中国成長横ばい 過剰な生産設備の是正を急げ

The Yomiuri Shimbun
China’s excessive production capacity must be cut to ensure stable growth
中国成長横ばい 過剰な生産設備の是正を急げ

How can China overcome the pain that accompanies structural reforms and realize stable growth? The latest data on the nation’s economy has thrown into relief the difficulties of managing its economy.

China must face the arduous challenge of streamlining excessive manufacturing facilities and curtailing inefficient state-owned firms while averting a sudden business slowdown.

China’s real-term gross domestic product grew 6.7 percent in the April-June quarter when compared to the same period last year. The growth rate leveled off from the previous quarter, and a downtrend was halted for the first time in four quarters. However, it still marked a seven-year low since the shock that resulted from the collapse of U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers.

Given the slackening of investments and exports, it has become clear that China’s “world’s factory” model, used as a driving force for high growth, has reached its limit.

The Chinese administration of President Xi Jinping is pursuing a shift from investment-centered high growth to a “new normal” state of consumption-led stable growth. But consumption, which is essential, lacks the power to supplement investments and exports.

The switch to expanded growth will require the overproduction of steel and coal to be rectified. However, efforts in this regard are struggling.

China’s crude steel production has ballooned to about 800 million tons a year due to a large-scale stimulus package adopted in the aftermath of the collapse of Lehman Brothers. China’s share of the global market has swelled to half, causing steel prices to fall.

The excessive capacities of steel and other industries was mentioned as “a global issue” in the statement issued after a meeting of trade ministers from the Group of 20 major economies, held this month in Shanghai.

Specter of ‘zombie firms’

China has made moves to reduce crude steel output by suspending operations at facilities, including its old blast furnaces. However, this is akin to pouring water on a hot stone. If restructuring is pushed ahead, it is estimated that 1.8 million workers will be rendered jobless in the steelmaking and coal mining industries alone.

Due to opposition from local governments, which are concerned about employment, curtailing production facilities has progressed little.

It is necessary to alter the industrial structure by promoting the service and other industries, thereby making it possible for workers who lose their jobs due to structural reforms to be accepted elsewhere.

Some state-owned businesses and firms related to local governments have, in effect, gone bust, but survive thanks to public subsidies. These “zombie companies” have become a serious issue.

It is worrying that nonperforming loans — made by financial institutions to unprofitable businesses and in connection to investments in excessive facilities and real estate — have become bloated.

According to China’s official statistics, outstanding nonperforming bank loans stand at slightly more than 1 trillion yuan. However, it is strongly believed the actual figure is several times larger.

The liquidation of zombie companies is indispensable to reforming China’s state-owned firms by shifting their central businesses from the public to private sector. However, if the issue of bad debts surfaces, it could trigger financial unrest.

Changes in the Chinese economy, and the issue of Britain’s exit from the European Union, pose a risk to the global economy. How can China maintain the sensitive balance between reform and business?

It is essential for the many Japanese firms that conduct business transactions with China to take responsive measures while closely monitoring how the matter evolves.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 18, 2016)


トルコ軍反乱 鎮圧が国民融和につながるか

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Would suppression of military revolt in Turkey lead to reconciliation?
トルコ軍反乱 鎮圧が国民融和につながるか

The attempt by Turkish forces to use arms and overthrow a government chosen through a democratic process cannot possibly be condoned. There is a pressing need for the interested parties to exercise restraint so further bloodshed will be averted.

Some military troops attempted a coup through such actions as deploying tanks and occupying broadcasting stations in Turkey’s capital of Ankara and its largest city of Istanbul. There were clashes of arms and explosions, resulting in a large number of casualties. Large bridges connecting Europe and Asia and arterial roads were temporarily closed.

Military and police forces supporting the government have nearly quelled the rebel troops. The coup attempt ended in failure, with many soldiers killed or detained. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan emphasized that the coup attempt had been quashed, saying he was “in control” of the situation.

It was only natural for the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and others to express support for the Turkish government and call for the restoration of order. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said, “I’m concerned about the situation.” The Japanese government must strive to secure the safety of Japanese residents in Turkey in case the turmoil continues for an extended period.

One of the factors behind the latest revolt seems to be that part of the military was dissatisfied with the measures implemented to reduce their power, including constitutional amendment, at a time when the Erdogan administration has become even more religious.

Turkey has stood by its national principle of secularism — the separation of religion and politics — since Kemal Ataturk, who hailed from the military, was installed as the first president of the country in 1923.

History of coups

The military see themselves as “the defenders of secularism.” They have staged coups in the past, too, citing the government’s Islamization and political corruption as the reasons for their actions.

At the helm of a moderate Islamic party, Erdogan became prime minister in 2003 and president in 2014. Based on his initiative to achieve economic growth, Erdogan has implemented policy measures marked by a tilt toward Muslims, such as a ban on the sale of alcoholic beverages at night.

The problem is that Erdogan’s iron-fisted approach is heightening friction within the country.

Antigovernment demonstrations have been cracked down on, and control has been exercised over organs of public opinion critical of the government. Fighting against armed groups of separatist Kurds has turned into a quagmire, and little headway has been made in preventing terrorist attacks by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and other militant groups.

There will be no hope of stabilizing the political situation unless Erdogan facilitates reconciliation with secularists.

Turkey has allowed U.S. forces to use military bases for a campaign by the coalition of the willing to uproot the ISIL group. The country also plays an important role in hindering the movement of foreign ISIL fighters.

Turkey has also been asked to promote cooperation with the EU in dealing with the issue of Syrian refugees staying in that country despite wanting to leave for Europe.

It is indispensable for the international community, including Japan, to become actively involved in this respect, a task essential for preventing the latest incident from further exacerbating the situation in the Middle East.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 17, 2016)


アジア欧州会議 中国は国際法に背を向けるな

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Countries should work together to urge China not to reject international law
アジア欧州会議 中国は国際法に背を向けるな

It cannot be overlooked that China is disregarding the court of arbitration’s decision, which fully dismissed Beijing’s claims regarding its sovereignty over the South China Sea.

It is crucial for countries concerned to work together to continue to urge Beijing to follow the ruling.

The Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) ended its summit by adopting a chairperson’s statement that mentioned the importance of solving disputes based on the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

The document refrained from making a direct reference to the South China Sea, in consideration of Beijing. This is in a way unavoidable because documents, in principle, have to be adopted unanimously.

We welcome the fact that many leaders discussed the South China Sea issue during the summit and expressed support for maintaining maritime order based on the rule of law.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe emphasized that the ruling was “final and legally binding for countries concerned in the dispute.” We regard his comments as a matter of course.

It was questionable that Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, during a meeting with Abe, said once again that his country rejected the ruling. “Japan should not make a fuss about and intervene in the South China Sea issue,” Li said.

Beijing dismissed the arbitration proceedings as a “political farce” and even described the ruling as “paper waste.” The country has been repeating landing tests by civilian aircraft at airports on artificial islands it has constructed in the Spratly Islands, with the aim of making its effective control over the South China Sea a fait accompli.

Unworthy of UNSC

Beijing has been heightening regional tensions even further by turning its back on the international court’s decision. Such self-serving actions and statements are unworthy of a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, which is responsible for regional stability.

Beijing claimed that it was unfair that Shunji Yanai, then president of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, appointed four arbitration court judges in charge of the South China Sea case. However, we regard this as unreasonable.

Experts were chosen as judges for the case based on procedures under UNCLOS. It is China’s boycotting of the procedures that is the problem.

China is staging a propaganda campaign to justify itself by claiming that more than 70 countries support its position. We suspect this action indicates how desperate Beijing is about becoming isolated in the international community.

It is of no small significance that the chairperson’s statement expressed a resolve to prevent violent extremism, following the terrorist attacks in Nice, France, and Bangladesh.

Armed groups and others are committing attacks in many parts of the world in response to calls by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militant organization. In the medium and long term, it is important to work together in coping with social issues that can serve as hotbeds of extremism, such as employment measures for younger generations.

In the economic field, the summit focused on stabilizing the global economy, which has been shaken since Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.

It is reasonable that the statement confirmed that countries are ready to use all their policy tools: monetary, fiscal and structural reforms.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 17, 2016)


仏車突入テロ 祝祭を標的にした新手の蛮行

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Using truck as a terror weapon during celebrations a heinous act
仏車突入テロ 祝祭を標的にした新手の蛮行

It was an unforgivable, heinous act of terrorism that targeted people celebrating Bastille Day, which commemorates the French Revolution and is France’s most important holiday.

A heavy truck drove onto a promenade in Nice, a Mediterranean resort city in southeastern France, traveling about two kilometers while mowing down a crowd of people watching fireworks. The attack took the lives of many people, including children.

The driver was shot dead after exchanging fire with police officers. According to sources, he was identified as a 31-year-old Tunisian-born Frenchman who lived in Nice. He had a criminal record of theft, but was not under police surveillance.

This attack is categorized as a mass murder on a soft target — the man chose a lightly guarded place where large numbers of the general public gather. What makes the matter even more serious is the fact the incident was caused by a new type of “weapon” — a truck, which is relatively easy to acquire.

The French government began investigating the incident after concluding it was a terrorist attack. We hope the government will swiftly discover the overall picture of the situation, including the background and the man’s motive.

The attack dealt an immeasurable blow to France.

“France was hit on its National Day, July 14, the symbol of freedom,” French President Francois Hollande said, while expressing his resolve not to succumb to terrorism. We believe he made his remarks with the significance of the French Revolution — the people’s revolution in the 18th century — in mind.

Difficulty ensuring security

France had just finished hosting the European Championship soccer tournament under heavy security, and was scheduled to lift a state of emergency late this month, which was imposed after the November coordinated terrorist attacks in Paris.

The fact that a major terrorist attack took place at such a time in a regional city underscored the difficulty of ensuring security.

“The whole of France is under the threat of Islamist terrorism,” Hollande said.

The French government will extend the state of emergency for another three months, and tighten its security through such measures as calling up its military reserves. It is also important to review the nation’s program of surveillance of an estimated several thousand potential terrorists.

The European Union nations agreed to reinforce their public security cooperation at a summit meeting last month. The aftershock of Britain’s decision to exit from the EU should not stall the organization’s efforts against terrorism.

It was totally appropriate for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is in Mongolia to participate in a summit meeting of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), to say, “Despicable acts of terrorism that involve innocent people are absolutely unforgivable.” Other world leaders also sent a string of messages expressing their unity with France’s fight against terrorism.

In Bangladesh, the attack by gunmen that took place earlier this month at a restaurant made it clear that terrorism caused by Islamic extremists is also spreading in Asia.

The ASEM meeting should be utilized as an opportunity to deepen cooperation on measures against terrorism between Asia and Europe.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 16, 2016)


Emperor Akihito expresses intention to abdicate: gov't source

July 13, 2016 (Mainichi Japan)
Emperor Akihito expresses intention to abdicate: gov't source
Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko are pictured in Manila in this Jan. 28, 2016 file photo. (Mainichi)

Emperor Akihito has expressed his intention to abdicate, making way for his son Crown Prince Naruhito to ascend the Chrysanthemum throne, a government source has disclosed.

The Emperor conveyed his intention to a person close to the Imperial Household Agency, according to the government source. He is said to have expressed his intention to abdicate within several years.

The Imperial Household Agency is making arrangements for the Emperor to publicly express his intention in the near future. As the Imperial House Law does not contain stipulations on the Emperor's abdication, discussion will likely begin over revisions to the legislation.

Emperor Akihito, 82, is Japan's 125th emperor. After undergoing heart surgery in February 2012, he had his official duties reduced, including Imperial rituals. However, he has continued to perform numerous duties, including matters of state as stipulated in the Constitution, visiting areas affected by earthquakes and other disasters, and meeting with foreign heads of state.

According to informed sources, the Emperor does not wish to have his duties drastically reduced, nor remain in his position while leaving his duties to a substitute. He also believes that a person who can sufficiently perform his duties as a symbol of the state as stipulated in the Constitution should remain on the Chrysanthemum throne. The Emperor is said to have conveyed his intentions to Empress Michiko, Crown Prince Naruhito and Prince Akishino.

Emperor Akihito ascended the throne in 1989 as the first emperor to do so under the post-World War II Constitution, which stipulates that "The Emperor shall be the symbol of the State and of the unity of the people." During a press conference marking his ascension to the throne, which he attended with Empress Michiko, Emperor Akihito said, "I want to fulfill my duties as Emperor that are laid out in the Constitution to work for the happiness of the people and to have a monarchy that is fitting for the present age."

He has continually pursued ways to carry out his role as the symbol of the state including visits to facilities for disabled people and areas affected by the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake and other disasters.

At a news conference marking the 10th anniversary of his ascension to the throne, he said, "It is our important duty to empathize with disabled and elderly people, those affected by disasters, as well as those who dedicate themselves to society and the people."

The Imperial Household Agency has pursued ways to reduce the burden on Emperor Akihito as he has grown older. The agency announced in January 2009 that the Emperor would stop issuing statements in a large number of ceremonies after he developed a heartbeat irregularity, and suffered other illnesses apparently caused by mental stress in December 2008.

The Emperor underwent coronary-artery bypass surgery in February 2012. Nevertheless, he attended memorial services for victims of the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami held shortly afterwards. At a news conference prior to his 79th birthday, Emperor Akihito said he wanted to stay active for the time being.

At the same time, the Emperor has begun to hand over some duties to Crown Prince Naruhito. His last visits to facilities as part of his official duties were in 2014, on the occasions of Children's Day and Respect-for-the-Aged Day. In May this year, the agency further reviewed Emperor Akihito's official duties, cancelling eight planned meetings with the heads of national and local governments.

It was not unheard-of among the past 124 emperors to abdicate and hand over the Imperial throne to their successors while they were alive, according to the Imperial Household Agency. The last emperor to do so, however, was Emperor Kokaku, who was on the throne from 1780 to 1817 during the late Edo Period.

In royal families in European countries, it is not unusual for the monarch to hand over his or her throne to a successor. In 2013, then Netherlands Queen Beatrix, who has friendly relations with the Japanese Imperial Family, and Pope Benedict XVI abdicated, drawing worldwide attention.


自公が国政選4連勝 「後出し改憲」に信はない

--The Asahi Shimbun, July 11
EDITORIAL: Election victory is not a mandate to change the Constitution
(社説)自公が国政選4連勝 「後出し改憲」に信はない

The outcome of the July 10 Upper House election has turned out to be a watershed in the nation's postwar politics.

In the 1956 Upper House election, the Socialists, along with other parties, erected a sort of legislative wall by securing more than one-third of the seats to prevent the newly formed Liberal Democratic Party from carrying out its pledge to amend the Constitution.
Six decades on, the wall in the Upper House has now crumbled. It had already gone in the Lower House.

The ruling coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and its junior partner, Komeito, won a crushing victory in the election. The four pro-amendment parties, which include Initiatives from Osaka, together with some independent members who support the idea but didn’t face election this year, now control more than two-thirds of the chamber. The LDP and Komeito already have a two-thirds majority in the Lower House. Constitutional amendments can be initiated by the Diet through a concurring vote of two-thirds or more of all the members of each chamber.

Rewriting the Constitution, of course, is a very complicated political challenge, and these numbers don’t mean the process will move forward immediately.

The four pro-amendment parties have widely different political agendas. Komeito, in particular, is increasingly cautious about pushing through any initiative to amend the Constitution.

There is, however, no doubt that debate on constitutional amendments will gain traction in the Diet in the coming months as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has pledged to activate the Commission on the Constitution in both houses during the next Diet session. In the process, the prospects of actual changes in the Constitution will increase gradually.

This is the first time that the postwar Constitution faces a realistic possibility of amendments being made. It’s nothing less than a critical turning point for Japan’s postwar politics.


Before the election campaign kicked off, Abe expressed his desire to carry out constitutional amendments while he was in office. But he avoided addressing the issue head-on during the campaign.

The election is now over, and Abe is again ratcheting up his rhetoric about constitutional change.
We have to say Abe's approach to realize his long-held political aspiration is insincere.

Exactly what kind of message did Japanese voters send out in the poll?

Abe said the key election issues were the appropriateness of his decision to again postpone a rise in the consumption tax rate and whether his economic policy, known as "Abenomics," should be promoted further.

As for the consumption tax rate increase, Katsuya Okada, president of the main opposition Democratic Party, had already called for it to be delayed before Abe announced his decision. The party pointed to the limitations of Abenomics but failed to offer a convincing alternative.

The LDP, on the other hand, promised to achieve a “virtuous cycle of growth and distribution,” a slogan that is reminiscent of the Democratic Party’s pledge to pursue both “distribution and growth.”

The opposition parties focused their campaigning on blocking the Abe administration’s bid to amend the Constitution. But the prime minister did not respond to their challenge.

There was no detailed debate on energy policy, which is facing the crucial decision of whether to promote or phase out nuclear power generation.

All in all, the election campaign was short on vital elements that could strongly affect voters’ decisions at the ballot box.

Abe argued that his efforts to revitalize the economy through Abenomics have not been a failure, but still have a long way to go. Many voters may have cast ballots for the status quo in a “wait-and-see” stance even though they were not fully sold on Abe’s argument.


Why did Abe not talk much about his desire to amend the Constitution?

He has probably learned a lesson from his bitter experience with regard to the 2007 Upper House election, when he campaigned on a pledge to seek the initiation of constitutional amendments in 2010. He resigned after the ruling party took a drubbing in the poll.

Abe apparently thought that the more he talked eagerly about his wish to rewrite the Constitution in specific terms the more likely the public would react negatively to his case.

Abe also pointed out that any proposal to amend the Constitution has to be approved by the public through a national referendum and said it was not vital to discuss the issue in an election campaign.

But he is wrong. The due process of amending the Constitution should be composed of three stages. First, a specific proposal to change the Constitution should be made a key topic for an election. Then, the elected representatives of the people should have mature debate on the proposal at the Diet for the purpose of building broad consensus. And finally, the proposal should be put to a national referendum for public approval.

If he really believes it is not necessary to listen to the people’s opinions about a proposal to amend the Constitution until the Diet initiates the amendment, Abe has the wrong idea about to whom the Constitution belongs.

Abe himself has admitted that there is no agreement on which provision should be amended first. This is clear evidence that there is no urgent need to change the Constitution.

The outcome of the election doesn’t at all mean Abe has a public mandate to amend the Constitution.


Whether he will immediately start taking steps toward constitutional amendments or not, it is certain that Abe now has a very strong power base after four consecutive wins in national elections.

This is not simply about the ruling camp’s overwhelming majority in both houses. Since he returned to power in December 2012, Abe has appointed individuals he favors for posts that should be independent of political power, such as the Bank of Japan governor, the chief of the Cabinet Legislation Bureau and the governors of Japan Broadcasting Corp. (NHK).

Abe is also putting unprecedented political pressure on appointments to senior posts at ministries and agencies through the Cabinet bureau of personnel affairs.

There is no political force in the nation’s governing system that can counter or check the huge political power Abe has amassed.

Meanwhile, four opposition parties, including the Democratic Party and the Japanese Communist Party, fielded their unified candidates for all of the 32 single-seat constituencies in the election. They formed an electoral alliance for the common goals of repealing the national security legislation and thwarting Abe’s attempt to amend the Constitution.
The opposition alliance has proved effective, at least to a certain degree. But it has failed to shape up as a powerful national movement that can give a unified voice to public criticism about the Abe administration.

As the election campaigning entered its final stage, the opposition coalition came under fierce attack from the ruling camp, which denounced their partnership as an unprincipled coalition for political convenience. In particular, the ruling camp roundly criticized the Democratic Party and its non-communist allies for campaigning with the JCP, which regards the existence of the Self-Defense Forces as unconstitutional.

If they hadn’t formed the alliance, however, they would have lost in even more of the single-seat constituencies. Their electoral cooperation has been meaningful from this point of view.

Under the current election system, nearly 300 of the 475 Lower House seats are contested in single-seat constituencies. Single-seat constituencies are also vital for the overall outcomes of Upper House elections.
An electoral alliance is undoubtedly the most effective way for smaller opposition parties to fight against the dominant ruling camp under this system.

The opposition parties need to figure out an effective formula for their alliance for the next Lower House election, which will enable voters to choose their government.
If they fail to do so, the LDP is likely to continue winning overwhelming election victories.


1st typhoon of season expected to bring heavy winds, rain to southwestern Japan

July 7, 2016 (Mainichi Japan)
1st typhoon of season expected to bring heavy winds, rain to southwestern Japan

Nepartak, a fierce typhoon and the first of the season, was moving northwest south of the Sakishima islands in Okinawa Prefecture as of the morning of July 7.

According to the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), the powerful storm has a central pressure of 900 hectopascals and winds gusting up to 60 meters per second near the core. The typhoon will probably bring winds of at least 15 meters per second to the Sakishima islands, and make landfall on Taiwan on the morning of July 8.

The storm is expected to draw closest to the Sakishima islands between the evening of July 7 and the pre-dawn hours of July 8. It is predicted that waves will reach around 9 meters high and winds will hit speeds of up to 25 meters per second by the morning of July 8.

The JMA is calling on residents not to go near the ocean.

Okinawa's main island, meanwhile, has been covered in clouds from the outer rim of the typhoon, and is likely to see heavy rains of up to 50 millimeters per hour through the evening of July 7. Damp air has made its way to southern Kyushu as well, bringing unstable weather to the region. The Amami region is expected to see rain until July 8.


Victim of Dhaka terror attack volunteered in Japan and abroad

July 5, 2016 (Mainichi Japan)
Victim of Dhaka terror attack volunteered in Japan and abroad

As a government plane carrying the bodies of seven Japanese hostages killed in a terrorist attack in Dhaka, Bangladesh, arrived at Haneda Airport on the morning of July 5, among the white-draped coffins it carried was the body of 27-year-old Rui Shimodaira, who had been an active volunteer both in Japan and abroad since she was a student.

Shimodaira graduated from Shibaura Institute of Technology's School of Architecture and went on to study social engineering in graduate school at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, during which time she studied abroad in Thailand. She was involved with the activities of the NPO Japan team of young Human Power since when she was a second-year university student. In March 2009 she was part of a group of about 20 people from this NPO who went to the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh and to the country's northwest city of Battambang, where together with her fellow volunteers she built swings for elementary schools.

The head of the NPO's secretariat, Masayoshi Kiyokuni, 45, who also took part in these activities, remembers well how amid scorching temperatures of around 40 degrees Celsius Shimodaira still stepped forward to engage in physical labor.

"During breaks she was friendly with the children, and she was mindful of those around her," he recalls.

After returning to Japan, Shimodaira reportedly said of her volunteer experience, "I got back more than I gave." After the Great East Japan Earthquake, from April to May of 2011 she did volunteer work in the town of Minamisanriku, Miyagi Prefecture, to clean photographs pulled from the tsunami rubble so they could be returned to their owners.

Shimodaira gained employment at Almec Corp., an architectural consultant company, in order to help the progress of developing countries. When Kiyokuni learned that Shimodaira had gotten this job, he says he felt, "Her volunteer activities until now and her research at university and graduate school will all prove useful. This is a job that she chose of her own desire."

Kiyokuni mourned Shimodaira's death in the Dhaka attack, saying, "She must have still had many things she wanted to do in her life."

Professor Hideaki Shimura at Shibaura Institute of Technology, who gave Shimodaira guidance for her graduation research, says, "She was a brave student of action. She had a clear goal of wanting to work in developing countries."

Even after graduating, Shimodaira would give undergraduates advice on studying abroad and finding work, says Shimura.

"I had been looking forward to what she could accomplish in the future. We lost a precious, capable person," he says.

The 69-year-old owner of a dry cleaning shop in the city of Fujimi, Saitama Prefecture, near the home where Shimodaira grew up who knew Shimodaira since she was a child says, "When she was little she would often bring laundry here. She was a very cheerful and modest child."


Bodies of Dhaka terrorist attack victims arrive in Japan

July 5, 2016 (Mainichi Japan)
Bodies of Dhaka terrorist attack victims arrive in Japan

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- A government plane carrying the bodies of seven Japanese victims of the terror attack in Bangladesh returned to Japan on Tuesday morning, with the victims' relatives also aboard the aircraft.

The Air Self-Defense Force jet landed at Tokyo's Haneda airport shortly before 6 a.m., after leaving Bangladesh's capital Dhaka on Monday evening.

Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Koichi Hagiuda laid flowers and held a moment of silence in front of the caskets unloaded onto the tarmac.

"It is extremely regrettable that precious lives were lost in a savage and heinous terrorist attack," Kishida told reporters afterward. "I felt deep sorrow and strong indignation."

The victims were Makoto Okamura, 32, Yuko Sakai, 42, and Rui Shimodaira, 27, all of whom worked for Tokyo-based construction consulting company Almec Corp.; Hideki Hashimoto, 65, Nobuhiro Kurosaki, 48, and Hiroshi Tanaka, 80, who worked for Tokyo-based consulting firm Oriental Consultants Global Co.; and Koyo Ogasawara, 56, an employee of Katahira & Engineers International.

Tamaoki Watanabe, who was among the 13 people rescued when police stormed the restaurant, is recovering from a gunshot wound. The sole Japanese survivor of the attack, who is in his 40s, returned to Tokyo on a small jet early Tuesday morning.

Police are planning to conduct postmortems on the victims to ascertain the precise cause of death as they launch a murder investigation.

The government will hold a meeting of Cabinet ministers in the morning to discuss the case.

Twenty hostages including nine Italians and one person each from the United States and India as well as the seven Japanese were killed after heavily armed Islamist militants attacked a restaurant frequented by expatriates in Dhaka on Friday evening.

Six attackers were shot dead and one captured when police stormed the restaurant on Saturday. Two police officers were also killed, while 13 hostages were rescued.

The relatives of the Japanese victims and survivor left for Dhaka on the government plane on Saturday evening.


香山リカのココロの万華鏡 : 選挙で大人の階段上る /東京

July 3, 2016 (Mainichi Japan)
Kaleidoscope of the Heart: Voting is Japanese youths' new rite of passage
香山リカのココロの万華鏡 : 選挙で大人の階段上る /東京

Revisions to the Public Offices Election Law lowering the legal voting age to 18 from 20 came into effect this year, just in time for the July 10 House of Councillors election.

There are some people who wonder if 18-year-olds, most of whom are still in high school, are capable of choosing a candidate and voting properly, but I for one am in favor of the new voting age. I think it's excellent that young people now have the chance to express their strong opinions about our society.

However, to the question, "Is an 18-year-old really an adult who can formulate a solid opinion?" I would have to answer "no." Until the present era, the psychology community considered 18 to be the age when a person had more or less got a good grasp on what kind of person they were. They were ready to start work, or go onto more specific study in university, or to begin looking for their life partner.

But what about now? I believe that there are very few 18-year-olds now who have a firm idea of who they are, or who can make solid decisions grounded in their own will about study and work. From this perspective, it's understandable to think that 18 is too early an age to start voting.

However, that begs the question: "How old does a person need to be to make their own decisions?" There are more and more people these days who declare that, though they are legal adults, they are still "searching" for themselves. There are ever more people in their 30s, 40s or even 50s who come to my practice and tell me, "I can't find myself. I've tried a lot of different things, but I just can't think of a job or a lifestyle that's really me."

There are others whose sons or daughters have started their adult lives, and the parents ask me, "Will my kids be OK?" Some admit to being so concerned they call the companies their children work for.

That being the case, I think we ought to give 18-year-olds -- many of them nearing graduation from high school -- the vote, simply to say to them, "All right, now is the time to use your head. You ought to be able to make a choice for now (in an election)." This will usher them into adulthood, a full member of adult society, hopefully sparking a new self-awareness. Then parents, too, may be able to tell themselves that their teenage child, heading out to vote, has become an independent individual.

I'd like to add that today's young people have spent their entire lives in a Japan that is struggling economically, and have a pretty good idea of what the world has in store for them. As the world goes through its upheavals, there are many young people who have used the free flow of information across our planet to develop a real globalist sense.

I have high expectations of the coming upper house election and its newly enfranchised 18- and 19-year-old voters. We have to somehow get adults who say they have "no interest in politics or elections" involved again, too.

(By Rika Kayama, psychiatrist) (精神科医)







[ 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 ]
ocn cafe


[ 32レッドカジノ ]

[ online casino ]

[ 32red casino mobile ]
for iPhone, Android
Roulette Game
Blackjack Game
Slots Game

[ my favorite way ]
Earning some money on the commuting train is fantastic.
roulette game

[ 32red casino iPhone & Android ]
Mermaids Millions
Royal Derby
Tomb Raider
Blackjack Game
Major Millions

Tomb Raider iTunes App
Blackjack iTunes App
Roulette Game
Android & iPhone Direct Registration

[ sellection for mobile ]
32Red Web App (iPhone & Android) Casino - Homepage

[ 32red download for PC ]

[ online casino for PC ]
Online Slots

[ zipang casino ]
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



[ 英字新聞リンク ]
yahoo geolog

[ HPリンク ]
cocolog 家族のアルバム
fc2 家族のアルバム
Preliminary Japanese lessons for Thai students

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