産油国会合不調 価格安定へ増産凍結を急げ

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Expedite freeze on oil production levels to stabilize crude prices
産油国会合不調 価格安定へ増産凍結を急げ

Oil ministers of major oil-producing countries, including Saudi Arabia and Russia, at a meeting on Sunday put off reaching an agreement on freezing oil output levels.

In a bid to stem the decline in crude oil prices, they had aimed to freeze oil output at January levels. As Saudi Arabia was angered by the absence of Iran, which has indicated it would increase production, the ministers put off reaching an accord.

They are said to continue negotiating intermittently until the next meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries scheduled in June.

Slumping crude oil prices not only have an adverse impact on the economies of oil-producing countries but also are risk factors for oil-consuming countries and the rest of the world.

When combined, the crude oil output of the 18 countries that participated in the meeting accounts for half the world’s production. Major oil-producing countries must expedite their efforts in building a consensus on specific measures to stabilize oil prices, including freezing production levels.

Following the failure by oil-rich countries to agree to freeze production levels, crude oil futures, which had been traded in the lower half of the $40 range per barrel on the U.S. market, fell further to the upper half of the $30 range.

Fearing that further declines in crude prices may cause turmoil in financial markets, investors have taken a risk-avoidance stance, causing the yen to strengthen and stock prices to decline on the Tokyo market.

For Japan, an oil-consuming country, a decline in crude oil prices would usually have a positive effect, but at the current time, the situation is different. We must not underestimate the possible negative impact on the Japanese economy when the pace of its economic recovery has been sluggish.

Saudi-Iran rivalry

Oil-producing countries with tight fiscal situations may accelerate their moves to pull their oil money out of financial markets, causing stocks to plunge around the world. Such doubts and fears show signs of spreading. Strict observation of market trends in the days ahead is needed.

Behind the failure of oil-producing countries to reach an accord is a tug-of-war for hegemony in the Middle East between Saudi Arabia, which refers to itself as the leader of Sunni Muslim nations, and Iran, a major Shiite-dominated country.

Their confrontation has intensified as the two countries severed diplomatic ties in January following Saudi Arabia’s execution of a prominent Shiite cleric.

Saudi Arabia is strongly resistant to any agreement that would favor its rival Iran. Meanwhile, Iran can hardly go along with freezing output levels as the country has just begun increasing its production following the lifting in January of economic sanctions imposed by the United States and European countries over Tehran’s nuclear development.

It will not be easy to untangle the complex factors that are blocking an accord on freezing oil output. The roles Russia and the United States play are important as they are major oil-producing countries outside the Middle East.

Due to falling crude prices, Russia is suffering from negative economic growth as the country has been hit by the ruble’s sharp decline and high inflation. Meanwhile, the United States has seen the profit margins of its shale oil wells fall. While taking heed of the impacts on their own economies, Russia and the United States should press Saudi Arabia and Iran to reach some kind of compromise.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, April 19, 2016)


G20と世界経済 政策協調の実効性が問われる

The Yomiuri Shimbun
To stabilize global economy, G-20 needs to strengthen coordination
G20と世界経済 政策協調の実効性が問われる

Each country is being tested in its efforts to strengthen coordination in implementing the crucial policies needed to stabilize the global economy.

The Group of 20 finance ministers and central bank governors reiterated during a recent meeting their determination to employ all policy tools, such as fiscal and monetary policies, as well as structural reforms.

Expressing concern over the prospects of the world economy, a communique said, “However, growth remains modest and uneven, and downside risks and uncertainties to the global outlook persist ...”

While the financial market is becoming calmer, the G-20 reaffirmed the importance of coordination without relaxing its vigilance. We believe this is appropriate.

However, the G-20 is not a monolith, as the situations in each country differ.

While the United States pointed out the effectiveness of an agile fiscal policy, Germany remained cautious on this stance.

Deflationary concerns are growing over the European economy. To prop it up, it may be effective for countries with fiscal leeway to start expanding their expenditures.

The communique also expressed the intention of avoiding competitive currency devaluation. “We reiterate that excess volatility and disorderly movements in exchange rates can have adverse implications for economic and financial stability,” it says. A similar phrase was used in the previous meeting.

Overcoming differences key

Japan deems that the legitimacy of a new dimension of monetary easing has been acknowledged, and its market intervention to deal with the rapid rise in the yen has won understanding.

Because of a possible slowdown in the pace of additional interest rate increases in the United States, there is concern that the yen may rise further in the future. At a press conference after the G-20 financial leaders meeting, Finance Minister Taro Aso stressed, “Taking necessary action against exchange rate movements is in line with the G-20 agreement.”

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, however, attempted to curb Japan’s moves to guide the yen’s value lower, saying, “Despite recent yen appreciation, foreign exchange markets remain orderly.” This is because Lew is wary that the yen’s slide against the dollar could lead to a drop in U.S. exports and worsening employment.

Unless developed countries strengthen their coordination by overcoming differences in their intentions, market stabilization will be far from certain.

The G-20 also hammered out a policy of strengthening measures to stop excessive tax saving. This is based on the fact that the Panama Papers, which exposed a situation in which money is being salted away in tax havens, has become a global issue.

One cannot ignore that companies and wealthy people possessing huge assets pay too little tax, although this is not a clearly illegal act. The G-20’s direction of building an international cooperation framework to close tax loopholes is appropriate.

It is hoped the G-20 will closely exchange information and strive to craft more effective rules to also deal swiftly with new methods of avoiding taxes.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, April 18, 2016)


日露外相会談 首脳往来の環境を整備したい

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Prepare environment to promote mutual visits between Abe, Putin
日露外相会談 首脳往来の環境を整備したい

Continuing high-level talks with Russia is essential in order to make progress on the issue of the northern territories. Persistent effort is the key.

Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida met with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, in Tokyo on Friday. The two agreed to prepare for a summit meeting in Russia’s southern city of Sochi in early May.

At a joint press conference, Kishida referred to the issue of the northern territories, saying: “We had a positive discussion aimed at formulating a solution acceptable to both sides, which I believe will bring momentum to the negotiations.”

Lavrov responded by saying that Moscow is ready to continue dialogue with Tokyo. Compared with the stubborn attitude he showed after his September meeting with Kishida — Lavrov at that time unilaterally denied that they had even discussed the northern territories at the meeting — we can say that the Russian minister was more flexible this time.

The atmosphere surrounding the diplomacy between Tokyo and Moscow is not bad. Since autumn, the two countries have held repeated exchanges between lawmakers as well as talks between senior government officials.

Russian President Vladimir Putin embraced Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s envisaged visit to Sochi. He told reporters that Japan is making efforts to maintain its relationship with Russia “despite U.S.-centered pressure.” Putin added that the two countries will be able to find middle ground on the territorial issue someday.

Strong willpower needed

Of course, it is too early to say that Moscow has shifted to a softer approach on territorial issues.

In an interview with certain media ahead of his visit to Japan, Lavrov said the 1956 Japan-Soviet Joint Declaration does not say that the territorial dispute will be discussed during negotiations on the envisioned peace treaty.

The remarks contradict past agreements between Japan and Russia, such as the 2001 Irkutsk Statement, which states that settling the territorial jurisdiction of the four islands off Hokkaido is a precondition to concluding a peace treaty. Lavrov’s remarks cannot be accepted. Moscow should remember that Putin himself signed the Irkutsk Statement.

Abe and Putin will have to have strong willpower and be decisive in resolving the territorial dispute.

The tenure of both leaders ends in 2018. We urge both governments to materialize the Russian president’s visit to Japan after Abe’s trip to Russia. It is important to seek a path toward reaching an agreement on the issue by exchanging mutual visits. We urge the government to steadily and strategically prepare the way for fostering the needed environment.

At the same time, it is important not to disrupt the unity of the Group of Seven developed nations.

U.S. President Barack Obama has confronted Putin over the Ukranian conflict. Obama expressed concern over Abe’s envisaged Sochi visit during a telephone discussion in February, asking him to postpone it. Abe countered: “A peace treaty issue with Russia is also important. We must continue dialogue with Russia.”

Earlier this month, Abe held a meeting with Ukranian President Petro Poroshenko, pledging to continue financial support to the country.

It is essential for the government to explain Japan’s standpoint of simultaneously working on the two issues — easing the Ukranian conflict and making progress in Japan-Russia relations — to the United States and European countries to obtain their understanding before Japan hosts the G-7 Ise-Shima Summit meeting in May.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, April 17, 2016)


北ミサイル失敗 核搭載の脅威に警戒を怠るな

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Stay alert to N. Korea’s attempts to miniaturize nuclear warheads
北ミサイル失敗 核搭載の脅威に警戒を怠るな

The self-serving stance of the North Korean regime led by Kim Jong Un, which has continued to make dangerous provocations in total defiance of international criticism, has become more pronounced.

North Korea launched a missile from an area on its coast facing the Sea of Japan, but it failed. It is highly possible that it was a test-firing of a new type of medium-range ballistic missile named Musudan. There is information that the missile exploded as it rose skyward.

If the precision of North Korea’s launching technology improves through repeated test-firings, it would enhance its surprise attack capabilities because such missiles are fired from mobile launch pads that are difficult to detect. Countries concerned must not neglect the need to stay alert regarding the progress of North Korea’s military technology.

Resolutions on sanctions that have been repeatedly adopted by the U.N. Security Council against North Korea ban any type of launch using ballistic missile technology. It cannot be overlooked that North Korea has repeatedly violated the resolutions since it conducted a nuclear test in January.

Kim claimed in early March that his country had succeeded in miniaturizing nuclear warheads. He is apparently trying to rattle the three countries of Japan, the United States and South Korea by flaunting technology for missiles on which nuclear warheads can be mounted.

North Korea in mid-March defiantly launched a Nodong medium-range ballistic missile capable of reaching most parts of Japan.

With a longer range than the Nodong type, it is estimated that the Musudan missile has a range of up to 4,000 kilometers.

Realistic threats loom

If the missile test-fired this time was a Musudan type, North Korea’s purpose is to be able to target U.S. forces in Japan and Guam. B-52 strategic bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons are deployed at the U.S. military base in Guam. The U.S. military dispatched a B-52 from the Guam base to fly over South Korea after North Korea conducted a nuclear test in January.

Should Pyongyang successfully test-fire a Musudan missile, the threat that it can launch nuclear attacks on U.S. bases in the Asia-Pacific region would become reality.

The latest missile launch by North Korea was conducted on Friday, the birthday of Kim Jong Un’s grandfather Kim Il Sung — an important, commemorative day for the country. North Korea’s expectations of enhancing national prestige could not be met due to the failed test-firing.

The Congress of the Workers’ Party of Korea is scheduled to convene in early May for the first time in 36 years. Preparations are in full swing, including holding meetings to select delegates to the congress. Rodong Sinmun, an organ of the WPK, praised Kim Jong Un, saying he has lifted North Korea to the first rank of nuclear powers.

It is assumed Kim Jong Un will resort to further military provocations in an attempt to enhance his own prestige. It was natural for Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga to say that Japan “will gather and analyze information and respond, while acting in concert firmly with the United States and South Korea.”

To prepare for new North Korean provocations, such as a fifth nuclear test and an additional missile test-firing, it is essential that Japan strengthen surveillance in close cooperation with Washington and Seoul.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, April 16, 2016)


韓国与党敗北 対「北」連携へ悪影響避けたい

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Defeat of South Korean ruling party musn’t derail cooperation over North
韓国与党敗北 対「北」連携へ悪影響避けたい

The political base of South Korean President Park Geun-hye, who has one year and 10 months left in her term, has been shaken to its core.

This is a development that raises concerns about the possible negative impact on South Korea’s policies toward North Korea and Tokyo-Seoul ties.

In South Korea’s parliamentary election, the ruling conservative Saenuri Party suffered a devastating defeat and lost its majority in the National Assembly. The main opposition Minjoo Party of Korea, a left-leaning party that favors a conciliatory stance toward North Korea, made significant gains and is now the largest party in the assembly. The People’s Party, a new party, also picked up many seats.

A South Korean president serves one five-year term and cannot be reelected. When an administration enters the latter half of its term, it normally becomes a lame duck. A further decline in its unifying force is unavoidable.

The direct cause of the ruling party’s defeat was an internal conflict prior to the election that caused many people to lose trust in the party. Discord between lawmakers close to Park and lawmakers in an anti-Park group who want to keep their distance from her resulted in a split election, as some anti-Park lawmakers who were denied official nominations ran as independents.

The Park administration’s failure to produce any notable results on the economic front also affected the election. Due to the economic slowdown in China and other factors, South Korea’s exports have fallen and growth has been tepid. The rising unemployment rate, especially among young people, has become a social problem.

Park will have to increasingly request opposition parties’ cooperation to pass bills seeking to reenergize the economy, and on other issues. Running her administration will become more difficult.

Stick to ‘comfort women’ deal

Park has an obligation to deal with North Korea’s repeated provocations, such as its nuclear tests and launches of long-range ballistic missiles.

South Korea has quite appropriately adopted a hard-line approach to North Korea, such as by slapping its own sanctions on Pyongyang in addition to those imposed by the United Nations. Halting operations at the Kaesong industrial complex will be effective in severing a source of funds for the administration of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Criticism from opposition parties that these steps are excessive is unfair.

To prevent North Korea from committing any reckless acts, it is essential for Seoul to strengthen its alliance with Washington and continue to discuss the deployment of a sophisticated U.S. missile defense system in South Korea.

Some observers have suggested the opposition party’s victory will make it harder to conclude a General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) that is being discussed by Japan and South Korea. However, the importance of cooperation between Japan, the United States and South Korea must not be forgotten.

What will happen to efforts aimed at implementing the Japan-South Korea deal on so-called comfort women, which was realized at the end of last year, is a cause for concern.

South Korea is obliged to establish a foundation that will provide support to former comfort women. South Korea has also promised to make efforts to remove a statue of a girl symbolizing comfort women set up in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul. Japan has demanded that this statue be removed.

Deep-rooted opposition to this deal remains in South Korea. Although the comfort women issue did not become a major point of contention in the election, the Minjoo Party of Korea called in its campaign promises for the withdrawal and renegotiation of the deal.

We will watch carefully and hope Park will not be swayed by such pressure, and that she implements the deal to improve Japan-South Korea relations.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, April 15, 2016)


パナマ文書 中国政権の正統性問う

--The Asahi Shimbun, April 10
EDITORIAL: Panama Papers question China leadership’s legitimacy
(社説)パナマ文書 中国政権の正統性問う
After three years of persistently pursuing a rigorous anti-corruption campaign, the administration of Chinese President Xi Jinping is now facing a serious credibility crisis.
The administration’s drive to clean up the rot within the government and the Communist Party has won public support because the unusually tough crackdown has led to a slew of arrests and indictments of political heavyweights. Many party bigwigs are still under investigation.

But the so-called Panama Papers, or millions of internal documents about hidden wealth leaked from a Panama-based law firm, have implicated some members of China’s most powerful policy body.
The names mentioned in the leaked documents include the husband of Xi’s elder sister and relatives of Liu Yunshan and Zhang Gaoli, two other members of the Communist Party Politburo Standing Committee. They were shareholders in companies registered in overseas tax havens, according to information obtained and made public by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

The disclosures raised suspicions that the leaders who have been acting as champions of the anti-corruption crusade are corrupt themselves. The leaked documents have cast serious doubt on the administration’s credibility and moral rectitude.

The Panama Papers also cite five relatives of former Chinese leaders including the husband of Mao Tse-tung’s granddaughter.

Chinese authorities have imposed a strict media blackout to block public access to information concerning the Panama Papers.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry has refused to comment on any of the many questions about the topic posed by foreign media.

But the government has been unable to stop the embarrassing facts about top leaders from becoming known widely among the people.

The phrase “husband of an elder sister” has already become fashionable on the Internet.

We have heard a raft of stories about how relatives of Chinese leaders have taken advantage of their positions to win the rights to use state-owned land and made huge profits through real estate investments.

It is unclear whether reported secretive offshore financing is related to such dubious wealth accumulated through abuse of political privileges.

But two things are clear.

One is that people around China’s top leader have amassed amounts of wealth well beyond the imagination of ordinary citizens in the country.

The other is that they have taken the trouble to set up companies in remote offshore tax havens.

Why have they transferred their assets to such companies far away from home? The only plausible explanation is that they were trying to hide their money from Chinese authorities’ oversight.

These leaders deserve to be criticized for putting a higher priority on protecting the profits of their kin than on promoting the nation’s development. That’s at least how Chinese citizens will think about the revelations.

At least three of the seven members of the paramount leadership organ have been implicated.

China lacks a system under which its leaders are chosen through free and fair elections.

If the Communist Party government is to win public support for its rule of the nation, it must ensure that the living standards among the people will keep rising.

If the party’s leaders are working hard to make themselves far richer than citizens, however, the very foundation of the legitimacy of the party’s monopoly on power could be seriously undermined.

The documents that tell sordid stories about relatives of top Chinese leaders are widely available across the world. It is hard to imagine how the Xi administration will be able to get away with this scandal without offering convincing explanations.


TBS批判 まっとうな言論活動か

--The Asahi Shimbun, April 13
EDITORIAL: Attack on TBS TV an act of crude intimidation, not free speech
(社説)TBS批判 まっとうな言論活動か
Tokyo Broadcasting System Holdings Inc., operator of the TBS TV station, issued a statement earlier this month concerning an organization that has publicly declared its intention to put pressure on the broadcaster’s sponsors.

Calling itself “an association of television viewers demanding compliance with the Broadcast Law,” the group maintains that TBS’s news reports violate the Broadcast Law, and says it is preparing a “national campaign to alert sponsors.”

In its statement, TBS rebutted: “Fully cognizant of our mission as a news organization to introduce diverse opinions and keep public authorities in check, we autonomously aim for fair and impartial programming.”

The broadcaster stressed, “The (group’s) open declaration of its intent to apply pressure on our sponsors represents a grave threat to freedom of expression and, ultimately, to democracy itself.”

The purpose of the Broadcast Law is to guarantee freedom of expression and encourage the healthy development of democracy. TBS’s comment is fully compatible with the spirit of this law, and we support it.

The viewers’ association has been attacking TBS since last autumn, and it kept track of the airtime the network gave to its coverage of the controversial national security legislation.
After establishing that TBS gave more airtime to reports that were critical of the legislation, the association accused TBS of failing to maintain political neutrality.

But it is the mission of any news organization to examine legislation pushed by the administration of the time, and raise questions and discuss problems. And with something like national security legislation that was of great interest to the public, the network obviously needed to thoroughly report on the issue by airing diverse opinions that differed from the administration’s, including critical views.

As for the matter of putting pressure on broadcasters, a ruling Liberal Democratic Party legislator held a study meeting in June last year, in which a comment was made to the effect, “The most effective way to punish mass media is to cut off revenues from their sponsors.”

Such thinking fully endorses browbeating by political authorities. This is simply unacceptable.

On the other hand, viewers are free to criticize TV programs, and broadcasters must humbly heed such complaints. However, what the viewers’ association has done is arbitrarily interpret the Broadcast Law and attempt to systematically manipulate the public into joining the “cause.”

In its statement, the association notified TBS that unless the latter “responds with sincerity,” a proposal will be sent to its sponsors to prevent them from becoming “accomplices” in “illegal broadcasting that negatively impacts society.”

The association also stated its intention to recruit volunteers online and “take further action as needed,” depending on the sponsors’ response.

This is applying pressure, pure and simple.

There are many ways to complain about TV programs, including taking the complaints to the Broadcasting Ethics & Program Improvement Organization. And yet, the viewers’ association remains focused on forcing TBS to change its reporting stance by hitting its revenue source--namely, the sponsors. Such a tactic cannot possibly constitute an exercise of the right to free speech.

Should any autonomous broadcaster become incapable of continuing to provide fair and unbiased reporting and keeping public authorities in check, the public loses.

The media must reconfirm the heavy responsibility they bear to protect the public’s right to know.


G7外相会合 広島宣言を核廃絶に生かそう

The Yomiuri Shimbun
G-7 Hiroshima Declaration must help achieve the total abolition of N-arms
G7外相会合 広島宣言を核廃絶に生かそう

It is highly significant that the Group of Seven major powers — including the three nuclear powers of the United States, Britain and France — issued a clear message to pursue the eradication of nuclear weapons, doing so from a city flattened by the atomic bomb.

The G-7 adopted the Hiroshima Declaration on Nuclear Disarmament and Non-Proliferation at its foreign ministers’ meeting in Hiroshima.

“The people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki experienced immense devastation and human suffering,” the declaration says. To work toward a world without nuclear weapons, the declaration calls on political leaders and other people to visit the two cities. It also calls for promoting dialogue between nuclear weapon states and nonnuclear-weapon states and enhancing transparency regarding nuclear arms.

Last year’s Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference fell apart due to confrontations between participating countries. Japan, as the only country hit by an atomic bombing, has the mission of leading nuclear disarmament efforts. Based on the Hiroshima Declaration, Japan should strive to restructure the international cooperative regime on nuclear non-proliferation.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday became the first incumbent U.S. cabinet member to visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. He laid a wreath at the cenotaph for victims of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Commenting on the tour of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, Kerry said, “I don’t see how anyone could forget the images ... of what happened.”

Opinions that dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was justified are still strong in the United States. Kerry’s visit to Hiroshima must be used as a step toward closing the gap in perception of nuclear weapons between Japan and the United States.

Self-restraint urged

The G-7 foreign ministers also adopted a Statement on Maritime Security, which is based on the assessment that tensions have been mounting in the South China Sea.

The statement, though without pointing fingers at China, “urges all states to refrain from such actions as land reclamations ... as well as their use for military purposes.”

China has been accelerating attempts to change the status quo by force, reclaiming man-made islands and pushing ahead with militarilization on them.

It is significant that not only Japan and the United States, but also the G-7 as a whole, collectively recognized the seriousness of the security situation in the region. In cooperation with Southeast Asian nations, the G-7 must tenaciously call on China to refrain from self-serving actions.

The statement also emphasized the importance of settling maritime disputes in accordance with international law, including arbitration. This could serve as a warning to China, which has refused to settle a territorial dispute with the Philippines at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague.

The G-7 foreign ministers agreed to lead global efforts to deal with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant extremist group.

To prevent terrorism, it is necessary to take multilateral approaches such as sharing information, imposing stricter immigration controls and taking measures against the financing of terrorism.

More concrete antiterrorism measures should be put forth at the Ise-Shima G-7 summit to be held late next month.

The G-7 foreign ministers released a joint communique condemning “in the strongest terms” the nuclear test and ballistic missile launches conducted by North Korea. It is essential for the international community to strictly implement the U.N. Security Council resolution adopted in March on sanctions against North Korea, thereby ramping up pressure on the country.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, April 12, 2016)


甘利氏の疑惑 説明責任はどうなった

--The Asahi Shimbun, April 10
EDITORIAL: Amari long overdue to explain himself in cash scandal
(社説)甘利氏の疑惑 説明責任はどうなった
The special investigation department of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office has opened a compulsory investigation into the scandal over cash received by Akira Amari, former minister in charge of economic revitalization, and by one of his former aides.

A politician or an aide receiving profits in exchange for favors would violate the Law on Punishment of Public Officials’ Profiting by Exerting Influence.

The nature of the 6 million yen ($55,600), which Amari and his former aide received from a construction company based in Chiba Prefecture, remains unclear.

Amari said he believes the money represented political donations with no reciprocal nature. But a man in charge of general affairs at the construction company has said the money was intended as remuneration for the intervention of the former aide and others in the company’s compensation talks with the semipublic Urban Renaissance Agency (UR). The company later received compensation payments from the UR.

While the arguments on both sides remain far apart, it would be inexcusable for a politician or aide to receive money and exert influence on government offices or other entities at the request of the donor.

The Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office should do its best to uncover the entire picture of what took place.

It should not be forgotten that Amari himself has yet to fulfill his accountability. A lawmaker, who represents the people, has the responsibility to explain himself to the public whenever he comes under suspicion without waiting for investigators to uncover the case.

When he announced his resignation from the Cabinet at a news conference in late January, Amari did promise to “continue to have the case investigated by a lawyer and publish the results at appropriate timing.”

Some other politicians who came under suspicion over fund-raising irregularities in the past defended themselves by saying, for example, that they had no way to determine the facts because documents had been seized by authorities.

But Amari had two-and-a-half months to look into the case after his resignation. He should be able to publish findings, even an interim report, from the investigation.

Much remains unknown about the entire scandal, including whether Amari himself was involved in the case.

Amari said during the news conference in January that he had learned only recently that his former aide had been talking to the UR. But UR officials later said they had been told by the former aide that Amari was aware of the talks.

Opposition parties want Amari summoned to the Lower House Budget Committee as an unsworn witness to dig out the truth. But the ruling Liberal Democratic Party has refused.

Amari has been absent from Diet sessions, citing health problems. He may be unable to come forward on his own to explain himself, but he could still have lawyers, for example, speak on his behalf.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also bears heavy responsibility.

Abe, who appointed Amari to key Cabinet positions, has admitted to his own responsibility for having appointed him.

If that is the case, the prime minister should urge Amari to explain himself. In addition, Abe, who is also the LDP president, should instruct the party to have Amari fulfill his accountability in some form or other.


広島外相会合 核なき未来への一歩に

--The Asahi Shimbun, April 7
EDITORIAL: G-7 in Hiroshima a chance to move closer toward nuke-free future
(社説)広島外相会合 核なき未来への一歩に
The gathering in Hiroshima of top diplomats of the Group of Seven major industrialized nations, which include three nuclear powers, sends a powerful message as the world struggles to make progress toward a future without nuclear arms.
The foreign ministers of the United States, Britain and France, as well as Japan and the three other G-7 members, will meet in Hiroshima, the first city to be leveled by an atomic bomb, on April 10 and 11.

On the sidelines of their meeting in Hiroshima, the G-7 foreign ministers will visit the Peace Memorial Park, dedicated to the city's 1945 atomic bombing, and lay flowers at the Cenotaph for the A-bomb Victims on April 11.
Their pilgrimages to the city should breathe new life into international efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons.
They are also expected to visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. Their tour of the museum that documents the consequences of the U.S. atomic bombing would be even more meaningful if they hold talks with A-bomb survivors and hear their harrowing tales.

The G-7 officials traveling to Hiroshima include U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, the Obama administration's top Cabinet member.

Kerry will be the highest-ranking active U.S. politician to visit Hiroshima after Nancy Pelosi, who went in 2008 as the speaker of the House of Representatives.

More than 200,000 people perished in the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Many Americans, however, regard the attacks as justifiable, arguing that they accelerated Japan’s surrender in World War II and thereby saved many lives.

Despite serious differences between Japan and the United States in perceptions over history, President Barack Obama agreed to Japan’s request for Kerry to visit Hiroshima. We applaud Obama's weighty political decision.

We are inclined to regard the decision as a sign that Obama, whose term will expire in January, is still committed to working toward “a world without nuclear weapons,” the vision he announced to the world in his historic speech in Prague in 2009.

The Obama administration sent its ambassador to Japan to most of the annual ceremonies to commemorate the atomic bombings that have been held in Hiroshima and Nagasaki since 2010.
Last year, the administration sent Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller to attend the ceremonies.

In Japan, expectations are growing that Obama himself will travel to the A-bombed cities when he visits Japan in May to attend the G-7 summit, to be held in Shima, Mie Prefecture.

In the United States, the political climate is heating up as the races for the Democratic and Republican nominations for the autumn presidential election are entering the home stretch.

Republican frontrunner Donald Trump has been delivering a range of harsh verbal attacks on Obama’s foreign policy.

Chances are that Kerry will avoid making any remarks that could be interpreted as an apology to Japan out of fears that such a comment could have a political impact on the election.

But we nevertheless welcome Kerry’s decision to stand in front of the cenotaph in Hiroshima. We urge Obama to give serious consideration to visiting the cities as well.

Even after seven decades, there are still many people in Hiroshima and Nagasaki who lost loved ones in the bombings and are suffering form health problems caused by radiation exposure.

Because they have a strong desire not to see anyone suffer the same fate, people in the two cities are pinning great hopes on the visits by Kerry and other political leaders.

We are eager to see people in countries with nuclear arsenals think seriously about ways to bring the world closer toward a future without nuclear weapons, something that Hiroshima and Nagasaki have been praying for so strongly and for so long.

The G-7 foreign ministers’ visits to Hiroshima should not be allowed to end up as mere ritual. They should be a first step in effective efforts to create new momentum in international politics for realizing that goal.







[ 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 ]

[ 英字新聞リンク ]
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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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[ HPリンク ]
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