アフガン情勢 米軍駐留延長で治安取り戻せ

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Afghanistan’s security must be regained with extension of U.S. troop presence
アフガン情勢 米軍駐留延長で治安取り戻せ

The international community has sacrificed a lot and spent a vast amount of money and time to bring stability to Afghanistan. We must not let the country slide back into a hotbed of terrorism.

U.S. President Barack Obama has dropped the goal of completing the withdrawal of about 9,800 U.S. troops from Afghanistan by the end of next year. Instead, he will keep about 5,500 American troops in that country in 2017 and later. This is an appropriate decision.

Following the simultaneous terrorist attacks on the United States in September 2001, the U.S. forces toppled the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, and established its presence in the country. At its peak, as many as 100,000 U.S. troops were sent to the country, mainly engaged in maintaining security, in cooperation with forces from other members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

In recent years, however, U.S. troops have mainly focused on training Afghanistan’s security forces.

U.S. troops have fought in Afghanistan for 14 years — it is the United States’ longest war — because the importance Washington places on its antiterrorism strategy remains.

Since the U.S. presidential election in 2008, Obama has consistently advocated, in campaign pledges, that he would end the wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan and withdraw troops from both countries. The war-weariness of Americans was seen behind these pledges.

Since the U.S. and other troops ended combat missions in 2014, however, Afghanistan’s security situation has deteriorated.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani had strongly called for an extended presence of U.S. troops, while U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said, “The narrative that we’re leaving Afghanistan is self-defeating.”

Obama was forced to go back on his official pledges, apparently because his reading of the Afghan situation was too optimistic.

Some lawmakers in the U.S. Republican Party say the presence of 5,500 U.S. troops is insufficient.

Avoid same mistakes

Following the withdrawal of U.S. troops in Iraq, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant extremist group gained power. To avoid making the same mistake, the United States has to expedite efforts to rebuild its strategy.

For the first time in Afghanistan’s history, power was transferred in September last year through an election with the support of the international community. In July, the first official peace talks were held between the Ghani administration and the Taliban leadership.

However, the Taliban’s leadership later fell into disarray following the government’s disclosure that Mullah Omar, the supreme leader of the Taliban movement, had died, leaving no prospect for peace talks to resume anytime soon.

Also worrisome is Taliban’s recent increase in its attacks. Late last month, Taliban rebels briefly captured most of the northern town of Kunduz. Terrorist attacks by the ISIL, which is hostile to the Taliban, are becoming more serious.

Self-help efforts by Afghanistan are essential. The present state of affairs, where governing functions are declining due to rivalry between Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, should not be left to fester. The solidarity of the country’s leadership will serve as the first step toward stability.

Reinforcement of security forces is an urgent task. It is important that U.S. and other NATO forces, in cooperation with the Afghan government, secure sufficient military strength and equipment, and at the same time continue to train Afghan forces systematically.

Since 2001, Japan has extended assistance worth about ¥700 billion in such areas as disarmament, infrastructure development, police training, education and medicine. Japan should continue doing all it can to make nonmilitary contributions to the country in the days ahead.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 20, 2015)


マレー機撃墜 ロシアは事件捜査に協力せよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Russia must cooperate in investigating downing of Malaysian jet over Ukraine
マレー機撃墜 ロシアは事件捜査に協力せよ

Even though more than one year has passed since the tragic event that killed nearly 300 people, there has been no prospect of prosecuting the perpetrators of the crime. This is an extremely grave situation.

The safety board of the Netherlands has released its final report on the shooting down of the Malaysia Airlines Flight over eastern Ukraine in July last year. The largest number of victims were Dutch.

After a detailed analysis of the downing of the plane as fighting continued between Ukrainian government forces and the pro-Russian armed separatists group, the report concluded that the plane was shot down by a Buk surface-to-air missile.

The report said the missile was probably launched somewhere in an area covering about 320 square kilometers in eastern Ukraine. This suggests the involvement of the armed rebels that controlled most of the area.

The United States, European countries and the Ukrainian government say that, after analyzing records of communications and radar reports, the armed separatist group fired a missile on the Malaysian aircraft, mistakenly believing it was a Ukrainian Air Force plane.

Yet the final report did not go so far as to identify the perpetrator. Although the safety board does not have the authority to apportion blame, we can understand the growing anger among bereaved families of the victims.

A criminal investigation, aimed at identifying the perpetrators, will be put into the hands of a joint team comprising officials from such countries as the Netherlands, Malaysia, Ukraine, the United States and Russia.

A number of suspected perpetrators have apparently already emerged. Making full use of the findings of the safety board, the joint team has to apportion blame for the barbaric action.

Obstacle to probe

An obstacle to the criminal investigation is that both Russia and the armed separatist group have consistently denied involvement. Both have asserted that there is a possibility the Ukrainian forces, which possess Buk missiles, shot down the plane. We think neither of them is cooperative with the investigation.

Shortly after the crash, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s administration tacitly agreed that the pro-Russian separatists should block access of an international investigation team to the crash site.

In July, Russia vetoed a U.N. Security Council draft resolution that would have set up an international tribunal to prosecute those suspected of downing the airliner, leading to the draft resolution being rejected.

The actions taken by Russia will only increase distrust toward that country.

To identify the site where the missile was launched from and to prosecute those suspected of downing the airliner, the provision of relevant information from Russia is essential. It is important for the international community to support the joint investigation team and press Russia to cooperate.

In determining what happened, it is urgently needed to stabilize the local situation in eastern Ukraine.

Although the fighting has been in a lull since last month, the withdrawal of heavy weapons of both the Ukrainian government forces and the separatists has made little progress, delaying the implementation of a ceasefire accord.

To avoid the conflict from continuing for a protracted period, the United States, European countries and Japan should cooperate with each other and continue urging the parties involved to abide by the ceasefire accord.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 19, 2015)


米韓首脳会談 対中傾斜で同盟を揺るがすな

The Yomiuri Shimbun
South Korea should not shake alliance with U.S. by favoring China too much
米韓首脳会談 対中傾斜で同盟を揺るがすな

It is vital that the United States and South Korea maintain their solid alliance, for the deterrence of North Korea’s military provocations and the regional stability of Asia. South Korea should not weaken these ties by getting too close to China.

U.S. President Barack Obama held talks with his South Korean counterpart Park Geun-hye in Washington and they adopted a joint statement focusing on their cooperation to get Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear and missile programs.

The statement warns that additional sanctions will be imposed on Pyongyang should the country push through with launching a ballistic missile or conducting a nuclear test in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

Since this summer, North Korea has heightened military tensions between South and North Korea, while also hinting at the possibility of its conducting nuclear tests.

It is significant that Obama confirmed the need to strengthen the U.S.-South Korea alliance during a joint press conference, saying, “The commitment of the United States to the defense and security of the Republic of Korea will never waver.”

Yet it cannot be denied that the “close alliance” between the United States and South Korea has been in large part choreographed, because the heightened distrust within the United States regarding South Korea’s inclination toward China needed to be denied.

Park decided on South Korea’s participation in the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, and attended the military parade China held to mark the anniversary of its “victory over Japan” in World War II.

‘Natural partner’

“I believe that we [South Korea and the United States] make natural partners,” Park said at the press conference regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade negotiations, in which member countries such as Japan and the United States recently reached a broad agreement. This statement indicated Seoul’s intention to join the TPP, and was probably aimed at mitigating U.S. concern.

Obama said at the press conference that if China fails to abide by international rules, “We expect the Republic of Korea to speak out on that,” driving home the point.

Obama’s remark was apparently made in consideration of China’s self-serving maritime advances in the East and South China seas. But Park made no reference to this.

It remains unclear whether South Korea will modify its diplomatic stance toward China.

The amount of bilateral trade between China and South Korea exceeds the sum of its trade with the United States and Japan. We can understand Seoul attaching importance to China in the economic field, but shifting its priorities from Washington to Beijing in the realm of security could destabilize the region.

During a speech made earlier in Washington, Park said she intends to hold her first full-fledged talks with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the occasion of the trilateral summit among Japan, China and South Korea in early November.

Since she took office, Park made it a condition that she would hold summit talks with Japan if progress was made on the issue of so-called comfort women.

Park appears to have agreed at last to Washington’s repeated urging to improve the bilateral relations between Japan and South Korea.

However, Park emphasized, “The summit can have substantial meaning if we see some progress on the issue of comfort women.”

Unless Park changes her diplomatic posture of giving too much weight to issues related to historical perception, it will be difficult for Japan and South Korea to effectively deal with the mountain of pending issues. It will be impossible to realize the close trilateral cooperation among Japan, the United States and South Korea that Washington hopes to see.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 18, 2015)


非常任理事国 国際平和協力に弾みつけたい

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Japan should boost contribution to peace as UNSC nonpermanent member
非常任理事国 国際平和協力に弾みつけたい

Becoming a member of the U.N. Security Council is a significant step forward to enhance Japan’s engagement in the peace and stability of the international community and secure its national interests. The government should take full advantage of this opportunity.

Japan was elected a nonpermanent member of the Security Council, gaining a seat for the 11th time, the most among the 193 member countries of the United Nations. Its term will last for two years beginning next January.

U.N. diplomacy is a major pillar of Japan’s foreign policy, along with the Japan-U.S. alliance. Coordination with the United Nations is also essential to embody the “proactive contribution to peace” advocated by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration. It is the right time for Japan to return to the Security Council after its last service as a nonpermanent member, which ended in 2010.

How can the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria be resolved? How should the threat of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant militant group be dealt with? Security Council members can adopt resolutions that bind all the U.N. member nations, and take other actions after holding unofficial talks among them.

The five permanent members of the Security Council with veto power are strong, but so are the power of information and the voices held by the 10 nonpermanent members. Nonpermanent members can quickly ascertain changing international situations and exercise influence over discussions on resolutions.

For instance, when Pyongyang carried out a nuclear-weapon test in 2009, Japan led the adoption of resolutions, including sanctions, against North Korea in cooperation with the United States and other countries. Japan was a nonpermament member of the Security Council at that time.

To protect own safety

Japan should proactively engage in discussions and the decision-making process at the Security Council to protect its own safety.

It must also actively tackle human rights issues, in a bid to resolve the abduction of Japanese nationals by North Korean agents.

Since the end of World War II, Japan has helped developing countries overcome various problems such as poverty and disease. It has consistently participated in U.N. peacekeeping operations. We expect the nation to propose its own ideas and solutions for peace building, and broaden understanding of these ideas among concerned countries.

Discussions on the Security Council reform have shifted into high gear this year, which marks the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII.

The Group of Four countries — Japan, Germany, India and Brazil — aim to implement a reform plan to increase the permanent members of the Security Council to 11, and the nonpermanent members to 14 or 15.

A nonpermanent member of the Security Council cannot be reelected consecutively, and a country has to win support from more than two-thirds of all U.N. member countries each time it is elected.

Japan pays the largest contributions to the world body following the United States, equivalent to over 10 percent of the U.N. budget. To secure influence matching that amount, Japan should keep trying to become a permanent member of the Security Council.

The G-4 submitted a Security Council reform plan to the United Nations in 2005, but it was not adopted due to opposition from both the United States and China, and unsuccessful coordination with African countries.

U.N. reform is difficult, because it represents an historic attempt to change the international order based on the outcome of WWII.

Learning from the failed attempt in 2005, the G-4 must consolidate forces that are positive about Security Council reform while rebuilding its cooperative relations with the United States and African countries.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 17, 2015)


多国籍企業 課税逃れ防止ルールの徹底を

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Rules on tax-dodging multinationals must be thoroughly implemented
多国籍企業 課税逃れ防止ルールの徹底を

International cooperation must be bolstered to close tax loopholes that can be exploited by multinational business corporations.

The Group of 20 major economies and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development have worked out new international taxation rules to clamp down on the excessive tax avoidance tactics by multinational firms.

The pillar of the new rules is to make it mandatory for multinationals with annual sales of €750 million (about ¥100 billion) or more to report to the tax authorities of their home countries the value of taxes they pay and their lines of business in foreign countries where they operate. The information thus collected is shared by member nations.

A tax penalty will be levied on multinationals if they are found to be involved in the practice of reducing their tax burdens considerably by curbing their profits, through such tactics as exploiting transactions with their subsidiaries operating in other countries.

Tax revenues lost worldwide due to such tax dodges amount to as much as ¥30 trillion a year, according to an OECD estimate.

There has been a series of cases of tax avoidance in recent years committed by multinationals of Europe and the United States that exploited the differences in taxation systems among the countries where they conduct business. Although their practices are not illegal in terms of tax law, a situation cannot be overlooked in which firms posting a huge amount of profits are allowed to pay less than an appropriate amount of taxes.

In the case of U.S. firms Google Inc. and Starbucks Corp., they are said to have employed such tactics as having their subsidiaries in low-tax countries hold patents and trademarks, with their parent companies paying high royalties to them.

Regarding other tactics, they are said to have inflated expenses by paying excessive interest and material procurement costs to related companies in other countries where their subsidiaries operate.

Fairness and justice

Tax avoidance through deals that are considerably removed from authentic corporate activity should not be left unchecked. Such practices shake the fundamental principle of fairness and justice in the taxation system and increase discontent among businesses that pay due taxes.

It is reasonable for the tax authorities of countries concerned to try to comprehend the actual financial conditions of multinationals and aim to prevent them from resorting to excessive tax avoidance tactics.

Many tax dodging cases involve three or more countries, making it difficult to deal with them under conventional bilateral treaties. New rules are likely to be introduced by more than 40 countries, including Japan, the United States, European nations and China.

It is of no small significance that many industrialized countries and emerging economies, whose tax systems are greatly different from each other, have cooperated to devise the common rules.

But the new rules are nothing but an agreement by the G-20, and have no binding force. The challenge is how to enhance their practical effectiveness.

Revision of relevant domestic laws and establishment of a multinational agreement in line with the rules must be done promptly.

If the level of legal compliance differs from country to country, there is concern that it will be exploited by multinationals with the intention of tax avoidance. It is important to establish a system aimed at monitoring each other, to observe such things as how strictly each member nation asks multinationals to submit their business information.

Efforts are also necessary to increase the number of countries introducing the new international taxation rules.

As a check on multinationals that try to devise new ways of tax avoidance, it is essential for the countries concerned to cooperate more closely by exchanging information and revising the rules expeditiously if needed.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 16, 2015)


(社説)外務省HP 外交が内向きすぎる

--The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 5
EDITORIAL: Abe government's 'inward-looking' diplomacy serves no purpose
(社説)外務省HP 外交が内向きすぎる

The Foreign Ministry on Sept. 18 updated the “History Issues Q&A” section on its Japanese website. The timing suggests that the ministry intentionally held off the update to coincide with the passage of new national security legislation that allows Japan to exercise its right to collective self-defense.

Gone from the updated Q&A is any mention of Japan’s “colonial rule and aggression” against its Asian neighbors. And the streamlined content only provides URL links to the (Tomiichi) Murayama statement and the (Junichiro) Koizumi statement that acknowledged Japan’s colonialism and aggression.

On Aug. 14, the day Prime Minister Shinzo Abe issued his statement for the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, the Q&A section was abruptly deleted from the ministry’s website. After questions were raised in the Diet about the deletion, the website ran a notice to the effect that the content was being revised to reflect the Abe statement.

But why did the revision take more than a month? It is only natural to assume that the ministry decided to delay the revision to avoid any negative impact on Diet deliberations on the contentious security legislation.

“Japan has repeatedly expressed the feelings of deep remorse and heartfelt apology for its actions during the war,” Abe’s 70th anniversary statement said, even though Abe never made it clear if he himself felt such remorse. And he went on, “Such a position articulated by the previous Cabinets will remain unshakable into the future.”

But the fact that the Foreign Ministry immediately deleted the symbolic expression “colonial rule and aggression” from its website would only suggest that the Abe administration’s perception of history is not what it was made to appear in the prime minister’s 70th anniversary statement.

Something similar occurred on the Foreign Ministry website last year.

At that time, the ministry abruptly deleted a document calling for contributions to the Asian Women’s Fund that was set up to represent Japan’s national effort to compensate Asia’s wartime “comfort women.”

The Japanese government always used to bring up the Asian Women’s Fund as proof of its sincerity in dealing with the comfort women issue. By deleting the document, the Foreign Ministry effectively undermined the government’s position, instead of playing it up.

The national security legislation, which Abe insists is “necessary for protecting Japanese peoples’ lives and the peaceful life of Japanese citizens,” was promulgated on Sept. 30. But the fears of this law’s opponents have not gone away at all. They are deeply apprehensive, not only of the law itself, but also of the likelihood of a substantive change in Japan’s postwar pacifism because the prime minister did not use the “I” in expressing the nation’s deep remorse for and heartfelt apology for its past history of aggression.

Defensive capabilities alone cannot protect the nation’s security. Constant diplomatic efforts to ease tensions in the international community, of which Japan is a member, are indispensable. So long as Japanese diplomacy remains thoroughly inward-looking, it will serve no purpose.

Before Abe, the Japanese government always reassured the Japanese people and neighboring nations by trying to face the past squarely and admitting mistakes made in the past.

Humility about history is what is obviously lacking in the Abe administration that overstresses recent changes in Japan’s security environment.


社説:辺野古取り消し やむを得ない知事判断

October 14, 2015 (Mainichi Japan)
Editorial: Okinawa Gov. Onaga compelled to revoke landfill work approval
社説:辺野古取り消し やむを得ない知事判断

Okinawa Gov. Takeshi Onaga has revoked the approval of land reclamation work off the Henoko district of Nago for the planned relocation of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma. With the move, the conflict between the national government and the Okinawa Prefectural Government has heightened, and it's likely that the matter will ultimately be brought to a court of law. It's unfortunate to see how the issue has developed into such an abnormal state of affairs.

Okinawa claims that the approval for landfill work given by former Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima has "flaws," while the central government argues no such errors exist. While the two parties strongly disagree with one another, it is difficult to judge which one makes a viable legal point.

However, isn't the latest development the result of the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's move to force the relocation of the U.S. air station within the island prefecture without hearing the voices of Okinawa? We believe that the situation required Okinawa to cancel the landfill work approval.

Looking back at the month-long "intensive consultation" with the national government this past summer, Gov. Onaga expressed dissatisfaction with the central government during an Oct. 13 news conference, saying, "The (Abe) Cabinet has little interest in solving problems while caring about the people of Okinawa."

Meanwhile, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga criticized Onaga's decision, telling an Oct. 13 morning news conference that the Okinawa governor's move ignores a series of efforts taken by parties involved with Okinawa and the central government since Japan and the U.S. reached an agreement toward removing the risk of hosting the Futenma base. Suga's comment underscored the wide gap between the national government and Okinawa.

The Okinawa government's decision to revoke the landfill work approval has deprived the central government of the legal ground for the work and drilling survey, a preliminary step toward the land reclamation project.

As a countermeasure against Okinawa's move, the national government has filed an appeal to the land, infrastructure, transport and tourism minister for an administrative review based on the Administrative Appeal Act and also requested for a stay of execution against the Okinawa governor's revocation. Once the request is granted, the central government will restart the drilling survey off Henoko and embark on full-fledged construction as early as next month.

However, the Administrative Appeal Act is originally intended to protect the rights of the people from administrative operations. It's strange when a central government appeals to itself and the same government makes a judgment on the matter.

It's expected to take several months to see the result of the administrative review, after which either the national government or the prefectural government will likely take legal action against the land ministry's decision. Even if the central government built an alternative facility for the Air Station Futenma in Henoko after going through such a complicated procedure, the stable operation of the new base is unlikely.

In the 10 months since Onaga assumed office, the Abe administration lacked the willingness to acknowledge Okinawa's claim in terms of the U.S. base relocation plan. Top government officials at one point refused to meet with Onaga.

Along with a notice of withdrawal of the approval, the Okinawa Prefectural Government submitted a 15-page report as to why Okinawa has decided to revoke the authorization for landfill work. In the long list of questions regarding the plan to relocate the U.S. base to the Henoko district, Okinawa argues that Japan will not lose its defense deterrence factor to a level that is intolerable even if the air station in Ginowan moves out of Okinawa to another prefecture.

The central government should not force the base relocation to Henoko, but rather halt the drilling survey and other work related to the relocation plan and face Okinawa sincerely to provide answers to these questions.

毎日新聞 2015年10月14日 東京朝刊


マイナンバー 国民の理解と信頼が不可欠だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun
People’s understanding, confidence indispensable to My Number system
マイナンバー 国民の理解と信頼が不可欠だ

The My Number system, under which 12-digit identification numbers are assigned to everyone in the nation, has started. Everyone should be notified of his or her identification number through November. The numbers will be used to handle administrative and other procedures beginning next January.

The system is key to realizing fair and efficient systems for taxation and social security. The people’s understanding and confidence are indispensable to the implementation of the system because it is closely linked with their lives. The government must provide meticulous explanations and make sufficient arrangements.

Under the My Number system, personal information that has until now been managed separately to handle such things as income, taxation and pensions will be integrated under one number. My Number identification cards will be distributed to those who request them.

Administrative organizations will collate the personal information on these matters and use them to impose proper taxation and provide welfare benefits. This can contribute greatly to enhancing the efficiency of clerical work. Application procedures can be made easier by merely producing identification numbers in such situations as applying for child allowances.

The use of the integrated identification numbers will be limited for the time being to taxation, social security and relief at the time of disaster. It is reasonable to start the operation of the My Number system discreetly while attaching importance to protection of personal information.

To make the system function effectively, however, it is necessary to widen the scope of its use in phases.

Beginning in 2018, the identification numbers will be linked to the savings accounts if the account holders approve. This is aimed at determining personal assets accurately, thereby preventing such things as tax evasion and illegal receipt of livelihood protection. The government is looking into the possibility of making it mandatory to integrate the savings accounts under the My Number system in 2021.

Firm info management vital

Amid ballooning social security costs, it is imperative to call on the elderly to share the burden according to their economic capabilities and to switch over to a system under which benefits are provided for those in need. To this end, correctly grasping personal information on income and assets is indeed important.

Utilization of the My Number system in the medical field is also a task to be tackled. Integration of information on medical care and checkups into the system would help prevent duplication of examinations and medication, thereby enhancing the efficiency of medical treatment and reining in medical costs.

Given the personal data breach of the Japan Pension Service, the people have deep concerns about the divulging and abuse of personal information. The government must expedite efforts to strengthen information management systems with the involvement of municipalities and businesses that handle identification numbers.

In connection with the new system, the Finance Ministry abruptly proposed a plan to use My Number cards ostensibly to lessen the burden on consumers when the consumption tax is raised from the current 8 percent to 10 percent. Under the plan, price data for food and drinks would be collected after My Number identification cards are swiped in terminal devices at store counters, and money equivalent to the tax payments of two percentage points would be paid back for qualified purchases.
Caution must also be taken against fraud and other crimes whose perpetrators may try to exploit the introduction of the My Number system.

The proposed system would force consumers to follow complicated procedures and increase the dangers of card losses and thefts. This may increase the people’s anxiety about the consequences of implementing the My Number system. The ministry must withdraw the plan immediately.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 12, 2015)


香山リカのココロの万華鏡:おとなを拒否する少女 /東京

October 11, 2015 (Mainichi Japan)
Kaleidoscope of the Heart: Girls who reject the prospect of life as adults
香山リカのココロの万華鏡:おとなを拒否する少女 /東京

Yet another sad crime occurred in Japan recently, as a third-year female high school student in Mie Prefecture was fatally stabbed in the chest by a male student attending the same school. The student who stabbed the girl was quoted as telling investigators that she had asked him to kill her, and her friends had said that she was suicidal.

Many details of this crime remain unclear, so from here on I would like to comment from a general perspective.

It's not uncommon for teenage girls to say that they don't want to become adult women. Girls undergo major physical developments on their path to adulthood, and it's not uncommon for them to be repulsed by the changes. Young girls with anorexia commonly say that thin bodies, like those of boys, are "clean," while the curvy figures of women are "dirty." Such girls sometimes project that "dirtiness" onto their mothers. There are accordingly many girls who rebel, saying that they don't want to grow up to be like their mothers.

Sometimes, these girls think, "If I'm going to become an adult woman in mind and body, then it would be better for me to die as an unsullied young girl." But it's quite often the case that death for these girls is an event from the world of stories and illusions; they don't have a real grasp of its actual meaning.

One girl I encountered remarked, "I wonder how much my parents would suffer if I disappeared. I'd like to see that." I replied, "But if you died, you couldn't see it," to which she expressed shock. She had apparently read a novel portraying people as being able to see the world after dying, and had swallowed the whole story.

Young girls who think that adult women are "dirty," and reject maturity often talk about "things that only cool adults can do." Well, people forge their own paths in life, so these girls can choose to live as women they themselves would respect. I've often had conversations that go something like this:

"Surely you don't hate all adults?"

"No, I saw a woman on TV working as a doctor in Africa or somewhere like that and I was impressed."

"Well then let's aim for that."

Once I became an adult, I realized that my heart wasn't that much different from when I was a teenager; in fact, I've had more opportunities to venture out and do whatever I want.

As an adult I might have gained a few pounds and acquired a few extra wrinkles, but have realized that it's wrong to think that adults are "dirty."

Paths of life that can be considered clean or pure aren't determined by age or looks.

I hope that girls who don't want to become adults now go on to do so without fear, allowing their unique selves to blossom freely.

(By Rika Kayama, psychiatrist)
毎日新聞 2015年10月06日 地方版


世界記憶遺産 容認できない南京事件の登録

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Unacceptable for UNESCO to add Nanjing Incident to memory list
世界記憶遺産 容認できない南京事件の登録

Could the latest UNESCO registration be misunderstood as a stamp of approval given by an international organization to China’s one-sided claim concerning historical perception? This is a serious situation.

“Documents of Nanjing Massacre,” which China recommended to UNESCO, were added to its Memory of the World list.

After the selection by UNESCO’s International Advisory Committee, the U.N. organization’s director general, Irina Bokova, made the final decision. Another item recommended by China — materials related to so-called comfort women — was not registered in the list.

The Memory of the World list was originally meant to preserve or utilize historically important documents and other materials.

We cannot accept China’s stance of using a system for protecting cultural assets for political purposes in a campaign against Japan and trying to fix its self-righteous historical perception in the international community.

“Documents of Nanjing Massacre” include written rulings on Japanese war criminals at the Nanjing Incident tribunal after the end of World War II. The written rulings put the number of victims in the incident at “more than 300,000.”

However, in Japan, the dominant view is that, based on demographic statistics for Nanjing at that time and other factors, a death toll of “more than 300,000” is far removed from reality. In a report released by a joint research team of Japanese and Chinese historians, Japanese scholars pointed out that “there are varying estimates on the number of victims in the incident, ranging from 20,000 to 40,000 to up to 200,000.”

Concerning the registration on the list, the Japanese Foreign Ministry questioned the “integrity and authenticity” of the documents and said their registration was problematic for “an international body that should be neutral and fair.” The ministry’s stance is quite natural.

Selection process opaque

This time, other items recommended by Japan, such as “Return to Maizuru Port” records including diaries and letters of Japanese detainees in Siberia, were added to the list. They reflect historical facts, and there were no objections to the registration from Russia.

This contrasts with the “Nanjing” case in which Japan repeatedly conveyed its concern about the registration to the UNESCO secretariat.

UNESCO’s International Advisory Committee comprises 14 experts — mainly researchers of library science and those involved in archives. The selection process, which is not open to the public, is too opaque.

Japan’s annual financial contribution to UNESCO is ¥3.7 billion, about 10 percent of its yearly budget, and Japan substantially supports the activities of the world body. It is indispensable to urge UNESCO to improve the registration system for the Memory of the World list.

There is a possibility that China could again recommend materials related to “comfort women.” South Korea also is preparing for a registration of testimonies by comfort women in two years.

When Japan’s Meiji era (1868-1912) industrial revolution sites were added to the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage list in July this year, South Korea opposed the registration, claiming that Korean workers were requisitioned during the war. After negotiations with South Korea over the issue, Japan finally was able to realize registration. However, Japan was swayed by Seoul’s political maneuvering.

Japan needs to quickly reconsider its strategy for UNESCO.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 11, 2015)







[ 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.

[ English Newspapers ]
Japan Times
Washington Post
Newyork Times
Bangkok Post
The Nations
Phuket Gazette

[ 英字新聞の英和対訳学習 ]

[ スラチャイ編集の辞書 ]

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01 あいさつ
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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
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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
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