2008年2月29日 星期五

Japan's foods( LOCAL CONTENT)


Give the green light to supporting Japan's foods


The news last week that the Maritime Self-Defense Force Aegis destroyer Atago had collided with the fishing boat Seitoku Maru came as a shock. For most people, it was also likely the first time they had ever heard of the rules of the sea.

According to these maritime navigation rules, vessels at sea at night are required to have a red light on their left, and a green one on their right. When two ships cross paths, the one that sees the other vessel's red light must give way. I surmise the colors mimic those of land traffic lights, where motorists must stop for a red light and may advance on the green.

On land, red lights are also an indicator for entertainment districts. Big and small red lanterns beckon to passersby. Late into the night, drunken customers with red faces come and go. I read recently a story in The Asahi Shimbun that restaurants with green lanterns are the latest trend. Green lanterns are a sign that they are willing to use Japan-grown ingredients in their dishes.

I went to one, a Tokyo restaurant that specializes in local cuisine. As he sliced a tiger prawn, a cook said, "If we only aim to cut costs, it will ruin the culture of Japanese food." Still, the eatery can't ignore its customers' pocketbooks. The proprietress admitted the restaurant uses imported matsutake mushrooms.

There are more than 300 restaurants with green lanterns nationwide. The idea came from agricultural researcher Kiyoaki Maruyama. The lanterns signify that at least 50 percent of the ingredients used at the restaurant are grown in Japan.

The homegrown percentage is illustrated in stars--an amusing ranking that each restaurant is left to come up with on its own. The one I ate at gave itself four stars, which means 80 percent of the ingredients it uses are domestically produced.

Volunteers chip in to pay for the lanterns. The only rule the support group members are required to observe is "If one sees two eateries side by side, one with a red lantern and one with a green, one must eat at the green lantern restaurant."

If this rule spreads to all of Japan's neon-lit restaurant districts, the country's food self-sufficiency rate, which has plunged to 40 percent, may rebound.

Homemade food has more impact than restaurant food. The food scandal caused by pesticide-tainted Chinese-made frozen gyoza dumplings prompted consumers to take a second look at the worth of domestic foodstuffs and home cooking.

We don't have to go so far as to hang lanterns in our kitchens, but when we go grocery shopping, we should keep in mind a green warning light. Consumers have sensitive radar.

--The Asahi Shimbun, Feb. 27(IHT/Asahi: February 28,2008)

2008年2月26日 星期二

correct info, wrong data: the Aegis destroyer

Ishiba given correct info, but wrong data released



The Defense Ministry continued to release incorrect information about the Aegis destroyer Atago's collision with a fishing vessel, although Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba knew about the error, sources close to the investigation said.

The discrepancy in the time when the Atago crew first spotted the fishing vessel has heightened the opposition parties' calls for the resignation of Ishiba.

The defense chief told a Lower House Security Committee last Friday he would step down if it became apparent the ministry had attempted to cover up the accident.

Ishiba said Tuesday he has no intention to resign.

"It is my responsibility to fulfill the desires of the family" of the two missing crew members, to seek out the cause of the accident, and come up with countermeasures, he told a Lower House Security Committee meeting.

Maritime Staff Office officials initially announced that crew on the Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer first sighted the Seitoku Maru two minutes before the vessels collided off the Boso Peninsula in Chiba Prefecture early on Feb. 19.

The vessel was split in half, and two fishermen, a father and a son, from the Seitoku Maru remain missing.

The chief of staff of the destroyer fleet later in the afternoon said the fishing vessel was first sighted "well before two minutes before the collision."

That information was given to Ishiba that night.

However, at a news conference later that night, a senior staff office official announced the time of the sighting as two minutes before the accident.

Maritime staff officials worked through the night to confirm the new time. At 8:30 a.m. on Feb. 20, they confirmed to Ishiba that the correct time was 12 minutes before the collision.

Vice Defense Minister Kohei Masuda told a news conference Monday that he received sporadic information about the corrected time around noon on Feb. 20.

However, ministry officials later quoted Masuda as saying his "memory of the matter is vague."

Yukio Hatoyama, secretary-general of opposition Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan), reiterated the party's calls for Ishiba's resignation, saying the delayed release of the correct time was a "manipulation of information."

Ishiba brushed aside allegations his ministry intended to hide facts surrounding the accident.

"We needed to confirm with the Japan Coast Guard and investigative authorities whether we could release information," he told reporters. "If we were to try to hide the fact, it would eventually come to light anyway."

Earlier on Tuesday, Ishiba explained to Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura that the delay in releasing the correct time of the sighting "was the result of efforts to ensure accuracy."

Machimura later defended Ishiba in a regular news conference.

"It is important that he fulfill his responsibility to engage in reform of the Defense Ministry," the government's top spokesman said.

Support for Ishiba is strong within the ruling camp.

Kenji Kosaka, chief deputy chairman of the Liberal Democratic Party's Diet Affairs Committee said, "It is normal procedure to release information only after confirmation."(IHT/Asahi: February 27,2008)


待機児童 【たいきじどう】


保育所100万人増目標 待機ゼロ10年計画 政府検討


 保育所に入れない待機児童解消のため、政府が検討している「新待機児童ゼロ作戦」の内容が26日、分かった。保育所の整備などを進め、2017年までの 今後10年間で、受け入れ児童数を現在の202万人から300万人に100万人増やす。また、小学生(1~3年生)を対象にした学童保育も68万人から 213万人に145万人増やすなどの数値目標を掲げている。


 新作戦では、保育環境が整えば、子どもを預けて働きたいと考えている母親らの潜在的なニーズに着目。政府が昨年末に決定した少子化重点戦 略では、就業希望のある母親がすべて働けるように、保育サービスを受ける3歳未満児の割合を現在の20%から、17年には38%に引き上げることなどを盛 り込んでいる。


bio-ethanol Cellulosic




 地球温暖化対策で注目されているバイオエタノールを、海藻のホンダワラ類からつくる計画が進んでいる。養殖や製造の基礎技術がほぼ確立したことを受け、 日本海に巨大養殖場を設ける構想。日本のガソリン販売量のほぼ3分の1に相当する量になるという。バイオエタノールの原料となる穀物の高騰が問題となって いるが、ほとんど食用にならないホンダワラ類が解決策の主役になる可能性が出てきた。


 竹野功璽(こうじ)・京都府立海洋センター主任研究員らは01年から日本海で、ホンダワラの養殖実験を開始。ロープに付着させた30セン チの苗が半年で1~3メートルに成長することを確認した。一方、海藻のアオサ類を使った三菱総研などの実験で、乾燥重量100グラムあたり約30ミリリッ トルのエタノールが製造できるとわかった。ホンダワラ類にも応用でき、バイオエタノールの量産化に道が開けたという。

 構想では、日本海沖合で比較的浅い「大和堆(やまとたい)」の水深約400メートルを中心とした海域に養殖場をつくる。ホンダワラ類を 植え付ける太さ約3センチのロープを100本前後組み合わせた養殖ユニット(100メートル四方)を四国の半分強の広さにあたる約1万平方キロに並べる。 沖合を活用するため、沿岸の生態系を守れる特長がある。


2008年2月19日 星期二

Mapplethorpe pictures cleared

A visitor looks at a work of Robert Mapplethorpe

Japan's top court clears Mapplethorpe pictures

TOKYO (AFP) — Japan's top court ruled on Tuesday that pictures by late US photographer Robert Mapplethorpe were not obscene, putting an end to nearly a decade-long battle over the country's censorship laws.

The verdict was hailed as a victory for artistic freedom by a Japanese publisher who filed the lawsuit. His copy of a Mapplethorpe book was seized in 1999 when he tried to bring it from the United States for personal use.

Reversing a lower court ruling, the Supreme Court ordered customs to lift its ban on bringing in the book of photographs, entitled "Robert Mapplethorpe."

In the 2003 ruling, the Tokyo High Court ruled that the book, which included images of male genitals, went "against good sexual morality."

But Kohei Nasu, the presiding judge, said at the Supreme Court: "The book and pictures do not fall into a category that would disturb the public," as quoted by Jiji Press.

Pornography is widely available in Japan but the laws are complex. Customs rules ban the import of images that graphically portray genitals, which are generally pixellated in Japanese versions of foreign films.

The Supreme Court had ruled in 1999 in a separate case that a book of Mapplethorpe's pictures was obscene.

Customs officers at Tokyo's Narita airport had stopped publisher Takashi Asai, who is also a film distributor, saying that 20 of the 260 pictures in "Robert Mapplethorpe" were obscene.

Asai voiced hope that the ruling would open the way for Japan to be more open about artistic portrayals of genitalia.

"Until now the customs authorities have been incapable of considering artistic qualities and could ban films even if there was only a 30-second shot in a two-hour film," Asai wrote on his website.

"This time, artistic quality as a whole was recognised," he said. "I hope that this kind of verdict will allow for the entry of more films."

"However, I fear that just because the court this time judged there was artistic quality, cases may emerge where items are branded as obscene for lack of artistic quality," he said.

Mapplethorpe devoted much of his career to nude forms, particularly of men, looking for artistic representations of the body which he presented as sculpture.

Mapplethorpe died in 1989 at age 42 from complications of AIDS.

2008年2月17日 星期日

NHK的 cross media 英語教學新節目

cross media

cross media

(1) Advertising in all media including radio, TV, direct mail, magazines, newspapers and the Web.

(2) Same as cross promotion.

クロスメディア 【cross-media】


Dog learns English in cross-media show

Soshisha(草思社) collapse


Dwindling sales hit publishers / Soshisha collapse reflects structural changes in readership

The collapse in January of Soshisha Publishing Co., a company well known for its long list of best sellers, is believed to signal the end of the myth that the publishing industry is almost immune from the hardships of the business cycle.

"The one and only Soshisha couldn't avoid going bust? How is that possible?" said Yoshiaki Kiyota, president of Shuppan News Co., which publishes news on the industry.

The Tokyo-based publisher essentially announced its bankruptcy when it filed an application with the Tokyo District Court on Jan. 9 for protection from creditors under the Civil Rehabilitation Law.

With the news of Soshisha's demise coming right at the start of the year, a wave of anxiety swept through publishing circles with some companies saying they could also be on the brink of collapse as difficult times approach the publishing world.

At the time of its application for court protection under the Civil Rehabilitation Law, Soshisha had debts amounting to 2.2 billion yen, of which interest-bearing liabilities comprised 1.9 billion yen.

The company was founded in 1961 by Masao Kase, the current chairman, winning fame through a succession of unusual publications in its range of books that initially centered on titles dealing with the humanities and social science.

In particular, the firm's innovative titles, such as "Tanin o Homeru Hito, Kenasu Hito" (People who Praise Others and People who Disparage Them)," were held in high regard by other publishers.

In the business year ending Oct. 30, 1997, at the height of the publisher's success, Soshisha chalked up about 3.9 billion yen in sales. But its business began to fall into decline in 2004.

Company officials said the downturn was due mostly to the firm's failure to come out with any best-selling works at that time or subsequently.

As one of them put it, "We got locked into this idea of 'everything depends on best sellers,' and tried to make up for our swelling deficits by increasing the number of new publications and the number of copies in an attempt to produce big sellers."

As a result, the proportion of returns--copies returned to a publisher unsold--kept rising.

It is generally said that the danger zone for the publishing business starts when returns hits 40 percent. In Soshisha's case, its returns were higher than 40 percent four years in a row.

The company's financial basis also was prone to instability since it placed priority on books sold as one-offs, rather than books or periodicals that could be sold as part of a series.

"Machigai Darake no Kuruma Erabi" (Mistakes People Make When Choosing Cars) published twice a year and authored by Aritsune Tokudaiji, was one of the few series the company did publish and proved to be a major pillar of its business performance.

The series by Tokudaiji, a racing driver-turned-writer, was a publishing phenomenon when it started, as he openly criticized the quality of cars built by major manufacturers.

Each edition sold about 200,000 copies, but the series had to be brought to an end in 2006 because of the writer's poor health, leading to a further deterioration in the business performance of Soshisha.


Readers turn to new formats

Meanwhile, the publishing industry's business environment has been getting increasingly tough.

The number of newly published books in 2007 was 77,417, a sharp increase from 1998 when new books numbered 65,513, according to the Research Institute for Publications, a nationwide organization of publishing houses.

At first glance the figures suggest the publishing industry is more prosperous than ever.

Book sales, however, have been shrinking markedly, falling to an estimated 2.09 trillion yen in 2007, a decrease of about 20 percent from 2.54 trillion yen in 1998, according to the January issue of a monthly Shuppan News report.

While the rate of returns across the industry has not entered the danger zone of 40 percent, it is still more than 39 percent for publishing houses as a whole last year, a high since 2001, according to the report.

An increasing number of publishing houses have in fact declared themselves bankrupt or sought court protection from creditors under the Civil Rehabilitation Law in the past few years.

Cases of bankruptcies have been particularly high in fiscal 2007 among small-sized and second-tier publishers, with about one publisher per month hitting the wall.

The myth that publishing is "strong in a recession" seems to stem from the idea that people will always seek knowledge and information irrespective of the ups and downs of business conditions.

However, a structural transformation seems to have taken place in the readership of publications.

In addition to the ongoing spread of the Internet, hot-selling publication lines have been rapidly shifting away from conventional book types toward low-priced, pocket-edition paperbacks and novels available in installment via cellular phone, according to the research firm.

One of its officials said, "Popular books are priced at around 1,000 yen, the kind of price that seems reasonable for buying a book related to a movie you like."


Problem with revenue structure

Some analysts have pointed out that the declining business performance of publishers is related to their complicated revenue system.

Of the revenue generated through books sold on a commission basis, a percentage goes to the distributor. Small-sized publishers are prone to have their share of this revenue squeezed by the distributors, and are often obliged to wait five or six months for the revenue to be paid to them, according to analysts.

In the case of Soshisha, though, its share of commission revenues was favorable and the delay in payments generally much shorter compared with other publishers.

Such advantageous conditions, however, may have had a detrimental effect on the publisher in the long run, allowing Soshisha to become too dependent on short-term income generated by an excessive number of books, the analysts said.

In light of Soshisha's attractive publication lineup and its advantageous business terms, several other publishing firms have offered to help Soshisha immediately since its application for court protection from creditors.

A few companies have even offered to bail out Soshisha, and the publisher says it will choose one or more companies for a tie-up by the end of February.

Given that even a publishing company blessed with favorable business conditions is not impervious to the general slump of the publishing business, publishing houses throughout the industry need to square up to the challenge of adapting themselves to the fast-changing conditions surrounding them.

(Feb. 14, 2008)

2008年2月11日 星期一

Japan's scientific geniuses prefer their labs to the limelight


Japan's scientific geniuses prefer their labs to the limelight

Toshifumi Kitamura / AFP/Getty Images
RESEARCHER: Shinya Yamanaka has been irritated by the fuss over his breakthrough in stem cells.
The country expects its scientists to be humble and modest. Some think that's why younger people are avoiding the field.
By Bruce Wallace, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
February 11, 2008
TOKYO -- In Japan, the country that gave the world innovations like instant noodles and the Sony Walkman, science has always been seen as a profession that is supposed to produce something useful. The Japanese celebrate the tinkerers and technicians, the no-nonsense types who built the postwar economic dynamo.

Pure scientists, cloistered away in underfunded labs and pursuing their dreamy theories, have never caught the national imagination. They just aren't practical enough.

So it has been a particularly sweet time for those Japanese scientists since researcher Shinya Yamanaka announced in November that he had cracked one of science's toughest challenges: creating the equivalent of human stem cells with a technique that does not require an embryo.

The discovery has turned Yamanaka, 45, into a most unlikely phenomenon in Japan: a celebrity scientist. Media crews stormed his lab at Kyoto University. The government has paid millions of dollars to continue the research.

Only Yamanaka has seemed bored by the fuss, a bit irritated even. He resents taking time away from his work to explain the details of his discovery to laymen over and over. He'd rather be back in his lab, he tells interviewers, turning his discovery into a practical medical technology that can help people suffering myriad ailments, from spinal injuries to heart disease.

"I was a physician before I became a scientist," Yamanaka said, explaining why he has no interest in becoming rich or famous. "I am mostly interested in what this discovery can do for patients."

Yamanaka's determination to show he is only in it for the public good, even in what should be his moment of glory, fits with how the Japanese expect scientists to behave. Humble. Disdainful of wealth.

They want them to be like neuroscientist Ryuta Kawashima, who turned his ideas on how to stave off senility into a huge industry of books and video games on brain training. Sure, Kawashima likes to brag -- that he hasn't taken any of the millions in royalties he's entitled to. He doesn't even want to take a vacation, he says, preferring to devote every available hour to helping the elderly.

Not everyone thinks the emphasis on modesty is a good thing. They wonder whether the limited recognition might be one reason young Japanese are turned off from careers in science. The science establishment has recognized the problem and is taking the first steps to make changes, pushing for the appointment of younger scientists to top jobs.

The idea is to make science sexier.

"We have heroes in sports, and I always thought that scientists have personal stories that could make them heroes too," said Shiro Segawa, a professor of science journalism. He was involved in a 2004 book called "Science White Paper" that tried to draw attention to Japan's achievements. "But public interest is pretty limited."

Segawa noted that the model scientist in the postwar years was Hideki Yukawa, a physicist who in 1949 won Japan's first Nobel Prize and was famous for his modesty.

"We were taught that science is a philosophy, more like music or art," said Shigeyuki Koide, science editor of the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper. "To the Japanese, science is supposed to be about pleasure, not fame."

Those who have gone looking for recognition and reward risk ostracism.

Take the case of Shuji Nakamura, inventor of the blue light-emitting diode in 1993 that opened the way for massive energy savings in light production. At the time Nakamura was working for Nichia Corp., which gave him a $180 bonus. He complained that he was being treated like a slave.

He left Japan in 1999 for a position at UC Santa Barbara, but two years later filed a lawsuit against his former employer, seeking a share of profits resulting from his inventions. The Japanese public was split on the lawsuit, Koide said. Some sympathized with the plight of a low-paid worker under the thumb of his corporate employer. Others were appalled by what they saw as an unseemly grasp for wealth.

"He chose the American way, not the Japanese way," sniffed Yoshiro Nakamatsu, a prolific inventor with more patents to his name than anyone in history. "The purpose of science and invention is love, not making money," he said. "I made my first inventions out of love for my mother. Then I made inventions for the love of the people and the nation. Japanese scientists should not care about whether they become famous."

That culture may explain why the Japanese public embraced Koichi Tanaka, an electrical engineer who shared in the 2002 Nobel Prize for chemistry. Tanaka was also working for a private company when he discovered -- almost accidentally, he says -- a method for improving technologies that analyze proteins, a process that can be used for earlier detection of some cancers. He too was given a meager bonus.

But Tanaka never complained. Instead, he shared credit with co-workers and praised the company for giving him the freedom to experiment. "I am unfortunately too popular in Japan," he told an interviewer when he accepted the Nobel. "I want to go back to my normal life."

Yamanaka is cut from that same self-effacing mold. But what separates him from other Japanese scientists is that his discovery, his dreamy theory, occurred in one of the hottest fields. Being able to make adult cells behave like embryonic stem cells opens the way to cures for an incredible number of diseases. It could revolutionize medicine. Change the lives of millions. Useful stuff.

"Some day I hope we can even treat baldness," he said. "That's my dream."


Hisako Ueno of The Times' Tokyo Bureau contributed to this report.

2008年2月9日 星期六



2008.02.06 03:33 am

米其林評鑑東京版去年一上市,首刷9萬本不到24小時全數售罄,當年紐約指南發行一年後,銷量也不過是這個數字。這本11月下旬才發售的美食評鑑,甚至躋身2007日本年度暢銷書之林。米其林指南負責人納黑(Jean-Luc Naret)笑著說:「此等盛況好比哈利波特第七集上市一般。」
【2008/02/06 聯合報

三星餐廳 東京有8家
倒閉邊緣 食材仍要好
圖/聯合報提供深諳日本美食之趣的人則站出來說,日本菜終於得到了世人的重視。旅居日本多年、撰文介紹日本菜廿多年的美食評論家史溫能頓(Robbie Swinnerton)說:「日本有全世界最棒的食物,我們一直都知道,現在世界其他角落的人也漸漸知道了。」
裝潢普普 壽司超美味
另一家三星餐廳「數寄屋橋次郎」(Sukiyabashi Jiro)沒有華麗裝潢,店內甚至沒洗手間,因高齡82的主廚小野次郎想的只有一件事:如何買到最好的食材。美食評論家橫川純說:「我只去過一次,但真令我瞠目結舌。他們表現出壽司的極致。」
倫敦泰晤士報美食評論家柯倫(Giles Coren)是日本食物的支持者,對法國菜則不屑一顧。他說:「我在日本吃過最難吃的菜,都比法國最頂級的菜好吃。」


Teen Web site slander spinning out of control

A work by photographer Ken Domon (1909-1990) shows a group of youngsters playing a game of samurai swordfight on a side street. The scene is from half a century ago. Wielding long sticks, the boys look pretty serious.

It must hurt to be hit by one of those sticks. The kid on the receiving end may get a bump on his head and start to cry. But his crying face would make everybody aware of the pain they could cause one another, and teach them not to hit too hard. A playmate's tears make the youngsters readily see if they've gone too far, and learn to be more considerate to one another.

It appears that ugly, hurtful words are easier to write than to actually say to someone's face. So-called gakko ura sites, which are unofficial school Web sites set up by junior and senior high school students to exchange information about school life, have emerged as a new social problem.
Because all posts are anonymous, some of these sites often invite outright slander. For instance, one post attacked a student by name, telling the student, "Drop dead, you fat pig." In another post, a girl accused of "selling sexual favors to older men" was identified by name.

Having heard of these cases, all I can say is that those teens are writing whatever they want. They probably cannot even imagine their classmates breaking down in tears. They write anything they want because they can hide behind anonymity. From their words, I sense not only their malice, but their insensitivity and cowardice as well.

At the National Conference on Educational Research held by the Japan Teachers Union (Nikkyoso) at the beginning of February, this problem was addressed. A junior high school teacher said he had warned at a school assembly, "Every time you post that sort of slanderous comment, your soul is going to dry up."

I was reminded of the novel "The Picture of Dorian Gray" by British author Oscar Wilde (1854-1900). As the protagonist continues to lead a life of debauchery, his face in his portrait gradually turns ugly to reflect his soul. The central theme of this novel is that the portrait is none other than Dorian Gray's soul itself.

I just hope that the ugly words posted on those gakko ura sites are not "portraits" of their writers' souls. Measures are definitely needed to stop the situation from spinning out of control.
--The Asahi Shimbun, Feb. 8(IHT/Asahi: February 9,2008)

雪 日本

Danger of snow must never be underestimated
Before I knew it, I found myself grinning at a senryu humorous haiku that appeared in Tuesday's Asahi Shimbun. It read: "Sorry to snowy regions/ Three centimeters of snow falls in the capital."

The small amount of snow that fell in Tokyo on Sunday disrupted public transportation and caused many people to slip while walking. The senryu was composed by a resident of Saitama Prefecture. I guess the writer was thinking of the toughness of people living in snow country and so wrote the senryu with a bit of self-mockery.

When you think about it, there is little difference in how people across Japan perceive such phenomena as rain and wind. Anywhere in Japan, 10 millimeters of rain is "10 mm." The same goes for winds gusting at 5 meters per second (18 kph). But when it comes to snow, in warm regions, just a few centimeters make news. In regions of heavy snowfall, such flurries would be thought of as no more than a slight dusting.

"Hokuetsu Seppu" (Snow stories of the Hokuetsu region) by Suzuki Bokushi (1770-1842), a native of the Echigo region, now Niigata Prefecture, during the Edo Period (1603-1867), gives a detailed account of the toil and trouble heavy snow caused to the everyday life of people in snowy areas.

"(People living in snow country) would not even dream of composing poems and having fun like people living in warm regions do when they see the first snow of winter," he wrote, going on to explain in detail how they feared snow and regarded it with awe.

Could it be that people underestimate the danger of snow? Over the weekend, reports of accidents in snow-covered mountains came in one after another. At a ski resort in Nagano Prefecture, two university students died in an avalanche. In Hiroshima Prefecture, seven snowboarders went missing in a blizzard. Fortunately, they were all found without serious injuries.

Blizzards and avalanches are the two greatest dangers facing people in snow-bound areas, according to "Hokuetsu Seppu." This is just as true for well-maintained modern ski slopes. Moreover, if we step out of bounds we will find ourselves in a pure white world that has even killed countless people--even those used to heavy snow.

Ukichiro Nakaya (1900-1962), a pioneer in the field of study of snow and ice, likened snow, which dramatically changes its form depending on the circumstances, to "letters from the heavens." We must not turn snow into sad letters. Both in cities covered with 3 cm of snow and on ski slopes, we must never underestimate the danger of snow.
--The Asahi Shimbun, Feb. 6(IHT/Asahi: February 7,2008)


Wikipedia article "Hazing".
Sumo hazing allegations rock Japan
CNN International - USATOKYO, Japan (CNN) -- When Japanese police arrested three sumo wrestlers and their stable master on Thursday over allegations they beat a 17-year-old ...


lodge a claim.reality check
Japan's research whaling now facing problems at home02/09/2008BY KENJI OYAMADA, THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

2008年2月7日 星期四


取我十幾年前在Stanford大學買的 A Tale of Flowering Fortunes: Annals of JapaneseAristocratic Life in the Heian Period

William and Helen McCullough, trs., A Tale of Flowering Fortune: Annals of Japanese Aristocratic Life in the Heian Period I II, (Stanford University Press

``Wild Words and Specious Phrases'': Kyogen Kigo in The No Play Jinen Koji Etsuko TerasakiHarvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, Vol. 49, No. 2 (Dec., 1989), pp. 519-552doi:10.2307/2719262This article consists of 34 page(s).


2008年2月6日 星期三



日本煙草(Japan Tobacco Inc.)取消了將其速凍食品業務與另一家日本食品企業合併的計劃﹐而雙方合併後原本有望躋身於日本最大的速凍食品企業之列。而在之前﹐一些消費者因食用有毒中國進口水餃而患病。日本煙草和速食面生產商日清食品(Nissin Food Products Co.)曾在去年11月份表示兩家公司將聯手收購處境不佳的速凍食品生產商加卜吉(Katokichi Co.)。

中國速凍水餃外包裝發現殺蟲劑殘留日本召回中國餃子然而﹐在導致至少十人送醫的中國速凍餃子事件曝光後日清食品收回了此前計劃。這批速凍水餃是由日本煙草旗下公司從中國進口的﹐其中至少六包發現了殺蟲劑甲胺磷的殘留痕跡。隨著日本煙民數量減少﹐全球銷量排第三的日本煙草制定了將業務擴展到核心的煙草領域之外的策略﹐其中就包括與日清食品的速凍食品業務整合。不過日本煙草的總裁Hiroshi Kimura在東京的新聞發佈會上表示﹐公司仍計劃發展食品行業﹐他指出使食品業務成為公司發展支柱的策略沒有發生改變。日本媒體廣泛報導了中國餃子召回事件﹐它也給中國進口食品在日本的形像打來了新的打擊。由於日本消費者對食品價格日漸敏感﹐日本從中國進口的食品已有所增加。准政府機構日本貿易振興會(Japan External Trade Organization)所提供的最近一次全年數據顯示﹐2006年日本從中國進口的食品達到80億美元﹐較2001年上升了35%。但是日本消費者在過去幾年里對中國進口食品的安全問題也日益感到擔心﹐此前日本在中國進口速凍菠菜中就發現過殺虫劑﹐中國產鱔魚和鯖魚也被查出含有消毒劑。日本厚生勞動省大臣週二表示﹐可能有人在餃子的生產工廠里故意投毒。這批水餃是由河北省食品進出口集團(Hebei Foodstuffs Import & Export Group.)下屬企業生產的。日本警方已經成立了一個聯合工作組以該事件涉嫌故意殺人為由來調查此事。中國食品安全監督機構以及日本的檢查小組在初步調查中均未發現殺蟲劑的痕跡。Hiroko Tabuchi

Japan Frozen-Food Venture Canceled After Poisoning
Japan Tobacco Inc. canceled plans to integrate its frozen-food operations with another Japanese food maker, a plan that would have created one of Japan's largest frozen-food businesses, after consumers were sickened by pesticide-laced dumplings from China.

JT, the world's third-largest tobacco company by sales volume, and instant-noodle maker Nissin Food Products Co. said in November they would jointly buy struggling frozen-produce maker Katokichi Co.

JT acquired 94% of Katokichi's shares under a tender offer that ran through December, and was due to sell a noncontrolling stake to Nissin, paving the way to merge their frozen-food businesses.But Nissin pulled out of the plan following a food-poisoning outbreak linked to frozen dumplings imported from China by JT's food unit. They contained traces of the pesticide methamidophos and sickened at least 10 people.

At least six packs of dumplings imported by JT were found to contain traces of pesticide.The frozen-food deal was a part of JT's strategy to expand beyond its core business of cigarettes, as the number of smokers in Japan declines. Still, JT plans to stay in the food business, JT President Hiroshi Kimura said at a news conference in Tokyo.

'There is no change to our strategy of making our food operations a pillar of the company,' he said.The recall was widely publicized in Japanese media, and dealt the latest blow to the image of Chinese food imports in Japan. Japan's imports of Chinese food have grown as consumers here have become increasingly sensitive to price.

In 2006, the latest year for which full-year data are available, Chinese food imports in Japan reached $8 billion, up 35% from 2001, according to the quasigovernmental Japan External Trade Organization.But Japanese consumers have become increasingly nervous over Chinese food imports in the past few years, following discoveries of pesticide in spinach and disinfectant in eel and mackerel imported from China.

Japan's health minister said yesterday that the dumplings had likely been poisoned deliberately at the factory where they were made, which is run by a unit of the Hebei Foodstuffs Import & Export Group.

Japanese police have set up a joint task force to investigate the case on suspicion of attempted murder. Initial checks by China's food safety watchdog and a Japanese inspection team found no traces of the pesticide.

Hiroko Tabuchi





2008年2月4日 星期一



Doctor shortage felt across Japan



At least 14 percent of the country's emergency medical care centers are so short of doctors that they cannot accept patients for particular illnesses or do not have any emergency care specialists on standby, an Asahi Shimbun survey shows.

The finding comes as local hospitals increasingly are having to close, creating difficulties for patients needing quick hospitalization. This has raised concerns that even emergency care centers cannot be counted on as places of last resort in case of emergencies.

In recent months, a number of people have died while paramedics tried to find hospitals providing emergency treatment only to be repeatedly turned away because doctors were too busy or specialists were unavailable.

Most of the country's 205 emergency care centers are attached to general hospitals or university hospitals.

In principle, emergency care centers are expected to accept anybody who is critically ill or is suffering from illnesses that need to be treated in more than one department, according to health ministry guidelines concerning the operation of these medical institutions.

To fulfill their mission, these centers are required to ensure they have emergency care specialists on hand when necessary.

The Asahi Shimbun survey found that in at least 28 emergency care centers, or 14 percent of the total, some medical departments did not have specialists on duty around the clock or were unable to provide emergency treatment.

The Asahi Shimbun contacted all 205 emergency care institutions nationwide to ascertain their readiness to handle emergencies and received responses from 187, or 91 percent.

The survey showed that 17 medical institutions were not accepting patients who need to be treated in some clinical departments or for particular illnesses.

A chronic doctor shortage cited by six institutions was the reason they did not accept emergency patients in obstetrics and gynecology. This was followed by pediatric, cardiovascular surgery and urinary at two, respectively.

Nikko Memorial Hospital in Muroran, Hokkaido, was forced to close its emergency care center temporarily after a string of doctors quit.

Some institutions are in dire straits because of a shortage of doctors.

Hyogo Brain and Heart Center in Himeji, Hyogo Prefecture, said it cannot accept patients in the general internal medicine and surgical departments because an anesthetist quit.

Ehime Prefectural Niihama Hospital in Niihama, Ehime Prefecture, said it cannot treat traffic accident patients because its orthopedic department is temporarily closed with no doctor working full time.

Kansai Medical University Takii Hospital in Moriguchi, Osaka Prefecture, said it had become harder to treat patients with ruptured aortic aneurysm because all three cardiovascular surgeons were now working for other institutions.

The survey also found that 13 medical centers do not have any emergency care specialists. Many of the centers said they hoped to fill the positions but that it was difficult to do so anytime soon because of the doctor shortage.(IHT/Asahi: February 4,2008)




  日本各大學在資產運營方面的力度不斷加大。日本經濟新聞社以日本各大學為對象實施的資產運營調查顯示,在接受調查的私立大學中有30%打算增持利用金 融衍生品的債券。日本國立大學將資金轉向地方政府債券及政府保證債券的動向也趨於增強。原因是在少子化背景下要求確保經營收入來源,資產運營的重要性提 高。 


  採取國際分散投資策略的大學也很多,有12%表示除結構債券外還打算增持外債。而在打算減持的資產方面,有47%表示將減持國債及公債等安全資產,比例為最高。(1月31日 《日本經濟新聞》晨報)

(時時刻刻)再生紙、まさかの不信 リサイクル優等生・製紙各社が古紙配合率を偽装



 「再生紙」への不信が急速に広がっている。古紙を混ぜる割合を日本製紙など製紙各社が偽っていたことが発覚。17日も業界首脳らが相次ぎ陳謝して回った が、複写機メーカーなど顧客企業がコピー用紙の取引を中止するなど不買の動きも出てきた。リサイクルの優等生のはずだった製紙業界が、なぜこんなことをし たのか。消費者をだました「エコ偽装」のツケは重く、混乱は当分おさまりそうにない。








 富士ゼロックスは「古紙配合率の基準を下回っていた」として、日本製紙から調達している再生紙の販売や受注を中止したと発表。キヤノン マーケティングジャパン(MJ)やリコーも同様の対応を決めた。「顧客に迷惑をかけないよう代替案を検討している」(キヤノンMJ)、「ほかの製紙会社に も問い合わせ中」(リコー)という。







 製紙業界には、高い配合率が必ずしも環境に優しいわけではない、との主張もある。品質維持には、燃料の重油や、紙の色を白くするための化 学薬品が多く必要で、二酸化炭素の排出量も増える、という理屈だ。ただ、製紙各社はそうした事情を、日本郵政などの顧客に率直に伝えなかった。背景には過 当競争がのぞく。




 中部大学の武田邦彦教授(資源材料工学)は「『古紙配合率は高いほどいい』という誤った固定観念が社会にあるのは事実。製紙会社は、これ に流され、ばれないとみて偽装したのかもしれない。が、そのやり方は許されない」と指摘する。事情をきちんと説明するより、偽装を選ぶ体質。その一端は昨 夏にもかいま見えた。







 ◆グリーン購入法、見直しも 「コピー用は古紙100%、印刷用なら70%以上」 環境次官が表明


 01年に施行されたグリーン購入法は、紙、文具や家電など222品目について細かく購入する際の判断基準を設定。民間も参考にしている。 紙製品では、コピー用紙は古紙100%、印刷用紙は同70%以上と定めているが、メーカーの自己申告だけで、基準を満たしているか国などが確認しているわ けではなく、違反への罰則もない。


(1月18日付け朝刊2ページ 総合2面)