too far
香山リカのココロの万華鏡:招きたくない監視社会 /東京

Recently, a comic store generated controversy with a threat to publically release the image of a shoplifter's face who was caught on a security camera stealing an expensive figurine. The store first released an image of the shoplifter with his face pixelated and threatened to remove the pixilation if the person did not return the figurine by a certain day.

In the end, at the urging of police, the store did not remove the pixilation. However, in on-the-street interviews on television shows, many people gave the opinion that the pixilation should have been removed, to help deter future shoplifters.

Crime is said to be overall on the decline, but shoplifting numbers refuse to fall. Perhaps lacking awareness that what they have done is a crime, some shoplifters supposedly take a defiant attitude, saying, "As long as I return it, there's no problem, right?"

Some small retailers are supposedly affected quite badly by shoplifting, so it is not a problem that can be overlooked.  経営に大きな支障が出る小売店もあるというから、見逃せない問題だ。

However, we must be careful about the idea that a store can set up its own "punishment," by for example threatening to release a photo of a shoplifter's face.

In this day and age, using the Internet one can easily find all kinds of information about a person -- their name, their address, their place of work.
It can lead to ruining a person's standing in society.

While the theft in the recent case was of a very valuable item, is it right for stores to be able to decide that when the value of shoplifted merchandise is over some particular amount it warrants a public release of the shoplifter's photo?

Sometimes on the Internet, people will release photos of criminals, taken while they happened to be nearby.

"This person is a groper," they may write, releasing a photo on a site such as Twitter.

I feel that more and more, the reaction to this public exposure is not "that's going too far," but "they deserve it."

Of course, no matter the reason, there is no excuse for breaking the law or other rules.

But I also think that stores -- who are not police -- should not come up with and deal out their own "punishments." しかし、警察以外の個人や店の手により、どんな“罰”を加えても許されるというのは違うと思う。

While public exposure on the Internet is not a direct punishment like a fine or prison sentence, it is in some ways a heavier punishment.

According to police statistics, recently many shoplifters are people 65 and over.

Maybe, having retired or no longer having any family, they think, "I have nothing left to lose, so I don't care who you report me to.

You're going to put my face out on the Internet? I don't care." If so, it is a sad situation.
ネットで顔を“さらす”? ああ、かまいませんよ」という心境なのだろうか。それも寂しい話だ。

I hope that we do not become a world where people are always observing each other, quick to photograph and expose other people on the Internet the moment they do something wrong.

(By Rika Kayama, psychiatrist)
毎日新聞 2014年08月19日 地方版


健康寿命 「元気で長生き」を目指したい

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Elderly must enjoy healthy long life without need for nursing care
健康寿命 「元気で長生き」を目指したい

A major challenge facing the nation at a time when its population is rapidly aging is to ensure that elderly people can maintain their day-to-day lives for as long as possible, dispensing with the need to receive nursing care.

In early August, the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry released the 2014 edition of its annual white paper, which focused on the goal of expanding the healthy life span so that the nation can be transformed into a long-lived, healthy society.

Healthy life expectancy refers to the number of years that people can continue to live their daily lives independently, uninterrupted by health problems and without having to receive the help of family members or others.

In 2010, the healthy life span of the Japanese stood at 70.42 for men and 73.62 for women, both marking the world’s highest levels. The figures have been increasing year by year.

However, these figures compare poorly with the average life expectancy—80.21 for men and 86.61 for women in 2013. This shows there is a disparity of about 10 years between the healthy life span and the average life expectancy among both Japanese men and women.

The gap represents how long men and women will be highly dependent on nursing care and medical services. It is widening due to a greater increase in the average life expectancy compared to that of the healthy life span.

It is necessary to shorten the period for which people need nursing and medical care, a task essential for enabling elderly people to live fulfilling, independent lives. If aged persons do not become bedridden and can live in good health for an extended period, the medical and nursing-care expenses they incur will likely be significantly reduced.

The government has said the goal of making Japan a nation of healthy and long-lived people is a pillar of its growth strategy.

In its strategy for health preservation and medical improvement adopted at a Cabinet meeting in July, the government said it would pursue the target of increasing the healthy life expectancy by more than one year by the end of 2020. The government hopes to nurture healthcare businesses that support elderly people’s efforts to lead long healthy lives, and promote such services and operations overseas, an endeavor conducive to economic growth.

An increase in the number of healthy elderly people is also expected to help secure workers and contribute to the promotion of volunteer activities.

Battle lifestyle illnesses

To increase the healthy life span, it is important for individuals to take preventive measures against lifestyle-related illnesses even while they are still working. Various complications can occur from diabetes, high blood pressure and other diseases associated with one’s lifestyle habits, which can easily lead to a need for nursing-care services in old age.

It is also necessary for local government and business corporations to play an active role in improving the health of local residents and employees. Measures must include promoting better lifestyle habits and raising the percentage of people receiving medical checkups.

A good case in point is the Shizuoka prefectural government. The local government is promoting what it calls a “health mileage program” under which local residents are awarded points according to their medical checkup and daily physical exercise records. When a resident has collected a certain number of points, he or she is entitled to receive complimentary services at shops participating in the program.

Meanwhile, Tanita Corp., a Tokyo-based measurement equipment manufacturer, has adopted a system in which pedometers are distributed to all its employees, requiring them to record how many steps they take every day. Employees who score high in this daily practice receive awards for their accomplishments.

We hope measures will be taken to achieve the intended goal in a manner that fits the realities of each community and company.

It is also important to provide elderly people with more opportunities to play an active role in society. If they make contributions to society through work and community service, elderly people will find their lives to be fulfilling and are unlikely to need nursing care.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 24, 2014)


社説:広島土砂災害 検証尽くして教訓導け

August 23, 2014(Mainichi Japan)
Editorial: Learning a lesson from Hiroshima landslides
社説:広島土砂災害 検証尽くして教訓導け

The number of residents reported missing following major landslides in northern Hiroshima in the predawn hours of Aug. 20 has significantly increased, threatening to make the disaster the worst of its kind in recent years when combined with the confirmed death toll.
Initially seven people were reported missing, but a little over 24 hours later that figure climbed to over 50. The discrepancy in the numbers reported missing comes from police and local municipalities using different methods to confirm the safety of residents.

The difficulty that officials face in fully grasping the extent of the damage indicates how severe the disaster is.

With rain continuing to fall intermittently, rescuers are desperately searching for the missing while remaining on alert against secondary damage. All efforts should be exhausted in search and rescue operations, with priority put on saving human lives.

Amid ongoing power and water outages in the disaster-hit areas, an increasing number of residents have been forced to take shelter at public facilities.

Local municipalities are urged to pay close attention to residents' needs so that volunteers can provide adequate support.

Hiroshima Prefecture has the most spots vulnerable to sediment disaster in Japan.

However, the designation of warning zones under the Act on Sediment Disaster Countermeasures for Sediment Disaster Prone Areas has not come fast enough.

The residential areas that suffered damage in the latest landslides were prone to disasters due to their proximity to mountains, but most of them had not been designated as sediment disaster-prone areas.

Financial and manpower shortages have reportedly hampered the progress of field surveys, while residents are reluctant to have land designated as being disaster-prone, fearing that their property values will be downgraded.

Nevertheless, it is serious that such an immense disaster hit areas that had not been listed as being disaster-prone.

If more damage like this arises, criticism that the disaster was a man-made calamity could intensify.

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism is urged to review the operation of the law and promote the designation of areas prone to sediment disaster as such.

If reviews alone are insufficient, legislative revisions need to be deliberated in the Diet.

The city of Hiroshima has acknowledged that its evacuation advisory came too late, and is poised to review the standards for issuing such advisories.

Memories of the landslide disaster on Izu Oshima Island in October last year, when an absence of an evacuation advisory or order resulted in many casualties, remains fresh in our minds.

The central government subsequently notified municipalities across the nation to issue evacuation advisories without fearing that they might turn out to be unnecessary.

The government should fully reassure municipalities about the directive once again.

It is difficult and dangerous for residents to evacuate at night, but the risks could be lowered in some cases if people moved to the upper floors of buildings.

In the Hiroshima disaster, a family found their way to safety by evacuating upstairs to the second floor of their home. 今回の災害でも1階から2階に移り全員が無事だった家族がいた。

Residents in disaster-prone areas should regularly discuss how to act in the event of a disaster and make steadfast preparations.

In the wake of the torrential rain that hit the Kii Peninsula in September 2011, leaving 82 people dead and 16 missing, the Wakayama Prefectural Government created guidelines for issuing evacuation advisories.

The guidelines require avoidance of ambiguous expressions.

They also require the use of numerical criteria such as accumulated precipitation so residents can make an objective judgment.

In the Hyogo Prefecture town of Sayo, where flooding from a typhoon five years ago left 18 dead and two missing, the town office introduced a monitoring system in which residents living near rivers report water levels and other relevant information, based on which the town office decides whether to issue evacuation advisories.

We should take note of such system improvements grounded in lessons learned from tragedies.

In the Hiroshima disaster, the cause and background factors of the extensive damage should be thoroughly verified so we can utilize the information in future measures.

毎日新聞 2014年08月23日 02時33分(最終更新 08月23日 09時39分)


社説:女性管理職6.6% 異次元の対策が必要だ

August 22, 2014(Mainichi Japan)
Editorial: Implement new steps to boost ratio of women in managerial posts
社説:女性管理職6.6% 異次元の対策が必要だ

Achieving the government's goal of increasing the ratio of women to those in managerial positions to 30 percent by 2020 appears to be extremely difficult, as was shown by a government survey.

The results of a survey released by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry shows that women accounted for only 6.6 percent of those in managerial posts at the division chief-level and above in fiscal 2013.

There is no sign of an improvement in the situation.

One cannot help but wonder whether efforts to address the issue should be left to the discretion of individual companies. Since the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe places top priority on encouraging women to play an active role in society among its policy measures, it should work out an unprecedentedly bold action plan that is not bound by a traditional mindset.

It is globally infamous that Japan lags behind many other countries in women's advancement in society.

A report issued by the U.S. Congress features measures Japan has taken to encourage women to assume important positions in society as part of "Abenomics," an economic policy mix promoted by the Abe administration. The report also shed light on specific problems that have blocked women from participating in Japanese society in the economic and political fields.

Are there any changes in Japanese companies' awareness of the roles that women should play?

Only about 20 percent of the companies surveyed by the ministry answered that they have taken positive action to eliminate the gap in job opportunities between men and women, declining from the last two years when the ratio was over 30 percent.

What is worse, 63 percent of the companies responded that they have no intention of taking any specific measures to that end, as compared with 54 percent in fiscal 2012.

Moreover, reasons cited by surveyed companies for not making any effort to narrow the gap between men and women would certainly stun the public.

Some companies said they are developing human resources regardless of their gender, some other businesses replied that women are already playing an active role in their organizations, while others answered that there are too few women in their workplaces.

These answers suggest that the companies do not view the current situation as problematic.

Many employers claim that they have difficulties finding women with the required ability and experience although they are willing to appoint women to important positions, a reason cited by the largest number of surveyed companies as to why they do not actively appoint female employees to managerial posts.

The survey results have raised questions as to whether companies are truly enthusiastic about recruiting hidden talent and whether male managers truly have enough expertise or experience.

While the government is seeking to enact new legislation to encourage companies to take action to hire and appoint women to important posts, the business world has taken the stance that efforts toward that end should be left to the discretion of each individual company.

However, it would be too optimistic to expect employers who have even failed to grasp the situation of their own companies to spontaneously try to appoint women to managerial positions.

Many business operators argue that a radical system like one in Norway, under which companies that fail to appoint women to at least 40 percent of their executive positions must be disbanded, does not fit in with Japanese culture.

If the business world sticks to its opposition to making it mandatory to ensure women account for a certain percentage of board members or managers, companies should take unprecedentedly bold measures to demonstrate that they are truly enthusiastic about promoting women to key positions.

The chairman and 18 vice chairmen of the Japan Business Federation (Keidanren) are all men.

Japan's largest business organization has never appointed women to any of these top positions.

Keidanren should appoint women to high-ranking posts, such as chairman and vice chairmen, as a symbolic example of the business world's efforts to appoint women to key posts.

毎日新聞 2014年08月22日 02時31分


社説:広島の土砂災害 救援活動に全力挙げよ

August 21, 2014(Mainichi Japan)
Editorial: Landslide disaster shows need for better prevention measures
社説:広島の土砂災害 救援活動に全力挙げよ

Torrential rain has triggered a series of landslides in northern Hiroshima, crushing houses and leaving many residents dead and some others missing.

Police, firefighters and Self-Defense Forces (SDF) personnel are desperately searching for and rescuing survivors. 警察や消防、自衛隊による救助・救援活動が急がれるが、

However, they must take care to prevent a secondary disaster as a firefighter lost his life during search and rescue operations.

The government should put its utmost efforts into restoring disaster-hit areas and extending assistance to affected residents.
Typhoon Halong, this year's 11th, brought heavy rain mainly to western Japan earlier this month.

A rain front hovering along the Japanese archipelago has since repeatedly brought rain and loosened the ground. その後も前線が日本列島上空に停滞し、度重なる雨で地盤は緩んでいる。

Therefore, even a small amount of rain could trigger a landslide, and maximum caution needs to be exercised.

In just over a three-hour period early on Aug. 20, northern Hiroshima saw rainfall that exceeded the average amount of rain that falls throughout all of August.

The Hiroshima Local Meteorological Observatory issued a warning of record-breaking rain over a short period around 3:45 a.m., and the Hiroshima Municipal Government issued an evacuation recommendation about half an hour later. 広島地方気象台は記録的短時間大雨情報を発表し、その約30分後に広島市が避難勧告を出した。

By that time, however, some landslides had already occurred and local residents had alerted emergency services. しかし、既に土砂崩れが発生し、住民からの通報が相次いでいた。

Therefore, the local government's response was too slow.

It is essential to thoroughly scrutinize why local authorities failed to issue an evacuation recommendation or order before the disaster occurred.

The landslides occurred in a district where mountains were developed into residential areas.

The ground in extensive areas of Hiroshima Prefecture is composed of decayed granite covered with thin surface soil. 広島県には風化した花こう岩の上を薄い表土が覆う地質が広がり、

Therefore, if rainwater accumulates in these areas, slopes are prone to collapsing.

In the latest disaster, it is believed that rain that had fallen over the past few weeks accumulated in the soil, making the ground fragile, and that a massive amount of rain that hit the area over a short period triggered mudslides.

In June 1999, torrential rain that hit residential areas in the city of Hiroshima and surrounding areas left 31 people dead and another missing.

Following the disaster, the Sediment-related Disaster Prevention Law was enacted.

In accordance with the legislation, prefectural governments are supposed to conduct a survey on areas prone to landslides and other sediment disasters and designate vulnerable locations as caution zones.

Municipal governments are required to work out evacuation plans and draw up maps clearly showing caution zones.

There are many areas prone to sediment disasters in Hiroshima Prefecture.

However, local bodies' efforts to ensure the safety of residents in vulnerable areas have made little progress as it takes a long time to conduct a detailed survey on disaster-prone locations.

The majority of areas hit by the latest landslides were not designated as caution zones.

Local governments should take flexible measures such as prioritizing the designation of high-risk locations as caution zones.

A nationwide survey conducted by the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry shows that there are some 520,000 locations vulnerable to sediment disasters, but one-third of these have not been designated as caution zones.

This is attributable partly to local residents' resistance to the designation of their neighborhoods as such for fear that the value of their land would decline.

However, since landslides could cause huge damage, it is necessary to patiently explain the purpose of the law to residents of high-risk areas to convince them of the need for such warnings.

There have been a growing number of local downpours in recent years.

Any kind of serious natural disaster could hit anytime and anywhere in Japan where there are numerous mountains and rivers.

All local governments must work out disaster prevention measures based on a wide diversity of scenarios without being bound by stereotypes.

毎日新聞 2014年08月21日 02時33分


社説:原子力小委 動画非公開は教訓軽視

August 20, 2014(Mainichi Japan)
Editorial: Nuclear policy committee shows disregard for Fukushima lessons
社説:原子力小委 動画非公開は教訓軽視

One of the most important lessons we've learned from the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant disaster is that the closed nature of the nuclear power industry led us to underestimate the dangers of nuclear reactors.

The industry tuned out sound criticism from outside sources, largely influencing the government's policy and risk assessment.

We must put this lesson to good use by making the policymaking and risk assessment process public and raising information transparency.
The Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) -- established after the onset of the Fukushima disaster -- streams video of its meetings and press conferences live, and the footage is also available for viewing online after the events take place.

A Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) deliberative council that reviewed the government's basic energy policy does the same.

Such arrangements not only allow debate to extend to outside experts, it also serves to raise awareness and interest among the general public.

However, the Nuclear Energy Subcommittee of METI's Advisory Committee on Natural Resources and Energy, which has been holding meetings since June, accepts silent observers but does not publicly broadcast its meetings.

Some subcommittee members have demanded that the meetings be broadcast, but as of the fourth meeting held Aug. 7, no video had been made available.

The subcommittee was established for the purpose of deliberating specific policies in the nuclear energy field based on the Basic Energy Plan approved by the Cabinet in April.

Topics under discussion include reconstruction and revival in Fukushima, reduced dependence on nuclear energy, human resource development and nuclear fuel cycle policy.

Such discussions will have a great bearing on what the country decides for its energy mix.

With the subcommittee debating topics that will dictate Japan's nuclear policy, transparency of its discussions is crucial.

Some may argue that allowing silent observers to watch from the visitors' gallery and the release of the minutes are sufficient.

But those who can actually attend the meetings comprise a tiny percentage of the general public.

Overviews of the meetings are released within a week or so of each meeting, but they do not indicate who said what. 1週間程度で議事要旨は公開されるが、発言者が誰かわからない。

It takes about a month before the minutes are released, by which time the next meeting has already taken place.

This state of affairs prevents the public from closely following the deliberation process.

Some have proposed a compromise of providing audio broadcasts of the meetings, but such broadcasts fail to provide a complete picture, since it's difficult to identify who has the floor at any given time.

The subcommittee chair, Itaru Yasui, has cited the uneasiness some members would feel in voicing their views if the meetings were to be broadcast via video.

However, nuclear energy policy is an important matter bearing on Japan's post-Fukushima energy policy.

It's a matter of great interest to the public.

If indeed the subcommittee's members feel they can't be honest if their meetings are broadcast, then perhaps there's a lack of understanding about the significance of the meetings and the importance of their transparency.

At its fourth meeting, the subcommittee recognized the importance of making its meetings public, saying that it would "discuss how to improve the situation."

We hope the subcommittee will modify its policy and move ahead with video broadcasts of their meetings.

毎日新聞 2014年08月20日 02時40分


社説:無戸籍の人 法を見直し抜本救済を

August 19, 2014(Mainichi Japan)
Editorial: Time to aid residents without family records
社説:無戸籍の人 法を見直し抜本救済を

In Japan there exist a number of adults who have been left without family register records because their parents have failed to register their births. The government does not have a grasp of the situation, and the exact number of such people remains unknown, but private support groups receive roughly 100 inquiries a year.

Recently, the Ministry of Justice sent notification to regional legal affairs bureaus across the nation and initiated its first investigation into the problem. It is wrong for children to be left struggling in society simply because their parents, dealing with particular circumstances, failed to submit birth notifications. We hope the ministry's investigation will be the first step in providing relief.
The problem has been partially fuelled by a stipulation in the Civil Code that when a woman gives birth, the person who was the woman's husband at the time she was pregnant is deemed to be the father. Any child born within 300 days of a divorce, therefore, is presumed to be the child of the woman's former husband.

Because of this, if a woman flees her husband due to violence or other such reasons, and meets another man and gives birth without first settling her marriage relationship, it is apparently not uncommon for that woman to refrain from registering the child's birth.

There are also times when a woman gets pregnant with another man's child before her divorce is finalized, and after the child is born takes measures to avoid her former husband being registered as the father under the 300-day rule.

Of course, such problems can be overcome through arbitration and court rulings, but it is often a great burden for each side to meet face to face.

If a person has no family register, they cannot prove their age. Accordingly, they cannot vote, and are unable to obtain a driver's license or a passport. There are apparently a significant number of people who are also unable to obtain resident cards.

This leaves them in a worse situation, in which they are left out from being notified about entry into public schools while their families remain ineligible to receive administrative services and benefits, such as child welfare allowances.

It is possible for local bodies to create resident cards at their own discretion even if a person does not have a family register, but this fact has not been sufficiently publicized.

The Ministry of Justice is said to be seeking the cooperation of municipalities in its investigation. We hope that it will release its findings.

The Justice Ministry also sent out notification encouraging local officials to explain the administrative services that people without family register records can access under certain conditions.

Naturally, a careful explanation of the procedures is necessary, but the ministry should also think about drastic legal revisions that prevent people being left without family register records.

In today's society, divorce and remarriage have increased, and family relationships are often complicated.

Violence toward spouses has also risen, with some 50,000 incidents recorded each year.

In such circumstances, it is hard to say that the Civil Code stipulations on presuming paternity fit in with the times.

Just last month, cases that questioned paternity on the grounds of DNA tests were heard in a Supreme Court appeal and presumed paternity emerged as a focus of the hearings. Four of the five justices submitted individual opinions stating a need for legislation.

In 2007 the Tokyo Bar Association drafted a revision to the Civil Code under which presumed paternity would not apply if the space for the father's details was left blank when registering the child's birth, releasing this draft as a statement of its position.

The Legislative Council of the Ministry of Justice should begin full-scale deliberation of such methods discussing ways to presume paternity of a child.

毎日新聞 2014年08月19日 02時31分









[ 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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